Small Powerful Quotes

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles")
Power resides only where men believe it resides. [...] A shadow on the wall, yet shadows can kill. And ofttimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow.
George R.R. Martin (A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2))
Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
Muhammad Ali
Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.
Peter Jackson
For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India)
The highly sensitive [introverted] tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive. They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions--sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear. Highly sensitive people also process information about their environments--both physical and emotional--unusually deeply. They tend to notice subtleties that others miss--another person's shift in mood, say, or a lightbulb burning a touch too brightly.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility:whose texture compels me with the colour of its countries, rendering death and forever with each breathing (i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens;only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands -excerpt of #35 from "100 Selected Poems
E.E. Cummings
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond any experience, your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which i cannot touch because they are too near your slightest look easily will unclose me though i have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose or if your wish be to close me, i and my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly, as when the heart of this flower imagines the snow carefully everywhere descending; nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility: whose texture compels me with the colour of its countries, rendering death and forever with each breathing (i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens; only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
E.E. Cummings (Selected Poems)
Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Let's clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.
Laurie A. Helgoe (Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength)
No matter how small you start, always dream big.
Stephen Richards
The best word shakers were the ones who understood the true power of words. They were the ones who could climb the highest. One such word shaker was a small, skinny girl. She was renowned as the best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be WITHOUT words.
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.
Adolf Hitler
It's not that there is no small talk...It's that it comes not at the beginning of conversations but at the end...Sensitive people...'enjoy small talk only after they've gone deep' says Strickland. 'When sensitive people are in environments that nurture their authenticity, they laugh and chitchat just as much as anyone else.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
And even if you were a pawn - maybe we all are - then you should remember that a pawn is the most magical piece of all. It might look small and ordinary but it isn't. because a pawn is never just a pawn. A pawn is a queen-in-waiting. All you need to do is find a way to keep moving forward. One square after another. And you can get to the other side and unlock all kinds of power.
Matt Haig (The Midnight Library)
People can do terrible things when they feel safe and powerful.
Becky Chambers (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1))
It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realise that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.
George Orwell (1984)
Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: "Who has earned the right to hear my story?" If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.
Brené Brown
Few are born bold. Even Napoleon had to cultivate the habit on the battlefield, where he knew it was a matter of life and death. In social settings he was awkward and timid, but he overcame this and practice boldness in every part of his life because he saw its tremendous power, how it could literally enlarge a man(even one who, like Napoleon, was in fact conspicuously small).
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
Edward L. Bernays (Propaganda)
The fact that a cloud from a minor volcanic eruption in Iceland—a small disturbance in the complex mechanism of life on the Earth—can bring to a standstill the aerial traffic over an entire continent is a reminder of how, with all its power to transform nature, humankind remains just another species on the planet Earth.
Slavoj Žižek
All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
Don't wish...DO! Don't try...BE! Don't think...KNOW! And above all: Bless a stranger with a small, yet powerful, random act of kindness. You feel me?
T.F. Hodge (From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with "The Divine Presence")
The world was in her heart already, like the small spot of decay in a fruit.
Graham Greene (The Power and the Glory)
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.
Bertrand Russell
Small things such as this have saved me: how much I love my mother—even after all these years. How powerfully I carry her within me. My grief is tremendous but my love is bigger. So is yours. You are not grieving your son’s death because his death was ugly and unfair. You’re grieving it because you loved him truly. The beauty in that is greater than the bitterness of his death.
Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar)
Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.
William Saroyan
Women matter. Women are half of us. When you raise every woman to believe that we are insignificant, that we are broken, that we are sick, that the only cure is starvation and restraint and smallness; when you pit women against one another, keep us shackled by shame and hunger, obsessing over our flaws rather than our power and potential; when you leverage all of that to sap our money and our time—that moves the rudder of the world. It steers humanity toward conservatism and walls and the narrow interests of men, and it keeps us adrift in waters where women’s safety and humanity are secondary to men’s pleasure and convenience.
Lindy West (Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman)
And then his arms were folding around her, and in that small gesture, she understood, felt it down to her bones, that draw, not the electric pulse of power but the thing beneath it, the weight she'd never understood. In a world where everything rocked and swayed and fell away, this was solid ground. Safe.
V.E. Schwab (A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3))
Power resides where men believe it resides. A very small man can cast a very large shadow.
George R.R. Martin (A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2))
I had always imagined Rosa Parks as a stately woman with a bold temperament, someone who could easily stand up to a busload of glowering passengers. But when she died in 2005 at the age of ninety-two, the flood of obituaries recalled her as soft-spoken, sweet, and small in stature. They said she was "timid and shy" but had "the courage of a lion." They were full of phrases like "radical humility" and "quiet fortitude.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Holmes and Watson are on a camping trip. In the middle of the night Holmes wakes up and gives Dr. Watson a nudge. "Watson" he says, "look up in the sky and tell me what you see." "I see millions of stars, Holmes," says Watson. "And what do you conclude from that, Watson?" Watson thinks for a moment. "Well," he says, "astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meterologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I see that God is all-powerful, and we are small and insignficant. Uh, what does it tell you, Holmes?" "Watson, you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!
Thomas Cathcart
Our power lies in our small daily choices, one after another, to create eternal ripples of a life well lived.
Mollie Marti
He is mad about being small when you were big, but no, that's not it, he is mad about being helpless when you were powerful, but no, not that either, he is mad about being contingent when you were necessary, not quite it... he is insane because when he loved you, you didn't notice.
Donald Barthelme
Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, "May I have permission to go into battle with you?" Fear said, "Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission." Then the young warrior said, "How can I defeat you?" Fear replied, "My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power." In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.
Pema Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times)
If small things have the power to disturb you, then who you think you are is exactly that: small.
Eckhart Tolle
The coward says in his heart “There is no love.” Because, standing in the shadows of the big, grand, and powerful existence of love, his small spirit is left feeling even smaller and less significant. And so he chooses to deny the existence of love altogether. Because he is too small to have it.
C. JoyBell C.
Oh, I think not,” Varys said, swirling the wine in his cup. “Power is a curious thing, my lord. Perchance you have considered the riddle I posed you that day in the inn?” “It has crossed my mind a time or two,” Tyrion admitted. “The king, the priest, the rich man—who lives and who dies? Who will the swordsman obey? It’s a riddle without an answer, or rather, too many answers. All depends on the man with the sword.” “And yet he is no one,” Varys said. “He has neither crown nor gold nor favor of the gods, only a piece of pointed steel.” “That piece of steel is the power of life and death.” “Just so… yet if it is the swordsmen who rule us in truth, why do we pretend our kings hold the power? Why should a strong man with a sword ever obey a child king like Joffrey, or a wine-sodden oaf like his father?” “Because these child kings and drunken oafs can call other strong men, with other swords.” “Then these other swordsmen have the true power. Or do they?” Varys smiled. “Some say knowledge is power. Some tell us that all power comes from the gods. Others say it derives from law. Yet that day on the steps of Baelor’s Sept, our godly High Septon and the lawful Queen Regent and your ever-so-knowledgeable servant were as powerless as any cobbler or cooper in the crowd. Who truly killed Eddard Stark, do you think? Joffrey, who gave the command? Ser Ilyn Payne, who swung the sword? Or… another?” Tyrion cocked his head sideways. “Did you mean to answer your damned riddle, or only to make my head ache worse?” Varys smiled. “Here, then. Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.” “So power is a mummer’s trick?” “A shadow on the wall,” Varys murmured, “yet shadows can kill. And ofttimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow.” Tyrion smiled. “Lord Varys, I am growing strangely fond of you. I may kill you yet, but I think I’d feel sad about it.” “I will take that as high praise.
George R.R. Martin (A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2))
Once upon a time fairy tales were told to audiences of young and old alike. It is only in the last century that such tales were deemed fit only for small children, stripped of much of their original complexity, sensuality, and power to frighten and delight.
Terri Windling (White as Snow)
To witness miracles unfold in your experience, count your blessings and be thankful. Perceived small blessings accumulate to be the most powerful.
T.F. Hodge (From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with "The Divine Presence")
I can't help but be amazed at the power such small, unassuming animals wield over us; they so easily break down our defences.
Tahereh Mafi (Destroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5))
Man has much power of discourse which for the most part is vain and false; animals have but little, but it is useful and true, and a small truth is better than a great lie.
Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo's Notebooks)
I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions--poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed--which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished. It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity.
Howard Zinn (You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times)
Politics is ugly. Never doubt what small men will do for great power.
Paolo Bacigalupi (The Windup Girl)
Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love.
Peter Jackson
There's power in the night. There's terror in the darkness. Despite all our accumulated history, learning, and experience, we remember. We remember times when we were too small to reach the light switch on the wall, and when darkness itself was enough to make us cry out in fear....
Jim Butcher (Turn Coat (The Dresden Files, #11))
But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword. As a mortal, I was never a great fighter or athlete or poet. I only made wine. The people in my village laughed at me. They said I would never amount to anything. Look at me now. Sometimes small things can become very large indeed.
Rick Riordan (The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4))
No matter how tiny you look, you can lead huge men if you have what the huge men don't have.
Michael Bassey Johnson
Strange, isn't it,' mused Glokta as he watched him struggle for air. 'Big men, small men, thin men, fat men, clever men, stupid men, they all respond the same to a fist in the guts. One minute you think you're the most powerful man in the world. The next you can't even breathe by yourself.
Joe Abercrombie (Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2))
I can see now that it’s the little things, the small efforts, that keep a relationship going. And I know now too that in some small measure I have the power to hurt him and also the power to make it better.
Jenny Han (P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2))
By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it. It is sometimes best to leave things alone. If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
Impelled by feelings that were primal yet paradoxically wholly impersonal. Feelings of contempt born of inchoate, unacknowledged fear--civilization's fear of nature, men's fear of women, power's fear of powerlessness. Man's subliminal urge to destroy what he could neither subdue nor deify.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage.
Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business)
The truth is that even big collections of ordinary books distort space, as can readily be proved by anyone who has been around a really old-fashioned secondhand bookshop, one that looks as though they were designed by M. Escher on a bad day and has more stairways than storeys and those rows of shelves which end in little doors that are surely too small for a full-sized human to enter. The relevant equation is: Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.
Terry Pratchett (Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch, #1))
Marianne wanted her life to mean something then, she wanted to stop all violence committed by the strong against the weak, and she remembered a time several years ago when she had felt so intelligent and young and powerful that she almost could have achieved such a thing, and now she knew she wasn’t at all powerful, and she would live and die in a world of extreme violence against the innocent, and at most she could only help a few people. It was so much harder to reconcile herself to the idea of helping a few, like she would rather help no one than do something so small and feeble
Sally Rooney (Normal People)
If you are disgusted by what you see, and if you feel the fire coursing through your veins, then it's up to you. You don't have to be the leader of a global movement or a household name. It can be as small scale as chipping away at the warped power relations in your workplace. It can be passing on knowledge and skills to those who wouldn't access them otherwise. It can be creative. It can be informal. It can be your job. It doesn't matter what it is, as long as you're doing something.
Reni Eddo-Lodge (Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race)
A Manifesto for Introverts 1. There's a word for 'people who are in their heads too much': thinkers. 2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation. 3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths. 4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time to be quiet later. 5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters. 6. One genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards. 7. It's OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk. 8. 'Quiet leadership' is not an oxymoron. 9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional. 10. 'In a gentle way, you can shake the world.' -Mahatma Gandhi
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
When a writer looked at an empty computer screen, what did she see? Tristan wondered. A movie screen ready to be lit with faces? A night sky with one small star blinking at the top, a universe ready to be written on? Endless possibilities. Love's endless twists and turns - and all love's impossibilities.
Elizabeth Chandler (The Power of Love (Kissed by an Angel, #2))
I'm just saying we can all work on our manners. We can say please and thank you. We can be punctual. We can just be nicer to one another. It's something we have in our power to do. It reminds me of that Margaret Mead quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Ellen DeGeneres (Seriously... I'm Kidding)
However small we are, we should always fight for what we believe to be right. And I don’t mean fight with the power of our fists or the power of our swords…I mean the power of our brains and our thoughts and our dreams. And as small and quiet and unimportant as our fighting may look, perhaps we might all work together…and break out of the prisons of our own making. Perhaps we might be able to keep this fierce and beautiful world of ours as free for all of us as it seemed to be on that blue afternoon of my childhood.
Cressida Cowell (How to Speak Dragonese (How to Train Your Dragon, #3))
You speak of doing good to the world. Is the world such a small thing? And who are you, pray, to do good to the world? First realise God, see Him by means of spiritual discipline. If He imparts power you can do good to others; otherwise not.
Ramakrishna (Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna)
Make small commitments and keep them. Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change)
Always in life an idea starts small, it is only a sapling idea, but the vines will come and they will try to choke your idea so it cannot grow and it will die and you will never know you had a big idea, an idea so big it could have grown thirty meters through the dark canopy of leaves and touched the face of the sky.' He looked at me and continued. 'The vines are people who are afraid of originality, of new thinking. Most people you encounter will be vines; when you are a young plant they are very dangerous.' His piercing blue eyes looked into mine.' Always listen to yourself, Peekay. It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention. If you are wrong, no matter, you have learned something and you grow stronger. If you are right, you have taken another step toward a fulfilling life.
Bryce Courtenay (The Power of One (The Power of One, #1))
That’s because racism isn’t just about hate. We all have biases, even if don’t think we do. It’s because racism is also about who has power…and who has access to it.
Jodi Picoult (Small Great Things)
The male frog in mating season," said Crake, "makes as much noise as it can. The females are attracted to the male frog with the biggest, deepest voice because it suggests a more powerful frog, one with superior genes. Small male frogs—it's been documented—discover if they position themselves in empty drainpipes, the pipe acts as a voice amplifier and the small frog appears much larger than it really is." So?" So that's what art is for the artist, an empty drainpipe. An amplifier. A stab at getting laid.
Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1))
We are all in search of feeling more connected to reality—to other people, the times we live in, the natural world, our character, and our own uniqueness. Our culture increasingly tends to separate us from these realities in various ways. We indulge in drugs or alcohol, or engage in dangerous sports or risky behavior, just to wake ourselves up from the sleep of our daily existence and feel a heightened sense of connection to reality. In the end, however, the most satisfying and powerful way to feel this connection is through creative activity. Engaged in the creative process we feel more alive than ever, because we are making something and not merely consuming, Masters of the small reality we create. In doing this work, we are in fact creating ourselves.
Robert Greene (Mastery)
My own understanding is the sole treasure I possess, and the greatest. Though infinitely small and fragile in comparison with the powers of darkness, it is still a light, my only light.
C.G. Jung
I know there's no way I can convince you this is not one of their tricks, but I don't care, I am me. My name is Valerie, I don't think I'll live much longer and I wanted to tell someone about my life. This is the only autobiography ill ever write, and god, I'm writing it on toilet paper. I was born in Nottingham in 1985, I don't remember much of those early years, but I do remember the rain. My grandmother owned a farm in Tuttlebrook, and she use to tell me that god was in the rain. I passed my 11th lesson into girl's grammar; it was at school that I met my first girlfriend, her name was Sara. It was her wrists. They were beautiful. I thought we would love each other forever. I remember our teacher telling us that is was an adolescent phase people outgrew. Sara did, I didn't. In 2002 I fell in love with a girl named Christina. That year I came out to my parents. I couldn't have done it without Chris holding my hand. My father wouldn't look at me, he told me to go and never come back. My mother said nothing. But I had only told them the truth, was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free. I'd always known what I wanted to do with my life, and in 2015 I starred in my first film, "The Salt Flats". It was the most important role of my life, not because of my career, but because that was how I met Ruth. The first time we kissed, I knew I never wanted to kiss any other lips but hers again. We moved to a small flat in London together. She grew Scarlet Carsons for me in our window box, and our place always smelled of roses. Those were there best years of my life. But America's war grew worse, and worse. And eventually came to London. After that there were no roses anymore. Not for anyone. I remember how the meaning of words began to change. How unfamiliar words like collateral and rendition became frightening. While things like Norse Fire and The Articles of Allegiance became powerful, I remember how different became dangerous. I still don't understand it, why they hate us so much. They took Ruth while she was out buying food. I've never cried so hard in my life. It wasn't long till they came for me.It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years, I had roses, and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An Inch, it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you. -Valerie
Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
Deregulation is a transfer of power from the trodden to the treading. It is unsurprising that all conservative parties claim to hate big government.
George Monbiot
If you take any step, no matter how small it is, towards achieving your dreams then you will surely find the right path and reach the abundance that lies in store for you.
Stephen Richards (Think Your way to Success: Let Your Dreams Run Free)
Small souls who seek power over others first destroy the faith those others might have in themselves.
Frank Herbert (God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles #4))
HELPED are those who are content to be themselves; they will never lack mystery in their lives and the joys of self-discovery will be constant. HELPED are those who love the entire cosmos rather than their own tiny country, city, or farm, for to them will be shown the unbroken web of life and the meaning of infinity. HELPED are those who live in quietness, knowing neither brand name nor fad; they shall live every day as if in eternity, and each moment shall be as full as it is long. HELPED are those who love others unsplit off from their faults; to them will be given clarity of vision. HELPED are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception, and realize an partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful. HELPED are those who love the Earth, their mother, and who willingly suffer that she may not die; in their grief over her pain they will weep rivers of blood, and in their joy in her lively response to love, they will converse with the trees. HELPED are those whose ever act is a prayer for harmony in the Universe, for they are the restorers of balance to our planet. To them will be given the insight that every good act done anywhere in the cosmos welcomes the life of an animal or a child. HELPED are those who risk themselves for others' sakes; to them will be given increasing opportunities for ever greater risks. Theirs will be a vision of the word in which no one's gift is despised or lost. HELPED are those who strive to give up their anger; their reward will be that in any confrontation their first thoughts will never be of violence or of war. HELPED are those whose every act is a prayer for peace; on them depends the future of the world. HELPED are those who forgive; their reward shall be forgiveness of every evil done to them. It will be in their power, therefore, to envision the new Earth. HELPED are those who are shown the existence of the Creator's magic in the Universe; they shall experience delight and astonishment without ceasing. HELPED are those who laugh with a pure heart; theirs will be the company of the jolly righteous. HELPED are those who love all the colors of all the human beings, as they love all the colors of the animals and plants; none of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them. HELPED are those who love the lesbian, the gay, and the straight, as they love the sun, the moon, and the stars. None of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them. HELPED are those who love the broken and the whole; none of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them. HELPED are those who do not join mobs; theirs shall be the understanding that to attack in anger is to murder in confusion. HELPED are those who find the courage to do at least one small thing each day to help the existence of another--plant, animal, river, or human being. They shall be joined by a multitude of the timid. HELPED are those who lose their fear of death; theirs is the power to envision the future in a blade of grass. HELPED are those who love and actively support the diversity of life; they shall be secure in their differences. HELPED are those who KNOW.
Alice Walker
I have seen that it is not man who is impotent in the struggle against evil, but the power of evil that is impotent in the struggle against man. The powerlessness of kindness, of senseless kindness, is the secret of its immortality. It can never by conquered. The more stupid, the more senseless, the more helpless it may seem, the vaster it is. Evil is impotent before it. The prophets, religious teachers, reformers, social and political leaders are impotent before it. This dumb, blind love is man’s meaning. Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil, struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness. But if what is human in human beings has not been destroyed even now, then evil will never conquer.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate)
So long as there are nobles and commoners, the wealthy and the poor, those with power will be heard, and those without ignored. That's the world.
Tamora Pierce (Squire (Protector of the Small, #3))
I wake sometimes in the dark terrified by my life's precariousness, its thready breath. Beside me, my husband's pulse beats at his throat; in their beds, my children's skin shows every faintest scratch. A breeze would blow them over, and the world is filled with more than breezes: diseases and disasters, monsters and pain in a thousand variations. I do not forget either my father and his kind hanging over us, bright and sharp as swords, aimed at our tearing flesh. If they do not fall on us in spite and malice, then they will fall by accident or whim. My breath fights in my throat. How can I live on beneath such a burden of doom? I rise then and go to my herbs. I create something, I transform something. My witchcraft is as strong as ever, stronger. This too is good fortune. How many have such power and leisure and defense as I do? Telemachus comes from our bed to find me. He sits with me in the greensmelling darkness, holding my hand. Our faces are both lined now, marked with our years. Circe, he says, it will be all right. It is not the saying of an oracle or a prophet. They are words you might speak to a child. I have heard him say them to our daughters, when he rocked them back to sleep from a nightmare, when he dressed their small cuts, soothed whatever stung. His skin is familiar as my own beneath my fingers. I listen to his breath, warm upon the night air, and somehow I am comforted. He does not mean it does not hurt. He does not mean we are not frightened. Only that: we are here. This is what it means to swim in the tide, to walk the earth and feel it touch your feet. This is what it means to be alive.
Madeline Miller (Circe)
It is the phenomenon somethings called "alienation from self." In its advanced stages, we no longer answer the telephone, because someone might want something; that we could say no without drowning in self-reproach is an idea alien to this game. Every encounter demands too much, tears the nerves, drains the will, and the specter of something as small as an unanswered letter arouses such disproportionate guilt that answering it becomes out of the question. To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves - there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
Let's clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.” ― Laurie Helgoe, Introvert Power   ~Jennifer~
Penny Reid (Beard Science (Winston Brothers, #3))
The lowly have small ambitions, and are satisfied with small indulgences. They need not get fair treatment. They need only think that they do...
Joe Abercrombie (Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3))
Louis-Cesare’s anger suddenly filled the small room like water, and in a heartbeat his eyes went from silver tinged to as solid as two antique coins. I sat frozen, awash in a sea of power. I was beginning to understand why Mircea had wanted him along, only Daddy had failed to mention anything about the hair-trigger temper. I guess he assumed the red hair would clue me in.
Karen Chance (Midnight's Daughter (Dorina Basarab, #1))
Our self-perception determines our behavior. If we think we’re small, limited, inadequate creatures, then we tend to behave that way, and the energy we radiate reflects those thoughts no matter what we do. If we think we’re magnificent creatures with an infinite abundance of love and power to give, then we tend to behave that way. Once again, the energy around us reflects our state of awareness.
Marianne Williamson (Return to Love)
He was making her feel small and absurdly petulant and, worse yet, she suspected he was right. She always suspected he was right. For a brief irrational moment, she wished she could walk away from him. Then she wished, more rationally, that she could love him without needing him. Need gave him power without his trying; need was the choicelessness she often felt around him.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun)
...the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.
George Orwell (1984)
Probably it is true enough that the great majority are rarely capable of thinking independently, that on most questions they accept views which they find ready-made, and that they will be equally content if born or coaxed into one set of beliefs or another. In any society freedom of thought will probably be of direct significance only for a small minority. But this does not mean that anyone is competent, or ought to have power, to select those to whom this freedom is to be reserved. It certainly does not justify the presumption of any group of people to claim the right to determine what people ought to think or believe.
Friedrich A. Hayek (The Road to Serfdom)
It’s the people without the money and the power, who desperately want to live, for those people small things aren’t small at all.
Ann Leckie (Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1))
Still, these days when I daydream about the movie, I don't think about the big picture. It's more fun for me to think of little things that would add to the movie. I like to think the powers that be would let me amuse myself with some small things in order to shut me up while they re-write the screenplay to turn Kvothe into a lesbian, shape-changing unicorn.
Patrick Rothfuss
The family is the cradle of the world’s misinformation. There must be something in family life that generates factual error. Over-closeness, the noise and heat of being. Perhaps even something deeper like the need to survive. Murray says we are fragile creatures surrounded by a world of hostile facts. Facts threaten our happiness and security. The deeper we delve into things, the looser our structure may seem to become. The family process works towards sealing off the world. Small errors grow heads, fictions proliferate. I tell Murray that ignorance and confusion can’t possibly be the driving forces behind family solidarity. What an idea, what a subversion. He asks me why the strongest family units exist in the least developed societies. Not to know is a weapon of survival, he says. Magic and superstition become entrenched as the powerful orthodoxy of the clan. The family is strongest where objective reality is most likely to be misinterpreted. What a heartless theory, I say. But Murray insists it’s true.
Don DeLillo (White Noise)
Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
David Beckham
I want you to remember always how powerful you are. Never allow anyone to take that away from you, or try and make you feel small.
Louise O'Neill (The Surface Breaks)
Small mind competes, big mind collaborates and great mind encompasses.
Amit Ray (Walking the Path of Compassion)
The Tiny Wound.     It is small but painful and irritating. You try all sorts of medicaments, you com- plain, you scratch and pick at the scab. Doctors only make it worse, transforming the tiny wound into a grave matter. If only you had left the wound alone, letting time heal it and freeing yourself of worry.
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. [Incorrectly attributed to Tolkien. It is a line from the Hobbit movie that did not appear in the books.]
J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you know great minds enjoy excellence, average minds love mediocrity and small minds adore comfort zones?
Onyi Anyado
We must not listen to those who advise us 'being men to think human thoughts, and being mortal to think mortal thoughts' but must put on immortality as much as possible and strain every nerve to live according to that best part of us, which, being small in bulk, yet much more in its power and honour surpasses all else.
Aristotle (The Nicomachean Ethics)
I took my Power in my Hand -- And went against the World -- 'Twas not so much as David -- had -- But I -- was twice as bold -- I aimed by Pebble -- but Myself Was all the one that fell -- Was it Goliath -- was too large -- Or was myself -- too small?
Emily Dickinson
If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size?
Sydney J. Harris
She encouraged herself to see her very small presence in the world as a good thing, a power, something that a hero might possess.
Helen Oyeyemi (Mr. Fox)
Impossible is Nothing,” it said. “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
Elna Baker (The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance)
Is Ahab, Ahab? Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm? But if the great sun move not of himself; but is an errand-boy in heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by some invisible power; how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick)
But now science is the belief system that is hundreds of years old. And, like the medieval system before it, science is starting not to fit the world any more. Science has attained so much power that its practical limits begin to be apparent. Largely through science, billions of us live in one small world, densely packed and intercommunicating. But science cannot help us decide what to do with that world, or how to live. Science can make a nuclear reactor, but it cannot tell us not to build it. Science can make pesticide, but cannot tell us not to use it. And our world starts to seem polluted in fundamental ways---air, and water, and land---because of ungovernable science.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1))
The wine god sighed. 'Oh Hades if I know. But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword. As a mortal, I was never a great fighter or athlete or poet. I only made wine. The people in my village laughed at me. They said I would never amount to anything. Look at me now. Sometimes small things can become very large indeed.' He left me alone to think about that. And as I watched Clarisse and Chris singing a stupid campfire song together, holding hands in the darkness, where they thought nobody could see them, I had to smile.
Rick Riordan (The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4))
But in weakness, you find your strength. It takes no small amount of courage to open yourself up,” the Empress said gently. “You leave pieces of yourself in the ones you love. Is that not the greatest power, to endure in that way?
Julie C. Dao (Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1))
I love this world," he added. "That is what rules my life. When I die, I want to have done all in my power to leave it in a better state than it was when I found it. At the same time I know that this can never be. The world has grown so complex that one voice can do little to alter it any longer. That doesn't stop me from doing what I can, but it makes the task hard. The successes are so small, the failures so large and many. It's like trying to stem a storm with one's bare hands.
Charles de Lint (The Little Country)
Bloodclan, Attack!" Not a cat moved Tigerstar's amber eyes widened and he screeched "Attack, I order you!" Still none of the warriors moved, eccept for the small black cat who took a pace forward. He glanced twored Firestar. "I am Scourge, leader of Bloodclan," he meowed, his voice cold and quiet. "Tigerstar, my warriors are not yours to command. They will attack when I tell them, and not before." The look Tigerstar gave him was incredulous and glittered with all the hatred he had ever shown to Firestar, as is he couldn't beleive that this scrap of a cat was defying him. Firestar seized his oppertunity. He paced forward untill he stood right infront of the two leaders. Behind him, he heard graystripe hiss, "Firestar,be careful!" But this was no time for being careful. The very future of the forest was at stake, balanced on the breadth of a hair between Tigerstar's bloodthirsty quest for power and the whims of the unknown bloodclan. Now Firestar could see that the collar Scourge wore around his neck was studded with teath--The teath of dogs, and...CATS' teath too. Great Starclan! Did they kill their own kind and wear there teath as trophies?
Erin Hunter (The Darkest Hour (Warriors, #6))
Behold the Power of the peanut. His body mass may be small, but his influence is mighty. The last holdout in the Tower has officially fallen to him. (Said by Pia about the effect her son 'peanut' had on the Sentinel Aryal)
Thea Harrison (Kinked (Elder Races, #6))
I knew that he would use that gun, because that is what small, scared men did: they used things more powerful than themselves to make up the difference. They hid behind weapons of mass destruction: big guns and bigger bombs.
Katrina Leno (Summer of Salt)
Worry implies that we don't quite trust God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives. Stress says the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace towards others, or our tight grip of control. Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives are brief ... and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed.
Francis Chan (Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)
Once upon a time,” I began. “There was a little boy born in a little town. He was perfect, or so his mother thought. But one thing was different about him. He had a gold screw in his belly button. Just the head of it peeping out. “Now his mother was simply glad he had all his fingers and toes to count with. But as the boy grew up he realized not everyone had screws in their belly buttons, let alone gold ones. He asked his mother what it was for, but she didn’t know. Next he asked his father, but his father didn’t know. He asked his grandparents, but they didn’t know either. “That settled it for a while, but it kept nagging him. Finally, when he was old enough, he packed a bag and set out, hoping he could find someone who knew the truth of it. “He went from place to place, asking everyone who claimed to know something about anything. He asked midwives and physickers, but they couldn’t make heads or tails of it. The boy asked arcanists, tinkers, and old hermits living in the woods, but no one had ever seen anything like it. “He went to ask the Cealdim merchants, thinking if anyone would know about gold, it would be them. But the Cealdim merchants didn’t know. He went to the arcanists at the University, thinking if anyone would know about screws and their workings, they would. But the arcanists didn’t know. The boy followed the road over the Stormwal to ask the witch women of the Tahl, but none of them could give him an answer. “Eventually he went to the King of Vint, the richest king in the world. But the king didn’t know. He went to the Emperor of Atur, but even with all his power, the emperor didn’t know. He went to each of the small kingdoms, one by one, but no one could tell him anything. “Finally the boy went to the High King of Modeg, the wisest of all the kings in the world. The high king looked closely at the head of the golden screw peeping from the boy’s belly button. Then the high king made a gesture, and his seneschal brought out a pillow of golden silk. On that pillow was a golden box. The high king took a golden key from around his neck, opened the box, and inside was a golden screwdriver. “The high king took the screwdriver and motioned the boy to come closer. Trembling with excitement, the boy did. Then the high king took the golden screwdriver and put it in the boy’s belly button.” I paused to take a long drink of water. I could feel my small audience leaning toward me. “Then the high king carefully turned the golden screw. Once: Nothing. Twice: Nothing. Then he turned it the third time, and the boy’s ass fell off.” There was a moment of stunned silence. “What?” Hespe asked incredulously. “His ass fell off.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2))
1. We fear people because they can expose and humiliate us. 2. We fear people because they can reject, ridicule, or despise us. 3. We fear people because they can attack, oppress, or threaten us. These three reasons have one thing in common: they see people as “bigger” (that is, more powerful and significant) than God, and, out of the fear that creates in us, we give other people the power and right to tell us what to feel, think, and do.
Edward T. Welch (When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man)
For example, highly sensitive people tend to be keen observers who look before they leap. They arrange their lives in ways that limit surprises. They're often sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, pain, coffee. They have difficulty when being observed (at work, say, or performing at a music recital) or judged for general worthiness (dating, job interviews). But there are new insights. The highly sensitive tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive (just as Aron's husband had described her). They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions -- sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear. Highly sensitive people also process information about their environments -- both physical and emotional -- unusually deeply. They tend to notice subtleties that others miss -- another person's shift in mood, say, or a lightbulb burning a touch too brightly.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
We have a new type of rule now. Not one-man rule, or rule of aristocracy or plutocracy, but of small groups elevated to positions of absolute power by random pressures, and subject to political and economic factors that leave little room for decision. They are representatives of abstract forces who have reached power through surrender of self. The iron-willed dictator is a thing of the past. There will be no more Stalins, no more Hitlers. The rulers of this most insecure of all worlds are rulers by accident, inept, frightened pilots at the controls of a vast machine they cannot understand, calling in experts to tell them which buttons to push.
William S. Burroughs (Interzone)
The fate of peoples is made like this, two men in small rooms. Forget the coronations, the conclaves of cardinals, the pomp and processions. This is how the world changes: a counter pushed across a table, a pen stroke that alters the force of a phrase, a woman's sigh as she passes and leaves on the air a trail of orange flower or rose water; her hand pulling close the bed curtain, the discreet sigh of flesh against flesh.
Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1))
Ruby, what does the future look like?” Nico asked. “I can’t picture it. I try all the time, but I can’t imagine it. Jude said it looked like an open road just after a rainstorm.” I turned back toward the board, eyes tracing those eight letters, trying to take their power away; change them from a place, a name, to just another word. Certain memories trap you; you relive their thousand tiny details. The damp, cool spring air, swinging between snow flurries and light rain. The hum of the electric fence. The way Sam used to let out a small sigh each morning we left the cabin. I remembered the path to the Factory the way you never forgot the story behind a scar. The black mud would splatter over my shoes, momentarily hiding the numbers written there. 3285. Not a name. You learned to look up, craning your neck back to gaze over the razor wire curled around the top of the fence. Otherwise, it was too easy to forget that there was a world beyond the rusting metal pen they’d thrown all of us animals into. “I see it in colors,” I said. “A deep blue, fading into golds and reds—like fire on a horizon. Afterlight. It’s a sky that wants you to guess if the sun is about to rise or set.” Nico shook his head. “I think I like Jude’s better.” “Me too,” I said softly. “Me too.
Alexandra Bracken (In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds, #3))
At issue here is the question: "To whom do I belong? God or to the world?" Many of my daily preoccupations suggest that I belong more to the world than to God. A little criticism makes me angry, and a little rejection makes me depressed. A little praise raises my spirits, and a little success excites me. It takes very little to raise me up or thrust me down. Often I am like a small boat on the ocean, completely at the mercy of its waves. All the time and energy I spend in keeping some kind of balance and preventing myself from being tipped over and drowning shows that my life is mostly a struggle for survival: not a holy struggle, but an anxious struggle resulting from the mistaken idea that it is the world that defines me. As long as I keep running about asking: "Do you love me? Do you really love me?" I give all power to the voices of the world and put myself in bondage because the world is filled with "ifs." The world says: "Yes, I love you if you are good-looking, intelligent, and wealthy. I love you if you have a good education, a good job, and good connections. I love you if you produce much, sell much, and buy much." There are endless "ifs" hidden in the world's love. These "ifs" enslave me, since it is impossible to respond adequately to all of them. The world's love is and always will be conditional. As long as I keep looking for my true self in the world of conditional love, I will remain "hooked" to the world-trying, failing,and trying again. It is a world that fosters addictions because what it offers cannot satisfy the deepest craving of my heart.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
The American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history. With a country so rich in natural resources, talent, and labor power the system can afford to distribute just enough wealth to just enough people to limit discontent to a troublesome minority. It is a country so powerful, so big, so pleasing to so many of its citizens that it can afford to give freedom of dissent to the small number who are not pleased. There is no system of control with more openings, apertures, leeways, flexibilities, rewards for the chosen, winning tickets in lotteries. There is none that disperses its controls more complexly through the voting system, the work situation, the church, the family, the school, the mass media--none more successful in mollifying opposition with reforms, isolating people from one another, creating patriotic loyalty.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States)
Nobody goes "AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" when they sing it. Maybe because it puts the life adventure in such clear and simple terms. The small creature is alive and looks for adventure. Here's the drainpipe--a long tunnel going up toward some light. The spider doesn't even think about it--just goes. Disaster befalls it--rain, flood, powerful foces. And the spider is knocked down and out beyond where it started. Does the spider say, "To hell with that"? No. Sun comes out--clears things up--dries off the spider. And the small creature goes over to the drainpipe and looks up and thinks it really wants to know what is up there.
Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten)
What marriage offers - and what fidelity is meant to protect - is the possibility of moments when what we have chosen and what we desire are the same. Such a convergence obviously cannot be continuous. No relationship can continue very long at its highest emotional pitch. But fidelity prepares us for the return of these moments, which give us the highest joy we can know; that of union, communion, atonement (in the root sense of at-one-ment)... To forsake all others does not mean - because it cannot mean - to ignore or neglect all others, to hide or be hidden from all others, or to desire or love no others. To live in marriage is a responsible way to live in sexuality, as to live in a household is a responsible way to live in the world. One cannot enact or fulfill one's love for womankind or mankind, or even for all the women or men to whom one is attracted. If one is to have the power and delight of one's sexuality, then the generality of instinct must be resolved in a responsible relationship to a particular person. Similarly, one cannot live in the world; that is, one cannot become, in the easy, generalizing sense with which the phrase is commonly used, a "world citizen." There can be no such think as a "global village." No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it. Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship to the world and to humanity. We thus come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of one's partiality. (pg.117-118, "The Body and the Earth")
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
Despereaux looked at his father, at his grey-streaked fur and trembling whiskers and his front paws clasped together in front of his heart, and he felt suddenly as if his own heart would break in two. His father looked so small, so sad. "Forgive me," said Lester again. Forgiveness, reader, is, I think, something very much like hope and love - a powerful, wonderful thing. And a ridiculous thing, too. Isn't it ridiculous, after all, to think that a son could forgive his father for beating the drum that sent him to his death? Isn't it ridiculous to think that a mouse ever could forgive anyone for such perfidy? But still, here are the words Despereaux Tilling spoke to his father. He said, "I forgive you, Pa." And he said those words because he sensed it was the only way to save his own heart, to stop it from breaking in two. Despereaux, reader, spoke those words to save himself.
Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux)
There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings and walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.
Suzanne Clothier (Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs)
We left behind this small town But we couldn't leave behind the ghosts As we headed for the coast, yeah, and you know There was something in the way she told me How my hair looked stupid, and How she couldn't hold her tequila, and How she was broken and beautiful and Still standing, and how was I supposed to know All along we were saving June Saving June, yeah She had flowers in her hair and one powerful glare My modern day Rubik's Cube, she made me feel Like maybe we could have it all But you can never have it all And now I've gone and lost All these things that they always sang about All the things that I still dream about Now I'm counting up the days, counting all the ways I never said what it means, but it's too late 'cause June is over and so are we And I'm the one left, with nothing to save
Hannah Harrington (Saving June)
As I stood alone and forsaken, and the power of the sea and the battle of the elements reminded me of my own nothingness, and on the other hand, the sure flight of the birds recalled the words spoken by Christ: Not a sparrow shall fall on the ground without your Father: then, all at once, I felt how great and how small I was; then did those two mighty forces, pride and humility, happily unite in friendship.
Søren Kierkegaard
Despair, or folly?' said Gandalf. 'It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.' 'At least for a while,' said Elrond. 'The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strenght nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1))
I am not a 'democrat' only because 'humility' and equality are spiritual principles corrupted by the attempt to mechanize and formalize them, with the result that we get not universal smallness and humility, but universal greatness and pride, till some Orc gets hold of a ring of power--and then we get and are getting slavery.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien)
The twins were too young to know that these were only history’s henchmen. Sent to square the books and collect the dues from those who broke its laws. Impelled by feelings that were primal yet paradoxically wholly impersonal. Feelings of contempt born of inchoate, unacknowledged fear—civilization’s fear of nature, men’s fear of women, power’s fear of powerlessness. Man’s subliminal urge to destroy what he could neither subdue nor deify.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
Really, Watson, you excel yourself," said Holmes, pushing back his chair and lighting a cigarette. "I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have habitually underrated your own abilities. It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt.
Arthur Conan Doyle (Le chien des Baskerville)
We can't attack a thing we don't know. That's dangerous. And...foolish. It would be like trying to chop down a tree from the top of it. If we understand how the tree works, how the trunk and roots are where the power lies, and how gravity is on our side, we can attack it, each of us with small axes, and change the face of the the forest.
Jason Reynolds (Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You)
The question always is, has everything been done to make the sufferings of these exceptions as small as possible? Or, in the triumph of the crowded procession, have the helpless been trampled on, instead of being gently lifted aside out of the roadway of the conqueror, whom they have no power to accompany on his march?
Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South)
What a monument of human smallness is this idea of the philosopher king. What a contrast between it and the simplicity of humaneness of Socrates, who warned the statesmen against the danger of being dazzled by his own power, excellence, and wisdom, and who tried to teach him what matters most — that we are all frail human beings.
Karl Popper (The Open Society and Its Enemies)
Like I said, magic comes from life, and especially from emotions. They're a source of the same intangible energy that everyone can feel when an autumn moon rises and fills you with a sudden sense of bone-deep excitement, or when the first warm breeze of spring rushes past your face, full of the scents of life, and drowns you in a sudden flood of unreasoning joy. The passion of mighty music that brings tears to your eyes, and the raw, bubbling, infectious laughter of small children at play, the bellowing power of a stadium full of football fans shouting "Hey!" in time to that damned song—they're all charged with magic. My magic comes from the same places. And maybe from darker places than that. Fear is an emotion, too. So is rage. So is lust. And madness. I'm not a particularly good person. I'm no Charles Manson or anything, but I'm not going to be up for canonization either. Though in the past, I think maybe I was a better person than I am today. In the past I hadn't seen so many people hurt and killed and terrorized by the same kind of power that damn well should have been making the world a nicer place, or at the least staying the hell away from it. I hadn't made so many mistakes back then, so many shortsighted decisions, some of which had cost people their lives. I had been sure of myself. I had been whole.
Jim Butcher (Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, #7))
After the spasms die down, my arms come up around Kate, bringing our chests together and her head against my neck. I feel her heartbeat start to return to normal. And then she’s laughing, low and satisfied. “God…that was so…so…” Now I’m smiling too. “I know.” Earth shattering. Off the Richter Scale. Powerful enough to take out a small island country.
Emma Chase (Tangled (Tangled, #1))
Diana gave her a measured look and ducked down behind the counter. She came up a moment later with a sword about the length of Clary's forearm. "What do you think of this?" Clary stared at the weapon. It was undoubtedly beautiful. The cross-guard, grip and pommel were gold chased with obsidian, the blade a silver so dark it was nearly black. "It's a shortsword. You might want to look at the other side," said Diana, and she flipped the sword over. On the opposite side of the blade, down the center ridge, ran a pattern of black stars. "Oh." Clary's heart thumped painfully; she took a step away and nearly bumped into Jace, who had come up behind her, frowning. "That's a Morgenstern sword." "Yes, it is." The sword-seller's eyes were shrewd. "Long ago the Morgensterns commissioned two blades from Wayland the Smith-a matched set. You have doubtless seen the the larger sword already, for Valentine Morgenstern carried it, and now his son carries it after him." "You know who we are," Jace said. It wasn't a question. "Who Clary is." "The Shadowhunter world is small," said Diana, and she looked from one of them to the other. "I'm on the Council. I've seen you give testimony, Valentine's daughter." Clary looked doubtfully at the blade. "I've seen two men bear the larger version of that sword, and I hated them both. There are no Morgensterns in this world now who are dedicated to anything but evil." Jace said, "There's you." "I'll give it to you," said Diana. "You're right that people hate the Morgensterns; it's not the sort of item I could sell elsewhere. Or would necessarily want to. It should go to good hands." "I don't want it," Clary said. "If you flinch from it, you give it power over you," said Diana. "Take it, and cut your brother's throat with it, and reclaim the honor of your blood.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
Happiness--a small-scale, endearing, harmonious happiness--surely dwelt here beneath the low-powered lamps in the tiny rooms of these houses. A small-scale happiness and a modest harmony: let a man cry out, let him rage, let him howl with grief with all the power of which he was capable, what more than these could he ever hope to gain in this life?
Fumiko Enchi (The Waiting Years)
Our leaders strain every nerve and with success, to get the next war going, while the rest of us, meanwhile, dance the fox trot, earn money and eat chocolates...And perhaps...it has always been the same and always will be, and what is called history at school, and all we learn by heart there about heroes and geniuses and great deeds and fine emotions, is all nothing but a swindle invented by the schoolmasters for educational reasons to keep children occupied for a given number of years. It has always been so and always will be. Time and the world, money and power belong to the small people and shallow people. To the rest, to the real men belongs nothing...eternity...it isn't fame. Fame exists in that sense only for the schoolmasters. No, it isn't fame. It is what I call eternity...The music of Mozart belongs there and the poetry of your great poets. The saints, too, belong there, who have worked wonders and suffered martyrdom and given a great example to men. But the image of every true act, the strength of every true feeling, belongs to eternity just as much, even though no one knows of it or sees it or records it or hands it down to posterity. In eternity there is no posterity...It is the kingdom on the other side of time and appearances. It is there we belong. There is our home. It is that which our heart strives for...And we have no one to guide us. Our only guide is our homesickness.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
As the biggest library if it is in disorder is not as useful as a small but well-arranged one, so you may accumulate a vast amount of knowledge but it will be of far less value to you than a much smaller amount if you have not thought it over for yourself; because only through ordering what you know by comparing every truth with every other truth can you take complete possession of your knowledge and get it into your power.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Essays and Aphorisms)
With no chance to take off, I had to play my role, searching for the rendezvous spot, which gave me the excuse to look for an escape opportunity. Maybe a hole in the wall too small for Tori’s mom to follow me through or a precarious stack of boxes I could topple onto her head or an abandoned hammer I could brain her with. I’d never “brained” anyone in my life, but with Tori’s mom, I was willing to try.
Kelley Armstrong (The Awakening (Darkest Powers, #2))
We who have been hunted through the rapids of life, torn from our former roots, always driven to the end and obliged to begin again, victims and yet also the willing servants of unknown mysterious powers, we for whom comfort has become an old legend and security, a childish dream, have felt tension from pole to pole of our being, the terror of something always new in every fibre. Every hour of our years was linked to the fate of the world. In sorrow and in joy we have lived through time and history far beyond our own small lives, while they knew nothing beyond themselves. Every one of us, therefore, even the least of the human race, knows a thousand times more about reality today than the wisest of our forebears. But nothing was given to us freely; we paid the price in full.
Stefan Zweig (The World of Yesterday)
Man cuts out for himself a manageable world: he throws himself into action uncritically, unthinkingly. He accepts the cultural programming that turns his nose where he is supposed to look; he doesn’t bite the world off in one piece as a giant would, but in small manageable pieces, as a beaver does. He uses all kinds of techniques, which we call the “character defenses”: he learns not to expose himself, not to stand out; he learns to embed himself in other-power, both of concrete persons and of things and cultural commands; the result is that he comes to exist in the imagined infallibility of the world around him. He doesn’t have to have fears when his feet are solidly mired and his life mapped out in a ready-made maze. All he has to do is to plunge ahead in a compulsive style of drivenness in the “ways of the world.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
She kept her stare locked on his as she let go of his face and slowly, making sure he understood every step of the way,tilted her head back until her throat was arched and bared before him. "Aelin," he breathed. Not in reprimand or warning, but... a plea. It sounded like a plea. He lowered his head to her exposed neck and hovered a hair's breath away. She arched her neck farther, a silent invitation. Rowan let out a soft groan and grazed his teeth against her skin. One bite, one movement, was all it would take for him to rip out her throat. His elongated canines slid along her flesh-gently, precisely. She clenched the sheets to keep from running her fingers down on his bare back and drawing him closer. He braced one hand beside her head, his fingers twining in her hair. "No one else," she whispered. "I would never allow anyone else at my throat." Showing him was the only way he'd understand that trust, in a manner that only the predatory, Fae side of him would comprehend. "No one else," she said again. He let out another low groan, answer and confirmation and request, and the rumble echoed inside her. Carefully, he closed his teeth over the spot where her lifeblood thrummed and pounded, his breath hot on her skin. She shut her eyes, every sense narrowing on that sensation, on the teeth and mouth at her throat, on the powerful body trembling with restraint above hers. His tongue flicked against her skin. She made a small noise that might have been a moan, or a word, or his name. He shuddered and pulled back, the cool air kissing her neck. Wildness-pure wildness sparked in those eyes.
Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))
Nick knew the moment she realized her robe had dropped. Knew when the knowledge she was naked hit her full force. Watched her lips purse a small circle of horror right before sanity hit to make her reach for the robe. Nick used his two-second time span to make a decision. Her fingers started to yank up the material when he blocked her motion, lowered his head, and stamped his mouth over hers. Shock held her immobile and he used the time to his advantage. One quick thrust parted her plump lips and allowed him entry—entry to every slick, feminine heated corner of her mouth. Drugged on the taste of her, he circled her tongue with quick, urgent strokes, begging her to give it all back to him. And she did. Full power.
Jennifer Probst (The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire, #1))
His stare shifted back over to Qhuinn. The guy's huge body was arching into the human woman, his broad shoulders and his tight hips and his long, powerful legs guaranteeing her one hell of a ride. He was amazing at sex. Not that Blay would know firsthand. He'd seen it and he'd heard it...and he'd imagined what it would be like. But when the opportunity had arisen, he'd been relegated to a small, special class: denied. Actually, it was more of a category than a class...because he was the only one who Qhuinn would not have sex with.
J.R. Ward (Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #8))
Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Marianne Williamson
Man wasn't made to share the universe with gods. Their ways are not meant for the humble likes of us. But we've decoded some of their secrets regardless. Like worms, we've grabbed on to the talons of eagles and learnt some small truths and means of flight. But we can never really fly. We try, and succeed to a certain extent, but the fall is always—will always be—there. To be a druid is to embrace death, dance with it a while and finally fall prey to it. That is why we'll never rule this world. We have the power to bend all men to our whim, but are forever pushing ourselves further, trying to fly higher… and falling.
Darren Shan (Bec (The Demonata, #4))
It does not take a great supernatural heroine or magical hero to save the world. We all save it every day, and we all destroy it -- in our own small ways -- by every choice we make and every tiniest action resulting from that choice. The next time you feel useless and impotent, remember what you are in fact doing in this very moment. And then observe your tiny, seemingly meaningless acts and choices coalesce and cascade together into a powerful positive whole. The world -- if it could -- will thank you for it. And if it does not... well, a true heroine or hero does not require it.
Vera Nazarian
My first female lover was a Jewish woman. She was butch, but not in a swaggering macho way- she could pass as a yeshiva boy, pale and intense. Small, almost fragile, she exuded a powerful sense of herself. She had not been to a synagogue in years, but kept the law of kashrut, and taught me my first prayers in Hebrew. She cooked, she read, she ironed her dress shirts and polished her boots meticulously, and admired femme women enormously. She was also the first person ever- including myself- to bring me to multiple orgasms. She taught me to ask for what I wanted in bed, then encouraged me to expect it from her and future lovers. She taught me to get her off with fingers, tongue, lips, sex toys, and my voice. She showed me how to masturbate in different positions, and fisted me during my menstrual cramps to provide an internal massage- and to demonstrate that a sexual act without orgasm was also an acceptable, intimate act. She never separated sexuality from the rest of her life; it was as integral to her as her Judaism. This was how I wanted to be. Not just sexually, although certainly that way too. This is how I wanted to move through the world. -- Karen Taylor (from "Daughters of Zelophehad")
Lawrence Schimel (First Person Queer: Who We Are (So Far))
Oh, I believe you. It’s too ridiculous not to be true. It’s just that each time my world gets stranger, I think: Right. We’re at maximum oddness now. At least I know the full extent of it. First, I find out my brother and I are descended from the pharaohs and have magic powers. All right. No problem. Then I find out my dead father has merged his soul with Osiris and Why not? Then my uncle takes over the House of Life and oversees hundreds of magicians around the world. Then my boyfriend turns out to be a hybrid magician boy/immortal god of funerals. And all the while I’m thinking, Of course! Keep calm and carry on! I’ve adjusted! And then you come along on a random Thursday, la-di-da, and say, Oh, by the way, Egyptian gods are just one small part of the cosmic absurdity. We’ve also got the Greeks to worry about! Hooray!
Rick Riordan (The Staff of Serapis (Percy Jackson & Kane Chronicles Crossover, #2))
Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being 'disturbers of the peace' and 'outside agitators.' But they went on with the conviction that they were a 'colony of heaven' and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be 'astronomically intimidated.' They brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest. Things are different now. The contemporary Church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the archsupporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the Church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the Church’s silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are.
Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from the Birmingham Jail)
White people raised in Western society are conditioned into a white supremacist worldview because it is the bedrock of our society and its institutions. Regardless of whether a parent told you that everyone was equal, or the poster in the hall of your white suburban school proclaimed the value of diversity, or you have traveled abroad, or you have people of color in your workplace or family, the ubiquitous socializing power of white supremacy cannot be avoided. The messages circulate 24-7 and have little or nothing to do with intentions, awareness, or agreement. Entering the conversation with this understanding is freeing because it allows us to focus on how--rather than if--our racism is manifest. When we move beyond the good/bad binary, we can become eager to identify our racist patterns because interrupting those patterns becomes more important than managing how we think we look to others. I repeat: stopping our racist patterns must be more important than working to convince others that we don't have them. We do have them, and people of color already know we have them; our efforts to prove otherwise are not convincing. An honest accounting of these patterns is no small task given the power of white fragility and white solidarity, but it is necessary.
Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism)
The stories don't fit back together, and it's the end of stories, those devices we carry like shells and shields and blinkers and occasionally maps and compasses. The people close to you become mirrors and journals in which you record your history, the instruments that help you know yourself and remember yourself, and you do the same for them. When they vanish so does the use, the appreciation, the understanding of those small anecdotes, catchphrases, jokes: they become a book slammed shut or burnt... The stories shatter. Or you wear them out or leave them behind. Over time the memory loses power. Over time you become someone else.
Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
After examining the philosophies, the theories, and the practiced methods of influencing human behavior, I was shocked to learn the simplicity of that one small fact: You will become what you think about most; your success or failure in anything, large or small, will depend on your programming - what you accept from others, and what you say when you talk to yourself. It is no longer a success theory; it is a simple but powerful fact. Neither luck nor desire has the slightest thing to do with it. It makes no difference whether we believe it or not. The brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you, it will create. It has no choice.
Shad Helmstetter (What to Say When You Talk to Yourself)
Old Money Blue hydrangea, cold cash, divine, Cashmere, cologne and white sunshine. Red racing cars, Sunset and Vine, The kids were young and pretty. Where have you been? Where did you go? Those summer nights seem long ago, And so is the girl you used to call, The Queen of New York City. But if you send for me you know I'll come, And if you call for me you know I'll run. I'll run to you, I'll run to you, I'll run, run, run. I'll come to you, I'll come to you, I'll come, come, come. Ohh, Ohh. Ahh, Ahh. The power of youth is on my mind, Sunsets, small town, I'm out of time. Will you still love me when I shine, From words but not from beauty? My father's love was always strong, My mother's glamour lives on and on, Yet still inside I felt alone, For reasons unknown to me. But if you send for me you know I'll come, And if you call for me you know I'll run. I'll run to you, I'll run to you, I'll run, run, run. I'll come to you, I'll come to you, I'll come, come, come. Ohh, Ohh. Ahh, Ahh. And if you call, I'll run, run, run, If you change your mind, I'll come, come, come. Ohh, Ohh. Ahh, Ahh. Blue hydrangea, cold cash, divine, Cashmere, cologne and hot sunshine. Red racing cars, Sunset and Vine, And we were young and pretty.
Lana Del Rey
Time isn't an orderly stream. Time isn't a placid lake recording each of our ripples. Time is viscous. Time is a massive flow. It is a self-healing substance, which is to say, almost everything will be lost. We're too slight, to inconsequntial, despite all of our thrashing and swimming and waving our arms about. Time is an ocean of inertia, drowning out the small vibrations, absorbing the slosh and churn, the foam and wash, and we're up here, flapping and slapping and just generally spazzing out, and sure, there's a little splashing on the surface, but that doesn't even register in the depths, in the powerful undercurrents miles below us, taking us wherever they are taking us.
Charles Yu (How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe)
Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, sea-shores, and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very much. But this is altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility; and I affirm that tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind. Constantly then give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself; and let thy principles be brief and fundamental, which, as soon as thou shalt recur to them, will be sufficient to cleanse the soul completely, and to send thee back free from all discontent with the things to which thou returnest. For with what art thou discontented? With the badness of men? Recall to thy mind this conclusion, that rational animals exist for one another, and that to endure is a part of justice, and that men do wrong involuntarily; and consider how many already, after mutual enmity, suspicion, hatred, and fighting, have been stretched dead, reduced to ashes; and be quiet at last.- But perhaps thou art dissatisfied with that which is assigned to thee out of the universe.- Recall to thy recollection this alternative; either there is providence or atoms, fortuitous concurrence of things; or remember the arguments by which it has been proved that the world is a kind of political community, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps corporeal things will still fasten upon thee.- Consider then further that the mind mingles not with the breath, whether moving gently or violently, when it has once drawn itself apart and discovered its own power, and think also of all that thou hast heard and assented to about pain and pleasure, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps the desire of the thing called fame will torment thee.- See how soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present, and the emptiness of applause, and the changeableness and want of judgement in those who pretend to give praise, and the narrowness of the space within which it is circumscribed, and be quiet at last. For the whole earth is a point, and how small a nook in it is this thy dwelling, and how few are there in it, and what kind of people are they who will praise thee.
Marcus Aurelius (The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius)
I think a lot about queer villains, the problem and pleasure and audacity of them. I know I should have a very specific political response to them. I know, for example, I should be offended by Disney’s lineup of vain, effete ne’er-do-wells (Scar, Jafar), sinister drag queens (Ursula, Cruella de Vil), and constipated, man-hating power dykes (Lady Tremaine, Maleficent). I should be furious at Downton Abbey’s scheming gay butler and Girlfriend’s controlling, lunatic lesbian, and I should be indignant about Rebecca and Strangers on a Train and Laura and The Terror and All About Eve, and every other classic and contemporary foppish, conniving, sissy, cruel, humorless, depraved, evil, insane homosexual on the large and small screen. And yet, while I recognize the problem intellectually—the system of coding, the way villainy and queerness became a kind of shorthand for each other—I cannot help but love these fictional queer villains. I love them for all of their aesthetic lushness and theatrical glee, their fabulousness, their ruthlessness, their power. They’re always by far the most interesting characters on the screen. After all, they live in a world that hates them. They’ve adapted; they’ve learned to conceal themselves. They’ve survived.
Carmen Maria Machado (In the Dream House)
Matilda longed for her parents to be good and loving and understanding and honourable and intelligent. The fact that they were none of these things was something she had to put up with. It was not easy to do so. But the new game she had invented of punishing one or both of them each time they were beastly to her made her life more or less bearable. Being very small and very young, the only power Matilda had over anyone in her family was brain-power. For sheer cleverness she could run rings around them all. But the fact remained that any five-year-old girl in any family was always obliged to do as she was told, however asinine the orders might be.
Roald Dahl (Matilda)
If we don’t allow ourselves the fundamental honesty of our own sadness, then we miss an important cue to adapt. We seem to be living in an age when we’re bombarded with entreaties to be happy, but we’re suffering from an avalanche of depression. We’re urged to stop sweating the small stuff, yet we’re chronically anxious. I often wonder if these are just normal feelings that become monstrous when they’re denied. A great deal of life will always suck. There will be moments when we’re riding high and moments when we can’t bear to get out of bed. Both are normal. Both in fact require a little perspective.
Katherine May (Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times)
Hey Meg! Communication implies sound. Communion doesn't.' He sent her a brief image of walking silently through the woods, the two of them alone together., their feet almost noiseless on the rusty carpet of pine needles. They walked without speaking, without touching, and yet they were as close as it is possible for two human beings to be. They climbed up through the woods, coming out into the brilliant sunlight at the top of the hill. A few sumac trees showed their rusty candles. Mountain laurel, shiny, so dark a green the leaves seemed black in the fierceness of sunlight, pressed toward the woods. Meg and Calvin had stretched out in the thick, late-summer grass, lying on their backs, gazing up into the shimmering blue of sky, a vault interrupted only by a few small clouds. And she had been as happy, she remembered, as it is possible to be, and as close to Calvin as she had ever been to anybody in her life, even Charles Wallace, so close that their separate bodies, daisies and buttercups joining rather than dividing them, seemed a single enjoyment of summer and sun and each other. That was surely the purest kind of thing. Mr. Jenkins had never had that kind of communion with another human being, a communion so rich and full that silence speaks more powerfully than words.
Madeleine L'Engle (A Wind in the Door (Time Quintet, #2))
But Gemma, you could change the world." "That should take far more than my power," I say. "True. But change needn't happen all at once. It can be small gestures." "Moments. Do you understand?" He's looking at me differently now, though I cannot say how. I only know I need to look away... We pass by the pools, where the mud larks sift. And for only a few seconds, I let the magic loose again. "Oi! By all the saints!" a boy cries from the river. "Gone off the dock?" an old woman calls. The mud larks break into cackles. "'S not a rock!" he shouts. He races out of the fog, cradling something in his palm. Curiosity gets the better of the others. They crowd about trying to see. In his palm is a smattering of rubies. "We're rich mates! It's a hot bath and a full belly for every one of us!" Kartik eyes me suspiciously. "That was a strange stroke of good fortune." "Yes it was." "I don't suppose that was your doing." "I'm not sure I don't know what you mean," I say. And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.
Libba Bray (The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3))
It is the fate of great achievements, born from a way of life that sets truth before security, to be gobbled up by you and excreted in the form of shit. For centuries great, brave, lonely men have been telling you what to do. Time and again you have corrupted, diminished and demolished their teachings; time and again you have been captivated by their weakest points, taken not the great truth, but some trifling error as your guiding principal. This, little man, is what you have done with Christianity, with the doctrine of sovereign people, with socialism, with everything you touch. Why, you ask, do you do this? I don't believe you really want an answer. When you hear the truth you'll cry bloody murder, or commit it. … You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman. You had the choice between Lenin's truly democratic constitution and Stalin's dictatorship. You chose Stalin's dictatorship. You had your choice between Freud's elucidation of the sexual core of your psychic disorders and his theory of cultural adaptation. You dropped the theory of sexuality and chose his theory of cultural adaptation, which left you hanging in mid-air. You had your choice between Jesus and his majestic simplicity and Paul with his celibacy for priests and life-long compulsory marriage for yourself. You chose the celibacy and compulsory marriage and forgot the simplicity of Jesus' mother, who bore her child for love and love alone. You had your choice between Marx's insight into the productivity of your living labor power, which alone creates the value of commodities and the idea of the state. You forgot the living energy of your labor and chose the idea of the state. In the French Revolution, you had your choice between the cruel Robespierre and the great Danton. You chose cruelty and sent greatness and goodness to the guillotine. In Germany you had your choice between Goring and Himmler on the one hand and Liebknecht, Landau, and Muhsam on the other. You made Himmler your police chief and murdered your great friends. You had your choice between Julius Streicher and Walter Rathenau. You murdered Rathenau. You had your choice between Lodge and Wilson. You murdered Wilson. You had your choice between the cruel Inquisition and Galileo's truth. You tortured and humiliated the great Galileo, from whose inventions you are still benefiting, and now, in the twentieth century, you have brought the methods of the Inquisition to a new flowering. … Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal. 'Why so tragic?' you ask. 'Do you feel responsible for all evil?' With remarks like that you condemn yourself. If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place. Your great friends wouldn't perish, struck down by your smallness.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
Star friendship.— We were friends and have become estranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as if we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and course; our paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together, as we did—and then the good ships rested so quietly in one harbor and one sunshine that it may have looked as if they had reached their goal and as if they had one goal. But then the almighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never see one another again,—perhaps we shall meet again but fail to recognize each other: our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us! That we have to become estranged is the law above us: by the same token we should also become more venerable for each other! And thus the memory of our former friendship should become more sacred! There is probably a tremendous but invisible stellar orbit in which our very different ways and goals may be included as small parts of this path,—let us rise up to this thought! But our life is too short and our power of vision too small for us to be more than friends in the sense of this sublime possibility.— Let us then believe in our star friendship even if we should be compelled to be earth enemies.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science)
Rage. Sing, O Muse, of the rage of Achilles, of Peleus’ son, murderous, man-killer, fated to die, sing of the rage that cost the Achaeans so many good men and sent so many vital, hearty souls down to the dreary House of Death. And while you’re at it, Muse, sing of the rage of the gods themselves, so petulant and so powerful here on their new Olympos, and of the rage of the post-humans, dead and gone though they might be, and of the rage of those few true humans left, self-absorbed and useless though they have become. While you are singing, O Muse, sing also of the rage of those thoughtful, sentient, serious but not-so-close-to-human beings out there dreaming under the ice of Europa, dying in the sulfur ash of Io, and being born in the cold folds of Ganymede. Oh, and sing of me, O Muse, poor born-against-his-will Hockenberry, dead Thomas Hockenberry, Ph.D., Hockenbush to his friends, to friends long since turned to dust on a world long since left behind. Sing of my rage, yes, of my rage, O Muse, small and insignificant though that rage might be when measured against the anger of the immortal gods, or when compared to the wrath of the god-killer Achilles. On second though, O Muse, sing nothing of me. I know you. I have been bound and servant to you, O Muse, you incomparable bitch. And I do not trust you, O Muse. Not one little bit.
Dan Simmons (Ilium (Ilium, #1))
Situations produce vibrations. Negative, potentially harmful situations emit slow vibrations. Positive, potentially life-enhancing situations emit quick vibrations. As these vibrations impact on your energy field they produce either resonance or dissonance in your lower and middle tantiens (psychic power stations) depending on your own vibratory rate at the time. When you psychic field force is strong and your vibratory rate is fast, therefore, you will draw only positive situations to you. When you mind is quiet enough and your attention is on the moment, you will literally hear the dissonance in your belly and chest like an alarm bell going off, urging you from deep within your body to move in such and such a direction. Always follow it. At times these urges may come to you in the form of internally spoken dialogue with your higher self, spirit guide, guardian angel, alien intelligence, however you see the owner of the “still, small voice within.” This form of dialogue can be entertaining and reassuring but is best not overindulged in as, in the extreme; it tends to lead to the loony bin. At times you may receive your messages from “Indian signs”, such as slogans on passing trucks or cloud formations in the sky. This is also best kept in moderation, to avoid seeing signs in everything and becoming terribly confused. Just let it happen when it happens and don’t try looking for it.
Stephen Russell (Barefoot Doctor's Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior)
Perhaps a person gains by accumulating obstacles. The more obstacles set up to prevent happiness from appearing, the greater the shock when it does appear, just as the rebound of a spring will be all the more powerful the greater the pressure that has been exerted to compress it. Care must be taken, however, to select large obstacles, for only those of sufficient scope and scale have the capacity to lift us out of context and force life to appear in an entirely new and unexpected light. For example, should you litter the floor and tabletops of your room with small objects, they constitute little more than a nuisance, an inconvenient clutter that frustrates you and leaves you irritable; the petty is mean. Cursing, you step around the objects, pick them up, knock them aside. Should you, on the other hand, encounter in your room a nine thousand pound granite boulder, the surprise it evokes, the extreme steps that must be taken to deal with it, compel you to see with new eyes. Difficulties illuminate existence, but they must be fresh and of high quality.
Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues)
I had always buried things, even when I was small; I remember that once I quartered the long field and buried something in each quarter to make the grass grow higher as I grew taller, so I would always be able to hide there. I once buried six blue marbles in the creek bed to make the river beyond run dry. 'Here is a treasure for you to bury,' Constance used to say to me when I was small, giving me a penny, or a bright ribbon; I had buried all my baby teeth as they came out one by one and perhaps someday they would grow as dragons. All our land was enriched with my treasures buried in it, thickly inhabited just below the surface with my marbles and my teeth and my colored stones, all perhaps turned to jewels by now, held together under the ground in a powerful taut web which never loosened, but held fast to guard us.
Shirley Jackson (We Have Always Lived in the Castle)
It is true, as we are often reminded, that kindness to animals is among the humbler duties of human charity--though for just that reason among the more easily neglected. And it is true that there will always be enough injustice and human suffering in the world to make the wrongs done to animals seem small and secondary. The answer is that justice is not a finite commodity, nor are kindness and love. Where we find wrongs done to animals, it is no excuse to say that more important wrongs are done to human beings, and let us concentrate on those. A wrong is a wrong, and often the little ones, when they are shrugged off as nothing, spread and do the gravest harm to ourselves and others.
Matthew Scully (Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy)
But have you noticed the slight curl at the end of Sam II's mouth, when he looks at you? It means that he didn't want you to name him Sam II, for one thing, and for two other things it means that he has a sawed-off in his left pants leg, and a baling hook in his right pants leg, and is ready to kill you with either of them, given the opportunity. The father is taken aback. What he usually says, in such a confrontation, is "I changed your diapers for you, little snot." This is not the right thing to say. First, it is not true (mothers change nine diapers out of ten), and second it reminds Sam II of what he is mad about. He is mad about being small when you were big, but no, that's not it, he is mad about being helpless when you were powerful, but no, not that either, he is mad about being contingent when you were necessary, not quite it, he is insane because when he loved you, you didn't notice.
Donald Barthelme (The Dead Father)
No one thing shows the greatness and power of the human intellect or the loftiness and nobility of man more than his ability to know and to understand fully and feel strongly his own smallness. When, in considering the multiplicity of worlds, he feels himself to be an infinitesimal part of a globe which itself is a negligible part of one of the infinite number of systems that go to make up the world, and in considering this is astonished by his own smallness, and in feeling it deeply and regarding it intently, virtually blends into nothing, and it is as if he loses himself in the immensity of things, and finds himself as though lost in the incomprehensible vastness of existence, with this single act of thought he gives the greatest possible proof of the nobility and immense capability of his own mind, which, enclosed in such a small and negligible being, has nonetheless managed to know and understand things so superior to his own nature, and to embrace and contain this same intensity of existence and things in his thought.
Giacomo Leopardi (Zibaldone di pensieri)
And though she could scarcely even feel them, her lips formed the words, and sound emerged, sounding frayed, and small and cracked, forged in her somehow before she was born, since before time, words meant only for him. “I love you.” Three of the most powerful words in the world offered to one of the most powerful men in London in such a small voice. And at first she thought nothing at all had happened. He didn’t blink. But then she realized she’d somehow set him . . . softly ablaze. Emotion burned from him, and his eyes . . . she would never forget his eyes in this moment. His hands remained at his sides. Which is when she noticed they were trembling. God help her, that’s when she felt tears begin to burn at the back of her eyes. One got away. And she brushed her hand roughly against it. And the man who never cleared his throat . . . cleared his throat. And his voice, in truth, wasn’t a good deal louder than hers. “Then it’s just as well that I love you, Genevieve.
Julie Anne Long (What I Did for a Duke (Pennyroyal Green, #5))
It is a well-known established fact throughout the many-dimensional worlds of the multiverse that most really great discoveries are owed to one brief moment of inspiration. There's a lot of spadework first, of course, but what clinches the whole thing is the sight of, say, a falling apple or a boiling kettle or the water slipping over the edge of the bath. Something goes click inside the observer's head and then everything falls into place. The shape of DNA, it is popularly said, owes its discovery to the chance sight of a spiral staircase when the scientist=s mind was just at the right receptive temperature. Had he used the elevator, the whole science of genetics might have been a good deal different. This is thought of as somehow wonderful. It isn't. It is tragic. Little particles of inspiration sleet through the universe all the time traveling through the densest matter in the same way that a neutrino passes through a candyfloss haystack, and most of them miss. Even worse, most of the ones that hit the exact cerebral target, hit the wrong one. For example, the weird dream about a lead doughnut on a mile-high gantry, which in the right mind would have been the catalyst for the invention of repressed-gravitational electricity generation (a cheap and inexhaustible and totally non-polluting form of power which the world in question had been seeking for centuries, and for the lack of which it was plunged into a terrible and pointless war) was in fact had by a small and bewildered duck. By another stroke of bad luck, the sight of a herd of wild horses galloping through a field of wild hyacinths would have led a struggling composer to write the famous Flying God Suite, bringing succor and balm to the souls of millions, had he not been at home in bed with shingles. The inspiration thereby fell to a nearby frog, who was not in much of a position to make a startling contributing to the field of tone poetry. Many civilizations have recognized this shocking waste and tried various methods to prevent it, most of them involving enjoyable but illegal attempts to tune the mind into the right wavelength by the use of exotic herbage or yeast products. It never works properly.
Terry Pratchett (Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind, #3))
My faith has been tempered in Hell. My faith has emerged from the flames of the crematoria, from the concrete of the gas chamber. I have seen that it is not man who is impotent in the struggle against evil, but the power of evil that is impotent in the struggle against man. The powerlessness of kindness, of senseless kindness, is the secret of its immortality. It can never be conquered. The more stupid, the more senseless, the more helpless it may seem, the vaster it is. Evil is impotent before it. The prophets, religious teachers, reformers, social and political leaders are impotent before it. This dumb, blind love is man's meaning. Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness. But if what is human in human beings has not been destroyed even now, then evil will never conquer.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate)
Logic and morality made it impossible to accept an illogical and immoral reality; they engendered a rejection of reality which as a rule led the cultivated man rapidly to despair. But the varieties of the man-animal are innumerable, and I saw and have described men of refined culture, especially if young, throw all this overboard, simplify and barbarize themselves, and survive. A simple man, accustomed not to ask questions of himself, was beyond the reach of the useless torment of asking himself why. The harsher the oppression, the more widespread among the oppressed is the willingness, with all its infinite nuances and motivations, to collaborate: terror, ideological seduction, servile imitation of the victor, myopic desire for any power whatsoever… Certainly, the greatest responsibility lies with the system, the very structure of the totalitarian state; the concurrent guilt on the part of individual big and small collaborators is always difficult to evaluate… they are the vectors and instruments of the system’s guilt… the room for choices (especially moral choices) was reduced to zero
Primo Levi (The Drowned and the Saved)
To me, the raveled sleeve of care is never more painlessly knitted up than in an evening alone in a chair snug yet copious, with a good light and an easily held little volume sloppily printed and bound in inexpensive paper. I do not ask much of it - which is just as well, for that is all I get. It does not matter if I guess the killer, and if I happen to discover, along around page 208, that I have read the work before, I attribute the fact not to the less than arresting powers of the author, but to my own lazy memory. I like best to have one book in my hand, and a stack of others on the floor beside me, so as to know the supply of poppy and mandragora will not run out before the small hours. In all reverence I say Heaven bless the Whodunit, the soothing balm on the wound, the cooling hand on the brow, the opiate of the people." --Book review Of Ellery Queen: The New York Murders, from Esquire, January 1959
Dorothy Parker (The Portable Dorothy Parker)
Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group. Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations. We have broadened the circle of those we love. We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together — surely a humanizing and character building experience. If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth. Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant. They will fear the loss of power. We will hear much about treason and disloyalty. Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones. But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly the universe or nothing.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
All money is imaginary," answered the Calcatrix simply. "Money is magic everyone agrees to pretend is not magic. Observe! You treat it like magic, wield it like magic, fear it like magic! Why should a body with more small circles of copper or silver or gold than anyone else have an easy life full of treats every day and sleeping in and other people bowing down? The little circles can't get up and fight a battle or make a supper so splendid you get full just by looking at it or build a house of a thousand gables. They can do those things because everyone agrees to give them power. If everyone agreed to stop giving power to pretty metals and started giving it to thumbnails or mushroom caps or roof shingles or first kisses or tears or hours or puffin feathers, those little circles would just lay there tarnishing in the rain and not making anyone bow their noses down to the ground or stick them up in the air.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3))
But then something happened, Ray, something amazing. Something... "That white cop sitting next to me? He took a long look at my mother when she came in, just like, absorbed her, and then without even turning to me, he just put his hand on my back, up between my neck and shoulder... "And all he did was squeeze. Give me a little squeeze of sympathy, then rubbed that same spot with his palm for maybe two, three seconds, and that was it. "But I swear to you, nobody, in my entire life up to that point had ever touched me with that kind of tenderness. I had never experienced a sympathetic hand like that, and Ray, it felt like lightning. "I mean, the guy did it without thinking, I'm sure. And when dinnertime rolled around he had probably forgotten all about it. Forgot about me, too, for that matter... But I didn't forget. "I didn't walk around thinking about it nonstop either, but something like seven years later when I was at community college? The recruiting officer for the PD came on campus for Career Day, and I didn't really like college all that much to begin with, so I took the test for the academy, scored high, quit school and never looked back. "And usually when I tell people why I became a cop I say because it would keep Butchie and Antoine out of my life, and there's some truth in that. "But I think the real reason was because that recruiting officer on campus that day reminded me, in some way, you know, conscious or not, of that housing cop who had sat on the bench with me when I was thirteen. "In fact, I don't think it, I know it. As sure as I'm standing here, I know I became a cop because of him. For him. To be like him. God as my witness, Ray. The man put his hand on my back for three seconds and it rerouted my life for the next twenty-nine years. "It's the enormity of small things... Adults, grown-ups, us, we have so much power... And sometimes when we find ourselves coming into contact with certain kinds of kids? Needy kids? We have to be ever so careful...
Richard Price
With the birth of Akash, in his sudden, perfect presence, Ruma had felt awe for the first time in her life. He still had the power to stagger her at times--simply the fact that he was breathing, that all his organs were in their proper places, that blood flowed quietly and effectively through his small, sturdy limbs. He was her flesh and blood, her mother had told her in the hospital the day Akash was born. Only the words her mother used were more literal, enriching the tired phrase with meaning: "He is made from your meat and bone." It had caused Ruma to acknowledge the supernatural in everyday life. But death, too, had the power to awe, she knew this now-that a human being could be alive for years and years, thinking and breathing and eating, full of a million worries and feelings and thoughts, taking up space in the world, and then, in an instant, become absent, invisible.
Jhumpa Lahiri (Unaccustomed Earth)
It was granted me to carry away from my prison years on my bent back, which nearly broke beneath its load, this essential experience; how a human being becomes evil and how good. In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel. In the surfeit of power I was a murderer, and an oppressor. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. And it was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains… an unuprooted small corner of evil.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
I fish because I love to. Because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly. Because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape. Because in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing what they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion. Because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed, or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility, and endless patience. Because I suspect that men are going this way for the last time and I for one don't want to waste the trip. Because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters. Because in the woods I can find solitude without loneliness. ... And finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant and not nearly so much fun.
Robert Traver
Whedon: Studios will tell you: A woman cannot headline an action movie. After The Hunger Games they might stop telling you that a little bit. Whatever you think of the movie, it’s done a great service. And after The Avengers, I think it’s changing. Johansson: A lot of the female superhero movies just suck really badly. Whedon: The suck factor is not small. Johansson: They are really not well made, and already you’re fighting against the tide. There are a couple [female-driven action movies] that have worked-ish, don’t you think? Hemsworth: Angelina Jolie tends to do it pretty well, as the dominant female. Jackson: They got to get The Pro to the screen! Whedon: [Groaning] See, that is the problem. Sam is the problem! Jackson: I love that book! Whedon: [Reluctantly] The Pro is hilarious. Jackson: The Pro’s hilarious. [To the group] You ever see or hear of it? Johansson: No, what’s The Pro? Jackson: It’s [a comic book] about a hooker who gets super powers! Johansson: [Pauses] That is exactly the problem right there. Whedon: That’s why I wasn’t going to bring up The Pro! (From an Entertainment Weekly interview)
Joss Whedon
This week in live current events: your eyes. All power can be dangerous: Direct or alternating, you, socket to me. Plugged in and the grid is humming, this electricity, molecule-deep desire: particular friction, a charge strong enough to stop a heart or start it again; volt, re-volt-- I shudder, I stutter, I start to life. I've got my ion you, copper-top, so watch how you conduct yourself. Here's today's newsflash: a battery of rolling blackouts in California, sudden, like lightning kisses: sudden, whitehot darkness and you're here, fumbling for that small switch with an urgent surge strong enough to kill lesser machines. Static makes hair raise, makes things cling, makes things rise like a gathering storm charging outside our darkened house and here I am: tempest, pouring out mouthfulls of tsunami on the ground, I've got that rain-soaked kite, that drenched key. You know what it's for, circuit-breaker, you know how to kiss until it's hertz.
Daphne Gottlieb (Why Things Burn)
The greatest book in the world, the Mahabharata, tells us we all have to live and die by our karmic cycle. Thus works the perfect reward-and-punishment, cause-and-effect, code of the universe. We live out in our present life what we wrote out in our last. But the great moral thriller also orders us to rage against karma and its despotic dictates. It teaches us to subvert it. To change it. It tells us we also write out our next lives as we live out our present. The Mahabharata is not a work of religious instruction. It is much greater. It is a work of art. It understands men will always fall in the shifting chasm between the tug of the moral and the lure of the immoral. It is in this shifting space of uncertitude that men become men. Not animals, not gods. It understands truth is relative. That it is defined by context and motive. It encourages the noblest of men - Yudhishtra, Arjuna, Lord Krishna himself - to lie, so that a greater truth may be served. It understands the world is powered by desire. And that desire is an unknowable thing. Desire conjures death, destruction, distress. But also creates love, beauty, art. It is our greatest undoing. And the only reason for all doing. And doing is life. Doing is karma. Thus it forgives even those who desire intemperately. It forgives Duryodhana. The man who desires without pause. The man who precipitates the war to end all wars. It grants him paradise and the admiration of the gods. In the desiring and the doing this most reviled of men fulfils the mandate of man. You must know the world before you are done with it. You must act on desire before you renounce it. There can be no merit in forgoing the not known. The greatest book in the world rescues volition from religion and gives it back to man. Religion is the disciplinarian fantasy of a schoolmaster. The Mahabharata is the joyous song of life of a maestro. In its tales within tales it takes religion for a spin and skins it inside out. Leaves it puzzling over its own poisoned follicles. It gives men the chance to be splendid. Doubt-ridden architects of some small part of their lives. Duryodhanas who can win even as they lose.
Tarun J. Tejpal (The Alchemy of Desire)
Give me the strongest cheese, the one that stinks best; and I want the good wine, the swirl in crystal surrendering the bruised scent of blackberries, or cherries, the rich spurt in the back of the throat, the holding it there before swallowing. Give me the lover who yanks open the door of his house and presses me to the wall in the dim hallway, and keeps me there until I’m drenched and shaking, whose kisses arrive by the boatload and begin their delicious diaspora through the cities and small towns of my body. To hell with the saints, with martyrs of my childhood meant to instruct me in the power of endurance and faith, to hell with the next world and its pallid angels swooning and sighing like Victorian girls. I want this world. I want to walk into the ocean and feel it trying to drag me along like I’m nothing but a broken bit of scratched glass, and I want to resist it. I want to go staggering and flailing my way through the bars and back rooms, through the gleaming hotels and weedy lots of abandoned sunflowers and the parks where dogs are let off their leashes in spite of the signs, where they sniff each other and roll together in the grass, I want to lie down somewhere and suffer for love until it nearly kills me, and then I want to get up again and put on that little black dress and wait for you, yes you, to come over here and get down on your knees and tell me just how fucking good I look. - “For Desire
Kim Addonizio
Behold, the Spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love! Every seed is awakened and so has all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being, and we therefore yield to our neighbors, even our animal neighbors, the same right as ourselves, to inhabit this land. Yet, hear me, people, we have now to deal with another race – small and feeble when our fathers first met them but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule. They claim this mother of ours, the earth, for their own and fence their neighbors away; they deface her with their buildings and their refuse. The nation is like a spring freshet that overruns its banks and destroys all that are in its path. We cannot dwell side by side. Only seven years ago we made a treaty by which we were assured that the buffalo country should be left to us forever. Now they threaten to take that away from us. My brothers, shall we submit or shall we say to them: 'First kill me before you take possession of my land
Sitting Bull
Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits. After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
So I take it you and Gansey get along, then?” Maura’s expression was annoyingly knowing. “Mom.” “Orla told me about his muscle car,” Maura continued. Her voice was still angry and artificially bright. The fact that Blue was well aware that she’d earned it made the sting of it even worse. “You aren’t planning on kissing him, are you?” “Mom, that will never happen,” Blue assured her. “You did meet him, didn’t you?” “I wasn’t sure if driving an old, loud Camaro was the male equivalent of shredding your T-shirts and gluing cardboard trees to your bedroom walls.” “Trust me,” Blue said. “Gansey and I are nothing like each other. And they aren’t cardboard. They’re repurposed canvas.” “The environment breathes a sigh of relief.” Maura attempted another sip of her drink; wrinkling her nose, she shot a glare at Persephone. Persephone looked martyred. After a pause, Maura noted, in a slightly softer voice, “I’m not entirely happy about you’re getting in a car without air bags.” “Our car doesn’t have air bags,” Blue pointed out. Maura picked a long strand of Persephone’s hair from the rim of her glass. “Yes, but you always take your bike.” Blue stood up. She suspected that the green fuzz of the sofa was now adhered to the back of her leggings. “Can I go now? Am I in trouble?” “You are in trouble. I told you to stay away from him and you didn’t,” Maura said. “I just haven’t decided what to do about it yet. My feelings are hurt. I’ve consulted with several people who tell me that I’m within my rights to feel hurt. Do teenagers still get grounded? Did that only happen in the eighties?” “I’ll be very angry if you ground me,” Blue said, still wobbly from her mother’s unfamiliar displeasure. “I’ll probably rebel and climb out my window with a bedsheet rope.” Her mother rubbed a hand over her face. Her anger had completely burned itself out. “You’re well into it, aren’t you? That didn’t take long.” “If you don’t tell me not to see them, I don’t have to disobey you,” Blue suggested. “This is what you get, Maura, for using your DNA to make a baby,” Calla said. Maura sighed. “Blue, I know you’re not an idiot. It’s just, sometimes smart people do dumb things.” Calla growled, “Don’t be one of them.” “Persephone?” asked Maura. In her small voice, Persephone said, “I have nothing left to add.” After a moment of consideration, she added, however, “If you are going to punch someone, don’t put your thumb inside your fist. It would be a shame to break it.” “Okay,” Blue said hurriedly. “I’m out.” “You could at least say sorry,” Maura said. “Pretend like I have some power over you.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
Evil is not one large entity, but a collection of countless, small depravities brought up from the muck by petty men. Many have traded the enrichment of vision for a gray fog of mediocrity--the fertile inspiration of striving and growth, for mindless stagnation and slow decay--the brave new ground of the attempt, for the timid quagmire of apathy. Many of you have traded freedom not even for a bowl of soup, but worse, for the spoken empty feelings of others who say that you deserve to have a full bowl of soup provided by someone else. Happiness, joy, accomplishment, achievement . . . are not finite commodities, to be divided up. Is a child’s laughter to be divided and allotted? No! Simply make more laughter! Every person’s life is theirs by right. An individual’s life can and must belong only to himself, not to any society or community, or he is then but a slave. No one can deny another person their right to their life, nor seize by force what is produced by someone else, because that is stealing their means to sustain their life. It is treason against mankind to hold a knife to a man’s throat and dictate how he must live his life. No society can be more important than the individuals who compose it, or else you ascribe supreme importance, not to man, but to any notion that strikes the fancy of the society, at a never-ending cost of lives. Reason and reality are the only means to just laws; mindless wishes, if given sovereignty, become deadly masters. Surrendering reason to faith in unreasonable men sanctions their use of force to enslave you--to murder you. You have the power to decide how you will live your life. Those mean, unreasonable little men are but cockroaches, if you say they are. They have no power to control you but that which you grant them!
Terry Goodkind (Faith of the Fallen (Sword of Truth, #6))
A few years ago I heard Jerome Kagan, a distinguished emeritus professor of child psychology at Harvard, say to the Dalai Lama that for every act of cruelty in this world there are hundreds of small acts of kindness and connection. His conclusion: "To be benevolent rather than malevolent is probably a true feature of our species." Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives. Numerous studies of disaster response around the globe have shown that social support is the most powerful protection against becoming overwhelmed by stress and trauma. Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, feeling that we are held in someone else's mind and heart. For our physiology to calm down, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety. No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love: These are complex and hard-earned capacities. You don't need a history of trauma to feel self-conscious and even panicked at a party with strangers - but trauma can turn the whole world into a gathering of aliens.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
There's your problem," Leo announced. Jason scratched his head. "Uh.... what are we looking at?" Leo thought it was pretty obvious, but Piper looked confused too. "Okay," Leo sighed, " you want the full explanation or the short explanation?" "Short," Piper and Jason said in unison. Leo gestured to the empty core. "The syncopator goes here. It's a multi-access gyro-valve to regulate flow. The doxen glass tubes on the outside? Those are filled with powerful,dangerous stuff. That glowing red one is Lemnos fire from my dad's forges. This murky stuff here? That's water from the River Styx. The stuff in the tubes is going to power the ship, right? Like radioactive rods in a nuclear reactor. But the mix ratio has to be controlled, and the timer is already operational.... That means without the syncopator, this stuff is all going to vent into the chamber at the same time, in sixty-five minutes. At that point, we'll get a very nasty reaction." Jason and Piper stared at him. Leo wondered if he'd been speaking English. Sometimes when he was agitated he slipped into Spanish, like his mom used to do in her workshop. But he was pretty sure he'd used English. "Um..." Piper cleared her throat." Could you make the short explanation shorter?" Leo palm-smacked his forehead. "Fine. One hour. Fluids mix. Bunker goes ka-boom. One square mile of forest tuns into a smoking crater." "Oh," Piper said in a small voice. "Can't you just..... turn it off?" "Gee, I didn't think of that!" Leo said. "Let me just hit this switch and - No, Piper. I can't turn it off.
Rick Riordan (The Demigod Diaries (The Heroes of Olympus))
When I was a boy in the midwest I used to go out and look at the stars at night and wonder about them. I guess every boy does that. When I wasn't looking at the stars, I was running in the my old or my brand-new tennis shoes, on my way to swing in a tree, swim in a lake, or delve in the town library to read about dinosaurs or time machines. I guess every boy has done that, too. This is a book about those stars and those tennis shoes. Mainly about the stars, beacuse that is the way I grew up, getting more and more involved with rockets and space as I moved toward my twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth years. Not that I have forgotten the tennis shoes and their powerful magic, as you will see in the last story here, which I have included not because it concerns the future, but because it gives you some sort of idea of the kind of boy I was when I was looking at the stars and thinking of the years ahead. Nor have I forgetten the dinosaurs that all boys love; they are here, too, along with a machine that travels back in time to step on a butterfly. This is a book then by a boy who grew up in a small illinois town and lived to see the space age arrive, as he hoped and dreamt it would. I dedicate these stories to all boys who wonder about the past, run swiftly in the present, and have high hopes for our future. The stars are yours, if you have the head, the hands, and the heart for them.
Ray Bradbury
Underlying the attack on psychotherapy, I believe, is a recognition of the potential power of any relationship of witnessing. The consulting room is a privileged space dedicated to memory. Within that space, survivors gain the freedom to know and tell their stories. Even the most private and confidential disclosure of past abuses increases the likelihood of eventual public disclosure. And public disclosure is something that perpetrators are determined to prevent. As in the case of more overtly political crimes, perpetrators will fight tenaciously to ensure that their abuses remain unseen, unacknowledged, and consigned to oblivion. The dialectic of trauma is playing itself out once again. It is worth remembering that this is not the first time in history that those who have listened closely to trauma survivors have been subject to challenge. Nor will it be the last. In the past few years, many clinicians have had to learn to deal with the same tactics of harassment and intimidation that grassroots advocates for women, children and other oppressed groups have long endured. We, the bystanders, have had to look within ourselves to find some small portion of the courage that victims of violence must muster every day. Some attacks have been downright silly; many have been quite ugly. Though frightening, these attacks are an implicit tribute to the power of the healing relationship. They remind us that creating a protected space where survivors can speak their truth is an act of liberation. They remind us that bearing witness, even within the confines of that sanctuary, is an act of solidarity. They remind us also that moral neutrality in the conflict between victim and perpetrator is not an option. Like all other bystanders, therapists are sometimes forced to take sides. Those who stand with the victim will inevitably have to face the perpetrator's unmasked fury. For many of us, there can be no greater honor. p.246 - 247 Judith Lewis Herman, M.D. February, 1997
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Get Comfortable Not Knowing There once was a village that had among its people a very wise old man. The villagers trusted this man to provide them answers to their questions and concerns. One day, a farmer from the village went to the wise man and said in a frantic tone, “Wise man, help me. A horrible thing has happened. My ox has died and I have no animal to help me plow my field! Isn’t this the worst thing that could have possibly happened?” The wise old man replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.” The man hurried back to the village and reported to his neighbors that the wise man had gone mad. Surely this was the worst thing that could have happened. Why couldn’t he see this? The very next day, however, a strong, young horse was seen near the man’s farm. Because the man had no ox to rely on, he had the idea to catch the horse to replace his ox—and he did. How joyful the farmer was. Plowing the field had never been easier. He went back to the wise man to apologize. “You were right, wise man. Losing my ox wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. It was a blessing in disguise! I never would have captured my new horse had that not happened. You must agree that this is the best thing that could have happened.” The wise man replied once again, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Not again, thought the farmer. Surely the wise man had gone mad now. But, once again, the farmer did not know what was to happen. A few days later the farmer’s son was riding the horse and was thrown off. He broke his leg and would not be able to help with the crop. Oh no, thought the man. Now we will starve to death. Once again, the farmer went to the wise man. This time he said, “How did you know that capturing my horse was not a good thing? You were right again. My son is injured and won’t be able to help with the crop. This time I’m sure that this is the worst thing that could have possibly happened. You must agree this time.” But, just as he had done before, the wise man calmly looked at the farmer and in a compassionate tone replied once again, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Enraged that the wise man could be so ignorant, the farmer stormed back to the village. The next day troops arrived to take every able-bodied man to the war that had just broken out. The farmer’s son was the only young man in the village who didn’t have to go. He would live, while the others would surely die. The moral of this story provides a powerful lesson. The truth is, we don’t know what’s going to happen—we just think we do. Often we make a big deal out of something. We blow up scenarios in our minds about all the terrible things that are going to happen. Most of the time we are wrong. If we keep our cool and stay open to possibilities, we can be reasonably certain that, eventually, all will be well. Remember: maybe so, maybe not.
Richard Carlson (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life)
Folding her arms and closing her eyes, Hatsumi sank back into the corner of the seat. Her small gold earrings caught the light as the taxi swayed. Her midnight blue dress seemed to have been made to match the darkness of the cab. Every now and then her thinly daubed, beautifully formed lips would quiver slightly as if she had caught herself on the verge of talking to herself. Watching her, I could see why Nagasawa had chosen her as his special companion. There were any number of women more beautiful than Hatsumi, and Nagasawa could have made any of them his. But Hatsumi had some quality that could send a tremor through your heart. It was nothing forceful. The power she exerted was a subtle thing, but it called forth deep resonances. I watched her all the way to Shibuya, and wondered, without ever finding an answer, what this emotional reverberation that I was feeling could be. It finally hit me some dozen or so years later. I had come to Santa Fe to interview a painter and was sitting in a local pizza parlor, drinking beer and eating pizza and watching a miraculously beautiful sunset. Everything was soaked in brilliant red—my hand, the plate, the table, the world—as if some special kind of fruit juice had splashed down on everything. In the midst of this overwhelming sunset, the image of Hatsumi flashed into my mind, and in that moment I understood what that tremor of the heart had been. It was a kind of childhood longing that had always remained—and would forever remain—unfulfilled. I had forgotten the existence of such innocent, all-but-seared-in longing: forgotten for years to remember what such feelings had ever existed inside of me. What Hatsumi had stirred in me was a part of my very self that had long lain dormant. And when the realization struck me, it aroused such sorrow I almost burst into tears. She had been an absolutely special woman. Someone should have done something—anything—to save her. But neither Nagasawa nor I could have managed that. As so many of those I knew had done, Hatsumi reached a certain stage in her life and decided—almost on the spur of the moment—to end it. Two years after Nagasawa left for Germany, she married, and two years after that she slashed her wrists with a razor blade. It was Nagasawa, of course, who told me what had happened. His letter from Bonn said this: “Hatsumi’s death has extinguished something. This is unbearably sad and painful, even to me.” I ripped his letter to shreds and threw it away. I never wrote to him again.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
A psychotic world we live in. The madmen are in power. How long have we known this? Faced this?-And-how many of us do know it? Not Lotze. Perhaps if you know you are insane then you are not insane. Or you are becoming sane, finally. Waking up. I suppose only a few are aware of all this. Isolated persons here and there. But the broad masses...what do they think? All these hundreds of thousands in this city, here. Do they imagine that they live in a sane world? Or do they guess, glimpse the truth...? But, he thought, what does it mean, insane? A legal definition. What do I mean? I feel it, see it, but what is it? He thought, it is something they do, something they are. It is their unconsciousness. Their lack of knowledge about others. Their not being aware of what they do to others, the destruction they have caused and are causing. No, he thought. That isn't it. I don't know; I sense it, inuit it. But-they are purposely cruel...is that it? No. God, he thought, I can't find it, make it clear. Do they ignore parts of reality? Yes. But it is more. It is their plans. Yes, their plans. The conquering of the planets. Something frenzied and demented, as was their conquering of Africa, and before that, Europe and Asia. Their view; it is cosmic. Not of man here, a child there, but an abstraction: race, land. Volk. Land. Blut. Ehre. Not of honorable men but of Ehre itself, honor; the abstract is real, the actual is invisible to them. Die Gute, but not good men, this good man. It is their sense of space and time. They see through the here, the now, into the vast black deep beyond, the unchanging. And that is fatal to life. Because eventually there will be no life; there was once only the dust particles in space, the hot hydrogen gases, nothing more, and it will come again. This is an interval, ein Augenblick. The cosmic process is hurrying on, crushing life back into the granite and methane; the wheel turns for all life. It is all temporary. And they-these madmen-respond to the granite, the dust, the longing of the inanimate; they want to aid Natur. And, he thought, I know why. They want to be the agents, not the victims, of history. They identify with God's power and believe they are godlike. That is their basic madness. They are overcome by some archetype; their egos have expanded psychotically so that they cannot tell where they begin and the godhead leaves off. it is not hubris, not pride; it is inflation of the ego to its ultimate-confusion between him who worships and that which is worshiped. Man has not eaten God; God has eaten man. What they do not comprehend is man's helplessness. I am weak, small, of no consequence to the universe. It does not notice me; I live on unseen. But why is that bad? Isn't it better that way? Whom the gods notice they destroy. Be small...and you will escape the jealousy of the great.
Philip K. Dick (The Man in the High Castle)
The all-powerful Zahir seemed to be born with every human being and to gain full strength in childhood, imposing rules that would thereafter always be respected: People who are different are dangerous; they belong to another tribe; they want our lands and our women. We must marry, have children, reproduce the species. Love is only a small thing, enough for one person, and any suggestion that the heart might be larger than this may seem perverse. When we are married we are authorised to take possession of the other person, body and soul. We must do jobs we detest because we are part of an organised society, and if everyone did what they wanted to do, the world would come to a standstill. We must buy jewelry; it identifies us with our tribe. We must be amusing at all times and sneer at those who express their real feelings; it's dangerous for a tribe to allow its members to show their feelings. We must at all costs avoid saying no because people prefer those who always say yes, and this allows us to survive in hostile territory. What other people think is more important than what we feel. Never make a fuss--it might attract the attention of an enemy tribe. If you behave differently you will be expelled from the tribe because you could infect others and destroy something that was extremely difficult to organise in the first place. We must always consider the look of our new cave, and if we don't have a clear idea of our own, then we must call a decorator who will do his best to show others what good taste we have. We must eat three meals a day, even if we're not hungry, and when we fail to fit the current ideal of beauty we must fast, even if we're starving. We must dress according to the dictates of fashion, make love whether we feel like it or not, kill in the name of our country, wish time away so that retirement comes more quickly, elect politicians, complain about the cost of living, change our hair-style, criticise anyone who is different, go to a religious service on Sunday, Saturday or Friday, depending on our religion, and there beg forgiveness for our sins and puff ourselves up with pride because we know the truth and despise he other tribe, who worship false gods. Our children must follow in our footsteps; after all we are older and know more about the world. We must have a university degree even if we never get a job in the area of knowledge we were forced to study. We must never make our parents sad, even if this means giving up everything that makes us happy. We must play music quietly, talk quietly, weep in private, because I am the all-powerful Zahir, who lays down the rules and determines the meaning of success, the best way to love, the importance of rewards.
Paulo Coelho (The Zahir)
Now consider the tortoise and the eagle. The tortoise is a ground-living creature. It is impossible to live nearer the ground without being under it. Its horizons are a few inches away. It has about as good a turn of speed as you need to hunt down a lettuce. It has survived while the rest of evolution flowed past it by being, on the whole, no threat to anyone and too much trouble to eat. And then there is the eagle. A creature of the air and high places, whose horizons go all the way to the edge of the world. Eyesight keen enough to spot the rustle of some small and squeaky creature half a mile away. All power, all control. Lightning death on wings. Talons and claws enough to make a meal of anything smaller than it is and at least take a hurried snack out of anything bigger. And yet the eagle will sit for hours on the crag and survey the kingdoms of the world until it spots a distant movement and then it will focus, focus, focus on the small shell wobbling among the bushes down there on the desert. And it will leap… And a minute later the tortoise finds the world dropping away from it. And it sees the world for the first time, no longer one inch from the ground but five hundred feet above it, and it thinks: what a great friend I have in the eagle. And then the eagle lets go. And almost always the tortoise plunges to its death. Everyone knows why the tortoise does this. Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off. No one knows why the eagle does this. There’s good eating on a tortoise but, considering the effort involved, there’s much better eating on practically anything else. It’s simply the delight of eagles to torment tortoises. But of course, what the eagle does not realize is that it is participating in a very crude form of natural selection. One day a tortoise will learn how to fly.
Terry Pratchett (Small Gods (Discworld, #13))
Every type of political power presupposes some particular form of human slavery, for the maintenance of which it is called into being. Just as outwardly, that is, in relation to other states the state has to create certain artificial antagonisms in order to justify its existence, so also internally the cleavage of society into castes, ranks and classes is an essential condition of its continuance. The development of the Bolshevist bureaucracy in Russia under the alleged dictatorship of the proletariat (which has never been anything but the dictatorship of a small clique over the proletariat and the whole Russian people) is merely a new instance of an old historical experience which has repeated itself countless times. This new ruling class, which to-day is rapidly growing into a new aristocracy, is set apart from the great masses of the Russian peasants and workers just as clearly as are the privileged castes and classes in other countries from the mass of the people. And this situation becomes still more unbearable when a despotic state denies to the lower classes the right to complain of existing conditions, so that any protest is made at the risk of their lives. But even a far greater degree of economic equality than that which exists in Russia would be no guarantee against political and social oppression. Economic equality alone is not social liberation. It is precisely this which all the schools of authoritarian Socialism have never understood. In the prison, in the cloister, or in the barracks one finds a fairly high degree of economic equality, as all the inmates are provided with the same dwelling, the same food, the same uniform, and the same tasks. The ancient Inca state in Peru and the Jesuit state in Paraguay had brought equal economic provision for every inhabitant to a fixed system, but in spite of this the vilest despotism prevailed there, and the human being was merely the automaton of a higher will on whose decisions he had not the slightest influence. It was not without reason that Proudhon saw in a "Socialism" without freedom the worst form of slavery. The urge for social justice can only develop properly and be effective when it grows out of man's sense of freedom and responsibility, and is based upon it. In other words, Socialism will be free or it will not be at all. In its recognition of this fact lies the genuine and profound justification of Anarchism.
Rudolf Rocker (Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism)
Poetic Terrorism WEIRD DANCING IN ALL-NIGHT computer-banking lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-art, earth-works as bizarre alien artifacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects. Kidnap someone & make them happy. Pick someone at random & convince them they're the heir to an enormous, useless & amazing fortune--say 5000 square miles of Antarctica, or an aging circus elephant, or an orphanage in Bombay, or a collection of alchemical mss. ... Bolt up brass commemorative plaques in places (public or private) where you have experienced a revelation or had a particularly fulfilling sexual experience, etc. Go naked for a sign. Organize a strike in your school or workplace on the grounds that it does not satisfy your need for indolence & spiritual beauty. Graffiti-art loaned some grace to ugly subways & rigid public monuments--PT-art can also be created for public places: poems scrawled in courthouse lavatories, small fetishes abandoned in parks & restaurants, Xerox-art under windshield-wipers of parked cars, Big Character Slogans pasted on playground walls, anonymous letters mailed to random or chosen recipients (mail fraud), pirate radio transmissions, wet cement... The audience reaction or aesthetic-shock produced by PT ought to be at least as strong as the emotion of terror-- powerful disgust, sexual arousal, superstitious awe, sudden intuitive breakthrough, dada-esque angst--no matter whether the PT is aimed at one person or many, no matter whether it is "signed" or anonymous, if it does not change someone's life (aside from the artist) it fails. PT is an act in a Theater of Cruelty which has no stage, no rows of seats, no tickets & no walls. In order to work at all, PT must categorically be divorced from all conventional structures for art consumption (galleries, publications, media). Even the guerilla Situationist tactics of street theater are perhaps too well known & expected now. An exquisite seduction carried out not only in the cause of mutual satisfaction but also as a conscious act in a deliberately beautiful life--may be the ultimate PT. The PTerrorist behaves like a confidence-trickster whose aim is not money but CHANGE. Don't do PT for other artists, do it for people who will not realize (at least for a few moments) that what you have done is art. Avoid recognizable art-categories, avoid politics, don't stick around to argue, don't be sentimental; be ruthless, take risks, vandalize only what must be defaced, do something children will remember all their lives--but don't be spontaneous unless the PT Muse has possessed you. Dress up. Leave a false name. Be legendary. The best PT is against the law, but don't get caught. Art as crime; crime as art.
Hakim Bey (TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone (New Autonomy))
For my present purpose I require a word which shall embrace both the Sub-Creative Art in itself, and a quality of strangeness and wonder in the Expression, derived from the Image: a quality essential to fairy-story. I propose, therefore, to arrogate to myself the powers of Humpty-Dumpty, and to use Fantasy for this purpose: in a sense, that is, which combines with its older and higher use as an equivalent of Imagination the derived notions of 'unreality' (that is, of unlikeness to the Primary World), of freedom from the dominion of 'observed fact,' in short of the fantastic. I am thus not only aware but glad of the etymological and semantic connexions of fantasy with fantastic: with images of things that are not only 'not actually present,' but which are indeed not to be found in our primary world at all, or are generally believed not to be found there. But while admitting that, I do not assent to the depreciative tone. That the images are of things not in the primary world (if that indeed is possible) is, I think, not a lower but a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so (when achieved) the most Potent. Fantasy, of course, starts out with an advantage: arresting strangeness. But that advantage has been turned against it, and has contributed to its disrepute. Many people dislike being 'arrested.' They dislike any meddling with the Primary World, or such small glimpses of it as are familiar to them. They, therefore, stupidly and even maliciously confound Fantasy with Dreaming, in which there is no Art; and with mental disorders, in which there is not even control; with delusion and hallucination. But the error or malice, engendered by disquiet and consequent dislike, is not the only cause of this confusion. Fantasy has also an essential drawback: it is difficult to achieve. . . . Anyone inheriting the fantastic device of human language can say the green sun. Many can then imagine or picture it. But that is not enough -- though it may already be a more potent thing than many a 'thumbnail sketch' or 'transcript of life' that receives literary praise. To make a Secondary World inside which the green sun will be credible, commanding Secondary Belief, will probably require labour and thought, and will certainly demand a special skill, a kind of elvish craft. Few attempt such difficult tasks. But when they are attempted and in any degree accomplished then we have a rare achievement of Art: indeed narrative art, story-making in its primary and most potent mode.
J.R.R. Tolkien
Once I am sure there's nothing going on I step inside, letting the door thud shut. Another church: matting, seats, and stone, And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff Up at the holy end; the small neat organ; And a tense, musty, unignorable silence, Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off My cycle-clips in awkward reverence. Move forward, run my hand around the font. From where I stand, the roof looks almost new - Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know: I don't. Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce 'Here endeth' much more loudly than I'd meant. The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence, Reflect the place was not worth stopping for. Yet stop I did: in fact I often do, And always end much at a loss like this, Wondering what to look for; wondering, too, When churches will fall completely out of use What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep A few cathedrals chronically on show, Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases, And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep. Shall we avoid them as unlucky places? Or, after dark, will dubious women come To make their children touch a particular stone; Pick simples for a cancer; or on some Advised night see walking a dead one? Power of some sort will go on In games, in riddles, seemingly at random; But superstition, like belief, must die, And what remains when disbelief has gone? Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky, A shape less recognisable each week, A purpose more obscure. I wonder who Will be the last, the very last, to seek This place for what it was; one of the crew That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were? Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique, Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh? Or will he be my representative, Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt So long and equably what since is found Only in separation - marriage, and birth, And death, and thoughts of these - for which was built This special shell? For, though I've no idea What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth, It pleases me to stand in silence here; A serious house on serious earth it is, In whose blent air all our compulsions meet, Are recognized, and robed as destinies. And that much never can be obsolete, Since someone will forever be surprising A hunger in himself to be more serious, And gravitating with it to this ground, Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in, If only that so many dead lie round.
Philip Larkin
As a physician, I was trained to deal with uncertainty as aggressively as I dealt with disease itself. The unknown was the enemy. Within this worldview, having a question feels like an emergency; it means that something is out of control and needs to be made known as rapidly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible. But death has taken me to the edge of certainty, to the place of questions. After years of trading mystery for mastery, it was hard and even frightening to stop offering myself reasonable explanations for some of the things that I observed and that others told me, and simply take them as they are. "I don't know" had long been a statement of shame, of personal and professional failing. In all of my training I do not recall hearing it said aloud even once. But as I listened to more and more people with life-threatening illnesses tell their stories, not knowing simply became a matter of integrity. Things happened. And the explanations I offered myself became increasingly hollow, like a child whistling in the dark. The truth was that very often I didn't know and couldn't explain, and finally, weighed down by the many, many instances of the mysterious which are such an integral part of illness and healing, I surrendered. It was a moment of awakening. For the first time, I became curious about the things I had been unwilling to see before, more sensitive to inconsistencies I had glibly explained or successfully ignored, more willing to ask people questions and draw them out about stories I would have otherwise dismissed. What I have found in the end was that the life I had defended as a doctor as precious was also Holy. I no longer feel that life is ordinary. Everyday life is filled with mystery. The things we know are only a small part of the things we cannot know but can only glimpse. Yet even the smallest of glimpses can sustain us. Mystery seems to have the power to comfort, to offer hope, and to lend meaning in times of loss and pain. In surprising ways it is the mysterious that strengthens us at such times. I used to try to offer people certainty in times that were not at all certain and could not be made certain. I now just offer my companionship and share my sense of mystery, of the possible, of wonder. After twenty years of working with people with cancer, I find it possible to neither doubt nor accept the unprovable but simply to remain open and wait. I accept that I may never know where truth lies in such matters. The most important questions don't seem to have ready answers. But the questions themselves have a healing power when they are shared. An answer is an invitation to stop thinking about something, to stop wondering. Life has no such stopping places, life is a process whose every event is connected to the moment that just went by. An unanswered question is a fine traveling companion. It sharpens your eye for the road.
Rachel Naomi Remen (Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal)