Lectures Of Life Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Lectures Of Life. Here they are! All 100 of them:

The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
George Washington Burnap (The Sphere and Duties of Woman: A Course of Lectures)
We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's about how to lead your life, ... If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced.
Swami Vivekananda (Vedanta Philosophy: Lectures by the Swami Vivekananda on Raja Yoga Also Pantanjali's Yoga Aphorisms, with Commentaries, and Glossary of Sanskrit Terms)
When we're connected to others, we become better people.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I've always believed that if you took one tenth the enrgy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you'd be surprised by how well things can work out.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
All my adult life I've felt drawn to ask long-married couples how they were able to stay together. All of them said the same thing: "We worked hard at it.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
To me, history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn't just part of our civic responsibility. To me, it's an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is." [The Title Always Comes Last; NEH 2003 Jefferson Lecturer interview profile]
David McCullough
I’ve never understood pity and self-pity as an emotion. We have a finite amount of time. Whether short or long, it doesn’t matter. Life is to be lived.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you'd be surprised by how well things can work out... Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won't make us happier.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
It's not about the cards you're dealt, but how you play the hand.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
I don't want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride. All you do is get to breathe and copulate and finally die. I don't want to go with the smooth skin and the calm brow. I hope I end up a blithering idiot cursing the sun - hallucinating, screaming, giving obscene and inane lectures on street corners and public parks. People will walk by and say, "Look at that drooling idiot. What a basket case." I will turn and say to them, "It is you who are the basket case. For every moment you hated your job, cursed your wife and sold yourself to a dream that you didn't even conceive. For the times your soul screamed yes and you said no. For all of that. For your self-torture, I see the glowing eyes of the sun! The air talks to me! I am at all times!" And maybe, the passers by will drop a coin into my cup.
Henry Rollins
The aim of science is to seek the simplest explanations of complex facts. We are apt to fall into the error of thinking that the facts are simple because simplicity is the goal of our quest. The guiding motto in the life of every natural philosopher should be, 'Seek simplicity and distrust it.
Alfred North Whitehead (The Concept of Nature: The Tarner Lectures Delivered in Trinity College, 11/1919)
It's a thrill to fulfill your own childhood dreams, but as you get older, you may find that enabling the dreams of others is even more fun.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
You can't do this to me.You were the one who lectured me about living.You were the one who said I had to get out and see what was right in front of me and make the most of it and not wish my time away and find my mountain because my mountain was waiting, and all that adds up to life.But then you leave.You can't just do that.
Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places)
Ray's voice echoes in my head from one of his many self-defense lectures. "It's the panic that's gonna kill you or get you seriously hurt, Annie.
E.L. James (Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades, #3))
Clean it up, hell. Do you know how many cameras just caught your stunt-jump from upstairs? My mom now thinks you’re on the drugs she suspects Kyrian sells. We’re screwed. My life is toast. I’m about to get lectured about working for drug dealers…again. My mom, bless her heart, is so goofy, she doesn’t even realize she works for bears. I’m so screwed. (Nick)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Night Embrace (Dark-Hunter, #2))
Everything, decided Francie after that first lecture, was vibrant with life and there was no death in chemistry. She was puzzled as to why learned people didn't adopt chemistry as a religion.
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
Writing is the great invention of the world.
Abraham Lincoln (Discoveries and Inventions: A Lecture by Abraham Lincoln Delivered in 1860)
It is easy to be disgruntled if you are denied rights and freedoms to which you feel entitled. But if you are not coherent, if you cannot put into words what it is that displeases you and why it is unfair and should change, then you are dismissed as an unreasonable whiner. You may be lectured about perseverance and patience, life as a test, the need to accept the higher wisdom of others.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations)
He always liked learning. Loved it, really. If he could have spent his whole life sitting in a lecture hall, taking notes, could have drifted from department to department, haunting different studies, soaking up language and history and art, maybe he would have felt full, happy.
V.E. Schwab (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue)
With every lecture, you’re forced to look again at every choice you’ve made over the lesson-by-lesson chain of your entire life. And after all these years, you see how little you have to work with, how limited your life and education have been. How scant was your courage and curiosity. Not to mention your expectations.
Chuck Palahniuk (Haunted)
In the hysterical technocracy of modern music, sorrow is sent to the back of the class where it sits, pissing its pants in mortal terror.
Nick Cave (The Secret Life of the Love Song and The Flesh Made Word: Two Lectures by Nick Cave (King Mob Spoken Word CDs))
The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and well-being.(Russian-American Jewish lecturer and activist, 1869-1940)
Emma Goldman
Christianity set itself the goal of fulfilling man’s unattainable desires, but for that very reason ignored his attainable desires. By promising man eternal life, it deprived him of temporal life, by teaching him to trust in God’s help it took away his trust in his own powers; by giving him faith in a better life in heaven, it destroyed his faith in a better life on earth and his striving to attain such a life. Christianity gave man what his imagination desires, but for that very reason failed to give him what he really and truly desires.
Ludwig Feuerbach (Lectures on the Essence of Religion)
Noise has one advantage. It drowns out words. And suddenly he realized that all his life he had done nothing but talk, write, lecture, concoct sentences, search for formulations and amend them, so in the end no words were precise, their meanings were obliterated, their content lost, they turned into trash, chaff dust, sand; prowling through his brain, tearing at his head. they were his insomnia, his illness. And what he yearned for at that moment, vaguely, but with all his might, was unbounded music, absolute sound, a pleasant and happy all-encompassing, over-poering, window-rattling din to engulf, once and for all, the pain, the futility, the vanity of words. Music was the negation of sentences, music was the anti-word!
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
Ah college years, those were the days. Pure freedom ... leaving home for the first time…the parties…” "What about the tutorials, the lectures, the large building with all the books called the ‘library’?” “Is that what those were?” Gerry blithely replied.
E.A. Bucchianeri (Brushstrokes of a Gadfly, (Gadfly Saga, #1))
I began my studies with eagerness. Before me I saw a new world opening in beauty and light, and I felt within me the capacity to know all things. In the wonderland of Mind I should be as free as another [with sight and hearing]. Its people, scenery, manners, joys, and tragedies should be living tangible interpreters of the real world. The lecture halls seemed filled with the spirit of the great and wise, and I thought the professors were the embodiment of wisdom... But I soon discovered that college was not quite the romantic lyceum I had imagined. Many of the dreams that had delighted my young inexperience became beautifully less and "faded into the light of common day." Gradually I began to find that there were disadvantages in going to college. The one I felt and still feel most is lack of time. I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I. We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner melodies of the spirit, which one hears only in leisure moments when the words of some loved poet touch a deep, sweet chord in the soul that until then had been silent. But in college there is no time to commune with one's thoughts. One goes to college to learn, it seems, not to think. When one enters the portals of learning, one leaves the dearest pleasures – solitude, books and imagination – outside with the whispering pines. I suppose I ought to find some comfort in the thought that I am laying up treasures for future enjoyment, but I am improvident enough to prefer present joy to hoarding riches against a rainy day.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life: With Her Letters (1887 1901) and a Supplementary Account of Her Education Including Passages from the Reports and Letters of Her Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan by John Albert Macy)
It's interesting, the secrets you decide to reveal at the end of your life.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
If we were to name the most powerful assumption of all, which leads one on and on in an attempt to understand life, it is that all things are made of atoms, and that everything that living things do can be understood in terms of the jigglings and wigglings of atoms.
Richard P. Feynman (The Feynman Lectures on Physics)
Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did not reason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creed there was no guess — no perhaps. They had a revelation from God. They knew the beginning of things. They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand and four years before Christ. They knew that in the eternity — back of that morning, he had done nothing. They knew that it took him six days to make the earth — all plants, all animals, all life, and all the globes that wheel in space. They knew exactly what he did each day and when he rested. They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death. At the same time they knew that God created man in his own image and was perfectly satisfied with his work... They knew all about the Flood -- knew that God, with the exception of eight, drowned all his children -- the old and young -- the bowed patriarch and the dimpled babe -- the young man and the merry maiden -- the loving mother and the laughing child -- because his mercy endureth forever. They knew too, that he drowned the beasts and birds -- everything that walked or crawled or flew -- because his loving kindness is over all his works. They knew that God, for the purpose of civilizing his children, had devoured some with earthquakes, destroyed some with storms of fire, killed some with his lightnings, millions with famine, with pestilence, and sacrificed countless thousands upon the fields of war. They knew that it was necessary to believe these things and to love God. They knew that there could be no salvation except by faith, and through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Then I asked myself the question: Is there a supernatural power -- an arbitrary mind -- an enthroned God -- a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world -- to which all causes bow? I do not deny. I do not know - but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme - that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken — that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer - no power that worship can persuade or change — no power that cares for man. Is there a God? I do not know. Is man immortal? I do not know. One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be. We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know. We can tell the truth, and we can enjoy the blessed freedom that the brave have won. We can destroy the monsters of superstition, the hissing snakes of ignorance and fear. We can drive from our minds the frightful things that tear and wound with beak and fang. We can civilize our fellow-men. We can fill our lives with generous deeds, with loving words, with art and song, and all the ecstasies of love. We can flood our years with sunshine — with the divine climate of kindness, and we can drain to the last drop the golden cup of joy.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol 1: Lectures)
Beauty and art, no doubt, pervade all business of life like a kindly genius, and form the bright adornment of all our surroundings, both mental and material, soothing the sadness of our condition and the embarrassments of real life, killing time in entertaining fashion, and where there’s nothing to be achieved, occupying the place of what is vicious, better, at any rate, than vice.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics)
Question: how can one manage not to lose time? Answer: experience it at its full length. Means: spend days in the dentist's waiting room on an uncomfortable chair; live on one's balcony on a Sunday afternoon; listen to lectures in a language that one does not understand, choose the most roundabout and least convenient routes on the railway (and, naturally, travel standing up); queue at the box-office for theatres and so on and not take one's seat; etc.
Albert Camus (The Plague)
What is the purpose of writing music? One is, of course, not dealing with purposes but dealing with sounds. Or the answer must take the form of a paradox: a purposeful purposeless or a purposeless play. This play, however, is an affirmation of life--not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and one’s desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord.
John Cage (Silence: Lectures and Writings)
You don't notice the dead leaving when they really choose to leave you. You're not meant to. At most you feel them as a whisper or the wave of a whisper undulating down. I would compare it to a woman in the back of a lecture hall or theater whom no one notices until she slips out.Then only those near the door themselves, like Grandma Lynn, notice; to the rest it is like an unexplained breeze in a closed room. Grandma Lynn died several years later, but I have yet to see her here. I imagine her tying it on in her heaven, drinking mint juleps with Tennessee Williams and Dean Martin. She'll be here in her own sweet time, I'm sure. If I'm to be honest with you, I still sneak away to watch my family sometimes. I can't help it, and sometimes they still think of me. They can't help it.... It was a suprise to everyone when Lindsey found out she was pregnant...My father dreamed that one day he might teach another child to love ships in bottles. He knew there would be both sadness and joy in it; that it would always hold an echo of me. I would like to tell you that it is beautiful here, that I am, and you will one day be, forever safe. But this heaven is not about safety just as, in its graciousness, it isn't about gritty reality. We have fun. We do things that leave humans stumped and grateful, like Buckley's garden coming up one year, all of its crazy jumble of plants blooming all at once. I did that for my mother who, having stayed, found herself facing the yard again. Marvel was what she did at all the flowers and herbs and budding weeds. Marveling was what she mostly did after she came back- at the twists life took. And my parents gave my leftover possessions to the Goodwill, along with Grandma Lynn's things. They kept sharing when they felt me. Being together, thinking and talking about the dead, became a perfectly normal part of their life. And I listened to my brother, Buckley, as he beat the drums. Ray became Dr. Singh... And he had more and more moments that he chose not to disbelieve. Even if surrounding him were the serious surgeons and scientists who ruled over a world of black and white, he maintained this possibility: that the ushering strangers that sometimes appeared to the dying were not the results of strokes, that he had called Ruth by my name, and that he had, indeed, made love to me. If he ever doubted, he called Ruth. Ruth, who graduated from a closet to a closet-sized studio on the Lower East Side. Ruth, who was still trying to find a way to write down whom she saw and what she had experienced. Ruth, who wanted everyone to believe what she knew: that the dead truly talk to us, that in the air between the living, spirits bob and weave and laugh with us. They are the oxygen we breathe. Now I am in the place I call this wide wide Heaven because it includes all my simplest desires but also the most humble and grand. The word my grandfather uses is comfort. So there are cakes and pillows and colors galore, but underneath this more obvious patchwork quilt are places like a quiet room where you can go and hold someone's hand and not have to say anything. Give no story. Make no claim. Where you can live at the edge of your skin for as long as you wish. This wide wide Heaven is about flathead nails and the soft down of new leaves, wide roller coaster rides and escaped marbles that fall then hang then take you somewhere you could never have imagined in your small-heaven dreams.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
somehow, with the passage of time, and the deadlines that life imposes, surrendering became the right thing to do
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture - Lessons In Living)
It would be better to be deceived a hundred times than to live a life of suspicion.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Lectures to My Students)
The woman in charge of costuming assigned us our outfits and gave us a lecture on keeping things clean. She held up a calendar and said, "Ladies, you know what this is. Use it. I have scraped enough blood out from the crotches of elf knickers to last me the rest of my life. And don't tell me, 'I don't wear underpants, I'm a dancer.' You're not a dancer. If you were a real dancer you wouldn't be here. You're an elf and you're going to wear panties like an elf.
David Sedaris (SantaLand Diaries)
We must never forget our teachers, our lecturers and our mentors. In their individual capacities have contributed to our academic, professional and personal development.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
I was on a mission. I had to learn to comfort myself, to see what others saw in me and believe it. I needed to discover what the hell made me happy other than being in love. Mission impossible. When did figuring out what makes you happy become work? How had I let myself get to this point, where I had to learn me..? It was embarrassing. In my college psychology class, I had studied theories of adult development and learned that our twenties are for experimenting, exploring different jobs, and discovering what fulfills us. My professor warned against graduate school, asserting, "You're not fully formed yet. You don't know if it's what you really want to do with your life because you haven't tried enough things." Oh, no, not me.." And if you rush into something you're unsure about, you might awake midlife with a crisis on your hands," he had lectured it. Hi. Try waking up a whole lot sooner with a pre-thirty predicament worm dangling from your early bird mouth. "Well to begin," Phone Therapist responded, "you have to learn to take care of yourself. To nurture and comfort that little girl inside you, to realize you are quite capable of relying on yourself. I want you to try to remember what brought you comfort when you were younger." Bowls of cereal after school, coated in a pool of orange-blossom honey. Dragging my finger along the edge of a plate of mashed potatoes. I knew I should have thought "tea" or "bath," but I didn't. Did she want me to answer aloud? "Grilled cheese?" I said hesitantly. "Okay, good. What else?" I thought of marionette shows where I'd held my mother's hand and looked at her after a funny part to see if she was delighted, of brisket sandwiches with ketchup, like my dad ordered. Sliding barn doors, baskets of brown eggs, steamed windows, doubled socks, cupcake paper, and rolled sweater collars. Cookouts where the fathers handled the meat, licking wobbly batter off wire beaters, Christmas ornaments in their boxes, peanut butter on apple slices, the sounds and light beneath an overturned canoe, the pine needle path to the ocean near my mother's house, the crunch of snow beneath my red winter boots, bedtime stories. "My parents," I said. Damn. I felt like she made me say the secret word and just won extra points on the Psychology Game Network. It always comes down to our parents in therapy.
Stephanie Klein (Straight Up and Dirty)
Choice, and all its attendant energy, is a characteristic of youth. It is before one chooses that one feels desire and longing without fulfillment, which gives an edge to any artistic endeavor. Galway Kinnell recently said in an interview that a young poet has so many choices but an old poet must simply endure his chosen life.
Mary Ruefle (Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures)
We must never forget our teachers and our lecturers. In their individual capacities have contributed to our academic, professional and personal development.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
To write a poem you must have a streak of arrogance-- not in real life I hope. In real life try to be nice. It will save you a hell of a lot of trouble and give you more time to write.
Richard Hugo (The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing)
When we support or vote for candidates outside the two major political parties we are immediately lectured about wasting our vote or making it easier for the less desirable of the two major candidates to claim victory. These lies are repeated every election and they must be ignored. You never waste your vote if you vote your conscience.
Glenn Beck (Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine)
It is often said, inside the Church and out of it, that there is something grotesque about lectures on the sexual life when delivered by those who have shunned it. Given the way that the Church forbids women to preach, this point is usually made about men. But given how much this Church allows the fanatical Mother Teresa to preach, it might be added that the call to go forth and multiply, and to take no thought for the morrow, sounds grotesque when uttered by an elderly virgin whose chief claim to reverence is that she ministers to the inevitable losers in this very lottery.
Christopher Hitchens (The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice)
Somehow, with the passage of time, and the deadlines that life imposes, surrendering became the right thing to do.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
In 2014, my friend Herbie Hancock was invited to give the prestigious Norton Lectures at Harvard University, where he shared great insights on the topics of mentorship and changing poison into medicine. Herbie related lessons from his jazz mentor, Miles Davis, who taught him that “a great mentor can provide a path to finding your own true answers,” and to always “reach up while reaching down; grow while helping others.
Tina Turner (Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good)
And while his mother's lecture had gone over his seven-year-old head, Pasquale saw now what she meant--how much easier life would be if our intentions and our desires could always be aligned.
Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins)
Whereas what we need is to fumble around in the darkness, because that's where our lives (not necessarily all of the time, but at least some of the time, and particularly when life gets problematical for us) takes place.
John Cage (Silence: Lectures and Writings)
No matter their age or station in life, Billy can't help but regard his fellow Americans as children. They are bold and proud and certain in the way of clever children blessed with too much self-esteem, and no amount of lecturing will enlighten them as to the state of pure sin toward which war inclines. He pities them, scorns them, loves them, hates them, these children. These boys and girls. These toddlers, these infants. Americans are children who must go somewhere else to grow up, and sometimes die.
Ben Fountain (Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk)
The ability to accessorize is what elevates us from lower-life forms," I said in my lecture voice, choosing a pair of diamond-studded drops for my ear. "Like men.
P.C. Cast (Divine By Mistake (Partholon, #1))
The child is brought up to know its social duties by means of a system of love-rewards and punishments, and in this way it is taught that its security in life depends on its parents (and, subsequently, other people) loving it and being able to believe in its love for them.
Sigmund Freud (New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis)
...I always took the rearmost seat in the classroom - it gave me a good view of things. And I must confess, the location taught me more about human nature and justice than could be learned from the professors' lectures.
Rohinton Mistry (A Fine Balance)
His favourite entertainments were intellectual rather than social; he went to public lectures and visited the observatory, the theatre and the opera. ‘Tragedy excites the soul,’ he later told one of his secretaries, ‘lifts the heart, can and ought to create heroes.’24
Andrew Roberts (Napoleon: A Life)
76. David Hume – Treatise on Human Nature; Essays Moral and Political; An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 77. Jean-Jacques Rousseau – On the Origin of Inequality; On the Political Economy; Emile – or, On Education, The Social Contract 78. Laurence Sterne – Tristram Shandy; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy 79. Adam Smith – The Theory of Moral Sentiments; The Wealth of Nations 80. Immanuel Kant – Critique of Pure Reason; Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals; Critique of Practical Reason; The Science of Right; Critique of Judgment; Perpetual Peace 81. Edward Gibbon – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Autobiography 82. James Boswell – Journal; Life of Samuel Johnson, Ll.D. 83. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier – Traité Élémentaire de Chimie (Elements of Chemistry) 84. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison – Federalist Papers 85. Jeremy Bentham – Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation; Theory of Fictions 86. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – Faust; Poetry and Truth 87. Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier – Analytical Theory of Heat 88. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – Phenomenology of Spirit; Philosophy of Right; Lectures on the Philosophy of History 89. William Wordsworth – Poems 90. Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Poems; Biographia Literaria 91. Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice; Emma 92. Carl von Clausewitz – On War 93. Stendhal – The Red and the Black; The Charterhouse of Parma; On Love 94. Lord Byron – Don Juan 95. Arthur Schopenhauer – Studies in Pessimism 96. Michael Faraday – Chemical History of a Candle; Experimental Researches in Electricity 97. Charles Lyell – Principles of Geology 98. Auguste Comte – The Positive Philosophy 99. Honoré de Balzac – Père Goriot; Eugenie Grandet 100. Ralph Waldo Emerson – Representative Men; Essays; Journal 101. Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter 102. Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America 103. John Stuart Mill – A System of Logic; On Liberty; Representative Government; Utilitarianism; The Subjection of Women; Autobiography 104. Charles Darwin – The Origin of Species; The Descent of Man; Autobiography 105. Charles Dickens – Pickwick Papers; David Copperfield; Hard Times 106. Claude Bernard – Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine 107. Henry David Thoreau – Civil Disobedience; Walden 108. Karl Marx – Capital; Communist Manifesto 109. George Eliot – Adam Bede; Middlemarch 110. Herman Melville – Moby-Dick; Billy Budd 111. Fyodor Dostoevsky – Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Brothers Karamazov 112. Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary; Three Stories 113. Henrik Ibsen – Plays 114. Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace; Anna Karenina; What is Art?; Twenty-Three Tales 115. Mark Twain – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Mysterious Stranger 116. William James – The Principles of Psychology; The Varieties of Religious Experience; Pragmatism; Essays in Radical Empiricism 117. Henry James – The American; The Ambassadors 118. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; The Genealogy of Morals;The Will to Power 119. Jules Henri Poincaré – Science and Hypothesis; Science and Method 120. Sigmund Freud – The Interpretation of Dreams; Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis; Civilization and Its Discontents; New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis 121. George Bernard Shaw – Plays and Prefaces
Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
The great ones do not set up offices, charge fees, give lectures, or write books. Wisdom is silent, and the most effective propaganda for truth is the force of personal example. The great ones attract disciples, lesser figures whose mission is to preach and to teach. These are gospelers who, unequal to the highest task, spend their lives in converting others. The great ones are indifferent, in the profoundest sense. They don’t ask you to believe: they electrify you by their behavior. They are the awakeners. What you do with your petty life is of no concern to them. What you do with your life is only of concern to you, they seem to say. In short, their only purpose here on earth is to inspire. And what more can one ask of a human being than that?
Henry Miller (Sexus (The Rosy Crucifixion, #1))
Henry's recollections of the past, in contrast to Proust, are done while in movement. He may remember his first wife while making love to a whore, or he may remember his very first love while walking the streets, traveling to see a friend; and life does not stop while he remembers. Analysis in movement. No static vivisection. Henry's daily and continuous flow of life, his sexual activity, his talks with everyone, his cafe life, his conversations with people in the street, which I once considered an interruption to writing, I now believe to be a quality which distinguishes him from other writers. He never writes in cold blood: he is always writing in white heat. It is what I do with the journal, carrying it everywhere, writing on cafe tables while waiting for a friend, on the train, on the bus, in waiting rooms at the station, while my hair is washed, at the Sorbonne when the lectures get tedious, on journeys, trips, almost while people are talking. It is while cooking, gardening, walking, or love-making that I remember my childhood, and not while reading Freud's 'Preface to a Little Girl's Journal.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934)
Life is more than a job; jobs are more than a paycheck; and a country is more than its wealth. Education is more than the acquisition of marketable skills, and you are more than your ability to contribute to your employer’s bottom line or the nation’s GDP, no matter what the rhetoric of politicians or executives would have you think. To ask what college is for is to ask what life is for, what society is for—what people are for. Do students ever hear this? What they hear is a constant drumbeat, in the public discourse, that seeks to march them in the opposite direction. When policy makers talk about higher education, from the president all the way down, they talk exclusively in terms of math and science. Journalists and pundits—some of whom were humanities majors and none of whom are nurses or engineers—never tire of lecturing the young about the necessity of thinking prudently when choosing a course of study, the naïveté of wanting to learn things just because you’re curious about them.
William Deresiewicz (Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life)
This century will be called Darwin's century. He was one of the greatest men who ever touched this globe. He has explained more of the phenomena of life than all of the religious teachers. Write the name of Charles Darwin on the one hand and the name of every theologian who ever lived on the other, and from that name has come more light to the world than from all of those. His doctrine of evolution, his doctrine of the survival of the fittest, his doctrine of the origin of species, has removed in every thinking mind the last vestige of orthodox Christianity. He has not only stated, but he has demonstrated, that the inspired writer knew nothing of this world, nothing of the origin of man, nothing of geology, nothing of astronomy, nothing of nature; that the Bible is a book written by ignorance--at the instigation of fear. Think of the men who replied to him. Only a few years ago there was no person too ignorant to successfully answer Charles Darwin, and the more ignorant he was the more cheerfully he undertook the task. He was held up to the ridicule, the scorn and contempt of the Christian world, and yet when he died, England was proud to put his dust with that of her noblest and her grandest. Charles Darwin conquered the intellectual world, and his doctrines are now accepted facts. His light has broken in on some of the clergy, and the greatest man who to-day occupies the pulpit of one of the orthodox churches, Henry Ward Beecher, is a believer in the theories of Charles Darwin--a man of more genius than all the clergy of that entire church put together. ...The church teaches that man was created perfect, and that for six thousand years he has degenerated. Darwin demonstrated the falsity of this dogma. He shows that man has for thousands of ages steadily advanced; that the Garden of Eden is an ignorant myth; that the doctrine of original sin has no foundation in fact; that the atonement is an absurdity; that the serpent did not tempt, and that man did not 'fall.' Charles Darwin destroyed the foundation of orthodox Christianity. There is nothing left but faith in what we know could not and did not happen. Religion and science are enemies. One is a superstition; the other is a fact. One rests upon the false, the other upon the true. One is the result of fear and faith, the other of investigation and reason.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Lectures of Col. R.G. Ingersoll: Including His Letters On the Chinese God--Is Suicide a Sin?--The Right to One's Life--Etc. Etc. Etc, Volume 2)
...The life of the parents is the only thing that makes good children. Parents should be very patient and ‘saintlike’ to their children. They should truly love their children. And the children will share this love! For the bad attitude of the children, says father Porphyrios, the ones who are usually responsible for it are their parents themselves. The parents don’t help their children by lecturing them and repeating to them ‘advices’, or by making them obeying strict rules in order to impose discipline. If the parents do not become ‘saints’ and truly love their children and if they don’t struggle for it, then they make a huge mistake. With their wrong and/or negative attitude the parents convey to their children their negative feelings. Then their children become reactive and insecure not only to their home, but to the society as well...
Elder Porphyrios
That human life is but a first installment of the serial soul and that one's individual secret is not lost in the process of earthly dissolution, becomes something more than an optimistic conjecture, and even more than a matter of religious faith, when we remember that only commonsense rules immortality out.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Literature)
As Mary delivered what was to be her last lecture about the Galapagos Islands, she would be stopped mid-sentence for five seconds by a doubt which, if expressed in words, might have come out something like this: "Maybe I'm just a crazy lady who had wandered off the street and into this classroom and started explaining the mysteries of life to these people. And they believe me, although I am utterly mistaken about simply everything." She had to wonder, too, about all the supposedly great teachers of the past, who, although their brains were healthy, had turned out to be as wrong as Roy about what was really going on.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Galápagos)
Many people discover relatively soon in life that the realm of their inferior function is where they are emotional, touchy and unadapted, and they therefore acquire the habit of covering up this part of their personality with a surrogate pseudo-reaction. For instance, a thinking type often cannot express his feelings normally and in the appropriate manner at the right time. It can happen that when he hears that the husband of a friend has died he cries, but when he meets the widow not a word of pity will come out. They not only look very cold, but they really do not feel anything! They had all the feeling before, when at home, but now in the appropriate situation they cannot pull it out. Thinking types are very often looked on by other people as having no feeling; this is absolutely not true. It is not that they have no feeling, but that they cannot express it at the appropriate moment. They have the feeling somehow and somewhere, but not just when they ought to produce it.
Marie-Louise von Franz (Lectures on Jung's Typology)
Now we, if not in the spirit, have been caught up to see our earth, our mother, Gaia Mater, set like a jewel in space. We have no excuse now for supposing her riches inexhaustible nor the area we have to live on limitless because unbounded. We are the children of that great blue white jewel. Through our mother we are part of the solar system and part through that of the whole universe. In the blazing poetry of the fact we are children of the stars.
William Golding
The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle or worse. If the laborer gets no more than the wages which his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself. If you would get money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go down perpendicularly. Those services which the community will most readily pay for it is most disagreeable to render. You are paid for being something less than a man. The State does not commonly reward a genius any more wisely. Even the poet laureate would rather not have to celebrate the accidents of royalty. He must be bribed with a pipe of wine; and perhaps another poet is called away from his muse to gauge that very pipe.
Henry David Thoreau (Life Without Principle)
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced.” ― Swami Vivekananda, Vedanta Philosophy: Lectures by the Swami Vivekananda on Raja Yoga Also Pantanjali's Yoga Aphorisms, with Commentaries, and Glossary of Sa
Swami Vivekananda (The Complete Works Of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 1)
1. Bangladesh.... In 1971 ... Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan.... This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger’s undisclosed reason for the ‘tilt’ was the supposed but never materialised ‘brokerage’ offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China.... Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was ‘a basket case’ before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere. 2. Chile.... Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA’s plan to kidnap and murder General René Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces ... who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms ... who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger’s urging and with American financing, just between Allende’s election and his confirmation.... This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him ‘Doctor’ is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion—‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible’—suggests he may have been having the best of times.... 3. Cyprus.... Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger’s, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt ... went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. ‘Spare me the civics lecture,’ replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions. 4. Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger ... for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created.... The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred. 5. East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100,000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States.... Monroe Leigh ... pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: ‘The Israelis when they go into Lebanon—when was the last time we protested that?’ A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth. It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.
Christopher Hitchens
In marriage we have a duty to God, our spuses, the world, and future generations. But we are sinners. A husband and wife need to acknowledge that when the Bible speaks of fools, it is not just speaking about other people, but about them as well. Even the wisest among us has moments of folly. So God gives us spouses to serve as wise friends by praying with and for us, attending church with us, speaking truth, and providing Scripture along with good books and online classes, lectures, and sermons to nourish fruitfulness in our lives.
Mark Driscoll (Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, & Life Together)
Hence a young man is not a proper hearer of lectures on political science; for he is inexperienced in the actions that occur in life, but its discussions start from these and are about these; and, further, since he tends to follow his passions, his study will be vain and unprofitable, because the end aimed at is not knowledge but action. And it makes no difference whether he is young in years or youthful in character; the defect does not depend on time, but on his living, and pursuing each successive object, as passion directs. For to such persons, as to the incontinent, knowledge brings no profit; but to those who desire and act in accordance with a rational principle knowledge about such matters will be of great benefit.
Aristotle (The Nicomachean Ethics)
When I was in school, I wanted to be W. Eugene Smith. He was a legendary staffer at Life, a consummate photojournalist, and an architect of the photo essay. He was also kinda crazy. That was obvious when he came to lecture at Syracuse University and put a glass of milk and a glass of vodka on the lectern. Both were gone at the end of the talk. He was taking questions and I was in the front row, hanging on every word. Mr. Smith, is the only good light available light?” came the question. He leaned into the microphone. “Yes,” he baritoned, and paused. A shudder ran through all of us. That was it! No more flash! God’s light or nothing! But then he leaned back into the mic, “By that, I mean, any &*%%@$ light that’s available.” Point taken.
Joe McNally (The Moment It Clicks: Photography Secrets from One of the World's Top Shooters)
What do you have to say for yourself, boy?" Cgerise "Sorry, Ma, I'm a sexy demon magnet?" Nick "Cherise!" Bubba "Don't you even take that tone with me, Mr. Triple-Threat-I-don't-have-to-listen-to-anyone-because-I'm-the-size-of-a-tabk. You're in the doghouse, buster. You might as well pack a bag 'cause you're going to be in there so long your name's going to be engraved on the mailbox." Cherise "Ah, what'd I do, cher?" Bubba "You dragged my baby into danger, and you-- Are you one of them?" Cherise "I'm going with whatever answer doesn't get me swatted with that bat." Savitar "Cherise, calm down. What are you doing here?" Bubba "What do you think? I'm protecting my boys. Both of you ... Because Mark values his own life and inparticular his male body parts, he called me after he got off the phone with you to tell me what the two of you were doing. You didn't honestly believe that I've been ignorant of what you and Mark do at night all these years? Did you?" Cherise "Um, yeah." Bubba "Well then you're a fool,Michael Burdette. And I'm not." Cherise
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Illusion (Chronicles of Nick, #5))
In our twenties we have conflicts. We think everything is either-or, black or white: we are caught between them and we lose all our energy in the conflicts. My answer, later on in maturity, was to do them all. Not to exclude any, not to make a choice. I wanted to be everything. And I took everything in, and the more you take in, the more strength you find waiting to accomplish things and to expand your life, instead of the other (which is what we have been taught to do) which is to look for structure and to fear change, above all to fear change. Now I didn't fear change.
Anaïs Nin (A Woman Speaks: The Lectures, Seminars and Interviews of Anaïs Nin)
The belief that science proceeds from observation to theory is still so widely and so firmly held that my denial of it is often met with incredulity. I have even been suspected of being insincere- of denying what nobody in his senses would doubt. But in fact the belief that we can start with pure observation alone, without anything in the nature of a theory is absurd; as may be illustrated by the story of the man who dedicated his life to natural science, wrote down everything he could observe, and bequeathed his priceless collection of observations to the Royal Society to be used as evidence. This story should show us that though beetles may profitably be collected, observations may not. Twenty-five years ago I tried to bring home the same point to a group of physics students in Vienna by beginning a lecture with the following instructions : 'Take pencil and paper; carefully observe, and write down what you have observed!' They asked, of course, what I wanted them to observe. Clearly the instruction, 'Observe!' is absurd. (It is not even idiomatic, unless the object of the transitive verb can be taken as understood.) Observation is always selective. It needs a chosen object, a definite task, an interest, a point of view, a problem. And its description presupposes a descriptive language, with property words; it presupposes similarity and classification, which in their turn presuppose interests, points of view, and problems.
Karl Popper (Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (Routledge Classics))
It is said that once upon a time St. Kevin was kneeling with his arms stretched out in the form of a cross in Glendalough. . . As Kevin knelt and prayed, a blackbird mistook his outstretched hand for some kind of roost and swooped down upon it, laid a clutch of eggs in it and proceeded to nest in it as if it were the branch of a tree. Then, overcome with pity and constrained by his faith to love all creatures great and small, Kevin stayed immobile for hours and days and nights and weeks, holding out his hand until the eggs hatched and the fledging grew wings, true to life if subversive of common sense, at the intersection of natural process and the glimpsed ideal, at one and the same time a signpost and a reminder. Manifesting that order of poetry where we can at last grow up to that which we stored up as we grew.
Seamus Heaney (Crediting Poetry: The Nobel Lecture)
The real difference is this: the Christian says that he has knowledge; the Agnostic admits that he has none; and yet the Christian accuses the Agnostic of arrogance, and asks him how he has the impudence to admit the limitations of his mind. To the Agnostic every fact is a torch, and by this light, and this light only, he walks. The Agnostic knows that the testimony of man is not sufficient to establish what is known as the miraculous. We would not believe to-day the testimony of millions to the effect that the dead had been raised. The church itself would be the first to attack such testimony. If we cannot believe those whom we know, why should we believe witnesses who have been dead thousands of years, and about whom we know nothing? The Agnostic takes the ground that human experience is the basis of morality. Consequently, it is of no importance who wrote the gospels, or who vouched or vouches for the genuineness of the miracles. In his scheme of life these things are utterly unimportant. He is satisfied that “the miraculous” is the impossible. He knows that the witnesses were wholly incapable of examining the questions involved, that credulity had possession of their minds, that 'the miraculous' was expected, that it was their daily food.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol 1: Lectures)
If freedom, personal responsibility, self-initiative, honesty, integrity, and concern for others rank high in your system of values, and if they represent characteristics you would like to see in your children, then you will want to be a trustful parent. None of these can be taught by lecturing, coercion, or coaxing. They are acquired or lost through daily life experiences that reinforce or suppress them. You can help your children build these values by living them yourself and applying them in your relationship with your children. Trust promotes trustworthiness. Self-initiative and all of the traits that depend on self-initiative can develop only under conditions of freedom.
Peter O. Gray (Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life)
The history of Immanuel Kant's life is difficult to portray, for he had neither life nor history. He led a mechanical, regular, almost abstract bachelor existence in a little retired street of Königsberg, an old town on the north-eastern frontier of Germany. I do not believe that the great clock of the cathedral performed in a more passionless and methodical manner its daily routine than did its townsman, Immanuel Kant. Rising in the morning, coffee-drinking, writing, reading lectures, dining, walking, everything had its appointed time, and the neighbors knew that it was exactly half-past three o'clock when Kant stepped forth from his house in his grey, tight-fitting coat, with his Spanish cane in his hand, and betook himself to the little linden avenue called after him to this day the "Philosopher's Walk." Summer and winter he walked up and down it eight times, and when the weather was dull or heavy clouds prognosticated rain, the townspeople beheld his servant, the old Lampe, trudging anxiously behind Kant with a big umbrella under his arm, like an image of Providence. What a strange contrast did this man's outward life present to his destructive, world-annihilating thoughts! In sooth, had the citizens of Königsberg had the least presentiment of the full significance of his ideas, they would have felt far more awful dread at the presence of this man than at the sight of an executioner, who can but kill the body. But the worthy folk saw in him nothing more than a Professor of Philosophy, and as he passed at his customary hour, they greeted him in a friendly manner and set their watches by him.
Heinrich Heine
You have become regular speech-goers, and as for action, you merely listen to accounts of it; if something is to be done in the future you estimate the possibilities by hearing a good speech on the subject, and as for the past you rely not so much on the facts which you have seen with your own eyes as on what you have heard about them in some clever piece of verbal criticism. Any novelty in an argument deceives you at once, but when the argument is tried and proved you become unwilling to follow it; you look with suspicion on what is normal and are the slaves of every paradox that comes your way. The chief wish of each one of you is to be able to make a speech himself, and, if you cannot do that, the next best thing is to compete with those who can make this sort of speech by not looking as though you were at all out of your depth while you listen to the views put forward, by applauding a good point even before it is made, and by being as quick at seeing how an argument is going to be developed as you are slow at understanding what in the end it will lead to. What you are looking for all the time is something that is, I should say, outside the range of ordinary experience, and yet you cannot even think straight about the facts of life that are before you. You are simply victims of your own pleasure in listening, and are more like an audience sitting at the feet of a professional lecturer than a parliament discussing matters of state.
Thucydides (The History of the Peloponnesian War)
Three things make people want to change. One is that they hurt sufficiently. They have beat their heads against the same wall so long that they decide they have had enough. They have invested in the same slot machines without a pay-off for so long that they finally are willing either to stop playing, or to move on to others. Their migraines hurt, their ulcers bleed. They are alcoholic. They have hit the bottom. They beg for relief. They want to change. Another thing that makes people want to change is a slow type of despair called ennui, or boredom. This is what the person has who goes through life saying, "So what?" until he finally asks the ultimate big "So What?" He is ready to change. A third thing that makes people want to change is the sudden discovery that they can. This has been an observable effect of Transactional Analysis. Many people who have shown no particular desire to change have been exposed to Transactional Analysis through lectures or by hearing about it from someone else. This knowledge has produced an excitement about new possibilities, which has led to their further inquiry and a growing desire to change. There is also the type of patient who, although suffering from disabling symptoms, still does not really want to change. His treatment contract reads, "I'll promise to let you help me if I don't have to get well." This negative attitude changes, however, as the patient begins to see that there is indeed another way to live. A working knowledge of P-A-C makes it possible for the Adult to explore new and exciting frontiers of life, a desire which has been there all along but has been buried under the burden of the NOT OK.
Thomas A. Harris (I'm OK - You're OK)
I remember a cartoon depicting a chimney sweep falling from the roof of a tall building and noticing on the way that a signboard had one word spelled wrong, and wondering in his headlong flight why nobody had thought of correcting it. In a sense, we all are crashing to our death from the top story of our birth to the flat stones of the churchyard and wondering with an immortal Alice in Wonderland at the patterns of the passing wall. This capacity to wonder at trifles—no matter the imminent peril—these asides of the spirit, these footnotes in the volume of life are the highest forms of consciousness, and it is in this childishly speculative state of mind, so different from common sense and its logic, that we know the world to be good.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Literature)
Love of God thus becomes the dominant passion of life; like every other worth-while love, it demands and inspires sacrifice. But love of God and man, as an ideal, has lately been replaced by the new ideal of tolerance which inspires no sacrifice. Why should any human being in the world be merely tolerated? What man has ever made a sacrifice in the name of tolerance? It leads men, instead, to express their own egotism in a book or a lecture that patronizes the downtrodden group. One of the cruelest things that can happen to a human being is to be tolerated. Never once did Our Lord say, “Tolerate your enemies!” But He did say, “Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you” (Matt. 5:44). Such love can be achieved only if we deliberately curb our fallen nature’s animosities.
Fulton J. Sheen (Peace of Soul: Timeless Wisdom on Finding Serenity and Joy by the Century's Most Acclaimed Catholic Bishop)
Carol would not be a bad one to [settle down] with. She's pretty and bright, and maybe this is what love is. She's good company: her interests broaden almost every day. She reads three books to my one, and I read a lot. We talk far into the night. She still doesn't understand the first edition game: Hemingway, she says, reads just as well in a two-bit paperback as he does in a $500 first printing. I can still hear myself lecturing her the first time she said that. Only a fool would read a first edition. Simply having such a book makes life in general and Hemingway in particular go better when you do break out the reading copies. I listened to myself and thought, This woman must think I'm a government-inspected horse's ass. Then I showed her my Faulkners, one with a signature, and I saw her shiver with an almost sexual pleasure as she touched the paper where he signed. Faulkner was her most recent god[.]
John Dunning (Booked to Die (Cliff Janeway, #1))
The problems on campus life today are not about free speech. They are about how the students have absolutely nothing to do with their lives but sit and listen to lectures, find the best parties to attend, and otherwise discover first-world problems to stew about and protest. That's the root of the problem. This is not a commercial environment where people are incentivized to find value in each other. Campuses have become completely artificial 4-year holding tanks for infantilized kids with zero experience in actual life in which people find ways to get along. These students are not serving each other in a market exchange, and very few have worked at day in their lives, so their default is to find some offense and protest. It's all they've been taught to do and all they know how to do. Idle hands and parents' money = trouble.
Jeffrey Tucker
So here is my profound thought for the day: This is the first time I have met someone who seeks out people and who sees beyond. That may seem trivial but I think it is profound all the same. We never look beyond our assumptions and, what's worse, we have given up trying to meet others; we just meet ourselves. We don't recognize each other because other people have become our permanent mirrors. If we actually realized this, if we were to become aware of the fact that we are only ever looking at ourselves in the other person, that we are alone in the wilderness, we would go crazy. When my mother offers macaroons from Chez Laduree to Madame de Broglie, she is telling herself her own life story and just nibbling at her own flavor; when Papa drinks his coffee and reads his paper, he is contemplating his own reflection in the mirror, as if practicing the Coue method or something; when Colombe talks about Marian's lectures, she is ranting about her own reflection; and when people walk by the concierge, all they see is a void, because she is not from their world. As for me, I implore fate to give me the chance to see beyond myself and truly meet someone.
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
Prayer before Birth I am not yet born; O hear me. Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the club-footed ghoul come near me. I am not yet born, console me. I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me, with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me, on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me. I am not yet born; provide me With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light in the back of my mind to guide me. I am not yet born; forgive me For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me, my treason engendered by traitors beyond me, my life when they murder by means of my hands, my death when they live me. I am not yet born; rehearse me In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white waves call me to folly and the desert calls me to doom and the beggar refuses my gift and my children curse me. I am not yet born; O hear me, Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God come near me. I am not yet born; O fill me With strength against those who would freeze my humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton, would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with one face, a thing, and against all those who would dissipate my entirety, would blow me like thistledown hither and thither or hither and thither like water held in the hands would spill me. Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me. Otherwise kill me.
Louis MacNeice
...I have read but little of Madame Glyn. I did not know that things like "It" were going on. I have misspent my days. When I think of all those hours I flung away in reading William James and Santayana, when I might have been reading of life, throbbing, beating, perfumed life, I practically break down. Where, I ask you, have I been, that no true word of Madame Glyn's literary feats has come to me? But even those far, far better informed than I must work a bit over the opening sentence of Madame Glyn's foreword to her novel" "This is not," the says, drawing her emeralds warmly about her, "the story of the moving picture entitled It, but a full character study of the story It, which the people in the picture read and discuss." I could go mad, in a nice way, straining to figure that out. ...Well it turns out that Ava and John meet, and he begins promptly to "vibrate with passion." ... ...It goes on for nearly three hundred pages, with both of them vibrating away like steam launches." -Review of the book, It, by Elinor Glyn. Review title: Madame Glyn Lectures on "It," with Illustrations; November 26, 1927.
Dorothy Parker (Constant Reader: 2)
The critic said that once a year he read Kim; and he read Kim, it was plain, at whim: not to teach, not to criticize, just for love—he read it, as Kipling wrote it, just because he liked to, wanted to, couldn’t help himself. To him it wasn’t a means to a lecture or article, it was an end; he read it not for anything he could get out of it, but for itself. And isn’t this what the work of art demands of us? The work of art, Rilke said, says to us always: You must change your life. It demands of us that we too see things as ends, not as means—that we too know them and love them for their own sake. This change is beyond us, perhaps, during the active, greedy, and powerful hours of our lives; but duringthe contemplative and sympathetic hours of our reading, our listening, our looking, it is surely within our power, if we choose to make it so, if we choose to let one part of our nature follow its natural desires. So I say to you, for a closing sentence, Read at whim! read at whim!
Randall Jarrell
At times I wondered whether writing was not a solipsistic luxury in countries like mine, where there were scant readers, so many people who were poor and illiterate, so much injustice, and where culture was a privilege of the few. These doubts, however, never stifled my calling, and I always kept writing even during those periods when earning a living absorbed most of my time. I believe I did the right thing, since if, for literature to flourish, it was first necessary for a society to achieve high culture, freedom, prosperity, and justice, it never would have existed. But thanks to literature, to the consciousness it shapes, the desires and longings it inspires, and our disenchantment with reality when we return from the journey to a beautiful fantasy, civilization is now less cruel than when storytellers began to humanize life with their fables. We would be worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engine of progress, would not even exist. Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that life as it is does not satisfy our thirst for the absolute – the foundation of the human condition – and should be better. We invent fictions in order to live somehow the many lives we would like to lead when we barely have one at our disposal.
Mario Vargas Llosa (In Praise of Reading and Fiction: The Nobel Lecture)
...the ultimately possible attitudes toward life are irreconcilable, and hence their struggle can never be brought to a final conclusion. Thus it is necessary to make a decisive choice. Whether, under such conditions, science is a worth while 'vocation' for somebody, and whether science itself has an objectively valuable 'vocation' are again value judgments about which nothing can be said in the lecture-room. To affirm the value of science is a presupposition for teaching there. I personally by my very work answer in the affirmative, and I also do so from precisely the standpoint that hates intellectualism as the worst devil, as youth does today, or usually only fancies it does. In that case the word holds for these youths: 'Mind you, the devil is old; grow old to understand him.' This does not mean age in the sense of the birth certificate. It means that if one wishes to settle with this devil, one must not take flight before him as so many like to do nowadays. First of all, one has to see the devil's ways to the end in order to realize his power and his limitations.
Max Weber (From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology)
PRAYER BEFORE BIRTH I am not yet born; O hear me. Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the club-footed ghoul come near me. I am not yet born; console me. I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me, with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me, on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me. I am not yet born; provide me With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light in the back of my mind to guide me. I am not yet born; forgive me For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me, my treason engendered by traitors beyond me, my life when they murder by means of my hands, my death when they live me. I am not yet born; rehearse me In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white waves call me to folly and the desert calls me to doom and the beggar refuses my gift and my children curse me. I am not yet born; O hear me, Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God come near me. I am not yet born; O fill me With strength against those who would freeze my humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton, would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with one face, a thing, and against all those who would dissipate my entirety, would blow me like thistledown hither and thither or hither and thither like water held in the hands would spill me. Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me. Otherwise kill me.
Louis Macniece (Oración antes de nacer (Poesia / Poetry) (Spanish and English Edition))
You will encounter resentful, sneering non-readers who will look at you from their beery, leery eyes, as they might some form of sub-hominid anomaly, bookimus maximus. You will encounter redditters, youtubers, blogspotters, wordpressers, twitterers, and facebookers with wired-open eyes who will shout at from you from their crazy hectoring mouths about the liberal poison of literature. You will encounter the gamers with their twitching fingers who will look upon you as a character to lock crosshairs on and blow to smithereens. You will encounter the stoners and pill-poppers who will ignore you, and ask you if you have read Jack Keroauc’s On the Road, and if you haven’t, will lecture you for two hours on that novel and refuse to acknowledge any other books written by anyone ever. You will encounter the provincial retirees, who have spent a year reading War & Peace, who strike the attitude that completing that novel is a greater achievement than the thousands of books you have read, even though they lost themselves constantly throughout the book and hated the whole experience. You will encounter the self-obsessed students whose radical interpretations of Agnes Grey and The Idiot are the most important utterance anyone anywhere has ever made with their mouths, while ignoring the thousands of novels you have read. You will encounter the parents and siblings who take every literary reference you make back to the several books they enjoyed reading as a child, and then redirect the conversation to what TV shows they have been watching. You will encounter the teachers and lecturers, for whom any text not on their syllabus is a waste of time, and look upon you as a wayward student in need of their salvation. You will encounter the travellers and backpackers who will take pity on you for wasting your life, then tell you about the Paulo Coelho they read while hostelling across Europe en route to their spiritual pilgrimage to New Delhi. You will encounter the hard-working moaners who will tell you they are too busy working for a living to sit and read all day, and when they come home from a hard day’s toil, they don’t want to sit and read pretentious rubbish. You will encounter the voracious readers who loathe competition, and who will challenge you to a literary duel, rather than engage you in friendly conversation about your latest reading. You will encounter the slack intellectuals who will immediately ask you if you have read Finnegans Wake, and when you say you have, will ask if you if you understood every line, and when you say of course not, will make some point that generally alludes to you being a halfwit. Fuck those fuckers.
