Self Containment Quotes

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I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
Michel de Montaigne (The Complete Essays)
This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.
Dalai Lama XIV
For it is in your power to retire into yourself whenever you choose.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
In yourself right now is all the place you've got.
Flannery O'Connor (Wise Blood)
I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me.
Rudyard Kipling (The Cat That Walked by Himself: And Other Stories)
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d, I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass: The Death-Bed Edition)
But...books are so much more. Some of them are webs; you can feel your way along their threads, but just barely, into strange and dark corners. Some of them are balloons bobbing up through the sky: totally self-contained, and unreachable, but beautiful to watch. And some of them―the best ones―are doors.
Lauren Oliver (Pandemonium (Delirium, #2))
What is a Wanderess? Bound by no boundaries, contained by no countries, tamed by no time, she is the force of nature’s course.
Roman Payne (The Wanderess)
All men contain several men inside them, and most of us bounce from one self to another without ever knowing who we are.
Paul Auster (The Brooklyn Follies)
Maybe your country is only a place you make up in your own mind. Something you dream about and sing about. Maybe it's not a place on the map at all, but just a story full of people you meet and places you visit, full of books and films you've been to. I'm not afraid of being homesick and having no language to live in. I don't have to be like anyone else. I'm walking on the wall and nobody can stop me.
Hugo Hamilton (The Speckled People: A Memoir of a Half-Irish Childhood)
Whoever you are, bear in mind that appearance is not reality. Some people act like extroverts, but the effort costs them energy, authenticity, and even physical health. Others seem aloof or self-contained, but their inner landscapes are rich and full of drama. So the next time you see a person with a composed face and a soft voice, remember that inside her mind she might be solving an equation, composing a sonnet, designing a hat. She might, that is, be deploying the powers of quiet.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
I imagined the Augustus Waters analysis of that comment: If I am playing basketball in heaven, does that imply a physical location of a heaven containing physical basketballs? Who makes the basketballs in question? Are there less fortunate souls in heaven who work in a celestial basketball factory so that I can play? Or did an omnipotent God create the basketballs out of the vacuum of space? Is this heaven in some kind of unobservable universe where the laws of physics don't apply, and if so, why in the hell would I be playing basketball when I could be flying or reading or looking at beautiful people or something else I actually enjoy? It's almost as if the way you imagine my dead self says more about you than either the person I was or whatever I am now.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?
Stephen Hawking
She might be without country, without nation, but inside her there was still a being that could exist and be free, that could simply say I am without adding a this, or a that, without saying I am Indian, Guyanese, English, or anything else in the world.
Sharon Maas (Of Marriageable Age)
Love was never meant to be contained solely in our hearts, just as life in a seed was always meant to break through into the world and become beauty to be shared.
Forrest Curran (Purple Buddha Project: Purple Book of Self-Love)
All is contained within the silence of death, the quietest and the loudest sound in the universe.
Forrest Curran (Purple Buddha Project: Purple Book of Self-Love)
So Plato talked about these beings that used to exist that had four legs and four arms and two heads. They were totally self-contained and ecstatic and powerful. Too powerful, so Zeus cut them all in half and scattered all the halves around the world so that humans were doomed to forever look for their other half, the one who shared their very soul. Only the luckiest humans find their split-apart, you see.
Jandy Nelson (I'll Give You the Sun)
I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass. 32. I think I could turn and live with animals, they're so placid and self-contained, I stand and look at them and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins. They do not make me sick discussiong their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the earth. 52. The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and loitering. I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.
Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
His face contained for me all possibilities of fierceness and sweetness, pride and submissiveness, violence, self-containment. I never saw more in it than I had when I saw it first, because I saw everything then. The whole thing in him that I was going to love, and never catch or explain.
Alice Munro (Lives of Girls and Women)
Phoebe Marks was a person who never lost her individuality. Silent and self-contained, she seemed to hold herself within herself, and take no colour from the outer world.
Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Lady Audley's Secret)
Listen up—there’s no war that will end all wars,’ Crow tells me. ‘War breeds war. Lapping up the blood shed by violence, feeding on wounded flesh. War is a perfect, self-contained being. You need to know that.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
Human beings are drawn to cats because they are all we are not — self-contained, elegant in everything they do, relaxed, assured, glad of company, yet still possessing secret lives.
Pam Brown
Mathematics catalogues everything that is not self-contradictory; within that vast inventory, physics is an island of structures rich enough to contain their own beholders.
Greg Egan (Oceanic)
Write about small, self-contained incidents that are still vivid in your memory. If you remember them, it's because they contain a larger truth that your readers will recognize in their own lives. Think small and you'll wind up finding the big themes in your family saga.
William Zinsser
We think that if we just meditated enough or jogged enough or ate perfect food, everything would be perfect. But from the point of view of someone who is awake, that’s death. Seeking security or perfection, rejoicing in feeling confirmed and whole, self contained and comfortable, is some kind of death. It doesn’t have any fresh air. There’s no room for something to come in and interrupt all that. We are killing the moment by controlling our experience.
Pema Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times)
Falling for someone is like pulling a loose thread. It happens stitch by stitch. You feel whole most of the time even while the seams pop, the knots loosen, everything that holds you together coming undone. It feels incredible, this opening of yourself to the world. Not like the unraveling it is. Only afterward do you glance down at the tangle of string around your feet that used to be a person who was whole and self-contained and realize that love is not a thing that we create. It's an undoing.
Leah Raeder (Black Iris)
exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. And while it is true that literature and history contain heroic, romantic, glorious, even triumphant episodes in an exile’s life, these are no more than efforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement.
Edward W. Said (Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Convergences: Inventories of the Present))
Never loan your heart to hatred; it pays you back with self-destruction. Majority of people living are not aware that anger is an acid that destroys its own container.
Israelmore Ayivor (Daily Drive 365)
Breathe in, breathe out. All the blessings of the universe that we may overlook are contained in the entirety of a breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Each breath is the sun flowering our earth, fresh water filling our oceans, and the blue skies clearing our minds. Infinite emotions are contained within every breath, and by the breath we can always realize the beauty within it all. Breathe in, breathe out.
Forrest Curran (Purple Buddha Project: Purple Book of Self-Love)
When no possessions keep us, when no countries contain us, and no time detains us, man becomes a heroic wanderer, and woman, a wanderess.
Roman Payne (The Wanderess)
It is man's social nature which distinguishes him from the brute creation. If it is his privilege to be independent, it is equally his duty to be inter-dependent. Only an arrogant man will claim to be independent of everybody else and be self-contained.
Mahatma Gandhi
We don't look at the stars in the universe and say how tragic they are, how bruised they are, even though that is what they are. We look at them and speak of the beauty they contain. The inspiration they give us. Even though stars are the scars of the universe we don't see them as these broken pieces of gaseous matter, we see them as these majestic astrological blessings that give hope to billions. What if you saw yourself in that same light, or better yet what if you saw others in a similar way.
Ricky Maye (Barefoot Christianity)
True emptiness is not empty, but contains all things. The mysterious and pregnant void creates and reflects all possibilities. From it arises our individuality, which can be discovered and developed, although never possessed or fixed.
Jack Kornfield (A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life)
Everything that ever happened to you, you experienced right within you. Light and darkness, pain and pleasure, agony and ecstasy—all of it happened within you. If someone touches your hand right now, you may think you are experiencing their hand, but the fact of the matter is you are only experiencing the sensations in your own hand. The whole experience is contained within. All human experience is one hundred percent self-created.
Sadhguru (Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy)
A great tree develops over time and can tell stories not only those of happiness, but also those that contain pain from what it has seen over the years, and as a result is the wise ancient tree that it is today. As the seasons change, the tree naturally goes through changes as well: where the leaves turn yellow and orange in the fall, falling by the Winter, returning in the Spring, and with full set of new leafs by the Summer. Love is no different in that there will be times when we are fully naked in the Winter, and left to wonder about Spring when it seemed so easy to love, yet the wise tree knows that no winter will last forever no matter how cold it may be.
Forrest Curran (Purple Buddha Project: Purple Book of Self-Love)
Unlike a fountain that circulates the same water in an enclosed, perpetually recycling system, a human being circulates thoughts in an unlimited reservoir of self. Don't limit yourself to being a mere fountain when you contain an ocean.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
We should be telling girls what they already know but rarely see affirmed: that the lives they lead inside their own self-contained bodies; the skills they attain through their own concentration and rigor, and the unique phase in their lives during which they may explore boys and eroticism at their own pace - these are magical. And they constitute the entrance point to a life cycle of a sexuality that should be held sacred.
Naomi Wolf (Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood)
One could say: "The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary." The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created nor destroyed. It would just BE.
Stephen Hawking
Freud made the discovery- quite genuinely, simply through working on his own material- that the more deeply one explores the phenomena of human individuation, the more unreservedly one grasps the individual as a self-contained and dynamic entity, the closer one draws to that in the individual which is really no longer individual.
Theodor W. Adorno (Introduction to Sociology)
But the shadow is merely somewhat inferior, primitive, unadapted, and awkward; not wholly bad. It even contains childish or primitive qualities which would in a way vitalize and embellish human existence, but convention forbids!
C.G. Jung
Om is the things, Om is the ingredient, Om is the container and the content of this universe.
Banani Ray (Glory of OM: A Journey to Self-Realization)
The thought came over me that never would one full and absolute moment, containing all the others, justify my life, that all of my instants would be provisional phases, annihilators of the past turned to face the future, and that beyond the episodic, the present, the circumstantial, we were nobody.
Jorge Luis Borges (Selected Non-Fictions)
Flesh, blood, bone--the body is only a container for who we truly are inside.
Megan Shepherd (Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter, #2))
Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
When the power of the shift rips the human body apart and transforms it into its new shape, there lives a second, less than a second, a mere shimmer of time when the mind is without a home, no body to call its own. Existence is painless in there, nothing but formlessness beyond understanding. A secret place, it contains nothing but the essence of self, a lost self. In the fire of pain, Colton found a whisper of that place, its ghost, its echo, and from that echo he withdrew a thread of deepest black.
Finn Marlowe (A Thread of Deepest Black)
This passion because it is so strong, must destroy in order to be contained within the limits of self-preservation.
Sabina Spielrein (Destruction as the Cause of Coming Into Being)
In spite of her desire for a contained universe, her life felt scattered, full of many small moments, without great purpose. That is what she thought, though what is most untrustworthy about our natures and self-worth is how we differe in our own realities from the way we are seen by others.
Michael Ondaatje (Divisadero)
Just as the acorn contains the mighty oak tree, the Self has everything it needs to fulfill its destiny. When the inner conditions are right, it naturally emerges.
Derek Rydall (Emergence: The End of Self Improvement)
This isn’t life. It’s something that’s playing out in its own self-contained subroutine.
M.R. Carey (The Girl With All the Gifts)
I had to be self-contained, a kind of casual turtle carrying his house on his back.
John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley: In Search of America)
I'm safe inside this container called me.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings.
Tomas Tranströmer (Memories Look at Me)
World is supposed to mean something that's self-contained. but nothing is self-contained.
Don DeLillo (Cosmopolis)
You can't see yourself. You know what you look like because of mirrors and photographs, but out there in the world, as you move among your fellow human beings, whether strangers or friends or the most intimate beloveds, your own face is invisible to you. You can see other parts of yourself, arms and legs, hands and feet, shoulders and torso, but only from the front, nothing of the back except the backs of your legs if you twist them into the right position, but not your face, never your face, and in the end - at least as far as others are concerned - your face is who you are, the essential fact of your identity. Passports do not contain pictures of hands and feet. Even you, who have lived inside your body for sixty-four years now, would probably be unable to recognize your foot in an isolated photograph of that foot, not to speak of your ear, or your elbow, or one of your eyes in close-up. All so familiar to you in the context of the whole, but utterly anonymous when taken piece by piece. We are all aliens to ourselves, and if we have any sense of who we are, it is only because we live inside the eyes of others.
Paul Auster (Winter Journal)
A man who seeks only the light, while shirking his responsibilities, will never find illumination. And one who keep his eyes fixed upon the sun ends up blind..." "It doesn't matter what others think -because that's what they will think, in any case. So, relax. Let the universe move about. Discover the joy of surprising yourself." "The master says: “Make use of every blessing that God gave you today. A blessing cannot be saved. There is no bank where we can deposit blessings received, to use them when we see fit. If you do not use them, they will be irretrievably lost. God knows that we are creative artists when it comes to our lives. On one day, he gives us clay for sculpting, on another, brushes and canvas, or a pen. But we can never use clay on our canvas, nor pens in sculpture. Each day has its own miracle. Accept the blessings, work, and create your minor works of art today. Tomorrow you will receive others.” “You are together because a forest is always stronger than a solitary tree,” the master answered. "The forest conserves humidity, resists the hurricane and helps the soil to be fertile. But what makes a tree strong is its roots. And the roots of a plant cannot help another plant to grow. To be joined together in the same purpose is to allow each person to grow in his own fashion, and that is the path of those who wish to commune with God.” “If you must cry, cry like a child. You were once a child, and one of the first things you learned in life was to cry, because crying is a part of life. Never forget that you are free, and that to show your emotions is not shameful. Scream, sob loudly, make as much noise as you like. Because that is how children cry, and they know the fastest way to put their hearts at ease. Have you ever noticed how children stop crying? They stop because something distracts them. Something calls them to the next adventure. Children stop crying very quickly. And that's how it will be for you. But only if you can cry as children do.” “If you are traveling the road of your dreams, be committed to it. Do not leave an open door to be used as an excuse such as, 'Well, this isn't exactly what I wanted. ' Therein are contained the seeds of defeat. “Walk your path. Even if your steps have to be uncertain, even if you know that you could be doing it better. If you accept your possibilities in the present, there is no doubt that you will improve in the future. But if you deny that you have limitations, you will never be rid of them. “Confront your path with courage, and don't be afraid of the criticism of others. And, above all, don't allow yourself to become paralyzed by self-criticism. “God will be with you on your sleepless nights, and will dry your tears with His love. God is for the valiant.” "Certain things in life simply have to be experienced -and never explained. Love is such a thing." "There is a moment in every day when it is difficult to see clearly: evening time. Light and darkness blend, and nothing is completely clear nor completely dark." "But it's not important what we think, or what we do or what we believe in: each of us will die one day. Better to do as the old Yaqui Indians did: regard death as an advisor. Always ask: 'Since I'm going to die, what should I be doing now?'” "When we follow our dreams, we may give the impression to others that we are miserable and unhappy. But what others think is not important. What is important is the joy in our heart.” “There is a work of art each of us was destined to create. That is the central point of our life, and -no matter how we try to deceive ourselves -we know how important it is to our happiness. Usually, that work of art is covered by years of fears, guilt and indecision. But, if we decide to remove those things that do not belong, if we have no doubt as to our capability, we are capable of going forward with the mission that is our destiny. That is the only way to live with honor.
Paulo Coelho (Maktub)
A certain kind of shittiness, a certain kind of stagnation, a certain kind of darkness, goes on propagating itself by its own power in its own self-contained cycle. And once it passes a certain point, no one can stop it-even if the person himself wants to stop it.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
It is never easy to endure pain nor uncomfortable situation. It is seems easy to quit to avoid the pain.If you quit you will suffer later. It is far better to endure the pain now and enjoy later. Life is all about endurance.
Lailah Gifty Akita
We set our own limits on love. Some of us bind our hearts like Chinese women bind their feet. The binding is painful at first but eventually you get used to it and the pain goes away. The saddest part of all is that by binding yourself to the choices you make, you forget that there was ever another way to live.
Kate McGahan
The word 'survivor' carries a weight of remembrance that has broken the minds and bodies of more than a few men and women. It also contains a humbling light of recognition that compels many to do whatever they can to help reinforce the efforts of those who might be 'at risk' of not just giving up on their dreams, but of giving up on their continued existence.
Aberjhani (Illuminated Corners: Collected Essays and Articles Volume I.)
At every moment you choose yourself. But do you choose *your* self? Body and soul contain a thousand possibilities out of which you can build many I's. But in one of them is there a congruence of the elector and the elected. Only one--which you will never find until you have excluded all those superficial and fleeting possibilities of being and doing with which you toy, out of curiosity or wonder or greed, and which hinder you from casting anchor in the experience of the mystery of life, and the consciousness of the talent entrusted to you which is your *I*.
Dag Hammarskjöld (Markings)
Ultimately, forgiveness is usually about one thing—“This is for me, not for you.” Hatred is exhausting; forgiveness, or even just indifference, is freeing. To quote Booker T. Washington, “I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.” Belittle and distort and consume. Forgiveness seems to be at least somewhat good for your health—victims who show spontaneous forgiveness, or who have gone through forgiveness therapy (as opposed to “anger validation therapy”) show improvements in general health, cardiovascular function, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Chapter 14 explored how compassion readily, perhaps inevitably, contains elements of self-interest. The compassionate granting of forgiveness epitomizes this.41
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
Life In Love Escape me? Never--- Beloved! While I am I, and you are you, So long as the world contains us both, Me the loving and you the loth While the one eludes, must the other pursue. My life is a fault at last, I fear: It seems too much like a fate, indeed! Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed. But what if I fail of my purpose here? It is but to keep the nerves at strain, To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall, And, baffled, get up and begin again,--- So the chace takes up one's life ' that's all. While, look but once from your farthest bound At me so deep in the dust and dark, No sooner the old hope goes to ground Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark, I shape me--- Ever Removed!
Robert Browning
Whoever you are, bear in mind that appearance is not reality. Some people are like extroverts, but the effort costs them in energy, authenticity, and even physical health. Others seem aloof or self-contained, but their inner landscapes are rich and full of drama.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Most people's intuitions are drowned out by folk sayings. We have a moment of real feeling or insight, and then we come up with a folk saying that captures the insight in a kind of wash. The intuition may be real and ripe, fresh with possibilities, but the folk saying is guaranteed to be a cliche, stale and self-contained.
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird)
A leaf does not resist the breeze. A goose does not resist the urge to fly down south. Is this not happiness? Is this not freedom? To access this incredible state, we need only one thing: Trust. Trust that, when you are not holding yourself together so tightly, you will not fall apart. Trust that it is more important to fulfill your authentic desires than listen to your fears. Trust that your intuition is leading you somewhere. Trust that the flow of life contains you, is bigger than you, and will take care of you - if you let it.
Vironika Tugaleva
Because I have no sense of self. I have no personality, no brilliant color. I have nothing to offer. That’s always been my problem. I feel like an empty vessel. I have a shape, I guess, as a container, but there’s nothing inside. I just can’t see myself as the right person for her. I think that the more time passes, and the more she knows about me, the more disappointed Sara will be, and the more she’ll choose to distance herself from me.
Haruki Murakami (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)
Back in the autumn I had awakened to a growing darkness and cacophony, as if something in the depths were crying out. A whole chorus of voices. Orphaned voices. They seemed to speak for all the unlived parts of me, and they came with a force and dazzle that I couldn't contain. They seemed to explode the boundaries of my existence. I know now that they were the clamor of a new self struggling to be born.
Sue Monk Kidd (When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions)
It almost felt like we were driving in our own world--like we were inside a snow globe--and there was music and sunlight and smiles and laughter floating in the air. And it was all self-contained in a beautiful bubble filled with glittering water that made things seem a little unreal, a little dream-like and hazy.
Melissa C. Walker (Unbreak My Heart)
All my moral and intellectual being is penetrated by an invincible conviction that whatever falls under the dominion of our senses must be in nature and, however exceptional, cannot differ in its essence from all the other effects of the visible and tangible world of which we are a self-conscious part. The world of the living contains enough marvels and mysteries as it is—marvels and mysteries acting upon our emotions and intelligence in ways so inexplicable that it would almost justify the conception of life as an enchanted state. No, I am too firm in my consciousness of the marvelous to be ever fascinated by the mere supernatural which (take it any way you like) is but a manufactured article, the fabrication of minds insensitive to the intimate delicacies of our relation to the dead and to the living, in their countless multitudes; a desecration of our tenderest memories; an outrage on our dignity.
Joseph Conrad (The Shadow-Line)
Remember, anoretics do eat. We have systems of eating that develop almost unconsciously. By the time we realize we´ve been running our lives with an iron system of numbers and rules, the system has begun to rule us. They are systems of Safe Foods, foods not imbued, or less imbued, with monsters and devils and dangers. These are usually “pure” foods, less likely to taint the soul with such sins as fat, or sugar, or an excess of calories. Consider the advertisements for food, the religious lexicon of eating: “sinfully rich,” intones the silky voice announcer, “indulge yourself,” she says, “guilt-free.” Not complex foods that would send the mind spinning in a tornado of possible pitfalls contained in a given food – a possible miscalculation of calories, a loss of certainty about your control over chaos, your control over self. The horrible possibility that you are taking more than you deserve.
Marya Hornbacher (Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia)
The war, therefore if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that the hierarchical society needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. The very word "war," therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist. The peculiar pressure that is exerted on human beings between the Neolithic Age and the early twentieth century has disappeared and has been replaced by something quite different. The effect would be much the same if the three superstates, instead of fighting one another, should agree to live in perpetual peace, each inviolate within its own boundaries. For in that case each would still be a self-contained universe, freed forever from the sobering influence of external danger. A peace that was truly permanent would be the same as a permanent war. This--although the vast majority of Party members understand it only in a shallower sense--is the inner meaning of the Party slogan: WAR IS PEACE.
George Orwell (1984)
Marylou was watching Dean as she had watched him clear across the country and back, out of the corner of her eye--with a sullen, sad air, as though she wanted to cut off his head and hide it in her closet, an envious and rueful love of him so amazingly himself, all raging and sniffy and crazy-wayed, a smile of tender dotage but also sinister envy that frightened me about her, a love she knew would never bear fruit because when she looked at his hangjawed bony face with its male self-containment and absentmindedness she knew he was too mad.
Jack Kerouac (On the Road)
This does not escape my notice, it is a context. I resent the fact of a context; my social status has shifted and no one is going to acknowldege it, that´s certain. I´m expected to be Brave and Rise Above. I dress for the role; I must look far better now that I did when I was married. I must look pulled together into a nice tight Hermès knot of self-containment. I don´t make the rules; I just do my best to follow them.
Suzanne Finnamore (Split: A Memoir of Divorce)
She is nine, beloved, as open-faced as the sky and as self-contained. I have watched her grow. As recently as three or four years ago, she had a young child's perfectly shallow receptiveness; she fitted into the world of time, it fitted into her, as thoughtlessly as sky fits its edges, or a river its banks. But as she has grown, her smile has widened with a touch of fear and her glance has taken on depth. Now she is aware of some of the losses you incur by being here--the extortionary rent you have to pay as long as you stay.
Annie Dillard (Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters)
Too much possibility is the attempt by the person to overvalue the powers of the symbolic self. It reflects the attempt to exaggerate one half of the human dualism at the expense of the other. In this sense, what we call schizophrenia is an attempt by the symbolic self to deny the limitations of the finite body; in doing so, the entire person is pulled off balance and destroyed. It is as though the freedom of creativity that stems from within the symbolic self cannot be contained by the body, and the person is torn apart. This is how we understand schizophrenia today, as the split of self and body, a split in which the self is unanchored, unlimited, not bound enough to everyday Things, not contained enough in dependable physical behavior.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
A perfect fit like we’re split-aparts.” “Split-aparts?” His face brightens. “So Plato talked about these beings that used to exist that had four legs and four arms and two heads. They were totally self-contained and ecstatic and powerful. Too powerful, so Zeus cut them all in half and scattered all the halves around the world so that humans were doomed to forever look for their other half, the one who shared their very soul. Only the luckiest humans find their split-apart, you see.
Jandy Nelson (I'll Give You the Sun)
Trapped within the confines of his mind, he is too aware of every thought passing through it, as if he were outside, looking in. At night he often lies awake ruminating endlessly about what’s wrong with him, about death, and about the meaning of existence itself. At times his arms and legs feel like they don’t belong with his body. But most of the time, his mind feels like it is operating apart from the body that contains it.
Daphne Simeon (Feeling Unreal: Depersonalization Disorder and the Loss of the Self)
Here’s another way. This is most important. Don't allow men to be happy. Happiness is self-contained and self-sufficient. Happy men have no time and no use for you. Happy men are free men. So kill their joy in living. Take away from them what they want. Make them think that the mere thought of a personal desire is evil. Bring them to a state where saying ‘I want’ is no longer a natural right, but a shameful admission. Altruism is of great help in this. Unhappy men will come to you. They’ll need you. They’ll come for consolation, for support, for escape. Nature allows no vacuum. Empty man’s soul – and the space is yours to fill.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
You see my state, and still increase my pain I see your face, the need for union regain. For my welfare, you have no care, I complain Why do you heal me not from the sickness I disdain? You bring me down and leave me on the earthly plane; Return me to my home, by your side let me remain. Only when I’m dust, your mercy can entertain; Your flowing spirit stirs up dust of the slain. Heartbroken of your love, from breathing I abstain My life you destroy, yet my breathing you sustain. In the dark night of the soul, I was growing insane, Drinking from the cups that your features contain. Suddenly in my arms, you appeared, clear, plain; With my lips on your lips, my life and soul gain and drain. Be joyful with Hafiz, with love enemies detain, With such potent love, impotent foes self-restrain. مرا می‌بینی و هر دم زیادت می‌کـنی دردم تو را می‌بینـم و میلـم زیادت می‌شود هر دم بـه سامانم نمی‌پرسی نمی‌دانم چه سر داری بـه درمانـم نـمی‌کوشی نمی‌دانی مگر دردم نه راه است این که بگذاری مرا بر خاک و بگریزی گذاری آر و بازم پرس تا خاک رهـت گردم ندارم دستت از دامن بجز در خاک و آن دم هـم کـه بر خاکـم روان گردی به گرد دامنـت گردم فرورفـت از غم عشقت دمم دم می‌دهی تا کی دمار از مـن برآوردی نـمی‌گویی برآوردم شـبی دل را به تاریکی ز زلفت باز می‌جستـم رخـت می‌دیدم و جامی هـلالی باز می‌خوردم کـشیدم در برت ناگاه و شد در تاب گیسویت نـهادم بر لـبـت لـب را و جان و دل فدا کردم تو خوش می‌باش با حافظ برو گو خصم جان می‌ده چو گرمی از تو می‌بینم چه باک از خصم دم سردم
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There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art. —Toni Morrison, “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear,” The Nation, 23 Mar. 2015
Toni Morrison
You yearn to stay in this in-between place, where the beauty of the times you have freshly bade farewell to is still alive and vivid in your mind – almost real – and the reality of your new circumstances has yet to fully sink in. You listen to the familiar melodies that had accompanied you on your journey, and allow the music to evoke landscapes and scenes in your mind. The songs caress your sub-consciousness and fill your being with an airy joy. You are both here and elsewhere. Or perhaps you are everywhere and nowhere.
Agnes Chew (The Desire for Elsewhere)
I would venture to say that approaching the Christian Story from this direction, it has long been my feeling (a joyous feeling) that God redeemed the corrupt makingcreatures, men, in a way fitting to this aspect, as to others, of their strange nature. The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels—peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: ‘mythical’ in their perfect, self-contained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the ‘inner consistency of reality’. There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.
J.R.R. Tolkien (Tolkien On Fairy-stories)
Inevitably, though, there will always be a significant part of the past which can neither be burnt nor banished to the soothing limbo of forgetfulness— myself. I was and still am that same ship which carried me to the new shore, the same vessel containing all the memories and dreams of the child in the brick house with the toy tea set. I am the shore I left behind as well as the home I return to every evening. The voyage cannot proceed without me.
Luisa A. Igloria
[The Head of Radio Three] had been ensnared by the Music Director of the college and a Professor of Philosophy. These two were busy explaining to the harassed man that the phrase "too much Mozart" was, given any reasonable definition of those three words, an inherently self-contradictory expression, and that any sentence which contained such a phrase would be thereby rendered meaningless and could not, consequently, be advanced as part of an argument in favour of any given programme-scheduling strategy.
Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently, #1))
The creation myths of the various peoples and religions of the world pale when compared to the glory of the big bang. The three-billion-year history of life’s evolution from self-reproducing molecules to civilization contains twists and romances that cannot be matched by any myth or epic. There is also the poetic vision of space and time in relativity, the weird subatomic world of quantum mechanics … these wondrous stories of science all possess an irresistible attraction. Through the medium of science fiction, I seek only to create my own worlds using the power of imagination, and to make known the poetry of Nature in those worlds, to tell the romantic legends that have unfolded between Man and Universe.
Liu Cixin (The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1))
Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.
Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
Imagine how differently you might approach each day by simply stating: God is good. God is good to me. God is good at being God. And today is yet another page in our great love story. Nothing that happens to you today will change that or even alter it in the slightest way. Lift your hands, heart, and soul, and receive that truth as you pray this prayer: My whole life I’ve searched for a love to satisfy the deepest longings within me to be known, treasured, and wholly accepted. When You created me, Lord, Your very first thought of me made Your heart explode with a love that set You in pursuit of me. Your love for me was so great that You, the God of the whole universe, went on a personal quest to woo me, adore me, and finally grab hold of me with the whisper, “I will never let you go.” Lord, I release my grip on all the things I was holding on to, preventing me from returning Your passionate embrace. I want nothing to hold me but You. So, with breathless wonder, I give You all my faith, all my hope, and all my love. I picture myself carrying the old, torn-out boards that inadequately propped me up and placing them in a pile. This pile contains other things I can remove from me now that my new intimacy-based identity is established. I lay down my need to understand why things happen the way they do. I lay down my fears about others walking away and taking their love with them. I lay down my desire to prove my worth. I lay down my resistance to fully trust Your thoughts, Your ways, and Your plans, Lord. I lay down being so self-consumed in an attempt to protect myself. I lay down my anger, unforgiveness, and stubborn ways that beg me to build walls when I sense hints of rejection. I lay all these things down with my broken boards and ask that Your holy fire consume them until they become weightless ashes. And as I walk away, my soul feels safe. Held. And truly free to finally be me.
Lysa TerKeurst (Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely)
Do you know the story of the monkeys of the shitty island?" I asked Nobory Wataya. He shook his head, with no sign of interest. "Never heard of it". "Somewhere, far, far away, there's a shitty island. An island without a name. An island not worth giving a name. A shitty island with shitty shape. On this shitty island grow palm trees that also have shitty shapes. And the palm trees produce coconuts that give off a shitty smell. Shitty monkeys live in the trees, and they love to eat these shitty-smelling coconuts,after which they shit the world's foulest shit. The shit falls on the ground and builds up shitty mounds, making the shitty palm trees that grow on them even shittier. It's an endless cycle." I drank the rest of my coffee. "As I sat here looking at you," I continued, " I suddenly remembered the story of this shitty island. What I'm trying to say is this. A certain kind of shittiness, a certain kind of stagnation, a certain kind of darkness, goes on propagating itself by its own power in its own self-contained cycle. And once it passed a certain point, no one can stop it -even if the person himself want to stop it.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
This book is about entanglements. To be entangled is not simply to be intertwined with another, as in the joining of separate entities, but to lack an independent, self-contained existence. Existence is not an individual affair. Individuals do not preexist their interactions; rather, individuals emerge through and as pare of their entangled intra-relating . Which is not to say that emergence happens once and for all, as an event or as a process that takes place according to some external measure of space and of time, but rather that time and space, like matter and meaning, come into existence, are iteratively recon figured through each intra-action, there by making it impossible to differentiate in any absolute sense between creation and renewal, beginning and returning, continuity and discontinuity, here and there, past and future.
Karen Barad (Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning)
And then also, again, still, what are those boundaries, if they’re not baselines, that contain and direct its infinite expansion inward, that make tennis like chess on the run, beautiful and infinitely dense? The true opponent, the enfolding boundary, is the player himself. Always and only the self out there, on court, to be met, fought, brought to the table to hammer out terms. The competing boy on the net’s other side: he is not the foe: he is more the partner in the dance. He is the what is the word excuse or occasion for meeting the self. As you are his occasion. Tennis’s beauty’s infinite roots are self-competitive. You compete with your own limits to transcend the self in imagination and execution. Disappear inside the game: break through limits: transcend: improve: win. Which is why tennis is an essentially tragic enterprise… You seek to vanquish and transcend the limited self whose limits make the game possible in the first place. It is tragic and sad and chaotic and lovely. All life is the same, as citizens of the human State: the animating limits are within, to be killed and mourned, over and over again…Mario thinks hard again. He’s trying to think of how to articulate something like: But then is battling and vanquishing the self the same as destroying yourself? Is that like saying life is pro-death? … And then but so what’s the difference between tennis and suicide, life and death, the game and its own end?
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
At the end of that class Demian said to me thoughtfully: "There’s something I don’t like about this story, Sinclair. Why don’t you read it once more and give it the acid test? There’s something about it that doesn’t taste right. I mean the business with the two thieves. The three crosses standing next to each other on the hill are almost impressive, to be sure. But now comes this sentimental little treatise about the good thief. At first he was a thorough scoundrel, had committed all those awful things and God knows what else, and now he dissolves in tears and celebrates such a tearful feast of self-improvement and remorse! What’s the sense of repenting if you’re two steps from the grave? I ask you. Once again, it’s nothing but a priest’s fairy tale, saccharine and dishonest, touched up with sentimentality and given a high edifying background. If you had to pick a friend from between the two thieves or decide which one you’d rather trust, you most certainly wouldn’t choose the sniveling convert. No, the other fellow, he’s a man of character. He doesn’t give a hoot for ‘conversion’, which to a man in his position can’t be anything but a pretty speech. He follows his destiny to it’s appointed end and does not turn coward and forswear the devil, who has aided and abetted him until then. He has character, and people with character tend to receive the short end of the stick in biblical stories. Perhaps he’s even a descendant of Cain. Don’t you agree?" I was dismayed. Until now I had felt completely at home in the story of the Crucifixion. Now I saw for the first time with how little individuality, with how little power of imagination I had listened to it and read it. Still, Demian’s new concept seemed vaguely sinister and threatened to topple beliefs on whose continued existence I felt I simply had to insist. No, one could not make light of everything, especially not of the most Sacred matters. As usual he noticed my resistance even before I had said anything. "I know," he said in a resigned tone of voice, "it’s the same old story: don’t take these stories seriously! But I have to tell you something: this is one of the very places that reveals the poverty of this religion most distinctly. The point is that this God of both Old and New Testaments is certainly an extraordinary figure but not what he purports to represent. He is all that is good, noble, fatherly, beautiful, elevated, sentimental—true! But the world consists of something else besides. And what is left over is ascribed to the devil, this entire slice of world, this entire half is hushed up. In exactly the same way they praise God as the father of all life but simply refuse to say a word about our sexual life on which it’s all based, describing it whenever possible as sinful, the work of the devil. I have no objection to worshiping this God Jehovah, far from it. But I mean we ought to consider everything sacred, the entire world, not merely this artificially separated half! Thus alongside the divine service we should also have a service for the devil. I feel that would be right. Otherwise you must create for yourself a God that contains the devil too and in front of which you needn’t close your eyes when the most natural things in the world take place.
Hermann Hesse (Demian. Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend)
Because women tend to turn their anger inward and blame themselves, they tend to become depressed and their self-esteem is lowered. This, in turn, causes them to become more dependent and less willing to risk rejection or abandonment if they were to stand up for themselves by asserting their will, their opinions, or their needs. Men often defend themselves against hurt by putting up a wall of nonchalant indifference. This appearance of independence often adds to a woman's fear of rejection, causing her to want to reach out to achieve comfort and reconciliation. Giving in, taking the blame, and losing herself more in the relationship seem to be a small price to pay for the acceptance and love of her partner. As you can see, both extremes anger in and anger out-create potential problems. While neither sex is wrong in the way they deal with their anger, each could benefit from observing how the other sex copes with their anger. Most men, especially abusive ones, could benefit from learning to contain their anger more instead of automatically striking back, and could use the rather female ability to empathise with others and seek diplomatic resolutions to problems. Many women, on the other hand, could benefit from acknowledging their anger and giving themselves permission to act it out in constructive ways instead of automatically talking themselves out of it, blaming themselves, or allowing a man to blame them. Instead of giving in to keep the peace, it would be far healthier for most women to stand up for their needs, their opinions, and their beliefs.
Beverly Engel (The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing)
There is a theory that when a planet, like our earth for example, has manifested every form of life, when it has fulfilled itself to the point of exhaustion, it crumbles to bits and is dispersed like star dust throughout the universe. It does not roll on like a dead moon, but explodes, and in the space of a few minutes, there is not a trace of it visible in the heavens. In marine life we have a similar effect. it is called implosion. When an amphibian accustomed to the black depths rises above a certain level, when the pressure to which it adapts itself is lifted, the body bursts inwardly. Are we not familiar with this spectacle in the human being also? The norsemen who went berserk, the malay who runs amuck—are these not examples of implosion and explosion? When the cup is full it runs over. but when the cup and that which it contains are one substance, what then? There are moments when the elixir of life rises to such overbrimming splendor that the soul spills over. In the seraphic smile of the madonnas the soul is seen to flood the psyche. The moon of the face becomes full; the equation is perfect. A minute, a half minute, a second later, the miracle has passed. something intangible, something inexplicable, was given out—and received. In the life of a human being it may happen that the moon never comes to the full. In the life of some human beings it would seem, indeed, that the only mysterious phenomenon observable is that of perpetual eclipse. In the case of those afflicted with genius, whatever the form it may take, we are almost frightened to observe that there is nothing but a continuous waxing and waning of the moon. Rarer still are the anomalous ones who, having come to the full, are so terrified by the wonder of it that they spend the rest of their lives endeavoring to stifle that which gave them birth and being. The war of the mind is the story of the soul-split. When the moon was at full there were those who could not accept the dim death of diminution; they tried to hang full-blown in the zenith of their own heaven. They tried to arrest the action of the law which was manifesting itself through them, through their own birth and death, in fulfillment and transfiguration. Caught between the tides they were sundered; the soul departed the body, leaving the simulacrum of a divided self to fight it out in the mind. Blasted by their own radiance they live forever the futile quest of beauty, truth and harmony. Depossessed of their own effulgence they seek to possess the soul and spirit of those to whom they are attracted. They catch every beam of light; they reflect with every facet of their hungry being. instantly illumined, When the light is directed towards them, they are also speedily extinguished. The more intense the light which is cast upon them the more dazzling—and blinding—they appear. Especially dangerous are they to the radiant ones; it is always towards these bright and inexhaustible luminaries that they are most passionately drawn…
Henry Miller (Sexus (The Rosy Crucifixion, #1))
There were two things about this particular book (The Golden Book of Fairy Tales) that made it vital to the child I was. First, it contained a remarkable number of stories about courageous, active girls; and second, it portrayed the various evils they faced in unflinching terms. Just below their diamond surface, these were stories of great brutality and anguish, many of which had never been originally intended for children at all. (Although Ponsot included tales from the Brothers Grimm and Andersen, the majority of her selections were drawn from the French contes de fées tradition — stories created as part of the vogue for fairy tales in seventeenth century Paris, recounted in literary salons and published for adult readers.) I hungered for a narrative with which to make some sense of my life, but in schoolbooks and on television all I could find was the sugar water of Dick and Jane, Leave it to Beaver and the happy, wholesome Brady Bunch. Mine was not a Brady Bunch family; it was troubled, fractured, persistently violent, and I needed the stronger meat of wolves and witches, poisons and peril. In fairy tales, I had found a mirror held up to the world I knew — where adults were dangerous creatures, and Good and Evil were not abstract concepts. (…) There were in those days no shelves full of “self–help” books for people with pasts like mine. In retrospect, I’m glad it was myth and folklore I turned to instead. Too many books portray child abuse as though it’s an illness from which one must heal, like cancer . . .or malaria . . .or perhaps a broken leg. Eventually, this kind of book promises, the leg will be strong enough to use, despite a limp betraying deeper wounds that might never mend. Through fairy tales, however, I understood my past in different terms: not as an illness or weakness, but as a hero narrative. It was a story, my story, beginning with birth and ending only with death. Difficult challenges and trials, even those that come at a tender young age, can make us wiser, stronger, and braver; they can serve to transform us, rather than sending us limping into the future.
Terri Windling (Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales)
This vacillation between assertion and denial in discussions about organised abuse can be understood as functional, in that it serves to contain the traumatic kernel at the heart of allegations of organised abuse. In his influential ‘just world’ theory, Lerner (1980) argued that emotional wellbeing is predicated on the assumption that the world is an orderly, predictable and just place in which people get what they deserve. Whilst such assumptions are objectively false, Lerner argued that individuals have considerable investment in maintaining them since they are conducive to feelings of self—efficacy and trust in others. When they encounter evidence contradicting the view that the world is just, individuals are motivated to defend this belief either by helping the victim (and thus restoring a sense of justice) or by persuading themselves that no injustice has occurred. Lerner (1980) focused on the ways in which the ‘just world’ fallacy motivates victim-blaming, but there are other defences available to bystanders who seek to dispel troubling knowledge. Organised abuse highlights the severity of sexual violence in the lives of some children and the desire of some adults to inflict considerable, and sometimes irreversible, harm upon the powerless. Such knowledge is so toxic to common presumptions about the orderly nature of society, and the generally benevolent motivations of others, that it seems as though a defensive scaffold of disbelief, minimisation and scorn has been erected to inhibit a full understanding of organised abuse. Despite these efforts, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in organised abuse and particularly ritualistic abuse (eg Sachs and Galton 2008, Epstein et al. 2011, Miller 2012).
Michael Salter (Organised Sexual Abuse)
My name is CRPS, or so they say But I actually go by; a few different names. I was once called causalgia, nearly 150 years ago And then I had a new name It was RSD, apparently so. I went by that name because the burn lived inside of me. Now I am called CRPS, because I have so much to say I struggle to be free. I don't have one symptom and this is where I change, I attack the home of where I live; with shooting/burning pains. Depression fills the mind of the body I belong, it starts to speak harsh to self, negativity growing strong. Then I start to annoy them; with the issues with sensitivity, You'd think the pain enough; but no, it wants to make you aware of its trembling disability. I silently make my move; but the screams are loud and clear, Because I enter your physical reality and you can't disappear. I confuse your thoughts; I contain apart of your memory, I cover your perspective, the fog makes it sometimes unbearable to see. I play with your temperature levels, I make you nervous all the time - I take away your independance and take away your pride. I stay with you by the day & I remind you by the night, I am an awful journey and you will struggle with this fight. Then there's a side to me; not many understand, I have the ability to heal and you can be my friend. Help yourself find the strength to fight me with all you have, because eventually I'll get tired of making you grow mad. It will take some time; remember I mainly live inside your brain, Curing me is hard work but I promise you, You can beat me if you feed love to my pain. Find the strength to carry on and feed the fears with light; hold on to the seat because, like I said, it's going to be a fight. But I hope to meet you, when your healthy and healed, & you will silenty say to me - I did this, I am cured is this real? That day could possibly come; closer than I want- After all I am a disease and im fighting for my spot. I won't deny from my medical angle, I am close to losing the " incurable " battle.
Nikki Rowe
The problem is that moderates of all faiths are committed to reinterpreting, or ignoring outright, the most dangerous and absurd parts of their scripture—and this commitment is precisely what makes them moderates. But it also requires some degree of intellectual dishonesty, because moderates can’t acknowledge that their moderation comes from outside the faith. The doors leading out of the prison of scriptural literalism simply do not open from the inside. In the twenty-first century, the moderate’s commitment to scientific rationality, human rights, gender equality, and every other modern value—values that, as you say, are potentially universal for human beings—comes from the past thousand years of human progress, much of which was accomplished in spite of religion, not because of it. So when moderates claim to find their modern, ethical commitments within scripture, it looks like an exercise in self-deception. The truth is that most of our modern values are antithetical to the specific teachings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And where we do find these values expressed in our holy books, they are almost never best expressed there. Moderates seem unwilling to grapple with the fact that all scriptures contain an extraordinary amount of stupidity and barbarism that can always be rediscovered and made holy anew by fundamentalists—and there’s no principle of moderation internal to the faith that prevents this. These fundamentalist readings are, almost by definition, more complete and consistent—and, therefore, more honest. The fundamentalist picks up the book and says, “Okay, I’m just going to read every word of this and do my best to understand what God wants from me. I’ll leave my personal biases completely out of it.” Conversely, every moderate seems to believe that his interpretation and selective reading of scripture is more accurate than God’s literal words. Presumably, God could have written these books any way He wanted. And if He wanted them to be understood in the spirit of twenty-first-century secular rationality, He could have left out all those bits about stoning people to death for adultery or witchcraft. It really isn’t hard to write a book that prohibits sexual slavery—you just put in a few lines like “Don’t take sex slaves!” and “When you fight a war and take prisoners, as you inevitably will, don’t rape any of them!” And yet God couldn’t seem to manage it. This is why the approach of a group like the Islamic State holds a certain intellectual appeal (which, admittedly, sounds strange to say) because the most straightforward reading of scripture suggests that Allah advises jihadists to take sex slaves from among the conquered, decapitate their enemies, and so forth.
Sam Harris (Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue)
The value of Greek prose composition, he said, was not that it gave one any particular facility in the language that could not be gained as easily by other methods but that if done properly, off the top of one's head, it taught one to think in Greek. One's thought patterns become different, he said, when forced into the confines of a rigid and unfamiliar tongue. Certain common ideas become inexpressible; other, previously undreamt-of ones spring to life, finding miraculous new articulation. By necessity, I suppose, it is difficult for me to explain in English exactly what I mean. I can only say that an incendium is in its nature entirely different from the feu with which a Frenchman lights his cigarette, and both are very different from the stark, inhuman pur that the Greeks knew, the pur that roared from the towers of Ilion or leapt and screamed on that desolate, windy beach, from the funeral pyre of Patroklos. Pur: that one word contains for me the secret, the bright, terrible clarity of ancient Greek. How can I make you see it, this strange harsh light which pervades Homer's landscapes and illumines the dialogues of Plato, an alien light, inarticulable in our common tongue? Our shared language is a language of the intricate, the peculiar, the home of pumpkins and ragamuffins and bodkins and beer, the tongue of Ahab and Falstaff and Mrs. Gamp; and while I find it entirely suitable for reflections such as these, it fails me utterly when I attempt to describe in it what I love about Greek, that language innocent of all quirks and cranks; a language obsessed with action, and with the joy of seeing action multiply from action, action marching relentlessly ahead and with yet more actions filing in from either side to fall into neat step at the rear, in a long straight rank of cause and effect toward what will be inevitable, the only possible end. In a certain sense, this was why I felt so close to the other in the Greek class. They, too, knew this beautiful and harrowing landscape, centuries dead; they'd had the same experience of looking up from their books with fifth-century eyes and finding the world disconcertingly sluggish and alien, as if it were not their home. It was why I admired Julian, and Henry in particular. Their reason, their very eyes and ears were fixed irrevocably in the confines of those stern and ancient rhythms – the world, in fact, was not their home, at least the world as I knew it – and far from being occasional visitors to this land which I myself knew only as an admiring tourist, they were pretty much its permanent residents, as permanent as I suppose it was possible for them to be. Ancient Greek is a difficult language, a very difficult language indeed, and it is eminently possible to study it all one's life and never be able to speak a word; but it makes me smile, even today, to think of Henry's calculated, formal English, the English of a well-educated foreigner, as compared with the marvelous fluency and self-assurance of his Greek – quick, eloquent, remarkably witty. It was always a wonder to me when I happened to hear him and Julian conversing in Greek, arguing and joking, as I never once heard either of them do in English; many times, I've seen Henry pick up the telephone with an irritable, cautious 'Hello,' and may I never forget the harsh and irresistible delight of his 'Khairei!' when Julian happened to be at the other end.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
Xinxin Ming or Trust in the Heart The Perfect Way is only difficult for those who pick and choose; Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear. Make a hairbreadth difference, and heaven and earth are set apart. If you want the truth [of nonduality] to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease. When the Way is not understood, the mind chatters endlessly to no avail. The Perfect Way is vastness without holiness. Like infinite space it contains all and lacks nothing. Because you pick and choose, cling and reject, you can't see its Suchness. Neither be entangled in the world, nor in inner feelings of emptiness. Be serene in the oneness of things, And dualism vanishes of its own accord. Craving the passivity of Oneness you are filled with activity. As long as you tarry in dualism, You will never know Oneness. If you don't trust in the Heart, you fall into assertion or denial. In this world of Suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self. To be in accord with the Way, let go of all self-centered striving. Denying the world [of duality] is the asserting of it; Asserting emptiness [oneness] is the denying of it. The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you go. To return to the root [the One] is to find the meaning, But to pursue appearances [the many] is to miss the source. At the moment of inner enlightenment there is a going beyond the one and the many. The mind clings to its image of the world; We call it real only because of our ignorance. Do not seek after the truth, merely cease to cherish your opinions. For the mind in harmony with the One, all selfishness disappears. With not even a trace of fear, you can trust the universe completely. All at once you are free, with nothing left to hold on to. All is empty, brilliant, perfect in its own being. In the world of things as they are, there is neither observer nor observed. If you want to describe its essence, the best you can say is "Not-two." Even to have the idea of enlightenment is to go astray. Thoughts that are fettered turn from truth, sink into the unwise habit of "not liking." "Not liking" brings weariness of spirit; estrangements serve no purpose. In this "Not-two" nothing is separate, And nothing in the world is excluded. The enlightened of all times and places have entered into this truth. The One is none other than the All, the All none other than the One. Take your stand on this, and the rest will follow of its accord; To trust in the Heart is the "Not-two," the "Not-two" is to trust in the Heart. There is one reality, not many; Distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant. To seek Mind with the mind is the greatest of all mistakes. I have spoken, but in vain; For what can words say— Of things that have no yesterday, tomorrow, or today. Jianzhi Sengcan (aka Seng-Ts'an, 僧璨, ?-606)
Sengcan