Life Is So Predictable Quotes

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It was so strange, the way that life moved forward: the twists and the dead ends, the sudden opportunities. She supposed if you could predict or foresee everything that was going to happen, you’d lose the motivation to go through it all. The promise was always in the possibility.
Lauren Oliver (Panic (Panic, #1))
Hindsight, I think, is a useless tool. We, each of us, are at a place in our lives because of innumerable circumstances, and we, each of us, have a responsibility (if we do not like where we are) to move along life's road, to find a better path if this one does not suit, or to walk happily along this one if it is indeed our life's way. Changing even the bad things that have gone before would fundamentally change who we are, and whether or not that would be a good thing, I believe, it is impossible to predict. So I take my past experiences... and try to regret nothing. -Drizzt Do'urden
R.A. Salvatore (Sea of Swords (Forgotten Realms: Paths of Darkness, #4; Legend of Drizzt, #13))
These days, I've been trying to classify my thoughts into two categories: "Things I can change," and "Things I can't." It seems to help me sort through what to really stress about. But there I go again, over-planning and over-organizing my over-thinking! I write songs about my adventures and misadventures, most of which concern love. Love is a tricky business. But if it wasn't, I wouldn't be so enthralled with it. Lately I've come to a wonderful realization that makes me even more fascinated by it: I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to love. No one does! There's no pattern to it, except that it happens to all of us, of course. I can't plan for it. I can't predict how it'll end up. Because love is unpredictable and it's frustrating and it's tragic and it's beautiful. And even though there's no way to feel like I'm an expert at it, it's worth writing songs about -- more than anything else I've ever experienced in my life.
Taylor Swift (Taylor Swift)
16 Things Romance Readers Are Tired Of Hearin 1. All Romance books are exactly the same. 2. The endings are so predictable. 3. You know romance doesn't happen like that in real life. 4. You're setting unrealistic expectations for yourself about love. 5. Real men don't have abs like that. 6.So you think you're going to go on a lot of dates? 7. So you think you're going to fall in love with an ex-boyfriend? 8. ...or a billionaire? 9. ...or a duke? 10. So you'll stop reading romances when you have a boyfriend, right? 11. It's basically mommy porn, right? 12. I could write a romance book. 13. Do you only read female authors? 14. I saw the Notebook once. 15. Is Danielle Steel your favorite author? 16. Do you read REAL books?
Bookbub Bulletin
No one else knows exactly what the future holds for you, no one else knows what obstacles you've overcome to be where you are, so don't expect others to feel as passionate about your dreams as you do.
Germany Kent
Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it’s a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that. Ideally, though, we’re lucky, and we find our soul mate and enjoy that life-changing mother lode of happiness. But a soul mate is a very hard thing to find.
Aziz Ansari (Modern Romance)
After a pause, he asked, 'What do you think of Nasuada's plans?' 'Mmm...she's doomed! You're doomed! They're all doomed!'She cackled, doubling over, then straightened abruptly. 'notice I didn't specify what kind of doom, so no matter what happens, I predicted it. How very wise of me.' She lifted the basket again, setting it on one hip. 'I supposed I won't see you for a while, so farewell, best of luck, avoid roasted cabbage, don't eat earwax, and look on the bright side of life!' And with a cheery wink, she strolled off, leaving Eragon blinking and nonplussed.
Christopher Paolini (Eldest (The Inheritance Cycle, #2))
The normal reasons. Like, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. It’s all the dumb clichés about how even when I’m mad at you I love you and how every day the best part of it is waking up next to you. And it kills me that this is all the normal, typical people-in-love stuff, because I want to believe our love is special—that it’s bigger and more interesting than any love that anyone else has had before—but the heartbreaking truth is my love for you is so consistent and predictable and boring.
Raphael Bob-Waksberg (Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory)
I think the way I feel about the internet is the way some people feel about the ocean. It's so huge and unknowable, but also totally predictable. You type a line of symbols and click enter, and everything you want to happen, happens. Not like real life, where all the wanting in the world can't make something exist.
Becky Albertalli (The Upside of Unrequited (Simonverse, #2))
Life here is so orderly, so predictable-so painless. It's what they've chosen.
Lois Lowry (The Giver (The Giver, #1))
Real love feels less like a throbbing, pulsing animal begging for its freedom and beating against the inside of my chest and more like, 'Hey, that place you like had fish tacos today and i got you some while i was out', as it sets a bag spotted with grease on the dining room table. It's not a game you don't understand the rules of, or a test you never got the materials to study for. It never leaves you wondering who could possibly be texting at 3 am. Or what you could possibly do to make it come home and stay there. It's fucking boring, dude. I don't walk around mired in uneasiness, waiting for the other shoe to drop. No parsing through spun tales about why it took her so long to come back from the store. No checking her emails or calling her job to make sure she's actually there. No sitting in my car outside her house at dawn, to make sure she's alone when she leaves. This feels safe, and steadfast, and predictable. And secure. It's boring as shit. And it's easily the best thing I've ever felt.
Samantha Irby (We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.)
Even if it were possible to cast my horoscope in this one life, and to make an accurate prediction about my future, it would not be possible to 'show' it to me because as soon as I saw it my future would change by definition. This is why Werner Heisenberg's adaptation of the Hays Office—the so-called principle of uncertainty whereby the act of measuring something has the effect of altering the measurement—is of such importance. In my case the difference is often made by publicity. For example, and to boast of one of my few virtues, I used to derive pleasure from giving my time to bright young people who showed promise as writers and who asked for my help. Then some profile of me quoted someone who disclosed that I liked to do this. Then it became something widely said of me, whereupon it became almost impossible for me to go on doing it, because I started to receive far more requests than I could respond to, let alone satisfy. Perception modifies reality: when I abandoned the smoking habit of more than three decades I was given a supposedly helpful pill called Wellbutrin. But as soon as I discovered that this was the brand name for an antidepressant, I tossed the bottle away. There may be successful methods for overcoming the blues but for me they cannot include a capsule that says: 'Fool yourself into happiness, while pretending not to do so.' I should actually want my mind to be strong enough to circumvent such a trick.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
A disruption of the circadian cycle—the metabolic and glandular rhythms that are central to our workaday life—seems to be involved in many, if not most, cases of depression; this is why brutal insomnia so often occurs and is most likely why each day’s pattern of distress exhibits fairly predictable alternating periods of intensity and relief.
William Styron (Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness)
At its best fashion is a game. But for women it's a compulsory game, like net ball, and you can't get out of it by faking your period. I know I have tried. And so for a woman every outfit is a hopeful spell, cast to influence the outcome of the day. An act of trying to predict your fate, like looking at your horoscope. No wonder there are so many fashion magazines. No wonder the fashion industry is worth an estimated 900 billion dollars a year. No wonder every woman's first thought is, for nearly every event in her life, be it work, snow or birth. The semi-despairing cry of "but what will I wear?" Because when a woman says I have nothing to wear, what she really means is there is nothing here for who I am supposed to be today.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
I've been desperately unhappy in my life." Her voice was quiet. "Have you, Chief Inspector?" It wasn't a response he could have predicted. He nodded. "I thought so. I think people who have had that experience and survived have a responsibility to help others. We can't let someone drown where we were saved.
Louise Penny (A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2))
There’s always been something inside her that men have wanted to dominate, and their desire for domination can look so much like attraction, even love. In school the boys had tried to break her with cruelty and disregard, and in college men had tried to do it with sex and popularity, all with the same aim of subjugating some force in her personality. It depressed her to think people were so predictable. Whether she was respected or despised, it didn’t make much difference in the end. Would every stage of her life continue to reveal itself as the same thing, again and again, the same remorseless contest for dominance?
Sally Rooney (Normal People)
This is the legend of Cassius Clay, The most beautiful fighter in the world today. He talks a great deal, and brags indeed-y, of a muscular punch that's incredibly speed-y. The fistic world was dull and weary, But with a champ like Liston, things had to be dreary. Then someone with color and someone with dash, Brought fight fans are runnin' with Cash. This brash young boxer is something to see And the heavyweight championship is his des-tin-y. This kid fights great; he’s got speed and endurance, But if you sign to fight him, increase your insurance. This kid's got a left; this kid's got a right, If he hit you once, you're asleep for the night. And as you lie on the floor while the ref counts ten, You’ll pray that you won’t have to fight me again. For I am the man this poem’s about, The next champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt. This I predict and I know the score, I’ll be champ of the world in ’64. When I say three, they’ll go in the third, 10 months ago So don’t bet against me, I’m a man of my word. He is the greatest! Yes! I am the man this poem’s about, I’ll be champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt. Here I predict Mr. Liston’s dismemberment, I’ll hit him so hard; he’ll wonder where October and November went. When I say two, there’s never a third, Standin against me is completely absurd. When Cassius says a mouse can outrun a horse, Don’t ask how; put your money where your mouse is! I AM THE GREATEST!
Muhammad Ali
Shakespeare's plays often turn on the idea of fate, as much drama does. What makes them so tragic is the gap between what his characters might like to accomplish and what fate provides them.
Nate Silver (The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don't)
Sometimes I wish they'd ask for my wisdom more often - there are so many things I could tell them; things I wish they would change. But they don't want change. Life here is so orderly, so predictable - so painless. It's what they've chosen.
Lois Lowry (The Giver: A Teaching Guide)
According to the surgeon general, obesity today is officially an epidemic; it is arguably the most pressing public health problem we face, costing the health care system an estimated $90 billion a year. Three of every five Americans are overweight; one of every five is obese. The disease formerly known as adult-onset diabetes has had to be renamed Type II diabetes since it now occurs so frequently in children. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association predicts that a child born in 2000 has a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes. (An African American child's chances are two in five.) Because of diabetes and all the other health problems that accompany obesity, today's children may turn out to be the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will actually be shorter than that of their parents. The problem is not limited to America: The United Nations reported that in 2000 the number of people suffering from overnutrition--a billion--had officially surpassed the number suffering from malnutrition--800 million.
Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals)
Sometimes, you can be more than enough for someone, but they choose not to be in your life. Always remember that Satan works hard to keep people miserable by feeding their fears, so they stay in their comfort zone. The truth is some people value what is predictable, more than chemistry.
Shannon L. Alder
Louis XI (1423-1483), the great Spider King of France, had a weakness for astrology. He kept a court astrologer whom he admired, until one day the man predicted that a lady of the court would die within eight days. When the prophecy came true, Louis was terrified, thinking that either the man had murdered the woman to prove his accuracy or that he was so versed in his science that his powers threatened Louis himself. In either case he had to be killed. One evening Louis summoned the astrologer to his room, high in the castle. Before the man arrived, the king told his servants that when he gave the signal they were to pick the astrologer up, carry him to the window, and hurl him to the ground, hundreds of feet below. The astrologer soon arrived, but before giving the signal, Louis decided to ask him one last question: “You claim to understand astrology and to know the fate of others, so tell me what your fate will be and how long you have to live.” “I shall die just three days before Your Majesty,” the astrologer replied. The king’s signal was never given. The man’s life was spared. The Spider King not only protected his astrologer for as long as he was alive, he lavished him with gifts and had him tended by the finest court doctors. The astrologer survived Louis by several years, disproving his power of prophecy but proving his mastery of power.
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
Well, we all like things to be predictable, don't we? We expect things to be safe and to keep on happening just the way they always have. We expect the sun to rise in the morning. We expect to get up, survive the day and finish up back in bed at the end of it, ready to start all over again the next day. But maybe that's just a trick we play on ourselves, our way of making life seem ordinary. Because the truth is, life is so extraordinary that for most of hte time we can't bring ourselves to look at it. It's too bright and it hurts our eyes. The fact of the matter is that nothing is ever certain. But most people never find that out until the ground suddenly disappears from beneath their feet.
Steve Voake (The Dreamwalker's Child)
But they don't want change. Life here is so orderly, so predictable-so painless. It's what they've chosen.
Lois Lowry (The Giver (The Giver, #1))
The Greeks shape bronze statues so real they seem to breathe, And carve cold marble until it almost comes to life. The Greeks compose great orations, and measure The heavens so well they can predict the rising of the stars. But you, Romans, remember your great arts; To govern the peoples with authority, To establish peace under the rule of law, To conquer the mighty, and show them mercy once they are conquered." -Virgil, Aeneid VI, 847-853
When you are dying and coming to life in each moment, would-be scientific predictions about what will happen after death are of little consequence. The whole glory of it is that we do not know. Ideas of survival and annihilation are alike based on the past, on memories of waking and sleeping, and, in their different ways, the notions of everlasting continuity and everlasting nothingness are without meaning. It needs but slight imagination to realize that everlasting time is a monstrous nightmare, so that between heaven and hell as ordinarily understood there is little to choose.
Alan W. Watts (The Wisdom of Insecurity)
You cannot predict a person's sudden passing, but there are certain people in life that you prepare yourself to lose, for whatever reason. You foolishly try to protect yourself by building a wall around your heart as a sort of preemptive defense mechanism so that when you get that call, you are prepared somehow. Like being emotionally vaccinated, you have already built up an immunity to their inevitable passing. But this never works.
Dave Grohl (The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music)
No one can predict tomorrow with absolute confidence. But the mistake some people make is trying to avoid making any predictions because their thirst for certainty is so strong and their fear of doubt too overwhelming. If
Charles Duhigg (Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business)
My life will be what I make it," he told her. "That is true for all of us all the time. We cannot know what the future will bring or how the events of the future will make us feel. We cannot even plan and feel any certainty that our most carefully contrived plans will be put into effect. Could I have predicted what happened to me in the Peninsula? Could you have predicted what happened to you in Cornwall? But those things happened to us nevertheless. And they changed our plans and our dreams so radically that we both might have been excused for giving up, for never planning or dreaming again, for never living again. That too is a choice we all have to make.
Mary Balogh (Simply Love (Simply Quartet #2))
It used to be obvious that the world was designed by some sort of intelligence. What else could account for fire and rain and lightning and earthquakes? Above all, the wonderful abilities of living things seemed to point to a creator who had a special interest in life. Today we understand most of these things in terms of physical forces acting under impersonal laws. We don't yet know the most fundamental laws, and we can't work out all the consequences of the laws we do know. The human mind remains extraordinarily difficult to understand, but so is the weather. We can't predict whether it will rain one month from today, but we do know the rules that govern the rain, even though we can't always calculate their consequences. I see nothing about the human mind any more than about the weather that stands out as beyond the hope of understanding as a consequence of impersonal laws acting over billions of years.
Steven Weinberg
People annoy the crap out of me," he says. "I think people are nervous and loud and rude and selfish and stupid pretty much all the time." [...] "If they're beautiful they know it, so they don't bother having a personality or associating with people that don't fit into their league or can't afford their company. And, somehow these people are the most popular, which makes absolutely no sense. People try so hard to be accepted, they turn into a walking stereotype. They're pathetically easy to predict. They're insecure and try to mask it with whatever product corporate America is currently making and they always let you down. Just give them enough time, and they will." [...] "I think everyone's caught up in these narrow-minded worlds and they think their world exists in the center of the universe. Relationship only happen when it's convenient. You have to walk on eggshells for people because that's how strong they are these days. And you can't confront people, because if you do, that brittle shell of confidence will crack. So we all become passive cowards that carry a fake smile wherever we go because God forbid you let your guard down long enough for people to see your life isn't perfect. That you have a few flaws. Because who wants to see that?
Katie Kacvinsky (First Comes Love (First Comes Love, #1))
Habits are undeniably useful tools, relieving us of the need to run a complex mental operation every time we’re confronted with a new task or situation. Yet they also relieve us of the need to stay awake to the world: to attend, feel, think, and then act in a deliberate manner. (That is, from freedom rather than compulsion.) If you need to be reminded how completely mental habit blinds us to experience, just take a trip to an unfamiliar country. Suddenly you wake up! And the algorithms of everyday life all but start over, as if from scratch. This is why the various travel metaphors for the psychedelic experience are so apt. The efficiencies of the adult mind, useful as they are, blind us to the present moment. We’re constantly jumping ahead to the next thing. We approach experience much as an artificial intelligence (AI) program does, with our brains continually translating the data of the present into the terms of the past, reaching back in time for the relevant experience, and then using that to make its best guess as to how to predict and navigate the future. One of the things that commends travel, art, nature, work, and certain drugs to us is the way these experiences, at their best, block every mental path forward and back, immersing us in the flow of a present that is literally wonderful—wonder being the by-product of precisely the kind of unencumbered first sight, or virginal noticing, to which the adult brain has closed itself. (It’s so inefficient!) Alas, most of the time I inhabit a near-future tense, my psychic thermostat set to a low simmer of anticipation and, too often, worry. The good thing is I’m seldom surprised. The bad thing is I’m seldom surprised.
Michael Pollan (How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence)
This is an example of what Jung called “the regressive restoration of the persona,” namely, the re-identification with a former position, role, ideology because it offers a predictable content, security, and script. In the face of the new and uncertain, we often return to the old place, which is why we so often stop growing. (It has become clear to me, for example, that aging itself does not bring wisdom. It often brings regression to childishness, dependency, and bitterness over lost opportunities.
James Hollis (What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life)
...this is the first time in the history of humankind where we are trying to experience sexuality in the long term, not because we want 14 children, for which we need to have even more because many of them won't make it, and not because it is exclusively a woman's marital duty. This is the first time that we want sex over time about pleasure and connection that is rooted in desire. So what sustains desire, and why is it so difficult? And at the heart of sustaining desire in a committed relationship, I think is the reconciliation of two fundamental human needs... So reconciling our need for security and our need for adventure into one relationship, or what we today like to call a passionate marriage, used to be a contradiction in terms. Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it's a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that.
Esther Perel
We're a nation with an eating disorder, and we know it. The multiple maladies caused by bad eating are taking a dire toll on our health--most tragically for our kids, who are predicted to be this country's first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. That alone is a stunning enough fact to give us pause. So is a government policy that advises us to eat more fruits and vegetables, while doling out subsidies not to fruit and vegetable farmers, but to commodity crops destined to become soda pop and cheap burgers. The Farm Bill, as of this writing, could aptly be called the Farm Kill, both for its effects on small farmers and for what it does to us, the consumers who are financing it.
Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life)
Why, the isolation that prevails everywhere, above all in our age—it has not fully developed, it has not reached its limit yet. For every one strives to keep his individuality as apart as possible, wishes to secure the greatest possible fullness of life for himself; but meantime all his efforts result not in attaining fullness of life but self-destruction, for instead of self-realization he ends by arriving at complete solitude. All mankind in our age have split up into units, they all keep apart, each in his own groove; each one holds aloof, hides himself and hides what he has, from the rest, and he ends by being repelled by others and repelling them. He heaps up riches by himself and thinks, ‘How strong I am now and how secure,’ and in his madness he does not understand that the more he heaps up, the more he sinks into self-destructive impotence. For he is accustomed to rely upon himself alone and to cut himself off from the whole; he has trained himself not to believe in the help of others, in men and in humanity, and only trembles for fear he should lose his money and the privileges that he has won for himself. Everywhere in these days men have, in their mockery, ceased to understand that the true security is to be found in social solidarity rather than in isolated individual effort. But this terrible individualism must inevitably have an end, and all will suddenly understand how unnaturally they are separated from one another. It will be the spirit of the time, and people will marvel that they have sat so long in darkness without seeing the light.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
I know this doesn't exactly make me unique, but I love the internet. I love it. I think the way I feel about the internet is the way some people feel about the ocean. It's so huge and unknowable, but also totally predictable. You type a line of symbols and click enter, and everything you want to happen, happens. Not like real life, where all the wanting in the world can't make something exist
Becky Albertalli (The Upside of Unrequited (Simonverse, #2))
Your body-budgeting regions can therefore trick your brain into believing that there is tissue damage, regardless of what is happening in your body. So, when you’re feeling unpleasant, your joints and muscles might hurt more, or you could develop a stomachache. When your body budget’s not in shape, meaning your interoceptive predictions are miscalibrated, your back might hurt more, or your headache might pound harder—not because you have tissue damage but because your nerves are talking back and forth. This is not imaginary pain. It is real.
Lisa Feldman Barrett (How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain)
Go now, and live. Experience. Dream. Risk. Close your eyes and jump. Enjoy the freefall. Choose exhilaration over comfort. Choose magic over predictability. Choose potential over safety. Wake up to the magic of everyday life. Make friends with your intuition. Trust your gut. Discover the beauty of uncertainty. Know yourself fully before you make promises to another. Make millions of mistakes so that you will know how to choose what you really need. Know when to hold on and when to let go. Love hard and often and without reservation. Seek knowledge. Open yourself to possibility. Keep your heart open, your head high and your spirit free. Embrace your darkness along with your light. Be wrong everyday once in a while, and don't be afraid to admit it. Awaken to the brilliance in ordinary moments. Tell the truth about yourself no matter what the cost. Own your reality without apology. See goodness in the world. Be Bold. Be Fierce. Be Grateful. Be Wild, Crazy and Gloriously Free. Be You. Go now, and live.
Jeanette LeBlanc
Life had a way of wrecking her careful plans, again and again. Roulette was more predictable than life. Small wonder she was so lucky at it. Life was not a wheel going round and round. It never, ever returned to the same place. It didn't stick to simple red and black and a certain array of numbers. It laughed at logic. Beneath its pretty overdress of man-imposed order, life was anarchy.
Loretta Chase (Silk Is for Seduction (The Dressmakers, #1))
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [quoting 1 Tim 1:7].
Augustine of Hippo (The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Vol 2 (De Genesi ad litteram))
Hippocrates cured many illnesses—and then fell ill and died. The Chaldaeans predicted the deaths of many others; in due course their own hour arrived. Alexander, Pompey, Caesar—who utterly destroyed so many cities, cut down so many thousand foot and horse in battle—they too departedthis life. Heraclitus often told us the world would end in fire. But it was moisture that carried him off; he died smeared with cowshit. Democritus was killed by ordinary vermin, Socrates by the human kind. And? You boarded, you set sail, you’ve made the passage. Time to disembark. If it’s for another life, well, there’s nowhere without gods on that side either. If to nothingness, then you no longer have to put up with pain and pleasure, or go on dancing attendance on this battered crate, your body—so much inferior to that which serves it. One is mind and spirit, the other earth and garbage.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
...I continued to sit there hour after hour watching the unrelenting rain slosh against the glass, thinking of our life together, Lotte's and mine, how everything in it was designed to give a sense of permanence, the chair against the wall that was there when we went to sleep and there again when we awoke, the little habits that quoted from the day before and predicted the day to come, though in truth it was all just an illusion, just as solid matter is an illusion, just as our bodies are an illusion, pretending to be one thing when really they are millions upon millions of atoms coming and going, some arriving while others are leaving us forever, as if each of us were only a great train station, only not even that since at least in a train station the stones and the tracks and the glass roof stay still while everything else rushes through it, no, it was worse than that, more like a giant empty field where every day a circus erected and dismantled itself, the whole thing from top to bottom, but never the same circus, so what hope did we really have of ever making sense of ourselves, let alone one another?
Nicole Krauss (Great House)
But somehow at the back of my mind was the feeling that if I did “the sensible thing” I would regret it, for I would be choosing a way of life that would be so predictable, it would rob me of all the excitement that made up the savor of living. If
Victoria Holt (India Fan)
the life we live is so uncertain that that we can least predict the very uncertainty that would be our woe. Whether we risk something or we do not risk anything, there is a risk for us to take from dawn to dusk. It is noteworthy then that it is highly riskier to risk nothing when the life we live is always at the mercy of uncertain risks of life
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
There comes a time in your life when you have to choose between giving up and staying strong, when situations will try to predict your fate, when friends will depart from you and your echo will be your only companion. When that time comes, remember just why you fought so hard to get to where you are. What is life that it should threaten your faith and who is man that you should clinch onto for happiness?You have a destination. Remember this!
Chinonye J. Chidolue
How naive she must be to think that life is so safe and predictable that you can survive without some level of independence and autonomy.
Randa Abdel-Fattah (No Sex in the City)
Many times in life we’ll look far into our future with uncertainty. None of us can predict the future, so enjoying life one day at a time will remain much easier and fulfilling.
Ron Baratono
The acts of life we repeat every day need to be automatized. They must be turned into stable and reliable habits, so they lose their complexity and gain predictability and simplicity
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
I was really more like an old star, out of fuel, my own gravity pulling me inward, crushing me. I ran out of energy for my too-perfect life, my too-predictable job, my loveless relationship--exhausted at only twenty-seven. Like a star, my life in Chicago collapsed under the force of its own weight, so I was leaving. Massive stars leave behind black holes. Small stars leave behind white dwarfs. I was barely leaving behind a shadow. All of my light was coming with me. I was ready to start over as a comet: refuel, reignite, and burn across the sky.
Christina Lauren (Beautiful Stranger (Beautiful Bastard, #2))
but at the Lychgate we may all pass our own conduct and our own judgments under a searching review. It is not given to human beings, happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable, to foresee or to predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events. In one phase men seem to have been right, in another they seem to have been wrong. Then again, a few years later, when the perspective of time has lengthened, all stands in a different setting. There is a new proportion. There is another scale of values. History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honor.
Winston S. Churchill
Such are the limitations of the human mind, and so thoroughly engrossing are the cares of common life, that only the few among men can discern through the glitter and dazzle of present prosperity the dark outlines of approaching disasters, even though they may have come up to our very gates, and are already within striking distance. The yawning seam and corroded bolt conceal their defects from the mariner until the storm calls all hands to the pumps. Prophets, indeed, were abundant before the war; but who cares for prophets while their predictions remain unfulfilled, and the calamities of which they tell are masked behind a blinding blaze of national prosperity?
Frederick Douglass (Collected Articles of Frederick Douglass)
Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it’s a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that.6
Aziz Ansari (Modern Romance: An Investigation)
Realism is for lazy-minded, semi-educated people whose atrophied imagination allows them to appreciate only the most limited and convention subject matter. Re-Fi is a repetitive genre written by unimaginative hacks who rely on mere mimesis. If they had any self-respect they'd be writing memoir, but they're too lazy to fact-check. Of course I never read Re-Fi. But the kids keep bringing home these garish realistic novels and talking about them, so I know that it's an incredibly narrow genre, completely centered on one species, full of worn-out cliches and predictable situations--the quest for the father, mother-bashing, obsessive male lust, dysfunctional suburban families, etc., etc. All it's good for is being made into mass-market movies. Given its old-fashioned means and limited subject matter, realism is quite incapable of describing the complexity of contemporary experience.
Ursula K. Le Guin (Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000–2016, with A Journal of a Writer's Week)
Because people who live their lives this way can look forward to a single destiny, shared with others of this type - though such people do not believe they represent a type, but feel themselves distinguished from the common run of man, who they see as held down by the banal anchors of the world. But while others actually build a life in which things gain meaning and significance, this is not true of the puer. Such a person inevitably looks back on life as it nears its end with a feeling of emptiness and sadness, aware of what they have built: nothing. In their quest for a life without failure, suffer, or doubt, that is what they achieve: a life empty of all those things that make a human life meaningful. And yet they started off believing themselves too special for this world! But - and here is the hope - there is a solution for people of this type, and it's perhaps not the solution that could have been predicted. The answer for them is to build on what they have begun and not abandon their plans as soon as things start getting difficult. They must work - without escaping into fantasies about being the person who worked. And I don't mean work for its own sake, but they must choose work that begins and ends in a passion, a question that is gnawing at their guts, which is not to be avoided but must be realized and live through the hard work and suffering that inevitably comes with the process. They must reinforce and build on what is in their life already rather than always starting anew, hoping to find a situation without danger. Puers don't need to check themselves into analysis. If they can just remember this - It is their everlasting switching that is the dangerous thing, and not what they choose - they might discover themselves saved. The problem is the puer ever anticipates loss, disappointment, and suffering - which they foresee at the very beginning of every experience, so they cut themselves off at the beginning, retreating almost at once in order to protect themselves. In this way, they never give themselves to life - living in constant dread of the end. Reason, in this case, has taken too much from life. They must give themselves completely to the experience! One things sometimes how much more alive such people would be if they suffered! If they can't be happy, let them at least be unhappy - really, really unhappy for once, and then the might become truly human!
Sheila Heti (How Should a Person Be?)
When writers who are just starting out ask me when it gets easier, my answer is never. It never gets easier. I don’t want to scare them, so I rarely say more than that, but the truth is that, if anything, it gets harder. The writing life isn’t just filled with predictable uncertainties but with the awareness that we are always starting over again. That everything we ever write will be flawed. We may have written one book, or many, but all we know — if we know anything at all — is how to write the book we’re writing. All novels are failures. Perfection itself would be a failure. All we can hope is that we will fail better. That we won’t succumb to fear of the unknown. That we will not fall prey to the easy enchantments of repeating what may have worked in the past. I try to remember that the job — as well as the plight, and the unexpected joy — of the artist is to embrace uncertainty, to be sharpened and honed by it. To be birthed by it. Each time we come to the end of a piece of work, we have failed as we have leapt—spectacularly, brazenly — into the unknown.
Dani Shapiro (Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life)
A certain kind of courage is required to follow what truly calls to us; why else would so many choose to live within false certainties and pretensions of security? If genuine treasures were easy to find this world would be a different place. If the path of dreams were easy to walk or predictable to follow many more would go that route. The truth is that most prefer the safer paths in life even if they know that their souls are called another way.
Michael Meade (Fate and Destiny, The Two Agreements of the Soul)
Many of us are not consciously aware of such fears. With enough surface bravado to fool the people we meet, we fool ourselves as well. But the memory of formlessness is never far beneath. So we hasten to try on life’s uniforms
Gail Sheehy (Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life)
Against this vision of hope, I find my faithful certainty—that everything will be beautiful, in the end. That God has a plan for the days to come. That love will triumph in all things, and my dreams are born with purpose. These moments unfold like a never-ending collection of poetry, written by the hands of the divine. The days are my own. Each one is made for me. With every twist and turn and tumble, I learn to step back and smile. For when we think we’ve got it made, when the days to come seem so predictable, that is when He shows us the substance of which this life is made.
Erin Forbes
When I look around at this ‘normal’ life you’re so eager to leave, I don’t see boring or predictable—I see friends who love you and a family that would make any sacrifice for your happiness. I see the kind of security I’ve never had and always wanted. I may have given you access to the world I know best, but you and your family have given me a world that doesn’t exist on a map.
Tamara Ireland Stone (Time Between Us (Time Between Us, #1))
Jonathan Sacks; “One way is just to think, for instance, of biodiversity. The extraordinary thing we now know, thanks to Crick and Watson’s discovery of DNA and the decoding of the human and other genomes, is that all life, everything, all the three million species of life and plant life—all have the same source. We all come from a single source. Everything that lives has its genetic code written in the same alphabet. Unity creates diversity. So don’t think of one God, one truth, one way. Think of one God creating this extraordinary number of ways, the 6,800 languages that are actually spoken. Don’t think there’s only one language within which we can speak to God. The Bible is saying to us the whole time: Don’t think that God is as simple as you are. He’s in places you would never expect him to be. And you know, we lose a bit of that in English translation. When Moses at the burning bush says to God, “Who are you?” God says to him three words: “Hayah asher hayah.”Those words are mistranslated in English as “I am that which I am.” But in Hebrew, it means “I will be who or how or where I will be,” meaning, Don’t think you can predict me. I am a God who is going to surprise you. One of the ways God surprises us is by letting a Jew or a Christian discover the trace of God’s presence in a Buddhist monk or a Sikh tradition of hospitality or the graciousness of Hindu life. Don’t think we can confine God into our categories. God is bigger than religion.
Krista Tippett (Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living)
So imagine two scenarios. Let’s say it’s the holidays, and two different neighbors invite you to their parties in the same week. You accept both invitations. In one case, you do the irrational thing and give Neighbor X a bottle of Bordeaux; for the second party you adopt the rational approach and give Neighbor Z $50 in cash. The following week, you need some help moving a sofa. How comfortable would you be approaching each of your neighbors, and how do you think each would react to your request for a favor? The odds are that Neighbor X will step in to help. And Neighbor Z? Since you have already paid him once (to make and share dinner with you), his logical response to your request for help might be, “Fine. How much will you pay me this time?” Again, the prospect of acting rationally, financially speaking, sounds deeply irrational in terms of social norms. The point is that while gifts are financially inefficient, they are an important social lubricant. They help us make friends and create long-term relationships that can sustain us through the ups and downs of life. Sometimes, it turns out, a waste of money can be worth a lot.
Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions)
What are the things that make adults depressed? The master list is too comprehensive to quantify (plane crashes, unemployment, killer bees, impotence, Stringer Bell's murder, gambling addictions, crib death, the music of Bon Iver, et al.) But whenever people talk about their personal bouts of depression in the abstract, there are two obstructions I hear more than any other. The possibility that one's life is not important, and the mundane predictability of day-to-day existence. Talk to a depressed person (particularly one who's nearing midlife), and one (or both) of these problems will inevitably be described. Since the end of World War II, every generation of American children has been endlessly conditioned to believe that their lives are supposed to be great -- a meaningful life is not just possible, but required. Part of the reason forward-thinking media networks like Twitter succeed is because people want to believe that every immaterial thing they do is pertinent by default; it's interesting because it happened to them, which translates as interesting to all. At the same time, we concede that a compelling life is supposed to be spontaneous and unpredictable-- any artistic depiction of someone who does the same thing every day portrays that character as tragically imprisoned (January Jones on Mad Men, Ron Livingston in Office Space, the lyrics to "Eleanor Rigby," all novels set in affluent suburbs, pretty much every project Sam Mendes has ever conceived, etc.) If you know exactly what's going to happen tomorrow, the voltage of that experience is immediately mitigated. Yet most lives are the same, 95 percent of the time. And most lives aren't extrinsically meaningful, unless you're delusionally self-absorbed or authentically Born Again. So here's where we find the creeping melancholy of modernity: The one thing all people are supposed to inherently deserve- a daily subsistence that's both meaningful and unpredictable-- tends to be an incredibly rare commodity. If it's not already there, we cannot manufacture it.
Chuck Klosterman (Eating the Dinosaur)
And yet this stagnation is a big reason why I am an optimistic skeptic. We know that in so much of what people want to predict—politics, economics, finance, business, technology, daily life—predictability exists, to some degree, in some circumstances. But there is so much else we do not know.
Philip E. Tetlock (Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction)
It’d have been so nice if my life had been a well-controlled experiment. You know; start off with your basic ingredients, add education, experiences, events, stirring with a glass rod, when appropriate retarding the reaction with a block of ice. Predictable consequences, intended results, and something worth having at the end. Hasn’t quite worked out like that. As for the result, the product, we’ll have to wait and see. I may yet surprise myself.
K.J. Parker
Yet today, from countless paintings, statues, and buildings, from literature and history, from personality and institution, from profanity, popular song, and entertainment media, from confession and controversy, from legend and ritual—Jesus stands quietly at the center of the contemporary world, as he himself predicted. He so graced the ugly instrument on which he died that the cross has become the most widely exhibited and recognized symbol on earth.
Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God)
The more time that passes, what begins to seem uncanny to Ben is the fact that all the days ahead are such a darkness, that all of us move through our hours as if blindfolded, never knowing what will happen next. How can he send his daughter out into a world like that? But even an infant’s brain can predict the rough path of a falling object in flight. And so, maybe, in a way, Ben can see what’s coming: His girl will love and be loved. She will suffer, and she will cause suffering. She will be known and unknown. She will be content and discontented. She will sometimes be lonely and sometimes less so. She will dream and be dreamed of. She will grieve and be grieved for. She will struggle and triumph and fail. There will be days of spectacular beauty, sublime and unearned. There will be moments of rapture. She will sometimes feel afraid. The sun will warm her face. The earth will ground her body. And her heart—now thrumming strong and steady, against her father’s chest, as he rocks her to sleep on a porch swing one evening in early summer, at the very start of a life—that heart: it will beat, and it will someday cease to beat. And so much of this life will remain always beyond her understanding, as obscure as the landscapes of someone else’s dreams.
Karen Thompson Walker (The Dreamers)
Success is a planned outcome, not an accident. Success and mediocrity are both absolutely predictable because they follow the natural and immutable law of sowing and reaping. Simply stated, if you want to reap more rewards, you must sow more service, contribution, and value. That is the no-nonsense formula. Some of God’s blessings have prerequisites! Success in life is not based on need but on seed. So you’ve got to become good at either planting in the springtime or begging in the fall.
Tommy Newberry (Success Is Not an Accident: Change Your Choices; Change Your Life)
Life has just thrown you for a loop, encouraging you to break free from old patterns and ways of being. So why be predictable in your responses and in your actions?
Stephanee Killen (Buddha Breaking Up: A Guide to Healing from Heartache & Liberating Your Awesomeness)
I think I want to sleep,” I say. And I do, really, I do. The last thing I want is to be awake and to think about how Ilven escaped from the life she didn’t want. And why she never spoke to me, told me, warned me. Perhaps I could have changed her mind. It occurs to me that she never meant to meet me under the trees—that she knew me well enough to predict that I would wait only so long before I left—because then she could take the Leap without any chance of me witnessing her from my tower. My heart goes small, and every limb feels too heavy to lift.
Cat Hellisen (When the Sea Is Rising Red (Hobverse #1))
When I behold other people, who are of course the children of some family or other, and think of my own children, and of myself...I am astonished at how sensible, well-behaved, practical, courteous, and predictable these other children are. The other children are so easy about the whole business of being who they are, being in the world, and getting along. Whereas with us it is an awful fight, all the way. I am left with the conclusion that we are quite probably crazy, but somehow not in a way that compels commitment. We get over our rampages before society or clinical insanity charges in on us. I can think of very few of us who are not nuts. And that's not at our worst, that's pretty much as we always are. We find fault with everything. The world stinks, and even long after we have reconciled ourselves to that truth, we still regret it, and now and then even rage against it. Running through the various branches of the family I fail to find one branch which might be said to be nice- ordinary, sober, adjusted, willing, courteous, undemanding, charming, practical, predictable, and all of the other things nice people are. Lunacy runs straight down the middle of every branch of my family. We have nobody who is not some kind of nut. What did it? How did it happen? Well, there's no answer, of course.
William Saroyan (Days Of Life And Death And Escape To The Moon)
This is what it means to live beyond the “end of nature”—that it is human action that will determine the climate of the future, not systems beyond our control. And it’s why, despite the unmistakable clarity of the predictive science, all of the tentative sketches of climate scenarios that appear in this book are so oppressively caveated with possiblys and perhapses and conceivablys. The emergent portrait of suffering is, I hope, horrifying. It is also, entirely, elective. If we allow global warming to proceed, and to punish us with all the ferocity we have fed it, it will be because we have chosen that punishment—collectively walking down a path of suicide. If we avert it, it will be because we have chosen to walk a different path, and endure.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
So we need two things: first, we need ways of predicting and detecting disease well before it becomes life threatening; and second, we need medicines that work for you and your unique body.
Pieter Cullis (The Personalized Medicine Revolution: How Diagnosing and Treating Disease Are About to Change Forever)
Benefits Now—Costs Later We have seen that predictable problems arise when people must make decisions that test their capacity for self-control. Many choices in life, such as whether to wear a blue shirt or a white one, lack important self-control elements. Self-control issues are most likely to arise when choices and their consequences are separated in time. At one extreme are what might be called investment goods, such as exercise, flossing, and dieting. For these goods the costs are borne immediately, but the benefits are delayed. For investment goods, most people err on the side of doing too little. Although there are some exercise nuts and flossing freaks, it seems safe to say that not many people are resolving on New Year’s Eve to floss less next year and to stop using the exercise bike so much. At the other extreme are what might be called sinful goods: smoking, alcohol, and jumbo chocolate doughnuts are in this category. We get the pleasure now and suffer the consequences later. Again we can use the New Year’s resolution test: how many people vow to smoke more cigarettes, drink more martinis, or have more chocolate donuts in the morning next year? Both investment goods and sinful goods are prime candidates for nudges. Most (nonanorexic) people do not need any special encouragement to eat another brownie, but they could use some help exercising more.
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness)
Borderlines may need to feel in control of other people because they feel so out of control with themselves. In addition, they may be trying to make their own world more predictable and manageable.
Paul T. Mason (Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder)
When Dirac was an old man, younger physicists often asked him how he felt when he discovered the [Dirac] equation. From his replies, it seems that he alternated between ecstasy and fear: although elated to have solved his problem so neatly, he worried that he would be the latest victim of the 'great tragedy of science' described in 1870 by Thomas Huxley; 'the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact'. Dirac later confessed that his dread of such an outcome was so intense that he was 'too scared' to use it to make detailed predictions of the energy levels of atomic hydrogen - a test that he knew it had to pass. He did an approximate version of the calculation and showed that there was acceptable agreement but did not go on to risk failure by subjecting his theory to a more rigorous examination.
Graham Farmelo (The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom)
Democracy does not speak in unison; its tunes are dissonant, and necessarily so. It is not a predictable process; it must be undergone, as a passion must be undergone. It may also be that life itself becomes foreclosed when the right way is decided in advance, or when we impose what is right for everyone, without finding a way to enter into community and discover the "right" in the midst of cultural translation. It may be that what is "right" and what is "good" consist in staying open to the tensions that beset the most fundamental categories we require, to know unknowingness at the core of what we know.
Judith Butler (Undoing Gender)
We smile at each other. I ask him if it's unusual to be sad, as we are. He says it's because we've made love in the daytime, with the heat at its height. He says it's always terrible after. He smiles. Says, Whether people love one another or not, it's always terrible. Says it will pass as soon as it gets dark. I say he's wrong, it's not just because it was in the daytime, I feel a sadness I expected and which comes only from myself. I say I've always been sad. That I can see the same sadness in photos of myself when I was small. That today, recognizing it as the sadness I've always had, I could almost call it by my own name, it's so like me. Today I tell him it's a comfort, this sadness, a comfort to have fallen at last into a misfortune my mother has always predicted for me when she shrieks in the desert of her life.
Marguerite Duras (The Lover)
50, there is a new warmth and mellowing. Friends become more important than ever, but so does privacy. Since it is so often proclaimed by people past midlife, the motto of this stage might be “No more bullshit.
Gail Sheehy (Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life)
THE KEY TO A WONDERFUL LIFE The key to a wonderful life Is to never stop wandering into wonder. Because to live a predictable life, Only fills a person with strife, And such a person will always be wondering: 'What a limitless life could be lived beyond the lines?' Such is a question a curious spirit would never sit and ponder. So always pursue new ventures in your life, And be willing to open doors to different light; This is the only way to keep it magical and always filled with wonder. Days will feel shorter, but your happiness will grow stronger -- Because living a life without curiosity and adventure, Is a stale life where days only feel longer and Longer. Poetry by Suzy Kassem
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
...Life does have its twists and turns, and that certainly is true. However, one can predict the future with some degree of accuracy based on one's own knowledge of past events. And rare events do occur , but it is their lack of repetition that makes them rare. I cannot alter the past, but the future is very much in my hands I find that memories, especially from one's childhood, very often do not live up to the realities Does anyone truly understand females? the more I am in their company the less i know. Their behavior is the opposite of everything in the natural order and flies in the face of logic. Oh, I can see you are enjoying yourself. You have my heart, and now you will toy with it She did believe that two souls could come together, so that the one would know if something had happened to the other despite distance or war. The only way to get through life's rough spots is to laugh whenever possible
Mary Lydon Simonsen (The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy)
Sometimes I wish they’d ask for my wisdom more often—there are so many things I could tell them; things I wish they would change. But they don’t want change. Life here is so orderly, so predictable—so painless. It’s what they’ve chosen.