M.J. Nicholls (The 1002nd Book to Read Before You Die)
The Student" “In America,” began the lecturer, “everyone must have a degree. The French do not think that all can have it, they don’t say everyone must go to college.” We incline to feel, here, that although it may be unnecessary to know fifteen languages. one degree is not too much. With us, a school—like the singing tree of which the leaves were mouths that sang in concert— is both a tree of knowledge and of liberty— seen in the unanimity of college mottoes, lux et veritas, Christo et ecclesiae, sapiet felici. It may be that we have not knowledge, just opinions, that we are undergraduates, not students; we know we have been told with smiles, by expatriates of whom we had asked, “When will your experiment be finished?” “Science is never finished.” Secluded from domestic strife, Jack Bookworm led a college life, says Goldsmith; and here also as in France or Oxford, study is beset with dangers—with bookworms, mildews, and complaisancies. But someone in New England has known enough to say that the student is patience personified, a variety of hero, “patient of neglect and of reproach,"—who can "hold by himself.” You can’t beat hens to make them lay. Wolf’s wool is the best of wool, but it cannot be sheared, because the wolf will not comply. With knowledge as with wolves’ surliness, the student studies voluntarily, refusing to be less than individual. He “gives him opinion and then rests upon it”; he renders service when there is no reward, and is too reclusive for some things to seem to touch him; not because he has no feeling but because he has so much.
Marianne Moore
What kind of soldier are you that you’re going to just sit in a cell while the world is thrown into chaos? Do you not understand what could happen if those weapons fall into the wrong hands? How could you be so selfish? (Syd) I’m selfish? Look, Agent Westbrook, your daddy’s a Boston stockbroker. I’m a death broker. I’m sure you don’t lecture Daddy on finance, so don’t even try to lecture me on assassination politics. I know all about them. Some bureaucratic ass-wipe sitting in a pristine office that’s totally isolated from the rest of the world decides the son of King Oomp-Loomp is a threat. He then hands down orders to people like me to go off King Oomp-Loompa’s son. Like an idiot, I do what he says without question. I hunt my target down, using information that is mostly bullshit and unreliable, gathered by someone like you who assured me it was correct as the time. But hey, if it changes minute by minute, and God forbid we pass that along to you. So me and my spotter lie in the grass, sand, or snow for days on end, cramped and hungry, never able to move more than a millimeter an hour until I have that one perfect shot I’ve been waiting for days. I take it, and then we lie there like pieces of dirt until we can inch our way back to safety, where hopefully the helicopter team will remember that they were supposed to retrieve us. Have you any idea of the nerves it takes to do what I do? To lie there on the ground while other armed men search for you? Have them step on you and not be able to even breathe or wince because if you do, it’s not only your life, but the life of your spotter? Do you know what it’s like to have the brains of your best friend spayed into your face and not be able to render aid to him because you know he’s dead and if you do, you’ll be killed too? I have been into the bowels of hell and back, Miz Westbrook. I have stared down the devil and made him sweat. So don’t tell me I don’t take this seriously. (Steele)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Bad Attitude (B.A.D. Agency #1))
What do you think you know about me!? This is all I am! I have high hopes even though I'm powerless; I have all these dreams even though I'm dumb; I keep trying even though I can't do anything! I hate myself! I'm always nothing but talk! I'm worse than useless, but I'm still a world-class complainer! Who the hell do I think I am?! How dare I live such a shameful life this long?! I'm empty. I've got nothing inside me. Until I came here, until I met all of you, do you know what I was doing?! I wasn't doing anything. I didn't do anything... I didn't do one little thing! With all that time to do it! With all that freedom! I should have done lots of stuff, but I didn't do any of it! And this is the result! The man I am now is the result! I'm powerless, talentless, and all of it, all of it, is because of my rotten personality! I want to achieve something when I haven't done anything before--conceited doesn't even begin to describe it... I was lazy and imposed on other people; I wasted my whole life away; I killed you. I thought I could live here, but not a single thing's changed about me. That old man saw right through me, didn't he? During those days of training, the old man had spoken of those who wield the sword, but he had shaken his head and said, 'There is little point lecturing someone about what it takes to become stronger when he has already abandoned the choice to do so.' It's not like I really thought I'd get stronger or I'd be able to do anything... I just went through the motions. I was just a poser trying to justify myself. I wanted to say, I couldn't help it! I wanted other people to say it couldn't be helped! That's all it was! That's the only reason I pretended to put myself on the line like that! Even when you were helping me study, I was just putting on a show to cover up the embarrassment! I'm a small, underhanded, filthy guy down to the bone, always worrying about what other people think of me, and none of that's ever changed!
Tappei Nagatsuki (Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活 6 [Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, Vol. 6] (Re:Zero Light Novels, #6))
The majority of things in life are about picking your battles. You'll learn that too. And that will never be clearer than when you're at IKEA. You'd have to visit a Danish vacation village after two weeks of pouring rain and no beer to come across as many couples arguing as you'll hear in the IKEA section for changeable sofa covers on any given Tuesday. People take this whole interior design thing really seriously these days. It's become a national pastime to over interpret the symbolism of the fact that "he wants frosted glass, that just proves he never listens to my FEELINGS." "Ahhhhh! She wants beech veneer. Do you hear me? Beech veneer! Sometimes, it feels like I've woken up next to a stranger!" That's how it is, every single time you go there. And I'm not going to lecture you, but if there's just one thing I can get across then let it be this: no one has ever, in the history of the world, had an argument in IKEA that really is about IKEA. People can say whatever they life, but when a couple who has been married for ten years walks around the bookshelves section calling one another words normally only used by alcoholic crime fiction detectives, they might be arguing about a number of things, but trust me: cupboard doors is not one of them. Believe me. You're a Backman. Regardless of how many shortcomings the person you fall in love with might have, I can guarantee that you still come out on top of that bargain. So find someone who doesn't love you for the person you are, but despite the person you are. And when you're standing there, in the storage section at IKEA, don't focus too much on the furniture. Focus on the fact that you've actually found someone who can see themselves storing their crap in the same place as your crap. Because, hand on heart: you have a lot of crap.
Fredrik Backman (Saker min son behöver veta om världen)
Illness in this society, physical or mental, they are not abnormalities. They are normal responses to an abnormal culture. This culture is abnormal when it comes to real human needs. And.. it is in the nature of the system to be abnormal, because if we had a society geared to meet human needs.. would we be destroying the Earth through climate change? Would we be putting extra burden on certain minority people? Would we be selling people a lot of goods that they don't need, and, in fact, are harmful for them? Would there be mass industries based on manufacturing, designing and mass-marketing toxic food to people? So we do all that for the sake of profit. That's insanity. It is not insanity from the point of view of profit, but it is insanity from the point of view of human need. And so, in so many ways this culture denies and even runs against counter to human needs. When you mentioned trauma.. given how important trauma is in human life and what an impact it has.. why have we ignored it for so long? Because that denial of reality is built in into this system. It keeps the system alive. So it is not a mistake, it is a design issue. Not that anybody consciously designed it, but that's just how the system survives. Now.. the average medical student to THIS DAY (I say the average.. there are exceptions) still doesn't get a single lecture on trauma in 4 years of medical school. They should have a whole course on it, Because I can tell you that trauma is related to addiction, all kinds of mental illness and most physical health conditions as well. And there is a whole lot of science behind that, but they don't study that science. Now that reflects this society's denial of trauma, the medical system simply reflects the needs of the larger society, I should say, the dominant needs of the larger society.
Gabor Maté
Last month, on a very windy day, I was returning from a lecture I had given to a group in Fort Washington. I was beginning to feel unwell. I was feeling increasing spasms in my legs and back and became anxious as I anticipated a difficult ride back to my office. Making matters worse, I knew I had to travel two of the most treacherous high-speed roads near Philadelphia – the four-lane Schuylkill Expressway and the six-lane Blue Route. You’ve been in my van, so you know how it’s been outfitted with everything I need to drive. But you probably don’t realize that I often drive more slowly than other people. That’s because I have difficulty with body control. I’m especially careful on windy days when the van can be buffeted by sudden gusts. And if I’m having problems with spasms or high blood pressure, I stay way over in the right hand lane and drive well below the speed limit. When I’m driving slowly, people behind me tend to get impatient. They speed up to my car, blow their horns, drive by, stare at me angrily, and show me how long their fingers can get. (I don't understand why some people are so proud of the length of their fingers, but there are many things I don't understand.) Those angry drivers add stress to what already is a stressful experience of driving. On this particular day, I was driving by myself. At first, I drove slowly along back roads. Whenever someone approached, I pulled over and let them pass. But as I neared the Blue Route, I became more frightened. I knew I would be hearing a lot of horns and seeing a lot of those long fingers. And then I did something I had never done in the twenty-four years that I have been driving my van. I decided to put on my flashers. I drove the Blue Route and the Schuylkyll Expressway at 35 miles per hour. Now…Guess what happened? Nothing! No horns and no fingers. But why? When I put on my flashers, I was saying to the other drivers, “I have a problem here – I am vulnerable and doing the best I can.” And everyone understood. Several times, in my rearview mirror I saw drivers who wanted to pass. They couldn’t get around me because of the stream of passing traffic. But instead of honking or tailgating, they waited for the other cars to pass, knowing the driver in front of them was in some way weak. Sam, there is something about vulnerability that elicits compassion. It is in our hard wiring. I see it every day when people help me by holding doors, pouring cream in my coffee, or assist me when I put on my coat. Sometimes I feel sad because from my wheelchair perspective, I see the best in people. But those who appear strong and invulnerably typically are not exposed to the kindness I see daily. Sometimes situations call for us to act strong and brave even when we don't feel that way. But those are a few and far between. More often, there is a better pay-off if you don't pretend you feel strong when you feel weak, or pretend that you are brave when you’re scared. I really believe the world might be a safer place if everyone who felt vulnerable wore flashers that said, “I have a problem and I’m doing the best I can. Please be patient!
Daniel Gottlieb (Letters to Sam: A Grandfather's Lessons on Love, Loss, and the Gifts of Life)
Phaethon asked: “Do you think there is something wrong with the Sophotechs? We are Manorials, father! We let Rhadamanthus control our finances and property, umpire our disputes, teach our children, design our thoughtscapes, and even play matchmaker to find us wives and husbands!” “Son, the Sophotechs may be sufficient to advise the Parliament on laws and rules. Laws are a matter of logic and common sense. Specially designed human-thinking versions, like Rhadamanthus, can tell us how to fulfill our desires and balance our account books. Those are questions of strategy, of efficient allocation of resources and time. But the Sophotechs, they cannot choose our desires for us. They cannot guide our culture, our values, our tastes. That is a question of the spirit.” “Then what would you have us do? Would you change our laws?” “Our mores, not our laws. There are many things which are repugnant, deadly to the spirit, and self-destructive, but which law should not forbid. Addiction, self-delusion, self-destruction, slander, perversion, love of ugliness. How can we discourage such things without the use of force? It was in response to this need that the College of Hortators evolved. Peacefully, by means of boycotts, public protests, denouncements, and shunnings, our society can maintain her sanity against the dangers to our spirit, to our humanity, to which such unboundried liberty, and such potent technology, exposes us.” (...) But Phaethon certainly did not want to hear a lecture, not today. “Why are you telling me all this? What is the point?” “Phaethon, I will let you pass through those doors, and, once through, you will have at your command all the powers and perquisites I myself possess. The point of my story is simple. The paradox of liberty of which you spoke before applies to our entire society. We cannot be free without being free to harm ourselves. Advances in technology can remove physical dangers from our lives, but, when they do, the spiritual dangers increase. By spiritual danger I mean a danger to your integrity, your decency, your sense of life. Against those dangers I warn you; you can be invulnerable, if you choose, because no spiritual danger can conquer you without your own consent. But, once they have your consent, those dangers are all-powerful, because no outside force can come to your aid. Spiritual dangers are always faced alone. It is for this reason that the Silver-Gray School was formed; it is for this reason that we practice the exercise of self-discipline. Once you pass those doors, my son, you will be one of us, and there will be nothing to restrain you from corruption and self-destruction except yourself. “You have a bright and fiery soul, Phaethon, a power to do great things; but I fear you may one day unleash such a tempest of fire that you may consume yourself, and all the world around you.
John C. Wright (The Golden Age (Golden Age, #1))
In the campaign of 1876, Robert G. Ingersoll came to Madison to speak. I had heard of him for years; when I was a boy on the farm a relative of ours had testified in a case in which Ingersoll had appeared as an attorney and he had told the glowing stories of the plea that Ingersoll had made. Then, in the spring of 1876, Ingersoll delivered the Memorial Day address at Indianapolis. It was widely published shortly after it was delivered and it startled and enthralled the whole country. I remember that it was printed on a poster as large as a door and hung in the post-office at Madison. I can scarcely convey now, or even understand, the emotional effect the reading of it produced upon me. Oblivious of my surroundings, I read it with tears streaming down my face. It began, I remember: "The past rises before me like a dream. Again we are in the great struggle for national life.We hear the sounds of preparation--the music of boisterous drums--the silver voices of heroic bugles. We see the pale cheeks of women and the flushed faces of men; and in those assemblages we see all the dead whose dust we have covered with flowers..." I was fairly entranced. he pictured the recruiting of the troops, the husbands and fathers with their families on the last evening, the lover under the trees and the stars; then the beat of drums, the waving flags, the marching away; the wife at the turn of the lane holds her baby aloft in her arms--a wave of the hand and he has gone; then you see him again in the heat of the charge. It was wonderful how it seized upon my youthful imagination. When he came to Madison I crowded myself into the assembly chamber to hear him: I would not have missed it for every worldly thing I possessed. And he did not disappoint me. A large handsome man of perfect build, with a face as round as a child's and a compelling smile--all the arts of the old-time oratory were his in high degree. He was witty, he was droll, he was eloquent: he was as full of sentiment as an old violin. Often, while speaking, he would pause, break into a smile, and the audience, in anticipation of what was to come, would follow him in irresistible peals of laughter. I cannot remember much that he said, but the impression he made upon me was indelible. After that I got Ingersoll's books and never afterward lost an opportunity to hear him speak. He was the greatest orater, I think, that I have ever heard; and the greatest of his lectures, I have always thought, was the one on Shakespeare. Ingersoll had a tremendous influence upon me, as indeed he had upon many young men of that time. It was not that he changed my beliefs, but that he liberated my mind. Freedom was what he preached: he wanted the shackles off everywhere. He wanted men to think boldly about all things: he demanded intellectual and moral courage. He wanted men to follow wherever truth might lead them. He was a rare, bold, heroic figure.
Robert Marion La Follette (La Follette's Autobiography: A Personal Narrative of Political Experiences)
Speaking to a foreigner was the dream of every student, and my opportunity came at last. When I got back from my trip down the Yangtze, I learned that my year was being sent in October to a port in the south called Zhanjiang to practice our English with foreign sailors. I was thrilled. Zhanjiang was about 75 miles from Chengdu, a journey of two days and two nights by rail. It was the southernmost large port in China, and quite near the Vietnamese border. It felt like a foreign country, with turn-of-the-century colonial-style buildings, pastiche Romanesque arches, rose windows, and large verandas with colorful parasols. The local people spoke Cantonese, which was almost a foreign language. The air smelled of the unfamiliar sea, exotic tropical vegetation, and an altogether bigger world. But my excitement at being there was constantly doused by frustration. We were accompanied by a political supervisor and three lecturers, who decided that, although we were staying only a mile from the sea, we were not to be allowed anywhere near it. The harbor itself was closed to outsiders, for fear of 'sabotage' or defection. We were told that a student from Guangzhou had managed to stow away once in a cargo steamer, not realizing that the hold would be sealed for weeks, by which time he had perished. We had to restrict our movements to a clearly defined area of a few blocks around our residence. Regulations like these were part of our daily life, but they never failed to infuriate me. One day I was seized by an absolute compulsion to get out. I faked illness and got permission to go to a hospital in the middle of the city. I wandered the streets desperately trying to spot the sea, without success. The local people were unhelpful: they did not like non-Cantonese speakers, and refused to understand me. We stayed in the port for three weeks, and only once were we allowed, as a special treat, to go to an island to see the ocean. As the point of being there was to talk to the sailors, we were organized into small groups to take turns working in the two places they were allowed to frequent: the Friendship Store, which sold goods for hard currency, and the Sailors' Club, which had a bar, a restaurant, a billiards room, and a ping-pong room. There were strict rules about how we could talk to the sailors. We were not allowed to speak to them alone, except for brief exchanges over the counter of the Friendship Store. If we were asked our names and addresses, under no circumstances were we to give our real ones. We all prepared a false name and a nonexistent address. After every conversation, we had to write a detailed report of what had been said which was standard practice for anyone who had contact with foreigners. We were warned over and over again about the importance of observing 'discipline in foreign contacts' (she waifi-lu). Otherwise, we were told, not only would we get into serious trouble, other students would be banned from coming.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)