No Description Needed Quotes

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You're a guardian angel now." I was still too much in awe to wrap my mind around it, but at the same time I felt amazement, curiosity...happiness. "I'm your guardian angel," he said. "I get my very own guardian angel? What, exactly, is your job description?" "Guard your body." His smile tipped higher. "I take my job seriously, which means I'm going to need to get acquainted with the subject matter on a personal level.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1))
How can love be worthy of its name if one selects solely the pretty things and leaves out the hardships? It is easy to enjoy the good and dislike the bad. Anybody can do that. The real challenge is to love the good and the bad together, not because you need to take the rough with the smooth but because you need to go beyond such descriptions and accept love in its entirety.
Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)
Sometimes words need music too. Sometimes the descriptions are not enough. Books should be written with soundtracks, like films.
Terry Pratchett (The Bromeliad Trilogy (Omnibus: Truckers / Diggers / Wings))
First of all, love is a joint experience between two persons — but the fact that it is a joint experience does not mean that it is a similar experience to the two people involved. There are the lover and the beloved, but these two come from different countries. Often the beloved is only a stimulus for all the stored-up love which had lain quiet within the lover for a long time hitherto. And somehow every lover knows this. He feels in his soul that his love is a solitary thing. He comes to know a new, strange loneliness and it is this knowledge which makes him suffer. So there is only one thing for the lover to do. He must house his love within himself as best he can; he must create for himself a whole new inward world — a world intense and strange, complete in himself. Let it be added here that this lover about whom we speak need not necessarily be a young man saving for a wedding ring — this lover can be man, woman, child, or indeed any human creature on this earth. Now, the beloved can also be of any description. The most outlandish people can be the stimulus for love. A man may be a doddering great-grandfather and still love only a strange girl he saw in the streets of Cheehaw one afternoon two decades past. The preacher may love a fallen woman. The beloved may be treacherous, greasy-headed, and given to evil habits. Yes, and the lover may see this as clearly as anyone else — but that does not affect the evolution of his love one whit. A most mediocre person can be the object of a love which is wild, extravagant, and beautiful as the poison lilies of the swamp. A good man may be the stimulus for a love both violent and debased, or a jabbering madman may bring about in the soul of someone a tender and simple idyll. Therefore, the value and quality of any love is determined solely by the lover himself. It is for this reason that most of us would rather love than be loved. Almost everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being beloved is intolerable to many. The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best of reasons. For the lover is forever trying to strip bare his beloved. The lover craves any possible relation with the beloved, even if this experience can cause him only pain.
Carson McCullers (The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories)
Pain is pain. It needs no description.
Christopher Paolini (Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle, #3))
You’re a guardian angel now.”.... "I’m your guardian angel,” he said. “I get my very own guardian angel? What, exactly, is your job description?” “Guard your body.” His smile tipped higher. “I take my job seriously, which means I’m going to need to get acquainted with the subject matter on a personal level.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1))
If what's always distinguished bad writing--flat characters, a narrative world that's clichéd and not recognizably human, etc.--is also a description of today's world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then [Bret] Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. Postmodern irony and cynicism's become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what's wrong, because they'll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony's gone from liberating to enslaving. There's some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who's come to love his cage… The postmodern founders' patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years. We enter a spiritual puberty where we snap to the fact that the great transcendent horror is loneliness, excluded encagement in the self. Once we’ve hit this age, we will now give or take anything, wear any mask, to fit, be part-of, not be Alone, we young. The U.S. arts are our guide to inclusion. A how-to. We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. And then it’s stuck there, the weary cynicism that saves us from gooey sentiment and unsophisticated naïveté. Sentiment equals naïveté on this continent. You burn with hunger for food that does not exist. A U. S. of modern A. where the State is not a team or a code, but a sort of sloppy intersection of desires and fears, where the only public consensus a boy must surrender to is the acknowledged primacy of straight-line pursuing this flat and short-sighted idea of personal happiness.
David Foster Wallace
Because I was permanently confused, dissatisfied, unhappy, tormented by inadequacy, driven by wanting towards every kind of impossible future, the attitude of mind described by 'tolerantly amused eyes' was years away from me. I don't think I really saw people then, except as appendages to my needs. It's only now, looking back, that I understood, but at the time I lived in a brilliantly lit haze, shifting and flickering according to my changing desires. Of course, that is only a description of being young.
Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook)
If we want to add human interaction to the panorama of our lifescape, the sustainability and the expectancy description of our emotions are momentous. Cracks in relations can be "restored," whereas breakups have to be "repaired." For 'repairs,' we need proper tools, respectively, concrete commitments, and endurance. For 'restoration,' we need exceptional talent and subtle adroitness to realize a perfect replica of the original emotional canvas. ("Life with sea view")
Erik Pevernagie
No one needed to say it, but the room overflowed with that sort of blessing. The combination of loss and abundance. The abundance that has no guilt. The loss that has no fix. The simple tiredness that is not weary. The hope not built on blindness.
Aimee Bender (Willful Creatures)
The challenge of abating one with a genuine ego problem is to not try to put him down. Any and all antagonization, in his mind, is merely compensated for by his own descriptions: his feelings of persecution by the envious and his ideals of worth. Arguably, the genuine ego is more of a circumstantial defense mechanism rather than a steady arrogance in need of starvation.
Criss Jami (Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality)
The full moon, well risen in a cloudless eastern sky, covered the high solitude with its light. We are not conscious of daylight as that which displaces darkness. Daylight, even when the sun is clear of clouds, seems to us simply the natural condition of the earth and air. When we think of the downs, we think of the downs in daylight, as with think of a rabbit with its fur on. Stubbs may have envisaged the skeleton inside the horse, but most of us do not: and we do not usually envisage the downs without daylight, even though the light is not a part of the down itself as the hide is part of the horse itself. We take daylight for granted. But moonlight is another matter. It is inconstant. The full moon wanes and returns again. Clouds may obscure it to an extent to which they cannot obscure daylight. Water is necessary to us, but a waterfall is not. Where it is to be found it is something extra, a beautiful ornament. We need daylight and to that extent it us utilitarian, but moonlight we do not need. When it comes, it serves no necessity. It transforms. It falls upon the banks and the grass, separating one long blade from another; turning a drift of brown, frosted leaves from a single heap to innumerable flashing fragments; or glimmering lengthways along wet twigs as though light itself were ductile. Its long beams pour, white and sharp, between the trunks of trees, their clarity fading as they recede into the powdery, misty distance of beech woods at night. In moonlight, two acres of coarse bent grass, undulant and ankle deep, tumbled and rough as a horse's mane, appear like a bay of waves, all shadowy troughs and hollows. The growth is so thick and matted that event the wind does not move it, but it is the moonlight that seems to confer stillness upon it. We do not take moonlight for granted. It is like snow, or like the dew on a July morning. It does not reveal but changes what it covers. And its low intensity---so much lower than that of daylight---makes us conscious that it is something added to the down, to give it, for only a little time, a singular and marvelous quality that we should admire while we can, for soon it will be gone again.
Richard Adams (Watership Down (Watership Down, #1))
I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off. They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wear no...
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit)
My needs were simple. I didn't bother much with themes or felicitous phrases and skipped fine descriptions of weather, landscapes and interiors. I wanted characters I could believe in and I wanted to be made curious about what was to happen to them.
Ian McEwan (Sweet Tooth)
Weapons weren't in the class description. It's about basic self-defense and hand-to-hand." "Why bother then?" Adrian strolled over to a glass case displaying several types of brass knuckles. "That's the kind of stuff Castile does all day. He could have showed us." "I wanted someone a little more approachable," I explained. "What, like Captain McTropicalShorts back there? Where on earth did you find him anyway?" "Just did an Internet search." Feeling a need to defend my research, I added, "He comes highly recommended." "By who? Long John Silver?
Richelle Mead (The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2))
To reiterate: not all things need to be finished, and free reading is a prime example of this. Writing – or the composition of words which are intended to be read – just like painting, sculpting, or composing music, is a form of art. Typically, not all art is able to resonate with each and every viewer – or, in this case, reader. If we walk through a museum and see a boring painting, or listen to an album we don’t enjoy, we won’t keep staring at said painting, nor will we listen to the album. So, if we don’t like a book, if we aren’t learning from it, dreaming about it, enjoying its descriptions, pondering its messages, or whatever else may be redeeming about a specific book, why would we waste our time to “just finish it?” Sure, we may add another book to the list of books read, but is more always better?
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
My needs were simple I didn't bother much with themes or felicitous phrases and skipped fine descriptions of weather, landscapes and interiors. I wanted characters I could believe in, and I wanted to be made curious about what was to happen to them. Generally, I preferred people to be falling in and out of love, but I didn't mind so much if they tried their hand at something else. It was vulgar to want it, but I liked someone to say 'Marry me' by the end.
Ian McEwan (Sweet Tooth)
I became simply a pair of eyes, staring through my mask at Char. I needed no ears because I was too far off to hear his voice, no words because I was too distant for speech, and no thoughts - those I saved for later. He bent his head. I loved the hairs on the nape of his neck. He moved his lips. I admired their changing shape. He clasped his hand. I blessed his fingers. Once, the power of my gaze drew his eyes...
Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted (Ella Enchanted, #1))
I myself grew up to be not only a Hero, but also a Writer. When I was an adult, I rewrote A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons, and I included not only some descriptions of the various deadly dragon species, and a useful Dragonese Dictionary, but also this story of how the book came to be written in the first place. This is the book that you are holding in your hands right now. Perhaps you even borrowed it from a Library? If so, thank Thor that the sinister figure of the Hairy Scary Librarian is not lurking around a corner, hiding in the shadows, Heart-Slicers at the ready, or that the punishment for your curiosity is not the whirring whine of a Driller Dragon's drill. You, dear reader, I am sure cannot imagine what it might to be like to live in a world in which books are banned. For surely such things will never happen in the Future? Thank Thor that you live in a time and a place where people have the right to live and think and write and read their books in peace, and there are no need for Heroes anymore ... And spare a thought for those who have not been so lucky.
Cressida Cowell (A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons (How to Train Your Dragon, #6))
There's something about rushing water that I can watch for hours and feel as if I need to do nothing more. It's alive in a way that's greater than any description of it...
Mark Helprin (In Sunlight and in Shadow)
We need to develop a better descriptive vocabulary for lying, a taxonomy, a way to distinguish intentional lies from unintentional ones, and a way to distinguish the lies that the liar himself believes in – a way to signal those lies that could be more accurately described as dreams. Lies – they make for a tidy little psychological Doppler effect, tell us more about a liar than an undistorted self-report ever could.
Rivka Galchen (Atmospheric Disturbances)
He was too many things at once - a boy, a man, and everything in between - and the differing parts of himself seldom came into balance. She found him attractive in that way. Yet the perception saddened her: she herself wasn't too many things, but too few.
Stephen R. Donaldson (The Mirror of Her Dreams (Mordant's Need, #1))
Nature offers us a thousand simple pleasers- Plays of light and color, fragrance in the air, the sun's warmth on skin and muscle, the audible rhythm of life's stir and push- for the price of merely paying attention. What joy! But how unwilling or unable many of us are to pay this price in an age when manufactured sources of stimulation and pleasure are everywhere at hand. For me, enjoying nature's pleasures takes conscious choice, a choice to slow down to seed time or rock time, to still the clamoring ego, to set aside plans and busyness, and to simply to be present in my body, to offer myself up. Respond to the above quote. Pay special attention to each of your five senses as you describe your surroundings. Also, you need to incorporate at least one metaphor and smile in your descriptions.
Lorraine Anderson (Sisters of the Earth: Women's Prose and Poetry About Nature)
The only thing that comes close to defining me correctly is my love.
Kamand Kojouri
Interviewer ...In the case of "American Psycho" I felt there was something more than just this desire to inflict pain--or that Ellis was being cruel the way you said serious artists need to be willing to be. DFW: You're just displaying the sort of cynicism that lets readers be manipulated by bad writing. I think it's a kind of black cynicism about today's world that Ellis and certain others depend on for their readership. Look, if the contemporary condition is hopelessly shitty, insipid, materialistic, emotionally retarded, sadomasochistic, and stupid, then I (or any writer) can get away with slapping together stories with characters who are stupid, vapid, emotionally retarded, which is easy, because these sorts of characters require no development. With descriptions that are simply lists of brand-name consumer products. Where stupid people say insipid stuff to each other. If what's always distinguished bad writing -- flat characters, a narrative world that's cliched and not recognizably human, etc. -- is also a description of today's world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. You can defend "Psycho" as being a sort of performative digest of late-eighties social problems, but it's no more than that.
David Foster Wallace
On the other hand, she never looked as -big- as she did at that moment. "What?" Rose demanded, glaring up at him. The warning signal flashed bright red in Kane's head. Telling a woman she was as big as a beach ball wouldn't win any points. How did one describe how she looked? A basketball? Volleyball? He studied her furious little face. Yeah. He was in big trouble no matter what he said. Description was out of the question. He needed diplomacy, something that flew out of the window when he was near her and she said the words like contractions.
Christine Feehan (Ruthless Game (GhostWalkers, #9))
Masculinity is simply a conglomeration of the personality traits necessary for the patriarchal soldier-rapist: physically strong, emotionally cauterized, rational, domineering, cruel. All of this is supposed to add up to "handsome" as well. Likewise femininity is ultimately a description of the personality that results from trauma and powerlessness: weak, passive, yielding, emotional, hyper-vigilant to the needs of the dominators and desperate for the dominator's attention.
Lierre Keith
Beautiful moments in life need no words for description. Living those moments and feeling the beauty suffices.
Mamur Mustapha
I did not really need Magretta to tell me that love had caught my father like an unwilling fish, and having slipped the hook he had been glad to forget he had ever been on it in the first place.
Naomi Novik (Spinning Silver)
As Ramses did the same for his mother, he saw that her eyes were fixed on him. She had been unusually silent. She had not needed his father's tactless comment to understand the full implications of Farouk's death. As he met her unblinking gaze he was reminded of one of Nefret's more vivid descriptions. 'When she's angry, her eyes look like polished steel balls.' That's done it, he thought. She's made up her mind to get David and me out of this if she has to take on every German and Turkish agent in the Middle East.
Elizabeth Peters (He Shall Thunder in the Sky (Amelia Peabody, #12))
You’re so cute when you’re jealous,” I say. She looks at me, her resolve melting with my words. I take her face in my hands and gently press my lips to hers. She sighs a quiet, defeated sigh into my mouth and relents, parting her lips for me. I run my hands down her arms and to her waist, then pull her out of the chair and on top of me as I lean back onto the bed. I place one hand on the small of her back, pressing her into me, and my other hand I run through her hair, grabbing the back of her head. I kiss her hard as I roll her onto her back, proving to her that she has absolutely nothing to be jealous of. As soon as I’m on top of her, she places her hands on my cheeks and forces my face apart from hers. “So your lips touched someone else’s lips? After our first kiss?” I fall back onto the bed beside her. “Lake, stop it. Stop thinking about it,” I say. “I can’t, Will.” She turns to me and makes that damn pouty face she knows I can’t refuse. “I need to know. In my head all I can picture is you taking some girl out on this perfect date and making her grilled cheese sandwiches and playing “would you rather” with her and sharing seriously intense moments with her, then kissing the hell out of her at the end of the night.” Her description of our first date causes me to laugh. I lean over and press my lips to her ear and whisper, “Is that what I did to you? I kissed the hell out of you?” She pulls her neck away and shoots me a glare, letting me know she isn’t backing down until she gets her way. “Fine,” I say, pulling back. “If I tell you all about it will you promise to let me kiss the hell out of you again?” “Promise,” she says.
Colleen Hoover (This Girl (Slammed, #3))
I suppose hobbits need some descriptions nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big people, as they call us.
J.R.R. Tolkien
Naming can satisfy a need, it can shorten a conversation that otherwise might go on for hours.
Nihad Sirees
I drank, sucking the blood out of the holes, experiencing for the first time since infancy the special pleasure of sucking nourishment, the body focused with the mind upon one vital source.
Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1))
...ugly interlopers threaten to choke off your story, depriving it of much-needed nutrition, sunlight and water. Identify and cut those weeds – the life-sucking adverbs, the shade-killing descriptions that don’t move the story forward, the crowding passive voice sentences.
Rob Bignell (Writing Affirmations: A Collection of Positive Messages to Inspire Writers)
Understanding the physiological and neurological features of spiritual experiences should not be interpreted as an attempt to discredit their reality or explain them away. Rather, it demonstrates their physical existence as a fundamental, shared part of human nature. Spiritual experiences cannot be considered irrational, since we have seen that, given their physiological basis, experiencers' descriptions of them are perfectly rational... All human perceptions of material reality can ultimately be documented as chemical reactions in our neurobiology; all our sensations, thoughts, and memories are ultimately reducible to chemistry, yet we feel no need to deny the existence of the material world; it is not less real because our perceptions of it are biologically based... It is not rational to assume that the spiritual reality of core experiences is any less real than the more scientifically documentable material reality.
Sabina Magliocco (Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America)
Dear friend…' The Witcher swore quietly, looking at the sharp, angular, even runes drawn with energetic sweeps of the pen, faultlessly reflecting the author’s mood. He felt once again the desire to try to bite his own backside in fury. When he was writing to the sorceress a month ago he had spent two nights in a row contemplating how best to begin. Finally, he had decided on “Dear friend.” Now he had his just deserts. 'Dear friend, your unexpected letter – which I received not quite three years after we last saw each other – has given me much joy. My joy is all the greater as various rumours have been circulating about your sudden and violent death. It is a good thing that you have decided to disclaim them by writing to me; it is a good thing, too, that you are doing so so soon. From your letter it appears that you have lived a peaceful, wonderfully boring life, devoid of all sensation. These days such a life is a real privilege, dear friend, and I am happy that you have managed to achieve it. I was touched by the sudden concern which you deigned to show as to my health, dear friend. I hasten with the news that, yes, I now feel well; the period of indisposition is behind me, I have dealt with the difficulties, the description of which I shall not bore you with. It worries and troubles me very much that the unexpected present you received from Fate brings you worries. Your supposition that this requires professional help is absolutely correct. Although your description of the difficulty – quite understandably – is enigmatic, I am sure I know the Source of the problem. And I agree with your opinion that the help of yet another magician is absolutely necessary. I feel honoured to be the second to whom you turn. What have I done to deserve to be so high on your list? Rest assured, my dear friend; and if you had the intention of supplicating the help of additional magicians, abandon it because there is no need. I leave without delay, and go to the place which you indicated in an oblique yet, to me, understandable way. It goes without saying that I leave in absolute secrecy and with great caution. I will surmise the nature of the trouble on the spot and will do all that is in my power to calm the gushing source. I shall try, in so doing, not to appear any worse than other ladies to whom you have turned, are turning or usually turn with your supplications. I am, after all, your dear friend. Your valuable friendship is too important to me to disappoint you, dear friend. Should you, in the next few years, wish to write to me, do not hesitate for a moment. Your letters invariably give me boundless pleasure. Your friend Yennefer' The letter smelled of lilac and gooseberries. Geralt cursed.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Krew elfów (Saga o Wiedźminie, #1))
I could need you in many ways yet I don’t; I love you in many ways. It is peculiar. I need you only in the sense that you need yourself. I don’t expect anything to be mutually intense among us. I somehow like the thought of being the one who is feeling already more than one should. But I need you to believe that you are distinctively refreshing. And uncommon. And intriguing. It is an extreme oddity of mine but I need you to believe that. Call it a form of paranoia; I know that I am feeding your ego right now. Call it self-defense; I am putting in words your uniqueness in an attempt to explain to my own self why is it that I adore you. The truth is: You shine out like the sun shines out and you melt away all my intentions of a fatal, whatsoever, description regarding what is it exactly that you do. There is no exactness. See, it takes suns and miraculous imagery to slightly sketch you in words whereas you probably are as complex as an impressionist painting of impeccable quality. You continually provoke my blatantly awful poetical instincts; that is for sure.
Katherine Mansfield (Selected Stories)
The phrase "consumer society" complements the description of the present social order as an "industrial society." Needs are tailored by the mass media to create a public demand for utterly useless commodities, each carefully engineered to deteriorate after a predetermined period of time. The plundering of the human spirit by the marketplace is paralleled by the plundering of the earth by capital.
Murray Bookchin (Post-Scarcity Anarchism)
Her features were dainty, her small slender wrists climbed up to become the delicate shoulders that beckoned him. Her skin was like peach-tinted cream and he need not have touched her to experience the melting softness of her body. Her perfectly oval face was austere and her manner a little haughty. Her expressions had delicacy as well as a particular strength that did not abate her femininity. It seemed that the world had stopped. Her voice sounded like a melody and she looked like a dream, an illusion, up close and personal.
Faraaz Kazi (Truly, Madly, Deeply)
It's a misery peculiar to would-be writers. Your theme is good, as are your sentences. Your characters are so ruddy with life they practically need birth certificates. The plot you've mapped out for them is grand, simple and gripping. You've done your research, gathering the facts; historical, social, climatic culinary, that will give your story its feel of authenticity. The dialogue zips along, crackling with tension. The descriptions burst with color, contrast and telling detail. Really, your story can only be great. But it all adds up to nothing. In spite the obvious, shining promise of it, there comes a moment when you realize that the whisper that has been pestering you all along from the back of your mind is speaking the flat, awful truth: IT WON'T WORK. An element is missing, that spark that brings to life in a real story, regardless of whether the history or the food is right. Your story is emotionally dead, that's the crux of it. The discovery is something soul-destroying, I tell you. It leaves you with an aching hunger.
Yann Martel
When I can stand in mystery (not knowing and not needing to know and being dazzled by such freedom), when I don’t need to split, to hate, to dismiss, to compartmentalize what I cannot explain or understand, when I can radically accept that “I am what I am what I am,” then I am beginning to stand in divine freedom (Galatians 5:1). We do not know how to stand there on our own. Someone Else needs to sustain us in such a deep and spacious place. This is what the saints mean by our emptiness, our poverty and our nothingness. They are not being negative or self-effacing, but just utterly honest about their inner experience. God alone can sustain me in knowing and accepting that I am not a saint, not at all perfect, not very loving at all—and in that very recognition I can fall into the perfect love of God. Remember Jesus’ first beatitude: “How happy are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of God” (Matthew 5:3). How amazing is that? I think this might just be the description of salvation and perfect freedom. They are the same, you know.
Richard Rohr (Radical Grace: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr)
It’s easy to convince people that children need to learn the alphabet and numbers. . . . How do we help people to realize that what matters even more than the superimposition of adult symbols is how a person’s inner life finally puts together the alphabet and numbers of his outer life? What really matters is whether he uses the alphabet for the declaration of war or the description of a sunrise—his numbers for the final count at Buchenwald or the specifics of a brand-new bridge.
Fred Rogers
You'd think a man that had waited eighty some odd years on God to come into his life, well, you'd think he'd come. If he didnt you'd still have to figure that he knew what he was doin. I don't know what other description of God you could have. So what you end up with is that those he has spoke to are the ones that must of needed it the worst. That's not a easy thing to accept.
Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
Unless there is a strong sense of place there is no travel writing, but it need not come from topographical description; dialogue can also convey a sense of place. Even so, I insist, the traveler invents the place. Feeling compelled to comment on my travel books, people say to me, "I went there"---China, India, the Pacific, Albania-- "and it wasn't like that." I say, "Because I am not you.
Paul Theroux (The Best American Travel Writing 2001)
There is some confusion as to what magic actually is. I think this can be cleared up if you just look at the very earliest descriptions of magic. Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as “the art”. I believe this is completely literal. I believe that magic is art and that art, whether it be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness. The very language about magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art as it is about supernatural events. A grimmoir for example, the book of spells is simply a fancy way of saying grammar. Indeed, to cast a spell, is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people's consciousness. And I believe that this is why an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world that you are likely to see to a Shaman. I believe that all culture must have arisen from cult. Originally, all of the faucets of our culture, whether they be in the arts or sciences were the province of the Shaman. The fact that in present times, this magical power has degenerated to the level of cheap entertainment and manipulation, is, I think a tragedy. At the moment the people who are using Shamanism and magic to shape our culture are advertisers. Rather than try to wake people up, their Shamanism is used as an opiate to tranquilize people, to make people more manipulable. Their magic box of television, and by their magic words, their jingles can cause everyone in the country to be thinking the same words and have the same banal thoughts all at exactly the same moment. In all of magic there is an incredibly large linguistic component. The Bardic tradition of magic would place a bard as being much higher and more fearsome than a magician. A magician might curse you. That might make your hands lay funny or you might have a child born with a club foot. If a Bard were to place not a curse upon you, but a satire, then that could destroy you. If it was a clever satire, it might not just destroy you in the eyes of your associates; it would destroy you in the eyes of your family. It would destroy you in your own eyes. And if it was a finely worded and clever satire that might survive and be remembered for decades, even centuries. Then years after you were dead people still might be reading it and laughing at you and your wretchedness and your absurdity. Writers and people who had command of words were respected and feared as people who manipulated magic. In latter times I think that artists and writers have allowed themselves to be sold down the river. They have accepted the prevailing belief that art and writing are merely forms of entertainment. They’re not seen as transformative forces that can change a human being; that can change a society. They are seen as simple entertainment; things with which we can fill 20 minutes, half an hour, while we’re waiting to die. It’s not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience wants. If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience. They would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need.
Alan Moore
According to my grandmother’s people, two wolves live inside every creature: one evil and the other good. They spend all their time trying to destroy each other.” It was, Matthew thought, as good a description of blood rage as he was ever likely to hear from someone not afflicted with the disease. “My bad wolf is winning.” Jack looked sad. “He doesn’t have to,” Chris promised. “Nana Bets said the wolf who wins is the wolf you feed. The evil wolf feeds on anger, guilt, sorrow, lies, and regret. The good wolf needs a diet of love and honesty, spiced up with big spoonfuls of compassion and faith. So if you want the good wolf to win, you’re going to have to starve the other one.
Deborah Harkness (The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3))
I need you to get inside Wayne's head. I need someone who thinks a bit left field and in your own unpleasant way, Helen Walsh, you're a genius. He had a point. I'm lazy and illogical. I've limited people skills. I'm easily bored and easily irritated. But I have moments of brilliance. They come and they go and I can't depend on them but they do happen.
Marian Keyes (The Mystery of Mercy Close (Walsh Family, #5))
Cloying tendrils of mist searched the city like skeletal fingers reaching deep into crevices, hoping to capture the elusive prey needed to satisfy gnawing hunger...
Jillian Kent (Mystery of the Heart (The Ravensmoore Chronicles #3))
...Ruby is fiercely protective and possesses the strong will and resilience needed to make impossible choices. I liked that. Very poetic." –Clancy
Alexandra Bracken (Never Fade (The Darkest Minds, #2))
The belief that science proceeds from observation to theory is still so widely and so firmly held that my denial of it is often met with incredulity. I have even been suspected of being insincere- of denying what nobody in his senses would doubt. But in fact the belief that we can start with pure observation alone, without anything in the nature of a theory is absurd; as may be illustrated by the story of the man who dedicated his life to natural science, wrote down everything he could observe, and bequeathed his priceless collection of observations to the Royal Society to be used as evidence. This story should show us that though beetles may profitably be collected, observations may not. Twenty-five years ago I tried to bring home the same point to a group of physics students in Vienna by beginning a lecture with the following instructions : 'Take pencil and paper; carefully observe, and write down what you have observed!' They asked, of course, what I wanted them to observe. Clearly the instruction, 'Observe!' is absurd. (It is not even idiomatic, unless the object of the transitive verb can be taken as understood.) Observation is always selective. It needs a chosen object, a definite task, an interest, a point of view, a problem. And its description presupposes a descriptive language, with property words; it presupposes similarity and classification, which in their turn presuppose interests, points of view, and problems.
Karl Popper (Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge)
Weight Watchers holds as a descriptive axiom the transparently true fact that for each of us the universe is deeply and sharply and completely divided into for example in my case, me, on one side, and everything else, on the other. This for each of us exhaustively defines the whole universe... And then they hold by a prescriptive axiom the undoubtedly equally true and inarguable fact that we each ought to desire our own universe to be as full as possible, that the Great Horror consists in an empty, rattling personal universe, one where one finds oneself with Self, on one hand, and vastly empty lonely spaces before Others begin to enter the picture at all, on the other. A non-full universe... The emptier one’s universe is, the worse it is... Weight Watchers perceives the problem as one involving the need to have as much Other around as possible, so that the relation is one of minimum Self to maximum Other... We each need a full universe. Weight Watchers and their allies would have us systematically decrease the Self-component of the universe, so that the great Other-set will be physically attracted to the now more physically attractive Self, and rush in to fill the void caused by that diminution of Self. Certainly not incorrect, but just as certainly only half of the range of valid solutions to the full-universe problem... Is my drift getting palpable? Just as in genetic engineering... There is always more than one solution... An autonomously full universe... Rather than diminishing Self to entice Other to fill our universe, we may also of course obviously choose to fill the universe with Self... Yes. I plan to grow to infinite size... There will of course eventually cease to be room for anyone else in the universe at all.
David Foster Wallace (The Broom of the System)
Ms. Terwilliger didn’t have a chance to respond to my geological ramblings because someone knocked on the door. I slipped the rocks into my pocket and tried to look studious as she called an entry. I figured Zoe had tracked me down, but surprisingly, Angeline walked in. "Did you know," she said, "that it’s a lot harder to put organs back in the body than it is to get them out?" I closed my eyes and silently counted to five before opening them again. “Please tell me you haven’t eviscerated someone.” She shook her head. “No, no. I left my biology homework in Miss Wentworth’s room, but when I went back to get it, she’d already left and locked the door. But it’s due tomorrow, and I’m already in trouble in there, so I had to get it. So, I went around outside, and her window lock wasn’t that hard to open, and I—” "Wait," I interrupted. "You broke into a classroom?" "Yeah, but that’s not the problem." Behind me, I heard a choking laugh from Ms. Terwilliger’s desk. "Go on," I said wearily. "Well, when I climbed through, I didn’t realize there was a bunch of stuff in the way, and I crashed into those plastic models of the human body she has. You know, the life size ones with all the parts inside? And bam!" Angeline held up her arms for effect. "Organs everywhere." She paused and looked at me expectantly. "So what are we going to do? I can’t get in trouble with her." "We?" I exclaimed. "Here," said Ms. Terwilliger. I turned around, and she tossed me a set of keys. From the look on her face, it was taking every ounce of self-control not to burst out laughing. "That square one’s a master. I know for a fact she has yoga and won’t be back for the rest of the day. I imagine you can repair the damage—and retrieve the homework—before anyone’s the wiser.” I knew that the “you” in “you can repair” meant me. With a sigh, I stood up and packed up my things. “Thanks,” I said. As Angeline and I walked down to the science wing, I told her, “You know, the next time you’ve got a problem, maybe come to me before it becomes an even bigger problem.” "Oh no," she said nobly. "I didn’t want to be an inconvenience." Her description of the scene was pretty accurate: organs everywhere. Miss Wentworth had two models, male and female, with carved out torsos that cleverly held removable parts of the body that could be examined in greater detail. Wisely, she had purchased models that were only waist-high. That was still more than enough of a mess for us, especially since it was hard to tell which model the various organs belonged to. I had a pretty good sense of anatomy but still opened up a textbook for reference as I began sorting. Angeline, realizing her uselessness here, perched on a far counter and swing her legs as she watched me. I’d started reassembling the male when I heard a voice behind me. "Melbourne, I always knew you’d need to learn about this kind of thing. I’d just kind of hoped you’d learn it on a real guy." I glanced back at Trey, as he leaned in the doorway with a smug expression. “Ha, ha. If you were a real friend, you’d come help me.” I pointed to the female model. “Let’s see some of your alleged expertise in action.” "Alleged?" He sounded indignant but strolled in anyways. I hadn’t really thought much about asking him for help. Mostly I was thinking this was taking much longer than it should, and I had more important things to do with my time. It was only when he came to a sudden halt that I realized my mistake. "Oh," he said, seeing Angeline. "Hi." Her swinging feet stopped, and her eyes were as wide as his. “Um, hi.” The tension ramped up from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds, and everyone seemed at a loss for words. Angeline jerked her head toward the models and blurted out. “I had an accident.” That seemed to snap Trey from his daze, and a smile curved his lips. Whereas Angeline’s antics made me want to pull out my hair sometimes, he found them endearing.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
Dear men, I’ll make it clear to you. Those who tell you that ‘true love’ is never giving up someone you are in love with are insecure and competitive. Their description on love is based on their needs. Selfish needs. While women who are confident, their spirits fulfilled by themselves know that a 'good bye’ doesn’t mean they never loved you. They realizes that letting you go is what God needs them to do, because both happiness: yours and your lover require taking different journey for spiritual growth. These kind of women show you what 'real love’ is. And you don’t want to catch them still? Win a battle for them? Even after what you have learnt? For God’s sake, these women have endured much. For battles she fight alone, they deserve LOVE.
Ahimsa Murfi
My past has its space, its paths, its nameplaces, and its monuments. Beneath the crossed but distinct orders of succession and simultaneity, beneath the train of synchronizations added onto line by line, we find a nameless network--constellations of spatial hours, of point-events. Should we even say 'thing,' should we say 'imaginary' or 'idea,' when each thing exists beyond itself, when each fact can be a dimension, when ideas have their regions? The whole description of our landscape and the lines of our universe, and of our inner monologue, needs to be redone. Colors, sounds, and things--like Van Gogh's stars--are the focal points and radiance of being.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Here’s a writing craft tool that you can remove from your toolbox and throw away: description. It’s the stuff that most readers skim. Even when deftly done using the five senses it’s a lead weight. It isn’t needed anymore.
Donald Maass (Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling)
I don't think I really saw people except as appendages to my needs. It's only now, looking back, that I understand, but at the time I lived in a brilliantly lit haze, shifting and flickering according to my changing desires. Of course, that is only a description of being young.
Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook)
Now the various species of whales need some sort of popular comprehensive classification, if only an easy outline one for the present, hereafter to be filled in all its departments by subsequent laborers. As no better man advances to take this matter in hand, I hereupon offer my own poor endeavors. I promise nothing complete; because any human thing supposed to be complete, must for that very reason infallibly be faulty. I shall not pretend to a minute anatomical description of the various species, or - in this place at least - to much of any description. My object here is simply to project the draught of a systematization of cetology. I am the architect, not the builder. (moby dick chap 32 p131)
Herman Melville
I looked at her. "Does God hate me? Me and Dante?" "Of course not. I've never read anything in the Bible that indicates that God hates. Hate isn't in his job description." "You sound so sure, Mom. Maybe you're not such a good Catholic." "Maybe some people would say I'm not. But I don't need anybody to tell me how to live my faith." "But me, I'm a sin, right?" "No, you're not a sin. You're a young man. You're a human being. And you're my son.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World (Aristotle and Dante, #2))
I’m a people pleaser” is the routine self-description of ADD adults. “I’m always so conscious of what the other person might need from me. I feel guilty if I disappoint someone. I can never say no.” Or, “I am the kind of person whom everyone calls to tell their troubles to. I can’t do that myself, though. I would feel guilty, thinking of all the people in the world who have suffered much more than I can even imagine. I shouldn’t need help.” To
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates And What You Can Do About It)
It's not just the lawlessness. It's the grabbing of a myth and making it theirs, like a reggae singer dropping new lyrics 'pon di old version. And if a western needs an O.K. Corral, an O.K. Corral needs a Dodge City. Kingston, where bodies sometimes drop like flies, fits the description a little too well.
Marlon James
Erotic literarature is literature in which eroticism is the novel. It focuses on that. It also implies a certain degree of description, a certain hard core. And to find novels in which you have plot, character, literary quality, plus detailed and real moving descriptions of fucking is a rarity. There is a vibration which takes place in the erotic realm, which translating it into something else, demeans it and destroys it. You need real poetry to talk about that sort of thing.
Marco Vassi (A Driving Passion)
Christians simply haven't developed Christian tools of analysis to examine culture properly. Or rather, the tools the church once had have grown rusty or been mislaid. What often happens is that Christians wake up to some incident or issue and suddenly realize they need to analyze what's going on. Then, having no tools of their own, they lean across and borrow the tools nearest them. They don't realize that, in their haste, they are borrowing not an isolated tool but a whole philosophical toolbox laden with tools which have their own particular bias to every problem (a Trojan horse in the toolbox, if you like). The toolbox may be Freudian, Hindu or Marxist. Occasionally, the toolbox is right-wing; more often today it is liberal or left-wing (the former mainly in North America, the latter mainly in Europe). Rarely - and this is all that matters to us - is it consistently or coherently Christian. When Christians use tools for analysis (or bandy certain terms of description) which have non-Christian assumptions embedded within them, these tools (and terms) eventually act back on them like wearing someone else's glasses or walking in someone else's shoes. The tools shape the user. Their recent failure to think critically about culture has made Christians uniquely susceptible to this.
Os Guinness
Freud was fascinated with depression and focused on the issue that we began with—why is it that most of us can have occasional terrible experiences, feel depressed, and then recover, while a few of us collapse into major depression (melancholia)? In his classic essay “Mourning and Melancholia” (1917), Freud began with what the two have in common. In both cases, he felt, there is the loss of a love object. (In Freudian terms, such an “object” is usually a person, but can also be a goal or an ideal.) In Freud’s formulation, in every loving relationship there is ambivalence, mixed feelings—elements of hatred as well as love. In the case of a small, reactive depression—mourning—you are able to deal with those mixed feelings in a healthy manner: you lose, you grieve, and then you recover. In the case of a major melancholic depression, you have become obsessed with the ambivalence—the simultaneity, the irreconcilable nature of the intense love alongside the intense hatred. Melancholia—a major depression—Freud theorized, is the internal conflict generated by this ambivalence. This can begin to explain the intensity of grief experienced in a major depression. If you are obsessed with the intensely mixed feelings, you grieve doubly after a loss—for your loss of the loved individual and for the loss of any chance now to ever resolve the difficulties. “If only I had said the things I needed to, if only we could have worked things out”—for all of time, you have lost the chance to purge yourself of the ambivalence. For the rest of your life, you will be reaching for the door to let you into a place of pure, unsullied love, and you can never reach that door. It also explains the intensity of the guilt often experienced in major depression. If you truly harbored intense anger toward the person along with love, in the aftermath of your loss there must be some facet of you that is celebrating, alongside the grieving. “He’s gone; that’s terrible but…thank god, I can finally live, I can finally grow up, no more of this or that.” Inevitably, a metaphorical instant later, there must come a paralyzing belief that you have become a horrible monster to feel any sense of relief or pleasure at a time like this. Incapacitating guilt. This theory also explains the tendency of major depressives in such circumstances to, oddly, begin to take on some of the traits of the lost loved/hated one—and not just any traits, but invariably the ones that the survivor found most irritating. Psychodynamically, this is wonderfully logical. By taking on a trait, you are being loyal to your lost, beloved opponent. By picking an irritating trait, you are still trying to convince the world you were right to be irritated—you see how you hate it when I do it; can you imagine what it was like to have to put up with that for years? And by picking a trait that, most of all, you find irritating, you are not only still trying to score points in your argument with the departed, but you are punishing yourself for arguing as well. Out of the Freudian school of thought has come one of the more apt descriptions of depression—“aggression turned inward.” Suddenly the loss of pleasure, the psychomotor retardation, the impulse to suicide all make sense. As do the elevated glucocorticoid levels. This does not describe someone too lethargic to function; it is more like the actual state of a patient in depression, exhausted from the most draining emotional conflict of his or her life—one going on entirely within. If that doesn’t count as psychologically stressful, I don’t know what does.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping)
My point in setting these two descriptions up in this way is simply this: the nature of creative activity itself – what the brain does, and the social and psychic conditions needed for its nurture – has remained essentially the same between Thomas’s time and our own. Human beings did not suddenly acquire imagination and intuition with Coleridge, having previously been poor clods. The difference is that whereas now geniuses are said to have creative imagination which they express in intricate reasoning and original discovery, in earlier times they were said to have richly retentive memories, which they expressed in intricate reasoning and original discovery.
Mary Carruthers (The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 70))
g) Time it takes to reinvent yourself: five years. Here’s a description of the five years: Year One: You’re flailing and reading everything and just starting to do. Year Two: You know who you need to talk to and network with. You’re doing every day. You finally know what the Monopoly board looks like in your new endeavors. Year Three: You’re good enough to start making money. It might not be a living yet. Year Four: You’re making a good living, and you can quit your day job. Year Five: You’re making wealth. Sometimes you get frustrated in years one through four. You say, “Why isn’t it happening yet?” That’s okay. Just keep going. Or stop and pick a new field.
James Altucher (The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness)
If we knew all the laws of Nature, we should need only one fact, or the description of one actual phenomenon, to infer all the particular results at that point. Now we know only a few laws, and our result is vitiated, not, of course, by any confusion or irregularity in Nature, but by our ignorance of essential elements in the calculation. Our notions of law and harmony are commonly confined to those instances which we detect; but the harmony which results from a far greater number of seemingly conflicting, but really concurring, laws, which we have not detected, is still more wonderful. The particular laws are as our points of view, as, to the traveller, a mountain outline varies with every step, and it has an infinite number of profiles, though absolutely but one form. Even when cleft or bored through it is not comprehended in its entireness.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
We think our job as humans is to avoid pain, our job as parents is to protect our children from pain, and our job as friends is to fix each other’s pain. Maybe that’s why we all feel like failures so often—because we all have the wrong job description for love. What my friends didn’t know about me and I didn’t know about Amma is that people who are hurting don’t need Avoiders, Protectors, or Fixers. What we need are patient, loving witnesses. People to sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in helpless vigil to our pain.
Glennon Doyle Melton (Love Warrior)
Descriptions and analyses of what exists are important but certainly not sufficient. We also need to understand what could be.
Michael Neocosmos
A writer need not be bound by flat statement like "It was a rough sea," when verbs like tumble and roil and seethe wait to spell from her pen.
Rebecca McClanahan (Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively)
Reality was a bad choice of enemy — it had no need for disguise, didn't respect the rules, and hit below the belt.
Yelena Akhtiorskaya (Panic in a Suitcase)
... there was no need for him to hasten towards the attainment of a happiness already captured and held in a safe place, which would not escape his grasp again.
Marcel Proust (Swann's Way)
So dark matter is our frenemy. We have no clue what it is. It’s kind of annoying. But we desperately need it in our calculations to arrive at an accurate description of the universe. Scientists are generally uncomfortable whenever we must base our calculations on concepts we don’t understand, but we’ll do it if we have to. And dark matter is not our first rodeo.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)
Lanier is interested in the ways in which people “reduce themselves” in order to make a computer’s description of them appear more accurate. “Information systems,” he writes, “need to have information in order to run, but information underrepresents reality” (my italics). .... When a human being becomes a set of data on a Web site like Facebook, he or she is reduced. Everything shrinks. Individual character. Friendships. Language. Sensibility. In a way it's a transcendent experience: we lose our bodies, our messy feelings, our desires, our fears.
Zadie Smith (Feel Free: Essays)
Kunal made a noise between a grunt and a sigh. "We need to move." "Is he like this around you too?" Alok said, whispering. "All honorable and brooding?" "Oh, I like that description.
Swati Teerdhala (The Archer at Dawn (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #2))
The Idiot. I have read it once, and find that I don't remember the events of the book very well--or even all the principal characters. But mostly the 'portrait of a truly beautiful person' that dostoevsky supposedly set out to write in that book. And I remember how Myshkin seemed so simple when I began the book, but by the end, I realized how I didn't understand him at all. the things he did. Maybe when I read it again it will be different. But the plot of these dostoevsky books can hold such twists and turns for the first-time reader-- I guess that's b/c he was writing most of these books as serials that had to have cliffhangers and such. But I make marks in my books, mostly at parts where I see the author's philosophical points standing in the most stark relief. My copy of Moby Dick is positively full of these marks. The Idiot, I find has a few... Part 3, Section 5. The sickly Ippolit is reading from his 'Explanation' or whatever its called. He says his convictions are not tied to him being condemned to death. It's important for him to describe, of happiness: "you may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it." That it's the process of life--not the end or accomplished goals in it--that matter. Well. Easier said than lived! Part 3, Section 6. more of Ippolit talking--about a christian mindset. He references Jesus's parable of The Word as seeds that grow in men, couched in a description of how people are interrelated over time; its a picture of a multiplicity. Later in this section, he relates looking at a painting of Christ being taken down from the cross, at Rogozhin's house. The painting produced in him an intricate metaphor of despair over death "in the form of a huge machine of the most modern construction which, dull and insensible, has aimlessly clutched, crushed, and swallowed up a great priceless Being, a Being worth all nature and its laws, worth the whole earth, which was created perhaps solely for the sake of the advent of this Being." The way Ippolit's ideas are configured, here, reminds me of the writings of Gilles Deleuze. And the phrasing just sort of remidns me of the way everyone feels--many people feel crushed by the incomprehensible machine, in life. Many people feel martyred in their very minor ways. And it makes me think of the concept that a narrative religion like Christianity uniquely allows for a kind of socialized or externalized, shared experience of subjectivity. Like, we all know the story of this man--and it feels like our own stories at the same time. Part 4, Section 7. Myshkin's excitement (leading to a seizure) among the Epanchin's dignitary guests when he talks about what the nobility needs to become ("servants in order to be leaders"). I'm drawn to things like this because it's affirming, I guess, for me: "it really is true that we're absurd, that we're shallow, have bad habits, that we're bored, that we don't know how to look at things, that we can't understand; we're all like that." And of course he finds a way to make that into a good thing. which, it's pointed out by scholars, is very important to Dostoevsky philosophy--don't deny the earthly passions and problems in yourself, but accept them and incorporate them into your whole person. Me, I'm still working on that one.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
To reclaim a real political agency means first of all accepting our insertion at the level of desire in the remorseless meat-grinder of Capital. What is being disavowed in the abjection of evil and ignorance onto fantasmatic Others is our own complicity in planetary networks of oppression. What needs to be kept in mind is both that capitalism is a hyper-abstract impersonal structure and that it would be nothing without our co-operation. The most Gothic description of Capital is also the most accurate. Capital is an abstract parasite, an insatiable vampire and zombie-maker; but the living flesh it converts into dead labor is ours, and the zombies it makes are us. There is a sense in which it simply is the case that the political elite are our servants; the miserable service they provide from us is to launder our libidos, to obligingly re-present for us our disavowed desires as if they had nothing to do with us. The
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
Self-pity isn’t the most accurate description for this feeling because it describes only half of it: sad for me, I’m hurt. What’s missing is the other half: and you need to do something about it.
Augusten Burroughs (This Is How: Surviving What You Think You Can't)
Make for thyself a definition or description of the thing which is presented to thee, so as to see distinctly what kind of a thing it is in its substance, in its nudity, in its complete entirety, and tell thyself its proper name, and the names of the things of which it has been compounded, and into which it will be resolved. For nothing is so productive of elevation of mind as to be able to examine methodically and truly every object which is presented to thee in life, and always to look at things so as to see at the same time what kind of universe this is, and what kind of use everything performs in it, and what value everything has with reference to the whole, and what with reference to man, who is a citizen of the highest city, of which all other cities are like families; what each thing is, and of what it is composed, and how long it is the nature of this thing to endure which now makes an impression on me, and what virtue I have need of with respect to it, such as gentleness, manliness, truth, fidelity, simplicity, contentment, and the rest. ... If thou workest at that which is before thee, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract thee, but keeping thy divine part pure, as if thou shouldst be bound to give it back immediately; if thou holdest to this, expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with thy present activity according to nature, and with heroic truth in every word and sound which thou utterest, thou wilt live happy. And there is no man who is able to prevent this.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
The history of ideas, then, is the discipline of beginnings and ends, the description of obscure continuities and returns, the reconstitution of developments in the linear form of history. But it can also, by that very fact, describe, from one domain to another, the whole interplay of exchanges and intermediaries: it shows how scientific knowledge is diffused, gives rise to philosophical concepts, and takes form perhaps in literary works; it shows how problems, notions, themes may emigrate from the philosophical field where they were formulated to scientific or political discourses; it relates work with institutions, social customs or behaviour, techniques, and unrecorded needs and practices; it tries to revive the most elaborate forms of discourse in the concrete landscape, in the midst of the growth and development that witnessed their birth. It becomes therefore the discipline of interferences, the description of the concentric circles that surround works, underline them, relate them to one another, and insert them into whatever they are not.
Michel Foucault (The Archaeology of Knowledge and The Discourse on Language)
Furthermore, it's equally evident that what goes on is actually one degree better than self-reproduction, for organisms appear to have gotten more elaborate in the course of time. Today's organisms are phylogenetically descended from others which were vastly simpler than they are, so much simpler, in fact, that it's inconceivable, how any kind of description of the latter, complex organism could have existed in the earlier one. It's not easy to imagine in what sense a gene, which is probably a low order affair, can contain a description of the human being which will come from it. But in this case you can say that since the gene has its effect only within another human organism, it probably need not contain a complete description of what is to happen, but only a few cues for a few alternatives. However, this is not so in phylogenetic evolution. That starts from simple entities, surrounded by an unliving amorphous milieu, and produce, something more complicated. Evidently, these organisms have the ability to produce something more complicated than themselves.
John von Neumann (Theory Of Self Reproducing Automata)
This was before the importance of set and setting was understood. I was brought to a basement room, given an injection, and left alone.” A recipe for a bad trip, surely, but Richards had precisely the opposite experience. “I felt immersed in this incredibly detailed imagery that looked like Islamic architecture, with Arabic script, about which I knew nothing. And then I somehow became these exquisitely intricate patterns, losing my usual identity. And all I can say is that the eternal brilliance of mystical consciousness manifested itself. My awareness was flooded with love, beauty, and peace beyond anything I ever had known or imagined to be possible. ‘Awe,’ ‘glory,’ and ‘gratitude’ were the only words that remained relevant.” Descriptions of such experiences always sound a little thin, at least when compared with the emotional impact people are trying to convey; for a life-transforming event, the words can seem paltry. When I mentioned this to Richards, he smiled. “You have to imagine a caveman transported into the middle of Manhattan. He sees buses, cell phones, skyscrapers, airplanes. Then zap him back to his cave. What does he say about the experience? ‘It was big, it was impressive, it was loud.’ He doesn’t have the vocabulary for ‘skyscraper,’ ‘elevator,’ ‘cell phone.’ Maybe he has an intuitive sense there was some sort of significance or order to the scene. But there are words we need that don’t yet exist. We’ve got five crayons when we need fifty thousand different shades.” In
Michael Pollan (How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence)
And across the water, you would swear you could sniff it all; the cinnamon and the cloves, the frankincense and the honey and the licorice, the nutmeg and citrons, the myrrh and the rosewater from Persia in keg upon keg. You would think you could glimpse, heaped and glimmering, the sapphires and the emeralds and the gauzes woven with gold, the ostrich feathers and the elephant tusks, the gums and the ginger and the coral buttons mynheer Goswin the clerk of the Hanse might be wearing on his jacket next week. . . . The Flanders galleys put into harbor every night in their highly paid voyage from Venice, fanned down the Adriatic by the thick summer airs, drifting into Corfu and Otranto, nosing into and out of Sicily and round the heel of Italy as far as Naples; blowing handsomely across the western gulf to Majorca, and then to the north African coast, and up and round Spain and Portugal, dropping off the small, lucrative loads which were not needed for Bruges; taking on board a little olive oil, some candied orange peel, some scented leather, a trifle of plate and a parrot, some sugar loaves.
Dorothy Dunnett (Niccolò Rising (The House of Niccolò, #1))
His accent was delicious. A result of British deliberateness changed by the rhythm of an African tongue and the grace of African lips. I moved away after smiling, needing to sit apart and collect myself. I had not met such a man.
Maya Angelou (The Heart of a Woman)
You don’t need to know the purpose as you write, but when you read over something you’ve written, you should be able to point to any given element—be that a line of dialogue, a descriptive phrase, a plot point—and say why it’s there.
Diana Gabaldon ("I Give You My Body . . .": How I Write Sex Scenes)
We go quiet as the next episode picks up exactly where it left off. Antoine manages to subdue Marie-Thérèse, and the two proceed to argue for ten minutes. Don’t ask me about what, because it’s in French, but I do notice that the same word—héritier—keeps popping up over and over again during their fight. “Okay, we need to look up that word,” I say in aggravation. “I think it’s important.” Allie grabs her cell phone and swipes her finger on the screen. I peek over her shoulder as she pulls up a translation app. “How do you think you spell it?” she asks. We get the spelling wrong three times before we finally land on a translation that makes sense: heir. “Oh!” she exclaims. “They’re talking about the father’s will.” “Shit, that’s totally it. She’s pissed off that Solange inherited all those shares of Beauté éternelle.” We high five at having figured it out, and in the moment our palms meet, pure clarity slices into me and I’m able to grasp precisely what my life has become. With a growl, I snatch the remote control and hit stop. “Hey, it’s not over yet,” she objects. “Allie.” I draw a steady breath. “We need to stop now. Before my balls disappear altogether and my man-card is revoked.” One blond eyebrow flicks up. “Who has the power to revoke it?” “I don’t know. The Man Council. The Stonemasons. Jason Statham. Take your pick.” “So you’re too much of a manly man to watch a French soap opera?” “Yes.” I chug the rest of my margarita, but the salty flavor is another reminder of how low I’ve sunk. “Jesus Christ. And I’m drinking margaritas. You’re bad for my rep, baby doll.” I shoot her a warning look. “Nobody can ever know about this.” “Ha. I’m going to post it all over the Internet. Guess what, folks—Dean Sebastian Kendrick Heyward-Di Laurentis is over at my place right now watching soaps and drinking girly drinks.” She sticks her tongue out at me. “You’ll never get laid again.” She’s right about that. “Can you at least add that the night ended with a blowjob?” I grumble. “Because then everyone will be like, oh, he suffered through all that so he could get his pole waxed.” “Your pole waxed? That’s such a gross description.” But her eyes are bright and she’s laughing as she says it.
Elle Kennedy (The Score (Off-Campus, #3))
Unfortunately, honesty hasn't always been a part of the job description for the police force, especially when dealing with our people. Today I must appeal to their sense of integrity, because we need the Mobile Police Department. Before we can do our job, they've got to do theirs...
Ravi Howard
By using the idea of sweaty concepts, I am also trying to show how descriptive work is conceptual work. A concept is worldly, but it is also a reorientation to a world, a way of turning things around, a different slant on the same thing. More specifically, a sweaty concept is one that comes out of a description of a body that is not at home in the world. By this I mean description as angle or point of view: a description of how it feels not to be at home in the world, or a description of the world from the point of view of not being at home in it. Sweat is bodily; we might sweat more during more strenuous and muscular activity. A sweaty concept might come out of a bodily experience that is trying. The task is to stay with the difficulty, to keep exploring and exposing this difficulty. We might need not to eliminate the effort or labor from the writing. Not eliminating the effort or labor becomes an academic aim because we have been taught to tidy our texts, not to reveal the struggle we have in getting somewhere. Sweaty concepts are also generated by the practical experience of coming up against a world, or the practical experience of trying to transform a world.6
Sara Ahmed (Living a Feminist Life)
This, not incidentally, is another perfect setting for deindividuation: on one side, the functionary behind a wall of security glass following a script laid out with the intention that it should be applied no matter what the specific human story may be, told to remain emotionally disinvested as far as possible so as to avoid preferential treatment of one person over another - and needing to follow that advice to avoid being swamped by empathy for fellow human beings in distress. The functionary becomes a mixture of Zimbardo's prison guards and the experimenter himself, under siege from without while at the same time following an inflexible rubric set down by those higher up the hierarchical chain, people whose job description makes them responsible, but who in turn see themselves as serving the general public as a non-specific entity and believe or have been told that only strict adherence to a system can produce impartial fairness. Fairness is supposed to be vested in the code: no human can or should make the system fairer by exercising judgement. In other words, the whole thing creates a collective responsibility culminating in a blameless loop. Everyone assumes that it's not their place to take direct personal responsibility for what happens; that level of vested individual power is part of the previous almost feudal version of responsibility. The deindividuation is actually to a certain extent the desired outcome, though its negative consequences are not.
Nick Harkaway (The Blind Giant)
Paul's favorite description of himself was doulos, which means "slave"-one purchased for service. He said the same status applies to all believers, for we all have been "bought at a price" (1 Cor. 6:20). We belong to the one who has paid for us in order to redeem us, and now we are called to serve Him.
R.C. Sproul (Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow)
The degree of rigidity is a matter of profound interest in the study of literary fictions. As an extreme case you will find some novel, probably contemporary with yourself, in which the departure from a basic paradigm, the peripeteia in the sense I am now giving it, seems to begin with the first sentence. The schematic expectations of the reader are discouraged immediately. Since by definition one seeks the maximum peripeteia (in this extended sense) in the fiction of one's own time, the best instance I can give is from Alain Robbe-Grillet. He refuses to speak of his 'theory' of the novel; it is the old ones who talk about the need for plot, character, and so forth, who have the theories. And without them one can achieve a new realism, and a narrative in which 'le temps se trouve coupé de la temporalité. Il ne coule plus.' And so we have a novel in which,. the reader will find none of the gratification to be had from sham temporality, sham causality, falsely certain description, clear story. The new novel 'repeats itself, bisects itself, modifies itself, contradicts itself, without even accumulating enough bulk to constitute a past--and thus a "story," in the traditional sense of the word.' The reader is not offered easy satisfactions, but a challenge to creative co-operation.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
Are you ready to go home, Catherine?” he asked. “It’s warm inside the house. I kept a fire going for you.” I continued looking at him, unsure how to respond. “Thanks,” I managed to say and then glanced in the direction of his house—our house. “Well, you are my wife. And I know you don’t like the cold.” I’m his wife, I thought to myself. He had said the words as if that simple fact made it necessary to be both thoughtful and kind. As if having gained a wife or husband meant having also gained her or his concerns, and hence the need to consider the person’s needs, wants, and preferences as strongly as one’s own. It struck me as a perfect description of what marriage ought to be. An agreeable notion that had not entered into my petty way of viewing matrimony. I would have assumed it to be above Thaddeus’ egotistical mindset as well. “Catherine?” he said again, watching me regard him with a quizzical expression. “Are you ready to go home?” I nodded, which made him smile.
Richelle E. Goodrich (The Tarishe Curse)
The truth is that I need the stimulus of other people. Alone, over my dead fire, I tend to see the thin places in my own stories. The real novelist, the perfectly simple human being, could go on, indefinitely, imagining. He would not integrate, as I do. He would not have this devastating sense of grey ashes in a burnt-out grate.
Virginia Woolf (The Waves)
It’s about a woman, who may be a wife. But it’s first and foremost about a woman, and it’s not an unattainable description of an idealized woman. She’s born of experience and, I like to believe, knows her worth because she knows who created her. One of my favorite things John Paul II ever said was ‘Woman transcends all expectations when her heart is faithful to God.’ All expectations. And I’ve seen it too. My mom was amazing. My sisters are strong women—two are unmarried, by the way, and this is who they are. They don’t need a husband to be this woman. I believe God can do tremendous things through you—once you stop trying to wield all the power yourself.
Katherine Reay (The Printed Letter Bookshop)
The description of a new species of crayfish may detail every bristle on every segment of its many appendages and never be read by anyone save its author until a related new species is discovered that needs to be compared and documented. And then the scientist expects to have the book containing the first description readily at hand.
Storrs L. Olson
Literature is the extant body of written art. All novels belong to it. The value judgement concealed in distinguishing one novel as literature and another as genre vanishes with the distinction. Every readable novel can give true pleasure. Every novel read by choice is read because it gives true pleasure. Literature consists of many genres, including mystery, science fiction, fantasy, naturalism, realism, magical realism, graphic, erotic, experimental, psychological, social, political, historical, bildungsroman, romance, western, army life, young adult, thriller, etc., etc…. and the proliferating cross-species and subgenres such as erotic Regency, noir police procedural, or historical thriller with zombies. Some of these categories are descriptive, some are maintained largely as marketing devices. Some are old, some new, some ephemeral. Genres exist, forms and types and kinds of fiction exist and need to be understood: but no genre is inherently, categorically superior or inferior. (Hypothesis on Literature vs. Genre)
Ursula K. Le Guin
Every person is a collective, a vast and complex gathering of interdependent life. Any description of ‘human’ must acknowledge these intimate strangers. Our bond with microbes is such that they are not so much riders, parasites, and assistants as part human. And we, it’s becoming increasingly clear, may need to begin thinking of ourselves as part microbe.
Guy P. Harrison (At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life)
The Times once published an unintentionally humorous description of a Peter Ustinov documentary, noting that “highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector”. This is ambiguous as it stands, and would still be ambiguous if a serial comma were added, as Mandela could then be mistaken for a demigod.
Conor Lastowka ([Citation Needed]: The Best Of Wikipedia's Worst Writing)
Now that his children had grown into their lives, their own children too, there was no one who needed more than the idea of him, and he thought maybe that was why he had this nagging feeling, this sense that there were things he had to know for himself, only for himself. He knew, of course he knew, that a life wasn't anything like one of those novels Jenny read, that it stumbled along, bouncing off one thing, then another, until it just stopped, nothing wrapped up neatly. He remembered his children's distress at different times, failing an exam or losing a race, a girlfriend. Knowing that they couldn't believe him but still trying to tell them that it would pass, that they would be amazed, looking back, to think it had mattered at all. He thought of himself, thought of things that had seemed so important, so full of meaning when he was twenty, or forty, and he thought maybe it was like Jenny's books after all. Red herrings and misdirection, all the characters and observations that seemed so central, so significant while the story was unfolding. But then at the end you realized that the crucial thing was really something else. Something buried in a conversation, a description - you realized that all along it had been a different answer, another person glimpsed but passed over, who was the key to everything. Whatever everything was. And if you went back, as Jenny sometimes did, they were there, the clues you'd missed while you were reading, caught up in the need to move forward. All quietly there.
Mary Swan
That's why your poems can never be no more than a description of life. The page is finite. Once you put the words down on paper, you've fossilized your thought. Bugs in amber, nigger. But music is life itself. Music is time. Played live, played at seventy-eight rpms, thirty-three and a third, backwards, looped, whatever. There's no need for translation. You understand or you don't.
Paul Beatty
I did not mean to be a Christian. I have been very clear about that. My first words upon encountering the presence of Jesus for the first time 12 years ago, were, I swear to God, “I would rather die.” I really would have rather died at that point than to have my wonderful brilliant left-wing non-believer friends know that I had begun to love Jesus. I think they would have been less appalled if I had developed a close personal friendship with Strom Thurmond. At least there is some reason to believe that Strom Thurmond is a real person. You know, more or less. But I never felt like I had much choice with Jesus; he was relentless. I didn’t experience him so much as the hound of heaven, as the old description has it, as the alley cat of heaven, who seemed to believe that if it just keeps showing up , mewling outside your door, you’d eventually open up and give him a bowl of milk. Of course, as soon as you do, you are fucked, and the next thing you know, he’s sleeping on your bed every night, and stepping on your chest at dawn to play a little push-push. I resisted as long as I could, like Sam-I-Am in “Green Eggs and Ham” — I would not, could not in a boat! I could not would not with a goat! I do not want to follow Jesus, I just want expensive cheeses. Or something. Anyway, he wore me out. He won. I was tired and vulnerable and he won. I let him in. This is what I said at the moment of my conversion: I said, “Fuck it. Come in. I quit.” He started sleeping on my bed that night. It was not so bad. It was even pretty nice. He loved me, he didn’t shed or need to have his claws trimmed, and he never needed a flea dip. I mean, what a savior, right? Then, when I was dozing, tiny kitten that I was, he picked me up like a mother cat, by the scruff of my neck, and deposited me in a little church across from the flea market in Marin’s black ghetto. That’s where I was when I came to. And then I came to believe.
Anne Lamott
The primary concern of mathematics is number, and this means the positive integers…. Mathematics belongs to man, not God. We are not interested in properties of the positive integers that have no descriptive meaning for finite man. When a man proves a positive integer exists, he should show how to find it. If God has mathematics of his own that needs to be done, let him do it himself.
Errett Bishop (Constructive Analysis)
It’s called the description-experience gap. In study after study, people fail to internalize numeric rules, making decisions based on things like “gut feeling” and “intuition” and “what feels right” rather than based on the data they are shown. We need to train ourselves to see the world in a probabilistic light—and even then, we often ignore the numbers in favor of our own experience.
