Overly Critical People Quotes

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In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Books, purchasable at low cost, permit us to interrogate the past with high accuracy; to tap the wisdom of our species; to understand the point of view of others, and not just those in power; to contemplate--with the best teachers--the insights, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, drawn from the entire planet and from all of our history. They allow people long dead to talk inside our heads. Books can accompany us everywhere. Books are patient where we are slow to understand, allow us to go over the hard parts as many times as we wish, and are never critical of our lapses. Books are key to understanding the world and participating in a democratic society.
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
Do not get angry over other people's criticisms. Think of the reason behind them instead. Either the other party has a personal motive or you are at fault.
Master Jun Hong Lu
Stopping in and of itself is not enough, and if that is all you focus on, then you run the risk of becoming overly self-critical and inadequate. What do you want to start doing?
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Today everybody is talking about the fact that we live in one world; because of globalization, we are all part of the same planet. They talk that way, but do they mean it? We should remind them that the words of the Declaration [of Independence] apply not only to people in this country, but also to people all over the world. People everywhere have the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When the government becomes destructive of that, then it is patriotic to dissent and to criticize - to do what we always praise and call heroic when we look upon the dissenters and critics in totalitarian countries who dare to speak out.
Howard Zinn (Artists in Times of War and Other Essays (Open Media))
Earlier in the twentieth century some critics called fascism “capitalism with the gloves off,” meaning that fascism was pure capitalism without democratic rights and organizations.
Noam Chomsky (Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order)
Do you suppose it's so much easier to make conversation with someone you already know well than with someone you don't know at all primarily because of all the previously exchanged information and shared experiences between two people who know each other well, or because maybe it's only with people we already know well and know know us well that we don't go through the awkward mental process of subjecting everything we think of saying or bringing up as a topic of light conversation to a self-conscious critical analysis and evaluation that manages to make anything we think of proposing to say the other person seem dull or stupid or banal or on the other hand maybe overly intimate or tension-producing?
David Foster Wallace (The Pale King)
An Affair With The Media Being President presupposes a relationship with the media. One does have control over the intimacy of that connection. My media association might be best represented by the following interview, recently undertaken for this book: “What do you think of Newstime’s review of your book, Madam President?” “Newstime’s review? Surely you mean Bill Bologna who works for Newstime?” “Well, yes.” “Now, Bill Bologna. What has he published?” “He’s a critic. He does reviews.” “Oh, he gets paid for reading what other people have published and then writing what he thinks of their writing?
Nancy Omeara (The Most Popular President Who Ever Lived [So Far])
A NATION'S GREATNESS DEPENDS ON ITS LEADER To vastly improve your country and truly make it great again, start by choosing a better leader. Do not let the media or the establishment make you pick from the people they choose, but instead choose from those they do not pick. Pick a leader from among the people who is heart-driven, one who identifies with the common man on the street and understands what the country needs on every level. Do not pick a leader who is only money-driven and does not understand or identify with the common man, but only what corporations need on every level. Pick a peacemaker. One who unites, not divides. A cultured leader who supports the arts and true freedom of speech, not censorship. Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes -- or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist. Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labor when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies. Most importantly, a great leader must serve the best interests of the people first, not those of multinational corporations. Human life should never be sacrificed for monetary profit. There are no exceptions. In addition, a leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader. And lastly, pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader's greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Have you ever gotten a bad review, Master Huud?" "Hundreds of them." "Do they hurt?" "Of course. But you get over it. Critics are just people, lad. They're entitled to their opinions. They're not the enemy." "Who is the enemy?" "Censors.
Katie Waitman (Merro Tree (Del Rey Discovery))
The return of the voices would end in a migraine that made my whole body throb. I could do nothing except lie in a blacked-out room waiting for the voices to get infected by the pains in my head and clear off. Knowing I was different with my OCD, anorexia and the voices that no one else seemed to hear made me feel isolated, disconnected. I took everything too seriously. I analysed things to death. I turned every word, and the intonation of every word over in my mind trying to decide exactly what it meant, whether there was a subtext or an implied criticism. I tried to recall the expressions on people’s faces, how those expressions changed, what they meant, whether what they said and the look on their faces matched and were therefore genuine or whether it was a sham, the kind word touched by irony or sarcasm, the smile that means pity. When people looked at me closely could they see the little girl in my head, being abused in those pornographic clips projected behind my eyes? That is what I would often be thinking and such thoughts ate away at the façade of self-confidence I was constantly raising and repairing. (describing dissociative identity disorder/mpd symptoms)
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
In books and movies, people were either whisked away to a magical land in the clothes they were standing up in, or they glossed over the packing part entirely. Simon now felt he had been robbed of critical information by the media. Should he be putting the kitchen knives in his bag? Should he bring the toaster and rig it up as a weapon?
Cassandra Clare (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy)
In books or movies, people were either whisked away to a magical land in the clothes they were standing up in, or they glossed over the packing part entirely. Simon now felt he had been robbed of critical information by the media. Should he be putting the kitchen knives in his bag? Should he bring the toaster and rig it up as a weapon? Simon did neither of those things. Instead, he went with the safe option: clean underwear and hilarious T-shirts. Shadowhunters had to love hilarious T-shirts, right? Everyone loved hilarious T-shirts.
Cassandra Clare (Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, #1))
But there’s a reason. There’s a reason. There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It’s never gonna get any better. Don’t look for it. Be happy with what you got. Because the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about the real owners now, the real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying, to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I'll tell you what they don’t want: They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. Thats against their interests. Thats right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table to figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you, sooner or later, 'cause they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. And by the way, it's the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head in their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table is tilted folks. The game is rigged, and nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people -- white collar, blue collar, it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on -- good honest hard-working people continue -- these are people of modest means -- continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about them. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don't care about you at all -- at all -- at all. And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. That's what the owners count on; the fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that's being jammed up their assholes everyday. Because the owners of this country know the truth: it's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.
George Carlin
In other words, stop judging yourself against shiny people. Avoid the shiny people. The shiny people are a lie. Or get to know them enough to realize they aren’t so shiny after all. Shiny people aren’t the enemy. Sometimes we’re the enemy when we listen to our malfunctioning brains that try to tell us that we’re alone in our self-doubt, or that it’s obvious to everyone that we don’t know what the shit we’re doing. Hell, there are probably people out there right now who consider us to be shiny people (bless their stupid, stupid hearts) and that’s pretty much proof that none of our brains can be trusted to accurately measure the value of anyone, much less ourselves. How can we be expected to properly judge ourselves? We know all of our worst secrets. We are biased, and overly critical, and occasionally filled with shame. So you’ll have to just trust me when I say that you are worthy, important, and necessary. And smart. You may ask how I know and I’ll tell you how. It’s because right now? YOU’RE READING. That’s what the sexy people do. Other, less awesome people might currently be in their front yards chasing down and punching squirrels, but not you. You’re quietly curled up with a book designed to make you a better, happier, more introspective person. You win. You are amazing.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things)
Do you know about the spoons? Because you should. The Spoon Theory was created by a friend of mine, Christine Miserandino, to explain the limits you have when you live with chronic illness. Most healthy people have a seemingly infinite number of spoons at their disposal, each one representing the energy needed to do a task. You get up in the morning. That’s a spoon. You take a shower. That’s a spoon. You work, and play, and clean, and love, and hate, and that’s lots of damn spoons … but if you are young and healthy you still have spoons left over as you fall asleep and wait for the new supply of spoons to be delivered in the morning. But if you are sick or in pain, your exhaustion changes you and the number of spoons you have. Autoimmune disease or chronic pain like I have with my arthritis cuts down on your spoons. Depression or anxiety takes away even more. Maybe you only have six spoons to use that day. Sometimes you have even fewer. And you look at the things you need to do and realize that you don’t have enough spoons to do them all. If you clean the house you won’t have any spoons left to exercise. You can visit a friend but you won’t have enough spoons to drive yourself back home. You can accomplish everything a normal person does for hours but then you hit a wall and fall into bed thinking, “I wish I could stop breathing for an hour because it’s exhausting, all this inhaling and exhaling.” And then your husband sees you lying on the bed and raises his eyebrow seductively and you say, “No. I can’t have sex with you today because there aren’t enough spoons,” and he looks at you strangely because that sounds kinky, and not in a good way. And you know you should explain the Spoon Theory so he won’t get mad but you don’t have the energy to explain properly because you used your last spoon of the morning picking up his dry cleaning so instead you just defensively yell: “I SPENT ALL MY SPOONS ON YOUR LAUNDRY,” and he says, “What the … You can’t pay for dry cleaning with spoons. What is wrong with you?” Now you’re mad because this is his fault too but you’re too tired to fight out loud and so you have the argument in your mind, but it doesn’t go well because you’re too tired to defend yourself even in your head, and the critical internal voices take over and you’re too tired not to believe them. Then you get more depressed and the next day you wake up with even fewer spoons and so you try to make spoons out of caffeine and willpower but that never really works. The only thing that does work is realizing that your lack of spoons is not your fault, and to remind yourself of that fact over and over as you compare your fucked-up life to everyone else’s just-as-fucked-up-but-not-as-noticeably-to-outsiders lives. Really, the only people you should be comparing yourself to would be people who make you feel better by comparison. For instance, people who are in comas, because those people have no spoons at all and you don’t see anyone judging them. Personally, I always compare myself to Galileo because everyone knows he’s fantastic, but he has no spoons at all because he’s dead. So technically I’m better than Galileo because all I’ve done is take a shower and already I’ve accomplished more than him today. If we were having a competition I’d have beaten him in daily accomplishments every damn day of my life. But I’m not gloating because Galileo can’t control his current spoon supply any more than I can, and if Galileo couldn’t figure out how to keep his dwindling spoon supply I think it’s pretty unfair of me to judge myself for mine. I’ve learned to use my spoons wisely. To say no. To push myself, but not too hard. To try to enjoy the amazingness of life while teetering at the edge of terror and fatigue.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
Don't give over all of your critical faculties to people in power, no matter how admirable those people may appear to be. Beneath the hero's facade you will find a human being who makes human mistakes. Enormous problems arise when human mistakes are made on the grand scale available to a superhero. And sometimes you run into another problem. It is demonstrable that power structures tend to attract people who want power for the sake of power and that a significant proportion of such people are imbalanced — in a word, insane.
Frank Herbert
Enough already of Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault poured like ketchup over everything. Lacan: the French fog machine; a grey-flannel worry-bone for toothless academic pups; a twerpy, cape-twirling Dracula dragging his flocking stooges to the crypt. Lacan is a Freud T-shirt shrunk down to the teeny-weeny Saussure torso. The entire school of Saussure, inluding Levi-Strauss, write their muffled prose of people with cotton wool wrapped around their heads; they're like walking Q-tips. Derrida: a Gloomy Gus one-trick pony, stuck on a rhetorical trope already available in the varied armory of New Criticism. Derrida's method: masturbating without pleasure. It's a birdbrain game for birdseed stakes. Neo-Foucaldian New Historicism: a high-wax bowling alley where you score points just by knockng down the pins.
Camille Paglia (Sex, Art, and American Culture: Essays)
What people always demand of a popular novelist is that he shall write the same book over and over again, forgetting that a man who would write the same book twice could not even write it once. Any writer who is not utterly lifeless moves upon a kind of parabola, and the downward curve is implied in the upward one.
George Orwell (All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays)
I am not anti-American,' he said. 'I just despise the current American administration. I despair that Bush has made ordinary, decent people all over the world think twice about what was once, and still could be again, a great country, when what happened on September 11th should have made ordinary, decent people all over the world embrace America as never before. I don't like it that neo-conservative politicians bully their so-called allies while playing to the worst, racist instincts of their own bewildered electorate. I don't like it that we live in an era where to be anti-war is to be anti-American, to be pro-Palestine is to be anti-Semitic, to be critical of Blair is somehow to be supportive of Putin and Chirac. All anybody is asking for in this so-called age of terror is some leadership. Yet everywhere you look in public life there is no truth, no courage, no dignity to speak of.
Charles Cumming (Typhoon)
It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary 'working' men. They are a race apart--outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men 'work', beggars do not 'work'; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not 'earn' his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic 'earns' his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable. Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no ESSENTIAL difference between a beggar's livelihood and that of numberless respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said; but, then, what is WORK? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course--but, then, many reputable trades are quite useless. And as a social type a beggar compares well with scores of others. He is honest compared with the sellers of most patent medicines, high-minded compared with a Sunday newspaper proprietor, amiable compared with a hire-purchase tout--in short, a parasite, but a fairly harmless parasite. He seldom extracts more than a bare living from the community, and, what should justify him according to our ethical ideas, he pays for it over and over in suffering. I do not think there is anything about a beggar that sets him in a different class from other people, or gives most modern men the right to despise him. Then the question arises, Why are beggars despised?--for they are despised, universally. I believe it is for the simple reason that they fail to earn a decent living. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modem talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except 'Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it'? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are despised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a businessman, getting his living, like other businessmen, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modem people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich.
George Orwell (Down and Out in Paris and London)
Business people - Your business - is your greatest prejudice: it ties you to your locality, to the company you keep, to the inclinations you feel. Diligent in business - but indolent in spirit, content with your inadequacy, and with the cloak of duty hung over this contentment: that is how you live, that is how you want your children to live!
Friedrich Nietzsche (Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality)
Authority systems must be based on people arranged in a hierarchy. Thus the critical question in determining control is, Who is over whom? How much over is far less important than the visible presence of a ranked ordering.
Stanley Milgram (Obedience to Authority)
Law and order is a social service. Crime and the fear which the threat of crime induces can paralyse whole communities, keep lonely and vulnerable elderly people shut up in their homes, scar young lives and raise to cult status the swaggering violent bully who achieves predatory control over the streets. I suspect that there would be more support and less criticism than today's political leaders imagine for a large shift of resources from Social Security benefits to law and order - as long as rhetoric about getting tough on crime was matched by practice.
Margaret Thatcher (The Path to Power)
In Venezuela Chavez has made the co-ops a top political priority, giving them first refusal on government contracts and offering them economic incentives to trade with one another. By 2006, there were roughly 100,000 co-operatives in the country, employing more than 700,000 workers. Many are pieces of state infrastructure – toll booths, highway maintenance, health clinics – handed over to the communities to run. It’s a reverse of the logic of government outsourcing – rather than auctioning off pieces of the state to large corporations and losing democratic control, the people who use the resources are given the power to manage them, creating, at least in theory, both jobs and more responsive public services. Chavez’s many critics have derided these initiatives as handouts and unfair subsidies, of course. Yet in an era when Halliburton treats the U.S. government as its personal ATM for six years, withdraws upward of $20 billion in Iraq contracts alone, refuses to hire local workers either on the Gulf coast or in Iraq, then expresses its gratitude to U.S. taxpayers by moving its corporate headquarters to Dubai (with all the attendant tax and legal benefits), Chavez’s direct subsidies to regular people look significantly less radical.
Naomi Klein
The source of irrational authority, on the other hand, is always power over people. This power can be physical or mental, it can be realistic or only relative in terms of the anxiety and helplessness of the person submitting to this authority. Power on the one side, fear on the other, are always the buttresses on which irrational authority is built. Criticism of the authority is not only required but forbidden. Rational authority is based upon the equality of both authority and subject, which differ only with respect to the degree of knowledge of skill in a praticular field. Irrational authority is by its very nature based on inequality, implying difference in value.
Erich Fromm (Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics)
Americans are addicted to plausible deniability. If we can't even think critically about something as relatively insignificant as an internet cat or admit that a person might give a pet an offensive name or apologize honestly for small, careless slights, how are we ever going to reckon with the fact that our country was built by slaves on land stolen from people on whom we perpetrated a genocide? What the f*ck are we going to do? Our propensity for always, always, always choosing what is comfortable over what is right helped pave the road to this low and surreal moment in US history.
Lindy West (The Witches Are Coming)
Just watch any husband arguing with his wife about something insignificant; listen to what they say and watch how their residual emotions manifest when the fight is over. It’s so formulaic and unsurprising that you wouldn’t dare re-create it in a movie. All the critics would mock it. They’d all say the screenwriter was a hack who didn’t even try. This is why movies have less value than we like to pretend — movies can’t show reality, because honest depictions of reality offend intelligent people.
Chuck Klosterman (The Visible Man)
I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time. Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage. A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance. The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we’re defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.
Brené Brown (Rising Strong)
Havel had said that people struggling for independence wanted money and recognition from other countries; they wanted more criticism of the Soviet empire from the West and more diplomatic pressure. But Havel had said that these were things they wanted; the only thing they needed was hope. Not that pie in the sky stuff, not a preference for optimism over pessimism, but rather 'an orientation of the spirit.' The kind of hope that creates a willingness to position oneself in a hopeless place and be a witness, that allows one to believe in a better future, even in the face of abusive power. That kind of hope makes one strong.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy)
I Won’t Fly Today Too much to do, despite the snow, which made all local schools close their doors. What a winter! Usually, I love watching the white stuff fall. But after a month with only short respites, I keep hoping for a critical blue sky. Instead, amazing waves of silvery clouds sweep over the crest of the Sierra, open their obese bellies, and release foot upon foot of crisp new powder. The ski resorts would be happy, except the roads are so hard to travel that people are staying home. So it kind of boggles the mind that three guys are laying carpet in the living room. Just goes to show the power of money. In less than an hour, the stain Conner left on the hardwood will be a ghost.
Ellen Hopkins (Perfect (Impulse, #2))
I found out that “Shame is a reaction to other people’s criticism, an acute personal chagrin at our failure to live up to our obligations and the expectations others have of us. Personal desires are sunk in the collective expectation. (Shame is) the primary device for gaining control over children and maintaining control over adults
Paul G. Hiebert (Anthropological Insights for Missionaries)
Most abusive men put on a charming face for their communities, creating a sharp split between their public image and their private treatment of women and children. He may be: Enraged at home but calm and smiling outside Selfish and self-centered with you but generous and supportive with others Domineering at home but willing to negotiate and compromise outside Highly negative about females while on his own turf but a vocal supporter of equality when anyone else is listening Assaultive toward his partner or children but nonviolent and nonthreatening with everyone else Entitled at home but critical of other men who disrespect or assault women The pain of this contrast can eat away at a woman. In the morning her partner cuts her to the quick by calling her a “brainless fat cow,” but a few hours later she sees him laughing with the people next door and helping them fix their car. Later the neighbor says to her, “Your partner is so nice. You’re lucky to be with him—a lot of men wouldn’t do what he does.” She responds with a mumbled “Yeah,” feeling confused and tongue-tied. Back at home, she asks herself over and over again, “Why me?
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
She could have wept. It was bad, it was bad, it was infinitely bad! She could have done it differently of course; the colour could have been thinned and faded; the shapes etherealised; that was how Paunceforte would have seen it. But then she did not see it like that. She saw the colour burning on a framework of steel; the light of a butterfly’s wing lying upon the arches of a cathedral. Of all that only a few random marks scrawled upon the canvas remained. And it would never be seen; never be hung even, and there was Mr Tansley whispering in her ear, “Women can’t paint, women can’t write ...” She now remembered what she had been going to say about Mrs Ramsay. She did not know how she would have put it; but it would have been something critical. She had been annoyed the other night by some highhandedness. Looking along the level of Mr Bankes’s glance at her, she thought that no woman could worship another woman in the way he worshipped; they could only seek shelter under the shade which Mr Bankes extended over them both. Looking along his beam she added to it her different ray, thinking that she was unquestionably the loveliest of people (bowed over her book); the best perhaps; but also, different too from the perfect shape which one saw there. But why different, and how different? she asked herself, scraping her palette of all those mounds of blue and green which seemed to her like clods with no life in them now, yet she vowed, she would inspire them, force them to move, flow, do her bidding tomorrow. How did she differ? What was the spirit in her, the essential thing, by which, had you found a crumpled glove in the corner of a sofa, you would have known it, from its twisted finger, hers indisputably? She was like a bird for speed, an arrow for directness. She was willful; she was commanding (of course, Lily reminded herself, I am thinking of her relations with women, and I am much younger, an insignificant person, living off the Brompton Road). She opened bedroom windows. She shut doors. (So she tried to start the tune of Mrs Ramsay in her head.) Arriving late at night, with a light tap on one’s bedroom door, wrapped in an old fur coat (for the setting of her beauty was always that—hasty, but apt), she would enact again whatever it might be—Charles Tansley losing his umbrella; Mr Carmichael snuffling and sniffing; Mr Bankes saying, “The vegetable salts are lost.” All this she would adroitly shape; even maliciously twist; and, moving over to the window, in pretence that she must go,—it was dawn, she could see the sun rising,—half turn back, more intimately, but still always laughing, insist that she must, Minta must, they all must marry, since in the whole world whatever laurels might be tossed to her (but Mrs Ramsay cared not a fig for her painting), or triumphs won by her (probably Mrs Ramsay had had her share of those), and here she saddened, darkened, and came back to her chair, there could be no disputing this: an unmarried woman (she lightly took her hand for a moment), an unmarried woman has missed the best of life. The house seemed full of children sleeping and Mrs Ramsay listening; shaded lights and regular breathing.
Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse)
The serious scientific public trusted him implicitly and consequently had no need to read him. If those people were to start getting critical, no further progress would be possible. They would spend a whole year over every page.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline (Journey to the End of the Night)
Two features in his personality make-up stand out as particularly pathological. The first is his ‘paranoid’ orientation toward the world. He is suspicious and distrustful of others, tends to feel that others discriminate against him, and feels that others are unfair to him and do not understand him. He is overly sensitive to criticism that others make of him, and cannot tolerate being made fun of. He is quick to sense slight or insult in things others say, and frequently may misinterpret well-meant communications. He feels the great need of friendship and understanding, but he is reluctant to confide in others, and when he does, expects to be misunderstood or even betrayed. In evaluating the intentions and feelings of others, his ability to separate the real situation from his own mental projections is very poor. He not infrequently groups all people together as being hypocritical, hostile, and deserving of whatever he is able to do to them. Akin to this first trait is the second, an ever -present, poorly controlled rage--- easily triggered by any feelings of being tricked, slighted, or labeled inferior by others. For the most part, his rages in the past have been directed at authority figures (297).
Truman Capote (In Cold Blood)
People try so hard to believe in leaders now, pitifully hard. But we no sooner get a popular reformer or politician or soldier or writer or philosopher—a Roosevelt, a Tolstoy, a Wood, a Shaw, a Nietzsche, than the cross-currents of criticism wash him away. My Lord, no man can stand prominence these days. It's the surest path to obscurity. People get sick of hearing the same name over and over.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (This Side of Paradise)
Those who correct others should watch for the Holy Spirit to go ahead of them and touch a person's heart. Learn to imitate Him who reproves gently. . . . When you become outraged over a person's fault, it is generally not "righteous indignation" but your own impatient personality expressing itself. Here is the imperfect pointing a finger at the imperfect. The more you selfishly love yourself, the more critical you will be. Self-love cannot forgive the self- love it discovers in others. Nothing is so offensive to a haughty, conceited heart as the sight of another one. God's love, however, is full of consideration, patience, and tenderness. It leads people out of their weakness and sin one step at a time.
François Fénelon
Their mission: uplift the inferior free Blacks to “an equality with whites.” And yet, AASS agents and supporters were cautioned not to adopt Black children, encourage interracial marriages, or excite “the people of color to assume airs.” Blacks were to assume “the true dignity of meekness” in order to win over their critics.
Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America)
Just think about how many times you have criticized someone else, in hindsight, for their failure to spot a liar. You should have known. There were all kinds of red flags. You had doubts. Levine would say that’s the wrong way to think about the problem. The right question is: were there enough red flags to push you over the threshold of belief? If there weren’t, then by defaulting to truth you were only being human.
Malcolm Gladwell (Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know)
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’ He didn’t say any more but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence I’m inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
I'd grown fond of quoting Václav Havel, the great Czech leader who had said that "hope" was the one thing that people struggling in Eastern Europe needed during the era of Soviet domination. Havel had said that people struggling for independence wanted money and recognition from other countries; they wanted more criticism of the Soviet empire from the West and more diplomatic pressure. But Havel had said that these were things they wanted; the only thing they needed was hope. Not that pie in the sky stuff, not a preference for optimism over pessimism, but rather "an orientation of the spirit." The kind of hope that creates a willingness to position oneself in a hopeless place and be a witness, that allows one to believe in a better future, even in the face of abusive power. That kind of hope makes one strong.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy)
Having said that the unliterary reader attends to the words too little to make anything like a full use of them, I must notice that there is another sort of reader who attends to them far too much and in the wrong way. I am thinking of what I call Stylemongers. On taking up a book, these people concentrate on what they call its ‘style’ or its ‘English’. They judge this neither by its sound nor by its power to communicate but by its conformity to certain arbitrary rules. Their reading is a perpetual witch hunt for Americanisms, Gallicisms, split infinitives, and sentences that end with a preposition. They do not inquire whether the Americanism or Gallicism in question increases or impoverishes the expressiveness of our language. It is nothing to them that the best English speakers and writers have been ending sentences with prepositions for over a thousand years. They are full of arbitrary dislikes for particular words. One is ‘a word they’ve always hated’; another ‘always makes them think of so-and-so’. This is too common, and that too rare. Such people are of all men least qualified to have any opinion about a style at all; for the only two tests that are really relevant—the degree in which it is (as Dryden would say) ‘sounding and significant’—are the two they never apply. They judge the instrument by anything rather than its power to do the work it was made for; treat language as something that ‘is’ but does not ‘mean’; criticise the lens after looking at it instead of through it.
C.S. Lewis (An Experiment in Criticism)
If a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing [for Satan and his devils to do] is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that "suits"him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches. The reasons are obvious. In the first place the parochial organization should always be attacked, because, being a unity of place and not of likings, it brings people of different classes and psychology together in the kind of unity the [Lord] desires... In the second place, the search for a "suitable" church makes the man a critic where the [Lord] wants him to be a pupil.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
Lee’s hand shook as he filled the delicate cups. He drank his down in one gulp. “Don’t you see?” he cried. “The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’—that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?” “Yes, I see. I do see. But you do not believe this is divine law. Why do you feel its importance?” “Ah!” said Lee. “I’ve wanted to tell you this for a long time. I even anticipated your questions and I am well prepared. Any writing which has influenced the thinking and the lives of innumerable people is important. Now, there are many millions in their sects and churches who feel the order, ‘Do thou,’ and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in ‘Thou shalt.’ Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But “Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.” Lee’s voice was a chant of triumph. Adam said, “Do you believe that, Lee?” “Yes, I do. Yes, I do. It is easy out of laziness, out of weakness, to throw oneself into the lap of deity, saying, ‘I couldn’t help it; the way was set.’ But think of the glory of the choice! That makes a man a man. A cat has no choice, a bee must make honey. There’s no godliness there. And do you know, those old gentlemen who were sliding gently down to death are too interested to die now?” Adam said, “Do you mean these Chinese men believe the Old Testament?” Lee said, “These old men believe a true story, and they know a true story when they hear it. They are critics of truth. They know that these sixteen verses are a history of humankind in any age or culture or race. They do not believe a man writes fifteen and three-quarter verses of truth and tells a lie with one verb. Confucius tells men how they should live to have good and successful lives. But this—this is a ladder to climb to the stars.” Lee’s eyes shone. “You can never lose that. It cuts the feet from under weakness and cowardliness and laziness.” Adam said, “I don’t see how you could cook and raise the boys and take care of me and still do all this.” “Neither do I,” said Lee. “But I take my two pipes in the afternoon, no more and no less, like the elders. And I feel that I am a man. And I feel that a man is a very important thing—maybe more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent toward gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed—because ‘Thou mayest.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
Social class. Class remains our national awkward topic, usually mumbled over in academic diversity workshops; indeed, most people don't know how to talk about class without automatically coupling it with race. That's because we Americans are loath to recognize that the sky's-the-limit potential we take as our birthright comes at a price far beyond what many Americans--of any race--can afford to pay.
Maureen Corrigan (So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures)
I hold the hands of people I never touch. I provide comfort to people I never embrace. I watch people walk into brick walls, the same ones over and over again, and I coax them to turn around and try to walk in a different direction. People rarely see me gladly. As a rule, I catch the residue of their despair. I see people who are broken, and people who only think they are broken. I see people who have had their faces rubbed in their failures. I see weak people wanting anesthesia and strong people who wonder what they have done to make such an enemy of fate. I am often the final pit stop people take before they crawl across the finish line that is marked: I give up. Some people beg me to help. Some people dare me to help. Sometimes the beggars and the dare-ers look the same. Absolutely the same. I'm supposed to know how to tell them apart. Some people who visit me need scar tissue to cover their wounds. Some people who visit me need their wounds opened further, explored for signs of infection and contamination. I make those calls, too. Some days I'm invigorated by it all. Some days I'm numbed. Always, I'm humbled by the role of helper. And, occasionally, I'm ambushed. ~ Stephen White "Critical Conditions
Stephen White (Critical Conditions (Alan Gregory, #6))
In our relationships, weatherproofing typically plays itself out like this: You meet someone and all is well. You are attracted to his or her appearance, personality, intellect, sense of humor, or some combination of these traits. Initially, you not only approve of your differences with this person, you actually appreciate them. You might even be attracted to the person, in part because of how different you are. You have different opinions, preferences, tastes, and priorities. After a while, however, you begin to notice little quirks about your new partner (or friend, teacher, whoever), that you feel could be improved upon. You bring it to their attention. You might say, “You know, you sure have a tendency to be late.” Or, “I’ve noticed you don’t read very much.” The point is, you’ve begun what inevitably turns into a way of life—looking for and thinking about what you don’t like about someone, or something that isn’t quite right. Obviously, an occasional comment, constructive criticism, or helpful guidance isn’t cause for alarm. I have to say, however, that in the course of working with hundreds of couples over the years, I’ve met very few people who didn’t feel that they were weatherproofed at times by their partner. Occasional harmless comments have an insidious tendency to become a way of looking at life. When you are weatherproofing another human being, it says nothing about them—but it does define you as someone who needs to be critical. Whether you have a tendency to weatherproof your relationships, certain aspects of your life, or both, what you need to do is write off weatherproofing as a bad idea. As the habit creeps into your thinking, catch yourself and seal your lips. The less often you weatherproof your partner or your friends, the more you’ll notice how super your life really is.
Richard Carlson (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life)
Whatever your critics say about you has no bearing on your worth. You are a child of the Most High God. The Creator of the universe breathed life into you. You have seeds of greatness on the inside. You’ve been crowned with favor. God has already equipped and empowered you with everything you need. Don’t waste your valuable time trying to play up to people, trying to win over all your critics, or trying to prove to someone that you’re important.
Joel Osteen (Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week)
When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases -- bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder -- one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker's spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favorable to political conformity.
George Orwell (All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays)
We can't all leave this country, Bijan had told me-this is our home. The world is a large place, my magician had said when I went to him with my woes. You can write and teach wherever you are. You will be read more and heard better, in fact, once you are over there. To go or not to go? In the long run, it's all very personal, my magician reasoned. I always admired your former colleague's honesty, he said. Which former colleague? Dr. A, the one who said his only reason for leaving was because he liked to drink beer freely. I am getting sick of people who cloak their personal flaws and desires in the guise of patriotic fervor. They stay because they have no means of living anywhere else, because if they leave, they won't be the big shots they are over here; but they talk about sacrifice for the homeland. And then those who do leave claim they've gone in order to criticize and expose the regime. Why all these justifications?
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
Don't bury personal obsessions. Capitalize on them. ``The connection between personal obsession and the work you do is the most important thing.'' -- Be yourself. ``Singularity is what you need.'' -- Avoid self-censorship: ``We are very self-critical in a way that can be very destructive. In our culture there are voices in our head which have taught us to say, `Oh, I wouldn't do that if I were you.' Don't ever think about anybody peering over your shoulder.'' -- Don't be afraid to show off, even if you think, ``I'm very close to making a complete fool of myself.'' -- Don't be afraid to entertain. ``I want to entertain. I don't want to lose people. I feel responsible as I write to give people the best time I can.'' -- ``Love your failures'' instead of beating yourself up over them. -- ``Learn to love the process'' of writing. -- Just do it. Barker likes something director Stanley Kubrick said: ``If you want to make a film, pick up a camera.
Clive Barker
Our relationship with literary characters, at least to those that exercise a certain attraction over us, rests in fact on a denial. We know perfectly well, on a conscious level, that these characters “do not exist,” or in any case do not exist in the same way as do the inhabitants of the real world. But things manifest in an entirely different way on the unconscious level, which is interested not in the ontological differences between worlds but in the effect they produce on the psyche. Every psychoanalyst knows how deeply a subject can be influenced, and even shaped, sometimes to the point of tragedy, by a fictional character and the sense of identification it gives rise to. This remark must first of all be understood as a reminder that we ourselves are usually fictional characters for other people […]
Pierre Bayard (Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening the Case of The Hound of the Baskervilles)
Reading the book now means that one can, if one wants, play Fantasy Literature--match writers off against each other and see who won over the long haul. Faulkner or Henry Green? I reckon the surprise champ was P.G. Wodehouse, as elegant and resourceful a prose stylist as anyone held up for our inspection here...he has turned out to be as enduring as anyone apart from Orwell. Jokes, you see. People do like jokes. (Hornby's thoughts after reading "Enemies of Promise" by Cyril Connolly)
Nick Hornby (The Polysyllabic Spree)
Why can’t you just get over it? It’s all in the past.’ These two statements often run together. Apparently, history is not there to be learned from, rather it’s a large boulder to be gotten over. It’s fascinating, because in the hundreds of workshops I’ve taught on Shakespeare no one has ever told me to get over his writing because it’s, you know, from the, erm, past. I’m still waiting for people to get over Plato, or Da Vinci or Bertrand Russell, or indeed the entirety of recorded history, but it seems they just won’t. It is especially odd in a nation where much of the population is apparently proud of Britain’s empire that critics of one of its most obvious legacies should be asked to get over it, the very same thing from the past that they are proud of. But anyway, let’s imagine for a second that humanity did indeed ‘get over’ - which in this case means forget - the past. Well, we’d have to learn to walk and talk and cook and hunt and plant crops all over again, we’d have to undo all of human invention and start from . . . when? What period exactly is it we are allowed to start our memory from? Those that tell us to get over the past never seem to specify, but I’m eager to learn. In reality, of course, they just don’t want to have any conversations that they find uncomfortable.
Akala (Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire)
Few people will campaign for an alternative vision of black holes or magnetic inversion, but we know from experience that about soils, vaccines, earthworms, bears, wolves, neurotransmitters, mushrooms, water circulation, or the composition of air, the smallest study will immediately be plunged into a full-scale battle of interpretations. The Critical Zone is not a classroom; the relationship between researchers and the public is anything but purely pedagogical. If we still had any doubts on this point, the pseudocontroversy over the climate suffices to dispel them. There is no evidence that any major corporation has spent a penny to produce ignorance about the detection of the Higgs boson. But denying the climatic mutation is another matter entirely: financing floods in. Ignorance on the part of the public is such a precious commodity that it justifies immense investments.
Bruno Latour (Où atterrir ?)
the bulk of day-to-day responsibilities for the reproduction of labor at home fall on wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters. This unpaid labor does not directly create surplus value, yet it is critical to workers’ abilities to produce surplus, and therefore necessary to maintaining the profitability of the system. And so it is no coincidence that sexist ideologies that relegate women to second-class citizens emphasize women’s nurturing capacity, which make us “naturally suited” to prioritizing husbands and children over our own lives.
Hadas Thier (A People's Guide to Capitalism: An Introduction to Marxist Economics)
That “teaching myself social behaviors” thing, for example, was a window into my entire childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. There were things I needed to learn differently from most of the people around me, and the amount of useful, appropriate support I received back then was exactly zero. At the same time, the criticism I received felt infinite, especially when I tried to articulate my struggles. A person who I probably shouldn’t have been friends with once told me I needed to stop “thinking things through” in social situations and just “let my instincts take over.” In retrospect, I wish I’d replied, “What the hell are you talking about, ‘let my instincts take over’?” He might as well have said, “Just try really hard to grow a third arm between your shoulder blades and eventually it’ll happen!” Nothing about those situations felt instinctive; I had to learn how to navigate them in other ways
Mike Jung ([Don't] Call Me Crazy)
The trick is to not only deny the criticism any power over you, but, even more challenging, to not get caught up in the praise. There’s nothing wrong with blushingly accepting a compliment, but if you find yourself always seeking outside approval that you’re good enough or cool enough or talented enough or worthy enough, you’re screwed. Because if you base your self-worth on what everyone else thinks of you, you hand all your power over to other people and become dependent on a source outside of yourself for validation. Then you wind up chasing after something you have no control over, and should that something suddenly place its focus somewhere else, or change its mind and decide you’re no longer very interesting, you end up with a full-blown identity crisis.
Jen Sincero (You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life)
In the course of your life you will be continually encountering fools. There are simply too many to avoid. We can classify people as fools by the following rubric: when it comes to practical life, what should matter is getting long term results, and getting the work done in as efficient and creative a manner as possible. That should be the supreme value that guides people’s action. But fools carry with them a different scale of values. They place more importance on short-term matters – grabbing immediate money, getting attention from the public or media, and looking good. They are ruled by their ego and insecurities. They tend to enjoy drama and political intrigue for their own sake. When they criticize, they always emphasize matters that are irrelevant to the overall picture or argument. They are more interested in their career and position than in the truth. You can distinguish them by how little they get done, or by how hard they make it for others to get results. They lack a certain common sense, getting worked up about things that are not really important while ignoring problems that will spell doom in the long term. The natural tendency with fools is to lower yourself to their level. They annoy you, get under your skin, and draw you into a battle. In the process, you feel petty and confused. You lose a sense of what is really important. You can’t win an argument or get them to see your side or change their behavior, because rationality and results don’t matter to them. You simply waste valuable time and emotional energy. In dealing with fools you must adopt the following philosophy: they are simply a part of life, like rocks or furniture. All of us have foolish sides, moments in which we lose our heads and think more of our ego or short-term goals. It is human nature. Seeing this foolishness within you, you can then accept it in others. This will allow you to smile at their antics, to tolerate their presence as you would a silly child, and to avoid the madness of trying to change them. It is all part of the human comedy, and it is nothing to get upset or lose sleep over.
Robert Greene (Mastery)
I know people who read interminably, book after book, from page to page, and yet I should not call them 'well-read people'. Of course they 'know' an immense amount; but their brain seems incapable of assorting and classifying the material which they have gathered from books. They have not the faculty of distinguishing between what is useful and useless in a book; so that they may retain the former in their minds and if possible skip over the latter while reading it, if that be not possible, then--when once read--throw it overboard as useless ballast. Reading is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. Its chief purpose is to help towards filling in the framework which is made up of the talents and capabilities that each individual possesses. Thus each one procures for himself the implements and materials necessary for the fulfilment of his calling in life, no matter whether this be the elementary task of earning one's daily bread or a calling that responds to higher human aspirations. Such is the first purpose of reading. And the second purpose is to give a general knowledge of the world in which we live. In both cases, however, the material which one has acquired through reading must not be stored up in the memory on a plan that corresponds to the successive chapters of the book; but each little piece of knowledge thus gained must be treated as if it were a little stone to be inserted into a mosaic, so that it finds its proper place among all the other pieces and particles that help to form a general world-picture in the brain of the reader. Otherwise only a confused jumble of chaotic notions will result from all this reading. That jumble is not merely useless, but it also tends to make the unfortunate possessor of it conceited. For he seriously considers himself a well-educated person and thinks that he understands something of life. He believes that he has acquired knowledge, whereas the truth is that every increase in such 'knowledge' draws him more and more away from real life, until he finally ends up in some sanatorium or takes to politics and becomes a parliamentary deputy. Such a person never succeeds in turning his knowledge to practical account when the opportune moment arrives; for his mental equipment is not ordered with a view to meeting the demands of everyday life. His knowledge is stored in his brain as a literal transcript of the books he has read and the order of succession in which he has read them. And if Fate should one day call upon him to use some of his book-knowledge for certain practical ends in life that very call will have to name the book and give the number of the page; for the poor noodle himself would never be able to find the spot where he gathered the information now called for. But if the page is not mentioned at the critical moment the widely-read intellectual will find himself in a state of hopeless embarrassment. In a high state of agitation he searches for analogous cases and it is almost a dead certainty that he will finally deliver the wrong prescription.
Adolf Hitler
I resolutely refuse to believe that the state of Edward's health had anything to do with this, and I don't say this only because I was once later accused of attacking him 'on his deathbed.' He was entirely lucid to the end, and the positions he took were easily recognizable by me as extensions or outgrowths of views he had expressed (and also declined to express) in the past. Alas, it is true that he was closer to the end than anybody knew when the thirtieth anniversary reissue of his Orientalism was published, but his long-precarious condition would hardly argue for giving him a lenient review, let alone denying him one altogether, which would have been the only alternatives. In the introduction he wrote for the new edition, he generally declined the opportunity to answer his scholarly critics, and instead gave the recent American arrival in Baghdad as a grand example of 'Orientalism' in action. The looting and destruction of the exhibits in the Iraq National Museum had, he wrote, been a deliberate piece of United States vandalism, perpetrated in order to shear the Iraqi people of their cultural patrimony and demonstrate to them their new servitude. Even at a time when anything at all could be said and believed so long as it was sufficiently and hysterically anti-Bush, this could be described as exceptionally mendacious. So when the Atlantic invited me to review Edward's revised edition, I decided I'd suspect myself more if I declined than if I agreed, and I wrote what I felt I had to. Not long afterward, an Iraqi comrade sent me without comment an article Edward had contributed to a magazine in London that was published by a princeling of the Saudi royal family. In it, Edward quoted some sentences about the Iraq war that he off-handedly described as 'racist.' The sentences in question had been written by me. I felt myself assailed by a reaction that was at once hot-eyed and frigidly cold. He had cited the words without naming their author, and this I briefly thought could be construed as a friendly hesitance. Or as cowardice... I can never quite act the stern role of Mr. Darcy with any conviction, but privately I sometimes resolve that that's 'it' as it were. I didn't say anything to Edward but then, I never said anything to him again, either. I believe that one or two charges simply must retain their face value and not become debauched or devalued. 'Racist' is one such. It is an accusation that must either be made good upon, or fully retracted. I would not have as a friend somebody whom I suspected of that prejudice, and I decided to presume that Edward was honest and serious enough to feel the same way. I feel misery stealing over me again as I set this down: I wrote the best tribute I could manage when he died not long afterward (and there was no strain in that, as I was relieved to find), but I didn't go to, and wasn't invited to, his funeral.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
This one is bigger than the other by at least a quarter,” he said. “That’s perspective,” Will replied stubbornly. “The left one is closer, so it looks bigger.” “If it’s perspective, and it’s that much bigger, your handcart would have to be about five meters wide,” Horace told him. “Is that what you’re planning?” Again, Will studied the drawing critically. “No. I thought maybe two meters. And three meters long.” He quickly sketched in a smaller version of the left wheel, scrubbing over the first attempt as he did so. “Is that better?” “Could be rounder,” Horace said. “You’d never get a wheel that shape to roll. It’s sort of pointy at one end.” Will’s temper flared as he decided his friend was simply being obtuse for the sake of it. He slammed the charcoal down on the table. “Well, you try drawing a perfect circle freehand!” he said angrily. “See how well you do! This is a concept drawing, that’s all. It doesn’t have to be perfect!” Malcolm chose that moment to enter the room. He had been outside, checking on MacHaddish, making sure the general was still securely fastened to the massive log that held him prisoner. He glanced now at the sketch as he passed by the table. “What’s that?” he asked. “It’s a walking cart,” Horace told him. “You get under it, so the spears won’t hit you, and go for a walk.” Will glared at Horace and decided to ignore him. He turned his attention to Malcolm. “Do you think some of your people could build me something like this?” he asked. The healer frowned thoughtfully. “Might be tricky,” he said. “We’ve got a few cart wheels, but they’re all the same size. Did you want this one so much bigger than the other?” Now Will switched his glare to Malcolm. Horace put a hand up to his face to cover the grin that was breaking out there. “It’s perspective. Good artists draw using perspective,” Will said, enunciating very clearly. “Oh. Is it? Well, if you say so.” Malcolm studied the sketch for a few more seconds. “And did you want them this squashed-up shape? Our wheels tend to be sort of round. I don’t think these ones would roll too easily, if at all.” Truth be told, Malcolm had been listening outside the house for several minutes and knew what the two friends had been discussing. Horace gave vent to a huge, indelicate snort that set his nose running. His shoulders were shaking, and Malcolm couldn’t maintain his own straight face any longer. He joined in, and the two of them laughed uncontrollably. Will eyed them coldly. “Oh, yes. Extremely amusing,” he said.
John Flanagan (The Siege of Macindaw (Ranger's Apprentice, #6))
You might think that the Left could have a regime-change perspective of its own, based on solidarity with its comrades abroad. After all, Saddam's ruling Ba'ath Party consolidated its power by first destroying the Iraqi communist and labor movements, and then turning on the Kurds (whose cause, historically, has been one of the main priorities of the Left in the Middle East). When I first became a socialist, the imperative of international solidarity was the essential if not the defining thing, whether the cause was popular or risky or not. I haven't seen an anti-war meeting all this year at which you could even guess at the existence of the Iraqi and Kurdish opposition to Saddam, an opposition that was fighting for 'regime change' when both Republicans and Democrats were fawning over Baghdad as a profitable client and geopolitical ally. Not only does the 'peace' movement ignore the anti-Saddam civilian opposition, it sends missions to console the Ba'athists in their isolation, and speaks of the invader of Kuwait and Iran and the butcher of Kurdistan as if he were the victim and George W. Bush the aggressor.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
Comparative suffering is a function of fear and scarcity. Falling down, screwing up, and facing hurt often lead to bouts of second-guessing our judgment, our self-trust, and even our worthiness. I am enough can slowly turn into Am I really enough? If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past decade, it’s that fear and scarcity immediately trigger comparison, and even pain and hurt are not immune to being assessed and ranked. My husband died and that grief is worse than your grief over an empty nest. I’m not allowed to feel disappointed about being passed over for promotion when my friend just found out that his wife has cancer. You’re feeling shame for forgetting your son’s school play? Please—that’s a first-world problem; there are people dying of starvation every minute. The opposite of scarcity is not abundance; the opposite of scarcity is simply enough. Empathy is not finite, and compassion is not a pizza with eight slices. When you practice empathy and compassion with someone, there is not less of these qualities to go around. There’s more. Love is the last thing we need to ration in this world. The refugee in Syria doesn’t benefit more if you conserve your kindness only for her and withhold it from your neighbor who’s going through a divorce. Yes, perspective is critical. But I’m a firm believer that complaining is okay as long as we piss and moan with a little perspective. Hurt is hurt, and every time we honor our own struggle and the struggles of others by responding with empathy and compassion, the healing that results affects all of us.
Brené Brown (Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.)
The universities are an absolute wreck right now, because for decades, any graduate student in the humanities who had independent thinking was driven out. There was no way to survive without memorizing all these stupid bromides with this referential bowing to these over-inflated figures like Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, and so on. Basically, it's been a tyranny in the humanities, because the professors who are now my age – who are the baby boomer professors, who made their careers on the back of Foucault and so on – are determined that that survive. So you have a kind of vampirism going on. So I've been getting letters for 25 years since Sexual Personae was released in 1990, from refugees from the graduate schools. It's been a terrible loss. One of my favorite letters was early on: a woman wrote to me, she was painting houses in St. Louis, she said that she had wanted a career as a literature professor and had gone into the graduate program in comparative literature at Berkeley. And finally, she was forced to drop out because, she said, every time she would express enthusiasm for a work they were studying in the seminar, everyone would look at her as if she had in some way created a terrible error of taste. I thought, 'Oh my God', see that's what's been going on – a pretentious style of superiority to the text. [When asked what can change this]: Rebellion! Rebellion by the grad students. This is what I'm trying to foment. We absolutely need someone to stand up and start criticizing authority figures. But no; this generation of young people have been trained throughout middle school and high school and college to be subservient to authority.
Camille Paglia
In three weeks, the women's team had done more for soccer in the United States than any team had ever done. Yet, the United States Soccer Federation was unprepared and unwelcoming in its acerbic response to the women's success. With petty, resentful, chauvinistic behavior, the federation would bungle what should have been its greatest moment as a national governing body. Its leaders would criticize DiCicco instead of congratulating him, they would threaten to sue the women over an indoor victory tour and they would wait an unacceptably long period before entering into contract negotiations with the team. Then, at the end of the year, the federation would offer a deal that the women found insulting. Unwilling to trust that the federation was bargaining in good faith, the women would boycott a trip to a tournament in Australia. They would become champions of the world, embraced by the president, by the largest crowd ever to watch women play and by the largest television audience for soccer in this country, embraced by everyone, it seemed, but the officials who ran the sport with the vision of a student council. Increasingly, it appeared, the only amateurs left in sports were the people running the federations that governed them.
