Neither Good Nor Bad Quotes

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I could not become anything; neither good nor bad; neither a scoundrel nor an honest man; neither a hero nor an insect. And now I am eking out my days in my corner, taunting myself with the bitter and entirely useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot seriously become anything, that only a fool can become something.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
Lies are neither bad nor good. Like a fire they can either keep you warm or burn you to death, depending on how they're used.
Max Brooks (World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War)
We remember the good times and the bad ones, forgetting that most times are neither good nor bad. They just are.
Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1))
When I have neither pleasure nor pain and have been breathing for a while the lukewarm insipid air of these so called good and tolerable days, I feel so bad in my childish soul that I smash my moldering lyre of thanksgiving in the face of the slumbering god of contentment and would rather feel the very devil burn in me than this warmth of a well-heated room. A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life. I have a mad impulse to smash something, a warehouse, perhaps, or a cathedral, or myself, to commit outrages, to pull off the wigs of a few revered idols...
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
Power changes everything till it is difficult to say who are the heroes and who the villians... And magic itself is neither good nor bad; it is intent that makes it either.
Libba Bray (The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3))
Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.
Christopher Paolini (Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, #4))
According to Buddhism, the root of suffering is neither the feeling of pain nor of sadness nor even of meaninglessness. Rather, the real root of suffering is this never-ending and pointless pursuit of ephemeral feelings, which causes us to be in a constant state of tension, restlessness and dissatisfaction. Due to this pursuit, the mind is never satisfied. Even when experiencing pleasure, it is not content, because it fears this feeling might soon disappear, and craves that this feeling should stay and intensify. People are liberated from suffering not when they experience this or that fleeting pleasure, but rather when they understand the impermanent nature of all their feelings, and stop craving them. This is the aim of Buddhist meditation practices. In meditation, you are supposed to closely observe your mind and body, witness the ceaseless arising and passing of all your feelings, and realise how pointless it is to pursue them. When the pursuit stops, the mind becomes very relaxed, clear and satisfied. All kinds of feelings go on arising and passing – joy, anger, boredom, lust – but once you stop craving particular feelings, you can just accept them for what they are. You live in the present moment instead of fantasising about what might have been. The resulting serenity is so profound that those who spend their lives in the frenzied pursuit of pleasant feelings can hardly imagine it. It is like a man standing for decades on the seashore, embracing certain ‘good’ waves and trying to prevent them from disintegrating, while simultaneously pushing back ‘bad’ waves to prevent them from getting near him. Day in, day out, the man stands on the beach, driving himself crazy with this fruitless exercise. Eventually, he sits down on the sand and just allows the waves to come and go as they please. How peaceful!
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Oftentimes in reality, the genius is in the position of the antihero. Neither the good guys nor the bad guys really trust him because his truth is universal.
Criss Jami (Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality)
Change is neither good nor bad. It’s just change. Frightening, but survivable.
Patricia Briggs (Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson)
Perhaps man was neither good nor bad, was only a machine in an insensate universe--his courage no more than a reflex to danger, like the automatic jump at the pin-prick. Perhaps there were no virtues, unless jumping at pin-pricks was a virtue, and humanity only a mechanical donkey led on by the iron carrot of love, through the pointless treadmill of reproduction.
T.H. White (The Once and Future King (The Once and Future King, #1-4))
There's always the same amount of good luck and bad luck in the world. If one person doesn't get the bad luck, somebody else will have to get it in their place. There's always the same amount of good and evil, too. We can't eradicate evil, we can only evict it, force it to move across town. And when evil moves, some good always goes with it. But we can never alter the ratio of good to evil. All we can do is keep things stirred up so neither good nor evil solidifies. That's when things get scary. Life is like a stew, you have to stir it frequently, or all the scum rises to the top.
Tom Robbins
I am neither good, nor bad, neither angel nor devil, I am a man, I am a vampire.
Michael Romkey
But death and life, success and failure, pain and pleasure, wealth and poverty, all these happen to good and bad alike, and they are neither noble or shameful—and hence neither good nor bad.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Magic is dangerous: it's neither good nor bad, right nor wrong; it can be both a blessing and a curse. It takes strength, the strength of a man, to make the magic his own, to make it serve him, and not the other way around.
Daniel Wallace (The Kings and Queens of Roam)
Selfishness is neither good nor bad—it depends on the way we are selfish as to whether it nourishes or injures.
Hugh Prather (Notes to Myself: My Struggle to Become a Person)
Fear, anxiety, arousal, and pain; all are emotions and sensations. They are neither right, nor are they wrong; good nor bad. They are simply passions, a most important part of life. Feel them, fully experience them, surrender to them, and learn to accept them. As a submissive, you must let go. André Chevalier
Nikki Sex (Fate (Fate, #1))
Process as process is neither morally good nor morally bad. We may judge results but not process. The morally bad agent may perform the deed which is good. The morally good agent may perform the deed which is bad. Maybe a man has to sell his soul to get the power to do good.
Robert Penn Warren (All the King's Men)
like our intellect, social media in itself is neither good nor bad—it is the use to which we put it that counts.
Jane Goodall (The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times)
Inside us all are pieces of that which makes the neagitve. Demons are neither good nor bad. Like you, they have many facets. It is that inner essence, or drive, if you will, that we all have that guides us through our lives. Sometimes those voices that drive us are whispered memories that live deep inside and cause us such pain that we have no choice except to let it out and to hurt those around us. But at other times, the voice is love and compassion, and it guides us to a gentler place. In the end, we, alone, must choose what path to walk. No one can help us with it. (Menyara)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Bad Moon Rising (Dark-Hunter, #18; Were-Hunter, #4; Hellchaser, #2))
A sentence is born into this world neither good nor bad, and that to establish its character is a question of the subtlest possible adjustments, a process of intuition to which exaggeration and force are fatal.
Rachel Cusk (Outline)
The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distilate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel–after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps–suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.
Robert Farrar Capon (Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace)
It is my bad luck that this has happened to me.' No, you should rather say: 'It is my good luck that, although this has happened to me, I can bear it without pain, neither crushed by the present nor fearful of the future.' Because such a thing could have happened to any man, but not every man could have borne it without pain. So why see more misfortune in the event than good fortune in your ability to bear it?
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
I remember thinking, without pride of self-pity, that I was not rich or poor, that I wasn't good or bad. But that was difficult: to be neither good nor bad. It seemed to me, in the end, the same as being bad.
Alejandro Zambra (Ways of Going Home)
In itself, doubt is neither good nor bad. Its value depends on what you do with it.
Adam S. Miller (Letters to a Young Mormon)
vulnerability is neither good nor bad. Rather, being vulnerable simply means you have the capacity to experience emotions.
WiseMinds (Summary, Key Analysis & Takeaways of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown (Personal Transformation))
As the twelfth-century Tibetian yogi Milarepa said when he heard of his student Gampopa's peak experiences, 'They are neither good nor bad. Keep meditating.'
Pema Chödrön (The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times)
There was neither good nor bad there. There were just facts. It was life.
W. Somerset Maugham (Of Human Bondage)
Disruption itself is generally neither good nor bad; its impact depends on one’s perspective and the nature and timing of one’s response.
Roger Spitz (The Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption: Volume I - Reframing and Navigating Disruption)
Your body would not get sick if you held no thought of resentment. It is neither good nor bad of itself. If we hold anything against anyone, we will suffer ourselves.
