Mass Effect Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Mass Effect. Here they are! All 200 of them:

The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.
Adolf Hitler
Stand amongst the ashes of a trillion dead souls, and ask the ghosts if honor matters. The silence is your answer.
Javik
Is the beauty myth good to men? It hurts them by teaching them how to avoid loving women. It prevents men from actually seeing women. It does not, contrary to its own professed ideology, stimulate and gratify sexual longing. In suggesting a vision in place of a woman, it has a numbing effect, reducing all senses but the visual, and impairing even that.
Naomi Wolf
Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself.
C.G. Jung
For a wise man, I have been told, once said, ‘Gratitude is best and most effective when it does not evaporate in empty phrases.’ But alas, my lady, I am but a mass of empty phrases, it would seem.
Isaac Asimov (Foundation and Empire (Foundation #2))
It is a simple logic truth that, short of mass emigration into space, with rockets taking off at the rate of several million per second, uncontrolled birth-rates are bound to lead to horribly increased death –rates. It is hard to believe that this simple truth is not understood by those leaders who forbid their followers to use effective contraceptive methods. They express a preference for ‘natural’ methods of population limitation, and a natural method is exactly what they are going to get. It is called starvation.
Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene)
When [beauty pornography is] aimed at men, its effect is to keep them from finding peace in sexual love. The fleeting chimera of the airbrushed centerfold, always receding before him, keeps the man destabilized in pursuit, unable to focus on the beauty of the woman--known, marked, lined, familiar—-who hands him the paper every morning.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Behold the Power of the peanut. His body mass may be small, but his influence is mighty. The last holdout in the Tower has officially fallen to him. (Said by Pia about the effect her son 'peanut' had on the Sentinel Aryal)
Thea Harrison (Kinked (Elder Races, #6))
BETRAYAL No failure in Life, whether of love or money, is ever really that simple; it usually involves a type of a shadowy betrayal, buried in a secret, mass grave of shared hopes and dreams. That universal mass grave exists in a private cemetery that most... both those suffering from the loss, but especially those committing the betrayal, refuse to acknowledge its existence. When you realize you've been deeply betrayed, fear really hits you. That's what you feel first. And then it's anger and frustration. Then disspointment and disilussionment. Part of the problem is how little we understand about the ultimate effects and consequences of betrayal on our hearts and spirits; and on trust and respect for our fellow brothers and sisters. In writing, there are only really a few good stories to tell, and in the end, and betrayal and the failure of love is one of the most powerful stories to tell. Tragedy in life normally comes with betrayal and compromise- by trading in our integrity and failing to treat life and others in our life, with respect and dignity. That's really where the truest and the most tragic failures comes from... they come making the choice to betray another soul, and in turn, giving up a peice of your own.
José N. Harris (Mi Vida)
Grissom chose to remain completely fair and unbiased: he told every single one of them to go to hell.
Drew Karpyshyn (Mass Effect: Revelation (Mass Effect, #1))
Her library filled her bookshelves and then overflowed into waist-high stacks of books everywhere, piled haphazardly against the walls. If just one of them moved... the domino effect could engulf the three of us in an asphyxiating mass of literature.
John Green
[..]Although personally, I think cyberspace means the end of our species." Yes? Why is that?" Because it means the end of innovation," Malcolm said. "This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they'll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behaviour. We innovate new behaviour to adapt. And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That's the effect of mass media - it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there's a McDonald's on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there's less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity - our most necessary resource? That's disappearing faster than trees. But we haven't figured that out, so now we're planning to put five billion people together in cyberspace. And it'll freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same thing at the same time. Global uniformity. [..]
Michael Crichton (The Lost World (Jurassic Park #2))
How many times have I wondered if it is really possible to forge links with a mass of people when one has never had strong feelings for anyone, not even one's own parents: if it is possible to have a collectivity when one has not been deeply loved oneself by individual human creatures. Hasn't this had some effect on my life as a militant--has it not tended to make me sterile and reduce my quality as a revolutionary by making everything a matter of pure intellect, of pure mathematical calculation?
Antonio Gramsci
Trade protection accumulates upon a single point the good which it effects, while the evil inflicted is infused throughout the mass. The one strikes the eye at a first glance, while the other becomes perceptible only to close investigation.
Frédéric Bastiat
I meant the moral to be that revolutions only effect a radical improvement when the masses are alert and know how to chuck out their leaders as soon as the latter have done their job.
George Orwell (Animal Farm)
If you aren't destroying your enemies, it's because you have been conquered and assimilated, you do not even have an idea of who your enemies are. You have been brainwashed into believing you are your own enemy, and you are set against yourself. The enemy is laughing at you as you tear yourself to pieces. That is the most effective warfare an enemy can launch on his foes: confounding them.
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
60. The use of the Latin language customary in a considerable portion of the Church is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrine truth.
Pope Pius XII (Mediator Dei)
The mind with many secrets can never rest.
Drew Karpyshyn (Mass Effect: Ascension (Mass Effect, #2))
An effective mass movement cultivates the idea of sin. It depicts the autonomous self not only as barren and helpless but also as vile. To confess and repent is to slough off one’s individual distinctness and separateness, and salvation is found by losing oneself in the holy oneness of the congregation.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
The theory of exodus proposes that the most effective way of opposing capitalism and the liberal state is not through direct confrontation but by means of what Paolo Virno has called “engaged withdrawal,”mass defection by those wishing to create new forms of community. One need only glance at the historical record to confirm that most successful forms of popular resistance have taken precisely this form. They have not involved challenging power head on (this usually leads to being slaughtered, or if not, turning into some—often even uglier—variant of the very thing one first challenged) but from one or another strategy of slipping away from its grasp, from flight, desertion, the founding of new communities.
David Graeber (Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology)
Inertia, force, mass, gravity, velocity, acceleration. . .cause and effect. Liz Emerson doesn't understand any of it. But I do. I understand how we fall. Where we fall. Why we fall. I understand her sadness and loneliness and silence, her shattered heart. It doesn't have to be this way, does it? It wasn't always this way, was it? Stay alive, Liz Emerson, stay alive.
Amy Zhang (Falling into Place)
Cause-and-effect assumes history marches forward, but history is not an army. It is a crab scuttling sideways, a drip of soft water wearing away stone, an earthquake breaking centuries of tension. Sometimes one person inspires a movement, or her words do decades later, sometimes a few passionate people change the world; sometimes they start a mass movement and millions do; sometimes those millions are stirred by the same outrage or the same ideal, and change comes upon us like a change of weather. All that these transformations have in common is that they begin in the imagination, in hope.
Rebecca Solnit (Hope in the Dark)
In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies - the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions. In the past most people never got a chance of fully satisfying this appetite. They might long for distractions, but the distractions were not provided. Christmas came but once a year, feasts were "solemn and rare," there were few readers and very little to read, and the nearest approach to a neighborhood movie theater was the parish church, where the performances though frequent, were somewhat monotonous. For conditions even remotely comparable to those now prevailing we must return to imperial Rome, where the populace was kept in good humor by frequent, gratuitous doses of many kinds of entertainment - from poetical dramas to gladiatorial fights, from recitations of Virgil to all-out boxing, from concerts to military reviews and public executions. But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distractions now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema. In "Brave New World" non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation. The other world of religion is different from the other world of entertainment; but they resemble one another in being most decidedly "not of this world." Both are distractions and, if lived in too continuously, both can become, in Marx's phrase "the opium of the people" and so a threat to freedom. Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
Let us define our terms. A woman who writes her lover four letters a day is not a graphomaniac, she is simply a woman in love. But my friend who xeroxes his love letters so he can publish them someday--my friend is a graphomaniac. Graphomania is not a desire to write letters, diaries, or family chronicles (to write for oneself or one's immediate family); it is a desire to write books (to have a public of unknown readers). In this sense the taxi driver and Goethe share the same passion. What distinguishes Goethe from the taxi driver is the result of the passion, not the passion itself. "Graphomania (an obsession with writing books) takes on the proportions of a mass epidemic whenever a society develops to the point where it can provide three basic conditions: 1. a high degree of general well-being to enable people to devote their energies to useless activities; 2. an advanced state of social atomization and the resultant general feeling of the isolation of the individual; 3. a radical absence of significant social change in the internal development of the nation. (In this connection I find it symptomatic that in France, a country where nothing really happens, the percentage of writers is twenty-one times higher than in Israel. Bibi [character from the book] was absolutely right when she claimed never to have experienced anything from the outside. It is this absence of content, this void, that powers the moter driving her to write). "But the effect transmits a kind of flashback to the cause. If general isolation causes graphomania, mass graphomania itself reinforces and aggravates the feeling of general isolation. The invention of printing originally promoted mutual understanding. In the era of graphomania the writing of books has the opposite effect: everyone surrounds himself with his own writings as with a wall of mirrors cutting off all voices from without.
Milan Kundera (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting)
No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. ... Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? ... And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.
Marcel Proust (In Search of Lost Time)
If we imagine the action of a vaccine not just in terms of how it affects a single body, but also in terms of how it affects the collective body of a community, it is fair to think of vaccination as a kind of banking of immunity. Contributions to this bank are donations to those who cannot or will not be protected by their own immunity. This is the principle of herd immunity, and it is through herd immunity that mass vaccination becomes far more effective than individual vaccination.
Eula Biss (On Immunity: An Inoculation)
It seems obvious, looking back, that the artists of Weimar Germany and Leninist Russia lived in a much more attenuated landscape of media than ours, and their reward was that they could still believe, in good faith and without bombast, that art could morally influence the world. Today, the idea has largely been dismissed, as it must in a mass media society where art's principal social role is to be investment capital, or, in the simplest way, bullion. We still have political art, but we have no effective political art. An artist must be famous to be heard, but as he acquires fame, so his work accumulates 'value' and becomes, ipso-facto, harmless. As far as today's politics is concerned, most art aspires to the condition of Muzak. It provides the background hum for power.
Robert Hughes (The Shock of the New)
Environmentalists generally object to battery-powered devices and for good reason: batteries require mined minerals, employ manufacturing processes that leak toxins into local ecosystems and leave behind an even-worse trail of side effects upon disposal. Though when it comes to the largest mass-produced battery-powered gadget ever created—the electric car—environmentalists cannot jump from their seats fast enough to applaud it.
Ozzie Zehner (Green Illusions)
But entertainment has the merit not only of being better suited to helping sell goods; it is an effective vehicle for hidden ideological messages.24 Furthermore, in a system of high and growing inequality, entertainment is the contemporary equivalent of the Roman “games of the circus” that diverts the public from politics and generates a political apathy that is helpful to preservation of the status quo.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
But Margaret went less abroad, among machinery and men; saw less of power in its public effect, and, as it happened, she was thrown with one or two of those who, in all measures affecting masses of people, must be acute sufferers for the good of many. The question always is, has everything been done to make the sufferings of these exceptions as small as possible?
Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South)
No man was more sensitive than Zweig to the destructive effects upon individual liberty of the demands of large or strident collectivities. He would have viewed with horror the cacophony of monomanias—sexual, racial, social, egalitarian—that marks the intellectual life of our societies, each monomaniac demanding legislative restriction on the freedom of others in the name of a supposed greater, collective good.
Theodore Dalrymple (Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses)
From the cave to the skyscraper, from the club to weapons of mass destruction, from the tautological life of the tribe to the era of globalization, the fictions of literature have multiplied human experiences, preventing us from succumbing to lethargy, self-absorption, resignation. Nothing has sown so much disquiet, so disturbed our imagination and our desires as the life of lies we add, thanks to literature, to the one we have, so we can be protagonists in the great adventures, the great passions real life will never give us. The lies of literature become truths through us, the readers transformed, infected with longings and, through the fault of fiction, permanently questioning a mediocre reality. Sorcery, when literature offers us the hope of having what we do not have, being what we are not, acceding to that impossible existence where like pagan gods we feel mortal and eternal at the same time, that introduces into our spirits non-conformity and rebellion, which are behind all the heroic deeds that have contributed to the reduction of violence in human relationships. Reducing violence, not ending it. Because ours will always be, fortunately, an unfinished story. That is why we have to continue dreaming, reading, and writing, the most effective way we have found to alleviate our mortal condition, to defeat the corrosion of time, and to transform the impossible into possibility.
Mario Vargas Llosa
There is something about a mass-market Luxury Cruise that's unbearably sad. Like most unbearably sad things, it seems incredibly elusive and complex in its causes and simple in its effect: on board the Nadir—especially at night—I felt despair. The wor's overused and banalified now, despair, but it's a serious word, and I'm using it seriously.
David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments)
The effectiveness of this kind of propaganda demonstrates one of the chief characteristics of modern masses. They do not believe in anything visible, in the reality of their own experience; they do not trust their eyes and ears but only their imaginations, which may be caught by anything that is at once universal and consistent in itself. What convinces masses are not facts, and not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the system of which they are presumably part.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
Peering succeeds because it leverages self-organization—a style of production that works more effectively than hierarchical management for certain tasks.
Don Tapscott (Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything)
An unfortunate side effect of education among the masses is lack of respect.
Steven Erikson (Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3))
Tell me I’m not seeing what I think I’m seeing,” he said, meager hope in his heart. “What do you think you’re seeing?” asked Tamar. “Mass destruction. Certain doom.” “Not entirely certain,” said Zoya. Nikolai cut her a glance. She’d tied back her black hair with a dark blue ribbon. It was eminently practical, but it had the unfortunate effect of making him want to untie it. “Do I detect optimism in my most pessimistic general?” “Likely doom,” Zoya corrected.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Many teachers believe that if they can make learning easier and faster, the learning will be better. Much research turns this belief on its head: when learning is harder, it’s stronger and lasts longer. It’s widely believed by teachers, trainers, and coaches that the most effective way to master a new skill is to give it dogged, single-minded focus, practicing over and over until you’ve got it down. Our faith in this runs deep, because most of us see fast gains during the learning phase of massed practice. What’s apparent from the research is that gains achieved during massed practice are transitory and melt away quickly.
Peter C. Brown (Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning)
Since at least the Great Depression, we’ve been hearing warnings that automation was or was about to be throwing millions out of work—Keynes at the time coined the term “technological unemployment,” and many assumed the mass unemployment of the 1930s was just a sign of things to come—and while this might make it seem such claims have always been somewhat alarmist, what this book suggests is that the opposite was the case. They were entirely accurate. Automation did, in fact, lead to mass unemployment. We have simply stopped the gap by adding dummy jobs that are effectively made up. A combination of political pressure from both right and left, a deeply held popular feeling that paid employment alone can make one a full moral person, and finally, a fear on the part of the upper classes, already noted by George Orwell in 1933, of what the laboring masses might get up to if they had too much leisure on their hands, has ensured that whatever the underlying reality, when it comes to official unemployment figures in wealthy countries, the needle should never jump too far from the range of 3 to 8 percent. But if one eliminates bullshit jobs from the picture, and the real jobs that only exist to support them, one could say that the catastrophe predicted in the 1930s really did happen. Upward of 50 percent to 60 percent of the population has, in fact, been thrown out of work.
David Graeber (Bullshit Jobs: A Theory)
The moment has come to give fascism a usable short handle, even though we know that it encompasses its subject no better than a snapshot encompasses a person. Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
Robert O. Paxton (The Anatomy of Fascism)
Think about it: if someone had found a way to manipulate human choice and free will – if someone actually had that kind of power – wouldn’t it be a tad surprising if they then decided to share their secret with the masses in a book for $20? Not to mention how it would be just very slightly unethical.
Chris Murray (Selling with EASE: The Four Step Sales Cycle Found in Every Successful Business Transaction)
He had been taught as a child that Urras was a festering mass of inequity, iniquity, and waste. But all the people he met, and all the people he saw, in the smallest country village, were well dressed, well fed, and contrary to his expectations, industrious. They did not stand about sullenly waiting to be ordered to do things. Just like Anaresti, they were simply busy getting things done. It puzzled him. He had assumed that if you removed a human being's natural incentive to work -- his initiative, his spontaneous creative energy -- and replaced it with external motivation and coercion, he would become a lazy and careless worker. But no careless workers kept those lovely farmlands, or made the superb cars and comfortable trains. The lure and compulsion of profit was evidently a much more effective replacement of the natural initiative than he had been led to believe.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle, #6))
The consumption of drugs has the effect of reducing men's freedom by circumscribing the range of their interests. It impairs their ability to pursue more important human aims, such as raising a family and fulfilling civic obligations. Very often it impairs their ability to pursue gainful employment and promotes parasitism. Moreover, far from being expanders of consciousness, most drugs severely limit it. One of the most striking characteristics of drug-takers is their intense and tedious self-absorption.
Theodore Dalrymple (Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses)
We feel that we actual men have suddenly been left alone on the earth; that the dead did not die in appearance only but effectively; that they can no longer help us. Any remains of the traditional spirit have evaporated. Models, norms, standards are no use to us. We have to solve our problems without any active collaboration of the past, in full actuality, be they problems of art, science, or politics. (...) It is not easy to formulate the impression that our epoch has of itself; it believes itself more than all the rest, and at the same time feels that it is a beginning. What expression shall we find for it? Perhaps this one: superior to other times, inferior to itself. Strong, indeed, and at the same time uncertain of its destiny; proud of its strength and at the same time fearing it.
José Ortega y Gasset (The Revolt of the Masses)
During his long career as an agitator, Hitler had studied the effects of herd-poison and had learned how to exploit them for his own purposes. He had discovered that the orator can appeal to those "hidden forces" which motivate men's actions, much more effec­tively than can the writer. Reading is a private, not a collective activity. The writer speaks only to indi­viduals, sitting by themselves in a state of normal sobriety. The orator speaks to masses of individuals, already well primed with herd-poison. They are at his mercy and, if he knows his business, he can do what he likes with them. 
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility: he can never admit an error.....The propaganda effect of infallibility, the striking success of posing as a mere interpreting agent of predictable forces, has encouraged in totalitarian dictators the habit of announcing their political intentions in the form of prophecy....Mass leaders in power have one concern wich overrules all utilitarian considerations: to make their predictions come true.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
The government [...] cannot be anything other than the organization of a minority. It is the aim of this minority to impose upon the rest of society a 'legal order', which is the outcome of the exigencies of dominion and of the exploitation of the mass of helots effected by the ruling minority, and can never be truly representative of the majority.
Robert Michels
We wind a simple ring of iron with coils; we establish the connections to the generator, and with wonder and delight we note the effects of strange forces which we bring into play, which allow us to transform, to transmit and direct energy at will. We arrange the circuits properly, and we see the mass of iron and wires behave as though it were endowed with life,
Nikola Tesla (Experiments with Alternate Currents of High Potential and High Frequency A Lecture Delivered before the Institution of Electrical Engineers, London)
Every time humans discovered a new resource, or technique for using mass and energy, one side effect has always been pollution. Why should the information age be any different from those of coal, petroleum, or the atom?
David Brin (The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us To Choose Between Privacy And Freedom?)
The Morning After Coffee Bar was different from the mass-produced coffee bars that had mushroomed on every street almost everywhere, a development which presaged the flattening effects of globalisation; the spreading, under a cheerful banner, of a sameness that threatened to weaken and destroy all sense of place.
Alexander McCall Smith (Love Over Scotland (44 Scotland Street, #3))
The body which will be loved is in advance selected and manipulated by the lens, subjected to a kind of zoom effect which magnifies it, brings it closer, and leads the subject to press his nose to the glass: is it not the scintillating object which a skillful hand causes to shimmer before me and will hypnotize me, capture me? This “affective contagion,” this induction, proceeds from others, from the language, from books, from friends: no love is original. (Mass culture is a machine for showing desire: here is what must interest you, it says, as if it guessed that men are incapable of finding what to desire by themselves.)
Roland Barthes (A Lover's Discourse: Fragments)
Wealth and privilege are most easily defended when they are possessed jointly. The so-called ‘abolition of private property’ which took place in the middle years of the century meant, in effect, the concentration of property in far fewer hands than before: but with this difference, that the new owners were a group instead of a mass of individuals.
George Orwell
Traitors are the worst kind of enemy. In my cycle we would remove their limbs one by one and give them a choice: eat their own flesh, or starve.
Javik
Thought can be lofty without being elegant, but to the extent it lacks elegance it will have less effect on others. Force without finesse is mere mass.
Fernando Pessoa
the psychological effect of the statistical world picture: it displaces the individual in favor of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations.
C.G. Jung (The Undiscovered Self (Great Minds))
Turian Councilor: Ah yes, Reapers. The immortal race of sentient starships allegedly waiting in dark space. We have dismissed that claim.
Drew Karpyshyn
The frantumaglia is an unstable landscape, an infinite aerial or aquatic mass of debris that appears to the I, brutally, as its true and unique inner self. The frantumaglia is the storehouse of time without the orderliness of a history, a story. The frantumaglia is an effect of the sense of loss, when we’re sure that everything that seems to us stable, lasting, an anchor for our life, will soon join that landscape of debris that we seem to see. The frantumaglia is to perceive with excruciating anguish the heterogeneous crowd from which we, living, raise our voice, and the heterogeneous crowd into which it is fated to vanish.
Elena Ferrante (La frantumaglia)
My design was not so much to contribute new facts as to shape the narrative in such a way as to emphasize relations of cause and effect that are often buried in the mass of details.
John Fiske (The American Revolution vol. I)
In a sexual double standard as to who receives consumer protection, it seems that if what you do is done to women in the name of beauty, you may do what you like. It is illegal to claim that something grows hair, or makes you taller, or restores virility, if it does not. It is difficult to imagine that the baldness remedy Minoxidil would be on the market if it had killed nine French and at least eleven American men. In contrast, the long-term effects of Retin-A are still unknown--Dr. Stuart Yusps of the National Cancer Institute refers to its prescription as "a human experiment"--and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved it yet dermatologists are prescribing it to women at a revenue of over $150 million a year.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Every type of political power presupposes some particular form of human slavery, for the maintenance of which it is called into being. Just as outwardly, that is, in relation to other states the state has to create certain artificial antagonisms in order to justify its existence, so also internally the cleavage of society into castes, ranks and classes is an essential condition of its continuance. The development of the Bolshevist bureaucracy in Russia under the alleged dictatorship of the proletariat (which has never been anything but the dictatorship of a small clique over the proletariat and the whole Russian people) is merely a new instance of an old historical experience which has repeated itself countless times. This new ruling class, which to-day is rapidly growing into a new aristocracy, is set apart from the great masses of the Russian peasants and workers just as clearly as are the privileged castes and classes in other countries from the mass of the people. And this situation becomes still more unbearable when a despotic state denies to the lower classes the right to complain of existing conditions, so that any protest is made at the risk of their lives. But even a far greater degree of economic equality than that which exists in Russia would be no guarantee against political and social oppression. Economic equality alone is not social liberation. It is precisely this which all the schools of authoritarian Socialism have never understood. In the prison, in the cloister, or in the barracks one finds a fairly high degree of economic equality, as all the inmates are provided with the same dwelling, the same food, the same uniform, and the same tasks. The ancient Inca state in Peru and the Jesuit state in Paraguay had brought equal economic provision for every inhabitant to a fixed system, but in spite of this the vilest despotism prevailed there, and the human being was merely the automaton of a higher will on whose decisions he had not the slightest influence. It was not without reason that Proudhon saw in a "Socialism" without freedom the worst form of slavery. The urge for social justice can only develop properly and be effective when it grows out of man's sense of freedom and responsibility, and is based upon it. In other words, Socialism will be free or it will not be at all. In its recognition of this fact lies the genuine and profound justification of Anarchism.
Rudolf Rocker (Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism)
This now leads us to elucidate more precisely the error of the idea that the majority should make the law, because, even though this idea must remain theoretical - since it does not correspond to an effective reality - it is necessary to explain how it has taken root in the modern outlook, to which of its tendencies it corresponds, and which of them - at least in appearance - it satisfies. Its most obvious flaw is the one we have just mentioned: the opinion of the majority cannot be anything but an expression of incompetence, whether this be due to lack of intelligence or to ignorance pure and simple; certain observations of 'mass psychology' might be quoted here, in particular the widely known fact that the aggregate of mental reactions aroused among the component individuals of a crowd crystallizes into a sort of general psychosis whose level is not merely not that of the average, but actually that of the lowest elements present.
René Guénon (The Crisis of the Modern World)
Free expression is necessary for a peaceful society, but when we create spectacles out of tragic situations, we inadvertently signal that mass murder is an effective means of communication.
Jillian Peterson (The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic)
Rock, for all the power of its individual dreams, is still confined by its mass cultural form. Its history, like the history of America itself, is a history of class struggle--the struggle for fun.
Simon Frith (Sound Effects)
social media addict? This is a very real problem—so much so that researchers from Norway developed a new instrument to measure Facebook addiction called the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale.[3] Social media has become as ubiquitous as television in our everyday lives, and this research shows that multitasking social media can be as addictive as drugs, alcohol, and chemical substance abuse. A large number of friends on social media networks may appear impressive, but according to a new report, the more social circles a person is linked to, the more likely the social media will be a source of stress.[4] It can also have a detrimental effect on consumer well-being because milkshake-multitasking interferes with clear thinking and decision-making, which lowers self-control and leads to rash, impulsive buying and poor eating decisions. Greater social media use is associated with a higher body mass index, increased binge eating, a lower credit score, and higher levels of credit card debt for consumers with many close friends in their social network—all caused by a lack of self-control.[5] We Can Become Shallow
Caroline Leaf (Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health)
The exact orbit of Earth is controlled by the Sun’s mass and the mass of all remaining planets. An object’s mass and its distance is all we need to know to completely determine the effects of its gravity on Earth.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Merlin's Tour of the Universe)
Never," enjoins a women's magazine, "mention the size of his [penis] in public...and never, ever let him know that anyone else knows or you may find it shrivels up and disappears, serving you right." That quotation acknowledges that critical sexual comparison is a direct anaphrodisiac when applied to men; either we do not yet recognize that it has exactly the same effect on women, or we do not care, or we understand on some level that right now that effect is desirable and appropriate. A man is unlikely to be brought within earshot of women as they judge men's appearance, height, muscle tone, sexual technique, penis size, personal grooming, or taste in clothes--all of which we do. The fact is that women are able to view men just as men view women, as objects for sexual and aesthetic evaluation; we too are effortlessly able to choose the male "ideal" from a lineup and if we could have male beauty as well as everything else, most of us would not say no. But so what? Given all that, women make the choice, by and large, to take men as human beings first.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
that’s half our problem now: we’re not willing to admit that the definition of ‘normal humanity’ has changed. We keep fighting to preserve a reality that’s already long gone, and maybe never existed in the first place.
N.K. Jemisin (Initiation (Mass Effect: Andromeda, #2))
Beauty! Wasn't that what mattered? Beauty was hardly a popular ideal at that jumpy moment in history. The masses had been desensitized to it, the intelligentsia regarded it with suspicion. To most of her peers, 'beauty' smacked of the rarefied, the indulgent, the superfluous, the effete. How could persons of good conscience pursue the beautiful when there was so much suffering and injustice in the world? Ellen Cherry's answer was that if one didn't cultivate beauty, soon he or she wouldn't be able to recognize ugliness. The prevalence of social ugliness made commitment to physical beauty all the more essential. And the very presence in life of double-wide mobile homes, Magic Marker graffiti, and orange shag carpeting had the effect of making ills such as poverty, crime, repression, pollution, and child abuse seem tolerable. In a sense, beauty was the ultimate protest, and, in that it generally lasted longer than an orgasm, the ultimate refuge. The Venus de Milo screamed 'No!' at evil, whereas the Spandex stretch pant, the macrame plant holder were compliant with it. Ugly bedrooms bred ugly habits. Of course, it wasn't required of beauty that it perform a social function. That was what was valuable about it.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
Starting out from the fact that the frustrated predominate among the early adherents of all mass movements and that they usually join of their own accord, it is assumed: 1) that frustration of itself, without any proselytizing prompting from the outside, can generate most of the peculiar characteristics of the true believer; 2) that an effective technique of conversion consists basically in the inculcation and fixation of proclivities and responses indigenous to the frustrated mind.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
In effect, the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access by their contribution to reducing the media's costs of acquiring the raw materials of, and producing, news. The large entities that provide this subsidy become "routine" news sources have privileged access to the gates. Non-routine sources must struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers. It should also be noted that in the case of the largesse of the Pentagon and the State Department's Office of Public Diplomacy, the subsidy is at the taxpayers' expense, so that, in effect, the citizenry pays to be propagandized in the interest of powerful groups such as military contractors and other sponsors of state terrorism.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
Crude absurdities, trivial nonsense and sublime truths are equally potent in readying people for self-sacrifice if they are accepted as the sole, eternal truth. It is obvious, therefore, that in order to be effective a doctrine must not be understood, but has rather to be believed in. We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand. […] The devout are always urged to seek the absolute truth with their hearts and not their minds. […] If a doctrine is not unintelligible, it has to be vague; and if neither unintelligible nor vague, it has to be unverifiable. One has to get to heaven or the distant future to determine the truth of an effective doctrine. When some part of a doctrine is relatively simple, there is a tendency among the faithful to complicate and obscure it.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
It is a rule in paleontology that ornamentation and complication precede extinction. And our mutation, of which the assembly line, the collective farm, the mechanized army, and the mass production of food are evidences or even symptoms, might well correspond to the thickening armor of the great reptiles—a tendency that can end only in extinction. If this should happen to be true, nothing stemming from thought can interfere with it or bend it. Conscious thought seems to have little effect on the action or direction of our species.
John Steinbeck (The Log from the Sea of Cortez)
Revolutions are usually made by small networks of agitators rather than by the masses. If you want to launch a revolution, don’t ask yourself, ‘How many people support my ideas?’ Instead, ask yourself, ‘How many of my supporters are capable of effective collaboration?
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
A young woman with olive skin and long black hair rose above the mass into the air as a man tried to carry her off, but she desperately fought to move forward, shrieking, “Arlo! Arlo!” Already, Peacekeepers were closing in on her. The voice had an electrifying effect on Arlo, as his face registered first surprise, then horror. “Run!” he screamed. “Run, Lil! Run! Ru — !” The clap of the trapdoor release and subsequent twang of the rope cut him off mid-word, drawing a gasp from the crowd. Arlo dropped fifteen feet and seemed to die instantly.
Suzanne Collins (The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0))
This Vietnam adventure on the part of the fascist has vastly changed the whole relationship between the masses and the ruling class. Can you detect the subtle changes? The really ugly side of imperialism is being demonstrated for not just the people who suffer its effects abroad, but also to the sleepy little guy here inside the U.S. They're starting now to make the link between foreign wars and foreign businesses.
George L. Jackson (Blood in My Eye)
As it moves closer, Galen can make out smaller bodies within the mass. Whales. Sharks. Sea turtles. Stingrays. And he knows exactly what’s happening. The darkening horizon engages the full attention of the Aerna; the murmurs grow louder the closer it gets. The darkness approaches like a mist, eclipsing the natural snlight from the surface. An eclipse of fish. With each of his rapid heartbeats, Galen thinks he can feel the actual years disappear from his life span. A wall of every predator imaginable, and every kind of prey swimming in between, fold themselves around the edges of the hot ridges. The food chain hovers toward, over them, around them as a unified force. And Emma is leading it. Nalia gasps, and Galen guesses she recognizes the white dot in the middle of the wall. Syrena on the outskirts of the Arena frantically rush to the center, the tribunal all but forgotten in favor of self-preservation. The legion of sea life circles the stadium, effectively barricading the exits and any chance of escaping. Galen can’t decide if he’s proud or angry when Emma leaves the safety of her troops to enter the Arena, hitching a ride on the fin of a killer whale. When she’s but three fin-lengths away from Galen, she dismisses her escort. “Go back with the others,” she tells it. “I’ll be fine.” Galen decides on proud. Oh, and completely besotted. She gives him a curt nod to which he grins. Turning to the crowd of ogling Syrena, she says, “I am Emma, daughter of Nalia, true princess of Poseidon.” He hears murmurs of “Half-Breed” but it sounds more like awe than hatred or disgust. And why shouldn’t it? They’ve seen Paca’s display of the Gift. Emma’s has just put it to shame.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
During Clinton’s tenure, Washington slashed funding for public housing by $17 billion (a reduction of 61 percent) and boosted corrections by $19 billion (an increase of 171 percent), “effectively making the construction of prisons the nation’s main housing program for the urban poor.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
It had long been realised that the only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism. Wealth and privilege are most easily defended when they are possessed jointly. The so-called ‘abolition of private property’ which took place in the middle years of the century meant, in effect, the concentration of property in far fewer hands than before: but with this difference, that the new owners were a group instead of a mass of individuals.
George Orwell (1984)
The first effect of the mind growing cultivated is that processes once multiple get to be performed in a single act. Lazarus has called this the progressive 'condensation' of thought. ... Steps really sink from sight. An advanced thinker sees the relations of his topics is such masses and so instantaneously that when he comes to explain to younger minds it is often hard ... Bowditch, who translated and annotated Laplace's Méchanique Céleste, said that whenever his author prefaced a proposition by the words 'it is evident,' he knew that many hours of hard study lay before him.
William James (The Principles of Psychology)
He read a lot, but what he read, and not just that but everything he saw, films and paintings, he translated into feeling. And this feeling, which could not immediately be expressed in words, not yet and maybe never, that formless mass of sentiments, impressions, observations — that was his way of thinking. You could circle around it with words, but there always remained far more that was not expressed than was. And later, too, a certain resentment would take possession of him, toward those people who demanded precise answers, or pretended to be able to give them. It was, on the contrary, the very mystery of everything that was so attractive. You should not want to impose too much order on it. If you did, something would be lost irrevocably. That mysteries can become more mysterious if you think about them with precision and method, he did not yet know. He felt at home in his sentimental chaos. To chart it you had to be an adult, but then you were at once labelled, finished, and in effect already a little dead.
Cees Nooteboom (Rituals)
The effect of education on political attitudes is complicated, for democratic society. The self-professed aim of modern education is to "liberate" people from prejudices and traditional forms of authority. Educated people are said not to obey authority blindly, but rather learn to think for themselves. Even if this doesn't happen on a mass basis, people can be taught to see their own self-interest more clearly, and over a longer time horizon. Education also makes people demand more of themselves and for themselves; in other words, they acquire a certain sense of dignity which they want to have respected by their fellow citizens and by the state. In a traditional peasant society, it is possible for a local landlord (or, for that matter, a communist commissar) to recruit peasants to kill other peasants and dispossess them of their land. They do so not because it is in their interest, but because they are used to obeying authority. Urban professionals in developed countries, on the other hand, can be recruited to a lot of nutty causes like liquid diets and marathon running, but they tend not to volunteer for private armies or death squads simply because someone in a uniform tells them to do so
Francis Fukuyama (The End of History and the Last Man)
That is exactly what nobody seems to grasp about this karma business. It’s not a simple matter of cause and effect, reward and punishment. It’s a question of what’s available. You see, as long as life for the majority of souls on this planet is just a long round of starvation, misery, torture, and early death—and believe me, outside this fortunate watershed that is an apt description of the state of affairs—as long as only a few live in comfort while the masses scrape along in want, then all us returning souls have to take our fair share of shifts among the hungry. You think this life you’ve lived was tough? Let me tell you, it was just R and R between the ones where you never get a solid meal two days running or you die before your first birthday from drinking bad water.
Starhawk (The Fifth Sacred Thing (Maya Greenwood #1))
We’re clearly heading into a period of prolonged emergency, although the crisis will vary between chronic and acute over time. That increases the prospects for revolutionary—or rather, devolutionary—struggle, especially if radical organizations are able to anticipate and effectively seize opportunities offered by particular crises. It’s unlikely that mass support will be rallied for anticivilizational causes in the foreseeable future, because most people are happy to get the material benefits of this culture and ignore the consequences. However, an increase in political discontent can be beneficial even if it doesn’t create a majority.
Derrick Jensen (Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet)
And yet Branson (a notorious risk addict with a penchant for crash-landing hot air balloons) is far from the only one willing to stake our collective future on this kind of high-stakes gamble. Indeed the reason his various far-fetched schemes have been taken as seriously as they have over the years is that he, alongside Bill Gates with his near mystical quest for energy “miracles,” taps into what may be our culture’s most intoxicating narrative: the belief that technology is going to save us from the effects of our actions. Post–market crash and amidst ever more sinister levels of inequality, most of us have come to realize that the oligarchs who were minted by the era of deregulation and mass privatization are not, in fact, going to use their vast wealth to save the world on our behalf. Yet our faith in techno wizardry persists, embedded inside the superhero narrative that at the very last minute our best and brightest are going to save us from disaster.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
But if lifestyle ads work by the third-person effect, then there will be some products for which it makes good business sense to target a wider audience, one that includes both buyers and non-buyers.32 One reason to target non-buyers is to create envy. As Miller argues, this is the case for many luxury products. “Most BMW ads,” he says, “are not really aimed so much at potential BMW buyers as they are at potential BMW coveters.”33 When BMW advertises during popular TV shows or in mass-circulation magazines, only a small fraction of the audience can actually afford a BMW. But the goal is to reinforce for non-buyers the idea that BMW is a luxury brand.
Kevin Simler (The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life)
The real violence exerted by propaganda is this: by means of apparent truth and apparent reason, it induces us to surrender our freedom and self-possession. It predetermines us to certain conclusions, and does so in such a way that we imagine that we are fully free in reaching them by our own judgment and our own thought. Propaganda makes up our mind for us, but in such a way that it leaves us the sense of pride and satisfaction of men who have made up their own minds. And, in the last analysis, propaganda achieves this effect because we want it to. This is one of the few real pleasures left to modern man: this illusion that he is thinking for himself when, in fact, someone else is doing his thinking for him. And this someone else is not a personal authority, the great mind of a genial thinker, it is the mass mind, the general “they,” the anonymous whole. One is left, therefore, not only with the sense that one has thought things out for himself, but that he has also reached the correct answer without difficulty - the answer which is shown to be correct because it is the answer of everybody. Since it is at once my answer and the answer of everybody, how should I resist it?
Thomas Merton (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander)
The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their               power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.
Charles River Editors (The Beer Hall Putsch: The History and Legacy of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party's Failed Coup Attempt in 1923)
I believe neither in luck nor in destiny,” he declared. “I trust only the science of probabilities. I have studied mathematical statistics, combinatorial analysis, mass function, and random variables, and they have never held any surprises for me. You don’t seem fully to grasp the destabilizing effect that someone like you can have on someone like me.
Christelle Dabos (A Winter's Promise / The Missing of Clairdelune /The Memory of Babel (Mirror Visitor #1-3))
the Sanctuary was reserved for the rich and elite--those with fortunes, not soldiers of fortune.
Drew Karpyshyn (Mass Effect: Revelation (Mass Effect, #1))
As should be clear by now, perhaps no national project has had more of an incidentally beneficial effect on science than the Interstate Highway System has had on geology. In
Peter Brannen (The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions)
For reasons I couldn’t begin to guess at, a balustrade along the roofline had been adorned with life-sized statues of ordinary men, women and children. Goodness knows what this is meant to suggest – I suppose that this is some sort of Hall of the People – but the effect is that it looks as if two dozen citizens of various ages are about to commit mass suicide.
Bill Bryson (Notes From A Small Island)
Among [Applewhite's] other teachings was the classic cult specialty of developing disdain for anyone outside of the Heaven's Gate commune. Applewhite flattered his would-be alien flock that they were an elite elect far superior to the non-initiated humans whom he considered to be deluded zombies.[...]Applewhite effectively fed his paranoid persecution complex to his followers to ensure blind loyalty to the group and himself while fostering alienation from the mundane world. This paradoxical superior/fearful attitude towards “Them” (i.e., anyone who is not one of “Us”) is one of the simplest means of hooking even the most skeptical curiosity seeker into the solipsistic netherworld of a [mentally unbalanced] leader's insecure and threatened worldview.
Zeena Schreck (Straight to Hell: 20th Century Suicides)
Based on his work with plasticity, Taub has discovered a number of training principles: training is more effective if the skill closely relates to everyday life; training should be done in increments; and work should be concentrated into a short time, a training technique Taub calls “massed practice,” which he has found far more effective than long-term but less frequent training.
Norman Doidge (The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science)
Try to relax. Slow, deep breaths. Let go of your physical shell. Reach out to grasp the threads that bind us, one to another. Every action sends ripples across the galaxy. Every idea must touch another mind to live. Each emotion must mark another's spirit. We are all connected. Every living being united in a single glorious existence. Open yourself to the universe. Embrace eternity!
Shiala
And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That’s the effect of mass media—it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there’s a McDonald’s on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there’s less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity—our most necessary resource? That’s disappearing faster than trees.
Michael Crichton (The Lost World (Jurassic Park, #2))
He paused a moment, gazing in awe at the huge mass of buildings composing the castle. It stood close to the river, on either side and to the rear stretched the extensive park and gardens, filled with splendid trees, fountains and beds of brilliant flowers in shades of pink, crimson, and scarlet. The castle itself was built of pink granite, and enclosed completely a smaller, older building which the present Duke's father had considered too insignificant for his town residence. The new castle had taken forty years to build; three architects and hundreds of men had worked day and night, and the old Duke had personally selected every block of sunset-colored stone that went to its construction. 'I want it to look like a great half-open rose,' he declared to the architects, who were fired with enthusiasm by this romantic fancy. It was begun as a wedding present to the Duke's wife, whose name was Rosamond, but unfortunately she died some nine years before it was completed. 'never mind, it will do for her memorial instead,' said the grief-stricken but practical widower. The work went on. At last the final block was laid in place. The Duke, by now very old, went out in his barouche and drove slowly along the opposite riverbank to consider the effect. He paused midway for a long time, then gave his opinion. 'It looks like a cod cutlet covered in shrimp sauce,' he said, drove home, took to his bed, and died.
Joan Aiken (Black Hearts in Battersea (The Wolves Chronicles, #2))
The physicists called it an adjustment of quantum emphasis. But the effect was to change the role of the observer. Of you and me. For the will of the observer to matter. So man could control his environment directly through the force of his desire, rather than through machinery.” I had the feeling that if I died he would carry on saying his piece to my corpse. “Unfortunately that wheel wasn’t just turned—it was set turning. It hasn’t stopped. In fact, like so many things in nature, the process has a tipping point and we’re reaching it. The fractures in the world, in the walls between mind and matter, between energy and will, between life and death, they’re all growing. And everything is in danger of falling through the cracks. Each time these powers, the ability to influence energy or mass or existence, are used, the divergence grows. These are the magics you know as being fire-sworn, or rock-sworn, or as necromancy and the like. The more they are used, the easier they become, and the wider the world is broken open. And this Dead King of yours is just another symptom. Another example of a singular force of will being used to change the world and, in doing so, accelerating the turn of that wheel we released.
Mark Lawrence (Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #3))
St. Thomas explains that for a law to be just, it must conform to the demands of reason and have an effect which is both good and for the benefit of those for whom it is intended. A law can cease to bind without revocation on the part of the legislator when it is clearly harmful, impossible, or irrational. It would certainly constitute an abuse of authenticity for a pope to forbid the celebration of so hallowed, venerable and Catholic a rite as the Tridentine Mass. Should it be done, there is a sound case to justify the faithful in resisting him, based upon accepted norms within Catholic theology. (p. 25).
Michael Treharne Davies (The Legal Status of the Tridentine Mass)
An organization, a social artifact, is very different from a biological organism. Yet it stands under the law that governs the structure and size of animals and plants: The surface goes up with the square of the radius, but the mass grows with the cube. The larger the animal becomes, the more resources have to be devoted to the mass and to the internal tasks, to circulation and information, to the nervous system, and so on.
Peter F. Drucker (The Effective Executive)
If I had done nothing more than bring McCabe's talents to the attention of what has become a world-wide audience--if I had done only this job, I believe I'd have established myself as a force for mass education and enlightenment with immediate and constructive effects on the thinking portion of the population. My association with McCabe has been enough to build a career for anyone. {Julius on legendary scholar Joseph McCabe}
E. Haldeman-Julius
I got some funny reactions, a lot of irate reactions, as if I were somehow taking people's fun away from them. I have nothing against sports. I like to watch a good basketball game and that sort of thing. On the other hand, we have to recognise that the mass hysteria about spectator sports plays a significant role. First of all, spectator sports make people more passive, because you're not doing them; you're watching somebody doing them. Secondly, they engender jingoist and chauvinist attitudes, sometimes to quite an extreme degree. I saw something in the newspapers just a day or two ago about how high-school teams are now so antagonistic and passionately committed to winning at all costs that they had to abandon the standard handshake before or after the game. These kids can't even do civil things like greeting one another because they're ready to kill one another. It's spectator sports that engender those attitudes, particularly when they're designed to organise a community to be hysterically committed to their gladiators. That's very dangerous, and it has lots of deleterious effects.
Noam Chomsky (The Quotable Chomsky)
As described by sociologist Katherine Beckett, “The (alleged) misbehaviors of the poor were transformed from adaptations to poverty that had the unfortunate effect of reproducing it into character failings that accounted for poverty in the first place.”56 The “social pathologies” of the poor, particularly street crime, illegal drug use, and delinquency, were redefined by conservatives as having their cause in overly generous relief arrangements.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
You can't compete with Batarians when it comes to terror tactics. Sure, Krogan'll charge you, tear your face off, kill your family, but Batarians. Batarians'll turn your planet into a glass parking lot without a second thought.
Zaeed Massani
Offer not your right hand easily to anyone. This warns the disciple to keep his own counsel and not offer wisdom and knowledge (his right hand) to such as are incapable of appreciating them. The hand here represents Truth, which raises those who have fallen because of ignorance; but as many of the unregenerate do not desire wisdom they will cut off the hand that is extended in kindness to them. Time alone can effect the redemption of the ignorant masses.
Pythagorus
For all its fine phrases, what this cause really seeks is a return to oligarchy, to a world in which both economic and effective political power are to be concentrated in the hands of a few. It would like to reinstate the kind of political economy that prevailed in America at the opening of the twentieth century, when the mass disfranchisement of voters and the legal treatment of labor unions as illegitimate enabled large corporations and wealthy individuals
Nancy MacLean (Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America)
Jeremy Bentham argued that 'even in the best of times the great mass of citizens will most probably possess few resources other than their daily labour and, consequently, be always near indigence'. As long as working man was near indigence, hunger would remain an effective tool to goad him to labour. Bentham argued that an important task of government was to ensure conditions of deprivation, thereby guaranteeing that hunger would [be a constant motivation to work].
Linda McQuaig (Cult of Impotence)
Clearly, this ambivalent twenty-year-old favored the Revolution but also worried about the long-term effect of habitual disorder, especially among the uneducated masses. Hamilton lacked the temperament of a true-blue revolutionary. He saw too clearly that greater freedom could lead to greater disorder and, by a dangerous dialectic, back to a loss of freedom. Hamilton’s lifelong task was to try to straddle and resolve this contradiction and to balance liberty and order.
Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)
Anyone who reads history at all knows that the passionate and powerful convictions of one century usually seem absurd, extraordinary, to the next. There is no epoch in history that seems to us as it must have to the people who lived through it. What we live through, in any age, is the effect on us of mass emotions and of social conditions from which it is almost impossible to detach ourselves. Often the mass emotions are those which seem the noblest, best and most beautiful. And yet, inside a year, five years, a decade, five decades, people will be asking, “How could they have believed that?” because events will have taken place that will have banished the said mass emotions to the dustbin of history. To
Doris Lessing (Prisons We Choose to Live Inside)
On coming to America I had the same hopes as have most European immigrants and the same disillusionment, though the latter affected me more keenly and more deeply. The immigrant without money and without connections is not permitted to cherish the comforting illusion that America is a benevolent uncle who assumes a tender and impartial guardianship of nephews and nieces. I soon learned that in a republic there are myriad ways by which the strong, the cunning, the rich can seize power and hold it. I saw the many work for small wages which kept them always on the borderline of want for the few who made huge profits. I saw the courts, the halls of legislation, the press, and the schools--in fact every avenue of education and protection--effectively used as an instrument for the safeguarding of a minority, while the masses were denied every right. I found that the politicians knew how to befog every issue, how to control public opinion and manipulate votes to their own advantage and to that of their financial and industrial allies. This was the picture of democracy I soon discovered on my arrival in the United States. Fundamentally there have been few changes since that time.
Emma Goldman (Red Emma Speaks)
the planter class took an additional precautionary step, a step that would later come to be known as a “racial bribe.” Deliberately and strategically, the planter class extended special privileges to poor whites in an effort to drive a wedge between them and black slaves. White settlers were allowed greater access to Native American lands, white servants were allowed to police slaves through slave patrols and militias, and barriers were created so that free labor would not be placed in competition with slave labor. These measures effectively eliminated the risk of future alliances between black slaves and poor whites. Poor whites suddenly had a direct, personal stake in the existence of a race-based system of slavery.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them demand blind faith and singlehearted allegiance. All movements, however different in doctrine and aspiration, draw their early adherents from the same types of humanity; they all appeal to the same types of mind. Though there are obvious differences between the fanatical Christian, the fanatical Mohammedan, the fanatical nationalist, the fanatical Communist and the fanatical Nazi, it is yet true that the fanaticism which animates them may be viewed and treated as one. The same is true of the force which drives them on to expansion and world dominion. There is a certain uniformity in all types of dedication, of faith, of pursuit of power, of unity and of self-sacrifice. There are vast differences in the contents of holy causes and doctrines, but a certain uniformity in the factors which make them effective. He who, like Pascal, finds precise reasons for the effectiveness of Christian doctrine has also found the reasons for the effectiveness of Communist, Nazi and nationalist doctrine. However different the holy causes people die for, they perhaps die basically for the same thing.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
Robert O. Paxton (The Anatomy of Fascism)
Catherine had to treat the church hierarchy carefully. She had always exercised a rational flexibility in matters of religious dogma and policy. Brought up in an atmosphere of strict Lutheranism, she had as a child expressed enough skepticism about religion to worry her deeply conventional father. As a fourteen-year-old in Russia, she had been required to change her religion to Orthodoxy. In public, she scrupulously observed all forms of this faith, attending church services, observing religious holidays, and making pilgrimages. Throughout her reign, she never underestimated the importance of religion. She knew that the name of the autocrat and the power of the throne were embodied in the daily prayers of the faithful, and that the views of the clergy and the piety of the masses were a power to be reckoned with. She understood that the sovereign, whatever his or her private views of religion, must find a way to make this work. When Voltaire was asked how he, who denied God, could take Holy Communion, he replied that he “breakfasted according to the custom of the country.” Having observed the disastrous effect of her husband’s contemptuous public rejection of the Orthodox Church, Catherine chose to emulate Voltaire.
Robert K. Massie (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman)
The breakdown of the European party system occurred in a spectacular way with Hitler's rise to power. It is now often conveniently forgotten that at the moment of the outbreak of the second World War, the majority of European countries has already adopted some form of dictatorship and discarded the party system, and that this revolutionary change in government has been effected in most countries without revolutionary upheaval. Revolutionary action more often than not was a theatrical concession to the desires of violently discontented masses rather than an actual battle for power. After all, it did not make much difference if a few thousand almost unarmed people staged a march on Rome and took over the government of Italy, or whether in Poland (in 1934) a so-called "partyless bloc," with a program of support for a semifascist government and a membership drawn from the nobility and the poorest peasantry, workers and businessmen, Catholics and orthodox Jews, legally won two-thirds of the seats in Parliament.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
The masses of people are carried along, obedient to their environment; the wills and desires of others stronger than themselves; the effects of inherited tendencies; the suggestions of those about them; and other outward causes; which tend to move them about on the chess-board of life like mere pawns. By rising above these influencing causes, the advanced Hermetists seek a higher plane of mental action, and by dominating their moods, emotions, impulses and feelings, they create for themselves new characters, qualities and powers, by which they overcome their ordinary environment, and thus become practically players instead of mere Pawns. Such people help to play the game of life understandingly, instead of being moved about this way and that way by stronger influences and powers and wills. They use the Principle of Cause and Effect, instead of being used by it. Of course, even the highest are subject to the Principle as it manifests on the higher planes, but on the lower planes of activity, they are Masters instead of Slaves.
Three Initiates (Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
Our conceptual maps tend to lack a way to conceive the immanence of violence and power in the ideals and practices that have become dominant in the Western tradition. Mass death has tended to be conceived as something accidental, something outside the ordinary run of events. I think the difficulty in coming to terms with the peculiarities of the Western will to power has to do with the absence of a central metaphor capable of describing the link between consumption and death. The consumptive mentality has in many respects been normalized, as has the violence that underpins and is the effect of systems of universal judgment. Certainly the aestheticization of difference is coextensive with the romance with violence that has become so characteristic of contemporary Western society.
Deborah Root (Cannibal Culture: Art, Appropriation, And The Commodification Of Difference)
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.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
No matter how great you are at what you do, as long as you remain known only within your own family circles, then you and your talent will die in obscurity and irrelevance. Position yourself to influence the masses by having a media, marketing and communication strategy.
Archibald Marwizi (Making Success Deliberate)
These diseases are not really there, are they? A: They can be if people choose to allow those energies to enter into their body. But for the most part, they are only in the energetic fields. And like anything else that is talked about, or thought about, it can become reality in the physical. D: Yes, if enough people accept it as their reality. A: But the diseases are extremely blown out of proportion, and they are not epidemics as they are portrayed to be. The media and the movies are showing you their desperation as they insist in presenting to the masses information that is completely negative and fear-based. Subject matter such as murder, death and betrayal, attacks and such that keep the consciousness focused on these matters, as opposed to portraying in the media images of hope and inspiration. But nevertheless, there are enough of those positive messages being broadcast at this time, that like a domino effect, they are no longer stoppable. D: Another fear the government is trying to promote is terrorism. A: Yes. It is just another tool, like the diseases, to find excuses to give people a reason to be afraid and not unify, but to trust that the government will solve their problems. They are imaginary problems, and in the subconscious, many people are becoming aware of this. They are no longer believing, although many are in the masses. But on their subconscious level, they are beginning to awaken, and the power knows this. That is the reason they are resorting to ridiculous stories that only those who wish to believe, believe in them because anybody with a logical and reasonable mind could not believe them.
Dolores Cannon (The Three Waves of Volunteers and the New Earth)
Cause-and-effect assumes history marches forward, but history is not an army. It is a crab scuttling sideways, a drip of soft water wearing away stone, an earthquake breaking centuries of tension. Sometimes one person inspires a movement, or her words do decades later; sometimes a few passionate people change the world; sometimes they start a mass movement and millions do; sometimes those millions are stirred by the same outrage or the same ideal, and change comes upon us like a change of weather. All that these transformations have in common is that they begin in the imagination, in hope. To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.
Rebecca Solnit (Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities)
A measure of the strength of a body's gravity is the speed with which a projectile must be fired to escape its grasp. It takes 11.2 kilometers per second to escape from the Earth. This speed is tiny compared with that of light, 300,000 kilometers per second, but it challenges rocket engineers constrained to use chemical fuel, which converts only a billionth of its so-called mass 'rest-mass energy' (Einstein's mc^2) into effective power. The escape velocity from the sun's surface is 600 kilometers per second-still only one fifth of one percent of the speed of light.
Martin J. Rees (Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe (Science Masters))
Thus, by 1888 it had become evident that a national cooperative movement could not succeed in America, at least not in the absence of sustained, massive and violent attack on the wage-system, far more massive and well-organized than the Knights’ movement had been. As Henry Sharpe said, what they were doing was not realistic. Small workshops with little capital and obsolete machinery in an age of rapid industrialization; insufficient institution-building to give financial and material support to co-ops; enslavement to the market at a time when competitors would stop at nothing to suppress working-class moves toward independence. Especially with the weak leadership of Terence Powderly and the mass desertion of former Knights after 1886, as they lost strike after strike, the great dream of building a national cooperative economy was effectively over.
Chris Wright (Worker Cooperatives and Revolution: History and Possibilities in the United States)
For in this way Swann was kept in the state of painful agitation which had once before been effective in making his interest blossom into love, on the night when he had failed to find Odette at the Verdurins' and had haunted for her all evening. And he did not have (as I had, afterward, at Combray in my childhood) happy days in which to forget the sufferings that would return with the night. For his days, Swann must pass them without Odette; and as he told himself, now and then, to allow so pretty a woman to go out by herself in Paris was just as rash as to leave a case filled with jewels in the middle of the street. In this mood he would scowl furiously at the passers-by, as though they were so many pick-pockets. But their faces - a collective and formless mass - escaped the grasp of his imagination, and so failed to feed the flame of his jealousy.
Marcel Proust (Swann's Way)
A third emotional source of the defense forces is the sadistic conception of sexuality that the children of all patriarchal cultural circles acquire in early childhood. Since every inhibition of genital gratification intensifies the sadistic impulse, the entire sexual structure becomes sadistic. Since, moreover, genital claims are replaced by anal claims, the reactionary sexual slogan that a woman is degraded by sexual intercourse strikes a chord in the adolescent structure. In short, it is owing to the already existing perversity in the adolescent structure that the slogan can be effective. It is from his own personal experience that the adolescent has developed a sadistic conception of sexual intercourse. Thus, here too we find a confirmation of the fact that man's compulsive moralistic defense forces constitute the basis of political reaction's power.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
We focus our attention on impending catastrophes, while the true catastrophes are already here, under our noses, with the degeneration of social practices, with the mass media's numbing effect, with a collective will blinded by the ideology of the 'market', in other words, succumbing to the law of the masses, to entropy, to the loss of singularity, to a general and collective infantilization. The old types of social relations, the old relations with sex, with time, with the cosmos, with human finitude have been rattled, not to say devastated, by the 'progress' generated by industrial firms.
Félix Guattari
Curiously enough, it seems that at times the spiritual side prevails, and then the materialistic side—in wave-like motions following each other. ...At one time the full flood of materialistic ideas prevails, and everything in this life—prosperity, the education which procures more pleasures, more food—will become glorious at first and then that will degrade and degenerate. Along with the prosperity will rise to white heat all the inborn jealousies and hatreds of the human race. Competition and merciless cruelty will be the watchword of the day. To quote a very commonplace and not very elegant English proverb, "Everyone for himself, and the devil take the hindmost", becomes the motto of the day. Then people think that the whole scheme of life is a failure. And the world would be destroyed had not spirituality come to the rescue and lent a helping hand to the sinking world. Then the world gets new hope and finds a new basis for a new building, and another wave of spirituality comes, which in time again declines. As a rule, spirituality brings a class of men who lay exclusive claim to the special powers of the world. The immediate effect of this is a reaction towards materialism, which opens the door to scores of exclusive claims, until the time comes when not only all the spiritual powers of the race, but all its material powers and privileges are centered in the hands of a very few; and these few, standing on the necks of the masses of the people, want to rule them. Then society has to help itself, and materialism comes to the rescue.
Vivekananda (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3)
Games such as Mass Effect allow the gamer a freedom of decision that can be evilly enlivening or nobly self-congratulating, but these games become uniquely compelling when they force you to the edge of some drawn, real-life line of intellectual or moral obligation that, to your mild astonishment, you find you cannot step across even in what is, essentially, a digital dollhouse for adults. Other mediums may depict the necessary (or foolhardy) breaches of such lines, or their foolhardy (or necessary) protection, but only games actually push you to the line's edge and make you live with the fictional consequences of your choice.
Tom Bissell (Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter)
Our work is rejected because we are actually interested in the truth. Not a good look! People are “ashamed and embarrassed” by our work because, like Nietzsche’s work, it’s full of “difficult” material. Nietzsche was totally ignored during his sane life. Even today, the common herd don’t have a clue who he is. Leibniz, humanity’s greatest genius, is more or less unknown. That’s the way it goes. Our work is suffering the same fate. Well, it’s no surprise. We refused to play the Mandarin game. We refused to comply with the herd. Like true philosophers, we prefer to be Sages and Gadflies. The masses killed Socrates. Everyone that refuses to share our work is passing us the hemlock. So be it! We have total contempt for people that claim to like our work, but wouldn’t be seen dead sharing it on social media. You must be able to stand with those making difficult arguments that the herd don’t like. We disagree with Nietzsche on all manner of things, but we would certainly stand shoulder to shoulder with him against the herd. It’s essential for Gadflies to exist to shake the masses out of their complacency. Yet the Gadflies are always hated and, in the end, they are always handed the hemlock. They are the true heroes of our world, the ones that never get any credit.
Joe Dixon (The Mandarin Effect: The Crisis of Meaning)
The Latin Church, which I constantly find myself admiring, despite its occasional astounding imbecilities, has always kept clearly before it the fact that religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. It is accused by Protestant dervishes of withholding the Bible from the people. To some extent this is true; to some extent the church is wise; again to the same extent it is prosperous. ... Rome indeed has not only preserved the original poetry of Christianity; it has also made capital additions to that poetry -- for example, the poetry of the saints, of Mary, and of the liturgy itself. A solemn high mass is a thousand times as impressive, to a man with any genuine religious sense in him, as the most powerful sermon ever roared under the big top by Presbyterian auctioneer of God. In the face of such overwhelming beauty it is not necessary to belabor the faithful with logic; they are better convinced by letting them alone. Preaching is not an essential part of the Latin ceremonial. It was very little employed in the early church, and I am convinced that good effects would flow from abandoning it today, or, at all events, reducing it to a few sentences, more or less formal. In the United States the Latin brethren have been seduced by the example of the Protestants, who commonly transform an act of worship into a puerile intellectual exercise; instead of approaching God in fear and wonder these Protestants settle back in their pews, cross their legs, and listen to an ignoramus try to prove that he is a better theologian than the Pope. This folly the Romans now slide into. Their clergy begin to grow argumentative, doctrinaire, ridiculous. It is a pity. A bishop in his robes, playing his part in the solemn ceremonial of the mass, is a dignified spectacle; the same bishop, bawling against Darwin half an hour later, is seen to be simply an elderly Irishman with a bald head, the son of a respectable police sergeant in South Bend, Ind. Let the reverend fathers go back to Bach. If they keep on spoiling poetry and spouting ideas, the day will come when some extra-bombastic deacon will astound humanity and insult God by proposing to translate the liturgy into American, that all the faithful may be convinced by it.
H.L. Mencken
Because complex animals can evolve their behavior rapidly. Changes can occur very quickly. Human beings are transforming the planet, and nobody knows whether it’s a dangerous development or not. So these behavioral processes can happen faster than we usually think evolution occurs. In ten thousand years human beings have gone from hunting to farming to cities to cyberspace. Behavior is screaming forward, and it might be nonadaptive. Nobody knows. Although personally, I think cyberspace means the end of our species.” “Yes? Why is that?” “Because it means the end of innovation,” Malcolm said. “This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they’ll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behavior. We innovate new behavior to adapt. And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That’s the effect of mass media—it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there’s a McDonald’s on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there’s less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity—our most necessary resource? That’s disappearing faster than trees. But we haven’t figured that out, so now we’re planning to put five billion people together in cyberspace. And it’ll freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same thing at the same time. Global uniformity. Oh, that hurts. Are you done?” “Almost,” Harding said. “Hang on.” “And believe me, it’ll be fast. If you map complex systems on a fitness landscape, you find the behavior can move so fast that fitness can drop precipitously. It doesn’t require asteroids or diseases or anything else. It’s just behavior that suddenly emerges, and turns out to be fatal to the creatures that do it. My idea was that dinosaurs—being complex creatures—might have undergone some of these behavioral changes. And that led to their extinction.
Michael Crichton (The Lost World (Jurassic Park, #2))
More recently, civil rights groups around the country have helped to launch legal attacks and vobramf campaigns against felon disenfranchisement laws and have strenuously opposed discriminatory crack sentencing laws and guidelines, as well as "zero tolerance" policies that effectively funnel youth of color from schools to jails.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
The receptivity of large masses is very limited. Their capacity to understand things is slight whereas their forgetfulness is great. Given this, effective propaganda must restrict itself to a handful of points, which it repeats as slogans as long as it takes for the dumbest member of the audience to get an idea of what they mean.
Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
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.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
We use the effect of centrifugal forces on matter to offer insight into the rotation rate of extreme cosmic objects. Consider pulsars. With some rotating at upward of a thousand revolutions per second, we know that they cannot be made of household ingredients, or they would spin themselves apart. In fact, if a pulsar rotated any faster, say 4,500 revolutions per second, its equator would be moving at the speed of light, which tells you that this material is unlike any other. To picture a pulsar, imagine the mass of the Sun packed into a ball the size of Manhattan. If that’s hard to do, then maybe it’s easier if you imagine stuffing about a hundred million elephants into a Chapstick casing. To reach this density, you must compress all the empty space that atoms enjoy around their nucleus and among their orbiting electrons. Doing so will crush nearly all (negatively charged) electrons into (positively charged) protons, creating a ball of (neutrally charged) neutrons with a crazy-high surface gravity. Under such conditions, a neutron star’s mountain range needn’t be any taller than the thickness of a sheet of paper for you to exert more energy climbing it than a rock climber on Earth would exert ascending a three-thousand-mile-high cliff. In short, where gravity is high, the high places tend to fall, filling in the low places—a phenomenon that sounds almost biblical, in preparing the way for the Lord: “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain” (Isaiah 40:4). That’s a recipe for a sphere if there ever was one. For all these reasons, we expect pulsars to be the most perfectly shaped spheres in the universe.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)
nothing may travel faster than the speed of light. Because of the equivalence of energy and mass, the energy which an object has due to its motion will add to its mass. In other words, it will make it harder to increase its speed. This effect is only really significant for objects moving at speeds close to the speed of light. For example, at 10 percent of the speed of light an object’s mass is only 0.5 percent more than normal, while at 90 percent of the speed of light it would be more than twice its normal mass. As an object approaches the speed of light, its mass rises ever more quickly, so it takes more and more energy to speed it up further. It can in fact never reach the speed of light, because by then its mass would have become infinite, and by the equivalence of mass and energy, it would have taken an infinite amount of energy to get it there. For this reason, any normal object is forever confined by relativity to move at speeds slower than the speed of light. Only light, or other waves that have no intrinsic mass, can move at the speed of light.
Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time)
There is a vast difference between being a Christian and being a disciple. The difference is commitment. Motivation and discipline will not ultimately occur through listening to sermons, sitting in a class, participating in a fellowship group, attending a study group in the workplace or being a member of a small group, but rather in the context of highly accountable, relationally transparent, truth-centered, small discipleship units. There are twin prerequisites for following Christ - cost and commitment, neither of which can occur in the anonymity of the masses. Disciples cannot be mass produced. We cannot drop people into a program and see disciples emerge at the end of the production line. It takes time to make disciples. It takes individual personal attention. Discipleship training is not about information transfer, from head to head, but imitation, life to life. You can ultimately learn and develop only by doing. The effectiveness of one's ministry is to be measured by how well it flourishes after one's departure. Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples in order to encourage, equip, and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ. This includes equipping the disciple to teach others as well. If there are no explicit, mutually agreed upon commitments, then the group leader is left without any basis to hold people accountable. Without a covenant, all leaders possess is their subjective understanding of what is entailed in the relationship. Every believer or inquirer must be given the opportunity to be invited into a relationship of intimate trust that provides the opportunity to explore and apply God's Word within a setting of relational motivation, and finally, make a sober commitment to a covenant of accountability. Reviewing the covenant is part of the initial invitation to the journey together. It is a sobering moment to examine whether one has the time, the energy and the commitment to do what is necessary to engage in a discipleship relationship. Invest in a relationship with two others for give or take a year. Then multiply. Each person invites two others for the next leg of the journey and does it all again. Same content, different relationships. The invitation to discipleship should be preceded by a period of prayerful discernment. It is vital to have a settled conviction that the Lord is drawing us to those to whom we are issuing this invitation. . If you are going to invest a year or more of your time with two others with the intent of multiplying, whom you invite is of paramount importance. You want to raise the question implicitly: Are you ready to consider serious change in any area of your life? From the outset you are raising the bar and calling a person to step up to it. Do not seek or allow an immediate response to the invitation to join a triad. You want the person to consider the time commitment in light of the larger configuration of life's responsibilities and to make the adjustments in schedule, if necessary, to make this relationship work. Intentionally growing people takes time. Do you want to measure your ministry by the number of sermons preached, worship services designed, homes visited, hospital calls made, counseling sessions held, or the number of self-initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus? When we get to the shore's edge and know that there is a boat there waiting to take us to the other side to be with Jesus, all that will truly matter is the names of family, friends and others who are self initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus because we made it the priority of our lives to walk with them toward maturity in Christ. There is no better eternal investment or legacy to leave behind.
Greg Ogden (Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time)
One of the greatest tools you cannot do without is the media. These various means for mass communication and those involved in them must be your partners and not your enemies; you must not be afraid of them but befriend and love them. If you are going to be significant and relevant then you are going to need someone to help broadcast your voice and channel your substance to the world.
Archibald Marwizi (Making Success Deliberate)
Johannes Gutenberg’s invention in 1440 made information available to the masses, and the explosion of ideas it produced had unintended consequences and unpredictable effects. It was a spark for the Industrial Revolution in 1775,1 a tipping point in which civilization suddenly went from having made almost no scientific or economic progress for most of its existence to the exponential rates of growth and change that are familiar to us today. It set in motion the events that would produce the European Enlightenment and the founding of the American Republic. But the printing press would first produce something else: hundreds of years of holy war. As mankind came to believe it could predict its fate and choose its destiny, the bloodiest epoch in human history followed.2
Nate Silver (The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't)
We find the same situation in the economy. On the one hand, the battered remnants of production and the real economy; on the other, the circulation of gigantic amounts of virtual capital. But the two are so disconnected that the misfortunes which beset that capital – stock market crashes and other financial debacles – do not bring about the collapse of real economies any more. It is the same in the political sphere: scandals, corruption and the general decline in standards have no decisive effects in a split society, where responsibility (the possibility that the two parties may respond to each other) is no longer part of the game. This paradoxical situation is in a sense beneficial: it protects civil society (what remains of it) from the vicissitudes of the political sphere, just as it protects the economy (what remains of it) from the random fluctuations of the Stock Exchange and international finance. The immunity of the one creates a reciprocal immunity in the other – a mirror indifference. Better: real society is losing interest in the political class, while nonetheless availing itself of the spectacle. At last, then, the media have some use, and the ‘society of the spectacle’ assumes its full meaning in this fierce irony: the masses availing themselves of the spectacle of the dysfunctionings of representation through the random twists in the story of the political class’s corruption. All that remains now to the politicians is the obligation to sacrifice themselves to provide the requisite spectacle for the entertainment of the people.
Jean Baudrillard (Screened Out)
If, in the final stage of disintegration, antisemitic slogans proved the most effective means of inspiring and organizing great masses of people for imperialist expansion and destruction of the old forms of government, then the previous history of the relationship between Jews and the state must contain elementary clues to the growing hostility between certain groups of society and the Jews. We
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
Mass production was aimed at new sources of demand in the early twentieth century’s first mass consumers. Ford was clear on this point: “Mass production begins in the perception of a public need.”73 Supply and demand were linked effects of the new “conditions of existence” that defined the lives of my great-grandparents Sophie and Max and other travelers in the first modernity. Ford’s invention deepened the reciprocities between capitalism and these populations. In contrast, Google’s inventions destroyed the reciprocities of its original social contract with users. The role of the behavioral value reinvestment cycle that had once aligned Google with its users changed dramatically. Instead of deepening the unity of supply and demand with its populations, Google chose to reinvent its business around the burgeoning demand of advertisers eager to squeeze and scrape online behavior by any available means in the competition for market advantage. In the new operation, users were no longer ends in themselves but rather became the means to others’ ends. Reinvestment in user services became the method for attracting behavioral surplus, and users became the unwitting suppliers of raw material for a larger cycle of revenue generation.
Shoshana Zuboff (The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power)
The Formula of Humanity has a ripple effect: your improved ability to be honest with yourself will increase how honest you are with others, and your honesty with others will influence them to be more honest with themselves, which will help them to grow and mature. Your ability not to treat yourself as a means to some other end will in turn allow you to better treat others as ends. Therefore, your cleaning up your relationship with yourself has the positive by-product of cleaning up your relationships with others, which then enables them to clean up their relationships with themselves, and so on. This is how you change the world—not through some all-encompassing ideology or mass religious conversion or misplaced dreams of the future, but by achieving the maturation and dignity of each individual in the present, here and now.
Mark Manson (Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope)
The true nature of the inflation effect has never been more accurately perceived or more vividly described than it was by Thomas Jefferson: It will be asked how will the two masses of Continental and of State money have cost the people of the United States seventy-two millions of dollars, when they are to be redeemed now with about six million? I answer that the difference, being sixty-six millions, has been lost on the paper bills separately by the successive holders of them. Every one, through whose hands a bill passed, lost on that bill what it lost in value during the time it was in his hands. This was a real tax on him; and in this way the people of the United States actually contributed those sixty-six millions of dollars during the war, and by a mode of taxation the most oppressive of all because the most unequal of all.
G. Edward Griffin (The Creature from Jekyll Island)
There is an unconscious assumption that, once an act of mass violence takes place, the changes it effects are permanent. But that would be to undermine history, time and the nature of forging. For every new piece of metal, once laid out to cool and dry, starts to acquire a new life, new hues, new patinas, heat, dust, dirt and rust. And so it was with each of our protagonists over the fifteen years that followed. AFTER
Revati Laul (The Anatomy of Hate)
Religion has clearly performed great services for human civilization. It has contributed much towards the taming of the asocial instincts. But not enough. It has ruled human society for many thousands of years and has had time to show what it can achieve. If it had succeeded in making the majority of mankind happy, in comforting them, in reconciling them to life and in making them into vehicles of civilization, no one would dream of attempting to alter the existing conditions. But what do we see instead? We see that an appallingly large number of people are dissatisfied with civilization and unhappy in it, and feel it as a yoke which must be shaken off; and that these people either do everything in their power to change that civilization, or else go so far in their hostility to it that they will have nothing to do with civilization or with a restriction of instinct. At this point it will be objected against us that this state of affairs is due to the very fact that religion has lost a part of its influence over human masses precisely because of the deplorable effect of the advances of science. We will note this admission and the reason given for it, and we shall make use of it later for our own purposes; but the objection itself has no force. It is doubtful whether men were in general happier at a time when religious doctrines held unrestricted sway; more moral they certainly were not. They have always known how to externalize the precepts of religion and thus to nullify their intentions. The priests, whose duty it was to ensure obedience to religion, met them half-way in this. God's kindness must lay a restraining hand on His justice. One sinned, and then one made a sacrifice or did penance and then one was free to sin once more. Russian introspectiveness has reached the pitch of concluding that sin is indispensable for the enjoyment of all the blessings of divine grace, so that, at bottom, sin is pleasing to God. It is no secret that the priests could only keep the masses submissive to religion by making such large concessions as these to the instinctual nature of man. Thus it was agreed: God alone is strong and good, man is weak and sinful. In every age immorality has found no less support in religion than morality has. If the achievements of religion in respect to man’s happiness, susceptibility to culture and moral control are no better than this, the question cannot but arise whether we are not overrating its necessity for mankind, and whether we do wisely in basing our cultural demands upon it.
Sigmund Freud (The Future of an Illusion)
We had a succession of black nights, going up the river, and it was observable that whenever we landed, and suddenly inundated the trees with the intense sunburst of the electric light, a certain curious effect was always produced: hundreds of birds flocked instantly out from the masses of shining green foliage, and went careering hither and thither through the white rays, and often a song-bird tuned up and fell to singing.
Mark Twain (Life on the Mississippi)
But it is not only space that curves: time does too. Einstein predicts that time on Earth passes more quickly at higher altitude, and more slowly at lower altitude. This is measured, and also proves to be the case. Today we have extremely precise clocks, in many laboratories, and it is possible to measure this strange effect even for a difference in altitude of just a few centimeters. Place a watch on the floor and another on a table: the one on the floor registers less passing of time than the one on the table. Why? Because time is not universal and fixed; it is something that expands and shrinks, according to the vicinity of masses: Earth, like all masses, distorts spacetime, slowing down time in its vicinity. Only slightly—but two twins who have lived respectively at sea level and in the mountains will find that, when they meet up again, one will have aged more than the other
Carlo Rovelli (Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Elusive Structure of the Universe and the Journey to Quantum Gravity)
Interruption Marketing was easy. Build a few ads, run them everywhere. Interruption Marketing was scalable. If you need more sales, buy more ads. Interruption Marketing was predictable. With experience, a mass marketer could tell how many dollars in revenue one more dollar in ad spending would generate. Interruption Marketing fit the command and control bias of big companies. It was totally controlled by the advertiser, with no weird side effects.
Seth Godin (Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers)
By simply not mentioning certain subjects, by lowering ... an iron curtain between the masses and such facts or arguments as the local political bosses regard as undesirable, Totalitarian Propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have done by the most eloquent denunciations, the most compelling of logical rebuttals. But silence is not enough. If persecution, liquidation and other symptoms of social friction are to be avoided, the positive sides of propaganda must be made as effective as the negative. The most important Manhattan Projects of the future will be vast government-sponsored inquiries into what the politicians and the participating scientist will call 'the problem of happiness' - in other words, the problem of making people love their servitude ... The love of servitude cannot be established except as the result of a deep, personal revolution in human minds and bodies.
Aldous Huxley
To us, it is the moral climate of the cosmos that is intolerable, and a two-child policy could make our discontinuance a pain-free one. Yet instead we are expanding and succeeding everywhere, as necessity has taught us to mutilate the formula in our hearts. Perhaps the most unreasonable effect of such invigorating vulgarization is the doctrine that the individual “has a duty” to suffer nameless agony and a terrible death if this saves or benefits the rest of his group. Anyone who declines is subjected to doom and death, instead of revulsion being directed at the world-order engendering of the situation. To any independent observer, this plainly is to juxtapose incommensurable things; no future triumph or metamorphosis can justify the pitiful blighting of a human being against his will. It is upon a pavement of battered destinies that the survivors storm ahead toward new bland sensations and mass deaths. (“Fragments of an Interview,” Aftenposten, 1959)
Thomas Ligotti (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race)
Fascism may be defined as a form of political behaviour marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cult of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working with uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.
Robert Paxton
Stigmatizing the millions of Italians as ‘consenting victims’ of Berlusconi, denouncing the stupidity of the masses and wrapping oneself in the flag of the divine Left and its democratic arrogance – this is the pose of the enlightened intellectual, who is prepared to leave his country as a punishment (though he does not do so). All this comes from a short-sighted, conventional analysis of political Reason. The ‘blind’ masses, for their part, have a more subtle – perhaps transpolitical(?) – vision, to the effect that the locus of power is empty, corrupt and hopeless and that, logically, one has to fill it with a man who has the same profile – an empty, comical, histrionic, phoney individual who embodies the situation ideally: Berlusconi.(...) But it is just as undeniable that we cannot bear either Berlusconi or the current state of affairs. We have, therefore, to take into account both the obvious fact that we have the system we deserve and the equally nonnegligible fact that we cannot bear it.
Jean Baudrillard (Fragments)
As a fantasist, I well understand the power of escapism, particularly as relates to romance. But when so many stories aimed at the same audience all trumpet the same message – And Lo! There shall be Two Hot Boys, one of them your Heart’s Intended, the other a vain Pretender who is also hot and with whom you shall have guilty makeouts before settling down with your One True Love – I am inclined to stop viewing the situation as benign and start wondering why, for instance, the heroines in these stories are only ever given a powerful, magical destiny of great importance to the entire world so long as fulfilling it requires male protection, guidance and companionship, and which comes to an end just as soon as they settle their inevitable differences with said swain and start kissing. I mean to invoke is something of the danger of mob rule, only applied to narrative and culture. Viz: that the comparative harmlessness of individuals does not prevent them from causing harm en masse. Take any one story with the structure mentioned above, and by itself, there’s no problem. But past a certain point, the numbers begin to tell – and that poses a tricky question. In the case of actual mobs, you’ll frequently find a ringleader, or at least a core set of agitators: belligerent louts who stir up feeling well beyond their ability to contain it. In the case of novels, however, things aren’t so clear cut. Authors tell the stories they want to tell, and even if a number of them choose to write a certain kind of narrative either in isolation or inspired by their fellows, holding any one of them accountable for the total outcome would be like trying to blame an avalanche on a single snowflake. Certainly, we may point at those with the greatest (arguable) influence or expostulate about creative domino effects, but as with the drop that breaks the levee, it is impossible to try and isolate the point at which a cluster of stories became a culture of stories – or, for that matter, to hold one particular narrative accountable for the whole.
Foz Meadows
Elizabeth,” he said with reassuring calm, “I gave you my word you’d be safe if you came today.” Elizabeth briefly closed her eyes and nodded, “I know. I also know I shouldn’t be here. I really ought to leave. I should, shouldn’t I?” Opening her eyes again, she looked beseechingly into his-the seduced asking the seducer for advice. “Under the circumstances, I don’t think I’m the one you ought to ask.” “I’ll stay,” she said after a moment and saw the tension in his shoulders relax. Unbuttoning her jacket, she gave it to him, along with her bonnet, and he took them over to the fireplace, hanging them on the pegs in the wall. “Stand by the fire,” he ordered, walking over to the table and filling two glasses with wine, watching as she obeyed. The front of her hair that had not been covered by her bonnet was damp, and Elizabeth reached up automatically, pulling out the combs that held it off her face on the sides and giving the mass a hard shake. Unconscious of the seductiveness of her gesture, she raised her hands, combing her fingers through the sides of it and lifting it. She glanced toward Ian and saw him standing perfectly still beside the table, watching her. Something in his expression made her hastily drop her hands, and the spell was broken, but the effect of that warmly intimate look in his eyes was vibrantly, alarmingly alive, and the full import of the risk she was taking by being here made Elizabeth begin to quake inside. She did not know this man at all; she’d only met him hours ago; and yet even now he was watching her with a look that was much too…personal. And possessive.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
The temptation is to insist that black men 'choose' to be criminals; the system does not make them criminals, at least not in the way that slavery made blacks slaves or Jim Crow made them second-class citizens. The myth of choice here is seductive, but it should be resisted. African Americans are not significantly more likely to use or sell prohibited drugs than whites, but they are made criminals at drastically higher rates for precisely the same conduct. In fact, studies suggest that white professionals may be the most likely of any group to have engaged in illegal drug activity in their lifetime, yet they are the least likely to be made criminals. The prevalence of illegal drug activity among all racial and ethnic groups creates a situation in which, due to limited law enforcement resources and political constraints, some people are made criminals while others are not. Black people have been made criminals by the War on Drugs to a degree that dwarfs its effect on other racial and ethnic groups, especially whites. And the process of making them criminals has produced racial stigma.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
The emergent Church is the latest act in the wave of antimodernist revolt by liturgical renewal and charismatic revival, a rebellion whose central insight is that rationalistic fundamentalism, as much as liberalism, is a mass of worldly accretions. The historical record and human feeling, not the illusion of inerrancy, are supposed to command authority in the post-Christian age. Yet American evangelicals' craving for clear authority is second only to their refusal to let any authority boss them around. Skeptics note that the Emergent Church is a movement of quintessentially evangelical individualists. 'By constantly appealing to the "capital T" Tradition, and then in effect picking and choosing from its offerings, they do not succeed in living out any of the traditions that flow from the Tradition, but create their own eclectic, ad hod churchmanship,' wrote D.A. Carson, a professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. 'It is controlled by what these emerging thinkers judge to be appropriate in the postmodern world - and this results, rather ironically, in one of the most self-serving appeals to tradition I have ever seen.
Molly Worthen (Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism)
Finally, the medium is the message not only signifies the end of the message, but also the end of the medium. There are no more media in the literal sense of the word (I'm speaking particularly of electronic mass media) - that is, of a mediating power between one reality and another, between one state of the real and another. Neither in content, nor in form. Strictly, this is what implosion signifies. The absorption of one pole into another, the short-circuiting between poles of every differential system of meaning, the erasure of distinct terms and oppositions, including that of the medium and of the real - thus the impossibility of any mediation, of any dialectical intervention between the two or from one to the other. Circularity of all media effects. Hence the impossibility of meaning in the literal sense of a unilateral vector that goes from one pole to another. One must envisage this critical but original situation at its very limit: it is the only one left us. It is useless to dream of revolution through content, useless to dream of a revelation through form, because the medium and the real are now in a single nebula whose truth is indecipherable.
Jean Baudrillard (Simulacra and Simulation)
In this world, as in our own, nearly all the chief means of production, nearly all the land, mines, factories, railways, ships, were controlled for private profit by a small minority of the population. These privileged individuals were able to force the masses to work for them on pain of starvation. The tragic farce inherent in such a system was already approaching. The owners directed the energy of the workers increasingly towards the production of more means of production rather than to the fulfilment of the needs of individual life. For machinery might bring profit to the owners; bread would not. With the increasing competition of machine with machine, profits declined, and therefore wages, and therefore effective demand for goods. Marketless products were destroyed, though bellies were unfed and backs unclad. Unemployment, disorder, and stern repression increased as the economic system disintegrated. A familiar story! As conditions deteriorated, and the movements of charity and state-charity became less and less able to cope with the increasing mass of unemployment and destitution, the new pariah-race became more and more psychologically useful to the hate-needs of the sacred, but still powerful, prosperous. The theory was spread that these wretched beings were the result of secret systematic race-pollution by riff-raff immigrants, and that they deserved no consideration whatever. They were therefore allowed only the basest forms of employment and the harshest conditions of work. When unemployment had become a serious social problem, practically the whole pariah stock was workless and destitute. It was of course easily believed that unemployment, far from being due to the decline of capitalism, was due to the worthlessness of the pariahs.
Olaf Stapledon (Star Maker)
When people are ripe for a mass movement, they are usually ripe for any effective movement, and not solely for one with a particular doctrine or program. In pre-Hitlerian Germany it was often a toss up whether a restless youth would join the Communists or the Nazis….This receptivity to all movements does not always cease even after the potential true believer has become the ardent convert of a specific movement. Where mass movements are in violent competition with each other, there are not infrequent instances of converts-even the most zealous-shifting their allegiance from one to the other.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
Insurgents make fish traps, as do militias, gangs, warlords, mass social movements, religions (Jesus, for instance, called his apostles to be “fishers of men”) and, of course, governments.3 Like real fish traps, these metaphorical traps are woven of many strands—persuasive, administrative, and coercive. Though each of the strands may be brittle, their combined effect creates a control structure that’s easy and attractive for people to enter, but then locks them into a system of persuasion and coercion: a set of incentives and disincentives from which they find it extremely difficult to break out.
David Kilcullen (Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla)
The economic system founded on isolation is a circular production of isolation. The technology is based on isolation, and the technical process isolates in turn. From the automobile to television, all the goods selected by the spectacular system are also its weapons for a constant reinforcement of the conditions of isolation of 'lonely crowds.' . . . 'With the present means of long-distance mass communication, sprawling isolation has proved an even more effective method of keeping a population under control,' says Lewis Mumford in The City in History, describing 'henceforth a one-way world.' But the general movement of isolation, which is the reality of urbanism, must also include a controlled reintegration of workers depending on the needs of production and consumption that can be planned. Integration into the system requires that isolated individuals be recaptured and isolated together: factories and halls of culture, tourist resorts and housing developments are expressly organized to serve this pseudo-community that follows the isolated individual right into the family cell. The widespread use of receivers of the spectacular message enables the individual to fill his isolation with the dominant images―images which derive their power precisely from this isolation.
Guy Debord (Panegyric: Books 1 & 2)
I was only beginning to enter into the infinite subtlety of Gregorian chant. It was - and remains - the only public prayer I have ever been able to engage in without feeling like a phony and a jackass. But then, one day in 1965 or so, it was simply abolished. With a stroke of his pen, Pope John XXIII - who had such good ideas about other things - declared that liturgy would henceforth be in the vernacular language of the people. That was, effectively, the end of Latin chant. Then all those monks and nuns who had devoted hours and hours a day began to sicken and fall into depressions, but nobody noticed for a long time. Maybe, as I can well believe, the music toned up their systems in some mysterious way. Or perhaps chant really was a language that God understood. Faced with numerous liturgical scholas shrieking away in the new vernacular hymns, Divinity may have covered its ears and withdrawn, leaving the monks to pine. We parish musicians, illiterate in anything written after the 13th century, stumbled around trying to score liturgies for guitar and bongo drums, trying to make sense of texts like "Eat his body! Drink his blood!" It wasn't because the music got so bad that I quit going to Mass, but it certainly was the beginning of my doubts about papal infallibility.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
You may ask whether I have changed my own educational practice and assessment. I have. There are no “final” exams at the end of the semester in my classes. Instead, I split my courses up into thirds so that students only have to study a handful of lectures at a time. Furthermore, none of the exams are cumulative. It’s a tried-and-true effect in the psychology of memory, described as mass versus spaced learning. As with a fine-dining experience, it is far more preferable to separate the educational meal into smaller courses, with breaks in between to allow for digestion, rather than attempt to cram all of those informational calories down in one go. In
Matthew Walker (Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams)
The cliché that “everything leaks; it all comes out in the New York Times eventually” is emphatically not true, above all for sensitive compartmented information. It’s a cover story, designed both to hide and sustain the effectiveness of the overall secrecy system. (Edward Snowden was the first ever to expose a large amount of SCI, including massively unconstitutional and criminal dragnet surveillance of American citizens and others in the world without probable cause for suspicion. Many thousands of NSA employees had known for a decade of that mass surveillance and its criminality. Not one other had disclosed it. Snowden is currently in exile, probably for life.)
Daniel Ellsberg (The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner)
The notes on the flash drive showed a steady progression into dementia, a deteriorating mental state directly linked to incidents of exposure to Sovereign. There must have been some kind of field generated by the vessel; some kind of radiation or emission. Something that had destroyed and corrupted Qian’s mind when he went to study it in person. It had affected Edan, too, though the transformation was more subtle. The batarian had begun acting differently from the moment he first visited the site of the artifact: consorting with humans, risking the wrath of the Spectres. Edan probably hadn’t even been aware of the changes, though looking back it was obvious to Saren.
Drew Karpyshyn (Revelation (Mass Effect, #1))
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)
It's ironic that at the time that school integration began, its enemies had no idea we would end up victims of our major achievement. Today, forty years later, all big-city school systems are largely black and failing; whites and middle class black have fled to the suburbs or private schools. Indeed, effective school integration today is a myth. Instead of attending warm and dynamic schools where they are sponsored and affirmed, black students today are educationally crippled, too often abandoned in urban, drug-infested, violent, crime-ridden holding pens and dealt with like cattle. Clearly, something radically new must occur to generate a fresh start in educating masses of urban black youth.
Samuel DeWitt Proctor (Substance of Things Hoped for: A Memoir of African-American Faith)
This is an age-old fantasy. I remember reading a quote from the apologist Edward John Carnell in Ian Murray’s biography of the Welsh preacher David Martyn Lloyd-Jones. During the formative years of Fuller Theological Seminary, Carnell said regarding evangelicalism, “We need prestige desperately.” Christians have worked hard to position themselves in places of power within the culture. They seek influence academically, politically, economically, athletically, socially, theatrically, religiously, and every other way, in hopes of gaining mass media exposure. But then when they get that exposure—sometimes through mass media, sometimes in a very broad-minded church environment—they present a reinvented designer pop gospel that subtly removes all of the offense of the gospel and beckons people into the kingdom along an easy path. They do away with all that hard-to-believe stuff about self-sacrifice, hating your family, and so forth. The illusion is that we can preach our message more effectively from lofty perches of cultural power and influence, and once we’ve got everybody’s attention, we can lead more people to Christ by taking out the sting of the gospel and nurturing a user-friendly message. But to get to these lofty perches, “Christian” public figures water down and compromise the truth; then, to stay up there, they cave in to pressure to perpetuate false teaching so their audience will stay loyal.
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus)
Until Americans can overcome this idealization of law, until they begin to see that law is, like other institutions and actions, to be measured against moral principles, against human needs, we will remain a static society in a world of change, a society deaf to the rising cries for justice- and therefore,a society in serious trouble.” Added a quotation: “The realities of american politics, it turns out, are different than as described in old civic textbooks, which tell us how fortunate we are to have the ballot. The major nominees for president are not chosen by the ballot, but are picked for us by a quadrennial political convention which is half farce, half circus, most of whose delegates have not been instructed by popular vote. For months before the convention, the public has been conditioned by the mass media on who is who, so that it will not be temped to think beyond that list which the party regulars have approved.” Added a quotation: “I do not think civil disobedience is enough; it is a way of protest, but in itself it does not construct a new society. There are many other things that citizens should do to begin to build a new way of life in the midst of the old, to live the way human beings should live- enjoying the fruits of the earth, the warmth of nature and of one another-without hostility, without the artificial separation of religion, or race, or nationalism. Further, not all forms of civil disobedience are moral; not all are effective.” Added a quotation: “It is very hard, in the comfortable environment of middle-class America, to discard the notion that everything will be better if we don't have the disturbance of civil disobedience, if we confine ourselves to voting, writing letters to our congressmen, speaking our minds politely.....somehow we must transcend our own tight, air-conditioned chambers and begin to feel their plight, their needs. It may become evident that, despite out wealth, we can have no real peace until they do. We might then join them in battering at the complacency of those who guard a false "order," with that healthy commotion that has always attended the growth of justice.
Howard Zinn (Disobedience and Democracy: Nine Fallacies on Law and Order)
[Tolstoy] denounced [many historians'] lamentable tendency to simplify. The experts stumble onto a battlefield, into a parliament or public square, and demand, "Where is he? Where is he?" "Where is who?" "The hero, of course! The leader, the creator, the great man!" And having found him, they promptly ignore all his peers and troops and advisors. They close their eyes and abstract their Napoleon from the mud and the smoke and the masses on either side, and marvel at how such a figure could possibly have prevailed in so many battles and commanded the destiny of an entire continent. "There was an eye to see in this man," wrote Thomas Carlyle about Napoleon in 1840, "a soul to dare and do. He rose naturally to be the King. All men saw that he was such." But Tolstoy saw differently. "Kings are the slaves of history," he declared. "The unconscious swarmlike life of mankind uses every moment of a king's life as an instrument for its purposes." Kings and commanders and presidents did not interest Tolstoy. History, his history, looks elsewhere: it is the study of infinitely incremental, imperceptible change from one state of being (peace) to another (war). The experts claimed that the decisions of exceptional men could explain all of history's great events. For the novelist, this belief was evidence of their failure to grasp the reality of an incremental change brought about by the multitude's infinitely small actions.
Daniel Tammet (Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math)
This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they’ll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behavior. We innovate new behavior to adapt. And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That’s the effect of mass media—it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there’s a McDonald’s on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there’s less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity—our most necessary resource? That’s disappearing faster than trees. But we haven’t figured that out, so now we’re planning to put five billion people together in cyberspace. And it’ll freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same thing at the same time. Global uniformity. Oh, that hurts. Are
Michael Crichton (The Lost World (Jurassic Park, #2))
In terms of "quiet" bourgeois democracy two fundamental possibilities are open to the industrial worker: identification with the bourgeoisie, which holds a higher position in the social scale, or identification with his own social class, which produces its own anti-reactionary way of life. To pursue the first possibility means to envy the reactionary man, to imitate him, and, if the opportunity arises, to assimilate his habits of life. To pursue the second of these possibilities means to reject the reactionary man's ideologies and habits of life. Due to the simultaneous influence exercised by both social and class habits, these two possibilities are equally strong. The revolutionary movement also failed to appreciate the importance of the seemingly irrelevant everyday habits, indeed, very often turned them to bad account. The lower middle-class bedroom suite, which the "rabble" buys as soon as he has the means, even if he is otherwise revolutionary minded; the consequent suppression of the wife, even if he is a Communist; the "decent" suit of clothes for Sunday; "proper" dance steps and a thousand other "banalities," have an incomparably greater reactionary influence when repeated day after day than thousands of revolutionary rallies and leaflets can ever hope to counterbalance. Narrow conservative life exercises a continuous influence, penetrates every facet of everyday life; whereas factory work and revolutionary leaflets have only a brief effect.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
On the labour front in 1919 there was an unprecedented number of strikes involving many millions of workers. One of the lager strikes was mounted by the AF of L against the United States Steel Corporation. At that time workers in the steel industry put in an average sixty-eight-hour week for bare subsistence wages. The strike spread to other plants, resulting in considerable violence -- the death of eighteen striking workers, the calling out of troops to disperse picket lines, and so forth. By branding the strikers Bolsheviks and thereby separating them from their public support, the Corporation broke the strike. In Boston, the Police Department went on strike and governor Calvin Coolidge replaced them. In Seattle there was a general strike which precipitated a nationwide 'red scare'. this was the first red scare. Sixteen bombs were found in the New York Post Office just before May Day. The bombs were addressed to men prominent in American life, including John D. Rockefeller and Attorney General Mitchell Palmer. It is not clear today who was responsible for those bombs -- Red terrorists, Black anarchists, or their enemies -- but the effect was the same. Other bombs pooped off all spring, damaging property, killing and maiming innocent people, and the nation responded with an alarm against Reds. It was feared that at in Russia, they were about to take over the country and shove large cocks into everyone's mother. Strike that. The Press exacerbated public feeling. May Day parades in the big cities were attacked by policemen, and soldiers and sailors. The American Legion, just founded, raided IWW headquarters in the State of Washington. Laws against seditious speech were passed in State Legislatures across the country and thousands of people were jailed, including a Socialist Congressman from Milwaukee who was sentenced to twenty years in prison. To say nothing of the Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 which took care of thousands more. To say nothing of Eugene V. Debs. On the evening of 2 January 1920, Attorney General Palmer, who had his eye on the White House, organized a Federal raid on Communist Party offices throughout the nation. With his right-hand assistant, J. Edgar Hoover, at his right hand, Palmer effected the arrest of over six thousand people, some Communist aliens, some just aliens, some just Communists, and some neither Communists nor aliens but persons visiting those who had been arrested. Property was confiscated, people chained together, handcuffed, and paraded through the streets (in Boston), or kept in corridors of Federal buildings for eight days without food or proper sanitation (in Detroit). Many historians have noted this phenomenon. The raids made an undoubted contribution to the wave of vigilantism winch broke over the country. The Ku Klux Klan blossomed throughout the South and West. There were night raidings, floggings, public hangings, and burnings. Over seventy Negroes were lynched in 1919, not a few of them war veterans. There were speeches against 'foreign ideologies' and much talk about 'one hundred per cent Americanism'. The teaching of evolution in the schools of Tennessee was outlawed. Elsewhere textbooks were repudiated that were not sufficiently patriotic. New immigration laws made racial distinctions and set stringent quotas. Jews were charged with international conspiracy and Catholics with trying to bring the Pope to America. The country would soon go dry, thus creating large-scale, organized crime in the US. The White Sox threw the Series to the Cincinnati Reds. And the stage was set for the trial of two Italian-born anarchists, N. Sacco and B. Vanzetti, for the alleged murder of a paymaster in South Braintree, Mass. The story of the trial is well known and often noted by historians and need not be recounted here. To nothing of World War II--
E.L. Doctorow (The Book of Daniel)
Even more difficult to explain, than the breaking-up of a single mass into fragments, and the drifting apart of these blocks to form the foundations of the present-day continents, is the explanation of the original production of the single mass, or PANGAEA, by the concentration of the former holosphere of granitic sial into a hemisphere of compressed and crushed gneisses and schists. Creep and the effects of compression, due to shrinking or other causes, have been appealed to but this is hardly a satisfactory explanation. The earth could no more shrug itself out of its outer rock-shell unaided, than an animal could shrug itself out of its hide, or a man wriggle out of his skin, or even out of his closely buttoned coat, without assistance either of his own hands or those of others.
Amadeus William Grabau
It is the true believer’s ability to ‘shut his eyes and stop his ears’ to facts that do not deserve to be either seen or heard which is the source of his unequaled fortitude and consistency. He cannot be frightened by danger nor disheartened by obstacles nor baffled by contradictions because he denies their existence. Strength of faith, as Bergson pointed out, manifests itself not in moving mountains but in not seeing mountains to move. And it is the certitude of his infallible doctrine that renders the true believers impervious to the uncertainties, surprises, and the unpleasant realities of the world around him. Thus the effectiveness of a doctrine should not be judged by its profundity, sublimity or the validity of the truths it embodies, but by how thoroughly it insulates the individual from his self and the world as it is.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
In 1932 Pravda published a short story by Ilf and Petrov, titled 'How Robinson Was Created,' about a magazine editor who commissions a Soviet Robinson Crusoe from a writer named Moldavantsev. The writer submits a manuscript about a Soviet young man triumphing over nature on a desert island. The editor likes the story, but says that a Soviet Robinson would be unthinkable without a trade union committee consisting of a chairman, two permanent members, and a female activist to collect membership dues. The committee, in its turn, would be unthinkable without a safe deposit box, a chairman's bell, a pitcher of water, and a tablecloth ('red or green, it doesn't matter; I don't want to limit your artistic imagination'), and broad masses of working people. The author objects by saying that so many people could not possible be washed ashore by a single ocean wave: 'Why a wave?' asked the editor, suddenly surprised. 'How else would the masses end up on the island? It is a a desert island, after all!' 'Who said it was a desert island? You're getting me confused. Okay, so there's an island, or, even better, a peninsula. It's safer that way. And that's where a series of amusing, original, and interesting adventures will take place. There'll be some trade union work going on, but not enough. The female activist will expose certain deficiencies - in the area of due collection, for example. She'll be supported by the broad masses. And then there be the repentant chairman. At the end you could have a general meeting. That would be quite effective artistically. I guess that's about it.' 'But - what about Robinson?' stammered Moldavantsev. 'Oh yeah ..., thank for reminding me. I'm not wild about Robinson. Just drop him. He's a silly, whiny, totally unnecessary character.
Yuri Slezkine (The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution)
Segregation laws were proposed as part of a deliberate effort to drive a wedge between poor whites and African Americans. These discriminatory barriers were designed to encourage lower-class whites to retain a sense of superiority over blacks, making it far less likely that they would sustain interracial political alliances aimed at toppling the white elite. The laws were, in effect, another racial bribe. As William Julius Wilson has noted, 'As long as poor whites directed their hatred and frustration against the black competitor, the planters were relieved of class hostility directed against them.' Indeed, in order to overcome the well-founded suspicions of poor and illiterate whites that they, as well as blacks, were in danger of losing the right to vote, the leaders of the movement pursued an aggressive campaign of white supremacy in every state prior to black disenfranchisement.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
The extermination of the Jews has sometimes been seen as a kind of industrialized, assembly-line kind of mass murder, and this picture has at least some element of truth to it. No other genocide in history has been carried out by mechanical means - gassing - in specially constructed facilities like those in operation at Auschwitz or Treblinka. At the same time, however, these facilities did not operate efficiently or effectively, and if the impression given by calling them industrialized is that they were automated or impersonal, then it is a false one. Men such as Hess and Stangl and their subordinates tried to insulate themselves from the human dimensions of what they were doing by referring to their victims as 'cargo' or 'items.' Talking to Gerhard Stabenow, the head of the SS Security Service in Warsaw, in September 1942, Wilm Hosenfeld noted how the language Stabenow used distanced himself from the fact that what he was involved in was the mass murder of human beings: 'He speaks of the Jews as ants or other vermin, of their 'resettlement', that means their mass murder, as he would of the extermination of the bedbugs in the disinfestation of a house.' But at the same time such men were not immune from the human emotions they tried so hard to repress, and they remembered incidents in which individual women and children had appealed to their conscience, even if such appeals were in vain. The psychological strain that continual killing of unarmed civilians, including women and children, imposed on such men was considerable, just as it had been in the case of the SS Task Forces, whose troops had been shooting Jews in their hundreds of thousands before the first gas vans were deploted in an attempt not only to speed up the killing but also to make it somehow more impersonal.
Richard J. Evans (The Third Reich at War (The History of the Third Reich, #3))
Sound waves, regardless of their frequency or intensity, can only be detected by the Mole Fly’s acute sense of smell—it is a little known fact that the Mole Fly’s auditory receptors do not, in fact, have a corresponding center in the brain designated for the purposes of processing sensory stimuli and so, these stimuli, instead of being siphoned out as noise, bypass the filters to be translated, oddly enough, by the part of the brain that processes smell. Consequently, the Mole Fly’s brain, in its inevitable confusion, understands sound as an aroma, rendering the boundary line between the auditory and olfactory sense indistinguishable. Sounds, thus, come in a variety of scents with an intensity proportional to its frequency. Sounds of shorter wavelength, for example, are particularly pungent. What results is a species of creature that cannot conceptualize the possibility that sound and smell are separate entities, despite its ability to discriminate between the exactitudes of pitch, timbre, tone, scent, and flavor to an alarming degree of precision. Yet, despite this ability to hyper-analyze, they lack the cognitive skill to laterally link successions of either sound or smell into a meaningful context, resulting in the equivalent of a data overflow. And this may be the most defining element of the Mole Fly’s behavior: a blatant disregard for the context of perception, in favor of analyzing those remote and diminutive properties that distinguish one element from another. While sensory continuity seems logical to their visual perception, as things are subject to change from moment-to-moment, such is not the case with their olfactory sense, as delays in sensing new smells are granted a degree of normality by the brain. Thus, the Mole Fly’s olfactory-auditory complex seems to be deprived of the sensory continuity otherwise afforded in the auditory senses of other species. And so, instead of sensing aromas and sounds continuously over a period of time—for example, instead of sensing them 24-30 times per second, as would be the case with their visual perception—they tend to process changes in sound and smell much more slowly, thereby preventing them from effectively plotting the variations thereof into an array or any kind of meaningful framework that would allow the information provided by their olfactory and auditory stimuli to be lasting in their usefulness. The Mole flies, themselves, being the structurally-obsessed and compulsive creatures that they are, in all their habitual collecting, organizing, and re-organizing of found objects into mammoth installations of optimal functional value, are remarkably easy to control, especially as they are given to a rather false and arbitrary sense of hierarchy, ascribing positions—that are otherwise trivial, yet necessarily mundane if only to obscure their true purpose—with an unfathomable amount of honor, to the logical extreme that the few chosen to serve in their most esteemed ranks are imbued with a kind of obligatory arrogance that begins in the pupal stages and extends indefinitely, as they are further nurtured well into adulthood by a society that infuses its heroes of middle management with an immeasurable sense of importance—a kind of celebrity status recognized by the masses as a living embodiment of their ideals. And yet, despite this culture of celebrity worship and vicarious living, all whims and impulses fall subservient, dropping humbly to the knees—yes, Mole Flies do, in fact, have knees!—before the grace of the merciful Queen, who is, in actuality, just a puppet dictator installed by the Melic papacy, using an old recycled Damsel fly-fishing lure. The dummy is crude, but convincing, as the Mole flies treat it as they would their true-born queen.
Ashim Shanker (Don't Forget to Breathe (Migrations, Volume I))
Jergen Moltmann writes, End-time histories might better be referred to as exterminism. These are acts of military, economic, or ecological violence. Anyone who talks about “the apocalypse” or “the battle of Armageddon” is providing a religious interpretation for mass human crime, and is trying to make God responsible for what human beings are doing. Nothing has a more fatal effect than the expectation of a fatal future. These “cosmic catastrophe promoters” do not awaken the faith and hope of people. The only result is a general alarmism. What Christian apocalyptic intends is not to evoke horror in the face of the end, but to encourage endurance in resisting the powers of this world. Anyone who interprets the threatening nuclear annihilation of humanity apocalyptically as Armageddon is pushing onto God the responsibility of human beings. This is the height of godlessness and irresponsibility. This type of apocalyptic must be exposed.
Dan Boone (Answers for Chicken Little: Its Relation to Right Thinking and Right Living)
Some judicial officials began to notice the unusual frequency of deaths among the inmates of institutions and some prosecutors even considered asking the Gestapo to investigate the killings. However, none went so far as Lothar Kreyssig, a judge in Brandenburg who specialized in matters of wardship and adoption. A war veteran and a member of the Confessing Church, Kreyssig became suspicious when psychiatric patients who were wards of the court and therefore fell within his area of responsibility began to be transferred from their institutions and were shortly afterwards reported to have died suddenly. Kreyssig wrote Justice Minister Gortner to protest against what he described as an illegal and immoral programme of mass murder. The Justice Minister's response to this and other, similar, queries from local law officers was to try once more to draft a law giving effective immunity to the murderers, only to have it vetoed by Hitler on the grounds that the publicity would give dangerous ammunition to Allied propaganda. Late in April 1941 the Justice Ministry organized a briefing of senior judges and prosecutors by Brack and Heyde, to try to set their minds at rest. In the meantime, Kreyssig was summoned to an interview with the Ministry's top official, State Secretary Roland Freisler, who informed him that the killings were being carried out on Hitler's orders. Refusing to accept this explanation, Kreyssig wrote to the directors of psychiatric hospitals in his district informing them that transfers to killing centres were illegal, and threatening legal action should they transport any of their patients who came within his jurisdiction. It was his legal duty, he proclaimed, to protect the interests and indeed the lives of his charges. A further interview with Gortner failed to persuade him that he was wrong to do this, and he was compulsorily retired in December 1941.
Richard J. Evans (The Third Reich at War (The History of the Third Reich, #3))
About 4.6 billion years ago, a great swirl of gas and dust some 15 billion miles across accumulated in space where we are now and began to aggregate. Virtually all of it—99.9 percent of the mass of the solar system—went to make the Sun. Out of the floating material that was left over, two microscopic grains floated close enough together to be joined by electrostatic forces. This was the moment of conception for our planet. All over the inchoate solar system, the same was happening. Colliding dust grains formed larger and larger clumps. Eventually the clumps grew large enough to be called planetesimals. As these endlessly bumped and collided, they fractured or split or recombined in endless random permutations, but in every encounter there was a winner, and some of the winners grew big enough to dominate the orbit around which they traveled. It all happened remarkably quickly. To grow from a tiny cluster of grains to a baby planet some hundreds of miles across is thought to have taken only a few tens of thousands of years. In just 200 million years, possibly less, the Earth was essentially formed, though still molten and subject to constant bombardment from all the debris that remained floating about. At this point, about 4.5 billion years ago, an object the size of Mars crashed into Earth, blowing out enough material to form a companion sphere, the Moon. Within weeks, it is thought, the flung material had reassembled itself into a single clump, and within a year it had formed into the spherical rock that companions us yet. Most of the lunar material, it is thought, came from the Earth’s crust, not its core, which is why the Moon has so little iron while we have a lot. The theory, incidentally, is almost always presented as a recent one, but in fact it was first proposed in the 1940s by Reginald Daly of Harvard. The only recent thing about it is people paying any attention to it. When Earth was only about a third of its eventual size, it was probably already beginning to form an atmosphere, mostly of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, methane, and sulfur. Hardly the sort of stuff that we would associate with life, and yet from this noxious stew life formed. Carbon dioxide is a powerful greenhouse gas. This was a good thing because the Sun was significantly dimmer back then. Had we not had the benefit of a greenhouse effect, the Earth might well have frozen over permanently, and life might never have gotten a toehold. But somehow life did. For the next 500 million years the young Earth continued to be pelted relentlessly by comets, meteorites, and other galactic debris, which brought water to fill the oceans and the components necessary for the successful formation of life. It was a singularly hostile environment and yet somehow life got going. Some tiny bag of chemicals twitched and became animate. We were on our way. Four billion years later people began to wonder how it had all happened. And it is there that our story next takes us.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
In Darwin's time no serious attempt had been made to examine the manifestations of variability. A vast assemblage of miscellaneous facts could formerly be adduced as seemingly comparable illustrations of the phenomenon "Variation." Time has shown this mass of evidence to be capable of analysis. When first promulgated it produced the impression that variability was a phenomenon generally distributed amongst living things in such a way that the specific divisions must be arbitrary. When this variability is sorted out, and is seen to be in part a result of hybridisation, in part a consequence of the persistence of hybrids by parthenogenetic reproduction, a polymorphism due to the continued presence of individuals representing various combinations of Mendelian allelomorphs, partly also the transient effect of alteration in external circumstances, we see how cautious we must be in drawing inferences as to the indefiniteness of specific limits from a bare knowledge that intermediates exist.
William Bateson (Problems of Genetics)
Until Americans can overcome this idealization of law, until they begin to see that law is, like other institutions and actions, to be measured against moral principles, against human needs, we will remain a static society in a world of change, a society deaf to the rising cries for justice- and therefore,a society in serious trouble.” “The realities of american politics, it turns out, are different than as described in old civic textbooks, which tell us how fortunate we are to have the ballot. The major nominees for president are not chosen by the ballot, but are picked for us by a quadrennial political convention which is half farce, half circus, most of whose delegates have not been instructed by popular vote. For months before the convention, the public has been conditioned by the mass media on who is who, so that it will not be temped to think beyond that list which the party regulars have approved.” “I do not think civil disobedience is enough; it is a way of protest, but in itself it does not construct a new society. There are many other things that citizens should do to begin to build a new way of life in the midst of the old, to live the way human beings should live- enjoying the fruits of the earth, the warmth of nature and of one another-without hostility, without the artificial separation of religion, or race, or nationalism. Further, not all forms of civil disobedience are moral; not all are effective.” “It is very hard, in the comfortable environment of middle-class America, to discard the notion that everything will be better if we don't have the disturbance of civil disobedience, if we confine ourselves to voting, writing letters to our congressmen, speaking our minds politely.....somehow we must transcend our own tight, air-conditioned chambers and begin to feel their plight, their needs. It may become evident that, despite out wealth, we can have no real peace until they do. We might then join them in battering at the complacency of those who guard a false "order," with that healthy commotion that has always attended the growth of justice.
Howard Zinn (Disobedience and Democracy: Nine Fallacies on Law and Order)
I’m talking about all the order in the natural world,” Malcolm said. “And how perhaps it can emerge fast, through crystallization. Because complex animals can evolve their behavior rapidly. Changes can occur very quickly. Human beings are transforming the planet, and nobody knows whether it’s a dangerous development or not. So these behavioral processes can happen faster than we usually think evolution occurs. In ten thousand years human beings have gone from hunting to farming to cities to cyberspace. Behavior is screaming forward, and it might be nonadaptive. Nobody knows. Although personally, I think cyberspace means the end of our species.” “Yes? Why is that?” “Because it means the end of innovation,” Malcolm said. “This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they’ll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behavior. We innovate new behavior to adapt. And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That’s the effect of mass media—it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there’s a McDonald’s on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there’s less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity—our most necessary resource? That’s disappearing faster than trees. But we haven’t figured that out, so now we’re planning to put five billion people together in cyberspace. And it’ll freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same thing at the same time. Global uniformity. Oh,
Michael Crichton (The Lost World (Jurassic Park, #2))
This was a particularly spectacular example of the German campaign to gather forced labor in the East, which had begun with the Poles of the General Government, and spread to Ukraine before reaching this bloody climax in Belarus. By the end of the war, some eight million foreigners from the East, most of them Slavs, were working in the Reich. It was a rather perverse result, even by the standards of Nazi racism: German men went abroad and killed millions of "subhumans," only to import millions of other "subhumans" to do the work in Germany that the German men would have been doing themselves - had they not been abroad killing "subhumans." The net effect, setting aside the mass killing abroad, was that Germany became more of a Slavic land than it had ever been in history. (The perversity would reach its extreme in the first months of 1945, when surviving Jews were sent to labor camps in Germany itself. Having killed 5.4 million Jews as racial enemies, the Germans then brought Jewish survivors home to do the work that the killers might have been doing themselves had they not been abroad killing.) pp. 244-246
Timothy Snyder (Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin)
Since the 1970s, the battlefields on which the contradictions of democratic capitalism are fought out have become ever more complex, making it exceedingly difficult for anyone outside the political and financial elites to recognize the underlying interests and identify their own. While this may generate apathy on the mass level and thereby make life easier for the elites, there is no relying on it, in a world in which blind compliance with financial investors is propounded as the only rational and responsible behavior. To those who refuse to be talked out of other social rationalities and responsibilities, such a world may appear simply absurd - at which the only rational and responsible conduct to throw as many as wrenches as into the works of haute finance. Where democracy as we know it is effectively suspended, as it already is in countries like Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, street riots and popular insurrection may be the last remaining mode of political expression for those devoid of market power. Should we hope in the name of democracy that we will soon have the opportunity to observe a few more examples?
Wolfgang Streeck (How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System)
To great effect, Reagan echoed white frustration in race-neutral terms through implicit racial appeals. His 'color-blind' rhetoric on crime, welfare, taxes, and states' rights was clearly understood by white (and black) voters as having a racial dimension, though claims to that effect were impossible to prove. The absence of explicitly racist rhetoric afforded the racial nature of his coded appeals a certain plausible deniability. For example, when Reagan kicked off his presidential campaign at the annual Neshoba County Fair near Philadelphia, Mississippi - the town where three civil rights activists were murdered in 1964 - he assured the crowd 'I believe in states' rights,' and promised to restore to states and local governments the power that properly belonged to them. His critics promptly alleged that he was signaling a racial message to his audience, suggesting allegiance with those who resisted desegregation, but Reagan firmly denied it, forcing liberals into a position that would soon become familiar - arguing that something is racist but finding it impossible to prove in the absence of explicitly racist language.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
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)
The Levellers . . . only change and pervert the natural order of things: they load the edifice of society by setting up in the air what the solidity of the structure requires to be on the ground. . . . Far am I from denying in theory, full as far is my heart from withholding in practice (if I were of power to give or to withhold), the real rights of men. In denying their false claims of right, I do not mean to injure those which are real, and are such as their pretended rights would totally destroy. . . . In this partnership all men have equal rights; but not to equal things. . . . Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom. Among these wants is to be reckoned the want, out of civil society, of a sufficient restraint upon their passions. Society requires not only that the passions of individuals should be subjected, but that even in the mass and body, as well as in the individuals, the inclinations of men should frequently be thwarted, their will controlled, and their passions brought into subjection. This can only be done by a power out of themselves, and not, in the exercise of its function, subject to that will and to those passions which it is its office to bridle and subdue. In this sense the restraints on men, as well as their liberties, are to be reckoned among their rights. . . . Society is, indeed, a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure; but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. . . . You would not cure the evil by resolving that there should be no more monarchs, nor ministers of state, nor of the Gospel— no interpreters of law, no general officers, no public councils. You might change the names: the things in some shape must remain. A certain quantum of power must always exist in the community, in some hands, and under some appellation. Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names— to the causes of evil, which are permanent, not to the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear. Otherwise you will be wise historically, a fool in practice. . . . The effects of the incapacity shown by the popular leaders in all the great members of the commonwealth are to be covered with the 'all-atoning name' of Liberty. . . . But what is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint. Those who know what virtuous liberty is cannot bear to see it disgraced by incapable heads, on account of their having high-sounding words in their mouths. . . . To make a government requires no great prudence. Settle the seat of power, teach obedience, and the work is done. To give freedom is still more easy. It is not necessary to guide; it only requires to let go the rein. But to form a free government, that is to temper together these opposite elements of liberty and restraint in one consistent work, requires much thought, deep reflection, a sagacious, powerful, and combining mind.
Edmund Burke
Say what you will of religion, but draw applicable conclusions and comparisons to reach a consensus. Religion = Reli = Prefix to Relic, or an ancient item. In days of old, items were novel, and they inspired devotion to the divine, and in the divine. Now, items are hypnotizing the masses into submission. Take Christ for example. When he broke bread in the Bible, people actually ate, it was useful to their bodies. Compare that to the politics, governments and corrupt, bumbling bureacrats and lobbyists in the economic recession of today. When they "broke bread", the economy nearly collapsed, and the benefactors thereof were only a select, decadent few. There was no bread to be had, so they asked the people for more! Breaking bread went from meaning sharing food and knowledge and wealth of mind and character, to meaning break the system, being libelous, being unaccountable, and robbing the earth. So they married people's paychecks to the land for high ransoms, rents and mortgages, effectively making any renter or landowner either a slave or a slave master once more. We have higher class toys to play with, and believe we are free. The difference is, the love of profit has the potential, and has nearly already enslaved all, it isn't restriced by culture anymore. Truth is not religion. Governments are religions. Truth does not encourage you to worship things. Governments are for profit. Truth is for progress. Governments are about process. When profit goes before progress, the latter suffers. The truest measurement of the quality of progress, will be its immediate and effective results without the aid of material profit. Quality is meticulous, it leaves no stone unturned, it is thorough and detail oriented. It takes its time, but the results are always worth the investment. Profit is quick, it is ruthless, it is unforgiving, it seeks to be first, but confuses being first with being the best, it is long scale suicidal, it is illusory, it is temporary, it is vastly unfulfilling. It breaks families, and it turns friends. It is single track minded, and small minded as well. Quality, would never do that, my friends. Ironic how dealing and concerning with money, some of those who make the most money, and break other's monies are the most unaccountable. People open bank accounts, over spend, and then expect to be held "unaccountable" for their actions. They even act innocent and unaccountable. But I tell you, everything can and will be counted, and accounted for. Peace can be had, but people must first annhilate the love of items, over their own kind.
Justin Kyle McFarlane Beau
But having developed productive forces to a tremendous extent, capitalism has become enmeshed in contradictions which it is unable to solve. By producing larger and larger quantities of commodities, and reducing their prices, capitalism intensifies competition, ruins the mass of small and medium private owners, converts them into proletarians and reduces their purchasing power, with the result that it becomes impossible to dispose of the commodities produced. On the other hand, by expanding production and concentrating millions of workers in huge mills and factories, capitalism lends the process of production a social character and thus undermines its own foundation, inasmuch as the social character of the process of production demands the social ownership of the means of production; yet the means of production remain private capitalist property, which is incompatible with the social character of the process of production. These irreconcilable contradictions between the character of the productive forces and the relations of production make themselves felt in periodical crises of overproduction, when the capitalists, finding no effective demand for their goods owing to the ruin of the mass of the population which they themselves have brought about, are compelled to burn products, destroy manufactured goods, suspend production, and destroy productive forces at a time when millions of people are forced to suffer unemployment and starvation, not because there are not enough goods, but because there is an overproduction of goods.
Joseph Stalin (Dialectical and Historical Materialism)
Highwaymen?" she asked, and couldn't hide the hopeful note from her tone. "In the middle of the day?" "So they're desperate." Being robbed wouldn't be pleasant, but it would actually be preferable compared to an angry criminal running them down from his stolen property. "That would be the logical assumption, Becca,if we didn't just leave the house of a confirmed mass murderer." "So you did find the evidence you were after?" "It's in the book I asked you to smuggle out. Considering how quickly we left,my guess would be that Mary Pearson immediately mentioned to her husband that she'd put you in their bedroom, and that I entered it as well. Samuel would have gone straight upstairs in that case to check on the imcriminating ledger he'd carelessly left lying on the desk." "And found it gone," she said with a resigned sigh. "Don't sound so aggrieved. We'll be fine." She could have screamed at him like a harpy for that ridiculous assessment. With two more shots fired at them, her fear was rising fast. It had been the same back at the Pearson house. The moment Rupert had warned that he'd disabled one of the servants,meaning they could be found out at any moment, her nausea had abruptly ended. Incredible. Did the sudden rush of fear do that? Not that she was going to seek out things to frighten her just to get through this pregnancy a little easier, but it as an interesting side effect. She could at least test the theory at home by having Flora try to startle her or...what the deuce was she doing thinking about things that might never happen when she could end up dead in minutes?
Johanna Lindsey (A Rogue of My Own (Reid Family, #3))
Because the drug war has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, when drug offenders are released, they are generally returned to racially segregated ghetto communities--the places they call home. In many cities, the re-entry phenomenon is highly concentrated in a small number of neighborhoods. According to one study, during a twelve-year period, the number of prisoners returning home to "core counties"--those counties that contain the inner city of a metropolitan area--tripled. The effects are felt throughout the United States. In interviews with one hundred residents of two Tallahassee, Florida communities, researchers found that nearly every one of them had experienced or expected to experience the return of a family member from prison. Similarly, a survey of families living in the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago found that the majority of residents either had a family member in prison or expected one to return from prison within the next two years. Fully 70 percent of men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five in the impoverished and overwhelmingly black North Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago's West Side are ex-offenders, saddled for life with a criminal record. The majority (60 percent) were incarcerated for drug offenses. These neighborhoods are a minefield for parolees, for a standard condition of parole is a promise not to associate with felons. As Paula Wolff, a senior executive at Chicago Metropolis 2020 observes, in these ghetto neighborhoods, "It is hard for a parolee to walk to the corner store to get a carton of milk without being subject to a parole violation.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
In another building, I was shown his [Mr Brunel's] manufactory of shoes, which, like the other, is full of ingenuity, and, in regard to subdivision of labour, brings this fabric on a level with the oft-admired manufactory of pins. Every step in it is effected by the most elegant and precise machinery; while as each operation is performed by one hand, so each shoe passes through twenty-five hands, who complete from the hide, as supplied by the currier, a hundred pair of strong and well-finished shoes per day. All the details are performed by ingenious applications of the mechanic powers, and all the parts are characterized by precision, uniformity, and accuracy. As each man performs but one step in the process, which implies no knowledge of what is done by those who go before or follow him, so the persons employed are not shoemakers, but wounded soldiers, who are able to learn their respective duties in a few hours. The contract at which these shoes are delivered to government is 6s. 6d. per pair, being at least 2s. less than what was paid previously for an unequal and cobbled article. While, however, we admire these triumphs of mechanics, and congratulate society on the prospect of enjoying more luxuries at less cost of human labour, it ought not to be forgotten, that the general good in such cases is productive of great partial evils, against which a paternal government ought to provide. No race of workmen being proverbially more industrious than shoemakers, it is altogether unreasonable, that so large a portion of valuable members of society should be injured by improvements which have the ultimate effect of benefiting the whole.
Richard Phillips (A Morning's Walk from London to Kew)
Following feeling, relying on liking or wanting, we are not free. The freedom to "do as we like" is not freedom of choice because we are ruled by the powerful property of feeling; we cannot choose apart from liking and disliking. Likes and dislikes may be articulated in the form of sophisticated-sounding opinions, but the decision is made for us by feeling. The Western world places a high value on personal feelings and opinions: Each individual "has a right" to an opinion. But rarely do we question how we have arrived at our opinion. Upon examination, we may discover that opinions tend to stem from convenience, familiarity, and selfishness–what feels good or what is pleasing or comfortable to us. Upon this basis, we act, and receive the consequences of our action. Even if we compile a large number of such opinions, there is no guarantee that we will develop a wise perspective as a ground for action. Often this process only creates a mass of confusion, for opinions of one individual tend to conflict with the opinions of another. If there appears to be agreement, we tend to assume this agreement will remain stable. But agreement only means that the needs of the individuals involved are temporarily similar, and when those needs shift, agreement will evaporate. To make certain decisions, we rely on logic or scientific findings, which are supposedly free from personal opinion but are still weighted with the opinions of a particular culture. This style of knowing is founded on particular distinctions and ignores other possibilities. The evidence is clear that the scope of modern scientific knowledge is limited, for this knowledge is not yet able to predict and control the side-effects resulting from its own use. Its solutions in turn create more problems, reinforcing the circular patterns of samsara. Only understanding that penetrates to the root causes of problems can break this circularity. Until we explore the depths of consciousness, we cannot resolve the fundamental questions that face human beings.
Dharma Publishing (Ways of Enlightenment)
David Brooks, “Our Founding Yuppie,” Weekly Standard, Oct. 23, 2000, 31. The word “meritocracy” is an argument-starter, and I have employed it sparingly in this book. It is often used loosely to denote a vision of social mobility based on merit and diligence, like Franklin’s. The word was coined by British social thinker Michael Young (later to become, somewhat ironically, Lord Young of Darlington) in his 1958 book The Rise of the Meritocracy (New York: Viking Press) as a dismissive term to satirize a society that misguidedly created a new elite class based on the “narrow band of values” of IQ and educational credentials. The Harvard philosopher John Rawls, in A Theory of Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971), 106, used it more broadly to mean a “social order [that] follows the principle of careers open to talents.” The best description of the idea is in Nicholas Lemann’s The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999), a history of educational aptitude tests and their effect on American society. In Franklin’s time, Enlightenment thinkers (such as Jefferson in his proposals for creating the University of Virginia) advocated replacing the hereditary aristocracy with a “natural aristocracy,” whose members would be plucked from the masses at an early age based on “virtues and talents” and groomed for leadership. Franklin’s idea was more expansive. He believed in encouraging and providing opportunities for all people to succeed as best they could based on their diligence, hard work, virtue, and talent. As we shall see, his proposals for what became the University of Pennsylvania (in contrast to Jefferson’s for the University of Virginia) were aimed not at filtering a new elite but at encouraging and enriching all “aspiring” young men. Franklin was propounding a more egalitarian and democratic approach than Jefferson by proposing a system that would, as Rawls (p. 107) would later prescribe, assure that “resources for education are not to be allotted solely or necessarily mainly according to their return as estimated in productive trained abilities, but also according to their worth in enriching the personal and social life of citizens.” (Translation: He cared not simply about making society as a whole more productive, but also about making each individual more enriched.)
Walter Isaacson (Benjamin Franklin: An American Life)
Then, decades later, in the 1970s, a hard-assed U.S. swim coach named James Counsilman rediscovered it. Counsilman was notorious for his “hurt, pain, and agony”–based training techniques, and hypoventilation fit right in. Competitive swimmers usually take two or three strokes before they flip their heads to the side and inhale. Counsilman trained his team to hold their breath for as many as nine strokes. He believed that, over time, the swimmers would utilize oxygen more efficiently and swim faster. In a sense, it was Buteyko’s Voluntary Elimination of Deep Breathing and Zátopek hypoventilation—underwater. Counsilman used it to train the U.S. Men’s Swimming team for the Montreal Olympics. They won 13 gold medals, 14 silver, and 7 bronze, and they set world records in 11 events. It was the greatest performance by a U.S. Olympic swim team in history. Hypoventilation training fell back into obscurity after several studies in the 1980s and 1990s argued that it had little to no impact on performance and endurance. Whatever these athletes were gaining, the researchers reported, must have been based on a strong placebo effect. In the early 2000s, Dr. Xavier Woorons, a French physiologist at Paris 13 University, found a flaw in these studies. The scientists critical of the technique had measured it all wrong. They’d been looking at athletes holding their breath with full lungs, and all that extra air in the lungs made it difficult for the athletes to enter into a deep state of hypoventilation. Woorons repeated the tests, but this time subjects practiced the half-full technique, which is how Buteyko trained his patients, and likely how Counsilman trained his swimmers. Breathing less offered huge benefits. If athletes kept at it for several weeks, their muscles adapted to tolerate more lactate accumulation, which allowed their bodies to pull more energy during states of heavy anaerobic stress, and, as a result, train harder and longer. Other reports showed hypoventilation training provided a boost in red blood cells, allowing athletes to carry more oxygen and produce more energy with each breath. Breathing way less delivered the benefits of high-altitude training at 6,500 feet, but it could be used at sea level, or anywhere. Over the years, this style of breath restriction has been given many names—hypoventilation, hypoxic training, Buteyko technique, and the pointlessly technical “normobaric hypoxia training.” The outcomes were the same: a profound boost in performance.* Not just for elite athletes, but for everyone. Just a few weeks of the training significantly increased endurance, reduced more “trunk fat,” improved cardiovascular function, and boosted muscle mass compared to normal-breathing exercise. This list goes on. The takeaway is that hypoventilation works. It helps train the body to do more with less. But that doesn’t mean it’s pleasant.
James Nestor (Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art)
I do not know the substance of the considerations and recommendations which Dr. Szilárd proposes to submit to you,” Einstein wrote. “The terms of secrecy under which Dr. Szilárd is working at present do not permit him to give me information about his work; however, I understand that he now is greatly concerned about the lack of adequate contact between scientists who are doing this work and those members of your Cabinet who are responsible for formulating policy.”34 Roosevelt never read the letter. It was found in his office after he died on April 12 and was passed on to Harry Truman, who in turn gave it to his designated secretary of state, James Byrnes. The result was a meeting between Szilárd and Byrnes in South Carolina, but Byrnes was neither moved nor impressed. The atom bomb was dropped, with little high-level debate, on August 6, 1945, on the city of Hiroshima. Einstein was at the cottage he rented that summer on Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks, taking an afternoon nap. Helen Dukas informed him when he came down for tea. “Oh, my God,” is all he said.35 Three days later, the bomb was used again, this time on Nagasaki. The following day, officials in Washington released a long history, compiled by Princeton physics professor Henry DeWolf Smyth, of the secret endeavor to build the weapon. The Smyth report, much to Einstein’s lasting discomfort, assigned great historic weight for the launch of the project to the 1939 letter he had written to Roosevelt. Between the influence imputed to that letter and the underlying relationship between energy and mass that he had formulated forty years earlier, Einstein became associated in the popular imagination with the making of the atom bomb, even though his involvement was marginal. Time put him on its cover, with a portrait showing a mushroom cloud erupting behind him with E=mc2 emblazoned on it. In a story that was overseen by an editor named Whittaker Chambers, the magazine noted with its typical prose flair from the period: Through the incomparable blast and flame that will follow, there will be dimly discernible, to those who are interested in cause & effect in history, the features of a shy, almost saintly, childlike little man with the soft brown eyes, the drooping facial lines of a world-weary hound, and hair like an aurora borealis… Albert Einstein did not work directly on the atom bomb. But Einstein was the father of the bomb in two important ways: 1) it was his initiative which started U.S. bomb research; 2) it was his equation (E = mc2) which made the atomic bomb theoretically possible.36 It was a perception that plagued him. When Newsweek did a cover on him, with the headline “The Man Who Started It All,” Einstein offered a memorable lament. “Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb,” he said, “I never would have lifted a finger.”37 Of course, neither he nor Szilárd nor any of their friends involved with the bomb-building effort, many of them refugees from Hitler’s horrors, could know that the brilliant scientists they had left behind in Berlin, such as Heisenberg, would fail to unlock the secrets. “Perhaps I can be forgiven,” Einstein said a few months before his death in a conversation with Linus Pauling, “because we all felt that there was a high probability that the Germans were working on this problem and they might succeed and use the atomic bomb and become the master race.”38
Walter Isaacson (Einstein: His Life and Universe)
A few years back, I had a long session with a psychiatrist who was conducting a study on post-traumatic stress disorder and its effects on reporters working in war zones. At one point, he asked me: “How many bodies have you seen in your lifetime?” Without thinking for too long, I replied: “I’m not sure exactly. I've seen quite a few mass graves in Africa and Bosnia, and I saw a well crammed full of corpses in East Timor, oh and then there was Rwanda and Goma...” After a short pause, he said to me calmly: “Do you think that's a normal response to that question?” He was right. It wasn't a normal response. Over the course of their lifetime, most people see the bodies of their parents, maybe their grandparents at a push. Nobody else would have responded to that question like I did. Apart from my fellow war reporters, of course. When I met Marco Lupis nearly twenty years ago, in September 1999, we were stood watching (fighting the natural urge to divert our gaze) as pale, maggot-ridden corpses, decomposed beyond recognition, were being dragged out of the well in East Timor. Naked bodies shorn of all dignity. When Marco wrote to ask me to write the foreword to this book and relive the experiences we shared together in Dili, I agreed without giving it a second thought because I understood that he too was struggling for normal responses. That he was hoping he would find some by writing this book. While reading it, I could see that Marco shares my obsession with understanding the world, my compulsion to recount the horrors I have seen and witnessed, and my need to overcome them and leave them behind. He wants to bring sense to the apparently senseless. Books like this are important. Books written by people who have done jobs like ours. It's not just about conveying - be it in the papers, on TV or on the radio - the atrocities committed by the very worst of humankind as they are happening; it’s about ensuring these atrocities are never forgotten. Because all too often, unforgivably, the people responsible go unpunished. And the thing they rely on most for their impunity is that, with the passing of time, people simply forget. There is a steady flow of information as we are bombarded every day with news of the latest massacre, terrorist attack or humanitarian crisis. The things that moved or outraged us yesterday are soon forgotten, washed away by today's tidal wave of fresh events. Instead they become a part of history, and as such should not be forgotten so quickly. When I read Marco's book, I discovered that the people who murdered our colleague Sander Thoenes in Dili, while he was simply doing his job like the rest of us, are still at large to this day. I read the thoughts and hopes of Ingrid Betancourt just twenty-four hours before she was abducted and taken to the depths of the Colombian jungle, where she would remain captive for six long years. I read that we know little or nothing about those responsible for the Cambodian genocide, whose millions of victims remain to this day without peace or justice. I learned these things because the written word cannot be destroyed. A written account of abuse, terror, violence or murder can be used to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice, even though this can be an extremely drawn-out process during and after times of war. It still torments me, for example, that so many Bosnian women who were raped have never got justice and every day face the prospect of their assailants passing them on the street. But if I follow in Marco's footsteps and write down the things I have witnessed in a book, people will no longer be able to plead ignorance. That is why we need books like this one.
Janine Di Giovanni