Jere Longman (The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women's Soccer Team and How It Changed the World)
It is not of advantage for us to indulge a sentimental attitude towards the past. For one thing, in even the very best living tradition there is always a mixture of good and bad, and much that deserves criticism; and for another, tradition is not a matter of feeling alone. Nor can we safely, without very close examination, dig ourselves in stubbornly to a few dogmatic notions, for what is a healthy belief at one point may, unless it is one of the few fundamental things, be a pernicious prejudice at another. Nor should we cling to traditions as a way of assuring our superiority over less favored peoples. What we can do is to use our minds, remembering that a tradition without intelligence is not worth having, to discover what is the best life for us not as a political abstraction, but as a particular people in a particular place; what in the past is worth preserving and what should be rejected; and what conditions, within our power to bring about, would foster the society that we desire.
T.S. Eliot (After Strange Gods : A Primer of Modern Heresy)
Most of the successful innovators and entrepreneurs in this book had one thing in common: they were product people. They cared about, and deeply understood, the engineering and design. They were not primarily marketers or salesmen or financial types; when such folks took over companies, it was often to the detriment of sustained innovation. “When the sales guys run the company, the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off,” Jobs said. Larry Page felt the same: “The best leaders are those with the deepest understanding of the engineering and product design.”34 Another lesson of the digital age is as old as Aristotle: “Man is a social animal.” What else could explain CB and ham radios or their successors, such as WhatsApp and Twitter? Almost every digital tool, whether designed for it or not, was commandeered by humans for a social purpose: to create communities, facilitate communication, collaborate on projects, and enable social networking. Even the personal computer, which was originally embraced as a tool for individual creativity, inevitably led to the rise of modems, online services, and eventually Facebook, Flickr, and Foursquare. Machines, by contrast, are not social animals. They don’t join Facebook of their own volition nor seek companionship for its own sake. When Alan Turing asserted that machines would someday behave like humans, his critics countered that they would never be able to show affection or crave intimacy. To indulge Turing, perhaps we could program a machine to feign affection and pretend to seek intimacy, just as humans sometimes do. But Turing, more than almost anyone, would probably know the difference. According to the second part of Aristotle’s quote, the nonsocial nature of computers suggests that they are “either a beast or a god.” Actually, they are neither. Despite all of the proclamations of artificial intelligence engineers and Internet sociologists, digital tools have no personalities, intentions, or desires. They are what we make of them.
Walter Isaacson (The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution)
People try so hard to believe in leaders now, pitifully hard. But we no sooner get a popular reformer or politician or soldier or writer or philosopher—a Roosevelt, a Tolstoi, a Wood, a Shaw, a Nietzsche, than the cross-currents of criticism wash him away. My Lord, no man can stand prominence these days. It's the surest path to obscurity. People get sick of hearing the same name over and over... We want to believe. Young students try to believe in older authors, constituents try to believe in their Congressmen, countries try to believe in their statesmen, but they can't. Too many voices, too much scattered, illogical, ill-considered criticism. It's worse in the case of newspapers. Any rich, unprogressive old party with that particularly grasping, acquisitive form of mentality known as financial genius can own a paper that is the intellectual meat and drink of thousands of tired, hurried men, men too involved in the business of modern living to swallow anything but predigested food. For two cents the voter buys his politics, prejudices, and philosophy. A year later there is a new political ring or a change in the paper's ownership, consequence: more confusion, more contradiction, a sudden inrush of new ideas, their tempering, their distillation, the reaction against them-
F. Scott Fitzgerald
In the past, one would have been arrested for wanting to leave. Now that nobody was stopping us from emigrating, we were no longer welcome on the other side. The only thing that had changed was the color of the police uniforms. We risked being arrested not in the name of our own government but in the name of other states, those same governments who had urged us to break free. The West had spent decades criticizing the East for its closed borders, funding campaigns to demand freedom of movement, condemning the immorality of states committed to restricting the right to exit. Our exiles used to be received as heroes. Now they were treated as criminals. Perhaps freedom of movement had never really mattered. It was easy to defend it when someone else was doing the dirty work of imprisonment. But what value does the right to exit have if there is no right to enter? Were borders and walls reprehensible only when they served to keep people in, as opposed to keeping them out? The border guards, the patrol boats, the detention and repression of immigrants that were pioneered in southern Europe for the first time in those years [1990s] would become standard practice over the coming decades. The West, initially unprepared for the arrival of thousands of people wanting a different future, would soon perfect a system for excluding the most vulnerable and attracting the more skilled, all the while defending borders to "protect our way of life." And yet, those who sought to emigrate did so because they were attracted to that way of life. Far from posing a threat to the system, they were its most ardent supporters.
Lea Ypi (Free: A Child and a Country at the End of History)
1. Acknowledge and grieve the abusive and dismissive ways in which your family has mishandled your humanity. List the misdeeds done to you, and acknowledge where you didn’t get the validation or compassion you sought and deserved just out of basic human decency. One of the greatest ways to bring these memories up is to write to a F*ck You For list. I do this often with my patients. Begin each sentence with F*ck You For, and complete the sentence with the painful, angering, or frustrating memory. This exercise helps move you from feeling like a victim to taking the trash out. It places accountability on the right people. It also illuminates areas of growth for you, as you may feel anger at yourself for how long you allowed yourself to be passive or submissive to the members of your family you felt had power over you.
Sherrie Campbell (Adult Survivors of Toxic Family Members: Tools to Maintain Boundaries, Deal with Criticism, and Heal from Shame After Ties Have Been Cut)
Edmond persuasively described a future where technology had become so inexpensive and ubiquitous that it erased the gap between the haves and the have-nots. A future where environmental technologies provided billions of people with drinking water, nutritious food, and access to clean energy. A future where diseases like Edmond’s cancer were eradicated, thanks to genomic medicine. A future where the awesome power of the Internet was finally harnessed for education, even in the most remote corners of the world. A future where assembly-line robotics would free workers from mind-numbing jobs so they could pursue more rewarding fields that would open up in areas not yet imagined. And, above all, a future in which breakthrough technologies began creating such an abundance of humankind’s critical resources that warring over them would no longer be necessary.
Dan Brown (Origin (Robert Langdon, #5))
Most churches do not grow beyond the spiritual health of their leadership. Many churches have a pastor who is trying to lead people to a Savior he has yet to personally encounter. If spiritual gifting is no proof of authentic faith, then certainly a job title isn't either. You must have a clear sense of calling before you enter ministry. Being a called man is a lonely job, and many times you feel like God has abandoned you in your ministry. Ministry is more than hard. Ministry is impossible. And unless we have a fire inside our bones compelling us, we simply will not survive. Pastoral ministry is a calling, not a career. It is not a job you pursue. If you don’t think demons are real, try planting a church! You won’t get very far in advancing God’s kingdom without feeling resistance from the enemy. If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. Once a month I get away for the day, once a quarter I try to get out for two days, and once a year I try to get away for a week. The purpose of these times is rest, relaxation, and solitude with God. A pastor must always be fearless before his critics and fearful before his God. Let us tremble at the thought of neglecting the sheep. Remember that when Christ judges us, he will judge us with a special degree of strictness. The only way you will endure in ministry is if you determine to do so through the prevailing power of the Holy Spirit. The unsexy reality of the pastorate is that it involves hard work—the heavy-lifting, curse-ridden, unyielding employment of your whole person for the sake of the church. Pastoral ministry requires dogged, unyielding determination, and determination can only come from one source—God himself. Passive staff members must be motivated. Erring elders and deacons must be confronted. Divisive church members must be rebuked. Nobody enjoys doing such things (if you do, you should be not be a pastor!), but they are necessary in order to have a healthy church over the long haul. If you allow passivity, laziness, and sin to fester, you will soon despise the church you pastor. From the beginning of sacred Scripture (Gen. 2:17) to the end (Rev. 21:8), the penalty for sin is death. Therefore, if we sin, we should die. But it is Jesus, the sinless one, who dies in our place for our sins. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus died to take to himself the penalty of our sin. The Bible is not Christ-centered because it is generally about Jesus. It is Christ-centered because the Bible’s primary purpose, from beginning to end, is to point us toward the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for the salvation and sanctification of sinners. Christ-centered preaching goes much further than merely providing suggestions for how to live; it points us to the very source of life and wisdom and explains how and why we have access to him. Felt needs are set into the context of the gospel, so that the Christian message is not reduced to making us feel better about ourselves. If you do not know how sinful you are, you feel no need of salvation. Sin-exposing preaching helps people come face-to-face with their sin and their great need for a Savior. We can worship in heaven, and we can talk to God in heaven, and we can read our Bibles in heaven, but we can’t share the gospel with our lost friends in heaven. “Would your city weep if your church did not exist?” It was crystal-clear for me. Somehow, through fear or insecurity, I had let my dreams for our church shrink. I had stopped thinking about the limitless things God could do and had been distracted by my own limitations. I prayed right there that God would forgive me of my small-mindedness. I asked God to forgive my lack of faith that God could use a man like me to bring the message of the gospel through our missionary church to our lost city. I begged God to renew my heart and mind with a vision for our city that was more like Christ's.
Darrin Patrick (Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission)
Nowadays, the work of Alfred Hitchcock is admired all over the world. Young people who are just discovering his art through the current rerelease of Rear Window and Vertigo, or through North by Northwest, may assume his prestige has always been recognized, but this is far from being the case. In the fifties and sixties, Hitchcock was at the height of his creativity and popularity. He was, of course, famous due to the publicity masterminded by producer David O. Selznick during the six or seven years of their collaboration on such films as Rebecca, Notorious, Spellbound, and The Paradine Case. His fame had spread further throughout the world via the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the mid-fifties. But American and European critics made him pay for his commercial success by reviewing his work with condescension, and by belittling each new film. (...) In examining his films, it was obvious that he had given more thought to the potential of his art than any of his colleagues. It occurred to me that if he would, for the first time, agree to respond seriously to a systematic questionnaire, the resulting document might modify the American critics’ approach to Hitchcock. That is what this book is all about.
François Truffaut (Hitchcock/Truffaut)
Many years ago, as I was glancing through a catalogue of jokes for parties and weddings, I saw an item, 'An object difficult to pick up'. I haven't the slightest idea what that 'object' is or what it looks like, but I like knowing that it exists and I like thinking about it. A work of art should also be 'an object difficult to pick up'. It must protect itself from vulgar pawing, which tarnishes and disfigures it. It should be made of such a shape that people don't know which way to hold it, which embarrasses and irritates the critics, incites them to be rude, but keeps it fresh. The less it's understood, the slower it opens its petals, the later it will fade. A work of art must make contact, be it even through a misunderstanding, but at the same time it must hide its riches, to reveal them little by little over a long period of time. A work that doesn't keep its secrets and surrenders itself too soon exposes itself to the risk of withering away, leaving only a dead stalk.
Jean Cocteau (Cocteau on the Film)
People who use their religion as a framework to kill people, simply , are not nice people. Yes, that's quite a stand I'm making, but the idea that people are systematically executed because they don't share your God is beyond barbaric. The fact that there are people in our own country who seem to tolerate that, while being intolerant of a Christian's biblical stance regarding gay marriage, makes me want to go to leave the United States and go to a more sensible place, like Texas. There are more things I refuse to tolerate (pretentious music criticism, clove cigarettes, slow-moving ceiling fans, restaurant hostesses who pretend they own the joint, people who walk and text on a crowded sidewalk, Hostess Snowballs, people who drop subzero in their conversation when they aren't talking about the Arctic winds, people who bring their own bedroom pillows onto flights, pharmacists who yell out your prescription in front of other customers, Time Warner Cable, Sting's chest hair) but I'll get into that later.... I may not do that...though, because I refuse to tolerate lists. They're lazy. And listy.
Greg Gutfeld (The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage)
Honesty requires that we each recognize the need to limit procreation, consumption, and waste, but equally we must radically reduce our expectations that machines will do our work for us or that therapists can make us learned or healthy. The only solution to the environmental crisis is the shared insight of people that they would be happier if they could work together and care for each other. Such an inversion of the current world view requires intellectual courage for it exposes us to the unenlightened yet painful criticism of being not only anti-people and against economic progress, but equally against liberal education and scientific and technological advance. We must face the fact that the imbalance between man and the environment is just one of several mutually reinforcing stresses, each distorting the balance of life in a different dimension. In this view, overpopulation is the result of a distortion in the balance of learning, dependence on affluence is the result of a radical monopoly of institutional over personal values, and faulty technology is inexorably consequent upon a transformation of means into ends
Ivan Illich (Tools for Conviviality)
I have spent most of my life outside, but for the last three years, I have been walking five miles a day, minimum, wherever I am, urban or rural, and can attest to the magnitude of the natural beauty that is left. Beauty worth seeing, worth singing, worth saving, whatever that word can mean now. There is beauty in a desert, even one that is expanding. There is beauty in the ocean, even one that is on the rise. And even if the jig is up, even if it is really game over, what better time to sing about the earth than when it is critically, even fatally wounded at our hands. Aren’t we more complex, more interesting, more multifaceted people if we do? What good has the hollow chuckle ever done anyone? Do we really keep ourselves from being hurt when we sneer instead of sob? If we pretend not to see the tenuous beauty that is still all around us, will it keep our hearts from breaking as we watch another mountain be clear-cut, as we watch North Dakota, as beautiful a state as there ever was, be poisoned for all time by hydraulic fracturing? If we abandon all hope right now, does that in some way protect us from some bigger pain later? If we never go for a walk in the beetle-killed forest, if we don’t take a swim in the algae-choked ocean, if we lock grandmother in a room for the last ten years of her life so we can practice and somehow accomplish the survival of her loss in advance, in what ways does it make our lives easier? In what ways does it impoverish us? We are all dying, and because of us, so is the earth. That’s the most terrible, the most painful in my entire repertoire of self-torturing thoughts. But it isn’t dead yet and neither are we. Are we going to drop the earth off at the vet, say goodbye at the door, and leave her to die in the hands of strangers? We can decide, even now, not to turn our backs on her in her illness. We can still decide not to let her die alone.
Pam Houston
With the invention of the city and its powerful combination of economies of scale coupled to innovation and wealth creation came the great divisions of society. Our present social network structures barely existed in their present form until urban communities evolved. Hunter-gatherers were significantly less hierarchical, more egalitarian and community oriented than we are. The struggle and tension between unbridled individual self-enhancement and the care and concern for the less fortunate has been a major thread running throughout human history, especially over the past two hundred years. Nevertheless, it seems that without the motive of self-interest our entrepreneurial free market economy would collapse. The system we have evolved critically relies on people continually wanting new cars and new cell phones, new widgets and gadgets, new clothes and new washing machines, new thrills, new entertainment, and pretty much new everything, even when they already have enough of “everything.” It may not be a pretty picture and it doesn’t work for everyone, but so far, it’s worked remarkably well for most of us, and apparently most of us seem to want it to continue. Whether it can is a topic I’ll return to in the last chapter.
Geoffrey West (Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life, in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies)
And now it’s really over. I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that’s what I want! I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but … it remains to be seen whether I really have talent. “Eva’s Dream” is my best fairy tale, and the odd thing is that I don’t have the faintest idea where it came from. Parts of “Cady’s Life” are also good, but as a whole it’s nothing special. I’m my best and harshest critic. I know what’s good and what isn’t. Unless you write yourself, you can’t know how wonderful it is; I always used to bemoan the fact that I couldn’t draw, but now I’m overjoyed that at least I can write. And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that. I can’t imagine having to live like Mother, Mrs. van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me! When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies. I haven’t worked on “Cady’s Life” for ages. In my mind I’ve worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn’t seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it’ll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That’s a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, “At the age of fourteen and with so little experience, you can’t write about philosophy.” So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It’ll all work out, because I’m determined to write!
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
One of the fruits of the long predominance of labourism is precisely that the party of the working class has never carried out any sustained campaign of education and propaganda on behalf of a socialist programme; and that Labour leaders have frequently turned themselves into fierce propagandists against the socialist proposals of their critics inside the Labour Party and out, and have bent their best efforts to the task of defeating all attempts to have the Labour Party adopt such proposals. Moreover, a vast array of conservative forces, of the most diverse kind, are always at hand to dissuade the working class from even thinking about the socialist ideas which evil or foolish people are forever trying to foist upon them. This simply means that a ceaseless battle for the ‘hearts and minds’ of the people is waged by the forces of conservatism, against which have only been mobilised immeasurably smaller socialist forces. A socialist party would seek to strengthen these forces and to defend socialist perspectives and a socialist programme over an extended period of time, and would accept that more than one election might have to be held before a majority of people came to support it. In any case, a socialist party would not only be concerned with office, but with the creation of the conditions under which office would be more than the management of affairs on capitalist lines.
Ralph Miliband (Class War Conservatism: And Other Essays)
People who create successful strategic relationships demonstrate 10 essential character traits:    1. Authentic. They are genuine, honest, and transparent. They are cognizant of (and willing to admit to) their strengths and weaknesses.    2. Trustworthy. They build relationships on mutual trust. They have a good reputation based on real results. They have integrity: their word is their bond. People must know, like, and trust you before sharing their valuable social capital.    3. Respectful. They are appreciative of the time and efforts of others. They treat subordinates with the same level of respect as they do supervisors.    4. Caring. They like to help others succeed. They’re a source of mutual support and encouragement. They pay attention to the feelings of others and have good hearts.    5. Listening. They ask good questions, and they are eager to learn about others—what’s important to them, what they’re working on, what they’re looking for, and what they need—so they can be of help.    6. Engaged. They are active participants in life. They are interesting and passionate about what they do. They are solution minded, and they have great “gut” instincts.    7. Patient. They recognize that relationships need to be cultivated over time. They invest time in maintaining their relationships with others.    8. Intelligent. They are intelligent in the help they offer. They pass along opportunities at every chance possible, and they make thoughtful, useful introductions. They’re not ego driven. They don’t criticize others or burn bridges in relationships.    9. Sociable. They are nice, likeable, and helpful. They enjoy being with people, and they are happy to connect with others from all walks of life, social strata, political persuasions, religions, and diverse backgrounds. They are sources of positive energy.   10. Connected. They are part of their own network of excellent strategic relationships.
Judy Robinett (How to be a Power Connector (PB): The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network Into Profits)
Actually, what we really need to remember about Galileo is that most of the people who use his name in argument could barely spell it, let alone tell us what actually happened to the man. His case is used over and over again because critics can't think of any other scientists who were mistreated by the Church. And in this instance they're right. There may have been some people in the scientific world who did not enjoy Church support and were even challenged by Catholicism but, sorry to disappoint, there weren't very many of them. The Church has been the handmaiden of science and scientific discovery, and those who refer to Galileo tend to forget that Louis Pasteur, the inventor of pasteurization, was a devout Catholic, as was Alexander Fleming, who gave us penicillin. Or Father Nicolaus Copernicus, who first proposed the theory of the earth revolving around the sun - this was precisely what Galileo stated, but Copernicus taught it as theory and not fact. Or Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, a Belgian Roman Catholic priest and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Leuven, who proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe. In the field of acceleration, Fr. Giambattista Riccioli changed the way we understand that particular science; the father of modern Egyptology was Fr. Athanasius Kircher, and the Yugoslavian Fr. Roger Boscovich was the founder of modern atomic theory.
Michael Coren (Why Catholics are Right)
Do you know a Psychopath? You do not know me; but after reading my memoir you will know me a little better and you will have had the experience of safely getting into the mind and life of a young psychopath in training. Critics have written: It is a powerful and unusual memoir; brutal and raw. A Psychopath In Training: In 1997 psychiatrist’s contracted by the Correctional Service and the National Parole Board wrote in their final report, before I was released back into the community, they had diagnosed me to be a psychopath. A Psychopath: How does one become a Psychopath? After of the death of my young mother, when I was fourteen, I became a ward of the state and forced into the care and custody of the Catholic Christian Brothers at St. John’s Catholic Training School for Boys until after I turned sixteen. Since then I have been incarcerated over seventeen years in various prisons, institutions and juvenile detention centres. I have been interviewed and treated by so many prison psychiatrists and psychologists I should be called the professional. In my youth I have experienced almost every kind of sleaze, sex and violence humans can inflict on each other. I had to learn the hard way on how to identify and deal with the people who were the dangerous psychopath’s in my life and the proof I succeeded is; I am still alive. My book cover depicts what is coming out of the government foster homes and prisons today: Our communities and our police forces are not at all prepared for the dangerous psychopaths being churned out. Are you ready? You and the educators alike can learn from my memoir.
Michael A. Hodge
I did say that to deny the existence of evil spirits, or to deny the existence of the devil, is to deny the truth of the New Testament; and that to deny the existence of these imps of darkness is to contradict the words of Jesus Christ. I did say that if we give up the belief in devils we must give up the inspiration of the Old and New Testaments, and we must give up the divinity of Christ. Upon that declaration I stand, because if devils do not exist, then Jesus Christ was mistaken, or we have not in the New Testament a true account of what he said and of what he pretended to do. If the New Testament gives a true account of his words and pretended actions, then he did claim to cast out devils. That was his principal business. That was his certificate of divinity, casting out devils. That authenticated his mission and proved that he was superior to the hosts of darkness. Now, take the devil out of the New Testament, and you also take the veracity of Christ; with that veracity you take the divinity; with that divinity you take the atonement, and when you take the atonement, the great fabric known as Christianity becomes a shapeless ruin. The Christians now claim that Jesus was God. If he was God, of course the devil knew that fact, and yet, according to this account, the devil took the omnipotent God and placed him upon a pinnacle of the temple, and endeavored to induce him to dash himself against the earth… Think of it! The devil – the prince of sharpers – the king of cunning – the master of finesse, trying to bribe God with a grain of sand that belonged to God! Casting out devils was a certificate of divinity. Is there in all the religious literature of the world anything more grossly absurd than this? These devils, according to the Bible, were of various kinds – some could speak and hear, others were deaf and dumb. All could not be cast out in the same way. The deaf and dumb spirits were quite difficult to deal with. St. Mark tells of a gentleman who brought his son to Christ. The boy, it seems, was possessed of a dumb spirit, over which the disciples had no control. “Jesus said unto the spirit: ‘Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee come out of him, and enter no more into him.’” Whereupon, the deaf spirit (having heard what was said) cried out (being dumb) and immediately vacated the premises. The ease with which Christ controlled this deaf and dumb spirit excited the wonder of his disciples, and they asked him privately why they could not cast that spirit out. To whom he replied: “This kind can come forth by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Is there a Christian in the whole world who would believe such a story if found in any other book? The trouble is, these pious people shut up their reason, and then open their Bible.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Then you don't think there will be any more permanent world heroes?" "Yes—in history—not in life. Carlyle would have difficulty getting material for a new chapter on 'The Hero as a Big Man.'" "Go on. I'm a good listener to-day." "People try so hard to believe in leaders now, pitifully hard. But we no sooner get a popular reformer or politician or soldier or writer or philosopher—a Roosevelt, a Tolstoi, a Wood, a Shaw, a Nietzsche, than the cross-currents of criticism wash him away. My Lord, no man can stand prominence these days. It's the surest path to obscurity. People get sick of hearing the same name over and over." "Then you blame it on the press?" "Absolutely. Look at you; you're on The New Democracy, considered the most brilliant weekly in the country, read by the men who do things and all that. What's your business? Why, to be as clever, as interesting, and as brilliantly cynical as possible about every man, doctrine, book, or policy that is assigned you to deal with. The more strong lights, the more spiritual scandal you can throw on the matter, the more money they pay you, the more the people buy the issue. You, Tom d'Invilliers, a blighted Shelley, changing, shifting, clever, unscrupulous, represent the critical consciousness of the race—Oh,
F. Scott Fitzgerald (This Side of Paradise)
As the third evening approached, Gabriel looked up blearily as two people entered the room. His parents. The sight of them infused him with relief. At the same time, their presence unlatched all the wretched emotion he'd kept battened down until this moment. Disciplining his breathing, he stood awkwardly, his limbs stiff from spending hours on the hard chair. His father came to him first, pulling him close for a crushing hug and ruffling his hair before going to the bedside. His mother was next, embracing him with her familiar tenderness and strength. She was the one he'd always gone to first whenever he'd done something wrong, knowing she would never condemn or criticize, even when he deserved it. She was a source of endless kindness, the one to whom he could entrust his worst thoughts and fears. "I promised nothing would ever harm her," Gabriel said against her hair, his voice cracking. Evie's gentle hands patted his back. "I took my eyes off her when I shouldn't have," he went on. "Mrs. Black approached her after the play- I pulled the bitch aside, and I was too distracted to notice-" He stopped talking and cleared his throat harshly, trying not to choke on emotion. Evie waited until he calmed himself before saying quietly, "You remember when I told you about the time your f-father was badly injured because of me?" "That wasn't because of you," Sebastian said irritably from the bedside. "Evie, have you harbored that absurd idea for all these years?" "It's the most terrible feeling in the world," Evie murmured to Gabriel. "But it's not your fault, and trying not to make it so won't help either of you. Dearest boy, are you listening to me?" Keeping his face pressed against her hair, Gabriel shook his head. "Pandora won't blame you for what happened," Evie told him, "any more than your father blamed me." "Neither of you are to blame for anything," his father said, "except for annoying me with this nonsense. Obviously the only person to blame for this poor girl's injury is the woman who attempted to skewer her like a pinioned duck." He straightened the covers over Pandora, bent to kiss her forehead gently, and sat in the bedside chair. "My son... guilt, in proper measure, can be a useful emotion. However, when indulged to excess it becomes self-defeating, and even worse, tedious." Stretching out his long legs, he crossed them negligently. "There's no reason to tear yourself to pieces worrying about Pandora. She's going to make a full recovery." "You're a doctor now?" Gabriel asked sardonically, although some of the weight of grief and worry lifted at his father's confident pronouncement. "I daresay I've seen enough illness and injuries in my time, stabbings included, to predict the outcome accurately. Besides, I know the spirit of this girl. She'll recover." "I agree," Evie said firmly. Letting out a shuddering sigh, Gabriel tightened his arms around her. After a long moment, he heard his mother say ruefully, "Sometimes I miss the days when I could solve any of my children's problems with a nap and a biscuit." "A nap and a biscuit wouldn't hurt this one at the moment," Sebastian commented dryly. "Gabriel, go find a proper bed and rest for a few hours. We'll watch over your little fox cub.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
I have been investigating this modern problem of decline in readership and my conclusion is that it has little to do with bad readership and a whole lot with a difference in information speed. Frankly, the modern brain is much faster than the classical brain was in how it absorbs information and novels do not reflect this development. They are simply not dense enough. Too slow, not the right tempo - bores the shit out of a modern brain! There's the real problem: our brains have developed into different speed levels that authors cant adjust to. It has nothing whatsoever to do with quality: it has rather a whole lot to do with people claiming to be authors who are incapable of concentrating their ideas in the right sort of space, and rather smear out a few already halfbaked ideas over 30 plus pages. Hello! Do you think its weird a facebooktrained mind, capable of digesting enormous amounts of information at quick speeds, is bored shitless with that? The problem is not bad readership but rather bad authorship: authors that cannot adjust to the times. And since there are a zillion books published every day of authors that just cant keep up with the speed of the times, and criticism hardly exists anymore in modern society, it becomes simply very unattractive to read books, unless one keeps to the classics, which are books that are much more dense at essence.
Martijn Benders
Toyota wasn’t really worried that it would give away its “secret sauce.” Toyota’s competitive advantage rested firmly in its proprietary, complex, and often unspoken processes. In hindsight, Ernie Schaefer, a longtime GM manager who toured the Toyota plant, told NPR’s This American Life that he realized that there were no special secrets to see on the manufacturing floors. “You know, they never prohibited us from walking through the plant, understanding, even asking questions of some of their key people,” Schaefer said. “I’ve often puzzled over that, why they did that. And I think they recognized we were asking the wrong questions. We didn’t understand this bigger picture.” It’s no surprise, really. Processes are often hard to see—they’re a combination of both formal, defined, and documented steps and expectations and informal, habitual routines or ways of working that have evolved over time. But they matter profoundly. As MIT’s Edgar Schein has explored and discussed, processes are a critical part of the unspoken culture of an organization. 1 They enforce “this is what matters most to us.” Processes are intangible; they belong to the company. They emerge from hundreds and hundreds of small decisions about how to solve a problem. They’re critical to strategy, but they also can’t easily be copied. Pixar Animation Studios, too, has openly shared its creative process with the world. Pixar’s longtime president Ed Catmull has literally written the book on how the digital film company fosters collective creativity2—there are fixed processes about how a movie idea is generated, critiqued, improved, and perfected. Yet Pixar’s competitors have yet to equal Pixar’s successes. Like Toyota, Southern New Hampshire University has been open with would-be competitors, regularly offering tours and visits to other educational institutions. As President Paul LeBlanc sees it, competition is always possible from well-financed organizations with more powerful brand recognition. But those assets alone aren’t enough to give them a leg up. SNHU has taken years to craft and integrate the right experiences and processes for its students and they would be exceedingly difficult for a would-be competitor to copy. SNHU did not invent all its tactics for recruiting and serving its online students. It borrowed from some of the best practices of the for-profit educational sector. But what it’s done with laser focus is to ensure that all its processes—hundreds and hundreds of individual “this is how we do it” processes—focus specifically on how to best respond to the job students are hiring it for. “We think we have advantages by ‘owning’ these processes internally,” LeBlanc says, “and some of that is tied to our culture and passion for students.
Clayton M. Christensen (Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice)
To the surprise of many sceptics, the results revealed the following associations: Full-fetal: People adopting this position tend to be anxious, emotional, indecisive, and overly sensitive to criticism. Dunkell interpreted the ‘closed’ nature of this position as indicative of a person who does not want to open themselves up to life. Semi-fetal: This position is associated with people who are well adjusted, conciliatory in nature, amenable to compromises, and unlikely to take extreme stances. Royal: This sleeping position is associated with being self-confident, open, expansive, and sensation-seeking. Prone: Those sleeping face down tend to show a tendency for rigidity and perfectionism. Dunkell thought that these sleepers disliked the unexpected, demand strong evidence for any assertion, and always arrive on time for meetings. The research also showed that those who have no preferred sleeping position have a strong need for being active, enjoy challenging work, and find it difficult to relax. However, please don’t be too upset or worried if your sleeping position suggests that you have a less-than-perfect personality. The associations between people’s sleeping positions and their personalities are fairly weak and many scientists would take them with a pinch of salt. I suspect that this is especially true of those researchers who tend to sleep in a prone position.
Richard Wiseman (Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep)
Before embarking on this intellectual journey, I would like to highlight one crucial point. In much of this book I discuss the shortcomings of the liberal worldview and the democratic system. I do so not because I believe liberal democracy is uniquely problematic but rather because I think it is the most successful and most versatile political model humans have so far developed for dealing with the challenges of the modern world. While it might not be appropriate for every society in every stage of development, it has proven its worth in more societies and in more situations than any of its alternatives. So when we are examining the new challenges that lie ahead of us, it is necessary to understand the limitations of liberal democracy and to explore how we can adapt and improve its current institutions. Unfortunately, in the present political climate any critical thinking about liberalism and democracy might be hijacked by autocrats and various illiberal movements, whose sole interest is to discredit liberal democracy rather than to engage in an open discussion about the future of humanity. While they are more than happy to debate the problems of liberal democracy, they have almost no tolerance of any criticism directed at them. As an author, I was therefore required to make a difficult choice. Should I speak my mind openly and risk that my words might be taken out of context and used to justify burgeoning autocracies? Or should I censor myself? It is a mark of illiberal regimes that they make free speech more difficult even outside their borders. Due to the spread of such regimes, it is becoming increasingly dangerous to think critically about the future of our species. After some soul-searching, I chose free discussion over self-censorship. Without criticizing the liberal model, we cannot repair its faults or move beyond it. But please note that this book could have been written only when people are still relatively free to think what they like and to express themselves as they wish. If you value this book, you should also value the freedom of expression.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
A great liberal betrayal is afoot. Unfortunately, many “fellow-travelers” of Islamism are on the liberal side of this debate. I call them “regressive leftists”; they are in fact reverse racists. They have a poverty of expectation for minority groups, believing them to be homogenous and inherently opposed to human rights values. They are culturally reductive in how they see “Eastern”—and in my case, Islamic—culture, and they are culturally deterministic in attempting to freeze their ideal of it in order to satisfy their orientalist fetish. While they rightly question every aspect of their “own” Western culture in the name of progress, they censure liberal Muslims who attempt to do so within Islam, and they choose to side instead with every regressive reactionary in the name of “cultural authenticity” and anticolonialism. They claim that their reason for refusing to criticize any policy, foreign or domestic—other than those of what they consider “their own” government—is that they are not responsible for other governments’ actions. However, they leap whenever any (not merely their own) liberal democratic government commits a policy error, while generally ignoring almost every fascist, theocratic, or Muslim-led dictatorial regime and group in the world. It is as if their brains cannot hold two thoughts at the same time. Besides, since when has such isolationism been a trait of liberal internationalists? It is a right-wing trait. They hold what they think of as “native” communities—and I use that word deliberately—to lesser standards than the ones they claim apply to all “their” people, who happen to be mainly white, and that’s why I call it reverse racism. In holding “native” communities to lesser—or more culturally “authentic”—standards, they automatically disempower those communities. They stifle their ambitions. They cut them out of the system entirely, because there’s no aspiration left. These communities end up in self-segregated “Muslim areas” where the only thing their members aspire to is being tin-pot community leaders, like ghetto chieftains. The “fellow-travelers” fetishize these “Muslim” ghettos in the name of “cultural authenticity” and identity politics, and the ghetto chieftains are often the leading errand boys for them. Identity politics and the pseudo-liberal search for cultural authenticity result in nothing but a downward spiral of competing medieval religious or cultural assertions, fights over who are the “real” Muslims, ever increasing misogyny, homophobia, sectarianism, and extremism. This is not liberal. Among the left, this is a remnant of the socialist approach that prioritizes group identity over individual autonomy. Among the right, it is ironically a throwback from the British colonial “divide and rule” approach. Classical liberalism focuses on individual autonomy. I refer here to liberalism as it is understood in the philosophical sense, not as it’s understood in the United States to refer to the Democratic Party—that’s a party-political usage. The great liberal betrayal of this generation is that in the name of liberalism, communal rights have been prioritized over individual autonomy within minority groups. And minorities within minorities really do suffer because of this betrayal. The people I really worry about when we have this conversation are feminist Muslims, gay Muslims, ex-Muslims—all the vulnerable and bullied individuals who are not just stigmatized but in many cases violently assaulted or killed merely for being against the norm.
Sam Harris (Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue)
In her book claiming that allegations of ritualistic abuse are mostly confabulations, La Fontaine’s (1998) comparison of social workers to ‘nazis’ shows the depth of feeling evident amongst many sceptics. However, this raises an important question: Why did academics and journalists feel so strongly about allegations of ritualistic abuse, to the point of pervasively misrepresenting the available evidence and treating women disclosing ritualistic abuse, and those workers who support them, with barely concealed contempt? It is of course true that there are fringe practitioners in the field of organised abuse, just as there are fringe practitioners in many other health-related fields. However, the contrast between the measured tone of the majority of therapists and social workers writing on ritualistic abuse, and the over-blown sensationalism of their critics, could not be starker. Indeed, Scott (2001) notes with irony that the writings of those who claimed that ‘satanic ritual abuse’ is a ‘moral panic’ had many of the features of a moral panic: scapegoating therapists, social workers and sexual abuse victims whilst warning of an impending social catastrophe brought on by an epidemic of false allegations of sexual abuse. It is perhaps unsurprising that social movements for people accused of sexual abuse would engage in such hyperbole, but why did this rhetoric find so many champions in academia and the media?
Michael Salter (Organised Sexual Abuse)
This is one of the great charms of Poirot’s investigations, for they reveal a world where manners and morals are quite different from today. There are no overt and unnecessary sex scenes, no alcoholic, haunted detectives in Poirot’s world. He lives in a simpler, some would say more human, era: a lost England, seen through the admiring eyes of this foreigner, this little Belgian detective. For me, that makes the stories all the more appealing, for although the days he lives in seem far away, they are all the more enchanting because of it." "In those first days after the series had begun on ITV, I realised for the first time that Poirot touches people’s hearts in a way that I had never anticipated when I started to play him. I cannot put my finger on precisely how he does it, but somehow he makes those who watch him feel secure. People see him and feel better. I don’t know exactly why that is, but there is something about him. My performance had touched that nerve." "The more Poirot welcomes his fellow characters, the more the audience sympathise with him, and the more he extends his gentle control over everything around him, as if wrapping it all in his own personal glow. I believe he is unique in fictional detectives in that respect, because he carefully welcomes everyone – be they reader, viewer, or participant character – into his drama. He then quietly explains what it all means and, in doing so, he becomes what one critic called ‘our dearest friend’.
David Suchet (Poirot and Me)
In their book Warrior Lovers, an analysis of erotic fiction by women, the psychologist Catherine Salmon and the anthropologist Donald Symons wrote, "To encounter erotica designed to appeal to the other sex is to gaze into the psychological abyss that separates the sexes.... The contrasts between romance novels and porn videos are so numerous and profound that they can make one marvel that men and women ever get together at all, much less stay together and successfully rear children." Since the point of erotica is to offer the consumer sexual experiences without having to compromise with the demands of the other sex, it is a window into each sex's unalloyed desires. ... Men fantasize about copulating with bodies; women fantasize about making love to people. Rape is not exactly a normal part of male sexuality, but it is made possible by the fact that male desire can be indiscriminate in its choice of a sexual partner and indifferent to the partner's inner life--indeed, "object" can be a more fitting term than "partner." The difference in the sexes' conception of sex translates into a difference in how they perceive the harm of sexual aggression. ... The sexual abyss offers a complementary explanation of the callous treatment of rape victims in traditional legal and moral codes. It may come from more than the ruthless exercise of power by males over females; it may also come from a parochial inability of men to conceive of a mind unlike theirs, a mind that finds the prospect of abrupt, unsolicited sex with a stranger to be repugnant rather than appealing. A society in which men work side by side with women, and are forced to take their interests into account while justifying their own, is a society in which this thick-headed incuriosity is less likely to remain intact. The sexual abyss also helps to explain the politically correct ideology of rape. ... In the case of rape, the correct belief is that rape has nothing to do with sex and only to do with power. As (Susan) Brownmiller put it, "From prehistoric times to the present, I believe, rape has played a critical function. It is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear." ... Brownmiller wrote that she adapted the theory from the ideas of an old communist professor of hers, and it does fit the Marxist conception that all human behavior is to be explained as a struggle for power between groups. But if I may be permitted an ad feminam suggestion, the theory that rape has nothing to do with sex may be more plausible to a gender to whom a desire for impersonal sex with an unwilling stranger is too bizarre to contemplate. Common sense never gets in the way of a sacred custom that has accompanied a decline of violence, and today rape centers unanimously insist that "rape or sexual assault is not an act of sex or lust--it's about aggression, power, and humiliation, using sex as the weapon. The rapist's goal is domination." (To which the journalist Heather MacDonald replies: "The guys who push themselves on women at keggers are after one thing only, and it's not reinstatement of the patriarchy.")
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
In 1976, a doctoral student at the University of Nottingham in England demonstrated that randomizing letters in the middle of words had no effect on the ability of readers to understand sentences. In tihs setncene, for emalxpe, ervey scarbelmd wrod rmenias bcilasaly leibgle. Why? Because we are deeply accustomed to seeing letters arranged in certain patterns. Because the eye is in a rush, and the brain, eager to locate meaning, makes assumptions. This is true of phrases, too. An author writes “crack of dawn” or “sidelong glance” or “crystal clear” and the reader’s eye continues on, at ease with combinations of words it has encountered innumerable times before. But does the reader, or the writer, actually expend the energy to see what is cracking at dawn or what is clear about a crystal? The mind craves ease; it encourages the senses to recognize symbols, to gloss. It makes maps of our kitchen drawers and neighborhood streets; it fashions a sort of algebra out of life. And this is useful, even essential—X is the route to work, Y is the heft and feel of a nickel between your fingers. Without habit, the beauty of the world would overwhelm us. We’d pass out every time we saw—actually saw—a flower. Imagine if we only got to see a cumulonimbus cloud or Cassiopeia or a snowfall once a century: there’d be pandemonium in the streets. People would lie by the thousands in the fields on their backs. We need habit to get through a day, to get to work, to feed our children. But habit is dangerous, too. The act of seeing can quickly become unconscious and automatic. The eye sees something—gray-brown bark, say, fissured into broad, vertical plates—and the brain spits out tree trunk and the eye moves on. But did I really take the time to see the tree? I glimpse hazel hair, high cheekbones, a field of freckles, and I think Shauna. But did I take the time to see my wife? “Habitualization,” a Russian army-commissar-turned-literary-critic named Viktor Shklovsky wrote in 1917, “devours works, clothes, furniture, one’s wife, and the fear of war.” What he argued is that, over time, we stop perceiving familiar things—words, friends, apartments—as they truly are. To eat a banana for the thousandth time is nothing like eating a banana for the first time. To have sex with somebody for the thousandth time is nothing like having sex with that person for the first time. The easier an experience, or the more entrenched, or the more familiar, the fainter our sensation of it becomes. This is true of chocolate and marriages and hometowns and narrative structures. Complexities wane, miracles become unremarkable, and if we’re not careful, pretty soon we’re gazing out at our lives as if through a burlap sack. In the Tom Andrews Studio I open my journal and stare out at the trunk of the umbrella pine and do my best to fight off the atrophy that comes from seeing things too frequently. I try to shape a few sentences around this tiny corner of Rome; I try to force my eye to slow down. A good journal entry—like a good song, or sketch, or photograph—ought to break up the habitual and lift away the film that forms over the eye, the finger, the tongue, the heart. A good journal entry ought be a love letter to the world. Leave home, leave the country, leave the familiar. Only then can routine experience—buying bread, eating vegetables, even saying hello—become new all over again.
Anthony Doerr (Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World)
One of the things that most tormented him indeed in this recent existence was a perpetual pricking sense of the contrast between this small world of his ancestral possessions and traditions, with all its ceremonial and feudal usage, and the great rushing world outside it of action and of thought. Do what he would, he could not un-king himself within the limits of the Maxwell estate. To the people living upon it he was the man of most importance within their ken, was inevitably their potentate and earthly providence. He confessed that there was a real need of him, if he did his duty. But on this need the class-practice of generations had built up a deference, a sharpness of class-distinction, which any modern must find more and more irksome in proportion to his modernness. What was in Aldous's mind, as he stood with drawn brows looking out over the view which showed him most of his domain, was a sort of hot impatience of being made day by day, in a hundred foolish ways, to play at greatness. Yet, as we know, he was no democrat by conviction, had no comforting faith in what seemed to him the rule of a multitudinous ignorance. Still every sane man of to-day knows, at any rate, that the world has taken the road of democracy, and that the key to the future, for good or ill, lies not in the revolts and speculations of the cultivated few, but in the men and movements that can seize the many. Aldous's temper was despondently critical towards the majority of these, perhaps; he had, constitutionally, little of that poet's sympathy with the crowd, as such, which had given Hallin his power. But, at any rate, they filled the human stage—these men and movements—and his mind as a beholder. Beside the great world-spectacle perpetually in his eye and thought, the small old-world pomps and feudalisms of his own existence had a way of looking ridiculous to him. He constantly felt himself absurd. It was ludicrously clear to him, for instance, that in this kingdom he had inherited it would be thought a huge condescension on his part if he were to ask the secretary of a trades union to dine with him at the Court. Whereas, in his own honest opinion, the secretary had a far more important and interesting post in the universe than he.
Mary Augusta Ward (Marcella (Broadview Literary Texts))
(a) A writer always wears glasses and never combs his hair. Half the time he feels angry about everything and the other half depressed. He spends most of his life in bars, arguing with other dishevelled, bespectacled writers. He says very ‘deep’ things. He always has amazing ideas for the plot of his next novel, and hates the one he has just published. (b) A writer has a duty and an obligation never to be understood by his own generation; convinced, as he is, that he has been born into an age of mediocrity, he believes that being understood would mean losing his chance of ever being considered a genius. A writer revises and rewrites each sentence many times. The vocabulary of the average man is made up of 3,000 words; a real writer never uses any of these, because there are another 189,000 in the dictionary, and he is not the average man. (c) Only other writers can understand what a writer is trying to say. Even so, he secretly hates all other writers, because they are always jockeying for the same vacancies left by the history of literature over the centuries. And so the writer and his peers compete for the prize of ‘most complicated book’: the one who wins will be the one who has succeeded in being the most difficult to read. (d) A writer understands about things with alarming names, like semiotics, epistemology, neoconcretism. When he wants to shock someone, he says things like: ‘Einstein is a fool’, or ‘Tolstoy was the clown of the bourgeoisie.’ Everyone is scandalized, but they nevertheless go and tell other people that the theory of relativity is bunk, and that Tolstoy was a defender of the Russian aristocracy. (e) When trying to seduce a woman, a writer says: ‘I’m a writer’, and scribbles a poem on a napkin. It always works. (f) Given his vast culture, a writer can always get work as a literary critic. In that role, he can show his generosity by writing about his friends’ books. Half of any such reviews are made up of quotations from foreign authors and the other half of analyses of sentences, always using expressions such as ‘the epistemological cut’, or ‘an integrated bi-dimensional vision of life’. Anyone reading the review will say: ‘What a cultivated person’, but he won’t buy the book because he’ll be afraid he might not know how to continue reading when the epistemological cut appears. (g) When invited to say what he is reading at the moment, a writer always mentions a book no one has ever heard of. (h) There is only one book that arouses the unanimous admiration of the writer and his peers: Ulysses by James Joyce. No writer will ever speak ill of this book, but when someone asks him what it’s about, he can’t quite explain, making one doubt that he has actually read it.
Paulo Coelho
Motor-scooter riders with big beards and girl friends who bounce on the back of the scooters and wear their hair long in front of their faces as well as behind, drunks who follow the advice of the Hat Council and are always turned out in hats, but not hats the Council would approve. Mr. Lacey, the locksmith,, shups up his shop for a while and goes to exchange time of day with Mr. Slube at the cigar store. Mr. Koochagian, the tailor, waters luxuriant jungle of plants in his window, gives them a critical look from the outside, accepts compliments on them from two passers-by, fingers the leaves on the plane tree in front of our house with a thoughtful gardener's appraisal, and crosses the street for a bite at the Ideal where he can keep an eye on customers and wigwag across the message that he is coming. The baby carriages come out, and clusters of everyone from toddlers with dolls to teenagers with homework gather at the stoops. When I get home from work, the ballet is reaching its cresendo. This is the time roller skates and stilts and tricycles and games in the lee of the stoop with bottletops and plastic cowboys, this is the time of bundles and packages, zigzagging from the drug store to the fruit stand and back over to the butcher's; this is the time when teenagers, all dressed up, are pausing to ask if their slips shows or their collars look right; this is the time when beautiful girls get out of MG's; this is the time when the fire engines go through; this is the time when anybody you know on Hudson street will go by. As the darkness thickens and Mr. Halpert moors the laundry cart to the cellar door again, the ballet goes under lights, eddying back nad forth but intensifying at the bright spotlight pools of Joe's sidewalk pizza, the bars, the delicatessen, the restaurant and the drug store. The night workers stop now at the delicatessen, to pick up salami and a container of milk. Things have settled down for the evening but the street and its ballet have not come to a stop. I know the deep night ballet and its seasons best from waking long after midnight to tend a baby and, sitting in the dark, seeing the shadows and hearing sounds of the sidewalk. Mostly it is a sound like infinitely patterning snatches of party conversation, and, about three in the morning, singing, very good singing. Sometimes their is a sharpness and anger or sad, sad weeping, or a flurry of search for a string of beads broken. One night a young man came roaring along, bellowing terrible language at two girls whom he had apparently picked up and who were disappointing him. Doors opened, a wary semicircle formed around him, not too close, until police came. Out came the heads, too, along the Hudsons street, offering opinion, "Drunk...Crazy...A wild kid from the suburbs" Deep in the night, I am almost unaware of how many people are on the street unless someone calls the together. Like the bagpipe. Who the piper is and why he favored our street I have no idea.
Jane Jacobs