Donna Goddard (Waldmeer)
For when you realized that God is Everything you know that you've got to love everything no matter how bad it is, in the ultimate sense it was neither good nor bad (consider the dust), it was just what was, that is, what we made to appear.
Jack Kerouac (Lonesome Traveler)
To prevent becoming overwhelmed by the world around us, we must, as the ancients practiced, learn how to limit our passions and their control over our lives. It takes skill and discipline to bat away the pests of bad perceptions, to separate reliable signals from deceptive ones, to filter out prejudice, expectation, and fear. But it’s worth it, for what’s left is truth. While others are excited or afraid, we will remain calm and imperturbable. We will see things simply and straightforwardly, as they truly are—neither good nor bad.
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph)
It was furnished neither in good taste nor in bad taste, but simply with no attempt at taste at all...
Nancy Mitford (The Pursuit of Love (Radlett & Montdore, #1))
Truth is neither joyful nor sad, neither good nor bad. It is simply truth.
Robert Ludlum (The Matlock Paper)
I ask you neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for death; but that you may dispose of my health and my sickness, my life and my death, for your glory ... You alone know what is expedient for me; you are the sovereign master, do with me according to your will. Give to me, or take away from me, only conform my will to yours. I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and bad to offend you. Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad in anything. I know not which is most profitable to me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of your providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom.
Blaise Pascal
When I have neither pleasure nor pain and have been breathing for a while the lukewarm insipid air of these so-called good and tolerable days, I feel so bad in my childish soul that I smash my rusty lyre of thanksgiving in the face of the slumbering god of contentment and would rather feel the most devilish pain burn in me than this warmth of a well-heated room. - Harry Haller
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
the great world, so far as we know it from philosophy of nature, is neither good nor bad, and is not concerned to make us happy or unhappy. All such philosophies spring from self-importance, and are best corrected by a little astronomy.
Bertrand Russell (What I Believe)
Most men—it is my experience—are neither virtuous nor scoundrels, good-hearted nor bad-hearted. They are a little of one thing and a little of the other and nothing for any length of time: ignoble mediocrities.
Robert Graves (Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina (Claudius, #2))
Remember, emotions themselves are neither good nor bad. They are simply our psychological responses to the events of life.
Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts)
Maybe...maybe her gift wasn't lying. Maybe her gift was imagination. Imagination was neither good nor bad. It was a little bit of both. Just like her.
Roshani Chokshi (Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava, #1))
It is all, the unfolding. Neither good nor bad, my destiny.
T. Scott McLeod (All That Is Unspoken)
Until you have learned to be tolerant with those who do not always agree with you;until you have culrivated the habit of saying some kind word of those whom you do not admire; until you have formed the habit of looking for good instead of the bad there is in others, you will be neither successful nor happy
Napoleon Hill
The adult May fly lives only a few hours, just long enough to mate. He has neither mouth nor stomach, but needs neither since he does not live long enough to need to eat. The eggs the May fly leaves hatch after the parent has died. What is it all about. What's the point? There is no point. That's just the way it is. It is neither good nor bad. Life is mainly simply inevitable. (41)
Sheldon B. Kopp (If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! The Pilgrimage of Psychotherapy Patients)
I worship impersonal Nature, which is neither "good" or "bad", and who knows neither love nor hatred. I worship Life; the Sun, Sustainer of life. I believe in the Law of everlasting struggle, which is the law of life, and in the duty of the best specimens of our race — the natural élite of mankind — to rule the earth, and evolve out of themselves a caste of supermen, a people 'like unto the Gods'.
Savitri Devi (Pilgrimage)
Involved is neither good nor bad. It is just a consequence of living, a consequence of occupation and immigration, of empires and expansion, of living in each other's pockets... one becomes involved and it is a long trek back to becoming uninvolved.
Zadie Smith (White Teeth)
Imagination was neither good nor bad. It was a little bit of both.
Roshani Chokshi (Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava, #1))
Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral
Melvin Kranzberg
A simple acceptance of what comes to us, regarding it as neither bad nor good. “Werde, der du bist, as he would have it,” Dr Kellet continued ... “It means become who you are,” he said.
Kate Atkinson (Life After Life (Todd Family, #1))
A pen is neither good nor bad. It’s what you do with it that makes it a weapon of war or a tool of peace. Likewise, love is neither good nor bad. It’s what you do with it that makes it the ultimate punishment or the greatest reward.
Lilly Mance (Coma)
The suffering or the bad memories are as important as the good memories, and the good experiences. If you sort of, can imagine life as being 99% of the time quite linear, and most of the time you're in a state of neither happiness nor sadness. And then that 1% of the time you experience moments of very crystalised happiness, or crystalised sadness, or loneliness or depression. And I believe all of those moments are very pertinant. It's like I said to you, that for me it's mostly those crystalised moments of melancholy which are more inspirational to me. And in a strange way they become quite beautiful in their own way. Music that is sad, melancholic, depressing, is in a kind of perverse way more uplifting. I find happy music extremely depressing, mostly - mostly quite depressing. It's particularly this happy music that has no spirituality behind it - if it's just sort of mindless party music, it'd be quite depressing. But largely speaking, I was the kind of person that responds more to melancholia, and it makes me feel good. And I think the reason for this is, I think if you respond strongly to that kind of art, it's because in a way it makes you feel like you're not alone. So when we hear a very sad song, it makes us realise that we do share this kind of common human experience, and we're all kind of bonded in sadness and melancholia and depression.
Steven John Wilson
Magic is a living, breathing entity; it thrives on the energy you give it. Like all forces of nature, it is neither good nor bad - it simply becomes backed on the user’s intent. Feed it love and it blossoms and grows. Nourish it with hate and it will deliver hate back to you tenfold.
Kerri Maniscalco (Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1))
Why not?" she said, "and take note of what I am about to say to you. Never feel secure with the woman you love, for there are more dangers in woman's nature than you imagine. Women are neither as good as their admirers and defenders maintain, nor as bad as their enemies make them out to be. Woman's character is characterlessness. The best woman will momentarily go down into the mire, and the worst unexpectedly rises to deeds of greatness and goodness and puts to shame those that despise her. No woman is so good or so bad, but that at any moment she is capable of the most diabolical as well as of the most divine, of the filthiest as well as of the purest, thoughts, emotions, and actions. In spite of all the advances of civilization, woman has remained as she came out of the hand of nature. She has the nature of a savage, who is faithful or faithless, magnanimous or cruel, according to the impulse that dominates at the moment. Throughout history it has always been a serious deep culture which has produced moral character. Man even when he is selfish or evil always follows principles, woman never follows anything but impulses. Don't ever forget that, and never feel secure with the woman you love.
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (Venus In Furs)
What you must remember is that the magic itself is neither good nor bad, no more so than this ship might be used for right or wrong. It might be used by a fisherman to feed a village, for example. Or, the same vessel might be sailed by pirates to murder and pillage...the lumber, rope, nails, cotton, and everything that goes into it-is created by the True One. Humans decide how it is to be put together and how it is used.
Derek Donais (MetalMagic: Talisman)
It is when the politician loves neither the public good nor himself, or when his love for himself is limited and is satisfied by the trappings of office, that the public interest is badly served.
John F. Kennedy (Profiles in Courage: Deluxe Modern Classic (Harper Perennial Deluxe Editions))
Life — for me — is neither good nor bad, neither a theory nor an idea. Life is a reality, and the reality of life is war. For one who is a born warrior, life is a fountain of joy, for others it is only a fountain of humiliation and sorrow. I no longer demand carefree joy from life. It couldn’t give it to me, and I would no longer know what to do with it now that my adolescence is past...
Renzo Novatore (I Am Also a Nihilist)
There's little to see, but things leave an impression. It's a matter of time and repetition. As something old wears thin or out, something new wears in. The handle on the pump, the crank on the churn, the dipper floating in the bucket, the latch on the screen, the door on the privy, the fender on the stove, the knees of the pants and the seat of the chair, the handle of the brush and the lid to the pot exist in time but outside taste; they wear in more than they wear out. It can't be helped. It's neither good nor bad. It's the nature of life.
Wright Morris
Know that whatever decision you make, it is neither good nor bad. It simply is. All of us experience love, loss, gain, hope, despair, and all the other feelings and emotions. These are the gifts of the universe, although many of them are not perceived as such until time has passed.
Terry Schott (Digital Evolution (The Game is Life, #6))
When you know that bad things aren’t so terrible and good things aren’t so terrific, you can be quietly grateful for whatever occurs. Balance is neither pessimism nor optimism.
John F. Demartini (The Breakthrough Experience: A Revolutionary New Approach to Personal Transformation)
THE PUZZLE IS WHY SO MANY PEOPLE LIVE so badly. Not so wickedly, but so inanely. Not so cruelly, but so stupidly. There is little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture. We have celebrities but not saints. Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs. Infamous criminals act out the aggressions of timid conformists. Petulant and spoiled athletes play games vicariously for lazy and apathetic spectators. People, aimless and bored, amuse themselves with trivia and trash. Neither the adventure of goodness nor the pursuit of righteousness gets headlines.
Eugene H. Peterson (Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best)
Men have their virtues and their vices, their heroisms and their perversities; men are neither wholly good nor wholly bad, but possess and practice all that there is of good and bad here below. Such is the general rule. Temperament, education, the accidents of life, are modifying factors. Outside of this, everything is ordered arrangement, everything is chance. Such has been my rule of expectation and it has usually brought me success.
Napoléon Bonaparte
Nothing that goes on in anyone else’s mind can harm you. Nor can the shifts and changes in the world around you. —Then where is harm to be found? In your capacity to see it. Stop doing that and everything will be fine. Let the part of you that makes that judgment keep quiet even if the body it’s attached to is stabbed or burnt, or stinking with pus, or consumed by cancer. Or to put it another way: It needs to realize that what happens to everyone—bad and good alike—is neither good nor bad.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
The Ego is the ‘thing’ that you’ve created to keep hiding from your Shadow, convinced that it’s all the ‘light’ or ‘good’ things about you – when in reality, the ego is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’ because it’s totally unreal.
Oli Anderson (Shadow Life: Freedom from Bullshit in an Unreal World)
until you have formed the habit of looking for the good instead of the bad there is in others, you will be neither successful nor happy.
Napoleon Hill (200 Important Quotes From Napoleon Hill)
But on the whole the impression was neither of tragedy nor of comedy. There was no describing it. It was manifold and various; there were tears and laughter, happiness and woe; it was tedious and interesting and indifferent; it was as you saw it: it was tumultuous and passionate; it was grave; it was sad and comic; it was trivial; it was simple and complex; joy was there and despair; the love of mothers for their children, and of men for women; lust trailed itself through the rooms with leaden feet, punishing the guilty and the innocent, helpless wives and wretched children; drink seized men and women and cost its inevitable price; death sighed in these rooms; and the beginning of life, filling some poor girl with terror and shame, was diagnosed there. There was neither good nor bad there. There were just facts. It was life.
W. Somerset Maugham (Of Human Bondage)
Our death is our wedding with eternity What is the secret? "God is One." The sunlight splits when entering the windows of the house. This multiplicity exists in the cluster of grapes; It is not in the juice made from the grapes. For he who is living in the Light of God, The death of the carnal soul is a blessing. Regarding him, say neither bad nor good, For he is gone beyond the good and the bad. Fix your eyes on God and do not talk about what is invisible, So that he may place another look in your eyes. It is in the vision of the physical eyes That no invisible or secret thing exists. But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God What thing could remain hidden under such a Light? Although all lights emanate from the Divine Light Don't call all these lights "the Light of God"; It is the eternal light which is the Light of God, The ephemeral light is an attribute of the body and the flesh. ...Oh God who gives the grace of vision! The bird of vision is flying towards You with the wings of desire.
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ar-Rumi)
As simple as that sounds, it is nevertheless extremely difficult to adequately discuss no-boundary awareness or nondual consciousness. This is because our language — the medium in which all verbal discussion must float — is a language of boundaries. As we have seen, words and symbols and thoughts themselves are actually nothing but boundaries, for whenever you think or use a word or name, you are already creating boundaries. Even to say "reality is no-boundary awareness" is still to create a distinction between boundaries and no-boundary! So we have to keep in mind the great difficulty involved with dualistic language. That "reality is no-boundary" is true enough, provided we remember that no-boundary awareness is a direct, immediate, and nonverbal awareness, and not a mere philosophical theory. It is for these reasons that the mystic-sages stress that reality lies beyond names and forms, words and thoughts, divisions and boundaries. Beyond all boundaries lies the real world of Suchness, the Void, the Dharmakaya, Tao, Brahman, the Godhead. And in the world of suchness, there is neither good nor bad, saint nor sinner, birth nor death, for in the world of suchness there are no boundaries.
Ken Wilber (No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth)
A good question is not concerned with a correct answer. A good question cannot be answered immediately. A good question challenges existing answers. A good question is one you badly want answered once you hear it, but had no inkling you cared before it was asked. A good question creates new territory of thinking. A good question reframes its own answers. A good question is the seed of innovation in science, technology, art, politics, and business. A good question is a probe, a what-if scenario. A good question skirts on the edge of what is known and not known, neither silly nor obvious. A good question cannot be predicted. A good question will be the sign of an educated mind. A good question is one that generates many other good questions. A good question may be the last job a machine will learn to do. A good question is what humans are for.  •
Kevin Kelly (The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future)
When analytic thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process. That is fairly well understood, at least in the arts. Mark Twain’s experience comes to mind, in which, after he had mastered the analytic knowledge needed to pilot the Mississippi River, he discovered the river had lost its beauty. Something is always killed. But what is less noticed in the arts—something is always created too. And instead of just dwelling on what is killed it’s important also to see what’s created and to see the process as a kind of death-birth continuity that is neither good nor bad, but just is.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
Absolute Truth is not a belief, not a religion, not a philosophy, not a momentary experience, and not a transient spiritual experience either. It is neither static nor in motion, neither good nor bad. It is other than all of that, more other than you can ever imagine. Truth cannot be touched by thought or imagined by the mind. It can only be found in the heart of universal being. To know thy self is the key. To bring forth your being is The Way.
Adyashanti (The Way of Liberation: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
When the highest Chakra opens, you will find yourself sitting on the lotus of nothingness. The entire world will seem like mud upon which the lotus blooms. The mud is neither bad nor good. If you think it’s bad, you are still attached to it; you are still swimming into it. True detachment is the only way to slowly move upward from one Chakra to another.
Shunya
We learn in the past, but we are not the result of that. We suffered in the past, loved in the past, cried and laughed in the past, but that's of no use in the present. The present has its challenges, its good and bad side. We can neither blame nor be grateful to the past for what is happening now. Each new experience of love has nothing whatsoever to do with past experiences. It's always new.
Paulo Coelho
Journalism, to me, is just another drug – a free ride to scenes I'd probably miss if I stayed straight. But I'm neither a chemist nor an editor; all I do is take the pill or the assignment and see what happens. Now and then I get a bad trip, but experience has made me more careful about what I buy... so if you have a good pill I'm open; I'll try almost anything that hasn't bitten me in the past.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968-1976)
One of the most difficult things to say to another person is, I hope that you will love me for no good reason. But it is what we all want and rarely dare to say to one another – to our children, to our parents and mates, to our friends, and to strangers. Especially to strangers, who have neither good nor bad reasons to love us. And it’s why we tell each other stories that we pray will be transformed in the telling by that angel on the roof, made believable and about us all, no matter who we are to one another and who we are not.
Russell Banks (The Angel on the Roof)
Like most men, Jimmy Jim was neither all good nor all bad. It is just that when he was bad, gentler people saw in him a disturbing fury. People, a lot them, don't understand fury. They understand anger and even hatred, but fury is one of those old words that have gone out of style. Jimmy Jim Bundrum understood it. It rode his shoulder like a parrot.
Rick Bragg (Ava's Man)
Because you are neither an angel nor a god. I am quite aware that your actions have been prompted by your pure feelings, and I understand perfectly well that, for that very reason, you do not wish to receive money for what you have done. But pure unadultered feelings are dangerous in their own way. It is no easy feat for a flesh-and-blood human being to go on living with such feelings. That is why it is necessary for you to fasten your feelings to the earth – firmly, like attaching an anchor to a balloon. The money is for that. To prevent you from feeling that you can do anything you want as long as it’s the right thing and your feelings are pure.
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3))
Lee put his arm around the broad shoulders to comfort him. "You're growing up. Maybe that's it," he said softly. "Sometimes I think the world tests us most sharply then, and we turn inward and watch ourselves with horror. But that's not the worst. We think everybody is seeing into us. The dirt is very dirty and purity is shining white. Aron, it will be over. That's not much relief to you because you don't believe it, but it's the best I can do for you. Try to believe that things are neither so good nor so bad as they seem to you now.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden: Curriculum Unit (Center for Learning Curriculum Units))
Is there a difference between happiness and inner peace? Yes. Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not. Is it not possible to attract only positive conditions into our life? If our attitude and our thinking are always positive, we would manifest only positive events and situations, wouldn’t we? Do you truly know what is positive and what is negative? Do you have the total picture? There have been many people for whom limitation, failure, loss, illness, or pain in whatever form turned out to be their greatest teacher. It taught them to let go of false self-images and superficial ego-dictated goals and desires. It gave them depth, humility, and compassion. It made them more real. Whenever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it, although you may not see it at the time. Even a brief illness or an accident can show you what is real and unreal in your life, what ultimately matters and what doesn’t. Seen from a higher perspective, conditions are always positive. To be more precise: they are neither positive nor negative. They are as they are. And when you live in complete acceptance of what is — which is the only sane way to live — there is no “good” or “bad” in your life anymore. There is only a higher good — which includes the “bad.” Seen from the perspective of the mind, however, there is good-bad, like-dislike, love-hate. Hence, in the Book of Genesis, it is said that Adam and Eve were no longer allowed to dwell in “paradise” when they “ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
Just because things turned out badly in the end doesn’t mean that anything has changed in my relationship with my mother. Everything is still there, the same as always: the fact that we walked slowly around that lake together, holding hands, and the way my friends and I laughed in the ocean, the fact that I was looking at a seagull then. None of it has changed. It’s neither good nor bad, as I see it, the scenes are just there inside me, forever, and their mass remains the same. Of course, it’s true that sometimes the pink at sunrise somehow seems brighter than the pink at sunset, and that when you’re feeling down the landscape seems darker, too—you see things through the filter of your own sensibility. But the things themselves, out there, they don’t change. They existed, and that’s all there is to it.
Banana Yoshimoto (The Lake)
Neither Bwitists nor Fang felt they could eradicate ritual sin or evil in the world. This incapacity means that men have to celebrate. Good and bad walk together. As Fang frequently enough told missionaries, "We have two hearts, good and bad." Early missionaries, aware of these self-confessed contradictions, evangelized with the promise of "one heartedness" in Christianity. But Fang by and large did not find it there. For many, Christian one heartedness was a constriction of their selves. While "one heartedness" is celebrated in Bwiti, it is a one heartedness which is coagulated out of a flow of many qualities from one state to another. It is goodness achieved in the presence of badness, an aboveness achieved in the presence of belowness. It is an emergent quality energized in the presence of its opposite.
Terence McKenna (Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge)
There was nothing ugly in the small, unprepossessing figure of this emancipated woman, but the expression on her face made a bad impression on the viewer. One felt inclined to ask: "What's the matter? Are you hungry? Bored? Afraid? Why so tense?" Just like Sitnikov, she was always anxious. She spoke and moved in a rather casual, though awkward,manner: she obviously considered herself a good-natured, simple creature; at the same time, no matter what she did, it always seemed that she didn't want to be doing that. Everything she did appeared to be done on purpose, as children say, that is, neither simply nor naturally.
Ivan Turgenev (Fathers and Sons)
Involved. At least that was the right word, Alsana reflected, as she liftes her foot off the pedal, and let the wheel spin a few times alone before coming to a squeaky halt. Sometimes, here in England, especially at bus-stops and on the daytime soaps, you heard people say “We’re involved with each other,” as if this were a most wonderful state to be in, as if one chose it and enjoyed it. Alsana never thought of it that way. Involved happened over a long period of time, pulling you in like quicksand. Involved is what befell the moon-faced Alsana Begum and the handsome Samad Miah one week after they’d been pushed into a Delhi breakfast room together and informed they were to marry. Involved was the result when Clara Bowden met Archie Jones at the bottom of some stairs. Involved swallowed up a girl called Ambrosia and a boy called Charlie (yes, Clara had told her that sorry tale) the second they kissed in the larder of a guest house. Involved is neither good, nor bad. It is just a consequence of living, a consequence of occupation and immigration, of empires and expansion, of living in each other’s pockets… one becomes involved and it is a long trek back to being uninvolved. And the woman was right, one didn’t do it for one’s health. Nothing this late in the century was done with health in mind. Alsana was no dummy when it came to the Modern Condition. She watched the talk shows, all day long she watched the talk shows — My wife slept with my brother, My mother won’t stay out of my boyfriend’s life — and the microphone holder, whether it be Tanned Man with White Teeth or Scary Married Couple, always asked the same damn silly question: But why do you feel the need…? Wrong! Alsana had to explain it to them through the screen. You blockhead; they are not wanting this, they are not willing it — they are just involved, see? They walk IN and they get trapped between the revolving doors of those two v’s. Involved. Just a tired inevitable fact. Something in the way Joyce said it, involved — wearied, slightly acid — suggested to Alsana that the word meant the same thing to hear. An enormous web you spin to catch yourself.
Zadie Smith (White Teeth)
You do not want the effect of your good things to be, "How wonderful for a woman!" nor would you be deterred from good things, by hearing it said, "Yes, but she ought not to have done this, because it is not suitable for a woman." But you want to do the thing that is good, whether it is "suitable for a woman" or not. It does not make a thing good, that it is remarkable that a woman should have been able to do it. Neither does it make a thing bad, which would have been good had a man done it, that it has been done by a woman. Oh, leave these jargons, and go your way straight to God's work, in simplicity and singleness of heart.
Florence Nightingale (Notes On Nursing)
When I have neither pleasure nor pain and have been breathing for a while the lukewarm insipid air of these so called good and tolerable days, I feel so bad in my childish soul that I smash my moldering lyre of thanksgiving in the face of the slumbering god of contentment and would rather feel tle very devil burn in me than this warmth of a well-heated room. A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life. I have a mad impulse to smash something, a warehouse, perhaps, or a cathedral, or myself, to commit outrages, to pull off the wigs of a few revered idols, to provide a few rebellious schoolboys with the longed-for ticket to Hamburg, or to stand one or two representatives of the established order on their heads. For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
They suffered cold and heat, hard work and privation as did others of their time. When possible they turned bad into good. If not possible, they endured it. Neither they nor their neighbors begged for help. No other person, nor the government, owed them a living. They owed that to themselves and in some way they paid the debt. And they found their own way. Their old fashioned character values are worth as much today as they ever were to help us over the rough places. We need today courage, self reliance and integrity.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Talmud, the compilation of discussions of Jewish Law which I have quoted earlier in this book, gives examples of bad prayers, improper prayers, which one should not utter. If a woman is pregnant, neither she nor her husband should pray, “May God grant that this child be a boy” (nor, for that matter, may they pray that it be a girl). The sex of the child is determined at conception, and God cannot be invoked to change it. Again, if a man sees a fire engine racing toward his neighborhood, he should not pray, “Please God, don’t let the fire be in my house.” Not only is it mean-spirited to pray that someone else’s house burn instead of yours, but it is futile. A certain house is already on fire; the most sincere or articulate of prayers will not affect the question of which house it is.
Harold S. Kushner (When Bad Things Happen to Good People)
Thornton Wilder’s one-act play “The Angel That Troubled the Waters,” based on John 5:1-4, dramatizes the power of the pool of Bethesda to heal whenever an angel stirred its waters. A physician comes periodically to the pool hoping to be the first in line and longing to be healed of his melancholy. The angel finally appears but blocks the physician just as he is ready to step into the water. The angel tells the physician to draw back, for this moment is not for him. The physician pleads for help in a broken voice, but the angel insists that healing is not intended for him. The dialogue continues—and then comes the prophetic word from the angel: “Without your wounds where would your power be? It is your melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve. Physician, draw back.” Later, the man who enters the pool first and is healed rejoices in his good fortune and turning to the physician says: “Please come with me. It is only an hour to my home. My son is lost in dark thoughts. I do not understand him and only you have ever lifted his mood. Only an hour.… There is also my daughter: since her child died, she sits in the shadow. She will not listen to us but she will listen to you.”13 Christians who remain in hiding continue to live the lie. We deny the reality of our sin. In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others. We cling to our bad feelings and beat ourselves with the past when what we should do is let go. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, guilt is an idol. But when we dare to live as forgiven men and women, we join the wounded healers and draw closer to Jesus.
Brennan Manning (Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging with Bonus Content)
When two people produce entirely different memories of the same event, observers usually assume that one of them is lying. […] But most of us, most of the time, are neither telling the whole truth nor intentionally deceiving. We aren’t lying; we are self-justifying. All of us, as we tell our stories, add details and omit inconvenient facts; we give the tale a small, self-enhancing spin; that spin goes over so well that the next time we add a slightly more dramatic embellishment; we justify that little white lie as making the story better and clearer – until what we remember may not have happened that way, or even may not have happened at all. […] History is written by the victors, and when we write our own histories, we do so just as the conquerors of nations do: to justify our actions and make us look and feel good about ourselves and what we did or what we failed to do. If mistakes were made, memory helps us remember that they were made by someone else.
Carol Tavris, Elliot Aronson (Mistakes Were Made, but Not by Me: Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts)
There is much to be said for contentment and painlessness, for these bearable and submissive days, on which neither pain nor pleasure is audible, but pass by whispering and on tip-toe. But the worst of it is that it is just this contentment that I cannot endure. After a short time it fills me with irrepressible hatred and nausea. In desperation I have to escape and throw myself on the road to pleasure, or, if that cannot be, on the road to pain. When I have neither pleasure nor pain and have been breathing for a while the lukewarm insipid air of these so-called good and tolerable days, I feel so bad in my childish soul that I smash my mouldering lyre of thanksgiving in the face of the slumbering god of contentment and would rather feel the very devil burn in me than this warmth of a well-heated room. A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life. I have a mad impulse to smash something, a warehouse, perhaps, or a cathedral, or myself, to commit outrages, to pull off the wigs of a few revered idols, to provide a few rebellious schoolboys with the longed-for ticket to Hamburg, or to stand one or two representatives of the established order on their heads. For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
In 90% of cases, you can start with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story. Our brain doesn’t remember what we hear. It remembers only what we “see” or imagine while we listen. You can remember stories. Everything else is quickly forgotten. Smell is the most powerful sense out of 4 to immerse audience members into a scene. Every sentence either helps to drive your point home, or it detracts from clarity. There is no middle point. If you don’t have a foundational phrase in your speech, it means that your message is not clear enough to you, and if it’s not clear to you, there is no way it will be clear to your audience. Share your failures first. Show your audience members that you are not any better, smarter or more talented than they are. You are not an actor, you are a speaker. The main skill of an actor is to play a role; to be someone else. Your main skill as a speaker is to be yourself. People will forgive you for anything except for being boring. Speaking without passion is boring. If you are not excited about what you are talking about, how can you expect your audience to be excited? Never hide behind a lectern or a table. Your audience needs to see 100% of your body. Speak slowly and people will consider you to be a thoughtful and clever person. Leaders don’t talk much, but each word holds a lot of meaning and value. You always speak to only one person. Have a conversation directly with one person, look him or her in the eye. After you have logically completed one idea, which usually is 10-20 seconds, scan the audience and then stop your eyes on another person. Repeat this process again. Cover the entire room with eye contact. When you scan the audience and pick people for eye contact, pick positive people more often. When you pause, your audience thinks about your message and reflects. Pausing builds an audiences’ confidence. If you don’t pause, your audience doesn’t have time to digest what you've told them and hence, they will not remember a word of what you've said. Pause before and after you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. After you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. Speakers use filler words when they don’t know what to say, but they feel uncomfortable with silence. Have you ever seen a speaker who went on stage with a piece of paper and notes? Have you ever been one of these speakers? When people see you with paper in your hands, they instantly think, “This speaker is not sincere. He has a script and will talk according to the script.” The best speeches are not written, they are rewritten. Bad speakers create a 10 minutes speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Great speakers create a 5 minute speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Explain your ideas in a simple manner, so that the average 12-year-old child can understand the concept. Good speakers and experts can always explain the most complex ideas with very simple words. Stories evoke emotions. Factual information conveys logic. Emotions are far more important in a speech than logic. If you're considering whether to use statistics or a story, use a story. PowerPoint is for pictures not for words. Use as few words on the slide as possible. Never learn your speech word for word. Just rehearse it enough times to internalize the flow. If you watch a video of your speech, you can triple the pace of your development as a speaker. Make videos a habit. Meaningless words and clichés neither convey value nor information. Avoid them. Never apologize on stage. If people need to put in a lot of effort to understand you they simply won’t listen. On the other hand if you use very simple language you will connect with the audience and your speech will be remembered.
Andrii Sedniev (Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker)
What is it, fundamentally, that allows us to recognize who has turned out well? That a well-turned out person pleases our senses, that he is carved from wood that is hard, delicate, and at the same time smells good. He has a taste only for what is good for him; his pleasure, his delight cease where the measure of what is good for him is transgressed. He guesses what remedies avail against what is harmful; he exploits bad accidents to his advantage; what does not kill him makes him stronger. Instinctively, he collects from everything he sees, hears, lives through, his sum: he is a principle of selection, he discards much. He is always in his own company, whether he associates with books, human beings, or landscapes: he honors by choosing, by admitting, by trusting. He reacts slowly to all kinds of stimuli, with that slowness which long caution and deliberate pride have bred in him: he examines the stimulus that approaches him, he is far from meeting it halfway. He believes neither in 'misfortune' nor in 'guilt': he comes to terms with himself, with others: he knows how to forget — he is strong enough; hence everything must turn out for his best.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Ecco Homo)
CHAPTER XXVI.—A new Prince in a City or Province of which he has taken Possession, ought to make Everything new. Whosoever becomes prince of a city or State, more especially if his position be so insecure that he cannot resort to constitutional government either in the form of a republic or a monarchy, will find that the best way to preserve his princedom is to renew the whole institutions of that State; that is to say, to create new magistracies with new names, confer new powers, and employ new men, and like David when he became king, exalt the humble and depress the great, "filling the hungry with good things, and sending the rich empty away." Moreover, he must pull down existing towns and rebuild them, removing their inhabitants from one place to another; and, in short, leave nothing in the country as he found it; so that there shall be neither rank, nor condition, nor honour, nor wealth which its possessor can refer to any but to him. And he must take example from Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander, who by means such as these, from being a petty prince became monarch of all Greece; and of whom it was written that he shifted men from province to province as a shepherd moves his flocks from one pasture to another. These indeed are most cruel expedients, contrary not merely to every Christian, but to every civilized rule of conduct, and such as every man should shun, choosing rather to lead a private life than to be a king on terms so hurtful to mankind. But he who will not keep to the fair path of virtue, must to maintain himself enter this path of evil. Men, however, not knowing how to be wholly good or wholly bad, choose for themselves certain middle ways, which of all others are the most pernicious, as shall be shown by an instance in the following Chapter.
Niccolò Machiavelli (Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius)
Their faith may be described as childlike, but the end it serves is often sinister. It may, indeed, “keep them happy”—a phrase carrying the inescapable inference that the way of life imposed on Negroes makes them quite actively unhappy—but also, and much more significantly, religion operates here as a complete and exquisite fantasy revenge: white people own the earth and commit all manner of abomination and injustice on it; the bad will be punished and the good rewarded, for God is not sleeping, the judgment is not far off. It does not require a spectacular degree of perception to realize that bitterness is here neither dead nor sleeping, and that the white man, believing what he wishes to believe, has misread the symbols. Quite often the Negro preacher descends to levels less abstract and leaves no doubt as to what is on his mind: the pressure of life in Harlem, the conduct of the Italian-Ethiopian war, racial injustice during the recent war, and the terrible possibility of yet another very soon. All these topics provide excellent springboards for sermons thinly coated with spirituality but designed mainly to illustrate the injustice of the white American and anticipate his certain and long overdue punishment.
James Baldwin (Notes of a Native Son)
Siddhartha listened. He was now completely and utterly immersed in his listening, utterly empty, utterly receptive; he felt he had now succeeded in learning how to listen. He had heard all these things often now, these many voices in the river; today it sounded new. Already he could no longer distinguish the many voices, could not distinguish the gay from the weeping, the childish from the virile; they all belonged together, the yearning laments and the wise man’s laughter, the cry of anger and the moans of the dying; they were all one, all of them interlinked and interwoven, bound together in a thousand ways. And all of this together—all the voices, all the goals, all the longing, all the suffering, all the pleasure, everything good and everything bad—all of it together was the world. All of it together was the river of occurrences, the music of life. And when Siddhartha listened attentively to this river, to this thousand-voiced song, when he listened neither for the sorrow nor for the laughter, when he did not attach his soul to any one voice and enter into it with his ego but rather heard all of them, heard the whole, the oneness—then the great song of the thousand voices consisted only of a single word: Om, perfection.
Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)
The Battle of Good and Evil Polytheism gave birth not merely to monotheist religions, but also to dualistic ones. Dualistic religions espouse the existence of two opposing powers: good and evil. Unlike monotheism, dualism believes that evil is an independent power, neither created by the good God, nor subordinate to it. Dualism explains that the entire universe is a battleground between these two forces, and that everything that happens in the world is part of the struggle. Dualism is a very attractive world view because it has a short and simple answer to the famous Problem of Evil, one of the fundamental concerns of human thought. ‘Why is there evil in the world? Why is there suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people?’ Monotheists have to practise intellectual gymnastics to explain how an all-knowing, all-powerful and perfectly good God allows so much suffering in the world. One well-known explanation is that this is God’s way of allowing for human free will. Were there no evil, humans could not choose between good and evil, and hence there would be no free will. This, however, is a non-intuitive answer that immediately raises a host of new questions. Freedom of will allows humans to choose evil. Many indeed choose evil and, according to the standard monotheist account, this choice must bring divine punishment in its wake. If God knew in advance that a particular person would use her free will to choose evil, and that as a result she would be punished for this by eternal tortures in hell, why did God create her? Theologians have written countless books to answer such questions. Some find the answers convincing. Some don’t. What’s undeniable is that monotheists have a hard time dealing with the Problem of Evil. For dualists, it’s easy to explain evil. Bad things happen even to good people because the world is not governed single-handedly by a good God. There is an independent evil power loose in the world. The evil power does bad things. Dualism has its own drawbacks. While solving the Problem of Evil, it is unnerved by the Problem of Order. If the world was created by a single God, it’s clear why it is such an orderly place, where everything obeys the same laws. But if Good and Evil battle for control of the world, who enforces the laws governing this cosmic war? Two rival states can fight one another because both obey the same laws of physics. A missile launched from Pakistan can hit targets in India because gravity works the same way in both countries. When Good and Evil fight, what common laws do they obey, and who decreed these laws? So, monotheism explains order, but is mystified by evil. Dualism explains evil, but is puzzled by order. There is one logical way of solving the riddle: to argue that there is a single omnipotent God who created the entire universe – and He’s evil. But nobody in history has had the stomach for such a belief. Dualistic
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
While women suffer from our relative lack of power in the world and often resent it, certain dimensions of this powerlessness may seem abstract and remote. We know, for example, that we rarely get to make the laws or direct the major financial institutions. But Wall Street and the U.S. Congress seem very far away. The power a woman feels in herself to heal and sustain, on the other hand--"the power of love"--is, once again, concrete and very near: It is like a field of force emanating from within herself, a great river flowing outward from her very person. Thus, a complex and contradictory female subjectivity is constructed within the relations of caregiving. Here, as elsewhere, women are affirmed in some way and diminished in others, this within the unity of a single act. The woman who provides a man with largely unreciprocated emotional sustenance accords him status and pays him homage; she agrees to the unspoken proposition that his doings are important enough to deserve substantially more attention than her own. But even as the man's supremacy in the relationship is tacitly assumed by both parties to the transaction, the man reveals himself to his caregiver as vulnerable and insecure. And while she may well be ethically and epistemically disempowered by the care she gives, this caregiving affords her a feeling that a mighty power resides within her being. The situation of those men in the hierarchy of gender who avail themselves of female tenderness is not thereby altered: Their superordinate position is neither abandoned, nor their male privilege relinquished. The vulnerability these men exhibit is not a prelude in any way to their loss of male privilege or to an elevation in the status of women. Similarly, the feeling that one's love is a mighty force for the good in the life of the beloved doesn't make it so, as Milena Jesenka found, to her sorrow. The feeling of out-flowing personal power so characteristic of the caregiving woman is quite different from the having of any actual power in the world. There is no doubt that this sense of personal efficacy provides some compensation for the extra-domestic power women are typically denied: If one cannot be a king oneself, being a confidante of kings may be the next best thing. But just as we make a bad bargain in accepting an occasional Valentine in lieu of the sustained attention we deserve, we are ill advised to settle for a mere feeling of power, however heady and intoxicating it may be, in place of the effective power we have every right to exercise in the world.
Sandra Lee Bartky (Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression (Thinking Gender))
What our generation is in danger of forgetting is not only that morals are of necessity a phenomenon of individual conduct but also that they can exist only in the sphere in which the individual is free to decide for himself and is called upon voluntarily to sacrifice personal advantage to the observance of a moral rule. Outside the sphere of individual responsibility there is neither goodness nor badness, neither opportunity for moral merit nor the chance of proving one’s conviction by sacrificing one’s desires to what one thinks right. Only were we ourselves are responsible for our own interests and are free to sacrifice them has our decision moral value. We are neither entitled to be unselfish at someone else’s expense nor is there any merit in being unselfish if we have no choice. The members of a society who in all respects are made to do the good things have no title to praise. As Milton said: “If every action which is good or evil in a man of ripe years were under pittance an prescription and compulsion, what were virtue but a name, what praise should then be due to well-doing, what gramercy to be sober, just, or continent?” Freedom to order our own conduct in the sphere where material circumstances force upon us, and responsibility for the arrangement of our own life according to our own conscience, is the air in which alone moral sense grows and in which moral values are daily re-created in the free decision of the individual. Responsibility, not to a superior, but to one’s conscience, the awareness of a duty not exacted by compulsion, the necessity to decide which of the things one values are to be sacrificed to others, and to bear the consequences of one’s own decision, are the very essence of any morals which deserve the name. That in this sphere of individual conduct the effect of collectivism has been almost entirely destructive is both inevitable and undeniable. A movement whose main promise is the relief from responsibility cannot but be antimoral in its effect, however lofty the ideals to which it owes its birth. Can there be much doubt that the feeling of personal obligation to remedy inequities, where our individual power permits, has been weakened rather than strengthened, that both the willingness to bear responsibility and the consciousness that it is our own individual duty to know how to choose have been perceptibly impaired? …There is much to suggest that we have in fact become more tolerant toward particular abuses and much more indifferent to inequities in individual cases, since we have fixed our eyes on an entirely different system in which the state will set everything right. It may even be, as has been suggested, that the passion for collective action is a way in which we now without compunction collectively indulge in that selfishness which as individuals we had learned a little to restrain.
Friedrich A. Hayek
All faults or defects, from the slightest misconduct to the most flagitious crime, Pantocyclus attributed to some deviation from perfect Regularity in the bodily figure, caused perhaps (if not congenital) by some collision in a crowd; by neglect to take exercise, or by taking too much of it; or even by a sudden change of temperature, resulting in a shrinkage or expansion in some too susceptible part of the frame. Therefore, concluded that illustrious Philosopher, neither good conduct nor bad conduct is a fit subject, in any sober estimation, for either praise or blame. For why should you praise, for example, the integrity of a Square who faithfully defends the interests of his client, when you ought in reality rather to admire the exact precision of his right angles? Or again, why blame a lying, thievish Isosceles when you ought rather to deplore the incurable inequality of his sides? Theoretically, this doctrine is unquestionable; but it has practical drawbacks. In dealing with an Isosceles, if a rascal pleads that he cannot help stealing because of his unevenness, you reply that for that very reason, because he cannot help being a nuisance to his neighbours, you, the Magistrate, cannot help sentencing him to be consumed - and there's an end of the matter. But in little domestic difficulties, where the penalty of consumption, or death, is out of the question, this theory of Configuration sometimes comes in awkwardly; and I must confess that occasionally when one of my own Hexagonal Grandsons pleads as an excuse for his disobedience that a sudden change of the temperature has been too much for his perimeter, and that I ought to lay the blame not on him but on his Configuration, which can only be strengthened by abundance of the choicest sweetmeats, I neither see my way logically to reject, nor practically to accept, his conclusions. For my own part, I find it best to assume that a good sound scolding or castigation has some latent and strengthening influence on my Grandson's Configuration; though I own that I have no grounds for thinking so. At all events I am not alone in my way of extricating myself from this dilemma; for I find that many of the highest Circles, sitting as Judges in law courts, use praise and blame towards Regular and Irregular Figures; and in their homes I know by experience that, when scolding their children, they speak about "right" or "wrong" as vehemently and passionately as if they believed that these names represented real existences, and that a human Figure is really capable of choosing between them.
Edwin A. Abbott (Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions)
Any Justification that does not lead to Biblical sanctification and mortification of sinful desires is a false justification no matter how many Solas you attach to it”. “See that your chief study be about the heart, that there God’s image may be planted, and his interest advanced, and the interest of the world and flesh subdued, and the love of every sin cast out, and the love of holiness succeed; and that you content not yourselves with seeming to do good in outward acts, when you are bad yourselves, and strangers to the great internal duties. The first and great work of a Christian is about his heart.” ~ Richard Baxter Never forget that truth is more important to the church than peace ~ JC Ryle "Truth demands confrontation. It must be loving confrontation, but there must be confrontation nonetheless.” ~ Francis Schaeffer I am not permitted to let my love be so merciful as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order...when these are concerned, (neither toleration nor mercy are in order, but only anger, dispute, and destruction - to be sure, only with the Word of God as our weapon. ~ Martin Luther “Truth must be spoken, however it be taken.” ~ John Trapp “Hard words, if they be true, are better than soft words if they be false.” – C.H. Spurgeon “Oh my brethren, Bold hearted men are always called mean-spirited by cowards” – CH Spurgeon “The Bible says Iron sharpens Iron, But if your words don't have any iron in them, you ain't sharpening anyone”. “Peace often comes as a result of conflict!” ~ Don P Mt 18:15-17 Rom 12:18 “Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” ~ Martin Luther “The Scriptures argue and debate and dispute; they are full of polemics… We should always regret the necessity; but though we regret it and bemoan it, when we feel that a vital matter is at stake we must engage in argument. We must earnestly contend for the truth, and we are all called upon to do that by the New Testament.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Romans – Atonement and Justification) “It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher “Truth bites and it stings and it has a blade on it.” ~ Paul Washer Soft words produce hard hearts. Show me a church where soft words are preached and I will show you a church of hard hearts. Jeremiah said that the word of God is a hammer that shatters. Hard Preaching produces soft hearts. ~ J. MacArthur Glory follows afflictions, not as the day follows the night but as the spring follows the winter; for the winter prepares the earth for the spring, so do afflictions sanctified, prepare the soul for glory. ~ Richard Sibbes “Cowards never won heaven. Do not claim that you are begotten of God and have His royal blood running in your veins unless you can prove your lineage by this heroic spirit: to dare to be holy in spite of men and devils.” ~ William Gurnall
Various
Before the troops left Rome, the consul Varro made a number of extremely arrogant speeches. The nobles, he complained, were directly responsible for the war on Italian soil, and it would continue to prey upon the country's vitals if there were any more commanders on the Fabian model. He himself, on the contrary, would bring it to an end on the day he first caught sight of the enemy. His colleague Paullus spoke only once before the army marched, and in words which though true were hardly popular. His only harsh criticism of Varro was to express his surprise about how any army commander, while still at Rome, in his civilian clothes, could possibly know what his task on the field of battle would be, before he had become acquainted either with his own troops or the enemy's or had any idea of the lie and nature of the country where he was to operate--or how he could prophesy exactly when a pitched battle would occur. As for himself, he refused to recommend any sort of policy prematurely; for policy was moulded by circumstance, not circumstance by policy. . . . [T]o strengthen [Paullus'] determination Fabius (we are told) spoke to him at his departure in the following words. 'If, Lucius Aemilius, you were like your colleague, or if--which I should much prefer--you had a colleague like yourself, anything I could now say would be superfluous. Two good consuls would serve the country well in virtue of their own sense of honour, without any words from me; and two bad consuls would not accept my advice, nor even listen to me. But as things are, I know your colleague's qualities and I know your own, so it is to you alone I address myself, understanding as I do that all your courage and patriotism will be in vain, if our country must limp on one sound leg and one lame one. With the two of you equal in command, bad counsels will be backed by the same legal authority as good ones; for you are wrong, Paullus, if you think to find less opposition from Varro than from Hannibal. Hannibal is your enemy, Varro your rival, but I hardly know which will prove the more hostile to your designs; with the former you will be contending only on the field of battle, but with the latter everywhere and always. . . . [I]t is not the enemy who will make it difficult and dangerous for you to tread, but your fellow-countrymen. Your own men will want precisely what the enemy wants; the wishes of Varro, the Roman consul, will play straight into the hands of Hannibal, commander-in-chief of the Carthaginian armies. You will have two generals against you; but you will stand firm against both, if you can steel yourself to ignore the tongues of men who will defame you--if you remain unmoved by the empty glory your colleague seeks and the false infamy he tries to bring upon yourself. . . . Never mind if they call your caution timidity, your wisdom sloth, your generalship weakness; it is better that a wise enemy should fear you than that foolish friends should praise. Hannibal will despise a reckless antagonist, but he will fear a cautious one. Not that I wish you to do nothing--all I want is that your actions should be guided by a reasoned policy, all risks avoided; that the conduct of the war should be controlled by you at all times; that you should neither lay aside your sword nor relax your vigilance but seize the opportunity that offers, while never giving the enemy a chance to take you at a disadvantage. Go slowly, and all will be clear and sure. Haste is always improvident and blind.
Livy (The History of Rome, Books 21-30: The War with Hannibal)
The first symptom of true love in a young man is timidity; in a young girl, boldness. This is surprising, yet nothing is more simple. It is the two sexes tending to approach each other and assuming, each the other’s qualities. That day, Cosette’s glance drove Marius beside himself, and Marius’ glance set Cosette to trembling. Marius went away confident, and Cosette uneasy. From that day forth, they adored each other. The first thing that Cosette felt was a confused and profound melancholy. It seemed to her that her soul had become black since the day before. She no longer recognized it. The whiteness of soul in young girls, which is composed of coldness and gayety, resembles snow. It melts in love, which is its sun. Cosette did not know what love was. She had never heard the word uttered in its terrestrial sense. She did not know what name to give to what she now felt. Is any one the less ill because one does not know the name of one’s malady? She loved with all the more passion because she loved ignorantly. She did not know whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, useful or dangerous, eternal or temporary, allowable or prohibited; she loved. She would have been greatly astonished, had any one said to her: ‘You do not sleep? But that is forbidden! You do not eat? Why, that is very bad! You have oppressions and palpitations of the heart? That must not be! You blush and turn pale, when a certain being clad in black appears at the end of a certain green walk? But that is abominable!’ She would not have understood, and she would have replied: ‘What fault is there of mine in a matter in which I have no power and of which I know nothing?’ It turned out that the love which presented itself was exactly suited to the state of her soul. It was admiration at a distance, the deification of a stranger. It was the apparition of youth to youth, the dream of nights become a reality yet remaining a dream, the longed-for phantom realized and made flesh at last, but having as yet, neither name, nor fault, nor spot, nor exigence, nor defect; in a word, the distant lover who lingered in the ideal, a chimaera with a form. Any nearer and more palpable meeting would have alarmed Cosette at this first stage, when she was still half immersed in the exaggerated mists of the cloister. She had all the fears of children and all the fears of nuns combined. The spirit of the convent, with which she had been permeated for the space of five years, was still in the process of slow evaporation from her person, and made everything tremble around her. In this situation he was not a lover, he was not even an admirer, he was a vision. She set herself to adoring Marius as something charming, luminous, and impossible. As extreme innocence borders on extreme coquetry, she smiled at him with all frankness. Every day, she looked forward to the hour for their walk with impatience, she found Marius there, she felt herself unspeakably happy, and thought in all sincerity that she was expressing her whole thought when she said to Jean Valjean:— ‘What a delicious garden that Luxembourg is!’ Marius and Cosette were in the dark as to one another. They did not address each other, they did not salute each other, they did not know each other; they saw each other; and like stars of heaven which are separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing at each other. It was thus that Cosette gradually became a woman and developed, beautiful and loving, with a consciousness of beauty and in ignorance of love.
Victor Hugo
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard — and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence besides two good livings — and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still lived on — lived to have six children more — to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features — so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boy's plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. Indeed she had no taste for a garden; and if she gathered flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief — at least so it was conjectured from her always preferring those which she was forbidden to take. Such were her propensities — her abilities were quite as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in teaching her only to repeat the "Beggar's Petition"; and after all, her next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine was always stupid — by no means; she learnt the fable of "The Hare and Many Friends" as quickly as any girl in England. Her mother wished her to learn music; and Catherine was sure she should like it, for she was very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinner; so, at eight years old she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear it; and Mrs. Morland, who did not insist on her daughters being accomplished in spite of incapacity or distaste, allowed her to leave off. The day which dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest of Catherine's life. Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain the outside of a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another. Writing and accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her proficiency in either was not remarkable, and she shirked her lessons in both whenever she could. What a strange, unaccountable character! — for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)