Measurement Best Quotes

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I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Our life is made up of time; our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. We grab a few quick minutes in our busy day to have a coffee break. We rush back to our desks, we watch the clock, we live by appointments. And yet your time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could. In other words, if you could change anything, would you?
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
The best way to measure how much you've grown isn't by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average-- though those things are important, to be sure. It's what you've done with your time, how you've chosen to spend your days, and whom you've touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.
R.J. Palacio (Wonder (Wonder, #1))
So much of what is best in us is bound up in our love of family, that it remains the measure of our stability because it measures our sense of loyalty.
Haniel Long
Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of—that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment.
Deborah Moggach (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
The best way to measure the loss of intellectual sophistication - this "nerdification," to put it bluntly - is in the growing disappearance of sarcasm, as mechanic minds take insults a bit too literally.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (Incerto))
It is the business of the very few to be independent; it is a privilege of the strong. And whoever attempts it, even with the best right, but without being OBLIGED to do so, proves that he is probably not only strong, but also daring beyond measure. He enters into a labyrinth, he multiplies a thousandfold the dangers which life in itself already brings with it; not the least of which is that no one can see how and where he loses his way, becomes isolated, and is torn piecemeal by some minotaur of conscience. Supposing such a one comes to grief, it is so far from the comprehension of men that they neither feel it, nor sympathize with it. And he cannot any longer go back! He cannot even go back again to the sympathy of men!
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.
John F. Kennedy
Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, by reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligation to think, and this, more than anything else, brought him a measure of peace, a salutary emptiness within...By wandering aimlessly, all places became equal and it no longer mattered where he was. On his best walks he was able to feel that he was nowhere. And this, finally was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere.
Paul Auster (City of Glass (The New York Trilogy, #1))
Greatness is best measured by how well an individual responds to the happenings in life that appear to be totally unfair, unreasonable, and undeserved.
Marvin J. Ashton
A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles.
Tim Cahill
I can never be who I was. I can simply watch her with sympathy, understanding, and some measure of awe. There she goes, backpack on, headed for the subway or the airport. She did her best with her eyeliner. She learned a new word she wants to try out on you. She is ambling along. She is looking for it.
Lena Dunham (Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned")
Shahrzad, I've failed you several times. But there was one moment I failed you beyond measure. It was the day we met. The moment I took your hand and you looked at me, with the glory of hate in your eyes. I should have sent you home to your family. But I didn't. There was honesty in your hatred. Fearlessness in your pain. In your honesty, I saw a reflection of myself. Or rather, of the man I longed to be. So I failed you. I didn't stay away. Then later, I thought if I had answers, it would be enough. I would no longer care. You would not matter. So I continued failing you. Continued wanting more. And now I can't find the words to say what must be said. To convey to you the least of what I owe. When I think of you, I can't find the air to breathe. And now, though you are gone, there is no pain or fear. All I am left with is gratitude. When I was a boy, my mother would tell me that one of the best things in life is the knowledge that your story isn't over yet. Our story may have come to a close, but your story is still yet to be told. Make it a story worthy of you. I failed you in one last thing. Here is my chance to rectify it. It was never because I didn't feel it. It was because I swore I would never say it, and a man is nothing if he can't keep his promises. So I write it in the sky- I love you, a thousand times over. And I will never apologize for it. Khalid
Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1))
The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.
Arthur C. Clarke
All life includes loss. It's taken me many, many years to learn to deal with that, and I don't expect I'll ever be fully resigned to it. But that doesn't mean we have to turn away from the world, or stop striving for the best that we can do and be. We owe that much to ourselves, at least, and we deserve whatever measure of good may come of it.
Ken Grimwood (Replay)
The best measure of a spiritual life is not its ecstasies but its obedience.
Oswald Chambers
Our life is made up of time. Our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. [...] And yet time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could.
Cecelia Ahern
Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder
Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear)
Every day is a fresh start; don't measure yourself by yesterday's troubles.
Dagny Scott Barrios (Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running: The Best Advice to Get Started, Stay Motivated, Lose Weight, Run Injury-Free, Be Safe, and Train for Any Distance)
I have come to believe that it is our life's work to tear down this order, to keep tugging at it, trying to unravel it, to set free the organisms trapped underneath. That it is our life's work work to mistrust our measures. Especially those about moral and mental standing. To remember that behind every ruler there is a Ruler. To remember that a category is at best a proxy; at worst, a shackle.
Lulu Miller (Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life)
Risks are a measure of people. People who won't take them are trying to preserve what they have. People who do take them often end up having more. Some risks have a future, and some people call them wrong. But being right may be like walking backwards proving where you've been. Being wrong isn't in the future, or in the past. Being wrong isn't anywhere but being here. Best place to be, eh?
Paul Arden (It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be)
Even when we were standing in the church and I was getting ready to take my vows, I can remember wishing that you were standing there, instead of him. Because I not only still loved you, but loved you beyond measure.
Nicholas Sparks (The Best of Me)
Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries -- Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands -- all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious. These associations say nothing about whether atheism leads to positive social indicators or the other way around. But the idea that atheists are somehow less moral, honest, or trustworthy have been disproven by study after study.
Greg Graffin
A quote from 'Fire' where Fire projected a thought to her best friend Archer: "Love doesn't measure that way, she [Fire] thought to him [Archer]. And you may blame me for your feelings, but it isn't fair to blame me for how you've chosen to behave.
Kristin Cashore (Fire (Graceling Realm, #2))
The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life--knowing that under certain conditions it is not worth while to live. He is of a disposition to do men service, though he is ashamed to have a service done to him. To confer a kindness is a mark of superiority; to receive one is a mark of subordination... He does not take part in public displays... He is open in his dislikes and preferences; he talks and acts frankly, because of his contempt for men and things... He is never fired with admiration, since there is nothing great in his eyes. He cannot live in complaisance with others, except it be a friend; complaisance is the characteristic of a slave... He never feels malice, and always forgets and passes over injuries... He is not fond of talking... It is no concern of his that he should be praised, or that others should be blamed. He does not speak evil of others, even of his enemies, unless it be to themselves. His carriage is sedate, his voice deep, his speech measured; he is not given to hurry, for he is concerned about only a few things; he is not prone to vehemence, for he thinks nothing very important. A shrill voice and hasty steps come to a man through care... He bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of his circumstances, like a skillful general who marshals his limited forces with the strategy of war... He is his own best friend, and takes delight in privacy whereas the man of no virtue or ability is his own worst enemy, and is afraid of solitude.
Aristotle (Ethics: The Nicomachean Ethics.)
A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.
Tim Cahill
The true measure of a best friend is where they are when you “make” the biggest decision of your life, not where they were during the decision process.
Shannon L. Alder
Thy best of rest is sleep, And that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly fear'st Thy death, which is no more.
William Shakespeare (Measure for Measure)
My office is in a building in midtown Chicago. It's an older building, and not in the best of shape, especially since there was that problem with the elevator last year. I don't care what anyone says, that wasn't my fault. when a giant scorpion the size of an Irish wolfhound is tearing its way through the roof of your elevator car, you get real willing to take desperate measures.
Jim Butcher (Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3))
Our life is made up of time; our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. We grab a few quick minutes in our busy day to have a coffee break. We rush back to our desks, we watch the clock, we live by appointments. And yet your time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could. In other words, if you could change anything, would you?
Cecelia Ahern
There are also those who delusively if not enthusiastically surrender their liberty for the mastermind’s false promises of human and societal perfectibility. He hooks them with financial bribes in the form of ‘entitlements.’ And he makes incredible claims about indefectible health, safety, educational, and environmental policies, the success of which is to be measured not in the here and now but in the distant future. For these reasons and more, some become fanatics for the cause. They take to the streets and, ironically, demand their own demise as they protest against their own self-determination and for ever more autocracy and authoritarianism. When they vote, they vote to enchain not only their fellow citizens but, unwittingly, themselves. Paradoxically, as the utopia metastasizes and the society ossifies, elections become less relevant. More and more decisions are made by the masterminds and their experts, who substitute their self-serving and dogmatic judgments — which are proclaimed righteous and compassionate — for the the individual’s self-interests and best interests.
