Life Reconstruction Quotes

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Nothing, in truth, can ever replace a lost companion. Old comrades cannot be manufactured. There is nothing that can equal the treasure of so many shared memories, so many bad times endured together, so many quarrels, reconciliations, heartfelt impulses. Friendships like that cannot be reconstructed. If you plant an oak, you will hope in vain to sit soon under its shade. For such is life. We grow rich as we plant through the early years, but then come the years when time undoes our work and cuts down our trees. One by one our comrades deprive us of their shade, and within our mourning we always feel now the secret grief of growing old. If I search among my memories for those whose taste is lasting, if I write the balance sheet of the moments that truly counted, I surely find those that no fortune could have bought me. You cannot buy the friendship of a companion bound to you forever by ordeals endured together.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Wind, Sand and Stars)
The difference between an admirer and a follower still remains, no matter where you are. The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, gives up nothing, will not reconstruct his life, will not be what he admires, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires.
Søren Kierkegaard (Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard)
I became aware that our love was doomed; love had turned into a love affair with a beginning and an end. I could name the very moment when it had begun, and one day I knew I should be able to name the final hour. When she left the house I couldn't settle to work. I would reconstruct what we had said to each other; I would fan myself into anger or remorse. And all the time I knew I was forcing the pace. I was pushing, pushing the only thing I loved out of my life. As long as I could make believe that love lasted I was happy; I think I was even good to live with, and so love did last. But if love had to die, I wanted it to die quickly. It was as though our love were a small creature caught in a trap and bleeding to death; I had to shut my eyes and wring its neck.
Graham Greene (The End of the Affair)
In the dull twilight of the winter afternoon she came to the end of a long road which had begun the night Atlanta fell. She had set her feet upon that road a spoiled, selfish and untried girl, full of youth, warm of emotion, easily bewildered by life. Now, at the end of the road, there was nothing left of that girl. Hunger and hard labor, fear and constant strain, the terrors of war and the terrors of Reconstruction had taken away all warmth and youth and softness. About the core of her being, a shell of hardness had formed and, little by little, layer by layer, the shell had thickened during the endless months.
Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind)
In their choice of lovers both the male and the female reveal their essential nature. The type of human being we prefer reveals the contours of our heart. Love is an impulse which springs from the most profound depths of our beings, and upon reaching the visible surface of life carries with it an alluvium of shells and seaweed from the inner abyss. A skilled naturalist, by filing these materials, can reconstruct the oceanic depths from which they have been uprooted.
José Ortega y Gasset
If one cannot get along without a mirror, even in shaving oneself, how can one reconstruct oneself or one's life, without seeing oneself in the "mirror" of literature?
Leon Trotsky
Public truth telling is a form of recovery, especially when combined with social action. Sharing traumatic experiences with others enables victims to reconstruct repressed memory, mourn loss, and master helplessness, which is trauma's essential insult. And, by facilitating reconnection to ordinary life, the public testimony helps survivors restore basic trust in a just world and overcome feelings of isolation. But the talking cure is predicated on the existence of a community willing to bear witness. 'Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships,' write Judith Herman. 'It cannot occur in isolation.
Lawrence N. Powell (Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke's Louisiana)
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
We won't understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed.
Milan Kundera (Ignorance)
Only by acknowledging the full extent of slavery's full grip on U.S. Society - its intimate connections to present day wealth and power, the depth of its injury to black Americans, the shocking nearness in time of its true end - can we reconcile the paradoxes of current American life.
Douglas A. Blackmon (Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II)
We will never cease our critique of those persons who distort the past, rewrite it, falsify it, who exaggerate the importance of one event and fail to mention some other; such a critique is proper (it cannot fail to be), but it doesn't count for much unless a more basic critique precedes it: a critique of human memory as such. For after all, what can memory actually do, the poor thing? It is only capable of retaining a paltry little scrap of the past, and no one knows why just this scrap and not some other one, since in each of us the choice occurs mysteriously, outside our will or our interests. We won't understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed. Even the most voluminous archives cannot help.
Milan Kundera (Ignorance)
Your life can end at any time, and it can end more than once. But it can also begin more than once.
Michael R. French (The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder)
But the tour did remind me that my life had been bigger than just that one moment. One girl. One set of words on paper. That I had gone through other things before-good and terrible, funny and awful-and I had survived.
Kimberly McCreight (Reconstructing Amelia)
...[E]ven I know that being a parent is awful ninety-five percent of the time...As far as I can tell, it's that last five percent that keeps the human race from dying out. Four parts blinding terror, one part perfection. It's like mainlining heroin. One taste of life on that edge and you're hooked.
Kimberly McCreight (Reconstructing Amelia)
We lose track of everything, and of everyone, even ourselves. The facts of my father's life are less known to me than those of the life of Hadrian. My own existence, if I had to write of it, would be reconstructed by me from externals, laboriously, as if it were the life of someone else: I should have to turn to letters, and to the recollections of others, in order to clarify such uncertain memories. What is ever left but crumbled walls, or masses of shade?
Marguerite Yourcenar (Memoirs of Hadrian)
The great point in Christianity is the search for an independent content for spiritual life which, according to the insights of its founder, could be elevated, not by the forces of a world external to the soul of man, but by the revelation of a new world within his soul. Islam fully agrees with this insight and supplements it by the further insight that the illumination of the new world thus revealed is not something foreign to the world of matter but permeates it through and through. Thus the affirmation of spirit sought by Christianity would come not by the renunciation of external forces which are already permeated by the illumination of spirit, but by a proper adjustment of man's relation to these forces in view of the light received from the world within.
Muhammad Iqbal (The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam)
It strikes me that the only real reason to take apart a pocket watch, or a car engine, aside from the simple delight of disassembly, is to find out how it works. To understand it, so you can put it back together again better than before, or build a new one that goes beyond what the old one could do. We’ve been taking apart the superhero for ten years or more; it's time to put it back together and wind it up, time to take it out on the road and floor it, see what it’ll do.
Kurt Busiek (Astro City, Vol. 1: Life in the Big City)
It was love at first touch rather than at first sight, for I had met her several times before without experiencing any special emotions; but one night as I was seeing her home, something quaint she had said made me stoop with a laugh and lightly kiss her on the hair - and of course we all know of that blinding blast which is caused by merely picking up a small doll from the floor of a carefully abandoned house: the soldier involved hears nothing; for him it is but an ecstatic soundless and boundless expansion of what had been during his life a pinpoint of light in the dark center of his being. And really, the reason we think of death in celestial terms is that the visible firmament, especially at night (above our blacked-out Paris with the gaunt arches of its Boulevard Exelmans and the ceaseless Alpine gurgle of desolate latrines), is the most adequate and ever-present symbol of that vast silent explosion' The time, the place, the torture. Her fan, her gloves, her mask. I spent that night and many others getting it out of her bit by bit, but not getting it all. I was under the strange delusion that first I must find out every detail, reconstruct every minute, and only then decide whether I could bear it. But the limit of desired knowledge was unattainable, nor could I ever foretell the approximate point after which I might imagine myself satiated, because of course the denominator of every fraction of knowledge was potentially as infinite as the number of intervals between the fractions themselves.
Vladimir Nabokov (The Collected Stories)
There is a strange emptiness to life without myths. I am African American — by which I mean, a descendant of slaves, rather than a descendant of immigrants who came here willingly and with lives more or less intact. My ancestors were the unwilling, unintact ones: children torn from parents, parents torn from elders, people torn from roots, stories torn from language. Past a certain point, my family’s history just… stops. As if there was nothing there. I could do what others have done, and attempt to reconstruct this lost past. I could research genealogy and genetics, search for the traces of myself in moldering old sale documents and scanned images on microfiche. I could also do what members of other cultures lacking myths have done: steal. A little BS about Atlantis here, some appropriation of other cultures’ intellectual property there, and bam! Instant historically-justified superiority. Worked great for the Nazis, new and old. Even today, white people in my neck of the woods call themselves “Caucasian”, most of them little realizing that the term and its history are as constructed as anything sold in the fantasy section of a bookstore. These are proven strategies, but I have no interest in them. They’ll tell me where I came from, but not what I really want to know: where I’m going. To figure that out, I make shit up.
N.K. Jemisin
Endings are abstruse, mystic and unreal. They are but depleted beginnings purposed to be substituted with newer ones.A transition of outlook and time, similar to our differing moods before and after slumber. Before the act we witness an exhaustion, a sulkiness but on gaining consciousness, we’re rejuvenated and good humored. The wakefulness is the new beginning whereas the tension the disturbance we perceive each night is the weariness of the beginnings, of each day. So there never really is an end, all that there are are beginnings.Beginnings which are promising, which offer hope, which have a new leash on life, which neither denounce nor belittle rather soothe and console by reconstructing the broken pieces of yesterday, mending them and reinforcing them with courage and beauty like never before.
Chirag Tulsiani
I knew you"d never be American enough to help me reconstruct my life.
Zane Grey (The Call of the Canyon)
We live in a world where a hut made of clay is more durable than brick buildings, because poverty doesn't allow it to be reconstructed.
Munia Khan
Yet in another way, calculus is fundamentally naive, almost childish in its optimism. Experience teaches us that change can be sudden, discontinuous, and wrenching. Calculus draws its power by refusing to see that. It insists on a world without accidents, where one thing leads logically to another. Give me the initial conditions and the law of motion, and with calculus I can predict the future -- or better yet, reconstruct the past. I wish I could do that now.
Steven H. Strogatz (The Calculus of Friendship: What a Teacher and a Student Learned about Life While Corresponding about Math)
Thanksgiving reminds us that no matter what befalls us in life, we can take the charred remnants and we can reconstruct a life unimaginably richer than that from which the shards and pieces fell.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
Memory cannot be understood, either, without a mathematical approach. The fundamental given is the ratio between the amount of time in the lived life and the amount of time from that life that is stored in memory. No one has ever tried to calculate this ratio, and in fact there exists no technique for doing so; yet without much risk of error I could assume that the memory retains no more than a millionth, a hundred-millionth, in short an utterly infinitesimal bit of the lived life. That fact too is part of the essence of man. If someone could retain in his memory everything he had experienced, if he could at any time call up any fragment of his past, he would be nothing like human beings: neither his loves nor his friendships nor his angers nor his capacity to forgive or avenge would resemble ours. We will never cease our critique of those persons who distort the past, rewrite it, falsify it, who exaggerate the importance of one event and fail to mention some other; such a critique is proper (it cannot fail to be), but it doesn't count for much unless a more basic critique precedes it: a critique of human memory as such. For after all, what can memory actually do, the poor thing? It is only capable of retaining a paltry little scrap of the past, and no one knows why just this scrap and not some other one, since in each of us the choice occurs mysteriously, outside our will or our interests. We won't understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed.
Milan Kundera
Once their rage explodes, they recover their lost coherence, they experience self-knowledge through reconstruction of themselves; from afar we see their war as the triumph of barbarity; but it proceeds on its own to gradually emancipate the fighter and progressively eliminates the colonial darkness inside and out. As soon as it begins it is merciless. Either one must remain terrified or become terrifying—which means surrendering to the dissociations of a fabricated life or conquering the unity of one’s native soil. When the peasants lay hands on a gun, the old myths fade, and one by one the taboos are overturned: a fighter’s weapon is his humanity. For in the first phase of the revolt killing is a necessity: killing a European is killing two birds with one stone, eliminating in one go oppressor and oppressed: leaving one man dead and the other man free;
Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth)
Personality must be educated, and personality cannot be educated by confining its operations to technical and specialized things, or to the less important relationships of life. Full education comes only when there is a responsible share on the part of each person, in proportion to capacity, in shaping the aims and policies of the social groups to which he belongs.
John Dewey (Reconstruction in Philosophy)
The past is bound to be fragmentary, bound to be reconstructed, bound to be reinvented. It serves only to collect the truths of today. If our present is the child of the past, our past is the child of the present. And the future will be the harvester of our bastard offspring.
Amin Maalouf (Orígenes)
PLANETARIUM Thinking of Caroline Herschel (1750–1848) astronomer, sister of William; and others. A woman in the shape of a monster a monster in the shape of a woman the skies are full of them a woman ‘in the snow among the Clocks and instruments or measuring the ground with poles’ in her 98 years to discover 8 comets she whom the moon ruled like us levitating into the night sky riding the polished lenses Galaxies of women, there doing penance for impetuousness ribs chilled in those spaces of the mind An eye, ‘virile, precise and absolutely certain’ from the mad webs of Uranusborg encountering the NOVA every impulse of light exploding from the core as life flies out of us Tycho whispering at last ‘Let me not seem to have lived in vain’ What we see, we see and seeing is changing the light that shrivels a mountain and leaves a man alive Heartbeat of the pulsar heart sweating through my body The radio impulse pouring in from Taurus I am bombarded yet I stand I have been standing all my life in the direct path of a battery of signals the most accurately transmitted most untranslatable language in the universe I am a galactic cloud so deep so invo- luted that a light wave could take 15 years to travel through me And has taken I am an instrument in the shape of a woman trying to translate pulsations into images for the relief of the body and the reconstruction of the mind.
Adrienne Rich (Collected Early Poems, 1950-1970)
Storytelling is inherently dangerous. Consider a traumatic event in your life. Think about how you experienced it. Now think about how you told it to someone a year later. Now think about how you told it for the hundredth time. It's not the same thing. Most people think perspective is a good thing: you can figure out characters' arcs, you can apply a moral, you can tell it with understanding and context. But this perspective is a misrepresentation: it's a reconstruction with meaning, and as such bears little resemblance to the event.
Charlie Kaufman
Where the Divine and the Human Meet" shows how important it is to meet the world with the creativity of an artist, particularly in these uncertain times: "What do we do with chaos? Creativity has an answer. We are told by those who have studied the processes of nature that creativity happens at the border between chaos and order. Chaos is a prelude to creativity. We need to learn, as every artist needs to learn, to live with chaos and indeed to dance with it as we listen to it and attempt some ordering. Artists wrestle with chaos, take it apart, deconstruct and reconstruct from it. Accept the challenge to convert chaos into some kind of order, respecting the timing of it all, not pushing beyond what is possible—combining holy patience with holy impatience--that is the role of the artist. It is each of our roles as we launch the twenty-first century because we are all called to be artists in our own way. We were all artists as children. We need to study the chaos around us in order to turn it into something beautiful. Something sustainable. Something that remains".
Matthew Fox (Creativity)
From the place by the railing at the edge of the tracks on the summer evening I return across the city to my own room. I am vividly aware of my own life that escaped the winter on the boat. How many such lives I have lived. Then I only made a dollar and a half a day and now I sometimes make more than that in a few minutes. How wonderful to be able to write words. ... Again I begin the endless game of reconstructing my own life, jerking it out of the shell that dies, striving to breathe into it beauty and meaning. ... I wonder why my life, why all lives, are not more beautiful.
Sherwood Anderson
Our progress in the past usually came slowly, and our recovery will come slowly. It will come as men, each in their sphere of action, begin the task of reconstruction. Reconstruction begins with our lives and God's grace; it extends to our vocations, our institutions' homes, and society' Life and progress are made up of a great number of little things; we cover a mile by small steps, and the surest move forward is that small step rather than a giant day dream.
Rousas John Rushdoony (The Roots of Reconstruction)
It is an absolutely vain endeavor to attempt to reconstruct or even comprehend the nature of a human being by simply knowing the forces which have acted upon him. However deeply we should like to penetrate, however close we seem to be drawing to truth, one unknown quantity eludes us: man's primordial energy, his original self, that personality which was given him with the gift of life itself. On it rests man's true freedom; it alone determines his real character.
Wilhelm von Humboldt (Humanist Without Portfolio: An Anthology of the writings of Wilhelm von Humboldt)
Life is a complex cycle, so vast that we can’t see it with our own eyes. Maybe it’s “The World,” maybe it’s “The Universe”…But whatever it’s called, you and I are only a tiny part of that great flow. One part of the whole. But all those individual parts come together so that the whole can exist. And the cycle keeps on flowing because all of nature follows this fundamental law. Understanding that flow. Deconstructing and then reconstructing…That’s the meaning of Alchemy.
Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist Complete Box Set)
(Daniel Kahneman wrote of his own Nobel Prize–winning research in economics, “You know you have made a theoretical advance when you can no longer reconstruct why you failed for so long to see the obvious.
Emily Nagoski (Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life)
The liberal party said that marriage is an institution quite out of date, and that it needs reconstruction; and family life certainly afforded Stepan Arkadyevitch little gratification, and forced him into lying and hypocrisy, which was so repulsive to his nature.
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
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
People must be able to reconstruct their own pattern of meaning, regardless of what it looks like or how long it takes—it simply must be all their own. Experiencing depression or numbness is normal during this phase of recovery (Winell 23). I have had clients who have even gone so far as to describe it by saying, “I don’t feel alive.” Losing a former faith story means losing the meaning-making method by which a person made sense of their life and the world around them.
Jamie Lee Finch (You Are Your Own: A Reckoning with the Religious Trauma of Evangelical Christianity)
When I try to reconstruct the place that I was, at that point in my life, to figure out how I got there, to that punch, to that bed, to that girl—I can't. I can see where some bad decisions led to some other bad decisions, but I can't get all the way there; it's like I imagine a curve, where I'm dropping lower and lower down, and then I'm off the radar screen, invisible, and then, after some time goes by, the line is rising, visible again, and I don't know what happened in between.
Kristen Roupenian (You Know You Want This)
There are six canons of conservative thought: 1) Belief in a transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience. Political problems, at bottom, are religious and moral problems. A narrow rationality, what Coleridge called the Understanding, cannot of itself satisfy human needs. "Every Tory is a realist," says Keith Feiling: "he knows that there are great forces in heaven and earth that man's philosophy cannot plumb or fathom." True politics is the art of apprehending and applying the Justice which ought to prevail in a community of souls. 2) Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems; conservatives resist what Robert Graves calls "Logicalism" in society. This prejudice has been called "the conservatism of enjoyment"--a sense that life is worth living, according to Walter Bagehot "the proper source of an animated Conservatism." 3) Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes, as against the notion of a "classless society." With reason, conservatives have been called "the party of order." If natural distinctions are effaced among men, oligarchs fill the vacuum. Ultimate equality in the judgment of God, and equality before courts of law, are recognized by conservatives; but equality of condition, they think, means equality in servitude and boredom. 4) Persuasion that freedom and property are closely linked: separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Economic levelling, they maintain, is not economic progress. 5) Faith in prescription and distrust of "sophisters, calculators, and economists" who would reconstruct society upon abstract designs. Custom, convention, and old prescription are checks both upon man's anarchic impulse and upon the innovator's lust for power. 6) Recognition that change may not be salutary reform: hasty innovation may be a devouring conflagration, rather than a torch of progress. Society must alter, for prudent change is the means of social preservation; but a statesman must take Providence into his calculations, and a statesman's chief virtue, according to Plato and Burke, is prudence.
Russell Kirk (The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot)
Cesar is not a philosophical man. His life has been one long flight from reflection. At least he is clever enough not to expose the poverty of his general ideas; he never permits the conversation to move toward philosophical principles. Men of his type so dread all deliberation that they glory in the practice of the instantaneous decision. They think they are saving themselves from irresolution; in reality they are sparing themselves the contemplation of all the consequences of their acts. Moreover, in this way they can rejoice in the illusion of never having made a mistake; for act follows so swiftly on act that it is impossible to reconstruct the past and say that an alternative decision would have been better. They can pretend that every act was forced on them under emergency and that every decision was mothered by necessity
Thornton Wilder (The Ides of March)
... it had become agreed that Jane would be excused household duties. It sounds like a tiny thing – and indeed it was – but a tiny trickle of water gradually hollows out a stone. Jane’s ducking out of the housework in order to write would lead inexorably onwards, upwards, towards women working, to women winning power in a world of men. This is the significance of trying to reconstruct the detail of Jane Austen’s daily life.
Lucy Worsley (Jane Austen at Home)
The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism – are forced, indeed, so to spoil them. They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease. They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor. But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim. Just as the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it, so, in the present state of things in England, the people who do most harm are the people who try to do most good; and at last we have had the spectacle of men who have really studied the problem and know the life – educated men who live in the East End – coming forward and imploring the community to restrain its altruistic impulses of charity, benevolence, and the like. They do so on the ground that such charity degrades and demoralises. They are perfectly right. Charity creates a multitude of sins.
Oscar Wilde (The Soul of Man Under Socialism, the Socialist Ideal Art, and the Coming Solidarity. by Oscar Wilde, William Morris, W.C. Owen)
Reconstruction was a fine but ultimately doomed experiment in American life. The tragedy of this intractable issue was that there was finally no way for blacks to enjoy their rights without a prolonged military presence, and that became politically impossible.
Ron Chernow (Grant)
Bernard was to remember this moment for the rest of his life. As they drank from their water bottles he was struck by the recently concluded war not as a historical, geopolitical fact but as a multiplicity, a near-infinity of private sorrows, as a boundless grief minutely subdivided without diminishment among individuals who covered the continent like dust, like spores whose separate identities would remain unknown, and whose totality showed more sadness than anyone could ever begin to comprehend; a weight borne in silence by hundreds of thousands, millions, like the woman in black for a husband and two brothers, each grief a particular, intricate, keening love story that might have been otherwise. It seemed as though he had never thought about the war before, not about its cost. He had been so busy with the details of his work, of doing it well, and his widest view had been of war aims, of winning, of statistical deaths, statistical destruction, and of post-war reconstruction. For the first time he sensed the scale of the catastrophe in terms of feeling; all those unique and solitary deaths, all that consequent sorrow, unique and solitary too, which had no place in conferences, headlines, history, and which had quietly retired to houses, kitchens, unshared beds, and anguished memories. This came upon Bernard by a pine tree in the Languedoc in 1946 not as an observation he could share with June but as a deep apprehension, a recognition of a truth that dismayed him into silence and, later, a question: what possible good could come of a Europe covered in this dust, these spores, when forgetting would be inhuman and dangerous, and remembering a constant torture?
Ian McEwan (Black Dogs)
When I think about the patriotism that drives SEALs, I am reminded of Ryan recovering in a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. There he was, freshly wounded, almost fatally, and blind for life. Many reconstructive surgeries to his face loomed ahead. You know what he asked for? He asked for someone to wheel him to a flag and give him some time. He sat in his wheelchair for close to a half-hour saluting as the American flag whipped in the wind.
Chris Kyle (American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History)
I began to watch places with an interest so exact it might have been memory. There was that street corner, with the small newsagent which sold copies of the Irish Independent and honeycomb toffee in summer. I could imagine myself there, a child of nine, buying peppermints and walking back down by the canal, the lock brown and splintered as ever, and boys diving from it. It became a powerful impulse, a slow intense reconstruction of a childhood which had never happened. A fragrance or a trick of light was enough. Or a house I entered which I wanted not just to appreciate but to remember, and then I would begin.
Eavan Boland (Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time)
Sometimes life abruptly opens up in ways so vast that it engulfs all of our constructs and theories and beliefs in the swiftness of that single moment. At times such as these, life does nothing less than demand a brutally exacting reconstruction of everything that we’ve expended the raw essence of our lives constructing.
Craig D. Lounsbrough (The Eighth Page: A Christmas Journey)
All love is bittersweet. Love is inexplicable; it is part poetry and part masochism. Part of love is the loss of self-control because one must openly surrender their sense of an exclusive self to the manic powers of love. The personal act of surrender to a lover leaves one vulnerable to entanglement in a maze of emotions. When we fall in love, our lover’s happiness and well-being assumes the primary role in our mind, they become copilots of our souls. When we are in love for the first time, we feel what it means to become a complete person; we identify who we are by seeing our reflection in our lover’s eye; and we sense what we might become when infused with love. When our lover leaves us, we feel vexed and vacant because we recognize that they took up such a large part of what made us feel intoxicated with life. When our lover abandons us, we lose our sense of self; we temporarily cease to exist as a whole person, and we must reconstruct the shattered remnants of oneself in the wake of a love lost.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Some things happen to us from which we never recover, and they disrupt the normalcy of our lives. That's how life is. Human nature has a tendency to try to reconstruct old ways and pick up where we left off. If we're wise, we won't continue to go back to the way things were (we can't anyway). We must instead forget the old standard and accept a 'new normal.
Don Piper (90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life)
You cannot create the life you need unless you pass through the death of the life you no longer want … it's just not possible. Deconstruction always comes before reconstruction.
Alan Forrest Smith (Escape From Zoomanity)
This document [the Reconstruction and Development Programme] was translated into a simpler manifesto called 'A Better Life for All', which in turn became the ANC's campaign slogan.
Nelson Mandela (Long Walk to Freedom)
he was Civil Service; they could take his life, but they’d never take his annual leave—
Mick Herron (Reconstruction)
I have seen this restlessness among the people before. It was in another millennium, another decade, and at another time in our history, but it pushed through America like a storm. In ten short years, there was a tempest that transformed what the American Revolution did not address, what the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were afraid to confront, what the Civil War could not unravel, what Reconstruction tried to mediate, and Jim Crow did its best to retrench. This mighty wind made a fundamental shift in the moral character of our nation that has reached every sector of our society. And this history lends us one very powerful reminder today: Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society.
John Lewis (Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change)
There is a massive, irreconcilable conflict between science and religion. Religion was humanity's original cosmology, biology and anthropology. It provided explanations for the origin of the world, life and humans. Science now gives us increasingly complete explanations for those big three. We know the origins of the universe, the physics of the big bang and how the basic chemical elements formed in supernovas. We know that life on this planet originated about 4 billion years ago, and we are all descendants of that original replicating molecule. Thanks to Darwin we know that natural selection is the only workable explanation for the design and variety of all life on this planet. Paleoanthropologists and geneticists have reconstructed much of the human tree of life. We are risen apes, not fallen angels. We are the most successful and last surviving African hominid. Every single person on this Earth, all 7 billion of us, arose 50,000 years ago from small bands of African hunter-gatherers, a total population of somewhere between 600 and 2,000 individuals.
J. Anderson Thomson
In “The Cost of Discipleship” Dietrich Bonhoeffer makes it clear that grace is free, but it is not cheap. The grace of God is unearned and unearnable, but if we ever expect to grow in grace, we must pay the price of a consciously chosen course of action which involves both individual and group life. Spiritual growth is the purpose of the Disciplines. It might be helpful to visualize what we have been discussing. Picture a long, narrow ridge with a sheer drop-off on either side. The chasm to the right is the way of moral bankruptcy through human strivings for righteousness. Historically this has been called the heresy of moralism. The chasm to the left is moral bankruptcy through the absence of human strivings. This has been called the heresy of antinomianism. On the ridge there is a path, the Disciplines of the spiritual life. This path leads to the inner transformation and healing for which we seek. We must never veer off to the right or to the left, but stay on the path. The path is fraught with severe difficulties, but also with incredible joys. As we travel on this path the blessing of God will come upon us and reconstruct us into the image of Jesus Christ. We must always remember that the path does not produce the change; it only places us where the change can occur.
Richard J. Foster (Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth)
The lightning bugs are back. They fly low to the ground as the lawn dissolves from green to black in the dusk. Seeing them, I can reconstruct a childhood: a hot night under tall trees; the Good Humor man, in his square white truck, the freezer smoky when he reaches inside for an ice cream. The lightning bugs trapped in empty jars with holes on top. "Let them out," our mother said, "or they will die in there." We were careless. We always forgot to open the jars. The bugs would be there in the morning, their yellow tails dim in the white light of the summer sun, pathetic as they lay on their backs. We were always horrified by what we had done. As night fell we shook them out and caught more. I relive the magic of the yellow light without the bright white of hindsight. The little flares in the darkness, a distillation of the kind of life we think we had, we wish we had, we want again.
Anna Quindlen
On his deathbed he called my father to him and said, “Son, after I’m gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy’s country ever since I give up my gun back in the Reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion’s mouth. I want you to overcome ‘em with yeses, undermine 'em with grins, agree 'em to death and destruction, let 'em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open
Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man)
I can't tell you how I felt when my father died. But I was able to write Song of Solomon and imagine, not him, and not his specific interior life, but the world that he inhabited and the private or interior life of the people in it. And I can't tell you how I felt reading to my grandmother while she was turning over and over in her bed (because she was dying, and she was not comfortable), but I could try to reconstruct the world that she lived in. And I have suspected, more often than not, that I know more than she did, that I know more than my grandfather and my great-grandmother did, but I also know that I'm no wiser than they were. And whenever I have tried earnestly to diminish their vision and prove to myself that I know more, and when I have tried to speculate on their interior life and match it up with my own, I have been overwhelmed every time by the richness of theirs compared to my own. Like Frederick Douglass talking about his grandmother, and James Baldwin talking about his father, and Simone de Beauvoir talking about her mother, these people are my access to me; they are my entrance into my own interior life. Which is why the images that float around them--the remains, so to speak, at hte archeological site--surface first, and they surface so vividly and so compellingly that I acknowledge them as my route to a reconstruction of a world, to an exploration of an interior life that was not written and to the revelation of a kind of truth.
Toni Morrison
Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, were the first photosynthesizers. They breathed in carbon dioxide and breathed out oxygen. Oxygen is a volatile gas; it causes iron to rust (oxidation) and wood to burn (vigorous oxidation). When cyanobacteria first appeared, the oxygen they breathed out was toxic to nearly all other forms of life. The resulting extinction is called the oxygen catastrophe. After the cyanobacteria pumped Earth’s atmosphere and water full of toxic oxygen, creatures evolved that took advantage of the gas’s volatile nature to enable new biological processes. We are the descendants of those first oxygen-breathers. Many details of this history remain uncertain; the world of a billion years ago is difficult to reconstruct.
Randall Munroe (What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions)
The radio impulse pouring in from Taurus I am bombarded yet I stand I have been standing all my life in the direct path of a battery of signals the most accurately transmitted most untranslatable language in the universe I am a galactic cloud so deep so invo- luted that a light wave could take 15 years to travel through me And has taken I am an instrument in the shape of a woman trying to translate pulsations into images for the relief of the body and the reconstruction of the mind.” ― excerpt from "Planetarium
Adrienne Rich (Collected Early Poems, 1950-1970)
Even the basic facts of Dmitri Shostakovich’s life are often contested, as a glance through the end notes of this book attests. How do we reconstruct the story of someone who lived in a period in which everyone had an excuse to lie, evade, accuse, or keep silent?
M.T. Anderson (Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad)
RECONSTRUCTING OUR PAST The pathway of the A offers us a profound opportunity to transform our personal histories. It allows us to reevaluate the grades we assigned to others when we were children, grades that affect our lives now, as legends we live by. How often do we stand convinced of the truth of our early memories, forgetting that they are but assessments made by a child? We can replace the narratives that hold us back by inventing wiser stories, free from childish fears, and, in doing so, disperse long-held psychological stumbling blocks.
Rosamund Stone Zander (The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life)
Religion can be a good thing. Churches did black folks good after Reconstruction. It was the only place people like Nat Turner and Douglass could hold meetings to unite our people. But the white man wanted to teach black folks about the by and by in the sky. He wanted to take their minds off the things here, so maybe they wouldn't notice who was kicking them in the head. I admit, since joining my brother, I've changed some of my views. But you have to be smart about religion. You have to look closely at who's claiming it and how they're using it.
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller)
The eternal truths which are essential to human salvation, [Moses Mendelssohn] argues, must necessarily be accessible to all human beings, for it would be contrary to the goodness of God for him to reveal only to a portion of mankind such truth as is indispensable to all men.
Mordecai Menahem Kaplan (Judaism as a Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life)
Someone will say, "I did not ask to be born." This is a naive way of throwing greater emphasis on our facticity. I am responsible for everything, in fact, except for my very responsibility, for I am not the foundation of my being. Therefore everything takes place as if I were compelled to be responsible. I am abandoned in the world, not in the sense that I might remain abandoned and passive in a hostile universe like a board floating on the water, but rather in the sense that I find myself suddenly alone and without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant. For I am responsible for my very desire of fleeing responsibilities. To make myself passive in the world, to refuse to act upon things and upon Others is still to choose myself, and suicide is one mode among others of being-in-the-world. Yet I find an absolute responsibility for the fact that my facticity (here the fact of my birth) is directly inapprehensible and even inconceivable, for this fact of my birth never appears as a brute fact but always across a projective reconstruction of my for-itself. I am ashamed of being born or I am astonished at it or I rejoice over it, or in attempting to get rid of my life I affirm that I live and I assume this life as bad. Thus in a certain sense I choose being born.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Existentialism and Human Emotions)
Stepan Arkadyevitch had not chosen his political opinions or his views; these political opinions and views had come to him of themselves, just as he did not choose the shapes of his hat and coat, but simply took those that were being worn. And for him, living in a certain society--owing to the need, ordinarily developed at years of discretion, for some degree of mental activity--to have views was just as indispensable as to have a hat. If there was a reason for his preferring liberal to conservative views, which were held also by many of his circle, it arose not from his considering liberalism more rational, but from its being in closer accordance with his manner of life. The liberal party said that in Russia everything is wrong, and certainly Stepan Arkadyevitch had many debts and was decidedly short of money. The liberal party said that marriage is an institution quite out of date, and that it needs reconstruction; and family life certainly afforded Stepan Arkadyevitch little gratification, and forced him into lying and hypocrisy, which was so repulsive to his nature. The liberal party said, or rather allowed it to be understood, that religion is only a curb to keep in check the barbarous classes of the people; and Stepan Arkadyevitch could not get through even a short service without his legs aching from standing up, and could never make out what was the object of all the terrible and high-flown language about another world when life might be so very amusing in this world. And with all this, Stepan Arkadyevitch, who liked a joke, was fond of puzzling a plain man by saying that if he prided himself on his origin, he ought not to stop at Rurik and disown the first founder of his family--the monkey. And so Liberalism had become a habit...Anna Karenina, Tolstoy.
Leo Tolstoy
If the collective intelligence of mankind were to degenerate, the kind of technique and daily life which science has produced would nevertheless survive, in all probability, for many generations, but it would not survive for ever, because, if seriously disturbed by a cataclysm, it could not be reconstructed.
Bertrand Russell (The Will to Doubt)
Psychologists often approach personality by measuring basic traits such as the “big five”: neuroticism, extroversion, openness to new experiences, agreeableness (warmth/niceness), and conscientiousness.15 These traits are facts about the elephant, about a person’s automatic reactions to various situations. They are fairly similar between identical twins reared apart, indicating that they are influenced in part by genes, although they are also influenced by changes in the conditions of one’s life or the roles one plays, such as becoming a parent.16 But psychologist Dan McAdams has suggested that personality really has three levels... The third level of personality is that of the “life story.” Human beings in every culture are fascinated by stories; we create them wherever we can. (See those seven stars up there? They are seven sisters who once . . . ) It’s no different with our own lives. We can’t stop ourselves from creating what McAdams describes as an “evolving story that integrates a reconstructed past, perceived present, and anticipated future into a coherent and vitalizing life myth.”18 Although the lowest level of personality is mostly about the elephant, the life story is written primarily by the rider. You create your story in consciousness as you interpret your own behavior, and as you listen to other people’s thoughts about you. The life story is not the work of a historian—remember that the rider has no access to the real causes of your behavior; it is more like a work of historical fiction that makes plenty of references to real events and connects them by dramatizations and interpretations that might or might not be true to the spirit of what happened. Adversity may be necessary for growth because it forces you to stop speeding along the road of life, allowing you to notice the paths that were branching off all along, and to think about where you really want to end up.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
Provocative. Striking. Rachel Resnick is a virtuoso on the page. Her fearless examination of the desperate thirst to find love is guaranteed to break your heart. Yet her cool-eyed analysis of the roots of this addiction inspires hope that through committed self-understanding, maybe each of us can change toxic patterns, whatever they may be.
Samantha Dunn (Not by Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life)
Oh, I had all sorts of ego-polishing notions about my unhappy self. And I had theories, too. What, after all, is a depressed intellectual without his theories? I can’t reconstruct the details of them now. It would be too boring to try. But there was a lot of Nietzsche involved and Freud, too—oh, and Marx. That was it, my trinity: Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx. Which is to say I believed that power, sex, and money explained all human interactions, all history, and all the world. To pretend anything else, I thought, was rank hypocrisy, the worst of intellectual sins. Faith was a scam, Hope was a lie, Love was an illusion. Power, sex, and money—these three—were the real, the only stuff of life. And the greatest of these, of course, was sex. I don’t remember how I worked all this out philosophically. But for some reason, the other two persons of my trinity—power and money—were things to be disdained. They were motive forces for them, you know, for society’s evil masters, the greedy, the corrupt, the makers of orthodoxy. Sex, though—sex was for us. It was the expressive medium of the liberated, the unconventional, the unbowed, the Natural Man. When it came to sex, there was nothing—nothing consensual—that could repel or alienate such enlightened folks as we. Anyone who questioned that doctrine or looked askance at some sexual practice, anyone who even wondered aloud if perhaps, like any other appetite—for food, say, or alcohol or material goods—our sexual desire might occasionally require discipline or restraint, was painfully irrelevant, grossly out of the loop, unhip in the extreme. No, no. A free man, a natural man, a new man—so my theories went—threw off hypocrisy and explored his sexuality to its depths.
Andrew Klavan (Empire of Lies)
Life meanwhile—real life, with its essential interests of health and sickness, toil and rest, and its intellectual interests in thought, science, poetry, music, love, friendship, hatred, and passions—went on as usual, independently of and apart from political friendship or enmity with Napoleon Bonaparte and from all the schemes of reconstruction.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
I’ve always been amazed by the ease with which a stranger’s life can be reconstructed by simply snooping through their belongings. Art and imagination combine to tell a tale that’s more complete than even a fat printed biography could ever hope to equal. And Mr. Denning was no exception: His secrets were laid so bare that I felt I ought to be apologizing.
Alan Bradley (The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse (Flavia de Luce, #6.5))
It is no good putting yourself in the dead man's shoes, pretending to share his passions, his blunders, and his prejudices, reawakening vanished moments of strength, impatience, or apprehension; you cannot help assessing his behaviour in light of results which he could not foresee and of information which he did not possess, or attributing a particular solemnity to events whose effects marked him later, but which he lived through casually. That is the mirage: the future is more real than the present. It is not surprising: in a completed life, the end is taken as the truth of the beginning. The dead man stands half-way between being and worth, between the crude fact and its reconstruction: his history becomes a kind of circular essence which is summed up in each of his moments.
Jean-Paul Sartre (The Words)
Nevertheless, many times during that evening she despaired of destiny, and of herself. She didn’t invoke God, as we know, but she had faith in the genius of evil, that vast sovereignty that reigns over all the details of human life, a power so great that, as in the Arabian fable, it needs no more than a single pomegranate seed from which to reconstruct a ruined world. Once she’d readied herself to receive Felton,
Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers (Musketeers Cycle #1))
Son, after I’m gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy’s country ever since I give up my gun back in the Reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion’s mouth. I want you to overcome ’em with yeses, undermine ’em with grins, agree ’em to death and destruction, let ’em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open.
Lauren Wilkinson (American Spy)
Christian Reconstruction is essentially a Biblical epistemology (the way we approach knowledge). The humanist believes he begins with an intellectual "clean slate" and then tries to "construct" his knowledge and worldview himself. The faithful Christian, on the other hand, begins with the fact that he already knows God, and after salvation, is "reconstructing" his thoughts to follow after God's. He then goes out to apply that same knowledge to every area of life and thought.
Chalcedon
A person whom is dissatisfied with the existing constitution of the self might wish to eradicate the self. A spiritual death can take the form of either physical death or a metaphorical death in the form of a premeditated ego death. An intentional ego death entails consciously deconstructing oneself in an effort to reconstruct a new personage. An ego death must precede the birthing of a robust personality that is equally comfortable with the knuckle busting effort that a life well lived entails.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
individual can fully exercise his or her abilities and skills. “We shall distribute the company’s surplus earnings to all employees in an appropriate manner, and we shall assist them in a practical manner to secure a stable life. In return, all employees shall exert their utmost effort into their job.” Finally, his new company would help his country. Its formally stated national intent was to help “reconstruct Japan, and to elevate the nation’s culture through dynamic cultural and technological activities.” Yet
Simon Winchester (Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers)
But there’s this giant deception at the foundation of their relationship, their happiness. This impure motive. There was that small mistake that the woman made, uttering the wrong number. And then the man reconstructed an entire intrigue, a big thick plot— a seduction and affair and relationship and marriage proposal, a whole life— around her error and his notice of it. Taking advantage of her lie. But does that make their relationship less real? Does that make it impossible that they genuinely love each other?
Chris Pavone (The Expats (Kate Moore, #1))
Consciously or unconsciously, all human beings participate in this evolution. When we create anything—from a letter to a meal—we bring energy into form through the deconstruction and reconstruction of elements. The process begins even before we have the idea. With the realization that something is needed, we put ourselves in the gap between what is and what is not yet, between what is not yet and what is to be. We engage in the transformation of form into energy into form by expressing our own essence in the world.
Katherine Robertson-Pilling (The Wheel of Creativity: Taking Your Place in the Adventure of Life)
I am of the opinion that an entirely new light would illuminate many psychological and psycho-physiological questions if we recognised that distinct perception is merely cut, for the purposes of practical existence, out of a wider canvas. In psychology and elsewhere, we like to go from the part to the whole, and our customary system of explanation consists in reconstructing ideally our mental life with simple elements, then in supposing that the combination of these elements has really produced our mental life. If things happened this way, our perception would as a matter of fact be inextensible; it would consist of the assembling of certain specific materials, in a given quantity, and we should never find anything more in it than what had been put there in the first place. But the facts, taken as they are, without any mental reservation about providing a mechanical explanation of the mind, suggest an entirely different interpretation. They show us, in normal psychological life, a constant effort of the mind to limit its horizon, to turn away from what it has a material interest in not seeing. Before philosophizing one must live; and life demands that we put on blinders, that we look neither to the right, nor to the left nor behind us, but straight ahead in the direction we have to go. Our knowledge, far from being made up of a gradual association of simple elements, is the effect of a sudden dissociation: from the immensely vast field of our virtual knowledge, we have selected, in order to make it into actual knowledge, everything which concerns our action upon things; we have neglected the rest.
Henri Bergson (The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics)
This is what is intended by education as a help to life; an education from birth that brings about a revolution: a revolution that eliminates every violence, a revolution in which everyone will be attracted towards a common center. Mothers, fathers, statesmen all will be centered upon respecting and aiding this delicate construction which is carried on in psychic mystery following the guide of an inner teacher. This is the new shining hope for humanity. It is not so much a reconstruction, as an aid to the construction carried out by the human soul as it is meant to be, developed in all the immense potentialities with which the new-born child is endowed.
Maria Montessori (The Absorbent Mind)
Neither is a memoir the same as a biography, which aims for the most objective, factual account of a life. A memoir, as I understand it, makes no pretense of denying its subjectivity. Its matter is one person’s memory, and memory by nature is selective and colored by emotion. Others who participated in the events I describe will no doubt remember some details differently, though I hope we would agree on the essential truths. I have taken no liberties with the past as I remember it, used no fictional devices beyond reconstructing conversations from memory. I have not blended characters, or bent chronology to convenience. And yet I have tried to tell a good story.
Sonia Sotomayor (My Beloved World)
Stepan Arkadyevitch had not chosen his political opinions or his views; these political opinions and views had come to him of themselves, just as he did not choose the shapes of his hat and coat, but simply took those that were being worn. And for him, living in a certain society—owing to the need, ordinarily developed at years of discretion, for some degree of mental activity—to have views was just as indispensable as to have a hat. If there was a reason for his preferring liberal to conservative views, which were held also by many of his circle, it arose not from his considering liberalism more rational, but from its being in closer accordance with his manner of life. The liberal party said that in Russia everything is wrong, and certainly Stepan Arkadyevitch had many debts and was decidedly short of money. The liberal party said that marriage is an institution quite out of date, and that it needs reconstruction; and family life certainly afforded Stepan Arkadyevitch little gratification, and forced him into lying and hypocrisy, which was so repulsive to his nature. The liberal party said, or rather allowed it to be understood, that religion is only a curb to keep in check the barbarous classes of the people; and Stepan Arkadyevitch could not get through even a short service without his legs aching from standing up, and could never make out what was the object of all the terrible and high-flown language about another world when life might be so very amusing in this world. And with all this, Stepan Arkadyevitch, who liked a joke, was fond of puzzling a plain man by saying that if he prided himself on his origin, he ought not to stop at Rurik and disown the first founder of his family—the monkey. And so Liberalism had become a habit of Stepan Arkadyevitch's, and he liked his newspaper, as he did his cigar after dinner, for the slight fog it diffused in his brain. He read the leading article, in which it was maintained that it was quite senseless in our day to raise an outcry that radicalism was threatening to swallow up all conservative elements, and that the government ought to take measures to crush the revolutionary hydra; that, on the contrary, "in our opinion the danger lies not in that fantastic revolutionary hydra, but in the obstinacy of traditionalism clogging progress," etc., etc. He read another article, too, a financial one, which alluded to Bentham and Mill, and dropped some innuendoes reflecting on the ministry. With his characteristic quickwittedness he caught the drift of each innuendo, divined whence it came, at whom and on what ground it was aimed, and that afforded him, as it always did, a certain satisfaction. But today that satisfaction was embittered by Matrona Philimonovna's advice and the unsatisfactory state of the household. He read, too, that Count Beist was rumored to have left for Wiesbaden, and that one need have no more gray hair, and of the sale of a light carriage, and of a young person seeking a situation; but these items of information did not give him, as usual, a quiet, ironical gratification. Having finished the paper, a second cup of coffee and a roll and butter, he got up, shaking the crumbs of the roll off his waistcoat; and, squaring his broad chest, he smiled joyously: not because there was anything particularly agreeable in his mind—the joyous smile was evoked by a good digestion.
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
When I think about the patriotism that drives SEALs, I am reminded of Ryan recovering in a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. There he was, freshly wounded, almost fatally, and blind for life. Many reconstructive surgeries to his face loomed ahead. You know what he asked for? He asked for someone to wheel him to a flag and give him some time. He sat in his wheelchair for close to a half-hour saluting as the American flag whipped in the wind. That’s Ryan: a true patriot. A genuine warrior, with a heart of gold. Of course we all gave him shit and told him somebody probably wheeled him in front of a Dumpster and just told him it was a flag. Being Ryan, he dished out as many blind jokes as he took and had us all rolling every time we talked.
Chris Kyle (American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History)
Given this background, it can hardly be surprising that hard drinking and the ruthless fighting called "rough and tumble," (which included biting off ears or noses and gouging out eyes) became hallmarks of the Southern backcountry way of life. Nor did it take much to get fighting started among these people, for "even in their poverty they carried themselves with a fierce and stubborn pride that warned others to treat them with respect."372 Vigilante movements were another facet of their violent pattern, and the name "lynch law" has been traced to one of their number named William Lynch, whose followers often flogged and sometimes killed their victims.373 These patterns continued long after Lynch's death in 1820, with most victims being white until the Reconstruction era in the South after the Civil War, when blacks became the main targets.
Thomas Sowell (Conquests And Cultures: An International History)
It will place a high value on communal life, more open leadership structures, and the contribution of all the people of God. It will be radical in its attempts to embrace biblical mandates for the life of locally based faith communities without feeling as though it has to reconstruct the first-century church in every detail. We believe the missional church will be adventurous, playful, and surprising. Leonard Sweet has borrowed the term “chaordic” to describe the missional church’s inclination toward chaos and improvisation within the constraints of broadly held biblical values. It will gather for sensual-experiential-participatory worship and be deeply concerned for matters of justice-seeking and mercy-bringing. It will strive for a type of unity-in-diversity as it celebrates individual differences and values uniqueness, while also placing a high premium on community.
Michael Frost (The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st-Century Church)
Fundamentalism is the philosophy of the powerless, the conquered, the displaced and the dispossessed. Its spawning ground is the wreckage of political and military defeat, as Hebrew fundamentalism arose during the Babylonian captivity, as white Christian fundamentalism appeared in the American South during Reconstruction, as the notion of the Master Race evolved in Germany following World War I. In such desperate times, the vanquished race would perish without a doctrine that restored hope and pride. Islamic fundamentalism ascends from the same landscape of despair and possesses the same tremendous and potent appeal. What exactly is this despair? It is the despair of freedom. The dislocation and emasculation experienced by the individual cut free from the familiar and comforting structures of the tribe and the clan, the village and the family. It is the state of modern life. The
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
It was my mother, my frequent co-conspirator in the kitchen and my conduit to our past, who suggested the means to convey this epic disjunction, this unruly collision of collectivist myths and personal antimyths. We would reconstruct every decade of Soviet history - from the prequel 1910s to the postscript present day - through the prism of food. Together, we'd embark on a yearlong journey unlike any other: eating and cooking our way through decade after decade of Soviet life, using her kitchen and dining room as a time machine and an incubator of memories. Memories of wartime rationing cards and grotesque shared kitchens in communal apartments. Of Lenin's bloody grain requisitioning and Stalin's table manners. Of Khrushchev's kitchen debates and Gorbachev's disastrous antialcohol policies. Of food as the focal point of our everyday lives, and - despite all the deprivations and shortages - of compulsive hospitality and poignant, improbable feasts.
Anya von Bremzen (Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing)
The great difference is that this version relies on the work of W. W. Rockhill. Rockhill was an American diplomat who lived in China in the nineteenth century, a linguistic genius—he must have been the first American to know Tibetan; he also produced a Chinese-English dictionary. And in 1884 he published a life of the Buddha according to the Tibetan canoṇ It draws from material of equivalent antiquity to that of the Pali Canon, from a source called the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya. He went through it in the 1870s and pulled out of it a story that is almost identical to the story that I reconstructed from the Pali materials. Somewhat embarrassingly, I hadn’t actually read Rockhill until quite recently. I didn’t think the Tibetan material would be relevant. But I was wrong. The Tibetan Vinaya, from the Mūlasarvāstivāda school, gives us the same story, with the same characters, and the same relationships. The two versions don’t agree in every detail, but they’re remarkably similar.
Stephen Batchelor (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World)
And the social response to people who have suffered such life-transforming disclosures, well meaning as it is intended to be, is often less than supportive. Our culture may embrace the redeemed sinner, but the person victimized — not so much. Lack of control over their destiny makes people queasy. Friends often unconsciously blame the victim, asking whether the betrayed person really “knew at some level” what was going on and had just been “in denial” about it. But the betrayed are usually as savvy as the rest of us...But it’s not so easy to move on when there’s no solid narrative ground to stand on...it’s not the actions or betrayal that they most resent, it’s the lies. ...it’s often a painstaking process to reconstruct a coherent personal history piece by piece — one that acknowledges the deception while reaffirming the actual life experience. Yet it’s work that needs to be done. Moving forward in life is hard or even, at times, impossible, without owning a narrative of one’s past. Isak Dinesen has been quoted as saying “all sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them.” Perhaps robbing someone of his or her story is the greatest betrayal of all.
Anna Fels
As it rolled by, Jean Louise made a frantic dive for her uncle’s trolley: “That’s been over for a—nearly a hundred years, sir.” Dr. Finch grinned. “Has it really? It depends how you look at it. If you were sitting on the sidewalk in Paris, you’d say certainly. But look again. The remnants of that little army had children—God, how they multiplied—the South went through the Reconstruction with only one permanent political change: there was no more slavery. The people became no less than what they were to begin with—in some cases they became horrifyingly more. They were never destroyed. They were ground into the dirt and up they popped. Up popped Tobacco Road, and up popped the ugliest, most shameful aspect of it all—the breed of white man who lived in open economic competition with freed Negroes. “For years and years all that man thought he had that made him any better than his black brothers was the color of his skin. He was just as dirty, he smelled just as bad, he was just as poor. Nowadays he’s got more than he ever had in his life, he has everything but breeding, he’s freed himself from every stigma, but he sits nursing his hangover of hatred. . . .” Dr. Finch got up and poured more coffee. Jean Louise watched him. Good Lord, she thought, my own grandfather fought in it. His and Atticus’s daddy. He was only a child. He saw the corpses stacked and watched the blood run in little streams down Shiloh’s hill. . . .
Harper Lee (Go Set a Watchman)
When most people use the word ‘freedom’ nowadays, they use it in the sense of the French Revolutionaries: freedom from tradition, from established social institutions, from religious doctrines, from prescriptive duties. I think that this employment of the word does much mischief. For we do not live in an age—and there are such ages—which is oppressed by the dead weight of archaic establishments and obsolete custom. The danger in our era, rather, is that the fountains of the great deep will be broken up and that the pace of alteration will be so rapid that generation cannot link with generation. Our era, necessarily, is what Matthew Arnold called an epoch of concentration. Or, at least, the thinking American needs to turn his talents to concentration, the buttressing and reconstruction of our moral and social heritage. This is a time not for anarchic freedom, but for ordered freedom. There are much older and stronger concepts of freedom than that espoused by the French Revolutionaries. In the Christian tradition, freedom is submission to the will of God. This is no paradox. As he that would save his life must lose it, so the man who desires true freedom must recognize a providential order which gives all freedoms their sanction. The theory of ‘natural rights’ depends upon the premise of an on alterable human nature bestowed upon man by God. Only acceptance of the divine order can give enduring freedom to a society; for this lacking, there is no reason why the strong and the clever, the dominant majority or the successful oligarch, should respect the liberties of anyone else. Freedom without the theory of natural rights becomes simply the freedom of those who hold power to do as they like with the lives of those whose interests conflict with theirs.
Russell Kirk
He couldn’t believe his ears. She was rambling on about nonsense, and he needed to put a stop to it. “I don’t want to change you—” She cut him off. “From the day you came to the workshop, you told me I should sell the company and go to the south of France to celebrate. That I should wear my hair down and quit being a howling mass of anxiety. Zack, I don’t want to go to the south of France. I want to turn the clock back and reconstruct my life exactly as it was before the fire. I want my workshop back. I want to make watches and know what is on the schedule for the next day, next month, next year. I need order and stability.” His fist clenched around the leather sack. She was trying to cut him out of her life, and he wouldn’t let her. “And what about Colonel Lowe?” he demanded. “Is Colonel Lowe among the things you want?” She stiffened and couldn’t meet his eyes. “Richard means a lot to me,” she said softly. Richard. So he wasn’t even Colonel Lowe to her. A wave of heat crashed through his body, and he wanted to break something. He stood and stalked a few feet closer to the lake. He couldn’t bear to sit beside Mollie while she talked about another man, but she hadn’t stopped speaking. “Richard and I are very much alike,” she said. “I feel . . . safe with him. I don’t need to change to suit him.” “I don’t want to change you,” he said through clenched teeth. Where did she get these insane ideas? He could feel her slipping away from him, like water dribbling out of his cupped hands, and there was nothing he could do to stop it from draining away. “Please let me go,” she said. “I need to move on with the rest of my life, and I can’t do that with you in it. The notes need to stop. And the visits. I will be forever grateful for what you did for me on the night of the fire, but, Zack . . . that’s all there is. It was gratitude and the temporary rush of insanity because I was glad to be alive. You and I will never work.
Elizabeth Camden (Into the Whirlwind)
The other evening, in that cafe-cabaret in the Rue de la Fontaine, where I had run aground with Tramsel and Jocard, who had taken me there to see that supposedly-fashionable singer... how could they fail to see that she was nothing but a corpse? Yes, beneath the sumptuous and heavy ballgown, which swaddled her and held her upright like a sentry-box of pink velvet trimmed and embroidered with gold - a coffin befitting the queen of Spain - there was a corpse! But the others, amused by her wan voice and her emaciated frame, found her quaint - more than that, quite 'droll'... Droll! that drab, soft and inconsistent epithet that everyone uses nowadays! The woman had, to be sure, a tiny carven head, and a kind of macabre prettiness within the furry heap of her opera-cloak. They studied her minutely, interested by the romance of her story: a petite bourgeoise thrown into the high life following the fad which had caught her up - and neither of them, nor anyone else besides in the whole of that room, had perceived what was immediately evident to my eyes. Placed flat on the white satin of her dress, the two hands of that singer were the two hands of a skeleton: two sets of knuckle-bones gloved in white suede. They might have been drawn by Albrecht Durer: the ten fingers of an evil dead woman, fitted at the ends of the two overlong and excessively thin arms of a mannequin... And while that room convulsed with laughter and thrilled with pleasure, greeting her buffoonery and her animal cries with a dolorous ovation, I became convinced that her hands no more belonged to her body than her body, with its excessively high shoulders, belonged to her head... The conviction filled me with such fear and sickness that I did not hear the singing of a living woman, but of some automaton pieced together from disparate odds and ends - or perhaps even worse, some dead woman hastily reconstructed from hospital remains: the macabre fantasy of some medical student, dreamed up on the benches of the lecture-hall... and that evening began, like some tale of Hoffmann, to turn into a vision of the lunatic asylum. Oh, how that Olympia of the concert-hall has hastened the progress of my malady!
Jean Lorrain (Monsieur De Phocas)
We say “universe” and the word makes us think of a possible unification of things. One can be a spiritualist, a materialist, a pantheist, just as one can be indifferent to philosophy and satisfied with common sense: the fact remains that one always conceives of one or several simple principles by which the whole of material and moral things might be explained. This is because our intelligence loves simplicity. It seeks to reduce effort, and insists that nature was arranged in such a way as to demand of us, in order to be thought, the least possible labor. It therefore provides itself with the exact minimum of elements and principles with which to recompose the indefinite series of objects and events. But if instead of reconstructing things ideally for the greater satisfaction of our reason we confine ourselves purely and simply to what is given us by experience, we should think and express ourselves in quite another way. While our intelligence with its habits of economy imagines effects as strictly proportioned to their causes, nature, in its extravagance, puts into the cause much more than is required to produce the effect. While our motto is Exactly what is necessary, nature’s motto is More than is necessary,—too much of this, too much of that, too much of everything. Reality, as James sees it, is redundant and superabundant. Between this reality and the one constructed by the philosophers, I believe he would have established the same relation as between the life we live every day and the life which actors portray in the evening on the stage. On the stage, each actor says and does only what has to be said and done; the scenes are clear-cut; the play has a beginning, a middle and an end; and everything is worked out as economically as possible with a view to an ending which will be happy or tragic. But in life, a multitude of useless things are said, many superfluous gestures made, there are no sharply-drawn situations; nothing happens as simply or as completely or as nicely as we should like; the scenes overlap; things neither begin nor end; there is no perfectly satisfying ending, nor absolutely decisive gesture, none of those telling words which give us pause: all the effects are spoiled. Such is human life.
Henri Bergson (The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics)
That was the whole trouble with police work. You come plunging in. a jagged Stone Age knife, to probe the delicate tissues of people's relationships, and of course you destroy far more than you discover. And even what you discover will never be the same as it was before you came; the nubbly scars of your passage will remain. At the very least. you have asked questions that expose to the destroying air fibers that can only exist and fulfill their function in coddling darkness. Cousin Amy, now, mousing about in back passages or trilling with feverish shyness at sherry parties—was she really made all the way through of dust and fluff and unused ends of cotton and rusty needles and unmatching buttons and all the detritus at the bottom of God's sewing basket? Or did He put a machine in there to tick away and keep her will stern and her back straight as she picks out of a vase of brown-at-the-edges dahlias the few blooms that have another day's life in them? Or another machine, one of His chemistry sets, that slowly mixes itself into an apparently uncaused explosion, poof!, and there the survivors are sitting covered with plaster dust among the rubble of their lives. It's always been the explosion by the time the police come stamping in with ignorant heels on the last unbroken bit of Bristol glass; with luck they can trace the explosion back to harmless little Amy, but as to what set her off—what were the ingredients of the chemistry set and what joggled them together—it was like trying to reconstruct a civilization from three broken pots and a seven-inch lump of baked clay which might, if you looked at its swellings and hollows the right way, have been the Great Earth Mother. What's more. people who've always lived together think that they are still the same—oh, older of course and a bit more snappish, but underneath still the same laughing lad of thirty years gone by. "My Jim couldn't have done that." they say. "I know him. Course he's been a bit depressed lately, funny like. but he sometimes goes that way for a bit and then it passes off. But setting fire to the lingerie department at the Army and Navy, Inspector—such a thought wouldn't enter into my Jim's head. I know him." Tears diminishing into hiccuping snivels as doubt spreads like a coffee stain across the threadbare warp of decades. A different Jim? Different as a Martian, growing inside the ever-shedding skin? A whole lot of different Jims. a new one every seven years? "Course not. I'm the same. aren't I, same as I always was—that holiday we took hiking in the Peak District in August thirty-eight—the same inside?" Pibble sighed and shook himself. You couldn't build a court case out of delicate tissues. Facts were the one foundation.
Peter Dickinson (The Glass Sided Ant's Nest (Jimmy Pibble #1))
Thus, though I dislike to differ with such a great man, Voltaire was simply ludicrous when he said that if god did not exist it would be necessary to invent him. The human invention of god is the problem to begin with. Our evolution has been examined "backward", with life temporarily outpacing extinction, and knowledge now at last capable of reviewing and explaining ignorance. Religion, it is true, still possesses the huge and if cumbersome and unwieldy advantage of having come "first." But as Sam Harris states rather pointedly in The End of Faith, if we lost all our hard-won knowledge and all our archives, and all our ethics and morals, in some Marquez-like fit of amnesia, and had to reconstruct everything essential from scratch, it is difficult to imagine at what point we would need to remind or reassure ourselves that Jesus was born of a virgin.
Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything)
Once we accept that Jefferson’s Declaration did not contain the values we now find in it, two other points follow. First, those values came from somewhere else. Second, we, who invoke those values, may not really be the heirs of the signers of the Declaration. We may be the heirs of a very different group of people. We may be the heirs of the enslaved people and the abolitionists who read the Declaration differently from its author; of Abraham Lincoln, who advanced that vision in national politics; of the US Army that fought for it; of the Reconstruction Congress that wrote it into law; of the civil rights marchers who brought those words back to life in the 1960s.
Kermit Roosevelt III (The Nation That Never Was: Reconstructing America's Story)
One of the most difficult battles you will ever face is the battle for your thought life. That’s why Scripture tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2, emphasis added). It is so easy to say, “That’s just the way I am,” and ignore the fact that it’s just the way your mind has been programmed to be. No one is “just the way they are.” “Just the way I am” can be replaced with “That’s just the way I was” by renewing the mind and reconstructing the neurological pathways in the brain.
Sharon Jaynes (When You Don't Like Your Story: What If Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories?)
There is the fear of the bullet, and the fear of the noose. The fear of watching one you love march away and never return. And then that other, stranger fear. Not of losing everything but of everything twisting away from you; the promises made and received distorted like a reflection in muddy water, recognizable, but wrong. The fear not of death, but of sickness. An affliction that mimics life but removes, with merciless intent, its foundations
Alaya Dawn Johnson (Reconstruction: Stories)
O spirits, o Great-grandmother, who resides in heaven with our Lord and Savior, I am weary and sore of heart. O Mama, I am willow-twisted and cracked in the roil and storm of this war. The nearer we are to freedom, the farther from peace. Justice smells of life everlasting and copper coins, and her voice is not a song, or a prayer, but a cry.
Alaya Dawn Johnson (Reconstruction: Stories)
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 honour.
Winston Churchill
Tom sees Jesus as consciously living out a messianic vocation, including seeing his own death within that framework. My historical judgment is, “It’s possible but very difficult to know with any degree of probability, and if I had to bet, probably not.” To be more precise, I am sufficiently doubtful that we can trace a messianic self-awareness back to Jesus so that I do not use the term messiah (or any of the other exalted metaphors) in my historical reconstruction of Jesus. I do not see Jesus as seeing himself in messianic terms, and I do not think he saw his death as central to a messianic vocation or as in some sense the purpose of his life.
Marcus J. Borg (The Meaning of Jesus (Plus))
The God-scientist will know doubt, and will search for God. For on that day, in the depths of his consciousness, the distressing mystery of the contrary with pose itself again. Knowing the universe to the extent of its extreme limits, its intimate life and its construction, the new God will, however, understand that he only knows it from within, which is to say, from himself, and that he has none of the vision from without that a superior God, for example, might possess. And, beginning to doubt himself, the savant God will soon kneel down like his human ancestors before the great mystery. Pensive, anxiously turning his gaze toward the Heavens, the new God would search for God. He will have done everything to understand the world, and he will have reconstructed it scientifically, piece by piece, in his own image, his will imposing itself on the universe—and, at the moment of attaining the absolute, of integrating all science, the magnificent edifice will fall into dust before the light breath of the contrary, which the poets of yesteryear would doubtless have named the Evil Genius, but which men of common sense simply call humor.
Gaston De Pawlowski (Journey to the Land of the Fourth Dimension)
Lessons Learned Our past only exists in our brain and body, where we make and store our memories. If we live in the past, our energy is also trapped in it. We're unable to create new energy and a new future. The key to successfully modifying our future is to understand the different brain wave frequencies. We are capable of reconstructing our genes to allow growth and repair. Issues What are the things you do consistently every day that has turned into habits and an automatic routine? Do you think you're capable of breaking the cycle? Analyze how your life is right now. Do you think you have positive or negative energy? Why? Dr. Joe teaches us that when we create our new future, we can lose a few people only because they have no part in it. Are you willing to accept that? Goals Understand the different brain frequencies and how they affect the energy we have in our bodies. Meditate to forget the anticipated future and known reality. Action Steps Make a list of the things you routinely do daily. The next day, try to do things differently from how you usually do them. Meditate and try to forget reality as you know it. Liberate yourself from things that link you to the present. Checklist While meditating, accept that it's normal to sometimes slip into the known reality. Claim that you're capable of entering the optimal spot of the generous present.
Book Tigers (WORKBOOK of Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon by Joe Dispenza (Book Tigers Workbooks 4))
As we have mentioned, the adoption of the belief that science is well ordered has a corollary, that any study of its practice is relatively straightforward and that the content of science is beyond sociological study. However, we argue that both scientists and observers are routinely confronted by a seething mass of alternative interpretations. Despite participants’ well-ordered reconstructions and rationalisations, actual scientific practice entails the confrontation and negotiation of utter confusion. The solution adopted by scientists is the imposition of various frameworks by which the extent of background noise can be reduced and against which an apparently coherent signal can be presented. The process whereby such frameworks are constructed and imposed is the subject of our study.
Bruno Latour (Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts)
A ‘new start’ is where I tediously reconstruct everything I’ve spent most of my life destroying. A ‘fresh start’ is where God hands me something I’ve haven’t had the chance to destroy. And while I am free to choose either one, the former is a life repurposed while the latter is a life reborn.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
At times in life God will break you down so he can reconstruct and rebuild you into his divine masterpiece.
Angel Moreira
When we say that a narrative is, or is not, someone’s ‘story to tell’, what we unwittingly suggest is that when the story is yours, as in it happened within time as you directly experience it, you are given some power over it. Is this the biggest betrayal of pop psychology via talk therapy? That in language a person can find sufficient tools to erect a life undisturbed by demons? Or the thought, even, that a person can comprehend what it is they have lived through. - Survivors of all things, always trying to reconstruct the moment they survived through. - Strange, though, that even as you narrate it, you get to the horror point, and you think, this time, it’ll go differently. But the film reel keeps playing through, all the way, and, whoosh: powerless.
Ellena Savage (Blueberries: Essays Concerning Understanding)
Yves Congar has extensively reconstructed Thomas’ train of thought.12 He
Walter Kasper (Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life)
it is not a matter of denying the weight of time, very much to the contrary. An armagnac hors d’âge results from bringing together many very old armagnacs. An individual hors d’âge brings together many pasts not equally present in his memory, reconstructed pasts, and often the oldest ones are not the least tenacious and can give him the impression that his life has passed in a flash, whereas others, more recent but already fading, might easily convince him of having lived for an eternity, and still others drift in an indistinct haze at the edge of his memory, so that he can neither situate nor date them precisely: “Souvenirs? More than if I had lived a thousand years!” writes Baudelaire in Les fleurs du mal.2
Marc Augé (Everyone Dies Young: Time Without Age (European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism))
In Redburn, ten years after the fact, Melville reconstructed his own journey as the first time in his life that he was neither pampered nor pressured by adults who placed high hopes in him, but was ordered about as just another hired hand. “Let to rove / At last abroad among mankind,” he found himself amid rough men who had no interest in his pedigree except as a subject for mockery. In Liverpool, he was struck by the sight of black men embracing willing white women, and of people dying or dead in the gutter while pedestrians passed by unfazed as if the bodies were trash awaiting disposal by the street sweepers.
Andrew Delbanco (Melville: His World and Work (Vintage))
There are waves in history, as we have seen, including some vast tsunamis. But the idea that those waves are like waves of light and sound is an illusion. In the 1920s, the Soviet economist Nikolai Kondratieff sought to show that there were such patterns in capitalism, inferring from British, French, and German economic statistics the existence of fifty-year cycles of expansion followed by depression.114 For this contribution, which continues to be influential with many investors today, Stalin had Kondratieff arrested, imprisoned, and later shot. Unfortunately, modern research dispels the idea of such regularity in economic life. The economic historian Paul Schmelzing’s meticulous reconstruction of interest rates back to the thirteenth century points instead to a long-run, “supra-secular” decline in nominal rates, driven mostly by the process of capital accumulation, punctuated periodically but randomly by inflationary episodes nearly always associated with wars.115 Yet
Niall Ferguson (Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe)
When life is over, even an artist can’t reconstruct it, Negative character can’t be pounded into shape by a blacksmith.
Robin Kornman (The Epic of Gesar of Ling: Gesar's Magical Birth, Early Years, and Coronation as King)
former Confederate leaders had begun to regain political power in the South, staging targeted and effective misinformation campaigns to unseat progressive Blacks like Francis who had managed to secure positions of influence during Reconstruction.
Barbara Ransby (Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson)
The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow, Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade by Rachel Cohen, Uncompromising Activist: Richard Greener by Katherine Reynolds Chaddock, Richard Greener’s own essay “The White Problem,” and Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Marie Benedict (The Personal Librarian)
Just as psychoanalysis reconstructs the original traumatic situation in order to release the repressed material, so we are now being plunged back into the archaeopsychic past, uncovering the ancient taboos and drives that have been dormant for epochs. The brief span of an individual life is misleading. Each one of us is as old as the entire biological kingdom, and our bloodstreams are tributaries of the great sea of its total memory.
J.G. Ballard (The Drowned World)
TO HEAL THE GUT, LIGAMENTS, TENDONS, AND SKIN: The peptide BPC-157 may promote speedier recovery from ligament tear reconstruction and rotator cuff tendon injuries. As we’ve already mentioned, this peptide has shown outstanding results in treating debilitating gut problems. I found that out firsthand after my bout with mercury poisoning, which does brutal things to the body. BPC-157 was one of the tools I used to help rebuild my gut, and it was extraordinarily effective. 5. TO INCREASE MUSCLE MASS, STRENGTHEN BONES, REVITALIZE SKIN, AND RESTORE YOUTHFUL METABOLISM: The two peptides sermorelin and tesamorelin mimic the action of growth hormone–releasing hormone (GHRH), a hotbed for new drug development. GHRHs stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete natural growth hormone. They’re a lot cheaper than synthetic human growth hormone (HGH)—and, unlike HGH, can be legally prescribed off-label. What’s the downside? If you take growth hormone or these peptides, you should be aware that growth hormone elevates levels of insulin-like growth factor-1, which has been shown in some studies to have “a modest association” with cancer risk.9 So it’s critical that you work closely with your physician to determine what options are best based on your symptoms, blood work, and careful monitoring.
Tony Robbins (Life Force: How New Breakthroughs in Precision Medicine Can Transform the Quality of Your Life & Those You Love)
Stratton omitted, exaggerated, and fabricated information in order to deliver a title that was at once pious and titillating for his publisher, Whitton, Towne and Company, an arm of the Methodist Book Concern, which was trying to boost book sales in order to fund less lucrative church projects. His selective storytelling created a collage effect: there was what he knew and told, what he knew and did not tell, and what, perhaps, Olive never revealed, which cannot be reclaimed or reconstructed. Stratton even acknowledged the omissions in his conclusion: “Much of that dreadful period is unwritten, and will remain forever unwritten.
Margot Mifflin (The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman (Women in the West))
The reorganisation of the world has at first to be mainly the work of a "movement" or a Party or a religion or cult, whatever we choose to call it. We may call it New Liberalism or the New Radicalism or what not. It will not be a close-knit organisation, toeing the Party line and so forth. It may be a very loose-knit and many faceted, but if a sufficient number of minds throughout the world, irrespective of race, origin or economic and social habituations, can be brought to the free and candid recognition of the essentials of the human problem, then their effective collaboration in a conscious, explicit and open effort to reconstruct human society will ensue. And to begin with they will do all they can to spread and perfect this conception of a new world order, which they will regard as the only working frame for their activities, while at the same time they will set themselves to discover and associate with themselves, everyone, everywhere, who is intellectually able to grasp the same broad ideas and morally disposed to realise them. The distribution of this essential conception one may call propaganda, but in reality it is education. The opening phase of this new type of Revolution must involve therefore a campaign for re-invigorated and modernised education throughout the world, an education that will have the same ratio to the education of a couple of hundred years ago, as the electric lighting of a contemporary city has to the chandeliers and oil lamps of the same period. On its present mental levels humanity can do no better than what it is doing now. Vitalising education is only possible when it is under the influence of people who are themselves learning. It is inseparable from the modern idea of education that it should be knit up to incessant research. We say research rather than science. It is the better word because it is free from any suggestion of that finality which means dogmatism and death. All education tends to become stylistic and sterile unless it is kept in close touch with experimental verification and practical work, and consequently this new movement of revolutionary initiative, must at the same time be sustaining realistic political and social activities and working steadily for the collectivisation of governments and economic life. The intellectual movement will be only the initiatory and correlating part of the new revolutionary drive. These practical activities must be various. Everyone engaged in them must be thinking for himself and not waiting for orders. The only dictatorship he will recognise is the dictatorship of the plain understanding and the invincible fact. And if this culminating Revolution is to be accomplished, then the participation of every conceivable sort of human+being who has the mental grasp to see these broad realities of the world situation and the moral quality to do something about it, must be welcomed. Previous revolutionary thrusts have been vitiated by bad psychology. They have given great play to the gratification of the inferiority complexes that arise out of class disadvantages. It is no doubt very unjust that anyone should be better educated, healthier and less fearful of the world than anyone else, but that is no reason why the new Revolution should not make the fullest use of the health, education, vigour and courage of the fortunate. The Revolution we are contemplating will aim at abolishing the bitterness of frustration. But certainly it will do nothing to avenge it. Nothing whatever. Let the dead past punish its dead.
H.G. Wells (The New World Order)
To begin always anew, to make, to reconstruct, and to not spoil, to refuse to bureaucratize the mind, to understand and to live life as a process—live to become
Paulo Freire
They will call the police, who will arrest this person, and for a night or two they will have a place to sleep in a jail cell. The police cannot solve poverty, joblessness, and the housing crisis—the actual culprits in the lives of the homeless. But if we’ve deemed the homeless, not poverty, the problem, then what the police can do is make them disappear. The major tools the police carry are handcuffs and guns; they can arrest or kill. The police can go forth and round up the homeless, then place them in cages. And to grant them the authority, local governments can criminalize the existence of the homeless: they can criminalize sleeping outside, or criminalize panhandling, which begins to look a lot like the criminalization of vagrancy as part of the Black Codes in the era that ended Reconstruction. And then, our local governments can fund a separate police force for the subway system to punish turnstile jumpers, arrest women selling churros, and clear out more homeless people, while neighborhood associations ensure no new homeless shelters get built near or in affluent neighborhoods. The streets remain the only place for them to call home.
Mychal Denzel Smith (Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream)
Wilhelm Reich in The Sexual Revolution summarized the specific objective reasons for the failure of the Russian communes in the best analysis to date: 1) Confusion of the leadership and evasion of the problem. 2) The laborious task of reconstruction in general given the cultural backwardness of Old Russia, the war, and famine. 3) Lack of theory. The Russian Revolution was the first of its kind. No attempt had been made to deal with emotional-sexual-familial problems in the formulation of basic revolutionary theory. (Or, in our terms, there had been a lack of “consciousness raising” about female/ child oppression and a lack of radical feminist analysis prior to the revolution itself.) 4) The sex-negative psychological structure of the individual, created and reinforced throughout history by the family, hindered the individual's liberation from this very structure. As Reich puts it: It must be remembered that human beings have a tremendous fear of just that kind of life for which they long so much but which is at variance with their own structure. 5) The explosive concrete complexities of sexuality. In the picture that Reich draws of the time, one senses the immense frustration of people trying to liberate themselves without having a well-thought-out ideology to guide them. In the end, that they attempted so much without an adequate preparation made their failure even more extreme: To destroy the balance of sexual polarization without entirely eliminating it was worse than nothing at all.
Shulamith Firestone (The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution)
was a formative presence in global diplomacy.86 Cousin Alice pronounced calling and card-leaving “a Washington mania that no sane human beings should let themselves in for.”87 It was also work: it took patience and stamina and kindness; Alice did not want the authority of donkey work, nor did she have the impulse to be kind. Her object was to be feared—to be the alpha female whose invitations to her own select circle were coveted.88 Eleanor’s authority rested on being in earnest and in her instinct for knowing just when someone needed a bunch of violets or a small present for a voyage to France. She never shirked from the toil of the card case; she never claimed “delicacy,”89 or “a brief illness,” code among official ladies for marital strain, excessive menstruation, or depression.90 She made one exception to her all-in cooperation as a naval wife. To staff the gloomy house on N Street, she had brought from New York four servants, all white, who joined Auntie Bye’s two oldest retainers, both African-American. But Franklin’s boss, devoutly Christian, had also been North Carolina’s all too effective collaborator in resisting Reconstruction’s political empowerment of formerly enslaved African Americans.91 In 1898, as editor of the state’s most prominent newspaper, Daniels served as the propaganda wing of a conspiracy to overthrow the elected multiracial government
David Michaelis (Eleanor: A Life)
To persevere in an increasingly socialist culture, you’re going to have to decide whether to be a Christ-follower or merely a Christ-admirer. Søren Kierkegaard wrote something similar: “The admirer never makes any sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how he praises Christ, he renounces nothing, will not reconstruct his life, and will not let his life express what he supposedly admires. Not so for the follower. No, no. The follower aspires with all his strength to be what he admires.
David Jeremiah (Where Do We Go from Here?: How Tomorrow's Prophecies Foreshadow Today's Problems)
But what if current misery hindsightfully selects and reconstructs memories of childhood to be consistent with a miserable state today? Peter Lewinsohn and Michael Rosenbaum (1987) set out to answer this question with a rare prospective study of over a thousand citizen volunteers. [...] The results were consistent with the hypothesis that recollection of one’s parents as rejecting and unloving is strongly influenced by current moods; negative recollections were not a stable characteristic of depression-prone people. [...] This study of depression is important in that it casts doubt on the degree to which adult problems are caused by childhood ones. Given a biasing effect of mood on memory, people who are distressed as adults tend to remember distressing incidents in their childhood. And, if a person also believes that current problems have their roots in early life (perhaps because their therapist told them so), this view itself may serve as an organizing principle to produce even greater distortion of recall (remember the Conway & Ross [1984] study).
Reid Hastie (Rational Choice in an Uncertain World: The Psychology of Judgement and Decision Making)
It is not just that ‘traumatic events’ disrupt ‘attachments of family, friendship, love, and community’ or ‘shatter the construction of the self that is formed and sustained in relation to others.’ More fundamentally, trauma specialist Judith Herman asserts, trauma directly disrupts the very ‘systems of attachment and meaning that link individual and community.’ Thus, another specialist has defined traumatic events as ones ‘that cannot be assimilated with the victim’s “inner schemata” of self in relation to the world.’ The ‘work of reconstruction,’ Herman writes, ‘actually transforms the traumatic memory, so that it can be integrated into the survivor’s life story.
Stephanie E. Smallwood (Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora)
This man Martine and I were looking at, this senseless clone waiting to be woken up by the two women who defined him—this was the closest thing we could get to the real Nathan. This was the man we had known, the man we had loved, the man we had hated. The man we had buried. We reconstructed the frame of him, and we built a ghost in the shape of our memories, and then we shoved the two together. We fixed the frame and the ghost to each other by etching the sigils and scars of his life into his skin. We had made this man, together. We had made him. And now, he was ready. I pulled the curtain around his bed shut, so that when he opened his eyes, he wouldn’t be able to see the lab. Martine stood over my shoulder, white lab coat stretched over her belly, mouth and nose and hair hidden behind a surgical mask and cap. I draped a stethoscope around my neck, lifted a surgical mask over my own face. We were in disguise, dressed as a believable lie, one he would have no reason to inspect too closely. Two doctors, protected from pathogens, professional, distant. Nothing to recognize. Nothing to remember. We were ready. I took him off the sedative that had kept him below the surface of twilight sleep for the previous week. We had pushed him deeper under for more disruptive procedures, let him drift closer to the surface of wakefulness in between. Now, without any sedative to drag him down into the dark, Nathan woke up quickly. His mind was flexible, malleable, ready to accept fresh stimulus. His eyes fluttered open, and for a few minutes, he had the same vague  him, and we built a ghost in the shape of our memories, and then we shoved the two together. We fixed the frame and the ghost to each other by etching the sigils and scars of his life into his skin. We had made this man, together. We had made him. And now, he was ready.
Sarah Gailey (The Echo Wife)
The [Second World] war may thus have acted as a forcing-bed, bringing to somewhat speedier development what was already securely rooted in the circumstances of our nation; and in this sense it may, perhaps, be said that: "The Scottish Renaissance was conceived in the First World War and sprang into lusty life in the Second World War.
Hugh MacDiarmid (The New Scotland: 17 Chapters on Scottish Reconstruction)
While cortex grabs the lion’s share of headlines, other structures may also play an important role in the expression of consciousness. Francis Crick was fascinated, literally to his dying day, with a mysterious thin layer of neurons underneath the cortex called the claustrum. Claustrum neurons project to every region of cortex and also receive input from every cortical region. Crick and I speculated that the claustrum acts as the conductor of the cortical symphony, coordinating responses across the cortical sheet in a way that is essential to any conscious experience. Laborious but stunning reconstructions of the axonal wiring of individual nerve cells (which I call “crown of thorns” neurons) from the claustrum of the mouse confirm that these cells project massively throughout much of the cortical mantle.25
Christof Koch (The Feeling of Life Itself: Why Consciousness Is Widespread but Can't Be Computed)
To understand and criticise intelligently so vast a work, one must not forget an instant the drift of things in the later sixties. Lee had surrendered, Lincoln was dead, and Johnson and Congress were at loggerheads; the Thirteenth Amendment was adopted, the Fourteenth pending, and the Fifteenth declared in force in 1870. Guerrilla raiding, the ever-present flickering after-flame of war, was spending its forces against the Negroes, and all the Southern land was awakening as from some wild dream to poverty and social revolution. In a time of perfect calm, amid willing neighbors and streaming wealth, the social uplifting of four million slaves to an assured and self-sustaining place in the body politic and economic would have been a herculean task; but when to the inherent difficulties of so delicate and nice a social operation were added the spite and hate of conflict, the hell of war; when suspicion and cruelty were rife, and gaunt Hunger wept beside Bereavement,—in such a case, the work of any instrument of social regeneration was in large part foredoomed to failure. The very name of the [Freedmen's] Bureau stood for a thing in the South which for two centuries and better men had refused even to argue,—that life amid free Negroes was simply unthinkable, the maddest of experiments.
W.E.B. Du Bois (The Souls of Black Folk)
It is essential to consider as a constant point of reference in this essay the regular hiatus between what we fancy we know and what we really know, practical assent and simulated ignorance which allows us to live with ideas which, if we truly put them to the test, ought to upset our whole life. Faced with this inextricable contradiction of the mind, we shall fully grasp the divorce separating us from our own creations. So long as the mind keeps silent in the motionless world of its hopes, everything is reflected and arranged in the unity of its nostalgia. But with its first move this world cracks and tumbles: an infinite number of shimmering fragments is offered to the understanding. We must despair of ever reconstructing the familiar, calm surface which would give us peace of heart. After so many centuries of inquiries, so many abdications among thinkers, we are well aware that this is true for all our knowledge. With the exception of professional rationalists, today people despair of true knowledge. If the only significant history of human thought were to be written, it would have to be the history of its successive regrets and its impotences.
Albert Camus (The Myth of Sisyphus)
But what exactly explained this transformation? To learn more, I plunged into the neuroscience and biochemistry of storytelling; I interviewed experts on the psychological and emotional benefits of life reminiscence; I tracked down pioneers in the nascent disciplines of narrative gerontology, narrative adolescence, and narrative medicine. What I found was a young-but-growing field built around the idea that reimagining and reconstructing our personal stories is vital to living a fulfilling life.
Bruce Feiler (Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age)
Thus, in the evaluation of religion, philosophy must recognize the central position of religion and has no other alternative but to admit it as something focal in the process of reflective synthesis. Nor is there any reason to suppose that thought and intuition are essentially opposed to each other. They spring up from the same root and complement each other. The one grasps Reality piecemeal, the other grasps it in its wholeness. The one fixes its gaze on the eternal, the other on the temporal aspect of Reality. The one is present enjoyment of the whole of Reality; the other aims at traversing the whole by slowly specifying and closing up the various regions of the whole for exclusive observation. Both are in need of each other for mutual rejuvenation. Both seek visions of the same Reality which reveals itself to them in accordance with their function in life.
Muhammad Iqbal (The Reconstruction of Religious Thought In Islam)
I am writing this with my left hand, although I am strongly right-handed. I had surgery to my right shoulder a month ago (…) and am not capable of use of the right arm at this time. I write slowly, awkwardly – but more easily, more naturally, with each passing day. I am adapting, learning, all the while – not merely this left-handed writing, but a dozen other left-handed skills as well: I have also become very adept, prehensile, with my toes, to compensate for having one arm in a sling. (…) I am developing different patterns, different habits… a different identity, one might say. There must be changes going on with some of the programs and circuits in my brain – altering synaptic weights and connectivities and signals (though our methods of brain imaging are too crude to show these). (…) Nature’s imagination is richer than ours (...). For me, as a physician, nature’s richness is to be studied in the phenomena of health and disease, in the endless forms of individual adaptation by which human organisms, people, adapt and reconstruct themselves, faced with the challenges and vicissitudes of life. Defects, disorders, diseases, in this sense, can play a paradoxical role, by bringing out latent powers, developments, evolutions, forms of life, that might never be seen, or even be imaginable, in their absence. It is the paradox of disease, in this sense, its “creative” potential, that forms the central theme of this book. Thus while one may be horrified of the ravages of developmental disorder or disease, one may sometimes see them as creative toon- for if they destroy particular paths, they may force the nervous system into making other paths and ways, force on it an unexpected growth and evolution. This other side of development or disease is something I see, potentially, in almost every patient; and it is this, here, which I am especially concerned to describe. (…) In addition to the objective approach of the scientist, the naturalist, we must employ an intersubjective approach too, leaping, as Foucault writes, “into the interior of morbid consciousness [trying] to see the pathological world with the eyes of the patient himself”. (…) The exploration of deeply altered selves and worlds is not one that can be made in a consulting room or office. The French neurologist Francois Lhermitte is especially sensitive to this, and instead of just observing his patients in the clinic, he makes a point of visiting them at home, taking them to restaurants of theatres, or for rides in his car, sharing their lives as much as possible.
Oliver Sacks
Cities can do this. Cast off their onetime identity and - while wearing the same (but now reconstructed) exterior-become something new. We as individuals can also change physical shape. We can lose weight and gain muscle, or go the other way and give in to flab. We can wear clothes that speak volumes about the images we want to present to the world. We can display our wealth, our poverty, our sense of confidence, our sense of self doubt. We can, like cities, change all the externals. But what we can never do is change the story that has made us what we are. It's a story completely dictated by the accumulation of life's manifold complexities- it's capacity for astonishment and horror, for sanguinity and hopelessness, for pellucid light and the most profound darkness. We are what has happened to us. And we carry everywhere all that has shaped us-all that we lacked, all that we wanted but never got, all that we got but never wanted, all that was found and lost.
Douglas Kennedy (The Moment)
By transforming the past into a history, the psychoanalyst creates a series of densely symbolic stories that will serve as ever-present dream material in the patient’s life, generating constant and continuous associations. Unlike the past, which as a signifier sits in the self as a kind of lead weight, history requires work, and when the work is done the history is sufficiently polysemous to energize many unconscious elaborations. The work of recollecting seemingly insignificant details from the past symbolically brings prior selves contained in these mnemic objects back to life – and in this way transforms debris into meaningful presence – and thus is the work of a life instinct, but ironically it also puts these past lives into a new place of destruction, for the unconscious work has a dismantling effect, as historical texts of reconstruction give birth to other ideas and contrary reflective theories, which destroy the placid aim of creating commemorative plaques to one’s new discoveries. Historical construction collects in order to retrieve the self from its many meaningless deaths – the amnesial ‘gone’ – and then it generatively destroys these details and saturates them with new meaning created through the very act of retrieval, which has given them the imaginative and symbolic energy to make this past available for the self’s future.
Christopher Bollas (The Christopher Bollas Reader)
On the side of the Union,” Lincoln said, it is a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men—to lift artificial weights from all shoulders—to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all—to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life.70
Allen C. Guelzo (Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War & Reconstruction)
Daily: staying in touch with your life as it unfolds History: reconstructing the contours of your past Dialogue: journaling a “conversation” Pilgrimage: exercises to promote personal growth Bible study: analyzing and applying Scripture Dreams: recording your nightly images Musings: recording insights, thoughts, and reflections Family: marking key events in your family’s development Work: keeping notes and materials related to your job8
Adam L. Feldman (Journaling: Catalyzing Spiritual Growth Through Reflection)
I began to recall my own experience when I was Mercutio’s age (late teens I decided, a year or two older than Romeo) as a pupil at a public school called Christ’s Hospital. This school is situated in the idyllic countryside of the Sussex Weald, just outside Horsham. I recalled the strange blend of raucousness and intellect amongst the cloisters, the fighting, the sport, and general sense of rebelliousness, of not wishing to seem conventional (this was the sixties); in the sixth form (we were called Grecians) the rarefied atmosphere, the assumption that of course we would go to Oxford or Cambridge; the adoption of an ascetic style, of Zen Buddhism, of baroque opera, the Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa, and Mahler; of Pound, Eliot and e. e. cummings. We perceived the world completely through art and culture. We were very young, very wise, and possessed of a kind of innocent cynicism. We wore yellow stockings, knee breeches, and an ankle length dark blue coat, with silver buttons. We had read Proust, we had read Evelyn Waugh, we knew what was what. There was a sense, fostered by us and by many teachers, that we were already up there with Lamb, Coleridge, and all the other great men who had been educated there. We certainly thought that we soared ‘above a common bound’. I suppose it is a process of constant mythologizing that is attempted at any public school. Tom Brown’s Schooldays is a good example. Girls were objects of both romantic and purely sexual, fantasy; beautiful, distant, mysterious, unobtainable, and, quite simply, not there. The real vessel for emotional exchange, whether sexually expressed or not, were our own intense friendships with each other. The process of my perceptions of Mercutio intermingling with my emotional memory continued intermittently, up to and including rehearsals. I am now aware that that possibly I re-constructed my memory somewhat, mythologised it even, excising what was irrelevant, emphasising what was useful, to accord with how I was beginning to see the part, and what I wanted to express with it. What I was seeing in Mercutio was his grief and pain at impending separation from Romeo, so I suppose I sensitised myself to that period of my life when male bonding was at its strongest for me.
Roger Allam (Players of Shakespeare 2: Further Essays in Shakespearean Performance by Players with the Royal Shakespeare Company)
Colonialism is a form of vampirism that empowers and bloats the self image of the colonizing empire by draining the life energies of the colonized people; just enough blood is left to allow the colonial subject to perform a day’s work for the objective empire. And these drained energies are not only of the present and future, but of the past, of memory itself: the continuity of identity of a people, and of each individual who is colonized. No one should recognize this process better than women; for the female sex has functioned as a colony of organized patriarchal power for several thousand years now. Our brains have been emptied out of all memory of our own cultural history, and the colonizing power systematically denies such a history ever existed. The colonizing power mocks our attempts to rediscover and celebrate our ancient matriarchies as realities. In the past women have had to accept this enforced female amnesia as “normal”; and many contemporary women continue to believe the female sex has existed always and ab aeterno as an auxiliary to the male-dominated world order. But we continue to dig in the ruins, seeking the energy of memory; believing that the reconstruction of women’s ancient history has a revolutionary potential equal to that of any political movement today.
Monica Sjoo Barbara Mor
It is never possible to completely reconstruct a person’s life from what they leave behind—the absurdity of it all, the pain, the triumphs. What’s lost is lost forever, and the silences are telling. But why mourn what we’ll lose anyway? Laughter truly is the best medicine, and I find whisky tends to numb and burn what’s left behind.
Thackery T. Lambshead
Remember that everything you perceive—even this page—is actively, repeatedly, being reconstructed inside your head. It’s happening to you right now. Your eyes cannot see through the wall of the cranium; all experience including visual experience is an organized whirl of information in your brain. If
Robert Lanza (Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe)
I know that being a parent is awful ninety-five percent of the time,” Seth said. “As far as I can tell, it’s that last five percent that keeps the human race from dying out. Four parts blinding terror, one part perfection. It’s like mainlining heroin. One taste of life on that edge and you’re hooked.
Kimberly McCreight (Reconstructing Amelia)
To further support this claim, consider again the work of Michael Scheuer, the former head of CIA's Bin Laden Unit. Scheuer has provided a comprehensive analysis of Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the war on terror as presently undertaken by the United States 42 One of Scheuer's central claims is that al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations, are not motivated by a fundamental hatred for the American identity and way of life, but instead by U.S. interventions and policies in the larger Middle East region. It is Scheuer's contention that these interventions are in fact the driving force behind the backlash against the United States.43 In other words, these interventions in the Middle East have generated negative unintended consequences, such as the 9/11 attacks, that in turn led to further interventions, such as the overall war on terror and the invasion of and subsequent reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Christopher J. Coyne (After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy (Stanford Economics and Finance))
Of the seven Archons that had combined to form the Milky Way mind, Orion had been the Archon whose verve and remorseless drive inspired and frightened and tempted the others into cooperation. Of the twenty-five Authorities forming the long-lost Orion Arm, the Benedictine was the most significant and influential of the ancient forefathers. The Benedictines were combination of three Dominions, issuing from the Collective at the Praesepe Cluster, the Abstraction at Orion Nebula, and the Empyrean at the Hyades Cluster. The Empyreans issued from a world called Eden, allegedly outside Hyades itself, and had displaced the original inhabitants of Hyades, a rude confederation of Virtues, Hosts, and races who names even devout paleohistorians could not with certainty invoke. Occupying the debris of the oldest archival strata were traces of the legendary founder of this Domination, an Empyrean called the Judge of Ages. He was the direct lineal ancestor of the memory chains of the last-known warlord of the Milky Way. Variations of him existed everywhere, of course; he was the base template for nearly every emissary form known in the Milky Way, and the founder of the Count-to-Infinity cliometric which had replaced the Cold Equations of the Interregnum. But such emissaries had been sent to Andromeda and rejected, even destroyed. No recent version of the countless copies would do, nor was there time to send to the core of the Milky Way, where the vast warlord Archon was last known to have been active. Once of the necromancers—call her Alcina—sought his ghost where others had overlooked, in one of the oldest archives, well preserved, amid the Austerity of the Cygnus Arm. Alcina reconstructed him, mind and body, comparing this core to many other records, carefully parsing away amendments and mythical excrescences of later editors. And Menelaus Montrose came to life once more, swearing.
John C. Wright (Count to Infinity (Count to the Eschaton Sequence #6))
EVERY LIVING CELL IS essentially just a tiny bag of water. Viewed from this perspective, life (the verb) is little more than the construction and reconstruction of trillions of bags of water. One thing that makes this difficult is that there is not enough water.
Hope Jahren (Lab Girl)
In the Real Life of Alejandro Mayta, the reader tries to reconstruct the past through participants and witnesses to that past, but what results is a blurred, ambiguous fiction within another fiction that recounts past events in accord with individual perspectives and interests. In this case, reality becomes fiction not only because the novelist fictionalized it but because the acts of remembering are so deformed or willfully mendacious that it is itself a fiction.
Myron I. Lichtblau
As children inch their way into adolescence, the parent changes. He is an authority, a source of answers, and a chastising voice. Depending on the day, he may be resented, emulated, questioned, or defied. Only as an adult can a child imagine his parent as a whole person, as a husband, a brother, or a son. Only then can a child see how his parent fits into the world beyond four walls. Saleem had only bits and pieces of his father, mostly the memories of a young boy. He would spend the rest of his life, he knew, trying to reconstruct his father with the scraps he could recall or gather from his mother.
Nadia Hashimi (When the Moon is Low)
The significant relationships of early adulthood are thus construed as the means to an end of individual achievement, and these "transitional figures" must be cast off or reconstructed following the realization of success. If in the process, however, they become, like Dido, an impediment to the fulfillment of the Dream, then the relationship must be renounced, "to allow the developmental process" to continue. This process is defined by Levinson explicitly as one of individuation: "throughout the life cycle, but especially in the key transition periods . . . the developmental process of individuation is going on." The process refers "to the changes in a person's relationships to himself and to the external world," the relationships that constitute his "Life Structure" (p. 195). If in the course of "Becoming One's Own Man," this structure is discovered to be flawed and threatens the great expectations of the Dream, then in order to avert "serious Failure or Decline," the man must "break out" to salvage his Dream. This act of breaking out is consummated by a "marker event" of separation, such as "leaving his wife, quitting his job, or moving to another region" (p. 206). Thus the road to mid-life salvation runs through either achievement or separation.
Carol Gilligan (In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development)
We often fail to grasp the seriousness of the menace to the Jewish heritage involved in the modern ideology because we use the term "traditional conception of God" loosely. If we use it in the sense of the belief in the existence of a supreme being as defined by the most advanced Jewish thinkers in the past, there is nothing in that belief which cannot be made compatible with views held by many a modern thinker of note. But if by the term "traditional conception of God" we mean the specific facts recorded in the Bible about the way God revealed himself and intervened in the affairs of men, then tradition and the modern ideology are irreconcilable. The chief opposition to the traditional conception of God in that sense arises not from the scientific approach to the study of nature in general, or even man in general. It arises from the objective study of history. The natural sciences like physics and chemistry cannot disprove the possibility of miracles, though they may assert their improbability. But the objective study of history has established the fact that the records of miracles are unreliable, and that the stories about them are merely the product of the popular imagination. The traditional conception of God is challenged by history, anthropology and psychology; these prove that beliefs similar to those found in the Bible about God arise among all peoples at a certain stage of mental and social development, and pass through a process of evolution which is entirely conditioned by the development of the other elements in their civilization.
Mordecai Menahem Kaplan (Judaism as a Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life)
The Democrats did play a role in Reconstruction—they worked to block it. The party struck out against Reconstruction in two ways. The first was to form a network of terrorist organizations with names like the Constitutional Guards, the White Brotherhood, the Society of Pale Faces, and the Knights of the White Camelia. The second was to institute state-sponsored segregation throughout the South. Let us consider these two approaches one by one. The Democrats started numerous terror groups, but the most notorious of these was the Ku Klux Klan. Founded in 1866, the Klan was initially led by a former Confederate army officer, Nathan Bedford Forrest, who served two years later as a Democratic delegate to the party’s 1868 national convention. Forrest’s role in the Klan is controversial; he later disputed that he was ever involved, insisting he was active in attempting to disband the organization. Initially the Klan’s main targets weren’t blacks but rather white people who were believed to be in cahoots with blacks. The Klan unleashed its violence against northern Republicans who were accused of being “carpetbaggers” and unwarrantedly interfering in southern life, as well as southern “scalawags” and “white niggers” who the Klan considered to be in league with the northern Republicans. The Klan’s goal was to repress blacks by getting rid of these perceived allies of the black cause. Once again Republicans moved into action, passing a series of measures collectively termed the Ku Klux Klan Acts of 1871. These acts came to be known as the Force Bill, signed into law by a Republican President, Ulysses Grant. They restricted northern Democratic inflows of money and weapons to the Klan, and also empowered federal officials to crack down on the Klan’s organized violence. The Force Bill was implemented by military governors appointed by Grant. These anti-Klan measures seem modest in attempting to arrest what Grant described as an “invisible empire throughout the South.” But historian Eric Foner says the Force Bill did markedly reduce lawless violence by the Democrats. The measures taken by Republicans actually helped shut down the Ku Klux Klan. By 1873, the Klan was defunct, until it was revived a quarter-century later by a new group of racist Democrats.
Dinesh D'Souza (Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party)
Much contemporary popular writing on genetics assumes that it should be possible to reconstruct living systems from the bottom up, starting with the raw DNA code. And that is precisely the sort of procedure we have just seen to be so entirely impracticable. Clearly, we need first to narrow the options. And there is only one way to do that; we must observe how nature itself has narrowed the options.
Denis Noble (The Music of Life: Biology beyond genes)
the companion lion who overcomes all enemies, the kings and queens who command power over life, give us imaginative reconstructions of the small child’s world. We
Selma H. Fraiberg (The Magic Years: Understanding and Handling the Problems of Early Childhood)
but like all mothers whose children are growing up and drifting away from them, she felt an urge to stay in his shack as long as she could, to cling to anything that she could use, when he vanished from her life, to reconstruct a son from memory.
Yiyun Li (The Vagrants)
Listen, Lola’s only five, and even I know that being a parent is awful ninety-five percent of the time,” Seth said. “As far as I can tell, it’s that last five percent that keeps the human race from dying out. Four parts blinding terror, one part perfection. It’s like mainlining heroin. One taste of life on that edge and you’re hooked.
Kimberly McCreight (Reconstructing Amelia)
They’d been living together for about a year when they’d taken that trip to Italy. And he had asked her to marry him at the end of it, in Rome, right outside the Vatican. The woman he’d met by chance in a bar had turned out to be an angel who’d been sent to reconstruct his life and make him whole again. Would he disintegrate without her? Could he move on? The clock on the nightstand read 2:37. Randall stood in the bathroom, looking at himself in the mirror. He reached behind
Matthew Farrell (I Know Everything)
On the eve of the Civil War, the federal government was “in a state of impotence,” its conception of its duties little changed since the days of Washington and Jefferson. Most functions of government were handled at the state and local level; one could live out one’s life without ever encountering an official representative of national authority. But the exigencies of war created, as Sen. George S. Boutwell later put it, a “new government,” with a greatly expanded income, bureaucracy, and set of responsibilities.40
Eric Foner (Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877)
After the Leipzig Disputation, Luther’s cornerstone becomes more firmly settled. “By scripture alone”—or in Latin, sola scriptura—becomes his rock. On this basis he will criticize whatever in Church teaching and practice contradicts God’s Word. On this basis he will reconstruct authentic Christian teaching and practice for the sake of laypeople, who have been sadly misled through no fault of their own. And on this basis he will become the unwitting progenitor of a revolution in Western Christianity—a revolution that will affect just about everything because of how religion is interconnected with the rest of life.
Brad S. Gregory (Rebel in the Ranks: Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts That Continue to Shape Our World)
Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma. When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism, and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and sceptics. At least, not yet. I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The “Life Force,” the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work— the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls “Forces” while denying the existence of “spirits”—then the end of the war will be in sight.[1]
Rousas John Rushdoony (Symposium on Satanism (JCR Vol. 1 No. 2) (Journal of Christian Reconstruction))
We are always under reconstruction! Only through pain can we learn the hard lessons... The importance is to keep in mind that the sun always shines after the storm... and the best day is when we finally realize that we do not control the day. Letting go is good. Be in the moment. Life does whatever is necessary to mold us into shape and prepare us for greatness. It does not always look or feel this way. Instead, what we experience in life seems difficult, painful, unnecessary. When we truly recognize that there is a master plan, we can welcome any tool that comes to prepare us to behold our perfect place. Keep pushing through, and SHINE
Angie karan
Certainly she could never have exchanged pleasantries with anyone. What would there be for them to say anyway? Sorry? Sorry your daughter is dead, Sorry your daughter jumped off the roof of her school when you were on your way to pick her up. Sorry you were late. Too bad you'll be reliving that failure for the rest of your miserable life.
Kimberly McCreight (Reconstructing Amelia)
In a state that continued to be saddled with a sternly limited governmental structure devised when the South was just emerging from the bruising experience of the Civil War and Reconstruction, she also had to contend with fact that national politics and changing demographics had left her swimming for her life as a liberal Democrat in an ocean of conservative Republicans. In a failed presidential campaign, Texas's Republican senator Phil Gramm once boasted that the best thing a politician can have is money. It helps, of course, and yet he was proved quite wrong: the biggest advantage a politician can have is that people like you.
Jan Reid (Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards)
Long before the child develops his inner resources for overcoming dangers he is dependent upon his parents to satisfy his needs, to relieve him of tension, to anticipate danger, and to remove the source of a disturbance. This is the situation of the infant. To the infant and very young child the parents are very powerful beings, magical creatures who divine secret wishes, satisfy the deepest longings, and perform miraculous feats. We cannot remember this time of life, and if we try to recapture the feelings of earliest childhood we can only find something analogous in fairy tales. The genies who are summoned in fairy tales and bring forth tables heaped with delicacies, the fairies who grant the most extravagant wishes, the magic beasts who transport a child to far-off lands, the companion lion who overcomes all enemies, the kings and queens who command power over life, give us imaginative reconstructions of the small child’s world. We
Selma H. Fraiberg (The Magic Years: Understanding and Handling the Problems of Early Childhood)
To be adult means, among other things, to see one’s own life in continuous perspective, both in retrospect and in prospect. By accepting some definition of who he is, usually on the basis of a function in an economy, a place in the sequence of generations, and a status in the structure of society, the adult is able to selectively reconstruct his past in such a way that, step by step, it seems to have planned him, or better, he seems to have planned it. In this sense, psychologically we do choose our parents, our family history, and the history of our kings, heroes, and gods. By making them our own, we maneuver ourselves into the inner position of proprietors, of creators.”12
Samuel H. Barondes (Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality)
A key finding is that violence is remembered, given meaning and lived with in the present, in ethical terms. As we have seen from the stories belonging to former insurgents and former state counter-insurgency officers, the mediation of violent memories is fundamentally an ethical exercise for those who have participated in violence. It entails a reconstruction of one’s experiences in moral terms, in ways that enable ‘perpetrators’ to continue living with their unsettling pasts in the present. Memories of violence are morally tendentious, rather than being abstract and objective recollections of a recorded past. Shaped by the changing socio-political and moral contexts of recall, memories of violence are continuously reworked in the present, with profound implications for notions of the self and sociality.
Dhana Hughes (Violence, Torture and Memory in Sri Lanka: Life after Terror (Routledge/Edinburgh South Asian Studies Series))
For me, as a physician, nature's richness is to be studied in the phenomena of health and disease, in endless forms of individual adaptation by which human organisms, people, adapt and reconstruct themselves, faced with the challenges and vicissitudes of life. Defects, disorders, diseases, in this sense, can play a paradoxical role, by bringing out latent powers, developments, evolutions, forms of life, that might never be seen, or even be imaginable, in their absence. [...] Thus while one may be horrified by the ravages of developmental disorder or disease, one may sometimes see them as creative too—for it they destroy particular paths, particular ways of doing things, they may force the nervous system into making other paths and ways, force on it an unexpected growth and evolution.
Oliver Sacks
The church maintained that having been founded by Christ, who was God incarnate, it alone, through its bishops, was the final and authoritative instrument of divine revelation. Allegiance to the church and obedience to its ordinances were the sole means to salvation. No salvation was therefore possible to anyone who remained outside the church — nulla salus extra ecclesiam. Likewise, Islam placed the main emphasis upon the Koran as the final revelation of God's will. Adherence to the teachings of the Koran, together with the recognition of Allah as God, and Mohammed as the greatest of prophets, constituted for the Moslems the sine qua non of salvation. The Jews were not quite as emphatic as were the Christians and the Moslems in declaring the rest of mankind ineligible to salvation. Rabbinic teaching was inclined to concede that Gentiles, who were righteous or saintly, had a share in the world to come.
Mordecai Menahem Kaplan (Judaism as a Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life)
If you're dealing with some ancient ruins, He was there when they crumbled. He knows every detail. He knows exactly how you've been affected, and His expertise is reconstruction. After all, Christ was a carpenter by trade. Nothing has ever been allowed to crumble in a Christian's life or heritage that God cannot reconstruct and use.
Beth Moore (Breaking Free Day by Day: A Year of Walking in Liberty)
From the tender pier, head left along the waterfront. Three blocks beyond, you'll come upon a reconstructed 17th century manor on the waterfront.  The ground floor houses the Museum of Nevis History. This was originally a private home and the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton.  The museum contains various artifacts (Hamilton spent the first 17 years of his life here before heading to colonial America). This is mainly a cultural museum with an interesting variety of exhibits, including some Amerindian artifacts. The Nevis Historical and Conservation Society has its headquarters here. This old stone building on Nevis is the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton.
Carol Boyle (ST. KITTS & NEVIS: Where Two Oceans Meet (Carol's Worldwide Cruise Port Itineraries Book 1))
It is often when the ego is most deconstructed that we can hear things anew and begin some honest reconstruction, even if it is only half heard and halfhearted.
Richard Rohr (AARP Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life)
Whenever I try to understand myself the whole fabric of the perceptible world comes too, and with it come the others who are caught in it. Before others are or can be subjected to my conditions of possibility and reconstructed in my image, they must already exist as outlines, deviations, and variants of a single Vision in which I too participate. For they are not fictions with which I might people my desert—offspring of my spirit and forever unactualized possibilities—but my twins or the flesh of my flesh. Certainly I do not live their life; they are definitively absent from me and I from them. But that distance becomes a strange proximity as soon as one comes back home to the perceptible world, since the perceptible is precisely that which can haunt more than one body without budging from its place.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Signs)
This address book was a snapshot of her world in 1951: layers of friends and acquaintances accumulated over the years, and a few new ones, surely. But who really mattered in this list? Who telephoned her? What numbers did she dial? If someone found our smartphone contacts today, wouldn't they see our favorites, reconstruct the history of our calls, read our texts and emails, listen to our messages? They would know our entires lives. This book of hers was silent as the grave.
Brigitte Benkemoun (Finding Dora Maar: An Artist, an Address Book, a Life)
America thus stepped forward in the modern age and added to the art of beauty gift of the Renaissance and to freedom of belief, gift of Martin Luther and Leo X, a vision of democratic self government: the domination of political life by the intelligent decision of free and self sustaining men. What an idea and idea for its realization--endless land of richest fertility, natural resources such as Earth seldom exhibited before, a population infinite in variety, of universal gift, burned in the fires of poverty and caste, yearning toward the Unknown God; and self reliant pioneers, unafraid of man or devil. It was the Supreme Adventure, in the last great battle of the west, for that human freedom which would release the human spirit from lower lust for more meat, and set its feet to dream and sing...And then some unjust God leaned, laughing, over the ramparts of heaven and dropped a black man in the midst. It transformed the world. It turned democracy back to Roman Imperialism and fascism; it restored caste and oligarchy; it replaced freedom with slavery and withdrew the name of humanity from the vast majority of human beings.
W.E.B. Du Bois
For like the [American] Revolution, Reconstruction was an era when the foundations of public life were thrown open for discussin. Republicanism offered a potent argument for black suffrage, but ruled out the massive disengranchisement of Southern whites.
Eric Foner (Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877)
Once someone tells me their functional position, I, somewhat naïvely, probe a bit deeper. I ask, “So what does that mean a typical day looks like ... what do you spend the most time doing?” This is where I get into the far more interesting and revealing parts of each person’s story. ... asking someone to reconstruct yesterday is a better lens into their happiness than simply asking them if they are happy overall.
Tom Rath (Life's Great Question: Discover How You Contribute To The World)
The black-led freedom movement has long insisted that there are two things white folks need to learn: when to shut up and when to speak up. One pitfall of whiteness is thinking you always have something important to say. Anyone who publishes a book about anything is subject to this temptation. But on the other side of the narrow way that leads to life is an equally perilous precipice—the danger of silence when you are the one who must speak up.
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion)
The ideal of explication differs not only from previous philosophy, and from Carnap’s own previous framework of rational reconstruction, but also from most present analytic philosophy. It differs from Quine’s influential programme, for instance, encapsulated in Neurath’s metaphor of reconstructing the boat of our conceptual scheme on the open sea, without being able to put it in dry-dock and reconstruct it from new materials. In Carnap’s framework, our collective mental life is not – to adopt the metaphor – all in the same boat. It consists rather of a give and take between two kinds of communicative devices that operate in different ways. Carnap’s boat is only one of these two parts, not both. It is the medium of action and practical decisions, in which vague concepts of ordinary language have a continuing, perhaps essential, role. This is not, in Carnap’s terms, a proper linguistic ‘framework’ at all. It is a medium not for the pursuit of truth but for getting things done, and it is well adapted to this purpose. To improve it further, we chip away at it and replace its components, a few at a time, with better ones – and this reconstruction, it is true, we carry out at sea. But the better components we acquire from the ports we call at, where we go shopping for proper linguistic frameworks. We take on board better materials and better navigational instruments that help us to reach whatever ports we hope to visit in future – where we can again bring on new and improved materials and instruments. Sometimes, the improved instruments will so influence our knowledge of where we are going that the whole plan of the journey will be revised, and we will change course. But the decision what port to head for next we have to make on board, in our pragmatic vernacular, with whatever improvements we have incorporated up to that point.
A.W. Carus (Carnap and Twentieth-Century Thought: Explication as Enlightenment)
Whatever their family’s view or their own, however much sympathy they may have personally felt for blacks at the time, the public narrative was that the North had to come to the South, as it had with soldiers in the 1860s and during Reconstruction in the 1870s, to tell Southern whites to change their way of life. History was on the side of the civil rights movement. The nation honored its leaders. Southern whites bore the mark of shame, again, even though, as one man told me, “We didn’t do those bad things.
Arlie Russell Hochschild (Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right)
Over a century ago, prodded by the demands of four million men and women just emerging from slavery, Americans made their first attempt to live up to the noble professions of their political creed - something few societies have ever done. The effort produced a sweeping redefinition of the nation's public life and a violent reaction that ultimately destroyed much, but by no means all, of what had been accomplished. From the enforcement of the rights of citizens to the stubborn problems of economic and racial justice, the issues central to Reconstruction are as old as the American republic, and as contemporary as the inequalities that still afflict our society.
Eric Foner
Multiple changes in the color of the sea, moment by moment. Changes in the clouds. And the appearance of a ship. What was happening? What were happenings? Each instant brought them, more momentous than the explosion of Krakatoa. It was only that no one noticed. We are too accustomed to the absurdity of existence. The loss of a universe is not worth taking seriously. Happenings are the signals for endless reconstruction, reorganization. Signals from a distant bell. A ship appears and sets the bell to ringing. In an instant the sound makes everything its own. On the sea they are incessant, the bell forever ringing.
Yukio Mishima (The Decay of the Angel (The Sea of Fertility, #4))
Sleep is not sweet but dumb. It is a gap in time, a gap in pain. The only thing sleep does is reset her, so that each time she wakes up, Maggie will have to reconstruct the event, to apprehend all over again that the love of her life has just said, We are finished.
Lisa Taddeo (Three Women)
There was a time when to be a woman was to be directly in the image of the Divine. There was a time when God was a Woman and Her spaciousness filled the vision and touched the hearts of every man, woman, and child who worshiped Her. She was called Goddess, Lady, Mother of All. Her manifestations were many: Huntress and Mistress of Animals, Lady of the Plants, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Creator, Sustainer, and Destroyer. It was She who created life and nourished it and She was deprived it and took it away. All things were subject to the Great Mother who was the origin and resource of every living thing and of the inanimate world as well. The diversity and richness of Her images attest to a vision of Woman among the ancients that was spacious, complex and multifaceted. This vision conveyed to feminine experience depth of meaning, awesome power, and profound value. So much that is lost, split off, devalued, or left unnamed in women's experiences today was once integrated into a vast vision of femaleness that was so valued, it was seen as holy. This included sexuality, menstruation, birthing, mothering, menopause, aging, and power to name but a few areas in women's lives that were valued by Goddess-worshiping peoples in ancient times but that have been devalued or stereotyped in our own. To turn back to these ancient images, to try to reconstruct their meaning in their own times as best we can, and to dream them forward into new meaning for our own time deepens and enriches our experience of ourselves as women, The multiple faces of the feminine God expand our vision of what a woman is and offer us a broader possibility for reclaiming and naming our own experiences. They also help us, by contrast, to identify more clearly the patriarchal vision of women inherent in our own cultural tradition and to determine for ourselves which aspects of that particular vision accurately comprehend our experience and which do not. This aids in the true naming of ourselves which is the central individuation task of women today.
Kathie Carlson (In Her Image)
In the moment of shock there is little pain; pain began about three a.m., when I began to plan the life I had still somehow to live and to remember memories in order somehow to eliminate them. Happy memories are the worst, and I tried to remember the unhappy. I was practiced. I had lived all this before. I knew I could do what was necessary, but I was so much older—I felt I had little energy left to reconstruct.
Graham Greene (The Quiet American)
In reconstructing African civilisations, the concern is to indicate that African social life had meaning and value, and that the African past is one with which the black man in the Americas can identify with pride.
Walter Rodney (The Groundings with My Brothers)
The goal of biblical covenantalism is to bring all the institutions of life under the rule of God’s covenant law. The State imposes negative sanctions against specified public acts of evil. The churches preach the gospel and proclaim God’s law. The family acts as the agent of dominion. Voluntary corporations of all kinds are established to achieve both profitable and charitable goals.46
Julie Ingersoll (Building God's Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstruction)
Look at you.” I gestured toward him, for he could not disguise his pain, nor hide the fever that brought beads of sweat to his forehead. “You did this to yourself, Steldor. You punished yourself with your actions, but nothing else was accomplished. You just wanted to be a martyr.” “What’s wrong with that?” he shot back. “You want to be a saint! You want to be the one who brings peace to these people. You’re the one who brought war, Alera. You’re the reason Narian didn’t leave for good when he fled Hytanica. He loves you, and that’s why--” He stopped talking, unable to make himself complete that sentence. “You’re right about one thing,” I whispered in the dead silence. “Narian loves me, but what you won’t acknowledge is that he’s the reason any of us still have our lives. He’s the reason you weren’t killed for that show you put on.” “Extend my thanks,” he said, tone laden with sarcasm. I threw up my hands. “This is pointless, us dancing around in circles. You still won’t listen to anyone, let alone me. I may as well go.” “But you won’t--you aren’t yet ready to leave.” I didn’t move, hating that he knew my threat had been empty, and he stood. He drew closer to me until I could feel the heat radiating from his body. “Hytanica and Cokyri will always be different worlds, Alera. Before this is over, one of those worlds will be destroyed. We can’t coexist like this.” “Not when people like you refuse to believe any different.” “At least I’m not hiding from the truth. You’re so wrapped up in Narian that you can’t see the situation for what it really is. Cokyri is a godless, brutal, warrior empire that despises the very way we live. Now that they are in power, they have no need to honor our traditions or tolerate our beliefs. Don’t you see, it’s not just the Kingdom of Hytanica that will no longer exist. It is our entire way of life.” I stared at him, shocked and confused. Narian and I had always been able to work through our differences, so I had assumed our countries could, as well. But he and I wanted to be together, we wanted to be joined. Our countries did not. “Cokyri is interested only in obtaining certain things from us,” I argued, although a bit of doubt now nagged at me. “As long as we follow their regulations, we can live in the manner we always have.” “Then I’d keep an eye on their regulations, Alera. They’re already changing our educational system, what we are permitted to teach our sons. Religion will come next.” “Change isn’t necessarily all bad.” “It is when it’s forced down your throat. And in case you haven’t notice, the Cokyrians overseeing the work crews have not allowed us to rebuild our churches. They have been reconstructed, but for different, more practical purposes. The Cokyrians are quite enamored with practicality.” Not knowing what else to say, I turned to depart, only to feel his hand on my arm. “It doesn’t have to be like this, Alera. Between us, I mean.” He was looking at me with those dark, intense, fiery eyes--eyes that held love I had never reciprocated. “Things are what they are, Steldor,” I replied, decisive but desolate. “We’re separated by too much. We always have been. Just please, give yourself time to get well.” Before he could stop me a second time, I stepped out the door, feeling the weight of frustration lifting from my shoulders with each step I took away from him. I had been foolish to think he and I could communicate in spite of our differing beliefs. Neither of us wanted to cause the other pain, but that was all we had ever been good at doing.
Cayla Kluver (Sacrifice (Legacy, #3))
So my exploration continued, up dark stairwells and down dim passages. I came across a room full of antelope and deer trophies, the walls lined with dozens of ribbed or twisted horns, as if it were the entrance lobby to some stately home owned by a bloodthirsty monomaniac. On another occasion I found my way into one of the towers that flanked the main entrance to the Museum- only to find that to get there one had to take a path that led over the roof. I came across a taxidermist's lair, where a man with an eye patch was reconstructing a badger. I failed to find the Department of Mineralogy altogether, apart from meeting some meteorite experts in their redoubt at the end of the minerals gallery. There seemed to be no end to it. Even now, after more than thirty years of exploration, there are corners I have never visited. It was a place... labyrinthine and almost endless, where some forgotten specialist might be secreted in a room so hard to find that his very existence might be called into question. I felt that somebody might go quietly mad in a distant compartment and never be called to account. I was to discover that this was no less than the truth.
Richard Fortey (Dry Store Room No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum)
Tieken has suggested, on the basis of the problems we have outlined, that all the Sangam poems in the major anthologies were composed to order by poets who were perfectly aware of the fictive nature of their subject (tuṟai) and its context. Thus eighth- or ninth-century poets at the Pandya court, in Tieken’s reconstruction, deliberately composed poems with an internal speaker addressing a far more ancient hero or patron—as if a poet today were to adopt the persona of, say, Christopher Marlowe writing verses for Queen Elizabeth. But there is no need to conjure up such a scenario, with early-medieval court poets busy composing thousands of poems deliberately retrojected into the distant past, using conventional themes as well as invented materials meant to bring these ancient kings and bards to life. Is it not far more economical to imagine a process whereby the poems, many of them very old, all of them self-conscious literary efforts to begin with, survived through a slow process of recording, editorial accretion, and explication? Moreover, the relation of poem to colophon must have been, in many cases, far more intimate than any linear development could account for. There may well have been cases where the text and the colophon are, in a special sense, mutually determining—that is, cases where the poetic situation at work in the poem fits and informs the colophon long before the latter was recorded. Again, there is no need to assume that the “fictive” nature of the colophon means it is false. Quite the contrary may be the case: poem and colophon, though certainly distinct, usually share a single mental template. Fiction often offers a much closer approximation to truth than what passes for fact can give us. It’s also possible that some of the colophons are arbitrary editorial interventions long after the period of composition—that is, that well-known, ancient names were recycled by creative editors. We need to keep an open, critical mind as we investigate these materials.
David Dean Shulman (Tamil: A Biography)
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 honour.
Winston S. Churchill (Their Finest Hour (Second World War))
To meet by reaction that danger of radicalism is to invite disaster,” he said. “Reaction is no barrier to the radical. It is a challenge, a provocation. The way to meet that danger is to offer a workable program of reconstruction, and the party to offer it is the party with clean hands.” He then introduced a crucial phrase: “I pledge you, I pledge myself,” FDR said, “to a New Deal for the American people.” The crisis was existential. “His impulse,” Winston Churchill wrote of FDR in the mid-1930s, “is one which makes toward the fuller life of the masses of the people in every land, and which, as it glows the brighter, may well eclipse both the lurid flames of German Nordic self-assertion and the baleful unnatural lights which are diffused from Soviet Russia.
Jon Meacham (The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels)
love affair, they’ll be divorced very soon, because all love affairs end in disappointment. But marriage is recognition of a spiritual identity. If we live a proper life, if our minds are on the right qualities in regarding the person of the opposite sex, we will find our proper male or female counterpart. But if we are distracted by certain sensuous interests, we’ll marry the wrong person. By marrying the right person, we reconstruct the image of the incarnate God, and that’s what marriage is.
Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth)
Future historians, discovering the ruins of this single building—the frescoes are painted to endure as long as the walls themselves—would be able from them alone to reconstruct a rich and varied picture of the Mexican land, its people, their labors, festivals, ways of living, struggles, aspirations, dreams. From it, too, they could reconstruct some notion of the thought-currents of the Western world in our time. Not since the Renaissance has any work embodied so vast a cosmology and sociology as this.
Bertram D. Wolfe (The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera)
Internationalism is not abstract moral solidarity, mere political will. It is the effect of the condition of work without quality, the condition of abstract work. As a consequence of this condition of radical alienation, industrial workers have been able to create the cultural conditions of equality. Industrial workers know that they are equals in their loss of humanity, of life, of time, of difference. It is through this alienation that difference can be reconstructed as consciousness, not as memory, as a political process of solidarity, not as belonging to an imagined origin. Since the working class was defeated by precariousness and the globalization of the labour market, the Volk has returned, stupid and bloody as it is, bringing with it the curse of origins, the obsession with belonging. In his book La Défaite de la pensée, Alain Finkielkraut rightly laments the fading of universal reason as the foundation of law and social structure, and the the re-emergence of identitarian culture and belonging. When relativism becomes culturalism, when belonging is mistaken as the foundation of law (‘memory is right’), when workers’ internationalism is defeated, modern universalism dies, and Humanism dies with it. Only the global, idiotic proliferation of particularities remains: crime and suicide.
Anonymous
I’ve always been amazed by the ease with which a stranger’s life can be reconstructed by simply snooping through their belongings. Art and imagination combine to tell a tale that’s more complete than even a fat printed biography could ever hope to equal.
Alan Bradley (The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse (Flavia de Luce, #6.5))
The major function of social work is concerned with helping people perform their normal life tasks by providing information and knowledge, social support, social skills, and social opportunities; it is also concerned with helping people deal with interference and abuse from other individuals and groups, with physical and mental disabilities, and with overburdening responsibilities they have for others. Most important, social work’s objective is to strengthen the community’s capacities to solve problems through development of groups and organizations, community education, and community systems of governance and control over systems of social care. The concern of psychotherapy is with helping people to deal with feelings, perceptions, and emotions that prevent them from performing their normal life tasks because of impairment or insufficient development of emotional and cognitive functions that are intimately related to the self. Social workers help people make use of and develop community and social resources to build connections with others and reduce alienation and isolation; psychotherapists help people to alter, reconstruct, and improve the self.
Harry Specht (Unfaithful Angels: How Social Work Has Abandoned its Mission)
In late 2014, Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson sold his company to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. Notch published a depressive justification for his desire to recede from public life thanks to the impossibility of satisfying the onslaught of demands from his customers and fans—another thing that can turn on you, it turns out. Then he bought a $70 million Beverly Hills mansion, along with all the furnishings, accessories, art, even the cases of champagne and tequila, even the ultraluxury vehicles the real estate speculator who built the place had installed within its sprawling garage for staging. Notch, the man who made a blank canvas world in which you could make anything, used the spoils to buy a prepackaged, off-the-shelf billionaire’s life. As for his fans, undeterred, they dutifully reconstructed a version of the $70 million mansion in Minecraft.16 It’s an addict’s logic: only one more hand, only one more hit, then I’ll be satisfied. Then I can stop. But, of course, that’s not how addiction works. With every repetition, the effect of a compulsion reduces, requiring even more stimulation to produce formerly intoxicating results. Such
Ian Bogost (Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games)