New Meaningful Quotes

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Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.
Dalai Lama XIV
To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds.
bell hooks (All About Love: New Visions)
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
Alan Cohen
Most of us lead far more meaningful lives than we know. Often finding meaning is not about doing things differently; it is about seeing familiar things in new ways.
Rachel Naomi Remen (My Grandfather's Blessings : Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging)
I have found it very important in my own life to try to let go of my wishes and instead to live in hope. I am finding that when I choose to let go of my sometimes petty and superficial wishes and trust that my life is precious and meaningful in the eyes of God something really new, something beyond my own expectations begins to happen for me. (Finding My Way Home)
Henri J.M. Nouwen
I look at the blanked-out faces of the other passengers--hoisting their briefcases, their backpacks, shuffling to disembark--and I think of what Hobie said: beauty alters the grain of reality. And I keep thinking too of the more conventional wisdom: namely, that the pursuit of pure beauty is a trap, a fast track to bitterness and sorrow, that beauty has to be wedded to something more meaningful. Only what is that thing? Why am I made the way I am? Why do I care about all the wrong things, and nothing at all for the right ones? Or, to tip it another way: how can I see so clearly that everything I love or care about is illusion, and yet--for me, anyway--all that's worth living for lies in that charm? A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don't get to choose our own hearts. We can't make ourselves want what's good for us or what's good for other people. We don't get to choose the people we are. Because--isn't it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture--? From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it's a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what's right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: "Be yourself." "Follow your heart." Only here's what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can't be trusted--? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?...If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or...is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome . They’re tackling problems, charting new courses, working on important issues. Maybe they haven’t found the cure for cancer, but the search was deeply meaningful.
Carol S. Dweck (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success)
In this new year, may you have a deep understanding of your true value and worth, an absolute faith in your unlimited potential, peace of mind in the midst of uncertainty, the confidence to let go when you need to, acceptance to replace your resistance, gratitude to open your heart, the strength to meet your challenges, great love to replace your fear, forgiveness and compassion for those who offend you, clear sight to see your best and true path, hope to dispel obscurity, the conviction to make your dreams come true, meaningful and rewarding synchronicities, dear friends who truly know and love you, a childlike trust in the benevolence of the universe, the humility to remain teachable, the wisdom to fully embrace your life exactly as it is, the understanding that every soul has its own course to follow, the discernment to recognize your own unique inner voice of truth, and the courage to learn to be still.
Janet Rebhan
In order to really find happiness, you need to continue looking for opportunities that you believe are meaningful, in which you will be able to learn new things, to succeed, and be given more and more responsibility to shoulder.
Clayton M. Christensen (How Will You Measure Your Life?)
Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity. This is one reason why meaningful change does not require radical change. Small habits can make a meaningful difference by providing evidence of a new identity. And if a change is meaningful, it is actually big. That's the paradox of making small improvements.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
CREATIVE MONOPOLY means new products that benefit everybody and sustainable profits for the creator. Competition means no profits for anybody, no meaningful differentiation, and a struggle for survival.
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
You don’t have to wait for something “meaningful” to come into your life so that you can finally enjoy what you do. There is more meaning in joy than you will ever need. The “waiting to start living” syndrome is one of the most common delusions of the unconscious state.
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)
Pursuing happiness, and I did, and still do, is not at all the same as being happy- which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstances, and a bit bovine. If the sun is shining, stand in it- yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass- they have to- because time passes. The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is lifelong, and it is not goal-centred. What you are pursuing is meaning- a meaningful life. There's the hap- the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn't fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use- that's going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms.
Jeanette Winterson (Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?)
The fact that a man who goes his own way ends in ruin means nothing ... He must obey his own law, as if it were a daemon whispering to him of new and wonderful paths ... There are not a few who are called awake by the summons of the voice, whereupon they are at once set apart from the others, feeling themselves confronted with a problem about which the others know nothing. In most cases it is impossible to explain to the others what has happened, for any understanding is walled off by impenetrable prejudices. "You are no different from anybody else," they will chorus or, "there's no such thing," and even if there is such a thing, it is immediately branded as "morbid"...He is at once set apart and isolated, as he has resolved to obey the law that commands him from within. "His own law!" everybody will cry. But he knows better: it is the law...The only meaningful life is a life that strives for the individual realization — absolute and unconditional— of its own particular law ... To the extent that a man is untrue to the law of his being ... he has failed to realize his own life's meaning.
C.G. Jung
when our partners are thoroughly dependable and make us feel safe, and especially if they know how to reassure us during the hard times, we can turn our attention to all the other aspects of life that make our existence meaningful.
Amir Levine (Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love)
If someone is determined not to risk pain, then such a person must do without many things: [...] - all that makes life alive, meaningful and significant.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
To be engaged in some small way in the revival of one of the great cities of the world is to live a meaningful existence by default.
Chris Rose (1 Dead in Attic: Post-Katrina Stories)
In order to be happy, every person must have: 1. Something meaningful to do. 2. Someone to love. (Friends and family and pets all count.) 3. Something to look forward to. It's really that simple.
Mimi Strong (The Kissing Coach)
Are we ready to hand over our future to the elite, one supposedly world-changing initiative at a time? Are we ready to call participatory democracy a failure, and to declare these other, private forms of change-making the new way forward? Is the decrepit state of American self-government an excuse to work around it and let it further atrophy? Or is meaningful democracy, in which we all potentially have a voice, worth fighting for?
Anand Giridharadas (Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World)
experiences are only meaningful when shared with others
Amir Levine (Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love)
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defence of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends... Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.
Brad Bird (Ratatouille Script)
... as recently as the mid-1970s, the most well-respected criminologists were predicting that the prison system would soon fade away. Prison did not deter crime significantly, many experts concluded. Those who had meaningful economic and social opportunities were unlikely to commit crimes regardless of the penalty, while those who went to prison were far more likely to commit crimes again in the future.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Once you reach deeper and deeper into your reality, you approach closer and closer its surreal essence.
Talismanist Giebra (Talismanist: Fragments of the Ancient Fire. Philosophy of Fragmentism Series.)
Stop wearing that mask that is trying to be a match for everybody, and realise that you have to have more of a 1s and 10s model. A 1s and 10s model means that if you want to be a 10 for somebody you have to risk being a 1 for somebody else. [...] You wanna express who you really are.
Steve Pavlina
When you redefine something, you stretch your perception and open your mind to new ideas. You discover new meanings and get to see your previous style, behaviors, or beliefs from an expanded vantage point. Consider new options which would make your life more meaningful, bring more fulfilment, and encourage you to shine.
Susan C. Young
Making it” in whatever field is only meaningful as long as there are thousands or millions of others who don’t make it, so you need other human beings to “fail” so that your life can have meaning.
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)
The scientist who says her life is meaningful because she increases the store of human knowledge, the soldier who declares that his life is meaningful because he fights to defend his homeland, and the entrepreneur who finds meaning in building a new company are no less delusional than their medieval counterparts who found meaning in reading scriptures, going on a crusade or building a new cathedral.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Horizon is a state of mind. Infinity is a way of thinking.
Talismanist Giebra (Talismanist: Fragments of the Ancient Fire. Philosophy of Fragmentism Series.)
Pursuing happiness, and I did, and I still do, is not at all the same as being happy--which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstances...If the sun is shining, stand in it---yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass--they have to because time passes. The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is life-long, and it is not goal-centered. What you are pursuing is meaning--- a meaningful life. There's the hap-- the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn't fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use---that's going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realise that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms. The pursuit isn't all or nothing--- it's all AND nothing.
Jeanette Winterson
We do matter. To believe that our lives are meaningful is the essence of faith. We are not as large, or as bright, or as eternal as the stars, but we carry humankind's message of love across the galaxy. We are the first. We are the world makers. Our nourishment is hope. Like the tender reed shaking in the wind, we will reach up to a new sun.
Amy Kathleen Ryan (Glow (Sky Chasers, #1))
It seems silly to worry about the arbitrary moment some person long dead declared to be the end of one year and the beginning of another, as if our attempts to divide time into meaningful chunks actually mean anything. People wait for the countdown to tell them it's okay to believe in themselves again. They end each year with failure, but hope that when the clock strikes twelve, they can begin the new year with a clean slate. They tell themselves that this is the year things will happen, never realizing that things are always happening; they're just happening without them.
Shaun David Hutchinson (We Are the Ants)
When men and women are loyal to ourselves and others, when we love justice, we understand fully the myriad ways in which lying diminishes and erodes the possibility of meaningful, caring connection, that it stands in the way of love.
bell hooks (All About Love: New Visions)
In the long run, completing a marathon makes us happier than eating a chocolate cake. Raising a child makes us happier than beating a video game. Starting a small business with friends while struggling to make ends meet makes us happier than buying a new computer. These activities are stressful, arduous, and often unpleasant. They also require withstanding problem after problem. Yet they are some of the most meaningful moments and joyous things we’ll ever do. They involve pain, struggle, even anger and despair—yet once they’re accomplished, we look back and get all misty-eyed telling our grandkids about them.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
Principle of Change #3: Vision gives change meaningful direction.
Brett Blumenthal (A Whole New You: Six Steps to Ignite Change for Your Best Life)
Influencers use four tactics to help people love what they hate: 1. Allow for choice. 2. Create direct experiences. 3. Tell meaningful stories. 4. Make it a game.
Kerry Patterson (Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change)
I like a hint but not a full story. I need an exotic star but not the whole universe.
Talismanist Giebra (Talismanist: Fragments of the Ancient Fire. Philosophy of Fragmentism Series.)
Besides, before contemplating starting a new life, you need to make something of this one.
Maude Julien (The Only Girl in the World)
What was, was. What is, is. Be true to what is, rather than clinging to an old form. Then you will create new meaningful relationships that match who you are and what you want.
Alan Cohen (The Tao Made Easy: Timeless Wisdom to Navigate a Changing World)
In order to align your life choices with your values, you will need to inquire about the effects of your actions (and inactions) on yourself and others. Although we are always stumbling upon new knowledge that shifts our choices and life direction, bringing conscious inquiry to life means that we continually ask questions that lead us to the information we need to make thoughtful decisions. Asking questions is liberating because we develop great understanding and discover more choices with our new knowledge.
Zoe Weil (Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life)
A new civil rights movement cannot be organized around the relics of the earlier system of control if it is to address meaningfully the racial realities of our time. Any racial justice movement, to be successful, must vigorously challenge the public consensus that underlies the prevailing system of control. Nooses, racial slurs, and overt bigotry are widely condemned by people across the political spectrum; they are understood to be remnants of the past, no longer reflective of the prevailing public consensus about race. Challenging these forms of racism is certainly necessary, as we must always remain vigilant, but it will do little to shake the foundations of the current system of control. The new caste system, unlike its predecessors, is officially colorblind. We must deal with it on its own terms.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Smiley TV preachers might tell you that following Jesus is about being good so that God will bless you with cash and prizes, but really it’s much more gruesome and meaningful. It’s about spiritual physics. Something has to die for something new to live.
Nadia Bolz-Weber (Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint)
Every semester I share this quote by theologian Howard Thurman with my graduate students. It’s always been one of my favorites, but now that I’ve studied the importance of meaningful work, it’s taken on new significance: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are)
Self-esteem can be defined as the state that exists when you are not arbitrarily haranguing and abusing yourself but choose to fight back against those automatic thoughts with meaningful rational responses.
David D. Burns (Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy)
Only later would I realize that our trip had added a new dimension to my understanding of the fact that brains give rise to our ability to form relationships and make life meaningful. Sometimes, they break.
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
In order to really find happiness, you need to continue looking for opportunities that you believe are meaningful, in which you will be able to learn new things, to succeed, and be given more and more responsibility to shoulder. There’s an old saying: find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
Clayton M. Christensen (How Will You Measure Your Life?)
I circled the site before I came in. If there's anyone within five kilometers, I'll eat my quiver." Halt regarded him, eyebrow arched once more. "Anyone?" "Anyone other than Crowley," Will amended, making a dismissive gesture. "I saw him watching me from that hide he always uses about two kilometers out. I assumed he'd be back in here by now." Halt cleared his throat loudly. "Oh, you saw him, did you?" he said. "I imagine he'll be overjoyed to hear that." Secretly, he was pleased with his former pupil. In spite of his curiosity and obvious excitement, he hadn't forgotten to take the precautions that had been drilled into him. THat augured well for what lay ahead, Halt thought, a sudden grimness settling onto his manner. Will didn't notice the momentary change of mood. He was loosening Tug saddle girth. As he spoke, his voice was muffled against the horses's flank. "he's becoming too much a creature of habit," he said. "he's used that hide for the last three Gatherings. It's time he tried something new. Everyone must be onto it by now." Rangers constantly competed with each other to see before being seen and each year's Gathering was a time of heightened competition. Halt nodded thoughtfully. Crowley had constructed teh virtually invisible observation post some four years previously. Alone among the younger Rangers, Will had tumbled to it after one year. Halt had never mentioned to him that he was the only one who knew of Crowley's hide. The concealed post was the Ranger Commandant's pride and joy. "Well, perhaps not everyone," he said. Will emerged from behind his horse, grinning at the thought of the head of the Ranger Corps thinking he had remained hidden from sight as he watched Will's approach. "All the same, perhaps he's getting a bit long in the tooth to be skulking around hiding in the bushes, don't you think?" he said cheerfully. Halt considered the question for a moment. "Long in the tooth? Well, that's one opinion. Mind you, his silent movement skills are still as good as ever," he said meaningfully. The grin on Will's face slowly faded. He resisted the temptation to look over his shoulder. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" he asked Halt. THe older Ranger nodded. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" Will continued and Halt nodded once more. "Is he...close enough to have heard what I said?" Will finally managed to ask, fearin teh worst. This time, Halt didn't have to answer. "Oh, good grief no," came a familiar voice from behind him. "he's so old and decrepit these days he's as deaf as a post." Will's shoulders sagged and he turned to see the sandy-haired Commandant standing a few meters away. The younger man's eyes dropped. "Hullo, Crowley," he said, then mumbled, "Ahhh...I'm sorry about that." Crowley glared at teh young Ranger for a few more seconds, then he couldn't help teh grin breaking out on his face. "No harm done," he said, adding with a small note of triumph, "It's not often these days I amange to get the better of one of you young ones." Secretly, he was impressed at teh news that Will had spotted his hiding place. Only the sarpest eyes could have picked it. Crowley had been in the business of seeing without being seen for thirty years or more, and despite what Will believed, he was still an absolute master of camouflage and unseen movement.
John Flanagan (The Sorcerer of the North (Ranger's Apprentice, #5))
Learning from their children is the best opportunity most people have to assure themselves of a meaningful old age. Sadly, most do not take this opportunity.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*.
Anton Ego
When adversity threatens to paralyze us, we need to reassert control by finding a new direction in which to invest psychic energy, a direction that lies outside the reach of external forces. When every aspiration is frustrated, a person still must seek a meaningful goal around which to organize the self. Then, even though that person is objectively a slave, subjectively he is free. Solzhenitsyn
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience)
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
Alan Cohen
participants ranked their psilocybin experience as one of the most meaningful in their lives, comparable “to the birth of a first child or death of a parent.” Two-thirds of the participants rated the session among the top five “most spiritually significant experiences” of their lives; one-third ranked it the most significant such experience in their lives.
Michael Pollan (How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence)
Our experiences always teach us something. If the experience is "bad", then the lesson is even more powerful and meaningful. Every unfortunate incident makes us stronger and better equipped to handle new challenges.
Miya Yamanouchi (Embrace Your Sexual Self: A Practical Guide for Women)
Everybody tries to protect this vulnerable two three four five six seven eight year old inside, and to acquire skills and aptitudes for dealing with the situations that threaten to overwhelm it... Usually, that child is a wretchedly isolated undeveloped little being. It’s been protected by the efficient armour, it’s never participated in life, it’s never been exposed to living and to managing the person’s affairs, it’s never been given responsibility for taking the brunt. And it’s never properly lived. That’s how it is in almost everybody. And that little creature is sitting there, behind the armour, peering through the slits. And in its own self, it is still unprotected, incapable, inexperienced... And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It’s their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can’t understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That’s the carrier of all the living qualities. It’s the centre of all the possible magic and revelation. What doesn’t come out of that creature isn’t worth having, or it’s worth having only as a tool—for that creature to use and turn to account and make meaningful... And so, wherever life takes it by surprise, and suddenly the artificial self of adaptations proves inadequate, and fails to ward off the invasion of raw experience, that inner self is thrown into the front line—unprepared, with all its childhood terrors round its ears. And yet that’s the moment it wants. That’s where it comes alive—even if only to be overwhelmed and bewildered and hurt. And that’s where it calls up its own resources—not artificial aids, picked up outside, but real inner resources, real biological ability to cope, and to turn to account, and to enjoy. That’s the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they’re suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That’s why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember. But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster. So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self—struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence—you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself.
Ted Hughes (Letters of Ted Hughes)
When you have set out the goals that you are claiming is yours in life and, more importantly, relentlessly taking the actions to produce, it’s only a matter of when. We are wired to win. You are wired to win. Define your game. Embrace the challenge. And strive to understand yourself in deeper and more meaningful ways. True understanding of yourself and your personal constraints allows for ever unfolding degrees of freedom and success. The more aware you become of your hard wiring, the more space and opportunity become available in those areas. Step out there. Trust yourself. Give yourself fully to your vast capacity for victory. Set the the challenge of winning in new and exciting ways. Demand your greatness of yourself and repeat after me: I am wired to win.
Gary John Bishop (Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life)
Given these differences between the sexes, the sexual revolution was the biggest joke men ever played on women. By convincing them that the old rules didn’t apply and that two could play the predator game, men enticed women to do what men have always wanted women to do. But what a price was paid for the new “freedom.” And predictably, women were the ones who got stuck with the bill.
James C. Dobson (Life on the Edge: The Next Generation's Guide to a Meaningful Future)
Kaz heaved a sigh as he braced himself for three painful flights of stairs. He looked over his shoulder and said, “Please, my darling Inej, treasure of my heart, won’t you do me the honour of acquiring me a new hat?” Inej cast a meaningful glance at his cane. “Have a long trip down,” she said, then leaped onto the banister, sliding from one flight to the next, slick as butter in a pan.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
The world, every day, is New. Only for those born in, say, 1870 or so, can there be a meaningful use of the term postmodernism, because for the rest of us we are born and we see and from what we see and digest we remake our world. And to understand it we do not need to label it, categorize it. These labels are slothful and dismissive, and so contradict what we already know about the world, and our daily lives. We know that in each day, we laugh, and we are serious. We do both, in the same day, every day. But in our art we expect clear distinction between the two...But we don't label our days Serious Days or Humorous Days. We know that each day contains endless nuances - if written would contain dozens of disparate passages, funny ones, sad ones, poignant ones, brutal ones, the terrifying and the cuddly. But we are often loathe to allow this in our art. And that is too bad...
Dave Eggers
Martin Seligman, a leading expert on positive psychology, differentiates between three states of happiness: the pleasurable life (hedonistic, superficial), the good life (family and friends) and the meaningful life (finding purpose, transcending ego, working toward a higher good). Research shows that Millennials—those born between 1984 and 2002—are showing an orientation towards seeking meaning and purpose in their lives.
Salim Ismail (Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it))
Oh, and put in an order for a new hat.” “Please.” Kaz heaved a sigh as he braced himself for three painful flights of stairs. He looked over his shoulder and said, “Please, my darling Inej, treasure of my heart, won’t you do me the honor of acquiring me a new hat?” Inej cast a meaningful glance at his cane. “Have a long trip down,” she said, then leapt onto the banister, sliding from one flight to the next, slick as butter in a pan.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
Better than a thousand meaningless statements Is one meaningful word, Which, having been heard, Brings peace.
Gil Fronsdal (The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations)
Progressives are constantly giving lists of facts. Facts matter enormously, but to be meaningful they must be framed in terms of their moral importance.
George Lakoff (The All New Don't Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate)
I keep falling deep down into my abyss… I start hearing the stars of my own universe.
Talismanist Giebra (Talismanist: Fragments of the Ancient Fire. Philosophy of Fragmentism Series.)
To learn is to broaden, to experience more, to snatch new aspects of life for yourself. To refuse to learn or to be relieved at not having to learn is to commit a form of suicide; in the long run, a more meaningful type of suicide than the mere ending of physical life. Knowledge is not only power; it is happiness, and being taught is the intellectual analog of being loved.
Isaac Asimov
When adversity threatens to paralyze us, we need to reassert control by finding a new direction in which to invest psychic energy, a direction that lies outside the reach of external forces. When every aspiration is frustrated, a person still must seek a meaningful goal around which to organize the self. Then, even though that person is objectively a slave, subjectively he is free.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience)
[D]id you ever notice how friendships are a lot like pop songs? They are for girls, anyway. First there's the newness of it, the melody that streams into your head and makes you wonder ― will I like this song? Then come the vocals, what the song's heart truly sounds like, and with it the song's purpose, it's lyrics ― will they say something meaningful about my life? Will these words help me through a difficult time, or create a memory that will make me smile whenever I hear this song again?
Brando Skyhorse (The Madonnas of Echo Park)
We now know that the way to help a child develop optimally is to help create connections in her brain—her whole brain—that develop skills that lead to better relationships, better mental health, and more meaningful lives. You could call it brain sculpting, or brain nourishing, or brain building. Whatever phrase you prefer, the point is crucial, and thrilling: as a result of the words we use and the actions we take, children’s brains will actually change, and be built, as they undergo new experiences.
Daniel J. Siegel (No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind)
Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend—or a meaningful day. Dalai Lama
Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries (Sex, Money, Happiness, and Death: The Quest for Authenticity (INSEAD Business Press))
A certain amount of native skill and training can allow many individuals to be fairly successful magicians, achieving a surprisingly high ratio of positive results through sorcery.(...) These outer changes, no matter how dramatic, will not necessarily have a deep impact on the deepest levels of your psyche, which is where the process of initiation most meaningfully manifests.' --Zeena Schreck for “Contemporary notions of Kundalini, its background and role within new Western religiosity,” University of Stockholm, Malin Fitger 2004
Zeena Schreck (Demons of the Flesh: The Complete Guide to Left Hand Path Sex Magic)
You will never forget what has happened to you. You cannot. And I will never replace your mother. I cannot. But you must believe that this is a beautiful world. People are basically kind and loving. You are going to live a wonderful life. You must take these memories and bury them deep in a corner of your soul. Don't live them on your skin. Tomorrow you will wake up for the first time in your new home, here with us. You will not wake up a tortured little girl. You will wake up a citizen of the world, deserving of a happy and meaningful life.
Diana Nyad (Find a Way)
Have they been educated to the level of their intellectual ability or ambition? Is their use of free time engaging, meaningful, and productive? Have they formulated solid and well-articulated plans for the future? Are they (and those they are close to) free of any serious physical health or economic problems? Do they have friends and a social life? A stable and satisfying intimate partnership? Close and functional familial relationships? A career—or, at least, a job—that is financially sufficient, stable and, if possible, a source of satisfaction and opportunity? If the answer to any three or more of these questions is no, I consider that my new client is insufficiently embedded in the interpersonal world and is in danger of spiraling downward psychologically because of that.
Jordan B. Peterson (Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life)
So far in my life, I’ve been a lawyer. I’ve been a vice president at a hospital and the director of a nonprofit that helps young people build meaningful careers. I’ve been a working-class black student at a fancy mostly white college. I’ve been the only woman, the only African American, in all sorts of rooms. I’ve been a bride, a stressed-out new mother, a daughter torn up by grief. And until recently, I was the First Lady of the United States of America—a job that’s not officially a job, but that nonetheless has given me a platform like nothing I could have imagined. It challenged me and humbled me, lifted me up and shrank me down, sometimes all at once. I’m just beginning to process what took place over these last years—from the moment in 2006 when my husband first started talking about running for president to the cold morning this winter when I climbed into a limo with Melania Trump, accompanying her to her husband’s inauguration. It’s been quite a ride.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
It shouldn't have surprised me. I serve a God who experienced and expressed anger. One of the most meaningful passages of Scripture for me is found in the New Testament, where Jesus leads a one-man protest inside the Temple walls. Jesus leads a one-man protest inside the Temple walls. Jesus shouts at the corrupt Temple officials, overturns furniture, sets animals free, blocks the doorways with his body, and carries a weapon - a whip - through the place. Jesus throws folks out the building, and in so doing creates space for the most marginalized to come in: the poor, the wounded, the children. I imagine the next day's newspapers called Jesus's anger destructive. But I think those without power would've said that his anger led to freedom - the freedom of belonging, the freedom healing, and the freedom of participating as full members in God's house.
Austin Channing Brown (I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness)
Autodidacts tend to be cranks, obtuse and self-enclosed. A professor’s most important role is to make you think with rigor: precisely, patiently, responsibly, remorselessly, and not only about your “deepest ingrained presuppositions,” as my own mentor, Karl Kroeber, once wrote, but also about your “most exhilarating new insights, most of which turn out to be fallacious.
William Deresiewicz (Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life)
Parents who are unwilling to risk the suffering of changing and growing and learning from their children are choosing a path of senility—whether they know it or not—and their children and the world will leave them far behind. Learning from their children is the best opportunity most people have to assure themselves of a meaningful old age. Sadly, most do not take this opportunity. The Risk of Confrontation The final and possibly the greatest risk of love is the risk of exercising power with humility.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
If liberalism, nationalism, Islam, or some novel creed wishes to shape the world of the year 2050, it will need not only to make sense of artificial intelligence, Big Data algorithms, and bioengineering but also to incorporate them into a new and meaningful narrative.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life and in change there is power.
Gabrielle Stone (Eat, Pray, #FML)
by a prominent psychologist, Dr. Gordon Allport, and the Foreword to this new edition is written by a clergyman. We have come to recognize that this is a profoundly religious book. It insists that life is meaningful and that we must learn to see life as meaningful despite
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
The critical point is that thousands of people are swept into the criminal justice system every year pursuant to the drug war without much regard for their guilt or innocence. The police are allowed by the courts to conduct fishing expeditions for drugs on the streets and freeways based on nothing more than a hunch...and once inside the system, people are often denied attorneys or meaningful representation and pressured into plea bargains by the threat of unbelievably harsh sentences - sentences for minor drug crimes that are higher than many countries impose on convicted murderers. This is the way the roundup works, and it works this way in virtually every major city in the United States.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
The news about Shiraha spread through the store like wildfire. Every time I saw the manager he started pestering me with: “How’s Shiraha? When are you going to bring him out drinking with us?” I’d always had a lot of respect for manager #8. He was a hard worker and I’d thought of him as the perfect colleague, but now I was sick to death of him only ever talking about Shiraha whenever we met. Until now, we’d always had meaningful worker-manager discussions: “It’s been hot lately, so the sales of chocolate desserts are down,” or “There’s a new block of flats down the road, so we’ve been getting more customers in the evening,” or “They’re really pushing the ad campaign for that new product coming out the week after next, so we should do well with it.” Now, however, it felt like he’d downgraded me from store worker to female of the human species.
Sayaka Murata (Convenience Store Woman)
Harvard Square looked both new and familiar. I felt like I would have been able to tell just from looking that this configuration of buildings and streets was familiar and meaningful to lots of people, not just me. It was weird to visit a suburb that nobody else every visited or went to, and then to return to these widely known halls and buildings where famous statesmen and writers and scientists had been coming for hundreds of years.
Elif Batuman (The Idiot)
GREAT WORK IS ABOUT DOING WHAT’S MEANINGFUL. GREAT WORK ISN’T ABOUT DOING IT WELL. Here’s the irony: It’s often easy to deliver Bad Work and Good Work at an excellent level. (Just how many times have you revised that worthless Power Point presentation?) And Great Work? It’s often new work at the edge of your competence, work that tangles you up because it’s different and you haven’t done it a thousand times before. You’re unlikely to be able to do it perfectly. When I say “Great Work,” I’m not talking about a standard of delivery. I’m talking about a standard of impact and meaning.
Michael Bungay Stanier (Do More Great Work: Stop the Busywork. Start the Work That Matters.)
Look everywhere. There are miracles and curiosities to fascinate and intrigue for many lifetimes: the intricacies of nature and everything in the world and universe around us from the miniscule to the infinite; physical, chemical and biological functionality; consciousness, intelligence and the ability to learn; evolution, and the imperative for life; beauty and other abstract interpretations; language and other forms of communication; how we make our way here and develop social patterns of culture and meaningfulness; how we organise ourselves and others; moral imperatives; the practicalities of survival and all the embellishments we pile on top; thought, beliefs, logic, intuition, ideas; inventing, creating, information, knowledge; emotions, sensations, experience, behaviour. We are each unique individuals arising from a combination of genetic, inherited, and learned information, all of which can be extremely fallible. Things taught to us when we are young are quite deeply ingrained. Obviously some of it (like don’t stick your finger in a wall socket) is very useful, but some of it is only opinion – an amalgamation of views from people you just happen to have had contact with. A bit later on we have access to lots of other information via books, media, internet etc, but it is important to remember that most of this is still just opinion, and often biased. Even subjects such as history are presented according to the presenter’s or author’s viewpoint, and science is continually changing. Newspapers and TV tend to cover news in the way that is most useful to them (and their funders/advisors), Research is also subject to the decisions of funders and can be distorted by business interests. Pretty much anyone can say what they want on the internet, so our powers of discernment need to be used to a great degree there too. Not one of us can have a completely objective view as we cannot possibly have access to, and filter, all knowledge available, so we must accept that our views are bound to be subjective. Our understanding and responses are all very personal, and our views extremely varied. We tend to make each new thing fit in with the picture we have already started in our heads, but we often have to go back and adjust the picture if we want to be honest about our view of reality as we continually expand it. We are taking in vast amounts of information from others all the time, so need to ensure we are processing that to develop our own true reflection of who we are.
Jay Woodman
If it makes you feel any better Tory, they were just as bad when Mia was born. At least you don’t have Sin, Kish, and Damien running around, trying to boil water for no other reason than that’s what someone had told Sin husbands are supposed to do and since Sin doesn’t know how to boil water, he had to micromanage the other two incompetents who’d never done it either. I’m amazed they didn’t band together to kill him during it or burn down the casino. And don’t get me started on my mother trying to murder my husband in the middle of it or her fighting with grandma over whose labors were more painful. Or, (she cast a meaningful glance to Simi,) someone setting my mother’s hair on fire and trying to barbecue her to celebrate the birth.” – Kat “That an old Charonte custom that go back forever ’cause we a really old race of demons who go back even before forever. When a new baby is born you kill off an old annoying family member who gets on everyone’s nerves which for all of us would be the heifer-goddess ’cause the only person who like her be you, Akra-Kat. I know she you mother and all, but sometimes you just gotta say no thank you. You a mean old heifer-goddess who need to go play in tragic and get run over by something big like a steamroller or bus or something else really painful that would hurt her a lot and make the rest of us laugh. Not to mention the Simi barbecue would have been fun too if someone, Akra-Kat, hadn’t stopped the Simi from it. I personally think it would have been a most magnificent gift for the baby. Barbecued heifer-goddess Artemis. Yum! No better meal. Oh then again baby got a delicate constitution and that might give the poor thing indigestion. Artemis definitely give the Simi indigestion and I ain’t even ate her yet.” – Simi
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Retribution (Dark-Hunter, #19))
When our hearts, minds, and souls are deep within the reality of living loved, we discover that most of those "rules" from Sunday school are simply our new characteristics and our family traits. They are the fruit born of a meaningful, life-changing relationship—they are the flowers of life in the Vine.
Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)
So herein lies the paradox and predicament of young black men labeled criminals. A war has been declared on them, and they have been rounded up for engaging in precisely the same crimes that go largely ignored in middle-and upper-class white communities—possession and sale of illegal drugs. For those residing in ghetto communities, employment is scarce—often nonexistent. Schools located in ghetto communities more closely resemble prisons than places of learning, creativity, or moral development. And because the drug war has been raging for decades now, the parents of children coming of age today were targets of the drug war as well. As a result, many fathers are in prison, and those who are “free” bear the prison label. They are often unable to provide for, or meaningfully contribute to, a family. Any wonder, then, that many youth embrace their stigmatized identity as a means of survival in this new caste system?
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
The primary way to prepare for the unknown is to attend to the quality of our relationships, to how well we know and trust one another. . . . There is one core principle for developing these relationships. People must be engaged in meaningful work together if they are to transcend individual concerns and develop new capacities.
Tod Bolsinger (Leadership for a Time of Pandemic: Practicing Resilience)
When we strike a balance between the challenge of an activity and our skill at performing it, when the rhythm of the work itself feels in sync with our pulse, when we know that what we're doing matters, we can get totally absorbed in our task. That is happiness. The life coach Martha Beck asks new potential clients, "Is there anything you do regularly that makes you forget what time it is?" That forgetting -- that pure absorption -- is what the psychologist Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi calls "flow" or optimal experience. In an interview with Wired magazine, he described flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost." In a typical day that teeters between anxiety and boredom, flow experiences are those flashes of intense living -- bright against the dull. These optimal experiences can happen when we're engaged in work paid and unpaid, in sports, in music, in art. The researchers Maria Allison and Margaret Duncan have studied the role of flow in women's lives and looked at factors that contributed to what they call "antiflow." Antiflow was associated with repetitive household tasks, repetitive tasks at work, unchallenging tasks, and work we see as meaningless. But there's an element of chaos when it comes to flow. Even if we're doing meaningful and challenging work, that sense of total absoprtion can elude us. We might get completely and beautifully lost in something today, and, try as we might to re-create the same conditions tomorrow, our task might jsut feel like, well, work. In A Life of One's Own, Marion Milner described her effort to re-create teh conditions of her own recorded moments of happiness, saying, "Often when I felt certain that I had discovered the little mental act which produced the change I walked on air, exulting that I had found the key to my garden of delight and could slip through the door whenever I wished. But most often when I came again the place seemed different, the door overgrown with thorns and my key stuck in the lock. It was as if the first time I had said 'abracadabra' the door had opened, but the next time I must use a different word. (123-124).
Ariel Gore (Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness)
We face so many overlapping and intersecting crises that we can't afford to fix them one at a time. We need integrated solutions, solutions that radically bring down emissions while creating huge numbers of good, unionized jobs and delivering meaningful justice to those who have been most abused and excluded under the current extractive economy.
Naomi Klein (On Fire: The Case for the Green New Deal)
Living a meaningful and purposeful life is the new sexy.
Sadiqua Hamdan (Happy Am I. Holy Am I. Healthy Am I.)
Having rationally decided to become less rational, we hoped to find new, meaningful, exciting, useful truths. Folk
Mark Vonnegut (The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity)
The most important parts of building a family are "God's Love" and "Meaningful Friendships.
Phil Mitchell (A Bright New Morning: An American Story)
Water is intrinsically linked to the mystery and excitement of discovering new worlds.
Fennel Hudson (A Meaningful Life - Fennel's Journal - No. 1)
In it she wrote, of her depression, “That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.
Sarah Wilson (First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Story About Anxiety)
A meaningful, psychologically healthy life is an examined one, as Socrates so often declared.
Matthew Walker (Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams)
To reach your organization’s tipping point and execute blue ocean strategy, you must alert employees to the need for a strategic shift and identify how it can be achieved with limited resources. For a new strategy to become a movement, people must not only recognize what needs to be done, but they must also act on that insight in a sustained and meaningful way. How
W. Chan Kim (Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant)
A few miles away across the East River was the apartment he could never get used to, the job where he had nothing to do, the dozen or so people he knew slightly and cared about not at all: a fabric of existence as blank and seamless as the freshly plaster wall he passed. Soon his wife would return from New Jersey. Soon everyone would be back, and things would go on much as they had before. From the street outside came the sound of laughter and shouting, bottles breaking, voices droning in the warm air, and children playing far past their bedtime. It all meant nothing whatever to Lowell. Standing in the parlor of a house no longer his, listening to the voices of people whose lives were closed to him forever, contemplating a future much like his past, he realized that it was finally too late for him. Everything had gone wrong, and he had succeeded at nothing, and he was never going to have any kind of life at all.
L.J. Davis (A Meaningful Life)
Let your new energy, new thoughts, new attitude, new routine & new outlook make this time most sacred, memorable & beautiful for you & others. Let you also begin to see greater in everything & believe in unexplainable possibilities. Let you grow in ways which you never knew was possible. Darling listen – Don’t let the magic in the air get swallowed up by someone’s nonsensical thoughts, words, comments & by any kind of pressure in the air. I wish & pray that these last few days of this year be the best part of this year for you & everyone! Stay Healthy, Happy & Meaningful! Blessings!
Rajesh Goyal
Assume, for example, that your Twitter habit effectively consumes ten hours per week. Thoreau would note that this cost is almost certainly way too high for the limited benefits it returns. If you value new connections and exposure to interesting ideas, he might argue, why not adopt a habit of attending an interesting talk or event every month, and forcing yourself to chat with at least three people while there? This would produce similar types of value but consume only a few hours of your life per month, leaving you with an extra thirty-seven hours to dedicate to other meaningful pursuits.
Cal Newport (Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World)
We gravitate to the narratives that best explain our emotions. In this way, narrative and memory become one. The memories we organize meaningfully become those that are better remembered. Narrative provides not only meaning but also a mental framework for imbuing future experiences and information with meaning, in effect shaping new memories to fit our established constructs of the world and ourselves.
Peter C. Brown (Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning)
As far as we can tell, from a purely scientific viewpoint, human life has absolutely no meaning. Humans are the outcome of blind evolutionary processes that operate without goal or purpose. Our actions are not part of some divine cosmic plan, and if planet Earth were to blow up tomorrow morning, the universe would probably keep going about its business as usual. As far as we can tell at this point, human subjectivity would not be missed. Hence any meaning that people ascribe to their lives is just a delusion. The other-worldly meanings medieval people found in their lives were no more deluded than the modern humanist, nationalist and capitalist meanings modern people find. The scientist who says her life is meaningful because she increases the store of human knowledge, the soldier who declares that his life is meaningful because he fights to defend his homeland, and the entrepreneur who finds meaning in building a new company are no less delusional than their medieval counterparts who found meaning in reading scriptures, going on a crusade or building a new cathedral. So perhaps happiness is synchronising one’s personal delusions of meaning with the prevailing collective delusions. As long as my personal narrative is in line with the narratives of the people around me, I can convince myself that my life is meaningful, and find happiness in that conviction. This is quite a depressing conclusion. Does happiness really depend on self-delusion?
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Given the changing realities of class in our nation, widening gaps between the rich and poor, and the continued feminization of poverty, we desperately need a mass-based radical feminist movement that can build on the strength of the past, including the positive gains generated by reforms, while offering meaningful interrogation of existing feminist theory that was simply wrongminded while offering us new strategies.
bell hooks (Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics)
Another is that the findings demonstrate that happiness is not the surplus of pleasant over unpleasant moments. Rather, happiness consists in seeing one’s life in its entirety as meaningful and worthwhile. There is an important cognitive and ethical component to happiness. Our values make all the difference to whether we see ourselves as ‘miserable slaves to a baby dictator’ or as ‘lovingly nurturing a new life’.2 As Nietzsche put it, if you have a why to live, you can bear almost any how. A meaningful life can be extremely satisfying even in the midst of hardship, whereas a meaningless life is a terrible ordeal no matter how comfortable it is.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
In so doing, the Court made clear to all lower courts that, from now on, the Fourth Amendment should place no meaningful constraints on the police in the War on Drugs. No one needs to be informed of their rights during a stop or search, and police may use minor traffic stops as well as the myth of “consent” to stop and search anyone they choose for imaginary drug crimes, whether or not any evidence of illegal drug activity actually exists.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
In the long run, completing a marathon makes us happier than eating a chocolate cake. Raising a child makes us happier than beating a video game. Starting a small business with friends while struggling to make ends meet makes us happier than buying a new computer. These activities are stressful, arduous, and often unpleasant. They also require withstanding problem after problem. Yet they are some of the most meaningful moments and joyous things we’ll ever do
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to. Creative individuals don’t have to be dragged out of bed; they are eager to start the day. This is not because they are cheerful, enthusiastic types. Nor do they necessarily have something exciting to do. But they believe that there is something meaningful to accomplish each day, and they can’t wait to get started on it. Most of us don’t feel our actions are that meaningful. Yet everyone can discover at least one thing every day that is worth waking up for. It could be meeting a certain person, shopping for a special item, potting a plant, cleaning the office desk, writing a letter, trying on a new dress. It is easier if each night before falling asleep, you review the next day and choose a particular task that, compared to the rest of the day, should be relatively interesting and exciting. Then next morning, open your eyes and visualize the chosen event—play it out briefly in your mind, like an inner videotape, until you can hardly wait to get dressed and get going. It does not matter if at first the goals are trivial and not that interesting. The important thing is to take the easy first steps until you master the habit, and then slowly work up to more complex goals. Eventually most of the day should consist of tasks you look forward to, until you feel that getting up in the morning is a privilege, not a chore.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention)
Dr. Finch clenched his hands and tucked them under his chin. “Human birth is most unpleasant. It’s messy, it’s extremely painful, sometimes it’s a risky thing. It is always bloody. So is it with civilization. The South’s in its last agonizing birth pain. It’s bringing forth something new and I’m not sure I like it, but I won’t be here to see it. You will. Men like me and my brother are obsolete and we’ve got to go, but it’s a pity we’ll carry with us the meaningful things of this society—there were some good things in it.” “Stop woolgathering and answer me!” Dr. Finch stood up, leaned on the table, and looked at her. The lines from his nose sprang to his mouth and made a harsh trapezoid. His eyes blazed, but his voice was still quiet: “Jean Louise, when a man’s looking down the double barrel of a shotgun, he picks up the first weapon he can find to defend himself, be it a stone or a stick of stovewood or a citizens’ council.
Harper Lee (Go Set a Watchman)
HOW DO YOU LIVE A MEANINGFUL DAY? When you awake in the morning, while you are still lying in bed, think for a moment: What does it mean to be awake and alive? Begin each day with a prayer; thank G-d for the new day. Acknowledge your soul and the vibrancy and fortitude it provides. Think about what you would like to accomplish that would make today a meaningful day. Train yourself to do this every morning and you will begin to see your life in a new, sharper focus.
Simon Jacobson (Toward a Meaningful Life: The Wisdom of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson)
I asked myself, what’s my purpose now? How can I lead a productive life if I’m too sick to work or make contributions to society? Over time, I learned that meaningful contributions can be made even from bed (especially as a writer); that purpose goes much deeper than a job; that it’s possible to create a new normal for oneself. My life isn’t normal by most people’s standards, but it works for me. I’m living now, not just surviving, and that’s a blessing,” Crystal says.
Laurie Edwards (In the Kingdom of the Sick: A Social History of Chronic Illness in America)
The theory of motivation suggests you need to ask yourself a different set of questions than most of us are used to asking. Is this work meaningful to me? Is this job going to give me a chance to develop? Am I going to learn new things? Will I have an opportunity for recognition and achievement? Am I going to be given responsibility? These are the things that will truly motivate you. Once you get this right, the more measurable aspects of your job will fade in importance.
Clayton M. Christensen (How Will You Measure Your Life?)
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)
You ready, then?” Maddie asked her friend with a meaningful look. It was hard to say exactly what she was referring to. Ready for what? School? New friends? Life? In the mood Alana was in, she felt ready for anything … except maybe algebra.
Poppy Inkwell (Alana Oakley: Mystery and Mayhem (Book 1))
shouting from the rooftops tells us that many people sitting in church on Sunday don’t know why they’re there or what’s taking place. They’ve received the sacraments, but they’ve never encountered Jesus Christ in a meaningful and personal way.
Scott Hahn (Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization)
As adults we don’t play with toys anymore, but we do have to go out into the world and deal with novel situations and difficult challenges. We want to be highly functional at work, at ease and inspired in our hobbies, and compassionate enough to care for our children and partners. If we feel secure, like the infant in the strange situation test when her mother is present, the world is at our feet. We can take risks, be creative, and pursue our dreams. And if we lack that sense of security? If we are unsure whether the person closest to us, our romantic partner, truly believes in us and supports us and will be there for us in times of need, we’ll find it much harder to maintain focus and engage in life. As in the strange situation test, when our partners are thoroughly dependable and make us feel safe, and especially if they know how to reassure us during the hard times, we can turn our attention to all the other aspects of life that make our existence meaningful.
Amir Levine (Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love)
And do it before you get with a girl you really want to settle down with. Because—trust me on this one—it’s very, very hard to find a girl that you’d want to take home to Mom, have a meaningful relationship with and possibly bear your children, who will also finger-bang another girl while you do her doggy-style. Get it done. Get it out of the way. If you don’t do it, you will regret it and never move past it. You will be the new virgin. And no one wants that, especially your girlfriend.
Olivia Munn (Suck It, Wonder Woman!: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek)
Wondering which half of your ad spend is wasted? Velocity says: ‘Wrong question. Try again.’ Instead of just interrupting people, serve them and make them feel something. Sorry, but that takes longer than thirty seconds. Make meaningful connections.
Ajaz Ahmed (Velocity: The Seven New Laws for a World Gone Digital)
Making changes requires making new and different choices, choices that are more conscious, and more life-supporting. Continuing to do what we have been doing so far is also a choice, but not one that will bring any meaningful improvement. I would suggest that before we can intelligently make new choices, a thorough re-evaluation is in order. We need to look more carefully at what we value, what we have, and what we desire to make sure these are really important to us and represent what we truly want.
Ilchi Lee (Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential)
Ren took his time perusing the menu and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself. I didn’t even pick my menu up. He shot me meaningful glances while I sat silently, trying to avoid making eye contact. When she came back, she spoke to him briefly and gestured to me. I smiled, and in a syrupy sweet voice, said, “I’ll have whatever will get me out of here the fastest. Like a salad, maybe.” Ren smiled benignly back at me and rattled off what sounded like a banquet of choices, which the waitress was more than happy to take her time writing down. She kept touching him and laughing with him too. Which I found very, very annoying. When she left, he leaned back in his chair and sipped his water. I broke the silence first and hissed at him quietly, “I don’t know what you’re playing at, but you only have about two minutes left, so I hope you ordered the steak tartar, Tiger.” He grinned mischievously. “We’ll see, Kells. We’ll see.” “Fine. No skin off my nose. I can’t wait to see what happens when a white tiger runs through this nice establishment creating mayhem and havoc. Perhaps they will lose one of their stars because they put their patrons in danger. Maybe your new waitress girlfriend will run away screaming.” I smiled at the thought. Ren affected shock, “Why, Kelsey! Are you jealous?” I snorted in a very unladylike way. “No! Of course not.” He grinned. Nervously, I played with my cloth napkin. “I can’t believe you convinced Mr. Kadam to play along with you like this. It’s shocking, really.” He opened his napkin and winked at the waitress when she came to bring us a basket of rolls. When she left, I challenged, “Are you winking at her? Unbelievable!” He laughed quietly and pulled out a steaming roll, buttered it, and put it on my plate. “Eat, Kelsey,” he commanded. Then he sat forward. “Unless you are reconsidering seeing the view from my lap.” Angrily, I tore apart my roll and swallowed a few pieces before I even noticed how delicious they were-light and flaky with little flecks of orange rind mixed into the dough. I would have eaten another one, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Findings demonstrate that happiness is not the surplus of pleasant over unpleasant moments. Rather, happiness consists in seeing one’s life in its entirety as meaningful and worthwhile. There is an important cognitive and ethical component to happiness. Our values make all the difference to whether we see ourselves as ‘miserable slaves to a baby dictator’ or as ‘lovingly nurturing a new life’. 2 As Nietzsche put it, if you have a why to live, you can bear almost any how. A meaningful life can be extremely satisfying even in the midst of hardship, whereas a meaningless life is a terrible ordeal no matter how comfortable it is. Though people in all cultures and eras have felt the same type of pleasures and pains, the meaning they have ascribed to their experiences has probably varied widely.
Yuval Noah Harari
When we learn new words and ideas, and then begin to see them everywhere, the world is suddenly more legible and more vivid. Language reveals to us what was always there, but to what before we may have simply passed over, we now feel intimately connected.1 —Meara Sharma
Fred Dust (Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication)
Play and productivity are no longer two separate worlds that rarely meet. They can come together like happy fistfuls of Play-Doh, beautifully blending to reveal the brand-new colors of a meaningful life. You get to play AND do. Play matters. Your life matters. It's time to manifest.
Marney K. Makridakis
Is it enough for people to simply enjoy their work without finding it meaningful or being passionate about it? I think it is. In fact, I would prefer to completely rid the concept of meaningful work as the gold standard, and replace it with a new one: doing satisfying work that meet one's needs.
Barbara Moses (What Next? Updated)
When we’re faced with information that challenges what we believe, our first instinct is to make the discomfort, irritation, and vulnerability go away by resolving the dissonance. We might do this by rejecting the new information, decreasing its importance, or avoiding it altogether. “The greater the magnitude of the dissonance, the greater is the pressure to reduce dissonance.” In these challenging moments of dissonance, we need to stay curious and resist choosing comfort over courage. It’s brave to invite new information to the table, to sit with it and hear it out. It’s also rare these days.
Brené Brown (Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience)
We must resolve to live our lives and to build our lives in such a way, that if every ounce of fame were to dissipate tomorrow, and the only people who still remember our names are the few people around us who have true love for us in their hearts-- we would still be able to go on living life with an equal or even greater amount of happiness than before. You see, we must resolve to live our lives in such a way, that the worth and the value of it all comes from those things that are a part of our souls. You fill your soul with what is a part of it, with people who have made you a part of their hearts, and things that bring you awe. Then if all the world were to disappear before your eyes, just not any part of your soul, then you are okay! You are still happy. You can wake up to a new morning in a world that doesn't know you, retaining every ounce of worth that you had before! And maybe even more.
C. JoyBell C.
There is real danger in the world. And that is precisely why a correction is in order – new curricula containing some meaningful visionary thinking about the life of the moral mind and a free and flourishing spirit can operate in a context increasingly dangerous to its health. But if scientific language is about longer individual life in exchange for an ethical one; if political agenda is the xenophobic protection of a few of our families against the catastrophic others; if secular language bridles in fear of the sacred; if the future of knowledge is not wisdom but “upgrade”, where might we look for humanity’s own future?
Toni Morrison (The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations)
We all have defining moments in our lives—meaningful experiences that stand out in our memory. Many of them owe a great deal to chance: A lucky encounter with someone who becomes the love of your life. A new teacher who spots a talent you didn’t know you had. A sudden loss that upends the certainties of your life.
Chip Heath (The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments Have Extraordinary Impact)
For us, the Soviet constitution had no meaning. Everybody knew these were just words that had no relation to real life. In this country, the Constitution is meaningful. We have an independent judiciary. We have to protect it. We don’t need to invent anything new—we just need to have the courage to protect what we have.
Rod Dreher (Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents)
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: "Anyone can cook." But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.
Anton Ego, from Disney Pixar's 'Ratatouille'
We shouldn’t underestimate the power of square one. Starting points define our journey. In this place, we truly know where we stand, and from here we can plot our new direction and measure our progress. It is a place of renewed hope and new action, where old ruinous memories can be left behind and new constructive ones created.
Walter Ling (Mastering the Addicted Brain: Building a Sane and Meaningful Life to Stay Clean)
There is by now a robust literature on the nature of happiness, and it converges on a pair of observations. Beyond a moderate level of material comfort, happiness consists of two things: feeling connected to others and engaging in meaningful work. These are hardly new ideas. Aristotle, who said that man is a social animal, also
William Deresiewicz (Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life)
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto, "Anyone can cook." But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.
Walt Disney Company
Future generations will look back at the time we are living in now. The kind of future they look from, and the story they tell about our period, will be shaped by choices we make in our lifetimes. The most telling choice of all may well be the story we live from and see ourselves participating in. It sets the context of our lives in a way that influences all our other decisions. In choosing our story, we not only cast our vote of influence over the kind of world future generations inherit, but we also affect our own lives in the here and now. When we find a good story and fully give ourselves to it, that story can act through us, breathing new life into everything we do. When we move in a direction that touches our heart, we add to the momentum of deeper purpose that makes us feel more alive. A great story and a satisfying life share a vital element: a compelling plot that moves toward meaningful goals, where what is at stake is far larger than our personal gains and losses. The Great Turning is such a story.
Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone
Not only are your visitors technologically advanced, they have greater social cohesion, or they would not have been able to reach your shores. They are coming into a world where tribal warfare is dominant, where one human being cannot recognize another, where everyone claims different allegiances and authorities. They are coming into a world where people are ruining their environment at a frightening pace. They are coming into a world where people are fearful, superstitious and self-indulgent and where there is great tragedy, suffering and human abuse. How would this world look to you if you were a visitor coming here for the first time? Even with your human viewpoint, you can gain a perspective of how you must look to those who are visiting. Will they be compassionate towards you? Will they attempt to help you? Will they attempt to avoid you? Will they want to have a relationship with you? Can they trust you? Can you be relied upon? Are you consistent enough in order to establish relations? These are all meaningful questions for you to ask in order to gain a Greater Community perspective, even from a human point of view. Seeing yourself from a Greater Community perspective will show you what you must accomplish and what your great disabilities are at this time. This will give you a new understanding of yourself, one that is very fair and honest.
Marshall Vian Summers (Greater Community Spirituality: A New Revelation)
in order to actually do something new, you have to get clear on why you are willing to expend all that energy. Why do you want to start that new hobby, have time alone with your spouse, get more sleep, move across the country, get out of debt? The benefits of where you’re headed need to be clear. Just as you need a powerful what, you need a meaningful why.
M.J. Ryan (This Year I Will...: How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True)
Your life purpose is about you. It is a tangible, practical, everyday way to be that evolves over time as you mature. It is not just a new age, cheesy, flaky, peace and love statement. It is the greatness of who you are taking meaningful action. This is how you stay healthy and happy. Then and only then does your energy ripple out to make the world a better place.
Diana Dentinger (Modus Vivendi: Your Life Your Way (Modus - Your Way Book 1))
APPENDIX REJUVENATING YOUR BRAIN Don’t retire. Don’t stop being engaged with meaningful work. Look forward. Don’t look back. (Reminiscing doesn’t promote health.) Exercise. Get your heart rate going. Preferably in nature. Embrace a moderated lifestyle with healthy practices. Keep your social circle exciting and new. Spend time with people younger than you. See your doctor regularly, but not obsessively. Don’t think of yourself as old (other than taking prudent precautions). Appreciate your cognitive strengths—pattern recognition, crystallized intelligence, wisdom, accumulated knowledge. Promote cognitive health through experiential learning: traveling, spending time with grandchildren, and immersing yourself in new activities and situations. Do new things.
Daniel J. Levitin (Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives)
Generally speaking, meaningful positive feedback is one of the crucial factors in maintaining motivation. It can be internal feedback, such as the satisfaction of seeing yourself improve at something, or external feedback provided by others, but it makes a huge difference in whether a person will be able to maintain the consistent effort necessary to improve through purposeful practice.
K. Anders Ericsson (Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise)
Defendants are typically denied meaningful legal representation, pressured by the threat of lengthy sentences into a plea bargain, and then placed under formal control—in prison or jail, on probation or parole. Upon release, ex-offenders are discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, and most will eventually return to prison. They are members of America’s new undercaste.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
The essence of the adolescent brain changes that are the essence of healthy ways of living throughout the life span spell the word essence itself: ES: Emotional Spark—honoring these important internal sensations that are more intense during adolescence but serve to create meaning and vitality throughout our lives. SE: Social Engagement—the important connections we have with others that support our journeys through life with meaningful, mutually rewarding relationships. N: Novelty—how we seek out and create new experiences that engage us fully, stimulating our senses, emotions, thinking, and bodies in new and challenging ways. CE: Creative Explorations—the conceptual thinking, abstract reasoning, and expanded consciousness that create a gateway to seeing the world through new lenses.
Daniel J. Siegel (Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain)
We must flatly say that one of the greatest contemporary barriers to meaningful spiritual formation in Christlikeness is overconfidence in the spiritual efficacy of “regular church services,” of whatever kind they may be. Though they are vital, they are not enough. It is that simple. Individuals and local congregations of disciples must discover and effectively implement whatever is required to bring about the inner transformations of those who have really become apprentices of Jesus and who really do gather in immersion in the Trinitarian presence. In doing so they will have put in place the principles and absolutes of the New Testament churches, and they will certainly see the corresponding fruits and effects. Jesus did not give us a plan for spiritual formation that will fail, and he has the resources to see to it that it does not.
Dallas Willard (Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ)
Immunizing prosecutors from claims of racial bias and failing to impose any meaningful check on the exercise of their discretion in charging, plea bargaining, transferring cases, and sentencing has created an environment in which conscious and unconscious biases are allowed to flourish. Numerous studies have shown that prosecutors interpret and respond to identical criminal activity differently based on the race of the offender.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
When we go within to an internal quietness, as in meditation, we begin to perceive something deeper and more meaningful than just the objective “out there-ness.” So, if we have lost touch with our souls, we need to spend some quiet time—not in thinking, not in going over the day's list of everything that has to be done, but in being with ourselves in ways that allow a deeper inner reality to bubble up from within our consciousnesses.
Fred Alan Wolf (Mind into Matter: A New Alchemy of Science and Spirit)
Poor people of color, like other Americans—indeed like nearly everyone around the world—want safe streets, peaceful communities, healthy families, good jobs, and meaningful opportunities to contribute to society. The notion that ghetto families do not, in fact, want those things, and instead are perfectly content to live in crime-ridden communities, feeling no shame or regret about the fate of their young men is, quite simply, racist. It
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
I would propose the following minimal guideline: extrabiblical sources stand in a hermeneutical relation to the New Testament; they are not independent, counterbalancing sources of authority. In other words, the Bible’s perspective is privileged, not ours. However tricky it may be in practice to apply this guideline, it is in fact a meaningful rule of thumb that discriminates significantly between different approaches to New Testament ethics.
Richard B. Hays (The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New CreationA Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethic)
The harder you struggle to fit everything in, the more of your time you’ll find yourself spending on the least meaningful things. … The reason for this effect is straightforward: the more firmly you believe it ought to be possible to find time for everything, the less pressure you’ll feel to ask whether any given activity is the best use for a portion of your time. Whenever you encounter some potential new item for your to-do list or your social calendar, you’ll be strongly biased in favor of accepting it, because you’ll assume you needn’t sacrifice any other tasks or opportunities in order to make space for it … If you never stop to ask yourself if the sacrifice is worth it, your days will automatically begin to fill not just with more things, but with more trivial or tedious things, because they’ve never had to clear the hurdle of being judged more important than something else.
Oliver Burkeman (Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals)
For many of us who are still adjusting to the very real way that our friends becoming mothers often means 'losing' them as friends, yet another announcement can feel like a bell tolling on that friendship. We've heard our friends say to us, 'It's not going to change anything,' and we know that they mean it at the time, but they're probably going to move towards a new circle of friends who are mothers, and that's how it needs to be. And we're not mothers.
Jody Day (Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children)
Brands are either built on reruns or coming attractions. The future has no road map while the past does. Creating a brand that blazes new trails can sometimes be bumpy but will also allow you to be the first to discover something new, something meaningful and something that makes others ask, “Why didn’t we think of that?” Be very scared of “old tricks” and build a spirit of innovation. It’s the “old tricks” that have the highest risk, not doing something bold.
David Brier
Parents have such wonderful resources available to help them make family time more meaningful, on the Sabbath and other days as well. They have LDS.org, Mormon.org, the Bible videos, the Mormon Channel, the Media Library, the Friend, the New Era, the Ensign, the Liahona, and more—much more. These resources are so very helpful to parents in discharging their sacred duty to teach their children. No other work transcends that of righteous, intentional parenting!
Russell M. Nelson (Accomplishing the Impossible: What God Does, What We Can Do)
There is a ton of literature now—including TED Talks and Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind—about psilocybin and MDMA being highly effective medications for PTSD. Anecdotal stories abound of suffering veterans emerging from one meaningful trip completely cured, with a new vigor for life. Shrooms in particular have proved to be a great salve for people with terminal illnesses. The oncoming specter of death can be terrifying, but after these suffering patients emerge from their hallucinogenic experiences, many are at peace with their lives and deaths, content to be absorbed back into the fabric of the universe. Shrooms have also been shown to suppress your DMN and dissolve your ego, allowing you to look at your life with a childlike, brand-new perspective. They can draw connections between disparate parts of the brain, building creative solutions to our life’s struggles and strengthening areas we don’t use frequently enough.
Stephanie Foo (What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma)
Imagine how much easier it would be for us to learn how to love if we began with a shared definition. The word “love” is most often defined as a noun, yet all the more astute theorists of love acknowledge that we would all love better if we used it as a verb. I spent years searching for a meaningful definition of the word “love,” and was deeply relieved when I found one in psychiatrist M. Scott Peck’s classic self-help book The Road Less Traveled, first published in 1978. Echoing the work of Erich Fromm, he defines love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” Explaining further, he continues: “Love is as love does. Love is an act of will—namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.” Since the choice must be made to nurture growth, this definition counters the more widely accepted assumption that we love instinctually.
bell hooks (All About Love: New Visions)
As I indicated in an earlier chapter, it is so important to pause and think through some of these basic issues while you are young, before the pressures of job and family become distracting. Everyone must deal with the eternal questions sooner or later. You will benefit, I think, from doing that work now. As I said earlier, whether you are an atheist, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew, a New Ager, an agnostic, or a Christian, the questions confronting the human family are the same. Only the answers will differ.
James C. Dobson (Life on the Edge: The Next Generation's Guide to a Meaningful Future)
PERFORMANCE PRACTICES Apply the components of perfect practice each time you set out to do meaningful work: •Define a purpose and concrete objectives for each working session. •Ask yourself: What do I want to learn or get done? •Focus and concentrate deeply, even if doing so isn’t always enjoyable. •Single-task: The next time you feel like multitasking, remind yourself that research shows it’s not effective. Keep in mind Dr. Bob’s secret: “Do only one thing at a time.” •Remember that quality trumps quantity.
Brad Stulberg (Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success)
When Heaven has an earthquake you fall to your knees and feel through the rubble to find the pieces of God. When my eternal, temple-blessed marriage shattered and everything that had been meaningful lay in jumbled shards around me, I had to slowly and carefully pick up every single piece and examine it, turning it over and over, to see if it was worthy to keep and to use in building a new house of meaning. As I gathered the broken pieces of God, I used only my own authority, only my own relationship with the divine, and the good, small voice that speaks inside me, to appraise them. I threw away many, and I kept many, assembling the bright pieces into One Great Thought. I asked only, "Do I see God's fingerprints on this? Does this little piece feel godly? Does it speak of love?" That made it easy. I was forever finished with the insane attempt to love a God who hurts me. When I picked up the little pieces of God-ordained polygamy, I smiled because there was no question. I thanked the God of Love, and threw that piece away.
Carol Lynn Pearson (The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy: Haunting the Hearts and Heaven of Mormon Women and Men)
Let’s take a look at how modern life goes. Mostly, it’s frenetic and at a pace that’s not conducive to reflective thought./ It’s all too fast for our human dimensions, as David Malouf put it. We don’t have time to adjust, to work out our priorities, and to reflect on whether what we’re doing when we’re running around madly is actually meaningful to us.. While we are meant to have more time (all those time-saving devices were meant to deliver just this, no?), we have less space. We are “on” 24/7. Every gap is filled. Even waiting at bus stops. We don’t leave work and unwind and stare into space for a bit, enjoying the sound of the birds, the soft dusk sunlight on fellow passenger’s faces. Nope, we must prune our social feeds./ Technology freed us up . . .to imprison us further. It’s created the imperative to go faster, to take on more ideas, and to juggle more. There are no excuses for not coming up with an answer, and immediately. Not when there’s Google./ But what if we need more time to know and to feel if it’s the right answer?
Sarah Wilson (First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Story About Anxiety)
A comprehensive philosophy of history should interpret the changes in man's condition as a meaningful succession of historical ways of life; in every epoch these ways of life account fro the general situation and the prevailing patterns of action and though. They do not replace each other suddenly. The old is still alive while the new unfolds itself. The mighty breakthrough of the new is bound at first to fail against the staying power and coherence of the old way of life not yet exhausted. Transition is the zone of tragedy.
Karl Jaspers (Tragedy Is Not Enough)
With these new techniques, a new breed of evolutionist is emerging, able to capture the workings of evolution in real time. The picture so painted is breathtaking in its wealth of detail and its compass, ranging from the subatomic to the planetary scale. And that is why I said that, for the first time in history, we know. Much of our growing body of knowledge is provisional, to be sure, but it is vibrant and meaningful. It is a joy to be alive at this time, when we know so much, and yet can still look forward to so much more.
Nick Lane (Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution)
In a nation still stuck in an old Jim Crow mind-set - which equates racism with white bigotry and views racial diversity as proof the problem has been solved- a racially diverse police department invites questions like: "How can you say the Oakland Police Department's drug raids are racist? There's a black police chief, and most of the officers involved in the drug raids are black." If the caste dimensions of mass incarceration were better understood and the limitations of cosmetic diversity were better appreciated, the existence of black police chiefs and black police officers would be no more encouraging today than the presence of black slave drivers and black plantation owners hundreds of years ago. When meaningful change fails to materialize following the achievement of superficial diversity, those who remain locked out can become extremely discouraged and demoralized, resulting in cynicism and resignation. Perhaps more concerning, though, is the fact that inclusion of people of color in power structures, particularly at the top, can paralyze reform efforts.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
While I enjoy the work because of my love of mathematics, I luckily realized that this career path was simply designed to exploit inefficiencies in markets in order to extract profits from others. This financial realm known as trading is a zero-sum game where for every dollar you make, someone else loses a dollar, and I know I’m not destined to become such an obvious parasite on society. I only aspire to lead a meaningful, impactful life where I can apply my skills as an extremely analytical individual toward the benefit of humanity. I’m
Andrew Yang (Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America)
His real name is on his ID, for example, but he has kept himself from looking closely at it. There are contacts in his phone that he isn’t interested in calling, texts he does not mean to answer. These are choices, he understands, as meaningful as his choice to remain in the city rather than fleeing on the next train to God knows where. He can be who he was if he wants to be, but only up to a point. Something about the old him is incompatible with the new identity that the city wants him to have. So he has chosen to be Manhattan, whatever that might cost.
N.K. Jemisin (The City We Became (Great Cities, #1))
Bottoming out can vary from person to person; however, the general consensus reveals that the person usually has exhausted all resources, lacks self-love, and is practicing self-harm. The person may be allowing others to neglect and abuse him. While a bottom is in progress, denial is rampant and relatives or friends may have turned away. At this juncture, the adult child usually isolates or becomes involved in busy work to avoid asking for help. He scrambles to manipulate anyone who might still be having contact with him. Some adult children are at the other extreme. They have resources and speak of a bright future or new challenge; however, their bottom involves an inability to connect with others on a meaningful level. Their lives are unmanageable due to perfectionism and denial that seals them off from others. These are the high-functioning adults who seem to operate in the stratosphere of success. In their self-sufficiency they avoid asking for help, but they feel a desperate disconnect from life. Their bottom can be panic attacks without warning or bouts of depression that are pushed away with work or a new relationship.
Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization (Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families)
Intentionality is actually the first step toward authentic spiritual awakening and the discovery of new horizons of understanding and wisdom. Intentionality is that baby step that opens the doors of perception. It requires an effort of sustained attention and commitment which is rare in our time, as our minds are distracted and reshaped by the rapid-fire stimulus of media through every possible venue. We are each responsible for reining in our attention, taking command of this power of focused awareness, and purposefully choosing how we will live the moments of our lives. We can waste and dissipate them, like leaking cisterns that can hold no water as the prophet Jeremiah said in ancient times, or we can center ourselves intentionally and live fully in the present moment which then opens a meaningful path into the future, even when our plans are not entirely clear. Intentionality calls forth the best of our human nature and all its potential. It all begins with a decision to live in such a way, a decision that we refuse to betray. We then become useful to the Universe and to our fellow human beings. That is how bliss enters our lives.
Theodore J. Nottingham
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy,” Ego says. “We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.
Ed Catmull (Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration)
He further explained, “We started a project to see if we could get better at suggesting groups that will be meaningful to you. We started building artificial intelligence to do this. And it works. In the first six months, we helped 50% more people join meaningful communities.” His ultimate goal is “to help 1 billion people join meaningful communities….If we can do this, it will not only turn around the whole decline in community membership we’ve seen for decades, it will start to strengthen our social fabric and bring the world closer together.” This is such an important goal that Zuckerberg vowed “to change Facebook’s whole mission to take this on.”3 Zuckerberg is certainly correct in lamenting the breakdown of human communities. Yet several months after Zuckerberg made this vow, and just as this book was going to print, the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that data entrusted to Facebook was harvested by third parties and used to manipulate elections around the world. This made a mockery of Zuckerberg’s lofty promises, and shattered public trust in Facebook. One can only hope that before undertaking the building of new human communities, Facebook first commits itself to protecting the privacy and security of existing communities.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
In choosing our story, we not only cast our vote of influence over the kind of world future generations inherit, but we also affect our own lives in the here and now. When we find a good story and fully give ourselves to it, that story can act through us, breathing new life into everything we do. When we move in a direction that touches our heart, we add to the momentum of deeper purpose that makes us feel more alive. A great story and a satisfying life share a vital element: a compelling plot that moves toward meaningful goals, where what is at stake is far larger than our personal gains and losses. The Great Turning is such a story.
Joanna Macy (Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy)
Some of us find meaning in creation—of building things that have never existed before, be they made of words or pigment or wood. Some of us find meaning in exploration and discovery—of finding new places, or new ways of looking at known places; of looking so close, or so far, that we see things that have not been seen before. Some of us find meaning in healing, in touch and insight that results in betterment, which allows the person on the receiving end to become more functional. Others in helping in other ways, or in elucidating—in teaching, for instance. Others in communication or interpretation, in building teams, or in leading them.
Heather E. Heying
Nothing extraordinary was happening anymore, or would ever happen again. I was just there with my relatives, living pointless, shapeless days that weren't bringing me any closer to anything. It seemed to me that this state of affairs was a relief to my mother. From her perspective, I thought, the past weeks had been a perilous, temporary adventure, something to be endured, and now things were back to normal. It was painful to feel at such a cross-purposes with her. Almost everything that was interesting or meaningful in my story was, in her story, a pointless hazard or annoyance. This was even more true with my aunts. They didn't take anything I did seriously; it was all some trivial, mildly annoying side activity that I insisted on for some reason, having nothing to do with real life. I couldn't challenge or contradict this view, even to myself, because I really didn't know how to anything real. I didn't know how to move to a new city, or have sex, or have a real job, or make someone fall in love with me, or do any kind of study that wasn't just a self-improvement project. For the first time in my life, I couldn't think of anything I particularly wanted to study or to do. I still had the old idea of being a writer, but that was being, not doing. It didn't say what you were supposed to do.
Elif Batuman (The Idiot)
We only have a little bit of time before I leave for Korea. Let’s not waste it.” Then I slide my hand in his, and he squeezes it. The house is completely empty, for the first time all week. All the other girls are still at the party, except for Chris, who ran into somebody she knows through Applebee’s. We go up to my room, and Peter takes off his shoes and gets in my bed. “Want to watch a movie?” he asks, stretching his arms behind his head. No, I don’t want to watch a movie. Suddenly my heart is racing, because I know what I want to do. I’m ready. I sit down on the bed next to him as he says, “Or we could start a new show--” I press my lips to his neck, and I can feel his pulse jump. “What if we don’t watch a movie or a show? What if we…do something else instead.” I give him a meaningful look. His body jerks in surprise. “What, you mean like now?” “Yes.” Now. Now feels right. I start planting little kisses down his throat. “Do you like that?” I can feel him swallow. “Yes.” He pushes me away from him so he can look at my face. “Let’s stop for a second. I can’t think. Are you drunk? What did Chris put in that drink she gave you?” “No, I’m not drunk!” I had a little bit of a warm feeling in my body, but the walk home woke me right up. Peter’s still staring at me. “I’m not drunk. I swear.” Peter swallows hard, his eyes searching mine. “Are you sure you want to do this now?” “Yes,” I say, because I really, truly am. “But first can you put on Frank Ocean?” He grabs his phone, and a second later the beat kicks in and Frank’s melodious voice fills the room. Peter starts fumbling with his shirt buttons and then gives up and starts to pull my shirt up, and I yelp, “Wait!” Peter’s so startled, he jumps away from me. “What? What’s wrong?” I leap off the bed and start rummaging through my suitcase. I’m not wearing my special bra and underwear set; I’m wearing my normal every day cappuccino-colored bra with the frayed edges. I can’t lose my virginity in my ugliest bra.
Jenny Han (Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3))
In the coming decades, it is likely that we will see more Internet-like revolutions, in which technology steals a march on politics. Artificial intelligence and biotechnology might soon overhaul our societies and economies – and our bodies and minds too – but they are hardly a blip on our political radar. Our current democratic structures just cannot collect and process the relevant data fast enough, and most voters don’t understand biology and cybernetics well enough to form any pertinent opinions. Hence traditional democratic politics loses control of events, and fails to provide us with meaningful visions for the future. That doesn’t mean we will go back to twentieth-century-style dictatorships. Authoritarian regimes seem to be equally overwhelmed by the pace of technological development and the speed and volume of the data flow. In the twentieth century, dictators had grand visions for the future. Communists and fascists alike sought to completely destroy the old world and build a new world in its place. Whatever you think about Lenin, Hitler or Mao, you cannot accuse them of lacking vision. Today it seems that leaders have a chance to pursue even grander visions. While communists and Nazis tried to create a new society and a new human with the help of steam engines and typewriters, today’s prophets could rely on biotechnology and super-computers.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Few legal rules meaningfully constrain the police in the drug war, and enormous financial incentives have been granted to law enforcement to engage in mass drug arrests through military-style tactics. Once swept into the system, one’s chances of ever being truly free are slim, often to the vanishing point. Defendants are typically denied meaningful legal representation, pressured by the threat of lengthy sentences into a plea bargain, and then placed under formal control—in prison or jail, on probation or parole. Upon release, ex-offenders are discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, and most will eventually return to prison. They are members of America’s new undercaste.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
The American university inherits the missions of two very different institutions: the English college and the German research university. The first pattern prevailed before the Civil War. Curricula centered on the classics, and the purpose of education was understood to be the formation of character. With the emergence of a modern industrial society in the last decades of the nineteenth century, that kind of pedagogy was felt to be increasingly obsolete. Johns Hopkins was founded in 1876 as the first American university on the German model: a factory of knowledge that would focus in particular on the natural and social sciences, the disciplines essential to the new economy and the world to which it was giving rise.
William Deresiewicz (Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life)
In his book 'God and the Universe of Faiths,' British theologian John Hick makes a compelling argument. Before Copernicus, he says, earthlings believed they occupied the center of the universe - and why not? Earth was the place from which they saw everything else. It was the ground under their feet, and as far as they could tell everything revolved around them. Then Copernicus proposed a new map of the universe with the sun at the center and all the planets orbiting around it. His proposal raised religious questions as well as scientific ones, but he was right. The sun, not the earth, holds the planets in our solar system together. Hick argues that it is past time for a Copernican revolution in theology, in which God assumes the prime place at the center and Christianity joins the orbit of the great religions circling around. Like the scientific revolution, this one requires the surrender of primary place and privileged view. Absolute truth moves to the center of the system, leaving people of good faith with meaningful perceptions of that truth from their own orbits. This new map does not require anyone to give up the claim to uniqueness. It only requires the acceptance of unique neighbors, who concur that the brightness they see at the center of everything exceeds their ability to possess it. The Franciscan father Richard Rohr had his eye on a different planetary body when he said, 'We are all of us pointing toward the same moon, and yet we persist in arguing about who has the best finger.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others)
Since the financial crash of 2008, and the upheavals that followed, the question of inequality – and with it, the long-term history of inequality – have become major topics for debate. Something of a consensus has emerged among intellectuals and even, to some degree, the political classes that levels of social inequality have got out of hand, and that most of the world’s problems result, in one way or another, from an ever-widening gulf between the haves and the have-nots. Pointing this out is in itself a challenge to global power structures; at the same time, though, it frames the issue in a way that people who benefit from those structures can still find ultimately reassuring, since it implies no meaningful solution to the problem would ever be possible.
David Graeber (The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity)
It is relatively easy to accept that money is an intersubjective reality. Most people are also happy to acknowledge that ancient Greek gods, evil empires and the values of alien cultures exist only in the imagination. Yet we don’t want to accept that our God, our nation or our values are mere fictions, because these are the things that give meaning to our lives. We want to believe that our lives have some objective meaning, and that our sacrifices matter to something beyond the stories in our head. Yet in truth the lives of most people have meaning only within the network of stories they tell one another. Meaning is created when many people weave together a common network of stories. Why does a particular action – such as getting married in church, fasting on Ramadan or voting on election day – seem meaningful to me? Because my parents also think it is meaningful, as do my brothers, my neighbours, people in nearby cities and even the residents of far-off countries. And why do all these people think it is meaningful? Because their friends and neighbours also share the same view. People constantly reinforce each other’s beliefs in a self-perpetuating loop. Each round of mutual confirmation tightens the web of meaning further, until you have little choice but to believe what everyone else believes. Yet over decades and centuries the web of meaning unravels and a new web is spun in its place. To study history means to watch the spinning and unravelling of these webs, and to realise that what seems to people in one age the most important thing in life becomes utterly meaningless to their descendants.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Likewise, we “trusted the process,” but the process didn’t save Toy Story 2 either. “Trust the Process” had morphed into “Assume that the Process Will Fix Things for Us.” It gave us solace, which we felt we needed. But it also coaxed us into letting down our guard and, in the end, made us passive. Even worse, it made us sloppy. Once this became clear to me, I began telling people that the phrase was meaningless. I told our staff that it had become a crutch that was distracting us from engaging, in a meaningful way, with our problems. We should trust in people, I told them, not processes. The error we’d made was forgetting that “the process” has no agenda and doesn’t have taste. It is just a tool—a framework. We needed to take more responsibility and ownership of our own work, our need for self-discipline, and our goals. Imagine an old, heavy suitcase whose well-worn handles are hanging by a few threads. The handle is “Trust the Process” or “Story Is King”—a pithy statement that seems, on the face of it, to stand for so much more. The suitcase represents all that has gone into the formation of the phrase: the experience, the deep wisdom, the truths that emerge from struggle. Too often, we grab the handle and—without realizing it—walk off without the suitcase. What’s more, we don’t even think about what we’ve left behind. After all, the handle is so much easier to carry around than the suitcase. Once you’re aware of the suitcase/handle problem, you’ll see it everywhere. People glom onto words and stories that are often just stand-ins for real action and meaning. Advertisers look for words that imply a product’s value and use that as a substitute for value itself. Companies constantly tell us about their commitment to excellence, implying that this means they will make only top-shelf products. Words like quality and excellence are misapplied so relentlessly that they border on meaningless. Managers scour books and magazines looking for greater understanding but settle instead for adopting a new terminology, thinking that using fresh words will bring them closer to their goals. When someone comes up with a phrase that sticks, it becomes a meme, which migrates around even as it disconnects from its original meaning. To ensure quality, then, excellence must be an earned word, attributed by others to us, not proclaimed by us about ourselves. It is the responsibility of good leaders to make sure that words remain attached to the meanings and ideals they represent.
Ed Catmull (Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration)
The critical point is that thousands of people are swept into the criminal justice system every year pursuant to the drug war without much regard for their guilt or innocence. The police are allowed by the courts to conduct fishing expeditions for drugs on streets and freeways based on nothing more than a hunch. Homes may be searched for drugs based on a tip from an unreliable, confidential informant who is trading the information for money or to escape prison time. And once swept inside the system, people are often denied attorneys or meaningful representation and pressured into plea bargains by the threat of unbelievably harsh sentences—sentences for minor drug crimes that are higher than many countries impose on convicted murderers. This is the way the roundup works, and it works this way in virtually every major city in the United States.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Who might this young man be?” In an instant I sorted through every possibly explanation for Sage’s presence, but judging by the way Mom was looking at him, I knew she already had it in her head that he was a romantic prospect, and she’d go on believing that even if I said he was purely a homeschool friend. And if she thought I was interested in him, no political luncheon would stop her from sitting us down and grilling Sage in front of everyone so she could dig up any deal breakers before I had to find them out the hard way. She’d probably even encourage her guests to join in, and I knew they’d be happy to do it-I’d seen it happen to Rayna. The problem was, I couldn’t spend all day hanging out at Mom’s lunch. I needed to go through Dad’s things, and I wanted to finish before the Israeli minister and his Secret Service protection left the house open for any not-so-welcome visitors to return. “This is Larry Steczynski! You can call him Sage. He’s my new boyfriend!” Rayna suddenly chirped, threading her arm through Sage’s and giving him a squeeze. To his credit, Sage looked only slightly surprised. Just one more thing to add to the long list of reasons I love Rayna. She knew exactly what I’d been thinking and had found the one answer that would leave me completely off the hook. “Really!” Mom said meaningfully. “Then we should talk.” She turned to the group and asked, “Gentleman?” Without hesitation, all the senators and the Israeli minister agreed that the next topic of their agenda should clearly be a debate of Sage’s merits and pitfalls as a partner to Rayna. As Mom took Sage and Rayna’s hands and led them to the couch, two senators gladly moved aside to give them space. Sage shot me a look so plaintive I almost laughed out loud.
Hilary Duff (Elixir (Elixir, #1))
Long before there were effective treatments, physicians dispensed prognoses, hope, and, above all, meaning. When something terrible happens-and serious disease is always terrible-people want to know why. In a pantheistic world, the explanation was simple-one god had caused the problem, another could cure it. In the time since people have been trying to get along with only one God, explaining disease and evil has become more difficult. Generations of theologians have wrestled with the problem of theodicy-how can a good God allow such bad things to happen to good people? Darwinian medicine can't offer a substitute for such explanations. It can't provide a universe in which events are part of a divine plan, much less one in which individual illness reflects individual sins. It can only show us why we are the way we are, why we are vulnerable to certain diseases. A Darwinian view of medicine simultaneously makes disease less and more meaningful. Diseases do not result from random or malevolent forces, they arise ultimately from past natural selection. Paradoxically, the same capacities that make us vulnerable to disease often confer benefits. The capacity for suffering is a useful defense. Autoimmune disease is a price of our remarkable ability to attack invaders. Cancer is the price of tissues that can repair themselves. Menopause may protect the interests of our genes in existing children. Even senescence and death are not random, but compromises struck by natural selection as it inexorably shaped out bodies to maximize the transmission of our genes. In such paradoxical benefits, some may find a gentle satisfaction, even a bit of meaning-at least the sort of meaning Dobzhansky recognized. After all, nothing in medicine makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Randolph M. Nesse (Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine)
Any animal can fuck. But only humans can experience sexual passion, something wholly different from the biological urge to mate. And sexual passion’s endured for millennia as a vital psychic force in human life — not despite impediments but because of them. Plain old coitus becomes erotically charged and spiritually potent at just those points where impediments, conflicts, taboos, and consequences lend it a double-edged character — meaningful sex is both an overcoming and a succumbing, a transcendence and a transgression, triumphant and terrible and ecstatic and sad. Turtles and gnats can mate, but only the human will can defy, transgress, overcome, love: choose. History-wise, both nature and culture have been ingenious at erecting impediments that give the choice of passion its price and value: religious proscriptions; penalties for adultery and divorce; chivalric chastity and courtly decorum; the stigma of illegitimate birth; chaperonage; madonna/whore complexes; syphilis; back-alley abortions; a set of “moral” codes that put sensuality on a taboo-level with defecation and apostasy… from the Victorians’ dread of the body to early TV’s one-foot-on-the-floor-at-all-times rule; from the automatic ruin of “fallen” women to back-seat tussles in which girlfriends struggled to deny boyfriends what they begged for in order to preserve their respect. Granted, from 1996’s perspective, most of the old sexual dragons look stupid and cruel. But we need to realize that they had something big in their favor: as long as the dragons reigned, sex wasn’t casual, not ever. Historically, human sexuality has been a deadly serious business — and the fiercer its dragons, the seriouser sex got; and the higher the price of choice, the higher the erotic voltage surrounding what people chose." -from "Back in New Fire
David Foster Wallace (Both Flesh and Not: Essays)
Sound waves, regardless of their frequency or intensity, can only be detected by the Mole Fly’s acute sense of smell—it is a little known fact that the Mole Fly’s auditory receptors do not, in fact, have a corresponding center in the brain designated for the purposes of processing sensory stimuli and so, these stimuli, instead of being siphoned out as noise, bypass the filters to be translated, oddly enough, by the part of the brain that processes smell. Consequently, the Mole Fly’s brain, in its inevitable confusion, understands sound as an aroma, rendering the boundary line between the auditory and olfactory sense indistinguishable. Sounds, thus, come in a variety of scents with an intensity proportional to its frequency. Sounds of shorter wavelength, for example, are particularly pungent. What results is a species of creature that cannot conceptualize the possibility that sound and smell are separate entities, despite its ability to discriminate between the exactitudes of pitch, timbre, tone, scent, and flavor to an alarming degree of precision. Yet, despite this ability to hyper-analyze, they lack the cognitive skill to laterally link successions of either sound or smell into a meaningful context, resulting in the equivalent of a data overflow. And this may be the most defining element of the Mole Fly’s behavior: a blatant disregard for the context of perception, in favor of analyzing those remote and diminutive properties that distinguish one element from another. While sensory continuity seems logical to their visual perception, as things are subject to change from moment-to-moment, such is not the case with their olfactory sense, as delays in sensing new smells are granted a degree of normality by the brain. Thus, the Mole Fly’s olfactory-auditory complex seems to be deprived of the sensory continuity otherwise afforded in the auditory senses of other species. And so, instead of sensing aromas and sounds continuously over a period of time—for example, instead of sensing them 24-30 times per second, as would be the case with their visual perception—they tend to process changes in sound and smell much more slowly, thereby preventing them from effectively plotting the variations thereof into an array or any kind of meaningful framework that would allow the information provided by their olfactory and auditory stimuli to be lasting in their usefulness. The Mole flies, themselves, being the structurally-obsessed and compulsive creatures that they are, in all their habitual collecting, organizing, and re-organizing of found objects into mammoth installations of optimal functional value, are remarkably easy to control, especially as they are given to a rather false and arbitrary sense of hierarchy, ascribing positions—that are otherwise trivial, yet necessarily mundane if only to obscure their true purpose—with an unfathomable amount of honor, to the logical extreme that the few chosen to serve in their most esteemed ranks are imbued with a kind of obligatory arrogance that begins in the pupal stages and extends indefinitely, as they are further nurtured well into adulthood by a society that infuses its heroes of middle management with an immeasurable sense of importance—a kind of celebrity status recognized by the masses as a living embodiment of their ideals. And yet, despite this culture of celebrity worship and vicarious living, all whims and impulses fall subservient, dropping humbly to the knees—yes, Mole Flies do, in fact, have knees!—before the grace of the merciful Queen, who is, in actuality, just a puppet dictator installed by the Melic papacy, using an old recycled Damsel fly-fishing lure. The dummy is crude, but convincing, as the Mole flies treat it as they would their true-born queen.
Ashim Shanker (Don't Forget to Breathe (Migrations, Volume I))
The important parts of my story, I was realizing, lay less in the surface value of my accomplishments and more in what undergirded them—the many small ways I’d been buttressed over the years, and the people who’d helped build my confidence over time. I remembered them all, every person who’d ever waved me forward, doing his or her best to inoculate me against the slights and indignities I was certain to encounter in the places I was headed—all those environments built primarily for and by people who were neither black nor female. I thought of my great-aunt Robbie and her exacting piano standards, how she’d taught me to lift my chin and play my heart out on a baby grand even if all I’d ever known was an upright with broken keys. I thought of my father, who showed me how to box and throw a football, same as Craig. There were Mr. Martinez and Mr. Bennett, my teachers at Bryn Mawr, who never dismissed my opinions. There was my mom, my staunchest support, whose vigilance had saved me from languishing in a dreary second-grade classroom. At Princeton, I’d had Czerny Brasuell, who encouraged me and fed my intellect in new ways. And as a young professional, I’d had, among others, Susan Sher and Valerie Jarrett—still good friends and colleagues many years later—who showed me what it looked like to be a working mother and consistently opened doors for me, certain I had something to offer. These were people who mostly didn’t know one another and would never have occasion to meet, many of whom I’d fallen out of touch with myself. But for me, they formed a meaningful constellation. These were my boosters, my believers, my own personal gospel choir, singing, Yes, kid, you got this! all the way through. I’d never forgotten it. I’d tried, even as a junior lawyer, to pay it forward, encouraging curiosity when I saw it, drawing younger people into important conversations.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities, and at this point, after examining the lives of Bill Joy and Bill Gates, pro hockey players and geniuses, and Joe Flom, the Janklows, and the Borgenichts, it shouldn't tbe hard to figure out where the perfect lawyer comes from. This person will have been born in a demographic trough, so as to have had the best of New York's public schools and the easiest time in the job market. He will be Jewish, of course, and so, locked out of the old-line downtown law firms on account of his "antecedents". This person's parents will have done meaningful work in the garment business, passing on to their children autonomy and complexity and the connection between effort and reward. A good school -- although it doesn't have to be a great school -- will have been attended. He need not have been the smartest in the class, only smart enough.
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
Leaving my empty goblet, I slide from the soft pile at his order. I can already feel the desire bursting from between my thighs as I fall to all fours and begin my crawl to where he has seated himself. “We will begin as before—you will be spanked over my knee—but this time there will be little pleasure in it for you, my captive. I intend to hurt you—to mark that pretty little behind—and make you unable to sit properly for some time.” I am back by his feet as he concludes and warily, I raise my eyes as he finishes the sentence. I know I am not hiding the terror in my face and yet still I am compelled to carry on—submitting myself to him in this way for our mutual need. He catches my hair in his left hand and pulls it into a rough ponytail, again drawing my head back. “When my hand is aching from tanning your backside, I will bind you to the bedpost and continue to thrash you with my strap. Do you understand?” He eyes me wildly and for a moment I am too afraid to even respond. I have to swallow hard again to find my voice. “Please, my Lofðungr,” I say shakily. “I do not know if I can bear such a punishment?” He never takes his eyes from me as he answers. “You can and you will, my sweeting,” he says. “You will submit to me in this way as a sign of your true desire to be mine.” I close my eyes at his words, understanding for the first time his real intention. He means not just to punish me, but to mark and possess me in some meaningful way. To make me his again in the way that our coupling had done before. As I open my eyes again and see him standing over me, there are tears but also a new acceptance. I nod my head as best I can whilst he is still holding my hair in his fist. “I will bear it,” I say, my voice breaking. He leans in toward me, his face just an inch from mine, those blue pools burning into me. “You will bear it,” he replies, his hot breath against my face, “and I will love you for it.
Felicity Brandon (The Viking's Conquest)
Similarly, habits often appear to make no difference until you cross a critical threshold and unlock a new level of performance. In the early and middle stages of any quest, there is often a Valley of Disappointment. You expect to make progress in a linear fashion and it’s frustrating how ineffective changes can seem during the first days, weeks, and even months. It doesn’t feel like you are going anywhere. It’s a hallmark of any compounding process: the most powerful outcomes are delayed. This is one of the core reasons why it is so hard to build habits that last. People make a few small changes, fail to see a tangible result, and decide to stop. You think, “I’ve been running every day for a month, so why can’t I see any change in my body?” Once this kind of thinking takes over, it’s easy to let good habits fall by the wayside. But in order to make a meaningful difference, habits need to persist long enough to break through this plateau—what I call the Plateau of Latent Potential.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
Dr. Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for inventing PCR, stated publicly numerous times that his invention should never be used for the diagnosis of infectious diseases. In July of 1997, during an event called Corporate Greed and AIDS in Santa Monica CA, Dr. Mullis explained on video, “With PCR you can find almost anything in anybody. It starts making you believe in the sort of Buddhist notion that everything is contained in everything else, right? I mean, because if you can model amplify one single molecule up to something that you can really measure, which PCR can do, then there’s just very few molecules that you don’t have at least one single one of them in your body. Okay? So that could be thought of as a misuse of it, just to claim that it’s meaningful.” Mikki explained, “The major issue with PCR is that it’s easily manipulated. It functions through a cyclical process whereby each revolution amplifies magnification. On a molecular level, most of us already have trace amounts of genetic fragments similar to coronavirus within us. By simply over-cycling the process, a negative result can be flipped to a positive. Governing bodies such as the CDC and the WHO can control the number of cases by simply advising the medical industry to increase or decrease the cycle threshold (CT).” In August of 2020, the New York Times reported that “a CT beyond 34 revolutions very rarely detect live virus, but most often, dead nucleotides that are not even contagious. In compliance with guidance from the CDC and the WHO, many top US labs have been conducting tests at cycle thresholds of 40 or more. NYT examined data from Massachusetts, New York, and Nevada and determined that up to 90 percent of the individuals who tested positive carried barely any virus.”17 90 percent! In May of 2021, CDC changed the PCR cycle threshold from 40 to 28 or lower for those who have been vaccinated. This one adjustment of the numbers allowed the vaccine pushers to praise the vaccines as a big success.
Mikki Willis (Plandemic: Indoctornation)
I can’t help but think of one of my favorite moments in any Pixar movie, when Anton Ego, the jaded and much-feared food critic in Ratatouille, delivers his review of Gusteau’s, the restaurant run by our hero Remy, a rat. Voiced by the great Peter O’Toole, Ego says that Remy’s talents have “challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking … [and] have rocked me to my core.” His speech, written by Brad Bird, similarly rocked me—and, to this day, sticks with me as I think about my work. “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy,” Ego says. “We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.
Ed Catmull (Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration)
I spent my afternoons forming a government. A new administration brings less turnover than most people imagine: Of the more than three million people, civilian and military, employed by the federal government, only a few thousand are so-called political appointees, serving at the pleasure of the president. Of those, he or she has regular, meaningful contact with fewer than a hundred senior officials and personal aides. As president, I would be able to articulate a vision and set a direction for the country; promote a healthy organizational culture and establish clear lines of responsibility and measures of accountability. I would be the one who made the final decisions on issues that rose to my attention and who explained those decisions to the country at large. But to do all this, I would be dependent on the handful of people serving as my eyes, ears, hands, and feet—those who would become my managers, executors, facilitators, analysts, organizers, team leaders, amplifiers, conciliators, problem solvers, flak catchers, honest brokers, sounding boards, constructive critics, and loyal soldiers.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
Search engine query data is not the product of a designed statistical experiment and finding a way to meaningfully analyse such data and extract useful knowledge is a new and challenging field that would benefit from collaboration. For the 2012–13 flu season, Google made significant changes to its algorithms and started to use a relatively new mathematical technique called Elasticnet, which provides a rigorous means of selecting and reducing the number of predictors required. In 2011, Google launched a similar program for tracking Dengue fever, but they are no longer publishing predictions and, in 2015, Google Flu Trends was withdrawn. They are, however, now sharing their data with academic researchers... Google Flu Trends, one of the earlier attempts at using big data for epidemic prediction, provided useful insights to researchers who came after them... The Delphi Research Group at Carnegie Mellon University won the CDC’s challenge to ‘Predict the Flu’ in both 2014–15 and 2015–16 for the most accurate forecasters. The group successfully used data from Google, Twitter, and Wikipedia for monitoring flu outbreaks.
Dawn E. Holmes (Big Data: A Very Short Introduction)
When you create social reality but fail to realize it, the result is a mess. Many psychologists, for example, do not realize that every psychological concept is social reality. We debate the differences between “will power” and “tenacity” and “grit” as if they were each distinct in nature, rather than constructions shared through collective intentionality. We separate “emotion,” “emotion regulation,” “self-regulation,” “memory,” “imagination,” “perception,” and scores of other mental categories, all of which can be explained as emerging from interoception and sensory input from the world, made meaningful by categorization, with assistance from the control network. These concepts are clearly social reality because not all cultures have them, whereas the brain is the brain is the brain. So, as a field, psychology keeps rediscovering the same phenomena and giving them new names and searching for them in new places in the brain. That’s why we have a hundred concepts for “the self.” Even brain networks themselves go by multiple names. The default mode network, which is part of the interoceptive network, has more aliases than Sherlock Holmes.
Lisa Feldman Barrett (How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain)
The choice today is revolt. Igor Stravinsky wrote, “The old original sin was one of knowledge, the new original sin is one of non-acknowledgment.” It is the refusal to acknowledge anything outside the operation of the human will—most especially the good toward which the soul is ordered. The good is what must ultimately inform human justice. Therefore, moral relativism is inimical to justice, as it removes the epistemological ground for knowing the good. As Max Planck, the founder of quantum theory, wrote, “Everything that is relative presupposes the existence of something that is absolute, and is meaningful only when juxtaposed to something absolute.”4 What happens if the absolute is absent? If what is good is relative to something other than itself, then it is not the good but the expression of some other interest that only claims to be the good. Claims of “good” then become transparent masks for self-interest. This is the surest path back to barbarism and the brutal doctrine of “right is the rule of the stronger”. The regression is not accidental. Relativism inevitably concludes in nihilism, and the ultimate expression of nihilism is the supremacy of the will.
Robert R. Reilly (Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything)
In network models of the interactome, these truncating mutations can be thought of as the removal of one node along with all its edges - a node removal. Nonconservative missense mutations of amino acids in the protein core that lead to major folding problems, protein aggregation, and premature protein degradation can also be modeled as node removals. At the other end of the mutational spectrum are small in-frame indels or missense mutations. These can preserve protein folding, but may modify the active site of an enzyme or affect the binding to another protein or macromolecule. In network models, these mutations, which specifically perturb a single molecular interaction, have been labeled as edge-specific or "edgetic". While investigation of the precise interaction defects associated with point mutations is of course not new, the term edgetic promotes a subtle yet meaningful archetype shift from conventional gene-centered models, which emphasize consideration of which specific edges are affected by a mutation, complement and extend classic gene-centric models, which ascertain only whether a gene product is present or not present and neglect less overt alterations of a given gene or gene product.
Joseph Loscalzo (Network Medicine: Complex Systems in Human Disease and Therapeutics)
My principal purpose here is to point out again, yet more insistently, that one cannot meaningfully consider, much less investigate, the reality of God except in a manner appropriate to the kind of reality God has traditionally been understood to be. Contemplative discipline, while not by any means the only proper approach to the mystery of God, is peculiarly suited to (for want of a better word) an 'empirical' exploration of that mystery. If God is the unity of infinite being and infinite consciousness, and the reason for the reciprocal transparency of finite being and finite consciousness each to the other, and the ground of all existence and all knowledge, then the journey toward him must also ultimately be a journey toward the deepest source of the self. As Symeon the New Theologian was fond of observing, he who is beyond the heavens is found in the depths of the heart; there is nowhere to find him, William Law (1686–1761) was wont to say, but where he resides in you; for Ramakrishna (1836–1886), it was a constant refrain that one seeks for God only in seeking what is hidden in one’s heart; (...) The practice of contemplative prayer, therefore, is among the highest expressions of rationality possible, a science of consciousness and of its relation to the being of all things, (...)
David Bentley Hart (The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss)
Prior to these results, physicists had reasoned that since the Planck length (10^33) centimeters) was apparently the shortest length for which the notion of "distance" continues to have meaning, the smallest meaningful volume would be a tiny cube whose edges were each one Planck length long (a volume of 10^-99) cubic centimeters). A reasonable conjecture, widely believed, was that irrespective of future technological breakthroughs, the smallest possible volume could store no more than the smallest unit of information-one bit. And so the expectation was that a region of space would max out its information storage capacity when the number of bits it contained equaled the number of Planck cubes that could fit inside it. That Hawking's result involved the Planck length was therefore not surprising. The surprise was that the black hole's storehouse of hidden information was determined by the number of Planck-sized squares covering its surface and not by the number of Planck-sized cubes filling its volume. This was the first hint of holography-information storage capacity determined by the area of a bounding surface and not by the volume interior to that surface . Through twists and turns across three subsequent decades, this hint would evolve into a dramatic new way of thinking about the laws of physics.
Brian Greene (The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos)
This book festival...grew to attract thousands of visitors every year. Now they felt like they needed a new purpose. The festival’s continuing existence felt assured. What was it for? What could it do? How could it make itself count? The festival’s leadership reached out to me for advice on these questions. What kind of purpose could be their next great animating force? Someone had the idea that the festival’s purpose could be about stitching together the community. Books were, of course, the medium. But couldn’t an ambitious festival set itself the challenge of making the city more connected? Couldn’t it help turn strong readers into good citizens? That seemed to me a promising direction—a specific, unique, disputable lodestar for a book festival that could guide its construction...We began to brainstorm. I proposed an idea: Instead of starting each session with the books and authors themselves, why not kick things off with a two-minute exercise in which audience members can meaningfully, if briefly, connect with one another? The host could ask three city- or book-related questions, and then ask each member of the audience to turn to a stranger to discuss one of them. What brought you to this city—whether birth or circumstance? What is a book that really affected you as a child? What do you think would make us a better city? Starting a session with these questions would help the audience become aware of one another. It would also break the norm of not speaking to a stranger, and perhaps encourage this kind of behavior to continue as people left the session. And it would activate a group identity—the city’s book lovers—that, in the absence of such questions, tends to stay dormant. As soon as this idea was mentioned, someone in the group sounded a worry. “But I wouldn’t want to take away time from the authors,” the person said. There it was—the real, if unspoken, purpose rousing from its slumber and insisting on its continued primacy. Everyone liked the idea of “book festival as community glue” in theory. But at the first sign of needing to compromise on another thing in order to honor this new something, alarm bells rang. The group wasn’t ready to make the purpose of the book festival the stitching of community if it meant changing the structure of the sessions, or taking time away from something else. Their purpose, whether or not they admitted it, was the promotion of books and reading and the honoring of authors. It bothered them to make an author wait two minutes for citizens to bond. The book festival was doing what many of us do: shaping a gathering according to various unstated motivations, and making half-hearted gestures toward loftier goals.
Priya Parker (The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters)
We can all be "sad" or "blue" at times in our lives. We have all seen movies about the madman and his crime spree, with the underlying cause of mental illness. We sometimes even make jokes about people being crazy or nuts, even though we know that we shouldn't. We have all had some exposure to mental illness, but do we really understand it or know what it is? Many of our preconceptions are incorrect. A mental illness can be defined as a health condition that changes a person's thinking, feelings, or behavior (or all three) and that causes the person distress and difficulty in functioning. As with many diseases, mental illness is severe in some cases and mild in others. Individuals who have a mental illness don't necessarily look like they are sick, especially if their illness is mild. Other individuals may show more explicit symptoms such as confusion, agitation, or withdrawal. There are many different mental illnesses, including depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Each illness alters a person's thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors in distinct ways. But in all this struggles, Consummo Plus has proven to be the most effective herbal way of treating mental illness no matter the root cause. The treatment will be in three stages. First is activating detoxification, which includes flushing any insoluble toxins from the body. The medicine and the supplement then proceed to activate all cells in the body, it receives signals from the brain and goes to repair very damaged cells, tissues, or organs of the body wherever such is found. The second treatment comes in liquid form, tackles the psychological aspect including hallucination, paranoia, hearing voices, depression, fear, persecutory delusion, or religious delusion. The supplement also tackles the Behavioral, Mood, and Cognitive aspects including aggression or anger, thought disorder, self-harm, or lack of restraint, anxiety, apathy, fatigue, feeling detached, false belief of superiority or inferiority, and amnesia. The third treatment is called mental restorer, and this consists of the spiritual brain restorer, a system of healing which “assumes the presence of a supernatural power to restore the natural brain order. With this approach, you will get back your loving boyfriend and he will live a better and fulfilled life, like realize his full potential, work productively, make a meaningful contribution to his community, and handle all the stress that comes with life. It will give him a new lease of life, a new strength, and new vigor. The Healing & Recovery process is Gradual, Comprehensive, Holistic, and very Effective. www . curetoschizophrenia . blogspot . com E-mail: rodwenhill@gmail. com
Justin Rodwen Hill
When you are depressed, you may have a tendency to confuse feeling with facts. Your feelings of hopelessness and total despair are just symptoms of depressive illness, not facts. If you think you are hopeless, you will naturally feel this way. Your feelings only trace the illogical pattern of your thinking. Only an expert, who has treated hundreds of depressed individuals, would be in a position to give a meaningful prognosis for recovery. Your suicidal urge merely indicates the need for treatment. Thus, your conviction that you are "hopeless" nearly always proves you are not. Therapy, not suicide, is indicated. Although generalizations can be misleading, I let the following rule of thumb guide me: Patients who feel hopeless never actually are hopeless. The conviction of hopelessness is one of the most curious aspects of depressive illness. In fact, the degree of hopelessness experienced by seriously depressed patients who have an excellent prognosis is usually greater than in terminal malignancy patients with a poor prognosis. It is of great importance to expose the illogic that lurks behind your hopelessness as soon as possible in order to prevent an actual suicide attempt. You may feel convinced that you have an insoluble problem in your life. You may feel that you are caught in a trap from which there is no exit. This may lead to extreme frustration and even to the urge to kill yourself as the only escape.
David D. Burns (Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy)
Life Is an Ambiguous Stimulus In a very real sense, life is an ambiguous stimulus. Does survival of a heart attack indicate that death is imminent or that one has been given a new lease on life? Is falling in love an assurance of a lifelong partnership or the first sign of an inevitable heartbreak? Many human situations are complex and their meanings subtle. Thus, to make sense of and gain agency over our experiences, we engage in the process of self-reflection. Through self-reflection, people come to realize that their lives are filled with uncertainty about their own identities, their relationships with others, and their environmental circumstances. Because living involves adaptation to irregular changes and perturbations from the environment, the process of self-reflection reveals the indefinite nature of life. The uncertainty stemming from threatening stimuli whose nature is unknown or unpredictable evokes stress and a sense of loss of control. In response to uncertainty, we are driven to make meaning of our experiences and in so doing to reduce uncertainty. Indeed, a series of cunning experiments demonstrated that the sense of lacking control promotes illusory pattern perception in ambiguous situations. Hence, people consciously or unconsciously attempt to regain a sense of control by projecting patterns onto the chaos of their lives. This meaning-making process hinged on the appraisal of stressors and their meaningful integration into our autobiographical narratives.
Todd Kashdan (Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Positive Psychology: The Seven Foundations of Well-Being)
Jay's downstairs waiting." With her father on one side, and the handrail on the other, Violet descended the stairs as if she were floating. Jay stood at the bottom, watching her, frozen in place like a statue. His black suit looked as if it had been tailored just for him. His jacket fell across his strong shoulders in a perfect line, tapering at his narrow waist. The crisp white linen shirt beneath stood out in contrast against the dark, finely woven wool. He smiled appreciatively as he watched her approach, and Violet felt her breath catch in her throat at the striking image of flawlessness that he presented. "You...are so beautiful," he whispered fervently as he strode toward her, taking her dad's place at her arm. She smiled sheepishly up at him. "So are you." Her mom insisted on taking no fewer than a hundred pictures of the two of them, both alone and together, until Violet felt like her eyes had been permanently damaged by the blinding flash. Finally her father called off her mom, dragging her away into the kitchen so that Violet and Jay could have a moment alone together. "I meant it," he said. "You look amazing." She shook her head, not sure what to say, a little embarrassed by the compliment. "I got you something," he said to her as he reached inside his jacket. "I hope you don't mind, it's not a corsage." Violet couldn't have cared less about having flowers to pin on her dress, but she was curious about what he had brought for her. She watched as he dragged out the moment longer than he needed to, taking his time to reveal his surprise. "I got you this instead." He pulled out a black velvet box, the kind that holds fine jewelry. It was long and narrow. She gasped as she watched him lift the lid. Inside was a delicate silver chain, and on it was the polished outline of a floating silver heart that drifted over the chain that held it. Violet reached out to touch it with her fingertip. "It's beautiful," she sighed. He lifted the necklace from the box and held it out to her. "May I?" he asked. She nodded, her eyes bright with excitement as he clasped the silver chain around her bare throat. "Thank you," she breathed, interlacing her hand into his and squeezing it meaningfully. She reluctantly used the crutches to get out to the car, since there were no handrails for her to hold on to. She left like they ruined the overall effect she was going for. Jay's car was as nice on the inside as it was outside. The interior was rich, smoky gray leather that felt like soft butter as he helped her inside. Aside from a few minor flaws, it could have passed for brand-new. The engine purred to life when he turned the key in the ignition, something that her car had never done. Roar, maybe-purr, never. She was relieved that her uncle hadn't ordered a police escort for the two of them to the dance. She had half expected to see a procession of marked police cars, lights swirling and sirens blaring, in the wake of Jay's sleek black Acura. Despite sitting behind the wheel of his shiny new car, Jay could scarcely take his eyes off her. His admiring gaze found her over and over again, while he barely concentrated on the road ahead of him. Fortunately they didn't have far to go.
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1))
Approximately 80 percent of criminal defendants are indigent and thus unable to hire a lawyer. Yet our nation's public defender system is woefully inadequate. The most visible sign of the failed system is the astonishingly large caseloads public defenders routinely carry, making it impossible for them to provide meaningful representations to their clients. Sometimes defenders have well over one hundred clients at a time; many of these clients are facing decades behind bars or life imprisonment. Too often the quality of court-appointed counsel is poor because the miserable working conditions and low pay discourage good attorneys from participating in the system. And some states deny representation to impoverished defendants on the theory that somehow they should be able to pay for a lawyer, even thought they are scarcely able to pay for food or rent. In Virginia, for examples, fees paid to court-appointed attorneys for representing someone charged with a felony that carried a sentence of less than twenty years are capped at $428. And in Wisconsin, more than 11,000 poor people go to court without representation each year because anyone who earns more than $3,000 per year is considered able to afford a lawyer. In Lake Charles, Louisiana, the public defender office has only two investigators for the 2,500 felony cases and 4,000 misdemeanor cases assigned to the office each year. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta sued the city of Gulfport, Mississippi, alleging that the city operated a 'modern day debtor's prison' by jailing poor people who are unable to pay their fines and denying them the right to lawyers.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
JANUARY 26 Being Kind-I You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.” The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pastures. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish. —KAHLIL GIBRAN The great and fierce mystic William Blake said, There is no greater act than putting another before you. This speaks to a selfless giving that seems to be at the base of meaningful love. Yet having struggled for a lifetime with letting the needs of others define me, I've come to understand that without the healthiest form of self-love—without honoring the essence of life that this thing called “self” carries, the way a pod carries a seed—putting another before you can result in damaging self-sacrifice and endless codependence. I have in many ways over many years suppressed my own needs and insights in an effort not to disappoint others, even when no one asked me to. This is not unique to me. Somehow, in the course of learning to be good, we have all been asked to wrestle with a false dilemma: being kind to ourselves or being kind to others. In truth, though, being kind to ourselves is a prerequisite to being kind to others. Honoring ourselves is, in fact, the only lasting way to release a truly selfless kindness to others. It is, I believe, as Mencius, the grandson of Confucius, says, that just as water unobstructed will flow downhill, we, given the chance to be what we are, will extend ourselves in kindness. So, the real and lasting practice for each of us is to remove what obstructs us so that we can be who we are, holding nothing back. If we can work toward this kind of authenticity, then the living kindness—the water of compassion—will naturally flow. We do not need discipline to be kind, just an open heart. Center yourself and meditate on the water of compassion that pools in your heart. As you breathe, simply let it flow, without intent, into the air about you. JANUARY 27 Being Kind-II We love what we attend. —MWALIMU IMARA There were two brothers who never got along. One was forever ambushing everything in his path, looking for the next treasure while the first was still in his hand. He swaggered his shield and cursed everything he held. The other brother wandered in the open with very little protection, attending whatever he came upon. He would linger with every leaf and twig and broken stone. He blessed everything he held. This little story suggests that when we dare to move past hiding, a deeper law arises. When we bare our inwardness fully, exposing our strengths and frailties alike, we discover a kinship in all living things, and from this kinship a kindness moves through us and between us. The mystery is that being authentic is the only thing that reveals to us our kinship with life. In this way, we can unfold the opposite of Blake's truth and say, there is no greater act than putting yourself before another. Not before another as in coming first, but rather as in opening yourself before another, exposing your essence before another. Only in being this authentic can real kinship be known and real kindness released. It is why we are moved, even if we won't admit it, when strangers let down and show themselves. It is why we stop to help the wounded and the real. When we put ourselves fully before another, it makes love possible, the way the stubborn land goes soft before the sea. Place a favorite object in front of you, and as you breathe, put yourself fully before it and feel what makes it special to you. As you breathe, meditate on the place in you where that specialness comes from. Keep breathing evenly, and know this specialness as a kinship between you and your favorite object. During your day, take the time to put yourself fully before something that is new to you, and as you breathe, try to feel your kinship to it.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
The teachings of impermanence and lack of independent existence are not difficult to understand intellectually; when you hear these teachings you may think that they are quite true. On a deeper level, however, you probably still identify yourself as “me” and identify others as “them” or “you.” On some level you likely say to yourself, “I will always be me; I have an identity that is important.” I, for example, say to myself, “I am a Buddhist priest; not a Christian or Islamic one. I am a Japanese person, not an American or a Chinese one.” If we did not assume that we have this something within us that does not change, it would be very difficult for us to live responsibly in society. This is why people who are unfamiliar with Buddhism often ask, “If there were no unchanging essential existence, doesn’t that mean I would not be responsible for my past actions, since I would be a different person than in the past?” But of course that is not what the Buddha meant when he said we have no unchanging atman or essential existence. To help us understand this point, we can consider how our life resembles a river. Each moment the water of a river is flowing and different, so it is constantly changing, but there is still a certain continuity of the river as a whole. The Mississippi River, for example, was the river we know a million years ago. And yet, the water flowing in the Mississippi is always different, always new, so there is actually no fixed thing that we can say is the one and only Mississippi River. We can see this clearly when we compare the source of the Mississippi in northern Minnesota, a small stream one can jump over, to the river’s New Orleans estuary, which seems as wide as an ocean. We cannot say which of these is the true Mississippi: it is just a matter of conditions that lets us call one or the other of these the Mississippi. In reality, a river is just a collection of masses of flowing water contained within certain shapes in the land. “Mississippi River” is simply a name given to various conditions and changing elements. Since our lives are also just a collection of conditions, we cannot say that we each have one true identity that does not change, just as we cannot say there is one true Mississippi River. What we call the “self ” is just a set of conditions existing within a collection of different elements. So I cannot say that there is an unchanging self that exists throughout my life as a baby, as a teenager, and as it is today. Things that I thought were important and interesting when I was an elementary or high school student, for example, are not at all interesting to me now; my feelings, emotions, and values are always changing. This is the meaning of the teaching that everything is impermanent and without independent existence. But we still must recognize that there is a certain continuity in our lives, that there is causality, and that we need to be responsible for what we did yesterday. In this way, self-identity is important. Even though in actuality there is no unchanging identity, I still must use expressions like “when I was a baby ..., when I was a boy ..., when I was a teenager. ...” To speak about changes in our lives and communicate in a meaningful way, we must speak as if we assumed that there is an unchanging “I” that has been experiencing the changes; otherwise, the word “change” has no meaning. But according to Buddhist philosophy, self-identity, the “I,” is a creation of the mind; we create self-identity because it’s convenient and useful in certain ways. We must use self-identity to live responsibly in society, but we should realize that it is merely a tool, a symbol, a sign, or a concept. Because it enables us to think and discriminate, self-identity allows us to live and function. Although it is not the only reality of our lives, self-identity is a reality for us, a tool we must use to live with others in society.
Shohaku Okumura (Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo)
You already know what you know, after all—and, unless your life is perfect, what you know is not enough. You remain threatened by disease, and self-deception, and unhappiness, and malevolence, and betrayal, and corruption, and pain, and limitation. You are subject to all these things, in the final analysis, because you are just too ignorant to protect yourself. If you just knew enough, you could be healthier and more honest. You would suffer less. You could recognize, resist and even triumph over malevolence and evil. You would neither betray a friend, nor deal falsely and deceitfully in business, politics or love. However, your current knowledge has neither made you perfect nor kept you safe. So, it is insufficient, by definition—radically, fatally insufficient. You must accept this before you can converse philosophically, instead of convincing, oppressing, dominating or even amusing. You must accept this before you can tolerate a conversation where the Word that eternally mediates between order and chaos is operating, psychologically speaking. To have this kind of conversation, it is necessary to respect the personal experience of your conversational partners. You must assume that they have reached careful, thoughtful, genuine conclusions (and, perhaps, they must have done the work tha justifies this assumption). You must believe that if they shared their conclusions with you, you could bypass at least some of the pain of personally learning the same things (as learning from the experience of others can be quicker and much less dangerous). You must meditate, too, instead of strategizing towards victory. If you fail, or refuse, to do so, then you merely and automatically repeat what you already believe, seeking its validation and insisting on its rightness. But if you are meditating as you converse, then you listen to the other person, and say the new and original things that can rise from deep within of their own accord. It’s as if you are listening to yourself during such a conversation, just as you are listening to the other person. You are describing how you are responding to the new information imparted by the speaker. You are reporting what that information has done to you—what new things it made appear within you, how it has changed your presuppositions, how it has made you think of new questions. You tell the speaker these things, directly. Then they have the same effect on him. In this manner, you both move towards somewhere newer and broader and better. You both change, as you let your old presuppositions die—as you shed your skins and emerge renewed. A conversation such as this is one where it is the desire for truth itself—on the part of both participants—that is truly listening and speaking. That’s why it’s engaging, vital, interesting and meaningful. That sense of meaning is a signal from the deep, ancient parts of your Being. You’re where you should be, with one foot in order, and the other tentatively extended into chaos and the unknown. You’re immersed in the Tao, following the great Way of Life. There, you’re stable enough to be secure, but flexible enough to transform. There, you’re allowing new information to inform you—to permeate your stability, to repair and improve its structure, and expand its domain. There the constituent elements of your Being can find their more elegant formation. A conversation like that places you in the same place that listening to great music places you, and for much the same reason. A conversation like that puts you in the realm where souls connect, and that’s a real place. It leaves you thinking, “That was really worthwhile. We really got to know each other.” The masks came off, and the searchers were revealed. So, listen, to yourself and to those with whom you are speaking. Your wisdom then consists not of the knowledge you already have, but the continual search for knowledge, which is the highest form of wisdom.
Jordan B. Peterson