Mark R. Levin (Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America)
It appears that I am willing to put with many things for the sake of Jamie Watson . . . I can tell he’s hiding a laugh when he curls his mouth in like he’s eating a lemon. Sometimes I say terrible things just to see him do it . . . He flagellates himself rather a lot, as this narrative shows. He shouldn’t. He is lovely and warm and quite brave and a bit heedless of his own safety and by any measure the best man I’ve ever known. I’ve discovered that I am very clever when it comes to caring about him, and so I will continue to do so. Later today I will ask him to spend the rest of winter break at my family’s home in Sussex . . . Watson will say yes, I’m sure of it. He always says yes to me. – Charlotte
Brittany Cavallaro (A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1))
Hence we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise, for the measure of every man’s virtue is best revealed in time of adversity — adversity that does not weaken a man but rather shows what he is.
Thomas à Kempis (The Imitation of Christ)
If the image one holds of one's self contains elements that don't square with reality, one is best advised to let go of them, however difficult that may be.
Sidney Poitier (The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography)
The measure of self-motivation in a young person will become the best way to predict upward mobility.
Tyler Cowen (Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation)
Today, young girls measure the quality of their beauty based upon its entertainment value. The more people are entertained by their beauty, the more beautiful they think they must be. This is very unfortunate and I would like young girls to know that their beauty is a crown; not a clown. And crowns are best worn with elegance and serenity.
C. JoyBell C.
Willy, one of the guys at the distillery, comes up with what Oliver and I agree is the best definition of what a 'dram' actually is: 'A measure of whisky that is pleasing to both guest and host.
Iain Banks
Do not measure her on a scale of what a girl should be. Measure her on a scale of being the best version of herself.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions)
I watched them tearing a building down, A gang of men in a busy town. With a ho-heave-ho and a lusty yell, They swung a beam, and the side wall fell. I asked the foreman: "Are these skilled-- And the men you'd hire if you had to build?" He gave me a laugh and said: "No, indeed! Just common labor is all I need. I can wreck in a day or two What builders have taken a year to do." And I thought to myself as I went my way, Which of these roles have I tried to play? Am I a builder who works with care Measuring life by a rule and square? Am I shaping my deeds to a well made Plan, Patiently doing the best I can? Or am I a wrecker, who walks the town Content with the labor of tearing down?
Edgar A. Guest
Above all, the thrall in which an ideology holds a people is best measured by their collective inability to imagine alternatives.
Tony Judt (The Memory Chalet)
Besides being witty and funny and maybe the best novel ever written, it’s also the most perfect romance in all of literature and nothing in life can ever measure up, so I spend my life limping in its shadow.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
.. As far as they're conserned, I've been kind of a poor second best all my life, or I don't qualify at all compared to my brother. It's rough being around them and feeling like you never measure up." Collin
Danielle Steel (Big Girl)
If you define the goal of a society as GNP, that society will do its best to produce GNP. It will not produce welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency unless you define a goal and regularly measure and report the state of welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency.
Donella H. Meadows (Thinking In Systems: A Primer)
He is someone who lives in the moment, with no affection for the past. He savours every instant of the present as if it were still the best and only time, with no comparisons, no measurement.
Kim Thúy (Ru)
Anything worthwhile takes time. Maybe that's what time is for: to give meaning to the things we do; to create a context in which we can linger in something until, finally, we have given it something invaluable, something that we can never get back: time. And once we've invested the most precious commodity that we will ever have, it suddenly has meaning and importance. So maybe time is just how we measure meaning. Maybe time is how we best measure love.
Jason Mott (Hell of a Book)
At the best of times, democracy is a seesaw between complete chaos and tolerable confusion. You see, to make a democratic omelette you have to break a few democratic eggs. To fight fascism and other evil forces threatening our country, there is nothing wrong in taking strong measures.
Rohinton Mistry (A Fine Balance)
The men re-tighten my bolts just for safe measure. The men open my car door, Ladies first. The men are always helping. One man asks how I reach the pedals. One man asks where my daddy is. One man opens his trunk and says, Bet you’re small enough to fit.
Olivia Gatwood (New American Best Friend (E.P. Chapbooks))
A fine and beautiful life lies before thee, because thou hast a lively mind and a good wit. Thine arms are very strong and sturdy. Swimming hath helped to make them so, but only because thou hast had the will to do it. Fret not, my son. None of us is perfect. It is better to have crooked legs than a crooked spirit. We can only do the best we can with what we have. That, after all, is the measure of success: what we do with what we have.
Marguerite de Angeli (The Door in the Wall)
There's some ill planet reigns: I must be patient till the heavens look With an aspect more favourable. Good my lords, I am not prone to weeping, as our sex Commonly are; the want of which vain dew Perchance shall dry your pities: but I have That honourable grief lodged here which burns Worse than tears drown: beseech you all, my lords, With thoughts so qualified as your charities Shall best instruct you, measure me; and so The king's will be perform'd!
William Shakespeare (The Winter's Tale)
What we have named as anger on the surface is the violent outer response to our own inner powerlessness, a powerlessness connected to such a profound sense of rawness and care that it can find no proper outer body or identity or voice, or way of life to hold it. What we call anger is often simply the unwillingness to live the full measure of our fears or of our not knowing, in the face of our love for a wife, in the depth of our caring for a son, in our wanting the best, in the face of simply being alive and loving those with whom we live.
David Whyte (Consolations - Revised edition: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words)
I want a man that will do what he needs to do to take care of his family. I will give that man every ounce of love and support I have to give. I will never measure him against another man. I will never want what other people have. I will simply enjoy every minute we have together.
Destin Bays (True Love)
It’s a short reminder that success can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations we are willing to have, and by the number of uncomfortable actions we are willing to take. The most fulfilled and effective people I know—world-famous creatives, billionaires, thought leaders, and more—look at their life’s journey as perhaps 25 percent finding themselves and 75 percent creating themselves.
Timothy Ferriss (Tribe Of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World)
Our five senses even interfere with sensible answers to stupid metaphysical questions like, “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” My best answer is, “How do you know it fell?” But that just gets people angry. So I offer a senseless analogy, “Q: If you can’t smell the carbon monoxide, then how do you know it’s there? A: You drop dead.” In modern times, if the sole measure of what’s out there flows from your five senses then a precarious life awaits you.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Death by Black Hole)
Life, my brethren, is like plum-cake. In some the plums are all on the top, and we eat them gayly, till we suddenly find they are gone. In others the plums sink to the bottom, and we look for them in vain as we go on, and often come to them when it is too late to enjoy them. But in the well-made cake, the plums are wisely scattered all through, and every mouthful is a pleasure. We make our own cakes, in a great measure, therefore let us look to it, my brethren, that they are mixed according to the best receipt, baked in a well regulated oven, and gratefully eaten with a temperate appetite.
Louisa May Alcott (An Old-Fashioned Girl)
When we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," we are, in a measure, shutting tomorrow out of our prayer. We do not live in tomorrow but in today. We do not seek tomorrow's grace or tomorrow's bread. They thrive best, and get most out of life, who live in the living present. They pray best who pray for today's needs, not for tomorrow's, which may render our prayers unnecessary and redundant by not existing at all!
E.M. Bounds
Allan Dulles said it best: "Any intelligence service worth its salt can make the other fellow's currency." In other words, every nation needs to have its own airtight security measures, while at the same time be actively working in secret to reverse engineer those of the enemy faster than they can invent them.
