Powerful Observations Quotes

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You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn't want to go to war, and the three most powerful men in America are named "Bush", "Dick", and "Colin." Need I say more?
Chris Rock
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
George Bernard Shaw
Evey Hammond: Who are you? V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask. Evey Hammond: Well I can see that. V: Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is
Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.
Otto von Bismarck
Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.
H. Jackson Brown Jr. (Life's Little Instruction Book: 511 Suggestions, Observations, and Reminders on How to Live a Happy and Rewarding Life)
Assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled and observe the route that your attention follows.
Neville Goddard (The Power of Awareness)
Life is choice. All day, everyday. Who we talk to, where we sit, what we say, how we say it. And our lives become defined by our choices. It's as simple and as complex as that. And as powerful. so when I'm observing that's what I'm watching for. The choices people make
Louise Penny (Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1))
Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating...too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living they forget to make a life.
John Wooden (Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court)
Pasteboard pies and paper flowers are being banished from the stage by the growth of that power of accurate observation which is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it....
George Bernard Shaw (Music in London)
If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it.
Gaius Julius Caesar
A letter is always better than a phone call. People write things in letters they would never say in person. They permit themselves to write down feelings and observations using emotional syntax far more intimate and powerful than speech will allow.
Alice Steinbach (Educating Alice: Adventures of a Curious Woman)
Holmes and Watson are on a camping trip. In the middle of the night Holmes wakes up and gives Dr. Watson a nudge. "Watson" he says, "look up in the sky and tell me what you see." "I see millions of stars, Holmes," says Watson. "And what do you conclude from that, Watson?" Watson thinks for a moment. "Well," he says, "astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meterologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I see that God is all-powerful, and we are small and insignficant. Uh, what does it tell you, Holmes?" "Watson, you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!
Thomas Cathcart
Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.
Joseph Smith Jr.
You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with magic. True power is restraint. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.
Warren Buffett
The moment you realize you are not present, you are present. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind: the witnessing presence.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
Reason, Observation and Experience — the Holy Trinity of Science — have taught us that happiness is the only good; that the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so. This is enough for us. In this belief we are content to live and die. If by any possibility the existence of a power superior to, and independent of, nature shall be demonstrated, there will then be time enough to kneel. Until then, let us stand erect.
Robert G. Ingersoll (On the Gods and Other Essays)
It is not fate, it is simply the future observing that which we crave most. Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything
Stephanie Garber (Caraval (Caraval, #1))
Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don't think about it - don't let the feeling turn into thinking. Don't judge or analyze. Don't make an identity for yourself out of it. Stay present, and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you. Become aware not only of the emotional pain but also of "the one who observes," the silent watcher. This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscious presence. Then see what happens.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
The ruling power is always faced with the question, ‘In such and such circumstances, what would you do?’, whereas the opposition is not obliged to take responsibility or make any real decisions.
George Orwell
If people in power are artfully pulling a red herring to cover up the cataclysm of their commitments, keeping people on a short leash and driving them playfully into an alley of false promises, we would do well to rely on attentive and considerate observers who send out alarm signals in time to prevent social corrosion. (" High noon. ")
Erik Pevernagie
I have observed this in my experience of slavery,--that whenever my condition was improved, instead of its increasing my contentment, it only increased my desire to be free, and set me to thinking of plans to gain my freedom. I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceased to be a man.
Frederick Douglass (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass)
If you are an introvert, you are born with a temperament that craves to be alone, delights in meaningful connections, thinks before speaking and observes before approaching. If you are an introvert, you thrive in the inner sanctuary of the mind, heart and spirit, but shrink in the external world of noise, drama and chaos. As an introvert, you are sensitive, perceptive, gentle and reflective. You prefer to operate behind the scenes, preserve your precious energy and influence the world in a quiet, but powerful way.
Aletheia Luna (Quiet Strength: Embracing, Empowering and Honoring Yourself as an Introvert)
Seven years, Dawn. Working with the Slayer. Seeing my friends get more and more powerful... a witch. A demon. Hell, I could fit Oz in my shaving kit, but come a full moon, he had a wolfy mojo not to be messed with. Powerful, all of them. And I'm the guy who fixes the windows. They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn't Chosen, to live so near the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody's watching me. I saw you last night, and I see you working here today. You're not special; you're extraordinary.
Joss Whedon
We must relinquish our passive observation of the world outside; we can open the door to the world we want. In understanding ourselves, we come to understand the world. In allowing ourselves to heal, we become the healers of the world. In praying for peace, we become bringers of peace. Thus we actualize the power within us to remedy the psychic wounds of humanity.
Marianne Williamson
In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (On the Republic / On the Laws)
Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
Learn to move fast and adapt or you will be eaten. The best way to avoid this fate is to assume formlessness. No predator alive can attack what it cannot see. OBSERVANCE
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
However gross a man may be, the minute he expresses a strong and genuine affection, some inner secretion alters his features, animates his gestures, and colors his voice. The stupidest man will often, under the stress of passion, achieve heights of eloquence, in thought if not in language, and seem to move in some luminous sphere. Goriot's voice and gesture had at this moment the power of communication that characterizes the great actor. Are not our finer feelings the poems of the human will?
Honoré de Balzac (Père Goriot)
[The American President] has to take all sorts of abuse from liars and demagogues.… The people can never understand why the President does not use his supposedly great power to make ’em behave. Well, all the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.
Harry Truman
Those who seek to achieve things should show no mercy. Kautilya, Indian philosopher third century B.C. OBSERVANCE
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
The key to learning, to power, to having the final say in everything, is observation. By all means, be a storm inside, but save your movement and wind till you know your purpose.
Pierce Brown (Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga, #4))
Albert Einstein observed, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change)
Allow me to congratulate you on your very astute powers of observation.
Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux)
There's only two types of people in the world: the ones that entertain, and the ones that observe.
Britney Spears
Evey: Who are you? V. : Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask. Evey: Well I can see that. V. : Of course you can, I’m not questioning your powers of observation, I’m merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is. Evey: Oh, right. V. : But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace soubriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona. Voila! In view humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the “vox populi” now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V. Evey: Are you like a crazy person? V. : I’m quite sure they will say so.
Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
…I was finding that reporting the news wasn't enough. I wanted to be more than just a paid observer. I wanted to be in the fight. I got my chance.
Karen Hinton (Penis Politics: A Memoir of Women, Men and Power)
The shape of power is always the same: it is infinite, it is complex, it is forever branching. While it is alive like a tree, it is growing; while it contains itself, it is a multitude. Its directions are unpredictable; it obeys its own laws. No one can observe the acorn and extrapolate each vein in each leaf of the oak crown. The closer you look, the more various it becomes. However complex you think it is, it is more complex than that. Like the rivers to the ocean, like the lightning strike, it is obscene and uncontained.
Naomi Alderman (The Power)
believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without ever realizing it. I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting. The Heisman Trophy winner knows this. He knows that his big moment was not when they gave him the trophy. It was the thousand times he went to practice instead of going back to bed. It was the miles run on rainy days, the healthy meals when a burger sounded like heaven. That big moment represented and rested on a foundation of moments that had come before it. I believe that if we cultivate a true attention, a deep ability to see what has been there all along, we will find worlds within us and between us, dreams and stories and memories spilling over. The nuances and shades and secrets and intimations of love and friendship and marriage an parenting are action-packed and multicolored, if you know where to look. Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull of the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted. Your life, right now, today, is exploding with energy and power and detail and dimension, better than the best movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is. You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural. You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given Today.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
For example, highly sensitive people tend to be keen observers who look before they leap. They arrange their lives in ways that limit surprises. They're often sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, pain, coffee. They have difficulty when being observed (at work, say, or performing at a music recital) or judged for general worthiness (dating, job interviews). But there are new insights. The highly sensitive tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive (just as Aron's husband had described her). They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions -- sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear. Highly sensitive people also process information about their environments -- both physical and emotional -- unusually deeply. They tend to notice subtleties that others miss -- another person's shift in mood, say, or a lightbulb burning a touch too brightly.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
But it's a child! You're a man!" "Your powers of observation are formidable," said Charles. "You are a credit to your optician.
Katherine Rundell (Rooftoppers)
People sometimes talk about the power of first impressions, and believe me, there is truth to it.
Ann Brashares (My Name Is Memory)
Life is choice. All day, everyday. Who we talk to, where we sit, what we say, how we say it. And our lives become defined by our choices. It’s as simple and as complex as that. And as powerful. So when I’m observing, that’s what I’m watching for. The choices people make.
Louise Penny (Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1))
We use mindfulness to observe the way we cling to pleasant experiences & push away unpleasant ones.
Sharon Salzberg (Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation)
Opportunities? They are all around us ... There is power lying latent everywhere waiting for the observant eye to discover it.
Orison Swett Marden
Not too long ago thousands spent their lives as recluses to find spiritual vision in the solitude of nature. Modern man need not become a hermit to achieve this goal, for it is neither ecstasy nor world-estranged mysticism his era demands, but a balance between quantitative and qualitative reality. Modern man, with his reduced capacity for intuitive perception, is unlikely to benefit from the contemplative life of a hermit in the wilderness. But what he can do is to give undivided attention, at times, to a natural phenomenon, observing it in detail, and recalling all the scientific facts about it he may remember. Gradually, however, he must silence his thoughts and, for moments at least, forget all his personal cares and desires, until nothing remains in his soul but awe for the miracle before him. Such efforts are like journeys beyond the boundaries of narrow self-love and, although the process of intuitive awakening is laborious and slow, its rewards are noticeable from the very first. If pursued through the course of years, something will begin to stir in the human soul, a sense of kinship with the forces of life consciousness which rule the world of plants and animals, and with the powers which determine the laws of matter. While analytical intellect may well be called the most precious fruit of the Modern Age, it must not be allowed to rule supreme in matters of cognition. If science is to bring happiness and real progress to the world, it needs the warmth of man's heart just as much as the cold inquisitiveness of his brain.
Franz Winkler
Quantum physics tells us that nothing that is observed is unaffected by the observer. That statement, from science, holds an enormous and powerful insight. It means that everyone sees a different truth, because everyone is creating what they see.
Neale Donald Walsch
Absence diminishes minor passions and inflames great ones, as the wind douses a candle and fans a fire. La Rochefoucauld, 1613-1680 OBSERVANCE
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
History is full of religious wars; but, we must take care to observe, it was not the multiplicity of religions that produced these wars, it was the intolerating spirit which animated that one which thought she had the power of governing.
Montesquieu (Persian Letters (Penguin Classics))
The happiness of being envied is glamour. Being envied is a solitary form of reassurance. It depends precisely upon not sharing your experience with those who envy you. You are observed with interest but you do not observe with interest - if you do, you will become less enviable. In this respect the envied are like bureaucrats; the more impersonal they are, the greater the illusion (for themselves and for others) of their power. The power of the glamorous resides in their supposed happiness: the power of the bureaucrat in his supposed authority.
John Berger (Ways of Seeing)
The chef turned back to the housekeeper. “Why is there doubt about the relations between Monsieur and Madame Rutledge?” The sheets,” she said succinctly. Jake nearly choked on his pastry. “You have the housemaids spying on them?” he asked around a mouthful of custard and cream. Not at all,” the housekeeper said defensively. “It’s only that we have vigilant maids who tell me everything. And even if they didn’t, one hardly needs great powers of observation to see that they do not behave like a married couple.” The chef looked deeply concerned. “You think there’s a problem with his carrot?” Watercress, carrot—is everything food to you?” Jake demanded. The chef shrugged. “Oui.” Well,” Jake said testily, “there is a string of Rutledge’s past mistresses who would undoubtedly testify there is nothing wrong with his carrot.” Alors, he is a virile man . . . she is a beautiful woman . . . why are they not making salad together?
Lisa Kleypas (Tempt Me at Twilight (The Hathaways, #3))
A keen observer of life once said, "no man can fail, if some one person sees him successful." Such is the power of the vision, and many a great man owed his success to a wife, or sister, or a friend who "believed in him" and held without wavering to the perfect pattern!
Florence Scovel Shinn (The Game of Life and How To Play It)
C. S. Lewis observed that almost all crimes of Christian history have come about when religion is confused with politics. Politics, which always runs by the rules of ungrace, allures us to trade away grace for power, a temptation the church has often been unable to resist.
Philip Yancey (What's So Amazing About Grace?)
She was a keen observer, a precise user of language, sharp-tongued and funny. She could stir your emotions. Yes, really, that's what she was so good at - stirring people's emotions, moving you. And she knew she had this power...I only realized later. At the time, I had no idea what she was doing to me.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for me to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed or enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer- excellent for drawing the veil from men's motives and actions. But for the trained observer to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his.
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Complete Sherlock Holmes)
I'm taking this time to create my day and I'm infecting the quantum field. Now if (it) is in fact the observer's watching me the whole time that I'm doing this and there is a spiritual aspect to myself, then show me a sign today that you paid attention to any one of these things that I created, and bring them in a way that I won't expect, so I'm as surprised at my ability to be able to experience these things. And make it so that I have no doubt that it's come from you,' and so I live my life, in a sense, all day long thinking about being a genius or thinking about being the glory and the power of God or thinking about being unconditional love.
Joe Dispenza
It does not take a great supernatural heroine or magical hero to save the world. We all save it every day, and we all destroy it -- in our own small ways -- by every choice we make and every tiniest action resulting from that choice. The next time you feel useless and impotent, remember what you are in fact doing in this very moment. And then observe your tiny, seemingly meaningless acts and choices coalesce and cascade together into a powerful positive whole. The world -- if it could -- will thank you for it. And if it does not... well, a true heroine or hero does not require it.
Vera Nazarian
The Taoists realized that no single concept or value could be considered absolute or superior. If being useful is beneficial, the being useless is also beneficial. The ease with which such opposites may change places is depicted in a Taoist story about a farmer whose horse ran away. His neighbor commiserated only to be told, "Who knows what's good or bad?" It was true. The next day the horse returned, bringing with it a drove of wild horses it had befriended in its wanderings. The neighbor came over again, this time to congratulate the farmer on his windfall. He was met with the same observation: "Who knows what is good or bad?" True this time too; the next day the farmer's son tried to mount one of the wild horses and fell off, breaking his leg. Back came the neighbor, this time with more commiserations, only to encounter for the third time the same response, "Who knows what is good or bad?" And once again the farmer's point was well taken, for the following day soldiers came by commandeering for the army and because of his injury, the son was not drafted. According to the Taoists, yang and yin, light and shadow, useful and useless are all different aspects of the whole, and the minute we choose one side and block out the other, we upset nature's balance. If we are to be whole and follow the way of nature, we must pursue the difficult process of embracing the opposites.
Connie Zweig (Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature)
A self-destructive man feels completely alienated, utterly alone. He's an outsider to the human community. He thinks to himself, "I must be insane." What he fails to realize is that society has, just as he does, a vested interest in considerable losses and catastrophes. These wars, famines, floods and quakes meet well-defined needs. Man wants chaos. In fact, he has to have it. Depression, strife, riots, murder - all this dread. We're irresistibly drawn to that almost orgiastic state created out of death and destruction. It's in all of us. We revel in it. Sure, the media tries to put a sad face on these things and paints them up as great human tragedies. But we all know the function of the media has never been to eliminate the evils of the world - no! Their job is to persuade us to accept those evils and get used to living with them. The powers that be want us to be passive observers, and they haven't given us any other options outside the occasional, purely symbolic, participatory act of voting. "You want the puppet on the right or the puppet on the left?" I feel that the time has come to project my own inadequacies and dissatisfactions into the sociopolitical and scientific schemes, let my own lack of a voice be heard.
Richard Linklater
Love isn’t something that we invented. It’s observable. Powerful. It has to mean something. Maybe it means something more, something we can’t yet understand. Maybe it’s some evidence, some artifact of a higher dimension that we can’t consciously perceive. Love is the one thing that we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space.
Indeed, the capacity to tolerate uncertainty is a prerequisite for the profession. Though the public may believe that therapists guide patients systematically and sure-handedly through predictable stages of therapy to a foreknown goal, such is rarely the case: instead, as these stories bear witness, therapists frequently wobble, improvise, and grope for direction. The powerful temptation to achieve certainty through embracing an ideological school and a tight therapeutic system is treacherous: such belief may block the uncertain and spontaneous encounter necessary for effective therapy. This encounter, the very heart of psychotherapy, is a caring, deeply human meeting between two people, one (generally, but not always, the patient) more troubled than the other. Therapists have a dual role: they must both observe and participate in the lives of their patients. As observer, one must be sufficiently objective to provide necessary rudimentary guidance to the patient. As participant, one enters into the life of the patient and is affected and sometimes changed by the encounter.
Irvin D. Yalom (Love's Executioner)
For the introvert, as for the flâneur, observing is not a fallback position—something we do because we can’t participate. We watch because we want to. There is something wonderfully grounding about remaining still as others mull about—or mulling about while others remain still. Against the backdrop of the scene, the introvert feels more like an “I.
Laurie A. Helgoe (Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength)
Recovery can take place only within then context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation. In her renewed connection with other people, the survivor re-creates the psychological facilities that were damaged or deformed by the traumatic experience. These faculties include the basic operations of trust, autonomy, initiative, competence, identity, and intimacy. Just as these capabilities are formed in relationships with other people, they must be reformed in such relationships. The first principle of recovery is empowerment of the survivor. She must be the author and arbiter of her own recovery. Others may offer advice, support, assistance, affection, and care, but not cure. Many benevolent and well-intentioned attempts to assist the survivor founder because this basic principle of empowerment is not observed. No intervention that takes power away from the survivor can possibly foster her recovery, no matter how much it appears to be in her immediate best interest.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
[I]t is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or of any number of men, at the entering into society to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights, when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are life, liberty, and property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up an essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right of freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.
Samuel Adams
Tom Paine has almost no influence on present-day thinking in the United States because he is unknown to the average citizen. Perhaps I might say right here that this is a national loss and a deplorable lack of understanding concerning the man who first proposed and first wrote those impressive words, 'the United States of America.' But it is hardly strange. Paine's teachings have been debarred from schools everywhere and his views of life misrepresented until his memory is hidden in shadows, or he is looked upon as of unsound mind. We never had a sounder intelligence in this Republic. He was the equal of Washington in making American liberty possible. Where Washington performed Paine devised and wrote. The deeds of one in the Weld were matched by the deeds of the other with his pen. Washington himself appreciated Paine at his true worth. Franklin knew him for a great patriot and clear thinker. He was a friend and confidant of Jefferson, and the two must often have debated the academic and practical phases of liberty. I consider Paine our greatest political thinker. As we have not advanced, and perhaps never shall advance, beyond the Declaration and Constitution, so Paine has had no successors who extended his principles. Although the present generation knows little of Paine's writings, and although he has almost no influence upon contemporary thought, Americans of the future will justly appraise his work. I am certain of it. Truth is governed by natural laws and cannot be denied. Paine spoke truth with a peculiarly clear and forceful ring. Therefore time must balance the scales. The Declaration and the Constitution expressed in form Paine's theory of political rights. He worked in Philadelphia at the time that the first document was written, and occupied a position of intimate contact with the nation's leaders when they framed the Constitution. Certainly we may believe that Washington had a considerable voice in the Constitution. We know that Jefferson had much to do with the document. Franklin also had a hand and probably was responsible in even larger measure for the Declaration. But all of these men had communed with Paine. Their views were intimately understood and closely correlated. There is no doubt whatever that the two great documents of American liberty reflect the philosophy of Paine. ...Then Paine wrote 'Common Sense,' an anonymous tract which immediately stirred the fires of liberty. It flashed from hand to hand throughout the Colonies. One copy reached the New York Assembly, in session at Albany, and a night meeting was voted to answer this unknown writer with his clarion call to liberty. The Assembly met, but could find no suitable answer. Tom Paine had inscribed a document which never has been answered adversely, and never can be, so long as man esteems his priceless possession. In 'Common Sense' Paine flared forth with a document so powerful that the Revolution became inevitable. Washington recognized the difference, and in his calm way said that matters never could be the same again. It must be remembered that 'Common Sense' preceded the declaration and affirmed the very principles that went into the national doctrine of liberty. But that affirmation was made with more vigor, more of the fire of the patriot and was exactly suited to the hour... Certainly [the Revolution] could not be forestalled, once he had spoken. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
If we look more closely, we see that any violent display of power, whether political or religious, produces an outburst of folly in a large part of mankind; indeed, this seems actually to be a psychological and sociological law: the power of some needs the folly of others. It is not that certain human capacities, intellectual capacities for instance, become stunted of destroyed, but rather that the upsurge of power makes such an overwhelming impression that men are deprived of their independent judgment, and...give up trying to assess the new state of affairs for themselves.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison)
Your mind is an instrument, a tool. It is there to be used for a specific task, and when the task is completed, you lay it down. As it is, I would say about 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. Observe your mind and you will find this to be true. It causes a serious leakage of vital energy. This kind of compulsive thinking is actually an addiction. What characterizes an addiction? Quite simply this: you no longer feel that you have the choice to stop. It seems stronger than you. It also gives you a false sense of pleasure, pleasure that invariably turns into pain.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
As you grow in true spiritual power and understanding you will actually find that many outer rules and regulations will become unnecessary; but this will be because you have really risen above them; never, never, because you have fallen below them. This point in your development, where your understanding of Truth enables you to dispense with certain outer props and regulations, is the Spiritual Coming of Age. When you really are no longer spiritually a minor, you will cease to need some of the outer observances that formerly seemed indispensable; but your resulting life will be purer, truer, freer, and less selfish than it was before; and that is the test.
Emmet Fox (The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life)
There is no power like that of prevailing prayer - of Abraham pleading for Sodom, Jacob wrestling in the stillness of the night, Moses standing in the breach, Hannah intoxicated with sorrow, David heartbroken with remorse and grief, Jesus in sweat and blood. Add to this list from the records of the church your personal observation and experience, and always there is cost of passion unto blood. Such prayer prevails. It turns ordinary mortals into men of power. It brings power. It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God.
Samuel Chadwick
Now there you have a sample of man’s “reasoning powers,” as he calls them. He observes certain facts. For instance, that in all his life he never sees the day that he can satisfy one woman; also, that no woman ever sees the day that she can’t overwork, and defeat, and put out of commission any ten masculine plants that can be put to bed to her. He puts those strikingly suggestive and luminous facts together, and from them draws this astonishing conclusion: The Creator intended the woman to be restricted to one man.
Mark Twain (Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings)
It is usually imagined that a thief, a murderer, a spy, a prostitute, acknowledging his profession as evil, is ashamed of it. But the contrary is true. People whom fate and their sin-mistakes have placed in a certain position, however false that position may be, form a view of life in general which makes their position seem good and admissible. In order to keep up their view of life, these people instinctively keep to the circle of those people who share their views of life and their own place in it. This surprises us, where the persons concerned are thieves, bragging about their dexterity, prostitutes vaunting their depravity, or murderers boasting of their cruelty. This surprises us only because the circle, the atmosphere in which these people live, is limited, and we are outside it. But can we not observe the same phenomenon which the rich boast of their wealth, i.e., robbery; the commanders in the army pride themselves on their victories, i.e., murder; and those in high places vaunt their power, i.e., violence? We do not see the perversion in the views of life held by these people, only because the circle formed by them is more extensive, and we ourselves are moving inside of it.
Leo Tolstoy (Resurrection)
You mean stop thinking altogether? No, I can’t, except maybe for a moment or two. Then the mind is using you. You are unconsciously identified with it, so you don’t even know that you are its slave. It’s almost as if you were possessed without knowing it, and so you take the possessing entity to be yourself. The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity — the thinker. Knowing this enables you to observe the entity. The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter — beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace — arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
It is a well-known established fact throughout the many-dimensional worlds of the multiverse that most really great discoveries are owed to one brief moment of inspiration. There's a lot of spadework first, of course, but what clinches the whole thing is the sight of, say, a falling apple or a boiling kettle or the water slipping over the edge of the bath. Something goes click inside the observer's head and then everything falls into place. The shape of DNA, it is popularly said, owes its discovery to the chance sight of a spiral staircase when the scientist‘s mind was just at the right receptive temperature. Had he used the elevator, the whole science of genetics might have been a good deal different. This is thought of as somehow wonderful. It isn't. It is tragic. Little particles of inspiration sleet through the universe all the time traveling through the densest matter in the same way that a neutrino passes through a candyfloss haystack, and most of them miss. Even worse, most of the ones that hit the exact cerebral target, hit the wrong one. For example, the weird dream about a lead doughnut on a mile-high gantry, which in the right mind would have been the catalyst for the invention of repressed-gravitational electricity generation (a cheap and inexhaustible and totally non-polluting form of power which the world in question had been seeking for centuries, and for the lack of which it was plunged into a terrible and pointless war) was in fact had by a small and bewildered duck. By another stroke of bad luck, the sight of a herd of wild horses galloping through a field of wild hyacinths would have led a struggling composer to write the famous Flying God Suite, bringing succor and balm to the souls of millions, had he not been at home in bed with shingles. The inspiration thereby fell to a nearby frog, who was not in much of a position to make a startling contributing to the field of tone poetry. Many civilizations have recognized this shocking waste and tried various methods to prevent it, most of them involving enjoyable but illegal attempts to tune the mind into the right wavelength by the use of exotic herbage or yeast products. It never works properly.
Terry Pratchett (Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind, #3))
I have always been interested in this man. My father had a set of Tom Paine's books on the shelf at home. I must have opened the covers about the time I was 13. And I can still remember the flash of enlightenment which shone from his pages. It was a revelation, indeed, to encounter his views on political and religious matters, so different from the views of many people around us. Of course I did not understand him very well, but his sincerity and ardor made an impression upon me that nothing has ever served to lessen. I have heard it said that Paine borrowed from Montesquieu and Rousseau. Maybe he had read them both and learned something from each. I do not know. But I doubt that Paine ever borrowed a line from any man... Many a person who could not comprehend Rousseau, and would be puzzled by Montesquieu, could understand Paine as an open book. He wrote with a clarity, a sharpness of outline and exactness of speech that even a schoolboy should be able to grasp. There is nothing false, little that is subtle, and an impressive lack of the negative in Paine. He literally cried to his reader for a comprehending hour, and then filled that hour with such sagacious reasoning as we find surpassed nowhere else in American letters - seldom in any school of writing. Paine would have been the last to look upon himself as a man of letters. Liberty was the dear companion of his heart; truth in all things his object. ...we, perhaps, remember him best for his declaration: 'The world is my country; to do good my religion.' Again we see the spontaneous genius at work in 'The Rights of Man', and that genius busy at his favorite task - liberty. Written hurriedly and in the heat of controversy, 'The Rights of Man' yet compares favorably with classical models, and in some places rises to vaulting heights. Its appearance outmatched events attending Burke's effort in his 'Reflections'. Instantly the English public caught hold of this new contribution. It was more than a defense of liberty; it was a world declaration of what Paine had declared before in the Colonies. His reasoning was so cogent, his command of the subject so broad, that his legion of enemies found it hard to answer him. 'Tom Paine is quite right,' said Pitt, the Prime Minister, 'but if I were to encourage his views we should have a bloody revolution.' Here we see the progressive quality of Paine's genius at its best. 'The Rights of Man' amplified and reasserted what already had been said in 'Common Sense', with now a greater force and the power of a maturing mind. Just when Paine was at the height of his renown, an indictment for treason confronted him. About the same time he was elected a member of the Revolutionary Assembly and escaped to France. So little did he know of the French tongue that addresses to his constituents had to be translated by an interpreter. But he sat in the assembly. Shrinking from the guillotine, he encountered Robespierre's enmity, and presently found himself in prison, facing that dread instrument. But his imprisonment was fertile. Already he had written the first part of 'The Age of Reason' and now turned his time to the latter part. Presently his second escape cheated Robespierre of vengeance, and in the course of events 'The Age of Reason' appeared. Instantly it became a source of contention which still endures. Paine returned to the United States a little broken, and went to live at his home in New Rochelle - a public gift. Many of his old companions in the struggle for liberty avoided him, and he was publicly condemned by the unthinking. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
All money is imaginary," answered the Calcatrix simply. "Money is magic everyone agrees to pretend is not magic. Observe! You treat it like magic, wield it like magic, fear it like magic! Why should a body with more small circles of copper or silver or gold than anyone else have an easy life full of treats every day and sleeping in and other people bowing down? The little circles can't get up and fight a battle or make a supper so splendid you get full just by looking at it or build a house of a thousand gables. They can do those things because everyone agrees to give them power. If everyone agreed to stop giving power to pretty metals and started giving it to thumbnails or mushroom caps or roof shingles or first kisses or tears or hours or puffin feathers, those little circles would just lay there tarnishing in the rain and not making anyone bow their noses down to the ground or stick them up in the air.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3))
When there is no way out, there is still always a way through. So don’t turn away from the pain. Face it. Feel it fully. Feel it — don’t think about it! Express it if necessary, but don’t create a script in your mind around it. Give all your attention to the feeling, not to the person, event, or situation that seems to have caused it. Don’t let the mind use the pain to create a victim identity for yourself out of it. Feeling sorry for yourself and telling others your story will keep you stuck in suffering. Since it is impossible to get away from the feeling, the only possibility of change is to move into it; otherwise, nothing will shift. So give your complete attention to what you feel, and refrain from mentally labeling it. As you go into the feeling, be intensely alert. At first, it may seem like a dark and terrifying place, and when the urge to turn away from it comes, observe it but don’t act on it. Keep putting your attention on the pain, keep feeling the grief, the fear, the dread, the loneliness, whatever it is. Stay alert, stay present — present with your whole Being, with every cell of your body. As you do so, you are bringing a light into this darkness. This is the flame of your consciousness.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
If I may be pardoned for suggesting the obvious, I do so only because the obvious is not observed in so many instances. The obvious includes four imperatives with reference to children: (1) love them, (2) teach them, (3) respect them, and (4) pray with them and for them... How much more beautiful would be the world and the society in which we live if every father looked upon his children as the most precious of his assets, if he led them by the power of his example in kindness and love, and if in times of stress he blessed them by the authority of the holy priesthood; and if every mother regarded her children as the jewels of her life, as gifts from the God of heaven, who is their Eternal Father, and brought them up with true affection in the wisdom and admonition of the Lord...
Gordon B. Hinckley
Racism is both overt and covert. It takes two, closely related forms: individual whites acting against individual blacks, and acts by the total white community against the black community. We call these individual racism and institutional racism. The first consists of overt acts by individuals, which cause death, injury or the violent destruction of property. This type can be recorded by television cameras; it can frequently be observed in the process of commission. The second type is less overt, far more subtle, less identifiable in terms of specific individuals committing the acts. But it is no less destructive of human life. The second type originates in the operation of established and respected forces in the society, and thus receives far less public condemnation than the first type. When white terrorists bomb a black church and kill five black children, that is an act of individual racism, widely deplored by most segments of the society. But when in that same city - Birmingham, Alabama - five hundred black babies die each year because of the lack of proper food, shelter and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community, that is a function of institutional racism. When a black family moves into a home in a white neighborhood and is stoned, burned or routed out, they are victims of an overt act of individual racism which many people will condemn - at least in words. But it is institutional racism that keeps black people locked in dilapidated slum tenements, subject to the daily prey of exploitative slumlords, merchants, loan sharks and discriminatory real estate agents. The society either pretends it does not know of this latter situation, or is in fact incapable of doing anything meaningful about it.
Stokely Carmichael (Black Power: The Politics of Liberation)
Happy the writer who, passing by characters that are boring, disgusting, shocking in their mournful reality, approaches characters that manifest the lofty dignity of man, who from the great pool of daily whirling images has chosen only the rare exceptions, who has never once betrayed the exalted turning of his lyre, nor descended from his height to his poor, insignificant brethren, and, without touching the ground, has given the whole of himself to his elevated images so far removed from it. Twice enviable is his beautiful lot: he is among them as in his own family; and meanwhile his fame spreads loud and far. With entrancing smoke he has clouded people's eyes; he has flattered them wondrously, concealing what is mournful in life, showing them a beautiful man. Everything rushes after him, applauding, and flies off following his triumphal chariot. Great world poet they name him, soaring high above all other geniuses in the world, as the eagle soars above the other high fliers. At the mere mention of his name, young ardent hearts are filled with trembling, responsive tears shine in all eyes...No one equals him in power--he is God! But such is not the lot, and other is the destiny of the writer who has dared to call forth all that is before our eyes every moment and which our indifferent eyes do not see--all the stupendous mire of trivia in which our life in entangled, the whole depth of cold, fragmented, everyday characters that swarm over our often bitter and boring earthly path, and with the firm strength of his implacable chisel dares to present them roundly and vividly before the eyes of all people! It is not for him to win people's applause, not for him to behold the grateful tears and unanimous rapture of the souls he has stirred; no sixteen-year-old girl will come flying to meet him with her head in a whirl and heroic enthusiasm; it is not for him to forget himself in the sweet enchantment of sounds he himself has evoked; it is not for him, finally, to escape contemporary judgment, hypocritically callous contemporary judgment, which will call insignificant and mean the creations he has fostered, will allot him a contemptible corner in the ranks of writers who insult mankind, will ascribe to him the quality of the heroes he has portrayed, will deny him heart, and soul, and the divine flame of talent. For contemporary judgment does not recognize that equally wondrous are the glasses that observe the sun and those that look at the movement of inconspicuous insect; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that much depth of soul is needed to light up the picture drawn from contemptible life and elevate it into a pearl of creation; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that lofty ecstatic laughter is worthy to stand beside the lofty lyrical impulse, and that a whole abyss separates it from the antics of the street-fair clown! This contemporary judgment does not recognize; and will turn it all into a reproach and abuse of the unrecognized writer; with no sharing, no response, no sympathy, like a familyless wayfarer, he will be left alone in the middle of the road. Grim is his path, and bitterly he will feel his solitude.
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
Property taxes' rank right up there with 'income taxes' in terms of immorality and destructiveness. Where 'income taxes' are simply slavery using different words, 'property taxes' are just a Mafia turf racket using different words. For the former, if you earn a living on the gang's turf, they extort you. For the latter, if you own property in their territory, they extort you. The fact that most people still imagine both to be legitimate and acceptable shows just how powerful authoritarian indoctrination is. Meanwhile, even a brief objective examination of the concepts should make anyone see the lunacy of it. 'Wait, so every time I produce anything or trade with anyone, I have to give a cut to the local crime lord??' 'Wait, so I have to keep paying every year, for the privilege of keeping the property I already finished paying for??' And not only do most people not make such obvious observations, but if they hear someone else pointing out such things, the well-trained Stockholm Syndrome slaves usually make arguments condoning their own victimization. Thus is the power of the mind control that comes from repeated exposure to BS political mythology and propaganda.
Larken Rose
Tolstoy went on to observe,"This little incident proves how largely the name of Lincoln is worshipped throughout the world and how legendary his personality has become. Now, why was Lincoln so great that he overshadows all other national heroes? He really was not a great general like Napoleon or Washington; he was not such a skillful statesman as Gladstone or Frederick the Great; but his supremacy expresses itself altogether in his peculiar moral power and in the greatness of his character. "Washington was a typical American. Naopoleon was a typical Frenchmen, but Lincoln was a humanitarian as broad as the world. He was bigger than his country--- bigger than all the Presidents t,ogether. We are still too near to his greatness, " Tolstoy concluded, "but after a few centuries more our posterity will find him considerably bigger than we do. His genius is still too strong and too powerful for the common understanding, just as the sun is too hot when it's light beams directly on us.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln)
Why do writers use symbolism?” Okay, so let’s say you have a headache and you wanna tell someone about it and you say, “I have a headache!” and other people are like, “Yeah, whatever. Everybody gets headaches.” But your headache is not a regular headache, it’s a serious headache, so you say, “My brain is on fire!” to try to help these people understand that this is a headache that needs attention! That’s a metaphor, right? And you use it so that you can be understood. Now let’s say you want to take those same imagistic principles but apply them to a much more complex idea than having a headache, like, for instance, the yearning that one feels for one’s dreams. And you can see the dream but you can’t cross the bay to get to the green light that embodies your dream. And you want to talk about how socio-economic class in America is a barrier – a bay-like barrier, some would say – that stands between you and the green light and makes that gap unbridgeable. Now, you can just talk about that stuff directly, but when you talk about it symbolically, it becomes more powerful, because instead of being abstract it becomes kind of observable…. So I think that’s why.
John Green
Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. It would even seem that this is virtually a sociological-psychological law. The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison DBW Vol 8 (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works))
An unbroken horse erects his mane, paws the ground and starts back impetuously at the sight of the bridle; while one which is properly trained suffers patiently even whip and spur: so savage man will not bend his neck to the yoke to which civilised man submits without a murmur, but prefers the most turbulent state of liberty to the most peaceful slavery. We cannot therefore, from the servility of nations already enslaved, judge of the natural disposition of mankind for or against slavery; we should go by the prodigious efforts of every free people to save itself from oppression. I know that the former are for ever holding forth in praise of the tranquillity they enjoy in their chains, and that they call a state of wretched servitude a state of peace: miserrimam servitutem pacem appellant. But when I observe the latter sacrificing pleasure, peace, wealth, power and life itself to the preservation of that one treasure, which is so disdained by those who have lost it; when I see free-born animals dash their brains out against the bars of their cage, from an innate impatience of captivity; when I behold numbers of naked savages, that despise European pleasures, braving hunger, fire, the sword and death, to preserve nothing but their independence, I feel that it is not for slaves to argue about liberty.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
On me personally what has been the most important was to understand the value of time -- and this is something that has come from observing him, learning his story and that time compounds. What you do when you are young (and as you use time over your life) can have an exponential effect so that if you are thoughtful about it, you can really have powerful results later, if you want to. Also, that is a reason to be hopeful, because compounding is something that happens pretty quickly. If you are 50 or 60, it is not too late. He said to me one time, if there is something you really want to do, don't put it off until you are 70 years old. ... Do it now. Don't worry about how much it costs or things like that, because you are going to enjoy it now. You don't even know what your health will be like then. On the other hand, if you are investing in your education and you are learning, you should do that as early as you possibly can, because then it will have time to compound over the longest period. And that the things you do learn and invest in should be knowledge that is cumulative, so that the knowledge builds on itself. So instead of learning something that might become obsolete tomorrow, like some particular type of software [that no one even uses two years later], choose things that will make you smarter in 10 or 20 years. That lesson is something I use all the time now.
Alice Schroeder (The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life)
The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his or her ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.
Václav Havel (The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe (Routledge Revivals))
In the cage is the lion. She paces with her memories. Her body is a record of her past. As she moves back and forth, one may see it all: the lean frame, the muscular legs, the paw enclosing long sharp claws, the astonishing speed of her response. She was born in this garden. She has never in her life stretched those legs. Never darted farther than twenty yards at a time. Only once did she use her claws. Only once did she feel them sink into flesh. And it was her keeper's flesh. Her keeper whom she loves, who feeds her, who would never dream of harming her, who protects her. Who in his mercy forgave her mad attack, saying this was in her nature, to be cruel at a whim, to try to kill what she loves. He had come into her cage as he usually did early in the morning to change her water, always at the same time of day, in the same manner, speaking softly to her, careful to make no sudden movement, keeping his distance, when suddenly she sank down, deep down into herself, the way wild animals do before they spring, and then she had risen on all her strong legs, and swiped him in one long, powerful, graceful movement across the arm. How lucky for her he survived the blow. The keeper and his friends shot her with a gun to make her sleep. Through her half-open lids she knew they made movements around her. They fed her with tubes. They observed her. They wrote comments in notebooks. And finally they rendered a judgment. She was normal. She was a normal wild beast, whose power is dangerous, whose anger can kill, they had said. Be more careful of her, they advised. Allow her less excitement. Perhaps let her exercise more. She understood none of this. She understood only the look of fear in her keeper's eyes. And now she paces. Paces as if she were angry, as if she were on the edge of frenzy. The spectators imagine she is going through the movements of the hunt, or that she is readying her body for survival. But she knows no life outside the garden. She has no notion of anger over what she could have been, or might be. No idea of rebellion. It is only her body that knows of these things, moving her, daily, hourly, back and forth, back and forth, before the bars of her cage.
Susan Griffin (Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her)
But confining myself more to the particular, I say that a prince may be seen happy to-day and ruined to-morrow without having shown any change of disposition or character. This, I believe, arises firstly from causes that have already been discussed at length, namely, that the prince who relies entirely upon fortune is lost when it changes. I believe also that he will be successful who directs his actions according to the spirit of the times, and that he whose actions do not accord with the times will not be successful. Because men are seen, in affairs that lead to the end which every man has before him, namely, glory and riches, to get there by various methods; one with caution, another with haste; one by force, another by skill; one by patience, another by its opposite; and each one succeeds in reaching the goal by a different method. One can also see of two cautious men the one attain his end, the other fail; and similarly, two men by different observances are equally successful, the one being cautious, the other impetuous; all this arises from nothing else than whether or not they conform in their methods to the spirit of the times. This follows from what I have said, that two men working differently bring about the same effect, and of two working similarly, one attains his object and the other does not.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
Let us not believe that an external fast from visible food alone can possibly be sufficient for perfection of heart and purity of body unless with it there has also been united a fast of the soul. For the soul also has its foods that are harmful. Slander is its food and indeed one that is very dear to it. A burst of anger also supplies it with miserable food for an hour and destroys it as well with its deadly savor. Envy is food of the mind, corrupting it with its poisonous juices and never ceasing to make it wretched and miserable at the prosperity and success of another. Vanity is its food which gratifies the mind with a delicious meal for a time but afterward strips it clear and bare of all virtue. Then vanity dismisses it barren and void of all spiritual fruit. All lust and shift wanderings of heart are a sort of food for the soul, nourishing it on harmful meats but leaving it afterwards without a share of its heavenly bread and really solid food. If then, with all the powers we have, we abstain from these in a most holy fast our observance of the bodily fast will be both useful and profitable.
John Cassian (Making Life a Prayer: Selected Writings)
His laws changed all of physics and astronomy. His laws made it possible to calculate the mass of the sun and planets. The way it's done is immensely beautiful. If you know the orbital period of any planet, say, Jupiter or the Earth and you know its distance to the Sun; you can calculate the mass of the Sun. Doesn't this sound like magic? We can carry this one step further - if you know the orbital period of one of Jupiter's bright moons, discovered by Galileo in 1609, and you know the distance between Jupiter and that moon, you can calculate the mass of Jupiter. Therefore, if you know the orbital period of the moon around the Earth (it's 27.32 days), and you know the mean distance between the Earth and the moon (it's about 200,039 miles), then you can calculate to a high degree of accuracy the mass of the Earth. … But Newton's laws reach far beyond our solar system. They dictate and explain the motion of stars, binary stars, star clusters, galaxies and even clusters of galaxies. And Newton's laws deserve credit for the 20th century discovery of what we call dark matter. His laws are beautiful. Breathtakingly simple and incredibly powerful at the same time. They explain so much and the range of phenomena they clarify is mind boggling. By bringing together the physics of motion, of interaction between objects and of planetary movements, Newton brought a new kind of order to astronomical measurements, showing how, what had been a jumble of confused observations made through the centuries were all interconnected.
Walter Lewin
The human mind is only capable of absorbing a few things at a time. We see what is taking place in front of us in the here and now, and cannot envisage simultaneously a succession of processes, no matter how integrated and complementary. Our faculties of perception are consequently limited even as regards fairly simple phenomena. The fate of a single man can be rich with significance, that of a few hundred less so, but the history of thousands and millions of men does not mean anything at all, in any adequate sense of the word. The symmetriad is a million—a billion, rather—raised to the power of N: it is incomprehensible. We pass through vast halls, each with a capacity of ten Kronecker units, and creep like so many ants clinging to the folds of breathing vaults and craning to watch the flight of soaring girders, opalescent in the glare of searchlights, and elastic domes which criss-cross and balance each other unerringly, the perfection of a moment, since everything here passes and fades. The essence of this architecture is movement synchronized towards a precise objective. We observe a fraction of the process, like hearing the vibration of a single string in an orchestra of supergiants. We know, but cannot grasp, that above and below, beyond the limits of perception or imagination, thousands and millions of simultaneous transformations are at work, interlinked like a musical score by mathematical counterpoint. It has been described as a symphony in geometry, but we lack the ears to hear it.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
For my present purpose I require a word which shall embrace both the Sub-Creative Art in itself, and a quality of strangeness and wonder in the Expression, derived from the Image: a quality essential to fairy-story. I propose, therefore, to arrogate to myself the powers of Humpty-Dumpty, and to use Fantasy for this purpose: in a sense, that is, which combines with its older and higher use as an equivalent of Imagination the derived notions of 'unreality' (that is, of unlikeness to the Primary World), of freedom from the dominion of 'observed fact,' in short of the fantastic. I am thus not only aware but glad of the etymological and semantic connexions of fantasy with fantastic: with images of things that are not only 'not actually present,' but which are indeed not to be found in our primary world at all, or are generally believed not to be found there. But while admitting that, I do not assent to the depreciative tone. That the images are of things not in the primary world (if that indeed is possible) is, I think, not a lower but a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so (when achieved) the most Potent. Fantasy, of course, starts out with an advantage: arresting strangeness. But that advantage has been turned against it, and has contributed to its disrepute. Many people dislike being 'arrested.' They dislike any meddling with the Primary World, or such small glimpses of it as are familiar to them. They, therefore, stupidly and even maliciously confound Fantasy with Dreaming, in which there is no Art; and with mental disorders, in which there is not even control; with delusion and hallucination. But the error or malice, engendered by disquiet and consequent dislike, is not the only cause of this confusion. Fantasy has also an essential drawback: it is difficult to achieve. . . . Anyone inheriting the fantastic device of human language can say the green sun. Many can then imagine or picture it. But that is not enough -- though it may already be a more potent thing than many a 'thumbnail sketch' or 'transcript of life' that receives literary praise. To make a Secondary World inside which the green sun will be credible, commanding Secondary Belief, will probably require labour and thought, and will certainly demand a special skill, a kind of elvish craft. Few attempt such difficult tasks. But when they are attempted and in any degree accomplished then we have a rare achievement of Art: indeed narrative art, story-making in its primary and most potent mode.
J.R.R. Tolkien
How do you know when the Sarows is coming?" hummed Lila as she made her way down the ship's narrow hall, fingertips skimming either wall for balance. Right about the, Alucard's warning about Jasta was coming back in full force. "Never challenge that one to a drinking contest. Or a sword fight. Or anything else you might lose. Because you will." The boat rocked beneath her fee. Or maybe she was the one rocking. Hell. Lila was slight, but not short of practice, and even so, she'd never had so much trouble holding her liquor. When she got to her room, she found Kell hunched over the Inheritor, examining the markings on its side. "Hello, handsome," she said, bracing herself in the doorway. Kell looked up, a smile halfway to his lips before it fell away. "You're drunk," he said, giver her a long, appraising look. "And you're not wearing any shoes." "Your powers of observation are astonishing." Lila looked down at her bare feet. "I lost them." "How do you lose shoes?" Lila crinkled her brow. "I bet them. I lost." Kell rose. "To who?" A tiny hiccup. "Jasta." Kell sighed. "Stay here." He slipped past her into the hall, a hand alighting on her waist and then, too soon, the touch was gone. Lila make her way to the bed and collapsed onto it, scooping up the discarded Inheritor and holding it up to the light. The spindle at the cylinder's base was sharp enough to cut, and she turned the device carefully between her fingers, squinting to make out the words wrapped around it. Rosin, read one side. Cason, read the other. Lila frowned, mouthing the words as Kell reappeared in the doorway. "Give-- and Take," he translated, tossing her the boots. She sat up too fast, winced. "How did you manage that?" "I simply explained that she couldn't have them-- they wouldn't have fit-- and then I gave her mine." Lila looked down at Kell's bare feet, and burst into laughter.
V.E. Schwab (A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3))
The most powerful anti-Christian movement is the one that takes over and "radicalizes" the concern for victims in order to paganize it. The powers and principalities want to be “revolutionary” now, and they reproach Christianity for not defending victims with enough ardor. In Christian history they see nothing but persecutions, acts of oppression, inquisitions. This other totalitarianism presents itself as the liberator of humanity. In trying to usurp the place of Christ, the powers imitate him in the way a mimetic rival imitates his model in order to defeat him. They denounce the Christian concern for victims as hypocritical and a pale imitation of the authentic crusade against oppression and persecution for which they would carry the banner themselves. In the symbolic language of the New Testament, we would say that in our world Satan, trying to make a new start and gain new triumphs, borrows the language of victims. ... The Antichrist boasts of bringing to human beings the peace and tolerance that Christianity promised but has failed to deliver. Actually, what the radicalization of contemporary victimology produces is a return to all sorts of pagan practices: abortion, euthanasia, sexual undifferentiation, Roman circus games galore but without real victims, etc. Neo-paganism would like to turn the Ten Commandments and all of Judeo-Christian morality into some alleged intolerable violence, and indeed its primary objective is their complete abolition. Faithful observance of the moral law is perceived as complicity with the forces of persecution that are essentially religious... Neo-paganism locates happiness in the unlimited satisfaction of desires, which means the suppression of all prohibitions. This idea acquires a semblance of credibility in the limited domain of consumer goods, whose prodigious multiplication, thanks to technological progress, weakens certain mimetic rivalries. The weakening of mimetic rivalries confers an appearance of plausibility, but only that, on the stance that turns the moral law into an instrument of repression and persecution.
René Girard (I See Satan Fall Like Lightning)
As a physician, I was trained to deal with uncertainty as aggressively as I dealt with disease itself. The unknown was the enemy. Within this worldview, having a question feels like an emergency; it means that something is out of control and needs to be made known as rapidly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible. But death has taken me to the edge of certainty, to the place of questions. After years of trading mystery for mastery, it was hard and even frightening to stop offering myself reasonable explanations for some of the things that I observed and that others told me, and simply take them as they are. "I don't know" had long been a statement of shame, of personal and professional failing. In all of my training I do not recall hearing it said aloud even once. But as I listened to more and more people with life-threatening illnesses tell their stories, not knowing simply became a matter of integrity. Things happened. And the explanations I offered myself became increasingly hollow, like a child whistling in the dark. The truth was that very often I didn't know and couldn't explain, and finally, weighed down by the many, many instances of the mysterious which are such an integral part of illness and healing, I surrendered. It was a moment of awakening. For the first time, I became curious about the things I had been unwilling to see before, more sensitive to inconsistencies I had glibly explained or successfully ignored, more willing to ask people questions and draw them out about stories I would have otherwise dismissed. What I have found in the end was that the life I had defended as a doctor as precious was also Holy. I no longer feel that life is ordinary. Everyday life is filled with mystery. The things we know are only a small part of the things we cannot know but can only glimpse. Yet even the smallest of glimpses can sustain us. Mystery seems to have the power to comfort, to offer hope, and to lend meaning in times of loss and pain. In surprising ways it is the mysterious that strengthens us at such times. I used to try to offer people certainty in times that were not at all certain and could not be made certain. I now just offer my companionship and share my sense of mystery, of the possible, of wonder. After twenty years of working with people with cancer, I find it possible to neither doubt nor accept the unprovable but simply to remain open and wait. I accept that I may never know where truth lies in such matters. The most important questions don't seem to have ready answers. But the questions themselves have a healing power when they are shared. An answer is an invitation to stop thinking about something, to stop wondering. Life has no such stopping places, life is a process whose every event is connected to the moment that just went by. An unanswered question is a fine traveling companion. It sharpens your eye for the road.
Rachel Naomi Remen (Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal)
Quantum physicists discovered that physical atoms are made up of vortices of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating; each atom is like a wobbly spinning top that radiates energy. Because each atom has its own specific energy signature (wobble), assemblies of atoms (molecules) collectively radiate their own identifying energy patterns. So every material structure in the universe, including you and me, radiates a unique energy signature. If it were theoretically possible to observe the composition of an actual atom with a microscope, what would we see? Imagine a swirling dust devil cutting across the desert’s floor. Now remove the sand and dirt from the funnel cloud. What you have left is an invisible, tornado-like vortex. A number of infinitesimally small, dust devil–like energy vortices called quarks and photons collectively make up the structure of the atom. From far away, the atom would likely appear as a blurry sphere. As its structure came nearer to focus, the atom would become less clear and less distinct. As the surface of the atom drew near, it would disappear. You would see nothing. In fact, as you focused through the entire structure of the atom, all you would observe is a physical void. The atom has no physical structure—the emperor has no clothes! Remember the atomic models you studied in school, the ones with marbles and ball bearings going around like the solar system? Let’s put that picture beside the “physical” structure of the atom discovered by quantum physicists. No, there has not been a printing mistake; atoms are made out of invisible energy not tangible matter! So in our world, material substance (matter) appears out of thin air. Kind of weird, when you think about it. Here you are holding this physical book in your hands. Yet if you were to focus on the book’s material substance with an atomic microscope, you would see that you are holding nothing. As it turns out, we undergraduate biology majors were right about one thing—the quantum universe is mind-bending. Let’s look more closely at the “now you see it, now you don’t” nature of quantum physics. Matter can simultaneously be defined as a solid (particle) and as an immaterial force field (wave). When scientists study the physical properties of atoms, such as mass and weight, they look and act like physical matter. However, when the same atoms are described in terms of voltage potentials and wavelengths, they exhibit the qualities and properties of energy (waves). (Hackermüller, et al, 2003; Chapman, et al, 1995; Pool 1995) The fact that energy and matter are one and the same is precisely what Einstein recognized when he concluded that E = mc2. Simply stated, this equation reveals that energy (E) = matter (m, mass) multiplied by the speed of light squared (c2). Einstein revealed that we do not live in a universe with discrete, physical objects separated by dead space. The Universe is one indivisible, dynamic whole in which energy and matter are so deeply entangled it is impossible to consider them as independent elements.
Bruce H. Lipton (The Biology of Belief: Unleasing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles)
Her partner now drew near, and said, "That gentleman would have put me out of patience, had he stayed with you half a minute longer. He has no business to withdraw the attention of my partner from me. We have entered into a contract of mutual agreeableness for the space of an evening, and all our agreeableness belongs solely to each other for that time. Nobody can fasten themselves on the notice of one, without injuring the rights of the other. I consider a country-dance as an emblem of marriage. Fidelity and complaisance are the principal duties of both; and those men who do not choose to dance or marry themselves, have no business with the partners or wives of their neighbours." But they are such very different things!" -- That you think they cannot be compared together." To be sure not. People that marry can never part, but must go and keep house together. People that dance only stand opposite each other in a long room for half an hour." And such is your definition of matrimony and dancing. Taken in that light certainly, their resemblance is not striking; but I think I could place them in such a view. You will allow, that in both, man has the advantage of choice, woman only the power of refusal; that in both, it is an engagement between man and woman, formed for the advantage of each; and that when once entered into, they belong exclusively to each other till the moment of its dissolution; that it is their duty, each to endeavour to give the other no cause for wishing that he or she had bestowed themselves elsewhere, and their best interest to keep their own imaginations from wandering towards the perfections of their neighbours, or fancying that they should have been better off with anyone else. You will allow all this?" Yes, to be sure, as you state it, all this sounds very well; but still they are so very different. I cannot look upon them at all in the same light, nor think the same duties belong to them." In one respect, there certainly is a difference. In marriage, the man is supposed to provide for the support of the woman, the woman to make the home agreeable to the man; he is to purvey, and she is to smile. But in dancing, their duties are exactly changed; the agreeableness, the compliance are expected from him, while she furnishes the fan and the lavender water. That, I suppose, was the difference of duties which struck you, as rendering the conditions incapable of comparison." No, indeed, I never thought of that." Then I am quite at a loss. One thing, however, I must observe. This disposition on your side is rather alarming. You totally disallow any similarity in the obligations; and may I not thence infer that your notions of the duties of the dancing state are not so strict as your partner might wish? Have I not reason to fear that if the gentleman who spoke to you just now were to return, or if any other gentleman were to address you, there would be nothing to restrain you from conversing with him as long as you chose?" Mr. Thorpe is such a very particular friend of my brother's, that if he talks to me, I must talk to him again; but there are hardly three young men in the room besides him that I have any acquaintance with." And is that to be my only security? Alas, alas!" Nay, I am sure you cannot have a better; for if I do not know anybody, it is impossible for me to talk to them; and, besides, I do not want to talk to anybody." Now you have given me a security worth having; and I shall proceed with courage.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
The average person wastes his life. He has a great deal of energy but he wastes it. The life of an average person seems at the end utterly meaningless…without significance. When he looks back…what has he done? MIND The mind creates routine for its own safety and convenience. Tradition becomes our security. But when the mind is secure it is in decay. We all want to be famous people…and the moment we want to be something…we are no longer free. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive the essential…the what is. It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything new…and in that there’s joy. To awaken this capacity in oneself and in others is real education. SOCIETY It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. Nature is busy creating absolutely unique individuals…whereas culture has invented a single mold to which we must conform. A consistent thinker is a thoughtless person because he conforms to a pattern. He repeats phrases and thinks in a groove. What happens to your heart and your mind when you are merely imitative, naturally they wither, do they not? The great enemy of mankind is superstition and belief which is the same thing. When you separate yourself by belief tradition by nationally it breeds violence. Despots are only the spokesmen for the attitude of domination and craving for power which is in the heart of almost everyone. Until the source is cleared there will be confusion and classes…hate and wars. A man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country to any religion to any political party. He is concerned with the understanding of mankind. FEAR You have religion. Yet the constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear. You can only be afraid of what you think you know. One is never afraid of the unknown…one is afraid of the known coming to an end. A man who is not afraid is not aggressive. A man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free and peaceful mind. You want to be loved because you do not love…but the moment you really love, it is finished. You are no longer inquiring whether someone loves you or not. MEDITATION The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence. In meditation you will discover the whisperings of your own prejudices…your own noises…the monkey mind. You have to be your own teacher…truth is a pathless land. The beauty of meditation is that you never know where you are…where you are going…what the end is. Down deep we all understand that it is truth that liberates…not your effort to be free. The idea of ourselves…our real selves…is your escape from the fact of what you really are. Here we are talking of something entirely different….not of self improvement…but the cessation of self. ADVICE Take a break with the past and see what happens. Release attachment to outcomes…inside you will feel good no matter what. Eventually you will find that you don’t mind what happens. That is the essence of inner freedom…it is timeless spiritual truth. If you can really understand the problem the answer will come out of it. The answer is not separate from the problem. Suffer and understand…for all of that is part of life. Understanding and detachment…this is the secret. DEATH There is hope in people…not in societies not in systems but only in you and me. The man who lives without conflict…who lives with beauty and love…is not frightened by death…because to love is to die.
J. Krishnamurti (Think on These Things)