Lois Lowry (The Giver (The Giver, #1))
Sometimes I wish they'd ask for my wisdom more often--there are so many things I could tell them; things I wish they would change. But they don't want change. Life here is so orderly, so predictable--so painless. It's what they've chosen.
Lois Lowry (The Giver (The Giver, #1))
People spoke to foreigners with an averted gaze, and everybody seemed to know somebody who had just vanished. The rumors of what had happened to them were fantastic and bizarre though, as it turned out, they were only an understatement of the real thing. Before going to see General Videla […], I went to […] check in with Los Madres: the black-draped mothers who paraded, every week, with pictures of their missing loved ones in the Plaza Mayo. (‘Todo mi familia!’ as one elderly lady kept telling me imploringly, as she flourished their photographs. ‘Todo mi familia!’) From these and from other relatives and friends I got a line of questioning to put to the general. I would be told by him, they forewarned me, that people ‘disappeared’ all the time, either because of traffic accidents and family quarrels or, in the dire civil-war circumstances of Argentina, because of the wish to drop out of a gang and the need to avoid one’s former associates. But this was a cover story. Most of those who disappeared were openly taken away in the unmarked Ford Falcon cars of the Buenos Aires military police. I should inquire of the general what precisely had happened to Claudia Inez Grumberg, a paraplegic who was unable to move on her own but who had last been seen in the hands of his ever-vigilant armed forces [….] I possess a picture of the encounter that still makes me want to spew: there stands the killer and torturer and rape-profiteer, as if to illustrate some seminar on the banality of evil. Bony-thin and mediocre in appearance, with a scrubby moustache, he looks for all the world like a cretin impersonating a toothbrush. I am gripping his hand in a much too unctuous manner and smiling as if genuinely delighted at the introduction. Aching to expunge this humiliation, I waited while he went almost pedantically through the predicted script, waving away the rumored but doubtless regrettable dematerializations that were said to be afflicting his fellow Argentines. And then I asked him about Senorita Grumberg. He replied that if what I had said was true, then I should remember that ‘terrorism is not just killing with a bomb, but activating ideas. Maybe that’s why she’s detained.’ I expressed astonishment at this reply and, evidently thinking that I hadn’t understood him the first time, Videla enlarged on the theme. ‘We consider it a great crime to work against the Western and Christian style of life: it is not just the bomber but the ideologist who is the danger.’ Behind him, I could see one or two of his brighter staff officers looking at me with stark hostility as they realized that the general—El Presidente—had made a mistake by speaking so candidly. […] In response to a follow-up question, Videla crassly denied—‘rotondamente’: ‘roundly’ denied—holding Jacobo Timerman ‘as either a journalist or a Jew.’ While we were having this surreal exchange, here is what Timerman was being told by his taunting tormentors: Argentina has three main enemies: Karl Marx, because he tried to destroy the Christian concept of society; Sigmund Freud, because he tried to destroy the Christian concept of the family; and Albert Einstein, because he tried to destroy the Christian concept of time and space. […] We later discovered what happened to the majority of those who had been held and tortured in the secret prisons of the regime. According to a Navy captain named Adolfo Scilingo, who published a book of confessions, these broken victims were often destroyed as ‘evidence’ by being flown out way over the wastes of the South Atlantic and flung from airplanes into the freezing water below. Imagine the fun element when there’s the surprise bonus of a Jewish female prisoner in a wheelchair to be disposed of… we slide open the door and get ready to roll her and then it’s one, two, three… go!
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
This is another basis for my frequent claim, “You are an architect of your experience.” You are indeed partly responsible for your actions, even so-called emotional reactions that you experience as out of your control. It is your responsibility to learn concepts that, through prediction, steer you away from harmful actions. You also bear some responsibility for others, because your actions shape other people’s concepts and behaviors, creating the environment that turns genes on and off to wire their brains, including the brains of the next generation. Social reality implies that we are all partly responsible for one another’s behavior, not in a fluffy, let’s-all-blame-society sort of way, but a very real brain-wiring way.
Lisa Feldman Barrett (How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain)
Doubts immobilize. Believing that we are independent and competent enough to master the external tasks constantly fortifies us in our attempts to become so. It is only later we discover that logic cannot penetrate the loneliness of the human soul. One
Gail Sheehy (Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life)
You make plans and decisions assuming randomness and chaos are for chumps. The illusion of control is a peculiar thing because it often leads to high self-esteem and a belief your destiny is yours for the making more than it really is. This over-optimistic view can translate into actual action, rolling with the punches and moving ahead no matter what. Often, this attitude helps lead to success. Eventually, though, most people get punched in the stomach by life. Sometimes, the gut-punch doesn’t come until after a long chain of wins, until you’ve accumulated enough power to do some serious damage. This is when wars go awry, stock markets crash, and political scandals spill out into the media. Power breeds certainty, and certainty has no clout against the unpredictable, whether you are playing poker or running a country. Psychologists point out these findings do not suggest you should throw up your hands and give up. Those who are not grounded in reality, oddly enough, often achieve a lot in life simply because they believe they can and try harder than others. If you focus too long on your lack of power, you can slip into a state of learned helplessness that will whirl you into a negative feedback loop of depression. Some control is necessary or else you give up altogether. Langer proved this when studying nursing homes where some patients were allowed to arrange their furniture and water plants—they lived longer than those who had had those tasks performed by others. Knowing about the illusion of control shouldn’t discourage you from attempting to carve a space for yourself out of whatever field you want to tackle. After all, doing nothing guarantees no results. But as you do so, remember most of the future is unforeseeable. Learn to coexist with chaos. Factor it into your plans. Accept that failure is always a possibility, even if you are one of the good guys; those who believe failure is not an option never plan for it. Some things are predictable and manageable, but the farther away in time an event occurs, the less power you have over it. The farther away from your body and the more people involved, the less agency you wield. Like a billion rolls of a trillion dice, the factors at play are too complex, too random to truly manage. You can no more predict the course of your life than you could the shape of a cloud. So seek to control the small things, the things that matter, and let them pile up into a heap of happiness. In the bigger picture, control is an illusion anyway.
David McRaney (You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself)
I was no longer in a tropical zone, and this realization now entered my life like a flow of water dividing formerly dry and solid ground, creating two banks, one of which was my past - so familiar and predictable that even my unhappiness then made me happy now just to think of it - the other my future, a gray blank, an overcast seascape on which rain was falling and no boats were in sight. I was no longer in a tropical zone and I felt cold inside and out, the first time such a sensation had come over me.
Jamaica Kincaid (Lucy)
If you’re asking the schools to be the answer, you’re also asking a lot. If you take a kid from a bad background and expect the overburdened teachers to turn him around in seven hours a day, it might or might not happen. What about the other seventeen hours in a day? People often ask us if, through our research and experience, we can now predict which children are likely to become dangerous in later life. Roy Hazelwood’s answer is, “Sure. But so can any good elementary school teacher.” And if we can get them treatment early enough and intensively enough, it might make a difference. A significant role-model adult during the formative years can make a world of difference. Bill Tafoya, the special agent who served as our “futurist” at Quantico, advocated a minimum of a ten-year commitment of money and resources on the magnitude of what we sent into the Persian Gulf. He calls for a wide-scale reinstatement of Project Head Start, one of the most effective long-term, anticrime programs in history. He doesn’t think more police are the answer, but he would bring in “an army of social workers” to provide assistance for battered women, homeless families with children, to find good foster homes. And he would back it all up with tax incentive programs. I’m not sure this is the total answer, but it would certainly be an important start. Because the sad fact is, the shrinks can battle all they want, and my people and I can use psychology and behavioral science to help catch the criminals, but by the time we get to use our stuff, the severe damage has already been done.
John E. Douglas (Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit (Mindhunter #1))
Amazon engineer Greg Linden originally introduced doppelganger searches to predict readers’ book preferences, the improvement in recommendations was so good that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos got to his knees and shouted, “I’m not worthy!” to Linden. But what is really interesting about doppelganger searches, considering their power, is not how they’re commonly being used now. It is how frequently they are not used. There are major areas of life that could be vastly improved by the kind of personalization these searches allow.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are)
Injecting some confusion stabilizes the system. Indeed, confusing people a little bit is beneficial—it is good for you and good for them. For an application of the point in daily life, imagine someone extremely punctual and predictable who comes home at exactly six o’clock every day for fifteen years. You can use his arrival to set your watch. The fellow will cause his family anxiety if he is barely a few minutes late. Someone with a slightly more volatile—hence unpredictable—schedule, with, say, a half-hour variation, won’t do so.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder)
Animals were predictable, and therefore easy to be safe around.... If we all followed the rules, no one would get hurt. It made so much more sense than in America, where no one followed the rules, and whether I got bullied or teased had nothing to do with my own behavior.
Keena Roberts (Wild Life: Dispatches from a Childhood of Baboons and Button-Downs)
Don't even listen to No body including your friends who tells you to Move On in life. They often will have destroyed your Motivation causing an unexpected anxiety, and a severe brain stress until you give up. No matter how dead serious they are in order for you to understand them, reject their Anti-statement with the Power of your Assertion. They will foolishly halter your situation you had been encountering over the past year, when it all started from the beginning. Therefore, you MUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD. DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. Train yourself to get strong so you can outsmart and surpass the famous people who came before you. That is the way of succeeding in life in order to prove to everyone you've overcome the Obstacles and your Anxiety. Keep moving forward always surpasses moving on.
Luis Cosajay
It was not easy to go from being one of the seven righteous pillars holding up the whole planet and human race to being just another mental patient. I remember talking to a woman who was ending racism and asking her if it was part of a bigger program or if racism was the whole deal. As someone who had gone back to the beginning of time and dealt with issues of whether or not life itself was a good idea, I wasn’t sure that just getting rid of racism was a big enough prize. ....In the eighties when I was called out of retirement to defeat communism, it was over my strenuous objections. “I don’t even dislike communism all that much,” I objected. “It seems so beside the point.” “The Republicans are going to take credit for this and ride it into the ground,” I correctly predicted. After winning many many preliminary rounds which I honestly hoped I’d lose, I was smuggled into what was thought to be just another psychiatric hospital where the Russian bear took one look at me, declined to dance, and the rest is history. My delusional world always felt kind of tinny and hollow, but that never helped me get out of it.
Mark Vonnegut
The nineteenth century will ever be known as the one in which the influences of science were first fully realised in civilised communities; the scientific progress was so gigantic that it seems rash to predict that any of its successors can be more important in the life of any nation.
Norman Lockyer I read it [magazine with gloomy predictions about what was going to happen to the planet], I wondered whether becoming a doctor, healing myself by healing others, might not be a little self-indulgent. There might be more important ways of trying to make the world a better place - admittedly less glamorous ones - than by being a surgeon. I have never entirely escaped the view that being a doctor is something of a moral luxury, by which doctors are easily corrupted. We can so easily end up complacent and self-important, feeling ourselves to be more important than our patients.
Henry Marsh (Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon)
It is impossible to predict what battles everyone is facing. Perhaps they are facing sadness, or they may be experiencing hardship. All we have to do is love and comfort them in any way we can. You only have one life, so give it to them; give them hope that has never been given to them before.
D.L. Lewis
There is such a tremendous need for spiritual guidance for those who are facing death, as a patient or with a loved one. Emotions and grief flood everyone involved. There are so many unknown factors. Many times doctors can predict what may happen physically, but no one can truthfully answer the big questions for us, questions like, What is dying like? Will it hurt? What is going to happen to me after I die? Is God going to be there waiting for me? Is God going to be angry at how I lived my life? These questions and fears clearly need to be addressed spiritually and not brushed aside.
Megory Anderson (Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life)
And once again, work is providing us with a comforting sense of normalcy-living and working inside of coding's predictably segmented time/space. Simply grinding away at something makes life feel stable, even though the external particulars of life (like our pay checks, our office, and so forth) are, at best, random.
Douglas Coupland
There are no certainties in life—not even death and taxes if we assign a nonzero probability to the invention of technologies that let us upload the contents of our brains into a cloud-computing network and the emergence of a future society so public-spirited and prosperous that the state can be funded with charitable donations.
Philip E. Tetlock (Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction)
SCIENCE FICTION IS OFTEN DESCRIBED, AND EVEN DEFINED, as extrapolative. The science fiction writer is supposed to take a trend or phenomenon of the here-and-now, purify and intensify it for dramatic effect, and extend it into the future. “If this goes on, this is what will happen.” A prediction is made. Method and results much resemble those of a scientist who feeds large doses of a purified and concentrated food additive to mice, in order to predict what may happen to people who eat it in small quantities for a long time. The outcome seems almost inevitably to be cancer. So does the outcome of extrapolation. Strictly extrapolative works of science fiction generally arrive about where the Club of Rome arrives: somewhere between the gradual extinction of human liberty and the total extinction of terrestrial life. This may explain why many people who do not read science fiction describe it as “escapist,” but when questioned further, admit they do not read it because “it’s so depressing.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Left Hand of Darkness)
Why should jokes and metaphors give such pleasure? Because we can't stand very much ambiguity. Cognitive dissonance makes us uneasy, and for good reason-survival depends on making the world as predictable as possible. So when we figure something out, when we impose order on what seems chaotic, we heave a psychological sigh of relief.
James Geary (I is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How it Shapes the Way We See the World)
What did Jesus tell his disciples? “Heaven is right here in the midst of you.”6 In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes a prediction that to this day few people have understood. He says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”7 In modern versions of the Bible, “meek” is translated as humble. Who are the meek or the humble, and what does it mean that they shall inherit the earth? The meek are the egoless. They are those who have awakened to their, essential true nature as consciousness and recognize that essence in all “others,” all life-forms. They live in the surrendered state and so feel their oneness with the whole and the Source. They embody the awakened consciousness that is changing all aspects of life on our planet, including nature, because life on earth is inseparable from the human consciousness that perceives and interacts with it. That is the sense in which the meek will inherit the earth. A new species is arising on the planet. It is arising now, and you are it!
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Create a Better Life)
The key to a wonderful life Is to never stop wandering into wonder. Because to live a predictable life, Only fills a person with strife, And such a person will always be wondering: 'What a limitless life could be lived beyond the lines?' Such is a question a curious spirit would never sit forever and ponder. So always pursue new ventures in your life, And be willing to open doors to different light; This is the only way to keep it magical and always filled with wonder. Days will feel shorter, but your happiness will grow stronger -- Because living a life without curiosity and adventure, Is a stale life where days only feel longer and Longer. THE SPRING FOR WISDOM, 1993
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
I have to smile when newspapers--so predictable in their attempt to explain the behaviour of those transgressing social norms or the workings of the deviant mind--speak of the 'double life' led by this furtive criminal or that. In fact the reverse is true. It is normal people who have a 'double life'. On the outside is your everyday life of going out to work and going on holiday. Then there is the life you wish you had--the life that keeps you awake at night with hope, ambition, plans, frustration, resentment, envy, regret. This is a more seething life of wants, driven by thoughts of possibility and potential. It is the life you can never have. Always changing, it is always out of reach. Would you like more money? Here, have more! An attractive sexual partner? No problem. Higher status? More intelligence? Whiter teeth? You are obsessed with what is just out of reach. It is the itch you cannot scratch. Tortured by the principle that the more you can't have something the more you desire it, you are never happy.
Phil Hogan (A Pleasure and a Calling)
Cynthia had been on friendly terms with an eccentric librarian called Porlock who in the last years of his dusty life had been engaged in examining old books for miraculous misprints such as the substitution of "1" for the second "h" in the word "hither." Contrary to Cynthia, he cared nothing for the thrill of obscure predictions; all he sought was the freak itself, the chance that mimics choice, the flaw that looks like a flower; and Cynthia, a much more perverse amateur of misshapen or illicitly connected words, puns, logogriphs, and so on, had helped the poor crank to pursue a quest that in the light of the example she cited struck me as statistically insane. ("The Vane Sisters")
Vladimir Nabokov (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now)
And one final point—we never really know where the next great scientific discovery will come from, nor who will make it. Opening up the thrill and wonder of scientific discovery, creating innovative and accessible ways to reach out to the widest young audience possible, greatly increases the chances of finding and inspiring the new Einstein. Wherever she might be. So remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future
Stephen Hawking (Brief Answers to the Big Questions)
And the beauty of the anthropic principle is that it tells us, against all intuition, that a chemical model need only predict that life will arise on one planet in a billion billion to give us a good and entirely satisfying explanation for the presence of life here. I do not for a moment believe the origin of life was anywhere near so improbable in practice.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
i bring my kiasu friend to the airport leavings are never easy, not for long and though we both saw blur along the way memories flooded present tensions. in the curry of his life no lemak remained so now the predictable exit signalled the end of his roundings, his bombings– he can bluff like hell, ma, he got style– and left me thinking about home, my kampong.
Kirpal Singh (The Best of Kirpal Singh)
Third, it can mean deep, wondering reverence, or “awe” at something immeasurably superior. This is an emotion that is much rarer today than ever before in the history of the world, probably because modern life is so full of scientific knowledge and technological power over nature that we live in a dream of arrogant cleverness and a cocoon of predictable comforts.
Peter Kreeft (Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas)
The hostility of the whites had become so deeply implanted in my mind and feelings that it had lost direct connection with the daily environment in which I lived; and my reactions to this hostility fed upon itself, grew or diminished according to the news that reached me about the whites, according to what I aspired or hoped for. Tension would set in at the mere mention of whites and a vast complex of emotions, involving the whole of my personality, would be aroused. It was as though I was continuously reacting to the threat of some natural force whose hostile behavior could not be predicted. I had never in my life been abused by whites, but I had already become as conditioned to their existence as though I had been the victim of a thousand lynchings. I lived
Richard Wright (Black Boy)
Borderlines may need to feel in control of other people because they feel so out of control with themselves. In addition, they may be trying to make their own world more predictable and manageable. People with BPD may unconsciously try to control others by putting them in no-win situations, creating chaos that no one else can figure out, or accusing others of trying to control them.
Paul T. Mason (Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder)
Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it’s a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that.
Aziz Ansari (Modern Romance: An Investigation)
Which reminds me of something that happened at the 1979 World Fantasy Convention. A UPI reporter asked me the eternal question: ‘Why do people read this horror stuff?’ My reply was essentially Harlan’s; you try to catch the madness in a bell-jar so you can cope with it a little better. People who read horror fiction are warped, I told the reporter; but if you don’t have a few warps in your record, you’re going to find it impossible to cope with life in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The headline on the UPI squib that came down the wire and into newspapers coast to coast was predictable enough, I suppose, and exactly what I deserved for presuming to speak metaphorically to a newspaperman: KING SAYS HIS FANS ARE WARPED. Open mouth; insert foot; close mouth.
Stephen King (Danse Macabre)
At a depth of 2,400 metres, about a mile and a half straight down, the team found the vents they had predicted, but also something they had not – life, in extreme abundance. . . The team were so unprepared to find life that there wasn’t a single biologist among them – they were all geologists. When they collected specimens and brought them back to the surface, the only preservative they had was vodka.
Ed Yong (I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life)
I suppose a part of me wished when I put my key in the door, it would magically open into a different apartment, a different life, a place so bright with joy and excitement that I'd be temporarily blinded when I first saw it. I pictured what a documentary film crew would capture in my face as I glimpsed this whole new world before me, like in those home improvement shows Reva liked to watch when she came over. First, I'd cringe with surprise. But then, once my eyes adjusted to the light, they'd grow wide and glisten with awe. I'd drop the keys and the coffee and wander in, spinning around with my jaw hanging open, shocked at the transformation of my dim, gray apartment into a paradise of realized dreams. But what would it look like exactly? I had no idea. When I tried to imagine this new place, all I could come up with was a cheesy mural of a rainbow, a man in a white bunny costume, a set of dentures in a glass, a huge slice of watermelon on a yellow plate—an odd prediction, maybe, of when I'm ninety-five and losing my mind in an assisted-living facility where they treat the elderly residents like retarded children. I should be so lucky, I thought. I opened the door to my apartment, and, of course, nothing had changed.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
Lone rangers, that's what we are. We see the world with our naked eyes, unabashed of the greed and ego. Our mind resides on our tongue and we stand for what's right. A little too much fun, and an exciting package. Raving for life and exploring possibilities is our goal. Travel far and wide and into the wild, we will go for it someday. Care so much that even gods would bow down. Love to the hilt and then let go, coz that's what this life is meant for. One life and we will live up to the hilt and leave no regrets. So, when we land into our graves with a satisfied smile, we big farewell to the meanness of this so-called universe. With every journey there is a new lesson learned, every place traveled, explored; makes us in fall in love with the earth. Care less about our whereabouts; we keep the expedition going because we want to go far beyond the civilized, beyond the living, beyond the world of predictability, beyond u and I & into the wild. Feasting the eyes, rejuvenating the senses, every breath we take is a sigh of relief and we make peace. Choosing the roads less traveled, our wandering souls makes our way towards the unknown destination not only to discover ourselves but to discover the wild, nature and the mother earth.
Pushpa Rana (Just the Way I Feel)
The body, with its various parts, needs to function like a well-rehearsed orchestra. Every system must play its role properly, and at exactly the right time, or noise and chaos ensue. It is for this reason that routine is so necessary. The acts of life we repeat every day need to be automatized. They must be turned into stable and reliable habits, so they lose their complexity and gain predictability and simplicity.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
Life is full of hard, complex decisions. We’ve brushed against them several times: choice of a life companion, choosing a career, accepting a job, buying a home...these are all complex decisions. They’re hard because they are riddled with multiple factors and because their outcomes are masked. There’s no way to accurately predict the outcome of a choice one way or the other. So how do we make these complex decisions?
Emiljano Citaku (What If? Your Guide to Making the Best Decisions Ever)
As intelligence was an emergent property of life, so games of controlled chance were an emergent property of intelligence. Intellect was an adaptive evolutionary structure, allowing humanity not only to sense the world in space, but to predict future events through time. Games of chance tested that predictive machine—so much so that games of controlled chance discriminated consciousness from unconsciousness far better than Turing.
Derek Künsken (The Quantum Magician (The Quantum Evolution, #1))
The order of a good story is an ordering by the outcome of the narrated events; its animating spirit—precisely here the word is unavoidable—is the power of a self determinate future to liberate each specious present from mere predictabilities, from being the mere consequence of what has gone before, and open it to itself, to itself as what that present is precisely not yet. The great metaphysical question on the border between the gospel and our culture's antecedent theology is whether this ordering may be regarded as its own kind of causality...The immediate question is at once more specific and foundational: Is there such causation in God? Is his life ordered by an Outcome that is his outcome, and so in a freedom that is more than abstract aseity The theology of Mediterranean antiquity thought there could be nothing like that in God; the gospel supposes that there is.
Robert W. Jenson (Systematic Theology: Volume 1: The Triune God)
Evolution endowed us with intuition only for those aspects of physics that had survival value for our distant ancestors, such as the parabolic orbits of flying rocks (explaining our penchant for baseball). A cavewoman thinking too hard about what matter is ultimately made of might fail to notice the tiger sneaking up behind and get cleaned right out of the gene pool. Darwin’s theory thus makes the testable prediction that whenever we use technology to glimpse reality beyond the human scale, our evolved intuition should break down. We’ve repeatedly tested this prediction, and the results overwhelmingly support Darwin. At high speeds, Einstein realized that time slows down, and curmudgeons on the Swedish Nobel committee found this so weird that they refused to give him the Nobel Prize for his relativity theory. At low temperatures, liquid helium can flow upward. At high temperatures, colliding particles change identity; to me, an electron colliding with a positron and turning into a Z-boson feels about as intuitive as two colliding cars turning into a cruise ship. On microscopic scales, particles schizophrenically appear in two places at once, leading to the quantum conundrums mentioned above. On astronomically large scales… weirdness strikes again: if you intuitively understand all aspects of black holes [then you] should immediately put down this book and publish your findings before someone scoops you on the Nobel Prize for quantum gravity… [also,] the leading theory for what happened [in the early universe] suggests that space isn’t merely really really big, but actually infinite, containing infinitely many exact copies of you, and even more near-copies living out every possible variant of your life in two different types of parallel universes.
Max Tegmark (Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality)
I remember Mr. Bender’s comment about us only being here for two weeks, too. It’s true. How could Mother and Father have known? After I spent over a year in a coma, how could they have predicted exactly when I would wake up and then move to California precisely at that time? Was it only coincidence? Or did they decide when I would wake up? Why would they keep me in a coma for so long? Why would they steal a year and a half of my life? What kind of parents are they?
Mary E. Pearson
Life is not so predictable. I am forced to listen more carefully. In the right and left worlds, the stories told are largely set, there much to defend at the expense of the other, rhetoric is charged with certitude; it's safer here, we are sure we are correct. We become missionaries for a position, yes, exactly, no doubt about it, practitioners of the missionary position. Variety is lost. Diversity is lost. Creativity is lost in our inability to make love with the world.
Terry Tempest Williams (Leap)
My childhood wasn’t a movie, of course, though it did have chase sequences, fight scenes, shoot-outs, skyjacking, life and death suspense, and suicide. The plot didn’t make much sense to me as a boy, but it does now. It turns out I was attending an academy of sorts, and though hopefully on different subjects, so were you. No matter what your major, you too have been studying people for a long time, carefully developing theories and strategies to predict what they might do.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
Sometimes life can shake you up & break you down & challenge you in ways you never could have predicted. It can make you question who you are and where you are going. This is just one chapter in your story, a moment of writers block. You are stronger than you think. There are places you haven’t been and dreams to chase. So close this chapter take your pen & start afresh. Don’t forget, you are the author. You may have your scene set but you get to decide the path of your hero(ine).
Megan Hine
All this attempt to control... We are talking about Western attitudes that are five hundred years old... The basic idea of science - that there was a new way to look at reality, that it was objective, that it did not depend on your beliefs or your nationality, that it was rational - that idea was fresh and exciting back then. It offered promise and hope for the future, and it swept away the old medieval system, which was hundreds of years old. The medieval world of feudal politics and religious dogma and hateful superstitions fell before science. But, in truth, this was because the medieval world didn't really work any more. It didn't work economically, it didn't work intellectually, and it didn't fit the new world that was emerging... But now... science is the belief system that is hundreds of years old. And, like the medieval system before it, science is starting to not fit the world any more. Science has attained so much power that its practical limits begin to be apparent. Largely through science, billions of us live in one small world, densely packed and intercommunicating. But science cannot help us decide what to do with that world, or how to live. Science can make a nuclear reactor, but it can not tell us not to build it. Science can make pesticide, but cannot tell us not to use it. And our world starts to seem polluted in fundamental ways - air, and water, and land - because of ungovernable science... At the same time, the great intellectual justification of science has vanished. Ever since Newton and Descartes, science has explicitly offered us the vision of total control. Science has claimed the power to eventually control everything, through its understanding of natural laws. But in the twentieth century, that claim has been shattered beyond repair. First, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle set limits on what we could know about the subatomic world. Oh well, we say. None of us lives in a subatomic world. It doesn't make any practical difference as we go through our lives. Then Godel's theorem set similar limits to mathematics, the formal language of science. Mathematicians used to think that their language had some inherent trueness that derived from the laws of logic. Now we know what we call 'reason' is just an arbitrary game. It's not special, in the way we thought it was. And now chaos theory proves that unpredictability is built into our daily lives. It is as mundane as the rain storms we cannot predict. And so the grand vision of science, hundreds of years old - the dream of total control - has died, in our century. And with it much of the justification, the rationale for science to do what it does. And for us to listen to it. Science has always said that it may not know everything now but it will know, eventually. But now we see that isn't true. It is an idle boast. As foolish, and misguided, as the child who jumps off a building because he believes he can fly... We are witnessing the end of the scientific era. Science, like other outmoded systems, is destroying itself. As it gains in power, it proves itself incapable of handling the power. Because things are going very fast now... it will be in everyone's hands. It will be in kits for backyard gardeners. Experiments for schoolchildren. Cheap labs for terrorists and dictators. And that will force everyone to ask the same question - What should I do with my power? - which is the very question science says it cannot answer.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1))
Your father’s death was an accident,” Kate said. “An accident. A terrible, horrible twist of fate that no one could have predicted.” Anthony shrugged fatalistically. “I’ll probably go the same way.” “Oh, for the love of—” Kate managed to bite her tongue a split second before she blasphemed. “Anthony, I could die tomorrow as well. I could have died today when that carriage rolled on top of me.” He paled. “Don’t ever remind me of that.” “My mother died when she was my age,” Kate reminded him harshly. “Did you ever think of that? By your laws, I should be dead by my next birthday.” “Don’t be—” “Silly?” she finished for him. Silence reigned for a full minute. Finally, Anthony said, his voice barely above a whisper, “I don’t know if I can get past this.” “You don’t have to get past it,” Kate said. She caught her lower lip, which had begun to tremble, between her teeth, and then laid her hand on an empty spot on the bed. “Could you come over here so I can hold your hand?” Anthony responded instantly; the warmth of her touch flooded him, seeping through his body until it caressed his very soul. And in that moment he realized that this was about more than love. This woman made him a better person. He’d been good and strong and kind before, but with her at his side, he was something more. And together they could do anything. It almost made him think that forty might not be such an impossible dream. “You don’t have to get past it,” she said again, her words blowing softly between them. “To be honest, I don’t see how you could get completely past it until you turn thirty-nine. But what you can do”— she gave his hand a squeeze, and Anthony somehow felt even stronger than he had just moments before—“ is refuse to allow it to rule your life.” “I realized that this morning,” he whispered, “when I knew I had to tell you I loved you. But somehow now— now I know it.” She nodded, and he saw that her eyes were filling with tears. “You have to live each hour as if it’s your last,” she said, “and each day as if you were immortal." -Kate & Anthony
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
In a modern democracy, he said, people are beset not by a lack of opportunity, but by a dizzying abundance of it. In our modern society this is emphatically so. We are continually reminded that we can do anything and be anything we want to be. The problem is in living up to this dream. We must develop ourselves in every way possible; must taste every aspect of life; must make sure that of the 1,000 things to see before dying, we have not stopped at number 999. But then comes a problem—are we spreading ourselves too thin?
Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions)
You were burning in the middle of the worst solar storm our records can remember. (...) Everyone else fled. All your companions and crew left you alone to wrestle with the storm. “You did not blame them. In a moment of crystal insight, you realized that they were cowards beyond mere cowardice: their dependence on their immortality circuits had made it so that they could not even imagine risking their lives. They were all alike in this respect. They did not know they were not brave; they could not even think of dying as possible; how could they think of facing it, unflinching? “You did not flinch. You knew you were going to die; you knew it when the Sophotechs, who are immune to pain and fear, all screamed and failed and vanished. “And you knew, in that moment of approaching death, with all your life laid out like a single image for you to examine in a frozen moment of time, that no one was immortal, not ultimately, not really. The day may be far away, it may be further away than the dying of the sun, or the extinction of the stars, but the day will come when all our noumenal systems fail, our brilliant machines all pass away, and our records of ourselves and memories shall be lost. “If all life is finite, only the grace and virtue with which it is lived matters, not the length. So you decided to stay another moment, and erect magnetic shields, one by one; to discharge interruption masses into the current, to break up the reinforcement patterns in the storm. Not life but honor mattered to you, Helion: so you stayed a moment after that moment, and then another. (...) “You saw the plasma erupting through shield after shield (...) Chaos was attempting to destroy your life’s work, and major sections of the Solar Array were evaporated. Chaos was attempting to destroy your son’s lifework, and since he was aboard that ship, outside the range of any noumenal circuit, it would have destroyed your son as well. “The Array was safe, but you stayed another moment, to try to deflect the stream of particles and shield your son; circuit after circuit failed, and still you stayed, playing the emergency like a raging orchestra. “When the peak of the storm was passed, it was too late for you: you had stayed too long; the flames were coming. But the radio-static cleared long enough for you to have last words with your son, whom you discovered, to your surprise, you loved better than life itself. In your mind, he was the living image of the best thing in you, the ideal you always wanted to achieve. “ ‘Chaos has killed me, son,’ you said. ‘But the victory of unpredictability is hollow. Men imagine, in their pride, that they can predict life’s each event, and govern nature and govern each other with rules of unyielding iron. Not so. There will always be men like you, my son, who will do the things no one else predicts or can control. I tried to tame the sun and failed; no one knows what is at its fiery heart; but you will tame a thousand suns, and spread mankind so wide in space that no one single chance, no flux of chaos, no unexpected misfortune, will ever have power enough to harm us all. For men to be civilized, they must be unlike each other, so that when chaos comes to claim them, no two will use what strategy the other does, and thus, even in the middle of blind chaos, some men, by sheer blind chance, if nothing else, will conquer. “ ‘The way to conquer the chaos which underlies all the illusionary stable things in life, is to be so free, and tolerant, and so much in love with liberty, that chaos itself becomes our ally; we shall become what no one can foresee; and courage and inventiveness will be the names we call our fearless unpredictability…’ “And you vowed to support Phaethon’s effort, and you died in order that his dream might live.
John C. Wright (The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age, #3))
The Costs of War Project at Brown University reports that over 6,800 US troops have died in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. In addition, the Costs of War Project says at least 6,780 US contractors, rarely counted, should be included in the American death toll. Suicides by American veterans number into the thousands and are not counted in battle-related deaths. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan citizens have died as well. Total dollar costs for the wars will exceed $4 trillion. I predict it will cost even more since the total tally won’t be in for decades. And it’s not over yet. Even in 2013 we still had over 100,000 Department of Defense contractors in Afghanistan. And we’re not about to close down the biggest embassy in the world in Baghdad. There are no plans to actually leave either country. Yet there are plenty of plans to maintain and to expand our presence worldwide as we deal with Syria, Lebanon, Iran, or wherever our US Empire chooses. Killing hundreds of thousands of the so-called enemy makes no sense given that most of them had no involvement in 9/11. This is pure bloodlust.
Ron Paul (Swords into Plowshares: A Life in Wartime and a Future of Peace and Prosperity)
There is nothing that the media could say to me that would justify the way they’ve acted. You can hound me. You can follow me, but in no way should you frighten those around me. To harm my wife and potentially harm my daughter—there is no excuse that could put any of you on the right side of morality. I met Rose when I was fifteen and she was fourteen, and through what she would call fate and I’d call circumstance of our hobbies, we’d cross paths dozens of times over the course of a decade. At seventeen, I attended the same national Model UN conference as Rose, and a delegate for Greenland locked us in a janitorial closet. He also stole our phones. He had to beat us dishonorably because he couldn’t beat us any other way. Rose said being locked in a confined space with me was the worst two hours of her life" They look bemused, brows furrowing. I can’t help but smile. “You’re confused because you don’t know whether she was exaggerating or whether she was being truthful. But the truth is that we are complex people with the ability to love to hate and to hate to love, and I wouldn’t trade her for any other person. So that day, stuck beside mops and dirtied towels, I could’ve picked the lock five minutes in and let her go. Instead, I purposefully spent two hours with a girl who wore passion like a dress made of diamonds and hair made of flames. Every day of my life, I am enamored. Every day of my life, I am bewitched. And every day of my life, I spend it with her.” My chest swells with more power, lifting me higher. “I’ve slept with many different kinds of people, and yes, the three that spoke to the press are among them. Rose is the only person I’ve ever loved, and through that love, we married and started a family. There is no other meaning behind this, and for you to conjure one is nothing less than a malicious attack against my marriage and my child. Anything else has no relevance. I can’t be what you need me to be. So you’ll have to accept this version or waste your time questioning something that has no answer. I know acceptance isn’t easy when you’re unsure of what you’re accepting, but all I can say is that you’re accepting me as me. I leave them with a quote from Sylvia Plath. “‘I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart.’” My lips pull higher, into a livelier smile. “‘I am, I am, I am.’” With this, I step away from the podium, and I exit to a cacophony of journalists shouting and asking me to clarify. Adapt to me. I’m satisfied, more than I even predicted. Some people will rewind this conference on their television, to listen closely and try to understand me. I don’t need their understanding, but my daughter will—and I hope the minds of her peers are wide open with vibrant hues of passion. I hope they all paint the world with color.
Krista Ritchie (Fuel the Fire (Calloway Sisters #3))
It had been a long, sunny, sleepy day, and Jude was in one of his light moods, when he was almost carefree, and even as he asked, Willem experienced a predictive melancholy at ruining such a perfect moment, one in which everything—the pink-bled sky above them and the way the knife sliced so cleanly through the vegetables beneath them—had conspired to work so well, only to have him upset it. “Don’t you want to borrow one of my T-shirts?” he asked Jude. He didn’t answer until he had finished coring the tomato before him, and then gave Willem a steady, blank gaze.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
There is a change underway, however. Our society used to be a ladder on which people generally climbed upward. More and more now we are going to a planetary structure, in which the great dominant lower middle class, the class that determines our prevailing values and organizational structures in education, government, and most of society, are providing recruits for the other groups — sideways, up, and even down, although the movement downward is relatively small. As the workers become increasingly petty bourgeois and as middle-class bureaucratic and organizational structures increasingly govern all aspects of our society, our society is increasingly taking on the characteristics of the lower middle class, although the poverty culture is also growing. The working class is not growing. Increasingly we are doing things with engineers sitting at consoles, rather than with workers screwing nuts on wheels. The workers are a diminishing, segment of society, contrary to Marx’s prediction that the proletariat would grow and grow. I have argued elsewhere that many people today are frustrated because we are surrounded by organizational structures and artifacts. Only the petty bourgeoisie can find security and emotional satisfaction in an organizational structure, and only a middle-class person can find them in artifacts, things that men have made, such as houses, yachts, and swimming pools. But human beings who are growing up crave sensation and experience. They want contact with other people, moment-to-moment, intimate contact. I’ve discovered, however, that the intimacy really isn’t there. Young people touch each other, often in an almost ritual way; they sleep together, eat together, have sex together. But I don’t see the intimacy. There is a lot of action, of course, but not so much more than in the old days, I believe, because now there is a great deal more talk than action. This group, the lower middle class, it seems to me, holds the key to the future. I think probably they will win out. If they do, they will resolutely defend our organizational structures and artifacts. They will cling to the automobile, for instance; they will not permit us to adopt more efficient methods of moving people around. They will defend the system very much as it is and, if necessary, they will use all the force they can command. Eventually they will stop dissent altogether, whether from the intellectuals, the religious, the poor, the people who run the foundations, the Ivy League colleges, all the rest. The colleges are already becoming bureaucratized, anyway. I can’t see the big universities or the foundations as a strong progressive force. The people who run Harvard and the Ford Foundation look more and more like lower-middle-class bureaucrats who pose no threat to the established order because they are prepared to do anything to defend the system.
Carroll Quigley (Carroll Quigley: Life, Lectures and Collected Writings)
The difficulties connected with my criterion of demarcation (D) are important, but must not be exaggerated. It is vague, since it is a methodological rule, and since the demarcation between science and nonscience is vague. But it is more than sharp enough to make a distinction between many physical theories on the one hand, and metaphysical theories, such as psychoanalysis, or Marxism (in its present form), on the other. This is, of course, one of my main theses; and nobody who has not understood it can be said to have understood my theory. The situation with Marxism is, incidentally, very different from that with psychoanalysis. Marxism was once a scientific theory: it predicted that capitalism would lead to increasing misery and, through a more or less mild revolution, to socialism; it predicted that this would happen first in the technically highest developed countries; and it predicted that the technical evolution of the 'means of production' would lead to social, political, and ideological developments, rather than the other way round. But the (so-called) socialist revolution came first in one of the technically backward countries. And instead of the means of production producing a new ideology, it was Lenin's and Stalin's ideology that Russia must push forward with its industrialization ('Socialism is dictatorship of the proletariat plus electrification') which promoted the new development of the means of production. Thus one might say that Marxism was once a science, but one which was refuted by some of the facts which happened to clash with its predictions (I have here mentioned just a few of these facts). However, Marxism is no longer a science; for it broke the methodological rule that we must accept falsification, and it immunized itself against the most blatant refutations of its predictions. Ever since then, it can be described only as nonscience—as a metaphysical dream, if you like, married to a cruel reality. Psychoanalysis is a very different case. It is an interesting psychological metaphysics (and no doubt there is some truth in it, as there is so often in metaphysical ideas), but it never was a science. There may be lots of people who are Freudian or Adlerian cases: Freud himself was clearly a Freudian case, and Adler an Adlerian case. But what prevents their theories from being scientific in the sense here described is, very simply, that they do not exclude any physically possible human behaviour. Whatever anybody may do is, in principle, explicable in Freudian or Adlerian terms. (Adler's break with Freud was more Adlerian than Freudian, but Freud never looked on it as a refutation of his theory.) The point is very clear. Neither Freud nor Adler excludes any particular person's acting in any particular way, whatever the outward circumstances. Whether a man sacrificed his life to rescue a drowning, child (a case of sublimation) or whether he murdered the child by drowning him (a case of repression) could not possibly be predicted or excluded by Freud's theory; the theory was compatible with everything that could happen—even without any special immunization treatment. Thus while Marxism became non-scientific by its adoption of an immunizing strategy, psychoanalysis was immune to start with, and remained so. In contrast, most physical theories are pretty free of immunizing tactics and highly falsifiable to start with. As a rule, they exclude an infinity of conceivable possibilities.
Karl Popper
The known world was not so circumscribed then, nor knowledge equated with facts. Story was a kind of human bonding. I can’t explain it any better than that. There was telling everywhere. Because there were fewer sources of where to find out anything, there was more listening. A few did still speak of the rain, stood at gates in a drizzle, looked into the sky, made predictions inexact and individual, as if they were still versed in bird, berry or water language, and for the most part people indulged them, listened as if to a story, nodded, said “Is that so?” went away believing not a word, but to pass the story like a human currency to someone else. The key thing to understand about Ganga was that he loved a story. He believed that human beings were inside a story that had no ending because its teller had started it without conceiving of one, and that after ten thousand tales was no nearer to finding the resolution of the last page. Story was the stuff of life, and to realise you were inside one allowed you to sometimes surrender to the plot, to bear a little easier the griefs and sufferings and to enjoy more fully the twists that came along the way.
Niall Williams (This Is Happiness)
Usually, the people who wind up making totally arbitrary choices—recklessly going for the next house, the next job, the next relationship that shows up—turn out to be over-calculating. They spend so much time figuring out the risks, looking at all the pros and cons, assessing every worst-case scenario, that no choice looks right, and sheer frustration pushes them to break the deadlock. Ironically, such irrational leaps sometimes work out. The universe has more in store for us than we can ever predict, and bad choices frequently smooth out in the end because our hidden aspirations know where we are going.
Deepak Chopra (The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life)
I am sure that no one coming to this ceremony expected a High Court judge to use the occasion to talk about that four-letter word, love. But that's a good thing. In life, never be predictable. It's so uncool. When in the evening we are alone with our most existential thoughts, it is then that we come face to face with the most precious truths that we discover in our brief existence in this world. Just before fatigue envelopes us, taking us into sleep. We think of what our lives actually mean. And then we know how lucky we are if we still enjoy consciousness, rationality and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Michael Kirby
You believe that creating your best life is a matter of deciding what you want, and then going after it, but in reality, you are psychologically incapable of being able to predict what will make you happy. Your brain can only perceive what it's known, so when you choose what you want for the future, you're actually recreating a solution or an ideal of the past. When things don't work out the way you want them to, you think you failed, only because you didn't recreate something you perceived as desirable. In reality, you likely created something better but foreign, and your brain misinterpreted it as bad because of that.
Brianna Wiest (101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think)
In my experiences with racial reconciliation conversations, there usually comes a moment when superficial talk gets real. Often this comes about because a person of color takes the risk to share how racism and white supremacy have impacted her life. And then, almost invariably, in response to this vulnerable testimony, a white person begins to speak, usually through tears. This person shares about how overwhelming this experience has been, how he hadn’t known the extent of our racialized society and its racist history, about how sad, angry, or confused he is feeling now. I’ve watched this happen so many times that I can almost predict it: the move away from a person of color’s experience to a white person’s emotions. I have experienced these strong emotions myself, but as Austin Channing Brown points out, focusing on white emotions rather than the experiences of people of color can be dangerous. She writes, “If Black people are dying in the street, we must consult with white feelings before naming the evils of police brutality. If white family members are being racist, we must take Grandpa’s feelings into account before we proclaim our objections to such speech. . . . White fragility protects whiteness and forces Black people to fend for themselves.
David W. Swanson (Rediscipling the White Church: From Cheap Diversity to True Solidarity)
Jeremy Grantham, chairman of GMO, makes some very interesting observations about growth and value investing in the US: ‘Growth companies seem impressive as well as exciting. They seem so reasonable to own that they carry little career risk. Accordingly, they have underperformed for the last fifty years by about 1½ per cent a year. Value stocks, in contrast, belong to boring, struggling, or sub-average firms. Their continued poor performance seems, with hindsight, to have been predictable, and, therefore, when it happens, it carries serious career risk. To compensate for this career risk and lower fundamental quality, value stocks have outperformed by 1½ per cent a year.
Anthony Bolton (Investing Against the Tide: Lessons From a Life Running Money)
I thought you wanted me to teach you how to play. (Chess) Each possible move represents a different game - a different universe in which you make a better move. By the second move there are 72,084 possible games. By the 3rd - 9 million. By the 4th…. There are more possible games of chess than there are atoms in the universe. No one could possibly predict them all, even you. Which means that first move can be terrifying. It’s the furthest point from the end of the game. There’s a virtually infinite sea of possibilities between you and the other side but it also means that if you make a mistake, there’s a nearly infinite amount of ways to fix it so you should simply relax and play.
Person of Interest s04e11
A black man, Benjamin Banneker, who taught himself mathematics and astronomy, predicted accurately a solar eclipse, and was appointed to plan the new city of Washington, wrote to Thomas Jefferson: I suppose it is a truth too well attested to you, to need a proof here, that we are a race of beings, who have long labored under the abuse and censure of the world; that we have long been looked upon with an eye of contempt; and that we have long been considered rather as brutish than human, and scarcely capable of mental endowments I apprehend you will embrace every opportunity to eradicate that train of absurd and false ideas and opinions, which so generally prevails with respect to us; and that your sentiments are concurrent with mine, which are, that one universal Father hath given being to us all; and that he hath not only made us all of one flesh, but that he hath also, without partiality, afforded us all the same sensations and endowed us all with the same facilities. . . . Banneker asked Jefferson “to wean yourselves from those narrow prejudices which you have imbibed.” Jefferson tried his best, as an enlightened, thoughtful individual might. But the structure of American society, the power of the cotton plantation, the slave trade, the politics of unity between northern and southern elites, and the long culture of race prejudice in the colonies, as well as his own weaknesses—that combination of practical need and ideological fixation—kept Jefferson a slaveowner throughout his life.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States)
But Jones knew the day of reckoning in Springfield had to come. “Mr. Lincoln,” he finally asked one day, “will you have the kindness to tell me what you think of the result thus far?” Setting down his omnipresent pencil and paper, Lincoln walked over and “examined it very closely for some time,” and finally, to the artist’s delight, exclaimed, in quaint Western style: “I think it looks very much like the critter.”43 The local newspaper agreed, predicting that though the bust would “yet require a number of ‘sittings’ more to complete the work…the artist has already so well succeeded in impressing the clay with the life and noble characteristics of his subject, that we hesitate not to pronounce it the best likeness of the President elect we have seen.
Harold Holzer (Lincoln President-Elect : Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter, 1860-1861)
Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it’s a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save
Aziz Ansari (Modern Romance: An Investigation)
You haven’t gotten to the point of leaving a glass for her, too.” He covered his eyes but said nothing. She pulled away his hands, and then, looking straight at him, asked, “She’s alive, isn’t she?” He nodded and sat up. “Rong, I used to think that a character in a novel was controlled by her creator, that she would be whatever the author wanted her to be, and do whatever the author wanted her to do, like God does for us.” “Wrong!” she said, standing up and beginning to pace the room. “Now you realize you were wrong. This is the difference between an ordinary scribe and a literary writer. The highest level of literary creation is when the characters in a novel possess life in the mind of the writer. The writer is unable to control them, and might not even be able to predict the next action they will take. We can only follow them in wonder to observe and record the minute details of their lives like a voyeur. That’s how a classic is made.” “So literature, it turns out, is a perverted endeavor.” “It was like that for Shakespeare and Balzac and Tolstoy, at least. The classic images they created were born from their mental wombs. But today’s practitioners of literature have lost that creativity. Their minds give birth only to shattered fragments and freaks, whose brief lives are nothing but cryptic spasms devoid of reason. Then they sweep up these fragments into a bag they peddle under the label ‘postmodern’ or ‘deconstructionist’ or ‘symbolism’ or ‘irrational.’” “So you mean that I’ve become a writer of classic literature?” “Hardly. Your mind is only gestating an image, and it’s the easiest one of all. The minds of those classic authors gave birth to hundreds and thousands of figures. They formed the picture of an era, and that’s something that only a superhuman can accomplish. But what you’ve done isn’t easy. I didn’t think you’d be able to do it.” “Have you ever done it?” “Just once,” she said simply, and dropped the subject. She grabbed his neck, and said, “Forget it. I don’t want that birthday present anymore. Come back to a normal life, okay?” “And if all this continues—what then?” She studied him for a few seconds, then let go of him and shook her head with a smile. “I knew it was too late.” Picking up her bag from the bed, she left. Then
Liu Cixin (The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2))
As the idea of culture has migrated from anthropology to organizational theory, so it has become highly instrumentalized and reified. It is another example of the hubris of managerialism, which claims to be able to analyse, predict and control the intangible, and with the result that it can bring about the opposite of what it intends. In other words, with the intention of ensuring that employees are more committed to their work and are more productive, repeated culture change programmes can have the effect of inducing cynicism or resistance in staff (McKinlay and Taylor, 1996). With an insistence that staff align their values with those of the organization, what may result is gaming strategies on the part of staff to cover over what they really think and feel (Jackall, 2009).
Chris Mowles (Managing in Uncertainty: Complexity and the paradoxes of everyday organizational life)
Those of us who have so-called normal lives without undue stress and fear and worry and pain rarely know how fortunate we are. Then we see a man like Adam who’s famous even if unemployed and who lives at his sister’s house and struggles to manage, and we’re tempted to think he should snap out of it. He’s obviously intelligent, and he has no apparent disabilities. So we think, you’re smart, go out and get a job, and make yourself a normal life. Then we learn that the man has Traumatic Brain Injury and medical issues that can rip normalcy in two, and we realize that one of the main problems is in ourselves for failing to consider that not all other people have our good fortune of functioning bodies and brains, with emotional and psychological landscapes that are level and fertile and stable and predictable.
Todd Borg (Tahoe Blue Fire (Owen McKenna #13))
In a very distantly possible, scientific sense, yes, of course it’s possible that an asexual person who has never been sexually attracted to anyone could encounter someone in the world who inspires sexual attraction for them. If an experience is possible for most people, it makes sense to suggest that maybe a person who hasn’t experienced it still might. But responding to a non-straight orientation with “well, you never know, you might change” isn’t a practical or useful response; it suggests the responding person is processing asexuality as if it must be a passing phase. Sexual orientations are nothing but descriptions of patterns that have, so far in a person’s life, been predictable. Sexuality can be fluid, but there’s no reason to point this out as a way to suggest someone can, will, or should change.
Julie Sondra Decker (The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality)
How can we unshackle ourselves from this irrational impulse to chase worthless options? In 1941 the philosopher Erich Fromm wrote a book called Escape from Freedom. In a modern democracy, he said, people are beset not by a lack of opportunity, but by a dizzying abundance of it. In our modern society this is emphatically so. We are continually reminded that we can do anything and be anything we want to be. The problem is in living up to this dream. We must develop ourselves in every way possible; must taste every aspect of life; must make sure that of the 1,000 things to see before dying, we have not stopped at number 999. But then comes a problem-are we spreading ourselves too thin? The temptation Fromm was describing, I believe, is what we saw as we watched our participants racing from one door to another.
Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions)
A fortune teller told me if I can predict your future, You give me some small change, to which I replied why, he said, for my knowledge about Your life, I did not need that, he replied as I yours Father's and Mother can call by name than You give me money, which I answered as you come to me as a soothsayer and do not know whether I will or do not pay then You walk down on the wrong path for Your future, and are You a cheater. So please stop to tell stories about others when You not even know them in person or about their past for sure. A story from another is many time not based on the true, so let that story rest before till You know its a honest one, and not let lead it a way so it damage somebody's private life. This is not pointed to a person, but general in life. keep smiling and a good day Jan Jansen
Jan Jansen
Appendix 1 Seven Points and Fifty-Nine Slogans for Generating Compassion and Resilience POINT ONE Resolve to Begin 1. Train in the preliminaries. POINT TWO Train in Empathy and Compassion: Absolute Compassion 2. See everything as a dream. 3. Examine the nature of awareness. 4. Don’t get stuck on peace. 5. Rest in the openness of mind. 6. In Postmeditation be a child of illusion. POINT TWO Train in Empathy and Compassion: Relative Compassion 7. Practice sending and receiving alternately on the breath. 8. Begin sending and receiving practice with yourself. 9. Turn things around (Three objects, three poisons, three virtues). 10. Always train with the slogans. POINT THREE Transform Bad Circumstances into the Path 11. Turn all mishaps into the path. 12. Drive all blames into one. 13. Be grateful to everyone. 14. See confusion as Buddha and practice emptiness. 15. Do good, avoid evil, appreciate your lunacy, pray for help. 16. Whatever you meet is the path. POINT FOUR Make Practice Your Whole Life 17. Cultivate a serious attitude (Practice the five strengths). 18. Practice for death as well as for life. POINT FIVE Assess and Extend 19. There’s only one point. 20. Trust your own eyes. 21. Maintain joy (and don’t lose your sense of humor). 22. Practice when you’re distracted. POINT SIX The Discipline of Relationship 23. Come back to basics. 24. Don’t be a phony. 25. Don’t talk about faults. 26. Don’t figure others out. 27. Work with your biggest problems first. 28. Abandon hope. 29. Don’t poison yourself. 30. Don’t be so predictable. 31. Don’t malign others. 32. Don’t wait in ambush. 33. Don’t make everything so painful. 34. Don’t unload on everyone. 35. Don’t go so fast. 36. Don’t be tricky. 37. Don’t make gods into demons. 38. Don’t rejoice at others’ pain. POINT SEVEN Living with Ease in a Crazy World 39. Keep a single intention. 40. Correct all wrongs with one intention. 41. Begin at the beginning, end at the end. 42. Be patient either way. 43. Observe, even if it costs you everything. 44. Train in three difficulties. 45. Take on the three causes. 46. Don’t lose track. 47. Keep the three inseparable. 48. Train wholeheartedly, openly, and constantly. 49. Stay close to your resentment. 50. Don’t be swayed by circumstances. 51. This time get it right! 52. Don’t misinterpret. 53. Don’t vacillate. 54. Be wholehearted. 55. Examine and analyze. 56. Don’t wallow. 57. Don’t be jealous. 58. Don’t be frivolous. 59. Don’t expect applause.
Norman Fischer (Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong)
I don’t like stories. I like moments. I like night better than day, moon better than sun, and here-and-now better than any sometime-later. I also like birds, mushrooms, the blues, peacock feathers, black cats, blue-eyed people, heraldry, astrology, criminal stories with lots of blood, and ancient epic poems where human heads can hold conversations with former friends and generally have a great time for years after they’ve been cut off. I like good food and good drink, sitting in a hot bath and lounging in a snowbank, wearing everything I own at once, and having everything I need close at hand. I like speed and that special ache in the pit of the stomach when you accelerate to the point of no return. I like to frighten and to be frightened, to amuse and to confound. I like writing on the walls so that no one can guess who did it, and drawing so that no one can guess what it is. I like doing my writing using a ladder or not using it, with a spray can or squeezing the paint from a tube. I like painting with a brush, with a sponge, and with my fingers. I like drawing the outline first and then filling it in completely, so that there’s no empty space left. I like letters as big as myself, but I like very small ones as well. I like directing those who read them here and there by means of arrows, to other places where I also wrote something, but I also like to leave false trails and false signs. I like to tell fortunes with runes, bones, beans, lentils, and I Ching. Hot climates I like in the books and movies; in real life, rain and wind. Generally rain is what I like most of all. Spring rain, summer rain, autumn rain. Any rain, anytime. I like rereading things I’ve read a hundred times over. I like the sound of the harmonica, provided I’m the one playing it. I like lots of pockets, and clothes so worn that they become a kind of second skin instead of something that can be taken off. I like guardian amulets, but specific ones, so that each is responsible for something separate, not the all-inclusive kind. I like drying nettles and garlic and then adding them to anything and everything. I like covering my fingers with rubber cement and then peeling it off in front of everybody. I like sunglasses. Masks, umbrellas, old carved furniture, copper basins, checkered tablecloths, walnut shells, walnuts themselves, wicker chairs, yellowed postcards, gramophones, beads, the faces on triceratopses, yellow dandelions that are orange in the middle, melting snowmen whose carrot noses have fallen off, secret passages, fire-evacuation-route placards; I like fretting when in line at the doctor’s office, and screaming all of a sudden so that everyone around feels bad, and putting my arm or leg on someone when asleep, and scratching mosquito bites, and predicting the weather, keeping small objects behind my ears, receiving letters, playing solitaire, smoking someone else’s cigarettes, and rummaging in old papers and photographs. I like finding something lost so long ago that I’ve forgotten why I needed it in the first place. I like being really loved and being everyone’s last hope, I like my own hands—they are beautiful, I like driving somewhere in the dark using a flashlight, and turning something into something completely different, gluing and attaching things to each other and then being amazed that it actually worked. I like preparing things both edible and not, mixing drinks, tastes, and scents, curing friends of the hiccups by scaring them. There’s an awful lot of stuff I like.
Mariam Petrosyan (Дом, в котором...)
These fantasies were no longer a reflection of my reaction to the white people, they were a part of my living, of my emotional life; they were a culture, a creed, a religion. The hostility of the whites had become so deeply implanted in my mind and feelings that it had lost direct connection with the daily environment in which I lived; and my reactions to this hostility fed upon itself, grew or diminished according to the news that reached me about the whites, according to what I aspired or hoped for. Tension would set in at the mere mention of whites and avast complex of emotions involving the whole of my personality, would be aroused. It was as though I was continuously reacting to the threat of some natural force whose hostile behavior could not be predicted. i had never in my life been abused by whites, but I had already become as conditioned to their existence as though I had been the victim of a thousand lynchings.
Richard Wright (Black Boy)
These fantasies were no longer a reflection of my reaction to the white people, they were a part of my living, of my emotional life; they were a culture, a creed, a religion. The hostility of the whites had become so deeply implanted in my mind and feelings that it had lost direct connection with the daily environment in which I lived; and my reactions to this hostility fed upon itself, grew or diminished according to the news that reached me about the whites, according to what I aspired or hoped for. Tension would set in at the mere mention of whites and a vast complex of emotions, involving the whole of my personality, would be aroused. It was as though I was continuously reacting to the threat of some natural force whose hostile behavior could not be predicted. I had never in my life been abused by whites, but I had already become as conditioned to their existence as though I had been the victim of a thousand lynchings.
Richard Wright (Black Boy)
Yesterday while I was on the side of the mat next to some wrestlers who were warming up for their next match, I found myself standing side by side next to an extraordinary wrestler. He was warming up and he had that look of desperation on his face that wrestlers get when their match is about to start and their coach is across the gym coaching on another mat in a match that is already in progress. “Hey do you have a coach.” I asked him. “He's not here right now.” He quietly answered me ready to take on the task of wrestling his opponent alone. “Would you mind if I coached you?” His face tilted up at me with a slight smile and said. “That would be great.” Through the sounds of whistles and yelling fans I heard him ask me what my name was. “My name is John.” I replied. “Hi John, I am Nishan” he said while extending his hand for a handshake. He paused for a second and then he said to me: “John I am going to lose this match”. He said that as if he was preparing me so I wouldn’t get hurt when my coaching skills didn’t work magic with him today. I just said, “Nishan - No score of a match will ever make you a winner. You are already a winner by stepping onto that mat.” With that he just smiled and slowly ran on to the mat, ready for battle, but half knowing what the probable outcome would be. When you first see Nishan you will notice that his legs are frail - very frail. So frail that they have to be supported by custom made, form fitted braces to help support and straighten his limbs. Braces that I recognize all to well. Some would say Nishan has a handicap. I say that he has a gift. To me the word handicap is a word that describes what one “can’t do”. That doesn’t describe Nishan. Nishan is doing. The word “gift” is a word that describes something of value that you give to others. And without knowing it, Nishan is giving us all a gift. I believe Nishan’s gift is inspiration. The ability to look the odds in the eye and say “You don’t pertain to me.” The ability to keep moving forward. Perseverance. A “Whatever it takes” attitude. As he predicted, the outcome of his match wasn’t great. That is, if the only thing you judge a wrestling match by is the actual score. Nishan tried as hard as he could, but he couldn’t overcome the twenty-six pound weight difference that he was giving up to his opponent on this day in order to compete. You see, Nishan weighs only 80 pounds and the lowest weight class in this tournament was 106. Nishan knew he was spotting his opponent 26 pounds going into every match on this day. He wrestled anyway. I never did get the chance to ask him why he wrestles, but if I had to guess I would say, after watching him all day long, that Nishan wrestles for the same reasons that we all wrestle for. We wrestle to feel alive, to push ourselves to our mental, physical and emotional limits - levels we never knew we could reach. We wrestle to learn to use 100% of what we have today in hopes that our maximum today will be our minimum tomorrow. We wrestle to measure where we started from, to know where we are now, and to plan on getting where we want to be in the future. We wrestle to look the seemingly insurmountable opponent right in the eye and say, “Bring it on. - I can take whatever you can dish out.” Sometimes life is your opponent and just showing up is a victory. You don't need to score more points than your opponent in order to accomplish that. No Nishan didn’t score more points than any of his opponents on this day, that would have been nice, but I don’t believe that was the most important thing to Nishan. Without knowing for sure - the most important thing to him on this day was to walk with pride like a wrestler up to a thirty two foot circle, have all eyes from the crowd on him, to watch him compete one on one against his opponent - giving it all that he had. That is what competition is all about. Most of the times in wrestlin
JohnA Passaro
I wish I had asked myself when I was younger. My path was so tracked that in my 8th-grade yearbook, one of my friends predicted— accurately— that four years later I would enter Stanford as a sophomore. And after a conventionally successful undergraduate career, I enrolled at Stanford Law School, where I competed even harder for the standard badges of success. The highest prize in a law student’s world is unambiguous: out of tens of thousands of graduates each year, only a few dozen get a Supreme Court clerkship. After clerking on a federal appeals court for a year, I was invited to interview for clerkships with Justices Kennedy and Scalia. My meetings with the Justices went well. I was so close to winning this last competition. If only I got the clerkship, I thought, I would be set for life. But I didn’t. At the time, I was devastated. In 2004, after I had built and sold PayPal, I ran into an old friend from law school who had helped me prepare my failed clerkship applications. We hadn’t spoken in nearly a decade. His first question wasn’t “How are you doing?” or “Can you believe it’s been so long?” Instead, he grinned and asked: “So, Peter, aren’t you glad you didn’t get that clerkship?” With the benefit of hindsight, we both knew that winning that ultimate competition would have changed my life for the worse. Had I actually clerked on the Supreme Court, I probably would have spent my entire career taking depositions or drafting other people’s business deals instead of creating anything new. It’s hard to say how much would be different, but the opportunity costs were enormous. All Rhodes Scholars had a great future in their past. the best paths are new and untried. will this business still be around a decade from now? business is like chess. Grandmaster José Raúl Capablanca put it well: to succeed, “you must study the endgame before everything else. The few who knew what might be learned, Foolish enough to put their whole heart on show, And reveal their feelings to the crowd below, Mankind has always crucified and burned. Above all, don’t overestimate your own power as an individual. Founders are important not because they are the only ones whose work has value, but rather because a great founder can bring out the best work from everybody at his company. That we need individual founders in all their peculiarity does not mean that we are called to worship Ayn Randian “prime movers” who claim to be independent of everybody around them. In this respect, Rand was a merely half-great writer: her villains were real, but her heroes were fake. There is no Galt’s Gulch. There is no secession from society. To believe yourself invested with divine self-sufficiency is not the mark of a strong individual, but of a person who has mistaken the crowd’s worship—or jeering—for the truth. The single greatest danger for a founder is to become so certain of his own myth that he loses his mind. But an equally insidious danger for every business is to lose all sense of myth and mistake disenchantment for wisdom.
