Properly Using Quotes

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Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly – they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
Jack London
Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1))
God made man stronger but not necessarily more intelligent. He gave women intuition and femininity. And, used properly, that combination easily jumbles the brain of any man I’ve ever met.
Farrah Fawcett
Vin: I don't know -- and it's all your fault, you know. I used to understand everything. Now it's all confused. Kelsier: Yes, we've messed you up right properly.
Brandon Sanderson (The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1))
It has made me better loving you... it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. Theoretically, I was satisfied. I flattered myself that I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid sterile hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better. It’s just as when one has been trying to spell out a book in the twilight, and suddenly the lamp comes in. I had been putting out my eyes over the book of life, and finding nothing to reward me for my pains; but now that I can read it properly I see that it’s a delightful story.
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
I’d discovered, after a lot of extreme apprehension about what spoons to use, that if you do something incorrect at table with a certain arrogance, as if you knew perfectly well you were doing it properly, you can get away with it and nobody will think you are bad-mannered or poorly brought up. They will think you are original and very witty.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
Why are you looking at me like that?" he inquired. "You used a demonic incantation to pack my stockings!" He raised an eyebrow. "You're right, that doesn't sound like something a proper evil sorcerer would do. Next time, I won't fold them.
Margaret Rogerson (Sorcery of Thorns (Sorcery of Thorns, #1))
A smile is the best way to deal with difficult situations. Even if it's a fake one. Used properly, you can fool anyone with them.
As with most fine things, chocolate has its season. There is a simple memory aid that you can use to determine whether it is the correct time to order chocolate dishes: any month whose name contains the letter A, E, or U is the proper time for chocolate.
Sandra Boynton (Chocolate: The Consuming Passion)
I sigh. "I don't know what's happening to me." "They're called hormones." I shoot him a dirty look. "I'm serious." "Me too." He cocks his head at me. "That's like, biological and shit. Scientific. Maybe your lady bits are scientifically confused." "My lady bits?" "Oh, I'm sorry" - Kenji pretends to look offended - "would you rather I use the proper anatomical terminology? Because you lady bits do not scare me-" "Yeah, no thanks.
Tahereh Mafi (Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3))
The complexity of our present trouble suggests as never before that we need to change our present concept of education. Education is not properly an industry, and its proper use is not to serve industries, either by job-training or by industry-subsidized research. It's proper use is to enable citizens to live lives that are economically, politically, socially, and culturally responsible. This cannot be done by gathering or "accessing" what we now call "information" - which is to say facts without context and therefore without priority. A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first.
Wendell Berry
Chiron, I don't think the attic is the proper place for our new Oracle, do you?" "No, indeed." Chiron looked a lot better now that Apollo had worked some medical magic on him. "Rachel may use a guest room in the Big House for now, until we give the matter more thought." "I'm thinking a cave in the hills," Apollo mused. "With torches and a big purple curtain over the entrance . . . really mysterious. But inside, a totally decked-out pad with a game room and one of those home theater systems.
Rick Riordan (The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5))
Graffiti ultimately wins out over proper art because it becomes part of your city, it' s a tool; "I'll meet you in that pub, you know, the one opposite that wall with a picture of a monkey holding a chainsaw". I mean, how much more useful can a painting be than that?
Banksy (Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall)
You can't improve sound by having only silence. The problem is to use each at the proper time.
Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth)
I remember something Marcus Aurelius used to tell his son, a quote that later became famous in his Meditations book: Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what's left and live it properly. What doesn't transmit light creates its own darkness.
Rick Riordan (The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2))
Libertarianism holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal
Murray N. Rothbard
There is a reason why it used to be that politics, religion, and sex were not topics for polite conversation. It is because our grandparents knew that while everyone is legally entitled to vote, pray, and fuck, the vast majority of people aren’t competent to do any one of the three properly.
J.K. Franko
The word phobic has its place when properly used, but lately it's been declawed by the pompous insistence that most animosity is based upon fear rather than loathing.... I hate computers. My hatred is entrenched, and I nourish it daily. I'm comfortable with it, and no community outreach program will change my mind.
David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
Would you have done that in his place? Would you have left him and gone on?" "Of course I would!" Halt replied immediately. But something in his voice rang false and Horse looked at him, raising one eyebrow. He'd waited a long time for an opportunity to use that expression of disbelief on Halt. After a pause, the Ranger's anger subsided. "All right. Perhaps I wouldn't," he admitted. Then he glared at Horace. "And stop raising that eyebrow on me. You can't even do it properly. Your other eyebrow moves with it!
John Flanagan (Halt's Peril (Ranger's Apprentice, #9))
Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1))
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.
Patrick Henry
Tea's proper use is to amuse the idle, and relax the studious, and dilute the full meals of those who cannot use exercise, and will not use abstinence." (Essay on Tea, 1757.)
Samuel Johnson (Works of Samuel Johnson)
Nothing is so indecent that it cannot be said to another person if the proper words are used to convey it.
Giovanni Boccaccio (The Decameron)
Suicide is a form of murder— premeditated murder. It isn’t something you do the first time you think of doing it. It takes some getting used to. And you need the means, the opportunity, the motive. A successful suicide demands good organization and a cool head, both of which are usually incompatible with the suicidal state of mind. It’s important to cultivate detachment. One way to do this is to practice imagining yourself dead, or in the process of dying. If there’s a window, you must imagine your body falling out the window. If there’s a knife, you must imagine the knife piercing your skin. If there’s a train coming, you must imagine your torso flattened under its wheels. These exercises are necessary to achieving the proper distance. The debate was wearing me out. Once you've posed that question, it won't go away. I think many people kill themselves simply to stop the debate about whether they will or they won't. Anything I thought or did was immediately drawn into the debate. Made a stupid remark—why not kill myself? Missed the bus—better put an end to it all. Even the good got in there. I liked that movie—maybe I shouldn’t kill myself. In reality, it was only part of myself I wanted to kill: the part that wanted to kill herself, that dragged me into the suicide debate and made every window, kitchen implement, and subway station a rehearsal for tragedy.
Susanna Kaysen
What grinds me the most is we're sending kids out into the world who don't know how to balance a checkbook, don't know how to apply for a loan, don't even know how to properly fill out a job application, but because they know the quadratic formula we consider them prepared for the world` With that said, I'll admit even I can see how looking at the equation x -3 = 19 and knowing x =22 can be useful. I'll even say knowing x =7 and y= 8 in a problem like 9x - 6y= 15 can be helpful. But seriously, do we all need to know how to simplify (x-3)(x-3i)?? And the joke is, no one can continue their education unless they do. A student living in California cannot get into a four-year college unless they pass Algebra 2 in high school. A future psychologist can't become a psychologist, a future lawyer can't become a lawyer, and I can't become a journalist unless each of us has a basic understanding of engineering. Of course, engineers and scientists use this shit all the time, and I applaud them! But they don't take years of theater arts appreciation courses, because a scientist or an engineer doesn't need to know that 'The Phantom of the Opoera' was the longest-running Broadway musical of all time. Get my point?
Chris Colfer (Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal (The Land of Stories))
That is the idea -- that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion. You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world. You may think that I am going too far when I say that that is still so. I do not think that I am. Take one fact. You will bear with me if I mention it. It is not a pleasant fact, but the churches compel one to mention facts that are not pleasant. Supposing that in this world that we live in today an inexperienced girl is married to a syphilitic man; in that case the Catholic Church says, 'This is an indissoluble sacrament. You must endure celibacy or stay together. And if you stay together, you must not use birth control to prevent the birth of syphilitic children.' Nobody whose natural sympathies have not been warped by dogma, or whose moral nature was not absolutely dead to all sense of suffering, could maintain that it is right and proper that that state of things should continue. That is only an example. There are a great many ways in which, at the present moment, the church, by its insistence upon what it chooses to call morality, inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary suffering. And of course, as we know, it is in its major part an opponent still of progress and improvement in all the ways that diminish suffering in the world, because it has chosen to label as morality a certain narrow set of rules of conduct which have nothing to do with human happiness; and when you say that this or that ought to be done because it would make for human happiness, they think that has nothing to do with the matter at all. 'What has human happiness to do with morals? The object of morals is not to make people happy.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
It is not theft, properly speaking, to take secretly and use another's property in a case of extreme need: because that which he takes for the support of his life becomes his own property by reason of that need
Thomas Aquinas
When life becomes too complicated and we feel overwhelmed, it’s often useful just to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose, our overall goal. When faced with a feeling of stagnation and confusion, it may be helpful to take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to simply reflect on what it is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities on the basis of that. This can put our life back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective, and enable us to see which direction to take.
Dalai Lama XIV (The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living)
You’ll find out it’s little savors and little things that count more than big ones. A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it’s full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing. You’ve time to seek and find. I know, you’re after the broad effect now, I suppose that’s fit and proper. But you got to look at grapes as well as watermelons. You greatly admire skeletons and I like fingerprints; well, and good. Right now such things are bothersome to you, and I wonder if it isn’t because you never learned to use them. If you had your way you’d pass a law to abolish all the little jobs, the little things. But then you’d leave yourselves nothing to do between the big jobs and you’d have a devil of a time thinking up things? Cutting grass and pulling weeds can be a way of life.
Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine)
Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors.
Joseph Addison
Pounce had it easier than any of us. No one noticed a black cat in the street. He stopped here and there to sniff aught of interest. Wherever our Rat stopped, Pounce was there, close enough to see up the Rat's nose. I was so proud. Now there was a proper god, making himself useful! Since my thought might be deemed blasphemy, I said silent prayers to the Goddess and to Mithros. I begged forgiveness and asked them not to misunderstand. Since I wasn't blasted where I stood, I guess they forgave me, or they hadn't heard my blasphemy.
Tamora Pierce (Terrier (Beka Cooper, #1))
How many seconds does it take to win second? As many as it takes to win first—if you don’t use them properly.
Jarod Kintz (A Zebra is the Piano of the Animal Kingdom)
It’s an age old story … Boy meets girl. Boy asks girl to touch him inappropriately. Girl dazzles boy with her impressive knowledge and proper use of profanity.
Katja Millay (The Sea of Tranquility)
Like so many plain cups on the shelves. You can reach for them, use them without thinking. Most of them don't matter. Sometimes you lose your grip on one of them and it falls and smashes to piece, and you shrug and say to yourself, what a pity. Then you reach for the cup that you use every day, one that you love and use so often that as you stretch out your hand it is already making the shape that fits its curve. You are certain that yesterday it was in its proper place, but now there is nothing. Just air. You have lost something that was so familiar, so much a part of your life that you were not even looking for it. Just expecting it to be there, as always.
Rosie Thomas (Iris & Ruby)
All the things of the wild have their proper uses. Only misuse makes them evil.
Ellis Peters (One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #2))
What did she say?” asked Matthias. Nina coughed and took his arm, leading him away. “She said you’re a very nice fellow, and a credit to the Fjerdan race. Ooh, look, blini! I haven’t had proper blini in forever.” “That word she used: babink,” he said. “You’ve called me that before. What does it mean?” Nina directed her attention to a stack of paper-thin buttered pancakes. “It means sweetie pie.” “Nina—” “Barbarian.” “I was just asking, there’s no need to name-call.” “No, babink means barbarian.” Matthias’ gaze snapped back to the old woman, his glower returning to full force. Nina grabbed his arm. It was like trying to hold on to a boulder. “She wasn’t insulting you! I swear!” “Barbarian isn’t an insult?” he asked, voice rising. “No. Well, yes. But not in this context. She wanted to know if you’d like to play Princess and Barbarian.” “It’s a game?” “Not exactly.” “Then what is it?” Nina couldn’t believe she was actually going to attempt to explain this. As they continued up the street, she said, “In Ravka, there’s a popular series of stories about, um, a brave Fjerdan warrior—” “Really?” Matthias asked. “He’s the hero?” “In a manner of speaking. He kidnaps a Ravkan princess—” “That would never happen.” “In the story it does, and”—she cleared her throat—“they spend a long time getting to know each other. In his cave.” “He lives in a cave?” “It’s a very nice cave. Furs. Jeweled cups. Mead.” “Ah,” he said approvingly. “A treasure hoard like Ansgar the Mighty. They become allies, then?” Nina picked up a pair of embroidered gloves from another stand. “Do you like these? Maybe we could get Kaz to wear something with flowers. Liven up his look.” “How does the story end? Do they fight battles?” Nina tossed the gloves back on the pile in defeat. “They get to know each other intimately.” Matthias’ jaw dropped. “In the cave?” “You see, he’s very brooding, very manly,” Nina hurried on. “But he falls in love with the Ravkan princess and that allows her to civilize him—” “To civilize him?” “Yes, but that’s not until the third book.” “There are three?” “Matthias, do you need to sit down?” “This culture is disgusting. The idea that a Ravkan could civilize a Fjerdan—” “Calm down, Matthias.” “Perhaps I’ll write a story about insatiable Ravkans who like to get drunk and take their clothes off and make unseemly advances toward hapless Fjerdans.” “Now that sounds like a party.” Matthias shook his head, but she could see a smile tugging at his lips. She decided to push the advantage. “We could play,” she murmured, quietly enough so that no one around them could hear. “We most certainly could not.” “At one point he bathes her.” Matthias’ steps faltered. “Why would he—” “She’s tied up, so he has to.” “Be silent.” “Already giving orders. That’s very barbarian of you. Or we could mix it up. I’ll be the barbarian and you can be the princess. But you’ll have to do a lot more sighing and trembling and biting your lip.” “How about I bite your lip?” “Now you’re getting the hang of it, Helvar.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
The word 'phobic' has its place when properly used, but lately it's been declawed by the pompous insistence that most animosity is based upon fear rather than good old-fashioned loathing.
David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
Imagination though it cannot wipe out the sting of remorse can instruct the mind in its proper uses.
William Carlos Williams (Kora in Hell)
I personally have a cunt. Sometimes it's 'flaps' or 'twat', but most of the time, it's my cunt. Cunt is a proper, old, historic, strong word. I like that my fire escape also doubles up as the most potent swearword in the English language. Yeah. That's how powerful it is, guys. If I tell you what I've got down there, old ladies and clerics might faint. I like how shocked people are when you say 'cunt'. It's like I have a nuclear bomb in my pants, or a tiger, or a gun. Compared to this the most powerful swearword men have got out of their privates is 'dick', which is frankly vanilla, and I believe you're allowed to use on, like, Blue Peter if something goes wrong. In a culture where nearly everything female is still seen as squeam-inducing, and/or weak - menstruation, menopause, just the sheer simple act of calling someone 'a girl' - I love that 'cunt' stands, on its own, as the supreme unvanquishable word. It has almost mystic resonance. It is a cunt - we all know it's a cunt - but we can't call it a cunt. We can't say the actual word. It's too powerful. Like Jews can never utter the Tetragrammaton - an must make do with 'Jehovah', instead.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity. But without proper preparation, I cannot see it, retain it, and use it.
Twyla Tharp prejudices will serve as well as old ones to harness the great unthinking masses. For this enlightenment, however, nothing is required but freedom, and indeed the most harmless among all the things to which this term can properly be applied. It is the freedom to make public use of one's reason at every point. But I hear on all sides, 'Do not argue!' The Officer says: 'Do not argue but drill!' The tax collector: 'Do not argue but pay!' The cleric: 'Do not argue but believe!' Only one prince in the world says, 'Argue as much as you will, and about what you will, but obey!' Everywhere there is restriction on freedom.
Immanuel Kant (An Answer to the Question: What Is Enlightenment?)
Are you really left-handed?” Mr. Marshall asked. “No. I’ve just been pretending to use my left hand my entire life because I enjoy never being able to work scissors properly.
Courtney Milan (The Suffragette Scandal (Brothers Sinister, #4))
Words can be like X-rays, if you use them properly–they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Sometimes when I meet old friends, it reminds me how quickly time passes. And it makes me wonder if we've utilized our time properly or not. Proper utilization of time is so important. While we have this body, and especially this amazing human brain, I think every minute is something precious. Our day-to-day existence is very much alive with hope, although there is no guarantee of our future. There is no guarantee that tomorrow at this time we will be here. But we are working for that purely on the basis of hope. So, we need to make the best use of our time. I believe that the proper utilization of time is this: if you can, serve other people, other sentient beings. If not, at least refrain from harming them. I think that is the whole basis of my philosophy. So, let us reflect what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that. The purpose of our life needs to be positive. We weren't born with the purpose of causing trouble, harming others. For our life to be of value, I think we must develop basic good human qualities—warmth, kindness, compassion. Then our life becomes meaningful and more peaceful—happier.
Dalai Lama XIV (The Art of Happiness)
Hence a commander who advances without any thought of winning personal fame and withdraws in spite of certain punishment, whose only concern is to protect his people and promote the interests of his ruler, is the nation's treasure. Because he fusses over his men as if they were infants, they will accompany him into the deepest valleys; because he fusses over his men as if they were his own beloved sons, they will die by his side. If he is generous with them and yet they do not do as he tells them, if he loves them and yet they do not obey his commands, if he is so undisciplined with them that he cannot bring them into proper order, they will be like spoiled children who can be put to no good use at all.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
Well, Valek, any new promotions?” the Commander asked “No. But Maren shows promise. Unfortunately she doesn’t want to be in my corps or even be my second.She just wants to beat me.” Valek grinned, delighted by the challenge. “And can she?” the Commander inquired. His eyebrows rose. “With time and the proper training. She’s deadly with her bow; it’s just her tactics that need work.” “Then what do we do with her?” “Promote her to General and retire some of those old wind-bags. We could use some fresh blood in the upper ranks.” “Valek, you never had a good grasp of military structure.” “Then promote her to First Lieutenant today, Captain tomorrow, Major the next day, Colonel the day after, and General the day after that.” “I’ll take it under advisement.
Maria V. Snyder (Poison Study (Study, #1))
Someone had given Georgie a magic phone and all she'd wanted to do with it is stay up late talking to her old boyfriend. If they'd given her a proper time machine, she probably would have used it to cuddle with him. Let someone else kill Hitler.
Rainbow Rowell (Landline)
I should go. Stewart’s waitin’ for me. Says he wants to teach me how to use a sword properly.’ Riley hooted. ‘Can I watch? This should be totally hilarious.’ ‘Ya’ve got no respect woman.’ Beck retorted. After the door closed behind him she realized what he’d said. ‘Woman?’ He wasn’t calling her girl any longer.
Jana Oliver (Forgiven (The Demon Trappers, #3))
In all of my universe I have seen no law of nature, unchanging and inexorable. This universe presents only changing relationships which are somtimes seen as laws by short-lived awareness. These fleshy sensoria which we call self are ephemera withering in the blaze of infinity, fleetingly aware of temporary conditions which confine our activities and change as our activities change. If you must label the absolute, use its proper name: Temporary.
Frank Herbert (God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles #4))
Swearing is an art form. You can express yourself much more directly, much more exactly, much more succinctly, with properly used curse words.
Coleman A. Young
Now he was astonished by how much he missed them. The English made regular use of only two flavours – salty and not salty – and did not seem to recognize any of the others. For a country that profited so well from trading in spices, its citizens were violently averse to actually using them; in all his time in Hampstead, he never tasted a dish that could be properly described as ‘seasoned’, let alone ‘spicy’.
R.F. Kuang (Babel, or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution)
One problem with our current society is that we have an attitude towards education as if it is there to simply make you more clever, make you more ingenious... Even though our society does not emphasize this, the most important use of knowledge and education is to help us understand the importance of engaging in more wholesome actions and bringing about discipline within our minds. The proper utilization of our intelligence and knowledge is to effect changes from within to develop a good heart.
Dalai Lama XIV
I used to think like that at school," Sabriel answered. "Dreaming about the Old Kingdom. Proper Charter Magic. Dead to bind. Princes to be --" "Rescued?
Garth Nix (Sabriel (Abhorsen, #1))
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
Neil Peart (Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road)
In America, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and it is certainly useful to have a few when a pollster shows up. But these are opinions of a quite different roder from eighteenth- or nineteenth-century opinions. It is probably more accurate to call them emotions rather than opinions, which would account for the fact that they change from week to week, as the pollsters tell us. What is happening here is that television is altering the meaning of 'being informed' by creating a species of information that might properly be called disinformation. I am using this world almost in the precise sense in which it is used by spies in the CIA or KGB. Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information--misplace, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information--information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing. In saying this, I do not mean to imply that television news deliberately aims to deprive Americans of a coherent, contextual understanding of their world. I mean to say that when news is packaged as entertainment, that is the inevitable result. And in saying that the television news show entertains but does not inform, I am saying something far more serious than that we are being deprived of authentic information. I am saying we are losing our sense of what it means to be well informed. Ignorance is always correctable. But what shall we do if we take ignorance to be knowledge?
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
If it is a human thing to do to put something you want, because it's useful, edible, or beautiful, into a bag, or a basket, or a bit of rolled bark or leaf, or a net woven of your own hair, or what have you, and then take it home with you, home being another, larger kind of pouch or bag, a container for people, and then later on you take it out and eat it or share it or store it up for winter in a solider container or put it in the medicine bundle or the shrine or the museum, the holy place, the area that contains what is sacred, and then the next day you probably do much the same again—if to do that is human, if that's what it takes, then I am a human being after all. Fully, freely, gladly, for the first time.... [T]he proper, fitting shape of the novel might be that of a sack, a bag. A book holds words. Words hold things. They bear meanings. A novel is a medicine bundle, holding things in a particular, powerful relation to one another and to us." —"The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction
Ursula K. Le Guin (Dancing at the Edge of the World)
He gave the side of her head a quick lick before she squealed and ducked away from him. Tasted like Meg. Felt like puppy fuzz. Too bad he couldn’t hold her down and give her a proper grooming like he used to do with Sam.
Anne Bishop (Vision in Silver (The Others, #3))
Deep within the individual is a vast reservoir of untapped power awaiting to be used. no person can have the use of all this potential until he learns to know his or her own self. the trouble with many people is that they got through life thinking and writing themselves off as ordinary commonplace persons. having no proper belief in themselves they live aimless and erratic lives largely because they never realize what their lives really can be or what they can become
Norman Vincent Peale
Wisdom is the power to put our time and our knowledge to the proper use
Thomas Watson
Proper learning isn’t just useful in society, Beryl. It can be wonderfully yours, a thing to have and keep just for you.
Paula McLain (Circling the Sun)
I know I have a pretty good sense for music, but she was better than me. I used to think it was such a waste! I thought, ‘If only she had started out with a good teacher and gotten the proper training, she’d be so much further along!’ But I was wrong about that. She was not the kind of child who could stand proper training. There just happen to be people like that. They’re blessed with this marvelous talent, but they can’t make the effort to systematize it. They end up squandering it in little bits and pieces. I’ve seen my share of people like that. At first you think they’re amazing. Like, they can sight-read some terrifically difficult piece and do a damn good job playing it all the way through. You see them do it, and you’re overwhelmed. you think, ‘I could never do that in a million years.’ But that’s as far as they go. They can’t take it any further. And why not? Because they won’t put in the effort. Because they haven’t had the discipline pounded into them. They’ve been spoiled. They have just enough talent so they’ve been able to play things well without any effort and they’ve had people telling them how great they are from the time they’re little, so hard work looks stupid to them. They’ll take some piece another kid has to work on for three weeks and polish it off in half the time, so the teacher figures they’ve put enough into it and lets them go to the next thing. And they do that in half the time and go on to the next piece. They never find out what it means to be hammered by the teacher; they lose out on a certain element required or character building. It’s a tragedy.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
Fear and sorrow inhibit action; anger generates it. When you learn to make proper use of your anger, you can change fear and sorrow to anger, then turn anger to action. That’s the body’s secret of internal alchemy.
Dan Millman (WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR: A Book That Changes Lives)
What is the world coming to when girls allow their hands to be kissed without gloves? That young people don't use proper protection these days is exactly why there are always so many colds going around.
Bauvard (The Prince Of Plungers)
. . .it is not my design to teach the method that everyone must follow in order to use his reason properly, but only to show the way in which I have tried to use my own.
René Descartes (Discourse on Method)
Avoid trivial pursuits. You are a child of God, destined for glory, and called to do great things in His Name. Do not waste your life on hobbies, sports, and other recreational pursuits. Do not throw away the precious moments of your life on entertainment, movies, and video games. Though some of these things can properly have a 'small place' in the Christian’s life, we must be careful not to give undue attention to temporal and fruitless activities. Do not waste your life. Employ the time of your youth in developing the character and skills necessary to be a useful servant of God.
Paul David Washer
The present moment, though, is outside of time, it’s Eternity. In India they use the word “karma” for lack of any better term. But it’s a concept that’s rarely given a proper explanation. It isn’t what you did in the past that will affect the present. It’s what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future.
Paulo Coelho
Your Royal Bloody Pain in My Back, We're bloody waiting here to talk to you, and we're getting angry perturbed. (That means angry.) Thom says that you're a queen now, but I figure that changes nothing, sense you acted like a queen all the time anyway. Don't forget that I carried halled your pretty little backside out of a hole in Tear, but you acted like a queen then, so I guess I don't know why I'm surprised now that you act like one when you really are a queen. So I'm thinking I should treat you like a bloody Queen and send you a bloody letter and all, speaking with high talk and getting your attention. I even used my ring as a signet, like it was paper proper. So here my formal salutation. So BLOODY STOP TURNING ME AWAY so we can talk. I need your bellfounders. It's bloody important. --Mat p.s. Salutation means greeting. p.p.s. Don't mind the scratched out words and bad spellings. I was going to rewrite this letter, but Thom is laffing so hard at me that I want to be done. p.p.s. Don't mind me calling your backside pretty. I hardly ever spent any time looking at it, as I've an awareness that you'd pull my eyes out if you saw me. Besides, I'm married now, so that all doesn't matter.
Robert Jordan
If we can’t even properly count what we possess, how will we be able to use it?
Prem Jagyasi
I have a young friend who dreams of becoming a novelist, but he never seems to be able to complete his work. According to him, his job keeps him too busy, and he can never find enough time to write novels, and that's why he can't complete work and enter it for writing awards. But is that the real reason? No! It's actually that he wants to leave the possibility of "I can do it if I try" open, by not committing to anything. He doesn't want to expose his work to criticism, and he certainly doesn't want to face the reality that he might produce an inferior piece of writing and face rejection. He wants to live inside that realm of possibilities, where he can say that he could do it if he only had the time, or that he could write if he just had the proper environment, and that he really does have the talent for it. In another five or ten years, he will probably start using another excuses like "I'm not young anymore" or "I've got a family to think about now
Ichiro Kishimi (The Courage to Be Disliked: How to Free Yourself, Change Your Life, and Achieve Real Happiness)
I used to think Romeo and Juliet was the greatest love story ever written. But now that I’m middle-aged, I know better. Oh, Romeo certainly thinks he loves his Juliet. Driven by hormones, he unquestionably lusts for her. But if he loves her, it’s a shallow love. You want proof?” Cagney didn’t wait for Dr. Victor to say yay or nay. “Soon after meeting her for the first time, he realizes he forgot to ask her for her name. Can true love be founded upon such shallow acquaintance? I don’t think so. And at the end, when he thinks she’s dead, he finds no comfort in living out the remainder of his life within the paradigm of his love, at least keeping alive the memory of what they had briefly shared, even if it was no more than illusion, or more accurately, hormonal. “Those of us watching events unfold from the darkness know she merely lies in slumber. But does he seek the reason for her life-like appearance? No. Instead he accuses Death of amorousness, convinced that the ‘lean abhorred monster’ endeavors to keep Juliet in her present state, her cheeks flushed, so that she might cater to his own dissolute desires. But does Romeo hold her in his arms one last time and feel the warmth of her blood still coursing through her veins? Does he pinch her to see if she might awaken? Hold a mirror to her nose to see if her breath fogs it? Once, twice, three times a ‘no.’” Cagney sighed, listened to the leather creak as he shifted his weight in his chair. “No,” he repeated. “His alleged love is so superficial and selfish that he seeks to escape the pain of loss by taking his own life. That’s not love, but obsessive infatuation. Had they wed—Juliet bearing many children, bonding, growing together, the masks of the star-struck teens they once were long ago cast away, basking in the comforting campfire of a love born of a lifetime together, not devoured by the raging forest fire of youth that consumes everything and leaves behind nothing—and she died of natural causes, would Romeo have been so moved to take his own life, or would he have grieved properly, for her loss and not just his own?
J. Conrad Guest (The Cobb Legacy)
No settled family or community has ever called its home place an “environment.” None has ever called its feeling for its home place “biocentric” or “anthropocentric.” None has ever thought of its connection to its home place as “ecological,” deep or shallow. The concepts and insights of the ecologists are of great usefulness in our predicament, and we can hardly escape the need to speak of “ecology” and “ecosystems.” But the terms themselves are culturally sterile. They come from the juiceless, abstract intellectuality of the universities which was invented to disconnect, displace, and disembody the mind. The real names of the environment are the names of rivers and river valleys; creeks, ridges, and mountains; towns and cities; lakes, woodlands, lanes roads, creatures, and people. And the real name of our connection to this everywhere different and differently named earth is “work.” We are connected by work even to the places where we don’t work, for all places are connected; it is clear by now that we cannot exempt one place from our ruin of another. The name of our proper connection to the earth is “good work,” for good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; it honors the place where it is done; it honors the art by which it is done; it honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing. Good work is always modestly scaled, for it cannot ignore either the nature of individual places or the differences between places, and it always involves a sort of religious humility, for not everything is known. Good work can be defined only in particularity, for it must be defined a little differently for every one of the places and every one of the workers on the earth. The name of our present society’s connection to the earth is “bad work” – work that is only generally and crudely defined, that enacts a dependence that is ill understood, that enacts no affection and gives no honor. Every one of us is to some extent guilty of this bad work. This guilt does not mean that we must indulge in a lot of breast-beating and confession; it means only that there is much good work to be done by every one of us and that we must begin to do it.
Wendell Berry
My son . . . guilt, in proper measure, can be a useful emotion. However, when indulged to excess it becomes self-defeating, and even worse, tedious.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
The medievals loved to say that God wrote two books: nature and Scripture. And since he is the author of both books, and since this Teacher never contradicts himself, these two books never contradict each other. And since this God who never contradicts himself also gave us the two truth detectors, faith and reason, it follows that faith and reason, properly used, never contradict each other. Therefore, all heresies are contrary to reason. Not all the truths of faith can be proved by reason, but all arguments against the truths of faith can be disproved by reason.
Peter Kreeft (Socrates Meets Jesus: History's Greatest Questioner Confronts the Claims of Christ)
The more Lord Maccon considered it, the more he grew to like the idea. Certainly his imagination was full of pictures of what he and Alexia might do together once he got her home in a properly wedded state, but now those lusty images were mixing with others: waking up next to her, seeing her across the dining table, discussing science and politics, having her advice on points of pack controversy and BUR difficulties. No doubt she would be useful in verbal frays and social machinations, as long as she was on his side.
Gail Carriger (Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1))
I'm pretty good at inventing phrases- you know, the sort of words that suddenly make you jump, almost as though you'd sat on a pin, they seem so new and exciting even though they're about something hypnopaedically obvious. But that doesn't seem enough. It's not enough for the phrases to be good; what you make with them ought to be good too...I feel I could do something much more important. Yes, and more intense, more violent. But what? What is there more important to say? And how can one be violent about the sort of things one's expected to write about? Words can be like X-rays, if you use them properly-they'll go through anything. You read them and you're pierced. That's one of the things I try to teach my students-how to write piercingly. But what on earth's the good of being pierced by an article about a Community Sing, or the latest improvement in scent organs? Besides, can you make words really piercing-you know, like the very hardest X-rays when you're writing about that sort of thing? Can you say something about nothing?
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Do you know about the spoons? Because you should. The Spoon Theory was created by a friend of mine, Christine Miserandino, to explain the limits you have when you live with chronic illness. Most healthy people have a seemingly infinite number of spoons at their disposal, each one representing the energy needed to do a task. You get up in the morning. That’s a spoon. You take a shower. That’s a spoon. You work, and play, and clean, and love, and hate, and that’s lots of damn spoons … but if you are young and healthy you still have spoons left over as you fall asleep and wait for the new supply of spoons to be delivered in the morning. But if you are sick or in pain, your exhaustion changes you and the number of spoons you have. Autoimmune disease or chronic pain like I have with my arthritis cuts down on your spoons. Depression or anxiety takes away even more. Maybe you only have six spoons to use that day. Sometimes you have even fewer. And you look at the things you need to do and realize that you don’t have enough spoons to do them all. If you clean the house you won’t have any spoons left to exercise. You can visit a friend but you won’t have enough spoons to drive yourself back home. You can accomplish everything a normal person does for hours but then you hit a wall and fall into bed thinking, “I wish I could stop breathing for an hour because it’s exhausting, all this inhaling and exhaling.” And then your husband sees you lying on the bed and raises his eyebrow seductively and you say, “No. I can’t have sex with you today because there aren’t enough spoons,” and he looks at you strangely because that sounds kinky, and not in a good way. And you know you should explain the Spoon Theory so he won’t get mad but you don’t have the energy to explain properly because you used your last spoon of the morning picking up his dry cleaning so instead you just defensively yell: “I SPENT ALL MY SPOONS ON YOUR LAUNDRY,” and he says, “What the … You can’t pay for dry cleaning with spoons. What is wrong with you?” Now you’re mad because this is his fault too but you’re too tired to fight out loud and so you have the argument in your mind, but it doesn’t go well because you’re too tired to defend yourself even in your head, and the critical internal voices take over and you’re too tired not to believe them. Then you get more depressed and the next day you wake up with even fewer spoons and so you try to make spoons out of caffeine and willpower but that never really works. The only thing that does work is realizing that your lack of spoons is not your fault, and to remind yourself of that fact over and over as you compare your fucked-up life to everyone else’s just-as-fucked-up-but-not-as-noticeably-to-outsiders lives. Really, the only people you should be comparing yourself to would be people who make you feel better by comparison. For instance, people who are in comas, because those people have no spoons at all and you don’t see anyone judging them. Personally, I always compare myself to Galileo because everyone knows he’s fantastic, but he has no spoons at all because he’s dead. So technically I’m better than Galileo because all I’ve done is take a shower and already I’ve accomplished more than him today. If we were having a competition I’d have beaten him in daily accomplishments every damn day of my life. But I’m not gloating because Galileo can’t control his current spoon supply any more than I can, and if Galileo couldn’t figure out how to keep his dwindling spoon supply I think it’s pretty unfair of me to judge myself for mine. I’ve learned to use my spoons wisely. To say no. To push myself, but not too hard. To try to enjoy the amazingness of life while teetering at the edge of terror and fatigue.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
Before he had time to figure it out, his walkie-talkie crackled and a voice came on. He punched a button. "Sheriff here. What's up?" "Someone called about a public disturbance behind schmitty's bar," a woman's voice reported. "Cathy use the proper code number," Billy growled. "There ain't no number for a guy acting like a cockroach!" the woman yelled. "he climbed into their Dumpster and he's wallowing in the trash.
Kerrelyn Sparks (The Undead Next Door (Love at Stake, #4))
Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else’s resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property.
Milton Friedman
Using the comma well announces that you have an ear for sense and rhythm, confidence in your style and a proper respect for your reader,
Lynne Truss (Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation)
Mine is a very matter-of-fact approach to the problem. If you can select a population and they're educated and they're properly brought up, then you don't have to use too much of the stick because they would already have been trained. It's like with dogs. You train it in a proper way from small. It will know that it's got to leave, go outside to pee and to defecate. No, we are not that kind of society. We had to train adult dogs who even today deliberately urinate in the lifts.
Lee Kuan Yew
The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breaches or fraud by the others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law. But a government that initiates the employment of force against men who had forced no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmare infernal machine designed to annihilate morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man's deadliest enemy, from the role of of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against the victims deprived of the right of self-defense. Such a government substitutes for morality the following rule of social conduct: you may do whatever you please to your neighbor, provided your gang is bigger than his.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)'d be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are. We will let a selection from the writings of Chuang-tse illustrate: Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, "I have a large tree which no carpenter can cut into lumber. Its branches and trunk are crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are the same - useless, without value. Therefore, no one pays attention to them." ... "You complain that your tree is not valuable as lumber. But you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring its character and appearance. Since it would not be endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence? It is useless to you only because you want to make it into something else and do not use it in its proper way.
Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
She was never able to talk about her secret with anyone around her. She has never found the proper words to describe it to others.. and even when she thought she did, the ones she used were never understood . But how could she blame anyone around her for not understanding something that confused her and kept her perplexed even though she lived it ?
Sahar Ayachi (The Orchid)
Yes, we all know that there's a good chance the missiles won't work properly when the government people finally come to get them, but over the years we've stopped worrying about that. Deep down, most of us feel it's probably better this way. After all, if there are families in faraway countries with their own backyard missiles, armed and pointed back at us, we would hope that they too have found a much better use for them.
Shaun Tan (Tales from Outer Suburbia)
Silence is the warrior’s art — and meditation is his sword. With it, you’ll cut through your illusions. But understand this: the sword’s usefulness depends upon the swordsman. If you don’t know how to use the weapon properly, it can become a dangerous, deluding, or useless tool. Meditation can initially help you to relax. You may put your ‘sword’ on display, proudly show it to friends. The gleam of this sword distracts many meditators until they abandon it to seek other esoteric techniques.
Dan Millman (WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR: A Book That Changes Lives)
The artist usually sets out -- or used to -- to point a moral and adorn a tale. The tale, however, points the other way, as a rule. Two blankly opposing morals, the artist's and the tale's. Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper functions of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it.
D.H. Lawrence (Studies in Classic American Literature)
The grief doesn't go away, ... "But you...get used to it, you know? It's like carrying a heavy stone, one that's really too heavy for you: you learn to settle the weight properly, and then you get used to it, and then sometimes you can forget you're carrying it.
Rachel Neumeier (The Floating Islands (The Floating Islands #1))
Perhaps the most chaotic of Divisions Ke Hui Feng 第一 Ψ visited was Recycling. First, it was mammoth, so big most of her tour was spent aboard a drone. Thousands of Dazhong used the 401 thoroughfares from both east and west, the 427 from the south and the 400 from the north to bring their loads of recyclables from the MASS to the enormous MEG Recycling Centre. The roadways might be in ruins outside the MEG boundaries, jagged fragments of pavement between cavernous potholes and trails made by traders, but within the MEG the wide lanes had been cleared and covered with recycled rubber. They were smooth and divided, one lane in—one lane out, between hundred-metre high foamstone walls on either side. No one from the MASS would ever get into the MEG illegally; at least, that was how it seemed. Only those with proper credentials could enter the massive gates: MASS traders, or trading companies, who specialized as middlemen between the gatherers and the Recycling Centre. Not far outside the gates the MASS traders had rebuilt ancient warehouses in which they received goods, stored, and sorted them, then brought them, usually by land freighters, down the ingress roads to meet MEG approved Di sān overseers and, of course, decontaminated Dazhong who further sorted the goods.
Brian Van Norman (Against the Machine: Evolution (213) (Essential Prose Series))
It is a great thing, indeed, to make a proper use of the poetical forms, as also of compounds and strange words. But the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. It is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others; and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars.
Aristotle (The Rhetoric & The Poetics of Aristotle)
All infants and children require and deserve comfort in order to develop properly. Soft cooing voices, gentle touch, smiles, cleanliness, and wholesome food all contribute to the growing body/mind. And when these basic conditions are absent in childhood, our need for comfort in adulthood can be so profound that it becomes pathological, driving us to seek mothering from anyone who will have us, to use others to fill our emptiness with sex or love, and to risk becoming addicted to a perceived source of comfort.
Alexandra Katehakis (Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence)
Put bluntly, the struggle that so many companies have to differentiate or communicate their true value to the outside world is not a business problem, it's a biology problem. And just like a person struggling to put her emotions into words, we rely on metaphors, imagery and analogies in an attempt to communicate how we feel. Absent the proper language to share our deep emotions, our purpose, cause or belief, we tell stories. We use symbols. We create tangible things for those who believe what we believe to point to and say, "That's why I'm inspired." If done properly, that's what marketing, branding and products and services become; a way for organizations to communicate to the outside world. Communicate clearly and you shall be understood.
Simon Sinek (Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action)
Nearly every night there were screenings in the private projection rooms in the Kremlin or the various dachas. Khrushchev says that Stalin was particularly keen on Westerns: 'He used to curse them and give them proper ideological evaluation, but then immediately order new ones.
Martin Amis (Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million)
the proper way to elicit information from a group is not by starting with a public discussion but by confidentially collecting each person’s judgment. This procedure makes better use of the knowledge available to members of the group than the common practice of open discussion.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
Tell me what you do with the food you eat, and I'll tell you who you are. Some turn their food into fat and manure, some into work and good humor, and others, I'm told, into God. So there must be three sorts of men. I'm not one of the worst, boss, nor yet one of the best. I'm somewhere in between the two. What I eat I turn into work and good humor. That's not too bad, after all!' He looked at me wickedly and started laughing. 'As for you, boss,' he said, 'I think you do your level best to turn what you eat into God. But you can't quite manage it, and that torments you. The same thing's happening to you as happened to the crow.' 'What happened to the crow, Zorba?' 'Well, you see, he used to walk respectably, properly - well, like a crow. But one day he got it into his head to try and strut about like a pigeon. And from that time on the poor fellow couldn't for the life of him recall his own way of walking. He was all mixed up, don't you see? He just hobbled about.
Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek)
Ranna," she said aloud, touching the first, the smallest bell. Ranna the sleepbringer, the sweet, low sound that brought silence in its wake. "Mosrael." The second bell, a harsh, rowdy bell. Mosrael was the waker, the bell Sabriel should never use, the bell whose sound was a seesaw, throwing the ringer further into Death, as it brought the listener into Life. "Kibeth." Kibeth, the walker. A bell of several sounds, a difficult and contrary bell. It could give freedom of movement to one of the Dead, or walk them through the next gate. Many a necromancer had stumbled with Kibeth and walked where they would not. "Dyrim." A musical bell, of clear and pretty tone. Dyrim was the voice that the Dead so often lost. But Dyrim could also still a tongue that moved too freely. "Belgaer." Another tricksome bell, that sought to ring of its own accord. Belgaer was the thinking bell, the bell most necromancers scorned to use. It could restore independent thought, memory and all the patterns of a living person. Or, slipping in a careless hand, erase them. "Saraneth." The deepest, lowest bell. The sound of strength. Saraneth was the binder, the bell that shackled the Dead to the wielder's will. And last, the largest bell, the one Sabriel's cold fingers found colder still, even in the leather case that kept it silent. "Astarael, the Sorrowful," whispered Sabriel. Astarael was the banisher, the final bell. Properly rung, it cast everyone who heard it far into Death. Everyone, including the ringer.
Garth Nix (Sabriel (Abhorsen, #1))
Politics is good; when it works properly, disagreements get solved without people beating each other up. But when a regime knows its days are numbered, there's always the chance it may use its position to change the rules and make the debate it is losing irrelevant.
Vernor Vinge (The Children of the Sky (Zones of Thought, #3))
Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve such authority over us that we forget their earthly origins and accept them as unalterable givens. Thus they come to be stamped as “necessities of thought”, “a priori givens”, etc. The path of scientific advance is often made impassable for a long time through such errors. For that reason, it is by no means an idle game if we become practiced in analyzing the long commonplace concepts and exhibiting those circumstances upon which their justification and usefulness depend, how they have grown up, individually, out of the givens of experience. By this means, their all-too-great authority will be broken. They will be removed if they cannot be properly legitimated, corrected if their correlation with given things be far too superfluous, replaced by others if a new system can be established that we prefer for whatever reason.
Albert Einstein
The proper use of comments is to compensate for our failure to express ourself in code. Note that I used the word failure. I meant it. Comments are always failures.
Robert C. Martin (Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship)
Every faculty that naturally belongs to the human mind is latent in every mind, and it can be awakened and developed, provided the proper laws are faithfully applied.
Christian D. Larson (Your Forces and How to Use Them)
You see, in our family we don't know whether we're coming or going - it's all my grandmother's fault. But, of course, the fault wasn't hers at all: it lay in language. Every language assumes a centrality, a fixed and settled point to go away from and come back to, and what my grandmother was looking for was a word for a journey which was not a coming or a going at all; a journey that was a search for precisely that fixed point which permits the proper use of verbs of movement.
Amitav Ghosh (The Shadow Lines)
You’re a proper little princess, aren’t you? Big estate in Brighton, summers in Toulouse, porcelain china on your shelves and Assam in your teacups? How could you understand? Your people reap the fruits of the Empire. Ours don’t. So shut up, Letty, and just listen to what we’re trying to tell you. It’s not right what they’re doing to our countries.’ His voice grew louder, harder. ‘And it’s not right that I’m trained to use my languages for their benefit, to translate laws and texts to facilitate their rule, when there are people in India and China and Haiti and all over the Empire and the world who are hungry and starving because the British would rather put silver in their hats and harpsichords than anywhere it could do some good.
R.F. Kuang (Babel)
From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty As surfeit is the father of much fast, So every scope of the immoderate use Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue, - Like rats that ravin down their proper bane, - A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.
William Shakespeare (Measure for Measure)
Not long ago, I advertised for perverse rules of grammar, along the lines of "Remember to never split an infinitive" and "The passive voice should never be used." The notion of making a mistake while laying down rules ("Thimk," "We Never Make Misteaks") is highly unoriginal, and it turns out that English teachers have been circulating lists of fumblerules for years. As owner of the world's largest collection, and with thanks to scores of readers, let me pass along a bunch of these never-say-neverisms: * Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read. * Don't use no double negatives. * Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't. * Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed. * Do not put statements in the negative form. * Verbs has to agree with their subjects. * No sentence fragments. * Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. * Avoid commas, that are not necessary. * If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing. * A writer must not shift your point of view. * Eschew dialect, irregardless. * And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. * Don't overuse exclamation marks!!! * Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents. * Writers should always hyphenate between syllables and avoid un-necessary hyph-ens. * Write all adverbial forms correct. * Don't use contractions in formal writing. * Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided. * It is incumbent on us to avoid archaisms. * If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. * Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language. * Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixed metaphors. * Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. * Never, ever use repetitive redundancies. * Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing. * If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, resist hyperbole. * Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration. * Don't string too many prepositional phrases together unless you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. * Always pick on the correct idiom. * "Avoid overuse of 'quotation "marks."'" * The adverb always follows the verb. * Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives." (New York Times, November 4, 1979; later also published in book form)
William Safire (Fumblerules: A Lighthearted Guide to Grammar and Good Usage)
We see a lot of feature-driven product design in which the cost of features is not properly accounted. Features can have a negative value to customers because they make the products more difficult to understand and use. We are finding that people like products that just work. It turns out that designs that just work are much harder to produce that designs that assemble long lists of features.
Douglas Crockford (JavaScript: The Good Parts)
In Plaster I shall never get out of this! There are two of me now: This new absolutely white person and the old yellow one, And the white person is certainly the superior one. She doesn't need food, she is one of the real saints. 
At the beginning I hated her, she had no personality -- She lay in bed with me like a dead body 
And I was scared, because she was shaped just the way I was 
 Only much whiter and unbreakable and with no complaints. I couldn't sleep for a week, she was so cold. I blamed her for everything, but she didn't answer. 
I couldn't understand her stupid behavior! 
When I hit her she held still, like a true pacifist. 
Then I realized what she wanted was for me to love her: She began to warm up, and I saw her advantages. 

Without me, she wouldn't exist, so of course she was grateful. 
I gave her a soul, I bloomed out of her as a rose 
Blooms out of a vase of not very valuable porcelain, And it was I who attracted everybody's attention, 
Not her whiteness and beauty, as I had at first supposed. 
I patronized her a little, and she lapped it up -- 
You could tell almost at once she had a slave mentality. 

I didn't mind her waiting on me, and she adored it. 
In the morning she woke me early, reflecting the sun 
From her amazingly white torso, and I couldn't help but notice 
Her tidiness and her calmness and her patience: She humored my weakness like the best of nurses, 
Holding my bones in place so they would mend properly. In time our relationship grew more intense. 

She stopped fitting me so closely and seemed offish. 
I felt her criticizing me in spite of herself, 
As if my habits offended her in some way. She let in the drafts and became more and more absent-minded. 
And my skin itched and flaked away in soft pieces 
Simply because she looked after me so badly. Then I saw what the trouble was: she thought she was immortal. She wanted to leave me, she thought she was superior, 
And I'd been keeping her in the dark, and she was resentful -- Wasting her days waiting on a half-corpse! 
And secretly she began to hope I'd die. Then she could cover my mouth and eyes, cover me entirely, 
And wear my painted face the way a mummy-case Wears the face of a pharaoh, though it's made of mud and water. 

I wasn't in any position to get rid of her. She'd supported me for so long I was quite limp -- I had forgotten how to walk or sit, So I was careful not to upset her in any way 
Or brag ahead of time how I'd avenge myself. Living with her was like living with my own coffin: Yet I still depended on her, though I did it regretfully. I used to think we might make a go of it together -- 
After all, it was a kind of marriage, being so close. 
Now I see it must be one or the other of us. She may be a saint, and I may be ugly and hairy, 
But she'll soon find out that that doesn't matter a bit. I'm collecting my strength; one day I shall manage without her, 
And she'll perish with emptiness then, and begin to miss me. --written 26 Feburary 1961
Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
Those dear to me took fright for my safety and, perhaps, my sanity. Kings, they explained, do not walk like beggars for hundreds of miles. My response was that if a beggar could managed the feat, then why not a king? Did they think me less capable than a beggar? Sometimes I think that I am. The beggar knows much that the king can only guess. And yet who draws up the codes for begging ordinances? Often I wonder what my experience in life--my easy life following the Desolation, and my current level of comfort--has given me of any true experience to use in making laws. If we had to rely on what we knew, kings would only be of use in creating laws regarding the proper heating of tea and the cushioning of thrones.
Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1))
The key to faking deaths is a fine appreciation of arterial spray patterns. I have found that blood bags work very well at simulating spray with a strategically poked hole; apply pressure to the bottom of the bag, practice a bit, and before long you will be able to write stories of carnage and odes to gore. A small fan brush-the sort that one dude used to paint happy little trees-can paint a picture of blunt force spatters if you flick the surface properly. You could even talk to yourself, as that painter did, while you flick blood around: "And maybe over here we have a nice stab wound. And, I don't know, maybe there's a few more back over here. Multiple stab wounds. It doesn't matter, whatever you feel like.
Kevin Hearne (Tricked (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #4))
To read in the service of any ideology is not to read at all. The mind's dialogue with itself is not primarily a social reality. All that the Western canon can bring one is the proper use of one's own solitude.
Harold Bloom (The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages)
Just as great and princely wealth is scattered in a moment when it comes into the hands of a bad owner, while wealth however limited, if it is entrusted to a good guardian, increases by use, so our life is amply long for him who orders it properly.
It is a well-known established fact throughout the many-dimensional worlds of the multiverse that most really great discoveries are owed to one brief moment of inspiration. There's a lot of spadework first, of course, but what clinches the whole thing is the sight of, say, a falling apple or a boiling kettle or the water slipping over the edge of the bath. Something goes click inside the observer's head and then everything falls into place. The shape of DNA, it is popularly said, owes its discovery to the chance sight of a spiral staircase when the scientist‘s mind was just at the right receptive temperature. Had he used the elevator, the whole science of genetics might have been a good deal different. This is thought of as somehow wonderful. It isn't. It is tragic. Little particles of inspiration sleet through the universe all the time traveling through the densest matter in the same way that a neutrino passes through a candyfloss haystack, and most of them miss. Even worse, most of the ones that hit the exact cerebral target, hit the wrong one. For example, the weird dream about a lead doughnut on a mile-high gantry, which in the right mind would have been the catalyst for the invention of repressed-gravitational electricity generation (a cheap and inexhaustible and totally non-polluting form of power which the world in question had been seeking for centuries, and for the lack of which it was plunged into a terrible and pointless war) was in fact had by a small and bewildered duck. By another stroke of bad luck, the sight of a herd of wild horses galloping through a field of wild hyacinths would have led a struggling composer to write the famous Flying God Suite, bringing succor and balm to the souls of millions, had he not been at home in bed with shingles. The inspiration thereby fell to a nearby frog, who was not in much of a position to make a startling contributing to the field of tone poetry. Many civilizations have recognized this shocking waste and tried various methods to prevent it, most of them involving enjoyable but illegal attempts to tune the mind into the right wavelength by the use of exotic herbage or yeast products. It never works properly.
Terry Pratchett (Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind, #3))
To husband is to use with care, to keep, to save, to make last, to conserve. Old usage tells us that there is a husbandry also of the land, of the soil, of the domestic plants and animals - obviously because of the importance of these things to the household. And there have been times, one of which is now, when some people have tried to practice a proper human husbandry of the nondomestic creatures in recognition of the dependence of our households and domestic life upon the wild world. Husbandry is the name of all practices that sustain life by connecting us conservingly to our places and our world; it is the art of keeping tied all the strands in the living network that sustains us. And so it appears that most and perhaps all of industrial agriculture's manifest failures are the result of an attempt to make the land produce without husbandry.
Wendell Berry (Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food)
I am content to be hated, and bloody, and outnumbered. For in this sickened world, it is better to believe in something too fiercely than to believe in nothing." Words, words, wonderful words. But lies too. "No, it isn’t!" shouted Mosca the Housefly, Quillam Mye’s daughter. "Not if what you’re believin’ isn’t blinkin’ well True! You shouldn’t just go believin’ things for no reason, pertickly if you got a sword in your hand! Sacred just means something you’re not meant to think about properly, an’ you should never stop thinking! Show me something I can kick, and hit with rocks, and set fire to, and leave out in the rain, and think about, and if it’s still standing after all that then maybe, just maybe, I’ll start to believe in it, but not till then. An’ if all we’re left with is muck and wickedness and no gods, then we’d better face it and get used to it because it’s better than a lie.
Frances Hardinge (Fly by Night)
Wizard's First Rule: people are stupid." Richard and Kahlan frowned even more. "People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool. "Because of Wizards First Rule, the old wizards created Confessors, and Seekers, as a means of helping find the truth, when the truth is important enough. Darken Rahl knows the Wizard's Rules. He is using the first one. People need an enemy to feel a sense of purpose. It's easy to lead people when they have a sense of purpose. Sense of purpose is more important by far than the truth. In fact, truth has no bearing in this. Darken Rahl is providing them with an enemy, other than himself, a sense of purpose. People are stupid; they want to believe, so they do.
Terry Goodkind (Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth, #1))
And so sovereign Providence has often produced a remarkable effect--evil men making other evil men good. For some, when they think they suffer injustice at the hands of the worst of men, burn with hatred for evil men, and being eager to be different from those they hate, have reformed and become virtuous. It is only the power of God to which evils may also be good, when by their proper use He elicits some good result.
Boethius (The Consolation of Philosophy)
...sometimes they almost made me feel glad that I had a few extra years to play my depression out with therapy and other means, because I think its useful in youth- unless suicide or drug abuse are the alternatives- to have some faith in the mind to cure itself, to not rush to doctors or diagnosis's...I sometimes worry that part of what creates depression in young people is their own, and their parents, and the whole worlds impatience with allowing the phases of life to run their course. We will very likely soon be living in a society that confuses disease with normal life if the panic and rush to judgment and labeling do not slow down a bit. Somewhere between the unbelievable tardiness that the medical profession was guilty of in administering proper treatment to me and the eagerness to with which practitioners prescribe Ritalin for 8 year old boys and Paxil for 14 year old girls, there is a sane course of action.
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
A most deplorable sight," she said, folding her arms across her chest. "Someone who has lost everything. You know, minstrel, it is interesting. Once, I thought it was impossible to lose everything, that something always remains. Always. Even in times of contempt, when naivety is capable of backfiring in the cruellest way, one cannot lose everything. But he... he lost several pints of blood, the ability to walk properly, partial use of his left hand, his witcher's sword, the woman he loves, the daughter he had gained by a miracle, his faith... Well, I thought, he must have been left with something. But I was wrong. He has nothing now. Not even a razor." Dandelion remained silent. The dryad did not move. "I asked if you had a hand in this," she began a moment later. "But I think there was no need. It's obvious you had a hand in it. It's obvious you are his friend. And if someone has friends, and he loses everything in spite of that, it's obvious the friends are to blame. For what they did, or for what they didn't do.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Czas pogardy (Saga o Wiedźminie, #2))
With the birth of Akash, in his sudden, perfect presence, Ruma had felt awe for the first time in her life. He still had the power to stagger her at times--simply the fact that he was breathing, that all his organs were in their proper places, that blood flowed quietly and effectively through his small, sturdy limbs. He was her flesh and blood, her mother had told her in the hospital the day Akash was born. Only the words her mother used were more literal, enriching the tired phrase with meaning: "He is made from your meat and bone." It had caused Ruma to acknowledge the supernatural in everyday life. But death, too, had the power to awe, she knew this now-that a human being could be alive for years and years, thinking and breathing and eating, full of a million worries and feelings and thoughts, taking up space in the world, and then, in an instant, become absent, invisible.
Jhumpa Lahiri (Unaccustomed Earth)
I am reminded of Housman's remark that 'accuracy is a duty, not a virtue.' To praise a historian for his accuracy is like praising an architect for using well-seasoned timber or properly mixed concrete in his building. It is a necessary condition of his work, but not his essential function.
Edward Hallett Carr (What Is History?)
This practice of overstating the case is called hyperbole. Hyperbole is usually harmless, but in some cases it has been known to precipitate unnecessary wars as well as a painful gaseous condition called stock market bubbles. For safety's sake, then, hyperbole should be used with restraint and only by those with proper literary training.
Maryrose Wood (The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #1))
Exposure to nature - cold, heat, water - is the most dehumanizing way to die. Violence is passionate and real - the final moments as you struggle for your life, firing a gun or wrestling a mugger or screaming for help, your heart pumps loudly and your body tingles with energy; you are alert and awake and, for that brief moment, more alive and human than you've ever been before. Not so with nature. At the mercy of the elements the opposite happens: your body slows, your thoughts grow sluggish, and you realize just how mechanical you really are. Your body is a machine, full of tubes and valves and motors, of electrical signals and hydraulic pumps, and they function properly only within a certain range of conditions. As temperatures drop, your machine breaks down. Cells begin to freeze and shatter; muscles use more energy to do less; blood flows too slowly, and to the wrong places. Your sense fade, your core temperature plummets, and your brain fires random signals that your body is too weak to interpret or follow. In that stat you are no longer a human being, you are a malfunction - an engine without oil, grinding itself to pieces in its last futile effort to complete its last meaningless task.
Dan Wells (I Am Not a Serial Killer (John Cleaver, #1))
After Carol had left, as Symons threw away a pile of used tissues and rearranged the cushions on the couch, he remarked that the most common and unhelpful illusion plaguing those who came to see him [as a career counselor] was the idea that they ought somehow, in the normal course of events, to have intuited--long before they had finished their degrees, started families, bought houses and risen to the top of law firms--what they should properly be doing with their lives. They were tormented by a residual notion of having through some error or stupidity on their part missed out on their true 'calling.
Alain de Botton (The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work)
If you've gone along with Morgan's plan enough to get this note, then I presume you're planning to go through with it. Let me give you some friendly advice about the toys in this case. First, if you don't know what it is, don't even think about using it. Second, if you don't know how to use it properly, don't even think about using it. (Hint: You don't know how to use the crop, the flogger, or the paddle, even if you think you do.) Third make sure Morgan always has a way to signal she wants to stop, and respect the signal if she gives it. And last but not least, if you ignore my advice, I'm going to come over there personally and kick your ass! Don't think because I'm gay I can't do it. Respect and treasure the power she's putting in your hands, and don't abuse it. (Dominic)
Jenna Black (Speak of the Devil (Morgan Kingsley, #4))
A category of government activity which, today, not only requires the closest scrutiny, but which also poses a grave danger to our continued freedom, is the activity NOT within the proper sphere of government. No one has the authority to grant such powers, as welfare programs, schemes for re-distributing the wealth, and activities which coerce people into acting in accordance with a prescribed code of social planning. There is one simple test. Do I as an individual have a right to use force upon my neighbor to accomplish this goal? If I do have such a right, then I may delegate that power to my government to exercise on my behalf. If I do not have that right as an individual, then I cannot delegate it to government, and I cannot ask my government to perform the act for me…In reply to the argument that a little bit of socialism is good so long as it doesn't go too far, it is tempting to say that, in like fashion, just a little bit of theft or a little bit of cancer is all right, too! History proves that the growth of the welfare state is difficult to check before it comes to its full flower of dictatorship. But let us hope that this time around, the trend can be reversed. If not then we will see the inevitability of complete socialism, probably within our lifetime.
Ezra Taft Benson
RHETORIC The art of making life less believable; the calculated use of language, not to alarm but to do full harm to our busy minds and properly dispose our listeners to a pain they have never dreamed of. The context of what can be known establishes that love and indifference are forms of language, but the wise addition of punctuation allows us to believe that there are other harms - the dash gives the reader the clear signal they are coming.
Ben Marcus
The bees sit so slothfully on the flowers, and the sunshine lies so lazily on the ground. A horrible idleness prevails. -- Idleness is the root of all vice. -- What people won't do out of boredom! They study out of boredom, they pray out of boredom, they fall in love, marry, and multiply out of boredom and finally die out of boredom, and -- and that's the humor in it -- they do everything with the most serious faces, without realizing why and with God knows what intentions. All these heroes, these geniuses, these idiots, these saints, these sinners, these fathers of families are basically nothing but refined idlers. -- Why must I be the one to know this? Why can't I take myself seriously and dress this poor puppet in tails and put an umbrella in its hand so that it will become very proper and very useful and very moral? That man who just left me -- I envied him, I could have beaten him out of envy. Oh, to be someone else for once! Just for a minute. -- How that man runs! If only I knew of one thing under the sun that could still make me run.
Georg Büchner (Leonce und Lena)
None of this is real, my dear. Not this house, not this conversation, not those shoes you're wearing--which are several years out of style if you're trying to reacclimatize yourself to the ways of your peers, and are not proper mourning shoes if you're trying to hold fast to your recent past--and not either one of us. 'Real' is a four-letter-word, and I'll thank you to use it as little as possible while you live under my roof.
Seanan McGuire (Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1))
Boys!” I said sharply. “There will be no brawling with your shirts on. Kindly remove your upper garments and give them into my keeping.” Both men turned to look at me, wearing identical expressions of astonishment. Mornaday spoke first. “I beg your pardon?” I adopted my best nanny tone—one that I had used with excellent results to bring unruly suitors to heel. “You cannot strike an opponent properly while hampered by a tight coat,” I pointed out. “Or a fitted waistcoat. And white does show the blood so badly. The shirt must come off as well.” I put out my hands. “Come on, then. Shirts off, both of you. Shall you fight to first blood or unconsciousness? I always think first blood is a little lacking. Let’s go until one of you is entirely senseless, shall we?
Deanna Raybourn (A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell, #3))
The true use of Shakespeare or of Cervantes, of Homer or of Dante, of Chaucer or of Rabelais, is to augment one’s own growing inner self. Reading deeply in the Canon will not make one a better or a worse person, a more useful or more harmful citizen. The mind’s dialogue with itself is not primarily a social reality. All that the Western Canon can bring one is the proper use of one’s own solitude, that solitude whose final form is one’s confrontation with one’s own mortality.   W
Harold Bloom (The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages)
What about the lame, the sick and the destitute?” Is an often-voiced question. Most other countries in the world have attempted to use the power of government to meet this need. Yet, in every case, the improvement has been marginal at best and has resulted in the long run creating more misery, more poverty, and certainly less freedom than when government first stepped in. Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of man kind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own… The harm dome by ordinary criminals, murderers, gangsters, and thieves is negligible in comparison with the agony inflicted upon human beings by the professional ‘do-gooder,’ who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others—with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means.”(The Proper Role of Government, Ezra T. Benson)
Ezra Taft Benson
These definitions coincide with the terms which, since Greek antiquity, have been used to define the forms of government as the rule of man over man—of one or the few in monarchy and oligarchy, of the best or the many in aristocracy and democracy, to which today we ought to add the latest and perhaps most formidable form of such dominion, bureaucracy, or the rule by an intricate system of bureaux in which no men, neither one nor the best, neither the few nor the many, can be held responsible, and which could be properly called the rule by Nobody. Indeed, if we identify tyranny as the government that is not held to give account of itself, rule by Nobody is clearly the most tyrannical of all, since there is no one left who could even be asked to answer for what is being done. It is this state of affairs which is among the most potent causes for the current world-wide rebellious unrest.
Hannah Arendt (On Violence)
The source of man's rights is not divine law or a congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A ___ and man is man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man's nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product for his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
It was the general opinion of ancient nations, that the divinity alone was adequate to the important office of giving laws to men... and modern nations, in the consecrations of kings, and in several superstitious chimeras of divine rights in princes and nobles, are nearly unanimous in preserving remnants of it... Is the jealousy of power, and the envy of superiority, so strong in all men, that no considerations of public or private utility are sufficient to engage their submission to rules for their own happiness? Or is the disposition to imposture so prevalent in men of experience, that their private views of ambition and avarice can be accomplished only by artifice? — … There is nothing in which mankind have been more unanimous; yet nothing can be inferred from it more than this, that the multitude have always been credulous, and the few artful. The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature: and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. As Copley painted Chatham, West, Wolf, and Trumbull, Warren and Montgomery; as Dwight, Barlow, Trumbull, and Humphries composed their verse, and Belknap and Ramzay history; as Godfrey invented his quadrant, and Rittenhouse his planetarium; as Boylston practised inoculation, and Franklin electricity; as Paine exposed the mistakes of Raynal, and Jefferson those of Buffon, so unphilosophically borrowed from the Recherches Philosophiques sur les Américains those despicable dreams of de Pauw — neither the people, nor their conventions, committees, or sub-committees, considered legislation in any other light than ordinary arts and sciences, only as of more importance. Called without expectation, and compelled without previous inclination, though undoubtedly at the best period of time both for England and America, to erect suddenly new systems of laws for their future government, they adopted the method of a wise architect, in erecting a new palace for the residence of his sovereign. They determined to consult Vitruvius, Palladio, and all other writers of reputation in the art; to examine the most celebrated buildings, whether they remain entire or in ruins; compare these with the principles of writers; and enquire how far both the theories and models were founded in nature, or created by fancy: and, when this should be done, as far as their circumstances would allow, to adopt the advantages, and reject the inconveniences, of all. Unembarrassed by attachments to noble families, hereditary lines and successions, or any considerations of royal blood, even the pious mystery of holy oil had no more influence than that other of holy water: the people universally were too enlightened to be imposed on by artifice; and their leaders, or more properly followers, were men of too much honour to attempt it. Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favour of the rights of mankind. [Preface to 'A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America', 1787]
John Adams (A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America)
Even the most motivated and intelligent student will advance more quickly under the tutelage of someone who knows the best order in which to learn things, who understands and can demonstrate the proper way to perform various skills, who can provide useful feedback, and who can devise practice activities designed to overcome particular weaknesses.
K. Anders Ericsson (Peak: Secrets From The New Science of Expertise)
Gilan,” she said, “you’re looking well.” And apart from those wrinkles, he was. He smiled at her. “And you grow more beautiful every day, Pauline,” he replied. “What about me?” Halt said, with mock severity. “Do I grow more handsome every day? More impressive, perhaps?” Gilan eyed him critically, his head to one side. Then he announced his verdict. “Scruffier,” he said. Halt raised his eyebrows. “’Scruffier’?” he demanded. Gilan nodded. I’m not sure if you’re aware of recent advances in technology, Halt,” he said. “But there a wonderful new invention called scissors. People use them for trimming beards and hair.” “Why?” Gilan appealed to Pauline. “Still using his saxe knife to do his barbering, is he?” Pauline nodded, slipping her hand inside her husband’s arm. “Unless I can catch him at it,” she admitted. Halt regarded them both with a withering look. They both refused to wither, so he abandoned the expression. “You show a fine lack of respect for your former mentor,” he told Gilan. The younger man shrugged. “It goes with my exalted position as your commander.” “Not mine,” Halt said. “I’ve retired.” “So I can expect little in the way of deference from you?” Gilan grinned. “No. I’ll show proper deference….the day you train your horse to fly back around the castle’s turrets.
John Flanagan (The Royal Ranger (Ranger's Apprentice #12 Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger #1))
Aristotle, on the other hand, saw poetry as having a positive value: “It is a great thing, indeed, to make proper use of the poetic forms, . . . But the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor” (Poetics 1459a); “ordinary words convey only what we know already; it is from metaphor that we can best get hold of something fresh” (Rhetoric 1410b).
George Lakoff (Metaphors We Live By)
Equally, the surrealists consider words as witnesses of life acting in a direct way in human affairs. To use words properly it was necessary to treat them with respect, for they were the intermediaries between oneself and the rest of creation. To abuse them was immediately to set oneself adrift from true being. Words need to be coaxed to reveal a little of their true nature, so as to close the breach that exists between the writer and the universe. The world is not something alien against which man is in conflict. Rather man and cosmos exist in reciprocal motion. We are not cast adrift in an alien or meaningless environment. The universe is intimate with us and, as Breton insisted, it is a cryptogram to be deciphered.
Michael Richardson (Dedalus Book of Surrealism 2: The Myth of the World)
If we're ever going to get the world back on a natural footing, back in tune with natural rhythyms, if we're going to nurture the Earth and protect it and have fun with it and learn from it - which is what mothers do with their children - then we've got to put technology (an aggressive masculine system) in its proper place, which is that of a tool to be used sparingly, joyfully, gently and only in the fullest cooperation with nature. Nature must govern technology, not the other way around.
Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues)
Tonight," he announced, "is the night we take back that village. And we're not going to do it by marching in lines or committing acts of brave idiocy. We're going to do it by being men. Manly men. The kind of men a woman wants to take control." Brows wrinkled in confusion. "But . . ." The blacksmith looked around the group. "We are men. Last I checked, anyhow." "It's not just a matter of having the proper equipment. It's using the equipment properly." Leaping up on a crate, Colin spread his arms wide. "Look at me. Now look at yourselves. Now look back at me. I am the man you want to be like." Dawes crossed his arms. "Why is that, precisely?" "Do you know how many women I've bedded?" When Rufus and Finn perked, he waved at them. "Have a guess, boys." "Seventeen," offered Finn. "More." "Eighteen." "Still more." "Er . . . nineteen?" "Oh, for the love of God," he muttered. "We'll be here all day. Let's just call the number more than you can imagine. Because clearly, that is the case." Under his breath, he added, "Perhaps higher than you know how to count.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
In life, the visible surface of the Sperm Whale is not the least among the many marvels he presents. Almost invariably it is all over obliquely crossed and re-crossed with numberless straight marks in thick array, something like those in the finest Italian line engravings. But these marks do not seem to be impressed upon the isinglass substance above mentioned, but seem to be seen through it, as if they were engraved upon the body itself. Nor is this all. In some instances, to the quick, observant eye, those linear marks, as in a veritable engraving, but afford the ground for far other delineations. These are hieroglyphical; that is, if you call those mysterious cyphers on the walls of pyramids hieroglyphics, then that is the proper word to use in the present connexion. By my retentive memory of the hieroglyphics upon one Sperm Whale in particular, I was much struck with a plate representing the old Indian characters chiselled on the famous hieroglyphic palisades on the banks of the Upper Mississippi. Like those mystic rocks, too, the mystic-marked whale remains undecipherable.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, The Whale)
What is it that teaching kills? The juice, the sap - the substance of revelation: by making even the insoluble questions & multiple possible answers take on the granite assured stance of dogma. It does not kill this quick of life in students who come, each year, fresh, quick, to be awakened & pass on - but it kills the quick in me by forcing to formula the great visions, the great collocations and cadences of words and meanings. The good teacher, the proper teacher, must be everliving in faith and ever-renewed in creative energy to keep the sap packed in herself, himself, as well as the work. I do not have the energy, or will to use the energy I have, and it would take all, to keep this flame alive.
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
What great philosophers do for us is not to hand out such an all-purpose system. It is to light up and clarify some special aspect of life, to supply conceptual tools which will do a certain necessary kind of work. Wide though that area of work may be, it is never the whole, and all ideas lose their proper power when they are used out of their appropriate context. That is why one great philosopher does not necessarily displace another, why there is room for all of them and a great many more whom we do not have yet.
Mary Midgley (The Myths We Live By)
Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and gives up when such improvement does not come. Protestors who hold out longer have perhaps understood that success is not the proper goal. If protest depended on success, there would be little protest of any durability or significance. History simply affords too little evidence that anyone's individual protest is of any use. Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.
Wendell Berry
Style still matters, for at least three reasons. First, it ensures that writers will get their message across, sparing readers from squandering their precious moments on earth deciphering opaque prose. When the effort fails, the result can be calamitous-as Strunk and White put it, "death on the highway caused by a badly worded road sign, heartbreak among lovers caused by a misplaced phrase in a well-intentioned letter, anguish of a traveler expecting to be met at a railroad station and not being met because of a slipshod telegram." Governments and corporations have found that small improvements in clarity can prevent vast amounts of error, frustration, and waste, and many countries have recently made clear language the law of the land. Second, style earns trust. If readers can see that a writer cares about consistency and accuracy in her prose, they will be reassured that the writer cares about those virtues in conduct they cannot see as easily. Here is how one technology executive explains why he rejects job applications filled with errors of grammar and punctuation: "If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use it's, then that's not a learning curve I'm comfortable with." And if that isn't enough to get you to brush up your prose, consider the discovery of the dating site OkCupid that sloppy grammar and spelling in a profile are "huge turn-offs." As one client said, "If you're trying to date a woman, I don't expect flowery Jane Austen prose. But aren't you trying to put your best foot forward?" Style, not least, adds beauty to the world. To a literate reader, a crisp sentence, an arresting metaphor, a witty aside, an elegant turn of phrase are among life's greatest pleasures. And as we shall see in the first chapter, this thoroughly impractical virtue of good writing is where the practical effort of mastering good writing must begin.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Unfortunately, the term “identity politics” has been weaponized. It is most often used by speakers to describe politics as practiced by members of historically marginalized groups. If you’re black and you're worried about police brutality, that’s identity politics. If you’re a woman and you’re worried about the male-female pay gap, that’s identity politics. But if you’re a rural gun owner decrying universal background checks as tyranny, or a billionaire CEO complaining that high tax rates demonize success, or a Christian insisting on Nativity scenes in public squares — well, that just good, old fashioned politics. With a quick sleight of hand, identity becomes something that only marginalized groups have. The term “identity politics,” in this usage, obscures rather than illuminates; it’s used to diminish and discredit the concerns of the weaker groups by making them look self-interested, special pleading in order to clear the agenda for the concerns of stronger groups, which are framed as more rational, proper topics for political debate. But in wielding identity as a blade, we have lost it as a lens, blinding ourselves in a bid for political advantage. WE are left searching in vaid for what we refuse to allow ourselves to see.
Ezra Klein (Why We're Polarized)
The body of economic knowledge is an essential element in the structure of human civilization; it is the foundation upon which modern industrialism and all the moral, intellectual, technological, and therapeutical achievements of the last centuries have been built. It rests with men whether they will make the proper use of the rich treasure with which this knowledge provides them or whether they will leave it unused. But if they fail to take the best advantage of it and disregard its teachings and warnings, they will not annul economics; they will stamp out society and the human race.
Ludwig von Mises (Human Action: A Treatise on Economics)
The only beautiful things, as somebody once said, are the things that do not concern us. As long as a thing is useful or necessary to us, or affects us in any way, either for pain or for pleasure, or appeals strongly to our sympathies, or is a vital part of the environment in which we live, it is outside the proper sphere of art. To art's subjectmatter we should be more or less indifferent. We should, at any rate, have no preferences, no prejudices, no partisan feeling of any kind. It is exactly because Hecuba is nothing to us that her sorrows are such an admirable motive for a tragedy.
Oscar Wilde (The Decay Of Lying)
Perhaps in Vanity Fair there are no better satires than letters. Take a bundle of your dear friend’s of ten years back—your dear friend whom you hate now. Look at a file of your sister’s! How you clung to each other till you quarreled about the twenty-pound legacy! Get down the round-hand scrawls of your son who has half broken your heart with selfish undutifulness since; or a parcel of your own, breathing endless ardour and love eternal, which were sent back by your mistress when she married the Nabob—your mistress for whom you now care no more than for Queen Elizabeth. Vows, love, promises, confidences, gratitude; how queerly they read after a while! There ought to be a law in Vanity Fair ordering the destruction of every written document (except receipted tradesmen’s bills) after a certain brief and proper interval. Those quacks and misanthropes who advertise indelible Japan ink should be made to perish along with their wicked discoveries. The best ink for Vanity Fair use would be one that faded utterly in a couple of days, and left the paper clean and blank, so that you might write on it to somebody else
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
I love the way folktale and fantasy tap into the roots of story telling. The paradox, for me, is that by moving a story into the fantastic we can actually bring it closer to the reader, not move it further away. It is more than an escape. When we read of the only daughter of a fisherman (or the third son of a woodcutter) in a fairy tale, we are all that character. That's the underlying pulse beat of such tales. Using the fantastic as a prism for the past, if done properly, removes the tale from distancing specificity. It can't just be read as unique to a time and place; it is universalized in interesting, powerful ways. When I wrote Tigana, about the way tyranny tries to erase identity in conquered peoples, the fantasy setting seems to have done exactly that: I'm asked in places ranging from Korea to Poland to Croatia to Quebec, "Were you writing about us?" I was. All of them. That is the point. The fantastic is a tool in the writer's arsenal, as potentially powerful as any there is, and any tool we have works to the benefit of the reader.
Guy Gavriel Kay (Under Heaven (Under Heaven, #1))
Do you think,” she says, the words emerging thickly, “we might have used up all our conversation last night?” “Not possible,” says Oliver, and the way he says it, his mouth turned up in a smile, his voice full of warmth, unwinds the knot in Hadley’s stomach. “We haven’t even gotten to the really important stuff yet.” “Like what?” she asks, trying to arrange her face in a way that disguises the relief she feels. “Like what’s so great about Dickens?” “Not at all,” he says. “More like the plight of koalas. Or the fact that Venice is sinking.” He pauses, waiting for this to register, and when Hadley says nothing, he slaps his knee for emphasis. “Sinking! The whole city! Can you believe it?” She frowns in mock seriousness. “That does sound pretty important.” “It is,” Oliver insists. “And don’t even get me started on the size of our carbon footprint after this trip. Or the difference between crocodiles and alligators. Or the longest recorded flight of a chicken.” “Please tell me you don’t actually know that.” “Thirteen seconds,” he says, leaning forward to look past her and out the window. “This is a total disaster. We’re nearly to Heathrow and we haven’t even properly discussed flying chickens.
Jennifer E. Smith (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight)
Everybody tries to protect this vulnerable two three four five six seven eight year old inside, and to acquire skills and aptitudes for dealing with the situations that threaten to overwhelm it... Usually, that child is a wretchedly isolated undeveloped little being. It’s been protected by the efficient armour, it’s never participated in life, it’s never been exposed to living and to managing the person’s affairs, it’s never been given responsibility for taking the brunt. And it’s never properly lived. That’s how it is in almost everybody. And that little creature is sitting there, behind the armour, peering through the slits. And in its own self, it is still unprotected, incapable, inexperienced... And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It’s their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can’t understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That’s the carrier of all the living qualities. It’s the centre of all the possible magic and revelation. What doesn’t come out of that creature isn’t worth having, or it’s worth having only as a tool—for that creature to use and turn to account and make meaningful... And so, wherever life takes it by surprise, and suddenly the artificial self of adaptations proves inadequate, and fails to ward off the invasion of raw experience, that inner self is thrown into the front line—unprepared, with all its childhood terrors round its ears. And yet that’s the moment it wants. That’s where it comes alive—even if only to be overwhelmed and bewildered and hurt. And that’s where it calls up its own resources—not artificial aids, picked up outside, but real inner resources, real biological ability to cope, and to turn to account, and to enjoy. That’s the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they’re suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That’s why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember. But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster. So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self—struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence—you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself.
Ted Hughes (Letters of Ted Hughes)
In the past I had often tried to escape the grown-up world of sorrow through my imagination- dreaming that a handsome young lieutenant would ride to my rescue or that a great empresario would discover my musical talents and whisk me away. I had envisioned knights in shining armor and happily ever after scenes to escape from rules or boredom or pain; including a vision of my mother walking through our front door whole and well again. Now I knew that a lifetime of escape led to a life like Aunt Bertie's. My imagination was a gift, but I had to live in the real world. My eyes had been opened this summer to poverty and crime and abuse and I needed to use my imagination not to escape, but to help people like Irina and Katya, to make my own contribution as the women in the women's pavilion had done. I couldn't do it in the same way Jane Adams and my grandmother and Aunt Mat were, but I would find my own way and my own time.
Lynn Austin (A Proper Pursuit)
No critic and advocate of immutability has ever once managed properly or even marginally to outwit the English language's capacity for foxy and relentlessly slippery flexibility. For English is a language that simply cannot be fixed, not can its use ever be absolutely laid down. It changes constantly; it grows with an almost exponential joy. It evolves eternally; its words alter their senses and their meanings subtly, slowly, or speedily according to fashion and need.
Simon Winchester (The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary)
Though many strive to hide their human libidinousness from themselves and each other, being a force of nature, it breaks through. Lots of uptight, proper Americans were scandalized by the way Elvis moved his hips when he sang "rock and roll." But how many realized what the phrase rock and roll meant? Cultural historian Michael Ventura, investigating the roots of African-American music, found that rock 'n' roll was a term that originated in the juke joints of the South. Long in use by the time Elvis appeared, Ventura explains the phrase "hadn't meant the name of a music, it meant 'to fuck.' 'Rock,' by itself, has pretty much meant that, in those circles, since the twenties at least." By the mid-1950s, when the phrase was becoming widely used in mainstream culture, Ventura says the disc jockeys "either didn't know what they were saying or were too sly to admit what they knew.
Christopher Ryan (Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality)
Women find that as they vanquish the predator, taking from it what is useful and leaving the rest, they are filled with intensity, vitality, and drive. The predator's rage can be rendered into a soul-fire for accomplishing a great task in the world. The predator's craftiness can be used to inspect and understand things from a distance. The predator's killing nature can be used to kill off that must properly die in a woman's life,or what she must die to in her outer life, these being different things at different times. Usually, she knows exactly what they are.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run With the Wolves)
For before I met my friend there had been a period when I was prey to a morbid melancholy, if not depression, when I really believed I was lost, when for years I did no proper work but spent most of my days in a state of total apathy and often came close to putting an end to my life by my own hand. For years I had taken refuge in a terrible suicidal brooding, which deadened my mind and made everything unendurable, above all myself—brooding on the utter futility all around me, into which I had been plunged by my general weakness, but above all my weakness of character. For a long time I could not imagine being able to go on living, or even existing. I was no longer capable of seizing upon any purpose in life that would have given me control over myself. Every morning on waking I was inevitably caught up in this mechanism of suicidal brooding, and I remained in its grip throughout the day. And I was deserted by everyone because I had deserted everyone—that is the truth—because I no longer wanted anyone. I no longer wanted anything, but I was too much of a coward to make an end of it all. It was probably at the height of my despair—a word that I am not ashamed to use, as I no longer intend to deceive myself or gloss over anything, since nothing can be glossed over in a society and a world that perpetually seeks to gloss over everything in the most sickening manner—that Paul appeared on the scene at Irina’s apartment in the Blumenstockgasse.
Thomas Bernhard (Wittgenstein's Nephew: A Friendship)
Much protest is naïve; it expects quick, visible improvement and despairs and gives up when such improvement does not come. Protesters who hold out longer have perhaps understood that success is not the proper goal. If protest depended on success, there would be little protest of any durability or significance. History simply affords too little evidence that anyone’s individual protest is of any use. Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.
Wendell Berry (What Are People For?: Essays)
My life was awful. When I was a kid, I was fat, pretty ugly and had awful hair. I used to get teased every fucking day, slammed up against lockers, punched in the face - you name it. Hell, I had to go to prom with one of my female friends because I couldn’t even get a proper date. I can’t even look back at those photos because I look so bad. I transferred schools, but the teasing just got worse. After an, let’s say, ‘incident’ I had with the school play the bullying just got worse. But I made it through high school, only to find out that real life was pretty much the same. I just stayed in my dark room all day and didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t go outside. I just stayed inside and drew. I’d draw vampires, mummies, heroes, villains. Anything to help me escape all the bad in the world. I went to art school and didn’t really belong. All I could draw was comic book characters. I tried to put my only good talent to use by drawing a cartoon and pitching it - only to have it turned down. Life to me was just pointless. I started drinking, doing drugs and just generally wasting my life drawing.
Then one day, I saw bodies falling from the sky. I witnessed people dying. And that’s when I decided to turn my life around. I called up anyone I knew who had an instrument and we formed a band. Being on tour for the first few years was bad. All we’d do is get drunk and do drugs, but I loved it. Because I was doing something I loved with people I loved. And a few years ago I met the most perfect woman ever. It’s like we share a wave-link or something. She just knows me without even knowing me, if you understand. And now, 2011, I have a beautiful baby girl, a caring wife and I get to perform for my adoring fans everyday. I am living proof that no matter how bad it gets, it gets better. I am Gerard Way, and I survived.
Gerard Way
Of course," agreed Basil, "if you read it carelessly, and act on it rashly, with the blind faith of a fanatic; it might very well lead to trouble. But nature is full of devices for eliminating anything that cannot master its environment. The words 'to worship me' are all-important. The only excuse for using a drug of any sort, whether it's quinine or Epsom-salt, is to assist nature to overcome some obstacle to her proper functions. The danger of the so-called habit-forming drugs is that they fool you into trying to dodge the toil essential to spiritual and intellectual development. But they are not simply man-traps. There is nothing in nature which cannot be used for our benefit, and it is up to us to use it wisely. Now, in the work you have been doing in the last week, heroin might have helped you to concentrate your mind, and cocaine to overcome the effects of fatigue. And the reason you did not use them was that a burnt child dreads fire. We had the same trouble with teaching Hermes and Dionysus to swim. They found themselves in danger of being drowned and thought the best way was to avoid going near the water. But that didn't help them to use their natural faculties to the best advantage, so I made them confront the sea again and again, until they decided that the best way to avoid drowning was to learn how to deal with oceans in every detail. It sounds pretty obvious when you put it like that, yet while every one agrees with me about the swimming, I am howled down on all sides when I apply the same principles to the use of drugs.
Aleister Crowley (Diary of a Drug Fiend)
I believe that no great lyric poet ever speaks in the so-called “proper” language of his or her time. Emily Dickinson didn’t write in “proper” English grammar but in slant music of fragmentary perception. Half a world and half a century away, Cesar Vallejo placed three dots in the middle of the line, as if language itself were not enough, as if the poet’s voice needed to leap from one image to another, to make—to use Eliot’s phrase—a raid on the inarticulate. Paul Celan wrote to his wife from Germany, where he briefly visited from his voluntary exile in France: “The language with which I make my poems has nothing to do with one spoken here, or anywhere.
Ilya Kaminsky
It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.
Alcoholics Anonymous (Alcoholics Anonymous)
People of very different opinions--friends who can discuss politics, religion, and sex with perfect civility--are often reduced to red-faced rage when the topic of conversation is the serial comma or an expression like more unique. People who merely roll their eyes at hate crimes feel compelled to write jeremiads on declining standards when a newspaper uses the wrong form of its. Challenge my most cherished beliefs about the place of humankind in God's creation, and while I may not agree with you, I'll fight to the death for your right to say it. But dangle a participle in my presence, and I'll consider you a subliterate cretin no longer worth listening to, a menace to decent society who should be removed from the gene pool before you do any more damage.
Jack Lynch (The Lexicographer's Dilemma: The Evolution of "Proper" English, from Shakespeare to South Park)
In the secret places of her thymus gland Louise is making too much of herself. Her faithful biology depends on regulation but the white T-cells have turned bandit. They don't obey the rules. They are swarming into the bloodstream, overturning the quiet order of spleen and intestine. In the lymph nodes they are swelling with pride. It used to be their job to keep her body safe from enemies on the outside. They were her immunity, her certainty against infection. Now they are the enemies on the inside. The security forces have rebelled. Louise is the victim of a coup. Will you let me crawl inside you, stand guard over you, trap them as they come at you? Why can't I dam their blind tide that filthies your blood? Why are there no lock gates on the portal vein? The inside of your body is innocent, nothing has taught it fear. Your artery canals trust their cargo, they don't check the shipments in the blood. You are full to overflowing but the keeper is asleep and there's murder going on inside. Who comes here? Let me hold up my lantern. It's only the blood; red cells carrying oxygen to the heart, thrombocytes making sure of proper clotting. The white cells, B and T types, just a few of them as always whistling as they go. The faithful body has made a mistake. This is no time to stamp the passports and look at the sky. Coming up behind are hundreds of them. Hundreds too many, armed to the teeth for a job that doesn't need doing. Not needed? With all that weaponry? Here they come, hurtling through the bloodstream trying to pick a fight. There's no-one to fight but you Louise. You're the foreign body now.
Jeanette Winterson (Written on the Body)
Before an experiment can be performed, it must be planned—the question to nature must be formulated before being posed. Before the result of a measurement can be used, it must be interpreted—nature's answer must be understood properly. These two tasks are those of the theorist, who finds himself always more and more dependent on the tools of abstract mathematics. Of course, this does not mean that the experimenter does not also engage in theoretical deliberations. The foremost classical example of a major achievement produced by such a division of labor is the creation of spectrum analysis by the joint efforts of Robert Bunsen, the experimenter, and Gustav Kirchhoff, the theorist. Since then, spectrum analysis has been continually developing and bearing ever richer fruit.
Max Planck
Oromis - What is the most important mental tool a person can possess? Eragon - Detrrmination. Oromis - [...] no. I meant the tool most necessary to choose the best course of action in any given situation. Determination is as common among men who are dull and foolish as it is among those who are brilliant intellects [...] Eragon - Wisdom, wisdom is the most important for a person to possess. Oromis- A fair guess, but, again, no. the answer is logic. Or, to put it another way, the ability to reason analytically.Applied properly it can overcome any lack of wisdom, which one only gains through age and experience. Eragon - yes but isn't having a good heart more important than logic. pure logic can lead you to conclusions that are ethically wrong, whereas if you are moral and righteous, that will ensure you don't act shamefully. Oromis - you confuse the issue. All I wanted to know isq what is the most useful 'tool'ma person can have [...] I agree that it is important to be of a virtous nature, but I would also conted that if you had to choose between giving a man a noble disposition or teaching him to think clearly, you'd do better to teach him to think clearly. Too many problems in this world are caused by men with noble dispositions and clouded minds.
Christopher Paolini
I had the pleasure of dining with your brother.” “Gregory? Really? You’d classify it as a pleasure?” But he was grinning as he said it, and Honoria could instantly picture what life must be like in the Bridgerton household: a great deal of teasing and a great deal of love. “He was most gracious to me,” she said with a smile. “Shall I tell you a secret?” Mr. Bridgerton murmured, and Honoria decided that in his case, it was right and proper to listen to gossip—he was an incredible flirt. “Must I keep the secret?” she asked, leaning forward ever-soslightly. “Definitely not.” She gave him a sunny smile. “Then yes, please.” Mr. Bridgerton leaned in, just about as far as she had done. “He has been known to catapult peas across the supper table.” Honoria gave him a very somber nod. “Has he done this recently?” “Not too recently, no.” She pressed her lips together, trying not to smile. It was lovely to witness this type of sibling teasing. There used to be so much of it in her home, although most of the time she’d been but a witness. She was so much younger than the rest of her siblings; in all honesty, most of the time they’d probably just forgotten to tease her. “I have but one question, Mr. Bridgerton.” He cocked his head. “How was this catapult constructed?” He grinned. “Simple spoon, Lady Honoria. But in Gregory’s devious hands, there was nothing simple about it.
Julia Quinn (Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #1))
5. Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ)
A novel, in which all is created by the author's whim, must strike a more profound level of truth, or it is worthless." "And yet, I have heard you say that any novel that relieves your ennui for an hour has proved its usefulness." "You have a good memory. It must have been ten thousands of years ago that I uttered those words." "And if it was?" "In another ten thousand, perhaps I will agree with them again." "In my opinion, the proper way to judge a novel is this: Does it give one an accurate reflection of the moods and characteristics of a particular group of people in a particular place at a particular time? If so, it has value. Otherwise, it has none." "You do not find this rather narrow?" "Madam—" "Well?" "I was quoting you.
Steven Brust (Sethra Lavode (Khaavren Romances, #3: The Viscount of Adrilankha, #3))
She stood on the end of the dock, pale and goosefleshed and shivering in the fog. In her hand, Needle seemed to whisper to her. Stick them with the pointy end, it said, and, don’t tell Sansa! Mikken’s mark was on the blade. It’s just a sword. If she needed a sword, there were a hundred under the temple. Needle was too small to be a proper sword, it was hardly more than a toy. She’d been a stupid little girl when Jon had it made for her. “It’s just a sword,” she said, aloud this time . . . . . . but it wasn’t. Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell’s grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan’s stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow’s smile. He used to mess my hair and call me “little sister,” she remembered, and suddenly there were tears in her eyes.
George R.R. Martin (A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4))
That's the trouble with your generation,' said Grandpa. 'Bill, I'm ashamed of you, you a newspaperman. All the things in life that were put here to savor, you eliminate. Save time, save work, you say.' He nudged the grass trays disrespectfully. 'Bill, when your'e my age, you'll find out it's the little savors and little things that count more than big ones. A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it's full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing. You've time to seek and find. I know--you're after the broad effect now, and I suppose that's fit and proper. But for a young man working on a newspaper, you got to look for grapes as well as watermelons. You greatly admire skeletons and I like fingerprints; well and good. Right now such things are bothersome to you, and I wonder if it isn't because you've never learned to use them. If you had your way you'd pass a law to abolish all the little jobs, the little things. But then you'd leave yourselves nothing to do between the big jobs and you'd have a devil of a time thinking up things to do so you wouldn't go crazy. Instead of that, why not let nature show you a few things? Cutting grass and pulling weeds can be a way of life, son.
Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine)
My Shadow I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head; And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed. The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow -- Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow; For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball, And he sometimes goes so little that there's none of him at all. He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play, And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way. He stays so close behind me, he's a coward you can see; I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me! One morning, very early, before the sun was up, I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup; But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head, Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
Robert Louis Stevenson
They say that the British cannot fix anything properly without a dinner, but I’m sure the Americans can fix nothing without a drink. If you meet, you drink; if you part, you drink; if you make acquaintance, you drink; if you close a bargain, you drink; they quarrel in their drink, and they make it up with a drink. They drink, because it is hot; they drink, because it is cold. If successful in elections, they drink and rejoice; if not, they drink and swear;—they begin to drink early in the morning, they leave off late at night; they commence it early in life, and they continue it, until they soon drop into the grave. To use their own expression, the way they drink is "quite a caution." As for water, what the man said, when asked to belong to the Temperance Society, appears to be the general opinion: "it's very good for navigation.
Frederick Marryat (A Diary in America 6 Volume Set: With Remarks on its Institutions (Cambridge Library Collection - North American History))
the genes of modern-day Africans are a treasure house for all humanity. They possess our species’ greatest reservoir of genetic diversity, of which further study will shed new light on the heredity of the human body and mind. Perhaps the time has come, in light of this and other advances in human genetics, to adopt a new ethic of racial and hereditary variation, one that places value on the whole of diversity rather than on the differences composing the diversity. It would give proper measure to our species’ genetic variation as an asset, prized for the adaptability it provides all of us during an increasingly uncertain future. Humanity is strengthened by a broad portfolio of genes that can generate new talents, additional resistance to diseases, and perhaps even new ways of seeing reality. For scientific as well as for moral reasons, we should learn to promote human biological diversity for its own sake instead of using it to justify prejudice and conflict.
Edward O. Wilson (The Social Conquest of Earth)
I want gifts and Christmas music. I don’t care how many Draziri are out there. They won’t take Christmas from me.” “Yes, but we don’t have a suitable male,” Orro said. “And only one dog.” I looked at him. “What is this Christmas?” Wing asked. Orro turned from the stove. “It’s the rite of passage during which the young males of the human species learn to display aggression and use weapons.” Sean stopped what he was doing and looked at Orro. “The young men go out in small packs,” Orro continued. “They brave the cold and come into conflict with other packs and they have to prove their dominance through physical combat. Their fathers teach them lessons in the proper use of swear words, and the young men have to undergo tests of endurance, like holding soap in their mouths and licking cold metal objects.” Sean made a strangled noise. “At the end of their trials, they go to see a wise elder in a red suit to prove their worth. If they are judged worthy, the family erects a ceremonial tree and presents them with gifts of weapons.” Sean was clearly struggling, because his head was shaking. “Also,” Orro added, “a sacrificial poultry is prepared and then given to the wild animals, probably to appease the nature spirits.” Sean roared with laughter.
Ilona Andrews (One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3))
Once I am sure there's nothing going on I step inside, letting the door thud shut. Another church: matting, seats, and stone, And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff Up at the holy end; the small neat organ; And a tense, musty, unignorable silence, Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off My cycle-clips in awkward reverence. Move forward, run my hand around the font. From where I stand, the roof looks almost new - Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know: I don't. Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce 'Here endeth' much more loudly than I'd meant. The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence, Reflect the place was not worth stopping for. Yet stop I did: in fact I often do, And always end much at a loss like this, Wondering what to look for; wondering, too, When churches will fall completely out of use What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep A few cathedrals chronically on show, Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases, And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep. Shall we avoid them as unlucky places? Or, after dark, will dubious women come To make their children touch a particular stone; Pick simples for a cancer; or on some Advised night see walking a dead one? Power of some sort will go on In games, in riddles, seemingly at random; But superstition, like belief, must die, And what remains when disbelief has gone? Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky, A shape less recognisable each week, A purpose more obscure. I wonder who Will be the last, the very last, to seek This place for what it was; one of the crew That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were? Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique, Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh? Or will he be my representative, Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt So long and equably what since is found Only in separation - marriage, and birth, And death, and thoughts of these - for which was built This special shell? For, though I've no idea What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth, It pleases me to stand in silence here; A serious house on serious earth it is, In whose blent air all our compulsions meet, Are recognized, and robed as destinies. And that much never can be obsolete, Since someone will forever be surprising A hunger in himself to be more serious, And gravitating with it to this ground, Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in, If only that so many dead lie round.
Philip Larkin
Bodily agitation, then, is an enemy to the spirit. And by agitation I do not necessarily mean exercise or movement. There is all the difference in the world between agitation and work. Work occupies the body and the mind and is necessary for the health of the spirit. Work can help us to pray and be recollected if we work properly. Agitation, however, destroys the spiritual usefulness of work and even tends to frustrate its physical and social purpose. Agitation is the useless and ill-directed action of the body. It expresses the inner confusion of a soul without peace. Work brings peace to the soul that has a semblance of order and spiritual understanding. It helps the soul to focus upon its spiritual aims and to achieve them. But the whole reason for agitation is to hide the soul from itself, to camouflage its interior conflicts and their purposelessness, and to induce a false feeling that 'we are getting somewhere'.
Thomas Merton (No Man Is an Island)
I know of nothing in all drama more incomparable from the point of view of art, nothing more suggestive in its subtlety of observation, than Shakespeare's drawing of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. They are Hamlet's college friends. They have been his companions. They bring with them memories of pleasant days together. At the moment when they come across him in the play he is staggering under the weight of a burden intolerable to one of his temperament. The dead have come armed out of the grave to impose on him a mission at once too great and too mean for him. He is a dreamer, and he is called upon to act. He has the nature of the poet, and he is asked to grapple with the common complexity of cause and effect, with life in its practical realisation, of which he knows nothing, not with life in its ideal essence, of which he knows so much. He has no conception of what to do, and his folly is to feign folly. Brutus used madness as a cloak to conceal the sword of his purpose, the dagger of his will, but the Hamlet madness is a mere mask for the hiding of weakness. In the making of fancies and jests he sees a chance of delay. He keeps playing with action as an artist plays with a theory. He makes himself the spy of his proper actions, and listening to his own words knows them to be but 'words, words, words.' Instead of trying to be the hero of his own history, he seeks to be the spectator of his own tragedy. He disbelieves in everything, including himself, and yet his doubt helps him not, as it comes not from scepticism but from a divided will. Of all this Guildenstern and Rosencrantz realise nothing. They bow and smirk and smile, and what the one says the other echoes with sickliest intonation. When, at last, by means of the play within the play, and the puppets in their dalliance, Hamlet 'catches the conscience' of the King, and drives the wretched man in terror from his throne, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz see no more in his conduct than a rather painful breach of Court etiquette. That is as far as they can attain to in 'the contemplation of the spectacle of life with appropriate emotions.' They are close to his very secret and know nothing of it. Nor would there be any use in telling them. They are the little cups that can hold so much and no more.
Oscar Wilde (De Profundis and Other Writings)
Christians simply haven't developed Christian tools of analysis to examine culture properly. Or rather, the tools the church once had have grown rusty or been mislaid. What often happens is that Christians wake up to some incident or issue and suddenly realize they need to analyze what's going on. Then, having no tools of their own, they lean across and borrow the tools nearest them. They don't realize that, in their haste, they are borrowing not an isolated tool but a whole philosophical toolbox laden with tools which have their own particular bias to every problem (a Trojan horse in the toolbox, if you like). The toolbox may be Freudian, Hindu or Marxist. Occasionally, the toolbox is right-wing; more often today it is liberal or left-wing (the former mainly in North America, the latter mainly in Europe). Rarely - and this is all that matters to us - is it consistently or coherently Christian. When Christians use tools for analysis (or bandy certain terms of description) which have non-Christian assumptions embedded within them, these tools (and terms) eventually act back on them like wearing someone else's glasses or walking in someone else's shoes. The tools shape the user. Their recent failure to think critically about culture has made Christians uniquely susceptible to this.
Os Guinness
There are some who are still weak in faith, who ought to be instructed, and who would gladly believe as we do. But their ignorance prevents them...we must bear patiently with these people and not use our liberty; since it brings to peril or harm to body or soul...but if we use our liberty unnecessarily, and deliberately cause offense to our neighbor, we drive away the very one who in time would come to our faith. Thus St. Paul circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:3) because simple minded Jews had taken offense; he thought: what harm can it do, since they are offended because of ignorance? But when, in Antioch, they insisted that he out and must circumcise Titus (Gal. 2:3) Paul withstood them all and to spite them refused to have Titus circumcised... He did the same when St. happened in this way: when Peter was with the Gentiles he ate pork and sausages with them, but when the Jews came in, he abstained from this food and did not eat as he did before. Then the Gentiles who had become Christians though: Alas! we, too, must be like the Jews, eat no pork, and live according to the law of Moses. But when Paul learned that they were acting to the injury of evangelical freedom, he reproved Peter publicly and read him an apostolic lecture, saying: "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" (Gal. 2:14). Thus we, too, should order our lives and use our liberty at the proper time, so that Christian liberty may suffer no injury, and no offense be given to our weak brothers and sisters who are still without the knowledge of this liberty.
Martin Luther
No institution of learning of Ingersoll's day had courage enough to confer upon him an honorary degree; not only for his own intellectual accomplishments, but also for his influence upon the minds of the learned men and women of his time and generation. Robert G. Ingersoll never received a prize for literature. The same prejudice and bigotry which prevented his getting an honorary college degree, militated against his being recognized as 'the greatest writer of the English language on the face of the earth,' as Henry Ward Beecher characterized him. Aye, in all the history of literature, Robert G. Ingersoll has never been excelled -- except by only one man, and that man was -- William Shakespeare. And yet there are times when Ingersoll even surpassed the immortal Bard. Yes, there are times when Ingersoll excelled even Shakespeare, in expressing human emotions, and in the use of language to express a thought, or to paint a picture. I say this fully conscious of my own admiration for that 'intellectual ocean, whose waves touched all the shores of thought.' Ingersoll was perfection himself. Every word was properly used. Every sentence was perfectly formed. Every noun, every verb and every object was in its proper place. Every punctuation mark, every comma, every semicolon, and every period was expertly placed to separate and balance each sentence. To read Ingersoll, it seems that every idea came properly clothed from his brain. Something rare indeed in the history of man's use of language in the expression of his thoughts. Every thought came from his brain with all the beauty and perfection of the full blown rose, with the velvety petals delicately touching each other. Thoughts of diamonds and pearls, rubies and sapphires rolled off his tongue as if from an inexhaustible mine of precious stones. Just as the cut of the diamond reveals the splendor of its brilliance, so the words and construction of the sentences gave a charm and beauty and eloquence to Ingersoll's thoughts. Ingersoll had everything: The song of the skylark; the tenderness of the dove; the hiss of the snake; the bite of the tiger; the strength of the lion; and perhaps more significant was the fact that he used each of these qualities and attributes, in their proper place, and at their proper time. He knew when to embrace with the tenderness of affection, and to resist and denounce wickedness and tyranny with that power of denunciation which he, and he alone, knew how to express.
Joseph Lewis (Ingersoll the Magnificent)
Historically one of the main defects of constitutional government has been the failure to insure the fair value of political liberty. The necessary corrective steps have not been taken, indeed, they never seem to have been seriously entertained. Disparities in the distribution of property and wealth that far exceed what is compatible with political equality have generally been tolerated by the legal system. Public resources have not been devoted to maintaining the institutions required for the fair value of political liberty. Essentially the fault lies in the fact that the democratic political process is at best regulated rivalry; it does not even in theory have the desirable properties that price theory ascribes to truly competitive markets. Moreover, the effects of injustices in the political system are much more grave and long lasting than market imperfections. Political power rapidly accumulates and becomes unequal; and making use of the coercive apparatus of the state and its law, those who gain the advantage can often assure themselves of a favored position. Thus inequities in the economic and social system may soon undermine whatever political equality might have existed under fortunate historical conditions. Universal suffrage is an insufficient counterpoise; for when parties and elections are financed not by public funds but by private contributions, the political forum is so constrained by the wishes of the dominant interests that the basic measures needed to establish just constitutional rule are seldom properly presented. These questions, however, belong to political sociology. 116 I mention them here as a way of emphasizing that our discussion is part of the theory of justice and must not be mistaken for a theory of the political system. We are in the way of describing an ideal arrangement, comparison with which defines a standard for judging actual institutions, and indicates what must be maintained to justify departures from it.
John Rawls (A Theory of Justice)
It is very easy to grow tired at collecting; the period of a low tide is about all men can endure. At first the rocks are bright and every moving animal makes his mark on the attention. The picture is wide and colored and beautiful. But after an hour and a half the attention centers weary, the color fades, and the field is likely to narrow to an individual animal. Here one may observe his own world narrowed down until interest and, with it, observation, flicker and go out. And what if with age this weariness becomes permanent and observation dim out and not recover? Can this be what happens to so many men of science? Enthusiasm, interest, sharpness, dulled with a weariness until finally they retire into easy didacticism? With this weariness, this stultification of attention centers, perhaps there comes the pained and sad memory of what the old excitement was like, and regret might turn to envy of the men who still have it. Then out of the shell of didacticism, such a used-up man might attack the unwearied, and he would have in his hands proper weapons of attack. It does seem certain that to a wearied man an error in a mass of correct data wipes out all the correctness and is a focus for attack; whereas the unwearied man, in his energy and receptivity, might consider the little dross of error a by-product of his effort. These two may balance and produce a purer thing than either in the end. These two may be the stresses which hold up the structure, but it is a sad thing to see the interest in interested men thin out and weaken and die. We have known so many professors who once carried their listeners high on their single enthusiasm, and have seen these same men finally settle back comfortably into lectures prepared years before and never vary them again. Perhaps this is the same narrowing we observe in relation to ourselves and the tide pool—a man looking at reality brings his own limitations to the world. If he has strength and energy of mind the tide pool stretches both ways, digs back to electrons and leaps space into the universe and fights out of the moment into non-conceptual time. Then ecology has a synonym which is ALL.
John Steinbeck (The Log from the Sea of Cortez)
IT WOULD BE interesting to examine this subject in terms of what is not a sense of humor. Lack of humor seems to come from the attitude of the “hard fact.” Things are very hard and deadly honest, deadly serious, like, to use an analogy, a living corpse. He lives in pain, has a continual expression of pain on his face. He has experienced some kind of hard fact—“reality”—he is deadly serious and has gone so far as to become a living corpse. The rigidity of this living corpse expresses the opposite of a sense of humor. It is as though somebody is standing behind you with a sharp sword. If you are not meditating properly, sitting still and upright, there will be someone behind you just about to strike. Or if you are not dealing with life properly, honestly, directly, someone is just about to hit you. This is the self-consciousness of watching yourself, observing yourself unnecessarily. Whatever we do is constantly being watched and censored. Actually it is not Big Brother who is watching; it is Big Me! Another aspect of me is watching me, behind me, just about to strike, just about to pinpoint my failure. There is no joy in this approach, no sense of humor at all.
Chögyam Trungpa (Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism)
Make for thyself a definition or description of the thing which is presented to thee, so as to see distinctly what kind of a thing it is in its substance, in its nudity, in its complete entirety, and tell thyself its proper name, and the names of the things of which it has been compounded, and into which it will be resolved. For nothing is so productive of elevation of mind as to be able to examine methodically and truly every object which is presented to thee in life, and always to look at things so as to see at the same time what kind of universe this is, and what kind of use everything performs in it, and what value everything has with reference to the whole, and what with reference to man, who is a citizen of the highest city, of which all other cities are like families; what each thing is, and of what it is composed, and how long it is the nature of this thing to endure which now makes an impression on me, and what virtue I have need of with respect to it, such as gentleness, manliness, truth, fidelity, simplicity, contentment, and the rest. ... If thou workest at that which is before thee, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract thee, but keeping thy divine part pure, as if thou shouldst be bound to give it back immediately; if thou holdest to this, expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with thy present activity according to nature, and with heroic truth in every word and sound which thou utterest, thou wilt live happy. And there is no man who is able to prevent this.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
I am trying to imagine under what novel features despotism may appear in the world. In the first place, I see an innumerable multitude of men, alike and equal, constantly circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures with which they glut their souls. Each one of them, withdrawn into himself, is almost unaware of the fate of the rest…. Over this kind of men stands an immense, protective power which is alone responsible for securing their enjoyment and watching over their fate. That power is absolute, thoughtful of detail, orderly, provident, and gentle. It would resemble parental authority if, fatherlike, it tried to prepare charges for a man’s life, but on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood. It likes to see the citizens enjoy themselves, provided that they think of nothing but enjoyment. It gladly works for their happiness but wants to be sole agent and judge of it. It provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasure, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, makes rules for their testaments, and divides their inheritances. Why should it not entirely relieve them from the trouble of thinking and all the cares of living? Thus it daily makes the exercise of free choice less useful and rarer, restricts the activity of free will within a narrower compass, and little by little robs each citizen of the proper use of his own faculties. Equality has prepared men for all this, predisposing them to endure it and often even regard it as beneficial. Having thus taken each citizen in turn in its powerful grasp and shaped him to its will, government then extends its embrace to include the whole of society. It covers the whole of social life with a network of petty complicated rules that are both minute and uniform, through which even men of the greatest originality and the most vigorous temperament cannot force their heads above the crowd. It does not break men’s will, but softens, bends, and guides it; it seldom enjoins, but often inhibits, action; it does not destroy anything, but prevents much being born; it is not at all tyrannical, but it hinders, restrains, enervates, stifles, and stultifies so much that in the end each nation is no more than a flock of timid and hardworking animals with the government as its shepherd.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
The fact is that libertarianism is not and does not pretend to be a complete moral or aesthetic theory; it is only a political theory, that is, the important subset of moral theory that deals with the proper role of violence in social life. Political theory deals with what is proper or improper for government to do, and government is distinguished from every other group in society as being the institution of organized violence. Libertarianism holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal. Libertarianism, therefore, is a theory which states that everyone should be free of violent invasion, should be free to do as he sees fit, except invade the person or property of another. What a person does with his or her life is vital and important, but is simply irrelevant to libertarianism. It should not be surprising, therefore, that there are libertarians who are indeed hedonists and devotees of alternative lifestyles, and that there are also libertarians who are firm adherents of "bourgeois" conventional or religious morality. There are libertarian libertines and there are libertarians who cleave firmly to the disciplines of natural or religious law. There are other libertarians who have no moral theory at all apart from the imperative of non-violation of rights. That is because libertarianism per se has no general or personal moral theory. Libertarianism does not offer a way of life; it offers liberty, so that each person is free to adopt and act upon his own values and moral principles. Libertarians agree with Lord Acton that "liberty is the highest political end" — not necessarily the highest end on everyone's personal scale of values.
Murray N. Rothbard
The many Asian-American success stories have forced developmental psychologists to revise their theories about proper parenting. They used to warn against the “authoritarian” style, in which parents set rigid goals and enforced strict rules without much overt concern for the child’s feelings. Parents were advised to adopt a different style, called “authoritative,” in which they still set limits but gave more autonomy and paid more attention to the child’s desires. This warmer, more nurturing style was supposed to produce well-adjusted, selfconfident children who would do better academically and socially than those from authoritarian homes. But then, as Ruth Chao and other psychologists studied Asian-American families, they noticed that many of the parents set quite strict rules and goals. These immigrants, and often their children, too, considered their style of parenting to be a form of devotion, not oppression. Chinese-American parents were determined to instill self-control by following the Confucian concepts of chiao shun, which means “to train,” and guan, which means both “to govern” and “to love.” These parents might have seemed cold and rigid by American standards, but their children were flourishing both in and out of school. The
Roy F. Baumeister (Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength)
Anger is an energy. It really bloody is. It’s possibly the most powerful one-liner I’ve ever come up with. When I was writing the Public Image Ltd song ‘Rise’, I didn’t quite realize the emotional impact that it would have on me, or anyone who’s ever heard it since. I wrote it in an almost throwaway fashion, off the top of my head, pretty much when I was about to sing the whole song for the first time, at my then new home in Los Angeles. It’s a tough, spontaneous idea. ‘Rise’ was looking at the context of South Africa under apartheid. I’d be watching these horrendous news reports on CNN, and so lines like ‘They put a hotwire to my head, because of the things I did and said’, are a reference to the torture techniques that the apartheid government was using out there. Insufferable. You’d see these reports on TV and in the papers, and feel that this was a reality that simply couldn’t be changed. So, in the context of ‘Rise’, ‘Anger is an energy’ was an open statement, saying, ‘Don’t view anger negatively, don’t deny it – use it to be creative.’ I combined that with another refrain, ‘May the road rise with you’. When I was growing up, that was a phrase my mum and dad – and half the surrounding neighbourhood, who happened to be Irish also – used to say. ‘May the road rise, and your enemies always be behind you!’ So it’s saying, ‘There’s always hope’, and that you don’t always have to resort to violence to resolve an issue. Anger doesn’t necessarily equate directly to violence. Violence very rarely resolves anything. In South Africa, they eventually found a relatively peaceful way out. Using that supposedly negative energy called anger, it can take just one positive move to change things for the better. When I came to record the song properly, the producer and I were arguing all the time, as we always tend to do, but sometimes the arguing actually helps; it feeds in. When it was released in early 1986, ‘Rise’ then became a total anthem, in a period when the press were saying that I was finished, and there was nowhere left for me to go. Well, there was, and I went there. Anger is an energy. Unstoppable.
John Lydon (Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored)
Clicking on "send" has its limitations as a system of subtle communication. Which is why, of course, people use so many dashes and italics and capitals ("I AM joking!") to compensate. That's why they came up with the emoticon, too—the emoticon being the greatest (or most desperate, depending how you look at it) advance in punctuation since the question mark in the reign of Charlemagne. You will know all about emoticons. Emoticons are the proper name for smileys. And a smiley is, famously, this: :—) Forget the idea of selecting the right words in the right order and channelling the reader's attention by means of artful pointing. Just add the right emoticon to your email and everyone will know what self-expressive effect you thought you kind-of had in mind. Anyone interested in punctuation has a dual reason to feel aggrieved about smileys, because not only are they a paltry substitute for expressing oneself properly; they are also designed by people who evidently thought the punctuation marks on the standard keyboard cried out for an ornamental function. What's this dot-on-top-of-a-dot thing for? What earthly good is it? Well, if you look at it sideways, it could be a pair of eyes. What's this curvy thing for? It's a mouth, look! Hey, I think we're on to something. :—( Now it's sad! ;—) It looks like it's winking! :—r It looks like it's sticking its tongue out! The permutations may be endless: :~/ mixed up! <:—) dunce! :—[ pouting! :—O surprise! Well, that's enough. I've just spotted a third reason to loathe emoticons, which is that when they pass from fashion (and I do hope they already have), future generations will associate punctuation marks with an outmoded and rather primitive graphic pastime and despise them all the more. "Why do they still have all these keys with things like dots and spots and eyes and mouths and things?" they will grumble. "Nobody does smileys any more.
Lynne Truss (Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation)
There is nothing else for it, I shall have to solve my own problems. I always get the feeling that when I solve them for myself I shall have also solved them for a thousand other women. For that very reason, I must come to grips with myself. All this devouring of books from early youth has been nothing but laziness on my part. I allow others to formulate what I ought to be formulating myself. I keep seeking outside confirmation of what is hidden deep inside me, when I know that I can only reach clarity by using my own words. I really must abandon all that laziness, and particularly my inhibitions and insecurity, if I am ever to find myself, and through myself, find others. I must have clarity, and I must learn to accept myself. Everything feels so heavy inside me, and I want so much to feel light. For years I have bottled everything up, it all goes into some great reservoir, but it will have to come out again, or I shall know that I have lived in vain, that I have taken from mankind and given nothing back. I sometimes feel I am a parasite and that depresses me and makes me wonder if I lead any kind of useful life. Perhaps my purpose in life is to come to grips with myself, properly to grips with myself, with everything that bothers and tortures me and clamors for inner solution and formulation. For these problems are not just mine alone. And if at the end of a long life I am able to give some form to the chaos inside me, I may well have fulfilled my own small purpose.
Etty Hillesum (An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941-1943; and Letters from Westerbork)
Chris loved to look at every type of plant, animal, and bug he hadn’t seen before on the trail and point out those he did recognize. He enjoyed walking along small streams, listening to the water as it traveled, and searching for eddies where we could watch the minnows scurry amongst the rocks. On one Shenandoah trip, while we were resting at a waterfall, eating our chocolate-covered granola bars and watching the water pummel the rocks below, he said, “See, Carine ? That’s the purity of nature. It may be harsh in its honesty, but it never lies to you”. Chris seemed to be most comfortable outdoors, and the farther away from the typical surroundings and pace of our everyday lives the better. While it was unusual for a solid week to pass without my parents having an argument that sent them into a negative tailspin of destruction and despair, they never got into a fight of any consequence when we were on an extended family hike or camping trip. It seemed like everything became centered and peaceful when there was no choice but to make nature the focus. Our parents’ attention went to watching for blaze marks on trees ; staying on the correct trail ; doling out bug spray, granola bars, sandwiches, and candy bars at proper intervals ; and finding the best place to pitch the tent before nightfall. They taught us how to properly lace up our hiking boots and wear the righ socks to keep our feet healthy and reliable. They showed us which leaves were safe to use as toilet paper and which would surely make us miserable downtrail. We learned how to purify water for our canteens if we hadn’t found a safe spring and to be smart about conserving what clean water we had left. At night we would collect rocks to make a fire ring, dry wood to burn, and long twigs for roasting marshmallows for the s’more fixings Mom always carried in her pack. Dad would sing silly, non-sensical songs that made us laugh and tell us about the stars.
Carine McCandless (The Wild Truth: A Memoir)
I know people who read interminably, book after book, from page to page, and yet I should not call them 'well-read people'. Of course they 'know' an immense amount; but their brain seems incapable of assorting and classifying the material which they have gathered from books. They have not the faculty of distinguishing between what is useful and useless in a book; so that they may retain the former in their minds and if possible skip over the latter while reading it, if that be not possible, then--when once read--throw it overboard as useless ballast. Reading is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. Its chief purpose is to help towards filling in the framework which is made up of the talents and capabilities that each individual possesses. Thus each one procures for himself the implements and materials necessary for the fulfilment of his calling in life, no matter whether this be the elementary task of earning one's daily bread or a calling that responds to higher human aspirations. Such is the first purpose of reading. And the second purpose is to give a general knowledge of the world in which we live. In both cases, however, the material which one has acquired through reading must not be stored up in the memory on a plan that corresponds to the successive chapters of the book; but each little piece of knowledge thus gained must be treated as if it were a little stone to be inserted into a mosaic, so that it finds its proper place among all the other pieces and particles that help to form a general world-picture in the brain of the reader. Otherwise only a confused jumble of chaotic notions will result from all this reading. That jumble is not merely useless, but it also tends to make the unfortunate possessor of it conceited. For he seriously considers himself a well-educated person and thinks that he understands something of life. He believes that he has acquired knowledge, whereas the truth is that every increase in such 'knowledge' draws him more and more away from real life, until he finally ends up in some sanatorium or takes to politics and becomes a parliamentary deputy. Such a person never succeeds in turning his knowledge to practical account when the opportune moment arrives; for his mental equipment is not ordered with a view to meeting the demands of everyday life. His knowledge is stored in his brain as a literal transcript of the books he has read and the order of succession in which he has read them. And if Fate should one day call upon him to use some of his book-knowledge for certain practical ends in life that very call will have to name the book and give the number of the page; for the poor noodle himself would never be able to find the spot where he gathered the information now called for. But if the page is not mentioned at the critical moment the widely-read intellectual will find himself in a state of hopeless embarrassment. In a high state of agitation he searches for analogous cases and it is almost a dead certainty that he will finally deliver the wrong prescription.
Adolf Hitler
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea-cosy. I can't say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring - I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen-house. Though even that isn't a very good poem. I have decided my best poetry is so bad that I mustn't write any more of it. Drips from the roof are plopping into the water-butt by the back door. The view through the windows above the sink is excessively drear. Beyond the dank garden in the courtyard are the ruined walls on the edge of the moat. Beyond the moat, the boggy ploughed fields stretch to the leaden sky. I tell myself that all the rain we have had lately is good for nature, and that at any moment spring will surge on us. I try to see leaves on the trees and the courtyard filled with sunlight. Unfortunately, the more my mind's eye sees green and gold, the more drained of all colour does the twilight seem. It is comforting to look away from the windows and towards the kitchen fire, near which my sister Rose is ironing - though she obviously can't see properly, and it will be a pity if she scorches her only nightgown. (I have two, but one is minus its behind.) Rose looks particularly fetching by firelight because she is a pinkish person; her skin has a pink glow and her hair is pinkish gold, very light and feathery. Although I am rather used to her I know she is a beauty. She is nearly twenty-one and very bitter with life. I am seventeen, look younger, feel older. I am no beauty but I have a neatish face. I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic - two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud. I must admit that our home is an unreasonable place to live in. Yet I love it. The house itself was built in the time of Charles II, but it was grafted on to a fourteenth-century castle that had been damaged by Cromwell. The whole of our east wall was part of the castle; there are two round towers in it. The gatehouse is intact and a stretch of the old walls at their full height joins it to the house. And Belmotte Tower, all that remains of an even older castle, still stands on its mound close by. But I won't attempt to describe our peculiar home fully until I can see more time ahead of me than I do now. I am writing this journal partly to practise my newly acquired speed-writing and partly to teach myself how to write a novel - I intend to capture all our characters and put in conversations. It ought to be good for my style to dash along without much thought, as up to now my stories have been very stiff and self-conscious. The only time father obliged me by reading one of them, he said I combined stateliness with a desperate effort to be funny. He told me to relax and let the words flow out of me.
Dodie Smith (I Capture the Castle)
One summer day when I was about ten, I sat on a stoop, chatting with a group of girls my age. We were all in pigtails and shorts and basically just killing time. What were we discussing? It could have been anything—school, our older brothers, an anthill on the ground. At one point, one of the girls, a second, third, or fourth cousin of mine, gave me a sideways look and said, just a touch hotly, “How come you talk like a white girl?” The question was pointed, meant as an insult or at least a challenge, but it also came from an earnest place. It held a kernel of something that was confusing for both of us. We seemed to be related but of two different worlds. “I don’t,” I said, looking scandalized that she’d even suggest it and mortified by the way the other girls were now staring at me. But I knew what she was getting at. There was no denying it, even if I just had. I did speak differently than some of my relatives, and so did Craig. Our parents had drilled into us the importance of using proper diction, of saying “going” instead of “goin’ ” and “isn’t” instead of “ain’t.” We were taught to finish off our words. They bought us a dictionary and a full Encyclopaedia Britannica set, which lived on a shelf in the stairwell to our apartment, its titles etched in gold. Any time we had a question about a word, or a concept, or some piece of history, they directed us toward those books. Dandy, too, was an influence, meticulously correcting our grammar or admonishing us to enunciate our words when we went over for dinner. The idea was we were to transcend, to get ourselves further. They’d planned for it. They encouraged it. We were expected not just to be smart but to own our smartness—to inhabit it with pride—and this filtered down to how we spoke.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
In my travels on the surface, I once met a man who wore his religious beliefs like a badge of honor upon the sleeves of his tunic. "I am a Gondsman!" he proudly told me as we sat beside eachother at a tavern bar, I sipping my wind, and he, I fear, partaking a bit too much of his more potent drink. He went on to explain the premise of his religion, his very reason for being, that all things were based in science, in mechanics and in discovery. He even asked if he could take a piece of my flesh, that he might study it to determine why the skin of the drow elf is black. "What element is missing," he wondered, "that makes your race different from your surface kin?" I think that the Gondsman honestly believed his claim that if he could merely find the various elements that comprised the drow skin, he might affect a change in that pigmentation to make the dark elves more akin to their surface relatives. And, given his devotion, almost fanaticism, it seemed to me as if he felt he could affect a change in more than physical appearance. Because, in his view of the world, all things could be so explained and corrected. How could i even begin to enlighten him to the complexity? How could i show him the variations between drow and surface elf in the very view of the world resulting from eons of walking widely disparate roads? To a Gondsman fanatic, everything can be broken down, taken apart and put back together. Even a wizard's magic might be no more than a way of conveying universal energies - and that, too, might one day be replicated. My Gondsman companion promised me that he and his fellow inventor priests would one day replicate every spell in any wizard's repertoire, using natural elements in the proper combinations. But there was no mention of the discipline any wizard must attain as he perfects his craft. There was no mention of the fact that powerful wizardly magic is not given to anyone, but rather, is earned, day by day, year by year and decade by decade. It is a lifelong pursuit with gradual increase in power, as mystical as it is secular. So it is with the warrior. The Gondsman spoke of some weapon called an arquebus, a tubular missile thrower with many times the power of the strongest crossbow. Such a weapon strikes terror into the heart of the true warrior, and not because he fears that he will fall victim to it, or even that he fears it will one day replace him. Such weapons offend because the true warrior understands that while one is learning how to use a sword, one should also be learning why and when to use a sword. To grant the power of a weapon master to anyone at all, without effort, without training and proof that the lessons have taken hold, is to deny the responsibility that comes with such power. Of course, there are wizards and warriors who perfect their craft without learning the level of emotional discipline to accompany it, and certainly there are those who attain great prowess in either profession to the detriment of all the world - Artemis Entreri seems a perfect example - but these individuals are, thankfully, rare, and mostly because their emotional lacking will be revealed early in their careers, and it often brings about a fairly abrupt downfall. But if the Gondsman has his way, if his errant view of paradise should come to fruition, then all the years of training will mean little. Any fool could pick up an arquebus or some other powerful weapon and summarily destroy a skilled warrior. Or any child could utilize a Gondsman's magic machine and replicate a firebal, perhaps, and burn down half a city. When I pointed out some of my fears to the Gondsman, he seemed shocked - not at the devastating possibilities, but rather, at my, as he put it, arrogance. "The inventions of the priests of Gond will make all equal!" he declared. "We will lift up the lowly peasant
R.A. Salvatore (Streams of Silver (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #5))
For Dawkins, atheism is a necessary consequence of evolution. He has argued that the religious impulse is simply an evolutionary mistake, a ‘misfiring of something useful’, it is a kind if virus, parasitic on cognitive systems naturally selected because they had enabled a species to survive. Dawkins is an extreme exponent of the scientific naturalism, originally formulated by d’Holbach, that has now become a major worldview among intellectuals. More moderate versions of this “scientism” have been articulated by Carl Sagan, Steven Weinberg, and Daniel Dennett, who have all claimed that one has to choose between science and faith. For Dennett, theology has been rendered superfluous, because biology can provide a better explanation of why people are religious. But for Dawkins, like the other “new atheists” – Sam Harris, the young American philosopher and student of neuroscience, and Christopher Hitchens, critic and journalist – religion is the cause of the problems of our world; it is the source of absolute evil and “poisons everything.” They see themselves in the vanguard of a scientific/rational movement that will eventually expunge the idea of God from human consciousness. But other atheists and scientists are wary of this approach. The American zoologist Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) followed Monod in his discussion of the implications of evolution. Everything in the natural world could indeed be explained by natural selection, but Gould insisted that science was not competent to decide whether God did or did not exist, because it could only work with natural explanations. Gould had no religious axe to grind; he described himself as an atheistically inclined agnostic, but pointed out that Darwin himself had denied he was an atheist and that other eminent Darwinians - Asa Gray, Charles D. Walcott, G. G. Simpson, and Theodosius Dobzhansky - had been either practicing Christians or agnostics. Atheism did not, therefore, seem to be a necessary consequence of accepting evolutionary theory, and Darwinians who held forth dogmatically on the subject were stepping beyond the limitations that were proper to science.
Karen Armstrong
Much of Chinese society still expected its women to hold themselves in a sedate manner, lower their eyelids in response to men's stares, and restrict their smile to a faint curve of the lips which did not expose their teeth. They were not meant to use hand gestures at all. If they contravened any of these canons of behavior they would be considered 'flirtatious." Under Mao, flirting with./bre/gners was an unspeakable crime. I was furious at the innuendo against me. It had been my Communist parents who had given me a liberal upbringing. They had regarded the restrictions on women as precisely the sort of thing a Communist revolution should put an end to. But now oppression of women joined hands with political repression, and served resentment and petty jealousy. One day, a Pakistani ship arrived. The Pakistani military attache came down from Peking. Long ordered us all to spring-clean the club from top to bottom, and laid on a banquet, for which he asked me to be his interpreter, which made some of the other students extremely envious. A few days later the Pakistanis gave a farewell dinner on their ship, and I was invited. The military attache had been to Sichuan, and they had prepared a special Sichuan dish for me. Long was delighted by the invitation, as was I. But despite a personal appeal from the captain and even a threat from Long to bar future students, my teachers said that no one was allowed on board a foreign ship. "Who would take the responsibility if someone sailed away on the ship?" they asked. I was told to say I was busy that evening. As far as I knew, I was turning down the only chance I would ever have of a trip out to sea, a foreign meal, a proper conversation in English, and an experience of the outside world. Even so, I could not silence the whispers. Ming asked pointedly, "Why do foreigners like her so much?" as though there was something suspicious in that. The report filed on me at the end of the trip said my behavior was 'politically dubious." In this lovely port, with its sunshine, sea breezes, and coconut trees, every occasion that should have been joyous was turned into misery. I had a good friend in the group who tried to cheer me up by putting my distress into perspective. Of course, what I encountered was no more than minor unpleasantness compared with what victims of jealousy suffered in the earlier years of the Cultural Revolution. But the thought that this was what my life at its best would be like depressed me even more. This friend was the son of a colleague of my father's. The other students from cities were also friendly to me. It was easy to distinguish them from the students of peasant backgrounds, who provided most of the student officials.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
As Christians we face two tasks in our evangelism: saving the soul and saving the mind, that is to say, not only converting people spiritually, but converting them intellectually as well. And the Church is lagging dangerously behind with regard to this second task. If the church loses the intellectual battle in one generation, then evangelism will become immeasurably more difficult in the next. The war is not yet lost, and it is one which we must not lose: souls of men and women hang in the balance. For the sake of greater effectiveness in witnessing to Jesus Christ Himself, as well as for their own sakes, evangelicals cannot afford to keep on living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence. Thinking about your faith is indeed a virtue, for it helps you to better understand and defend your faith. But thinking about your faith is not equivalent to doubting your faith. Doubt is never a purely intellectual problem. There is a spiritual dimension to the problem that must be recognized. Never lose sight of the fact that you are involved in spiritual warfare and there is an enemy of your soul who hates you intensely, whose goal is your destruction, and who will stop at nothing to destroy you. Reason can be used to defend our faith by formulating arguments for the existence of God or by refuting objections. But though the arguments so developed serve to confirm the truth of our faith, they are not properly the basis of our faith, for that is supplied by the witness of the Holy Spirit Himself. Even if there were no arguments in defense of the faith, our faith would still have its firm foundation. The more I learn, the more desperately ignorant I feel. Further study only serves to open up to one's consciousness all the endless vistas of knowledge, even in one's own field, about which one knows absolutely nothing. Don't let your doubts just sit there: pursue them and keep after them until you drive them into the ground. We should be cautious, indeed, about thinking that we have come upon the decisive disproof of our faith. It is pretty unlikely that we have found the irrefutable objection. The history of philosophy is littered with the wrecks of such objections. Given the confidence that the Holy Spirit inspires, we should esteem lightly the arguments and objections that generate our doubts. These, then, are some of the obstacles to answered prayer: sin in our lives, wrong motives, lack of faith, lack of earnestness, lack of perseverance, lack of accordance with God’s will. If any of those obstacles hinders our prayers, then we cannot claim with confidence Jesus’ promise, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it”. And so I was led to what was for me a radical new insight into the will of God, namely, that God’s will for our lives can include failure. In other words, God’s will may be that you fail, and He may lead you into failure! For there are things that God has to teach you through failure that He could never teach you through success. So many in our day seem to have been distracted from what was, is and always will be the true priority for every human being — that is, learning to know God in Christ. My greatest fear is that I should some day stand before the Lord and see all my works go up in smoke like so much “wood, hay, and stubble”. The chief purpose of life is not happiness, but knowledge of God. People tend naturally to assume that if God exists, then His purpose for human life is happiness in this life. God’s role is to provide a comfortable environment for His human pets. But on the Christian view, this is false. We are not God’s pets, and the goal of human life is not happiness per se, but the knowledge of God—which in the end will bring true and everlasting human fulfilment. Many evils occur in life which may be utterly pointless with respect to the goal of producing human happiness; but they may not be pointless with respect to producing a deeper knowledge of God.
William Lane Craig (Hard Questions, Real Answers)
The central fact of biblical history, the birth of the Messiah, more than any other, presupposes the design of Providence in the selecting and uniting of successive producers, and the real, paramount interest of the biblical narratives is concentrated on the various and wondrous fates, by which are arranged the births and combinations of the 'fathers of God.' But in all this complicated system of means, having determined in the order of historical phenomena the birth of the Messiah, there was no room for love in the proper meaning of the word. Love is, of course, encountered in the Bible, but only as an independent fact and not as an instrument in the process of the genealogy of Christ. The sacred book does not say that Abram took Sarai to wife by force of an ardent love, and in any case Providence must have waited until this love had grown completely cool for the centenarian progenitors to produce a child of faith, not of love. Isaac married Rebekah not for love but in accordance with an earlier formed resolution and the design of his father. Jacob loved Rachel, but this love turned out to be unnecessary for the origin of the Messiah. He was indeed to be born of a son of Jacob - Judah - but the latter was the offspring, not of Rachel but of the unloved wife, Leah. For the production in the given generation of the ancestor of the Messiah, what was necessary was the union of Jacob precisely with Leah; but to attain this union Providence did not awaken in Jacob any powerful passion of love for the future mother of the 'father of God' - Judah. Not infringing the liberty of Jacob's heartfelt feeling, the higher power permitted him to love Rachel, but for his necessary union with Leah it made use of means of quite a different kind: the mercenary cunning of a third person - devoted to his own domestic and economic interests - Laban. Judah himself, for the production of the remote ancestors of the Messiah, besides his legitimate posterity, had in his old age to marry his daughter-in-law Tamar. Seeing that such a union was not at all in the natural order of things, and indeed could not take place under ordinary conditions, that end was attained by means of an extremely strange occurrence very seductive to superficial readers of the Bible. Nor in such an occurrence could there be any talk of love. It was not love which combined the priestly harlot Rahab with the Hebrew stranger; she yielded herself to him at first in the course of her profession, and afterwards the casual bond was strengthened by her faith in the power of the new God and in the desire for his patronage for herself and her family. It was not love which united David's great-grandfather, the aged Boaz, with the youthful Moabitess Ruth, and Solomon was begotten not from genuine, profound love, but only from the casual, sinful caprice of a sovereign who was growing old.
Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov (The Meaning of Love)
I beg your pardon, Mrs. Graham - but you get on too fast. I have not yet said that a boy should be taught to rush into the snares of life, - or even wilfully to seek temptation for the sake of exercising his virtue by overcoming it; - I only say that it is better to arm and strengthen your hero, than to disarm and enfeeble the foe; - and if you were to rear an oak sapling in a hothouse, tending it carefully night and day, and shielding it from every breath of wind, you could not expect it to become a hardy tree, like that which has grown up on the mountain-side, exposed to all the action of the elements, and not even sheltered from the shock of the tempest.' 'Granted; - but would you use the same argument with regard to a girl?' 'Certainly not.' 'No; you would have her to be tenderly and delicately nurtured, like a hot-house plant - taught to cling to others for direction and support, and guarded, as much as possible, from the very knowledge of evil. But will you be so good as to inform me why you make this distinction? Is it that you think she has no virtue?' 'Assuredly not.' 'Well, but you affirm that virtue is only elicited by temptation; - and you think that a woman cannot be too little exposed to temptation, or too little acquainted with vice, or anything connected therewith. It must be either that you think she is essentially so vicious, or so feeble-minded, that she cannot withstand temptation, - and though she may be pure and innocent as long as she is kept in ignorance and restraint, yet, being destitute of real virtue, to teach her how to sin is at once to make her a sinner, and the greater her knowledge, the wider her liberty, the deeper will be her depravity, - whereas, in the nobler sex, there is a natural tendency to goodness, guarded by a superior fortitude, which, the more it is exercised by trials and dangers, is only the further developed - ' 'Heaven forbid that I should think so!' I interrupted her at last." 'Well, then, it must be that you think they are both weak and prone to err, and the slightest error, the merest shadow of pollution, will ruin the one, while the character of the other will be strengthened and embellished - his education properly finished by a little practical acquaintance with forbidden things. Such experience, to him (to use a trite simile), will be like the storm to the oak, which, though it may scatter the leaves, and snap the smaller branches, serves but to rivet the roots, and to harden and condense the fibres of the tree. You would have us encourage our sons to prove all things by their own experience, while our daughters must not even profit by the experience of others. Now I would have both so to benefit by the experience of others, and the precepts of a higher authority, that they should know beforehand to refuse the evil and choose the good, and require no experimental proofs to teach them the evil of transgression. I would not send a poor girl into the world, unarmed against her foes, and ignorant of the snares that beset her path; nor would I watch and guard her, till, deprived of self-respect and self-reliance, she lost the power or the will to watch and guard herself; - and as for my son - if I thought he would grow up to be what you call a man of the world - one that has "seen life," and glories in his experience, even though he should so far profit by it as to sober down, at length, into a useful and respected member of society - I would rather that he died to-morrow! - rather a thousand times!' she earnestly repeated, pressing her darling to her side and kissing his forehead with intense affection. He had already left his new companion, and been standing for some time beside his mother's knee, looking up into her face, and listening in silent wonder to her incomprehensible discourse. Anne Bronte, "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" (24,25)
Anne Brontë