Society Bad Quotes

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Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.
Mary Ann Shaffer (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society)
It is an occupational hazard that anyone who has spent her life learning how to lie eventually becomes bad at telling the truth.
Ally Carter (Heist Society (Heist Society, #1))
A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.
Robert A. Heinlein (Friday)
Stupidity—The top of the list for Satanic Sins. The Cardinal Sin of Satanism. It’s too bad that stupidity isn’t painful. Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity. It depends on people going along with whatever they are told. The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable. Satanists must learn to see through the tricks and cannot afford to be stupid.
Anton Szandor LaVey
In fact I need you to know it was all true. The friendly guy who helps you move and assists senior citizens in the pool is the same guy who assaulted me. One person can be capable of both. Society often fails to wrap its head around the fact that these truths often coexist, they are not mutually exclusive. Bad qualities can hide inside a good person. That's the terrifying part.
Chanel Miller (Know My Name)
Because everybody lies. It's part of living in society. Don't get me wrong-I think it's necessary. The last thing anyone wants is to live in a society where total honesty prevails. Can you imagine the conversations? You're short and fat, one person might say, and the other might answer, I know. But you smell bad. It just wouldn't work. So people lie by omission all the time. People will tell you most of the story...and I've learned that the part they neglect to tell you is often the most important part. People hide the truth because they're afraid." -Jo
Nicholas Sparks (Safe Haven)
Life is too short to waste time on books that end badly
Jayne Ann Krentz (Running Hot (Arcane Society, #5))
Because the horror of Communism, Stalinism, is not that bad people do bad things — they always do. It's that good people do horrible things thinking they are doing something great." [Six Questions for Slavoj Žižek, Harper's Magazine, November 11, 2011]
Slavoj Žižek
You don't read Gatsby, I said, to learn whether adultery is good or bad but to learn about how complicated issues such as adultery and fidelity and marriage are. A great novel heightens your senses and sensitivity to the complexities of life and of individuals, and prevents you from the self-righteousness that sees morality in fixed formulas about good and evil.
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
Society wants to believe it can identify evil people, or bad or harmful people, but it's not practical. There are no stereotypes.
Ted Bundy
It strikes me profoundly that the world is more often than not a bad and cruel place.
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)
So far Kat has been through all the Wa's she could think of, but Hale hadn't admitted to being Walter or Ward or Washington. He'd firmly denied both Warren and Waverly. Watson had prompted him to do a very bad Sherlock Holmes impersonation throughout a good portion of a train ride to Edinburgh, Scotland. And Wayne seemed so wrong she hadn't even tried. Hale was Hale. And not knowing what the W's stood for had become a constant reminder to Kat that, in life, there are some things that can be given but never stolen. Of course, that didn't stop her from trying.
Ally Carter (Heist Society (Heist Society, #1))
Never judge someone's character based on the words of another. Instead, study the motives behind the words of the person casting the bad judgment.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
With humility comes the willingness to stop trying to control or change other people or life situations or events ostensibly 'for their own good'. To be a committed spiritual seeker, it is necessary to relinquish the desire to be 'right' or of imaginary value to society. In fact, nobody's ego or belief systems are of any value to society at all. The world is neither good nor bad nor defective, nor is it in need of help or modification because its appearance is only a projection of one's own mind. No such world exists.
David R. Hawkins
Gabrielle, Hale?" Kat smacked his shoulder. "It wasn't bad enough that you got me kicked out of school, but you had to use her to help you? Gabrielle!" "I can hear you," her cousin sang beside her. Hale looked at Gabrielle and gestured at Kat. "She's adorable when she's jealous." Kat kicked his shin.
Ally Carter (Heist Society (Heist Society, #1))
My whole love and respect is for the person who accepts himself totally, as he is. He has courage. He has courage to face the whole pressure of the society which is bent upon splitting him into divisions — into good and bad, into saint and sinner. He is really a brave, courageous being who stands against the whole history of man, of morality, and declares to the skies his reality, whatever it is.
Osho
In the English language, it all comes down to this: Twenty-six letters, when combined correctly, can create magic. Twenty -six letters form the foundation of a free, informed society.
John Grogan (Bad Dogs Have More Fun: Selected Writings on Family, Animals, and Life from The Philadelphia Inquirer)
We used to build temples, and museums are about as close as secular society dares to go in facing up to the idea that a good building can change your life (and a bad one ruin it).
Alain de Botton
I think people are born bisexual, and it's just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of 'Oh, I can't'. They say it's taboo. It's ingrained in our heads that it's bad, when it's not bad at all. It's a very beautiful thing.
Billie Joe Armstrong
Either we're a team or we aren't. Either you trust me or you don't." Hale took a step toward her. "What's it going to be, Kat?" It is an occupational hazard that anyone who has spent her life learning how to lie eventually becomes bad at telling the truth; in that moment Kat didn't have a clue what to say. I carn't do this with out you sounded trite. What they were doing was to big for a simple please. Hale I-" You know what? Never mind. Either way, I'm in Kat." He seemed utterly resloved as he slipped on his sunglasses. "I'm all in
Ally Carter (Heist Society (Heist Society, #1))
A visitor is a friend, he brings news, good or bad, which is bread to the hungry minds in lonely places. A real friend who comes to the house is a heavenly messenger, who brings the panis angelorum.
Karen Blixen (Out of Africa)
Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.
Annie Barrows (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society)
Every problem that society has, the library has, too, because the boundary between society and the library is porous; nothing good is kept out of the library, and nothing bad.
Susan Orlean (The Library Book)
Of course life frightens me sometimes. I don't happen to take that as the premise for everything else though. I'm going to give it hundred percent and go as far as I can. I'll take what I want and leave what I don't want. That's how I intend to live my life, and it things go bad, I'll stop and reconsider at that point. If you think about it, an unfair society is a society that makes it possible for you to exploit your abilities to the limit.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
In any case, frequent punishments are a sign of weakness or slackness in the government. There is no man so bad that he cannot be made good for something. No man should be put to death, even as an example, if he can be left to live without danger to society.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract)
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.
Robert A. Heinlein
Society is capricious and rewards the bad as often as the good. But it never rewards the quiet.
Julia Quinn (The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever (Bevelstoke, #1))
Fiction isn't bad. It is vital. Without commonly accepted stories about things like money, states or corporations, no complex human society can function. We can't play football unless everyone believes in the same made-up rules, and we can't enjoy the benefits of markets and courts without similar make-believe stories. But stories are just tools. They shouldn't become our goals or our yardsticks. When we forget that they are mere fiction, we lose touch with reality. Then we begin entire wars `to make a lot of money for the cooperation' or 'to protect the national interest'. Corporations, money and nations exist only in our imagination. We invented them to serve us; why do we find ourselves sacrificing our life in their service.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Fear, after all, is our real enemy. Fear is taking over our world. Fear is being used as a tool of manipulation in our society. Itʼs how politicians peddle policy and how Madison Avenue sells us things that we donʼt need. Think about it. Fear that weʼre going to be attacked, fear that there are communists lurking around every corner, fear that some little Caribbean country that doesnʼt believe in our way of life poses a threat to us. Fear that black culture may take over the world. Fear of Elvis Presleyʼs hips. Well, maybe that one is a real fear. Fear that our bad breath might ruin our friendships… Fear of growing old and being alone.
Christopher Isherwood (A Single Man)
Every film is the result of the society that produced it. That’s why the American cinema is so bad now. It reflects an unhealthy society.
Jean-Luc Godard
Emphasizing the crowd means de-emphasizing individual humans in the design of society, and when you ask people not to be people, they revert to bad, mob-like behaviors.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
My dear friend, clear your mind of cant [excessive thought]. You may talk as other people do: you may say to a man, "Sir, I am your most humble servant." You are not his most humble servant. You may say, "These are bad times; it is a melancholy thing to be reserved to such times." You don't mind the times ... You may talk in this manner; it is a mode of talking in Society; but don't think foolishly.
Samuel Johnson (The Life of Johnson, Vol 4)
People who live in society have learned to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to their friends. Is that why my flesh is naked? You might say - yes you might say, nature without humanity… Things are bad! Things are very bad: I have it, the filth, the Nausea.
Jean-Paul Sartre
What’s good for individual could be bad for society but what’s good for society that will be good for individual and there is always need to choose what right for society because if it is right for society then it is right for individual.
Zaman Ali (HUMANITY Understanding Reality and Inquiring Good)
No, it's not that they're bad. It's that they're obliged to pretend they're good. They've been brought up to deceive and be cunning, to protect themselves from our society. I don't want to be like that.
Carlos Fuentes (Todas las familias felices)
Society in itself is no great harm, but unsatisfied social aspirations are a bad and ugly business. We must certainly accept, and we will.
Leo Tolstoy (Family Happiness)
I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.
Hugh Mackay
Hale, stop it.” Kat reached out and grabbed his arm. “You are many things, but stupid isn't one of them.” “I'm too close.” “You don't get it, do you? Being close is good. Caring is good. I love that you're emotional and passionate and can't turn these things off.” “It makes me a bad thief.” “It makes you a good person.
Ally Carter (Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society, #3))
A woman cannot live in the light of intellect. Society forbids it. Those conventional frivolities, which are called her 'duties', forbid it. Her 'domestic duties', high-sounding words, which, for the most part, are but bad habits (which she has not the courage to enfranchise herself from, the strength to break through), forbid it.
Florence Nightingale
Weight and body oppression is oppressive to everyone. When you live in a society that says that one kind of body is bad and and other is good, those with “good” bodies constantly fear that their bodies will go “bad”, and those with “bad” bodies are expected feel shame and do everything they can to have “good” bodies. In the process, we torture our bodies, and do everything from engage in disordered eating to invasive surgery to make ourselves okay. Nobody wins in this kind of struggle.
Golda Poretsky
Imagine saying to someone, “I have a kidney problem, and I’m having a lot of bad days lately.” Nothing but sympathy, right? “What’s wrong?” “My mom had that!” “Text me a pic of the ultrasound!” Then pretend to say, “I have severe depression and anxiety, and I’m having a lot of bad days lately.” They just look at you like you’re broken, right? Unfixable. Inherently flawed. Maybe not someone they want to hang around as much? Yeah, society sucks.
Felicia Day (You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost))
The things people say of a man do not alter a man. He is what he is. Public opinion is of no value whatsoever. Even if people employ actual violence, they are not to be violent in turn. That would be to fall to the same low level. After all, even in prison, a man can be quite free. His soul can be free. His personality can be untroubled. He can be at peace. And, above all things, they are not to interfere with other people or judge them in any way. Personality is a very mysterious thing. A man cannot always be estimated by what he does. He may keep the law, and yet be worthless. He may break the law, and yet be fine. He may be bad, without ever doing anything bad. He may commit a sin against society, and yet realize through that sin his true perfection.
Oscar Wilde (The Soul of Man Under Socialism)
Professor Langdon,' called a young man with curly hair in the back row, 'if Masonry is not a secret society, not a corporation, and not a religion, then what is it?' 'Well, if you were to ask a Mason, he would offer the following definition: Masonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.' 'Sounds to me like a euphemism for "freaky cult." ' 'Freaky, you say?' 'Hell yes!' the kid said, standing up. 'I heard what they do inside those secret buildings! Weird candlelight rituals with coffins, and nooses, and drinking wine out of skulls. Now that's freaky!' Langdon scanned the class. 'Does that sound freaky to anyone else?' 'Yes!' they all chimed in. Langdon feigned a sad sigh. 'Too bad. If that's too freaky for you, then I know you'll never want to join my cult.' Silence settled over the room. The student from the Women's Center looked uneasy. 'You're in a cult?' Langdon nodded and lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. 'Don't tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh.' The class looked horrified. Langdon shrugged. 'And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion.' The classroom remained silent. Langdon winked. 'Open your minds, my friends. We all fear what we do not understand.
Dan Brown (The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3))
For the love of ammonites, man! That's just stupid. Why on earth would the Society need to protect unmarried women from bone-dry lectures regarding soil composition? Do your members find themselves whipped into some sort of dusty frenzy, from which no delicate lass would be safe?" Mr. Barrington tugged on his coat. "Sometimes the debate does get heated." Colin turned to her. "Min, Can I just hit him?" "I think that's a bad idea." "run him through with something sharp?
Tessa Dare (A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
Women are no sheep. Women are no fragile showpiece to be placed above the fire-place. Women of the thinking society are the builders of nations. Women of the sentient society are the builders of the world.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
Like it or not, it's the society we live in. Even the standard of right and wrong has been subdivided, made sophisticated. Within good, there's fashionable good and unfashionable good, and ditto for bad. Within fashionable good, there's formal and then there's casual; there's hip, there's cool, there's trendy, there's snobbish. Mix 'n' match.
Haruki Murakami (Dance Dance Dance (The Rat #3))
The English language needs a word for that feeling you get when you badly need help, but there is no one you can call because you're not popular enough to have friends, not rich enough to have employees, and not powerful enough to have lackeys. It is a very distinct cocktail of impotence, loneliness and a sudden stark assessment of your non-worth to society? Enturdment?
David Wong (This Book Is Full of Spiders (John Dies at the End, #2))
Never judge someone's character based on the words of another. Instead, study the motives behind the words of the person casting the bad judgment. An honest woman can sell tangerines all day and remain a good person until she dies, but there will always be naysayers who will try to convince you otherwise. Perhaps this woman did not give them something for free, or at a discount. Perhaps too, that she refused to stand with them when they were wrong — or just stood up for something she felt was right. And also, it could be that some bitter women are envious of her, or that she rejected the advances of some very proud men. Always trust your heart. If the Creator stood before a million men with the light of a million lamps, only a few would truly see him because truth is already alive in their hearts. Truth can only be seen by those with truth in them. He who does not have Truth in his heart, will always be blind to her.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless. It enslaves him almost before he has tasted freedom. The 'ologies' will tell you how its done Theology calls it building a conscience or developing a spirit of selflessness. Psychology calls it the growth of the superego. Considering how long society has been at it, you'd expect a better job. But the campaigns have been badly planned and the victory has never been secured.
B.F. Skinner (Walden Two)
It's all very well to run around saying regulation is bad, get the government off our backs, etc. Of course our lives are regulated. When you come to a stop sign, you stop; if you want to go fishing, you get a license; if you want to shoot ducks, you can shoot only three ducks. The alternative is dead bodies at the intersection, no fish, and no ducks. OK? (Getting Control of the Frontier, Gainsville Sun, March 22, 1995)
Molly Ivins
The task of the moral philosopher-thinker is to support and strengthen the voice of human conscience, to recognize what is good or what is bad for people, whether they are good or bad for society in a period of evolution. May be a "voice crying in the wilderness", but only if that voice remains lively and uncompromising, it is possible to transform the desert into fertile land.
Erich Fromm (Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics)
The rationalist imagines an imbecile-free society; the empiricist and imbecile-proof one, or even better, a rationalist-proof one.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms)
Our successes and failures in life can be traced to how well or how badly we deal with the inevitable conflicts that confront us in society.
Robert Greene (The 33 Strategies of War)
Gossiping has become the main form of communication in human society. It has become the way we feel close to each other, because it makes us feel better to see someone else feel as badly as we do.
Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom)
In real life during the last decade of the twentieth century, Rumpelstiltskin would probably get the queen's daughter. He would no doubt addict her to heroin, turn her out as a prostitute, confiscate her earnings, beat her for pleasure, hack her to pieces, and escape justice by claiming that society's intolerance for bad-tempered, evil-minded trolls had driven him temporarily insane.
Dean Koontz (Dragon Tears)
That's really bad," concluded the host, "say what you will, but there's something evil lurking in men who avoid wine, games, the society of delightful women, table talk. Such people are either gravely ill or secretly hate those around them. True, exceptions are possible. Among those who have sat down with me at the banqueting table, there have sometimes been some astonishing scoundrels! And so, I'm listening to why you're here.
Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
I think I've always been bisexual. I mean, it's something that I've always been interested in. I think people are born bisexual, and it's just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of 'Oh, I can't.' They say it's taboo. It's ingrained in our heads that it's bad, when it's not bad at all. It's a very beautiful thing.
Billie Joe Armstrong
The representation of women in the society, especially through mass media has been the most delusional act ever done on the grounds of human existence.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
Did the men steal the papers?" Reynie asked, fearing her response. No, because they are fools," Sophie said bitterly. "They demanded to see the papers, and when I did not answer fast enough -- they were very frightening, you see -- they hurt me so that I was not awake. . . . When I opened my eyes they were still trying to find the papers. They did not understand how we organize the library, you see. They were angry and creating a bad mess. . . . The police were coming and the men decided they must leave. I shouted at them as they left: 'It is a free and public library! All you had to do was ask!
Trenton Lee Stewart (The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #2))
Before our white brothers came to civilize us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can't have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a an was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were to uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man's worth couldn't be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorneys or politicians, therefore we couldn't cheat. We really were in a bad way before the white men came, and I don't know how we managed to get along without these basic things which, we are told, are absolutly necessary to make a civilized society.
John Fire Lame Deer (Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions)
Society wants to believe it can identify evil people, or bad or harmful people, but it’s not practical. There are no stereotypes.” —Ted
Hourly History (Adolf Hitler: A Life From Beginning to End)
You mean one human is good, but a hundred humans is bad?" "Exactly. One human is just a person. A hundred humans make a society. And societies have kings, and religions and priests, and all these other things serrin completely fail to understand
Joel Shepherd (Petrodor (A Trial of Blood & Steel, #2))
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)
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed. The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.
Charles Darwin (The Descent of Man)
I don't know why, but people seem to be fascinated to learn how some members of society fall through the cracks. I think it's partly that feeling that... it could happen to anyone. But I think it also makes people feel better about their own lives. It makes them think, 'Well, I may think my life is bad, but it could be worse, I could be that poor sod.
James Bowen (A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life)
I have to have dinner with my mother at nine and after that I won't be fit for human society.
Mary Gaitskill (Bad Behavior)
There are certain bad habits we've groomed our whole life -- from personality flaws to fashion faux pas. And it has been the role of parents and friends, outside of some minor tweaking, to reinforce the belief that we're okay just as we are. But it's not enough to just be yourself. You have to be your best self. And that's a tall order if you haven't found your best self yet.
Neil Strauss (The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists)
Dan had some questions about Chris-R. We all did. Why the name “Chris-R,” for instance? What’s with that hyphen? Tommy’s explanation: “He is gangster.” What about this drug business, which never comes up either before or after Chris-R’s only scene in the film? “We have big problem in society with the drugs.
Greg Sestero (The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made)
God intends us to penetrate the world. Christian salt has no business to remain snugly in elegant little ecclesiastical salt cellars; our place is to be rubbed into the secular community, as salt is rubbed into meat, to stop it going bad. And when society does go bad, we Christians tend to throw up our hands in pious horror and reproach the non-Christian world; but should we not rather reproach ourselves? One can hardly blame unsalted meat for going bad. It cannot do anything else. The real question to ask is: Where is the salt?
John R.W. Stott
It's only in bad novels that people are divided into two camps and have nothing to do with each other. In real life everything gets mixed up! Don't you think you'd have to be a hopeless nonentity to play only one role all your life, to have only one place in society, always to stand for the same thing?--Ah, there you are!" - Larissa Fyodorovna in Doctor Zhivago.
Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago)
EVERYTIME A GIRL WISHES TO BE A BOY BADLY, IT'S A SIGNAL THAT OUT SOCIETY FAILED IN ITS DEEDS SOMEWHERE.
Ameya Agrawal
But who are we, really? Just a bundle of good genes and bad genes mixed with good habits and bad habits. And since there's no gene for coolness or confidence, then being uncool and unconfident are just bad habits, which can be changed with enough guidance and will power.
Neil Strauss (The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists)
A good movie can take you out of your dull funk and the hopelessness that so often goes with slipping into a theatre; a good movie can make you feel alive again, in contact, not just lost in another city. Good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again. If somewhere in the Hollywood-entertainment world someone has managed to break through with something that speaks to you, then it isn’t all corruption. The movie doesn’t have to be great; it can be stupid and empty and you can still have the joy of a good performance, or the joy in just a good line. An actor’s scowl, a small subversive gesture, a dirty remark that someone tosses off with a mock-innocent face, and the world makes a little bit of sense. Sitting there alone or painfully alone because those with you do not react as you do, you know there must be others perhaps in this very theatre or in this city, surely in other theatres in other cities, now, in the past or future, who react as you do. And because movies are the most total and encompassing art form we have, these reactions can seem the most personal and, maybe the most important, imaginable. The romance of movies is not just in those stories and those people on the screen but in the adolescent dream of meeting others who feel as you do about what you’ve seen. You do meet them, of course, and you know each other at once because you talk less about good movies than about what you love in bad movies.
Pauline Kael (For Keeps: 30 Years at the Movies)
In a society where dirt sells, for every good story told as it is, you will hear the whole of that day's 10 bad stories sensationalized; although in reality, it could be that 100 good deeds happened that day which went unsung.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Something about this made Reynie uneasy. Had he done so badly? Was this meant to test his courage? He did as he was told, closing his eyes and bracing himself as best he could. "Why are you flinching?" the pencil woman asked. "I don't know. I thought maybe you were going to slap me." "Don't be ridiculous. I could slap you perfectly well with your eyes open. I'm only going to blindfold you.
Trenton Lee Stewart (The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1))
Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men,we didn't have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn't afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn't know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don't know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.
John Fire Lame Deer
Latter-day capitalism. Like it or not, it's the society we live in. Even the standard of right and wrong has been subdi-vided, made sophisticated. Within good, there's fashionable good and unfash-ionable good, and ditto for bad. Within fashionable good, there's formal and then there's casual; there's hip, there's cool, there's trendy, there's snobbish. Mix 'n' match. Like pulling on a Missoni sweater over Trussardi slacks and Pollini shoes, you can now enjoy hybrid styles of morality. It's the way of the world—philosophy starting to look more and more like business administration. Although I didn't think so at the time, things were a lot simpler in 1969. All you had to do to express yourself was throw rocks at riot police. But with today's sophistication, who's in a position to throw rocks? Who's going to brave what tear gas? C'mon, that's the way it is. Everything is rigged, tied into that massive capital web, and beyond this web there's another web. Nobody's going anywhere. You throw a rock and it'll come right back at you.
Haruki Murakami (Dance Dance Dance (The Rat #3))
But are his needs any more shocking than the needs of any other animals and men? Are his deeds more outrageous than the deeds of the parent who drained the spirit from his child? The vampire may foster quickened heartbeats and levitated hair. But is he worse than the parent who gave to society a neurotic child who became a politician? Is he worse than the manufacturer who set up belated foundations with the money he made by handing bombs and guns to suicidal nationalists? Is he worse than the distiller who gave bastardized grain juice to stultify further the brains of those who, sober, were incapable of progressive thought? (Nay, I apologize for this calumny; I nip the brew that feeds me.) Is he worse, then, than the publisher who filled ubiquitous racks with lust and death wishes? Really, no, search your soul, lovie--is the vampire so bad?
Richard Matheson (I Am Legend and Other Stories)
How dare a person tell a woman, how to dress, how to talk, how to behave! Any being who does that, is no human.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
All the bloodsheds in human history have been caused by men, not women.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
What's life without risk," my father said. "Nothing but mauvais foi [bad faith]" from The Society of S (p. 137).
Susan Hubbard
A silver-tongued charlatan and a half-wit society are made for each other! When these two come together in an election, a great disaster happens: Charlatan comes to power!
Mehmet Murat ildan
A free society is most threatened not by uses of government that are obviously bad, but by uses of government that seem obviously good.
Charles Murray (What It Means to Be a Libertarian)
In this America, too, the Christian teaching that every human soul is unique and precious has been stressed, by the prophets of self-fulfillment and gurus of self-love, at the expense of the equally important teaching that every human soul is fatally corrupted by original sin. Absent the latter emphasis, religion becomes a license for egotism and selfishness, easily employed to justify what used to be considered deadly sins. The result is a society where pride becomes 'healthy self-esteem', vanity becomes 'self-improvement', adultery becomes 'following your heart', greed and gluttony become 'living the American dream'.
Ross Douthat (Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics)
It surprises me, though it shouldn't, how short the memories of these politicians are. They forget the brutal lengths women have gone to in order to terminate pregnancies when abortion was illegal or when abortion is unaffordable. Women have thrown themselves down stairs and otherwise tried to physically harm themselves to force a miscarriage. Dr. Waldo Fielding noted in the New York Times, "Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion—darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off." Women have tried to use soap and bleach, catheters, natural remedies. Women have historically resorted to any means necessary. Women will do this again if we are backed into that terrible corner. This is the responsibility our society has forced on women for hundreds of years.
Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)
She was an extraordinary person too! Would you believe it, she cut her hair short, and used to go about in men’s boots in bad weather
Henrik Ibsen (Pillars of Society)
If you tell me bad things about someone, you're telling bad things about me behind me
Válgame (Poemas y canciones para el mal de amores Volumen1)
These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint stock company in which the members agree for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It [That is, conformity.] loves not realities and creators, but names and customs. "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. I remember an answer which when quite young I was prompted to make to a valued adviser who was wont to importune me with the dear old doctrines of the church. On my saying, What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within? my friend suggested--'But these impulses may be from below, not from above.' I replied, 'They do not seem to me to be such; but if I am the devil's child, I will live them from the devil.' No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition as if everything were titular and ephemeral but he. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions. Every decent an well-spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right. I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Divorce is a marital welfare. It's just couples asking society to bail them out because they didn't do enough research before they got married. How is that our fault? Don't drag down my country's statistics just because you ran off and got hitched before you ever saw each other in a bad mood.
Stephen Colbert (I Am America (And So Can You!))
Doubt gets a bad rap. Doubting doesn't mean you've stopped believing, but that you've started thinking. Sheep doubt nothing. Chances are you'll get further in life by questioning things than by living like something that ends up as dinner and a sweater.
Amy Alkon (I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle to Beat Some Manners Into Impolite Society)
No settled family or community has ever called its home place an “environment.” None has ever called its feeling for its home place “biocentric” or “anthropocentric.” None has ever thought of its connection to its home place as “ecological,” deep or shallow. The concepts and insights of the ecologists are of great usefulness in our predicament, and we can hardly escape the need to speak of “ecology” and “ecosystems.” But the terms themselves are culturally sterile. They come from the juiceless, abstract intellectuality of the universities which was invented to disconnect, displace, and disembody the mind. The real names of the environment are the names of rivers and river valleys; creeks, ridges, and mountains; towns and cities; lakes, woodlands, lanes roads, creatures, and people. And the real name of our connection to this everywhere different and differently named earth is “work.” We are connected by work even to the places where we don’t work, for all places are connected; it is clear by now that we cannot exempt one place from our ruin of another. The name of our proper connection to the earth is “good work,” for good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; it honors the place where it is done; it honors the art by which it is done; it honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing. Good work is always modestly scaled, for it cannot ignore either the nature of individual places or the differences between places, and it always involves a sort of religious humility, for not everything is known. Good work can be defined only in particularity, for it must be defined a little differently for every one of the places and every one of the workers on the earth. The name of our present society’s connection to the earth is “bad work” – work that is only generally and crudely defined, that enacts a dependence that is ill understood, that enacts no affection and gives no honor. Every one of us is to some extent guilty of this bad work. This guilt does not mean that we must indulge in a lot of breast-beating and confession; it means only that there is much good work to be done by every one of us and that we must begin to do it.
Wendell Berry
[...] extremes—whether good or bad—don't fit into society's definition of normality
Marilyn Manson (The Long Hard Road Out of Hell)
Forms are vehicles and instruments, and vehicles and instruments cannot be called good or bad without context.
Idries Shah (Learning How to Learn: Psychology and Spirituality in the Sufi Way)
It is very difficult to earn trust. It takes years to build and it can be destroyed in an instant by one bad deed. Trust requires an enormous amount of integrity and you have to prove every time that you are worthy of it. I am very grateful to our society and community.
Sudha Murty (The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk: Life Lessons from Here and There)
I want to say before I go on that I have never previously told anyone my sordid past in detail. I haven't done it now to sound as though I might be proud of how bad, how evil, I was. But people are always speculating-why am I as I am? To understand that of any person, his whole life, from birth, must be reviewed. All of our experiences fuse into our personality. Everything that ever happened to us is an ingredient. Today, when everything that I do has an urgency, I would not spend one hour in the preparation of a book which had the ambition to perhaps titillate some readers. But I am spending many hours because the full story is the best way that I know to have it seen, and understood, that I had sunk to the very bottom of the American white man's society when-soon now, in prison-I found Allah and the religion of Islam and it completely transformed my life.
