Least Effort Quotes

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It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt
How many young college graduates have taken demanding jobs in high-powered firms, vowing that they will work hard to earn money that will enable them to retire and pursue their real interests when they are thirty-five? But by the time they reach that age, they have large mortgages, children to school, houses in the suburbs that necessitate at least two cars per family, and a sense that life is not worth living without really good wine and expensive holidays abroad. What are they supposed to do, go back to digging up roots? No, they double their efforts and keep slaving away.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.
Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
Our culture has become hooked on the quick-fix, the life hack, efficiency. Everyone is on the hunt for that simple action algorithm that nets maximum profit with the least amount of effort. There’s no denying this attitude may get you some of the trappings of success, if you’re lucky, but it will not lead to a calloused mind or self-mastery. If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up.
David Goggins (Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds)
Disappointment will come when your effort does not give you the expected return. If things don’t go as planned or if you face failure. Failure is extremely difficult to handle, but those that do come out stronger. What did this failure teach me? is the question you will need to ask. You will feel miserable. You will want to quit, like I wanted to when nine publishers rejected my first book. Some IITians kill themselves over low grades – how silly is that? But that is how much failure can hurt you. But it’s life. If challenges could always be overcome, they would cease to be a challenge. And remember – if you are failing at something, that means you are at your limit or potential. And that’s where you want to be. Disappointment’ s cousin is Frustration, the second storm. Have you ever been frustrated? It happens when things are stuck. This is especially relevant in India. From traffic jams to getting that job you deserve, sometimes things take so long that you don’t know if you chose the right goal. After books, I set the goal of writing for Bollywood, as I thought they needed writers. I am called extremely lucky, but it took me five years to get close to a release. Frustration saps excitement, and turns your initial energy into something negative, making you a bitter person. How did I deal with it? A realistic assessment of the time involved – movies take a long time to make even though they are watched quickly, seeking a certain enjoyment in the process rather than the end result – at least I was learning how to write scripts, having a side plan – I had my third book to write and even something as simple as pleasurable distractions in your life – friends, food, travel can help you overcome it. Remember, nothing is to be taken seriously. Frustration is a sign somewhere, you took it too seriously.
Chetan Bhagat
Closing The Cycle One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill. None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else. Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important. Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
Paulo Coelho
It is also worth noting that one can obtain a Ph.D. in any branch of science for no other purpose than to make cynical use of scientific language in an effort to rationalize the glaring inadequacies of tbe Bible. A handful of Christians appear to have done this; some have even obtained their degrees from reputable universities. No doubt, others will follow in their footsteps. While such people are technically "scientists," they are not behaving like scientists. They simply are not engaged in an honest inquiry into the nature of the universe. And their proclamations about God and the failures of Darwinism do not in the least signify that there is a legitimate scientific controversy about evolution.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
Clay, did you ever love me?" I'm studying a billboard and say that I didn't hear what she said. "I asked if you ever loved me?" On the terrace the sun bursts into my eyes and for one blinding moment I see myself clearly. I remember the first time we made love, in the house in Palm Springs, her body tan and wet, lying against cool, white sheets. "Don't do this, Blair," I tell her. "Just tell me." I don't say anything. "Is it such a hard question to answer?" I look at her straight on. "Yes or no?" "Why?" "Damnit, Clay," she sighs. "Yeah, sure, I guess." "Don't lie to me." "What in the fuck do you want to hear?" "Just tell me," she says, her voice rising. "No," I almost shout. "I never did." I almost start to laugh. She draws in a breath and says, "Thank you. That's all I wanted to know." She sips her wine. "Did you ever love me?" I ask her back, though by now I can't even care. She pauses. "I thought about it and yeah, I did once. I mean I really did. Everything was all right for a while. You were kind." She looks down and then goes on. "But it was like you weren't there. Oh shit, this isn't going to make any sense." She stops. I look at her, waiting for her to go on, looking up at the billboard. Disappear Here. "I don't know if any other person I've been with has been really there, either ... but at least they tried." I finger the menu; put the cigarette out. "You never did. Other people made an effort and you just ... It was just beyond you." She takes another sip of her wine. "You were never there. I felt sorry for you for a little while, but then I found it hard to. You're a beautiful boy, Clay, but that's about it." I watch the cars pass by on Sunset. "It's hard to feel sorry for someone who doesn't care." "Yeah?" I ask. "What do you care about? What makes you happy?" "Nothing. Nothing makes me happy. I like nothing," I tell her. "Did you ever care about me, Clay?" I don't say anything, look back at the menu. "Did you ever care about me?" she asks again. "I don't want to care. If I care about things, it'll just be worse, it'll just be another thing to worry about. It's less painful if I don't care." "I cared about you for a little while." I don't say anything. She takes off her sunglasses and finally says, "I'll see you later, Clay." She gets up. "Where are you going?" I suddenly don't want to leave Blair here. I almost want to take her back with me. "Have to meet someone for lunch." "But what about us?" "What about us?" She stands there for a moment, waiting. I keep staring at the billboard until it begins to blur and when my vision becomes clearer I watch as Blair's car glides out of the parking lot and becomes lost in the haze of traffic on Sunset. The waiter comes over and asks, "Is everything okay, sir?" I look up and put my sunglasses on and try to smile. "Yeah.
Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero)
Gansey despised raising his voice (in his head, his mother said, People shout when they don't have the vocabulary to whisper), but he heard it happening despite himself and so, with effort, he kept his voice even. "Not like this. At least you have a place to go. 'End of the world'... What is your problem, Adam? I mean, is there something about my place that's too repugnant for you to imagine living there? Why is it that everything kind I do is pity to you? Everything is charity. Well, here it is: I'm sick of tiptoeing around your principles." "God, I'm sick of your condescension, Gansey," Adam said. "Don't try to make me feel stupid. Who whips out repugnant? Don't pretend you're not trying to make me feel stupid." "This is the way I talk. I'm sorry your father never taught you the meaning of repugnant. He was too busy smashing your head against the wall of your trailer while you apologized for being alive." Both of them stopped breathing. Gansey knew he'd gone too far. It was too far, too late, too much. Adam shoved open the door. "Fuck you, Gansey. Fuck you," he said, voice low and furious. Gansey close his eyes. Adam slammed the door, and then he slammed it again when the latch didn't catch. Gansey didn't open his eyes. He didn't want to see if people were watching some kid fight with a boy in a bright orange Camaro and an Aglionby jumper. Just then he hated his raven-breasted uniform and his loud car and every three- and four-syllable word his parents had used in casual conversation at the dinner table and he hated Adam's hideous father and Adam's permissive mother and most of all, most of all, he hated the sound of Adam's last words, playing over and over. He couldn't stand it, all of this inside him. In the end, he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan. Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him. Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year. They were always walking away from him. But he never seemed able to walk away from them. Gansey opened his eyes. The ambulance was still there, but Adam was gone.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
A person spends years coming into his own, developing his talent, his unique gifts, perfecting his discriminations about the world, broadening and sharpening his appetite, learning to bear the disappointments of life, becoming mature, seasoned-finally a unique creature in nature, standing with some dignity and nobility and transcending the animal condition; no longer driven, no longer a complex reflex, not stamped out of any mold. And then the real tragedy, as Andre Malraux wrote in The Human Condition: that it takes sixty years of incredible suffering and effort to make such an individual, and then he is good only for dying. This painful paradox is not lost on the person himself-least of all himself. He feels agonizingly unique, and yet he knows that this doesn't make any difference as far as ultimates are concerned.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
I kept looking for hope in the world. Expecting the world to supply deliverance if I plucked the right chords. Demanding that it supply validation to my labor if I just gave enough effort. But that is not the nature of the world. Its nature is to consume. In time, it will consume us all, and the spheres will spin until they too are consumed when our sun dies. Maybe that is the point of it. Knowing that though one day darkness will cover all, at least your eyes were open to see moments of light.
Pierce Brown (Dark Age (Red Rising Saga #5))
Here’s another. Kill man’s sense of values. Kill his capacity to recognise greatness or to achieve it. Great men can’t be ruled. We don’t want any great men. Don’t deny conception of greatness. Destroy it from within. The great is the rare, the difficult, the exceptional. Set up standards of achievement open to all, to the least, to the most inept – and you stop the impetus to effort in men, great or small. You stop all incentive to improvement, to excellence, to perfection. Laugh at Roark and hold Peter Keating as a great architect. You’ve destroyed architecture. Build Lois Cook and you’ve destroyed literature. Hail Ike and you’ve destroyed the theatre. Glorify Lancelot Clankey and you’ve destroyed the press. Don’t set out to raze all shrines – you’ll frighten men, Enshrine mediocrity - and the shrines are razed. Then there’s another way. Kill by laughter. Laughter is an instrument of human joy. Learn to use it as a weapon of destruction. Turn it into a sneer. It’s simple. Tell them to laugh at everything. Tell them that a sense of humour is an unlimited virtue. Don't let anything remain sacred in a man’s soul – and his soul won’t be sacred to him. Kill reverence and you’ve killed the hero in man. One doesn’t reverence with a giggle. He’ll obey and he’ll set no limits to obedience – anything goes – nothing is too serious.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS I. Suffering does exist. II. Suffering arises from "attachment" to desires. III. Suffering ceases when "attachment" to desire ceases. IV. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the eightfold path: 1. Right understanding (view). 2. Right intention (thought). 3. Right speach. 4. Right action. 5. Right livelihood. 6. Right effort. 7. Right mindfulness. 8. Rght meditation (concentration). Buddha's fourfold consolation: With a mind free from greed and unfriendliness, incorruptible, and purified, the noble disciple is already during this lifetime assure of a fourfold consolation: “If there is another world (heaven), and a cause and effect (Karma) of good and bad actions, then it may be that, at the dissolution of the body, after death, I shall be reborn in a happy realm, a heavenly world.” Of this first consolation (s)he is assured. “And if there is no other world, no reward and no punishment of good and bad actions, then I live at least here, in this world, an untroubled and happy life, free from hate and unfriendliness.” Of this second consolation (s)he is assured. “And if bad things happen to bad people, but I do not do anything bad (or have unfriendliness against anyone), how can I, who am doing no bad things, meet with bad things?” Of this third consolation (s)he is assured. “And if no bad things happen to bad people, then I know myself in both ways pure.” Of this fourth consolation (s)he is assured.
Gautama Buddha
Everyone is on the hunt for that simple action algorithm that nets maximum profit with the least amount of effort. There’s no denying this attitude may get you some of the trappings of success, if you’re lucky, but it will not lead to a calloused mind or self-mastery. If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up.
David Goggins (Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds)
It felt good, she suddenly decided, to set herself to a physical task. For this small time, at least, she could see the results of her effort and her will.
Robin Hobb (Ship of Destiny (Liveship Traders, #3))
I make a conscious effort to compliment at least one person every time I'm out and about. One nice comment can change a person's entire mood and mindset for the day.
Robin S. Baker
It was really rather wretched that you couldn’t will yourself to fall in love, for the very effort can keep falling at bay. Nor could you will yourself to stay that way. Least of all could you will yourself NOT to fall in love, for thus far whatever meager resistance she had put up had only made the compulsion more intense. So you were perpetually tyrannized by a feeling that came and went as it pleased, like a cat with its own pet door. How much more agreeable, if love were something that you stirred up from a reliable recipe, or elected, however perversely, to pour down the drain. Still, there was nothing for it. The popular expression notwithstanding, love was not something you made. Nor could you dispose of the stuff once manifested because it was inconvenient, or even because it was wicked, and ruining your life, and, by the by, someone else’s.
Lionel Shriver (The Post-Birthday World)
Even if, seen from the outside, or from some higher vantage point, this sort of life looks pointless or futile, or even extremely inefficient, it doesn’t bother me. Maybe it’s some pointless act like, as I’ve said before, pouring water in to an old pan that has a hole in the bottom, but at least the effort you put into it remains. Whether it’s good for anything or not, cool or totally uncool, in the final analysis what’s most important is what you can’t see but can feel in your heart. To be able to grasp something of value, sometimes you have to perform seemingly inefficient acts. But even activities that appear fruitless don’t necessarily end up so. That’s the feeling I have, as someone who’s felt this, who’s experienced it.
Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary—or perhaps more like mediocre—level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.
Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
Any critique of Islam is denounced as an expression of Western Islamophobia, Salman Rushdie is denounced for unnecessarily provoking Muslims and being (partially, at least) responsible for the fatwa condemning him to death, and so on. The result of such stances is what one should expect in such cases: the more the Western liberal Leftists probe into their guilt, the more they are accused by Muslim fundamentalists of being hypocrites who try to conceal their hatred of Islam. [T]his constellation perfectly reproduces the paradox of the superego: the more you obey what the Other demands of you, the guiltier you are. It is as if the more you tolerate Islam, the stronger its pressure on you will be. What this implies is that terrorist fundamentalists, be they Christian or Muslim, are not really fundamentalists in the authentic sense of the term--what they lack is a feature that is easy to discern in all authentic fundamentalists, from Tibetan Buddhists to the Amish in the US: the absence of resentment and envy, the deep indifference towards the non-believers' way of life. If today's so-called fundamentalists really believe they have found their way to Truth, why should they feel threatened by non-believers, why should they envy them? When a Buddhist encounters a Western hedonist, he hardly condemns. He just benevolently notes that the hedonist's search for happiness is self-defeating. In contrast to true fundamentalists, the terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued and fascinated by the sinful life of the non-believers. One can feel that, in fighting the sinful other, they are fighting their own temptation. The passionate intensity of a fundamentalist mob bears witness to the lack of true conviction; deep in themselves, terrorist fundamentalists also lack true conviction--their violent outbursts are proof of it. How fragile the belief of a Muslim would be if he felt threatened by, say, a stupid caricature in a low-circulation Danish newspaper? Fundamentalist Islamic terror is not grounded in the terrorists' conviction of their superiority and in their desire to safeguard their cultural-religious identify from the onslaught of global consumerist civilization. The problem with fundamentalists is not that we consider them inferior to us, but, rather, that they themselves secretly consider themselves inferior. This is why our condescending politically correct assurances that we feel no superiority towards them only makes them more furious and feed their resentment. The problem is not cultural difference (their effort to preserve their identity), but the opposite: the fact that the fundamentalists are already like us, that, secretly, they have already internalized our standards and measure themselves by them.
Slavoj Žižek
I believe, rather than the exception. Most individuals are dealing with one or more serious health problems while going productively and uncomplainingly about their business. If anyone is fortunate enough to be in a rare period of grace and health, personally, then he or she typically has at least one close family member in crisis. Yet people prevail and continue to do difficult and effortful tasks to hold themselves and their families and society together. To me this is miraculous—so much so that a dumbfounded gratitude is the only appropriate response. There are so many ways that things can fall apart, or fail to work altogether, and it is always wounded people who are holding it together. They deserve some genuine and heartfelt admiration for that. It’s an ongoing miracle of fortitude and perseverance.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
But in this latter event the cause probably lies in a lack of self-confidence due to early misfortune. The man who feels himself unloved may take various attitudes as a result. He may make desperate efforts to win affection, probably by means of exceptional acts of kindness. In this, however, he is very likely to be unsuccessful, since the motive of the kindnesses is easily perceived by their beneficiaries, and human nature is so constructed that it gives affection most readily to those who seem least to demand it. The man, therefore, who endeavors to purchase affection by benevolent actions becomes disillusioned by experience of human ingratitude. It never occurs to him that the affection which he is trying to buy is of far more value than the material benefits which he offers as its price, and yet the feeling that this is so is at the basis of his actions.
Bertrand Russell (The Conquest of Happiness)
In every interview I’m asked what’s the most important quality a novelist has to have. It’s pretty obvious: talent. Now matter how much enthusiasm and effort you put into writing, if you totally lack literary talent you can forget about being a novelist. This is more of a prerequisite than a necessary quality. If you don’t have any fuel, even the best car won’t run.The problem with talent, though, is that in most cases the person involved can’t control its amount or quality. You might find the amount isn’t enough and you want to increase it, or you might try to be frugal and make it last longer, but in neither case do things work out that easily. Talent has a mind of its own and wells up when it wants to, and once it dries up, that’s it. Of course, certain poets and rock singers whose genius went out in a blaze of glory—people like Schubert and Mozart, whose dramatic early deaths turned them into legends—have a certain appeal, but for the vast majority of us this isn’t the model we follow. If I’m asked what the next most important quality is for a novelist, that’s easy too: focus—the ability to concentrate all your limited talents on whatever’s critical at the moment. Without that you can’t accomplish anything of value, while, if you can focus effectively, you’ll be able to compensate for an erratic talent or even a shortage of it. I generally concentrate on work for three or four hours every morning. I sit at my desk and focus totally on what I’m writing. I don’t see anything else, I don’t think about anything else. … After focus, the next most important thing for a novelist is, hands down, endurance. If you concentrate on writing three or four hours a day and feel tired after a week of this, you’re not going to be able to write a long work. What’s needed of the writer of fiction—at least one who hopes to write a novel—is the energy to focus every day for half a year, or a year, or two years. … Fortunately, these two disciplines—focus and endurance—are different from talent, since they can be acquired and sharpened through training. You’ll naturally learn both concentration and endurance when you sit down every day at your desk and train yourself to focus on one point. This is a lot like the training of muscles I wrote of a moment ago. You have to continually transmit the object of your focus to your entire body, and make sure it thoroughly assimilates the information necessary for you to write every single day and concentrate on the work at hand. And gradually you’ll expand the limits of what you’re able to do. Almost imperceptibly you’ll make the bar rise. This involves the same process as jogging every day to strengthen your muscles and develop a runner’s physique. Add a stimulus and keep it up. And repeat. Patience is a must in this process, but I guarantee results will come. In private correspondence the great mystery writer Raymond Chandler once confessed that even if he didn’t write anything, he made sure he sat down at his desk every single day and concentrated. I understand the purpose behind his doing this. This is the way Chandler gave himself the physical stamina a professional writer needs, quietly strengthening his willpower. This sort of daily training was indispensable to him. … Most of what I know about writing I’ve learned through running every day. These are practical, physical lessons. How much can I push myself? How much rest is appropriate—and how much is too much? How far can I take something and still keep it decent and consistent? When does it become narrow-minded and inflexible? How much should I be aware of the world outside, and how much should I focus on my inner world? To what extent should I be confident in my abilities, and when should I start doubting myself? I know that if I hadn’t become a long-distance runner when I became a novelist, my work would have been vastly different. How different? Hard to say. But something would definitely have been different.
Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
There's nothing the least bit sinful about it. Things like that happen all the time in this great big world of ours. It's like taking a boat out on a beautiful lake on a beautiful day and thinking both the sky and the lake are beautiful. So stop eating yourself up. Things will go where they're supposed to go if you just let them take their natural course. Despite your best efforts, people are going to be hurt when it's time for them to be hurt. Life is like that.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
believe, rather than the exception. Most individuals are dealing with one or more serious health problems while going productively and uncomplainingly about their business. If anyone is fortunate enough to be in a rare period of grace and health, personally, then he or she typically has at least one close family member in crisis. Yet people prevail and continue to do difficult and effortful tasks to hold themselves and their families and society together. To me this is miraculous—so much so that a dumbfounded gratitude is the only appropriate response. There are so many ways that things can fall apart, or fail to work altogether, and it is always wounded people who are holding it together. They deserve some genuine and heartfelt admiration for that. It’s an ongoing miracle of fortitude and perseverance. In my clinical practice I encourage people to credit themselves and those around them for acting productively and with care, as well as for the genuine concern and thoughtfulness they manifest towards others. People are so tortured by the limitations and constraint of Being that I am amazed they ever act properly or look beyond themselves at all. But enough do so that we have central heat and running water and infinite computational power and electricity and enough for everyone to eat and even the capacity to
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
Recent advances in experimental psychology and neuroimaging have allowed us to study the boundary between conscious and unconscious mental processes with increasing precision. We now know that at least two systems in the brain—often referred to as “dual processes”—govern human cognition, emotion, and behavior. One is evolutionarily older, unconscious, and automatic; the other evolved more recently and is both conscious and deliberative. When you find another person annoying, sexually attractive, or inadvertently funny, you are experiencing the percolations of System 1. The heroic efforts you make to conceal these feelings out of politeness are the work of System 2.
Sam Harris (Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion)
In my own periods of darkness, in the underworld of the soul, I find myself frequently overcome and amazed by the ability of people to befriend each other, to love their intimate partners and parents and children, and to do what they must do to keep the machinery of the world running. I knew a man, injured and disabled by a car accident, who was employed by a local utility. For years after the crash he worked side by side with another man, who for his part suffered with a degenerative neurological disease. They cooperated while repairing the lines, each making up for the other’s inadequacy. This sort of everyday heroism is the rule, I believe, rather than the exception. Most individuals are dealing with one or more serious health problems while going productively and uncomplainingly about their business. If anyone is fortunate enough to be in a rare period of grace and health, personally, then he or she typically has at least one close family member in crisis. Yet people prevail and continue to do difficult and effortful tasks to hold themselves and their families and society together. To me this is miraculous—so much so that a dumbfounded gratitude is the only appropriate response. There are so many ways that things can fall apart, or fail to work altogether, and it is always wounded people who are holding it together. They deserve some genuine and heartfelt admiration for that. It’s an ongoing miracle of fortitude and perseverance
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
Despite the reticence of most scientists on the subject of good and evil, the scientific study of morality and human happiness is well underway. This research is bound to bring science into conflict with religious orthodoxy and popular opinion—just as our growing understanding of evolution has—because the divide between facts and values is illusory in at least three senses: (1) whatever can be known about maximizing the well-being of conscious creatures—which is, I will argue, the only thing we can reasonably value—must at some point translate into facts about brains and their interaction with the world at large; (2) the very idea of “objective” knowledge (i.e., knowledge acquired through honest observation and reasoning) has values built into it, as every effort we make to discuss facts depends upon principles that we must first value (e.g., logical consistency, reliance on evidence, parsimony, etc.); (3) beliefs about facts and beliefs about values seem to arise from similar processes at the level of the brain: it appears that we have a common system for judging truth and falsity in both domains. I will discuss each of these points in greater detail below. Both in terms of what there is to know about the world and the brain mechanisms that allow us to know it, we will see that a clear boundary between facts and values simply does not exist. Many readers might wonder how can we base our values on something as difficult to define as “well-being”?
Sam Harris (The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values)
He rubbed his chin. “Then you have to believe that living as a Christian is in itself good. That renunciation, not succumbing to sin, has a value for human beings even in this earthly life. On a similar theme, I’ve read that sportsmen find the pain and effort of training meaningful in itself, even if they never win anything. If heaven didn’t actually exist, then at least we have a good, secure life as Christians, where we work, live happily, accept the possibilities God and nature give us, and look after each other. Do you know what my father—also a preacher—used to say about Læstadianism? That if you only counted the people the movement had saved from alcoholism and broken homes, that alone would justify what we do, even if we were preaching a lie.” He paused for a minute. “But it’s not always like that. Sometimes it costs more than it should to live according to Scripture. The way it did for Lea…The way I, in my delusion, forced Lea to live.” There was a faint tremor in his voice. “It took me many years to realise it, but no one should be forced by their father to live in a marriage like that, with a man they hate, a man who had taken them by force.” He raised his head and looked at the crucifix above us. “Yes, I remain convinced that it was right according to Scripture, but sometimes salvation can have too high a price.
Jo Nesbø (Midnight Sun (Blood on Snow #2))
There was presented to him at once and clearly an opportunity for joy--casual, accidental joy, but joy. If he could not manage joy, at least he might have managed the intention of joy, or (if that also were too much) an effort towards the intention of joy. The infinity of-grace could have been contented and invoked by a mere mental refusal of anything but such an effort. He knew his duty--he was no fool--he knew that the fantastic recognition would please and amuse the innocent soul of Sir Aston, not so much for himself as in some unselfish way for the honour of history. Such honours meant nothing, but they were part of the absurd dance of the world, and to be enjoyed as such. Wentworth knew he could share that pleasure. He could enjoy; at least he could refuse not to enjoy. He could refuse and reject damnation. With a perfectly clear, if instantaneous, knowledge of what he did, he rejected joy instead. He instantaneously preferred anger, and at once it came; he invoked envy, and it obliged him. He crushed the paper in a rage, then he tore it open, and looked again and again-there it still was. He knew that his rival had not only succeeded, but succeeded at his own expense; what chance was there of another historical knighthood for years? Till that moment he had never thought of such a thing. The possibility had been created and withdrawn simultaneously, leaving the present fact to mock him. The other possibility--of joy in that present fact--receded as fast. He had determined, then and for ever, for ever, for ever, that he would hate the fact, and therefore facts.
Charles Williams (Descent into Hell)
I found him a very patient, very forbearing, and yet an exacting master: he expected me to do a great deal; and when I fulfilled his expectations, he, in his own way, fully testified his approbation. By degrees, he acquired a certain influence over me that took away my liberty of mind: his praise and notice were more restraining than his indifference. I could no longer talk or laugh freely when he was by, because a tiresomely importunate instinct reminded me that vivacity (at least in me) was distasteful to him. I was so fully aware that only serious moods and occupations were acceptable, that in his presence every effort to sustain or follow any other became vain: I fell under a freezing spell. When he said “go,” I went; “come,” I came; “do this,” I did it. But I did not love my servitude: I wished, many a time, he had continued to neglect me.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre: The Original 1847 Unabridged and Complete Edition (Charlotte Brontë Classics))
I’ve torn that from her. I’ve denied a mother her daughter’s final words. If I tell her the truth now, Mrs. Liu will at least get those words back. She’ll see the effort that occupied the last years of Athena’s life.
R.F. Kuang (Yellowface)
But the challenges were increasingly severe. Shoghi Effendi’s secretary had commented on this the previous year in a letter to the struggling British Bahá’í community: It would seem as if all our tasks, including here at the World Centre, are becoming increasingly more of a challenge to us. As the time approaches for the ending of the various Plans, Six Year ones, Seven Year, Five Year, etc., the obstacles seem to become greater, and the friends are made to realise that very real, hard, often back-breaking effort and sacrifice is involved! ... He himself, having undertaken at such a disturbed time to raise at least the first story or arcade of the new part of the Báb’s Shrine, finds himself beset with worries, problems and complications which have not only doubled his work, but exhaust and harass him all the time. So at least, let the British friends know that when they struggle and feel hard beset, they are not struggling and worrying alone! Far from it! We must expect these things ... We must have no illusions about how much depends on us and our success or failure. All humanity is disturbed and suffering and confused; we cannot expect to not be disturbed and not to suffer − but we don’t have to be confused. On the contrary, confidence and assurance, hope and optimism are our prerogative. The successful carrying out of our various Plans is the greatest sign we can give or our faith and inner assurance, and the best way we can help our fellow-men out of their confusion and difficulties.[905]
Earl Redman (Shoghi Effendi through the Pilgrim's Eye: Volume 1 Building the Administrative Order, 1922-1952)
William Blum, the former State Department employee who became one of its most severe and encyclopedic critics, drew up a disturbing balance sheet of American interventions since the end of the Second World War, and there are numerous cases of overturning democratically elected governments. He also emphasized Washington’s meddling in elections, as it has not hesitated to invest considerable sums and to use very dubious tactics—from misinformation campaigns and economic destabilization efforts to clandestine cia operations—to swing so-called democratic elections in a direction favorable to its own interests. In one of his most recent books, entitled quite simply America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, he reaches the conclusion that the American administration, for which the question of democracy remains utterly secondary, aims above all at world domination. For the United States has shown itself to be hostile to any popular movement likely to contest its hegemony. It is in this vein that it has • endeavored to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected; • grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries; • attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders; • dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries; • attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries. Needless to say, such a performance inevitably calls into question the history of the spectacular blossoming of democracy. Numerous other specialists have corroborated Blum’s conclusions, often with detailed investigations bearing on individual cases of what Chomsky judiciously named “deterring democracy.
Gabriel Rockhill (Counter-History of the Present: Untimely Interrogations into Globalization, Technology, Democracy)