Never Claimed To Be Perfect Quotes

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We look down our noses at people who've made mistakes in relationships. She's so stupid! How could she do that! Our superiority makes us feel better. But I’d bet everything I have on the fact that people to claim to have a perfect record in love are either lying or have very limited dating experience. People who say, I’d never do that! Someday, unless you are very, very lucky, you’ll have a story to tell. Or not to tell.
Deb Caletti (The Secret Life of Prince Charming)
The unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus, but actually dislike people who breathe. Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.
Dave Barnhart
What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed in there, regardless. It wasn't just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something wider, bigger. Cora was right- we had many families over time. Our family of origin, the family we created, as well as the groups you moved through while all of this was happening: friends, lovers, sometimes even strangers. None of them were perfect, and we couldn't expect them to be. You couldn't make any one person your world. The trick was to take what each could give you and build a world from it. So my true family was not just my mom, lost or found; my dad, gone from the start; and Cora, the only one who had really been there all along. It was Jamie, who took me in without question and gave me a future I once couldn't even imagine; Oliva, who did question, but also gave me answers; Harriet, who, like me, believed she needed no one and discovered otherwise. And then there was Nate. Nate, who was a friend to me before I even knew what a friend was. Who picked me up, literally, over and over again, and never asked for anything in return except for my word and my understanding. I'd given him one but not the other, because at the time I thought I couldn't, and then proved myself right by doing exactly as my mother had, hurting to prevent from being hurt myself. Needing was so easy: it came naturally, like breathing. Being needed by someone else, though, that was the hard part. But as with giving help and accepting it, we had to do both to be made complete- like links overlapping to form a chain, or a lock finding the right key. ~Ruby (pgs 400-401)
Sarah Dessen (Lock and Key)
When you love me, you have to love all of me, which means loving this side of me. I never claimed to be perfect.
Meghan Quinn (The Way I Hate Him (Almond Bay, #1))
You don't notice the dead leaving when they really choose to leave you. You're not meant to. At most you feel them as a whisper or the wave of a whisper undulating down. I would compare it to a woman in the back of a lecture hall or theater whom no one notices until she slips out.Then only those near the door themselves, like Grandma Lynn, notice; to the rest it is like an unexplained breeze in a closed room. Grandma Lynn died several years later, but I have yet to see her here. I imagine her tying it on in her heaven, drinking mint juleps with Tennessee Williams and Dean Martin. She'll be here in her own sweet time, I'm sure. If I'm to be honest with you, I still sneak away to watch my family sometimes. I can't help it, and sometimes they still think of me. They can't help it.... It was a suprise to everyone when Lindsey found out she was pregnant...My father dreamed that one day he might teach another child to love ships in bottles. He knew there would be both sadness and joy in it; that it would always hold an echo of me. I would like to tell you that it is beautiful here, that I am, and you will one day be, forever safe. But this heaven is not about safety just as, in its graciousness, it isn't about gritty reality. We have fun. We do things that leave humans stumped and grateful, like Buckley's garden coming up one year, all of its crazy jumble of plants blooming all at once. I did that for my mother who, having stayed, found herself facing the yard again. Marvel was what she did at all the flowers and herbs and budding weeds. Marveling was what she mostly did after she came back- at the twists life took. And my parents gave my leftover possessions to the Goodwill, along with Grandma Lynn's things. They kept sharing when they felt me. Being together, thinking and talking about the dead, became a perfectly normal part of their life. And I listened to my brother, Buckley, as he beat the drums. Ray became Dr. Singh... And he had more and more moments that he chose not to disbelieve. Even if surrounding him were the serious surgeons and scientists who ruled over a world of black and white, he maintained this possibility: that the ushering strangers that sometimes appeared to the dying were not the results of strokes, that he had called Ruth by my name, and that he had, indeed, made love to me. If he ever doubted, he called Ruth. Ruth, who graduated from a closet to a closet-sized studio on the Lower East Side. Ruth, who was still trying to find a way to write down whom she saw and what she had experienced. Ruth, who wanted everyone to believe what she knew: that the dead truly talk to us, that in the air between the living, spirits bob and weave and laugh with us. They are the oxygen we breathe. Now I am in the place I call this wide wide Heaven because it includes all my simplest desires but also the most humble and grand. The word my grandfather uses is comfort. So there are cakes and pillows and colors galore, but underneath this more obvious patchwork quilt are places like a quiet room where you can go and hold someone's hand and not have to say anything. Give no story. Make no claim. Where you can live at the edge of your skin for as long as you wish. This wide wide Heaven is about flathead nails and the soft down of new leaves, wide roller coaster rides and escaped marbles that fall then hang then take you somewhere you could never have imagined in your small-heaven dreams.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
Commuting in London is basically warfare. It's a constant campaign of claiming territory; inching forward; never relaxing for a moment. Because if you do, someone will step past you. Or step on you.
Sophie Kinsella (My Not So Perfect Life)
Daylight fades away as I watch you. Darkness claims the sky and I wish you knew that nothing you can do can keep me from you. But I stay out of sight and only whisper to you. Words I can’t say. Words you don’t need to hear. Words I can’t keep from tangling my way. Now, I can’t stand alone. Now, I am under your influence. You’ve taken over me and Now, I can’t ignore what I’ve been shown. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care who knows. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care if it shows. I’m weakened and I’m strengthened in your arms. You’ve claimed me and I need to feel you close.” “You stand wanting more than you could ever understand. I stand helpless needing to give in to your every command. Wanting to see you smile has consumed me and tied both my hands. Nothing I offer could ever be worthy of your love. It’s a miracle that you saw me and never ran. I will spend my whole life trying to be the man you think I am.   Now, I can’t stand alone. Now, I am under your influence. You’ve taken over me and Now, I can’t ignore what I’ve been shown. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care who knows. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care if it shows. I’m weakened and I’m strengthened in your arms. You’ve claimed me and I need to feel you close.” “You hold fire within your gaze. It mesmerizes everyone you allow into your maze. I know nothing of your thoughts but I need to bask within the warmth of your rays. Nothing you do could ever be wrong. You’re forever perfect in every way.   Now, I can’t stand alone. Now, I am under your influence. You’ve taken over me and Now, I can’t ignore what I’ve been shown. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care who knows. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care if it shows. I’m weakened and I’m strengthened in your arms. You’ve claimed me and I need to feel you close.” ~ Dank
Abbi Glines (Predestined (Existence, #2))
I once knew an Episcopalian lady in Newport, Rhode Island who asked me to design and build a doghouse for her Great Dane. The lady claimed to understand God and His Ways of Working perfectly. She could not understand why anyone should be puzzled about what had been or about what was going to be. And yet, when I showed her a blueprint of the doghouse I proposed to build, she said to me, "I'm sorry, but I never could read one of those things." Give it to your husband or your minister to pass on to God," I said, "and, when God finds a minute, I'm sure he'll explain this doghouse of mine in a way that even YOU can understand.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat’s Cradle)
As long as we won't commit to knowing everything, the presumption is we know nothing...he did not claim that God moves in mysterious ways. Instead he seemed to believe, as she did, though they never could have discussed it, that everything else is in motion while God does not move at all. God sits still, perfectly at rest, the silver dollar at the bottom of the well, the question.
Barbara Kingsolver (Flight Behavior)
Perfect You’re a beautiful kind of madness a misunderstood truth O, the things they could learn from the darkness that is hidden behind your eyes So gifted, yet your talents are wasted you gave up chasing dreams Reality hit and you got a taste of failure Cautious now about bearing your soul For if others saw you fully exposed they may not love you like they claim to Time and experience have taught you to trust no one Friends, lovers, and even family have forsaken you You keep the shattered pieces of your heart in a box Stitching, gluing, and staying up all night trying to put it back together Attempting to fill the void that was left Moving from one man to the next It seems no one can satisfy the appetite for affection that you seek Continually picking at old wounds they never heal properly You have no real home, too restless to stay in one place You are reckless, selfish, stubborn, sometimes rude You’ve bottled up the pain of so much that has been done When you’re hurt You close into yourself, shut down You love attention and yet love being by yourself more May God have mercy on your soul For you are truly lost Daily you fight your demons Yet no one knows of that which you endure You bear it alone, never speaking of it You can blame the broken home from which you came Or the environment that you grew up in The people who tore you down so young You can point the finger at those who have whispered behind your back They all have played a role in your development But looking so deep into the past will keep you from moving forward You must love yourself more than these people claim they do Look at where you stand now No one can know the things you have endured like you You’ve never claimed to be perfect Your flaws tell your story There is no need to hide them
Samantha King (Born to Love, Cursed to Feel)
I’ve never shot like that in my life. That’s unholy.” Uncle Cal claimed credit for teaching her to shoot, but while Margo had felt his guidance, she had felt just as strongly the guidance of the gun itself. It held her steady, and then sadness perfected her aim.
Bonnie Jo Campbell
It’ll never get easier. If you had a strict rule, maybe, to always show mercy or always punish, you could use it as a shield to protect your spirit. But that would be distancing yourself from your duty. Determining the fates of others on a case-by-case basis, considering the infinite combinations of circumstance, will wear on you like rain on the mountain. Give it enough time, and you’ll bear the scars.” He spoke out of kindness and sorrow, perhaps not as immutable as he claimed to be. “You will never be perfectly fair, and you will never be truly correct,” Lao Ge said. “This is your burden.” To keep deciding, over and over again.
F.C. Yee (Avatar: The Rise of Kyoshi (The Kyoshi Novels, #1))
Here’s a little mote of wisdom: Not everyone who claims to be an expert, is indeed an expert. Please note: I have never claimed to be an expert on anything except perhaps making the perfect omelet, and if you don’t like spicy, you’d probably argue with me on that one, too. In fact, anyone claiming to be an expert on anything, in my opinion, should immediately be viewed with suspicion, or be able to produce a PhD Diploma on the subject he or she is professing to be expert in.
Chris A. Jackson
I stay out of sight and only whisper to you. Words I can’t say. Words you don’t need to hear. Words I can’t keep from tangling my way. Now, I can’t stand alone. I can’t ignore what I’ve been shown. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care who knows. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care if it shows. I’m weakened and I’m strengthened in your arms. You’ve claimed me and I need to feel you close. You stand wanting more than you could ever understand. I stand helpless, needing to give in to your every command. Wanting to see you smile has consumed me and tied both my hands. Nothing I offer could ever be worthy of your love. It’s a miracle that you saw me and never ran. I will spend my whole life trying to be the man you think I am. Now, I can’t stand-alone. Now, I am under your influence. I can’t ignore what I’ve been shown. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care who knows. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care if it shows. I’m weakened and I’m strengthened in your arms. You’ve claimed me and I need to feel you close.” “You hold fire within your gaze. It mesmerizes everyone you allow into your maze. I know nothing of your thoughts but I need to bask within the warmth of your rays. Nothing you do could ever be wrong. You’re forever perfect in every way. Now, I can’t stand-alone. Now, I am under your influence. You’ve taken over me and now, I can’t ignore what I’ve been shown. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care who knows. You’ve claimed me and I don’t care if it shows. I’m weakened and I’m strengthened in your arms. You’ve claimed me and I need to feel you close.” ~ Dank Walker
Abbi Glines (Ceaseless (Existence, #3))
The world has never been fair, and cannot be made fair, and claims that it can are foolish or dishonest. It can be made fairer and attempts to make it less fair can be resisted. Optimistic realists seek improvement, not perfection.
David Mitchell (Unruly: A History of England’s Kings and Queens)
Because love, real love, the kind that lasts forever… it’s not patient or kind. Not pretty or perfect. It’s rough and hard as all hell. It’s ugly.” He steps closer, eyes never shifting from mine. “Love is holding someone’s filthy, tarnished heart in your hands and claiming it as yours anyway.
Julie Johnson (Cross the Line (Boston Love, #2))
This defines the task of feminism not only because male dominance is perhaps the most pervasive and tenacious system of power in history, but because it is metaphysically near perfect. Its point of view is the standard for point-of-viewlessness, its particularity the meaning of universality. Its force is exercised as consent, its authority as participation, its supremacy as the paradigm of order, its control as the definition of legitimacy. In the face of this, feminism claims the voice of women's silence, the sexuality of women's eroticized desexualization, the fullness of "lack", the centrality of women's marginality and exclusion, the public nature of privacy, the presence of women's absence. This approach is more complex than transgression, more transformative than transvaluation, deeper than mirror-imaged resistance, more affirmative than the negation of negativity. It is neither materialist nor idealist; it is feminist. Neither the transcendence of liberalism nor the determination of materialism works for women. Idealism is too unreal; women's inequality is enforced, so it cannot simply be thought out of existence, certainly not by women. Materialism is too real; women's inequality has never not existed, so women's equality never has. That is, the equality of women to men will not be scientifically provable until it is no longer necessary to do so... If feminism is revolutionary, this is why.
Catharine A. MacKinnon
For a moment, I was perfectly relaxed, and I began enjoying the sight of this beautifully candlelit room full of well-dressed people. Then Mr. Merchant made a grab for my décolletage from behind, and I almost spilled the punch. “One of those dear, pretty little roses slipped out of place,” he claimed, with an insinuating grin. I stared at him, baffled. Giordano hadn’t prepared me for a situation like this, so I didn’t know the proper etiquette for dealing with Rococo gropers. I looked at Gideon for help, but he was so deep in conversation with the young widow that he didn’t even notice. If we’d been in my own century, I’d have told Mr. Merchant to keep his dirty paws to himself or I’d hit back, whether or not any little roses had really slipped. But in the circumstances, I felt that his reaction was rather—discourteous. So I smiled at him and said, “Oh, thank you, how kind. I never noticed.” Mr. Merchant bowed. “Always glad to be of service, ma’am.” The barefaced cheek of it! But in times when woman had no vote, I suppose it wasn’t surprising if they didn’t get any other kind of respect either. The talking and laughter gradually died away as Miss Fairfax, a thin-nosed lady wearing a reed-green dress, went over to the pianoforte, arranged her skirts, and placed her hands on the keys. In fact, she didn’t play badly. It was her singing that was rather disturbing. It was incredibly . . . well, high-pitched. A tiny bit higher, and you’d have thought she was a dog whistle.
Kerstin Gier (Saphirblau (Edelstein-Trilogie, #2))
We may accept a falsity that doesn't claim perfection, but we must never accept anything that claims perfection, not even a truth.
Abhijit Naskar (Hometown Human: To Live for Soil and Society)
The more obsessed with personal identity campus liberals become, the less willing they become to engage in reasoned political debate. Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: 'Speaking as an X' . . . This is not an anodyne phrase. It tells the listener that I am speaking from a privileged position on this matter. (One never says, 'Speaking as an gay Asian, I fell incompetent to judge on this matter'). It sets up a wall against questions, which by definition come from a non-X perspective. And it turns the encounter into a power relation: the winner of the argument will be whoever has invoked the morally superior identity and expressed the most outrage at being questioned. So classroom conversations that once might have begun, 'I think A, and here is my argument', now take the form, 'Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B'. This makes perfect sense if you believe that identity determines everything. It means that there is no impartial space for dialogue. White men have one "epistemology", black women have another. So what remains to be said? What replaces argument, then, is taboo. At times our more privileged campuses can seem stuck in the world of archaic religion. Only those with an approved identity status are, like shamans, allowed to speak on certain matters. Particular groups -- today the transgendered -- are given temporary totemic significance. Scapegoats -- today conservative political speakers -- are duly designated and run off campus in a purging ritual. Propositions become pure or impure, not true or false. And not only propositions but simple words. Left identitarians who think of themselves as radical creatures, contesting this and transgressing that, have become like buttoned-up Protestant schoolmarms when it comes to the English language, parsing every conversation for immodest locutions and rapping the knuckles of those who inadvertently use them.
Mark Lilla (The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics)
If she captured Tamlin’s power once, who’s to say she can’t do it again?” It was the question I hadn’t yet dared voice. “He won’t be tricked again so easily,” he said, staring up at the ceiling. “Her biggest weapon is that she keeps our powers contained. But she can’t access them, not wholly—though she can control us through them. It’s why I’ve never been able to shatter her mind—why she’s not dead already. The moment you break Amarantha’s curse, Tamlin’s wrath will be so great that no force in the world will keep him from splattering her on the walls.” A chill went through me. “Why do you think I’m doing this?” He waved a hand to me. “Because you’re a monster.” He laughed. “True, but I’m also a pragmatist. Working Tamlin into a senseless fury is the best weapon we have against her. Seeing you enter into a fool’s bargain with Amarantha was one thing, but when Tamlin saw my tattoo on your arm … Oh, you should have been born with my abilities, if only to have felt the rage that seeped from him.” I didn’t want to think much about his abilities. “Who’s to say he won’t splatter you as well?” “Perhaps he’ll try—but I have a feeling he’ll kill Amarantha first. That’s what it all boils down to, anyway: even your servitude to me can be blamed on her. So he’ll kill her tomorrow, and I’ll be free before he can start a fight with me that will reduce our once-sacred mountain to rubble.” He picked at his nails. “And I have a few other cards to play.” I lifted my brows in silent question. “Feyre, for Cauldron’s sake. I drug you, but you don’t wonder why I never touch you beyond your waist or arms?” Until tonight—until that damned kiss. I gritted my teeth, but even as my anger rose, a picture cleared. “It’s the only claim I have to innocence,” he said, “the only thing that will make Tamlin think twice before entering into a battle with me that would cause a catastrophic loss of innocent life. It’s the only way I can convince him I was on your side. Believe me, I would have liked nothing more than to enjoy you—but there are bigger things at stake than taking a human woman to my bed.” I knew, but I still asked, “Like what?” “Like my territory,” he said, and his eyes held a far-off look that I hadn’t yet seen. “Like my remaining people, enslaved to a tyrant queen who can end their lives with a single word. Surely Tamlin expressed similar sentiments to you.” He hadn’t—not entirely. He hadn’t been able to, thanks to the curse. “Why did Amarantha target you?” I dared ask. “Why make you her whore?” “Beyond the obvious?” He gestured to his perfect face. When I didn’t smile, he loosed a breath. “My father killed Tamlin’s father—and his brothers.” I started. Tamlin had never said—never told me the Night Court was responsible for that. “It’s a long story, and I don’t feel like getting into it, but let’s just say that when she stole our lands out from under us, Amarantha decided that she especially wanted to punish the son of her friend’s murderer—decided that she hated me enough for my father’s deeds that I was to suffer.” I might have reached a hand toward him, might have offered my apologies—but every thought had dried up in my head. What Amarantha had done to him … “So,” he said wearily, “here we are, with the fate of our immortal world in the hands of an illiterate human.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
The other wives and I talked together one night about the possibility of becoming widows. What would we do? God gave us peace of heart, and confidence that whatever might happen, His Word would hold. We knew that 'when He Putteth forth His sheep, He goeth before them.' God's leading was unmistakable up to this point. Each of us knew when we married our husbands that there would never be any question about who came first -- God and His work held held first place in each life. It was the condition of true discipleship; it became devastatingly meaningful now. It was a time for soul-searching, a time for counting the possible cost. Was it the thrill of adventure that drew our husbands on? No. Their letters and journals make it abundantly clear that these men did not go out as some men go out to shoot a lion or climb a mountain. Their compulsion was from a different source. Each had made a personal transaction with God, recognising that he belonged to God, first of all by creation, and secondly by redemption through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. This double claim on his life settled once and for all the question of allegiance. It was not a matter of striving to follow the example of a great Teacher. To conform to the perfect life of Jesus was impossible for a human being. To these men, Jesus Christ was God, and had actually taken upon Himself human form, in order that He might die, and, by His death, provide not only escape from the punishment which their sin merited, but also a new kind of life, eternal both in length and in quality. This meant simply that Christ was to be obeyed, and more than that, that. He would provide the power to obey
Elisabeth Elliot (Through Gates of Splendor)
It’s no secret that we all live within a damning illusion called denial. We are doomed by our own far-reaching imaginations and beliefs that extend into a glorified version of eternity. How are we to live sanely on the earth, with our heads in the clouds, when we are so far from being giants? How are we to claim higher ideals, when God is absent from the conversations in our minds? There can be no going back, once we’ve believed in perfection. We are slain by the stories we were taught as children, stories about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and a God who cares. We pass these heirlooms to our children with the same fervor with which they were delivered, never allowing ourselves to doubt their authenticity or value. I wondered what the view held outside the proverbial slaughterhouse. For a spiritually awakened person, a good God seems the only reasonable answer. If there’s no eternal good, then what would be the use of life? Man lays the tracks of good and evil before the train of his evolution, moving onward into places he barely understands
Christopher Hawke
The Home Office informs us that there are around 400 ex-offenders from overseas currently seeking refuge in this country. One geezer, who has 78 offences to his name, managed to escape deportation on the grounds that he’s an alcoholic! Drinking alcohol, it seems, is illegal in his homeland, so because he claims he’ll be persecuted and tortured we’ve said, “Oh, bad show, old chap. Tough call that. Enjoy a spot of scotch myself from time to time. Quite understandable. Well why don’t you stay here at our expense? You’ll be able to fondle and grope any woman you like. We’d never deport you for that, I can assure you. You’ll be perfectly safe here.
Karl Wiggins (100 Common Sense Policies to make BRITAIN GREAT again)
He was beautiful when he sat alone, he was like me, he had wide lapels, he was holding the mug in the hardest possible way so that his fingers were all twisted but still long and beautiful, he didn’t like to sit alone all the time, but this time, I swear, he didn’t care on way or the other. I’ll tell you why I like to sit alone, because I’m a sadist, that’s why we like to sit alone, because we’re the sadists who like to sit alone. He sat alone because he was beautifully dressed for the occasion and because he was not a civilian. We are the sadists you don’t have to worry about, you think, and we have no opinion on the matter of whether you have to worry about us, and we don’t even like to think about the matter because it baffles us. Maybe he doesn’t mean a thing to me any more but I think he was like me. You didn’t expect to fall in love, I said to myself and at the same time I answered gently, Do you think so? I heard you humming beautifully, your hum said that I can’t ignore you, that I’d finally come around for a number of delicious reasons that only you knew about, and here I am, Miss Blood. And you won’t come back, you won’t come back to where you left me, and that’s why you keep my number, so you don’t dial it by mistake when you’re fooling with the dial not even dialing numbers. You begin to bore us with your pain and we have decided to change your pain. You said you were happiest when you danced, you said you were happiest when you danced with me, now which do you mean? And so we changed his pain, we threw the idea of a body at him and we told him a joke, and then he thought a great deal about laughing and about the code. And he thought that she thought that he thought that she thought the worst thing a woman could do was to take a man away from his work because that made her what, ugly or beautiful? And now you’ve entered the mathematical section of your soul which you claimed you never had. I suppose that this, plus the broken heart, makes you believe that now you have a perfect right to go out and tame the sadists. He had the last line of each verse of the song but he didn’t have any of the other lines, the last line was always the same, Don’t call yourself a secret unless you mean to keep it. He thought he knew, or he actually did know too much about singing to be a singer; and if there is actually such a condition, is anybody in it, and are sadists born there? It is not a question mark, it is not an exclamation point, it is a full stop by the man who wrote Parasites of Heaven. Even if we stated our case very clearly and all those who held as we do came to our side, all of them, we would still be very few.
Leonard Cohen (Parasites of Heaven)
This was true enough, though it did not throw any light upon my perplexity. If we had heard of it to start with, it is possible that all the family would have considered the possession of a ghost a distinct advantage. It is the fashion of the times. We never think what a risk it is to play with young imaginations, but cry out, in the fashionable jargon, 'A ghost! - nothing else was wanted to make it perfect.' I should not have been above this myself. I should have smiled, of course, at the idea of the ghost at all, but then to feel that it was mine would have pleased my vanity. Oh, yes, I claim no exemption. The girls would have been delighted. I could fancy their eagerness, their interest, and excitement. No; if we had been told, it would have done no good - we should have made the bargain all the more eagerly, the fools that we are. ("The Open Door")
Mrs. Oliphant (The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies)
I was extremely shy of approaching my hero but he, as I found out, was sorely in need of company. By then almost completely blind, he was claustrated and even a little confused and this may help explain the rather shocking attitude that he took to the blunt trauma that was being inflicted in the streets and squares around him. 'This was my country and it might be yet,' he intoned to me when the topic first came up, as it had to: 'But something came between it and the sun.' This couplet he claimed (I have never been able to locate it) was from Edmund Blunden, whose gnarled hand I had been so excited to shake all those years ago, but it was not the Videla junta that Borges meant by the allusion. It was the pre-existing rule of Juan Perón, which he felt had depraved and corrupted Argentine society. I didn't disagree with this at all—and Perón had victimized Borges's mother and sister as well as having Borges himself fired from his job at the National Library—but it was nonetheless sad to hear the old man saying that he heartily preferred the new uniformed regime, as being one of 'gentlemen' as opposed to 'pimps.' This was a touch like listening to Evelyn Waugh at his most liverish and bufferish. (It was also partly redeemed by a piece of learned philology or etymology concerning the Buenos Aires dockside slang for pimp: canfinflero. 'A canfinfla, you see,' said Borges with perfect composure, 'is a pussy or more exactly a cunt. So a canfinflero is a trafficker in cunt: in Anglo-Saxon we might say a 'cunter."' Had not the very tango itself been evolved in a brothel in 1880? Borges could talk indefinitely about this sort of thing, perhaps in revenge for having had an oversolicitous mother who tyrannized him all his life.)
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Ultimately, I accept that there is no perfect substitute for the claim that a parent and child have on each other’s heart. But families can be made in other ways, and I marvel at the support and inspiration I’ve derived from the ones I’ve built of interlocking circles of friends. In their constant embrace I have never felt alone. ==========
Many religious fundamentalists around the world would like to see the establishment of theocracies — states where religion and government are closely intertwined. While some just reject separation of [name of place of worship] and state, others go further and insist that one religion’s tenets be made law. The normal arguments for a theocracy are that, for example, it would lend a greater sense of morality to the making and enforcement of laws. Or that as our laws were originally derived from some moral commandments in a particular religion, it makes sense to enthrone this religion as chief in the state. Basically, theocrats can talk until the cows come home about how great it would be if we were ruled by God, how great it would be if our laws followed God’s laws, and so forth. But this vision of theocracy will never come to be, and should never come to be. The fundamental problem with every theocracy is that is innately unfair. Not just unfair to those who do not follow the state religion, but also unfair to those who do not follow the state religion as it is understood and interpreted by the humans who run the state. After all, who really believes that all the Muslims in any of the Islamic theocracies we have today are happy? Those who believe the wrong things about Islam from one particular point of view are mercilessly vilified — the present civil war in Iraq is an excellent example. Why a theocracy would be unfair to those who don’t practice the state religion should be very apparent. Whatever flowery talk there may be of equality, if the laws are derived from one religion, then the laws will favour that religion, like it or not. At this point, supporters of theocracy often get riled up. This is because they can point topassages in their holy book which they argue justify their claims that their religion would be fair to all. On occasion they will also argue that their particular God’s laws are perfect.
John Lee
And I think I’ve found the real benefit of digital memory. The point is not to prove you were right; the point is to admit you were wrong. Because all of us have been wrong on various occasions, engaged in cruelty and hypocrisy, and we’ve forgotten most of those occasions. And that means we don’t really know ourselves. How much personal insight can I claim if I can’t trust my memory? How much can you? You’re probably thinking that, while your memory isn’t perfect, you’ve never engaged in revisionism of the magnitude I’m guilty of. But I was just as certain as you, and I was wrong. You may say, "I know I'm not perfect. I've made mistakes." I am here to tell you that you have made more than you think, that some of the core assumptions on which your self-image is built are actually lies.
Ted Chiang (The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling (Exhalation))
What a cruel twist of fate, I thought, my face reddening as I fought back the tears. I had spent my adolescence trying to blend in with my peers in suburban America, and had come of age feeling like my belonging was something to prove. Something that was always in the hands of other people to be given and never my own to take, to decide which side I was on, whom I was allowed to align with. I could never be of both worlds, only half in and half out, waiting to be ejected at will by someone with greater claim than me. Someone full. Someone whole. For a long time I had tried to belong in America, wanted and wished for it more than anything, but in that moment all I wanted was to be accepted as Korean by two people who refused to claim me. You are not one of us, Kye seemed to say. And you will never really understand what it is she needs, no matter how perfect you try to be.
Michelle Zauner (Crying in H Mart)
Perfect Joy (excerpts) Is there to be found on earth a fullness of joy, or is there no such thing? . . . What the world values is money, reputation, long life, achievement. What it counts as joy is health and comfort of body, good food, fine clothes, beautiful things to look at, pleasant music to listen to. What it condemns is lack of money, a low social rank, a reputation for being no good, and an early death. What it considers misfortune is bodily discomfort and labour, no chance to get your fill of good food, not having good clothes to wear, having no way to amuse or delight the eye, no pleasant music to listen to. If people find that they are deprived of these things, they go into a panic or fall into despair. They are so concerned for their life that their anxiety makes life unbearable, even when they have the things they think they want. Their very concern for enjoyment makes them unhappy. . . . I cannot tell if what the world considers "happiness" is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness. . . . My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it. My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness: and this, in the minds of most people, is the worst possible course. I will hold to the saying that:"Perfect Joy is to be without joy. Perfect praise is to be without praise." If you ask "what ought to be done" and "what ought not to be done" on earth in order to produce happiness, I answer that these questions do not have an answer. There is no way of determining such things. Yet at the same time, if I cease striving for happiness, the "right" and the "wrong" at once become apparent all by themselves. Contentment and well-being at once become possible the moment you cease to act with them in view, and if you practice non-doing (wu wei), you will have both happiness and well-being. Here is how I sum it up: Heaven does nothing: its non-doing is its serenity. Earth does nothing: its non-doing is its rest. From the union of these two non-doings All actions proceed, All things are made. How vast, how invisible This coming-to-be! All things come from nowhere! How vast, how invisible - No way to explain it! All beings in their perfection Are born of non-doing. Hence it is said: "Heaven and earth do nothing Yet there is nothing they do not do." Where is the man who can attain To this non-doing?
