Satisfied Short Quotes

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Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you...it means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind. It means being able to say, with Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre: "I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all the extraneous delights should be withheld or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give. Responsibility to yourself means that you don't fall for shallow and easy solutions--predigested books and ideas...marrying early as an escape from real decisions, getting pregnant as an evasion of already existing problems. It means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short...and this, in turn, means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, have low professional expectations, drown in love and forget about work, live through others, and stay in the places assigned to us. It means that we insist on a life of meaningful work, insist that work be as meaningful as love and friendship in our lives. It means, therefore, the courage to be "different"...The difference between a life lived actively, and a life of passive drifting and dispersal of energies, is an immense difference. Once we begin to feel committed to our lives, responsible to ourselves, we can never again be satisfied with the old, passive way.
Adrienne Rich
Jealousy is never satisfied with anything short of an omniscience that would detect the subtlest fold of the heart.
George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss)
I have never, in all my life, not for one moment, been tempted toward religion of any kind. The fact is that I feel no spiritual void. I have my philosophy of life, which does not include any aspect of the supernatural and which I find totally satisfying. I am, in short, a rationalist and believe only that which reason tells me is so.
Isaac Asimov (I. Asimov: A Memoir)
Brod's life was a slow realization that the world was not for her, and that for whatever reason, she would never be happy and honest at the same time. She felt as if she were brimming, always producing and hoarding more love inside her. But there was no release... So she had to satisfy herself with the idea of love--loving the loving of things whose existence she didn't care at all about. Love itself became the object of her love. She loved herself in love, she loved loving love, as love loves loving, and was able, in that way, to reconcile herself with a world that fell so short of what she would have hoped for. It was not the world that was the great and saving lie, but her willingness to make it beautiful and fair, to live a once-removed life, in a world once-removed from the one in which everyone else seemed to exist.
Jonathan Safran Foer
He'll learn that many women can satisfy for a short period of time, but when he falls in love, only one will sustain him forever.
Jeaniene Frost (At Grave's End (Night Huntress, #3))
I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?
Walter Scott
So you know how things stand. Now forget what they think of you. Be satisfied if you can live the rest of your life, however short, as your nature demands. Focus on that, and don't let anything distract you. You've wandered all over and finally realized that you never found what you were after: how to live. Not in syllogisms, not in money, or fame, or self-indulgence. Nowhere.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Some people think they can find satisfaction in good food, fine clothes, lively music, and sexual pleasure. However, when they have all these things, they are not satisfied. They realize happiness is not simply having their material needs met. Thus, society has set up a system of rewards that go beyond material goods. These include titles, social recognition, status, and political power, all wrapped up in a package called self-fulfillment. Attracted by these prizes and goaded on by social pressure, people spend their short lives tiring body and mind to chase after these goals. Perhaps this gives them the feeling that they have achieved something in their lives, but in reality they have sacrificed a lot in life. They can no longer see, hear, act, feel, or think from their hearts. Everything they do is dictated by whether it can get them social gains. In the end, they've spent their lives following other people's demands and never lived a life of their own. How different is this from the life of a slave or a prisoner?
Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living (Shambhala Dragon Editions))
In using all means, seek God alone. In and through every outward thing, look only to the power of His Spirit, and the merits of His Son. Beware you do not get stuck in the work itself; if you do, it is all lost labor. Nothing short of God can satisfy your soul. Therefore, fix on Him in all, through all, and above all...Remember also to use all means as means-as ordained, not for their own sake...
John Wesley (How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer (VALUE BOOKS))
Tonight I can write the saddest lines. Write, for example,'The night is shattered and the blue stars shiver in the distance.' The night wind revolves in the sky and sings. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. Through nights like this one I held her in my arms I kissed her again and again under the endless sky. She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too. How could one not have loved her great still eyes. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her. To hear the immense night, still more immense without her. And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture. What does it matter that my love could not keep her. The night is shattered and she is not with me. This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance. My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. My sight searches for her as though to go to her. My heart looks for her, and she is not with me. The same night whitening the same trees. We, of that time, are no longer the same. I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her. My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing. Another's. She will be another's. Like my kisses before. Her voide. Her bright body. Her inifinite eyes. I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her. Love is so short, forgetting is so long. Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms my sould is not satisfied that it has lost her. Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer and these the last verses that I write for her.
Pablo Neruda
But—let me tell you my cat joke. It's very short and simple. A hostess is giving a dinner party and she's got a lovely five-pound T-bone steak sitting on the sideboard in the kitchen waiting to be cooked while she chats with the guests in the living room—has a few drinks and whatnot. But then she excuses herself to go into the kitchen to cook the steak—and it's gone. And there's the family cat, in the corner, sedately washing it's face." "The cat got the steak," Barney said. "Did it? The guests are called in; they argue about it. The steak is gone, all five pounds of it; there sits the cat, looking well-fed and cheerful. "Weigh the cat," someone says. They've had a few drinks; it looks like a good idea. So they go into the bathroom and weigh the cat on the scales. It reads exactly five pounds. They all perceive this reading and a guest says, "okay, that's it. There's the steak." They're satisfied that they know what happened, now; they've got empirical proof. Then a qualm comes to one of them and he says, puzzled, "But where's the cat?
Philip K. Dick (The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch)
We cannot find God without God. We cannot reach God without God. We cannot satisfy God without God—which is another way of saying that our seeking will always fall short unless God’s grace initiates the search and unless God’s call draws us to him and completes the search.
Os Guinness (The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life)
You’re too fat and too thin; your breasts are too big and too small. Your body is wrong. If you’re not trying to change it, you’re lazy. If you’re satisfied with yourself as you are, you’re settling. And if you dare to actively like yourself, you’re a conceited bitch. In short, you are doing it wrong. Do it differently. No, that’s wrong too, try something else. Forever. This
Emily Nagoski (Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life)
There’s something satisfying, I think,’ Evans said, ‘about the idea of light travelling for millions of years through space and just at the right moment as it reaches Earth someone looks at the right bit of sky and sees it. It just seems right that an event of that magnitude should be witnessed.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
So she had to satisfy herself with the idea of love - loving the loving of things whose existence she didn't care at all about. Love itself became the object of her love. She loved herself in love, she loved loving love, as love loves loving, and was able, in that way, to reconcile herself with a world that fell so short of what she would have hoped for. It was not the world that was the great and saving lie, but her willingness to make it beautiful and fair, to live a once-removed life, in a world once-removed from the one in which everyone else seemed to exist.
Jonathan Safran Foer
Tonight I Can Write Tonight I can write the saddest lines. Write, for example, 'The night is starry and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.' The night wind revolves in the sky and sings. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. Through nights like this one I held her in my arms. I kissed her again and again under the endless sky. She loved me, sometimes I loved her too. How could one not have loved her great still eyes. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her. To hear the immense night, still more immense without her. And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture. What does it matter that my love could not keep her. The night is starry and she is not with me. This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance. My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer. My heart looks for her, and she is not with me. The same night whitening the same trees. We, of that time, are no longer the same. I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her. My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing. Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses. Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes. I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her. Love is so short, forgetting is so long. Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer and these the last verses that I write for her.
Pablo Neruda (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair)
I want lots and lots of sex." "You really are the woman of my dreams." "First round, wet shower sex, after we scrape off a few layers of the Alaskan tundra, then a short and satisfying lunch break. Then a second round of make-the-mattress-sing sex." "I feel a tear of gratitude and awe forming in the corner of my eyes. Don't think less of me.
Nora Roberts (Chasing Fire)
On Generosity On our own, we conclude: there is not enough to go around we are going to run short of money of love of grades of publications of sex of beer of members of years of life we should seize the day seize our goods seize our neighbours goods because there is not enough to go around and in the midst of our perceived deficit you come you come giving bread in the wilderness you come giving children at the 11th hour you come giving homes to exiles you come giving futures to the shut down you come giving easter joy to the dead you come – fleshed in Jesus. and we watch while the blind receive their sight the lame walk the lepers are cleansed the deaf hear the dead are raised the poor dance and sing we watch and we take food we did not grow and life we did not invent and future that is gift and gift and gift and families and neighbours who sustain us when we did not deserve it. It dawns on us – late rather than soon- that you “give food in due season you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” By your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity override our presumed deficits quiet our anxieties of lack transform our perceptual field to see the abundance………mercy upon mercy blessing upon blessing. Sink your generosity deep into our lives that your muchness may expose our false lack that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give so that the world may be made Easter new, without greedy lack, but only wonder, without coercive need but only love, without destructive greed but only praise without aggression and invasiveness…. all things Easter new….. all around us, toward us and by us all things Easter new. Finish your creation, in wonder, love and praise. Amen.
Walter Brueggemann
I'm taking it day by day." I liked saying this. It was honest, short, and seemed to satisfy people.
Jennifer Castle (The Beginning of After)
At this point I reveal myself in my true colours, as a stick-in-the-mud. I hold a number of beliefs that have been repudiated by the liveliest intellects of our time. I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. History is ourselves. I also hold one or two beliefs that are more difficult to put shortly. For example, I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people's feelings by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are part of a great whole. All living things are our brothers and sisters. Above all, I believe in the God-given genius of certain individuals, and I value a society that makes their existence possible.
Kenneth Clark (Civilisation)
We want to be clear: The skills we [teach] you for managing your emotions and controlling your urges to self-harm will never be quite as effective or satisfying as self-harm in the short run.
Kim L. Gratz (Freedom from Self-Harm: Overcoming Self-Injury with Skills from DBT and Other Treatments)
I am thirsty, and very susceptible to flattery... you could talk me into anything..." "So much for fighting the good fight," I observed dryly. "He'll have a harem within a week." Bones watched Juan disappear down the hall, nuzzling the blonde's neck in a manner that didn't speak only of hunger. "He's a fine bloke. He'll learn." "Learn what?" At least he can't get or pass diseases anymore, I thought. That's one advantage turning Juan into a vampire did for womankind. Bones put an arm around me as we headed toward the exit of the flesh feast. "He'll learn that many women can satisfy for a short period of time, but when he falls in love, only one will sustain him forever." I cast him a sideways glance "Are you trying to seduce me?" His lips curled with promise. "Absolutely.
Jeaniene Frost (At Grave's End (Night Huntress, #3))
Nothing satisfies greed, but even a little satisfies nature.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
Good children do taste better, but there are so few of them. If you can be satisfied with naughty children, you will always have food on the table. They are never in short supply.
David Demchuk (The Bone Mother)
So she had to satisfy herself with the idea of love – loving the loving of things whose existence she didn’t care at all about. Love itself became the object of her love. She loved herself in love, she loved loving love, as love loves loving, and was able, in that way, to reconcile herself with a world that fell so short of what she would have hoped for. It was not the world that was the great and saving lie, but her willingness to make beautiful and fair, to live a once-removed life, in a world once-removed from the one in which everyone else seemed to exist.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated)
God wills our liberation, our exodus from Egypt. God wills our reconciliation, our return from exile. God wills our enlightenment, our seeing. God wills our forgiveness, our release from sin and guilt. God wills that we see ourselves as God’s beloved. God wills our resurrection, our passage from death to life. God wills for us food and drink that satisfy our hunger and thirst. God wills, comprehensively, our well-being—not just my well-being as an individual but the well-being of all of us and of the whole of creation. In short, God wills our salvation, our healing, here on earth. The Christian life is about participating in the salvation of God.
Marcus J. Borg (The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith)
As a rule, however fine and deep a phrase may be, it only affects the indifferent, and cannot fully satisfy those who are happy or unhappy; that is why dumbness is most often the highest expression of happiness or unhappiness; lovers understand each other better when they are silent, and a fervent, passionate speech delivered by the grave only touches outsiders, while to the widow and children of the dead man it seems cold and trivial.
Anton Chekhov (The Essential Tales of Chekhov)
But not so odd a name, after all, if you’ve ever read through the phone directory, with its Hyman Diddlebockers and Sasparilla Greenleafs. I read through the phone book once, never mind when, and it satisfied a deep need in me to realize how many people aren’t called Smith.
Sylvia Plath (Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose and Diary Excerpts)
Ah yes, now you’re beginning to feel it. It’s so satisfying to see my best efforts coming to fruition. Undoubtedly one of the most gratifying rewards of my profession. It would warm my heart—if I had one.
Jaye Frances (The Beach)
Just forget for a minute that you have spectacles on your nose and autumn in your heart. Stop being tough at your desk and stammering with timidity in the presence of people. Imagine for one second that you raise hell in public and stammer on paper. You’re a tiger, a lion, a cat. You spend a night with a Russian woman and leave her satisfied. You’re twenty five. If rings had been fastened to the earth and sky, you’d have seized them and pulled the sky down to earth
Isaac Babel
But what desires can always be satisfied despite external circumstances? What are they? Love, self-sacrifice.' He
Leo Tolstoy (Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy [with Biographical Introduction])
Life is too short to chase perfection, yet too long to be satisfied with mediocrity.
Russell Eric Dobda
We grow old judging others And ourselves Until life humbles us And makes scared children of us Longing to hold another’s hand To hear their kind words And witness their kind deeds done on our behalf. But like children, We sabotage everything For nothing satisfies us Until life crumbles us And we are no more.
Kamand Kojouri
So She had to satisfy herself with the idea of love-loving the loving of things whose existence she didn't care at all about. Love itself became the object of her love. She loved herself in love, she loved loving love, as love loves loving, and was able, in that way, to reconcile herself with a world that fell so short of what she would have hoped for.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated)
we read fiction to satisfy a more basic need—to imagine our way into other lives, to explore characters and situations that tell us something new about the world, and maybe about ourselves, or to remind us of something important that we may have forgotten.
Tom Perrotta (The Best American Short Stories 2012)
Egoism... is not eliminated by economic reorganization or by material abundance. When basic needs are satisfied, new 'needs' emerge. In our society, people want no simply clothes, but fashionable clothes; not shelter, but a house to display their wealth and taste.
Peter Singer (Marx: A Very Short Introduction)
Life is long and there is enough of it for satisfying personal accomplishments if we use our hours well.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: De Brevitate Vitae (A New Translation) (Stoics In Their Own Words Book 4))
A rare wild rhinoceros on the brink of extinction is probably more satisfied than a calf who spends its short life inside a tiny box, fattened to produce juicy steaks.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Many pursue no fixed goal, but are tossed about in ever-changing designs by a fickleness which is shifting, inconstant and never satisfied with itself.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
The best advice I can give on this is, once it's done, to put it away until you can read it with new eyes. Finish the short story, print it out, then put it in a drawer and write other things. When you're ready, pick it up and read it, as if you've never read it before. If there are things you aren't satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that's revision.
Neil Gaiman
External explanations of black-white differences — discrimination or poverty, for example—seem to many to be more amenable to public policy than internal explanations such as culture. Those with this point of view tend to resist cultural explanations but there is yet another reason why some resist understanding the counterproductive effects of an anachronistic culture: Alternative explanations of economic and social lags provide a more satisfying ability to blame all such lags on the sins of others, such as racism or discrimination. Equally important, such external explanations require no painful internal changes in the black population but leave all changes to whites, who are seen as needing to be harangued, threatened, or otherwise forced to change. In short, prevailing explanations provide an alibi for those who lag—and an alibi is for many an enormously valuable asset that they are unlikely to give up easily.
Thomas Sowell (Black Rednecks and White Liberals)
Platitudes might satisfy for a short time, father—but soon or late, the people will realize they are being fed form without substance. What I tell them must be the truth, and I must believe it, and I must hold to it.
Mercedes Lackey (Exile's Honor (Heralds of Valdemar, #6))
Whatever it is we are trying to find out about the strangers in our midst is not robust. The “truth” about Amanda Knox or Jerry Sandusky or KSM is not some hard and shiny object that can be extracted if only we dig deep enough and look hard enough. The thing we want to learn about a stranger is fragile. If we tread carelessly, it will crumple under our feet. And from that follows a second cautionary note: we need to accept that the search to understand a stranger has real limits. We will never know the whole truth. We have to be satisfied with something short of that. The right way to talk to strangers is with caution and humility. How many of the crises and controversies I have described would have been prevented had we taken those lessons to heart?
Malcolm Gladwell (Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know)
I think what we fear most about finding a mind equal to our own, but of another species, is that they will truly see us—and find us lacking, and turn away from us in disgust. That contact with another mind will puncture our species’ self-satisfied feeling of worth. We will have to confront, finally, what we truly are, and the damage we have done to our home. But that confrontation, perhaps, is the only thing that will save us. The only thing that will allow us to look our short-sightedness, our brutality, and our stupidity in the face, and change.
Ray Nayler (The Mountain in the Sea)
There’s something satisfying, I think,” Evans said, “about the idea of light travelling for millions of years through space and just at the right moment as it reaches Earth someone looks at the right bit of sky and sees it.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
We talk of civilizing the Indian, but that is not the name for his improvement. By the wary independence and aloofness of his dim forest life he preserves his intercourse with his native gods, and is admitted from time to time to a rare and peculiar society with Nature. He has glances of starry recognition to which our saloons are strangers. The steady illumination of his genius, dim only because distant, is like the faint but satisfying light of the stars compared with the dazzling but ineffectual and short-lived blaze of candles.
Henry David Thoreau (A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (Writings of Henry D. Thoreau))
The short space of threescore years can never content the imagination of man; nor can the imperfect joys of this world satisfy his heart. Man alone, of all created beings, displays a natural contempt of existence, and yet a boundless desire to exist; he scorns life, but he dreads annihilation. These different feelings incessantly urged his soul to the contemplation of a future state, and religion directs his musings thither. Religion, then, is simply another form of hope; and it is no less natural to the human heart than hope itself.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
These Diderots and d'Alemberts and Voltaires and Rousseaus or whatever names these scribblers have - there are even clerics among them and gentleman of noble birth! - they've finally managed to infect the whole society with their perfidious fidgets, with their sheer delight in discontent and their unwillingness to be satisfied with anything in this world, in short, with the boundless chaos that reigns inside their own heads!
Patrick Süskind (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer)
You cannot pursue all your goals simultaneously or satisfy all your desires at once. And it's an emotional drain to think you can. Instead, you must focus on long-term fulfillment rather than short-term success and, at various points in your life, think carefully about your priorities.
Eric C. Sinoway
We crave nothing less that the perfect story; And while we chatter or listen all our lives to a din of craving – jokes, anecdotes, novels, dreams, films, plays, songs, half the words of our days – We are satisfied only by the one short tale we feel to be true; History is the will of a just God who knows us.
Reynolds Price (A Palpable God: Thirty Stories Translated from the Bible With an Essay on the Origins and Life of Narrative)
The political merchandisers appeal only to the weak­nesses of voters, never to their potential strength. They make no attempt to educate the masses into becoming fit for self-government; they are content merely to manipulate and exploit them. For this pur­pose all the resources of psychology and the social sciences are mobilized and set to work. Carefully se­lected samples of the electorate are given "interviews in depth." These interviews in depth reveal the uncon­scious fears and wishes most prevalent in a given so­ciety at the time of an election. Phrases and images aimed at allaying or, if necessary, enhancing these fears, at satisfying these wishes, at least symbolically, are then chosen by the experts, tried out on readers and audiences, changed or improved in the light of the information thus obtained. After which the political campaign is ready for the mass communicators. All that is now needed is money and a candidate who can be coached to look "sincere." Under the new dispen­sation, political principles and plans for specific action have come to lose most of their importance. The person­ality of the candidate and the way he is projected by the advertising experts are the things that really mat­ter. In one way or another, as vigorous he-man or kindly father, the candidate must be glamorous. He must also be an entertainer who never bores his audience. Inured to television and radio, that audience is accustomed to being distracted and does not like to be asked to con­centrate or make a prolonged intellectual effort. All speeches by the entertainer-candidate must therefore be short and snappy. The great issues of the day must be dealt with in five minutes at the most -- and prefera­bly (since the audience will be eager to pass on to something a little livelier than inflation or the H-bomb) in sixty seconds flat. The nature of oratory is such that there has always been a tendency among politicians and clergymen to over-simplify complex is­sues. From a pulpit or a platform even the most con­scientious of speakers finds it very difficult to tell the whole truth. The methods now being used to merchan­dise the political candidate as though he were a deo­dorant positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything.
Aldous Huxley
Biot, who assisted Laplace in revising it [The Mécanique Céleste] for the press, says that Laplace himself was frequently unable to recover the details in the chain of reasoning, and if satisfied that the conclusions were correct, he was content to insert the constantly recurring formula, 'Il est àisé avoir' [it is easy to see].
W.W. Rouse Ball (A Short Account of the History of Mathematics)
The Reed Flute's Song Listen to the story told by the reed, of being separated. "Since I was cut from the reedbed, I have made this crying sound. Anyone apart from someone he loves understands what I say. Anyone pulled from a source longs to go back. At any gathering I am there, mingling in the laughing and grieving, a friend to each, but few will hear the secrets hidden within the notes. No ears for that. Body flowing out of spirit, spirit up from body: no concealing that mixing. But it's not given us to see the soul. The reed flute is fire, not wind. Be that empty." Hear the love fire tangled in the reed notes, as bewilderment melts into wine. The reed is a friend to all who want the fabric torn and drawn away. The reed is hurt and salve combining. Intimacy and longing for intimacy, one song. A disastrous surrender and a fine love, together. The one who secretly hears this is senseless. A tongue has one customer, the ear. A sugarcane flute has such effect because it was able to make sugar in the reedbed. The sound it makes is for everyone. Days full of wanting, let them go by without worrying that they do. Stay where you are inside such a pure, hollow note. Every thirst gets satisfied except that of these fish, the mystics, who swim a vast ocean of grace still somehow longing for it! No one lives in that without being nourished every day. But if someone doesn't want to hear the song of the reed flute, it's best to cut conversation short, say good-bye, and leave.
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ar-Rumi)
Now forget what they think of you. Be satisfied if you can live the rest of your life, however short, as your nature demands. Focus on that, and don’t let anything distract you. You’ve wandered all over and finally realized that you never found what you were after: how to live. Not in syllogisms, not in money, or fame, or self-indulgence. Nowhere.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
As it is not a settled question, you must clear your mind of the fancy with which we all begin as children, that the institutions under which we live, including our legal ways of distributing income and allowing people to own things, are natural, like the weather. They are not. Because they exist everywhere in our little world, we take it for granted that they have always existed and must always exist, and that they are self-acting. That is a dangerous mistake. They are in fact transient makeshifts; and many of them would not be obeyed, even by well-meaning people, if there were not a policeman within call and a prison within reach. They are being changed continually by Parliament, because we are never satisfied with them.... At the elections some candidates get votes by promising to make new laws or to get rid of old ones, and others by promising to keep things just as they are. This is impossible. Things will not stay as they are. Changes that nobody ever believed possible take place in a few generations. Children nowadays think that spending nine years in school, oldage and widows’ pensions, votes for women, and short-skirted ladies in Parliament or pleading in barristers’ wigs in the courts are part of the order of Nature, and always were and ever shall be; but their great-grandmothers would have set down anyone who told them that such things were coming as mad, and anyone who wanted them to come as wicked.
George Bernard Shaw (The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism)
Holding his breath, swaying drunkenly beneath a bulb which illumined little more than grime and moisture, Moon stared awhile at the cement wall; it took just such a hopeless international latrine in the early hours of a morning, when a man was weak in the knees, short in the breath, numb in the forehead and rotten in the gut, to make him wonder where he was, how he got there, where he was going; he realized that he did not know and never would. He had confronted this same latrine on every continent and not once had it come up with an answer; or rather, it always came up with the same answer, a suck and gurgle of unspeakable vileness, a sort of self-satisfied low chuckling: Go to it, man, you’re pissing your life away.
Peter Matthiessen (At Play in the Fields of the Lord)
I won't have it, in poetry, that bulk counts. People say to me, 'Now settle down and do a long work, since you have shown the public that you can produce beautiful short poetry.' And their implication tells me that making two verses or a short poem does not satisfy their concept of what an accomplished poet should be able to do. Bulk they want, as evidence of a man's power.
Robert Frost (Interviews with Robert Frost)
The only good thing for men therefore is to be diverted from thinking of what they are, either by some occupation which takes their mind off it, or by some novel and agreeable passion which keeps them busy, like gambling, hunting, some absorbing show, in short by what is called diversion...Thus men who are naturally conscious of what they are shun nothing so much as rest; they would do anything to be disturbed. It is wrong then to blame them; they are not wrong to want excitement - if they only wanted it for the sake of diversion. The trouble is that they want it as though, once they had the things they seek, they could not fail to be truly happy. That is what justifies calling their search a vain one. All this shows that neither the critics nor the criticized understand man's real nature. When men are reproached for pursuing so eagerly something that could never satisfy them, their proper answer, if they really thought about it, ought to be that they simply want a violent and vigorous occupation to take their minds off themselves, and that is why they choose some attractive object to entice them in ardent pursuit. Their opponents could find no answer to that.
Blaise Pascal (Pensées)
Most of these stories are on the tragic side. But the reader must not suppose that the incidents I have narrated were of common occurrence. The vast majority of these people, government servants, planters, and traders, who spent their working lives in Malaya were ordinary people ordinarily satisfied with their station in life. They did the jobs they were paid to do more or less competently,. They were as happy with their wives as are most married couples. They led humdrum lives and did very much the same things every day. Sometimes by way of a change they got a little shooting; but at a rule, after they had done their day's work, they played tennis if there were people to play with, went to the club at sundown if there was a club in the vicinity, drank in moderation, and played bridge. They had their little tiffs, their little jealousies, their little flirtations, their little celebrations. They were good, decent, normal people. I respect, and even admire, such people, but they are not the sort of people I can write stories about. I write stories about people who have some singularity of character which suggests to me that they may be capable of behaving in such a way as to give me an idea that I can make use of, or about people who by some accident or another, accident of temperament, accident of environment, have been involved in unusual contingencies. But, I repeat, they are the exception.
W. Somerset Maugham (Collected Short Stories: Volume 4)
Looking at the turmoil of life from this standpoint we find all occupied with its want and misery, exerting all their strength in order to satisfy its endless needs and avert manifold suffering, without, however, daring to expect anything else in return than merely the preservation of this tormented individual existence for a short span of time. And yet, amid all this turmoil we see a pair of lovers exchanging longing glances — yet why so secretly, timidly, and stealthily? Because these lovers are traitors secretly striving to perpetuate all this misery and turmoil that otherwise would come to a timely end.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Essays of Schopenhauer)
It happens more frequently, as has been hinted, that a scientific head is placed on an ape’s body, a fine exceptional understanding in a base soul, an occurrence by no means rare, especially among doctors and moral physiologists. And whenever anyone speaks without bitterness, or rather quite innocently, of man as a belly with two requirements, and a head with one; whenever any one sees, seeks, and WANTS to see only hunger, sexual instinct, and vanity as the real and only motives of human actions; in short, when any one speaks ‘badly’—and not even ‘ill’—of man, then ought the lover of knowledge to hearken attentively and diligently; he ought, in general, to have an open ear wherever there is talk without indignation. For the indignant man, and he who perpetually tears and lacerates himself with his own teeth (or, in place of himself, the world, God, or society), may indeed, morally speaking, stand higher than the laughing and self- satisfied satyr, but in every other sense he is the more ordinary, more indifferent, and less instructive case. And no one is such a LIAR as the indignant man.
Friedrich Nietzsche
For some, Life is rich and creamy, made according to an old peasant recipe from nothing but natural products, while Art is a pallid commercial confection, consisting mainly of artificial colourings and flavourings. For others, Art is the truer thing, full, bustling and emotionally satisfying, while Life is worse than the poorest novel: devoid of narrative, peopled by bores and rogues, short on wit, long on unpleasant incidents, and leading to a painfully predictable dénouement. Adherents of the latter view tend to cite Logan Pearsall Smith: ‘People say that life is the thing; but I prefer reading.’ Candidates are advised not to use this quotation in their answers.
Julian Barnes (Flaubert's Parrot)
You sometimes hear people say, with a certain pride in their clerical resistance to the myth, that the nineteenth century really ended not in 1900 but in 1914. But there are different ways of measuring an epoch. 1914 has obvious qualifications; but if you wanted to defend the neater, more mythical date, you could do very well. In 1900 Nietzsche died; Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams; 1900 was the date of Husserl Logic, and of Russell's Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz. With an exquisite sense of timing Planck published his quantum hypothesis in the very last days of the century, December 1900. Thus, within a few months, were published works which transformed or transvalued spirituality, the relation of language to knowing, and the very locus of human uncertainty, henceforth to be thought of not as an imperfection of the human apparatus but part of the nature of things, a condition of what we may know. 1900, like 1400 and 1600 and 1000, has the look of a year that ends a saeculum. The mood of fin de siècle is confronted by a harsh historical finis saeculi. There is something satisfying about it, some confirmation of the rightness of the patterns we impose. But as Focillon observed, the anxiety reflected by the fin de siècle is perpetual, and people don't wait for centuries to end before they express it. Any date can be justified on some calculation or other. And of course we have it now, the sense of an ending. It has not diminished, and is as endemic to what we call modernism as apocalyptic utopianism is to political revolution. When we live in the mood of end-dominated crisis, certain now-familiar patterns of assumption become evident. Yeats will help me to illustrate them. For Yeats, an age would end in 1927; the year passed without apocalypse, as end-years do; but this is hardly material. 'When I was writing A Vision,' he said, 'I had constantly the word "terror" impressed upon me, and once the old Stoic prophecy of earthquake, fire and flood at the end of an age, but this I did not take literally.' Yeats is certainly an apocalyptic poet, but he does not take it literally, and this, I think, is characteristic of the attitude not only of modern poets but of the modern literary public to the apocalyptic elements. All the same, like us, he believed them in some fashion, and associated apocalypse with war. At the turning point of time he filled his poems with images of decadence, and praised war because he saw in it, ignorantly we may think, the means of renewal. 'The danger is that there will be no war.... Love war because of its horror, that belief may be changed, civilization renewed.' He saw his time as a time of transition, the last moment before a new annunciation, a new gyre. There was horror to come: 'thunder of feet, tumult of images.' But out of a desolate reality would come renewal. In short, we can find in Yeats all the elements of the apocalyptic paradigm that concern us.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
She went to her room and curled into a ball of misery and decided that she would die of a broken heart. Minstrels would write songs about how she had turned her face to the wall and died of the false-heartedness of men. She could not quite make up her mind whether she wanted to be a ghost who would haunt the convent or not. It would be very satisfying to be a sad-eyed, beautiful ghost who drifted through the halls, gazing up at the moon and weeping silently, as a warning to other young women. On the other hand, she was still short and round-faced and sturdy, and there were very few ghost stories about short, sturdy women. Marra had not managed to be pale and willowy and consumptive at any point in eighteen years of life and did not think she could achieve it before she died. Possibly it would be better to just have songs made about her. The Sister Apothecary came to her, the nun who doctored all the residents of the convent for various ailments, and who compounded medicines and salves and treatments for the farmer’s wives who lived nearby. She studied Marra intensely for a few minutes. “It’s a man, is it?” she said finally. Marra grunted. It occurred to her about an hour earlier that she did not know how the minstrels would find out that she existed in order to write the sad songs in the first place, and her mind was somewhat occupied by this problem. Did you write them letters?
T. Kingfisher (Nettle & Bone)
What is the path to wholeness? We will see this path more clearly if we recognize that greed’s ugly stepsister is ungratefulness. Greed always wants more. When we are greedy, we are never satisfied. Whatever we receive from others, we conclude we deserve. And in whatever quantity it may come, it is never enough. Lack of gratitude is a manifestation of an abundance of greed. From the vantage point of the taker, it is his or her justification for always demanding. He is endlessly disappointed in others. No one ever comes through for him. No one ever keeps his promises. Everyone always falls short of his expectations. There is no need for thanks, except thanks for nothing. No truth, no matter how profound, will find its way into a heart that is absent of gratitude.
Erwin Raphael McManus (Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul)
Of course, activity by itself doesn’t equal accomplishment, and certainly not success -- being busy just means being busy. I know many people who work super hard to fill up the spaces in their lives, so they won’t have to think. A wise colleague calls this “numbing out”. They may accomplish their goals, but they’re unlikely to be fulfilled or do truly creative work. I know other people who fill their free time with meaningless activities. They’re also busy, but they neither achieve much, nor are they satisfied.
Peter Atkins (Life Is Short And So Is This Book)
What makes a taco perfect?" "Beautiful question," Felix said. "It's a taco that tastes as good as the idea of a taco itself. A taco that'll hold steadfast through memory's attempt to erase it, a taco that'll be worthy of the nostalgia that it will cause. A taco that won't satisfy or fill but will satiate your hunger. Not just for tonight but for tacos in general, for food, for life-it-fucking-self, brother. You will feel full to your soul "But!" he added, a callused index finger pointed straight up at the sky. "It's also a taco that will make you hunger for more tacos like it, for more tacos at all, for food, the joy of it, the beauty of it. A taco that makes you hungry for life and that makes you feel like you have never been more alive. Nothing short of that will do.
Adi Alsaid (North of Happy)
help you brainstorm incremental goals that will keep your Monitor satisfied, but the super-short guidelines are: soon, certain, positive, concrete, specific, and personal.11 Soon: Your goal should be achievable without requiring patience. Certain: Your goal should be within your control. Positive: It should be something that feels good, not just something that avoids suffering. Concrete: Measurable. You can ask Andrew, “Are you filled with joy?” and he can say yes or no. Specific: Not general, like “fill people with joy,” but specific: Fill Andrew with joy. Personal: Tailor your goal. If you don’t care about Andrew’s state of mind, forget Andrew. Who is your Andrew? Maybe you’re your own Andrew. Redefining winning in terms of incremental goals is not the same as giving yourself rewards for making progress
Emily Nagoski (Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle)
It’s funny, but when I talk about this business of my father and Valentina with my women friends, they’re absolutely appalled. They see a vulnerable old man who’s being exploited. Yet all the men I talk to—without any exception, Mike” (I wag my finger) “they respond with these wry knowing smiles, these little admiring chuckles. Oh, what a lad he is. What an achievement, pulling this much younger bird. Best of luck to him. Let him have his bit of fun.” “You must admit, it’s done him good.” “I don’t admit anything.” (It’s much less satisfying arguing with Mike than with Vera or Pappa. He’s always so irritatingly reasonable.) “Are you sure you’re not just being a bit puritanical?” “Of course I’m not!” (So what if I am?) “It’s because he’s my father—I just want him to be grown up.” “He is being grown up, in his way.” “No he’s not, he’s being a lad. An eighty-four-year-old lad. You’re all being lads together. Wink wink. Nudge nudge. What a great pair of knockers. For goodness’ sake!” My voice has risen to a shriek. “But you can see it’s doing him good, this new relationship. It’s breathed new life into him. Just goes to show that you’re never too old for love.” “You mean for sex.” “Well, maybe that as well. Your Dad is just hoping to fulfil every man’s dream—to lie in the arms of a beautiful younger woman.” “Every man’s dream?” That night Mike and I sleep in separate beds.
Marina Lewycka (A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian)
Many introver- ted kids grow up to have excellent so- cial skills, although they tend to join groups in their own way—waiting a while before they plunge in, or particip- ating only for short periods. That’s OK. Your child needs to acquire social skills and make friends, not turn into the most gregarious student in school. This doesn’t mean that popularity isn’t a lot of fun. You’ll probably wish it for him, just as you might wish that he have good looks, a quick wit, or athletic tal- ent. But make sure you’re not imposing your own longings, and remember that there are many paths to a satisfying life.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Being needed is incredibly satisfying, and helping others can be deeply fulfilling. Focusing on our own goals to the exclusion of others, especially the causes and the people we value the most, can feel downright selfish and self-centered. But it doesn’t have to. Master marketer Seth Godin says, “You can say no with respect, you can say no promptly, and you can say no with a lead to someone who might say yes. But just saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you do the work.” Godin gets it. You can keep your yes and say no in a way that works for you and for others.
Gary Keller (The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth About Extraordinary Results)
. . . they who plead an absolute right cannot be satisfied with anything short of personal representation, because all natural rights must be the rights of individuals; as by nature there is no such thing as politic or corporate personality; all these things are mere fictions of law, they are creatures of voluntary institution; men as men are individuals, and nothing else. They, therefore, who reject the principle of natural and personal representation, are essentially and eternally at variance with those who claim it. As to the first sort of reformers, it is ridiculous to talk to them of the British constitution upon any or upon all of its bases; for they lay it down that every man ought to govern himself, and that where he cannot go himself he must send his representative; that all other government is usurpation; and is so far from having a claim to our obedience, it is not only our right, but our duty, to resist it.
Edmund Burke
The problem, Paulinus, is not that we have a short life, but that we waste time. Life is long and there is enough of it for satisfying personal accomplishments if we use our hours well. But when time is squandered in the pursuit of pleasure or in vain idleness, when it is spent with no real purpose, the finality of death fast approaches and it is only then, when we are forced to, that we, at last, take a good hard look at how we have spent our life- just as we become aware that it is ending. Thus the time we are given is not brief, but we make it so. We do not lack time; on the contrary, there is so much of it that we waste an awful lot
Seneca
The extreme inequalities in the manner of living of the several classes of mankind, the excess of idleness in some, and of labour in others, the facility of irritating and satisfying our sensuality and our appetites, the too exquisite and out of the way aliments of the rich, which fill them with fiery juices, and bring on indigestions, the unwholesome food of the poor, of which even, bad as it is, they very often fall short, and the want of which tempts them, every opportunity that offers, to eat greedily and overload their stomachs; watchings, excesses of every kind, immoderate transports of all the passions, fatigues, waste of spirits, in a word, the numberless pains and anxieties annexed to every condition, and which the mind of man is constantly a prey to; these are the fatal proofs that most of our ills are of our own making, and that we might have avoided them all by adhering to the simple, uniform and solitary way of life prescribed to us by nature.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation Of The Inequality Among Mankind)
Responsibility to yourself… means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short, simply to avoid conflict and confrontation. And this, in turn, means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, have low professional expectations, drown in love and forget about work, live through others, and stay in the places assigned to us. It means that we insist on a life of meaningful work, insist that work be as meaningful as love and friendship in our lives. It means, therefore, the courage to be 'different'; not to be continuously available to others when we need time for ourselves and our work; to be able to demand of others that they respect our sense of purpose and our integrity as persons… The difference between a life lived actively, and a life of passive drifting and dispersal of energies, is an immense difference. Once we begin to feel committed to our lives, responsible to ourselves, we can never again be satisfied with the old, passive way.
Adrienne Rich
I just wasn't able to say it before now.' He blinked. 'You needed to knee a man in the groin before you could tell me you loved me?' 'No!' Then she thought about his words. 'Well, yes, in a way. I've always been so fearful that you would run my life. But I've learned that having you with me doesn't mean that I can't take care of myself as well.' 'You certainly made short work of Eversleigh.' Her chin lifted a notch and she allowed herself a satisfied smile. 'Yes, I did, didn't I? And do you know, but I think I couldn't have done it without you.' 'Victoria, you did this all on your own. I wasn't even present.' 'Yes, you were.' She picked up his hand and placed it over her heart.
Julia Quinn (Everything and the Moon (The Lyndon Sisters, #1))
Our love affairs with sin are not just a matter of morality, though, but of joy. This is not just about faithfulness to God, but about finding our deepest, most satisfying fulfillment. Many people think following Jesus means surrendering our happiness. You can either enjoy a fun, passionate, and exciting life here for a short time or live a bland, boring, but safe life forever with God. That lie is a quiet, but violent concentration camp, fencing men and women in, keeping them away from God, and torturing them with lesser pleasures that only lead to a swift and yet never-ending death. If you want to be truly happy—even in this life, surrounded by everything beautiful, fun, and exciting in this world—you want to be found with Jesus.
Marshall Segal (Killjoys)
The great masters of modern analysis are Lagrange, Laplace, and Gauss, who were contemporaries. It is interesting to note the marked contrast in their styles. Lagrange is perfect both in form and matter, he is careful to explain his procedure, and though his arguments are general they are easy to follow. Laplace on the other hand explains nothing, is indifferent to style, and, if satisfied that his results are correct, is content to leave them either with no proof or with a faulty one. Gauss is as exact and elegant as Lagrange, but even more difficult to follow than Laplace, for he removes every trace of the analysis by which he reached his results, and studies to give a proof which while rigorous shall be as concise and synthetical as possible.
W.W. Rouse Ball (A Short Account of the History of Mathematics)
THE TRADITION OF sacrificing children is deeply rooted in most cultures and religions. For this reason it is also tolerated, and indeed commended, in our western civilization. Naturally, we no longer sacrifice our sons and daughters on the altar of God, as in the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. But at birth and throughout their later upbringing, we instill in them the necessity to love, honor, and respect us, to do their best for us, to satisfy our ambitions—in short, to give us everything our parents denied us. We call this decency and morality. Children rarely have any choice in the matter. All their lives, they will force themselves to offer their parents something that they neither possess nor have any knowledge of, quite simply because they have never been given it: genuine, unconditional love that does not merely serve to gratify the needs of the recipient. Yet they will continue to strive in this direction because even as adults they still believe that they need their parents and because, despite all the disappointments they have experienced, they still hope for some token of genuine affection from those parents. Such
Alice Miller (The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Hurtful Parenting)
The case I’ve presented in this book suggests that humans are undergoing what biologists call a major transition. Such transitions occur when less complex forms of life combine in some way to give rise to more complex forms. Examples include the transition from independently replicating molecules to replicating packages called chromosomes or, the transition from different kinds of simple cells to more complex cells in which these once-distinct simple cell types came to perform critical functions and become entirely mutually interdependent, such as the nucleus and mitochondria in our own cells. Our species’ dependence on cumulative culture for survival, on living in cooperative groups, on alloparenting and a division of labor and information, and on our communicative repertoires mean that humans have begun to satisfy all the requirements for a major biological transition. Thus, we are literally the beginnings of a new kind of animal.1 By contrast, the wrong way to understand humans is to think that we are just a really smart, though somewhat less hairy, chimpanzee. This view is surprisingly common. Understanding how this major transition is occurring alters how we think about the origins of our species, about the reasons for our immense ecological success, and about the uniqueness of our place in nature. The insights generated alter our understandings of intelligence, faith, innovation, intergroup competition, cooperation, institutions, rituals, and the psychological differences between populations. Recognizing that we are a cultural species means that, even in the short run (when genes don’t have enough time to change), institutions, technologies, and languages are coevolving with psychological biases, cognitive abilities, emotional responses, and preferences. In the longer run, genes are evolving to adapt to these culturally constructed worlds, and this has been, and is now, the primary driver of human genetic evolution. Figure 17.1.
Joseph Henrich (The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter)
We know, however, that the mind is capable of understanding these matters in all their complexity and in all their simplicity. A ball flying through the air is responding to the force and direction with which it was thrown, the action of gravity, the friction of the air which it must expend its energy on overcoming, the turbulence of the air around its surface, and the rate and direction of the ball's spin. And yet, someone who might have difficulty consciously trying to work out what 3 x 4 x 5 comes to would have no trouble in doing differential calculus and a whole host of related calculations so astoundingly fast that they can actually catch a flying ball. People who call this "instinct" are merely giving the phenomenon a name, not explaining anything. I think that the closest that human beings come to expressing our understanding of these natural complexities is in music. It is the most abstract of the arts - it has no meaning or purpose other than to be itself. Every single aspect of a piece of music can be represented by numbers. From the organization of movements in a whole symphony, down through the patterns of pitch and rhythm that make up the melodies and harmonies, the dynamics that shape the performance, all the way down to the timbres of the notes themselves, their harmonics, the way they change over time, in short, all the elements of a noise that distinguish between the sound of one person piping on a piccolo and another one thumping a drum - all of these things can be expressed by patterns and hierarchies of numbers. And in my experience the more internal relationships there are between the patterns of numbers at different levels of the hierarchy, however complex and subtle those relationships may be, the more satisfying and, well, whole, the music will seem to be. In fact the more subtle and complex those relationships, and the further they are beyond the grasp of the conscious mind, the more the instinctive part of your mind - by which I mean that part of your mind that can do differential calculus so astoundingly fast that it will put your hand in the right place to catch a flying ball- the more that part of your brain revels in it. Music of any complexity (and even "Three Blind Mice" is complex in its way by the time someone has actually performed it on an instrument with its own individual timbre and articulation) passes beyond your conscious mind into the arms of your own private mathematical genius who dwells in your unconscious responding to all the inner complexities and relationships and proportions that we think we know nothing about. Some people object to such a view of music, saying that if you reduce music to mathematics, where does the emotion come into it? I would say that it's never been out of it.
Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently, #1))
Haven't I told you scores of times, that you're always beginners, and the greatest satisfaction was not in being at the top, but in getting there, in the enjoyment you get out of scaling the heights? That's something you don't understand, and can't understand until you've gone through it yourself. You're still at the state of unlimited illusions, when a good, strong pair of legs makes the hardest road look short, and you've such a mighty appetite for glory that the tiniest crumb of success tastes delightfully sweet. You're prepared for a feast, you're going to satisfy your ambition at last, you feel it's within reach and you don't care if you give the skin off your back to get it! And then, the heights are scaled, the summits reached, and you've got to stay there. That's when the torture begins; you've drunk your excitement to the dregs and found it all too short and even rather bitter, and you wonder whether it was really worth the struggle. From that point there is no more unknown to explore, no new sensations to experience. Pride has had its brief portion of celebrity; you know that your best has been given and you're surprised it hasn't brought a keener sense of satisfaction. From that moment the horizon starts to empty of all hopes that once attracted you towards it. There's nothing to look forward to but death. But in spite of that you cling on, you don't want to feel you're played out, you persist in trying to produce something, like old men persist in trying to make love, with painful, humiliating results. ... If only we could have the courage to hang ourselves in front of our last masterpiece!
Émile Zola (The Masterpiece)
What about Sandridge?" McKenna asked. "Do you love him?" "Yes," Aline whispered. She loved Adam dearly- just not in the way he meant. "And yet you're here with me," he murmured. "Adam-" She stopped and cleared her throat. "Whatever I choose to do... he doesn't mind. This has nothing to do with him... you and I..." "No, it doesn't," he said with sudden anger. "My God, he should be trying to tear my throat out, instead of letting you go somewhere alone with me. He should be willing to do anything short of murder- hell, I wouldn't even stop at that- to keep other men away from you." Disgust thickened his voice. "You're lying to yourself, if you think that you'll ever be satisfied with the kind of bloodless arrangement your parents had. You need a man who will match your will, own you, occupy every part of your body, and every corner of your soul. In the eyes of the world, Sandridge is your equal- but you and I know better. He's as different from you as ice from fire." He leaned over her, his body forming a hard, living cage around her. "I'm your equal," he said harshly, "though my blood is red instead of blue, though I was condemned by my very birth never to have you... inside, we're the same. And I would break every law of God and man if-" McKenna stopped suddenly, biting back the words as he realized that he was revealing too much, allowing his rampaging emotions to get the better of him.
Lisa Kleypas (Again the Magic (Wallflowers, #0))
I gain nothing but pleasure from writing fiction; short stories are foreplay, novellas are heavy petting – but novels are the full monte. Frankly, if I didn't enjoy writing novels I wouldn't do it – the world hardly needs any more and I can think of numerous more useful things someone with my skills could be engaged in. As it is, the immersion in parallel but believable worlds satisfies all my demands for vicarious experience, voyeurism and philosophic calithenics. I even enjoy the mechanics of writing, the dull timpani of the typewriter keys, the making of notes – many notes – and most seducttive of all: the buying of stationery. That the transmogrification of my beautiful thoughts into a grossly imperfect prose is always the end result doesn't faze me: all novels are only a version- there is no Platonic ideal. But I'd go further still: fiction is my way of thinking about and relating to the world; if I don't write I'm not engaged in any praxis, and lose all purchase.
Will Self
A giant grin, accompanied by a slight chuckle, had been the grand finale to any of his most successful jokes, while the less impressive resulted in a raise of both his brows, which he followed with a semi-satisfied smirk. The least entertaining attempt at humor would get a shrug and a short grimace that reflected he too understood he’d just bombed. Olivia was acquainted with them all now, considering all the time they’d spent together, the most she’d spent with any other individual inside the vault. Olivia had become accustomed to his infectious humor, though it hadn’t always been so. Especially, when they’d first met.
Jettie Necole
He buried his head in the lawn, letting his smooth cheeks feel the softness of the earth and be tickled by the short blunt spears of grass. Suddenly he wanted to do something heroic and brutal. He pulled handfuls of grass out of its roots, experiencing a crazy satisfaction at the ugly grating sound it produced like a limb being torn from limb! He dug his nails into the soft, wet earth, wanting suddenly to break it up, to disfigure it, to wreck his vengeful will upon it! He picked a rose from a bush nearby and plucked its petals one by one, letting them fall in a crumpled heap. He got his finger pricked by a thorn but when he sucked at the injured spot, the blood, his own blood, tasted bitter - and good - on his tongue. Then he retired to his room exhausted yet strangely satisfied. But he was pursued by someone even in his sleep. It was the same "other woman" of his childhood dreams and she was still screaming, "I am Woman, the daughter of Woman. Thou shalt not escape me." But when she came near, Anwar saw that she had an oval face, framed by a halo of dark curly hair, with big black innocent eyes! Next morning, as he looked into the mirror to comb his hair, Anwar saw the downy growth of hair, the beginnings of a beard on his cheeks and chin.
Khwaja Ahmad Abbas (Inqilab)
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)
i. You’re in fourth grade and it’s autumn and your teacher is handing out catalogs, bright yellow paper pamphlets that crinkle like autumn leaves. You are ravenous, willing the ink to manifest itself into something palpable, pages and pages of words for you to consume, bright covers binding stories of people and places and things you’ve never encountered. The other students shove their already-crumpled copies into their Take-Home folders. ii. You’re in fourth grade and it’s winter and last night the books tumbled off your shelf like the falling snow outside, swelling and piling and overtaking everything—too much stuff, no place to put it all. Your favorite subject in school is Reading, and you can’t understand why no one else seems quite as delighted. It’s all made-up, see? you tell them, even the real stuff. They stare at you, bewildered, as you skip ahead in the enormous anthology of short stories, anxious to find something else that satisfies, trying to ignore the bored mumbles of the two boys next to you. Your other favorite subject is Silent Reading. iii. You’re in fourth grade and it’s spring which means chirping birds and blooming flowers and it’s old news, really, because every time you crack the spine on a new stack of yellowed pages you feel reborn. Your teacher says there won’t be Reading today, there’s something special instead, and your heart sinks as she leads the murmuring class down to the gym, light-up sneakers squeaking on the scuffed tiles. You get there and it’s not the gym, it’s Eden, shelves and shelves of vibrant covers vying for your attention. You’re torn between shoving your old, well-loved favorites under the noses of your disinterested friends and searching for new words to devour. You’re a prospector sifting for riches in the middle of the GOLD Rush, you’re a miner in a cave, you run the titles over your tongue like lollipops, wishing you could just swallow them whole. iv. You’ve finished fourth grade and it’s summer and you giggle when you get the letter in the mail reminding all students to finish one book by the end of break. You already finished one book the first day of vacation, and another the day after that. You still can’t understand why nobody else seems to get it—reading is not a hobby or a chore or a subject, it’s a lifestyle, a method of transportation, a communication that speaks directly to the soul. You decide that the only option is to become a writer when you grow up, and write a book that will fill the parts of people they didn’t even know were empty. You will write a book that they will want to read, and then they will understand.
Anonymous
Arin said, “If I win, I will ask a question, and you will answer.” She felt a nervous flutter. “I could lie. People lie.” “I’m willing to risk it.” “If those are your stakes, then I assume my prize would be the same.” “If you win.” She still could not quite agree. “Questions and answers are highly irregular stakes in Bite and Sting,” she said irritably. “Whereas matches make the perfect ante, and are so exciting to win and lose.” “Fine.” Kestrel tossed the box to the carpet, where it landed with a muffled sound. Arin didn’t look satisfied or amused or anything at all. He simply drew his hand. She did the same. They played in intent concentration, and Kestrel was determined to win. She didn’t. “I want to know,” Arin said, “why you are not already a soldier.” Kestrel couldn’t have said what she had thought he would ask, but this was not it, and the question recalled years of arguments she would rather forget. She was curt. “I’m seventeen. I’m not yet required by law to enlist or marry.” He settled back in his chair, toying with one of his winning pieces. He tapped a thin side against the table, spun the tile in his fingers, and tapped another side. “That’s not a full answer.” “I don’t think we specified how short or long these answers should be. Let’s play again.” “If you win, will you be satisfied with the kind of answer you have given me?” Slowly, she said, “The military is my father’s life. Not mine. I’m not even a skilled fighter.” “Really?” His surprise seemed genuine. “Oh, I pass muster. I can defend myself as well as most Valorians, but I’m not good at combat. I know what it’s like to be good at something.” Arin glanced again at the piano. “There is also my music,” Kestrel acknowledged. “A piano is not very portable. I could hardly take it with me if I were sent into battle.” “Playing music is for slaves,” Arin said. “Like cooking or cleaning.” Kestrel heard anger in his words, buried like bedrock under the careless ripple of his voice. “It wasn’t always like that.” Arin was silent, and even though Kestrel had initially tried to answer his question in the briefest of ways, she felt compelled to explain the final reason behind her resistance to the general. “Also…I don’t want to kill.” Arin frowned at this, so Kestrel laughed to make light of the conversation. “I drive my father mad. Yet don’t all daughters? So we’ve made a truce. I have agreed that, in the spring, I will either enlist or marry.” He stopped spinning the tile in his fingers. “You’ll marry, then.” “Yes. But at least I will have six months of peace first.” Arin dropped the tile to the table. “Let’s play again.” This time Kestrel won, and wasn’t prepared for how her blood buzzed with triumph.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
Sometimes,” she told me, “a girl will give a guy a blow job at the end of the night because she doesn’t want to have sex with him and he expects to be satisfied. So if I want him to leave and I don’t want anything to happen . . .” She trailed off, leaving me to imagine the rest. There was so much to unpack in that short statement: why a young man should expect to be sexually satisfied; why a girl not only isn’t outraged, but considers it her obligation to comply; why she doesn’t think a blow job constitutes “anything happening”; the pressure young women face in any personal relationship to put others’ needs before their own; the potential justification of assault with a chaser of self-blame. “It goes back to girls feeling guilty,” Anna said. “If you go to a guy’s room and are hooking up with him, you feel bad leaving him without pleasing him in some way. But, you know, it’s unfair. I don’t think he feels badly for you.” In their research on high school girls and oral sex, April Burns, a professor of psychology at City University of New York, and her colleagues found that girls thought of fellatio kind of like homework: a chore to get done, a skill to master, one on which they expected to be evaluated, possibly publicly. As with schoolwork, they worried about failing or performing poorly—earning the equivalent of low marks. Although they took satisfaction in a task well done, the pleasure they described was never physical, never located in their own bodies. They were both dispassionate and nonpassionate about oral sex—socialized, the researchers concluded, to see themselves as “learners” in their encounters rather than “yearners.” The concern with pleasing, as opposed to pleasure, was pervasive among the girls I met, especially among high schoolers, who were just starting sexual experimentation.
Peggy Orenstein (Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape)
Our life together was filled with contrasts. One week we were croc hunting with Dateline in Cape York. Only a short time after that, Steve and I found ourselves out of our element entirely, at the CableACE Award banquet in Los Angeles. Steve was up for an award as host of the documentary Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World. He lost out to the legendary Walter Cronkite. Any time you lose to Walter Cronkite, you can’t complain too much. After the awards ceremony, we got roped into an after-party that was not our cup of tea. Everyone wore tuxedos. Steve wore khaki. Everyone drank, smoked, and made small talk, none of which Steve did at all. We got separated, and I saw him across the room looking quite claustrophobic. I sidled over. “Why don’t we just go back up to our room?” I whispered into his ear. This proved to be a terrific idea. It fit in nicely with our plans for starting a family, and it was quite possibly the best seven minutes of my life! After our stay in Los Angeles, Steve flew directly back to the zoo, while I went home by way of one my favorite places in the world, Fiji. We were very interested in working there with crested iguanas, a species under threat. I did some filming for the local TV station and checked out a population of the brilliantly patterned lizards on the Fijian island of Yadua Taba. When I got back to Queensland, I discovered that I was, in fact, expecting. Steve and I were over the moon. I couldn’t believe how thrilled he was. Then, mid-celebration, he suddenly pulled up short. He eyed me sideways. “Wait a minute,” he said. “You were just in Fiji for two weeks.” “Remember the CableACE Awards? Where you got bored in that room full of tuxedos?” He gave me a sly grin. “Ah, yes,” he said, satisfied with his paternity (as if there was ever any doubt!). We had ourselves an L.A. baby.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
One other thing. And this really matters for readers of this book. According to official Myers–Briggs documents, the test can ‘give you an insight into what kinds of work you might enjoy and be successful doing’. So if you are, like me, classified as ‘INTJ’ (your dominant traits are being introverted, intuitive and having a preference for thinking and judging), the best-fit occupations include management consultant, IT professional and engineer.30 Would a change to one of these careers make me more fulfilled? Unlikely, according to respected US psychologist David Pittenger, because there is ‘no evidence to show a positive relation between MBTI type and success within an occupation…nor is there any data to suggest that specific types are more satisfied within specific occupations than are other types’. Then why is the MBTI so popular? Its success, he argues, is primarily due to ‘the beguiling nature of the horoscope-like summaries of personality and steady marketing’.31 Personality tests have their uses, even if they do not reveal any scientific ‘truth’ about us. If we are in a state of confusion they can be a great emotional comfort, offering a clear diagnosis of why our current job may not be right, and suggesting others that might suit us better. They also raise interesting hypotheses that aid self-reflection: until I took the MBTI, I had certainly never considered that IT could offer me a bright future (by the way, I apparently have the wrong personality type to be a writer). Yet we should be wary about relying on them as a magic pill that enables us suddenly to hit upon a dream career. That is why wise career counsellors treat such tests with caution, using them as only one of many ways of exploring who you are. Human personality does not neatly reduce into sixteen or any other definitive number of categories: we are far more complex creatures than psychometric tests can ever reveal. And as we will shortly learn, there is compelling evidence that we are much more likely to find fulfilling work by conducting career experiments in the real world than by filling out any number of questionnaires.32
Roman Krznaric (How to Find Fulfilling Work (The School of Life))
Philotheo. I will do so. If the world is finite and if nothing lieth beyond, I ask you Where is the world? Where is the universe? Aristotle replieth, it is in itself. [1] The convex surface of the primal heaven is universal space, which being the primal container is by naught contained. For position in space is no other than the surfaces and limit of the containing body, so that he who hath no containing body hath no position in space. [2] What then dost thou mean, O Aristotle, by this phrase, that "space is within itself"? What will be thy conclusion concerning that which is beyond the world? If thou sayest, there is nothing, then the heaven [3] and the world will certainly not be anywhere. Fracastoro. The world will then be nowhere. Everything will be nowhere. Philotheo. The world is something which is past finding out. If thou sayest (and it certainly appeareth to me that thou seekest to say something in order to escape Vacuum and Nullity), if thou sayest that beyond the world is a divine intellect, so that God doth become the position in space of all things, why then thou thyself wilt be much embarrassed to explain to us how that which is incorporeal [yet] intelligible, and without dimension can be the very position in space occupied by a dimensional body; and if thou sayest that this incorporeal space containeth as it were a form, as the soul containeth the body, then thou dost not reply to the question of that which lieth beyond, nor to the enquiry concerning that which is outside the universe. And if thou wouldst excuse thyself by asserting that where naught is, and nothing existeth, there can be no question of position in space nor of beyond or outside, yet I shall in no wise be satisfied. For these are mere words and excuses, which cannot form part of our thought. For it is wholly impossible that in any sense or fantasy (even though there may be various senses and various fantasies), it is I say impossible that I can with any true meaning assert that there existeth such a surface, boundary or limit, beyond which is neither body, nor empty space, even though God be there. For divinity hath not as aim to fill space, nor therefore doth it by any means appertain to the nature of divinity that it should be the boundary of a body. For aught which can be termed a limiting body must either be the exterior shape or else a containing body. And by no description of this quality canst thou render it compatible with the dignity of divine and universal nature. [4]
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
But if they didn’t return to Halstead Hall before their absence was discovered, she’d be ruined. A young unmarried female couldn’t just go off on a trip, no matter how short, with an unmarried gentleman. They’d have to marry. Yes-they would, wouldn’t they? A powerful longing swept him as he watched her hug Mrs. Duffet. For one fleeting moment, he indulged the fantasy of being Celia’s husband. He would return to Cheapside every day after work at Bow Street to find her, his wife, waiting in his home to greet him with a kiss. They’d have a pleasant dinner, then walk down to Blackfriars Bridge and stroll across the Thames to watch the sun set in summer or the moon rise on a chilly night in winter. Once they returned home, he’d write up his reports as she darned his socks- A harsh laugh clogged his throat. As if a lady like her would ever darn socks. Or be satisfied with a simple walk across a bridge in the moonlight instead of a night at the theater. You could afford a night at the theater from time to time, and new socks anytime your old ones get holes. But only if he became Chief Magistrate. And once the children came along… Children? That was quite the leap forward, considering that a marriage between them was impossible. Damn Mrs. Plumtree to hell.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
I only have the story in two parts from Miss Throckmorton-Jones. The first time she spoke she was under the influence of laudanum. Today she was under the influence of what I can only describe as the most formidable temper I’ve ever seen. However, while I may not have the complete story, I certainly have the gist of it, and if half what I’ve heard is true, then it’s obvious that you are completely without either a heart or a conscience! My own heart breaks when I imagine Elizabeth enduring what she has for nearly two years. When I think of how forgiving of you she has been-“ “What did the woman tell you?” Ian interrupted shortly, turning and walking over to the window. His apparent lack of concern so enraged the vicar that he surged to his feet and stalked over to Ian’s side, glowering at his profile. “She told me you ruined Elizabeth Cameron’s reputation beyond recall,” he snapped bitterly. “She told me that you convinced that innocent girl-who’d never been away from her country home until a few weeks before meeting you-that she should meet you in a secluded cottage, and later in a greenhouse. She told me that the scene was witnessed by individuals who made great haste to spread the gossip, and that it was all over the city in a matter of days. She told me Elizabeth’s fiancé heard of it and withdrew his offer because of you. When he did that, society assumed Elizabeth’s character must indeed be of the blackest nature, and she was summarily dropped by the ton. She told me that a few days later Elizabeth’s brother fled England to escape their creditors, who would have been paid off when Elizabeth made an advantageous marriage, and that he’s never returned.” With grim satisfaction the vicar observed the muscle that was beginning to twitch in Ian’s rigid jaw. “She told me the reason for Elizabeth’s going to London in the first place had been the necessity for making such a marriage-and that you destroyed any chance of that ever happening. Which is why that child will now have to marry a man you describe as a lecher three times her age!” Satisfied that his verbal shots were finding their mark, he fired his final, most killing around. “As a result of everything you have done, that brave, beautiful girl has been living in shamed seclusion for nearly two years. Her house, of which she spoke with such love, has been stripped of its valuables by creditors. I congratulate you, Ian. You have made an innocent girl into an impoverished leper! And all because she fell in love with you on sight. Knowing what I now know of you, I can only wonder what she saw in you!
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
By that time, Bezos and his executives had devoured and raptly discussed another book that would significantly affect the company’s strategy: The Innovator’s Dilemma, by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen. Christensen wrote that great companies fail not because they want to avoid disruptive change but because they are reluctant to embrace promising new markets that might undermine their traditional businesses and that do not appear to satisfy their short-term growth requirements. Sears, for example, failed to move from department stores to discount retailing; IBM couldn’t shift from mainframe to minicomputers. The companies that solved the innovator’s dilemma, Christensen wrote, succeeded when they “set up autonomous organizations charged with building new and independent businesses around the disruptive technology.”9 Drawing lessons directly from the book, Bezos unshackled Kessel from Amazon’s traditional media organization. “Your job is to kill your own business,” he told him. “I want you to proceed as if your goal is to put everyone selling physical books out of a job.” Bezos underscored the urgency of the effort. He believed that if Amazon didn’t lead the world into the age of digital reading, then Apple or Google would. When Kessel asked Bezos what his deadline was on developing the company’s first piece of hardware, an electronic reading
Brad Stone (The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon)
It was dusk when Ian returned, and the house seemed unnaturally quiet. His uncle was sitting near the fire, watching him with an odd expression on his face that was half anger, half speculation. Against his will Ian glanced about the room, expecting to see Elizabeth’s shiny golden hair and entrancing face. When he didn’t, he put his gun back on the rack above the fireplace and casually asked, “Where is everyone?” “If you mean Jake,” the vicar said, angered yet more by the way Ian deliberately avoided asking about Elizabeth, “he took a bottle of ale with him to the stable and said he was planning to drink it until the last two days were washed from his memory.” “They’re back, then?” “Jake is back,” the vicar corrected as Ian walked over to the table and poured some Madeira into a glass. “The servingwomen will arrive in the morn. Elizabeth and Miss Throckmorton-Jones are gone, however.” Thinking Duncan meant they’d gone for a walk, Ian flicked a glance toward the front door. “Where have they gone at this hour?” “Back to England.” The glass in Ian’s hand froze halfway to his lips. “Why?” he snapped. “Because Miss Cameron’s uncle has accepted an offer for her hand.” The vicar watched in angry satisfaction as Ian tossed down half the contents of his glass as if he wanted to wash away the bitterness of the news. When he spoke his voice was laced with cold sarcasm. “Who’s the lucky bridegroom?” “Sir Francis Belhaven, I believe.” Ian’s lips twisted with excruciating distaste. “You don’t admire him, I gather?” Ian shrugged. “Belhaven is an old lecher whose sexual tastes reportedly run to the bizarre. He’s also three times her age.” “That’s a pity,” the vicar said, trying unsuccessfully to keep his voice blank as he leaned back in his chair and propped his long legs upon the footstool in front of him. “Because that beautiful, innocent child will have no choice but to wed that old…lecher. If she doesn’t, her uncle will withdraw his financial support, and she’ll lose that home she loves so much. He’s perfectly satisfied with Belhaven, since he possesses the prerequisites of title and wealth, which I gather are his only prerequisites. That lovely girl will have to wed that old man; she has no way to avoid it.” “That’s absurd,” Ian snapped, draining his glass. “Elizabeth Cameron was considered the biggest success of her season two years ago. It was pubic knowledge she’d had more than a dozen offers. If that’s all he cares about, he can choose from dozens of others.” Duncan’s voice was laced with uncharacteristic sarcasm. “That was before she encountered you at some party or other. Since then it’s been public knowledge that she’s used goods.” “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” “You tell me, Ian,” the vicar bit out. “I only have the story in two parts from Miss Throckmorton-Jones. The first time she spoke she was under the influence of laudanum. Today she was under the influence of what I can only describe as the most formidable temper I’ve ever seen. However, while I may not have the complete story, I certainly have the gist of it, and if half what I’ve heard is true, then it’s obvious that you are completely without either a heart or a conscience! My own heart breaks when I imagine Elizabeth enduring what she has for nearly two years. When I think of how forgiving of you she has been-“ “What did the woman tell you?” Ian interrupted shortly, turning and walking over to the window.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Housman would not have appealed so deeply to the people who were young in 1920 if it had not been for another strain in him, and that was his blasphemous, antinomian, "cynical" strain. The fight that always occurs between the generations was exceptionally bitter at the end of the Great War; this was partly due to the war itself, and partly it was an indirect result of the Russian Revolution, but an intellectual struggle was in any case due at about that date. Owing probably to the ease and security of life in England, which even the war hardly disturbed, many people whose ideas were formed in the 'eighties or earlier had carried them quite unmodified into the nineteen-twenties. Meanwhile, so far as the younger generation was concerned, the official beliefs were dissolving like sand-castles. The slump in religious belief, for instance, was spectacular. For several years the old—young antagonism took on a quality of real hatred. What was left of the war generation had crept out of the massacre to find their elders still bellowing the slogans of 1914, and a slightly younger generation of boys were writhing under dirty-minded celibate schoolmasters. It was to these that Housman appealed, with his implied sexual revolt and his personal grievance against God. He was patriotic, it was true, but in a harmless old-fashioned way, to the tune of red coats and "God save the Queen" rather than steel helmets and "Hang the Kaiser." And he was satisfyingly anti-Christian—he stood for a kind of bitter, defiant paganism, a conviction that life is short and the gods are against you, which exactly fitted the prevailing mood of the young; and all in charming fragile verse that was composed almost entirely of words of one syllable.
George Orwell (All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays)
For the next twenty minutes Elizabeth asked for concessions, Ian conceded, Duncan wrote, and the dowager duchess and Lucinda listened with ill-concealed glee.. In the entire time Ian made but one stipulation, and only after he was finally driven to it out of sheer perversity over the way everyone was enjoying his discomfort: He stipulated that none of Elizabeth’s freedoms could give rise to any gossip that she was cuckolding him. The duchess and Miss Throckmorton-Jones scowled at such a word being mentioned in front of them, but Elizabeth acquiesced with a regal nod of her golden head and politely said to Duncan, “I agree. You may write that down.” Ian grinned at her, and Elizabeth shyly returned his smile. Cuckolding, to the best of Elizabeth’s knowledge, was some sort of disgraceful conduct that required a lady to be discovered in the bedroom with a man who was not her husband. She had obtained that incomplete piece of information from Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones, who, unfortunately, actually believed it. “Is there anything more?” Duncan finally asked, and when Elizabeth shook her head, the dowager spoke up. “Indeed, though you may not need to write it down.” Turning to Ian, she said severely, “If you’ve any thought of announcing this betrothal tomorrow, you may put it out of your head.” Ian was tempted to invite her to get out, in a slightly less wrathful tone than that in which he’d ordered Julius from the house, but he realized that what she was saying was lamentably true. “Last night you went to a deal of trouble to make it seem there had been little but flirtation between the two of you two years ago. Unless you go through the appropriate courtship rituals, which Elizabeth has every right to expect, no one will ever believe it.” “What do you have in mind?” Ian demanded shortly. “One month,” she said without hesitation. “One month of calling on her properly, escorting her to the normal functions, and so on.” “Two weeks,” he countered with strained patience. “Very well,” she conceded, giving Ian the irritating certainty that two weeks was all she’d hoped for anyway. “Then you may announce your betrothal and be wed in-two months!” “Two weeks,” Ian said implacably, reaching for the drink the butler had just put in front of him. “As you wish,” said the dowager. Then two things happened simultaneously: Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones let out a snort that Ian realized was a laugh, and Elizabeth swept Ian’s drink from beneath his fingertips. “There’s-a speck of lint in it,” she explained nervously, handing the drink to Bentner with a severe shake of her head. Ian reached for the sandwich on his plate. Elizabeth watched the satisfied look on Bentner’s face and snatched that away, too. “A-a small insect seems to have gotten on it,” she explained to Ian. “I don’t see anything,” Ian remarked, his puzzled glance on his betrothed. Having been deprived of tea and sustenance, he reached for the glass of wine the butler had set before him, then realized how much stress Elizabeth had been under and offered it to her instead. “Thank you,” she said with a sigh, looking a little harassed. Bentner’s arm swopped down, scooping the wineglass out of her hand. “Another insect,” he said. “Bentner!” Elizabeth cried in exasperation, but her voice was drowned out by a peal of laughter from Alexandra Townsende, who slumped down on the settee, her shoulders shaking with unexplainable mirth. Ian drew the only possible conclusion: They were all suffering from the strain of too much stress.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
We must first understand what the purport of society and the aim of government is held to be. If it be your intention to confer a certain elevation upon the human mind, and to teach it to regard the things of this world with generous feelings, to inspire men with a scorn of mere temporal advantage, to give birth to living convictions, and to keep alive the spirit of honorable devotedness; if you hold it to be a good thing to refine the habits, to embellish the manners, to cultivate the arts of a nation, and to promote the love of poetry, of beauty, and of renown; if you would constitute a people not unfitted to act with power upon all other nations, nor unprepared for those high enterprises which, whatever be the result of its efforts, will leave a name forever famous in time—if you believe such to be the principal object of society, you must avoid the government of democracy, which would be a very uncertain guide to the end you have in view. But if you hold it to be expedient to divert the moral and intellectual activity of man to the production of comfort, and to the acquirement of the necessaries of life; if a clear understanding be more profitable to man than genius; if your object be not to stimulate the virtues of heroism, but to create habits of peace; if you had rather witness vices than crimes and are content to meet with fewer noble deeds, provided offences be diminished in the same proportion; if, instead of living in the midst of a brilliant state of society, you are contented to have prosperity around you; if, in short, you are of opinion that the principal object of a Government is not to confer the greatest possible share of power and of glory upon the body of the nation, but to ensure the greatest degree of enjoyment and the least degree of misery to each of the individuals who compose it—if such be your desires, you can have no surer means of satisfying them than by equalizing the conditions of men, and establishing democratic institutions.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America: Volume 1)