Success Is Subjective Quotes

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The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject... And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them... Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced.
Seneca (Natural Questions)
It takes a fearless, unflinching love and deep humility to accept the universe as it is. The most effective way he knew to accomplish that, the most powerful tool at his disposal, was the scientific method, which over time winnows out deception. It can't give you absolute truth because science is a permanent revolution, always subject to revision, but it can give you successive approximations of reality.
Ann Druyan
You see the first thing we love is a scene. For love at first sight requires the very sign of its suddenness; and of all things, it is the scene which seems to be seen best for the first time: a curtain parts and what had not yet ever been seen is devoured by the eyes: the scene consecrates the object I am going to love. The context is the constellation of elements, harmoniously arranged that encompass the experience of the amorous subject... Love at first sight is always spoken in the past tense. The scene is perfectly adapted to this temporal phenomenon: distinct, abrupt, framed, it is already a memory (the nature of a photograph is not to represent but to memorialize)... this scene has all the magnificence of an accident: I cannot get over having had this good fortune: to meet what matches my desire. The gesture of the amorous embrace seems to fulfill, for a time, the subject's dream of total union with the loved being: The longing for consummation with the other... In this moment, everything is suspended: time, law, prohibition: nothing is exhausted, nothing is wanted: all desires are abolished, for they seem definitively fulfilled... A moment of affirmation; for a certain time, though a finite one, a deranged interval, something has been successful: I have been fulfilled (all my desires abolished by the plenitude of their satisfaction).
Roland Barthes (A Lover's Discourse: Fragments)
An offering for the sake of offering, perhaps. Anyhow, it was her gift. Nothing else had she of the slightest importance; could not think, write, even play the piano. She muddled Armenians and Turks; loved success; hated discomfort; must be liked; talked oceans of nonsense: and to this day, ask her what the Equator was, and she did not know. All the same, that one day should follow another; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; that one should wake up in the morning; see the sky; walk in the park; meet Hugh Whitbread; then suddenly in came Peter; then these roses; it was enough. After that, how unbelievable death was!-that it must end; and no one in the whole world would know how she had loved it all; how, every instant . . .
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
So," I said climbing to my feet and changing the subject ASAP, "I had a dream last night someone tried to burn me alive, and I'm not entirely sure it was a dream." Devon stiffened. Chase's pupils pulsed. Subject successfully changed. "Now who's ready to eat?
Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves, #2))
Man cannot be free if he does not know that he is subject to necessity, because his freedom is always won in his never wholly successful attempts to liberate himself from necessity.
Hannah Arendt
When you put together deep knowledge about a subject that intensely matters to you, charisma happens. You gain courage to share your passion, and when you do that, folks follow.
Jerry Porras (Success Built to Last: Creating a Life That Matters)
The world is a classroom - life is the teacher and the subjects are learned everyday from the successes, failures, changes twists, turns, surprises and contradictions - some brought about through choices and others pre-ordained by destiny.
Eugenie Laverne Mitchell
The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers. I could regard them in no other light than a band of successful robbers, who had left their homes, and gone to Africa, and stolen us from our homes, and in a strange land reduced us to slavery. I loathed them as being the meanest as well as the most wicked of men. As I read and contemplated the subject, behold! that very discontentment which Master Hugh had predicted would follow my learning to read had already come, to torment and sting my soul to unutterable anguish. As I writhed under it, I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. it opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out. in moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity. I have often wished myself a beast. I preferred the condition of the meanest reptile to my own. Any thing, no matter what, to get rid of thinking! It was this everlasting thinking of my condition that tormented me. There was no getting rid of it. It was pressed upon me by every object within sight or hearing, animate or inanimate. The silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound and seen in every thing. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it. It looked from every star, it smiled in every calm, breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm.
Frederick Douglass (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass)
The struggle of the artist against the art-ideology, against the creative impulse and even against his own work also shows itself in his attitude towards success and fame; these two phenomena are but an extension, socially, of the process which began subjectively with the vocation and creation of the personal ego to be an artist. In this entire creative process, which begins with self-nomination as artist and ends in the fame of posterity, two fundamental tendencies — one might almost say, two personalities of the individual — are in continual conflict throughout: one wants to eternalize itself in artistic creation, the other in ordinary life — in brief, immortal man vs. the immortal soul of man.
Otto Rank (Art and Artist: Creative Urge and Personality Development)
When two things occur successively we call them cause and effect if we believe one event made the other one happen. If we think one event is the response to the other, we call it a reaction. If we feel that the two incidents are not related, we call it a mere coincidence. If we think someone deserved what happened, we call it retribution or reward, depending on whether the event was negative or positive for the recipient. If we cannot find a reason for the two events' occurring simultaneously or in close proximity, we call it an accident. Therefore, how we explain coincidences depends on how we see the world. Is everything connected, so that events create resonances like ripples across a net? Or do things merely co-occur and we give meaning to these co-occurrences based on our belief system? Lieh-tzu's answer: It's all in how you think.
Liezi (Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living)
If you fail an examination, it means you have not yet master the subject. With diligent study and understanding, you will succeed in passing the exams.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
If you want to win the war for attention, don’t try to say ‘no’ to the trivial distractions you find on the information smorgasbord; try to say ‘yes’ to the subject that arouses a terrifying longing, and let the terrifying longing crowd out everything else.” For
Cal Newport (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)
Interviews generally involve a smaller group but still help you in collecting detailed information on a subject of your choice.
Pooja Agnihotri (Market Research Like a Pro)
Exploratory market research is generally preferred in the early stages of a project when you are more interested in exploring a subject.
Pooja Agnihotri (Market Research Like a Pro)
Thus inevitably does the universe wear our color, and every object fall successively into the subject itself. The subject exists, the subject enlarges; all things sooner or later fall into place. As I am, so I see; use what language we will, we can never say anything but what we are.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Selected Essays)
Every second of our own experience has to be measured through a relative and subjective brain. In other words, “reality” is merely our brain’s relative understanding of the world based on where and how we are observing it.
Shawn Achor (The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work)
Be aware that how you feel has a direct impact on your thinking process. When we set standards for ourselves they seem objective, but standards and goal-setting are totally subjective and personal." From The Biology of Success.
Bob Arnot
Reality is a very subjective affair. I can only define it as a kind of gradual accumulation of information; and as specialization. If we take a lily, for instance, or any other kind of natural object, a lily is more real to a naturalist than it is to an ordinary person. But it is still more real to a botanist. And yet another stage of reality is reached with that botanist who is a specialist in lilies. You can get nearer and nearer, so to speak, to reality; but you never get near enough because reality is an infinite succession of steps, levels of perception, false bottoms, and hence unquenchable, unattainable. You can know more and more about one thing but you can never know everything about one thing: it’s hopeless. So that we live surrounded by more or less ghostly objects— that machine, there, for instance. It’s a complete ghost to me— I don’t understand a thing about it and, well, it’s a mystery to me, as much of a mystery as it would be to Lord Byron.
Vladimir Nabokov
Julia's unhappy relationship with the Inland Revenue was due to her omission, during four years of modestly successful practice at the Bar, to pay any income tax. The truth is, I think, that she did not, in her heart of hearts, really believe in income tax. It was a subject which she had studied for examinations and on which she had thereafter advised a number of clients: she naturally did not suppose, in these circumstances, that it had anything to do with real life.
Sarah Caudwell (Thus Was Adonis Murdered (Hilary Tamar, #1))
Happiness gives you the freedom to enhance your ability to achieve success. Your choices in life are a direct reflection of your level of happiness. It's the sunshine for your soul that you need in order to grow
Amaka Imani Nkosazana (Sweet Destiny)
In theory, the risk of business failure can be reduced to a number, the probability of failure multiplied by the cost of failure. Sure, this turns out to be a subjective analysis, but in the process your own attitudes toward financial risk and reward are revealed. By contrast, personal risk usually defies quantification. It's a matter of values and priorities, an expression of who you are. "Playing it safe" may simply mean you do not weigh heavily the compromises inherent in the status quo. The financial rewards of the moment may fully compensate you for the loss of time and fulfillment. Or maybe you just don't think about it. On the other hand, if time and satisfaction are precious, truly priceless, you will find the cost of business failure, so long as it does not put in peril the well-being of you or your family, pales in comparison with the personal risks of no trying to live the life you want today. Considering personal risk forces us to define personal success. We may well discover that the business failure we avoid and the business success we strive for do not lead us to personal success at all. Most of us have inherited notions of "success" from someone else or have arrived at these notions by facing a seemingly endless line of hurdles extending from grade school through college and into our careers. We constantly judge ourselves against criteria that others have set and rank ourselves against others in their game. Personal goals, on the other hand, leave us on our own, without this habit of useless measurement and comparison. Only the Whole Life Plan leads to personal success. It has the greatest chance of providing satisfaction and contentment that one can take to the grave, tomorrow. In the Deferred Life Plan there will always be another prize to covet, another distraction, a new hunger to sate. You will forever come up short.
Randy Komisar (The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur)
Success is subjective. Your dream bank balance could be someone else’s nightmare.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Perhaps most trivial talk is a need to talk about oneself; hence, the never-ending subject of health and sickness, children, travel, successes, what one did, and the innumerable daily things that seem to be important. Since one cannot talk about oneself all the time without being thought a bore, one must exchange the privilege by a readiness to listen to others talking about themselves. Private social meetings between individuals (and often, also, meetings of all kinds of associations and groups) are little markets where one exchanges one’s need to talk about oneself and one’s desire to be listened to for the need of others who seek the same opportunity. Most people respect this arrangement of exchange; those who don’t, and want to talk more about themselves than they are willing to listen, are “cheaters,” and they are resented and have to choose inferior company in order to be tolerated.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Being)
The more you think of what is right, the more you tend to make every action in your mind right. The more you think of the goal you have in view, the more life and power you will call into action in working for that goal. The more you think of your ambition, the more power you will give to those faculties that can make your ambitions come true. The more you think of harmony, of health, of success, of happiness, of things that are desirable, of things that are beautiful, of things that have true worth, the more the mind will tend to build all those things in yourself, provided, of course, that all such thinking is subjective.
Christian D. Larson
As a child I scribbled; and my favorite pastime during the hours given me for recreation was to ‘write stories’. Still, I had a dearer pleasure than this, which was the formation of castles in the air – the indulging in waking dreams – the following up trains of thought, which had for their subject the formation of a succession of imaginary incidents.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein)
tell my students that nothing wonderful, I’m talking really fantastic, will happen without taking a risk and subjecting yourself to rejection. Serendipity is a function of courage.
Scott Galloway (The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning)
Becoming a professional photographer is not a pre-requisite for making successful images. Being passionate about your subject matter is.
Robert Rodriguez Jr. (Insights From Beyond the Lens: Inside the Art & Craft of Landscape Photography)
A prerequisite for a successful scientific career is an enthusiastic willingness to pore through the minutiae of subjects that 99.9 percent of Earth's population find screamingly dull.
Charles C. Mann (The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World)
When our children are old enough, and if we can afford to, we send them to college, where despite the recent proliferation of courses on 'happiness' and 'positive psychology,' the point is to acquire the skills not of positive thinking but of *critical* thinking, and critical thinking is inherently skeptical. The best students -- and in good colleges, also the most successful -- are the ones who raise sharp questions, even at the risk of making a professor momentarily uncomfortable. Whether the subject is literature or engineering, graduates should be capable of challenging authority figures, going against the views of their classmates, and defending novel points of view.
Barbara Ehrenreich (Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America)
To summarize what I have said: Aim for the highest; never enter a bar-room; do not touch liquor, or if at all only at meals; never speculate; never indorse beyond your surplus cash fund; make the firm’s interest yours; break orders always to save owners; concentrate; put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket; expenditure always within revenue; lastly, be not impatient, for, as Emerson says, “no one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourselves.” I congratulate poor young men upon being born to that ancient and honourable degree which renders it necessary that they should devote themselves to hard work. A basketful of bonds is the heaviest basket a young man ever had to carry. He generally gets to staggering under it. We have in this city creditable instances of such young men, who have pressed to the front rank of our best and most useful citizens. These deserve great credit. But the vast majority of the sons of rich men are unable to resist the temptations to which wealth subjects them, and sink to unworthy lives. I would almost as soon leave a young man a curse, as burden him with the almighty dollar. It is not from this class you have rivalry to fear. The partner’s sons will not trouble you much, but look out that some boys poorer, much poorer than yourselves, whose parents cannot afford to give them the advantages of a course in this institute, advantages which should give you a decided lead in the race–look out that such boys do not challenge you at the post and pass you at the grand stand. Look out for the boy who has to plunge into work direct from the common school and who begins by sweeping out the office. He is the probable dark horse that you had better watch.
Andrew Carnegie (The Road To Business Success)
Others, the subject of this book, are likewise privy to their unconscious streams of thought, but they must contend with unusually tumultuous and unpredictable emotions as well. The integration of these deeper, truly irrational sources with more logical processes can be a tortuous task, but, if successful, the resulting work often bears a unique stamp, a “touch of fire,” for what it has been through.
Kay Redfield Jamison (Touched with Fire)
A mirror does not develop because an historical pageant passes in front of it. It only develops when it gets a fresh coat of quicksilver—in other words, when it acquires new sensitiveness; and the novel’s success lies in its own sensitiveness, not in the success of its subject matter.
E.M. Forster (Aspects of the Novel)
the goal of an apprenticeship is not money, a good position, a title, or a diploma, but rather the transformation of your mind and character—the first transformation on the way to mastery. You enter a career as an outsider. You are naïve and full of misconceptions about this new world. Your head is full of dreams and fantasies about the future. Your knowledge of the world is subjective, based on emotions, insecurities, and limited experience. Slowly, you will ground yourself in reality, in the objective world represented by the knowledge and skills that make people successful in it. You will learn how to work with others and handle criticism. In the process you will transform yourself from someone who is impatient and scattered into someone who is disciplined and focused, with a mind that can handle complexity. In the end, you will master yourself and all of your weaknesses.
Robert Greene (Mastery (The Robert Greene Collection))
Sadistic serial killers feel their victims' pain in exactly the same way that you or I might feel it. They feel it cognitively and objectively. And they feel it emotionally and subjectively, too. But the difference between them and us is that they commute that pain to their own subjective pleasure.
Kevin Dutton (The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success)
Rafe shrugs. ‘He is frightened of you, sir. You have outgrown him. You have gone beyond what any servant or subject should be.’ It is the cardinal over again, he thinks. Wolsey was broken not for his failures, but for his successes; not for any error, but for grievances stored up, about how great he had become.
Hilary Mantel (The Mirror & the Light (Thomas Cromwell #3))
Some people measure their success by the profession their children have chosen, by the purchase of a house, by how often they visit or call. But the only measurement, truly, is something that’s quite subjective: have you raised good people?
Anna Quindlen (Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting)
Difficulty itself may be a path toward concentration — expended effort weaves us into a task, and successful engagement, however laborious, becomes also a labor of love. The work of writing brings replenishment even to the writer dealing with painful subjects or working out formal problems, and there are times when suffering’s only open path is through an immersion in what is. The eighteenth-century Urdu poet Ghalib described the principle this way: ‘For the raindrop, joy is in entering the river — / Unbearable pain becomes its own cure.’ “Difficulty then, whether of life or of craft, is not a hindrance to an artist. Sartre called genius ‘not a gift, but the way a person invents in desperate circumstances.’ Just as geological pressure transforms ocean sediment into limestone, the pressure of an artist’s concentration goes into the making of any fully realized work. Much of beauty, both in art and in life, is a balancing of the lines of forward-flowing desire with those of resistance — a gnarled tree, the flow of a statue’s draped cloth. Through such tensions, physical or mental, the world in which we exist becomes itself. Great art, we might say, is thought that has been concentrated in just this way: honed and shaped by a silky attention brought to bear on the recalcitrant matter of earth and of life. We seek in art the elusive intensity by which it knows.
Jane Hirshfield
Success is personally defined. It's subjective and it's what YOU decide it will be.
Sarah Centrella (Hustle Believe Receive: An 8-Step Plan to Changing Your Life and Living Your Dream)
The most important subject in the curriculum in the future years will be how to love ourselves and be content.
Abhysheq Shukla (Feelings Undefined: The Charm of the Unsaid Vol. 1)
Part of running a successful tyranny is knowing when and how to let your subjects off the leash
Richard K. Morgan (Woken Furies (Takeshi Kovacs, #3))
From the study of the development of human intelligence, in all directions, and through all times, the discovery arises of a great fundamental law, to which it is necessarily subject, and which has a solid foundation of proof, both in the facts of our organization and in our historical experience. The law is this: that each of our leading conceptions -- each branch of our knowledge -- passes successively through three different theoretical conditions: the theological, or fictitious; the metaphysical, or abstract; and the scientific, or positive. In other words, the human mind, by its nature, employs in its progress three methods of philosophizing, the character of which is essentially different, and even radically opposed: namely, the theological method, the metaphysical, and the positive. Hence arise three philosophies, or general systems of conceptions on the aggregate of phenomena, each of which excludes the others. The first is the necessary point of departure of the human understanding, and the third is its fixed and definitive state. The second is merely a state of transition.
Auguste Comte (Cours de philosophie positive 1/6 (French Edition))
Since the self, in maintaining its isolation and detachment does not commit itself to a creative relationship with the other and is preoccupied with the figures of phantasies, thought, memories, etc. (imagos), which cannot be directly observable by or directly expressed to others, anything (in a sense) is possible. Whatever failures or successes come the way of the false-self system, the self is able to remain uncommitted and undefined. In phantasy, the self can be anyone, anywhere, do anything, have everything. It is thus omnipotent and completely free - but only in phantasy. Once it commits itself to any real project it suffers the agonies of humiliation - not necessarily for any failure, but simply because it has to subject itself to necessity and contingency. It is omnipotent and free only in phantasy. The more this phantastic omnipotence and freedom are indulged, the more weak, helpless, and fettered it becomes in actuality. The illusion of omnipotence and freedom can be sustained only within the magic circle of its own shut-upness in phantasy. And in order that this attitude be not dissipated by the slightest intrusion of reality, phantasy and reality have to be kept apart.
R.D. Laing
provides American business with the only reliable domestic market in the world. Schools train individuals to respond as a mass. Boys and girls are drilled in being bored, frightened, envious, emotionally needy, generally incomplete. A successful mass production economy requires such a clientele. A small business, small farm economy like that of the Amish requires individual competence, thoughtfulness, compassion, and universal participation; our own requires a managed mass of leveled, spiritless, anxious, familyless, friendless, godless, and obedient people who believe the difference between Cheers and Seinfeld is a subject worth arguing about.
John Taylor Gatto (The Underground History of American Education: An Intimate Investigation Into the Prison of Modern Schooling)
Wisdom is really the key to wealth. With great wisdom, comes great wealth and success. Rather than pursuing wealth, pursue wisdom. The aggressive pursuit of wealth can lead to disappointment. Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, and being able to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. Wisdom is basically the practical application of knowledge. Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs. Become completely focused on one subject and study the subject for a long period of time. Don't skip around from one subject to the next. The problem is generally not money. Jesus taught that the problem was attachment to possessions and dependence on money rather than dependence on God. Those who love people, acquire wealth so they can give generously. After all, money feeds, shelters, and clothes people. They key is to work extremely hard for a short period of time (1-5 years), create abundant wealth, and then make money work hard for you through wise investments that yield a passive income for life. Don't let the opinions of the average man sway you. Dream, and he thinks you're crazy. Succeed, and he thinks you're lucky. Acquire wealth, and he thinks you're greedy. Pay no attention. He simply doesn't understand. Failure is success if we learn from it. Continuing failure eventually leads to success. Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly. Whenever you pursue a goal, it should be with complete focus. This means no interruptions. Only when one loves his career and is skilled at it can he truly succeed. Never rush into an investment without prior research and deliberation. With preferred shares, investors are guaranteed a dividend forever, while common stocks have variable dividends. Some regions with very low or no income taxes include the following: Nevada, Texas, Wyoming, Delaware, South Dakota, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Panama, San Marino, Seychelles, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Curaçao, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Monaco, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bermuda, Kuwait, Oman, Andorra, Cayman Islands, Belize, Vanuatu, and Campione d'Italia. There is only one God who is infinite and supreme above all things. Do not replace that infinite one with finite idols. As frustrated as you may feel due to your life circumstances, do not vent it by cursing God or unnecessarily uttering his name. Greed leads to poverty. Greed inclines people to act impulsively in hopes of gaining more. The benefit of giving to the poor is so great that a beggar is actually doing the giver a favor by allowing the person to give. The more I give away, the more that comes back. Earn as much as you can. Save as much as you can. Invest as much as you can. Give as much as you can.
H.W. Charles (The Money Code: Become a Millionaire With the Ancient Jewish Code)
On the subject of God. He is not dead; and he is not a fable. He is not mocked nor forgotten — Successfully. God is a lion that comes in the night. God is a hawk gliding among the stars —
Robinson Jeffers
In our current culture, we place a lot of emphasis on job description. Our obsession with the advice to “follow your passion” (the subject of my last book), for example, is motivated by the (flawed) idea that what matters most for your career satisfaction is the specifics of the job you choose. In this way of thinking, there are some rarified jobs that can be a source of satisfaction—perhaps working in a nonprofit or starting a software company—while all others are soulless and bland. The philosophy of Dreyfus and Kelly frees us from such traps. The craftsmen they cite don’t have rarified jobs. Throughout most of human history, to be a blacksmith or a wheelwright wasn’t glamorous. But this doesn’t matter, as the specifics of the work are irrelevant. The meaning uncovered by such efforts is due to the skill and appreciation inherent in craftsmanship—not the outcomes of their work.
Cal Newport (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)
Musk has talked about having more kids, and it’s on this subject that he delivers some controversial philosophizing vis-à-vis the creator of Beavis and Butt-head. “There’s this point that Mike Judge makes in Idiocracy, which is like smart people, you know, should at least sustain their numbers,” Musk said. “Like, if it’s a negative Darwinian vector, then obviously that’s not a good thing. It should be at least neutral. But if each successive generation of smart people has fewer kids, that’s probably bad, too. I mean, Europe, Japan, Russia, China are all headed for demographic implosion. And the fact of the matter is that basically the wealthier—basically wealth, education, and being secular are all indicative of low birth rate. They all correlate with low birth rate. I’m not saying like only smart people should have kids. I’m just saying that smart people should have kids as well. They should at least maintain—at least be a replacement rate. And the fact of the matter is that I notice that a lot of really smart women have zero or one kid. You’re like, ‘Wow, that’s probably not good.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
NINA Your life is beautiful. TRIGORIN I see nothing especially lovely about it. [He looks at his watch] Excuse me, I must go at once, and begin writing again. I am in a hurry. [He laughs] You have stepped on my pet corn, as they say, and I am getting excited, and a little cross. Let us discuss this bright and beautiful life of mine, though. [After a few moments' thought] Violent obsessions sometimes lay hold of a man: he may, for instance, think day and night of nothing but the moon. I have such a moon. Day and night I am held in the grip of one besetting thought, to write, write, write! Hardly have I finished one book than something urges me to write another, and then a third, and then a fourth--I write ceaselessly. I am, as it were, on a treadmill. I hurry for ever from one story to another, and can't help myself. Do you see anything bright and beautiful in that? Oh, it is a wild life! Even now, thrilled as I am by talking to you, I do not forget for an instant that an unfinished story is awaiting me. My eye falls on that cloud there, which has the shape of a grand piano; I instantly make a mental note that I must remember to mention in my story a cloud floating by that looked like a grand piano. I smell heliotrope; I mutter to myself: a sickly smell, the colour worn by widows; I must remember that in writing my next description of a summer evening. I catch an idea in every sentence of yours or of my own, and hasten to lock all these treasures in my literary store-room, thinking that some day they may be useful to me. As soon as I stop working I rush off to the theatre or go fishing, in the hope that I may find oblivion there, but no! Some new subject for a story is sure to come rolling through my brain like an iron cannonball. I hear my desk calling, and have to go back to it and begin to write, write, write, once more. And so it goes for everlasting. I cannot escape myself, though I feel that I am consuming my life. To prepare the honey I feed to unknown crowds, I am doomed to brush the bloom from my dearest flowers, to tear them from their stems, and trample the roots that bore them under foot. Am I not a madman? Should I not be treated by those who know me as one mentally diseased? Yet it is always the same, same old story, till I begin to think that all this praise and admiration must be a deception, that I am being hoodwinked because they know I am crazy, and I sometimes tremble lest I should be grabbed from behind and whisked off to a lunatic asylum. The best years of my youth were made one continual agony for me by my writing. A young author, especially if at first he does not make a success, feels clumsy, ill-at-ease, and superfluous in the world. His nerves are all on edge and stretched to the point of breaking; he is irresistibly attracted to literary and artistic people, and hovers about them unknown and unnoticed, fearing to look them bravely in the eye, like a man with a passion for gambling, whose money is all gone. I did not know my readers, but for some reason I imagined they were distrustful and unfriendly; I was mortally afraid of the public, and when my first play appeared, it seemed to me as if all the dark eyes in the audience were looking at it with enmity, and all the blue ones with cold indifference. Oh, how terrible it was! What agony!
Anton Chekhov (The Seagull)
If an enthusiastic, ardent, and ambitous man marry a wife on whose name there is a stain, which, though it originate in no fault of hers, may be visited by cold and sordid people upon her, and upon his children also: and, in exact proportion to his success in the world, be cast in his teeth, and made the subject of sneers against him: he may-no matter how generous and good his nature- one day repent of the connection he formed in early life; and she may have the pain and torture of knowing that he does so.
Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist)
It is in the twenties that the actual momentum of life begins to slacken, and it is a simple soul indeed to whom as many things are significant and meaningful at thirty as at ten years before. At thirty an organ-grinder is a more or less moth-eaten man who grinds an organ — and once he was an organ-grinder! The unmistakable stigma of humanity touches all those impersonal and beautiful things that only youth ever grasps in their impersonal glory. A brilliant ball, gay with light romantic laughter, wears through its own silks and satins to show the bare framework of a man-made thing — oh, that eternal hand!— a play, most tragic and most divine, becomes merely a succession of speeches, sweated over by the eternal plagiarist in the clammy hours and acted by men subject to cramps, cowardice, and manly sentiment.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned)
Persons Are Turned against Themselves Evil also turns a person against herself so that self is used against self. The case of the woman who received a dismissal letter from her pastor comes to mind again. The psychological decompensation she suffered was successfully used by her husband to intercede with a psychiatrist of his choosing to commit her to the mental unit of a hospital for an extended involuntary stay, which further worsened her condition. Additional examples abound. Some patients report cults using induced hypnotic states to encourage a subject's dissociated hands and arms to do something hurtful to someone else. In such cases, the subject is encouraged to watch the hand that is hers but not hers (because it is dissociated from her). The end result is often extreme guilt. self-loathing, and distrust of one's self and motives.An incestuous parent may use a child's own natural bodily responses to repeated sexual stimulation to make the point that the child really "wants and enjoys“ what is being forced upon her.
J. Jeffrey Means (Trauma and Evil: Healing the Wounded Soul)
Pitting the learning of basic knowledge against the development of creative thinking is a false choice. Both need to be cultivated. The stronger one’s knowledge about the subject at hand, the more nuanced one’s creativity can be in addressing a new problem. Just as knowledge amounts to little without the exercise of ingenuity and imagination, creativity absent a sturdy foundation of knowledge builds a shaky house.
Peter C. Brown (Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning)
Comfortably living below what you can afford, without much desire for more, removes a tremendous amount of social pressure that many people in the modern first world subject themselves to. Nassim Taleb explained: “True success is exiting some rat race to modulate one’s activities for peace of mind.” I like that.
Morgan Housel (The Psychology of Money)
At this point there's something I should explain about myself, which is that I don't talk much, probably too little, and I think this has been detrimental to my social life. It's not that I have trouble expressing myself, or no more than people generally have when they're trying to put something complex into words. I'd even say I have less trouble than most because my long involvement with literature has given me a better-than-average capacity for handling language. But I have no gift for small talk, and there's no point trying to learn or pretend; it wouldn't be convincing. My conversational style is spasmodic (someone once described it as "hollowing"). Every sentence opens up gaps, which require new beginnings. I can't maintain any continuity. In short, I speak when I have something to say. My problem, I suppose - and this may be an effect of involvement with literature - is that I attribute too much importance to the subject. For me, it's never simply a question of "talking" but always a question of "what to talk about". And the effort of weighing up potential subjects kills the spontaneity of dialogue. In other words, when everything you say has to be "worth the effort", it's too much effort to go on talking. I envy people who can launch into a conversation with gusto and energy, and keep it going. I envy them that human contact, so full of promise, a living reality from which, in my mute isolation, I feel excluded. "But what do they talk about?" I wonder, which is obviously the wrong question to ask. The crabbed awkwardness of my social interactions is a result of this failing on my part. Looking back, I can see that it was responsible for most of my missed opportunities and almost all the woes of solitude. The older I get, the more convinced I am that this is a mutilation, for which my professional success cannot compensate, much less my "rich inner life." And I've never been able to resolve the conundrum that conversationalists pose for me: how do they keep coming up with things to talk about? I don't even wonder about it anymore, perhaps because I know there's no answer.
César Aira
The guiding visionary behind Project Spectrum is Howard Gardner, a psychologist at the Harvard School of Education.7 “The time has come,” Gardner told me, “to broaden our notion of the spectrum of talents. The single most important contribution education can make to a child’s development is to help him toward a field where his talents best suit him, where he will be satisfied and competent. We’ve completely lost sight of that. Instead we subject everyone to an education where, if you succeed, you will be best suited to be a college professor. And we evaluate everyone along the way according to whether they meet that narrow standard of success. We should spend less time ranking children and more time helping them to identify their natural competencies and gifts, and cultivate those. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to succeed, and many, many different abilities that will help you get there.
Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence)
...the novel had reached its apogee with the marriage plot and had never recovered from its disappearance. In the days when success in life had depended on marriage, and marriage had depended on money, novelists had had a subject to write about. The great epics sang of war, the novel of marriage. Sexual equality, good for women, had been bad for the novel. And divorce had undone it completely. What would it matter whom Emma married if she could file for separation later? How would Isabel Archer’s marriage to Gilbert Osmond have been affected by the existence of a prenup? As far as Saunders was concerned, marriage didn’t mean much anymore, and neither did the novel. Where could you find the marriage plot nowadays? You couldn’t. You had to read historical fiction. You had to read non-Western novels involving traditional societies. Afghani novels, Indian novels. You had to go, literarily speaking, back in time.
Jeffrey Eugenides (The Marriage Plot)
His ideal is a man who, having worked all day for the good of posterity (if that is his vocation), washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded by the moment that is passing over him. But we want a man hag-ridden by the Future—haunted by visions of an imminent heaven or hell upon earth—ready to break the Enemy’s commands in the present if by so doing we make him think he can attain the one or avert the other—dependent for his faith on the success or failure of schemes whose end he will not live to see. We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
The world is a classroom - life is the teacher and the subjects are learned everyday from the successes, failures, changes, twists, turns, surprises and contradictions - some brought about through choices and others pre-ordained by destiny.
Eugenie Laverne Mitchell
How ably you can explain a text is an excellent cue for judging comprehension, because you must recall the salient points from memory, put them into your own words, and explain why they are significant—how they relate to the larger subject.
Peter C. Brown (Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning)
When teachers are fully successful, they are successful beyond any of their conscious intentions about particular subjects: they make converts, they make souls that have been turned around to face a given way of being and moving in the world.
Wayne C. Booth (The Vocation of a Teacher: Rhetorical Occasions, 1967-1988)
There was a time when it was admirable to be an amateur poet or a dilettante scientist, because it meant that the quality of life could be improved by engaging in such activities. But increasingly the emphasis has been to value behavior over subjective states; what is admired is success, achievement, the quality of performance rather than the quality of experience.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow: The Classic Work On How To Achieve Happiness: The Psychology of Happiness)
Krishna assures Arjuna that his basic nature is not subject to time and death; yet he reminds him that he cannot realize this truth if he cannot see beyond the dualities of life: pleasure and pain, success and failure, even heat and cold. The Gita does not teach a spirituality aimed at an enjoyable life in the hereafter, nor does it teach a way to enhance power in this life or the next. It teaches a basic detachment from pleasure and pain, as this chapter says more than once. Only in this way can an individual rise above the conditioning of life’s dualities and identify with the Atman, the immortal Self. Also,
Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa (The Bhagavad Gita)
dreams with a painful content are to be analyzed as the fulfillments of wishes. Nor will it seem a matter of chance that in the course of interpretation one always happens upon subjects of which one does not like to speak or think. The disagreeable sensation which such dreams arouse is simply identical with the antipathy which endeavors—usually with success—to restrain us from the treatment or discussion of such subjects, and which must be overcome by all of us, if, in spite of its unpleasantness, we find it necessary to take the matter in hand. But this disagreeable sensation, which occurs also in dreams, does not preclude the existence of a wish; every one has wishes which he would not like to tell to others, which he does not want to admit even to himself.
Sigmund Freud (Dream Psychology: Psychoanalysis for Beginners)
Most people are under the impression that if they know about a subject or an industry they don’t need to understand invisible selling By that logic the guy with the best memory in an industry should be the most successful person in that industry - never happens
Dharmendra Rai (The Invisible Selling Book , Behavioural Economics & More)
People who have acquired academic degrees, without acquiring many economically meaningful skills, not only face personal disappointment and disaffection with society, but also have often become negative factors in the economy and even sources of danger, especially when they lash out at economically successful minorities and ethnically polarize the whole society they live in. . . . . In many places and times, soft-subject students and intellectuals have inflamed hostility, and sometimes violence, against many other successful groups.
Thomas Sowell (Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective)
When you space out practice at a task and get a little rusty between sessions, or you interleave the practice of two or more subjects, retrieval is harder and feels less productive, but the effort produces longer lasting learning and enables more versatile application of it in later settings.
Peter C. Brown (Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning)
We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul"~
Ralph Waldo Emerson
No other style of preaching can so completely guarantee immunity from an indulgence in special crochets and fads. The Bible is an exceedingly broad book in its treatment of life and, he who successfully preaches through, even one small section of it, will find a variety of subjects and principles and lessons--so great a variety that if he is fair with all he will be saved from the error of over-emphasis and of neglecting certain broad tracts of truth.
F.B. Meyer (Expository Preaching)
No attempt to explain the world, either scientifically or theologically, can be considered successful until it accounts for the paradoxical conjunction of the temporal and the atemporal, of being and becoming. And no subject conforms this paradoical conjuction more starkly than the origin of the universe.
Paul C.W. Davies (The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World)
If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly: if the assassination Could trammel up the consequence, and catch With his surcease success; that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end-all here, But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, We'ld jump the life to come. But in these cases We still have judgment here; that we but teach Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice To our own lips. He's here in double trust; First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against The deep damnation of his taking-off; And pity, like a naked new-born babe, Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, horsed Upon the sightless couriers of the air, Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself And falls on the other.
William Shakespeare (Macbeth)
Any criticism at all which depresses you to the extent that you feel you cannot ever write anything worth anything is from the Devil and to subject yourself to it is for you an occasion of sin. In you the talent is there and you are expected to use it. Whether the work itself is completely successful, or whether you ever get any worldly success out of it, is a matter of no concern to you. It is like the Japanese swordsmen who are indifferent to getting slain in the duel.
Flannery O'Connor (The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor)
Yes. Oh no! I don't subject myself to a leadership that does not break new territories! It is the job of leadership to succeed in landing its limbs on new grounds.
Israelmore Ayivor
Interpreting criticism as a subjective opinion with a solution instead of a personal rebuke will help you grow, build better relationships, become more successful.
Dr.prem jagyasi
You have to know a subject intimately, inside and out, research it thoroughly ... if you want to successfully take the piss out of it.
Michelle Knight
Also, stop correcting people all the time, preaching to them and commenting on all the subjects you have no idea about.
Ian Tuhovsky (Zen: Beginner's Guide: Happy, Peaceful and Focused Lifestyle for Everyone (Buddhism, Meditation, Mindfulness, Success) (Positive Psychology Coaching Series Book 7))
We are born entrepreneurs, true entrepreneurs of ourselves! Who defines the success or failure of our companies, it's us! Do not blame God for this, for even seeking it depends on you.
Kamal Khanzada (Ahmed Kamal Khan)
when it comes to empathy and compassion, rich people tend to suck. This has been explored at length in a series of studies by Dacher Keltner of UC Berkeley. Across the socioeconomic spectrum, on the average, the wealthier people are, the less empathy they report for people in distress and the less compassionately they act. Moreover, wealthier people are less adept at recognizing other people’s emotions and in experimental settings are greedier and more likely to cheat or steal. Two of the findings were picked up by the media as irresistible: (a) wealthier people (as assessed by the cost of the car they were driving) are less likely than poor people to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks; (b) suppose there’s a bowl of candy in the lab; invite test subjects, after they finish doing some task, to grab some candy on the way out, telling them that whatever’s left over will be given to some kids—the wealthier take more candy.25 So do miserable, greedy, unempathic people become wealthy, or does being wealthy increase the odds of a person’s becoming that way? As a cool manipulation, Keltner primed subjects to focus either on their socioeconomic success (by asking them to compare themselves with people less well off than them) or on the opposite. Make people feel wealthy, and they take more candy from children.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
Therefore my success as a man of science, whatever this may have amounted to, has been determined, as far as I can judge, by complex and diversified mental qualities and conditions. Of these, the most important have been—the love of science—unbounded patience in long reflecting over any subject—industry in observing and collecting facts—and a fair share of invention as well as of common sense. With such moderate abilities as I possess, it is truly surprising that I should have influenced to a considerable extent the belief of scientific men on some important points.
Charles Darwin (The Autobiography of Charles Darwin)
Only 5 percent of entrepreneurship is the big idea, the business model, the whiteboard strategizing, and the splitting up of the spoils. The other 95 percent is the gritty work that is measured by innovation accounting: product prioritization decisions, deciding which customers to target or listen to, and having the courage to subject a grand vision to constant testing and feedback.
Eric Ries (The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses)
I knew a young fellow once, who was studying to play the bagpipes, and you would be surprised at the amount of opposition he had to contend with. Why, not even from the members of his own family did he receive what you could call active encouragement. His father was dead against the business from the beginning, and spoke quite unfeelingly on the subject. My friend used to get up early in the morning to practise, but he had to give that plan up, because of his sister. She was somewhat religiously inclined, and she said it seemed such an awful thing to begin the day like that. So he sat up at night instead, and played after the family had gone to bed, but that did not do, as it got the house such a bad name. People, going home late, would stop outside to listen, and then put it about all over the town, the next morning, that a fearful murder had been committed at Mr. Jefferson's the night before; and would describe how they had heard the victim's shrieks and the brutal oaths and curses of the murderer, followed by the prayer for mercy, and the last dying gurgle of the corpse. So they let him practise in the day-time, in the back-kitchen with all the doors shut; but his more successful passages could generally be heard in the sitting-room, in spite of these precautions, and would affect his mother almost to tears. She said it put her in mind of her poor father (he had been swallowed by a shark, poor man, while bathing off the coast of New Guinea - where the connection came in, she could not explain). Then they knocked up a little place for him at the bottom of the garden, about quarter of a mile from the house, and made him take the machine down there when he wanted to work it; and sometimes a visitor would come to the house who knew nothing of the matter, and they would forget to tell him all about it, and caution him, and he would go out for a stroll round the garden and suddenly get within earshot of those bagpipes, without being prepared for it, or knowing what it was. If he were a man of strong mind, it only gave him fits; but a person of mere average intellect it usually sent mad.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1))
individuals who are prepared unflinchingly to confront the truth about their childhood and to see their parents in a realistic light. Unfortunately, it is very often the case that therapeutic success can be seriously endangered if therapy (as frequently happens) is subjected to the dictates of conventional morality, thus making it impossible for adult clients to free themselves of the compulsive persuasion that they owe their parents love and gratitude. The authentic feelings stored in the body remain untapped, and the price the clients have to pay for this is the unremitting persistence of the severe symptoms affecting them. I assume that readers who have themselves undergone a number of unsuccessful therapies will readily recognize their plight in this problem. In
Alice Miller (The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting)
and they were the subjects of what would become one of the most famous psychological studies in history. For the rest of his life, Terman watched over his charges like a mother hen. They were tracked
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
(The subjects of What Should I Do With The Rest Of My Life) "have convinced me that past failing can as easily prove preparatory as predictive. Age does not of itself limit on enable us. The choice is ours.
Bruce Frankel
Two motives urge fans to obsession with their sports. One is the need-—through the appeal of vicarious success—-to identify with winners. The other is to sanction, through pedantry, dogmatism, record-keeping, wise secret knowledge, and pseudo-scholarship, a claim to expertise on the subject. Sports give every man his opportunity to perform as a learned bore and to watch innumerable commentators on TV do the same.
Paul Fussell (Class: A Guide Through the American Status System)
The academic obsession with identity is ironic, since its roots lie in a philosophy that denied the very existence of the self. In the 1970s, the literary theory of deconstruction took over humanities departments with a curious set of propositions about language. Because linguistic signs were arbitrary, successful communication was said to be impossible. Most surprisingly, the human subject was declared to be a fiction, a mere play of rhetorical tropes. In the 1980s, however, the self came roaring back with a vengeance as feminists and race theorists took the mannered jargon of deconstruction and turned it into a political weapon. The key deconstructive concept of linguistic “différance” became identity difference between the oppressed and their oppressors; the prime object of study became one’s own self and its victimization
Heather Mac Donald (The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture)
Pop leadership abuts pop psychology, and is very destructive. In no other serious domain of human endeavor (surgery, playing the violin) is the subject distilled down to nice-sounding aphorisms that mean nothing.
Paul Gibbons (The Science of Successful Organizational Change: How Leaders Set Strategy, Change Behavior, and Create an Agile Culture)
To your request of my opinion of the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted, so as to be most useful, I should answer, ‘by restraining it to true facts & sound principles only.’ Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly deprive the nation of its benefits, than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knolege with the lies of the day. I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens, who, reading newspapers, live & die in the belief, that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time; whereas the accounts they have read in newspapers are just as true a history of any other period of the world as of the present, except that the real names of the day are affixed to their fables. General facts may indeed be collected from them, such as that Europe is now at war, that Bonaparte has been a successful warrior, that he has subjected a great portion of Europe to his will, &c., &c.; but no details can be relied on. I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false.” —Letter to John Norvell, 14 June 1807 [Works 10:417--18]
Thomas Jefferson (Works of Thomas Jefferson. Including The Jefferson Bible, Autobiography and The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Illustrated), with Notes on Virginia, Parliamentary ... more.)
a scientific endeavor can never transcend itself to select new goals. Only subjective human persons can do that. Thus if we chose as our goal the state of happiness for human beings (a goal deservedly ridiculed by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World), and if we involved all of society in a successful scientific program by which people became happy, we would be locked in a colossal rigidity in which no one would be free to question this goal,
Carl R. Rogers (Some Issues Concerning the Control of Human Behavior)
So what to do? Rycca knew perfectly well. The problem lay in convincing Dragon. Every time she tried to bring up the subject, he cut her off, which made her suspect he already knew what was in her mind. That he did this by drawing her into his arms and dazzling her with his lovemaking was beside the point.Or at least it was after she recovered enough to think again. "Some place with no bed," she murmured to herself, "no pile of straw, no mossy riverbank, no chair, bench, or table, no field, or tree,or..." She sighed and tried hard not to smile, without success. Loving Dragon and being loved by him put all the world, even Wolscroft, in a different perspective.
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
As always when he worked with this much concentration he began to feel a sense of introverting pressure. There was no way out once he was in, no genuine rest, no one to talk to who was capable of understanding the complexity (simplicity) of the problem or the approaches to a tentative solution. There came a time in every prolonged effort when he had a moment of near panic, or "terror in a lonely place," the original semantic content of the word. The lonely place was his own mind. As a mathematician he was free from subjection to reality, free to impose his ideas and designs on his own test environment. The only valid standard for his work, its critical point (zero or infinity), was the beauty it possessed, the deft strength of his mathematical reasoning. THe work's ultimate value was simply what it revealed about the nature of his intellect. What was at stake, in effect, was his own principle of intelligence or individual consciousness; his identity, in short. This was the infalling trap, the source of art's private involvement with obsession and despair, neither more nor less than the artist's self-containment, a mental state that led to storms of overwork and extended stretches of depression, that brought on indifference to life and at times the need to regurgitate it, to seek the level of expelled matter. Of course, the sense at the end of a serious effort, if the end is reached successfully, is one of lyrical exhilaration. There is air to breathe and a place to stand. The work gradually reveals its attachment to the charged particles of other minds, men now historical, the rediscovered dead; to the main structure of mathematical thought; perhaps even to reality itself, the so-called sum of things. It is possible to stand in time's pinewood dust and admire one's own veronicas and pavanes.
Don DeLillo (Ratner's Star)
You have perhaps heard some false reports On the subject of God. He is not dead; and he is not a fable. He is not mocked nor forgotten-- Successfully. God is a lion that comes in the night. God is a hawk gliding among the stars-- If all the stars and the earth, and the living flesh of the night that flows in between them, and whatever is beyond them Were that one bird. He has a bloody beak and harsh talons, he pounces and tears-- And where is the German Reich? There also Will be prodigious America and world-owning China. I say that all hopes and empires will die like yours; Mankind will die, there will be no more fools; wisdom will die; the very stars will die; One fierce life lasts.
Robinson Jeffers (The Selected Poetry)
All right, here comes the philosophy. You can leave if you like but I suggest you stick it out. You don’t measure your own success against the size or volume of the effect you’re having. You gauge it from the difference you make to the subject you’re working on. Is leading an army that wins a war really that much more satisfying than teaching a four-year-old to ride a bicycle? At our age,” she said, “you go for the small things and you do them as well as you can.” In the back of the pony trap, squashed beside his two large boxes, Siri still felt Daeng’s lip prints on his cheek and heard her whisper, “Go for the small things and do them well.” It would be his new mantra. Forget the planet, save the garden.
Colin Cotterill (Anarchy and Old Dogs (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #4))
Especially when writers are just starting out, the emphasis should be not only upon what they write, but equally upon the process of writing. A successful class is a class where no one feels that 'writer's block' is a high-priority subject.
Mary Oliver (A Poetry Handbook)
We are truly human when we live for a purpose far above ourselves; but most people prefer to identify with an entity for the sake of belonging; thereby subjecting themselves to the spirit of collective selfishness that is only found in groups.
Janvier Chando (The Union Moujik: Janvier Chando)
Now each man judges well the things he knows, and of these he is a good judge. And so the man who has been educated in a subject is a good judge of that subject, and the man who has received an all-round education is a good judge in general. Hence a young man is not a proper hearer of lectures on political science; for he is inexperienced in the actions that occur in life, but its discussions start from these and are about these; and, further, since he tends to follow his passions, his study will be vain and unprofitable, because the end aimed at is not knowledge but action. And it makes no difference whether he is young in years or youthful in character; the defect does not depend on time, but on his living, and pursuing each successive object, as passion directs. For to such persons, as to the incontinent, knowledge brings no profit; but to those who desire and act in accordance with a rational principle knowledge about such matters will be of great benefit.
Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics)
It was one of the secret opinions, such as we all have, of Peter Brench, that his main success in life would have consisted in his never having committed himself about the work, as it was called, of his friend Morgan Mallow. This was a subject on which it was, to the best of his belief, impossible with veracity to quote him, and it was nowhere on record that he had, in the connexion, on any occasion and in any embarrassment, either lied or spoken the truth. Such a triumph had its honour even for a man of other triumphs--a man who had reached fifty, who had escaped marriage, who had lived within his means, who had been in love with Mrs Mallow for years without breathing it, and who, last but not least, had judged himself once for all.
Henry James
Psychologists have found that people who watch less TV are actually more accurate judges of life’s risks and rewards than those who subject themselves to the tales of crime, tragedy, and death that appear night after night on the ten o’clock news.32
Shawn Achor (The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work)
They're arguing for giving homework and tests to all young children, or separating them into winners and losers, because these tykes need to get used to such things -- as if exposure itself will inoculate them against the negative effects they would otherwise experience later. If we were interested in helping children to anticipate and deal with unpleasant experiences, it might make sense to discuss the details with them and perhaps guide them through role-playing exercises. But why would we subject kids to those experiences? After all, to teach children how to handle a fire emergency, we talk to them about the dangers of smoke inhalation and advise them where to go when the alarm sounds. We don't actually set them on fire. But the key point is this: From a developmental perspective, BGUTI [Better-Get-Used-To-It worldview] is flat-out wrong. People don't get better at coping with unhappiness because they were because they were deliberately made unhappy when they were young On the contrary, what best prepares children to deal with the challenges of the real world is to experience success and joy, to feel supported and respected, to receive loving guidance and unconditional care and the chance to have some say about what happens to them.
Alfie Kohn (The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Coddled Kids, Helicopter Parents, and Other Phony Crises)
There is a further (non-distributional) consideration that can affect an assessment of a life’s quality. Arguably, once a life reaches a certain threshold of badness (considering both the amount and the distribution of its badness), no quantity of good can outweigh it, because no amount of good could be worth that badness. It is just this assessment that Donald (‘Dax’) Cowart made of his own life—or at least of that part of his life following a gas explosion that burnt two-thirds of his body. He refused extremely painful, life-saving treatment, but the doctors ignored his wishes and treated him nonetheless. His life was saved, he achieved considerable success, and he reattained a satisfactory quality of life. Yet, he continued to maintain that these post-burn goods were not worth the costs of enduring the treatments to which he was subjected. No matter how much good followed his recovery, this could not outweigh, at least in his own assessment, the bad of the burns and treatment that he experienced.
David Benatar (Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence)
Gossip is hater activity. So is listening to gossip, which you can cut short by interrupting the gossiper with “I don’t need to know” and steering the conversation to another subject. Seek your destiny, and do not worry about others. Only God knows the full story of everyone’s destiny; you don’t, so you’re not equipped to judge. If you find yourself rooting against anyone’s success, I encourage you to focus on yourself, what you do best, and march to your own destiny. Do not let yourself become a hater.
T.D. Jakes (Destiny: Step into Your Purpose)
Without proper readiness, we’re subject to a 'flub,' or a costly mistake which might have been easily prevented with some simple homework beforehand. Failing to do so deteriorates credibility and reputation, leaving us vulnerable to an unfavorable impression.
Susan C. Young
Barbara Fredrickson, a researcher at the University of North Carolina and perhaps the world’s leading expert on the subject, describes the ten most common positive emotions: “joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love.
Shawn Achor (The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work)
You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it. Your will, in other words, is not a manifestation of your character that you can deploy without limit; it’s instead like a muscle that tires. This is why the subjects in the Hofmann and Baumeister study had such a hard time fighting desires—over time these distractions drained their finite pool of willpower until they could no longer resist. The same will happen to you, regardless of your intentions—unless, that is, you’re smart about your habits.
Cal Newport (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)
If you find yourself falling into single-minded, repetitive practice of a particular topic or skill, change it up: mix in the practice of other subjects, other skills, constantly challenging your ability to recognize the problem type and select the right solution.
Peter C. Brown (Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning)
The act of consciously and purposefully paying attention to symptoms and their antecedents and consequences makes the symptoms more an objective target for thoughtful observation than an intolerable source of subjective anxiety, dysphoria, and frustration. In ACT, the act of accepting the symptoms as an expectable feature of a disorder or illness, has been shown to be associated with relief rather than increased distress (Hayes et al., 2006). From a traumatic stress perspective, any symptom can be reframed as an understandable, albeit unpleasant and difficult to cope with, reaction or survival skill (Ford, 2009b, 2009c). In this way, monitoring symptoms and their environmental or experiential/body state "triggers" can enhance client's willingness and ability to reflectively observe them without feeling overwhelmed, terrified, or powerless. This is not only beneficial for personal and life stabilization but is also essential to the successful processing of traumatic events and reactions that occur in the next phase of therapy (Ford & Russo, 2006).
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
I'm tempted to point out that our dealings, however unusual and close, were the dealings of businessmen. My ease with this state of affairs no doubt reveals a shortcoming on my part, but it's the same quality that enables me to thrive at work, where so many of the brisk, tough, successful men I meet are secretly sick to their stomachs and their quarterlies, are being eaten alive by bosses and clients and all-seeing wives and judgmental offspring, and are, in sum, desperate to be taken at face value and very happy to reciprocate the courtesy. This chronic and, I think, peculiarly male strain of humiliation explains the slight affection that bonds so many of us, but such affection depends on a certain reserve. Chuck observed the code, and so did I; neither pressed the other on delicate subjects.
Joseph O'Neill (Netherland)
The Caitlin books, which ran as a set of three trilogies (Loving, Promises, and Forever) published between 1985 and 1988, chart a decade or so in the life of the beautiful, terrible poor little rich girl as she repeatedly breaks up and makes up with her first love, Montana-based hunk Jed (Jed!), rides many horses, drives many luxury cars, is emotionally neglected by her family, accidentally lets an elementary schooler eat poison (it’s okay, he survives, everyone calm down!), gets trapped in a mine, reconnects with her long-lost father, goes to college, is forced against her will to become a successful model, gets trapped in a barn fire, is forced against her will to become the head of a successful mining company, and is the subject of numerous unsuccessful plots by evil men who wish to “ruin” her.
Gabrielle Moss (Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction)
subjective experience is explainable, and its successful explanation is of ethical relevance because it makes us wiser, freer, and happier. Not only does this conviction guide Spinoza’s major philosophical decisions, it also explains the lasting appeal of his chief work,
Ursula Renz (The Explainability of Experience: Realism and Subjectivity in Spinoza's Theory of the Human Mind)
Stanford psychologist Laura Carstensen, to name one such example, used an fMRI scanner to study the brain behavior of subjects presented with both positive and negative imagery. She found that for young people, their amygdala (a center of emotion) fired with activity at both types of imagery. When she instead scanned the elderly, the amygdala fired only for the positive images. Carstensen hypothesizes that the elderly subjects had trained the prefrontal cortex to inhibit the amygdala in the presence of negative stimuli. These elderly subjects were not happier because their life circumstances were better than those of the young subjects; they were instead happier because they had rewired their brains to ignore the negative and savor the positive. By skillfully managing their attention, they improved their world without changing anything concrete about it.
Cal Newport (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)
Ethan’s parents constantly told him how brainy he was. “You’re so smart! You can do anything, Ethan. We are so proud of you, they would say every time he sailed through a math test. Or a spelling test. Or any test. With the best of intentions, they consistently tethered Ethan’s accomplishment to some innate characteristic of his intellectual prowess. Researchers call this “appealing to fixed mindsets.” The parents had no idea that this form of praise was toxic.   Little Ethan quickly learned that any academic achievement that required no effort was the behavior that defined his gift. When he hit junior high school, he ran into subjects that did require effort. He could no longer sail through, and, for the first time, he started making mistakes. But he did not see these errors as opportunities for improvement. After all, he was smart because he could mysteriously grasp things quickly. And if he could no longer grasp things quickly, what did that imply? That he was no longer smart. Since he didn’t know the ingredients making him successful, he didn’t know what to do when he failed. You don’t have to hit that brick wall very often before you get discouraged, then depressed. Quite simply, Ethan quit trying. His grades collapsed. What happens when you say, ‘You’re so smart’   Research shows that Ethan’s unfortunate story is typical of kids regularly praised for some fixed characteristic. If you praise your child this way, three things are statistically likely to happen:   First, your child will begin to perceive mistakes as failures. Because you told her that success was due to some static ability over which she had no control, she will start to think of failure (such as a bad grade) as a static thing, too—now perceived as a lack of ability. Successes are thought of as gifts rather than the governable product of effort.   Second, perhaps as a reaction to the first, she will become more concerned with looking smart than with actually learning something. (Though Ethan was intelligent, he was more preoccupied with breezing through and appearing smart to the people who mattered to him. He developed little regard for learning.)   Third, she will be less willing to confront the reasons behind any deficiencies, less willing to make an effort. Such kids have a difficult time admitting errors. There is simply too much at stake for failure.       What to say instead: ‘You really worked hard’   What should Ethan’s parents have done? Research shows a simple solution. Rather than praising him for being smart, they should have praised him for working hard. On the successful completion of a test, they should not have said,“I’m so proud of you. You’re so smart. They should have said, “I’m so proud of you. You must have really studied hard”. This appeals to controllable effort rather than to unchangeable talent. It’s called “growth mindset” praise.
John Medina (Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five)
It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential. For success, the necessary ingredient may be an ability to turn away from the everyday world, from the simply practical, an ability to rethink a subject with originality so as to create in new untrodden ways. This
Steve Silberman (NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently)
There are two kinds of directors; those who have the public in mind when they conceive and make their films and those who don't consider the public at all. For the former, cinema is an art of spectacle; for the latter, it is an individual adventure. There is nothing intrinsically better about one or the other; it's simply a matter of different approaches. For Hitchcock as for Renoir, as for that matter almost all American directors, a film has not succeeded unless it is a success, that is, unless it touches the public that one has had in mind right from the moment of choosing the subject matter to the end of production. While Bresson, Tati, Rossellini, Ray make films their own way and then invite the public to join the "game," Renoir, Clouzot, Hitchcock and Hawks make movies for the public, and ask themselves all the questions they think will interest their audience. Alfred Hitchcock, who is a remarkably intelligent man, formed the habit early--right from the start of his career in England--of predicting each aspect of his films. All his life he has worked to make his own tastes coincide with the public', emphasizing humor in his English period and suspense in his American period. This dosage of humor and suspense has made Hitchcock one of the most commercial directors in the world (his films regularly bring in four times what they cost). It is the strict demands he makes on himself and on his art that have made him a great director.
François Truffaut (The Films in My Life)
it’s called socialism. Or, for those who freak out at that word, like Americans or international capitalist success stories reacting allergically to that word, call it public utility districts. They are almost the same thing. Public ownership of the necessities, so that these are provided as human rights and as public goods, in a not-for-profit way. The necessities are food, water, shelter, clothing, electricity, health care, and education. All these are human rights, all are public goods, all are never to be subjected to appropriation, exploitation, and profit. It’s as simple as that.
Kim Stanley Robinson (The Ministry for the Future)
Two aspects of thinking in particular are pronounced in both creative and hypomanic thought: fluency, rapidity, and flexibility of thought on the one hand, and the ability to combine ideas or categories of thought in order to form new and original connections on the other. The importance of rapid, fluid, and divergent thought in the creative process has been described by most psychologists and writers who have studied human imagination. The increase in the speed of thinking may exert its influence in different ways. Speed per se, that is, the quantity of thoughts and associations produced in a given period of time, may be enhanced. The increased quantity and speed of thoughts may exert an effect on the qualitative aspects of thought as well; that is, the sheer volume of thought can produce unique ideas and associations. Indeed, Sir Walter Scott, when discussing Byron's mind, commented: "The wheels of a machine to play rapidly must not fit with the utmost exactness else the attrition diminishes the Impetus." The quickness and fire of Byron's mind were not lost on others who knew him. One friend wrote: "The mind of Lord Byron was like a volcano, full of fire and wealth, sometimes calm, often dazzling and playful, but ever threatening. It ran swift as the lightning from one subject to another, and occasionally burst forth in passionate throes of intellect, nearly allied to madness." Byron's mistress, Teresa Guiccoli, noted: "New and striking thoughts followed from him in rapid succession, and the flame of genius lighted up as if winged with wildfire.
Kay Redfield Jamison (Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament)
To me life is a succession of experiences. Our task is to make those experiences as pleasant for ourselves as we can. Those experiences are what they are. Our reaction to those experiences is subjective, and largely within our control. The water in your glass is fixed. The size of your glass is entirely up to you.
Alan C. Fox (People Tools: 54 Strategies for Building Relationships, Creating Joy, and Embracing Prosperity)
But calm is precisely what is absent from love’s classroom. There is simply too much on the line. The “student” isn’t merely a passing responsibility; he or she is a lifelong commitment. Failure will ruin existence. No wonder we may be prone to lose control and deliver cack-handed, hasty speeches which bear no faith in the legitimacy or even the nobility of the act of imparting advice. And no wonder, too, if we end up achieving the very opposite of our goals, because increasing levels of humiliation, anger, and threat have seldom hastened anyone’s development. Few of us ever grow more reasonable or more insightful about our own characters for having had our self-esteem taken down a notch, our pride wounded, and our ego subjected to a succession of pointed insults. We simply grow defensive and brittle in the face of suggestions which sound like mean-minded and senseless assaults on our nature rather than caring attempts to address troublesome aspects of our personality. Had
Alain de Botton (The Course of Love)
There’s a cure for aging that no one talks about. It’s called learning. In my mind, as long as you learn something new each day, stretch your personal frontiers and improve the way you think, you cannot grow old. Aging only happens to people who lose their lust for getting better and disconnect from their natural base of curiosity. “Every three or four years I pick a new subject. It may be Japanese art; it may be economics. Three years of study are by no means enough to master a subject but they are enough to understand it. So for more than 60 years I have kept studying one subject at a time,” said Peter Drucker, the father of modern management who lived
Robin S. Sharma (The Greatness Guide: One of the World's Most Successful Coaches Shares His Secrets for Personal and Business Mastery)
There’s a cellular automaton called TVC. After Turing, von Neumann and Chiang. Chiang’s version was N-dimensional. That leaves plenty of room for data within easy reach. In two dimensions, the original von Neumann machine had to reach further and further - and wait longer and longer - for each successive bit of data. In a six-dimensional TVC automaton, you can have a three-dimensional grid of computers, which keeps on growing indefinitely - each with its own three-dimensional memory, which can also grow without bound. And when the simulated TVC universe being run on the physical computer is suddenly shut down, the best explanation for what I’ve witnessed will be a continuation of that universe - an extension made out of dust. Maria could almost see it: a vast lattice of computers, a seed of order in a sea of random noise, extending itself from moment to moment by sheer force of internal logic, “accreting” the necessary building blocks from the chaos of non-space-time by the very act of defining space and time.
Greg Egan (Permutation City (Subjective Cosmology #2))
ANYAELE SAM CHIYSON’S LAW OF OBJECTIVITY : You must be aware of who you are, use your ability to do all things right, and have all things turn out well for you without hindrance through personal feelings, prejudice, impedance or encumbrance to make your mark impeccably and in a way that is free from any subjective preference and full of excellence.
Anyaele Sam Chiyson
None of the Asian countries that have moved closer to the developed countries of the West in recent years has benefited from large foreign investments, whether it be Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan and more recently China. In essence, all of these countries themselves financed the necessary investments in physical capital and, even more, in human capital, which the latest research holds to be the key to long-term growth.35 Conversely, countries owned by other countries, whether in the colonial period or in Africa today, have been less successful, most notably because they have tended to specialize in areas without much prospect of future development and because they have been subject to chronic political instability.
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
If you are fortunate enough to have a particular activity with which you find greatest joy and technical success, it is your responsibility as a growing human being to continue that study. Whatever your endeavor, if you can expand upon the knowledge in your strongest subject, that new found understanding of all things will trickle down to every other area of your life.
Chris Matakas (My Mastery: Learning to Live through Jiu Jitsu)
There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try, “dizzy with success”, to use a characteristic phrase of early communism, to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will. The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society – a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.
Friedrich A. Hayek (A Free-Market Monetary System and The Pretense of Knowledge)
Psychologists have devised some ingenious ways to help unpack the human "now." Consider how we run those jerky movie frames together into a smooth and continuous stream. This is known as the "phi phenomenon." The essence of phi shows up in experiments in a darkened room where two small spots are briefly lit in quick succession, at slightly separated locations. What the subjects report seeing is not a succession of spots, but a single spot moving continuously back and forth. Typically, the spots are illuminated for 150 milliseconds separated by an interval of fifty milliseconds. Evidently the brain somehow "fills in" the fifty-millisecond gap. Presumably this "hallucination" or embellishment occurs after the event, because until the second light flashes the subject cannot know the light is "supposed" to move. This hints that the human now is not simultaneous with the visual stimulus, but a bit delayed, allowing time for the brain to reconstruct a plausible fiction of what has happened a few milliseconds before. In a fascinating refinement of the experiment, the first spot is colored red, the second green. This clearly presents the brain with a problem. How will it join together the two discontinuous experiences—red spot, green spot—smoothly? By blending the colors seamlessly into one another? Or something else? In fact, subjects report seeing the spot change color abruptly in the middle of the imagined trajectory, and are even able to indicate exactly where using a pointer. This result leaves us wondering how the subject can apparently experience the "correct" color sensation before the green spot lights up. Is it a type of precognition? Commenting on this eerie phenomenon, the philosopher Nelson Goodman wrote suggestively: "The intervening motion is produced retrospectively, built only after the second flash occurs and projected backwards in time." In his book Consciousness Explained , philosopher Daniel Dennett points out that the illusion of color switch cannot actually be created by the brain until after the green spot appears. "But if the second spot is already 'in conscious experience,' wouldn't it be too late to interpose the illusory content between the conscious experience of the red spot and the conscious experience of the green spot?
Paul C.W. Davies (About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution)
He had occasion to notice that the enactment and completion of a well-conceived idea is often subject to so many obstacles and so many coincidences that it often threatens to disappear entirely. Just as it seems to vanish for good, in the middle of so much confusion, success seems possible once more, when time, the best ally of an indefatigable perseverance, offers her helping hand.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Man of Fifty)
The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything's being done. The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained. Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, held the black box securely on the stool until Mr. Summers had stirred the papers thoroughly with his hand. Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations. Chips of wood, Mr. Summers had argued, had been all very well when the village was tiny, but now that the population was more than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into he black box. The night before the lottery, Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves made up the slips of paper and put them in the box, and it was then taken to the safe of Mr. Summers' coal company and locked up until Mr. Summers was ready to take it to the square next morning. The rest of the year, the box was put way, sometimes one place, sometimes another; it had spent one year in Mr. Graves's barn and another year underfoot in the post office. and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there.
Shirley Jackson (The Lottery and Other Stories)
It is in the twenties that the actual momentum of life begins to slacken, and it is a simple soul indeed to who as many things are significant and meaningful at thirty as at ten years before. At thirty an organ-grinder is a more or less moth-eaten man who grinds an organ - and once he was an organ-grinder! The unmistakable stigma of humanity touches all those impersonal and beautiful things that only youth every grasps in their impersonal glory. A brilliant ball, gay with light romance laughter, wears through its own silks and satins to show the bare framework of a man-made thing - oh, that eternal hand! - a play, most tragic and most divine, becomes merely a succession of speeches, sweated over by the eternal plagiarist in the clammy hours and acted by men subject to cramps, cowardice, and manly sentiment.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned)
We humans always seem to take a manipulative posture. No matter what the particulars of the situation, or the subject matter, we prepare ourselves to say whatever we want in order to prevail in the conversation. Each of us seeks to find some way to control and thus to remain on top in the encounter. If we are successful, or our viewpoint prevails, then rather than feel weak, we receive a psychological boost.
James Redfield
The “IQ fundamentalist” Arthur Jensen put it thusly in his 1980 book Bias in Mental Testing (p. 113): “The four socially and personally most important threshold regions on the IQ scale are those that differentiate with high probability between persons who, because of their level of general mental ability, can or cannot attend a regular school (about IQ 50), can or cannot master the traditional subject matter of elementary school (about IQ 75), can or cannot succeed in the academic or college preparatory curriculum through high school (about IQ 105), can or cannot graduate from an accredited four-year college with grades that would qualify for admission to a professional or graduate school (about IQ 115). Beyond this, the IQ level becomes relatively unimportant in terms of ordinary occupational aspirations and criteria of success. That is not to say that there are not real differences between the intellectual capabilities represented by IQs of 115 and 150 or even between IQs of 150 and 180. But IQ differences in this upper part of the scale have far less personal implications than the thresholds just described and are generally of lesser importance for success in the popular sense than are certain traits of personality and character.
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
At the very same time that we witnessed the explosion of white celebrity moms, and the outpouring of advice to a surveillance of middle-class mothers, the welfare mother, trapped in a "cycle of dependency," became ubiquitous in our media landscape, and she came to represent everything wrong with America. She appeared not in the glossy pages of the women's magazines but rather as the subject of news stories about the "crisis" in the American family and the newly declared "war" on welfare mothers. Whatever ailed America--drugs, crime, loss of productivity--was supposedly her fault. She was portrayed as thumbing her nose at intensive mothering. Even worse, she was depicted as bringing her kids into the realm of market values, as putting a price on their heads, by allegedly calculating how much each additional child was worth and then getting pregnant to cash in on them. For middle-class white women in the media, by contrast, their kids were priceless, these media depictions reinforced the divisions between "us" (minivan moms) and "them" (welfare mothers, working-class mothers, teenage mothers), and did so especially along the lines of race. For example, one of the most common sentences used to characterize the welfare mother was, "Tanya, who has_____ children by ______ different men" (you fill in the blanks). Like zoo animals, their lives were reduced to the numbers of successful impregnations by multiple partners. So it's interesting to note that someone like Christie Brinkley, who has exactly the same reproductive MO, was never described this way. Just imagine reading a comparable sentence in Redbook. "Christie B., who has three children by three different men." But she does, you know.
Susan J. Douglas (The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women)
But it is just possible that Americans may be living on one of those boundaries in human history when the virtue of an entire nation is in jeopardy, when the will of the whole people is approaching the point where it desires evil, and laws could be made which would compel men to do evil as the wicked kings in the Book of Mormon did. As religious faith deteriorates and moral standards inevitably fall, total corruption is possible. To be subject to a sovereign people which is corrupt and vicious is a more terrible situation than to be subject to a corrupt monarch. The recourse under a corrupt monarch is revolution, but what is the recourse under a corrupt democracy? A people cannot revolt against itself. Mosiah told his people what must happen: "And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land" (Mosiah 29:27). The entire society must be dismantled as it was in the days of Noah. . . . The highest kind of political activity, then, is to teach virtue and faith. Ultimately there is no other way to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the freedom which it was established to protect. Citizens of the United States claiming Latter-day Saint heritage are required to act decisively to strengthen the moral foundations of liberty, that "every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency" which the Lord has given him. This work cannot be undertaken successfully in the last hour. The last hour is too late.
Richard L. Bushman
A special kind of relationship happened between an artist and a piece of art, on account of the investment. Sometimes it was an emotional investment. The subject matter meant something to the artist, making every stroke of the brush weightier than it looked. It might be a technical investment. It was a new method, a hard angle, an artistic challenge that meant no success on the canvas could be taken for granted. And sometimes it was simply the sheer investment of time. Art took hours, days, weeks, years, of single-minded focus. This investment meant that everything that touched the art-making experience got absorbed. Music, conversations, or television shows experienced during the making became part of the piece, too. Hours, days, weeks, years later, the memory of one could instantly invoke the memory of the other, because they had been inextricably joined.
Maggie Stiefvater (Mister Impossible (Dreamer Trilogy, #2))
Once there were three tribes. The Optimists, whose patron saints were Drake and Sagan, believed in a universe crawling with gentle intelligence—spiritual brethren vaster and more enlightened than we, a great galactic siblinghood into whose ranks we would someday ascend. Surely, said the Optimists, space travel implies enlightenment, for it requires the control of great destructive energies. Any race which can't rise above its own brutal instincts will wipe itself out long before it learns to bridge the interstellar gulf. Across from the Optimists sat the Pessimists, who genuflected before graven images of Saint Fermi and a host of lesser lightweights. The Pessimists envisioned a lonely universe full of dead rocks and prokaryotic slime. The odds are just too low, they insisted. Too many rogues, too much radiation, too much eccentricity in too many orbits. It is a surpassing miracle that even one Earth exists; to hope for many is to abandon reason and embrace religious mania. After all, the universe is fourteen billion years old: if the galaxy were alive with intelligence, wouldn't it be here by now? Equidistant to the other two tribes sat the Historians. They didn't have too many thoughts on the probable prevalence of intelligent, spacefaring extraterrestrials— but if there are any, they said, they're not just going to be smart. They're going to be mean. It might seem almost too obvious a conclusion. What is Human history, if not an ongoing succession of greater technologies grinding lesser ones beneath their boots? But the subject wasn't merely Human history, or the unfair advantage that tools gave to any given side; the oppressed snatch up advanced weaponry as readily as the oppressor, given half a chance. No, the real issue was how those tools got there in the first place. The real issue was what tools are for. To the Historians, tools existed for only one reason: to force the universe into unnatural shapes. They treated nature as an enemy, they were by definition a rebellion against the way things were. Technology is a stunted thing in benign environments, it never thrived in any culture gripped by belief in natural harmony. Why invent fusion reactors if your climate is comfortable, if your food is abundant? Why build fortresses if you have no enemies? Why force change upon a world which poses no threat? Human civilization had a lot of branches, not so long ago. Even into the twenty-first century, a few isolated tribes had barely developed stone tools. Some settled down with agriculture. Others weren't content until they had ended nature itself, still others until they'd built cities in space. We all rested eventually, though. Each new technology trampled lesser ones, climbed to some complacent asymptote, and stopped—until my own mother packed herself away like a larva in honeycomb, softened by machinery, robbed of incentive by her own contentment. But history never said that everyone had to stop where we did. It only suggested that those who had stopped no longer struggled for existence. There could be other, more hellish worlds where the best Human technology would crumble, where the environment was still the enemy, where the only survivors were those who fought back with sharper tools and stronger empires. The threats contained in those environments would not be simple ones. Harsh weather and natural disasters either kill you or they don't, and once conquered—or adapted to— they lose their relevance. No, the only environmental factors that continued to matter were those that fought back, that countered new strategies with newer ones, that forced their enemies to scale ever-greater heights just to stay alive. Ultimately, the only enemy that mattered was an intelligent one. And if the best toys do end up in the hands of those who've never forgotten that life itself is an act of war against intelligent opponents, what does that say about a race whose machines travel between the stars?
Peter Watts (Blindsight (Firefall, #1))
At first Christ was a man – nothing more. Mary was his mother, Joseph his father. The genealogy of his father, Joseph, was given to show that he was of the blood of David. Then the claim was made that he was the son of God, and that his mother was a virgin, and that she remained a virgin until her death. The claim was made that Christ rose from the dead and ascended bodily to heaven. It required many years for these absurdities to take possession of the minds of men. If he really ascended, why did he not do so in public, in the presence of his persecutors? Why should this, the greatest of miracles, be done in secret, in a corner? Is Christ our example? He never said a word in favor of education. He never even hinted at the existence of any science. He never uttered a word in favor of industry, economy or of any effort to better our condition in this world. He was the enemy of the successful, of the wealthy. Dives was sent to hell, not because he was bad, but because he was rich. Lazarus went to heaven, not because he was good, but because he was poor. Christ cared nothing for painting, for sculpture, for music – nothing for any art. He said nothing about the duties of nation to nation, of king to subject; nothing about the rights of man; nothing about intellectual liberty or the freedom of speech. He said nothing about the sacredness of home; not one word for the fireside; not a word in favor of marriage, in honor of maternity. He never married. He wandered homeless from place to place with a few disciples. None of them seem to have been engaged in any useful business, and they seem to have lived on alms. All human ties were held in contempt; this world was sacrificed for the next; all human effort was discouraged. God would support and protect. At last, in the dusk of death, Christ, finding that he was mistaken, cried out: “My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me? We have found that man must depend on himself. He must clear the land; he must build the home; he must plow and plant; he must invent; he must work with hand and brain; he must overcome the difficulties and obstructions; he must conquer and enslave the forces of nature to the end that they may do the work of the world.
Robert G. Ingersoll
I had enough of a story churning in my head that combined all the elements of the day—the interview, the concert, the after-party’s private session—when he put his guitar away and asked me if I had ever experimented with homosexuality. Talk about unexpected segues. Letting him know that I had not and wasn’t about to, I successfully changed the subject by asking him to give me a condensed account about traveling to Mississippi in search of Bukka White.
Kenny Weissberg (Off My Rocker: One Man’s Tasty, Twisted, Star-Studded Quest for Everlasting Music)
It is possible to know all there is to know about a subject—medicine, for example—but if you don’t have M.D. at the end of your name, few will listen. The M.D. is what I term a “credibility indicator.” The so-called expert with the most credibility indicators, whether acronyms or affiliations, is often the most successful in the marketplace, even if other candidates have more in-depth knowledge. This is a matter of superior positioning, not deception.
Timothy Ferriss (The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich)
The tweets were not incidental to his presidency. They were central. He ordered printouts of his recent tweets that had received a high number of likes, 200,000 or more. He studied them to find the common themes in the most successful. He seemed to want to become more strategic, find out whether success was tied to the subject, the language or simply the surprise that the president was weighing in. The most effective tweets were often the most shocking.
Bob Woodward (Fear: Trump in the White House)
Since the Common Rule says that research subjects must be allowed to withdraw from research at any time, these experts have told me that, in theory, the Lacks family might be able to withdraw HeLa cells from all research worldwide. And in fact, there are precedents for such a case, including one in which a woman successfully had her father’s DNA removed from a database in Iceland. Every researcher I’ve mentioned that idea to shudders at the thought of it.
Rebecca Skloot (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)
Virtually everyone defines their identity—or constructs their belief of who they are—through their specific combination of desires and suffering. Or, desires obtained (apparent subjective success at the sacrifice of something else), desires unobtained (suffering), and desires still left as questions (to be obtained or not). And...most of the desires, and the suffering, are themselves by-products of others, established by society and the rules of each sect of society.
Darrell Calkins (Re:)
This concept upends the way most people think about their subjective experience of life. We tend to place a lot of emphasis on our circumstances, assuming that what happens to us (or fails to happen) determines how we feel. From this perspective, the small-scale details of how you spend your day aren’t that important, because what matters are the large-scale outcomes, such as whether or not you get a promotion or move to that nicer apartment. According to Gallagher, decades of research contradict this understanding. Our brains instead construct our worldview based on what we pay attention to. If you focus on a cancer diagnosis, you and your life become unhappy and dark, but if you focus instead on an evening martini, you and your life become more pleasant—even though the circumstances in both scenarios are the same. As Gallagher summarizes: “Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.
Cal Newport (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)
The most successful ruse of neoliberal dominance in both global and domestic affairs is the definition of economic policy as primarily a matter of neutral, technical expertise. This expertise is then presented as separate from politics and culture, and not properly subject to specifically political accountability or cultural critique. Opposition to material inequality is maligned as "class warfare," while race, gender or sexual inequalities are dismissed as merely cultural, private, or trivial. This rhetorical separation of the economic from the political and cultural arenas disguises the upwardly redistributing goals of neoliberalism—its concerted efforts to concentrate power and resources in the hands of tiny elites. Once economics is understood as primarily a technical realm, the trickle-upward effects of neoliberal policies can be framed as due to performance rather than design, reflecting the greater merit of those reaping larger rewards.
Lisa Duggan (The Twilight of Equality?: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy)
The lower middle class is petty bourgeois. These people seek their security in status; status in an organizational structure. They try to find a place for themselves in an organization which has a hierarchy in which they can count on moving up automatically simply by surviving. Some people still think that most Americans are active, assertive, aggressive, self-reliant people who need no help from anyone, especially the Government, and achieve success as individuals by competing freely with each other. That may have been true 100 years ago. It isn’t true today. Today more and more of us are petty bourgeois who snuggle down in a hierarchical bureaucracy where advancement is assured merely by keeping the body warm and not breaking the rules; it doesn’t matter whether it is education or the Armed Services or a big corporation or the Government. Notice that high school teachers are universally opposed to merit pay. They are paid on the basis of their degrees and years of teaching experience. Or consider the professor. He gets his Ph. D. by writing a large dissertation on a small subject, and he hopes to God he never meets anyone else who knows anything about that subject. If he does, they don’t talk about it; they talk about the weather or baseball. So our society is becoming more and more a society of white-collar clerks on many levels, including full professors. They live for retirement and find their security through status in structures.
Carroll Quigley (Carroll Quigley: Life, Lectures and Collected Writings)
Antidepression medication is temperamental. Somewhere around fifty-nine or sixty I noticed the drug I’d been taking seemed to have stopped working. This is not unusual. The drugs interact with your body chemistry in different ways over time and often need to be tweaked. After the death of Dr. Myers, my therapist of twenty-five years, I’d been seeing a new doctor whom I’d been having great success with. Together we decided to stop the medication I’d been on for five years and see what would happen... DEATH TO MY HOMETOWN!! I nose-dived like the diving horse at the old Atlantic City steel pier into a sloshing tub of grief and tears the likes of which I’d never experienced before. Even when this happens to me, not wanting to look too needy, I can be pretty good at hiding the severity of my feelings from most of the folks around me, even my doctor. I was succeeding well with this for a while except for one strange thing: TEARS! Buckets of ’em, oceans of ’em, cold, black tears pouring down my face like tidewater rushing over Niagara during any and all hours of the day. What was this about? It was like somebody opened the floodgates and ran off with the key. There was NO stopping it. 'Bambi' tears... 'Old Yeller' tears... 'Fried Green Tomatoes' tears... rain... tears... sun... tears... I can’t find my keys... tears. Every mundane daily event, any bump in the sentimental road, became a cause to let it all hang out. It would’ve been funny except it wasn’t. Every meaningless thing became the subject of a world-shattering existential crisis filling me with an awful profound foreboding and sadness. All was lost. All... everything... the future was grim... and the only thing that would lift the burden was one-hundred-plus on two wheels or other distressing things. I would be reckless with myself. Extreme physical exertion was the order of the day and one of the few things that helped. I hit the weights harder than ever and paddleboarded the equivalent of the Atlantic, all for a few moments of respite. I would do anything to get Churchill’s black dog’s teeth out of my ass. Through much of this I wasn’t touring. I’d taken off the last year and a half of my youngest son’s high school years to stay close to family and home. It worked and we became closer than ever. But that meant my trustiest form of self-medication, touring, was not at hand. I remember one September day paddleboarding from Sea Bright to Long Branch and back in choppy Atlantic seas. I called Jon and said, “Mr. Landau, book me anywhere, please.” I then of course broke down in tears. Whaaaaaaaaaa. I’m surprised they didn’t hear me in lower Manhattan. A kindly elderly woman walking her dog along the beach on this beautiful fall day saw my distress and came up to see if there was anything she could do. Whaaaaaaaaaa. How kind. I offered her tickets to the show. I’d seen this symptom before in my father after he had a stroke. He’d often mist up. The old man was usually as cool as Robert Mitchum his whole life, so his crying was something I loved and welcomed. He’d cry when I’d arrive. He’d cry when I left. He’d cry when I mentioned our old dog. I thought, “Now it’s me.” I told my doc I could not live like this. I earned my living doing shows, giving interviews and being closely observed. And as soon as someone said “Clarence,” it was going to be all over. So, wisely, off to the psychopharmacologist he sent me. Patti and I walked in and met a vibrant, white-haired, welcoming but professional gentleman in his sixties or so. I sat down and of course, I broke into tears. I motioned to him with my hand; this is it. This is why I’m here. I can’t stop crying! He looked at me and said, “We can fix this.” Three days and a pill later the waterworks stopped, on a dime. Unbelievable. I returned to myself. I no longer needed to paddle, pump, play or challenge fate. I didn’t need to tour. I felt normal.
Bruce Springsteen (Born to Run)
When people think of slavery, they think of whips, chains and neurological implants. While these things may be necessary, the real tools of a successful slave culture are psychological. Through a myriad of non-violent techniques, such as carefully selecting entertainment material, staging supportive news, and well-timed acts of love, one can tightly control the subject’s perception of his world. The mark of a truly superior slave-bearing society is when the slaves support the system as vehemently as the masters.
Kalin Ringkvist (Against a Rock)
At some very low level, we all share certain fictions about time, and they testify to the continuity of what is called human nature, however conscious some, as against others, may become of the fictive quality of these fictions. It seems to follow that we shall learn more concerning the sense-making paradigms, relative to time, from experimental psychologists than from scientists or philosophers, and more from St. Augustine than from Kant or Einstein because St. Augustine studies time as the soul's necessary self-extension before and after the critical moment upon which he reflects. We shall learn more from Piaget, from studies of such disorders as déjà vu, eidetic imagery, the Korsakoff syndrome, than from the learned investigators of time's arrow, or, on the other hand, from the mythic archetypes. Let us take a very simple example, the ticking of a clock. We ask what it says: and we agree that it says tick-tock. By this fiction we humanize it, make it talk our language. Of course, it is we who provide the fictional difference between the two sounds; tick is our word for a physical beginning, tock our word for an end. We say they differ. What enables them to be different is a special kind of middle. We can perceive a duration only when it is organized. It can be shown by experiment that subjects who listen to rhythmic structures such as tick-tock, repeated identically, 'can reproduce the intervals within the structure accurately, but they cannot grasp spontaneously the interval between the rhythmic groups,' that is, between tock and tick, even when this remains constant. The first interval is organized and limited, the second not. According to Paul Fraisse the tock-tick gap is analogous to the role of the 'ground' in spatial perception; each is characterized by a lack of form, against which the illusory organizations of shape and rhythm are perceived in the spatial or temporal object. The fact that we call the second of the two related sounds tock is evidence that we use fictions to enable the end to confer organization and form on the temporal structure. The interval between the two sounds, between tick and tock is now charged with significant duration. The clock's tick-tock I take to be a model of what we call a plot, an organization that humanizes time by giving it form; and the interval between tock and tick represents purely successive, disorganized time of the sort that we need to humanize. Later I shall be asking whether, when tick-tock seems altogether too easily fictional, we do not produce plots containing a good deal of tock-tick; such a plot is that of Ulysses.
Frank Kermode
We are always coming into being. If our beings are subject to chances and choices, then there are numerous potential permutations for each one of us. We are capable of many things, and of those tasks within the scope of our innate reach, we will probably only realize a small percentage of successes. It is crucially important that we make the best decisions we can and efficiently utilize our allotted time to make the most out of our lives. While we do not control every aspect of our ultimate destiny, we can certainly waste our life on frivolities. Alternatively, we can work resolutely with passion and purpose and by doing so place a premium value upon a life that is otherwise utterly absurd. Human beings can use thoughts to direct free will in order to exert control over our personal attitude and behavior, monitor what we say and how we behave, and determine whom we associate with and whom we avoid. Human free will allows us deliberately to determine what subjects we wish to study and what theories we desire actively to integrate into our lives.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience as naively, but not so creditably, as little children learn to read by looking at bright picture books.
Étienne de La Boétie
And men are subject, also, to this same Law of Attraction. Go into any cheap boarding house district in any city and there you will find people of the same general trend of mind associated together. On the other hand, go into any prosperous community and there you will find people of the same general tendencies associated together. Men who are successful always seek the company of others who are successful, while men who are on the ragged side of life always seek the company of those who are in similar circumstances. “Misery loves company.
Napoleon Hill (The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons)
For half the young men, that was it. They were the control group. For the other half, there was a catch. As they walked down the hallway with their questionnaire, a man—a confederate of the experimenters—walked past them and pulled out a drawer in one of the filing cabinets. The already narrow hallway now became even narrower. As the young men tried to squeeze by, the confederate looked up, annoyed. He slammed the filing cabinet drawer shut, jostled the young men with his shoulder, and, in a low but audible voice, said the trigger word: “Asshole.” Cohen and Nisbett wanted to measure, as precisely as possible, what being called that word meant. They looked at the faces of their subjects and rated how much anger they saw. They shook the young men’s hands to see if their grip was firmer than usual. They took saliva samples from the students, both before and after the insult, to see if being called an asshole caused their levels of testosterone and cortisol—the hormones that drive arousal and aggression—to go up. Finally they asked the students to read the following story and supply a conclusion: It had only been about twenty minutes since they had arrived at the party when Jill pulled Steve aside, obviously bothered about something. “What’s wrong?” asked Steve. “It’s Larry. I mean, he knows that you and I are engaged, but he’s already made two passes at me tonight.” Jill walked back into the crowd, and Steve decided to keep his eye on Larry. Sure enough, within five minutes, Larry was reaching over and trying to kiss Jill. If you’ve been insulted, are you more likely to imagine Steve doing something violent to Larry?
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
Trying to eliminate antipathy, dislike, ridicule, and insult from the human heart and mind is a task to make that of Sisyphus seem like an afternoon stroll: precisely the type of task that authoritarian governments love, for it gives them the locus standi to interfere ever more intimately with the lives of their subjects. Hatred is hydra-headed, the task is never done, it grows with its very elimination, or rather the attempts by government at its elimination. Failure is the greatest success, since it requires ever more of the same, namely control over society.
Theodore Dalrymple
The psychoanalyst Erik H. Erikson devoted a chapter in his Pulitzer Prize—winning book, Childhood and Society, to his reflections on the American identity. “This dynamic country,” he wrote, “subjects its inhabitants to more extreme contrasts and abrupt changes during a generation than is normally the case with other great nations.” Such trends have only accelerated since Erikson made that observation in 1950. The effects of rapid social and economic shifts on the parenting environment are too well known to need detailing here. The erosion of community, the breakdown of the extended family, the pressures on marriage relationships, the harried lives of nuclear families still intact and the growing sense of insecurity even in the midst of relative wealth have all combined to create an emotional milieu in which calm, attuned parenting is becoming alarmingly difficult. The result being successive generations of children in alienation, drug use and violence — what Robert Bly has astutely described as “the rage of the unparented.” Bly notes in The Sibling Society that “in 1935 the average working man had forty hours a week free, including Saturday. By 1990, it was down to seventeen hours. The twenty-three lost hours of free time a week since 1935 are the very hours in which the father could be a nurturing father, and find some center in himself, and the very hours in which the mother could feel she actually has a husband.” These patterns characterize not only the earlyyears of parenting, but entire childhoods. “Family meals, talks, reading together no longer take place,” writes Bly. “What the young need — stability, presence, attention, advice, good psychic food, unpolluted stories — is exactly what the sibling society won’t give them.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
These days, the cancer cells often need another mutation to thrive: one that will outwit the chemotherapy or radiotherapy to which the cancer is subjected. Somewhere in the body, one of the cancer cells happens to acquire a mutation that defeats the drug. As the rest of the cancer dies away, the descendants of this rogue cell gradually begin to multiply, and the cancer returns. Heartbreakingly, this is what happens all too often in the treatment of cancer: initial success followed by eventual failure. It’s an evolutionary arms race. The more we understand genomics, the more it confirms evolution.
Matt Ridley (The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge)
It’s an open debate how much education can boost innate aptitude or IQ, but the trait of “conscientiousness” does consistently predict educational and job success and also subjective happiness. Yet as access to information increases, conscientiousness will become all the more important. It will be less about whose parents could afford Harvard or who could charm the admissions officer, and more and more about who sits down and actually starts trying to master the material. And so a large part of the educational sector will be directed toward boosting conscientiousness, though not always with success.
Tyler Cowen
it is almost always a mistake for heads of state to undertake the details of a negotiation. They are then obliged to master specifics normally handled by their foreign offices and are deflected onto subjects more appropriate to their subordinates, while being kept from issues only heads of state can resolve. Since no one without a well-developed ego reaches the highest office, compromise is difficult and deadlocks are dangerous. With the domestic positions of the interlocutors so often dependent on at least the semblance of success, negotiations more often concentrate on obscuring differences than they do on dealing with the essence of a problem.
Henry Kissinger (Diplomacy)
Forgetting herself entirely, Pandora let her head loll back against Gabriel's shoulder. "What kind of glue does Ivo use?" she asked languidly. "Glue?" he echoed after a moment, his mouth close to her temple, grazing softly. "For his kites." "Ah." He paused while a wave retreated. "Joiner's glue, I believe." "That's not strong enough," Pandora said, relaxed and pensive. "He should use chrome glue." "Where would he find that?" One of his hands caressed her side gently. "A druggist can make it. One part acid chromate of lime to five parts gelatin." Amusement filtered through his voice. "Does your mind ever slow down, sweetheart?" "Not even for sleeping," she said. Gabriel steadied her against another wave. "How do you know so much about glue?" The agreeable trance began to fade as Pandora considered how to answer him. After her long hesitation, Gabriel tilted his head and gave her a questioning sideways glance. "The subject of glue is complicated, I gather." I'm going to have to tell him at some point, Pandora thought. It might as well be now. After taking a deep breath, she blurted out, "I design and construct board games. I've researched every possible kind of glue required for manufacturing them. Not just for the construction of the boxes, but the best kind to adhere lithographs to the boards and lids. I've registered a patent for the first game, and soon I intend to apply for two more." Gabriel absorbed the information in remarkably short order. "Have you considered selling the patents to a publisher?" "No, I want to make the games at my own factory. I have a production schedule. The first one will be out by Christmas. My brother-in-law, Mr. Winterborne, helped me to write a business plan. The market in board games is quite new, and he thinks my company will be successful." "I'm sure it will be. But a young woman in your position has no need of a livelihood." "I do if I want to be self-supporting." "Surely the safety of marriage is preferable to the burdens of being a business proprietor." Pandora turned to face him fully. "Not if 'safety' means being owned. As things stand now, I have the freedom to work and keep my earnings. But if I marry you, everything I have, including my company, would immediately become yours. You would have complete authority over me. Every shilling I made would go directly to you- it wouldn't even pass through my hands. I'd never be able to sign a contract, or hire employees, or buy property. In the eyes of the law, a husband and wife are one person, and that person is the husband. I can't bear the thought of it. It's why I never want to marry.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
About his madmen Mr. Lecky was no more certain. He knew less than the little to be learned of the causes or even of the results of madness. Yet for practical purposes one can imagine all that is necessary. As long as maniacs walk like men, you must come close to them to penetrate so excellent a disguise. Once close, you have joined the true werewolf. Pick for your companion a manic-depressive, afflicted by any of the various degrees of mania - chronic, acute, delirious. Usually more man than wolf, he will be instructive. His disorder lies in the very process of his thinking, rather than in the content of his thought. He cannot wait a minute for the satisfaction of his fleeting desires or the fulfillment of his innumerable schemes. Nor can he, for two minutes, be certain of his intention or constant in any plan or agreement. Presently you may hear his failing made manifest in the crazy concatenation of his thinking aloud, which psychiatrists call "flight of ideas." Exhausted suddenly by this riotous expense of speech and spirit, he may subside in an apathy dangerous and morose, which you will be well advised not to disturb. Let the man you meet be, instead, a paretic. He has taken a secret departure from your world. He dwells amidst choicest, most dispendious superlatives. In his arm he has the strength to lift ten elephants. He is already two hundred years old. He is more than nine feet high; his chest is of iron, his right leg is silver, his incomparable head is one whole ruby. Husband of a thousand wives, he has begotten on them ten thousand children. Nothing is mean about him; his urine is white wine; his faeces are always soft gold. However, despite his splendor and his extraordinary attainments, he cannot successfully pronounce the words: electricity, Methodist Episcopal, organization, third cavalry brigade. Avoid them. Infuriated by your demonstration of any accomplishment not his, he may suddenly kill you. Now choose for your friend a paranoiac, and beware of the wolf! His back is to the wall, his implacable enemies are crowding on him. He gets no rest. He finds no starting hole to hide him. Ten times oftener than the Apostle, he has been, through the violence of the unswerving malice which pursues him, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of his own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Now that, face to face with him, you simulate innocence and come within his reach, what pity can you expect? You showed him none; he will certainly not show you any. Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, 0 Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all the perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen. Mr. Lecky's maniacs lay in wait to slash a man's head half off, to perform some erotic atrocity of disembowelment on a woman. Here, they fed thoughtlessly on human flesh; there, wishing to play with him, they plucked the mangled Tybalt from his shroud. The beastly cunning of their approach, the fantastic capriciousness of their intention could not be very well met or provided for. In his makeshift fort everywhere encircled by darkness, Mr. Lecky did not care to meditate further on the subject.
James Gould Cozzens (Castaway)
Melancholy is that a scrambled egg can't be unscrambled--entropy increases--experience is subject to the arrow of time. And the infinite sadness of my life consists in that I only recognize the beauty of simple arrangements from the relative vantage of the scrambled; memory, not experience, is my only access to it. Anxiety is the progression toward equilibrium. Despair is the inescapability. Insanity is the rationalizing of it all. Sanity is the irrational acceptance of it all. Indifference is just detached therapy. And progression--activity / toil / tasks / success / failure--just coping distraction and procrastination, just ill-placed deferment--my preferred route. And crisis--
Jack Foster (Fresh Fruit: A Preface)
Publicity in itself, of whatever nature, connotes a disturbance of the natural equilibrium of a man. Under normal circumstances, the name a human being bears is no more than the band is to a cigar: a means of identification, a superficial, almost unimportant thing that is only loosely related to the real subject, the true ego. In the event of a success the name begins to swell, so to say. It loosens itself from the human being that bears it and becomes a power in itself, a force, an independent thing, an article of commerce, a capital asset; and psychologically again with strong reaction it becomes a force which tends to influence, to dominate, to transform the person who bears it.
Stefan Zweig (The World of Yesterday)
The researchers tried a clever tactic to overcome this problem. They created a number of recipes for common foods including muffins and pasta in which they could disguise placebo ingredients like bran and molasses to match the texture and color of the flax-laden foods. This way, they could randomize people into two groups and secretly introduce tablespoons of daily ground flaxseeds into the diets of half the participants to see if it made any difference. After six months, those who ate the placebo foods started out hypertensive and stayed hypertensive, despite the fact that many of them were on a variety of blood pressure pills. On average, they started the study at 155/81 and ended it at 158/81. What about the hypertensives who were unknowingly eating flaxseeds every day? Their blood pressure dropped from 158/82 down to 143/75. A seven-point drop in diastolic blood pressure may not sound like a lot, but that would be expected to result in 46 percent fewer strokes and 29 percent less heart disease over time.125 How does that result compare with taking drugs? The flaxseeds managed to drop subjects’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure by up to fifteen and seven points, respectively. Compare that result to the effect of powerful antihypertensive drugs, such as calcium-channel blockers (for example, Norvasc, Cardizem, Procardia), which have been found to reduce blood pressure by only eight and three points, respectively, or to ACE inhibitors (such as Vasotec, Lotensin, Zestril, Altace), which drop patients’ blood pressure by only five and two points, respectively.126 Ground flaxseeds may work two to three times better than these medicines, and they have only good side effects. In addition to their anticancer properties, flaxseeds have been demonstrated in clinical studies to help control cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar levels; reduce inflammation, and successfully treat constipation.127 Hibiscus Tea for Hypertension Hibiscus tea, derived from the flower of the same name, is also known as roselle, sorrel, jamaica, or sour tea. With
Michael Greger (How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease)
Feminist “theory,” as it is grandiloquently called, is simply whatever the women in the movement come up with in post facto justification of their attitudes and emotions. A heavy focus on feminist doctrine seems to me symptomatic of the rationalist fallacy: the assumption that people are motivated primarily by beliefs. If they were, the best way to combat an armed doctrine would indeed be to demonstrate that its beliefs are false. (…) A feminist in the strict and proper sense may be defined as a woman who envies the male role. By the male role I mean, in the first place, providing, protecting, and guiding rather than nurturing and assisting. This in turn envolves relative independence, action, and competition in the larger impersonal society outside the family, the use of language for communication and analysis (rather than expressiveness or emotional manipulation), and deliberate behavior aiming at objective achievement (rather than the attainment of pleasant subjective states) and guided by practical reasoning (rather than emotional impulse). Both feminist and nonfeminist women sense that these characteristically male attributes have a natural primacy over their own. I prefer to speak of“primacy” rather than superiority in this context since both sets of traits are necessary to propagate the race. One sign of male primacy is that envy of the female role by men is virtually nonexistent — even, so far as I know, among homosexuals. Normal women are attracted to male traits and wish to partner with a man who possesses them. (…) The feminists’ response to the primacy of male traits, on the other hand, is a feeling of inadequacy in regard to men—a feeling ill-disguised by defensive assertions of her “equality.”She desires to possess masculinity directly, in her own person, rather than partnering with a man. That is what leads her into the spiritual cul de sac of envy. And perhaps even more than she envies the male role itself, the feminist covets the external rewards attached to its successful performance: social status, recognition, power, wealth, and the chance to control wealth directly (rather than be supported).
F. Roger Devlin (Sexual Utopia in Power: The Feminist Revolt Against Civilization)
The doctrine of Relativity is carried to a fallacious pitch, when applied to prove that there must be something absolute, because the Relative must suppose the non- Relative. If there be Relation, it is said, there must be something Un-related, or above all relation. But Relation cannot in this way, be brought round on itself, except by a verbal juggle. Relation means that every conscious state has a correlative state ; which brings us at last to a couple (the subject-mind, and the object or extended world). This is the final end of all possible cognition. We may view the two facts separately or together; and we may call the conjunct view an Absolute (as Ferrier does), but this adds nothing to our knowledge. A self-contradiction is committed by inferring from * everything is relative,' that * something is non-relative.' Fallacies of Relativity often arise in the hyperboles of Rhetoric. In order to reconcile to their lot the more humble class of manual labourers, the rhetorician proclaims the dignity of all labour, without being conscious that if all labour is dignified, none is ; dignity supposes inferior grades ; a mountain height is abolished if all the surrounding plains are raised to the level of its highest peak. So, in spurring men to industry and perseverance, examples of distinguished success are held up for universal imitation ; while, in fact, these cases owe their distinction to the general backwardness.
Alexander Bain (Logic: Deductive and Inductive)
Those who nod sagely and quote the tragedy of the commons in relation to environmental problems from pollution of the atmosphere to poaching of national parks tend to forget that Garrett Hardin revised his conclusions many times over thirty years. He recognized, most importantly, that anarchy did not prevail on the common pastures of midieval England in the way he had described [in his 1968 essay in 'Science']. The commoners--usually a limited number of people with defined rights in law--organized themselves to ensure it did not. The pastures were protected from ruin by the tradition of 'stinting,' which limited each herdsman to a fixed number of animals. 'A managed commons, though it may have other defects, is not automatically subject to the tragic fate of the unmanaged commons,' wrote Hardin, though he was still clearly unhappy with commoning arrangements. As with all forms of socialism, of which he regarded commoning as an early kind, Hardin said the flaw in the system lay in the quality of the management. The problem was alays how to prevent the managers from furthering their own interests. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who guards the guardians? Hardin observed, crucially, that a successful managed common depended on limiting the numbers of commoners, limiting access, and having penalties that deterred. [...] None of Hardin's requirements for a successfully managed common is fulfilled by high-seas fishery regimes
Charles Clover (The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat)
If the Pentateuch be true, religious persecution is a duty. The dungeons of the Inquisition were temples, and the clank of every chain upon the limbs of heresy was music in the ear of God. If the Pentateuch was inspired, every heretic should be destroyed; and every man who advocates a fact inconsistent with the sacred book, should be consumed by sword and flame. In the Old Testament no one is told to reason with a heretic, and not one word is said about relying upon argument, upon education, nor upon intellectual development—nothing except simple brute force. Is there to-day a christian who will say that four thousand years ago, it was the duty of a husband to kill his wife if she differed with him upon the subject of religion? Is there one who will now say that, under such circumstances, the wife ought to have been killed? Why should God be so jealous of the wooden idols of the heathen? Could he not compete with Baal? Was he envious of the success of the Egyptian magicians? Was it not possible for him to make such a convincing display of his power as to silence forever the voice of unbelief? Did this God have to resort to force to make converts? Was he so ignorant of the structure of the human mind as to believe all honest doubt a crime? If he wished to do away with the idolatry of the Canaanites, why did he not appear to them? Why did he not give them the tables of the law? Why did he only make known his will to a few wandering savages in the desert of Sinai? Will some theologian have the kindness to answer these questions? Will some minister, who now believes in religious liberty, and eloquently denounces the intolerance of Catholicism, explain these things; will he tell us why he worships an intolerant God? Is a god who will burn a soul forever in another world, better than a christian who burns the body for a few hours in this? Is there no intellectual liberty in heaven? Do the angels all discuss questions on the same side? Are all the investigators in perdition? Will the penitent thief, winged and crowned, laugh at the honest folks in hell? Will the agony of the damned increase or decrease the happiness of God? Will there be, in the universe, an eternal auto da fe?
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
A laboratory analogy to repression can be found in an experiment by A.F. Zeller. Zeller arranged a situation so that one group of students underwent an unhappy “failure” experience right after they had successfully learned a list of nonsense syllables. When tested later, these subjects showed much poorer recall of the nonsense syllables compared to a control group, who had not experienced failure. When this same “failure” group was later allowed to succeed on the same task that they had earlier failed, their recall showed tremendous improvement. This experiment indicates that when the reason for the repression is removed, when material to be remembered is no longer associated with negative effects, a person no longer experiences retrieval failure.
Elizabeth F. Loftus (Human Memory: The Processing of Information)
What is the purpose in this context of appealing to opinion and semantic relativism?  The purpose is to get your opponent off your back and to get some breathing space. If your opponent accepts that the debate is a matter of opinion or semantics, then your losing the argument does not matter: nobody is right or wrong. But if your opponent does not accept that everything is a matter of opinion, then his attention is diverted away from the subject matter at hand—namely, politics—and into epistemology. For now he has to show why everything is not merely semantics, and that will take him awhile. Meanwhile, you have successfully diverted him. And if it looks like he is doing a good job on the semantics argument, then you can throw in—“Well, what about perceptual illusions?
Stephen R.C. Hicks (Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault)
Entrepreneurs are selected to be just doers, not thinkers, and doers do, they don’t talk, and it would be unfair, wrong, and downright insulting to measure them in the talk department. The same with artisans: the quality lies in their product, not their conversation—in fact they can easily have false beliefs that, as a side effect (inverse iatrogenics), lead them to make better products, so what? Bureaucrats, on the other hand, because of the lack of an objective metric of success and the absence of market forces, are selected on the “halo effects” of shallow looks and elegance. The side effect is to make them better at conversation. I am quite certain a dinner with a United Nations employee would cover more interesting subjects than one with some of Fat Tony’s cousins or a computer entrepreneur obsessed with circuits.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder)
When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer; say traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. All this fires my soul, and provided I am not disturbed, my subject enlarges itself, becomes methodized and defined, and the whole, though it be long, stands almost finished and complete in my mind, so that I can survey it, like a fine picture or a beautiful statue, at a glance. Nor do I hear in my imagination the parts successively, but I hear them, as it were, all at once. When I proceed to write down my ideas the committing to paper is done quickly enough, for everything is, as I said before, already finished; and it rarely differs on paper from what it was in my imagination.
Kevin Ashton (How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery)
Truth, says instrumentalism, is what works out, that which does what you expect it to do. The judgment is true when you can "bank" on it and not be disappointed. If, when you predict, or when you follow the lead of your idea or plan, it brings you to the ends sought for in the beginning, your judgment is true. It does not consist in agreement of ideas, or the agreement of ideas with an outside reality; neither is it an eternal something which always is, but it is a name given to ways of thinking which get the thinker where he started. As a railroad ticket is a "true" one when it lands the passenger at the station he sought, so is an idea "true," not when it agrees with something outside, but when it gets the thinker successfully to the end of his intellectual journey. Truth, reality, ideas and judgments are not things that stand out eternally "there," whether in the skies above or in the earth beneath; but they are names used to characterize certain vital stages in a process which is ever going on, the process of creation, of evolution. In that process we may speak of reality, this being valuable for our purposes; again, we may speak of truth; later, of ideas; and still again, of judgments; but because we talk about them we should not delude ourselves into thinking we can handle them as something eternally existing as we handle a specimen under the glass. Such a conception of truth and reality, the instrumentalist believes, is in harmony with the general nature of progress. He fails to see how progress, genuine creation, can occur on any other theory on theories of finality, fixity, and authority; but he believes that the idea of creation which we have sketched here gives man a vote in the affairs of the universe, renders him a citizen of the world to aid in the creation of valuable objects in the nature of institutions and principles, encourages him to attempt things "unattempted yet in prose or rhyme," inspires him to the creation of "more stately mansions," and to the forsaking of his "low vaulted past." He believes that the days of authority are over, whether in religion, in rulership, in science, or in philosophy; and he offers this dynamic universe as a challenge to the volition and intelligence of man, a universe to be won or lost at man’s option, a universe not to fall down before and worship as the slave before his master, the subject before his king, the scientist before his principle, the philosopher before his system, but a universe to be controlled, directed, and recreated by man’s intelligence.
Holly Estil Cunningham (An Introduction to Philosophy)
Come inside with me,” he urged, increasing the pressure on her elbow, “and I’ll begin making it up to you.” Elizabeth let herself be drawn forward a few steps and hesitated. “This is a mistake. Everyone will see us and think we’ve started it all over again-“ “No, they won’t,” he promised. “There’s a rumor spreading like fire in there that I tried to get you in my clutches two years ago, but without a title to tempt you I didn’t have a chance. Since acquiring a title is a holy crusade for most of them, they’ll admire your sense. Now that I have a title, I’m expected to use it to try to succeed where I failed before-as a way of bolstering my wounded male pride.” Reaching up to brush a wisp of hair from her soft cheek, he said, “I’m sorry. It was the best I could do with what I had to work with-we were seen together in compromising circumstances. Since they’d never believe nothing happened, I could only make them think I was in pursuit and you were evading.” She flinched from his touch but didn’t shove his hand away. “You don’t understand. What’s happening to me in there is no less than I deserve. I knew what the rules were, and I broke them when I stayed with you at the cottage. You didn’t force me to stay. I broke the rules, and-“ “Elizabeth,” he interrupted in a voice edge with harsh remorse, “if you won’t do anything else for me, at least stop exonerating me for that weekend. I can’t bear it. I exerted more force on you than you understand.” Longing to kiss her, Ian had to be satisfied instead with trying to convince her his plan would work, because he now needed her help to ensure its success. In a teasing voice he said, “I think you’re underrating my gift for strategy and subtlety. Come and dance with me, and I’ll prove to you how easily most of the male minds in there have been manipulated.” Despite his confidence, moments after they entered the ballroom Ian noticed the increasing coldness of the looks being directed at them, and he knew a moment of real alarm-until he glanced at Elizabeth as he took her in his arms for a waltz and realized the cause of it. “Elizabeth,” he said in a low, urgent voice, gazing down at her bent head, “stop looking meek! Put your nose in the air and cut me dead or flirt with me, but do not on any account look humble, because these people will interpret it as guilt!” Elizabeth, who had been staring at his shoulder, as she'd done with her other dancing partners, tipped her head back and looked at him in confusion. "What?" Ian's heart turned over when the chandeliers overhead revealed the wounded look in her glorious green eyes. Realizing logic and lectures weren't going to help her give the performance he badly needed her to give, he tried the tack that had, in Scotland, made her stop crying and begin to laugh: He tried to tease her. Casting about for a subject, he said quickly, "Belhaven is certainly in fine looks tonight-pink satin pantaloons. I asked him for the name of his tailor so that I could order a pair for myself." Elizabeth looked at him as if he'd taken leave of his senses; then his warning about looking meek hit home, and she began to understand what he wanted her to do. That added to the comic image of Ian's tall, masculine frame in those absurd pink pantaloons enabled her to manage a weak smile. "I have greatly admired those pantaloons myself," she said. "Will you also order a yellow satin coat to complement the look?" He smiled. "I thought-puce." "An unusual combination," she averred softly, "but one that I am sure will make you the envy of all who behold you.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Gather close, and let us speak of nasty little shits. Oh, come now, we are no strangers to the vicious demons in placid disguises, innocent eyes so wide, hidden minds so dark. Does evil exist? Is it a force, some deadly possession that slips into the unwary? Is it a thing separate and thus subject to accusation and blame, distinct from the one it has used? Does it flit from soul to soul, weaving its diabolical scheme in all the unseen places, snarling into knots tremulous fears and appalling opportunity, stark terrors and brutal self-interest? Or is the dread word nothing more than a quaint and oh so convenient encapsulation of all those traits distinctly lacking moral context, a sweeping generalization embracing all things depraved and breath takingly cruel, a word to define that peculiar glint in the eye—the voyeur to one’s own delivery of horror, of pain and anguish and impossible grief? Give the demon crimson scales, slashing talons. Tentacles and dripping poison. Three eyes and six slithering tongues. As it crouches there in the soul, its latest abode in an eternal succession of abodes, may every god kneel in prayer. But really. Evil is nothing but a word, an objectification where no objectification is necessary. Cast aside this notion of some external agency as the source of inconceivable inhumanity—the sad truth is our possession of an innate proclivity towards indifference, towards deliberate denial of mercy, towards disengaging all that is moral within us. But if that is too dire, let’s call it evil. And paint it with fire and venom. There are extremities of behaviour that seem, at the time, perfectly natural, indeed reasonable. They are arrived at suddenly, or so it might seem, but if one looks the progression reveals itself, step by step, and that is a most sad truth.
Steven Erikson (Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8))
In explaining the way that trivial, if diverting, pursuits like Guitar Hero provide an easy alternative to meaningful work, Horning draws on the writing of political theorist Jon Elster. In his 1986 book An Introduction to Karl Marx, Elster used a simple example to illustrate the psychic difference between the hard work of developing talent and the easy work of consuming stuff: Compare playing the piano with eating lamb chops. The first time one practices the piano it is difficult, even painfully so. By contrast, most people enjoy lamb chops the first time they eat them. Over time, however, these patterns are reversed. Playing the piano becomes increasingly more rewarding, whereas the taste for lamb chops becomes satiated and jaded with repeated, frequent consumption. Elster then made a broader point: Activities of self-realization are subject to increasing marginal utility: They become more enjoyable the more one has already engaged in them. Exactly the opposite is true of consumption. To derive sustained pleasure from consumption, diversity is essential. Diversity, on the other hand, is an obstacle to successful self-realization, as it prevents one from getting into the later and more rewarding stages. “Consumerism,” comments Horning, “keeps us well supplied with stuff and seems to enrich our identities by allowing us to become familiar with a wide range of phenomena—a process that the internet has accelerated immeasurably. . . . But this comes at the expense with developing any sense of mastery of anything, eroding over time the sense that mastery is possible, or worth pursuing.” Distraction is the permanent end state of the perfected consumer, not least because distraction is a state that is eminently programmable. To buy a guitar is to open possibilities. To buy Guitar Hero is to close them. A
Nicholas Carr (Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations)
This is a small book about a very important subject. A lot has been written about trust: about what it is and what it can do for people, families, companies, communities and countries. As an executive coach and consultant I often find myself engaged by companies where good work is being sabotaged by interpersonal conflict, political infighting, paralysis, stagnation, apathy, or cynicism. I almost always trace these problems to a breakdown in trust. It not only kills good work, it also inevitably creates some degree of misery, annoyance, fear, anger, frustration, resentment, and resignation. By contrast, in successful companies where people are innovative, engage in productive conflict and debate about ideas, and have fun working together, I find strong trusting relationships. As a result, I’ve come to believe having the trust of those you work with is too important not to be intentional about building and maintaining it.
Charles Feltman (The Thin Book of Trust; An Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work)
Sound waves, regardless of their frequency or intensity, can only be detected by the Mole Fly’s acute sense of smell—it is a little known fact that the Mole Fly’s auditory receptors do not, in fact, have a corresponding center in the brain designated for the purposes of processing sensory stimuli and so, these stimuli, instead of being siphoned out as noise, bypass the filters to be translated, oddly enough, by the part of the brain that processes smell. Consequently, the Mole Fly’s brain, in its inevitable confusion, understands sound as an aroma, rendering the boundary line between the auditory and olfactory sense indistinguishable. Sounds, thus, come in a variety of scents with an intensity proportional to its frequency. Sounds of shorter wavelength, for example, are particularly pungent. What results is a species of creature that cannot conceptualize the possibility that sound and smell are separate entities, despite its ability to discriminate between the exactitudes of pitch, timbre, tone, scent, and flavor to an alarming degree of precision. Yet, despite this ability to hyper-analyze, they lack the cognitive skill to laterally link successions of either sound or smell into a meaningful context, resulting in the equivalent of a data overflow. And this may be the most defining element of the Mole Fly’s behavior: a blatant disregard for the context of perception, in favor of analyzing those remote and diminutive properties that distinguish one element from another. While sensory continuity seems logical to their visual perception, as things are subject to change from moment-to-moment, such is not the case with their olfactory sense, as delays in sensing new smells are granted a degree of normality by the brain. Thus, the Mole Fly’s olfactory-auditory complex seems to be deprived of the sensory continuity otherwise afforded in the auditory senses of other species. And so, instead of sensing aromas and sounds continuously over a period of time—for example, instead of sensing them 24-30 times per second, as would be the case with their visual perception—they tend to process changes in sound and smell much more slowly, thereby preventing them from effectively plotting the variations thereof into an array or any kind of meaningful framework that would allow the information provided by their olfactory and auditory stimuli to be lasting in their usefulness. The Mole flies, themselves, being the structurally-obsessed and compulsive creatures that they are, in all their habitual collecting, organizing, and re-organizing of found objects into mammoth installations of optimal functional value, are remarkably easy to control, especially as they are given to a rather false and arbitrary sense of hierarchy, ascribing positions—that are otherwise trivial, yet necessarily mundane if only to obscure their true purpose—with an unfathomable amount of honor, to the logical extreme that the few chosen to serve in their most esteemed ranks are imbued with a kind of obligatory arrogance that begins in the pupal stages and extends indefinitely, as they are further nurtured well into adulthood by a society that infuses its heroes of middle management with an immeasurable sense of importance—a kind of celebrity status recognized by the masses as a living embodiment of their ideals. And yet, despite this culture of celebrity worship and vicarious living, all whims and impulses fall subservient, dropping humbly to the knees—yes, Mole Flies do, in fact, have knees!—before the grace of the merciful Queen, who is, in actuality, just a puppet dictator installed by the Melic papacy, using an old recycled Damsel fly-fishing lure. The dummy is crude, but convincing, as the Mole flies treat it as they would their true-born queen.
Ashim Shanker (Don't Forget to Breathe (Migrations, Volume I))
... when Warner Bros. cancelled the financing for Zoetrope, the Apocalypse Now project was abandoned for a while. After the success of American Graffiti in 1973, George wanted to revive it, but it was still too hot a topic – the war was still on – and notobdy wanted to finance something like that. So George considered his options: What did he really want to say in Apocalypse Now? The message boiled down to the ability of a small group of people to defeat a gigantic power simply by the force of their convictions. And he decided, All right, if it's politically too hot as a contemporary subject, I'll put the essence of the story in outer space and make it happen in a galaxy long ago and far away. The rebel group were the North Vietnamese and the Empire was the United States. And if you have the force, no matter how small you are, you can defeat the overwhelmingly big power. Star Wars is George's transubstantiated version of Apocalypse Now.
Walter Murch (The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film)
If the last few decades have seen a surge or resurgence of ambiguous memory and identity syndromes, they have also led to important research—forensic, theoretical, and experimental—on the malleability of memory. Elizabeth Loftus, the psychologist and memory researcher, has documented a disquieting success in implanting false memories by simply suggesting to a subject that he has experienced a fictitious event. Such pseudo-events, invented by psychologists, may vary from comic incidents to mildly upsetting ones (for example, that one was lost in a shopping mall as a child) to more serious incidents (that one was the victim of an animal attack or an assault by another child). After initial skepticism (“I was never lost in a shopping mall”) and then uncertainty, the subject may move to a conviction so profound that he will continue to insist on the truth of the implanted memory even after the experimenter confesses that it never happened in the first place.
Oliver Sacks (The River of Consciousness)
The fashion now is to think of universities as industries or businesses. University presidents, evidently thinking of themselves as CEO's, talk of "business plans" and "return on investment," as if the industrial economy could provide an aim and a critical standard appropriate either to education or to research. But this is not possible. No economy, industrial or otherwise, can supply an appropriate aim or standard. Any economy must be either true or false to the world and to our life in it. If it is to be true, then it must be made true, according to a standard that is not economic. To regard the economy as an end or as the measure of success is merely to reduce students, teachers, researchers, and all they know or learn to merchandise. It reduces knowledge to "property" and education to training for the "job market." If, on the contrary, [Sir Albert] Howard was right in his belief that health is the "one great subject," then a unifying aim and a common critical standard are clearly implied. Health is at once quantitative and qualitative; it requires both sufficiency and goodness. It is comprehensive (it is synonymous with "wholeness"), for it must leave nothing out. And it is uncompromisingly local and particular; it has to do with the sustenance of particular places, creatures, human bodies, and human minds. If a university began to assume responsibility for the health of its place and its local constituents, then all of its departments would have a common aim, and they would have to judge their place and themselves and one another by a common standard. They would need one another's knowledge. They would have to communicate with one another; the diversity of specialists would have to speak to one another in a common language. And here again Howard is exemplary, for he wrote, and presumably spoke, a plain, vigorous, forthright English-- no jargon, no condescension, no ostentation, no fooling around.
Wendell Berry
If the first king of any country was by election, that likewise establishes a precedent for the next; for to say, that the right of all future generations is taken away, by the act of the first electors, in their choice not only of a king, but of a family of kings for ever, hath no parrallel in or out of scripture but the doctrine of original sin, which supposes the free will of all men lost in Adam; and from such comparison, and it will admit of no other, hereditary succession can derive no glory. For as in Adam all sinned, and as in the first electors all men obeyed; as in the one all mankind were subjected to Satan, and in the other to Sovereignty; as our innocence was lost in the first, and our authority in the last; and as both disable us from reassuming some former state and privilege, it unanswerably follows that original sin and hereditary succession are parallels. Dishonorable rank! Inglorious connexion! Yet the most subtile sophist cannot produce a juster simile.
Thomas Paine (Common Sense)
At their best, old-fashioned military academies saved students from delinquency. At their worst, they drove boys to it by subjecting them to a culture that valued dominance, violence, and subversion of authorities. The experience is brilliantly told in Pat Conroy’s novel The Lords of Discipline, which depicts life at a military college similar to The Citadel in South Carolina. Although Conroy writes with both dismay and affection, others have offered a more scathing evaluation of these places. In his memoir, Breakshot, former mobster Kenny Gallo noted that his military boarding-school experience transformed him from “a disorderly brat into an orderly outlaw.” Recalling his career at Army and Navy Academy in California, Gallo writes, “I guess you could say my ‘normal’ social development stopped at military school when I was thirteen; I stopped developing as a healthy adult citizen and, first out of self defense and then out of pleasure, began honing my skills as a predator.”7 As
Michael D'Antonio (Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success)
We have already observed that by excluding the immense majority of the human species from its midst, by keeping this majority outside the reciprocal engagements and duties of morality, of justice, and of right, the State denies humanity and, using that sonorous word patriotism, imposes injustice and cruelty as a supreme duty upon all its subjects. It restricts, it mutilates, it kills humanity in them, so that by ceasing to be men, they may be solely citizens—or rather, and more specifically, that through the historic connection and succession of facts, they may never rise above the citizen to the height of being man We have also seen that every state, under pain of destruction and fearing to be devoured by its neighbor states, must reach out toward omnipotence, and, having become powerful, must conquer. Who speaks of conquest speaks of peoples conquered, subjugated, reduced to slavery in whatever form or denomination. Slavery, therefore, is the necessary consequence of the very existence of the State.
Mikhail Bakunin
Spare a thought in 2013, this horrible horrible time to be alive, for the satirist. To satirise the self-satirising effluence that passes for populist entertainment and the pathetic vanity of a self-deifying movie industry is no mean feat in an age comfortable in its metameta cage. Being born into a system that values success, usually financial, above everything else, into an essentially worthless and spoiled world of governments happy to toss art aside in favour of financial dominance and petty power, gives the writer a subject, but limited maneuverability in his approach. To merry heck with the leaders who close libraries, theatres and community centres in favour of opening more retail opportunities and call centres to slowly mind-melt the populace. Fuck these zoot-suited capitalist cockslingers with their pus-filled polyps for souls. Because the only respite from the failed system in this failed First World is through literature—not through the ideologues, rhetoricians or motivational yammerers, but through the wonderous drug of fiction.
MJ Nicholls
Surely the extraordinary success of artificial intelligence is attributable to the fact that it frees us from real intelligence, that by hypertrophying thought as an operational process it frees us from thought's ambiguity and from the insoluble puzzle of its relationship to the world. Surely the success of all these technologies is a result of the way in which they make it impossible even to raise the timeless question of liberty. What a relief! Thanks to the machinery of the virtual, all your problems are over! You are no longer either subject or object, no longer either free or alienated - and no longer either one or the other: you are the same, and enraptured by the commutations of that sameness. We have left the hell of other people for the ecstasy of the same, the purgatory of otherness for the artificial paradises of identity. Some might call this an even worse servitude, but Telecomputer Man, having no will of his own, knows nothing of serfdom. Alienation of man by man is a thing of the past: now man is plunged into homeostasis by machines.
Jean Baudrillard (The Transparency of Evil: Essays in Extreme Phenomena)
They recruited senior research scientists from different local companies as subjects, and asked them to bring with them to the sessions at least two different problems on which they had been working without success for at least three months. These subjects were executives at Hewlett-Packard, fellows at the Stanford Research Institute, architects, and designers. Among them were the people who would design the first silicon chips, create word processing, and invent the computer mouse. Fadiman and his colleagues administered one-hundred-microgram doses of LSD to the subjects and guided them through the next hours as they puzzled over their intractable problems.*3 The subjects worked on their problems and took a variety of psychometric tests. The results were striking. Many of the subjects experienced flashes of intellectual intuition. Their performance on the psychometric tests improved, but, more important, they solved their thorny equations and problems. According to Fadiman, “A number of patents, products, and publications emerged out of that study.
Ayelet Waldman (A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life)
Whereas Jesus demanded of the Jews the rejection of the tribalist Jahweh whom they identified with Israel, the race, the community the political state as object of worship and desire, the Sufis, born in an atmosphere of pure monotheism, demanded what Jesus of the first century A.D. would demand if he were to relive his early life again in present-day monotheistic Christendom. This does not mean that Jesus did not demand, like the Sufis, the cleansing of the soul from the personal deities it may worship besides God, but it does mean that the main weight of his teaching centered around the Jewish preoccupation with the tribe as God." "The object and deal of Sufism is, therefore, identically the same as that of the radical self-transformation of Jesus. Both aimed at the state of consciousness in which God is the sole subject, the sole determiner and the sole object of love and devotion. The tradition of both later influenced each other and succeeded in developing the same kind of preparatory disciplines leading towards the end. Finally, both referred to the final end of these processes as 'oneness' and their reference was in each case exposed to the same dangers of misunderstanding, indeed to the same misunderstanding. The oneness of Jesus was misunderstood as unity and fusion of being, and thus gave rise to the greatest materialization of an essentially spiritual union history has ever seen. The oneness of the highest Sufi state was likewise misunderstood and gave rise to the worst crime perpetrated on account of a supremely conscious misunderstanding...The destinies of the two misunderstandings, however, were far apart. The Christian misunderstanding came to dominate the Christendom; the Muslim misunderstanding performed its bloody deed and sank away in front of the Sufi tide which overwhelmed the Muslim world. The success of Sufism in Islam was therefore the success of the Jesus' ethic, but devoid of the theological superstructures which this Christian misunderstanding had constructed concerning the oneness of Christ with God, or of men with Christ. In the Middle Ages, the intellectual disciples of Jesus were the sufis of Islam, rather than the theologians of the Council or Pope-monarchs of Christendom.
Ismail R. al-Faruqi
Of course, if one does not fully trust the promise of God's Kingdom, he will have a hard time taking risks and making sacrifices in this life. A gospel centered around the temporal self - fleeting happiness, earthly success, vain prosperity, things such as these - is the primary ambition of the half-hearted Christian; the one who somewhat believes he is subject to an eternal death; the one who just might believe in men before God, who morbidly fears seeming less than anyone else. The man of this school feels deeply that he has but one life to live, that this must be his only chance, and therefore must have it all in his favor - from glory to comfort to riches - and have it right this instant. He is but hinting that he is overcome because he insists always that he must overcome, that his judgment comes now and by the persons around him. The point is, however, in this sense, that by grace the Christian is indeed free, but only for as long as he wants to be free - the practicality of true freedom: that of God which offers not so much freedom to be like the world as it does freedom from the pressures of having to be like the world. For Divine Law is based solely on love and freedom; whereas secular law, pressure and imitation.
Criss Jami (Healology)
Hegel represents history as the self-realization of spirit (Geist) or God. The fundamental scheme of his theory is as follows. Spirit is self-creative energy imbued with a drive to become fully conscious of itself as spirit. Nature is spirit in its self-objectification in space; history is spirit in its self-objectification as culture—the succession of world-dominant civilizations from the ancient Orient to modern Europe. Spirit actualizes its nature as self-conscious being by the process of knowing. Through the mind of man, philosophical man in particular, the world achieves consciousness of itself as spirit. This process involves the repeated overcoming of spirit's alienation (Entfremdung) from itself, which takes place when spirit as the knowing mind confronts a world that appears, albeit falsely, as objective, i.e. as other than spirit. Knowing is recognition, whereby spirit destroys the illusory otherness of the objective world and recognizes it as actually subjective or selbstisch. The process terminates at the stage of "absolute knowledge," when spirit is finally and fully "at home with itself in its otherness," having recognized the whole of creation as spirit—Hegelianism itself being the scientific form of this ultimate self-knowledge on spirit's part.
Robert C. Tucker (The Marx-Engels Reader)
Hegel comprehended quite correctly the abstract character of revolutionary self-consciousness of-Fichte's 'Ego = Ego' and French 'egalite'. However, the transition from the abstract to the concrete he interpreted not as a continuous revolutionary process in which the citizens become differ­entiated and class interests concretized, but on the contrary, as an advance from the turbulence of the cosmic spirit in its 'years of discipleship' to bold reconciliation with reality. Hegel's cosmic spirit goes through all the successive stages of the post-revolutionary 'transitory period' of bourgeois society — from Thermidor to constitutional monarchy. True enough, he subjects bourgeois society to sharp criticism; but not in its historically determined form — rather as the material aspect of a society par excellence. This negation is next declared to be abstract and in its transition from the abstract to the concrete is declared to be a return to material, sensuous existence, i.e. to bourgeois society­ with this difference, however, that the prosaic and sordid character of bourgeois relations here acquires a deep mys­tical significance as the embodiment of the active essence of the spirit. Such, briefly, is the meaning of the 'speculat­tive methods' of German idealist philosophy.
Mikhail Lifshitz (The Philosophy Of Art Of Karl Marx)
What is it like to be made vice-president? On one level, it's a nearly hallucinatory degree of success. I was barely forty years old, and a shaky, sixty-three-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the entire Western world. It was also like throwing up in convention-hall bathrooms before giving speeches, and after. It was sitting through dinners with men and women with whom I had nothing in common. Spending an enormous amount of time on trains. Promising thins and agreeing to things as advised by people I had barely met, on very little sleep. Huge sums of money were changing hands and everything happening on the grandest scale imaginable while still in most moments remaining pointless and usually outright seedy. I pretended to learn to fly-fish; I watched sporting events. In Maine I was assaulted by a lobster; it seized my lapel in a threatening manner. I tasted local foods and admired factories,farms, department stores, hotels, and (unless I'm misremembering) several empty plots of land.... It was like being given what was almost the nation's highest honor by a man you held in infinite esteem and regarded with perhaps a certain amount of terrified suspicion, a man who disliked you and clearly wanted nothing to do with you, who would scowl and change the subject at the mention of your name. And then being given a very important and very nasty job by that person, and despised for it, almost as much as you despised yourself.
Austin Grossman (Crooked)
Despite Imbry's demurrals, Ghyll never missed an opportunity to expound on his creed, and was now again launched upon a lecture. "Life, after all," he said, "is but a succession of greater and lesser probabilities—a melange of maybes, as the Grand Prognosticator so aptly put it. Look at you, here in the supposed security of Bolly's Snug, supping and swilling with nary a care. Yet can you deny that a fragment of some asteroid, shattered in a collision far out in thither space back when humankind was still adrip with the primordial slime, having spent millions of years looming toward us, might now, its moment come, lance down through the atmosphere at immense speed and obliterate you where you stand?" "I do not deny the possibility," said Imbry. "I say that the likelihood is remote." "Yet still it exists! And if we couple that existence to a divine appetite for upsetting mortal plans—" "I can think of other, less far-fetched scenarios that might lead to the obliteration of someone in this room," said the thief. He accompanied the remark with an unwinking stare that ought to have caused Ghyll to stop to consider that, though Imbry was so corpulent as to be almost spherical, he was capable of sudden and conclusive acts of violence. And that consideration would have led, in turn, to a change of subject. But the Computant was too deeply set in his philosophy to take note of how others responded to it, and continued to discourse on abstruse concerns.
Gordon Van Gelder (Fantasy & Science Fiction, November/December 2011)
About 4.6 billion years ago, a great swirl of gas and dust some 15 billion miles across accumulated in space where we are now and began to aggregate. Virtually all of it—99.9 percent of the mass of the solar system—went to make the Sun. Out of the floating material that was left over, two microscopic grains floated close enough together to be joined by electrostatic forces. This was the moment of conception for our planet. All over the inchoate solar system, the same was happening. Colliding dust grains formed larger and larger clumps. Eventually the clumps grew large enough to be called planetesimals. As these endlessly bumped and collided, they fractured or split or recombined in endless random permutations, but in every encounter there was a winner, and some of the winners grew big enough to dominate the orbit around which they traveled. It all happened remarkably quickly. To grow from a tiny cluster of grains to a baby planet some hundreds of miles across is thought to have taken only a few tens of thousands of years. In just 200 million years, possibly less, the Earth was essentially formed, though still molten and subject to constant bombardment from all the debris that remained floating about. At this point, about 4.5 billion years ago, an object the size of Mars crashed into Earth, blowing out enough material to form a companion sphere, the Moon. Within weeks, it is thought, the flung material had reassembled itself into a single clump, and within a year it had formed into the spherical rock that companions us yet. Most of the lunar material, it is thought, came from the Earth’s crust, not its core, which is why the Moon has so little iron while we have a lot. The theory, incidentally, is almost always presented as a recent one, but in fact it was first proposed in the 1940s by Reginald Daly of Harvard. The only recent thing about it is people paying any attention to it. When Earth was only about a third of its eventual size, it was probably already beginning to form an atmosphere, mostly of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, methane, and sulfur. Hardly the sort of stuff that we would associate with life, and yet from this noxious stew life formed. Carbon dioxide is a powerful greenhouse gas. This was a good thing because the Sun was significantly dimmer back then. Had we not had the benefit of a greenhouse effect, the Earth might well have frozen over permanently, and life might never have gotten a toehold. But somehow life did. For the next 500 million years the young Earth continued to be pelted relentlessly by comets, meteorites, and other galactic debris, which brought water to fill the oceans and the components necessary for the successful formation of life. It was a singularly hostile environment and yet somehow life got going. Some tiny bag of chemicals twitched and became animate. We were on our way. Four billion years later people began to wonder how it had all happened. And it is there that our story next takes us.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
Now, insurrection is an art quite as much as war or any other, and subject to certain rules of proceeding, which, when neglected, will produce the ruin of the party neglecting them. Those rules, logical deductions from the nature of the parties and the circumstances one has to deal with in such a case, are so plain and simple that the short experience of 1848 had made the Germans pretty well acquainted with them. Firstly, never play with insurrection unless you are fully prepared to face the consequences of your play. Insurrection is a calculus with very indefinite magnitudes, the value of which may change every day; the forces opposed to you have all the advantage of organization, discipline, and habitual authority: unless you bring strong odds against them you are defeated and ruined. Secondly, the insurrectionary career once entered upon, act with the greatest determination, and on the offensive. The defensive is the death of every armed rising; it is lost before it measures itself with its enemies. Surprise your antagonists while their forces are scattering, prepare new successes, however small, but daily; keep up the moral ascendancy which the first successful rising has given to you; rally those vacillating elements to your side which always follow the strongest impulse, and which always look out for the safer side; force your enemies to a retreat before they can collect their strength against you; in the words of Danton, the greatest master of revolutionary policy yet known, de l'audace, de l'audace, encore de l'audace!
Karl Marx
Filoteo: Because the First Principle is the most fundamental, it follows that if one attribute were finite, then all attributes would likewise be finite; or else, if by one intrinsic rationale He is finite, and by another infinite, then necessarily we must consider him as composite. If therefore, he is the operator of the universe, then He is surely an infinite operator; in the sense that all is dependent on Him. Furthermore, since our imagination is able to move toward infinity, imagining always greater size and yet still greater, and number beyond number, following a certain succession, and as they say, power, so too we must also understand, that God actually conceives infinite dimension and infinite number. And from that understanding follows the possibility with the convenience and opportunity such as may be: that should the active power be infinite, then by necessary consequence, the subject power takes part in the infinite: because, as we have demonstrated elsewhere, what can be done must be done, the ability to measure implies the measurable thing, and the measurer implies the measured. Thus, as there really are bodies with finite dimension, the Prime Intellect understands bodies and dimension. If He has understanding of this, He understands infinity no less, and if He understands the infinite, and such bodies, then necessarily these are intelligible species, and are products of that intellect, for what is divine is most real, and as such what is that real must exist more surely than what we can actually see before our eyes.
Giordano Bruno (On the Infinite, the Universe and the Worlds: Five Cosmological Dialogues (Collected Works of Giordano Bruno Book 2))
The same effort to conserve force was also evident in war, at the tactical level. The ideal Roman general was not a figure in the heroic style, leading his troops in a reckless charge to victory or death. He would rather advance in a slow and carefully prepared march, building supply roads behind him and fortified camps each night in order to avoid the unpredictable risks of rapid maneuver. He preferred to let the enemy retreat into fortified positions rather than accept the inevitable losses of open warfare, and he would wait to starve out the enemy in a prolonged siege rather than suffer great casualties in taking the fortifications by storm. Overcoming the spirit of a culture still infused with Greek martial ideals (that most reckless of men, Alexander the Great, was actually an object of worship in many Roman households), the great generals of Rome were noted for their extreme caution. It is precisely this aspect of Roman tactics (in addition to the heavy reliance on combat engineering) that explains the relentless quality of Roman armies on the move, as well as their peculiar resilience in adversity: the Romans won their victories slowly, but they were very hard to defeat. Just as the Romans had apparently no need of a Clausewitz to subject their military energies to the discipline of political goals, it seems that they had no need of modern analytical techniques either. Innocent of the science of systems analysis, the Romans nevertheless designed and built large and complex security systems that successfully integrated troop deployments, fixed defenses, road networks, and signaling links in a coherent whole.
Edward N. Luttwak (The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century Ce to the Third)
Thought is measured by a different rule, and puts us in mind, rather, of those souls whose number, according to certain ancient myths, is limited. There was in that time a limited contingent of souls or spiritual substance, redistributed from one living creature to the next as successive deaths occurred. With the result that some bodies were sometimes waiting for a soul (like present-day heart patients waiting for an organ donor). On this hypothesis, it is clear that the more human beings there are, the rarer will be those who have a soul. Not a very democratic situation and one which might be translated today into: the more intelligent beings there are (and, by the grace of information technology, they are virtually all intelligent), the rarer thought will be. Christianity was first to institute a kind of democracy and generalized right to a personal soul (it wavered for a long time where women were concerned). The production of souls increased substantially as a result, like the production of banknotes in an inflationary period, and the concept of soul was greatly devalued. It no longer really has any currency today and it has ceased to be traded on the exchanges. There are too many souls on the market today. That is to say, recycling the metaphor, there is too much information, too much meaning, too much immaterial data for the bodies that are left, too much grey matter for the living substance that remains. To the point where the situation is no longer that of bodies in search of a soul, as in the archaic liturgies, but of innumerable souls in search of a body. Or an incalculable knowledge in search of a knowing subject.
Jean Baudrillard (The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact)
Let me put the contrast in a single concrete example. The physician who finds time to give personal attention to his patients and listens to them. carefully probing inner conditions that may be more significant than any laboratory reports, has become a rarity. Where the power complex is dominant, a visit to a physician is paced, not to fit the patient's needs, but mainly to perform the succession of physical tests upon which the diagnosis will be based. Yet if there were a sufficient number of competent physicians on hand whose inner resources were as available as their laboratory aids, a more subtle diagnosis might be possible, and the patient's subjective response might in many cases effectively supplement the treatment. Thoreau expressed this to perfection when he observed in his 'Journal' that "the really efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure." Without this slowing of the tempo of all activities the positive advantages of plenitude could not be sufficiently enjoyed; for the congestion of time is as threatening to the good life as the congestion of space or people, and produces stresses and tensions that equally undermine human relations. The inner stability that such a slowdown brings about is essential to the highest uses of the mind, through opening up that second life which one lives in reflection and contemplation and self-scrutiny. The means to escape from the "noisy crowing up of things and whatsoever wars on the divine" was one of the vital offerings of the classic religions: hence their emphasis was not on technological productivity but on personal poise. The old slogan of New York subway guards in handling a crush of passengers applies with even greater force to the tempo of megatechnic society: "What's your hurry...Watch your step!
Lewis Mumford (The Pentagon of Power (The Myth of the Machine, Vol 2))
I returned to my daily routine of service in the board of war, and a punctual attendance in Congress, every day, in all their hours. I returned, also, to my almost daily exhortations to the institution of Governments in the States, and a declaration of independence. I soon found there was a whispering among the partisans in opposition to independence, that I was interested; that I held an office under the new government of Massachusetts; that I was afraid of losing it, if we did not declare independence; and that I consequently ought not to be attended to. This they circulated so successfully, that they got it insinuated among the members of the legislature in Maryland, where their friends were powerful enough to give an instruction to their delegates in Congress, warning them against listening to the advice of interested persons, and manifestly pointing me out to the understanding of every one. This instruction was read in Congress. It produced no other effect upon me than a laughing letter to my friend, Mr. Chase, who regarded it no more than I did. These chuckles I was informed of, and witnessed for many weeks, and at length they broke out in a very extraordinary manner. When I had been speaking one day on the subject of independence, or the institution of governments, which I always considered as the same thing, a gentleman of great fortune and high rank arose and said, he should move, that no person who held any office under a new government should be admitted to vote on any such question, as they were interested persons. I wondered at the simplicity of this motion, but knew very well what to do with it. I rose from my seat with great coolness and deliberation; so far from expressing or feeling any resentment, I really felt gay, though as it happened, I preserved an unusual gravity in my countenance and air, and said, “Mr. President, I will second the gentleman’s motion, and I recommend it to the honorable gentleman to second another which I should make, namely, that no gentleman who holds any office under the old or present government should be admitted to vote on any such question, as they were interested persons.” The moment when this was pronounced, it flew like an electric stroke through every countenance in the room, for the gentleman who made the motion held as high an office under the old government as I did under the new, and many other members present held offices under the royal government. My friends accordingly were delighted with my retaliation, and the friends of my antagonist were mortified at his indiscretion in exposing himself to such a retort.
John Adams (Autobiography)
About 4.6 billion years ago, a great swirl of gas and dust some 24 billion kilometres across accumulated in space where we are now and began to aggregate. Virtually all of it – 99.9 per cent of the mass of the solar system21 – went to make the Sun. Out of the floating material that was left over, two microscopic grains floated close enough together to be joined by electrostatic forces. This was the moment of conception for our planet. All over the inchoate solar system, the same was happening. Colliding dust grains formed larger and larger clumps. Eventually the clumps grew large enough to be called planetesimals. As these endlessly bumped and collided, they fractured or split or recombined in endless random permutations, but in every encounter there was a winner, and some of the winners grew big enough to dominate the orbit around which they travelled. It all happened remarkably quickly. To grow from a tiny cluster of grains to a baby planet some hundreds of kilometres across is thought to have taken only a few tens of thousands of years. In just 200 million years, possibly less22, the Earth was essentially formed, though still molten and subject to constant bombardment from all the debris that remained floating about. At this point, about 4.4 billion years ago, an object the size of Mars crashed into the Earth, blowing out enough material to form a companion sphere, the Moon. Within weeks, it is thought, the flung material had reassembled itself into a single clump, and within a year it had formed into the spherical rock that companions us yet. Most of the lunar material, it is thought, came from the Earth’s crust, not its core23, which is why the Moon has so little iron while we have a lot. The theory, incidentally, is almost always presented as a recent one, but in fact it was first proposed in the 1940s by Reginald Daly of Harvard24. The only recent thing about it is people paying any attention to it. When the Earth was only about a third of its eventual size, it was probably already beginning to form an atmosphere, mostly of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, methane and sulphur. Hardly the sort of stuff that we would associate with life, and yet from this noxious stew life formed. Carbon dioxide is a powerful greenhouse gas. This was a good thing, because the Sun was significantly dimmer back then. Had we not had the benefit of a greenhouse effect, the Earth might well have frozen over permanently25, and life might never have got a toehold. But somehow life did. For the next 500 million years the young Earth continued to be pelted relentlessly by comets, meteorites and other galactic debris, which brought water to fill the oceans and the components necessary for the successful formation of life. It was a singularly hostile environment, and yet somehow life got going. Some tiny bag of chemicals twitched and became animate. We were on our way. Four billion years later, people began to wonder how it had all happened. And it is there that our story next takes us.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
What is a novel, anyway? Only a very foolish person would attempt to give a definitive answer to that, beyond stating the more or less obvious facts that it is a literary narrative of some length which purports, on the reverse of the title page, not to be true, but seeks nevertheless to convince its readers that it is. It's typical of the cynicism of our age that, if you write a novel, everyone assumes it's about real people, thinly disguised; but if you write an autobiography everyone assumes you're lying your head off. Part of this is right, because every artist is, among other things, a con-artist. We con-artists do tell the truth, in a way; but, as Emily Dickenson said, we tell it slant. By indirection we find direction out -- so here, for easy reference, is an elimination-dance list of what novels are not. -- Novels are not sociological textbooks, although they may contain social comment and criticism. -- Novels are not political tracts, although "politics" -- in the sense of human power structures -- is inevitably one of their subjects. But if the author's main design on us is to convert us to something -- - whether that something be Christianity, capitalism, a belief in marriage as the only answer to a maiden's prayer, or feminism, we are likely to sniff it out, and to rebel. As Andre Gide once remarked, "It is with noble sentiments that bad literature gets written." -- Novels are not how-to books; they will not show you how to conduct a successful life, although some of them may be read this way. Is Pride and Prejudice about how a sensible middle-class nineteenth-century woman can snare an appropriate man with a good income, which is the best she can hope for out of life, given the limitations of her situation? Partly. But not completely. -- Novels are not, primarily, moral tracts. Their characters are not all models of good behaviour -- or, if they are, we probably won't read them. But they are linked with notions of morality, because they are about human beings and human beings divide behaviour into good and bad. The characters judge each other, and the reader judges the characters. However, the success of a novel does not depend on a Not Guilty verdict from the reader. As Keats said, Shakespeare took as much delight in creating Iago -- that arch-villain -- as he did in creating the virtuous Imogen. I would say probably more, and the proof of it is that I'd bet you're more likely to know which play Iago is in. -- But although a novel is not a political tract, a how-to-book, a sociology textbook or a pattern of correct morality, it is also not merely a piece of Art for Art's Sake, divorced from real life. It cannot do without a conception of form and a structure, true, but its roots are in the mud; its flowers, if any, come out of the rawness of its raw materials. -- In short, novels are ambiguous and multi-faceted, not because they're perverse, but because they attempt to grapple with what was once referred to as the human condition, and they do so using a medium which is notoriously slippery -- namely, language itself.
Margaret Atwood (Spotty-Handed Villainesses)
The society’s ‘look’ is a self-publicizing one. The American flag itself bears witness to this by its omnipresence, in fields and built-up areas, at service stations, and on graves in the cemeteries, not as a heroic sign, but as the trademark of a good brand. It is simply the label of the finest successful international enterprise, the US. This explains why the hyperrealists were able to paint it naively, without either irony or protest (Jim Dine in the sixties), in much the same way as Pop Art gleefully transposed the amazing banality of consumer goods on to its canvases. There is nothing here of the fierce parodying of the American anthem by Jimi Hendrix, merely the light irony and neutral humour of things that have become banal, the humour of the mobile home and the giant hamburger on the sixteen-foot long billboard, the pop and hyper humour so characteristic of the atmosphere of America, where things almost seem endowed with a certain indulgence towards their own banality. But they are indulgent towards their own craziness too. Looked at more generally, they do not lay claim to being extraordinary; they simply are extraordinary. They have that extravagance which makes up odd, everyday America. This oddness is not surrealistic (surrealism is an extravagance that is still aesthetic in nature and as such very European in inspiration); here, the extravagance has passed into things. Madness, which with us is subjective, has here become objective, and irony which is subjective with us has also turned into something objective. The fantasmagoria and excess which we locate in the mind and the mental faculties have passed into things themselves. Whatever the boredom, the hellish tedium of the everyday in the US or anywhere else, American banality will always be a thousand times more interesting than the European - and especially the French - variety. Perhaps because banality here is born of extreme distances, of the monotony of wide-open spaces and the radical absence of culture. It is a native flower here, asis the opposite extreme, that of speed and verticality, of an excess that verges on abandon, and indifference to values bordering on immorality, whereas French banality is a hangover from bourgeois everyday life, born out of a dying aristocratic culture and transmuted into petty-bourgeois mannerism as the bourgeoisie shrank away throughout the nineteenth century. This is the crux: it is the corpse of the bourgeoisie that separates us. With us, it is that class that is the carrier of the chromosome of banality, whereas the Americans have succeeded in preserving some humour in the material signs of manifest reality and wealth. This also explains why Europeans experience anything relating to statistics as tragic. They immediately read in them their individual failure and take refuge in a pained denunciation of the merely quantitative. The Americans, by contrast, see statistics as an optimistic stimulus, as representing the dimensions of their good fortune, their joyous membership of the majority. Theirs is the only country where quantity can be extolled without compunction.
Baudrillard, Jean
In opting for large scale, Korean state planners got much of what they bargained for. Korean companies today compete globally with the Americans and Japanese in highly capital-intensive sectors like semiconductors, aerospace, consumer electronics, and automobiles, where they are far ahead of most Taiwanese or Hong Kong companies. Unlike Southeast Asia, the Koreans have moved into these sectors not primarily through joint ventures where the foreign partner has provided a turnkey assembly plant but through their own indigenous organizations. So successful have the Koreans been that many Japanese companies feel relentlessly dogged by Korean competitors in areas like semiconductors and steel. The chief advantage that large-scale chaebol organizations would appear to provide is the ability of the group to enter new industries and to ramp up to efficient production quickly through the exploitation of economies of scope.70 Does this mean, then, that cultural factors like social capital and spontaneous sociability are not, in the end, all that important, since a state can intervene to fill the gap left by culture? The answer is no, for several reasons. In the first place, not every state is culturally competent to run as effective an industrial policy as Korea is. The massive subsidies and benefits handed out to Korean corporations over the years could instead have led to enormous abuse, corruption, and misallocation of investment funds. Had President Park and his economic bureaucrats been subject to political pressures to do what was expedient rather than what they believed was economically beneficial, if they had not been as export oriented, or if they had simply been more consumption oriented and corrupt, Korea today would probably look much more like the Philippines. The Korean economic and political scene was in fact closer to that of the Philippines under Syngman Rhee in the 1950s. Park Chung Hee, for all his faults, led a disciplined and spartan personal lifestyle and had a clear vision of where he wanted the country to go economically. He played favorites and tolerated a considerable degree of corruption, but all within reasonable bounds by the standards of other developing countries. He did not waste money personally and kept the business elite from putting their resources into Swiss villas and long vacations on the Riviera.71 Park was a dictator who established a nasty authoritarian political system, but as an economic leader he did much better. The same power over the economy in different hands could have led to disaster. There are other economic drawbacks to state promotion of large-scale industry. The most common critique made by market-oriented economists is that because the investment was government rather than market driven, South Korea has acquired a series of white elephant industries such as shipbuilding, petrochemicals, and heavy manufacturing. In an age that rewards downsizing and nimbleness, the Koreans have created a series of centralized and inflexible corporations that will gradually lose their low-wage competitive edge. Some cite Taiwan’s somewhat higher overall rate of economic growth in the postwar period as evidence of the superior efficiency of a smaller, more competitive industrial structure.
Francis Fukuyama (Trust: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order)
In consequence of the inevitably scattered and fragmentary nature of our thinking, which has been mentioned, and of the mixing together of the most heterogeneous representations thus brought about and inherent even in the noblest human mind, we really possess only *half a consciousness*. With this we grope about in the labyrinth of our life and in the obscurity of our investigations; bright moments illuminate our path like flashes of lighting. But what is to be expected generally from heads of which even the wisest is every night the playground of the strangest and most senseless dreams, and has to take up its meditations again on emerging from these dreams? Obviously a consciousness subject to such great limitations is little fitted to explore and fathom the riddle of the world; and to beings of a higher order, whose intellect did not have time as its form, and whose thinking therefore had true completeness and unity, such an endeavor would necessarily appear strange and pitiable. In fact, it is a wonder that we are not completely confused by the extremely heterogeneous mixture of fragments of representations and of ideas of every kind which are constantly crossing one another in our heads, but that we are always able to find our way again, and to adapt and adjust everything. Obviously there must exist a simple thread on which everything is arranged side by side: but what is this? Memory alone is not enough, since it has essential limitations of which I shall shortly speak; moreover, it is extremely imperfect and treacherous. The *logical ego*, or even the *transcendental synthetic unity of apperception*, are expressions and explanations that will not readily serve to make the matter comprehensible; on the contrary, it will occur to many that “Your wards are deftly wrought, but drive no bolts asunder.” Kant’s proposition: “The *I think* must accompany all our representations ,” is insufficient; for the “I” is an unknown quantity, in other words, it is itself a mystery and a secret. What gives unity and sequence to consciousness, since by pervading all the representations of consciousness, it is its substratum, its permanent supporter, cannot itself be conditioned by consciousness, and therefore cannot be a representation. On the contrary, it must be the *prius* of consciousness, and the root of the tree of which consciousness is the fruit. This, I say, is the *will*; it alone is unalterable and absolutely identical, and has brought forth consciousness for its own ends. It is therefore the will that gives unity and holds all its representations and ideas together, accompanying them, as it were, like a continuous ground-bass. Without it the intellect would have no more unity of consciousness than has a mirror, in which now one thing now another presents itself in succession, or at most only as much as a convex mirror has, whose rays converge at an imaginary point behind its surface. But it is *the will* alone that is permanent and unchangeable in consciousness. It is the will that holds all ideas and representations together as means to its ends, tinges them with the colour of its character, its mood, and its interest, commands the attention, and holds the thread of motives in its hand. The influence of these motives ultimately puts into action memory and the association of ideas. Fundamentally it is the will that is spoken of whenever “I” occurs in a judgement. Therefore, the will is the true and ultimate point of unity of consciousness, and the bond of all its functions and acts. It does not, however, itself belong to the intellect, but is only its root, origin, and controller.
Arthur Schopenhauer (The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 2)