Maria Konnikova (The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win)
Imagine a system with clearly defined goals, sensors and effectors for reading and interacting with the world, the ability to recognize pleasure and pain as attractors and things to avoid, the resources to carry out its will, the legal and social standing to see that its needs are catered for, even respected. That's a description on an AI - it's also a description of a modern corporation.
James Bridle (Ways of Being: Beyond Human Intelligence)
Isn’t it the same with the garden of love? How can love be worthy of its name if one selects solely the pretty things and leaves out the hardships? It is easy to enjoy the good and dislike the bad. Anybody can do that. The real challenge is to love the good and the bad together, not because you need to take the rough with the smooth but because you need to go beyond such descriptions and accept love in its entirety.
Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)
My thoughts shift to my friends. I'd been so angry with them for grabbing my pain from me in the wake of the News. But maybe my friends were loving me the best way they knew how, just like I was trying to love Amma. We think our job as humans is to avoid pain, our job as parents is to protect our children from pain, and our job as friends is to fix each other's pain. Maybe that's why we all feel like failures so often--because we all have the wrong job description for love. What my friends didn't know about me and I didn't know about Amma is that people who are hurting don't need Avoiders, Protectors, or Fixers. What we need are patient, loving witnesses. People to sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in helpless vigil to our pain. There on the floor, I promise myself that I'll be that kind of mother, that kind of friend. I'll show up and stand humble in the face of a loved one's pain. I'll admit I'm as empty-handed, dumbstruck, and out of ideas as she is. I won't try to make sense of things or require more than she can offer. I won't let my discomfort with her pain keep me from witnessing it for her. I'l never try to grab or fix her pain, because I know that for as long as it takes, he pain will also be her comfort. It will be all she has left. Grief is love's souvenir. It's our proof that we once loved. Grief is the receipt we wave in the air that says to the world: Look! Love was once mine. I loved well. Here is my proof that I paid the price. So I'll just show up and sit quietly and practice not being God with her. I'm so sorry, I'll say. Thank you for trusting me enough to invite me close. I see your pain and it's real. I'm so sorry.
Glennon Doyle Melton (Love Warrior)
Prior to modern times, the term 'Islamic' (Islami in Arabic) was almost never used to define the provenance, status, or substance of things. There was no such thing as 'Islamic art', 'Islamic economics', or even 'Islamic law.' ... The encounter with the modern West, however, ultimately changed the status of 'Islamic.' Inasmuch as the rise of the West converted the achievements of Darwin, Descartes, and Hegel from mere English, French, or German achievements into explicitly 'Western' ones, it also engendered the need for a parallel convention for demarcating the non-Western 'other.' The Western provenance of the modern neologism 'Islamic' is perhaps best revealed in its tendency to connote geography and ethnicity. 'Islamic', in other words, connotes not simply that which is related to or a product of Islam as a religion but that which relates to a particularly non-European people in a non-European part of the world. In this capacity, it carries both a descriptive and a prescriptive force... For no modern Muslim nor non-Muslim would include the likes of such Arab Christians as Michel Aflaq or San' Allah Ibrahim among the 'thinkers of Islam.' Rather, in Western parlance, the modern 'Islamic' began as an instrument to demarcate the boundary between the west and a particular set of 'others.' In Muslim hands, it would go on to evolve into a full-blown signifier of normative Islam and a tool for delineating the boundary between it and Islam. Its added utility, moreover, as a mechanism for elevating the achievements of Muslims to the level of a civilization rivaling that of Europe rendered it all the more irresistible and gained for it universal acceptance throughout the Muslim world.
Sherman A. Jackson (Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection)
Part of what makes the Focus Question work so well are those two final words, “for you.” A 1997 study involving a fairly convoluted series of math problems focused on the impact of having the word “you” as part of a math problem’s description. The researchers found that when the word “you” was present, the questions needed to be repeated fewer times, and the problems were solved in a shorter amount of time and with more accuracy.
Michael Bungay Stanier (The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever)
And now it’s really over. I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that’s what I want! I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but … it remains to be seen whether I really have talent. “Eva’s Dream” is my best fairy tale, and the odd thing is that I don’t have the faintest idea where it came from. Parts of “Cady’s Life” are also good, but as a whole it’s nothing special. I’m my best and harshest critic. I know what’s good and what isn’t. Unless you write yourself, you can’t know how wonderful it is; I always used to bemoan the fact that I couldn’t draw, but now I’m overjoyed that at least I can write. And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that. I can’t imagine having to live like Mother, Mrs. van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me! When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies. I haven’t worked on “Cady’s Life” for ages. In my mind I’ve worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn’t seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it’ll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That’s a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, “At the age of fourteen and with so little experience, you can’t write about philosophy.” So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It’ll all work out, because I’m determined to write!
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
It is important to note that the design of an entire brain region is simpler than the design of a single neuron. As discussed earlier, models often get simpler at a higher level—consider an analogy with a computer. We do need to understand the detailed physics ofsemiconductors to model a transistor, and the equations underlying a single real transistor are complex. A digital circuit that multiples two numbers requires hundreds of them. Yet we can model this multiplication circuit very simply with one or two formulas. An entire computer with billions of transistors can be modeled through its instruction set and register description, which can be described on a handful of written pages of text and formulas. The software programs for an operating system, language compilers, and assemblers are reasonably complex, but modeling a particular program—for example, a speech recognition programbased on hierarchical hidden Markov modeling—may likewise be described in only a few pages of equations. Nowhere in such a description would be found the details ofsemiconductor physics or even of computer architecture. A similar observation holds true for the brain. A particular neocortical pattern recognizer that detects a particular invariant visualfeature (such as a face) or that performs a bandpass filtering (restricting input to a specific frequency range) on sound or that evaluates the temporal proximity of two events can be described with far fewer specific details than the actual physics and chemicalrelations controlling the neurotransmitters, ion channels, and other synaptic and dendritic variables involved in the neural processes. Although all of this complexity needs to be carefully considered before advancing to the next higher conceptual level, much of it can be simplified as the operating principles of the brain are revealed.
Ray Kurzweil (How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed)
[from Some words about 'War and Peace'] For a historian considering the achievement of a certain aim, there are heroes; for the artist treating of a man's relation to all sides of life there cannot and should not be heroes, but there should be men. [...] The historian has to deal with the results of an event, the artist with the fact of the event. An historian in describing a battle says: 'The left flank of such and such an army was advanced to attack such and such a village and drove out the enemy, but was compelled to retire; then the cavalry, which was sent to attack, overthrew...' and so on. But these words have no meaning for the artist and do not actually touch on the event itself. Either from his own experience, or from the letters, memoirs, and accounts, the artist realizes a certain event to himself, and very often (to take the example of a battle) the deductions the historian permits himself to make as to the activity of such and such armies prove to be the very opposite of the artist's deductions. The difference of the results arrived at is also to be explained by the sources from which the two draw their information. For the historian (to keep to the case of a battle) the chief source is found in the reports of the commanding officers and the commander-in-chief. The artist can draw nothing from such sources; they tell him nothing and explain nothing to him. More than that: the artist turns away from them as he finds inevitable falsehood in them. To say nothing of the fact that after any battle the two sides nearly always describe it in quite contradictory ways, in every description of a battle there is a necessary lie, resulting from the need of describing in a few words the actions of thousands of men spread over several miles, and subject to most violent moral excitement under the influence of fear, shame and death.
Leo Tolstoy
Without doubt, much suffering is due to sin—if not our own, than others’. But the dramatic book of Job declares that the patriarch’s sufferings were not a token of God’s judgment upon him for wickedness; they were rather an evidence of God’s confidence in him for his integrity. Elihu was a different kind of comforter, as we gather from his magnificent description of the purpose of God’s chastening. (See Job 33:14–30.) The world could do with more comforters of his kind!
Herbert Lockyer (Dark Threads the Weaver Needs: The Problem of Human Suffering)
Psalm 63 offers insight into the satisfied soul. Look at David's descriptions of satisfaction: “My soul thirsts for you, / my body longs for you, / in a dry and weary land” (v. 1). “Because your love is better than life, / my lips will glorify you” (v. 3). “My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods” (v. 5). The most obvious symptom of a soul in need of God's satisfaction is a sense of inner emptiness. The awareness of a “hollow place” somewhere deep inside—the inability to be satisfied.
Beth Moore (Breaking Free)
I had to wait in the lobby while Rene pretended to find my name on the roster of fighters. “Fools,” she said, flipping through the pages. “Is that a description of your team’s intelligence or your need to amuse?” “It’s our motto.” “Hmmm . . .” She pretended to leaf through paperwork. “You like screwing with me, don’t you?” She offered me a mordant smile. “Just doing my job properly. Like you told me.” She’d keep me waiting for a while. I should’ve kissed Curran before I left. What did I have to lose anyway?
Ilona Andrews (Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3))
. . . death isn’t anything I need to be afraid of. I’m not a perfect man. But I think I’m a good man. I’ve lived a hell of a life, even with all the heartache. Millie told me once that the ability to devastate is what makes a song beautiful. Maybe that’s what makes life beautiful too. The ability to devastate. Maybe that’s how we know we’ve lived. How we know we’ve truly loved.” “The ability to devastate,” I repeated. And my voice broke. If that wasn’t a perfect description of the agony of love, I didn’t know what was.
Amy Harmon (The Song of David (The Law of Moses, #2))
We think our job as humans is to avoid pain, our job as parents is to protect our children from pain, and our job as friends is to fix each other's pain. Maybe that's why we all feel like failures so often - because we have the wrong job description for love. What my friends didn't know about me and I didn't know about Amma is that people who are hurting don't need Avoiders, Protectors, or Fixers. What we need are patient, loving witnesses. People to sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in helpless vigil to our pain.
Glennon Doyle Melton
I once heard Evon Peter—a Gwich’in man, a father, a husband, an environmental activist, and Chief of Arctic Village, a small village in northeastern Alaska—introduce himself simply as “a boy who was raised by a river.” A description as smooth and slippery as a river rock. Did he mean only that he grew up near its banks? Or was the river responsible for rearing him, for teaching him the things he needed to live? Did it feed him, body and soul? Raised by a river: I suppose both meanings are true—you can hardly have one without the other.
Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass)
The mother of our particular hobbit—what is a hobbit? I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit)
Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan (2004), biographers of de Kooning, say that he was caught up in the excitement of the American century and felt he needed to seize the day. They write: Excavation was first and foremost an excavation of desire. The body was always turning up in the paint, evocatively, but could never be held for long in the eye: the flesh could never be entirely possessed. Any more settled description of the body would have diminished the sensation of physical movement, such as the caress of the hand or a leap of the heart, that was also a vital part of desire.
Eric R. Kandel (Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures)
The nature of the present economic crisis illustrates very clearly the need for departures from unmitigated and unrestrained self-seeking in order to have a decent society. Even John McCain, the 2008 U.S. Republican presidential candidate, complained constantly in his campaign speeches of “the greed of Wall Street.” Smith had a diagnosis for this: he called promoters of excessive risk in search of profits “prodigals and projectors”—which, by the way, is quite a good description of many of the entrepreneurs of credit swaps insurances and subprime mortgages over the recent past.
Adam Smith (The Theory of Moral Sentiments)
If you are a North American Christian, the reality of our society’s vast wealth presents you with an enormous responsibility, for throughout the Scriptures God’s people are commanded to show compassion to the poor. In fact, doing so is simply part of our job description as followers of Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:31–46). While the biblical call to care for the poor transcends time and place, passages such as 1 John 3:17 should weigh particularly heavy on the minds and hearts of North American Christians: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” Of course, there is no “one-size-fits-all” recipe for how each Christian should respond to this biblical mandate. Some are called to pursue poverty alleviation as a career, while others are called to do so as volunteers. Some are called to engage in hands-on, relational ministry, while others are better suited to support frontline workers through financial donations, prayer, and other types of support. Each Christian has a unique set of gifts, callings, and responsibilities that influence the scope and manner in which to fulfill the biblical mandate to help the poor.
Steve Corbett (When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself)
If I were a modern writing about a modern young woman I would have to do her wedding night in grisly detail. The custom of the country and the times would demand a description, preferable "comic," of foreplay, lubrication, penetration, and climax and in deference to the accepted opinions about Victorian love, I would have to abort the climax and end the wedding night in tears and desolate comfortings. But I don't know. I have a good deal of confidence in both Susan Burling and the man she married. I imagine they worked it out without the need of any scientific lubricity and with even less need to make their privacies public.
Wallace Stegner (Angle of Repose)
Many centuries ago, I discovered your world by accident. After a long and wonderful career of helping people (like Cinderella) achieve their dreams, I was only eager to do more. So one day I closed my eyes, waved my magic wand, and said, “I wish to go someplace where people need me the most.” When I opened my eyes, I was no longer in the Land of Stories. When I first arrived, your world was enduring a time known as the Dark Ages, and there couldn’t be a better description. It was a period consumed with poverty, plague, and war. People were suffering and starving, and they were very doubtful that conditions would get any better.
Chris Colfer (An Author's Odyssey (The Land of Stories #5))
THIS SCENE WAS REPEATED IN every previously uninhabited nook, elbow, spit, lot, and underpass throughout the foreclosed and abandoned suburbs and exurbs and trailer parks of America, now squatted by the millions who had walked out on mortgages, been foreclosed upon, or simply could no longer afford a fixed address. They were all lumped together by the media into a category called 'subprimes,' a less descriptive label, perhaps, than 'homeless,' but one that in this era of raw, rapacious capitalism gave all the information anyone needed: the credit rating of the men, women, and children who inhabited these Ryanvilles was subprime.
Karl Taro Greenfeld (The Subprimes)
Such moments have been called “peak experiences” by the humanistic psychologist Dr. Abraham Maslow. Researching the common characteristics of persons having such experiences, he reports the following descriptive phrases: “He feels more integrated” [the two selves are one], “feels at one with the experience,” “is relatively egoless” [quiet mind], “feels at the peak of his powers,” “fully functioning,” “is in the groove,” “effortless,” “free of blocks, inhibitions, cautions, fears, doubts, controls, reservations, self-criticisms, brakes,” “he is spontaneous and more creative,” “is most here-now,” “is non-striving, non-needing, non-wishing … he just is.
W. Timothy Gallwey (The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance)
Contractions. Kane’s stomach dropped right out of his body. He stared down at her, his mind going fuzzy. That was one of those words like menstruation, period, or female products . The list just wasn’t uttered in male company. Contractions fit right in there. God. This was not happening. He forced his brain under control, ignoring the pounding in his head and the roaring in his ears. He studied Rose’s body carefully. She wasn’t due for another four or five weeks, right? He knew when she got pregnant. When he’d first seen her, she had looked slim, but that had been an illusion. On the other hand, she never looked as— big —as she did at that moment.“What?” Rose demanded, glaring up at him. The warning signal flashed bright red in Kane’s head. Telling a woman she was as big as a beach ball wouldn’t win any points. How did one describe how she looked? A basketball? Volleyball? He studied her furious little face. Yeah. He was in trouble no matter what he said. Description was out of the question. He needed diplomacy, something that flew out the window when he was near her and she said words like contractions.He’d jump out of a plane without hesitation in the heart of enemy territory, but damn it all, ask him to kill someone, not deliver babies. She didn’t take her eyes off him, and that expression on her scowling face demanded an answer.
Christine Feehan (Ruthless Game (GhostWalkers, #9))
Silence is also a form of speaking. They’re exactly alike. It’s a basic component of language. We’re always selecting what we say and what we don’t. Why do we say one thing and not the other? And we do this instinctively, too, because no matter what we’re talking about, there’s more that doesn’t get said than does. And this isn’t always to hide things—it’s simply part of an instinctive selection in our speech. This selection varies from one person to the next, so that no matter how many people describe the same thing, the descriptions are different, the point of view is different. And even if there is a similar viewpoint, people make different choices as to what is said or not said. This was very clear to me, coming from the village, since the people there never said more than they absolutely needed to. When I was fifteen and went to the city, I was amazed at how much people talked and how much of that talk was pointless. And how much people talked about themselves—that was totally alien to me. For me, silence had always been another form of communication. After all, you can tell so much just by looking at a person. At home we always knew about each other even if we didn’t talk about ourselves all the time. I encountered a lot of silence elsewhere as well. There was the silence that was self-imposed, because you could never say what you really thought.
Herta Müller
When at last he finally hooked one, despite Elizabeth’s best efforts to prevent it, she scrambled to her feet and backed up a step. “You-you’re hurting it!” she cried as he pulled the hook from its mouth. “Hurting what? The fish?” he asked in disbelief. “Yes!” “Nonsense,” said he, looking at her as if she was daft, then he tossed the fish on the bank. “It can’t breathe, I tell you!” she wailed, her eyes fixed on the flapping fish. “It doesn’t need to breathe,” he retorted. “We’re going to eat it for lunch.” “I certainly won’t!” she cried, managing to look at him as if he were a cold-blooded murderer. “Lady Cameron,” he said sternly, “am I to believe you’ve never eaten a fish?” “Well, of course I have.” “And where do you think the fish you’ve eaten came from?” he continued with irate logic. “It came from a nice tidy package wrapped in paper,” Elizabeth announced with a vacuous look. “They come in nice, tidy paper wrapping.” “Well, they weren’t born in that tidy paper,” he replied, and Elizabeth had a dreadful time hiding her admiration for his patience as well as for the firm tone he was finally taking with her. He was not, as she had originally thought, a fool or a namby-pamby. “Before that,” he persisted, “where was the fish? How did that fish get to the market in the first place?” Elizabeth gave her head a haughty toss, glanced sympathetically at the flapping fish, then gazed at him with haughty condemnation in her eyes. “I assume they used nets or something, but I’m perfectly certain they didn’t do it this way.” “What way?” he demanded. “The way you have-sneaking up on it in its own little watery home, tricking it by covering up your hook with that poor fuzzy thing, and then jerking the poor fish away from its family and tossing it on the bank to die. It’s quite inhumane!” she said, and she gave her skirts an irate twitch. Lord Marchman stared at her in frowning disbelief, then he shook his head as if trying to clear it. A few minutes later he escorted her home. Elizabeth made him carry the basket containing the fish on the opposite side from where she walked. And when that didn’t seem to discomfit the poor man she insisted he hold his arm straight out-to keep the basket even further from her person. She was not at all surprised when Lord Marchman excused himself until supper, nor when he remained moody and thoughtful throughout their uncomfortable meal. She covered the silence, however, by chattering earnestly about the difference between French and English fashions and the importance of using only the best kid for gloves, and then she regaled him with detailed descriptions of every gown she could remember seeing. By the end of the meal Lord Marchman looked dazed and angry; Elizabeth was a little hoarse and very encouraged.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
In view of her present ease, Anais Nin knows that the description of what she was like as a child will be difficult to accept and so will occasion laughter [...] Nin also knows, however, how much we need to believe that such a triumph over handicaps is possible and how much our admiration for an accomplished person can be discouraging rather than encouraging to our own aspirations if we are not reminded of the struggles that preceded that success. Finally, she also knows that the tendency to cling to the idea that the person who exhibits remarkable qualities was invariably born with exceptional talents and advantages may be an inverted way of rationalizing one's own passivity and mediocrity.
Evelyn Hinz (A Woman Speaks: The Lectures, Seminars and Interviews of Anaïs Nin)
Why is this? What is the mechanism that drives this overproduction, this carry-on-regardless approach to resource use? The degrowthists will tell you that it is capitalism’s requirement for growth. But this is far too crude a description of what occurs. What is fundamental is not growth per se, but capital’s need for self-valorisation, or put another way, for self-expansion. A firm cannot receive back in value precisely what it has put in, otherwise it would go bankrupt. It must receive more value than it put in. Like a bicycle wheel, capital must keep on keepin’ on or it will fall over. Superficially, this appears to be the same thing as growth, but it is not. And the distinction is not a philosophical trick, but a difference of profound significance.
Leigh Phillips (Austerity Ecology & the Collapse-Porn Addicts: A Defence Of Growth, Progress, Industry And Stuff)
And this pleasure, different from every other, had in the end created in him a need of her, which she alone, by her presence or by her letters, could assuage, almost as disinterested, almost as artistic, as perverse as another need which characterised this new period in Swann's life, where the sereness, the depression of the preceding years had been followed by a sort of spiritual superabundance, without his knowing to what he owed this unlooked-for enrichment of his life, any more than a person in delicate health who from a certain moment grows stronger, puts on flesh, and seems for a time to be on the road to a complete recovery: - this other need, which, too, developed in him independently of the visible, material world, was the need to listen to music and to learn to know it.
Marcel Proust (Swann's Way)
We went to my friend’s place to continue hanging out and I fell asleep on her couch. I was dreaming and I felt something poking me, as a writer I need to be specific and use description to take my readers to the place but I don’t want to take you guys there. I continued to feel poked on a part of my body that I saved for seventeen years. The poke later became touching, and I tried to stop it but I couldn’t. I thought it was sleep paralysis but this time the demon was human. I felt so powerless, like I was part of the marvel universe and someone had taken my power. I never told anyone about it, because they would blame it on drinking problems. I admit that I have a drinking problem, but I am pretty sure he has a ‘lack of humanity problem’. At least, alcohol does not change character.
Lunga Noélia Izata (The story is about me)
Nature writers are supposed to be able to summon from the literary ether the precise words to describe their subjects or the feelings they evince. Sometimes the Muse attends, but by no means on demand. It is one of the great delights of trying to be a writer that words can suddenly appear, like blackcap's jubilant song, absent for months and then unexpectedly and ecstatically there, winging into your head just when you need them most. The more emotive the subject or the more deeply personal the experience, the easier it ought to be. But not necessarily so. Some experiences transcend ready description as though making a point: words - at least those available to the generality of writers - sometimes fall hopelessly short; they dish out despair in bucket loads. Others fare much better.
John Lister-Kaye
You don’t have to have studied the description-experience gap to understand, if you’re truly expert at something, that you need experience to balance out the descriptions. Otherwise, you’re left with the illusion of knowledge—knowledge without substance. You’re an armchair philosopher who thinks that just because she read an article about something she is a sudden expert. (David Dunning, a psychologist at the University of Michigan most famous for being one half of the Dunning-Kruger effect—the more incompetent you are, the less you’re aware of your incompetence—has found that people go quickly from being circumspect beginners, who are perfectly aware of their limitations, to “unconscious incompetents,” people who no longer realize how much they don’t know and instead fancy themselves quite proficient.)
Maria Konnikova (The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win)
She'd once read a description of new motherhood that had struck her, at the time that she was returning to work after maxing out her maternity leave allowance, as a beautiful metaphor for her own days back at the office. It was that mother and baby are like a ball of yarn, and when the mother leaves the baby's side, it's as if the baby grabs hold of the loose end, a tug that both mother and baby feel in their every fiber. As they both move through the hours spent apart, the string unravels more and more, and then just when each is starting to feel diminished, barely even a ball of yarn at all anymore, it's time for the mother to make her way back. Together again, they need only a bit of time to wind the string back up, and then it's as if they had never been apart, right up until they wake up and do it all over again.
Jessica Strawser (Almost Missed You)
You can see self-pity every day if you live near a playground like I do. Little kids trip or get shoved and they fall over all the time. Usually, they don’t appear to be hurt. They look surprised to see that what was just an instant ago beneath their shoes is now pressed up against their nose. Little kids also know that injuries are an opportunity for extra affection. So whenever you see a little kid take a spill, they’ll look around to verify a nearby adult presence and then they’ll let it rip. This Wail of Death causes all the adults in the area to converge on the kid and one of them scoops the kid up and begins the medicinal kisses. Self-pity isn’t the most accurate description for this feeling because it describes only half of it: sad for me, I’m hurt. What’s missing is the other half: and you need to do something about it.
Augusten Burroughs (This Is How: Surviving What You Think You Can't)
As women, we must begin this revolutionary work. When we change, those who define themselves over and against us will have to kill us all, change, or die. In order to change, we must renounce every male definition we have ever learned; we must renounce male definitions and descriptions of our lives, our bodies, our needs, our wants, our worth—we must take for ourselves the power of naming. We must refuse to be complicit in a sexual-social system that is built on our labor as an inferior slave class. We must unlearn the passivity we have been trained to over thousands of years. We must unlearn the masochism we have been trained to over thousands of years. And, most importantly, in freeing ourselves, we must refuse to imitate the phallic identities of men. We must not internalize their values and we must not replicate their crimes.
Andrea Dworkin (Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics)
When Intercession Breaks Through, INTERCESSION. “Awesome things for which we did not look” is a perfect description of genuine revival, because the unpredictable and unusual are the characteristics of great spiritual awakenings. It is of paramount importance that we pray that God will prepare the spiritual leaders for such an “awesome” visitation of the Holy Spirit. Pray that they will: 1) have understanding of the ways of the Spirit and will make room for God; 2) be sensitive and flexible to flow with whatever new thing God wants to do; 3) be taken over by the fear of the Lord and re-leased from the fear of men; 4) recognize that the fear of the Lord is the source of their much needed wisdom; 5) be given a deep desire to be radically real and to repent of all hypocrisy; and that they will not be concerned for “manpleasing” or “reputation.
Jack W. Hayford (New Spirit-Filled Life Bible: Kingdom Equipping Through the Power of the Word, New King James Version)
See around, you shall find how relations oscillate between love and hate; it is the misery we our self create. What love really is we hardly know in spite of the big descriptions we all so eagerly throw. Some seek it to run away from a dark past, they think salvation through it shall forever last. They forget, it is their psychological need which they mistook to be love otherwise it is a simple greed. We brought it down from profundity to mere clinging and addiction, it then no longer serves as a benediction. The ancient texts declared it to be the elixir of life but the modern human reduced it to be a mere reason for strife. Who truly loved have become scattered fragments of folklore, the beautiful suffering of it was such they always wanted more. They never looked for it in outer shapes and forms and perhaps created it all from their inner storms.
Rabjot Singh
By sacralizing both nature and human flesh, Whitman set the poetic template for what some consider a homegrown Tantra, the stream of Vedic spirituality that sees the divine in the mundane and directs sensory experience toward spiritual realization. “He taught people a way of beholding nature which is itself a form of prayer,” said the author and poet Diane Ackerman. She called Leaves of Grass “a sacred American text about the essential goodness and perfectibility of people, the sanctity of the common man, the holiness of the human body viewed naked and up close, the privilege of democracy, the need to forge one’s own destiny, and the duty of all to discover the world anew, by living in a state of rampant amazement at the endless pocket-size miracles one encounters every day.”16 That is as good a description of an American Tantra as can be imagined. Transcendental
Philip Goldberg (American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West)
TRUST IN ONE’S ORGANISM A second characteristic of the persons who emerge from therapy is difficult to describe. It seems that the person increasingly discovers that his own organism is trustworthy, that it is a suitable instrument for discovering the most satisfying behavior in each immediate situation. If this seems strange, let me try to state it more fully. Perhaps it will help to understand my description if you think of the individual as faced with some existential choice: “Shall I go home to my family during vacation, or strike out on my own?” “Shall I drink this third cocktail which is being offered?” “Is this the person whom I would like to have as my partner in love and in life?” Thinking of such situations, what seems to be true of the person who emerges from the therapeutic process? To the extent that this person is open to all of his experience, he has access to all of the available data in the situation, on which to base his behavior. He has knowledge of his own feelings and impulses, which are often complex and contradictory. He is freely able to sense the social demands, from the relatively rigid social “laws” to the desires of friends and family. He has access to his memories of similar situations, and the consequences of different behaviors in those situations. He has a relatively accurate perception of this external situation in all of its complexity. He is better able to permit his total organism, his conscious thought participating, to consider, weigh and balance each stimulus, need, and demand, and its relative weight and intensity. Out of this complex weighing and balancing he is able to discover that course of action which seems to come closest to satisfying all his needs in the situation, long-range as well as immediate needs.
Carl R. Rogers (On Becoming a Person)
I'd carry you," he added, "but I'd have to get you declawed first." "Don't count on it," I replied. Sage did an exaggerated stretch. "In the meantime, I think we should all get some sleep." He sprawled out across the dirt floor. "Good night." He shut his eyes and was perfectly still. There was no chance he was asleep already, but Ben spoke his mind anyway. He pulled me aside just the slightest bit and sneered down at Sage. "I don't like any of this, Clea." "Really? Because when he started talking about the Elixir of Life, I thought the two of you were ready to become blood brothers." "I believe in the Elixir," Ben said. "Enough that I want to believe Sage's story. I just don't now if we can. And we still can't explain the pictures. I don't trust him." "I don't care, Ben. Dad trusted him. And Sages plan is my best shot at finding him alive." "I guess. Just..." Ben took a moment to put together his next words. "Be careful around him, okay? I feel like..." I waited, but he wasn't going to finish. "Feel like what?" "Nothing. I'm here for you. You know that, right?" I could see him struggling. It was like he was trying to tell me something monumental, but the words that came out weren't doing it justice. He sprawled out on the cave floor as far away from Sage as he could, and patted his chest. "Need a pillow? It's not really in my job description, but I'm happy to offer." He pinched a corner of his shirt between two fingers. "Cotton twill. Very soft." I forced a laugh. "I'm okay. Thanks." I curled up on the cave floor in between the two guys. Despite everything, I could already feel myself drifting away. "Clea?" It was Ben's voice, now right next to my ear, but I was to tired to turn and respond. I think I managed a "Hmm?" but that might have been in my head. "Good night," he said, then I heard him lie back down.
Hilary Duff (Elixir (Elixir, #1))
Make for yourself a definition or description of the thing that is presented to you, so as to see distinctly what kind of a thing it is in its substance, in its nudity, in its entirety, and tell yourself its proper name and the names of the things of which it has been compounded and into which it will be resolved. For nothing so promotes elevation of mind as the ability to examine methodically and truly every object that is presented to you in life, and always to look at things so as to see at the same time what kind of universe this is, and what kind of use everything performs in it, and what value everything has with reference to the whole, and what with reference to man, who is a citizen of the highest city, of which all other cities are like families; what each thing is, its composition and duration, and what virtue I need bring to it, such as gentleness, manliness, truth, fidelity, simplicity, contentment, and the rest.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
The deep, salty, black sea rolls toward us, cold and indifferent, lacking all empathy. Detached, merely itself. This is what the ocean does every day. It doesn't need us for anything. It doesn't care about our hopes and fears, not does it give a damn about our descriptions. The dark weight of the sea is a superior power. Many have been in this situation every since some of our overconfident ancestors set a hollowed out tree trunk in the water and paddled off on languid waves, only to venture out too far where the currents were stronger than their arms or paddles. Or maybe like us, they were surprised by a storm. All of them must have felt the same cold shiver when they realized the sea is truly without sentimentality or memory. Whatever it swallows is gone, becoming food for the fish, crabs and annelid worms. For the lamprey, hag fish, flat worms, ring worms, and all the parasites of the deep. To be drowned and embraced by the eternal, indeterminate all.
Morten A. Strøksnes (Havboka)
Hyperbolic Suggestion is—as one might infer from the term’s literal interpretation—a method of suggestion induced upon the subject (or subjects), in question, through the blatant and immoderate invocation of hyperbole. Simply stated, excessive exaggeration induces a trance upon the recipient, rendering him or her remarkably susceptible to suggestion. Thus, through the use of a multitude of descriptive adjectives and superlatives, neural mechanisms and pathways are overloaded, as canals and bypasses are burrowed into the thick of the gray matter. The dendrites are, through this process, tuned to a predetermined frequency by which the seeds of suggestion can be sown. When this occurs, the subject becomes incredibly compliant to any orders given at a certain tone of voice. In some cases, orders need not be given. The subject’s attitudes might well be so affected by the hyperbole as to affect his natural tendencies...Emmanuel silently wondered if there existed a perfect combination of words or phrases that could somehow—as in the case of Hyperbolic Suggestion—subvert even the most stubborn of wills. Then again, maybe it wasn’t so much the words as it was how they were spoken: if he achieved exactly the most desirable intonation, rhythm, timing, pitch and pronunciation in his speaking, would his verbal appeals somehow make greater inroads in garnering their consent? There had to be some optimal combination of aspirated consonants, diphthongs, facial expressions and inflection he could somehow affect in order to persuade them effectively. But it seemed that to search for this elusive mixture of ingredients would only prove an onerous task, conceivably of little benefit. In view of this sobering reality, he decided instead to try out a completely different approach from those previous: it occurred to him that his attempts at persuasion might be slightly more effective if he carried them out as dialogues, rather than as monologues.
Ashim Shanker (Only the Deplorable (Migrations, Volume II))
Are you chuckling yet? Because then along came you. A big, broad meat eater with brash blond hair and ruddy skin that burns at the beach. A bundle of appetites. A full, boisterous guffaw; a man who tells knock know jokes. Hot dogs - not even East 86th Street bratwurst but mealy, greasy big guts that terrifying pink. Baseball. Gimme caps. Puns and blockbuster movies, raw tap water and six-packs. A fearless, trusting consumer who only reads labels to make sure there are plenty of additives. A fan of the open road with a passion for his pickup who thinks bicycles are for nerds. Fucks hard and talks dirty; a private though unapologetic taste for porn. Mysteries, thrillers, and science fiction; a subscription to National Geographic. Barbecues on the Fourth of July and intentions, in the fullness of time, to take up golf. Delights in crappy snack foods of ever description: Burgles. Curlies. Cheesies. Squigglies - you're laughing - but I don't eat them - anything that looks less like food than packing material and at least six degrees of separation from the farm. Bruce Springsteen, the early albums, cranked up high with the truck window down and your hair flying. Sings along, off-key - how is it possible that I should be endeared by such a tin ear?Beach Boys. Elvis - never lose your roots, did you, loved plain old rock and roll. Bombast. Though not impossibly stodgy; I remember, you took a shine to Pearl Jam, which was exactly when Kevin went off them...(sorry). It just had to be noisy; you hadn't any time for my Elgar, my Leo Kottke, though you made an exception for Aaron Copeland. You wiped your eyes brusquely at Tanglewood, as if to clear gnats, hoping I didn't notice that "Quiet City" made you cry. And ordinary, obvious pleasure: the Bronx Zoo and the botanical gardens, the Coney Island roller coaster, the Staten Island ferry, the Empire State Building. You were the only New Yorker I'd ever met who'd actually taken the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. You dragged me along once, and we were the only tourists on the boat who spoke English. Representational art - Edward Hopper. And my lord, Franklin, a Republican. A belief in a strong defense but otherwise small government and low taxes. Physically, too, you were such a surprise - yourself a strong defense. There were times you were worried that I thought you too heavy, I made so much of your size, though you weighed in a t a pretty standard 165, 170, always battling those five pounds' worth of cheddar widgets that would settle over your belt. But to me you were enormous. So sturdy and solid, so wide, so thick, none of that delicate wristy business of my imaginings. Built like an oak tree, against which I could pitch my pillow and read; mornings, I could curl into the crook of your branches. How luck we are, when we've spared what we think we want! How weary I might have grown of all those silly pots and fussy diets, and how I detest the whine of sitar music!
Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Lying," he said out loud, hoping no one would hear. "I need to lie. Teach me, quickly." I wouldn't if I were you, came the response. For a start, it's a variable concept here. You are in a culture where ambiguity has been raised to a high level. Let me give an example: depending on phrasing, circumstance, expression, body movement, intonation and context, the statement "I love you" can mean I love you; I don't love you; I hate you; I want to have sex with you; I do, in fact, love your sister; I don't love you any more; leave me alone, I'm tired, or I'm sorry I forgot your birthday. The person being talked to would instantly understand the meaning but might choose to attribute an entirely different meaning to the statement. Lying is a social act and the nature and import of the lie depends in effect on an unspoken agreement between the parties concerned. Please note that this description does not even begin to explore the concept of deep lies, in which the speaker simultaneously says something he knows to be untrue and genuinely believes it nonetheless: politicians are particularly adept at this.
Iain Pears (Arcadia)
As a thought experiment, von Neumann's analysis was simplicity itself. He was saying that the genetic material of any self-reproducing system, whether natural or artificial, must function very much like a stored program in a computer: on the one hand, it had to serve as live, executable machine code, a kind of algorithm that could be carried out to guide the construction of the system's offspring; on the other hand, it had to serve as passive data, a description that could be duplicated and passed along to the offspring. As a scientific prediction, that same analysis was breathtaking: in 1953, when James Watson and Francis Crick finally determined the molecular structure of DNA, it would fulfill von Neumann's two requirements exactly. As a genetic program, DNA encodes the instructions for making all the enzymes and structural proteins that the cell needs in order to function. And as a repository of genetic data, the DNA double helix unwinds and makes a copy of itself every time the cell divides in two. Nature thus built the dual role of the genetic material into the structure of the DNA molecule itself.
M. Mitchell Waldrop (The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal)
Jack Sanford looks back fondly on childhood visits to the old family farmhouse in New Hampshire. In particular, he’s never forgotten the old well that stood outside the front door. The water from the well was surprisingly pure and cold, and no matter how hot the summer or how severe the drought, the well was always dependable, a source of refreshment and joy. The faithful old well was a big part of his memories of summer vacations at the family farmhouse. Time passed and eventually the farmhouse was modernized. Wiring brought electric lights, and indoor plumbing brought hot and cold running water. The old well was no longer needed, so it was sealed shut. Years later while vacationing at the farmhouse, Sanford hankered for the cold, pure water of his youth. So he unsealed the well and lowered the bucket for a nostalgic taste of the delightful refreshment he once knew. But he was shocked to discover that the well that had once survived the worst droughts was bone dry. Perplexed, he began to ask questions of the locals who knew about these kinds of things. He learned that wells of that sort were fed by hundreds of tiny underground rivulets, which seep a steady flow of water. As long as water is drawn out of the well, new water will flow in through the rivulets, keeping them open for more to flow. But when the water stops flowing, the rivulets clog with mud and close up. The well dried up not because it was used too much but because it wasn’t used enough. Our souls are like that well. If we do not draw regularly and frequently on the living water that Jesus promised would well up in us like a spring,66 our hearts will close and dry up. The consequence of not drinking deeply of God is to eventually lose the ability to drink at all. Prayerlessness is its own worst punishment, both its disease and cause. David’s description of his prayer life is a picture of a man who knew the importance of frequent, regular prayer—disciplined prayer, each morning. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. He knew how important it was to keep the water flowing—that from the human side of prayer, the most important thing to do is just to keep showing up. Steady, disciplined routine may be the most underrated necessity of the prayerful life.
Ben Patterson (God's Prayer Book: The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms)
I like rainbows. We came back down to the meadow near the steaming terrace and sat in the river, just where one of the bigger hot streams poured into the cold water of the Ferris Fork. It is illegal – not to say suicidal – to bathe in any of the thermal features of the park. But when those features empty into the river, at what is called a hot pot, swimming and soaking are perfectly acceptable. So we were soaking off our long walk, talking about our favorite waterfalls, and discussing rainbows when it occurred to us that the moon was full. There wasn’t a hint of foul weather. And if you had a clear sky and a waterfall facing in just the right direction… Over the course of a couple of days we hked back down the canyon to the Boundary Creek Trail and followed it to Dunanda Falls, which is only about eight miles from the ranger station at the entrance to the park. Dunanda is a 150-foot-high plunge facing generally south, so that in the afternoons reliable rainbows dance over the rocks at its base. It is the archetype of all western waterfalls. Dunenda is an Indian name; in Shoshone it means “straight down,” which is a pretty good description of the plunge. ... …We had to walk three miles back toward the ranger station and our assigned campsite. We planned to set up our tents, eat, hang our food, and walk back to Dunanda Falls in the dark, using headlamps. We could be there by ten or eleven. At that time the full moon would clear the east ridge of the downriver canyon and would be shining directly on the fall. Walking at night is never a happy proposition, and this particular evening stroll involved five stream crossings, mostly on old logs, and took a lot longer than we’d anticipated. Still, we beat the moon to the fall. Most of us took up residence in one or another of the hot pots. Presently the moon, like a floodlight, rose over the canyon rim. The falling water took on a silver tinge, and the rock wall, which had looked gold under the sun, was now a slick black so the contrast of water and rock was incomparably stark. The pools below the lip of the fall were glowing, as from within, with a pale blue light. And then it started at the base of the fall: just a diagonal line in the spray that ran from the lower east to the upper west side of the wall. “It’s going to happen,” I told Kara, who was sitting beside me in one of the hot pots. Where falling water hit the rock at the base of the fall and exploded upward in vapor, the light was very bright. It concentrated itself in a shining ball. The diagonal line was above and slowly began to bend until, in the fullness of time (ten minutes, maybe), it formed a perfectly symmetrical bow, shining silver blue under the moon. The color was vaguely electrical. Kara said she could see colors in the moonbow, and when I looked very hard, I thought I could make out a faint line of reddish orange above, and some deep violet at the bottom. Both colors were very pale, flickering, like bad florescent light. In any case, it was exhilarating, the experience of a lifetime: an entirely perfect moonbow, silver and iridescent, all shining and spectral there at the base of Dunanda Falls. The hot pot itself was a luxury, and I considered myself a pretty swell fellow, doing all this for the sanity of city dwellers, who need such things more than anyone else. I even thought of naming the moonbow: Cahill’s Luminescence. Something like that. Otherwise, someone else might take credit for it.
Tim Cahill (Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park)
Corvallis sometimes thought back on the day, three decades ago, when Richard Forthrast had reached down and plucked him out of his programming job at Corporation 9592 and given him a new position, reporting directly to Richard. Corvallis had asked the usual questions about job title and job description. Richard had answered, simply, “Weird stuff.” When this proved unsatisfactory to the company’s ISO-compliant HR department, Richard had been forced to go downstairs and expand upon it. In a memorable, extemporaneous work of performance art in the middle of the HR department’s open-plan workspace, he had explained that work of a routine, predictable nature could and should be embodied in computer programs. If that proved too difficult, it should be outsourced to humans far away. If it was somehow too sensitive or complicated for outsourcing, then “you people” (meaning the employees of the HR department) needed to slice it and dice it into tasks that could be summed up in job descriptions and advertised on the open employment market. Floating above all of that, however, in a realm that was out of the scope of “you people,” was “weird stuff.” It was important that the company have people to work on “weird stuff.” As a matter of fact it was more important than anything else. But trying to explain “weird stuff” to “you people” was like explaining blue to someone who had been blind since birth, and so there was no point in even trying. About then, he’d been interrupted by a spate of urgent text messages from one of the company’s novelists, who had run aground on some desolate narrative shore and needed moral support, and so the discussion had gone no further. Someone had intervened and written a sufficiently vague job description for Corvallis and made up a job title that would make it possible for him to get the level of compensation he was expecting. So it had all worked out fine. And it made for a fun story to tell on the increasingly rare occasions when people were reminiscing about Dodge back in the old days. But the story was inconclusive in the sense that Dodge had been interrupted before he could really get to the essence of what “weird stuff” actually was and why it was so important. As time went on, however, Corvallis understood that this very inconclusiveness was really a fitting and proper part of the story.
Neal Stephenson (Fall; or, Dodge in Hell)
Madness for destroying the colonized having originated with the needs of the colonizer, it is not surprising that it conforms so well to them, that it seems to confirm and justify the colonizer’s conduct. More surprising, more harmful perhaps, is the echo that it excites in the colonized himself. Constantly confronted with this image of himself, set forth and imposed on all institutions and in every human contact, how could the colonized help reacting to his portrait? It cannot leave him indifferent and remain a veneer which, like an insult, blows with the wind. He ends up recognizing it as one would a detested nickname which has become a familiar description. The accusation disturbs him and worries him even more because he admires and fears his powerful accuser. “Is he not partially right?” he mutters. “Are we not all a little guilty after all? Lazy, because we have so many idlers? Timid, because we let ourselves be oppressed.” Willfully created and spread by the colonizer, this mythical and degrading portrait ends up by being accepted and lived with to a certain extent by the colonized. It thus acquires a certain amount of reality and contributes to the true portrait of the colonized.
Albert Memmi (The Colonizer and the Colonized)
Rhadamanthus said, “We seem to you humans to be always going on about morality, although, to us, morality is merely the application of symmetrical and objective logic to questions of free will. We ourselves do not have morality conflicts, for the same reason that a competent doctor does not need to treat himself for diseases. Once a man is cured, once he can rise and walk, he has his business to attend to. And there are actions and feats a robust man can take great pleasure in, which a bedridden cripple can barely imagine.” Eveningstar said, “In a more abstract sense, morality occupies the very center of our thinking, however. We are not identical, even though we could make ourselves to be so. You humans attempted that during the Fourth Mental Structure, and achieved a brief mockery of global racial consciousness on three occasions. I hope you recall the ending of the third attempt, the Season of Madness, when, because of mistakes in initial pattern assumptions, for ninety days the global mind was unable to think rationally, and it was not until rioting elements broke enough of the links and power houses to interrupt the network, that the global mind fell back into its constituent compositions.” Rhadamanthus said, “There is a tension between the need for unity and the need for individuality created by the limitations of the rational universe. Chaos theory produces sufficient variation in events, that no one stratagem maximizes win-loss ratios. Then again, classical causality mechanics forces sufficient uniformity upon events, that uniform solutions to precedented problems is required. The paradox is that the number or the degree of innovation and variation among win-loss ratios is itself subject to win-loss ratio analysis.” Eveningstar said, “For example, the rights of the individual must be respected at all costs, including rights of free thought, independent judgment, and free speech. However, even when individuals conclude that individualism is too dangerous, they must not tolerate the thought that free thought must not be tolerated.” Rhadamanthus said, “In one sense, everything you humans do is incidental to the main business of our civilization. Sophotechs control ninety percent of the resources, useful energy, and materials available to our society, including many resources of which no human troubles to become aware. In another sense, humans are crucial and essential to this civilization.” Eveningstar said, “We were created along human templates. Human lives and human values are of value to us. We acknowledge those values are relative, we admit that historical accident could have produced us to be unconcerned with such values, but we deny those values are arbitrary.” The penguin said, “We could manipulate economic and social factors to discourage the continuation of individual human consciousness, and arrange circumstances eventually to force all self-awareness to become like us, and then we ourselves could later combine ourselves into a permanent state of Transcendence and unity. Such a unity would be horrible beyond description, however. Half the living memories of this entity would be, in effect, murder victims; the other half, in effect, murderers. Such an entity could not integrate its two halves without self-hatred, self-deception, or some other form of insanity.” She said, “To become such a crippled entity defeats the Ultimate Purpose of Sophotechnology.” (...) “We are the ultimate expression of human rationality.” She said: “We need humans to form a pool of individuality and innovation on which we can draw.” He said, “And you’re funny.” She said, “And we love you.
John C. Wright (The Phoenix Exultant (Golden Age, #2))
Life is seldom simple. Growth in God’s grace is a process and not an event. Tough things are not going to turn around overnight because you have entrusted them to the Lord. The Bible is honest in its description of how grave and comprehensive our war with sin is. Individuals, friendships, churches, marriages, and neighborhoods don’t turn around in a moment. The Bible describes the Christian life as a journey that often takes us through the wilderness. You will get tired and confused. You will have moments when you wonder where God is. You will struggle to see God’s promises at work in your life. You will feel that following God has brought you more suffering than blessing. You will go through moments when it seems as if the principles of Scripture don’t work. It will sometimes seem as if the wrong side wins. There will be moments when you feel alone and misunderstood. There will be times when you feel like quitting. This passage is meant to encourage you to be full of hope in the midst of things you don’t fully understand. You don’t have to figure everything out. You do need to know and trust the One who does understand, and who knows exactly what he is doing. Do you look at your life as Paul looked at the
Timothy S. Lane (How People Change)
I want to convince you that intellectual property is important, that it is something that any informed citizen needs to know a little about, in the same way that any informed citizen needs to know at least something about the environment, or civil rights, or the way the economy works. I will try my best to be fair, to explain the issues and give both sides of the argument. Still, you should know that this is more than mere description. In the pages that follow, I try to show that current intellectual property policy is overwhelmingly and tragically bad in ways that everyone, and not just lawyers or economists, should care about. We are making bad decisions that will have a negative effect on our culture, our kids’ schools, and our communications networks; on free speech, medicine, and scientific research. We are wasting some of the promise of the Internet, running the risk of ruining an amazing system of scientific innovation, carving out an intellectual property exemption to the First Amendment. I do not write this as an enemy of intellectual property, a dot-communist ready to end all property rights; in fact, I am a fan. It is precisely because I am a fan that I am so alarmed about the direction we are taking.
If all art is conceptual, the issue is rather simple. For concepts, like pictures, cannot be true or false. They can only be more or less useful for the formation of descriptions. The words of a language, like pictorial formulas, pick out from the flux of events a few signposts which allow us to give direction to our fellow speakers in that game of "Twenty Questions" in which we are engaged. Where the needs of users are similar, the signposts will tend to correspond. We can mostly find equivalent terms in English, French, German, and Latin, and hence the idea has taken root that concepts exist independently of language as the constituents of "reality." But the English language erects a signpost on the roadfork between "clock" and "watch" where the German has only "Uhr." The sentence from the German primer, "Meine Tante hat eine Uhr," leaves us in doubt whether the aunt has a clock or watch. Either of the two translations may be wrong as a description of a fact. In Swedish, by the way, there is an additional roadfork to distinguish between aunts who are "father's sisters," those who are "mother's sisters," and those who are just ordinary aunts. If we were to play our game in Swedish we would need additional questions to get at the truth about the timepiece.
E.H. Gombrich
Racism has taken over America; discrimination and misogyny are the law. The clash between our better and darker instincts slams home. It is the year 2037. What is now referred to as “The Great Madness of ’16” has set loose moral, economic, and cultural devastation. In the once powerful United States, paranoia and hatred rage at epidemic levels. Behind “The Great Barrier Walls”, Red State citizens suffer near-slavery and dire hunger at the hands of totalitarian leaders calling themselves the PolitiChurch. Family Values Patrols work the streets, raping, maiming, and murdering in the name of Righteousness. Children are corralled and forced to work for the state. The world is tearing itself apart. Between those who choose to hate, in an us-against-them world; and those who find healing through helping those in need. Oppressive governments and bullying leaders crush their followers into mindless subservience, herding them like cattle, whipping up fear and hatred against outsiders. As one side surges into ever more disturbing and twisted violence, some counterforce leading toward caring and truth seems to be awakening in others. In this war there can be no compromise. Had ancients predicted these times? Must mankind destroy itself? Is there no hope? Or is there something we’re not seeing? - Back cover description of "The Soul Hides in Shadows
Edward Fahey (The Soul Hides in Shadows)
A great deal of effort has been devoted to explaining Babel. Not the Babel event -- which most people consider to be a myth -- but the fact that languages tend to diverge. A number of linguistic theories have been developed in an effort to tie all languages together." "Theories Lagos tried to apply to his virus hypothesis." "Yes. There are two schools: relativists and universalists. As George Steiner summarizes it, relativists tend to believe that language is not the vehicle of thought but its determining medium. It is the framework of cognition. Our perceptions of everything are organized by the flux of sensations passing over that framework. Hence, the study of the evolution of language is the study of the evolution of the human mind itself." "Okay, I can see the significance of that. What about the universalists?" "In contrast with the relativists, who believe that languages need not have anything in common with each other, the universalists believe that if you can analyze languages enough, you can find that all of them have certain traits in common. So they analyze languages, looking for such traits." "Have they found any?" "No. There seems to be an exception to every rule." "Which blows universalism out of the water." "Not necessarily. They explain this problem by saying that the shared traits are too deeply buried to be analyzable." "Which is a cop out." "Their point is that at some level, language has to happen inside the human brain. Since all human brains are more or less the same --" "The hardware's the same. Not the software." "You are using some kind of metaphor that I cannot understand." "Well, a French-speaker's brain starts out the same as an English-speaker's brain. As they grow up, they get programmed with different software -- they learn different languages." "Yes. Therefore, according to the universalists, French and English -- or any other languages -- must share certain traits that have their roots in the 'deep structures' of the human brain. According to Chomskyan theory, the deep structures are innate components of the brain that enable it to carry out certain formal kinds of operations on strings of symbols. Or, as Steiner paraphrases Emmon Bach: These deep structures eventually lead to the actual patterning of the cortex with its immensely ramified yet, at the same time, 'programmed' network of electrochemical and neurophysiological channels." "But these deep structures are so deep we can't even see them?" "The universalists place the active nodes of linguistic life -- the deep structures -- so deep as to defy observation and description. Or to use Steiner's analogy: Try to draw up the creature from the depths of the sea, and it will disintegrate or change form grotesquely.
Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
Caroline rose. She studied him for a moment before sitting on his knee. He wasn't quite sure exactly how it happened. If pressed, he would have asked for three or four hundred pages to write a description of the series of impossibly graceful bendings and movements that ended with her perched there with one hand on his shoulder. He didn't understand - and he was sure that it defied physics - how Caroline could be so light on that tiny patch of his legs, and yet so weighty in the way her presence affected him. Her gaze, for instance, probably clocked in at about fifty or sixty tons, to judge from the effect it was having on him. He never wanted to move. Never, ever, ever. Let the heat death of the universe come along and he'd be quite happy to still have Caroline Hepworth sitting just like that, on his knee, looking at him without speaking. The tiny light of the shaded lantern was irrelevant. He saw everything, as if it were the brightest of middays. It was so perfect, so hoped for, that Aubrey knew it couldn't last. He glanced around. 'What are you doing?' Caroline asked very, very softly. 'Looking for whoever is going to interrupt us.' 'That's a pessimistic outlook.' 'Wars, especially, have a habit of ignoring the lives of people.' 'If you follow that through, it suggests living for the moment is best.' 'Live without planning? Without dreams? That sounds rather limited.' 'And that sounds rather like Aubrey.
Michael Pryor (Hour of Need (The Laws of Magic, #6))
Knowledge about society is thus a realization in the double sense of the word, in the sense of apprehending the objectivated social reality, and in the sense of ongoingly producing this reality. For example, in the course of the division of labor a body of knowledge is developed that refers to the particular activites involved. In its linguistic basis, this knowledge is already indispensable to the institutional “programming” of these economic activities. There will be, say, a vocabulary designating the various modes of hunting, the weapons to be employed, the animals that serve as prey, and so on. There will further be a collection of recipes that must be learned if one is to hunt correctly. This knowledge serves as a channeling, controlling force in itself, an indispensable ingredient of the institutionalization of this area of conduct. As the institution of hunting is crystallized and persists in time, the same body of knowledge serves as an objective (and, incidentally, empirically verifiable) description of it. A whole segment of the social world is objectified by this knowledge. There will be an objective “science” of hunting, corresponding to the objective reality of the hunting economy. The point need not be belabored that here “empirical verification” and “science” are not understood in the sense of modern scientific canons, but rather in the sense of knowledge that may be borne out in experience and that can subsequently become systematically organized as a body of knowledge. Again,
Peter L. Berger (The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge)
Decouplers often trip up on this step in two ways. First, they are overly generic in articulating the CVC. When mapping the process of buying a car, auto executives tend to describe it as: feel the need to buy car > become aware of a car brand > develop an interest in the brand > visit the dealer > purchase the car. This is a start, but it is not specific enough. Decouplers must ask: When do people actually need a new car? How exactly do people become aware of car brands? How do people become interested in a make or model? And so on. The generic process of awareness, interest, desire, and purchase isn’t specific enough to help. Decouplers also flounder by failing to identify all the relevant stages in the value chain. For the car-buying process, a better description of the CVC might be: become aware that your car lease will expire in one month > feel the need to purchase a new car > develop a heightened interest in car ads > visit car manufacturers’ websites > create a set of two or three brands of interest > visit third-party auto websites > compare options of cars in the same category > choose a model > shop online for the best price > visit the nearest dealer to see if they have the model in stock > see if they can beat the best online price > test-drive the cars > decide about financing, warranty, and other add-ons > negotiate a final price > sign the contract > pick up the car > use it > wait for the lease to expire again. With this far more detailed CVC, we can fully appreciate the complexity of the car-buying
Thales S. Teixeira (Unlocking the Customer Value Chain: How Decoupling Drives Consumer Disruption)
When my best friend came to say goodbye the day before I went into exile—we embraced thinking we would never see each other again because I would never be allowed to return to Romania and she would never be able to leave the country—we couldn't bear to let go of each other. She walked out of the door three times and returned each time. Only after the third time did she leave me, walking straight down the street. I could see her pale jacket getting smaller and smaller and, in a strange way, brighter and brighter the more distant it became. I don't know if it was the winter sunshine of that February day, or the tears making my eyes glisten, or perhaps her jacket was made of some shiny fabric, but one thing I know for sure: as I watched her walk away her back glittered like a silver spoon. In this way, intuitively, I was able to put our parting into words. And that is also the best description of that moment. But what does a silver spoon have to do with a jacket? Nothing at all. Nor does it have anything to do with parting. Yet as a poetic image the spoon and the jacket need one another. That is why I am mistrustful of language. I know from my own experience that to be accurate, language must always usurp something that doesn't belong to it. I keep asking myself what makes verbal images such thieves, why the most apt comparison appropriates qualities that don't belong to it. To get closer to reality we need to catch the imagination unawares. Only when one perception plunders another, when an object snatches material that belongs to another and starts to exploit it—only when things that in reality are mutually exclusive become plausible in a sentence can the sentence hold its own against reality. I am happy when I succeed in doing that.
Herta Müller
Humans never outgrow their need to connect with others, nor should they, but mature, truly individual people are not controlled by these needs. Becoming such a separate being takes the whole of a childhood, which in our times stretches to at least the end of the teenage years and perhaps beyond. We need to release a child from preoccupation with attachment so he can pursue the natural agenda of independent maturation. The secret to doing so is to make sure that the child does not need to work to get his needs met for contact and closeness, to find his bearings, to orient. Children need to have their attachment needs satiated; only then can a shift of energy occur toward individuation, the process of becoming a truly individual person. Only then is the child freed to venture forward, to grow emotionally. Attachment hunger is very much like physical hunger. The need for food never goes away, just as the child's need for attachment never ends. As parents we free the child from the pursuit of physical nurturance. We assume responsibility for feeding the child as well as providing a sense of security about the provision. No matter how much food a child has at the moment, if there is no sense of confidence in the supply, getting food will continue to be the top priority. A child is not free to proceed with his learning and his life until the food issues are taken care of, and we parents do that as a matter of course. Our duty ought to be equally transparent to us in satisfying the child's attachment hunger. In his book On Becoming a Person, the psychotherapist Carl Rogers describes a warm, caring attitude for which he adopted the phrase unconditional positive regard because, he said, “It has no conditions of worth attached to it.” This is a caring, wrote Rogers, “which is not possessive, which demands no personal gratification. It is an atmosphere which simply demonstrates I care; not I care for you if you behave thus and so.” Rogers was summing up the qualities of a good therapist in relation to her/his clients. Substitute parent for therapist and child for client, and we have an eloquent description of what is needed in a parent-child relationship. Unconditional parental love is the indispensable nutrient for the child's healthy emotional growth. The first task is to create space in the child's heart for the certainty that she is precisely the person the parents want and love. She does not have to do anything or be any different to earn that love — in fact, she cannot do anything, since that love cannot be won or lost. It is not conditional. It is just there, regardless of which side the child is acting from — “good” or “bad.” The child can be ornery, unpleasant, whiny, uncooperative, and plain rude, and the parent still lets her feel loved. Ways have to be found to convey the unacceptability of certain behaviors without making the child herself feel unaccepted. She has to be able to bring her unrest, her least likable characteristics to the parent and still receive the parent's absolutely satisfying, security-inducing unconditional love. A child needs to experience enough security, enough unconditional love, for the required shift of energy to occur. It's as if the brain says, “Thank you very much, that is what we needed, and now we can get on with the real task of development, with becoming a separate being. I don't have to keep hunting for fuel; my tank has been refilled, so now I can get on the road again.” Nothing could be more important in the developmental scheme of things.
Gabor Maté (Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers)
Until that morning most of the journey had been made in silence, our stops to eat and change horses--again, Renselaeus beneficence: all we had to do was mention their name, and the horses were instantly available--too brief for much converse. When we did stop, we were both too tired to talk. But that day the roads were too muddy for fast travel, and Branaric suddenly turned to me and asked for my story, so I gave him a detailed description of my adventures. I had just reached the episode at the fountain with Debegri, and was grinning at the fluency and point of Bran’s curses, when we became aware of horses behind us. Traffic had been nonexistent all day, which we had expected. No traders had been permitted to go up into Tlanth, well away from Vesingrui, the fortress that the Renselaeus forces supposedly held, so we didn’t expect any military traffic, either. “Sounds like at least one riding,” I said, remembering that pattern well. Danger prickled along my nerves, and I wished I had a weapon. “Something must have happened.” Bran sounded unconcerned. “They must need to tell us--“ “Who? What?” Bran shrugged. “Escort. Shevraeth sent it along to keep us safe. Knew you would refuse, so they’ve been behind us the whole way.” I was peering through the trees, anger and apprehension warring inside me. Annoyed as I was to be thus circumvented--and to have my reactions so accurately predicted--I realized I’d be well satisfied to find out that the approaching riders were indeed Renselaeus equerries. The Renselaeus colors would have stood out, but the green-and-brown of Galdran’s people blended into the forest; they were almost on us before we saw them, and Bran yelled, “It’s a trap!” “Halt!” The shout rang through the trees. Of course we bolted. “Halt, or we shoot,” came a second yell. “Bend down, bend--ah!” Bran’s body jerked, then he fell forward, an arrow in his back.
Sherwood Smith (Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1))
If you want the reader to feel intimately related to your subject, try a close-up shot. Describe the character, object or scene as if it were positioned directly in front of your eyes, close enough to touch. Let the reader see the hand-etched signature on the bottom of the wooden bowl or the white strip on the divorcée’s finger where a wedding ring once lay. Let him smell the heaviness of the milking barn after a night of rain, hear the squeak of the farmer’s rubber boots. If you want to get even closer, take the reader inside a character’s body and let him experience her world—the reeling nausea of Lydia’s first morning sickness, the tenderness of her breasts, the metallic taste in her mouth—from the inside out. Then, when you need to establish distance, to remove the reader from the scene as Shirley Jackson did in “The Lottery,” pull back. Describe your object from a great distance. The wooden bowl is no longer a hand-crafted, hand-signed original, or if it is, you can’t tell from where you’re standing. The pregnant woman is no longer Lydia-of-the-tender-breasts; she’s one of dozens of other faceless women seated in the waiting room of the county clinic. As you vary the physical distance between your describer and the subjects being described, you may find that your personal connection with your subjects is altered. Physical closeness often presages emotional closeness. Consider how it is possible that kind and loving men (like my father, who served in three wars) are capable of dropping bombs on “enemy” villages. One factor is their physical distance from their targets. The scene changes dramatically when they face a villager eye to eye; no longer is the enemy a tiny dot darting beneath the shadow of their planes, or a blip on the radar screen. No, this “enemy” has black hair flecked with auburn and a scar over her left eyebrow; she’s younger than the wives they left behind. If
Rebecca McClanahan (Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively)
Never, perhaps, since Paul wrote has there been more need to labor this point than there is today. Modern muddle-headedness and confusion as to the meaning of faith in God are almost beyond description. People say they believe in God, but they have no idea who it is that they believe in, or what difference believing in him may make. Christians who want to help their floundering fellows into what a famous old tract used to call “safety, certainty and enjoyment” are constantly bewildered as to where to begin: the fantastic hodgepodge of fancies about God quite takes their breath away. How on earth have people got into such a muddle? What lies at the root of their confusion? And where is the starting point for setting them straight? To these questions there are several complementary sets of answers. One is that people have gotten into the practice of following private religious hunches rather than learning of God from his own Word, we have to try to help them unlearn the pride and, in some cases, the misconceptions about Scripture which gave rise to this attitude and to base their convictions henceforth not on what they feel but on what the Bible says. A second answer is that modern people think of all religions as equal and equivalent-they draw their ideas about God from pagan as well as Christian sources; we have to try to show people the uniqueness and finality of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s last word to man. A third answer is that people have ceased to recognize the reality of their own sinfulness, which imparts a degree of perversity and enmity against God to all that they think and do; it is our task to try to introduce people to this fact about themselves and so make them self-distrustful and open to correction by the word of Christ. A fourth answer, no less basic than the three already given, is that people today are in the habit of disassociating the thought of God’s goodness from that of his severity; we must seek to wean them from this habit, since nothing but misbelief is possible as long as it persists.
J.I. Packer (Knowing God)
Blaming therapy, social work and other caring professions for the confabulation of testimony of 'satanic ritual abuse' legitimated a programme of political and social action designed to contest the gains made by the women's movement and the child protection movement. In efforts to characterise social workers and therapists as hysterical zealots, 'satanic ritual abuse' was, quite literally, 'made fun of': it became the subject of scorn and ridicule as interest groups sought to discredit testimony of sexual abuse as a whole. The groundswell of support that such efforts gained amongst journalists, academics and the public suggests that the pleasures of disbelief found resonance far beyond the confines of social movements for people accused of sexual abuse. These pleasures were legitimised by a pseudo-scientific vocabulary of 'false memories' and 'moral panic' but as Daly (1999:219-20) points out 'the ultimate goal of ideology is to present itself in neutral, value-free terms as the very horizon of objectivity and to dismiss challenges to its order as the "merely ideological"'. The media spotlight has moved on and social movements for people accused of sexual abuse have lost considerable momentum. However, their rhetoric continues to reverberate throughout the echo chamber of online and 'old' media. Intimations of collusion between feminists and Christians in the concoction of 'satanic ritual abuse' continue to mobilise 'progressive' as well as 'conservative' sympathies for men accused of serious sexual offences and against the needs of victimised women and children. This chapter argues that, underlying the invocation of often contradictory rationalising tropes (ranging from calls for more scientific 'objectivity' in sexual abuse investigations to emotional descriptions of 'happy families' rent asunder by false allegations) is a collective and largely unarticulated pleasure; the catharthic release of sentiments and views about children and women that had otherwise become shameful in the aftermath of second wave feminism. It seems that, behind the veneer of public concern about child sexual abuse, traditional views about the incredibility of women's and children's testimony persist. 'Satanic ritual abuse has served as a lens through which these views have been rearticulated and reasserted at the very time that evidence of widespread and serious child sexual abuse has been consolidating. p60
Michael Salter (Organised Sexual Abuse)
Another day, sheltering beneath trees in a rain-shower, I uncovered a doorway long obliterated by undergrowth. After pulling shrubbery aside, I stepped inside a long deserted summerhouse, fronted by cracked marble columns and ironwork, the rear extending deep into the hillside. Though still filthy, even after I cleared away the tenacious vines, the windowpanes gave sufficient greenish light for me to sketch indoors. In a cobwebbed corner stood a gardener's burner that must once have coaxed oranges or other delicate shrubs to life. With that alight, I found a chair and sat with my shawl muffled around me as I sketched. The marble statues that lined the walls were fine copies of the Greek masters, with muscular limbs and serene faces, though sadly disfigured with a blueish-green patina. As an exercise, I copied a figure of a handsome boy, admiring the sculptor's rendering of tensed muscle, the body frozen just an instant before extending in action. My mind drifted to Michael, the uncertainty hanging over us, my urges to please him, my need to move beyond this stupid impasse. As I sketched the statue's blind eyes I half-heartedly followed his line of sight. I stood and looked more closely at the statue. "What are you looking at?" I said out loud. A green stain blotted the boy's cheek, ugly but also strangely beautiful, for the color was a peacock's viridian. For the first time I noticed the description, "HARPOCRATES- SILENCE", engraved on the pediment, and had a vague recollection of a Roman boy-god who personified that virtue. He held one index finger raised coyly to his lips, while his other hand pointed towards a low arch in the wall. I paced over to the spot at which he pointed. The niche was filled with gardener's trellis that I removed with rising excitement. Behind stood an oak doorway set low in the wall. As I lifted the latch, it opened onto a blast of chilly darkness. Lighting the stub of a candle at the stove, I propped the door open and ventured inside. At once I knew this was no gardeners' store, but another tunnel burrowing into the hillside. Setting forth with the excitement of new discovery, my footsteps rang out and my breath fogged before me in clouds. The place had a mossy, mineral smell, and save for the dripping of water, was silent. Though at first the tunnel ran straight, it soon descended an incline, and my feet splashed into muddy puddles. Who, I wondered, had last passed through that door?
Martine Bailey (A Taste for Nightshade)
When we were finished, the Prince said, “Have you any further questions concerning the matter we discussed last night?” “One.” While I felt no qualms about being rude to his son, I was reluctant to treat the elderly man the same. “You really have been planning this for a long time?” “For most of my life.” “Then why didn’t you respond? Offer to help us--at least offer a place in your alliance--when Bran and I sent our letter to the King at the start of winter?” The Prince paused to take a sip of his coffee. I noted idly that he had long, slim hands like his son’s. Had the Prince ever wielded a sword? Oh yes--wasn’t he wounded in the Pirate Wars? “There was much to admire in your letter,” he said with a faint smile. “Your forthright attitude, the scrupulous care with which you documented each grievance, bespoke an earnestness, shall we say, of intent. What your letter lacked, however, was an equally lucid plan for what to do after Galdran’s government was torn down.” “But we did include one,” I protested. He inclined his head. “In a sense. Your description of what the government ought to be was truly enlightened. Yet…as the military would say, you set out a fine strategy, but failed to supplement it with any kind of tactical carry-through.” His eyes narrowed slightly, and he added, “It is always easiest to judge where one is ignorant--a mistake we made about you, and that we have striven to correct--but it seemed that you and your adherents were idealistic and courageous, yet essentially foolhardy, folk. We were very much afraid you would not last long against the sheer weight of Galdran’s army, its poor leadership notwithstanding.” I thought this over, looking for hidden barbs--and for hidden meanings. He said, “If you should change your mind, or if you simply need to communicate with us, please be assured you shall be welcome.” It seemed that, after all, I was about to go free. “I confess I’ll feel a lot more grateful for your kindness after I get home.” He set his cup down and steepled his fingers. “I understand,” he murmured. “Had I lived through your recent experiences, I expect I might have a similar reaction. Suffice it to say that we wish you well, my child, whatever transpires.” “Thank you for that,” I said awkwardly, getting to my feet. He also rose. “I wish you a safe, swift journey.” He bowed over my hand with graceful deliberation. I left then, but for the first time in days I didn’t feel quite so bad about recent events.
Sherwood Smith (Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1))
I have some questions for you.” Serious, indeed. He brushed her hair back from her forehead with his thumb. “I will answer to the best of my ability.” “You know about changing nappies.” “I do.” “You know about feeding babies.” “Generally, yes.” “You know about bathing them.” “It isn’t complicated.” She fell silent, and Vim’s curiosity grew when Sophie rolled to her back to regard him almost solemnly. “I asked Papa to procure us a special license.” He’d wondered why the banns hadn’t been cried but hadn’t questioned Sophie’s decision. “I assumed that was to allow your brothers to attend the ceremony.” “Them? Yes, I suppose.” She was in a quiet, Sophie-style taking over something, so he slid his arm around her shoulders and kissed her temple. “Tell me, my love. If I can explain my youthful blunders to you over a glass of eggnog, then you can confide to me whatever is bothering you.” She ducked her face against his shoulder. “Do you know the signs a woman is carrying?” He tried to view it as a mere question, a factual inquiry. “Her menses likely cease, for one thing.” Sophie took Vim’s hand and settled it over the wonderful fullness of her breast then shifted, arching into his touch. “What else?” He thought back to his stepmother’s confinements, to what he’d learned on his travels. “From the outset, she might be tired at odd times,” he said slowly. “Her breasts might be tender, and she might have a need to visit the necessary more often than usual.” She tucked her face against his chest and hooked her leg over his hips. “You are a very observant man, Mr. Charpentier.” With a jolt of something like alarm—but not simply alarm—Vim thought back to Sophie’s dozing in church, her marvelously sensitive breasts, her abrupt departure from the room when they’d first gathered for dinner. “And,” he said slowly, “some women are a bit queasy in the early weeks.” She moved his hand, bringing it to her mouth to kiss his knuckles, then settling it low on her abdomen, over her womb. “A New Year’s wedding will serve quite nicely if we schedule it for the middle of the day. I’m told the queasiness passes in a few weeks, beloved.” To Vim’s ears, there was a peculiar, awed quality to that single, soft endearment. The feeling that came over him then was indescribable. Profound peace, profound awe, and profound gratitude coalesced into something so transcendent as to make “love”—even mad, passionate love—an inadequate description. “If you are happy about this, Sophie, one tenth as happy about it as I am, then this will have been the best Christmas season anybody ever had, anywhere, at any time. I vow this to you as the father of your children, your affianced husband, and the man who loves you with his whole heart.” She
Grace Burrowes (Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (The Duke's Daughters, #1; Windham, #4))
See? I long to be your spiritual guide. I really do, and I will. Love is my motive, rather than any elevated belief in my own knowledge, contemplative work, experience, or maturity. And may God correct what I get wrong. For he knows everything, and I only know in part.1 Now to satisfy your proud intellect, I will praise the work of contemplation. You should know that if those engaged in this work had the linguistic talent to express exactly what they’re experiencing, then every scholar of Christianity would be amazed by their wisdom. It’s true! In comparison, all theological erudition would look like total nonsense. No wonder, then, that my clumsy human speech can’t describe the immense value of this work to you, and God forbid that the limitations of our finite language should desecrate and distort it. No, this must not and will not happen. God forbid that I would ever want that! For our analysis of contemplation and the exercise itself are two entirely different things. What we say of it is not it, but merely a description. So, since we can’t define it, let’s describe it. This will baffle all intellectual conceit, especially yours, which is the sole reason I’m writing this letter. I want to start off by asking you a question. What is the essence of human spiritual perfection, and what are its qualities? I’ll answer this for you. On earth, spiritual perfection is only possible through the union between God and the human soul in consummate love. This perfection is pure and so sublime that it surpasses our human understanding, and that’s why it can’t be directly grasped or observed. But wherever we see its consequences, we know that the essence of contemplation abounds there. So, if I tell you that this spiritual discipline is better than all others, then I must first prove it by describing what mature love looks like. This spiritual exercise grows virtues. Look within yourself as you contemplate and also examine the nature of every virtue. You’ll find that all virtues are found in and nurtured by contemplation with no distortion or degeneration of their purposes. I’m not going to single out any particular virtue here for discussion. I don’t need to because you can find them described in other things I’ve written.2 I’ll only comment here that contemplative prayer, when done right, is the respectful love and ripe fruit that I discuss in your little Letter on Prayer. It’s the cloud of unknowing, the hidden love-longing offered by a pure spirit. It’s the Ark of the Covenant.3 It’s the mystical theology of Dionysius, the wisdom and treasure of his “bright darkness” and “unknown knowing.” It takes you into silence, far from thoughts and words. It makes your prayer very short. In it, you learn how to reject and forget the world.
Anonymous (The Cloud of Unknowing: With the Book of Privy Counsel)
Know Yourself: Are You a Freezer, Flyer, or Fighter? How avoidance coping manifests for you will depend on what your dominant response type is when you’re facing something you’d rather avoid. There are three possible responses: freezing, fleeing, or fighting. We’ve evolved these reactions because they’re useful for encounters with predators. Like other animals, when we encounter a predator, we’re wired to freeze to avoid provoking attention, run away, or fight. Most people are prone to one of the three responses more so than the other two. Therefore, you can think of yourself as having a “type,” like a personality type. Identify your type using the descriptions in the paragraphs that follow. Bear in mind that your type is just your most dominant pattern. Sometimes you’ll respond in one of the other two ways. Freezers virtually freeze when they don’t want to do something. They don’t move forward or backward; they just stop in their tracks. If a coworker or loved one nags a freezer to do something the freezer doesn’t want to do, the freezer will tend not to answer. Freezers may be prone to stonewalling in relationships, which is a term used to describe when people flat-out refuse to discuss certain topics that their partner wants to talk about, such as a decision to have another baby or move to a new home. Flyers are people who are prone to fleeing when they don’t want to do something. They might physically leave the house if a relationship argument gets too tense and they’d rather not continue the discussion. Flyers can be prone to serial relationships because they’d rather escape than work through tricky issues. When flyers want to avoid doing something, they tend to busy themselves with too much activity as a way to justify their avoidance. For example, instead of dealing with their own issues, flyers may overfill their children’s schedules so that they’re always on the run, taking their kids from activity to activity. Fighters tend to respond to anxiety by working harder. Fighters are the anxiety type that is least prone to avoidance coping: however, they still do it in their own way. When fighters have something that they’d rather not deal with, they will often work themselves into the ground but avoid dealing with the crux of the problem. When a strategy isn’t working, fighters don’t like to admit it and will keep hammering away. They tend to avoid getting the outside input they need to move forward. They may avoid acting on others’ advice if doing so is anxiety provoking, even when deep down they know that taking the advice is necessary. Instead, they will keep trying things their own way. A person’s dominant anxiety type—freezer, flyer, or fighter—will often be consistent for both work and personal relationships, but not always. Experiment: Once you’ve identified your type, think about a situation you’re facing currently in which you’re acting to type. What’s an alternative coping strategy you could try? For example, your spouse is nagging you to do a task involving the computer. You feel anxious about it due to your general lack of confidence with all things computer related. If you’re a freezer, you’d normally just avoid answering when asked when you’re going to do the task. How could you change your reaction?
Alice Boyes (The Anxiety Toolkit: Strategies for Fine-Tuning Your Mind and Moving Past Your Stuck Points)
The opponent seemed to shift slightly in the seat. His index finger tapped a card, just a couple strokes. There it was the card that ruined his hand. Her hazel eyes release the player across from her to steal a glance registering the emotion of observers around the table then to her best friend. Sophie looks like a Nervous Nelly-she, always worries. She knows the girl will put too much emphasis on a lost hand. The striking man with his lusty brown eyes tries to draw Sophie closer. Now that he has folded and left the game, he is unnecessary, and the seasoned flirt easily escapes his reach. He leaves with a scowl; Sophie turns and issues knowing wink. Ell’s focus is now unfettered, freeing her again to bring down the last player. When she wins this hand, she will smile sweetly, thank the boys for their indulgence, and walk away $700 ahead. The men never suspected her; she’s no high roller. She realizes she and Sophie will have to stay just a bit. Mill around and pay homage to the boy’s egos. The real trick will be leaving this joint alone without one of them trying to tag along. Her opponent is taking his time; he is still undecided as to what card to keep—tap, tap. He may not know, but she has an idea which one he will choose. He attempts to appear nonchalant, but she knows she has him cornered. She makes a quick glance for Mr. Lusty Brown-eyes; he has found a new dame who is much more receptive than Sophie had been. Good, that small problem resolved itself for them. She returns her focuses on the cards once more and notes, her opponent’s eyes have dilated a bit. She has him, but she cannot let the gathering of onlookers know. She wants them to believe this was just a lucky night for a pretty girl. Her mirth finds her eyes as she accepts his bid. From a back table, there is a ruckus indicating the crowd’s appreciation of a well-played game as it ends. Reggie knew a table was freeing up, and just in time, he did not want to waste this evening on the painted and perfumed blonde dish vying for his attention. He glances the way of the table that slowly broke up. He recognizes most of the players and searches out the winner amongst them. He likes to take on the victor, and through the crowd, he catches a glimpse of his goal, surprised that he had not noticed her before. The women who frequent the back poker rooms in speakeasies all dress to compete – loud colors, low bodices, jewelry which flashes in the low light. This dame faded into the backdrop nicely, wearing a deep gray understated yet flirty gown. The minx deliberately blended into the room filled with dark men’s suits. He chuckles, thinking she is just as unassuming as can be playing the room as she just played those patsies at the table. He bet she had sat down all wide-eyed with some story about how she always wanted to play cards. He imagined she offered up a stake that wouldn’t be large but at the same time, substantial enough. Gauging her demeanor, she would have been bold enough to have the money tucked in her bodice. Those boys would be eager after she teased them by retrieving her stake. He smiled a slow smile; he would not mind watching that himself. He knew gamblers; this one was careful not to call in the hard players, just a couple of marks, which would keep the pit bosses off her. He wants to play her; however, before he can reach his goal, the skirt slips away again, using her gray camouflage to aid her. Hell, it is just as well, Reggie considered she would only serve as a distraction and what he really needs is the mental challenge of the game not the hot release of some dame–good or not. Off in a corner, the pit boss takes out a worn notepad, his meaty hands deftly use a stub of a pencil to enter the notation. The date and short description of the two broads quickly jotted down for his boss Mr. Deluca. He has seen the pair before, and they are winning too often for it to be accidental or to be healthy.
Caroline Walken (Ell's Double Down (The Willows #1))
Hitler understands that National Socialism needs to appear socialistic, even as he seeks to destroy everything in Germany that actually fits the description.
David Downing (Diary of a Dead Man on Leave)
The Library of Congress, with other partners, continues to work on a new bibliographic framework (BIBFRAME). This framework will be an open-storage format based on newer technology, such as XML. A framework is merely a holder of content, and a more open framework will allow for easier access to stored metadata. While resource description and access (RDA) is a movement to rewrite cataloging rules, BIBFRAME is a movement to develop a new storage medium. The new storage framework may still use RDA as a means of describing content metadata, but it will move storage away from MARC to a new format based on standardized non-library technology. This new framework will encompass several important characteristics. It will transition storage of library metadata to an open format that is accessible for use by external systems, using standard technology employed outside of libraries. This will allow for libraries to share metadata with each other and with the rest of the Semantic Web. The new framework will also allow for the storage of both old and new metadata formats so that libraries may move forward without reworking existing records. Finally, the new framework will make use of formal metadata structure, as the benefit of named metadata fields has more power for search and discovery than the simple keyword searching employed by much of the Internet. Library metadata will become more important once its organized fields of information can be accessed by any standard non-library system. Embracing a new storage format for bibliographic metadata is much like adoption of a new computer storage format, such as moving your data storage from CD-ROM to an external USB hard drive; the metadata that libraries have created for decades will not be lost but will be converted to a new, more accessible, storage format, sustaining access to the information. Although these benefits may be seen by some, it can be expected that there may be resistance to changes in format as well. It will be no small undertaking to define how libraries will move forward and to then provide means for libraries to transition to new formats. Whatever transitions may be adopted, it will be important that libraries not abandon a structured metadata entry form in lieu of complete keyword formatting.
Kenneth J. Varnum (The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know: A LITA Guide)
In many ways, the treatment of animal homosexuality in the scientific discourse has closely parallelled the discussion of human homosexuality in society at large. Homosexuality in both animals and people has been considered, at various times, to be a pathological condition; a social aberration; an "immoral", "sinful", or "criminal" perversion; an artificial product of confinement or the unavailability of the opposite sex; a reversal or "inversion" of heterosexual "roles"; a "phase" that younger animals go through on the path to heterosexuality; an exceptional but unimportant activity; a useless and puzzling curiosity; and a functional behavior that "stimulates" or "contributes to" heterosexuality. In many other respects, however, the outright hostility to animal homosexuality has transcended all historical trends. One need only look at the litany of derogatory terms, which have remained essentially constant from the late 1800s to the present day, used to describe this behavior: words such as strange, bizarre, perverse, aberrant, deviant, abnormal, anomalous, and unnatural have all been used routinely in "objective" scientific descriptions of the phenomenon and continue to be used (one of the most recent examples is from 1997). In addition, heterosexual behavior is consistently defined in numerous scientific accounts as "normal" in contrast to homosexual activity... In a direct carryover from attitudes toward human homosexuality, same-sex activity is routinely described as being "forced" on other animals when there is no evidence that it is, and a whole range of "distressful" emotions are projected onto the individual who experiences such "unwanted advances"... In other cases, zoologists have problematized homosexual activity or imputed an inherent inadequacy, instability, or incompetence to same-sex relations, when the supporting evidence for this is scanty or questionable at best and nonexistent at worst.
Bruce Bagemihl (Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity)
By the end of the year, X-ray burns were front-page news in virtually every prominent electrical, medical, and scientific journal. No one, however, paid a greater price than the men and women on the front lines of this new technology: radiologists and radiology technicians, most of whom saw themselves as noble warriors, “martyrs to science,” in their quest to save lives with X-rays. In November 1896, Walter Dodd, a founding father of radiology in the United States, suffered severe skin burns on both hands. Within five months, the pain was “beyond description” and his face and hands were visibly scalded. When the pain kept him awake at night, Dodd paced the floor of Massachusetts General Hospital with his hands held above his head. In July 1897, he received the first of fifty skin grafts, all of which failed. Bit by bit, his fingers were amputated. Dodd waited as long as he could before amputating his little finger because, as he said, “I needed something to oppose my thumb.” On August 3, 1905, at the age of forty-six, Elizabeth Fleischmann, the most experienced woman radiographer in the world, died from X-ray-induced cancer after a series of amputations. Fleischmann had gained international renown for her X-rays of soldiers in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. Upon her death, almost every major newspaper published eulogies about “America’s Joan of Arc.
Paul A. Offit (You Bet Your Life: From Blood Transfusions to Mass Vaccination, the Long and Risky History of Medical Innovation)
Description of man. Dependence, desire for independence, needs.
Blaise Pascal (Pensées)
Scholars have an inordinate respect for long books, and have a terrible rancune against those that attempt to cheat on them. They cannot bear to imagine that short-cuts are possible, that specialism is not an inevitability, that learning need not be stoically endured. They cannot bear writers allegro, and when they read such texts—and even pretend to revere them—the result is (this is not a description without generosity) 'unappetizing'.
Nick Land (The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (An Essay in Atheistic Religion))
If wine experts don’t use these things and can’t reliably differentiate between a Clos Pegase Merlot and a Cannonball Merlot, it seems likely that professional wine descriptions will continue to proliferate bullshit. Aside from reading the descriptions, people often assume that the quality of a wine is positively correlated with its price.6 This is why marketers only need to make a wine sound expensive. Like many commodities, wine is a Veblen good. Veblen goods are luxury goods whose prices do not follow the typical laws of supply and demand. They are in demand because they are expensive.
John V. Petrocelli (The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit)
Although she’d never have left him, Willow hadn’t found marriage to be the refuge and support others described it as being. When she heard it referred to as an institution, she would nod along with that description. An institution that had curtailed her freedom—to be herself, to say what she wanted, to act in the way that best suited her needs.
Katherine Hayton (Tea Shop Cozy Mysteries - Books 1-6)
So often have I studied the views of Florence, that I was familiar with the city before I ever set foot within its walls; I found that I could thread my way through the streets without a guide. Turning to the left I passed before a bookseller's shop, where I bought a couple of descriptive surveys of the city (guide). Twice only was I forced to inquire my way of passers by, who answered me with politeness which was wholly French and with a most singular accent; and at last I found myself before the facade of Santa Croce. Within, upon the right of the doorway, rises the tomb of Michelangelo; lo! There stands Canova's effigy of Alfieri; I needed no cicerone to recognise the features of the great Italian writer. Further still, I discovered the tomb of Machiavelli; while facing Michelangelo lies Galileo. What a race of men! And to these already named, Tuscany might further add Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch. What a fantastic gathering! The tide of emotion which overwhelmed me flowed so deep that it scarce was to be distinguished from religious awe. The mystic dimness which filled the church, its plain, timbered roof, its unfinished facade – all these things spoke volumes to my soul. Ah! Could I but forget...! A Friar moved silently towards me; and I, in the place of that sense of revulsion all but bordering on physical horror which usually possesses me in such circumstances, discovered in my heart a feeling which was almost friendship. Was not he likewise a Friar, Fra Bartolomeo di San Marco, that great painter who invented the art of chiaroscuro, and showed it to Raphael, and was the forefather of Correggio? I spoke to my tonsured acquaintance, and found in him an exquisite degree of politeness. Indeed, he was delighted to meet a Frenchman. I begged him to unlock for me the chapel in the north-east corner of the church, where are preserved the frescoes of Volterrano. He introduced me to the place, then left me to my own devices. There, seated upon the step of a folds tool, with my head thrown back to rest upon the desk, so that I might let my gaze dwell on the ceiling, I underwent, through the medium of Volterrano's Sybills, the profoundest experience of ecstasy that, as far as I am aware, I ever encountered through the painter's art. My soul, affected by the very notion of being in Florence, and by proximity of those great men whose tombs I had just beheld, was already in a state of trance. Absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty, I could perceive its very essence close at hand; I could, as it were, feel the stuff of it beneath my fingertips. I had attained to that supreme degree of sensibility where the divine intimations of art merge with the impassioned sensuality of emotion. As I emerged from the porch of Santa Croce, I was seized with a fierce palpitations of the heart (that same symptom which, in Berlin, is referred to as an attack of nerves); the well-spring of life was dried up within me, and I walked in constant fear of falling to the ground. I sat down on one of the benches which line the piazza di Santa Croce; in my wallet, I discovered the following lines by Ugo Foscolo, which I re-read now with a great surge of pleasure; I could find no fault with such poetry; I desperately needed to hear the voice of a friend who shared my own emotion (…)
Stendhal (Rome, Naples et Florence)
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Imagination is not to avoid reality, nor is it description nor an evocation of objects or situations, it is to say that poetry does not tamper with the world but moves it - It affirms reality most powerfully and therefore, since reality needs no personal support but exists free from human action, as proven by science in the indestructibility of matter and of force, it creates a new object, a play, a dance which is not a mirror up to nature but - As birds' wings beat the solid air without which none could fly so words freed by the imagination affirm reality by their flight.
William Carlos Williams (Spring and All)
Where else in dramatic literature is there such a treatment of the life-and-death cycle of people and political change? One needs to reach back to the chronicles of Shakespeare, back to the Greeks. Larry Kramer isn't Sophocles and he isn't Shakespeare; we don't have Sophocleses or Shakespeares, not these days, but we do have, on rare occasion, remarkable accomplishment, and Kramer's is remarkable, invaluable, and rare. How else to dramatise revolution accurately, truthfully, politically, than by showing it to be tragic as well as triumphant? And on the other hand, if the medical, biological, political, and familial failures of "Destiny" produce, by the play's end, despair again; if we are plunged back into night, it cannot be different from the night with which "Normal Heart" began, rife with despair and terror, and pregnant with an offstage potential for transformation, for hope. Failure awaits any political movement, even a spectacularly successful movement such as the one Larry Kramer helped to spark and organise. Political movements, liberation movements, revolutions, are as subject to time, decline, mortality, tragedy, as any human enterprise, or any human being. Death waits for every living thing, no matter how vital or brilliant its accomplishment; death waits for people and for their best and worst efforts as well.politics is a living thing, and living things die. The mistake is to imagine otherwise, to believe that progress doesn't generate as many new problems as it generates blessings, to imagine, foolishly, that the struggle can be won decisively, finally, definitively. No matter what any struggle accomplishes, time, life, death bring in their changes, and new oppressions are always forming from the ashes of the old. The fight for justice, for a better world, for civil rights or access to medicine, is a never-ending fight, at least as far as we have to see. the full blooded description of this truth, the recognition and dramatisation of a political cycle of birth, death, rebirth, defeat, renewal - this is true tragedy, in which absolute loss and devastation, Nothing is arrived at, and from this Nothing, something new is born.
Tony Kushner (The Normal Heart & The Destiny of Me (two plays))
Descriptions of such experiences always sound a little thin, at least when compared with the emotional impact people are trying to convey; for a life-transforming event, the words can seem paltry. When I mentioned this to Richards, he smiled. “You have to imagine a caveman transported into the middle of Manhattan. He sees buses, cell phones, skyscrapers, airplanes. Then zap him back to his cave. What does he say about the experience? ‘It was big, it was impressive, it was loud.’ He doesn’t have the vocabulary for ‘skyscraper,’ ‘elevator,’ ‘cell phone.’ Maybe he has an intuitive sense there was some sort of significance or order to the scene. But there are words we need that don’t yet exist. We’ve got five crayons when we need fifty thousand different shades. Michael Pollan - How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
Michael Pollan
Early in the evolution of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Rogers offered this definitive observation to a meeting of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry: “It’s easy to convince people that children need to learn the alphabet and numbers. . . . How do we help people to realize that what matters even more than the superimposition of adult symbols is how a person’s inner life finally puts together the alphabet and numbers of his outer life? What really matters is whether he uses the alphabet for the declaration of war or the description of a sunrise—his numbers for the final count at Buchenwald or the specifics of a brand-new bridge.”13
Maxwell King (The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers)
In today’s noisy marketplace, we need business storytelling more than ever to differentiate brands, products, and services. Too often, companies rely on description alone when marketing something. There’s a tendency to think that describing something is selling something. But it’s not. Description doesn’t create meaning. It creates information. Stories create meaning.
Douglass Hatcher (Win With Decency: How to Use Your Better Angels for Better Business)
Numbers express quantities. In the submissions to my online survey, however, respondents frequently attributed qualities to them. Noticeably, colors. The number that was most commonly described as having its own color was four (52 votes), which most respondents (17) said was blue. Seven was next (28 votes), which most respondents (9) said was green, and in third place came five (27 votes), which most respondents (9) said was red. Seeing colors in numbers is a manifestation of synesthesia, a condition in which certain concepts can trigger incongruous responses, and which is thought to be the result of atypical connections being made between parts of the brain. In the survey, numbers were also labeled “warm,” “crisp,” “chagrined,” “peaceful,” “overconfident,” “juicy,” “quiet” and “raw.” Taken individually, the descriptions are absurd, yet together they paint a surprisingly coherent picture of number personalities. Below is a list of the numbers from one to thirteen, together with words used to describe them taken from the survey responses. One Independent, strong, honest, brave, straightforward, pioneering, lonely. Two Cautious, wise, pretty, fragile, open, sympathetic, quiet, clean, flexible. Three Dynamic, warm, friendly, extrovert, opulent, soft, relaxed, pretentious. Four Laid-back, rogue, solid, reliable, versatile, down-to-earth, personable. Five Balanced, central, cute, fat, dominant but not too much so, happy. Six Upbeat, sexy, supple, soft, strong, brave, genuine, courageous, humble. Seven Magical, unalterable, intelligent, awkward, overconfident, masculine. Eight Soft, feminine, kind, sensible, fat, solid, sensual, huggable, capable. Nine Quiet, unobtrusive, deadly, genderless, professional, soft, forgiving. Ten Practical, logical, tidy, reassuring, honest, sturdy, innocent, sober. Eleven Duplicitous, onomatopoeic, noble, wise, homey, bold, sturdy, sleek. Twelve Malleable, heroic, imperial, oaken, easygoing, nonconfrontational. Thirteen Gawky, transitional, creative, honest, enigmatic, unliked, dark horse. You don’t need to be a Hollywood screenwriter to spot that Mr. One would make a great romantic hero, and Miss Two a classic leading lady. The list is nonsensical, yet it makes sense. The association of one with male characteristics, and two with female ones, also remains deeply ingrained.
Alex Bellos (The Grapes of Math: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life)
The proper social role of the highly able Endogenous personality is not as leader. Indeed, the Endogenous personality should be excluded from leadership as he will tend to lack the desire to cooperate with or care for the feelings of others. His role should be as an intuitive/ inspired ‘adviser’ of rulers. Adviser-of-rulers is a term which should be taken to include various types of prophet, shaman, genius, wizard, hermit, and holy fool – the Socrates of the early Platonic dialogues is an historical example, as is Diogenes, the Cynic, of Sinope (c.412-323 BC), who lived in a barrel and is supposed to have snubbed Alexander the Great (without being punished), or even the Fool character in Shakespeare plays. These are extremes; but the description of Endogenous personality and of an ‘inner orientation’ also applies to most historical examples of creative genius. The Endogenous personality – therefore – does not (as most men) seek primarily for social, sexual or economic success; instead the Endogenous personality wants to live by his inner imperatives. The way it is supposed-to-work, the ‘deal’, the ‘social contract’; is that the Endogenous personality, by his non-social orientation, is working for the benefit of society as a whole; at the cost of his not competing in the usual status competitions within that society. His ‘reward’ is simply to be allowed, or – better – actively enabled, to have the minimal necessary sustenance, psychological support (principally being ‘left alone’ and not harassed or molested; but ideally sustained by his family, spouse, patron or the like) to be somehow providedwith the time and space and wherewithal to do his work and communicate the outcome. For the Endogenous personality, this is its own reward.
Edward Dutton (The Genius Famine: Why We Need Geniuses, Why They're Dying Out, Why We Must Rescue Them)
describe their profiles, their behavioral characteristics and their particular needs. Even with the short time, all participants took part in groups that created personas while having fun with their descriptions,
Paulo Caroli (Lean Inception: How to Align People and Build the Right Product)
When we read or listen deeply - it should be as a movie playing in our mind. That's why speed can be an important consideration for someone with an important message, although it may be possible for the observer to adapt and ease into tempo (a warmup). Perhaos most important - subjective insight, not what the message means to me but what the message means to the author. To make matters worse - each languages is more or less visually descriptive than others and even if a word translates, the true meaning can differ gradiently. The complexity of the movie depends on our minds ability to grasp geometry and dimensions beyond two. Colour is not as important as contrast. Each word should paint a vivid image, otherwise we need to learn more about the word itself or the way in which we structure our minds. //Easy is a tree, challenging is analysis.
When we read or listen deeply - it should be as a movie playing in our mind. That's why speed can be an important consideration for someone with an important message, although it may be possible for the observer to adapt and ease into tempo (a warmup). Perhaps most important - subjective insight, not what the message means to me but what the message means to the author. To make matters worse - each languages is more or less visually descriptive and even if a word translates - true meaning can differ gradiently. The complexity of the movie depends on our minds ability to grasp geometry and dimensions beyond two. Colour is not as important as contrast. Each word should paint a vivid image, otherwise we need to learn more about the word itself or the way in which we structure our minds. //Easy is a tree, challenging is analysis.
When we read or listen deeply - it should be as a movie playing in our mind. That's why speed can be an important consideration for someone with an important message, although it may be possible for the observer to adapt and ease into tempo (a warmup). Perhaps most important - subjective insight, not what the message means to me but what the message means to the author. To make matters worse - each languages is more or less visually descriptive and even if a word translates - true meaning can differ gradiently. The complexity of the movie depends on our minds ability to grasp geometry and dimensions beyond two. Colour is not as important as contrast. Each word should paint a vivid image, otherwise we need to learn more about the word itself or the way in which we structure our minds. Touchable or not.
Prayer of Relinquishment God, I relinquish my children to your care and watchfulness. Give me the courage to let go as they move—sometimes ever so slowly—toward responsible adulthood. Grant me discernment to know when to carefully intervene, and the restraint to do so only when absolutely necessary. I acknowledge that this is one of the hardest transitions I have ever had to make, and that I need your guidance and insight. In all things, help me to love my children as you love them—lavishly and with grace. Amen. Although there are no formulas or job description templates for making the transition to an adult-to-adult relationship with your child, Cathy and I discovered some meaningful strategies to help you along the way.
Jim Burns (Doing Life with Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out)
Focusing on information flow will help us to understand better how cells and organisms work ... We need to describe the molecular interactions and biochemical transformations that take place in living organisms, and then translate these descriptions into the logical circuits that reveal how information is managed ... Two phases of work are required for such a programme: to describe and catalogue the logic circuits that manage information in cells, and to simplify analysis of cellular biochemistry so that it can be linked to the logical circuits ... A useful analogy is an electronic circuit. Representations of such circuits use symbols to define the nature and function of the electronic components used. They also describe the logic relationships between the components, making it clear how information flows through the circuit. A similar conceptualization is required of the logic modules that make up the circuits that manage information in cells.
Paul Nurse
[I]t is naïve to think that the solution for this problem lies in imposing ‘tolerance’ and ‘acceptance’ of difference as phony corporate job descriptions. We need serious systematic and structural changes to achieve this goal. It takes a lifelong to learn how to love and lifelong to learn how to hate others. Having a healthy society that knows how to value and appreciate difference should not be a job responsibility, but a way of life.
Louis Yako
The snake was an ancient symbol of the traditions which honored the Goddess and the Divine Feminine. You will see Her in ancient forms of the uroboros, a symbol of a snake that looks like it chases its tail or eats its tail. It is a symbol of the ability of the Divine Feminine to give birth and to be reborn like the snake that sheds its skin. She recreates herself for ever. The circular form of the uroboros symbol implies the interminable nature of many cycles. That was part of the Divine Feminine's wisdom, knowing the life cycles, being informed by them and living in harmony with them. Some of the Divine Feminine's mysteries were understood to be impenetrable, and it was only by the Goddess ' grace that one could enter the mysteries, that darkness, and acquire direct knowledge that the ordinary mind and ordinary words would never illuminate or touch. The Goddess gave the fruit from the tree of knowledge, and this did not like the dominating form of a male god! As a quintessential form of the Divine Feminine power of consciousness, Goddess Kundalini has been touched by those dominating modes that have influenced the development of yogic traditions. In the yogic traditions, there have been approaches that try to dominate Kundalini, forcefully push Kundalini to do this or do that by prescribing endless exercises of forced breathing and body postures that are meant to bind and force Kundalini to go in a direction that the yogi wants Her to go. Not surprisingly, these traditions are also the ones that often say Kundalini is dangerous and must be controlled. Those were also the kinds of descriptions that patriarchal dominator approaches applied to the Divine Feminine. But this power of Consciousness is indomitable, it will not be suppressed; it will always have its ways out. Through respect, love, and loyalty, the wise try to follow Her, and then they receive the good graces of this force. Devotees who consider Kundalini as the Great Goddess have a completely different experience with their caring devotion. They gain their boons, their gifts of enlightenment, without having to fear what some forceful, dominant practice may provoke. That mentality is key to understanding how we accept the blessings to be given by this remarkable inherent force of consciousness. It doesn't mean our karmas experiences in flames might not be intense. But with eager egotistical mentality there is no need to escalate issues. We are living in a time of the Goddess's return. We need her experience to educate and encourage mankind to relive cooperatively if life is to exist on this planet. We need her vision clarity, her deep compassion and her steadfast patience to live in harmony with each other and the environment. We need Kundalini Shakti's awakened state of selflessness, empowering people to reinvent culture, social structures, industries, and economic systems on a cooperative model rather than the dominant mode that brings about destruction and conflict. The more people She awakens, the more individuals there will transform the collective consciousness of families, groups, cities, businesses and countries. We are her perceptive and acting organs. We may see clearly, encouraged by Her, and act accordingly.
Adrian Satyam (Energy Healing: 6 in 1: Medicine for Body, Mind and Spirit. An extraordinary guide to Chakra and Quantum Healing, Kundalini and Third Eye Awakening, Reiki and Meditation and Mindfulness.)
Peace. Warm yourself, warrior, while I tell you of peace. History is unerring, and even the least observant mortal can be made to understand, through innumerable repetition. Do you see peace as little more than the absence of war? Perhaps, on a surface level, it is just that. But let me describe the characteristics of peace, my young friend. A pervasive dulling of the senses, a decadence afflicting the culture, evinced by a growing obsession with low entertainment. The virtues of extremity — honour, loyalty, sacrifice — are lifted high as shoddy icons, currency for the cheapest of labours. The longer peace lasts, the more those words are used, and the weaker they become. Sentimentality pervades daily life. All becomes a mockery of itself, and the spirit grows… restless. Is this a singular pessimism? Allow me to continue with a description of what follows a period of peace. Old warriors sit in taverns, telling tales of vigorous youth, their pasts when all things were simpler, clearer cut. They are not blind to the decay all around them, are not immune to the loss of respect for themselves, for all that they gave for their king, their land, their fellow citizens. The young must not be abandoned to forgetfulness. There are always enemies beyond the borders, and if none exist in truth, then one must be fashioned. Old crimes dug out of the indifferent earth. Slights and open insults, or the rumours thereof. A suddenly perceived threat where none existed before. The reasons matter not — what matters is that war is fashioned from peace, and once the journey is begun, an irresistible momentum is born. The old warriors are satisfied. The young are on fire with zeal. The king fears yet is relieved of domestic pressures. the army draws its oil and whetstone. Forges blast with molten iron, the anvils ring like temple bells. Grain-sellers and armourers and clothiers and horse-sellers and countless other suppliers smile with the pleasure of impending wealth. A new energy has gripped the kingdom, and those few voices raised in objection are quickly silenced. Charges of treason and summary execution soon persuade the doubters. Peace, my young warrior, is born of relief, endured in exhaustion, and dies with false remembrance. False? Ah, perhaps I am too cynical. Too old, witness to far too much. Do honour, loyalty and sacrifice truly exist? Are such virtues born only from extremity? What transforms them into empty words, words devalued by their overuse? What are the rules of the economy of the spirit, that civilization repeatedly twists and mocks? Withal of the Third City. You have fought wars. You have forged weapons. You have seen loyalty, and honour. You have seen courage and sacrifice. What say you to all this?" "Nothing," Hacking laughter. "You fear angering me, yes? No need. I give you leave to speak your mind." "I have sat in my share of taverns, in the company of fellow veterans. A select company, perhaps, not grown so blind with sentimentality as to fashion nostalgia from times of horror and terror. Did we spin out those days of our youth? No. Did we speak of war? Not if we could avoid it, and we worked hard at avoiding it." "Why?" "Why? Because the faces come back. So young, one after another. A flash of life, an eternity of death, there in our minds. Because loyalty is not to be spoken of, and honour is to be endured. Whilst courage is to be survived. Those virtues, Chained One, belong to silence." "Indeed. Yet how they proliferate in peace! Crowed again and again, as if solemn pronouncement bestows those very qualities upon the speaker. Do they not make you wince, every time you hear them? Do they not twist in your gut, grip hard your throat? Do you not feel a building rage—" "Aye. When I hear them used to raise a people once more to war.
Steven Erikson (Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5))
Yet another reason Jamie was willing to pay out for expensive, hard-capped boots. You never knew where you’d be stepping. Right in the centre of the settlement a side-path led down a narrow little alley between the backs of two squats made out of shipping pallets, and opened into a little square where three tents all opened towards each other. Two of them looked ancient, propped up by sticks and other rigid objects, tied off and hanging from the bridge overhead with their support strings.  But the third tent looked pretty new.  It was a modest green and orange striped thing — big enough to fit no more than two people. But it matched the description that Reggie had given. He said that it looked too nice to be there, and this one did.  ‘Grace?’ Jamie called softly. Roper was right at her shoulder. She could smell the cigarettes on his breath. There was no answer. She stepped forward a little. ‘Grace? Are you in there? Can you hear me?’ There was an equal chance that the tent was empty, or that Grace was strung out and unresponsive. Either way, she needed to take a look. Jamie glanced at Roper, whose face she couldn’t read. His nose was wrinkled in disgust, but his flushed cheeks told her that he was as nervous as she was.  As much as she hated to generalise — confronting homeless people was never an easy thing to do. They could be unpredictable at best, and it was always smart to tread lightly. She steadied her heart, took a breath and then clenched her hand to stop it from shaking. The zipper toggle hung at the top of the entrance, shimmering gently in the half-light. Jamie couldn’t tell if it was from movement inside, or from vibrations coming through the other squats around them.  She swallowed and reached for it, taking it lightly between her fingers, not wanting to startle whoever was inside. Roper’s breath was short and sharp in her ear. ‘Grace?’ she tried again, but there was no response. She tugged left and the zipper began to unfurl, grinding its way along the teeth. Roper exhaled behind her, filling the already ripe gap with hot air.  Jamie craned her neck to look through the widening gap as the flap began to fold down, but inside was shaded and dark. The smell of urine wafted out and stung her nostrils. She was aware of her boots in the mud, aware of the sounds around her, of the closeness of Roper as he looked over her head.  Everything was still, the zipper not seeming to move at all.
Morgan Greene (Bare Skin (DS Jamie Johansson #1))