Thomas Merton (The Way of Chuang Tzu (Shambhala Library))
We have forgotten that courage is a choice, and that permission to move forward with boldness is never given by the fearful masses. Most have forgotten that seeking change always requires a touch of insanity. If taking action before the perfect conditions arise, or before we receive permission, is unreasonable or reckless, then we must be unreasonable and reckless. We must remember we are not the sum of our intentions but of our actions. Bold and
Brendon Burchard (The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power)
I’m not sorry. Not sorry for claiming you.” She sucks in her breath, staring at me with wide eyes. “You are the prize above all other prizes, and I got to you first,” I say through gritted teeth. It’s wrong, but what I’m saying feels so right. Passion blazes bright in my chest, flowing down my limbs. “You belong to me. I’ve taken you. I will never let you go. And I’m not sorry. You are perfect in every way. Smart, talented, beautiful.” I manage to pry my fist open to touch her cheek. “Funny. You are the light to my darkness. You brought me to life. All these years, I’ve been half-dead. It was the only way to survive the pain of my mother’s illness, my father’s death. The heaviness that belongs to my pack. But you—you sparked me back to life. And for that I cannot be sorry. I cannot. So I beg your forgiveness. I do. But I could never regret claiming you. Not in this lifetime, or any other.
Renee Rose (Alpha's Prize (Bad Boy Alphas, #3))
And criticism - what place is that to have in our culture? Well, I think that the first duty of an art critic is to hold his tongue at all times, and upon all subjects: C'EST UN GRAND AVANTAGE DE N'AVOIR RIEN FAIT, MAIS IL NE FAUT PAS EN ABUSER. It is only through the mystery of creation that one can gain any knowledge of the quality of created things. You have listened to PATIENCE for a hundred nights and you have heard me for one only. It will make, no doubt, that satire more piquant by knowing something about the subject of it, but you must not judge of aestheticism by the satire of Mr. Gilbert. As little should you judge of the strength and splendour of sun or sea by the dust that dances in the beam, or the bubble that breaks on the wave, as take your critic for any sane test of art. For the artists, like the Greek gods, are revealed only to one another, as Emerson says somewhere; their real value and place time only can show. In this respect also omnipotence is with the ages. The true critic addresses not the artist ever but the public only. His work lies with them. Art can never have any other claim but her own perfection: it is for the critic to create for art the social aim, too, by teaching the people the spirit in which they are to approach all artistic work, the love they are to give it, the lesson they are to draw from it.
Oscar Wilde (The English Renaissance of Art)
You need an argument, and the nature of any argument is that its validity doesn't depend on who you are. [...] When talking about violence, again, the facts are whatever they are – how many people got shot, how many died, what was the color of their skin, who shot them, what was the color of their skin. Getting a handle on these facts does not require one to say, 'As a black man, I know x, y, and z .' The color of your skin simply isn't relevant information. When talking about the data – that is, what is happening throughout a whole society – your life experience isn't relevant information. And the fact that you think it might be is a problem. [...] Now this isn't to say that a person's life experience is never relevant to a conversation [...] it can be used to establish certain kinds of facts. I mean, if someone says to you, 'Catholics don't believe in hell', it's perfectly valid to resort, 'Actually my mom is a Catholic, and she believes in hell'. Of course there's a larger question of what the Catholic doctrine actually is – but if a person is making a statement about a certain group of people and you are a member of the group, you might very well be in a position to falsify his claim on the basis of your experience. But a person's identity and life experience often aren't relevant when talking about facts. And they're usually invoked in ways that are clearly fallacious.
Sam Harris
I once knew an Episcopalian lady in Newport, Rhode Island, who asked me to design and build a doghouse for her Great Dane. The lady claimed to understand God and His Ways of Working perfectly. She could not understand why anyone should be puzzled about what had been or about what was going to be. And yet, when I showed her a blueprint of the doghouse I proposed to build, she said to me, “I’m sorry, but I never could read one of those things.” “Give it to your husband or your minister to pass on to God,” I said, “and, when God finds a minute, I’m sure he’ll explain this doghouse of mine in a way that even you can understand.” She fired me. I shall never forget her. She believed that God liked people in sailboats much better than He liked people in motorboats. She could not bear to look at a worm. When she saw a worm, she screamed. She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he sees what God is Doing, [writes Bokonon].
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat’s Cradle)
Measured according to the goals set out in the preamble, the Founders’ Constitution is a worse disaster than the Articles. It does not create a more perfect union: eleven states secede, thirteen if you accept the Confederate claims to Missouri and Kentucky. It does not insure domestic tranquility: Americans kill more Americans than any foreign enemy ever has, some three-quarters of a million dead. It brings the blessings of liberty to the Founders, but to their posterity the curse of war.
Kermit Roosevelt III (The Nation That Never Was: Reconstructing America's Story)
The nations of the earth through the centuries of time have waged war to gain territory. I think ours is the only nation on the face of the earth which has not claimed territory gained out of conflict. I have stood in the American Military Cemetery in Suresnes, France, where are buried some who died in the First World War. Among those was my eldest brother. It is a quiet and hallowed place, a remembrance of great sacrifice 'to make the world safe for democracy.' No territory was claimed by America as recompense for the sacrifices of those buried there. I have stood in reverence in the beautiful American military cemetery on the outskirts of Manila in the Philippines. There marble crosses and the Star of David stand in perfect symmetry marking the burial places of some 17,000 Americans who lost their lives in the Second World War. Surrounding that sacred ground are marble colonnades on which are incised the names of another 35,000 who were lost in the battles of the Pacific during that terrible conflict. After so great a sacrifice there was victory, but there was never a claim for territory except for some small islands over which we have had guardianship. I have been up and down South Korea from the 38th parallel in the North to Pusan in the South, and I have seen the ridges and the valleys where Americans fought and died, not to save their own land but to preserve freedom for people who were strangers to them but whom they acknowledged to be brothers under the fatherhood of God. Not an inch of territory was sought for nor added to the area of the United States out of that conflict. I have been from one end of South Vietnam to the other in the days of war. More than 55,000 Americans died in the sultry, suffocating heat of that strange and foreign place fighting in the cause of human liberty without ambition for territory. In no instance--not in the First World War or the Second, not in the Korean War or in Vietnam--did our nation seize and hold territory for itself as a prize of war.
Gordon B. Hinckley
In fact it might be said that the main reason why modern science never arose in China or Islam is precisely because of the presence of metaphysical doctrine and a traditional religious structure which refused to make a profane thing of nature. Neither the ‘Oriental bureaucratism' of Needham nor any other social and economic explanation suffices to explain why the scientific revolution as seen in the West did not develop elsewhere. The most basic reason is that neither in Islam, nor India nor the Far East was the substance and stuff of nature so depleted of a sacramental and spiritual character, nor was the intellectual dimension of these traditions so enfeebled as to enable a purely secular science of nature and a secular philosophy to develop outside the matrix of the traditional intellectual orthodoxy. Islam, which resembles Christianity in so many ways, is a perfect example of this truth, and the tact that modern science did not develop in its bosom is not the sign of decadence as some have claimed but of the refusal of Islam to consider any form of knowledge as purely secular and divorced from what it considers as the ultimate goal of human existence.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man)
It’s an affront, all of that. Weak knees, arthritic knuckles, varicose veins, infirmities, indignities – they aren’t ours, we never wanted or claimed them. Inside our heads we carry ourselves perfected – ourselves at the best age, and in the best light as well: never caught awkwardly, one leg out of a car, one still in, or picking our teeth, or slouching, or scratching our noses or bums. If naked, seen gracefully reclining through a gauzy mist, which is where movie stars come in: they assume such poses for us. They are our younger selves as they recede from us, glow, turn mythical.
Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin)
In the first place, he is a gentleman," continued Violet. "Then he is a man of spirit. And then he has not too much spirit;—not that kind of spirit which makes some men think that they are the finest things going. His manners are perfect;—not Chesterfieldian, and yet never offensive. He never browbeats any one, and never toadies any one. He knows how to live easily with men of all ranks, without any appearance of claiming a special status for himself. If he were made Archbishop of Canterbury to-morrow, I believe he would settle down into the place of the first subject in the land without arrogance, and without false shame.
Anthony Trollope (Phineas Finn: The Irish Member)
To me it never made sense why a god would choose one people group for anything at all. Why would he or she not reveal the same message to everyone in all times and places? I have never heard a convincing answer for this. There is no way to get around the fact that millions of people across space and time have lived and died without hearing a word about Yahweh or Jesus. How can Christians possibly claim their God cares about everyone equally? However, when we realize the Bible was written by Israelites, it makes perfect sense why they would say Yahweh chose Israel. Every people group thinks they are special in some way, and the ancients were no exception.
Jonah David Conner (All That's Wrong with the Bible: Contradictions, Absurdities, and More)
At times, interpreters of the tradition completely missed the moral point of the Qur’anic message and generated determinations that locked the Qur’an into a short-sighted and inadequate sphere of meaning. But I think Wadud also makes a significant point here. As Muslims, we adhere to the religious conviction that the morality of the Qur’an will always exceed the morality of its interpreters. In other words, I do not believe that human beings can claim to have understood the message of the Qur’an perfectly and completely. Falling short of the Qur’an’s moral message is inevitable, but is also an impetus to engage in a never-ending dynamic of moral exploration and interpretation.
Khaled Abou El Fadl (The Place of Tolerance in Islam)
Daniel placed his hands on her shoulders and pushed her down onto the edge of the bed before dropping to the floor between her thighs. Anticipation rushed through him. Since that very first day at the hospital, he’d been yearning to taste her. He wanted to memorize every shiver, every cry of pleasure. With firm hands, he parted her knees wide. She gasped. With an effort, he dragged his gaze up from the juncture of her thighs, over her perfect, pink-tipped breasts to meet her eyes. “What is it?” Story’s hands clenched and unclenched on his comforter. “Nothing. I’ve just…I’ve never…” “Never?” Daniel’s mind reeled a second before desire, even more potent than before, slammed through him. Knowing he could claim her with his mouth, mark her in a way that no one else ever had, humbled and empowered him at the same time. For the first time in the last week, he actually felt grateful for his ample experience. Daniel dipped his head and kissed the inside of her knee. At the same time, his hands skimmed up her belly to her breasts, where he teased her stiff nipples with his thumbs. He continued his methodical motions until he felt the tension ebb from her body, her thighs relaxing open once more. Savoring the taste of her skin, he licked up the inside of one thigh before giving the other side the same treatment. When her hips began shifting on the bed, he knew she was ready for more. He hooked his hands beneath her knees and draped them over his shoulders. “Baby, you’re going to want to lie back for this.
Tessa Bailey (Officer off Limits (Line of Duty, #3))
July 14, 1861 Camp Clark, Washington My very dear Sarah: The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more… I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt… Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field. The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness… But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights … always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again…
Sullivan Ballou
I have this special license burning a hole in my pocket, so I was thinking we might go find a vicar and use it. Pinter and Freddy can be witnesses.” He looked anxiously at her. “What do you think?” “Don’t you want your family present when we marry? I thought you lordly sorts had to have grand weddings.” “Is that what you want?” In truth, she’d never been one to dream of her wedding day as a brilliant spectacle. Clandestine weddings were always what captured her imagination, complete with a dangerous, brooding fellow and mysterious goings-on. In this instance, she had both. He said, “Let me put it this way: we can spend an untold number of days sneaking around just to steal a kiss, being chaperoned every minute while my sisters and Gran plan the wedding of the century. Or we can marry today and share a bed at the inn tonight like a respectable husband and wife. I’m not keep on waiting, but then, I never am when it comes to you. So what is your opinion in the matter?” She couldn’t resist teasing him a little. “I think you just want to punish your grandmother for her sly tactics by depriving her of the weddings.” He smiled. “Perhaps a little. And God knows my friends are never going to let me live this down. I’m not looking forward to hours of their torment at a wedding breakfast.” He stopped in a little copse where they would be hidden from the street. “But if you want a big wedding, I can endure it.” His expression was solemn as he took her hands in his. “I can endure anything, as long as you marry me. And keep loving me for the rest of your life.” Staring into his earnest face, she felt something flip over in her chest. She stretched up to brush his mouth with hers, and he pulled her in for a long, ardent kiss. “Well?” he said huskily when he was done. “If I had any sense of decency, I would give you a chance to consult with a lawyer about settlements and such, especially since you’ll be coming into some money. But-“ “-you have no sense of decency, I know,” she teased. She tapped her finger against her chin. “Or was that morals you claimed not to have? I can’t remember.” “Watch it, minx,” he warned with a lift of his brow. “If you intend to taunt me for every foolish statement I’ve made in my life, you’ll force me to play Rockton and lock you up in my dark, forbidding manor while I have my wicked way with you.” “That sounds perfectly awful,” she said, gazing at the man she loved. “How soon can we start?
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
The Bible says not that everything is good, but he will work it for good -- to those who love God [Romans 8:28]. Todd didn't claim to be perfect, and neither do I, but we do fall into the category of those who love God. That means as we choose to trust God and follow his desire for our lives, he promises to work everything for good to us both now and in the future. Although I never could have imagined the awful circumstances brought about in the life of my family by the events of September 11, I know that promise from God proved true for Todd on that day. God provided Todd with what he needed -- strong teammates in his fellow passengers, a steady voice of reason in Lisa Jefferson, an opportunity to knowingly make a difference in the course of events, and, of course, after the crash of United Flight 93, the reality of heaven.
Lisa Beamer (Let's Roll!: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage)
I’m drawn to the Jewish notion of the soul, nephesh, which is not something preexistent but emergent—forming in and through physicality and relational experience. This suggests that we need our bodies to claim our souls. The body is where every virtue lives or dies, but more: our bodies are access points to mystery. And in some way that barely makes sense to me, I’m sure that we have to have feet planted on the ground, literally and metaphysically, to reach towards what is beyond and above us. Our bodies tell us the truth of life that our minds can deny: that we are in any moment as much about softness as fortitude. Always in need of care and tenderness. Life is fluid, evanescent, evolving in every cell, in every breath. Never perfect. To be alive is by definition messy, always leaning towards disorder and surprise. How we open or close to the reality that we never arrive at safe enduring stasis is the matter, the raw material, of wisdom.
Krista Tippett (Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living)
Absolute consistency is not a luxury available to the office-seeking and office-holding leaders of a democracy. True greatness in the political arena comes when moral convictions are brought to bear amid conflicting interests. That, in the end, is what Abraham Lincoln did: Amid the myriad forces of politics and of the competing claims of power, he held fast to his view that slavery must end and justice must be pursued. Four miles away from Lincoln’s White House, at the Washington Navy Yard, the laborer Michael Shiner understood the president. “The Hon Abraham Lincoln…was as brave [a] man that ever live[d] on the face of earth,” Shiner wrote, “and all that he done he done it with clear [conscience] before his creator.” Lincoln surely sought to do so. “Moral cowardice is something which I think I never had,” he remarked. We study Lincoln not because he was perfect but because he was a man whose inconsistencies resonate even now. So, too, does his bigness.
