Organisation Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Organisation. Here they are! All 199 of them:

I don't want to rule the universe. I just think it could be more sensibly organised.
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)
The pyjamas have cats on them. I am informed that these cats belong to an organisation called Hello Kitty.
Martin Millar (Lonely Werewolf Girl (Kalix MacRinnalch, #1))
Comrades!' he cried. 'You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink the milk and eat those apples.
George Orwell (Animal Farm)
Order or disorder depends on organisation; courage or cowardice on circumstances; strength or weakness on dispositions.
Sun Tzu
Was it the happiest day of our lives? Probably not, if only because the truly happy days tend not to involve so much organisation, are rarely so public or so expensive. The happy ones sneak up, unexpected.
David Nicholls (Us)
You are going to bring an army against the ruler of hell and put him down once and for all. And he is doing everything in his power to stop you." Oh, yeah, Garrett needed to be on medication. "But why would I want to do all of this? And how would I raise an army? I'm just not that good at organisation. Will they expect to be fed?
Darynda Jones (Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson, #5))
Perhaps one day, all these conflicts will end, and it won't be because of great statesmen or churches or organisations like this one. It'll be because people have changed. They'll be like you, Puffin. More a mixture. So why not become a mongrel? It's healthy.
Kazuo Ishiguro (When We Were Orphans)
Can I just point something out?" Fletcher asked. "That is an awful plan. On a scale of one to ten - the Trojan War being a ten and General Custer verus all those Indians being a one - your plan is a zero. I don't think it is a plan at all. I think it's just a series of happenings that are, to be honest, unlikely to follow on from each other in the way in which everyone's probably hoping." "Do you have a better plan?" Valkyrie asked. "Of course not. I'm a man of action, not thought." Valkyrie nodded. "You're defintely not a man of thought." "Why are you in charge anyway? What do you know about organising something like this?" "I have faith," Tanith said. "As do I," said Ghastly. Valkyrie smiled at them gratefully. "So you think the plan will work?" "God, no," said Ghastly. "Sorry, Val," said Tanith
Derek Landy (Dark Days (Skulduggery Pleasant, #4))
After all, to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1))
Sapiens rule the world because only they can weave an intersubjective web of meaning: a web of laws, forces, entities and places that exist purely in their common imagination. This web allows humans alone to organise crusades, socialist revolutions and human rights movements.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
People who think that grammar is just a collection of rules and restrictions are wrong. If you get to like it, grammar reveals the hidden meaning of history, hides disorder and abandonment, links things and brings opposites together. Grammar is a wonderful way of organising the world how you'd like it to be.
Delphine de Vigan (No and Me)
While the Zionists try to make the rest of the World believe that the national consciousness of the Jew finds its satisfaction in the creation of a Palestinian state, the Jews again slyly dupe the dumb Goyim. It doesn't even enter their heads to build up a Jewish state in Palestine for the purpose of living there; all they want is a central organisation for their international world swindler, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks. It is a sign of their rising confidence and sense of security that at a time when one section is still playing the German, French-man, or Englishman, the other with open effrontery comes out as the Jewish race.
Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
The Metropolitan Police Service is still, despite what people think, a working-class organisation and as such rejects totally the notion of an officer class. That is why every newly minted constable, regardless of their educational background, has to spend a two-year probationary period as an ordinary plod on the streets. This is because nothing builds character like being abused, spat at and vomited by members of the public.
Ben Aaronovitch (Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1))
We live in everyone. I live in you. You live in me. There is no gap, no distance.
Amit Ray (Enlightenment Step by Step)
Economic development is something much wider and deeper than economics, let alone econometrics. Its roots lie outside the economic sphere, in education, organisation, discipline and, beyond that, in political independence and a national consciousness of self-reliance.
Ernst F. Schumacher (Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered)
Wizards don't believe in gods in the same way that most people don't find it necessary to believe in, say, tables. They know they're there, they know they're there for a purpose, they'd probably agree that they have a place in a well-organised universe, but they wouldn't see the point of believing, of going around saying "O great table, without whom we are as naught." Anyway, either the gods are there whether you believe in them or not, or exist only as a function of the belief, so either way you might as well ignore the whole business and, as it were, eat off your knees.
Terry Pratchett (Reaper Man (Discworld, #11; Death, #2))
That's the truth about people with obsessively organised plans: we're not trying to control everything in our lives. We're trying to block out the things we can't.
Holly Smale (Model Misfit (Geek Girl, #2))
All organisation is and must be grounded on the idea of exclusion and prohibition just as two objects cannot occupy the same space
Arthur Miller
The social system is taking on a form in which finding out what you want to do is less and less of an option because your life is too structured, organised, controlled and disciplined.
Noam Chomsky
I don't believe in fate. I don't believe in cushioning your insecurities with a system of belief that tells you 'Don't worry. This may be your life but you're not in control. There is something or someone looking out for you -- it's already organised.' It's all chance and choice, which is far more frightening.
Maggie O'Farrell (After You'd Gone)
Nothing negatively impacts organisation performance quicker than an employee who resists change and who believes that the way they work today is the way they will work tomorrow
Peter F. Gallagher
In reality, we live in every one. Deep down there is a rose in every heart.
Amit Ray (Enlightenment Step by Step)
One of the great benefits of organised religion is that you can be forgiven your sins, which must be a wonderful thing. . .I mean, I carry my sins around with me, there's nobody there to forgive them.
Kingsley Amis
If you do not change employee behaviour, you will not get organisational change and performance improvement"​
Peter F. Gallagher
Many leaders get to the top of an organisation with skills less associated to leadership, but more the ability to eliminate greater competition on the way
Peter F Gallagher
Constructive feedback is leadership gift and driver of organisational behavioural change
Peter F Gallagher
Organisational change adoption must be made easier than keeping the old ways
Peter F Gallagher
A typical response when starting a change journey and engaging organisational leaders, it is not us, it is the employees below me that have the problem with change and improvement
Peter F Gallagher
From my experience, I see a high number of change initiatives fail, so why is it that change experts and leadership coaches continually praise organisations for their great efforts?
Peter F Gallagher
There are 3 groups of employees in any change journey: ‘Advocates’, ‘Observers’ and ‘Rebels’. Each reacts differently to organisational change and will have different levels of resistance
Peter F Gallagher
It appears to me impossible that I should cease to exist, or that this active, restless spirit, equally alive to joy and sorrow, should only be organised dust - ready to fly abroad the moment the spring snaps, or the spark goes out, which kept it together. Surely something resides in this heart that is not perishable - and life is more than a dream.
Mary Wollstonecraft (A Short Residence in Sweden / Memoirs of the Author of 'The Rights of Woman')
Deluded leaders and the ‘yes men’ that follow are barriers to successful organisational change" Peter F Gallagher Change Management Handbook - The Leadership of Change Volume 3
Peter F Gallagher
The Friends of Digital Sapients were one of those organisations that had their hearts in the right place but their heads firmly up their asses.
Becky Chambers (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1))
The micro facial expression of contempt when engaging leaders about preparing for their organisation's change is often the norm, matched only by their leadership of change knowledge
Peter F Gallagher
Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
To whom can I expose the urgency of my own passion?…There is nobody—here among these grey arches, and moaning pigeons, and cheerful games and tradition and emulation, all so skilfully organised to prevent feeling alone.
Virginia Woolf
Fixed mindset leaders will quickly contaminate an organisation by killing growth and creativity, as well as promoting incompetence based on their likeness. This cycle will be replicated unless shareholders intervene ruthlessly
Peter F Gallagher
It is the intense spirituality of India, and not any great political structure or social organisation that it has developed, that has enabled it to resist the ravages of time and the accidents of history.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Indian Philosophy, Volume 1)
The existence of poverty is the proof of an unjust and ill-organised society, and our public charities are but the first tardy awakening in the conscience of a robber.
Sri Aurobindo
Virtually all organisations known to you work largely by means of your greed.
Idries Shah (Learning How to Learn: Psychology and Spirituality in the Sufi Way)
Any organisation that designs a system will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organisation's communication structure
Robert C. Martin (Clean Architecture)
How passionately she longed to be important to somebody again - not important on platforms, not important as an asset in an organisation, but privately important, just to one other person, quite privately, nobody else to know or notice. It didn't seem much to ask in a world so crowded with people, just to have one of them, only one out of all the millions to oneself. Somebody who needed one, who thought of one, who was eager to come to one - oh, oh how dreadfully one wanted to be precious.
Elizabeth von Arnim (The Enchanted April)
The enemy is not individuals, churches, 'ex-gay' organisations or political parties; the enemy is ignorance. Change is created by focusing our energies on overcoming the latter instead of attacking the former.
Anthony Venn-Brown OAM (A Life of Unlearning - a journey to find the truth)
A society which discards those who are weak and non-productive risks exaggerating the development of reason, organisation, aggression and the desire to dominate. It becomes a society without a heart, without kindness - a rational and sad society, lacking celebration, divided within itself and given to competition, rivalry and, finally, violence.
Jean Vanier (Man and Woman He Made Them)
He thought of how the world organises its affairs so that civilisation every day commits crimes for which any individual would be imprisoned for life. And how people accept this either by ignoring it and calling it current affairs or politics or wars,
Richard Flanagan (The Narrow Road to the Deep North)
While delivering organisational change or improvements, one cannot be sure whether the main challenge is narcissistic and deluded leaders or the sheep that follow in abundance" Peter F Gallagher Change Management Handbook - The Leadership of Change Volume 3
Peter F Gallagher
For the rest of history, for most of us, our bright promise will always fall short of being actualised; it will never earn us bountiful sums of money or beget exemplary objects or organisations.... Most of us stand poised at the edge of brilliance, haunted by the knowledge of our proximity, yet still demonstrably on the wrong side of the line, our dealings with reality undermined by a range of minor yet critical psychological flaws (a little too much optimism, an unprocessed rebelliousness, a fatal impatience or sentimentality). We are like an exquisite high-speed aircraft which for lack of a tiny part is left stranded beside the runway, rendered slower than a tractor or a bicycle.
Alain de Botton (The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work)
She was adamant that any organisation that labelled one group of people as evil would eventually do the same to others. That to treat any one person as less than human was to cheapen the very substance of humanity.
Samantha Shannon (The Song Rising (The Bone Season, #3))
The change question all leaders should be able to answer Do you have a change vision, are you aligned on your strategic objectives, are you a high performing team and does you team have change leadership skills to lead the change or improvement that your organisation is facing?
Peter F Gallagher
Like every big organisation these days, the BBC is obsessed with the wellbeing of those who set foot on its premises. Studios must display warning notices if there is real glass on the set, and the other day I was presented with a booklet explaining how to use a door. I am not kidding.
Jeremy Clarkson (The World According to Clarkson (World According to Clarkson, #1))
If Rosie’s mother had known that eye colour was not a reliable indicator of paternity, and organised a DNA test to confirm her suspicions, there would have been no Father Project, no Great Cocktail Night, no New York Adventure, no Reform Don Project—and no Rosie Project. Had it not been for this unscheduled series of events, her daughter and I would not have fallen in love. And I would still be eating lobster every Tuesday night. Incredible.
Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1))
The human brain, it has been said, is the most complexly organised structure in the universe and to appreciate this you just have to look at some numbers. The brain is made up of one hundred billion nerve cells or "neurons" which is the basic structural and functional units of the nervous system. Each neuron makes something like a thousand to ten thousand contacts with other neurons and these points of contact are called synapses where exchange of information occurs. And based on this information, someone has calculated that the number of possible permutations and combinations of brain activity, in other words the numbers of brain states, exceeds the number of elementary particles in the known universe.
V.S. Ramachandran
The growing sensitivity of people to any sort of open and frank discussion of important issues is no service to civilisation, let alone law and order. I wrote a play about a man who happened to be a salesman, and several organisations of sales people flew to arms. Now it is the lawyers. If I am to back away from these objections you must surely see that I shall be forced to write about people with no occupation whatever.
Arthur Miller
Being able to "go beyond the information" given to "figure things out" is one of the few untarnishable joys of life. One of the great triumphs of learning (and of teaching) is to get things organised in your head in a way that permits you to know more than you "ought" to. And this takes reflection, brooding about what it is that you know. The enemy of reflection is the breakneck pace - the thousand pictures.
Jerome Bruner (The Culture of Education)
I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organised diminution of work.
Bertrand Russell (In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays)
What you of the CHOAM directorate seem unable to understand is that you seldom find real loyalties in commerce ... Men must want to do things of their own innermost drives. People, not commercial organisations or chains of command, are what make great civilizations work, every civilization depends upon the quality of the individuals it produces. If you overorganize humans, over-legalize them, suppress their urge to greatness — they cannot work and their civilization collapses.
Frank Herbert (Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles #3))
But I really am Ravenclaw, you know, not Slytherin. I don't want to rule the universe. I just think it could be more sensibly organised.
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)
Virtually all organisations known to you work largely by means of your greed. They attract you because... they appeal to your greed.
Idries Shah (Learning How to Learn: Psychology and Spirituality in the Sufi Way)
You want me to assassinate him." "No, my dear, we want you to infiltrate his organisation, find out his plans, root out his spies, and then kill him.
Jaye Wells (Red-Headed Stepchild (Sabina Kane, #1))
Why do we love the idea that people might be secretly working together to control and organise the world? Because we don't like to face the fact that our world runs on a combination of chaos, incompetence and confusion.
Jonathan Cainer
It doesn’t matter which continent I am working in; I typically encounter three-employee change standpoints: Advocates, Observers and Rebels. However, to successfully implement organisational change management, we must engage, communicate and entice these three employee groups to get buy-in, change adoption and benefits realisation
Peter F Gallagher
Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays. From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organised religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate.
Elton John
Do you want to influence the behaviour of people or organisations? You could always preach about values and visions, or you could appeal to reason. But in nearly every case, incentives work better. These need not be monetary; anything is useable, from good grades to Nobel Prizes to special treatment in the afterlife.
Rolf Dobelli (The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions)
Logic issues in tautologies, mathematics in identities, philosophy in definitions; all trivial, but all part of the vital work of clarifying and organising our thought.
Frank Plumpton Ramsey (Foundations of Mathematics and Other Logical Essays)
They like to use those fancy words. They don't like to say “raped,'” he said. “They say “misdeed,' “inappropriate touching,' “mistake.' That's insulting. I'm not a mistake.
Charles L. Bailey Jr. (In the Shadow of the Cross)
The locust has no king Just noise and hard language They talk me over
David Eugene Edwards
Yes, I know it’s easy to make fun of the organised churches, but has it occurred to anyone to wonder why it’s so easy?
John Cleese (So, Anyway...: The Autobiography)
In reality, we live in everyone. I live in you. You live in me. There is no gap, no distance. We all are eternally one.
Amit Ray
It is beyond the power of any man to make a revolution. Neither can it be brought about on any appointed date. It is brought about by special environments, social and economic. The function of an organised party is to utilise any such opportunity offered by these circumstances.
Bhagat Singh
The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organised religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests.
Jawaharlal Nehru
At his most characteristic, medieval man was not a dreamer nor a wanderer. He was an organiser, a codifier, a builder of systems.
C.S. Lewis (The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature)
Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder.
Harry Patch (The Last Fighting Tommy: The Life of Harry Patch, the Oldest Surviving Veteran of the Trenches)
There is no degree of human suffering which in and of itself is going to bring about change. Only organisation can change things.
Susan George
The things we fear most in organisations – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances – are the primary sources of creativity.
Margaret J. Wheatley
Organisational change leadership is about effectively and proactively articulating the vision, modelling the new way and intervening to ensure sustainable change
Peter F Gallagher
BENEDICK And now, tell me, for which of my bad qualities did you first fall in love with me?’ BEATRICE ‘All of them together,’ she said. ‘They maintained such a well organised state of evil that they wouldn’t allow any good quality to intermingle with them
William Shakespeare (Much Ado About Nothing)
Every time I asked a question, that magnificent teacher, instead of giving the answer, showed me how to find it. She taught me to organise my thoughts, to do research, to read and listen, to seek alternatives, to resolve old problems with new solutions, to argue logically. Above all, she taught me not to believe anything blindly, to doubt, and to question even what seemed irrefutably true, such as man's superiority over woman, or one race or social class over another.
Isabel Allende (Portrait in Sepia)
the human body is also an organised system, it lives as long as it keeps organised, and death is only the effect of disorganisation, And how can a society of blind people organise itself in order to survive, By organising itself, to organise oneself is, in a way, to begin to have eyes
José Saramago (Blindness)
As I get older, the tyranny that football exerts over my life, and therefore over the lives of people around me, is less reasonable and less attractive. Family and friends know, after long years of wearying experience, that the fixture list always has the last word in any arrangement; they understand, or at least accept, that christenings or weddings or any gatherings, which in other families would take unquestioned precedence, can only be plotted after consultation. So football is regarded as a given disability that has to be worked around. If I were wheelchair-bound, nobody close to me would organise anything in a top-floor flat, so why would they plan anything for a winter Saturday afternoon.
Nick Hornby (Fever Pitch)
The administrative and hierarchic aspects seem to be crucial in the evolution of belief systems. The truth is first revealed to all men, but very quickly individuals appear claiming sole authority and a duty to interpret, administer and, if need be, alter this truth in the name of the common good. To this end they establish a powerful and potentially repressive organisation. This phenomenon, which biology shows us is common to any social group, soon transforms the doctrine into a means of achieving control and political power. Divisions, wars and break-ups become inevitable. Sooner or later, the word becomes flesh and the flesh bleeds.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Angel's Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #2))
It's not the generals, it's the civilians who authorise and organise the worst war crimes.
Noam Chomsky
Be creative while inventing ideas, but be disciplined while implementing them.
Amit Kalantri
But the thing about Literature is, well, basically it encapsulates all the disciplines - it's history, philosophy, politics, sexual politics, sociology, psychology, linguistics, science. Literature is mankind's organised response to the world around him, or her.
David Nicholls (Starter for Ten)
While the popular understanding of anarchism is of a violent, anti-State movement, anarchism is a much more subtle and nuanced tradition then a simple opposition to government power. Anarchists oppose the idea that power and domination are necessary for society, and instead advocate more co-operative, anti-hierarchical forms of social, political and economic organisation.
L. Susan Brown (Politics of Individualism)
I asked myself what I believed. I had never prayed a lot. I hoped hard, wished hard, but I didn't pray. I had developed a certain distrust of organised religion growing up, but I felt I had the capacity to be a spiritual person, and to hold some fervent beliefs. Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn't a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I'd been baptised.
Lance Armstrong (It's Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life)
The anarchist conclusion is that every kind of human activity should begin from what from what is local and immediate, should link in a network with no centre and no directing agency, hiving off new cells as the original grows.
Colin Ward (Anarchy in Action)
We revolutionary anarchists are the enemies of all forms of State and State organisations ... we think that all State rule, all governments being by their very nature placed outside the mass of the people, must necessarily seek to subject it to customs and purposes entirely foreign to it. We therefore declare ourselves to be foes ... of all State organisations as such, and believe that the people can only be happy and free, when, organised from below by means of its own autonomous and completely free associations, without the supervision of any guardians, it will create its own life.
Mikhail Bakunin
The people come to understand that wealth is not the fruit of labour but the result of organised, protected robbery. Rich people are no longer respectable people; they are nothing more than flesh eating animals, jackals and vultures which wallow in the people's blood.
Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth)
I’m a little vague on the details but aren’t doughnuts just the most marvellous thing to ever come out of organised religion?
Kate Griffin (The Glass God (Magicals Anonymous, #2))
On dispose de tout ce qu'il faut lorsque l'on organise sa vie autour e l'idée de ne rien posséder.
Sylvain Tesson (Dans les forêts de Sibérie)
Her apartment in Stockholm might look as if a bomb had gone off in it, but mentally Salander was extremely well organised.
Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1))
Hell hath no fury like a centuries-old organisation of zealots scorned.
Seanan McGuire (Half-Off Ragnarok (InCryptid, #3))
Believing this country to be a political and not a religious organisation ... the editor of the NATIONAL CITIZEN will use all her influence of voice and pen against 'Sabbath Laws', the uses of the 'Bible in School', and pre-eminently against an amendment which shall introduce 'God in the Constitution.
Matilda Joslyn Gage
At a certain point in their historical lives, social classes become detached from their traditional parties. In other words, the traditional parties in that particular organisational form, with the particular men who constitute, represent and lead them, are no longer recognised by their class (or fraction of a class) as its expression. When such crises occur, the immediate situation becomes delicate and dangerous, because the field is open for violent solutions, for the activities of unknown forces, represented by charismatic "men of destiny".
Antonio Gramsci (Selections from the Prison Notebooks)
This is a crucial job of being an organizer. You leave a dark basement and try to explain to people in the sunshine what it's like to live down there. I've learned this is best done by bringing these different groups of people together. Those with extra money discover how much more satisfying it is to see talent and fairness grow then to see objects accumulate. Those without money learn the valuable lesson that money doesn't cure all woes. Instead, it may actually insulate and isolate.
Gloria Steinem
The important question is, therefore, not whether anarchy is possible or not, but whether we can so enlarge the scope and influence of libertarian methods that they become the normal way in which human beings organise their society.
Colin Ward (Anarchy in Action)
If Nature abhors the void, the mind abhors what is meaningless. Show a person an ink-blot, and he will start at once to organise it into a hierarchy of shapes, tentacles, wheels, masks, a dance of figures.
Arthur Koestler (The Ghost in the Machine)
Probably one of those sinister organisations that lurked behind the mask of amusing acronym, such as BUM, for example - the Bermondsey Union of Minstrels. Or WILLY, the Whitechapel Institution for Long-Legged Yodellers. It could be any one of a hundred such evil cabals. With the notable exception of the Meritorious Union For Friendship, Decency, Individualism, Virtue and Educational Resources, who were above reproach.
Robert Rankin (The Educated Ape and Other Wonders of the Worlds (Japanese Devil Fish Girl #3))
But hidden drawers, lockable diaries and cryptographic systems could not conceal from Briony the simple truth: she had no secrets. Her wish for a harmonious, organised world denied her the reckless possibilities of wrongdoing. Mayhem and destruction were too chaotic for her tastes, and she did not have it in her to be cruel. Her effective status as an only child, as well as the relative isolation of the Tallis house, kept her, at least during the long summer holidays, from girlish intrigues with friends. Nothing in her life was sufficiently interesting or shameful to merit hiding; no one knew about the squirrel's skull beneath her bed, but no one wanted to know.
Ian McEwan (Atonement)
[Team player vs team builder] Players focus on the wins and the loses. Builders focus on the team and future of the vision. Let's move our members from team player to team builder.
Janna Cachola
In a sense, fear is the daughter of God, redeemed on Good Friday. She is not beautiful, mocked, cursed or disowned by all. But don’t be mistaken, she watches over all mortal agony, she intercedes for mankind; for there is a rule and an exception. Culture is the rule, and art is the exception. Everybody speaks the rule; cigarette, computer, t-shirt, television, tourism, war. Nobody speaks the exception. It isn’t spoken, it is written; Flaubert, Dostoyevsky. It is composed; Gershwin, Mozart. It is painted; Cézanne, Vermeer. It is filmed; Antonioni, Vigo. Or it is lived, then it is the art of living; Srebrenica, Mostar, Sarajevo. The rule is to want the death of the exception. So the rule for cultural Europe is to organise the death of the art of living, which still flourishes.
Jean-Luc Godard
In the spiritual path, if you are dependent on any person or organisation, you can’t grow. At some point in time, you need to drop all dependency and walk alone with all humbleness and sincerity. In the silence of mind, eternity arises.
Amit Ray (Peace Bliss Beauty and Truth: Living with Positivity)
Temporality is obviously an organised structure, and these three so-called elements of time: past, present, future, must not be envisaged as a collection of 'data' to be added together...but as the structured moments of an original synthesis. Otherwise we shall immediately meet with this paradox: the past is no longer, the future is not yet, as for the instantaneous present, everyone knows that it is not at all: it is the limit of infinite division, like the dimensionless point.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Being and Nothingness)
By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past. If you just stow these things away in a drawer or cardboard box, before you realise it, your past will become a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here and now. Pg.116-117
Marie Kondō
The slave trade was not controlled by any state or government. It was a purely economic enterprise, organised and financed by the free market according to the laws of supply and demand. Private slave-trading companies sold shares on the Amsterdam, London and Paris stock exchanges. Middle-class Europeans looking for a good investment bought these shares. Relying on this money, the companies bought ships, hired sailors and soldiers, purchased slaves in Africa, and transported them to America. There they sold the slaves to the plantation owners, using the proceeds to purchase plantation products such as sugar, cocoa, coffee, tobacco, cotton and rum.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
All behavior involves conscious or unconscious selection of particular actions out of all those which are physically possible to the actor and to those persons over whom he exercises influence and authority.
Herbert A. Simon (Administrative Behavior, 4th Edition: A Study of Decision-making Processes in Administrative Organisations)
let’s live suddenly without thinking under honest trees, a stream does.the brain of cleverly-crinkling -water pursues the angry dream of the shore. By midnight, a moon scratches the skin of the organised hills an edged nothing begins to prune let’s live like the light that kills and let’s as silence, because Whirl’s after all: (after me)love,and after you. I occasionally feel vague how vague idon’t know tenuous Now- spears and The Then-arrows making do our mouths something red,something tall
E.E. Cummings
the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, between 5,000 and 10,000 Protestants were slaughtered in less than twenty-four hours. When the pope in Rome heard the news from France, he was so overcome by joy that he organised festive prayers to celebrate the occasion and commissioned Giorgio Vasari to decorate one of the Vatican’s rooms with a fresco of the massacre (the room is currently off-limits to visitors).2 More Christians were killed by fellow Christians in those twenty-four hours than by the polytheistic Roman Empire throughout its entire existence.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The degree of personal freedom that exists in a society is determined more by the economic and technological structure of the society than by its laws or its form of government. Most of the Indian nations of New England were monarchies, and many of the cities of the Italian Renaissance were controlled by dictators. But in reading about these societies one gets the impression that they allowed far more personal freedom than our society does. In part this was because they lacked efficient mechanisms for enforcing the ruler’s will: There were no modern, well-organised police forces, no rapid long-distance communications, no surveillance cameras, no dossiers of information about the lives of average citizens. Hence it was relatively easy to evade control.
Theodore J. Kaczynski (Industrial Society and Its Future)
Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organised political resistance
Derrick Jensen
Telling people what to do is showmanship. Showing people how to do it is leadership.
Janna Cachola
I’m done with all the stupid shit. I’m done with politicians, the rich taxing the poor. I’m done with organised religions, profiting off their prophets. I’m done with pop culture, making everything consumable. I’m done, I’m done, I’m done
Timothy Decker
In addition to conformity as a way to relieve the anxiety springing from separateness, another factor of contemporary life must be considered: the role of the work routine and the pleasure routine. Man becomes a 'nine to fiver', he is part of the labour force, or the bureaucratic force of clerks and managers. He has little initiative, his tasks are prescribed by the organisation of the work; there is even little difference between those high up on the ladder and those on the bottom. They all perform tasks prescribed by the whole structure of the organisation, at a prescribed speed, and in a prescribed manner. Even the feelings are prescribed: cheerfulness, tolerance, reliability, ambition, and an ability to get along with everybody without friction. Fun is routinised in similar, although not quite as drastic ways. Books are selected by the book clubs, movies by the film and theatre owners and the advertising slogans paid for by them; the rest is also uniform: the Sunday ride in the car, the television session, the card game, the social parties. From birth to death, from Monday to Monday, from morning to evening - all activities are routinised, and prefabricated. How should a man caught up in this net of routine not forget that he is a man, a unique individual, one who is given only this one chance of living, with hopes and disappointments, with sorrow and fear, with the longing for love and the dread of the nothing and separateness?
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
I grew up with all these hippies. Ten of them and one of me. None of them wanted to work and spent all their time talking and dreaming and fooling around. 90% of that hippie stuff is just bullshit but the ideals of that generation were very beautiful and powerful and rebellious. I had to dress and feed myself from the time I was six, which meant I became a very organised person. But there came a point when I was about seven or eight, when I saw the absurdity of living in a commune and I said to them, "Why don’t you just DO SOMETHING!?
Björk
The job of the politician is to speak for all people; not just for parties with vested interests, or organisations with the biggest wallets. The first people a politician should protect are those that cannot protect themselves: Those weakest and most vulnerable among us. This is, to most of us, something that seems to be an obvious statement of fact, and that may be so, but it’s also a forgotten fact. Now, today, the opposite is true. It should shame us all. It shames me. The very fact that the most poor and the most vulnerable in our society are those that are victimised and stamped upon, whereas the most wealthy and the most influential are making more profits and acquiring more assets and wealth than ever before in history, is a damning indictment of what our society has become
Paul Howsley (The Year of the Badgers)
The hemulen woke up slowly and recognised himself and wished he had been someone he didn't know. He felt even tireder than when he went to bed, and here it was -- another day which would go on until evening and then there would be another one and another one which would be the same as all days are when they are lived by a hemulen. He crept under the bedcover and buried his nose in the pillow, then he shifted his stomach to the edge of the bed where the sheets were cool. He took possession of the whole bed with outstretched arms and legs he was waiting for a nice dream that wouldn't come. He curled up and made himself small but it didn't help a bit. He tried being the hemulen that everybody like, he tried being the hemulen that no one liked. But however hard he tried he remained a hemulen doing his best without anything really coming off. In the end he got up and pulled on his trousers. The Hemulen didn't like getting dressed and undressed, it gave him a feeling that the days passed without anything of importance happening. Even so, he spent the whole day arranging, organising and directing things from morning till night! All around him there were people living slipshod and aimless lives, wherever he looked there was something to be put to rights and he worked his fingers to the bone trying to get them to see how they ought to live. It's as though they don't want to live well, the Hemulen thought sadly as he brushed his teeth. He looked at the photograph of himself with his boat which was been taken when the boat was launched. It was a beautiful picture but it made him feel even sadder. I ought to learn how to sail, the Hemulen thought. But I've never got enough time... Moominvalley in November Chapter 5, THE HEMULEN
Tove Jansson (Moominvalley in November (The Moomins, #9))
Thus, as I believe, natural selection will tend in the long run to reduce any part of the organisation, as soon as it becomes, through changed habits, superfluous, without by any means causing some other part to be largely developed in a corresponding degree. And conversely, that natural selection may perfectly well succeed in largely developing an organ without requiring as a necessary compensation the reduction of some adjoining part.
Charles Darwin (On the Origin of Species)
When you study success, you become a dreamer. When you study failure, you become a victor. When you study organisations, you become a mentor. When you study management, you become a leader. When you study nature, you become a scholar. When you study people, you become a counselor. When you study life, you become a thinker. When you study God, you become a philosopher. When you study magic, you become a sorcerer. When you study stars, you become an astronomer. When you study oracles, you become a seer. When you study visions, you become a diviner. When you study combat, you become a warrior. When you study war, you become a commander. When you study policy, you become a governor. When you study politics, you become a ruler. When you study nothing, you become a loser. When you study little, you become a loafer. When you study much, you become a winner. When you study all, you become a master.
Matshona Dhliwayo
Tous les hommes politiques d'aujourd'hui, selon Pontevin, sont un peu danseurs, et tous les danseurs se mêlent de politique, ce qui, toutefois, ne devrait pas nous amener à les confondre. Le danseur se distingue de l'homme politique ordinaire en ceci qu'il ne désire pas le pouvoir mais la gloire ; il ne désire pas imposer au monde telle ou telle organisation sociale (il s'en soucie comme d'une guigne) mais occuper la scène pour faire rayonner son moi.
Milan Kundera (Slowness)
When he’d joined the Service he’d been in Psych Eval, which had involved evaluating operational strategies for psychological impact – on targets as well as agents – but had also meant carrying out individual assessments; who was stressed, who’d benefit from a change of routine, and who was a psychopath. Every organisation had a few, usually at management level, and it was handy to know who they were in case there was an emergency, or an office party. Pg 243
Mick Herron (London Rules (Slough House, #5))
That is why no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party that inflicted those bitter experiences on me. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. They condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation. Now the Tories are pouring out money in propaganda of all sorts and are hoping by this organised sustained mass suggestion to eradicate from our minds all memory of what we went through. But, I warn you young men and women, do not listen to what they are saying now. Do not listen to the seductions of Lord Woolton. He is a very good salesman. If you are selling shoddy stuff you have to be a good salesman. But I warn you they have not changed, or if they have they are slightly worse than they were.
Aneurin Bevan (Why Not Trust The Tories?)
You don’t have to be rich to leave a positive legacy; you don’t have to be intelligent, famous, powerful or even particularly well organised, let alone happy. You need only to treat people with kindness, compassion and respect, knowing they will have been enriched by their encounters with you.
Hugh Mackay (The Good Life)
I find economics increasingly satisfactory, and I think I am rather good at it. I want to manage a railroad or organise a Trust or at least swindle the investing public
John Maynard Keynes
He’s a pretty serious believer.’ ‘Yeah? Funny how it doesn’t get in the way of his commercial life.’ ‘Yeah, well. Organised religion, you know.
Richard K. Morgan (Broken Angels)
We have to accept that much of reality is ineffable and so to understand it we can't rely on words alone.
Oli Anderson (Dialogue / Ego - Real Communication)
There is a slave trade still in this country—yes, the real and horrific sex and human trafficking trade run by organised criminal gangs, which is appalling and must be stopped. But there's the hidden slavery too of children exploited and used within their own families, within organised and ritual abuse.
Carolyn Spring (Living with the Reality of Dissociative Identity Disorder: Campaigning Voices)
You have to look at Jews like Bina Gelbfish, to explain the wide range and persistence of the race. Jews who carry their homes in an old cowhide bag, on the back of a camel, in the bubble of air at the center of their brains. Jews who land on their feet, hit the ground running, ride out the vicissitudes, and make the best of what falls to hand, from Egypt to Babylon, from Minsk Gubernya to the district of Sitka. Methodological, organised, persistent, resourceful, prepared... A mere re-drawing of borders, a change in governments, those things can never faze a Jewess with a good supply of hand wipes in her bag.
Michael Chabon (The Yiddish Policemen's Union)
(Q: From an outsider’s perspective, what you call “chaos magick” has a lot of rules, discipline, and order involved, and doesn’t seem very chaotic at all. What would you say to such a person?) A: I differentiate sternly between Chaos and Entropy. Only highly ordered and structured systems can display complex creative and unpredictable behaviour, and then only if they have the capacity to act with a degree of freedom and randomness. Systems which lack structure and organisation usually fail to produce anything much, they just tend to drift down the entropy gradient. This applies both to people and to organisations.
Peter J. Carroll
The contentment of innumerable people can be destroyed in a generation by the withering touch of our civilisation; the local market is flooded by a production in quantity with which the responsible maker of art cannot complete; the vocational structure of society, with all its guild organisation and standards of workmanship, is undermined; the artist is robbed of his art and forced to find himself a "job"; until finally the ancient society is industrialised and reduced to the level of such societies as ours in which business takes precedence of life. Can one wonder that Western nations are feared and hated by other people, not alone for obvious political or economic reasons, but even more profoundly and instinctively for spiritual reasons?
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art - Why Exhibit Works of Art?)
In that case the current orthodoxy happens to be challenged, and so the principle of free speech lapses. Now, when one demands liberty of speech and of the press, one is not demanding absolute liberty. There always must be, or at any rate there always will be, some degree of censorship, so long as organised societies endure. But freedom, as Rosa Luxembourg [sic] said, is ‘freedom for the other fellow’. The same principle is contained in the famous words of Voltaire: ‘I detest what you say; I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ If the intellectual liberty which without a doubt has been one of the distinguishing marks of western civilisation means anything at all, it means that everyone shall have the right to say and to print what he believes to be the truth, provided only that it does not harm the rest of the community in some quite unmistakable way.
George Orwell (Animal Farm / 1984)
Today everybody admits that something is wrong with the world, and the critics of Christianity are the very people who feel this most. The most violent attacks on religion come from those who are most anxious to change the world, and they attack Christianity because they think that it is an obstructive force that stands in the way of a real reform of human life. There has seldom been a time in which men were more dissatisfied with life and the more conscious of the need for deliverance, and if they turn away from Christianity it is because they feel that Christianity is a servant of the established order and that it has no real power or will to change the world and to rescue man from his present difficulties. They have lost their faith in the old spiritual traditions that inspired civilization in the past, and they tend to look for a solution in some external practical remedy such as communism, or the scientific organisation of life; something definite and objective that can be applied to society as a whole.
Christopher Henry Dawson (Religion and World History: A Selection from the Works of Christopher Dawson)
As Lynn writes: "What angers me is the loss of control. At any moment someone could come to me, be dressed the right way and use the right code, and I no longer have free will. I will do anything that person requests. I hate them for that. Nothing else is as bad as known that I am always out of control; knowing that I am still a laboratory experiment, a puppet whose strings are hidden from ever but my handlers, and I don't yet know how to break free. p216
Lynn Hersha (Secret Weapons: How Two Sisters Were Brainwashed To Kill For Their Country)
Here is yet another important consideration for helping us to understand the individual in a group: Moreover, by the mere fact that he forms part of an organised group, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilization. Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian— that is, a creature acting by instinct. He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity, and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings. He then dwells especially upon the lowering in intellectual ability which an individual experiences when he becomes merged in a group.
Sigmund Freud (Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego)
Something must be radically wrong with a culture and a civilisation when its youth begins to desert it. Youth is the natural time for revolt, for experiment, for a generous idealism that is eager for action. Any civilisation which has the wisdom of self-preservation will allow a certain margin of freedom for the expression of this youthful mood. But the plain, unpalatable fact is that in America today that margin of freedom has been reduced to the vanishing point. Rebellious youth is not wanted here. In our environment there is nothing to challenge our young men; there is no flexibility, no colour, no possibility for adventure, no chance to shape events more generously than is permitted under the rules of highly organised looting. All our institutional life combines for the common purpose of blackjacking our youth into the acceptance of the status quo; and not acceptance of it merely, but rather its glorification.
Harold Edmund Stearns (America And The Young Intellectual)
The whole tendency of modern life is towards scientific planning and organisation, central control, standardisation, and specialisation. If this tendency was left to work itself out to its extreme conclusion, one might expect to see the state transformed into an immense social machine, all the individual components of which are strictly limited to the performance of a definite and specialised function, where there could be no freedom because the machine could only work smoothly as long as every wheel and cog performed its task with unvarying regularity. Now the nearer modern society comes to the state of total organisation, the more difficult it is to find any place for spiritual freedom and personal responsibility. Education itself becomes an essential part of the machine, for the mind has to be as completely measured and controlled by the techniques of the scientific expert as the task which it is being trained to perform.
Christopher Henry Dawson (Religion and World History: A Selection from the Works of Christopher Dawson)
Unfortunately for Peter McCluskey, the security services had discovered proof that corroborated the suspicion that he had not eschewed his old comrades-in-arms at all. Indeed, he had become even more virulent in his hatred of the British, had turned his back on Sinn Féin, and cast in his lot with the Real IRA, the off-shoot organisation that denounced the Good Friday Agreement and vowed to continue the war. McCluskey had continued to raise money so that they could buy their bullets and their bombs, and Maguire was here to collect that bounty.
Mark Dawson (Salvation Row (John Milton #6))
In the letter he left for the coroner he had explained his reasoning (for suicide): that life is a gift bestowed without anyone asking for it; that the thinking person has a philosophical duty to examine both the nature of life and the conditions it comes with; and that if this person decides to renounce the gift no one asks for, it is the moral and human duty to act on the consequences of that decision. ... Alex showed me a clipping from the Cambridge Evening News. 'Tragic Death of "Promising" Young Man.' ... The verdict of the coroner's inquest had been that Adrian Flinn (22) had killed himself 'while the balance of his mind was disturbed.' ... The law, and society, and religion all said it was impossible to be sane, healthy, and kill yourself. Perhaps those authorities feared that the suicide's reasoning might impugn the nature and value of life as organised by the state which paid the coroner?
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
We amass material things for the same reason that we eat - to satisfy a craving. Buying on impulse and eating and drinking to excess are attempts to alleviate stress. From observing my clients, I have noticed that when they discard excess clothing, their tummies tend to slim down, when they discard books and documents, their minds become clearer, when they reduce the number of cosmetics and tidy up the area around the sink and bath, their complexion tends to become clear and their skin smooth. -p226
Marie Kondō (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing)
It is difficult to exaggerate the adverse influence of the precepts and practices of religion upon the status and happiness of woman. Owing to the fact that upon women devolves the burden of motherhood, with all its accompanying disabilities, they always have been, and always must be, at a natural disadvantage in the struggle of life as compared with men.... With certain exceptions, women all the world over have been relegated to a position of inferiority in the community, greater or less according to the religion and the social organisation of the people; the more religious the people the lower the status of the women...
Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner
Le néo-libéralisme reprend les plus vieilles idées du patronat, sous un message chic et moderne. C'est une "révolution" conservatrice qui veut imposer un retour à une forme de capitalisme sauvage et cynique, qui organise l'insécurité et la précarité, qui se réclame du progrès mais qui glorifie l'archaïque loi du plus fort.
Pierre Bourdieu
had been equally obvious. The new aristocracy was made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organisers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists and professional politicians. These people, whose origins
George Orwell (1984)
To maximise output, every organisation will strive to obtain its necessary raw materials, labour and machinery at the lowest possible cost and combine them to turn out a product that it will then attempt to sell at the highest possible price... And yet, troublingly, there is one difference between 'labour' and other commodities, a difference that conventional economics does not have a means of representing or giving weight to but that is nevertheless unavoidably present in the world: that labour feels pain.
Alain de Botton
The all-powerful Zahir seemed to be born with every human being and to gain full strength in childhood, imposing rules that would thereafter always be respected: People who are different are dangerous; they belong to another tribe; they want our lands and our women. We must marry, have children, reproduce the species. Love is only a small thing, enough for one person, and any suggestion that the heart might be larger than this may seem perverse. When we are married we are authorised to take possession of the other person, body and soul. We must do jobs we detest because we are part of an organised society, and if everyone did what they wanted to do, the world would come to a standstill. We must buy jewelry; it identifies us with our tribe. We must be amusing at all times and sneer at those who express their real feelings; it's dangerous for a tribe to allow its members to show their feelings. We must at all costs avoid saying no because people prefer those who always say yes, and this allows us to survive in hostile territory. What other people think is more important than what we feel. Never make a fuss--it might attract the attention of an enemy tribe. If you behave differently you will be expelled from the tribe because you could infect others and destroy something that was extremely difficult to organise in the first place. We must always consider the look of our new cave, and if we don't have a clear idea of our own, then we must call a decorator who will do his best to show others what good taste we have. We must eat three meals a day, even if we're not hungry, and when we fail to fit the current ideal of beauty we must fast, even if we're starving. We must dress according to the dictates of fashion, make love whether we feel like it or not, kill in the name of our country, wish time away so that retirement comes more quickly, elect politicians, complain about the cost of living, change our hair-style, criticise anyone who is different, go to a religious service on Sunday, Saturday or Friday, depending on our religion, and there beg forgiveness for our sins and puff ourselves up with pride because we know the truth and despise he other tribe, who worship false gods. Our children must follow in our footsteps; after all we are older and know more about the world. We must have a university degree even if we never get a job in the area of knowledge we were forced to study. We must never make our parents sad, even if this means giving up everything that makes us happy. We must play music quietly, talk quietly, weep in private, because I am the all-powerful Zahir, who lays down the rules and determines the meaning of success, the best way to love, the importance of rewards.
Paulo Coelho (The Zahir)
No Child of Yours I saw a child hide in the corner So I went and asked her name She was so naive and so petite With such a tiny frame. 'No one,' she replied, that's what I am called I have no family, no one at all I eat, I sleep, I get depressed There is no life, I have nothing left.' 'Why hide in the corner?' I had to ask twice Because I've been hurt, it not very nice I tried to stop it, it was out of my control I feared for myself I wanted to go. I begged for my sorrow to disappear I turned in my bed, oh God, I knew they were near 'So come on little girl, where do you go A path ahead, or a path to unknown?' With that she arose, her head hung low She held herself for only she knows Her tears held back, her heart like ice It looks as though she has paid the price. The ice started melting, her tears to flow The memories flood back, still so many years to go The pain, the anger all built up inside Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. It will get better, just wait and see You'll get a life, though you'll never be fire Open your heart and love yourself The abuse you suffered was NOT your fault.
Teresa Cooper (Pin Down)
To-day the claims of the masses are becoming more and more sharply defined, and amount to nothing less than a determination to utterly destroy society as it now exists, with a view to making it hark back to that primitive communism which was the normal condition of all human groups before the dawn of civilisation. Limitations of the hours of labour, the nationalisation of mines, railways, factories, and the soil, the equal distribution of all products, the elimination of all the upper classes for the benefit of the popular classes, &c., such are these claims. Little adapted to reasoning, crowds, on the contrary, are quick to act. As the result of their present organisation their strength has become immense. The dogmas whose birth we are witnessing will soon have the force of the old dogmas; that is to say, the tyrannical and sovereign force of being above discussion. The divine right of the masses is about to replace the divine right of kings.
Gustave Le Bon (The Crowd)
The humanitarian philosophies that have been developed (sometimes under some religious banner and invariably in the face of religious opposition) are human inventions, as the name implies - and our species deserves the credit. I am a devout atheist - nothing else makes any sense to me and I must admit to being bewildered by those, who in the face of what appears so obvious, still believe in a mystical creator. However I can see that the promise of infinite immortality is a more palatable proposition than the absolute certainty of finite mortality which those of us who are subject to free thought (as opposed to free will) have to look forward to and many may not have the strength of character to accept it. Thus I am a supporter of Amnesty International, a humanist and an atheist. I believe in a secular, democratic society in which women and men have total equality, and individuals can pursue their lives as they wish, free of constraints - religious or otherwise. I feel that the difficult ethical and social problems which invariably arise must be solved, as best they can, by discussion and am opposed to the crude simplistic application of dogmatic rules invented in past millennia and ascribed to a plethora of mystical creators - or the latest invention; a single creator masquerading under a plethora of pseudonyms. Organisations which seek political influence by co-ordinated effort disturb me and thus I believe religious and related pressure groups which operate in this way are acting antidemocratically and should play no part in politics. I also have problems with those who preach racist and related ideologies which seem almost indistinguishable from nationalism, patriotism and religious conviction.
Harry W. Kroto
An electronic computer is also made up of matter, but organised differently; what is there so magical about the workings of the huge, slow cells of the animal brain that they can claim themselves to be conscious, but would deny a quicker, more finely-grained device of equivalent power - or even a machine hobbled so that it worked with precisely the same ponderousness - a similar distinction?
Iain M. Banks (Use of Weapons (Culture, #3))
The concurrence of two elements is necessary for bringing about a revolution; and by revolution I do not mean the street warfare, nor the bloody conflicts of two parties—both being mere incidents dependent upon many circumstances—but the sudden overthrow of institutions which are the outgrowths of centuries past, the sudden uprising of new ideas and new conceptions, and the attempt to reform all political and economical institutions in a radical way—all at the same time. Two separate currents must converge to come to that result: a widely spread economic revolt, tending to change the economical conditions of the masses, and a political revolt, tending to modify the very essence of the political organisation—an economical change, supported by an equally important change of political institutions.
Pyotr Kropotkin
Coleridge wrote a poem called ‘The Eolian Harp,’ in which he explored the notion of music slumbering on its instrument. It's a gorgeous poem! It moves through thoughts and moods of the soul as if we're all but harps waiting for a breeze to pass through us to animate us. I feel the same way about art: that it is something that on many levels colonises you, gets inside you and changes you from the inside out. I find that happens with books, too. After I’ve read a book, for a couple of days afterwards I think in the patterns of the book’s writing, because the act of reading is an act of organising your own thought process. If you are reading someone else’s writing, you are having to organise your perception along someone else’s structure. So if I read a book by Terry Pratchett, a few days later there is still a little Terry Pratchettness to my thoughts. When I read something by Catherynne Valente, for quite a few days there is a kind of ‘jewelled’ quality to my thoughts. To read a book is to let someone else reach inside me and reorganise me. As a writer, I find it very difficult to start writing immediately after having read another writer's book. I have to digest it first, and let the influence pass…
Amal El-Mohtar
In fact, that particular article of clothing has already completed its role in your life, and you are free to say, "Thank you for giving me joy when I bought you," or "Thank you for teaching me what doesn't suit me," and let it go. Every object has a different role to play. Not all clothes have come to you to be worn threadbare. It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in your life will become a close friend or lover. Some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people, too, teach you the precious lesson of who you DO like, so that you will appreciate those special people even more. When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You'll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure..p 60-61
Marie Kondō
Aucun changement fonctionnel ou structurel ne peut garantir une société parfaitement démocratique. Nous acceptons mal ce fait parce que nous avons été élevés dans une culture technologique où l'on pense généralement que, si on pouvait seulement trouver le bon instrument, tou irait enfin pour le mieux et qu'il serait alors possible de se relâcher un peu. Mais on ne peut jamais se relâcher. L'expérience des Noirs américains, comme celle des Indiens, des femmes, des Hispaniques et des pauvres, nous apprend cela. Nulle constitution, nulle déclaration des droits, nul système électoral, nulle loi ne peuvent garantir la paix, la justice et l'égalité. Tout cela exige un combat permanent, des débats incessants impliquant l'ensemble des citoyens et un nombre infini d'organisations et de mouvements qui imposent leur pression sur tous les systèmes établis.
Howard Zinn (Disobedience and Democracy: Nine Fallacies on Law and Order)
Many people in this country who want to see us the minority, and who don’t want to see us taking too militant or too uncompromising a stand, are absolutely against the successful regrouping or organising of any faction in this country whose thought and whose thinking pattern is international rather than national… There’s a world wide revolution going on, it goes beyond Mississippi, it goes beyond Alabama, it goes beyond Harlem. What is it revolting against? The power structure. The American power structure? No. The French power structure? No. The English power structure? No. Then, what power structure? An international Western power structure.
Malcolm X
The behaviour of the English people I had run into was making it very difficult to nail down a theory that the reason my trip so far had been such a bizarre success, was that Irish people were crazy. One Englishman had spent a morning on the telephone trying to organise a helicopter to take me out to an island, when a boat was leaving only a few yards away, and here was another, making a two-hour round trip for no reason other than to lend a helping hand. Two of the more eccentric pieces of behaviour hadn't been performed by the Irish, but by my fellow countrymen. However, both Andy and Tony had embraced wholeheartedly a love of the Irish way of living life.
Tony Hawks (Round Ireland with a Fridge)
but he was also a man who clearly understood the limits of the power of the sword. "Do you know," he said in those days, "what amazes me more than all else? The impotence of force to organise anything. There are only two powers in the world: the spirit and the sword. In the long run, the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.
Emil Ludwig (Napoleon)
The ribosomes, for instance, which manufacture proteins, rival in complexity any chemical factory. The mitochondria are power plants which extract energy from food by a complicated chain of chemical reactions involving some fifty different steps: a single cell may have up to five thousand such power plants. Then there are the centrosomes, with their spindle apparatus, which organises the incredible choreography of the cell dividing into two; and the DNA spirals of heredity, coiled up in the inner sanctum of the chromosomes, working their even more potent magic.
Arthur Koestler (The Ghost in the Machine)
As well as the [League of Nations] delegates themselves and their suites, there were innumerable campaigners of one sort and another, male and female, clerical and lay, young and old; all with some notion to publicise, some pet solution to offer, some organisation to promote. They gathered in droves, fanning out through the city, and settling in hotels and pensions, from the Lakeside ones down to tiny obscure back-street establishments. Ferocious ladies with moustaches, clergymen with black leather patches on the elbows of their jackets or cassocks and smelling of tobacco smoke, mad admirals who knew where to find the lost tribes of Israel, and scarcely saner generals who deduced prophetic warnings from the measurement of the pyramids; but one and all believers in the League's historic role to deliver mankind painlessly and inexpensively from the curse of war to the great advantage of all concerned.
Malcolm Muggeridge
Anarchism … teaches the possibility of a society in which the needs of life may be fully supplied for all, and in which the opportunities for complete development of mind and body shall be the heritage of all … [It] teaches that the present unjust organisation of the production and distribution of wealth must finally be completely destroyed, and replaced by a system which will insure to each the liberty to work, without first seeking a master to whom he [or she] must surrender a tithe of his [or her] product, which will guarantee his liberty of access to the sources and means of production … Out of the blindly submissive, it makes the discontented; out of the unconsciously dissatisfied, it makes the consciously dissatisfied … Anarchism seeks to arouse the consciousness of oppression, the desire for a better society, and a sense of the necessity for unceasing warfare against capitalism and the State.
Voltairine de Cleyre
[W]ithout changing the most molecular relationships in society — notably, those between men and women, adults and children, whites and other ethnic groups, heterosexuals and gays (the list, in fact, is considerable) — society will be riddled by domination even in a socialistic ‘classless’ and ‘non-exploitative’ form. It would be infused by hierarchy even as it celebrated the dubious virtues of ‘people’s democracies,’ ’socialism’ and the ‘public ownership’ of ‘natural resources,’ And as long as hierarchy persists, as long as domination organises humanity around a system of elites, the project of dominating nature will continue to exist and inevitably lead our planet to ecological extinction
Murray Bookchin
The universe was a disorderly mess, the only interesting bits being the organised anomalies. Hackworth had once taken his family out rowing on the pond in the park, and the ends of the yellow oars spun off compact vortices, and Fiona, who had taught herself the physics of liquids through numerous experimental beverage spills and in the bathtub, demanded an explanation for these holes in water. She leaned over the gunwale, Gwendolyn holding the sash of her dress, and felt those vortices with her hands, wanting to understand them. The rest of the pond, simply water in no particular order, was uninteresting.
Neal Stephenson (The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer)
The law, and society, and religion all said it was impossible to be sane, healthy, and kill yourself. Perhaps those authorities feared that the suicide‟s reasoning might impugn the nature and value of life as organised by the Page | 49 . state which paid the coroner? And then, since you had been declared temporarily mad, your reasons for killing yourself were also assumed to be mad. So I doubt anyone paid much attention to Adrian‟s argument, with its references to philosophers ancient and modern, about the superiority of the intervening act over the unworthy passivity of merely letting life happen to you.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
No wonder everyone is keen to put their feet up and let Fate look after them. It's rather like your granddad. Or a very hands-on organised person, sort of your own personal PA. Only in my experience Fate is no such thing, and the same goes for his little brother, Destiny. Quite frankly they’ve made a real mess of things where I’m concerned. So from now on they can bugger off and stop meddling. I’m taking charge of my own life, and when it comes to love, Fate can mind its own bloody business.
Alexandra Potter (You're The One That I Don't Want)
Girls are better at this sort of labour, often called 'emotional labour', not because there's anything in the meat and matter of our living cells that makes us naturally better but because we're trained for it from birth. Trained to make other people feel good. Trained to serve the coffee, fill in the forms, organise the parties and wipe the table afterwards. Trained to be feisty, if we must, but not strong. To be bubbly, not funny. You must at no stage appear to have a body that functions in a normal human way, that pisses and shits and sweats and farts and falters. Decorate the prison of your body. Make yourself useful. Shut up and smile.
Laurie Penny (Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution)
When we compare the individuals of the same variety or sub-variety of our older cultivated plants and animals, one of the first points which strikes us is, that they generally differ more from each other than do the individuals of any one species or variety in a state of nature. And if we reflect on the vast diversity of the plants and animals which have been cultivated, and which have varied during all ages under the most different climates and treatment, we are driven to conclude that this great variability is due to our domestic productions having been raised under conditions of life not so uniform as, and somewhat different from, those to which the parent species had been exposed under nature. There is, also, some probability in the view propounded by Andrew Knight, that this variability may be partly connected with excess of food. It seems clear that organic beings must be exposed during several generations to new conditions to cause any great amount of variation; and that, when the organisation has once begun to vary, it generally continues varying for many generations. No case is on record of a variable organism ceasing to vary under cultivation. Our oldest cultivated plants, such as wheat, still yield new varieties: our oldest domesticated animals are still capable of rapid improvement or modification.
Charles Darwin (On the Origin of Species)
The slow cancellation of the future has been accompanied by a deflation of expectations. There can be few who believe that in the coming year a record as great as, say, the Stooges’ Funhouse or Sly Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On will be released. Still less do we expect the kind of ruptures brought about by The Beatles or disco. The feeling of belatedness, of living after the gold rush, is as omnipresent as it is disavowed. Compare the fallow terrain of the current moment with the fecundity of previous periods and you will quickly be accused of ‘nostalgia’. But the reliance of current artists on styles that were established long ago suggests that the current moment is in the grip of a formal nostalgia, of which more shortly. It is not that nothing happened in the period when the slow cancellation of the future set in. On the contrary, those thirty years has been a time of massive, traumatic change. In the UK, the election of Margaret Thatcher had brought to an end the uneasy compromises of the so-called postwar social consensus. Thatcher’s neoliberal programme in politics was reinforced by a transnational restructuring of the capitalist economy. The shift into so-called Post-Fordism – with globalization, ubiquitous computerization and the casualisation of labour – resulted in a complete transformation in the way that work and leisure were organised. In the last ten to fifteen years, meanwhile, the internet and mobile telecommunications technology have altered the texture of everyday experience beyond all recognition. Yet, perhaps because of all this, there’s an increasing sense that culture has lost the ability to grasp and articulate the present. Or it could be that, in one very important sense, there is no present to grasp and articulate anymore.
Mark Fisher (Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures)
Look everywhere. There are miracles and curiosities to fascinate and intrigue for many lifetimes: the intricacies of nature and everything in the world and universe around us from the miniscule to the infinite; physical, chemical and biological functionality; consciousness, intelligence and the ability to learn; evolution, and the imperative for life; beauty and other abstract interpretations; language and other forms of communication; how we make our way here and develop social patterns of culture and meaningfulness; how we organise ourselves and others; moral imperatives; the practicalities of survival and all the embellishments we pile on top; thought, beliefs, logic, intuition, ideas; inventing, creating, information, knowledge; emotions, sensations, experience, behaviour. We are each unique individuals arising from a combination of genetic, inherited, and learned information, all of which can be extremely fallible. Things taught to us when we are young are quite deeply ingrained. Obviously some of it (like don’t stick your finger in a wall socket) is very useful, but some of it is only opinion – an amalgamation of views from people you just happen to have had contact with. A bit later on we have access to lots of other information via books, media, internet etc, but it is important to remember that most of this is still just opinion, and often biased. Even subjects such as history are presented according to the presenter’s or author’s viewpoint, and science is continually changing. Newspapers and TV tend to cover news in the way that is most useful to them (and their funders/advisors), Research is also subject to the decisions of funders and can be distorted by business interests. Pretty much anyone can say what they want on the internet, so our powers of discernment need to be used to a great degree there too. Not one of us can have a completely objective view as we cannot possibly have access to, and filter, all knowledge available, so we must accept that our views are bound to be subjective. Our understanding and responses are all very personal, and our views extremely varied. We tend to make each new thing fit in with the picture we have already started in our heads, but we often have to go back and adjust the picture if we want to be honest about our view of reality as we continually expand it. We are taking in vast amounts of information from others all the time, so need to ensure we are processing that to develop our own true reflection of who we are.
Jay Woodman
As this story will show, reactionary populism in the United States has historically defined itself against the same enemies–urban elites, immigrants, liberals, progressives and organised labour; and for the same beliefs–evangelical Protestantism, traditional ‘family values’ and white supremacy. Trump has once again brought Americans face-to-face with a deeply rooted populist conservatism, one that defines itself in opposition to groups of people it constructs as ‘alien’ or ‘un-American’. And that populism is consistently drawn to demagogues and authoritarians.
Sarah Churchwell (Behold, America: The Entangled History of "America First" and "the American Dream")
The Internal Revenue Service which collects taxation in America is also a private company, though the public believe it is part of their government. In 1863 the Bureau of Internal Revenue was formed to collect taxation, but in 1933, that year again, came the start of another coup on the American people. Three members of the Prescott Bush circle, Helen and Clifton Barton and Hector Echeverria, formed the Internal Revenue Tax and Audit Service, registered in Delaware, America’s flag of convenience state, where few questions are asked. Prescott Bush was the father of George Bush. In 1936, this organisation changed its name to the Internal Revenue Service and ran as a private company. In 1953, the original Bureau of Internal Revenue was disbanded, leaving the private Internal Revenue Service to collect all the taxes, illegal taxes most of them, too. This is controlled by the same people who own the Federal Reserve and the Virginia Company and it is bleeding America dry. The Internal Revenue Service was, appropriately, created by American Nazis who were funding Adolf Hitler under the coordination of Prescott Bush, George’s father.
David Icke (The Biggest Secret: The book that will change the World)
To all my friends who constantly talk disparagingly about the supposed 'homosexual lifestyle' and stereotype gay people and the community, I'd like to get this straight. There are essentially two worlds – the 'gay scene' and the gay (or LGBTIQ) community. The 'scene' is like the tip of the iceberg; what is seen by others because it is visible on a street, suburb or pride parade. Like the ninety percent of the submerged iceberg, the community is larger and less visible. It consists of organisations, groups, support networks and also gay and lesbian singles and couples living 'normal' lives in the suburbs. Occasionally there is an overlap but not often. Some live, socialise and work in both. Many never enter each others worlds. The values, lifestyles and culture of these two worlds are as different as Asian culture is to western is to African is to Middle Eastern. Dig down even deeper below the surface and you find it is not a single community but diverse communities and subcultures that are separate but not necessarily divided. The common thing that binds them together is their experience of inequality, discrimination and their desire to make a better world for themselves, others and future generations. If you believe that all gays and lesbians are shallow and obsessed with sex, body image, partying, nightclubs and bars then you are obviously an observer from the outside or mixing in the wrong circles.
Anthony Venn-Brown OAM (A Life of Unlearning - a journey to find the truth)
The most obvious and the most distinctive features of the History of Civilisation, during the last fifty years, is the wonderful increase of industrial production by the application of machinery, the improvement of old technical processes and the invention of new ones, accompanied by an even more remarkable development of old and new means of locomotion and intercommunication. By this rapid and vast multiplication of the commodities and conveniences of existence, the general standard of comfort has been raised, the ravages of pestilence and famine have been checked, and the natural obstacles, which time and space offer to mutual intercourse, have been reduced in a manner, and to an extent, unknown to former ages. The diminution or removal of local ignorance and prejudice, the creation of common interests among the most widely separated peoples, and the strengthening of the forces of the organisation of the commonwealth against those of political or social anarchy, thus effected, have exerted an influence on the present and future fortunes of mankind the full significance of which may be divined, but cannot, as yet, be estimated at its full value.
Thomas Henry Huxley (The Advance of Science in the Last Half-Century)
In the travellers’ world, social media have enlarged the generation gap. The internet has brought a change in the very concept of travel as a process taking one away from the familiar into the unknown. Now the familiar is not left behind and the unknown has become familiar even before one leaves home. Unpredictability – to my generation the salt that gave travelling its savour – seems unnecessary if not downright irritating to many of the young. The sunset challenge – where to sleep? – has been banished by the ease of booking into a hostel or organised campsite with a street plan provided by the internet. Moreover, relatives and friends evidently expect regular reassurance about the traveller’s precise location and welfare – and vice versa, the traveller needing to know that all is well back home. Notoriously, dependence on instant communication with distant family and friends is known to stunt the development of self-reliance. Perhaps that is why, amongst younger travellers, one notices a new timidity.
Dervla Murphy
Everything is argued over in this world. Apart from only one thing that is not argued over. Nobody argues about democracy. Democracy is there as if it was some sort of saint in the altar from whom miracles are no longer expected. But it’s there as a reference. A reference. Democracy. And no-one attends to the matter that the democracy in which we live is a democracy taken captive, conditioned, amputated. Because the power..the power of the citizen, the power of each one of us, is limited, in the political sphere, I repeat, in the political sphere, to remove a government that we do not like and replace it with another one that perhaps we might like in the future. Nothing else. But the big decisions are taken in a different sphere, and we all know which one that is. The big international financial organisations, the IMFs, the World Trade Organisations, the World Banks, the OECDs. All..not one of these entities is democratic. And so, how can we keep talking about democracy, if those who effectively govern the world are not chosen democratically by the people? Who chooses the representatives of each country in those organisations? Your respective peoples? No. Where then is the democracy?
José Saramago
The ear favours no particular “point of view.” We are enveloped by sound. It forms a seamless web around us. We say, “Music shall fill the air.” We never say, “Music shall fill a particular segment of the air.”We hear sounds from everywhere, without ever having to focus. Sounds come from “above,” from “below,” from in “front” of us, from “behind” us, from our “right,” from our “left.” We can‘t shut out sound automatically. We simply are not equipped with earlids. Where a visual space is an organised continuum of a uniformed connected kind, the ear world is a world of simultaneous relationships.
Marshall McLuhan (The Medium is the Massage)
In its quest to discover how the patterns of reality are organised, the story of modern science hints at a picture of a set of Chinese puzzle boxes, each one more intricately structured and wondrous than the last. Every time the final box appears to have been reached, a key has been found which has opened up another, revealing a new universe even more breathtakingly improbable in its conception. We are now forced to suspect that, for human reason, there is no last box, that in some deeply mysterious, virtually unfathomable, self-reflective way, every time we open a still smaller box, we are actually being brought closer to the box with which we started, the box which contains our own conscious experience of the world. This is why no theory of knowledge, no epistemology, can ever escape being consumed by its own self-generated paradoxes. And this is why we must consider the universe to be irredeemably mystical.
Bob Hamilton (Earthdream: The Marriage of Reason and Intuition)
But while admiring my neighbour, I don't think I shall ever try to follow in her steps, my talents not being of the energetic and organising variety, but rather of that order which makes their owner almost lamentably prone to take up a volume of poetry and wander out to where the kingcups grow, and, sitting on a willow trunk beside a little stream, forget the very existence of everything but green pastures and still waters, and the glad blowing of the wind across the joyous fields.
Elizabeth von Arnim (Elizabeth and Her German Garden)
It is a formidable list of jobs: the whole of the spinning industry, the whole of the dyeing industry, the whole of the weaving industry. The whole catering industry and—which would not please Lady Astor, perhaps—the whole of the nation’s brewing and distilling. All the preserving, pickling and bottling industry, all the bacon-curing. And (since in those days a man was often absent from home for months together on war or business) a very large share in the management of landed estates. Here are the women’s jobs—and what has become of them? They are all being handled by men. It is all very well to say that woman’s place is the home—but modern civilisation has taken all these pleasant and profitable activities out of the home, where the women looked after them, and handed them over to big industry, to be directed and organised by men at the head of large factories. Even the dairy-maid in her simple bonnet has gone, to be replaced by a male mechanic in charge of a mechanical milking plant.
Dorothy L. Sayers (Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society)
I refused to have bookshelves, horrified that I'd feel compelled to organise the books in some regimented system - Dewey or alphabetical or worse - and so the books lived in stacks, some as tall as me, in the most subjective order I could invent. Thus Nabokov lived between Gogol and Hemingway, cradled between the Old World and the New; Willa Cather and Theodore Dreiser and Thomas Hardy were stacked together not for their chronological proximity but because they all reminded me in some way of dryness (though in Dreiser's case I think I was focused mainly on his name): George Eliot and Jane Austen shared a stack with Thackeray because all I had of his was Vanity Fair, and I thought that Becky Sharp would do best in the presence of ladies (and deep down I worried that if I put her next to David Copperfield, she might seduce him).
Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower)
I will here give a brief sketch of the progress of opinion on the Origin of Species. Until recently the great majority of naturalists believed that species were immutable productions, and had been separately created. This view has been ably maintained by many authors. Some few naturalists, on the other hand, have believed that species undergo modification, and that the existing forms of life are the descendants by true generation of pre existing forms. Passing over allusions to the subject in the classical writers (Aristotle, in his "Physicae Auscultationes" (lib.2, cap.8, s.2), after remarking that rain does not fall in order to make the corn grow, any more than it falls to spoil the farmer's corn when threshed out of doors, applies the same argument to organisation; and adds (as translated by Mr. Clair Grece, who first pointed out the passage to me), "So what hinders the different parts (of the body) from having this merely accidental relation in nature? as the teeth, for example, grow by necessity, the front ones sharp, adapted for dividing, and the grinders flat, and serviceable for masticating the food; since they were not made for the sake of this, but it was the result of accident. And in like manner as to other parts in which there appears to exist an adaptation to an end. Wheresoever, therefore, all things together (that is all the parts of one whole) happened like as if they were made for the sake of something, these were preserved, having been appropriately constituted by an internal spontaneity; and whatsoever things were not thus constituted, perished and still perish." We here see the principle of natural selection shadowed forth, but how little Aristotle fully comprehended the principle, is shown by his remarks on the formation of the teeth.), the first author who in modern times has treated it in a scientific spirit was Buffon. But as his opinions fluctuated greatly at different periods, and as he does not enter on the causes or means of the transformation of species, I need not here enter on details.
Charles Darwin (The Origin of Species)
This vacillation between assertion and denial in discussions about organised abuse can be understood as functional, in that it serves to contain the traumatic kernel at the heart of allegations of organised abuse. In his influential ‘just world’ theory, Lerner (1980) argued that emotional wellbeing is predicated on the assumption that the world is an orderly, predictable and just place in which people get what they deserve. Whilst such assumptions are objectively false, Lerner argued that individuals have considerable investment in maintaining them since they are conducive to feelings of self—efficacy and trust in others. When they encounter evidence contradicting the view that the world is just, individuals are motivated to defend this belief either by helping the victim (and thus restoring a sense of justice) or by persuading themselves that no injustice has occurred. Lerner (1980) focused on the ways in which the ‘just world’ fallacy motivates victim-blaming, but there are other defences available to bystanders who seek to dispel troubling knowledge. Organised abuse highlights the severity of sexual violence in the lives of some children and the desire of some adults to inflict considerable, and sometimes irreversible, harm upon the powerless. Such knowledge is so toxic to common presumptions about the orderly nature of society, and the generally benevolent motivations of others, that it seems as though a defensive scaffold of disbelief, minimisation and scorn has been erected to inhibit a full understanding of organised abuse. Despite these efforts, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in organised abuse and particularly ritualistic abuse (eg Sachs and Galton 2008, Epstein et al. 2011, Miller 2012).
Michael Salter (Organised Sexual Abuse)
Over centuries, organised perpetrator groups have observed and studied the way in which extreme childhood traumas, such as accidents, bereavement, war, natural disasters, repeated hospitalisations and surgeries, and (most commonly) child abuse (sexual, physical, and emotional) cause a child's mind to be split into compartments. Occult groups originally utilised this phenomenon to create alternative identities and what they believed to be “possession” by various spirits. In the twentieth century, probably beginning with the Nazis, other organised groups developed ways to harm children and deliberately structure their victims' minds in such a way that they would not remember what happened, or that if they began to remember they would disbelieve their own memories. Consequently, the memories of what has happened to a survivor are hidden within his or her inside parts.
Alison Miller (Becoming Yourself: Overcoming Mind Control and Ritual Abuse)
Admittedly, I do have several bones, whole war fields full of bones, in fact to pick with organised religion of whatever stripe. This should be seen as a critique of purely temporal agencies who have, to my mind, erected more obstacles between whatever notion of spirituality and Godhead one subscribes to than they have opened doors. To me, the difference between Godhead and the Church is the difference between Elvis and Colonel Parker... although that conjures images of God dying on the toilet, which is not what I meant at all.
Alan Moore
Both incest and the Holocaust have been subject to furious denial by perpetrators and other individuals and by highly organised groups such as the False Memory Syndrome Foundation and the Committee for Historical Review. Incest and the Holocaust are vulnerable to this kind of concerted denial because of their unfathomability, the unjustifiability, and the threat they pose to the politics of patriarchy and anti-Semitism respectively. Over and over, survivors of the Holocaust attest that they were warned of what was happening in Poland but could not believe it at the time, could not believe it later as it was happening to them, and still to this day cannot believe what they, at the same time, know to have occurred. For Holocaust deniers this is a felicitous twist, for their arguments denying the Holocaust and therefore the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state capitalize on the discrepancies of faded memory. In the case of incest, although post-traumatic stress disorder, amnesia, and dissociation represent some of the mind's strategies for comprehending the incomprehensible, incest deniers have taken advantage of inconsistencies to discredit survivor testimony.
Janet Walker (Trauma Cinema: Documenting Incest and the Holocaust)
Most organised abuser groups call each particular training a “programme”, as if you were a computer. Many specific trained behaviours have “on” and “off” triggers or switches. Some personality systems are set up with an inner world full of wires or strings that connect switches to their effects. These can facilitate a series of actions by a series of insiders. For example, one part watches the person function in the outside world, and presses a button if he or she sees the person disobeying instructions. The button is connected to an internal wire, which rings a bell in the ear of another part. This part then engages in his or her trained behaviour, opening a door to release the pain of a rape, or cutting the person's arm in a certain pattern, or pushing out a child part. So the watcher has no idea of who the other part is or what she or he does. These events can be quite complicated.
Alison Miller (Becoming Yourself: Overcoming Mind Control and Ritual Abuse)
The assertion that religion is a tool for preserving social order and for organising large-scale cooperation may vex many people for whom it represents first and foremost a spiritual path. However, just as the gap between religion and science is smaller than we commonly think, so the gap between religion and spirituality is much bigger. Religion is a deal, whereas spirituality is a journey. Religion gives a complete description of the world, and offers us a well-defined contract with predetermined goals. ‘God exists. He told us to behave in certain ways. If you obey God, you’ll be admitted to heaven. If you disobey Him, you’ll burn in hell.’ The very clarity of this deal allows society to define common norms and values that regulate human behaviour. Spiritual journeys are nothing like that. They usually take people in mysterious ways towards unknown destinations. The quest usually begins with some big question, such as who am I? What is the meaning of life? What is good? Whereas many people just accept the ready-made answers provided by the powers that be, spiritual seekers are not so easily satisfied. They are determined to follow the big question wherever it leads, and not just to places you know well or wish to visit. Thus for most people, academic studies are a deal rather than a spiritual journey, because they take us to a predetermined goal approved by our elders, governments and banks.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
Human nature is not taken into account, it is excluded, it's not supposed to exist! They don't recognise that humanity, developing by a historical living process, will become at last a normal society, but they believe that a social system that has come out of some mathematical brain is going to organise all humanity at once and make it just and sinless in an instant, quicker than any living process! That's why they instinctively dislike history, 'nothing but ugliness and stupidity in it,' and they explain it all as stupidity! That's why they so dislike the living process of life; they don't want a living soul! The living soul demands life, the soul won't obey the rules of mechanics, the soul is an object of suspicion, the soul is retrograde! But what they want though it smells of death and can be made of india-rubber, at least is not alive, has no will, is servile and won't revolt! And it comes in the end to their reducing everything to the building of walls and the planning of rooms and passages in a phalanstery! The phalanstery is ready, indeed, but your human nature is not ready for the phalanstery--it wants life, it hasn't completed its vital process, it's too soon for the graveyard! You can't skip over nature by logic.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The verdict of the coroner's inquest had been that Adrian Finn (22) had killed himself 'while the balance of his mind was disturbed.' I remember how angry that conventional phrase made me: I would have sworn on oath that Adrian's was the one mind which would never lose its balance. But in the law's view, if you killed yourself you were by definition mad, at least at the time you were committing the act. The law, and society, and religion all said it was impossible to be sane, healthy, and kill yourself. Perhaps those authorities feared that the suicide's reasoning might impugn the nature and value of life as organised by the state which paid the coroner? And then, since you had been declared temporarily mad, your reasons for killing yourself were also assumed to be mad. So I doubt anyone paid much attention to Adrian's argument, with its references to philosophers ancient and modern, about the superiority of the intervening act over the unworthy passivity of merely letting life happen to you.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
Frosh (2002) has suggested that therapeutic spaces provide children and adults with the rare opportunity to articulate experiences that are otherwise excluded from the dominant symbolic order. However, since the 1990s, post-modern and post-structural theory has often been deployed in ways that attempt to ‘manage’ from; afar the perturbing disclosures of abuse and trauma that arise in therapeutic spaces (Frosh 2002). Nowhere is this clearer than in relation to organised abuse, where the testimony of girls and women has been deconstructed as symptoms of cultural hysteria (Showalter 1997) and the colonisation of women’s minds by therapeutic discourse (Hacking 1995). However, behind words and discourse, ‘a real world and real lives do exist, howsoever we interpret, construct and recycle accounts of these by a variety of symbolic means’ (Stanley 1993: 214). Summit (1994: 5) once described organised abuse as a ‘subject of smoke and mirrors’, observing the ways in which it has persistently defied conceptualisation or explanation. Explanations for serious or sadistic child sex offending have typically rested on psychiatric concepts of ‘paedophilia’ or particular psychological categories that have limited utility for the study of the cultures of sexual abuse that emerge in the families or institutions in which organised abuse takes pace. For those clinicians and researchers who take organised abuse seriously, their reliance upon individualistic rather than sociological explanations for child sexual abuse has left them unable to explain the emergence of coordinated, and often sadistic, multi—perpetrator sexual abuse in a range of contexts around the world.
Michael Salter (Organised Sexual Abuse)
Ritual abuse is highly organised and, obviously, secretive. It is often linked with other major crimes such as child pornography, child prostitution, the drugs industry, trafficking, and many other illegal and heinous activities. Ritual abuse is organised sexual, physical and psychological abuse, which can be systematic and sustained over a long period of time. It involves the use of rituals - things which the abusers 'need' to do, or 'need' to have in place - but it doesn't have to have a belief system. There doesn't have to be God or the Devil, or any other deity for it to be considered 'ritual'. It involves using patterns of learning and development to keep the abuse going and to make sure the child stays quiet. There has been, and still is a great deal of debate about whether or not such abuse exists anywhere in the world. There are many people who constantly deny that there is even such a thing as ritual abuse. All I can say is that I know there is. Not only have I been a victim of it myself, but I have been dealing with survivors of this type of abuse for almost 30 years. If there are survivors, there must be something that they have survived. The things is, most sexual abuse of children is ritualised in some way. Abusers use repetition, routine and ritual to forced children into the patterns of behaviour they require. Some abusers want their victims to wear certain clothing, to say certain things. They might bathe them or cut them, they might burn them or abuse them only on certain days of the week. They might do a hundred other things which are ritualistic, but aren't always called that - partly, I think because we have a terror of the word and of accepting just how premeditated abuse actually is. Abusers instill fear in their victims and ensure silence; they do all they can to avoid being caught. Sexual abuse of a child is rarely a random act. It involves thorough planning and preparation beforehand. They threaten the children with death, with being taken into care, with no one believing them, which physical violence or their favourite teddy being taken away. They are told that their mum will die, or their dad will hate them, the abusers say everyone will think it's their fault, that everyone already knows they are bad. Nothing is too big or small for an abuser to use as leverage. There is unmistakable proof that abusers do get together in order to share children, abuse more children, and even learn from each other. As more cases have come into the public eye in recent years, this has become increasingly obvious. More and more of this type of abuse is coming to light. I definitely think it is the word ritual which causes people to question, to feel uncomfortable, or even just disbelieve. It seems almost incredible that such things would happen, but too many of us know exactly how bad the lives of many children are. A great deal of child pornography shows children being abused in a ritualised setting, and many have now come forward to share their experiences, but there is a still tendency to say it just couldn't happen. p204-205
Laurie Matthew (Groomed)
Since McDougall contrasts the behaviour of a highly organised group with what has just been described, we shall be particularly interested to learn in what this organisation consists, and by what factors it is produced. The author enumerates five principal conditions ' for raising collective mental life to a higher level. The first and fundamental condition is that there should be some degree of continuity of existence in the group. This may be either material or formal: the former, if the same individuals persist in the group for some time; and the latter, if there is developed within the group a system of fixed positions which are occupied by a succession of individuals. The second condition is that in the individual member of the group some definite idea should be formed of the nature, composition, functions and capacities of the group, so that from this he may develop an emotional relation to the group as a whole. The third is that the group should be brought into interaction (perhaps in the form of rivalry) with other groups similar to it but differing from it in many respects. The fourth is that the group should possess traditions, customs and habits, and especially such as determine the relations of its members to one another. The fifth is that the group should have a definite structure, expressed in the specialisation and differentiation of the functions of its constituents. According to McDougall, if these conditions are fulfilled, the psychological disadvantages of the group formation are removed. The collective lowering of intellectual ability is avoided by withdrawing the performance of intellectual tasks from the group and reserving them for individual members of it.
Sigmund Freud (Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego)
I was amazed, shocked, and sickened by what I heard throughout the day, over and over, by many victims' stories. I can think of no one with whom I didn't recognize a common thread. These monsters, these evil priests, used the same words and methods on all of us. With each session, I would find something that sent a cold chill down my spine. It amazed and frightened me that the actual words used on me, to rape me, to rape me, were the same as the words used on so many others from all over the United States. You would think that all these priests either were educated in how to concur and rape us, or they met privately with each other to compare notes and develop their plan of attack on us. The pattern was so much the same, with the same words, that you would swear it was scripted and disbursed to these priests. Do they secretly have closed-door meetings on how to abuse us? A chilling thought. Neary's routine of saying the “Our Father” during the rape and making me say it with him, repeating the “thy will be done” over and over, the absolution given me after he “finished,” the threats of having God take my parents away, the lectures about offering my suffering up to God, etc., etc., etc. My experience was identical, word-for-word, to that of many others. The exact words during the abuse were not just close, but exactly the same, as if it were some kind of abuse ritual. Ritual abuse is not limited to the religious definition and can include compulsive, abusive behavior performed in an exact series of steps with little variation. How could these similarities occur without the priests taking the same “abuse seminar” together some place, somehow? Was it taught in the seminary? In some dark corner? It goes beyond coincidence—the similarities in deeds and verbiage that these predators use on us. It truly chilled me to the very marrow of my bones.
Charles L. Bailey Jr. (In the Shadow of the Cross)
Some abusers organise themselves in groups to abuse children and other adults in a more formally ritualised way. Men and women in these groups can be abusers with both sexes involved in all aspects of the abuse. Children are often forced to abuse other children. Pornography and prostitution are sometimes part of the abuse as is the use of drugs, hypnotism and mind control. Some groups use complex rituals to terrify, silence and convince victims of the tremendous power of the abusers. the purpose is to gain and maintain power over the child in order to exploit. Some groups are so highly organised that they also have links internationally through trade in child-pornography, drugs and arms. Some abusers organise themselves around a religion or faith and the teaching and training of the children within this faith, often takes the form of severe and sustained torture and abuse. Whether or not the adults within this type of group believe that what they are doing is, in some way 'right' is immaterial to the child on the receiving end of the 'teachings' and abuse.
Laurie Matthew (Who Dares Wins)
Some readers may find it a curious or even unscientific endeavour to craft a criminological model of organised abuse based on the testimony of survivors. One of the standard objections to qualitative research is that participants may lie or fantasise in interview, it has been suggested that adults who report severe child sexual abuse are particularly prone to such confabulation. Whilst all forms of research, whether qualitative or quantitative, may be impacted upon by memory error or false reporting. there is no evidence that qualitative research is particularly vulnerable to this, nor is there any evidence that a fantasy— or lie—prone individual would be particularly likely to volunteer for research into child sexual abuse. Research has consistently found that child abuse histories, including severe and sadistic abuse, are accurate and can be corroborated (Ross 2009, Otnow et al. 1997, Chu et al. 1999). Survivors of child abuse may struggle with amnesia and other forms of memory disturbance but the notion that they are particularly prone to suggestion and confabulation has yet to find a scientific basis. It is interesting to note that questions about the veracity of eyewitness evidence appear to be asked far more frequently in relation to sexual abuse and rape than in relation to other crimes. The research on which this book is based has been conducted with an ethical commitment to taking the lives and voices of survivors of organised abuse seriously.
Michael Salter (Organised Sexual Abuse)
I'm just asking you to accept that there are some people who will go to extraordinary lengths to cover up the facts that they are abusing children. What words are there to describe what happened to me, what was done to me? Some call it ritual abuse, others call it organised abuse. There are those that call it satanic. I've heard all the phrases, not just in relation to me, but also with regard to those I work with and try to help. Do you know what I think? It doesn't matter how you dress it up, it doesn't matter what label you put on it. It is abuse, pure and simple. It is adults abusing children. It is adults deciding - actually making a conscious decision, a conscious choices that what they want, what they convince themselves they need, is more important than anything else; certainly more important than the safety or feelings or sanity of a child. However, there can be differences which are layered on top of that abuse. I'm not saying that some abuse is worse than others, or that someone 'wins' the competition to have the worst abuse inflicted on them, but ritual and organised abuse is at the extreme end of the spectrum. If we try to think of a continuum where there are lots of different things imposed on children (or, for that matter, anyone who is forced into these things — and that force can take many forms, it can be threats and promises, as well as kicks and punches), then ritual and organised abuse is intense and complicated. It often involves multiple abusers of both sexes. There can be extreme violence, mind control, systematic torture and even, in some cases, a complex belief system which is sometimes described as religion. I say 'described as' religion because, to me, I think that when this aspect is involved, it is window dressing. I'm not religious. I cried many times for God to save me. I was always ignored — how could I believe? However, I think that ritual abusers who do use religious imagery or 'beliefs' are doing so to justify it all to themselves, or to confuse the victim, or to hide their activities. Ritual abuse is highly organised and, obviously, secretive. It is often linked with other major crimes such as child pornography, child prostitution, the drugs industry, trafficking, and many other illegal and heinous activities. Ritual abuse is organised sexual, physical and psychological abuse, which can be systematic and sustained over a long period of time. It involves the use of rituals - things which the abusers 'need' to do, or 'need' to have in place - but it doesn't have to have a belief system. There doesn't have to be God or the Devil, or any other deity for it to be considered 'ritual'. It involves using patterns of learning and development to keep the abuse going and to make sure the child stays quiet.
Laurie Matthew (Groomed)
When the first news of the Nazi camps was published in 1945, there were those who thought the facts might be exaggerated either by Allied war propaganda or by the human tendency to relish 'atrocity stories.' In his column in the London magazine Tribune, George Orwell wrote that, though this might be so, the speculation was not exactly occurring in a vacuum. If you remember what the Nazis did to the Jews before the war, he said, it isn't that difficult to imagine what they might do to them during one. In one sense, the argument over 'Holocaust denial' ends right there. The National Socialist Party seized power in 1933, proclaiming as its theoretical and organising principle the proposition that the Jews were responsible for all the world's ills, from capitalist profiteering to subversive Bolshevism. By means of oppressive legislation, they began to make all of Germany Judenrein, or 'Jew-free.' Jewish businesses were first boycotted and then confiscated. Jewish places of worship were first vandalised and then closed. Wherever Nazi power could be extended—to the Rhineland, to Austria and to Sudeten Czechoslovakia—this pattern of cruelty and bigotry was repeated. (And, noticed by few, the state killing of the mentally and physically 'unfit,' whether Jewish or 'Aryan,' was tentatively inaugurated.) After the war broke out, Hitler was able to install puppet governments or occupation regimes in numerous countries, each of which was compelled to pass its own version of the anti-Semitic 'Nuremberg Laws.' Most ominous of all—and this in plain sight and on camera, and in full view of the neighbours—Jewish populations as distant as Salonika were rounded up and put on trains, to be deported to the eastern provinces of conquered Poland. None of this is, even in the remotest sense of the word, 'deniable.
Christopher Hitchens (Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays)
A system of justice does not need to pursue retribution. If the purpose of drug sentencing is to prevent harm, all we need to do is decide what to do with people who pose a genuine risk to society or cause tangible harm. There are perfectly rational ways of doing this; in fact, most societies already pursue such policies with respect to alcohol: we leave people free to drink and get inebriated, but set limits on where and when. In general, we prosecute drunk drivers, not inebriated pedestrians. In this sense, the justice system is in many respects a battleground between moral ideas and evidence concerning how to most effectively promote both individual and societal interests, liberty, health, happiness and wellbeing. Severely compromising this system, insofar as it serves to further these ideals, is our vacillation or obsession with moral responsibility, which is, in the broadest sense, an attempt to isolate the subjective element of human choice, an exercise that all too readily deteriorates into blaming and scapegoating without providing effective solutions to the actual problem. The problem with the question of moral responsibility is that it is inherently subjective and involves conjecture about an individuals’ state of mind, awareness and ability to act that can rarely if ever be proved. Thus it involves precisely the same type of conjecture that characterizes superstitious notions of possession and the influence of the devil and provides no effective means of managing conduct: the individual convicted for an offence or crime considered morally wrong is convicted based on a series of hypotheses and probabilities and not necessarily because he or she is actually morally wrong. The fairness and effectiveness of a system of justice based on such hypotheses is highly questionable particularly as a basis for preventing or reducing drug use related harm. For example, with respect to drugs, the system quite obviously fails as a deterrent and the system is not organised to ‘reform’ the offender much less to ensure that he or she has ‘learned a lesson’; moreover, the offender does not get an opportunity to make amends or even have a conversation with the alleged victim. In the case of retributive justice, the justice system is effectively mopping up after the fact. In other words, as far as deterrence is concerned, the entire exercise of justice becomes an exercise based on faith, rather than one based on evidence.
Daniel Waterman (Entheogens, Society and Law: The Politics of Consciousness, Autonomy and Responsibility)
At this point, I must describe an important study carried out by Clare W. Graves of Union College, Schenectady, N.Y. on deterioration of work standards. Professor Graves starts from the Maslow-McGregor assumption that work standards deteriorate when people react against workcontrol systems with boredom, inertia, cynicism... A fourteen-year study led to the conclusion that, for practical purposes, we may divide people up into seven groups, seven personality levels, ranging from totally selfpreoccupied and selfish to what Nietzsche called ‘a selfrolling wheel’-a thoroughly self-determined person, absorbed in an objective task. This important study might be regarded as an expansion of Shotover’s remark that our interest in the world is an overflow of our interest in ourselves—and that therefore nobody can be genuinely ‘objective’ until they have fully satiated the subjective cravings. What is interesting—and surprising—is that it should not only be possible to distinguish seven clear personality-ypes, but that these can be recognised by any competent industrial psychologist. When Professor Graves’s theories were applied in a large manufacturing organisation—and people were slotted into their proper ‘levels’—the result was a 17% increase in production and an 87% drop in grumbles. The seven levels are labelled as follows: (1) Autistic (2) Animistic (3) Awakening and fright (4) Aggressive power seeking (5) Sociocentric (6) Aggressive individualistic (7) Pacifist individualistic. The first level can be easily understood: people belonging to it are almost babylike, perhaps psychologically run-down and discouraged; there is very little to be done with these people. The animistic level would more probably be encountered in backward countries: primitive, superstitious, preoccupied with totems and taboos, and again poor industrial material. Man at the third level is altogether more wide-awake and objective, but finds the complexity of the real world frightening; the best work is to be got out of him by giving him rules to obey and a sense of hierarchical security. Such people are firm believers in staying in the class in which they were born. They prefer an autocracy. The majority of Russian peasants under the Tsars probably belonged to this level. And a good example of level four would probably be the revolutionaries who threw bombs at the Tsars and preached destruction. In industry, they are likely to be trouble makers, aggressive, angry, and not necessarily intelligent. Management needs a high level of tact to get the best out of these. Man at level five has achieved a degree of security—psychological and economic—and he becomes seriously preoccupied with making society run smoothly. He is the sort of person who joins rotary clubs and enjoys group activities. As a worker, he is inferior to levels three and four, but the best is to be got out of him by making him part of a group striving for a common purpose. Level six is a self-confident individualist who likes to do a job his own way, and does it well. Interfered with by authoritarian management, he is hopeless. He needs to be told the goal, and left to work out the best way to achieve it; obstructed, he becomes mulish. Level seven is much like level six, but without the mulishness; he is pacifistic, and does his best when left to himself. Faced with authoritarian management, he either retreats into himself, or goes on his own way while trying to present a passable front to the management. Professor Graves describes the method of applying this theory in a large plant where there was a certain amount of unrest. The basic idea was to make sure that each man was placed under the type of supervisor appropriate to his level. A certain amount of transferring brought about the desired result, mentioned above—increased production, immense decrease in grievances, and far less workers leaving the plant (7% as against 21% before the change).
Colin Wilson (New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow & the Post-Freudian Revolution)
Sonia Gandhi and her son play an important part in all of this. Their job is to run the Department of Compassion and Charisma and to win elections. They are allowed to make (and also to take credit for) decisions which appear progressive but are actually tactical and symbolic, meant to take the edge off popular anger and allow the big ship to keep on rolling. (The best example of this is the rally that was organised for Rahul Gandhi to claim victory for the cancellation of Vedanta’s permission to mine Niyamgiri for bauxite—a battle that the Dongria Kondh tribe and a coalition of activists, local as well as international, have been fighting for years. At the rally, Rahul Gandhi announced that he was “a soldier for the tribal people”. He didn’t mention that the economic policies of his party are predicated on the mass displacement of tribal people. Or that every other bauxite “giri”—hill—in the neighbourhood was having the hell mined out of it, while this “soldier for the tribal people” looked away. Rahul Gandhi may be a decent man. But for him to go around talking about the two Indias—the “Rich India” and the “Poor India”—as though the party he represents has nothing to do with it, is an insult to everybody’s intelligence, including his own.) The division of labour between politicians who have a mass base and win elections, and those who actually run the country but either do not need to (judges and bureaucrats) or have been freed of the constraint of winning elections (like the prime minister) is a brilliant subversion of democratic practice. To imagine that Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are in charge of the government would be a mistake. The real power has passed into the hands of a coven of oligarchs—judges, bureaucrats and politicians. They in turn are run like prize race-horses by the few corporations who more or less own everything in the country. They may belong to different political parties and put up a great show of being political rivals, but that’s just subterfuge for public consumption. The only real rivalry is the business rivalry between corporations.
Arundhati Roy
At times I can certainly see a subject clearly and distinctly, think my way through it, great sweeping thoughts that I can scarcely grasp but which all at once give me an intense feeling of importance. Yet when I try to write them down they shrivel into nothing, and that's why I lack the courage to commit them to paper - in case I become too disillusioned with the fatuous little as they that emerges. But let me impress just one thing upon you, sister. Wash your hands of all attempts to embody those great, sweeping thoughts. The smallest, most fatuous little essay is worth more than the flood of grandiose ideas in which you like to wallow. Of course you must hold on to your forebodings and your intuitions. They are the sources upon which you draw, but be careful not to drown in them. Just organise things a little, exercise some mental hygiene. Your imagination and your emotions are like a vast ocean from which you wrest small pieces of land that may well be flooded again. The ocean is wide and elemental, but what matter are the small pieces of land you reclaim from it. The subject right before you is more important than those prodigious thoughts of Tolstoy and Napoleon that occurred to you in the middle of last night, and the lesson you gave that keen young girl and Friday night is more important than all your vague philosophizing. Never forget that. Don't overestimate your own intensity; it may give you the impression that you were cut out for greater things than the so-called men in the street, who's inner life is a closed book to you. In fact, you're no more than a weakling and a non-entity adrift and tossed by the waves. Keep your eyes fixed on the mainland and don't flounder helplessly in the ocean.
Etty Hillesum (An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941-1943; and Letters from Westerbork)
I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. On the other hand, novels which are works of the imagination, though not of a very high order, have been for years a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, and I often bless all novelists. A surprising number have been read aloud to me, and I like all if moderately good, and if they do not end unhappily–against which a law ought to be passed. A novel, according to my taste, does not come into the first class unless it contains some person whom one can thoroughly love, and if a pretty woman all the better. This curious and lamentable loss of the higher aesthetic tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies, and travels (independently of any scientific facts which they may contain), and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organised or better constituted than mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.
Charles Darwin (Autobiography Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Descent of Man A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World Coral Reefs Voyage of the Beagle Origin of Species Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals)
Fifteen years ago, a business manager from the United States came to Plum Village to visit me. His conscience was troubled because he was the head of a firm that designed atomic bombs. I listened as he expressed his concerns. I knew if I advised him to quit his job, another person would only replace him. If he were to quit, he might help himself, but he would not help his company, society, or country. I urged him to remain the director of his firm, to bring mindfulness into his daily work, and to use his position to communicate his concerns and doubts about the production of atomic bombs. In the Sutra on Happiness, the Buddha says it is great fortune to have an occupation that allows us to be happy, to help others, and to generate compassion and understanding in this world. Those in the helping professions have occupations that give them this wonderful opportunity. Yet many social workers, physicians, and therapists work in a way that does not cultivate their compassion, instead doing their job only to earn money. If the bomb designer practises and does his work with mindfulness, his job can still nourish his compassion and in some way allow him to help others. He can still influence his government and fellow citizens by bringing greater awareness to the situation. He can give the whole nation an opportunity to question the necessity of bomb production. Many people who are wealthy, powerful, and important in business, politics, and entertainment are not happy. They are seeking empty things - wealth, fame, power, sex - and in the process they are destroying themselves and those around them. In Plum Village, we have organised retreats for businesspeople. We see that they have many problems and suffer just as others do, sometimes even more. We see that their wealth allows them to live in comfortable conditions, yet they still suffer a great deal. Some businesspeople, even those who have persuaded themselves that their work is very important, feel empty in their occupation. They provide employment to many people in their factories, newspapers, insurance firms, and supermarket chains, yet their financial success is an empty happiness because it is not motivated by understanding or compassion. Caught up in their small world of profit and loss, they are unaware of the suffering and poverty in the world. When we are not int ouch with this larger reality, we will lack the compassion we need to nourish and guide us to happiness. Once you begin to realise your interconnectedness with others, your interbeing, you begin to see how your actions affect you and all other life. You begin to question your way of living, to look with new eyes at the quality of your relationships and the way you work. You begin to see, 'I have to earn a living, yes, but I want to earn a living mindfully. I want to try to select a vocation not harmful to others and to the natural world, one that does not misuse resources.' Entire companies can also adopt this way of thinking. Companies have the right to pursue economic growth, but not at the expense of other life. They should respect the life and integrity of people, animals, plants and minerals. Do not invest your time or money in companies that deprive others of their lives, that operate in a way that exploits people or animals, and destroys nature. Businesspeople who visit Plum Village often find that getting in touch with the suffering of others and cultivating understanding brings them happiness. They practise like Anathapindika, a successful businessman who lived at the time of the Buddha, who with the practise of mindfulness throughout his life did everything he could to help the poor and sick people in his homeland.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World)