Nature Strength Quotes

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Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.
Rachel Carson (Silent Spring)
I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.
Henry David Thoreau (On the Duty of Civil Disobedience)
Everybody needs beauty...places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.
John Muir
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
Rachel Carson (The Sense of Wonder)
Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.
May Sarton (Journal of a Solitude)
What though the radiance which was once so bright Be now for ever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind; In the primal sympathy Which having been must ever be; In the soothing thoughts that spring Out of human suffering; In the faith that looks through death, In years that bring the philosophic mind.
William Wordsworth
What is a Wanderess? Bound by no boundaries, contained by no countries, tamed by no time, she is the force of nature’s course.
Roman Payne (The Wanderess)
Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.
Barbara Kingsolver (Homeland and Other Stories)
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.
John Muir
Giving style” to one’s character - a great and rare art! It is exercised by those who see all the strengths and weaknesses of their own natures and then comprehend them in an artistic plan until everything appears as art and reason and even weakness delights the eye.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Kindness and good nature unite men more effectually and with greater strength than any agreements whatsoever, since thereby the engagements of men's hearts become stronger than the bond and obligation of words.
Thomas More (Utopia)
Beyond work and love, I would add two other ingredients that give meaning to life. First, to fulfill whatever talents we are born with. However blessed we are by fate with different abilities and strengths, we should try to develop them to the fullest, rather than allow them to atrophy and decay. We all know individuals who did not fulfill the promise they showed in childhood. Many of them became haunted by the image of what they might have become. Instead of blaming fate, I think we should accept ourselves as we are and try to fulfill whatever dreams are within our capability. Second, we should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. As individuals, we can make a difference, whether it is to probe the secrets of Nature, to clean up the environment and work for peace and social justice, or to nurture the inquisitive, vibrant spirit of the young by being a mentor and a guide.
Michio Kaku
It is a law of nature we overlook, that intellectual versatility is the compensation for change, danger, and trouble. An animal perfectly in harmony with its environment is a perfect mechanism. Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change. Only those animals partake of intelligence that have a huge variety of needs and dangers.
H.G. Wells (The Time Machine)
Alas," said Aslan, shaking his head. "It will. Things always work according to their nature. She has won her heart's desire; she has unwearying strength and endless days like a goddess. But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it.
C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia (Chronicles of Narnia, #1-7))
Life is like butter - when things cool down it can be reshaped
Alan Sheinwald (Alan Sheinwald is Building a Perfect Home)
Nature is as well adapted to our weakness as to our strength.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Natures of your kind, with strong, delicate senses, the soul-oriented, the dreamers, poets, lovers are always superior to us creatures of the mind. You take your being from your mothers. You live fully; you were endowed with the strength of love, the ability to feel. Whereas we creatures of reason, we don't live fully; we live in an arid land, even though we often seem to guide and rule you. Yours is the plentitude of life, the sap of the fruit, the garden of passion, the beautiful landscape of art. Your home is the earth; ours is the world of ideas. You are in danger of drowning in the world of the senses; ours is the danger of suffocating in an airless void. You are an artist; I am a thinker. You sleep at your mother's breast; I wake in the desert. For me the sun shines; for you the moon and the stars.
Hermann Hesse
What is a woman's place in this modern world? Jasnah Kholin's words read. I rebel against this question, though so many of my peers ask it. The inherent bias in the inquiry seems invisible to so many of them. They consider themselves progressive because they are willing to challenge many of the assumptions of the past. They ignore the greater assumption--that a 'place' for women must be defined and set forth to begin with. Half of the population must somehow be reduced to the role arrived at by a single conversation. No matter how broad that role is, it will be--by-nature--a reduction from the infinite variety that is womanhood. I say that there is no role for women--there is, instead, a role for each woman, and she must make it for herself. For some, it will be the role of scholar; for others, it will be the role of wife. For others, it will be both. For yet others, it will be neither. Do not mistake me in assuming I value one woman's role above another. My point is not to stratify our society--we have done that far to well already--my point is to diversify our discourse. A woman's strength should not be in her role, whatever she chooses it to be, but in the power to choose that role. It is amazing to me that I even have to make this point, as I see it as the very foundation of our conversation.
Brandon Sanderson (Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2))
A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years … the alienation from the sources of our strength.
Rachel Carson (The Sense of Wonder)
Kindness is universal. Sometimes being kind allows others to see the goodness in humanity through you. Always be kinder than necessary.
Germany Kent
...and I realize that this is the true core of human nature: When we've lost the strength to save ourselves, we somehow find the strength to save each other.
Neal Shusterman (Dry)
But what does a mirror know? What can it show us of ourselves? Oh, it might reveal a few scars, and perhaps a glimpse—there, in the eyes—of our true nature. The spirit beneath the skin. Yet the deepest scars are often hidden, and though a mirror might reveal our weakness, it reflects only a fraction of our strength.
Nicholas Eames (Kings of the Wyld (The Band, #1))
I have met so many heartbroken men. It's a catastrophe. Women are easily overcome by the process that happens when a boy falls in love and becomes a man. Men's hearts are so often broken. Still, you have to leave your broken heart in a place where- when the woman who knows how to see what a gift is, sees it- your broken heart can be picked up again. I think that it takes a very strong woman (inner strength) to be able to handle a man falling in love with her, without morphing into a monster (the process is a very potent process, it can poison a woman, really). A woman thinks she wants a man to fall in love with her for all the perks that come with it; but when a real love really does happen, when a real man shows his manhood; it's often too powerful a thing to endure without being poisoned. Hence, all the heartbroken men. But, I do believe that there are strong women in the world today. A few. But there are. You could say, that the mark of a real woman, is a woman who can handle a man- a man falling in love with her. A woman who can recognize that, and keep it with her.
C. JoyBell C.
Other people spoke, and I tried to keep up with the translations. All the stories were about Dimitri's kindness and strength of character. Even when not out battling the undead, Dimitri had always been there to help those who needed it. Almost everyone could recall sometime that Dimitri had stepped up to help others, going out of his way to do what was right, even in situations that could put him at risk. That was no surprise to me. Dimitri always did the right thing. And it was that attitude that had made me love him so much. I had a similar nature. I too rushed in when others needed me, sometimes when I shouldn't have. Others called me crazy for it, but Dimitri had understood. He'd always understood me, and part of what we'd worked on was how to temper that impulsive need to run into danger with reason and calculation. I had a feeling no one else in this world would ever understand me like he did.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
This is how we are: we fall in love with each other’s strengths, but love deepens towards permanence when we fall in love with each other’s weaknesses.
Salman Rushdie (The Golden House)
Your nature is not the problem. The problem is that you have become alienated from your nature -- from your power source.
Laurie A. Helgoe (Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength)
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.
Patrick Henry
A human body in no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it hath no hawk’s bill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter such heavy and fleshy fare. But if you will contend that you were born to an inclination to such food as you have now a mind to eat, do you then yourself kill what you would eat. But do it yourself, without the help of a chopping-knife, mallet or axe, as wolves, bears, and lions do, who kill and eat at once. Rend an ox with thy teeth, worry a hog with thy mouth, tear a lamb or a hare in pieces, and fall on and eat it alive as they do. But if thou had rather stay until what thou eat is to become dead, and if thou art loath to force a soul out of its body, why then dost thou against nature eat an animate thing? There is nobody that is willing to eat even a lifeless and a dead thing even as it is; so they boil it, and roast it, and alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare.
Plutarch
...Meg learned to love her husband better for his poverty, because it seem to have made a man of him, giving him the strength and courage to fight his own way, and taught him a tender patience with which to bear and comfort the natural longings and failures of those he loved.
Louisa May Alcott (Good Wives)
I am fascinated by what is beautiful, strong, healthy, what is living. I seek harmony.
Leni Riefenstahl
Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, it beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap... Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence. Naturally, every one does not feel this equally strongly.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
She Was A Phantom of Delight She was a Phantom of delight When first she gleam'd upon my sight; A lovely Apparition, sent To be a moment's ornament: Her eyes as stars of twilight fair; Like twilight's, too, her dusky hair; But all things else about her drawn From May-time and the cheerful dawn; A dancing shape, an image gay, To haunt, to startle, and waylay. I saw her upon nearer view, A Spirit, yet a Woman too! Her household motions light and free, And steps of virgin liberty; A countenance in which did meet Sweet records, promises as sweet; A creature not too bright or good For human nature's daily food, For transient sorrows, simple wiles, Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles. And now I see with eye serene The very pulse of the machine; A being breathing thoughtful breath, A traveller between life and death: The reason firm, the temperate will, Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill; A perfect Woman, nobly plann'd To warn, to comfort, and command; And yet a Spirit still, and bright With something of an angel light.
William Wordsworth
Kindness is strength. Good-nature is often mistaken for virtue, and good health sometimes passes for genius. Anger blows out the lamp of the mind. In the examination of a great and important question, every one should be serene, slow-pulsed, and calm. Intelligence is not the foundation of arrogance. Insolence is not logic. Epithets are the arguments of malice.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Christian Religion: An Enquiry)
It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony.
Benjamin Britten
The definition of a professional is one who does a job well even when they don't like it.
Alan Sheinwald (Alan Sheinwald is Building a Perfect Home)
Say to yourself, I am perfect, the way I am. Say to yourself, I am beautiful the way I am. Say to yourself, those who do not accept me the way I am, do not deserve me in their life.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.
Rachel Carson (Silent Spring)
After a cup of tea (two spoonsful for each cup, and don't let it stand more than three minutes,) it says to the brain, "Now, rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature and into life; spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1))
If the idea of loving those whom you have been taught to recognize as your enemies is too overwhelming, consider more deeply the observation that we are all much more alike than we are unalike.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate, means that we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us, to smile and let anyone do what they want with us. Yet this is not what is meant by compassion. Quite the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion...is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.
Sharon Salzberg (Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness)
It’s easy to minimize a person’s hurt without understanding the nature of pain. People often like to categorize how much a person should or shouldn’t hurt about things. For example, when someone is upset about something, they say, “At least you’re not paralyzed, or starving in Africa.” While it’s imperative to be grateful for what we have, I think people often mistaken the nature of pain, when they ‘categorize’ in this way. The criteria for how much something hurts is not dependent on the thing itself. It is dependent on 2 things: 1. The strength of the attachment. 2. The level of Divine help. Therefore to minimize the devastation of pain: 1. Don’t be attached to (dependent on) temporary things. 2. Seek Divine help. And don’t assign judgement for people’s pain.
Yasmin Mogahed
We who bore the mark might well be considered by the rest of the world as strange, even as insane and dangerous. We had awoken, or were awakening, and we were striving for an ever perfect state of wakefulness, whereas the ambition and quest for happiness of the others consisted of linking their opinions, ideals, and duties, their life and happiness, ever more closely with those of the herd. They, too, strove; they, too showed signs of strength and greatness. But as we saw it, whereas we marked men represented Nature's determination to create something new, individual, and forward-looking, the others lived in the determination to stay the same. For them mankind--which they loved as much as we did--was a fully formed entity that had to be preserved and protected. For us mankind was a distant future toward which we were all journeying, whose aspect no one knew, whose laws weren't written down anywhere.
Hermann Hesse (Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend)
I can see you have a great deal of water in your personality. Water never waits. It changes shape and flows around things, and finds the secret paths no one else has thought about -- the tiny hole through the roof or the bottom of the box. There's no doubt it's the most versatile of the five elements. It can wash away earth; it can put out fire; it can wear a piece of metal down and sweep it away. Even wood, which is its natural complement, can't survive without being nurtured by water. And yet, you haven't drawn on those strengths in living your life, have you?
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect the shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be "healing." A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to "get through it," rise to the occasion, exhibit the "strength" that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves the for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief was we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
On the parable of the Good Samaritan: "I imagine that the first question the priest and Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?
Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love)
Never mistake Kindness for Weakness. When it is natural to beat the h*ll out of someone for the wrong they've done to you but you turn the other cheek, that takes strength. - Strong by Kailin Gow
Kailin Gow
Nature gave us pain as a messaging device to tell us that we are approaching, or that we have exceeded, our limits in some way.
Ray Dalio
I think that old magic draws much of its strength from that acknowledgment: that we are a part of that world.
Robin Hobb (Fool's Errand (Tawny Man, #1))
Isn’t it refreshing to know that what comes perfectly natural for you is your greatest strength? Your power is in your nature. You may not think it’s a big deal that you can spend hours immersed in something that interests you—alone—but the extrovert next door has no idea how you do it.
Laurie A. Helgoe (Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength)
Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mate, and their pack. They are experienced in adapting to constantly changing circumstances; they are fiercely stalwart and very brave.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run With the Wolves)
You’ve no idea the restraint I’ve created. A word, which in a past life, never held special meaning for me, flows now through the blood of my veins as if to remind me it was always there. Like you, always there. You said I was not strong. So I created strength to fight against these natural feelings which keep me tied to you. I drew a line in the sand so I would not step towards your door again. I have boundaries, strength and pride. What I do not have is you. And that is the only part I wanted. You’ve no idea the restraint I’ve created. You’ve no idea the bold wall I’ve built to keep me out of your compromising arms.
Coco J. Ginger
Vulnerability may seem like a weakness, but in truth, it is a strength for being able to show you can be vulnerable, shows you are just human. And being just human is our strength. - STRONG: Powerful Philosophies for Timeless Thoughts.
Kailin Gow
Enjoy the peace of Nature and declutter your inner world.
Amit Ray (Mindfulness Living in the Moment - Living in the Breath)
The social pact, far from destroying natural equality, substitutes, on the contrary, a moral and lawful equality for whatever physical inequality that nature may have imposed on mankind; so that however unequal in strength and intelligence, men become equal by covenant and by right.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract)
Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life,the idea came to him of what he called 'the love of your fate.' Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, 'This is what I need.' It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment--not discouragement--you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.
Joseph Campbell (A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living)
Remember that most people are happiest when they are improving and doing the things that suit them naturally and help them advance. So learning about your people’s weaknesses is just as valuable (for them and for you) as is learning their strengths.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Too vast is Man and too imponderable his nature. Too varied are his talents, and too inexhaustible his strength. Beware of those who attempt to set him boundaries.Live as if your God Himself had need of you His life to live. And so, in truth, He does.
Mikhail Naimy (The Book of Mirdad: The strange story of a monastery which was once called The Ark)
That is the Mongolian creation myth: out of two different natures love is born. In contradiction, love grows in strength. In confrontation and transformation, love is preserved.
Paulo Coelho (The Zahir)
I should attempt to treat human vice and folly geometrically... the passions of hatred, anger, envy, and so on, considered in themselves, follow from the necessity and efficacy of nature... I shall, therefore, treat the nature and strength of the emotion in exactly the same manner, as though I were concerned with lines, planes, and solids.
Baruch Spinoza (Ethics)
[There are, in us] possibilities that take our breath away, and show a world wider than either physics or philistine ethics can imagine. Here is a world in which all is well, in spite of certain forms of death, death of hope, death of strength, death of responsibility, of fear and wrong, death of everything that paganism, naturalism and legalism pin their trust on.
William James
Faith is the strength of life. If a man lives he believes in something. If he did not believe that one must live for something, he would not live. If he does not see and recognize the illusory nature of the finite, he believes in the finite; if he understands the illusory nature of the finite, he must believe in the infinite. Without faith he cannot live.
Leo Tolstoy (A Confession)
There is uncertainty in hope, but even with its tenuous nature, it summons our strength and pulls us through fear and grief— and even death.
Priscille Sibley (The Promise of Stardust)
People are more inclined to ask what's wrong than what's right. They note errors and faults, seeing weaknesses before strengths. So expect criticism; it's the nature of the beast.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
With each spring comes new life, energy and green growth. In summer comes the sun, warm, kind and enduring. Fall brings its canvas of color in careful, gentle change. Winter brews into faithful strength, beauty in pure white. And then comes you. You are all that Nature offers, a blessing, a gift.. You are the fifth season.
Jason F. Wright
Above all human existence requires stability, the permanence of things. The result is an ambivalence with respect to all great and violent expenditure of strength; such an expenditure, whether in nature or in man, represents the strongest possible threat. The feelings of admiration and of ecstasy induced by them thus mean that we are concerned to admire them from afar. The sun corresponds to that prudent concern. It is all radiance gigantic loss of heat and light, flame, explosion; but remote from men, who can enjoy in safety and quiet the fruits of this cataclysm. To earth belongs the solidity which sustains houses of stone and the steps of men (at least on its surface, for buried within the depths of the earth is the incandescence of lava).
Georges Bataille (Van Gogh As Prometheus)
Outside, the natural world was enjoying a moment of total strength.
Anne Carson (Autobiography of Red)
Mother Nature's ruthless to the weak, but isn't arbitrary cruel or negative. Mother Nature saves aggression for extreme situations, and instead uses consistent leadership--to help keep things running smoothly. Mother nature doesn't rule by fear and anger, but by calm strength and assertiveness.
Cesar Millan
It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions. After eggs and bacon it says, "Work!" After beefsteak and porter, it says, "Sleep!" After a cup of tea (two spoonfuls for each cup, and don't let it stand for more than three minutes), it says to the brain, "Now rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature, and into life: spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1))
You only fix something, when it’s broken. And you - are far from broken.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
Even the Sun gets tired of rising, but he does it out of love for the Earth...
Seja Majeed (The Forgotten Tale of Larsa)
All growth is from within. This is evident in all nature. Every plant, every animal, every human is a living testimony to this great law, and the error of the ages is in looking for strength or power from without.
Charles F. Haanel (The Master Key System)
All people must accept that we have the potential to do terrible things. It is part of seeing our place in the universe, our heritage, and our natures. But in that acceptance we gain strength, for potential can be refused. Any hero who could have been a monster is more heroic for the choices he or she made to walk another road.
Brandon Sanderson (Cytonic (Skyward, #3))
How can the strength of one man stand against Jake and an army of demons?" "He can," I countered, "if he has the power of Heaven on his side. After all, Christ was a man." "He was also the Son of God, there's a difference." "Do you think they could have crucified him if he wasn't human?" I asked. "He was flesh and blood, just like Xavier. You've been here so long you underestimate the power of humans. They're a force of nature.
Alexandra Adornetto (Hades (Halo, #2))
Here and there, human nature may be great in times of trial, but generally speaking it is its weakness and not its strength that appears in a sick chamber; it is selfishness and impatience rather than generosity and fortitude, that one hears of. There is so little real friendship in the world! – and unfortunately' (speaking low and tremulously) 'there are so many who forget to think seriously till it is almost too late.
Jane Austen
There is something sustaining in the very agitation that accompanies the first shocks of trouble, just as an acute pain is often a stimulus, and produces an excitement which is transient strength. It is in the slow, changed life that follows--in the time when sorrow has become stale, and has no longer an emotive intensity that counteracts its pain--in the time when day follows day in dull unexpectant sameness, and trial is a dreary routine--it is then that despair threatens; it is then that the peremptory hunger of the soul is felt, and eye and ear are strained after some unlearned secret of our existence, which shall give to endurance the nature of satisfaction.
George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss)
Talent (a natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving) × Investment (time spent practicing, developing your skills, and building your knowledge base) = Strength (the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance)
Tom Rath (Strengths Finder 2.0)
Surrender is the ultimate sign of strength and the foundation for a spiritual life. Surrendering affirms that we are no longer willing to live in pain. It expresses a deep desire to transcend our struggles and transform our negative emotions. It commands a life beyond our egos, beyond that part of ourselves that is continually reminding us that we are separate, different and alone. Surrendering allows us to return to our true nature and move effortlessly through the cosmic dance called life. It's a powerful statement that proclaims the perfect order of the universe. When you surrender your will, you are saying, "Even though things are not exactly how I'd like them to be, I will face my reality. I will look it directly in the eye and allow it to be here." Surrender and serenity are synonymous; you can't experience one without the other. So if it's serenity you're searching for, it's close by. All you have to do is resign as General Manager of the Universe. Choose to trust that there is a greater plan for you and that if you surrender, it will be unfolded in time. Surrender is a gift that you can give yourself. It's an act of faith. It's saying that even though I can't see where this river is flowing, I trust it will take me in the right direction.
Debbie Ford (Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life)
Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product...if we should judge the United States of America by that - counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.
Robert F. Kennedy
The belief that man is an irresolute creature pulled this way and that by two forces of equal strength, alternately winning and losing the battle for his soul; the conviction that human life is nothing more than an uncertain struggle between heaven and hell; the faith in two opposed entities, Satan and Christ - all this was bound to engender those internal discords in which the soul, excited by the incessant fighting, stimulated as it were by the constant promises and threats, ends up by giving in and prostitutes itself to whichever of the two combatants has been more obstinate in its pursuit.
Joris-Karl Huysmans (Against Nature)
Village is a place where you can find peace,unity,strength,inspiration and most importantly a natural and beautiful life
Minahil urfan
capitalization learning”: we get good at something by building on the strengths that we are naturally given.
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Hermann Hesse (Wandering)
Without the faculty of forgetting, our past would weigh so heavily on our present that we should not have the strength to confront another moment, still less to live through it. Life would be bearable only to frivolous natures, those in fact who do not remember.
Emil M. Cioran (The Trouble with Being Born)
What is the devotion if there is no temptation which is master on their own? The man is not God and his strength is just in that to suppress its nature, if there is nothing to suppress what's the difference?
Meša Selimović (Death and the Dervish)
What happens to the drop of wine That you pour into the sea? Does it remain itself, unchanged? It is as if it never existed. So it is with the soul: Love drinks it in, It is united with Truth, Its old nature fades away, It is no longer master of itself. The soul wills and yet does not will: Its will belongs to Another. It has eyes only for this beauty; It no longer seeks to possess, as was its wont-- It lacks the strength to possess such sweetness. The base of this highest of peaks Is founded on nichil, Shaped nothingness, made one with the Lord.
Jacopone da Todi (The God-Madness)
When we understand the character of God, when we grasp something of His holiness, then we begin to understand the radical character of our sin and hopelessness. Helpless sinners can survive only by grace. Our strength is futile in itself; we are spiritually impotent without the assistance of a merciful God. We may dislike giving our attention to God's wrath and justice, but until we incline ourselves to these aspects of God's nature, we will never appreciate what has been wrought for us by grace. Even Edwards's sermon on sinners in God's hands was not designed to stress the flames of hell. The resounding accent falls not on the fiery pit but on the hands of the God who holds us and rescues us from it. The hands of God are gracious hands. They alone have the power to rescue us from certain destruction.
R.C. Sproul (The Holiness of God)
A society where feminine beauty is defined not by the human self on genuine intellectual and sentimental grounds, but by a computer software on the grounds of economic interest, is more dead than alive. It is a society of human bodies, not human beings.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
The Christians who engaged in infamous persecutions and shameful inquisitions were not evil men but misguided men. The churchmen who felt they had an edict from God to withstand the progress of science, whether in the form of a Copernican revolution or a Darwinian theory of natural selection, were not mischievous men but misinformed men.
Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love)
What Do the Trees Know? What do the trees know? To bend when all the wild winds blow. Roots are deep and time is slow. All we grasp we must let go. What do the trees know? Buds can weather ice and snow. Dark gives way to sunlight's glow. Strength and stillness help us grow.
Joyce Sidman (Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold)
Words. I’m surrounded by thousands of words. Maybe millions. Cathedral. Mayonnaise. Pomegranate. Mississippi. Neapolitan. Hippopotamus. Silky. Terrifying. Iridescent. Tickle. Sneeze. Wish. Worry. Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes—each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands. Deep within me, words pile up in huge drifts. Mountains of phrases and sentences and connected ideas. Clever expressions. Jokes. Love songs. From the time I was really little—maybe just a few months old—words were like sweet, liquid gifts, and I drank them like lemonade. I could almost taste them. They made my jumbled thoughts and feelings have substance. My parents have always blanketed me with conversation. They chattered and babbled. They verbalized and vocalized. My father sang to me. My mother whispered her strength into my ear. Every word my parents spoke to me or about me I absorbed and kept and remembered. All of them. I have no idea how I untangled the complicated process of words and thought, but it happened quickly and naturally. By the time I was two, all my memories had words, and all my words had meanings. But only in my head. I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old.
Sharon M. Draper (Out of My Mind)
But I weren't no quitter No wolf nor bear just gives up when they get beat or hungry. You ever seen a bear jump off a cliff 'cause life handed him a few rough draws? No, you haven't. The wild keeps going till it don't have strength in its muscles and bones. The wild doesn't give up; it's forever, and so was I.
Beth Lewis (The Wolf Road)
When we're able to put most of our energy into developing our natural talents, extraordinary room for growth exists. So, a revision to the "You-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be" maxim might be more accurate: You cannot be anything you want to be—but you can be a lot more of who you already are.
Tom Rath (Strengths Finder 2.0)
Never apologize for being over sensitive and emotional when defending the welfare of wildlife. Let this be a sign that you have a big heart and aren't afraid to show your true feelings. These emotions give you the strength to fight for what is right and to be the voice of those who cannot be heard.
Paul Oxton
Sometimes you have to let go of a career you love, a beloved home, or a loved one. Take time to grieve a loss of this nature. If you find yourself disoriented, consider surrounding yourself with people who see your strengths, goodness, gifts, and talents. They will help you find your way.
Laura Staley
When I say 'hero', do not picture someone with strength to fight and conquer evil – because evil is not something that can ever be conquered or defeated. Evil is natural. It is innate in all humans. But while it can't be defeated... it can be controlled. In order to control it, and live the life of a true hero, you must learn to see with eyes unclouded by hate. See the good in that which is evil, and the evil in that which is good. Pledge yourself to neither side, but vow instead to preserve the balance that exists between the two.
Hayao Miyazaki
Don't shrink from nature's brutal perfection. Take joy in it. Embrace it. Understand it and revel in it. Respect its strength, its wisdom, its brutality and its all-encompassing power. The highest law has always been, and shall be, nature; and the greatest wisdom forever lives in and through nature's eternal Fascism.
Boyd Rice (Standing In Two Circles: The Collected Works Of Boyd Rice)
Nature is typified by strength; humanity by weakness. Nature adheres to an immutable order; humanity to an ever-increasing chaos. Nature recognizes no equality at any level of its order; humanity preaches an all-pervasive equality and freely hands-out unearned "rights" in an attempt to make its doctrine a living reality. In short: humanity is Democratic, nature is Fascist.
Boyd Rice (Standing In Two Circles: The Collected Works Of Boyd Rice)
Hold your hands out over the earth as over a flame. To all who love her, who open to her the doors of their veins, she gives of her strength, sustaining them with her own measureless tremor of dark life. Touch the earth, love the earth, honour the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places. For the gifts of life are the earth’s and they are given to all, and they are the songs of birds at daybreak, Orion and the Bear, and dawn seen over ocean from the beach.
Henry Beston (The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod)
First came bright Spirits, not the Spirits of men, who danced and scattered flowers. Then, on the left and right, at each side of the forest avenue, came youthful shapes, boys upon one hand, and girls upon the other. If I could remember their singing and write down the notes, no man who read that score would ever grow sick or old. Between them went musicians: and after these a lady in whose honour all this was being done. I cannot now remember whether she was naked or clothed. If she were naked, then it must have been the almost visible penumbra of her courtesy and joy which produces in my memory the illusion of a great and shining train that followed her across the happy grass. If she were clothed, then the illusion of nakedness is doubtless due to the clarity with which her inmost spirit shone through the clothes. For clothes in that country are not a disguise: the spiritual body lives along each thread and turns them into living organs. A robe or a crown is there as much one of the wearer's features as a lip or an eye. But I have forgotten. And only partly do I remember the unbearable beauty of her face. “Is it?...is it?” I whispered to my guide. “Not at all,” said he. “It's someone ye'll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green.” “She seems to be...well, a person of particular importance?” “Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things.” “And who are these gigantic people...look! They're like emeralds...who are dancing and throwing flowers before here?” “Haven't ye read your Milton? A thousand liveried angels lackey her.” “And who are all these young men and women on each side?” “They are her sons and daughters.” “She must have had a very large family, Sir.” “Every young man or boy that met her became her son – even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.” “Isn't that a bit hard on their own parents?” “No. There are those that steal other people's children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives.” “And how...but hullo! What are all these animals? A cat-two cats-dozens of cats. And all those dogs...why, I can't count them. And the birds. And the horses.” “They are her beasts.” “Did she keep a sort of zoo? I mean, this is a bit too much.” “Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.” I looked at my Teacher in amazement. “Yes,” he said. “It is like when you throw a stone into a pool, and the concentric waves spread out further and further. Who knows where it will end? Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough int the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life.
C.S. Lewis (The Great Divorce)
Everybody has asked the question. . ."What shall we do with the Negro?" I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!
Frederick Douglass
…I never understood until the past months why the Master so often withdrew alone into the wilderness. There is not only food and medicine for one’s body; there is also healing for the heart and strength for the soul in nature. One gets very close to God…in these temples of God’s own building.
Harold Bell Wright (The Shepherd of the Hills)
Look, look,' cried the count, seizing the young man's hands - "look, for on my soul it is curious. Here is a man who had resigned himself to his fate, who was going to the scaffold to die - like a coward, it is true, but he was about to die without resistance. Do you know what gave him strength? - do you know what consoled him? It was, that another partook of his punishment - that another partook of his anguish - that another was to die before him. Lead two sheep to the butcher's, two oxen to the slaughterhouse, and make one of them understand that his companion will not die; the sheep will bleat for pleasure, the ox will bellow with joy. But man - man, who God created in his own image - man, upon whom God has laid his first, his sole commandment, to love his neighbour - man, to whom God has given a voice to express his thoughts - what is his first cry when he hears his fellowman is saved? A blasphemy. Honour to man, this masterpiece of nature, this king of the creation!
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
Nature full strength is more than we can take, Adam One used to say. It's a potent hallucinogen, a soporific, for the untrained Soul. We're no longer at home in it. We need to dilute it. We can't drink it straight. And God is the same. Too much God and you overdose. God needs to be filtered.
Margaret Atwood (The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam, #2))
How do we maintain integrity as introverts, and at the same time allow our natural extroverted tendencies to emerge? The answer: organically. We mosh best when we feel like moshing. The T’ai Chi symbol illustrates that introversion (yin) flows into extroversion (yang) and extroversion flows into introversion. Each specialty houses the nucleus of the other. When the introvert is safe, she can extrovert. When the extrovert is safe, he can introvert.
Laurie A. Helgoe (Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength)
[Hitler] has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security, and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flag and loyalty-parades ... Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet
George Orwell
Each holiday tradition acts as an exercise in cognitive development, a greater challenge for the child. Despite the fact most parents don't recognize this function, they still practice the exercise. Rant also saw how resolving the illusions is crucial to how the child uses any new skills. A child who is never coached with Santa Claus may never develop an ability to imagine. To him, nothing exists except the literal and tangible. A child who is disillusioned abruptly, by his peers or siblings, being ridiculed for his faith and imagination, may choose never to believe in anything- tangible or intangible- again. To never trust or wonder. But a child who relinquishes the illusions of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, that child may come away with the most important skill set. That child may recognize the strength of his own imagination and faith. He will embrace the ability to create his own reality. That child becomes his own authority. He determines the nature of his world. His own vision. And by doing so, by the power of his example, he determines the reality of the other two types: those who can't imagine, and those who can't trust.
Chuck Palahniuk (Rant)
Perhaps in the margins of darkness, I could create a son who is not missing; who lives beyond even my own imagination and invention; whose lusts, stupidities, and strengths carry him farther than even he or I can anticipate; who sees the world for what it is; and consequently bears the burden of everyone's tomorrow with unprecedented wisdom and honor because he is one of the very few who has successfully interrogated his own nature. His shields are instantly available though seldom used. And those who value him shall prosper while those who would destroy him shall perish. He will fulfill a promise I made years ago but failed to keep.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses. Flood waters await us in our avenues. Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche Over unprotected villages. The sky slips low and grey and threatening. We question ourselves. What have we done to so affront nature? We worry God. Are you there? Are you there really? Does the covenant you made with us still hold? Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters, Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air. The world is encouraged to come away from rancor, Come the way of friendship. It is the Glad Season. Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner. Flood waters recede into memory. Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us As we make our way to higher ground. Hope is born again in the faces of children It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets. Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things, Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors. In our joy, we think we hear a whisper. At first it is too soft. Then only half heard. We listen carefully as it gathers strength. We hear a sweetness. The word is Peace. It is loud now. It is louder. Louder than the explosion of bombs. We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence. It is what we have hungered for. Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace. A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies. Security for our beloveds and their beloveds. We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas. We beckon this good season to wait a while with us. We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come. Peace. Come and fill us and our world with your majesty. We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian, Implore you, to stay a while with us. So we may learn by your shimmering light How to look beyond complexion and see community. It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time. On this platform of peace, we can create a language To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other. At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ Into the great religions of the world. We jubilate the precious advent of trust. We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope. All the earth's tribes loosen their voices To celebrate the promise of Peace. We, Angels and Mortal's, Believers and Non-Believers, Look heavenward and speak the word aloud. Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud. Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation. Peace, My Brother. Peace, My Sister. Peace, My Soul.
Maya Angelou (Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem)
Let us face ourselves. We are Hyperboreans; we know very well how far off we live. 'Neither by land nor by sea will you find the way to the Hyperboreans'—Pindar already knew this about us. Beyond the north, ice, and death—our life, our happiness. We have discovered happiness, we know the way, we have found the exit out of the labyrinth of thousands of years. Who else has found it? Modern man perhaps? 'I have got lost; I am everything that has got lost,' sighs modern man. This modernity was our sickness: lazy peace, cowardly compromise, the whole virtuous uncleanliness of the modern Yes and No. … Rather live in the ice than among modern virtues and other south winds! We were intrepid enough, we spared neither ourselves nor others; but for a long time we did not know where to turn with our intrepidity. We became gloomy, we were called fatalists. Our fatum—abundance, tension, the damming of strength. We thirsted for lightning and deeds and were most remote from the happiness of the weakling, 'resignation.' In our atmosphere was a thunderstorm; the nature we are became dark—for we saw no way. Formula for our happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Anti-Christ)
He was a man who was charged with the work he did in life because he was not one to ask questions - not so much on account of any natural quality of discretion as because he simply could never think of any questions to ask. ... On the strength of which he had guaranteed himself regular employment for as long as he cared to live.
Douglas Adams (The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Dirk Gently, #2))
[I]n any land, in any country under modern free competition, to lay any class of weak and despised people, be they white, black, or blue, at the political mercy of their stronger, richer, and more resourceful fellows, is a temptation which human nature seldom has withstood and seldom will withstand.
W.E.B. Du Bois (The Souls of Black Folk)
ENDURANCE I don't know you, But I love you, Just as God loves me and you. The sun and the moon Are opposing forces, But they still greet each other, Peacefully, As one awakens in the morning, Just as the other goes to sleep. Life has pounded me down And thrashed me around, Time and time again, But I always get right back up, Because I still love life - Just as the earth still loves The rain.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Just because you're the god of vengeance doesn't mean you have to be some brooding cliché, forever cackling to yourself and totting up what you owe to whom. Choose how your nature shapes you. Embrace it. Find the strength in it. Or fight yourself and remain forever incomplete.
N.K. Jemisin (The Kingdom of Gods (Inheritance, #3))
She’s beautiful to look at, she’s new, she’s clean, and perfectly cut. But then you get up and look closely and see that she’s not real. She’s a fake. She doesn't glimmer like a natural diamond or hold the beauty and unbreakable strength of a real diamond. She’s just a manufactured piece of glass. Not the real deal. And sooner or later, that pig headed owner is gonna realize that fake diamonds can never pass for the real ones, no matter how much you wish they would.
Bink Cummings (The Diary of Bink Cummings: Vol 2 (MC Chronicles, #2))
Oh, it comforts him, really, not that he’ll ever admit it. Knowing the truth of my sordid nature only confirms Tristan’s deepest suspicions about humanity,” Parisa replied to Libby’s inner thoughts, catching her sidelong glance. “I’m confident Tristan could be stabbed mid-climax and still find the strength to groan out ‘I was right’ before succumbing to the cavernous embrace of death.
Olivie Blake (The Atlas Six (The Atlas, #1))
The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. But such a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence. A noble character is the result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher nature—the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man. The youth need to be impressed with the truth that their endowments are not their own. Strength, time, intellect, are but lent treasures. They belong to God, and it should be the resolve of every youth to put them to the highest use. He is a branch, from which God expects fruit; a steward, whose capital must yield increase; a light, to illuminate the world's darkness. Every youth, every child, has a work to do for the honor of God and the uplifting of humanity.
Ellen Gould White (Education)
Margaret realized the chaotic nature of our daily life, and its difference from the orderly sequence that has been fabricated by historians. Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere. With infinite effort we nerve ourselves for a crisis that never comes. The most successful career must show a waste of strength that might have removed mountains, and the most unsuccessful is no that of a man who is taken unprepared, but of him who has prepared and is never taken. On a tragedy of that kind our national morality is duly silent. It assumes that preparation against danger is in itself a good, and that men, like nations, are the better for staggering through life fully armed. The tragedy of preparedness has scarcely been handled, save by the Greeks. Life is indeed dangerous, but not in the way morality would have us believe. It is indeed unmanageable, but the essence of it is not a battle. It is unmanageable, but the essence of it is not a battle. It is unmanageable because it is a romance, and its essence is romantic beauty.
E.M. Forster (Howards End)
Magic came from life itself, from the interaction of nature and the elements, from the energy of all living beings, and especially of people. A man's magic demonstrates what sort of person he is, what is held most deeply inside of him. There is no truer gauge of a man's character than the way in which he employs his strength, his power.
Jim Butcher (Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1))
Nobody could catch cold by the sea; nobody wanted appetite by the sea; nobody wanted spirits; nobody wanted strength. Sea air was healing, softening, relaxing -- fortifying and bracing -- seemingly just as was wanted -- sometimes one, sometimes the other. If the sea breeze failed, the seabath was the certain corrective; and where bathing disagreed, the sea air alone was evidently designed by nature for the cure.
Jane Austen (Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon)
I saw a banner hanging next to city hall in downtown Philadelphia that read, "Kill them all, and let God sort them out." A bumper sticker read, "God will judge evildoers; we just have to get them to him." I saw a T-shirt on a soldier that said, "US Air Force... we don't die; we just go to hell to regroup." Others were less dramatic- red, white, and blue billboards saying, "God bless our troops." "God Bless America" became a marketing strategy. One store hung an ad in their window that said, "God bless America--$1 burgers." Patriotism was everywhere, including in our altars and church buildings. In the aftermath of September 11th, most Christian bookstores had a section with books on the event, calendars, devotionals, buttons, all decorated in the colors of America, draped in stars and stripes, and sprinkled with golden eagles. This burst of nationalism reveals the deep longing we all have for community, a natural thirst for intimacy... September 11th shattered the self-sufficient, autonomous individual, and we saw a country of broken fragile people who longed for community- for people to cry with, be angry with, to suffer with. People did not want to be alone in their sorrow, rage, and fear. But what happened after September 11th broke my heart. Conservative Christians rallies around the drums of war. Liberal Christian took to the streets. The cross was smothered by the flag and trampled under the feet of angry protesters. The church community was lost, so the many hungry seekers found community in the civic religion of American patriotism. People were hurting and crying out for healing, for salvation in the best sense of the word, as in the salve with which you dress a wound. A people longing for a savior placed their faith in the fragile hands of human logic and military strength, which have always let us down. They have always fallen short of the glory of God. ...The tragedy of the church's reaction to September 11th is not that we rallied around the families in New York and D.C. but that our love simply reflected the borders and allegiances of the world. We mourned the deaths of each soldier, as we should, but we did not feel the same anger and pain for each Iraqi death, or for the folks abused in the Abu Ghraib prison incident. We got farther and farther from Jesus' vision, which extends beyond our rational love and the boundaries we have established. There is no doubt that we must mourn those lives on September 11th. We must mourn the lives of the soldiers. But with the same passion and outrage, we must mourn the lives of every Iraqi who is lost. They are just as precious, no more, no less. In our rebirth, every life lost in Iraq is just as tragic as a life lost in New York or D.C. And the lives of the thirty thousand children who die of starvation each day is like six September 11ths every single day, a silent tsunami that happens every week.
Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical)
Solitude, the safeguard of mediocrity, is to genius the stern friend, the cold, obscure shelter where moult the wings which will bear it farther than suns and stars. He who should inspire and lead his race must be defended from travelling with the souls of other men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily, time-worn yoke of their opinions. "In the morning, — solitude;" said Pythagoras; that Nature may speak to the imagination, as she does never in company, and that her favorite may make acquaintance with those divine strengths which disclose themselves to serious and abstracted thought. 'Tis very certain that Plato, Plotinus, Archimedes, Hermes, Newton, Milton, Wordsworth, did not live in a crowd, but descended into it from time to time as benefactors: and the wise instructor will press this point of securing to the young soul in the disposition of time and the arrangements of living, periods and habits of solitude.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Equality is a lie,” Bane told her. “A myth to appease the masses. Simply look around and you will see the lie for what it is! There are those with power, those with the strength and will to lead. And there are those meant to follow—those incapable of anything but servitude and a meager, worthless existence. “Equality is a perversion of the natural order!
Drew Karpyshyn (Star Wars, The Darth Bane Series: Path of Destruction, Rule of Two, Dynasty of Evil)
All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately upon one assumption; a false assumption. It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to known fact. For the variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life, but by death; by the dying down or breaking off of their strength or desire. A man varies his movements because of some slight element of failure or fatigue. He gets into an omnibus because he is tired of walking; or he walks because he is tired of sitting still. But if his life and joy were so gigantic that he never tired of going to Islington, he might go to Islington as regularly as the Thames goes to Sheerness. The very speed and ecstacy of his life would have the stillness of death. The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE. Heaven may ENCORE the bird who laid an egg. If the human being conceives and brings forth a human child instead of bringing forth a fish, or a bat, or a griffin, the reason may not be that we are fixed in an animal fate without life or purpose. It may be that our little tragedy has touched the gods, that they admire it from their starry galleries, and that at the end of every human drama man is called again and again before the curtain. Repetition may go on for millions of years, by mere choice, and at any instant it may stop. Man may stand on the earth generation after generation, and yet each birth be his positively last appearance.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
he was partly a young man of our time - that is, honest by nature, demanding the truth, seeking it and believing in it, and in that belief demanding immediate participation in it with all the strength of his soul; demanding an immediate deed, with an unfailing desire to sacrifice everything for this deed, even life. Although, unfortunately, these young men do not understand that the sacrifice of life is, perhaps, the easiest of all sacrifices in many cases, while to sacrifice, for example, five or six years of their ebulliently youthful life to hard, difficult studies, to learning, in order to increase tenfold their strength to serve the very truth and the very deed that they loved and set out to accomplish - such sacrifice is often almost beyond the strength of many of them.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamozov)
I'm not afraid of you. I'm not afraid of anything." "Yes, you are, on both counts. You're afraid of everything. In England there are castles with stone walls that go up over a hundred feet, built during a time when it was the strength of your fortress that won battles. Each time I look at you, I marvel at the feat of organic engineering that's allowed you to create such a fortification within a perfect composition of female flesh.
Joey W. Hill (Ice Queen (Nature of Desire, #3))
Personally I think there is only one thing to do: find the task we have been placed on this Earth to do, and accomplish it as best we can, with all our strength, without making things complicated or thinking there's anything divine about our animal nature. This is the only way we will ever feel that we have been doing something constructive when death comes to get us. Freedom, choice, will, and so on? Chimeras. We think we can make honey without sharing in the fate of bees, but we are in truth nothing but poor bees, destined to accomplish our task and then die.
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
...in my opinion miracles will never confound a realist. It is not miracles that bring a realist to faith. A true realist, if he is not a believer, will always find in himself the strength and ability not to believe in miracles as well, and if a miracle stands before him as an irrefutable fact, he will sooner doubt his own senses than admit the fact. And even if he does admit it, he will admit it as a fact of nature that was previously unknown to him. In the realist, faith is not born from miracles, but miracles from faith. Once the realist comes to believe, then, precisely because of his realism, he must also allow for miracles. The Apostle Thomas declared that he would not believe until he saw, and when he saw, he said: "My Lord and My God!" Was it the miracle that made him believe? Most likely not, but he believed first and foremost because he wished to believe, and maybe already fully believed in his secret heart even as he was saying: "I will not believe until I see.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
I wonder if you sisters full understand the greatness of your gifts and talents and how all of you can achieve the "highest place of honor" in the Church and in the world. One of your unique, precious, and sublime gifts is your femininity, with its natural grace, goodness, and divinity. Femininity is not just lipstick, stylish hairdos, and trendy clothes. It is the divine adornment of humanity. It finds expression in your qualities of your capacity to love, your spirituality, delicacy, radiance, sensitivity, creativity, charm, graciousness, gentleness, dignity, and quiet strength. It is manifest differently in each girl or woman, but each of you possesses it. Femininity is part of your inner beauty. One of your particular gifts is your feminine intuition. Do not limit yourselves. As you seek to know the will of our Heavenly Father in your life and become more spiritual, you will be far more attractive, even irresistible. You can use your smiling loveliness to bless those you love and all you meet, and spread great joy. Femininity is part of the God-given divinity within each of you. It is your incomparable power and influence to do good. You can, through your supernal gifts, bless the lives of children, women, and men. Be proud of your womanhood. Enhance it. Use it to serve others.
James E. Faust
It is the nature of the Kali Yuga that most human beings are now held back from spiritual liberation due to the gravity of inertia, apathy and laziness, (known in Sankrit as the quality of tapas) that overwhelms this age. Despite this seemingly gloomy prognosis, there is a way out of this predicament for those with the will and stamina to awaken from the rampant lethargy, within and outside of themselves, to take action.
Zeena Schreck
The automatic, natural contact with his own emotions and needs gives an individual strength and self-esteem. He may experience his feelings—sadness, despair, or the need for help—without fear of making the mother insecure. He can allow himself to be afraid when he is threatened, angry when his wishes are not fulfilled. He knows not only what he does not want but also what he wants and is able to express his wants, irrespective of whether he will be loved or hated for it.
Alice Miller (The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self)
White Fang was glad to acknowledge his lordship, but it was lordship based upon superior intelligence and brute strength...There were deeps in his nature which had never been sounded. A kind word, a caressing touch of the hand, on the part of Gray Beaver, might have sounded these deeps; but Gray Beaver did not caress nor speak kind words. It was not his way.
Jack London (White Fang)
Monsieur, if a wife's nature loathes that of the man she is wedded to, marriage must be slavery. Against slavery all right thinkers revolt, and though torture be the price of resistance, torture must be dared: though the only road to freedom lie through the gates of death, those gates must be passed; for freedom is indispensable. Then, monsieur, I would resist as far as my strength permitted; when that strength failed I should be sure of a refuge. Death would certainly screen me both from bad laws and their consequences.
Charlotte Brontë (The Professor)
Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, real hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap. A man of the Classical Age who had to live in medieval times would suffocate miserably just as a savage does in the midst of our civilization. Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence. Naturally, everyone does not feel this equally strongly. A nature such as Nietzsche’s had to suffer our present ills more than a generation in advance. What he had to go through alone and misunderstood, thousands suffer today.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
Another thing is war. I am naturally warlike. Attacking is one of my instincts. Being able to be an enemy, being an enemy — these require a strong nature, perhaps; in any case every strong nature presupposes them. It needs resistances, so it seeks resistance: aggressive pathos is just as integrally necessary to strength as the feeling of revenge and reaction is to weakness. Woman, forinstance, is vengeful: that is a condition of her weakness, as is her sensitivity to other people’s afflictions. — The strength of anattacker can in a way be gauged by the opposition he requires; allgrowth makes itself manifest by searching out a more powerful opponent — or problem: for a philosopher who is warlike challenges problems to duels, too. The task is not to master all resistances, but only those against which one has to pit one’s entire strength, suppleness, and mastery-at-arms — opponents who are equal...
Friedrich Nietzsche (Ecce Homo)
If a man can realize his divine nature with the help of an image, would it be right to call that a sin? Nor, even when he has passed that stage, should he call it an error. [...] man is not traveling from error to truth, but from truth to truth, from lower to higher truth. To him all the religions from the lowest fetishism to the highest absolutism, mean so many attempts of the human soul to grasp and realize the Infinite, each determined by the conditions of its birth and association, and each of these marks a stage of progress; and every soul is a young eagle soaring higher and higher, gathering more and more strength till it reaches the Glorious Sun.
Vivekananda
One of the most promising developments since the publication of “The Geek Syndrome” has been the emergence of the concept of neurodiversity: the notion that conditions like autism, dyslexia, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should be regarded as naturally occurring cognitive variations with distinctive strengths that have contributed to the evolution of technology and culture rather than mere checklists of deficits and dysfunctions.
Steve Silberman (NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity)
There are many paths to mastery, and if you are persistent you will certainly find one that suits you. But a key component in the process is determining your mental and psychological strengths and working with them. To rise to the level of mastery requires many hours of dedicated focus and practice. You cannot get there if your work brings you no joy and you are constantly struggling to overcome your own weaknesses. You must look deep within and come to an understanding of these particular strengths and weaknesses you possess, being as realistic as possible. Knowing your strengths you can lean on them with utmost intensity. Once you start in this direction, you will gain momentum. You will not be burdened by conventions and you will not be slowed down by having to deal with skills that go against your inclinations and strengths. In this way, your creative and intuitive powers will be naturally awakened.
Robert Greene
Imagination! lifting up itself Before the eye and progress of my Song Like and unfather'd vapour; here that Power In all the might of its endowments, came Athwart me; I was lost as in a cloud, Halted without a struggle to break through, And now recovering to my Soul I say I recognize they glory; in such strength Of usurpation, in such visitings Of awful promise, when the light of sense Goes out in flashes that have shewn to us The invisible world, doth Greatness make abode There harbours whether we be young or old. Our destiny, our nature, and our home Is with infinitude, and only there; With hope it is, hope that can never die, Effort, and expectation, and desire, And something evermore about to be.
William Wordsworth (William Wordsworth's The prelude : with a selection from the shorter poems, the sonnets, The recluse, and The excursion and three essays on the art of poetry)
If you’re an introvert, find your flow by using your gifts. You have the power of persistence, the tenacity to solve complex problems, and the clear-sightedness to avoid pitfalls that trip others up. You enjoy relative freedom from the temptations of superficial prizes like money and status. Indeed, your biggest challenge may be to fully harness your strengths. You may be so busy trying to appear like a zestful, reward-sensitive extrovert that you undervalue your own talents, or feel underestimated by those around you. But when you’re focused on a project that you care about, you probably find that your energy is boundless. So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multitasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way. It’s up to you to use that independence to good effect.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
The mind of man is capable of anything-because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valour, rage-who can tell?-but truth-truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder-the man know, and can look on without a wink. But he must at least be as much of a man as these on the shore. He must meet the truth with his own true stuff-with his own inborn strength.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer)
Human nature is full of riddles and contradictions; its very complexity engenders art—and by art I mean the search for something more than simple linear formulations, flat solutions, oversimplified explanations. One of these riddles is: how is it that people who have been crushed by the sheer weight of slavery and cast to the bottom of the pit can nevertheless find strength to rise up and free themselves, first in spirit and then in body; while those who soar unhampered over the peaks of freedom suddenly appear to lose the taste for freedom, lose the will to defend it, and, hopelessly confused and lost, almost begin to crave slavery. Or again: why is it that societies which have been benumbed for half a century by lies they have been forced to swallow find within themselves a certain lucidity of heart and soul which enables them to see things in their true perspective and to perceive the real meaning of events; whereas societies with access to every kind of information suddenly plunge into lethargy, into a kind of mass blindness, a kind of voluntary self deception.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Warning to the West)
I think you are talented and passionate, Isabella. More than you think and less than you expect. But there are a lot of people with talent and passion, and many of them never get anywhere. This is only the first step for achieving anything in life. Natural talent is like an athlete's strength. You can be born with more or less ability, but nobody can become an athlete just because he or she was born tall, or strong, or fast. What makes the athlete, or the artist, is the work, the vocation and the technique. The intelligence you are born with is just ammunition. To achieve something with it you need to transform your mind into a high-precision weapon.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Angel's Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #2))
At night I would return home, set out a lamp before me, and devote myself to reading and writing. Whenever sleep overcame me or I became conscious of weakening, I would turn aside to drink a cup of wine, so that my strength would return to me. Then I would return to reading. And whenever sleep seized me I would see those very problems in my dream; and many questions became clear to me in my sleep. I continued in this until all of the sciences were deeply rooted within me and I understood them as is humanly possible. Everything which I knew at the time is just as I know it now; I have not added anything to it to this day. Thus I mastered the logical, natural, and mathematical sciences, and I had now reached the science.
Avicenna Ibn Sina
Sin embargo, conocí a muchos internados que supieron ser fieles a su dignidad humana hasta el mismo fin. Los nazis lograron degradarlos físicamente, pero no fueron capaces de rebajarlos moralmente. Gracias a estos pocos, no he perdido totalmente mi fe en la humanidad. Si en la misma jungla de Birkenau no todos fueron necesariamente inhumanos con sus hermanos hombres, indudablemente hay todavía esperanzas. Esta esperanza es la que me hace vivir.
Olga Lengyel
Remember that when a women gets the job you wanted or dates that bloke you fancied or wears a dress you loved but couldn't afford, she hasn't taken anything from you. There is time and space for you to do it too. One of the cleverest things the patriarchy did was make us believe that there is only one tiny sliver of success cake available; that we all have to fight over it; that a woman who tramples on her competitors to chow it down first is somehow 'ruthless' or to borrow a phrase from Apprentice-ese, 'a natural business mind.' This is a scare-mongering lie. There are so many cakes to eat. And if you can't find the slice you want, try baking one. Cake for everyone! Let them eat cake! I've got lost in the metaphor.
Scarlett Curtis (Feminists Don't Wear Pink (And Other Lies): Amazing Women on What the F-Word Means to Them)
Gods are boring creatures, Bet. Most are nosthing more than spoiled children with powers they never hesitate to use against those weaker. And while your father can be juvenile at times, there is a danger to him. He understands his power ans he's fierce with it. More than that, he doesn't prey on those weaker, he only attacks those who are stronger/ That was what dreq me to him and why i agreed tp be the mother of his daugher. His strength, and the fact that he never once did he use it against me. Your father is like having a lion for a pet. You know that it's a creature of utter and supreme violence whose mere nature and talent is murder, and yet it lies down at your side and purrs for your touch alone. There is nothing more titillating. But more than that was hpw you father made me feel. He awoke something inside me that had never lived before. He breathed life into my soul and I was a better person for having known him
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Styxx (Dark-Hunter, #22))
When all that says 'it is good' has been debunked, what says 'I want' remains. (...) The Conditioners, therefore, must come to be motivated simply by their own pleasure. (...) My point is that those who stand outside all judgements of value cannot have any ground for preferring one of their own impulses to another except the emotional strength of that impulse. (...) I am very doubtful myself whether the benevolent impulses, stripped of that preference and encouragement which the Tao teaches us to give them and left to their merely natural strength and frequency as psychological events, will have much influence. I am very doubtful whether history shows us one example of a man who, having stepped outside traditional morality and attained power, has used that power benevolently.
C.S. Lewis (The Abolition of Man)
The tears, when they come to some men, are worse than beatings. They're wounded worse by sobbing, men like that, than they are by boots and batons. Tears begin in the heart, but some of us deny the heart so often, and for so long, that when it speaks we hear not one but a hundred sorrows in the heartbreak. We know that crying is a good and natural thing. We know that crying isn't a weakness, but a kind of strength. Still, the weeping rips us root by tangled root from the earth, and we crash like fallen trees when we cry.
Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram)
The fundamental defect of the female character is a lack of a sense of justice. This originates first and foremost in their want of rationality and capacity for reflexion but it is strengthened by the fact that, as the weaker sex, they are driven to rely not on force but on cunning: hence their instinctive subtlety and their ineradicable tendency to tell lies: for, as nature has equipped the lion with claws and teeth, the elephant with tusks, the wild boar with fangs, the bull with horns and the cuttlefish with ink, so it has equipped woman with the power of dissimulation as her means of attack and defence, and has transformed into this gift all the strength it has bestowed on man in the form of physical strength and the power of reasoning. Dissimulation is thus inborn in her and consequently to be found in the stupid woman almost as often as in the clever one. To make use of it at every opportunity is as natural to her as it is for an animal to employ its means of defence whenever it is attacked, and when she does so she feels that to some extent she is only exercising her rights. A completely truthful woman who does not practice dissimulation is perhaps an impossibility, which is why women see through the dissimulation of others so easily it is inadvisable to attempt it with them. – But this fundamental defect which I have said they possess, together with all that is associated with it, gives rise to falsity, unfaithfulness, treachery, ingratitude, etc. Women are guilty of perjury far more often than men. It is questionable whether they ought to be allowed to take an oath at all.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Über die Weiber)
The common element in both submission and domination is the symbiotic nature of relatedness. Both persons involved have lost their integrity and freedom; they live on each other and from each other, satisfying their craving for closeness, yet suffering from the lack of inner strength and self-reliance which would require freedom and independence, and furthermore constantly threatened by the conscious or unconscious hostility which is bound to arise from the symbiotic relationship.10 The realization of the submissive (masochistic) or the domineering (sadistic) passion never leads to satisfaction.
Erich Fromm (The Sane Society)
Even though a person may begin life as a prisoner of what natural endowments he was given and the circumstances under which he was raised, he cannot remain a “victim” of his environment forever. Eventually, every person must come to terms with him or herself. To know oneself, to fairly judge one's strengths and weaknesses, and to attain true mastery over one's most basic instincts and inclinations are among life's greatest challenges. But ultimately, anyone's rise to a life of integrity and merit can only come as the result of a full self-awakening.
