Stream Of Life Quotes

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No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.
Friedrich Nietzsche
In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die: Ever drifting down the stream- Lingering in the golden gleam- Life, what is it but a dream?
Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking Glass)
I want the following word: splendor, splendor is fruit in all its succulence, fruit without sadness. I want vast distances. My savage intuition of myself.
Clarice Lispector (The Stream of Life)
Talent develops in solitude, character develops in the stream of life.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
And all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life.
Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)
The man who lies asleep will never waken fame, and his desire and all his life drift past him like a dream, and the traces of his memory fade from time like smoke in air, or ripples on a stream.
Dante Alighieri (The Divine Comedy)
Roads Go Ever On Roads go ever ever on, Over rock and under tree, By caves where never sun has shone, By streams that never find the sea; Over snow by winter sown, And through the merry flowers of June, Over grass and over stone, And under mountains in the moon. Roads go ever ever on, Under cloud and under star. Yet feet that wandering have gone Turn at last to home afar. Eyes that fire and sword have seen, And horror in the halls of stone Look at last on meadows green, And trees and hills they long have known. The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way, Where many paths and errands meet. The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with weary feet, Until it joins some larger way, Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say. The Road goes ever on and on Out from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone. Let others follow, if they can! Let them a journey new begin. But I at last with weary feet Will turn towards the lighted inn, My evening-rest and sleep to meet.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings)
The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.
Rabindranath Tagore
It's probably for the best, I told myself. How would I have said goodbye to Mal anyway? Thanks for being my best friend and making my life bearable. Oh, and sorry I fell in love with you for a while there. Make sure to write! 'What are you smiling at?' I whirled, peering into the gloom. The Darkling's voice seemed to float out of the shadows. He walked down to the stream, crouching on the bank to splash water on his face and through his dark hair. 'Well?' he asked, looking up at me. 'Myself,' I admitted. 'Are you that funny?' 'I'm hilarious.
Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #1))
I have just now come from a party where I was its life and soul; witticisms streamed from my lips, everyone laughed and admired me, but I went away — yes, the dash should be as long as the radius of the earth's orbit ——————————— and wanted to shoot myself.
Søren Kierkegaard
To become vegetarian is to step towards the stream which leads to nirvana.
Gautama Buddha
Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run With the Wolves)
Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.
Steve Jobs
It is when we are trapped in incessant streams of compulsive thinking that the universe really disintegrates for us, and we lose the ability to sense the interconnectedness of all that exists.
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)
Unending Love I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times... In life after life, in age after age, forever. My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs, That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms, In life after life, in age after age, forever. Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age old pain, It's ancient tale of being apart or together. As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge, Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time. You become an image of what is remembered forever. You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount. At the heart of time, love of one for another. We have played along side millions of lovers, Shared in the same shy sweetness of meeting, the distressful tears of farewell, Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever. Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you The love of all man's days both past and forever: Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life. The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours - And the songs of every poet past and forever.
Rabindranath Tagore (Selected Poems)
The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.
George Eliot
On no subject are our ideas more warped and pitiable than on death. ... Let children walk with nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory, for it never fights.
John Muir (A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf)
You don't understand music: you hear it. So hear me with your whole body.
Clarice Lispector (The Stream of Life)
Nostalgia is a necessary thing, I believe, and a way for all of us to find peace in that which we have accomplished, or even failed to accomplish. At the same time, if nostalgia precipitates actions to return to that fabled, rosy-painted time, particularly in one who believes his life to be a failure, then it is an empty thing, doomed to produce nothing but frustration and an even greater sense of failure.
R.A. Salvatore (Streams of Silver (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #5))
This is what I mean when I say I would like to swim against the stream of time: I would like to erase the consequences of certain events and restore an initial condition. But every moment of my life brings with it an accumulation of new facts, and each of these new facts bring with it consequences; so the more I seek to return to the zero moment from which I set out, the further I move away from it. . . .
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
To be fully human is to be wild. Wild is the strange pull and whispering wisdom. It’s the gentle nudge and the forceful ache. It is your truth, passed down from the ancients, and the very stream of life in your blood. Wild is the soul where passion and creativity reside, and the quickening of your heart. Wild is what is real, and wild is your home.
Victoria Erickson
But first, on earth as vampire sent, Thy corse shall from its tomb be rent, Then ghastly haunt thy native place, And suck the blood of all thy race. There from thy daughter, sister, wife, At midnight drain the stream of life, Yet loathe the banquet which perforce Must feed thy livid living corse. Thy victims ere they yet expire Shall know the demon for their sire, As cursing thee, thou cursing them, Thy flowers are withered on the stem.
Lord Byron
All things of the body stream away like a river, all things of the mind are dreams and delusion; life is warfare, and a visit to a strange land; the only lasting fame is oblivion.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
The music enchanted the air. It was like the south wind, like a warm night, like swelling sails beneath the stars, completely and utterly unreal... It made everything spacious and colourful, the dark stream of life seemed pulsing in it; there were no burdens any more, no limits; there existed only glory and melody and love, so that one simply could not realize that, at the same time as this music was, outside there ruled poverty and torment and despair.
Erich Maria Remarque (Three Comrades)
When our mind is in shambles and we dare to reflect on the story of our life, we may discover, in the stream of our thoughts, the fault line between what we have underfelt and what we have overthought on our way. (“Axel Red”)
Erik Pevernagie
Whether it is good or evil, whether life in itself is pain or pleasure, whether it is uncertain-that it may perhaps be this is not important-but the unity of the world, the coherence of all events, the embracing of the big and the small from the same stream, from the same law of cause, of becoming and dying.
Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)
I was carried away, swept along by the mighty stream of words pouring from the hundreds of pages. To me it was the ultimate book: once you had read it, neither your own life nor the world you lived in would ever look the same.
Dai Sijie (Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress)
Dying was nothing and he had no picture of it nor fear of it in his mind. But living was a field of grain blowing in the wind on the side of a hill. Living was a hawk in the sky. Living was an earthen jar of water in the dust of the threshing with the grain flailed out and the chaff blowing. Living was a horse between your legs and a carbine under one leg and a hill and a valley and a stream with trees along it and the far side of the valley and the hills beyond.
Ernest Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
I believe it will have become evident why, for me, adjectives such as happy, contented, blissful, enjoyable, do not seem quite appropriate to any general description of this process I have called the good life, even though the person in this process would experience each one of these at the appropriate times. But adjectives which seem more generally fitting are adjectives such as enriching, exciting, rewarding, challenging, meaningful. This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-fainthearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one's potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life. Yet the deeply exciting thing about human beings is that when the individual is inwardly free, he chooses as the good life this process of becoming.
Carl R. Rogers (On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy)
Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams — they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do — they all contain truths
Muhammad Ali (Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times)
Because children grow up, we think a child's purpose is to grow up. But a child's purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn't disdain what lives only for a day. It pours the whole of itself into the each moment. We don't value the lily less for not being made of flint and built to last. Life's bounty is in its flow, later is too late. Where is the song when it's been sung? The dance when it's been danced? It's only we humans who want to own the future, too. We persuade ourselves that the universe is modestly employed in unfolding our destination. We note the haphazard chaos of history by the day, by the hour, but there is something wrong with the picture. Where is the unity, the meaning, of nature's highest creation? Surely those millions of little streams of accident and wilfulness have their correction in the vast underground river which, without a doubt, is carrying us to the place where we're expected! But there is no such place, that's why it's called utopia. The death of a child has no more meaning than the death of armies, of nations. Was the child happy while he lived? That is a proper question, the only question. If we can't arrange our own happiness, it's a conceit beyond vulgarity to arrange the happiness of those who come after us.
Tom Stoppard (The Coast of Utopia (Box Set))
Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You’d find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more ‘literary’ you are. That’s my definition anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies. So now you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
THE FOUR HEAVENLY FOUNTAINS Laugh, I tell you And you will turn back The hands of time. Smile, I tell you And you will reflect The face of the divine. Sing, I tell you And all the angels will sing with you! Cry, I tell you And the reflections found in your pool of tears - Will remind you of the lessons of today and yesterday To guide you through the fears of tomorrow.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Mist to mist, drops to drops. For water thou art, and unto water shalt thou return.
Kamand Kojouri
I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. Digital and smoke free. A diversified multi-cultural, post-modern deconstruction that is anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I’ve been up linked and downloaded, I’ve been inputted and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low-life. A cutting edge, state-of-the-art bi-coastal multi-tasker and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond! I’m new wave, but I’m old school and my inner child is outward bound. I’m a hot-wired, heat seeking, warm-hearted cool customer, voice activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database, my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive and from time to time I’m radioactive. Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin the wave, dodgin the bullet and pushin the envelope. I’m on-point, on-task, on-message and off drugs. I’ve got no need for coke and speed. I've got no urge to binge and purge. I’m in-the-moment, on-the-edge, over-the-top and under-the-radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary. A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom feeder. I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps and run victory laps. I’m a totally ongoing big-foot, slam-dunk, rainmaker with a pro-active outreach. A raging workaholic. A working rageaholic. Out of rehab and in denial! I’ve got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant and a personal agenda. You can’t shut me up. You can’t dumb me down because I’m tireless and I’m wireless, I’m an alpha male on beta-blockers. I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever, laid-back but fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home, low-rent, high-maintenance. Super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built-to-last! I’m a hands-on, foot-loose, knee-jerk head case pretty maturely post-traumatic and I’ve got a love-child that sends me hate mail. But, I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing-- a supportive, bonding, nurturing primary care-giver. My output is down, but my income is up. I took a short position on the long bond and my revenue stream has its own cash-flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds and I watch trash sports! I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user-friendly and lactose intolerant. I like rough sex. I like tough love. I use the “F” word in my emails and the software on my hard-drive is hardcore--no soft porn. I bought a microwave at a mini-mall; I bought a mini-van at a mega-store. I eat fast-food in the slow lane. I’m toll-free, bite-sized, ready-to-wear and I come in all sizes. A fully-equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically-proven, scientifically- formulated medical miracle. I’ve been pre-wash, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped, vacuum-packed and, I have an unlimited broadband capacity. I’m a rude dude, but I’m the real deal. Lean and mean! Cocked, locked and ready-to-rock. Rough, tough and hard to bluff. I take it slow, I go with the flow, I ride with the tide. I’ve got glide in my stride. Drivin and movin, sailin and spinin, jiving and groovin, wailin and winnin. I don’t snooze, so I don’t lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty and lunch time is crunch time. I’m hangin in, there ain’t no doubt and I’m hangin tough, over and out!
George Carlin
But I welcome the darkness where the two eyes of that soft panther glow. The darkness is my cultural broth. The enchanted darkness. I go on speaking to you, risking disconnection: I’m subterraneously unattainable because of what I know.
Clarice Lispector (The Stream of Life)
And what is there to be joyful about?" I asked honestly, thinking on the images of dead children curled into themselves at the village. Another burst of silent tears streamed down. "Life, Sophie. They still live. They breathe, they love each other, they find joy in the world around them for no other reason than because they are children. They are resilient. They will always rise above. Always. It is a curious facet of the innocent young.
Fisher Amelie (Vain (The Seven Deadly, #1))
You often say; I would give, but only to the deserving, The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and nights is worthy of all else from you. And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream. See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving. For in truth it is life that gives unto life-while you, who deem yourself a giver, is but a witness.
Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet)
it is a corrupting thing to live one's real life in secret. One should live with the stream of life, not against it.
George Orwell (Burmese Days)
Oh, living is so uncomfortable. Everything presses in: the body demands, the spirit never ceases, living is like being weary but being unable to sleep–living is upsetting. You can’t walk around naked, either in body or in spirit.
Clarice Lispector (The Stream of Life)
He was weary of himself, of cold ideas and brain dreams. Life a poem? Not when you went about forever poetizing about your own life instead of living it. How innocuous it all was, and empty, empty, empty! This chasing after yourself, craftily observing your own tracks--in a circle, of course. This sham diving into the stream of life while all the time you sat angling after yourself, fishing yourself up in one curious disguise or another! If he could only be overwhelmed by something--life, love, passion--so that he could no longer shape it into poems, but had to let it shape him!
Jens Peter Jacobsen (Niels Lyhne)
A dog can be a ‘significant other’ as it infuses a magic fluid stream of oxytocin, trust, ease, and patience; and transforms a man’s life into a paradise of complicity and mutual sympathy, arousing at the same time an instinct of playfulness that many people have lost since their young age and that puts things in new perspectives.( "I am young and have no dog")
Erik Pevernagie
My thoughts went round and round and it occurred to me that if I ever wrote a novel it would be of the 'stream of consciousness' type and deal with an hour in the life of a woman at the sink.
Barbara Pym (Excellent Women)
Women can change better’n a man,” Ma said soothingly. “Woman got all her life in her arms. Man got it all in his head.” “Man, he lives in jerks-baby born an’ a man dies, an’ that’s a jerk-gets a farm and looses his farm, an’ that’s a jerk. Woman, its all one flow, like a stream, little eddies, little waterfalls, but the river, it goes right on. Woman looks at it like that. We ain’t gonna die out. People is goin’ on-changin’ a little, maybe, but goin’ right on.
John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath)
We walked along the river with the words streaming behind us like ribbons in the night.
Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees)
So you must match time’s swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life (Penguin Great Ideas))
From childhood I was compelled to concentrate attention upon myself. This caused me much suffering, but to my present view, it was a blessing in disguise for it has taught me to appreciate the inestimable value of introspection in the preservation of life, as well as a means of achievement. The pressure of occupation and the incessant stream of impressions pouring into our consciousness through all the gateways of knowledge make modern existence hazardous in many ways. Most persons are so absorbed in the contemplation of the outside world that they are wholly oblivious to what is passing on within themselves. The premature death of millions is primarily traceable to this cause. Even among those who exercise care, it is a common mistake to avoid imaginary, and ignore the real dangers. And what is true of an individual also applies, more or less, to a people as a whole.
Nikola Tesla
What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows. No time to see, when woods we pass, Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass. No time to see, in broad daylight, Streams full of stars, like skies at night. No time to turn at Beauty's glance, And watch her feet, how they can dance. No time to wait till her mouth can Enrich that smile her eyes began. A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. - Leisure
W.H. Davies (Common Joys and Other Poems)
Never, oh! never, nothing will die; The stream flows, The wind blows, The cloud fleets, The heart beats, Nothing will die.
Alfred Tennyson
I know and share the many sorrows a human being can experience, but I do not cling to them; they pass through me, like life itself, as a broad eternal stream...and life continues...
Etty Hillesum
This living hand, now warm and capable Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold And in the icy silence of the tomb, So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood, So in my veins red life might stream again, And thou be conscience-calm'd. See, here it is-- I hold it towards you.
John Keats
A man cannot realize that above such shattered bodies there are still human faces in which life goes its daily round. And this is only one hospital, a single station; there are hundreds of thousands in Germany, hundreds of thousands in France, hundreds of thousands in Russia. How senseless is everything that can ever be written, done, or thought, when such things are possible. It must be all lies and of no account when the culture of a thousand years could not prevent this stream of blood being poured out, these torture chambers in their hundreds of thousands. A hospital alone shows what war is.
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
The first time I was ever called ugly, I was thirteen. It was a rich friend of my brother Carlton's over to shoot guns in the field. 'Why you crying, girl?' Constantine asked me in the kitchen. I told her what the boy had called me, tears streaming down my face. 'Well? Is you?' I blinked, paused my crying. 'Is I what?' 'Now you look a here, Egenia'-because constantien was the only one who'd occasionally follow Mama's rule. 'Ugly live up on the inside. Ugly be a hurtful, mean person. Is you one a them peoples?' 'I don't know. I don't think so,' I sobbed. Constantine sat down next to me, at the kitchen table. I heard the cracking of her swollen joints. She pressed her thumb hard in the palm of my hand, somthing we both knew meant Listen. Listen to me. 'Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision.' Constantine was so close, I could see the blackness of her gums. 'You gone have to ask yourself, Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?' She kept her thumb pressed hard in my hand. I nodded that I understood. I was just smart enough to realize she meant white people. And even though I still felt miserable, and knew that I was, most likely, ugly, it was the first time she ever talked to me like I was something besides my mother's white child. All my life I'd been told what to believe about politics, coloreds, being a girl. But with Constantine's thumb pressed in my hand, I realized I actually had a choice in what I could believe.
Kathryn Stockett (The Help)
The library possessed a life of its own, had become greater than Cornelius had ever intended. For these were not ordinary books the libraries kept. They were knowledge, given life. Wisdom, given voice. They sang when starlight streamed through the library's windows. They felt pain and suffered heartbreak. Sometimes they were sinister, grotesque- but so was the world outside. And that made the world no less worth fighting for, because wherever there was darkness, there was also so much light.
Margaret Rogerson (Sorcery of Thorns (Sorcery of Thorns, #1))
If we constantly focus only on the stones in our mortal path, we will almost surely miss the beautiful flower or cool stream provided by the loving Father who outlined our journey. Each day can bring more joy than sorrow when our mortal and spiritual eyes are open to God's goodness. Joy in the gospel is not something that begins only in the next life. It is our privilege now, this very day. We must never allow our burdens to obscure our blessings. There will always be more blessings than burdens--even if some days it doesn't seem so. Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Enjoy those blessings right now. They are yours and always will be.
Jeffrey R. Holland
So much in writing depends on the superficiality of one's days. One may be preoccupied with shopping and income tax returns and chance conversations, but the stream of the unconscious continues to flow undisturbed, solving problems, planning ahead: one sits down sterile and dispirited at the desk, and suddenly the words come as though from the air: the situations that seemed blocked in a hopeless impasse move forward: the work has been done while one slept or shopped or talked with friends.
Graham Greene (The End of the Affair)
We do not realize how deeply our starting assumptions affect the way we go about looking for and interpreting the data we collect. We should recognize that nonhuman organisms need not meet every new definition of human language, tool use, mind, or consciousness in order to have versions of their own that are worthy of serious study. We have set ourselves too much apart, grasping for definitions that will distinguish man from all other life on the planet. We must rejoin the great stream of life from whence we arose and strive to see within it the seeds of all we are and all we may become.
Sue Savage-Rumbaugh (Kanzi: The Ape at the Brink of the Human Mind)
The stream of life is black and angry; how so many of us get across without drowning, I often wonder. The best way is not to look too far before-just from one stepping-stone to another; and though you may wet your feet, He won't let you drown-He has not allowed me.
J. Sheridan Le Fanu (Uncle Silas)
The books and magazines streamed in. He could buy them all, they piled up around him and even while he read, the number of those still to be read disturbed him. … they stood in rows, weighing down his life like a possession which he did not succeed in subordinating to his personality.
Thomas Mann
Strider's bedroom "The only thing hanging on the wall that wasn't a weapon was the portrait just over the bed. No. Not true, he thought then. The portrait was a weapon, too. Of seduction. In it Strider was utterly naked and whisking through the cloads like an avenging angel. He was holding a teddy bear in one hand and a stream of pink ribbons in the other. Anya had given him the nearly life-size monstrasity as a joke. But the joke was on her. He loved the thing.
Gena Showalter (The Darkest Secret (Lords of the Underworld, #7))
I brought your son back from the dead!" shouted Kell, lunging to his feet. "I did it knowing it would bind our lives, knowing what it would mean for me, what I would become, knowing that the resurrection of his life would mean the end of mine, and I did it anyway, because he is my brother and your son and the future king of Arnes." Kell gasped for breath, tears streaming down his face "What more could I possibly do?
V.E. Schwab (A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2))
Light streamed through one of the windows and across her face and I have never seen anything or anyone so beautiful in my life. If my heart had stopped at that moment I would have fallen happy and fallen full and I would have seen in life all that I had wanted to see and all that I needed to see. Fall. Let me fall.
James Frey
She blew a stream of smoke up at the empty clotheslines. 'These silly dreams you have when you're young. I mean, what, Katie and Brendan Harris were going ot make a life in Las Vegas? How long would that little Eden have lasted? Maybe they'd be on their second trailer park, second kid, but it would have hit them sooner or later - life isn't happily ever after and golden sunsets and shit like that. It's work. The person you love is rarely worthy of how big your love is. Because no one is worthy of that and maybe no one deserves the burden of it, either. You'll be let down. You'll be disappointed and have your trust broken and have a lot of real sucky days. You lose more than you win. You hate the person you love as much as you love him. But, shit, you roll up your sleeves and work - at everything -because that's what growing older is.
Dennis Lehane (Mystic River)
Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery. It is far better to be free, to leave the forts and barricades of fear, to stand erect and face the future with a smile. It is far better to give yourself sometimes to negligence, to drift with wave and tide, with the blind force of the world, to think and dream, to forget the chains and limitations of the breathing life, to forget purpose and object, to lounge in the picture gallery of the brain, to feel once more the clasps and kisses of the past, to bring life's morning back, to see again the forms and faces of the dead, to paint fair pictures for the coming years, to forget all Gods, their promises and threats, to feel within your veins life's joyous stream and hear the martial music, the rhythmic beating of your fearless heart. And then to rouse yourself to do all useful things, to reach with thought and deed the ideal in your brain, to give your fancies wing, that they, like chemist bees, may find art's nectar in the weeds of common things, to look with trained and steady eyes for facts, to find the subtle threads that join the distant with the now, to increase knowledge, to take burdens from the weak, to develop the brain, to defend the right, to make a palace for the soul. This is real religion. This is real worship
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. IV)
For the first time in years the tears were streaming down his face. But they were for himself now. He did not care about mouth and eyes and moving hands. He wanted to care, and he could not care. For he had gone away and he could never go back any more. The gates were closed, the sun was gone down, and there was no beauty but the gray beauty of steel that withstands all time. Even the grief he could have borne was left behind in the country of illusion, of youth, of the richness of life, where his winter dreams had flourished. "Long ago," he said, "long ago, there was something in me, but now that thing is gone. Now that thing is gone, that thing is gone. I cannot cry. I cannot care. That thing will come back no more.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (Winter Dreams)
Each person, human or no, is bound to every other in a reciprocal relationship. Just as all beings have a duty to me, I have a duty to them. If an animal gives its life to feed me, I am in turn bound to support its life. If I receive a stream’s gift of pure water, then I am responsible for returning a gift in kind. An integral part of a human’s education is to know those duties and how to perform them.
Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants)
Maybe unhappiness is the continuum through which a human life moves, and joy just a series of blips, of islands in the stream.
Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses)
A BOAT beneath a sunny sky, Lingering onward dreamily In an evening of July — Children three that nestle near, Eager eye and willing ear, Pleased a simple tale to hear — Long has paled that sunny sky: Echoes fade and memories die: Autumn frosts have slain July. Still she haunts me, phantomwise, Alice moving under skies Never seen by waking eyes. Children yet, the tale to hear, Eager eye and willing ear, Lovingly shall nestle near. In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die: Ever drifting down the stream — Lingering in the golden gleam — Life, what is it but a dream?
Lewis Carroll
I like these people swarming on the sidewalks, wedged into a little space of houses and canals, hemmed in by fogs, cold lands, and the sea streaming like a wet wash. I like them, for they are double. They are here and elsewhere.
Albert Camus (The Fall)
When you are older and have swum out into the stream of life, you'll see -- there are no "good" people, little girl. We're all trying and failing, trying too hard and failing too often. Remember that. We shouldn't judge too harshly, in the end, the sins of others"...
Kathleen Tessaro (The Perfume Collector)
Pursuing happiness, and I did, and still do, is not at all the same as being happy- which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstances, and a bit bovine. If the sun is shining, stand in it- yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass- they have to- because time passes. The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is lifelong, and it is not goal-centred. What you are pursuing is meaning- a meaningful life. There's the hap- the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn't fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use- that's going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms.
Jeanette Winterson (Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?)
Ever drifting down the stream Lingering in the golden gleam Life, what is it but a dream?
Lewis Carroll
I just know that I don't want cheating. I refuse. I deepened myself but I don't believe in myself because my thought is invented.
Clarice Lispector (The Stream of Life)
It struck him that the truly characteristic thing about modern life was not its cruelty and insecurity, but simply its bareness, its dinginess, its listlessness. Life, if you looked about you, bore no resemblance not only to the lies that streamed out of the telescreens, but even to the ideals that the party was trying to achieve.
George Orwell (1984)
To quench my longing I bent me low By the streams of the spirits of Peace that flow In that magical wood in the land of sleep.
Sarojini Naidu
Immortal amarant, a flower which once In paradise, fast by the tree of life, Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows, And flowers aloft, shading the fount of life, And where the river of bliss through midst of heaven Rolls o'er elysian flowers her amber stream: With these that never fade the spirits elect Bind their resplendent locks.
John Milton (Paradise Lost)
There is, in fact, no way back either to the wolf or to the child. From the very start there is no innocence and no singleness. Every created thing, even the simplest, is already guilty, already multiple. It has been thrown into the muddy stream of being and may never more swim back again to its source. The way to innocence, to the uncreated and to God leads on, not back to the wolf or to the child, but ever further into sin, ever deeper into human life. Nor will suicide really solve your problem [...] You will, instead, embark on the longer and wearier and harder road of life. You will have to multiply many times your two-fold being and complicate your complexities still further. Instead of narrowing your world and simplifying your soul, you will have to absorb more and more of the world and at last take all of it up in your painfully expanded soul, if you are ever to find peace. This is the road that Buddha and every great man has gone, whether consciously or not, insofar as fortune has favored his quest.
Hermann Hesse
… everything is so fragile. I feel so lost. I live off secret, radiating, luminous rays that would smother me if I didn’t cover them with a heavy cloak of false certainties. God help me: I have no one to guide me and it’s dark again.
Clarice Lispector (The Stream of Life)
By the time it came to the edge of the Forest, the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, “There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” But all the little streams higher up in the Forest went this way and that, quickly, eagerly, having so much to find out before it was too late.
A.A. Milne (The House at Pooh Corner (Winnie-the-Pooh, #2))
You are free when you gain back yourself,” Madame Wu said. “You can be as free within these walls as you could be in the whole world. And how could you be free if, however far you wander, you still carry inside yourself the constant thought of him? See where you belong in the stream of life. Let it flow through you, cool and strong. Do not dam it with your two hands, lest he break the dam and so escape you. Let him go free, and you will be free.
Pearl S. Buck (Pavilion of Women)
How can I tell Bob that my happiness streams from having wrenched a piece out of my life, a piece of hurt and beauty, and transformed it to typewritten words on paper? How can he know I am justifying my life, my keen emotions, my feeling, by turning it into print?
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
The great mother whom we call Innana gave a gift to woman that is not known among men, and this is the secret of blood. The flow at the dark of the moon, the healing blood of the moon’s birth - to men, this is flux and distemper, bother and pain. They imagine we suffer and consider themselves lucky. We do not disabuse them. In the red tent, the truth is known. In the red tent, where days pass like a gentle stream, as the gift of Innana courses through us, cleansing the body of last month’s death, preparing the body to receive the new month’s life, women give thanks — for repose and restoration, for the knowledge that life comes from between our legs, and that life costs blood.
Anita Diamant (The Red Tent)
Kaladin screamed, reaching the end of the bridge. Finding a tiny surge of strength somewhere, he raised his spear and threw himself off the end of the wooden platform, launching into the air above the cavernous void. Bridgemen cried out in dismay. Syl zipped about him with worry. Parshendi looked up with amazement as a lone bridgeman sailed through the air toward them. His drained, worn-out body barely had any strength left. In that moment of crystallized time, he looked down on his enemies. Parshendi with their marbled red and black skin. Soldiers raising finely crafted weapons, as if to cut him from the sky. Strangers, oddities in carapace breastplates and skullcaps. Many of them wearing beards. Beards woven with glowing gemstones. Kaladin breathed in. Like the power of salvation itself—like rays of sunlight from the eyes of the Almighty—Stormlight exploded from those gemstones. It streamed through the air, pulled in visible streams, like glowing columns of luminescent smoke. Twisting and turning and spiraling like tiny funnel clouds until they slammed into him. And the storm came to life again.
Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1))
I recently read in the book My Stroke of Insight by brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor that the natural life span of an emotion—the average time it takes for it to move through the nervous system and body—is only a minute and a half. After that we need thoughts to keep the emotion rolling. So if we wonder why we lock into painful emotional states like anxiety, depression, or rage, we need look no further than our own endless stream of inner dialogue.
Tara Brach
For the rest of my life I'll be thinking about that hamburger. I'll be sitting there at the counter, holding it in my hands with tears streaming down my cheeks. The waitress will be looking away because she doesn't like to see kids crying when they are eating hamburgers...
Richard Brautigan
We are one of many appearances of the thing called Life; we are not its perfect image, for it has no perfect image except Life, and life is multitudinous and emergent in the stream of time.
Loren Eiseley (The Immense Journey)
Distance changes utterly when you take the world on foot. A mile becomes a long way, two miles literally considerable, ten miles whopping, fifty miles at the very limits of conception. The world, you realize, is enormous in a way that only you and a small community of fellow hikers know. Planetary scale is your little secret. Life takes on a neat simplicity, too. Time ceases to have any meaning. When it is dark, you go to bed, and when it is light again you get up, and everything in between is just in between. It’s quite wonderful, really. You have no engagements, commitments, obligations, or duties; no special ambitions and only the smallest, least complicated of wants; you exist in a tranquil tedium, serenely beyond the reach of exasperation, “far removed from the seats of strife,” as the early explorer and botanist William Bartram put it. All that is required of you is a willingness to trudge. There is no point in hurrying because you are not actually going anywhere. However far or long you plod, you are always in the same place: in the woods. It’s where you were yesterday, where you will be tomorrow. The woods is one boundless singularity. Every bend in the path presents a prospect indistinguishable from every other, every glimpse into the trees the same tangled mass. For all you know, your route could describe a very large, pointless circle. In a way, it would hardly matter. At times, you become almost certain that you slabbed this hillside three days ago, crossed this stream yesterday, clambered over this fallen tree at least twice today already. But most of the time you don’t think. No point. Instead, you exist in a kind of mobile Zen mode, your brain like a balloon tethered with string, accompanying but not actually part of the body below. Walking for hours and miles becomes as automatic, as unremarkable, as breathing. At the end of the day you don’t think, “Hey, I did sixteen miles today,” any more than you think, “Hey, I took eight-thousand breaths today.” It’s just what you do.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
Whoever wishes may accompany me: the road is long, it's painful but it's lived.
Clarice Lispector (The Stream of Life)
Rabbits (says Mr. Lockley) are like human beings in many ways. One of these is certainly their staunch ability to withstand disaster and to let the stream of their life carry them along, past reaches of terror and loss. They have a certain quality which it would not be accurate to describe as callousness or indifference. It is, rather, a blessedly circumscribed imagination and an intuitive feeling that Life is Now. A foraging wild creature, intent above all upon survival, is as strong as the grass.
Richard Adams (Watership Down (Watership Down, #1))
Climb every mountain, Ford every stream, Follow every rainbow, 'Till you find your dream. A dream that will need All the love you can give, Every day of your life For as long as you live
Rodgers & Hammerstein (The Sound of Music)
I had turned away from the picture and was going back to the world where events move, men change, light flickers, life flows in a clear stream, no matter whether over mud or over stones.
Joseph Conrad (Lord Jim)
I’m restless and harsh and despairing. Although I do have love inside me. I just don’t know how to use love. Sometimes it tears at my flesh, like barbs. If I can hold so much love within me, and nevertheless continue to be uneasy, it’s because I need God to come. Come, before it’s too late. I’m in danger, as is everyone who’s alive.
Clarice Lispector (The Stream of Life)
Dear Max - You looked so beautiful today. I'm going to remember what you looked like forever. ... And I hope you remember me the same way - clean, ha-ha. I'm glad our last time together was happy. But I'm leaving tonight, leaving the flock, and this time it's for good. I don't know if I'll ever see any of you again. The thing is, Max, that everyone is a little bit right. Added up all together, it makes this one big right. Dylan's a little bit right about how my being here might be putting the rest of you in danger. The threat might have been just about Dr. Hans, but we don't know that for sure. Angel is a little bit right about how splitting up the flock will help all of us survive. And the rest of the flock is a little bit right about how when you and I are together, we're focused on each other - we can't help it. The thing is, Maximum, I love you. I can't help but be focused on you when we're together. If you're in the room, I want to be next to you. If you're gone, I think about you. You're the one who I want to talk to. In a fight, I want you at my back. When we're together, the sun is shining. When we're apart, everything is in shades of gray. I hope you'll forgive me someday for turning our worlds into shades of gray - at least for a while. ... You're not at your best when you're focused on me. I mean, you're at your best Maxness, but not your best leaderness. I mostly need Maxness. The flock mostly needs leaderness. And Angel, if you're listening to this, it ain't you, sweetie. Not yet. ... At least for a couple more years, the flock needs a leader to survive, no matter how capable everyone thinks he or she is. The truth is that they do need a leader, and the truth is that you are the best leader. It's one of the things I love about you. But the more I thought about it, the more sure I got that this is the right thing to do. Maybe not for you, or for me, but for all of us together, our flock. Please don't try to find me. This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, besides wearing that suit today, and seeing you again will only make it harder. You'd ask me to come back, and I would, because I can't say no to you. But all the same problems would still be there, and I'd end up leaving again, and then we'd have to go through this all over again. Please make us only go through this once. ... I love you. I love your smile, your snarl, your grin, your face when you're sleeping. I love your hair streaming out behind you as we fly, with the sunlight making it shine, if it doesn't have too much mud or blood in it. I love seeing your wings spreading out, white and brown and tan and speckled, and the tiny, downy feathers right at the top of your shoulders. I love your eyes, whether they're cold or calculating or suspicious or laughing or warm, like when you look at me. ... You're the best warrior I know, the best leader. You're the most comforting mom we've ever had. You're the biggest goofball, the worst driver, and a truly lousy cook. You've kept us safe and provided for us, in good times and bad. You're my best friend, my first and only love, and the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, with wings or without. ... Tell you what, sweetie: If in twenty years we haven't expired yet, and the world is still more or less in one piece, I'll meet you at the top of that cliff where we first met the hawks and learned to fly with them. You know the one. Twenty years from today, if I'm alive, I'll be there, waiting for you. You can bet on it. Good-bye, my love. Fang P.S. Tell everyone I sure will miss them
James Patterson
See, see how the sun has moved onward while we talked. Nothing can stop it in its course. Prayers cannot halt the revolving of nature. It is the same with human life. Victory and defeat are one in the vast stream of life. Victory is the beginning of defeat, and who can rest safely in victory? Impermanence is the nature of all things of this world. Even you will find your ill fortunes too will change. It is easy to understand the impatience of the old, whose days are numbered, but why should you young ones fret when the future is yours?
Eiji Yoshikawa
In this life you have to be your own hero. By that I mean you have to win whatever it is that matters to you by your own strength and in your own way. Like it or not, you are alone in a forest, just like all those fairy tales that begin with a hero who’s usually stupid but somehow brave, or who might be clever, but weak as a straw, and away he goes (don’t worry about the gender), cheered on by nobody, via the castles and the bears, and the old witch and the enchanted stream, and by and by (we hope) he’ll find the treasure.
Jeanette Winterson (The Powerbook)
Our life runs down in sending up the clock. The brook runs down in sending up our life. The sun runs down in sending up the brook. And there is something sending up the sun. It is this backward motion toward the source, Against the stream, that most we see ourselves in, The tribute of the current to the source. It is from this in nature we are from. It is most us.
Robert Frost
Who wants to become a writer? And why? ... It's the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower of life, even if it's a cactus.
Enid Bagnold
Once a blooming red rose, full of streaming life in its veins. Now a wilting black petal rupturing with death and pain.
Jessica Sorensen (Ember (Death Collectors, #1))
So furiously each other did assayle, As if their soules they would attonce haue rent Out of their brests, that streames of bloud did rayle Adowne, as if their springes of life were spent; That all the ground with purple bloud was sprent, And all their armours staynd with bloudie gore, Yet scarcely once to breath would they relent, So mortall was their malice and so sore, Become of fayned friendship which they vow'd afore.
Edmund Spenser (The Faerie Queene, Books Three and Four)
Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals, trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off forever from everything you had known once -somewhere- far away in another existence perhaps. There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
Be very careful of what you allow to infiltrate your consciousness and subconsciousness. When you watch too much television, you'll start to feel inferior from all the commercials hard selling the idea that you're not complete unless you buy their product [...] The ad agencies appeal to your fear of not being wanted or loved. It's the same with the local news. They get you to stay tuned with a constant stream of fear tactics [...] It's as if our culture is addicted to fear and the flat screen is our drug dealer. Don't allow that crap into your head!
RuPaul (Workin' It! Rupaul's Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style)
You often say,'I would give, but only to the deserving.' The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish. Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you. And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
Kahlil Gibran
‎A farm is a manipulative creature. There is no such thing as finished. Work comes in a stream and has no end. There are only the things that must be done now and things that can be done later. The threat the farm has got on you, the one that keeps you running from can until can't, is this: do it now, or some living thing will wilt or suffer or die. Its blackmail, really.
Kristin Kimball (The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love)
Look, then, into thine heart, and write! Yes, into Life's deep stream! All forms of sorrow and delight, All solemn Voices of the Night, That can soothe thee, or affright, - Be these henceforth thy theme. (excerpt from "Voices of the Night")
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
But I tell you--and mark my words--you will come some day to a craggy pass in the channel, where the whole of life's stream will be broken up into whirl and tumult, foam and noise: either you will be dashed to atoms on crag points, or lifted up and borne on by some master-wave into a calmer current...
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
When tears come, I breathe deeply and rest. I know I am swimming in a hallowed stream where many have gone before. I am not alone, crazy, or having a nervous breakdown . . . My heart is at work. My soul is awake.
Mary Margaret Funk (Thoughts Matter: The Practice of the Spiritual Life)
…how it would be nice if, for every sea waiting for us, there would be a river, for us. And someone -a father, a lover, someone- able to take us by the hand and find that river -imagine it, invent it- and put us on its stream, with the lightness of one only word, goodbye. This, really, would be wonderful. It would be sweet, life, every life. And things wouldn’t hurt, but they would get near taken by stream, one could first shave and then touch them and only finally be touched. Be wounded, also. Die because of them. Doesn’t matter. But everything would be, finally, human. It would be enough someone’s fancy -a father, a lover, someone- could invent a way, here in the middle of the silence, in this land which don’t wanna talk. Clement way, and beautiful. A way from here to the sea.
Alessandro Baricco (Ocean Sea)
Thorne was flying, so it was a constant stream of near-death experiences. How’s emperor life?” “Oh, you know. Press conferences. Cabinet meetings. Adoring fans everywhere I go.” “So also a constant stream of near-death experiences?” “Pretty much.
Marissa Meyer (Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection (The Lunar Chronicles #4.5))
Without difficulties, life would be like a stream without rocks and curves – about as interesting as concrete. Without problems, there can be no personal growth, no group achievement, no progress of humanity. But what mattes about problems is what one does with them.
Benjamin Hoff (The Te of Piglet)
A person cannot coast along in old destructive habits year after year and accept whatever comes along. A person must stand up on her own two legs and walk. Get off the bus and go get on another. Climb out of the ditch and cross the road. Find the road that s where you want to go. ... The only sermon that counts is the one that is formed by our actions. She would quit drinking and thereby show Kyle life is what you make it. A person can grab hold of her life and change things for the better. This happens all the time. We are not chips of wood drifting down the stream of time. We have oars.
Garrison Keillor (Pontoon (Lake Wobegon))
Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river? Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air - An armful of white blossoms, A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies, Biting the air with its black beak? Did you hear it, fluting and whistling A shrill dark music - like the rain pelting the trees - like a waterfall Knifing down the black ledges? And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds - A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river? And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything? And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for? And have you changed your life?
Mary Oliver (Swan: Poems and Prose Poems)
Willow nestled against him. He smoothed her long hair down the back of her T-shirt, feeling its softness. In a few moments she fell asleep again, her breathing warm and regular against his chest. Alex kissed her head, his arms tightening around her. As he drifted back to sleep himself, he saw a brief flash of the thousands of angels streaming in, but right then it seemed distant, almost unimportant. The only thing that mattered was that he was lying in a bed holding Willow, their bare legs entwined. It was all he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
L.A. Weatherly (Angel (Angel, #1))
From the moment we’re born we’re constantly dying, not only with each stage of life but also one day at a time. Our bodies are no longer the ones to which our mothers gave birth, as Marcus put it. Nobody is the same person he was yesterday. Realizing this makes it easier to let go: we can no more hold on to life than grasp the waters of a rushing stream.
Donald J. Robertson (How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius)
If you meet the darkest moment of life, strive valiantly through it with courage and never retreat, for you shall surely meet light afterwards. If you meet the muddy stream of life, swim across it with tenacity to the very end for there is a clearer stream that shall wash your dirt away afterwards. If all people reject you in the mid of the arduous race of life, dare to smile and move on for there are people who await you to embrace you in the end
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
I DECLARE breakthroughs are coming in my life, sudden bursts of God’s goodness. Not a trickle. Not a stream. But a flood of God’s power. A flood of healing. A flood of wisdom. A flood of favor. I am a breakthrough person and I choose to live breakthrough minded. I am expecting God to overwhelm me with His goodness and amaze me with His favor. This is my declaration.
Joel Osteen (I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life)
I need to wake up and believe that everything is okay instead if hoping it will be. I want to be one of the lucky ones who has a good life." I nod I want that for her too. "you can still get that. just tell me what makes you happy." she looks at me tears streaming down her cheek "you
Jessica Sorensen (The Redemption of Callie & Kayden (The Coincidence, #2))
To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure. You have no idea of what is in store for you, but you will, if you are wise and know the art of travel, let yourself go on the stream of the unknown and accept whatever comes in the spirit in which the gods may offer it. For this reason your customary thoughts, all except the rarest of your friends, even most of your luggage - everything, in fact, which belongs to your everyday life, is merely a hindrance. The tourist travels in his own atmosphere like a snail in his shell and stands, as it were, on his own perambulating doorstep to look at the continents of the world. But if you discard all this, and sally forth with a leisurely and blank mind, there is no knowing what may not happen to you.
Freya Stark (Baghdad Sketches (Travel))
The Master Speed No speed of wind or water rushing by but you have speed far greater. You can climb back up a stream of radiance to the sky, and back through history up the stream of time. And you were given this swiftness, not for haste nor chiefly that you may go where you will, but in the rush of everything to waste, that you may have the power of standing still-- off any still or moving thing you say. Two such as you with such a master speed From one another once you are agreed that life is only life forevermore together wing to wing and oar to oar.
Robert Frost
The years... when I pursued the inner images were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me. That was the stuff and material for more than only one life. Everything later was merely the outer classification, the scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything was then.
C.G. Jung
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken. On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it. We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.
Bill Wilson
Do Something! I was sitting on a plane after a long, tiring business trip. I was a bit grouchy and irritable because the rigorous schedule I had made for myself left me exhausted. Looking to not talk to the person next to me and simply endure the flight, I decided to open my newspaper and read about what was happening in the world. As I continued to read, it seemed that everywhere I looked there were stories of injustice, pain, suffering, and people losing hope. Finally, fueled by my tired, irritable state, I became overcome with compassion and frustration for the way things were. I got up and went to the bathroom and broke down. With tears streaming down my face, I helplessly looked to the sky and yelled to God. “God, look at this mess. Look at all this pain and suffering. Look at all this killing and hate. God, how could you let this happen? Why don’t you do something?” Just then, a quiet stillness pacified my heart. A feeling of peace I won’t ever forget engulfed my body. And, as I looked into my own eyes in the mirror, the answer to my own question came back to me… “Steve, stop asking God to do something. God already did something, he gave you life. Now YOU do something!
Steve Maraboli (Life, the Truth, and Being Free)
By walking, you escape from the very idea of identity, the temptation to be someone, to have a name and a history. Being someone is all very well for smart parties where everyone is telling their story, it's all very well for psychologists' consulting rooms. But isn't being someone also a social obligation which trails in its wake – for one has to be faithful to the self-portrait – a stupid and burdensome fiction? The freedom in walking lies in not being anyone; for the walking body has no history, it is just an eddy in the stream of immemorial life.
Frédéric Gros (A Philosophy of Walking)
I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too. It widens and deepens as it rubs and scours, gnaws and kneads, eats and bores its way through the land. Even the greatest rivers- the Nile and the Ganges, the Yangtze and he Mississippi, the Amazon and the great grey-green greasy Limpopo all set about with fever trees-must have been no more than trickles and flickering streams before they grew into mighty rivers. Are people like that? I wondered. Am I like that? Always me, like the river itself, always flowing but always different, like the water flowing in the river, sometimes walking steadily along andante, sometimes surging over rapids furioso, sometimes meandering wit hardly any visible movement tranquilo, lento, ppp pianissimo, sometimes gurgling giacoso with pleasure, sometimes sparkling brillante in the sun, sometimes lacrimoso, sometimes appassionato, sometimes misterioso, sometimes pesante, sometimes legato, sometimes staccato, sometimes sospirando, sometimes vivace, and always, I hope, amoroso. Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to wall so that I flow only where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for they own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and ploughing a valley of my own?
Aidan Chambers (This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn)
The present flowed by them like a stream. The tree rustled. It had made music before they were born, and would continue after their deaths, but its song was of the moment. The moment had passed. The tree rustled again. Their senses were sharpened, and they seemed to apprehend life. Life passed. The tree rustled again.
E.M. Forster
To the Taoist mentality, the aimless, empty life does not suggest anything depressing. On the contrary, it suggests the freedom of clouds and mountain streams, wandering nowhere, of flowers in impenetrable canyons, beautiful for no one to see, and of the ocean surf forever washing the sand, to no end.
Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
I cannot tell you what it is that guides us in this life; but for me, I fell toward the Chairman just as a stone must fall toward the earth. When I cut my lip and met Mr. Tanaka, when my mother died and I was cruelly sold, it was all like a stream that falls over rocky cliffs before it can reach the ocean. Even now that he is gone I have him still, in the richness of my memories.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
The realization that my problem was one that concerned all men, a problem of living and thinking, suddenly swept over me and I was overwhelmed by fear and respect as I suddenly saw and felt how deeply my own personal life and opinions were immersed in the eternal stream of great ideas. Though it offered some confirmation and gratification, the realization was not really a joyful one. It was hard and had a harsh taste because it implied responsibility and no longer being allowed to be a child; it meant standing on one’s own feet.
Hermann Hesse (Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend)
But the truth, he knows, is otherwise. His pleasure in living has been snuffed out. Like a leaf on a stream, like a puffball on a breeze, he has begun to float towards his end. He sees it quite clearly, and it fills him with (the word will not go away) despair. The blood of life is leaving his body and despair is taking its place, despair that is like a gas, odourless, tasteless, without nourishment. You breathe it in, your limbs relax, you cease to care, even at the moment when the steel touches your throat.
J.M. Coetzee (Disgrace)
Those hours given over to basking in the glow of an imagined future, of being carried away in streams of promise by a love or a passion so strong that one felt altered forever and convinced that even the smallest particle of the surrounding world was charged with purpose of impossible grandeur; ah, yes, and one would look up into the trees and be thrilled by the wind- loosened river of pale, gold foliage cascading down and by the high, melodious singing of countless birds; those moments, so many and so long ago, still come back, but briefly, like fireflies in the perfumed heat of summer night.
Mark Strand (Almost Invisible: Poems)
We are born into a realm of constant change. Everything is decaying. We are continually losing all that we come in contact with. Our tendency to get attached to impermanent experiences causes sorrow, lamentation and grief, because eventually we are separated from everything and everyone we love. Our lack of acceptance and understanding of this fact makes life unsatisfactory.
Noah Levine (Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries)
In the human life time is but an instant, and the substance of it a flux, and the perception dull, and the composition of the whole body subject to putrefaction, and the soul a whirl, and fortune hard to divine, and fame a thing devoid of certainty. And, to say all in a word, everything that belongs to the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is a dream and vapor, and life is a warfare and a stranger's sojourn, and after- fame is oblivion. What then can guide a man? One thing and only one, philosophy.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
What reading does, ultimately, is keep alive the dangerous and exhilarating idea that a life is not a sequence of lived moments, but a destiny...the time of reading, the time defined by the author's language resonating in the self, is not the world's time, but the soul's. The energies that otherwise tend to stream outward through a thousand channels of distraction are marshaled by the cadences of the prose; they are brought into focus by the fact that it is an ulterior, and entirely new, world that the reader has entered. The free-floating self--the self we diffusely commune with while driving or walking or puttering in the kitchen--is enlisted in the work of bringing the narrative to life. In the process, we are able to shake off the habitual burden of insufficient meaning and flex our deeper natures.
Sven Birkerts (The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age)
These memories of happiness are fleeting things, reflections in a stream, glimpsed all broken for a second and then swept away in the current of grief that is our life now. I can't say that I ever feel what it felt like then, when I was happy. But sometimes something will touch the place where that feeling was, a touch as slight and swift as the brush of a moth's wing in the dark.
Geraldine Brooks (Year of Wonders)
I travelled the old road every day, I took my fruits to the market, my cattle to the meadows, I ferried my boat across the stream and all the ways were well known to me. One morning my basket was heavy with wares. Men were busy in the fields, the pastures crowded with cattle; the breast of earth heaved with the mirth of ripening rice. Suddenly there was a tremor in the air, and the sky seemed to kiss me on my forehead. My mind started up like the morning out of mist. I forgot to follow the track. I stepped a few paces from the path, and my familiar world appeared strange to me, like a flower I had only known in bud. My everyday wisdom was ashamed. I went astray in the fairyland of things. It was the best luck of my life that I lost my path that morning, and found my eternal childhood.
Rabindranath Tagore
Nobody would dare look at himself in the mirror, because a grotesque, tragic image would mix in the contours of his face with stains and traces of blood, wounds which cannot be healed, and unstoppable streams of tears. I would experience a kind of voluptuous awe if I could see a volcano of blood, eruptions as red as fire and as burning as despair, burst into the midst of the comfortable and superficial harmony of everyday life, or if I could see all our hidden wounds open, making of us a bloody eruption forever. Only then would we truly understand and appreciate the advantage of loneliness, which silences our suffering and makes it inaccessible. The venom drawn out from suffering would be enough to poison the whole world in a bloody eruption, bursting out of the volcano of our being. There is so much venom, so much poison, in suffering!
Emil M. Cioran (On the Heights of Despair)
I watch my loved ones weep with sorrow, death's silent torment of no tomorrow. I feel their hearts breaking, I sense their despair, United in misery, the grief that they share. How do I show that, I am not gone... but the essence of life's everlasting song Why do they wee? Why do they cry? I'm alive in the wind and I am soaring high. I am sparkling light dancing on streams, a moment of warmth in the fays of sunbeams. The coolness of rain as it falls on your face, the whisper of leaves as wind rushes with haste. Eternal Song, a requiem by Avian of Celieria from Crown of Crystal Flame by C.L. Wilson
C.L. Wilson (Crown of Crystal Flame (Tairen Soul, #5))
And some day there will be nothing left of everything that has twisted my life and grieved it and filled me so often with such anguish. Some day, with the last exhaustion, peace will come and the motherly earth will gather me back home. It won't be the end of things, only a way of being born again, a bathing and a slumbering where the old and the withered sink down, where the young and new begin to breathe. Then, with other thoughts, I will walk along streets like these, and listen to streams, and overhear what the sky says in the evening, over and over and over.
Hermann Hesse
Why do you think people stopped reading? We read to connect with other minds. But why read when you're busy writing, describing the fine-grained flotsam of your own life. Compulsively recording every morsel you eat, that you're cold, or, I don't know, heartbroken by a football game. An endless stream flowing to an audience of everyone and no one.
Alena Graedon (The Word Exchange)
All of us have two minds, a private one, which is usually strange, I guess, and symbolic, and a public one, a social one. Most of us stream back and forth between those two minds, drifting around in our private self and then coming forward into the public self whenever we need to. But sometimes you get a little slow making the transition, you drag out the private part of your life and people know you’re doing it. They almost always catch on, knowing that someone is standing before them thinking about things that can’t be shared, like the one monkey that knows where a freshwater pond is. And sometimes the public mind is such a total bummer and the private self is alive with beauty and danger and secrets and things that don’t make any sense but that repeat and repeat and demand to be listened to, and you find it harder and harder to come forward. The pathway between those two states of mind suddenly seems very steep, a hell of a lot of work and not really worth it. Then I think it becomes a matter of what side of the great divide you get caught on. Some people get stuck on the public, approved side and they’re all right, for what it’s worth. And some people get stuck on the completely strange and private side of the divide, and that’s what we call crazy and its not really completely wrong to call it that but it doesn’t say it as it truly is. It’s more like a lack of mobility, a transportation problem, getting stuck, being the us we are in private but not stopping…
Scott Spencer
The thing is that this life is so precious and mysterious, I don’t know what to say about it most of the time. Words are like birds, passing through the trackless sky. The dog barking, the sound of the purling stream, the wind among the weeping willow trees: how are these not right off the tongue of the Buddha?" --Lama Surya Das
Surya Das (Awakening To The Sacred: Creating a Spiritual Life from Scratch)
Then Nuvoletta reflected for the last time in her little long life and she made up all her myriads of drifting minds in one. She cancelled all her engauzements. She climbed over the bannistars; she gave a childy cloudy cry: Nuee! Nuee! A lightdress fluttered. She was gone. And into the river that had been a stream . . . there fell a tear, a singult tear, the loveliest of all tears . . . for it was a leaptear. But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping as though her heart was brook: Why, why, why! Weh, O weh! I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!
James Joyce (Finnegans Wake)
To the Technocrats: Have mercy on us. Relax a bit, take time out for simple pleasures. For example, the luxuries of electricity, indoor plumbing, central heating, instant electronic communication and such, have taught me to relearn and enjoy the basic human satisfactions of dipping water from a cold clear mountain stream; of building a wood fire in a cast-iron stove; of using long winter nights for making music, making things, making love; of writing long letters, in longhand with a fountain pen, to the few people on this earth I truly care about.
Edward Abbey (Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast)
We see quite clearly that what happens to the nonhuman happens to the human. What happens to the outer world happens to the inner world. If the outer world is diminished in its grandeur then the emotional, imaginative, intellectual, and spiritual life of the human is diminished or extinguished. Without the soaring birds, the great forests, the sounds and coloration of the insects, the free-flowing streams, the flowering fields, the sight of the clouds by day and the stars at night, we become impoverished in all that makes us human.
Thomas Berry
If humanism were right in declaring that man is born to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot the unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most out of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one's life journey may become an experience of moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it. It is imperative to review the table of widespread human values. Its present incorrectness is astounding. It is not possible that assessment of the President's performance be reduced to the question of how much money one makes or of unlimited availability of gasoline. Only voluntary, inspired self-restraint can raise man above the world stream of materialism.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
What would happen if a man's face could adequately express his suffering, if his entire inner agony would be objectified in his facial expression? Could we still communicate? Wouldn't we then cover our faces with our hands while talking? Life would really be impossible if the infinitude of feelings we harbor within ourselves would be fully expressed in the lines of our face. Nobody would dare look at himself in the mirror, because a grotesque, tragic image would mix in the contours of his face with stains and traces of blood, wounds which cannot be healed, and unstoppable streams of tears. I would experience a kind of voluptuous awe if I could see a volcano of blood, eruptions as red as fire and as burning as despair, burst into the comfortable and superficial harmony of everyday life, or if I could see all our hidden wounds open, making of us a bloody eruption forever. Only then would be truly understand and appreciate the advantages of loneliness, which silences our suffering and makes it inaccessible. The venom drawn out from suffering would be enough to poison the whole world in a bloody eruption, bursting out of the volcano of our being. There is so much venom, so much poison, in suffering!
Emil M. Cioran (On the Heights of Despair)
We are attempting to play God, when maybe God put us here in the first place.” Father Tomas’s words by the stream came back to me. I could see his stick in the river, the water dividing on either side. “We can only move forward with what we have been given. Negotiate the river of life. Of time. And we’ve been given this,” I pleaded, waving at our circle. “Family. Love. Joy. Life. Can we not embrace it, for as long as we have it? Isn’t it what we all most dearly want, deep down?
Lisa Tawn Bergren
I have a friend who feels sometimes that the world is hostile to human life--he says it chills us and kills us. But how could we be were it not for this planet that provided our very shape? Two conditions--gravity and a livable temperature range between freezing and boiling--have given us fluids and flesh. The trees we climb and the ground we walk on have given us five fingers and toes. The "place" (from the root plat, broad, spreading, flat) gave us far-seeing eyes, the streams and breezes gave us versatile tongues and whorly ears. The land gave us a stride, and the lake a dive. The amazement gave us our kind of mind. We should be thankful for that, and take nature's stricter lessons with some grace.
Gary Snyder
Selfishly, perhaps, Catti-brie had determined that the assassin was her own business. He had unnerved her, had stripped away years of training and discipline and reduced her to the quivering semblance of a frightened child. But she was a young woman now, no more a girl. She had to personally respond to that emotional humiliation, or the scars from it would haunt her to her grave, forever paralyzing her along her path to discover her true potential in life.
R.A. Salvatore (Streams of Silver (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #5))
She had had affairs over the years ... but she had never been pregnant, never been a mother or a wife and it was only when she realized that it was too late, that it could never be, that she understood what it was that she had lost. Pamela's life would go on after she was dead, her descendants spreading through the world like the waters of a delta, but when Ursula died she would simply end. A stream that ran dry.
Kate Atkinson (Life After Life (Todd Family, #1))
For a hundred years or more, every textbook of psychology and psychotherapy has advised that some method of talking about distressing feelings can resolve them. However, as we’ve seen, the experience of trauma itself gets in the way of being able to do that. No matter how much insight and understanding we develop, the rational brain is basically impotent to talk the emotional brain out of its own reality. I am continually impressed by how difficult it is for people who have gone through the unspeakable to convey the essence of their experience. It is so much easier for them to talk about what has been done to them—to tell a story of victimization and revenge—than to notice, feel, and put into words the reality of their internal experience. Our scans had revealed how their dread persisted and could be triggered by multiple aspects of daily experience. They had not integrated their experience into the ongoing stream of their life. They continued to be “there” and did not know how to be “here”—fully alive in the present.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
I thought about the earth then, really thought about it, the tsunami's and earthquakes and volcanoes, all the horrors I haven't witnessed but have changed my life, the lives of everyone I know, all the people I'll never know. I thought about life without the sun, the moon, stars, without flowers and warm days in May. I thought about a year ago and all the good things I'd taken for granted and all the unbearable things that had replaced those simple blessings. And even though I hated the thought of crying in from of Syl, tears streamed down my face.
Susan Beth Pfeffer (This World We Live In (Last Survivors, #3))
The summit is believed to be the object of the climb. But its true object—the joy of living—is not in the peak itself, but in the adversities encountered on the way up. There are valleys, cliffs, streams, precipices, and slides, and as he walks these steep paths, the climber may think he cannot go any farther, or even that dying would be better than going on. But then he resumes fighting the difficulties directly in front of him, and when he is finally able to turn and look back at what he has overcome, he finds he has truly experienced the joy of living while on life's very road.
Eiji Yoshikawa (Taiko: An Epic Novel of War and Glory in Feudal Japan)
The boy and the girl had both known loss, and their grief did not leave them. Sometimes he would find her standing by a window, fingers playing in the beams of sunlight that streamed through the glass, or sitting on the front steps of the orphanage, staring at the stump of the oak next to the drive. Then he would go to her, draw her close, and lead her to the shores of Trivka's pond, where the insects buzzed and the grass grew high and sweet, where old wounds might be forgotten. She saw sadness in the boy too. Though the woods still welcomed him, he was separate from them now, the bond born into his bones burned away in the same moment that he'd given up his life for her.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
And when I look around the apartment where I now am,—when I see Charlotte’s apparel lying before me, and Albert’s writings, and all those articles of furniture which are so familiar to me, even to the very inkstand which I am using,—when I think what I am to this family—everything. My friends esteem me; I often contribute to their happiness, and my heart seems as if it could not beat without them; and yet—if I were to die, if I were to be summoned from the midst of this circle, would they feel—or how long would they feel—the void which my loss would make in their existence? How long! Yes, such is the frailty of man, that even there, where he has the greatest consciousness of his own being, where he makes the strongest and most forcible impression, even in the memory, in the heart of his beloved, there also he must perish,—vanish,—and that quickly. I could tear open my bosom with vexation to think how little we are capable of influencing the feelings of each other. No one can communicate to me those sensations of love, joy, rapture, and delight which I do not naturally possess; and though my heart may glow with the most lively affection, I cannot make the happiness of one in whom the same warmth is not inherent. Sometimes I don’t understand how another can love her, is allowed to love her, since I love her so completely myself, so intensely, so fully, grasp nothing, know nothing, have nothing but her! I possess so much, but my love for her absorbs it all. I possess so much, but without her I have nothing. One hundred times have I been on the point of embracing her. Heavens! what a torment it is to see so much loveliness passing and repassing before us, and yet not dare to lay hold of it! And laying hold is the most natural of human instincts. Do not children touch everything they see? And I! Witness, Heaven, how often I lie down in my bed with a wish, and even a hope, that I may never awaken again! And in the morning, when I open my eyes, I behold the sun once more, and am wretched. If I were whimsical, I might blame the weather, or an acquaintance, or some personal disappointment, for my discontented mind; and then this insupportable load of trouble would not rest entirely upon myself. But, alas! I feel it too sadly; I am alone the cause of my own woe, am I not? Truly, my own bosom contains the source of all my pleasure. Am I not the same being who once enjoyed an excess of happiness, who at every step saw paradise open before him, and whose heart was ever expanded towards the whole world? And this heart is now dead; no sentiment can revive it. My eyes are dry; and my senses, no more refreshed by the influence of soft tears, wither and consume my brain. I suffer much, for I have lost the only charm of life: that active, sacred power which created worlds around me,—it is no more. When I look from my window at the distant hills, and behold the morning sun breaking through the mists, and illuminating the country around, which is still wrapped in silence, whilst the soft stream winds gently through the willows, which have shed their leaves; when glorious Nature displays all her beauties before me, and her wondrous prospects are ineffectual to extract one tear of joy from my withered heart,—I feel that in such a moment I stand like a reprobate before heaven, hardened, insensible, and unmoved. Oftentimes do I then bend my knee to the earth, and implore God for the blessing of tears, as the desponding labourer in some scorching climate prays for the dews of heaven to moisten his parched corn.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther)
We’re always being made promises,’ she said. ‘You make them yourself and you listen to others giving theirs. Politicians are always going on about providing a better quality of life for people as they get older, and a health service in which nobody ever gets bedsores. Banks promise you high interest rates, some food promises to make you lose weight if you eat it, and body creams guarantee old age with fewer wrinkles. Life is quite simply a matter of cruising along in your own little boat through a constantly changing but never-ending stream of promises. And how many do we remember? We forget the ones we would like to remember, and we remember the ones we’d prefer to forget.
Henning Mankell (Italian Shoes)
If you follow the crowd, you will likely get no further than the crowd. If you walk alone, you're likely to end up in places no one has ever been before. Being an achiever is not without its difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt. The unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they'll simply say it was obvious to everyone all along. You have two choices in life. You can dissolve into the main stream, or you can choose to become an achiever and be distinct. To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no else but you can be.
Alan Ashley-Pitt
Children are our crop, our fields, our earth. They are birds let loose into darkness. They are errors renewed. Still, they are the only source from which may be drawn a life more successful, more knowing than our own. Somehow they will do one thing, take one step further, they will see the summit. We believe in it, the radiance that streams from the future, from days we will not see. Children must live, must triumph. Children must die; that is an idea we cannot accept.
James Salter (Light Years)
Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900. To You WHOEVER you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams, I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands; Even now, your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you, Your true Soul and Body appear before me, They stand forth out of affairs—out of commerce, shops, law, science, work, forms, clothes, the house, medicine, print, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying. Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem; I whisper with my lips close to your ear, I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you. O I have been dilatory and dumb; I should have made my way straight to you long ago; I should have blabb’d nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing but you. I will leave all, and come and make the hymns of you; None have understood you, but I understand you; None have done justice to you—you have not done justice to yourself; None but have found you imperfect—I only find no imperfection in you; None but would subordinate you—I only am he who will never consent to subordinate you; I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself. Painters have painted their swarming groups, and the centre figure of all; From the head of the centre figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color’d light; But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus of gold-color’d light; From my hand, from the brain of every man and woman it streams, effulgently flowing forever. O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you! You have not known what you are—you have slumber’d upon yourself all your life; Your eye-lids have been the same as closed most of the time; What you have done returns already in mockeries; (Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return?) The mockeries are not you; Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk; I pursue you where none else has pursued you; Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the accustom’d routine, if these conceal you from others, or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me; The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these balk others, they do not balk me, The pert apparel, the deform’d attitude, drunkenness, greed, premature death, all these I part aside. There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you; There is no virtue, no beauty, in man or woman, but as good is in you; No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you; No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you. As for me, I give nothing to any one, except I give the like carefully to you; I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing the songs of the glory of you. Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard! These shows of the east and west are tame, compared to you; These immense meadows—these interminable rivers—you are immense and interminable as they; These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent dissolution—you are he or she who is master or mistress over them, Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain, passion, dissolution. The hopples fall from your ankles—you find an unfailing sufficiency; Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, whatever you are promulges itself; Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing is scanted; Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you are picks its way.
Walt Whitman
Poverty is not caused by men and women getting married; it's not caused by machinery; it's not caused by "over-production"; it's not caused by drink or laziness; and it's not caused by "over-population". It's caused by Private Monopoly. That is the present system. They have monopolized everything that it is possible to monopolize; they have got the whole earth, the minerals in the earth and the streams that water the earth. The only reason they have not monopolized the daylight and the air is that it is not possible to do it. If it were possible to construct huge gasometers and to draw together and compress within them the whole of the atmosphere, it would have been done long ago, and we should have been compelled to work for them in order to get money to buy air to breathe. And if that seemingly impossible thing were accomplished tomorrow, you would see thousands of people dying for want of air - or of the money to buy it - even as now thousands are dying for want of the other necessities of life. You would see people going about gasping for breath, and telling each other that the likes of them could not expect to have air to breathe unless the had the money to pay for it. Most of you here, for instance, would think and say so. Even as you think at present that it's right for so few people to own the Earth, the Minerals and the Water, which are all just as necessary as is the air. In exactly the same spirit as you now say: "It's Their Land," "It's Their Water," "It's Their Coal," "It's Their Iron," so you would say "It's Their Air," "These are their gasometers, and what right have the likes of us to expect them to allow us to breathe for nothing?" And even while he is doing this the air monopolist will be preaching sermons on the Brotherhood of Man; he will be dispensing advice on "Christian Duty" in the Sunday magazines; he will give utterance to numerous more or less moral maxims for the guidance of the young. And meantime, all around, people will be dying for want of some of the air that he will have bottled up in his gasometers. And when you are all dragging out a miserable existence, gasping for breath or dying for want of air, if one of your number suggests smashing a hole in the side of one of th gasometers, you will all fall upon him in the name of law and order, and after doing your best to tear him limb from limb, you'll drag him, covered with blood, in triumph to the nearest Police Station and deliver him up to "justice" in the hope of being given a few half-pounds of air for your trouble.
Robert Tressell (The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists)
Life is a stream On which we strew Petal by petal the flower of our heart; The end lost in dream, They float past our view, We only watch their glad, early start. Freighted with hope, Crimsoned with joy, We scatter the leaves of our opening rose; Their widening scope, Their distant employ, We never shall know. And the stream as it flows Sweeps them away, Each one is gone Ever beyond into infinite ways. We alone stay While years hurry on, The flower fared forth, though its fragrance still stays.
Amy Lowell
Beauty means this to one person, perhaps, and that to another. And yet when any one of us has seen or heard or read that which to him is beautiful, he has known an emotion which is in every case the same in kind, if not in degree; an emotion precious and uplifting. A choirboy's voice, a ship in sail, an opening flower, a town at night, the song of the blackbird, a lovely poem, leaf shadows, a child's grace, the starry skies, a cathedral, apple trees in spring, a thorough-bred horse, sheep-bells on a hill, a rippling stream, a butterfly, the crescent moon -- the thousand sights or sounds or words that evoke in us the thought of beauty -- these are the drops of rain that keep the human spirit from death by drought. They are a stealing and a silent refreshment that we perhaps do not think about but which goes on all the time....It would surprise any of us if we realized how much store we unconsciously set by beauty, and how little savour there would be left in life if it were withdrawn. It is the smile on the earth's face, open to all, and needs but the eyes to see, the mood to understand.
John Galsworthy
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. 3 What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? 4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. 7 All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. 8 All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
Anonymous (The Holy Bible: King James Version)
What am I in this instant? I’m a typewriter making the dry echo in the dark, humid dawn. I haven’t been human for a long time. They wanted me to be an object. I am an object. An object dirty with blood. An object that creates other objects and the machine creates us all. It makes demands. Mechanisms make endless demands on my life. But I don’t totally obey: if I have to be an object, let me be an object that screams. There’s something inside of me that hurts. Oh, how it hurts and how it screams for help. But tears aren’t there in the machine that is me. I’m an object without a destiny. I’m an object in whose hands? such is my human destiny. What saves me is the scream. I protest in the name of what’s inside the object behind the behind of the thought-feeling. I’m an urgent object.
Clarice Lispector (The Stream of Life)
Evening prayer I spend my life sitting, like an angel in a barber's chair, Holding a beer mug with deep-cut designs, My neck and gut both bent, while in the air A weightless veil of pipe smoke hangs. Like steaming dung within an old dovecote A thousand Dreams within me softly burn: From time to time my heart is like some oak Whose blood runs golden where a branch is torn. And then, when I have swallowed down my Dreams In thirty, forty mugs of beer, I turn To satisfy a need I can't ignore, And like the Lord of Hyssop and of Myrrh I piss into the skies, a soaring stream That consecrates a patch of flowering fern.
Arthur Rimbaud (Complete Works)
Pursuing happiness, and I did, and I still do, is not at all the same as being happy--which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstances...If the sun is shining, stand in it---yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass--they have to because time passes. The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is life-long, and it is not goal-centered. What you are pursuing is meaning--- a meaningful life. There's the hap-- the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn't fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use---that's going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realise that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms. The pursuit isn't all or nothing--- it's all AND nothing.
Jeanette Winterson
In North Carolina, I stopped to gas up at a Humble Oil station, then walked around the corner to use the toilet. There were two doors and three signs. MEN was neatly stenciled over one door, LADIES over the other. The third sign was an arrow on a stick. It pointed toward the brush-covered slope behind the station. It said COLORED. Curious, I walked down the path, being careful to sidle at a couple of points where the oily, green-shading-to-maroon leaves of poison ivy were unmistakable... There was no facility. What I found at the end of the path was a narrow stream with a board laid across it on a couple of crumbling concrete posts... If I ever give you the idea that 1958's all Andy-n-Opie, remember the path, okay? The one lined with poison ivy. And the board over the stream.
Stephen King (11/22/63)
Nancy waded out to her own rocks and searched her own pools and let that couple look after themselves. She crouched low down and touched the smooth rubber-like sea anemones, who were stuck like lumps of jelly to the side of the rock. Brooding, she changed the pool into the sea, and made the minnows into sharks and whales, and cast vast clouds over this tiny world by holding her hand against the sun, and so brought darkness and desolation, like God himself, to millions of ignorant and innocent creatures, and then took her hand away suddenly and let the sun stream down. Out on the pale criss-crossed sand, high-stepping, fringed, gauntleted, stalked some fantastic leviathan (she was still enlarging the pool), and slipped into the vast fissures of the mountain side. And then, letting her eyes slide imperceptibly above the pool and rest on that wavering line of sea and sky, on the tree trunks which the smoke of steamers made waver on the horizon, she became with all that power sweeping savagely in and inevitably withdrawing, hypnotised, and the two senses of that vastness and this tininess (the pool had diminished again) flowering within it made her feel that she was bound hand and foot and unable to move by the intensity of feelings which reduced her own body, her own life, and the lives of all the people in the world, for ever, to nothingness. So listening to the waves, crouching over the pool, she brooded.
Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse)
I was born in a country of brooks and rivers, in a corner of Champagne, called Le Vallage for the great number of its valleys. The most beautiful of its places for me was the hollow of a valley by the side of fresh water, in the shade of willows...My pleasure still is to follow the stream, to walk along its banks in the right direction, in the direction of the flowing water, the water that leads life towards the next village...Dreaming beside the river, I gave my imagination to the water, the green, clear water, the water that makes the meadows green. ...The stream doesn’t have to be ours; the water doesn’t have to be ours. The anonymous water knows all my secrets. And the same memory issues from every spring.
Gaston Bachelard (Water and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter (The Bachelard Translations))
Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts – between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader. But if we turn from that Mississippi of strife, hot with hate and dark with blood, to look upon the banks of the stream, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: women rearing children, men building homes, peasants drawing food from the soil, artisans making the conveniences of life, statesmen sometimes organizing peace instead of war, teachers forming savages into citizens, musicians taming our hearts with harmony and rhythm, scientists patiently accumulating knowledge, philosophers groping for truth, saints suggesting the wisdom of love. History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks.
Will Durant
He stopped walking when we reached his truck, looked from the ground to my lips and then he took a step closer to me, pushing me until my back was up against the cold wet truck. He reached up and cupped my face. "I'm done trying to stay away," he sighed then continued. "I can't do it anymore. I need you like my life depends on it." The rain was streaming down on us but right now, I did not care. "I just need you." He gently pulled my head to him and whispered, "I am going to kiss you now.
Megan Smith (Trying Not to Love You (Love, #1))
Music is a complete evocation – like a smell. It can bring an entire memory and feeling back to you in a rush. Much more complete than even a photograph. You allow yourself a certain visual distance with photos – not music. It envelopes you – there’s no way to escape it. It’s a great test of sensitivity – the degree of reaction to music. I use it all the time. I call it my ‘Music Test.’ People today don’t want to hear the truth. They’re really afraid of tranquility and silence – they’re afraid they might begin to understand their own motivations too well. They keep a steady stream of noise going to protect themselves, to build a wall against the truth. Like African natives, beating on their drums, rattling their gourds, shaking the bells to scare off evil spirits. As long as there’s enough noise, there’s nothing to fear – or hear. But they will listen. Times are changing.
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey)
I wish I could explain how I feel, but nothing can explain this moment. Not a vase of stars. Not a book. Not a song. Not even a poem. Nothing can explain the moment when the woman you would give your life for sees her daughter for the very first time. Tears are streaming down her face. She’s stroking our baby girl’s cheek, smiling. Crying. Laughing. “I don’t want to count her fingers or toes,” Lake whispers. “I don’t care if she has two toes or three fingers or fifty feet. I love her so much, Will. She’s perfect.” She is perfect. So perfect. “Just like her mom,” I say. I lean my head against Lake’s and we just stare. We stare at the daughter who is so much more than I could have asked for. The daughter who is so much more than I dreamt of. So much more than I ever thought I would have. This girl. This baby girl is my life. Her mother is my life. These girls are both my life. I reach down and pick up her hand. Her tiny fingers reflexively wrap around my pinky and I can’t choke back my tears any longer. “Hey, Julia. It’s me. It’s your daddy.
Colleen Hoover (This Girl (Slammed, #3))
I was already at one remove before the Internet came along. I need another remove? Now I have to spend the time that I'm not doing the thing they're doing reading about them doing it? Streaming the clips of them doing it, commenting on how lucky they are to be doing all those things, liking and digging and bookmarking and posting and tweeting all those things, and feeling more disconnected than ever? Where does this idea of greater connection come from? I've never in my life felt more disconnected. It's like how the rich get richer. The connected get more connected while the disconnected get more disconnected. No thanks man, I can't do it. The world was a sufficient trial, Betsy, before Facebook.
Joshua Ferris (To Rise Again at a Decent Hour)
I’d felt this before, when my granddad was in the hospital before he died. We all camped out in the waiting room, eating our meals together, most of us sleeping in the chairs every night. Family from far-flung places would arrive at odd hours and we’d all stand and stretch, hug, get reacquainted, and pass the babies around. A faint, pale stream of beauty and joy flowed through the heavy sludge of fear and grief. It was kind of like those puddles of oil you see in parking lots that look ugly until the sun hits them and you see rainbows pulling together in the middle of the mess. And wasn’t that just how life usually felt—a confusing swirl of ugly and rainbow?
Laura Anderson Kurk (Perfect Glass)
How could you tell how much of it was lies? It might be true that the average human being was better off now than before the Revolution. The only evidence to the contrary was the mute protest in your own bones, the instinctive feeling that the conditions you lived in were intolerable and that at some other time they must have been different. It struck him that the truly characteristic thing about modern life was not its cruelty and insecurity, but simply its bareness, its dinginess, its listlessness. Life, if you looked about you, bore no resemblance not only to the lies that streamed out of the telescreens, but even to the ideals that the Party was trying to achieve. Great areas of it, even for a party member, were neutral and nonpolitical, a matter of slogging through dreary jobs, fighting for a place on the Tube, darning a worn-out sock, cadging a saccharine tablet, saving a cigarette end. The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering--a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons--a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting--three hundred million people all with the same face.
George Orwell (1984)
A bay is a noun only if water is dead. When bay is a noun, it is defined by humans, trapped between its shores and contained by the word. But the verb wiikwegamaa—to be a bay—releases the water from bondage and lets it live. “To be a bay” holds the wonder that, for this moment, the living water has decided to shelter itself between these shores, conversing with cedar roots and a flock of baby mergansers. Because it could do otherwise—become a stream or an ocean or a waterfall, and there are verbs for that, too. To be a hill, to be a sandy beach, to be a Saturday, all are possible verbs in a world where everything is alive. Water, land, and even a day, the language a mirror for seeing the animacy of the world, the life that pulses through all things, through pines and nuthatches and mushrooms. This is the language I hear in the woods; this is the language that lets us speak of what wells up all around us.[…] This is the grammar of animacy.
Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants)
It was my teacher's genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me. She realized that a child's mind is like a shallow brook which ripples and dances merrily over the stony course of its education and reflects here a flower, there a bush, yonder a fleecy cloud; and she attempted to guide my mind on its way, knowing that like a brook it should be fed by mountain streams and hidden springs, until it broadened out into a deep river, capable of reflecting in its placid surface, billowy hills, the luminous shadows of trees and the blue heavens, as well as the sweet face of a little flower. Any teacher can take a child to the classroom, but not every teacher can make him learn. He will not work joyously unless he feels that liberty is his, whether he is busy or at rest; he must feel the flush of victory and the heart-sinking of disappointment before he takes with a will the tasks distasteful to him and resolves to dance his way bravely through a dull routine of textbooks. My teacher is so near to me that I scarcely think of myself apart from her. How much of my delight in all beautiful things is innate, and how much is due to her influence, I can never tell. I feel that her being is inseparable from my own, and that the footsteps of my life are in hers. All the best of me belongs to her--there is not a talent, or an aspiration or a joy in me that has not been awakened by her loving touch.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life: With Her Letters (1887 1901) and a Supplementary Account of Her Education Including Passages from the Reports and Letters of Her Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan by John Albert Macy)
Subhuti, someone might fill innumerable worlds with the seven treasures and give all away in gifts of alms, but if any good man or any good woman awakens the thought of Enlightenment and takes even only four lines from this Discourse, reciting, using, receiving, retaining and spreading them abroad and explaining them for the benefit of others, it will be far more meritorious. Now in what manner may he explain them to others? By detachment from appearances-abiding in Real Truth. -So I tell you- Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream; A flash of lightening in a summer cloud, A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream. When Buddha finished this Discourse the venerable Subhuti, together with the bhikshus, bhikshunis, lay-brothers and sisters, and the whole realms of Gods, Men and Titans, were filled with joy by His teaching, and, taking it sincerely to heart they went their ways.
Gautama Buddha (Diamond Sutra)
The time of a man's life is as a point; the substance of it ever flowing, the sense obscure; and the whole composition of the body tending to corruption. His soul is restless, fortune uncertain, and fame doubtful; to be brief, as a stream so are all things belonging to the body; as a dream, or as a smoke, so are all that belong unto the soul. Our life is a warfare, and a mere pilgrimage. Fame after life is no better than oblivion. What is it then that will adhere and follow? Only one thing, philosophy. And philosophy doth consist in this, for a man to preserve that spirit which is within him, from all manner of contumelies and injuries, and above all pains or pleasures; never to do anything either rashly, or feignedly, or hypocritically: only to depend from himself, and his own proper actions: all things that happen unto him to embrace contentendly, as coming from Him from whom he himself also came; and above all things, with all meekness and a calm cheerfulness, to expect death, as being nothing else but the resolution of those elements, of which every creature is composed. And if the elements themselves suffer nothing by their perpetual conversion of one into another, that dissolution, and alteration, which is so common unto all, why should it be feared by any? Is not this according to nature? But nothing that is according to nature can be evil.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
It's your duty to use what influence you have, unless you want to drift through life like a fish belly-up on the stream" "I wish I could believe that life really is something more than a stream that carries us along, belly-up" "Alright, if it's a stream, you're still free to be in this part of it or that part, aren't you? The water will divide again and again. If you bump, and tussle, and fight, and make use of whatever advantages you might have-" "Oh, that's fine, I'm sure, when you have advantages." "You'd find them everywhere, if you ever bothered to look!
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
THOU wast all that to me, love, For which my soul did pine: A green isle in the sea, love, A fountain and a shrine All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers, And all the flowers were mine. Ah, dream too bright to last! Ah, starry Hope, that didst arise But to be overcast! A voice from out the Future cries, "On! on!"—but o'er the Past (Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies Mute, motionless, aghast. For, alas! alas! with me The light of Life is o'er! No more—no more—no more— (Such language holds the solemn sea To the sands upon the shore) Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree, Or the stricken eagle soar. And all my days are trances, And all my nightly dreams Are where thy gray eye glances, And where thy footstep gleams— In what ethereal dances, By what eternal streams.
Edgar Allan Poe
The Trial By Existence Even the bravest that are slain Shall not dissemble their surprise On waking to find valor reign, Even as on earth, in paradise; And where they sought without the sword Wide fields of asphodel fore’er, To find that the utmost reward Of daring should be still to dare. The light of heaven falls whole and white And is not shattered into dyes, The light for ever is morning light; The hills are verdured pasture-wise; The angel hosts with freshness go, And seek with laughter what to brave;— And binding all is the hushed snow Of the far-distant breaking wave. And from a cliff-top is proclaimed The gathering of the souls for birth, The trial by existence named, The obscuration upon earth. And the slant spirits trooping by In streams and cross- and counter-streams Can but give ear to that sweet cry For its suggestion of what dreams! And the more loitering are turned To view once more the sacrifice Of those who for some good discerned Will gladly give up paradise. And a white shimmering concourse rolls Toward the throne to witness there The speeding of devoted souls Which God makes his especial care. And none are taken but who will, Having first heard the life read out That opens earthward, good and ill, Beyond the shadow of a doubt; And very beautifully God limns, And tenderly, life’s little dream, But naught extenuates or dims, Setting the thing that is supreme. Nor is there wanting in the press Some spirit to stand simply forth, Heroic in its nakedness, Against the uttermost of earth. The tale of earth’s unhonored things Sounds nobler there than ’neath the sun; And the mind whirls and the heart sings, And a shout greets the daring one. But always God speaks at the end: ’One thought in agony of strife The bravest would have by for friend, The memory that he chose the life; But the pure fate to which you go Admits no memory of choice, Or the woe were not earthly woe To which you give the assenting voice.’ And so the choice must be again, But the last choice is still the same; And the awe passes wonder then, And a hush falls for all acclaim. And God has taken a flower of gold And broken it, and used therefrom The mystic link to bind and hold Spirit to matter till death come. ‘Tis of the essence of life here, Though we choose greatly, still to lack The lasting memory at all clear, That life has for us on the wrack Nothing but what we somehow chose; Thus are we wholly stripped of pride In the pain that has but one close, Bearing it crushed and mystified.
Robert Frost
Everything is change. Nothing can be held on to. And if you go with the flux, you flow with it. However, if you resist the stream, it fights you. If you realize this, you swim with the flow—you go with it, and you’re at peace. This is particularly true when it comes to those moments when life really seems to be taking us away, and the stream of change is going to swallow us completely. And so at the moment of death, we withdraw and say, “No, no, no! Not that! Not yet!” But the whole problem is that we don’t realize that the only thing to do when that moment comes is to go over the waterfall—just as you go on from one day to the next, just as you go to sleep at night. When the moment comes, we should be absolutely willing to die.
Alan W. Watts (Out of Your Mind: Tricksters, Interdependence, and the Cosmic Game of Hide and Seek)
It is too late! Ah, nothing is too late Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate. Cato learned Greek at eighty; Sophocles Wrote his grand Oedipus, and Simonides Bore off the prize of verse from his compeers, When each had numbered more than fourscore years, And Theophrastus, at fourscore and ten, Had but begun his Characters of Men. Chaucer, at Woodstock with the nightingales, At sixty wrote the Canterbury Tales; Goethe at Weimar, toiling to the last, Completed Faust when eighty years were past, These are indeed exceptions; but they show How far the gulf-stream of our youth may flow Into the arctic regions of our lives. Where little else than life itself survives.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
Row, row, row your boat Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream. I lie in bed beside my little sister, listening to the singing in the yard. Life is transformed, by these voices, by these presences, by their high spirits and grand esteem, for themselves and each other. My parents, all of us, are on holiday. The mixture of voices and words is so complicated and varied it seems that such confusion, such jolly rivalry, will go on forever, and then to my surprise—for I am surprised, even though I know the pattern of rounds—the song is thinning out, you can hear the two voices striving. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream. Then the one voice alone, one of them singing on, gamely, to the finish. One voice in which there is an unexpected note of entreaty, of warning, as it hangs the five separate words on the air. Life is. Wait. But a. Now, wait. Dream.
Alice Munro (The Moons of Jupiter)
Listen to me," Jordan begged urgently, somehow convinced that she would stay alive if she understood how much she meant to him. "Listen to what my life was like before you hurtled into it wearing that suit of armor— Life was empty. Colorless. And then you happened to me, and suddenly I felt feelings I never believed existed, and I saw things I'd never seen before. You don't believe that, do you, darling? But it's true, and I can prove it." His deep voice ragged with unshed tears, Jordan recited his proof: "The flowers in the meadow are blue," he told her brokenly. "The ones by the stream are white. And on the arch, by the arbor, the roses are red." Lifting her hand to his face, he rubbed his cheek against it. "And that's not all I noticed. I noticed that the clearing by the pavilion—the one where my plaque is—looks like the very same one where we had our duel a year ago. Oh, and darling, there's something else I have to tell you: I love you, Alexandra." Tears choked his voice and made it a tormented whisper. "I love you, and if you die I'll never be able to tell you that.
Judith McNaught (Something Wonderful (Sequels, #2))
Ever since childhood Yurii Andreievich had been fond of woods seen at evening against the setting sun. At such moments he felt as if he too were being pierced by shafts of light. It was as though the gift of the living spirit were streaming into his breast, piercing his being and coming out at his shoulders like a pair of wings. The archetype that is formed in every child for life and seems for ever after to be his inward face, his personality, awoke in him in its full primordial strength, and compelled nature, the forest, the afterglow, and everything else visible to be transfigured into a similarly primordial and all-embracing likeness of a girl. Closing his eyes, "Lara," he whispered and thought, addressing the whole of his life, all God's earth, all the sunlit space spread out before him.
Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago)
Even the wolf has two, and more than two, souls in his wolf's breast, and he who desires to be a wolf falls into the same forgetfulness as the man who sings: "If I could be a child once more!" He who sentimentally sings of blessed childhood is thinking of the return to nature and innocence and the origin of things, and has quite forgotten that these blessed children are beset with conflict and complexities and capable of all suffering. There is, in fact, no way back either to the wolf or to the child. From the very start there is no innocence and no singleness. Every created thing, even the simplest, is already guilty, already multiple. It has been thrown into the muddy stream of being and may never more swim back again to its source. The way to innocence, to the uncreated and to God leads on, not back, not back to the wolf or to the child, but ever further into sin, ever deeper into human life. Nor will suicide really solve your problem, unhappy Steppenwolf. You will, instead, embark on the longer and wearier and harder road of life. You will have to multiply many times your two-fold being and complicate your complexities still further. Instead of narrowing your world and simplifying your soul, you will have to absorb more and more of the world and at last take all of it up in your painfully expanded soul, if you are ever to find peace.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
Before the Law stands a doorkeeper on guard. To this doorkeeper there comes a man from the country who begs for admittance to the Law. But the doorkeeper says that he cannot admit the man at the moment. The man, on reflection, asks if he will be allowed, then, to enter later. 'It is possible,' answers the doorkeeper, 'but not at this moment.' Since the door leading into the Law stands open as usual and the doorkeeper steps to one side, the man bends down to peer through the entrance. When the doorkeeper sees that, he laughs and says: 'If you are so strongly tempted, try to get in without my permission. But note that I am powerful. And I am only the lowest doorkeeper. From hall to hall keepers stand at every door, one more powerful than the other. Even the third of these has an aspect that even I cannot bear to look at.' These are difficulties which the man from the country has not expected to meet, the Law, he thinks, should be accessible to every man and at all times, but when he looks more closely at the doorkeeper in his furred robe, with his huge pointed nose and long, thin, Tartar beard, he decides that he had better wait until he gets permission to enter. The doorkeeper gives him a stool and lets him sit down at the side of the door. There he sits waiting for days and years. He makes many attempts to be allowed in and wearies the doorkeeper with his importunity. The doorkeeper often engages him in brief conversation, asking him about his home and about other matters, but the questions are put quite impersonally, as great men put questions, and always conclude with the statement that the man cannot be allowed to enter yet. The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, parts with all he has, however valuable, in the hope of bribing the doorkeeper. The doorkeeper accepts it all, saying, however, as he takes each gift: 'I take this only to keep you from feeling that you have left something undone.' During all these long years the man watches the doorkeeper almost incessantly. He forgets about the other doorkeepers, and this one seems to him the only barrier between himself and the Law. In the first years he curses his evil fate aloud; later, as he grows old, he only mutters to himself. He grows childish, and since in his prolonged watch he has learned to know even the fleas in the doorkeeper's fur collar, he begs the very fleas to help him and to persuade the doorkeeper to change his mind. Finally his eyes grow dim and he does not know whether the world is really darkening around him or whether his eyes are only deceiving him. But in the darkness he can now perceive a radiance that streams immortally from the door of the Law. Now his life is drawing to a close. Before he dies, all that he has experienced during the whole time of his sojourn condenses in his mind into one question, which he has never yet put to the doorkeeper. He beckons the doorkeeper, since he can no longer raise his stiffening body. The doorkeeper has to bend far down to hear him, for the difference in size between them has increased very much to the man's disadvantage. 'What do you want to know now?' asks the doorkeeper, 'you are insatiable.' 'Everyone strives to attain the Law,' answers the man, 'how does it come about, then, that in all these years no one has come seeking admittance but me?' The doorkeeper perceives that the man is at the end of his strength and that his hearing is failing, so he bellows in his ear: 'No one but you could gain admittance through this door, since this door was intended only for you. I am now going to shut it.
Franz Kafka (The Trial)
Liberty On my notebooks from school On my desk and the trees On the sand, on the snow I write your name On every page read On all the white sheets Stone blood paper or ash I write your name On the golden images On the soldier’s weapons On the crowns of kings I write your name On the jungle, the desert The nests and the bushes On the echo of childhood I write your name On the wonder of nights On the white bread of days On the seasons engaged I write your name On all my blue rags On the pond mildewed sun On the lake living moon I write your name On the fields, the horizon The wings of the birds On the windmill of shadows I write your name On the foam of the clouds On the sweat of the storm On dark insipid rain I write your name On the glittering forms On the bells of colour On physical truth I write your name On the wakened paths On the opened ways On the scattered places I write your name On the lamp that gives light On the lamp that is drowned On my house reunited I write your name On the bisected fruit Of my mirror and room On my bed’s empty shell I write your name On my dog greedy tender On his listening ears On his awkward paws I write your name On the sill of my door On familiar things On the fire’s sacred stream I write your name On all flesh that’s in tune On the brows of my friends On each hand that extends I write your name On the glass of surprises On lips that attend High over the silence I write your name On my ravaged refuges On my fallen lighthouses On the walls of my boredom I write your name On passionless absence On naked solitude On the marches of death I write your name On health that’s regained On danger that’s past On hope without memories I write your name By the power of the word I regain my life I was born to know you And to name you LIBERTY
Paul Éluard
We read the pagan sacred books with profit and delight. With myth and fable we are ever charmed, and find a pleasure in the endless repetition of the beautiful, poetic, and absurd. We find, in all these records of the past, philosophies and dreams, and efforts stained with tears, of great and tender souls who tried to pierce the mystery of life and death, to answer the eternal questions of the Whence and Whither, and vainly sought to make, with bits of shattered glass, a mirror that would, in very truth, reflect the face and form of Nature's perfect self. These myths were born of hopes, and fears, and tears, and smiles, and they were touched and colored by all there is of joy and grief between the rosy dawn of birth, and death's sad night. They clothed even the stars with passion, and gave to gods the faults and frailties of the sons of men. In them, the winds and waves were music, and all the lakes, and streams, and springs,—the mountains, woods and perfumed dells were haunted by a thousand fairy forms. They thrilled the veins of Spring with tremulous desire; made tawny Summer's billowed breast the throne and home of love; filled Autumns arms with sun-kissed grapes, and gathered sheaves; and pictured Winter as a weak old king who felt, like Lear upon his withered face, Cordelia's tears. These myths, though false, are beautiful, and have for many ages and in countless ways, enriched the heart and kindled thought. But if the world were taught that all these things are true and all inspired of God, and that eternal punishment will be the lot of him who dares deny or doubt, the sweetest myth of all the Fable World would lose its beauty, and become a scorned and hateful thing to every brave and thoughtful man.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
The cases described in this section (The Fear of Being) may seem extreme, but I have become convinced that they are not as uncommon as one would think. Beneath the seemingly rational exterior of our lives is a fear of insanity. We dare not question the values by which we live or rebel against the roles we play for fear of putting our sanity into doubt. We are like the inmates of a mental institution who must accept its inhumanity and insensitivity as caring and knowledgeableness if they hope to be regarded as sane enough to leave. The question who is sane and who is crazy was the theme of the novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. The question, what is sanity? was clearly asked in the play Equus. The idea that much of what we do is insane and that if we want to be sane, we must let ourselves go crazy has been strongly advanced by R.D. Laing. In the preface to the Pelican edition of his book The Divided Self, Laing writes: "In the context of our present pervasive madness that we call normality, sanity, freedom, all of our frames of reference are ambiguous and equivocal." And in the same preface: "Thus I would wish to emphasize that our 'normal' 'adjusted' state is too often the abdication of ecstasy, the betrayal of our true potentialities; that many of us are only too successful in acquiring a false self to adapt to false realities." Wilhelm Reich had a somewhat similar view of present-day human behavior. Thus Reich says, "Homo normalis blocks off entirely the perception of basic orgonotic functioning by means of rigid armoring; in the schizophrenic, on the other hand, the armoring practically breaks down and thus the biosystem is flooded with deep experiences from the biophysical core with which it cannot cope." The "deep experiences" to which Reich refers are the pleasurable streaming sensations associated with intense excitation that is mainly sexual in nature. The schizophrenic cannot cope with these sensations because his body is too contracted to tolerate the charge. Unable to "block" the excitation or reduce it as a neurotic can, and unable to "stand" the charge, the schizophrenic is literally "driven crazy." But the neurotic does not escape so easily either. He avoids insanity by blocking the excitation, that is, by reducing it to a point where there is no danger of explosion, or bursting. In effect the neurotic undergoes a psychological castration. However, the potential for explosive release is still present in his body, although it is rigidly guarded as if it were a bomb. The neurotic is on guard against himself, terrified to let go of his defenses and allow his feelings free expression. Having become, as Reich calls him, "homo normalis," having bartered his freedom and ecstasy for the security of being "well adjusted," he sees the alternative as "crazy." And in a sense he is right. Without going "crazy," without becoming "mad," so mad that he could kill, it is impossible to give up the defenses that protect him in the same way that a mental institution protects its inmates from self-destruction and the destruction of others.
Alexander Lowen (Fear of Life)
i g l o o his name was Eddie and he had a big white dog with a curly tail a huskie like one of those that pulled sleighs up near the north pole Igloo he called him and Eddie had a bow and arrow and every week or two he'd send an arrow into the dog's side then run into his mother's house through the yelping saying that Igloo had fallen on the arrow. that dog took quite a few arrows and managed to survive but I saw what really happened and didn't like Eddie very much. so when I broke Eddie's leg in a sandlot football game that was my way of getting even for Igloo. his parents threatened to sue my parents claiming I did it on purpose because that's what Eddie told them. well, nobody had any money anyhow and when Eddie's father got a job in San Diego they moved away and left the dog. we took him in. Igloo turned out to be rather dumb did not respond to very much had no life or joy in him just stuck out his tongue panted slept most of the time when he wasn't eating and although he wiped his ass up and down the lawn after defecating he usually had a large fragrant smear of brown under his tail when he was run over by an icecream truck 3 or 4 months later and died in a stream of scarlet I didn't feel more than the usual amount of grief and loss and I was still glad that I had managed to break Eddie's leg.
Charles Bukowski
The dream was gone. Something had been taken from him. In a sort of panic he pushed the palms of his hands into his eyes and tried to bring up a picture of the waters lapping on Sherry Island and the moonlit veranda, and gingham on the golf-links and the dry sun and the gold color of her neck's soft down. And her mouth damp to his kisses and her eyes plaintive with melancholy and her freshness like new fine linen in the morning. Why, these things were no longer in the world! They had existed and they existed no longer. For the first time in years the tears were streaming down his face. But they were for himself now. He did not care about mouth and eyes and moving hands. He wanted to care, and he could not care. For he had gone away and he could never go back any more. The gates were closed, the sun was gone down, and there was no beauty but the gray beauty of steel that withstands all time. Even the grief he could have borne was left behind in the country of illusion, of youth, of the richness of life, where his winter dreams had flourished. “Long ago,” he said, “long ago, there was something in me, but now that thing is gone. Now that thing is gone, that thing is gone. I cannot cry. I cannot care. That thing will come back no more.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (Winter Dreams)
My friend, still seemingly perplexed, asked me "So if it's not about genitals, what is it about trans women's bodies that you find so attractive?" I paused for a second to consider the question. Then I replied that it is almost always their eyes. When I look into them, I see both endless strength and inconsolable sadness. I see someone who has overcome humiliation and abuses that would flatten the average person. I see a woman who was made to feel shame for her desires and yet had the courage to pursue them anyway. I see a woman who was forced against her will into boyhood, who held on to a dream that everybody in her life desperately tried to beat out of her, who refused to listen to the endless stream of people who told her that who she was and what she wanted was impossible. When I look into a trans woman's eyes, I see a profound appreciation for how fucking empowering it can be to be female, an appreciation that seems lost on many cissexual women who sadly take their female identities and anatomies for granted, or who perpetually seek to cast themselves as victims rather than instigators. In trans women's eyes, I see a wisdom that can only come from having to fight for your right to be recognised as female, a raw strength that only comes from unabashedly asserting your right to be feminine in an inhospitable world. In a trans woman's eyes, I see someone who understands that, in a culture that's seemingly fuelled on male homophobic hysteria, choosing to be female and openly expressing one's femininity is not a sign of frivolousness, weakness or passivity, it is a fucking badge of courage. Everybody loves to say that drag queens are "fabulous", but nobody seems to get the fact that trans women are fucking badass!
Julia Serano (Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity)
Suppose after all that death does end all. Next to eternal joy, next to being forever with those we love and those who have loved us, next to that, is to be wrapt in the dreamless drapery of eternal peace. Next to eternal life is eternal sleep. Upon the shadowy shore of death the sea of trouble casts no wave. Eyes that have been curtained by the everlasting dark, will never know again the burning touch of tears. Lips touched by eternal silence will never speak again the broken words of grief. Hearts of dust do not break. The dead do not weep. Within the tomb no veiled and weeping sorrow sits, and in the rayless gloom is crouched no shuddering fear. I had rather think of those I have loved, and lost, as having returned to earth, as having become a part of the elemental wealth of the world – I would rather think of them as unconscious dust, I would rather dream of them as gurgling in the streams, floating in the clouds, bursting in the foam of light upon the shores of worlds, I would rather think of them as the lost visions of a forgotten night, than to have even the faintest fear that their naked souls have been clutched by an orthodox god. I will leave my dead where nature leaves them. Whatever flower of hope springs up in my heart I will cherish, I will give it breath of sighs and rain of tears. But I cannot believe that there is any being in this universe who has created a human soul for eternal pain. I would rather that every god would destroy himself; I would rather that we all should go to eternal chaos, to black and starless night, than that just one soul should suffer eternal agony. I have made up my mind that if there is a God, he will be merciful to the merciful. Upon that rock I stand. – That he will not torture the forgiving. – Upon that rock I stand. – That every man should be true to himself, and that there is no world, no star, in which honesty is a crime. Upon that rock I stand. The honest man, the good woman, the happy child, have nothing to fear, either in this world or the world to come. Upon that rock I stand.
Robert G. Ingersoll
That maybe I’m the answer,’ I blurted. ‘To healing your heart. I could … you know, be your boyfriend. As Lester. If you wanted. You and me. You know, like … yeah.’ I was absolutely certain that up on Mount Olympus, the other Olympians all had their phones out and were filming me to post on Euterpe-Tube. Reyna stared at me long enough for the marching band in my circulatory system to play a complete stanza of ‘You’re a Grand Old Flag’. Her eyes were dark and dangerous. Her expression was unreadable, like the outer surface of an explosive device. She was going to murder me. No. She would order her dogs to murder me. By the time Meg rushed to my aid, it would be too late. Or worse – Meg would help Reyna bury my remains, and no one would be the wiser. When they returned to camp, the Romans would ask, What happened to Apollo? Who? Reyna would say. Oh, that guy? Dunno, we lost him. Oh, well! the Romans would reply, and that would be that. Reyna’s mouth tightened into a grimace. She bent over, gripping her knees. Her body began to shake. Oh, gods, what had I done? Perhaps I should comfort her, hold her in my arms. Perhaps I should run for my life. Why was I so bad at romance? Reyna made a squeaking sound, then a sort of sustained whimper. I really had hurt her! Then she straightened, tears streaming down her face, and burst into laughter. The sound reminded me of water rushing over a riverbed that had been dry for ages. Once she started, she couldn’t seem to stop. She doubled over, stood upright again, leaned against a tree and looked at her dogs as if to share the joke. ‘Oh … my … gods,’ she wheezed. She managed to restrain her mirth long enough to blink at me through the tears, as if to make sure I was really there and she’d heard me correctly. ‘You. Me? HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA.
Rick Riordan (The Tyrant's Tomb (The Trials of Apollo, #4))
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow? And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city? And what is fear of need but need itself? Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable? There are those who give little of the much which they have--and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty. There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism. And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space. Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth. It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving. And is there aught you would withhold? All you have shall some day be given; Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'. You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving." The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish. Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you. And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream. And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving? And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed? See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving. For in truth it is life that gives unto life while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness. And you receivers... and you are all receivers... assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives. Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings; For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the freehearted earth for mother, and God for father.
Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet)
I have detected," he said, "disturbances in the wash." ... Arthur asked him to repeat what he had just said because he hadn't quite understood his meaning. Ford repeated it. "The wash?" said Arthur. "The space time wash," said Ford. Arthur nodded, and then cleared his throat. "Are we talking about," he asked cautiously, "some sort of Vogon laundromat, or what are we talking about?" "Eddies," said Ford, "in the space-time continuum." "Ah," nodded Arthur, "is he. Is he." ... "What?" said Ford. "Er, who," said Arthur, "is Eddy, then, exactly, then?" Ford looked angrily at him. "Will you listen?" he snapped. "I have been listening," said Arthur, "but I'm not sure it's helped." Ford grasped him by the lapels of his dressing gown and spoke to him as slowly and distinctly and patiently as if he were somebody from the telephone company accounts department. "There seems..." he said, "to be some pools..." he said, "of instability," he said, "in the fabric..." he said. Arthur looked foolishly at the cloth of his dressing gown where Ford was holding it. Ford swept on before Arthur could turn the foolish look into a foolish remark. "...in the fabric of space-time," he said. "Ah, that," said Arthur. "Yes, that," confirmed Ford. They stood there alone on a hill on prehistoric Earth and stared each other resolutely in the face. "And it's done what?" said Arthur. "It," said Ford, "has developed pools of instability." "Has it," said Arthur, his eyes not wavering for a moment "It has," said Ford, with the similar degree of ocular immobility. "Good," said Arthur. "See?" said Ford. "No," said Arthur. There was a quiet pause. ... "Arthur," said Ford. "Hello? Yes?" said Arthur. "Just believe everything I tell you, and it will all be very, very simple." "Ah, well, I'm not sure I believe that." They sat down and composed their thoughts. Ford got out his Sub-Etha Sens-O-Matic. It was making vague humming noises and a tiny light on it was flickering faintly. "Flat battery?" said Arthur. "No," said Ford, "there is a moving disturbance in the fabric of space-time, an eddy, a pool of instability, and it's somewhere in our vicinity." ... "There!" said Ford, shooting out his arm; "there, behind that sofa!" Arthur looked. Much to his surprise, there was a velvet paisley-covered Chesterfield sofa in the field in front of them. He boggled intelligently at it. Shrewd questions sprang into his mind. "Why," he said, "is there a sofa in that field?" "I told you!" shouted Ford, leaping to his feet. "Eddies in the space-time continuum!" "And this is his sofa, is it?" ... 12 chapters pass ... "All will become clear," said Slartibartfast. "When?" "In a minute. Listen. The time streams are now very polluted. There's a lot of muck floating about in them, flotsam and jetsam, and more and more of it is now being regurgitated into the physical world. Eddies in the space-time continuum, you see." "So I hear," said Arthur.
Douglas Adams (Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #3))
My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us. No philosopher can contemplate this interesting situation without beginning to reflect on what it can mean. The gap between political realities and their public face is so great that the term “paradox” tends to crop up from sentence to sentence. Our rulers are theoretically “our” representatives, but they are busy turning us into the instruments of the projects they keep dreaming up. The business of governments, one might think, is to supply the framework of law within which we may pursue happiness on our own account. Instead, we are constantly being summoned to reform ourselves. Debt, intemperance, and incompetence in rearing our children are no doubt regrettable, but they are vices, and left alone, they will soon lead to the pain that corrects. Life is a better teacher of virtue than politicians, and most sensible governments in the past left moral faults to the churches. But democratic citizenship in the twenty-first century means receiving a stream of improving “messages” from politicians. Some may forgive these intrusions because they are so well intentioned. Who would defend prejudice, debt, or excessive drinking? The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. They are tiresome enough in their exercise of authority—they are intolerable when they mount the pulpit. Nor should we be in any doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step towards totalitarianism. We might perhaps be more tolerant of rulers turning preachers if they were moral giants. But what citizen looks at the government today thinking how wise and virtuous it is? Public respect for politicians has long been declining, even as the population at large has been seduced into demanding political solutions to social problems. To demand help from officials we rather despise argues for a notable lack of logic in the demos. The statesmen of eras past have been replaced by a set of barely competent social workers eager to take over the risks of our everyday life. The electorates of earlier times would have responded to politicians seeking to bribe us with such promises with derision. Today, the demos votes for them.
Kenneth Minogue (The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life)