Antonio J. Méndez (Argo: How the CIA & Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History)
The solutions are obvious. Stop making excuses. Stop saying women run publishing. Stop justifying the lack of parity in prominent publications that have the resources to address gender inequity. Stop parroting the weak notiong that you're simply publishing the best writing, regardless. There is ample evidence of the excellence of women writers. Publish more women writers. If women aren't submitting to your publication or press, ask yourself why, deal with the answers even if those answers make you uncomfortable, and then reach out to women writers. If women don't respond to your solicitations, go find other women. Keep doing that, issue after issue after issue. Read more widely. Create more inclusive measures of excellence. Ensure that books by mean and women are being reviewed in equal numbers. Nominate more deserving women for the important awards. Deal with your resentment. Deal with your biases. Vigorously resist the urge to dismiss the gender problem. Make the effort and make the effort and make the effort until you no longer need to, until we don't need to keep having this conversation. Change requires intent and effort. It really is that simple.
Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)
I have known a lot of people in my life, and I can tell you this… Some of the ones who understood love better than anyone else were those who the rest of the world had long before measured as lost or gone. Some of the people who were able to look at the dirtiest, the poorest, the gays, the straights, the drug users, those in recovery, the basest of sinners, and those who were just… plain… different. They were able to look at them all and only see strength. Beauty. Potential. Hope. And if we boil it down, isn’t that what love actually is?
Dan Pearce (Single Dad Laughing: The Best of Year One)
Insofar as he makes use of his healthy senses, man himself is the best and most exact scientific instrument possible. The greatest misfortune of modern physics is that its experiments have been set apart from man, as it were, physics refuses to recognize nature in anything not shown by artificial instruments, and even uses this as a measure of its accomplishments.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I hurried out of the lobby and turned the corner into the English hall, so I didn’t see the guy in front of me until it was too late. “Oh!” I exclaimed as we bumped shoulders. “Sorry!” Then I realized who I’d bumped into, and I immediately regretted my apologetic tone. If I’d known it was David Stark, I would have tried to hit him harder, or maybe stepped on his foot with the spiky heel of my new shoes for good measure. I did my best to smile at him, though, even as I realized my stomach was jumping all over the place. He must have scared me more than I’d thought. David scowled at me over the rims of his ridiculous hipster glasses, the kind with the thick black rims. I hate those. I mean, it’s the 21st century. There are fashionable options for eyewear. “Watch where you’re going,” he said. Then his lips twisted in a smirk. “Or could you not see through all that mascara?” I would’ve loved nothing more than the tell him to kiss my ass, but one of the responsibilities of being a student leader at The Grove is being polite to everyone, even if he is a douchebag who wrote not one, but three incredibly unflattering articles in the school paper about what a crap job you’re doing as SGA president. And you especially needed to be polite to said douchebag when he happened to be the nephew of Saylor Stark, President of the Pine Grove Junior League, head of the Pine Grove Betterment Society, Chairwoman of the Grove Academy School Board, and, most importantly, Founder and Organizer of Pine Grove’s Annual Cotillion. So I forced myself to smile even bigger at David and said, “Nope, just in a hurry. Are you, uh… are you here for the dance?” He snorted. “Um, no. I’d rather slam my testicles in a locker door. I have some work to do on the paper.
Rachel Hawkins (Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1))
There are two missions we are obligated to carry out during our life journey. The first, is to seek Truth throughout our lifetime. The second, is simply to be good. Engrave it in your mind that life is just one big board game where you have to make it from start to finish by being good. That is all you have to do. The hardest part, is dealing with all the obstacles that prevent smooth sailing. The trick is, to always strive to be the right person in all situations – regardless of personal cost to you. Your aim is to make sure the right book on your shoulder weighs more that the bad book on the left. The scales are real. Regardless of your chosen faith, there is a measurement system to be found in all of the world's religions. After all, does it make sense for all souls, good or bad, to end up in the same place? Of course not. To really secure the very best setting in the afterlife, the vibrations of your good deeds must surpass your death.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
In the end, people don’t view their life as merely the average of all of its moments—which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments, the ones where something happens. Measurements of people’s minute-by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life may be empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves. Unlike your experiencing self—which is absorbed in the moment—your remembering self is attempting to recognize not only the peaks of joy and valleys of misery but also how the story works out as a whole. That is profoundly affected by how things ultimately turn out. Why would a football fan let a few flubbed minutes at the end of the game ruin three hours of bliss? Because a football game is a story. And in stories, endings matter. Yet we also recognize that the experiencing self should not be ignored. The peak and the ending are not the only things that count. In favoring the moment of intense joy over steady happiness, the remembering self is hardly always wise. “An inconsistency is built into the design of our minds,” Kahneman observes. “We have strong preferences about the duration of our experiences of pain and pleasure. We want pain to be brief and pleasure to last. But our memory … has evolved to represent the most intense moment of an episode of pain or pleasure (the peak) and the feelings when the episode was at its end. A memory that neglects duration will not serve our preference for long pleasure and short pains.” When our time is limited and we are uncertain about how best to serve our priorities, we are forced to deal with the fact that both the experiencing self and the remembering self matter. We do not want to endure long pain and short pleasure. Yet certain pleasures can make enduring suffering worthwhile. The peaks are important, and so is the ending.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
The thing I’ve learned over the years about advice is that no one can accurately predict the future, but we all think we can. So advice at its best is one person’s limited perspective of the infinite possibilities before you. People’s advice is based on their fears, their experiences, their prejudices, and at the end of the day, their advice is just that: it’s theirs, not yours. When people give you advice, they’re basing it on what they would do, what they can perceive, on what they think you can do. But the bottom line is, while yes, it is true that we are all subject to a series of universal laws, patterns, tides, and currents—all of which are somewhat predictable—you are the first time you’ve ever happened. YOU and NOW are a unique occurrence, of which you are the most reliable measure of all the possibilities.
Will Smith
Nonetheless, when it finally ended and the hairdressers left and Tess insisted upon pulling her to the mirror, Fire saw, and understood, that everyone had done the job well. The dress, deep shimmering purple and utterly simple in design, was so beautifully-cut and so clingy and well-fitting that Fire felt slightly naked. And her hair. She couldn’t follow what they’d done with her hair, braids thin as threads in some places, looped and wound through the thick sections that fell over her shoulders and down her back, but she saw that the end result was a controlled wildness that was magnificent against her face, her body, and the dress. She turned to measure the effect on her guard - all twenty of them, for all had roles to play in tonight’s proceedings, and all were awaiting her orders. Twenty jaws hung slack with astonishment - even Musa’s, Mila’s, and Neel’s. Fire touched their minds, and was pleased, and then angry, to find them open as the glass roofs in July. ‘Take hold of yourselves,’ she snapped. ‘It’s a disguise, remember? This isn’t going to work if the people meant to help me can’t keep their heads.’ ‘It will work, Lady Granddaughter.’ Tess handed Fire two knives in ankle holsters. ‘You’ll get what you want from whomever you want. Tonight King Nash would give you the Winged River as a present, if you asked for it. Dells, child - Prince Brigan would give you his best warhorse.
Kristin Cashore (Fire (Graceling Realm, #2))
The best sex and the most satisfying sex are not the same. I have had great sex with men who were intimate terrorists, men who seduce and attract by giving you just what you feel your heart needs then gradually or abruptly withholding it once they have gained your trust. And I have been deeply sexually fulfilled in bonds with loving partners who have had less skill and know-how. Because of sexist socialization, women tend to put sexual satisfaction in its appropriate perspective. We acknowledge its value without allowing it to become the absolute measure of intimate connection. Enlightened women want fulfilling erotic encounters as much as men, but we ultimately prefer erotic satisfaction within a context where there is loving, intimate connection. If men were socialized to desire love as much as they are taught to desire sex, we would see a cultural revolution. As it stands, most men tend to be more concerned about sexual performance and sexual satisfaction than whether they are capable of giving and receiving love.
bell hooks (All About Love: New Visions)
I didn’t exactly want to get divorced. I didn’t exactly not want to. I believed in almost equal measure both that divorcing Paul was the right thing to do and that by doing so I was destroying the best thing I had. By then my marriage had become like the trail in that moment when I realized there was a bull in both directions. I simply made a leap of faith and pushed on in the direction where I’d never been.
Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)
But perhaps the most damning argument came from nature herself. Had David followed his own advice to look to nature for truth, he would have seen it. This dazzling, feathery, squawking, gurgling mound of counterevidence. Animals can outperform humans on nearly every measure supposedly associated with our superiority. There are crows that have better memories than us, chimps with better pattern-recognition skills, ants that rescue their wounded, and blood flukes with higher rates of monogamy. When you actually examine the range of life on Earth, it takes a lot of acrobatics to sort it into a single hierarchy with humans at the top. We don’t have the biggest brain or the best memory. We’re not the fastest or the strongest or the most prolific. We’re not the only ones that mate for life, that show altruism, use tools, language. We don’t have the most copies of genes in circulation. We aren’t even the newest creation on the block.
Lulu Miller (Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life)
Silver noticed that the areas where Trump performed best made for an odd map. Trump performed well in parts of the Northeast and industrial Midwest, as well as the South. He performed notably worse out West. Silver looked for variables to try to explain this map. Was it unemployment? Was it religion? Was it gun ownership? Was it rates of immigration? Was it opposition to Obama? Silver found that the single factor that best correlated with Donald Trump’s support in the Republican primaries was that measure I had discovered four years earlier. Areas that supported Trump in the largest numbers were those that made the most Google searches for “nigger.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are)
I am in this same river. I can't much help it. I admit it: I'm racist. The other night I saw a group (or maybe a pack?) or white teenagers standing in a vacant lot, clustered around a 4x4, and I crossed the street to avoid them; had they been black, I probably would have taken another street entirely. And I'm misogynistic. I admit that, too. I'm a shitty cook, and a worse house cleaner, probably in great measure because I've internalized the notion that these are woman's work. Of course, I never admit that's why I don't do them: I always say I just don't much enjoy those activities (which is true enough; and it's true enough also that many women don't enjoy them either), and in any case, I've got better things to do, like write books and teach classes where I feel morally superior to pimps. And naturally I value money over life. Why else would I own a computer with a hard drive put together in Thailand by women dying of job-induced cancer? Why else would I own shirts mad in a sweatshop in Bangladesh, and shoes put together in Mexico? The truth is that, although many of my best friends are people of color (as the cliche goes), and other of my best friends are women, I am part of this river: I benefit from the exploitation of others, and I do not much want to sacrifice this privilege. I am, after all, civilized, and have gained a taste for "comforts and elegancies" which can be gained only through the coercion of slavery. The truth is that like most others who benefit from this deep and broad river, I would probably rather die (and maybe even kill, or better, have someone kill for me) than trade places with the men, women, and children who made my computer, my shirt, my shoes.
Derrick Jensen (The Culture of Make Believe)
Mitchell Maxwell’s Maxims • You have to create your own professional path. There’s no longer a roadmap for an artistic career. • Follow your heart and the money will follow. • Create a benchmark of your own progress. If you never look down while you’re climbing the ladder you won’t know how far you’ve come. • Don’t define success by net worth, define it by character. Success, as it’s measured by society, is a fleeting condition. • Affirm your value. Tell the world “I am an artist,” not “I want to be an artist.” • You must actively live your dream. Wishing and hoping for someday doesn’t make it happen. Get out there and get involved. • When you look into the abyss you find your character. • Young people too often let the fear of failure keep them from trying. You have to get bloody, sweaty and rejected in order to succeed. • Get your face out of Facebook and into somebody’s face. Close your e-mail and pick up the phone. Personal contact still speaks loudest. • No one is entitled to act entitled. Be willing to work hard. • If you’re going to buck the norm you’re going to have to embrace the challenges. • You have to love the journey if you’re going to work in the arts. • Only listen to people who agree with your vision. • A little anxiety is good but don’t let it become fear, fear makes you inert. • Find your own unique voice. Leave your individual imprint on the world, not a copy of someone else. • Draw strength from your mistakes; they can be your best teacher.
Mitchell Maxwell
Until modern times, we focused a great deal of the best of our thought upon rituals of return to the human condition. Seeking enlightenment or the Promised Land or the way home, a man would go or be forced to go into the wilderness, measure himself against the Creation, recognize finally his true place within it, and thus be saved both from pride and from despair. Seeing himself as a tiny member of a world he cannot comprehend or master or in any final sense possess, he cannot possibly think of himself as a god. And by the same token, since he shares in, depends upon, and is graced by all of which he is a part, neither can he become a fiend; he cannot descend into the final despair of destructiveness. Returning from the wilderness, he becomes a restorer of order, a preserver. He sees the truth, recognizes his true heir, honors his forebears and his heritage, and gives his blessing to his successors. He embodies the passing of human time, living and dying within the human limits of grief and joy. (pg.95, "The Body and the Earth")
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
Until you get the measure of your own soul, Jim, don't be quick to condemn a priest, or anyone else for that matter. I'm not scolding you, sweetheart," she said hurriedly. "It's just that, until you've been there, you can't know what it's like to hold yourself to promises you made in good faith a long time ago. Do you hang in there, or cut your losses? Soldier on, or admit defeat and try to make the best of things?" She'd looked a little sheepish then and admitted, "You know, I used to be a real hardass about stuff like this. No retreat, no surrender! But now? Jimmy, I honestly don't know if the world would be better or worse if we all held ourselves to the vows of our youth.
Mary Doria Russell (The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1))
Why have so many schools reduced the time and emphasis they place on art, music, and physical education? The answer is beyond simple: those areas aren’t measured on the all-important tests. You know where those areas are measured… in life! Art, music, and a healthy lifestyle help us develop a richer, deeper, and more balanced perspective. Never before have we needed more of an emphasis on the development of creativity, but schools have gone the exact opposite direction in an effort to make the best test-taking automatons possible. Our economy no longer rewards people for blindly following rules and becoming a cog in the machine. We need risk-takers, outside-the-box thinkers, and entrepreneurs; our school systems do the next generation a great disservice by discouraging these very skills and attitudes. Instead of helping and encouraging them to find and develop their unique strengths, they're told to shut up, put the cell phones away, memorize these facts and fill in the bubbles.
Dave Burgess (Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator)
Alfred North Whitehead summed it up best when he remarked that the greatest invention of the nineteenth century was the idea of invention itself. We had learned how to invent things, and the question of why we invent things receded in importance. The idea that if something could be done it should be done was born in the nineteenth century. And along with it, there developed a profound belief in all the principles through which invention succeeds: objectivity, efficiency, expertise, standardization, measurement, and progress. It also came to be believed that the engine of technological progress worked most efficiently when people are conceived of not as children of God or even as citizens but as consumers—that is to say, as markets.
Neil Postman (Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology)
At the tattoo parlor, my friend worked with needle and ink applying a design to the skin on his client's back, as the three of us sat discussing our spiritual desires and ambivalence about religion. In the midst of our conversation, the man under the needle turned and said, 'Jesus is cool, it's just that they have f***ed with Jesus. I mean, Christianity was at its best when it was secret and hidden and you could die for it.' This profound, if crass, statement recognizes that the power of the gospel lay in its ability to be a counter-cultural and revolutionary force - not only a story to believe, but a distinctive way of life. The man's comment prompted me to consider the questions: Am I in some measure complicit in the domestication of Jesus?
Mark Scandrette (Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in the Way of Jesus)
Margery," I blurted out in a passion of frustration. "I don't know what to make of you!" Nor I you, Mary. Frankly, I cannot begin to comprehend the motives of a person who dedicates a large portion of her life to the contemplation of a God in whom she only marginally believes." I felt stunned, as if she had struck me in the diaphragm. She looked down at me, trying to measure the effect of her words. Mary, you believe in the power that the idea of God has on the human mind. You believe in the way human beings talk about the unknowable, reach for the unattainable, pattern their imperfect lives and offer their paltry best up to the beingless being that created the universe and powers its continuation. What you balk as it believing the evidence of your eyes, that God can reach out and touch a single human life in a concrete way." She smiled a sad, sad smile. "You mustn't be so cold, Mary. If you are, all you will see is a cold God, cold friends, cold love. God is not cold-never cold. God sears with heat, not ice, the heat of a thousand suns, heat that inflames but does not consume. You need warmth, Mary-you, Mary, need it. You fear it, you flirt with it, you imagine that you can stand in its rays and retain your cold intellectual attitude towards it. You imagine that you can love with your brain. Mary, oh my dear Mary, you sit in the hall and listen to me like some wild beast staring at a campfire, unable to leave, fearful of losing your freedom if you come any closer. It won't consume you; I won't capture you. Love does not do either. It only brings life. Please, Mary, don't let yourself be tied up by the bonds of cold academia." Her words, the power of her conviction, broke over me like a great wave, inundating me, robbing me of breath, and, as they receded in the room, they pulled hard at me to folllow. I struggled to keep my footing against the wash of Margery's vision, and only when it began to lose its strength, dissipated against the silence in the room, was I seized by a sudden terror at the nearness of my escape.
Laurie R. King (A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #2))
Spending extended amounts of time inside other religious worldviews has loosened the screws on my own, which is beginning to seem like a good thing. Disowning God has been a great help to me. Owning my distinct view of God has helped me understand it much better. Although I can see the places where religious truth claims collide, this does not bother me as much as it could. I am far more interested in how people live than what they believe. When other Christians threaten or disappoint me, I work as hard to see God in them as in people of other (or no) faiths. It helps to remember that these are often the same Christians whom I threaten and disappoint in equal measure. The only clear line I draw these days is this: when my religion tries to come between me and my neighbor, I will choose my neighbor. That self-canceling feature of my religion is one of the things I like best about it. Jesus never commanded me to love my religion.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others)
Are you going to hand me over to him?" "I haven't decided yet," I teased, and he smiled again, erasing his momentary seriousness. "So, where'd you get the suit?" "Believe it or not, that lovely friend of yours, Willa," Loki said. "She brought me a whole slew of clothes last night. When I asked her why she was being so generous, she said it was out of fear that I would run around naked." I smiled. "That does sound like something you would do. Why are you wearing all black, though? Didn't you know you were going to a wedding?" "On the contrary," he said, doing his best to look unhappy. "I'm in mourning over the wedding." "Oh, because it's too late?" I asked. "No, Wendy, it's never too late." His voice was light, but his eyes were solemn. "May I cut in?" the best man asked. "No, you may not," Loki said. I'd started to move away from him, but he held fast. "Loki," I said, and my eyes widened. "I'm still dancing with her," Loki said, turning to look at him. "You can have her when I'm done." "Loki," I said again, but he was already twirling me away. "You can't do that." "I just did." He grinned. "Oh, Wendy, don't look so appalled. I'm already the rebel Prince of thine enemy. I can't do much more to tarnish my image." "You can certainly tarnish mine," I pointed out. "Never," Loki said, and it was his turn to look appalled. "I'm merely showing them how it's done." He began spinning me around the dance floor in grand arcs, my gown swirling around me. He was a brilliant dancer, moving with grace and speed. Everyone had stopped to watch us, but I didn't care. This was the way a Princess was supposed to dance on her wedding day. The song ended, switching to something by Mozart, and he slowed, almost to a stop, but he kept me in his arms. "Thank you." I smiled. My skin felt flushed from dancing, and I was a little out of breath. "That was a wonderful dance." "You're welcome," he said, staring intently at me. "You are so beautiful." "Stop," I said, looking away as my cheeks reddened. "How can you blush?" Loki asked, laughing gently. "People must tell you how beautiful you are a thousand times a day." "It's not the same," I said. "It's not the same?" Loki echoed. "Why? Because you know they don't mean it like I do?" We did stop dancing them, and neither of us said anything. Garrett came up to us. He smiled, but his eyes didn't appear happy. "Can I cut in?" Garrett asked. "Yes," Loki said, shaking off the intensity he'd had a moment ago, and grinned broadly at Garrett. "She's all yours, good sir. Take care of her." He patted Garrett on the arm once for good measure and gave me a quick smile before heading back over to the refreshment table.
Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
Because...” he used to cradle his daughter in his arms every morning and often they would exchange soft nuances “...if you can dream it, if you can see it in your visions at night, if you can feel it in your soul, it’s yours! And it never really belonged to anyone else, in the first place! It was always yours!” Viera returned her scroll to the drawer and closed it, she kissed the compass around her neck and climbed into her bed under the warm quilts, the candle flame crackled and the memories of her father’s arms around her embraced her there in bed and his deep, hoarse voice resounded in her ears; “... and if you chance upon a treasure that is yours and it happens to be in the possession of someone else, it’s not very wrong to take what is yours, to take what you dreamed, what you saw in your visions at night, what you felt visit you in your spirit! Sure, it’s not lawful, but aye aye my little one, listen to me when I tell you that the best things in life are not under the laws of any sort! For which law created love? Which law created courage? The best things, the real things, are the things that are not measured by any man’s laws! Fear is the only thing that any law has ever created! And what kind of pirates would we all be if we were afraid of any of our fears, even a little!
C. JoyBell C.
But in any case, validity, offender self-reports have dubious validity, especially when the offender's self-interest is at stake. The only rule for deception in sex offenders I have ever found is this: If it is in the offender's best interests to lie, and if he can do it and not get caught, he will lie. Being victimized as a child has become a ready excuse for perpetrating child molestation. The offender who claims he himself was victimized gets seen as less of a "monster" than one who wasn't a victim, and he gains much more empathy and support. It is hard to trust self-reports of sex offenders about abuse in their past when such reports are in their best interest. Only a few studies on this topic have used objective measures, and they have found very different results.[102]
Anna C. Salter (Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders)
William Butler Yeats’s “Second Coming” seems perfectly to render our present predicament: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” This is an excellent description of the current split between anaemic liberals and impassioned fundamentalists. “The best” are no longer able to fully engage, while “the worst” engage in racist, religious, sexist fanaticism. However, are the terrorist fundamentalists, be they Christian or Muslim, really fundamentalists in the authentic sense of the term? Do they really believe? What they lack is a feature that is easy to discern in all authentic fundamentalists, from Tibetan Buddhists to the Amish in the U.S.: the absence of resentment and envy, the deep indifference towards the non-believers’ way of life. If today’s so-called fundamentalists really believe they have their way to truth, why should they feel threatened by non-believers, why should they envy them? When a Buddhist encounters a Western hedonist, he hardly condemns him. He just benevolently notes that the hedonist’s search for happiness is self-defeating. In contrast to true fundamentalists, the terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued, fascinated by the sinful life of the non-believers. One can feel that, in fighting the sinful Other, they are fighting their own temptation. These so-called Christian or Muslim fundamentalists are a disgrace to true fundamentalists. It is here that Yeats’s diagnosis falls short of the present predicament: the passionate intensity of a mob bears witness to a lack of true conviction. Deep in themselves, terrorist fundamentalists also lack true conviction-their violent outbursts are proof of it. How fragile the belief of a Muslim must be, if he feels threatened by a stupid caricature in a low-circulation Danish newspaper. The fundamentalist Islamic terror is not grounded in the terrorists’ conviction of their superiority and in their desire to safeguard their cultural-religious identity from the onslaught of global consumerist civilization. The problem with fundamentalists is not that we consider them inferior to us, but rather that they themselves secretly consider themselves inferior. This is why our condescending, politically correct assurances that we feel no superiority towards them only make them more furious and feeds their resentment. The problem is not cultural difference (their effort to preserve their identity), but the opposite fact that the fundamentalists are already like us, that secretly they have already internalized our standards and measure themselves by them. (This clearly goes for the Dalai Lama, who justifies Tibetan Buddhism in Western terms of the pursuit of happiness and avoidance of pain.) Paradoxically, what the fundamentalists really lack is precisely a dose of that true “racist” conviction of one’s own superiority.
Slavoj Žižek (Violence: Six Sideways Reflections)
EXTREME DESIGN Theologically, the space energy density demonstrates that for physical life to be possible at any time or place in the history of the universe the value of the mass density of the universe must be fine-tuned to within one part in 1060, and the value of the cosmological constant must be fine-tuned to within one part in 10120.{74} To put this in perspective, the best example of human engineering design that I am aware of is a gravity wave telescope capable of making measurements to within one part in 1023. This implies that the Creator at a minimum is ten trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion times more intelligent, knowledgeable, creative, and powerful than we humans. To word it another way, before this discovery the most profound design evidence scientists had uncovered in the cosmos was a characteristic that had to be fine-tuned to within one part in 1040. Thanks to this twenty-first century discovery, the evidence that God created and designed the universe for the benefit of life and human beings in particular has become 1080 times stronger (a hundred million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion times stronger).
Hugh Ross (The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Latest Scientific Discoveries Reveal God)
I find it wholesome to be alone in the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. i never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men then when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will. Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows. The really diligent student in one of the crowded hives of Cambridge College is as solitary as a dervis in the desert. The farmer can work alone in the field or the woods all day, hoeing or chopping and not feel lonesome, because he is employed; but when he comes home at night he cannot sit down in a room alone, at the mercy of his thoughts, but must be where he can "see the folks," and recreate, and as he thinks remunerate, himself for his day's solitude; and hence he wonders how the student can sit alone in the house all night and most of the day without ennui and "the blues;" but he does not realize that the student, though in the house, is still at work in his field, and chopping in his woods, as the farmer in his, and in turn seeks the same recreation and society that the latter does, though it may be a more condensed form of it.
Henry David Thoreau
I've tried to teach what I learned all those years in my mother and father's house, all those things I didn't realize I was learning and that I never knew I'd be so grateful for. When you have love and it's proffered every day in a kind of tender, yet stern insistence and even reckless laughter, when it is given to you and you accept it in life as a thing as natural as rain or snow, or the littler of leaves in fall, you can't help but take it for granted. For a bewildered while you incorrectly understand that the world has given you this becuase it's there in equal measure, everywhere. You never knowuntil it's too late to do anything about it, how seet the effort is: how lasting the human will to love can be in the breast of people who want to make it for you, who want to give it to you, without calculating what's in it fo them, without thinking at all of what it will mean when you grow to full adulthood, see the world as it is, and forget to mention what you have been given. Ever day of my grown-up life, I have wanted to do what my parents did. I have wanted to widen the province of love and weaken hate and bitterness in the hearts of my children. And I've done these things because of what I got from my family, all those lovely years when I was growing up, being loved and cherished and, unbeknown to me, and in the best way, honored, for myself.
Marian Wright Edelman (Dream Me Home Safely: Writers on Growing Up in America)
If you do not allow yourself to rush into falling for someone that you have not become friends with first, you will be more sure when you let yourself go to the next step. Certainly you might find yourself having all sorts of feelings. Enjoy them. But do not believe them. Only believe your experience of getting to know a person and seeing if you can share at a deep level. See if you find that he or she is a person of the kind of character you would trust as a friend. And as important as all of that, see if that person is a person that you would like spending time with if there were no romance at all. That is the one true measure of a friend, a person with whom you like to spend time, having no regard to how you are spending it. “Hanging out” is fulfilling in and of itself. And that, long-term, requires character, and in the deepest of friendships, shared values as well. You would want your best friends to be honest, faithful, deep, spiritual, responsible, connecting, growing, loving, and the like. Make sure that those qualities are also present in the person you are falling in love with.
Henry Cloud (Boundaries in Dating)
It is a special blessing to belong among those who can and may devote their best energies to the contemplation and exploration of objective and timeless things. How happy and grateful I am for having been granted this blessing, which bestows upon one a large measure of independence from one's personal fate and from the attitude of one's contemporaries. Yet this independence must not inure us to the awareness of the duties that constantly bind us to the past, present and future of humankind at large. Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here, involuntarily and uninvited, for a short stay, without knowing the why and the wherefore. In our daily lives we feel only that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own. I am often troubled by the thought that my life is based to such a large extent on the work of my fellow human beings, and I am aware of my great indebtedness to them. I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer's words: 'Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills,' accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper. I have never coveted affluence and luxury and even despise them a good deal. My passion for social justice has often brought me into conflict with people, as has my aversion to any obligation and dependence I did not regard as absolutely necessary. [Part 2] I have a high regard for the individual and an insuperable distaste for violence and fanaticism. All these motives have made me a passionate pacifist and antimilitarist. I am against any chauvinism, even in the guise of mere patriotism. Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as does any exaggerated personality cult. I am an adherent of the ideal of democracy, although I know well the weaknesses of the democratic form of government. Social equality and economic protection of the individual have always seemed to me the important communal aims of the state. Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice keeps me from feeling isolated. The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all there is.
Albert Einstein
There is another human defect which the Law of Natural Selection has yet to remedy: When people of today have full bellies, they are exactly like their ancestors of a million years ago: very slow to acknowledge any awful troubles they may be in. [...] This was a particularly tragic flaw a million years ago, since the people who were best informed about the state of the planet [...] and rich and powerful enough to slow down all the waste and destruction going on, were by definition well fed. So everything was always just fine as far as they were concerned. For all the computers and measuring instruments and news gatherers and evaluators and memory banks and libraries and experts on this and that at their disposal, their deaf and blind bellies remained the final judges of how urgent this or that problem, such as the destruction of North America’s and Europe’s forests by acid rain, say, might really be. And here was the sort of advice a full belly gave and still gives [...]: “Be patient. Smile. Be confident. Everything will turn out for the best somehow.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Galápagos)
Historically one of the main defects of constitutional government has been the failure to insure the fair value of political liberty. The necessary corrective steps have not been taken, indeed, they never seem to have been seriously entertained. Disparities in the distribution of property and wealth that far exceed what is compatible with political equality have generally been tolerated by the legal system. Public resources have not been devoted to maintaining the institutions required for the fair value of political liberty. Essentially the fault lies in the fact that the democratic political process is at best regulated rivalry; it does not even in theory have the desirable properties that price theory ascribes to truly competitive markets. Moreover, the effects of injustices in the political system are much more grave and long lasting than market imperfections. Political power rapidly accumulates and becomes unequal; and making use of the coercive apparatus of the state and its law, those who gain the advantage can often assure themselves of a favored position. Thus inequities in the economic and social system may soon undermine whatever political equality might have existed under fortunate historical conditions. Universal suffrage is an insufficient counterpoise; for when parties and elections are financed not by public funds but by private contributions, the political forum is so constrained by the wishes of the dominant interests that the basic measures needed to establish just constitutional rule are seldom properly presented. These questions, however, belong to political sociology. 116 I mention them here as a way of emphasizing that our discussion is part of the theory of justice and must not be mistaken for a theory of the political system. We are in the way of describing an ideal arrangement, comparison with which defines a standard for judging actual institutions, and indicates what must be maintained to justify departures from it.
John Rawls (A Theory of Justice)
Life batters and shapes us in all sorts of ways before it's done, but those original selves which we were born with, and which I believe we continue in some measure to be no matter what, are selves which still echo with the holiness of their origin. I believe that what Genesis suggests is that this original self, with the print of God's thumb still upon it, is the most essential part of who we are and is buried deep in all of us as a source of wisdom and strength and healing which we can draw upon or, with our terrible freedom, not draw upon as we choose. I think that among other things all real art comes from that deepest self – painting, writing music, dance, all of it that in some way nourishes the spirit and enriches the understanding. I think that our truest prayers come from there too, the often unspoken, unbidden prayers that can rise out of the lives of unbelievers as well as believers whether they recognize them as prayers or not. And I think that from there also come our best dreams and our times of gladdest playing and taking it easy and all those moments when we find ourselves being better or stronger or braver or wiser than we are.
Frederick Buechner (Telling Secrets)
TULLIAN TCHIVIDJIAN   The best definition for grace I know comes from Paul Zahl: Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable…. The cliché definition of grace is “unconditional love.” It is a true cliché, for it is a good description of the thing.… Let’s go a little further, though. Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold…. Grace is one-way love.1 Grace doesn’t make demands. It just gives. And from our vantage point, it always gives to the wrong person. We see this over and over again in the Gospels: Jesus is always giving to the wrong people—prostitutes, tax collectors, half-breeds. The most extravagant sinners of Jesus’s day receive His most compassionate welcome. Grace is a divine vulgarity that stands caution on its head.
Preston Sprinkle (Charis: God's Scandalous Grace for Us)
The ceremonial differentiation of the dietary is best seen in the use of intoxicating beverages and narcotics. If these articles of consumption are costly, they are felt to be noble and honorific. Therefore the base classes, primarily the women, practice an enforced continence with respect to these stimulants, except in countries where they are obtainable at a very low cost. From archaic times down through all the length of the patriarchal regime it has been the office of the women to prepare and administer these luxuries, and it has been the perquisite of the men of gentle birth and breeding to consume them. Drunkenness and the other pathological consequences of the free use of stimulants therefore tend in their turn to become honorific, as being a mark, at the second remove, of the superior status of those who are able to afford the indulgence. Infirmities induced by over-indulgence are among some peoples freely recognised as manly attributes. It has even happened that the name for certain diseased conditions of the body arising from such an origin has passed into everyday speech as a synonym for "noble" or "gentle". It is only at a relatively early stage of culture that the symptoms of expensive vice are conventionally accepted as marks of a superior status, and so tend to become virtues and command the deference of the community; but the reputability that attaches to certain expensive vices long retains so much of its force as to appreciably lesson the disapprobation visited upon the men of the wealthy or noble class for any excessive indulgence. The same invidious distinction adds force to the current disapproval of any indulgence of this kind on the part of women, minors, and inferiors. This invidious traditional distinction has not lost its force even among the more advanced peoples of today. Where the example set by the leisure class retains its imperative force in the regulation of the conventionalities, it is observable that the women still in great measure practise the same traditional continence with regard to stimulants.
Thorstein Veblen (The Theory of the Leisure Class)
New Rule: America must stop bragging it's the greatest country on earth, and start acting like it. I know this is uncomfortable for the "faith over facts" crowd, but the greatness of a country can, to a large degree, be measured. Here are some numbers. Infant mortality rate: America ranks forty-eighth in the world. Overall health: seventy-second. Freedom of the press: forty-fourth. Literacy: fifty-fifth. Do you realize there are twelve-year old kids in this country who can't spell the name of the teacher they're having sex with? America has done many great things. Making the New World democratic. The Marshall Plan. Curing polio. Beating Hitler. The deep-fried Twinkie. But what have we done for us lately? We're not the freest country. That would be Holland, where you can smoke hash in church and Janet Jackson's nipple is on their flag. And sadly, we're no longer a country that can get things done. Not big things. Like building a tunnel under Boston, or running a war with competence. We had six years to fix the voting machines; couldn't get that done. The FBI is just now getting e-mail. Prop 87 out here in California is about lessening our dependence on oil by using alternative fuels, and Bill Clinton comes on at the end of the ad and says, "If Brazil can do it, America can, too!" Since when did America have to buck itself up by saying we could catch up to Brazil? We invented the airplane and the lightbulb, they invented the bikini wax, and now they're ahead? In most of the industrialized world, nearly everyone has health care and hardly anyone doubts evolution--and yes, having to live amid so many superstitious dimwits is also something that affects quality of life. It's why America isn't gonna be the country that gets the inevitable patents in stem cell cures, because Jesus thinks it's too close to cloning. Oh, and did I mention we owe China a trillion dollars? We owe everybody money. America is a debtor nation to Mexico. We're not a bridge to the twenty-first century, we're on a bus to Atlantic City with a roll of quarters. And this is why it bugs me that so many people talk like it's 1955 and we're still number one in everything. We're not, and I take no glee in saying that, because I love my country, and I wish we were, but when you're number fifty-five in this category, and ninety-two in that one, you look a little silly waving the big foam "number one" finger. As long as we believe being "the greatest country in the world" is a birthright, we'll keep coasting on the achievements of earlier generations, and we'll keep losing the moral high ground. Because we may not be the biggest, or the healthiest, or the best educated, but we always did have one thing no other place did: We knew soccer was bullshit. And also we had the Bill of Rights. A great nation doesn't torture people or make them disappear without a trial. Bush keeps saying the terrorist "hate us for our freedom,"" and he's working damn hard to see that pretty soon that won't be a problem.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Welcome the disagreement. Remember the slogan, ‘When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary.’ If there is some point you haven’t thought about, be thankful if it is brought to your attention. Perhaps this disagreement is your opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious mistake. Distrust your first instinctive impression. Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst, not your best. Control your temper. Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry. Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding. Don’t build higher barriers of misunderstanding. Look for areas of agreement. When you have heard your opponents out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree. Be honest. Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness. Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully. And mean it. Your opponents may be right. It is a lot easier at this stage to agree to think about their points than to move rapidly ahead and find yourself in a position where your opponents can say: ‘We tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.’ Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest. Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends. Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem. Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions:
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
Wonder of time,' quoth she, 'this is my spite, That, thou being dead, the day should yet be light. 'Since thou art dead, lo, here I prophesy: Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend: It shall be waited on with jealousy, Find sweet beginning, but unsavoury end, Ne'er settled equally, but high or low, That all love's pleasure shall not match his woe. 'It shall be fickle, false and full of fraud, Bud and be blasted in a breathing-while; The bottom poison, and the top o'erstraw'd With sweets that shall the truest sight beguile: The strongest body shall it make most weak, Strike the wise dumb and teach the fool to speak. 'It shall be sparing and too full of riot, Teaching decrepit age to tread the measures; The staring ruffian shall it keep in quiet, Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasures; It shall be raging-mad and silly-mild, Make the young old, the old become a child. 'It shall suspect where is no cause of fear; It shall not fear where it should most mistrust; It shall be merciful and too severe, And most deceiving when it seems most just; Perverse it shall be where it shows most toward, Put fear to valour, courage to the coward. 'It shall be cause of war and dire events, And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire; Subject and servile to all discontents, As dry combustious matter is to fire: Sith in his prime Death doth my love destroy, They that love best their loves shall not enjoy.
William Shakespeare (Venus and Adonis)
Perspective - Use It or Lose It. If you turned to this page, you're forgetting that what is going on around you is not reality. Think about that. Remember where you came from, where you're going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place. You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them. Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers. Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a false messiah. Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully. The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change. Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years. The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof. There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts. Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect. Then be sure of one thing: The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have. The original sin is to limit the Is. Don't. A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion....this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons. You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however. Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours. If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats. The world is your exercise-book, the pages on which you do your sums. It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages. Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you. In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice. The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities." The truth you speak has no past and no future. It is, and that's all it needs to be. Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't. Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. You're going to die a horrible death, remember. It's all good training, and you'll enjoy it more if you keep the facts in mind. Take your dying with some seriousness, however. Laughing on the way to your execution it not generally understood by less advanced lifeforms, and they'll call you crazy. Everything above may be wrong!
Richard Bach
Now and then I am asked as to "what books a statesman should read," and my answer is, poetry and novels—including short stories under the head of novels. I don't mean that he should read only novels and modern poetry. If he cannot also enjoy the Hebrew prophets and the Greek dramatists, he should be sorry. He ought to read interesting books on history and government, and books of science and philosophy; and really good books on these subjects are as enthralling as any fiction ever written in prose or verse. Gibbon and Macaulay, Herodotus, Thucydides and Tacitus, the Heimskringla, Froissart, Joinville and Villehardouin, Parkman and Mahan, Mommsen and Ranke—why! there are scores and scores of solid histories, the best in the world, which are as absorbing as the best of all the novels, and of as permanent value. The same thing is true of Darwin and Huxley and Carlyle and Emerson, and parts of Kant, and of volumes like Sutherland's "Growth of the Moral Instinct," or Acton's Essays and Lounsbury's studies—here again I am not trying to class books together, or measure one by another, or enumerate one in a thousand of those worth reading, but just to indicate that any man or woman of some intelligence and some cultivation can in some line or other of serious thought, scientific or historical or philosophical or economic or governmental, find any number of books which are charming to read, and which in addition give that for which his or her soul hungers. I do not for a minute mean that the statesman ought not to read a great many different books of this character, just as every one else should read them. But, in the final event, the statesman, and the publicist, and the reformer, and the agitator for new things, and the upholder of what is good in old things, all need more than anything else to know human nature, to know the needs of the human soul; and they will find this nature and these needs set forth as nowhere else by the great imaginative writers, whether of prose or of poetry.
Theodore Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography)
Pulling to a stop in front of Aly’s house, I take a deep breath. With a flick of my wrist, I cut the engine and listen to the silence. I’ve sat in this exact spot more times than I can count. In many ways, Aly’s house is like my sanctuary. A place I go when my own home feels like a graveyard. I glance up at the bedroom window of the girl who knows me better than anyone, the only person I let see me cry after Dad died. I won’t let this experiment take that or her away from me. Tonight, I’m going to prove that Aly and I can go back to our normal, easy friendship. Throwing open my door, I trudge up her sidewalk, plant my feet outside her front door, and ring the bell. “Coming!” I step back and see Aly stick her head out of her second-story window. “No problem,” I call back up. “Take your time.” More time to get my head on straight. Aly disappears behind a film of yellow curtain, and I turn to look out at the quiet neighborhood. Up and down the street, the lights blink on, filling the air with a low hum that matches the thrumming of my nerves. Across the street, old Mr. Lawson sits at his usual perch under a gigantic American flag, drinking beer and mumbling to himself. Two little girls ride their bikes around the cul-de-sac, smiling and waving. Just a normal, run-of-the-mill Friday night. Except not. I thrust my hands into my pockets, jiggling the loose change from my Taco Bell run earlier tonight, and grab my pack of Trident. I toss a stick into my mouth and chew furiously. Supposedly, the smell of peppermint can calm your nerves. I grab a second stick and shove it in, too. With the clacking sound of Aly’s shoes approaching the door behind me, I remind myself again about tonight’s mission. All I need is focus. I take another deep breath for good measure and rock back on my heels, ready to greet my best friend. She opens the door, wearing a black dress molded to her skin, and I let the air out in one big huff.
Rachel Harris (The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1))
His voice grew more remote. She wondered if he was calling from his condominium, where he’d lost his best friend, or from Avalon, where he’d lost himself. “I like you, Billie. You’re a nice person. Good company. But tonight was a mistake.” She flung an arm over her eyes and swallowed the lump of tears that had lodged in her throat. “Oh? Which part? The part where you introduced me to your family and exposed yourself as coming from a perfectly average, wholesome background? Or the part where you touched me and turned me inside-out while swaying in a hammock in the rich, beautiful woods—one of the most searing sexual experiences of my life? Which part do you regret, Adrian?” “All of it. I can’t have those things with you. You know what I am.” “Yes, Adrian, I know what you are. A gentle man. A likable one. Smart. Cultured. Sexy. I know what you are.” “But the other part—” “What about the other part? You hide behind the other part.” She yanked the pillow out from beneath her head and winged it across the bedroom, furious suddenly. “Did you call to tell me I’m not going to see you anymore? Because if that’s the case, hurry up and say it. Then hang up and go back to work, and don’t worry one bit about me. I’ve been on my own a long time, and I’m tougher than you think. I won’t cling to any man who’d rather be a-a—” She stumbled, bit back the ugly words rushing to her lips. “A what?” he countered softly. “A whore? A gigolo? Go ahead and say it, Billie. If you’re going to waste your time caring about me, then you’d better get used to the idea, because I can’t change. I won’t. Not for you or anyone.” She bit back a sound of pure derision. “How about for you? Think you could walk the straight and narrow for yourself?” He didn’t reply. He didn’t have to. Billie already knew the answer. “You’re afraid.” She sat up among the sheets as cold realization washed through her. “Afraid to live without women clambering to pay top dollar for you. All that money…it’s a measure of your value, right? It’s your self-esteem. What would happen if you were paid in love instead of cash? Would the world end? My God, Adrian. You’re running scared.” The half-whispered accusation seemed to permeate his impassivity. “I was fine before you.” His voice came low and furious. Finally, finally. True emotion. “Damn it, Billie. I want my life back.” “Then hang up and don’t call me again, because I’m not going to pay you for sex, Adrian. What I offer is a worthless currency in your world.
Shelby Reed (The Fifth Favor)
Perched upon the stones of a bridge The soldiers had the eyes of ravens Their weapons hung black as talons Their eyes gloried in the smoke of murder To the shock of iron-heeled sticks I drew closer in the cripple’s bitter patience And before them I finally tottered Grasping to capture my elusive breath With the cockerel and swift of their knowing They watched and waited for me ‘I have come,’ said I, ‘from this road’s birth, I have come,’ said I, ‘seeking the best in us.’ The sergeant among them had red in his beard Glistening wet as he showed his teeth ‘There are few roads on this earth,’ said he, ‘that will lead you to the best in us, old one.’ ‘But you have seen all the tracks of men,’ said I ‘And where the mothers and children have fled Before your advance. Is there naught among them That you might set an old man upon?’ The surgeon among this rook had bones Under her vellum skin like a maker of limbs ‘Old one,’ said she, ‘I have dwelt In the heat of chests, among heart and lungs, And slid like a serpent between muscles, Swum the currents of slowing blood, And all these roads lead into the darkness Where the broken will at last rest. ‘Dare say I,’ she went on,‘there is no Place waiting inside where you might find In slithering exploration of mysteries All that you so boldly call the best in us.’ And then the man with shovel and pick, Who could raise fort and berm in a day Timbered of thought and measured in all things Set the gauge of his eyes upon the sun And said, ‘Look not in temples proud, Or in the palaces of the rich highborn, We have razed each in turn in our time To melt gold from icon and shrine And of all the treasures weeping in fire There was naught but the smile of greed And the thick power of possession. Know then this: all roads before you From the beginning of the ages past And those now upon us, yield no clue To the secret equations you seek, For each was built of bone and blood And the backs of the slave did bow To the laboured sentence of a life In chains of dire need and little worth. All that we build one day echoes hollow.’ ‘Where then, good soldiers, will I Ever find all that is best in us? If not in flesh or in temple bound Or wretched road of cobbled stone?’ ‘Could we answer you,’ said the sergeant, ‘This blood would cease its fatal flow, And my surgeon could seal wounds with a touch, All labours will ease before temple and road, Could we answer you,’ said the sergeant, ‘Crows might starve in our company And our talons we would cast in bogs For the gods to fight over as they will. But we have not found in all our years The best in us, until this very day.’ ‘How so?’ asked I, so lost now on the road, And said he, ‘Upon this bridge we sat Since the dawn’s bleak arrival, Our perch of despond so weary and worn, And you we watched, at first a speck Upon the strife-painted horizon So tortured in your tread as to soak our faces In the wonder of your will, yet on you came Upon two sticks so bowed in weight Seeking, say you, the best in us And now we have seen in your gift The best in us, and were treasures at hand We would set them humbly before you, A man without feet who walked a road.’ Now, soldiers with kind words are rare Enough, and I welcomed their regard As I moved among them, ’cross the bridge And onward to the long road beyond I travel seeking the best in us And one day it shall rise before me To bless this journey of mine, and this road I began upon long ago shall now end Where waits for all the best in us. ―Avas Didion Flicker Where Ravens Perch
Steven Erikson (The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10))