Jon Meacham (And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle)
The legitimacy of Oswald’s alleged alias, Alex Hidell, is tainted beyond repair by the nature of the Selective Service card supposedly found on him after his arrest in the Texas Theater. This card bore a photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald but the name of Alex Hidell. The problem is real Selective Service cards never had photos on them, so the card would have been worthless as a means of identification. It was perfect, however, for instantly associating Oswald with the Hidell alias. Oswald apparently only used this alias twice— once to order the unreliable rifle later dubiously tied to the assassination, and once to order the revolver allegedly used to kill Officer Tippit. The authorities claimed Oswald utilized a P.O. Box, under Hidell’s name, for just this purpose. Critics quickly pointed out how senseless this would have been, as anyone could have purchased better, cheaper weapons on virtually every street corner in 1963 Dallas, with no convenient trail left behind.
Donald Jeffries (Hidden History: An Exposé of Modern Crimes, Conspiracies, and Cover-Ups in American Politics)
I once knew a weak woman of fashion, who was more than commonly proud of her delicacy and sensibility. She thought a distinguishing taste and puny appetite the height of all human perfection, and acted accordingly. I have seen this weak sophisticated being neglect all the duties of life, yet recline with self-complacency on a sofa, and boast of her want of appetite as a proof of delicacy that extended to, or, perhaps, arose from, her exquisite sensibility: for it is difficult to render intelligible such ridiculous jargon. Yet, at the moment, I have seen her insult a worthy old gentlewoman, whom unexpected misfortunes had made dependent on her ostentatious bounty, and who, in better days, had claims on her gratitude. Is it possible that a human creature should have become such a weak and depraved being, if, like the Sybarites, dissolved in luxury, every thing like virtue had not been worn away, or never impressed by precept, a poor substitute it is true, for cultivation of mind, though it serves as a fence against vice?
Mary Wollstonecraft (A Vindication of the Rights of Woman)
Marilee lay perfectly still,waiting for her world to settle.She had to fight the unreasonable urge to weep. Wyatt's face was pressed to the hollow of her throat,his breathing rough, his damp body plastered to hers. He nuzzled her neck. "Am I too heavy?" "Umm." It was all she could manage. "You all right?" "Umm." "Did anybody ever tell you that you talk too much?" "Umm." He brushed his mouth over hers. "If you hum a bit more,I might be able to name that tune." That broke the spell of tears that had been threatening and caused her to laugh. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back. "Have I told you how much I like your silly sense of humor?" "No,you haven't." He rolled to his side and gathered her into his arms,nuzzling her cheek,while his big hands moved over her hip,her back,her waist, as though measuring every inch of her. "What else do you like about me?" "You fishing for compliments?" "Of course I am." "Glutton. Your sense of humor isn't enough?" "Not nearly enough.How about my looks?" "They're okay,for a footloose rebel." "Stop.All these mushy remarks will inflate my ego." He gave a mock frown. "How about the way I kiss?" "You're not bad." "Not bad?" His hands stopped their movement. He drew a little away. "That's all you can say?" "If you recall,tonight was the first time we've kissed.I haven't had nearly enough practice to be a really good judge of your talent." "Then we'd better take care of that right now." He framed her face. With his eyes steady on hers, he lowered his mouth to claim her lips. Marilee's eyelids fluttered and she felt an explosion of color behind them. As though the moon and stars had collided while she rocketed through space. It was the most amazing sensation, and, as his lips continued moving over hers,she found herself wishing it could go on forever. When at last they came up for air, she took in a long,deep breath before opening her eyes. "Oh,yes,rebel.I have to say,I do like the way you kiss." "That's good,because I intend to do a whole lot more of it." He lay back in the grass,one hand beneath his head. "Now it's my turn.Want to know all the things I like about you?" "I'm afraid to hear it." Marilee lay on her side,her hand splayed across his chest. "Besides your freckles,which I've already mentioned,the thing about you I like best is your take-charge attitude." She chuckled. "A lot of guys feel intimidated by that." "They're idiots.Don't they know there's something sexy about a woman who knows what to do and how to do it? I've watched you as a medic and as a pilot, and I haven't decided which one turns me on more." "Really?" She sat up. "Want me to fetch my first-aid kit from the plane? I could always splint your arm or leg and really turn you on." He dragged her down into his arms and growled against her mouth, "You don't need to do a single thing to turn me on. All I need to do is look at you and I want you." "You mean now? Again? So soon?" "Oh,yeah." "Liar.I don't believe it's possible." "You ought to know by now that I never say anything I can't back up with action." "Prove it,rebel." "My pleasure." There was a wicked smile on his lips as he rolled over her and began to kiss her breathless,all the while taking her on a slow,delicious ride to paradise.
R.C. Ryan (Montana Destiny)
She blinked once before the most brilliant smile lit up her face. “Just when I think I can’t possibly love you even more, you do something incredibly unexpected. Thank you.” The ground shifted beneath him the tiniest bit every time she told him she loved him. She’d confessed the first time two days after he’d saved her from Einar. He’d been waiting for the right moment but she’d beat him to it. The only positive thing to come out of that bastard Einar infiltrating the mountain sector was that they’d patched up a security hole. He still wasn’t certain what the male had wanted; probably just to cause as much destruction as he could. It didn’t matter now. “I love you too.” He moved toward her, planning to show her just how much. But she shook her head and waved some wand thing at him. She used it to do something to her eyebrows. Since she’d moved all her stuff into his room he’d discovered that females took up a lot of space. “I know that look. We don’t have time.” She disappeared into the bathroom once again. This time he followed, his body already humming with the need to be inside her. “We have plenty of time.” She’d invited half a dozen females from their sector as well as their mates tonight to celebrate the unanimous change in the Ducereco law. They’d also started plans on her new project. Things were about to change for his people and he knew it was for the better. Shaking her head, she turned away from him and faced the mirror. That would not deter him. If anything, the sight of her pert ass made him even harder. Her tunic only covered the top half, making him crazy as he moved up behind her. He slid his hands up her hips and under her tunic until he grasped the thin scrap of material of her sheer panties and slid them down her legs. She’d paused what she was doing and watched him in the mirror, her own hunger sparking as wild as his. He moved in close, pressing his erection against her back. Leaning down, he brushed her hair to one side and nuzzled her neck. He never got tired of her sweet scent or the perfect way she fit right up against him. “Maybe we have some extra time,” she murmured, her eyes going heavy-lidded as they met his in the mirror. -Leilani & Con
Savannah Stuart (Claimed by the Warrior (Lumineta, #3))
Also enraged at myself. Or not at myself - at this bad turn my body has done me. After having imposed itself on us like the egomaniac it is, clamouring about its own needs, foisting upon us its own sordid and perilous desires, the body's final trick is simply to absent itself. Just when you need it, just when you could use an arm or a leg, suddenly the body has other things to do. It falters, it buckles under you; it melts away as if made of snow, leaving nothing much. Two lumps of coal, an old hat, a grin made of pebbles. The bones dry sticks, easily broken. It's an affront, all of that. Weak knees, arthritic knuckles, varicose veins, infirmities, indignities - they aren't ours, we never wanted or claimed them. Inside our heads we carry ourselves perfected - ourselves at the best age, and in the best light as well: never caught awkwardly, one leg out of a car, one still in, or picking our teeth, or slouching, or scratching our noses or bums. If naked, seen gracefully reclining through a gauzy mist, which is where movie stars come in: they assume such poses for us. They are our younger selves as they recede from us, glow, turn mythical.
Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin)
Once a renowned skirt-chaser, now an exceptionally devoted husband, St. Vincent knew as much about these matters as any man alive. When Cam had asked glumly if a decrease in physical urges was something that naturally occurred as a man approached his thirties, St. Vincent had choked on his drink. “Good God, no,” the viscount had said, coughing slightly as a swallow of brandy seared his throat. They had been in the manager’s office of the club, going over account books in the early hours of the morning. St. Vincent was a handsome man with wheat-colored hair and pale blue eyes. Some claimed he had the most perfect form and features of any man alive. The looks of a saint, the soul of a scoundrel. “If I may ask, what kind of women have you been taking to bed?” “What do you mean, what kind?” Cam had asked warily. “Beautiful or plain?” “Beautiful, I suppose.” “Well, there’s your problem,” St. Vincent said in a matter-of-fact tone. “Plain women are far more enjoyable. There’s no better aphrodisiac than gratitude.” “Yet you married a beautiful woman.” A slow smile had curved St. Vincent’s lips. “Wives are a different case altogether. They require a great deal of effort, but the rewards are substantial. I highly recommend wives. Especially one’s own.” Cam had stared at his employer with annoyance, reflecting that serious conversation with St. Vincent was often hampered by the viscount’s fondness for turning it into an exercise of wit. “If I understand you, my lord,” he said curtly, “your recommendation for a lack of desire is to start seducing unattractive women?” Picking up a silver pen holder, St. Vincent deftly fitted a nib into the end and made a project of dipping it precisely into an ink bottle. “Rohan, I’m doing my best to understand your problem. However, a lack of desire is something I’ve never experienced. I’d have to be on my deathbed before I stopped wanting—no, never mind, I was on my deathbed in the not-too-distant past, and even then I had the devil’s own itch for my wife.” “Congratulations,” Cam muttered, abandoning any hope of prying an earnest answer out of the man. “Let’s attend to the account books. There are more important matters to discuss than sexual habits.” St. Vincent scratched out a figure and set the pen back on its stand. “No, I insist on discussing sexual habits. It’s so much more entertaining than work.
Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1))
Bourdieu posits the notion of a “feel for the game”, one that is never perfect and that takes prolonged immersion to develop. This is a particularly practical understanding of practice – highlighted by Bourdieu’s use of terms such as “practical mastery”, “sense of practice” and “practical knowledge” – that he claims is missing from structuralist accounts and the objectivism of Lévi Strauss. Bourdieu contrasts the abstract logic of such approaches, with their notion of practice as “rule-following”, with the practical logic of social agents. Even this notion of a game, he warns, must be handled with caution: You can use the analogy of the game in order to say that a set of people take part in a rule-bound activity, an activity which, without necessarily being the product of obedience to rules, obeys certain regularities . . . Should one talk of a rule? Yes and no. You can do so on condition that you distinguish clearly between rule and regularity. The social game is regulated, it is the locus of certain regularities. To understand practice, then, one must relate these regularities of social fields to the practical logic of social agents; their “feel for the game” is a feel for these regularities. The source of this practical logic is the habitus.