Malcolm X (The Autobiography of Malcolm X)
What comes naturally to me? For just a moment, ignore what you have been taught. Ignore what society has told you. Ignore what others expect of you. Look inside yourself and ask, “What feels natural to me? When have I felt alive? When have I felt like the real me?” No internal judgments or people-pleasing. No second-guessing or self-criticism. Just feelings of engagement and enjoyment. Whenever you feel authentic and genuine, you are headed in the right direction.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
...The life of the parents is the only thing that makes good children. Parents should be very patient and ‘saintlike’ to their children. They should truly love their children. And the children will share this love! For the bad attitude of the children, says father Porphyrios, the ones who are usually responsible for it are their parents themselves. The parents don’t help their children by lecturing them and repeating to them ‘advices’, or by making them obeying strict rules in order to impose discipline. If the parents do not become ‘saints’ and truly love their children and if they don’t struggle for it, then they make a huge mistake. With their wrong and/or negative attitude the parents convey to their children their negative feelings. Then their children become reactive and insecure not only to their home, but to the society as well...
Elder Porphyrios
As Ruth Franklin notes, “The underlying problem is that while women read books by male writers about male characters, men tend not to do the reverse. Men’s novels about suburbia (Franzen) are about society; women’s novels about suburbia (Wolitzer) are about women.
Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist: Essays)
I was sorry to see the gloomy picture which you drew of the affairs of your Country in your letter of December; but I hope events have not turned out so badly as you then apprehended. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated. I was in hopes, that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far, that we should never again see their religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of Society. [Letter to Edward Newenham, 20 October 1792 about violence between Catholics and Protestants]
George Washington (Writings)
Whenever governments wanted to achieve some end, often involving population growth, they restricted access to birth control and/or criminalized birth control unless, of course, the population growth concerned the poor, in which case, contraception was enthusiastically promoted. Historically, society has only wanted the "right kind of people" to have a right to life. We shouldn't forget that fact.
Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)
Before I went to college I read two books. I read a book “Moral Mazes” by Robert Jackall which is a study of how corporations work, and it’s actually a fascinating book, this sociologist, he just picks a corporation at random and just goes and studies the middle managers, not the people who do any of the grunt work and not the big decision makers, just the people whose job is to make sure that things day to day get done, and he shows how even though they’re all perfectly reasonable people, perfectly nice people you’d be happy to meet any of them, all the things that they were accomplishing were just incredibly evil. So you have these people in this average corporation, they were making decisions to blow out their worker’s eardrums in the factory, to poison the lakes and the lagoons nearby, to make these products that are filled with toxic chemicals that poisoned their customers, not because any of them were bad people and wanted to kill their workers and their neighbourhood and their customers, but just because that was the logic of the situation they were in. Another book I read was a book “Understanding Power” by Noam Chomsky which kind of took the same sort of analysis but applied it to wider society which you know we’re in a situation where it may be filled with perfectly good people but they’re in these structures that cause them to continually do evil, to invade countries, to bomb people, to take money from poor people and give it to rich people, to do all these things that are wrong. These books really opened my eyes about just how bad the society we were living in really is.
Aaron Swartz
You are not born to follow the society, you are born to inspire it - you are born to teach it - you are born to build it.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
Free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society.
Greg Lukianoff (The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure)
Most of the time, we see only what we want to see, or what others tell us to see, instead of really investigate to see what is really there. We embrace illusions only because we are presented with the illusion that they are embraced by the majority. When in truth, they only become popular because they are pounded at us by the media with such an intensity and high level of repetition that its mere force disguises lies and truths. And like obedient schoolchildren, we do not question their validity and swallow everything up like medicine. Why? Because since the earliest days of our youth, we have been conditioned to accept that the direction of the herd, and authority anywhere — is always right.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Musa Okwonga, the poet, journalist and essayist whose powerful ‘The Ungrateful Country’ closes the book, once said to me that the biggest burden facing people of colour in this country is that society deems us bad immigrants – job-stealers, benefit-scroungers, girlfriend-thieves, refugees – until we cross over in their consciousness, through popular culture, winning races, baking good cakes, being conscientious doctors, to become good immigrants. And we are so tired of that burden." (from "The Good Immigrant" by Nikesh Shukla)
Nikesh Shukla (The Good Immigrant)
Someday, sometime, you will be sitting somewhere. A berm overlooking a pond in Vermont. The lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. A seat on the subway. And something bad will have happened: You will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something at which you badly wanted to succeed. And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for some core to sustain you. And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be. I don't want anyone I know to take that terrible chance. And the only way to avoid it is to listen to that small voice inside you that tells you to make mischief, to have fun, to be contrarian, to go another way. George Eliot wrote, 'It is never too late to be what you might have been.' It is never too early, either.
Anna Quindlen (Being Perfect)
So often, children are punished for being human. Children are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes, yet we adults have them all the time! We think if we don't nip it in the bud, it will escalate and we will lose control. Let go of that unfounded fear and give your child permission to be human. We all have days like that. None of us are perfect, and we must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves. All of the punishments you could throw at them will not stamp out their humanity, for to err is human, and we all do it sometimes.
Rebecca Eanes (The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting)
Altruism, compassion, empathy, love, conscience, the sense of justice—all of these things, the things that hold society together, the things that allow our species to think so highly of itself, can now confidently be said to have a firm genetic basis. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, although these things are in some ways blessings for humanity as a whole, they didn’t evolve for the “good of the species” and aren’t reliably employed to that end. Quite the contrary: it is now clearer than ever how (and precisely why) the moral sentiments are used with brutal flexibility, switched on and off in keeping with self-interest; and how naturally oblivious we often are to this switching. In the new view, human beings are a species splendid in their array of moral equipment, tragic in their propensity to misuse it, and pathetic in their constitutional ignorance of the misuse. The title of this book is not wholly without irony.
Robert Wright (The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are - The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology)
Given the same honor and dignity as men, women can build a much better and more harmonious world.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
Any government that places profit before people is pure evil.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
I didn't know whether it was better to maintain a fierce distinction between yourself and your acquaintances in society in order to deal with and respond properly to things in a pleasant manner, or rather never to hide yourself, to remain true to yourself always, even if they say bad things about you
Osamu Dazai (Schoolgirl)
Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didin't have any kind of prison. Because of this, we didn't have any delinquents. Without a prison, there can't be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn't afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn't know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white man arrived and I don't know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.
John Fire Lame Deer
Remember your math: an anecdote is not a trend. Remember your history: the fact that something is bad today doesn't mean it was better in the past. Remember your philosophy: one cannot reason that there's no such thing as reason, or that something is true or good because God said it is. And remember your psychology: much of what we know isn't so, especially when our comrades know it too. Keep some perspective. Not every problem is a Crisis, Plague, Epidemic, or Existential Threat, and not every change is the End of This, the Death of That, or the Dawn of a Post-Something Era. Don't confuse pessimism with profundity: problems are inevitable, but problems are solvable, and diagnosing every setback as a symptom of a sick society is a cheap grab for gravitas. Finally, drop the Nietzsche. His ideas may seem edgy, authentic, baad,while humanism seems sappy, unhip, uncool But what's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
Criminal justice" is what happens after a complicated series of events has gone bad. It is the end result of failure--the failure of a group of people that sometimes includes, but is never limited to, the accused person.
Paul Butler (Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice)
...only the one who knows and practices the iconoclastic fury of destruction can possess the joy born of freedom, of that unique freedom fertilized by sorrow. I rise up against the reality of the outer world for the triumph of the reality of my inner world. I reject society for the triumph of the I. I reject the stability of every rule, every custom, every morality, for the affirmation of every willful instinct, all free emotionality, every passion and every fantasy. I mock at every duty and every right so I can sing free will. I scorn the future to suffer and enjoy my good and my bad in the present. I despise humanity because it is not my humanity. I hate tyrants and I detest slaves. I don't want and I don't grant solidarity, because I am convinced that it is a new chain, and because I believe with Ibsen that the one who is most alone is the strongest one. This is my Nihilism.
Renzo Novatore
Teachers dread nothing so much as unusual characteristics in precocious boys during the initial stages of their adolescence. A certain streak of genius makes an ominous impression on them, for there exists a deep gulf between genius and the teaching profession. Anyone with a touch of genius seems to his teachers a freak from the very first. As far as teachers are concerned, they define young geniuses as those who are bad, disrespectful, smoke at fourteen, fall in love at fifteen, can be found at sixteen hanging out in bars, read forbidden books, write scandalous essays, occasionally stare down a teacher in class, are marked in the attendance book as rebels, and are budding candidates for room-arrest. A schoolmaster will prefer to have a couple of dumbheads in his class than a single genius, and if you regard it objectively, he is of course right. His task is not to produce extravagant intellects but good Latinists, arithmeticians and sober decent folk. The question of who suffers more acutely at the other's hands - the teacher at the boy's, or vice versa - who is more of a tyrant, more of a tormentor, and who profanes parts of the other's soul, student or teacher, is something you cannot examine without remembering your own youth in anger and shame. yet that s not what concerns us here. We have the consolation that among true geniuses the wounds almost always heal. As their personalities develop, they create their art in spite of school. Once dead, and enveloped by the comfortable nimbus of remoteness, they are paraded by the schoolmasters before other generations of students as showpieces and noble examples. Thus teh struggle between rule and spirit repeats itself year after year from school to school. The authorities go to infinite pains to nip the few profound or more valuable intellects in the bud. And time and again the ones who are detested by their teachers are frequently punished, the runaways and those expelled, are the ones who afterwards add to society's treasure. But some - and who knows how many? - waste away quiet obstinacy and finally go under.
Hermann Hesse (Beneath the Wheel)
There was nothing worse, Veppers thought, than a loser who’d made it. It was just part of the way things worked – part of the complexity of life, he supposed – that sometimes somebody who absolutely deserved nothing more than to be one of the down-trodden, the oppressed, the dregs of society, lucked out into a position of wealth, power and admiration. At least people who were natural winners knew how to carry themselves in their pomp, whether their ascendancy had come through the luck of being born rich and powerful or the luck of being born ambitious and capable. Losers who’d made it always let the side down. Veppers was all for arrogance – he possessed the quality in full measure himself, as he’d often been informed – but it had to be deserved, you had to have worked for it. Or at the very least, an ancestor had to have worked for it. Arrogance without cause, arrogance without achievement – or that mistook sheer luck for true achievement – was an abomination. Losers made everybody look bad. Worse, they made the whole thing – the great game that was life – appear arbitrary, almost meaningless. Their only use, Veppers had long since decided, was as examples to be held up to those who complained about their lack of status or money or control over their lives: look, if this idiot can achieve something, so can anybody, so can you. So stop whining about being exploited and work harder. Still, at least individual losers were quite obviously statistical freaks. You could allow for that, you could tolerate that, albeit with gritted teeth. What he would not have believed was that you could find an entire society – an entire civilization– of losers who’d made it.
Iain Banks (Surface Detail (Culture #9))
I wondered if we were put on this earth only to destroy every beautiful thing, to make chaos. Or were we meant to overcome this? Did bad things happen so that goodness could show through in people?
Silas House (A Parchment of Leaves)
To me, the conclusion that the public has the ultimate responsibility for the behavior of even the biggest businesses is empowering and hopeful, rather than disappointing. My conclusion is not a moralistic one about who is right or wrong, admirable or selfish, a good guy or a bad guy. My conclusion is instead a prediction, based on what I have seen happening in the past. Businesses have changed when the public came to expect and require different behavior, to reward businesses for behavior that the public wanted, and to make things difficult for businesses practicing behaviors that the public didn't want. I predict that in the future, just as in the past, changes in public attitudes will be essential for changes in businesses' environmental practices.
Jared Diamond (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed)
I am a scientist who studies the human mind, including the sexual differences in mental faculties, and I am telling you, ten female thinkers can teach humanity lessons equivalent to the teachings of a hundred male thinkers of history.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
Do not despise your inner world. That is the first and most general piece of advice I would offer… Our society is very outward-looking, very taken up with the latest new object, the latest piece of gossip, the latest opportunity for self-assertion and status. But we all begin our lives as helpless babies, dependent on others for comfort, food, and survival itself. And even though we develop a degree of mastery and independence, we always remain alarmingly weak and incomplete, dependent on others and on an uncertain world for whatever we are able to achieve. As we grow, we all develop a wide range of emotions responding to this predicament: fear that bad things will happen and that we will be powerless to ward them off; love for those who help and support us; grief when a loved one is lost; hope for good things in the future; anger when someone else damages something we care about. Our emotional life maps our incompleteness: A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger. But for that very reason we are often ashamed of our emotions, and of the relations of need and dependency bound up with them. Perhaps males, in our society, are especially likely to be ashamed of being incomplete and dependent, because a dominant image of masculinity tells them that they should be self-sufficient and dominant. So people flee from their inner world of feeling, and from articulate mastery of their own emotional experiences. The current psychological literature on the life of boys in America indicates that a large proportion of boys are quite unable to talk about how they feel and how others feel — because they have learned to be ashamed of feelings and needs, and to push them underground. But that means that they don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, or to communicate them to others. When they are frightened, they don’t know how to say it, or even to become fully aware of it. Often they turn their own fear into aggression. Often, too, this lack of a rich inner life catapults them into depression in later life. We are all going to encounter illness, loss, and aging, and we’re not well prepared for these inevitable events by a culture that directs us to think of externals only, and to measure ourselves in terms of our possessions of externals. What is the remedy of these ills? A kind of self-love that does not shrink from the needy and incomplete parts of the self, but accepts those with interest and curiosity, and tries to develop a language with which to talk about needs and feelings. Storytelling plays a big role in the process of development. As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves. As we grow older, we encounter more and more complex stories — in literature, film, visual art, music — that give us a richer and more subtle grasp of human emotions and of our own inner world. So my second piece of advice, closely related to the first, is: Read a lot of stories, listen to a lot of music, and think about what the stories you encounter mean for your own life and lives of those you love. In that way, you will not be alone with an empty self; you will have a newly rich life with yourself, and enhanced possibilities of real communication with others.
Martha C. Nussbaum
On my saying, What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within? my friend suggested,--"But these impulses may be from below, not from above." I replied, "They do not seem to me to be such; but if I am the Devil's child, I will live then from the Devil." No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition as if everything were titular and ephemeral but he. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions. Every decent and well-spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right. I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
It wasn't a conscious decision nor was it only one bad choice that led him here. It was anger, pure unadulterated fury
Charity Parkerson (The Society of Sinners (Sinners, #1))
The basic message is this: If you’re losing your cool, you are losing. If you are triggered, it is because you allowed someone else to dictate your emotional state. If you are outraged, it is because you lack discipline and self-control. These are personal defeats, not the fault of anyone else. And each defeat shapes who you are as a person, and in the collective sense, who we are as a people. This book is about actively hardening your mind so that you can be the person you think you should be. It is about identifying who that person is in the first place, and taking responsibility for the self-improvement required to become them. It is about learning what it means to never quit. It is about learning to take a joke and giving others some charity when they make a bad one. It is about the importance of building a society of iron-tough individuals who can think for themselves, take care of themselves, and recognize that a culture characterized by grit, discipline, and self-reliance is a culture that survives.
Dan Crenshaw (Fortitude: Resilience in the Age of Outrage)
Societies that treat women badly are dangerous societies. The empowerment of women is not only morally right it is also practical in the positive impact it has on so many social ills.
Condoleezza Rice (No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington)
But surely stock-market psychopaths can’t be as bad as serial-killer psychopaths,’ I said. ‘Serial killers ruin families,’ shrugged Bob. ‘Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies.
Jon Ronson (The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry)
He said that academia reminded him of a badly run circus. The faculty members were like underfed animals -- weary of their cages, which were never large enough to begin with -- and they responded sluggishly to the whip. The trapeze artists fell with monotonous regularity into poorly strung nets. The clowns looked hungry. The tent leaked. The crowd was inattentive, shouting incoherently at inappropriate moments. And when the show was over, no one cheered.
Susan Hubbard
The idea of good and evil has thus nothing to do with religion or a mystic conscience. It is a natural need of animal races. And when founders of religions, philosophers, and moralists tell us of divine or metaphysical entities, they are only recasting what each ant, each sparrow practices in its little society. Is this useful to society? Then it is good. Is this hurtful? Then it is bad.
Pyotr Kropotkin (Anarchist Morality)
For the Age has itself become vulgar, and most people have no idea to what extent they are themselves tainted. The bad manners of all parliaments, the general tendency to connive at a rather shady business transaction if it promises to bring in money without work, jazz and Negro dances as the spiritual outlet in all circles of society, women painted like prostitutes, the efforts of writers to win popularity by ridiculing in their novels and plays the correctness of well-bred people, and the bad taste shown even by the nobility and old princely families in throwing off every kind of social restraint and time-honoured custom: all of these go to prove that it is now the vulgar mob that gives the tone.
Oswald Spengler
You were right, Hale. It was a bad job. It was a bad call. You were right to leave." "Kat..." Hale tried to reach for her, but even in the sand, Kat was quick and sure on her feet, and she moved nimbly away, leaving Hale with nothing but a fistful of salty air. "Thanks for coming back and helping me find her and all, but..." She looked at Gabrielle, who stood leaning against Simon, still bruised and almost broken. " I think I've got to take it from here.".... She was sure right up until the point when Hale said, "No.
Ally Carter (Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2))
Here one comes upon an all-important English trait: the respect for constituitionalism and legality, the belief in 'the law' as something above the state and above the individual, something which is cruel and stupid, of course, but at any rate incorruptible. It is not that anyone imagines the law to be just. Everyone knows that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. But no one accepts the implications of this, everyone takes for granted that the law, such as it is, will be respected, and feels a sense of outrage when it is not. Remarks like 'They can't run me in; I haven't done anything wrong', or 'They can't do that; it's against the law', are part of the atmosphere of England. The professed enemies of society have this feeling as strongly as anyone else. One sees it in prison-books like Wilfred Macartney's Walls Have Mouths or Jim Phelan's Jail Journey, in the solemn idiocies that take places at the trials of conscientious objectors, in letters to the papers from eminent Marxist professors, pointing out that this or that is a 'miscarriage of British justice'. Everyone believes in his heart that the law can be, ought to be, and, on the whole, will be impartially administered. The totalitarian idea that there is no such thing as law, there is only power, has never taken root. Even the intelligentsia have only accepted it in theory. An illusion can become a half-truth, a mask can alter the expression of a face. The familiar arguments to the effect that democracy is 'just the same as' or 'just as bad as' totalitarianism never take account of this fact. All such arguments boil down to saying that half a loaf is the same as no bread. In England such concepts as justice, liberty and objective truth are still believed in. They may be illusions, but they are powerful illusions. The belief in them influences conduct,national life is different because of them. In proof of which, look about you. Where are the rubber truncheons, where is the caster oil? The sword is still in the scabbard, and while it stays corruption cannot go beyond a certain point. The English electoral system, for instance, is an all but open fraud. In a dozen obvious ways it is gerrymandered in the interest of the moneyed class. But until some deep change has occurred in the public mind, it cannot become completely corrupt. You do not arrive at the polling booth to find men with revolvers telling you which way to vote, nor are the votes miscounted, nor is there any direct bribery. Even hypocrisy is powerful safeguard. The hanging judge, that evil old man in scarlet robe and horse-hair wig,whom nothing short of dynamite will ever teach what century he is living in, but who will at any rate interpret the law according to the books and will in no circumstances take a money bribe,is one of the symbolic figures of England. He is a symbol of the strange mixture of reality and illusion, democracy and privilege, humbug and decency, the subtle network of compromises, by which the nation keeps itself in its familiar shape.
George Orwell (Why I Write)
There is a strange duality in the human which makes for an ethical paradox. We have definitions of good qualities and of bad; not changing things, but generally considered good and bad throughout the ages and throughout the species. Of the good, we think always of wisdom, tolerance, kindliness, generosity, humility; and the qualities of cruelty, greed, self-interest, graspingness, and rapacity are universally considered undesirable. And yet in our structure of society, the so-called and considered good qualities are invariable concomitants of failure, while the bad ones are the cornerstones of success…Perhaps no other animal is so torn between alternatives. Man might be described fairly adequately, if simply, as a two-legged paradox.
John Steinbeck (The Log from the Sea of Cortez)
Man is complete in himself. When they go into the world, the world will disagree with them. That is inevitable. The world hates Individualism. But that is not to trouble them. They are to be calm and self-centred. If a man takes their cloak, they are to give him their coat, just to show that material things are of no importance. If people abuse them, they are not to answer back. What does it signify? The things people say of a man do not alter a man. He is what he is. Public opinion is of no value whatsoever. Even if people employ actual violence, they are not to be violent in turn. That would be to fall to the same low level. After all, even in prison, a man can be quite free. His soul can be free. His personality can be untroubled. He can be at peace. And, above all things, they are not to interfere with other people or judge them in any way. Personality is a very mysterious thing. A man cannot always be estimated by what he does. He may keep the law, and yet be worthless. He may break the law, and yet be fine. He may be bad, without ever doing anything bad. He may commit a sin against society, and yet realise through that sin his true perfection.
Oscar Wilde (Der Sozialismus und die Seele des Menschen)
My humble...I don't drink...' 'A shame! What about a game of dice, then? Or do have some other favourite game? Dominoes? Cards? 'I don't play games,' the already weary barman responded. 'Altogether bad,' the host concluded. 'As you will, but there's something noce nice hidden in men who avoid wine, games, the society of charming women, table talk. Such people are either gravely ill or secretly hate everybody around them. True, there may be exceptions. Among persons sitting down with me at the banqueting table, there have been on occasion some extraordinary scoundrels! Chapter 18
Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
The world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don't mind happiness not always being so very much fun if you don't mind a touch of hell now and then just when everything is fine because even in heaven they don't sing all the time The world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don't mind some people dying all the time or maybe only starving some of the time which isn't half bad if it isn't you Oh the world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don't much mind a few dead minds in the higher places or a bomb or two now and then in your upturned faces or such other improprieties as our Name Brand society is prey to with its men of distinction and its men of extinction and its priests and other patrolmen and its various segregations and congressional investigations and other constipations that our fool flesh is heir to Yes the world is the best place of all for a lot of such things as making the fun scene and making the love scene and making the sad scene and singing low songs and having inspirations and walking around looking at everything and smelling flowers and goosing statues and even thinking and kissing people and making babies and wearing pants and waving hats and dancing and going swimming in rivers on picnics in the middle of the summer and just generally 'living it up' Yes but then right in the middle of it comes the smiling mortician
Lawrence Ferlinghetti (City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology)
The nice people do not come to God, because they think they are good through their own merits or bad through inherited instincts. If they do good, they believe they are to receive the credit for it; if they do evil, they deny that it is their own fault. They are good through their own goodheartedness, they say; but they are bad because they are misfortunate, either in their economic life or through an inheritance of evil genes from their grandparents. The nice people rarely come to God; they take their moral tone from the society in which they live. Like the Pharisee in front of the temple, they believe themselves to be very respectable citizens. Elegance is their test of virtue; to them, the moral is the aesthetic, the evil is the ugly. Every move they make is dictated, not by a love of goodness, but by the influence of their age. Their intellects are cultivated—in knowledge of current events; they read only the bestsellers, but their hearts are undisciplined. They say that they would go to church if the Church were only better—but they never tell you how much better the Church must be before they will join it. They sometimes condemn the gross sins of society, such as murder; they are not tempted to these because they fear the opprobrium which comes to them who commit them. By avoiding the sins which society condemns, they escape reproach, they consider themselves good par excellence.
Fulton J. Sheen
The bankers and financiers are badly overplaying their hands, again, and people are starting to catch on to the scam. Real wealth is tangible things produced with tangible effort. Loans made out of thin-air 'money' require no effort and are entirely ephemeral. But if those loans are used to acquire real ownership of real assets, then something has been exchanged for nothing and one party is getting screwed.
Chris Martenson
Have you ever wondered to yourself why it is that all people like me seem to have learned from you is how to imprison and murder each other, how to govern badly, and how to take the wealth of our country and place it in Swiss bank accounts? Have you ever wondered why it is that all we seem to have learned from you is how to corrupt our societies and how to be tyrants? You will have to accept that this is mostly your fault
Jamaica Kincaid (A Small Place)
Asking me not to break the rules of society is like telling your kid not to eat candy because it’s bad for him. The kid will continue to eat candy until you take it away, or until you prove why he shouldn’t. You also need to provide substitutes for the candy you have denied that child. I was told often enough what was bad, but I was never given a substitute or the opportunity to try another world until I had already become so defiant and twisted, I no longer cared about someone else’s right or wrong. By then I could not see enough honest faces in the world to pattern myself after. Your Bibles didn’t mean anything to me. A Bible had driven my mother from her home. The people you chose to raise me beat and raped me and taught me to hate and fear. From what I have seen throughout my life, the laws of the land are practiced only by the little guy. Those who have money and success abuse every law written and get away with it. I admit my reasoning comes from the wrong side of the tracks, but once these opinions are formed and reinforced a few times, it is hard to believe otherwise. So even if I don’t shed a tear, I console myself: I had some help in becoming the person I am.
Charles Manson (Manson in His Own Words: Destroying a Myth: The True Confessions of Charles Manson)
I believe that all other political states are in fact variations or outgrowths of a basic state of anarchy; after all, when you mention the idea of anarchy to most people they will tell you what a bad idea it is because the biggest gang would just take over. Which is pretty much how I see contemporary society. We live in a badly developed anarchist situation in which the biggest gang has taken over and have declared that it is not an anarchist situation – that it is a capitalist or a communist situation. But I tend to think that anarchy is the most natural form of politics for a human being to actually practice.
Alan Moore
This is the lie that is at the heart of our society, the lie that encourages every form of destructive self-indulgence to flourish: for while we ascribe our conduct to pressures from without, we obey the whims that well up from within, thereby awarding ourselves carte blanche to behave as we choose. Thus we feel good about behaving badly.
Theodore Dalrymple (Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass)
If you love freedom, if you think the human condition is dignified by privacy, by the right to be left alone, by the right to explore your weird ideas provided you don’t hurt others, then you have common cause with the kids whose web-browsers and cell phones are being used to lock them up and follow them around. If you believe that the answer to bad speech is more speech - not censorship - then you have a dog in the fight. If you believe in a society of laws, a land where our rulers have to tell us the rules, and have to follow them too, then you’re part of the same struggle that kids fight when they argue for the right to live under the same Bill of Rights that adults have.
Cory Doctorow (Little Brother (Little Brother, #1))
We fail you every single time a (famous) man treats a woman badly, without legal, professional, or personal consequence. Over and over again we tell you it is acceptable for men—famous, infamous, or not at all famous—to abuse women. We look the other way. We make excuses. We reward these men for their bad behavior. We tell you that, as a young woman, you have little value or place in this society.
Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist: Essays)
When a stranger on the street makes a sexual comment, he is making a private assessment of me public. And though I’ve never been seriously worried that I would be attacked, it does make me feel unguarded, unprotected. Regardless of his motive, the stranger on the street makes an assumption based on my physique: He presumes I might be receptive to his unpoetic, unsolicited comments. (Would he allow a friend to say “Nice tits” to his mother? His sister? His daughter?) And although I should know better, I, too, equate my body with my soul and the result, at least sometimes, is a deep shame of both. Rape is a thousand times worse: The ultimate theft of self-control, it often leads to a breakdown in the victim’s sense of self-worth. Girls who are molested, for instance, often go on to engage in risky behavior—having intercourse at an early age, not using contraception, smoking, drinking, and doing drugs. This behavior, it seems to me, is at least in part because their self-perception as autonomous, worthy human beings in control of their environment has been taken from them.
Leora Tanenbaum (Slut!: Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation)
This is a paradise of rising to the occasion that points out by contrast how the rest of the time most of us fall down from the heights of possibility, down into diminished selves and dismal societies. Many now do not even hope for a better society, but they recognize it when they encounter it, and that discovery shines out even through the namelessness of their experience. Others recognize it, grasp it, and make something of it, and long-term social and political transformations, both good and bad, arise from the wreckage. The door to this ear's potential paradises is in hell.
Rebecca Solnit (A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster)
Dear Mr. Nadeau: As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness. Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society – things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out. Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day. Sincerely, E. B. White
E.B. White
Civilization is an experiment, a very recent way of life in the human career, and it has a habit of walking into what I am calling progress traps. A small village on good land beside a river is a good idea; but when the village grows into a city and paves over the good land, it becomes a bad idea. While prevention might have been easy, a cure may be impossible: a city isn't easily moved. This human inability to foresee -- or to watch out for -- long-range consequences may be inherent to our kind, shaped by the millions of years when we lived from hand to mouth by hunting and gathering. It may also be little more than a mix of inertia, greed, and foolishness encouraged by the shape of the social pyramid. The concentration of power at the top of large-scale societies gives the elite a vested interest in the status quo; they continue to prosper in darkening times long after the environment and general populace begin to suffer. (109)
Ronald Wright (A Short History of Progress)
Indeed, to this day, I think if you blame everything on the government, you're not just wrong, you're being reckless. It's as silly as blaming everything on the Freemasons, or the Illuminati, or insert-bad-guy-here. But I do believe that someone must ask the hard questions, especially of our elected officials as well as powerful men who become members of so-called secret societies. Remember: Governments don't lie. People lie. And if you want the real story, you need to find out more about those people.
Brad Meltzer (History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time)
In all societies, public rhetoric involves some measure of lying, and history -- political history and art history -- is made when someone effectively confronts the lie. But in really scary societies all public conversation is an exercise in using words to mean their opposites -- in describing the brave as traitorous, the weak as frightening, and the good as bad -- and confronting these lies is the most scary and lonely thing a person can do.
Masha Gessen (Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot)
You were brave to do what you did," he said slowly. "And I know you did it out of live for our friends. But if you ever do something like this again, I can promise you that Ten Men and Executives are going to be the least of your worries- do you understand?" His espression was very severe, his jaw was set, and his words were clipped and terse as if spoken with much suppressed anger. Kate burst out laughing. "Milligan," she said, "I'll bet you scare the wits out of bad guys, but as a dad you don't scare anyone very much." "She's right." Constance said. "I can tell you aren't really angry." Milligan frowned and looked at Reynie, but Reynie averted his eyes to avoid disappointing him- for he, too, had been unfazed by Milligan's stern admonition. Only Sticky, furiously polishing his spectacles in the back seat, showed the effect Milligan had hoped for. But Sticky was easily unnerved and could hardly be used as a measure. "Well," Milligan said, his face relaxing. "At least I tried." "... Speaking of which, the boys weren't actually touching the breifcases in the trunk, I hope?" Wondering how Milligan knew, Kate stuck her head out the office door and gave Reynie and Sticky a warning look. They nodded and tried to close the trunk as quietly as possible. "They aren't now anyway." "Good," Milligan said, picking up his duffel bag. "I'd hate to have to speak sternly to them again. It embarasses me to be so ineffective.
Trenton Lee Stewart (The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #2))
The arts and humanities are not mere entertainment, to be turned to for relaxation after a busy day spent solving differential equations; they are our templates for living, for governing ourselves and our societies. Nor can science offer any help with the knottier problems besetting the human race. It can remedy bad smells, bad pains, and bad roads, but not bad behavior, bad government, or bad ideas.
John Derbyshire
Secular society has been unfairly impoverished by the loss of an array of practices and themes which atheists typically find it impossible to live with because they seem too closely associated with, to quote Nietzsche’s useful phrase, ‘the bad odours of religion’. We have grown frightened of the word morality. We bridle at the thought of hearing a sermon. We flee from the idea that art should be uplifting or have an ethical mission. We don’t go on pilgrimages. We can’t build temples. We have no mechanisms for expressing gratitude. Strangers rarely sing together. We are presented with an unpleasant choice between either committing to peculiar concepts about immaterial deities or letting go entirely of a host of consoling, subtle or just charming rituals for which we struggle to find equivalents in secular society.
Alain de Botton (Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion)
Race scholars use the term white supremacy to describe a sociopolitical economic system of domination based on racial categories that benefits those defined and perceived as white. This system of structural power privileges, centralizes, and elevates white people as a group. If, for example, we look at the racial breakdown of the people who control our institutions, we see telling numbers in 2016–2017: - Ten richest Americans: 100 percent white (seven of whom are among the ten richest in the world) - US Congress: 90 percent white - US governors: 96 percent white - Top military advisers: 100 percent white - President and vice president: 100 percent white - US House Freedom Caucus: 99 percent white - Current US presidential cabinet: 91 percent white - People who decide which TV shows we see: 93 percent white - People who decide which books we read: 90 percent white - People who decide which news is covered: 85 percent white - People who decide which music is produced: 95 percent white - People who directed the one hundred top-grossing films of all time, worldwide: 95 percent white - Teachers: 82 percent white - Full-time college professors: 84 percent white - Owners of men’s professional football teams: 97 percent white These numbers are not describing minor organizations. Nor are these institutions special-interest groups. The groups listed above are the most powerful in the country. These numbers are not a matter of “good people” versus “bad people.” They represent power and control by a racial group that is in the position to disseminate and protect its own self-image, worldview, and interests across the entire society.
Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism)
Startled, he tried to comfort him. But Father said slowly, "I ask myself whether I am afraid of death. I don't think I am. My life as it is now is worse. And it looks as if there is not going to be any ending. Sometimes I feel weak: I stand by Tranquillity River and think, Just one leap and I can get it over with. Then I tell myself I must not. If I die without being cleared, there will be no end of trouble for all of you… I have been thinking a lot lately. I had a hard childhood, and society was full of injustice. It was for a fair society that I joined the Communists. I've tried my best through the years. But what good has it done for the people? As for myself, why is it that in the end I have come to be the ruin of my family? People who believe in retribution say that to end badly you must have something on your conscience. I have been thinking hard about the things I've done in my life. I have given orders to execute some people…" Father went on to tell Jin-ming about the death sentences he had signed, the names and stories of the e-ba ('ferocious despots') in the land reform in Chaoyang, and the bandit chiefs in Yibin. "But these people had done so much evil that God himself would have had them killed. What, then, have I done wrong to deserve all this?" After a long pause, Father said, "If I die like this, don't believe in the Communist Party anymore.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
Do you think that I have a problem?" Ignatius bellowed. "The only problem that those people have anyway is that they don't like new cars and hairsprays. That why they are put away. They make the other members of the society fearful. Every asylum in this nation is filled with poor souls who simply cannot stand lanolin, cellophane, plastic, television, and subdivisions." "Ignatius, that ain't true. You remember old Mr. Becnel used to live down the block? They locked him up because he was running down the street naked." "Of course he was running down the street naked. His skin could not bear any more of that Dacron and nylon clothing that was clogging his pores. I've always considered Mr Becnel one of the martyrs of our age. The poor man was badly victimized. Now run along to the front door and see if my taxi has arrived." p.306
John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces)
Answer me, Kat. Did you see him in Lyon?" "Yes. For a second. It was--" "Why didn't you tell me?" Hale moved toward her, and she was glad for the dark. "Everything was happening so fast and... it was just for a second!" There was an anger in Hale's eyes, but something more than that. A hurt went deepr than Kat had ever seen. "You should've told me." Nick laughed. "I don't think she reports to you." "You really don't get it, new guy." Hale shook his head and stepped away. "She doesn't report to anyone." When Hale turned and started for the opposite side of the deck, Kat was the only one who followed. "I kissed you!" Kat hadn't meant to yell it, but she wasn't exactly sorry she did. The words had been there, throbbing like a pulse for weeks. She felt lighter without them--one more thing she didn't have to carry. "In New York--in the limo-- I kissed you." Hale stopped. "I remember." "I kissed you and you left. So either I am not someone you want to be kissing..." "No." He shook his head slowly. "That's not it." "Or I am a really bad kisser." Kat couldn't stop herself from going through the reasons--through the options--like it was just another con and she could master it if only her mind would stop spinning. "Kat--" He reached for her, but her reflexes were too strong. She pulled away and looked at him. "I kissed you and you left.
Ally Carter (Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2))
I know I'm out on my own on this one, but I detest this book. I really think it glorifies whining to an extent never before seen in the human condition. Everyone I know loves this book, and I know I am in a minority here. But Christ... That this book is so popular with people in my age bracket and not so popular with people older or younger really makes me wonder if it is part of the problem or a reflection of the boring, whiny apathy of my generation. But if this book has any redeemable aspects at all, it is that it highlights just how lazy and worthless my generation is. It's reflected in the reverence people my age give this book, a book whose central lesson seems to be "whining is funny, and doing things is bad". For dark, astounding irony about inaction and the parodoxes of a corrupt society, read Catch-22 or some of the more comical writers of astroyphysics tomes. Confederacy of Dunces is the Forrest Gump of literature and I'd like to never have another conversation about this book as long as I live. ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓ 텔레/위커 : LTEhigh ↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑ ┏텔레/위커:LTEhigh┓음악감상할때, ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓ 텔레/위커 : LTEhigh ↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑ I know I'm out on my own on this one, but I detest this book. I really think it glorifies whining to an extent never before seen in the human condition. Everyone I know loves this book, and I know I am in a minority here. But Christ... That this book is so popular with people in my age bracket and not so popular with people older or younger really makes me wonder if it is part of the problem or a reflection of the boring, whiny apathy of my generation. But if this book has any redeemable aspects at all, it is that it highlights just how lazy and worthless my generation is. It's reflected in the reverence people my age give this book, a book whose central lesson seems to be "whining is funny, and doing things is bad". For dark, astounding irony about inaction and the parodoxes of a corrupt society, read Catch-22 or some of the more comical writers of astroyphysics tomes. Confederacy of Dunces is the Forrest Gump of literature and I'd like to never have another conversation about this book as long as I live.
┏텔레/위커:LTEhigh┓음악감상할때,I know I'm out on my own on this one, but I detest this book. I really think i
You’re not fine. You’re not. And that’s OK. The first thing I want you to do is to finally tell yourself that it’s OK not to be OK. To accept that you’re feeling badly and that something isn’t right. Too many of us are in denial because we think that to admit there’s something wrong means we’re weak or broken or odd. I don’t know if it’s society, or just who we associate with, but we need to change our way of thinking. We are not weak. We are not broken. We are not odd.
S.R. Crawford (From My Suffering: 25 Ways to Break the Chains of Anxiety, Depression & Stress)
At this point, I can no longer avoid setting out, in an initial, provisional statement, my own hypothesis about the origin of “bad conscience.” It is not easy to get people to attend to it, and it requires them to consider it at length, to guard it, and to sleep on it. I consider bad conscience the profound illness which human beings had to come down with, under the pressure of the most fundamental of all the changes which they experienced—that change when they finally found themselves locked within the confines of society and peace. Just like the things water animals must have gone though when they were forced either to become land animals or to die off, so events must have played themselves out with this half-beast so happily adapted to the wilderness, war, wandering around, adventure—suddenly all its instincts were devalued and “disengaged.” From this point on, these animals were to go on foot and “carry themselves”; whereas previously they had been supported by the water. A terrible heaviness weighed them down. In performing the simplest things they felt ungainly. In dealing with this new unknown world, they no longer had their old leader, the ruling unconscious drives which guided them safely. These unfortunate creatures were reduced to thinking, inferring, calculating, bringing together cause and effect, reduced to their “consciousness,” their most impoverished and error-prone organ! I believe that on earth there has never been such a feeling of misery, such a leaden discomfort—while at the same time those old instincts had not all at once stopped imposing their demands! Only it was difficult and seldom possible to do their bidding. For the most part, they had to find new and, as it were, underground satisfactions for them.
Friedrich Nietzsche (On the Genealogy of Morals)
Seeker: So what is social ego, Sadhguru? Sadhguru: Society has its own ego, isn’t it? For every small thing, the whole society gets upset. It need not be wrong. Suppose it’s summer in the United States. Everybody is hardly wearing anything or maybe they are in miniskirts. Let’s say you’re fully clothed. People will get upset: “What is she doing? Why is she all covered up?” Here in India, if you dress like that, they’ll all get upset. So this is one kind of ego; that is another kind of ego. It’s the social ego which is getting upset, and your karma is becoming part of the collective karma. I want you to really understand this with a certain depth. Your idea of good and bad has been taught to you. You have imbibed it from the social atmosphere in which you have lived. See, for example, a bandit tribe, like the Pindaris, who from a young age were trained to rob and kill, they even had gods who taught them skills and brought them success in their banditry. When the British army was let loose on them, they were shot and killed indiscriminately. They were completely bewildered, as in their perception they had not done anything wrong. The Pindari ego was just to be a good bandit. The same happened for the Native Americans also. Among some Native American tribes, unless you had killed a man in your life, you were not much of a man. They collected the scalp of the man and wore it around their neck. So what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, is all about how the social ego functions.
Sadhguru (Mystic's Musings)
Composure and self-restraint were not only desirable characteristics in a woman, they were essental. As my mother put it later, it was bad enough having to worry yourself sick every time your husband went up in an airplane; now, she was being told, she was also supposed to feel responsible if his plane crashed. Anger and discontent, lest they kill, were to be kept to oneself. The military, even more so than the rest of society, clearly put a premium on well-behaved, genteel, and even-tempered women.
Kay Redfield Jamison (An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness)
I am no feminist. Even though the term "feminism" is founded upon the basic principle of gender equality, it possesses its own fundamental gender bias, which makes it inclined towards the wellbeing of women, over the wellbeing of the whole society. And if history has shown anything, it is that such fundamental biases in time corrupt even the most glorious ideas and give birth to prejudice, bigotry and differentiation.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
I’ve taken to long-distance walking as a means of dissolving the mechanised matrix which compresses the space-time continuum, and decouples human from physical geography. So this isn’t walking for leisure -- that would be merely frivolous, or even for exercise -- which would be tedious. No, to underscore the seriousness of my project I like a walk which takes me to a meeting or an assignment; that way I can drag other people into my eotechnical world view. ‘How was your journey?’ they say. ‘Not bad,’ I reply. ‘Take long?’ they enquire. ‘About ten hours,’ I admit. ‘I walked here.’ My interlocutor goggles at me; if he took ten hours to get here, they’re undoubtedly thinking, will the meeting have to go on for twenty? As Emile Durkheim so sagely observed, a society’s space-time perceptions are a function of its social rhythm and its territory. So, by walking to the business meeting I have disrupted it just as surely as if I’d appeared stark naked with a peacock’s tail fanning out from my buttocks while mouthing Symbolist poetry.
Will Self (Psychogeography: Disentangling the Modern Conundrum of Psyche and Place)
Under the trees several pheasants lay about, their plumage dabbled with blood... some feebly twitching a wing, some staring up at the sky... all of them writhing in agony, except the fortunate ones whose tortures had ended during the night... Tess guessed at once the meaning... The birds had been driven down into this corner by some shooting-party; and while those that had dropped dead under the shot had been searched for and carried off, many badly wounded birds had escaped and hidden themselves away, or risen among the thick boughs, where they maintained their position till they grew weaker with loss of blood, when they had fallen one by one... "Poor darlings--to suppose myself the most miserable being on earth in the sight o' such misery as yours... And not a twinge of bodily pain about me! I be not mangled, and I be not bleeding, and I have two hands to feed and clothe me." She was ashamed of herself for the gloom of the night, based on nothing more tangible than a sense of condemnation under an arbitrary law of society which had no foundation in Nature.
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D'Urbervilles)
To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet. We look for this security by fortifying and enclosing ourselves in innumerable ways. We want the protection of being “exclusive” and “special,” seeking to belong to the safest church, the best nation, the highest class, the right set, and the “nice” people. These defenses lead to divisions between us, and so to more insecurity demanding more defenses. Of course it is all done in the sincere belief that we are trying to do the right things and live in the best way; but this, too, is a contradiction. I can only think seriously of trying to live up to an ideal, to improve myself, if I am split in two pieces. There must be a good “I” who is going to improve the bad “me.” “I,” who has the best intentions, will go to work on wayward “me,” and the tussle between the two will very much stress the difference between them. Consequently “I” will feel more separate than ever, and so merely increase the lonely and cut-off feelings which make “me” behave so badly.
Alan W. Watts (The Wisdom of Insecurity)
The extremists had declared jihad against anyone and anything that challenged their vision of a pure Islamic society, and these artifacts - treatises about logic, astrology, and medicine, paeans to music, poems idealizing romantic love - represented five hundred years of human joy. They celebrated the sensual and the secular, and they bore the explicit message that humanity, as well as God, was capable of creating beauty. They were monumentally subversive.
Joshua Hammer (The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts)
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness. Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out. Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
Shaun Usher (Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Circulation)
I used to pray you know, pray to God that He would somehow stop it. All the nights of listening to my mother scream and things breaking. Of holding my brother and sister and listening to them cry and begging me to stop it.' My voice is slow and steady like a freight train at night. 'I was too young, and we were always told that they'd put us in foster homes where people would rape us if we ever said anything. So we explained away the bruises and my mom wore big sunglasses whenever she left the house. And we invented car accidents if the bruising was too bad to cover with make-up.
Emily Andrews (The Finer Points of Becoming Machine)
Life-alienating communication both stems from and supports hierarchical or domination societies, where large populations are controlled by a small number of individuals to those individuals, own benefit. It would be in the interest of kings, czars, nobles, and so forth that the masses be educated in a way that renders them slavelike in mentality. The language of wrongness, should, and have to is perfectly suited for this purpose: the more people are trained to think in terms of moralistic judgments that imply wrongness and badness, the more they are being trained to look outside themselves—to outside authorities—for the definition of what constitutes right, wrong, good, and bad. When we are in contact with our feelings and needs, we humans no longer make good slaves and underlings.
Marshall B. Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life)
I wrote many things for and with John. I know this is one assignment he'd rather I didn't have to take on. Although I had a close – head to head, arm to arm working relationship with John, that proximity never affected the fact that from the moment I met him, through all work, I remain his number one fan. He was a brilliant performer, writer, tactician, business strategist and most importantly, he was the only man that I could dance with. He was a great – a world class – emissary of American humor. John was a patriot, a resident of the most wide open, liberal society on earth, and he took full advantage of it. In come cases, real greatness gives license for real indulgence; whether it's as a reward, as therapy or as sanctuary. For as hard as John worked, there had to be an additional illicit thrill to make the effort all worthwhile. John was a nighthawk, true. But he was not an immoral individual. He was a good man, a kind man, a warm man, a hot man. What we are talking about here is a good man – and a bad boy. Johnny – you can be sure that I'll have my antennae out for the paranatural and the spiritual, and believe me, if there's any contact with him, I'll let you know.
Dan Aykroyd
One thing you'll learn when you're in the business of selling utter shite to the Great British Public is that there's really no bottom to where they'll go. Shit food, shit TV, shit bands, shit films, shit houses. There is absolutely no fucking bottom with this stuff. The shittier you can make it - a bad photocopy of a bad photocopy of what was a shit idea in the first place - the more they'll eat it up with a big fucking spoon, from dawn till dusk, from now until the end of time. It's too good.
John Niven (Kill Your Friends)
The proof that the One Stone Solution is political lies in what women feel when they eat 'too much': guilt. Why should guilt be the operative emotion, and female fat be a moral issue articulated with words like good and bad? If our culture's fixation on female fatness of thinness were about sex, it would be a private issue between a woman and her lover; if it were about health, between a woman and herself. Public debate would be far more hysterically focused on male fat than on female, since more men [40 percent] are medically overweight than women [32 percent] and too much fat is far more dangerous for men than for women... ...But female fat is the subject of public passion, and women feel guilty about female fat, because we implicitly recognize that under the myth, women's bodies are not our own but society's, and that thinness is not a private aesthetic, but hunger a social concession exacted by the community.
Naomi Wolf
O [Roman] people be ashamed; be ashamed of your lives. Almost no cities are free of evil dens, are altogether free of impurities, except the cities in which the barbarians have begun to live... Let nobody think otherwise, the vices of our bad lives have alone conquered us... The Goths lie, but are chaste, the Franks lie, but are but are generous, the Saxons are savage in cruelty...but are admirable in chastity...what hope can there be [for the Romans] when the barbarians are more pure [than they]?" -Salvian
William J. Federer (Change to Chains-The 6,000 Year Quest for Control -Volume I-Rise of the Republic)
When the anarchist, as the mouthpiece of the declining levels of society, insists on 'right,' 'justice,' 'equal rights' with such beautiful indignation, he is just acting under the pressure of his lack of culture, which cannot grasp why he really suffers, what he is poor in– in life. A drive to find causes is powerful in him: it must be somebody's fault that he's feeling bad . . . Even his 'beautiful indignation' does him good; all poor devils like to whine--it gives them a little thrill of power. Even complaints, the act of complaining, can give life the charm on account of which one can stand to live it: there is a subtle dose of revenge in every complaint; one blames those who are different for one's own feeling bad, and in certain circumstances even being bad, as if they were guilty of an injustice, a prohibited privilege. 'If I'm a lowlife, you should be one too': on this logic, revolutions are built.– Complaining is never good for anything; it comes from weakness. Whether one ascribes one's feeling bad to others or to oneself–the socialist does the former, the Christian, for example, the latter–makes no real difference. What is common to both and, let us add, what is unworthy, is that it should be someone's fault that one is suffering–in short, that the sufferer prescribes the honey of revenge as a cure for his own suffering.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Twilight of the Idols)
This has been a novel about some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed--run over, maimed, destroyed--but they continued to play anyhow. We really all were very happy for a while, sitting around not toiling but just bullshitting and playing, but it was for such a terrible brief time, and then the punishment was beyond belief: even when we could see it, we could not believe it. For example, while I was writing this I learned that the person on whom the character Jerry Fabin is based killed himself. My friend on whom I based the character Ernie Luckman died before I began the novel. For a while I myself was one of these children playing in the street; I was, like the rest of them, trying to play instead of being grown up, and I was punished. I am on the list below, which is a list of those to whom this novel is dedicated, and what became of each. Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error in judgment. When a bunch of people begin to do it, it is a social error,a life-style. In this particular life-style the motto is "Be happy now because tomorrow you are dying," but the dying begins almost at once, and the happiness is a memory. It is, then, only a speeding up, an intensifying, of the ordinary human existence. It is not different from your life-style, it is only faster. It all takes place in days or weeks or months instead of years. "Take the cash and let the credit go," as Villon said in 1460. But that is a mistake if the cash is a penny and the credit a whole lifetime. There is no moral in this novel; it is not bourgeois; it does not say they were wrong to play when they should have toiled;it just tells what the consequences were. In Greek drama they were beginning, as a society, to discover science, which means causal law. Here in this novel there is Nemesis: not fate, because any one of us could have chosen to stop playing in the street, but, as I narrate from the deepest part of my life and heart, a dreadful Nemesis for those who kept on playing. I myself,I am not a character in this novel; I am the novel. So, though, was our entire nation at this time. This novel is about more people than I knew personally. Some we all read about in the newspapers. It was, this sitting around with our buddies and bullshitting while making tape recordings, the bad decision of the decade, the sixties, both in and out of the establishment. And nature cracked down on us. We were forced to stop by things dreadful. If there was any "sin," it was that these people wanted to keep on having a good time forever, and were punished for that, but, as I say, I feel that, if so, the punishment was far too great, and I prefer to think of it only in a Greek or morally neutral way, as mere science, as deterministic impartial cause-and-effect. I loved them all. Here is the list, to whom I dedicate my love: To Gaylene deceased To Ray deceased To Francy permanent psychosis To Kathy permanent brain damage To Jim deceased To Val massive permanent brain damage To Nancy permanent psychosis To Joanne permanent brain damage To Maren deceased To Nick deceased To Terry deceased To Dennis deceased To Phil permanent pancreatic damage To Sue permanent vascular damage To Jerri permanent psychosis and vascular damage . . . and so forth. In Memoriam. These were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The "enemy" was their mistake in playing. Let them all play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.
Philip K. Dick (A Scanner Darkly)
Our world is filled with competition, frenzied ambition in every domain. Each of us is acquainted with the spirit of competition. This spirit is not a bad thing in and of itself. Its influence has long been felt in personal relations within the dominant classes. Subsequently it spread throughout the whole of society, to the point that today it has more or less openly triumphed in every part of the world. In Western nations, and above all in the United States, it animates not only economic and financial life, but scientific research and intellectual life as well. Despite the tension and the unrest it brings, these nations are inclined on the whole to congratulate themselves for having embraced the spirit of competition, for its positive effects are considerable. Not the least of these is the impressive wealth it has brought a large part of the population. No one, or almost no one, any longer thinks of forgoing rivalry, since it allows us to go on dreaming of a still more glittering and prosperous future than the recent past. Our world seems to us the most desirable one there ever was, especially when we compare it to life in nations that have not enjoyed the same prosperity.
René Girard (The One by Whom Scandal Comes (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture))
what is the expression which the age demands? the age demands no expression whatever. we have seen photographs of bereaved asian mothers. we are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. there is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. do not even try. you will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. we have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation. you are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. this should make you very quiet. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. everyone knows you are in pain. you cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. you have nothing to teach them. you are not more beautiful than they are. you are not wiser. do not shout at them. do not force a dry entry. that is bad sex. if you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. and remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. what is our need? to be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. the bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. they have also destroyed the stage. did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? there is no more stage. there are no more footlights. you are among the people. then be modest. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. be by yourself. be in your own room. do not put yourself on. do not act out words. never act out words. never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. if you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. if ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material. this is an interior landscape. it is inside. it is private. respect the privacy of the material. these pieces were written in silence. the courage of the play is to speak them. the discipline of the play is not to violate them. let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. be good whores. the poem is not a slogan. it cannot advertise you. it cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. you are students of discipline. do not act out the words. the words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition. the poem is nothing but information. it is the constitution of the inner country. if you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. you are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. think of the words as science, not as art. they are a report. you are speaking before a meeting of the explorers' club of the national geographic society. these people know all the risks of mountain climbing. they honour you by taking this for granted. if you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. if you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. it will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. it will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence. avoid the flourish. do not be afraid to be weak. do not be ashamed to be tired. you look good when you're tired. you look like you could go on forever. now come into my arms. you are the image of my beauty.
Leonard Cohen (Death of a Lady's Man)
...the novel had reached its apogee with the marriage plot and had never recovered from its disappearance. In the days when success in life had depended on marriage, and marriage had depended on money, novelists had had a subject to write about. The great epics sang of war, the novel of marriage. Sexual equality, good for women, had been bad for the novel. And divorce had undone it completely. What would it matter whom Emma married if she could file for separation later? How would Isabel Archer’s marriage to Gilbert Osmond have been affected by the existence of a prenup? As far as Saunders was concerned, marriage didn’t mean much anymore, and neither did the novel. Where could you find the marriage plot nowadays? You couldn’t. You had to read historical fiction. You had to read non-Western novels involving traditional societies. Afghani novels, Indian novels. You had to go, literarily speaking, back in time.
Jeffrey Eugenides (The Marriage Plot)
We have only minimal control over the rewards for our work and effort—other people’s validation, recognition, rewards. So what are we going to do? Not be kind, not work hard, not produce, because there is a chance it wouldn’t be reciprocated? C’mon. Think of all the activists who will find that they can only advance their cause so far. The leaders who are assassinated before their work is done. The inventors whose ideas languish “ahead of their time.” According to society’s main metrics, these people were not rewarded for their work. Should they have not done it? Yet in ego, every one of us has considered doing precisely that. If that is your attitude, how do you intend to endure tough times? What if you’re ahead of the times? What if the market favors some bogus trend? What if your boss or your clients don’t understand? It’s far better when doing good work is sufficient. In other words, the less attached we are to outcomes the better. When fulfilling our own standards is what fills us with pride and self-respect. When the effort—not the results, good or bad—is enough. With ego, this is not nearly sufficient. No, we need to be recognized. We need to be compensated. Especially problematic is the fact that, often, we get that. We are praised, we are paid, and we start to assume that the two things always go together. The “expectation hangover” inevitably ensues.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
Surveys have shown that ranking very close to the fear of death is the fear of public speaking. Why would someone feel profound fear, deep in his or her stomach, about public speaking, which is so far from death? Because it isn’t so far from death when we link it. Those who fear public speaking actually fear the loss of identity that attaches to performing badly, and that is firmly rooted in our survival needs. For all social animals, from ants to antelopes, identity is the pass card to inclusion, and inclusion is the key to survival. If a baby loses its identity as the child of his or her parents, a possible outcome is abandonment. For a human infant, that means death. As adults, without our identity as a member of the tribe or village, community or culture, a likely outcome is banishment and death. So the fear of getting up and addressing five hundred people at the annual convention of professionals in your field is not just the fear of embarrassment—it is linked to the fear of being perceived as incompetent, which is linked to the fear of loss of employment, loss of home, loss of family, your ability to contribute to society, your value, in short, your identity and your life. Linking an unwarranted fear to its ultimate terrible destination usually helps alleviate that fear. Though you may find that public speaking can link to death, you’ll see that it would be a long and unlikely trip.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
Money was the blood of civilized society, its currents running through everything and everyone. Where money was insufficient, things withered. People starved, sickened and died, constructions eroded, even ideas perished. Where funds were plentiful, the same things blossomed with new life. And money was, in the end, little more than the product of collective imagination. A slip of paper or a coin had no value beyond that of the material it was fashioned of. It only took on a life of its own when people as a whole collectively agreed that certain papers and coins were worth something. Only then did people bleed and die for it. For a fantasy, a faith given form in hard, concrete numbers. Then again, much of society was built on a series of shared delusions. Clothing was little more than scraps of particular materials with particular geometries, but people clung to the idea of fashion. Style. Good and bad fashion was another belief system, one which all members of a culture were indoctrinated into. Breaking certain conventions didn’t only challenge the aesthetic sensibilities of others, but it challenged their sense of self. It reminded them, subconsciously, of the very pretendings they clung to. Only those with power could stand against society’s tides, flaunt the collective’s ‘safe’ aesthetic. When one had enough power, others couldn’t rise against them and safely say something calculated to reduce their own dissonance and remind the offending party of the unspoken rules. When one had enough power to take a life with a twitch of a finger, a thought, they earned the right to wear skin-tight clothing and call themselves Hero, or Legend. To wear a mask and name themselves something inane like ‘the Cockatoo’ and still take themselves seriously.
Wildbow (Worm (Parahumans, #1))
Lora followed his eyes to the subject of their conversation. He was such a masculine man, tall and strong and sure of himself, cocky almost. A male chauvinist to his toenails, she suspected, as incapable of admitting to feeling hurt and lonely and afraid as a pig was of flying. But he was vulnerable too, enormously vulnerable. More than many people who openly asked for it, he needed love. He needed someone to hold him in her arms and convince him that what he had done was not so bad, was not unforgivable, did not put him beyond the pale of normal society. To convince him that he was lovable. And loved. And she meant to be that someone.
Karen Robards (Wild Orchids)
The obstinacy of antiquated institutions in perpetuating themselves resembles the stubbornness of the rancid perfume which should claim our hair, the pretensions of the spoiled fish which should persist in being eaten, the persecution of the child's garment which should insist on clothing the man, the tenderness of corpses which should return to embrace the living. "Ingrates!" says the garment, "I protected you in inclement weather. Why will you have nothing to do with me?" "I have just come from the deep sea," says the fish. "I have been a rose," says the perfume. "I have loved you," says the corpse. "I have civilized you," says the convent. To this there is but one reply: "In former days." To dream of the indefinite prolongation of defunct things, and of the government of men by embalming, to restore dogmas in a bad condition, to regild shrines, to patch up cloisters, to rebless reliquaries, to refurnish superstitions, to revictual fanaticisms, to put new handles on holy water brushes and militarism, to reconstitute monasticism and militarism, to believe in the salvation of society by the multiplication of parasites, to force the past on the present, – this seems strange. Still, there are theorists who hold such theories. These theorists, who are in other respects people of intelligence, have a very simple process; they apply to the past a glazing which they call social order, divine right, morality, family, the respect of elders, antique authority, sacred tradition, legitimacy, religion; and they go about shouting, "Look! take this, honest people." This logic was known to the ancients. The soothsayers practise it. They rubbed a black heifer over with chalk, and said, "She is white, Bos cretatus." As for us, we respect the past here and there, and we spare it, above all, provided that it consents to be dead. If it insists on being alive, we attack it, and we try to kill it. Superstitions, bigotries, affected devotion, prejudices, those forms all forms as they are, are tenacious of life; they have teeth and nails in their smoke, and they must be clasped close, body to body, and war must be made on them, and that without truce; for it is one of the fatalities of humanity to be condemned to eternal combat with phantoms. It is difficult to seize darkness by the throat, and to hurl it to the earth.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
In some circumstances, a focus on extrinsic rewards (money) can actually diminish effort. Most (or at least many) teachers enter their profession not because of the money but because of their love for children and their dedication to teaching. The best teachers could have earned far higher incomes if they had gone to banking. It is almost insulting to assume that they are not doing what they can to help their students learn, and that by paying them an extra $500 or $1,500, they would exert greater effort. Indeed, incentive pay can be corrosive: it reminds teachers of how bad their pay is, and those who are led thereby to focus on money may be induced to find a better paying job, leaving behind only those for whom teaching is the only alternative. (Of course, if teachers perceive themselves to be badly paid, that will undermine morale, and that will have adverse incentive effects)
Joseph E. Stiglitz (The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future)
1. Myth: Without God, life has no meaning. There are 1.2 billion Chinese who have no predominant religion, and 1 billion people in India who are predominantly Hindu. And 65% of Japan's 127 million people claim to be non-believers. It is laughable to suggest that none of these billions of people are leading meaningful lives. 2. Myth: Prayer works. Studies have now shown that inter-cessionary prayer has no effect whatsoever of the health or well-being of the subject. 3. Myth: Atheists are immoral. There are hundreds of millions of non-believers on the planet living normal, decent, moral lives. They love their children, care about others, obey laws, and try to keep from doing harm to others just like everyone else. In fact, in predominantly non-believing countries such as in northern Europe, measures of societal health such as life expectancy at birth, adult literacy, per capita income, education, homicide, suicide, gender equality, and political coercion are better than they are in believing societies. 4. Myth: Belief in God is compatible with science. In the past, every supernatural or paranormal explanation of phenomena that humans believed turned out to be mistaken; science has always found a physical explanation that revealed that the supernatural view was a myth. Modern organisms evolved from lower life forms, they weren't created 6,000 years ago in the finished state. Fever is not caused by demon possession. Bad weather is not the wrath of angry gods. Miracle claims have turned out to be mistakes, frauds, or deceptions. We have every reason to conclude that science will continue to undermine the superstitious worldview of religion. 5. Myth: We have immortal souls that survive death. We have mountains of evidence that makes it clear that our consciousness, our beliefs, our desires, our thoughts all depend upon the proper functioning of our brains our nervous systems to exist. So when the brain dies, all of these things that we identify with the soul also cease to exist. Despite the fact that billions of people have lived and died on this planet, we do not have a single credible case of someone's soul, or consciousness, or personality continuing to exist despite the demise of their bodies. 6. Myth: If there is no God, everything is permitted. Consider the billions of people in China, India, and Japan above. If this claim was true, none of them would be decent moral people. So Ghandi, the Buddha, and Confucius, to name only a few were not moral people on this view. 7. Myth: Believing in God is not a cause of evil. The examples of cases where it was someone's belief in God that was the justification for their evils on humankind are too numerous to mention. 8. Myth: God explains the origins of the universe. All of the questions that allegedly plague non-God attempts to explain our origins still apply to the faux explanation of God. The suggestion that God created everything does not make it any clearer to us where it all came from, how he created it, why he created it, where it is all going. In fact, it raises even more difficult mysteries: how did God, operating outside the confines of space, time, and natural law 'create' or 'build' a universe that has physical laws? We have no precedent and maybe no hope of answering or understanding such a possibility. What does it mean to say that some disembodied, spiritual being who knows everything and has all power, 'loves' us, or has thoughts, or goals, or plans? 9. Myth: There's no harm in believing in God. Religious views inform voting, how they raise their children, what they think is moral and immoral, what laws and legislation they pass, who they are friends and enemies with, what companies they invest in, where they donate to charities, who they approve and disapprove of, who they are willing to kill or tolerate, what crimes they are willing to commit, and which wars they are willing to fight.
Matthew S. McCormick
Yet what moved Our Blessed Lord to invective was not badness but just such self-righteousness as this…He said that the harlots and the Quislings would enter the Kingdom of Heaven before the self-righteous and the smug. Concerning all those who endowed hospitals and libraries and public works, in order to have their names graven in stone before their fellow men, He said, “Amen I say to you, they have received their reward” (Matt. 6:2). They wanted no more than human glory, and they got it. Never once is Our Blessed Lord indignant against those who are already, in the eyes of society, below the level of law and respectability. He attacked only the sham indignation of those who dwelt more on the sin than the sinner and who felt pleasantly virtuous, because they had found someone more vicious than they. He would not condemn those whom society condemned; his severe words were for those who had sinned and had not been found out…He would not add His burden of accusation to those that had already been hurled against the winebibbers and the thieves, the cheap revolutionists, the streetwalkers, and the traitors. They were everybody’s target, and everybody knew that they were wrong…And the people who chose to make war against Our Lord were never those whom society had labeled as sinners. Of those who sentenced Him to death, none had ever had a record in the police court, had ever been arrested, was ever commonly known to be fallen or weak. But among his friends, who sorrowed at His death, were coverts drawn from thieves and from prostitutes. Those who were aligned against Him were the nice people who stood high in the community—the worldly, prosperous people, the men of big business, the judges of law courts who governed by expediency, the “civic-minded” individuals whose true selfishness was veneered over with public generosity. Such men as these opposed him and sent Him to His death.
Fulton J. Sheen (Peace of Soul: Timeless Wisdom on Finding Serenity and Joy by the Century's Most Acclaimed Catholic Bishop)
You should not have too many people waiting on you, you should have to do most things for yourself. Hotel service is embarrassing. Maids, waiters, bellhops, porters and so forth are the most embarrassing people in the world for they continually remind you of inequities which we accept as the proper thing. The sight of an ancient woman, gasping and wheezing as she drags a heavy pail of water down a hotel corridor to mop up the mess of some drunken overprivileged guest, is one that sickens and weighs upon the heart and withers it with shame for this world in which it is not only tolerated but regarded as proof positive that the wheels of Democracy are functioning as they should without interference from above or below. Nobody should have to clean up anybody else’s mess in this world. It is terribly bad for both parties, but probably worse for the one receiving the service.
Tennessee Williams
In all conflicts between groups, there are three elements. One: the certitude that our group is morally superior, possibly even chosen by God. All others should follow our example or be at our service. In order to bring peace to the world, we have to impose our set of beliefs upon others, through manipulation, force, and fear, if necessary. Two: a refusal or incapacity to see or admit to any possible errors or faults in our group. The undeniable nature of our own goodness makes us think we are infallible; there can be no wrong in us. Three: a refusal to believe that any other group possesses truth or can contribute anything of value. At best, others may be regarded as ignorant, unenlightened, and possessing only half—truths; at worst, they are seen as destructive, dangerous, and possessed by evil spirits: they need to be overpowered for the good of humanity. Society and cultures are, then, divided into the “good” and the “bad”; the good attributing to themselves the mission to save, to heal, to bring peace to a wicked world, according to their own terms and under their controlling power. Such is the story of all civilizations through the ages as they spread over the earth by invading and colonizing. Differences must be suppressed; “savages” must be civilized. We must prove by all possible means that our culture, our power, our knowledge, and our technology are the best, that our gods are the only gods! This is not just the story of civilizations but also of all wars of religion, inquisitions, censorships, dictatorships; all things, in short, that are ideologies. An ideology is a set of ideas translated into a set of values. Because they are held to be absolutely true, these ideas and values need to be imposed on others if they are not readily accepted. A political system, a school of psychology, and a philosophy of economics can all be ideologies. Even a place of work can be an ideology. Religious sub—groups, sects, are based upon ideological principles. Religions themselves can become ideologies. And ideologues, by their nature, are not open to new ideas or even to debate; they refuse to accept or listen to anyone else’s reality. They refuse to admit any possibility of error or even criticism of their system; they are closed up in their set of ideas, theories, and values. We human beings have a great facility for living illusions, for protecting our self—image with power, for justifying it all by thinking we are the favoured ones of God.
Jean Vanier (Becoming Human)
We fail to take responsibility, to act productively in the interest of ourselves and others. And in our attempts at a better life, we are often severely limited or thwarted by the immature and socially inept behavior of ourselves and others. There is a great fabric of relations, behaviors and emotions, reverberating with human and animal bliss and suffering, a web of intimate and formal relations, both direct and indirect. Nasty whirlwinds of feedback cycles blow through this great multidimensional web, pulsating with hurt and degradation. My lacking human development blocks your possible human development. My lack of understanding of you, your needs perspectives, hurts you in a million subtle ways. I become a bad lover, a bad colleague, a bad fellow citizen and human being. We are interconnected: You cannot get away from my hurt and wounds. They will follow you all of your life—I will be your daughter’s abusive boyfriend, your belligerent neighbor from hell. And you will never grow wings because there will always be mean bosses, misunderstanding families and envious friends. And you will tell yourself that is how life must be. But it is not how life has to be. Once you begin to be able to see the social-psychological fabric of everyday life, it becomes increasingly apparent that the fabric is relatively easy to change, to develop. Metamodern politics aims to make everyone secure at the deepest psychological level, so that we can live authentically; a byproduct of which is a sense of meaning in life and lasting happiness; a byproduct of which is kindness and an increased ability to cooperate with others; a byproduct of which is deeper freedom and better concrete results in the lives of everyone; a byproduct of which is a society less likely to collapse into a heap of atrocities.
Hanzi Freinacht (The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One (Metamodern Guides 1))
Believing in my great hurt, my literal cutting off from society's mainland, it seems to me that I took life in a sense too seriously, and the lives of others, for the same reason, too lightly. The murders were my own conception; my sex. The Factory was my attempt to construct life, to replace the involvement which otherwise I did not want. Well, it is always easier to succeed at death. Inside this greater machine, things are not quite so cut and dried (or cut and pickled) as they have appeared in my experience. Each of us, in our own personal Factory, may believe we have stumbled down one corridor, and that our fate is sealed and certain (dream or nightmare, humdrum or bizarre, good or bad), but a word, a glance, a slip - anything can change that, alter it entirely, and our marble hall becomes a gutter, or our rat-maze a golden path. Our destination is the same in the end, but our journey - part chosen, part determined- is different for us all, and changes even as we live and grow. I thought one door had snicked shut behind me years ago; in fact I was still crawling about the face. Now the door closes, and my journey begins.
Iain Banks
I have a feeling that we've seen the dismantling of civilisation, brick by brick, and now we're looking into the void. We thought that we were liberating people from oppressive cultural circumstances, but we were, in fact, taking something away from them. We were killing off civility and concern. We were undermining all those little ties of loyalty and consideration and affection that are necessary for human flourishing. We thought that tradition was bad, that it created hidebound societies, that it held people down. But, in fact, what tradition was doing all along was affirming community and the sense that we are members of one another. Do we really love and respect one another more in the absence of tradition and manners and all the rest? Or have we merely converted one another into moral strangers - making our countries nothing more than hotels for the convenience of guests who are required only to avoid stepping on the toes of other guests?
Alexander McCall Smith (Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street, #2))
I wasn’t a misogynist when I started this,” Tyler replied. “But you get good and you start sleeping with all these women who have boyfriends, and you stop trusting women.” A side effect of sarging is that it can lowers one’s opinion of the oppo35D site sex. You see too much betrayal, lying, and infidelity. If a woman has been married three years or more, you come to learn that she’s usually easier to sleep with than a single woman. If a woman has a boyfriend, you learn that you have a better chance of fucking her the night you meet her than getting her to return a phone call later. Women, you eventually realize, are just as bad as men-they’re just better at hiding it. “I got hurt a lot when I first started picking up,” he continued. “I’d meet an amazing girl I really liked, and we’d talk all night. She’d say she loved me and was so lucky to have met me. But then I’d fail one shit test, and she’d walk away and wouldn’t even talk to me anymore. Everything we’d built up over the last eight hours would just go down the drain. So it hardened me.
Neil Strauss (The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists)
Suppose that we agree that the two atrocities can or may be mentioned in the same breath. Why should we do so? I wrote at the time (The Nation, October 5, 1998) that Osama bin Laden 'hopes to bring a "judgmental" monotheism of his own to bear on these United States.' Chomsky's recent version of this is 'considering the grievances expressed by people of the Middle East region.' In my version, then as now, one confronts an enemy who wishes ill to our society, and also to his own (if impermeable religious despotism is considered an 'ill'). In Chomsky's reading, one must learn to sift through the inevitable propaganda and emotion resulting from the September 11 attacks, and lend an ear to the suppressed and distorted cry for help that comes, not from the victims, but from the perpetrators. I have already said how distasteful I find this attitude. I wonder if even Chomsky would now like to have some of his own words back? Why else should he take such care to quote himself deploring the atrocity? Nobody accused him of not doing so. It's often a bad sign when people defend themselves against charges which haven't been made.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
My Fellow Non-American Blacks: In America, You Are Black, Baby Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I’m Jamaican or I’m Ghanaian. America doesn’t care. So what if you weren’t “black” in your country? You’re in America now. We all have our moments of initiation into the Society of Former Negroes. Mine was in a class in undergrad when I was asked to give the black perspective, only I had no idea what that was. So I just made something up. And admit it—you say “I’m not black” only because you know black is at the bottom of America’s race ladder. And you want none of that. Don’t deny now. What if being black had all the privileges of being white? Would you still say “Don’t call me black, I’m from Trinidad”? I didn’t think so. So you’re black, baby. And here’s the deal with becoming black: You must show that you are offended when such words as “watermelon” or “tar baby” are used in jokes, even if you don’t know what the hell is being talked about—and since you are a Non-American Black, the chances are that you won’t know. (In undergrad a white classmate asks if I like watermelon, I say yes, and another classmate says, Oh my God that is so racist, and I’m confused. “Wait, how?”) You must nod back when a black person nods at you in a heavily white area. It is called the black nod. It is a way for black people to say “You are not alone, I am here too.” In describing black women you admire, always use the word “STRONG” because that is what black women are supposed to be in America. If you are a woman, please do not speak your mind as you are used to doing in your country. Because in America, strong-minded black women are SCARY. And if you are a man, be hyper-mellow, never get too excited, or somebody will worry that you’re about to pull a gun. When you watch television and hear that a “racist slur” was used, you must immediately become offended. Even though you are thinking “But why won’t they tell me exactly what was said?” Even though you would like to be able to decide for yourself how offended to be, or whether to be offended at all, you must nevertheless be very offended. When a crime is reported, pray that it was not committed by a black person, and if it turns out to have been committed by a black person, stay well away from the crime area for weeks, or you might be stopped for fitting the profile. If a black cashier gives poor service to the non-black person in front of you, compliment that person’s shoes or something, to make up for the bad service, because you’re just as guilty for the cashier’s crimes. If you are in an Ivy League college and a Young Republican tells you that you got in only because of Affirmative Action, do not whip out your perfect grades from high school. Instead, gently point out that the biggest beneficiaries of Affirmative Action are white women. If you go to eat in a restaurant, please tip generously. Otherwise the next black person who comes in will get awful service, because waiters groan when they get a black table. You see, black people have a gene that makes them not tip, so please overpower that gene. If you’re telling a non-black person about something racist that happened to you, make sure you are not bitter. Don’t complain. Be forgiving. If possible, make it funny. Most of all, do not be angry. Black people are not supposed to be angry about racism. Otherwise you get no sympathy. This applies only for white liberals, by the way. Don’t even bother telling a white conservative about anything racist that happened to you. Because the conservative will tell you that YOU are the real racist and your mouth will hang open in confusion.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah)
But then, not long after, in another article, Loftus writes, "We live in a strange and precarious time that resembles at its heart the hysteria and superstitious fervor of the witch trials." She took rifle lessons and to this day keeps the firing instruction sheets and targets posted above her desk. In 1996, when Psychology Today interviewed her, she burst into tears twice within the first twenty minutes, labile, lubricated, theatrical, still whip smart, talking about the blurry boundaries between fact and fiction while she herself lived in another blurry boundary, between conviction and compulsion, passion and hyperbole. "The witch hunts," she said, but the analogy is wrong, and provides us with perhaps a more accurate window into Loftus's stretched psyche than into our own times, for the witch hunts were predicated on utter nonsense, and the abuse scandals were predicated on something all too real, which Loftus seemed to forget: Women are abused. Memories do matter. Talking to her, feeling her high-flying energy the zeal that burns up the center of her life, you have to wonder, why. You are forced to ask the very kind of question Loftus most abhors: did something bad happen to her? For she herself seems driven by dissociated demons, and so I ask. What happened to you? Turns out, a lot. (refers to Dr. Elizabeth F. Loftus)
Lauren Slater (Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century)
My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us. No philosopher can contemplate this interesting situation without beginning to reflect on what it can mean. The gap between political realities and their public face is so great that the term “paradox” tends to crop up from sentence to sentence. Our rulers are theoretically “our” representatives, but they are busy turning us into the instruments of the projects they keep dreaming up. The business of governments, one might think, is to supply the framework of law within which we may pursue happiness on our own account. Instead, we are constantly being summoned to reform ourselves. Debt, intemperance, and incompetence in rearing our children are no doubt regrettable, but they are vices, and left alone, they will soon lead to the pain that corrects. Life is a better teacher of virtue than politicians, and most sensible governments in the past left moral faults to the churches. But democratic citizenship in the twenty-first century means receiving a stream of improving “messages” from politicians. Some may forgive these intrusions because they are so well intentioned. Who would defend prejudice, debt, or excessive drinking? The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. They are tiresome enough in their exercise of authority—they are intolerable when they mount the pulpit. Nor should we be in any doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step towards totalitarianism. We might perhaps be more tolerant of rulers turning preachers if they were moral giants. But what citizen looks at the government today thinking how wise and virtuous it is? Public respect for politicians has long been declining, even as the population at large has been seduced into demanding political solutions to social problems. To demand help from officials we rather despise argues for a notable lack of logic in the demos. The statesmen of eras past have been replaced by a set of barely competent social workers eager to take over the risks of our everyday life. The electorates of earlier times would have responded to politicians seeking to bribe us with such promises with derision. Today, the demos votes for them.
Kenneth Minogue (The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life)
What our generation is in danger of forgetting is not only that morals are of necessity a phenomenon of individual conduct but also that they can exist only in the sphere in which the individual is free to decide for himself and is called upon voluntarily to sacrifice personal advantage to the observance of a moral rule. Outside the sphere of individual responsibility there is neither goodness nor badness, neither opportunity for moral merit nor the chance of proving one’s conviction by sacrificing one’s desires to what one thinks right. Only were we ourselves are responsible for our own interests and are free to sacrifice them has our decision moral value. We are neither entitled to be unselfish at someone else’s expense nor is there any merit in being unselfish if we have no choice. The members of a society who in all respects are made to do the good things have no title to praise. As Milton said: “If every action which is good or evil in a man of ripe years were under pittance an prescription and compulsion, what were virtue but a name, what praise should then be due to well-doing, what gramercy to be sober, just, or continent?” Freedom to order our own conduct in the sphere where material circumstances force upon us, and responsibility for the arrangement of our own life according to our own conscience, is the air in which alone moral sense grows and in which moral values are daily re-created in the free decision of the individual. Responsibility, not to a superior, but to one’s conscience, the awareness of a duty not exacted by compulsion, the necessity to decide which of the things one values are to be sacrificed to others, and to bear the consequences of one’s own decision, are the very essence of any morals which deserve the name. That in this sphere of individual conduct the effect of collectivism has been almost entirely destructive is both inevitable and undeniable. A movement whose main promise is the relief from responsibility cannot but be antimoral in its effect, however lofty the ideals to which it owes its birth. Can there be much doubt that the feeling of personal obligation to remedy inequities, where our individual power permits, has been weakened rather than strengthened, that both the willingness to bear responsibility and the consciousness that it is our own individual duty to know how to choose have been perceptibly impaired? …There is much to suggest that we have in fact become more tolerant toward particular abuses and much more indifferent to inequities in individual cases, since we have fixed our eyes on an entirely different system in which the state will set everything right. It may even be, as has been suggested, that the passion for collective action is a way in which we now without compunction collectively indulge in that selfishness which as individuals we had learned a little to restrain.
Friedrich A. Hayek
Most incarcerated women—nearly two-thirds—are in prison for nonviolent, low-level drug crimes or property crimes. Drug laws in particular have had a huge impact on the number of women sent to prison. “Three strikes” laws have also played a considerable role. I started challenging conditions of confinement at Tutwiler in the mid-1980s as a young attorney with the Southern Prisoners Defense Committee. At the time, I was shocked to find women in prison for such minor offenses. One of the first incarcerated women I ever met was a young mother who was serving a long prison sentence for writing checks to buy her three young children Christmas gifts without sufficient funds in her account. Like a character in a Victor Hugo novel, she tearfully explained her heartbreaking tale to me. I couldn’t accept the truth of what she was saying until I checked her file and discovered that she had, in fact, been convicted and sentenced to over ten years in prison for writing five checks, including three to Toys “R” Us. None of the checks was for more than $150. She was not unique. Thousands of women have been sentenced to lengthy terms in prison for writing bad checks or for minor property crimes that trigger mandatory minimum sentences. The collateral consequences of incarcerating women are significant. Approximately 75 to 80 percent of incarcerated women are mothers with minor children. Nearly 65 percent had minor children living with them at the time of their arrest—children who have become more vulnerable and at-risk as a result of their mother’s incarceration and will remain so for the rest of their lives, even after their mothers come home. In 1996, Congress passed welfare reform legislation that gratuitously included a provision that authorized states to ban people with drug convictions from public benefits and welfare. The population most affected by this misguided law is formerly incarcerated women with children, most of whom were imprisoned for drug crimes. These women and their children can no longer live in public housing, receive food stamps, or access basic services. In the last twenty years, we’ve created a new class of “untouchables” in American society, made up of our most vulnerable mothers and their children.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)
Why do people often feel bad in good environments and good in bad environments? Why did Mother Teresta think that affluent Westerners often seemed poorer than the Calcutta poor, the poorest of the poor? The paradox comes to pass because the impoverishments and enrichments of a self in a world are not necessarily the same as the impoverishments and enrichments of an organism in an environment. The organism is needy or not needy accordingly as needs are satisfied or not satisfied by its environment. The self in a world is rich or poor accordingly as it succeeds in identifying its otherwise unspeakable self, e.g., mythically, by identifying itself with a world-sign, such as a totem; religiously, by identifying itself as a creature of God...In a post-religious age, the only recourses of the self are self as transcendent and self as immanent. The impoverishment of the immanent self derives from a perceived loss of sovereignty to "them," the transcending scientists and experts of society. As a consequence, the self sees its only recourse as an endless round of work, diversion, and consumption of goods and services. Failing this and having some inkling of its plight, it sees no way out because it has come to see itself as an organism in an environment and so can't understand why it feels so bad in the best of all possible environments--say, a good family and a good home in a good neighborhood in East Orange on a fine Wednesday afternoon--and so finds itself secretly relishing bad news, assassinations, plane crashes, and the misfortunes of neighbors, and even comes secretly to hope for catastrophe, earthquake, hurricane, wars, apocalypse--anything to break out of the iron grip of immanence.
Walker Percy (Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book)
We have good news and bad news. The good news is that the dismal vision of human sexuality reflected in the standard narrative is mistaken. Men have not evolved to be deceitful cads, nor have millions of years shaped women into lying, two-timing gold-diggers. But the bad news is that the amoral agencies of evolution have created in us a species with a secret it just can’t keep. Homo sapiens evolved to be shamelessly, undeniably, inescapably sexual. Lusty libertines. Rakes, rogues, and roués. Tomcats and sex kittens. Horndogs. Bitches in heat.1 True, some of us manage to rise above this aspect of our nature (or to sink below it). But these preconscious impulses remain our biological baseline, our reference point, the zero in our own personal number system. Our evolved tendencies are considered “normal” by the body each of us occupies. Willpower fortified with plenty of guilt, fear, shame, and mutilation of body and soul may provide some control over these urges and impulses. Sometimes. Occasionally. Once in a blue moon. But even when controlled, they refuse to be ignored. As German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer pointed out, Mensch kann tun was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will. (One can choose what to do, but not what to want.) Acknowledged or not, these evolved yearnings persist and clamor for our attention. And there are costs involved in denying one’s evolved sexual nature, costs paid by individuals, couples, families, and societies every day and every night. They are paid in what E. O. Wilson called “the less tangible currency of human happiness that must be spent to circumvent our natural predispositions.”2 Whether or not our society’s investment in sexual repression is a net gain or loss is a question for another time. For now, we’ll just suggest that trying to rise above nature is always a risky, exhausting endeavor, often resulting in spectacular collapse. Any attempt to understand who we are, how we got to be this way, and what to do about it must begin by facing up to our evolved human sexual predispositions. Why do so many forces resist our sustained fulfillment? Why is conventional marriage so much damned work? How has the incessant, grinding campaign of socio-scientific insistence upon the naturalness of sexual monogamy combined with a couple thousand years of fire and brimstone failed to rid even the priests, preachers, politicians, and professors of their prohibited desires? To see ourselves as we are, we must begin by acknowledging that of all Earth’s creatures, none is as urgently, creatively, and constantly sexual as Homo sapiens.
Christopher Ryan (Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships)