Regarding Mother Quotes

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Question: I am interested in so many things, and I have a terrible fear because my mother keeps telling me that I'm just going to be exploring the rest of my life and never get anything done. But I find it really hard to set my ways and say, "Well, do I want to do this, or should I try to exploit that, or should I escape and completely do one thing?" Anaïs Nin: One word I would banish from the dictionary is 'escape.' Just banish that and you'll be fine. Because that word has been misused regarding anybody who wanted to move away from a certain spot and wanted to grow. He was an escapist. You know if you forget that word you will have a much easier time. Also you're in the prime, the beginning of your life; you should experiment with everything, try everything.... We are taught all these dichotomies, and I only learned later that they could work in harmony. We have created false dichotomies; we create false ambivalences, and very painful one's sometimes -the feeling that we have to choose. But I think at one point we finally realize, sometimes subconsciously, whether or not we are really fitted for what we try and if it's what we want to do. You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you're not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn't a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now.
Anaïs Nin
Time does not really exist for mothers, with regard to their children. It does not matter greatly how old the child is-in the blink of an eye, a mother can see the child again as they were when they were born, when they learned how to walk, as they were at any age-at any time, even when the child is fully grown or a parent themselves.
Diana Gabaldon
It made him feel indispensable and needed - even if the fact that Jocelyn didn't appear to care wheather he slept in her daughter's bed or not did underscore that Clary's mother apparently regarded him as about sexually threatening as a goldfish.
Cassandra Clare (City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5))
The American Negro has the great advantage of having never believed the collection of myths to which white Americans cling: that their ancestors were all freedom-loving heroes, that they were born in the greatest country the world has ever seen, or that Americans are invincible in battle and wise in peace, that Americans have always dealt honorably with Mexicans and Indians and all other neighbors or inferiors, that American men are the world's most direct and virile, that American women are pure. Negroes know far more about white Americans than that; it can almost be said, in fact, that they know about white Americans what parents—or, anyway, mothers—know about their children, and that they very often regard white Americans that way. And perhaps this attitude, held in spite of what they know and have endured, helps to explain why Negroes, on the whole, and until lately, have allowed themselves to feel so little hatred. The tendency has really been, insofar as this was possible, to dismiss white people as the slightly mad victims of their own brainwashing.
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
if you are unwilling to endure your own suffering even for an hour, and continually forestall all possible misfortune, if you regard as deserving of annihilation, any suffering and pain generally as evil, as detestable, and as blots on existence, well, you have then, besides your religion of compassion, yet another religion in your heart (and this is perhaps the mother of the former)-the religion of smug ease. Ah, how little you know of the happiness of man, you comfortable and good-natured ones! For happiness and misfortune are brother and sister, and twins, who grow tall together, or, as with you, remain small together!
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs)
When people grow up in a home where extramarital sex is condoned, they’re much less likely to regard it as a deal-breaker. Jacqueline Bouvier’s father, ‘Black Jack,’ confided in her about his female conquests, even going so far as to play a game with Jackie when he visited her at boarding school. She would point to a classmate’s mother, and Jack would respond, ‘Yes’ or ‘Not yet’ — answering the silent question, had he slept with that one?
Anne Michaud (Why They Stay: Sex Scandals, Deals, and Hidden Agendas of Eight Political Wives)
The settler makes history and is conscious of making it. And because he constantly refers to the history of his mother country, he clearly indicates that he himself is the extension of that mother-country. Thus the history which he writes is not the history of the country which he plunders but the history of his own nation in regard to all that she skims off, all that she violates and starves.
Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth)
But what I really long to know you do not tell either: what you feel, although I've given you hints by the score of my regard. You like me. You wouldn't waste time or paper on a being you didn't like. But I think I've loved you since we met at your mother's funeral. I want to be with you forever and beyond, but you write that you are too young to marry or too old or too short or too hungry---until I crumple your letters up in despair, only to smooth them out again for a twelfth reading, hunting for hidden meanings.
Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted (Ella Enchanted, #1))
His mother regarded her life patiently, as if it were a long moment that she had to endure.
John Williams (Stoner)
The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism, and modern cosmic religion is really this proposition: that nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover she is a step-mother.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
The lie that is known to be a lie is half eradicated, but the lie that even intelligent persons regard as a sacred fact – the lie that has been inculcated around a mother’s knee – is more dangerous to contend against than a creeping pestilence.
Ragnar Redbeard (MIght Is Right)
It had been June, the bright hot summer of 1937, and with the curtains thrown back the bedroom had been full of sunlight, sunlight and her and Will's children, their grandchildren, their nieces and nephews- Cecy's blue eyed boys, tall and handsome, and Gideon and Sophie's two girls- and those who were as close as family: Charlotte, white- haired and upright, and the Fairchild sons and daughters with their curling red hair like Henry's had once been. The children had spoken fondly of the way he had always loved their mother, fiercely and devotedly, the way he had never had eyes for anyone else, and how their parents had set the model for the sort of love they hoped to find in their own lives. They spoke of his regard for books, and how he had taught them all to love them too, to respect the printed page and cherish the stories that those pages held. They spoke of the way he still cursed in Welsh when he dropped something, though he rarely used the language otherwise, and of the fact that though his prose was excellent- he had written several histories of the Shadowhunters when he's retired that had been very well respected- his poetry had always been awful, though that never stopped him from reciting it. Their oldest child, James, had spoken laughingly about Will's unrelenting fear of ducks and his continual battle to keep them out of the pond at the family home in Yorkshire. Their grandchildren had reminded him of the song about demon pox he had taught them- when they were much too young, Tessa had always thought- and that they had all memorized. They sang it all together and out of tune, scandalizing Sophie. With tears running down her face, Cecily had reminded him of the moment at her wedding to Gabriel when he had delivered a beautiful speech praising the groom, at the end of which he had announced, "Dear God, I thought she was marrying Gideon. I take it all back," thus vexing not only Cecily and Gabriel but Sophie as well- and Will, though too tired to laugh, had smiled at his sister and squeezed her hand. They had all laughed about his habit of taking Tessa on romantic "holidays" to places from Gothic novels, including the hideous moor where someone had died, a drafty castle with a ghost in it, and of course the square in Paris in which he had decided Sydney Carton had been guillotined, where Will had horrified passerby by shouting "I can see the blood on the cobblestones!" in French.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
The World has a First Cause, which may be regarded as the Mother of the World. When one has found the Mother, one can know the Child. Knowing the Child and still keeping the Mother, to the end of his days he shall suffer no harm.
Lao Tzu (The Sayings Of Lao Tzu)
Theoretically, I can imagine that someday we will regard or children not add creatures to manipulate or to change but rather as messengers from a world we once deeply knew, but which we have long since forgotten, who can reveal to us more about the true secrets of life, and also our own lives, than our parents were ever able to.
Alice Miller (For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence)
His gaze narrowed and she could see his hands twitching again like he’d love nothing more than to throttle her. She was beginning to think it was an affliction of his. Did he go around wanting to choke the life out of everyone or was she special in that regard? “I’m afraid ’tis an urge that is entirely original to you,” the laird barked. She clamped her mouth shut and closed her eyes. Mother Serenity had vowed one day Mairin would regret her propensity to blurt out her least little thought. Today just might be that day.
Maya Banks (In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1))
How much more beautiful would be the world and the society in which we live if...every mother regarded her children as the jewels of her life, as gifts from the God of heaven, who is their Eternal Father, and brought them up in true affection in the wisdom and admonition of the Lord.
Gordon B. Hinckley
a woman who contributes to the life of mankind by the occupation of motherhood is taking as high a place in the division of human labor as anyone else could take. If she is interested in the lives of her children and is paving the way for them to become fellow men, if she is spreading their interests and training them to cooperate, her work is so valuable that it can never be rightly rewarded. In our own culture the work of a mother is undervalued and often regarded as a not very attractive or estimable occupation. It is paid only indirectly and a woman who makes it her main occupation is generally placed in a position of economic dependence. The success of the family, however, rests equally upon the work of the mother and the work of the father. Whether the mother keeps house or works independently, her work as a mother does not play a lower role than the work of her husband.
Alfred Adler (WHAT LIFE COULD MEAN TO YOU (Timeless Wisdom Collection Book 196))
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? (Just to give you an idea, Proust's reply was 'To be separated from Mama.') I think that the lowest depth of misery ought to be distinguished from the highest pitch of anguish. In the lower depths come enforced idleness, sexual boredom, and/or impotence. At the highest pitch, the death of a friend or even the fear of the death of a child.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
I have noticed,” she said slowly, “that time does not really exist for mothers, with regard to their children. It does not matter greatly how old the child is—in the blink of an eye, the mother can see the child again as it was when it was born, when it learned to walk, as it was at any age—at any time, even when the child is fully grown and a parent itself.
Diana Gabaldon (Voyager (Outlander, #3))
The social prestige of wine at table and at the club must be destroyed through lofty example and polite ridicule; forces which are not always available, and for whose successful operation much time will be required. But the outstanding fact remains, that the world has come to regard liquor in a new and clearer light. Our next generation of poets will contain but few Anacreons, for the thinking element of mankind has robbed the flowing bowl of its fancied virtues and fictitious beauties. The grape, so long permitted to masquerade as the inspirer of wit and art, is now revealed as the mother of ruin and death. The wolf at last stands divested of its sheep’s clothing.
H.P. Lovecraft
I shall try to persuade first the Rulers and soldiers, and then the rest of the community, that the upbringing and education we have given them was all something that happened to them only in a dream. In reality they were fashioned and reared, and their arms and equipment manufactured, in the depths of the earth, and Earth herself, their mother, brought them up, when they were complete, into the light of day; so now they must think of the land in which they live as their mother and protect her if she is attacked, while their fellow citizens they must regard as brothers born of the same mother earth…. That is the story. Do you know of any way of making them believe it?” “Not in the first generation,” he said, “but you might succeed with the second, and later generations.
Plato (The Republic)
If I may be pardoned for suggesting the obvious, I do so only because the obvious is not observed in so many instances. The obvious includes four imperatives with reference to children: (1) love them, (2) teach them, (3) respect them, and (4) pray with them and for them... How much more beautiful would be the world and the society in which we live if every father looked upon his children as the most precious of his assets, if he led them by the power of his example in kindness and love, and if in times of stress he blessed them by the authority of the holy priesthood; and if every mother regarded her children as the jewels of her life, as gifts from the God of heaven, who is their Eternal Father, and brought them up with true affection in the wisdom and admonition of the Lord...
Gordon B. Hinckley
We like to stress the commonness of heroes. Essences seem undemocratic. We feel oppressed by the call to greatness. We regard an interest in glory or perfection as a sign of mental unhealthiness, and have decided that high achievers, who are called overachievers, owe their surplus ambition to a defect in mothering (either too little or too much). We want to admire but think we have a right not to be intimidated. We dislike feeling inferior to an ideal. So away with ideals, with essences. The only ideals allowed are healthy ones -- those everyone may aspire to, or comfortably imagine oneself possessing.
Susan Sontag (The Volcano Lover)
And this was what worried her the most: nothing had ever felt as comfortable, as easy, as good as being with her parents, her family. No one, it seemed, would ever regard her with the same enthusiastic awe as her mother; the same quiet, feverish pride as her father. It aroused concern within that she was slated for a lifetime of disappointment from the outside.
Claire Lombardo (The Most Fun We Ever Had)
It is precisely because I valued myself that I was unwilling to remain miserable in a school and whole social environment that did not fit my needs. It is because the housewife had regard for herself that she refused to tolerate any longer a marriage that so totally limited her freedom and repressed her personality. It is because the businessman cared for himself that he was no longer willing to nearly kill himself in order to meet the expectations of his mother.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
Matilda had never once stopped to think about where Miss Honey might be living. She had always regarded her purely as a teacher, a person who turned up out of nowhere and taught at school and then went away again. Do any of us children, she wondered, ever stop to ask ourselves where our teachers go when school is over for the day? Do we wonder if they live alone, or if there is a mother at home or a sister or a husband?
Roald Dahl (Matilda)
When wealth occupies a higher position than wisdom, when notoriety is admired more than dignity, when success is more important than self-respect, the culture itself overvalues "image" and must be regarded as narcissistic.
Karyl McBride (Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers)
Whosoever does not believe in the existence of a sixth sense has clearly not regarded their own mother. How it is they know all they know about you, even those secrets you locked away so tightly in the most hidden compartments of your heart, remains one of the great mysteries of the world. And they don't just know—they know instantly.
Narissa Doumani
The next visit I paid to Nancy Brown was in the second week in March: for, though I had many spare minutes during the day, I seldom could look upon an hour as entirely my own; since, when everything was left to the caprices of Miss Matilda and her sister, there could be no order or regularity. Whatever occupation I chose, when not actually busied about them or their concerns, I had, as it were, to keep my loins girded, my shoes on my feet, and my staff in my hand; for not to be immediately forthcoming when called for, was regarded as a grave and inexcusable offence: not only by my pupils and their mother, but by the very servant, who came in breathless haste to call me, exclaiming 'You're to go to the school-room directly, mum- the young ladies is WAITING!!' Climax of horror! actually waiting for their governess!!!
Anne Brontë (Agnes Grey)
The appearance of a pest should be regarded as a warning from Mother Earth to put our house in order.
Albert Howard (The Soil and Health: A Study of Organic Agriculture (Culture of the Land))
At length the Turk turned to Larry: 'You write, I believe?' he said with complete lack of interest. Larry's eyes glittered. Mother, seeing the danger signs, rushed in quickly before he could reply. 'Yes, yes' she smiled, 'he writes away, day after day. Always tapping at the typewriter' 'I always feel that I could write superbly if I tried' remarked the Turk. 'Really?' said Mother. 'Yes, well, it's a gift I suppose, like so many things.' 'He swims well' remarked Margo, 'and he goes out terribly far' 'I have no fear' said the Turk modestly. 'I am a superb swimmer, so I have no fear. When I ride the horse, I have no fear, for I ride superbly. I can sail the boat magnificently in the typhoon without fear' He sipped his tea delicately, regarding our awestruck faces with approval. 'You see' he went on, in case we had missed the point, 'you see, I am not a fearful man.
Gerald Durrell (My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy, #1))
My mother was, for the most part, delighted with my brother and regarded him with the bemused curiosity of a brood hen discovering she has hatched a completely different species. 'I think it was very nice of Paul to give me this vase,' she once said, arranging a bouquet of wildflowers into the skull-shaped bong my brother had left on the kitchen table. 'It's nontraditional, but that's the Rooster's way. He's a free spirit, and we're lucky to have him.
David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
You still read fairy tales?" "Every part of the human condition is packaged neatly in fairy tales. Every bit of culture that makes us who we are." She tutted at him. "When I was a girl, such things were regarded with respect." "I've always had trouble with that," he replied dryly. Rina scoffed and settled down on the floor. "I know. But one day you'll learn it. All virtues not granted at birth are taught to you by life, one way or another. My mother told me that.
K. Ancrum (The Wicker King (The Wicker King, #1))
It was not very long after this that there occurred the first of the mysterious events that rid us at last of the captain, though not, as you will see, of his affairs. It was a bitter cold winter, with long, hard frosts and heavy gales; and it was plain from the first that my poor father was little likely to see the spring. He sank daily, and my mother and I had all the inn upon our hands, and were kept busy enough without paying much regard to our unpleasant guest.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island)
It's Salvation. When Jen told me I had a vision. A vision Rena. I think I saw the blessed mother smiling and she was hold ing a loofa. [In regards to moving out of dorms and having three bathrooms between 4 roomates]
Nora Roberts (Blue Smoke)
Here is Abraham Lincoln’s touching condolence letter to 22-year-old Fanny McCullough, the daughter of a long-time friend: “Dear Fanny It is with deep grief that I learn of the death of your kind and brave Father; and, especially, that it is affecting your young heart beyond what is common in such cases. In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once. The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer and holier sort than you have known before. Please present my kind regards to your afflicted mother. Your sincere friend, A. Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
The fathers of the fatherless children are the ones who abandon and neglect their sons and daughters. They are not held responsible for their part in regards to helping raise their children. Where is the justice for our sons and daughters? Father of the fatherless children, you are a sorry excuse for a man.
Charlena E. Jackson (Dear fathers of the fatherless children)
Adèle is not answerable for either her mother's faults or yours; I have a regard for her, and now that I know she is, in a sense, parentless – forsaken by her mother and disowned by you, sir – I shall cling closer to her than before. How could I possibly prefer the spoiled pet of a wealthy family, who hate her governess as a nuisance, to a lonely little orphan, who leans towards her as a friend?
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Something seems to happen to people when they meet a journalist, and what happens is exactly the opposite of what one would expect. One would think that extreme wariness and caution would be the order of the day, but in fact childish trust and impetuosity are far more common. The journalistic encounter seems to have the same regressive effect on a subject as the psychoanalytic encounter. The subject becomes a kind of child of the writer, regarding him as a permissive, all-accepting, all-forgiving mother, and expecting that the book will be written by her. Of course, the book is written by the strict, all-noticing, unforgiving father.
Janet Malcolm (The Journalist and the Murderer)
Heaven is my father and Earth is my mother and even such a small creature as I finds an intimate place in their midst. Therefore that which extends throughout the universe I regard as my body and that which directs the universe I consider as my nature. All people are my brothers and sisters, and all things are my companions.
Mary Evelyn Tucker (Journey of the Universe)
I have learned that the point of life's walk is not where or how far I move my feet but how I am moved in my heart. If I walk far but am angry toward others as I journey, I walk nowhere. If I conquer mountains but hold grudges against others as I climb, I conquer nothing. If I see much but regard others as enemies, I see no one.
Anasazi Foundation (The Seven Paths: Changing One's Way of Walking in the World)
Border crossings in the Balkans, where bitter wars have been waged, were not regarded as pleasurable; in many places, they weren't even possible, and one avoided them. But, while riding in the droshky and later, when we dismounted, we saw the most luxuriant orchards and vegetable gardens, dark-violet eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, gigantic pumpkins and melons; I couldn't get over my amazement at all the different things that grew here. "That's what it's like here", said Mother, "a blessed land. And it's a civilized land, no one should be ashamed of being born here.
Elias Canetti (Die gerettete Zunge: Geschichte einer Jugend)
When my father was vigorous and lucid, (my mother) regarded medicine as her wily ally in a lifelong campaign to keep old age, sickness, and death at bay. Now ally and foe exchanged masks. Medicine looked more like the enemy, and death the friend. (p. 184)
Katy Butler (Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death)
I’ve alway been struck by how little adults understand children, even their own fathers and mothers. Nothing should be kept from children on the pretext that they’re little and it’s too soon for them to know. Such a sad, wretched idea! Children themselves are well aware that their parents regard them as as too small and uncomprehending, when actually they understand everything. Adults don’t realize that children can give extremely valuable advice in the most difficult situations. Heavens! When that pretty little bird looks at you, so happy and trusting, you are ashamed to betray it!
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Idiot)
...out of despair I decided to follow this horror through. I stared down at what I was already grasping in my hand, like an ape; I wrapped myself in the dust and took off my trousers. Interwoven joy and terror strangled me within. I strangled and I gasped from pleasure. The more those pictures terrified me, the more intense was my excitement at the sight of them. After days of accumulating alarms, tensions, suffocations, I was beyond withstanding my own ignominy. I invoked it and I blessed it. It was my inevitable fate: my joy was all the greater since, with regard to life, I had long since entrenched myself in an attitude of suffering, and now, in the throes of delight, I progressed even farther into vileness and degradation.
Georges Bataille (My Mother/Madame Edwarda/The Dead Man)
The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great “brotherhood.” It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to “the best that is within us.” It aims to make this world such a comfortable and congenial habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to occupy man so much with this world that he has no time or inclination to think of the world to come. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, charity and benevolence, and teaches us to live for the good of others, and to be kind to all. It appeals strongly to the carnal mind and is popular with the masses, because it ignores the solemn facts that by nature man is a fallen creature, alienated from the life of God, and dead in trespasses and sins, and that his only hope lies in being born again.
Arthur W. Pink (Satan and His Gospel (Arthur Pink Collection Book 47))
And just as the child gradually breaks off the habit of regarding his mother only as a means of satisfying his own desires and learns to love her for her own sake, so the worshipper after a struggle has reached an attitude of mind in which he desires God for himself and not as a means of fulfillment of his own wishes.
Eugene H. Peterson (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society (The IVP Signature Collection))
Why does Lewis Black have so much hatred for goodness? I do not know. Because I am not a trained psychologist, I think it would be unethical for me to attempt to analyze him. But based upon his feelings regarding candy corn, I think it is safe to assume that he hates freedom, hates himself, and wants to fuck his mother.
Michael Ian Black (My Custom Van: And 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face)
Keep his mind on the inner life. He thinks his conversion is something inside him, and his attention is therefore chiefly turned at present to the state of his own mind--or rather to that very expurgated version of them which is all you should allow him to see. Encourage this. Keep his mind off the most elementary duties of directing it to the most advanced and spiritual ones. Aggravate the most useful human characteristics, the horror and neglect of the obvious. You must bring him to a condition in which he can practise self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office. 2. It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure that they are always very 'spiritual', that is is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rhuematism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards are her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. Thus you can keep rubbing the wounds of the day a little sorer even while he is on his knees; the operation is not at all difficult and you will find it very entertaining. In the second place, since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother--the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table. In time you may get the cleavage so wide that no thought or feeling from his prayers for the imagined mother will ever flow over into his treatment of the real one. I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment's notice from impassioned prayer for a wife's or son's soul to beating or insulting the real wife or son without any qualm. 3. When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face whice are almost unedurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Bring fully into the consciousness of your patient that particular lift of his mother's eyebrows which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy--if you know your job he will not notice the immense improbablity of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her. As he cannot see or hear himself, this is easily managed.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
I am wounded. I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next. I think of your grandmother calling me and noting how you were growing tall and would one day try to “test me.” And I said to her that I would regard that day, should it come, as the total failure of fatherhood because if all I had over you were my hands, then I really had nothing at all. But, forgive me, son, I knew what she meant and when you were younger I thought the same. And I am now ashamed of the thought, ashamed of my fear, of the generational chains I tried to clasp onto your wrists. We are entering our last years together, and I wish I had been softer with you. Your mother had to teach me how to love you—how to kiss you and tell you I love you every night. Even now it does not feel a wholly natural act so much as it feels like ritual. And that is because I am wounded. That is because I am tied to old ways, which I learned in a hard house. It was a loving house even as it was besieged by its country, but it was hard. Even in Paris, I could not shake the old ways, the instinct to watch my back at every pass, and always be ready to go.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)
in 3000 b.c....in spain, france, the british isles and old europe, the lives of people centered on nature and motherhood. they honored mother nature, mother earth and mother creator. women were revered as the givers of life. as creators, they were thought to be connected to diety. statues of the goddesses of these early people were of full-breasted women with bodies clearly depicting the ballooning abdomen of women about to give birth. these primal people regarded birthing as the highest manifestation of nature. when a woman gave birth, everyone gathered around her in the temple for the "celebration of life." birthing was a religious rite, and not at all the painful ordeal it came to be years later.
Marie F. Mongan (HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method)
Most Eugenists are Euphemists. I mean merely that short words startle them, while long words soothe them. And they are utterly incapable of translating the one into the other, however obviously they mean the same thing. Say to them "The persuasive and even coercive powers of the citizen should enable him to make sure that the burden of longevity in the previous generation does not become disproportionate and intolerable, especially to the females"; say this to them and they will sway slightly to and fro like babies sent to sleep in cradles. Say to them "Murder your mother," and they sit up quite suddenly. Yet the two sentences, in cold logic, are exactly the same. Say to them "It is not improbable that a period may arrive when the narrow if once useful distinction between the anthropoid homo and the other animals, which has been modified on so many moral points, may be modified also even in regard to the important question of the extension of human diet"; say this to them, and beauty born of murmuring sound will pass into their face. But say to them, in a simple, manly, hearty way "Let's eat a man!" and their surprise is quite surprising. Yet the sentences say just the same thing.
G.K. Chesterton (Eugenics and Other Evils : An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State)
Rather, a woman is regarded as owing her human capacities to particular people, often men or his children within heterosexual relationships that also uphold white supremacy, and who are in turn deemed entitled to her services. This might be envisaged as the de facto legacy of coverture law—a woman’s being “spoken for” by her father, and afterward her husband, then son-in-law, and so on. And it is plausibly part of what makes women more broadly somebody’s mother, sister, daughter, grandmother: always somebody’s someone, and seldom her own person. But this is not because she’s not held to be a person at all, but rather because her personhood is held to be owed to others, in the form of service labor, love, and loyalty.
Kate Manne (Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny)
I cannot pretend that I understood my mother at the end of her life. I was trying to follow the goals she had set me even though she had rejected them for herself. I took the following to be her death poem: Why do we suffer so in the world? Just regard life as the short bloom of the mountain cherry. Over the years, my opinion of this poem changed. At first I considered it another lament in the pessimistic mode she so often adopted. Then one day I realized it was actually joyous, and my entire understanding of her was transformed. In the end she had no more sorrow than does a cherry blossom at its falling.
Liza Dalby
We are afraid of what we will do to others, afraid of the rage that lies in wait somewhere deep in our souls. How many human beings go through the world frozen with rage against life! This deeply hidden inner anger may be the product of hurt pride or of real frustration in office, factory, clinic, or home. Whatever may be the cause of our frozen rage (which is the inevitable mother of depression), the great word of hope today is that this rage can be conquered and drained off into creative channels … …What should we do? We should all learn that a certain amount of aggressive energy is normal and certainly manageable in maturity. Most of us can drain off the excess of our angry feelings and destructive impulses in exercise, in competitive games, or in the vigorous battles against the evils of nature and society. We also must realize that no one will punish us for the legitimate expression of self-assertiveness and creative pugnacity as our parents once punished us for our undisciplined temper tantrums. Furthermore, let us remember that we need not totally repress the angry part of our nature. We can always give it an outlet in the safe realm of fantasy. A classic example of such fantasy is given by Max Beerborn, who made a practice of concocting imaginary letters to people he hated. Sometimes he went so far as to actually write the letters and in the very process of releasing his anger it evaporated. As mature men and women we should regard our minds as a true democracy where all kinds of ideas and emotions should be given freedom of speech. If in political life we are willing to grant civil liberties to all sorts of parties and programs, should we not be equally willing to grant civil liberties to our innermost thoughts and drives, confident that the more dangerous of them will be outvoted by the majority within our minds? Do I mean that we should hit out at our enemy whenever the mood strikes us? No, I repeat that I am suggesting quite the reverse—self-control in action based upon (positive coping mechanisms such as) self expression in fantasy.
Joshua Loth Liebman (Peace of Mind: Insights on Human Nature That Can Change Your Life)
He reaches forward slowly, to lift the pen from my lax grip. Wearily I regard the faltering trail of ink it has tracked down my page. I have seen that shape before, I think, but it was not ink then. A trickle of drying blood on the deck of a Red-Ship, and mine the hand that spilled it? Or was it a tendril of smoke rising black against a blue sky as I rode too late to warn a village of a Red-Ship raid? Or poison swirling and unfurling yellowly in a simple glass of water, poison I had handed someone, smiling all the while? The artless curl of a strand of woman's hair left upon my pillow? Or the trail of a man's heels left in the sand as we dragged the bodies from the smoldering tower at Sealbay? The track of a tear down a mother's cheek as she clutched her Forged infant to her despite his angry cries? Like Red-Ships, the memories come without warning, without mercy.
Robin Hobb (Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1))
Here he found Stephen looking frowsty and discontented - there was nothing that more thoroughly persuaded Jack of his friend's innocence with regard to Mrs Fielding than this three days' beard, this vile old wig - and Stephen said to him 'If the woman does not issue a more Christian invitation in two minutes, I shall drink that,' - pointing to the gunroom's coffee, weak, insipid, only just luke-warm. 'She has asked us to take chocolate with her. Chocolate at this time in the morning, dear Mother of God. Suff on her.
Patrick O'Brian (Treason's Harbour (Aubrey & Maturin, #9))
Implicit [in the psychiatric literature] is a set of normative assumptions regarding the father's prerogatives and the mother's obligations within the family, The father, like the children, is presumed to be entitled to the mother's love, nurturance, and care. In fact, his dependent needs actually supersede those of the children, for if a mother falls to provide the accustomed intentions, it is taken for granted that some other female must be found to take her place. The oldest daughter is a frequent choice... The father's wish, indeed his right, to continue to receive female nurturance, whatever the circumstances, is accepted without question.
Judith Lewis Herman (Father-Daughter Incest (with a new Afterword))
I should like to direct the attention of artists. A constant producer, a man who is a "mother" in the grand sense of the term, one who no longer knows or hears of anything except pregnancies and childbeds of his spirit, who has no time at all to reflect and make comparisons with regard to himself and his work, who is also no longer inclined to exercise his taste, but simply forgets it, letting it take its chance of standing, lying or falling -- perhaps such a man at last produces works on which he is then quite unfit to pass a judgment: so that he speaks and thinks foolishly about them and about himself. This seems to me almost the normal condition with fruitful artists.
Friedrich Nietzsche
We should no longer allow a mother to be defined as "just a mom". It is on her back that great nations are built. We should no longer allow any woman's voice to be drowned out or disregarded. As we affirm other women, and as we teach our sons, husbands and friends to hold them in the highest regard, we honor both the mothers whose shoulders we've stood on and the daughters who will one day stand tall on ours.
Oprah Winfrey (What I Know for Sure)
Often, her mate is the child of a narcissist, already indoctrinated to regard exploitation and disregard as love. Others lured by the narcissistic aura are those in whom healthy childhood exhibitionism has been repressed. . . . If the parent puts the child to shame for showing off, the need for attention gets repressed into the unconscious. Repression means that the need is not satisfied and continues to press for expression in the adult without her being aware of it. The repressed adult may select an exhibitionistic mate to achieve vicarious satisfaction.
Elan Golomb (Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in Their Struggle for Self)
Father had stretched out his long legs and was tilting back in his chair. Mother sat with her knees crossed, in blue slacks, smoking a Chesterfield. The dessert dishes were still on the table. My sisters were nowhere in evidence. It was a warm evening; the big dining-room windows gave onto blooming rhododendrons. Mother regarded me warmly. She gave me to understand that she was glad I had found what I had been looking for, but that she and father were happy to sit with their coffee, and would not be coming down. She did not say, but I understood at once, that they had their pursuits (coffee?) and I had mine. She did not say, but I began to understand then, that you do what you do out of your private passion for the thing itself. I had essentially been handed my own life. In subsequent years my parents would praise my drawings and poems, and supply me with books, art supplies, and sports equipment, and listen to my troubles and enthusiasms, and supervise my hours, and discuss and inform, but they would not get involved with my detective work, nor hear about my reading, nor inquire about my homework or term papers or exams, nor visit the salamanders I caught, nor listen to me play the piano, nor attend my field hockey games, nor fuss over my insect collection with me, or my poetry collection or stamp collection or rock collection. My days and nights were my own to plan and fill.
Annie Dillard (An American Childhood)
The place Joanne is building inside [herself] has rooms for all of this. Not just rooms. Beautiful ones. For Karl and Jerry and Karen and Nate in his cowboy hat and the hot-tub guy and movie directors and old-lady healers and people trying to love their asses and people who think they're stupid for it. In these rooms, each thing that looks crazy or stupid will be like a drawing you give your mother, regarded with complete acceptance and put on the wall. Not because it is good but because it is trying to understand something. In these rooms, there will be understanding. In these rooms, each madness and stupidity will be unfolded from its knot and smoothed with loving hands until the true thing inside lies revealed.
Mary Gaitskill (Veronica)
As regards the origin of God, my own idea is that having realized the limitations of man, his weaknesses and shortcoming having been taken into consideration, God was brought into imaginary existence to encourage man to face boldly all the trying circumstances, to meet all dangers manfully and to check and restrain his outbursts in prosperity and affluence. God both with his private laws and parental generosity was imagined and painted in greater details. He was to serve as a deterrent factor when his fury and private laws were discussed so that man may not become a danger to society. He was to serve as a father, mother, sister and brother, friend and helpers when his parental qualifications were to be explained. So that when man be in great distress having been betrayed and deserted by all friends he may find consolation in the idea that an ever true friend was still there to help him, to support him and that He was almighty and could do anything. Really that was useful to the society in the primitive age. The idea of God is helpful to man in distress.
Bhagat Singh (Why I am an Atheist)
As a working definition of art, I lean toward Tolstoy's: "Art is a human activity having for it's purpose the transmission to other of the highest and best feelings to which mankind has risen." It seems to me that, regarding agrarian art, the farther it moves away from the natural world, especially when the main goal is money profits, the more difficult it becomes for it to reflect "the highest and best feelings" of humanity. The same is true of, of course, of agriculture itself. The farther it tries to remove itself from nature in search of money, the more it moves away from the highest and healthiest kinds of food.
Gene Logsdon (The Mother of All Arts: Agrarianism and the Creative Impulse (Culture Of The Land))
The happiness of my existence, its unique character perhaps can be found in its fatefulness: to speak in a riddle, as my father I have already died, as my mother I still live and grow old. This double origin taken as it were from the highest and lowest rungs of the ladder of life at once decadent and beginning — this if anything explains that neutrality, that freedom from bias in regard to the general problem of existence which perhaps distinguishes me. My nose is more sensitive than any man that has yet lived as to signs of ascent or decline. In this domain I am a true master — I know both sides for I am both sides.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Ecce Homo)
Vera had held this body when it was moments old, had washed, fed, clothed it, and on her best days she couldn't look at her daughter without swelling with self-regard for having given birth to someone so worthy of love. Now that body had grown beyond the jurisdiction of her protection. Though it was rarely deployed in Vera's emotional vocabulary, she could think of no better word than wonder to describe the startling closeness of just standing here beside her child. Forget Lydia's poor choices. Forget the demons Vera could only guess at. The very fact Lydia was alive gave her mother the faith to believe she had done this one thing right.
Anthony Marra (The Tsar of Love and Techno)
Because of the violence that has been at work in my family for generations, I can't name one relative who believes that he or she is loveable, worthy of kindness, deserving of care, attention, gentleness. This is what violence does; it squeezes us down into creatures we are not meant to be, so self-loathing and fearful that it hurts too much to hope, constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, for things to begin badly, or end badly. Moments of joy and pleasure regarded with suspicion.
Anna Camilleri (I Am a Red Dress: Incantations on a Grandmother, a Mother, and a Daughter)
In this regard I find myself dubious about the politics of women’s peace groups, for example, which celebrate maternality as the basis for engaging in antimilitarist work. I do not see the mother with her child as either more morally credible or more morally capable than any other woman. A child can be used as a symbolic credential, a sentimental object, a badge of self-righteousness. I question the implicit belief that only “mothers” with “children of their own” have a real stake in the future of humanity.
Zinzi Clemmons (What We Lose)
The Mother of God is asked to 'pray zealously to her Son and her God,' and the words of the psalm are put into her mouth:'My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. for He hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.' It is because of her child that she says this, He will magnify her ('For He that is mighty hath done to me great things'): He is her glory. Any woman could say it. For everyone of them, God is in her child. Mothers of great men must have been familiar with this feeling, but then, all women are mothers of great men-it isn't their fault if life disappoints them later.
Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago)
The Native Americans, whose wisdom Thoreau admired, regarded the Earth itself as a sacred source of energy. To stretch out on it brought repose, to sit on the ground ensured greater wisdom in councils, to walk in contact with its gravity gave strength and endurance. The Earth was an inexhaustible well of strength: because it was the original Mother, the feeder, but also because it enclosed in its bosom all the dead ancestors. It was the element in which transmission took place. Thus, instead of stretching their hands skyward to implore the mercy of celestial divinities, American Indians preferred to walk barefoot on the Earth: The Lakota was a true Naturist – a lover of Nature. He loved the earth and all things of the earth, the attachment growing with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth. Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest on the earth and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing. That is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life-giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly; he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him. Walking, by virtue of having the earth’s support, feeling its gravity, resting on it with every step, is very like a continuous breathing in of energy. But the earth’s force is not transmitted only in the manner of a radiation climbing through the legs. It is also through the coincidence of circulations: walking is movement, the heart beats more strongly, with a more ample beat, the blood circulates faster and more powerfully than when the body is at rest. And the earth’s rhythms draw that along, they echo and respond to each other. A last source of energy, after the heart and the Earth, is landscapes. They summon the walker and make him at home: the hills, the colours, the trees all confirm it. The charm of a twisting path among hills, the beauty of vine fields in autumn, like purple and gold scarves, the silvery glitter of olive leaves against a defining summer sky, the immensity of perfectly sliced glaciers … all these things support, transport and nourish us.
Frédéric Gros (A Philosophy of Walking)
Mothers of the fathers of the fatherless children, you are a mother, therefore, you should truly understand and be sincere regarding where the mother of your son’s children is coming from. Not to mention, grandparents, you are not helping your son by making undercover moves. More so, you are hindering him from being a father, and you are helping him stray off track even further. As mothers, we have to work together for a far greater change than being biased and taking someone’s side, especially knowing they are in the wrong.
Charlena E. Jackson (Dear fathers of the fatherless children)
•  The child has a primary need from the very beginning of her life to be regarded and respected as the person she really is at any given time. •  When we speak here of “the person she really is at any given time,” we mean emotions, sensations, and their expression from the first day onward. •  In an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for her feelings, the child, in the phase of separation, will be able to give up symbiosis with the mother and accomplish the steps toward individuation and autonomy. •  If they are to furnish these prerequisites for the healthy development of their child, the parents themselves ought to have grown up in such an atmosphere. If they did, they will be able to assure the child the protection and well-being she needs to develop trust. •  Parents who did not experience this climate as children are themselves deprived; throughout their lives they will continue to look for what their own parents could not give them at the appropriate time—the presence of a person who is completely aware of them and takes them seriously. •  This search, of course, can never fully succeed, since it relates to a situation that belongs irrevocably to the past, namely to the time right after birth and during early childhood.
Alice Miller (The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self)
I knew she was leaving. I knew we were never going to date long-distance. I knew that we wouldn't have been able to be like this back when were were dating, so there was no use in regretting what hadn't happened. I suspected that what happens in hotel rooms rarely lasts outside of them. I suspected that when something was a beginning and an ending at the same time, that meant it could only exist in the present... ..It was snowing outside, anointing the air with a quiet wonder shared by all passersby. When I got back to my mother's apartment, I was a mixture of giddy thrill-happiness and muddle gut-confusion-- I didn't want to leave anything regarding Sofia to chance, and at the same time I was enjoying this step away from it.
Rachel Cohn (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1))
Devaluation of the Earth, hostility towards the Earth, fear of the Earth: these are all from the psychological point of view the expression of a weak patriarchal consciousness that knows no other way to help itself than to withdraw violently from the fascinating and overwhelming domain of the Earthly. For we know that the archetypal projection of the Masculine experiences, not without justice, the Earth as the unconscious-making, instinct-entangling, and therefore dangerous Feminine. At the same time the projection of the masculine anima is mingled with the living image of the Earth archetype in the unconscious of man; and the more one-sidedly masculine man's conscious mind is the more primitive, unreliable, and therefore dangerous his anima will be. However, the Earth archetype, in compensation to the divinity of the archetype of Heaven and the Father, that determined the consciousness of medieval man, is fused together with the archaic image of the Mother Goddess. Yet in its struggle against this Mother Goddess, the conscious mind, in its historical development, has had great difficulty in asserting itself so as to reach its – patriarchal - independence. The insecurity of this conscious mind-and we have profound experience of how insecure the position of the conscious mind still is in modern man-is always bound up with fear of the unconscious, and no well-meaning theory "against fear" will be able to rid the world of this deeply rooted anxiety, which at different times has been projected on different objects. Whether this anxiety expresses itself in a religious form as the medieval fear of demons or witches, or politically as the modern fear of war with the State beyond the Iron Curtain, in every case we are dealing with a projection, though at the same time the anxiety is justified. In reality, our small ego-consciousness is justifiably afraid of the superior power of the collective forces, both without and within. In the history of the development of the conscious mind, for reasons which we cannot pursue here, the archetype of the Masculine Heaven is connected positively with the conscious mind, and the collective powers that threaten and devour the conscious mind both from without and within, are regarded as Feminine. A negative evaluation of the Earth archetype is therefore necessary and inevitable for a masculine, patriarchal conscious mind that is still weak. But this validity only applies in relation to a specific type of conscious mind; it alters as the integration of the human personality advances, and the conscious mind is strengthened and extended. A one-sided conscious mind, such as prevailed in the medieval patriarchal order, is certainly radical, even fanatical, but in a psychological sense it is by no means strong. As a result of the one-sidedness of the conscious mind, the human personality becomes involved in an equally one-sided opposition to its own unconscious, so that actually a split occurs. Even if, for example, the Masculine principle identifies itself with the world of Heaven, and projects the evil world of Earth outwards on the alien Feminine principle, both worlds are still parts of the personality, and the repressing masculine spiritual world of Heaven and of the values of the conscious mind is continually undermined and threatened by the repressed but constantly attacking opposite side. That is why the religious fanaticism of the representatives of the patriarchal World of Heaven reached its climax in the Inquisition and the witch trials, at the very moment when the influence of the archetype of Heaven, which had ruled the Middle Ages and the previous period, began to wane, and the opposite image of the Feminine Earth archetype began to emerge.
Erich Neumann (The Fear of the Feminine and Other Essays on Feminine Psychology)
The summer of 1950 was the hottest in living memory, with high humidity and temperatures above 100 F. My mother had been washing every day, and she was attacked for this, too. Peasants, especially in the North where Mrs. Mi came from, washed very rarely, because of the shortage of water. In the guerrillas, men and women used to compete to see who had the most 'revolutionary insects' (lice). Cleanliness was regarded as un proletarian When the steamy summer turned into cool autumn my father's bodyguard weighed in with a new accusation: my mother was 'behaving like a Kuomintang official's grand lady' because she had used my father's leftover hot water. At the time, in order to save fuel, there was a rule that only officials above a certain rank were entitled to wash with hot water. My father fell into this group, but my mother did not. She had been strongly advised by the women in my father's family not to touch cold water when she came near to delivery time. After the bodyguard's criticism, my father would not let my mother use his water. My mother felt like screaming at him for not taking her side against the endless intrusions into the most irrelevant recesses of her life.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
You know all of the young gentlemen better than I do,” Lady Manston continued. “Are there any we should avoid?” All of them, George wanted to say. ''What about Ashbourne’s son?'' “No.” “No?” his mother echoed. “No, as in you don’t have an opinion?” “No, as in no. He is not for Billie.” Who, George could not help but note, was watching the mother-son exchange with an odd mix of curiosity and alarm. “Any particular reason?” Lady Manston asked. “He gambles,” George lied. Well, maybe it wasn’t a lie. All gentlemen gambled. He had no idea if the one in question did so to excess. “What about the Billington heir? I think he —” “Also no.” His mother regarded him with an impassive expression. “He’s too young,” George said, hoping it was true. “He is?” She frowned. “I suppose he might be. I can’t remember precisely.
Julia Quinn (Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys, #1))
Then, quite sharply, it occurred to her that the Director never talked about Religion; nor did the Dimbles nor Camilla. They talked about God. They had no picture in their minds of some mist steaming upward: rather of strong, skilful hands thrust down to make, and mend, perhaps even to destroy. Supposing one were a thing after all—a thing designed and invented by Someone Else and valued for qualities quite different from what one had decided to regard as one’s true self? Supposing all those people who, from the bachelor uncles down to Mark and Mother Dimble, had infuriatingly found her sweet and fresh when she wanted them to find her also interesting and important, had all along been simply right and perceived the sort of thing she was? Supposing Maleldil on this subject agreed with them and not with her? For one moment she had a ridiculous and scorching vision of a world in which God Himself would never understand, never take her with full seriousness. Then, at one particular corner of the gooseberry patch, the change came.
C.S. Lewis (That Hideous Strength (The Space Trilogy #3))
I could feel Monika nudging me furiously at this point, but I refused to look at her. I wasn’t feeling particularly reverent about my mother’s deadness, or about the vicar, but I do despise that ghastly, ‘You’ve got to laugh, haven’t you?’ approach to religious occasions. As a young man, I often goaded my believing friends with crudely logical questions about God. But as the years have passed, I have found myself hankering more and more for a little cosy voodoo in my life. Increasingly, I regard my atheism as a regrettable limitation. It seems to me that my lack of faith is not, as I once thought, a triumph of the rational mind, but rather, a failure of the imagination - an inability to tolerate mystery: a species, in fact, of neurosis. There is no chance of my being converted, of course - it is far too late for that. But I wish it wasn’t.
Zoë Heller (Everything You Know)
The moon fled eastward like a frightened dove, while the stars changed their places in the heavens, like a disbanding army. 'Where are we?' asked Gil Gil. 'In France,' responded the Angel of Death. 'We have now traversed a large portion of the two bellicose nations which waged so sanguinary a war with each other at the beginning of the present century. We have seen the theater of the War of Succession. Conquered and conquerors both lie sleeping at this instant. My apprentice, Sleep, rules over the heroes who did not perish then, in battle, or afterward of sickness or of old age. I do not understand why it is that below on earth all men are not friends? The identity of your misfortunes and your weaknesses, the need you have of each other, the shortness of your life, the spectacle of the grandeur of other worlds, and the comparison between them and your littleness, all this should combine to unite you in brotherhood, like the passengers of a vessel threatened with shipwreck. There, there is neither love, nor hate, nor ambition, no one is debtor or creditor, no one is great or little, no one is handsome or ugly, no one is happy or unfortunate. The same danger surrounds all and my presence makes all equal. Well, then, what is the earth, seen from this height, but a ship which is foundering, a city delivered up to an epidemic or a conflagration?' 'What are those ignes fatui which I can see shining in certain places on the terrestrial globe, ever since the moon veiled her light?' asked the young man. 'They are cemeteries. We are now above Paris. Side by side with every city, every town, every village of the living there is always a city, a town, or a village of the dead, as the shadow is always beside the body. Geography, then, is of two kinds, although mortals only speak of the kind which is agreeable to them. A map of all the cemeteries which there are on the earth would be sufficient indication of the political geography of your world. You would miscalculate, however, in regard to the population; the dead cities are much more densely populated than the living; in the latter there are hardly three generations at one time, while, in the former, hundreds of generations are often crowded together. As for the lights you see shining, they are phosphorescent gleams from dead bodies, or rather they are the expiring gleams of thousands of vanished lives; they are the twilight glow of love, ambition, anger, genius, mercy; they are, in short, the last glow of a dying light, of the individuality which is disappearing, of the being yielding back his elements to mother earth. They are - and now it is that I have found the true word - the foam made by the river when it mingles its waters with those of the ocean.' The Angel of Death paused. ("The Friend of Death")
Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (Ghostly By Gaslight)
We heard of this woman who was out of control. We heard that she was led by her feelings. That her emotions were violent. That she was impetuous. That she violated tradition and overrode convention. That certainly her life should not be an example to us. (The life of the plankton, she read in this book on the life of the earth, depends on the turbulence of the sea) We were told that she moved too hastily. Placed her life in the stream of ideas just born. For instance, had a child out of wedlock, we were told. For instance, refused to be married. For instance, walked the streets alone, where ladies never did, and we should have little regard for her, even despite the brilliance of her words. (She read that the plankton are slightly denser than water) For she had no respect for boundaries, we were told. And when her father threatened her mother, she placed her body between them. (That because of this greater heaviness, the plankton sink into deeper waters) And she went where she should not have gone, even into her sister's marriage. And because she imagined her sister to be suffering what her mother had suffered, she removed her sister from that marriage. (And that these deeper waters provide new sources of nourishment) That she moved from passion. From unconscious feeling, allowing deep and troubled emotions to control her soul. (But if the plankton sinks deeper, as it would in calm waters, she read) But we say that to her passion, she brought lucidity (it sinks out of the light, and it is only the turbulence of the sea, she read) and to her vision, she gave the substance of her life (which throws the plankton back to the light). For the way her words illuminated her life we say we have great regard. We say we have listened to her voice asking, "of what materials can that heart be composed which can melt when insulted and instead of revolting at injustice, kiss the rod?" (And she understood that without light, the plankton cannot live and from the pages of this book she also read that the animal life of the oceans, and hence our life, depends on the plankton and thus the turbulence of the sea for survival.) By her words we are brought to our own lives, and are overwhelmed by our feelings which we had held beneath the surface for so long. And from what is dark and deep within us, we say, tyranny revolts us; we will not kiss the rod.
Susan Griffin (Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her)
The imported discovery, that human nature is too good to be made better by discipline, that children are enticed from the right way by religious instruction, and driven from it by the rod, and kept in thraldom by the conspiracy of priests and legislators, has united not a few in the noble experiment of emancipating the world by the help of an irreligious, ungoverned progeny. The indolent have rejoiced in the discovery that our fathers were fools and bigots, and have cheerfully let loose their children to help on the glorious work; while thousands of families, having heard from their teachers, or believing, in spite of them, that morality will suffice both for earth and heaven, and not doubting that morality will flourish without religion, have either not reared the family altar, or have put out the sacred fire, and laid aside together the rod and the Bible, as superfluous auxiliaries in the education of children. From the school, too, with pious regard for its sacred honors, the Bible, by some, has been withdrawn, lest, by a too familiar knowledge of its contents, children should learn to despise it; as if ignorance were the mother of devotion, and the efficacy of laws depended upon their not being understood.
Lyman Beecher
This is what I do.” I had written three books. It was only after I finished Song of Solomon that I thought, “Maybe this is what I do only.” Because before that I always said that I was an editor who also wrote books or a teacher who also wrote. I never said I was a writer. Never. And it’s not only because of all the things you might think. It’s also because most writers really and truly have to give themselves permission to win. That’s very difficult, particularly for women. You have to give yourself permission, even when you’re doing it. Writing every day, sending books off, you still have to give yourself permission. I know writers whose mothers are writers, who still had to go through a long process with somebody else—a man or editor or friend or something—to finally reach a point where they could say, “It’s all right. It’s okay.” The community says it’s okay. Your husband says it’s okay. Your children say it’s okay. Your mother says it’s okay. Eventually everybody says it’s okay, and then you have all the okays. It happened to me: even I found a moment after I’d written the third book when I could actually say it. So you go through passport and customs and somebody asks, “What do you do?” And you print it out: WRITE.
Toni Morrison (The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations)
I believe there is nothing that our better nature needs more absolutely than music, no other art of perfection possesses that strange power of gliding into our every emotion and forming a part of it; poetry, we can only enjoy at times when the spirit is attuned to it, either by calmness, joy, or certain sorts of emotion; but in times of intense grief, who could command one's attention to listen to poetry however beautiful, who could but cast a glance upon the most perfect paintings or even regard the loveliness of flowers, their very brightness of hue would make discord in the heart, & seem unkindly gay; but whose sorrow is not soothed by music, the loud mellow organ peals, with its bewildering solemnity sinks into the soul, mixes with most powerful feelings, calms & sanctifies it in happiness our joys are expressed & increased by music from the sweet lullaby, sung by a low voiced mother, to the last sad requiem at the grave, music has been unceasingly the soul's true panacea. Music that on our spirit gentlier lies Than tired eyelids upon tired eyes.
Pauline Decaradeuc Heyward (A Confederate Lady Comes of Age: The Journal of Pauline DeCaradeuc Heyward, 1863-1888)
As you say, DeWar, our shame comes from the comparison. We know we might be generous and compassionate and good, and could behave so, yet something else in our nature makes us otherwise." She smiled a small, empty smile. "Yes, I feel something I recognise as love. Something I remember, something I may discuss and mill and theorise over." She shook her head. "But it is not something I know. I am like a blind woman taking about how a tree must look, or a cloud. Love is something I have a dim memory of, the way someone who went blind in their early childhood might recall the sun, or the face of their mother. I know affection from my fellow whore-wives, DeWar, and I sense regard from you and feel some in return. I have a duty to the Protector, just as he feels he has a duty to me. As far as that goes, I am content. But love? That is for the living, and I am dead.
Iain M. Banks (Inversions (Culture, #6))
Physiological stress, then, is the link between personality traits and disease. Certain traits — otherwise known as coping styles — magnify the risk for illness by increasing the likelihood of chronic stress. Common to them all is a diminished capacity for emotional communication. Emotional experiences are translated into potentially damaging biological events when human beings are prevented from learning how to express their feelings effectively. That learning occurs — or fails to occur — during childhood. The way people grow up shapes their relationship with their own bodies and psyches. The emotional contexts of childhood interact with inborn temperament to give rise to personality traits. Much of what we call personality is not a fixed set of traits, only coping mechanisms a person acquired in childhood. There is an important distinction between an inherent characteristic, rooted in an individual without regard to his environment, and a response to the environment, a pattern of behaviours developed to ensure survival. What we see as indelible traits may be no more than habitual defensive techniques, unconsciously adopted. People often identify with these habituated patterns, believing them to be an indispensable part of the self. They may even harbour self-loathing for certain traits — for example, when a person describes herself as “a control freak.” In reality, there is no innate human inclination to be controlling. What there is in a “controlling” personality is deep anxiety. The infant and child who perceives that his needs are unmet may develop an obsessive coping style, anxious about each detail. When such a person fears that he is unable to control events, he experiences great stress. Unconsciously he believes that only by controlling every aspect of his life and environment will he be able to ensure the satisfaction of his needs. As he grows older, others will resent him and he will come to dislike himself for what was originally a desperate response to emotional deprivation. The drive to control is not an innate trait but a coping style. Emotional repression is also a coping style rather than a personality trait set in stone. Not one of the many adults interviewed for this book could answer in the affirmative when asked the following: When, as a child, you felt sad, upset or angry, was there anyone you could talk to — even when he or she was the one who had triggered your negative emotions? In a quarter century of clinical practice, including a decade of palliative work, I have never heard anyone with cancer or with any chronic illness or condition say yes to that question. Many children are conditioned in this manner not because of any intended harm or abuse, but because the parents themselves are too threatened by the anxiety, anger or sadness they sense in their child — or are simply too busy or too harassed themselves to pay attention. “My mother or father needed me to be happy” is the simple formula that trained many a child — later a stressed and depressed or physically ill adult — into lifelong patterns of repression.
Gabor Maté (When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress)
The too tender mother, the too indulgent father, the too generous and affectionate friend, may sometimes, perhaps, on account of the softness of their natures, be looked upon with a species of pity, in which, however, there is a mixture of love, but can never be regarded with hatred and aversion, nor even with contempt, unless by the most brutal and worthless of mankind. It is always with concern, with sympathy and kindness, that we blame them for the extravagance of their attachment. There is a helplessness in the character of extreme humanity which more than any thing interests our pity. There is nothing in itself which renders it either ungraceful or disagreeable. We only regret that it is unfit for the world, because the world is unworthy of it, and because it must expose the person who is endowed with it as a prey to the perfidy and ingratitude of insinuating falsehood, and to a thousand pains and uneasinesses, which, of all men, he the least deserves to feel, and which generally too he is, of all men, the least capable of supporting.
Adam Smith (The Theory of Moral Sentiments)
More than economic dependency of the wife and children on the husband and father is needed to preserve the institution of the authoritarian family [and its support of the authoritarian state]. For the suppressed classes, this dependency is endurable only on condition that the consciousness of being a sexual being is suspended as completely as possible in women and in children. The wife must not figure as a sexual being, but solely as a child-bearer. Essentially, the idealization and deification of motherhood, which are so flagrantly at variance with the brutality with which the mothers of the toiling masses are actually treated, serve as means of preventing women from gaining a sexual consciousness, of preventing the imposed sexual repression from breaking through and of preventing sexual anxiety and sexual guilt-feelings from losing their hold. Sexually awakened women, affirmed and recognized as such, would mean the complete collapse of the authoritarian ideology. Conservative sexual reform has always made the mistake of merely making a slogan of "the right of woman to her own body," and not clearly and unmistakably regarding and defending woman as a sexual being, at least as much as it regards and defends her as a mother. Furthermore, conservative sexual reform based its sexual policies predominantly on the function of procreation, instead of undermining the reactionary view that equates sexuality and procreation.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
A child, obeying his father and mother, goes wherever he is told, east or west, south or north. And the yin and yang - how much more are they to a man than father or mother! Now that they have brought me to the verge of death, if I should refuse to obey them, how perverse I would be! What fault is it of theirs? The Great Clod burdens me with form, labors me with life, eases me in old age, and rests me in death. So if I think well of my life, for the same reason I must think well of my death. When a skilled smith is casting metal, if the metal should leap up and say, 'I insist upon being made into a Moye!' he would surely regard it as very inauspicious metal indeed. Now, having had the audacity to take on human form once, if I should say, 'I don't want to be anything but a man! Nothing but a man!', the Creator would surely regard me as a most inauspicious sort of person. So now I think of heaven and earth as a great furnace, and the Creator as a skilled smith. Where could he send me that would not be all right? I will go off to sleep peacefully, and then with a start I will wake up.
Zhuangzi (The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu)
Not one word was said by Moses or Aaron as to the wickedness of depriving a human being of his liberty. Not a word was said in favor of liberty. Not the slightest intimation that a human being was justly entitled to the product of his own labor. Not a word about the cruelty of masters who would destroy even the babes of slave mothers. It seems to me wonderful that this God did not tell the king of Egypt that no nation could enslave another, without also enslaving itself; that it was impossible to put a chain around the limbs of a slave, without putting manacles upon the brain of the master. Why did he not tell him that a nation founded upon slavery could not stand? Instead of declaring these things, instead of appealing to justice, to mercy and to liberty, he resorted to feats of jugglery. Suppose we wished to make a treaty with a barbarous nation, and the president should employ a sleight-of-hand performer as envoy extraordinary, and instruct him, that when he came into the presence of the savage monarch, he should cast down an umbrella or a walking stick, which would change into a lizard or a turtle; what would we think? Would we not regard such a performance as beneath the dignity even of a president? And what would be our feelings if the savage king sent for his sorcerers and had them perform the same feat? If such things would appear puerile and foolish in the president of a great republic, what shall be said when they were resorted to by the creator of all worlds? How small, how contemptible such a God appears!
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
Perched upon the stones of a bridge The soldiers had the eyes of ravens Their weapons hung black as talons Their eyes gloried in the smoke of murder To the shock of iron-heeled sticks I drew closer in the cripple’s bitter patience And before them I finally tottered Grasping to capture my elusive breath With the cockerel and swift of their knowing They watched and waited for me ‘I have come,’ said I, ‘from this road’s birth, I have come,’ said I, ‘seeking the best in us.’ The sergeant among them had red in his beard Glistening wet as he showed his teeth ‘There are few roads on this earth,’ said he, ‘that will lead you to the best in us, old one.’ ‘But you have seen all the tracks of men,’ said I ‘And where the mothers and children have fled Before your advance. Is there naught among them That you might set an old man upon?’ The surgeon among this rook had bones Under her vellum skin like a maker of limbs ‘Old one,’ said she, ‘I have dwelt In the heat of chests, among heart and lungs, And slid like a serpent between muscles, Swum the currents of slowing blood, And all these roads lead into the darkness Where the broken will at last rest. ‘Dare say I,’ she went on,‘there is no Place waiting inside where you might find In slithering exploration of mysteries All that you so boldly call the best in us.’ And then the man with shovel and pick, Who could raise fort and berm in a day Timbered of thought and measured in all things Set the gauge of his eyes upon the sun And said, ‘Look not in temples proud, Or in the palaces of the rich highborn, We have razed each in turn in our time To melt gold from icon and shrine And of all the treasures weeping in fire There was naught but the smile of greed And the thick power of possession. Know then this: all roads before you From the beginning of the ages past And those now upon us, yield no clue To the secret equations you seek, For each was built of bone and blood And the backs of the slave did bow To the laboured sentence of a life In chains of dire need and little worth. All that we build one day echoes hollow.’ ‘Where then, good soldiers, will I Ever find all that is best in us? If not in flesh or in temple bound Or wretched road of cobbled stone?’ ‘Could we answer you,’ said the sergeant, ‘This blood would cease its fatal flow, And my surgeon could seal wounds with a touch, All labours will ease before temple and road, Could we answer you,’ said the sergeant, ‘Crows might starve in our company And our talons we would cast in bogs For the gods to fight over as they will. But we have not found in all our years The best in us, until this very day.’ ‘How so?’ asked I, so lost now on the road, And said he, ‘Upon this bridge we sat Since the dawn’s bleak arrival, Our perch of despond so weary and worn, And you we watched, at first a speck Upon the strife-painted horizon So tortured in your tread as to soak our faces In the wonder of your will, yet on you came Upon two sticks so bowed in weight Seeking, say you, the best in us And now we have seen in your gift The best in us, and were treasures at hand We would set them humbly before you, A man without feet who walked a road.’ Now, soldiers with kind words are rare Enough, and I welcomed their regard As I moved among them, ’cross the bridge And onward to the long road beyond I travel seeking the best in us And one day it shall rise before me To bless this journey of mine, and this road I began upon long ago shall now end Where waits for all the best in us. ―Avas Didion Flicker Where Ravens Perch
Steven Erikson (The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10))
I beg your pardon, Mrs. Graham - but you get on too fast. I have not yet said that a boy should be taught to rush into the snares of life, - or even wilfully to seek temptation for the sake of exercising his virtue by overcoming it; - I only say that it is better to arm and strengthen your hero, than to disarm and enfeeble the foe; - and if you were to rear an oak sapling in a hothouse, tending it carefully night and day, and shielding it from every breath of wind, you could not expect it to become a hardy tree, like that which has grown up on the mountain-side, exposed to all the action of the elements, and not even sheltered from the shock of the tempest.' 'Granted; - but would you use the same argument with regard to a girl?' 'Certainly not.' 'No; you would have her to be tenderly and delicately nurtured, like a hot-house plant - taught to cling to others for direction and support, and guarded, as much as possible, from the very knowledge of evil. But will you be so good as to inform me why you make this distinction? Is it that you think she has no virtue?' 'Assuredly not.' 'Well, but you affirm that virtue is only elicited by temptation; - and you think that a woman cannot be too little exposed to temptation, or too little acquainted with vice, or anything connected therewith. It must be either that you think she is essentially so vicious, or so feeble-minded, that she cannot withstand temptation, - and though she may be pure and innocent as long as she is kept in ignorance and restraint, yet, being destitute of real virtue, to teach her how to sin is at once to make her a sinner, and the greater her knowledge, the wider her liberty, the deeper will be her depravity, - whereas, in the nobler sex, there is a natural tendency to goodness, guarded by a superior fortitude, which, the more it is exercised by trials and dangers, is only the further developed - ' 'Heaven forbid that I should think so!' I interrupted her at last." 'Well, then, it must be that you think they are both weak and prone to err, and the slightest error, the merest shadow of pollution, will ruin the one, while the character of the other will be strengthened and embellished - his education properly finished by a little practical acquaintance with forbidden things. Such experience, to him (to use a trite simile), will be like the storm to the oak, which, though it may scatter the leaves, and snap the smaller branches, serves but to rivet the roots, and to harden and condense the fibres of the tree. You would have us encourage our sons to prove all things by their own experience, while our daughters must not even profit by the experience of others. Now I would have both so to benefit by the experience of others, and the precepts of a higher authority, that they should know beforehand to refuse the evil and choose the good, and require no experimental proofs to teach them the evil of transgression. I would not send a poor girl into the world, unarmed against her foes, and ignorant of the snares that beset her path; nor would I watch and guard her, till, deprived of self-respect and self-reliance, she lost the power or the will to watch and guard herself; - and as for my son - if I thought he would grow up to be what you call a man of the world - one that has "seen life," and glories in his experience, even though he should so far profit by it as to sober down, at length, into a useful and respected member of society - I would rather that he died to-morrow! - rather a thousand times!' she earnestly repeated, pressing her darling to her side and kissing his forehead with intense affection. He had already left his new companion, and been standing for some time beside his mother's knee, looking up into her face, and listening in silent wonder to her incomprehensible discourse. Anne Bronte, "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" (24,25)
Anne Brontë
I fancy my father thought me an odd child, and had little fondness for me; though he was very careful in fulfilling what he regarded as a parent's duties. But he was already past the middle of life, and I was not his only son. My mother had been his second wife, and he was five-and-forty when he married her. He was a firm, unbending, intensely orderly man, in root and stem a banker, but with a flourishing graft of the active landholder, aspiring to county influence: one of those people who are always like themselves from day to day, who are uninfluenced by the weather, and neither know melancholy nor high spirits. I held him in great awe, and appeared more timid and sensitive in his presence than at other times; a circumstance which, perhaps, helped to confirm him in the intention to educate me on a different plan from the prescriptive one with which he had complied in the case of my elder brother, already a tall youth at Eton. My brother was to be his representative and successor; he must go to Eton and Oxford, for the sake of making connexions, of course: my father was not a man to underrate the bearing of Latin satirists or Greek dramatists on the attainment of an aristocratic position. But intrinsically, he had slight esteem for "those dead but sceptred spirits"; having qualified himself for forming an independent opinion by reading Potter's Aeschylus, and dipping into Francis's Horace. To this negative view he added a positive one, derived from a recent connexion with mining speculations; namely, that scientific education was the really useful training for a younger son. Moreover, it was clear that a shy, sensitive boy like me was not fit to encounter the rough experience of a public school. Mr. Letherall had said so very decidedly. Mr. Letherall was a large man in spectacles, who one day took my small head between his large hands, and pressed it here and there in an exploratory, suspicious manner - then placed each of his great thumbs on my temples, and pushed me a little way from him, and stared at me with glittering spectacles. The contemplation appeared to displease him, for he frowned sternly, and said to my father, drawing his thumbs across my eyebrows - 'The deficiency is there, sir-there; and here,' he added, touching the upper sides of my head, 'here is the excess. That must be brought out, sir, and this must be laid to sleep.' I was in a state of tremor, partly at the vague idea that I was the object of reprobation, partly in the agitation of my first hatred - hatred of this big, spectacled man, who pulled my head about as if he wanted to buy and cheapen it. ("The Lifted Veil")
George Eliot (The Lifted Veil (Fantasy and Horror Classics))
Trees stand at the heart of ecology, and they must come to stand at the heart of human politics. Tagore said, Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. But people—oh, my word—people! People could be the heaven that the Earth is trying to speak to. “If we could see green, we’d see a thing that keeps getting more interesting the closer we get. If we could see what green was doing, we’d never be lonely or bored. If we could understand green, we’d learn how to grow all the food we need in layers three deep, on a third of the ground we need right now, with plants that protected one another from pests and stress. If we knew what green wanted, we wouldn’t have to choose between the Earth’s interests and ours. They’d be the same!” One more click takes her to the next slide, a giant fluted trunk covered in red bark that ripples like muscle. “To see green is to grasp the Earth’s intentions. So consider this one. This tree grows from Colombia to Costa Rica. As a sapling, it looks like a piece of braided hemp. But if it finds a hole in the canopy, the sapling shoots up into a giant stem with flaring buttresses.” She turns to regard the image over her shoulder. It’s the bell of an enormous angel’s trumpet, plunged into the Earth. So many miracles, so much awful beauty. How can she leave so perfect a place? “Did you know that every broadleaf tree on Earth has flowers? Many mature species flower at least once a year. But this tree, Tachigali versicolor, this one flowers only once. Now, suppose you could have sex only once in your entire life. . . .” The room laughs now. She can’t hear, but she can smell their nerves. Her switchback trail through the woods is twisting again. They can’t tell where their guide is going. “How can a creature survive, by putting everything into a one-night stand? Tachigali versicolor’s act is so quick and decisive that it boggles me. You see, within a year of its only flowering, it dies.” She lifts her eyes. The room fills with wary smiles for the weirdness of this thing, nature. But her listeners can’t yet tie her rambling keynote to anything resembling home repair. “It turns out that a tree can give away more than its food and medicines. The rain forest canopy is thick, and wind-borne seeds never land very far from their parent. Tachigali’s once-in-a-lifetime offspring germinate right away, in the shadow of giants who have the sun locked up. They’re doomed, unless an old tree falls. The dying mother opens a hole in the canopy, and its rotting trunk enriches the soil for new seedlings. Call it the ultimate parental sacrifice. The common name for Tachigali versicolor is the suicide tree.
Richard Powers (The Overstory)
The Count of Monte Cristo, Edgar Allan Poe, Robinson Crusoe, Ivanhoe, Gogol, The Last of the Mohicans, Dickens, Twain, Austen, Billy Budd…By the time I was twelve, I was picking them out myself, and my brother Suman was sending me the books he had read in college: The Prince, Don Quixote, Candide, Le Morte D’Arthur, Beowulf, Thoreau, Sartre, Camus. Some left more of a mark than others. Brave New World founded my nascent moral philosophy and became the subject of my college admissions essay, in which I argued that happiness was not the point of life. Hamlet bore me a thousand times through the usual adolescent crises. “To His Coy Mistress” and other romantic poems led me and my friends on various joyful misadventures throughout high school—we often sneaked out at night to, for example, sing “American Pie” beneath the window of the captain of the cheerleading team. (Her father was a local minister and so, we reasoned, less likely to shoot.) After I was caught returning at dawn from one such late-night escapade, my worried mother thoroughly interrogated me regarding every drug teenagers take, never suspecting that the most intoxicating thing I’d experienced, by far, was the volume of romantic poetry she’d handed me the previous week. Books became my closest confidants, finely ground lenses providing new views of the world.
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
Darya Alexandrovna, in a dressing jacket, and with her now scanty, once luxuriant and beautiful hair fastened up with hairpins on the nape of her neck, with a sunken, thin face and large, startled eyes, which looked prominent from the thinness of her face, was standing among a litter of all sorts of things scattered all over the room, before an open bureau, from which she was taking something. Hearing her husband's steps, she stopped, looking towards the door, and trying assiduously to give her features a severe and contemptuous expression. She felt she was afraid of him, and afraid of the coming interview. She was just attempting to do what she had attempted to do ten times already in these last three days—to sort out the children's things and her own, so as to take them to her mother's—and again she could not bring herself to do this; but now again, as each time before, she kept saying to herself, "that things cannot go on like this, that she must take some step" to punish him, put him to shame, avenge on him some little part at least of the suffering he had caused her. She still continued to tell herself that she should leave him, but she was conscious that this was impossible; it was impossible because she could not get out of the habit of regarding him as her husband and loving him. Besides this, she realized that if even here in her own house she could hardly manage to look after her five children properly, they would be still worse off where she was going with them all. As it was, even in the course of these three days, the youngest was unwell from being given unwholesome soup, and the others had almost gone without their dinner the day before. She was conscious that it was impossible to go away; but, cheating herself, she went on all the same sorting out her things and pretending she was going.
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
According to the gospels, Christ healed diseases, cast out devils, rebuked the sea, cured the blind, fed multitudes with five loaves and two fishes, walked on the sea, cursed a fig tree, turned water into wine and raised the dead. How is it possible to substantiate these miracles? The Jews, among whom they were said to have been performed, did not believe them. The diseased, the palsied, the leprous, the blind who were cured, did not become followers of Christ. Those that were raised from the dead were never heard of again. Can we believe that Christ raised the dead? A widow living in Nain is following the body of her son to the tomb. Christ halts the funeral procession and raises the young man from the dead and gives him back to the arms of his mother. This young man disappears. He is never heard of again. No one takes the slightest interest in the man who returned from the realm of death. Luke is the only one who tells the story. Maybe Matthew, Mark and John never heard of it, or did not believe it and so failed to record it. John says that Lazarus was raised from the dead. It was more wonderful than the raising of the widow’s son. He had not been laid in the tomb for days. He was only on his way to the grave, but Lazarus was actually dead. He had begun to decay. Lazarus did not excite the least interest. No one asked him about the other world. No one inquired of him about their dead friends. When he died the second time no one said: “He is not afraid. He has traveled that road twice and knows just where he is going.” We do not believe in the miracles of Mohammed, and yet they are as well attested as this. We have no confidence in the miracles performed by Joseph Smith, and yet the evidence is far greater, far better. If a man should go about now pretending to raise the dead, pretending to cast out devils, we would regard him as insane. What, then, can we say of Christ? If we wish to save his reputation we are compelled to say that he never pretended to raise the dead; that he never claimed to have cast out devils. We must take the ground that these ignorant and impossible things were invented by zealous disciples, who sought to deify their leader. In those ignorant days these falsehoods added to the fame of Christ. But now they put his character in peril and belittle the authors of the gospels. Christianity cannot live in peace with any other form of faith. If that religion be true, there is but one savior, one inspired book, and but one little narrow grass-grown path that leads to heaven. Why did he not again enter the temple and end the old dispute with demonstration? Why did he not confront the Roman soldiers who had taken money to falsely swear that his body had been stolen by his friends? Why did he not make another triumphal entry into Jerusalem? Why did he not say to the multitude: “Here are the wounds in my feet, and in my hands, and in my side. I am the one you endeavored to kill, but death is my slave”? Simply because the resurrection is a myth. The miracle of the resurrection I do not and cannot believe. We know nothing certainly of Jesus Christ. We know nothing of his infancy, nothing of his youth, and we are not sure that such a person ever existed. There was in all probability such a man as Jesus Christ. He may have lived in Jerusalem. He may have been crucified; but that he was the Son of God, or that he was raised from the dead, and ascended bodily to heaven, has never been, and, in the nature of things, can never be, substantiated.
Robert G. Ingersoll
As I walked toward the front door, a little motion to the left caught my eye. Jenny Sells stood in the hallway, a silent wraith. She regarded me with luminous green eyes, like her mother’s, like the dead aunt whose namesake she was. I stopped and faced her. I’m not sure why. “You’re the wizard,” she said, quietly. “You’re Harry Dresden. I saw your picture in the newspaper, once. The Arcane.” I nodded. She studied my face for a long minute. “Are you going to help my mom?” It was a simple question. But how do you tell a child that things just aren’t that simple, that some questions don’t have simple answers—or any answer at all? I looked back into her too-knowing eyes, and then quickly away. I didn’t want her to see what sort of person I was, the things I had done. She didn’t need that. “I’m going to do everything I can to help your mom.” She nodded. “Do you promise?” I promised her. She thought that over for a moment, studying me. Then she nodded. “My daddy used to be one of the good guys, Mr. Dresden. But I don’t think that he is anymore.” Her face looked sad. It was a sweet, unaffected expression. “Are you going to kill him?” Another simple question. “I don’t want to,” I told her. “But he’s trying to kill me. I might not have any choice.” She swallowed and lifted her chin. “I loved my Aunt Jenny,” she said. Her eyes brightened with tears. “Momma won’t say, and Billy’s too little to figure it out, but I know what happened.” She turned, with more grace and dignity than I could have managed, and started to leave. Then said, quietly, “I hope you’re one of the good guys, Mr. Dresden. We really need a good guy. I hope you’ll be all right.” Then she vanished down the hall on bare, silent feet.
Jim Butcher (Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1))
You must also know clearly what you want out of the situation, and be prepared to clearly articulate your desire. It’s a good idea to tell the person you are confronting exactly what you would like them to do instead of what they have done or currently are doing. You might think, “if they loved me, they would know what to do.” That’s the voice of resentment. Assume ignorance before malevolence. No one has a direct pipeline to your wants and needs—not even you. If you try to determine exactly what you want, you might find that it is more difficult than you think. The person oppressing you is likely no wiser than you, especially about you. Tell them directly what would be preferable, instead, after you have sorted it out. Make your request as small and reasonable as possible—but ensure that its fulfillment would satisfy you. In that manner, you come to the discussion with a solution, instead of just a problem. Agreeable, compassionate, empathic, conflict-averse people (all those traits group together) let people walk on them, and they get bitter. They sacrifice themselves for others, sometimes excessively, and cannot comprehend why that is not reciprocated. Agreeable people are compliant, and this robs them of their independence. The danger associated with this can be amplified by high trait neuroticism. Agreeable people will go along with whoever makes a suggestion, instead of insisting, at least sometimes, on their own way. So, they lose their way, and become indecisive and too easily swayed. If they are, in addition, easily frightened and hurt, they have even less reason to strike out on their own, as doing so exposes them to threat and danger (at least in the short term). That’s the pathway to dependent personality disorder, technically speaking.198 It might be regarded as the polar opposite of antisocial personality disorder, the set of traits characteristic of delinquency in childhood and adolescence and criminality in adulthood. It would be lovely if the opposite of a criminal was a saint—but it’s not the case. The opposite of a criminal is an Oedipal mother, which is its own type of criminal.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
A sincere man who sits down at night and pens that which his soul believes to be right, that which his soul tells him will be good for humanity, is exercising a power over the world that is beneficial. We should hail that expression of greatness, of goodness, with thanksgiving. But the insincere man, the man who will sit down at night and distort facts, who will wilfully misrepresent truth, who is a traitor to the divine within him which is calling, nay longing for truth, what shall we say of that man? He is publishing falsehoods to the world, giving poison to young, innocent souls who are longing for truth. Oh, there is no condemnation too strong for the hypocrite, for the betrayer of Christ. We will not condemn him, but God will, in His justice; He must. Too much time is taken up by our young people, and by our older ones, too, in reading useless pamphlets, useless books; "It is worse than useless," says Farrar, in that excellent little work on "Great Books:". . . . Men in Israel, it is time that we take a stand against vile literature. It is poisonous to the soul. It is the duty of a parent to put the poison, that is in the house, on the highest shelf, away from that innocent little child who knows not the danger of it. It is the duty of the parent also to keep the boy's mind from becoming polluted with the vile trash that is sometimes scattered--nay, that is daily distributed among us. There is inconsistency in a man's kneeling down with his family in prayer, and asking God to bless the leader of our Church, and then put into the hands of the boy, who was kneeling there, a paper that calls the leader a hypocrite. It ought not to be done; it is poison to the soul. How can we tell? May be those are the great men who are writing the scurrilous articles, and these whom they attack are not the great men? Some may say: Give the children an opportunity to hear both sides. Yes, that is all well and good; but if a man were to come into your home and say to you that your mother is not a good woman, you would know he lied; wouldn't you? And you wouldn't let your children hear him. If a man came and told you that your brother was dishonest, and you had been with him all your life and knew him to be honest, you would know the man lied. So when they come and tell you the Gospel is a hypocritical doctrine, taught by this organization, when they tell you the men at the head are insincere, you know they lie; and you can take the same firm stand on that, being sincere yourself as you could in regard to your mother and brother. Teach your children, your boys and girls everywhere, to keep away from every bad book and all bad literature, especially that which savors of hatred, or envy, or malice, that which bears upon it the marks of hypocrisy, insincerity, edited by men who have lost their manhood.
David O. McKay