Progress Takes Time Quotes

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You must make time for that which matters, for that which defines you: your passion, your progress, your pen. Take it up, and write your own story.
Victoria Schwab (Vicious (Villains, #1))
Are you sleeping with anyone?” The question was asked so casually it took a second to process what he’d said. I inhaled sharply. “Why is that any business of yours?” He looked at me and I saw what I’d seen the first time we’d met—tremendous power and steely control. Both of which had me taking an involuntary step back. Again. At least I didn’t fall this time; I was making progress. “Because I want to fuck you, Eva. I need to know what’s standing in my way, if anything.
Sylvia Day (Bared to You (Crossfire, #1))
Don't exist. Live. Get out, explore. Thrive. Challenge authority. Challenge yourself. Evolve. Change forever. Become who you say you always will. Keep moving. Don't stop. Start the revolution. Become a freedom fighter. Become a superhero. Just because everyone doesn't know your name doesn't mean you dont matter. Are you happy? Have you ever been happy? What have you done today to matter? Did you exist or did you live? How did you thrive? Become a chameleon-fit in anywhere. Be a rockstar-stand out everywhere. Do nothing, do everything. Forget everything, remember everyone. Care, don't just pretend to. Listen to everyone. Love everyone and nothing at the same time. Its impossible to be everything,but you can't stop trying to do it all. All I know is that I have no idea where I am right now. I feel like I am in training for something, making progress with every step I take. I fear standing still. It is my greatest weakness. I talk big, but often don't follow through. That's my biggest problem. I don't even know what to think right now. It's about time I start to take a jump. Fuck starting to take. Just jump-over everything. Leap. It's time to be aggressive. You've started to speak your mind, now keep going with it, but not with the intention of sparking controversy or picking a germane fight. Get your gloves on, it's time for rebirth. There IS no room for the nice guys in the history books. THIS IS THE START OF A REVOLUTION. THE REVOLUTION IS YOUR LIFE. THE GOAL IS IMMORTALITY. LET'S LIVE, BABY. LET'S FEEL ALIVE AT ALL TIMES. TAKE NO PRISONERS. HOLD NO SOUL UNACCOUNTABLE, ESPECIALLY NOT YOUR OWN. IF SOMETHING DOESN'T HAPPEN, IT'S YOUR FAULT. Make this moment your reckoning. Your head has been held under water for too long and now it is time to rise up and take your first true breath. Do everything with exact calculation, nothing without meaning. Do not make careful your words, but make no excuses for what you say. Fuck em' all. Set a goal for everyday and never be tired.
Brian Krans (A Constant Suicide)
Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability— and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.
C.S. Lewis
When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress. We cannot take more than one step at a time.
Orison Swett Marden
Any fool can break something, criticise someone and tear things apart. It takes a far more skilled, wise and kind soul to build something, nurture someone, fix things and help others thrive over time.
Rasheed Ogunlaru
Molly was committing dinner by that time, aided and abetted by Sanya, who seemed to take some kind of grim Russian delight in watching train wrecks in progress.
Jim Butcher (Small Favor (The Dresden Files, #10))
False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened.
Charles Darwin
The offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can’t give way, is an offer of something not worth having. I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don’t know anything like enough yet; that I haven’t understood enough; that I can’t know enough; that I’m always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Christopher Hitchens
Good. Item seven. The had had and that that problem. Lady Cavendish, weren’t you working on this?’ Lady Cavendish stood up and gathered her thoughts. ‘Indeed. The uses of had had and that that have to be strictly controlled; they can interrupt the imaginotransference quite dramatically, causing readers to go back over the sentence in confusion, something we try to avoid.’ ‘Go on.’ ‘It’s mostly an unlicensed-usage problem. At the last count David Copperfield alone had had had had sixty three times, all but ten unapproved. Pilgrim’s Progress may also be a problem due to its had had/that that ratio.’ ‘So what’s the problem in Progress?’ ‘That that had that that ten times but had had had had only thrice. Increased had had usage had had to be overlooked, but not if the number exceeds that that that usage.’ ‘Hmm,’ said the Bellman, ‘I thought had had had had TGC’s approval for use in Dickens? What’s the problem?’ ‘Take the first had had and that that in the book by way of example,’ said Lady Cavendish. ‘You would have thought that that first had had had had good occasion to be seen as had, had you not? Had had had approval but had had had not; equally it is true to say that that that that had had approval but that that other that that had not.’ ‘So the problem with that other that that was that…?’ ‘That that other-other that that had had approval.’ ‘Okay’ said the Bellman, whose head was in danger of falling apart like a chocolate orange, ‘let me get this straight: David Copperfield, unlike Pilgrim’s Progress, had had had, had had had had. Had had had had TGC’s approval?’ There was a very long pause. ‘Right,’ said the Bellman with a sigh, ‘that’s it for the moment. I’ll be giving out assignments in ten minutes. Session’s over – and let’s be careful out there.
Jasper Fforde (The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next, #3))
In every age everybody knows that up to his own time, progressive improvement has been taking place; nobody seems to reckon on any improvement in the next generation. We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who say society has reached a turning point – that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us and with just as much apparent reason. ... On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?
Thomas Babington Macaulay (Critical, historical and miscellaneous essays Volume 1)
Everyone knows history is written by the winners, but that cliche misses a crucial detail: Over time, the winners are always the progressives. Conservatism can only win in the short term, because society cannot stop evolving (and social evolution inevitably dovetails with the agenda of those who see change as an abstract positive). It might take seventy years, but it always happens eventually. Serious historians are, almost without exception, self-styled progressives. Radical views--even the awful ones--improve with age.
Chuck Klosterman (I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling With Villains (Real and Imagined))
My father told me never to take my foot off a ladder to kick at someone who was kicking at me. When I did that, I would no longer be climbing. While they are kicking, my father told me, I should keep stepping. They can kick only one time. If I continued to climb, they would be left behind. In trying to hurt me, to impede my progress, they would get left behind because they allowed themselves to get sidetracked from their agenda.
Steve Harvey (Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success)
Progress takes time, Luca. Don’t feel down. You might not be where you want to be, but you’re also not where you were yesterday. Each day is a baby step. You just keep looking forward and taking them, and I promise one day you’re going to look back and be surprised how far those tiny little steps have taken you.
Vi Keeland (Dirty Letters)
- Is it their fault if they think that it’s good to work? - No, said Colin, it’s not their fault. It’s because they’ve been told : work is sacred, it’s good, it’s nice, it’s what counts before anything, and only those who work have the right to everything. The only thing is, it’s been set up so that they work all the time so they can’t take advantage of it. - But then they’re stupid, said Chloe. - Yes, they’re stupid, said Colin. That’s why they agree with those that made them believe that work is the best thing there is. That saves them from thinking and finding a way to progress and to no longer work.
Boris Vian (L'Écume des jours)
Let’s take some extra time to talk about one: Only the number one can create all numbers with this simple equation, 111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321. One, expressed nine times, multiplied by itself, produces all subsequent numbers progressively and then inversely. Zero is not a number.
Michael Ben Zehabe (The Meaning of Hebrew Letters: A Hebrew Language Program For Christians (The Jonah Project))
There was rarely an obvious branching point in a person's life. People changed slowly, over time. You didn't take one step, then find yourself in a completely new location. You first took a little step off the path to avoid some rocks. For a while, you walked alongside the path, but then you wandered out a little way to step on softer soil. Then you stopped paying attention as you drifted farther and farther away. Finally, you found yourself in the wrong city, wondering why the signs on the roadway hadn't led you better.
Brandon Sanderson (The Emperor's Soul (The Cosmere))
13084 Tonight I came back to the hotel alone; the other has decided to return later on. The anxieties are already here, like the poison already prepared (jealousy, abandonment, restlessness); they merely wait for a little time to pass in order to be able to declare themselves with some propriety. I pick up a book and take a sleeping pill, "calmly." The silence of this huge hotel is echoing, indifferent, idiotic (faint murmur of draining bathtubs); the furniture and the lamps are stupid; nothing friendly that might warm ("I'm cold, let's go back to Paris). Anxiety mounts; I observe its progress, like Socrates chatting (as I am reading) and feeling the cold of the hemlock rising in his body; I hear it identify itself moving up, like an inexorable figure, against the background of the things that are here.
Roland Barthes (A Lover's Discourse: Fragments)
They are performing that oldest of tricks: constructing a path by which to reach a destination, only in this case the destination is permanent security. With each step they take towards it, that security recedes. And, with each step they take, the cost of progressing towards such security grows, and the actions required to move forward become more and more extreme.
Adrian Tchaikovsky (Children of Time (Children of Time, #1))
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln (Great Speeches / Abraham Lincoln: with Historical Notes by John Grafton)
Whether one likes it or not, the bourgeoisie, as a class, is condemned to take responsibility for all the barbarism of history, the tortures of the Middle Ages and the Inquisition, warmongering and the appeal to the raison d’Etat, racism and slavery, in short everything against which it protested in unforgettable terms at the time when, as the attacking class, it was the incarnation of human progress.
Aimé Césaire (Discourse on Colonialism)
The more government takes in taxes, the less incentive people have to work. What coal miner or assembly-line worker jumps at the offer of overtime when he knows Uncle Sam is going to take sixty percent or more of his extra pay? . . . Any system that penalizes success and accomplishment is wrong. Any system that discourages work, discourages productivity, discourages economic progress, is wrong. If, on the other hand, you reduce tax rates and allow people to spend or save more of what they earn, they’ll be more industrious; they’ll have more incentive to work hard, and money they earn will add fuel to the great economic machine that energizes our national progress. The result: more prosperity for all—and more revenue for government.4
Donald J. Trump (Time to Get Tough: Make America Great Again!)
You must make time for that which matters,” he recited, “for that which defines you: your passion, your progress, your pen. Take it up, and write your own story.
Victoria Schwab (Vicious (Villains, #1))
Be game--take a chance--don't hide behind veils and veils of discretion... Go forward with what you have to say, expressing things as you see them. You are new evidence, fresh and young. Your work, the spirit of youth, you are the progress of human evolution. If age dulls you it will be time enough then to be ponderous and heavy--or quit. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to be young, to continue growing--not to settle and accept.
Robert Henri (The Art Spirit)
And I could find other excuses to get out and sit on the crisp grass and look out over the airy roof of Yorkshire. It was like taking time out of life. Time to get things into perspective and assess my progress.
James Herriot (All Creatures Great and Small (All Creatures Great and Small, #1-2))
Some people view Gene as a man with a wild futuristic utopian fantasy, but that’s too simple. Star Trek did not promise that people would magically become inherently “better,” but that they would progress, always reaching for their highest potential and noblest goals, even if it took centuries of taking two steps forward and one step back. Ideally, humankind would be guided in its quest by reason and justice. The ultimate futility of armed conflict, terrorism, dictatorial rule, prejudice, disregard for the environment, and exercising power for its own sake was demonstrated time and again
Nichelle Nichols (Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories)
Action is the only way to make progress. Take action now; don’t wait for a convenient time. It can’t be overemphasized.
Mike Michalowicz (The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur: The tell-it-like-it-is guide to cleaning up in business, even if you are at the end of your roll.)
To get better at wintering, we need to address our very notion of time. We tend to imagine that our lives are linear, but they are in fact cyclical. I would not, of course, seek to deny that we gradually grow older, but while doing so, we pass through phases of good health and ill, of optimism and deep doubt, of freedom and constraint. There are times when everything seems easy, and times when it all seems impossibly hard. To make that manageable, we just have to remember that our present will one day become a past, and our future will be our present. We know that because it’s happened before. The things we put behind us will often come around again. The things that trouble us now will often come around again. Each time we endure the cycle, we ratchet up a notch. We learn from the last time around, and we do a few things better this time; we develop tricks of the mind to see us through. This is how progress is made. In the meantime, we can deal only with what’s in front of us at this moment in time. We take the next necessary action, and the next. At some point along the line, that next action will feel joyful again.
Katherine May (Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times)
I am sure they will make the road to recovery seem clean. They’ll use words to make healing seem pretty and pretend the bandages don’t feel heavy and still cause pain. Your sadness is never going to be near and tidy, and on some days you might even wonder how you’re going to pick up every shattered piece on the floor when burying your soul seems much easier. There will be moments where you have to convince yourself that feeling is better than being numb and that your aching bones are strong enough to carry on. There will be times things feel upside down and you are spinning on an axis that is never balanced. There will be days where you take steps backward and those new steps forward feel very far away. But even in the difficulty you are still taking steps, you are still making progress. And for every bump along the way, just remember you have come this far; might as well keep going.
Courtney Peppernell (Pillow Thoughts (Pillow Thoughts, #1))
A Hard Life With Memory I’m a poor audience for my memory. She wants me to attend her voice nonstop, but I fidget, fuss, listen and don’t, step out, come back, then leave again. She wants all my time and attention. She’s got no problem when I sleep. The day’s a different matter, which upsets her. She thrusts old letters, snapshots at me eagerly, stirs up events both important and un-, turns my eyes to overlooked views, peoples them with my dead. In her stories I’m always younger. Which is nice, but why always the same story. Every mirror holds different news for me. She gets angry when I shrug my shoulders. And takes revenge by hauling out old errors, weighty, but easily forgotten. Looks into my eyes, checks my reaction. Then comforts me, it could be worse. She wants me to live only for her and with her. Ideally in a dark, locked room, but my plans still feature today’s sun, clouds in progress, ongoing roads. At times I get fed up with her. I suggest a separation. From now to eternity. Then she smiles at me with pity, since she knows it would be the end of me too.
Wisława Szymborska (Here)
Do you know why the world is moving? Or why things are the way they are? It’s because the vast majority of people don’t ask themselves one simple question. ‘And then what?’ I want to crack this exam. ‘And then what?’ I want to elope with her. ‘And then what?’ I want that luxury car. ‘And then what?’ I want to be famous. ‘And then what?’ Do you understand what I want to expound? We all progress, taking one step at a time. We all progress with one goal under consideration. But no matter how many steps we take, there still remains a deep yearning for something that we can’t explain. A nihilist knows that it is a vicious circle. A nihilist knows that it is all ‘pointless.’ (Yes, true nihilism is spirituality inverted). But thank God, nihilists don’t rule this world. And thank God, nor do the spiritualists. Else the whole world would be asking, ‘And then what?
Abhaidev (The World's Most Frustrated Man)
Opportunities pop up for everybody all of the time. It's the way that we progress. It's whether or not you're in the right frame of mind or in the right stage of your life or if you're even looking for them [that determines] whether or not you see them. [...] As you take more risks you see opportunities more easily. [Risks are] never the safe option, but for me the safe option is the worst option. [...] The riskiest life I can think of is letting yourself to be molded into this comfortable, same-as-everybody-else routine. For me, that is risking my whole life.
Ben Brown
Might be moving in slow motion at times but slow motion is better than no motion....
Just Jewel
It's ridiculous. Here I sit in my little room, I, Brigge, who have got to be twenty-eight years old and about whom no one knows. I sit here and am nothing. And yet this nothing begins to think and thinks, up five flights of stairs, these thoughts on a gray Paris afternoon: Is it possible, this nothing thinks, that one has not yet seen, recognized, and said anything real and important? Is it possible that one has had thousands of years of time to look, reflect, and write down, and that one has let the millennia pass away like a school recess in which one eats one's sandwich and an apple? Yes, it is possible. ...Is it possible that in spite of inventions and progress, in spite of culture, religion, and worldly wisdom, that one has remained on the surface of life? Is it possible that one has even covered this surface, which would at least have been something, with an incredibly dull slipcover, so that it looks like living-room furniture during the summer vacation? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that the whole history of the world has been misunderstood? Is it possible that the past is false because one has always spoken of its masses, as if one was telling about a coming together of many people, instead of telling about the one person they were standing around, because he was alien and died? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that one believed one has to make up for everything that happened before one was born? Is it possible one would have to remind every single person that he arose from all earlier people so that he would know it, and not let himself be talked out of it by the others, who see it differently? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that all these people know very precisely a past that never was? Is it possible that everything real is nothing to them; that their life takes its course, connected to nothing, like a clock in an empty room? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that one knows nothing about girls, who are nevertheless alive? Is it possible that one says "the women", "the children", "the boys", and doesn't suspect (in spite of all one's education doesn't suspect) that for the longest time these words have no longer had a plural, but only innumerable singulars? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that there are people who say "God" and think it is something they have in common? Just look at two schoolboys: one buys himself a knife, and the same day his neighbor buys one just like it. And after a week they show each other their knives and it turns out that they bear only the remotest resemblance to each other-so differently have they developed in different hands (Well, the mother of one of them says, if you boys always have to wear everything out right away). Ah, so: is it possible to believe that one could have a God without using him? Yes, it is possible. But, if all this is possible, has even an appearance of possibility-then for heaven's sake something has to happen. The first person who comes along, the one who has had this disquieting thought, must begin to accomplish some of what has been missed; even if he is just anyone, not the most suitable person: there is simply no one else there. This young, irrelevant foreigner, Brigge, will have to sit himself down five flights up and write, day and night, he will just have to write, and that will be that.
Rainer Maria Rilke (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge)
She waited with Billy Slick while Carrot went on the errand, and for something to say, she said, ‘Billy Slick doesn’t sound much like a goblin name?’ Billy made a face. ‘Too right! Granny calls me Of the Wind Regretfully Blown. What kind of name is that, I ask you? Who’s going to take you seriously with a name like that? This is modern times, right?’ He looked at her defiantly, and she thought: and so one at a time we all become human – human werewolves, human dwarfs, human trolls... the melting pot melts in one direction only, and so we make progress.
Terry Pratchett (Snuff (Discworld, #39; City Watch, #8))
The truth is that science started its modern career by taking over ideas derived from the weakest side of the philosophies of Aristotle's successors. In some respects it was a happy choice. It enabled the knowledge of the seventeenth century to be formularised so far as physics and chemistry were concerned, with a completeness which has lasted to the present time. But the progress of biology and psychology has probably been checked by the uncritical assumption of half-truths. If science is not to degenerate into a medley of ad hoc hypothesis, it must become philosophical and must enter upon a thorough criticism of its own foundations.
Alfred North Whitehead
Consider a white ninth-grade student taking American history in a predominantly middle-class town in Vermont. Her father tapes Sheetrock, earning an income that in slow construction seasons leaves the family quite poor. Her mother helps out by driving a school bus part-time, in addition to taking care of her two younger siblings. The girl lives with her family in a small house, a winterized former summer cabin, while most of her classmates live in large suburban homes. How is this girl to understand her poverty? Since history textbooks present the American past as four hundred years of progress and portray our society as a land of opportunity in which folks get what they deserve and deserve what they get, the failures of working-class Americans to transcend their class origin inevitably get laid at their own doorsteps.
James W. Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong)
Dont act like you are walking around with a Tshirt that says "I give Up!" on the front and on the back saying "I never started trying!" People can bring you down, situations happen, YOU can feel like Life is the shittiest thing to deal with. BLAH BLAH BLAH.. If you're walking through Hell, keep going! Everyday there's a new challenge. Face it! Deal with it! Move on! To every problem there is a solution or a way around it.. Stop being a sour mongral and think life owes you something.. No one will do anything for you these days. Start fighting. Get rid of ALL the shit people in your Life. Grow some balls of steel and work progressively through everything. Step by Step or what ever mad method you have to get you back in line again. Who cares, if people don't like you, BURN that mother of a bridge down. It was never meant to be.. Build New ones! Many roads to cross and new paths on life to Explore.. It starts with YOU.. And if people want to judge you, tell them to F/O and look in the mirror. Time for a new game.. It's called "Take over the World" WHOOOP WHOOOP!!
Timothy Padayachee
The mistake we make in putting emphasis on happiness is to forget that life is a process, defined by activity and motion, and to search instead for the one perfect state of being. There can be no such state, since change is the essence of life. Scholars who study meaning in life distinguish between synchronic meaning and diachronic meaning. Synchronic meaning depends on your state of being at any one moment in time: you are happy because you are out in the sunshine. Diachronic meaning depends on the journey you are on: you are happy because you are making progress toward a college degree. If we permit ourselves to take inspiration from what we have learned about ontology, it might suggest that we focus more on diachronic meaning at the expense of synchronic. The essence of life is change, and we can aim to make change part of how we find meaning in it.
Sean Carroll (The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself)
When 'Dirty Mack' salts your flow, get beyond feelings of hurt, anger, bitterness, and especially vengeance. Be glad, and take refuge in knowing light has been cast on the shadow of hatred, envy or jealousy that has mocked your shine. And press forward with your purpose - allowing time and space to clear the way for karmic justice on your behalf.
T.F. Hodge (From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph over Death and Conscious Encounters With the Divine Presence)
Habakkuk 3:19 says that the way we develop hind’s feet (a hind is an animal that can climb mountains swiftly) is “to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon” the “high places [of trouble, suffering or responsibility]!” The way God helps us make spiritual progress is by being with us to strengthen and encourage us to “keep on keeping on” in rough times. It’s easy to quit; it takes faith to go through.
Joyce Meyer (Battlefield of the Mind (Enhanced Edition): Winning the Battle in Your Mind)
Angelina, I think of you as my friend, the dearest of friends, and it tortures me to go against you, but now is the time to stand with the slave. The time will come for us to take up the woman question, but not yet." "The time to assert one's right is when it's denied!
Sue Monk Kidd (The Invention of Wings)
Accept you are a work in progress, that there are things which you cannot change, others which take time to change and some which will be a shame to change.
Carol Vorvain (When Dreams are Calling)
Yes,' he said. 'That's it. They'd kick him and beat him with a switch. Then if the youngster was really bad, they'd put him in a sack and take him back to Spain.' 'Saint Nicholas would kick you?' 'Well, not anymore,' Oscar said. 'Now he just pretends to kick you.' He considered this to be progressive, but in a way I think it's almost more preverse than the original punishment.'I'm going to hurt you but not really.' How many times have we fallen for that line? The fake slap invariably makes contact, adding the elements of shock and betrayal to what had previously been plain old-fashioned fear. What kind of a Santa spends his time pretending to kick people before stuffing them into a canvas sack? Then, of course, you've got the six to eight former slaves who could potentially go off at any moment. This, I think, is the greatest difference between us and the Dutch. While a certain segment of our population might be perfectly happy with the arrangement, if you told the average white American that six to eight nameless black men would be sneaking into his house in the middle of the night, he would barricade the doors and arm himself with whatever he could get his hands on. 'Six to eight, did you say?
David Sedaris
Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing. There is always a new tyrant waiting to take over from the old - generally not quite so bad, but still a tyrant. Consequently two viewpoints are always tenable. The one, how can you improve human nature until you have changed the system? The other, what is the use of changing the system before you have improved human nature? They appeal to different individuals, and they probably show a tendency to alternate in point of time. The moralist and the revolutionary are constantly undermining one another.
George Orwell (Inside the Whale and Other Essays)
Mastery is not a function of genius or talent. It is a function of time and intense focus applied to a particular field of knowledge. But there is another element, an X factor that Masters inevitably possess, that seems mystical but that is accessible to us all. Whatever field of activity we are involved in, there is generally an accepted path to the top. It is a path that others followed, and because we are conformist creatures, most of us opt for this conventional route. But Masters have a strong inner guiding system and a high level of self-awareness. What has suited others in the past does not suit them, and they know that trying to fit into a conventional mold would only lead to a dampening of spirit, the reality they seek eluding them. And so inevitably, these Masters, as they progress on their career paths, make a choice at a key moment in their lives: they decide to forge their own route, one that others will see as unconventional, but that suits their own spirit and rhythms and leads them closer to discovering the hidden truths of their objects of study. This key choice takes self-confidence and self-awarenes–the X factor that is necessary for attaining mastery...
Robert Greene (Mastery)
My father’s new life was progressing as planned, one neat step at a time. And I felt it, again, that same feeling I got whenever another change or shift in my life was announced to me – selling the house, Ashley’s tantrums, now the baby – that need to dig in my heels and prepare myself for the next shock and its aftermath. I was tired of hanging on, taking the torn pieces to make something whole with them.
Sarah Dessen (That Summer)
Afterwards, the princeps asked the science consul, “Did we destroy a civilization in the microcosmos in this experiment?” “It was at least an intelligent body. Also, Princeps, we destroyed the entire microcosmos. That miniature universe is immense in higher dimensions, and it probably contained more than one intelligence or civilization that never had a chance to express themselves in macro space. Of course, in higher dimensional space at such micro scales, the form that intelligence or civilization may take is beyond our imagination. They’re something else entirely. And such destruction has probably occurred many times before.” “Oh?” “In the long history of scientific progress, how many protons have been smashed apart in accelerators by physicists? How many neutrons and electrons? Probably no fewer than a hundred million. Every collision was probably the end of the civilizations and intelligences in a microcosmos.
Liu Cixin (The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1))
So there are established sayings: Guidance to enlightenment seems nonsensical. Guidance to progress seems backwards. Guidance to equality seems to classify. Higher efficacy seems at a loss. Great purity seems like shame. Broad effectiveness seems insufficient. Constructive effectiveness seems casual. Basic reality seems changeable. A great expanse has no shores. A large container takes a long time to make. Important news is rarely heard.
Lao Tzu (The Original Tao Te Ching)
Over the course of time many Americans have forgotten that “we the people” are actually at the top of the food chain as far as authority is concerned in this nation. The Republicans don’t run our nation. The Democrats don’t run our nation. We do. However, by dividing and engaging in political squabbles, we have allowed the government to grow so large and powerful that it has now become the boss, progressively taking charge of all of our lives.
Ben Carson (One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future)
In fact, beginning meditators often think that they are able to concentrate on a single object, such as the breath, for minutes at a time, only to report after days or weeks of intensive practice that their attention is now carried away by thought every few seconds. This is actually progress. It takes a certain degree of concentration to even notice how distracted you are. Even if your life depended on it, you could not spend a full minute free of thought.
Sam Harris (Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion)
One emerging view of Homo sapiens among evolutionary biologists is that he has built a trap for himself by clinging to certain orthodoxies in a time of environmental emergency. A belief in cultural progress, for example, or in the propriety of a social animal’s quest for individual material wealth is what has led people into the trap, or so goes the thinking. To cause the trap to implode, to disintegrate, humanity has to learn to navigate using a reckoning fundamentally different from the one it’s long placed its faith in. A promising first step to take in dealing with this trap might be to bring together wisdom keepers from traditions around the world whose philosophies for survival developed around the same uncertainty of a future that Darwin suggested lies embedded in everything biological. Such wisdom keepers would be people who are able to function well in the upheaval of any century. Their faith does not lie solely with pursuing technological innovation as an approach to solving humanity’s most pressing problems. Their solutions lie with a profound change in what humans most value.
Barry Lopez (Horizon)
Why did you stop?” “I’m just wondering if you plan to stand there gawking at me all night?” “If you’re suggesting I take a nap instead, I’ll gladly comply.” “Or perhaps you could…help?” “How?” He circled his fingers around his temple, like her presence was giving him a headache. Then he whirled his hand in her direction and proclaimed, in a ridiculously staunch voice, “I do beseech you, oh fair one, would you please assist me with this most tedious of tasks by gathering the straw and bringing it within my reach, so that our progress might be hastened and you don’t get your head chopped off at dawn?” Serilda pressed her lips together. He was mocking her, but…at least this time he did say please. “With pleasure,” she snapped.
Marissa Meyer (Gilded (Gilded, #1))
My method is atheism. I find the atheistic outlook provides a favourable background for cosmopolitan practices. Acceptance of atheism at once pulls down caste and religious barriers between man and man. There is no longer a Hindu, a Muslim or a Christian. All are human beings. Further, the atheistic outlook puts man on his legs. There is neither divine will nor fate to control his actions. The release of free will awakens Harijans [lowest caste] and the depressed classes from the stupor of inferiority into which they were pressed all these ages when they were made to believe that they were fated to be untouchables. So I find the atheistic outlook helpful for my work [helping people]. After all it is man that created god to make society moral and to silence restless inquisitiveness about the how and why of natural phenomena. Of course god was useful though a falsehood. But like all falsehoods, belief in god also gave rise to many evils in course of time and today it is not only useless but harmful to human progress. So I take to the propagation of atheism as an aid to my work. The results justify my choice.
Goparaju Ramachandra Rao (An Atheist with Gandhi)
These are lines from my asteroid-impact novel, Regolith: Just because there are no laws against stupidity doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be punished. I haven’t faced rejection this brutal since I was single. He smelled trouble like a fart in the shower. If this was a kiss of gratitude, then she must have been very grateful. Not since Bush and Cheney have so few spent so much so fast for so long for so little. As a nympho for mind-fucks, Lisa took to politics like a pig to mud. She began paying men compliments as if she expected a receipt. Like the Aerosmith song, his get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went. “You couldn’t beat the crap out of a dirty diaper!” He embraced his only daughter as if she was deploying to Iraq. She was hotter than a Class 4 solar flare! If sex was a weapon, then Monique possessed WMD I haven’t felt this alive since I lost my virginity. He once read that 95% of women fake organism, and the rest are gay. Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but ugly is universal. Why do wives fart, but not girlfriends? Adultery is sex that is wrong, but not necessarily bad. The dinosaurs stayed drugged out, drooling like Jonas Brothers fans. Silence filled the room like tear gas. The told him a fraction of the truth and hoped it would take just a fraction of the time. Happiness is the best cosmetic, He was a whale of a catch, and there were a lot of fish in the sea eager to nibble on his bait. Cheap hookers are less buck for the bang, Men cannot fall in love with women they don’t find attractive, and women cannot fall in love with men they do not respect. During sex, men want feedback while women expect mind-reading. Cooper looked like a cow about to be tipped over. His father warned him to never do anything he couldn’t justify on Oprah. The poor are not free -- they’re just not enslaved. Only those with money are free. Sperm wasn’t something he would choose on a menu, but it still tasted better than asparagus. The crater looked alive, like Godzilla was about to leap out and mess up Tokyo. Bush follows the Bible until it gets to Jesus. When Bush talks to God, it’s prayer; when God talks to Bush, it’s policy. Cheney called the new Miss America a traitor – apparently she wished for world peace. Cheney was so unpopular that Bush almost replaced him when running for re-election, changing his campaign slogan to, ‘Ain’t Got Dick.’ Bush fought a war on poverty – and the poor lost. Bush thinks we should strengthen the dollar by making it two-ply. Hurricane Katrina got rid of so many Democratic voters that Republicans have started calling her Kathleen Harris. America and Iraq fought a war and Iran won. Bush hasn’t choked this much since his last pretzel. Some wars are unpopular; the rest are victorious. So many conservatives hate the GOP that they are thinking of changing their name to the Dixie Chicks. If Saddam had any WMD, he would have used them when we invaded. If Bush had any brains, he would have used them when we invaded. It’s hard for Bush to win hearts and minds since he has neither. In Iraq, you are a coward if you leave and a fool if you stay. Bush believes it’s not a sin to kill Muslims since they are going to Hell anyway. And, with Bush’s help, soon. In Iraq, those who make their constitution subservient to their religion are called Muslims. In America they’re called Republicans. With great power comes great responsibility – unless you’re Republican.
Brent Reilly
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.Remember if you never act, you will never know for sure and you will be left standing in the same spot forever. Making excuses takes the same amount of time as making progress!
Anonymous . (The Angel Affect: The World Wide Mission)
Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader. Instead, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else. Admitting a weakness is a sign of strength. Acknowledging weakness doesn’t make a leader less effective. Everybody in your organization benefits when you delegate responsibilities that fall outside your core competency. Thoughtful delegation will allow someone else in your organization to shine. Your weakness is someone’s opportunity. Leadership is not always about getting things done “right.” Leadership is about getting things done through other people. The people who follow us are exactly where we have led them. If there is no one to whom we can delegate, it is our own fault. As a leader, gifted by God to do a few things well, it is not right for you to attempt to do everything. Upgrade your performance by playing to your strengths and delegating your weaknesses. There are many things I can do, but I have to narrow it down to the one thing I must do. The secret of concentration is elimination. Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing. My competence in these areas defines my success as a pastor. A sixty-hour workweek will not compensate for a poorly delivered sermon. People don’t show up on Sunday morning because I am a good pastor (leader, shepherd, counselor). In my world, it is my communication skills that make the difference. So that is where I focus my time. To develop a competent team, help the leaders in your organization discover their leadership competencies and delegate accordingly. Once you step outside your zone, don’t attempt to lead. Follow. The less you do, the more you will accomplish. Only those leaders who act boldly in times of crisis and change are willingly followed. Accepting the status quo is the equivalent of accepting a death sentence. Where there’s no progress, there’s no growth. If there’s no growth, there’s no life. Environments void of change are eventually void of life. So leaders find themselves in the precarious and often career-jeopardizing position of being the one to draw attention to the need for change. Consequently, courage is a nonnegotiable quality for the next generation leader. The leader is the one who has the courage to act on what he sees. A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets the leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside. The first person to step out in a new direction is viewed as the leader. And being the first to step out requires courage. In this way, courage establishes leadership. Leadership requires the courage to walk in the dark. The darkness is the uncertainty that always accompanies change. The mystery of whether or not a new enterprise will pan out. The reservation everyone initially feels when a new idea is introduced. The risk of being wrong. Many who lack the courage to forge ahead alone yearn for someone to take the first step, to go first, to show the way. It could be argued that the dark provides the optimal context for leadership. After all, if the pathway to the future were well lit, it would be crowded. Fear has kept many would-be leaders on the sidelines, while good opportunities paraded by. They didn’t lack insight. They lacked courage. Leaders are not always the first to see the need for change, but they are the first to act. Leadership is about moving boldly into the future in spite of uncertainty and risk. You can’t lead without taking risk. You won’t take risk without courage. Courage is essential to leadership.
Andy Stanley (Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future)
An average teenager today, if he or she could time-travel back to 1950, would have had an IQ of 118. If the teenager went back to 1910, he or she would have had an IQ of 130, besting 98 percent of his or her contemporaries. Yes, you read that right: if we take the Flynn Effect at face value, a typical person today is smarter than 98 percent of the people in the good old days of 1910. To state it in an even more jarring way, a typical person of 1910, if time-transported forward to the present, would have a mean IQ of 70, which is at the border of mental retardation. With the Raven’s Progressive Matrices, a test that is sometimes considered the purest measure of general intelligence, the rise is even steeper. An ordinary person of 1910 would have an IQ of 50 today, which is smack in the middle of mentally retarded territory, between “moderate” and “mild” retardation.
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
6/17/10 My dearest Ruth—You are the only person I have loved in my life, setting aside, a bit, parents and kids and their kids, and I have admired and loved you almost since the day we first met at Cornell some 56 years ago. What a treat it has been to watch you progress to the very top of the legal world!! I will be in JH Medical Center until Friday, June 25, I believe, and between then and now I shall think hard on my remaining health and life, and whether on balance the time has come for me to tough it out or to take leave of life because the loss of quality now simply overwhelms. I hope you will support where I come out, but I understand you may not. I will not love you a jot less. Marty -- Handwritten letter from Marty to Ruth
Irin Carmon (Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The '80s were about acquiring — acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn't I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn't I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don't know who will lead us through the '90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul....I was wrong to follow the meanness of Conservatism. I should have been trying to help people instead of taking advantage of them. I don't hate anyone anymore. For the first time in my life I don't hate somebody. I have nothing but good feelings toward people. I've found Jesus Christ – It's that simple. He's made a difference. (Reagan's campaign manager "death-bed confession" in Feb. 1991 article for Life Magazine )
Lee Atwater
What paralyzes life is lack of faith and lack of courage. The difficulty lies not in solving problems but in expressing them correctly; and we can now see that it is biologically undeniable that unless we harness passion to the service of spirit there can be no progress. Sooner or later, then, and in spite of all our incredulity, the world will take this step— because the greater truth always prevails and the greater good emerges in the end. The day will come when, after mastering the ether, the winds, the tides, gravity, we shall master the energies of love, for God. And then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have made fire his servant.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (On Love & Happiness)
It remains one of the great inequalities of the world that some children are born light years ahead of others. They may come from more stable homes, from wealthy homes, from homes with cleaners and domestic staff, cooks and tutors. Everything is easier, more streamlined, more conducive to educational and career success. Others will come from one-bedroom huts with no running water and no electricity, little chance of a good education, and little time to do anything besides work. The child born into a rich family will, no doubt, progress at a faster rate and develop the sort of self-assurance that comes from stability. This is the case wherever you’re from; it is as true of communist societies as it is of capitalist ones. I have travelled the world and seen these inequalities. I have witnessed the problems such different starting blocks can bring. But if I’ve learned anything, it is that success is possible, whatever your situation and however your life begins. I hope that this story, my story, will prove inspirational and that it will encourage others to dream big, take a plunge, use whatever resources are available. If a small poor boy fishing for prawns on a lake in Ningbo can do it, then so can you.
JOURNEY TO THE WEST By Biao Wang
As a class, Americans are extremely impatient. While they are the first to catch onto a joke, they are also the quickest to get bored. In Europe, a film producer can take his time establishing a mood. He can have dozens of dissolves of clouds. Americans audiences will not sit still for them, no matter how beautiful or exciting they may be. If they show the second cloud shot they expect to see an airplane in it. Then, if there's a third, they expect to see the plane explode in mid-air. The story must progress with every angle.
Billy Wilder
If you don't want to sleep your life away like most people do. you have to train yourself to wakefulness. Vigilance is the key. You should be shifting from character to actor many times every hour, in all types of situations, so that it happens smoothly and easily and doesn't detract from your performance." Maggie takes notes and asks for clarification now and then. I wait and proceed when she's ready. "Second." I say. "it trains you to disidentify from the character you're playing. There's a you behind the character you project out into the world, and you can't make any progress as long as you identify with your stage persona. You're an actor playing a character on a stage. That's what the Bhagavad-GIta is all about.
Jed McKenna (spiritual warfare: The Damnedest Thing)
Later times have laid all the blame upon the Goths and Vandals, but, however unwilling the partizans of the Christian system may be to believe or to acknowledge it, it is nevertheless true, that the age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system.There was more knowledge in the world before that period, than for many centuries afterwards; and as to religious knowledge, the Christian system, as already said, was only another species of mythology; and the mythology to which it succeeded, was a corruption of an ancient system of theism. It is owing to this long interregnum of science, and to no other cause, that we have now to look back through a vast chasm of many hundred years to the respectable characters we call the Ancients. Had the progression of knowledge gone on proportionably with the stock that before existed, that chasm would have been filled up with characters rising superior in knowledge to each other; and those Ancients we now so much admire would have appeared respectably in the background of the scene. But the christian system laid all waste; and if we take our stand about the beginning of the sixteenth century, we look back through that long chasm, to the times of the Ancients, as over a vast sandy desert, in which not a shrub appears to intercept the vision to the fertile hills beyond.
Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
It is both the greatest power and potentially the greatest weakness of the hero to love and care and strive beyond reason. The hero is the one who turns back and waits for their injured friend knowing the hordes of the enemy are close on their heals, the one who stands alone on the bridge barring the progress of an overwhelming foe in order to allow their companions time to escape, the one who refuses to take one innocent life as a means to saving thousands. The hero is the one who returns to an alien infested space ship, set to self-destruct in minutes, to save the cat.
Mike Alsford (Heroes and Villains)
Fail nine times The next time you face a daunting challenge, think to yourself, “In order for me to resolve this issue, I will have to fail nine times, but on the tenth attempt, I will be successful.” This attitude frees you and allows you to think creatively without fear of failure, because you understand that learning from failure is a forward step toward success. Take a risk and when you fail, no longer think, “Oh, no, what a frustrating waste of time and effort,” but instead extract a new insight from that misstep and correctly think, “Great: one down, nine to go—I’m making forward progress!” And indeed you are. After your first failure, think, “Terrific, I’m 10% done!” Mistakes, loss, and failure are all flashing lights clearly pointing the way to deeper understanding and creative solutions.
Edward B. Burger (The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking)
The life of a sociable insect has nothing to say about us. Our lives take different shapes. We do not work in a linear progression through fixed roles like the honeybee. We are not consistently useful to the world at large. We talk about the complexity of the hive, but human societies are infinitely more complex, full of choices and mistakes, periods of glory and seasons of utter despair. Some of us make highly visible, elaborate contributions to the whole. Some of us are part of the ticking mechanics of the world, the incremental wealth of small gestures. All of it matters. All of it weaves the wider fabric that binds us.
Katherine May (Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times)
Prolific libraries take on an independent existence, and become living things...We may have chosen its themes, and the general pathways along which it will develop, but we can only stand and watch as it invades all the walls of the room, climbs to the ceiling, annexes the other rooms one by one, expelling anything that gets in the way. It eliminates pictures hanging on the walls, or ornaments that obstruct its advance; it moves on with its necessary but cumbersome acolytes -- stools and ladders -- and forces its owner into constant reorganization since its progress is not linear and calls for ever new kinds of diviion. At the same time, it is undeniably the reflection, the twin image of its master. To anyone with the insight to decode it, the fundamental character of the librarian will emerge as one's eye travels along the bookshelves. indeed no library of any size is like another, none has the same personality. (pp. 30-31)
Jacques Bonnet (Phantoms on the Bookshelves)
In the wake of the 2016 American election, the New York Times writers David Bornstein and Tina Rosenberg reflected on the media’s role in its shocking outcome: Trump was the beneficiary of a belief—near universal in American journalism—that “serious news” can essentially be defined as “what’s going wrong.” . . . For decades, journalism’s steady focus on problems and seemingly incurable pathologies was preparing the soil that allowed Trump’s seeds of discontent and despair to take root. . . . One consequence is that many Americans today have difficulty imagining, valuing or even believing in the promise of incremental system change, which leads to a greater appetite for revolutionary, smash-the-machine change.30
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
I was extremely curious about the alternatives to the kind of life I had been leading, and my friends and I exchanged rumors and scraps of information we dug from official publications. I was struck less by the West's technological developments and high living standards than by the absence of political witch-hunts, the lack of consuming suspicion, the dignity of the individual, and the incredible amount of liberty. To me, the ultimate proof of freedom in the West was that there seemed to be so many people there attacking the West and praising China. Almost every other day the front page of Reference, the newspaper which carded foreign press items, would feature some eulogy of Mao and the Cultural Revolution. At first I was angered by these, but they soon made me see how tolerant another society could be. I realized that this was the kind of society I wanted to live in: where people were allowed to hold different, even outrageous views. I began to see that it was the very tolerance of oppositions, of protesters, that kept the West progressing. Still, I could not help being irritated by some observations. Once I read an article by a Westerner who came to China to see some old friends, university professors, who told him cheerfully how they had enjoyed being denounced and sent to the back end of beyond, and how much they had relished being reformed. The author concluded that Mao had indeed made the Chinese into 'new people' who would regard what was misery to a Westerner as pleasure. I was aghast. Did he not know that repression was at its worst when there was no complaint? A hundred times more so when the victim actually presented a smiling face? Could he not see to what a pathetic condition these professors had been reduced, and what horror must have been involved to degrade them so? I did not realize that the acting that the Chinese were putting on was something to which Westerners were unaccustomed, and which they could not always decode. I did not appreciate either that information about China was not easily available, or was largely misunderstood, in the West, and that people with no experience of a regime like China's could take its propaganda and rhetoric at face value. As a result, I assumed that these eulogies were dishonest. My friends and I would joke that they had been bought by our government's 'hospitality." When foreigners were allowed into certain restricted places in China following Nixon's visit, wherever they went the authorities immediately cordoned off enclaves even within these enclaves. The best transport facilities, shops, restaurants, guest houses and scenic spots were reserved for them, with signs reading "For Foreign Guests Only." Mao-tai, the most sought-after liquor, was totally unavailable to ordinary Chinese, but freely available to foreigners. The best food was saved for foreigners. The newspapers proudly reported that Henry Kissinger had said his waistline had expanded as a result of the many twelve-course banquets he enjoyed during his visits to China. This was at a time when in Sichuan, "Heaven's Granary," our meat ration was half a pound per month, and the streets of Chengdu were full of homeless peasants who had fled there from famine in the north, and were living as beggars. There was great resentment among the population about how the foreigners were treated like lords. My friends and I began saying among ourselves: "Why do we attack the Kuomintang for allowing signs saying "No Chinese or Dogs" aren't we doing the same? Getting hold of information became an obsession. I benefited enormously from my ability to read English, as although the university library had been looted during the Cultural Revolution, most of the books it had lost had been in Chinese. Its extensive English-language collection had been turned upside down, but was still largely intact.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
Many things in this period have been hard to bear, or hard to take seriously. My own profession went into a protracted swoon during the Reagan-Bush-Thatcher decade, and shows scant sign of recovering a critical faculty—or indeed any faculty whatever, unless it is one of induced enthusiasm for a plausible consensus President. (We shall see whether it counts as progress for the same parrots to learn a new word.) And my own cohort, the left, shared in the general dispiriting move towards apolitical, atonal postmodernism. Regarding something magnificent, like the long-overdue and still endangered South African revolution (a jagged fit in the supposedly smooth pattern of axiomatic progress), one could see that Ariadne’s thread had a robust reddish tinge, and that potential citizens had not all deconstructed themselves into Xhosa, Zulu, Cape Coloured or ‘Eurocentric’; had in other words resisted the sectarian lesson that the masters of apartheid tried to teach them. Elsewhere, though, it seemed all at once as if competitive solipsism was the signifier of the ‘radical’; a stress on the salience not even of the individual, but of the trait, and from that atomization into the lump of the category. Surely one thing to be learned from the lapsed totalitarian system was the unwholesome relationship between the cult of the masses and the adoration of the supreme personality. Yet introspective voyaging seemed to coexist with dull group-think wherever one peered about among the formerly ‘committed’. Traditionally then, or tediously as some will think, I saw no reason to discard the Orwellian standard in considering modern literature. While a sort of etiolation, tricked out as playfulness, had its way among the non-judgemental, much good work was still done by those who weighed words as if they meant what they said. Some authors, indeed, stood by their works as if they had composed them in solitude and out of conviction. Of these, an encouraging number spoke for the ironic against the literal mind; for the generously interpreted interest of all against the renewal of what Orwell termed the ‘smelly little orthodoxies’—tribe and Faith, monotheist and polytheist, being most conspicuous among these new/old disfigurements. In the course of making a film about the decaffeinated hedonism of modern Los Angeles, I visited the house where Thomas Mann, in another time of torment, wrote Dr Faustus. My German friends were filling the streets of Munich and Berlin to combat the recrudescence of the same old shit as I read: This old, folkish layer survives in us all, and to speak as I really think, I do. not consider religion the most adequate means of keeping it under lock and key. For that, literature alone avails, humanistic science, the ideal of the free and beautiful human being. [italics mine] The path to this concept of enlightenment is not to be found in the pursuit of self-pity, or of self-love. Of course to be merely a political animal is to miss Mann’s point; while, as ever, to be an apolitical animal is to leave fellow-citizens at the mercy of Ideolo’. For the sake of argument, then, one must never let a euphemism or a false consolation pass uncontested. The truth seldom lies, but when it does lie it lies somewhere in between.
Christopher Hitchens (For the Sake of Argument: Essays and Minority Reports)
As you, my fans, know I’m scheduled to play in Greensboro, North Carolina this Sunday. As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the ‘bathroom’ law. HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use. Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress. Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.
Bruce Springsteen
A young lad was sent to school. He began his lessons with the other children, and the first lesson the teacher set him was the straight line, the figure “one.” But whereas the others went on progressing, this child continued writing the same figure. After two or three days the teacher came up to him and said, “Have you finished your lesson?” He said, “No, I’m still writing ‘one.’ ” He went on doing the same thing, and when at the end of the week the teacher asked him again he said, “I have not yet finished it.” The teacher thought he was an idiot and should be sent away, as he could not or did not want to learn. At home the child continued with the same exercise and the parents also became tired and disgusted. He simply said, “I have not yet learned it, I am learning it. When I have finished I shall take the other lessons.” The parents said, “The other children are going on further, school has given you up, and you do not show any progress; we are tired of you.” And the lad thought with sad heart that as he had displeased his parents too he had better leave home. So he went into the wilderness and lived on fruits and nuts. After a long time he returned to his old school. And when he saw the teacher he said to him, “I think I have learned it. See if I have. Shall I write on this wall?” And when he made his sign the wall split in two. —Hazrat Inayat Khan The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan
Ram Dass (Journey of Awakening: A Meditator's Guidebook)
The most direct path to Party was raising pigs. The company had several dozen of these and they occupied an unequaled place in the hearts of the soldiers; officers and men alike would hang around the pigsty, observing, commenting, and willing the animals to grow. If the pigs were doing well, the swine herds were the darlings of the company, and there were many contestants for this profession. Xiao-her became a full-time swineherd. It was hard, filthy work, not to mention the psychological pressure. Every night he and his colleagues took turns to get up in the small hours to give the pigs an extra feed. When a sow produced piglets they kept watch night after night in case she crushed them. Precious soybeans were carefully picked, washed, ground, strained, made into 'soybean milk," and lovingly fed to the mother to stimulate her milk. Life in the air force was very unlike what Xiao-her had imagined. Producing food took up more than a third of the entire time he was in the military. At the end of a year's arduous pig raising, Xiao-her was accepted into the Party. Like many others, he put his feet up and began to take it easy. After membership in the Party, everyone's ambition was to become an officer; whatever advantage the former brought, the latter doubled it. Getting to be an officer depended on being picked by one's superiors, so the key was never to displease them. One day Xiao-her was summoned to see one of the college's political commissars. Xiao-her was on tenterhooks, not knowing whether he was in for some unexpected good fortune or total disaster. The commissar, a plump man in his fifties with puffy eyes and a loud, commanding voice, looked exceedingly benign as he lit up a cigarette and asked Xiao-her about his family background, age, and state of health. He also asked whether he had a fiance to which Xiao-her replied that he did not. It struck Xiao-her as a good sign that the man was being so personal. The commissar went on to praise him: "You have studied Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought conscientiously. You have worked hard. The masses have a good impression of you. Of course, you must keep on being modest; modesty makes you progress," and so on. By the time the commissar stubbed out his cigarette, Xiao-her thought his promotion was in his pocket.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
By-ends answered, "Why, they concluded that it is their duty to rush ahead on their journey in all weather, without waiting for favorable wind or tide. They would risk all in a moment for God, while I, on the other hand, am for taking advantage of all moments to secure my life and my estate. They are for holding their notions, though all other men are against them; but I am for religion so far as the times and my safety will bear it. They are for religion when in rags and contempt; but I am for religion when he walks in his golden slippers in the sunshine and with applause.
John Bunyan (The Pilgrim's Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come)
The shadow, when it is realized, is the source of renewal; the new and productive impulse cannot come from established values of the ego. When there is an impasse, and sterile time in our lives—despite an adequate ego development—we must look to the dark, hitherto unacceptable side which has been at our conscious disposal….This brings us to the fundamental fact that the shadow is the door to our individuality. In so far as the shadow renders us our first view of the unconscious part of our personality, it represents the first stage toward meeting the Self. There is, in fact, no access to the unconscious and to our own reality but through the shadow. Only when we realize that part of ourselves which we have not hitherto seen or preferred not to see can we proceed to question and find the sources from which it feeds and the basis on which it rests. Hence no progress or growth is possible until the shadow is adequately confronted and confronting means more than merely knowing about it. It is not until we have truly been shocked into seeing ourselves as we really are, instead of as we wish or hopefully assume we are, that we can take the first step toward individual reality.
Connie Zweig (Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature)
Don't fall into the habit of bringing work home, Rick. It indicates a lack of planning, and you would eventually find yourself stuck indoors every night. Teaching is like having a bank account. You can happily draw on it while it is well supplied with new funds; otherwise you're in difficulties. Every teacher should have a fund of ready information on which to draw; he should keep that fund supplied regularly by new experiences, new thoughts and discoveries, by reading and moving around among people from whom he can acquire such things." "Not much chance of social movement for me, I'm afraid." "Nonsense, Rick, you're settled in a job now, so there's no need to worry about that; but you must get out and meet more people. I'm sure you'll find lots of nice people about who are not foolishly concerned with prejudice." "That's all right, Dad; I'm quite happy to stay at home with you and Mom." "Nice to hear you say that, but we're old and getting a bit stuffy. You need the company of younger people like yourself. It's even time he had a girl, don't you think, Jess?" Mom smiled across at me. "Ah, leave him alone, Bob, there's plenty of time for that." We went on to chat about other things, but I never forgot what Dad Belmont had said, and never again did I take notebooks home for marking. I would check the work in progress by moving about the class, helping here, correcting there; and I very soon discovered that in this way errors were pin-pointed while they were still fresh in the child's mind.
E.R. Braithwaite (To Sir, With Love)
Outsiders sometimes have an impression that mathematics consists of applying more and more powerful tools to dig deeper and deeper into the unknown, like tunnelers blasting through the rock with ever more powerful explosives. And that's one way to do it. But Grothendieck, who remade much of pure mathematics in his own image in the 1960's and 70's, had a different view: "The unknown thing to be known appeared to me as some stretch of earth or hard marl, resisting penetration...the sea advances insensibly in silence, nothing seems to happen, nothing moves, the water is so far off you hardly hear it...yet it finally surrounds the resistant substance." The unknown is a stone in the sea, which obstructs our progress. We can try to pack dynamite in the crevices of rock, detonate it, and repeat until the rock breaks apart, as Buffon did with his complicated computations in calculus. Or you can take a more contemplative approach, allowing your level of understanding gradually and gently to rise, until after a time what appeared as an obstacle is overtopped by the calm water, and is gone. Mathematics as currently practiced is a delicate interplay between monastic contemplation and blowing stuff up with dynamite.
Jordan Ellenberg (How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking)
When I read things like, “The foundations of capitalism are shattering,” I’m like, maybe we need some time where we’re walking around with a donkey with pots clanging on the sides. . . . ’Cause now we live in an amazing world, and it’s wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots. . . . Flying is the worst one, because people come back from flights, and they tell you their story. . . . They’re like, “It was the worst day of my life. . . . We get on the plane and they made us sit there on the runway for forty minutes.” . . . Oh really, then what happened next? Did you fly through the air, incredibly, like a bird? Did you soar into the clouds, impossibly? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight, and then land softly on giant tires that you couldn’t even conceive how they fuckin’ put air in them? . . . You’re sitting in a chair in the sky. You’re like a Greek myth right now! . . . People say there’s delays? . . . Air travel’s too slow? New York to California in five hours. That used to take thirty years! And a bunch of you would die on the way there, and you’d get shot in the neck with an arrow, and the other passengers would just bury you and put a stick there with your hat on it and keep walking. . . . The Wright Brothers would kick us all in the [crotch] if they knew.1
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
Secondly, it is the very nature of spiritual life to grow. Wherever they principle of this life is to be found, it can be no different for it must grow. "But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Prov. 4:18); "The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger" (Job 17:9). This refers to the children of GOd, who are compared to palm and cedar trees (Psa. 92:12). As natural as it is for children and trees to grow, so natural is growth for the regenerated children of God. Thirdly, the growth of His children is the goal and objective God has in view by administering the means of grace to them. "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints...that we henceforth be no more children...but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head" (Eph. 4:11-15). This is also to be observed in 1 Peter 2:2: "as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby, " God will reach His goal and His word will not return to Him void; thus God's children will grow in grace. Fourthly, is is the duty to which God's children are continually exhorted, and their activity is to consist in a striving for growth. That it is their duty is to be observed in the following passages: "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18); "He that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still" (Rev. 22:11). The nature of this activity is expressed as follows: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after" (Phil. 3:12). If it were not necessary for believers to grow the exhortations to that end would be in vain. Some remain feeble, having but little life and strength. this can be due to a lack of nourishment, living under a barren ministry, or being without guidance. It can also be that they naturally have a slow mind and a lazy disposition; that they have strong corruptions which draw them away; that they are without much are without much strife; that they are too busy from early morning till late evening, due to heavy labor, or to having a family with many children, and thus must struggle or are poverty-stricken. Furthermore, it can be that they either do not have the opportunity to converse with the godly; that they do not avail themselves of such opportunities; or that they are lazy as far as reading in God's Word and prayer are concerned. Such persons are generally subject to many ups and downs. At one time they lift up their heads out of all their troubles, by renewal becoming serious, and they seek God with their whole heart. It does not take long, however , and they are quickly cast down in despondency - or their lusts gain the upper hand. Thus they remain feeble and are, so to speak, continually on the verge of death. Some of them occasionally make good progress, but then grieve the Spirit of God and backslide rapidly. For some this lasts for a season, after which they are restored, but others are as those who suffer from consumption - they languish until they die. Oh what a sad condition this is! (Chapter 89. Spiritual Growth, pg. 140, 142-143)
Wilhelmus à Brakel (The Christian's Reasonable Service, Vol. 4)
As students in this earth school, some of us may be in the first grade, the sixth grade, or high school, but eventually, with enough education, we will all graduate and leave this school behind. And then there are other schools, higher dimensions or levels where we continue our spiritual progression. But until we all graduate, none of us does, for we are all one. We may come back voluntarily to help other people, or animals, or sentient beings to evolve. Or we may help out from the other side even if we do not incarnate in physical bodies, and there we will continue to work to assist those other souls with whom we have been connected for eons of time. Do not be concerned with how many millennia it takes you to complete your classes. If you are progressing to be a kinder, more loving, less selfish, less violent person, then you are moving in the right direction. The direction is more important than the speed. It makes no difference if this is your first lifetime or your last, or if you have many more to go. Only the end matters. Of
Brian L. Weiss (Miracles Happen: The Transformational Healing Power of Past-Life Memories)
Since the very beginning of the Communist regime, I had carefully studied books on Marxism and pronouncements by Chinese Communist Party leaders. It seemed to me that socialism in China was still very much an experiment nad had no fixed course of development for the country had yet been decided upon. This, I thought, was why the government's policy was always changing, like a pendulum swinging from left to right and back again. When things went to extremes and problems emerged. Beijing would take corrective measures. Then these very corrective measures went too far and had to be corrected. The real difficulty was, of course, that a state-controlled economy only stifled productivity, and economic planning from Beijing ignored local conditions and killed incentive. When a policy changed from above, the standards of values changed with it. What was right yesterday became wrong today, and visa versa. Thus the words and actions of a Communist Party official at the lower level were valid for a limited time only... The Cultural Revolution seemed to me to be a swing to the left. Sooner or later, when it had gone too far, corrective measures would be taken. The people would have a few months or a few years of respite until the next political campaign. Mao Zedong believed that political campaigns were the motivating force for progress. So I thought the Proletarian Cultural Revolution was just one of an endless series of upheavals the Chinese people must learn to put up with.
Nien Cheng (Life and Death in Shanghai)
Tomorrow is just as real a thing as yesterday. So is day after next, and the rest of them. Because you cannot see the future, it does not follow that it is not there. Your own path may vary widely, but the piece of country you are to travel is solid and real. We have been most erroneously taught not to think of the future; to live only in the present: and at the same time we have been taught to guide our lives by an ideal of the remotest possible future - a postmortem eternity. Between the contradictory ideals of this paradox, most of us drag along, forced by the exigencies of business to consider some future, but ignoring most of it. A single human life is short enough to be well within range of anybody's mind. Allow for it eighty years: if you don't have eight you are that much in - so much less to plan for. Sit down wherever you happen to be; under twenty, over fifty, anywhere on the road; lift your eyes from your footsteps, and "look before and after." Look back, see the remarkable wiggling sort of path you have made; see the places where you made no progress at all, but simply tramped up and down without taking a step. Ask yourself: "If I had thought about what I should be feeling toady, would I have behaved as I did then?" Quite probably not. But why not? Why not, in deciding on own's path and gait at a given moment, consider that inevitable advancing future? Come it will; but how it comes, what it is, depends on us. Then look ahead; not merely just before your nose, but way ahead. It is a good and wholesome thing to plan out one's whole life; as one thinks it is likely to be; as one desires it should be; and then act accordingly. Suppose you are about twenty-five. Consider a number of persons of fifty or sixty, and how they look. Do you want to look like that? What sort of a body do you want at fifty? It is in your hands to make. In health, in character, in business, in friendship, in love, in happiness; your future is very largely yours to make. Then why not make it? Suppose you are thirty, forty, fifty, sixty. So long as you have a year before you it is worth while to consider it in advance. Live as a whole, not in disconnected fractions.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Survival of the fittest" in the commonly used animal sense is not a theory or principle for a "time-binding" being. This theory is only for the physical bodies of animals; its effect upon humanity is sinister and degrading. We see the principle at work all about us in criminal exploitation and profiteering. As a matter of fact, the ages-long application of this animal principle to human affairs has degraded the whole human morale in an inconceivably far-reaching way. Personal greed and selfishness are brazenly owned as principles of conduct. We shrug our shoulders in acquiescence and proclaim greed and selfishness to be the very core of human nature, take it all for granted, and let it pass at that. We have gone so far in our degradation that the prophet of capitalistic principles, Adam Smith, in his famous Wealth of Nations, arrives at the laws of wealth, not from the phenomena of wealth nor from statistical statements, but from the phenomena of selfishness-a fact which shows how far-reaching in its dire influence upon all humanity is the theory that human beings are "animals." Of course the effect is very disastrous. The preceding chapters have shown that the theory is false; it is false, not only because of its unhappy effects, but it belies the characteristic nature of man. Human nature, this time-binding power, not only has the peculiar capacity for perpetual progress, but it has, over and above all animal propensities, certain qualities constituting it a distinctive dimension or type of life. Not only our whole collective life proves a love for higher ideals, but even our dead give us the rich heritage, material and spiritual, of all their toils. There is nothing mystical about it; to call SUCH a class a naturally selfish class is not only nonsensical but monstrous.
Alfred Korzybski (Manhood of Humanity: The Science and Art of Human Engineering (Classic Reprint))
IT IS NATURAL for us who were not living in those days to imagine that when half Russia had been conquered and the inhabitants were fleeing to distant provinces, and one levy after another was being raised for the defense of the fatherland, all Russians from the greatest to the least were solely engaged in sacrificing themselves, saving their fatherland, or weeping over its downfall. The tales and descriptions of that time without exception speak only of the self-sacrifice, patriotic devotion, despair, grief, and the heroism of the Russians. But it was not really so. It appears so to us because we see only the general historic interest of that time and do not see all the personal human interests that people had. Yet in reality those personal interests of the moment so much transcend the general interests that they always prevent the public interest from being felt or even noticed. Most of the people at that time paid no attention to the general progress of events but were guided only by their private interests, and they were the very people whose activities at that period were most useful. Those who tried to understand the general course of events and to take part in it by self-sacrifice and heroism were the most useless members of society, they saw everything upside down, and all they did for the common good turned out to be useless and foolish—
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
That was some shady shit out there, Rome,” Braeden said once the total chaos of winning the game had gone down to a considerable roar. We were finally in the locker room, and I was stripping off my sweat and grass-stained gear. “Total douche move.” I agreed. It wasn’t the first time a team had tried to take me out of a game. It was pretty much common practice, especially when something like a title and championship was at stake. Still, I’d never quite had anyone come at me like that before. The play was already in progress. Sacking me wouldn’t have changed the touchdown I’d just thrown. Except of course to keep me from throwing another one. That guy deliberately came in like a freight train and plowed me down. I lay there stunned for long moments, waiting for the air to come back in my lungs and for my body to process the shock of the hit. Thankfully, he wasn’t that good at tackling and it did nothing more than stun me. And it got him thrown out of the game. It really hadn’t been a big deal. Like I said, it happened a lot. But it was the first time it happened in front of Rimmel. I couldn’t help but notice how the large screen on the field had zeroed in on the girl in number twenty-four’s hoodie, who was climbing over the railing and preparing to leap down onto the field. The security guard was yelling at her, but she barely noticed him. Her eyes were trained out on the field, where I was. It was almost laughable that her tiny ass was going to rush out onto a field full of men more than double her size to make sure I was okay. G**damn. I loved her even more just then. When the guard put his hand on her ankle, trying to stop her from going back to her seat, something happened. Something that never had in my entire life of playing football. The game faded away. For once, I was out on the field and unable to focus on only the game. It took a backseat to the girl teetering on the edge of the railing.
Cambria Hebert (#Hater (Hashtag, #2))
Working hard is important. But more effort does not necessarily yield more results. “Less but better” does. Ferran Adrià, arguably the world’s greatest chef, who has led El Bulli to become the world’s most famous restaurant, epitomizes the principle of “less but better” in at least two ways. First, his specialty is reducing traditional dishes to their absolute essence and then re-imagining them in ways people have never thought of before. Second, while El Bulli has somewhere in the range of 2 million requests for dinner reservations each year, it serves only fifty people per night and closes for six months of the year. In fact, at the time of writing, Ferran had stopped serving food altogether and had instead turned El Bulli into a full-time food laboratory of sorts where he was continuing to pursue nothing but the essence of his craft.1 Getting used to the idea of “less but better” may prove harder than it sounds, especially when we have been rewarded in the past for doing more … and more and more. Yet at a certain point, more effort causes our progress to plateau and even stall. It’s true that the idea of a direct correlation between results and effort is appealing. It seems fair. Yet research across many fields paints a very different picture. Most people have heard of the “Pareto Principle,” the idea, introduced as far back as the 1790s by Vilfredo Pareto, that 20 percent of our efforts produce 80 percent of results. Much later, in 1951, in his Quality-Control Handbook, Joseph Moses Juran, one of the fathers of the quality movement, expanded on this idea and called it “the Law of the Vital Few.”2 His observation was that you could massively improve the quality of a product by resolving a tiny fraction of the problems. He found a willing test audience for this idea in Japan, which at the time had developed a rather poor reputation for producing low-cost, low-quality goods. By adopting a process in which a high percentage of effort and attention was channeled toward improving just those few things that were truly vital, he made the phrase “made in Japan” take on a totally new meaning. And gradually, the quality revolution led to Japan’s rise as a global economic power.3
Greg McKeown (Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less)
Competition is the spice of sports; but if you make spice the whole meal you'll be sick. The simplest single-celled organism oscillates to a number of different frequencies, at the atomic, molecular, sub-cellular, and cellular levels. Microscopic movies of these organisms are striking for the ceaseless, rhythmic pulsation that is revealed. In an organism as complex as a human being, the frequencies of oscillation and the interactions between those frequencies are multitudinous. -George Leonard Learning any new skill involves relatively brief spurts of progress, each of which is followed by a slight decline to a plateau somewhat higher in most cases than that which preceded it…the upward spurts vary; the plateaus have their own dips and rises along the way…To take the master’s journey, you have to practice diligently, striving to hone your skills, to attain new levels of competence. But while doing so–and this is the inexorable–fact of the journey–you also have to be willing to spend most of your time on a plateau, to keep practicing even when you seem to be getting nowhere. (Mastery, p. 14-15). Backsliding is a universal experience. Every one of us resists significant change, no matter whether it’s for the worse or for the better. Our body, brain and behavior have a built-in tendency to stay the same within rather narrow limits, and to snap back when changed…Be aware of the way homeostasis works…Expect resistance and backlash. Realize that when the alarm bells start ringing, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sick or crazy or lazy or that you’ve made a bad decision in embarking on the journey of mastery. In fact, you might take these signals as an indication that your life is definitely changing–just what you’ve wanted….Be willing to negotiate with your resistance to change. Our preoccupation with goals, results, and the quick fix has separated us from our own experiences…there are all of those chores that most of us can’t avoid: cleaning, straightening, raking leaves, shopping for groceries, driving the children to various activities, preparing food, washing dishes, washing the car, commuting, performing the routine, repetitive aspects of our jobs….Take driving, for instance. Say you need to drive ten miles to visit a friend. You might consider the trip itself as in-between-time, something to get over with. Or you could take it as an opportunity for the practice of mastery. In that case, you would approach your car in a state of full awareness…Take a moment to walk around the car and check its external condition, especially that of the tires…Open the door and get in the driver’s seat, performing the next series of actions as a ritual: fastening the seatbelt, adjusting the seat and the rearview mirror…As you begin moving, make a silent affirmation that you’ll take responsibility for the space all around your vehicle at all times…We tend to downgrade driving as a skill simply because it’s so common. Actually maneuvering a car through varying conditions of weather, traffic, and road surface calls for an extremely high level of perception, concentration, coordination, and judgement…Driving can be high art…Ultimately, nothing in this life is “commonplace,” nothing is “in between.” The threads that join your every act, your every thought, are infinite. All paths of mastery eventually merge. [Each person has a] vantage point that offers a truth of its own. We are the architects of creation and all things are connected through us. The Universe is continually at its work of restructuring itself at a higher, more complex, more elegant level . . . The intention of the universe is evolution. We exist as a locus of waves that spreads its influence to the ends of space and time. The whole of a thing is contained in each of its parts. We are completely, firmly, absolutely connected with all of existence. We are indeed in relationship to all that is.
George Leonard
Gather close, and let us speak of nasty little shits. Oh, come now, we are no strangers to the vicious demons in placid disguises, innocent eyes so wide, hidden minds so dark. Does evil exist? Is it a force, some deadly possession that slips into the unwary? Is it a thing separate and thus subject to accusation and blame, distinct from the one it has used? Does it flit from soul to soul, weaving its diabolical scheme in all the unseen places, snarling into knots tremulous fears and appalling opportunity, stark terrors and brutal self-interest? Or is the dread word nothing more than a quaint and oh so convenient encapsulation of all those traits distinctly lacking moral context, a sweeping generalization embracing all things depraved and breath takingly cruel, a word to define that peculiar glint in the eye—the voyeur to one’s own delivery of horror, of pain and anguish and impossible grief? Give the demon crimson scales, slashing talons. Tentacles and dripping poison. Three eyes and six slithering tongues. As it crouches there in the soul, its latest abode in an eternal succession of abodes, may every god kneel in prayer. But really. Evil is nothing but a word, an objectification where no objectification is necessary. Cast aside this notion of some external agency as the source of inconceivable inhumanity—the sad truth is our possession of an innate proclivity towards indifference, towards deliberate denial of mercy, towards disengaging all that is moral within us. But if that is too dire, let’s call it evil. And paint it with fire and venom. There are extremities of behaviour that seem, at the time, perfectly natural, indeed reasonable. They are arrived at suddenly, or so it might seem, but if one looks the progression reveals itself, step by step, and that is a most sad truth.
Steven Erikson (Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8))
A lot of her songs were to do with Blake, which did not escape Mark’s attention. She told Mark that writing songs about him was cathartic and that ‘Back to Black’ summed up what had happened when their relationship had ended: Blake had gone back to his ex and Amy to black, or drinking and hard times. It was some of her most inspired writing because, for better or worse, she’d lived it. Mark and Amy inspired each other musically, each bringing out fresh ideas in the other. One day they decided to take a quick stroll around the neighbourhood because Amy wanted to buy Alex Clare a present. On the way back Amy began telling Mark about being with Blake, then not being with Blake and being with Alex instead. She told him about the time at my house after she’d been in hospital when everyone had been going on at her about her drinking. ‘You know they tried to make me go to rehab, and I told them, no, no, no.’ ‘That’s quite gimmicky,’ Mark replied. ‘It sounds hooky. You should go back to the studio and we should turn that into a song.’ Of course, Amy had written that line in one of her books ages ago. She’d told me before she was planning to write a song about what had happened that day, but that was the moment ‘Rehab’ came to life. Amy had also been working on a tune for the ‘hook’, but when she played it to Mark later that day it started out as a slow blues shuffle – it was like a twelve-bar blues progression. Mark suggested that she should think about doing a sixties girl-group sound, as she liked them so much. He also thought it would be fun to put in the Beatles-style E minor and A minor chords, which would give it a jangly feel. Amy was unaccustomed to this style – most of the songs she was writing were based around jazz chords – but it worked and that day she wrote ‘Rehab’ in just three hours. If you had sat Amy down with a pen and paper every day, she wouldn’t have written a song. But every now and then, something or someone turned the light on in her head and she wrote something brilliant. During that time it happened over and over again. The sessions in the studio became very intense and tiring, especially for Mark, who would sometimes work a double shift and then fall asleep. He would wake up with his head in Amy’s lap and she would be stroking his hair, as if he was a four-year-old. Mark was a few years older than Amy, but he told me he found her very motherly and kind.
Mitch Winehouse
To be ridiculously sweeping: baby boomers and their offspring have shifted emphasis from the communal to the individual, from the future to the present, from virtue to personal satisfaction. Increasingly secular, we pledge allegiance to lowercase gods of our private devising. We are concerned with leading less a good life than the good life. In contrast to our predecessors, we seldom ask ourselves whether we serve a greater social purpose; we are more likely to ask ourselves if we are happy. We shun self-sacrifice and duty as the soft spots of suckers. We give little thought to the perpetuation of lineage, culture or nation; we take our heritage for granted. We are ahistorical. We measure the value of our lives within the brackets of our own births and deaths, and we’re not especially bothered by what happens once we’re dead. As we age—oh, so reluctantly!—we are apt to look back on our pasts and question not did I serve family, God and country, but did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat? We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but with whether they were interesting and fun. If that package sounds like one big moral step backward, the Be Here Now mentality that has converted from sixties catchphrase to entrenched gestalt has its upsides. There has to be some value in living for today, since at any given time today is all you’ve got. We justly cherish characters capable of living “in the moment.”…We admire go-getters determined to pack their lives with as much various experience as time and money provide, who never stop learning, engaging, and savoring what every day offers—in contrast to the dour killjoys who are bitter and begrudging in the ceaseless fulfillment of obligation. For the role of humble server, helpmate, and facilitator no longer to constitute the sole model of womanhood surely represents progress for which I am personally grateful. Furthermore, prosperity may naturally lead any well-off citizenry to the final frontier: the self, whose borders are as narrow or infinite as we make them. Yet the biggest social casualty of Be Here Now is children, who have converted from requirement to option, like heated seats for your car. In deciding what in times past never used to be a choice, we don’t consider the importance of raising another generation of our own people, however we might choose to define them. The question is whether kids will make us happy.
Lionel Shriver
Here’s a simple definition of ideology: “A set of beliefs about the proper order of society and how it can be achieved.”8 And here’s the most basic of all ideological questions: Preserve the present order, or change it? At the French Assembly of 1789, the delegates who favored preservation sat on the right side of the chamber, while those who favored change sat on the left. The terms right and left have stood for conservatism and liberalism ever since. Political theorists since Marx had long assumed that people chose ideologies to further their self-interest. The rich and powerful want to preserve and conserve; the peasants and workers want to change things (or at least they would if their consciousness could be raised and they could see their self-interest properly, said the Marxists). But even though social class may once have been a good predictor of ideology, that link has been largely broken in modern times, when the rich go both ways (industrialists mostly right, tech billionaires mostly left) and so do the poor (rural poor mostly right, urban poor mostly left). And when political scientists looked into it, they found that self-interest does a remarkably poor job of predicting political attitudes.9 So for most of the late twentieth century, political scientists embraced blank-slate theories in which people soaked up the ideology of their parents or the TV programs they watched.10 Some political scientists even said that most people were so confused about political issues that they had no real ideology at all.11 But then came the studies of twins. In the 1980s, when scientists began analyzing large databases that allowed them to compare identical twins (who share all of their genes, plus, usually, their prenatal and childhood environments) to same-sex fraternal twins (who share half of their genes, plus their prenatal and childhood environments), they found that the identical twins were more similar on just about everything.12 And what’s more, identical twins reared in separate households (because of adoption) usually turn out to be very similar, whereas unrelated children reared together (because of adoption) rarely turn out similar to each other, or to their adoptive parents; they tend to be more similar to their genetic parents. Genes contribute, somehow, to just about every aspect of our personalities.13 We’re not just talking about IQ, mental illness, and basic personality traits such as shyness. We’re talking about the degree to which you like jazz, spicy foods, and abstract art; your likelihood of getting a divorce or dying in a car crash; your degree of religiosity, and your political orientation as an adult. Whether you end up on the right or the left of the political spectrum turns out to be just as heritable as most other traits: genetics explains between a third and a half of the variability among people on their political attitudes.14 Being raised in a liberal or conservative household accounts for much less. How can that be? How can there be a genetic basis for attitudes about nuclear power, progressive taxation, and foreign aid when these issues only emerged in the last century or two? And how can there be a genetic basis for ideology when people sometimes change their political parties as adults? To answer these questions it helps to return to the definition of innate that I gave in chapter 7. Innate does not mean unmalleable; it means organized in advance of experience. The genes guide the construction of the brain in the uterus, but that’s only the first draft, so to speak. The draft gets revised by childhood experiences. To understand the origins of ideology you have to take a developmental perspective, starting with the genes and ending with an adult voting for a particular candidate or joining a political protest. There are three major steps in the process. Step
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
It is now time to face the fact that English is a crazy language — the most loopy and wiggy of all tongues. In what other language do people drive in a parkway and park in a driveway? In what other language do people play at a recital and recite at a play? Why does night fall but never break and day break but never fall? Why is it that when we transport something by car, it’s called a shipment, but when we transport something by ship, it’s called cargo? Why does a man get a hernia and a woman a hysterectomy? Why do we pack suits in a garment bag and garments in a suitcase? Why do privates eat in the general mess and generals eat in the private mess? Why do we call it newsprint when it contains no printing but when we put print on it, we call it a newspaper? Why are people who ride motorcycles called bikers and people who ride bikes called cyclists? Why — in our crazy language — can your nose run and your feet smell?Language is like the air we breathe. It’s invisible, inescapable, indispensable, and we take it for granted. But, when we take the time to step back and listen to the sounds that escape from the holes in people’s faces and to explore the paradoxes and vagaries of English, we find that hot dogs can be cold, darkrooms can be lit, homework can be done in school, nightmares can take place in broad daylight while morning sickness and daydreaming can take place at night, tomboys are girls and midwives can be men, hours — especially happy hours and rush hours — often last longer than sixty minutes, quicksand works very slowly, boxing rings are square, silverware and glasses can be made of plastic and tablecloths of paper, most telephones are dialed by being punched (or pushed?), and most bathrooms don’t have any baths in them. In fact, a dog can go to the bathroom under a tree —no bath, no room; it’s still going to the bathroom. And doesn’t it seem a little bizarre that we go to the bathroom in order to go to the bathroom? Why is it that a woman can man a station but a man can’t woman one, that a man can father a movement but a woman can’t mother one, and that a king rules a kingdom but a queen doesn’t rule a queendom? How did all those Renaissance men reproduce when there don’t seem to have been any Renaissance women? Sometimes you have to believe that all English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane: In what other language do they call the third hand on the clock the second hand? Why do they call them apartments when they’re all together? Why do we call them buildings, when they’re already built? Why it is called a TV set when you get only one? Why is phonetic not spelled phonetically? Why is it so hard to remember how to spell mnemonic? Why doesn’t onomatopoeia sound like what it is? Why is the word abbreviation so long? Why is diminutive so undiminutive? Why does the word monosyllabic consist of five syllables? Why is there no synonym for synonym or thesaurus? And why, pray tell, does lisp have an s in it? If adults commit adultery, do infants commit infantry? If olive oil is made from olives, what do they make baby oil from? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian consume? If pro and con are opposites, is congress the opposite of progress? ...
Richard Lederer
While a 10x improvement is gargantuan, Teller has very specific reasons for aiming exactly that high. “You assume that going 10x bigger is going to be ten times harder,” he continues, “but often it’s literally easier to go bigger. Why should that be? It doesn’t feel intuitively right. But if you choose to make something 10 percent better, you are almost by definition signing up for the status quo—and trying to make it a little bit better. That means you start from the status quo, with all its existing assumptions, locked into the tools, technologies, and processes that you’re going to try to slightly improve. It means you’re putting yourself and your people into a smartness contest with everyone else in the world. Statistically, no matter the resources available, you’re not going to win. But if you sign up for moonshot thinking, if you sign up to make something 10x better, there is no chance of doing that with existing assumptions. You’re going to have to throw out the rule book. You’re going to have to perspective-shift and supplant all that smartness and resources with bravery and creativity.” This perspective shift is key. It encourages risk taking and enhances creativity while simultaneously guarding against the inevitable decline. Teller explains: “Even if you think you’re going to go ten times bigger, reality will eat into your 10x. It always does. There will be things that will be more expensive, some that are slower; others that you didn’t think were competitive will become competitive. If you shoot for 10x, you might only be at 2x by the time you’re done. But 2x is still amazing. On the other hand, if you only shoot for 2x [i.e., 200 percent], you’re only going to get 5 percent and it’s going to cost you the perspective shift that comes from aiming bigger.” Most critically here, this 10x strategy doesn’t hold true just for large corporations. “A start-up is simply a skunk works without the big company around it,” says Teller. “The upside is there’s no Borg to get sucked back into; the downside is you have no money. But that’s not a reason not to go after moonshots. I think the opposite is true. If you publicly state your big goal, if you vocally commit yourself to making more progress than is actually possible using normal methods, there’s no way back. In one fell swoop you’ve severed all ties between yourself and all the expert assumptions.” Thus entrepreneurs, by striving for truly huge goals, are tapping into the same creativity accelerant that Google uses to achieve such goals. That said, by itself, a willingness to take bigger risks
Peter H. Diamandis (Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World (Exponential Technology Series))
Little Sleep's-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight 1 You scream, waking from a nightmare. When I sleepwalk into your room, and pick you up, and hold you up in the moonlight, you cling to me hard, as if clinging could save us. I think you think I will never die, I think I exude to you the permanence of smoke or stars, even as my broken arms heal themselves around you. 2 I have heard you tell the sun, don't go down, I have stood by as you told the flower, don't grow old, don't die. Little Maud, I would blow the flame out of your silver cup, I would suck the rot from your fingernail, I would brush your sprouting hair of the dying light, I would scrape the rust off your ivory bones, I would help death escape through the little ribs of your body, I would alchemize the ashes of your cradle back into wood, I would let nothing of you go, ever, until washerwomen feel the clothes fall asleep in their hands, and hens scratch their spell across hatchet blades, and rats walk away from the culture of the plague, and iron twists weapons toward truth north, and grease refuse to slide in the machinery of progress, and men feel as free on earth as fleas on the bodies of men, and the widow still whispers to the presence no longer beside her in the dark. And yet perhaps this is the reason you cry, this the nightmare you wake screaming from: being forever in the pre-trembling of a house that falls. 3 In a restaurant once, everyone quietly eating, you clambered up on my lap: to all the mouthfuls rising toward all the mouths, at the top of your voice you cried your one word, caca! caca! caca! and each spoonful stopped, a moment, in midair, in its withering steam. Yes, you cling because I, like you, only sooner than you, will go down the path of vanished alphabets, the roadlessness to the other side of the darkness, your arms like the shoes left behind, like the adjectives in the halting speech of old folk, which once could call up the lost nouns. 4 And you yourself, some impossible Tuesday in the year Two Thousand and Nine, will walk out among the black stones of the field, in the rain, and the stones saying over their one word, ci-gît, ci-gît, ci-gît, and the raindrops hitting you on the fontanel over and over, and you standing there unable to let them in. 5 If one day it happens you find yourself with someone you love in a café at one end of the Pont Mirabeau, at the zinc bar where wine takes the shapes of upward opening glasses, and if you commit then, as we did, the error of thinking, one day all this will only be memory, learn to reach deeper into the sorrows to come—to touch the almost imaginary bones under the face, to hear under the laughter the wind crying across the black stones. Kiss the mouth that tells you, here, here is the world. This mouth. This laughter. These temple bones. The still undanced cadence of vanishing. 6 In the light the moon sends back, I can see in your eyes the hand that waved once in my father's eyes, a tiny kite wobbling far up in the twilight of his last look: and the angel of all mortal things lets go the string. 7 Back you go, into your crib. The last blackbird lights up his gold wings: farewell. Your eyes close inside your head, in sleep. Already in your dreams the hours begin to sing. Little sleep's-head sprouting hair in the moonlight, when I come back we will go out together, we will walk out together among the ten thousand things, each scratched in time with such knowledge, the wages of dying is love.
Galway Kinnell
Yesterday while I was on the side of the mat next to some wrestlers who were warming up for their next match, I found myself standing side by side next to an extraordinary wrestler. He was warming up and he had that look of desperation on his face that wrestlers get when their match is about to start and their coach is across the gym coaching on another mat in a match that is already in progress. “Hey do you have a coach.” I asked him. “He's not here right now.” He quietly answered me ready to take on the task of wrestling his opponent alone. “Would you mind if I coached you?” His face tilted up at me with a slight smile and said. “That would be great.” Through the sounds of whistles and yelling fans I heard him ask me what my name was. “My name is John.” I replied. “Hi John, I am Nishan” he said while extending his hand for a handshake. He paused for a second and then he said to me: “John I am going to lose this match”. He said that as if he was preparing me so I wouldn’t get hurt when my coaching skills didn’t work magic with him today. I just said, “Nishan - No score of a match will ever make you a winner. You are already a winner by stepping onto that mat.” With that he just smiled and slowly ran on to the mat, ready for battle, but half knowing what the probable outcome would be. When you first see Nishan you will notice that his legs are frail - very frail. So frail that they have to be supported by custom made, form fitted braces to help support and straighten his limbs. Braces that I recognize all to well. Some would say Nishan has a handicap. I say that he has a gift. To me the word handicap is a word that describes what one “can’t do”. That doesn’t describe Nishan. Nishan is doing. The word “gift” is a word that describes something of value that you give to others. And without knowing it, Nishan is giving us all a gift. I believe Nishan’s gift is inspiration. The ability to look the odds in the eye and say “You don’t pertain to me.” The ability to keep moving forward. Perseverance. A “Whatever it takes” attitude. As he predicted, the outcome of his match wasn’t great. That is, if the only thing you judge a wrestling match by is the actual score. Nishan tried as hard as he could, but he couldn’t overcome the twenty-six pound weight difference that he was giving up to his opponent on this day in order to compete. You see, Nishan weighs only 80 pounds and the lowest weight class in this tournament was 106. Nishan knew he was spotting his opponent 26 pounds going into every match on this day. He wrestled anyway. I never did get the chance to ask him why he wrestles, but if I had to guess I would say, after watching him all day long, that Nishan wrestles for the same reasons that we all wrestle for. We wrestle to feel alive, to push ourselves to our mental, physical and emotional limits - levels we never knew we could reach. We wrestle to learn to use 100% of what we have today in hopes that our maximum today will be our minimum tomorrow. We wrestle to measure where we started from, to know where we are now, and to plan on getting where we want to be in the future. We wrestle to look the seemingly insurmountable opponent right in the eye and say, “Bring it on. - I can take whatever you can dish out.” Sometimes life is your opponent and just showing up is a victory. You don't need to score more points than your opponent in order to accomplish that. No Nishan didn’t score more points than any of his opponents on this day, that would have been nice, but I don’t believe that was the most important thing to Nishan. Without knowing for sure - the most important thing to him on this day was to walk with pride like a wrestler up to a thirty two foot circle, have all eyes from the crowd on him, to watch him compete one on one against his opponent - giving it all that he had. That is what competition is all about. Most of the times in wrestlin
JohnA Passaro
According to H.G. Wells, you either adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative. It is not necessary to change, after all survival is not mandatory This generation might seem arrogant to the older generation due to some reasons. The older generation believes an older person or someone of higher authority is always right and being sceptical is an insult, lol Our generation is full of people who are so skeptical, they wanna know why this is this and that is that, they don't just hear and believe, they hear, hear from other sides, look at it critically and express their opinions based on their conviction. This generation is full of people who are somewhat confident cos they study, they observe and due to these, they are equipped with better information and like you know, knowledge is power. You know right from wrong, you know truth from lies. When you are with those in authority and have this knowledge, an ignorant person of higher authority would be scared of you, feel threatened and might resort to maltreating and frustrating you, defaming your character etc The older generation and the younger generation are usually having misunderstanding because the older generation are being deceived by pride, the younger generation due to their advanced education do not wanna give merit to whom it isn't due. While the older generation postulates that respect is not earned but compulsory for them to be accorded, the younger generation believes respect must be earned. lol The older generation rules by fiction but the younger generation lives by facts. The older generation uses age to oppress, the younger generation uses their knowledge to defend. The older generation believes they can never be wrong, the younger generation wants fair hearing, demands for it, if denied, they take it by force due to the confidence they've built around themselves. The older generation is unfair to the younger generation, there was once a time they were listened to without doubts and opposition, this is the time for the younger generation to be listened to due to advancement in education and exposure. The younger generation, due to their quest for higher knowledge through research, etc, they have realized the consequences of being ignorant and with their power of conviction, they are not letting the older generation have their autocratic ways affect them. To the younger generation, one should be able to prove whatever he says, no more latent heresies and this is what the older generation don't wanna hear of. The older generation wants to continue enslaving the younger generation but the younger generation is more equipped than the older generation and as such, not letting that happen. Technology advances every day, the younger generation are ever ready to adapt to the changes but the older generation is not ready for that, they wanna remain stagnant and still have the say of the day. Like George Bernard Shaw once said, the reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man
OMOSOHWOFA CASEY
This Sarah Perez had the most beautiful eyes in the world, those green eyes spangled with gold that you love so much: the eyes of Antinous. In Rome, such eyes would have made her a concubine of Adrian; in Madrid they helped her become the princess of Eboli ensconced in the bed of the king. But Philip II was extremely jealous of those wonderful emerald eyes and their delicate transparency, and the princess - who was bored with the funereal palace and the even more funereal society of the king - had the fancy and the misfortune to cast her admirable gaze upon the Marquis de Posa while she was leaving church one day. It was on the threshold of the chapel, and the princess believed herself to be alone with her camarera mayor, but the vigilance of the clergy was equal to the challenge. She was betrayed, and that very evening, in the intimacy of their bedroom, in the course of some violent argument or tempestuous tussle, Philip threw his mistress to the floor. Blind with rage he leapt upon her, tore out her eye and devoured it in a single gulp. 'Thus was the princess covered in blood - a good title for a conte cruel, that, which Villiers de l'Isle Adam has somehow omitted to write! The princess was henceforth one-eyed: the royal pet had a gaping hole in her face. Philip II, who had the Jewess in his blood, could not cleave so closely to a princess who had only one eye. He made amends to her with some new titles and estates in the provinces and - regretful of the beautiful green eye that he had spoiled - he caused to be inserted into the empty and bloody orbit a superb emerald enshrined in silver, upon which surgeons then inscribed the semblance of a gaze. Oculists have made progress since then; the Princess of Eboli, already hurt by the ruination of her eye, died some little time afterwards, of the effects of the operation. The ways of love and surgery were equally barbarous in the time of Philip II! 'Philip, the inconsolable lover, gave the order to remove the emerald from the face of the dead princess before she was laid in the tomb, and had it mounted in a ring. He wore it about his finger, and would never take it off, even when he went to sleep - and when he died in his turn, he had the ring bearing the green tear clasped in his right hand.
Jean Lorrain (Monsieur De Phocas)