George K. Simon Jr. (In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People)
From the time when the exercise of the intellect became a source of strength and of wealth, we see that every addition to science, every fresh truth, and every new idea became a germ of power placed within the reach of the people. Poetry, eloquence, and memory, the graces of the mind, the fire of imagination, depth of thought, and all the gifts which Heaven scatters at a venture turned to the advantage of democracy; and even when they were in the possession of its adversaries, they still served its cause by throwing into bold relief the natural greatness of man. Its conquests spread, therefore, with those of civilization and knowledge; and literature became an arsenal open to all, where the poor and the weak daily resorted for arms.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
There are at the present time two great nations in the world, which started from different points, but seem to tend towards the same end. I allude to the Russians and the Americans. Both of them have grown up unnoticed; and whilst the attention of mankind was directed elsewhere, they have suddenly placed themselves in the front rank among the nations, and the world learned their existence and their greatness at almost the same time. All other nations seem to have nearly reached their natural limits, and they have only to maintain their power; but these are still in the act of growth. All the others have stopped, or continue to advance with extreme difficulty; these alone are proceeding with ease and celerity along a path to which no limit can be perceived. The American struggles against the obstacles which nature opposes to him; the adversaries of the Russian are men. The former combats the wilderness and savage life; the latter, civilization with all its arms. The conquests of the American are therefore gained with the ploughshare; those of the Russian by the sword. The Anglo-American relies upon personal interest to accomplish his ends, and gives free scope to the unguided strength and common sense of the people; the Russian centres all the authority of society in a single arm. The principal instrument of the former is freedom; of the latter, servitude. Their starting-point is different, and their courses are not the same; yet each of them seems marked out by the will of Heaven to sway the destinies of half the globe.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
The bold code of the transhumanist will rise. That's an inevitable, undeniable fact. It's embedded in the undemocratic nature of technology and our own teleological evolutionary advancment. It is the future. We are the future like it or not. And it needs to molded, guided, and handled correctly by the strength and wisdom of transhumanist scientists with their nations and resources standing behind them, facilitating them. It needs to be supported in a way that we can make a successful transition into it, and not sacrifice ourselves—either by its overwhelming power or by a fear of harnessing that power. You need to put your resources into the technology. Into our education system. Into our universities, industries, and ideas. Into the strongest of our society. Into the brightest of our society. Into the best of our society So that we can attain the future.
Zoltan Istvan (The Transhumanist Wager)
For centuries poets, some poets, have tried to give a voice to the animals, and readers, some readers, have felt empathy and sorrow. If animals did have voices, and they could speak with the tongues of angels--at the very least with the tongues of angels--they would be unable to save themselves from us. What good would language do? Their mysterious otherness has not saved them, nor have their beautiful songs and coats and skins and shells and eyes. We discover the remarkable intelligence of the whale, the wolf, the elephant--it does not save them, nor does our awareness of the complexity of their lives. Their strength, their skills, their swiftness, the beauty of their flights. It matters not, it seems, whether they are large or small, proud or shy, docile or fierce, wild or domesticated, whether they nurse their young or brood patiently on eggs. If they eat meat, we decry their viciousness; if they eat grasses and seeds, we dismiss them as weak. There is not one of them, not even the songbird who cannot, who does not, conflict with man and his perceived needs and desires. St. Francis converted the wolf of Gubbio to reason, but he performed this miracle only once and as miracles go, it didn’t seem to capture the public’s fancy. Humans don’t want animals to reason with them. It would be a disturbing, unnerving, diminishing experience; it would bring about all manner of awkwardness and guilt.
Joy Williams (Ill Nature)
Those who don't love themselves as they are rarely love life as it is either. Most people have come to prefer certain of life's experiences and deny and reject others, unaware of the value of the hidden things that may come wrapped in plain or even ugly paper. In avoiding all pain and seeking comfort at all cost, we may be left without intimacy or compassion; in rejecting change and risk we often cheat ourselves of the quest; in denying our suffering we may never know our strength or our greatness. Or even that the love we have been given can be trusted. It is natural, even instinctive to prefer comfort to pain, the familiar to the unknown. But sometimes our instincts are not wise. Life usually offers us far more than our biases and preferences will allow us to have. Beyond comfort lie grace, mystery, and adventure. We may need to let go of our beliefs and ideas about life in order to have life.
Rachel Naomi Remen (Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal)
For goodness sake,' they'll cry, 'you cannot argue against it--two times two is four! Nature doesn't consult you; it doesn't give a damn for your wishes or whether its laws please or do not please you. You must accept it as it is, and hence accept all consequences. A wall is indeed a wall. ...' And so on and so forth. Good God, what do I care about the laws of nature and arithmetic if, for one reason or another, I don't like these laws, including the 'two times two is four'? Of course, I cannot break through this wall with my head if I don't have the strength to break through it, but neither will I accept it simply because I face a stone wall and am not strong enough.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes From The Underground)
What in water did Bloom, waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier, returning to the range, admire? Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator's projection: its unplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides: its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin: its luteofulvous bed: its capacity to dissolve and hold in solution all soluble substances including millions of tons of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas and islands, its persistent formation of homothetic islands, peninsulas and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents, gulfstream, north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes, waterspouts, Artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies, freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings, geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges, cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve: its secrecy in springs and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the well by the hole in the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea: its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe), numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90 percent of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon.
James Joyce (Ulysses)
Ever since childhood Yurii Andreievich had been fond of woods seen at evening against the setting sun. At such moments he felt as if he too were being pierced by shafts of light. It was as though the gift of the living spirit were streaming into his breast, piercing his being and coming out at his shoulders like a pair of wings. The archetype that is formed in every child for life and seems for ever after to be his inward face, his personality, awoke in him in its full primordial strength, and compelled nature, the forest, the afterglow, and everything else visible to be transfigured into a similarly primordial and all-embracing likeness of a girl. Closing his eyes, "Lara," he whispered and thought, addressing the whole of his life, all God's earth, all the sunlit space spread out before him.
Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago)
I think that we may safely trust a good deal more than we do. We may waive just so much care of ourselves as we honestly bestow elsewhere. Nature is well adapted to our weakness as our strength. The incessant anxiety and strain of some is a well nigh incurable form of disease. We are made to exaggerate the importance of what work we do; and yet how much is not done by us! or, what if we had been taken sick? How vigilant we are! determined not to live by faith if we can avoid it; all the day long on the alert, at night we unwillingly say our prayers and commit ourselves to uncertainties. So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life, and denying the possibility of change. This is the only way, we say; but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre. All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant. Confucius said, “To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” When one man has reduced a fact of the imagination to be a fact to his understanding, I foresee that all men will at length establish their lives on that basis.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
For the most appalling quality of water is its strength. I love its flash and gleam, its music, its pliancy and grace, its slap against my body; but I fear its strength. I fear it as my ancestors must have feared the natural forces that they worshipped. All the mysteries are in its movement. It slips out of holes in the earth like the ancient snake. I have seen its birth; and the more I gaze at that sure and inremitting surge of water at the very top of the mountain, the more I am baffled. We make it all so easy, any child in school can understand it – water rises in the hills, it flows and finds its own level, and man can't live without it. Bud I don't understand it. I cannot fathom its power.
Nan Shepherd (The Living Mountain)
I need to give you one last bit of advice in the off chance this rather extraordinary and enviable situation in which you find yourself is actually true- that somehow you've fallen deep down into a Cordova story. I stared back at him. Be the good guy, he said. How do I know I'm the good guy? He pointed at me, nodding. A very wise question. You don't. Most bad guys think they're good. But there are a few signifiers. You'll be miserable. You'll be hated. You'll fumble around in the dark, alone and confused. You'll have little insight as to the true nature of things, not until the very last minute, and only if you have the stamina and the madness to go to the very, very end. But most importantly- and critically- you will act without regard for yourself. You'll be motivated by something that has nothing to do with the ego. You'll do it for justice. For grace. For love. Those large rather heroic qualities only the good have the strength to carry on their shoulders. And you'll listen.
Marisha Pessl (Night Film)
The making of gardens and parks goes on with civilization all over the world, and they increase both in size and number as their value is recognized. Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little windowsill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent National Parks—the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc.—Nature's sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world. Nevertheless, like anything else worth while, from the very beginning, however well guarded, they have always been subject to attack by despoiling gain-seekers and mischief-makers of every degree from Satan to Senators, eagerly trying to make everything immediately and selfishly commercial, with schemes disguised in smug-smiling philanthropy, industriously, sham-piously crying, "Conservation, conservation, panutilization," that man and beast may be fed and the dear Nation made great. Thus long ago a few enterprising merchants utilized the Jerusalem temple as a place of business instead of a place of prayer, changing money, buying and selling cattle and sheep and doves; and earlier still, the first forest reservation, including only one tree, was likewise despoiled. Ever since the establishment of the Yosemite National Park, strife has been going on around its borders and I suppose this will go on as part of the universal battle between right and wrong, however much of its boundaries may be shorn, or its wild beauty destroyed.
John Muir (The Yosemite)
For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the
Joyce Meyer (Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind)
Are you all right?" A crease appears between his eyebrows, and he touches my cheek gently.I bat his hand away. "Well," I say, "first I got reamed out in front of everyone,and then I had to chat with the woman who's trying to destroy my old faction,and then Eric almost tossed my friends out of Dauntless,so yeah,it's shaping up to be a pretty great day,Four." He shakes his head and looks at the dilapidated building to his right, which is made of brick and barely resembles the sleek glass spire behind me. It must be ancient.No one builds with brick anymore. "Why do you care,anyway?" I say. "You can be either cruel instructor or concerned boyfriend." I tense up at the word "boyfriend." I didn't mean to use it so flippantly,but it's too late now. "You can't play both parts at the same time." "I am not cruel." He scowls at me. "I was protecting you this morning. How do you think Peter and his idiot friends would have reacted if they discovered that you and I were..." He sighs. "You would never win. They would always call your ranking a result of my favoritism rather than your skill." I open my mouth to object,but I can't. A few smart remarks come to mind, but I dismiss them. He's right. My cheeks warm, and I cool them with my hands. "You didn't have to insult me to prove something to them," I say finally. "And you didn't have to run off to your brother just because I hurt you," he says. He rubs at the back of his neck. "Besides-it worked,didn't it?" "At my expense." "I didn't think it would affect you this way." Then he looks down and shrugs. "Sometimes I forget that I can hurt you.That you are capable of being hurt." I slide my hands into my pockets and rock back on my heels.A strange feeling goes through me-a sweet,aching weakness. He did what he did because he believed in my strength. At home it was Caleb who was strong,because he could forget himself,because all the characteristics my parents valued came naturally to him. No one has ever been so convinced of my strength. I stand on my tiptoes, lift my head, and kiss him.Only our lips touch. "You're brilliant,you know that?" I shake my head. "You always know exactly what to do." "Only because I've been thinking about this for a long time," he says, kissing my briefly. "How I would handle it, if you and I..." He pulls back and smiles. "Did I hear you call me your boyfriend,Tris?" "Not exactly." I shrug. "Why? Do you want me to?" He slips his hands over my neck and presses his thumbs under my chin, tilting my head back so his forehead meets mine. For a moment he stands there, his eyes closed, breathing my air. I feel the pulse in his fingertips. I feel the quickness of his breath. He seems nervous. "Yes," he finally says. Then his smile fades. "You think we convinced him you're just a silly girl?" "I hope so," I say.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
Why are some countries able, despite their very real and serious problems, to press ahead along the road to reconciliation, recovery, and redevelopment while others cannot? These are critical questions for Africa, and their answers are complex and not always clear. Leadership is crucial, of course. Kagame was a strong leader–decisive, focused, disciplined, and honest–and he remains so today. I believe that sometimes people's characters are molded by their environment. Angola, like Liberia, like Sierra Leone, is resource-rich, a natural blessing that sometimes has the sad effect of diminishing the human drive for self-sufficiency, the ability and determination to maximize that which one has. Kagame had nothing. He grew up in a refugee camp, equipped with only his own strength of will and determination to create a better life for himself and his countrymen.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa's First Woman President)
But there is yet time to change our ways. Give up all those old discussions, old fights about things which are meaningless, which are nonsensical in their very nature. Think of the last six hundred or seven hundred years of degradation when grown-up men by hundreds have been discussing for years whether we should drink a glass of water with the right hand or the left, whether the hand should be washed three times or four times, whether we should gargle five or six times. What can you expect from men who pass their lives in discussing such momentous questions as these and writing most learned philosophies on them! There is a danger of our religion getting into the kitchen. We are neither Vedantists, most of us now, nor Pauranics, nor Tantrics. We are just "Don't-touchists". Our religion is in the kitchen. Our God is the cooking-pot, and our religion is, "Don't touch me, I am holy". If this goes on for another century, every one of us will be in a lunatic asylum. It is a sure sign of softening of the brain when the mind cannot grasp the higher problems of life; all originality is lost, the mind has lost all its strength, its activity, and its power of thought, and just tries to go round and round the smallest curve it can find.
Vivekananda (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3)
Why Do People become Shadowhunters, by Magnus Bane This Codex thing is very silly. Downworlders talk about the Codex like it is some great secret full of esoteric knowledge, but really itès a Boy Scout manual. One thing that it mysteriously doesnèt address is why people become Shadowhunters. And you should know that people become Shadowhunters for many stupid reasons. So here is an addition to your copy. Greetings, aspiring young Shadowhunter-to-be- or possibly already technically a Shadowhunter. I canèt remember whether you drink from the Cup first or get the book first. Regardless, you have just been recruited by the Monster Police. You may be wondering, why? Why of all the mundanes out there was I selected and invited to this exclusive club made up largely, at least from a historical perspective, of murderous psychopaths? Possible Reasons Why 1. You possess a stout heart, strong will, and able body. 2. You possess a stout body, able will, and strong heart. 3. Local Shadowhunters are ironically punishing you by making you join them. 4. You were recruited by a local institute to join the Nephilim as an ironic punishment for your mistreatment of Downworlders. 5. Your home , village, or nation is under siege by demons. 6. You home, village, or nation is under siege by rogue Downworlders. 7. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time. 8.You know too much, and should be recruited because the secrecy of the Shadow World has already been compromised for you. 9. You know too little; it would be helpful to the Shadowhunters if you knew more. 10. You know exactly the right amount, making you a natural recruit. 11. You possess a natural resistance to glamour magic and must be recruited to keep you quiet and provide you with some basic protection. 12. You have a compound last name already and have convinced someone important that yours is a Shadowhunter family and the Shadowhunteriness has just been weakened by generations of bad breeding. 13. You had a torrid affair with a member of the Nephilim council and now he's trying to cover his tracks. 14. Shadowhunters are concerned they are no longer haughty and condescending enough-have sought you out to add a much needed boost of haughty condescension. 15. You have been bitten by a radioactive Shadowhunter, giving you the proportional strength and speed of a Shadowhunter. 16. Large bearded man on flying motorcycle appeared to take you away to Shadowhunting school. 17. Your mom has been in hiding from your evil dad, and you found out you're a Shadowhunter only a few weeks ago. That's right. Seventeen reasons. Because that's how many I came up with. Now run off, little Shadowhunter, and learn how to murder things. And be nice to Downworlders.
Cassandra Clare (The Shadowhunter's Codex)
For a considerable portion of humanity today, it is possible and indeed likely that one's neighbor, one's colleague, or one's employer will have a different mother tongue, eat different food, and follow a different religion than oneself. It is a matter of great urgency, therefore, that we find ways to cooperate with one another in a spirit of mutual acceptance and respect. In such a world, I feel, it is vital for us to find genuinely sustainable and universal approach to ethics, inner values, and personal integrity-an approach that can transcend religious, cultural, and racial differences and appeal to people at a sustainable, universal approach is what I call the project of secular ethics. All religions, therefore, to some extent, ground the cultivation of inner values and ethical awareness in some kind of metaphysical (that is, not empirically demonstrable) understanding of the world and of life after death. And just as the doctrine of divine judgment underlies ethical teachings in many theistic religions, so too does the doctrine of karma and future lives in non-theistic religions. As I see it, spirituality has two dimensions. The first dimension, that of basic spiritual well-being-by which I mean inner mental and emotional strength and balance-does not depend on religion but comes from our innate human nature as beings with a natural disposition toward compassion, kindness, and caring for others. The second dimension is what may be considered religion-based spirituality, which is acquired from our upbringing and culture and is tied to particular beliefs and practices. The difference between the two is something like the difference between water and tea. On this understanding, ethics consists less of rules to be obeyed than of principles for inner self-regulation to promote those aspects of our nature which we recognize as conducive to our own well-being and that of others. It is by moving beyond narrow self-interest that we find meaning, purpose, and satisfaction in life.
Dalai Lama XIV (Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World)
A strong woman has waited patiently while her roots grew down deep into the Word of God. Over time, she becomes unshakeable in her faith. She starts bearing fruit naturally and is full of life. People are attracted to her strength and growth, and many find rest and peace as they lean on her. And when storms and trials come, as they always do, they will not be able to take her down. A few branches may be lost or pruned away, but in their place comes new growth, new life. This is what I long to be! A strong woman who is anchored in God’s promises. But it starts by setting down your roots in God’s Word. It will not happen as you stand up for yourself, and demand attention, and fight for yourself. It will happen as you stand in Christ, and demand that He gets your attention, and fight for His glory. The beautiful thing is that as we pursue this, God takes His rightful place in our lives.
Francis Chan (You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity)
I have the honour to be quite of your Lordship's opinion," said Mr. Lovel, looking maliciously at Mrs. Selwyn, "for I have an insuperable aversion to strength, either of body or mind, in a female." "Faith, and so have I," said Mr. Coverley; "for egad I'd as soon see a woman chop wood, as hear her chop logic." "So would every man in his senses," said Lord Merton; "for a woman wants nothing to recommend her but beauty and good nature; in every thing else she is either impertinent or unnatural. For my part, deuce take me if ever I wish to hear a word of sense from a woman as long as I live!" "It has always been agreed," said Mrs. Selwyn, looking round her with the utmost contempt, "that no man ought to be connected with a woman whose understanding is superior to his own. Now I very much fear, that to accommodate all this good company, according to such a rule, would be utterly impracticable, unless we should chuse subjects from Swift's hospital of idiots.
Frances Burney (Evelina)
All boys wish to be manly; but they often try to become so by copying the vices of men rather than their virtues. They see men drinking, smoking, swearing; so these poor little fellows sedulously imitate such bad habits, thinking they are making themselves more like men. They mistake rudeness for strength, disrespect to parents for independence. They read wretched stories about boy brigands and boy detectives, and fancy themselves heroes when they break the laws, and become troublesome and mischievous. Out of such false influences the criminal classes are recruited. Many a little boy who only wishes to be manly, becomes corrupted and debased by the bad examples around him and the bad literature which he reads. The cure for this is to give him good books, show him truly noble examples from life and history, and make him understand how infinitely above this mock-manliness is the true courage which ennobles human nature.
James Freeman Clarke (Every-Day Religion)
There are two powerful fuels, two forces; motivation and inspiration. To be motivated you need to know what your motives are. Over time - and to sustain you through it - your motivation must become an inner energy; a 'motor' driving you forward, passionately, purposefully, wisely and compassionately... come what may, every day. Inspiration is an outer - worldly - energy that you breathe and draw in. It may come from many places, faces, spaces and stages - right across the ages. It is where nature, spirit, science, mind and time meet, dance, play and speak. It keeps you outward facing and life embracing. But you must be open-minded and open-hearted to first let it in and then let it out again. Together - blended, combined and re-entwined - motivation and inspiration bring connectivity, productivity, creativity and boundless possibilities that is not just 'self' serving but enriching to all humanity and societies...just as it should be.
Rasheed Ogunlaru
There is a great loneliness of spirit today. We’re trying to live, we’re trying to cope in the face of what seems to be overwhelming evidence that who we are doesn’t matter, that there is no real hope for enough change, that the environment and human experience is deteriorating so rapidly and increasingly and massively. This is the context, psychically and spiritually, in which we are working today. This is how our lives are reflected to us. Meanwhile, we’re yearning for connection with each other, with ourselves, with the powers of nature, the possibilities of being alive. When that tension arises, we feel pain, we feel anguish at the very root of ourselves, and then we cover that over, that grief, that horror, with all kinds of distraction – with consumerism, with addictions, with anything that we can use to disconnect and to go away. We’ve been opening ourselves to the grief, to the knowing of what’s taking place, the loss of species, the destruction of the natural world, the unimaginable levels of social injustice and economic injustice that deprive so many human beings of basic opportunities. And as we open to the pain of that, there’s a possibility of embracing that pain and that grief in a way that it becomes a strength, a power to respond. There is the possibility that the energy that has been bound in the repression of it can now flow through us and energize us, make us clearer, more alive, more passionate, committed, courageous, determined people.
John Robbins
My Lady, you certainly tell me about wonderful constancy, strength and virtue and firmness of women, so can one say the same thing about men? (...) Response [by Lady Rectitude]: "Fair sweet friend, have you not yet heard the saying that the fool sees well enough a small cut in the face of his neighbour, but he disregards the great gaping one above his own eye? I will show you the great contradiction in what the men say about the changeability and inconstancy of women. It is true that they all generally insist that women are very frail [= fickle] by nature. And since they accuse women of frailty, one would suppose that they themselves take care to maintain a reputation for constancy, or at the very least, that the women are indeed less so than they are themselves. And yet, it is obvious that they demand of women greater constancy than they themselves have, for they who claim to be of this strong and noble condition cannot refrain from a whole number of very great defects and sins, and not out of ignorance, either, but out of pure malice, knowing well how badly they are misbehaving. But all this they excuse in themselves and say that it is in the nature of man to sin, yet if it so happens that any women stray into any misdeed (of which they themselves are the cause by their great power and longhandedness), then it's suddenly all frailty and inconstancy, they claim. But it seems to me that since they do call women frail, they should not support that frailty, and not ascribe to them as a great crime what in themselves they merely consider a little defect.
Christine de Pizan (The Book of the City of Ladies)
Certainly those determining acts of her life were not ideally beautiful. They were the mixed result of young and noble impulse struggling amidst the conditions of an imperfect social state, in which great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion. For there is no creature whose inward being is so strong that it is not greatly determined by what lies outside it. A new Theresa will hardly have the opportunity of reforming a conventual life, any more than a new Antigone will spend her heroic piety in daring all for the sake of a brother's burial: the medium in which their ardent deeds took shape is forever gone. But we insignificant people with our daily words and acts are preparing the lives of many Dorotheas, some of which may present a far sadder sacrifice than that of the Dorothea whose story we know. Her finely touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
George Eliot (Middlemarch)
But please, father, understand me correctly: these were completely insignificant details, yet they oppressed me, because you, a great man of authority, could lay down rules for me, and ignore them.  And through this I saw that the world was divided into three parts: in the first lived the slave, me, under laws invented solely for my life but to which, without understanding why, I could never fully adjust; and in the second part lived you, infinitely far from me, busy ruling, giving commands and being angry when they weren’t followed; and in the third lived everybody else, happy and free from commands and obedience.  And I was constantly in disgrace, either because I followed your commands, and that was a disgrace, as they were valid only for me; or I was stubborn, and that was also a disgrace, because I was being stubborn to oppose you; or I wasn’t able to obey, because I, for example, had not your strength, your appetite, your skill, to do whatever it was that for you seemed natural – and of all things this disgrace was the greatest.  But these aren’t the reflections of childhood, but the feelings. Perhaps
Franz Kafka (Letter to My Father)
Women, even the most oppressed among us, do exercise power. These powers can be used to advance feminist struggle. Forms of power held by exploited and oppressed groups are described in Elizabeth Janeway's important work Powers of the Weak. One of the most significant forms of power held by the weak is "the refusal to accept the definition of oneself that is put forward by the powerful". Janeway call this the "ordered use of the power to disbelieve". She explains: It is true that one may not have a coherent self-definition to set against the status assigned by the established social mythology, and that is not necessary for dissent. By disbelieving, one will be led toward doubting prescribed codes of behaviour, and as one begins to act in ways that can deviate from the norm in any degree, it becomes clear that in fact there is not just one right way to handle or understand events. Women need to know that they can reject the powerful's definition of their reality --- that they can do so even if they are poor, exploited, or trapped in oppressive circumstances. They need to know that the exercise of this basic personal power is an act of resistance and strength. Many poor and exploited women, especially non-white women, would have been unable to develop positive self-concepts if they had not exercised their power to reject the powerful's definition of their reality. Much feminist thought reflects women's acceptance of the definition of femaleness put forth by the powerful. Even though women organizing and participating in feminist movement were in no way passive, unassertive, or unable to make decisions, they perpetuated the idea that these characteristics were typical female traits, a perspective that mirrored male supremacist interpretation of women's reality. They did not distinguish between the passive role many women assume in relation to male peers and/or male authority figures, and the assertive, even domineering, roles they assume in relation to one another, to children, or to those individuals, female or male, who have lower social status, who they see as inferiors, This is only one example of the way in which feminist activists did not break with the simplistic view of women's reality s it was defined by powerful me. If they had exercised the power to disbelieve, they would have insisted upon pointing out the complex nature of women's experience, deconstructing the notion that women are necessarily passive or unassertive.
bell hooks (Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center)
When I was young, I wanted power. Now that I'm old, I want peace. When I was young, I wanted titles. Now that I'm old, I want contentment. When I was young, I wanted money. Now that I'm old, I want happiness. When I was young, I wanted excitement. Now that I'm old, I want calm. When I was young, I wanted praise. Now that I'm old, I want respect. When I was young, I wanted houses. Now that I'm old, I want fulfillment. When I was young, I wanted cars. Now that I'm old, I want satisfaction. When I was young, I wanted possessions. Now that I'm old, I want experiences. When I was young, I wanted medals. Now that I'm old, I want mastery. When I was young, I wanted lackeys. Now that I'm old, I want companions. When I was young, I wanted amusement. Now that I'm old, I want rest. When I was young, I wanted beauty. Now that I'm old, I want substance. When I was young, I wanted fame. Now that I'm old, I want legacy. When I was young, I wanted command. Now that I'm old, I want freedom. When I was young, I wanted authority. Now that I'm old, I want influence. When I was young, I wanted reputation. Now that I'm old, I want character. When I was young, I wanted treasure. Now that I'm old, I want truth. When I was young, I wanted confidence. Now that I'm old, I want conviction. When I was young, I wanted lovers. Now that I'm old, I want friends. When I was young, I wanted excess. Now that I'm old, I want joy. When I was young, I wanted degrees. Now that I'm old, I want wisdom. When I was young, I wanted university. Now that I'm old, I want nature. When I was young, I wanted prominence. Now that I'm old, I want humanity. When I was young, I wanted accomplishment. Now that I'm old, I want laughter. When I was young, I wanted greatness. Now that I'm old, I want health. When I was young, I wanted resources. Now that I'm old, I want strategies. When I was young, I wanted contacts. Now that I'm old, I want competence. When I was young, I wanted followers. Now that I'm old, I want students. When I was young, I wanted crowds. Now that I'm old, I want intimacy. When I was young, I wanted empires. Now that I'm old, I want dignity. When I was young, I wanted honor. Now that I'm old, I want integrity. When I was young, I wanted popularity. Now that I'm old, I want loyalty. When I was young, I wanted lovers. Now that I'm old, I want children. When I was young, I wanted strength. Now that I'm old, I want youth. When I was young, I wanted life. Now that I'm old, I want Heaven.
Matshona Dhliwayo
...To trust in the strength of God in our weakness; to say, ‘I am weak: so let me be: God is strong;’ to seek from him who is our life, as the natural, simple cure of all that is amiss with us, power to do, and be, and live, even when we are weary,—this is the victory that overcometh the world. To believe in God our strength in the face of all seeming denial, to believe in him out of the heart of weakness and unbelief, in spite of numbness and weariness and lethargy; to believe in the wide-awake real, through all the stupefying, enervating, distorting dream; to will to wake, when the very being seems athirst for a godless repose;—these are the broken steps up to the high fields where repose is but a form of strength, strength but a form of joy, joy but a form of love. ‘I am weak,’ says the true soul, ‘but not so weak that I would not be strong; not so sleepy that I would not see the sun rise; not so lame but that I would walk! Thanks be to him who perfects strength in weakness, and gives to his beloved while they sleep!
George MacDonald (Unspoken Sermons, Third Series (Sunrise Centenary Edition))
In a way that I haven’t yet figured out how to fully articulate, I believe that children who get to see bald eagles, coyotes, deer, moose, grouse, and other similar sights each morning will have a certain kind of matrix or fabric or foundation of childhood, the nature and quality of which will be increasing rare and valuable as time goes on, and which will be cherished into adulthood, as well as becoming- and this is a leap of faith by me- a source of strength and knowledge to them somehow. That the daily witnessing of the natural wonders is a kind of education of logic and assurance that cannot be duplicated by any other means, or in other place: unique and significant, and, by God, still somehow relevant, even now, in the twenty-first century. For as long as possible, I want my girls to keep believing that beauty, though not quite commonplace and never to pass unobserved or unappreciated, is nonetheless easily witnessed on any day, in any given moment, around any forthcoming bend. And that the wild world has a lovely order and pattern and logic, even in the shouting, disorderly chaos of breaking-apart May and reassembling May. That if there can be a logic an order even in May, then there can be in all seasons and all things.
Rick Bass
Justify my soul, O God, but also from Your fountains fill my will with fire. Shine in my mind, although perhaps this means “be darkness to my experience,” but occupy my heart with Your tremendous Life. Let my eyes see nothing in the world but Your glory, and let my hands touch nothing that is not for Your service. Let my tongue taste no bread that does not strengthen me to praise Your great mercy. I will hear Your voice and I will hear all harmonies You have created, singing Your hymns. Sheep’s wool and cotton from the field shall warm me enough that I may live in Your service; I will give the rest to Your poor. Let me use all things for one sole reason: to find my joy in giving You glory. Therefore keep me, above all things, from sin. Keep me from the death of deadly sin which puts hell in my soul. Keep me from the murder of lust that blinds and poisons my heart. Keep me from the sins that eat a man’s flesh with irresistible fire until he is devoured. Keep me from loving money in which is hatred, from avarice and ambition that suffocate my life. Keep me from the dead works of vanity and the thankless labor in which artists destroy themselves for pride and money and reputation, and saints are smothered under the avalanche of their own importunate zeal. Stanch in me the rank wound of covetousness and the hungers that exhaust my nature with their bleeding. Stamp out the serpent envy that stings love with poison and kills all joy. Untie my hands and deliver my heart from sloth. Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity when activity is not required of me, and from the cowardice that does what is not demanded, in order to escape sacrifice. But give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens. And possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love. Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone. For there is only one thing that can satisfy love and reward it, and that is You alone.
Thomas Merton (New Seeds of Contemplation)
But still I would try to picture the exact moment when the beating of my heart would no longer be going on inside my head. .. But everybody knows life isn't worth living. Deep down I knew perfectly well that it doesn't much matter whether you die at thirty or at seventy, since in either case other men and women will naturally go on living— and for thousands of years. .. At that point, what would disturb my train of thought was the terrifying leap I would feel my heart take at the idea of having twenty more years of life ahead of me. But I simply had to stifle it by imagining what I’d be thinking in twenty years when it would all come down to the same thing anyway. Since we’re all going to die, it’s obvious that when and how don’t matter. .. It would take all my strength to quiet my heart, to be rational. .. Throughout the whole absurd life I’d lived, a dark wind had been rising toward me from somewhere deep in my future, across years that were still to come, and as it passed, this wind leveled whatever was offered to me at the time, in years no more real than the ones I was living. .. for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. .. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.
Albert Camus (The Stranger)
Man is made up of opposing characteristics. History demonstrates vividly the fact that it always moves in the worst possible direction. Either man is not capable of directing history, or else he does direct it, but only by pushing it down the most terrible, wrong path there is. There is not a single example to prove the opposite. People are not capable of governing others. They are only capable of destroying. And materialism—naked and cynical—is going to complete the destruction. Despite the fact that God lives in every soul, that every soul has the capacity to accumulate what is eternal and good, as a mass people can do nothing but destroy. For they have come together not in the name of an ideal, but simply for the sake of a material notion. Mankind has hurried to protect the body (perhaps on the strength of that natural and unconscious gesture which served as the beginning of what is called progress) and has given no thought to protecting the soul. The church (as opposed to religion) has not been able to do so. In the course of the history of civilization, the spiritual half of man has been separated further and further from the animal, the material, and now in an infinite expanse of darkness we can just make out, like the lights of a departing train, the other half of our being as it rushes away, irrevocably and for ever. Spirit and flesh, feeling and reason can never again be made one. It's too late. For the moment we are crippled by the appalling disease of spiritual deficiency; and the disease is fatal. Mankind has done everything possible to annihilate itself, starting with its own moral annihilation—physical death is merely the result. Everyone can be saved only if each saves himself.
Andrei Tarkovsky (Journal 1970-1986)
But what a universe, anyhow! No use blaming human-beings for what they were. Everything was made so that it had to torture something else. Sirius himself was no exception, of course. Made that way! Nothing was responsible for being by nature predatory on other things, dog on rabbit and Argentine beef, man on nearly everything, bugs and microbes on man, and of course man himself on man. (Nothing but man was really cruel, vindictive, except perhaps the loathly cat). Everything desperately struggling to keep its nose above water for a few breaths before its strength inevitably failed and down it went, pressed under by something else. And beyond, those brainless, handless idiotic stars, lazing away so importantly for nothing. Here and there some speck of a planet dominated by some half-awake intelligence like humanity. And here and there on such planets, one or two poor little spirits waking up and wondering what in the hell everything was for, what it was all about, what they could make of themselves; and glimpsing in a muddled way what their potentiality was, and feebly trying to express it, but always failing, always missing fire, and very often feeling themselves breaking up as he himself was doing. Just now and then they might feel the real thing, in some creative work, or in sweet community with another little spirit, or with others. Just now and then they seemed somehow to create or to be gathered up into something lovelier than their individual selves, something which demanded their selves’ sacrifice and yet have their selves new life. But how precariously, torturingly; and only just for a flicker of time! Their whole life-time would only be a flicker in the whole of titanic time. Even when all the worlds have frozen or exploded, and all the suns gone dead and cold there’ll still be time. Oh God, what for?
Olaf Stapledon (Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord)
Why do you care, anyway?" I say. "You can be either cruel instructor or concerned boyfriend." I tense up at the word "boyfriend." I didn’t mean to use it so flippantly, but it’s too late now. "You can’t play both parts at the same time." "I am not cruel." He scowls at me "I was protecting you this morning. How do you think Peter and his idiot friends would have reacted if they discovered that you and I were..." He sighs. "You would never win. They would always call you ranking a result of my favoritism rather than your skill." I open my mouth to object, but I can't. A few smart remarks come to mind, but I dismiss them. He's right. My cheeks warm, and I cool them with my hands. "You didn't have to insult me to prove something to them," I say finally. "And you didn't have to run off to your brother just because I hurt you," he says. He rubs at the back of his neck. "Besides- it worked, didn't it?" "At my expense." "I didn't think it would affect you this way." Then he looks down and shrugs. "Sometimes I forget that I can hurt you. That you are capable of being hurt." I slide my hands into my pockets and rock back on my heels. A strange feeling goes through me- a sweet, aching weakness. He did what he did because he believed in my strength. At home it was Caleb who was strong, because he could forget himself, because all the characteristics my parents valued came naturally to him. No one has ever been so convinced of my strength. I stand on my tiptoes, lift my head, and kiss him. Only our lips touch. "You're brilliant. You know that?" I shake my head. "You always know exactly what to do." "Only because I've been thinking about his for a long time," he says, kissing me briefly. "How I would handle it, if you and I..." He pulls back and smiles. "Did I hear you call me your boyfriend, Tris?" "Not exactly." I shrug. "Why? Do you want me to?" He slips his hands over my neck and presses his thumbs under my chin, tilting my head back so his forehead meets mine. For a moment he stands there, his eyes closed, breathing my air. I feel the pulse in his fingertips. I feel the quickness of his breath. He seems nervous. "Yes," he finally says.
Veronica Roth
The word God can mean whatever you believe it to mean, for me it is the conscious stream of life from which we all come, and to which we can stay connected throughout our lives as a source of peace, wisdom, love, support, knowing, inspiration, vitality, security, balance, and inner strength. I think that awareness is paramount, because in awareness we gain understanding, which then enables us to regain our feeling of empowerment. We need to feel empowered to make our choices conciously, about how to deal with changes in life, rather than reacting in fear (which tends to make us blind and weak). If we are aware, we can be realistic yet postive, and we can properly focus our intentions. Awareness can be quite sensual (which can add to your sense of feeling empowered). Think about how your body moves as you live your life, how amazing it is; think about nature, observe the intricate beautiful details of natural thngs, and of things we create, and breathe deeply to soak it all in.. Focus on the taste of food, the feel of textures in cloth, the feel of you partner's hand in yours; smell the sea breeze, listen to the wind in the trees, witness the colours of the leaves, the children playing; and be thankful for this life we are experiencing - this life we can all help to keep wonderful. Feel the wonder of being alive flood into you anytime you want, by taking a deep breath and letting the experience of these things fill you, even just by remembering. We all have that same stream of life within us, so you are a part of everything. Each one of us has the power to make a difference to everything. Breathe in that vital connection to the life source and sensual beauty everywhere, Feel loved and strong.
Jay Woodman
I tell you that man has no more tormenting care than to find someone to whom he can hand over as quickly as possible that gift of freedom with which the miserable creature is born. But he alone can take over the freedom of men who appeases their conscience. With bread you were given an indisputable banner: give man bread and he will bow down to you, for there is nothing more indisputable than bread. But if at the same time someone else takes over his conscience - oh, then he will even throw down your bread and follow him who has seduced his conscience. In this you were right. For the mystery of man's being is not only in living, but in what one lives for. Without a firm idea of what he lives for, man will not consent to live and will sooner destroy himself than remain on earth, even if there is bread all around him. That is so, but what came of it? Instead of taking over men's freedom, you increased it still more for them! Did you forget that peace and even death are dearer to man than free choice in the knowledge of good and evil? There is nothing more seductive for man than the freedom of his conscience, but there is nothing more tormenting either. And so, instead of a firm foundation for appeasing human conscience once and for all, you chose everything that was unusual, enigmatic, and indefinite, you chose everything that was beyond men's strength, and thereby acted as if you did not love them at all - and who did this? He who came to give his life for them! Instead of taking over men's freedom, you increased it and forever burdened the kingdom of the human soul with its torments. You desired the free love of man, that he should follow you freely. seduced and captivated by you. Instead of the firm ancient law, men had henceforth to decide for himself, with a free heart, what is good and what is evil, having only your image before him as a guide - but did it not occur to you that he would eventually reject and dispute even your image and your truth if he was oppressed by so terrible a burden as freedom of choice? They will finally cry out that the truth is not in you, for it was impossible to leave them in greater confusion and torment than you did, abandoning them to so many cares and insoluble problems. Thus you yourself laid the foundation for the destruction of your own kingdom, and do not blame anyone else for it.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
The political merchandisers appeal only to the weak­nesses of voters, never to their potential strength. They make no attempt to educate the masses into becoming fit for self-government; they are content merely to manipulate and exploit them. For this pur­pose all the resources of psychology and the social sciences are mobilized and set to work. Carefully se­lected samples of the electorate are given "interviews in depth." These interviews in depth reveal the uncon­scious fears and wishes most prevalent in a given so­ciety at the time of an election. Phrases and images aimed at allaying or, if necessary, enhancing these fears, at satisfying these wishes, at least symbolically, are then chosen by the experts, tried out on readers and audiences, changed or improved in the light of the information thus obtained. After which the political campaign is ready for the mass communicators. All that is now needed is money and a candidate who can be coached to look "sincere." Under the new dispen­sation, political principles and plans for specific action have come to lose most of their importance. The person­ality of the candidate and the way he is projected by the advertising experts are the things that really mat­ter. In one way or another, as vigorous he-man or kindly father, the candidate must be glamorous. He must also be an entertainer who never bores his audience. Inured to television and radio, that audience is accustomed to being distracted and does not like to be asked to con­centrate or make a prolonged intellectual effort. All speeches by the entertainer-candidate must therefore be short and snappy. The great issues of the day must be dealt with in five minutes at the most -- and prefera­bly (since the audience will be eager to pass on to something a little livelier than inflation or the H-bomb) in sixty seconds flat. The nature of oratory is such that there has always been a tendency among politicians and clergymen to over-simplify complex is­sues. From a pulpit or a platform even the most con­scientious of speakers finds it very difficult to tell the whole truth. The methods now being used to merchan­dise the political candidate as though he were a deo­dorant positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything.
Aldous Huxley
NOW this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back — For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack. Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep; And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep. The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown, Remember the Wolf is a Hunter — go forth and get food of thine own. Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle — the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear. And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair. When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail, Lie down till the leaders have spoken — it may be fair words shall prevail. When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack, ye must fight him alone and afar, Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the Pack be diminished by war. The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home, Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come. The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain, The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again. If ye kill before midnight, be silent, and wake not the woods with your bay, Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop, and your brothers go empty away. Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can; But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man! If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride; Pack-Right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide. The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack. Ye must eat where it lies; And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies. The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf. He may do what he will; But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill. Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling. From all of his Pack he may claim Full-gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same. Lair-Right is the right of the Mother. From all of her year she may claim One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same. Cave-Right is the right of the Father — to hunt by himself for his own: He is freed of all calls to the Pack; he is judged by the Council alone. Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw, In all that the Law leaveth open, the word of your Head Wolf is Law. Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they; But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!
Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book)
Among us English-speaking peoples especially do the praises of poverty need once more to be boldly sung. We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise any one who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition. We have lost the power even of imagining what the ancient idealization of poverty could have meant: the liberation from material attachments, the unbribed soul, the manlier indifference, the paying our way by what we are or do and not by what we have, the right to fling away our life at any moment irresponsibly—the more athletic trim, in short, the moral fighting shape. When we of the so-called better classes are scared as men were never scared in history at material ugliness and hardship; when we put off marriage until our house can be artistic, and quake at the thought of having a child without a bank-account and doomed to manual labor, it is time for thinking men to protest against so unmanly and irreligious a state of opinion. It is true that so far as wealth gives time for ideal ends and exercise to ideal energies, wealth is better than poverty and ought to be chosen. But wealth does this in only a portion of the actual cases. Elsewhere the desire to gain wealth and the fear to lose it are our chief breeders of cowardice and propagators of corruption. There are thousands of conjunctures in which a wealth-bound man must be a slave, whilst a man for whom poverty has no terrors becomes a freeman. Think of the strength which personal indifference to poverty would give us if we were devoted to unpopular causes. We need no longer hold our tongues or fear to vote the revolutionary or reformatory ticket. Our stocks might fall, our hopes of promotion vanish, our salaries stop, our club doors close in our faces; yet, while we lived, we would imperturbably bear witness to the spirit, and our example would help to set free our generation. The cause would need its funds, but we its servants would be potent in proportion as we personally were contented with our poverty. I recommend this matter to your serious pondering, for it is certain that the prevalent fear of poverty among the educated classes is the worst moral disease from which our civilization suffers.
William James (Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature)
There was I, then, mounted aloft; I, who had said I could not bear the shame of standing on my natural feet in the middle of the room, was now exposed to general view on a pedestal of infamy. What my sensations were no language can describe; but just as they all rose, stifling my breath and constricting my throat, a girl came up and passed me: in passing, she lifted her eyes. What a strange light inspired them! What an extraordinary sensation that ray sent through me! How the new feeling bore me up! It was as if a martyr, a hero, had passed a slave or victim, and imparted strength in the transit. I mastered the rising hysteria, lifted up my head, and took a firm stand on the stool. Helen Burns asked some slight question about her work of Miss Smith, was chidden for the triviality of the inquiry, returned to her place, and smiled at me as she again went by. What a smile! I remember it now, and I know that it was the effluence of fine intellect, of true courage; it lit up her marked lineaments, her thin face, her sunken grey eye, like a reflection from the aspect of an angel. Yet at that moment Helen Burns wore on her arm “the untidy badge;” scarcely an hour ago I had heard her condemned by Miss Scatcherd to a dinner of bread and water on the morrow because she had blotted an exercise in copying it out. Such is the imperfect nature of man! such spots are there on the disc of the clearest planet; and eyes like Miss Scatcherd’s can only see those minute defects, and are blind to the full brightness of the orb.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
The Native Americans, whose wisdom Thoreau admired, regarded the Earth itself as a sacred source of energy. To stretch out on it brought repose, to sit on the ground ensured greater wisdom in councils, to walk in contact with its gravity gave strength and endurance. The Earth was an inexhaustible well of strength: because it was the original Mother, the feeder, but also because it enclosed in its bosom all the dead ancestors. It was the element in which transmission took place. Thus, instead of stretching their hands skyward to implore the mercy of celestial divinities, American Indians preferred to walk barefoot on the Earth: The Lakota was a true Naturist – a lover of Nature. He loved the earth and all things of the earth, the attachment growing with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth. Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest on the earth and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing. That is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life-giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly; he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him. Walking, by virtue of having the earth’s support, feeling its gravity, resting on it with every step, is very like a continuous breathing in of energy. But the earth’s force is not transmitted only in the manner of a radiation climbing through the legs. It is also through the coincidence of circulations: walking is movement, the heart beats more strongly, with a more ample beat, the blood circulates faster and more powerfully than when the body is at rest. And the earth’s rhythms draw that along, they echo and respond to each other. A last source of energy, after the heart and the Earth, is landscapes. They summon the walker and make him at home: the hills, the colours, the trees all confirm it. The charm of a twisting path among hills, the beauty of vine fields in autumn, like purple and gold scarves, the silvery glitter of olive leaves against a defining summer sky, the immensity of perfectly sliced glaciers … all these things support, transport and nourish us.
