Previous Quotes

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We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.
Milan Kundera
The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.
Nikola Tesla
Even chance meetings are the result of karma… Things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there’s no such thing as coincidence.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .... enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own even if she never wants to or needs to... A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .... something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour... A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a youth she's content to leave behind.... A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .... a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age.... A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ..... a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra... A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .... one friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry... A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .... a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family... A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .... eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored... A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .... a feeling of control over her destiny... EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to fall in love without losing herself.. EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... HOW TO QUIT A JOB, BREAK UP WITH A LOVER, AND CONFRONT A FRIEND WITHOUT RUINING THE FRIENDSHIP... EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY... EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents.. EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over... EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... what she would and wouldn't do for love or more... EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it... EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally... EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... where to go... be it to her best friend's kitchen table... or a charming inn in the woods... when her soul needs soothing... EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... what she can and can't accomplish in a day... a month...and a year...
Pamela Redmond Satran
make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.
Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)
Because you can never go from going out to being friends, just like that. It's a lie. It's just something that people say they'll do to take the permanence out of a breakup. And someone always takes it to mean more than it does, and then is hurt even more when, inevitably, said ‘friendly' relationship is still a major step down from the previous relationship, and it's like breaking up all over again. But messier.
Sarah Dessen (This Lullaby)
All morning I struggled with the sensation of stray wisps of one world seeping through the cracks of another. Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes -- characters even -- caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you.
Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)
Arthur: If I asked you where the hell we were, would I regret it? Ford: We're safe. Arthur: Oh good. Ford: We're in a small galley cabin in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet. Arthur: Ah, this is obviously some strange use of the word safe that I wasn't previously aware of.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.
James Joyce
It is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are they the result of previous study?
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest. The day Hazlitt came he opened to "I hate to read new books," and I hollered "Comrade!" to whoever owned it before me.
Helene Hanff (84, Charing Cross Road)
Whenever you are examining someone else's belongings, you are bound to learn many interesting things about the person of which you were not previously aware.
Lemony Snicket (The Blank Book (A Series of Unfortunate Events))
I swear that woman had a previous career as a death-hunter selling tragic ballads down around the Seven Dials," said Will. "And I do wish she wouldn't sing about poisoning just after we've eaten.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2))
We pencil-sketch our previous life so we can contrast it to the technicolor of the moment.
David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy)
Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why.
James Joyce
A REASSURING ANNOUNCEMENT Please, be calm, despite that previous threat. I am all bluster - I am not violent. I am not malicious. I am a result.
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
I thought, possibly, that what I really needed was to go where nobody knew me and start over again, with none of my previous decisions, conversations, or expectations coming with me.
Maggie Stiefvater (Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3))
There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness. When you're high it's tremendous. The ideas and feelings are fast and frequent like shooting stars, and you follow them until you find better and brighter ones. Shyness goes, the right words and gestures are suddenly there, the power to captivate others a felt certainty. There are interests found in uninteresting people. Sensuality is pervasive and the desire to seduce and be seduced irresistible. Feelings of ease, intensity, power, well-being, financial omnipotence, and euphoria pervade one's marrow. But, somewhere, this changes. The fast ideas are far too fast, and there are far too many; overwhelming confusion replaces clarity. Memory goes. Humor and absorption on friends' faces are replaced by fear and concern. Everything previously moving with the grain is now against-- you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of the mind. You never knew those caves were there. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.
Kay Redfield Jamison (An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness)
Each day has been chained to the previous one. But the weeks have wings. Anyone who believes that a second is faster than a decade did not live my life.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
I love you,' Buttercup said. 'I know this must come as something of a surprise to you, since all I've ever done is scorn you and degrade you and taunt you, but I have loved you for several hours now, and every second, more. I thought an hour ago that I loved you more than any woman has ever loved a man, but a half hour after that I knew that what I felt before was nothing compared to what I felt then. But ten minutes after that, I understood that my previous love was a puddle compared to the high seas before a storm. Your eyes are like that, did you know? Well they are. How many minutes ago was I? Twenty? Had I brought my feelings up to then? It doesn't matter.' Buttercup still could not look at him. The sun was rising behind her now; she could feel the heat on her back, and it gave her courage. 'I love you so much more now than twenty minutes ago that there cannot be comparison. I love you so much more now then when you opened your hovel door, there cannot be comparison. There is no room in my body for anything but you. My arms love you, my ears adore you, my knees shake with blind affection. My mind begs you to ask it something so it can obey. Do you want me to follow you for the rest of your days? I will do that. Do you want me to crawl? I will crawl. I will be quiet for you or sing for you, or if you are hungry, let me bring you food, or if you have thirst and nothing will quench it but Arabian wine, I will go to Araby, even though it is across the world, and bring a bottle back for your lunch. Anything there is that I can do for you, I will do for you; anything there is that I cannot do, I will learn to do. I know I cannot compete with the Countess in skills or wisdom or appeal, and I saw the way she looked at you. And I saw the way you looked at her. But remember, please, that she is old and has other interests, while I am seventeen and for me there is only you. Dearest Westley--I've never called you that before, have I?--Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley,--darling Westley, adored Westley, sweet perfect Westley, whisper that I have a chance to win your love.' And with that, she dared the bravest thing she'd ever done; she looked right into his eyes.
William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.
Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft)
Maturity is when you stop complaining and making excuses in your life; you realize everything that happens in life is a result of the previous choice you’ve made and start making new choices to change your life.
Roy T. Bennett
I'd like to repeat the advice that I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty. And so, Ron, in short, get out of Salton City and hit the Road. I guarantee you will be very glad you did. But I fear that you will ignore my advice. You think that I am stubborn, but you are even more stubborn than me. You had a wonderful chance on your drive back to see one of the greatest sights on earth, the Grand Canyon, something every American should see at least once in his life. But for some reason incomprehensible to me you wanted nothing but to bolt for home as quickly as possible, right back to the same situation which you see day after day after day. I fear you will follow this same inclination in the future and thus fail to discover all the wonderful things that God has placed around us to discover. Don't settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, Ron, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience. You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living. My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.
Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)
I don't believe anything, but I have many suspicions.
Robert Anton Wilson
The principle here is that a new generation owes a measure of thanks to every member of the previous generation. Our elders planted fields and fought in wars; they advanced the arts and sciences, and generally made sacrifices on our behalf. So by their efforts, however humble, they have earned a measure of our gratitude and respect.
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
Undo it, take it back, make every day the previous one until I am returned to the day before the one that made you gone. Or set me on an airplane traveling west, crossing the date line again and again, losing this day, then that, until the day of loss still lies ahead, and you are here instead of sorrow.
Nessa Rapoport
A true scientist is bored by knowledge; it is the assault on ignorance that motivates him - the mysteries that previous discoveries have revealed.
Matt Ridley (Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters)
Human relationships are chemical reactions. If you have a reaction then you can never return back to your previous state of being.
Sui Ishida
I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out...
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
For the first forty days a child is given dreams of previous lives. Journeys, winding paths, a hundred small lessons and then the past is erased.
Michael Ondaatje (Handwriting)
Every bit of learning is a little death. Every bit of new information challenges a previous conception, forcing it to dissolve into chaos before it can be reborn as something better. Sometimes such deaths virtually destroy us.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
It was previously a question of finding out whether or not life had to have a meaning to be lived. It now becomes clear on the contrary that it will be lived all the better if it has no meaning
Albert Camus
The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety.
Josh Waitzkin (The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence)
No matter how much we know in any area there are always new things to learn and things we have previously learned that we need to be refreshed in.
Joyce Meyer (Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind)
There's a stark difference between the words 'prodigy' and 'genius.' Prodigies can very quickly learn what other people have already figured out; geniuses discover that which no one has ever previously discovered. Prodigies learn; geniuses do.
John Green (An Abundance of Katherines)
Each morning comes along and you assume it will be similar enough to the previous one—that you will be safe, that your family will be alive, that you will be together, that life will remain mostly as it was. Then a moment arrives and everything changes.
Anthony Doerr (Cloud Cuckoo Land)
[T]he values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs.
Jared Diamond (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed)
It is fine to commiserate with a man about his bad experience with a previous partner, but the instant he uses her as an excuse to mistreat you, stop believing anything he tells you about that relationship and instead recognize it as a sign that he has problems with relating to women.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
I type my password: IHATEJOSHUA4EV@. My previous passwords have all been variations on how much I hate Joshua. For Ever. His password is almost certainly IHateLucinda4Eva.
Sally Thorne (The Hating Game)
You never get mad,” she said when their server left the table. “Except at me.” “That’s not true,” he said tightly. “Torie can get me going.” “Torie doesn’t count. You were obviously her mother in a previous life.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Call Me Irresistible (Wynette, Texas, #6))
Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas.
Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative)
That's not precisely what I had in mind." Jamie, I had found out by accident a few days previously, had never mastered the art of winking one eye. Instead, he blinked solemnly, like a large red owl.
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
The next generation will always surpass the previous one. It's one of the never-ending cycles in life.
Masashi Kishimoto
Art must state a link to the challenges of previous eras and the twinkles and heartbeats of the present moment to ensure a ‘trans historic’ bond with our living world where past and present can converse. ("When is Art?")
Erik Pevernagie
Omnis cellula e cellula," he said again. "All cells come from cells. Every cell is born of a previous cell, which was born of a previous cell. Life comes from life. Life begets life begets life begets life begets life.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
The power of one is above all things the power to believe in yourself, ofen well beyond any latent ability you may have previously demonstrated. The mind is the athlete, the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, shoot straighter, kick better, swim harder, hit further, or box better.
Bryce Courtenay (The Power of One (The Power of One, #1))
And if happiness should surprise you again, do not mention its previous betrayal. Enter into the happiness, and burst.
Mahmoud Darwish (يوميات الحزن العادي)
She found that she did not mind losing the previous moment, for this one was just as lovely.
Leslye Walton (The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender)
And from the whole she deduced this useful lesson, that to go previously engaged to a ball, does not necessarily increase either the dignity or enjoyment of a young lady.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
How long until you have to go...reap?" I whispered as my arms slid around his neck. Like we were dancing. Only we weren't moving, and there was no music. "Don't know. Don't care." "Won't you get in trouble if you miss something?" "See my previous answer.
Rachel Vincent (Before I Wake (Soul Screamers, #6))
You assume that my previous sexual encounters were completely fulfilling, but you’re wrong. You gave me what I’ve never had—love and sex together. You’re the only one who has ever been my lover in the true sense.
Sylvain Reynard (Gabriel's Rapture (Gabriel's Inferno, #2))
The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.
Dalai Lama XIV
Your ideal authors ought to pull you from the foundering of your previous existence, not smilingly guide you into a friendly and peaceable harbor.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
All [Sadie’s] previous attempts [of making a shabti (an Egyptian avatar of one’s self)] had exploded or gone haywire, terrorizing Khufu and the initiates. Last week she’d created a magical Thermos with googly eyes that levitated around the room, yelling, “Exterminate! Exterminate!” until it smacked me in the head.
Rick Riordan (The Serpent's Shadow (The Kane Chronicles, #3))
Doesn't every previous era feel like fiction once it's gone?
Karen Thompson Walker (The Age of Miracles)
It's far easier to write why something is terrible than why it's good. If you're reviewing a film and you decide "This is a movie I don't like," basically you can take every element of the film and find the obvious flaw, or argue that it seems ridiculous, or like a parody of itself, or that it's not as good as something similar that was done in a previous film. What's hard to do is describe why you like something. Because ultimately, the reason things move people is very amorphous. You can be cerebral about things you hate, but most of the things you like tend to be very emotive.
Chuck Klosterman
I turned to my own bunk and examined it with a kind of appalled fascination. If the mattress stains were anything to go by, a previous user had not so much suffered from incontinence as rejoiced in it. He had evidently included the pillow in his celebrations.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
emancipatory politics must always destroy the appearance of a ‘natural order’, must reveal what is presented as necessary and inevitable to be a mere contingency, just as it must make what was previously deemed to be impossible seem attainable.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
The capitalist and consumerist ethics are two sides of the same coin, a merger of two commandments. The supreme commandment of the rich is ‘Invest!’ The supreme commandment of the rest of us is ‘Buy!’ The capitalist–consumerist ethic is revolutionary in another respect. Most previous ethical systems presented people with a pretty tough deal. They were promised paradise, but only if they cultivated compassion and tolerance, overcame craving and anger, and restrained their selfish interests. This was too tough for most. The history of ethics is a sad tale of wonderful ideals that nobody can live up to. Most Christians did not imitate Christ, most Buddhists failed to follow Buddha, and most Confucians would have caused Confucius a temper tantrum. In contrast, most people today successfully live up to the capitalist–consumerist ideal. The new ethic promises paradise on condition that the rich remain greedy and spend their time making more money and that the masses give free reign to their cravings and passions and buy more and more. This is the first religion in history whose followers actually do what they are asked to do. How though do we know that we'll really get paradise in return? We've seen it on television.
Yuval Noah Harari (קיצור תולדות האנושות)
The fact is that previously they were simply dunces and now they've suddenly become nihilists.
Ivan Turgenev (Fathers and Sons)
I have a rule." "Elaborate." The statue is still warm from the previous visitors. "I ask myself, if the worst happened—if I did get knocked up-would I be embarrassed to tell my child who his father was? If the answer is anywhere even remotely close to yes, then there's no way." He nods slowly. "That's a good rule.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
I am talking about ultimate deceit. I am talking about unparalleled treachery. Bottomless lies. Depths that are seen that are previously unimaginable. Darkness and shattering despair that could break bones. Paranoia and horror that could stop the heart cold. All inflicted on one's self by one's self. The soul turns schizophrenic and goes hopelessly insane.
Henry Rollins (Pissing in the Gene Pool)
No one so dislikes being punished unjustly as the person who might have been punished justly on scores of previous occasions, if he had only been found out.
P.G. Wodehouse (Tales of St. Austin's (School Stories, #3))
In my previous life I was a civil attorney. At one point I truly believed that was what I wanted to be- but that was before I'd been handed a fistful of crushed violets from a toddler. Before I understood that the smile of a child is a tattoo: indelible art.
Jodi Picoult (My Sister's Keeper)
I know I shouldn’t introduce my own memoir with this amount of insecurity, but my personal life philosophy is always to assume the worst, then you’re never disappointed. BAM! Highlight that previous sentence, baby!
Felicia Day (You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost))
There was a young lady named Bright, Whose speed was far faster than light; She started one day In a relative way, And returned on the previous night.
A.H. Reginald Buller
He spent six hours examining things, trying to find a difference from their appearance on the previous day in the hope of discovering in them some change that would reveal the passage of time.
Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
Though no longer pregnant, she continues, at times, to mix Rice Krispies and peanuts and onions in a bowl. For being a foreigner Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy -- a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been an ordinary life, only to discover that previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated and demanding. Like pregnancy, being a foreigner, Ashima believes, is something that elicits the same curiosity of from strangers, the same combination of pity and respect.
Jhumpa Lahiri (The Namesake)
Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes–characters even–caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you
Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)
After a fairly shaky start to the day, Arthur's mind was beginning to reassemble itself from the shell-shocked fragments the previous day had left him with. He had found a Nutri-Matic machine which had provided him with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. The way it functioned was very interesting. When the Drink button was pressed it made an instant but highly detailed examination of the subject's taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the subject's metabolism and then sent tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centers of the subject's brain to see what was likely to go down well. However, no one knew quite why it did this because it invariably delivered a cupful of liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.
Douglas Adams
Each move is dictated by the previous one--that is the meaning of order
Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead)
I think what I want is for someone to know me. Really know me. Know me better than anyone else and maybe even me. Isn’t that why we commit to another? It’s not for sex. If it were for sex, we wouldn’t marry one person. We’d just keep finding new partners. We commit for many reasons, I know, but the more I think about it, the more I think long-term relationships are for getting to know someone. I want someone to know me, really know me, almost like that person could get into my head. What would that feel like? To have access, to know what it’s like in someone else’s head. To rely on someone else, have him rely on you. That’s not a biological connection like the one between parents and children. This kind of relationship would be chosen. It would be something cooler, harder to achieve than one built on biology and shared genetics. I think that’s it. Maybe that’s how we know when a relationship is real. When someone else previously unconnected to us knows us in a way we never thought or believed possible.
Iain Reid (I'm Thinking of Ending Things)
People ask me what I am politically and I've previously offered this equation: I became a conservative by being around liberals. And I became a libertarian after being around conservatives.
Greg Gutfeld (The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage)
He believed in himself, believed in his quixotic ambition, letting the failures of the previous day disappear as each new day dawned. Yesterday was not today. The past did not predict the future if he could learn from his mistakes.
Daniel Wallace (The Kings and Queens of Roam)
I like to watch his hands as he works, making a blank page bloom with strokes of ink, adding touches of color to our previously black and yellowish book. His face takes on a special look when he concentrates. His usual easy expression is replaced by something more intense and removed that suggests an entire world locked away inside him. I've seen flashes of this before: in the arena, or when he speaks to a crowd, or that time he shoved the Peacekeepers' guns away from me in District 11. I don't know quite what to make of it. I also become a little fixated on his eyelashes, which ordinarily you don't notice much because they're so blond. But up close, in the sunlight slanting in from the window, they're a light golden color and so long I don't see how they keep from getting all tangled up when he blinks.
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
If you know what you're looking for, that's all you'll get - what's previously known. But when you're open to what's possible, you get something new - that's creativity.
Alan Alda
And I remembered with a pang what had happened to me the previous summer - that even Gallagher Girls aren't always as strong as they need to be.
Ally Carter (United We Spy (Gallagher Girls, #6))
A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected.
Reif Larsen (The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet)
We are all of us not merely liable to fear, we are also prone to be afraid of being afraid, and the conquering of fear produces exhilaration.…The contrast between the previous apprehension and the present relief and feeling of security promotes a self-confidence that is the very father and mother of courage.
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
How have you been? You’re still as beautiful as ever.” “As are you, my dear. I love your shoes.” “Aren’t they delightful? I saw them and just had to have them. Their previous owner wasn’t too keen to let them go, but I can be very persuasive when I want to be.” “Is that her blood on the left one?” “And no amount of scrubbing will get it out, either.
Derek Landy (Death Bringer (Skulduggery Pleasant, #6))
However, Gregor had become much calmer. All right, people did not understand his words any more, although they seemed clear enough to him, clearer than previously, perhaps because had gotten used to them
Franz Kafka (The Metamorphosis)
Due to attachment, anger, and foolishness, I have committed numberless mistakes in speech, deed and thought. I bow my head and repent. I vow from today to begin anew, to live day and night in mindfulness, and not to repeat my previous mistakes.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Those who set up a fictitious worship, merely worship and adore their own delirious fancies; indeed, they would never dare so to trifle with God, had they not previously fashioned him after their own childish conceits.
John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
It's always been the children who have saved the universe from the previous generation and remade the world in their own image. ---Carl
Diane Duane (High Wizardry (Young Wizards, #3))
The previously unloved may find it hard to believe that they are now loved; that is such a miracle, they feel; such a miracle.
Alexander McCall Smith (The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #8))
It ought to be plain how little you gain by getting excited and vexed. You'll always be late for the previous train, and always on time for the next.
Piet Hein
There they lay, but not in the forgetfulness of the previous night. She was seeking and he was seeking, they raged and contorted their faces and bored their heads into each others bosom in the urgency of seeking something, and their embraces and their tossing limbs did not avail to make them forget, but only reminded them of what they sought
Franz Kafka (Franz Kafka's The Castle (Dramatization))
A person's life consists of a collection of events, the last of which could also change the meaning of the whole, not because it counts more than the previous ones but because once they are included in a life, events are arranged in an order that is not chronological but, rather, corresponds to an inner architecture.
Italo Calvino (Mr.Palomar)
Each moment of our life, we either invoke or destroy our dreams. We call upon it to become a fact, or we cancel our previous instructions.
Stuart Wilde
But writing is a wonderful and terrible thing. It opens deep wells of memory that were previously capped.
Stephen King (Revival)
As we know from the study of history, no new system can impose itself upon a previous one without incorporating many of the elements to be found in the latter...
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
A villain must be a thing of power, handled with delicacy and grace. He must be wicked enough to excite our aversion, strong enough to arouse our fear, human enough to awaken some transient gleam of sympathy. We must triumph in his downfall, yet not barbarously nor with contempt, and the close of his career must be in harmony with all its previous development.
Agnes Repplier
Our people made that choice, the choice to go to Sameness. Before my time, before the previous time, back and back and back. We relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with difference. We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.
Lois Lowry (The Giver (The Giver, #1))
The problem is, or rather one of the problems, for there are many, a sizeable proportion of which are continually clogging up the civil, commercial, and criminal courts in all areas of the Galaxy, and especially, where possible, the more corrupt ones, this. The previous sentence makes sense. That is not the problem. This is: Change. Read it through again and you'll get it.
Douglas Adams (So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #4))
when men at last accept the fact that they cannot successfully lie to themselves, and at last learn to take themselves seriously, they discover previously unknown and often remarkable recuperative powers within themselves.
Rollo May (Man's Search for Himself)
Books are a portable kind of time travel. We go back as well as forward when we read them. When we come back into the now, after being immersed in worlds previously unknown to us, we find ourselves, transformed. Touched by their magic, nothing we ever perceived beforehand remains quite the same.
Suzy Davies
My previous outlook could be summed up as follows: Life is shit. Math makes sense. Fictional characters are superior to real people because real people are equal parts pitiful and predictable.
Penny Reid (Love Hacked (Knitting in the City, #3))
He turned his dark eyes on the girl whom he had dreamed of so often over the previous months. Beside him, at that very moment of existence, at the heart of torrential downpour, she was exquisitely real, and she, too, seemed content to go on sitting there forever.
Anna Godbersen (Splendor (Luxe, #4))
Beside me, Molly rolled her shoulders in a few jerky motions and pushed at her hair in fitful little gestures. She tugged at her well-tattered skirts, and grimaced at her boots. "Can you see if there’s any mud on them?" I paused to consider her for a second. Then I said, "You have two tattoos showing right now, and you probably used a fake ID to get them. Your piercings would set off any metal detector worth the name, and you’re featuring them in parts of your anatomy your parents wish you didn’t yet realize you had. You’re dressed like Frankenhooker, and your hair has been dyed colors I previously thought existed only in cotton candy.” I turned to face the door again. “I wouldn’t waste time worrying about a little mud on the boots.
Jim Butcher (Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files, #8))
Mostly, we argued about who which of us was better at arguing, and particularly about who had won the previous argument.
Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto)
When you think you can't, revisit a previous triumph.
Jack Canfield
Maturity is when you stop complaining and making excuses in your life; you realize everything that happens in life is a result of the previous choice you’ve made and start making new choices to change your life.
Roy Bennett
All difficult things in the world are sure to arise from a previous state in which they were easy, and all great things from one in which they were small.
Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
An oncology ward is a battlefield, and there are definite hierarchies of command. The patients, they're the ones doing the tour of duty. The doctors breeze in and out like conquering heroes, but they need to read your child's chart to remember where they've left off from the previous visit. It is the nurses who are the seasoned sergeants -- the ones who are there when your baby is shaking with such a high fever she needs to be bathed in ice, the ones who can teach you how to flush a central venous catheter, or suggest which patient floor might still have Popsicles left to be stolen, or tell you which dry cleaners know how to remove the stains of blood and chemotherapies from clothing. The nurses know the name of your daughter's stuffed walrus and show her how to make tissue paper flowers to twine around her IV stand. The doctors may be mapping out the war games, but it is the nurses who make the conflict bearable.
Jodi Picoult (My Sister's Keeper)
The doctor seemed especially troubled by the fact of the robbery having been unexpected, and attempted in the night-time; as if it were the established custom of gentlemen in the housebreaking way to transact business at noon, and to make an appointment, by the twopenny post, a day or two previous.
Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist)
Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for -- annually, not oftener -- if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.
Mark Twain
Power," Nita heard her father say behind her. "Creation. Forces from before time. This is--this business is for saints, not children!" Even saints have to start somewhere," Carl said softly. "And it's always been the children who have saved the universe from the previous generation and remade the universe in their own image.
Diane Duane (High Wizardry (Young Wizards, #3))
We only feel dehumanized when we get trapped in the derogatory images of other people or thoughts of wrongness about ourselves. As author and mythologist Joseph Campbell suggested, "'What will they think of me?' must be put aside for bliss." We begin to feel this bliss when messages previously experienced as critical or blaming begin to be seen for the gifts they are: opportunities to give to people who are in pain.
Marshall B. Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life)
Sometimes, life seems to have a higher meaning. Events unfold in uncanny sequences. Long-forgotten acquaintances turn up with news that changes lives. A stranger appears and speaks a few words of wisdom, solving a previously insoluble problem, or something in a recent dream transpires in reality. Suddenly the existence of God seems confirmed.
Dean Koontz (Winter Moon)
We are born one time only, we can never start a new life equipped with the experience we've gained from the previous one. We leave childhood without knowing what youth is, we marry without knowing what it is to be married, and even when we enter old age, we don't know what it is we're heading for: the old are innocent children innocent of thier old age. In that sense, man's world is the planet of inexperience.
Milan Kundera (The Art of the Novel)
Whatever question arose, a swarm of these drones, without having finished their buzzing on a previous theme, flew over to the new one and by their hum drowned and obscured the voices of those who were disputing honestly.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
Yet, the work was not complete. Next, citing Bond’s veranda and our subsequent construction of it as an example, Sanjit elaborated on the thought which he had previously teased, but not fully explained: that when a reader reads, the reader constructs a setting and world and is able to view themselves through this world. However, he also added that when we read, we are not only able to see our constructed world, but to evaluate our constructed world. This is how, Sanjit would argue, we influence and better ourselves, even if unintentionally; for by pausing and analyzing our constructions we may be able to identify our assumptions about people, places, or things. And it is in this way that books may be an expressed form of art, not just for the writer, but also for the reader.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
What kept her in the kingdom was the previously unimaginable condition of not having to think about money, because that’s what money gives you: the freedom to stop thinking about money. If you’ve never been without, then you won’t understand the profundity of this, how absolutely this changes your life.
Emily St. John Mandel (The Glass Hotel)
Not for a minute did I believe that this wasn’t goodbye. Still, I had loved and been loved in return, and there was nothing greater than that. It far outweighed the alienation of all the previous years. Bones thought five months was too short; I was amazed I’d been granted joy for so long. “I love you,” he moaned, or maybe I said it. I couldn’t tell the difference anymore. The lines had dissolved between us.
Jeaniene Frost (Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1))
In her misery she read a great deal, and discovered that she had lost something she had previously not really know she had: a soul. What’s that? It is easy to define negatively: it is simply that which sneaks off at the mention of algebraic series.
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities)
But will they be together again? If they're reborn as new people with no memory of their previous lives, how can they find each other?" "Soul mates will always find each other. Do not weep on their behalf...they will be together again." "Do you promise?" Lina's voice trembled with emotion. "I promise, sweet one. I promise.
P.C. Cast (Goddess of Spring (Goddess Summoning, #2))
He had the hypocrisy to represent a mourner: and previous to following with Hareton, he lifted the unfortunate child on to the table and muttered, with peculiar gusto, 'Now, my bonny lad, you are mine! And we'll see if one tree won't grow as crooked as another, with the same wind to twist it!
Emily Brontë (Wuthering Height)
Wheels have been set in motion, and they have their own pace, to which we are...condemned. Each move is dictated by the previous one - that is the meaning of order. If we start being arbitrary it'll just be a shambles: at least, let us hope so. Because if we happened, just happened to discover, or even suspect, that our spontaneity was part of their order, we'd know that we were lost. A Chinaman of the T'ang Dynasty - and, by which definition, a philosopher - dreamed he was a butterfly, and from that moment he was never quite sure that he was not a butterfly dreaming it was a Chinese philosopher. Envy him; his two-fold security.
Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead)
Those who stand for different causes during different generations often experience the same oppositions and the same difficulties as those of the previous and the next generations. That is the basis of history repeating itself.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
Three months previously I had entered the Haunt alone, covered in blood that was not my own and swinging a stolen sword. By Brothers followed me in. Now I left the castle in the hands of another. I had wanted my uncle's blood. His crown I took because other men said I could not have it.
Mark Lawrence (King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2))
He remained annoyed with himself until he realized that not knowing what he wanted was actually quite natural. We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can never compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
Even now, she wished she could write a note, push it across the table, and go away to her room. But she was no longer a Second Assistant Librarian of the Great Library of the Clayr. Those days were gone, vanished with everything else that had defined her previous existence and identity.
Garth Nix (Lirael (Abhorsen, #2))
I despise flowery speech since those who use it are usually guilty of the worst betrayals later. That and the type of life I’ve lived have made me incapable of saying the pretty words you deserve to hear, yet if I made you a vampire, you’d feel my emotions as clearly as I hear your thoughts now.” Then he drew my hand to his chest, placing it over his heart. “I never turned any of my previous lovers because I didn’t want them to feel how little I cared. You I loved, yet you left me because I wouldn’t verbalize my emotions. That will probably happen again, but if you could feel what you mean to me, Leila” —his voice deepened— “words wouldn’t matter.
Jeaniene Frost (Twice Tempted (Night Prince, #2))
I have a question." "Yes?" "Are we on a date?" I nearly choked on the sip of beer I'd just taken. "For the love of God, woman, don't have a fit. I just wonder if you'd like to reestablish ground rules. Should we review our previous set?" I nodded, pressing a napkin to my lips and mumbling, "Sure.
Christina Lauren (Beautiful Stranger (Beautiful Bastard, #2))
Little fussy Otto, in his red-lined black opera cloak with pockets for all his gear, his shiny black shoes, his carefully cut widow's peak and, not least, his ridiculous accent that grew thicker or thinner depending on who he was talking to, did not look like a threat. He looked funny, a joke, a music-hall vampire. It had never previously occurred to Vimes that, just possibly, the joke was on other people.
Terry Pratchett (Thud! (Discworld, #34; City Watch, #7))
It is not easy to convey, unless one has experienced it, the dramatic feeling of sudden enlightenment that floods the mind when the right idea finally clicks into place. One immediately sees how many previously puzzling facts are neatly explained by the new hypothesis. One could kick oneself for not having the idea earlier, it now seems so obvious. Yet before, everything was in a fog.
Francis Crick (What Mad Pursuit: A Personal View of Scientific Discovery)
... His arm was so thick and strong. I was sure it would protect me for as long as I lived. And it did. Even after I lost him. The memory of his arm wraps around me as his arm used to. Each day has been chained to the previous one. But the weeks have had wings. Why are you leaving me? He wrote, I do not know how to live. I do not know either, but I am trying. I do not know how to try. There were things I wanted to tell him. But I knew they would hurt him. So I buried them, and let them hurt me. I put my hand on him. Touching him was always so important to me. It was something I lived for. My fingers against his shoulder. The outsides of our thighs touching as we squeezed together on the bus. I couldn't explain it, but I needed it. Sometimes I imagined stitching all of our little touches together. How many hundreds of thousands of fingers brushing against each other does it take to make love. Why does anyone ever make love? ...
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
Writing exists (for me) at the intersection of three precarious, uncertain elements: language, the world, the self. The first is never wholly mine; the second I can only ever know in a partial sense; the third is a malleable and improvised response to the previous two.
Zadie Smith (Feel Free: Essays)
I do so love my witches and wicked queens. I find myself drawn to feminine archetypes that previous generations have found threatening or dangerous: crones, oracles, madwomen, Amazons, virgins who aren’t helpless, bad mothers. I love to give the vagina dentata voice. It so rarely gets to speak for itself.
Catherynne M. Valente
Maybe I owe you something too, human," she said, drawing her pistol. Butler almost reacted, but decided to give Holly the benefit of the doubt. Captain Short plucked a gold coin from her belt, flicking it fifty feet into the moonlit sky. With one fluid movement, she brought her weapon up and loosed a single blast. The coin rose another fifty feet, then spun earthward. Artemis somehow managed to snatch it from the air. The first cool movement of his young life. "Nice shot," he said. The previously solid disk now had a tiny hole in the center. Holly held out her hand, revealing the still raw scar on her finger. "If it wasn't for you, I would have missed altogether. No mech-digit can replicate that kind of accuracy. So, thank you too, I suppose." Artemis held out the coin. "No," said Holly. "You keep it, to remind you." "To remind me?" Holly stared at him frankly. "To remind you that deep beneath the layers of deviousness, you have a spark of decency. Perhaps you could blow on that spark occasionally." Artemis closed his fingers around the coin. It was warm against his palm. "Yes, perhaps.
Eoin Colfer (The Arctic Incident (Artemis Fowl, #2))
...yet, even before he left the room, - and certainly, not five minutes after, the clear conviction dawned upon her, shined bright upon her, that he did love her; that he had loved her; that he would love her. And she shrank and shuddered as under the fascination of some great power, repugnant to her whole previous life.She crept away, and hid from his idea. But it was of no use
Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South)
Of the value traps, the most widespread and pernicious is value rigidity. This is an inability to revalue what one sees because of commitment to previous values. In motorcycle maintenance, you MUST rediscover what you do as you go. Rigid values makes this impossible.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1))
Do you suppose it's so much easier to make conversation with someone you already know well than with someone you don't know at all primarily because of all the previously exchanged information and shared experiences between two people who know each other well, or because maybe it's only with people we already know well and know know us well that we don't go through the awkward mental process of subjecting everything we think of saying or bringing up as a topic of light conversation to a self-conscious critical analysis and evaluation that manages to make anything we think of proposing to say the other person seem dull or stupid or banal or on the other hand maybe overly intimate or tension-producing?
David Foster Wallace (The Pale King)
And then she thought that you went on living one day after another, and in time you were somebody else, your previous self only like a close relative, a sister or brother, with whom you shared a past. But a different person, a separate life. Certainly neither she nor Inman were the people they had been the last time they were together. And she believed maybe she liked them both better now.
Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain)
Such journeys have convinced me that it is not always possible to restore one's boundaries after they have been blurred and made permeable by a relationship: try as we might, we cannot reconstitute ourselves as the autonomous beings we previously imagined ourselves to be.
Mohsin Hamid (The Reluctant Fundamentalist)
The desire to live life to its fullest, to acquire more knowledge, to abandon the economic treadmill, are all typical reactions to these experiences in altered states of consciousness. The previous fear of death is typically quelled. If the individual generally remains thereafter in the existential state of awareness, the deep internal feeling of eternity is quite profound and unshakable.
Edgar D. Mitchell (The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds)
The act of true reading is in its very essence democratic. Consider the nature of what happens when we read a book - and I mean, of course, a work of literature, not an instruction manual or a textbook - in private, unsupervised, un-spied-on, alone. It isn't like a lecture: it's like a conversation. There's a back-and-forthness about it. The book proposes, the reader questions, the book responds, the reader considers. We bring our own preconceptions and expectations, our own intellectual qualities, and our limitations, too, our own previous experiences of reading, our own temperament, our own hopes and fears, our own personality to the encounter.
Philip Pullman
Someone was trying to kill Lady Alexia Maccon. It was most inconvenient, as she was in a dreadful hurry. Given her previous familiarity with near-death experiences and their comparative frequency with regards to her good self, Alexia should probably have allowed extra time for such a predictable happenstance.
Gail Carriger (Blameless (Parasol Protectorate, #3))
Scepticism is as much the result of knowledge, as knowledge is of scepticism. To be content with what we at present know, is, for the most part, to shut our ears against conviction; since, from the very gradual character of our education, we must continually forget, and emancipate ourselves from, knowledge previously acquired; we must set aside old notions and embrace fresh ones; and, as we learn, we must be daily unlearning something which it has cost us no small labour and anxiety to acquire.
Homer (The Iliad)
The poet lives and writes at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. There is no going back for the poet once this frontier has been reached; a new territory is visible and what has been said cannot be unsaid. The discipline of poetry is in overhearing yourself say difficult truths from which it is impossible to retreat. Poetry is a break for freedom. In a sense all poems are good; all poems are an emblem of courage and the attempt to say the unsayable; but only a few are able to speak to something universal yet personal and distinct at the same time; to create a door through which others can walk into what previously seemed unobtainable realms, in the passage of a few short lines.
David Whyte
In terms of the Internet, it's like humanity acquiring a collective nervous system. Whereas previously we were more like a [?], like a collection of cells that communicated by diffusion. With the advent of the Internet, it was suddenly like we got a nervous system. It's a hugely impactful thing.
Elon Musk
I wish I had left him as he was. I wish you had told me this would happen. (Amanda) Told you what, Amanda? That the two of you would spend the rest of your lives loving each other? Raising your kis? Neither one of you have any idea how miraculous your life is. How many people would gladly sell their souls for what you have. Forget Artemis and immortality. What you have is infinitely more previous and rare. (Acheron)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Seize the Night (Dark-Hunter #6))
What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.
Patricia Engel (Infinite Country)
Leto turned a hard stare at Kynes. And Kynes, returning the stare, found himself troubled by a fact he had observed here: This Duke was concerned more over the men than he was over the spice. He risked his own life, and that of his son to save the men. He passed off the loss of a spice crawler with a gesture. The threat to men's lives had him in a rage. A leader such as that would command fanatic loyalty. He would be difficult to defeat. Against his own will and all previous judgements, Kynes admitted to himself: I like this Duke.
Frank Herbert (Dune (Dune, #1))
Parlabane found the word 'pro-active' enormously useful, as it immediately exposed the speaker as an irredeemable arsehole, whatever previous impression might have been given. Once upon a time, he remembered, people and companies just did things. But that ceased to be impressive enough, and for a while they 'actively' did things. Now they 'pro-actively' did things, but it was still the same bloody things that they were doing when they just plain old did things. Meaningless wank-language.
Christopher Brookmyre (Quite Ugly One Morning (Jack Parlabane, #1))
A pale, slightly luminescent form materialized in front of us. Mason. He looked the same as ever-or did he? The usual sadness was there, but I could see something else, something else I couldn't quite put my finger on. Panic? Frustration? I could have almost sworn it was fear, but honestly, what would a ghost have to be afraid of. "What's wrong?" asked Dimitri. "Do you see him?" I whispered. Dimitri followed my gaze. "See who?" "Mason." Mason's troubled expression grew darker. I might not have been able to adequately identify it, but I knew it wasn't anything good. The nauseous feeling within me intensified, but somehow, I knew it had nothing to do with him. "Rose...we should go back..." said Dimitri carefully. He still wasn't on board with me seeing ghosts. But I didn't move. Mason's face was saying something else to me-or trying to. There was something here, something important that I needed to know. But he couldn't communicate it. "What?" I asked. "What is it?" A look of frustration crossed his face. He pointed off behind me, the dropped his hand. "Tell me," I said, my frustration mirroring his. Dimitri was looking back and forth between me and Mason, though mason was probably only and empty space to him. I was too fixated on Mason to worry what Dimitri might think. There was something here. Something big. Mason opened his mouth, wanting to speak as in previous times but still unable to get the words out. Except, this time, after several agonizing seconds, he managed it. The words were nearly inaudible. "They're...coming....
Richelle Mead (Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3))
THE MYTHS ABOUT ABUSERS 1. He was abused as a child. 2. His previous partner hurt him. 3. He abuses those he loves the most. 4. He holds in his feelings too much. 5. He has an aggressive personality. 6. He loses control. 7. He is too angry. 8. He is mentally ill. 9. He hates women. 10. He is afraid of intimacy and abandonment. 11. He has low self-esteem. 12. His boss mistreats him. 13. He has poor skills in communication and conflict resolution. 14. There are as many abusive women as abusive men. 15. His abusiveness is as bad for him as for his partner. 16. He is a victim of racism. 17. He abuses alcohol or drugs.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
I told her that I didn't want to take any drugs. That I had come here not to take drugs. "Listen," she said, not unkindly, "up until now I would say that ninety-nine percent of all the narcotics you have taken in your life you bought from guys you didn't know, in bathrooms or on street corners, something like that. Correct?" I nodded. "Well these guys could have been selling you salt or strychnine. They didn't care. They wanted your money. I don't care about your money, and, unlike your previous suppliers, I went to college to study just the right drugs to give to people like you in order to help you get better. So, bearing all that in mind ... Take the fucking drugs!" I took the drugs.
Craig Ferguson (American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot)
Few travelled in these days, for, thanks to the advance of science, the earth was exactly alike all over. Rapid intercourse, from which the previous civilization had hoped so much, had ended by defeating itself. What was the good of going to Peking when it was just like Shrewsbury? Why return to Shrewsbury when it would all be like Peking? Men seldom moved their bodies; all unrest was concentrated in the soul.
E.M. Forster (The Machine Stops)
It has been said that depression is a failure to imagine a plausible desirable future for oneself, and, not just in Marin, but in the whole region, in the Bay Area, and in many other places too, places both near and far, the apocalypse appeared to have arrived and yet it was not apocalyptic, which is to say that while the changes were jarring they were not the end, and life went on, and people found things to do and ways to be and people to be with, and plausible desirable futures began to emerge, unimaginable previously, but not unimaginable now, and the result was something not unlike relief.
Mohsin Hamid (Exit West)
Naasir stretched lazily before settling back into his previous position. “I’m old enough now, and I want someone to play with like you play with Janvier and Raphael does with Elena. Even Dmitri plays with Honor.” This seemed to fascinate him. “The rules are secret in each game. I want to have secret rules with a woman who . . .” A long pause. “A woman who knows me, understands what I am, and who wants to have secret rules with me.
Nalini Singh (Archangel's Shadows (Guild Hunter, #7))
As you take a few minutes each day to quiet your mind, you will discover a nice benefit: your everyday, "ordinary" life will begin to seem far more extraordinary. Little things that previously went unnoticed will begin to please you. You'll be more easily satisfied, and happier all around. Rather than focusing on what's wrong with your life, you'll find yourself thinking about and more fully enjoying what's right with your life. The world won't change, but your perception of it will. You'll start to notice the little acts of kindness and caring from other people rather than the negativity and anger.
Jack Canfield
I, too, feel the need to reread the books I have already read," a third reader says, "but at every rereading I seem to be reading a new book, for the first time. Is it I who keep changing and seeing new things of which I was not previously aware? Or is reading a construction that assumes form, assembling a great number of variables, and therefore something that cannot be repeated twice according to the same pattern? Every time I seek to relive the emotion of a previous reading, I experience different and unexpected impressions, and do not find again those of before. At certain moments it seems to me that between one reading and the next there is a progression: in the sense, for example, of penetrating further into the spirit of the text, or of increasing my critical detachment. At other moments, on the contrary, I seem to retain the memory of the readings of a single book one next to another, enthusiastic or cold or hostile, scattered in time without a perspective, without a thread that ties them together. The conclusion I have reached is that reading is an operation without object; or that its true object is itself. The book is an accessory aid, or even a pretext.
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
If nature leads us to mathematical forms of great simplicity and beauty—by forms, I am referring to coherent systems of hypotheses, axioms, etc.—to forms that no one has previously encountered, we cannot help thinking that they are “true,” that they reveal a genuine feature of nature…. You must have felt this too: the almost frightening simplicity and wholeness of the relationships which nature suddenly spreads out before us and for which none of us was in the least prepared.
Werner Heisenberg
Sometimes I think that the amount of time you live on earth is just an inverse reflection of how good you were in a previous existence. For example, infants who die from SIDs were actually great people when they were alive for real, so they get to go to heaven after a mere five weeks in purgatory. Meanwhile anyone Willard Scott ever congratulated for turning one hundred two was obviously a terrible individual who had many many previous sins to pay for and had to spend a century in his or her own unknown purgatory even though the person seemed perfectly wholesome in this particular world.
Chuck Klosterman (Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story)
Christianity was neither original nor unique, but that the roots of much of the Judeo/ Christian tradition lay in the prevailing Kamite (ancient Egyptian) culture of the region. We are faced with the inescapable realisation that if Jesus had been able to read the documents of old Egypt, he would have been amazed to find his own biography already substantially written some four or five thousand years previously.
Gerald Massey
Selah is found in the Hebrew Bible seventy-four times. Scholars believe that when it appears in the text, it is a direction to the reader to stop reading and be still for a moment, because the previous idea is important enough to consider deeply. The poetry in scripture is meant to transform, and the scribes knew that change begins through reading but can be completed only in quiet contemplation. Selah appears in Hebrew music, too. It’s believed to be a signal to the music director to silence the choir for a long moment, to hold space between notes. The silence, of course, is when the music sinks in.
Glennon Doyle (Untamed)
All the demons of Hell formerly reigned as gods in previous cultures. No it's not fair, but one man's god is another man's devil. As each subsequent civilization became a dominant power, among its first acts was to depose and demonize whoever the previous culture had worshipped. The Jews attacked Belial, the god of the Babylonians. The Christians banished Pan and Loki anda Mars, the respective deities of the ancient Greeks and Celts and Romans. The Anglican British banned belief in the Australian aboriginal spirits known as the Mimi. Satan is depicted with cloven hooves because Pan had them, and he carries a pitchfork based on the trident carried by Neptune. As each deity was deposed, it was relegated to Hell. For gods so long accustomed to receiving tribute and loving attention, of course this status shift put them into a foul mood.
Chuck Palahniuk (Damned (Damned, #1))
The finished clock is resplendent. At first glance it is simply a clock, a rather large black clock with a white face and a silver pendulum. Well crafted, obviously, with intricately carved woodwork edges and a perfectly painted face, but just a clock. But that is before it is wound. Before it begins to tick, the pendulum swinging steadily and evenly. Then, then it becomes something else. The changes are slow. First, the color changes in the face, shifts from white to grey, and then there are clouds that float across it, disappearing when they reach the opposite side. Meanwhile, bits of the body of the clock expand and contract, like pieces of a puzzle. As though the clock is falling apart, slowly and gracefully. All of this takes hours. The face of the clock becomes a darker grey, and then black, with twinkling stars where numbers had been previously. The body of the clock, which has been methodically turning itself inside out and expanding, is now entirely subtle shades of white and grey. And it is not just pieces, it is figures and objects, perfectly carved flowers and planets and tiny books with actual paper pages that turn. There is a silver dragon that curls around part of the now visible clockwork, a tiny princess in a carved tower who paces in distress, awaiting an absent prince. Teapots that pour into teacups and minuscule curls of steam that rise from them as the seconds tick. Wrapped presents open. Small cats chase small dogs. An entire game of chess is played. At the center, where a cuckoo bird would live in a more traditional timepiece, is the juggler. Dress in harlequin style with a grey mask, he juggles shiny silver balls that correspond to each hour. As the clock chimes, another ball joins the rest until at midnight he juggles twelve balls in a complex pattern. After midnight, the clock begins once more to fold in upon itself. The face lightens and the cloud returns. The number of juggled balls decreases until the juggler himself vanishes. By noon it is a clock again, and no longer a dream.
Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
You do understand that I must find a way to return to Olympus,” I said. “This will probably involve many harrowing trials with a high chance of death. Can you turn down such glory?” “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I can. Sorry.” I pursed my lips. It always disappointed me when mortals put themselves first and failed to see the big picture—the importance of putting me first—but I had to remind myself that this young man had helped me out on many previous occasions
Rick Riordan (The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1))
Walking around, even on a bad day, I would see things – I mean just the things that were in front of me. People’s faces, the weather, traffic. The smell of petrol from the garage, the feeling of being rained on, completely ordinary things. And in that way even the bad days were good, because I felt them and remembered feeling them. There was something delicate about living like that – like I was an instrument and the world touched me and reverberated inside me. After a couple of months, I started to miss days. Sometimes I would fall asleep without remembering to write anything, but then other nights I’d open the book and not know what to write – I wouldn’t be able to think of anything at all. When I did make entries, they were increasingly verbal and abstract: song titles, or quotes from novels, or text messages from friends. By spring I couldn’t keep it up anymore. I started to put the diary away for weeks at a time – it was just a cheap black notebook I got at work – and then eventually I’d take it back out to look at the entries from the previous year. At that point, I found it impossible to imagine ever feeling again as I had apparently once felt about rain or flowers. It wasn’t just that I failed to be delighted by sensory experiences – it was that I didn’t actually seem to have them anymore. I would walk to work or go out for groceries or whatever and by the time I came home again I wouldn’t be able to remember seeing or hearing anything distinctive at all. I suppose I was seeing but not looking – the visual world just came to me flat, like a catalogue of information. I never looked at things anymore, in the way I had before.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
Deleuze and Guattari describe capitalism as a kind of dark potentiality which haunted all previous social systems. Capital, they argue, is the ‘unnamable Thing’, the abomination, which primitive and feudal societies ‘warded off in advance’. When it actually arrives, capitalism brings with it a massive desacralization of culture. It is a system which is no longer governed by any transcendent Law; on the contrary, it dismantles all such codes, only to re-install them on an ad hoc basis.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
My present self is formed almost completely of the people around me. I am currently made up of 30 percent Mrs. Izumi, 30 percent Sugawara, 20 percent the manager, and the rest absorbed from past colleagues such as Sasaki, who left six months ago, and Okasaki, who was our supervisor until a year ago. My speech is especially infected by everyone around me and is currently a mix of that of Mrs. Izumi and Sugawara. I think the same goes for most people. When some of Sugawara’s band members came into the store recently they all dressed and spoke just like her. After Mrs. Izumi came, Sasaki started sounding just like her when she said, “Good job, see you tomorrow!” Once a woman who had gotten on well with Mrs. Izumi at her previous store came to help out, and she dressed so much like Mrs. Izumi I almost mistook the two. And I probably infect others with the way I speak too. Infecting each other like this is how we maintain ourselves as human is what I think.
Sayaka Murata (Convenience Store Woman)
One of the most unattractive human traits, and so easy to fall into, is resentment at the sudden shared popularity of a previously private pleasure. Which of us hasn't been annoyed when a band, writer, artist or television series that had been a minority interest of ours has suddenly achieved mainstream popularity? When it was at a cult level we moaned at the philistinism of a world that didn't appreciate it, and now that they do appreciate it we're all resentful and dog-in-the-manger about it.
Stephen Fry (The Fry Chronicles)
Nothing but the natural ignorance of the public, countenanced by the inoculated erroneousness of the ordinary general medical practitioners, makes such a barbarism as vaccination possible.......Recent developments have shown that an inoculation made in the usual general practitioner's light-hearted way, without previous highly skilled examination of the state of the patient's blood, is just as likely to be a simple manslaughter as a cure or preventive. But vaccination is nothing short of attempted murder. A skilled bacteriologist would just as soon think of cutting his child's arm and rubbing the contents of the dustpan into the wound, as vaccinating it in the same.
George Bernard Shaw
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed. The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.
Charles Darwin (The Descent of Man)
Exposition: the workings of the actual past + the virtual past may be illustrated by an event well known to collective history, such as the sinking of the Titanic. The disaster as it actually occurred descends into obscurity as its eyewitnesses die off, documents perish + the wreck of the ship dissolves in its Atlantic grave. Yet a virtual sinking of the Titanic, created from reworked memories, papers, hearsay, fiction--in short, belief--grows ever "truer." The actual past is brittle, ever-dimming + ever more problematic to access + reconstruct: in contrast, the virtual past is malleable, ever-brightening + ever more difficult to circumvent/expose as fraudulent. The present presses the virtual past into its own service, to lend credence to its mythologies + legitimacy to the imposition of will. Power seeks + is the right to "landscape" the virtual past. (He who pays the historian calls the tune.) Symmetry demands an actual + virtual future too. We imagine how next week, next year, or 2225 will shape up--a virtual future, constructed by wishes, prophecies + daydreams. This virtual future may influence the actual future, as in a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the actual future will eclipse our virtual one as surely as tomorrow eclipses today. Like Utopia, the actual future + the actual past exist only in the hazy distance, where they are no good to anyone. Q: Is there a meaningful distinction between one simulacrum of smoke, mirrors + shadows--the actual past--from another such simulacrum--the actual future? One model of time: an infinite matryoshka doll of painted moments, each "shell" (the present) encased inside a nest of "shells" (previous presents) I call the actual past but which we perceive as the virtual past. The doll of "now"likewise encases a nest of presents yet to be, which I call the actual future but which we perceive as the virtual future.
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
The war, therefore if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that the hierarchical society needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. The very word "war," therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist. The peculiar pressure that is exerted on human beings between the Neolithic Age and the early twentieth century has disappeared and has been replaced by something quite different. The effect would be much the same if the three superstates, instead of fighting one another, should agree to live in perpetual peace, each inviolate within its own boundaries. For in that case each would still be a self-contained universe, freed forever from the sobering influence of external danger. A peace that was truly permanent would be the same as a permanent war. This--although the vast majority of Party members understand it only in a shallower sense--is the inner meaning of the Party slogan: WAR IS PEACE.
George Orwell (1984)
This, then, is a story of Lincoln’s political genius revealed through his extraordinary array of personal qualities that enabled him to form friendships with men who had previously opposed him; to repair injured feelings that, left untended, might have escalated into permanent hostility; to assume responsibility for the failures of subordinates; to share credit with ease; and to learn from mistakes. He possessed an acute understanding of the sources of power inherent in the presidency, an unparalleled ability to keep his governing coalition intact, a tough-minded appreciation of the need to protect his presidential prerogatives, and a masterful sense of timing.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln)
Blessing must arise from within your own mind. It is not something that comes from outside. When the positive qualities of your mind increase and the negativities decrease, that is what blessing means. The Tibetan word for blessing … means transforming into magnificent potential. Therefore, blessing refers to the development of virtuous qualities you did not previously have and the improvement of those good qualities you have already developed. It also means decreasing the defilements of the mind that obstruct the generation of wholesome qualities. So actual blessing is received when the minds virtuous attributes gain strength and its defective characteristics weaken or deteriorate.
Dalai Lama XIV
The slow cancellation of the future has been accompanied by a deflation of expectations. There can be few who believe that in the coming year a record as great as, say, the Stooges’ Funhouse or Sly Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On will be released. Still less do we expect the kind of ruptures brought about by The Beatles or disco. The feeling of belatedness, of living after the gold rush, is as omnipresent as it is disavowed. Compare the fallow terrain of the current moment with the fecundity of previous periods and you will quickly be accused of ‘nostalgia’. But the reliance of current artists on styles that were established long ago suggests that the current moment is in the grip of a formal nostalgia, of which more shortly. It is not that nothing happened in the period when the slow cancellation of the future set in. On the contrary, those thirty years has been a time of massive, traumatic change. In the UK, the election of Margaret Thatcher had brought to an end the uneasy compromises of the so-called postwar social consensus. Thatcher’s neoliberal programme in politics was reinforced by a transnational restructuring of the capitalist economy. The shift into so-called Post-Fordism – with globalization, ubiquitous computerization and the casualisation of labour – resulted in a complete transformation in the way that work and leisure were organised. In the last ten to fifteen years, meanwhile, the internet and mobile telecommunications technology have altered the texture of everyday experience beyond all recognition. Yet, perhaps because of all this, there’s an increasing sense that culture has lost the ability to grasp and articulate the present. Or it could be that, in one very important sense, there is no present to grasp and articulate anymore.
Mark Fisher (Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures)
Sorry, I got hung up or I’d have been here earlier. I made sure I made it for closing, though. I didn’t want the streets to suffer if you walked alone.” A glance at him showed his lips twitching. Humor, a new facet to my knight in leather armor; one I liked, given my oftentimes sarcastic attitude towards life. He wore the same leather duster of the previous evening, and, once again, I enviously admired it. Unable to resist, I reached out a hand and stroked its supple surface, feeling a thrill that my hand strayed so close to his actual body. “It’s so soft,” I murmured. “Not for long, if you keep stroking it,” he drawled.
Eve Langlais (Lucifer's Daughter (Princess of Hell, #1))
The common denominator of all jokes is a path of expectation that is diverted by an unexpected twist necessitating a complete reinterpretation of all the previous facts — the punch-line…Reinterpretation alone is insufficient. The new model must be inconsequential. For example, a portly gentleman walking toward his car slips on a banana peel and falls. If he breaks his head and blood spills out, obviously you are not going to laugh. You are going to rush to the telephone and call an ambulance. But if he simply wipes off the goo from his face, looks around him, and then gets up, you start laughing. The reason is, I suggest, because now you know it’s inconsequential, no real harm has been done. I would argue that laughter is nature’s way of signaling that "it’s a false alarm." Why is this useful from an evolutionary standpoint? I suggest that the rhythmic staccato sound of laughter evolved to inform our kin who share our genes; don’t waste your precious resources on this situation; it’s a false alarm. Laughter is nature’s OK signal.
V.S. Ramachandran (A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness: From Impostor Poodles to Purple Numbers)
Pick up a pinecone and count the spiral rows of scales. You may find eight spirals winding up to the left and 13 spirals winding up to the right, or 13 left and 21 right spirals, or other pairs of numbers. The striking fact is that these pairs of numbers are adjacent numbers in the famous Fibonacci series: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21... Here, each term is the sum of the previous two terms. The phenomenon is well known and called phyllotaxis. Many are the efforts of biologists to understand why pinecones, sunflowers, and many other plants exhibit this remarkable pattern. Organisms do the strangest things, but all these odd things need not reflect selection or historical accident. Some of the best efforts to understand phyllotaxis appeal to a form of self-organization. Paul Green, at Stanford, has argued persuasively that the Fibonacci series is just what one would expects as the simplest self-repeating pattern that can be generated by the particular growth processes in the growing tips of the tissues that form sunflowers, pinecones, and so forth. Like a snowflake and its sixfold symmetry, the pinecone and its phyllotaxis may be part of order for free
Stuart A. Kauffman (At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity)
—————— I’m searching, I’m searching. I’m trying to understand. Trying to give what I’ve lived to somebody else and I don’t know to whom, but I don’t want to keep what I lived. I don’t know what to do with what I lived, I’m afraid of that profound disorder. I don’t trust what happened to me. Did something happen to me that I, because I didn’t know how to live it, lived as something else? That’s what I’d like to call disorganization, and I’d have the confidence to venture on, because I would know where to return afterward: to the previous organization. I’d rather call it disorganization because I don’t want to confirm myself in what I lived — in the confirmation of me I would lose the world as I had it, and I know I don’t have the fortitude for another.
Clarice Lispector (The Passion According to G.H.)
I understand the mechanism of my own thinking. I know precisely how I know, and my understanding is recursive. I understand the infinite regress of this self-knowing, not by proceeding step by step endlessly, but by apprehending the limit. The nature of recursive cognition is clear to me. A new meaning of the term "self-aware." Fiat logos. I know my mind in terms of a language more expressive than any I'd previously imagined. Like God creating order from chaos with an utterance, I make myself anew with this language. It is meta-self-descriptive and self-editing; not only can it describe thought, it can describe and modify its own operations as well, at all levels. What Gödel would have given to see this language, where modifying a statement causes the entire grammar to be adjusted. With this language, I can see how my mind is operating. I don't pretend to see my own neurons firing; such claims belong to John Lilly and his LSD experiments of the sixties. What I can do is perceive the gestalts; I see the mental structures forming, interacting. I see myself thinking, and I see the equations that describe my thinking, and I see myself comprehending the equations, and I see how the equations describe their being comprehended. I know how they make up my thoughts. These thoughts.
Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others)
When basic human needs are ignored, rejected, or invalidated by those in roles and positions to appropriately meet them; when the means by which these needs have been previously met are no longer available: and when prior abuse has already left one vulnerable for being exploited further, the stage is set for the possibility these needs will be prostituted. This situation places a survivor who has unmet needs in an incredible dilemma. She can either do without or seek the satisfaction of mobilized needs through some "illegitimate" source that leaves her increasingly divided from herself and ostracized from others. While meeting needs in this way resolves the immediate existential experience of deprivation and abandonment. it produces numerous other difficulties. These include experiencing oneself as “bad” or "weak" for having such strong needs; experiencing shame and guilt for relying on “illegitimate” sources of satisfaction: experiencing a loss of self-respect for indulging in activities contrary to personal moral standards of conduct; risking the displeasure and misunderstanding of others important to her; and opening oneself to the continued abuse and victimization of perpetrators who are all too willing to selfishly use others for their own pleasure and purposes under the guise of being 'helpful.
J. Jeffrey Means
How to repulse a demon (an old problem)? The demons, especially if they are demons of language (and what else could they be?) are fought by language. Hence I can hope to exorcise the demonic word which is breathed into my ears (by myself) if I substitute for it (if I have the gifts of language for doing so) another, calmer word (I yield to euphemism). Thus: I imagined I had escaped from the crisis at last, when behold -- favored by a long car trip -- a flood of language sweeps me away, I keep tormenting myself with the thought, desire, regret, and rage of the other; and I add to these wounds the discouragement of having to acknowledge that I am falling back, relapsing; but the French vocabulary is a veritable pharmacopoeia (poison on one side, antidote on the other): no, this is not a relapse, only a last soubresaut, a final convulsion of the previous demon.
Roland Barthes (A Lover's Discourse: Fragments)
Instead of an intellectual search, there was suddenly a very deep gut feeling that something was different. It occurred when looking at Earth and seeing this blue-and-white planet floating there, and knowing it was orbiting the Sun, seeing that Sun, seeing it set in the background of the very deep black and velvety cosmos, seeing - rather, knowing for sure - that there was a purposefullness of flow, of energy, of time, of space in the cosmos - that it was beyond man's rational ability to understand, that suddenly there was a nonrational way of understanding that had been beyond my previous experience. There seems to be more to the universe than random, chaotic, purposeless movement of a collection of molecular particles. On the return trip home, gazing through 240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, harmonious.
Edgar D. Mitchell
A comprehensive treatment plan for the heart’s diseases is to deny the self of its desires,        Enjoin hunger, keep worship vigilance in the night, be silent, and meditate in private;        Also keep company with good people who possess sincerity, those who are emulated in their states and statements;        And, finally, take refuge in the One unto whom all affairs return. That is the most beneficial treatment for all of the previous diseases.        This must be to the point in which you are like a man drowning or someone lost in a barren desert and see no source of succor        Except from the Guardian, possessor of the greatest power. He is the One who responds to the call of the distressed.
Hamza Yusuf (Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart)
In 1965, a psychologist named Martin Seligman started shocking dogs. He was trying to expand on the research of Pavlov--the guy who could make dogs salivate when they heard a bell ring. Seligman wanted to head in the other direction, and when he rang his bell, instead of providing food, he zapped the dogs with electricity. To keep them still, he restrained them in a harness during the experiment. After they were conditioned, he put these dogs in a big box with a little fence dividing it into two halves. He figured if the dog rang the bell, it would hop over the fence to escape, but it didn't. It just sat there and braced itself. They decided to try shocking the dog after the bell. The dog still just sat there and took it. When they put a dog in the box that had never been shocked before or had previously been allowed to escape and tried to zap it--it jumped the fence. You are just like these dogs. If, over the course of your life, you have experienced crushing defeat or pummeling abuse or loss of control, you convince yourself over time that there is no escape, and if escape is offered, you will not act--you become a nihilist who trusts futility above optimism. Studies of the clinically depressed show that they often give in to defeat and stop trying. . . Any extended period of negative emotions can lead to you giving in to despair and accepting your fate. If you remain alone for a long time, you will decide loneliness is a fact of life and pass up opportunities to hang out with people. The loss of control in any situation can lead to this state. . . Choices, even small ones, can hold back the crushing weight of helplessness, but you can't stop there. You must fight back your behavior and learn to fail with pride. Failing often is the only way to ever get the things you want out of life. Besides death, your destiny is not inescapable.
David McRaney (You Are Not So Smart)
The books we read help to shape who we are. Reading offers us, as children, our first independence- allowing us to travel far beyond the confines of our immediate world. Books introduce us to great figures in history, narratives that stir our spirit, fictions that tug us out of ourselves and into the lives of a thousand others, and visions of every era through which human beings have lived. And in the process of stretching who we are, books also connect us to all others- of our own or previous times- who have read what we've read. In the community of readers, we instantly become linked to those who share our love for specific characters or passages. A well-composed book,' says Caroline Gordon, 'is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.
Ben Jacobs (The Quotable Book Lover) my opinion miracles will never confound a realist. It is not miracles that bring a realist to faith. A true realist, if he is not a believer, will always find in himself the strength and ability not to believe in miracles as well, and if a miracle stands before him as an irrefutable fact, he will sooner doubt his own senses than admit the fact. And even if he does admit it, he will admit it as a fact of nature that was previously unknown to him. In the realist, faith is not born from miracles, but miracles from faith. Once the realist comes to believe, then, precisely because of his realism, he must also allow for miracles. The Apostle Thomas declared that he would not believe until he saw, and when he saw, he said: "My Lord and My God!" Was it the miracle that made him believe? Most likely not, but he believed first and foremost because he wished to believe, and maybe already fully believed in his secret heart even as he was saying: "I will not believe until I see.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
How we perceive the world and how we act in it are products of how and what we remember...No lasting joke, invention, insight, or work of art was ever produced by an external memory...Our ability to find humor in the world, to make connections between previously unconnected notions, to create new ideas, to share in a common culture: All these essentially human acts depend on memory. Now more than ever, as the role of memory in our culture erodes at a faster pace than ever before, we need to cultivate our ability to remember. Our memories make us who we are. They are the seat of our values and source of our character. Competing to see who can memorize more pages of poetry might seem beside the point, but it's about taking a stand against forgetfulness, and embracing primal capacities from which too many of us have became estranged...memory training is not just for the sake of performing party tricks; it's about nurturing something profoundly and essentially human.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
Thus, the philosopher dislikes marriage as well as what might persuade him into it??marriage is a barrier and a disaster along his route to the optimal. What great philosopher up to now has been married? Heraclitus, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibtniz, Kant, Schopenhauer?? None of these got married. What`s more, we cannot even imagine them married. A married philosopher belongs in a comedy, that`s my principle. And Socrates, the exception, the malicious Socrates, it appears, got married ironically to demonstrate this very principle. Every philosopher would speak as once Buddha spoke when someone told him of the birth his son, "Rahula has been born to me. A shackle has been forged for me." (Rahula here means "a little demon"). To every "free spirit" there must come a reflective hour, provided that previously he has had a one without thought, of the sort that came then to Buddha - "Life in a house," he thought to himself, "is narrow and confined, a polluted place. Freedom consists of abandoning houses;" "because he thought this way, he left the house.
Friedrich Nietzsche (On the Genealogy of Morals)
I saw a meme the other day with a picture of Marilyn Manson and Robin Williams. It said about the former, this isn’t the face of depression, and about the latter, this is. This really struck a chord and it’s been on my mind since then. As someone who has continuously dipped in and out of chronic depression and anxiety for close to three decades now, and I’ve never previously spoken about the subject, I finally thought it was time I did. These days it’s trendy for people to think they’re cool and understanding about mental illness, posting memes and such to indicate so. But the reality is far different to that. It seems most people think if they publicly display such understanding then perhaps a friend will come to them, open up, and calmly discuss their problems. This will not happen. For someone in that seemingly hopeless void of depression and anxiety the last thing they are likely to do is acknowledge it, let alone talk about it. Even if broached by a friend they will probably deny there is a problem and feel even more distanced from the rest of the world. So nobody can do anything to help, right? No. If right now you suspect one of your friends is suffering like this then you’re probably right. If right now you think that none of your friends are suffering like this then you’re probably wrong. By all means make your public affirmations of understanding, but at least take on board that an attempt to connect on this subject by someone you care about could well be cryptic and indirect. When we hear of celebrities who suffered and finally took their own lives the message tends to be that so many close friends had no idea. This is woeful, but it’s also great, right? Because by not knowing there was a problem there is no burden of responsibility on anyone else. This is another huge misconception, that by acknowledging an indirect attempt to connect on such a complex issue that somehow you are accepting responsibility to fix it. This is not the case. You don’t have to find a solution. Maybe just listen. Many times over the years I’ve seen people recoil when they suspect that perhaps that is the direct a conversation is about to turn, and they desperately scramble for anything that can immediately change the subject. By acknowledging you’ve heard and understood doesn’t mean you are picking up their burden and carrying it for them. Anyway, I’ve said my piece. And please don’t think this is me reaching out for help. If this was my current mindset the last thing I’d ever do is write something like this, let alone share it.
R.D. Ronald
The Necrotelicomnicon was written by a Klatchian necromancer known to the world as Achmed the Mad, although he preferred to be called Achmed the I Just Get These Headaches. It is said that the book was written in one day after Achmed drank too much of the strange thick Klatchian coffee which doesn't just sober you up, but takes you through sobriety and out the other side, so that you glimpse the real universe beyond the clouds of warm self-delusion that sapient life usually generates around itself to stop it turning into a nutcake. Little is known about his life prior to this event, because the page headed 'About The Author' spontaneously combusted shortly after his death. However, a section headed 'Other Books By the Same Author' indicates that his previous published work was Achmed the I Just Get These Headaches's Book of Humorous Cat Stories, which might explain a lot.
Terry Pratchett (Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1))
Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change. This pattern shows up everywhere. Cancer spends 80 percent of its life undetectable, then takes over the body in months. Bamboo can barely be seen for the first five years as it builds extensive root systems underground before exploding ninety feet into the air within six weeks. Similarly, habits often appear to make no difference until you cross a critical threshold and unlock a new level of performance. In the early and middle stages of any quest, there is often a Valley of Disappointment. You expect to make progress in a linear fashion and it’s frustrating how ineffective changes can seem during the first days, weeks, and even months. It doesn’t feel like you are going anywhere. It’s a hallmark of any compounding process: the most powerful outcomes
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
I don’t know why one person gets sick, and another does not, but I can only assume that some natural laws which we don’t understand are at work. I cannot believe that God “sends” illness to a specific person for a specific reason. I don’t believe in a God who has a weekly quota of malignant tumors to distribute, and consults His computer to find out who deserves one most or who could handle it best. “What did I do to deserve this?” is an understandable outcry from a sick and suffering person, but it is really the wrong question. Being sick or being healthy is not a matter of what God decides that we deserve. The better question is “If this has happened to me, what do I do now, and who is there to help me do it?” As we saw in the previous chapter, it becomes much easier to take God seriously as the source of moral values if we don’t hold Him responsible for all the unfair things that happen in the world.
Harold S. Kushner (When Bad Things Happen to Good People)
Every previous revolutionary movement in human history has made the same basic mistake. They’ve all seen power as a static apparatus, as a structure. And it’s not. It’s a dynamic, a flow system with two possible tendencies. Power either accumulates, or it diffuses through the system. In most societies, it’s in accumulative mode, and most revolutionary movements are only really interested in reconstituting the accumulation in a new location. A genuine revolution has to reverse the flow. And no one ever does that, because they’re all too fucking scared of losing their conning tower moment in the historical process. If you tear down one agglutinative power dynamic and put another one in its place, you’ve changed nothing. You’re not going to solve any of that society’s problems, they’ll just reemerge at a new angle. You’ve got to set up the nanotech that will deal with the problems on its own. You’ve got to build the structures that allow for diffusion of power, not re-grouping. Accountability, demodynamic access, systems of constituted rights, education in the use of political infrastructure
Richard K. Morgan (Woken Furies (Takeshi Kovacs, #3))
I became a student of my own depressed experience, trying to unthread its causes. What was the root of all this despair? Was it psychological? (Was it Mom and Dad's fault?( Was it just temporal, a 'bad time' in my life? (When the divorce ends will the depression end with it?) Was it genetic? (Melancholy, called by many names, has run through my family for generations, along with its sad bride, Alcoholism.) Was it cultural? (Is this just the fallout of postfeminist American career girl trying to find balance in an increasingly stressful alienting urban world?) Was it astrological? (Am I so sad because I'm a thin-skinned Cancer whose major signs are all ruled by unstable Gemini?) Was it artistic? (Don't creative people always suffer from depression because we're so supersensitive and special?) Was it evolutionary? (Do I carry in me the residual panic that comes after millennia of my species' attempting to survive a brutal world?) Was it karmic? (Are all these spasms of grief just the consequences of bad behavior in previous lifetimes, the last obstacles before liberation?) Was it hormonal? Dietary? Philosophical? Seasonal? Environmental? Was I tapping into a universal yearning for God? Did I have a chemical imbalance? Or did I just need to get laid?
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
I was always fishing for something on the radio. Just like trains and bells, it was part of the soundtrack of my life. I moved the dial up and down and Roy Orbison's voice came blasting out of the small speakers. His new song, "Running Scared," exploded into the room. Orbison, though, transcended all the genres - folk, country, rock and roll or just about anything. His stuff mixed all the styles and some that hadn't even been invented yet. He could sound mean and nasty on one line and then sing in a falsetto voice like Frankie Valli in the next. With Roy, you didn't know if you were listening to mariachi or opera. He kept you on your toes. With him, it was all about fat and blood. He sounded like he was singing from an Olympian mountaintop and he meant business. One of his previous songs, "Ooby Dooby" was deceptively simple, but Roy had progressed. He was now singing his compositions in three or four octaves that made you want to drive your car over a cliff. He sang like a professional criminal. Typically, he'd start out in some low, barely audible range, stay there a while and then astonishingly slip into histrionics. His voice could jar a corpse, always leave you muttring to yourself something like, "Man, I don't believe it." His songs had songs within songs. They shifted from major to minor key without any logic. Orbison was deadly serious - no pollywog and no fledgling juvenile. There wasn't anything else on the radio like him.
Bob Dylan (Chronicles, Volume One)
Something as superfluous as "play" is also an essential feature of our consciousness. If you ask children why they like to play, they will say, "Because it's fun." But that invites the next question: What is fun? Actually, when children play, they are often trying to reenact complex human interactions in simplified form. Human society is extremely sophisticated, much too involved for the developing brains of young children, so children run simplified simulations of adult society, playing games such as doctor, cops and robber, and school. Each game is a model that allows children to experiment with a small segment of adult behavior and then run simulations into the future. (Similarly, when adults engage in play, such as a game of poker, the brain constantly creates a model of what cards the various players possess, and then projects that model into the future, using previous data about people's personality, ability to bluff, etc. The key to games like chess, cards, and gambling is the ability to simulate the future. Animals, which live largely in the present, are not as good at games as humans are, especially if they involve planning. Infant mammals do engage in a form of play, but this is more for exercise, testing one another, practicing future battles, and establishing the coming social pecking order rather than simulating the future.)
Michio Kaku (The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind)
I circled the site before I came in. If there's anyone within five kilometers, I'll eat my quiver." Halt regarded him, eyebrow arched once more. "Anyone?" "Anyone other than Crowley," Will amended, making a dismissive gesture. "I saw him watching me from that hide he always uses about two kilometers out. I assumed he'd be back in here by now." Halt cleared his throat loudly. "Oh, you saw him, did you?" he said. "I imagine he'll be overjoyed to hear that." Secretly, he was pleased with his former pupil. In spite of his curiosity and obvious excitement, he hadn't forgotten to take the precautions that had been drilled into him. THat augured well for what lay ahead, Halt thought, a sudden grimness settling onto his manner. Will didn't notice the momentary change of mood. He was loosening Tug saddle girth. As he spoke, his voice was muffled against the horses's flank. "he's becoming too much a creature of habit," he said. "he's used that hide for the last three Gatherings. It's time he tried something new. Everyone must be onto it by now." Rangers constantly competed with each other to see before being seen and each year's Gathering was a time of heightened competition. Halt nodded thoughtfully. Crowley had constructed teh virtually invisible observation post some four years previously. Alone among the younger Rangers, Will had tumbled to it after one year. Halt had never mentioned to him that he was the only one who knew of Crowley's hide. The concealed post was the Ranger Commandant's pride and joy. "Well, perhaps not everyone," he said. Will emerged from behind his horse, grinning at the thought of the head of the Ranger Corps thinking he had remained hidden from sight as he watched Will's approach. "All the same, perhaps he's getting a bit long in the tooth to be skulking around hiding in the bushes, don't you think?" he said cheerfully. Halt considered the question for a moment. "Long in the tooth? Well, that's one opinion. Mind you, his silent movement skills are still as good as ever," he said meaningfully. The grin on Will's face slowly faded. He resisted the temptation to look over his shoulder. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" he asked Halt. THe older Ranger nodded. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" Will continued and Halt nodded once more. "Is he...close enough to have heard what I said?" Will finally managed to ask, fearin teh worst. This time, Halt didn't have to answer. "Oh, good grief no," came a familiar voice from behind him. "he's so old and decrepit these days he's as deaf as a post." Will's shoulders sagged and he turned to see the sandy-haired Commandant standing a few meters away. The younger man's eyes dropped. "Hullo, Crowley," he said, then mumbled, "Ahhh...I'm sorry about that." Crowley glared at teh young Ranger for a few more seconds, then he couldn't help teh grin breaking out on his face. "No harm done," he said, adding with a small note of triumph, "It's not often these days I amange to get the better of one of you young ones." Secretly, he was impressed at teh news that Will had spotted his hiding place. Only the sarpest eyes could have picked it. Crowley had been in the business of seeing without being seen for thirty years or more, and despite what Will believed, he was still an absolute master of camouflage and unseen movement.
John Flanagan (The Sorcerer of the North (Ranger's Apprentice, #5))
It was the general opinion of ancient nations, that the divinity alone was adequate to the important office of giving laws to men... and modern nations, in the consecrations of kings, and in several superstitious chimeras of divine rights in princes and nobles, are nearly unanimous in preserving remnants of it... Is the jealousy of power, and the envy of superiority, so strong in all men, that no considerations of public or private utility are sufficient to engage their submission to rules for their own happiness? Or is the disposition to imposture so prevalent in men of experience, that their private views of ambition and avarice can be accomplished only by artifice? — … There is nothing in which mankind have been more unanimous; yet nothing can be inferred from it more than this, that the multitude have always been credulous, and the few artful. The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature: and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. As Copley painted Chatham, West, Wolf, and Trumbull, Warren and Montgomery; as Dwight, Barlow, Trumbull, and Humphries composed their verse, and Belknap and Ramzay history; as Godfrey invented his quadrant, and Rittenhouse his planetarium; as Boylston practised inoculation, and Franklin electricity; as Paine exposed the mistakes of Raynal, and Jefferson those of Buffon, so unphilosophically borrowed from the Recherches Philosophiques sur les Américains those despicable dreams of de Pauw — neither the people, nor their conventions, committees, or sub-committees, considered legislation in any other light than ordinary arts and sciences, only as of more importance. Called without expectation, and compelled without previous inclination, though undoubtedly at the best period of time both for England and America, to erect suddenly new systems of laws for their future government, they adopted the method of a wise architect, in erecting a new palace for the residence of his sovereign. They determined to consult Vitruvius, Palladio, and all other writers of reputation in the art; to examine the most celebrated buildings, whether they remain entire or in ruins; compare these with the principles of writers; and enquire how far both the theories and models were founded in nature, or created by fancy: and, when this should be done, as far as their circumstances would allow, to adopt the advantages, and reject the inconveniences, of all. Unembarrassed by attachments to noble families, hereditary lines and successions, or any considerations of royal blood, even the pious mystery of holy oil had no more influence than that other of holy water: the people universally were too enlightened to be imposed on by artifice; and their leaders, or more properly followers, were men of too much honour to attempt it. Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favour of the rights of mankind. [Preface to 'A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America', 1787]
John Adams (A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America)
They said of him, about the city that night, that it was the peacefullest man's face ever beheld there. Many added that he looked sublime and prophetic. One of the most remarkable sufferers by the same axe---a woman---had asked at the foot of the same scaffold, not long before, to be allowed to write down the thoughts that were inspiring her. If he had given an utterance to his, and they were prophetic, they would have been these: "I see Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, The Vengeance, the Juryman, the Judge, long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old, perishing by this retributive instrument, before it shall cease out of its present use. I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out. "I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more. I see Her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name. I see her father, aged and bent, but otherwise restored, and faithful to all men in his healing office, and at peace. I see the good old man, so long their friend, in ten years' time enriching them with all he has, and passing tranquilly to his reward. "I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. I see her, an old woman weeping for me on the anniversary of this day. I see her and her husband, their course done, lying side by side in their last earthly bed, and I know that each was not more honoured and held sacred in the other's soul, than I was in the souls of both. "I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light of his. I see the blots I threw upon it, faded away. I see him, foremost of just judges and honoured men, brining a boy of my name, with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place---then fair to look upon, with not a trace of this day's disfigurement---and I hear him tell the child my story, with a tender and faltering voice. "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
I've been sitting here now, and do you know what I was saying to myself? If I did not believe in life, if I were to lose faith in the woman I love, if I were to lose faith in the order of things, even if I were to become convinced, on the contrary, that everything is a disorderly, damned, and perhaps devilish chaos, if I were struck even by all the horrors of human disillusionment--still I would want to live, and as long as I have bent to this cup, I will not tear myself from it until I've drunk it all. However, by the age of thirty, I will probably drop the cup, even if I haven't emptied it, and walk away...I don't know where. But until my thirtieth year, I know this for certain, my youth will overcome everything--all disillusionment, all aversion to live. I've asked myself many times: is there such despair in the world as could overcome this wild and perhaps indecent thirst for life in me, and have decided that apparently there is not--that is, once again, until my thirtieth year, after which I myself shall want no more, so it seems to me. Some snotty-nosed, consumptive moralists, poets especially, often call this thirst for life base. True, it's a feature of the Karamazovs, to some extent, this thirst for life despite all; it must be sitting in you too; but why is it base? There is still an awful lot of centripetal force on our planet, Alyosha. I want to live, and I do live, even if it be against logic. Though I do not believe in the order of things, still the sticky little leaves that come out in the spring are dear to me, the blue sky is dear to me, some people are dear to me, whom one loves sometimes, would you believe it, without even knowing why; some human deeds are dear to me, which one has perhaps long ceased believing in, but still honors with one's heart, out of old habit...I want to go to Europe, Alyosha, I'll go straight from here. Of course I know that I will only be going to a graveyard, but to the most, the most previous graveyard, that's the thing! The precious dead lie there, each stone over them speaks of such ardent past life, of such passionate faith in their deeds, their truth, their struggle, and their science, that I--this I know beforehand--will fall to the ground and kiss those stones and weep over them--being wholeheartedly convinced, at the same time, that it has all long been a graveyard and nothing more. And I will not weep from despair, but simply because I will be happy in my shed tears. I will be drunk with my own tenderness. Sticky spring leaves, the blue sky--I love them, that's all! Such things you love not with your mind, not with logic, but with your insides, your guts, you love your first young strength...
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
The idea of being forgotten is terrifying. I fear not just that I, personally, will be forgotten, but that we are all doomed to being forgotten—that the sum of life is ultimately nothing; that we experience joy and disappointment and aches and delights and loss, make our little mark on the world, and then we vanish, and the mark is erased, and it is as if we never existed. If you gaze into that bleakness even for a moment, the sum of life becomes null and void, because if nothing lasts, nothing matters. It means that everything we experience unfolds without a pattern, and life is just a wild, random, baffling occurrence, a scattering of notes with no melody. But if something you learn or observe or imagine can be set down and saved, and if you can see your life reflected in previous lives, and can imagine it reflected in subsequent ones, you can begin to discover order and harmony. You know that you are a part of a larger story that has shape and purpose—a tangible, familiar past and a constantly refreshed future. We are all whispering in a tin can on a string, but we are heard, so we whisper the message into the next tin can and the next string. Writing a book, just like building a library, is an act of sheer defiance. It is a declaration that you believe in the persistence of memory. In Senegal, the polite expression for saying someone died is to say his or her library has burned. When I first heard the phrase, I didn’t understand it, but over time I came to realize it was perfect. Our minds and souls contain volumes inscribed by our experiences and emotions; each individual’s consciousness is a collection of memories we’ve cataloged and stored inside us, a private library of a life lived. It is something that no one else can entirely share, one that burns down and disappears when we die. But if you can take something from that internal collection and share it—with one person or with the larger world, on the page or in a story recited—it takes on a life of its own.
Susan Orlean (The Library Book)
I have never been one of those people—I know you aren’t, either—who feels that the love one has for a child is somehow a superior love, one more meaningful, more significant, and grander than any other. I didn’t feel that before Jacob, and I didn’t feel that after. But it is a singular love, because it is a love whose foundation is not physical attraction, or pleasure, or intellect, but fear. You have never known fear until you have a child, and maybe that is what tricks us into thinking that it is more magnificent, because the fear itself is more magnificent. Every day, your first thought is not “I love him” but “How is he?” The world, overnight, rearranges itself into an obstacle course of terrors. I would hold him in my arms and wait to cross the street and would think how absurd it was that my child, that any child, could expect to survive this life. It seemed as improbable as the survival of one of those late-spring butterflies—you know, those little white ones—I sometimes saw wobbling through the air, always just millimeters away from smacking itself against a windshield. And let me tell you two other things I learned. The first is that it doesn’t matter how old that child is, or when or how he became yours. Once you decide to think of someone as your child, something changes, and everything you have previously enjoyed about them, everything you have previously felt for them, is preceded first by that fear. It’s not biological; it’s something extra-biological, less a determination to ensure the survival of one’s genetic code, and more a desire to prove oneself inviolable to the universe’s feints and challenges, to triumph over the things that want to destroy what’s yours. The second thing is this: when your child dies, you feel everything you’d expect to feel, feelings so well-documented by so many others that I won’t even bother to list them here, except to say that everything that’s written about mourning is all the same, and it’s all the same for a reason—because there is no real deviation from the text. Sometimes you feel more of one thing and less of another, and sometimes you feel them out of order, and sometimes you feel them for a longer time or a shorter time. But the sensations are always the same. But here’s what no one says—when it’s your child, a part of you, a very tiny but nonetheless unignorable part of you, also feels relief. Because finally, the moment you have been expecting, been dreading, been preparing yourself for since the day you became a parent, has come. Ah, you tell yourself, it’s arrived. Here it is. And after that, you have nothing to fear again.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)