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
To straddle that fundamental duality is to be balanced: to have one foot firmly planted in order and security, and the other in chaos, possibility, growth and adventure. When life suddenly reveals itself as intense, gripping and meaningful; when time passes and you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing you don’t notice—it is there and then that you are located precisely on the border between order and chaos. The subjective meaning that we encounter there is the reaction of our deepest being, our neurologically and evolutionarily grounded instinctive self, indicating that we are ensuring the stability but also the expansion of habitable, productive territory, of space that is personal, social and natural. It’s the right place to be, in every sense. You are there when—and where—it matters. That’s what music is telling you, too, when you’re listening—even more, perhaps, when you’re dancing—when its harmonious layered patterns of predictability and unpredictability make meaning itself well up from the most profound depths of your Being.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
Think constantly how many doctors have died, after knitting their brows over their own patients how many astrologers, after predicting the deaths of others, as if death were something important; how many philosophers, after endless deliberation on death or immortality; how many heroes, after the many others they killed; how many tyrants, after using their power over men’s lives with monstrous insolence, as if they themselves were immortal. Think too how many whole cities have died – Helice, Pompeii, Herculaneum, innumerable others. Go over now all those you have known yourself, one after the other: one man follows a friend’s funeral and is then laid out himself, then another follows him – and all in a brief space of time. The conclusion of this? You should always look on human life as short and cheap. Yesterday sperm: tomorrow a mummy or ashes. So one should pass through this tiny fragment of time in tune with nature, and leave it gladly, as an olive might fall when ripe, blessing the earth which bore it and grateful to the tree which gave it growth.
Marcus Aurelius
If two people with no symptoms in common can both receive the same diagnosis of schizophrenia, then what is the value of that label in describing their symptoms, deciding their treatment, or predicting their outcome, and would it not be more useful simply to describe their problems as they actually are? And if schizophrenia does not exist in nature, then how can researchers possibly find its cause or correlates? If psychiatric research has made so little progress in recent decades, it is in large part because everyone has been barking up the wrong tree. It is not a question of getting a bigger and better scanner, but of going right back to the drawing board. What’s more, medical-type labels can be as harmful as they are hollow. By reducing rich, varied, and complex human experiences to nothing more than a mental disorder, they not only sideline and trivialize those experiences but also imply an underlying defect that then serves as a pseudo-explanation for the person’s disturbed behaviour. This demeans and disempowers the person, who is deterred from identifying and addressing the important life problems that underlie his distress.
Neel Burton (The Meaning of Madness)
Order Out of Chaos ... At the right temperature ... two peptide molecules will stay together long enough on average to find a third. Then the little trio finds a fourth peptide to attract into the little huddle, just through the random side-stepping and tumbling induced by all the rolling water molecules. Something extraordinary is happening: a larger structure is emerging from a finer system, not in spite of the chaotic and random motion of that system but because of it. Without the chaotic exploration of possibilities, the rare peptide molecules would never find each other, would never investigate all possible ways of aggregating so that the tape-like polymers emerge as the most likely assemblies. It is because of the random motion of all the fine degrees of freedom that the emergent, larger structures can assume the form they do. Even more is true when the number of molecules present becomes truly enormous, as is automatically the case for any amount of matter big enough to see. Out of the disorder emerges a ... pattern of emergent structure from a substrate of chaos.... The exact pressure of a gas, the emergence of fibrillar structures, the height in the atmosphere at which clouds condense, the temperature at which ice forms, even the formation of the delicate membranes surrounding every living cell in the realm of biology -- all this beauty and order becomes both possible and predictable because of the chaotic world underneath them.... Even the structures and phenomena that we find most beautiful of all, those that make life itself possible, grow up from roots in a chaotic underworld. Were the chaos to cease, they would wither and collapse, frozen rigid and lifeless at the temperatures of intergalactic space. This creative tension between the chaotic and the ordered lies within the foundations of science today, but it is a narrative theme of human culture that is as old as any. We saw it depicted in the ancient biblical creation narratives of the last chapter, building through the wisdom, poetic and prophetic literature. It is now time to return to those foundational narratives as they attain their climax in a text shot through with the storm, the flood and the earthquake, and our terrifying ignorance in the face of a cosmos apparently out of control. It is one of the greatest nature writings of the ancient world: the book of Job.
Tom McLeish (Faith and Wisdom in Science)
traditional tales are neither so simplistic nor so predictable. They give generous space to the subaltern voice: to the powerless, to the poor, to girls and wives, even to animals, all those creatures who need to find ways not only to survive in this difficult world, but to live well in it, despite the dark forces ranged against them. These stories compel, seizing our attention with their strangeness while at the same time speaking clearly to shared themes of human existence. They explore huge questions: of love and loss, and of the conditions under which we do our everyday work and how we might thrive in it. They patrol the shadowy borderlands between life and death and they tease out our hopes and fears for our children. They demand we consider issues such as migration, asking who belongs here, who can make a home here, who can find the strength to begin all over again in a strange new land – and who might have been here for much longer than you think. Folktales pick fights about disability and aging, about women and men, and, crucially, they hold out to us the environments in which we live – our much-loved British countryside – and show how it might slip through our fingers.
Daisy Johnson (Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold)
It is very impressive, to notice that whatsoever you make a person believe about you, that person will rush to represent within his role, as if he or she was mentally programmed to play the drama being offered. People are so trapped within their mind, that they end up always acting inside a theatre, in which their part has been foreseen long before they entered the roles they represent. Likewise, they become easily predictable, programmable, influenceable, manipulated, played like a string puppet. And these puppets become funnier, when mentioning mental programming, fearing mental programing and attacking mental programming, while not realizing that they are doing it, using the words, and gestures, and even phrases, that they were programmed to do, by those who program them. The one with a poor conscience is always a poor actor within his own life. He perfectly represents it, without any awareness. If he had any, he would probably not do it. But what else could he do? As prisoners in a cell with an open door, they ask when presented with freedom: “What shall I do if all I know is this?” And so, they remain inside of it, waiting for someone to tell them an answer they cannot ever understand before they see it for themselves.
Robin Sacredfire
Afterward, I pretended to be patient as Akos taught me how to predict how strong a poison would be without tasting it. I tried to seal every moment in my memory. I needed to know how to brew these concoctions on my own, because soon he would be gone. If the renegades and I were caught in our attempt tonight, I would probably lose my life. If we succeeded, Akos would be home, and Shotet would be in chaos, without its leader. Either way, it was unlikely that I would see him again. “No, no,” Akos said. “Don’t hack at it--slice. Slice!” “I am slicing,” I said. “Maybe if your knives weren’t so dull--” “Dull? I could cut your fingertip off with this knife!” I spun the knife in my hand and caught it by the handle. “Oh? Could you?” He laughed, and put his arm across my shoulders. I felt my heartbeat in my throat. “Don’t pretend you’re not capable of delicacy; I’ve seen it myself.” I scowled, and tried to focus on “slicing.” My hands were trembling a little. “See me dancing in the training room and you think you know everything about me.” “I know enough. Look, slices! Told you so.” He lifted his arm, but kept his hand against my back, right under my shoulder blade. I carried the feeling with me for the rest of the night, as we finished the elixir and got ready for bed and he shut the door between us.
Veronica Roth (Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1))
Dunia was a consummate whisperer, but she possessed, additionally, a rarer skill: the gift of listening, of approaching a sleeping man and placing her ear very gently against his chest and, by deciphering the secret language that the self speaks only to itself, discovering his heart’s desire. As she listened to Geronimo Manezes, she heard first his most predictable wishes, please let me sink down towards the earth so that my feet touch solid ground again, and beneath that the sadder unfulfillable wishes of old age, let me be young again, give me back the strength of youth and the confidence that life is long, and beneath that the dreams of the displaced, let me belong again to that faraway place I left so long ago, from which I am alienated, and which has forgotten me, in which I am an alien now even though it was the place where I began, let me belong again, walk those streets knowing they are mine, knowing that my story is a part of the story of those streets, even though it isn’t, it hasn’t been for most of a lifetime, let it be so, let it be so, let me see French cricket being played and listen to music at the bandstand and hear once more the children’s back-street rhymes. Still she listened and then she heard it, below everything else, the deepest note of his heart’s music, and she knew what she must do. —
Salman Rushdie (Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights)
The philosopher John Locke once described the case of a man who had learned to dance by practicing according to a strict ritual, always in the same room, which contained an old trunk. Unfortunately, wrote Locke, “the idea of this remarkable piece of household stuff had so mixed itself with the turns and steps of all his dances, that though in that chamber he could dance excellently well, yet it was only when that trunk was there; he could not perform well in any other place unless that or some other trunk had its due position in the room.” This research says, take the trunk out of the room. Since we cannot predict the context in which we’ll have to perform, we’re better off varying the circumstances in which we prepare. We need to handle life’s pop quizzes, its spontaneous pickup games and jam sessions, and the traditional advice to establish a strict practice routine is no way to do so. On the contrary: Try another room altogether. Another time of day. Take the guitar outside, into the park, into the woods. Change cafés. Switch practice courts. Put on blues instead of classical. Each alteration of the routine further enriches the skills being rehearsed, making them sharper and more accessible for a longer period of time. This kind of experimenting itself reinforces learning, and makes what you know increasingly independent of your surroundings.
Benedict Carey (How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens)
Elderly people are not always craggy, wrinkled, stooped over, forgetful, or wise. Teenagers are not necessarily rebellious, querulous, or pimple-faced. Babies aren’t always angelic, or even cute. Drunks don’t always slur their words. Characters aren’t types. When creating a character, it’s essential to avoid the predictable. Just as in language we must beware of clichés. When it comes to character, we are looking for what is true, what is not always so, what makes a character unique, nuanced, indelible. This specificity applies, obviously, to our main characters, but it is equally important when creating our minor characters: the man at the end of the bar, the receptionist in the doctor’s office, the woman with the shopping bag on the street. They don’t exist simply to advance our protagonist from point A to point B. They are not filler—you know, simply there to supply some local color. There is no such thing as filler or local color in life, nor can there be on the page. Ask of yourself: How does this character walk? How does she smell? What is she wearing? What underwear is she wearing? What are the traces of her accent? Is she hungry? Thirsty? Horny? What’s the last book she read? What did she have for dinner last night? Is she a good dancer? Does she do the crossword puzzle in pen? Did she have a childhood pet? Is she a dog person or a cat person?
Dani Shapiro (Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life)
(Readings) My tower and clan think she and they are so clever… the tower she knew this and she used it meaning she knew what to look up. That is why it is so important to understand the signs and cards. Those that know can figure out what is going to happen in life or the beings around. If you follow the signs and cards, the stars can predict how things are going to turn out. I referred to this person as the tower mainly because they build and block, they cannot be stopped, this is only one solution that I know of… however you cannot blossom with any relationships or dating, and being social is over before it starts with any society around. Still, they are constantly watching over me. Just like I said they have eyes in the sky meaning, if they are not the ones following behind me, they make sure that they have someone that will. Their followers always report back to the main headquarters, they have to get the information to her so she can twist it and make everybody believe her lies. Some of the lies in which the tower has created for me include. Being gay, I am far from it… Engaging in activities with children, which is completely disgusting. Lewd acts, the list goes on and on. ‘Oh, the internet is a powerful tool; it was created for good, however, some use it for their evil.’ I had to pay with my time, for what I did not do, when is it going to end? I need to stop looking at ‘Blabber Book!
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh The Forbidden Touches)
If you can’t make a good prediction, it is very often harmful to pretend that you can. I suspect that epidemiologists, and others in the medical community, understand this because of their adherence to the Hippocratic oath. Primum non nocere: First, do no harm. Much of the most thoughtful work on the use and abuse of statistical models and the proper role of prediction comes from people in the medical profession.88 That is not to say there is nothing on the line when an economist makes a prediction, or a seismologist does. But because of medicine’s intimate connection with life and death, doctors tend to be appropriately cautious. In their field, stupid models kill people. It has a sobering effect. There is something more to be said, however, about Chip Macal’s idea of “modeling for insights.” The philosophy of this book is that prediction is as much a means as an end. Prediction serves a very central role in hypothesis testing, for instance, and therefore in all of science.89 As the statistician George E. P. Box wrote, “All models are wrong, but some models are useful.”90 What he meant by that is that all models are simplifications of the universe, as they must necessarily be. As another mathematician said, “The best model of a cat is a cat.”91 Everything else is leaving out some sort of detail. How pertinent that detail might be will depend on exactly what problem we’re trying to solve and on how precise an answer we require.
Nate Silver (The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't)
The unhappiness of the bachelor, whether seeming or actual, is so easily guessed at by the world around him that he will curse his decision, at least if he has remained a bachelor because of the delight he takes in secrecy. He walks around with his coat buttoned, his hands in the upper pockets of his jacket, his arms akimbo, his hat pulled down over his eyes, a false smile that has become natural to him is supposed to shield his mouth as his glasses do his eyes, his trousers are tighter than seem proper for his thin legs. But everyone knows his condition, can detail his sufferings. A cold breeze breathes upon him from within and he gazes inward with the even sadder half of his double face. He moves incessantly, but with predictable regularity, from one apartment to another. The farther he moves away from the living, for whom he must still – and this is the worst mockery – work like a conscious slave who dare not express his consciousness, so much the smaller a space is considered sufficient for him. While it is death that must still strike down the others, though they may have spent all their lives in a sickbed – for even though they would have gone down by themselves long ago from their own weakness, they nevertheless hold fast to their loving, very healthy relatives by blood and marriage – he, this bachelor, still in the midst of life, apparently of his own free will resigns himself to an ever smaller space, and when he dies the coffin is exactly right for him.
Franz Kafka (Diaries, 1910-1923)
It is surely absurd to seek God in terms of a preconceived idea of what God is. To seek thus is only to find what we know already, which is why it is so easy to deceive oneself into all manner of “supernatural” experiences and visions. To believe in God and to look for the God you believe in is simply to seek confirmation of an opinion. To ask for a revelation of God’s will, and then to “test” it by reference to your preconceived moral standards is to make a mockery of asking. You knew the answer already. Seeking for “God” in this way is no more than asking for the stamp of absolute authority and certainty on what you believe in any case, for a guarantee that the unknown and the future will be a continuation of what you want to retain from the past—a bigger and better fortress for “I.” Ein feste Burg! If we are open only to discoveries which will accord with what we know already, we may as well stay shut. This is why the marvelous achievements of science and technology are of so little real use to us. It is in vain that we can predict and control the course of events in the future, unless we know how to live in the present. It is in vain that doctors prolong life if we spend the extra time being anxious to live still longer. It is in vain that engineers devise faster and easier means of travel if the new sights that we see are merely sorted and understood in terms of old prejudices. It is in vain that we get the power of the atom if we are just to continue in the rut of blowing people up.
Alan W. Watts (The Wisdom of Insecurity)
Although Israel is targeted by terrorists much more frequently than the United States, Israelis do not live in fear of terrorism. A 2012 survey of Israeli Jews found that only 16 percent described terrorism as their greatest fear81—no more than the number who said they were worried about Israel’s education system. No Israeli politician would say outright that he tolerates small-scale terrorism, but that’s essentially what the country does. It tolerates it because the alternative—having everyone be paralyzed by fear—is incapacitating and in line with the terrorists’ goals. A key element in the country’s strategy is making life as normal as possible for people after an attack occurs. For instance, police typically try to clear the scene of an attack within four hours of a bomb going off,82 letting everyone get back to work, errands, or even leisure. Small-scale terrorism is treated more like crime than an existential threat. What Israel certainly does not tolerate is the potential for large-scale terrorism (as might be made more likely, for instance, by one of their neighbors acquiring weapons of mass destruction). There is some evidence that their approach is successful: Israel is the one country that has been able to bend Clauset’s curve. If we plot the fatality tolls from terrorist incidents in Israel using the power-law method (figure 13-8), we find that there have been significantly fewer large-scale terror attacks than the power-law would predict; no incident since 1979 has killed more than two hundred people. The fact that Israel’s power-law graph looks so distinct is evidence that our strategic choices do make some difference.
Nate Silver (The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't)
She leans back again against the pine’s trunk. Some slight change in the atmosphere, the humidity, and her mind becomes a greener thing. At midnight, on this hillside, perched in the dark above this city with her pine standing in for a Bo, Mimi gets enlightened. The fear of suffering that is her birthright—the frantic need to steer—blows away on the wind, and something else wings down to replace it. Messages hum from out of the bark she leans against. Chemical semaphores home in over the air. Currents rise from the soil-gripping roots, relayed over great distances through fungal synapses linked up in a network the size of the planet. The signals say: A good answer is worth reinventing from scratch, again and again. They say: The air is a mix we must keep making. They say: There’s as much belowground as above. They tell her: Do not hope or despair or predict or be caught surprised. Never capitulate, but divide, multiply, transform, conjoin, do, and endure as you have all the long day of life. There are seeds that need fire. Seeds that need freezing. Seeds that need to be swallowed, etched in digestive acid, expelled as waste. Seeds that must be smashed open before they’ll germinate. A thing can travel everywhere, just by holding still. The next day dawns. The sun rises so slowly that even the birds forget there was ever anything else but dawn. People drift back through the park on their way to jobs, appointments, and other urgencies. Making a living. Some pass within a few feet of the altered woman. Mimi comes to, and speaks her very first Buddha’s words. “I’m hungry.” The answer comes from right above her head. Be hungry. “I’m thirsty.” Be thirsty. “I hurt.” Be still and feel.
Richard Powers (The Overstory)
With China and Russia, the ideological contrast is clearer. Putin, the commandant of a petro-state that also happens to be, given its geography, one of the few nations on Earth likely to benefit from continued warming, sees basically no benefit to constraining carbon emissions or greening the economy—Russia’s or the world’s. Xi, now the leader-for-life of the planet’s rising superpower, seems to feel mutual obligations to the country’s growing prosperity and to the health and security of its people—of whom, it’s worth remembering, it has so many. In the wake of Trump, China has become a much more emphatic—or at least louder—green energy leader. But the incentives do not necessarily suggest it will make good on that rhetoric. In 2018, an illuminating study was published comparing how much a country was likely to be burdened by the economic impacts of climate change to its responsibility for global warming, measured by carbon emissions. The fate of India showcased the moral logic of climate change at its most grotesque: expected to be, by far, the world’s most hard-hit country, shouldering nearly twice as much of the burden as the next nation, India’s share of climate burden was four times as high as its share of climate guilt. China is in the opposite situation, its share of guilt four times as high as its share of the burden. Which, unfortunately, means it may be tempted to slow-walk its green energy revolution. The United States, the study found, presented a case of eerie karmic balance: its expected climate damages matching almost precisely its share of global carbon emissions. Not to say either share is small; in fact, of all the nations in the world, the U.S. was predicted to be hit second hardest.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
Moore’s Law, the rule of thumb in the technology industry, tells us that processor chips—the small circuit boards that form the backbone of every computing device—double in speed every eighteen months. That means a computer in 2025 will be sixty-four times faster than it is in 2013. Another predictive law, this one of photonics (regarding the transmission of information), tells us that the amount of data coming out of fiber-optic cables, the fastest form of connectivity, doubles roughly every nine months. Even if these laws have natural limits, the promise of exponential growth unleashes possibilities in graphics and virtual reality that will make the online experience as real as real life, or perhaps even better. Imagine having the holodeck from the world of Star Trek, which was a fully immersive virtual-reality environment for those aboard a ship, but this one is able to both project a beach landscape and re-create a famous Elvis Presley performance in front of your eyes. Indeed, the next moments in our technological evolution promise to turn a host of popular science-fiction concepts into science facts: driverless cars, thought-controlled robotic motion, artificial intelligence (AI) and fully integrated augmented reality, which promises a visual overlay of digital information onto our physical environment. Such developments will join with and enhance elements of our natural world. This is our future, and these remarkable things are already beginning to take shape. That is what makes working in the technology industry so exciting today. It’s not just because we have a chance to invent and build amazing new devices or because of the scale of technological and intellectual challenges we will try to conquer; it’s because of what these developments will mean for the world.
Eric Schmidt (The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business)
Then one evening he reached the last chapter, and then the last page, the last verse. And there it was! That unforgivable and unfathomable misprint that had caused the owner of the books to order them to be pulped. Now Bosse handed a copy to each of them sitting round the table, and they thumbed through to the very last verse, and one by one burst out laughing. Bosse was happy enough to find the misprint. He had no interest in finding out how it got there. He had satisfied his curiosity, and in the process had read his first book since his schooldays, and even got a bit religious while he was at it. Not that Bosse allowed God to have any opinion about Bellringer Farm’s business enterprise, nor did he allow the Lord to be present when he filed his tax return, but – in other respects – Bosse now placed his life in the hands of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And surely none of them would worry about the fact that he set up his stall at markets on Saturdays and sold bibles with a tiny misprint in them? (‘Only ninety-nine crowns each! Jesus! What a bargain!’) But if Bosse had cared, and if, against all odds, he had managed to get to the bottom of it, then after what he had told his friends, he would have continued: A typesetter in a Rotterdam suburb had been through a personal crisis. Several years earlier, he had been recruited by Jehovah’s Witnesses but they had thrown him out when he discovered, and questioned rather too loudly, the fact that the congregation had predicted the return of Jesus on no less than fourteen occasions between 1799 and 1980 – and sensationally managed to get it wrong all fourteen times. Upon which, the typesetter had joined the Pentecostal Church; he liked their teachings about the Last Judgment, he could embrace the idea of God’s final victory over evil, the return of Jesus (without their actually naming a date) and how most of the people from the typesetter’s childhood including his own father, would burn in hell. But this new congregation sent him packing too. A whole month’s collections had gone astray while in the care of the typesetter. He had sworn by all that was holy that the disappearance had nothing to do with him. Besides, shouldn’t Christians forgive? And what choice did he have when his car broke down and he needed a new one to keep his job? As bitter as bile, the typesetter started the layout for that day’s jobs, which ironically happened to consist of printing two thousand bibles! And besides, it was an order from Sweden where as far as the typesetter knew, his father still lived after having abandoned his family when the typesetter was six years old. With tears in his eyes, the typesetter set the text of chapter upon chapter. When he came to the very last chapter – the Book of Revelation – he just lost it. How could Jesus ever want to come back to Earth? Here where Evil had once and for all conquered Good, so what was the point of anything? And the Bible… It was just a joke! So it came about that the typesetter with the shattered nerves made a little addition to the very last verse in the very last chapter in the Swedish bible that was just about to be printed. The typesetter didn’t remember much of his father’s tongue, but he could at least recall a nursery rhyme that was well suited in the context. Thus the bible’s last two verses plus the typesetter’s extra verse were printed as: 20. He who testifies to these things says, Surely I am coming quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!21. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.22. And they all lived happily ever after.
Jonas Jonasson (Der Hundertjährige, der aus dem Fenster stieg und verschwand)
I want to share three warnings. First, to stand up for human goodness is to stand up against a hydra–that mythological seven-headed monster that grew back two heads for every one Hercules lopped off. Cynicism works a lot like that. For every misanthropic argument you deflate, two more will pop up in its place. Veneer theory is a zombie that just keeps coming back. Second, to stand up for human goodness is to take a stand against the powers that be. For the powerful, a hopeful view of human nature is downright threatening. Subversive. Seditious. It implies that we’re not selfish beasts that need to be reined in, restrained and regulated. It implies that we need a different kind of leadership. A company with intrinsically motivated employees has no need of managers; a democracy with engaged citizens has no need of career politicians. Third, to stand up for human goodness means weathering a storm of ridicule. You’ll be called naive. Obtuse. Any weakness in your reasoning will be mercilessly exposed. Basically, it’s easier to be a cynic. The pessimistic professor who preaches the doctrine of human depravity can predict anything he wants, for if his prophecies don’t come true now, just wait: failure could always be just around the corner, or else his voice of reason has prevented the worst. The prophets of doom sound oh so profound, whatever they spout. The reasons for hope, by contrast, are always provisional. Nothing has gone wrong–yet. You haven’t been cheated–yet. An idealist can be right her whole life and still be dismissed as naive. This book is intended to change that. Because what seems unreasonable, unrealistic and impossible today can turn out to be inevitable tomorrow. The time has come for a new view of human nature. It’s time for a new realism. It’s time for a new view of humankind.
Rutger Bregman
You were taught that even when the charism of celibacy and chastity is present and embraced, the attractions, the impulses, the desires will still be present. So the first thing you need to do is be aware that you are a human being, and no matter how saintly or holy you are, you will never remove yourself from those passions. But the idea was making prudent choices. You just walk away. Celibacy is a radical call, and you’ve made a decision not to act on your desire.” Today, seminaries say they screen applicants rigorously. In Boston, for example, a young man must begin conversations with the vocations director a year before applying for admissions, and then the application process takes at least four months. Most seminaries require that applicants be celibate for as long as five years before starting the program, just to test out the practice, and students are expected to remain celibate throughout seminary as they continue to discern whether they are cut out to lead the sexless life of an ordained priest. Some seminaries screen out applicants who say they are sexually attracted to other men, but most do not, arguing that there is no evidence linking sexual orientation to one’s ability to lead a celibate life. The seminaries attempt to weed out potential child abusers, running federal and local criminal background checks, but there is currently no psychological test that can accurately predict whether a man who has never sexually abused a child is likely to do so in the future. So seminary officials say that in the screening process, and throughout seminary training, they are alert to any sign that a man is not forming normal relationships with adults, or seems abnormally interested in children. Many potential applicants are turned away from seminaries, and every year some students are forced out. “Just because there’s a shortage doesn’t mean we should lessen our standards,” said Rev. Edward J. Burns,
The Boston Globe (Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church)
Adrian and Sydney, I know each of you have your own ways of figuring out where I am. If that’s the course of action to choose to take, nothing I do can stop you. But, I’m begging you, please don’t. Please let me stay away. Let the guardians think I’ve gone AWOL. Let me wander the world, helping those I can. I know you think I should stay with Declan. Believe me, I wish I could. I wish more than anything that I could stay and raise Olive’s son – my son – and give him all the things he needs. But I can’t shake the feeling that we’d never be safe. Someday, someone might start asking about Olive and her son. Someone might connect the baby I’m raising to him, and then her fears would be realized. News of his conception would change our world. It would excite some people and scare others. Most of all, it’d make Olive’s predictions come true: people wanting to study him like a lab rat. And that’s why I’m proposing that no one finds out he’s my son or Olive’s. From now on, let him be yours. No one would question you two raising a dhampir. After all, your own children will be dhampirs, and from what I’ve seen, you two are smart enough to find a way to convince others he’s your biological child. I’ve also seen the way you two love each other, the way you support each other. Even with as challenging as your relationship has been, you’ve held true to yourselves and each other. That’s what Declan needs. That’s the kind of home Olive wanted for him, the kind I want for him. I know it won’t be easy, and walking away from this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. If a day comes when I can feel convinced that it’s safe, beyond a doubt, for me to be in his life, then I will. You can use one of those magical methods of yours to find me, and I swear I’ll be there at his side in an instant. But until then, so long as the shadow of others’ fear and scrutiny hangs over him, I beg you to take him and give him the beautiful life I know you can give him. Best, Neil
Richelle Mead (The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6))
In the future, white supremacy will no longer need white people,” the artist Lorraine O’Grady said in 2018, a prognosis that seemed, at least on the surface, to counter what James Baldwin said fifty years ago, which is that “the white man’s sun has set.” Which is it then? What prediction will hold? As an Asian American, I felt emboldened by Baldwin but haunted and implicated by O’Grady. I heard the ring of truth in her comment, which gave me added urgency to finish this book. Whiteness has already recruited us to become their junior partners in genocidal wars; conscripted us to be antiblack and colorist; to work for, and even head, corporations that scythe off immigrant jobs like heads of wheat. Conscription is every day and unconscious. It is the default way of life among those of us who live in relative comfort, unless we make an effort to choose otherwise. Unless we are read as Muslim or trans, Asian Americans are fortunate not to live under hard surveillance, but we live under a softer panopticon, so subtle that it’s internalized, in that we monitor ourselves, which characterizes our conditional existence. Even if we’ve been here for four generations, our status here remains conditional; belonging is always promised and just out of reach so that we behave, whether it’s the insatiable acquisition of material belongings or belonging as a peace of mind where we are absorbed into mainstream society. If the Asian American consciousness must be emancipated, we must free ourselves of our conditional existence. But what does that mean? Does that mean making ourselves suffer to keep the struggle alive? Does it mean simply being awake to our suffering? I can only answer that through the actions of others. As of now, I’m writing when history is being devoured by our digital archives so we never have to remember. The administration has plans to reopen a Japanese internment camp in Oklahoma to fill up with Latin American children. A small band of Japanese internment camp survivors protest this reopening every day. I used to idly wonder whatever happened to all the internment camp survivors. Why did they disappear? Why didn’t they ever speak out? At the demonstration, protester Tom Ikeda said, “We need to be the allies for vulnerable communities today that Japanese Americans didn’t have in 1942.” We were always here.
Cathy Park Hong (Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning)
I breathed in a deep dose of night air, trying to calm my schoolgirl nervousness. “I, umm…” I began. “I decided to stick around here a little while.” There. I’d said it. This was all officially real. Without a moment of hesitation, Marlboro Man wrapped his ample arms around my waist. Then, in what seemed to be less than a second, he hoisted me from my horizontal position on the bed of his pickup until we were both standing in front of each other. Scooping me off my feet, he raised me up to his height so his icy blue eyes were level with mine. “Wait…are you serious?” he asked, taking my face in his hands. Squaring it in front of his. Looking me in the eye. “You’re not going?” “Nope,” I answered. “Whoa,” he said, smiling and moving in for a long, impassioned kiss on the back of his Ford F250. “I can’t believe it,” he continued, squeezing me tightly. Our knees buckled under the heat, and before I knew it we were back where we’d been before, rolling around and kissing manically in the bed of his diesel pickup. Occasionally my arm would hit a crowbar and my head would slam against a spare tire or a cattle prod or a jack; I didn’t care, of course. I’d said what I wanted to say that night. Everything else--even minor head injuries--was a piece of cake. We stayed there a long, long time, the balmy night air giving us no good reason to leave. Under the innumerable stars, amidst all the embraces and kisses and sounds from the surrounding livestock, I suddenly felt more at peace in my decision than I had since my phone call with Rhonda the Realtor that morning. I felt at home, comfortable, nestled in, wonderful. My life had changed that day, changed in a way I never, ever, could have predicted. My big-city plans--plans many months in the making--had all at once been smashed to smithereens by a six-foot cowboy with manure on his boots. A cowboy I’d known, essentially, for less than three weeks. It was the craziest thing I’d ever done, deciding to take an impulsive walk down this new and unexpected path. And while I secretly wondered how long it would take for me to regret my decision, I rested easily, at least for that night, in the knowledge that I’d had the courage to step out on such an enormous limb. It was late. Time to go. “Want me to drive you home now?” Marlboro Man asked, lacing our fingers together, kissing the back of my hand. “Or, do you…” He paused, considering his words. “Do you want to come stay at my place?
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
When a Single Glance Can Cost a Million Dollars Under conditions of stress, the human body responds in predictable ways: increased heart rate, pupil dilation, perspiration, fine motor tremors, tics. In high-pressure situations, such as negotiating an employment package or being cross-examined under oath, no matter how we might try to play it cool, our bodies give us away. We broadcast our emotional state, just as Marilyn Monroe broadcast her lust for President Kennedy. We each exhibit a unique and consistent pattern of stress signals. For those who know how to read such cues, we’re essentially handing over a dictionary to our body language. Those closest to us probably already recognize a few of our cues, but an expert can take it one step further, and closely predict our actions. Jeff “Happy” Shulman is one such expert. Happy is a world-class poker player. To achieve his impressive winnings, he’s spent much of his life mastering mystique. At the highest level of play, winning depends not merely on skill, experience, statistics, or even luck with the cards, but also on an intimate understanding of human nature. In poker, the truth isn’t written just all over your face. The truth is written all over your body. Drops of Sweat, a Nervous Blink, and Other “Tells” Tournament poker is no longer a game of cards, but a game of interpretation, deception, and self-control. In an interview, Happy says that memorizing and recognizing your opponent’s nuances can be more decisive than luck or skill. Imperceptible gestures can reveal a million dollars’ worth of information. Players call these gestures “tells.” With a tell, a player unintentionally exposes his thoughts and intentions to the rest of the table. The ability to hide one’s tells—and conversely, to read the other players’ tells—offers a distinct advantage. At the amateur level, tells are simpler. Feet and legs are the biggest moving parts of your body, so skittish tapping is a dead giveaway. So is looking at a hand of cards and smiling, or rearranging cards with quivering fingertips. But at the professional level, tells would be almost impossible for you or me to read. Happy spent his career learning how to read these tells. “If you know what the other player is going to do, it’s easier to defend against it.” Like others competing at his level, Happy might prepare for a major tournament by spending hours reviewing tapes of his competitors’ previous games in order to instantly translate their tells during live competition.
Sally Hogshead (Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation)
unless we’re missing our guess, your life and the gospel probably haven’t always felt in sync on a lot of days, in most of the years since. After the emotional scene with the trembling chin and the wadded-up Kleenexes, where you truly felt the weight of your own sin and the Spirit’s conviction, you’ve had a hard time consistently enjoying and experiencing what God’s supposedly done to remedy this self-defeating situation. Even on those repeat occasions when you’ve crashed and burned and resolved to do better, you’ve typically only been able, for a little while, to sit on your hands, trying to stay in control of yourself by rugged determination and brute sacrifice (which you sure hope God is noticing and adding to your score). But you’ll admit, it’s not exactly a feeling of freedom and victory. And anytime the wheels come off again, as they often do, it just feels like the same old condemnation as before. Devastating that you can’t crack the code on this thing, huh? You were pretty sure that being a Christian was supposed to change you—and it has. Some. But man, there’s still so much more that needs changing. Drastic things. Daily things. Changes in your habits, your routines, in your choices and decisions, changes to the stuff you just never stop hating about yourself, changes in what you do and don’t do . . . and don’t ever want to do again! Changes in how you think, how you cope, how you ride out the guilt and shame when you’ve blown it again. How you shoot down those old trigger responses—the ones you can’t seem to keep from reacting badly to, even after you keep telling yourself to be extra careful, knowing how predictably they set you off. Changes in your closest relationships, changes in your work habits, changes that have just never happened for you before, the kind of changes that—if you can ever get it together—might finally start piling up, you think, rolling forward, fueling some fresh momentum for you, keeping you moving in the right direction. But then—stop us if you’ve heard this one before . . . You barely if ever change. And come on, shouldn’t you be more transformed by now? This is around the point where, when what you’ve always thought or expected of God is no longer squaring with what you’re feeling, that you start creating your own cover versions of the gospel, piecing together things you’ve heard and believed and experimented with—some from the past, some from the present. You lay down new tracks with a gospel feel but, sadly, not always a lot of gospel truth.
Matt Chandler (Recovering Redemption: A Gospel Saturated Perspective on How to Change)
I’d been reflecting on this--the drastic turn my life and my outlook on love had taken--more and more on the evenings Marlboro Man and I spent together, the nights we sat on his quiet porch, with no visible city lights or traffic sounds anywhere. Usually we’d have shared a dinner, done the dishes, watched a movie. But we’d almost always wind up on his porch, sitting or standing, overlooking nothing but dark, open countryside illuminated by the clear, unpolluted moonlight. If we weren’t wrapping in each other’s arms, I imagined, the quiet, rural darkness might be a terribly lonely place. But Marlboro Man never gave me a chance to find out. It was on this very porch that Marlboro Man had first told me he loved me, not two weeks after our first date. It had been a half-whisper, a mere thought that had left his mouth in a primal, noncalculated release. And it had both surprised and melted me all at once; the honesty of it, the spontaneity, the unbridled emotion. But though everything in my gut told me I was feeling exactly the same way, in all the time since I still hadn’t found the courage to repeat those words to him. I was guarded, despite the affection Marlboro Man heaped upon me. I was jaded; my old relationship had done that to me, and watching the crumbling of my parents’ thirty-year marriage hadn’t exactly helped. There was just something about saying the words “I love you” that was difficult for me, even though I knew, without a doubt, that I did love him. Oh, I did. But I was hanging on to them for dear life--afraid of what my saying them would mean, afraid of what might come of it. I’d already eaten beef--something I never could have predicted I’d do when I was living the vegetarian lifestyle. I’d gotten up before 4:00 A.M. to work cattle. And I’d put my Chicago plans on hold. At least, that’s what I’d told myself all that time. I put my plans on hold. That was enough, wasn’t it? Putting my life’s plans on hold for him? Marlboro Man had to know I loved him, didn’t he? He was so confident when we were together, so open, so honest, so transparent and sure. There was no such thing as “give-and-take” with him. He gave freely, poured out his heart willingly, and either he didn’t particularly care what my true feelings were for him, or, more likely, he already knew. Despite my silence, despite my fear of totally losing my grip on my former self, on the independent girl that I’d wanted to believe I was for so long…he knew. And he had all the patience he needed to wait for me to say it.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
Catastrophizing. Predicting extremely negative future outcomes, such as “If I don’t do well on this paper, I will flunk out of college and never have a good job.”   All-or-nothing. Viewing things as all-good or all-bad, black or white, as in “If my new colleagues don’t like me, they must hate me.” Personalization. Thinking that negative actions or words of others are related to you, or assuming that you are the cause of a negative event when you actually had no connection with it. Overgeneralizations. Seeing one negative situation as representative of all similar events. Labeling. Attaching negative labels to ourselves or others. Rather than focusing on a particular thing that you didn’t like and want to change, you might label yourself a loser or a failure. Magnification/minimization. Emphasizing bad things and deemphasizing good in a situation, such as making a big deal about making a mistake, and ignoring achievements. Emotional reasoning. Letting your feelings about something guide your conclusions about how things really are, as in “I feel hopeless, so my situation really must be hopeless.” Discounting positives. Disqualifying positive experiences as evidence that your negative beliefs are false—for example, by saying that you got lucky, something good happened accidentally, or someone was lying when giving you a compliment. Negativity bias. Seeing only the bad aspects of a situation and dwelling on them, in the process viewing the situation as completely bad even though there may have been positives. Should/must statements. Setting up expectations for yourself based on what you think you “should” do. These usually come from perceptions of what others think, and may be totally unrealistic. You might feel guilty for failing or not wanting these standards and feel frustration and resentment. Buddhism sets this in context. When the word “should” is used, it leaves no leeway for flexibility of self-acceptance. It is fine to have wise, loving, self-identified guidelines for behavior, but remember that the same response or action to all situations is neither productive nor ideal. One size never fits all.  Jumping to conclusions. Making negative predictions about the outcome of a situation without definite facts or evidence. This includes predicting a bad future event and acting as if it were already fact, or concluding that others reacted negatively to you without asking them. ​Dysfunctional automatic thoughts like these are common. If you think that they are causing suffering in your life, make sure you address them as a part of your CBT focus.
Lawrence Wallace (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: 7 Ways to Freedom from Anxiety, Depression, and Intrusive Thoughts (Happiness is a trainable, attainable skill!))
It seems the primary breeding group for what might, in the widest possible sense of the word, be understood as an opposition in the post-totalitarian system is living within the truth. The confrontation between these opposition forces and the powers that be, of course, will obviously take a form essentially different from that typical of an open society or a classical dictatorship. Initially, this confrontation does not take place on the level of real, institutionalized, quantifiable power which relies on the various instruments of power, but on a different level altogether: the level of human consciousness and conscience, the existential level. The effective range of this special power cannot be measured in terms of disciples, voters, or soldiers, because it lies spread out in the fifth column of social consciousness, in the hidden aims of life, in human beings' repressed longing for dignity and fundamental rights, for the realization of their real social and political interests. Its power, therefore does not reside in the strength of definable political or social groups, but chiefly in the strength of a potential, which is hidden throughout the whole of society, including the official power structures of that society. Therefore this power does not rely on soldiers of its own, but on the soldiers of the enemy as it were—that is to say, on everyone who is living within the lie and who may be struck at any moment (in theory, at least) by the force of truth (or who, out of an instinctive desire to protect their position, may at least adapt to that force). It is a bacteriological weapon, so to speak, utilized when conditions are ripe by a single civilian to disarm an entire division. This power does not participate in any direct struggle for power; rather, it makes its influence felt in the obscure arena of being itself. The hidden movements it gives rise to there, however, can issue forth (when, where, under what circumstances, and to what extent are difficult to predict) in something visible: a real political act or event, a social movement, a sudden explosion of civil unrest, a sharp conflict inside an apparently monolithic power structure, or simply an irrepressible transformation in the social and intellectual climate. And since all genuine problems and matters of critical importance are hidden beneath a think crust of lies, it is never quite clear when the proverbial last straw will fall, or what that straw will be. This, too, is why the regime prosecutes, almost as a reflex action preventatively, even the most modest attempts to live within the truth.
Václav Havel (The Power of the Powerless)
All those statistics - the ones about decline - point toward massive theological discontent. People still believe in God. They just do not believe in the God proclaimed and worshipped by conventional religious organizations. Some of the discontented - and there are many of them - do not know what to call themselves. So they check the “unaffiliated” box on religion surveys. They have become secular humanists, agnostics, posttheists, and atheists and have rejected the conventional God. Others say they are spiritual but not religious. They still believe in God but have abandoned conventional forms of congregating. Still others declare themselves “done” with religion. They slink away from religious communities, traditions that once gave them life, and go hiking on Sunday morning. Some still go to church, but are hanging on for dear life, hoping against hope that something in their churches will change. They pray prayers about heaven that no longer make sense and sing hymns about an eternal life they do not believe in. They want to be in the world, because they know they are made of the same stuff as the world and that the world is what really matters, but some nonsense someone taught them once about the world being bad or warning of hell still echoes in their heads. They are afraid to say what they really think or feel for fear that no one will listen or care or even understand. They think they might be crazy. All these people are turning toward the world because they intuit that is where they will find meaning and awe, that which those who are still theists call God. They are not crazy. They are part of this spiritual revolution - people discovering God in the world and a world that is holy, a reality that enfolds what we used to call heaven and earth into one. These people are not secular, even though their main concern is the world; they are not particularly religious (in the old-fashioned understanding of the term), even though they are deeply aware of God. They are fashioning a way of faith between conventional theism and any kind of secularism devoid of the divine. In our time, people are turning toward the numinous presence that animates the world, what theologian Rudolf Otto called “the Holy.” They are those who are discovering a deeply worldly faith. Decades ago Catholic theologian Karl Rahner made a prediction about devout people of the future. He said they would either be “mystics,” those who have “experienced something ,” or “cease to be anything at all”; and if they are mystical believers, they will be those whose faith “is profoundly present and committed to the world.” The future of faith would be an earthy spirituality , a brilliant awareness of the spirit that vivifies the world.
Diana Butler Bass (Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution)
Stoic ethics is a species of eudaimonism. Its central, organizing concern is about what we ought to do or be to live well—to flourish. That is, we make it a lemma that all people ought to pursue a good life for themselves as a categorical commitment second to none. It does not follow from this that they ought to pursue any one particular version of the good life, or to cling tenaciously to the one they are pursuing. … Living virtuously is the process of creating a single, spatiotemporal object—a life. A life has a value as an object, as a whole. It is not always the case that its value as an object will be a function of the value of its spatiotemporal parts considered separately. But it is always the case that an evaluation of the parts will be incomplete until they are understood in the context of the whole life. What seems so clearly valuable (or required or excellent) when we focus on a thin temporal slice of a life (or a single, long strand of a life) may turn out to be awful or optional or vicious when we take a larger view. And it is the life as a whole that we consider when we think about its value in relation to other things, or its value as a part of the cosmos. … In our view, a focus on the parts of a life, or on the sum of its parts, obscures some important features of ethical inquiry. One such feature is the extent to which an agent’s own estimate of the value of his life is necessarily inconclusive: others will have to judge his life as a whole, because its character as a whole is not likely to be predictable while he is around to judge it, and because many important holistic considerations, such as its beauty, excellence, justice, and net effect, are things that he is either not well situated to judge or at least not in a privileged position to judge. Another feature obscured is the range of ways in which a single event or characteristic, without wide causal connections to other elements of one’s life, can nonetheless ruin it; for example, the possibility that a monstrously unjust act can indelibly stain a whole life. A third, related obscurity introduced by ignoring a whole-life frame of reference is the extent to which both aesthetic criteria and the notion of excellence have clear roles in the evaluation of a life. The whole-life frame of reference, together with a plausible account of the variety of ways in which a life can be a good one, keeps Stoicism sharply distinct from Epicurean doctrines, or their modern “welfarist” offshoots. How well my life is going from the inside, so to speak, in terms of the quality of my experience, is only one of the things that enters into a Stoic evaluation of it. We hold that there is a single unifying aim in the life of every rational agent, and that aim, guided by the notion of a good life (happiness, eudaimonia), is virtue, understood as the perfection of agency.
Lawrence C. Becker (A New Stoicism)
Since my visit to the Hermitage, I had become more aware of the four figures, two women and two men, who stood around the luminous space where the father welcomed his returning son. Their way of looking leaves you wondering how they think or feel about what they are watching. These bystanders, or observers, allow for all sorts of interpretations. As I reflect on my own journey, I become more and more aware of how long I have played the role of observer. For years I had instructed students on the different aspects of the spiritual life, trying to help them see the importance of living it. But had I, myself, really ever dared to step into the center, kneel down, and let myself be held by a forgiving God? The simple fact of being able to express an opinion, to set up an argument, to defend a position, and to clarify a vision has given me, and gives me still, a sense of control. And, generally, I feel much safer in experiencing a sense of control over an undefinable situation than in taking the risk of letting that situation control me. Certainly there were many hours of prayer, many days and months of retreat, and countless conversations with spiritual directors, but I had never fully given up the role of bystander. Even though there has been in me a lifelong desire to be an insider looking out, I nevertheless kept choosing over and over again the position of the outsider looking in. Sometimes this looking-in was a curious looking-in, sometimes a jealous looking-in, sometimes an anxious looking-in, and, once in a while, even a loving looking-in. But giving up the somewhat safe position of the critical observer seemed like a great leap into totally unknown territory. I so much wanted to keep some control over my spiritual journey, to be able to predict at least a part of the outcome, that relinquishing the security of the observer for the vulnerability of the returning son seemed close to impossible. Teaching students, passing on the many explanations given over the centuries to the words and actions of Jesus, and showing them the many spiritual journeys that people have chosen in the past seemed very much like taking the position of one of the four figures surrounding the divine embrace. The two women standing behind the father at different distances the seated man staring into space and looking at no one in particular, and the tall man standing erect and looking critically at the event on the platform in front of him--they all represent different ways of not getting involved. There is indifference, curiosity, daydreaming, and attentive observation; there is staring, gazing, watching, and looking; there is standing in the background, leaning against an arch, sitting with arms crossed, and standing with hands gripping each other. Every one of these inner and outward postures are all too familiar with me. Some are more comfortable than others, but all of them are ways of not getting directly involved," (pp. 12-13).
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming)
Why don't you make everybody an Alpha Double Plus while you're about it?" Mustapha Mond laughed. "Because we have no wish to have our throats cut," he answered. "We believe in happiness and stability. A society of Alphas couldn't fail to be unstable and miserable. Imagine a factory staffed by Alphas–that is to say by separate and unrelated individuals of good heredity and conditioned so as to be capable (within limits) of making a free choice and assuming responsibilities. Imagine it!" he repeated. The Savage tried to imagine it, not very successfully. "It's an absurdity. An Alpha-decanted, Alpha-conditioned man would go mad if he had to do Epsilon Semi-Moron work–go mad, or start smashing things up. Alphas can be completely socialized–but only on condition that you make them do Alpha work. Only an Epsilon can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason that for him they aren't sacrifices; they're the line of least resistance. His conditioning has laid down rails along which he's got to run. He can't help himself; he's foredoomed. Even after decanting, he's still inside a bottle–an invisible bottle of infantile and embryonic fixations. Each one of us, of course," the Controller meditatively continued, "goes through life inside a bottle. But if we happen to be Alphas, our bottles are, relatively speaking, enormous. We should suffer acutely if we were confined in a narrower space. You cannot pour upper-caste champagne-surrogate into lower-caste bottles. It's obvious theoretically. But it has also been proved in actual practice. The result of the Cyprus experiment was convincing." "What was that?" asked the Savage. Mustapha Mond smiled. "Well, you can call it an experiment in rebottling if you like. It began in A.F. 473. The Controllers had the island of Cyprus cleared of all its existing inhabitants and re-colonized with a specially prepared batch of twenty-two thousand Alphas. All agricultural and industrial equipment was handed over to them and they were left to manage their own affairs. The result exactly fulfilled all the theoretical predictions. The land wasn't properly worked; there were strikes in all the factories; the laws were set at naught, orders disobeyed; all the people detailed for a spell of low-grade work were perpetually intriguing for high-grade jobs, and all the people with high-grade jobs were counter-intriguing at all costs to stay where they were. Within six years they were having a first-class civil war. When nineteen out of the twenty-two thousand had been killed, the survivors unanimously petitioned the World Controllers to resume the government of the island. Which they did. And that was the end of the only society of Alphas that the world has ever seen." The Savage sighed, profoundly. "The optimum population," said Mustapha Mond, "is modelled on the iceberg–eight-ninths below the water line, one-ninth above." "And they're happy below the water line?" "Happier than above it.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
This brings me to an objection to integrated information theory by the quantum physicist Scott Aaronson. His argument has given rise to an instructive online debate that accentuates the counterintuitive nature of some IIT's predictions. Aaronson estimates phi.max for networks called expander graphs, characterized by being both sparsely yet widely connected. Their integrated information will grow indefinitely as the number of elements in these reticulated lattices increases. This is true even of a regular grid of XOR logic gates. IIT predicts that such a structure will have high phi.max. This implies that two-dimensional arrays of logic gates, easy enough to build using silicon circuit technology, have intrinsic causal powers and will feel like something. This is baffling and defies commonsense intuition. Aaronson therefor concludes that any theory with such a bizarre conclusion must be wrong. Tononi counters with a three-pronged argument that doubles down and strengthens the theory's claim. Consider a blank featureless wall. From the extrinsic perspective, it is easily described as empty. Yet the intrinsic point of view of an observer perceiving the wall seethes with an immense number of relations. It has many, many locations and neighbourhood regions surrounding these. These are positioned relative to other points and regions - to the left or right, above or below. Some regions are nearby, while others are far away. There are triangular interactions, and so on. All such relations are immediately present: they do not have to be inferred. Collectively, they constitute an opulent experience, whether it is seen space, heard space, or felt space. All share s similar phenomenology. The extrinsic poverty of empty space hides vast intrinsic wealth. This abundance must be supported by a physical mechanism that determines this phenomenology through its intrinsic causal powers. Enter the grid, such a network of million integrate-or-fire or logic units arrayed on a 1,000 by 1,000 lattice, somewhat comparable to the output of an eye. Each grid elements specifies which of its neighbours were likely ON in the immediate past and which ones will be ON in the immediate future. Collectively, that's one million first-order distinctions. But this is just the beginning, as any two nearby elements sharing inputs and outputs can specify a second-order distinction if their joint cause-effect repertoire cannot be reduced to that of the individual elements. In essence, such a second-order distinction links the probability of past and future states of the element's neighbours. By contrast, no second-order distinction is specified by elements without shared inputs and outputs, since their joint cause-effect repertoire is reducible to that of the individual elements. Potentially, there are a million times a million second-order distinctions. Similarly, subsets of three elements, as long as they share input and output, will specify third-order distinctions linking more of their neighbours together. And on and on. This quickly balloons to staggering numbers of irreducibly higher-order distinctions. The maximally irreducible cause-effect structure associated with such a grid is not so much representing space (for to whom is space presented again, for that is the meaning of re-presentation?) as creating experienced space from an intrinsic perspective.
Christof Koch (The Feeling of Life Itself: Why Consciousness Is Widespread But Can't Be Computed)
SELF-MANAGEMENT Trust We relate to one another with an assumption of positive intent. Until we are proven wrong, trusting co-workers is our default means of engagement. Freedom and accountability are two sides of the same coin. Information and decision-making All business information is open to all. Every one of us is able to handle difficult and sensitive news. We believe in collective intelligence. Nobody is as smart as everybody. Therefore all decisions will be made with the advice process. Responsibility and accountability We each have full responsibility for the organization. If we sense that something needs to happen, we have a duty to address it. It’s not acceptable to limit our concern to the remit of our roles. Everyone must be comfortable with holding others accountable to their commitments through feedback and respectful confrontation. WHOLENESS Equal worth We are all of fundamental equal worth. At the same time, our community will be richest if we let all members contribute in their distinctive way, appreciating the differences in roles, education, backgrounds, interests, skills, characters, points of view, and so on. Safe and caring workplace Any situation can be approached from fear and separation, or from love and connection. We choose love and connection. We strive to create emotionally and spiritually safe environments, where each of us can behave authentically. We honor the moods of … [love, care, recognition, gratitude, curiosity, fun, playfulness …]. We are comfortable with vocabulary like care, love, service, purpose, soul … in the workplace. Overcoming separation We aim to have a workplace where we can honor all parts of us: the cognitive, physical, emotional, and spiritual; the rational and the intuitive; the feminine and the masculine. We recognize that we are all deeply interconnected, part of a bigger whole that includes nature and all forms of life. Learning Every problem is an invitation to learn and grow. We will always be learners. We have never arrived. Failure is always a possibility if we strive boldly for our purpose. We discuss our failures openly and learn from them. Hiding or neglecting to learn from failure is unacceptable. Feedback and respectful confrontation are gifts we share to help one another grow. We focus on strengths more than weaknesses, on opportunities more than problems. Relationships and conflict It’s impossible to change other people. We can only change ourselves. We take ownership for our thoughts, beliefs, words, and actions. We don’t spread rumors. We don’t talk behind someone’s back. We resolve disagreements one-on-one and don’t drag other people into the problem. We don’t blame problems on others. When we feel like blaming, we take it as an invitation to reflect on how we might be part of the problem (and the solution). PURPOSE Collective purpose We view the organization as having a soul and purpose of its own. We try to listen in to where the organization wants to go and beware of forcing a direction onto it. Individual purpose We have a duty to ourselves and to the organization to inquire into our personal sense of calling to see if and how it resonates with the organization’s purpose. We try to imbue our roles with our souls, not our egos. Planning the future Trying to predict and control the future is futile. We make forecasts only when a specific decision requires us to do so. Everything will unfold with more grace if we stop trying to control and instead choose to simply sense and respond. Profit In the long run, there are no trade-offs between purpose and profits. If we focus on purpose, profits will follow.
Frederic Laloux (Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness)
In Shushan the citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. Kish had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. Esther 2:5-6 Mordecai is a Jew living in Shushan (remember from last week — this is the city that Darius established as the capital). His great-grandfather is Kish the Benjamite, who was brought to Persia / Babylon during the Babylonian captivity. Even though King Cyrus ended the captivity many years ago, many Jews have remained in Persia. Mordecai’s family was among them. Mordecai’s heritage is an vital part of God’s plan, so let’s be careful not to over look this important detail. God always has a remnant of people. Even though Mordecai is no longer captive to the will of man keeping him in exile, he is still captive to the will of God. As a result of his obedience to God, Mordecai remained in Persia even after he was free to leave. God has promised to protect His people, and His plan is in action. Mordecai is an important part of that plan! Also important to note is that this the historian’s first mention of Jews living in Persia. Mordecai descending from Kish the Benjamite is interesting, because another important biblical figure also descended from Kish: Israel’s first king, Saul. Saul was Kish’s son (1 Samuel 9:1). While this point may not seem important in a history of Ahasuerus, the ancestry of this Jew is very important in the history of Persia. Mordecai’s most important connection is about to be introduced to us: his cousin, Esther. “And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.” Esther 2:7 Ahasuerus is not the only one in Persia busy preparing; Mordecai is preparing as well. For many years now, he has been preparing Esther, raising her for the future that God intended for her. As you prepare, consider that you might be preparing for a future you do not know anything about; and that you may be preparing someone other than yourself. Mordecai’s first step was to obey God. Certainly it was God who told him to stay with Esther in Persia, even after her parents had died. We are never told that Mordecai had married; what reason was there for him to stay in Persia? Even so, Mordecai stayed in Persia with Esther and raised her as his own daughter. Raising her was a process, and he had to depend on the Lord to know the right thing to do. He had no way of predicting what would happen in her life or his, but he was obedient during the process (remember Jeremiah 29?). Mordecai was preparing Esther for a future he did not know anything about yet, but Mordecai knew something that we need to keep in our hearts as well: serving God every day will develop qualities in us that will serve us well, whatever the future may hold. Mordecai was preparing Esther to be faithful to God, knowing that quality could only help her in her life. Mordecai did not know what God had in store for Esther — but he did know that God had a plan for her, just as He has a plan for all of us. Mordecai poured his life into her. Is there someone that you are supposed to be pouring your life into? Perhaps while reading this history, you are identifying with Esther. Maybe you are an “Esther”, but consider that you may be a “Mordecai”. It is likely you will identify with both of them at different seasons in your life. Pray that you will be able to discern those seasons. Mordecai and Esther are cousins. Sometime after the Jews were carried away to Persia, Esther’s parents died. Out of the heartbreaking tragedy of losing her parents, God’s providence was still at work. His word promises that in the hands of the Lord, “all things work together for good to those who
Jennifer Spivey (Esther: Reflections From An Unexpected Life)
Life happens as we make it happen. We’re making this happen. But it’s not so predictable.
Michael Kenneth Mann (Heat 2)
Scott Eastman told me that he “never completely fit in one world.” He grew up in Oregon and competed in math and science contests, but in college he studied English literature and fine arts. He has been a bicycle mechanic, a housepainter, founder of a housepainting company, manager of a multimillion-dollar trust, a photographer, a photography teacher, a lecturer at a Romanian university—in subjects ranging from cultural anthropology to civil rights—and, most unusually, chief adviser to the mayor of Avrig, a small town in the middle of Romania. In that role, he did everything from helping integrate new technologies into the local economy to dealing with the press and participating in negotiations with Chinese business leaders. Eastman narrates his life like a book of fables; each experience comes with a lesson. “I think that housepainting was probably one of the greatest helps,” he told me. It afforded him the chance to interact with a diverse palette of colleagues and clients, from refugees seeking asylum to Silicon Valley billionaires whom he would chat with if he had a long project working on their homes. He described it as fertile ground for collecting perspectives. But housepainting is probably not a singular education for geopolitical prediction. Eastman, like his teammates, is constantly collecting perspectives anywhere he can, always adding to his intellectual range, so any ground is fertile for him.
David Epstein (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
You might also strive to make your life as predictable and orderly as possible—to literally control the various ingredients that make up your life—so that you knew ahead of time what was expected of you, what was going to happen, and how to prepare for it. Your basic goal would be to eliminate surprises. Slowly, painstakingly, you would rebuild your own internal regulator, with structure and predictability. What you lose in the way of spontaneity, you gain by way of sanity.
Elyn R. Saks (The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness)
So what was this reincarnated ether, and what did it mean for Mach’s principle and for the question raised by Newton’s bucket?* Einstein had initially enthused that general relativity explained rotation as being simply a motion relative to other objects in space, just as Mach had argued. In other words, if you were inside a bucket that was dangling in empty space, with no other objects in the universe, there would be no way to tell if you were spinning or not. Einstein even wrote to Mach saying he should be pleased that his principle was supported by general relativity. Einstein had asserted this claim in a letter to Schwarzschild, the brilliant young scientist who had written to him from Germany’s Russian front during the war about the cosmological implications of general relativity. “Inertia is simply an interaction between masses, not an effect in which ‘space’ of itself is involved, separate from the observed mass,” Einstein had declared.23 But Schwarzschild disagreed with that assessment. And now, four years later, Einstein had changed his mind. In his Leiden speech, unlike in his 1916 interpretation of general relativity, Einstein accepted that his gravitational field theory implied that empty space had physical qualities. The mechanical behavior of an object hovering in empty space, like Newton’s bucket, “depends not only on relative velocities but also on its state of rotation.” And that meant “space is endowed with physical qualities.” As he admitted outright, this meant that he was now abandoning Mach’s principle. Among other things, Mach’s idea that inertia is caused by the presence of all of the distant bodies in the universe implied that these bodies could instantly have an effect on an object, even though they were far apart. Einstein’s theory of relativity did not accept instant actions at a distance. Even gravity did not exert its force instantly, but only through changes in the gravitational field that obeyed the speed limit of light. “Inertial resistance to acceleration in relation to distant masses supposes action at a distance,” Einstein lectured. “Because the modern physicist does not accept such a thing as action at a distance, he comes back to the ether, which has to serve as medium for the effects of inertia.”24 It is an issue that still causes dispute, but Einstein seemed to believe, at least when he gave his Leiden lecture, that according to general relativity as he now saw it, the water in Newton’s bucket would be pushed up the walls even if it were spinning in a universe devoid of any other objects. “In contradiction to what Mach would have predicted,” Brian Greene writes, “even in an otherwise empty universe, you will feel pressed against the inner wall of the spinning bucket… In general relativity, empty spacetime provides a benchmark for accelerated motion.
Walter Isaacson (Einstein: His Life and Universe)
This is the difference between an ordinary scribe and a literary writer. The highest level of literary creation is when the characters in a novel possess life in the mind of the writer. The writer is unable to control them, and might not even be able to predict the next action they will take. We can only follow them in wonder to observe and record the minute details of their lives like a voyeur. That’s how a classic is made.” “So literature, it turns out, is a perverted endeavor.” “It was like that for Shakespeare and Balzac and Tolstoy, at least. The classic images they created were born from their mental wombs. But today’s practitioners of literature have lost that creativity. Their minds give birth only to shattered fragments and freaks, whose brief lives are nothing but cryptic spasms devoid of reason.
Liu Cixin (The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2))
Building on the Pentagon’s anthrax simulation (1999) and the intelligence agency’s “Dark Winter” (2001), Atlantic Storm (2003, 2005), Global Mercury (2003), Schwartz’s “Lockstep” Scenario Document (2010), and MARS (2017), the Gates-funded SPARS scenario war-gamed a bioterrorist attack that precipitated a global coronavirus epidemic lasting from 2025 to 2028, culminating in coercive mass vaccination of the global population. And, as Gates had promised, the preparations were analogous to “preparing for war.”191 Under the code name “SPARS Pandemic,” Gates presided over a sinister summer school for globalists, spooks, and technocrats in Baltimore. The panelists role-played strategies for co-opting the world’s most influential political institutions, subverting democratic governance, and positioning themselves as unelected rulers of the emerging authoritarian regime. They practiced techniques for ruthlessly controlling dissent, expression, and movement, and degrading civil rights, autonomy, and sovereignty. The Gates simulation focused on deploying the usual psyops retinue of propaganda, surveillance, censorship, isolation, and political and social control to manage the pandemic. The official eighty-nine-page summary is a miracle of fortune-telling—an uncannily precise month-by-month prediction of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic as it actually unfolded.192 Looked at another way, when it erupted five years later, the 2020 COVID-19 contagion faithfully followed the SPARS blueprint. Practically the only thing Gates and his planners got wrong was the year. Gates’s simulation instructs public health officials and other collaborators in the global vaccine cartel exactly what to expect and how to behave during the upcoming plague. Reading through the eighty-nine pages, it’s difficult not to interpret this stunningly prescient document as a planning, signaling, and training exercise for replacing democracy with a new regimen of militarized global medical tyranny. The scenario directs participants to deploy fear-driven propaganda narratives to induce mass psychosis and to direct the public toward unquestioning obedience to the emerging social and economic order. According to the scenario narrative, a so-called “SPARS” coronavirus ignites in the United States in January 2025 (the COVID-19 pandemic began in January 2020). As the WHO declares a global emergency, the federal government contracts a fictional firm that resembles Moderna. Consistent with Gates’s seeming preference for diabolical cognomens, the firm is dubbed “CynBio” (Sin-Bio) to develop an innovative vaccine using new “plug-and-play” technology. In the scenario, and now in real life, Federal health officials invoke the PREP Act to provide vaccine makers liability protection.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health)
To say that the Open Society is one of ever-increasing diversity and complexity is not to say that all complexity is consistent with it. We need to inquire into the conditions that facilitate the sort of bottom-up self-organization we have been analyzing. Social morality is critical in this regard. The key of ultra-social life under conditions of disagreement is reconciliation on shared rules. It has never been the case that humans were able to live together because they simply shared common goals; we are primates, not ant, and so cooperation always needs to be reconciled with sharp differences and conflicts. Socially shared moral rules, it will be recalled, allow humans to develop both the common expectations and practices of accountability on which effective cooperation depends. The moral rules of a complex society serve to dampen its complexity with some firm expectations in the midst of constant adjustments. As Hayek insisted, without shared moral rules the highly diverse reflexive actors of the Open Society could not even begin to effectively coordinate their actions. Shared moral rules allow for significant prediction of what others will do - or, more accurately, not do. Yet, at the same time, while providing expectations on which to base planning, they must also leave individuals with great latitude to adjust their actions to the constant novelty which complexity generates. These two desiderata push in opposite directions: one toward stability of expectations, the other toward freedom to change them. Successfully securing both is the main challenge of the morality of an Open Society.
Gerald F. Gaus (The Open Society and Its Complexities)