Frédéric Gros (A Philosophy of Walking)
Milton's Eve! Milton's Eve! ... Milton tried to see the first woman; but Cary, he saw her not ... I would beg to remind him that the first men of the earth were Titans, and that Eve was their mother: from her sprang Saturn, Hyperion, Oceanus; she bore Prometheus" -- "Pagan that you are! what does that signify?" "I say, there were giants on the earth in those days: giants that strove to scale heaven. The first woman's breast that heaved with life on this world yielded the daring which could contend with Omnipotence: the stregth which could bear a thousand years of bondage, -- the vitality which could feed that vulture death through uncounted ages, -- the unexhausted life and uncorrupted excellence, sisters to immortality, which after millenniums of crimes, struggles, and woes, could conceive and bring forth a Messiah. The first woman was heaven-born: vast was the heart whence gushed the well-spring of the blood of nations; and grand the undegenerate head where rested the consort-crown of creation. ... I saw -- I now see -- a woman-Titan: her robe of blue air spreads to the outskirts of the heath, where yonder flock is grazing; a veil white as an avalanche sweeps from hear head to her feet, and arabesques of lighting flame on its borders. Under her breast I see her zone, purple like that horizon: through its blush shines the star of evening. Her steady eyes I cannot picture; they are clear -- they are deep as lakes -- they are lifted and full of worship -- they tremble with the softness of love and the lustre of prayer. Her forehead has the expanse of a cloud, and is paler than the early moon, risen long before dark gathers: she reclines her bosom on the ridge of Stilbro' Moor; her mighty hands are joined beneath it. So kneeling, face to face she speaks with God. That Eve is Jehova's daughter, as Adam was His son.
Charlotte Brontë (Shirley)
If you care about peace, then you should care about justice. If you care about justice, then you should care about truth. If you care about truth, then you should care about integrity. If you care about integrity, then you should care about virtue. If you care about joy, then you should care about happiness. If you care about happiness, then you should care about fufilment. If you care about fufilment,then you should care about needs contentment. If you care about contentment, then you should care about patience. If you care about strength, then you should care about courage. If you care about courage, then you should care about hope. If you care about hope, then you should care about faith. If you care about faith, then you should care about love. If you care about wealth, then you should care about excellence. If you care about excellence, then you should care about hardwork. If you care about hardwork, then you should care about determination. If you care about determination, then you should care about focus. If you care about education, then you should care about schools. If you care about schools, then you should care about students. If you care about students, then you should care about teachers. If you care about teachers, then you should care about salaries. If you care about people, then you should care about communities. If you care about communities, then you should care about cities. If you care about cities, then you should care about provinces. If you care about provinces, then you should care about nations. If you care about yourself, then you should care about life. If you care about life, then you should care about health. If you care about health, then you should care about excersise. If you care about excersise, then you should care about nutrition. If you care about food, then you should care about animals. If you care about animals, then you should care about earth. If you care about earth, then you should care about nature. If you care about nature, then you should care about water. If you care about yesturday, then you should care about today. If you care about today, then you should care about now. If you care about now, then you should care about tomorrow. If you care about tomorrow, then you should care about forever.
Matshona Dhliwayo
To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides Into his darker musings, with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;— Go forth, under the open sky, and list To Nature’s teachings, while from all around— Earth and her waters, and the depths of air— Comes a still voice— Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again, And, lost each human trace, surrendering up Thine individual being, shalt thou go To mix for ever with the elements, To be a brother to the insensible rock And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould. Yet not to thine eternal resting-place Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings, The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good, Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales Stretching in pensive quietness between; The venerable woods—rivers that move In majesty, and the complaining brooks That make the meadows green; and, poured round all, Old Ocean’s gray and melancholy waste,— Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun, The planets, all the infinite host of heaven, Are shining on the sad abodes of death, Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread The globe are but a handful to the tribes That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness, Or lose thyself in the continuous woods Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound, Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there: And millions in those solitudes, since first The flight of years began, have laid them down In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone. So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw In silence from the living, and no friend Take note of thy departure? All that breathe Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care Plod on, and each one as before will chase His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave Their mirth and their employments, and shall come And make their bed with thee. As the long train Of ages glide away, the sons of men, The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes In the full strength of years, matron and maid, The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man— Shall one by one be gathered to thy side, By those, who in their turn shall follow them. So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, which moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
William Cullen Bryant (Thanatopsis)
Religion, then, is far from "useless." It humanizes violence; it protects man from his own violence by taking it out of his hands, transforming it into a transcendent and ever-present danger to be kept in check by the appropriate rites appropriately observed and by a modest and prudent demeanor. Religious misinterpretation is a truly constructive force, for it purges man of the suspicions that would poison his existence if he were to remain conscious of the crisis as it actually took place. To think religiously is to envision the city's destiny in terms of that violence whose mastery over man increases as man believes he has gained mastery over it. To think religiously (in the primitive sense) is to see violence as something superhuman, to be kept always at a distance and ultimately renounced. When the fearful adoration of this power begins to diminish and all distinctions begin to disappear, the ritual sacrifices lose their force; their potency is not longer recognized by the entire community. Each member tries to correct the situation individually, and none succeeds. The withering away of the transcendental influence means that there is no longer the slightest difference between a desire to save the city and unbridled ambition, between genuine piety and the desire to claim divine status for oneself. Everyone looks on a rival enterprise as evidence of blasphemous designs. Men set to quarreling about the gods, and their skepticism leads to a new sacrificial crisis that will appear - retrospectively, in the light of a new manifestation of unanimous violence - as a new act of divine intervention and divine revenge. Men would not be able to shake loose the violence between them, to make of it a separate entity both sovereign and redemptory, without the surrogate victim. Also, violence itself offers a sort of respite, the fresh beginning of a cycle of ritual after a cycle of violence. Violence will come to an end only after it has had the last word and that word has been accepted as divine. The meaning of this word must remain hidden, the mechanism of unanimity remain concealed. For religion protects man as long as its ultimate foundations are not revealed. To drive the monster from its secret lair is to risk loosing it on mankind. To remove men's ignorance is only to risk exposing them to an even greater peril. The only barrier against human violence is raised on misconception. In fact, the sacrificial crisis is simply another form of that knowledge which grows grater as the reciprocal violence grows more intense but which never leads to the whole truth. It is the knowledge of violence, along with the violence itself, that the act of expulsion succeeds in shunting outside the realm of consciousness. From the very fact that it belies the overt mythological messages, tragic drama opens a vast abyss before the poet; but he always draws back at the last moment. He is exposed to a form of hubris more dangerous than any contracted by his characters; it has to do with a truth that is felt to be infinitely destructive, even if it is not fully understood - and its destructiveness is as obvious to ancient religious thought as it is to modern philosophers. Thus we are dealing with an interdiction that still applies to ourselves and that modern thought has not yet invalidated. The fact that this secret has been subjected to exceptional pressure in the play [Bacchae] must prompt the following lines: May our thoughts never aspire to anything higher than laws! What does it cost man to acknowledge the full sovereignty of the gods? That which has always been held as true owes its strength to Nature.
René Girard (Violence and the Sacred)
Secondly, it is the very nature of spiritual life to grow. Wherever they principle of this life is to be found, it can be no different for it must grow. "But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Prov. 4:18); "The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger" (Job 17:9). This refers to the children of GOd, who are compared to palm and cedar trees (Psa. 92:12). As natural as it is for children and trees to grow, so natural is growth for the regenerated children of God. Thirdly, the growth of His children is the goal and objective God has in view by administering the means of grace to them. "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints...that we henceforth be no more children...but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head" (Eph. 4:11-15). This is also to be observed in 1 Peter 2:2: "as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby, " God will reach His goal and His word will not return to Him void; thus God's children will grow in grace. Fourthly, is is the duty to which God's children are continually exhorted, and their activity is to consist in a striving for growth. That it is their duty is to be observed in the following passages: "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18); "He that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still" (Rev. 22:11). The nature of this activity is expressed as follows: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after" (Phil. 3:12). If it were not necessary for believers to grow the exhortations to that end would be in vain. Some remain feeble, having but little life and strength. this can be due to a lack of nourishment, living under a barren ministry, or being without guidance. It can also be that they naturally have a slow mind and a lazy disposition; that they have strong corruptions which draw them away; that they are without much are without much strife; that they are too busy from early morning till late evening, due to heavy labor, or to having a family with many children, and thus must struggle or are poverty-stricken. Furthermore, it can be that they either do not have the opportunity to converse with the godly; that they do not avail themselves of such opportunities; or that they are lazy as far as reading in God's Word and prayer are concerned. Such persons are generally subject to many ups and downs. At one time they lift up their heads out of all their troubles, by renewal becoming serious, and they seek God with their whole heart. It does not take long, however , and they are quickly cast down in despondency - or their lusts gain the upper hand. Thus they remain feeble and are, so to speak, continually on the verge of death. Some of them occasionally make good progress, but then grieve the Spirit of God and backslide rapidly. For some this lasts for a season, after which they are restored, but others are as those who suffer from consumption - they languish until they die. Oh what a sad condition this is! (Chapter 89. Spiritual Growth, pg. 140, 142-143)
Wilhelmus à Brakel (The Christian's Reasonable Service, Vol. 4)
My years of struggling against inequality, abusive power, poverty, oppression, and injustice had finally revealed something to me about myself. Being close to suffering, death, executions, and cruel punishments didn't just illuminate the brokenness of others; in a moment of anguish and heartbreak, it also exposed my own brokenness. You can't effectively fight abusive power, poverty, inequality, illness, oppression, or injustice and not be broken by it. We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent. The ways in which I have been hurt - and have hurt others - are different from the ways Jimmy Dill suffered and caused suffering. But our shared brokenness connected us. Thomas Merton said: We are bodies of broken bones. I guess I'd always known but never fully considered that being broken is what makes us human. We all have our reasons. Sometimes we're fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we're shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion. We have a choice. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken natures and the compassion that remains our best hope for healing. Or we can deny our brokenness, forswear compassion, and, as a result, deny our own humanity. I thought of the guards strapping Jimmy Dill to the gurney that very hour. I thought of the people who would cheer his death and see it as some kind of victory. I realized they were broken people, too, even if they would never admit it. So many of us have become afraid and angry. We've become so fearful and vengeful that we've thrown away children, discarded the disabled, and sanctioned the imprisonment of the sick and the weak - not because they are a threat to public safety or beyond rehabilitation but because we think it makes us seem tough, less broken. I thought of the victims of violent crime and the survivors of murdered loved ones, and how we've pressured them to recycle their pain and anguish and give it back to the offenders we prosecute. I thought of the many ways we've legalized vengeful and cruel punishments, how we've allowed our victimization to justify the victimization of others. We've submitted to the harsh instinct to crush those among us whose brokenness is most visible. But simply punishing the broken - walking away from them or hiding them from sight - only ensures that they remain broken and we do, too. There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity. I frequently had difficult conversations with clients who were struggling and despairing over their situations - over the things they'd done, or had been done to them, that had led them to painful moments. Whenever things got really bad, and they were questioning the value of their lives, I would remind them that each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done. I told them that if someone tells a lie, that person is not just a liar. If you take something that doesn't belong to you, you are not just a thief. Even if you kill someone, you're not just a killer. I told myself that evening what I had been telling my clients for years. I am more than broken. In fact, there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things that you can't otherwise see; you hear things you can't otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)
DEAR MAMA, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write. Every time I try to write to you and Papa I realize I’m not saying the things that are in my heart. That would be O.K., if I loved you any less than I do, but you are still my parents and I am still your child. I have friends who think I’m foolish to write this letter. I hope they’re wrong. I hope their doubts are based on parents who loved and trusted them less than mine do. I hope especially that you’ll see this as an act of love on my part, a sign of my continuing need to share my life with you. I wouldn’t have written, I guess, if you hadn’t told me about your involvement in the Save Our Children campaign. That, more than anything, made it clear that my responsibility was to tell you the truth, that your own child is homosexual, and that I never needed saving from anything except the cruel and ignorant piety of people like Anita Bryant. I’m sorry, Mama. Not for what I am, but for how you must feel at this moment. I know what that feeling is, for I felt it for most of my life. Revulsion, shame, disbelief—rejection through fear of something I knew, even as a child, was as basic to my nature as the color of my eyes. No, Mama, I wasn’t “recruited.” No seasoned homosexual ever served as my mentor. But you know what? I wish someone had. I wish someone older than me and wiser than the people in Orlando had taken me aside and said, “You’re all right, kid. You can grow up to be a doctor or a teacher just like anyone else. You’re not crazy or sick or evil. You can succeed and be happy and find peace with friends—all kinds of friends—who don’t give a damn who you go to bed with. Most of all, though, you can love and be loved, without hating yourself for it.” But no one ever said that to me, Mama. I had to find it out on my own, with the help of the city that has become my home. I know this may be hard for you to believe, but San Francisco is full of men and women, both straight and gay, who don’t consider sexuality in measuring the worth of another human being. These aren’t radicals or weirdos, Mama. They are shop clerks and bankers and little old ladies and people who nod and smile to you when you meet them on the bus. Their attitude is neither patronizing nor pitying. And their message is so simple: Yes, you are a person. Yes, I like you. Yes, it’s all right for you to like me too. I know what you must be thinking now. You’re asking yourself: What did we do wrong? How did we let this happen? Which one of us made him that way? I can’t answer that, Mama. In the long run, I guess I really don’t care. All I know is this: If you and Papa are responsible for the way I am, then I thank you with all my heart, for it’s the light and the joy of my life. I know I can’t tell you what it is to be gay. But I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not hiding behind words, Mama. Like family and decency and Christianity. It’s not fearing your body, or the pleasures that God made for it. It’s not judging your neighbor, except when he’s crass or unkind. Being gay has taught me tolerance, compassion and humility. It has shown me the limitless possibilities of living. It has given me people whose passion and kindness and sensitivity have provided a constant source of strength. It has brought me into the family of man, Mama, and I like it here. I like it. There’s not much else I can say, except that I’m the same Michael you’ve always known. You just know me better now. I have never consciously done anything to hurt you. I never will. Please don’t feel you have to answer this right away. It’s enough for me to know that I no longer have to lie to the people who taught me to value the truth. Mary Ann sends her love. Everything is fine at 28 Barbary Lane. Your loving son, MICHAEL
Armistead Maupin (More Tales of the City (Tales of the City #2))