Michael James Grenfell (Pierre Bourdieu: Key Concepts)
To the Highland Girl of Inversneyde SWEET Highland Girl, a very shower Of beauty is thy earthly dower! Twice seven consenting years have shed Their utmost bounty on thy head: And these gray rocks, this household lawn, These trees—a veil just half withdrawn, This fall of water that doth make A murmur near the silent lake, This little bay, a quiet road That holds in shelter thy abode; In truth together ye do seem Like something fashion’d in a dream; Such forms as from their covert peep When earthly cares are laid asleep! But O fair Creature! in the light Of common day, so heavenly bright I bless Thee, Vision as thou art, I bless thee with a human heart: God shield thee to thy latest years! I neither know thee nor thy peers: And yet my eyes are fill’d with tears. With earnest feeling I shall pray For thee when I am far away; For never saw I mien or face In which more plainly I could trace Benignity and home-bred sense Ripening in perfect innocence. Here scatter’d, like a random seed, Remote from men, Thou dost not need The embarrass’d look of shy distress, And maidenly shamefacédness: Thou wear’st upon thy forehead clear The freedom of a mountaineer: A face with gladness overspread, Soft smiles, by human kindness bred; And seemliness complete, that sways Thy courtesies, about thee plays; With no restraint, but such as springs From quick and eager visitings Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach Of thy few words of English speech: A bondage sweetly brook’d, a strife That gives thy gestures grace and life! So have I, not unmoved in mind, Seen birds of tempest-loving kind, Thus beating up against the wind. What hand but would a garland cull For thee who art so beautiful? O happy pleasure! here to dwell Beside thee in some heathy dell; Adopt your homely ways, and dress, A shepherd, thou a shepherdess! But I could frame a wish for thee More like a grave reality: Thou art to me but as a wave Of the wild sea: and I would have Some claim upon thee, if I could, Though but of common neighbourhood. What joy to hear thee, and to see! Thy elder brother I would be, Thy father, anything to thee. Now thanks to Heaven! that of its grace Hath led me to this lonely place: Joy have I had; and going hence I bear away my recompense. In spots like these it is we prize Our memory, feel that she hath eyes: Then why should I be loth to stir? I feel this place was made for her; To give new pleasure like the past, Continued long as life shall last. Nor am I loth, though pleased at heart, Sweet Highland Girl! from thee to part; For I, methinks, till I grow old As fair before me shall behold As I do now, the cabin small, The lake, the bay, the waterfall; And Thee, the spirit of them all
William Wordsworth
A week is a long time to go without bedding someone?” Marcus interrupted, one brow arching. “Are you going to claim that it’s not?” “St. Vincent, if a man has time to bed a woman more than once a week, he clearly doesn’t have enough to do. There are any number of responsibilities that should keep you sufficiently occupied in lieu of…” Marcus paused, considering the exact phrase he wanted. “Sexual congress.” A pronounced silence greeted his words. Glancing at Shaw, Marcus noticed his brother-in-law’s sudden preoccupation with knocking just the right amount of ash from his cigar into a crystal dish, and he frowned. “You’re a busy man, Shaw, with business concerns on two continents. Obviously you agree with my statement.” Shaw smiled slightly. “My lord, since my ‘sexual congress’ is limited exclusively to my wife, who happens to be your sister, I believe I’ll have the good sense to keep my mouth shut.” St. Vincent smiled lazily. “It’s a shame for a thing like good sense to get in the way of an interesting conversation.” His gaze switched to Simon Hunt, who wore a slight frown. “Hunt, you may as well render your opinion. How often should a man make love to a woman? Is more than once a week a case for unpardonable gluttony?” Hunt threw Marcus a vaguely apologetic glance. “Much as I hesitate to agree with St. Vincent…” Marcus scowled as he insisted, “It is a well-known fact that sexual over-indulgence is bad for the health, just as with excessive eating and drinking—” “You’ve just described my perfect evening, Westcliff,” St. Vincent murmured with a grin, and returned his attention to Hunt. “How often do you and your wife—” “The goings-on in my bedroom are not open for discussion,” Hunt said firmly. “But you lie with her more than once a week?” St. Vincent pressed. “Hell, yes,” Hunt muttered. “And well you should, with a woman as beautiful as Mrs. Hunt,” St. Vincent said smoothly, and laughed at the warning glance that Hunt flashed him. “Oh, don’t glower—your wife is the last woman on earth whom I would have any designs on. I have no desire to be pummeled to a fare-thee-well beneath the weight of your ham-sized fists. And happily married women have never held any appeal for me—not when unhappily married ones are so much easier.” He looked back at Marcus. “It seems that you are alone in your opinion, Westcliff. The values of hard work and self-discipline are no match for a warm female body in one’s bed.” Marcus frowned. “There are more important things.” “Such as?” St. Vincent inquired with the exaggerated patience of a rebellious lad being subjected to an unwanted lecture from his decrepit grandfather. “I suppose you’ll say something like ‘social progress’? Tell me, Westcliff…” His gaze turned sly. “If the devil proposed a bargain to you that all the starving orphans in England would be well-fed from now on, but in return you would never be able to lie with a woman again, which would you choose? The orphans, or your own gratification?” “I never answer hypothetical questions.” St. Vincent laughed. “As I thought. Bad luck for the orphans, it seems.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
And, so, what was it that elevated Rubi from dictator's son-in-law to movie star's husband to the sort of man who might capture the hand of the world's wealthiest heiress? Well, there was his native charm. People who knew him, even if only casually, even if they were predisposed to be suspicious or resentful of him, came away liking him. He picked up checks; he had courtly manners; he kept the party gay and lively; he was attentive to women but made men feel at ease; he was smoothly quick to rise from his chair when introduced, to open doors, to light a lady's cigarette ("I have the fastest cigarette lighter in the house," he once boasted): the quintessential chivalrous gent of manners. The encomia, if bland, were universal. "He's a very nice guy," swore gossip columnist Earl Wilson, who stayed with Rubi in Paris. ""I'm fond of him," said John Perona, owner of New York's El Morocco. "Rubi's got a nice personality and is completely masculine," attested a New York clubgoer. "He has a lot of men friends, which, I suppose, is unusual. Aly Khan, for instance, has few male friends. But everyone I know thinks Rubi is a good guy." "He is one of the nicest guys I know," declared that famed chum of famed playboys Peter Lawford. "A really charming man- witty, fun to be with, and a he-man." There were a few tricks to his trade. A society photographer judged him with a professional eye thus: "He can meet you for a minute and a month later remember you very well." An author who played polo with him put it this way: "He had a trick that never failed. When he spoke with someone, whether man or woman, it seemed as if the rest of the world had lost all interest for him. He could hang on the words of a woman or man who spoke only banalities as if the very future of the world- and his future, especially- depended on those words." But there was something deeper to his charm, something irresistible in particular when he turned it on women. It didn't reveal itself in photos, and not every woman was susceptible to it, but it was palpable and, when it worked, unforgettable. Hollywood dirt doyenne Hedda Hoppe declared, "A friend says he has the most perfect manners she has ever encountered. He wraps his charm around your shoulders like a Russian sable coat." Gossip columnist Shelia Graham was chary when invited to bring her eleven-year-old daughter to a lunch with Rubi in London, and her wariness was transmitted to the girl, who wiped her hand off on her dress after Rubi kissed it in a formal greeting; by the end of lunch, he had won the child over with his enthusiastic, spontaneous manner, full of compliments but never cloying. "All done effortlessly," Graham marveled. "He was probably a charming baby, I am sure that women rushed to coo over him in the cradle." Elsa Maxwell, yet another gossip, but also a society gadabout and hostess who claimed a key role in at least one of Rubi's famous liaisons, put it thus: "You expect Rubi to be a very dangerous young man who personifies the wolf. Instead, you meet someone who is so unbelievably charming and thoughtful that you are put off-guard before you know it." But charm would only take a man so far. Rubi was becoming and international legend not because he could fascinate a young girl but because he could intoxicate sophisticated women. p124
Shawn Levy (The Last Playboy : the High Life of Porfirio Rubirosa)
served as CEO of two public companies, even temporarily, and I wasn’t even sure it was legal. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was enjoying spending more time with my family. I was torn. I knew Apple was a mess, so I wondered: Do I want to give up this nice lifestyle that I have? What are all the Pixar shareholders going to think? I talked to people I respected. I finally called Andy Grove at about eight one Saturday morning—too early. I gave him the pros and the cons, and in the middle he stopped me and said, “Steve, I don’t give a shit about Apple.” I was stunned. It was then I realized that I do give a shit about Apple—I started it and it is a good thing to have in the world. That was when I decided to go back on a temporary basis to help them hire a CEO. The claim that he was enjoying spending more time with his family was not convincing. He was never destined to win a Father of the Year trophy, even when he had spare time on his hands. He was getting better at paying heed to his children, especially Reed, but his primary focus was on his work. He was frequently aloof from his two younger daughters, estranged again from Lisa, and often prickly as a husband. So what was the real reason for his hesitancy in taking over at Apple? For all of his willfulness and insatiable desire to control things, Jobs was indecisive and reticent when he felt unsure about something. He craved perfection, and he was not always good at figuring out how to settle for something less. He did not like to wrestle with complexity or make accommodations. This was true in products, design, and furnishings for the house. It was also true when it came to personal commitments. If he knew
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
When the time comes, & I hope it comes soon, to bury this era of moral rot & the defiling of our communal, social, & democratic norms, the perfect epitaph for the gravestone of this age of unreason should be Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley's already infamous quote: "I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing... as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” Grassley's vision of America, quite frankly, is one I do not recognize. I thought the heart of this great nation was not limited to the ranks of the plutocrats who are whisked through life in chauffeured cars & private jets, whose often inherited riches are passed along to children, many of whom no sacrifice or service is asked. I do not begrudge wealth, but it must come with a humility that money never is completely free of luck. And more importantly, wealth can never be a measure of worth. I have seen the waitress working the overnight shift at a diner to give her children a better life, & yes maybe even take them to a movie once in awhile - and in her, I see America. I have seen the public school teachers spending extra time with students who need help & who get no extra pay for their efforts, & in them I see America. I have seen parents sitting around kitchen tables with stacks of pressing bills & wondering if they can afford a Christmas gift for their children, & in them I see America. I have seen the young diplomat in a distant foreign capital & the young soldier in a battlefield foxhole, & in them I see America. I have seen the brilliant graduates of the best law schools who forgo the riches of a corporate firm for the often thankless slog of a district attorney or public defender's office, & in them I see America. I have seen the librarian reshelving books, the firefighter, police officer, & paramedic in service in trying times, the social worker helping the elderly & infirm, the youth sports coaches, the PTA presidents, & in them I see America. I have seen the immigrants working a cash register at a gas station or trimming hedges in the frost of an early fall morning, or driving a cab through rush hour traffic to make better lives for their families, & in them I see America. I have seen the science students unlocking the mysteries of life late at night in university laboratories for little or no pay, & in them I see America. I have seen the families struggling with a cancer diagnosis, or dementia in a parent or spouse. Amid the struggles of mortality & dignity, in them I see America. These, & so many other Americans, have every bit as much claim to a government working for them as the lobbyists & moneyed classes. And yet, the power brokers in Washington today seem deaf to these voices. It is a national disgrace of historic proportions. And finally, what is so wrong about those who must worry about the cost of a drink with friends, or a date, or a little entertainment, to rephrase Senator Grassley's demeaning phrasings? Those who can't afford not to worry about food, shelter, healthcare, education for their children, & all the other costs of modern life, surely they too deserve to be able to spend some of their “darn pennies” on the simple joys of life. Never mind that almost every reputable economist has called this tax bill a sham of handouts for the rich at the expense of the vast majority of Americans & the future economic health of this nation. Never mind that it is filled with loopholes written by lobbyists. Never mind that the wealthiest already speak with the loudest voices in Washington, & always have. Grassley’s comments open a window to the soul of the current national Republican Party & it it is not pretty. This is not a view of America that I think President Ronald Reagan let alone President Dwight Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt would have recognized. This is unadulterated cynicism & a version of top-down class warfare run amok. ~Facebook 12/4/17
Dan Rather
We’d just taken Pixar public, and I was happy being CEO there. I never knew of anyone who served as CEO of two public companies, even temporarily, and I wasn’t even sure it was legal. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was enjoying spending more time with my family. I was torn. I knew Apple was a mess, so I wondered: Do I want to give up this nice lifestyle that I have? What are all the Pixar shareholders going to think? I talked to people I respected. I finally called Andy Grove at about eight one Saturday morning—too early. I gave him the pros and the cons, and in the middle he stopped me and said, “Steve, I don’t give a shit about Apple.” I was stunned. It was then I realized that I do give a shit about Apple—I started it and it is a good thing to have in the world. That was when I decided to go back on a temporary basis to help them hire a CEO. The claim that he was enjoying spending more time with his family was not convincing. He was never destined to win a Father of the Year trophy, even when he had spare time on his hands. He was getting better at paying heed to his children, especially Reed, but his primary focus was on his work. He was frequently aloof from his two younger daughters, estranged again from Lisa, and often prickly as a husband. So what was the real reason for his hesitancy in taking over at Apple? For all of his willfulness and insatiable desire to control things, Jobs was indecisive and reticent when he felt unsure about something. He craved perfection, and he was not always good at figuring out how to settle for something less. He did not like to wrestle with complexity or make accommodations. This was true in products, design, and furnishings for the house. It was also true when it came to personal commitments. If he knew for sure a course of action was right, he was unstoppable. But if he had doubts, he sometimes withdrew, preferring not to think about things that did not perfectly suit him. As happened when Amelio had asked him what role he wanted to play, Jobs would go silent and ignore situations that made him uncomfortable.
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
She might have been brained right then but Ash managed to cup one hand behind her head to cushion the impact His other hand had a fistful of the back of her jeans, holding the waist so she didn't slide down him. She had both legs wrapped tight around his middle, her hand clutching his shoulders. Time slowed. The noise of the crowd disappeared. Ash was pressed hard into her, crushing her against the post, his body hot against her front. His bare chest rose and fell as he breathed deep. His hand formed a fist in her hair and pulled her head back until their eyes met in a stare that cut right through her. His irises weren't quite black but close. His strength was all around her, holding her, pinning he helplessly. She met his stare her teeth bared fiercely. Then she grabbed his head and yanked his mouth down onto hers. It wasn't a gentle kiss. Ash's mouth met hers and it was like a flame meeting oil- fire and raging heat. She arched into him as he shoved her into the post, pressing them even tighter together. His mouth moved with hers, against hers, fierce and carnal and demanding. She clamped her fingers over the back of his head and pulled him closer still, demanding even more. His hand tightened in her hair and she tilted her head farther back as their kiss deepened into something even wilder. Seconds later - minutes later? Ash pulled back with one last nipping bite to her bottom lip that made heat plunge through her middle. They held there, faces inches apart, both panting for air. Piper wasn't sure she could have unlocked her legs from around him even if she'd wanted to. Which she didn't. She'd never had her legs around such perfect abs in her life. That's when, belatedly, she noticed the crowd's reaction. They were all on their feet and the noise level was deafening. They were screaming and cheering. So swiftly Piper squeaked in surprise, Ash pulled her off the post. The next thing she knew, he'd flipped her over his shoulder in a fireman carry. The air whooshed out of her. Ash turned and lifted one hand in a gesture of triumph, his other arm clamped over the back of her thighs to keep her in place. "Well," the announcer called jubilantly, "It seems the Dragon has claimed his prize!
Annette Marie (Chase the Dark (Steel & Stone, #1))
This makes a mockery of real science, and its consequences are invariably ridiculous. Quite a few otherwise intelligent men and women take it as an established principle that we can know as true only what can be verified by empirical methods of experimentation and observation. This is, for one thing, a notoriously self-refuting claim, inasmuch as it cannot itself be demonstrated to be true by any application of empirical method. More to the point, though, it is transparent nonsense: most of the things we know to be true, often quite indubitably, do not fall within the realm of what can be tested by empirical methods; they are by their nature episodic, experiential, local, personal, intuitive, or purely logical. The sciences concern certain facts as organized by certain theories, and certain theories as constrained by certain facts; they accumulate evidence and enucleate hypotheses within very strictly limited paradigms; but they do not provide proofs of where reality begins or ends, or of what the dimensions of truth are. They cannot even establish their own working premises—the real existence of the phenomenal world, the power of the human intellect accurately to reflect that reality, the perfect lawfulness of nature, its interpretability, its mathematical regularity, and so forth—and should not seek to do so, but should confine themselves to the truths to which their methods give them access. They should also recognize what the boundaries of the scientific rescript are. There are, in fact, truths of reason that are far surer than even the most amply supported findings of empirical science because such truths are not, as those findings must always be, susceptible of later theoretical revision; and then there are truths of mathematics that are subject to proof in the most proper sense and so are more irrefutable still. And there is no one single discourse of truth as such, no single path to the knowledge of reality, no single method that can exhaustively define what knowledge is, no useful answers whose range has not been limited in advance by the kind of questions that prompted them. The failure to realize this can lead only to delusions of the kind expressed in, for example, G. G. Simpson’s self-parodying assertion that all attempts to define the meaning of life or the nature of humanity made before 1859 are now entirely worthless, or in Peter Atkins’s ebulliently absurd claims that modern science can “deal with every aspect of existence” and that it has in fact “never encountered a barrier.” Not only do sentiments of this sort verge upon the deranged, they are nothing less than violent assaults upon the true dignity of science (which lies entirely in its severely self-limiting rigor).
David Bentley Hart (The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss)
Joseph protested: “But who has said that the King Messiah must be a second Authority, God forbid! The Messiah is sent to us, to Israel, to restore the Kingdom of Israel.” “Not the Kingdom of Israel alone, but the Kingdom of God for the whole world,” cried Saul, fervently. “Touching this point, I am utterly at one with the preacher. On this he spoke like one moved by the divine spirit, and I have never heard one who brought out more clearly the fullness of the meaning of the Messiah. It may indeed be that he crowned him with too much authority, making him almost the equal of God. Yet I say that if he had not applied these words to him that was hanged, if he, the preacher, had not claimed Yeshua of Nazareth to be the Messiah, he would be my best-beloved brother.” “Of whom dost thou speak, Saul?” “Of him, of the preacher who gave us the burning vision of the Day of Judgment, and of the coming of the Messiah,” answered Saul, his voice vibrant with warmth. “Do you, too, believe that the King of Messiah is, God forbid, a second Authority?” “I believe with perfect faith that he stands between us and God, and that all the Authorities have been relinquished into the hand of the King Messiah, to loosen the bonds of all that are bound, and to loosen the bonds of the world, and of all worlds, for all time,” answered Saul. “No, no,” argued bar Naba, “the King Messiah comes only for Israel, to restore the kingdom, as the Prophets have told us in the name of God.” “It is only the little of faith who await such a Messiah. And that Messiah is not worth the price we have paid with our waiting.” “But why can we not be like all the other peoples?” asked bar Naba. “But are we like the other peoples? Have we not been beaten and smitten and humiliated daily for the Messiah’s sake? Have we not denied ourselves the joys of this world, and still for his sake?” “But I am weary of carrying the burden of the world; I am weary of being the scapegoat for the sins of others. Is not Israel worthy of being an end unto himself?” “But I ask you, what is Israel if only an end unto itself? If it is a worm under the feet of the nations?  Israel is the light of the world, the guiding star of mankind. It is not asked whether it wills this or not. Israel has been elected to this end, as the Messiah was chosen before the creation of the world. Israel was elected to bear like a beast of burden, the yoke of the Torah, until God will send it a redeemer. And then will the redeemer bind the nations as the reaper binds the sheaves. He will bring them into the granary, under the wings of his glory. Israel will be the guiding star of heaven, the pillar of fire which goes before the whole world on the path of redemption. For such a mission no price of suffering is too high. Bar
Sholem Asch (The Apostle)
If it will reassure you that I’m not a coward, I suppose I could rearrange his face.” Quietly he added, “The music has ended,” and for the first time Elizabeth realized they were no longer waltzing but were only swaying lightly together. With no other excuse to stand in his arms, Elizabeth tried to ignore her disappointment and step back, but just then the musicians began another melody, and their bodies began to move together in perfect time to the music. “Since I’ve already deprived you of your escort for the outing to the village tomorrow,” he said after a minute, “would you consider an alternative?” Her heart soared, because she thought he was going to offer to escort her himself. Again he read her thoughts, but his words were dampening. “I cannot escort you there,” he said flatly. Her smile faded. “Why not?” “Don’t be a henwit. Being seen in my company is hardly the sort of thing to enhance a debutante’s reputation.” Her mind whirled, trying to tally some sort of balance sheet that would disprove his claim. After all, he was a favorite of the Duke of Hammund’s…but while the duke was considered a great matrimonial prize, his reputation as a libertine and rake made mamas fear him as much as they coveted him as a son-in-law. On the other hand, Charise Dumont was considered perfectly respectable by the ton, and so this country gathering was above reproach. Except it wasn’t, according to Lord Howard. “Is that why you refused to dance with me when I asked you to earlier?” “That was part of the reason.” “What was the rest of it?” she asked curiously. His chuckle was grim. “Call it a well-developed instinct for self-preservation.” “What?” “Your eyes are more lethal than dueling pistols, my sweet,” he said wryly. “They could make a saint forget his goal.” Elizabeth had heard many flowery praises sung to her beauty, and she endured them with polite disinterest, but Ian’s blunt, almost reluctant flattery made her chuckle. Later she would realize that at this moment she had made her greatest mistake of all-she had been lulled into regarding him as an equal, a gently bred person whom she could trust, even relax with. “What sort of alternative were you going to suggest for tomorrow?” “Luncheon,” he said. “Somewhere private where we can talk, and where we won’t be seen together.” A cozy picnic luncheon for two was definitely not on Lucinda’s list of acceptable pastimes for London debutantes, but even so, Elizabeth was reluctant to refuse. “Outdoors…by the lake?” she speculated aloud, trying to justify the idea by making it public. “I think it’s going to rain tomorrow, and besides, we’d risk being seen together there.” “Then where?” “In the woods. I’ll meet you at the woodcutter’s cottage at the south end of the property near the stream at eleven. There's a path that leads to it two miles from the gate-off the main road." Elizabeth was too alarmed by such a prospect to stop to wonder how and when Ian Thornton had become so familiar with Charise's property and all its secluded haunts. "Absolutely not," she said in a shaky, breathless voice. Even she was not naïve enough to consider being alone with a man in a cottage, and she was terribly disappointed that he'd suggested it. Gentlemen didn't make such suggestions, and well-bred ladies never accepted them. Lucinda's warnings about such things had been eloquent and, Elizabeth felt, sensible.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
If the claims of the papacy cannot be proven from what we know of the historical Peter, there are, on the other hand, several undoubted facts in the real history of Peter which bear heavily upon those claims, namely: 1. That Peter was married, Matt. 8:14, took his wife with him on his missionary tours, 1 Cor. 9:5, and, according to a possible interpretation of the "coëlect" (sister), mentions her in 1 Pet. 5:13. Patristic tradition ascribes to him children, or at least a daughter (Petronilla). His wife is said to have suffered martyrdom in Rome before him. What right have the popes, in view of this example, to forbid clerical marriage?  We pass by the equally striking contrast between the poverty of Peter, who had no silver nor gold (Acts 3:6) and the gorgeous display of the triple-crowned papacy in the middle ages and down to the recent collapse of the temporal power. 2. That in the Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15:1–11), Peter appears simply as the first speaker and debater, not as president and judge (James presided), and assumes no special prerogative, least of all an infallibility of judgment. According to the Vatican theory the whole question of circumcision ought to have been submitted to Peter rather than to a Council, and the decision ought to have gone out from him rather than from "the apostles and elders, brethren" (or "the elder brethren," 15:23). 3. That Peter was openly rebuked for inconsistency by a younger apostle at Antioch (Gal. 2:11–14). Peter’s conduct on that occasion is irreconcilable with his infallibility as to discipline; Paul’s conduct is irreconcilable with Peter’s alleged supremacy; and the whole scene, though perfectly plain, is so inconvenient to Roman and Romanizing views, that it has been variously distorted by patristic and Jesuit commentators, even into a theatrical farce gotten up by the apostles for the more effectual refutation of the Judaizers! 4. That, while the greatest of popes, from Leo I. down to Leo XIII. never cease to speak of their authority over all the bishops and all the churches, Peter, in his speeches in the Acts, never does so. And his Epistles, far from assuming any superiority over his "fellow-elders" and over "the clergy" (by which he means the Christian people), breathe the spirit of the sincerest humility and contain a prophetic warning against the besetting sins of the papacy, filthy avarice and lordly ambition (1 Pet. 5:1–3). Love of money and love of power are twin-sisters, and either of them is "a root of all evil." It is certainly very significant that the weaknesses even more than the virtues of the natural Peter—his boldness and presumption, his dread of the cross, his love for secular glory, his carnal zeal, his use of the sword, his sleepiness in Gethsemane—are faithfully reproduced in the history of the papacy; while the addresses and epistles of the converted and inspired Peter contain the most emphatic protest against the hierarchical pretensions and worldly vices of the papacy, and enjoin truly evangelical principles—the general priesthood and royalty of believers, apostolic poverty before the rich temple, obedience to God rather than man, yet with proper regard for the civil authorities, honorable marriage, condemnation of mental reservation in Ananias and Sapphira, and of simony in Simon Magus, liberal appreciation of heathen piety in Cornelius, opposition to the yoke of legal bondage, salvation in no other name but that of Jesus Christ.
Philip Schaff (History Of The Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes In One))
What would the ton do without us to feed them scandal broth?” Grey returned her grin. “The lot of them would starve.” They chuckled and as the humor faded, Grey tilted his head to look at her. “You look beautiful tonight.” She flushed, pleasure lighting the dark depths of her eyes. “You don’t have to say such things.” “I know I don’t, but you are my fiancée and it’s perfectly acceptable for me to voice my thoughts aloud. It’s rather refreshing after keeping them to myself for so long.” That got her attention. One of her fine, high brows twitched. “How long?” He grinned. “Since you were old enough for me to think such thoughts without being lecherous.” They stood no more than six inches apart. Close enough that he could see how amazingly flawless her skin was-not a freckle in sight. Close enough that she could see every twist and knot in his scar-and yet she barely glanced at it. Her gaze was riveted on his. She didn’t care that he was disfigured-at least not on the outside. Not on the inside either, so it seemed. “I’ve never been a good man,” he confessed-a little more hoarse than he liked-“but I promise to be a faithful husband.” It was the best he could offer, because as much as he would like to be the man she wanted, it wasn’t going to happen. Her smooth brow puckered. “I haven’t actually consented, you know.” “Rose, we have to marry.” “No.” She raised sparkling eyes to his. “I want you to ask me to marry you-not demand it. I don’t care if it has to be done. I want to feel like I have a choice.” “If you did have a choice, what would it be?” He was on dangerous ground with her, inching into territory better left unexplored for both their sakes. Rose smiled, and everything was right with the world. “Ask me and find out.” His hands came up, seemingly of their own volition, to cup her face. She was so delicate, yet so strong. Her entire world had been turned upside down, and yet she faced him with a teasing glint in her eyes and a soft flush of color in her cheeks. “Rose Danvers, will you do me the extreme honor of becoming my wife?” Were those tears dampening her eyes? And was it joy or sorrow that put them there? “I will.” He knew that they had to marry regardless, but hearing her say those two little words was like someone kicking his heart through his ribs. It hurt, but there was such unfathomable joy that came with it-such terrible happiness that Grey had no idea what to do with it. He’d never felt anything like it before. Holding her face, he lowered his head and hungrily claimed her mouth with his own. Her lips parted for his tongue as her fingers bit into his arms. A trickle of warm wetness brushed against his thumb. She was crying. A sharp gasp came from the open door. “What the devil is going on here?” The kiss and its magic were broken. Rose stepped back, and Grey dropped his hands, but he wasn’t willing to let her go just yet. He placed one arm behind her back, holding her close so that they faced her mother together. Camilla did not look happy. In fact, she looked like any mother would to walk into a room and find her daughter being molested. “Mama,” Rose begun. “It’s not what you think.” “It is exactly what you think,” Grey countered, drawing his friend’s stormy and narrow gaze. “I have asked Rose for her hand in marriage and she has accepted. I regret that you had to find out this way, but I was too overcome with joy to contain my feelings.” He could feel Rose gaping at him. He didn’t look at her, not because the words were a lie, but because they were all too damnably true.
Kathryn Smith (When Seducing a Duke (Victorian Soap Opera, #1))
Speaking of shooting, my lady,” Mr. Pinter said as he came around the table, “I looked over your pistol as you requested. Everything seems to be in order.” Removing it from his coat pocket, he handed it to her, a hint of humor in his gaze. As several pair of male eyes fixed on her, she colored. To hide her embarrassment, she made a great show of examining her gun. He’d cleaned it thoroughly, which she grudgingly admitted was rather nice of him. “What a cunning little weapon,” the viscount said and reached for it. “May I?” She handed him the pistol. “How tiny it is,” he exclaimed. “It’s a lady’s pocket pistol,” she told him as he examined it. Oliver frowned at her. “When did you acquire a pocket pistol, Celia?” “A little while ago,” she said blithely. Gabe grinned. “You may not know this, Basto, but my sister is something of a sharpshooter. I daresay she has a bigger collection of guns than Oliver.” “Not bigger,” she said. “Finer perhaps, but I’m choosy about my firearms.” “She has beaten us all at some time or another at target shooting,” the duke said dryly. “The lady could probably hit a fly at fifty paces.” “Don’t be silly,” she said with a grin. “A beetle perhaps, but not a fly.” The minute the words were out of her mouth, she could have kicked herself. Females did not boast of their shooting-not if they wanted to snag husbands. “You should come shooting with us,” Oliver said. “Why not?” The last thing she needed was to beat her suitors at shooting. The viscount in particular would take it very ill. She suspected that Portuguese men preferred their women to be wilting flowers. “No thank you,” she said. “Target shooting is one thing, but I don’t like hunting birds.” “Suit yourself,” Gabe said, clearly happy to make it a gentlemen-only outing, though he knew perfectly well that hunting birds didn’t bother her. “Come now, Lady Celia,” Lord Devonmont said. “You were eating partridges at supper last night. How can you quibble about shooting birds?” “If she doesn’t want to go, let her stay,” Gabe put in. “It’s not shooting birds she has an objection to,” Mr. Pinter said in a taunting voice. “Her ladyship just can’t hit a moving target.” She bit back a hot retort. Don’t scare off the suitors. “That’s ridiculous, Pinter,” Gabe said. “I’ve seen Celia-ow! What the devil, Oliver? You stepped on my foot!” “Sorry, old chap, you were in the way,” Oliver said as he went to the table. “I think Pinter’s right, though. Celia can’t hit a moving target.” “Oh, for heaven’s sake,” she protested, “I most certainly can hit a moving target! Just because I choose not to for the sake of the poor, helpless birds-“ “Convenient, isn’t it, her sudden dislike of shooting ‘poor, helpless birds’?” Mr. Pinter said with a smug glance at Lord Devonmont. “Convenient, indeed,” Lord Devonmont agreed. “But not surprising. Women don’t have the same ability to follow a bird in flight that a man-“ “That’s nonsense, and you know it!” Celia jumped to her feet. “I can shoot a pigeon or a grouse on the wing as well as any man here.” “Sounds like a challenge to me,” Oliver said. “What do you think, Pinter?” “A definite challenge, sir.” Mr. Pinter was staring at her with what looked like satisfaction. Blast it all, had that been his purpose-to goad her into it? Oh, what did it matter? She couldn’t let a claim like this or Lord Devonmont’s stand. “Fine. I’ll join you gentlemen for the shooting.” “Then I propose that whoever bags the most birds gets to kiss the lady,” Lord Devonmont said with a gleam in his eye. “That’s not much of a prize for me,” Gabe grumbled. She planted her hands on her hips. “And what if I bag the most birds?” “Then you get to shoot whomever you wish,” Mr. Pinter drawled. As the others laughed, Celia glared at him. He was certainly enjoying himself, the wretch. “I’d be careful if I were you, Mr. Pinter. That person would most likely be you.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
[T]here was a woman who had set her heart intensely on a kind of transitory love called flirtation, which is a poison to spiritual happiness. He said to her that if she wished to lead a calm spiritual existence, she would have to give this up and take eternal Wisdom as her beloved in place of her present love. This was difficult for her to do because she was young and lively and was already engaged in such a relationship. . . . When she returned home, a misshapen hump quickly grew on her back, making her ugly; and she had to give up of necessity what she did not want to give up for love of God. . . . Subsequent detachment arises in that he goes to his death resigned because he cannot do anything else. This detachment is also good and leads him to heaven, but the other kind was incomparably nobler and better. Therefore one should not take all risks and remain in wrong behavior, as some foolish people claim: that a person who wants to achieve perfect detachment must wade through all forms of wrong. That is wrong because a person who out of bravado throws himself into a dirty puddle thinking that he will become more beautiful afterward is a fool. This is why the most prudent of the friends of God keep this resolve, that they forsake themselves completely and remain constantly in preceding detachment and never take it back, as far as human weakness allows. . . . One should not judge pleasure according to the senses. One should judge it according to truth. . . . The power to renounce gives one more power than to possess things.
Henry Suso (Henry Suso: The Exemplar, with Two German Sermons (Classics of Western Spirituality (Paperback)))
One of the reasons for its success is that science has built-in, error-correcting machinery at its very heart. Some may consider this an overbroad characterization, but to me every time we exercise self-criticism, every time we test our ideas against the outside world, we are doing science. When we are self-indulgent and uncritical, when we confuse hopes and facts, we slide into pseudoscience and superstition. Every time a scientific paper presents a bit of data, it's accompanied by an error bar - a quiet but insistent reminder that no knowledge is complete or perfect. It's a calibration of how much we trust what we think we know. If the error bars are small, the accuracy of our empirical knowledge is high; if the error bars are large, then so is the uncertainty in our knowledge. Except in pure mathematics nothing is known for certain (although much is certainly false). Moreover, scientists are usually careful to characterize the veridical status of.their attempts to understand the world - ranging from conjectures and hypotheses, which are highly tentative, all the way up to laws of Nature which are repeatedly and systemati­cally confirmed through many interrogations of how the world works. But even laws of Nature are not absolutely certain. There may be new circumstances never before examined - inside black holes, say, or within the electron, or close to the speed of light -where even our vaunted laws of Nature break down and, however valid they may be in ordinary circumstances, need correction. Humans may crave absolute certainty; they may aspire to it; they may pretend, as partisans of certain religions do, to have attained it. But the history of science - by far the most successful claim to knowledge accessible to humans - teaches that the most we can hope for is successive improvement in our understanding, learning from our mistakes, an asymptotic approach to the Universe, but with the proviso that absolute certainty will always elude us. We will always be mired in error. The most each generation can hope for is to reduce the error bars a little, and to add to the body of data to which error bars apply. The error bar is a pervasive, visible self-assessment of the reliability of our knowledge.
The Blame They say I'm not supposed to care Keep walking with my head high But every time I go somewhere I feel the dread inside their eyes I am. How can? How can I let it fly? Condemned, they're still, So I'm here to testify You're the devil You're the one that divides this place This place so dividing If united we stand then we ain't gonna to fall Children walk on both hands While man still learnin' to crawl Children fucking blowin' up malls Grown men fucking blow-up dolls I'm not the perfect man, And I never claim to be I've done some things in my time Even I'm ashamed of me I am the hell they're killing in the name of me I can, they can, when they're takin' aim at me Staring so aimlessly, it's so plain to see That they they the devil, under the stairs They follow the echoes of this everlasting prayer
We have forgotten that courage is a choice, and that permission to move forward with boldness is never given by the fearful masses. Most have forgotten that seeking change always requires a touch of insanity. If taking action before the perfect conditions arise, or before we receive permission, is unreasonable or reckless, then we must be unreasonable and reckless. We must remember we are not the sum of our intentions but of our actions.
Brendon Burchard (The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power)
No one has ever been modern. Modernity has never begun. There has never been a modern world. The use of the past perfect tense is important here, for it is a matter of a retrospective sentiment, of a rereading of our history. I am not saying that we are entering a new era; on the contrary we no longer have to continue the headlong flight of the post-post-postmodernists; we are no longer obliged to cling to the avant-garde of the avant-garde; we no longer seek to be even cleverer, even more critical, even deeper into the 'era of suspicion'. No, instead we discover that we have never begun to enter the modern era. Hence the hint of the ludicrous that always accompanies postmodern thinkers; they claim to come after a time that has not even started!
Some of his colleagues and a few of his students claimed to have been moved so by a book that they had read it again and again. Who were they? Of what were they made? Were they dissembling? Perhaps he was a fool, but he thought that if a work were truly great you would only have to read it once and you would be stolen from yourself, desperately moved, changed forever. It would become part of you and never leave, and you would love the characters as if they were your own. Who would want to plough over ground that has been perfectly ploughed? Would it not be, like living one's life again, infinitely painful and dissonant?
Mark Helprin
The new world we see being brought into being in the Gospels is one in which the whole grand cosmic architecture of prerogative, power, and eminence has been shaken and even superseded by a new, positively “anarchic” order: an order, that is, in which we see the glory of God revealed in a crucified slave, and in which (consequently) we are enjoined to see the forsaken of the earth as the very children of heaven. In this shockingly, ludicrously disordered order (so to speak), even the mockery visited on Christ—the burlesque crown and robe—acquires a kind of ironic opulence: in the light cast backward upon the scene by the empty tomb, it becomes all at once clear that it is not Christ’s “ambitions” that are laughable, but those emblems of earthly authority whose travesties have been draped over his shoulders and pressed into his scalp. We can now see with perfect poignancy the vanity of empires and kingdoms, and the absurdity of men who wrap themselves in rags and adorn themselves with glittering gauds and promote themselves with preposterous titles and thereby claim license to rule over others. And yet the figure of Christ seems only to grow in dignity. It is tempting to describe this vision of reality as—for want of a better alternative—a total humanism: a vision, that is, of humanity in its widest and deepest scope, one that finds the full nobility and mystery and beauty of the human countenance—the human person—in each unique instance of the common nature. Seen thus, Christ’s supposed descent from the “form of God” into the “form of a slave” is not so much a paradox as a perfect confirmation of the indwelling of the divine image in each soul. And, once the world has been seen in this way, it can never again be what it formerly was.
David Bentley Hart (Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies)
A woman I have never seen before Steps from the darkness of her town-house door At just that crux of time when she is made So beautiful that she or time must fade. What use to claim that as she tugs her gloves A phantom heraldry of all the loves Blares from the lintel? That the staggered sun Forgets, in his confusion, how to run? Still, nothing changes as her perfect feet Click down the walk that issues in the street, Leaving the stations of her body there Like whips that map the countries of the air.
Richard Wilbur
We usually take ourselves to be the sum of these thoughts, ideas, emotions, and body sensations; but there is nothing solid to them. How can we claim to be our thoughts or opinions or emotions or body when they never stay the same? —Jack Kornfield
Pavel Somov (Present Perfect: A Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go of Perfectionism and the Need for Control)
And so passed the next several days. I prowled around the various Court functions to mark where Shevraeth was, and if I spotted him I’d invariably sneak back to the State Wing and slip into the memoirs room to read some more--when I wasn’t writing letters. My response to the Unknown had caused a lengthy answer in kind, and for a time we exchanged letters--sometimes thrice a day. It was such a relief to be able to express myself freely and without cost. He seemed to appreciate my jokes, for his style gradually metamorphosed from the carefully neutral mentor to a very witty kind of dialogue that verged from time to time on the acerbic--just the kind of humor that appealed most to me. We exchanged views about different aspects of history, and I deeply enjoyed his trenchant observations on the follies of our ancestors. He never pronounced judgment on current events and people, despite some of my hints; and I forbore asking directly, lest I inadvertently say something about someone in his family--or worse, him. For I still had no clue to his identity. Savona continued to flirt with me at every event we met at. Deric claimed my company for every sporting event. And shy Geral always gravitated to my side at balls; when we talked--which was a lot--it was about music. Though others among the lords were friendly and pleasant, these three were the most attentive. None of them hinted at letters--nor did I. If in person the Unknown couldn’t bring himself to talk on the important subjects that increasingly took up time and space in his letters, well, I could sympathize. There was a person--soon to be king--whom I couldn’t bring myself to face. Anyway, the only mention of current events that I made in my letters was about my own experience. Late one night, when I’d drunk a little too much spiced wine, I poured out my pent-up feelings about my ignorant past, and to my intense relief he returned to me neither scorn nor pity. That did not stop me from going around for a day wary of smiles or fans hiding faces, for I’d realized that though the letters could be pleasant and encouraging, I could very well be providing someone with prime material for gossip. Never before had I felt the disadvantage of not knowing who he was, whereas he knew me by name and sight. But no one treated me any differently than usual; there were no glances of awareness, no bright, superior smiles of those who know a secret. So it appeared he was as benevolent as his letters seemed, yet perfectly content to remain unknown. And I was content to leave it that way.
Sherwood Smith (Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2))
You cannot claim ownership of a thing if you don’t own it; and likewise you cannot say you live in a place except you dwell in there. To dwell is to exist and to exist is to dwell. Before the purpose of a man can enjoy perfect and long lasting illumination, man must first discover his true worth, which is the exact reason for his existence. However, the mere discovery of mans’ true purpose alone is not enough to give him his true shine; and until the purpose finds a greener pasture to dwell in the inside of him, and himself inside of his found purpose, the long dark nights of man will never see dawn.
Adebola Jacobs
Of course, in time traditions grew up around each week,” he continued. “During the holding week a male keeps his bride safe in the circle of his arms and holds her close to prove he can protect her from any danger that might come.” He looked at her steadily. “I wanted to do that for you, Lilenta, but I didn’t want to scare you away or frighten you—any more than you already were, anyway.” Liv started to deny her fear as she had from the start but something made her stop. It was true—she was afraid of Baird. Of what he represented, of everything and everyone she could lose if she let herself fall into his arms and never look back. Instead she said quietly, “Go on.” “During the bathing week, a Kindred male cares for and pampers his bride by worshiping her body,” he continued in a low voice. “He washes her hair and bathes and massages and oils her to show her what their life will be like together if she consents to bond with him. The care he takes with her symbolizes how precious she is to him, how beautiful and perfect he finds her.” Liv cleared her throat. “Sounds, ah…intense.” “It can be.” Baird gave her a serious look. “Although I hear some females find it most relaxing to be bathed and pampered. Don’t you Earth women go to special places for it?” “Uh, you mean like a spa? Sure, I guess.” Liv shrugged uncomfortably. “But usually the emphasis there is on relieving stress and the attendants are all very professional and impersonal.” One corner of Baird’s full mouth twitched. “Afraid I can’t promise you that, Lilenta.” “I didn’t think so,” Liv mumbled.
Evangeline Anderson (Claimed (Brides of the Kindred, #1))
Not yet, Baird,” the one beside him cautioned. He was as tall as his friend and just as muscular but he had short, spiky blond hair that complimented his pale blue eyes. “Can’t wait much longer.” Long, strong fingers curled into a fist as though the amber-eyed male could grasp the slender figure in his hand and hold her through sheer force of will. “Been dreaming about her every night, Sylvan. I ache for her.” “What does she look like?” There was genuine curiosity in the question. Though Baird had never seen her outside his dreams, Sylvan had no doubt he could describe his chosen female to the last detail. “So fuckin’ beautiful it hurts to look at her. Yellow hair like yours but longer—more golden. And her eyes…” Baird shook his head. “Like jewels. A pale grey that’s almost silver.” “You find these human women appealing then?” “Only her—she’s the only one I can see.” The amber eyes stared hungrily across the road. “I need her soon. Need to be with her. In her.” “You’re sure she’s the one?” Sylvan stared doubtfully at the woman silhouetted in the window. She was humming softly to herself but despite the distance and the pane of glass between them he could hear her perfectly and knew Baird could too. As attuned as his half brother was to this human female, he could probably hear her heartbeat even from across the street. “I know she’s the one.” There wasn’t a shred of doubt in the deep, rumbling voice. “Didn’t I tell you we’ve been dream-sharing? And her scent…” He inhaled deeply and his dark gold eyes were suddenly half-lidded with desire. “It’s her all right and she’s ripe for bonding. I want her.” “I know you do, but Baird…” The other male shifted from foot to foot uneasily. “You haven’t been back that long—only three days and it’s a miracle you escaped alive. Don’t you think it might be a good idea to wait a while? To take some time to recover?” “Waited long enough,” was the rumbling reply. “Six months in that hell hole and the only thing keeping me alive and sane were the dreams I had of her. I won’t wait any longer—she’s mine, whether she knows it yet or not.” “You’ll scare her,” his half-brother objected. “Human women are frightened enough of us as it is.” “I won’t hurt her. Just need to take her—bond her.
Evangeline Anderson (Claimed (Brides of the Kindred, #1))
WILL I BRING MYSELF UP TO THIS LEVEL? “. . . perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1     Therefore, having these promises. . . .” I claim God’s promises for my life and look to their fulfillment, and rightly so, but that shows only the human perspective on them. God’s perspective is that through His promises I will come to recognize His claim of ownership on me. For example, do I realize that my “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” or am I condoning some habit in my body which clearly could not withstand the light of God on it? (1 Corinthians 6:19). God formed His Son in me through sanctification, setting me apart from sin and making me holy in His sight (see Galatians 4:19). But I must begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obedience to Him. God instructs us even in the smallest details of life. And when He brings you conviction of sin, do not “confer with flesh and blood,” but cleanse yourself from it at once (Galatians 1:16). Keep yourself cleansed in your daily walk.     I must cleanse myself from all filthiness in my flesh and my spirit until both are in harmony with the nature of God. Is the mind of my spirit in perfect agreement with the life of the Son of God in me, or am I mentally rebellious and defiant? Am I allowing the mind of Christ to be formed in me? (see Philippians 2:5). Christ never spoke of His right to Himself, but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to His Father. I also have the responsibility to keep my spirit in agreement with His Spirit. And when I do, Jesus gradually lifts me up to the level where He lived—a level of perfect submission to His Father’s will—where I pay no attention to anything else. Am I perfecting this kind of holiness in the fear of God? Is God having His way with me, and are people beginning to see God in my life more and more?     Be serious in your commitment to God and gladly leave everything else alone. Literally put God first in your life.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
Now it is customary for presidents to invite friends and donors to the White House. The Clintons, however, took this practice way beyond acceptable boundaries. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown frequently complained that he had become “a m*th*rf*ck*ng tour guide for Hillary” because foreign trade missions had become nothing more than payback trips for Clinton donors. The Clintons arranged for one fat-cat donor without any war experience to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.12 They essentially converted White House hospitality into a product that was for sale. They had unofficial tags on each perk, and essentially donors could decide how much to give by perusing the Clinton price list. In a revealing statement, Bill Clinton said on March 7, 1997, “I don’t believe you can find any evidence of the fact that I changed government policy solely because of a contribution.”13 Here we see the business ethic of the man; he seems to think it perfectly acceptable to change policy as long as it is only partly because of a contribution. Remember Travelgate? In May 1993, the entire Travel Office of the White House was fired. The move came as a surprise because these people had been handling travel matters for a long time. The official word was that they were incompetent. But a General Accounting Office inquiry showed that the Clintons wanted to turn over the travel business to her friends the Thomasons. Once the scandal erupted, Hillary, in typical Clinton evasive style, claimed to know nothing about it. She said she had “no role in the decision to terminate the employments,” that she “did not know of the origin of the decision,” and that she did not “direct that any action be taken by anyone with regard to the travel office.” But then a memo surfaced that showed Hillary was telling her usual lies. Written by Clinton aide David Watkins to chief of staff Mack McClarty, the memo noted that five days before the firings, Hillary had told Watkins, “We need those people out—we need our people in—we need the slots.” Watkins wrote that everyone knew “there would be hell to pay” if they failed to take “swift and decisive action in conformity with the First Lady’s wishes.”14 Independent counsel Richard Ray concluded after his investigation that Hillary had provided “factually false” testimony to the GAO, the Independent Counsel, and Congress. He decided, however, not to prosecute her. This would be the first, but not the last, time Hillary’s crimes would go unchecked by the long arm of the law. Just as Bill kept up his predatory behavior toward women because he was never arrested for it, Hillary kept up her moneymaking crime schemes because she was never indicted for any of them. In essence, the Clintons’ behavior was encouraged by lack of accountability.
Dinesh D'Souza (Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party)
The truth of history requires us to sacrifice the orthodox fiction of moral perfection in the apostolic church. But we gain more than we lose. The apostles themselves never claimed, but expressly disowned such perfection.477  They carried the heavenly treasure in earthen vessels, and thus brought it nearer to us. The infirmities of holy men are frankly revealed in the Bible for our encouragement as well as for our humiliation. The bold attack of Paul teaches the right and duty of protest even against the highest ecclesiastical authority, when Christian truth and principle are endangered; the quiet submission of Peter commends him to our esteem for his humility and meekness in proportion to his high standing as the chief among the pillar-apostles; the conduct of both explodes the Romish fiction of papal supremacy and infallibility; and the whole scene typically foreshadows the grand historical conflict between Petrine Catholicism and Pauline Protestantism, which, we trust, will end at last in a grand Johannean reconciliation.
Philip Schaff (History Of The Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes In One))
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I don’t know what it is about you, but my beast demands we claim you. That alone should terrify you because you’re wrong. My beast wants yours, and he thinks you’re the most perfect being he’s ever come across in his entire life. Lennox never acknowledged Liliana, and I wanted him to so badly that I ached with that need. You’re the only woman we have both wanted. What that means, I don’t know yet, but I want to discover it with you. I recognize it’s strange that my enemy is my perfect idea of a mate. That alone makes it impossible for me to believe you’re real. You’re too perfect, Aria. You are everything I want, and that seems too good to be true in a world of magic.
Amelia Hutchins (Ruins of Chaos: Legacy of the Nine Realms)
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Unlike all the illusions which present themselves as truth (including that of reality), the illusion of gaming presents itself as just that. Gaming does not require us to believe in it, any more than we are called on to believe in appearances once they present themselves as such (in art, for example). But because they do not believe in the game, there is an all the more necessary relationship between the players and the rules of the game: there is between them a symbolic pact, which is never the same relationship one has with the law. The law is necessary, the rule is of the order of fate. There is nothing to understand in the rule. The players themselves do not have to understand each other. They are not real for one another, they merely partake of the same illusion, and this must indeed be shared between them -- a fact which renders it superior to truth and the law, both of which claim an undivided sovereignty.
Jean Baudrillard (The Perfect Crime)
One argument that I shall make in this book is that the very notion that a rational agent in full possession of his or her faculties could, in any meaningful sense, freely reject God absolutely and forever is a logically incoherent one. Another is that, for this and other reasons, a final state of eternal torment could be neither a just sentence pronounced upon nor a just fate suffered by a finite being, no matter how depraved that being might have become. Still another is that, even if that fate were in some purely abstract sense “just,” the God who would permit it to become anyone’s actual fate could never be perfectly good—or, rather, as Christian metaphysical tradition obliges us to phrase it, could never be absolute Goodness as such—but could be at most only a relative calculable good in relation to other relative calculable goods. And yet another is that the traditional doctrine of hell’s perpetuity renders other aspects of the tradition, such as orthodox Christology or the eschatological claims of the Apostle Paul, ultimately meaningless. If all of this seems obscure, which at this point it should, I hope it will have become clear by the end of the book. I cannot be certain that it will have done so, however, because Christians have been trained at a very deep level of their thinking to believe that the idea of an eternal hell is a clear and unambiguous element of their faith, and that therefore the idea must make perfect moral sense. They are in error on both counts, as it happens, but a sufficiently thorough conditioning can make an otherwise sound mind perceive even the most ostentatiously absurd proposition to be the very epitome of rational good sense. In fact, where the absurdity proves only slight, the mind that has been trained most thoroughly will, as often as not, fabricate further and more extravagant absurdities, in order to secure the initial offense against reason within a more encompassing and intoxicating atmosphere of corroborating nonsense. Sooner or later, it will all seem to make sense, simply through ceaseless repetition and restatement and rhetorical reinforcement. The most effective technique for subduing the moral imagination is to teach it to mistake the contradictory for the paradoxical, and thereby to accept incoherence as profundity, or moral idiocy as spiritual subtlety. If this can be accomplished with sufficient nuance and delicacy, it can sustain even a very powerful intellect for an entire lifetime. In the end, with sufficient practice, one really can, like the White Queen, learn to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
David Bentley Hart (That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation)
THE COLOR LINE FOUND NECESSARY' ...As attendance of the colored people would increase, proportionately the number of the whites would decrease; for explain it how we will, a majority of whites prefer not to intermingle closely with other races. Recognizing that it meant either the success of the failure of the enterprise of the Drama as respects the whites, we have been compelled to assign the colored friends to the gallery, which, however, is just as good for seeing and hearing as any other part of The Temple. Some were offended at this arrangement. We have received numerous letters from the colored friends, some claiming that it is not right to make a difference, other indignantly and bitterly denouncing us as enemies of the colored people. Some, confident that Brother Russell had never sanctioned such discrimination, told that they believe it would be duty to stand up for equal rights and always help the oppressed, etc. ... We again suggested that if a suitable place could be found in which the Drama could be presented for the benefit of the colored people alone, we would be glad to make such arrangements, or to co-operate with any others in doing so. Our explanations were apparently entirely satisfactory to all of the fully consecrated. To these we explained that it is a question of putting either the interests of God's cause first, or else the interests of the race first. We believe it is our duty to put God first and the truth first--at any cost to others or to ourselves! ... it is only a question of whether our giving to them in one way would entirely deprive us of giving the truth to others. ... In answer to the query as to how our course of conduct squared with the Golden Rule, we replied that it squares exactly. We would wish others to put God first. ... We reminded one dear sister that the Lord enjoins humility...If nature favors the colored brethren and sisters in the exercise of humility it is that much to their advantage, if they are rightly exercised by it. ... A little while, and the Millennial kingdom will be inaugurated, which will bring restitution to all mankind--restitution to the perfection of mind and body, feature and color, to the grand original standard, which God declared 'very good,' and which was lost for a time through sin, but which is soon to be restored by the powerful kingdom of Messiah.
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (1914 Watch Tower)
There is no old age like anxiety,” said one of the monks I met in India. “And there is no freedom from old age like the freedom from anxiety.” In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding that they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place. Generally speaking, though, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that’s not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement. You don’t necessarily need to be rich in order to experience this, either. I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair. Without seeing Sicily one cannot get a clear idea of what Italy is. “No town can live peacefully, whatever its laws,” Plato wrote, “when its citizens…do nothing but feast and drink and tire themselves out in the cares of love.” In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible. Pleasure cannot be bargained down. And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real. The idea that the appreciation of pleasure can be an anchor of one’s humanity. You should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong, instead. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. They break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life. The Zen masters always say that you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water. Your treasure—your perfection—is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart. Balinese families are always allowed to eat their own donations to the gods, since the offering is more metaphysical than literal. The way the Balinese see it, God takes what belongs to God—the gesture—while man takes what belongs to man—the food itself.) To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver. Practice tonight at hotel. Not to hurry, not to try too hard. Too serious, you make you sick. You can calling the good energy with a smile. The word paradise, by the way, which comes to us from the Persian, means literally “a walled garden.” The four virtues a person needs in order to be safe and happy in life: intelligence, friendship, strength and (I love this one) poetry. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. Once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Historical influences contributing to the protean self can be traced back to the Enlightenment and even the Renaissance in the West, and to at least the Meiji Restoration of the nineteenth century in Japan. These influences include the dislocations of rapid historical change, the mass media revolution, and the threat of human extinction. All have undergone an extraordinary acceleration during the last half of the twentieth century, causing a radical breakdown of prior communities and sources of authority. At the same time, ways of reconstituting the self in the midst of radical uncertainty have also evolved. So much so that the protean self in our time has become a modus vivendi, a “mode of living.” This is especially true in our own country. The same historical forces can, however, produce an apparently opposite reaction: the closing off of the person and the constriction of self-process. It can take the form of widespread psychic numbing—diminished capacity or inclination to feel—and a general sense of stasis and meaninglessness. Or it can lead to an expression of totalism, of demand for absolute dogma and a monolithic self. A prominent form of totalism in our day is fundamentalism. Broadly understood, fundamentalism includes a literalized doctrine, religious or political, enclosed upon itself by the immutable words of the holy books. The doctrine is rendered both sacred in the name of a past of perfect harmony that never was, and central to a quest for collective revitalization. But the totalistic or fundamentalist response is a reaction to proteanism and to the fear of chaos. While proteanism is able to function in a world of uncertainty and ambiguity, fundamentalism wants to wipe out that world in favor of a claim to definitive truth and unalterable moral certainty.
Robert Jay Lifton (Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry)
Indeed, the chemical imbalance story encourages us to think of ourselves as governed by the chemicals in our brains, with this chemical control seemingly disconnected from the many life events, that, at least according to past understandings of human nature, could be understood to dramatically alter one’s moods. We are mechanistic machines, and if our mood molecules are out of balance, with this imbalance presented to us as a “disease,” then it makes perfect sense to think that a solution must lie in a pill that fixes that imbalance. But is the claim true? Did scientific investigations find that this is indeed so? Every society would do itself a favor if it publicly sought to answer that question. In this book, Terry Lynch has done just that. And in so doing, he has told, step by step, how psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry constructed and sold a false story to the public. By the end of this book, readers will be asking a new question: How could this falsehood have endured for so long? As Terry Lynch writes, there was never good scientific reason to believe that antidepressants fixed a chemical imbalance in the brain. The hypothesis that this might be so arose from an understanding of how an antidepressant acted on the brain. Once researchers discovered that an antidepressant increased the activity of serotonin in the brain, they hypothesized that perhaps people suffering from depression had too little serotonin. However, researchers then investigated whether this was so, and discovered that it was not. Even by the early 1980s, researchers were saying that it didn’t appear that a deficit in serotonin activity was a cause of depression.
Terry Lynch (Depression Delusion Volume One: The Myth of the Brain Chemical Imbalance (Depression Delusion Book Series 1))
Confusion over the identity of things is thus a function of our very attempts to substantiate them, to fix them in memory. This indifference of memory, this indifference to history, is proportional to our efforts to achieve historical objectivity. One day we shall be asking ourselves whether Heidegger himself ever existed. The paradox of Robert Faurisson's thesis may seem repugnant - and indeed, it is repugnant in its historical claim that the gas chambers never existed - but at the same time it is a perfect reflection of a whole culture: here is the dead end of a fin de siecle so mesmerized by the horror of the century's origins that forgetting is an impossibility for it, and the only way out is denial. So proof is useless, since there is no longer any historical discourse in which to frame the case for the prosecution, but punishment too is in any case an impossibility. Auschwitz and the final solution simply cannot be expiated. Punishment and crime have no common measure here, and the unrealistic character of the punishment ensures the unreality of the facts. What we are currently experiencing is something else entirely. What is actually occurring ­collectively, confusedly, via all the trials and debates - is a transition from the historical stage to a mythical stage: the mythic - and media-led - reconstruction of all these events. And in a sense this mythic conversion is the only possible way, not to exculpate us morally, but to absolve us in phantasy from the guilt of this primal crime. But in order for this to be achieved, in order for even a crime to become a myth, the historical reality must first be eradicated.
Jean Baudrillard (The Transparency of Evil: Essays in Extreme Phenomena)
For the memory of Alexander’s greatness had always served the Romans as a reproach. Even worse, it provided an inspiration to their foes. In the east the model of kingship established by Alexander had never lost its allure. For more than a century it had been neutered and systematically humiliated by Rome, yet it remained the only credible system of government that could be opposed to the republicanism of the new world conquerors. Hence its appeal to monarchs, such as Mithridates, who were not even Greek, and hence, most startling of all, its appeal to bandits and rebellious slaves. When the pirates had called themselves kings and affected the gilded sails and purple awnings of monarchy, this had not been mere vanity, but a deliberate act of propaganda, as public a statement as they could make of their opposition to the Republic. They knew that the message would be read correctly, for invariably, whenever the order of things had threatened to crack during the previous decades, rebellion had been signaled by a slave with a crown. Spartacus’s communism had been all the more unusual in that the leaders of previous slave revolts, virtually without exception, had aimed to raise thrones upon the corpses of their masters. Most, like the pirates, had merely adopted the trappings of monarchy, but there were some who had brought the fantastical worlds of romances to life and claimed to be the long-lost sons of kings. This, in a world ruled by a republic, was what revolution had come to mean. The royal pretensions of slaves fed naturally into the swirling undercurrents of the troubled age, the prophecies, which Mithridates’ propaganda had exploited so brilliantly, of the coming of a universal king, of a new world monarchy, and the doom of Rome. So when Pompey presented himself as the new Alexander, he was appropriating a dream shared by potentate and slave alike. If any Roman was qualified to appreciate this, it was Pompey himself. The conqueror of the pirates and the patron of Posidonius, he would have been perfectly aware of the menacing links between kingship and revolution, between the uppitiness of Oriental princelings and the resentments of the dispossessed
Tom Holland (Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic)
Lincoln found the clearest statement of that spirit in the Declaration of Independence, with its claim for the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal.” Lincoln’s interpretation of the phrase became the centerpiece of his narrative about the nation. The Founders, Lincoln said, in adopting the Declaration, did not declare that all people were at that time living in a state of equality. To say so would have been absurd, given not only the widespread bondage of black people but the restricted suffrage of many whites and the legal inequality of women. Nor did the Founders declare that they intended to secure complete equality in their lifetimes. The spirit of the Declaration, Lincoln said, was meant to be realized—to the greatest extent possible—by each succeeding generation. The Founders cast off despotism and created the framework for a free republic, invoking, as they did, not arguments of mere self-interest but the ideal of natural, universal, God-given rights. “They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society,” Lincoln said, “which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for . . . even though never perfectly attained.
Joshua Wolf Shenk (Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness)
Remarkably, Gödel’s Incompleteness is also a disproof of the Abrahamic God or, indeed, any God who claims to be infallible. To be free means to be capable of making mistakes; it means that you will make mistakes. Error cannot be eliminated in a free system. A God can attain perfect objective knowledge of the universe, but the universe is both objective and subjective, and the subjective world is eternally free. Becoming God does not make anyone perfect. It makes them as perfect as they can be within the limitations of a system that can never be logically perfect.
Mike Hockney (The Noosphere (The God Series Book 9))
As we are in the Church age, which is an age of grace rather than the theocracy of Mosaic times, we are no longer under the Law as such. Dr. Geisler cogently summarizes these distinctions: “While the basic moral principles, reflective of God’s moral nature, embedded in the theocratic construct of Old Testament Israel, are the same immutable principles expressed in the context of grace for the New Testament church, nevertheless, church-age believers are not under Mosaic Law, which has been fulfilled and passed away.”73 I must briefly acknowledge that some theologians seem to disagree with this description of the relationship between the Law and the Gospel or the Law and grace, at least in a technical sense. Kaiser urges that we reject the idea that the Law ceases to be valid just because Jesus fulfilled its requirements for all believers. The Law itself is still valid, he claims, it’s just that we are empowered to obey it through faith. Kaiser is not arguing that we are saved by obeying the Law, as our salvation is purely from our faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross. He seems to be saying, however, that it still remains the perfect standard for holiness—and who can argue with that? He cites Paul, who asks, “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law” (Romans 3:31).74 As I will discuss further in the next chapter in connection with the New Covenant, we can all acknowledge that God’s Law is perfect because its Maker is perfect. It was never intended, however, to impart life (Gal. 3:21).
David Limbaugh (Finding Jesus in the Old Testament)