Some Professions Quotes

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Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go so much further than people with vastly superior talent.
Sophia Loren
There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live. Surely these should never be confused in the mind of any man who has the slightest inkling of what culture is. For most of us it is essential that we should make a living...In the complications of modern life and with our increased accumulation of knowledge, it doubtless helps greatly to compress some years of experience into far fewer years by studying for a particular trade or profession in an institution; but that fact should not blind us to another—namely, that in so doing we are learning a trade or a profession, but are not getting a liberal education as human beings.
James Truslow Adams
To be honest, I'm not sure about this whole scared of commitment business. I think it's become too handy, a useful phrase that men can bandy about whenever they feel like being assholes. And sure, I do believe there are some men who are genuinely terrified of commitment, but there aren't that many, and for the most part I think it's that they haven't met the right woman yet. Because if a man, no matter how scared he professed to be, met the woman of his dreams, he wouldn't want to let her go, would he? And sure, he might not want to actually get married, but if he were madly in love and risked losing her, he'd do it, wouldn't he? That's what I think, anyway.
Jane Green (Mr. Maybe)
Just you wait. As soon as you and I are done, he's gonna pull some cheesy-ass move and,like, profess his love for you with a boom box I'm telling you I know how guys think
Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1))
If you're not driving business growth and profitability, then you might as well be a houseplant. So get out there and make some money, honey!
Shubham Shukla (Career's Quest: Proven Strategies for Mastering Success in Your Profession: Networking and Building Professional Relationships)
I cannot describe Or explain the speed of light Or what makes thunder roll across the sky And I could never theorize about the universe’s size Or explain why some men live and some men die I can’t even guess I would never profess To know why you are here with me And I cannot comprehend How numbers have no end The things you understand, I can’t conceive Infinity + One Is still infinity. And no matter how I try I’m bound by gravity. But the things I thought I knew Changed the minute I met you. It seems I’m weightless And I’m endless after all. Weightless and endless. Timeless and restless. So light that I’ll never fall. Weightless and endless. Hopelessly breathless. I guess I knew nothing at all.
Amy Harmon (Infinity + One)
His appearance gives no clue to what his profession might be, and yet he doesn't look like a man without a profession either. Consider what he's like: He always knows what to do. He knows how to gaze into a woman's eyes. He can put his mind to any question at any time. He can box. He is gifted, strong-willed, open-minded, fearless, tenacious, dashing, circumspect—why quibble, suppose we grant him all those qualities—yet he has none of them! They have made him what he is, they have set his course for him, and yet they don't belong to him. When he is angry, something in him laughs. When he is sad, he is up to something. When something moves him, he turns against it. He'll always see a good side to every bad action. What he thinks of anything will always depend on some possible context—nothing is, to him, what it is: everything is subject to change, in flux, part of a whole, of an infinite number of wholes presumably adding up to a super-whole that, however, he knows nothing about. So every answer he gives is only a partial answer, every feeling an opinion, and he never cares what something is, only 'how' it is—some extraneous seasoning that somehow goes along with it, that's what interests him.
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities)
A writer should always have some profession which brings him into close contact with the reality's of life.
Vicki Baum
For us of course the shared activity and therefore the companionship on which Friendship supervenes will not often be a bodily one like hunting or fighting. It may be a common religion, common studies, a common profession, even a common recreation. All who share it will be our companions; but one or two or three who share something more will be our Friends. In this kind of love, as Emerson said, Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth? - Or at least, "Do you care about the same truth?" The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance can be our Friend. He need not agree with us about the answer.
C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
churchgoing is not synonymous with personal spirituality. There are some people who get so busy in church worship and projects that they become insensitive to the pressing human needs that sourround them, contradicting the very precepts they profess to believe deeply.
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change)
I profess not to know how women’s hearts are wooed and won. To me they have always been matters of riddle and admiration. Some seem to have but one vulnerable point, or door of access; while others have a thousand avenues, and may be captured in a thousand different ways. It is a great triumph of skill to gain the former, but a still greater proof of generalship to maintain possession of the latter, for man must battle for his fortress at every door and window. He who wins a thousand common hearts is therefore entitled to some renown; but he who keeps undisputed sway over the heart of a coquette is indeed a hero.
Washington Irving (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)
A career must be husbanded. Care must be taken. Everyday must bring some small bit of progress. How would an artist with any self-worth act? Act that way.
Julia Cameron (Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance)
Good morning. "Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with the inner drive, go much farther than people with vastly superior talent
Sophia Loren
He despised causeless affection, just as he despised unearned wealth. They professed to love him for some unknown reason and they ignored all the things for which he could wish to be loved.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
There are no crimes and no criminals in these days. What is the use of having brains in our profession? I know well that I have it in me to make my name famous. No man lives or has ever lived who has brought the same amount of study and of natural talent to the detection of crime which I have done. And what is the result? There is no crime to detect, or, at most, some bungling villainy with a motive so transparent that even a Scotland Yard official can see through it.
Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, #1))
Of course,” Connor replies. “Your daughter is already more articulate than you are, so really, I like Sulli more than I like you.” Connor sips his coffee again like he just professed the weather: sunny with a side of fuck you. Ryke flips him off. The more direct approach to a fuck you.
Becca Ritchie (Some Kind of Perfect (Calloway Sisters, #5))
They professed to love him for some unknown reason and they ignored all the things for which he could wish to be loved.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
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 the 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 are some militarists who say: ‘We are not interested in politics but only in the profession of arms.’ It is vital that these simple-minded militarists be made to realize the relationship that exists between politics and military affairs. Military action is a method used to attain a political goal. While military affairs and political affairs are not identical, it is impossible to isolate one from the other.” - Mao Zedong, Yu Chi Chan
Mao Zedong
It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary 'working' men. They are a race apart--outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men 'work', beggars do not 'work'; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not 'earn' his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic 'earns' his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable. Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no ESSENTIAL difference between a beggar's livelihood and that of numberless respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said; but, then, what is WORK? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course--but, then, many reputable trades are quite useless. And as a social type a beggar compares well with scores of others. He is honest compared with the sellers of most patent medicines, high-minded compared with a Sunday newspaper proprietor, amiable compared with a hire-purchase tout--in short, a parasite, but a fairly harmless parasite. He seldom extracts more than a bare living from the community, and, what should justify him according to our ethical ideas, he pays for it over and over in suffering. I do not think there is anything about a beggar that sets him in a different class from other people, or gives most modern men the right to despise him. Then the question arises, Why are beggars despised?--for they are despised, universally. I believe it is for the simple reason that they fail to earn a decent living. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modem talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except 'Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it'? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are despised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a businessman, getting his living, like other businessmen, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modem people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich.
George Orwell (Down and Out in Paris and London)
I joke, mademoiselle," he said, "and I laugh. But there are some things that are no joke. There are things that my profession has taught me. And one of these things, the most terrible thing, is this: murder is a habit...
Agatha Christie (Murder in Mesopotamia (Hercule Poirot, #14))
The misery that oppresses you lies not in your profession but in yourself! What man in the world would not find his situation intolerable if he chooses a craft, an art, indeed any form of life, without experiencing an inner calling? Whoever is born with a talent, or to a talent, must surely find in that the most pleasing of occupations! Everything on this earth has its difficult sides! Only some inner drive—pleasure, love—can help us overcome obstacles, prepare a path, and lift us out of the narrow circle in which others tread out their anguished, miserable existences!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I watched him with some interest, for it was the first time that I had seen a person whose profession was telling lies—unless one counts journalists.
George Orwell (Homage to Catalonia)
Nothing feels as awful as pouring your heart out to some talk therapist, then realizing this so-called professional is actually vastly stupid and you've just professed your most secret secrets to some goon who's wearing one brown sock and one blue sock.
Chuck Palahniuk (Damned (Damned, #1))
People often think the question of non-resistance to evil by force is a theoretical one, which can be neglected. Yet this question is presented by life itself to all men, and calls for some answer from every thinking man. Ever since Christianity has been outwardly professed, this question is for men in their social life like the question which presents itself to a traveler when the road on which he has been journeying divides into two branches. He must go on and he cannot say: I will not think about it, but will go on just as I did before. There was one road, now there are two, and he must make his choice.
Leo Tolstoy (The Kingdom of God Is Within You)
...sometimes they almost made me feel glad that I had a few extra years to play my depression out with therapy and other means, because I think its useful in youth- unless suicide or drug abuse are the alternatives- to have some faith in the mind to cure itself, to not rush to doctors or diagnosis's...I sometimes worry that part of what creates depression in young people is their own, and their parents, and the whole worlds impatience with allowing the phases of life to run their course. We will very likely soon be living in a society that confuses disease with normal life if the panic and rush to judgment and labeling do not slow down a bit. Somewhere between the unbelievable tardiness that the medical profession was guilty of in administering proper treatment to me and the eagerness to with which practitioners prescribe Ritalin for 8 year old boys and Paxil for 14 year old girls, there is a sane course of action.
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. Just as the prophets in the Old Testament warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label 'Christian' or because some people persist in calling us a 'Christian nation.
Francis Chan (Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)
There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live. To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically. The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success, not kingly, not manly.
Henry David Thoreau
If at the moment you feel as though you don’t have any talents, go to a time in the past when you felt confident about some aspect of your life. Work on that section, study it, share it, and become more interesting. If you have a profession, a hobby, or a special interest, read about it, and mention it in conversations. Be excited about it, and you’ll be more interesting and more intelligent.
Maye Musk (A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success)
I have explained many times that I am, by Profession, a Gambler -- not some jock-sniffing nerd or a hired human squawk-box with the brain of a one-cell animal. No. That would be your average career sportswriter -- and, more specifically, a full-time Baseball writer.
Hunter S. Thompson
Journalists can sound grandiose when they talk about their profession. Some of us are adrenaline junkies; some of us are escapists; some of us do wreck our personal lives and hurt those who love us most. This work can destroy people. I have seen so many friends and colleagues become unrecognizable from trauma: short-tempered, sleepless, and alienated from friends. But after years of witnessing so much suffering in the world, we find it hard to acknowledge that lucky, free, prosperous people like us might be suffering, too. We feel more comfortable in the darkest places than we do back home, where life seems too simple and too easy. We don’t listen to that inner voice that says it is time to take a break from documenting other people’s lives and start building our own. Under it all, however, are the things that sustain us and bring us together: the privilege of witnessing things that others do not; an idealistic belief that a photograph might affect people’s souls; the thrill of creating art and contributing to the world’s database of knowledge. When I return home and rationally consider the risks, the choices are difficult. But when I am doing my work, I am alive and I am me. It’s what I do. I am sure there are other versions of happiness, but this one is mine.
Lynsey Addario (It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War)
It is a profound mistake to imagine that Christianity ever intended to dissipate the bewilderment and even the terror, the sense of our own nothingness, which come upon us when we think about the nature of things. It comes to intensify them. Without such sensations there is no religion. Many a man, brought up in the glib profession of some shallow form of Christianity, who comes through reading Astronomy to realize for the first time how majestically indifferent most reality is to man, and who perhaps abandons his religion on that account, may at that moment be having his first genuinely religious experience. . . . Christianity does not involve the belief that all things were made for man.
C.S. Lewis (Miracles)
[you’ll acquire] A certain amount of cynicism. This business works on you. When you were in law school you had some noble idea what a lawyer should be. A champion of individual rights; a defender of the Constitution; a guardian of the oppressed; an advocate for your client’s principles. Then after you practice for six months you realize you were nothing but hired guns. Mouthpieces for sale to the highest bidder, available to anybody, any crook, any sleazebag with enough money to pay your outrageous fees. Nothing shocks you. It’s supposed to be an honorable profession, but you’ll meet so many crooked lawyers you’ll want to quit and find an honest job. Yeah Mitch, you’ll get cynical. And it’s sad, really.
John Grisham (The Firm)
Artisans, say, taxi drivers, prostitutes (a very, very old profession), carpenters, plumbers, tailors, and dentists, have some volatility in their income but they are rather robust to a minor professional Black Swan, one that would bring their income to a complete halt. Their risks are visible. Not so with employees, who have no volatility, but can be surprised to see their income going to zero after a phone call from the personnel department. Employees’ risks are hidden.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder)
Curiously, Chris didn’t hold everyone to the same exacting standards. One of the individuals he professed to admire greatly over the last two years of his life was a heavy drinker and incorrigible philanderer who regularly beat up his girlfriends. Chris was well aware of this man’s faults yet managed to forgive them. He was also able to forgive, or overlook, the shortcomings of his literary heroes: Jack London was a notorious drunk; Tolstoy, despite his famous advocacy of celibacy, had been an enthusiastic sexual adventurer as young man and went on to father at least thirteen children, some of whom were conceived at the same time the censorious count was thundering in print against the evils of sex.
Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)
There is a somewhat time-worn joke about people taking up library work because they like to read : the joke consisting of the fact that librarians have so little time to read. But, I tell you, those who do not, and there are some, are in the wrong profession.
Mary Virginia Provines (Bright Heritage)
Art and relligion are not professions: they are not occupations for which men can be paid. The artist and the saint do what they have to do, not to make a living, but in obedience to some mysterious necessity. They do not product to live - they live to produce.
Clive Bell
It is often attempted to palliate slavery by comparing the state of slaves with our poorer countrymen: if the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin; but how this bears on slavery, I cannot see; as well might the use of the thumb-screw be defended in one land, by showing that men in another land suffered from some dreadful disease. Those who look tenderly at the slave owner, and with a cold heart at the slave, never seem to put themselves into the position of the latter; what a cheerless prospect, with not even a hope of change! picture to yourself the chance, ever hanging over you, of your wife and your little children — those objects which nature urges even the slave to call his own — being torn from you and sold like beasts to the first bidder! And these deeds are done and palliated by men, who profess to love their neighbours as themselves, who believe in God, and pray that his Will be done on earth! It makes one's blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty...
Charles Darwin (Voyage of the Beagle)
Gilbert had finally made up his mind that he was going to be a doctor. "It's a splendid profession," he said enthusiastically. "A fellow has to fight something all through life. . .didn't somebody once define man as a fighting animal?. . .and I want to fight disease and pain and ignorance. . .which are all members one of another. I want to do my share of honest, real work in the world, Anne. . . add a little to the sum of human knowledge that all the good men have been accumulating since it began. The folks who lived before me have done so much for me that I want to show my gratitude by doing something for the folks who will live after me. It seems to me that is the only way a fellow can get square with his obligations to the race." "I'd like to add some beauty to life," said Anne dreamily. "I don't exactly want to make people know more. . .though I know that is the noblest ambition. . .but I'd love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me. . .to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn't been born." "I think you're fulfilling that ambition every day," said Gilbert admiringly. And he was right. Anne was one of the children of light by birthright. After she had passed through a life with a smile or a word thrown across it like a gleam of sunshine the owner of that life saw it, for the time being at least, as hopeful and lovely and of good report.
L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2))
            Tempting as it may be to draw one conclusion or another from my story and universalize it to apply to another's experience, it is not my intention for my book to be seen as some sort of cookie-cutter approach and explanation of mental illness, It is not ab advocacy of any particular form of therapy over another. Nor is it meant to take sides in the legitimate and necessary debate within the mental health profession if which treatments are most effective for this or any other mental illness.             What it is, I hope, is a way for readers to get a true feel for what it's like to be in the grips of mental illness and what it's like to strive for recovery.
Rachel Reiland (Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder)
I ran across an excerpt today (in English translation) of some dialogue/narration from the modern popular writer, Paulo Coelho in his book: Aleph.(Note: bracketed text is mine.)... 'I spoke to three scholars,' [the character says 'at last.'] ...two of them said that, after death, the [sic (misprint, fault of the publisher)] just go to Paradise. The third one, though, told me to consult some verses from the Koran. [end quote]' ...I can see that he's excited. [narrator]' ...Now I have many positive things to say about Coelho: He is respectable, inspiring as a man, a truth-seeker, and an appealing writer; but one should hesitate to call him a 'literary' writer based on this quote. A 'literary' author knows that a character's excitement should be 'shown' in his or her dialogue and not in the narrator's commentary on it. Advice for Coelho: Remove the 'I can see that he's excited' sentence and show his excitement in the phrasing of his quote.(Now, in defense of Coelho, I am firmly of the opinion, having myself written plenty of prose that is flawed, that a novelist should be forgiven for slipping here and there.)Lastly, it appears that a belief in reincarnation is of great interest to Mr. Coelho ... Just think! He is a man who has achieved, (as Leonard Cohen would call it), 'a remote human possibility.' He has won lots of fame and tons of money. And yet, how his preoccupation with reincarnation—none other than an interest in being born again as somebody else—suggests that he is not happy!
Roman Payne
As soon as teenage girls start to profess love for something, everyone else becomes totally dismissive of it. Teenage girls are open season for the cruelest bullying that our society can dream up. Everyone's vicious to them. They're vicious to each other. Hell, they're even vicious to themselves. It's terrible. So if teenage girls have something that they love, isn't that a good thing? Isn't it better for them to find some words they believe in, words like the 'fire-proof and fearless' lyrics that Jacqui wrote? Isn't it better for them to put those words on their arm in a tattoo than for them to cut gashes in that same skin? Shouldn't we be grateful when teenage girls love our work? Shouldn't that be a fucking honor? It's used as the cheapest, easiest test of crap, isn't it? If teenage girls love a movie, a book, a band, then it's immediately classified as mediocre shit. Well, I'm not going to stand for that. Someone needs to treat them like they're precious, and if nobody else is ready to step up, I guess it's up to us to put them on the path to recognizing that about themselves.
Mary Borsellino (The Devil's Mixtape)
Christ, it is sad, sad to see on quite a few of these faces - young ones particularly - a glum, defeated look. Why do they feel this way about their lives? Sure, they are underpaid. Sure, they have no great prospects, in the commercial sense. Sure, they can't enjoy the bliss of mingling with corporation executives. But isn't it any consolation to be with students who are still three-quarters alive? Isn't it some tiny satisfaction to be of use, instead of helping to turn out useless consumer goods? Isn't it something to know that you belong to one of the few professions in this country which isn't hopelessly corrupt?
Christopher Isherwood (A Single Man)
On Egdon there was no absolute hour of the day. The time at any moment was a number of varying doctrines professed by the different hamlets, some of them having originally grown up from a common root, and then become divided by secession, some having been alien from the beginning. West Egdon believed in Blooms-End time, East Egdon in the time of the Quiet Woman Inn. Grandfer Cantle's watch had numbered many followers in years gone by, but since he had grown older faiths were shaken. Thus, the mummers having gathered here from scattered points, each came with his own tenets on early and late; and they waited a little longer as a compromise.
Thomas Hardy (The Return of the Native)
The Nightside CSI is only one man, pleasant enough, calm and easy going, and very professional. It probably helps that he has multiple personality disorder with a sub-personality for every speciality and discipline in his profession. One to handle fingerprints, another to examine blood splatter or look for magical residues...He's really quite good at his job though he does tend to argue with himself. Between himself he knows everything he needs to know. Each sub-personality has a different voice. Some of them are women. I've never asked.
Simon R. Green (A Hard Day's Knight (Nightside, #11))
Favourable Chance, I fancy, is the god of all men who follow their own devices instead of obeying a law they believe in. Let even a polished man of these days get into a position he is ashamed to avow, and his mind will be bent on all the possible issues that may deliver him from the calculable results of that position. Let him live outside his income, or shirk the resolute honest work that brings wages, and he will presently find himself dreaming of a possible benefactor, a possible simpleton who may be cajoled into using his interest, a possible state of mind in some possible person not yet forthcoming. Let him neglect the responsibilities of his office, and he will inevitably anchor himself on the chance that the thing left undone may turn out not to be of the supposed importance. Let him betray his friend's confidence, and he will adore that same cunning complexity called Chance, which gives him the hope that his friend will never know. Let him forsake a decent craft that he may pursue the gentilities of a profession to which nature never called him, and his religion will infallibly be the worship of blessed Chance, which he will believe in as the mighty creator of success. The evil principle deprecated in that religion is the orderly sequence by which the seed brings forth a crop after its kind.
George Eliot (Silas Marner)
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)
The indescribable pleasure—which pales the rest of life's joys—is abundant compensation for the investigator who endures the painful and persevering analytical work that precedes the appearance of the new truth, like the pain of childbirth. It is true to say that nothing for the scientific scholar is comparable to the things that he has discovered. Indeed, it would be difficult to find an investigator willing to exchange the paternity of a scientific conquest for all the gold on earth. And if there are some who look to science as a way of acquiring gold instead of applause from the learned, and the personal satisfaction associated with the very act of discovery, they have chosen the wrong profession.
Santiago Ramón y Cajal (Advice for a Young Investigator (Mit Press))
When men speak of love, when they profess it in so many ways, we listen.  Even when we do not love, we are loath to hurt you, even when we are disgusted, we hide our aversion, we do not say bluntly “We do not love you.”  Instead, we often put on a very good show of loving, and if at some point, the mask slips,  the men cry out “You have betrayed me!”  and everyone listens, everyone sympathizes. 
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay (Devdas)
I have known female whores who spoke very bitterly of their calling. "If they don't like my face, they can put a cushion over it. I know it's not that they're interested in." But to the boys this profession never seemed shameful. It was their daytime occupations for which they felt the need to apologize. In some instances, these were lower class or humdrum or, worst of all, unfeminine. At least whoring was never that.
Quentin Crisp (The Naked Civil Servant)
I hear of a convention to be held at Baltimore, or elsewhere, for the selection of a candidate for the Presidency, made up chiefly of editors, and men who are politicians by profession; but I think, what is it to any independent, intellegent, and respectable man what decision they may come to? Shall we not have the advantage of his wisdom and honesty, nevertheless? Can we not count upon some independent votes? Are there not many individuals in the country who do not attend conventions? But no: I find that the respectable man, so called, has immediately drifted from his position, and despairs of his country, when his country has more reason to despair of him. He forthwith adopts one of the candidates thus selected as his only AVAILABLE one, thus proving that he is himself AVAILABLE for any purposes of the demagogue. His vote is of no more worth than that of any unprincipled foreigner or hireling native, who may have been bought.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden and Other Writings)
Almost as an article of faith, some individuals believe that conspiracies are either kooky fantasies or unimportant aberrations. To be sure, wacko conspiracy theories do exist. There are people who believe that the United States has been invaded by a secret United Nations army equipped with black helicopters, or that the country is secretly controlled by Jews or gays or feminists or black nationalists or communists or extraterrestrial aliens. But it does not logically follow that all conspiracies are imaginary. Conspiracy is a legitimate concept in law: the collusion of two or more people pursuing illegal means to effect some illegal or immoral end. People go to jail for committing conspiratorial acts. Conspiracies are a matter of public record, and some are of real political significance. The Watergate break-in was a conspiracy, as was the Watergate cover-up, which led to Nixon’s downfall. Iran-contra was a conspiracy of immense scope, much of it still uncovered. The savings and loan scandal was described by the Justice Department as “a thousand conspiracies of fraud, theft, and bribery,” the greatest financial crime in history. Often the term “conspiracy” is applied dismissively whenever one suggests that people who occupy positions of political and economic power are consciously dedicated to advancing their elite interests. Even when they openly profess their designs, there are those who deny that intent is involved. In 1994, the officers of the Federal Reserve announced they would pursue monetary policies designed to maintain a high level of unemployment in order to safeguard against “overheating” the economy. Like any creditor class, they preferred a deflationary course. When an acquaintance of mine mentioned this to friends, he was greeted skeptically, “Do you think the Fed bankers are deliberately trying to keep people unemployed?” In fact, not only did he think it, it was announced on the financial pages of the press. Still, his friends assumed he was imagining a conspiracy because he ascribed self-interested collusion to powerful people. At a World Affairs Council meeting in San Francisco, I remarked to a participant that U.S. leaders were pushing hard for the reinstatement of capitalism in the former communist countries. He said, “Do you really think they carry it to that level of conscious intent?” I pointed out it was not a conjecture on my part. They have repeatedly announced their commitment to seeing that “free-market reforms” are introduced in Eastern Europe. Their economic aid is channeled almost exclusively into the private sector. The same policy holds for the monies intended for other countries. Thus, as of the end of 1995, “more than $4.5 million U.S. aid to Haiti has been put on hold because the Aristide government has failed to make progress on a program to privatize state-owned companies” (New York Times 11/25/95). Those who suffer from conspiracy phobia are fond of saying: “Do you actually think there’s a group of people sitting around in a room plotting things?” For some reason that image is assumed to be so patently absurd as to invite only disclaimers. But where else would people of power get together – on park benches or carousels? Indeed, they meet in rooms: corporate boardrooms, Pentagon command rooms, at the Bohemian Grove, in the choice dining rooms at the best restaurants, resorts, hotels, and estates, in the many conference rooms at the White House, the NSA, the CIA, or wherever. And, yes, they consciously plot – though they call it “planning” and “strategizing” – and they do so in great secrecy, often resisting all efforts at public disclosure. No one confabulates and plans more than political and corporate elites and their hired specialists. To make the world safe for those who own it, politically active elements of the owning class have created a national security state that expends billions of dollars and enlists the efforts of vast numbers of people.
Michael Parenti (Dirty Truths)
If you set out alone and sovereign, unconnected to a family, a religion, a nationality, a tradition, a class, then pretty soon you are too lonely, too self-invented and unique, and too much aware that there is no one else like you in the world. If you submerge yourself completely in something - your town or your profession or your hobby - then pretty soon you have to struggle up to the surface because you need to be sure that even though you are a part of something big, some community, you still exist as a single unit with a single mind. It is the fundamental contradictoriness of the United States of America - the illogical but optimistic notion that you can create a union of individuals in which every man is king.
Susan Orlean (The Orchid Thief)
Yes! And isn't that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self. Look at them. The man who cheats and lies, but preserves a respectable front. He knows himself to be dishonest, but others think he's honest and he derives his self-respect from that, second-hand. The man who takes credit for an achievement which is not his own. He knows himself to be mediocre, but he's great in the eyes of others. The frustrated wretch who professes love for the inferior and clings to those less endowed, in order to establish his own superiority by comparison. The man whose sole aim is to make money. Now I don't see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose--to invest in his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury--he's completely moral. But the men who place money first go much beyond that. Personal luxury is a limited endeavor. What they want is ostentation: to show, to stun, to entertain, to impress others. They're second-handers. Look at our so-called cultural endeavors. A lecturer who spouts some borrowed rehash of nothing at all that means nothing at all to him--and the people who listen and don't give a damn, but sit there in order to tell their friends that they have attended a lecture by a famous name. All second-handers.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
How do I get my point heard? How do I get it noticed? How do I get to belong in the discussion? I am sure it is something some men feel too, but if there’s one thing that bonds women of all backgrounds, of all political colours, in all kinds of business and profession, it is the classic experience of the failed intervention; you’re at a meeting, you make a point, then a short silence follows, and after a few awkward seconds some man picks up where he had just left off: ‘What I was saying was …’ You might as well never have opened your mouth, and you end up blaming both yourself and the men whose exclusive club the discussion appears to be.
Mary Beard (Women & Power: A Manifesto)
Please do not think that I am accusing socialists of insincerity or that I wish to hold them up to scorn either as bad democrats or as unprincipled schemers and opportunists. I fully believe, in spite of the childish Machiavellism in which some of their prophets indulge, that fundamentally most of them always have been as sincere in their professions as any other men. Besides, I do not believe in insincerity in social strife, for people always come to think what they want to think and what they incessantly profess. As regards democracy, socialist parties are presumably no more opportunists than are any others; they simply espouse democracy if, as, and when it serves their ideals and interests and not otherwise. Lest readers should be shocked and think so immoral a view worthy only of the most callous of political practitioners, ...
Joseph A. Schumpeter (Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy)
In 1924, Nikola Tesla was asked why he never married? His answer was this: "I had always thought of woman as possessing those delicate qualities of mind and soul that made her in her respects far superior to man. I had put her on a lofty pedestal, figuratively speaking, and ranked her in certain important attributes considerably higher than man. I worshipped at the feet of the creature I had raised to this height, and, like every true worshiper, I felt myself unworthy of the object of my worship. But all this was in the past. Now the soft voiced gentle woman of my reverent worship has all but vanished. In her place has come the woman who thinks that her chief success in life lies on making herself as much as possible like man - in dress, voice, and actions, in sports and achievements of every kind. The world has experience many tragedies, but to my mind the greatest tragedy of all is the present economic condition wherein women strive against men, and in many cases actually succeed in usurping their places in the professions and in industry. This growing tendency of women to overshadow the masculine is a sign of a deteriorating civilization. Practically all the great achievements of man until now have been inspired by his love and devotion to woman. Man has aspired to great things because some woman believed in him, because he wished to command her admiration and respect. For these reasons he has fought for her and risked his life and his all for her time and time again. Perhaps the male in society is useless. I am frank to admit that I don't know. If women are beginning to feel this way about it - and there is striking evidence at hand that they do - then we are entering upon the cruelest period of the world's history. Our civilization will sink to a state like that which is found among the bees, ants, and other insects - a state wherein the male is ruthlessly killed off. In this matriarchal empire which will be established, the female rules. As the female predominates, the males are at her mercy. The male is considered important only as a factor in the general scheme of the continuity of life. The tendency of women to push aside man, supplanting the old spirit of cooperation with him in all the affairs of life, is very disappointing to me." Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas, page 23. August 10, 1924.
Nikola Tesla
God, how I wish I could relive the whole thing. Short of that, I'd like to share the experience, the ups and downs, so some young man or woman, somewhere, going through the same trials and ordeals, might be inspired or comforted. Or warned. Some young entrepreneur, maybe, some athlete or painter or novelist, might press on. It's all the same drive. The same dream. It would be nice to help them avoid the typical discouragements. I'd tell them to hit pause, think long and hard about how they want to spend their time, and with whom they want to spend it for the next forty years. I'd tell men and women in their midtwenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don't know what that means, seek it. If you're following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you've ever felt. I'd like to warn the best of them, the iconoclasts, the innovators, the rebels, that they will always have a bull's-eye on their backs. The better they get, the bigger the bull's-eye. It's not one man's opinion; it's a law of nature.
Phil Knight (Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike)
They rode for a while in silence, a tiny island in the smoky stream of marching men. Then Lee said slowly, in a strange, soft, slow tone of voice, "Soldiering has one great trap." Longstreet turned to see his face. Lee was riding slowly ahead, without expression. He spoke in that same slow voice. "To be a good soldier you must love the army. But to be a good officer you must be willing to order the death of the thing you love. This is...a very hard thing to do. No other profession requires it. That is one reason why there are so very few good officers. Although there are many good men." Lee rarely lectured. Longstreet sensed a message beyond it. He waited. Lee said, "We don't fear our own deaths, you and I." He smiled slightly, then glanced away. "We protect ourselves out of military necessity, not do not protect yourself enough and must give thought to it. I need you. But the point is, we are afraid to die. We are prepared for our own deaths, and for the deaths of comrades. We learn that at the Point. But I have seen this happen: we are not prepared for as many deaths as we have to face, inevitably as the war goes on. There comes a time..." He paused. He had been gazing straight ahead, away from Longstreet. Now, black-eyed, he turned back, glanced once quickly into Longstreet's eyes, then looked away. "We are never prepared for so many to die. So you understand? No one is. We expect some chosen few. We expect an occasional empty chair, a toast to dear departed comrades. Victory celebrations for most of us, a hallowed death for a few. But the war goes on. And the men die. The price gets ever higher. Some officers...can pay no longer. We are prepared to lose some of us." He paused again. "But never ALL of us. Surely not all of us. But...that is the trap. You can hold nothing back when you attack. You must commit yourself totally. And yet ,if they all die, a man must ask himself, will it have been worth it?
Michael Shaara (The Killer Angels (The Civil War Trilogy, #2))
You are infinitely my superior in merit; all that I know - You have qualities which I had not supposed to exist in such a degree in any human creature. You have some touches of the angel in you, beyond what - not merely beyond what one sees, because one never sees any thing like it - but beyond what one fancies might be. But still I am not frightened. It is not by equality of merit that you can be won. That is out of the question. It is he who sees and worships your merit the strongest, who loves you most devotedly, that has the best right to a return.” (326)
Jane Austen (Mansfield Park)
Love of power, operating through greed and through personal ambition, was the cause of all these evils. To this must be added the violent fanaticism which came into play once the struggle had broken out. Leaders of parties in the cities had programmes which appeared admirable – on one side political equality for the masses, on the other the safe and sound government of the aristocracy – but in professing to serve the public interest they were seeking to win the prizes for themselves. In their struggles for ascendancy nothing was barred; terrible indeed were the actions to which they committed themselves, and in taking revenge they went farther still. Here they were deterred neither by the claims of justice nor by the interests of the state; their one standard was the pleasure of their own party at that particular moment, and so, either by means of condemning their enemies on an illegal vote or by violently usurping power over them, they were always ready to satisfy the hatreds of the hour. Thus neither side had any use for conscientious motives; more interest was shown in those who could produce attractive arguments to justify some disgraceful action. As for the citizens who held moderate views, they were destroyed by both the extreme parties, either for not taking part in the struggle or in envy at the possibility that they might survive.
Thucydides (The History of the Peloponnesian War)
In politics, the connection between what you pay for and what you actually get is problematic at best... This is another way of asserting that your vote in the marketplace counts for so much more than your vote in the polling booth. Cast your dollars for the washing machine of your choice and that is what you get--nothing more and nothing less. Pull the lever for the politician of your choice and, most of the time (if you're lucky), you will get some of what you do want and much of what you don't. The votes of a special interest lobby may ultimately cancel out yours. As someone much wiser than me once said, "Politics may not be the oldest profession, but the results are often the same.
Lawrence W. Reed
Black anti-semitism is a form of underdog resentment and envy, directed at another underdog who has made it in American society. The remarkable upward mobility of American Jews--rooted chiefly in a history and culture that places a premium on higher education and self-organization--easily lends itself to myths of Jewish unity and homogeneity that have gained currency among other groups, especially among relatively unorganized groups like black Americans. The high visibility of Jews in the upper reaches of the academy, journalism, the entertainment industry, and the professions--though less so percentage-wise in corporate America and national political office--is viewed less as a result of hard work and success fairly won and more as a matter of favoritism and nepotism among Jews. Ironically, calls for black solidarity and achievement are often modeled on myths of Jewish unity--as both groups respond to American xenophobia and racism. But in times such as these, some blacks view Jews as obstacles rather than allies in the struggle for racial justice.
Cornel West
However, not only are fortunes equal in America, equality extends to some degree to intelligence itself. I do not think that there is a single country in the world where, in proportion to the population, there are so few ignorant and, at the same time, so few educated individuals as in America. Primary education is available to all; secondary is within reach of no one, which can be explained quite easily as the inevitable result, so to speak, of my argument above. Almost all Americans enjoy a life of comfort and can, therefore, obtain the first elements of human knowledge. In America there are few rich people; therefore, all Americans have to learn the skills of a profession which demands a period of apprenticeship. Thus America can devote to general learning only the early years of life. At fifteen, they begin a career; their education ends most often when ours begins. If education is pursued beyond that point, it is directed only towards specialist subjects with a profitable return in mind. Science is studied as if it were a job and only those branches are taken up which have a recognized and immediate usefulness.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
They were a remarkable company, each one of them a unique person, yet characterized to some extent by his particular national type. And all were distinctively “scientists” of the period. Formerly this would have implied a rather uncritical leaning towards materialism, and an affectation of cynicism; but by now it was fashionable to profess an equally uncritical belief that all natural phenomena were manifestations of the cosmic mind. In both periods, when a man passed beyond the sphere of his own serious scientific work he chose his beliefs irresponsibly, according to his taste, much as he chose his recreation or his food.
Olaf Stapledon (Last and First Men)
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)
Where there were once several competing approaches to medicine, there is now only one that matters to most hospitals, insurers, and the vast majority of the public. One that has been shaped to a great degree by the successful development of potent cures that followed the discovery of sulfa drugs. Aspiring caregivers today are chosen as much (or more) for their scientific abilities, their talent for mastering these manifold technological and pharmaceutical advances as for their interpersonal skills. A century ago most physicians were careful, conservative observers who provided comfort to patients and their families. Today they act: They prescribe, they treat, they cure. They routinely perform what were once considered miracles. The result, in the view of some, has been a shift in the profession from caregiver to technician. The powerful new drugs changed how care was given as well as who gave it.
Thomas Hager (The Demon Under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug)
It is quite simple: put passion ahead of training. Feel out in any way you can what you most want to do in science, or technology, or some other science-related profession. Obey that passion as long as it lasts. Feed it with the knowledge the mind needs to grow. Sample other subjects, acquire a general education in science, and be smart enough to switch to a greater love if one appears. But don’t just drift through courses in science hoping that love will come to you. Maybe it will, but don’t take the chance. As in other big choices in your life, there is too much at stake. Decision and hard work based on enduring passion will never fail you.
Edward O. Wilson
Far from putting doubts and anxieties to rest religion often has the effect of intensifying them. It judges those who profess the faith more harshly than it judges unbelievers. It holds them up to a standard of conduct so demanding that many of them inevitably fall short. It has no patience with those who make excuses for themselves--an art in which Americans have come to excel. If it is ultimately forgiving of human weakness and folly, it is not because it ignores them or attributes them exclusively to unbelievers. For those who take religion seriously, belief is a burden, not a self-righteous claim to some privileged moral status. Self-righteousness, indeed, may well be more prevalent among skeptics than among believers. The spiritual discipline against self-righteousness is the very essence of religion.
Christopher Lasch (The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy)
Our textbooks were ridiculous propaganda. The first English sentence we learned was "Long live Chairman Mao!" But no one dared to explain the sentence grammatically. In Chinese the term for the optative mood, expressing a wish or desire, means 'something unreal." In 1966 a lecturer at Sichuan University had been beaten up for 'having the audacity to suggest that "Long live Chairman Mao!" was unreal!" One chapter was about a model youth hero who had drowned after jumping into a flood to save an electricity pole because the pole would be used to carry the word of Mao. With great difficulty, I managed to borrow some English language textbooks published before the Cultural Revolution from lecturers in my department and from Jin-ming, who sent me books from his university by post. These contained extracts from writers like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Oscar Wilde, and stories from European and American history. They were a joy to read, but much of my energy went toward finding them and then trying to keep them. Whenever someone approached, I would quickly cover the books with a newspaper. This was only partly because of their 'bourgeois' content. It was also important not to appear to be studying too conscientiously, and not to arouse my fellow students' jealousy by reading something far beyond them. Although we were studying English, and were paid par fly for our propaganda value by the government to do this, we must not be seen to be too devoted to our subject: that was considered being 'white and expert." In the mad logic of the day, being good at one's profession ('expert') was automatically equated with being politically unreliable ('white').
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
She faced him, sitting up very straight in bed, the little wool shawl hunched about her shoulders. “Dirk, are you ever going back to architecture? The war is history, it’s now or never with you. Pretty soon it will be too late. Are you ever going back to architecture? To your profession? A clean amputation. “No, Mother.” She gave an actual gasp, as though icy water had been thrown full in her face. She looked suddenly old, tired. Her shoulders sagged. He stood in the doorway, braced for her reproaches. But when she spoke it was to reproach herself. “Then I’m a failure.” “Oh, what nonsense, Mother. I’m happy. You can’t live somebody else’s life. You used to tell me, when I was a kid I remember, that life wasn’t just an adventure, to be taken as it came, with the hope that something glorious was hidden just around the corner. You said you had lived that way and it hadn’t worked. You said ——” She interrupted him with a little cry. “I know I did. I know I did.” Suddenly she raised a warning finger. Her eyes were luminous, prophetic. “Dirk, you can’t desert her like that!” “Desert who?” He was startled. “Beauty! Self-expression. Whatever you want to call it. You wait! She’ll turn on you some day. Some day you’ll want her, and she won’t be there.
Edna Ferber (So Big)
Classical liberalism . . . does not wholly define modern American conservatism. There is an added element: a concern with social and civic virtue. The term virtue has become a bad word in some quarters of American life. (It is especially unpopular with the chronically wicked and depraved.) Young people, especially, tend to associate it with finger-wagging and with people who tell you how to live your life. This is a very narrow view of virtue: It applies only to what it is good to do, rather than what it is good to be and what it is good to love. . . . Conservatives recognize, of course, that people frequently fall short of these standards. In their personal conduct, conservatives do not claim to be better than anyone else. . . . But for conservatives, these lapses do not provide an excuse to get rid of the standards. Even hypocrisy--professing one thing but doing another--is in the conservative view preferable to a denial of standards because such denial leads to moral chaos or nihilism.
Dinesh D'Souza (Letters to a Young Conservative)
Holmes laughed. "Watson insists that I am the dramatist in real life," said he. "Some touch of the artist wells up within me, and calls insistently for a well-staged performance. Surely our profession, Mr. Mac, would be a drab and sordid one if we did not sometimes set the scene so as to glorify our results. The blunt accusation, the brutal tap upon the shoulder - what can one make of such a denouement? But the quick inference, the subtle trap, the clever forecast of coming events, the triumphant vindication of bold theories - are these not the pride and the justification of our life's work? At the present moment you thrill with the glamour of the situation and the anticipation of the hunt. Where would be that thrill if I had been as definite as a timetable?
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Complete Sherlock Holmes: Volume II)
Every day, librarians enforce copyright policies that we may disagree with and that, in some ways, run contrary to the values of our profession. Every day, librarians must decide between a desire to preserve the privacy of our community members and offering services our communities demand. Every day, librarians must make a choice between doing what’s easy, doing what’s right, and determining what’s right in the first place. No textbook or mission statement or policy document can relieve us of the necessity to make those decisions, nor remove the complexity of those decisions. That’s why we are librarians and why librarians are professionals, not clerks. That’s why we are stewards within the communities we serve, not servants to them. That’s why we must shape the missions and the work of our organizations and communities, and not simply accept them.
R. David Lankes (The New Librarianship Field Guide (Mit Press))
Why do you choose to write about such gruesome subjects? I usually answer this with another question: Why do you assume that I have a choice? Writing is a catch-as-catch-can sort of occupation. All of us seem to come equipped with filters on the floors of our minds, and all the filters have differing sizes and meshes. What catches in my filter may run right through yours. What catches in yours may pass through mine, no sweat. All of us seem to have a built-in obligation to sift through the sludge that gets caught in our respective mind-filters, and what we find there usually develops into some sort of sideline. The accountant may also be a photographer. The astronomer may collect coins. The school-teacher may do gravestone rubbings in charcoal. The sludge caught in the mind's filter, the stuff that refuses to go through, frequently becomes each person's private obsession. In civilized society we have an unspoken agreement to call our obsessions “hobbies.” Sometimes the hobby can become a full-time job. The accountant may discover that he can make enough money to support his family taking pictures; the schoolteacher may become enough of an expert on grave rubbings to go on the lecture circuit. And there are some professions which begin as hobbies and remain hobbies even after the practitioner is able to earn his living by pursuing his hobby; but because “hobby” is such a bumpy, common-sounding little word, we also have an unspoken agreement that we will call our professional hobbies “the arts.” Painting. Sculpture. Composing. Singing. Acting. The playing of a musical instrument. Writing. Enough books have been written on these seven subjects alone to sink a fleet of luxury liners. And the only thing we seem to be able to agree upon about them is this: that those who practice these arts honestly would continue to practice them even if they were not paid for their efforts; even if their efforts were criticized or even reviled; even on pain of imprisonment or death. To me, that seems to be a pretty fair definition of obsessional behavior. It applies to the plain hobbies as well as the fancy ones we call “the arts”; gun collectors sport bumper stickers reading YOU WILL TAKE MY GUN ONLY WHEN YOU PRY MY COLD DEAD FINGERS FROM IT, and in the suburbs of Boston, housewives who discovered political activism during the busing furor often sported similar stickers reading YOU'LL TAKE ME TO PRISON BEFORE YOU TAKE MY CHILDREN OUT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD on the back bumpers of their station wagons. Similarly, if coin collecting were outlawed tomorrow, the astronomer very likely wouldn't turn in his steel pennies and buffalo nickels; he'd wrap them carefully in plastic, sink them to the bottom of his toilet tank, and gloat over them after midnight.
Stephen King (Night Shift)
Of course, there’s no clear line between who creates wealth and who shifts it. Lots of jobs do both. There’s no denying that the financial sector can contribute to our wealth and grease the wheels of other sectors in the process. Banks can help to spread risks and back people with bright ideas. And yet, these days, banks have become so big that much of what they do is merely shuffle wealth around, or even destroy it. Instead of growing the pie, the explosive expansion of the banking sector has increased the share it serves itself.4 Or take the legal profession. It goes without saying that the rule of law is necessary for a country to prosper. But now that the U.S. has seventeen times the number of lawyers per capita as Japan, does that make American rule of law seventeen times as effective?5 Or Americans seventeen times as protected? Far from it. Some law firms even make a practice of buying up patents for products they have no intention of producing, purely to enable them to sue people for patent infringement. Bizarrely, it’s precisely the jobs that shift money around – creating next to nothing of tangible value – that net the best salaries. It’s a fascinating, paradoxical state of affairs. How is it possible that all those agents of prosperity – the teachers, the police officers, the nurses – are paid so poorly, while the unimportant, superfluous, and even destructive shifters do so well?
Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There)
The respectability of Mr. Vholes has even been cited with crushing effect before Parliamentary committees, as in the following blue minutes of a distinguished attorney’s evidence. “Question (number five hundred and seventeen thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine): If I understand you, these forms of practice indisputably occasion delay? Answer: Yes, some delay. Question: And great expense? Answer: Most assuredly they cannot be gone through for nothing. Question: And unspeakable vexation? Answer: I am not prepared to say that. They have never given ME any vexation; quite the contrary. Question: But you think that their abolition would damage a class of practitioners? Answer: I have no doubt of it. Question: Can you instance any type of that class? Answer: Yes. I would unhesitatingly mention Mr. Vholes. He would be ruined. Question: Mr. Vholes is considered, in the profession, a respectable man? Answer: “ — which proved fatal to the inquiry for ten years — “Mr. Vholes is considered, in the profession, a MOST respectable man.
Charles Dickens (Bleak House)
Well! we are all condamnes, as Victor Hugo says: we are all under sentence of death but with a sort of indefinite reprieve—les hommes sont tous condamnes a mort avec des sursis indefinis: we have an interval, and then our place knows us no more. Some spend this interval in listlessness, some in high passions, the wisest, at least among "the children of this world," in art and song. For our one chance lies in expanding that interval, in getting as many pulsations as possible into the given time. Great passions may give us this quickened sense of life, ecstasy and sorrow of love, the various forms of enthusiastic activity, disinterested or otherwise, which come naturally to many of us. Only be sure it is passion—that it does yield you this fruit of a quickened, multiplied consciousness. Of this wisdom, the poetic passion, the desire of beauty, the love of art for art's sake, has most; for art comes to you professing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments' sake.
Walter Pater
Lord Henry stretched himself out on the divan and laughed. "Yes, I knew you would; but it is quite true, all the same." "Too much of yourself in it! Upon my word, Basil, I didn't know you were so vain; and I really can't see any resemblance between you, with your rugged strong face and your coal-black hair, and this young Adonis, who looks as if he was made out of ivory and rose-leaves. Why, my dear Basil, he is a Narcissus, and you— well, of course you have an intellectual expression and all that. But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face. The moment one sits down to think, one becomes all nose, or all forehead, or something horrid. Look at the successful men in any of the learned professions. How perfectly hideous they are! Except, of course, in the Church. But then in the Church they don't think. A bishop keeps on saying at the age of eighty what he was told to say when he was a boy of eighteen, and as a natural consequence he always looks absolutely delightful. Your mysterious young friend, whose name you have never told me, but whose picture really fascinates me, never thinks. I feel quite sure of that. He is some brainless beautiful creature who should be always here in winter when we have no flowers to look at, and always here in summer when we want something to chill our intelligence. Don't flatter yourself, Basil: you are not in the least like him.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Everybody has got to live for something, but Jesus is arguing that, if he is not that thing, it will fail you. First, it will enslave you. Whatever that thing is, you will tell yourself that you have to have it or there is no tomorrow. That means that if anything threatens it, you will become inordinately scared; if anyone blocks it, you will become inordinately angry; and if you fail to achieve it, you will never be able to forgive yourself. But second, if you do achieve it, it will fail to deliver the fulfillment you expected. Let me give you an eloquent contemporary expression of what Jesus is saying. Nobody put this better than the American writer David Foster Wallace. He got to the top of his profession. He was an award-winning, bestselling postmodern novelist known around the world for his boundary-pushing storytelling. He once wrote a sentence that was more than a thousand words long. A few years before the end of his life, he gave a now-famous commencement speech at Kenyon College. He said to the graduating class, Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god . . . to worship . . . is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure, and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before [your loved ones] finally plant you. . . . Worship power, and you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they are evil or sinful; it is that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.4 Wallace was by no means a religious person, but he understood that everyone worships, everyone trusts in something for their salvation, everyone bases their lives on something that requires faith. A couple of years after giving that speech, Wallace killed himself. And this nonreligious man’s parting words to us are pretty terrifying: “Something will eat you alive.” Because even though you might never call it worship, you can be absolutely sure you are worshipping and you are seeking. And Jesus says, “Unless you’re worshipping me, unless I’m the center of your life, unless you’re trying to get your spiritual thirst quenched through me and not through these other things, unless you see that the solution must come inside rather than just pass by outside, then whatever you worship will abandon you in the end.
Timothy J. Keller (Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions)
All things considered, science is the best means of understanding almost everything around us. It works well on the human scale and stands as a stark counter-point to beliefs that by their very nature refute the notion of evidence. And I would be the last person to attack people encouraging the rest of us to use our ability to be rational, thereby defending the value and the necessity of science. But I will lift a querying hand when the notion of ‘science’ is held to be immutable, because ‘science’ as such does not exist. Science is a process to be sure, a way of thinking, but what science is above all is that which scientists do, and alas, scientists are people, too. As potentially fallible, irrational, biased, greedy, in short, as flawed, as the rest of us. So, by all means defend science as a process. But don’t confuse it with the very human endeavor of science as a profession. Because they’re not the same thing. And this is why when some guy in a white lab-coat says ‘you can trust me, I’m a scientist,’ best take it with a big bucket of salt, and then say ‘Fine, now show me the evidence and more to the point, show me how you got to it.
Steven Erikson (Rejoice, A Knife to the Heart)
Yes," he replied, "absolutely sans mademoiselle; for I am to take mademoiselle to the moon, and there I shall seek a cave in one of the white valleys among the volcano-tops, and mademoiselle shall live with me there, and only me." "She will have nothing to eat--you will starve her," observed Adèle. "I shall gather manna for her morning and night; the plains and hell-sides in the moon are bleached with manna, Adèle." "She will want to warm herself; what will she do for a fire?" "Fire rises out of the lunar mountains; when she is cold, I'll carry her up to a peak and lay her down on the edge of a crater." "Oh, she'll be uncomfortable there! And her clothes, they will wear out; how can she get new ones?" Mr. Rochester professed to be puzzled. "Hem!" said he. "What would you do, Adèle? Cudgel your brains for an expedient. How would a white or a pink cloud answer for a gown, do you think? And one could cut a pretty enough scarf out of a rainbow." "She is far better as she is," concluded Adèle, after musing some time; "besides, she would get tired of living with only you in the moon. If I were mademoiselle, I would never consent to go with you.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
God, what makes you such an expert on love? You’ve liked five guys in your life. One was gay, one lives in Indiana or Montana or some place, McClaren moved away before anything could actually happen, one was dating your sister. And then there’s me. Hmm, what do we all have in common? What’s the common denominator?” I feel all the blood rush to my face. “That’s not fair.” Peter leans in close and says, “You only like guys you don’t have a shot with, because you’re scared. What are you so scared of?” I back away from him, right into the wall. “I’m not scared of anything.” “The hell you’re not. You’d rather make up a fantasy version of somebody in your head than be with a real person.” I glare at him. “You’re just mad because I didn’t die of happiness because the great Peter Kavinsky said he liked me. Your ego really is that enormous.” His eyes flash. “Hey, I’m sorry I didn’t show up on your doorstep with flowers and profess my undying love for you, Lara Jean, but guess what, that’s not real life. You need to grow up.” That’s it. I don’t have to listen to this. I turn on my heel and walk away. Over my shoulder I say, “Enjoy the hot tub.” “I always do,” he calls back.
Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1))
Another study that winds up in half the textbooks makes the same point, if more subtly. The subjects of the “experiment” were children reared in two different orphanages in Germany after World War II. Both orphanages were run by the government; thus there were important controls in place—the kids in both had the same general diet, the same frequency of doctors’ visits, and so on. The main identifiable difference in their care was the two women who ran the orphanages. The scientists even checked them, and their description sounds like a parable. In one orphanage was Fräulein Grun, the warm, nurturing mother figure who played with the children, comforted them, and spent all day singing and laughing. In the other was Fräulein Schwarz, a woman who was clearly in the wrong profession. She discharged her professional obligations, but minimized her contact with the children; she frequently criticized and berated them, typically among their assembled peers. The growth rates at the two orphanages were entirely different. Fräulein Schwarz’s kids grew in height and weight at a slower pace than the kids in the other orphanage. Then, in an elaboration that couldn’t have been more useful if it had been planned by a scientist, Fräulein Grun moved on to greener pastures and, for some bureaucratic reason, Fräulein Schwarz was transferred to the other orphanage. Growth rates in her former orphanage promptly increased; those in her new one decreased.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping)
To The Reader Who Employs His Leisure Ill Whoever you may be, I caution you against rashly defaming the author of this work, or cavilling in jest against him. Nay, do not silently reproach him in consequence of others' censure, nor employ your wit in foolish disapproval or false accusation. For, should Democritus Junior prove to be what he professes, even a kinsman of his elder namesake, or be ever so little of the same kidney, it is all up with you: he will become both accuser and judge of you in his petulant spleen, will dissipate you in jest, pulverize you with witticisms, and sacrifice you, I can promise you, to the God of Mirth. Again I warn you against cavilling, lest, while you culumniate or disgracefully disparage Decmocritus Junior, who has no animosity against you, you should hear from some judicious friend the very words the people of Abdera heard of old from Hippocrates, when they held their well-deserving and popular fellow-citizen to be a madman: "Truly, it is you, Democritus, that are wise, while the people of Abdera are fools and madmen." You have no more sense than the people of Abdera. Having given you this warning in a few words, O reader who employ your liesure ill, farewell.
Robert Burton
Many things in this period have been hard to bear, or hard to take seriously. My own profession went into a protracted swoon during the Reagan-Bush-Thatcher decade, and shows scant sign of recovering a critical faculty—or indeed any faculty whatever, unless it is one of induced enthusiasm for a plausible consensus President. (We shall see whether it counts as progress for the same parrots to learn a new word.) And my own cohort, the left, shared in the general dispiriting move towards apolitical, atonal postmodernism. Regarding something magnificent, like the long-overdue and still endangered South African revolution (a jagged fit in the supposedly smooth pattern of axiomatic progress), one could see that Ariadne’s thread had a robust reddish tinge, and that potential citizens had not all deconstructed themselves into Xhosa, Zulu, Cape Coloured or ‘Eurocentric’; had in other words resisted the sectarian lesson that the masters of apartheid tried to teach them. Elsewhere, though, it seemed all at once as if competitive solipsism was the signifier of the ‘radical’; a stress on the salience not even of the individual, but of the trait, and from that atomization into the lump of the category. Surely one thing to be learned from the lapsed totalitarian system was the unwholesome relationship between the cult of the masses and the adoration of the supreme personality. Yet introspective voyaging seemed to coexist with dull group-think wherever one peered about among the formerly ‘committed’. Traditionally then, or tediously as some will think, I saw no reason to discard the Orwellian standard in considering modern literature. While a sort of etiolation, tricked out as playfulness, had its way among the non-judgemental, much good work was still done by those who weighed words as if they meant what they said. Some authors, indeed, stood by their works as if they had composed them in solitude and out of conviction. Of these, an encouraging number spoke for the ironic against the literal mind; for the generously interpreted interest of all against the renewal of what Orwell termed the ‘smelly little orthodoxies’—tribe and Faith, monotheist and polytheist, being most conspicuous among these new/old disfigurements. In the course of making a film about the decaffeinated hedonism of modern Los Angeles, I visited the house where Thomas Mann, in another time of torment, wrote Dr Faustus. My German friends were filling the streets of Munich and Berlin to combat the recrudescence of the same old shit as I read: This old, folkish layer survives in us all, and to speak as I really think, I do. not consider religion the most adequate means of keeping it under lock and key. For that, literature alone avails, humanistic science, the ideal of the free and beautiful human being. [italics mine] The path to this concept of enlightenment is not to be found in the pursuit of self-pity, or of self-love. Of course to be merely a political animal is to miss Mann’s point; while, as ever, to be an apolitical animal is to leave fellow-citizens at the mercy of Ideolo’. For the sake of argument, then, one must never let a euphemism or a false consolation pass uncontested. The truth seldom lies, but when it does lie it lies somewhere in between.
Christopher Hitchens (For the Sake of Argument: Essays and Minority Reports)
In my travels on the surface, I once met a man who wore his religious beliefs like a badge of honor upon the sleeves of his tunic. "I am a Gondsman!" he proudly told me as we sat beside eachother at a tavern bar, I sipping my wind, and he, I fear, partaking a bit too much of his more potent drink. He went on to explain the premise of his religion, his very reason for being, that all things were based in science, in mechanics and in discovery. He even asked if he could take a piece of my flesh, that he might study it to determine why the skin of the drow elf is black. "What element is missing," he wondered, "that makes your race different from your surface kin?" I think that the Gondsman honestly believed his claim that if he could merely find the various elements that comprised the drow skin, he might affect a change in that pigmentation to make the dark elves more akin to their surface relatives. And, given his devotion, almost fanaticism, it seemed to me as if he felt he could affect a change in more than physical appearance. Because, in his view of the world, all things could be so explained and corrected. How could i even begin to enlighten him to the complexity? How could i show him the variations between drow and surface elf in the very view of the world resulting from eons of walking widely disparate roads? To a Gondsman fanatic, everything can be broken down, taken apart and put back together. Even a wizard's magic might be no more than a way of conveying universal energies - and that, too, might one day be replicated. My Gondsman companion promised me that he and his fellow inventor priests would one day replicate every spell in any wizard's repertoire, using natural elements in the proper combinations. But there was no mention of the discipline any wizard must attain as he perfects his craft. There was no mention of the fact that powerful wizardly magic is not given to anyone, but rather, is earned, day by day, year by year and decade by decade. It is a lifelong pursuit with gradual increase in power, as mystical as it is secular. So it is with the warrior. The Gondsman spoke of some weapon called an arquebus, a tubular missile thrower with many times the power of the strongest crossbow. Such a weapon strikes terror into the heart of the true warrior, and not because he fears that he will fall victim to it, or even that he fears it will one day replace him. Such weapons offend because the true warrior understands that while one is learning how to use a sword, one should also be learning why and when to use a sword. To grant the power of a weapon master to anyone at all, without effort, without training and proof that the lessons have taken hold, is to deny the responsibility that comes with such power. Of course, there are wizards and warriors who perfect their craft without learning the level of emotional discipline to accompany it, and certainly there are those who attain great prowess in either profession to the detriment of all the world - Artemis Entreri seems a perfect example - but these individuals are, thankfully, rare, and mostly because their emotional lacking will be revealed early in their careers, and it often brings about a fairly abrupt downfall. But if the Gondsman has his way, if his errant view of paradise should come to fruition, then all the years of training will mean little. Any fool could pick up an arquebus or some other powerful weapon and summarily destroy a skilled warrior. Or any child could utilize a Gondsman's magic machine and replicate a firebal, perhaps, and burn down half a city. When I pointed out some of my fears to the Gondsman, he seemed shocked - not at the devastating possibilities, but rather, at my, as he put it, arrogance. "The inventions of the priests of Gond will make all equal!" he declared. "We will lift up the lowly peasant
R.A. Salvatore (Streams of Silver (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #5))
I used to imagine life divided into separate compartments, consisting, for example, of such dual abstractions as pleasure and pain, love and hate, friendship and enmity; and more material classifications like work and play: a profession or calling being, according to that concept—one that seemed, at least on the surface, unequivocally assumed by persons so dissimilar from one another as Widmerpool and Archie Gilbert, something entirely different from “spare time.” That illusion, as such a point of view was, in due course, to appear—was closely related to another belief: that existence fans out indefinitely into new areas of experience, and that almost every additional acquaintance offers some supplementary world with its own hazards and enchantments. As time goes on, of course, these supposedly different worlds, in fact, draw closer, if not to each other, then to some pattern common to all; so that, at last, diversity between them, if in truth existent, seems to be almost imperceptible except in a few crude and exterior ways: unthinkable, as formerly appeared, any single consummation of cause and effect. In other words, nearly all the inhabitants of these outwardly disconnected empires turn out at last to be tenaciously inter-related; love and hate, friendship and enmity, too, becoming themselves much less clearly defined, more often than not showing signs of possessing characteristics that could claim, to say the least, not a little in common; while work and play merge indistinguishably into a complex tissue of pleasure and tedium.
Anthony Powell (A Buyer's Market (A Dance to the Music of Time, #2))
Let the Christian world forget or depart from this true gospel salvation; let anything else be trusted but the cross of Christ and the Spirit of Christ; and then, though churches and preachers and prayers and sacraments are everywhere in plenty, nothing can come of them but a Christian kingdom of pagan vices, along with a mouth-professed belief in the Apostles’ Creed and the communion of saints. To this sad truth all Christendom both at home and abroad bears full witness. Who need be told that no corruption or depravity of human nature, no kind of pride, wrath, envy, malice, and self-love; no sort of hypocrisy, falseness, cursing, gossip, perjury, and cheating; no wantonness of lust in every kind of debauchery, foolish jesting, and worldly entertainment, is any less common all over Christendom, both popish and Protestant, than towns and villages. What vanity, then, to count progress in terms of numbers of new and lofty cathedrals, chapels, sanctuaries, mission stations, and multiplied new membership lists, when there is no change in this undeniable departure of men’s hearts from the living God. Yea, let the whole world be converted to Christianity of this kind, and let every citizen be a member of some Protestant or Catholic church and mouth the creed every Lord’s day; and no more would have been accomplished toward bringing the kingdom of God among men than if they had all joined this or that philosophical society or social fraternity.
William Law (The Power of the Spirit)
the knowledge of Christian doctrine grounded only upon arguments is a doubtful and uncertain knowledge.  I conceive that syllogisms and arguments are only for this world, and the things of this world, but not for the things of God and of the other world.  The natural philosopher attains to his natural knowledge by observations and experiments in several particulars, by antecedents and consequences.  Most of his knowledge in those things is very feeble, crazy, questionable, and the like, which made that great Philosopher after his inquiry for knowledge profess, that he only attained to this, that he knew himself to be ignorant, Hoc tantum scio quod bihil scio, “this only do I know, I know nothing.”  But God has ordained a better way to convey His truth into our hearts, and that is by a renovation of our minds and by the communication of a divine nature.  God has not let His people remain in uncertainties in those things which are material and necessary, but has given a certainty of demonstration.  Whatsoever I do receive for truth on the account of argumentative conclusions, that I am bound to lay aside and disown for error upon the same account when a more probable argument comes along.  Truly friends, if all the ground of our entertaining Christ and truth, or Christian doctrine is because such an argument conveyed it to us, what will become of us and the truth when we meet with a subtle philosopher and antichristian head who will frame an argument against the truth, unanswerable by our logic?  Where shall a man ever consist, if he must live on the terms in the world?  Besides, every one to whom the Gospel of Christ is preached is not headstrong enough to grapple with the bigness and depth of some kind of arguments.  They may have their hearts truly mortified to this world, and carried out in love to the person and nature of our Lord Jesus.
William Tyndale (The Writings of A Puritan's Mind Volume 1)
Another view of the Constitution was put forward early in the twentieth century by the historian Charles Beard (arousing anger and indignation, including a denunciatory editorial in the New York Times). He wrote in his book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution: Inasmuch as the primary object of a government, beyond the mere repression of physical violence, is the making of the rules which determine the property relations of members of society, the dominant classes whose rights are thus to be determined must perforce obtain from the government such rules as are consonant with the larger interests necessary to the continuance of their economic processes, or they must themselves control the organs of government. In short, Beard said, the rich must, in their own interest, either control the government directly or control the laws by which government operates. Beard applied this general idea to the Constitution, by studying the economic backgrounds and political ideas of the fifty-five men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to draw up the Constitution. He found that a majority of them were lawyers by profession, that most of them were men of wealth, in land, slaves, manufacturing, or shipping, that half of them had money loaned out at interest, and that forty of the fifty-five held government bonds, according to the records of the Treasury Department. Thus, Beard found that most of the makers of the Constitution had some direct economic interest in establishing a strong federal government: the manufacturers needed protective tariffs; the moneylenders wanted to stop the use of paper money to pay off debts; the land speculators wanted protection as they invaded Indian lands; slaveowners needed federal security against slave revolts and runaways; bondholders wanted a government able to raise money by nationwide taxation, to pay off those bonds. Four groups, Beard noted, were not represented in the Constitutional Convention: slaves, indentured servants, women, men without property. And so the Constitution did not reflect the interests of those groups. He wanted to make it clear that he did not think the Constitution was written merely to benefit the Founding Fathers personally, although one could not ignore the $150,000 fortune of Benjamin Franklin, the connections of Alexander Hamilton to wealthy interests through his father-in-law and brother-in-law, the great slave plantations of James Madison, the enormous landholdings of George Washington. Rather, it was to benefit the groups the Founders represented, the “economic interests they understood and felt in concrete, definite form through their own personal experience.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present)
The most direct path to Party was raising pigs. The company had several dozen of these and they occupied an unequaled place in the hearts of the soldiers; officers and men alike would hang around the pigsty, observing, commenting, and willing the animals to grow. If the pigs were doing well, the swine herds were the darlings of the company, and there were many contestants for this profession. Xiao-her became a full-time swineherd. It was hard, filthy work, not to mention the psychological pressure. Every night he and his colleagues took turns to get up in the small hours to give the pigs an extra feed. When a sow produced piglets they kept watch night after night in case she crushed them. Precious soybeans were carefully picked, washed, ground, strained, made into 'soybean milk," and lovingly fed to the mother to stimulate her milk. Life in the air force was very unlike what Xiao-her had imagined. Producing food took up more than a third of the entire time he was in the military. At the end of a year's arduous pig raising, Xiao-her was accepted into the Party. Like many others, he put his feet up and began to take it easy. After membership in the Party, everyone's ambition was to become an officer; whatever advantage the former brought, the latter doubled it. Getting to be an officer depended on being picked by one's superiors, so the key was never to displease them. One day Xiao-her was summoned to see one of the college's political commissars. Xiao-her was on tenterhooks, not knowing whether he was in for some unexpected good fortune or total disaster. The commissar, a plump man in his fifties with puffy eyes and a loud, commanding voice, looked exceedingly benign as he lit up a cigarette and asked Xiao-her about his family background, age, and state of health. He also asked whether he had a fiance to which Xiao-her replied that he did not. It struck Xiao-her as a good sign that the man was being so personal. The commissar went on to praise him: "You have studied Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought conscientiously. You have worked hard. The masses have a good impression of you. Of course, you must keep on being modest; modesty makes you progress," and so on. By the time the commissar stubbed out his cigarette, Xiao-her thought his promotion was in his pocket.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
Over the years I have read many, many books about the future, my ‘we’re all doomed’ books, as Connie liked to call them. ‘All the books you read are either about how grim the past was or how gruesome the future will be. It might not be that way, Douglas. Things might turn out all right.’ But these were well-researched, plausible studies, their conclusions highly persuasive, and I could become quite voluble on the subject. Take, for instance, the fate of the middle-class, into which Albie and I were born and to which Connie now belongs, albeit with some protest. In book after book I read that the middle-class are doomed. Globalisation and technology have already cut a swathe through previously secure professions, and 3D printing technology will soon wipe out the last of the manufacturing industries. The internet won’t replace those jobs, and what place for the middle-classes if twelve people can run a giant corporation? I’m no communist firebrand, but even the most rabid free-marketeer would concede that market-forces capitalism, instead of spreading wealth and security throughout the population, has grotesquely magnified the gulf between rich and poor, forcing a global workforce into dangerous, unregulated, insecure low-paid labour while rewarding only a tiny elite of businessmen and technocrats. So-called ‘secure’ professions seem less and less so; first it was the miners and the ship- and steel-workers, soon it will be the bank clerks, the librarians, the teachers, the shop-owners, the supermarket check-out staff. The scientists might survive if it’s the right type of science, but where do all the taxi-drivers in the world go when the taxis drive themselves? How do they feed their children or heat their homes and what happens when frustration turns to anger? Throw in terrorism, the seemingly insoluble problem of religious fundamentalism, the rise of the extreme right-wing, under-employed youth and the under-pensioned elderly, fragile and corrupt banking systems, the inadequacy of the health and care systems to cope with vast numbers of the sick and old, the environmental repercussions of unprecedented factory-farming, the battle for finite resources of food, water, gas and oil, the changing course of the Gulf Stream, destruction of the biosphere and the statistical probability of a global pandemic, and there really is no reason why anyone should sleep soundly ever again. By the time Albie is my age I will be long gone, or, best-case scenario, barricaded into my living module with enough rations to see out my days. But outside, I imagine vast, unregulated factories where workers count themselves lucky to toil through eighteen-hour days for less than a living wage before pulling on their gas masks to fight their way through the unemployed masses who are bartering with the mutated chickens and old tin-cans that they use for currency, those lucky workers returning to tiny, overcrowded shacks in a vast megalopolis where a tree is never seen, the air is thick with police drones, where car-bomb explosions, typhoons and freak hailstorms are so commonplace as to barely be remarked upon. Meanwhile, in literally gilded towers miles above the carcinogenic smog, the privileged 1 per cent of businessmen, celebrities and entrepreneurs look down through bullet-proof windows, accept cocktails in strange glasses from the robot waiters hovering nearby and laugh their tinkling laughs and somewhere, down there in that hellish, stewing mess of violence, poverty and desperation, is my son, Albie Petersen, a wandering minstrel with his guitar and his keen interest in photography, still refusing to wear a decent coat.
David Nicholls (Us)
Because by definition they lack any such sense of mutuality or wholeness, our specializations subsist on conflict with one another. The rule is never to cooperate, but rather to follow one's own interest as far as possible. Checks and balances are all applied externally, by opposition, never by self-restraint. Labor, management, the military, the government, etc., never forbear until their excesses arouse enough opposition to force them to do so. The good of the whole of Creation, the world and all its creatures together, is never a consideration because it is never thought of; our culture now simply lacks the means for thinking of it. It is for this reason that none of our basic problems is ever solved. Indeed, it is for this reason that our basic problems are getting worse. The specialists are profiting too well from the symptoms, evidently, to be concerned about cures -- just as the myth of imminent cure (by some 'breakthrough' of science or technology) is so lucrative and all-justifying as to foreclose any possibility of an interest in prevention. The problems thus become the stock in trade of specialists. The so-called professions survive by endlessly "processing" and talking about problems that they have neither the will nor the competence to solve. The doctor who is interested in disease but not in health is clearly in the same category with the conservationist who invests in the destruction of what he otherwise intends to preserve. The both have the comfort of 'job security,' but at the cost of ultimate futility. ... This has become, to some extent at least, an argument against institutional solutions. Such solutions necessarily fail to solve the problems to which they are addressed because, by definition, the cannot consider the real causes. The only real, practical, hope-giving way to remedy the fragmentation that is the disease of the modern spirit is a small and humble way -- a way that a government or agency or organization or institution will never think of, though a person may think of it: one must begin in one's own life the private solutions that can only in turn become public solutions.
Wendell Berry (The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture)
Romantic literature often presents the individual as somebody caught in a struggle against the state and the market. Nothing could be further from the truth. The state and the market are the mother and father of the individual, and the individual can survive only thanks to them. The market provides us with work, insurance and a pension. If we want to study a profession, the government’s schools are there to teach us. If we want to open a business, the bank loans us money. If we want to build a house, a construction company builds it and the bank gives us a mortgage, in some cases subsidised or insured by the state. If violence flares up, the police protect us. If we are sick for a few days, our health insurance takes care of us. If we are debilitated for months, social security steps in. If we need around-the-clock assistance, we can go to the market and hire a nurse – usually some stranger from the other side of the world who takes care of us with the kind of devotion that we no longer expect from our own children. If we have the means, we can spend our golden years at a senior citizens’ home. The tax authorities treat us as individuals, and do not expect us to pay the neighbours’ taxes. The courts, too, see us as individuals, and never punish us for the crimes of our cousins. Not only adult men, but also women and children, are recognised as individuals. Throughout most of history, women were often seen as the property of family or community. Modern states, on the other hand, see women as individuals, enjoying economic and legal rights independently of their family and community. They may hold their own bank accounts, decide whom to marry, and even choose to divorce or live on their own. But the liberation of the individual comes at a cost. Many of us now bewail the loss of strong families and communities and feel alienated and threatened by the power the impersonal state and market wield over our lives. States and markets composed of alienated individuals can intervene in the lives of their members much more easily than states and markets composed of strong families and communities. When neighbours in a high-rise apartment building cannot even agree on how much to pay their janitor, how can we expect them to resist the state? The deal between states, markets and individuals is an uneasy one. The state and the market disagree about their mutual rights and obligations, and individuals complain that both demand too much and provide too little. In many cases individuals are exploited by markets, and states employ their armies, police forces and bureaucracies to persecute individuals instead of defending them. Yet it is amazing that this deal works at all – however imperfectly. For it breaches countless generations of human social arrangements. Millions of years of evolution have designed us to live and think as community members. Within a mere two centuries we have become alienated individuals. Nothing testifies better to the awesome power of culture.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
People who think that queer life consists of sex without intimacy are usually seeing only a tiny part of the picture, and seeing it through homophobic stereotype. The most fleeting sexual encounter is, in its way intimate. And in the way many gay men and lesbians live, quite casual sexual relations can develop into powerful and enduring friendships. Friendships, in turn, can cross into sexual relations and back. Because gay social life is not as ritualized and institutionalized as straight life, each relation is an adventure in nearly un-charted territory—whether it is between two gay men, or two lesbians, or a gay man and a lesbian, or among three or more queers, or between gay men and the straight women whose commitment to queer culture brings them the punishment of the "fag hag" label. There are almost as many kinds of relationship as there are people in combination. Where there are -patterns, we learn them from other queers, not from our-parents or schools or the state. Between tricks and lovers and exes and friends and fuckbuddies and bar friends and bar friends' tricks and tricks' bar friends and gal pals and companions "in the life," queers have an astonishing range of intimacies. Most have no labels. Most receive no public recognition. Many of these relations are difficult because the rules have to be invented as we go along. Often desire and unease add to their intensity, and their unpredictability. They can be complex and bewildering, in a way that arouses fear among many gay people, and tremendous resistance and resentment from many straight people. Who among us would give them up? Try standing at a party of queer friends and charting all the histories, sexual and nonsexual, among the people in the room. (In some circles this is a common party sport already.) You will realize that only a fine and rapidly shifting line separates sexual culture from many other relations of durability and care. The impoverished vocabulary of straight culture tells us that people should be either husbands and wives or (nonsexual) friends. Marriage marks that line. It is not the way many queers live. If there is such a thing as a gay way of life, it consists in these relations, a welter of intimacies outside the framework of professions and institutions and ordinary social obligations. Straight culture has much to learn from it, and in many ways has already begun to learn from it. Queers should be insisting on teaching these lessons. Instead, the marriage issue, as currently framed, seems to be a way of denying recognition to these relations, of streamlining queer relations into the much less troubling division of couples from friends.
Michael Warner (The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life)
Parnet: I want you to talk about desire. What is desire, exactly? Let's consider the question as simply as possible. When Anti-Oedipus... Deleuze: It's not what they thought it was, in any case, not what they thought it was, even back then. Even, I mean, the most charming people who were... It was a big ambiguity, it was a big misunderstanding, or rather a little one, a little misunderstanding. I believe that we wanted to say something very simple. In fact, we had an enormous ambition, notably when one writes a book, we thought that we would say something new, specifically that one way or another, people who wrote before us didn't understand what desire meant. That is, in undertaking our task as philosophers, we were hoping to propose a new concept of desire. But, regarding concepts, people who don't do philosophy mustn't think that they are so abstract... On the contrary, they refer to things that are extremely simple, extremely concrete, we'll see this later... There are no philosophical concepts that do not refer to non-philosophical coordinates. It's very simple, very concrete. What we wanted to express was the simplest thing in the world. We wanted to say: up until now, you speak abstractly about desire because you extract an object that's presumed to be the object of your desire. So, one could say, I desire a woman, I desire to leave on a trip, I desire this, that. And we were saying something really very simple, simple, simple: You never desire someone or something, you always desire an aggregate. It's not complicated. Our question was: what is the nature of relations between elements in order for there to be desire, for these elements to become desirable? I mean, I don't desire a woman - I'm ashamed to say things like that since Proust already said it, and it's beautiful in Proust: I don't desire a woman, I also desire a landscape that is enveloped in this woman, a landscape that, if needs be - I don't know - but that I can feel. As long as I haven't yet unfolded the landscape that envelops her, I will not be happy, that is, my desire will not have been attained, my desire will remain unsatisfied. I believe in an aggregate with two terms: woman/landscape, and it's something completely different. If a woman says, "I desire a dress," or "I desire (some) thing" or "(some) blouse," it's obvious that she does not desire this dress or that blouse in the abstract. She desires it in an entire context, a context of her own life that she is going to organize, the desire in relation not only with a landscape, but with people who are her friends, with people who are not her friends, with her profession, etc. I never desire some thing all by itself, I don't desire an aggregate either, I desire from within an aggregate.
Gilles Deleuze
To the enormous majority of persons who risk themselves in literature, not even the smallest measure of success can fall. They had better take to some other profession as quickly as may be, they are only making a sure thing of disappointment, only crowding the narrow gates of fortune and fame. Yet there are others to whom success, though easily within their reach, does not seem a thing to be grasped at. Of two such, the pathetic story may be read, in the Memoir of A Scotch Probationer, Mr. Thomas Davidson, who died young, an unplaced Minister of the United Presbyterian Church, in 1869. He died young, unaccepted by the world, unheard of, uncomplaining, soon after writing his latest song on the first grey hairs of the lady whom he loved. And she, Miss Alison Dunlop, died also, a year ago, leaving a little work newly published, Anent Old Edinburgh, in which is briefly told the story of her life. There can hardly be a true tale more brave and honourable, for those two were eminently qualified to shine, with a clear and modest radiance, in letters. Both had a touch of poetry, Mr. Davidson left a few genuine poems, both had humour, knowledge, patience, industry, and literary conscientiousness. No success came to them, they did not even seek it, though it was easily within the reach of their powers. Yet none can call them failures, leaving, as they did, the fragrance of honourable and uncomplaining lives, and such brief records of these as to delight, and console and encourage us all. They bequeath to us the spectacle of a real triumph far beyond the petty gains of money or of applause, the spectacle of lives made happy by literature, unvexed by notoriety, unfretted by envy. What we call success could never have yielded them so much, for the ways of authorship are dusty and stony, and the stones are only too handy for throwing at the few that, deservedly or undeservedly, make a name, and therewith about one-tenth of the wealth which is ungrudged to physicians, or barristers, or stock-brokers, or dentists, or electricians. If literature and occupation with letters were not its own reward, truly they who seem to succeed might envy those who fail. It is not wealth that they win, as fortunate men in other professions count wealth; it is not rank nor fashion that come to their call nor come to call on them. Their success is to be let dwell with their own fancies, or with the imaginations of others far greater than themselves; their success is this living in fantasy, a little remote from the hubbub and the contests of the world. At the best they will be vexed by curious eyes and idle tongues, at the best they will die not rich in this world’s goods, yet not unconsoled by the friendships which they win among men and women whose faces they will never see. They may well be content, and thrice content, with their lot, yet it is not a lot which should provoke envy, nor be coveted by ambition.
Andrew Lang (How to Fail in Literature: A Lecture)
Fifteen years ago, a business manager from the United States came to Plum Village to visit me. His conscience was troubled because he was the head of a firm that designed atomic bombs. I listened as he expressed his concerns. I knew if I advised him to quit his job, another person would only replace him. If he were to quit, he might help himself, but he would not help his company, society, or country. I urged him to remain the director of his firm, to bring mindfulness into his daily work, and to use his position to communicate his concerns and doubts about the production of atomic bombs. In the Sutra on Happiness, the Buddha says it is great fortune to have an occupation that allows us to be happy, to help others, and to generate compassion and understanding in this world. Those in the helping professions have occupations that give them this wonderful opportunity. Yet many social workers, physicians, and therapists work in a way that does not cultivate their compassion, instead doing their job only to earn money. If the bomb designer practises and does his work with mindfulness, his job can still nourish his compassion and in some way allow him to help others. He can still influence his government and fellow citizens by bringing greater awareness to the situation. He can give the whole nation an opportunity to question the necessity of bomb production. Many people who are wealthy, powerful, and important in business, politics, and entertainment are not happy. They are seeking empty things - wealth, fame, power, sex - and in the process they are destroying themselves and those around them. In Plum Village, we have organised retreats for businesspeople. We see that they have many problems and suffer just as others do, sometimes even more. We see that their wealth allows them to live in comfortable conditions, yet they still suffer a great deal. Some businesspeople, even those who have persuaded themselves that their work is very important, feel empty in their occupation. They provide employment to many people in their factories, newspapers, insurance firms, and supermarket chains, yet their financial success is an empty happiness because it is not motivated by understanding or compassion. Caught up in their small world of profit and loss, they are unaware of the suffering and poverty in the world. When we are not int ouch with this larger reality, we will lack the compassion we need to nourish and guide us to happiness. Once you begin to realise your interconnectedness with others, your interbeing, you begin to see how your actions affect you and all other life. You begin to question your way of living, to look with new eyes at the quality of your relationships and the way you work. You begin to see, 'I have to earn a living, yes, but I want to earn a living mindfully. I want to try to select a vocation not harmful to others and to the natural world, one that does not misuse resources.' Entire companies can also adopt this way of thinking. Companies have the right to pursue economic growth, but not at the expense of other life. They should respect the life and integrity of people, animals, plants and minerals. Do not invest your time or money in companies that deprive others of their lives, that operate in a way that exploits people or animals, and destroys nature. Businesspeople who visit Plum Village often find that getting in touch with the suffering of others and cultivating understanding brings them happiness. They practise like Anathapindika, a successful businessman who lived at the time of the Buddha, who with the practise of mindfulness throughout his life did everything he could to help the poor and sick people in his homeland.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World)
[M]ost Americans are still drawing some water from the Christian well. But a growing number are inventing their own versions of what Christianity means, abandoning the nuances of traditional theology in favor of religions that stroke their egos and indulge or even celebrate their worst impulses. . . . Both doubters and believers stand to lose if religion in the age of heresy turns out to be complicit in our fragmented communities, our collapsing families, our political polarization, and our weakened social ties. Both doubters and believers will inevitably suffer from a religious culture that supplies more moral license than moral correction, more self-satisfaction than self-examination, more comfort than chastisement. . . . Many of the overlapping crises in American life . . . can be traced to the impulse to emphasize one particular element of traditional Christianity—one insight, one doctrine, one teaching or tradition—at the expense of all the others. The goal is always progress: a belief system that’s simpler or more reasonable, more authentic or more up-to-date. Yet the results often vindicate the older Christian synthesis. Heresy sets out to be simpler and more appealing and more rational, but it often ends up being more extreme. . . . The boast of Christian orthodoxy . . . has always been its fidelity to the whole of Jesus. Its dogmas and definitions seek to encompass the seeming contradictions in the gospel narratives rather than evading them. . . . These [heretical] simplifications have usually required telling a somewhat different story about Jesus than the one told across the books of the New Testament. Sometimes this retelling has involved thinning out the Christian canon, eliminating tensions by subtracting them. . . . More often, though, it’s been achieved by straightforwardly rewriting or even inventing crucial portions of the New Testament account. . . . “Religious man was born to be saved,” [Philip Rieff] wrote, but “psychological man is born to be pleased.” . . . In 2005, . . . . Smith and Denton found no evidence of real secularization among their subjects: 97 percent of teenagers professed some sort of belief in the divine, 71 percent reported feeling either “very” or “somewhat” close to God, and the vast majority self-identified as Christian. There was no sign of deep alienation from their parents’ churches, no evidence that the teenagers in the survey were poised to convert outright to Buddhism or Islam, and no sign that real atheism was making deep inroads among the young. But neither was there any evidence of a recognizably orthodox Christian faith. “American Christianity,” Smith and Denton suggested, is “either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself,” or else is “actively being colonized and displaced by a quite different religious faith.” They continued: “Most religious teenagers either do not really comprehend what their own religious traditions say they are supposed to believe, or they do understand it and simply do not care to believe it.” . . . An ego that’s never wounded, never trammeled or traduced—and that’s taught to regard its deepest impulses as the promptings of the divine spirit—can easily turn out to be an ego that never learns sympathy, compassion, or real wisdom. And when contentment becomes an end unto itself, the way that human contents express themselves can look an awful lot like vanity and decadence. . . . For all their claims to ancient wisdom, there’s nothing remotely countercultural about the Tolles and Winfreys and Chopras. They’re telling an affluent, appetitive society exactly what it wants to hear: that all of its deepest desires are really God’s desires, and that He wouldn’t dream of judging. This message encourages us to justify our sins by spiritualizing them. . . . Our vaunted religiosity is real enough, but our ostensible Christian piety doesn’t have the consequences a casual observer might expect. . . . We nod to God, and then we do as we please.
Ross Douthat (Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics)