Reflect On The Year Quotes

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The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It's the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.
Audrey Hepburn
But death was her curse and her gift, and death had been her good friend these long, long years.
Sarah J. Maas (Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2))
Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know.
Alberto Manguel (A Reading Diary: A Passionate Reader's Reflections on a Year of Books)
The days aren't discarded or collected, they are bees that burned with sweetness or maddened the sting: the struggle continues, the journeys go and come between honey and pain. No, the net of years doesn't unweave: there is no net. They don't fall drop by drop from a river: there is no river. Sleep doesn't divide life into halves, or action, or silence, or honor: life is like a stone, a single motion, a lonesome bonfire reflected on the leaves, an arrow, only one, slow or swift, a metal that climbs or descends burning in your bones.
Pablo Neruda (Still Another Day)
There was a brief silence in which the distant echo of Hagrid smashing down a wooden front door seemed to reverberate through the intervening years.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
She was reflecting back on a truth she had learned over the years: that people heard what they wanted to hear, saw what they wanted, believed what they wanted.
Jeffery Deaver (The Bodies Left Behind)
For so many years, I couldn’t understand why every time I thought that someone finally loved me, like… for real, they would eventually turn to vapor. Every person whom I’ve ever loved is trapped inside of my chest. I’ve breathed all of them in so deeply that I’ve nearly choked and died on every soul that I’ve ever given myself to.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
She remembered one of her boyfriends asking, offhandedly, how many books she read in a year. "A few hundred," she said. "How do you have the time?" he asked, gobsmacked. She narrowed her eyes and considered the array of potential answers in front of her. Because I don't spend hours flipping through cable complaining there's nothing on? Because my entire Sunday is not eaten up with pre-game, in-game, and post-game talking heads? Because I do not spend every night drinking overpriced beer and engaging in dick-swinging contests with the other financirati? Because when I am waiting in line, at the gym, on the train, eating lunch, I am not complaining about the wait/staring into space/admiring myself in reflective surfaces? I am reading! "I don't know," she said, shrugging.
Eleanor Brown (The Weird Sisters)
Without you there would be no me. I am everything reflected in your eyes. I am everything approved by your smile. I am everything born of your guidance. I am me only because of you.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
I considered myself a Christian. But looking back on it, I guess I was more of a Kluggist. I was klugging my own spirituality. It was years before I would find out how dangerous that was.
Randy Loubier (Slow Brewing Tea)
I feel a resurgence of my 6-year-old self… that little warrior, goddess of a girl reminding me of who I was when I was little, before the world got its hands on me.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
O Deep Thought computer," he said, "the task we have designed you to perform is this. We want you to tell us...." he paused, "The Answer." "The Answer?" said Deep Thought. "The Answer to what?" "Life!" urged Fook. "The Universe!" said Lunkwill. "Everything!" they said in chorus. Deep Thought paused for a moment's reflection. "Tricky," he said finally. "But can you do it?" Again, a significant pause. "Yes," said Deep Thought, "I can do it." "There is an answer?" said Fook with breathless excitement. "Yes," said Deep Thought. "Life, the Universe, and Everything. There is an answer. But, I'll have to think about it." ... Fook glanced impatiently at his watch. “How long?” he said. “Seven and a half million years,” said Deep Thought. Lunkwill and Fook blinked at each other. “Seven and a half million years...!” they cried in chorus. “Yes,” declaimed Deep Thought, “I said I’d have to think about it, didn’t I?" [Seven and a half million years later.... Fook and Lunkwill are long gone, but their descendents continue what they started] "We are the ones who will hear," said Phouchg, "the answer to the great question of Life....!" "The Universe...!" said Loonquawl. "And Everything...!" "Shhh," said Loonquawl with a slight gesture. "I think Deep Thought is preparing to speak!" There was a moment's expectant pause while panels slowly came to life on the front of the console. Lights flashed on and off experimentally and settled down into a businesslike pattern. A soft low hum came from the communication channel. "Good Morning," said Deep Thought at last. "Er..good morning, O Deep Thought" said Loonquawl nervously, "do you have...er, that is..." "An Answer for you?" interrupted Deep Thought majestically. "Yes, I have." The two men shivered with expectancy. Their waiting had not been in vain. "There really is one?" breathed Phouchg. "There really is one," confirmed Deep Thought. "To Everything? To the great Question of Life, the Universe and everything?" "Yes." Both of the men had been trained for this moment, their lives had been a preparation for it, they had been selected at birth as those who would witness the answer, but even so they found themselves gasping and squirming like excited children. "And you're ready to give it to us?" urged Loonsuawl. "I am." "Now?" "Now," said Deep Thought. They both licked their dry lips. "Though I don't think," added Deep Thought. "that you're going to like it." "Doesn't matter!" said Phouchg. "We must know it! Now!" "Now?" inquired Deep Thought. "Yes! Now..." "All right," said the computer, and settled into silence again. The two men fidgeted. The tension was unbearable. "You're really not going to like it," observed Deep Thought. "Tell us!" "All right," said Deep Thought. "The Answer to the Great Question..." "Yes..!" "Of Life, the Universe and Everything..." said Deep Thought. "Yes...!" "Is..." said Deep Thought, and paused. "Yes...!" "Is..." "Yes...!!!...?" "Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
But what truly horsey girls discover in the end is that boyfriends, husbands, children, and careers are the substitute-for horses
Jane Smiley (A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money, and Luck)
For a week, almost without speaking, they went ahead like sleepwalkers through a universe of grief, lighted only by the tenuous reflection of luminous insects, and their lungs were overwhelmed by a suffocating smell of blood.
Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
The knowledge that the atoms that comprise life on earth - the atoms that make up the human body, are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core under extreme temperatures and pressures. These stars- the high mass ones among them- went unstable in their later years- they collapsed and then exploded- scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy- guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and all the fundamental ingredients of life itself. These ingredients become part of gas clouds that condense, collapse, form the next generation of solar systems- stars with orbiting planets. And those planets now have the ingredients for life itself. So that when I look up at the night sky, and I know that yes we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up- many people feel small, cause their small and the universe is big. But I feel big because my atoms came from those stars.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I want you to tell me about every person you’ve ever been in love with. Tell me why you loved them, then tell me why they loved you. Tell me about a day in your life you didn’t think you’d live through. Tell me what the word home means to you and tell me in a way that I’ll know your mother’s name just by the way you describe your bedroom when you were eight. See, I want to know the first time you felt the weight of hate, and if that day still trembles beneath your bones. Do you prefer to play in puddles of rain or bounce in the bellies of snow? And if you were to build a snowman, would you rip two branches from a tree to build your snowman arms or would leave your snowman armless for the sake of being harmless to the tree? And if you would, would you notice how that tree weeps for you because your snowman has no arms to hug you every time you kiss him on the cheek? Do you kiss your friends on the cheek? Do you sleep beside them when they’re sad even if it makes your lover mad? Do you think that anger is a sincere emotion or just the timid motion of a fragile heart trying to beat away its pain? See, I wanna know what you think of your first name, and if you often lie awake at night and imagine your mother’s joy when she spoke it for the very first time. I want you to tell me all the ways you’ve been unkind. Tell me all the ways you’ve been cruel. Tell me, knowing I often picture Gandhi at ten years old beating up little boys at school. If you were walking by a chemical plant where smokestacks were filling the sky with dark black clouds would you holler “Poison! Poison! Poison!” really loud or would you whisper “That cloud looks like a fish, and that cloud looks like a fairy!” Do you believe that Mary was really a virgin? Do you believe that Moses really parted the sea? And if you don’t believe in miracles, tell me — how would you explain the miracle of my life to me? See, I wanna know if you believe in any god or if you believe in many gods or better yet what gods believe in you. And for all the times that you’ve knelt before the temple of yourself, have the prayers you asked come true? And if they didn’t, did you feel denied? And if you felt denied, denied by who? I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling good. I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling bad. I wanna know the first person who taught you your beauty could ever be reflected on a lousy piece of glass. If you ever reach enlightenment will you remember how to laugh? Have you ever been a song? Would you think less of me if I told you I’ve lived my entire life a little off-key? And I’m not nearly as smart as my poetry I just plagiarize the thoughts of the people around me who have learned the wisdom of silence. Do you believe that concrete perpetuates violence? And if you do — I want you to tell me of a meadow where my skateboard will soar. See, I wanna know more than what you do for a living. I wanna know how much of your life you spend just giving, and if you love yourself enough to also receive sometimes. I wanna know if you bleed sometimes from other people’s wounds, and if you dream sometimes that this life is just a balloon — that if you wanted to, you could pop, but you never would ‘cause you’d never want it to stop. If a tree fell in the forest and you were the only one there to hear — if its fall to the ground didn’t make a sound, would you panic in fear that you didn’t exist, or would you bask in the bliss of your nothingness? And lastly, let me ask you this: If you and I went for a walk and the entire walk, we didn’t talk — do you think eventually, we’d… kiss? No, wait. That’s asking too much — after all, this is only our first date.
Andrea Gibson
I really believe that there is an invisible red thread tied between him and me, and that it has stretched and tangled for years — across oceans and lifetimes. I know that it won’t break because our souls are tied.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
THE FOUR HEAVENLY FOUNTAINS Laugh, I tell you And you will turn back The hands of time. Smile, I tell you And you will reflect The face of the divine. Sing, I tell you And all the angels will sing with you! Cry, I tell you And the reflections found in your pool of tears - Will remind you of the lessons of today and yesterday To guide you through the fears of tomorrow.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Sometimes when I'm brushing my teeth, I'll look at the mirror and I swear my reflection seems kind of disappointed. I realized a couple of years ago that not only am I not super-skilled at anything, I'm not even particularly good at being myself.
Charles Yu (How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe)
A faith without some doubts is like a human body with no antobodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask the hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person's faith can collapse almost overnight if she failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.
Timothy J. Keller
Fascination with horses predated every other single thing I knew. Before I was a mother, before I was a writer, before I knew the facts of life, before I was a schoolgirl, before I learned to read, I wanted a horse.
Jane Smiley (A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money, and Luck)
Hamas is regularly described as 'Iranian-backed Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.' One will be hard put to find something like 'democratically elected Hamas, which has long been calling for a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus'—blocked for over 30 years by the US and Israel. All true, but not a useful contribution to the Party Line, hence dispensable.
Noam Chomsky (Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians)
My life has been shaped by the decision two people made over 24 years ago. They decided to adopt a child. They got me, and I got a chance at the kind of life all children deserve.
Karen Fowler (Reflections on Motherhood)
Upon reflection, I decided I had three main weaknesses: I was confused (evidenced by a lack of facts, an inability to coordinate my thoughts, and an inability to verbalize my ideas); I had a lack of confidence, which cause me to back down from forcefully stated positions; and I was overly emotional at the expense of careful, 'scientific' though. I was thirty-seven years old and still discovering who I was.
Julia Child (My Life in France)
I wanted a metamorphosis, a change to fish, to leviathan, to destroyer. I wanted the earth to open up, to swallow everything in one engulfing yawn. I wanted to see the city buried fathoms deep in the bosom of the sea. I wanted to sit in a cave and read by candlelight. I wanted that eye extinguished so that I might have a chance to know my own body, my own desires. I wanted to be alone for a thousand years in order to reflect on what I had seen and heard - and in order to forget.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Capricorn (Tropic, #1))
He looked at me, that first day, like he had just found something he’d lost a thousand years ago.
Jennifer Elisabeth
..when a war ends, what does that look like exactly? do the cells in the body stop detonating themselves? does the orphanage stop screaming for its mother? when the sand in the desert has been melted down to glass and our reflection is not something we can stand to look at does the white flag make for a perfect blindfold? yesterday i was told a story about this little girl in Iraq, six-years-old, who cannot fall asleep because when she does she dreams of nothing but the day she watched her dog eat her neighbor's corpse. if you told her war is over do you think she can sleep?
Andrea Gibson (The Madness Vase)
I never believed in Santa Claus. None of us kids did. Mom and Dad refused to let us. They couldn't afford expensive presents and they didn't want us to think we weren't as good as other kids who, on Christmas morning, found all sorts of fancy toys under the tree that were supposedly left by Santa Claus. Dad had lost his job at the gypsum, and when Christmas came that year, we had no money at all. On Christmas Eve, Dad took each one of us kids out into the desert night one by one. "Pick out your favorite star", Dad said. "I like that one!" I said. Dad grinned, "that's Venus", he said. He explained to me that planets glowed because reflected light was constant and stars twinkled because their light pulsed. "I like it anyway" I said. "What the hell," Dad said. "It's Christmas. You can have a planet if you want." And he gave me Venus. Venus didn't have any moons or satellites or even a magnetic field, but it did have an atmosphere sort of similar to Earth's, except it was super hot-about 500 degrees or more. "So," Dad said, "when the sun starts to burn out and Earth turns cold, everyone might want to move to Venus to get warm. And they'll have to get permission from your descendants first. We laughed about all the kids who believed in the Santa myth and got nothing for Christmas but a bunch of cheap plastic toys. "Years from now, when all the junk they got is broken and long forgotten," Dad said, "you'll still have your stars.
Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle)
You have had a dream for so many years. Let today be the day you make a plan for it. Just think about how much more likely you are to hit your target when you finally aim at it.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
If the right to vote were expanded to seven year olds … its policies would most definitely reflect the ‘legitimate concerns’ of children to have ‘adequate’ and ‘equal’ access to ‘free’ french fries, lemonade and videos.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe (Democracy: The God That Failed)
I had an uneventful few days," it told her. "The most exciting thing was an hour-long lecture from the headmaster on taking our studies seriously. He said next year's exam will arrive sooner than we think." "No, they won't," Valkyrie said, frowning. "They'll arrive next year, exactly when we expect them." "That's what I told him," the reflection nodded. "I don't think he's comfortable with logic, because he didn't look happy. He sent me to the Career Guidance counsellor, who asked me what I wanted to do after college." Valkyrie stowed her black clothes. "What did you say?" "I told her I wanted to be a Career Guidance counsellor. She started crying, then accused me of mocking her. I told her if she wasn't happy in her job then she should look at other options, then pointed out that I was already doing her job better than she was. She gave me detention.
Derek Landy (Kingdom of the Wicked (Skulduggery Pleasant, #7))
For years I have had no mirror; I have learned to make do. The eyes of another can be a mirror more effective than water. If you will look at me, I can see my reflection in yours
Cassandra Clare (Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1))
I touched my lips to hers again, and this time, it was a very different sort of kiss. It was six years’ worth of kissing, her lips coming to life under mine, tasting of orange and of desire. Her fingers ran through my sideburns and into my hair before linking around my neck, alive and cool on my warm skin. I was wild and tame and pulled into shreds and crushed into being all at once. For once in my human life, my mind didn’t wander to compose a song lyric or store the moment for later reflection. For once in my life, I was here and nowhere else. -Sam
Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1))
When you are eighty years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. —Jeff Bezos, commencement speech at Princeton University, May 30, 2010
Brad Stone (The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon)
The human psyche has two great sicknesses: the urge to carry vendetta across generations, and the tendency to fasten group labels on people rather than see them as individuals. Abrahamic religion mixes explosively with (and gives strong sanction to) both. Only the willfully blind could fail to implicate the divisive force of religion in most, if not all, of the violent enmities in the world today. Without a doubt it is the prime aggravator of the Middle East. Those of us who have for years politely concealed our contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of religion need to stand up and speak out. Things are different now. ‘All is changed, changed utterly.
Richard Dawkins (A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love)
I celebrate myself," the poet Walt Whitman wrote. The thought is so delicious it is almost obscene. Imagine the joy that would come with celebrating the self — our achievements, our experiences, our existence. Imagine what it would be like to look into the mirror and say, as God taught us, "That's good.
Joan D. Chittister (Light in the Darkness: New Reflections on the Psalms for Every Day of the Year)
I am thinking about the way that life can be so slippery; the way that a twelve-year-old girl looking into the mirror to count freckles reaches out toward herself and that reflection has turned into that of a woman on her wedding day, righting her veil. And how, when that bride blinks, she reopens her eyes to see a frazzled young mother trying to get lipstick on straight for the parent/teacher conference that starts in three minutes. And how after that young woman bends down to retrieve the wild-haired doll her daughter has left on the bathroom floor, she rises up to a forty-seven-year-old, looking into the mirror to count age spots.
Elizabeth Berg (What We Keep)
There are so many things Blair doesn’t get about me, so many things she ultimately overlooked, and things that she would never know, and there would always be a distance between us because there were too many shadows everywhere. Had she ever made promises to a faithless reflection in the mirror? Had she ever cried because she hated someone so much? Had she ever craved betrayal to the point where she pushed the crudest fantasies into reality, coming up with sequences that she and nobody else could read, moving the game as you play it? Could she locate the moment she went dead inside? Does she remember the year it took to become that way? The fades, the dissolves, the rewritten scenes, all the things you wipe away—I now want to explain all these things to her but I know I never will, the most important one being: I never liked anyone and I’m afraid of people.
Bret Easton Ellis (Imperial Bedrooms)
I am living in the Google years, no question of that. And there are advantages to it. When you forget something, you can whip out your iPhone and go to Google. The Senior Moment has become the Google moment, and it has a much nicer, hipper, younger, more contemporary sound, doesn't it? By handling the obligations of the search mechanism, you almost prove you can keep up.... You can't retrieve you life (unless you're on Wikipedia, in which case you can retrieve an inaccurate version of it).
Nora Ephron (I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections)
To all those who care, You can't forever. Time steals the years, And your reflection in the mirror. But I can still see the story in your eyes, And your timeless passion that’s never died. While your skin became tired, Your heart became strong, The present became the past, And your memories like a song. And though the moment at hand is all that we have, You’ve taught me to live it like it is our last. Since two words don't say ‘thank you’ the way they are meant to, I'll try all my life to be something like you.
Crystal Woods (Write like no one is reading 2)
A stranger can see in an instant something in you that you might spend years learning about yourself. How awful we all are when we look at ourselves under a light, finally seeing our reflections. How little we know about ourselves. How much forgiveness it must take to love a person, to choose not to see their flaws, or to see those flaws and love the person anyway. If you never forgive you’ll always be alone.
Stephen Elliott (The Adderall Diaries)
We start out in identical perfection: bright, reflective, full of sun. The accident of our lives bruises us into dirty individuality. We meet with grief. Our character dulls and tarnishes. We meet with guilt. We know, we know: the price of living is corruption. There isn’t as much light as there once was. In the grave we lapse back into undifferentiated sameness
Gregory Maguire (A Lion Among Men (The Wicked Years, #3))
Have you heard of the most evil things done by people in their lifetime? They have coveted men's wives, killed hundreds of Christians and sold their best friend's life away for just a few coins. Isn't it interesting that they were God's chosen in the bible? ---Saul, Judas & King David
Shannon L. Alder
I was at the annual meeting of a state library association a few years later, when the children were in the process of leaving the nest, and one of the librarians asked me, "What do you think you and Hugh have done which was the best for your children?" I answered immediately and without thinking, "We love each other.
Madeleine L'Engle (Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art)
Reed’s face inches closer to mine on the pillow as he says, “Let me try to explain something to you, Evie. All of these years that I have been here, it is as if I have been sleeping. I have to always pretend to be something that I am not—pretend to be human. When I am not pretending to be human, then I am hunting evil, vicious angels who want nothing more than to…” his voice trails off and there is hollowness in his tone that reflects the loneliness of his existence. “But now, I am awake, for the first time in my existence, and not only am I awake, but I feel flames when you are near me. You have changed things for me. There is no reason to pretend around you. If I had to live without you now…now that I know what I have been missing…” The need in his voice makes me want to promise him anything, give him anything, just to fill that void in him. “I cannot go back to sleep, Evie. You are the only thing that makes me want to live. If you leave here, if you ascend to Paradise, or even if you are cast into the abyss, or taken there by the Fallen…I will have to follow you, no matter where you go. Even if I have to pursue you into the dark…if you cease to be, then so will I. You are my sin and my redemption.
Amy A. Bartol (Inescapable (The Premonition, #1))
You can't see yourself. You know what you look like because of mirrors and photographs, but out there in the world, as you move among your fellow human beings, whether strangers or friends or the most intimate beloveds, your own face is invisible to you. You can see other parts of yourself, arms and legs, hands and feet, shoulders and torso, but only from the front, nothing of the back except the backs of your legs if you twist them into the right position, but not your face, never your face, and in the end - at least as far as others are concerned - your face is who you are, the essential fact of your identity. Passports do not contain pictures of hands and feet. Even you, who have lived inside your body for sixty-four years now, would probably be unable to recognize your foot in an isolated photograph of that foot, not to speak of your ear, or your elbow, or one of your eyes in close-up. All so familiar to you in the context of the whole, but utterly anonymous when taken piece by piece. We are all aliens to ourselves, and if we have any sense of who we are, it is only because we live inside the eyes of others.
Paul Auster (Winter Journal)
It's alright" said a dreamy voice from beside Harry as Ron vanished into the coach's dark interior. "You're not going mad or anything. I can see them too." "Can you?" said Harry desperately, turning to Luna. He could see the bat-winged horses reflected in her wide, silvery eyes. "Oh yes," said Luna, "I've been able to see them since my first year here. They've always pulled the carriages. Don't worry. You're just as sane as I am." Smiling faintly, she climbed into the musty interior of the carriage after Ron. Not altogether reassured, Harry followed her.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
At the time, I didn't know what forgiveness meant. I wouldn't really know what forgiveness meant for another year, until my pastor, Rick McKinley, happened to spell it out in a sermon. He said that when you forgive, you bear the burden somebody has given you without holding them accountable.
Donald Miller (To Own a Dragon: Reflections on Growing Up Without a Father)
No matter what I go through today, I need not fear. For God is all-powerful and God is here. I am never separate from the One who created me. There is nothing I can do to make Him turn his face away from me. I am loved, I am cared for, and I am totally safe in the arms of God.
Marianne Williamson (A Year of Miracles: Daily Devotions and Reflections)
The art of dying is the art of living. The honesty and grace of the years of life that are ending is the real measure of how we die. It is not in the last weeks or days that we compose the message that will be remembered, but in all the decades that proceeded them. Who has lived in dignity, dies in dignity.
Sherwin B. Nuland (How We Die: Reflections of Life's Final Chapter)
This morning I looked at the books on my shelves and thought that they have no knowledge of my existence. They come to life because I open them and turn their pages, and yet they don't know that I am their reader.
Alberto Manguel (A Reading Diary: A Passionate Reader's Reflections on a Year of Books)
As the year comes to a close, it is a time for reflection – a time to release old thoughts and beliefs and forgive old hurts. Whatever has happened in the past year, the New Year brings fresh beginnings. Exciting new experiences and relationships await. Let us be thankful for the blessings of the past and the promise of the future.
Peggy Toney Horton
We passionately long that there may be another life in which we shall be similar to what we are here below. But we do not pause to reflect that, even without waiting for that other life, in this life, after a few years we are unfaithful to what we have been, to what we wished to remain immortally.
Marcel Proust (In Search of Lost Time [volumes 1 to 7])
Rarely if ever, moments come that are so defining in our lives. The years are glutted with benign matters which impact us more deeply than we could have ever imagined in our youth.
Joel T. McGrath
You never know who it's going to be, or what they'll bring, but whatever it is, it's always exactly what is needed.
Ruth Ozeki (My Year of Meats)
He captures memories because if he forgets them, it's as though they didn't happen.
Donald Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life)
Then she’d looked at him, and Finn saw something he’d seen on a thousand faces in the last six and a half years. Beat-down, hopeless, finished, blank. It was a look he had battled in his own reflection.
Amy Harmon (Infinity + One)
Reading Shakespeare is sometimes like looking through a window into a dark room. You don't see in. You see nothing but a reflection of yourself unable to see in. An unflattering image of yourself blind.
Antony Sher (Year of the King: An Actor's Diary and Sketchbook)
Over the years I have forged intimate familial ties with these characters, who are reflections of a portion of myself. Consequently, even a character who appeared only once in a short story waits now in the wings, concealed by the curtain, for his next appearance on-stage. Not one of them has ever broken free of his familial ties with me and disappeared for ever - at least, not within the confines of my heart.
Shūsaku Endō (The Final Martyrs)
That mirror, that's one I hate to let go, he said. That was my daughter's the whole time she was growing up. It probably seen her more than me--everything from a baby up to twenty years old. Sometimes I wonder if all that might still be inside it. Got to make an impression on a thing, reflecting the same person every day.
David Wroblewski (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle)
No, she felt homesick, not for a place, but for a time. Maybe it wasn't homesickness at all. Maybe it was timesickness. She just missed those days when she was younger - seven, six, five, four years old - when she didn't know so much about the world. She missed, most of all, her mother.
Matt Haig (The Girl Who Saved Christmas (Christmas, #2))
The years have come and gone without a single word from you. Only the sky above us do we hold in common. I look at it often as if, somehow, reflected from its immensities, I will one day find myself gazing into your eyes.
Alice Walker (The Color Purple)
It would have been cruel in Miss Havisham, horribly cruel, to practise on the susceptibility of a poor boy, and to torture me through all these years with a vain hope and an idle pursuit, if she had reflected on the gravity of what she did. But I think she did not. I think that in the endurance of her own trial, she forgot mine, Estella.
Charles Dickens (Great Expectations)
Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike topped walls and treble-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule-drivers, mules and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunch-backed makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges, glimpsed form kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries' vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bath-house adulterers, heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters' sons sharpening axes; candle-makers, rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottle-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page-boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attic nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds; swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses; prisoners haunted by happier lives and ageing rakes by other men's wives; skeletal tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges; apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night-soil; gate-keepers; bee-keepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet-nurses; perjurers; cut-purses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying; the weak and defiant; over the roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its creator; and around again, where their flight began, over the balcony of the Room of Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night's rain is evaporating; a puddle in which Magistrate Shiroyama observes the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself.
David Mitchell (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)
O how all things are far removed and long have passed away. I do believe the star, whose light my face reflects, is dead and has been so for many thousand years. I had a vision of a passing boat and heard some voices saying disquieting things. I heard a clock strike in some distant house... but in which house?... I long to quiet my anxious heart and stand beneath the sky's immensity. I long to pray... And one of all the stars must still exist. I do believe that I would know which one alone endured, and which like a white city stands at the ray's end shining in the heavens.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Dimanchophobia: Fear of Sundays, not in a religious sense but rather, a condition that reflects fear of unstructured time. Also known as acalendrical anxiety. Not to be confused with didominicaphobia, or kyriakephobia, fear of the Lord's Day. Dimanchophobia is a mental condition created by modernism and industrialism. Dimanchophobes particularly dislike the period between Christmas and New Year's, when days of the week lose their significance and time blurs into a perpetual Sunday. Another way of expressing dimanchophobia might be "life in a world without calendars." A popular expression of this condition can be found in the pop song "Every Day is Like Sunday," by Morrissey, in which he describes walking on a beach after a nuclear way, when every day of the week now feels like Sunday.
Douglas Coupland
Why love the boy in a March field with his kite braving the sky? Because our fingers burn with the hot string singeing our hands. Why love some girl viewed from a train bent to a country well? The tongue remembers iron water cool on some long lost noon. Why weep at strangers dead by the road? They resemble friends unseen in forty years. Why laugh when clowns are hot by pies? We taste custard we taste life. Why love the woman who is your wife? Her nose breathes the air of a world that I know; therefore I love that nose. Her ears hear music I might sing half the night through; therefore I love her ears. Her eyes delight in seasons of the land; and so I love those eyes. Her tongue knows quince, peach, chokeberry, mint and lime; I love to hear it speaking. Because her flesh knows heat, cold, affliction, I know fire, snow, and pain. Shared and once again shared experience. Billions of prickling textures. Cut one sense away, cut part of life away. Cut two senses; life halves itself on the instant. We love what we know, we love what we are. Common cause, common cause, common cause of mouth, eye, ear, tongue, hand, nose, flesh, heart, and soul.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
He jerked his head at Dill: 'Things haven't caught up with that one's instinct yet. Let him get a little older and he won't get sick and cry. Maybe things'll strike him as being- not quite right, say, but he won't cry, not when he gets a few years on him.' 'Cry about what, Mr. Raymond?' Dill's maleness was beginning to assert itself. 'Cry about the simple hell people give each other- without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give colored folks, without even stopping to think that they're people too. A reflection on the innocence and vulnerability of children
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
It all comes back. Perhaps it is difficult to see the value in having one's self back in that kind of mood, but I do see it; I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were. I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be; one of them, a seventeen-year-old, presents little threat, although it would be of some interest to me to know again what it feels like to sit on a river levee drinking vodka-and-orange-juice and listening to Les Paul and Mary Ford and their echoes sing "How High the Moon" on the car radio. (You see I still have the scenes, but I no longer perceive myself among those present, no longer could ever improvise the dialogue.) The other one, a twenty-three-year-old, bothers me more. She was always a good deal of trouble, and I suspect she will reappear when I least want to see her, skirts too long, shy to the point of aggravation, always the injured party, full of recriminations and little hurts and stories I do not want to hear again, at once saddening me and angering me with her vulnerability and ignorance, an apparition all the more insistent for being so long banished. It is a good idea, then, to keep in touch, and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about. And we are all on our own when it comes to keeping those lines open to ourselves: your notebook will never help me, nor mine you.
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
Narcissus does not fall in love with his reflection because it is beautiful but because it is his. If it were his beauty that enthralled him, he would be set free in a few years by its fading. "After all," sighed Narcissus the hunchback, "on me it looks good. The contemplation of his reflection does not turn Narcissus into Priapus: the spell in which he is trapped is not a desire for himself but the satisfaction of not desiring the nymphs. "I prefer my pistol to my p…," said Narcissus; "it cannot take aim without my permission" – and took a pot shot at Echo.
W.H. Auden (The Dyer's Hand)
Some years ago, there was a lovely philosopher of science and journalist in Italy named Giulio Giorello, and he did an interview with me. And I don’t know if he wrote it or not, but the headline in Corriere della Sera when it was published was "Sì, abbiamo un'anima. Ma è fatta di tanti piccoli robot – "Yes, we have a soul, but it’s made of lots of tiny robots." And I thought, exactly. That’s the view. Yes, we have a soul, but in what sense? In the sense that our brains, unlike the brains even of dogs and cats and chimpanzees and dolphins, our brains have functional structures that give our brains powers that no other brains have - powers of look-ahead, primarily. We can understand our position in the world, we can see the future, we can understand where we came from. We know that we’re here. No buffalo knows it’s a buffalo, but we jolly well know that we’re members of Homo sapiens, and it’s the knowledge that we have and the can-do, our capacity to think ahead and to reflect and to evaluate and to evaluate our evaluations, and evaluate the grounds for our evaluations. It’s this expandable capacity to represent reasons that we have that gives us a soul. But what’s it made of? It’s made of neurons. It’s made of lots of tiny robots. And we can actually explain the structure and operation of that kind of soul, whereas an eternal, immortal, immaterial soul is just a metaphysical rug under which you sweep your embarrassment for not having any explanation.
Daniel C. Dennett
..[My friend Marco said]. essentially, humans are alive for the purpose of journey, a kind of three-act structure. They are born and spend several years discovering themselves and the world, then plod through a long middle in which they are compelled to search for a mate and reproduce and also create stability out of natural instability and then they find themselves at an ending tha seems to be designed for reflection. At the end, their bodies are slower, they are not as easily distracted, they do less work, and they think and feel about a life lived rather than look forward to a life getting started. He didn't know what the point of the journey was, but he did believe we were designed to search for and find something. And he wondered out loud if the point wasn't the search but the transformation the search creates. ...[I wondered] that we were designed to live through something rather than to attain something, and the thing we were meant to live through was designed to change us. The point of a story is the character arc, the change.
Donald Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life)
Once a day, especially in the early years of life and study, call yourselves to an account what new ideas, what new proposition or truth you have gained, what further confirmation of known truths, and what advances you have made in any part of knowledge.
Isaac Watts (The Improvement Of The Mind To Which Are Added A Discourse On The Education Of Children)
These memories of happiness are fleeting things, reflections in a stream, glimpsed all broken for a second and then swept away in the current of grief that is our life now. I can't say that I ever feel what it felt like then, when I was happy. But sometimes something will touch the place where that feeling was, a touch as slight and swift as the brush of a moth's wing in the dark.
Geraldine Brooks (Year of Wonders)
I cling to the Milan women's understanding of these literary heroines as mothers. I wish I had learned to read them in this way years ago--with the same complicated, ambivalent, essential freedom that a daughter feels when she looks at her mother, understanding her as a figure that she simultaneously resists and depends on; a figure that she uses, cruelly and lovingly and gratefully, as the base from which to become something more.
Jia Tolentino (Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion)
Failure was startling, really. So startling that I hardly noticed it at all.
Jane Smiley (A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money, and Luck)
Oft in the stilly night, Ere Slumber's chain has bound me, Fond memory brings the light Of other days around me; The smiles, the tears, Of boyhood years, The words of love then spoken; The eyes that shown Now dimmed and gone, The cheerful hearts now broken. (from When the Splendor Falls by Laurie McBain)
Laurie McBain (When the Splendor Falls)
Happiness is the choice I make today. It does not rest on my circumstances, but on my frame of mind. I surrender to God any emotional habits that lead me down the path of unhappiness, and pray for guidance in shifting my thoughts. In cultivating the habits of happiness, I attract the people and situations that match its frequency. I smile more often, give praise more often, give thanks more often, and am glad more often. For such is my choice today.
Marianne Williamson (A Year of Miracles: Daily Devotions and Reflections)
But merely accepting authoritarian truth, even if that truth has some virtue, does not bring skepticism to an end. To blindly accept a truth one has never reflected upon retards the advance of reason. Our world rots in deceit. . . . Just as a tree bears the same fruit year after year and at the same time fruit that is new each year, so must all permanently valuable ideas be continually created anew in thought. But our age pretends to make a sterile tree bear fruit by tying fruits of truth onto its branches.
Albert Schweitzer (Out of My Life and Thought (Schweitzer Library))
I atone in my heart for the mistakes I have made: the recklessness and irresponsibility, the laziness and dishonesty, the harm I have caused to myself or others. I pray for those who I may have hurt, and ask that they be healed of any pain I might have caused them. I vow to be a better person now, that I might rise where before I had fallen, and shine where I had dwelled in darkness.
Marianne Williamson (A Year of Miracles: Daily Devotions and Reflections)
My heart leaps in my chest when her feet slide. Moving sideways. Not closer, not farther. Now it's her turn to prowl. Even though she's only walking, it feels like a dance. I mirror her movements, stepping with her. She's more graceful than I am, a lithe thief born of many years and many twists of fate. ... The sparks reflect in her eyes. They shudder from brown to purple, giving her an unearthly look, like her gaze might run me through. Part of me wishes she would.
Victoria Aveyard (War Storm (Red Queen, #4))
When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tombs of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow; when I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago, I consider that great Day when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together
Joseph Addison
After long reflection in solitude and meditation, I suddenly had the idea, during the year 1923, that the discovery made by Einstein in 1905 should be generalised by extending it to all material particles and notably to electrons.
Louis de Broglie
For twenty years I strove to free myself from what I retained of my education; I indulged my curiosity by reading books less to learn than to efface from my memory the ideas that had been thrust upon it.
Georges Sorel (Reflections on Violence)
On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I'd seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand; I saw a woman in Inverness whom I shall never forget; I saw her tangled hair, her tall figure, I saw the cancer in her breast; I saw a ring of baked mud in a sidewalk, where before there had been a tree; I saw a summer house in Adrogué and a copy of the first English translation of Pliny -- Philemon Holland's -- and all at the same time saw each letter on each page (as a boy, I used to marvel that the letters in a closed book did not get scrambled and lost overnight); I saw a sunset in Querétaro that seemed to reflect the colour of a rose in Bengal; I saw my empty bedroom; I saw in a closet in Alkmaar a terrestrial globe between two mirrors that multiplied it endlessly; I saw horses with flowing manes on a shore of the Caspian Sea at dawn; I saw the delicate bone structure of a hand; I saw the survivors of a battle sending out picture postcards; I saw in a showcase in Mirzapur a pack of Spanish playing cards; I saw the slanting shadows of ferns on a greenhouse floor; I saw tigers, pistons, bison, tides, and armies; I saw all the ants on the planet; I saw a Persian astrolabe; I saw in the drawer of a writing table (and the handwriting made me tremble) unbelievable, obscene, detailed letters, which Beatriz had written to Carlos Argentino; I saw a monument I worshipped in the Chacarita cemetery; I saw the rotted dust and bones that had once deliciously been Beatriz Viterbo; I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon -- the unimaginable universe. I felt infinite wonder, infinite pity.
Jorge Luis Borges
Light the Christmas candles for your children! Let them sing carols! But don't delude yourselves, don't content yourselves year after year with the shabby, pathetic, sentimental feeling you have when you celebrate your holidays! Demand more of yourselves! Love and joy and the mysterious thing we call "happiness" are not over here or over there, they are only "within yourselves.
Hermann Hesse (If The War Goes On: Reflections On War And Politics)
Third-level, life-long relationships are generally few because “their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect.” That doesn’t mean, however, that we necessarily recognize our third-level assignments; in fact, generally we don’t. We may even feel hostility toward these particular people. Someone with whom we have a lifetime’s worth of lessons to learn is someone whose presence in our lives forces us to grow. Sometimes it represents someone with whom we participate lovingly all our lives, and sometimes it represents someone who we experience as a thorn in our side for years, or even forever. Just because someone has a lot to teach us, doesn’t mean we like them. People who have the most to teach us are often the ones who reflect back to us the limits to our own capacity to love, those who consciously or unconsciously challenge our fearful positions. They show us our walls. Our walls are our wounds—the places where we feel we can’t love any more, can’t connect any more deeply, can’t forgive past a certain point. We are in each other’s lives in order to help us see where we most need healing, and in order to help us heal.
Marianne Williamson (Return to Love)
A moment’s reflection will show you that you play many roles in the course of a day . . . and that who you are from moment to moment changes. There is the angry you, and the kind you, the lazy you, the lustful you—hundreds of different you’s. Gurdjieff points out that sometimes one “you” does something for which all the other “you’s” must pay for years or possibly the rest of this life.
Ram Dass (Be Here Now)
Rage and phrenzy will pull down more in half an hour, than prudence, deliberation, and foresight can build up in an hundred years.
Edmund Burke (Reflections on the Revolution in France)
What I did not know yet about hunger, but would find out over the next twenty-one years, was that brilliant theorists of economics do not find it worthwhile to spend time discussing issues of poverty and hunger. They believe that these will be resolved when general economic prosperity increases. These economists spend all their talents detailing the process of development and prosperity, but rarely reflect on the origin and development of poverty and hunger. A a result, poverty continues.
Muhammad Yunus (Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty)
But never in the four hundred years now since I was born, have I ever seen anything to make me doubt whether God exists in some form or the other. Not even the reflection in the mirror.
Stephenie Meyer (New Moon (Twilight, #2))
Instead of protesting and cursing others because they write "X-Mas" instead of "Christmas"; try being Christmas. Live Christmas. Breathe Christmas. Act Christmas. Speak Christmas. Reflect Christmas. Listen and feel Christmas Christ doesn't care how you write Christmas; he cares how you live Christmas all year long.
Sandra Chami Kassis
Many people experience the travesty of regret in their end days; the realization that nothing held them back, that nothing was in their way, that there is no one to blame, only themselves. Don't just sit by waiting for your life to happen, make it happen! Don’t just hope your dreams will come alive, breathe life into them! Don't let your fear help you birth a well-nourished regret, take action today! At the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of your life, live in such a manner that you can hold your head up high, smile, and be proud of a life well lived.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
Well she was bright; and she danced...And my function in life was to keep that bright thing in existence. And it was almost as difficult as trying to catch with your hand that dancing reflection. And the task lasted for years.
Ford Madox Ford (The Good Soldier)
Now is the time of fresh starts This is the season that makes everything new. There is a longstanding rumor that Spring is the time of renewal, but that's only if you ignore the depressing clutter and din of the season. All that flowering and budding and birthing--- the messy youthfulness of Spring actually verges on squalor. Spring is too busy, too full of itself, too much like a 20-year-old to be the best time for reflection, re-grouping, and starting fresh. For that you need December. You need to have lived through the mindless biological imperatives of your life (to bud, and flower, and show off) before you can see that a landscape of new fallen snow is THE REAL YOU. December has the clarity, the simplicity, and the silence you need for the best FRESH START of your life.
Vivian Swift (When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put)
Our memories are like a city: we tear some structures down, and we use rubble of the old to raise up new ones. Some memories are bright glass, blindingly beautiful when they catch the sun, but then there are the darker days, when they reflect only the crumbling walls of their derelict neighbours. Some memories are buried under years of patient construction; their echoing halls may never again be seen or walked down, but still they are the foundations for everything that stands above them. "Glas told me once that that's what people are, mostly: memories, the memories in their own heads, and the memories of them in other people's. And if memories are like a city, and we are our memories, then we are like cities too. I've always taken comfort in that.
Tom Pollock (The City's Son (The Skyscraper Throne, #1))
This is the man who thinks too much, who stands back from his life and never lives it. He is caught in a web of pros and cons about his decisions and lost in a labyrinth of reflective meanderings from which he cannot extricate himself. He is afraid to live, to ‘leap into battle.’ He can only sit on his rock and think. The years pass. He wonders where the time has gone. And he ends by regretting a life of sterility. He is a voyeur, an armchair adventurer. In the world of academia, he is a hairsplitter. In the fear of making the wrong decision, he makes none. In his fear of living, he also cannot participate in the joy and pleasure that other people experience in their lived lives. If he is withholding from others, and not sharing what he knows, he eventually feels isolated and lonely. To the extent that he has hurt others with his knowledge and technology—in whatever field and in whatever way—by cutting himself off from living relatedness with other human beings, he has cut off his own soul.” Refering the the dark magician energy.
Robert L. Moore (King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine)
God cannot do for us what He cannot do through us, and today I pray that He works through me. May I be used for a higher purpose, as I surrender to Him my hands and feet, my thoughts and behavior. May they reflect His love. May angels guide me, that I might do the part assigned me to help heal the world.
Marianne Williamson (A Year of Miracles: Daily Devotions and Reflections)
Definitions vary, but the most useful comes from the National Institute of Justice, which describes it as a “series of two or more murders, committed as separate events, usually . . . by one offender acting alone. The crimes may occur over a period of time, ranging from hours to years. Quite often, the motive is psychological, and the offender’s behavior and the physical evidence observed at the crime scenes will reflect sadistic, sexual overtones.
Harold Schechter (Fatal: The Poisonous Life of a Female Serial Killer)
I pray for guidance and strength today, to become the person I long to be and do the things I long to do. I honor the imprint of God upon my soul, and the yearning of my heart to follow the path He lays before me.
Marianne Williamson (A Year of Miracles: Daily Devotions and Reflections)
Where have the years gone, Ruby Rose? Sometimes I have to stop and think about how old I am. When I wake up in the morning, before I move this tired old body or look in the blasted mirror, I swear I'm still a young man. It just feels like yesterday. I don't know how it's gone so fast.
Lea Davey (Silkworm Secrets)
As I paddle along, I slowly become aware that it's been fear keeping me out of this pool for so many years. I never came here before because I was afraid I'd make a fool of myself by not having the endurance to complete a lap. The swimming wasn't what scared me; failure was. My fear locked me in a state of arrested development for so many years. Fear kept me from tackling my weight, which I understand has simply been symptomatic of my greater fear, growing up. I glide down the lane on my back and reflect on how good I feel right now. It's not because I've lost more than thirty pounds. I feel incredible because I've stopped being afraid.
Jen Lancaster (Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie Is Not the Answer)
The second suggestion is to think as well as to read. I know people who read and read, and for all the good it does them they might just as well cut bread-and-butter. They take to reading as better men take to drink. They fly through the shires of literature on a motor-car, their sole object being motion. They will tell you how many books they have read in a year. Unless you give at least 45 minutes to careful, fatiguing reflection (it is an awful bore at first) upon what you are reading, your 90 minutes of a night are chiefly wasted.
Arnold Bennett (How to Live on 24 Hours a Day)
One could know a thousand women, Gascoigne thought; one could take a different girl every night for years and years—but sooner or later, the new lovers would do little more than call to mind the old, and one would be forced to wander, lost, in that reflective maze of endless comparison, forever disappointed, forever turning back.
Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries)
Maybe we're just falling stars, we once danced in the same skyline looking down at the world. And we've fallen like all others, from near and far, we've gathered together, but separated by time and space, keeping a part of that light that we've came with and spreading it in this dark world that we've chosen to live in, in order to shine some light and love around. Maybe we've chosen to believe one truth today, and find it to be false tomorrow. Maybe we're trying to not get attached to the idea that we now know it all. At night, we see the truth of where we've fallen from, gazing in that night sky full of distant stars, constellations, planets, the reflection of the sun on the moon, all with their own stories to tell. Sometimes we wonder why would we leave such a mysterious place, with an infinite amount of stories and wonders. Maybe it's because as stars we could've only seen each other's light from afar, but here we can listen more carefully to each other's story, embrace each other and kiss, discover more and more of what can be seen when infinite star dust potential is put into one body and given freedom to walk the Earth and wander, love and enjoy every moment until coming back. Maybe in the morning, we'll only see one star shining up there and forget the others. Maybe that is also how life and death is, and the beauty of the sunrise and sunset that come in between, our childhood years and old years, when we reflect on the stars that we once were and that we will once again be. Maybe, just maybe.
Virgil Kalyana Mittata Iordache
What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose-knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful, that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced, as such deposits so mysteriously do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art. The main requisite, I think, on reading my old volumes, is not to play the part of a censor, but to write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard, and found the significance to lie where I never saw it at the time.
Virginia Woolf
I was worried about sex," he went on. "But you know what, Sulie? It's like being told I can't have any caviar for the next couple years. I don't even like caviar. And when you come right down to it, I don't want sex right now. I supposed you punched that into the computer? 'Cut down sex drive, increase euphoria'? Anyway, it finally penetrated my little brain that I was just making trouble for myself, worrying about whether I could get along without something I really didn't want. It's a reflection of what I think other people think I should want.
Frederik Pohl (Man Plus (Man Plus #1))
Great beauty and youth capture our attention, excite a deep pleasure; however, why shouldn't our souls gaze at a countenance over which the years have passed? Isn't there a story there, one unknown, full of pain or beauty, which pours its reflection into the features, a story we can read with some compassion or at least get a slight hint of its meaning? The young point toward the future; the old tell of a past.
Adalbert Stifter (Indian Summer)
It was my teacher's genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me. She realized that a child's mind is like a shallow brook which ripples and dances merrily over the stony course of its education and reflects here a flower, there a bush, yonder a fleecy cloud; and she attempted to guide my mind on its way, knowing that like a brook it should be fed by mountain streams and hidden springs, until it broadened out into a deep river, capable of reflecting in its placid surface, billowy hills, the luminous shadows of trees and the blue heavens, as well as the sweet face of a little flower. Any teacher can take a child to the classroom, but not every teacher can make him learn. He will not work joyously unless he feels that liberty is his, whether he is busy or at rest; he must feel the flush of victory and the heart-sinking of disappointment before he takes with a will the tasks distasteful to him and resolves to dance his way bravely through a dull routine of textbooks. My teacher is so near to me that I scarcely think of myself apart from her. How much of my delight in all beautiful things is innate, and how much is due to her influence, I can never tell. I feel that her being is inseparable from my own, and that the footsteps of my life are in hers. All the best of me belongs to her--there is not a talent, or an aspiration or a joy in me that has not been awakened by her loving touch.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life: With Her Letters (1887 1901) and a Supplementary Account of Her Education Including Passages from the Reports and Letters of Her Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan by John Albert Macy)
Those huge stars have lasted for millions of years by taking care never to absorb any of the fiery rays lovers all over the world send up at them night after night. To avoid that, the star generates so much heat inside itself that it shatters the rays into a thousand pieces. Any look it receives is immediately repulsed, reflected back onto the earth, like a trick done with mirrors. That is the reason the stars shine so brightly at night.
Laura Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate)
MOTHER TIME: Life goes by so very fast, my dears, and taking the time to reflect, even once a year, slows things down. We zoom past so many seconds, minutes, hours, killing them with the frantic way we live that it's important we take at least this one collective sigh and stop, take stock, and acknowledge our place in time before diving back into the melee. Midnight on New Year's Eve is a unique kind of magic where, just for a moment, the past and the future exist at once in the present. Whether we're aware of it or not, as we countdown together to it, we're sharing the burden of our history and committing to the promise of tomorrow.
Hillary DePiano (New Year's Thieve)
Hold childhood in reverence, and do not be in any hurry to judge it for good or ill. Leave exceptional cases to show themselves, let their qualities be tested and confirmed, before special methods are adopted. Give nature time to work before you take over her business, lest you interfere with her dealings. You assert that you know the value of time and are afraid to waste it. You fail to perceive that it is a greater waste of time to use it ill than to do nothing, and that a child ill taught is further from virtue than a child who has learnt nothing at all. You are afraid to see him spending his early years doing nothing. What! is it nothing to be happy, nothing to run and jump all day? He will never be so busy again all his life long. Plato, in his Republic, which is considered so stern, teaches the children only through festivals, games, songs, and amusements. It seems as if he had accomplished his purpose when he had taught them to be happy; and Seneca, speaking of the Roman lads in olden days, says, "They were always on their feet, they were never taught anything which kept them sitting." Were they any the worse for it in manhood? Do not be afraid, therefore, of this so-called idleness. What would you think of a man who refused to sleep lest he should waste part of his life? You would say, "He is mad; he is not enjoying his life, he is robbing himself of part of it; to avoid sleep he is hastening his death." Remember that these two cases are alike, and that childhood is the sleep of reason. The apparent ease with which children learn is their ruin. You fail to see that this very facility proves that they are not learning. Their shining, polished brain reflects, as in a mirror, the things you show them, but nothing sinks in. The child remembers the words and the ideas are reflected back; his hearers understand them, but to him they are meaningless. Although memory and reason are wholly different faculties, the one does not really develop apart from the other. Before the age of reason the child receives images, not ideas; and there is this difference between them: images are merely the pictures of external objects, while ideas are notions about those objects determined by their relations.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Emile, or On Education)
Make no mistake, hiding one's true self away in a closet and creating a facade of heterosexuality is not without its consequences. It may appear to have a degree of safety but from my experience they are very unhealthy places and do all kinds of terrible things to individuals psychologically, emotionally and behaviourally.....to say nothing of projection. The damage of the fear, shame, guilt and self-loathing that exist inside a closet are often reflected unknowingly in the external life of the individual. In or out of the closet; there is a price to pay. Each individual must weigh up the consequences of honesty, openness, secrecy and deception for themselves. Coming out, for most of us, is like an exorcism that releases us of the darkness we have lived in for years and caused us to believe awful things about ourselves. On the other side of the looking glass are freedom, light and life.
Anthony Venn-Brown OAM (A Life of Unlearning - a journey to find the truth)
As I sit, my back leaning against a damp, moss-covered tree trunk, my eyes sweeping the canopy above, my ears straining to catch the crack of a distant branch that betrays an orangutan moving in the treetops, I think about how we humans search for God. The tropical rain forest is the most complex thing an ordinary human can experience on this planet. A walk in the rain forest is a walk into the mind of God.
Biruté M.F. Galdikas (Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo)
Beauty is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight,or springtime, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully. When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you...Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed...Ah! realise your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar...Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing...The world belongs to you for a season...how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last. The common hillflowers wither, but they blossom again. The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now. In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty, becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to...Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
At this moment, in this place, the shifting action potential in my neurons cascade into certain arrangements, patterns, thoughts; they flow down my spine, branch into my arms, my fingers, until muscles twitch and thought is translated into motion; mechanical levers are pressed; electrons are rearranged; marks are made on paper. At another time, in another place, light strikes the marks, reflects into a pair of high-precision optical instruments sculpted by nature after billions of years of random mutations; upside-down images are formed against two screens made up of millions of light-sensitive cells, which translate light into electrical pulses that go up the optic nerves, cross the chiasm, down the optic tracts, and into the visual cortex, where the pulses are reassembled into letters, punctuation marks, words, sentences, vehicles, tenors, thoughts. The entire system seems fragile, preposterous, science fictional.
Ken Liu (The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories)
Ten times a day I am compelled to reflect on my past life ... and I can never justify to myself the spending of four years on dramatic criticism. I have sworn an oath to endure no more of it. Never again will I cross the threshold of a theatre. The subject is exhausted; and so am I. I am off duty forever, and am going to sleep.
George Bernard Shaw (Dramatic Opinions and Essays, volume 2)
The figure in the icon is not meant to represent literally what Peter or John or any of the apostles looked like, or what Mary looked like, nor the child, Jesus. But, the orthodox painter feels, Jesus of Nazareth did not walk around Galilee faceless. The icon of Jesus may not look like the man Jesus two thousand years ago, but it represents some *quality* of Jesus, or his mother, or his followers, and so becomes an open window through which we can be given a new glimpse of the love of God.
Madeleine L'Engle (Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art)
I am alone. I am here. No one is watching me. In these hours of silence that I cherish, I talk to myself and reflect. That past, entrenched in time, motionless and infinite, has vanished onto thin air. None of it remains. Why, therefore, am I hurting so much? Why did I bring back with me this nameless pain? I followed the path I set for myself, and I have forgiven. I do not want to be chained to hatred or resentment. I want to have the right to live in peace.
Ingrid Betancourt (Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle)
Real love isn't ambivalent. I'd swear that's a line from my favorite best-selling paperback novel, "In Love with the Night Mysterious", except I don't think you've ever read it. Well, you ought to, instead of spending the rest of your life, trying to get through "Democracy in America." It's about this white woman whose daddy owns a plantation in the Deep South, in the years before the Civil War. And her name is Margaret, and she's in love with her daddy's number-one slave, and his name is Thaddeus. And she's married, but her white slave-owner husband has AIDS: Antebellum Insufficiently-Developed Sex-organs. And so, there's a lot of hot stuff going down, when Margaret and Thaddeus can catch a spare torrid ten under the cotton-picking moon. And then of course the Yankees come, and they set the slaves free. And the slaves string up old daddy and so on, historical fiction. Somewhere in there I recall, Margaret and Thaddeus find the time to discuss the nature of love. Her face is reflecting the flames of the burning plantation, you know the way white people do, and his black face is dark in the night and she says to him, "Thaddeus, real love isn't ever ambivalent.
Tony Kushner (Millennium Approaches (Angels in America #1))
The only path I am asked to monitor is my own. I resist all temptation today to judge how I think others should behave. I cannot know the deeper forces at work within anyone’s heart. My deliverance comes from accepting all people, not judging or controlling them. I pray that when I am tempted to speak or act without charity, that God’s spirit will correct my thoughts. I pray to be an instrument of love by which people are reminded of their innocence, not an instrument of blame that reminds them of their guilt. I do this for my own sake, that I too might be released from feelings of guilt that would otherwise bind me. It is not my job to monitor anyone’s journey, to know what’s right or wrong for others, or to try to control their behavior. My salvation lies in deep acceptance of people exactly as they are, that I might know the inner peace that such acceptance brings. Amen.
Marianne Williamson (A Year of Miracles: Daily Devotions and Reflections)
When Sterling’s eyesight did finally fail him completely, we were up in years, content to sit in our garden and reflect on what a wondrous and exciting life we’d led. He did not see my hair fade into silver. For him it was always a vibrant red. I watched him age gracefully and with dignity. He leaned on me much more than he did his walking stick, which was how it should be, because when I needed him most, he was always there for me. Each day I thought I could love him no more than I already did—and the following morning I was always proven wrong, for I awoke loving him just a little bit more.
Lorraine Heath (Surrender to the Devil (Scoundrels of St. James, #3))
But even the longest dedication is too short and too commonplace to honor a friendship so uncommon. When I try to define this asset which has been mine now for years, I tell myself that such a privilege, however rare it may be, is surely not unique; that in the whole adventure of bringing a book successfully to its conclusion, or even in the entire life of some fortunate writers, there must have been sometimes, in the background, perhaps, someone who will not let pass the weak or inaccurate sentence which we ourselves would retain, out of fatigue; someone who would re-read with us for the twentieth time, if need be, a questionable page; someone who takes down for us from the library shelves the heavy tomes in which we may find a helpful suggestion, and who persists in continuing to peruse them long after weariness has made us give up; someone who bolsters our courage and approves, or sometimes disputes, our ideas; who shares with us, and with equal fervor, the joys of art and of living, the endless work which both require, never easy but never dull; someone who is neither our shadow nor our reflection, nor even our complement, but simply himself; someone who leaves us ideally free, but who nevertheless obliges us to be fully what we are. Hospes Comesque.
Marguerite Yourcenar (Memoirs of Hadrian)
He’s met someone,” she said during one of our Skype calls in my second year of medical school. “Another demon?” “I think he really likes her.” “Watch out for a lobotomy scar, or the mark of the devil. It might be tucked beneath her hair.” “They’re coming home at Christmas so he can introduce her to our parents.” “Hold a mirror up to her and see if she has a reflection.” A
R.S. Grey (Anything You Can Do)
Anger is an assertion of rights and worth. It is communication, equality, and knowledge. It is intimacy, acceptance, fearlessness, embodiment, revolt, and reconciliation. Anger is memory and rage. It is rational thought and irrational pain. Anger is freedom, independence, expansiveness, and entitlement. It is justice, passion, clarity, and motivation. Anger is instrumental, thoughtful, complicated, and resolved. In anger, whether you like it or not, there is truth. Anger is the demand of accountability, It is evaluation, judgment, and refutation. It is reflective, visionary, and participatory. It's a speech act, a social statement, an intention, and a purpose. It's a risk and a threat. A confirmation and a wish. It is both powerlessness and power, palliative and a provocation. In anger, you will find both ferocity and comfort, vulnerability and hurt. Anger is the expression of hope. How much anger is too much? Certainly not the anger that, for many of us, is a remembering of a self we learned to hide and quiet. It is willful and disobedient. It is survival, liberation, creativity, urgency, and vibrancy. It is a statement of need. An insistence of acknowledgment. Anger is a boundary. Anger is boundless. An opportunity for contemplation and self-awareness. It is commitment. Empathy. Self-love. Social responsibility. If it is poison, it is also the antidote. The anger we have as women is an act of radical imagination. Angry women burn brighter than the sun. In the coming years, we will hear, again, that anger is a destructive force, to be controlled. Watch carefully, because not everyone is asked to do this in equal measure. Women, especially, will be told to set our anger aside in favor of a kinder, gentler approach to change. This is a false juxtaposition. Reenvisioned, anger can be the most feminine of virtues: compassionate, fierce, wise, and powerful. The women I admire most—those who have looked to themselves and the limitations and adversities that come with our bodies and the expectations that come with them—have all found ways to transform their anger into meaningful change. In them, anger has moved from debilitation to liberation. Your anger is a gift you give to yourself and the world that is yours. In anger, I have lived more fully, freely, intensely, sensitively, and politically. If ever there was a time not to silence yourself, to channel your anger into healthy places and choices, this is it.
Soraya Chemaly (Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger)
As you got older, you realized that the qualities you valued in the people you slept with or dated weren’t necessarily the ones you wanted to live with, or be with, or plod through your days with. If you were smart, and if you were lucky, you learned this and accepted this. You figured out what was most important to you and you looked for it, and you learned to be realistic. They all chose differently: Roman had chosen beauty, sweetness, pliability; Malcolm, he thought, had chosen reliability, and competence (Sophie was intimidatingly efficient), and aesthetic compatibility. And he? He had chosen friendship. Conversation. Kindness. Intelligence. When he was in his thirties, he had looked at certain people’s relationships and asked the question that had (and continued to) fuel countless dinner-party conversations: What’s going on there? Now, though, as an almost-forty-eight-year-old, he saw people’s relationships as reflections of their keenest yet most inarticulable desires, their hopes and insecurities taking shape physically, in the form of another person. Now
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
Two years of oblivion have reduced me, if not to emptiness, than to something that sits closely beside it. It laid waste all that I was inside, and severed what connection existed between my memory and personality through two years of “living” like a shell, on the boundary of emptiness. And though there was precious little drama here compared to actual societal rejection, it drives me to worry all the same. All my memories are just reflections on the water, and I don’t know whether I’m the reflection or the real thing.
Kinoko Nasu (空の境界 上 (Kara no Kyoukai, #1))
No, you don't feel it now. Some day, when you are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead with its lines, and passion branded your lips with itshideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly.Now, wherever you go, you charm the world. Will it always be so? . . . You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Gray. Don't frown. You have. And beauty is a form of genius-- is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.You smile? Ah! when you have lost it you won't smile. . . . People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial.That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders.It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. . . . Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you.But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully.When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats.Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly.... Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days,listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure,or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals,of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing. . . . A new Hedonism-- that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol.With your personality there is nothing you could not do.The world belongs to you for a season. . . . The moment I met you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are, of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself.I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last--such a little time.The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again.The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now.In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth!
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly, Asleep on the black trunk, Blowing like a leaf in green shadow. Down the ravine behind the empty house, The cowbells follow one another Into the distances of the afternoon. To my right, In a field of sunlight between two pines, The droppings of last year’s horses Blaze up into golden stones. I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on. A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home. I have wasted my life.
James Wright (Above the River: The Complete Poems)
Keys parachuted down into one of the exact seats he purchased that he and his father sat in as season ticket holders in the Old Barn on Grand River Avenue. Keys slipped his arm around the empty chair dressed with his father’s withering Tiger’s baseball cap, secured to the seat with a quarter inch drywall screw. Keys reflected upon his father, who chauffeured Keys and other players, every weekend, to a hockey tournament somewhere, “You know pop…every kid you gave a ride too game or practice, came to your funeral. When this hat falls away, no more screws, pop. I’m gonna branch out…make new friends. Soon as these gypsy moths get a hold of your precious, Old English “D”, here--turn your glory years, Kaline and Mclain into tree threads.
Kevin Moccia (The Beagle and the Hare)
There are times the lies get to me, times I weary of battering myself against the obstacles of denial, hatred, fear-induced stupidity, and greed, times I want to curl up and fall into the problem, let it sweep me away as it so obviously sweeps away so many others. I remember a spring day a few years ago, a spring day much like this one, only a little more sun, and warmer. I sat on this same couch and looked out this same window at the same ponderosa pine. I was frightened, and lonely. Frightened of a future that looks dark, and darker with each passing species, and lonely because for every person actively trying to shut down the timber industry, stop abuse, or otherwise bring about a sustainable and sane way of living, there are thousands who are helping along this not-so-slow train to oblivion. I began to cry. The tears stopped soon enough. I realized we are not so outnumbered. We are not outnumbered at all. I looked closely, and saw one blade of wild grass, and another. I saw the sun reflecting bright off the needles of pine trees, and I heard the hum of flies. I saw ants walking single file through the dust, and a spider crawling toward the corner of the ceiling. I knew in that moment, as I've known ever since, that it is no longer possible to be lonely, that every creature on earth is pulling in the direction of life--every grasshopper, every struggling salmon, every unhatched chick, every cell of every blue whale--and it is only our own fear that sets us apart. All humans, too, are struggling to be sane, struggling to live in harmony with our surroundings, but it's really hard to let go. And so we lie, destroy, rape, murder, experiment, and extirpate, all to control this wildly uncontrollable symphony, and failing that, to destroy it.
Derrick Jensen
Even a moment's reflection will help you see that the problem of using your time well is not a problem of the mind but of the heart. It will only yield to a change in the very way we feel about time. The value of time must change for us. And then the way we think about it will change, naturally and wisely. That change in feeling and in thinking is combined in the words of a prophet of God in this dispensation. It was Brigham Young, and the year was 1877, and he was speaking at April general conference. He wasn't talking about time or schedules or frustrations with too many demands upon us. Rather, he was trying to teach the members of the Church how to unite themselves in what was called the united order. The Saints were grappling with the question of how property should be distributed if they were to live the celestial law. In his usual direct style, he taught the people that they were having trouble finding solutions because they misunderstood the problem. Particularly, he told them they didn't understand either property or the distribution of wealth. Here is what he said: With regard to our property, as I have told you many times, the property which we inherit from our Heavenly Father is our time, and the power to choose in the disposition of the same. This is the real capital that is bequeathed unto us by our Heavenly Father; all the rest is what he may be pleased to add unto us. To direct, to counsel and to advise in the disposition of our time, pertains to our calling as God's servants, according to the wisdom which he has given and will continue to give unto us as we seek it. [JD 18:354] Time is the property we inherit from God, along with the power to choose what we will do with it. President Young calls the gift of life, which is time and the power to dispose of it, so great an inheritance that we should feel it is our capital. The early Yankee families in America taught their children and grandchildren some rules about an inheritance. They were always to invest the capital they inherited and live only on part of the earnings. One rule was "Never spend your capital." And those families had confidence the rule would be followed because of an attitude of responsibility toward those who would follow in later generations. It didn't always work, but the hope was that inherited wealth would be felt a trust so important that no descendent would put pleasure ahead of obligation to those who would follow. Now, I can see and hear Brigham Young, who was as flinty a New Englander as the Adams or the Cabots ever hoped to be, as if he were leaning over this pulpit tonight. He would say something like this, with a directness and power I wish I could approach: "Your inheritance is time. It is capital far more precious than any lands or stocks or houses you will ever get. Spend it foolishly, and you will bankrupt yourself and cheapen the inheritance of those that follow you. Invest it wisely, and you will bless generations to come. “A Child of Promise”, BYU Speeches, 4 May 1986
Henry B. Eyring
It's ridiculous. Here I sit in my little room, I, Brigge, who have got to be twenty-eight years old and about whom no one knows. I sit here and am nothing. And yet this nothing begins to think and thinks, up five flights of stairs, these thoughts on a gray Paris afternoon: Is it possible, this nothing thinks, that one has not yet seen, recognized, and said anything real and important? Is it possible that one has had thousands of years of time to look, reflect, and write down, and that one has let the millennia pass away like a school recess in which one eats one's sandwich and an apple? Yes, it is possible. ...Is it possible that in spite of inventions and progress, in spite of culture, religion, and worldly wisdom, that one has remained on the surface of life? Is it possible that one has even covered this surface, which would at least have been something, with an incredibly dull slipcover, so that it looks like living-room furniture during the summer vacation? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that the whole history of the world has been misunderstood? Is it possible that the past is false because one has always spoken of its masses, as if one was telling about a coming together of many people, instead of telling about the one person they were standing around, because he was alien and died? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that one believed one has to make up for everything that happened before one was born? Is it possible one would have to remind every single person that he arose from all earlier people so that he would know it, and not let himself be talked out of it by the others, who see it differently? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that all these people know very precisely a past that never was? Is it possible that everything real is nothing to them; that their life takes its course, connected to nothing, like a clock in an empty room? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that one knows nothing about girls, who are nevertheless alive? Is it possible that one says "the women", "the children", "the boys", and doesn't suspect (in spite of all one's education doesn't suspect) that for the longest time these words have no longer had a plural, but only innumerable singulars? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that there are people who say "God" and think it is something they have in common? Just look at two schoolboys: one buys himself a knife, and the same day his neighbor buys one just like it. And after a week they show each other their knives and it turns out that they bear only the remotest resemblance to each other-so differently have they developed in different hands (Well, the mother of one of them says, if you boys always have to wear everything out right away). Ah, so: is it possible to believe that one could have a God without using him? Yes, it is possible. But, if all this is possible, has even an appearance of possibility-then for heaven's sake something has to happen. The first person who comes along, the one who has had this disquieting thought, must begin to accomplish some of what has been missed; even if he is just anyone, not the most suitable person: there is simply no one else there. This young, irrelevant foreigner, Brigge, will have to sit himself down five flights up and write, day and night, he will just have to write, and that will be that.
Rainer Maria Rilke (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge)
Of the seminal moments in my life, Careers Day in the autumn of Year 5 is my favorite. Everyone had to dress as whatever they wanted to be once they grew up. I had gone in a tweed jacket and a bow tie, and when Miss Weston asked me what I wanted to be, I told her that I wanted to be the Doctor. 'Shouldn't you be wearing a lab coat and stethoscope like Paul?' She pointed to Paul Black, who was trying to strangle everyone with the stethoscope in question. Before I could answer, a boy I didn't know from the other class spoke up. 'Paul's *a* doctor,' he explained, giving me a look of approval. 'He wants to be *the* Doctor.' 'Who?' 'Exactly,' we said at the same time, relieved that she understood. She didn't. We were sent to the quiet table to reflect on why cheeking teachers was wrong.
Non Pratt (Trouble)
Archaeologists do something impressive, reflecting disciplinary humility. When archaeologists excavate a site, they recognize that future archaeologists will be horrified at their primitive techniques, at the destructiveness of their excavating. Thus they often leave most of a site untouched to await their more skillful disciplinary descendants. For example, astonishingly, more than forty years after excavations began, less than 1 percent of the famed Qin dynasty terra-cotta army in China has been uncovered.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
He did not see that the continuity of an oligarchy need not be physical, nor did he pause to reflect that hereditary aristocracies have always been shortlived, whereas adoptive organizations such as the Catholic Church have sometimes lasted for hundreds or thousands of years. The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon the living. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors.
George Orwell (1984)
It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in,—glittering like the morning-star, full of life, and splendor, and joy. Oh! what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream that, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honour and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.—But the age of chivalry is gone.—That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil by losing all its grossness.
Edmund Burke (Reflections on the Revolution in France)
Daemon pulled the bright, deep-red sweater over his head and adjusted the collar of the gold-and-white-checked shirt. Satisfied, he studied his reflection. His eyes were butter melted by humor and good spirits, his face subtly altered by the relaxed, boyish grin. The change in his appearance startled him, but after a moment he just shook his head and brushed his hair. The difference was Jaenelle and the incalculable ways she worried, intrigued, fascinated, incensed, and delighted him. More than that, now, when he was so long past it, she was giving him—the bored, jaded Sadist—a childhood. She colored the days with magic and wonder, and all the things he’d ceased to pay attention to he saw again new. He grinned at his reflection. He felt like a twelve-year-old. No, not twelve. He was at least a sophisticated fourteen. Still young enough to play with a girl as a friend, yet old enough to contemplate the day he might sneak his first kiss. Daemon shrugged into his coat, went into the kitchen, pinched a couple of apples from the basket, sent Cook a broad wink, and gave himself up to a morning with Jaenelle.
Anne Bishop (Daughter of the Blood (The Black Jewels, #1))
She considered me as if grasping all at once the incredible -- and somehow tedious, confusing and unnecessary -- fact that the distant, elegant, slender, forty-year-old valetudinarian in velvet coat sitting beside her had known and adored every pore and follicle of her pubescent body. In her washed-out gray eyes, strangely spectacled, our poor romance was for a moment reflected, pondered upon, and dismissed like a dull party, like a rainy picnic to which only the dullest bores had come, like a humdrum exercise, like a bit of dry mud caking her childhood.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
Before the Law stands a doorkeeper on guard. To this doorkeeper there comes a man from the country who begs for admittance to the Law. But the doorkeeper says that he cannot admit the man at the moment. The man, on reflection, asks if he will be allowed, then, to enter later. 'It is possible,' answers the doorkeeper, 'but not at this moment.' Since the door leading into the Law stands open as usual and the doorkeeper steps to one side, the man bends down to peer through the entrance. When the doorkeeper sees that, he laughs and says: 'If you are so strongly tempted, try to get in without my permission. But note that I am powerful. And I am only the lowest doorkeeper. From hall to hall keepers stand at every door, one more powerful than the other. Even the third of these has an aspect that even I cannot bear to look at.' These are difficulties which the man from the country has not expected to meet, the Law, he thinks, should be accessible to every man and at all times, but when he looks more closely at the doorkeeper in his furred robe, with his huge pointed nose and long, thin, Tartar beard, he decides that he had better wait until he gets permission to enter. The doorkeeper gives him a stool and lets him sit down at the side of the door. There he sits waiting for days and years. He makes many attempts to be allowed in and wearies the doorkeeper with his importunity. The doorkeeper often engages him in brief conversation, asking him about his home and about other matters, but the questions are put quite impersonally, as great men put questions, and always conclude with the statement that the man cannot be allowed to enter yet. The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, parts with all he has, however valuable, in the hope of bribing the doorkeeper. The doorkeeper accepts it all, saying, however, as he takes each gift: 'I take this only to keep you from feeling that you have left something undone.' During all these long years the man watches the doorkeeper almost incessantly. He forgets about the other doorkeepers, and this one seems to him the only barrier between himself and the Law. In the first years he curses his evil fate aloud; later, as he grows old, he only mutters to himself. He grows childish, and since in his prolonged watch he has learned to know even the fleas in the doorkeeper's fur collar, he begs the very fleas to help him and to persuade the doorkeeper to change his mind. Finally his eyes grow dim and he does not know whether the world is really darkening around him or whether his eyes are only deceiving him. But in the darkness he can now perceive a radiance that streams immortally from the door of the Law. Now his life is drawing to a close. Before he dies, all that he has experienced during the whole time of his sojourn condenses in his mind into one question, which he has never yet put to the doorkeeper. He beckons the doorkeeper, since he can no longer raise his stiffening body. The doorkeeper has to bend far down to hear him, for the difference in size between them has increased very much to the man's disadvantage. 'What do you want to know now?' asks the doorkeeper, 'you are insatiable.' 'Everyone strives to attain the Law,' answers the man, 'how does it come about, then, that in all these years no one has come seeking admittance but me?' The doorkeeper perceives that the man is at the end of his strength and that his hearing is failing, so he bellows in his ear: 'No one but you could gain admittance through this door, since this door was intended only for you. I am now going to shut it.
Franz Kafka (The Trial)
In the morning After taking cold shower —-what a mistake—- I look at the mirror. There, a funny guy, Grey hair, white beard, wrinkled skin, —-what a pity—- Poor, dirty, old man, He is not me, absolutely not. Land and life Fishing in the ocean Sleeping in the desert with stars Building a shelter in the mountains Farming the ancient way Singing with coyotes Singing against nuclear war— I’ll never be tired of life. Now I’m seventeen years old, Very charming young man. I sit quietly in lotus position, Meditating, meditating for nothing. Suddenly a voice comes to me: “To stay young, To save the world, Break the mirror.
Nanao Sakaki (Break the Mirror)
...the incarnation is the complete refutation of every human system and institution that claims to control, possess, and distribute God. Whatever any church or religious leader may claim in regard to their particular access to God or control over your experience of God, the incarnation is the last word: God loves the world. God came into the world in the form of the people he created, the human race (including you and me), who bear his image. God's creation of humanity in his image gives hints of who he is, since we all are marked by his fingerprints. But as flawed humans, we give only a vague hint of God. Our broken reflection of God's image is easily drowned out by our broken humanity. then, two thousand years ago, God came in his fullness. He came to all of us in Jesus. The incarnation is not owned, trademarked, or controlled by any church. It belongs to every human being. The incarnation is not something that requires a distributor or middleman. It is a gracious gift to every person everywhere, religious or not. God gave himself to us in Jesus.
Michael Spencer (Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality)
My dad died, I write. almost a year ago. Car accident. My hand is shaking; my eyes sting and fill. I add Not his fault before pushing the notebook and pen back across the table, wiping a hand across my cheeks. As he reads, my impulse is to reach out, grab the notebook, run outside, dump it in the trash, bury it in the snow, throw it under the wheels of a passing car - something, something, so I can go back fifteen seconds when this part ofme was still shut away and private. Then I look at Ravi's face again, and the normally white white whites of his eyes are pink. This causes major disruption to my ability to control the flow of my own tears. I see myself when I look at him right now: he's reflecting my sadness, my broken heart, back to me. He takes the pe, writes, and slides it over. You'd think it's something epic from the way it levels my heart. It isn't. I'm really sorry, Jill. Four little words.
Sara Zarr (How to Save a Life)
But for a long time, and probably far too long, I had a secret wish: the adolescently romantic idea that there was someone out there for me; someone I hadn't met yet who would ask me on a date and make sense of my life. I harbored the hope, I'm now embarrassed to admit, that like a girl in a Lifetime movie, I would look into someone's eyes and find a reflection of my inner life. But sometime between my teenage years and the first years in New York, that idea had pretty well evaporated. I'd grown up.
Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances)
A further reason for my hatred of . . . ideologies is quite a primitive one. I have an aversion to killing people for the fun of it. What the fun is, I did not quite understand at the time, but in the intervening years the ample exploration of revolutionary consciousness has cast some light on this matter. The fun consists in gaining a pseudo-identity through asserting one's power, optimally by killing somebody—a pseudo-identity that serves as a substitute for the human self that has been lost. . . . A good example of the type of self that has to kill other people in order to regain in an Ersatzform what it has lost is the famous Saint-Juste, who says that Brutus either has to kill other people or kill himself. . . . . I have no sympathy whatsoever with such characters and have never hesitated to characterize them as "murderous swine.
Eric Voegelin (Autobiographical Reflections (CW34): Revised Edition, with a Voegelin Glossary and Cumulative Index)
Dear Daniel, How do you break up with your boyfriend in a way that tells him, "I don't want to sleep with you on a regular basis anymore, but please be available for late night booty calls if I run out of other options"? Lily Charlotte, NC Dear Lily, The story's so old you can't tell it anymore without everyone groaning, even your oldest friends with the last of their drinks shivering around the ice in their dirty glasses. The music playing is the same album everyone has. Those shoes, everybody has the same shoes on. It looked a little like rain so on person brought an umbrella, useless now in the starstruck clouded sky, forgotten on the way home, which is how the umbrella ended up in her place anyway. Everyone gets older on nights like this. And still it's a fresh slap in the face of everything you had going, that precarious shelf in the shallow closet that will certainly, certainly fall someday. Photographs slipping into a crack to be found by the next tenant, that one squinter third from the left laughing at something your roommate said, the coaster from that place in the city you used to live in, gone now. A letter that seemed important for reasons you can't remember, throw it out, the entry in the address book you won't erase but won't keep when you get a new phone, let it pass and don't worry about it. You don't think about them; "I haven't thought about them in forever," you would say if anybody brought it up, and nobody does." You think about them all the time. Close the book but forget to turn off the light, just sit staring in bed until you blink and you're out of it, some noise on the other side of the wall reminding you you're still here. That's it, that's everything. There's no statue in the town square with an inscription with words to live by. The actor got slapped this morning by someone she loved, slapped right across the face, but there's no trace of it on any channel no matter how late you watch. How many people--really, count them up--know where you are? How many will look after you when you don't show up? The churches and train stations are creaky and the street signs, the menus, the writing on the wall, it all feels like the wrong language. Nobody, nobody knows what you're thinking of when you lean your head against the wall. Put a sweater on when you get cold. Remind yourself, this is the night, because it is. You're free to sing what you want as you walk there, the trees rustling spookily and certainly and quietly and inimitably. Whatever shoes you want, fuck it, you're comfortable. Don't trust anyone's directions. Write what you might forget on the back of your hand, and slam down the cheap stuff and never mind the bad music from the window three floors up or what the boys shouted from the car nine years ago that keeps rattling around in your head, because you're here, you are, for the warmth of someone's wrists where the sleeve stops and the glove doesn't quite begin, and the slant of the voice on the punch line of the joke and the reflection of the moon in the water on the street as you stand still for a moment and gather your courage and take a breath before stealing away through the door. Look at it there. Take a good look. It looks like rain. Love, Daniel Handler
Daniel Handler
Relationship is ugly, relating is beautiful. In relationship both persons become blind to each other. Just think, how long has it been since you saw your wife eye to eye? How long has it been since you looked at your husband? Maybe years. Who looks at one’s own wife? You have already taken it for granted that you know her; what more is there to look at? You are more interested in strangers than in the people you know—you know the whole topography of their bodies, you know how they respond, you know everything that has happened is going to happen again and again. It is a repetitive circle. It is not so, it is not really so. Nothing ever repeats; everything is new every day. Just your eyes become old, your assumptions become old, your mirror gathers dust and you become incapable of reflecting the other. Hence
Osho (Love, Freedom, Aloneness: The Koan of Relationships)
Dear friend…' The Witcher swore quietly, looking at the sharp, angular, even runes drawn with energetic sweeps of the pen, faultlessly reflecting the author’s mood. He felt once again the desire to try to bite his own backside in fury. When he was writing to the sorceress a month ago he had spent two nights in a row contemplating how best to begin. Finally, he had decided on “Dear friend.” Now he had his just deserts. 'Dear friend, your unexpected letter – which I received not quite three years after we last saw each other – has given me much joy. My joy is all the greater as various rumours have been circulating about your sudden and violent death. It is a good thing that you have decided to disclaim them by writing to me; it is a good thing, too, that you are doing so so soon. From your letter it appears that you have lived a peaceful, wonderfully boring life, devoid of all sensation. These days such a life is a real privilege, dear friend, and I am happy that you have managed to achieve it. I was touched by the sudden concern which you deigned to show as to my health, dear friend. I hasten with the news that, yes, I now feel well; the period of indisposition is behind me, I have dealt with the difficulties, the description of which I shall not bore you with. It worries and troubles me very much that the unexpected present you received from Fate brings you worries. Your supposition that this requires professional help is absolutely correct. Although your description of the difficulty – quite understandably – is enigmatic, I am sure I know the Source of the problem. And I agree with your opinion that the help of yet another magician is absolutely necessary. I feel honoured to be the second to whom you turn. What have I done to deserve to be so high on your list? Rest assured, my dear friend; and if you had the intention of supplicating the help of additional magicians, abandon it because there is no need. I leave without delay, and go to the place which you indicated in an oblique yet, to me, understandable way. It goes without saying that I leave in absolute secrecy and with great caution. I will surmise the nature of the trouble on the spot and will do all that is in my power to calm the gushing source. I shall try, in so doing, not to appear any worse than other ladies to whom you have turned, are turning or usually turn with your supplications. I am, after all, your dear friend. Your valuable friendship is too important to me to disappoint you, dear friend. Should you, in the next few years, wish to write to me, do not hesitate for a moment. Your letters invariably give me boundless pleasure. Your friend Yennefer' The letter smelled of lilac and gooseberries. Geralt cursed.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Krew elfów (Saga o Wiedźminie, #1))
Can you be sure that others have not come before you and destroyed the pristine state of the native myth? Can you be sure that the natives are not humoring you or pulling your leg? Bronislaw Malinowski thought he had discovered a people in the Trobriant Islands who had not worked out the connection between sexual intercourse and childbirth. When asked how children were conceived, they supplied him with an elaborate mythic structure prominently featuring celestial intervention. Amazed, Malinowski objected that was not how it was done at all, and supplied them instead with the version so popular in the West today – including a nine-month gestation period. “Impossible,” replied the Melanesians. “Do you not see that woman over there with her six-month-old child? Her husband has been on an extended voyage to another island for two years.” Is it more likely that the Melanesians were ignorant of the begetting of children or that they were gently chiding Malinowski? If some peculiar-looking stranger came into my town and asked ME where babies came from, I’d certainly be tempted to tell him about storks and cabbages. Prescientific people are people. Individually they are as clever as we are.
Carl Sagan (Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science)
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))
Stephen had been put to sleep in his usual room, far from children and noise, away in that corner of the house which looked down to the orchard and the bowling-green, and in spite of his long absence it was so familiar to him that when he woke at about three he made his way to the window almost as quickly as if dawn had already broken, opened it and walked out onto the balcony. The moon had set: there was barely a star to be seen. The still air was delightfully fresh with falling dew, and a late nightingale, in an indifferent voice, was uttering a routine jug-jug far down in Jack's plantations; closer at hand and more agreeable by far, nightjars churred in the orchard, two of them, or perhaps three, the sound rising and falling, intertwining so that the source could not be made out for sure. There were few birds that he preferred to nightjars, but it was not they that had brought him out of bed: he stood leaning on the balcony rail and presently Jack Aubrey, in a summer-house by the bowling-green, began again, playing very gently in the darkness, improvising wholly for himself, dreaming away on his violin with a mastery that Stephen had never heard equalled, though they had played together for years and years. Like many other sailors Jack Aubrey had long dreamed of lying in his warm bed all night long; yet although he could now do so with a clear conscience he often rose at unChristian hours, particularly if he were moved by strong emotion, and crept from his bedroom in a watch-coat, to walk about the house or into the stables or to pace the bowling-green. Sometimes he took his fiddle with him. He was in fact a better player than Stephen, and now that he was using his precious Guarnieri rather than a robust sea-going fiddle the difference was still more evident: but the Guarnieri did not account for the whole of it, nor anything like. Jack certainly concealed his excellence when they were playing together, keeping to Stephen's mediocre level: this had become perfectly clear when Stephen's hands were at last recovered from the thumb-screws and other implements applied by French counter-intelligence officers in Minorca; but on reflexion Stephen thought it had been the case much earlier, since quite apart from his delicacy at that period, Jack hated showing away. Now, in the warm night, there was no one to be comforted, kept in countenance, no one could scorn him for virtuosity, and he could let himself go entirely; and as the grave and subtle music wound on and on, Stephen once more contemplated on the apparent contradiction between the big, cheerful, florid sea-officer whom most people liked on sight but who would have never been described as subtle or capable of subtlety by any one of them (except perhaps his surviving opponents in battle) and the intricate, reflective music he was now creating. So utterly unlike his limited vocabulary in words, at times verging upon the inarticulate. 'My hands have now regained the moderate ability they possessed before I was captured,' observed Maturin, 'but his have gone on to a point I never thought he could reach: his hands and his mind. I am amazed. In his own way he is the secret man of the world.
Patrick O'Brian (The Commodore (Aubrey/Maturin, #17))
The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify(by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling. Taip būna miškuose, jie visada atrodo pažįstami, kadai prarasti, išblukę lyg seniai mirusio giminaičio veidas, tartum sena svajonė, tarsi nuotrupa pamirštos dainos, plaukiančios virš vandens, o labiau už viską - tarsi auksinės praėjusios vaikystės amžinybės ar preėjusios brandos, ir visa, kas gyva, visa, kas mirę, visa širdgėla, ištikusi prieš milijoną metų, ir debesys, plaukiantys tau virš galvos, liudija savo vienišu artimumu šį jausmą.
Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums)
When Khubchand, his beloved, blind, bald, incontinent seventeen-year-old mongrel, decided to stage a miserable, long-drawn-out death, Estha nursed him through his final ordeal as though his own life somehow depended on it. In the last months of his life, Khubchand, who had the best of intentions but the most unreliable of bladders, would drag himself to the top-hinged dog-flap built into the bottom of the door that led out into the back garden, push his head through it and urinate unsteadily, bright yellowly, inside Then with bladder empty and conscience clear he would look up at Estha with opaque green eyes that stood in his grizzled skull like scummy pools and weave his way back to his damp cushion, leaving wet footprints on the floor. As Khubchand lay dying on his cushion, Estha could see the bedroom window reflected in his smooth, purple balls. And the sky beyond. And once a bird that flew across. To Estha - steeped in the smell of old roses, blooded on memories of a broken man - the fact that something so fragile, so unbearably tender had survived, had been allowed to exist, was a miracle. A bird in flight reflected in an old dog's balls. It made him smile out loud.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of a native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship for the face of the earth, for the labours men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge: a spot where the definiteness of early memories may be inwrought with affection, and kindly acquaintance with all neighbours, even to the dogs and donkeys, may spread not by sentimental effort and reflection, but as a sweet habit of the blood. At five years old, mortals are not prepared to be citizens of the world, to be stimulated by abstract nouns, to soar above preference into impartiality; and that prejudice in favour of milk with which we blindly begin, is a type of the way body and soul must get nourished at least for a time. The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one's own homestead.
George Eliot
When I talk about a political revolution, what I am referring to is the need to do more than just win the next election. It's about creating a situation where we are involving millions of people in the process who are not now involved, and changing the nature of media so they are talking about issues that reflect the needs and the pains that so many of our people are currently feeling. A campaign has got to be much more than just getting votes and getting elected. It has got to be helping to educate people, organize people. If we can do that, we can change the dynamic of politics for years and years to come. If 80 to 90 percent of the people in this country vote, if they know what the issues are (and make demands based on that knowledge), Washington and Congress will look very, very different from the Congress currently dominated by big money and dealing only with the issues that big money wants them to deal with.
Bernie Sanders (Outsider in the White House)
There are psychologists who think that consciousness accompanies brain processes and is determined by them but doesn't itself exert any influence on them. Something like the reflection of a tree in water; it couldn't exist without the tree, but it doesn't in any way affect he tree. I think it's all stuff and nonsense to say that there can be love without passion; when people say love can endure after passion is dead they're talking of something else, affection, kindliness, community of taste and interest, and habit . . . Of course there can be desire without love. Desire isn't passion. Desire is the natural consequence of the sexual instinct . . . That's why women are foolish to make a song and dance if their husbands have an occasional flutter when the time and place are propitious . . . what is sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose . . . Unless love is passion, it's not love, but something else; and passion thrives not on satisfaction but impediment . . . When passion seizes the heart it invents reasons that seem not only plausible but conclusive to prove that the world is well lost for love. It convinces you that honor is well sacrificed and that shame is a cheap price to pay. Passion is destructive . . . and if it doesn't destroy it dies. It may be then that one is faced with the desolation of knowing that one has wasted the years of one's life, that one's brought disgrace upon oneself, endured the frightful pang of jealousy, swallowed every bitter mortification, that one's expended all one's tenderness, poured out all the riches of one's soul on a poor drab, a fool, a peg on which one hung one's dreams, who wasn't worth a stick of chewing gum.
W. Somerset Maugham (The Razor's Edge)
You’re seeing someone else, aren’t you?" Seeing someone else? How on earth could that explain any of this? Why would seeing someone else necessitate bringing home a middle­-aged woman, a teenaged punk and an American with a leather jacket and a Rod Stewart haircut? What would the story have been? But then, after reflection, I realised that Penny had probably been here before, and therefore knew that infidelity can usually provide the answer to any domestic mystery. If I had walked in with Sheena Easton and Donald Rumsfeld, Penny would probably have scratched her head for a few seconds before saying exactly the same thing. In other circumstances, on other evenings, it would have been the right conclusion, too; I used to be pretty resourceful when I was being unfaithful to Cindy, even if I do say so myself. I once drove a new BMW into a wall, simply because I needed to explain a four­-hour delay in getting home from work. Cindy came out into the street to inspect the crumpled bonnet, looked at me, and said, “You’re seeing someone else, aren’t you?” I denied it, of course. But then, anything – smashing up a new car, persuading Donald Rumsfeld to come to an Islington flat in the early hours of New Year’s Day – is easier than actually telling the truth. That look you get, the look which lets you see right through the eyes and down into the place where she keeps all the hurt and the rage and the loathing... Who wouldn’t go that extra yard to avoid it?
Nick Hornby (A Long Way Down)
A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person's faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection. Believers should acknowledge and wrestle with doubts — not only their own but their friends' and neighbors'. It is no longer sufficient to hold beliefs just because you inherited them. Only if you struggle long and hard with objections to your faith will you be able to provide the grounds for your beliefs to skeptics, including yourself, that are plausible rather than ridiculous or offensive. And, just as important for our current situation, such a process will lead you, even after you come to a position of strong faith, to respect and understand those who doubt.
Timothy J. Keller
In a polished surface of metal I happen to notice my reflected face; it wears a pale, beaten lonely look, eyes looking out at nothing with an expression of fear, frightened and lonely in a nightmare world. Something, I don’t know what, makes me think of my childhood; I remember myself as a schoolchild sitting at a hard wooden desk, and then as a little girl with thick, fair, wind-tossed hair, feeding the swans in a park. And it seems both strange and sad to me that all those childish years were spent in preparation for this – that, forgotten by everybody, with a beaten face, I should serve machinery in a place far away from the sun.
Anna Kavan (Asylum Piece)
I recently consulted to a therapist who felt he had accomplished something by getting his dissociative client to remain in her ANP throughout her sessions with him. His view reflects the fundamental mistake that untrained therapists tend to make with DID and DDNOS. Although his client was properly diagnosed, he assumed that the ANP should be encouraged to take charge of the other parts at all times. He also expected her to speak for them—in other words, to do their therapy. This denied the other parts the opportunity to reveal their secrets, heal their pain, or correct their childhood-based beliefs about the world. If you were doing family therapy, would it be a good idea to only meet with the father, especially if he had not talked with his children or his spouse in years? Would the other family members feel as if their experiences and feelings mattered? Would they be able to improve their relationships? You must work with the parts who are inside of the system. Directly.
Alison Miller (Healing the Unimaginable: Treating Ritual Abuse and Mind Control)
There is no nature that exists devoid of nurture; there is no nurture that develops without nature. To say otherwise is like saying that the area of a field is determined by its length but not its width. Every behavior is the product of an instinct trained by experience. The study of human beings remained resolutely unreformed by these ideas until a few years ago. Even now, most anthropologists and social scientists are firmly committed to the view that evolution has nothing to tell them. Human bodies are products of "culture," and human culture does not reflect human nature, but the reverse. This restricts social scientists to investigation only differences between cultures and between individuals--and to exaggerating them. Yet what is most interesting to me about human beings is the things that are the same, not what is different--things like grammatical language, hierarchy, romantic love, sexual jealousy, long-term bongs between the genders ("marriage", in a sense). These are trainable instincts peculiar to out species and are just as surely the products of evolution as eyes and thumbs.
Matt Ridley (The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature)
There is an incident which occurred at the examination during my first year at the high school and which is worth recording. Mr. Giles, the Educational Inspector, had come on a visit of inspection. He had set us five words to write as a spelling exercise. One of the words was 'kettle'. I had mis-spelt it. The teacher tried to prompt me with the point of his boot, but I would not be prompted. It was beyond me to see that he wanted me to copy the spelling from my neighbour's slate, for I had thought that the teacher was there to supervise us against copying. The result was that all the boys, except myself, were found to have spelt every word correctly. Only I had been stupid. The teacher tried later to bring this stupidity home to me, but without effect. I never could learn the art of 'copying'.
Mahatma Gandhi (All Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections)
[My grandfather] returned to what he called ‘studying.’ He sat looking down at his lap, his left hand idle on the chair arm, his right scratching his head, his white hair gleaming in the lamplight. I knew that when he was studying he was thinking, but I did not know what about. Now I have aged into knowledge of what he thought about. He thought of his strength and endurance when he was young, his merriment and joy, and how his life’s burdens had then grown upon him. He thought of that arc of country that centered upon Port William as he first had known it in the years just after the Civil War, and as it had changed, and as it had become; and how all that time, which would have seemed almost forever when he was a boy, now seemed hardly anytime at all. He thought of the people he remembered, now dead, and of those who had come and gone before his knowledge, and of those who would come after, and of his own place in that long procession.
Wendell Berry (Andy Catlett: Early Travels)
EMOTIONAL ABANDONMENT AND NARCISSISTIC DEPRIVATION Children need mirroring and echoing. These come from their primary caregiver’s eyes. Mirroring means that someone is there for them and reflects who they really are at any given moment of time. In the first three years of our life each of us needed to be admired and taken seriously. We needed to be accepted for the very one we are. Having these mirroring needs met results in what Alice Miller calls our basic narcissistic supplies. These supplies result from good mirroring by a parent with good boundaries. When this is the case, as Miller states in The Drama of the Gifted Child, the following dynamics take place: 1. The child’s aggressive impulses can be neutralized because they do not threaten the parent. 2. The child’s striving for autonomy is not experienced as a threat to the parent.
John Bradshaw (Healing the Shame that Binds You)
Mother! what a world of affection is comprised in that single word; how little do we in the giddy round of youthful pleasure and folly heed her wise counsels. How lightly do we look upon that zealous care with which she guides our otherwise erring feet, watches with feelings which none but a mother can know the gradual expansion of our youth to the riper yours of discretion. We may not think of it then, but it will be recalled to our minds in after years, when the gloomy grave or a fearful living separation has placed her far beyond our reach, and her sweet voice of sympathy and consolation for the various ills attendant upon us sounds in our ears no more. How deeply then we regret a thousand deeds that we have done contrary to her gentle admonitions! How we sign for those days once more, that we may retrieve what we have done amiss and make her kind heart glad with happiness! Alas! once gone they can never be recalled, and we grow mournfully sad with the bitter reflection.
Fanny Kelly (Narrative Of My Captivity Among The Sioux Indians)
WHO AM I? I have seven heavenly panels Leading up to a pointed sphere I’m multidimensional like a crystal And my center is never clear. I’m an inventor and pioneer. A mentor to my peers. But I'm not as sound as my shell reveals, Because I’m tormented by my fears - That may appear to be grounded But my insides are filled with tears. And the sadness is well-founded, From years and years Of traumatic experiences Compounded In the most demented Atmospheres. I talk but feel like nobody hears. Has reason disappeared? And, God, are you near? This is Giza’s 7th light force And I'm asking you to interfere. I can no longer walk amongst the blind and dead With open eyes and ears. I’m trying to maintain my sanity And to straighten up my veneer As I roll amongst the growing calamities Flowing on Earth’s severely trashed Frontier. Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun (2010)
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
But it is still only a year since the Mt. Palomar astronomers discovered the first double-galaxy in the Andromeda galaxy, the great oblate diadem that is probably the most beautiful object in the physical universe, the island galaxy M-31. Without doubt, these random transfigurations throughout the world are a reflection of distant cosmic processes of enormous scope and dimensions first glimpsed in the Andromeda spiral. We now know that it is time, time with a Midas touch, which is responsible for the transformation. The recent discovery of anti-matter in the universe inevitably involves the conception of anti-time as the fourth side of this negatively-charged continuum. Where anti-particle and particle collide, they not only destroy their own physical identities, but their opposing time values eliminate each other, subtracting from the universe another quantum from its total share of time.
J.G. Ballard (The Crystal World)
I had a bizarre rapport with this mirror and spent a lot of time gazing into the glass to see who was there. Sometimes it looked like me. At other times, I could see someone similar but different in the reflection. A few times, I caught the switch in mid-stare, my expression re-forming like melting rubber, the creases and features of my face softening or hardening until the mutation was complete. Jekyll to Hyde, or Hyde to Jekyll. I felt my inner core change at the same time. I would feel more confident or less confident; mature or childlike; freezing cold or sticky hot, a state that would drive Mum mad as I escaped to the bathroom where I would remain for two hours scrubbing my skin until it was raw. The change was triggered by different emotions: on hearing a particular piece of music; the sight of my father, the smell of his brand of aftershave. I would pick up a book with the certainty that I had not read it before and hear the words as I read them like an echo inside my head. Like Alice in the Lewis Carroll story, I slipped into the depths of the looking glass and couldn’t be sure if it was me standing there or an impostor, a lookalike. I felt fully awake most of the time, but sometimes while I was awake it felt as if I were dreaming. In this dream state I didn’t feel like me, the real me. I felt numb. My fingers prickled. My eyes in the mirror’s reflection were glazed like the eyes of a mannequin in a shop window, my colour, my shape, but without light or focus. These changes were described by Dr Purvis as mood swings and by Mother as floods, but I knew better. All teenagers are moody when it suits them. My Switches could take place when I was alone, transforming me from a bright sixteen-year-old doing her homework into a sobbing child curled on the bed staring at the wall. The weeping fit would pass and I would drag myself back to the mirror expecting to see a child version of myself. ‘Who are you?’ I’d ask. I could hear the words; it sounded like me but it wasn’t me. I’d watch my lips moving and say it again, ‘Who are you?
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
The millions of vacationers who came here every year before Katrina were mostly unaware of this poverty. French Quarter tourists were rarely exposed to the reality beneath the Disneyland Gomorrah that is projected as 'N'Awlins,' a phrasing I have never heard a local use and a place, as far as I can tell, that I have never encountered despite my years in the city. The seemingly average, white, middle-class Americans whooped it up on Bourbon Street without any thought of the third-world lives of so many of the city's citizens that existed under their noses. The husband and wife, clad in khaki shorts, feather boa, and Mardi Gras beads well out of season, beheld a child tap-dancing on the street for money and clapped along to his beat without considering the obvious fact that this was an early school-day afternoon and that the child should be learning to read, not dancing for money. Somehow they did not see their own child beneath the dancer's black visage. Nor, perhaps, did they see the crumbling buildings where the city's poor live as they traveled by cab from the French Quarter to Commander's Palace. They were on vacation and this was not their problem.
Billy Sothern (Down in New Orleans: Reflections from a Drowned City)
Now in my eleven years of conventional life I had learned many things and one of them is what it means to be convicted of rape--I do not mean the man who did it, I mean the woman to whom it was done. Rape is one of the Christian mysteries, it creates a luminous and beautiful tableau in people's minds; and as I listened furtively to what nobody would allow me to hear straight out, I slowly came to understand that I was face to face with one of those feminine disasters, like pregnancy, like disease, like weakness; she was not only the victim of the act but in some strange way its perpetrator; somehow she had attracted the lightening that struck her out of a clear sky. A diabolical chance--which was not chance--had revealed her to all of us as she truly was, in her secret inadequacy, in that wretched guiltiness which she had kept hidden for seventeen years but which now finally manifested in front of everybody. Her secret guilt was this: She was Cunt. She had "lost" something. Now the other party to the incident had manifested his essential nature, too; he was Prick--but being Prick is not a bad thing. In fact, he had "gotten away with" something (possibly what she had "lost"). And there I was at eleven years of age: She was out late at night. She was in the wrong part of town. Her skirt was too short and that provoked him. She liked having her eye blacked and her head banged against the sidewalk. I understood this perfectly. (I reflected thus in my dream, in my state of being a pair of eyes in a small wooden box stuck forever on a grey, geometric plane--or so I thought.) I too had been guilty of what had been done to me, when I came home from the playground in tears because I had been beaten up by bigger children who were bullies. I was dirty. I was crying. I demanded comfort. I was being inconvenient. I did not disappear into thin air.
Joanna Russ (The Female Man)
The moon rose up that evening and shot her silver arrows at the house under the artu tree. The house was empty. Then the moon came across the sea and across the reef. She lit the lagoon to it's dark, dim heart. She lit the coral brains and sand spaces, and the fish casting their shadows on the sand and the coral. The keeper of the lagoon rose to greet her, and the fin of him broke her reflection on the mirror-like surface into a thousand glittering ripples. She saw the white staring ribs of the form on the reef. Then, peeping over the trees, she looked down into the valley, where the great stone idol had kept it's solitary vigil for five thousand years, perhaps, and more. At this base, in his shadow, looking as if under his protection, lay two human beings, naked, clasped in each other's arms and fast asleep. One could scarcely pity his vigil, had it been marked sometimes through the years by such an incident as this. The thing had been conducted just as the birds conduct their love affairs. An affair absolutely natural, absolutely blameless and without sin. A marriage according to Nature, without feasts or guests, consummated with accidental cynicism under the shadow of a religion a thousand years dead.
Henry de Vere Stacpoole (The Blue Lagoon)
The recipe for becoming a good novelist, for example is easy to give but to carry it out presupposes qualities one is accustomed to overlook when one says 'I do not have enough talent'. One has only to make a hundred or so sketches for novels, none longer than two pages but of such distinctness that every word in them is necessary; one should write down anecdotes each day until one has learned how to give them the most pregnant and effective form; one should be tireless in collecting and describing human types and characters; one should above all relate things to others and listen to others relate, keeping one's eyes and ears open for the effect produced on those present, one should travel like a landscape painter or costume designer; one should excerpt for oneself out of the individual sciences everything that will produce an artistic effect when it is well described, one should, finally, reflect on the motives of human actions, disdain no signpost to instruction about them and be a collector of these things by day and night. One should continue in this many-sided exercise some ten years: what is then created in the work­shop, however, will be fit to go out into the world. - What, however, do most people do? They begin, not with the parts, but with the whole. Per­haps they chance to strike a right note, excite attention and from then on strike worse and worse notes, for good, natural reasons.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits)
The differences which exist between every one of our real impressions -- differences which explain why a uniform depiction of life cannot bear much resemblance to the reality -- derive probably from the following cause: the slightest word that we have said, the most insignificant action that we have performed at anyone epoch of our life was surrounded by, and colored by the reflection of things which logically had no connection with it and which later have been separated from it by our intellect which could make nothing of it for its own rational purposes, things, however, in the midst of which -- here the pink reflection of the evening upon the flower-covered wall of a country restaurant, a feeling of hunger, the desire for women, the pleasure of luxury; here the blue volutes of the morning sea and, enveloped in them, phrases of music half emerging like the shoulders of water-nymphs -- the simplest act or gesture remains immured as within a thousand vessels, each one of them filled with things of a color, a scent, a temperature that are absolutely different one from another, vessels, moreover, which being disposed over the whole range of our years, during which we have never ceased to change if only in our dreams and our thoughts, are situated at the most various moral altitudes and give us the sensation of extraordinarily diverse atmospheres.
Marcel Proust
It's been open about a year now.And it is one of my favorite places in the city." "You never told me," he said, sounding surprised. "So even after all these years,we can still surprise one another," she teased. He leaned over and kissed her quickly on the cheek. "Even after all these years," he said. "So enlighten me-how often do you come to this place?" "Five,maybe six times a week." "Oh?" "Every morning when I'd leave the shop,I'd usually walk down to the Embarcadero,amble along the promenade and end up walking the length of this pier.Where did you think I was for that hour?" "I thought you'd popped across the road for coffee." "Yea,Nicholas," Perenelle said in French. "I drink tea. You know I hate coffee." "You hate coffee?" Nicholas said. "Since when?" "Only for the last eighty years or so." Nicholas blinked,pale eyes reflecting the blue of the sea. "I knew that.I think." "You're teasing me." "Maybe," he admitted.
Michael Scott (The Warlock (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #5))
Until I was twenty I was sure there was a being who could see everything I did and who didn't like most of it. He seemed to care about minute aspects of my life, like on what day of the week I ate a piece of meat. And yet, he let earthquakes and mudslides take out whole communities, apparently ignoring the saints among them who ate their meat on the assigned days. Eventually, I realized that I didn't believe there was such a being. It didn't seem reasonable. And I assumed that I was an atheist. As I understood the word, it meant that I was someone who didn't believe in a God; I was without a God. I didn't broadcast this in public because I noticed that people who do believe in a god get upset to hear that others don't. (Why this is so is one of the most pressing of human questions, and I wish a few of the bright people in this conversation would try to answer it through research.) But, slowly I realized that in the popular mind the word atheist was coming to mean something more - a statement that there couldn't be a God. God was, in this formulation, not possible, and this was something that could be proved. But I had been changed by eleven years of interviewing six or seven hundred scientists around the world on the television program Scientific American Frontiers. And that change was reflected in how I would now identify myself. The most striking thing about the scientists I met was their complete dedication to evidence. It reminded me of the wonderfully plainspoken words of Richard Feynman who felt it was better not to know than to know something that was wrong.
Alan Alda
When The Matrix debuted in 1999, it was a huge box-office success. It was also well received by critics, most of whom focused on one of two qualities—the technological (it mainstreamed the digital technique of three-dimensional “bullet time,” where the on-screen action would freeze while the camera continued to revolve around the participants) or the philosophical (it served as a trippy entry point for the notion that we already live in a simulated world, directly quoting philosopher Jean Baudrillard’s 1981 reality-rejecting book Simulacra and Simulation). If you talk about The Matrix right now, these are still the two things you likely discuss. But what will still be interesting about this film once the technology becomes ancient and the philosophy becomes standard? I suspect it might be this: The Matrix was written and directed by “the Wachowski siblings.” In 1999, this designation meant two brothers; as I write today, it means two sisters. In the years following the release of The Matrix, the older Wachowski (Larry, now Lana) completed her transition from male to female. The younger Wachowski (Andy, now Lilly) publicly announced her transition in the spring of 2016. These events occurred during a period when the social view of transgender issues radically evolved, more rapidly than any other component of modern society. In 1999, it was almost impossible to find any example of a trans person within any realm of popular culture; by 2014, a TV series devoted exclusively to the notion won the Golden Globe for Best Television Series. In the fifteen-year window from 1999 to 2014, no aspect of interpersonal civilization changed more, to the point where Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner attracted more Twitter followers than the president (and the importance of this shift will amplify as the decades pass—soon, the notion of a transgender US president will not seem remotely implausible). So think how this might alter the memory of The Matrix: In some protracted reality, film historians will reinvestigate an extremely commercial action movie made by people who (unbeknownst to the audience) would eventually transition from male to female. Suddenly, the symbolic meaning of a universe with two worlds—one false and constructed, the other genuine and hidden—takes on an entirely new meaning. The idea of a character choosing between swallowing a blue pill that allows him to remain a false placeholder and a red pill that forces him to confront who he truly is becomes a much different metaphor. Considered from this speculative vantage point, The Matrix may seem like a breakthrough of a far different kind. It would feel more reflective than entertaining, which is precisely why certain things get remembered while certain others get lost.
Chuck Klosterman (But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past)
In 1817 the twenty-two-year-old poet John Keats wrote a letter to his brothers in which he explained his most recent thoughts on the creative process. The world around us, he wrote, is far more complex than we can possibly imagine. With our limited senses and consciousness, we only glimpse a small portion of reality. Furthermore, everything in the universe is in a state of constant flux. Simple words and thoughts cannot capture this flux or complexity. The only solution for an enlightened person is to let the mind absorb itself in what it experiences, without having to form a judgment on what it all means. The mind must be able to feel doubt and uncertainty for as long as possible. As it remains in this state and probes deeply into the mysteries of the universe, ideas will come that are more dimensional and real than if we had jumped to conclusions and formed judgments early on. To accomplish this, he wrote, we must be capable of negating our ego. We are by nature fearful and insecure creatures. We do not like what is unfamiliar or unknown. To compensate for this, we assert ourselves with opinions and ideas that make us seem strong and certain. Many of these opinions do not come from our own deep reflection, but are instead based on what other people think. Furthermore, once we hold these ideas, to admit they are wrong is to wound our ego and vanity. Truly creative people in all fields can temporarily suspend their ego and simply experience what they are seeing, without the need to assert a judgment, for as long as possible. They are more than ready to find their most cherished opinions contradicted by reality.
Robert Greene (Mastery)
What’s the kindest thing you almost did? Is your fear of insomnia stronger than your fear of what awoke you? Are bonsai cruel? Do you love what you love, or just the feeling? Your earliest memories: do you look through your young eyes, or look at your young self? Which feels worse: to know that there are people who do more with less talent, or that there are people with more talent? Do you walk on moving walkways? Should it make any difference that you knew it was wrong �as you were doing it? Would you trade actual intelligence for the perception of being smarter? Why does it bother you when someone at the next table is having a conversation on a cell phone? How many years of your life would you trade for the greatest month of your life? What would you tell your father, if it were possible? Which is changing faster, your body, or your mind? Is it cruel to tell an old person his prognosis? Are you in any way angry at your phone? When you pass �a storefront, do you look at what’s inside, look at your reflection, or neither? Is there anything you would die for if no one could ever know you died for it? If you could be assured that money wouldn’t make �you any small bit happier, would you still want more money? What has �been irrevocably spoiled for you? If your deepest secret became public, �would you be forgiven? Is your best friend your kindest friend? Is it in any way cruel to give a dog a name? Is there anything you feel a need to confess? You know it’s a “murder of crows” and a “wake of buzzards” but it’s a what of ravens, again? What is it about death that you’re �afraid of? How does it make you feel to know that it’s an “unkindness �of ravens”?
Jonathan Safran Foer
The trouble with mimetic fiction isn’t that you can tell what’s going to happen (I defy anyone to guess what’s going to happen in Middlemarch, even from halfway through) but that you can tell what’s not going to happen. There isn’t going to be an evil wizard. The world isn’t going to be destroyed in Cultural Fugue and leave the protagonist as the only survivor. There aren’t going to be any people who happen to have one mind shared between five bodies. There are unlikely to be shape-changers. In science fiction you can have any kind of story—a romance or a mystery or a reflection of human nature, or anything at all. But as well as that, you have infinite possibility. You can tell different stories about human nature when you can compare it to android nature, or alien nature. You can examine it in different ways when you can write about people living for two hundred years, or being relativistically separated, or under a curse. You have more colours for your palette, more lights to illuminate your scene.
Jo Walton (What Makes This Book So Great)
Relationships never provide you with everything. They provide you with some things. You take all the things you want from a person - sexual chemistry, let's say, or good conversation, or financial support, or intellectual compatibility, or niceness, or loyalty - and you get to pick three of those things. Three - that's it. Maybe four, if you're very lucky. The rest you have to look for elsewhere. It's only in the movies that you find someone who gives you all of those things. But this isn't the movies. In the real world, you have to identify which three qualities you want to spend the rest of your life with, and then you look for those qualities in another person. That's real life. Don't you see it's a trap? If you keep trying to find everything, you'll wind up with nothing.' ...At the time, he hadn't believed these words, because at the time, everything really did seem possible: he was twenty-three, and everyone was young and attractive and smart and glamorous. Everyone thought they would be friends for decades, forever. But for most people, of course, that hadn't happened. As you got older, you realized that the qualities you valued in the people you slept with or dated weren't necessarily the ones you wanted to live with, or be with, or plod through your days with. If you were smart, and if you were lucky, you learned this and accepted this. You figured out what was most important to you and you looked for it, and you learned to be realistic. They all chose differently: Roman had chosen beauty, sweetness, pliability; Malcolm, he thought, had chosen reliability, and competence...and aesthetic compatibility. And he? He had chosen friendship. Conversation. Kindness, Intelligence. When he was in his thirties, he had looked at certain people's relationships and asked the question that had (and continued to) fuel countless dinner-party conversations: What's going on there? Now, though, as an almost-forty-eight-year-old, he saw people's relationships as reflections of their keenest yet most inarticulable desires, their hopes and insecurities taking shape physically, in the form of another person. Now he looked at couples - in restaurants, on the street, at parties - and wondered: Why are you together? What did you identify as essential to you? What's missing in you that you want someone else to provide? He now viewed a successful relationship as one in which both people had recognized the best of what the other person had of offer and had chosen to value it as well.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
Liza Hempstock, who had been Bod's friend for the last six years, was different in another way; she was less likely to be there for him when Bod went down to the nettle patch to see her, and on the rare occasions when she was, she would be short-tempered, argumentative and often downright rude. Bod talked to Mr Owens about this, and after a few moments' reflection, his father said, "It's just women, I reckon. She liked you as a boy, probably isn't sure who you are now you're a young man. I used to play with one little girl down by the duck pond every day until she turned about your age, and then she threw an apple at my head and did not say another word to me until I was seventeen." Mrs Owens stiffened. "It was a pear I threw," she said, tartly, "and I was talking to you again soon enough, for we danced a measure at your cousin Ned's wedding, and that was but two days after your sixteenth birthday." Mr Owens said, "Of course you are right, my dear." He winked at Bod, to tell him that it was none of it serious. And then mouthed "Seventeen" to show that, really, it was.
Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book)
Words evolve, perhaps more rapidly and tellingly than do their users, and the change in meanings reflects a society often more accurately than do the works of many historians. In he years preceding the first collapse of NorAm, the change in the meaning of one word predicted the failure of that society more immediately and accurately than did all the analysts, social scientists, and historians. That critical word? 'Discrimination.' We know it now as a term meaning 'unfounded bias against a person, group, or culture on the basis of racial, gender, or ethnic background.' Prejudice, if you will. The previous meaning of this word was: 'to draw a clear distinction between good and evil, to differentiate, to recognize as different.' Moreover, the connotations once associated with discrimination were favorable. A person of discrimination was one of taste and good judgment. With the change of the meaning into a negative term of bias, the English language was left without a single-word term for the act of choosing between alternatives wisely, and more importantly, left with a subterranean negative connotation for those who attempted to make such choices. In hindsight, the change in meaning clearly reflected and foreshadowed the disaster to come. Individuals and institutions abhorred making real choices. At one point more than three-quarters of the youthful population entered institutions of higher learning. Credentials, often paper ones, replaced meaning judgment and choices... Popularity replaced excellence... The number of disastrous cultural and political decisions foreshadowed by the change in meaning of one word is truly endless...
L.E. Modesitt Jr. (Archform: Beauty (Archform: Beauty, #1))
(Ivan) Hold your tongue, or I'll kill you! (The devil) You'll kill me? No, excuse me, I will speak. I came to treat myself to that pleasure. Oh, I love the dreams of my ardent young friends, quivering with eagerness for life! 'There are new men,' you decided last spring, when you were meaning to come here, 'they propose to destroy everything and begin with cannibalism. Stupid fellows! they didn't ask my advice! I maintain that nothing need be destroyed, that we only need to destroy the idea of God in man, that's how we have to set to work. It's that, that we must begin with. Oh, blind race of men who have no understanding! As soon as men have all of them denied God -- and I believe that period, analogous with geological periods, will come to pass -- the old conception of the universe will fall of itself without cannibalism, and, what's more, the old morality, and everything will begin anew. Men will unite to take from life all it can give, but only for joy and happiness in the present world. Man will be lifted up with a spirit of divine Titanic pride and the man-god will appear. From hour to hour extending his conquest of nature infinitely by his will and his science, man will feel such lofty joy from hour to hour in doing it that it will make up for all his old dreams of the joys of heaven. Everyone will know that he is mortal and will accept death proudly and serenely like a god. His pride will teach him that it's useless for him to repine at life's being a moment, and he will love his brother without need of reward. Love will be sufficient only for a moment of life, but the very consciousness of its momentariness will intensify its fire, which now is dissipated in dreams of eternal love beyond the grave'... and so on and so on in the same style. Charming! Ivan sat with his eyes on the floor, and his hands pressed to his ears, but he began trembling all over. The voice continued. (The devil) The question now is, my young thinker reflected, is it possible that such a period will ever come? If it does, everything is determined and humanity is settled for ever. But as, owing to man's inveterate stupidity, this cannot come about for at least a thousand years, everyone who recognises the truth even now may legitimately order his life as he pleases, on the new principles. In that sense, 'all things are lawful' for him. What's more, even if this period never comes to pass, since there is anyway no God and no immortality, the new man may well become the man-god, even if he is the only one in the whole world, and promoted to his new position, he may lightheartedly overstep all the barriers of the old morality of the old slaveman, if necessary. There is no law for God. Where God stands, the place is holy. Where I stand will be at once the foremost place... 'all things are lawful' and that's the end of it! That's all very charming; but if you want to swindle why do you want a moral sanction for doing it? But that's our modern Russian all over. He can't bring himself to swindle without a moral sanction. He is so in love with truth-.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
Colored like a sunset tide is a gaze sharply slicing through the reflective glass. A furrowed brow is set much too seriously, as if trying to unfold the pieces of the face that stared back at it. One eyebrow is raised skeptically, always calculating and analyzing its surroundings. I tilt my head trying to see the deeper meaning in my features, trying to imagine the connection between my looks and my character as I stare in the mirror for the required five minutes. From the dark brown hair fastened tightly in a bun, a curl as bright as woven gold comes loose. A flash of unruly hair prominent through the typical browns is like my temper; always there, but not always visible. I begin to grow frustrated with the girl in the mirror, and she cocks her hip as if mocking me. In a moment, her lips curve in a half smile, not quite detectable in sight but rather in feeling, like the sensation of something good just around the corner. A chin was set high in a stubborn fashion, symbolizing either persistence or complete adamancy. Shoulders are held stiff like ancient mountains, proud but slightly arrogant. The image watches with the misty eyes of a daydreamer, glazed over with a sort of trance as if in the middle of a reverie, or a vision. Every once and a while, her true fears surface in those eyes, terror that her life would amount to nothing, that her work would have no impact. Words written are meant to be read, and sometimes I worry that my thoughts and ideas will be lost with time. My dream is to be an author, to be immortalized in print and live forever in the minds of avid readers. I want to access the power in being able to shape the minds of the young and open, and alter the minds of the old and resolute. Imagine the power in living forever, and passing on your ideas through generations. With each new reader, a new layer of meaning is uncovered in writing, meaning that even the author may not have seen. In the mirror, I see a girl that wants to change the world, and change the way people think and reason. Reflection and image mean nothing, for the girl in the mirror is more than a one dimensional picture. She is someone who has followed my footsteps with every lesson learned, and every mistake made. She has been there to help me find a foothold in the world, and to catch me when I fall. As the lights blink out, obscuring her face, I realize that although that image is one that will puzzle me in years to come, she and I aren’t so different after all.
K.D. Enos
Well, let's consider the value of the dollar. Ultimately, logically, the dollar has no value at all. It's a piece of paper. It only has value because we say it has value, and because we agree on a system of bartering that maintains that value. Great care is taken to keep the value of the dollar strong. Smart guys in Washington and New York lose sleep over this. And we all watched what happend in Argentina a few years ago. We watched what happened when the value of currency declined rapidly. It's not a good thing. Sex is like that. God is concerned with the value of sex staying high. It's important to a person's health, a family's health, and a society's health. But like anything, sex can be cheapened in our minds, so we don't hold it in high esteem. God doesn't think this is a good thing. Stuff God doesn't think is good is called sin. "What happens when sex is cheaped?" somebody asked. A lot happens. The main thing is there is no sacred physical territory associated with commitment. There can still be emotional territory, but there isn't anything physical, experiential, that a man and a woman have only with each other. Sleeping around does something to the heart, to the mind. It leaves less commodity to spend on a sacred mate. But all of that sounds pretty fluffy. Let me break it down into practical stuff. Women saying no to men, not letting men have sex with them, causes men to step up. If, in order to have sex with them, women demanded you got a job and shaved every day and didn't dress like a dork or sit around playing video games, then all of us would do just that. We all want to have sex, right? ... And this in turn would be good for families, would be good for the communities.
Donald Miller (To Own a Dragon: Reflections on Growing Up Without a Father)
In The Sunset Sky The sunset sky dazzling with the golden hues, Taking bow in brilliant sparkle of experience Is it not a climax, of the story so far, that was today? Or is it building anticipation of the night yet to come. Watch the days go, some proud of their accomplishments Some leaving sighs of disappointments, Leaving all in awe of its Amaranthine twists and turns And the fortunate get to see the moon trying to steal the show from setting sun, Oh she is such a show off, isn't she, basking in reflected glory Its magical, the sunset sky,Puzzling, sometimes just like a riddle, Leaving the nature stunned and amazed For it has been filling the canvas whole day with colours And now the sunset threatens to hide them all And in dark all the colours will be same A cue for the wise. Sunset sky has so much to offer, is she not a fine exampleof how uncertain a life can be Often reminding no matter what you planned, there will besome unexpected returns For End has its own brain, its own script Charting its own course So why just the beginning,every moment of the life should be grand, meted with equal passion and fervor She has been so clever; the sunset sky Leaving Twinkling cryptic messages for the night sky For even the dark has sparkle and hope if you keep your head up, A constant reminder that exuberance is an attitude of deep,rich, warm hearts I want my sunset sky to be grand, magical, and full of stories of my life that has been And its memories to linger on in this world, in the tomorrow and a few more years to come
Soma Mukherjee
His day is done. Is done. The news came on the wings of a wind, reluctant to carry its burden. Nelson Mandela’s day is done. The news, expected and still unwelcome, reached us in the United States, and suddenly our world became somber. Our skies were leadened. His day is done. We see you, South African people standing speechless at the slamming of that final door through which no traveller returns. Our spirits reach out to you Bantu, Zulu, Xhosa, Boer. We think of you and your son of Africa, your father, your one more wonder of the world. We send our souls to you as you reflect upon your David armed with a mere stone, facing down the mighty Goliath. Your man of strength, Gideon, emerging triumphant. Although born into the brutal embrace of Apartheid, scarred by the savage atmosphere of racism, unjustly imprisoned in the bloody maws of South African dungeons. Would the man survive? Could the man survive? His answer strengthened men and women around the world. In the Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas, on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, in Chicago’s Loop, in New Orleans Mardi Gras, in New York City’s Times Square, we watched as the hope of Africa sprang through the prison’s doors. His stupendous heart intact, his gargantuan will hale and hearty. He had not been crippled by brutes, nor was his passion for the rights of human beings diminished by twenty-seven years of imprisonment. Even here in America, we felt the cool, refreshing breeze of freedom. When Nelson Mandela took the seat of Presidency in his country where formerly he was not even allowed to vote we were enlarged by tears of pride, as we saw Nelson Mandela’s former prison guards invited, courteously, by him to watch from the front rows his inauguration. We saw him accept the world’s award in Norway with the grace and gratitude of the Solon in Ancient Roman Courts, and the confidence of African Chiefs from ancient royal stools. No sun outlasts its sunset, but it will rise again and bring the dawn. Yes, Mandela’s day is done, yet we, his inheritors, will open the gates wider for reconciliation, and we will respond generously to the cries of Blacks and Whites, Asians, Hispanics, the poor who live piteously on the floor of our planet. He has offered us understanding. We will not withhold forgiveness even from those who do not ask. Nelson Mandela’s day is done, we confess it in tearful voices, yet we lift our own to say thank you. Thank you our Gideon, thank you our David, our great courageous man. We will not forget you, we will not dishonor you, we will remember and be glad that you lived among us, that you taught us, and that you loved us all.
Maya Angelou (His Day Is Done: A Nelson Mandela Tribute)
Contemporary writers use animal-transformation themes to explore issues of gender, sexuality, race, culture, and the process of transformation...just as storytellers have done, all over the world, for many centuries past. One distinct change marks modern retellings, however, reflecting our changed relationship to animals and nature. In a society in which most of us will never encounter true danger in the woods, the big white bear who comes knocking at the door [in fairy tales] is not such a frightening prospective husband now; instead, he's exotic, almost appealing. Whereas once wilderness was threatening to civilization, now it's been tamed and cultivated; the dangers of the animal world have a nostalgic quality, removed as they are from our daily existence. This removal gives "the wild" a different kind of power; it's something we long for rather than fear. The shape-shifter, the were-creature, the stag-headed god from the heart of the woods--they come from a place we'd almost forgotten: the untracked forests of the past; the primeval forests of the mythic imagination; the forests of our childhood fantasies: untouched, unspoiled, limitless. Likewise, tales of Animal Brides and Bridegrooms are steeped in an ancient magic and yet powerfully relevant to our lives today. They remind us of the wild within us...and also within our lovers and spouses, the part of them we can never quite know. They represent the Others who live beside us--cat and mouse and coyote and owl--and the Others who live only in the dreams and nightmares of our imaginations. For thousands of years, their tales have emerged from the place where we draw the boundary lines between animals and human beings, the natural world and civilization, women and men, magic and illusion, fiction and the lives we live.
Terri Windling (The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People)
A few years ago, Ed and I were exploring the dunes on Cumberland Island, one of the barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and the mainland of south Georgia. He was looking for the fossilized teeth of long-dead sharks. I was looking for sand spurs so that I did not step on one. This meant that neither of us was looking very far past our own feet, so the huge loggerhead turtle took us both by surprise. She was still alive but just barely, her shell hot to the touch from the noonday sun. We both knew what had happened. She had come ashore during the night to lay her eggs, and when she had finished, she had looked around for the brightest horizon to lead her back to the sea. Mistaking the distant lights on the mainland for the sky reflected on the ocean, she went the wrong way. Judging by her tracks, she had dragged herself through the sand until her flippers were buried and she could go no farther. We found her where she had given up, half cooked by the sun but still able to turn one eye up to look at us when we bent over her. I buried her in cool sand while Ed ran to the ranger station. An hour later she was on her back with tire chains around her front legs, being dragged behind a park service Jeep back toward the ocean. The dunes were so deep that her mouth filled with sand as she went. Her head bent so far underneath her that I feared her neck would break. Finally the Jeep stopped at the edge of the water. Ed and I helped the ranger unchain her and flip her back over. Then all three of us watched as she lay motionless in the surf. Every wave brought her life back to her, washing the sand from her eyes and making her shell shine again. When a particularly large one broke over her, she lifted her head and tried her back legs. The next wave made her light enough to find a foothold, and she pushed off, back into the water that was her home. Watching her swim slowly away after her nightmare ride through the dunes, I noted that it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Learning to Walk in the Dark)
Soon after three o'clock on the afternoon of April 22nd 1973, a 35-year-old architect named Robert Maitland was driving down the high-speed exit lane of the Westway interchange in central London. Six hundred yards from the junction with the newly built spur of the M4 motorway, when the Jaguar had already passed the 70 m.p.h. speed limit, a blow-out collapsed the front nearside tyre. The exploding air reflected from the concrete parapet seemed to detonate inside Robert Maitland's skull. During the few seconds before his crash he clutched at the whiplashing spokes of the steering wheel, dazed by the impact of the chromium window pillar against his head. The car veered from side to side across the empty traffic lanes, jerking his hands like a puppet's. The shredding tyre laid a black diagonal stroke across the white marker lines that followed the long curve of the motorway embankment. Out of control, the car burst through the palisade of pinewood trestles that formed a temporary barrier along the edge of the road. Leaving the hard shoulder, the car plunged down the grass slope of the embankment. Thirty yards ahead, it came to a halt against the rusting chassis of an overturned taxi. Barely injured by this violent tangent that had grazed his life, Robert Maitland lay across his steering wheel, his jacket and trousers studded with windshield fragments like a suit of lights.
J.G. Ballard (Concrete Island)
..I began speaking.. First, I took issue with the media's characterization of the post-Katrina New Orleans as resembling the third world as its poor citizens clamored for a way out. I suggested that my experience in New Orleans working with the city's poorest people in the years before the storm had reflected the reality of third-world conditions in New Orleans, and that Katrina had not turned New Orleans into a third-world city but had only revealed it to the world as such. I explained that my work, running Reprieve, a charity that brought lawyers and volunteers to the Deep South from abroad to work on death penalty issues, had made it clear to me that much of the world had perceived this third-world reality, even if it was unnoticed by our own citizens. To try answer Ryan's question, I attempted to use my own experience to explain that for many people in New Orleans, and in poor communities across the country, the government was merely an antagonist, a terrible landlord, a jailer, and a prosecutor. As a lawyer assigned to indigent people under sentence of death and paid with tax dollars, I explained the difficulty of working with clients who stand to be executed and who are provided my services by the state, not because they deserve them, but because the Constitution requires that certain appeals to be filed before these people can be killed. The state is providing my clients with my assistance, maybe the first real assistance they have ever received from the state, so that the state can kill them. I explained my view that the country had grown complacent before Hurricane Katrina, believing that the civil rights struggle had been fought and won, as though having a national holiday for Martin Luther King, or an annual march by politicians over the bridge in Selma, Alabama, or a prosecution - forty years too late - of Edgar Ray Killen for the murder of civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, were any more than gestures. Even though President Bush celebrates his birthday, wouldn't Dr. King cry if he could see how little things have changed since his death? If politicians or journalists went to Selma any other day of the year, they would see that it is a crumbling city suffering from all of the woes of the era before civil rights were won as well as new woes that have come about since. And does anyone really think that the Mississippi criminal justice system could possibly be a vessel of social change when it incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than almost any place in the world, other than Louisiana and Texas, and then compels these prisoners, most of whom are black, to work prison farms that their ancestors worked as chattel of other men? ... I hoped, out loud, that the post-Katrina experience could be a similar moment [to the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fiasco], in which the American people could act like the children in the story and declare that the emperor has no clothes, and hasn't for a long time. That, in light of Katrina, we could be visionary and bold about what people deserve. We could say straight out that there are people in this country who are racist, that minorities are still not getting a fair shake, and that Republican policies heartlessly disregard the needs of individual citizens and betray the common good. As I stood there, exhausted, in front of the thinning audience of New Yorkers, it seemed possible that New Orleans's destruction and the suffering of its citizens hadn't been in vain.
Billy Sothern (Down in New Orleans: Reflections from a Drowned City)
If I longed for destruction it was merely that this eye might be extinguished. I longed for an earthquake, for some cataclysm of nature which would plunge the lighthouse into the sea. I wanted a metamorphosis, a change to fish, to leviathan, to destroyer. I wanted the earth to open up, to swallow everything in one engulfing yawn. I wanted to see the city buried fathoms deep in the bosom of the sea. I wanted to sit in a cave and read by candlelight. (I wanted that eye extinguished so that I might have a change to know my own body, my own desires. I wanted to be alone for a thousand years in order to reflect on what I had seen and heard - and in order to forget. I wanted something of the earth which was not of man's doing, something absolutely divorced from the human of which I was surfeited. I wanted something purely terrestrial and absolutely divested of idea. I wanted to feel the blood running back into my veins, even at the cost of annihilation. I wanted to shake the stone and the light out of my system. I wanted the dark fecundity of nature, the deep well of the womb, silence, or else the lapping of the black waters of death. I wanted to be that night which the remorseless eye illuminated, a night diapered with stars and trailing comets. To be of night, so frighteningly silent, so utterly incomprehensible and eloquent at the same time. Never more to speak or to listen or to think. To be englobed and encompassed and to encompass and to englobe at the same time. No more pity, no more tenderness. To be human only terrestrially, like a plant or a worm or a brook. To be decomposed, divested of light and stone, variable as the molecule, durable as the atom, heartless as the earth itself.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Capricorn (Tropic, #1))
You sometimes hear people say, with a certain pride in their clerical resistance to the myth, that the nineteenth century really ended not in 1900 but in 1914. But there are different ways of measuring an epoch. 1914 has obvious qualifications; but if you wanted to defend the neater, more mythical date, you could do very well. In 1900 Nietzsche died; Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams; 1900 was the date of Husserl Logic, and of Russell's Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz. With an exquisite sense of timing Planck published his quantum hypothesis in the very last days of the century, December 1900. Thus, within a few months, were published works which transformed or transvalued spirituality, the relation of language to knowing, and the very locus of human uncertainty, henceforth to be thought of not as an imperfection of the human apparatus but part of the nature of things, a condition of what we may know. 1900, like 1400 and 1600 and 1000, has the look of a year that ends a saeculum. The mood of fin de siècle is confronted by a harsh historical finis saeculi. There is something satisfying about it, some confirmation of the rightness of the patterns we impose. But as Focillon observed, the anxiety reflected by the fin de siècle is perpetual, and people don't wait for centuries to end before they express it. Any date can be justified on some calculation or other. And of course we have it now, the sense of an ending. It has not diminished, and is as endemic to what we call modernism as apocalyptic utopianism is to political revolution. When we live in the mood of end-dominated crisis, certain now-familiar patterns of assumption become evident. Yeats will help me to illustrate them. For Yeats, an age would end in 1927; the year passed without apocalypse, as end-years do; but this is hardly material. 'When I was writing A Vision,' he said, 'I had constantly the word "terror" impressed upon me, and once the old Stoic prophecy of earthquake, fire and flood at the end of an age, but this I did not take literally.' Yeats is certainly an apocalyptic poet, but he does not take it literally, and this, I think, is characteristic of the attitude not only of modern poets but of the modern literary public to the apocalyptic elements. All the same, like us, he believed them in some fashion, and associated apocalypse with war. At the turning point of time he filled his poems with images of decadence, and praised war because he saw in it, ignorantly we may think, the means of renewal. 'The danger is that there will be no war.... Love war because of its horror, that belief may be changed, civilization renewed.' He saw his time as a time of transition, the last moment before a new annunciation, a new gyre. There was horror to come: 'thunder of feet, tumult of images.' But out of a desolate reality would come renewal. In short, we can find in Yeats all the elements of the apocalyptic paradigm that concern us.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
This afternoon, being on Fair Haven Hill, I heard the sound of a saw, and soon after from the Cliff saw two men sawing down a noble pine beneath, about forty rods off. I resolved to watch it till it fell, the last of a dozen or more which were left when the forest was cut and for fifteen years have waved in solitary majesty over the sprout-land. I saw them like beavers or insects gnawing at the trunk of this noble tree, the diminutive manikins with their cross-cut saw which could scarcely span it. It towered up a hundred feet as I afterward found by measurement, one of the tallest probably in the township and straight as an arrow, but slanting a little toward the hillside, its top seen against the frozen river and the hills of Conantum. I watch closely to see when it begins to move. Now the sawers stop, and with an axe open it a little on the side toward which it leans, that it may break the faster. And now their saw goes again. Now surely it is going; it is inclined one quarter of the quadrant, and, breathless, I expect its crashing fall. But no, I was mistaken; it has not moved an inch; it stands at the same angle as at first. It is fifteen minutes yet to its fall. Still its branches wave in the wind, as it were destined to stand for a century, and the wind soughs through its needles as of yore; it is still a forest tree, the most majestic tree that waves over Musketaquid. The silvery sheen of the sunlight is reflected from its needles; it still affords an inaccessible crotch for the squirrel’s nest; not a lichen has forsaken its mast-like stem, its raking mast,—the hill is the hulk. Now, now’s the moment! The manikins at its base are fleeing from their crime. They have dropped the guilty saw and axe. How slowly and majestic it starts! as it were only swayed by a summer breeze, and would return without a sigh to its location in the air. And now it fans the hillside with its fall, and it lies down to its bed in the valley, from which it is never to rise, as softly as a feather, folding its green mantle about it like a warrior, as if, tired of standing, it embraced the earth with silent joy, returning its elements to the dust again. But hark! there you only saw, but did not hear. There now comes up a deafening crash to these rocks , advertising you that even trees do not die without a groan. It rushes to embrace the earth, and mingle its elements with the dust. And now all is still once more and forever, both to eye and ear. I went down and measured it. It was about four feet in diameter where it was sawed, about one hundred feet long. Before I had reached it the axemen had already divested it of its branches. Its gracefully spreading top was a perfect wreck on the hillside as if it had been made of glass, and the tender cones of one year’s growth upon its summit appealed in vain and too late to the mercy of the chopper. Already he has measured it with his axe, and marked off the mill-logs it will make. And the space it occupied in upper air is vacant for the next two centuries. It is lumber. He has laid waste the air. When the fish hawk in the spring revisits the banks of the Musketaquid, he will circle in vain to find his accustomed perch, and the hen-hawk will mourn for the pines lofty enough to protect her brood. A plant which it has taken two centuries to perfect, rising by slow stages into the heavens, has this afternoon ceased to exist. Its sapling top had expanded to this January thaw as the forerunner of summers to come. Why does not the village bell sound a knell? I hear no knell tolled. I see no procession of mourners in the streets, or the woodland aisles. The squirrel has leaped to another tree; the hawk has circled further off, and has now settled upon a new eyrie, but the woodman is preparing [to] lay his axe at the root of that also.
Henry David Thoreau (The Journal, 1837-1861)
...Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient. ...He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low. He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life-or take it, because that is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed. He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to "square-away" those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. ...Just as did his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over two hundred years. He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood. And now we have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to war when our nation calls us to do so. As you go to bed tonight, remember this. A short lull, a little shade, and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.
Sarah Palin (America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag)
In 90% of cases, you can start with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story. Our brain doesn’t remember what we hear. It remembers only what we “see” or imagine while we listen. You can remember stories. Everything else is quickly forgotten. Smell is the most powerful sense out of 4 to immerse audience members into a scene. Every sentence either helps to drive your point home, or it detracts from clarity. There is no middle point. If you don’t have a foundational phrase in your speech, it means that your message is not clear enough to you, and if it’s not clear to you, there is no way it will be clear to your audience. Share your failures first. Show your audience members that you are not any better, smarter or more talented than they are. You are not an actor, you are a speaker. The main skill of an actor is to play a role; to be someone else. Your main skill as a speaker is to be yourself. People will forgive you for anything except for being boring. Speaking without passion is boring. If you are not excited about what you are talking about, how can you expect your audience to be excited? Never hide behind a lectern or a table. Your audience needs to see 100% of your body. Speak slowly and people will consider you to be a thoughtful and clever person. Leaders don’t talk much, but each word holds a lot of meaning and value. You always speak to only one person. Have a conversation directly with one person, look him or her in the eye. After you have logically completed one idea, which usually is 10-20 seconds, scan the audience and then stop your eyes on another person. Repeat this process again. Cover the entire room with eye contact. When you scan the audience and pick people for eye contact, pick positive people more often. When you pause, your audience thinks about your message and reflects. Pausing builds an audiences’ confidence. If you don’t pause, your audience doesn’t have time to digest what you've told them and hence, they will not remember a word of what you've said. Pause before and after you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. After you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. Speakers use filler words when they don’t know what to say, but they feel uncomfortable with silence. Have you ever seen a speaker who went on stage with a piece of paper and notes? Have you ever been one of these speakers? When people see you with paper in your hands, they instantly think, “This speaker is not sincere. He has a script and will talk according to the script.” The best speeches are not written, they are rewritten. Bad speakers create a 10 minutes speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Great speakers create a 5 minute speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Explain your ideas in a simple manner, so that the average 12-year-old child can understand the concept. Good speakers and experts can always explain the most complex ideas with very simple words. Stories evoke emotions. Factual information conveys logic. Emotions are far more important in a speech than logic. If you're considering whether to use statistics or a story, use a story. PowerPoint is for pictures not for words. Use as few words on the slide as possible. Never learn your speech word for word. Just rehearse it enough times to internalize the flow. If you watch a video of your speech, you can triple the pace of your development as a speaker. Make videos a habit. Meaningless words and clichés neither convey value nor information. Avoid them. Never apologize on stage. If people need to put in a lot of effort to understand you they simply won’t listen. On the other hand if you use very simple language you will connect with the audience and your speech will be remembered.
Andrii Sedniev (Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker)
[T]he old stories of human relationships with animals can't be discounted. They are not primitive; they are primal. They reflect insights that came from considerable and elaborate systems of knowledge, intellectual traditions and ways of living that were tried, tested, and found true over many thousands of years and on all continents. But perhaps the truest story is with the animals themselves because we have found our exemplary ways through them, both in the older world and in the present time, both physically and spiritually. According to the traditions of the Seneca animal society, there were medicine animals in ancient times that entered into relationships with people. The animals themselves taught ceremonies that were to be performed in their names, saying they would provide help for humans if this relationship was kept. We have followed them, not only in the way the early European voyagers and prenavigators did, by following the migrations of whales in order to know their location, or by releasing birds from cages on their sailing vessels and following them towards land, but in ways more subtle and even more sustaining. In a discussion of the Wolf Dance of the Northwest, artists Bill Holm and William Reid said that 'It is often done by a woman or a group of women. The dance is supposed to come from the wolves. There are different versions of its origin and different songs, but the words say something like, 'Your name is widely known among the wolves. You are honored by the wolves.' In another recent account, a Northern Cheyenne ceremonialist said that after years spent recovering from removals and genocide, indigenous peoples are learning their lost songs back from the wolves who retained them during the grief-filled times, as thought the wolves, even though threatened in their own numbers, have had compassion for the people.... It seems we have always found our way across unknown lands, physical and spiritual, with the assistance of the animals. Our cultures are shaped around them and we are judged by the ways in which we treat them. For us, the animals are understood to be our equals. They are still our teachers. They are our helpers and healers. They have been our guardians and we have been theirs. We have asked for, and sometimes been given, if we've lived well enough, carefully enough, their extraordinary powers of endurance and vision, which we have added to our own knowledge, powers and gifts when we are not strong enough for the tasks required of us. We have deep obligations to them. Without other animals, we are made less. (from her essay "First People")
Linda Hogan (Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals)
When I close my eyes to see, to hear, to smell, to touch a country I have known, I feel my body shake and fill with joy as if a beloved person had come near me. A rabbi was once asked the following question: ‘When you say that the Jews should return to Palestine, you mean, surely, the heavenly, the immaterial, the spiritual Palestine, our true homeland?’ The rabbi jabbed his staff into the ground in wrath and shouted, ‘No! I want the Palestine down here, the one you can touch with your hands, with its stones, its thorns and its mud!’ Neither am I nourished by fleshless, abstract memories. If I expected my mind to distill from a turbid host of bodily joys and bitternesses an immaterial, crystal-clear thought, I would die of hunger. When I close my eyes in order to enjoy a country again, my five senses, the five mouth-filled tentacles of my body, pounce upon it and bring it to me. Colors, fruits, women. The smells of orchards, of filthy narrow alleys, of armpits. Endless snows with blue, glittering reflections. Scorching, wavy deserts of sand shimmering under the hot sun. Tears, cries, songs, distant bells of mules, camels or troikas. The acrid, nauseating stench of some Mongolian cities will never leave my nostrils. And I will eternally hold in my hands – eternally, that is, until my hands rot – the melons of Bukhara, the watermelons of the Volga, the cool, dainty hand of a Japanese girl… For a time, in my early youth, I struggled to nourish my famished soul by feeding it with abstract concepts. I said that my body was a slave and that its duty was to gather raw material and bring it to the orchard of the mind to flower and bear fruit and become ideas. The more fleshless, odorless, soundless the world was that filtered into me, the more I felt I was ascending the highest peak of human endeavor. And I rejoiced. And Buddha came to be my greatest god, whom I loved and revered as an example. Deny your five senses. Empty your guts. Love nothing, hate nothing, desire nothing, hope for nothing. Breathe out and the world will be extinguished. But one night I had a dream. A hunger, a thirst, the influence of a barbarous race that had not yet become tired of the world had been secretly working within me. My mind pretended to be tired. You felt it had known everything, had become satiated, and was now smiling ironically at the cries of my peasant heart. But my guts – praised be God! – were full of blood and mud and craving. And one night I had a dream. I saw two lips without a face – large, scimitar-shaped woman’s lips. They moved. I heard a voice ask, ‘Who if your God?’ Unhesitatingly I answered, ‘Buddha!’ But the lips moved again and said: ‘No, Epaphus.’ I sprang up out of my sleep. Suddenly a great sense of joy and certainty flooded my heart. What I had been unable to find in the noisy, temptation-filled, confused world of wakefulness I had found now in the primeval, motherly embrace of the night. Since that night I have not strayed. I follow my own path and try to make up for the years of my youth that were lost in the worship of fleshless gods, alien to me and my race. Now I transubstantiate the abstract concepts into flesh and am nourished. I have learned that Epaphus, the god of touch, is my god. All the countries I have known since then I have known with my sense of touch. I feel my memories tingling, not in my head but in my fingertips and my whole skin. And as I bring back Japan to my mind, my hands tremble as if they were touching the breast of a beloved woman.
Nikos Kazantzakis (Travels in China & Japan)
A mood of constructive criticism being upon me, I propose forthwith that the method of choosing legislators now prevailing in the United States be abandoned and that the method used in choosing juries be substituted. That is to say, I propose that the men who make our laws be chosen by chance and against their will, instead of by fraud and against the will of all the rest of us, as now... ...that the names of all the men eligible in each assembly district be put into a hat (or, if no hat can be found that is large enough, into a bathtub), and that a blind moron, preferably of tender years, be delegated to draw out one... The advantages that this system would offer are so vast and obvious that I hesitate to venture into the banality of rehearsing them. It would in the first place, save the commonwealth the present excessive cost of elections, and make political campaigns unnecessary. It would in the second place, get rid of all the heart-burnings that now flow out of every contest at the polls, and block the reprisals and charges of fraud that now issue from the heart-burnings. It would, in the third place, fill all the State Legislatures with men of a peculiar and unprecedented cast of mind – men actually convinced that public service is a public burden, and not merely a private snap. And it would, in the fourth and most important place, completely dispose of the present degrading knee-bending and trading in votes, for nine-tenths of the legislators, having got into office unwillingly, would be eager only to finish their duties and go home, and even those who acquired a taste for the life would be unable to increase the probability, even by one chance in a million, of their reelection. The disadvantages of the plan are very few, and most of them, I believe, yield readily to analysis. Do I hear argument that a miscellaneous gang of tin-roofers, delicatessen dealers and retired bookkeepers, chosen by hazard, would lack the vast knowledge of public affairs needed by makers of laws? Then I can only answer (a) that no such knowledge is actually necessary, and (b) that few, if any, of the existing legislators possess it... Would that be a disservice to the state? Certainly not. On the contrary, it would be a service of the first magnitude, for the worst curse of democracy, as we suffer under it today, is that it makes public office a monopoly of a palpably inferior and ignoble group of men. They have to abase themselves to get it, and they have to keep on abasing themselves in order to hold it. The fact reflects in their general character, which is obviously low. They are men congenitally capable of cringing and dishonorable acts, else they would not have got into public life at all. There are, of course, exceptions to that rule among them, but how many? What I contend is simply that the number of such exceptions is bound to be smaller in the class of professional job-seekers than it is in any other class, or in the population in general. What I contend, second, is that choosing legislators from that populations, by chance, would reduce immensely the proportion of such slimy men in the halls of legislation, and that the effects would be instantly visible in a great improvement in the justice and reasonableness of the laws.
H.L. Mencken (A Mencken Chrestomathy)
From a very early age Edison became used to doing things for himself, by necessity. His family was poor, and by the age of twelve he had to earn money to help his parents. He sold newspapers on trains, and traveling around his native Michigan for his job, he developed an ardent curiosity about everything he saw. He wanted to know how things worked—machines, gadgets, anything with moving parts. With no schools or teachers in his life, he turned to books, particularly anything he could find on science. He began to conduct his own experiments in the basement of his family home, and he taught himself how to take apart and fix any kind of watch. At the age of fifteen he apprenticed as a telegraph operator, then spent years traveling across the country plying his trade. He had no chance for a formal education, and nobody crossed his path who could serve as a teacher or mentor. And so in lieu of that, in every city he spent time in, he frequented the public library. One book that crossed his path played a decisive role in his life: Michael Faraday’s two-volume Experimental Researches in Electricity. This book became for Edison what The Improvement of the Mind had been for Faraday. It gave him a systematic approach to science and a program for how to educate himself in the field that now obsessed him—electricity. He could follow the experiments laid out by the great Master of the field and absorb as well his philosophical approach to science. For the rest of his life, Faraday would remain his role model. Through books, experiments, and practical experience at various jobs, Edison gave himself a rigorous education that lasted about ten years, up until the time he became an inventor. What made this successful was his relentless desire to learn through whatever crossed his path, as well as his self-discipline. He had developed the habit of overcoming his lack of an organized education by sheer determination and persistence. He worked harder than anyone else. Because he was a consummate outsider and his mind had not been indoctrinated in any school of thought, he brought a fresh perspective to every problem he tackled. He turned his lack of formal direction into an advantage. If you are forced onto this path, you must follow Edison’s example by developing extreme self-reliance. Under these circumstances, you become your own teacher and mentor. You push yourself to learn from every possible source. You read more books than those who have a formal education, developing this into a lifelong habit. As much as possible, you try to apply your knowledge in some form of experiment or practice. You find for yourself second-degree mentors in the form of public figures who can serve as role models. Reading and reflecting on their experiences, you can gain some guidance. You try to make their ideas come to life, internalizing their voice. As someone self-taught, you will maintain a pristine vision, completely distilled through your own experiences—giving you a distinctive power and path to mastery.
Robert Greene (Mastery (The Robert Greene Collection))