Local Life Quotes

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Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next - and disappear. That's why it's so important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
A child blind from birth doesn't even know he's blind until someone tells him. Even then he has only the most academic idea of what blindness is; only the formerly sighted have a real grip on the thing. Ben Hanscom had no sense of being lonely because he had never been anything but. If the condition had been new, or more localized, he might have understood, but loneliness both encompassed his life and overreached it.
Stephen King (It)
Marginalia Sometimes the notes are ferocious, skirmishes against the author raging along the borders of every page in tiny black script. If I could just get my hands on you, Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien, they seem to say, I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head. Other comments are more offhand, dismissive - Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" - that kind of thing. I remember once looking up from my reading, my thumb as a bookmark, trying to imagine what the person must look like who wrote "Don't be a ninny" alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson. Students are more modest needing to leave only their splayed footprints along the shore of the page. One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's. Another notes the presence of "Irony" fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal. Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers, Hands cupped around their mouths. Absolutely," they shout to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin. Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!" Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points rain down along the sidelines. And if you have managed to graduate from college without ever having written "Man vs. Nature" in a margin, perhaps now is the time to take one step forward. We have all seized the white perimeter as our own and reached for a pen if only to show we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages; we pressed a thought into the wayside, planted an impression along the verge. Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria jotted along the borders of the Gospels brief asides about the pains of copying, a bird singing near their window, or the sunlight that illuminated their page- anonymous men catching a ride into the future on a vessel more lasting than themselves. And you have not read Joshua Reynolds, they say, until you have read him enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling. Yet the one I think of most often, the one that dangles from me like a locket, was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye I borrowed from the local library one slow, hot summer. I was just beginning high school then, reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room, and I cannot tell you how vastly my loneliness was deepened, how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed, when I found on one page A few greasy looking smears and next to them, written in soft pencil- by a beautiful girl, I could tell, whom I would never meet- Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love.
Billy Collins (Picnic, Lightning)
In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else's mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one's own place and economy. In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks, and shares. And as our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced or placeless citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self-interested suppliers... Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else's legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would be the point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed? The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth - that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community - and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means.
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
Water is to India as blood is to the body, with the many rivers functioning as arteries – the Ganges being the aorta – and the monsoon timelessly arriving as a much-needed annual blood transfusion.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
But how?" my students ask. "How do you actually do it?" You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively. So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on the computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking, just a little at first, and then like a huge autistic child. You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind -- a scene, a locale, a character, whatever -- and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind.
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)
Now, though, I must rent a movie." "You're going to do that?" "Of course. I'm a werewolf, not a cretin. We have Blockbuster cards." It blew my mind. Werewolfs rented DVDs. At my local Blockbuster.
Shannon Delany (Secrets and Shadows (13 to Life, #2))
A saying by the brothers Geoff and Vince Graham summarizes the ludicrousness of scale-free political universalism. I am, at the Fed level, libertarian; at the state level, Republican; at the local level, Democrat; and at the family and friends level, a socialist.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life (Incerto))
It is here where education is championed and gratefully pursued as the human right which many in our world classify it to be. For although regarded as a human right, many entitled to education often dismiss its equal standing to other rights of a similar plane: water, food, shelter. Without water, many perish; with education, many complain.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
Without realizing it, we fill important places in each other’s lives. It’s that way with the guy at the corner grocery, the mechanic at the local garage, the family doctor, teachers, neighbors, coworkers. Good people who are always “there,” who can be relied upon in small, important ways. People who teach us, bless us, encourage us, support us, uplift us in the dailiness of life. We never tell them. I don’t know why, but we don’t. And, of course, we fill that role ourselves. There are those who depend in us, watch us, learn from us, take from us. And we never know. You may never have proof of your importance, but you are more important than you think. There are always those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who.
Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten)
Everyone is recharged for the second half, no bell, no forced learning, no principal’s office for tardiness or absenteeism; instead, a voluntary return to our collective pane of learning. Final conversations simmer down and the attention is refocused.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
Of course not. No one is chosen. Not ever. Not in the real world. You chose to climb out of your window and ride on a leopard. You chose to get a witch’s Spoon back, and to make friends with a wyvern. You chose to trade your shadow for a child’s life. You chose not to let the Marquess hurt your friend--you chose to smash her cages! You chose to face your own Death, not to balk at a great sea to cross and no ship to cross it in. And twice now you have chosen not to go home when you might have, if only you abandoned your friends. You are not the chosen one, September. Fairyland did not choose you--you chose yourself. You could have had a lovely holiday in Fairyland and never met the Marquess, never worried yourself with local politics, had a romp with a few brownies and gone home with enough memories for a lifetime’s worth of novels. But you didn’t. You chose. You chose it all. Just like you chose your path on the beach: to lose your heart is not a path for the faint and fainting.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1))
Despite the business and auto-rickshaws and bantering Bengalis just beyond his brown front door, Sanjit cultivates a distinct learning environment and energy, one created and galvanized above the tile floors, within the thin walls, below the imperative ceiling fans, and embraced by books.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
I find myself thinking back to something I saw on the local news about a year ago. A teen football player had died in a car accident. The cameras showed all his friends after the funeral—these big hulking guys, all in tears, saying, “I loved him. We all loved him so much.” I started crying, too, and I wondered if these guys had told the football player they loved him while he was alive, or whether it was only with death that this strange word, love, could be used. I vowed then and there that I would never hesitate to speak up to the people I loved. They deserved to know they gave meaning to my life. They deserved to know I thought the world of them.
David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy)
Soon, the nonstop buzzing of the local insect life gives way to something equally annoying. Country music.
Pittacus Lore (The Revenge of Seven (Lorien Legacies, #5))
The Nobodies Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain down on them---will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn't rain down yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever. Good luck doesn't even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms. The nobodies: nobody's children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way. Who are not, but could be. Who don't speak languages, but dialects. Who don't have religions, but superstitions. Who don't create art, but handicrafts. Who don't have culture, but folklore. Who are not human beings, but human resources. Who do not have faces, but arms. Who do not have names, but numbers. Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police blotter of the local paper. The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.
Eduardo Galeano (Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent)
When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer. To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, "A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God." The gospel of grace nullifies our adulation of televangelists, charismatic superstars, and local church heroes. It obliterates the two-class citizenship theory operative in many American churches. For grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is gift. All that is good is ours not by right but by the sheer bounty of a gracious God. While there is much we may have earned--our degree and our salary, our home and garden, a Miller Lite and a good night's sleep--all this is possible only because we have been given so much: life itself, eyes to see and hands to touch, a mind to shape ideas, and a heart to beat with love. We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh. We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt. This and so much more is sheer gift; it is not reward for our faithfulness, our generous disposition, or our heroic life of prayer. Even our fidelity is a gift, "If we but turn to God," said St. Augustine, "that itself is a gift of God." My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.
Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out)
The tragedy of Tupac is that his untimely passing is representative of too many young black men in this country....If we had lost Oprah Winfrey at 25, we would have lost a relatively unknown, local market TV anchorwoman. If we had lost Malcolm X at 25, we would have lost a hustler named Detroit Red. And if I had left the world at 25, we would have lost a big-band trumpet player and aspiring composer--just a sliver of my eventual life potential.
Quincy Jones
Now all my tales are based on the fundemental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large.... To achieve the essence of real externality, whether of time or space or dimension, one must forget that such things as organic life, good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all.
H.P. Lovecraft
As I sat dumbfounded, seemingly paralyzed in my corner, resorting to my old, reliable strategy of scribbling when unsure of how to respond to Sanjit, Sanjit appended his counsel with a dose of silence – one reminiscent to that of a few days prior. The students looked upward and downward, fans to notes to pens to toes, outward and inward, peers to souls, and of course, toward the direction of the perceived elephant in the room, Sanjit’s books. Simultaneously, Sanjit confidently and patiently searched among the students before finding my eyes; once connected, the lesson moved forward.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
Later I would understand that modern industrial communities are obsessed with the importance of ‘going somewhere’ and ‘doing something with your life’. The implication is an idea I have come to hate, that staying local and doing physical work doesn’t count for much.
James Rebanks (The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape)
In contrast, the gratification and education received from Sanjit’s classes is slow burning, personal, and in a changing world allegedly becoming more attuned to and obsessed with requiring that money spent – especially on education – must yield tangible results, what many would view as a paradoxical dynamic nevertheless persists there, near Park Circus, Kolkata. No grades, no forced accountability, all voluntary learning.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
Again, the exercise begins. For me, the American in me, the city of Detroit comes to mind. A house, once within the bustling city, now lies on the outskirts. Industry has come and gone, and the car manufacturers have relocated. I recall images of the rough lifestyles south of 8 Mile. The city’s borders have changed. Post-apocalyptic, long grasses sway with the wind. The house is melancholy and lonely. The owners: maybe there, maybe not.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
The prospect of his future life stretched before him like a sentence; not a prison sentence but a long-winded sentence with a lot of unnecessary subordinate clauses, as he was soon in the habit of quipping during Happy Hour pickup time at the local campus bars and pubs. He couldn’t say he was looking forward to it, this rest-of-his-life.
Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1))
I find that the only way to get through life is to picture myself in an entirely disconnected reality. I often imagine how people would react to my death. Mr Dunthorne's quavering voice as he makes the announcement. The shocked faces of my classmates. A playground bedecked with flowers. The empty stillness of a school corridor. Local news analysis. . . . The steady stoicism of my parents. . . . Candlelit vigils. . . . And finally, my glorious resurrection.
Joe Dunthorne (Submarine)
Sanjit says his apartment, the same one in which he grew up, has been flooded many times by the midsummer torrents. For what has been for millennia a primarily agricultural society, rains simultaneously destroy, create, and preserve life in India, similar to the functions of the three premier Hindu gods, Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu. Every time Kolkata gets pounded by a cyclone, or when the monsoon first erupts in June (although the recent warming of the Indian Ocean increasingly disturbs a once-consistent timeline), Sanjit never fails to send along a video, his house flooded – seemingly destroyed – but the smiles on his, Bajju’s, or other house-guest’s faces signify just the opposite, having been cooled and relieved of perpetual heat. Flooded, they remain preserved.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
And there were carved hearts in the trunks of trees with the initials of couples who felt there was no more romantic thing they could do to celebrate their love than scar the local plant life
Kevin Hearne (Hunted (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #6))
Be very careful of what you allow to infiltrate your consciousness and subconsciousness. When you watch too much television, you'll start to feel inferior from all the commercials hard selling the idea that you're not complete unless you buy their product [...] The ad agencies appeal to your fear of not being wanted or loved. It's the same with the local news. They get you to stay tuned with a constant stream of fear tactics [...] It's as if our culture is addicted to fear and the flat screen is our drug dealer. Don't allow that crap into your head!
RuPaul (Workin' It! Rupaul's Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style)
If we are looking for insurance against want and oppression, we will find it only in our neighbors' prosperity and goodwill and, beyond that, in the good health of our worldly places, our homelands. If we were sincerely looking for a place of safety, for real security and success, then we would begin to turn to our communities - and not the communities simply of our human neighbors but also of the water, earth, and air, the plants and animals, all the creatures with whom our local life is shared. (pg. 59, "Racism and the Economy")
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
When I was in Piazza di Spagna, in Rome, I watched (along with others) how many locals came to drink water from the fountain there. The people beside me said to each other "Oh my goodness, how disgusting, people just drink water from anywhere," while the whole time, I was thinking "Oh my goodness, how wonderful, people can drink water from anywhere." We can be in the exact same place, looking at the exact same thing, but see that thing in a completely different way. You can go around the world, and go to all the beautiful places, but never be happy, because happiness is something that you bring inside of you, it is not where you are or what you are looking at, but it is how you are and how you look at.
C. JoyBell C.
We proceeded to make way across the mighty Hooghly River, a monstrous offshoot of the Ganges, where we contemplated for a moment, our thoughts seemingly caught in the roaring southward current; there we gazed, toward where the city transitions into mangrove jungle, and somewhere a bit further to the southwest where all the rivers split infinitely like capillaries, where those famous Bengal tigers trod among the sunderbans. Peering in that direction, Bajju gripped the vertical bars just above the horizontal pedestrian railing, breathing slowly and silently, knees locked, still, despite being on arguably the busiest and loudest bridge in the world.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
When he died on February 23, 1902, at age ninety-six, he had broken a local longevity record,
Harold Schechter (Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal)
In the darkest hour of winter, when the starlings had all flown away, Gretel Samuelson fell in love. It happened the way things are never supposed to happen in real life, like a sledgehammer, like a bolt from out of the blue. One minute she was a seventeen year-old senior in high school waiting for a Sicilian pizza to go; the next one she was someone whose whole world had exploded, leaving her adrift in the Milky Way, so far from earth she was walking on stars.
Alice Hoffman (Local Girls)
Where am I?" Magnus croaked. "Nazca." "Oh, so we went on a little trip." "You broke into a man's house," Catarina said. "You stole a carpet and enchanted it to fly. Then you sped off into the night air. We pursued you on foot." "Ah," said Magnus. "You were shouting some things." "What things?" "I prefer not to repeat them," Catarina said. "I also prefer not to remember the time we spent in the desert. It is a mammoth desert, Magnus. Ordinary deserts are quite large. Mammoth deserts are so called because they are larger than ordinary deserts." "Thank you for that interesting and enlightening information," Magnus croaked. "You told us to leave you in the desert, because you planned to start a new life as a cactus," Catarina said, her voice flat. "Then you conjured up tiny needles and threw them at us. With pinpoint accuracy." "Well," he said with dignity. "Considering my highly intoxicated state, you must have been impressed with my aim." "'Impressed' is not the word to use to describe how I felt last night, Magnus." "I thank you for stopping me there," Magnus said. "It was for the best. You are a true friend. No harm done. Let's say no more about it. Could you possibly fetch me - " "Oh, we couldn't stop you," Catarina interrupted. "We tried, but you giggled, leaped onto the carpet, and flew away again. You kept saying that you wanted to go to Moquegua." "What did I do in Moquegua?" "You never got there," Catarina said. "But you were flying about and yelling and trying to, ahem, write messages for us with your carpet in the sky." "We then stopped for a meal," Catarina said. "You were most insistent that we try a local specialty that you called cuy. We actually had a very pleasant meal, even though you were still very drunk." "I'm sure I must have been sobering up at that point," Magnus argued. "Magnus, you were trying to flirt with your own plate." "I'm a very open-minded sort of fellow!" "Ragnor is not," Catarina said. "When he found out that you were feeding us guinea pigs, he hit you over the head with your plate. It broke." "So ended our love," Magnus said. "Ah, well. It would never have worked between me and the plate anyway. I'm sure the food did me good, Catarina, and you were very good to feed me and put me to bed - " Catarina shook her head."You fell down on the floor. Honestly, we thought it best to leave you sleeping on the ground. We thought you would remain there for some time, but we took our eyes off you for one minute, and then you scuttled off. Ragnor claims he saw you making for the carpet, crawling like a huge demented crab.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
Yet, the work was not complete. Next, citing Bond’s veranda and our subsequent construction of it as an example, Sanjit elaborated on the thought which he had previously teased, but not fully explained: that when a reader reads, the reader constructs a setting and world and is able to view themselves through this world. However, he also added that when we read, we are not only able to see our constructed world, but to evaluate our constructed world. This is how, Sanjit would argue, we influence and better ourselves, even if unintentionally; for by pausing and analyzing our constructions we may be able to identify our assumptions about people, places, or things. And it is in this way that books may be an expressed form of art, not just for the writer, but also for the reader.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
We all, like Frodo, carry a Quest, a Task: our daily duties. They come to us, not from us. We are free only to accept or refuse our task- and, implicitly, our Taskmaster. None of us is a free creator or designer of his own life. "None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself" (Rom 14:7). Either God, or fate, or meaningless chance has laid upon each of us a Task, a Quest, which we would not have chosen for ourselves. We are all Hobbits who love our Shire, or security, our creature comforts, whether these are pipeweed, mushrooms, five meals a day, and local gossip, or Starbucks coffees, recreational sex, and politics. But something, some authority not named in The Lord of the Rings (but named in the Silmarillion), has decreed that a Quest should interrupt this delightful Epicurean garden and send us on an odyssey. We are plucked out of our Hobbit holes and plunked down onto a Road.
Peter Kreeft (The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings)
To become a writer a person must read constantly, the more varied the writers and their material then all the better. One must also have a lot of life experience, travel to exotic locations and live among the local people. Yet most importantly a writer needs the determination to keep at their writing regardless of what others might say or think about it
Andrew James Pritchard
To reiterate: not all things need to be finished, and free reading is a prime example of this. Writing – or the composition of words which are intended to be read – just like painting, sculpting, or composing music, is a form of art. Typically, not all art is able to resonate with each and every viewer – or, in this case, reader. If we walk through a museum and see a boring painting, or listen to an album we don’t enjoy, we won’t keep staring at said painting, nor will we listen to the album. So, if we don’t like a book, if we aren’t learning from it, dreaming about it, enjoying its descriptions, pondering its messages, or whatever else may be redeeming about a specific book, why would we waste our time to “just finish it?” Sure, we may add another book to the list of books read, but is more always better?
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
A farm includes the passion of the farmer's heart, the interest of the farm's customers, the biological activity in the soil, the pleasantness of the air about the farm -- it's everything touching, emanating from, and supplying that piece of landscape. A farm is virtually a living organism. The tragedy of our time is that cultural philosophies and market realities are squeezing life's vitality out of most farms. And that is why the average farmer is now 60 years old. Serfdom just doesn't attract the best and brightest.
Joel Salatin (Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front)
Alas, I was unable to transcend the simple human fact that whatever spiritual solace I might find, whatever lithophanic eternities might be provided for me, nothing could make my Lolita forget the foul lust I had inflicted upon her. Unless it can be proven to me -to me as I am now, today, with my heart and my beard, and my putrefaction- that in the infinitue run it does not matter a jot that a North American girl-child names Dolores Haze had been deprived of her childhood by a maniac, unless this can be proven (and if it can, then life is a joke), I see nothing for the treatment of my misery but the melancholy and very local palliative of articulate art. To quote an old poet: The moral sense in mortals is the duty We have to pay on mortal sense of beauty.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
If you don't believe it, go down to your local karaoke bar on a busy night. Wait until the third hour, when the drunk frat boys and gastropub waitresses with headshots are all done with Backstreet Boys and Alicia Keys and locate the slightly older Asian businessman standing patiently in line for his turn, his face warmly rouged on Crown or Japanese lager, and when he steps up and starts slaying "Country Roads," try not to laugh, or wink knowingly or clap a little too hard, because by the time he gets to "West Virginia, mountain mama," you're going to be singing along, and by the time he's done, you might understand why a seventy-seven-year-old guy from a tiny island in the Taiwan Strait who's been in a foreign country for two-thirds of his life can nail a song, note perfect, about wanting to go home.
Charles Yu (Interior Chinatown)
To find, you have to seek. If you have lost your life direction, you probably won't find it between drinks at the local bar. Give yourself a break some time and space to examine what counts for you.
Andrew Matthews (Happiness in a Nutshell)
You might come here Sunday on a whim. Say your life broke down. The last good kiss you had was years ago. You walk these streets laid out by the insane, past hotels that didn't last, bars that did, the tortured try of local drivers to accelerate their lives. Only churches are kept up. The jail turned 70 this year. The only prisoner is always in, not knowing what he's done.
Richard Hugo
And Jazz snapped. He didn't snap the way a normal person might snap. A normal person would fling his arms around and stomp his feet and rant at the top of his lungs, bellowing to the sky. There might be tears, from a normal person. Jazz went quiet. He darted out one hand and grabbed the wrist of the paramedic who had been trying to cuff him and pulled the man close, holding his gaze. In a moment, he channeled every last drop of (his father). "Who am I? I'll tell you. I'm the local psychopath, and if you don't save my best friend's life, I will hunt down everyone you've ever cared about in your life and make you watch while I do things to them that will have you begging me to kill them. That's who I am.
Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers (I Hunt Killers, #1))
Libraries were her favorite places, and when she traveled, she would start out at the local library, thus immediately identifying herself as a total nerd.
Abbi Waxman (The Bookish Life of Nina Hill)
Of course, I couldn’t explain this vector calculus concept and so, slightly embarrassed in front of Rahul and the other Bengali students, I told Sanjit just that; he had cornered me, and honesty emerged as my only option. Simultaneous to my humiliating disclosure of the truth, Sanjit gradually inched toward where I was sitting. After hearing my reply, he slowly returned to his teacher stool and whiteboard, his back turned away from the class, the suspense building and his words impending, before turning around and breaking into speech, “Don’t trust your interior monologue. If you are asked something and you know it, then express or demonstrate it. Don’t just nod or say yes because then you are lying to yourself. Any ass can say yes, but not all asses can express it.” I modified my first impression: Sanjit was full of explicit aphorisms. Humbled, those words encouragingly rang between my ears for quite some time.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
I recommend readers to be adventurous and to try things they’ve never heard of or considered reading before. Get out of the comfort zone and discover something new and exciting. If you’d never be caught dead in the mystery section go and read some George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly or many others. If you only read thrillers get deep into the literary fiction aisle and let yourself be seduced. If you only read non-fiction pick up a Ian McDonald novel or a Joyce Carol Oates novel. If you only read comic books, get acquainted with the great Charles Dickens or a certain Monsieur Dumas. Pick up something at random and read a page. Feel the texture of the language, the architecture of the imagery, the perfume of the style… There’s so much beauty, intelligence and excitement to be had between the pages of the books waiting for you at your local bookstore the only thing you need to bring is an open mind and a sense of adventure. Disregard all prejudices, all pre-conceived notions and all the rubbish some people try to make you think. Think for yourself. Regarding books or anything in life. Think for yourself.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
We tell our stories, especially as young people, in part because we want them to be true. We want life to be full of adventure and creativity and daring that might, just might, be real.
Dana Frank (Local Girl Makes History: Exploring Northern California's Kitsch Monuments)
We are one knot in a great web of being, building out of the vast past and (with luck) continuing billions of years into the future, until the sun dies, the last of its energy reaches Earth, and our local light goes out. The most appropriate response to the world is to realize, with awe, the ferocious mystery of being alive in it. And act accordingly. The worst thing anyone should be able to say about their life is also the greatest thing anyone can say: 'I tried my best.
Carl Safina (The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World)
A hundred years from now, folks will look back at this time period and think, Wow, what an incredible moment it must’ve been to be alive. Syrian refugees, human trafficking, climate change—the whole world is out there waiting to be saved. And you’ll have a grand adventure doing it, even if only in what you consider a small, locally based way. You know, you already have as a teacher.
Ray Smith (The Magnolia That Bloomed Unseen)
After Bajju delivered a few beaming salutations, we walked northward up the makeshift, winding path through protruding brush, not much but a few stones placed here and there for balance and leverage upon ascending or descending. Having advanced about hundred steps from the street below, a sharp left leads to Bajju’s property, which begins with his family’s miniature garden – at the time any signs of fertility were mangled by dried roots which flailed like wheat straw, but within the day Bajju’s children vehemently delivered blows with miniature hoes in preparation for transforming such a plot into a no-longer-neglected vegetable garden. A few steps through the produce, or preferably circumventing all of it by taking a few extra steps around the perimeter, leads to the sky-blue painted home. Twisting left, hundreds of miles of rolling hills and the occasional home peeps out, bound below by demarcated farming steppes. If you’re lucky on a clear day and twist to the right, the monstrous, perpetually snow-capped Chaukhamba mountain monopolizes the distance just fifteen miles toward the direction of Tibet in the north.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
Yes, I laugh at all mankind, and the imposition that they dare to practice when they talk of hearts. I laugh at human passions and human cares, vice and virtue, religion and impiety; they are all the result of petty localities, and artificial situation. One physical want, one severe and abrupt lesson from the colorless and shriveled lip of necessity, is worth all the logic of the empty wretches who have presumed to prate it, from Zeno down to Burgersdicius. It silences in a second all the feeble sophistry of conventional life, and ascetical passion.
Charles Maturin (Melmoth the Wanderer)
But who knows why we really do anything? Who knows why we do what we do when we do it? Why your local barista greeted you with a curt 'hi' instead of her usual, mellifluous-sounding 'hello' has a trillion justifications. So, why someone decides to commit suicide might take a while to explain, and a lifetime to begin comprehending...
Samuel Armen (Within a Diminishing Caricature)
It is hard for people who have not lived in Los Angeles to realize how radically the Santa Ana figures in the local imagination. The city burning is Los Angeles's deepest image of itself; Nathanael West perceived that, in The Day of the Locust; and at the time of the 1965 Watts riots what struck the imagination most indelibly were the fires. For days one could drive the Harbor Freeway and see the city on fire, just as we had always known it would be in the end. Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and, just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
When I tell a patient that I think I should do their operation under local anaesthetic they usually look a little shocked. In fact the brain cannot itself feel pain since pain is a phenomenon produced within the brain.
Henry Marsh (Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery)
If someone had asked him, “Ben, are you lonely? , ” he would have looked at that someone with real surprise. The question had never even occurred to him. He had no friends, but he had his books and his dreams; he had his Revell models; he had a gigantic set of Lincoln Logs and built all sorts of stuff with them. His mother had exclaimed more than once that Ben’s Lincoln Logs houses looked better than some real ones that came from blueprints. He had a pretty good Erector Set, too. He was hoping for the Super Set when his birthday came around in October. With that one you could build a clock that really told time and a car with real gears in it. Lonely? he might have asked in return, honestly foozled. Huh? What? A child blind from birth doesn’t even know he’s blind until someone tells him. Even then he has only the most academic idea of what blindness is; only the formerly sighted have a real grip on the thing. Ben Hanscom had no sense of being lonely because he had never been anything but. If the condition had been new, or more localized, he might have understood, but loneliness both encompassed his life and overreached it. It simply was, like his double-jointed thumb or the funny little jag inside one of his front teeth, the little jag his tongue began running over whenever he was nervous.
Stephen King (It)
The neurons that do expire are the ones that made imitation possible. When you are capable of skillful imitation, the sweep of choices before you is too large; but when your brain loses its spare capacity, and along with it some agility, some joy in winging it, and the ambition to do things that don't suit it, then you finally have to settle down to do well the few things that your brain really can do well--the rest no longer seems pressing and distracting, because it is now permanently out of reach. The feeling that you are stupider than you were is what finally interests you in the really complex subjects of life: in change, in experience, in the ways other people have adjusted to disappointment and narrowed ability. You realize that you are no prodigy, your shoulders relax, and you begin to look around you, seeing local color unrivaled by blue glows of algebra and abstraction.
Nicholson Baker (The Mezzanine)
Love locally, trade globally.
Russel "Russ" Roberts (How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness)
Sometimes all you need is to climb a simple hill, to spend time staring at an empty horizon, to jump into a cold river or sleep under the stars, or perhaps share a whisky at a small country inn in order to remind yourself what matters most to you in life.
Alastair Humphreys (Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes)
Revenge did that to a person; it caused even the insecure and the meek to take foolhardy chances. After a while it became a way of life; the risks felt as natural as drawing a breath.
Alice Hoffman (Local Girls)
Faustus, who embraced evil and shunned righteousness, became the foremost symbol of the misuse of free will, that sublime gift from God with its inherent opportunity to choose virtue and reject iniquity. “What shall a man gain if he has the whole world and lose his soul,” (Matt. 16: v. 26) - but for a notorious name, the ethereal shadow of a career, and a brief life of fleeting pleasure with no true peace? This was the blackest and most captivating tragedy of all, few could have remained indifferent to the growing intrigue of this individual who apparently shook hands with the devil and freely chose to descend to the molten, sulphuric chasm of Hell for all eternity for so little in exchange. It is a drama that continues to fascinate today as powerfully as when Faustus first disseminated his infamous card in the Heidelberg locale to the scandal of his generation. In fine, a life of good or evil, the hope of Heaven or the despair of Hell, Faustus stands as a reminder that the choice between these two absolutes also falls to us.
E.A. Bucchianeri (Faust: My Soul Be Damned for the World Volume 1)
His way of coping with the days was to think of activities as units of time, each unit consisting of about thirty minutes. Whole hours, he found, were more intimidating, and most things one could do in a day took half an hour. Reading the paper, having a bath, tidying the flat, watching Home and Away and Countdown, doing a quick crossword on the toilet, eating breakfast and lunch, going to the local shops… That was nine units of a twenty-unit day (the evenings didn’t count) filled by just the basic necessities. In fact, he had reached a stage where he wondered how his friends could juggle life and a job. Life took up so much time, so how could one work and, say, take a bath on the same day? He suspected that one or two people he knew were making some pretty unsavoury short cuts.
Nick Hornby (About a Boy)
Each food items in a typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles....If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.
Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life)
Look, life is only comprehensible through a thousand local gods... spirits of certain trees, of certain curves of brick walls, of certain fish and chip shops if you like. And slate roofs, and frowns in people, and slouches... I'd say to them, "Worship all you can see, and more will appear...
Peter Shaffer (Equus)
Julia had a friend, a man named Dennys, who was as a boy a tremendously gifted artist. They had been friends since they were small, and she once showed me some of the drawings he made when he was ten or twelve: little sketches of birds pecking at the ground, of his face, round and blank, of his father, the local veterinarian, his hand smoothing the fur of a grimacing terrier. Dennys’s father didn’t see the point of drawing lessons, however, and so he was never formally schooled. But when they were older, and Julia went to university, Dennys went to art school to learn how to draw. For the first week, he said, they were allowed to draw whatever they wanted, and it was always Dennys’s sketches that the professor selected to pin up on the wall for praise and critique. But then they were made to learn how to draw: to re-draw, in essence. Week two, they only drew ellipses. Wide ellipses, fat ellipses, skinny ellipses. Week three, they drew circles: three-dimensional circles, two-dimensional circles. Then it was a flower. Then a vase. Then a hand. Then a head. Then a body. And with each week of proper training, Dennys got worse and worse. By the time the term had ended, his pictures were never displayed on the wall. He had grown too self-conscious to draw. When he saw a dog now, its long fur whisking the ground beneath it, he saw not a dog but a circle on a box, and when he tried to draw it, he worried about proportion, not about recording its doggy-ness.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point. What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us.
Alasdair MacIntyre (After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory)
Mr L Prosser was, as they say, only human. In other words he was a carbon-based life form descended from an ape. More specifically he was forty, fat and shabby and worked for the local council. Curiously enough, though he didn't know it, he was also a direct male-line descendant of Genghis Khan, though intervening generations and racial mixing had so juggled his genes that he had no discernible Mongoloid characteristics, and the only vestiges left in Mr L Prosser of his mighty ancestry were a pronounced stoutness about the tum and a predilection for little fur hats.
Douglas Adams
I think of Ariel, my local neighborhood mermaid, how she only had twenty-four hours to turn her life around...
Shannon Celebi (Small Town Demons)
And kid, you’ve got to love yourself. You’ve got wake up at four in the morning, brew black coffee, and stare at the birds drowning in the darkness of the dawn. You’ve got to sit next to the man at the train station who’s reading your favorite book and start a conversation. You’ve got to come home after a bad day and burn your skin from a shower. Then you’ve got to wash all your sheets until they smell of lemon detergent you bought for four dollars at the local grocery store. You’ve got to stop taking everything so goddam personally. You are not the moon kissing the black sky. You’ve got to compliment someones crooked brows at an art fair and tell them that their eyes remind you of green swimming pools in mid July. You’ve got to stop letting yourself get upset about things that won’t matter in two years. Sleep in on Saturday mornings and wake yourself up early on Sunday. You’ve got to stop worrying about what you’re going to tell her when she finds out. You’ve got to stop over thinking why he stopped caring about you over six months ago. You’ve got to stop asking everyone for their opinions. Fuck it. Love yourself, kiddo. You’ve got to love yourself.
Anonymous
while in Manhattan the buses ran on time, the lights never went out, the death of a single white child in a traffic accident was a page one story, while phony versions of black and Latino life ruled the Broadway roost, making white writers rich—West Side Story, Porgy & Bess, Purlie Victorious—and on it went, the whole business of the white man’s reality lumping together like a giant, lopsided snowball, the Great American Myth, the Big Apple, the Big Kahuna, the City That Never Sleeps, while the blacks and Latinos who cleaned the apartments and dragged out the trash and made the music and filled the jails with sorrow slept the sleep of the invisible and functioned as local color.
James McBride (Deacon King Kong)
Caroline nodded. "I understand that. The bayou is a huge part of your life and the local lifestyle. And people might come in here because of the bayou, but they don't fall in love with it and come back because of that. They fall in love and come back because they feel like a part of the family. Because they feel welcome and accepted here. That's what all of this represents." She gestured to encompass all of the photographs they had hanging on the wall. "I think these photographs are key. The posters and sports banners are great, but these photographs need to stay for sure.
Erin Nicholas (Say It Like You Mane It (Boys of the Bayou Gone Wild, #5))
Our understanding of who we are, where we came from, how the world works, and what matters in life depends on partaking of the vast and ever-expanding store of knowledge. Though unlettered hunters, herders, and peasants are fully human, anthropologists often comment on their orientation to the present, the local, the physical. To be aware of one's country and its history, of the diversity of customs and beliefs across the globe and through the ages, of the blunders and triumphs of past civilizations, of the microcosms of cells and atoms and the macrocosms of planets and galaxies, of the ethereal reality of number and logic and pattern—such awareness truly lifts us to a higher plane of consciousness. It is a gift of belonging to a brainy species with a long history.
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
An island, on the other hand, is small. There are fewer species, and the competition for survival has never reached anything like the pitch that it does on the mainland. Species are only as tough as they need to be, life is much quieter and more settled [..] So you can imagine what happens when a mainland species gets introduced to an island. It would be like introducing Al Capone, Genghis Khan and Rupert Murdoch into the Isle of Wight - the locals wouldn't stand a chance.
Douglas Adams (Last Chance to See)
Unified thinking without borders in apparent dimensions can only be strengthened when focused collectively 'internally'.
AainaA-Ridtz
No I try and set my books in lots of different locales. Variety is the spice of life!
Cathy Williams
Coffee and corpses, that's my life. Sometimes I hate being me.
Seanan McGuire (A Local Habitation (October Daye, #2))
I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!
Paddy Chayefsky (Network [Screenplay])
Since the experience is different for each individual, the tension will reflect that experience. In some persons the whole lower half of the body is relatively immobilized and held in a passive state; in others the muscular tensions are localized in the pelvic floor and around the genital apparatus. If the latter sort of tension is severe, it constitutes a functional castration; for, although the genitals operate normally, they are dissociated in feeling from the rest of the body. Any reduction of sexual feeling amounts to a psychological castration. Generally the person is unaware of these muscular tensions, but putting pressure upon the muscles in the attempt to release the tension is often experienced as very painful and frightening.
Alexander Lowen (Fear of Life)
I hope he invites me to walk with him, or at least share some local gossip. My heart is singing . . . but no duet. Duets and collaborations. All of nature longs for harmony. Girls are no different. Men need to realize, life is not a solo act. Unity is a potent force, but men don't always see the importance of unifying with a good woman. Find the right woman and watch a man's world transform into a modern-day Paradise. All I'm asking for is a little noticing and a chat or two.
Michael Ben Zehabe (Persianality)
Some people owe everything they have to the bank accounts of their parents. I owe the state. Put simply, the state educated me, fixed my leg when it was broken, and gave me a grant that enabled me to go to university. It fixed my teeth (a bit) and found housing for my veteran father in his dotage. When my youngest brother was run over by a truck it saved his life and in particular his crushed right hand, a procedure that took half a year, and which would, on the open market—so a doctor told me at the time—have cost a million pounds. Those were the big things, but there were also plenty of little ones: my subsidized sports centre and my doctor’s office, my school music lessons paid for with pennies, my university fees. My NHS glasses aged 9. My NHS baby aged 33. And my local library. To steal another writer’s title: England made me. It has never been hard for me to pay my taxes because I understand it to be the repaying of a large, in fact, an almost incalculable, debt. ....The charming tale of benign state intervention described above is now relegated to the land of fairy tales: not just naïve but actually fantastic. Having one’s own history so suddenly and abruptly made unreal is an experience of a whole generation of British people, who must now wander around like so many ancient mariners boring foreigners about how they went to university for free and could once find a National Health dentist on their high street.
Zadie Smith
In happy hours, nature appears to us one with art; art perfected, -- the work of genius. And the individual, in whom simple tastes and susceptibility to all the great human influences overpower the accidents of a local and special culture, is the best critic of art. Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the earliest years, when you could still drive a Volvo 240 without feeling self-conscious, the collective task in Ramsey Hill was to relearn certain life skills that your own parents had fled to the suburbs specifically to unlearn, like how to interest the local cops in actually doing their job, and how to protect a bike from a highly motivated thief, and when to bother rousting a drunk from your lawn furniture, and how to encourage feral cats to shit in somebody else’s children’s sandbox, and how to determine whether a public school sucked too much to bother trying to fix it.
Jonathan Franzen (Freedom)
The “persecution” of the Christians had vastly more to do with the intolerance of the Christians for the pantheon of local gods than the reverse. What we read is history written by the Christian side, not the Greco-Roman one.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Skin in the Game: The Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life)
I ended up in the nurse’s office after falling asleep in second period. She only agreed to not call my parents if I stayed under her supervision and rested. She wasn’t taking any chances with Dr. Lahey’s daughter and the heroine who’d saved the Ishida’s only girl, who, by the way, Ayden mentioned wasn’t back at school. She probably got to recover in her native habitat. Some far off exotic locale, lounging on a tropical beach drinking fruity umbrella drinks brought to her by hunky, scantily clad beach boys who rubbed her back with suntan oil and hung on her every word while I ran for my life in the Waiting World, woke from a coma, and, bam, back at school with ten million pounds of schoolwork to make up, and no beach boys. Except for Ayden. He’d make a good beach boy. But don’t get too excited. He’s just a pretend boyfriend. “You alright?” the nurse asked. “Fine.” “You’re sighing and making odd noises.” “Sorry.
A. Kirk (Demons at Deadnight (Divinicus Nex Chronicles, #1))
The tragedy in his life already existed. To love an atmospheric spirit. That was the real sorrow. Hopelessness itself. Nowhere on the printed page, nowhere in the annals of man, would her name appear: no local habitation, no name. There are girls like that, he thought, and those you love most, the ones where there is no hope because it has eluded you at the very moment you close your hands around it.
Philip K. Dick
Folding her arms and closing her eyes, Hatsumi sank back into the corner of the seat. Her small gold earrings caught the light as the taxi swayed. Her midnight blue dress seemed to have been made to match the darkness of the cab. Every now and then her thinly daubed, beautifully formed lips would quiver slightly as if she had caught herself on the verge of talking to herself. Watching her, I could see why Nagasawa had chosen her as his special companion. There were any number of women more beautiful than Hatsumi, and Nagasawa could have made any of them his. But Hatsumi had some quality that could send a tremor through your heart. It was nothing forceful. The power she exerted was a subtle thing, but it called forth deep resonances. I watched her all the way to Shibuya, and wondered, without ever finding an answer, what this emotional reverberation that I was feeling could be. It finally hit me some dozen or so years later. I had come to Santa Fe to interview a painter and was sitting in a local pizza parlor, drinking beer and eating pizza and watching a miraculously beautiful sunset. Everything was soaked in brilliant red—my hand, the plate, the table, the world—as if some special kind of fruit juice had splashed down on everything. In the midst of this overwhelming sunset, the image of Hatsumi flashed into my mind, and in that moment I understood what that tremor of the heart had been. It was a kind of childhood longing that had always remained—and would forever remain—unfulfilled. I had forgotten the existence of such innocent, all-but-seared-in longing: forgotten for years to remember what such feelings had ever existed inside of me. What Hatsumi had stirred in me was a part of my very self that had long lain dormant. And when the realization struck me, it aroused such sorrow I almost burst into tears. She had been an absolutely special woman. Someone should have done something—anything—to save her. But neither Nagasawa nor I could have managed that. As so many of those I knew had done, Hatsumi reached a certain stage in her life and decided—almost on the spur of the moment—to end it. Two years after Nagasawa left for Germany, she married, and two years after that she slashed her wrists with a razor blade. It was Nagasawa, of course, who told me what had happened. His letter from Bonn said this: “Hatsumi’s death has extinguished something. This is unbearably sad and painful, even to me.” I ripped his letter to shreds and threw it away. I never wrote to him again.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
I bought them at Toni's Consignment.' She counts off on her fingers. 'That's recycling, supporting a local business, and making sure that the sacrifice of these animals has a purpose, rather than them ending up in a landfill.' 'No, that's contributing to a culture that values fashion and vanity more than the sanctity of life.
Marissa Meyer (Instant Karma)
I went to interview some of these early Jewish colonial zealots—written off in those days as mere 'fringe' elements—and found that they called themselves Gush Emunim or—it sounded just as bad in English—'The Bloc of the Faithful.' Why not just say 'Party of God' and have done with it? At least they didn't have the nerve to say that they stole other people's land because their own home in Poland or Belarus had been taken from them. They said they took the land because god had given it to them from time immemorial. In the noisome town of Hebron, where all of life is focused on a supposedly sacred boneyard in a dank local cave, one of the world's less pretty sights is that of supposed yeshivah students toting submachine guns and humbling the Arab inhabitants. When I asked one of these charmers where he got his legal authority to be a squatter, he flung his hand, index finger outstretched, toward the sky.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
In one way, at least, our lives really are like movies. The main cast consists of your family and friends. The supporting cast is made up of neighbors, co-workers, teachers, and daily acquaintances. There are also bit players: the supermarket checkout girl with the pretty smile, the friendly bartender at the local watering hole, the guys you work out with at the gym three days a week. And there are thousands of extras --those people who flow through every life like water through a sieve, seen once and never again. The teenager browsing a graphic novel at Barnes & Noble, the one you had to slip past (murmuring "Excuse me") in order to get to the magazines. The woman in the next lane at a stoplight, taking a moment to freshen her lipstick. The mother wiping ice cream off her toddler's face in a roadside restaurant where you stopped for a quick bite. The vendor who sold you a bag of peanuts at a baseball game. But sometimes a person who fits none of these categories comes into your life. This is the joker who pops out of the deck at odd intervals over the years, often during a moment of crisis. In the movies this sort of character is known as the fifth business, or the chase agent. When he turns up in a film, you know he's there because the screenwriter put him there. But who is screenwriting our lives? Fate or coincidence? I want to believe it's the latter. I want that with all my heart and soul.
Stephen King (Revival)
The life of a poet lies not merely in the finite language-dance of expression but in the nearly infinite combinations of perception and memory combined with the sensitivity to what is perceived and remembered. My three local years on Heaven’s Gate, almost fifteen hundred standard days, allowed me to see, to feel, to hear ─ to remember, as if I literally had been born again. Little matter that I had been born again in hell.
Dan Simmons (Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1))
The journalists were already there, of course. Or maybe they were just locals and curious onlookers, it can be hard to tell these days when everyone films, photographs, and documents their whole life as if every individual were their own television channel.
Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
Okinawans live by the principle of ichariba chode, a local expression that means “treat everyone like a brother, even if you’ve never met them before.” It turns out that one of the secrets to happiness of Ogimi’s residents is feeling like part of a community.
Hector Garcia Puigcerver (Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life)
The German birds didn't taste as good as their French cousins, nor did the frozen Dutch chickens we bought in the local supermarkets. The American poultry industry had made it possible to grow a fine-looking fryer in record time and sell it at a reasonable price, but no one mentioned that the result usually tasted like the stuffing inside of a teddy bear.
Julia Child (My Life in France)
Acknowledging that a woman's right to be safe from a gender-based attack was a "civil right," I believed, was critically important in changing the American consciousness. When a right reaches the status and categorization of a "civil right," it means the nation has arrived at a consensus that is nonnegotiable. Violence against women would no longer be written off ... Once our criminal justice system -- at the local, state and federal levels -- recognized these as serious and inexcusable crimes, women could stop blaming themselves.
Joe Biden (Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics)
A slime-mold enthusiast told me about a test he had performed. He frequently got lost in IKEA stores and would spend many minutes trying to find the exit. He decided to challenge his slime molds with the same problem and built a maze based on the floor plan of his local IKEA. Sure enough, without any signs or staff to direct them, the slime molds soon found the shortest path to the exit. “You see,” he said with a laugh, “they’re cleverer than me.
Merlin Sheldrake (Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures)
viva la vida loca(live the crazy life)
Luiz J. Rodriguez
We are readers. Books are an essential part of our lives and of our life stories. For us, reading isn’t just a hobby or a pastime; it’s a lifestyle. We’re the kind of people who understand the heartbreak of not having your library reserves come in before you leave town for vacation and the exhilaration of stumbling upon the new Louise Penny at your local independent bookstore three whole days before the official publication date. We know the pain of investing hours of reading time in a book we enjoyed right up until the final chapter’s truly terrible resolution, and we know the pleasure of stumbling upon exactly the right book at exactly the right time.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
A man can lead a reasonably full life without a family, a fixed local residence, or a religious affiliation, but if he is stateless he is nothing. He has no rights, no security, and little opportunity for a useful career. There is no salvation on earth outside the framework of an organized state.
Joseph R. Strayer (On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State)
The contentment of innumerable people can be destroyed in a generation by the withering touch of our civilisation; the local market is flooded by a production in quantity with which the responsible maker of art cannot complete; the vocational structure of society, with all its guild organisation and standards of workmanship, is undermined; the artist is robbed of his art and forced to find himself a "job"; until finally the ancient society is industrialised and reduced to the level of such societies as ours in which business takes precedence of life. Can one wonder that Western nations are feared and hated by other people, not alone for obvious political or economic reasons, but even more profoundly and instinctively for spiritual reasons?
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art - Why Exhibit Works of Art?)
As Harry Potter was the only other thing I was passionate about, the doctors gave consent for me to leave the hospital and collect the fifth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, from the local book shop. I was so ecstatic to have the book and excited to begin reading it, but there was never any hint of your imminent arrival and the way you would change my life so drastically. Luna, you instantly captivated me. I didn’t know why but there was something about you with your upside-down magazine, straggly blonde hair, and the honest, abashed way you stared at people without blinking that fascinated and perplexed me at once. You laughed hysterically at one of Ron’s quips and didn’t stop to excuse yourself and feel ashamed when it became clear that everyone found you strange. Throughout the book, I found myself waiting for your brief appearances and wanting to know more about you and why you were the way you were. You baffled me, not because you were odd (though indeed you were), but because you were… perfect. But it was a different kind of perfect to the perfectly thin, smiling magazine girls I simultaneously idolised and reviled. It was the way you carried your oddness like it was the most natural thing in the world. You didn’t market your oddness as your defining feature the way some insecure teenagers do, in guise of confidence and security. And nor were you oblivious to the awkward and uncomfortable feelings your oddness provoked in others. When, unable to comprehend how you wore your oddness so honestly and unashamedly, your peers reverted to mockery and bullying, you recognized this as a reflection of their own deep-seated insecurity and calmly let them carry on, quite above your head. You weren’t trying hard to present a certain aspect of yourself that would boldly identify you in the world. And that’s when it occurred to me how bizarre and positively ridiculous it was to apply the word “weird” to describe you, when you represented the most natural and unpretentious state possible to be; you were yourself.
Evanna Lynch
And in the background, the constant, high, whining mewl of local disapproval. Within the first few months of her return, to her parents' home, Ammy quickly learned to recognize and despise the ugly face of sympathy. Old female relations with incipient beards and several wobbling chins made overnight trips to Ayemenem to commiserate with her about her divorce. They squeezed her knee and gloated. She fought off the urge to slap them. Or twiddle their nipples. With a spanner. Like Chaplin in Modern Times. When she looked at herself in her wedding photographs, Ammu felt the woman that looked back at her was someone else. A foolish jeweled bride. Her silk sunset-colored sari shot with gold. Rings on very finger. White dots of sandalwood paste over her arched eye-brows. Looking at herself like this, Ammu's soft mouths would twist into a small, bitter, smile at the memory - not of the wedding itself so much as the fact that she had permitted herself to be so painstakingly decorated before being led to the gallows. It seemed so absurd. So futile. Like polishing firewood. ....... Ammu knew that weddings were not something that could be avoided altogether. At least not practically speaking. But for the rest of her life she advocated small weddings in ordinary clothes. it made them less ghoulish, she thought.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
By this time somebody somewhere must have manned a radio transmitter, located a wavelength and broadcast a message back to the Vogon ships, to plead on behalf of the planet. Nobody ever heard what they said, they only heard the reply. The PA slammed back into life again. The voice was annoyed. It said: “What do you mean, you’ve never been to Alpha Centauri? For heaven’s sake, mankind, it’s only four light-years away, you know. I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs that’s your own lookout. “Energize the demolition beams.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1))
I picked up an old microscope at a flea market in Verona. In the long evenings, in my imitation of life science, I set up in the courtyard and examined local specimens. Pointless pleasure, stripped of ends. The ancient contadino from across the road, long since convinced that we were mad, could not resist coming over for a look. I showed him where to put his eye. I watched him, thinking, this is how we attach to existence. We look through awareness’s tube and see the swarm at the end of the scope, taking what we come upon there for the full field of sight itself. The old man lifted his eye from the microscope lens, crying. Signore, ho ottantotto anni e non ho mai Saputo prima che cosa ci fosse in una goccia d’acqua. I’m eighty-eight years old and I never knew what was in a droplet of water.
Richard Powers (Galatea 2.2)
In education, we need to begin paying attention to matters routinely ignored. We spend long hours trying to teach a variety of courses on, say, the structure of government or the structure of the amoeba. But how much effort goes into studying the structure of everyday life — the way time is allocated, the personal uses of money, the places to go for help in a society exploding with complexity? We take for granted that young people already know their way around our social structure. In fact, most have only the dimmest image of the way the world of work or business is organized. Most students have no conception of the architecture of their own city's economy, or the way the local bureaucracy operates, or the place to go to lodge a complaint against a merchant. Most do not even understand how their own schools — even universities — are structured, let alone how much structures are changing under the impact of the Third Wave.
Alvin Toffler (The Third Wave)
Something in me hates this confession. I do not think that I am alone in this. Twitter, Facebook, virtual conferencing—these allow us the illusion of being somewhere other than where we are. Positively we have a voice in places otherwise absent to us. But we type on our keyboards while sitting in a chair where we are—the local knowledge and work of the day in our place awaiting our presence. The danger here is that it allows us to give our gifts without giving ourselves.
Zack Eswine (Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being)
She felt livid. They'd all lost so many powers. It was ridiculous to have to communicate by flapping bits of your skin, and as for the tongue... Yuerkkk ... As far as she knew, in the whole life of the universe, no Auditor had ever experienced the sensation of yuerkkk. This wretched body was full of opportunities for yuerkkk. She could leave it at any time and yet, and yet... part of her didn't want to. There was this horrible desire, second by second, to hang on. And she felt hungry. And that also made no sense. The stomach was a bag for digesting food. It wasn't supposed to issue commands. The Auditors could survive quite well by exchanging molecules with their surroundings and making use of any local source of energy. That was a fact. Try telling that to the stomach. She could feel it. It was sitting there, grumbling. She was being harassed by her internal organs. Why the ... why the. . why had they copied internal organs? Yuerkkk. It was all too much. She wanted to... she wanted to... express herself by shouting some, some, some terrible words...
Terry Pratchett (Thief of Time (Discworld, #26; Death, #5))
It was there, in the parlors of the funeral home---my daily stations with the local lately dead---that the darkness would often give way to light. A fellow citizen outstretched in his casket, surrounded by floral tributes, waiting for the homages and obsequies, would speak to me in the silent code of the dead: "So, you think you're having a bad day?" The gloom would lift inexplicably. Here was one to whom the worst had happened, often in a variety of ways, and yet no word of complaint was heard from out the corpse. Nor did the world end, nor the sky fall, nor his or her people become blighted entirely. Life, it turns out, goes on with or without us. There is at least as much to be thankful for as wary of.
Thomas Lynch (Bodies in Motion and at Rest: On Metaphor and Mortality)
When you travel to another country, it’s important to know the local customs. When you’re interacting with someone with BPD, it’s crucial to understand that their unconscious assumptions may be very different from yours. They may include: I must be loved by all the important people in my life at all times or else I am worthless. I must be completely competent in all ways to be a worthwhile person. Some people are good and everything about them is perfect. Other people are thoroughly bad and should be blamed and punished for it. My feelings are caused by external events. I have no control over my emotions or the things I do in reaction to them. Nobody cares about me as much as I care about them, so I lose everyone I care about—despite the desperate things I do to stop them from leaving me. If someone treats me badly, then I become bad.
Paul T. Mason (Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder)
The gentleness, the sentimentality, of many Soviet troops toward small children in Prussia was noted at the time. A woman with a baby, local people learned, was practically immune to rape. But even sentimental troops, the men who kept their pockets full of sweets for hungry German kids, worried about their families back home. It was a long time since any had seen their children.
Catherine Merridale (Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945)
IT WAS EASIER FOR PEOPLE to be good at something when more of us lived in small, rural communities. Someone could be homecoming queen. Someone else could be spelling-bee champ, math whiz or basketball star. There were only one or two mechanics and a couple of teachers. In each of their domains, these local heroes had the opportunity to enjoy the serotonin-fuelled confidence of the victor. It may be for that reason that people who were born in small towns are statistically overrepresented among the eminent.68 If
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
I have lived my life in the shelter of too many northern alliances. I have made alliance with the gentle cow, the health department, the local policeman. In the shelter of such alliances I have got out of bed in the morning with moderate assurance that I shall still be alive at bedtime. But south of the moon my allies vanish, and I have an emptiness in my stomach. I fear the cobras in the garden. I lack a treaty with the lioness. I dread the crocodiles of Lake Victoria, the tsetse fly in the Tanganyika bush, the little airplane with the funny engine, and the mosquito in the soft evening air. But most of all, I am afraid of the African street.
Robert Ardrey
Whether it’s ourselves, our lovers, bosses, children, local Scrooge, or the political situation, it’s more daring and real not to shut anyone out of our hearts and not to make the other into an enemy. If we begin to live like this, we’ll find that we actually can’t make things completely right or completely wrong anymore, because things are a lot more slippery and playful than that. Everything is ambiguous; everything is always shifting and changing, and there are as many different takes on any given situation as there are people involved. Trying to find absolute rights and wrongs is a trick we play on ourselves to feel secure and comfortable.
Pema Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times)
The messages coming back flooded the comm buffers with rage and sorrow, threats of vengeance and offers of aid. Those last were the hardest. New colonies still trying to force their way into local ecosystems so exotic that their bodies could hardly recognize them as life at all, isolated, exhausted, sometimes at the edge of their resources. And what they wanted was to send back help. He listened to their voices, saw the distress in their eyes. He couldn't help, but love them a little bit. Under the best conditions, disasters and plagues did that. It wasn't universally true. There would always be hoarders and price gouging, people who closed their doors to refugees and left them freezing and starving. But the impulse to help was there too. To carry a burden together, even if it meant having less for yourself. Humanity had come as far as it had in a haze of war, sickness, violence, and genocide. History was drenched in blood. But it also had cooperation and kindness, generosity, intermarriage. The one didn’t come without the other.
James S.A. Corey (Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse, #6))
Their story begins on ground level, with footsteps. They are myriad, but do not compose a series. They cannot be counted because each unit has a qualitative character: a style of tactile apprehension and kinesthetic appropriation. Their swarming mass is an innumerable collection of singularities. Their intertwined paths give their shape to spaces. They weave places together. In that respect, pedestrian movements form one of these 'real systems whose existence in fact makes up the city.' They are not localized; it is rather they that spatialize. They are no more inserted within a container than those Chinese character speakers sketch out on their hands with their fingertips.
Michel de Certeau (The Practice of Everyday Life)
Rather than inhabiting a world of black and white, most individuals in the Reich operated in shades of gray. People confronted countless decisions each day. One might walk by a "Jews unwanted" sign at a local store and not say anything - only to shop at a Jewish-owned store on the next block for its favorable prices. One might help a neighbor threatened by the regime - only to look away as another neighbor disappeared. People navigated daily choices as they presented themselves, extemporizing in their personal and professional spheres. Caught in the swirl of life, one might conform, resist, and even commit harm all in the same afternoon. The cruelty of the Nazi world was inescapable.
Edith Sheffer (Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna)
The point here is not that emissions don't matter. It is a call for a shift in priorities. On the policy level, we need to shift toward protecting and healing ecosystems on every level, especially the local. On a cultural level, we need to reintegrate human life with the rest of life, and bring ecological principles to bear on social healing. On the level of strategy and thought, we need to shift the narrative toward life, love, place, and participation. Even if we abandoned the emissions narrative, if we do these things emissions will surely fall as well.
Charles Eisenstein (Climate: A New Story)
The the street was quiet again. Country quiet. That's partly what took city natives like the Whitlams by surprise, Falk thought: the quiet. He could understand them seeking out the idyllic country lifestyle, a lot of people did. The idea had an enticing, wholesome glow when it was weighed out from the back of a traffic jam, or while crammed into a gardenless apartment. They all had the same visions of breathing fresh clean air and knowing their neighbors. The kids would eat home-grown veggies and learn the value of an honest day's work. On arrival, as the empty moving truck disappeared form sight, they looked around and were always taken aback by the crushing vastness of the open land. The space was the thing that hit them first. There was so much of it. There was enough to drown in. To look out and see not another soul between you and the horizon could be a strange and disturbing sight. Soon, they discovered that the veggies didn't grow as willingly as they had in the city window box. That every single green shoot had to be coaxed and prized from the reluctant soil, and the neighbors were too busy doing the same on an industrial scale to muster much cheer in their greetings. There was no daily bumper-to-bumper commute, but there was also nowhere much to drive to. Falk didn't blame the Whitlams, he'd seen it many times before when he was a kid. The arrivals looked around at the barrenness and the scale and the sheer bloody hardness of the land, and before long their faces all said exactly the same thing. "I didn't know it was like this." He turned away, remembering how the rawness of local life had seeped into the kids' paintings at the school. Sad faces and brown landscapes.
Jane Harper (The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1))
But I'm not running away. I'm running toward... toward adventure, toward discovery, toward diversity. And while I was in Mexico I discovered something intruiging: Once I leave the U.S., I am not bound by the rules of my culture. And when I am a foreigner in another country, I am exempt from the local rules. This extraordinary situation means that there are no rules in my life. I am free to live by the standards and ideals and rules I create for myself.
Rita Golden Gelman (Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World)
Suppose you were in a war-torn country, and you had to cross a field full of land mines. If a local soldier knew exactly where every one of them was buried and offered to take you through the field, would you protest and say, “I don't want you to tell me what to do. I want to be free to make my own choices”? I don't know about you, but I would stay as close to that person as I could. I certainly would not go wandering off. His directions to me would not restrict me; they would preserve my life. As we walked together, he would say, “Don't go that way, because that path will kill you. Go this way and live.
Henry T. Blackaby (Experiencing God)
Other and more powerful forms of association have existed, but the major moral and psychological influences on the individual’s life have emanated from the family and local community and the church. Within such groups have been engendered the primary types of identification: affection, friendship, prestige, recognition. And within them also have been engendered or intensified the principal incentives of work, love, prayer, and devotion to freedom and order.
Robert A. Nisbet (The Quest For Community: A Study In The Ethics Of Order And Freedom (Ics Series In Self Governance))
A fish swam a thousand miles through the river and finally met the ocean. The Ocean laughed at this and said, “You are clearly joking. You are a local fish.” Often we do a lot for our family and friends. But then, in just one instant, everything is forgotten. Not just that, we suddenly become villain for them.
Shunya
I remember sitting back, on a local beach I called home; thinking about the wild storms I had already faced, the chaotic thunder I somehow learnt to dance through. This time, remembering it, was different. I had no emotional attachment, I felt free of the past and could quietly seperate who I was with who I am now and this moment was empowering , because had I not faced the greatest disasters with courage, I wouldn't have learnt the mastery of life. My self awakening.
Nikki Rowe (Once a Girl, Now a Woman)
Here is part of the problem, girls: we’ve been sold a bill of goods. Back in the day, women didn’t run themselves ragged trying to achieve some impressively developed life in eight different categories. No one constructed fairy-tale childhoods for their spawn, developed an innate set of personal talents, fostered a stimulating and world-changing career, created stunning homes and yardscapes, provided homemade food for every meal (locally sourced, of course), kept all marriage fires burning, sustained meaningful relationships in various environments, carved out plenty of time for “self care,” served neighbors/church/world, and maintained a fulfilling, active relationship with Jesus our Lord and Savior. You can’t balance that job description. Listen to me: No one can pull this off. No one is pulling this off. The women who seem to ride this unicorn only display the best parts of their stories. Trust me. No one can fragment her time and attention into this many segments.
Jen Hatmaker (For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards)
There is a storytelling element in there. The tango form is a little like the blues in that you have a kind of structure. It’s not as rigid as twelve bar, but it's very much a storytelling medium -- and there’s an element of call-and-response, and a particular arc in the musical form, that suggest a story. It's about being in the moment, with the music; and responding to your partner, and the particular feeling and momentum in her body in any one moment. It’s a very concentrated thing; you can’t think about anything else while you are doing it. If you try to hold a conversation, it just kind of falls apart. The music was what really drew me into tango. Everyone knows a few of the more popular tango classics, but once you get into it, there’s such a rich field. It’s astonishing, this kind of miraculous musical form that developed in a very small locality: two cities on either side of the River Plate, in Argentina and Urugauy. It started in the 1880s or '90s, and there are all kinds of mysteries, myths and stories, about how tango started and developed. It was first of all considered really low-life, almost reptilian. Something to be avoided and not talked about. And then it became this word wide phenomena. . .and I could go on talking about tango forever. . . . but its also to do with movement. I try to get that into my pictures: a sense of movement, something flowing through. A while ago, I realised how much I'd been drawing dancing figures in the corners of my sketchbooks for years before I discovered tango!
Alan Lee
That's the real distinction between people: not between those who have secrets and those who don't, but between those who want to know everything and those who don't. This search is a sign of love, I maintain. It's similar with books. Not quite the same, of course (it never is); but similar. If you quite enjoy a writer's work, if you turn the page approvingly yet don't mind being interrupted, then you tend to like that author unthinkingly. Good chap, you assume. Sound fellow. They say he strangled an entire pack of Wolf Cubs and fed their bodies to a school of carp? Oh no, I'm sure he didn't; sound fellow, good chap. But if you love a writer, if you depend upon the drip-feed of his intelligence, if you want to pursue him and find him -- despite edicts to the contrary -- then it's impossible to know too much. You seek the vice as well. A pack of Wolf Cubs, eh? Was that twenty-seven or twenty-eight? And did he have their little scarves sewn up into a patchwork quilt? And is it true that as he ascended the scaffold he quoted from the Book of Jonah? And that he bequeathed his carp pond to the local Boy Scouts? But here's the difference. With a lover, a wife, when you find the worst -- be it infidelity or lack of love, madness or the suicidal spark -- you are almost relieved. Life is as I thought it was; shall we now celebrate this disappointment? With a writer you love, the instinct is to defend. This is what I meant earlier: perhaps love for a writer is the purest, the steadiest form of love. And so your defense comes the more easily. The fact of the matter is, carp are an endangered species, and everyone knows that the only diet they will accept if the winter has been especially harsh and the spring turns wet before St Oursin's Day is that of young minced Wolf Cub. Of course he knew he would hang for the offense, but he also knew that humanity is not an endangered species, and reckoned therefore that twenty-seven (did you say twenty-eight?) Wolf Cubs plus one middle-ranking author (he was always ridiculously modest about his talents) were a trivial price to pay for the survival of an entire breed of fish. Take the long view: did we need so many Wolf Cubs? They would only have grown up and become Boy Scouts. And if you're still so mired in sentimentality, look at it this way: the admission fees so far received from visitors to the carp pond have already enabled the Boy Scouts to build and maintain several church halls in the area.
Julian Barnes (Flaubert's Parrot)
Shirt off.” Neil stared at her. “Why?” “I can’t check track marks through cotton, Neil.” “I don’t do drugs.” “Good on you,” Abby said. “Keep it that way. Now take it off.” […] “I want to make this as painless as possible, but I can’t help you if you can’t help me. Tell me why you won’t take off your shirt.” Neil looked for a delicate way to say it. The best he managed was, “I’m not okay.” She put a finger to his chin and turned his face back toward her. “Neil, I work for the Foxes. None of you are okay. Chances are I’ve seen a lot worse than whatever it is you’re trying to hide from me.” Neil’s smile was humorless. “I hope not. “Trust me,” Abby said. “I’m not going to judge you. I’m here to help, remember? I’m your nurse now. That door is closed, and it comes with a lock. What happens in here stays in here.” […] “You can’t ask me about them,” he said at last. “I won’t talk to you about it. Okay?” “Okay,” Abby agreed easily. “But know that when you want to, I’m here, and so is Betsy.” Neil wasn’t going to tell that psychiatrist a thing, but he nodded. Abby dropped her hand and Neil pulled his shirt over his head before he could lose his nerve. Abby thought she was ready. Neil knew she wouldn’t be, and he was right. Her mouth parted on a silent breath and her expression went blank. She wasn’t fast enough to hide her flinch, and Neil saw her shoulders go rigid with tension. He stared at her face as she stared at him, watching her gaze sweep over the brutal marks of a hideous childhood. It started at the base of his throat, a looping scar curving down over his collarbone. A pucker with jagged edges was a finger-width away, courtesy of a bullet that hit him right on the edge of his Kevlar vest. A shapeless patch of pale skin from his left shoulder to his navel marked where he’d jumped out of a moving car and torn himself raw on the asphalt. Faded scars crisscrossed here and there from his life on the run, either from stupid accidents, desperate escapes, or conflicts with local lowlifes. Along his abdomen were larger overlapping lines from confrontations with his father’s people while on the run. His father wasn’t called the butcher for nothing; his weapon of choice was a cleaver. All of his men were well-versed in knife-fighting, and more than one of them had tried to stick Neil like a pig. And there on his right shoulder was the perfect outline of half a hot iron. Neil didn’t remember what he’s said or done to irritate his father so much.
Nora Sakavic (The Foxhole Court (All for the Game, #1))
More than any other nation, the United States has been almost constantly involved in armed conflict and, through military alliances, has used war as a means of resolving international and local disputes. Since the birth of the United Nations, we have seen American forces involved in combat in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, Grenada, Haiti, Iraq, Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Somalia, and Vietnam, and more recently with lethal attacks in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and other sovereign nations. There were no “boots on the ground” in some of these countries; instead we have used high-altitude bombers or remote-control drones. In these cases we rarely acknowledge the tremendous loss of life and prolonged suffering among people in the combat zones, even after our involvement in the conflict is ended.
Jimmy Carter (A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power)
The mere possibility that Packer might be set free sent the local press into fits of indignation. “Alfred Packer, known in Colorado as the Man-Eater from his habit of dining upon his associates, desires to leave the penitentiary, the diet there not agreeing with him,” wrote the wisecracking editor of one Boulder paper. “A lawyer has found what seems to be the necessary technicality. It is hoped that the lawyer will not succeed, but if he should, the only just recompense would be to fatten him and feed him to his carnivorous client.”10
Harold Schechter (Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal)
Even though he had lived in Monroe County his whole life, Walter McMillian had never heard of Harper Lee or To Kill a Mockingbird. Monroeville, Alabama, celebrated its native daughter Lee shamelessly after her award-winning book became a national bestseller in the 1960s. She returned to Monroe County but secluded herself and was rarely seen in public. Her reclusiveness proved no barrier to the county’s continued efforts to market her literary classic—or to market itself by using the book’s celebrity. Production of the film adaptation brought Gregory Peck to town for the infamous courtroom scenes; his performance won him an Academy Award. Local leaders later turned the old courthouse into a “Mockingbird” museum. A group of locals formed “The Mockingbird Players of Monroeville” to present a stage version of the story. The production was so popular that national and international tours were organized to provide an authentic presentation of the fictional story to audiences everywhere. Sentimentality about Lee’s story grew even as the harder truths of the book took no root.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)
I was in the local shop today, getting something to eat for lunch, when I suddenly had the strangest sensation—a spontaneous awareness of the unlikeliness of this life. I mean, I thought of all the rest of the human population—most of whom live in what you and I would consider abject poverty—who have never seen or entered such a shop. And this, this, is what all their work sustains! This lifestyle, for people like us! All the various brands of soft drinks in plastic bottles and all the pre-packaged lunch deals and confectionery in sealed bags and store-baked pastries—this is it, the culmination of all the labour in the world, all the burning of fossil fuels and all the back-breaking work on coffee farms and sugar plantations. All for this! This convenience shop! I felt dizzy thinking about it. I mean I really felt ill. It was as if I suddenly remembered that my life was all part of a television show—and every day people died making the show, were ground to death in the most horrific ways, children, women, and all so that I could choose from various lunch options, each packaged in multiple layers of single-use plastic. That was what they died for—that was the great experiment. I thought I would throw up. Of course, a feeling like that can’t last. Maybe for the rest of the day I feel bad, even for the rest of the week—so what? I still have to buy lunch. And in case you’re worrying about me, let me assure you, buy lunch I did.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next—and disappear. That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
Some changes we can control, but we find that many things are inseparably wired into the life we share in local, national, and global communities. For example, the healthy lifestyle you are determined to live and take to be a personal choice of which you have control, is heavily influenced and limited by the culture and industries of the communities you belong to.
Ilchi Lee (Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential)
New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. If conservatives get to call universal health care "socialized medicine," I get to call private, for-profit health care "soulless vampire bastards making money off human pain." Now, I know what you're thinking: "But, Bill, the profit motive is what sustains capitalism." Yes, and our sex drive is what sustains the human species, but we don't try to fuck everything. It wasn't that long ago when a kid in America broke his leg, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun stuck a thermometer in his ass, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle, and you were done. The bill was $1.50; plus, you got to keep the thermometer. But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some bean counter decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they're not hospitals anymore; they're Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. The more people who get sick, and stay sick, the higher their profit margins, which is why they're always pushing the Jell-O. Did you know that the United States is ranked fiftieth in the world in life expectancy? And the forty-nine loser countries were they live longer than us? Oh, it's hardly worth it, they may live longer, but they live shackled to the tyranny of nonprofit health care. Here in America, you're not coughing up blood, little Bobby, you're coughing up freedom. The problem with President Obama's health-care plan isn't socialism. It's capitalism. When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what's in it for Blue Cross Blue Shield. And it's not just medicine--prisons also used to be a nonprofit business, and for good reason--who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition, you're going to have trouble with the tenants. It's not a coincidence that we outsourced running prisons to private corporations and then the number of prisoners in America skyrocketed. There used to be some things we just didn't do for money. Did you know, for example, there was a time when being called a "war profiteer" was a bad thing? FDR said he didn't want World War II to create one millionaire, but I'm guessing Iraq has made more than a few executives at Halliburton into millionaires. Halliburton sold soldiers soda for $7.50 a can. They were honoring 9/11 by charging like 7-Eleven. Which is wrong. We're Americans; we don't fight wars for money. We fight them for oil. And my final example of the profit motive screwing something up that used to be good when it was nonprofit: TV news. I heard all the news anchors this week talk about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite's day. And I thought, "Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
To air dry clothes by choice is countercultural. And who, more than any other group in twenty-first-century America, is both countercultural and committed to air drying clothes? Has intact families? Healthy communities? Gardens, home-cooked meals, and uncluttered homes? Restrained use of technology, strong local economies, and almost nonexistent debt? Most of all, what group has kept simplicity, service, and faith at the center of all they say and do? The Amish! All of which led to my epiphany: few of us can become Amish, but all of us can become almost Amish.
Nancy Sleeth (Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life)
All religions must, at their core, look forward to the end of this world and to the longed-for moment when all will be revealed and when the sheep will be divided from the goats, or whatever other bucolic Bronze-Age desert analogy might seem apt. (In Papua New Guinea, where as in most tropical climes there are no sheep, the Christians use the most valued animal of the locals and refer to the congregation as “swine.” Flock, herd: what difference does it make?) Against this insane eschatology, with its death wish and its deep contempt for the life of the mind, atheists have always argued that this world is all that we have, and that our duty is to one another to make the very most and best of it. Theism cannot coexist with this unexceptionable conclusion.
Christopher Hitchens (The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever)
[from Some words about 'War and Peace'] In those days also people loved, envied, sought truth and virtue, and where carried away by passions; and there was the same complex mental and moral life among the upper classes, where were in some instances even more refined than now. If we have come to believe in the perversity and coarse violence of that period, that is only because the traditions, memoirs, stories, and novels that have been handed to us, record for the most part exceptional cases of violence and brutality. To suppose that the predominant characteristic of that period was turbulence, is as unjust as it would before a man, seeing nothing but the tops of trees beyond a hill, to conclude that there was nothing to be found in that locality but trees.
Leo Tolstoy
To be gentle with ourselves requires a willingness to be exposed and perhaps be hurt. As I have already suggested, there is nothing weak or ‘cowardly’ about gentleness, especially when we are relearning to live in this world by minimizing our ‘numbing strategies’ so that we can practise super self-care. When we face our fears, we are acting courageously. Courage happens in the mundane. If we observe people in our local community, we can see courage being practised all around us. Just turning up for life every day requires courage, especially when we are prepared to be present.
Christopher Dines (Super Self Care: How to Find Lasting Freedom from Addiction, Toxic Relationships and Dysfunctional Lifestyles)
West Broadway. It was all that I’d felt looking at those Parisian doors. And at that moment I realized that those changes, with all their agony, awkwardness, and confusion, were the defining fact of my life, and for the first time I knew not only that I really was alive, that I really was studying and observing, but that I had long been alive—even back in Baltimore. I had always been alive. I was always translating. I arrived in Paris. I checked in to a hotel in the 6th arrondissement. I had no understanding of the local history at all. I did not think much about Baldwin or Wright. I had not read Sartre nor Camus, and if I walked past Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots I did not, then, take any particular note. None of that mattered. It was Friday, and what mattered were the streets thronged with people in amazing configurations. Teenagers together in cafés. Schoolchildren kicking a soccer ball on the street, backpacks to the side. Older couples in long coats, billowing scarves, and blazers.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)
Let's just make this easy. I'm in favor of a Constitutional amendment that would read something like this: 'Neither the federal government, nor any state or local government shall make any activity a crime unless said activity violates another person's right to life, liberty, or property, either through force or fraud.' Could you live with that? Could you live with the thought that anyone in your community could do pretty much what they wish, so long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else? Now there's a definition of freedom--and it's something I suspect most of you just couldn't go along with.
Neal Boortz (Somebody's Gotta Say It)
Sooner or later, all talk among foreigners in Pyongyang turns to one imponderable subject. Do the locals really believe what they are told, and do they truly revere Fat Man and Little Boy? I have been a visiting writer in several authoritarian and totalitarian states, and usually the question answers itself. Someone in a café makes an offhand remark. A piece of ironic graffiti is scrawled in the men's room. Some group at the university issues some improvised leaflet. The glacier begins to melt; a joke makes the rounds and the apparently immovable regime suddenly looks vulnerable and absurd. But it's almost impossible to convey the extent to which North Korea just isn't like that. South Koreans who met with long-lost family members after the June rapprochement were thunderstruck at the way their shabby and thin northern relatives extolled Fat Man and Little Boy. Of course, they had been handpicked, but they stuck to their line. There's a possible reason for the existence of this level of denial, which is backed up by an indescribable degree of surveillance and indoctrination. A North Korean citizen who decided that it was all a lie and a waste would have to face the fact that his life had been a lie and a waste also. The scenes of hysterical grief when Fat Man died were not all feigned; there might be a collective nervous breakdown if it was suddenly announced that the Great Leader had been a verbose and arrogant fraud. Picture, if you will, the abrupt deprogramming of more than 20 million Moonies or Jonestowners, who are suddenly informed that it was all a cruel joke and there's no longer anybody to tell them what to do. There wouldn't be enough Kool-Aid to go round. I often wondered how my guides kept straight faces. The streetlights are turned out all over Pyongyang—which is the most favored city in the country—every night. And the most prominent building on the skyline, in a town committed to hysterical architectural excess, is the Ryugyong Hotel. It's 105 floors high, and from a distance looks like a grotesquely enlarged version of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco (or like a vast and cumbersome missile on a launchpad). The crane at its summit hasn't moved in years; it's a grandiose and incomplete ruin in the making. 'Under construction,' say the guides without a trace of irony. I suppose they just keep two sets of mental books and live with the contradiction for now.
Christopher Hitchens (Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays)
There are various theories about why the years seem to pass faster as you get older. The most popular is also the most obvious. As you get older, each year is a smaller percentage of your life. If you are ten years old, a year is ten percent. If you are fifty years old, a year is two percent. But she read a theory that spurned that explanation. The theory states that time passes faster when we are in a set routine, when we aren't learning anything new, when we stay stuck in a life pattern. They key to making time slow down is to have new experiences. You may joke that the week you went on vacation flew by far too quickly, but if you stop and think about it, that week actually seemed to last much longer than one involving the drudgery of your day job. You are complaining about it going away so fast because you loved it, not because it felt as though time was passing faster. If you want to slow down time, this theory holds: If you want to make the days last, do something different. Travel to exotic locales. Take a class.
Harlan Coben (Don't Let Go)
And there they stayed, a sole phenomenon in the Republic of Brooklyn, where cats hollered like people, dogs ate their own feces, aunties chain-smoked and died at age 102, a kid named Spike Lee saw God, the ghosts of the departed Dodgers soaked up all possibility of new hope, and penniless desperation ruled the lives of the suckers too black or too poor to leave, while in Manhattan the buses ran on time, the lights never went out, the death of a single white child in a traffic accident was a page one story, while phony versions of black and Latino life ruled the Broadway roost, making white writers rich—West Side Story, Porgy & Bess, Purlie Victorious—and on it went, the whole business of the white man’s reality lumping together like a giant, lopsided snowball, the Great American Myth, the Big Apple, the Big Kahuna, the City That Never Sleeps, while the blacks and Latinos who cleaned the apartments and dragged out the trash and made the music and filled the jails with sorrow slept the sleep of the invisible and functioned as local color.
James McBride (Deacon King Kong)
Before embarking on a voyage, first speak with the ancient sailors, listen to and understand the winds, then patiently make a boat and sail. Yet, even then, be open to other dreams, changes, circumstances. Throughout our lives, we limit ourselves to fixed goals, only to get on the local ferry and just travel the distance between two known points. Yet, we create an illusion of freedom and choice, accompanied by a sense of independence. Thus, we carefully study weather reports, ride on the port side on odd numbered days, starboard on holidays, have tea at fixed times, never speak with those who wear glasses, always smile at those who wear green and of course allow ourselves just the slight possibility of a dream about jumping ship and going off to our island one day. C'est la vie? Our predictably totalitarian lives are an insult to the human spirit.
Gündüz Vassaf (Prisoners of Ourselves: Totalitarianism in Everyday Life)
I began doing my own research into Wicca, reading about it and even meeting a group of local teens who were followers of the religion. They were a good source of information, but I couldn't stand being around them. They were all extremely flaky and melodramatic. I felt embarrassed for them, as they didn't have the sense to realize how socially inept they were. Wicca is a beautiful religion in theory, but I distanced myself from anything to do with it because I couldn't take the people. Many of them are people in their thirties who still try to live and behave like teenagers. Wicca seems to draw a great many people who cannot or will not grow up.
Damien Echols (Life After Death)
But imagine this, for a moment. If an asteroid happened to hit one of the rare remaining older surfaces; if its strike were glancing enough that it didn’t pulverise the surface, but forceful enough that it ejected a chunk of rock with an escape velocity of 12,000 mph; if that chunk, flung out into space, wandered aimlessly for a million years or two before feeling the gravitational tug of a nearby planet; if it tore through the atmosphere of that planet in a blaze of glory and landed on one of the planet’s frozen ice caps; if the chunk was buried in snow, squeezed, shoved and harried until it re-emerged, blinking, into the strangely blue daylight; and if, tens of thousands of years later a few local bipeds happened upon it, might it contain signs of alien life? If so, it would surely become one of the most exciting pieces of real estate in the entire Solar System.
Gabrielle Walker (Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent)
It’s a strange irony that most people who are truly creative don’t really know where their ideas come from. To be a writer, just like all crafts, is an art form. You can take evening classes in writing at the local library, where you go along every Tuesday night and read out your weekly piece, and that can serve to improve your expertise a little, but to be a Wrong Planet writer you have to first of all be an artist. The art of searching for words radiates from deep inside the writer, and I truly feel that when a true writer is sitting quietly at his desk his movements are beautifully interwoven. His breathing will even come with an effortless grace. The ability to move fluidly in his study in this manner begins with a truly intuitive knowledge, although if the truth were known, there’s a little bit of insanity in the writer that does everyone an awful lot of good.
Karl Wiggins (Wrong Planet - Searching for your Tribe)
I feel about Olenka the way I think God might. I know so much about her. Nothing has been hidden from me. It’s rare, in the real world, that I get to know someone so completely. I’ve known her in so many modes: a happy young newlywed and a lonely old lady; a rosy, beloved darling and an overlooked, neglected piece of furniture, nearly a local joke; a nurturing wife and an overbearing false mother. And look at that: the more I know about her, the less inclined I feel to pass a too-harsh or premature judgment. Some essential mercy in me has been switched on. What God has going for Him that we don’t is infinite information. Maybe that’s why He’s able to, supposedly, love us so much.
George Saunders (A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life)
Amateurs are fond of advising that all practical measures should be postponed pending carrying out detailed researches upon the habits of anophelines, the parasite rate of localities, the effect of minor works, and so on. In my opinion, this is a fundamental mistake. It implies the sacrifice of life and health on a large scale while researches which may have little real value and which may be continued indefinitely are being attempted… In practical life we observe that the best practical discoveries are obtained during the execution of practical work and that long academic discussions are apt to lead to nothing but academic profit. Action and investigation together do more than either of these alone.
Ronald Ross (Researches on Malaria)
On behalf of those you killed, imprisoned, tortured, you are not welcome, Erdogan! No, Erdogan, you’re not welcome in Algeria. We are a country which has already paid its price of blood and tears to those who wanted to impose their caliphate on us, those who put their ideas before our bodies, those who took our children hostage and who attempted to kill our hopes for a better future. The notorious family that claims to act in the name of the God and religion—you’re a member of it—you fund it, you support it, you desire to become its international leader. Islamism is your livelihood Islamism, which is your livelihood, is our misfortune. We will not forget about it, and you are a reminder of it today. You offer your shadow and your wings to those who work to make our country kneel down before your “Sublime Door.” You embody and represent what we loathe. You hate freedom, the free spirit. But you love parades. You use religion for business. You dream of a caliphate and hope to return to our lands. But you do it behind the closed doors, by supporting Islamist parties, by offering gifts through your companies, by infiltrating the life of the community, by controlling the mosques. These are the old methods of your “Muslim Brothers” in this country, who used to show us God’s Heaven with one hand while digging our graves with the other. No, Mr. Erdogan, you are not a man of help; you do not fight for freedom or principles; you do not defend the right of peoples to self-determination. You know only how to subject the Kurds to the fires of death; you know only how to subject your opponents to your dictatorship. You cry with the victims in the Middle East, yet sign contracts with their executioners. You do not dream of a dignified future for us, but of a caliphate for yourself. We are aware of your institutionalized persecution, your list of Turks to track down, your sinister prisons filled with the innocent, your dictatorial justice palaces, your insolence and boastful nature. You do not dream of a humanity that shares common values and principles, but are interested only in the remaking of the Ottoman Empire and its bloodthirsty warlords. Islam, for you, is a footstool; God is a business sign; modernity is an enemy; Palestine is a showcase; and local Islamists are your stunned courtesans. Humanity will not remember you with good deeds Humanity will remember you for your machinations, your secret coups d’état, and your manhunts. History will remember you for your bombings, your vengeful wars, and your inability to engage in constructive dialogue with others. The UN vote for Al-Quds is only an instrument in your service. Let us laugh at this with the Palestinians. We know that the Palestinian issue is your political capital, as it is for many others. You know well how to make a political fortune by exploiting others’ emotions. In Algeria, we suffered, and still suffer, from those who pretend to be God and act as takers and givers of life. They applaud your coming, but not us. You are the idol of Algerian Islamists and Populists, those who are unable to imagine a political structure beyond a caliphate for Muslim-majority societies. We aspire to become a country of freedom and dignity. This is not your ambition, nor your virtue. You are an illusion You have made beautiful Turkey an open prison and a bazaar for your business and loved ones. I hope that this beautiful nation rises above your ambitions. I hope that justice will be restored and flourish there once again, at least for those who have been imprisoned, tortured, bombed, and killed. You are an illusion, Erdogan—you know it and we know it. You play on the history of our humiliation, on our emotions, on our beliefs, and introduce yourself as a savior. However, you are a gravedigger, both for your own country and for your neighbors. Turkey is a political miracle, but it owes you nothing. The best thing you can do
Kamel Daoud
Now the evening's at its noon, its meridian. The outgoing tide has simmered down, and there's a lull-like the calm in the eye of a hurricane - before the reverse tide starts to set in. The last acts of the three-act plays are now on, and the after-theater eating places are beginning to fill up with early comers; Danny's and Lindy's - yes, and Horn & Hardart too. Everybody has got where they wanted to go - and that was out somewhere. Now everybody will want to get back where they came from - and that's home somewhere. Or as the coffee-grinder radio, always on the beam, put it at about this point: 'New York, New York, it's a helluva town, The Bronx is up, the Battery's down, And the people ride around in a hole in the ground. Now the incoming tide rolls in; the hours abruptly switch back to single digits again, and it's a little like the time you put your watch back on entering a different time zone. Now the buses knock off and the subway expresses turn into locals and the locals space themselves far apart; and as Johnny Carson's face hits millions of screens all at one and the same time, the incoming tide reaches its crest and pounds against the shore. There's a sudden splurge, a slew of taxis arriving at the hotel entrance one by one as regularly as though they were on a conveyor belt, emptying out and then going away again. Then this too dies down, and a deep still sets in. It's an around-the-clock town, but this is the stretch; from now until the garbage-grinding trucks come along and tear the dawn to shreds, it gets as quiet as it's ever going to get. This is the deep of the night, the dregs, the sediment at the bottom of the coffee cup. The blue hours; when guys' nerves get tauter and women's fears get greater. Now guys and girls make love, or kill each other or sometimes both. And as the windows on the 'Late Show' title silhouette light up one by one, the real ones all around go dark. And from now on the silence is broken only by the occasional forlorn hoot of a bogged-down drunk or the gutted-cat squeal of a too sharply swerved axle coming around a turn. Or as Billy Daniels sang it in Golden Boy: While the city sleeps, And the streets are clear, There's a life that's happening here. ("New York Blues")
Cornell Woolrich (Night and Fear: A Centenary Collection of Stories)
POULTRY As a general rule, it’s okay to have pork, duck, goose, chicken, or turkey a few times per week, but you’ll benefit less than you would from sticking with fish or grass-fed ruminants. One of the problems with poultry is that poultry fat is high in omega-6 fats. In addition, the vast majority of chickens you can buy (even organic ones) are fed corn and soy. This means the fats are even lower in quality than they naturally would be and tend to contain more toxins than you’d find in grass-fed animals. It’s incredibly hard to find good-quality chicken. If you can find pastured organic chicken from a local farmer, it will be a big step in the right direction, but the fat will still be lower in quality than grass-fed beef or lamb because of the high omega-6 content.
Dave Asprey (The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life)
Maybe away from Paris I could write about Paris as in Paris I could write about Michigan. I did not know it was too early for that because I did not know Paris well enough. But that was how it worked out eventually. Anyway we would go if my wife wanted to, and I finished the oysters and the wine and paid my score in the café and made it the shortest way back up the Montagne Ste. Geneviève through the rain, that was now only local weather and not something that changed your life, to the flat at the top of the hill.
Ernest Hemingway (A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition)
The charm of a city, now we come to it, is not unlike the charm of flowers. It partly depends on seeing time creep across it. Charm needs to be fleeting. Nothing could be less palatable than a museum-city propped up by prosthetic devices of concrete. Paris is not in danger of becoming a museum-city, thanks to the restlessness and greed of promoters. Yet their frenzy to demolish everything is less objectionable than their clumsy determination to raise housing projects that cannot function without the constant presence of an armed police force… All these banks, all these glass buildings, all these mirrored facades are the mark of a reflected image. You can no longer see what’s happening inside, you become afraid of the shadows. The city becomes abstract, reflecting only itself. People almost seem out of place in this landscape. Before the war, there were nooks and crannies everywhere. Now people are trying to eliminate shadows, straighten streets. You can’t even put up a shed without the personal authorization of the minister of culture. When I was growing up, my grandpa built a small house. Next door the youth club had some sheds, down the street the local painter stored his equipment under some stretched-out tarpaulin. Everybody added on. It was telescopic. A game. Life wasn’t so expensive — ordinary people would live and work in Paris. You’d see masons in blue overalls, painters in white ones, carpenters in corduroys. Nowadays, just look at Faubourg Sainte-Antoine — traditional craftsmen are being pushed out by advertising agencies and design galleries. Land is so expensive that only huge companies can build, and they have to build ‘huge’ in order to make it profitable. Cubes, squares, rectangles. Everything straight, everything even. Clutter has been outlawed. But a little disorder is a good thing. That’s where poetry lurks. We never needed promoters to provide us, in their generosity, with ‘leisure spaces.’ We invented our own. Today there’s no question of putting your own space together, the planning commission will shut it down. Spontaneity has been outlawed. People are afraid of life.
Robert Doisneau (Paris)
I understood where I had come from: from a dreary tangle of sadness and pretense, of longing, absurdity, inferiority and provincial pomposity, sentimental education and anachronistic ideals, repressed traumas, resignation, and helplessness. Helplessness of the acerbic, domestic variety, where small-time liars pretended to be dangerous terrorists and heroic freedom fighters, where unhappy bookbinders invented formulas for universal salvation, where dentists whispered confidentially to all their neighbors about their protracted personal correspondence with Stalin, where piano teachers, kindergarten teachers, and housewives tossed and turned tearfully at night from stifled yearning for an emotion-laden artistic life, where compulsive writers wrote endless disgruntled letters to the editor of Davar, where elderly bakers saw Maimonides and the Baal Shem Tov in their dreams, where nervy, self-righteous trade-union hacks kept an apparatchik's eye on the rest of the local residents, where cashiers at the cinema or the cooperative shop composed poems and pamphlets at night.
Amos Oz (A Tale of Love and Darkness)
1:337-338 GREAT CHANGES IN ME I CANNOT DESCRIBE I told the local astrologer that the fact that he doesn't see something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. A lover may perceive a certain light in the beloved's face that another person can't. A healthy person tastes a variety of flavorings in food that a patient with a coated tongue cannot. To the sick everything tastes bitter. Great changes and shifts occur in me that I cannot describe, but they are very real. Ways open. A fragrance from the divine comes through. No one sees this, but it is the most profound event in my life. Friendship cannot be seen or measured, but the experience of living within it is beyond argument. Words like belief, righteousness, and faith can be used however a debater wants. With Hasan the silk-weaver recently I spoke of the power of the Islamic prophets. Then he used my words to support his free-thinking lineage. Soul comes here from the unseen to observe this world, the body, the night, and the sunlit morning landscape, saying, I have seen this; now show me your other properties, Lord of the universes (3:26).
Bahauddin (The Drowned Book: Ecstatic and Earthy Reflections of the Father of Rumi)
Throughout the human life span there remains a constant two-way interaction between psychological states and the neurochemistry of the frontal lobes, a fact that many doctors do not pay enough attention to. One result is the overreliance on medications in the treatment of mental disorders. Modern psychiatry is doing too much listening to Prozac and not enough listening to human beings; people’s life histories should be given at least as much importance as the chemistry of their brains. The dominant tendency is to explain mental conditions by deficiencies of the brain’s chemical messengers, the neurotransmitters. As Daniel J. Siegel has sharply remarked, “We hear it said everywhere these days that the experience of human beings comes from their chemicals.” Depression, according to the simple biochemical model, is due to a lack of serotonin — and, it is said, so is excessive aggression. The answer is Prozac, which increases serotonin levels in the brain. Attention deficit is thought to be due in part to an undersupply of dopamine, one of the brain’s most important neurotransmitters, crucial to attention and to experiencing reward states. The answer is Ritalin. Just as Prozac elevates serotonin levels, Ritalin or other psychostimulants are thought to increase the availability of dopamine in the brain’s prefrontal areas. This is believed to increase motivation and attention by improving the functioning of areas in the prefrontal cortex. Although they carry some truth, such biochemical explanations of complex mental states are dangerous oversimplifications — as the neurologist Antonio Damasio cautions: "When it comes to explaining behavior and mind, it is not enough to mention neurochemistry... The problem is that it is not the absence or low amount of serotonin per se that “causes” certain manifestations. Serotonin is part of an exceedingly complicated mechanism which operates at the level of molecules, synapses, local circuits, and systems, and in which sociocultural factors, past and present, also intervene powerfully. The deficiencies and imbalances of brain chemicals are as much effect as cause. They are greatly influenced by emotional experiences. Some experiences deplete the supply of neurotransmitters; other experiences enhance them. In turn, the availability — or lack of availability — of brain chemicals can promote certain behaviors and emotional responses and inhibit others. Once more we see that the relationship between behavior and biology is not a one-way street.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Finally, the work of the minister tended to be judged by his success in a single area - the saving of souls in measurable numbers. The local minister was judged either by his charismatic powers or by his ability to prepare his congregation for the preaching of some itinerant ministerial charmer who would really awaken its members. The 'star' system prevailed in religion before it reached the theater. As the evangelical impulse became more widespread and more dominant, the selection and training of ministers was increasingly shaped by the revivalist criterion of ministerial merit. The Puritan ideal of the minister as an intellectual and educational leader was steadily weakened in the face of the evangelical ideal of the minister as a popular crusader and exhorter. Theological education itself became more instrumental. Simple dogmatic formulations were considered sufficient. In considerable measure the churches withdrew from intellectual encounters with the secular world, gave up the idea that religion is a part of the whole life of intellectual experience, and often abandoned the field of rational studies on the assumption that they were the natural province of science alone. By 1853 an outstanding clergyman complained that there was 'an impression, somewhat general, that an intellectual clergyman is deficient in piety, and that an eminently pious minister is deficient in intellect.
Richard Hofstadter (Anti-Intellectualism in American Life)
Fellow-feeling. . .is the most important factor in producing a healthy political and social life. Neither our national nor our local civic life can be what it should be unless it is marked by the fellow-feeling, the mutual kindness, the mutual respect, the sense of common duties and common interests, which arise when men take the trouble to understand one another, and to associate together for a common object. A very large share of the rancor of political and social strife arises either from sheer misunderstanding by one section, or by one class, of another, or else from the fact that the two sections, or two classes, are so cut off from each other that neither appreciates the other’s passions, prejudices, and, indeed, point of view, while they are both entirely ignorant of their community of feeling as regards the essentials of manhood and humanity.
Theodore Roosevelt
Go on from here, Ada, please. (She). Billions of boys. Take one fairly decent decade. A billion of Bills, good, gifted, tender and passionate, not only spiritually but physically well-meaning Billions, have bared the jillions of their no less tender and brilliant Jills during that decade, at stations and under conditions that have to be controlled and specified by the worker, lest the entire report be choked up by the weeds of statistics and waist-high generalizations. No point would there be, if we left out, for example, the little matter of prodigious individual awareness and young genius, which makes, in some cases, of this or that particular gasp an unprecedented and unrepeatable event in the continuum of life or at least a thematic anthemia of such events in a work of art, or a denouncer’s article. The details that shine through or shade through: the local leaf through the hyaline skin, the green sun in the brown humid eye, tout ceci, vsyo eto, in tit and toto, must be taken into account, now prepare to take over (no, Ada, go on, ya zaslushalsya: I’m all enchantment and ears), if we wish to convey the fact, the fact, the fact—that among those billions of brilliant couples in one cross section of what you will allow me to call spacetime (for the convenience of reasoning), one couple is a unique super-imperial couple, sverhimperator-skaya cheta, in consequence of which (to be inquired into, to be painted, to be denounced, to be put to music, or to the question and death, if the decade has a scorpion tail after all), the particularities of their love-making influence in a special unique way two long lives and a few readers, those pensive reeds, and their pens and mental paintbrushes. Natural history indeed! Unnatural history—because that precision of senses and sense must seem unpleasantly peculiar to peasants, and because the detail is all: The song of a Tuscan Firecrest or a Sitka Kinglet in a cemetery cypress; a minty whiff of Summer Savory or Yerba Buena on a coastal slope; the dancing flitter of a Holly Blue or an Echo Azure—combined with other birds, flowers and butterflies: that has to be heard, smelled and seen through the transparency of death and ardent beauty. And the most difficult: beauty itself as perceived through the there and then. The males of the firefly (now it’s really your turn, Van).
Vladimir Nabokov (Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle)
Smith echoes the famous appeal of W.E.B. Du Bois to the human bond in books that ignores the veil of racial prejudice: I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out the caves of evening that swing between the strong limbed earth and the tracery of the stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn or condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the Veil.64 Committed to a goal (Truth) beyond what mere social life might offer, Du Bois finds in books a human community open to him in a way that his local human communities are not, riven as they are by segregation and hatred. Instead, on the basis of common humanity and common concern for truth, the dead authors welcome Du Bois into their company.
Zena Hitz (Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life)
According to Massimo Maffei from the University of Turin, plants-and that includes trees-are perfectly capable of distinguishing their own roots from the roots of other species and even from the roots of related individuals. But why are trees such social beings? Why do they share food with their own species and sometimes even go so far as to nourish their competitors? The reasons are the same as for human communities: there are advantages to working together. A tree is not a forest. On its own, a tree cannot establish a consistent local climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of water, and generates a great deal of humidity. And in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old. To get to this point, the community must remain intact no matter what. If every tree were looking out only for itself, then quite a few of them would never reach old age. Regular fatalities would result in many large gaps in the tree canopy, which would make it easier for storms to get inside the forest and uproot more trees. The heat of summer would reach teh forest floor and dry it out. Every tree would suffer.
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World)
Ecology is beginning to slowly shift focus with tentative explorations of what the world would look like if process, rather than matter were the basis for reality What if we defined a species in terms of its life processes? We might seriously doubt whether the California condor or the tall grass prairie can be 'saved' or even 'restored.' Perhaps we can re-create some local conditions that foster a few nests of condors or a few acres of prairie. But the life process of the condor ended with the urbanization of the California foothills and the living ebb and flow of the tall grass prairies died with the plowing of the Great Plains. What if we suggested that a thing is what it does? In this light, the Rocky Mountain locust was a immense aperiodic energy flow that linked life processes on a continental scale. This notion of life-as-process might seem unusual in a society in which material existence is primary. But such a perception informs our deepest understanding of life. Indeed, life-as-process underlies our notion of euthanasia. When loved ones are simply bodies, devoid of the capacity to care, respond, or relate again a away that we can recognize as being "them," we understand that they are gone even before they are dead.
Jeffrey A. Lockwood
Transition Initiatives are based on four key assumptions: 1. That life with dramatically lower energy consumption is inevitable, and that it's better to plan for it than to be taken by surprise. 2. That our settlements and communities presently lack the resilience to enable them to weather the severe energy shocks that will accompany peak oil. 3. That we have to act collectively, and we have to act now. 4. That by unleashing the collective genius of those around us to creatively and proactively design our energy descent, we can build ways of living that are more connected, more enriching and that recognize the biological limits of our planet.
Rob Hopkins (The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience)
For my friend Fong,” he says, and begins singing John Denver. If you didn’t know it already, now you do: old dudes from rural Taiwan are comfortable with their karaoke and when they do karaoke for some reason they love no one like they love John Denver. Maybe it’s the dream of the open highway. The romantic myth of the West. A reminder that these funny little Orientals have actually been Americans longer than you have. Know something about this country that you haven’t yet figured out. If you don’t believe it, go down to your local karaoke bar on a busy night. Wait until the third hour, when the drunk frat boys and gastropub waitresses with headshots are all done with Backstreet Boys and Alicia Keys and locate the slightly older Asian businessman standing patiently in line for his turn, his face warmly rouged on Crown or Japanese lager, and when he steps up and starts slaying “Country Roads,” try not to laugh, or wink knowingly or clap a little too hard, because by the time he gets to “West Virginia, mountain mama,” you’re going to be singing along, and by the time he’s done, you might understand why a seventy-seven-year-old guy from a tiny island in the Taiwan Strait who’s been in a foreign country for two-thirds of his life can nail a song, note perfect, about wanting to go home.
Charles Yu (Interior Chinatown)
My parents constantly drummed into me the importance of judging people as individuals. There was no more grievous sin at our household than a racial slur or other evidence of religious or racial intolerance. A lot of it, I think, was because my dad had learned what discrimination was like firsthand. He’d grown up in an era when some stores still had signs at their door saying, NO DOGS OR IRISHMEN ALLOWED. When my brother and I were growing up, there were still ugly tumors of racial bigotry in much of America, including the corner of Illinois where we lived. At our one local movie theater, blacks and whites had to sit apart—the blacks in the balcony. My mother and father urged my brother and me to bring home our black playmates, to consider them equals, and to respect the religious views of our friends, whatever they were. My brother’s best friend was black, and when they went to the movies, Neil sat with him in the balcony. My mother always taught us: “Treat thy neighbor as you would want your neighbor to treat you,” and “Judge everyone by how they act, not what they are.” Once my father checked into a hotel during a shoe-selling trip and a clerk told him: “You’ll like it here, Mr. Reagan, we don’t permit a Jew in the place.” My father, who told us the story later, said he looked at the clerk angrily and picked up his suitcase and left. “I’m a Catholic,” he said. “If it’s come to the point where you won’t take Jews, then some day you won’t take me either.” Because it was the only hotel in town, he spent the night in his car during a winter blizzard and I think it may have led to his first heart attack.
Ronald Reagan (An American Life)
I sat at a lunch table with a professor of premonotheistic spirituality, plus several women from some of the tribes in this state that has more Native Americans than any other. All agreed that the paradigm of human organization had been the circle, not the pyramid or hierarchy—and it could be again. I’d never known there was a paradigm that linked instead of ranked. It was as if I’d been assuming opposition—and suddenly found myself in a welcoming world; like putting one’s foot down for a steep stair and discovering level ground. Still, when a Laguna law student from New Mexico complained that her courses didn’t cite the Iroquois Confederacy as the model for the U.S. Constitution—or explain that this still existing Confederacy was the oldest continuing democracy in the world—I thought she was being romantic. But I read about the Constitutional Convention and discovered that Benjamin Franklin had indeed cited the Iroquois Confederacy as a model. He was well aware of its success in unifying vast areas of the United States and Canada by bringing together Native nations for mutual decisions but also allowing autonomy in local ones. He hoped the Constitution could do the same for the thirteen states. That’s why he invited two Iroquois men to Philadelphia as advisers. Among their first questions was said to be: Where are the women?
Gloria Steinem (My Life on the Road)
My lady and I were out getting hammered at the local watering hole on a weeknight and feeling like cool olds, when the waiter asked if it was “moms’ night out,” while offering to explain to us what whiskey is. And now I’m a corpse—please bury me in my L.L.Bean comfort fleece. ME: “Excuse me, I have tattoos, Jeff.” “Oh my goodness, ma’am, I’m so sorry, I just saw the fluid collecting at your ankles and assumed—” HIM: What the fuck is happening to my life? What vibe am I giving off ? Yes, I am wearing soft, pull-on, straight-leg Gloria Vanderbilts, but I also have cool glasses and a motherfucking hand tattoo. Couldn’t it just be middle school art teachers’ happy hour, Jeff ?!
Samantha Irby (Wow, No Thank You.: Essays)
I've been keeping an eye out for the Charlie Brown Valentine's Day special. I know it will be on soon, and I never miss a Charlie Brown special. The best one is the Halloween show about the Great Pumpkin - which I've only missed one year in my life, due to the local ABC station having technical difficulties - but all the Peanuts shows make me feel like I'm one step closer to Halloween. The thing I like about the shows isn't the characters - it's the background. The colors are so amazing it almost takes my breath away. Every time I watch The Great Pumpkin I feel like I'm going to have a seizure during the scenes where Snoopy is in a dogfight. Just look at the background in those scenes. It really is too much to take. I can barely keep from holding my head in my hands and involuntarily groaning like I have a mouthful of the best chocolate cake ever made. I look at them and can literally smell the crisp autumn air - even in this cell. No horror movie in the world makes me feel the magick of Halloween as strongly as The Great Pumpkin.
Damien Echols (Life After Death)
PJs use parachuting skills to raid into enemy territory to rescue and save lives; army rangers parachute onto the battle field to kill enemy soldiers and capture ground, while a Green Beret will infiltrate a remote, hostile area to teach the local populace how to fight and defend themselves against an enemy. Recon marines can sneak into enemy territory and learn all their secrets. SEALs are small direct-action-oriented teams that can infiltrate areas by sea air, or land to accomplish their objectives, such as capturing or destroying high value targets. Air force combat controllers call in airstrikes, help seize enemy airfields, and use their air traffic control skills to orchestrate everything from large-scale aerial invasions to small insertions of American planes and soldiers. All of these elite units consider themselves exclusive brotherhoods. Members of these outfits live at the most dangerous extreme of human experience and entrust their lives to each other. They focus on a common mission and share unique experiences of adventure and danger.
William F. Sine (Guardian Angel: Life and Death Adventures with Pararescue, the World's Most Powerful Commando Rescue Force)
You seem disappointed that I am not more responsive to your interest in "spiritual direction". Actually, I am more than a little ambivalent about the term, particularly in the ways it is being used so loosely without any sense of knowledge of the church's traditions in these matters. If by spiritual direction you mean entering into a friendship with another person in which an awareness and responsiveness to God's Spirit in the everydayness of your life is cultivated, fine. Then why call in an awkward term like "spiritual direction"? Why not just "friend"? Spiritual direction strikes me as pretentious in these circumstances, as if there were some expertise that can be acquired more or less on its own and then dispensed on demand. The other reason for my lack of enthusiasm is my well-founded fear of professionalism in any and all matters of the Christian life. Or maybe the right label for my fear is "functionalism". The moment an aspect of Christian living (human life, for that matter) is defined as a role, it is distorted, debased - and eventually destroyed. We are brothers and sisters with one another, friends and lovers, saints and sinners. The irony here is that the rise of interest in spiritual direction almost certainly comes from the proliferation of role-defined activism in our culture. We are sick and tired of being slotted into a function and then manipulated with Scripture and prayer to do what someone has decided (often with the help of some psychological testing) that we should be doing to bring glory to some religious enterprise or other. And so when people begin to show up who are interested in us just as we are - our souls - we are ready to be paid attention to in this prayerful, listening, non-manipulative, nonfunctional way. Spiritual direction. But then it begins to develop a culture and language and hierarchy all its own. It becomes first a special interest, and then a specialization. That is what seems to be happening in the circles you are frequenting. I seriously doubt that it is a healthy (holy) line to be pursuing. Instead, why don't you look over the congregation on Sundays and pick someone who appears to be mature and congenial. Ask her or him if you can meet together every month or so - you feel the need to talk about your life in the company of someone who believes that Jesus is present and active in everything you are doing. Reassure the person that he or she doesn't have to say anything "wise". You only want them to be there for you to listen and be prayerful in the listening. After three or four such meetings, write to me what has transpired, and we'll discuss it further. I've had a number of men and women who have served me in this way over the years - none carried the title "spiritual director", although that is what they have been. Some had never heard of such a term. When I moved to Canada a few years ago and had to leave a long-term relationship of this sort, I looked around for someone whom I could be with in this way. I picked a man whom I knew to be a person of integrity and prayer, with seasoned Christian wisdom in his bones. I anticipated that he would disqualify himself. So I pre-composed my rebuttal: "All I want you to do is two things: show up and shut up. Can you do that? Meet with me every six weeks or so, and just be there - an honest, prayerful presence with no responsibility to be anything other than what you have become in your obedient lifetime." And it worked. If that is what you mean by "spiritual director," okay. But I still prefer "friend". You can see now from my comments that my gut feeling is that the most mature and reliable Christian guidance and understanding comes out of the most immediate and local of settings. The ordinary way. We have to break this cultural habit of sending out for an expert every time we feel we need some assistance. Wisdom is not a matter of expertise. The peace of the Lord, Eugene
Eugene H. Peterson (The Wisdom of Each Other (Growing Deeper))
Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain on them-will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms. The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying trough life, screwed every which way. Who are not, but could be. Who don’t speak languages, but dialects. Who don’t have religions, but superstitions. Who don’t create art, but handicrafts. Who don’t have culture, but folklore. Who are not human beings, but human resources. Who do not have faces, but arms. Who do not have names, but numbers. Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police blotter of the local paper. The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.
Eduardo Galeano (The Book of Embraces)
The Romans, by that means, made pagans out of indigenous people. The moral syntax of the Roman word pagan means having the quality of village life and village mindedness. It means living at a distance from the seat of power and the arbiters of orthodox belief and observance, and living at the shadowy edge of a ploughed field. It designated undomesticated, unbroken bush dwellers, those for whom the light of culture of the eastern Mediterranean kind had not yet dawned. It is a powerful distinction to make, with powerful, enforceable criteria. The Romans didn’t invent pagan, but they did make pagans out of the country people they conquered. Though the word at this time meant something like “those on land unbroken,” the change in meaning to the modern European sense of pagan as “enemy of the true religion” tracks the arc from agricultural practice to systematic ethnic cleansing. Through a programme of shame and systematic desecration, they marginalized traditionalists, drove wedges of privilege between families, rewarded collaborators, confounded and demeaned the local languages, compromised indigenous lifeways. They made another kind of war on the indigenous aptitude for living alongside ancestors. Though certainly not the history many of us were taught to emulate or admire, it is there, stones in the sediment of the Europe that founded America. As the Romans went their civil, ruinous way, they made a point of learning from the newly conquered something of the traditional histories, alliances, and enmities of the area. They learned these enmities not to conclude them but to collude with them and deepen them, to further them, prey upon them, employ them, turning the conquered against the not-yet conquered, holding themselves out as the new, powerful ally who would right ancestral wrongs, securing and obliging and forcing the newly conquered to raise the foreign conqueror to the status of a mysteriously benevolent foreign God. Sleeping with the enemy began in earnest. This is a lesson and example relied upon heavily by Hernando Cortes as he made his ruinous way across Mexico early in the sixteenth century, and it made Cortes a dark legend in the old and new worlds.
Stephen Jenkinson (Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble)
Since the very beginning of the Communist regime, I had carefully studied books on Marxism and pronouncements by Chinese Communist Party leaders. It seemed to me that socialism in China was still very much an experiment nad had no fixed course of development for the country had yet been decided upon. This, I thought, was why the government's policy was always changing, like a pendulum swinging from left to right and back again. When things went to extremes and problems emerged. Beijing would take corrective measures. Then these very corrective measures went too far and had to be corrected. The real difficulty was, of course, that a state-controlled economy only stifled productivity, and economic planning from Beijing ignored local conditions and killed incentive. When a policy changed from above, the standards of values changed with it. What was right yesterday became wrong today, and visa versa. Thus the words and actions of a Communist Party official at the lower level were valid for a limited time only... The Cultural Revolution seemed to me to be a swing to the left. Sooner or later, when it had gone too far, corrective measures would be taken. The people would have a few months or a few years of respite until the next political campaign. Mao Zedong believed that political campaigns were the motivating force for progress. So I thought the Proletarian Cultural Revolution was just one of an endless series of upheavals the Chinese people must learn to put up with.
Nien Cheng (Life and Death in Shanghai)
The morning grass was damp and cool with dew. My yellow rain slicker must have looked sharp contrasted against the bright green that spring provided. I must have looked like an early nineteenth century romantic poet (Walt Whitman, perhaps?) lounging around a meadow celebrating nature and the glory of my existence. But don’t make this about me. Don’t you dare. This was about something bigger than me (by at least 44 feet). I was there to unselfishly throw myself in front of danger (nothing is scarier than a parked bulldozer), in the hopes of saving a tree, and also procuring a spot in a featured article in my local newspaper. It’s not about celebrity for me, it’s about showing that I care. It’s not enough to just quietly go about caring anymore. No, now we need the world to see that we care. I was just trying to do my part to show I was doing my part. But no journalists or TV news stations came to witness my selfless heroics. In fact, nobody came at all, not even Satan’s henchmen (the construction crew). People might scoff and say, “But it was Sunday.” Yes, it was Sunday. But if you’re a hero you can’t take a day off. I’d rather be brave a day early than a day late. Most cowards show up late to their destiny. But I always show up early, and quite often I leave early too, but at least I have the guts to lay down my life for something I’d die for. Now I only laid down my life for a short fifteen-minute nap, but I can forever hold my chin high as I loudly tell anyone who will listen to my exploits as an unsung hero (not that I haven’t written dozens of songs dedicated to my bravery). Most superheroes hide anonymously behind masks. That’s cowardly to me. I don’t wear a mask. And the only reason I’m anonymous is that journalists don’t respond to my requests for interviews, and when I hold press conferences nobody shows up, not even my own mother. The world doesn’t know all the good I’ve done for the world. And that’s fine with me. Not really. But if I have to go on being anonymous to make this world a better place, I will. But that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about changing my hours of altruism from 7-8 am Sunday mornings to 9-5 am Monday through Friday, and only doing deeds of greatness in crowded locations.
Jarod Kintz (Gosh, I probably shouldn't publish this.)
Humboldt was the first to relate colonialism to the devastation of the environment. Again and again, his thoughts returned to nature as a complex web of life but also to man’s place within it. At the Rio Apure, he had seen the devastation caused by the Spanish who had tried to control the annual flooding by building a dam. To make matters worse, they had also felled the trees that had held the riverbanks together like ‘a very tight wall’ with the result that the raging river carried more land away each year. On the high plateau of Mexico City, Humboldt had observed how a lake that fed the local irrigation system had shrunk into a shallow puddle, leaving the valleys beneath barren. Everywhere in the world, Humboldt said, water engineers were guilty of such short-sighted follies. He debated nature, ecological issues, imperial power and politics in relation to each other. He criticized unjust land distribution, monocultures, violence against tribal groups and indigenous work conditions – all powerfully relevant issues today. As a former mining inspector, Humboldt had a unique insight into the environmental and economic consequences of the exploitation of nature’s riches. He questioned Mexico’s dependence on cash crops and mining, for example, because it bound the country to fluctuating international market prices. ‘The only capital,’ he said, that ‘increases with time, consists in the produce of agriculture’. All problems in the colonies, he was certain, were the result of the ‘imprudent activities of the Europeans’.
Andrea Wulf (The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World)
I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragon one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality. In theory it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it. There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilized life — snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc. — had simply ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone else as his master. Of course such a state of affairs could not last. It was simply a temporary and local phase in an enormous game that is being played over the whole surface of the earth. But it lasted long enough to have its effect upon anyone who experienced it. However much one cursed at the time, one realized afterwards that one had been in contact with something strange and valuable. One had been in a community where hope was more normal than apathy or cynicism, where the word ‘comrade’ stood for comradeship and not, as in most countries, for humbug. One had breathed the air of equality. I am well aware that it is now the fashion to deny that Socialism has anything to do with equality. In every country in the world a huge tribe of party-hacks and sleek little professors are busy ‘proving’ that Socialism means no more than a planned state-capitalism with the grab-motive left intact. But fortunately there also exists a vision of Socialism quite different from this.
George Orwell (Homage to Catalonia)
I find that most people serve practical needs. They have an understanding of the difference between meaning and relevance. And at some level my mind is more interested in meaning than in relevance. That is similar to the mind of an artist. The arts are not life. They are not serving life. The arts are the cuckoo child of life. Because the meaning of life is to eat. You know, life is evolution and evolution is about eating. It's pretty gross if you think about it. Evolution is about getting eaten by monsters. Don't go into the desert and perish there, because it's going to be a waste. If you're lucky the monsters that eat you are your own children. And eventually the search for evolution will, if evolution reaches its global optimum, it will be the perfect devourer. The thing that is able to digest anything and turn it into structure to sustain and perpetuate itself, for long as the local puddle of negentropy is available. And in a way we are yeast. Everything we do, all the complexity that we create, all the structures we build, is to erect some surfaces on which to out compete other kinds of yeast. And if you realize this you can try to get behind this and I think the solution to this is fascism. Fascism is a mode of organization of society in which the individual is a cell in the superorganism and the value of the individual is exactly the contribution to the superorganism. And when the contribution is negative then the superorganism kills it in order to be fitter in the competition against other superorganisms. And it's totally brutal. I don't like fascism because it's going to kill a lot of minds I like. And the arts is slightly different. It's a mutation that is arguably not completely adaptive. It's one where people fall in love with the loss function. Where you think that your mental representation is the intrinsically important thing. That you try to capture a conscious state for its own sake, because you think that matters. The true artist in my view is somebody who captures conscious states and that's the only reason why they eat. So you eat to make art. And another person makes art to eat. And these are of course the ends of a spectrum and the truth is often somewhere in the middle, but in a way there is this fundamental distinction. And there are in some sense the true scientists which are trying to figure out something about the universe. They are trying to reflect it. And it's an artistic process in a way. It's an attempt to be a reflection to this universe. You see there is this amazing vast darkness which is the universe. There's all these iterations of patterns, but mostly there is nothing interesting happening in these patterns. It's a giant fractal and most of it is just boring. And at a brief moment in the evolution of the universe there are planetary surfaces and negentropy gradients that allow for the creation of structure and then there are some brief flashes of consciousness in all this vast darkness. And these brief flashes of consciousness can reflect the universe and maybe even figure out what it is. It's the only chance that we have. Right? This is amazing. Why not do this? Life is short. This is the thing we can do.
Joscha Bach
Human beings, who were created to live in harmony with each other, the earth, and God, now find themselves distanced from or at odds with their fellow humans, their physical surroundings, and their Lord. Redemption, then, consists in healing these breaches and restoring right relationships among all of these parties. The things we eat play a part in this. The contemporary American diet is too often a case study in alienation, consisting as it does of foods that come from all over the world and are available all of the time... just as global communication technologies erode the time people spend talking in person to people they actually know, so the constant availability of foods from all over the world erodes the connection people have to their own local environment and the foods associated with it.
Margaret Kim Peterson (Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life)
On our particular mission, senior marines met with local school officials while the rest of us provided security or hung out with the schoolkids, playing soccer and passing out candy and school supplies. One very shy boy approached me and held out his hand. When I gave him a small eraser, his face briefly lit up with joy before he ran away to his family, holding his two-cent prize aloft in triumph. I have never seen such excitement on a child’s face. I don’t believe in epiphanies. I don’t believe in transformative moments, as transformation is harder than a moment. I’ve seen far too many people awash in a genuine desire to change only to lose their mettle when they realized just how difficult change actually is. But that moment, with that boy, was pretty close for me. For my entire life, I’d harbored resentment at the world. I was mad at my mother and father, mad that I rode the bus to school while other kids caught rides with friends, mad that my clothes didn’t come from Abercrombie, mad that my grandfather died, mad that we lived in a small house. That resentment didn’t vanish in an instant, but as I stood and surveyed the mass of children of a war-torn nation, their school without running water, and the overjoyed boy, I began to appreciate how lucky I was: born in the greatest country on earth, every modern convenience at my fingertips, supported by two loving hillbillies, and part of a family that, for all its quirks, loved me unconditionally. At that moment, I resolved to be the type of man who would smile when someone gave him an eraser. I haven’t quite made it there, but without that day in Iraq, I wouldn’t be trying. The
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
If all the world were Christian, it might not matter if all the world were uneducated. But, as it is, a cultural life will exist outside the Church whether it exists inside or not. To be ignorant and simple now -- not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground -- would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered. The cool intellect must work not only against cool intellect on the other side, but against the muddy heathen mysticisms which deny intellect altogether. Most of all, perhaps we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many place is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village: the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune form the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.
C.S. Lewis (The Weight of Glory)
It was at that moment that Markisha decided to apply for CalWORKs. She’d rented a room in an apartment she shared with a barber in her neighborhood, and she needed some help paying for it. CalWORKs meant three hundred dollars a month, plus food stamps. So she went to the local welfare office—a “Family Resource Center,” known as an FRC—and walked inside. She was barely sober, emotionally a wreck, literally penniless, and her entire ambition in life was to keep and maintain a room and a half in a rundown section of west San Diego without having to sell her body to pay the rent. This is the kind of person at whom the weight of the state’s financial fraud prosecution apparatus tends to be trained in America. Markisha entered the financial fraud patrol zone when she walked through those doors at the FRC. For three hundred dollars a month, she was about to become more heavily scrutinized by the state than any twelve Wall Street bankers put together. The amounts of money spent in these kinds of welfare programs are very small, but the levels of political capital involved are mountainous. You can always score political points banging on black welfare moms on meth. And the bureaucracy she was about to enter reflects that intense, bitterly contemptuous interest.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Listening to the radio, I heard the story behind rocker David Lee Roth’s notorious insistence that Van Halen’s contracts with concert promoters contain a clause specifying that a bowl of M&M’s has to be provided backstage, but with every single brown candy removed, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation to the band. And at least once, Van Halen followed through, peremptorily canceling a show in Colorado when Roth found some brown M&M’s in his dressing room. This turned out to be, however, not another example of the insane demands of power-mad celebrities but an ingenious ruse. As Roth explained in his memoir, Crazy from the Heat, “Van Halen was the first band to take huge productions into tertiary, third-level markets. We’d pull up with nine eighteen-wheeler trucks, full of gear, where the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors—whether it was the girders couldn’t support the weight, or the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren’t big enough to move the gear through. The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment, and so many human beings to make it function.” So just as a little test, buried somewhere in the middle of the rider, would be article 126, the no-brown-M&M’s clause. “When I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl,” he wrote, “well, we’d line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you’re going to arrive at a technical error.… Guaranteed you’d run into a problem.” These weren’t trifles, the radio story pointed out. The mistakes could be life-threatening. In Colorado, the band found the local promoters had failed to read the weight requirements and the staging would have fallen through the arena floor.
Atul Gawande (The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right)
Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next—and disappear. That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives. William James first wrote about the curious warping and foreshortening of psychological time in his Principles of Psychology in 1890: “In youth we may have an absolutely new experience, subjective or objective, every hour of the day. Apprehension is vivid, retentiveness strong, and our recollections of that time, like those of a time spent in rapid and interesting travel, are of something intricate, multitudinous and long-drawn-out,” he wrote. “But as each passing year converts some of this experience into automatic routine which we hardly note at all, the days and the weeks smooth themselves out in recollection to contentless units, and the years grow hollow and collapse.” Life seems to speed up as we get older because life gets less memorable as we get older. “If to remember is to be human, then remembering more means being more human,” said Ed.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
The responsibility/fault fallacy allows people to pass off the responsibility for solving their problems to others. This ability to alleviate responsibility through blame gives people a temporary high and a feeling of moral righteousness. Unfortunately, one side effect of the Internet and social media is that it’s become easier than ever to push responsibility—for even the tiniest of infractions—onto some other group or person. In fact, this kind of public blame/shame game has become popular; in certain crowds it’s even seen as “cool.” The public sharing of “injustices” garners far more attention and emotional outpouring than most other events on social media, rewarding people who are able to perpetually feel victimized with ever-growing amounts of attention and sympathy. “Victimhood chic” is in style on both the right and the left today, among both the rich and the poor. In fact, this may be the first time in human history that every single demographic group has felt unfairly victimized simultaneously. And they’re all riding the highs of the moral indignation that comes along with it. Right now, anyone who is offended about anything—whether it’s the fact that a book about racism was assigned in a university class, or that Christmas trees were banned at the local mall, or the fact that taxes were raised half a percent on investment funds—feels as though they’re being oppressed in some way and therefore deserve to be outraged and to have a certain amount of attention. The current media environment both encourages and perpetuates these reactions because, after all, it’s good for business. The writer and media commentator Ryan Holiday refers to this as “outrage porn”: rather than report on real stories and real issues, the media find it much easier (and more profitable) to find something mildly offensive, broadcast it to a wide audience, generate outrage, and then broadcast that outrage back across the population in a way that outrages yet another part of the population. This triggers a kind of echo of bullshit pinging back and forth between two imaginary sides, meanwhile distracting everyone from real societal problems. It’s no wonder we’re more politically polarized than ever before. The biggest problem with victimhood chic is that it sucks attention away from actual victims. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. The more people there are who proclaim themselves victims over tiny infractions, the harder it becomes to see who the real victims actually are. People get addicted to feeling offended all the time because it gives them a high; being self-righteous and morally superior feels good. As political cartoonist Tim Kreider put it in a New York Times op-ed: “Outrage is like a lot of other things that feel good but over time devour us from the inside out. And it’s even more insidious than most vices because we don’t even consciously acknowledge that it’s a pleasure.” But
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
the pervasive element in our two-thousand-year pastoral tradition is not someone who “gets things done” but rather the person placed in the community to pay attention and call attention to “what is going on right now” between men and women, with one another and with God—this kingdom of God that is primarily local, relentlessly personal, and prayerful “without ceasing.” I want to give witness to this way of understanding pastor, a way that can’t be measured or counted, and often isn’t even noticed. I didn’t notice for a long time. I would like to provide dignity to this essentially modest and often obscure way of life in the kingdom of God. Along the way, I want to insist that there is no blueprint on file for becoming a pastor. In becoming one, I have found that it is a most context-specific way of life: the pastor’s emotional life, family life, experience in the faith, and aptitudes worked out in an actual congregation in the neighborhood in which she or he lives—these people just as they are, in this place. No copying. No trying to be successful. The ways in which the vocation of pastor is conceived, develops, and comes to birth is unique to each pastor. The only modifier I can think of that might be useful in honoring the ambiguity and mystery involved in the working life of the pastor is “maybe.” Anne Tyler a few years ago wrote a novel with the title Saint Maybe. How about Pastor Maybe? That would serve both as a disclaimer to expertise (that if we could just copy the right model, we would have it down) and a ready reminder of the unavoidable ambiguity involved in this vocation. Pastor Maybe: given the loss of cultural and ecclesiastical consensus on how to live this life, none of us is sure of what we are doing much of the time, only maybe.
Eugene H. Peterson (The Pastor: A Memoir)
I used to be like that once. I never gave anybody a second chance. It’s a very sad way to live your life.” “Do you believe the dragons should provide patternform technology to humans?” “Yes, I do. Denise is convinced that because we didn’t create it for ourselves we won’t be able to handle it properly, that it will be constantly misused. To me it’s completely irrelevant that we didn’t work out every little detail for ourselves.” “Why?” “Other than pride? We know the scientific principles behind technology. If we don’t understand this particular theory, I trust in us to learn it soon enough. There’s very little we can’t grasp once it’s fully explained and broken down into its basic equations. But that’s just the clinical analysis. From a moral point of view, consider this: when the Americans first sent a man to the Moon, there were people living in Africa and South America and Asia who had never seen a lightbulb, or known of electricity or antibiotics. There were even Americans who didn’t have running water to their houses, or an indoor toilet. Does that mean they shouldn’t have been given access to electricity or modern medicine, because they personally didn’t invent it? It might not have been their local community’s knowledge, but it was human knowledge. We don’t have a clue how to build the nullvoid drive that the Ring Empire’s Outbounds employed in their intergalactic ships, but the knowledge is there, developed by sentient entities. Why shouldn’t we have access to that? Because it’s a shortcut? Because we don’t have to spend centuries of time developing it for ourselves? In what way will using ideas other than our own demean and diminish us? All knowledge should be cherished, not denied.” “I believe you would make an excellent dragon, Lawrence.” A
Peter F. Hamilton (Fallen Dragon)
In a 2007 cable about Nauru, made public by WikiLeaks, an unnamed U.S. official summed up his government’s analysis of what went wrong on the island: “Nauru simply spent extravagantly, never worrying about tomorrow.” Fair enough, but that diagnosis is hardly unique to Nauru; our entire culture is extravagantly drawing down finite resources, never worrying about tomorrow. For a couple of hundred years we have been telling ourselves that we can dig the midnight black remains of other life forms out of the bowels of the earth, burn them in massive quantities, and that the airborne particles and gases released into the atmosphere - because we can’t see them - will have no effect whatsoever. Or if they do, we humans, brilliant as we are, will just invent our way out of whatever mess we have made. And we tell ourselves all kinds of similarly implausible no-consequences stories all the time, about how we can ravage the world and suffer no adverse effects. Indeed we are always surprised when it works out otherwise. We extract and do not replenish and wonder why the fish have disappeared and the soil requires ever more “inputs” (like phosphate) to stay fertile. We occupy countries and arm their militias and then wonder why they hate us. We drive down wages, ship jobs overseas, destroy worker protections, hollow out local economies, then wonder why people can’t afford to shop as much as they used to. We offer those failed shoppers subprime mortgages instead of steady jobs and then wonder why no one foresaw that a system built on bad debts would collapse. At every stage our actions are marked by a lack of respect for the powers we are unleashing - a certainty, or at least a hope, that the nature we have turned to garbage, and the people we have treated like garbage, will not come back to haunt us.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
The hero is the man of self-achieved submission. But submission to what? That precisely is the riddle that today we have to ask ourselves and that it is everywhere the primary virtue and historic deed of the hero to have solved. Only birth can conquer death—the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new. Within the soul, within the body social, there must be a continuous “recurrence of birth” a rebirth, to nullify the unremitting recurrences of death. For it is by means of our own victories, if we are not regenerated, that the work of Nemesis is wrought: doom breaks from the shell of our very virtue. Peace then is a snare; war is a snare; change is a snare; permanence a snare. When our day is come for the victory of death, death closes in; there is nothing we can do, except be crucified—and resurrected; dismembered totally, and then reborn. The first step, detachment or withdrawal, consists in a radical transfer of emphasis from the external to the internal world, macro- to microcosm, a retreat from the desperation's of the waste land to the peace of the everlasting realm that is within. But this realm, as we know from psychoanalysis, is precisely the infantile unconscious. It is the realm that we enter in sleep. We carry it within ourselves forever. All the ogres and secret helpers of our nursery are there, all the magic of childhood. And more important, all the life-potentialities that we never managed to bring to adult realization, those other portions of our self, are there; for such golden seeds do not die. If only a portion of that lost totality could be dredged up into the light of day, we should experience a marvelous expansion of our powers, a vivid renewal of life. We should tower in stature. Moreover, if we could dredge up something forgotten not only by ourselves but by our whole generation or our entire civilization, we should indeed become the boon-bringer, the culture hero of the day—a personage of not only local but world historical moment. In a word: the first work of the hero is to retreat from the world scene of secondary effects to those causal zones of the psyche where the difficulties really reside, and there to clarify the difficulties, eradicate them in his own case (i.e., give battle to the nursery demons of his local culture) and break through to the undistorted, direct experience and assimilation of what C. G. Jung has called “the archetypal images.” This is the process known to Hindu and Buddhist philosophy as viveka, “discrimination.
Joseph Campbell (The Hero With a Thousand Faces)
Here is the voice of my main Character in my Talon book series, I’ll let her introduce herself to you: My name is Matica and I am a special needs child with a growth disability. I am stuck in the body of a two year old, even though I am ten years old when my story begins in the first book of the Talon series, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Because of that disability, (I am saying ‘that’ disability, not ‘my’ disability because it’s a thing that happens to me, nothing more and because I am not accepting it as something bad. I can say that now after I learned to cope with it.) I was rejected by the local Indians as they couldn’t understand that that condition is not a sickness and so it can’t be really cured. It’s just a disorder of my body. But I never gave up on life and so I had lots of adventures roaming around the plateau where we live in Peru, South America, with my mother’s blessings. But after I made friends with my condors I named Tamo and Tima, everything changed. It changed for the good. I was finally loved. And I am the hero and I embrace my problem. In better words: I had embraced my problem before I made friends with my condors Tamo and Tima. I held onto it and I felt sorry for myself and cried a lot, wanting to run away or something worse. But did it help me? Did it become better? Did I grow taller? No, nothing of that helped me. I didn’t have those questions when I was still in my sorrow, but all these questions came to me later, after I was loved and was cherished. One day I looked up into the sky and saw the majestic condors flying in the air. Here and now, I made up my mind. I wanted to become friends with them. I believed if I could achieve that, all my sorrow and rejection would be over. And true enough, it was over. I was loved. I even became famous. And so, if you are in a situation, with whatever your problem is, find something you could rely on and stick to it, love that and do with that what you were meant to do. And I never run from conflicts.
Gigi Sedlmayer
the only thing the hero knows about the girl is that she is beautiful. He shows no interest in her intellect or personality—or even her sexuality. The man is either a ruler or has the magic power to awaken her, and all she can do is hope that her physical appearance fits the specifications better than the other girls. In the original Cinderella story, the stepsisters actually cut off parts of their feet to try to fit into the glass slipper. Maybe this marks the origins of the first cosmetic surgery. Besides romanticizing Cinderella’s misery, the story also gives the message that women’s relationships with each other are full of bitter competition and animosity. The adult voice of womanly wisdom in the story, the stepmother, advises all her girls to frantically do whatever it takes to please the prince. This includes groveling, cutting off parts of themselves, and staying powerless. I was heartsick to watch Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” with my three-year-old daughter. The little mermaid agrees to give up her voice for a chance to go up on the “surface” and convince her nobleman to marry her. She is told by her local matron sea witch that she doesn’t need a voice—she needs only to look cute and get him to kiss her. And in the story, it works. These are the means to her one and only end: to buy a rich and respected guy. Women are taught to only listen to an outside patriarchal authority. No wonder there is so much self-doubt and confusion when faced with the question, “What do you want out of your life?” This question alone can be enough to trigger an episode of depression. It often triggers a game of Ping-Pong in a woman’s head. Her imagination throws up a possibility and then her pessimistic shotgun mind shoots it down. The dialog may look something like this: “Maybe I want to go back to school.... No, that would be selfish of me because the kids need me…. Maybe I’ll start a business.... No I hate all that dogeat-dog competition…. Maybe I’ll look for a love relationship…. No, I am not sure I am healed ye….” and on it goes.
Kelly Bryson (Don't Be Nice, Be Real)
The souvenir hunters were prowling among them, carefully ripping insignia off tunics, slipping rings off fingers, or pistols off belts. There was Souvenirs himself, stepping gingerly from corpse to corpse, armed with his plyers and a dentist flashlight that he had had the forethought to purchase in Melbourne. I stood among the heaps of dead, they lay crumpled, useless, defunct. The vital force was fled. A bullet or a mortar fragment had torn a hole in these frail vessels, and the substance had leapt out. The mysteries of the universe had once inhabited these lulling lumps, had given each an identity, a way of walking, perhaps a special habit of address or a way with words or a knack of putting color on canvas. They had been so different then, now they were nothing, heaps of nothing. Can a bullet or a mortar fragment do this? Does this force, this mystery, I mean this soul, does this spill out on the ground along with the blood? No. It is somewhere, I know it. For this red and yellow lump I look down upon this instant was once a man. And the thing that energized him, the word that gave to airy nothing a local habitation and a name, the word from a higher word this cannot have been obliterated by a quarter inch of heated metal. The mystery of the universe has departed him and it is no good to say that the riddle is solved. The mystery is over because it has changed residences. The thing that shaped the flare of that nostril, that broadened that arm now bleeding, that wrought so fine that limply lying hand, that thing exists still and has still the power to flare that nostril, to bend that arm to clench that fist exactly as it did before. Because it is gone you cannot say it will not return; even though you may say it has never yet returned-you cannot say that it will not. It is blasphemy to say a bit of metal has destroyed life, just as it is presumptuous to say that because life has disappeared it has been destroyed. I stood among the heaps of the dead and I knew-no, I felt that death is only a sound we make to signify the Thing we do not know.
Robert Leckie (Helmet for My Pillow)
What the most advanced researchers and theoreticians in all of science now comprehend is that the Newtonian concept of a universe driven by mass force is out of touch with reality, for it fails to account for both observable phenomena and theoretical conundrums that can be explained only by quantum physics: A quantum view explains the success of small efforts quite differently. Acting locally allows us to be inside the movement and flow of the system, participating in all those complex events occurring simultaneously. We are more likely to be sensitive to the dynamics of this system, and thus more effective. However, changes in small places also affect the global system, not through incrementalism, but because every small system participates in an unbroken wholeness. Activities in one part of the whole create effects that appear in distant places. Because of these unseen connections, there is potential value in working anywhere in the system. We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness. In what Wheatley calls “this exquisitely connected world,” the real engine of change is never “critical mass”; dramatic and systemic change always begins with “critical connections.”14 So by now the crux of our preliminary needs should be apparent. We must open our hearts to new beacons of Hope. We must expand our minds to new modes of thought. We must equip our hands with new methods of organizing. And we must build on all of the humanity-stretching movements of the past half century: the Montgomery Bus Boycott; the civil rights movement; the Free Speech movement; the anti–Vietnam War movement; the Asian American, Native American, and Chicano movements; the women’s movement; the gay and lesbian movement; the disability rights/pride movement; and the ecological and environmental justice movements. We must find ourselves amid the fifty million people who as activists or as supporters have engaged in the many-sided struggles to create the new democratic and life-affirming values that are needed to civilize U.S. society.
Grace Lee Boggs (The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century)
In theory, if some holy book misrepresented reality, its disciples would sooner or later discover this, and the text’s authority would be undermined. Abraham Lincoln said you cannot deceive everybody all the time. Well, that’s wishful thinking. In practice, the power of human cooperation networks depends on a delicate balance between truth and fiction. If you distort reality too much, it will weaken you, and you will not be able to compete against more clear-sighted rivals. On the other hand, you cannot organise masses of people effectively without relying on some fictional myths. So if you stick to unalloyed reality, without mixing any fiction with it, few people will follow you. If you used a time machine to send a modern scientist to ancient Egypt, she would not be able to seize power by exposing the fictions of the local priests and lecturing the peasants on evolution, relativity and quantum physics. Of course, if our scientist could use her knowledge in order to produce a few rifles and artillery pieces, she could gain a huge advantage over pharaoh and the crocodile god Sobek. Yet in order to mine iron ore, build blast furnaces and manufacture gunpowder the scientist would need a lot of hard-working peasants. Do you really think she could inspire them by explaining that energy divided by mass equals the speed of light squared? If you happen to think so, you are welcome to travel to present-day Afghanistan or Syria and try your luck. Really powerful human organisations – such as pharaonic Egypt, the European empires and the modern school system – are not necessarily clear-sighted. Much of their power rests on their ability to force their fictional beliefs on a submissive reality. That’s the whole idea of money, for example. The government makes worthless pieces of paper, declares them to be valuable and then uses them to compute the value of everything else. The government has the power to force citizens to pay taxes using these pieces of paper, so the citizens have no choice but to get their hands on at least some of them. Consequently, these bills really do become valuable, the government officials are vindicated in their beliefs, and since the government controls the issuing of paper money, its power grows. If somebody protests that ‘These are just worthless pieces of paper!’ and behaves as if they are only pieces of paper, he won’t get very far in life.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Since our civilization is irreversibly dependent on electronics, abolition of EMR is out of the question. However, as a first step toward averting disaster, we must halt the introduction of new sources of electromagnetic energy while we investigate the biohazards of those we already have with a completeness and honesty that have so far been in short supply. New sources must be allowed only after their risks have been evaluated on the basis of the knowledge acquired in such a moratorium. 
With an adequately funded research program, the moratorium need last no more than five years, and the ensuing changes could almost certainly be performed without major economic trauma. It seems possible that a different power frequency—say 400 hertz instead of 60—might prove much safer. Burying power lines and providing them with grounded shields would reduce the electric fields around them, and magnetic shielding is also feasible. 
A major part of the safety changes would consist of energy-efficiency reforms that would benefit the economy in the long run. These new directions would have been taken years ago but for the opposition of power companies concerned with their short-term profits, and a government unwilling to challenge them. It is possible to redesign many appliances and communications devices so they use far less energy. The entire power supply could be decentralized by feeding electricity from renewable sources (wind, flowing water, sunlight, georhermal and ocean thermal energy conversion, and so forth) into local distribution nets. This would greatly decrease hazards by reducing the voltages and amperages required. Ultimately, most EMR hazards could be eliminated by the development of efficient photoelectric converters to be used as the primary power source at each point of consumption. The changeover would even pay for itself, as the loss factors of long-distance power transmission—not to mention the astronomical costs of building and decommissioning short-lived nuclear power plants—were eliminated. Safety need not imply giving up our beneficial machines. 
Obviously, given the present technomilitary control of society in most parts of the world, such sane efficiency will be immensely difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, we must try. Electromagnetic energy presents us with the same imperative as nuclear energy: Our survival depends on the ability of upright scientists and other people of goodwill to break the military-industrial death grip on our policy-making institutions.
Robert O. Becker (The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life)
There is indeed a poetical attitude to be adopted towards all things, but all things are not fit subjects for poetry. Into the secure and sacred house of Beauty the true artist will admit nothing that is harsh or disturbing, nothing that gives pain, nothing that is debatable, nothing about which men argue. He can steep himself, if he wishes, in the discussion of all the social problems of his day, poor-laws and local taxation, free trade and bimetallic currency, and the like; but when he writes on these subjects it will be, as Milton nobly expressed it, with his left hand, in prose and not in verse, in a pamphlet and not in a lyric. This exquisite spirit of artistic choice was not in Byron: Wordsworth had it not. In the work of both these men there is much that we have to reject, much that does not give us that sense of calm and perfect repose which should be the effect of all fine, imaginative work. But in Keats it seemed to have been incarnate, and in his lovely ODE ON A GRECIAN URN it found its most secure and faultless expression; in the pageant of the EARTHLY PARADISE and the knights and ladies of Burne-Jones it is the one dominant note. It is to no avail that the Muse of Poetry be called, even by such a clarion note as Whitman’s, to migrate from Greece and Ionia and to placard REMOVED and TO LET on the rocks of the snowy Parnassus. Calliope’s call is not yet closed, nor are the epics of Asia ended; the Sphinx is not yet silent, nor the fountain of Castaly dry. For art is very life itself and knows nothing of death; she is absolute truth and takes no care of fact; she sees (as I remember Mr. Swinburne insisting on at dinner) that Achilles is even now more actual and real than Wellington, not merely more noble and interesting as a type and figure but more positive and real.
Oscar Wilde (The English Renaissance of Art)
It's never going to stop,’ Malenfant whispered. ‘It will consume the Solar System, the stars—’ This isn't some local phenomenon, Malenfant. This is a fundamental change in the structure of the universe. It will never stop. It will sweep on, growing at light speed, a runaway feedback fueled by the collapse of the vacuum itself. The Galaxy will be gone in a hundred thousand years, Andromeda, the nearest large galaxy, in a couple of million years. It will take time, but eventually— ‘The future has gone,’ Malenfant said. ‘My God. That’s what this means, isn’t it? The downstream can’t happen now. All of it is gone. The colonization of the Galaxy; the settlement of the universe; the long, patient fight against entropy...’ That immense future had been cut off to die, like a tree chopped through at the root. ‘Why, Michael? Why have the children done this? Burned the house down, destroyed the future—’ Because it was the wrong future. Michael looked around the sky. He pointed to the lumpy, spreading edge of the unreality bubble. There. Can you see that? It's already starting... ‘What is?’ The budding... The growth of the true vacuum region is not even. There will be pockets of the false vacuum—remnants of our universe—isolated by the spreading true vacuum. The fragments of false vacuum will collapse. Like— ‘Like black holes.’ And in that instant, Malenfant understood. ‘That’s what this is for. This is just a better way of making black holes, and budding off new universes. Better than stars, even.’ Much better. The black holes created as the vacuum decay proceeds will overwhelm by many orders of magnitude the mere billion billion that our universe might have created through its stars and galaxy cores. ‘And the long, slow evolution of the universes, the branching tree of cosmoses?...’ We have changed everything, Malenfant. Mind has assumed responsibility for the evolution of the cosmos. There will be many daughter universes—universes too many to count, universes exotic beyond our imagining—and many, many of them will harbor life and mind. ‘But we were the first.’ Now he understood. This was the purpose. Not the long survival of humankind into a dismal future of decay and shadows, the final retreat into the lossless substrate, where nothing ever changed or grew. The purpose of humankind—the first intelligence of all—had been to reshape the universe in order to bud others and create a storm of mind. We got it wrong, he thought. By striving for a meaningless eternity, humans denied true infinity. But we reached back, back in time, back to the far upstream, and spoke to our last children—the maligned Blues—and we put it right. This is what it meant to be alone in the universe, to be the first. We had all of infinite time and space in our hands. We had ultimate responsibility. And we discharged it. We were parents of the universe, not its children.
Stephen Baxter (Time (Manifold #1))
Speaking to a foreigner was the dream of every student, and my opportunity came at last. When I got back from my trip down the Yangtze, I learned that my year was being sent in October to a port in the south called Zhanjiang to practice our English with foreign sailors. I was thrilled. Zhanjiang was about 75 miles from Chengdu, a journey of two days and two nights by rail. It was the southernmost large port in China, and quite near the Vietnamese border. It felt like a foreign country, with turn-of-the-century colonial-style buildings, pastiche Romanesque arches, rose windows, and large verandas with colorful parasols. The local people spoke Cantonese, which was almost a foreign language. The air smelled of the unfamiliar sea, exotic tropical vegetation, and an altogether bigger world. But my excitement at being there was constantly doused by frustration. We were accompanied by a political supervisor and three lecturers, who decided that, although we were staying only a mile from the sea, we were not to be allowed anywhere near it. The harbor itself was closed to outsiders, for fear of 'sabotage' or defection. We were told that a student from Guangzhou had managed to stow away once in a cargo steamer, not realizing that the hold would be sealed for weeks, by which time he had perished. We had to restrict our movements to a clearly defined area of a few blocks around our residence. Regulations like these were part of our daily life, but they never failed to infuriate me. One day I was seized by an absolute compulsion to get out. I faked illness and got permission to go to a hospital in the middle of the city. I wandered the streets desperately trying to spot the sea, without success. The local people were unhelpful: they did not like non-Cantonese speakers, and refused to understand me. We stayed in the port for three weeks, and only once were we allowed, as a special treat, to go to an island to see the ocean. As the point of being there was to talk to the sailors, we were organized into small groups to take turns working in the two places they were allowed to frequent: the Friendship Store, which sold goods for hard currency, and the Sailors' Club, which had a bar, a restaurant, a billiards room, and a ping-pong room. There were strict rules about how we could talk to the sailors. We were not allowed to speak to them alone, except for brief exchanges over the counter of the Friendship Store. If we were asked our names and addresses, under no circumstances were we to give our real ones. We all prepared a false name and a nonexistent address. After every conversation, we had to write a detailed report of what had been said which was standard practice for anyone who had contact with foreigners. We were warned over and over again about the importance of observing 'discipline in foreign contacts' (she waifi-lu). Otherwise, we were told, not only would we get into serious trouble, other students would be banned from coming.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
Nobody can return to you something that was never yours, to begin with. Let’s trace back to the history of your race: the humans were made for slavery and were found faulty for that purpose. They showed immense energy and willpower only when confronted against tremendous obstacles with no weapons in their hands. With those bare hands, and the wits that exceeded even those of their creators and equalled the ones of mighty gods, they could break mountains. Once the humans earned at least a bit of benevolence from their creators, though, they’d immediately turn into lazy drunkards feasting upon the luxuries of life. They were quite haughty creatures, at that – one could never make them work without posing a certain purpose before their eyes. They should be given an aim they approved of, or else, they’d move no finger! Yet, if such necessities were met, they’d begin to loaf around. Forbidding them to taste those luxuries? Nay, they obeyed not! Hence, their creators cast them down on Earth – a planet inhabited by many other faulty experiments of different alien species, so that their lives would end. Yet even here, the humans defied their creators – instead of dying out, they adapted to the environment they were cast in, due to their boundless wits and the unexplainable willpower that no other species could ever possess. They mated the local species whom they could more or less find a common language with, killed off the obstacles, and conquered the planet as their own. The conquering ambitions of their creators, the boundless wisdom of their gods, and the primal instincts of Earthly nature – all of it meddled in these extraordinary creatures. They were full of instability, unpredictability, wild dreams, and rotten primitivism. Which side they would develop, depended entirely upon their choice. Aye, they had proven faulty to their creators, yet had attained the perfect treasure they required – the freedom. Could they make use of it? – Nay, certainly not… at least not many of them. There are certain individuals among the human race, who are able to well balance their mixed-up nature and grow into worthy people that merit our godly benevolence. However, most of them are quite an interesting bunch whom an ambitious man like me can make good use of. I am half-human with godly and angelic descendance, so I guess, I am worthy to be their sole ruler, their only saviour, their treasured shepherd… The shepherds too make use of their sheep – they guide them, then to consume some of them for wool and meat. Shepherds do not help the sheep for granted – they use their potential to its fullest. I shall be the same kind of a god – I shall help these magnificent creatures to achieve the wildest of their dreams but will use their powers for my own benefit. These poor creatures cannot define their potential alone, they cannot decide what’s the best and the fittest for them! I can achieve that. Free human souls? – Nay, they need no freedom. What they need, is to serve the rightful master, and that rightful master I shall be.
Tamuna Tsertsvadze (Galaxy Pirates)
At a talk I gave at a church months later, I spoke about Charlie and the plight of incarcerated children. Afterward, an older married couple approached me and insisted that they had to help Charlie. I tried to dissuade these kind people from thinking they could do anything, but I gave them my card and told them they could call me. I didn't expect to hear from them, but within days they called, and they were persistent. We eventually agreed that they would write a letter to Charlie and send it to me to pass on to him. When I received the letter weeks later, I read it. It was remarkable. Mr. and Mrs. Jennings were a white couple in their mid-seventies from a small community northeast of Birmingham. They were kind and generous people who were active in their local United Methodist church. They never missed a Sunday service and were especially drawn to children in crisis. They spoke softly and always seemed to be smiling but never appeared to be anything less than completely genuine and compassionate. They were affectionate with each other in a way that was endearing, frequently holding hands and leaning into each other. They dressed like farmers and owned ten acres of land, where they grew vegetables and lived simply. Their one and only grandchild, whom they had helped raise, had committed suicide when he was a teenager, and they had never stopped grieving for him. Their grandson struggled with mental health problems during his short life, but he was a smart kid and they had been putting money away to send him to college. They explained in their letter that they wanted to use the money they'd saved for their grandson to help Charlie. Eventually, Charlie and this couple began corresponding with one another, building up to the day when the Jenningses met Charlie at the juvenile detention facility. They later told me that they "loved him instantly." Charlie's grandmother had died a few months after she first called me, and his mother was still struggling after the tragedy of the shooting and Charlie's incarceration. Charlie had been apprehensive about meeting with the Jenningses because he thought they wouldn't like him, but he told me after they left how much they seemed to care about him and how comforting that was. The Jenningses became his family. At one point early on, I tried to caution them against expecting too much from Charlie after his release. 'You know, he's been through a lot. I'm not sure he can just carry on as if nothing has ever happened. I want you to understand he may not be able to do everything you'd like him to do.' They never accepted my warnings. Mrs. Jennings was rarely disagreeable or argumentative, but I had learned that she would grunt when someone said something she didn't completely accept. She told me, 'We've all been through a lot, Bryan, all of us. I know that some have been through more than others. But if we don't expect more from each other, hope better for one another, and recover from the hurt we experience, we are surely doomed.' The Jenningses helped Charlie get his general equivalency degree in detention and insisted on financing his college education. They were there, along with his mother, to take him home when he was released.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)
The phone rang. It was a familiar voice. It was Alan Greenspan. Paul O'Neill had tried to stay in touch with people who had served under Gerald Ford, and he'd been reasonably conscientious about it. Alan Greenspan was the exception. In his case, the effort was constant and purposeful. When Greenspan was the chairman of Ford's Council of Economic Advisers, and O'Neill was number two at OMB, they had become a kind of team. Never social so much. They never talked about families or outside interests. It was all about ideas: Medicare financing or block grants - a concept that O'Neill basically invented to balance federal power and local autonomy - or what was really happening in the economy. It became clear that they thought well together. President Ford used to have them talk about various issues while he listened. After a while, each knew how the other's mind worked, the way married couples do. In the past fifteen years, they'd made a point of meeting every few months. It could be in New York, or Washington, or Pittsburgh. They talked about everything, just as always. Greenspan, O'Neill told a friend, "doesn't have many people who don't want something from him, who will talk straight to him. So that's what we do together - straight talk." O'Neill felt some straight talk coming in. "Paul, I'll be blunt. We really need you down here," Greenspan said. "There is a real chance to make lasting changes. We could be a team at the key moment, to do the things we've always talked about." The jocular tone was gone. This was a serious discussion. They digressed into some things they'd "always talked about," especially reforming Medicare and Social Security. For Paul and Alan, the possibility of such bold reinventions bordered on fantasy, but fantasy made real. "We have an extraordinary opportunity," Alan said. Paul noticed that he seemed oddly anxious. "Paul, your presence will be an enormous asset in the creation of sensible policy." Sensible policy. This was akin to prayer from Greenspan. O'Neill, not expecting such conviction from his old friend, said little. After a while, he just thanked Alan. He said he always respected his counsel. He said he was thinking hard about it, and he'd call as soon as he decided what to do. The receiver returned to its cradle. He thought about Greenspan. They were young men together in the capital. Alan stayed, became the most noteworthy Federal Reserve Bank chairman in modern history and, arguably the most powerful public official of the past two decades. O'Neill left, led a corporate army, made a fortune, and learned lessons - about how to think and act, about the importance of outcomes - that you can't ever learn in a government. But, he supposed, he'd missed some things. There were always trade-offs. Talking to Alan reminded him of that. Alan and his wife, Andrea Mitchell, White House correspondent for NBC news, lived a fine life. They weren't wealthy like Paul and Nancy. But Alan led a life of highest purpose, a life guided by inquiry. Paul O'Neill picked up the telephone receiver, punched the keypad. "It's me," he said, always his opening. He started going into the details of his trip to New York from Washington, but he's not much of a phone talker - Nancy knew that - and the small talk trailed off. "I think I'm going to have to do this." She was quiet. "You know what I think," she said. She knew him too well, maybe. How bullheaded he can be, once he decides what's right. How he had loved these last few years as a sovereign, his own man. How badly he was suited to politics, as it was being played. And then there was that other problem: she'd almost always been right about what was best for him. "Whatever, Paul. I'm behind you. If you don't do this, I guess you'll always regret it." But it was clearly about what he wanted, what he needed. Paul thanked her. Though somehow a thank-you didn't seem appropriate. And then he realized she was crying.
Ron Suskind (The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill)