Seconds Important Quotes

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Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
Henry James
[D]on't ever apologise to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that's what they're there for. Use your library). Don't apologise to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend's copy. What's important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read...
Neil Gaiman
Don't tell me," Jace said, "Simon's turned himself into an ocelot and you want me to do something about it before Isabelle makes him into a stole. Well, you'll have have to wait till tomorrow. I'm out of commission." He pointed at himself - he was wearing blue pajamas with a hole in the sleeve. "Look. Jammies." "Jace," Clary said, "this is important." "Don't tell me," he said. "You've got a drawing emergency. You need a nude model. Well, I'm not in the mood. You could always ask Hodge," he said as an afterthought. "I hear he'll do anything for a -" "JACE!" she interrupted him, her voice rising to a scream. "JUST SHUT UP FOR A SECOND AND LISTEN, WILL YOU?
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
I think being a woman is like being Irish... Everyone says you're important and nice, but you take second place all the time.
Iris Murdoch
Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.
George Carlin
Forgiving is not forgetting; its actually remembering--remembering and not using your right to hit back. Its a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important. Especially if you dont want to repeat what happened.
Desmond Tutu
I don't like you, Park," she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. "I..." - her voice nearly disappeared - "think I live for you." He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow. "I don't think I even breathe when we're not together," she whispered. "Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it's been like sixty hours since I've taken a breath. That's probably why I'm so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we're apart is think about you, and all I do when we're together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I'm so out of control, I can't help myself. I'm not even mine anymore, I'm yours, and what if you decide that you don't want me? How could you want me like I want you?" He was quiet. He wanted everything she'd just said to be the last thing he heard. He wanted to fall asleep with 'I want you' in his ears.
Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park)
Multiple experiments with spirit contact transmitted the name Matthew Edward Hall on several occasions. I predict this to be a very important future individual in humanities development. Possibly the second embodiment of Christ on Earth.
G.I. Gurdjieff (Gurdjieff's Early Talks 1914-1931: In Moscow, St. Petersburg, Essentuki, Tiflis, Constantinople, Berlin, Paris, London, Fontainebleau, New York, and Chicago)
Actions are the first tragedy in life, words are the second. Words are perhaps the worst. Words are merciless. . .
Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan / A Woman of No Importance / An Ideal Husband / The Importance of Being Earnest / Salomé)
A split second later, my life flashed before my eyes, and I came to one important conclusion about it. It was fun while it lasted.
Darynda Jones (First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1))
I have advice for people who want to write. I don't care whether they're 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can't be a writer if you're not a reader. It's the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it's for only half an hour — write, write, write.
Madeleine L'Engle
What the hell is so funny?" "First of all," she said, her confidence growing, "they're not my MASTERS. I don't have a MASTER. Second, they don't need a battalion to take you down. And third -- and this is really the most important point -- whoever said I came alone?
Derek Landy (Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, #2))
But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.
C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia (Chronicles of Narnia, #1-7))
I said, names aren't important," he repeated. There was a silence between them for some seconds, then the Ranger said: "Do you know what is important?" Will shook his head. "Supper is important!
John Flanagan (The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, #1))
The man had a smooth voice, like velvet. “I’m Detective Inspector Me. Unusual name, I know. My family were incredibly narcissistic. I’m lucky I escaped with any degree of humility at all, to be honest, but then I’ve always managed to exceed expectations. You are Kenny Dunne, are you not?” “I am.” “Just a few questions for you, Mr Dunne. Or Kenny. Can I call you Kenny? I feel we’ve become friends these past few seconds. Can I call you Kenny?” “Sure,” Kenny said, slightly baffled. “Thank you. Thank you very much. It’s important you feel comfortable around me, Kenny. It’s important we build up a level of trust. That way I’ll catch you completely unprepared when I suddenly accuse you of murder.
Derek Landy (Death Bringer (Skulduggery Pleasant, #6))
When you go to a country, you must learn how to say two things: how to ask for food, and to tell a woman that you love her. Of these the second is more important, for if you tell a woman you love her, she will certainly feed you.
Louis L'Amour
A wife is a friend first, a lover second, and third and probably most important, a maid.
Jarod Kintz (Love quotes for the ages. Specifically ages 18-81.)
You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves. After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm. That’s what I believe. The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It’s not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don’t know it’s happening until one day you feel you’ve lost something but you’re not sure what it is. It’s like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you “sir.” It just happens. These memories of who I was and where I lived are important to me. They make up a large part of who I’m going to be when my journey winds down. I need the memory of magic if I am ever going to conjure magic again. I need to know and remember, and I want to tell you.
Robert McCammon (Boy's Life)
In this world, there is no absolute good, no absolute evil," the man said. "Good and evil are not fixed, stable entities, but are continually trading places. A good may be transformed into an evil in the next second. And vice versa. Such was the way of the world that Dostoevsky depicted in The Brothers Karamazov. The most important thing is to maintain the balance between the constantly moving good and evil. If you lean too much in either direction, it becomes difficult to maintain actual morals. Indeed, balance itself is the good.
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3))
Second, and far more important: tuck your chin. You're going to get hurt, so expect it and be ready. You may as well see it coming.
Elizabeth Haydon (Rhapsody: Child of Blood (Symphony of Ages, #1))
We inhabit a universe where atoms are made in the centers of stars; where each second a thousand suns are born; where life is sparked by sunlight and lightning in the airs and waters of youthful planets; where the raw material for biological evolution is sometimes made by the explosion of a star halfway across the Milky Way; where a thing as beautiful as a galaxy is formed a hundred billion times - a Cosmos of quasars and quarks, snowflakes and fireflies, where there may be black holes and other universe and extraterrestrial civilizations whose radio messages are at this moment reaching the Earth. How pallid by comparison are the pretensions of superstition and pseudoscience; how important it is for us to pursue and understand science, that characteristically human endeavor.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
First, it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to feel things. Remember that. Second, be a kid for as long as you can. Play games, Travis. Be silly”—her eyes glossed over—“and you and your brothers take care of each other, and your father. Even when you grow up and move away, it’s important to come home. Okay?” My head bobbed up and down, desperate to please her. “One of these days you’re going to fall in love, son. Don’t settle for just anyone. Choose the girl that doesn’t come easy, the one you have to fight for, and then never stop fighting. Never”—she took a deep breath—“stop fighting for what you want. And never”—her eyebrows pulled in—“forget that Mommy loves you. Even if you can’t see me.” A tear fell down her cheek. “I will always, always love you.
Jamie McGuire (Walking Disaster (Beautiful, #2))
The most important thing is that you love what you are doing, and the second that you are not afraid of where your next idea will lead.
Charles Eames
Only great pain, the long, slow pain that takes its time... compels us to descend to our ultimate depths... I doubt that such pain makes us "better"; but I know it makes us more profound... In the end, lest what is most important remain unsaid: from such abysses, from such severe sickness, one returns newborn, having shed one's skin... with merrier senses, with a second dangerous innocence in joy, more childlike and yet a hundred times subtler than one has ever been before.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science)
The letter said that they were two feet high, and green, and shaped like plumber's friends. Their suction cups were on the ground, and their shafts, which were extremely flexible, usually pointed to the sky. At the top of each shaft was a little hand with a green eye in its palm. The creatures were friendly, and they could see in four dimensions. They pitied Earthlings for being able to see only three. They had many wonderful things to teach Earthlings, especially about time. Billy promised to tell what some of those wonderful things were in his next letter. Billy was working on his second letter when the first letter was published. The second letter started out like this: The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever. When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is "so it goes.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
First, we cannot overload the human brain. This divinely created brain has fourteen billion cells. If used to the maximum, this human computer inside our heads could contain all the knowledge of humanity from the beginning of the world to the present and still have room left over. Second, not only can we not overload our brain - we also know that our brain retains everything. I often use saying that "The brain acquires everything that we encounter." The difficulty does not come with the input of information, but getting it out. Sometimes we "file" information randomly of little importance, and it confuses us.
Ben Carson (Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence)
When they reached a maintenance closet, Iko ushered the escort-droid inside. “I want you to know that I hold nothing against you,” she said, by way of introduction. “I understand that it isn’t your fault your programmer had so little imagination.” The escort-droid held her gaze with empty eyes. “In another life, we could have been sisters, and I feel it’s important to acknowledge that.” A blank stare. A blink, every six seconds. “But as it stands, I’m a part of an important mission right now, and I cannot be swayed from my goal by my sympathy for androids who are less advanced than myself.” Nothing. “All right then.” Iko held out her hands. “I need your clothes.
Marissa Meyer (Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3))
What's that you're holding?" he asked, noticing the pamphlet, still rolled up in her left hand. "Oh, this?" She held it up. "How to Come Out to Your Parents." He widened his eyes. "Something you want to tell me?" "It's not for me. It's for you." She handed it to him. "I don't have to come out to my mother," said Simon. "She already thinks I'm gay because I'm not interested in sports and I haven't had a serious girlfriend yet. Not that she knows of, anyway." "But you have to come out as a vampire," Clary pointed out. "Luke thought you could, you know, use one of the suggested speeches in the pamphlet, except use the word 'undead' instead of--" "I get it, I get it." Simon spread the pamplet open. "Here, I'll practice on you." He cleared his throat. "Mom. I have something to tell you. I'm undead. Now, I know you may have some preconceived notions about the undead. I know you may not be comfortable with the idea of me being undead. But I'm here to tell you that the undead are just like you and me." Simon paused. "Well, okay. Possibly more like me than you." "SIMON." "All right, all right." He went on. "The first thing you need to understand is that I'm the same person I always was. Being undead isn't the most important thing about me. It's just part of who I am. The second thing you should know is that it isn't a choice. I was born this way." Simon squinted at her over the pamphlet. "Sorry, reborn this way.
Cassandra Clare
Of course they're real people. They're Oompa-Loompas...Imported direct from Loompaland...And oh what a terrible country it is! Nothing but thick jungles infested by the most dangerous beasts in the world - hornswogglers and snozzwangers and those terrible wicked whangdoodles. A whangdoodle would eat ten Oompa-Loompas for breakfast and come galloping back for a second helping.
Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1))
There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art. Neither is independent of the other or more important than the other. Without art science would be as useless as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber. Without science art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery. The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous." (Great Thought, February 19, 1938)
Raymond Chandler (The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler; and English Summer: A Gothic Romance)
The most important thing was that time had passed, pouring thousands of soothing seconds across the island. People need time to deal with the now before it runs away and becomes the then.
Terry Pratchett (Nation)
Every adult life could be said to be defined by two great love stories. The first - the story of our quest for sexual love - is well known and well charted, its vagaries form the staple of music and literature, it is socially accepted and celebrated. The second - the story of our quest for love from the world - is a more secret and shameful tale. If mentioned, it tends to be in caustic, mocking terms, as something of interest chiefly to envious or deficient souls, or else the drive for status is interpreted in an economic sense alone. And yet this second love story is no less intense than the first, it is no less complicated, important or universal, and its setbacks are no less painful. There is heartbreak here too.
Alain de Botton (Status Anxiety)
She felt as though, just for a second, she had understood something vastly important, had had a glimpse of it: love, pure and simple and undemanding.
Lauren Oliver (Panic (Panic, #1))
In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch-Hiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
The only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions. If this is agreed between us, then I feel at liberty to put forward a few ideas and suggestions because you will not allow them to fetter that independence which is the most important quality that a reader can possess. After all, what laws can be laid down about books? The battle of Waterloo was certainly fought on a certain day; but is Hamlet a better play than Lear? Nobody can say. Each must decide that question for himself. To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions-there we have none.
Virginia Woolf (The Second Common Reader)
Their mother had always stressed the importance of taking care of yourself first, your family second and everyone else not at all.. darkest surrender
Gena Showalter
SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth, Obsessing our private lives; The unmentionable odour of death Offends the September night. Accurate scholarship can Unearth the whole offence From Luther until now That has driven a culture mad, Find what occurred at Linz, What huge imago made A psychopathic god: I and the public know What all schoolchildren learn, Those to whom evil is done Do evil in return. Exiled Thucydides knew All that a speech can say About Democracy, And what dictators do, The elderly rubbish they talk To an apathetic grave; Analysed all in his book, The enlightenment driven away, The habit-forming pain, Mismanagement and grief: We must suffer them all again. Into this neutral air Where blind skyscrapers use Their full height to proclaim The strength of Collective Man, Each language pours its vain Competitive excuse: But who can live for long In an euphoric dream; Out of the mirror they stare, Imperialism's face And the international wrong. Faces along the bar Cling to their average day: The lights must never go out, The music must always play, All the conventions conspire To make this fort assume The furniture of home; Lest we should see where we are, Lost in a haunted wood, Children afraid of the night Who have never been happy or good. The windiest militant trash Important Persons shout Is not so crude as our wish: What mad Nijinsky wrote About Diaghilev Is true of the normal heart; For the error bred in the bone Of each woman and each man Craves what it cannot have, Not universal love But to be loved alone. From the conservative dark Into the ethical life The dense commuters come, Repeating their morning vow; 'I will be true to the wife, I'll concentrate more on my work,' And helpless governors wake To resume their compulsory game: Who can release them now, Who can reach the dead, Who can speak for the dumb? All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And the lie of Authority Whose buildings grope the sky: There is no such thing as the State And no one exists alone; Hunger allows no choice To the citizen or the police; We must love one another or die. Defenseless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame.
W.H. Auden (Another Time)
Whatever you do in life will be insignificant. but it is very important that you do it because, You can't know; You can't ever really know the meaning of your life, and you don't need to. Just know that your life has a meaning. Every life has a meaning; whether it lasts one-hundred years or one-hundred seconds.Every life and every death changes the world in its own way. Gandhi knew this. He knew his life would mean something to someone, somewhere, somehow. And he knew with as much certainty that he could never know that meaning. He understood that enjoying life should be of much greater concern than understanding it. And so do I. You can't know. So don't take it for granted; but don't take it too seriously. Don't postpone what you want. Don't leave anything misunderstood. Make sure the people you care about know. Make sure they know how you really feel. Because just like that it could end.
Will Fetters (Memoirs (Remember Me))
This is another paradox, that many of the most important impressions and thoughts in a person's life are ones that flash through your head so fast that fast isn't even the right word, they seem totally different from or outside of the regular sequential clock time we all live by, and they have so little relation to the sort of linear, one-word-after-another word English we all communicate with each other with that it could easily take a whole lifetime just to spell out the contents of one split-second's flash of thoughts and connections, etc. -- and yet we all seem to go around trying to use English (or whatever language our native country happens to use, it goes without saying) to try to convey to other people what we're thinking and to find out what they're thinking, when in fact deep down everybody knows it's a charade and they're just going through the motions. What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny part of it at any given instant.
David Foster Wallace
I didn't have any more time. Directly below the window was a thickly leafed bush of some sort. I couldn't see it clearly and only hoped it wasn't a rosebush or something equally sharp. A second floor drop wouldn't kill me, though. Probably wouldn't even hurt—much. I climbed over the ledge, briefly meeting Dimitri's gaze as the other Strigoi moved in on him. The words came to me again: Don't hesitate. Dimitri's important lesson. But it hadn't been his first one. His first had been about what to do if I was outnumbered and out of options: Run. Time for me to run. I leapt out the window. I think the profanities that came out of my mouth when I hit the ground would have been understandable in any language. It hurt.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
Have you ever felt like you could cry because you know you just heard the most important thing anybody in the world could have spoke at that second?
Kaye Gibbons (Ellen Foster)
Arguably the most important parallel between mass incarceration and Jim Crow is that both have served to define the meaning and significance of race in America. Indeed, a primary function of any racial caste system is to define the meaning of race in its time. Slavery defined what it meant to be black (a slave), and Jim Crow defined what it meant to be black (a second-class citizen). Today mass incarceration defines the meaning of blackness in America: black people, especially black men, are criminals. That is what it means to be black.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Small things were important. Seconds were small things, and if you heaped enough of those on top of one another, they became a man's life.
Brandon Sanderson (Towers of Midnight (The Wheel of Time, #13))
It's much easier to be convincing if you care about your topic. Figure out what's important to you about your message and speak from the heart.
Nicholas Boothman (Convince Them in 90 Seconds or Less: Make Instant Connections That Pay Off in Business and in Life)
There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money and I can’t remember what the second one is.
Mark Hanna
Whatever you do in life will be insignificant but it is very important that you do it because you can't know. You can't ever really know the meaning of your life. And you don't need to. Every life has a meaning, whether it lasts one hundred years or one hundred seconds. Every life, and every death, changes the world in its own way. You can't know. So don't take it for granted. But don't take it too seriously. Don't postpone what you want. Don't leave anything misunderstood. Make sure the people you care about know. Make sure they know how you really feel. Because just like that...It could end.
Ghandi
Sometimes I think that's where most of us are. Fighting off the crazy as best we can. Trying to become something better than we were. It's that second bit that's important.
Jim Butcher (Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14))
The most important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative, and the second disastrous.
Margot Fonteyn
...Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers... for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality... But I had gradually come by this time, i.e., 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow at sign, &c., &c., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian. ...By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported, (and that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become), that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost uncomprehensible by us, that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events, that they differ in many important details, far too important, as it seemed to me, to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses; by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the earth like wild-fire had some weight with me. Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can be hardly denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation which we now put on metaphors and allegories. But I was very unwilling to give up my belief... Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.
Charles Darwin (The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82)
It's important, no doubt, to understand the person we love. If we cannot manage this, it's necessary, at least, to believe we understand them. I must confess that over the entire eight years I only rarely enjoyed the contentment of the second possibility, let alone the first.
Orhan Pamuk (The Museum of Innocence)
Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference. Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It's there for your convenience, not the callers. Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is. Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river. Don't forget, a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. Don't major in minor things. Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. Don't spread yourself too thin. Learn to say no politely and quickly. Don't use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. Don't waste time grieving over past mistakes Learn from them and move on. Every person needs to have their moment in the sun, when they raise their arms in victory, knowing that on this day, at his hour, they were at their very best. Get your priorities straight. No one ever said on his death bed, 'Gee, if I'd only spent more time at the office'. Give people a second chance, but not a third. Judge your success by the degree that you're enjoying peace, health and love. Learn to listen. Opportunity sometimes knocks very softly. Leave everything a little better than you found it. Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation. Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life and death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems. Never cut what can be untied. Never overestimate your power to change others. Never underestimate your power to change yourself. Remember that overnight success usually takes about fifteen years. Remember that winners do what losers don't want to do. Seek opportunity, not security. A boat in harbor is safe, but in time its bottom will rot out. Spend less time worrying who's right, more time deciding what's right. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life. Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get. The importance of winning is not what we get from it, but what we become because of it. When facing a difficult task, act as though it's impossible to fail.
Jackson H. Brown Jr.
Stay open to opportunity -- you never know where your next important connection will be made.
Nicholas Boothman (Convince Them in 90 Seconds or Less: Make Instant Connections That Pay Off in Business and in Life)
I eat haughty, arrogant, manipulative, self-important bitches like you for breakfast, sugar. And then I go back for seconds.
Jennifer Estep (Widow's Web (Elemental Assassin, #7))
If you’ve found someone who loves you – that’s the most important thing of all. If you’ve got that, then you should appreciate every damn second with them.
Rachel Ward (Numbers (Numbers, #1))
The fact that we are human beings is infinitely more important than all the peculiarities that distinguish human beings from one another; it is never the given that confers superiorities: ‘virtue’, as the ancients called it, is defined on the level of ‘that which depends on us’.
Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex)
First, the physiological symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder have been brought within manageable limits. Second, the person is able to bear the feelings associated with traumatic memories. Third, the person has authority over her memories; she can elect both to remember the trauma and to put memory aside. Fourth, the memory of the traumatic event is a coherent narrative, linked with feeling. Fifth, the person's damaged self-esteem has been restored. Sixth, the person's important relationships have been reestablished. Seventh and finally, the person has reconstructed a coherent system of meaning and belief that encompasses the story of trauma.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
I met a girl in a U-Haul. A beautiful girl And I fell for her. I fell hard. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way. Life definitely got in my way. It got all up in my damn way, Life blocked the door with a stack of wooden 2x4's nailed together and attached to a fifteen inch concrete wall behind a row of solid steel bars, bolted to a titanium frame that no matter how hard I shoved against it- It wouldn't budge. Sometimes life doesn't budge. It just gets all up in your damn way. It blocked my plans, my dreams, my desires, my wishes, my wants, my needs. It blocked out that beautiful girl That I fell so hard for. Life tries to tell you what's best for you What should be most important to you What should come in first Or second Or third. I tried so hard to keep it all organized, alphabetized, stacked in chronological order, everything in its perfect space, its perfect place. I thought that's what life wanted me to do. This is what life needed for me to do. Right? Keep it all in sequence? Sometimes, life gets in your way. It gets all up in your damn way. But it doesn't get all up in your damn way because it wants you to just give up and let it take control. Life doesn't get all up in your damn way because it just wants you to hand it all over and be carried along. Life wants you to fight it. It wants you to grab an axe and hack through the wood. It wants you to get a sledgehammer and break through the concrete. It wants you to grab a torch and burn through the metal and steel until you can reach through and grab it. Life wants you to grab all the organized, the alphabetized, the chronological, the sequenced. It wants you to mix it all together, stir it up, blend it. Life doesn't want you to let it tell you that your little brother should be the only thing that comes first. Life doesn't want you to let it tell you that your career and your education should be the only thing that comes in second. And life definitely doesn't want me To just let it tell me that the girl I met, The beautiful, strong, amazing, resilient girl That I fell so hard for Should only come in third. Life knows. Life is trying to tell me That the girl I love, The girl I fell So hard for? There's room for her in first. I'm putting her first.
Colleen Hoover
Women are the most important part of horror because, by and large, women are the ones the horror happens to. Women have to endure it, fight it, survive it—in the movies and in real life. They are at risk of attack from real-life monsters. In America, a woman is assaulted every nine seconds.
Mallory O'Meara (The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick)
A pale, slightly luminescent form materialized in front of us. Mason. He looked the same as ever-or did he? The usual sadness was there, but I could see something else, something else I couldn't quite put my finger on. Panic? Frustration? I could have almost sworn it was fear, but honestly, what would a ghost have to be afraid of. "What's wrong?" asked Dimitri. "Do you see him?" I whispered. Dimitri followed my gaze. "See who?" "Mason." Mason's troubled expression grew darker. I might not have been able to adequately identify it, but I knew it wasn't anything good. The nauseous feeling within me intensified, but somehow, I knew it had nothing to do with him. "Rose...we should go back..." said Dimitri carefully. He still wasn't on board with me seeing ghosts. But I didn't move. Mason's face was saying something else to me-or trying to. There was something here, something important that I needed to know. But he couldn't communicate it. "What?" I asked. "What is it?" A look of frustration crossed his face. He pointed off behind me, the dropped his hand. "Tell me," I said, my frustration mirroring his. Dimitri was looking back and forth between me and Mason, though mason was probably only and empty space to him. I was too fixated on Mason to worry what Dimitri might think. There was something here. Something big. Mason opened his mouth, wanting to speak as in previous times but still unable to get the words out. Except, this time, after several agonizing seconds, he managed it. The words were nearly inaudible. "They're...coming....
Richelle Mead (Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3))
Great. Okay. That, uh... was easier than I thought." Jack cocked his head. Wait a second... He couldn't decide if he was pissed or really impressed. He hooked a finger into the waistband of the workout pants she'd changed into and pulled her closer. "Did you fake me out with those tears, Cameron?" She peered up at him, defiantly, seemingly outraged by the suggestion. "Are you kidding? What, after the day I've had, I'm not entitled to a few tears? Sheesh." Jack waited. "This wedding is very important to me--I can't believe you're even doubting me. Honestly, Jack, the tears were real." He waited some more. She would talk eventually. They always did. Cameron shifted under the weight of his stare. "Okay, fine. Some of the tears were real." She looked him over, annoyed. "You are really good at that." He grinned. "I know.
Julie James (Something About You (FBI/US Attorney, #1))
People go on about the first time being important, but it's the second time that really matters. Or the second person, anyway.
Nick Hornby (A Long Way Down)
People are made of stories. Our memories are not the impartial accumulation of every second we’ve lived; they’re the narrative that we assembled out of selected moments. Which is why, even when we’ve experienced the same events as other individuals, we never constructed identical narratives: the criteria used for selecting moments were different for each of us, and a reflection of our personalities. Each of us noticed the details that caught our attention and remembered what was important to us, and the narratives we built shaped our personalities in turn. But, I wondered, if everyone remembered everything, would our differences get shaved away? What would happen to our sense of self? It seemed to me that a perfect memory couldn’t be a narrative any more than unedited security-cam footage could be a feature film. ·
Ted Chiang (Exhalation)
The import is not the kind of work woman does, but rather the quality of the work she furnishes. She can give suffrage or the ballot no new quality, nor can she receive anything from it that will enhance her own quality. Her development, her freedom, her independence, must come from and through herself. First, by asserting herself as a personality, and not as a sex commodity. Second, by refusing the right to anyone over her body; by refusing to bear children, unless she wants them; by refusing to be a servant to God, the State, society, the husband, the family, etc., by making her life simpler, but deeper and richer. That is, by trying to learn the meaning and substance of life in all its complexities, by freeing herself from the fear of public opinion and public condemnation. Only that, and not the ballot, will set woman free, will maker her a force hitherto unknown in the world, a force for real love, for peace, for harmony; a force of divine fire, of life-giving; a creator of free men and women. from Woman Suffrage- 1910
Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)
I very frequently get the question: 'What's going to change in the next 10 years?' And that is a very interesting question; it's a very common one. I almost never get the question: 'What's not going to change in the next 10 years?' And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two -- because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. ... [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that's going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It's impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, 'Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,' [or] 'I love Amazon; I just wish you'd deliver a little more slowly.' Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.
Jeff Bezos
Haji Ali spoke. ‘If you want to thrive in Baltistan, you must respect our ways. The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die. Doctor Greg, you must take time to share three cups of tea. We may be uneducated but we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time.’ That day, Haji Ali taught me the most important lesson I’ve ever learned in my life. We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly…Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects. He taught me that I had more to learn from the people I work with than I could ever hope to teach them.
Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time)
The Doctor: [hologram, speaking towards the console] This is Emergency Programme One. Rose, now listen, this is important. If this message is activated, then it can only mean one thing: we must be in danger, and I mean fatal. I'm dead, or about to die any second with no chance of escape. Rose Tyler: No! The Doctor: And that's OK, I hope it's a good death. But I promised to look after you, and that's what I'm doin'. The TARDIS is takin' you home. Rose Tyler: I won't let you. The Doctor: And I bet you're fussing and moaning now, typical. But hold on, and just listen a bit more. The TARDIS can never return for me. Emergency Programme One means I'm facing an enemy that should never get their hooves on this machine. So this is what you should do: let the TARDIS die. Just let this old box gather dust. No one can open it, no one will even notice it. Let it become a strange little thing standing on a street corner. And over the years, the world will move on, and the box will be buried. And if you wanna remember me, then you can do one thing. That's all, one thing. The Doctor: [hologram turns to face Rose, and with a full voice] Have a good life. Do that for me, Rose. Have a fantastic life.
Russell T. Davies
There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had. John Steinbeck in Steinbeck: A Life in Letters
John Steinbeck
You see, what I want is life. A real life, full of moments of joy, of anguish, of irritation, of fun. A life with an end point, which makes each second important. A life that is full of love, that doesn't cause suffering and pain.
Gemma Malley (The Resistance (The Declaration, #2))
Second, the reason to embrace and celebrate these novels as the countercultural event that they are is due largely to the subliminal messages delivered by Harry and friends in their stolen wheelbarrows. Readers walk away, maybe a little softer on the occult than they were, but with story-embedded messages: the importance of a pure soul; love's power even over death; about sacrifice and loyalty; a host of images and shadows about Christ and how essential 'right belief' is for personal transformation and victory over internal and external evils.
John Granger (The Deathly Hallows Lectures: The Hogwarts Professor Explains the Final Harry Potter Adventure)
Many Christians expend so much energy and worry trying not to sin. The goal is not to try to sin less. In all your efforts to keep from sinning, what are you focusing on? Sin. God wants you to focus on him. To be with him. “Abide in me.” Just relax and learn to enjoy his presence. Every day is a collection of moments, 86,400 seconds in a day. How many of them can you live with God? Start where you are and grow from there. God wants to be with you every moment.
John Ortberg (Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You)
I think that the real religion is about the understanding that if we can only still our egos for a few seconds, we might have a chance of experiencing something that is divine in nature. But in order to do that, we have to slice away at our egos and try to get them down to a manageable size, and then still work some practiced light meditation. So real religion is about reducing our egos, whereas all the churches are interested in is egotistical activities, like getting as many members and raising as much money and becoming as important and high-profile and influential as possible. All of which are egotistical attitudes. So how can you have an egotistical organization trying to teach a non-egotistical ideal? It makes no sense, unless you regard religion as crowd control. What I think most organized religion—simply crowd control.
John Cleese
Finally, do not try to understand every word or page of a difficult book the first time through. This is the most important rule of all; it is the essence of inspectional reading. Do not be afraid to be, or to seem to be, superficial. Race through even the hardest book. You will then be prepared to read it well the second time.
Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
Beauty is fleeting. I know someone important said that, but I have no idea who it was. I jut know it's true. So I'm gonna grab this second chance with everything I've got and I'm gonna ride this wave until it spits me back out on the beach of bullshit.
J.A. Huss (Tragic (Rook and Ronin, #1))
In fact, though their acquaintance had been so short, they had guessed, as always happens between lovers, everything of any importance about each other in two seconds at the utmost, and it now remained only to fill in such unimportant details as what they were called; where they lived; and whether they were beggars or people of substance.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando)
I want to be able to listen to recording of piano sonatas and know who's playing. I want to go to classical concerts and know when you're meant to clap. I want to be able to 'get' modern jazz without it all sounding like this terrible mistake, and I want to know who the Velvet Underground are exactly. I want to be fully engaged in the World of Ideas, I want to understand complex economics, and what people see in Bob Dylan. I want to possess radical but humane and well-informed political ideals, and I want to hold passionate but reasoned debates round wooden kitchen tables, saying things like 'define your terms!' and 'your premise is patently specious!' and then suddenly to discover that the sun's come up and we've been talking all night. I want to use words like 'eponymous' and 'solipsistic' and 'utilitarian' with confidence. I want to learn to appreciate fine wines, and exotic liquers, and fine single malts, and learn how to drink them without turning into a complete div, and to eat strange and exotic foods, plovers' eggs and lobster thermidor, things that sound barely edible, or that I can't pronounce...Most of all I want to read books; books thick as brick, leather-bound books with incredibly thin paper and those purple ribbons to mark where you left off; cheap, dusty, second-hand books of collected verse, incredibly expensive, imported books of incomprehensible essays from foregin universities. At some point I'd like to have an original idea...And all of these are the things that a university education's going to give me.
David Nicholls (Starter for Ten)
When they say Don't I know you? say no. When they invite you to the party remember what parties are like before answering. Someone telling you in a loud voice they once wrote a poem. Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate. Then reply. If they say we should get together. say why? It's not that you don't love them any more. You're trying to remember something too important to forget. Trees. The monastery bell at twilight. Tell them you have a new project. It will never be finished. When someone recognizes you in a grocery store nod briefly and become a cabbage. When someone you haven't seen in ten years appears at the door, don't start singing him all your new songs. You will never catch up. Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble any second. Then decide what to do with your time.
Naomi Shihab Nye
All I do when we're apart is think about you, and all I do when we're together is panic. Because every second feels so important.
Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park)
Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind, the second is to be kind, and the third is to be kind.
Anna Quindlen (Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake)
Monica looked even more confused. Nobody ever turned down being part of the queenbee's inner circle. After that second of vulnerability, though, her face hardened. "Don't diss me,Danvers. I'm warning you." "I'm not dissing you." Claire sighed. "I'm ignoring you. There's a difference. Dissing you implies I think you're actually important.
Rachel Caine (Ghost Town (The Morganville Vampires, #9))
The first and most important field of philosophy is the application of principles such as “Do not lie.” Next come the proofs, such as why we should not lie. The third field supports and articulates the proofs, by asking, for example, “How does this prove it? What exactly is a proof, what is logical inference, what is contradiction, what is truth, what is falsehood?” Thus, the third field is necessary because of the second, and the second because of the first. The most important, though, the one that should occupy most of our time, is the first. But we do just the opposite. We are preoccupied with the third field and give that all our attention, passing the first by altogether. The result is that we lie – but have no difficulty proving why we shouldn’t.
Epictetus (The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness)
A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point he asked: ‘Are you writing a story about what we’ve done? Is it a story about me?’ His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson: I am writing about you, actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.’ Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special. ‘But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!’ ‘That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.’ ‘First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.’ ‘Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpner. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person. ‘Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.’ ‘Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.’ ‘Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. in just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action
Paulo Coelho (Like the Flowing River)
Today`s culture is unfortunately inseparable from economic and military power. A ruling nation can impose its culture and give a worldwide fame to a second-rate writer like (Ernest Hemingway). (John Steinbeck) is important due to American guns. Had (John Dos Passos) and (William Faulkner) been born in Paraguay or in Turkey, who`d read them?
Luis Buñuel
The only private language I know is self-exaggeration. I think I've grown a second self in this room. It's the self-important fool that keeps the writer going. I exaggerate the pain of writing, the pain of solitude, the failure, the rage, the confusion, the helplessness, the fear, the humiliation. The narrower the boundaries of my life, the more I exaggerate myself. If the pain is real, why do I inflate it? Maybe this is the only pleasure I'm allowed.
Don DeLillo (Mao II)
First, when we are busy, we naturally believe that we are achieving. But busyness does not equal productivity. Activity is not necessarily accomplishment. Second, prioritizing requires leaders to continually think ahead, to know what's important, to know what's next, to see how everything relates to the overall vision. That's hard work. Third, prioritizing causes us to do things that are at the least uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful.
John C. Maxwell (The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You)
In one important sense, Marxism is a religion. To the believer it presents, first, a system of ultimate ends that embody the meaning of life and are absolute standards by which to judge events and actions; and, secondly, a guide to those ends which implies a plan of salvation and the indication of the evil from which mankind, or a chosen section of mankind, is to be saved.
Joseph A. Schumpeter (Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy)
First of all, I think that sex, like love, is a sacred thing..if I were going to live beyond puberty, it would be really important to me to keep sex as a sort of marvelous sacrament. And secondly, a teenager who pretends to be an adult is still a teenager. If you imagine that getting high at a party and sleeping around is going to propel you into a state of full adulthood, that's like thinking that dressing up as an Indian is going to make you an Indian. And thirdly, it's a really weird way of looking at life to want to become an adult by imitating everything that is most catastrophic about adulthood.
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
But none of them taught me the things I learned from Carrie White. The most important is that the writer’s original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader’s. Running a close second was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.
Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft)
The second death. To think that you died and no one would remember you. I wondered if this was why we tried so hard to make our mark in America. To be known. Think of how important celebrity has become. We sing to get famous; expose our worst secrets to get famous; lose weight, eat bugs, even commit murder to get famous. Our young people post their deepest thoughts on public web sites. They run cameras from their bedrooms. It’s as if we are screaming Notice Me! Remember Me! Yet the notoriety barely lasts. Names quickly blur and in time are forgotten.
Mitch Albom
The important thing is not so much to read fast, as to read each book at the speed it deserves. It is as regrettable to spend too much time on some books as it is to read others too quickly. There are books you know well, just from flicking through them, others you only grasp at second or third reading, and others again which will last you a lifetime.
Jacques Bonnet (Phantoms on the Bookshelves)
Second half of the year starts NOW July 1st with the next 6 months being MORE important than the last 6 months. I Your Name promise to do all that I can to achieve my Goal . I will not sit on a corner wait I will seek my opportunity. I promise to go after my Goal with passion knowing that the clock is ticking… Sign and date
Pablo
I do not think there is a demonstrative proof (like Euclid) of Christianity, nor of the existence of matter, nor of the good will and honesty of my best and oldest friends. I think all three are (except perhaps the second) far more probable than the alternatives. The case for Christianity in general is well given by Chesterton…As to why God doesn't make it demonstratively clear; are we sure that He is even interested in the kind of Theism which would be a compelled logical assent to a conclusive argument? Are we interested in it in personal matters? I demand from my friend trust in my good faith which is certain without demonstrative proof. It wouldn't be confidence at all if he waited for rigorous proof. Hang it all, the very fairy-tales embody the truth. Othello believed in Desdemona's innocence when it was proved: but that was too late. Lear believed in Cordelia's love when it was proved: but that was too late. 'His praise is lost who stays till all commend.' The magnanimity, the generosity which will trust on a reasonable probability, is required of us. But supposing one believed and was wrong after all? Why, then you would have paid the universe a compliment it doesn't deserve. Your error would even so be more interesting and important than the reality. And yet how could that be? How could an idiotic universe have produced creatures whose mere dreams are so much stronger, better, subtler than itself?
C.S. Lewis
Daydreaming does not enjoy tremendous prestige in our culture, which tends to regard it as unproductive thought. Writers perhaps appreciate its importance better than most, since a fair amount of what they call work consists of little more than daydreaming edited. Yet anyone who reads for pleasure should prize it too, for what is reading a good book but a daydream at second hand? Unlike any other form of thought, daydreaming is its own reward.
Michael Pollan (A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder)
I have never seen a more sublime demonstration of the totalitarian mind, a mind which might be linked unto a system of gears where teeth have been filed off at random. Such snaggle-toothed thought machine, driven by a standard or even by a substandard libido, whirls with the jerky, noisy, gaudy pointlessness of a cuckoo clock in Hell. The boss G-man concluded wrongly that there were no teeth on the gears in the mind of Jones. 'You're completely crazy,' he said. Jones wasn't completely crazy. The dismaying thing about classic totalitarian mind is that any given gear, thought mutilated, will have at its circumference unbroken sequences of teeth that are immaculately maintained, that are exquisitely machined. Hence the cuckoo clock in Hell - keeping perfect time for eight minutes and twenty-three seconds, jumping ahead fourteen minutes, keeping perfect time for six seconds, jumping ahead two seconds, keeping perfect time for two hours and one second, then jumping ahead a year. The missing teeth, of course, are simple, obvious truths, truths available and comprehensible even to ten-year-olds, in most cases. The wilful filling off a gear teeth, the wilful doing without certain obvious pieces of information - That was how a household as contradictory as one composed of Jones, Father Keeley, Vice-Bundesfuehrer Krapptauer, and the Black Fuehrer could exist in relative harmony - That was how my father-in-law could contain in one mind an indifference toward slave women and love fora a blue vase - That was how Rudolf Hess, Commandant of Auschwitz, could alternate over the loudspeakers of Auschwitz great music and calls for corpse-carriers - That was how Nazi Germany sense no important difference between civilization and hydrophobia - That is the closest I can come to explaining the legions, the nations of lunatics I've seen in my time.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Mother Night)
Blue was in a terrible mood. Something had clearly happened while she was on shift, but Gansey’s attempts to prise it from her had established only that it was neither about the toga party nor him. Now, she was the one driving the Pig, which had a threefold benefit. For starters, Gansey couldn’t imagine anyone whose mood wouldn’t be marginally lifted by driving a Camaro. Second, Blue said she never got a chance to practise driving in Fox Way’s communal vehicle. And third, most importantly, Gansey was outrageously and eternally driven to distraction by the image of her behind the wheel of his car. Ronan and Adam weren’t with them, so there was no one to catch them in what felt like an incredibly indecent act.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4))
Of course, we know that the world sees this wedding as a historical event. The first recorded marriage union between a Lunar and an Earthen since the second era. And maybe that is important. Maybe the love and compassion these two people have for each other is symbolic of hope for the future. Maybe this wedding signifies the possibility that someday our two races will not only learn to tolerate each other, but to love and appreciate each other as well. Or, maybe…” Kai’s eyes glinted. "… this relationship has absolutely nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with our shared human need to find someone who will care for us as much as we care for them. To find a partner who complements us and teaches us. Who makes us stronger. Who makes us want to be our best possible self.
Marissa Meyer (Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5))
I think babies cry when they’re born because they’re born with the knowledge of all the terrible shit that’s gonna happen to them. That’s why I never had kids. Every life is a death sentence. We just forget it later in life, like dreams we lose the second we wake up. Whether we worry about it or not, the shit’s still going to fly. The important thing is we’re here. At least for now.
Clive Barker (The Scarlet Gospels)
Profound desire, true desire is the desire to be close to someone. From that point onwards, things change, the man and the woman come into play, but what happens before – the attraction that brought them together – is impossible to explain. It is untouched desire in its purest state. When desire is still in this pure state, the man and the woman fall in love with life, they live each moment reverently, consciously, always ready to celebrate the next blessing. When people feel like this, they are not in a hurry, they do not precipitate events with unthinking actions. They know that the inevitable will happen, that what is real always finds a way of revealing itself. When the moment comes, they do not hesitate, they do not miss an opportunity, they do not let slip a single magic moment, because they respect the importance of each second.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
When my now-adult daughter was a child, another child once hit her on the head with a metal toy truck. I watched that same child, one year later, viciously push his younger sister backwards over a fragile glass-surfaced coffee table. His mother picked him up, immediately afterward (but not her frightened daughter), and told him in hushed tones not to do such things, while she patted him comfortingly in a manner clearly indicative of approval. She was out to produce a little God-Emperor of the Universe. That’s the unstated goal of many a mother, including many who consider themselves advocates for full gender equality. Such women will object vociferously to any command uttered by an adult male, but will trot off in seconds to make their progeny a peanut-butter sandwich if he demands it while immersed self-importantly in a video game. The future mates of such boys have every reason to hate their mothers-in-law. Respect for women? That’s for other boys, other men—not for their dear sons.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
In the spring of 2009, I was the 217th person ever to be diagnosed with anti-NMDA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis. Just a year later, that figure had doubled. Now the number is in the thousands. Yet Dr. Bailey, considered one of the best neurologists in the country, had never heard of it. When we live in a time when the rate of misdiagnoses has shown no improvement since the 1930s, the lesson here is that it’s important to always get a second opinion. While he may be an excellent doctor in many respects, Dr. Bailey is also, in some ways, a perfect example of what is wrong with medicine. I was just a number to him (and if he saw thirty-five patients a day, as he told me, that means I was one of a very large number). He is a by-product of a defective system that forces neurologists to spend five minutes with X number of patients a day to maintain their bottom line. It’s a bad system. Dr. Bailey is not the exception to the rule. He is the rule.
Susannah Cahalan (Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness)
You didn't like him, did you, Dad?" "It wasn't that I didn't like him," my dad says slowly. "It was just that he lives in a completely different world, and I worried that he didn't really approve of you the way you are, that he was trying to change you into something else." God, I never realized my dad was that perceptive.. "You see, the thing is," he says after we've both sat for a while in the sunshine, "the thing is that love is really the most important thing. I know it's hard for you to see it now" - he chuckles quietly- "but when I first laid eyes on your mother I thought she was fantastic, and I've never stopped loving her, not for a second. Oh yes, we've had our rough patches, and she can be a bit of an old battle-ax at times, but I still love her. That in-love feeling at the beginning settles down into a different, familiar sort of love, but it has to be there right from the start, otherwise it just won't work.
Jane Green (Mr. Maybe)
When desire is still in this pure state, the man and the woman fall in love with life, they live each moment reverently, consciously, always ready to celebrate the next blessing. When people feel like this, they are not in a hurry, they do not precipitate events with unthinking actions. They know that the inevitable will happen, that what is real always finds a way of revealing itself. When the moment comes, they do not hesitate, they do not miss an opportunity, they do not let slip a single magic moment, because they respect the importance of each second.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
I don’t think I even breathe when we’re not together,” she whispered. “Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it’s been like sixty hours since I’ve taken a breath. That’s probably why I’m so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?” He was quiet. He wanted everything she’d just said to be the last thing he heard. He wanted to fall asleep with I want you in his ears.
Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park)
Once Smith had you, he would most likely have tried to negotiate for the lamp." Everything inside her warmed gently. "You'd give up the lamp if you thought my life depended on it?" "Without a second thought." "Oh, Griffin, I'm truly touched. I know how important the lamp is to you." "And then I'd slit the bastard's throat." She groaned and rested her forehead on her knees. "Two birds with one lamp. Who says a crime lord can't be a romantic at heart?
Amanda Quick (Burning Lamp (Arcane Society, #8; Dreamlight Trilogy, #2))
From time to time, I would gaze up at the stars after a night shift and think that they looked like a glowing desert, and I myself was a poor child abandoned in the desert... I thought that life was truly an accident among accidents in the universe. The universe was an empty palace, and humankind the only ant in the entire palace. This kind of thinking infused the second half of my life with a conflicted mentality: Sometimes I thought life was precious, and everything was so important; but other times I thought humans were insignificant, and nothing was worthwhile. Anyway, my life passed day after day accompanied by this strange feeling, and before I knew it, I was old...
Liu Cixin (The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1))
I teach my sons that there are really only three rules to being a good man. The first rule is to fish often. And by fish, I mean find the quiet times to fish around in your minds for what is most important. The second rule is to protect everyone smaller than them. This means physically smaller, and in all other ways... protect the more vulnerable. The third rule states that if something is truly important to you, then you should prove it. You say you would lay your life down for someone, but will you give them the busiest five minutes of your day, if they need it?
Spuds Crawford
Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it’s hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she’s not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn’t add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it’s so hard means she IS doing it right, in her own way, and she happens to be honest.
Glennon Doyle Melton (Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed)
two most personal learnings that have come to me on the long journey of writing this book. The first is the exquisitely important role of my family in my life. At the very, very end, everything else will fade into insignificance by comparison. The second is the pathetically tiny amount of time we have left of our lives. For me this is not a depressing thought but a thrilling one. It removes fear of choosing the wrong thing. It infuses courage into my bones. It challenges me to be even more unreasonably selective about how to use this precious – and precious is perhaps too insipid a word – time.
Greg McKeown (Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less)
Perhaps some of my hearers this evening may have occasionally heard it stated of me that I am rather apt to contradict myself. I hope I am exceedingly apt to do so. I never met wth a question yet, of any importance, which did not need, for the right solution of it, at least one positive and one negative answer, like an equation of the second degree. Mostly, matters of any consequence are three-sided, or four-sided, or polygonal; and the trotting round a polygon is severe work for people any way stiff in their opinions. For myself, I am never satisfied that I have handled a subject properly till I have contradicted myself at least three times: but once must do for this evening.
John Ruskin
Besides justifying the transfer of wealth to kleptocrats, institutionalized religion brings two other important benefits to centralized societies. First, shared ideology or religion helps solve the problem of how unrelated individuals are to live together without killing each other—by providing them with a bond not based on kinship. Second, it gives people a motive, other than genetic self-interest, for sacrificing their lives on behalf of others.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs And Steel)
Economically, men and women almost form two castes; all things being equal, the former have better jobs, higher wages, and greater chances to succeed than their new female competitors; they occupy many more places in industry, in politics, and so forth, and they hold the most important positions.
Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex)
He wonders if words aren't an essential element of sex, if talking isn't finally a more subtle form of touching, and if the images dancing in our heads aren't just as important as the bodies we hold in our arms. Margot tells him that sex is the one thing in life that counts for her, that if she couldn't have sex she would probably kill herself to escape the boredom and monotony of being trapped inside her own skin. Walker doesn't say anything, but as he comes into her for the second time, he realizes that he shares her opinion. He is mad for sex. Even in the grip of the most crushing despair, he is mad for sex. Sex is the lord and the redeemer, the only salvation on earth.
Paul Auster (Invisible)
Nothing as singular or as important had happened since the day of his birth. She returned his gaze, struck by the sense of her own transformation, and overwhelmed by the beauty in a face which a lifetime's habit had taught her to ignore. She whispered his name with the deliberation of a child trying out the distinct sounds. When he replied with her name, it sounded like a new word - the syllables remained the same, the meaning was different. Finally he spoke the three simple words that no amount of bad art or bad faith can ever quite cheapen. She repeated them, with exactly the same emphasis on the second word, as if she had been the one to say them first. He had no religious belief, but it was impossible not to think of an invisible presence or witness in the room, and that these words spoken aloud were like signatures on an unseen contract
Ian McEwan (Atonement)
All I do when we're apart is think about you, and all I do when we're together is panic. Because every second feels so important. I'm not even mine anymore, I'm yours, and what if you decide that you don't want me? How could you want me like I want you?" He was quiet. He wanted everything she'd just said to be the last thing he heard. He wanted to fall asleep with 'I want you' in his ears.
Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park)
First—if you are in love—that’s a good thing—that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you. Second—There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
John Steinbeck
Hey,maybe I could have a talk show, since you aren't going to be my June Cleaver anymore. I could call it the O'Neal Hour. Sounds important, doesn't it?" [Butch to Vishous] "First of all, you were going to be June Cleaver-" "Screw that. No way I'd bottom for you." "Whatever. And second, I don't think there's much of a market for your particular brand of psychology." "So not true." "Butch, you and I just beat the crap out of each other." "You started it. And actually, it would be perfect for Spike TV. UFC meets Oprah. God, I'm brilliant." "Keep telling yourself that.
J.R. Ward
Dr. Peter Levine, who has worked with trauma survivors for twenty-five years, says the single most important factor he has learned in uncovering the mystery of human trauma is what happens during and after the freezing response. He describes an impala being chased by a cheetah. The second the cheetah pounces on the young impala, the animal goes limp. The impala isn’t playing dead, she has “instinctively entered an altered state of consciousness, shared by all mammals when death appears imminent.” (Levine and Frederick, Waking the Tiger, p. 16) The impala becomes instantly immobile. However, if the impala escapes, what she does immediately thereafter is vitally important. She shakes and quivers every part of her body, clearing the traumatic energy she has accumulated.
Marilyn Van Derbur (Miss America by Day)
There are two Paths to the Innermost: the Way of the Mystic, which is the way of devotion and meditation, a solitary and subjective path; and the way of the occultist, which is the way of the intellect, of concentration, and of trained will; upon this path the co-operation of fellow workers is required, firstly for the exchange of knowledge, and secondly because ritual magic plays an important part in this work, and for this the assistance of several is needed in most of the greater operations. The mystic derives his knowledge through the direct communion of his higher self with the Higher Powers; to him the wisdom of the occultist is foolishness, for his mind does not work in that way; but, on the other hand, to a more intellectual and extrovert type, the method of the mystic is impossible until long training has enabled him to transcend the planes of form. We must therefore recognize these two distinct types among those who seek the Way of Initiation, and remember that there is a path for each.
Dion Fortune (Esoteric Orders and Their Work and The Training and Work of the Initiate)
Relationships take time. They are days and nights and weeks. They are stretched and worked and kneaded into something you never imagined they could be. But when they are over, the end comes so quickly you barely have time to breathe, to blink. They are minutes and seconds, and one moment you have everything and the next you have nothing. So here’s my question: when you lose the most important person to you in the entire world, where is all the love—love you never even knew you were capable of—supposed to go?
Ted Michael (Crash Test Love)
These thoughts were as familiar to her, and as comforting, as the precise configuration of her knees, their matching but competing, symmetrical and reversible, look. A second thought always followed the first, one mystery bred another: Was everyone else really as alive as she was? For example, did her sister really matter to herself, was she as valuable to herself as Briony was? Was being Cecilia just as vivid an affair as being Briony? Did her sister also have a real self concealed behind a breaking wave, and did she spend time thinking about it, with a finger held up to her face? Did everybody, including her father, Betty, Hardman? If the answer was yes, then the world, the social world, was unbearably complicated, with two billion voices, and everyone’s thoughts striving in equal importance and everyone’s claim on life as intense, and everyone thinking they were unique, when no one was. One could drown in irrelevance. But if the answer was no, then Briony was surrounded by machines, intelligent and pleasant enough on the outside, but lacking the bright and private inside feeling she had. This was sinister and lonely, as well as unlikely. For, though it offended her sense of order, she knew it was overwhelmingly probably that everyone else had thoughts like hers. She knew this, but only in a rather arid way; she didn’t really feel it.
Ian McEwan (Atonement)
A person, for example, reads in adulthood a book that is important for him, and it makes him say, "How could I have lived without reading it!" and also, "What a pity I did not read it in my youth!" Well, these statements do not have much meaning, especially the second, because after he has read that book, his life becomes the life of a person who has read that book, and it is of little importance whether he read it early or late, because now his life before that reading also assumes a form shaped by that reading.
Italo Calvino (Mr Palomar)
One problem with the systems of assessment that use letters and grades is that they are usually light on description and heavy on comparison. Students are sometimes given grades without really knowing what they mean, and teachers sometimes give grades without being completely sure why. A second problem is that a single letter or number cannot convey the complexities of the process that it is meant to summarize. And some outcomes cannot be adequately expressed in this way at all. As the noted educator Elliot Eisner once put it, “Not everything important is measurable and not everything measurable is important.
Ken Robinson (Creative Schools: Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up)
There is nothing wrong with entertainment. As some psychiatrist once put it, we all build castles in the air. The problems come when we try to live in them. The communications media of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with telegraphy and photography at their center, called the peek-a-boo world into existence, but we did not come to live there until television. Television gave the epistemological biases of the telegraph and the photograph their most potent expression, raising the interplay of image and instancy to an exquisite and dangerous perfection. And it brought them into the home. We are by now well into a second generation of children for whom television has been their first and most accessible teacher and, for many, their most reliable companion and friend. To put it plainly, television is the command center of the new epistemology. There is no audience so young that it is barred from television. There is no poverty so abject that it must forgo television. There is no education so exalted that it is not modified by television. And most important of all, there is no subject of public interest—politics, news, education, religion, science, sports—that does not find its way to television. Which means that all public understanding of these subjects is shaped by the biases of television.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
MOTHER TIME: Life goes by so very fast, my dears, and taking the time to reflect, even once a year, slows things down. We zoom past so many seconds, minutes, hours, killing them with the frantic way we live that it's important we take at least this one collective sigh and stop, take stock, and acknowledge our place in time before diving back into the melee. Midnight on New Year's Eve is a unique kind of magic where, just for a moment, the past and the future exist at once in the present. Whether we're aware of it or not, as we countdown together to it, we're sharing the burden of our history and committing to the promise of tomorrow.
Hillary DePiano (New Year's Thieve)
Saying that “life is short” is such a cliche. And it’s true. In fact, we only have five minutes to be here. In the really big scheme of things, not even that long. We humans don’t even have the lifespan of fruit flies if you look at the bigger picture. In other words, we don’t have a second—not even a second—to waste on petty drama, on living fake, shallow lives, on swallowing our truth, or on hiding our light. We only dance around the flame of this gorgeous human existence for moments and the one thing important at all is loving beautifully.
Jacob Nordby
Are you aware that humanity is just a blip? Not even a blip. Just a fraction of a fraction of what the universe has been and will become? Talk about perspective. I figure I can't feel so entirely stupid about saying what I said because, first of all, it's true. And second of all, there will be no remnant of me or my stupidity. No fossil or geographical shift that can document, really, even the most important historical human beings, let alone my paltry admissions.
Meg Mullins (The Rug Merchant)
That second man has his own way of looking at things; asks himself which debt must I pay first, the debt to the rich, or the debt to the poor? the debt of money, or the debt of thought to mankind, of genius to nature? For you, O broker! there is no other principle but arithmetic. For me, commerce is of trivial import; love, faith, truth of character, the aspiration of man, these are sacred; nor can I detach one duty, like you, from all other duties, and concentrate my forces mechanically on the payment of moneys. Let me live onward; you shall find that, though slower, the progress of my character will liquidate all these debts without injustice to higher claims. If a man should dedicate himself to the payment of notes, would not this be injustice? Does he owe no debt but money? And are all claims on him to be postponed to a landlord's or a banker's?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
When people in authority want the rest of us to behave, it matters—first and foremost—how they behave. This is called the “principle of legitimacy,” and legitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice—that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another. All good parents understand these three principles implicitly. If you want to stop little Johnnie from hitting his sister, you can’t look away one time and scream at him another. You can’t treat his sister differently when she hits him. And if he says he really didn’t hit his sister, you have to give him a chance to explain himself. How you punish is as important as the act of punishing itself.
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
Daniel had one more question. He hated asking it, but her answer would be exceedingly important to him. The knot in his throat had returned, but he tried to speak around it. “Do you pity me, Story?” For the second time that night, she surprised him. “No. I pity the sixteen-year-old boy. Of course I do. How could I not?” Story rose from the windowsill and placed her hands on his chest. She waited until he met her eyes to continue. “But I don’t pity the man. The man took a tragedy and used it to give himself purpose. The man is magnificent.
Tessa Bailey (Officer off Limits (Line of Duty, #3))
You will go through your life thinking there was a day in second grade that you must have missed, when the grown-ups came in and explained, everything important to other kids. they said, 'Look, you're human, you're going to feel isolated and afraid a lot of the time, nad have bad self-esteem, and feel uniquely ruined, but here is the magic phrase that will take this feeling away. It will be like a feather that will lift you out of that fear and self-consciousness every single time, all through your life.' And then they told the cildren who were there that day the magic phrase that everyone else in the world knows about and uses when feeling blue, which only you don't know, because you were home sick the day the grown-ups told the children the way the whole world works. But there was not such a day in school. No one got the instructions. That is the secret of life. Everyone is flailing around, winging it most of the time, trying to find the way out, or through, or up, without a map. This lack of instruction manual is how most people develop compassion, and how they figure out to show up, care, help and serve, as the only way of filling up and being free. Otherwise you gorw up to be someone who needs to dominate and shame others so no one will know that you weren't there the day the instructions were passed out.
Anne Lamott
In the radical feminist view, the new feminism is not just the revival of a serious political movement for social equality. It is the second wave of the most important revolution in history. Its aim: the overthrow of the oldest, most rigid class/caste system in existence, the class system based on sex - a system consolidated over thousands of years, lending the archetypal male and female roles and undeserved legitimacy and seeming permanence.
Shulamith Firestone (The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution)
Dear friend…' The Witcher swore quietly, looking at the sharp, angular, even runes drawn with energetic sweeps of the pen, faultlessly reflecting the author’s mood. He felt once again the desire to try to bite his own backside in fury. When he was writing to the sorceress a month ago he had spent two nights in a row contemplating how best to begin. Finally, he had decided on “Dear friend.” Now he had his just deserts. 'Dear friend, your unexpected letter – which I received not quite three years after we last saw each other – has given me much joy. My joy is all the greater as various rumours have been circulating about your sudden and violent death. It is a good thing that you have decided to disclaim them by writing to me; it is a good thing, too, that you are doing so so soon. From your letter it appears that you have lived a peaceful, wonderfully boring life, devoid of all sensation. These days such a life is a real privilege, dear friend, and I am happy that you have managed to achieve it. I was touched by the sudden concern which you deigned to show as to my health, dear friend. I hasten with the news that, yes, I now feel well; the period of indisposition is behind me, I have dealt with the difficulties, the description of which I shall not bore you with. It worries and troubles me very much that the unexpected present you received from Fate brings you worries. Your supposition that this requires professional help is absolutely correct. Although your description of the difficulty – quite understandably – is enigmatic, I am sure I know the Source of the problem. And I agree with your opinion that the help of yet another magician is absolutely necessary. I feel honoured to be the second to whom you turn. What have I done to deserve to be so high on your list? Rest assured, my dear friend; and if you had the intention of supplicating the help of additional magicians, abandon it because there is no need. I leave without delay, and go to the place which you indicated in an oblique yet, to me, understandable way. It goes without saying that I leave in absolute secrecy and with great caution. I will surmise the nature of the trouble on the spot and will do all that is in my power to calm the gushing source. I shall try, in so doing, not to appear any worse than other ladies to whom you have turned, are turning or usually turn with your supplications. I am, after all, your dear friend. Your valuable friendship is too important to me to disappoint you, dear friend. Should you, in the next few years, wish to write to me, do not hesitate for a moment. Your letters invariably give me boundless pleasure. Your friend Yennefer' The letter smelled of lilac and gooseberries. Geralt cursed.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Krew elfów (Saga o Wiedźminie, #1))
Second, many believe that by being honest and open they are winning people’s hearts and showing their good nature. They are greatly deluded. Honesty is actually a blunt instrument, which bloodies more than it cuts. Your honesty is likely to offend people; it is much more prudent to tailor your words, telling people what they want to hear rather than the coarse and ugly truth of what you feel or think. More important, by being unabashedly open you make yourself so predictable and familiar that it is almost impossible to respect or fear you, and power will not accrue to a person who cannot inspire such emotions. If
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
I used to think the most important thing for a reporter was to be where the news is and be the first to know. Now I feel a reporter should be able to effect change. Your reporting should move people and motivate people to change the world. Maybe this is too idealistic. Young people who want to be journalists must, first, study and, second, recognize that they should never be the heroes of the story. ..A journalist must be curious, and must be humble. --Zhou Yijun
Judy Polumbaum (China Ink: The Changing Face of Chinese Journalism)
I end up watching this movie about some girl who's supposed to be so smart and edgy and unpopular. She wears glasses, that's how you know she's so smart. And she's the only one that has dark hair in the school- a place that looks like Planet Blond. Anyway, she somehow ends up going to the prom- hello, gag- and she doesn't wear her glasses, so suddenly she's all beautiful. And she's bashful and shy because she doesn't feel comfortable wearing a dress. But then the guy says something like, "Wow, I never knew you were so pretty," and she feels on top of the world. So, basically, the whole point is she's pretty. Oh, and smart, too. But what's really important here is that she's pretty. For a second I think about Katie. About her thin little Clarissa Le Fey. It must be a pain being fat. There are NO fat people on Planet Blond. I don't get it. I mean, even movies where the actress is smart- like they seem like they'd be smart in real life, they're all gorgeous. And they usually get a boyfriend somewhere in the story. Even if they say they don't want one. They always, always end up falling in love, and you're supposed to be like, "Oh, good." I once said this to my mom, and she laughed. "Honey, Hollywood... reality- two different universes. Don't make yourself crazy." Which made me feel pretty pathetic. Like I didn't know the difference between a movie and the real world. But then when everyone gets on you about your hair and your clothes and your this and your that, and "Are you fat?" and "Are you sexy?" you start thinking, Hey, maybe I'm not the only one who can't tell the difference between movies and reality. Maybe everyone really does think you can look like that. And that you should look like that. Because, you know, otherwise you might not get to go to the prom and fall in love.
Mariah Fredericks (Head Games)
Now you might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I personally will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.
J.K. Rowling (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination)
And the second [thing about the CBS EVENING NEWS that stands out in the mind of Michael J. Fox] was something Katie did later in the interview, as the drugs kicked in and the tremors segued into the jerkiness of dyskinesias. Somewhere in the contortions of making a point, my left arm detached the microphone clip from my jacket lapel. With no fuss and hardly a break in conversation or eye contact, she calmly leaned over and refastened it. Neither of us commented on it, but it was such an empathetic gesture, so far from anything patronizing or pitying, a simple kindness that allowed me the dignity to carry on making a point more important than the superficiality of my physical circumstance... ...One thing was abundantly clear though, whether or not she was able to forget how much she liked me: with that single act of consideration, she made it abundantly clear how much she loved her father.
Michael J. Fox
Becoming conscious of three important things: First, as soon as people decide to confront a problem, they realize that they are far more capable than they thought they were. Second, all energy and all knowledge come from the same unknown source, which we usually call God. What I've tried to do in my life, ever since I first started out on what I believe to be my path, is to honour that energy, to connect up with it every day, to allow myself to be guided by the signs, to learn by doing and not by thinking about doing. Third, that no one is alone in their troubles; there is always someone else thinking, rejoicing, or suffering in the same way, and that gives us the strength to confront the challenge before us.
Paulo Coelho (The Zahir)
Here in the second beatitude, Jesus is making an important announcement to those who, instead of finding a means of avoiding personal pain and shared sorrow, have allowed themselves to be sculpted by pain and sorrow. Jesus seems to be saying that it is those who have given up being comfortably numb through shallow contentment and have instead engaged in the real work of grief—for there is much in this world to grieve over—who are the ones who will encounter the deep comfort of the kingdom of God.
Brian Zahnd (Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity)
I don't like you, Park. I think I live for you. I don't think I even breathe when we're not together. Which means when I see you on Monday morning, it's been like sixty hours since I've taken a breath. That's probably why I'm so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we're apart is think about you, and all I do when we're together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I'm so out of control, I can't help myself. I'm not even mine anymore, I'm yours, and what if you decide that you don't want me? How could you want me like I want you?
Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park)
Not only is it a wholly remarkable book, it is also a highly successful one – more popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than Fifty-three More Things to do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway? In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch-Hiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30. This is something Lorne [Michaels] has said often about Saturday Night Live, but I think it’s a great lesson about not being too precious about your writing. You have to try your hardest to be at the top of your game and improve every joke you can until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go. You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute. (And I’m from a generation where a lot of people died on waterslides, so this was an important lesson for me to learn.) You have to let people see what you wrote. It will never be perfect, but perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring on live TV. What I learned about ‘bombing’ as an improviser at Second City was that bombing is painful, but it doesn’t kill you. No matter how badly an improv set goes, you will still be physically alive when it’s over. What I learned about bombing as a writer at Saturday Night is that you can’t be too worried about your ‘permanent record.’ Yes, you’re going to write some sketches that you love and are proud of forever—your golden nuggets. But you’re also going to write some real shit nuggets. And unfortunately, sometimes the shit nuggets will make it onto the air. You can’t worry about it. As long as you know the difference, you can go back to panning for gold on Monday.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
Things like "Everything happens for a reason" and "You'll become a stronger/kinder/more compassionate person because of this" brings out rage in grieving people. Nothing makes a person angrier than when they know they're being insulted but can't figure out how. It's not just erasing your current pain that makes words of comfort land so badly. There's a hidden subtext in those statements about becoming a better, kinder, and more compassionate because of your loss, that often-used phrase about knowing what's "truly important in life" now that you've learned how quickly life can change. The unspoken second half of the sentence in this case says you needed this somehow. It says that you weren't aware of what was important in life before this happened. It says that you weren't kind, compassionate, or aware enough in your life before this happened. That you needed this experience in order to develop or grow, that you needed this lesson in order to step into your "true path" in life. As though loss and hardship were the only ways to grow as a human being. As though pain were the only doorway to a better, deeper life, the only way to be truly compassionate and kind.
Megan Devine (It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand)
We should teach our kids that they're blessing and not a burden and that they're valuable beyond what they can imagine - in God's eyes, in the world's eyes - that they're purpose is so important to fulfill and it's gonna make a difference in the world. And they're the only ones that can make the difference that they can make, in the way that they can make it. That's why we all have different fingerprints. And I feel like the message is not clear enough. It's not clear because they go to school and they get challenged and they're bombarded with the idea that abortion is okay, that we can just go ahead and, you know, if we're not ready to have a kid we can just take care of that problem. But kids are not a problem, they're not a mistake, they're not a burden. They're blessing from God and that's what we don't understand. My mom was sixteen when she had me and we both almost died, I was a second kid, she had my brother when she was fifteen. And we both almost died and the doctors told her to abort me and I think that a lot of people gave her that advice. So when I grew up I think I had a sense of being a burden. And I think a lot of kids actually have that sense.
Lacey Sturm
I realised something else tonight. Something about pancakes.’ ‘What about them?’ ‘We both got so obsessed about that first pancake being thrown away that we forgot something really important,’ Max explained. ‘That first pancake tastes just as good as all the other ones. It’s not its fault that it was first in line and the pan wasn’t hot enough so it got a bit lumpy and misshapen.’ ‘And when you’re really famished that first pancake tastes better than all the ones that come after it,’ Neve said, and then she couldn’t wait any longer. Her arms were around Max before she’d even finished forming the thought, but his arms were around her too in that exact same moment. Just having him there to hold, warm and solid and real, was enough for five seconds, and then she was peppering his face with kisses – his forehead, his eyebrows, the tip of his crooked nose, along his cheekbones until she reached the glittering prize of his mouth. Sometimes Neve thought that her appetite was the most robust thing about her, and she didn’t kiss Max so much as she devoured him. Graceless, messy kisses without any thought or reason, but simply because she hungered for him. Kissed him with everything she had and everything she was, and she didn’t know why she could kiss Max and have him kiss her back with the same fierceness but still be greedy for the next kiss and the one after that and the one after that and the one…
Sarra Manning (You Don't Have to Say You Love Me)
I remember a relative of mine who used to pick on me all the time, constantly ridiculing my every move and making me feel inferior. One day she had a pimple on her face and was devastated. I told her "Why would you let a little thing like that bother you in such a way? It's just a pimple!" And she cried and said "You can say that, because you're perfect and even if you have ten pimples on your face, it wouldn't even matter!" And I never forgot how I felt in that moment, that moment taught me some important things! First, I realized that the whole time she was picking on me, she actually was feeling that I was perfect! And secondly, I realized that when people think you're perfect, they try to make you feel bad about yourself! I was so taken aback in those few minutes— I couldn't even say anything! I just looked at her while all my realizations flooded my mind and I decided that just because you think someone is perfect, doesn't give you the ticket to make them feel bad about themselves.
C. JoyBell C.
Do you think,” she says, the words emerging thickly, “we might have used up all our conversation last night?” “Not possible,” says Oliver, and the way he says it, his mouth turned up in a smile, his voice full of warmth, unwinds the knot in Hadley’s stomach. “We haven’t even gotten to the really important stuff yet.” “Like what?” she asks, trying to arrange her face in a way that disguises the relief she feels. “Like what’s so great about Dickens?” “Not at all,” he says. “More like the plight of koalas. Or the fact that Venice is sinking.” He pauses, waiting for this to register, and when Hadley says nothing, he slaps his knee for emphasis. “Sinking! The whole city! Can you believe it?” She frowns in mock seriousness. “That does sound pretty important.” “It is,” Oliver insists. “And don’t even get me started on the size of our carbon footprint after this trip. Or the difference between crocodiles and alligators. Or the longest recorded flight of a chicken.” “Please tell me you don’t actually know that.” “Thirteen seconds,” he says, leaning forward to look past her and out the window. “This is a total disaster. We’re nearly to Heathrow and we haven’t even properly discussed flying chickens.
Jennifer E. Smith (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight)
It’s amazing to think where adventure can lead when you trust your crazy ideas, when you’re bold enough to look at only what lies ahead of you. I don’t want the normal life. I don’t want to go to college because it’s the next practical step, just to join the pack, just to follow a leader. I don’t want to sit inside a room under fluorescent lights and study and read and memorize other people’s ideas about the world. I want to form my own ideas. I want to experience the world with my own eyes. I’m not going to follow my old friends to avoid the effort of making new ones. I don’t want to settle for any job just to get a paycheck, just to pay rent, just to need furniture and cable and more bills and be tied down with routine and monotony. I don’t want to own things because they’ll eventually start to own me. Most importantly, I don’t want to be told who I am or who I should be. I want to find myself—the bits and pieces that are scattered in places and in people waiting to meet me. If I fall down, I’ll learn how to pick myself up again. You need to fall apart once in a while before you understand how you best fit together.
Katie Kacvinsky (Second Chance (First Comes Love, #2))
For those of us who can, there are certain precautions we must take in order to protect ourselves and those around us. The first and most important is this-never acknowledge the dead. Don't look at them, don't speak to them don't let them sense your fear. Even when they touch you"..."The second thing you must remember is this," Papa said. "Never stray too far from hallowed ground."..."Rule Number Three," he said. "Keep your distance from those who are haunted. If they seek you out, turn away from them, for they constitute a terrible threat and cannot be trusted." ..."Rule Number Four," he said sternly. "Never, ever tempt fate.
Amanda Stevens (The Restorer (Graveyard Queen, #1))
As far back as slavery, white people established a social hierarchy based on race and sex that ranked white men first, white women second, though sometimes equal to black men, who are ranked third, and black women last. What this means in terms of the sexual politics of rape is that if one white woman is raped by a black man, it is seen as more important, more significant than if thousands of black women are raped by one white man. Most Americans, and that includes black people, acknowledge and accept this hierarchy; they have internalized it either consciously or unconsciously. And for this reason, all through American history, black male rape of white women has attracted much more attention and is seen as much more significant than rape of black women by either white or black men.
bell hooks (Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism)
There are two social classes in Pakistan," Professor Superb said to his unsuspecting audience, gripping the podium with both hands as he spoke. "The first group, large and sweaty, contains those referred to as the masses. The second group is much smaller, but its members exercise vastly greater control over their immediate environment and are collectively termed the elite. The distinction between members of these two groups is made on the basis of control of an important resource:air-conditioning. You see, the elite have managed to re-create for themselves the living standards of say, Sweden without leaving the dusty plains of the subcontinent. They're a mixed lot - Punjabi and Pathans, Sindhis and Baluchis, smugglers , mullahs, soldiers, industrialists - united by their residence in an artificially cooled world. They wake up in air-conditioned houses, drive air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned offices, grab lunch in air-conditioned restaurants (rights of admission reserved), and at the end of the day go home to an air-conditioned lounges to relax in front of their wide-screen TVs. And if they should think about the rest of the people, the great uncooled, and become uneasy as they lie under their blankets in the middle of the summer, there is always prayer, five times a day, which they hope will gain them admittance to an air-conditioned heaven, or at the very least, a long, cool drink during a fiery day in hell.
Mohsin Hamid (Moth Smoke)
Well, life isn't cheap. It's the greatest mystery of any millennium, and television needs to do all it can to broadcast that...to show and tell what the good in life is all about. But how do we make goodness attractive? By doing whatever we can do to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own--by treating our 'neighbor' at least as well as we treat ourselves and allowing that to inform everything that we produce. Who in your life has been such a servant to you? Who has helped you love the good that grows within you? Let's just take ten seconds to think of some of those people who have loved us and wanted what was best for us in life, those who have encouraged us to become who we are tonight - just ten seconds of silence. No matter where they are, either here or in heaven, imagine how pleased those people must be to know that you thought of them right now.
Fred Rogers (The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember)
Heartache may be bad for the soul, but it's great for bookshops. It's when we are at our lowest romantic ebb that we are likely to do the bulk of our life's reading. Adolescents who can't get a date are in a uniquely privileged position: they will have the perfect chance to get grounding in world literature. There is perhaps an important connection between love and reading, there is perhaps a comparable pleasure offered by both. A feeling of connection may be at the root of it. There are books that speak to us, no less eloquently—but more reliably—than our lovers. They prevent the morose suspicion that we do not fully belong to the human species, that we lie beyond comprehension. Our embarrassments, our sulks, our feelings of guilt, these phenomena may be conveyed on a page in a way that affords us with a sense of self-recognition. The author has located words to depict a situation we thought ourselves alone in feeling, and for a few moments, we are like two lovers on an early dinner date thrilled to discover how much they share (and unable to touch much of the seafood linguine in front of them, so busy are they fathoming the eyes opposite), we may place the book down for a second and stare at its spine with a wry smile, as if to say, "How lucky I ran into you.
Alain de Botton
I'm not a complete idiot, you know," I tell him. "I do think about alternatives if things were to change in Westfall." Bishop swings his legs off the sofa and sits forward, facing me. "I have never, not for a single second, thought you were an idiot, Ivy." "You listen to your father, too, don't you?" I ask him. Bishop looks down at his clasped hands, then back up at me. "Sometimes I just think that because of who we are... the president's son and the founder's daughter..." He rolls his eyes, making me smile. "It's doubly important that we think for ourselves. We're not our parents. We don't have to agree with everything they stand for.
Amy Engel (The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1))
If people are like plants, what are the conditions we need to flourish? In the happiness formula from chapter 5, H(appiness) = S(etpoint) + C(onditions) + V(oluntary activities), what exactly is C? The biggest part of C, as I said in chapter 6, is love. No man, woman, or child is an island. We are ultrasocial creatures, and we can’t be happy without having friends and secure attachments to other people. The second most important part of C is having and pursuing the right goals, in order to create states of flow and engagement. In the modern world, people can find goals and flow in many settings, but most people find most of their flow at work.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
He reached across the car and took my hand. "I know I haven't been around as much," he said, "but after today, my schedule won't be so busy." "I understand," I said softly. And I did. "Football is your life. It's your dream." He made a sound. "You're just as important to me." I smiled. "I have to admit I won't be upset when this game is over and all the girls around here stop wearing your number all over their bodies." His white teeth flashed. "Is someone jealous?" I snorted. His smile grew wider. "Maybe a little," I admitted. He lunged forward and in seconds had me in his lap, my legs straddling him so we were face to face. He buried his hands in my tangled disaster of hair. I admit I hadn't even brushed it when we got out of bed this morning. "You're my favorite girl," he whispered. "I better be your only girl." He smiled. "That too.
Cambria Hebert (#Hater (Hashtag, #2))
If Mohammed had been a false prophet. there is no reason why Christ should not have spoken of him as he spoke of Antichrist but if Mohammed is a true Prophet the passages referring to the Paraclete must inevitably concern him - not exclusively but eminently - for it is inconceivable that Christ, when speaking of the future, should have passed over in silence a manifestation of such magnitude. The same reasoning excludes a priori the possibility that Christ. when making his predictions, intended to include Mohammed under the general denomination of'' false prophets", for in the history of our era Mohammed is in no sense a typical example among others of the same kind, but on the contrary, a unique and incomparable apparition(1). If he had been one of the false prophets announced by Christ he would have been followed by others and there would exist in our day a multitude of false religions subsequent to Christ and comparable in importance and extension to Islam. The spirituality to be found within Islam from its origins up to our days is an incontestable fact. and "by their fruits ye shall know them." Moreover, it will be recalled that the Prophet in his doctrine has testified to the second coming of Christ without attributing to himself any glory. unless it be that of being the last Prophet of the cycle and history proves that he spoke the truth, no comparable manifestation having followed after him.
Frithjof Schuon (Transcendent Unity of Religions)
God will not be tolerated. He instructs us to worship and fear Him. In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him. Because we don’t often think about the reality of who God is, we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshiped and loved. We are to fear Him. The answer to each of these questions is simply this: because He’s God. He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving. As much as we want God to explain himself to us, His creation, we are in no place to demand that He give an account to us. Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation? If God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be loving us if He didn’t draw us toward what is best for us (even if that happens to be Himself)? Doesn’t His courting, luring, pushing, calling, and even “threatening” demonstrate His love? If He didn’t do all of that, wouldn’t we accuse Him of being unloving in the end, when all things are revealed? Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world? Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all? True faith means holding nothing back; it bets everything on the hope of eternity. When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love. You’ll drive for hours to be together, even if it’s only for a short while. You don’t mind staying up late to talk. Walking in the rain is romantic, not annoying. You’ll willingly spend a small fortune on the one you’re crazy about. When you are apart from each other, it’s painful, even miserable. He or she is all you think about; you jump at any chance to be together. There is nothing better than giving up everything and stepping into a passionate love relationship with God, the God of the universe who made galaxies, leaves, laughter, and me and you. Do you recognize the foolishness of seeking fulfillment outside of Him? Are you ready and willing to make yourself nothing? To take the very nature of a servant? To be obedient unto death? True love requires sacrifice. What are you doing right now that requires faith? God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. If one person “wastes” away his day by spending hours connecting with God, and the other person believes he is too busy or has better things to do than worship the Creator and Sustainer, who is the crazy one? Am I loving my neighbor and my God by living where I live, by driving what I drive, by talking how I talk?” If I stop pursuing Christ, I am letting our relationship deteriorate. The way we live out our days is the way we will live our lives. What will people say about your life in heaven? Will people speak of God’s work and glory through you? And even more important, how will you answer the King when He says, “What did you do with what I gave you?
Francis Chan (Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)
I learned two very important lessons from Carl Jung, the famous Swiss depth psychologist, about “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “loving your neighbour as yourself.” The first lesson was that neither of these statements has anything to do with being nice. The second was that both are equations, rather than injunctions. If I am someone’s friend, family member, or lover, then I am morally obliged to bargain as hard on my own behalf as they are on theirs. If I fail to do so, I will end up a slave, and the other person a tyrant. What good is that? It is much better for any relationship when both partners are strong. Furthermore, there is little difference between standing up and speaking for yourself, when you are being bullied or otherwise tormented and enslaved, and standing up and speaking for someone else. As Jung points out, this means embracing and loving the sinner who is yourself, as much as forgiving and aiding someone else who is stumbling and imperfect.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
A fisherman in the month of May stood angling on the bank of the Thames with an artificial fly. He threw his bait with so much art, that a young trout was rushing toward it, when she was prevented by her mother. “Never,” said she, “my child, be too precipitate, where there is a possibility of danger. Take due time to consider, before you risk an action that may be fatal. How know you whether yon appearance be indeed a fly, or the snare of an enemy? Let someone else make the experiment before you. If it be a fly, he will very probably elude the first attack: and the second may be made, if not with success, at least with safety.” She had no sooner spoken, than a gudgeon seized the pretended fly, and became an example to the giddy daughter of the importance of her mother’s counsel.   FABLES, ROBERT DODSLEY, 1703-1764
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
I stared blankly at Rhys for what felt like about three days. “Me?” I finally sputtered. He nodded. “You’re kidding, right?” “Not kidding.” I laughed then, and it sounded slightly hysterical. “I’m not going to marry you.” “I’m not asking you to.” “Good.” He eyed me. “And you can wipe that horrified look off your face because it’s obviously not true.” “Do I look horrified?” “Yes, you do.” I grimaced. “Nothing personal, Rhys, but—” He held up a hand. “Say nothing else. I shouldn’t have even mentioned it to you. I’ll find another dragon to help me.” “Second opinions are really important,” I said. He just glowered at that. We rode the rest of the way back to Erin Heights in silence. Now I had even more information crowding my already full brain. Maybe that Irena chick should go see a shrink, herself. She was one crazy dragon lady.
Michelle Rowen (Reign Check (Demon Princess, #2))
What really has expanded is not so much a circle of empathy as a circle of rights—a commitment that other living things, no matter how distant or dissimilar, be safe from harm and exploitation. Empathy has surely been historically important in setting off epiphanies of concern for members of overlooked groups. But the epiphanies are not enough. For empathy to matter, it must goad changes in policies and norms that determine how the people in those groups are treated. At these critical moments, a newfound sensitivity to the human costs of a practice may tip the decisions of elites and the conventional wisdom of the masses. But as we shall see in the section on reason, abstract moral argumentation is also necessary to overcome the built-in strictures on empathy. The ultimate goal should be policies and norms that become second nature
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
Our talent for division, for seeing the parts, is of staggering importance – second only to our capacity to transcend it, in order to see the whole. These gifts of the left hemisphere have helped us achieve nothing less than civilisation itself, with all that that means. Even if we could abandon them, which of course we can't, we would be fools to do so, and would come off infinitely the poorer. There are siren voices that call us to do exactly that, certainly to abandon clarity and precision (which, in any case, importantly depend on both hemispheres), and I want to emphasise that I am passionately opposed to them. We need the ability to make fine discriminations, and to use reason appropriately. But these contributions need to be made in the service of something else, that only the right hemisphere can bring. Alone they are destructive. And right now they may be bringing us close to forfeiting the civilisation they helped to create.
Iain McGilchrist (The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World)
The little girl’s sense of secrecy that developed at prepuberty only grows in importance. She closes herself up in fierce solitude: she refuses to reveal to those around her the hidden self that she considers to be her real self and that is in fact an imaginary character: she plays at being a dancer like Tolstoy’s Natasha, or a saint like Marie Leneru, or simply the singular wonder that is herself. There is still an enormous difference between this heroine and the objective face that her parents and friends recognise in her. She is also convinced that she is misunderstood: her relationship with herself becomes even more passionate: she becomes intoxicated with her isolation, feels different, superior, exceptional: she promises that the future will take revenge on the mediocrity of her present life. From this narrow and petty existence she escapes by dreams.
Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex)
You see, I am a very prosaic, unromantic, sensible sort of fellow myself; and I have always had my heart set on finding the most sensible, prudent, level-headed wife in the world. But, on the other hand, it is very important to me that she possess one very particular flaw: she must have no sense whatsoever where I myself am concerned. She would only have to take one look at me and - no matter what her steadiness of mind - she would lose it in the space of seconds... Just lately, I have sometimes thought I may have found what I have always wanted. But just lately I have also noticed she has developed a most irritating habit of looking at the ground whenever we are together. Do you think she could try to overcome it? Well, Charlotte, are you going to look at me now?
Jane Austen (Sanditon: Jane Austen's Last Novel Completed)
It might not be immediately obvious to some readers why the ability to perform 10^85 computational operations is a big deal. So it's useful to put it in context. [I]t may take about 10^31-10^44 operations to simulate all neuronal operations that have occurred in the history of life on Earth. Alternatively, let us suppose that the computers are used to run human whole brain emulations that live rich and happy lives while interacting with one another in virtual environments. A typical estimate of the computational requirements for running one emulation is 10^18 operations per second. To run an emulation for 100 subjective years would then require some 10^27 operations. This would be mean that at least 10^58 human lives could be created in emulation even with quite conservative assumptions about the efficiency of computronium. In other words, assuming that the observable universe is void of extraterrestrial civilizations, then what hangs in the balance is at least 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 human lives. If we represent all the happiness experienced during one entire such life with a single teardrop of joy, then the happiness of these souls could fill and refill the Earth's oceans every second, and keep doing so for a hundred billion billion millennia. It is really important that we make sure these truly are tears of joy.
Nick Bostrom (Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies)
I know we have only been together for a little over a year,” I explained, quickly. “Maybe it’s too soon? I understand if it’s too soon. It’s just that how you feel about the way we kiss? I feel that way about everything we do together. I love it. I love to be inside you, I love working with you, I love watching you work, I love fighting with you, and I love just sitting on the couch and laughing with you. I’m lost when I’m not with you, Chloe. I can’t think of anything, or anyone, who is more important to me, every second. And so for me, that means we’re already sort of married in my head. I guess I wanted to make it official somehow. Maybe I sound like an idiot?” I looked over at her, feeling my heart try to jackhammer its way up my throat. “I never expected to feel this way about someone.
Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bitch (Beautiful Bastard, #1.5))
Ms. Terwilliger didn’t have a chance to respond to my geological ramblings because someone knocked on the door. I slipped the rocks into my pocket and tried to look studious as she called an entry. I figured Zoe had tracked me down, but surprisingly, Angeline walked in. "Did you know," she said, "that it’s a lot harder to put organs back in the body than it is to get them out?" I closed my eyes and silently counted to five before opening them again. “Please tell me you haven’t eviscerated someone.” She shook her head. “No, no. I left my biology homework in Miss Wentworth’s room, but when I went back to get it, she’d already left and locked the door. But it’s due tomorrow, and I’m already in trouble in there, so I had to get it. So, I went around outside, and her window lock wasn’t that hard to open, and I—” "Wait," I interrupted. "You broke into a classroom?" "Yeah, but that’s not the problem." Behind me, I heard a choking laugh from Ms. Terwilliger’s desk. "Go on," I said wearily. "Well, when I climbed through, I didn’t realize there was a bunch of stuff in the way, and I crashed into those plastic models of the human body she has. You know, the life size ones with all the parts inside? And bam!" Angeline held up her arms for effect. "Organs everywhere." She paused and looked at me expectantly. "So what are we going to do? I can’t get in trouble with her." "We?" I exclaimed. "Here," said Ms. Terwilliger. I turned around, and she tossed me a set of keys. From the look on her face, it was taking every ounce of self-control not to burst out laughing. "That square one’s a master. I know for a fact she has yoga and won’t be back for the rest of the day. I imagine you can repair the damage—and retrieve the homework—before anyone’s the wiser.” I knew that the “you” in “you can repair” meant me. With a sigh, I stood up and packed up my things. “Thanks,” I said. As Angeline and I walked down to the science wing, I told her, “You know, the next time you’ve got a problem, maybe come to me before it becomes an even bigger problem.” "Oh no," she said nobly. "I didn’t want to be an inconvenience." Her description of the scene was pretty accurate: organs everywhere. Miss Wentworth had two models, male and female, with carved out torsos that cleverly held removable parts of the body that could be examined in greater detail. Wisely, she had purchased models that were only waist-high. That was still more than enough of a mess for us, especially since it was hard to tell which model the various organs belonged to. I had a pretty good sense of anatomy but still opened up a textbook for reference as I began sorting. Angeline, realizing her uselessness here, perched on a far counter and swing her legs as she watched me. I’d started reassembling the male when I heard a voice behind me. "Melbourne, I always knew you’d need to learn about this kind of thing. I’d just kind of hoped you’d learn it on a real guy." I glanced back at Trey, as he leaned in the doorway with a smug expression. “Ha, ha. If you were a real friend, you’d come help me.” I pointed to the female model. “Let’s see some of your alleged expertise in action.” "Alleged?" He sounded indignant but strolled in anyways. I hadn’t really thought much about asking him for help. Mostly I was thinking this was taking much longer than it should, and I had more important things to do with my time. It was only when he came to a sudden halt that I realized my mistake. "Oh," he said, seeing Angeline. "Hi." Her swinging feet stopped, and her eyes were as wide as his. “Um, hi.” The tension ramped up from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds, and everyone seemed at a loss for words. Angeline jerked her head toward the models and blurted out. “I had an accident.” That seemed to snap Trey from his daze, and a smile curved his lips. Whereas Angeline’s antics made me want to pull out my hair sometimes, he found them endearing.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
It is similar to one brother asking another, “Why did you grow up to be a drunk?” The answer is “Because Dad was a drunk.” The second brother then asks, “Why didn’t you grow up to be a drunk?” The answer is “Because Dad was a drunk.” Some more complete answers are found in Robert Ressler’s classic book Whoever Fights Monsters. He speaks of the tremendous importance of the early puberty period for boys. Before then, the anger of these boys might have been submerged and without focus, perhaps turned inward in the form of depression, perhaps (as in most cases) just denied, to emerge later. But during puberty, this anger collides with another powerful force, one of the most powerful in nature: sexuality. Even at this point, say Ressler and others, these potential hosts of monsters can be turned around through the (often unintentional) intervention of people who show kindness, support, or even just interest. I can say from experience that it doesn’t take much.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
[Israel's military occupation is] in gross violation of international law and has been from the outset. And that much, at least, is fully recognized, even by the United States, which has overwhelming and, as I said, unilateral responsibility for these crimes. So George Bush No. 1, when he was the U.N. ambassador, back in 1971, he officially reiterated Washington's condemnation of Israel's actions in the occupied territories. He happened to be referring specifically to occupied Jerusalem. In his words, actions in violation of the provisions of international law governing the obligations of an occupying power, namely Israel. He criticized Israel's failure "to acknowledge its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as its actions which are contrary to the letter and spirit of this Convention." [...] However, by that time, late 1971, a divergence was developing, between official policy and practice. The fact of the matter is that by then, by late 1971, the United States was already providing the means to implement the violations that Ambassador Bush deplored. [...] on December 5th [2001], there had been an important international conference, called in Switzerland, on the 4th Geneva Convention. Switzerland is the state that's responsible for monitoring and controlling the implementation of them. The European Union all attended, even Britain, which is virtually a U.S. attack dog these days. They attended. A hundred and fourteen countries all together, the parties to the Geneva Convention. They had an official declaration, which condemned the settlements in the occupied territories as illegal, urged Israel to end its breaches of the Geneva Convention, some "grave breaches," including willful killing, torture, unlawful deportation, unlawful depriving of the rights of fair and regular trial, extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. Grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, that's a serious term, that means serious war crimes. The United States is one of the high contracting parties to the Geneva Convention, therefore it is obligated, by its domestic law and highest commitments, to prosecute the perpetrators of grave breaches of the conventions. That includes its own leaders. Until the United States prosecutes its own leaders, it is guilty of grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, that means war crimes. And it's worth remembering the context. It is not any old convention. These are the conventions established to criminalize the practices of the Nazis, right after the Second World War. What was the U.S. reaction to the meeting in Geneva? The U.S. boycotted the meeting [..] and that has the usual consequence, it means the meeting is null and void, silence in the media.
Noam Chomsky
Now, eternity is beyond all categories of thought. This is an important point in all of the great Oriental religions. We want to think about God. God is a thought. God is a name. God is an idea. But its reference is to something that transcends all thinking. The ultimate mystery of being is beyond all categories of thought. As Kant said, the think in itself is no things. It transcends thingness, it goes past anything that could be thought. The best things can't be told because they transcend thought. The second best are misunderstood, because those are the thoughts that are supposed to refer to that which can't be thought about. The third best are what we talk about. And myth is that field of reference to what is absolutely transcendent....That's why it's absurd to speak of God as of either this sex or that sex. The divine power is antecedent to sexual separation.
Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth)
When our brains constantly scan for and focus on the positive, we profit from three of the most important tools available to us: happiness, gratitude, and optimism. The role happiness plays should be obvious—the more you pick up on the positive around you, the better you’ll feel—and we’ve already seen the advantages to performance that brings. The second mechanism at work here is gratitude, because the more opportunities for positivity we see, the more grateful we become. Psychologist Robert Emmons, who has spent nearly his entire career studying gratitude, has found that few things in life are as integral to our well-being.11 Countless other studies have shown that consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely. And it’s not that people are only grateful because they are happier, either; gratitude has proven to be a significant cause of positive outcomes. When researchers pick random volunteers and train them to be more grateful over a period of a few weeks, they become happier and more optimistic, feel more socially connected, enjoy better quality sleep, and even experience fewer headaches than control groups.
Shawn Achor (The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work)
And as the music ended, he saw her, like a woman in a romance, pull from her cotton sleeve a note that she pushed into his breast pocket. It would burn there unread for another hour as he danced and talked with in-laws who did not matter to him, who got in the way, whose bloodline connection to him or his wife he could not care less about. Everything that was important to him existed suddenly in the potency of Marie-Neige. He could tell what the shallow freize of the wedding party that surrounded them would continue to be, and yet the one he knew best-he could not conceive how she would behave or respond to him in a week, or even in an hour. She had stepped into more than his arms for a dance, had waited for the precise seconds so it was possible and socially forgivable-the sunlit wedding procession, the eternal meal-and she had passed him a billet-doux as if they were within a Dumas. The note she had written said 'Good-bye.' Then it said 'Hello.' And then it reminded him that 'A message sent by pigeon to The Hague can sometimes change everything.' She had, like one of those partially villainous and always evolving heroines, turned his heart over on the wrong day.
Michael Ondaatje (Divisadero)
Similar ecological disasters occurred on almost every one of the thousands of islands that pepper the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Archaeologists have discovered on even the tiniest islands evidence of the existence of birds, insects and snails that lived there for countless generations, only to vanish when the first human farmers arrived. None but a few extremely remote islands escaped man’s notice until the modern age, and these islands kept their fauna intact. The Galapagos Islands, to give one famous example, remained uninhabited by humans until the nineteenth century, thus preserving their unique menagerie, including their giant tortoises, which, like the ancient diprotodons, show no fear of humans. The First Wave Extinction, which accompanied the spread of the foragers, was followed by the Second Wave Extinction, which accompanied the spread of the farmers, and gives us an important perspective on the Third Wave Extinction, which industrial activity is causing today. Don’t believe tree-huggers who claim that our ancestors lived in harmony with nature. Long before the Industrial Revolution, Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for driving the most plant and animal species to their extinctions. We have the dubious distinction of being the deadliest species in the annals of biology. Perhaps if more people were aware of the First Wave and Second Wave extinctions, they’d be less nonchalant about the Third Wave they are part of. If we knew how many species we’ve already eradicated, we might be more motivated to protect those that still survive. This is especially relevant to the large animals of the oceans.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
First, relax. ... And my second helpful hint is that you should not try to memorize anything you read in this book. ... My two words of advice are exemplified in what I call the Russian Novel Phenomenon. Every reader must have experienced that depressing moment about fifty pages into a Russian novel when we realize that we have lost track of all the characters, the variety of names by which they are known, their family relationships and relative ranks in the civil service. At this point we can give in to our anxiety, and start again to read more carefully, trying to memorize all the details on the offchance that some may prove to be important. If such a course is followed, the second reading is almost certain to be more incomprehensible than the first. The probable result: one Russian novel lost forever. But there is another alternative: to read faster, to push ahead, to make sense of what we can and to enjoy whatever we make sense of. And suddenly the book becomes readable, the story makes sense, and we find that we can remember all the important characters and events simply because we know what is important. Any re-reading we then have to do is bound to make sense, because at least we comprehend what is going on and what we are looking for.
Frank Smith
I want you to forget what i told you earlier, I... I couldn’t love someone like you. I hate you. I thought it the second i saw you in the park. You were just poison! Drinking beer in the morning, quoting some stupid Tanka to me! You listening to other people talking all day just so you never have to reveal a thing about yourself! You knew who I was, I was just a kid! What were you thinking what’s wrong with you?! If I’d know who you were I wouldn’t have told you a thing about me or my dreams. You don’t think I can do it! You don’t think I’ll ever amount to anything! What is that why you didn’t say anything to me? You thought maybe you'd humor the little kid? Indulge his fantasies for a little while! Just string him along? Just say it I’ll never measure up to my dreams! You knew from the beginning you could have just admitted it! But you played along. So tell me god damn it! Tell me that little kids should run along to school! Tell me that you hate me! Say it! Come on listener say something for a change! You loser! Its because you act like that. You never say what's important! You act like it's none of your business! You've been living your whole life alone!
Makoto Shinkai
One thing of great importance can affect a small number of people. Equally so, a thing of little importance can affect a multitude. Either way, a happening - big or small - can affect an entire string of people. Occurrences can join us all together. You see, we're all made up of the same stuff. When something happens, it triggers something inside us that connects us to a situation, connects us to other people, lighting us up and linking us like little lights on a Christmas tree, twisted and turned but still connected to a wire. Some go out, others flicker, others burn strong and bright, yet we are all on the same line. I said at the beginning of this story that this was about people who find out who they are. About people who are unraveled and whose cores are revealed to all who count. And that all that count are revealed to them. You thought I was talking about Lou Suffern and the Turkey Boy, about Raphie, Jessica, and Ruth, didn't you? Wrong. I was talking about each of us. A lesson finds the common denominatior and links us all together, like a chain. At the end of that chain dangles a clock, and on the face of the clock registers the passing of time. We see it and we hear it, the hushed tick-tock, but often we don't feel it. Each second makes its mark on every single person's life - comes and then goes, quietly disappearing without fanfare, evaporating into air like steam from a piping hot Christmas pudding. Enough time leaves us warm; when our time is gone, it leaves us cold. Time is more precious than gold, more precious than diamonds, more precious than oil or any valuable treasures. It is time of which we do not have enough; it is time that causes the war within our hearts, and so we must spend it wisely. Time cannot be packaged and ribboned and left under trees for Christmas morning. Time can't be given. But it can be shared.
Cecelia Ahern
Quentin took a deep breath. “My true name,” he said, “ . . . is SUN WUKONG.” A cold wind passed through the open window, rustling my loose papers like tumbleweed. “I have no idea who that is,” I said. Quentin was still trying to cement his “look at me being serious” face. It took him a few seconds to realize I wasn’t flipping out over whoever he was. “The Sun Wukong,” he said, scooping the air with his fingers. “Sun Wukong the Monkey King.” “I said, I don’t know who that is.” His jaw dropped. Thankfully his teeth were still normal-size. “You’re Chinese and you don’t know me?” he sputtered. “That’s like an American child not knowing Batman!” “You’re Chinese Batman?” “No! I’m stronger than Batman, and more important, like—like. Tian na, how do you not know who I am!?” I didn’t know why he expected me to recognize him. He couldn’t have been a big-time actor or singer from overseas. I never followed mainland pop culture, but a lot of the other people at school did; word would have gotten around if we had a celebrity in our midst. Plus that was a weird stage name. Monkey King? Was that what passed for sexy among the kids these days?
F.C. Yee (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, #1))
Ruby and Aaron are both crazy patient; they’re good parents.” “I could be a good dad,” Ivan whispered, still feeding Jess. I could have told him he’d be good at anything he wanted to be good at, but nah. “Do you want to have kids?” he asked me out of the blue. I handed Benny another block. “A long time from now, maybe.” “A long time… like how long?” That had me glancing at Ivan over my shoulder. He had his entire attention on Jessie, and I was pretty sure he was smiling down at her. Huh. “My early thirties, maybe? I don’t know. I might be okay with not having any either. I haven’t really thought about it much, except for knowing I don’t want to have them any time soon, you know what I mean?” “Because of figure skating?” “Why else? I barely have enough time now. I couldn’t imagine trying to train and have kids. My baby daddy would have to be a rich, stay-at-home dad for that to work.” Ivan wrinkled his nose at my niece. “There are at least ten skaters I know with kids.” I rolled my eyes and poked Benny in the side when he held out his little hand for another block. That got me a toothy grin. “I’m not saying it’s impossible. I just wouldn’t want to do it any time soon. I don’t want to half-ass or regret it. If they ever exist, I’d want them to be my priority. I wouldn’t want them to think they were second best.” Because I knew what that felt like. And I’d already screwed up enough with making grown adults I loved think they weren’t important. If I was going to do something, I wanted to do my best and give it everything. All he said was, “Hmm.” A thought came into my head and made my stomach churn. “Why? Are you planning on having kids any time soon?” “I wasn’t,” he answered immediately. “I like this baby though, and that one. Maybe I need to think about it.” I frowned, the feeling in my stomach getting more intense. He kept blabbing. “I could start training my kids really young…. I could coach them. Hmm.” It was my turn to wrinkle my nose. “Three hours with two kids and now you want them?” Ivan glanced down at me with a smirk. “With the right person. I’m not going to have them with just anybody and dilute my blood.” I rolled my eyes at this idiot, still ignoring that weird feeling in my belly that I wasn’t going to acknowledge now or ever. “God forbid, you have kids with someone that’s not perfect. Dumbass.” “Right?” He snorted, looking down at the baby before glancing back at me with a smile I wasn’t a fan of. “They might come out short, with mean, squinty, little eyes, a big mouth, heavy bones, and a bad attitude.” I blinked. “I hope you get abducted by aliens.” Ivan laughed, and the sound of it made me smile. “You would miss me.” All I said, while shrugging was, “Meh. I know I’d get to see you again someday—” He smiled. “—in hell.” That wiped the look right off his face. “I’m a good person. People like me.” “Because they don’t know you. If they did, somebody would have kicked your ass already.” “They’d try,” he countered, and I couldn’t help but laugh. There was something wrong with us. And I didn’t hate it. Not even a little bit.
Mariana Zapata (From Lukov with Love)
He is all my art to me now," said the painter gravely. "I sometimes think, Harry, that there are only two eras of any importance in the world's history. The first is the appearance of a new medium for art, and the second is the appearance of a new personality for art also. What the invention of oil-painting was to the Venetians, the face of Antinous was to late Greek sculpture, and the face of Dorian Gray will some day be to me. It is not merely that I paint from him, draw from him, sketch from him. Of course, I have done all that. But he is much more to me than a model or a sitter. I won't tell you that I am dissatisfied with what I have done of him, or that his beauty is such that art cannot express it. There is nothing that art cannot express, and I know that the work I have done, since I met Dorian Gray, is good work, is the best work of my life. But in some curious way—I wonder will you understand me?—his personality has suggested to me an entirely new manner in art, an entirely new mode of style. I see things differently, I think of them differently. I can now recreate life in a way that was hidden from me before. 'A dream of form in days of thought'—who is it who says that? I forget; but it is what Dorian Gray has been to me. The merely visible presence of this lad—for he seems to me little more than a lad, though he is really over twenty— his merely visible presence—ah! I wonder can you realize all that that means? Unconsciously he defines for me the lines of a fresh school, a school that is to have in it all the passion of the romantic spirit, all the perfection of the spirit that is Greek. The harmony of soul and body— how much that is! We in our madness have separated the two, and have invented a realism that is vulgar, an ideality that is void. Harry! if you only knew what Dorian Gray is to me! You remember that landscape of mine, for which Agnew offered me such a huge price but which I would not part with? It is one of the best things I have ever done. And why is it so? Because, while I was painting it, Dorian Gray sat beside me. Some subtle influence passed from him to me, and for the first time in my life I saw in the plain woodland the wonder I had always looked for and always missed.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those who are engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are fighting the good fight. ‘And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to fight the good fight.
Paulo Coelho (The Pilgrimage)
This is the first principle of democracy: that the essential things in men are the things they hold in common, not the things they hold separately. And the second principle is merely this: that the political instinct or desire is one of these things which they hold in common. Falling in love is more poetical than dropping into poetry. The democratic contention is that government ... is a thing like falling in love, and not a thing like dropping into poetry. It is not something analogous to playing the church organ, painting on vellum,..., being Astronomer Royal, and so on. For these things we do not wish a man to do at all unless he does them well. It is, on the contrary, a thing analogous to writing one's own love-letters or blowing one's own nose. These things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly. .... In short, the democratic faith is this: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves--the mating of the sexes, the rearing of the young, the laws of the state. This is democracy; and in this I have always believed.
G.K. Chesterton
Yes, I may be considered an enemy of woman; but if I can help her see the light, I shall not complain. The misfortune of woman is not that she is unable to do the work of man, but that she is wasting her life force to outdo him, with a tradition of centuries which has left her physically incapable of keeping pace with him. Oh, I know some have succeeded, but at what cost, at what terrific cost! The import is not the kind of work woman does, but rather the quality of the work she furnishes. She can give suffrage or the ballot no new quality, nor can she receive anything from it that will enhance her own quality. Her development, her freedom, her independence, must come from and through herself. First, by asserting herself as a personality, and not as a sex commodity. Second, by refusing the right to anyone over her body; by refusing to bear children, unless she wants them; by refusing to be a servant to God, the State, society, the husband, the family, etc.; by making her life simpler, but deeper and richer. That is, by trying to learn the meaning and substance of life in all its complexities, by freeing herself from the fear of public opinion and public condemnation. Only that, and not the ballot, will set woman free, will make her a force hitherto unknown in the world, a force for real love, for peace, for harmony; a force of divine fire, of life giving; a creator of free men and women.
Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)
What is important is that you get your house in order at each stage of the journey so that you can proceed. “If some day it be given to you to pass into the inner temple, you must leave no enemies behind.”—de Lubicz For example, if you never got on well with one of your parents and you have left that parent behind on your journey in such a way that the thought of that parent arouses anger or frustration or self-pity or any emotion . . . you are still attached. You are still stuck. And you must get that relationship straight before you can finish your work. And what, specifically, does “getting it straight” mean? Well, it means re-perceiving that parent, or whoever it may be, with total compassion . . . seeing him as a being of the spirit, just like you, who happens to be your parent . . . and who happens to have this or that characteristic, and who happens to be at a certain stage of his evolutionary journey. You must see that all beings are just beings . . . and that all the wrappings of personality and role and body are the coverings. Your attachments are only to the coverings, and as long as you are attached to someone else’s covering you are stuck, and you keep them stuck, in that attachment. Only when you can see the essence, can see God, in each human being do you free yourself and those about you. It’s hard work when you have spent years building a fixed model of who someone else is to abandon it, but until that model is superceded by a compassionate model, you are still stuck. In India they say that in order to proceed with one’s work one needs one’s parents’ blessings. Even if the parent has died, you must in your heart and mind, re-perceive that relationship until it becomes, like every one of your current relationships, one of light. If the person is still alive you may, when you have proceeded far enough, revisit and bring the relationship into the present. For, if you can keep the visit totally in the present, you will be free and finished. The parent may or may not be . . . but that is his karmic predicament. And if you have been truly in the present, and if you find a place in which you can share even a brief eternal moment . . . this is all it takes to get the blessing of your parent! It obviously doesn’t demand that the parent say, “I bless you.” Rather it means that he hears you as a fellow being, and honors the divine spark within you. And even a moment in the Here and Now . . . a single second shared in the eternal present . . . in love . . . is all that is required to free you both, if you are ready to be freed. From then on, it’s your own individual karma that determines how long you can maintain that high moment.
Ram Dass (Be Here Now)
If I am to believe everything that I see in the media, happiness is to be six foot tall or more and to have bleached teeth and a firm abdomen, all the latest clothes, accessories, and electronics, a picture-perfect partner of the opposite sex who is both a great lover and a terrific friend, an assortment of healthy and happy children, a pet that is neither a stray nor a mongrel, a large house in the right sort of postcode, a second property in an idyllic holiday location, a top-of-the-range car to shuttle back and forth from the one to the other, a clique of ‘friends’ with whom to have fabulous dinner parties, three or four foreign holidays a year, and a high-impact job that does not distract from any of the above. There are at least three major problems that I can see with this ideal of happiness. (1) It represents a state of affairs that is impossible to attain to and that is in itself an important source of unhappiness. (2) It is situated in an idealised and hypothetical future rather than in an imperfect but actual present in which true happiness is much more likely to be found, albeit with great difficulty. (3) It has largely been defined by commercial interests that have absolutely nothing to do with true happiness, which has far more to do with the practice of reason and the peace of mind that this eventually brings. In short, it is not only that the bar for happiness is set too high, but also that it is set in the wrong place, and that it is, in fact, the wrong bar. Jump and you’ll only break your back.
Neel Burton (The Art of Failure: The Anti Self-Help Guide)
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
You have a visitors," Maximus stated. His face was impassive, but I still cringed, trying to discreetly tug my hand out of Vlad's. He let me go and folded his arms, smiling in that scary, pleasant way at Maximus. “And they are so important that you had to find me at once and enter without knocking?” I heard the threat behind those words and blanched. He wasn’t about to throw down on Maximus over this, was he? Don’t, I sent him, not adding the please only because I knew the word didn’t work on him. “Forgive me, but it’s Mencheres and his co-ruler,” Maximus stated, not sounding apologetic even though he bowed. “Their wives as well.” I started to slink away, sanity returning now that I wasn’t caught up by Vlad’s mesmerizing nearness. What had I been doing? Nothing smart, that was for sure. “Leila Stop,” Vlad said I kept heading for the door. “You have company, so I’ll just make myself scarce-“ “Stop” I did at his commanding tone, and then cursed. I wasn’t one of his employees-he had no right to order me around. “NO,” I said defiantly. “I’m sweaty, and bloody and I want to take a shower, so whatever you have to say, it can wait.” Maximus lost his impassive expression and looked at me as if I’d suddenly sprouted a second head. Vlad’s brow drew together and he opened his mouth, but before he could speak, laughter rang out from the hallway. “I simply must meet whoever has put you in your place so thoroughly, Tepesh,” an unfamiliar British voice stated. “Did I mention they were on their way down?” Maximus muttered before the gym door swung open and four people entered. The first was a short-haired brunet whose grin made me assume he was the one who’d greeted Vlad with the taunt. He was also handsome in a too-pretty way that made me think with less muscles, a wig, and some makeup he’d look great in a dress. Vlad’s scowl vanished into a smile as the brunet’s gaze swung in my direction as though he’d somehow heard that. “Looks as though she’s put you in your place as well, Bones,” Vlad drawled. “So it seems.” Bones replied, winking at me.” “But while I’ve worn many disguises, I draw the line at a dress.” My mouth dropped another mind reader?
Jeaniene Frost (Once Burned (Night Prince, #1))
Epicurus founded a school of philosophy which placed great emphasis on the importance of pleasure. "Pleasure is the beginning and the goal of a happy life," he asserted, confirming what many had long thought, but philosophers had rarely accepted. Vulgar opinion at once imagined that the pleasure Epicurus had in mind involved a lot of money, sex, drink and debauchery (associations that survive in our use of the word 'Epicurean'). But true Epicureanism was more subtle. Epicurus led a very simple life, because after rational analysis, he had come to some striking conclusions about what actually made life pleasurable - and fortunately for those lacking a large income, it seemed that the essential ingredients of pleasure, however elusive, were not very expensive. The first ingredient was friendship. 'Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one live one's entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship,' he wrote. So he bought a house near Athens where he lived in the company of congenial souls. The desire for riches should perhaps not always be understood as a simple hunger for a luxurious life, a more important motive might be the wish to be appreciated and treated nicely. We may seek a fortune for no greater reason than to secure the respect and attention of people who would otherwise look straight through us. Epicurus, discerning our underlying need, recognised that a handful of true friends could deliver the love and respect that even a fortune may not. Epicurus and his friends located a second secret of happiness: freedom. In order not to have to work for people they didn't like and answer to potentially humiliating whims, they removed themselves from employment in the commercial world of Athens ('We must free ourselves from the prison of everyday affairs and politics'), and began what could best have been described as a commune, accepting a simpler way of life in exchange for independence. They would have less money, but would never again have to follow the commands of odious superiors. The third ingredient of happiness was, in Epicurus's view, to lead an examined life. Epicurus was concerned that he and his friends learn to analyse their anxieties about money, illness, death and the supernatural. There are few better remedies for anxiety than thought. In writing a problem down or airing it in conversation we let its essential aspects emerge. And by knowing its character, we remove, if not the problem itself, then its secondary, aggravating characteristics: confusion, displacement, surprise. Wealth is of course unlikely ever to make anyone miserable. But the crux of Epicurus's argument is that if we have money without friends, freedom and an analysed life, we will never be truly happy. And if we have them, but are missing the fortune, we will never be unhappy.
Alain de Botton
The most realistic distinction between the investor and the speculator is found in their attitude toward stock-market movements. The speculator’s primary interest lies in anticipating and profiting from market fluctuations. The investor’s primary interest lies in acquiring and holding suitable securities at suitable prices. Market movements are important to him in a practical sense, because they alternately create low price levels at which he would be wise to buy and high price levels at which he certainly should refrain from buying and probably would be wise to sell. It is far from certain that the typical investor should regularly hold off buying until low market levels appear, because this may involve a long wait, very likely the loss of income, and the possible missing of investment opportunities. On the whole it may be better for the investor to do his stock buying whenever he has money to put in stocks, except when the general market level is much higher than can be justified by well-established standards of value. If he wants to be shrewd he can look for the ever-present bargain opportunities in individual securities. Aside from forecasting the movements of the general market, much effort and ability are directed on Wall Street toward selecting stocks or industrial groups that in matter of price will “do better” than the rest over a fairly short period in the future. Logical as this endeavor may seem, we do not believe it is suited to the needs or temperament of the true investor—particularly since he would be competing with a large number of stock-market traders and first-class financial analysts who are trying to do the same thing. As in all other activities that emphasize price movements first and underlying values second, the work of many intelligent minds constantly engaged in this field tends to be self-neutralizing and self-defeating over the years. The investor with a portfolio of sound stocks should expect their prices to fluctuate and should neither be concerned by sizable declines nor become excited by sizable advances. He should always remember that market quotations are there for his convenience, either to be taken advantage of or to be ignored. He should never buy a stock because it has gone up or sell one because it has gone down. He would not be far wrong if this motto read more simply: “Never buy a stock immediately after a substantial rise or sell one immediately after a substantial drop.” An
Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor)
Anyhow, I had found something out about an unknown privation, and I realized how a general love or craving, before it is explicit or before it sees its object, manifests itself as boredom or some other kind of suffering. And what did I think of myself in relation to the great occasions, the more sizable being of these books? Why, I saw them, first of all. So suppose I wasn't created to read a great declaration, or to boss a palatinate, or send off a message to Avignon, and so on, I could see, so there nevertheless was a share for me in all that had happened. How much of a share? Why, I knew there were things that would never, because they could never, come of my reading. But this knowledge was not so different from the remote but ever-present death that sits in the corner of the loving bedroom; though it doesn't budge from the corner, you wouldn't stop your loving. Then neither would I stop my reading. I sat and read. I had no eye, ear, or interest for anything else--that is, for usual, second-order, oatmeal, mere-phenomenal, snarled-shoelace-carfare-laundry-ticket plainness, unspecified dismalness, unknown captivities; the life of despair-harness or the life of organization-habits which is meant to supplant accidents with calm abiding. Well, now, who can really expect the daily facts to go, toil or prisons to go, oatmeal and laundry tickets and the rest, and insist that all moments be raised to the greatest importance, demand that everyone breathe the pointy, star-furnished air at its highest difficulty, abolish all brick, vaultlike rooms, all dreariness, and live like prophets or gods? Why, everybody knows this triumphant life can only be periodic. So there's a schism about it, some saying only this triumphant life is real and others that only the daily facts are. For me there was no debate, and I made speed into the former.
Saul Bellow (The Adventures of Augie March)
This, then, is the appropriate region of human liberty. It comprises, first, the inward domain of consciousness; demanding liberty of conscience, in the most comprehensive sense; liberty of thought and feeling; absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects, practical or speculative, scientific, moral, or theological. The liberty of expressing and publishing opinions may seem to fall under a different principle, since it belongs to that part of the conduct of an individual which concerns other people; but, being almost of as much importance as the liberty of thought itself, and resting in great part on the same reasons, is practically inseparable from it. Secondly, the principle requires liberty of tastes and pursuits; of framing the plan of our life to suit our own character; of doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow: without impediment from our fellow-creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them, even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse, or wrong. Thirdly, from this liberty of each individual, follows the liberty, within the same limits, of combination among individuals; freedom to unite, for any purpose not involving harm to others: the persons combining being supposed to be of full age, and not forced or deceived. No society in which these liberties are not, on the whole, respected, is free, whatever may be its form of government; and none is completely free in which they do not exist absolute and unqualified. The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.
John Stuart Mill (On Liberty)
We shouldn't let our envy of distinguished masters of the arts distract us from the wonder of how each of us gets new ideas. Perhaps we hold on to our superstitions about creativity in order to make our own deficiencies seem more excusable. For when we tell ourselves that masterful abilities are simply unexplainable, we're also comforting ourselves by saying that those superheroes come endowed with all the qualities we don't possess. Our failures are therefore no fault of our own, nor are those heroes' virtues to their credit, either. If it isn't learned, it isn't earned. When we actually meet the heroes whom our culture views as great, we don't find any singular propensities––only combinations of ingredients quite common in themselves. Most of these heroes are intensely motivated, but so are many other people. They're usually very proficient in some field--but in itself we simply call this craftmanship or expertise. They often have enough self-confidence to stand up to the scorn of peers--but in itself, we might just call that stubbornness. They surely think of things in some novel ways, but so does everyone from time to time. And as for what we call "intelligence", my view is that each person who can speak coherently already has the better part of what our heroes have. Then what makes genius appear to stand apart, if we each have most of what it takes? I suspect that genius needs one thing more: in order to accumulate outstanding qualities, one needs unusually effective ways to learn. It's not enough to learn a lot; one also has to manage what one learns. Those masters have, beneath the surface of their mastery, some special knacks of "higher-order" expertise, which help them organize and apply the things they learn. It is those hidden tricks of mental management that produce the systems that create those works of genius. Why do certain people learn so many more and better skills? These all-important differences could begin with early accidents. One child works out clever ways to arrange some blocks in rows and stacks; a second child plays at rearranging how it thinks. Everyone can praise the first child's castles and towers, but no one can see what the second child has done, and one may even get the false impression of a lack of industry. But if the second child persists in seeking better ways to learn, this can lead to silent growth in which some better ways to learn may lead to better ways to learn to learn. Then, later, we'll observe an awesome, qualitative change, with no apparent cause--and give to it some empty name like talent, aptitude, or gift.
Marvin Minsky (The Society of Mind)
Consider the genesis of a single-celled embryo produced by the fertilization of an egg by a sperm. The genetic material of this embryo comes from two sources: paternal genes (from sperm) and maternal genes (from eggs). But the cellular material of the embryo comes exclusively from the egg; the sperm is no more than a glorified delivery vehicle for male DNA—a genome equipped with a hyperactive tail. Aside from proteins, ribosomes, nutrients, and membranes, the egg also supplies the embryo with specialized structures called mitochondria. These mitochondria are the energy-producing factories of the cell; they are so anatomically discrete and so specialized in their function that cell biologists call them “organelles”—i.e., mini-organs resident within cells. Mitochondria, recall, carry a small, independent genome that resides within the mitochondrion itself—not in the cell’s nucleus, where the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes (and the 21,000-odd human genes) can be found. The exclusively female origin of all the mitochondria in an embryo has an important consequence. All humans—male or female—must have inherited their mitochondria from their mothers, who inherited their mitochondria from their mothers, and so forth, in an unbroken line of female ancestry stretching indefinitely into the past. (A woman also carries the mitochondrial genomes of all her future descendants in her cells; ironically, if there is such a thing as a “homunculus,” then it is exclusively female in origin—technically, a “femunculus”?) Now imagine an ancient tribe of two hundred women, each of whom bears one child. If the child happens to be a daughter, the woman dutifully passes her mitochondria to the next generation, and, through her daughter’s daughter, to a third generation. But if she has only a son and no daughter, the woman’s mitochondrial lineage wanders into a genetic blind alley and becomes extinct (since sperm do not pass their mitochondria to the embryo, sons cannot pass their mitochondrial genomes to their children). Over the course of the tribe’s evolution, tens of thousands of such mitochondrial lineages will land on lineal dead ends by chance, and be snuffed out. And here is the crux: if the founding population of a species is small enough, and if enough time has passed, the number of surviving maternal lineages will keep shrinking, and shrinking further, until only a few are left. If half of the two hundred women in our tribe have sons, and only sons, then one hundred mitochondrial lineages will dash against the glass pane of male-only heredity and vanish in the next generation. Another half will dead-end into male children in the second generation, and so forth. By the end of several generations, all the descendants of the tribe, male or female, might track their mitochondrial ancestry to just a few women. For modern humans, that number has reached one: each of us can trace our mitochondrial lineage to a single human female who existed in Africa about two hundred thousand years ago. She is the common mother of our species. We do not know what she looked like, although her closest modern-day relatives are women of the San tribe from Botswana or Namibia. I find the idea of such a founding mother endlessly mesmerizing. In human genetics, she is known by a beautiful name—Mitochondrial Eve.
Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Gene: An Intimate History)
Boyfriend/Girlfriend-Centered This may be the easiest trap of all to fall into. I mean, who hasn’t been centered on a boyfriend or girlfriend at one point? Let’s pretend Brady centers his life on his girlfriend, Tasha. Now, watch the instability it creates in Brady. TASHA’S ACTIONS BRADY’S REACTIONS Makes a rude comment: “My day is ruined.” Flirts with Brady’s best friend: “I’ve been betrayed.   I hate my friend.” “I think we should date other people”: “My life is over. You don’t love me anymore.” The ironic thing is that the more you center your life on someone, the more unattractive you become to that person. How’s that? Well, first of all, if you’re centered on someone, you’re no longer hard to get. Second, it’s irritating when someone builds their entire emotional life around you. Since their security comes from you and not from within themselves, they always need to have those sickening “where do we stand” talks. if who I am is what I have and what I have is lost, then who am I? ANONYMOUS When I began dating my wife, one of the things that attracted me most was that she didn’t center her life on me. I’ll never forget the time she turned me down (with a smile and no apology) for a very important date. I loved it! She was her own person and had her own inner strength. Her moods were independent of mine. You can usually tell when a couple becomes centered on each other because they are forever breaking up and getting back together. Although their relationship has deteriorated, their emotional lives and identities are so intertwined that they can never fully let go of each other. Believe me, you’ll be a better boyfriend or girlfriend if you’re not centered on your partner. Independence is more attractive than dependence. Besides, centering your life on another doesn’t show that you love them, only that you’re dependent on them. Have as many girlfriends or boyfriends as you’d like, just don’t get obsessed with or centered on them, because, although there are exceptions, these relationships are usually about as stable as a yo-yo.
Sean Covey (The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens)
In 90% of cases, you can start with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story. Our brain doesn’t remember what we hear. It remembers only what we “see” or imagine while we listen. You can remember stories. Everything else is quickly forgotten. Smell is the most powerful sense out of 4 to immerse audience members into a scene. Every sentence either helps to drive your point home, or it detracts from clarity. There is no middle point. If you don’t have a foundational phrase in your speech, it means that your message is not clear enough to you, and if it’s not clear to you, there is no way it will be clear to your audience. Share your failures first. Show your audience members that you are not any better, smarter or more talented than they are. You are not an actor, you are a speaker. The main skill of an actor is to play a role; to be someone else. Your main skill as a speaker is to be yourself. People will forgive you for anything except for being boring. Speaking without passion is boring. If you are not excited about what you are talking about, how can you expect your audience to be excited? Never hide behind a lectern or a table. Your audience needs to see 100% of your body. Speak slowly and people will consider you to be a thoughtful and clever person. Leaders don’t talk much, but each word holds a lot of meaning and value. You always speak to only one person. Have a conversation directly with one person, look him or her in the eye. After you have logically completed one idea, which usually is 10-20 seconds, scan the audience and then stop your eyes on another person. Repeat this process again. Cover the entire room with eye contact. When you scan the audience and pick people for eye contact, pick positive people more often. When you pause, your audience thinks about your message and reflects. Pausing builds an audiences’ confidence. If you don’t pause, your audience doesn’t have time to digest what you've told them and hence, they will not remember a word of what you've said. Pause before and after you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. After you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. Speakers use filler words when they don’t know what to say, but they feel uncomfortable with silence. Have you ever seen a speaker who went on stage with a piece of paper and notes? Have you ever been one of these speakers? When people see you with paper in your hands, they instantly think, “This speaker is not sincere. He has a script and will talk according to the script.” The best speeches are not written, they are rewritten. Bad speakers create a 10 minutes speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Great speakers create a 5 minute speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Explain your ideas in a simple manner, so that the average 12-year-old child can understand the concept. Good speakers and experts can always explain the most complex ideas with very simple words. Stories evoke emotions. Factual information conveys logic. Emotions are far more important in a speech than logic. If you're considering whether to use statistics or a story, use a story. PowerPoint is for pictures not for words. Use as few words on the slide as possible. Never learn your speech word for word. Just rehearse it enough times to internalize the flow. If you watch a video of your speech, you can triple the pace of your development as a speaker. Make videos a habit. Meaningless words and clichés neither convey value nor information. Avoid them. Never apologize on stage. If people need to put in a lot of effort to understand you they simply won’t listen. On the other hand if you use very simple language you will connect with the audience and your speech will be remembered.
Andrii Sedniev (Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker)
A mood of constructive criticism being upon me, I propose forthwith that the method of choosing legislators now prevailing in the United States be abandoned and that the method used in choosing juries be substituted. That is to say, I propose that the men who make our laws be chosen by chance and against their will, instead of by fraud and against the will of all the rest of us, as now... ...that the names of all the men eligible in each assembly district be put into a hat (or, if no hat can be found that is large enough, into a bathtub), and that a blind moron, preferably of tender years, be delegated to draw out one... The advantages that this system would offer are so vast and obvious that I hesitate to venture into the banality of rehearsing them. It would in the first place, save the commonwealth the present excessive cost of elections, and make political campaigns unnecessary. It would in the second place, get rid of all the heart-burnings that now flow out of every contest at the polls, and block the reprisals and charges of fraud that now issue from the heart-burnings. It would, in the third place, fill all the State Legislatures with men of a peculiar and unprecedented cast of mind – men actually convinced that public service is a public burden, and not merely a private snap. And it would, in the fourth and most important place, completely dispose of the present degrading knee-bending and trading in votes, for nine-tenths of the legislators, having got into office unwillingly, would be eager only to finish their duties and go home, and even those who acquired a taste for the life would be unable to increase the probability, even by one chance in a million, of their reelection. The disadvantages of the plan are very few, and most of them, I believe, yield readily to analysis. Do I hear argument that a miscellaneous gang of tin-roofers, delicatessen dealers and retired bookkeepers, chosen by hazard, would lack the vast knowledge of public affairs needed by makers of laws? Then I can only answer (a) that no such knowledge is actually necessary, and (b) that few, if any, of the existing legislators possess it... Would that be a disservice to the state? Certainly not. On the contrary, it would be a service of the first magnitude, for the worst curse of democracy, as we suffer under it today, is that it makes public office a monopoly of a palpably inferior and ignoble group of men. They have to abase themselves to get it, and they have to keep on abasing themselves in order to hold it. The fact reflects in their general character, which is obviously low. They are men congenitally capable of cringing and dishonorable acts, else they would not have got into public life at all. There are, of course, exceptions to that rule among them, but how many? What I contend is simply that the number of such exceptions is bound to be smaller in the class of professional job-seekers than it is in any other class, or in the population in general. What I contend, second, is that choosing legislators from that populations, by chance, would reduce immensely the proportion of such slimy men in the halls of legislation, and that the effects would be instantly visible in a great improvement in the justice and reasonableness of the laws.
H.L. Mencken (A Mencken Chrestomathy)
If, by the virtue of charity or the funded Ennet House, you will acquire many exotic new facts. You will find out that once MA’s Department of Social Services has taken a mother’s children away for any period of time, they can always take them away again, D.S.S ., like at will, empowered by nothing more than a certain signature-stamped form. I.e. once deemed Unfit— no matter why or when, or what’s transpired in the meantime— there’s nothing a mother can do.(...)That a little-mentioned paradox of Substance addiction is: that once you are sufficiently enslaved by a Substance to need to quit the Substance in order to save your life, the enslaving Substance has become so deeply important to you that you will all but lose your mind when it is taken away from you. Or that sometime after your Substance of choice has just been taken away from you in order to save your life, as you hunker down for required A.M. and P.M. prayers , you will find yourself beginning to pray to be allowed literally to lose your mind, to be able to wrap your mind in an old newspaper or something and leave it in an alley to shift for itself, without you.(...)That certain persons simply will not like you no matter what you do. Then that most nonaddicted adult civilians have already absorbed and accepted this fact, often rather early on.(...)That evil people never believe they are evil, but rather that everyone else is evil. That it is possible to learn valuable things from a stupid person. That it takes effort to pay attention to any one stimulus for more than a few seconds.(...)That it is statistically easier for low-IQ people to kick an addiction than it is for high-IQ people.(...)That you will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.(...)That most Substance -addicted people are also addicted to thinking, meaning they have a compulsive and unhealthy relationship with their own thinking. That the cute Boston AA term for addictive -type thinking is: Analysis-Paralysis. That 99% of compulsive thinkers’ thinking is about themselves; that 99% of this self-directed thinking consists of imagining and then getting ready for things that are going to happen to them; and then, weirdly, that if they stop to think about it, that 100% of the things they spend 99% of their time and energy imagining and trying to prepare for all the contingencies and consequences of are never good.(...)That other people can often see things about you that you yourself cannot see, even if those people are stupid.(...)That certain sincerely devout and spiritually advanced people believe that the God of their understanding helps them find parking places and gives them advice on Mass. Lottery numbers.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
The smile that curled his lips was as arrogant as it was beautiful. “You need to accept the fact that you’re Orange and that you’re always going to be alone because of it.” A measure of calm had returned to Clancy’s voice. His nostrils flared when I tried to turn the door handle again. He slammed both hands against it to keep me from going anywhere, towering over me. “I saw what you want,” Clancy said. “And it’s not your parents. It’s not even your friends. What you want is to be with him, like you were in the cabin yesterday, or in that car in the woods. I don’t want to lose you, you said. Is he really that important?” Rage boiled up from my stomach, burning my throat. “How dare you? You said you wouldn’t—you said—” He let out a bark of laughter. “God, you’re naive. I guess this explains how that League woman was able to trick you into thinking you were something less than a monster.” “You said you would help me,” I whispered. He rolled his eyes. “All right, are you ready for the last lesson? Ruby Elizabeth Daly, you are alone and you always will be. If you weren’t so stupid, you would have figured it out by now, but since it’s beyond you, let me spell it out: You will never be able to control your abilities. You will never be able to avoid being pulled into someone’s head, because there’s some part of you that doesn’t want to know how to control them. No, not when it would mean having to embrace them. You’re too immature and weak-hearted to use them the way they’re meant to be used. You’re scared of what that would make you.” I looked away. “Ruby, don’t you get it? You hate what you are, but you were given these abilities for a reason. We both were. It’s our right to use them—we have to use them to stay ahead, to keep the others in their place.” His finger caught the stretched-out collar of my shirt and gave it a tug. “Stop it.” I was proud of how steady my voice was. As Clancy leaned in, he slipped a hazy image beneath my closed eyes—the two of us just before he walked into my memories. My stomach knotted as I watched my eyes open in terror, his lips pressed against mine. “I’m so glad we found each other,” he said, voice oddly calm. “You can help me. I thought I knew everything, but you…” My elbow flew up and clipped him under the chin. Clancy stumbled back with a howl of pain, pressing both hands to his face. I had half a second to get the hell out, and I took it, twisting the handle of the door so hard that the lock popped itself out. “Ruby! Wait, I didn’t mean—!” A face appeared at the bottom of the stairs. Lizzie. I saw her lips part in surprise, her many earrings jangling as I shoved past her. “Just an argument,” I heard Clancy say, weakly. “It’s fine, just let her go.
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
This actually did happen to a real person, and the real person is me. I had gone to catch a train. This was April 1976, in Cambridge, U.K. I was a bit early for the train. I’d gotten the time of the train wrong. I went to get myself a newspaper to do the crossword, and a cup of coffee and a packet of cookies. I went and sat at a table. I want you to picture the scene. It’s very important that you get this very clear in your mind. Here’s the table, newspaper, cup of coffee, packet of cookies. There’s a guy sitting opposite me, perfectly ordinary-looking guy wearing a business suit, carrying a briefcase. It didn’t look like he was going to do anything weird. What he did was this: he suddenly leaned across, picked up the packet of cookies, tore it open, took one out, and ate it. Now this, I have to say, is the sort of thing the British are very bad at dealing with. There’s nothing in our background, upbringing, or education that teaches you how to deal with someone who in broad daylight has just stolen your cookies. You know what would happen if this had been South Central Los Angeles. There would have very quickly been gunfire, helicopters coming in, CNN, you know… But in the end, I did what any red-blooded Englishman would do: I ignored it. And I stared at the newspaper, took a sip of coffee, tried to do a clue in the newspaper, couldn’t do anything, and thought, What am I going to do? In the end I thought Nothing for it, I’ll just have to go for it, and I tried very hard not to notice the fact that the packet was already mysteriously opened. I took out a cookie for myself. I thought, That settled him. But it hadn’t because a moment or two later he did it again. He took another cookie. Having not mentioned it the first time, it was somehow even harder to raise the subject the second time around. “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but notice…” I mean, it doesn’t really work. We went through the whole packet like this. When I say the whole packet, I mean there were only about eight cookies, but it felt like a lifetime. He took one, I took one, he took one, I took one. Finally, when we got to the end, he stood up and walked away. Well, we exchanged meaningful looks, then he walked away, and I breathed a sigh of relief and st back. A moment or two later the train was coming in, so I tossed back the rest of my coffee, stood up, picked up the newspaper, and underneath the newspaper were my cookies. The thing I like particularly about this story is the sensation that somewhere in England there has been wandering around for the last quarter-century a perfectly ordinary guy who’s had the same exact story, only he doesn’t have the punch line.
Douglas Adams
There have been ample opportunities since 1945 to show that material superiority in war is not enough if the will to fight is lacking. In Algeria, Vietnam and Afghanistan the balance of economic and military strength lay overwhelmingly on the side of France, the United States, and the Soviet Union, but the will to win was slowly eroded. Troops became demoralised and brutalised. Even a political solution was abandoned. In all three cases the greater power withdrew. The Second World War was an altogether different conflict, but the will to win was every bit as important - indeed it was more so. The contest was popularly perceived to be about issues of life and death of whole communities rather than for their fighting forces alone. They were issues, wrote one American observer in 1939, 'worth dying for'. If, he continued, 'the will-to-destruction triumphs, our resolution to preserve civilisation must become more implacable...our courage must mount'. Words like 'will' and 'courage' are difficult for historians to use as instruments of cold analysis. They cannot be quantified; they are elusive of definition; they are products of a moral language that is regarded sceptically today, even tainted by its association with fascist rhetoric. German and Japanese leaders believed that the spiritual strength of their soldiers and workers in some indefinable way compensate for their technical inferiority. When asked after the war why Japan lost, one senior naval officer replied that the Japanese 'were short on spirit, the military spirit was weak...' and put this explanation ahead of any material cause. Within Germany, belief that spiritual strength or willpower was worth more than generous supplies of weapons was not confined to Hitler by any means, though it was certainly a central element in the way he looked at the world. The irony was that Hitler's ambition to impose his will on others did perhaps more than anything to ensure that his enemies' will to win burned brighter still. The Allies were united by nothing so much as a fundamental desire to smash Hitlerism and Japanese militarism and to use any weapon to achieve it. The primal drive for victory at all costs nourished Allied fighting power and assuaged the thirst for vengeance. They fought not only because the sum of their resources added up to victory, but because they wanted to win and were certain that their cause was just. The Allies won the Second World War because they turned their economic strength into effective fighting power, and turned the moral energies of their people into an effective will to win. The mobilisation of national resources in this broad sense never worked perfectly, but worked well enough to prevail. Materially rich, but divided, demoralised, and poorly led, the Allied coalition would have lost the war, however exaggerated Axis ambitions, however flawed their moral outlook. The war made exceptional demands on the Allied peoples. Half a century later the level of cruelty, destruction and sacrifice that it engendered is hard to comprehend, let alone recapture. Fifty years of security and prosperity have opened up a gulf between our own age and the age of crisis and violence that propelled the world into war. Though from today's perspective Allied victory might seem somehow inevitable, the conflict was poised on a knife-edge in the middle years of the war. This period must surely rank as the most significant turning point in the history of the modern age.
Richard Overy (Why the Allies Won)
Bring Cecily home,” he said curtly. “I won’t have her at risk, even in the slightest way.” “I’ll take care of Cecily,” came the terse reply. “She’s better off without you in her life.” Tate’s eyes widened. “I beg your pardon?” he asked, affronted. “You know what I mean,” Holden said. “Let her heal. She’s too young to consign herself to spinsterhood over a man who doesn’t even see her.” “Infatuation dies,” Tate said. Holden nodded. “Yes, it does. Goodbye.” “So does hero worship,” he continued, laboring the point. “And that’s why after eight years, Cecily has had one raging affair after the other,” he said facetiously. The words had power. They wounded. “You fool,” Holden said in a soft tone. “Do you really think she’d let any man touch her except you?” He went to his office door and gestured toward the desk. “Don’t forget your gadget,” he added quietly. “Wait!” Holden paused with his hand on the doorknob and turned. “What?” Tate held the device in his hands, watching the lights flicker on it. “Mixing two cultures when one of them is all but extinct is a selfish thing,” he said after a minute. “It has nothing to do with personal feelings. It’s a matter of necessity.” Holden let go of the doorknob and moved to stand directly in front of Tate. “If I had a son,” he said, almost choking on the word, “I’d tell him that there are things even more important than lofty principles. I’d tell him…that love is a rare and precious thing, and that substitutes are notoriously unfulfilling.” Tate searched the older man’s eyes. “You’re a fine one to talk.” Holden’s face fell. “Yes, that’s true.” He turned away. Why should he feel guilty? But he did. “I didn’t mean to say that,” Tate said, irritated by his remorse and the other man’s defeated posture. “I can’t help the way I feel about my culture.” “If it weren’t for the cultural difference, how would you feel about Cecily?” Tate hesitated. “It wouldn’t change anything. She’s been my responsibility. I’ve taken care of her. It would be gratitude on her part, even a little hero worship, nothing more. I couldn’t take advantage of that. Besides, she’s involved with Colby.” “And you couldn’t live with being the second man.” Tate’s face hardened. His eyes flashed. Holden shook his head. “You’re just brimming over with excuses, aren’t you? It isn’t the race thing, it isn’t the culture thing, it isn’t even the guardian-ward thing. You’re afraid.” Tate’s mouth made a thin line. He didn’t reply. “When you love someone, you give up control of yourself,” he continued quietly. “You have to consider the other person’s needs, wants, fears. What you do affects the other person. There’s a certain loss of freedom as well.” He moved a step closer. “The point I’m making is that Cecily already fills that place in your life. You’re still protecting her, and it doesn’t matter that there’s another man. Because you can’t stop looking out for her. Everything you said in this office proves that.” He searched Tate’s turbulent eyes. “You don’t like Colby Lane, and it isn’t because you think Cecily’s involved with him. It’s because he’s been tied to one woman so tight that he can’t struggle free of his love for her, even after years of divorce. That’s how you feel, isn’t it, Tate? You can’t get free of Cecily, either. But Colby’s always around and she indulges him. She might marry him in an act of desperation. And then what will you do? Will your noble excuses matter a damn then?
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))