Rendering Service Quotes

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Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.
Ramana Maharshi
The only service a friend can really render is to keep up your courage by holding up to you a mirror in which you can see a noble image of yourself.
George Bernard Shaw
Behold your new mistress, my wife," he pronounced, "and know that when she bids you, I have bidden you. What service you render her, you are rendering me. What loyalty you give or withhold from her, you give or withhold from me!" -Royce Westmoreland
Judith McNaught (A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmoreland, #1))
Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.
Mahatma Gandhi
I determine to render more and better service, each day, than I am being paid to render. Those that reach the top are the ones who are not content with doing only what is required of them.
Og Mandino (The Greatest Salesman in the World)
I did not care for the things that most people care about– making money, having a comfortable home, high military or civil rank, and all the other activities, political appointments, secret societies, party organizations, which go on in our city . . . I set myself to do you– each one of you, individually and in private– what I hold to be the greatest possible service. I tried to persuade each one of you to concern himself less with what he has than with what he is, so as to render himself as excellent and as rational as possible.
The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture. --The Fruit Hunters
Thomas Jefferson (The Quotable Jefferson)
Success in life depends upon happiness, and happiness is found in no other way than through SERVICE that is rendered in a spirit of love." Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill (Law of Success)
To stir the masses, to appeal to their higher, better selves, to set them thinking for themselves, and to hold ever before them the ideal of mutual kindness and good will, based upon mutual interests, is to render real service to the cause of humanity.
Eugene V. Debs (Works of Eugene Victor Debs)
He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.
Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
Do not worry in the least about yourself, leave all worry to God,' - this appears to be the commandment in all religions. This need not frighten anyone. He who devotes himself to service with a clear conscience, will day by day grasp the necessity for it in greater measure, and will continually grow richer in faith. The path of service can hardly be trodden by one who is not prepared to renounce self-interest, and to recognize the conditions of his birth. Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make not only for our own happiness but that of the world at large.
Mahatma Gandhi
The girl had a certain nobleness of imagination, which rendered her a good many services and played her a great many tricks. She spent half her time in thinking of beauty, bravery, magnanimity; she had a fixed determination to regard the world as a place of brightness, of free expansion, of irresistible action, she thought it would be detestable to be afraid or ashamed. She had an infinite hope that she would never do anything wrong. She had resented so strongly, after discovering them, her mere errors of feeling.
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be.
Og Mandino
The only service you can render God is to give expression to what he is trying to give the world, through you. The only service you can render God is to make the very most of yourself in order that God may live in you to the utmost of your possibilities.
Wallace D. Wattles (The Science of Getting Rich, The Science of Being Well, The Science of Being Great & The Law of Opulence: The Collected “New Thought” Wisdom of Wallace D. Wattles [Annotated])
We priests are in some ways a sad group of men. Born into the world to render service to mankind, there is no one more wretchedly alone than the priest who does not measure up to his task.
Shūsaku Endō (Silence)
But there's this one difference: one is gold put to the use of paving-stones, and the other is tin polished to ape a service of silver. Mine has nothing valuable about it; yet I shall have the merit of making it go as far as such poor stuff can go. His had first-rate qualities, and they are lost, rendered worst than unavailing.
Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights)
I believe in the supreme worth of the individual and in his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty. I believe that the law was made for man and not man for the law; that government is the servant of the people and not their master. I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living. I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living and that economy is a prime requisite of a sound financial structure, whether in government, business or personal affairs. I believe that truth and justice are fundamental to an enduring social order. I believe in the sacredness of a promise, that a man's word should be as good as his bond, that character—not wealth or power or position—is of supreme worth. I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind and that only in the purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free. I believe in an all-wise and all-loving God, named by whatever name, and that the individual's highest fulfillment, greatest happiness and widest usefulness are to be found in living in harmony with His will. I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might.
John D. Rockefeller
This is no war of chieftains or of princes, of dynasties or national ambition; it is a war of peoples and of causes. There are vast numbers, not only in this Island but in every land, who will render faithful service in this war, but whose names will never be known, whose deeds will never be recorded. This is a War of the Unknown Warriors
Winston S. Churchill
Conversations and jokes together, mutual rendering of good services, the reading together of sweetly phrased books, the sharing of nonsense and mutual attentions.
Robertson Davies (The Rebel Angels (The Cornish Trilogy, #1))
Muslims are the first victims of Islam. [...] To liberate the Muslim from his religion is the best service that one can render him.
Ernest Renan
That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake.
Mahatma Gandhi
Leadership is never an avenue to be self-serving but,a platform to render great service to people.
Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha
service can have no meaning unless one takes pleasure in it. When it is done for show or for fear of public opinion, it stunts the man and crushes his spirit. Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served.
Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi: An Autobiography)
Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion.
Murray N. Rothbard
The culture and civilization of the White man are essentially material; his measure of success is, "How much property have I acquired for myself?" The culture of the Red man is fundamentally spiritual; his measure of success is, "How much service have I rendered to my people?
Ernest Thompson Seton
I have now been an officer in this Church for a very long time. I am an old man who cannot deny the calendar. I have lived long enough and served in enough different capacities to have removed from my mind, if such were necessary, any doubt of the divinity of this, the work of God. We respect those of other churches. We desire their friendship and hope to render meaningful service with them. We know they all do good, but we unabashedly state—and this frequently brings criticism upon us—that this is the true and living Church of our Father in Heaven and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gordon B. Hinckley
Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honour and recognition. It will devise subtle, religiously acceptable means to call attention to the service rendered. If we stoutly refuse to give in to this lust of the flesh, we crucify it. Every time we crucify the flesh, we crucify our pride and arrogance.
Richard J. Foster (Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth)
Here is my creed: I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion. --Benjamin Franklin
W. Cleon Skousen (The 5000 Year Leap)
Wolf's wool is the best wool, but it cannot be sheared, because the wolf will not comply. With knowledge as with wolves' surliness, the student studies voluntarily, refusing to be less than individual. He "gives his opinion and then rests upon it"; he renders service when there is no reward, and is too reclusive for some things to seem to touch him; not because he has no feeling but because he has so much.
Marianne Moore (Complete Poems)
The State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion.
Murray N. Rothbard (Anatomy of the State)
The antidote for pride is humility; meekness; submissiveness... Let us choose to be humble. We can choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high or higher than we are... We can choose to humble ourselves by receiving counsel and chastisement... We can choose to humble ourselves by forgiving those who have offended us... We can choose to humble ourselves by rendering selfless service... We can chose to humble ourselves by going on missions and preaching the word that can humble others... We can choose to humble ourselves by getting to the temple more frequently... We can choose to humble ourselves by confessing and forsaking our sins and being born of God... We can choose to humble ourselves by loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives
Ezra Taft Benson
Now that science has helped us to overcome the awe of the unknown in nature, we are the slaves of social pressures of our own making. When called upon to act independently, we cry for patterns, systems, and authorities. If by enlightenment and intellectual progress we mean the freeing of man from superstitious belief in evil forces, in demons and fairies, in blind fate--in short, the emancipation from fear--then denunciation of what is currently called reason is the greatest service reason can render.
Max Horkheimer (Eclipse of Reason)
I have always heard it said that that is the rarest service, but the easiest to render. The remark struck me; I like to cite remarks that strike me.
Alexandre Dumas (The Man in the Iron Mask)
Let us not forget the obligation which rests upon us to render allegiance and service to the Lord, and that acceptable service to Him cannot be rendered without service to our fellow man.
Heber J. Grant
For the admirable gift of himself, and for the magnificent service he renders humanity, what reward does our society offer the scientist? Have these servants of an idea the necessary means of work? Have they an assured existence, sheltered from care? The example of Pierre Curiee, and of others, shows that they have none of these things; and that more often, before they can secure possible working conditions, they have to exhaust their youth and their powers in daily anxieties. Our society, in which reigns an eager desire for riches and luxury, does not understand the value of science. It does not realize that science is a most precious part of its moral patrimony. Nor does it take sufficient cognizance of the fact that science is at the base of all the progress that lightens the burden of life and lessens its suffering. Neither public powers nor private generosity actually accord to science and to scientists the support and the subsidies indispensable to fully effective work.
Marie Curie
For regulating the human (in our constitution) and rendering the (proper) service to the heavenly, there is nothing like moderation.
Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, grovelled down, yet grasped at glory, Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole? 'Done things' just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story, Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul? Have you seen God in His splendours, heard the text that nature renders? (You'll never hear it in the family pew.) The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things– Then listen to the wild–it's calling you.
Robert W. Service (The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses)
Be silent as to services you have rendered, but speak of favours you have received.
If there is anything in us, it is not our own; it is a gift of God. But if it is a gift of God, then it is entirely a debt one owes to love, that is, to the law of Christ. And if it is a debt owed to love, then I must serve others with it, not myself. Thus my learning is not my own; it belongs to the unlearned and is the debt I owe them...My wisdom belongs to the foolish, my power to the oppressed. Thus my wealth belongs to the poor, my righteousness to the sinners... It is with all these qualities that we must stand before God and intervene on behalf of those who do not have them, as though clothed with someone else's garment...But even before men we must, with the same love, render them service against their detractors and those who are violent toward them; for this is what Christ did for us.
Martin Luther (Luther's Works Lectures on Galatians/Chapters 5-6 Chapters 1-6)
I keep a band of music in my ante-room," he said once to her. "It has orders to play without stopping; it renders me two excellent services. It keeps the sounds of the world from reaching the private apartments, and it makes the world think that dancing's going on within.
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
God's command to have dominion over every living thing is a call to service, a test of responsibility, a rule of love, a cooperation with nature, whereas Satan's use of force for the sake of getting gain renders the earth uninhabitable. Brigham Young's views on the environment direct attention to man's responsibility to beautify the earth, to eradicate the influences of harmful substances, and to use restraint, that the earth may return to its paradisiacal glory.
Hugh Nibley (Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints (The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Volume 13))
Shared or spilled, it seemed that blood did not matter as much as appearance did. And so, no matter how many centuries passed, no matter what they rendered in service of Bethel's betterment, it seemed the Outskirters would always be consigned to the fringes.
Alexis Henderson (The Year of the Witching (Bethel, #1))
Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That he governs the World by his Providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable Service we can render him, is doing good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another life, respect[ing] its Conduct in this. These I take to be fundamental Principles of all sound Religion, and I regard them as you do, in whatever Sect I meet them.
Benjamin Franklin (The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, Complete Set: Volumes 1-37)
To an unbelieving person nothing renders service or work for good. He himself is in servitude to all things, and all things turned out for evil to him, because he uses all things in impious way for his own advantage, and not for the glory of God.
Martin Luther (On Christian Liberty (Facets))
Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or another. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and it will make not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large.
Mahatma Gandhi
The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle or worse. If the laborer gets no more than the wages which his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself. If you would get money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go down perpendicularly. Those services which the community will most readily pay for it is most disagreeable to render. You are paid for being something less than a man. The State does not commonly reward a genius any more wisely. Even the poet laureate would rather not have to celebrate the accidents of royalty. He must be bribed with a pipe of wine; and perhaps another poet is called away from his muse to gauge that very pipe.
Henry David Thoreau (Life Without Principle)
The dog has been esteemed and loved by all the people on earth and he has deserved this affection for he renders services that have made him man's best friend.
Alfred Barbou
I've been ridiculed by silk-suited lawyers, jailed by ornery judges, and occasionally paid for services rendered. I never intended to be a hero, and I succeeded.
Paul Levine (Fool Me Twice (Jake Lassiter, #6))
Your boldness confounds me! Shall I conceal your crime, I whom you have deceived by your feigned confession? No, Daughter, no! I will render you a more essential service. I
Matthew Gregory Lewis (The Monk)
They brought it to a common saying there that the most acceptable service one could render to God was to put the devil in Hell
Giovanni Boccaccio (The Decameron)
A true gift is not payment for services rendered; rather, it is an expression of love for the individual and is freely given by the donor.
Gary Chapman (The 5 Love Languages of Children)
Hence the best service that anybody can render God is diligently to hear and read God's Word.
Martin Luther (Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians)
Reyna. This is important: you never have to earn me. I’m not ‘payment for services rendered.’” A pause for breath, almost pained. “Please don’t reduce me to that.
Rebecca Thorne (Can't Spell Treason Without Tea (Tomes & Tea Cozy Fantasies, #1))
My sister Emily first declined. The details of her illness are deep-branded in my memory, but to dwell on them, either in thought or narrative, is not in my power. Never in all her life had she lingered over any task that lay before her, and she did not linger now. She sank rapidly. She made haste to leave us. Yet, while physically she perished, mentally, she grew stronger than we had yet known her. Day by day, when I saw with what a front she met suffering, I looked on her with anguish of wonder and love. I have seen nothing like it; but, indeed, I have never seen her parallel in anything. Stronger than a man, simpler than a child, her nature stood alone. The awful point was, that, while full of ruth for others, on herself she had no pity; the spirit inexorable to the flesh; from the trembling hand, the unnerved limbs, the faded eyes, the same service exacted as they had rendered in health. To stand by and witness this, and not dare to remonstrate, was pain no words can render.
Charlotte Brontë
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
Theodore Roosevelt (The great adventure; present-day studies in American nationalism)
One can never tell what will be the result of faithful service rendered, nor do we know when it will come back to us or to those with whom we are associated. The reward may not come at the time, but in dividends later. I believe we will never lose anything in life by giving service, by making sacrifices, and doing the right thing.
Heber J. Grant
I am a patriot. I have always sought to serve my country, in theory a Republic. Learning that secrecy was evil rather than good was my first step. From there it was a steady march toward open-source everything. Now I see all the evil that secrecy enables in a corrupt Congress, a corrupt Executive, a corrupt economy, and a corrupt society. I see that the greatest service I or any other person can render to the Republic is to march firmly, non-violently, toward open-source everything.
Robert David Steele (The Open-Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth, and Trust (Manifesto Series))
Your financial requirements or wants have nothing whatever to do with your WORTH. Your value is established entirely by your ability to render useful service or your capacity to induce others to render such service.
Napoleon Hill (Think And Grow Rich)
Rainer Maria Rilke greeted and wrestled with the angels of his Duino Elegies in the solitude of a castle surrounded by white cliffs tall trees and the sea. I greeted most of mine in the solitude of a house that still vibrated with the throbs of a singular life that had helped shape many lives and with the ache of attempts to render useful service to that life. The River of Winged Dreams was therefore constructed as a link between dimensions of past and future emotions and intellect and matter and spirit.
Aberjhani (The River of Winged Dreams)
The Constitution says: "We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." The meaning of this is simply We, the people of the United States, acting freely and voluntarily as individuals, consent and agree that we will cooperate with each other in sustaining such a government as is provided for in this Constitution. The necessity for the consent of "the people" is implied in this declaration. The whole authority of the Constitution rests upon it. If they did not consent, it was of no validity. Of course it had no validity, except as between those who actually consented. No one's consent could be presumed against him, without his actual consent being given, any more than in the case of any other contract to pay money, or render service. And to make it binding upon any one, his signature, or other positive evidence of consent, was as necessary as in the case of any other-contract. If the instrument meant to say that any of "the people of the United States" would be bound by it, who did not consent, it was a usurpation and a lie. The most that can be inferred from the form, "We, the people," is, that the instrument offered membership to all "the people of the United States;" leaving it for them to accept or refuse it, at their pleasure.
Lysander Spooner (No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority (Complete Series))
Indeed, the purpose of an encyclopedia is to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe; to set forth its general system to the men with whom we live, and transmit it to those who will come after us, so that the work of preceding centuries will not become useless to the centuries to come; and so that our offspring, becoming better instructed, will at the same time become more virtuous and happy, and that we should not die without having rendered a service to the human race in the future years to come.
Denis Diderot
Muslims are the first victims of Islam. Many times I have observed in my travels in the Orient, that fanaticism comes from a small number of dangerous men who maintain the others in the practice of religion by terror. To liberate the Muslim from his religion is the best service that one can render him.
Ernest Renan
I thereby learned the invaluable lesson that in the practical activities of life no man can render the highest service unless he can act in combination with his fellows, which means a certain amount of give-and-take between him and them.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism)
Come here, Grimaud," said Athos. To punish you for having spoken without leave my friend, you must eat this piece of paper: then, to reward you for the service which you will have rendered us, you shall afterwards drink this glass of wine. Here is the letter first: chew it hard." Grimaud smiled, and with his eyes fixed on the glass which Athos filled to the very brim, chewed away at the paper, and finally swallowed it. "Bravo, Master Grimaud!" said Athos. "and now take this. Good! I will dispense with your saying thank you." Grimaud silently swallowed the glass of Bordeaux; but during the whole time that this pleasant operation lasted, his eyes, which were fixed upon the heavens, spoke a language which, though mute, was not therefore the least expressive.
Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers)
The principle of compulsory service, embodied in the system of conscription, lias been the means by which modem dictators and military gangs have shackled their people after a coup d'état, and bound them to their own aggressive purposes. In view of the great service that conscription has rendered to tyranny and war, it is fundamentally shortsighted for any liberty-loving and peace-desiring peoples to maintain it as an imagined safeguard, lest they become the victims of the monster they have helped to preserve.
B.H. Liddell Hart (The Revolution in Warfare. (Praeger Security International))
The Creator never singles out an individual for an important service to mankind without first testing him, through struggle, in proportion to the nature of the service he is to render.
Napoleon Hill (You Can Work Your Own Miracles)
The Roman Emperor Julian, writing in the fourth century, regretted the progress of Christianity because it pulled people away from the Roman gods. He said, 'Atheism [I.e. the Christian faith!] has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead. It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.
John Piper (A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life)
yoginām api sarveṣāṁ mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ sa me yukta-tamo mataḥ “Of all yogīs, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.
Anonymous (Bhagavad-gita As It Is)
Let me put it another way: the men, the system, the cogs of the machine that ground you down, the evil men who framed you and tortured you, have rendered you the greatest service possible. They brought forth a new man, superior to the first, and if today you recognize honor, goodness and charity, and realize the energy you will need to surmount the obstacles and become someone superior, you owe it to them.
Henri Charrière (Papillon)
You cannot make a man worth a given amount by making it illegal for anyone to offer him anything less. You merely deprive him of the right to earn the amount that his abilities and situation would permit him to earn, while you deprive the community even of the moderate services that he is capable of rendering. In brief, for a low wage you substitute unemployment. You do harm all around, with no comparable compensation.
Henry Hazlitt (Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics)
Monsieur Morcerf,” said Danglars, pale with anger and fear, “if I find a mad dog in my path I kill it and, far from feeling guilty about it, I feel that I have rendered a service to society. If you are mad and try to bite me, I warn you that I will kill you without pity. Is it my fault that your father is dishonored?
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
By rendering their enterprises profitable, the consumers shift control of the factors of production into the hands of those businessmen who serve them best. By rendering the enterprises of the bungling entrepreneurs unprofitable, they withdraw control from those entrepreneurs with whose services they disagree. It is antisocial in the strict meaning of the term if governments thwart these decisions of the people by taxing profits. From a genuinely social point of view, it would be more “social” to tax losses than to tax profits.
Ludwig von Mises (The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science: An Essay on Method (Liberty Fund Library of the Works of Ludwig von Mises))
It isn't that," said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and speaking unconsciously like his former, not his latter, self. "It isn't that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.
Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
We have a predator that came from the depths of the cosmos and took over the rule of our lives. Human beings are its prisoners. The Predator is our lord and master. It has rendered us docile, helpless. If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act independently, it demands that we don't do so... I have been beating around the bush all this time, insinuating to you that something is holding us prisoner. Indeed we are held prisoner! "This was an energetic fact for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico ... They took us over because we are food for them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. just as we rear chickens in chicken coops, the predators rear us in human coops, humaneros. Therefore, their food is always available to them." "No, no, no, no," [Carlos replies] "This is absurd don Juan. What you're saying is something monstrous. It simply can't be true, for sorcerers or for average men, or for anyone." "Why not?" don Juan asked calmly. "Why not? Because it infuriates you? ... You haven't heard all the claims yet. I want to appeal to your analytical mind. Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradictions between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behaviour. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of belief, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal." "'But how can they do this, don Juan? [Carlos] asked, somehow angered further by what [don Juan] was saying. "'Do they whisper all that in our ears while we are asleep?" "'No, they don't do it that way. That's idiotic!" don Juan said, smiling. "They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that. In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous manoeuvre stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous manoeuvre from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predators' mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now." "I know that even though you have never suffered hunger... you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its manoeuvre is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they ensure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear." "The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were quite ill at ease with the idea of when [the predator] made its appearance on Earth. They reasoned that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights, feats of awareness that are mythological legends nowadays. And then, everything seems to disappear, and we have now a sedated man. What I'm saying is that what we have against us is not a simple predator. It is very smart, and organized. It follows a methodical system to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He's an average piece of meat." "There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic.
Carlos Castaneda (The Active Side of Infinity)
If you think you have come to the mission field because you are a little better than others, or as the cream of your church, or because of your medical degree, or for the service you can render the African church, or even for the souls you may see saved, you will fail. Remember, the Lord has only one purpose ultimately for each one of us, to make us more like Jesus. He is interested in your relationship with Himself. Let Him take you and mould you as He will; all the rest will take its rightful place.
Helen Roseveare (Give Me This Mountain)
The danger facing all of us--let me say it again, for one feels it tremendously--is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel that life has no meaning at all--not these things. The danger is that we may fail to perceive life's greatest meaning, fall short of its highest good, miss its deepest and most abiding happiness, be unable to render the most needed service, be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God--and be content to have it so--that is the danger. That some day we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with the husks and trappings of life--and have really missed life itself. For life without God, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him, is unthinkable, impossible. That is what one prays one's friends may be spared--satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has in it no tingle and thrill which come from a friendship with the Father.
Phillips Brooks
Shall I not render a service to men in speaking to them only of morality? This morality is so pure, so holy, so universal, so clear, so ancient, that it seems to come from God himself, like the light which we regard as the first of his works. Has he not given men self-love to secure their preservation; benevolence, beneficence, and virtue to control their self-love; the natural need to form a society; pleasure to enjoy, pain to warn us to enjoy in moderation, passions to spur us to great deeds, and wisdom to curb our passions? 
Voltaire (A Treatise on Toleration and Other Essays (Great Minds Series))
I do not write every day. I write to the questions and issues before me. I write to deadlines. I write out of my passions. And I write to make peace with my own contradictory nature. For me, writing is a spiritual practice. A small bowl of water sits on my desk, a reminder that even if nothing is happening on the page, something is happening in the room--evaporation. And I always light a candle when I begin to write, a reminder that I have now entered another realm, call it the realm of the Spirit. I am mindful that when one writes, one leaves this world and enters another. My books are collages made from journals, research, and personal experience. I love the images rendered in journal entries, the immediacy that is captured on the page, the handwritten notes. I love the depth of ideas and perspective that research brings to a story, be it biological or anthropological studies or the insights brought to the page by the scholarly work of art historians. When I go into a library, I feel like I am a sleuth looking to solve a mystery. I am completely inspired by the pursuit of knowledge through various references. I read newpapers voraciously. I love what newspapers say about contemporary culture. And then you go back to your own perceptions, your own words, and weigh them against all you have brought together. I am interested in the kaleidoscope of ideas, how you bring many strands of thought into a book and weave them together as one piece of coherent fabric, while at the same time trying to create beautiful language in the service of the story. This is the blood work of the writer. Writing is also about a life engaged. And so, for me, community work, working in the schools or with grassroots conservation organizations is another critical component of my life as a writer. I cannot separate the writing life from a spiritual life, from a life as a teacher or activist or my life intertwined with family and the responsibilities we carry within our own homes. Writing is daring to feel what nurtures and breaks our hearts. Bearing witness is its own form of advocacy. It is a dance with pain and beauty.
Terry Tempest Williams
It isn’t that,” said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and speaking unconsciously like his former, not his latter, self. “It isn’t that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.
Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
Next day Tarrou set to work and enrolled a first team of workers, soon to be followed by many others. However, it is not the narrator's intention to ascribe to these sanitary groups more importance than their due. Doubtless today many of our fellow citizens are apt to yield to the temptation of exaggerating the services they rendered. But the narrator is inclined to think that by attributing overimportance to praiseworthy actions one may, by implication, be paying indirect but potent homage to the worse side of human nature. For this attitude implies that such actions shine out as rare exceptions, while callousness and apathy are the general rule. The narrator does not share that view. The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn't the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill.
Albert Camus (The Plague, The Fall, Exile and the Kingdom, and Selected Essays (Everyman's Library))
Unavoidably, the life of contemplation is an everyday life, a life of fidelity in small matters, small services rendered in the spirit of warmth and love which lightens every burden. The sun’s brightness can from time to time (and perhaps often) be hidden in mist and cloud, but that is no reason for laying aside one’s daily work. Contemplation is work, and it goes on working even when the person praying derives no apparent satisfaction from it. Contemplation is a conversation in which I am at pains not to be boring, not to say and think the same thing every day; I use my imagination and creativity to offer God at least something of myself.
Hans Urs von Balthasar (Prayer)
The capital ... shall form a fund, the interest of which shall be distributed annually as prizes to those persons who shall have rendered humanity the best services during the past year. ... One-fifth to the person having made the most important discovery or invention in the science of physics, one-fifth to the person who has made the most eminent discovery or improvement in chemistry, one-fifth to the one having made the most important discovery with regard to physiology or medicine, one-fifth to the person who has produced the most distinguished idealistic work of literature, and one-fifth to the person who has worked the most or best for advancing the fraternization of all nations and for abolishing or diminishing the standing armies as well as for the forming or propagation of committees of peace.
Alfred Nobel
What is the use of beauty in woman? Provided a woman is physically well made and capable of bearing children, she will always be good enough in the opinion of economists. What is the use of music? -- of painting? Who would be fool enough nowadays to prefer Mozart to Carrel, Michael Angelo to the inventor of white mustard? There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need, and man's needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the water-closet. For my part, saving these gentry's presence, I am of those to whom superfluities are necessaries, and I am fond of things and people in inverse ratio to the service they render me. I prefer a Chinese vase with its mandarins and dragons, which is perfectly useless to me, to a utensil which I do use, and the particular talent of mine which I set most store by is that which enables me not to guess logogriphs and charades. I would very willingly renounce my rights as a Frenchman and a citizen for the sight of an undoubted painting by Raphael, or of a beautiful nude woman, -- Princess Borghese, for instance, when she posed for Canova, or Julia Grisi when she is entering her bath. I would most willingly consent to the return of that cannibal, Charles X., if he brought me, from his residence in Bohemia, a case of Tokai or Johannisberg; and the electoral laws would be quite liberal enough, to my mind, were some of our streets broader and some other things less broad. Though I am not a dilettante, I prefer the sound of a poor fiddle and tambourines to that of the Speaker's bell. I would sell my breeches for a ring, and my bread for jam. The occupation which best befits civilized man seems to me to be idleness or analytically smoking a pipe or cigar. I think highly of those who play skittles, and also of those who write verse. You may perceive that my principles are not utilitarian, and that I shall never be the editor of a virtuous paper, unless I am converted, which would be very comical. Instead of founding a Monthyon prize for the reward of virtue, I would rather bestow -- like Sardanapalus, that great, misunderstood philosopher -- a large reward to him who should invent a new pleasure; for to me enjoyment seems to be the end of life and the only useful thing on this earth. God willed it to be so, for he created women, perfumes, light, lovely flowers, good wine, spirited horses, lapdogs, and Angora cats; for He did not say to his angels, 'Be virtuous,' but, 'Love,' and gave us lips more sensitive than the rest of the skin that we might kiss women, eyes looking upward that we might behold the light, a subtile sense of smell that we might breathe in the soul of the flowers, muscular limbs that we might press the flanks of stallions and fly swift as thought without railway or steam-kettle, delicate hands that we might stroke the long heads of greyhounds, the velvety fur of cats, and the polished shoulder of not very virtuous creatures, and, finally, granted to us alone the triple and glorious privilege of drinking without being thirsty, striking fire, and making love in all seasons, whereby we are very much more distinguished from brutes than by the custom of reading newspapers and framing constitutions.
Théophile Gautier (Mademoiselle de Maupin)
For any ranked society, whether a chiefdom or a state, one thus has to ask, why do the commoners tolerate the transfer of the fruits of their hard labor to kleptocrats? This question raised by political theorists from Plato to Marx are raised anew by voters in every modern election. Kleptocracies with little public support run the risk of being overthrown, either by downtrodden commoners, or by upstart would be replacement kleptocrats seeking public support by promising a higher ratio of services rendered to fruits stolen.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies)
Our origin is very much older than that of the dwellers of Mount Olympus… And what important services do not the birds render to mortals? … Through us you will know the winds and the seasons, summer, winter and the temperate months. We shall not withdraw ourselves to the highest clouds like Zeus, but shall be among you and shall give to you and to your children and to the children of your children health and wealth, long life, peace, youth, laughter, songs and feasts. … Is it not the most priceless gift of all to be winged?
Children inherit the qualities of the parents, no less than their physical features. Environment does play an important part, but the original capital on which a child starts in life is inherited from its ancestors. I have also seen children successfully surmounting the effects of an evil inheritance. That is due to purity being an inherent attribute of the soul. Polak and I had often very heated discussions about the desirability or otherwise of giving the children an English education. It has always been my conviction that Indian parents who train their children to think and talk in English from their infancy betray their children and their country. They deprive them of the spiritual and social heritage of the nation, and render them to that extent unfit for the service of the country. Having these convictions, I made a point of always talking to my children in Gujarati. Polak never liked this. He thought I was spoiling their future. He contended, with all the vigour and love at his command, that, if children were to learn a universal language like English from their infancy, they would easily gain considerable advantage over others in the race of life. He failed to convince me. I do not now remember whether I convinced him of the correctness of my attitude, or whether he gave me up as too obstinate. This happened about twenty years ago, and my convictions have only deepened with experience. Though my sons have suffered for want of full literary education, the knowledge of the mother-tongue that they naturally acquired has been all to their and the country’s good, inasmuch as they do not appear the foreigners they would otherwise have appeared. They naturally became bilingual, speaking and writing English with fair ease, because of daily contact with a large circle of English friends, and because of their stay in a country where English was the chief language spoken.
Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi: An Autobiography)
The Student" “In America,” began the lecturer, “everyone must have a degree. The French do not think that all can have it, they don’t say everyone must go to college.” We incline to feel, here, that although it may be unnecessary to know fifteen languages. one degree is not too much. With us, a school—like the singing tree of which the leaves were mouths that sang in concert— is both a tree of knowledge and of liberty— seen in the unanimity of college mottoes, lux et veritas, Christo et ecclesiae, sapiet felici. It may be that we have not knowledge, just opinions, that we are undergraduates, not students; we know we have been told with smiles, by expatriates of whom we had asked, “When will your experiment be finished?” “Science is never finished.” Secluded from domestic strife, Jack Bookworm led a college life, says Goldsmith; and here also as in France or Oxford, study is beset with dangers—with bookworms, mildews, and complaisancies. But someone in New England has known enough to say that the student is patience personified, a variety of hero, “patient of neglect and of reproach,"—who can "hold by himself.” You can’t beat hens to make them lay. Wolf’s wool is the best of wool, but it cannot be sheared, because the wolf will not comply. With knowledge as with wolves’ surliness, the student studies voluntarily, refusing to be less than individual. He “gives him opinion and then rests upon it”; he renders service when there is no reward, and is too reclusive for some things to seem to touch him; not because he has no feeling but because he has so much.
Marianne Moore
yes of course this is not new, has been going on throughout history... Could there be any real difference when this 'ruling class' used words like justice, fair play, equity, order, or ven socialism? -used them, might even have believed in them, or believed in them for a time; but meanwhile everything fell to pieces while still, as always, the administrators lived cushioned against the worst, trying to talk away, wish away, legislate away, the worst- for to admit that it was happening was to admit to themselves useless, admit the extra security they enjoyed was theft and not payment for services rendered...
Doris Lessing (The Memoirs of a Survivor)
Let me tell you something about women, Tigernan,” Ruari offered, stretching his legs and holding up his empty ale bowl to attract the innkeeper’s attention. “I’ve given a bit of thought to them, having lived more years than you. Women are something a man requires, as necessary as air to breathe and ale to drink. I cannot boast of understanding them, mind you, but I suspect nature designed them for a specific purpose, and it would be a mistake to try to change them. “Women render men an invaluable service that may not at first be apparent. They are born to be responsible, to caretake. It is in them to probe their men as they would examine an old cloak, looking for holes that could let the wind through. Women understand survival better than we do, I think. They will nag and probe and provoke until they find a lowered defense, even the smallest hole, then they poke their fingers through and shout, ‘Aha!’ “In this way they force their men to keep their cloaks mended and their weapons in repair, and ultimately this helps them survive. With a woman treading on his heels a man must stay alert and in the proper frame of mind to go out and slay dragons. Never provoke a quarrel with a man who has just had his flaws pointed out to him by some woman.
Morgan Llywelyn (Grania: She-King of the Irish Seas)
Service is the virtue that distinguished the great of all times and which they will be remembered by. It places a mark if nobility upon its disciples. It is the dividing line which separates the two great groups of the world—those who help and those who hinder, those who lift and those who lean, those who contribute and those who only consume. How much better it is to give than to receive. Service in any form is comely and beautiful. To give encouragement, to impart sympathy, to show interest, to banish fear, to build self confidence and awaken hope in the hearts if others, in short—to love them and to show it—is to render the most precious service.
Bryant S. Hinckley
Substitution competition is a natural limit or control on prices. In a permaculture economy, every useful product or service in a market coexists with a variety of substitutes. There is a point to which monopolies become uneconomical/ unprofitable. Almost every product or service, or their inputs, may be used for a variety of purposes by a variety of consumers, If the price (a) causes there to be more or less consumption of (b) then a and b are substitutes. Substitution competition eventually causes monopolies to shrink or fail , or creates new market space which renders the previous monopoly relatively smaller in size and therefore not a monopoly in the context of the expanded economy
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr. (Principles of a Permaculture Economy)
And now,” said he, “to settle what remains. Will you be wise? will you be guided? will you suffer me to take this glass in my hand and to go forth from your house without further parley? or has the greed of curiosity too much command of you? Think before you answer, for it shall be done as you decide. As you decide, you shall be left as you were before, and neither richer nor wiser, unless the sense of service rendered to a man in mortal distress may be counted as a kind of riches of the soul. Or, if you shall so prefer to choose, a new province of knowledge and new avenues to fame and power shall be laid open to you, here, in this room, upon the instant; and your sight shall be blasted by a prodigy to stagger the unbelief of Satan.
Robert Louis Stevenson (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
Right now, however, the extreme asymmetries of knowledge and power that have accrued to surveillance capitalism abrogate these elemental rights as our lives are unilaterally rendered as data, expropriated, and repurposed in new forms of social control, all of it in the service of others’ interests and in the absence of our awareness or means of combat. We have yet to invent the politics and new forms of collaborative action—this century’s equivalent of the social movements of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries that aimed to tether raw capitalism to society—that effectively assert the people’s right to a human future. And while the work of these inventions awaits us, this mobilization and the resistance it engenders will define a key battleground upon which the fight for a human future unfolds.
Shoshana Zuboff (The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power)
Take the famous utterance, "I am God." Some people think this is a great pretension, but "I am God" is in fact a great humility. Those who say, instead, "I am a servant of God" believe that two exist, themselves and God. But those who say, "I am God" have become nothing and have cast themselves to the winds. They say, "I am God" meaning, "I am not, God is all. There is no existence but God. I have lost all separation. I am nothing." In this the humility is greater. This is what ordinary people don’t understand. When they render service in honor of God’s glory, their servanthood is still present. Even though it is for the sake of God, they still see themselves and their own actions as well as God—they are not drowned in the water. That person is drowned when no movement, nor any action belongs to them, all their movements spring from the movement of the water.
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ar-Rumi) (It Is What It Is: The Personal Discourses of Rumi)
I believe in one God, creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable service we can render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion, and I regard them as you do, in whatever sect I meet with them. As to Jesus of Nazareth…I think the system of morals and his religion as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have…some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble.
Jon Meacham (American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation)
Those involved in mental as opposed to physical effort or who carry the responsibilities of management are presumed to require a higher payment for their submission to the purposes of organization than those who render only physical or manual service, however adept or talented that may be. This is because there is profound difference in the nature and extent of the submission that is made. The person on the shop floor or its equivalent gives more or less diligent and deft physical effort for a specified number of hours a day. Beyond that nothing in principle--not thought, certainly not conformity of speech or behavior--is expected. Of the high corporate executive a more complete submission to the purposes of the organization is usually required. He (or she) must speak and also think well of the aims of the enterprise; he may never in public and not wisely in private raise doubt as to the depth and sincerity of his own commitment. Many factors determine his large, often very large, compensation, including the need to pay for the years of preparation, for the considerable intelligence that is requires, for the responsibility that is carried, and for the alleged risks of high position. As a practical matter, his rate of pay is also influenced by the significant and highly convenient role the executive plays in establishing it; much that accrues to the senior corporate executive is in response to his own inspired generosity. But there is also payment for the comprehensive submission of his individual personality to that of the corporation. It is no slight thing to give up one's self and self-expression to the collective personality of one's employer.
John Kenneth Galbraith (The Anatomy of Power)
He thanked me with a smiling nod, measured out a few minims of the red tincture and added one of the powders. The mixture, which was at first of a reddish hue, began, in proportion as the crystals melted, to brighten in colour, to effervesce audibly, and to throw off small fumes of vapour. Suddenly and at the same moment, the ebullition ceased and the compound changed to a dark purple, which faded again more slowly to a watery green. My visitor, who had watched these metamorphoses with a keen eye, smiled, set down the glass upon the table, and then turned and looked upon me with an air of scrutiny. "And now," said he, "to settle what remains. Will you be wise? will you be guided? will you suffer me to take this glass in my hand and to go forth from your house without further parley? or has the greed of curiosity too much command of you? Think before you answer, for it shall be done as you decide. As you decide, you shall be left as you were before, and neither richer nor wiser, unless the sense of service rendered to a man in mortal distress may be counted as a kind of riches of the soul. Or, if you shall so prefer to choose, a new province of knowledge and new avenues to fame and power shall be laid open to you, here, in this room, upon the instant; and your sight shall be blasted by a prodigy to stagger the unbelief of Satan.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
Harriet turned round, and we both saw a girl walking towards us. She was dark-skinned and thin, not veiled but dressed in a sitara, a brightly coloured robe of greens and pinks, and she wore a headscarf of a deep rose colour. In that barren place the vividness of her dress was all the more striking. On her head she balanced a pitcher and in her hand she carried something. As we watched her approach, I saw that she had come from a small house, not much more than a cave, which had been built into the side of the mountain wall that formed the far boundary of the gravel plateau we were standing on. I now saw that the side of the mountain had been terraced in places and that there were a few rows of crops growing on the terraces. Small black and brown goats stepped up and down amongst the rocks with acrobatic grace, chewing the tops of the thorn bushes. As the girl approached she gave a shy smile and said, ‘Salaam alaikum, ’ and we replied, ‘Wa alaikum as salaam, ’ as the sheikh had taught us. She took the pitcher from where it was balanced on her head, kneeled on the ground, and gestured to us to sit. She poured water from the pitcher into two small tin cups, and handed them to us. Then she reached into her robe and drew out a flat package of greaseproof paper from which she withdrew a thin, round piece of bread, almost like a large flat biscuit. She broke off two pieces, and handed one to each of us, and gestured to us to eat and drink. The water and the bread were both delicious. We smiled and mimed our thanks until I remembered the Arabic word, ‘Shukran.’ So we sat together for a while, strangers who could speak no word of each other’s languages, and I marvelled at her simple act. She had seen two people walking in the heat, and so she laid down whatever she had been doing and came to render us a service. Because it was the custom, because her faith told her it was right to do so, because her action was as natural to her as the water that she poured for us. When we declined any further refreshment after a second cup of water she rose to her feet, murmured some word of farewell, and turned and went back to the house she had come from. Harriet and I looked at each other as the girl walked back to her house. ‘That was so…biblical,’ said Harriet. ‘Can you imagine that ever happening at home?’ I asked. She shook her head. ‘That was charity. Giving water to strangers in the desert, where water is so scarce. That was true charity, the charity of poor people giving to the rich.’ In Britain a stranger offering a drink to a thirsty man in a lonely place would be regarded with suspicion. If someone had approached us like that at home, we would probably have assumed they were a little touched or we were going to be asked for money. We might have protected ourselves by being stiff and unfriendly, evasive or even rude.
Paul Torday (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
I will conclude this work with stating in what light religion appears to me. If we suppose a large family of children, who, on any particular day, or particular circumstance, made it a custom to present to their parents some token of their affection and gratitude, each of them would make a different offering, and most probably in a different manner. Some would pay their congratulations in themes of verse and prose, by some little devices, as their genius dictated, or according to what they thought would please; and, perhaps, the least of all, not able to do any of those things, would ramble into the garden, or the field, and gather what it thought the prettiest flower it could find, though, perhaps, it might be but a simple weed. The parent would be more gratified by such a variety, than if the whole of them had acted on a concerted plan, and each had made exactly the same offering. This would have the cold appearance of contrivance, or the harsh one of control. But of all unwelcome things, nothing could more afflict the parent than to know, that the whole of them had afterwards gotten together by the ears, boys and girls, fighting, scratching, reviling, and abusing each other about which was the best or the worst present. Why may we not suppose, that the great Father of all is pleased with variety of devotion; and that the greatest offence we can act, is that by which we seek to torment and render each other miserable? For my own part, I am fully satisfied that what I am now doing, with an endeavour to conciliate mankind, to render their condition happy, to unite nations that have hitherto been enemies, and to extirpate the horrid practice of war, and break the chains of slavery and oppression is acceptable in his sight, and being the best service I can perform, I act it cheerfully. I do not believe that any two men, on what are called doctrinal points, think alike who think at all. It is only those who have not thought that appear to agree… As to what are called national religions, we may, with as much propriety, talk of national Gods. It is either political craft or the remains of the Pagan system, when every nation had its separate and particular deity…
Thomas Paine (Rights of Man)
It was the first time that I entered the house on the lake. I had often begged the “trap-door lover,” as we used to call Erik in my country, to open its mysterious doors to me. He always refused. I made very many attempts, but in vain, to obtain admittance. Watch him as I might, after I first learned that he had taken up his permanent abode at the Opera, the darkness was always too thick to enable me to see how he worked the door in the wall on the lake. One day, when I thought myself alone, I stepped into the boat and rowed toward that part of the wall through which I had seen Erik disappear. It was then that I came into contact with the siren who guarded the approach and whose charm was very nearly fatal to me. I had no sooner put off from the bank than the silence amid which I floated on the water was disturbed by a sort of whispered singing that hovered all around me. It was half breath, half music; it rose softly from the waters of the lake; and I was surrounded by it through I knew not what artifice. It followed me, moved with me and was so soft that it did not alarm me. On the contrary, in my longing to approach the source of that sweet and enticing harmony, I leaned out of my little boat over the water, for there was no doubt in my mind that the singing came from the water itself. By this time, I was alone in the boat in the middle of the lake; the voice—for it was now distinctly a voice—was beside me, on the water. I leaned over, leaned still farther. The lake was perfectly calm, and a moonbeam that passed through the air hole in the Rue Scribe showed me absolutely nothing on its surface, which was smooth and black as ink. I shook my ears to get rid of a possible humming; but I soon had to accept the fact that there was no humming in the ears so harmonious as the singing whisper that followed and now attracted me. Had I been inclined to superstition, I should have certainly thought that I had to do with some siren whose business it was to confound the traveler who should venture on the waters of the house on the lake. Fortunately, I come from a country where we are too fond of fantastic things not to know them through and through; and I had no doubt but that I was face to face with some new invention of Erik’s. But this invention was so perfect that, as I leaned out of the boat, I was impelled less by a desire to discover its trick than to enjoy its charm; and I leaned out, leaned out until I almost overturned the boat. Suddenly, two monstrous arms issued from the bosom of the waters and seized me by the neck, dragging me down to the depths with irresistible force. I should certainly have been lost, if I had not had time to give a cry by which Erik knew me. For it was he; and, instead of drowning me, as was certainly his first intention, he swam with me and laid me gently on the bank: “How imprudent you are!” he said, as he stood before me, dripping with water. “Why try to enter my house? I never invited you! I don’t want you there, nor anybody! Did you save my life only to make it unbearable to me? However great the service you rendered him, Erik may end by forgetting it; and you know that nothing can restrain Erik, not even Erik himself.” He spoke, but I had now no other wish than to know what I already called the trick of the siren. He satisfied my curiosity, for Erik, who is a real monster—I have seen him at work in Persia, alas—is also, in certain respects, a regular child, vain and self-conceited, and there is nothing he loves so much, after astonishing people, as to prove all the really miraculous ingenuity of his mind. He laughed and showed me a long reed. “It’s the silliest trick you ever saw,” he said, “but it’s very useful for breathing and singing in the water. I learned it from the Tonkin pirates, who are able to remain hidden for hours in the beds of the rivers.
Gaston Leroux (The Phantom of the Opera)