Supreme Quotes

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There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life. " Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, 'Wait and Hope.
Alexandre Dumas
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.
Edgar Allan Poe
Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
Aaron Warner Anderson, chief commander and regent of Sector 45, son of the supreme commander of The Reestablishment. He has a soft spot for fashion.
Tahereh Mafi (Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3))
I'm the Super-sized McShizzle, man!" Leo said. "I'm Leo Valdez, bad boy supreme. And the ladies love a bad boy.
Rick Riordan (The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3))
We don't realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
You're incredibly, absolutely, extremely, supremely, unbelievably different.
Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1))
Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's a day you've had everything to do and you've done it.
Margaret Thatcher
We're so self-important. So arrogant. Everybody's going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the snails. And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don't even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven't learned how to care for one another. We're gonna save the fuckin' planet? . . . And, by the way, there's nothing wrong with the planet in the first place. The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Compared with the people, the planet is doin' great. It's been here over four billion years . . . The planet isn't goin' anywhere, folks. We are! We're goin' away. Pack your shit, we're goin' away. And we won't leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. Nothing left. Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we'll be gone. Another failed mutation; another closed-end biological mistake.
George Carlin
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest -- blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband's life as fully as he is mine.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Hey!" said the guy in the video. "Greetings from your friends at Camp Half-Blood, et cetera. This is Leo. I'm the..." He looked off screen and yelled: "What's my title? Am I like admiral, or captain, or-" A girl's voice yelled back, "Repair boy." "Very funny, Piper," Leo grumbled. He turned back to the parchment screen. "So yeah, I'm...ah..supreme commander of the Argo II. Yeah, I like that! Anyway, we're gonna be sailing towards you in about, I dunno, an hour in this big mother warship. We'd appreciate it if you'd not, like, blow us out of the sky or anything. So okay! If you could tell the Romans that. See you soon. Yours in demigodishness, and all that. Peace out!
Rick Riordan (The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2))
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
Albert Einstein
In character, in manner, in style, in all the things, the supreme excellence is simplicity
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Favorite Poems)
The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin.
Jay Leno
The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.
James Joyce (Ulysses)
The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves—say rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
When I'm sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court] and I say, 'When there are nine,' people are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The Fremen were supreme in that quality the ancients called "spannungsbogen" -- which is the self-imposed delay between desire for a thing and the act of reaching out to grasp that thing.
Frank Herbert (Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1))
God is an experience of supreme love.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Lying in bed would be an altogether supreme experience if one only had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.
G.K. Chesterton (Tremendous Trifles)
We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive.
Robert A. Heinlein
Reading and sauntering and lounging and dosing, which I call thinking, is my supreme Happiness.
David Hume
You cannot understand the glories of the universe without believing there is some Supreme Power behind it.
Stephen Hawking
And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away all this artificial scaffolding... {Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823}
Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
Perfect prayer does not consist in many words, silent remembering and pure intention raises the heart to that supreme Power.
Amit Ray (Om Chanting and Meditation)
We look for the Secret - the Philosopher's Stone, the Elixir of the Wise, Supreme Enlightenment, 'God' or whatever...and all the time it is carrying us about...It is the human nervous system itself.
Robert Anton Wilson (Cosmic Trigger Volume I: Final Secret of the Illuminati)
I watch him throw his head back in supreme happiness, like he's hearing that he gets to choose the colors for all the sunsets from now on.
Jandy Nelson (I'll Give You the Sun)
The logistics of breaking you are easy. The only question is when.” “Right. If you could do it, you would have done it already.” “Maybe you entertain me.” He says with supreme confidence as if he’s in control of the situation. "Like a monkey with an attitude and a pair of scissors.
Susan Ee (Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1))
...legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer - and often the supreme disappointment.
Ansel Adams
Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity.
G.K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare)
My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.
Michael H. Hart (The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History)
Who are you?" he asked. "I'm a shabti, of course!" The figurine rubbed his dented head. He still looked quite lumpish, only now he was a living lump. "Master calls me Doughboy, though I find the name insulting. You may call me Supreme-Force-Who-Crushes-His-Enemies!
Rick Riordan (The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, #1))
Yeah, Atatsuki, don't call him by that name. It's rude! Kuran-sama is handsome, well-behaved, and a perfect honor student. Calling him "gang leader" would ruin his image!! At least call him "SUPREME GANG LEADER!!
Matsuri Hino
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
Silence is the language of Om. We need silence to be able to reach our Self. Both internal and external silence is very important to feel the presence of that supreme Love.
Amit Ray (Om Chanting and Meditation)
The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe, this guy would've been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say "this guy", because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man. No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he's at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn't give a shit. Doesn't give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.
George Carlin
forget the past, for it is gone from your domain! forget the future, for it is beyond your reach! control the present! Live supremely well now! This is the way of the wise...
Paramahansa Yogananda
the number 108 is held to be the most auspicious, a perfect three-digit multiple of three, its components adding up to 9, which is three threes. And 3, of course, is the number representing supreme balance.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Do not threaten the supreme gigantic overlords. We do as we please.
Brandon Mull (Grip of the Shadow Plague (Fablehaven, #3))
God is the supreme uncreated light of which Wisdom is born, but there was never a time when God's Wisdom did not exist.
Merritt Y. Hughes (Ten Perspectives on Milton)
Scapegrace leaped up. “I am the Killer Supreme! I make murder into an art form!” Skulduggery hit him again and Scapegrace did a little twirl before falling.
Derek Landy (Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, #2))
Narcissus turned and scowled at Leo. “Who are you?” “I’m the Super-sized McShizzle, man!” Leo said. “I’m Leo Valdez, bad boy supreme. And the ladies love a bad boy.
Rick Riordan (The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3))
When you vote, you are exercising political authority, you're using force. And force, my friends, is violence. The supreme authority from which all other authorities are derived.
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers)
If merely 'feeling good' could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.
William James
To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
Sun Tzu
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.
Bertrand Russell (A History of Western Philosophy)
Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
Michael Palin
He was one of the most supremely stupid men I have ever met. He taught me a great deal.
John Fowles (The Magus)
Smee, you are a supreme idjit." "Aye, Cap'n.
Ridley Pearson
Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
Dennis the Peasant: Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. Arthur: Be quiet! Dennis: You can't expect to wield supreme power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
Graham Chapman (Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Book): Mønti Pythøn Ik Den Hølie Gräilen (Bøk))
I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.
Mahatma Gandhi
I have now been married ten years. I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest - blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband's life as fully as he is mine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness of my Edward's society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character - perfect concord is the result.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
I live in two worlds. One is a world of books. I've been a resident of Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County, hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod, fought alongside Napoleon, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina and strolled down Swann's Way. It's a rewarding world, but my second one is by far superior. My second one is populated with characters slightly less eccentric, but supremely real, made of flesh and bone, full of love, who are my ultimate inspiration for everything.
Rory Gilmore
The karmic philosophy appeals to me on a metaphorical level because even in ones lifetime it's obvious how often we must repeat our same mistakes, banging our heads against the same ole addictions and compulsions, generating the same old miserable and often catastrophic consequences, until we can finally stop and fix it. This is the supreme lesson of karma ( and also of western psychology, by the way)- take care of the problem now, or else you'll just have to suffer again later when you screw everything up the next time. And that repetition of suffering-that's hell. Moving out of that endless repetition to a new level of understanding-there's where you'll find heaven.
Elizabeth Gilbert
In the land of Bad Ass, Acheron reigned supreme.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Infamous (Chronicles of Nick, #3))
It's more like I was daydreaming when the Supreme Being told me what I should do with my life, and it's too late to ask what it was.
Tim Tharp (The Spectacular Now)
Mathematics rightly viewed possesses not only truth but supreme beauty.
Bertrand Russell
The fact is, there is no foundation, no secure ground, upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family. If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all. Love is so supremely important. As our great poet Auden said, ‘Love each other or perish’.
Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)
Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed, do not squander your life.
Dōgen
The human phenomenon is but the sum Of densely coiled layers of illusion Each of which winds itself on the supreme insanity That there are persons of any kind When all there can be is mindless mirrors Laughing and screaming as they parade about in an endless dream
Thomas Ligotti
If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for their prescription, who has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer - even if it's not my grandparent. If there's an Arab-American or Mexican-American family being rounded up by John Ashcroft without benefit of an attorney or due process, I know that that threatens my civil liberties. And I don't have to be a woman to be concerned that the Supreme Court is trying to take away a woman's right, because I know that my rights are next. It is that fundamental belief - I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper - that makes this country work.
Barack Obama
God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.
John Piper (Don't Waste Your Life)
There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness.
Alexandre Dumas
Breath is the finest gift of nature. Be grateful for this wonderful gift.
Amit Ray (Beautify your Breath - Beautify your Life)
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.
Reinhold Niebuhr
A poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within himself all poisons, and preserves their quintessences. Unspeakable torment, where he will need the greatest faith, a superhuman strength, where he becomes all men the great invalid, the great criminal, the great accursed--and the Supreme Scientist! For he attains the unknown! Because he has cultivated his soul, already rich, more than anyone! He attains the unknown, and if, demented, he finally loses the understanding of his visions, he will at least have seen them! So what if he is destroyed in his ecstatic flight through things unheard of, unnameable: other horrible workers will come; they will begin at the horizons where the first one has fallen!
Arthur Rimbaud
He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
He had not breathed a word of love, or dropped one hint of tenderness or affection, and yet I had been supremely happy. To be near him, to hear him talk as he did talk, and to feel that he thought me worthy to be so spoken to - capable of understanding and duly appreciating such discourse - was enough.
Anne Brontë (Agnes Grey)
There's nothing mysterious about it, He's not working at all. He's playing. Or else He's forgotten all about us. That's the kind of God you people talk about, a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did He ever create pain?
Joseph Heller (Catch 22)
Maybe you entertain me.” He says with supreme confidence as if he’s in control of the situation. “Like a monkey with an attitude and a pair of scissors." -Raffe
Susan Ee (Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1))
And that's when I first learned about evil. It is built in to the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.
Terry Pratchett (Unseen Academicals (Discworld, #37; Rincewind #8))
Utopia was here at last: its novelty had not yet been assailed by the supreme enemy of all Utopias—boredom.
Arthur C. Clarke (Childhood's End)
He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness… Live, then and be happy beloved children of my heart and never forget that until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words – wait and hope.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
Why not let people differ about their answers to the great mysteries of the Universe? Let each seek one's own way to the highest, to one's own sense of supreme loyalty in life, one's ideal of life. Let each philosophy, each world-view bring forth its truth and beauty to a larger perspective, that people may grow in vision, stature and dedication.
Algernon Black
I am tired of sinking down to a lower place to be with men. I am tired of throwing a tarp over some of my personality so that the shape of my identity suits some gross man a little better for whatever shitty things he needs to do in order to keep his boring identity erect and supreme.
Jenny Slate (Little Weirds)
The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy ending; or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous "turn" (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale): this joy, which is one of the things which fairy-stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially "escapist," nor "fugitive." In its fairy-tale -- or otherworld -- setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.
J.R.R. Tolkien (Tolkien on Fairy-stories)
Let us say in passing, to be blind and to be loved, is in fact--on this earth where nothing is complete--one of the most strangely exquisite forms of happiness. To have continually at your side a woman, a girl, a sister, a charming being, who is there because you need her, and because she cannot do without you, to know you are indispensable to someone necessary to you, to be able at all times to measure her affection by the degree of the presence that she gives you, and to say to yourself: She dedicates all her time to me, because I possess her whole love; to see the thought if not the face; to be sure of the fidelity of one being in a total eclipse of the world; to imagine the rustling of her dress as the rustling of wings; to hear her moving to and fro, going out, coming in, talking, singing, to think that you are the cause of those steps, those words, that song; to show your personal attraction at every moment; to feel even more powerful as your infirmity increases; to become in darkness, and by reason of darkness, the star around which this angel gravitates; few joys can equal that. The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves--say rather, loved in spite of ourselves; the conviction the blind have. In their calamity, to be served is to be caressed. Are they deprived of anything? No. Light is not lost where love enters. And what a love! A love wholly founded in purity. There is no blindness where there is certainty.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.
Victor Hugo
The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of our planet.
John F. Kennedy
It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Wind, Sand and Stars)
More than a decade ago, a Supreme Court decision literally wiped off the books of fifty states statutes protecting the rights of unborn children. Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to 1.5 million unborn children a year. Human life legislation ending this tragedy will some day pass the Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does. Unless and until it can be proven that the unborn child is not a living entity, then its right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must be protected.
Ronald Reagan
It is my mind, with its store of images, that gives the world color and sound; and that supremely real and rational certainty which I can "experience" is, in its most simple form, an exceedingly complicated structure of mental images. Thus there is, in a certain sense, nothing that is directly experienced except the mind itself. Everything is mediated through the mind, translated, filtered, allegorized, twisted, even falsified by it. We are . . . enveloped in a cloud of changing and endlessly shifting images.
C.G. Jung
...quality of life lies in knowledge, in culture. Values are what constitute true quality of life, the supreme quality of life, even above food, shelter and clothing.
Fidel Castro (My Life: A Spoken Autobiography)
The professional learns to recognize envy-driven criticism and to take it for what it is: the supreme compliment. The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had had the guts.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles)
Nature shows that with the growth of intelligence comes increased capacity for pain, and it is only with the highest degree of intelligence that suffering reaches its supreme point.
Arthur Schopenhauer
The supreme adventure is being born. There we do walk suddenly into a splendid and startling trap... When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
What I adore is supreme professionalism. I’m bored by writers who can write only when it’s raining.
Noël Coward
Surrender is not a weakness it is strength.It takes tremendous strength to surrender life to the supreme - to the cosmic unfolding.
Mooji
Spending one’s last moments prostrated before the toilet is the supreme act of repentance. It allows one to relieve a heavy inner burden.
Bauvard (Some Inspiration for the Overenthusiastic)
Commander Tool Belt" Jason said. "Bad Boy Supreme" Piper said. "Chef Leo the Tofu Taco Expert." They laughed and told stories about Leo valdez, their best friend. They stayed on the roof until dawn rose, and Piper started to believe they could have a fresh start. It might even be possible to tell a new story in which Leo was still out there. Somewhere...
Rick Riordan (The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5))
The capitalist and consumerist ethics are two sides of the same coin, a merger of two commandments. The supreme commandment of the rich is ‘Invest!’ The supreme commandment of the rest of us is ‘Buy!’ The capitalist–consumerist ethic is revolutionary in another respect. Most previous ethical systems presented people with a pretty tough deal. They were promised paradise, but only if they cultivated compassion and tolerance, overcame craving and anger, and restrained their selfish interests. This was too tough for most. The history of ethics is a sad tale of wonderful ideals that nobody can live up to. Most Christians did not imitate Christ, most Buddhists failed to follow Buddha, and most Confucians would have caused Confucius a temper tantrum. In contrast, most people today successfully live up to the capitalist–consumerist ideal. The new ethic promises paradise on condition that the rich remain greedy and spend their time making more money and that the masses give free reign to their cravings and passions and buy more and more. This is the first religion in history whose followers actually do what they are asked to do. How though do we know that we'll really get paradise in return? We've seen it on television.
Yuval Noah Harari (קיצור תולדות האנושות)
God is either of no importance, or of supreme importance.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
The supreme mystery of despotism, its prop and stay, is to keep men in a state of deception, and with the specious title of religion to cloak the fear by which they must be held in check, so that they will fight for their servitude as if for salvation.
Baruch Spinoza
Religion humanizes this universe, makes us feel important and loved. We are not animals governed by uncontrollable drives, animals that die for no apparent reason, but creatures made in the image of supreme being
Robert Greene (The Art of Seduction)
The real Tragedy is the tragedy of the man who never in his life braces himself for his one supreme effort-he never stretches to his full capacity, never stands up to his full stature.
Arnold Bennett
God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens dependence on Christ for strength each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. To live with your ‘thorn’ uncomplainingly — that is, sweet, patient, and free in heart to love and help others, even though every day you feel weak — is true sanctification. It is true healing for the spirit. It is a supreme victory of grace.
J.I. Packer (God's Plans for You)
Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is a supreme creative act.
Ram Dass
In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme. --Aristotle
Cornel West (The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto)
The supreme misfortune is when theory outstrips performance
Leonardo da Vinci
Death is not an evil, because it frees us from all evils, and while it takes away good things, it takes away also the desire for them. Old age is the supreme evil, because it deprives us of all pleasures, leaving us only the appetite for them, and it brings with it all sufferings. Nevertheless, we fear death, and we desire old age.
Giacomo Leopardi
Joy and sorrow in this world pass into each other, mingling their forms and their murmurs in the twilight of life as mysterious as an overshadowed ocean, while the dazzling brightness of supreme hopes lies far off, fascinating and still, on the distant edge of the horizon
Joseph Conrad
Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him.
William Faulkner
That the child is the supreme aim of woman is a statement having precisely the value of an advertising slogan.
Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex)
My biggest problem with modernity may lie in the growing separation of the ethical and the legal
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms)
I have one talent, and that is the capacity to be tremendously surprised, surprised at life, at ideas. This is to me the supreme Hasidic imperative: Don't be old. Don't be stale.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
The supreme vice is shallowness.
Oscar Wilde
Surely happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven; and every countenance, bright with smiles, and glowing with innocent enjoyment, is a mirror transmitting to others the rays of a supreme and ever-shining benevolence.
Washington Irving (Old Christmas: From the Sketch Book of Washington Irving)
Valentine's Day purely commercial, cynical enterprise, anyway. Matter of supreme indifference to me.
Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1))
A divine 'punishment’ is also a divine 'gift’, if accepted, since its object is ultimate blessing, and the supreme inventiveness of the Creator will make 'punishments’ (that is changes of design) produce a good not otherwise to be attained
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien)
Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we're so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act.
Ram Dass
We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.
Mahatma Gandhi
Then listen to me,' he said and cleared his throat. 'It's true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you. She is buried there. And that is why we say that mother is supreme. Is it right that you, Okonkwo, should bring your mother a heavy face and refuse to be comforted? Be careful or you may displease the dead. Your duty is to comfort your wives and children and take them back to your fatherland after seven years. But if you allow sorrow to weigh you down and kill you, they will all die in exile.
Chinua Achebe (Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1))
I will tell you why we have these extraordinary minds and souls, Miss Whittaker," he continued, as though he had not heard her. "We have them because there is a supreme intelligence in the universe, which wishes for communion with us. This supreme intelligence longs to be known. It calls out to us. It draws us close to its mystery, and grants us these remarkable minds, in order that we try to reach for it. It wants us to find it. It wants union with us, more than anything.
Elizabeth Gilbert (The Signature of All Things)
I love you, my brother, whoever you are - whether you worship in a church, kneel in your temple, or pray in your mosque. You and I are children of one faith, for the diverse paths of religion are fingers of the loving hand of the one supreme being, a hand extended to all, offering completeness of spirit to all, eager to receive all.
Kahlil Gibran
Self-awareness is a supreme gift, a treasure as precious as life. This is what makes us human. But it comes with a costly price: the wound of mortality. Our existence is forever shadowed by the knowledge that we will grow, blossom, and, inevitably, diminish and die.
Irvin D. Yalom (Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death)
You open the gates of the soul to let the dark flood of chaos flow into your order and meaning. If you marry the ordered to the chaos you produce the divine child, the supreme meaning beyond meaning and meaninglessness.
C.G. Jung (The Red Book: A Reader's Edition: A Reader's Edition)
The most effective attitude to adopt is one of supreme acceptance. The world is full of people with different characters and temperaments. We all have a dark side, a tendency to manipulate, and aggressive desires. The most dangerous types are those who repress their desires or deny the existence of them, often acting them out in the most underhanded ways. Some people have dark qualities that are especially pronounced. You cannot change such people at their core, but must merely avoid becoming their victim. You are an observer of the human comedy, and by being as tolerant as possible, you gain a much greater ability to understand people and to influence their behavior when necessary
Robert Greene (Mastery)
For all works and things, which are either commanded or forbidden by God and thus have been instituted by the supreme Majesty, are 'musts.' Nevertheless, no one should be dragged to them or away from them by the hair, for I can drive no man to heaven or beat him into it with a club.
Martin Luther
Woman is God’s supreme creation. Only after the earth had been formed, after the day had been separated from the night, after the waters had been divided from the land, after vegetation and animal life had been created, and after man had been placed on the earth, was woman created; and only then was the work pronounced complete and good.
Gordon B. Hinckley
He did not want to play. He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where to seek it or how, but a premonition which led him on told him that this image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him. They would meet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst, perhaps at one of the gates or in some more secret place. They would be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured. He would fade into something impalpable under her eyes and then in a moment he would be transfigured. Weakness and timidity and inexperience would fall from him in that magic moment.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs, a very endearing sight, I'm sure you'll agree. And even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged onto a half submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters, who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature's wonders, gentlemen. Mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that is when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.
Terry Pratchett
The life of the individual has meaning only insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful. Life is sacred, that is to say, it is the supreme value, to which all other values are subordinate.
Albert Einstein
It is therefore of supreme importance that we consent to live not for ourselves but for others. When we do this we will be able first of all to face and accept our own limitations. As long as we secretly adore ourselves, our own deficiencies will remain to torture us with an apparent defilement. But if we live for others, we will gradually discover that no expects us to be 'as gods'. We will see that we are human, like everyone else, that we all have weaknesses and deficiencies, and that these limitations of ours play a most important part in all our lives. It is because of them that we need others and others need us. We are not all weak in the same spots, and so we supplement and complete one another, each one making up in himself for the lack in another.
Thomas Merton (No Man Is an Island)
Something Mama liked to say: “I love Jesus, but some of his representatives sure make my ass tired.
Edward Kelsey Moore (The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat)
During my three years in Vietnam, I certainly heard plenty of last words by dying American footsoldiers. Not one of them, however, had illusions that he had somehow accomplished something worthwhile in the process of making the Supreme Sacrifice.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
The humble person is open to being corrected, whereas the arrogant is clearly closed to it. Proud people are supremely confident in their own opinions and insights. No one can admonish them successfully: not a peer, not a local superior, not even the pope himself. They know - and that is the end of the matter. Filled as they are with their own views, the arrogant lack the capacity to see another view.
Thomas Dubay
Anything approaching the change that came over his features I have never seen before, and hope never to see again. Oh, I wasn't touched. I was fascinated. It was as though a veil had been rent. I saw on that ivory face the expression of sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror--of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision--he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath: The horror! The horror!
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal- there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution gentlemen, is a court. It can be the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest JP court in the land, or this honourable court which you serve. Our courts have their faults as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
I personally have a cunt. Sometimes it's 'flaps' or 'twat', but most of the time, it's my cunt. Cunt is a proper, old, historic, strong word. I like that my fire escape also doubles up as the most potent swearword in the English language. Yeah. That's how powerful it is, guys. If I tell you what I've got down there, old ladies and clerics might faint. I like how shocked people are when you say 'cunt'. It's like I have a nuclear bomb in my pants, or a tiger, or a gun. Compared to this the most powerful swearword men have got out of their privates is 'dick', which is frankly vanilla, and I believe you're allowed to use on, like, Blue Peter if something goes wrong. In a culture where nearly everything female is still seen as squeam-inducing, and/or weak - menstruation, menopause, just the sheer simple act of calling someone 'a girl' - I love that 'cunt' stands, on its own, as the supreme unvanquishable word. It has almost mystic resonance. It is a cunt - we all know it's a cunt - but we can't call it a cunt. We can't say the actual word. It's too powerful. Like Jews can never utter the Tetragrammaton - an must make do with 'Jehovah', instead.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
Here’s something about Mom: she’s bad with annoyances, but great in a crisis. If a waiter doesn’t refill her water after she’s asked three times, or she forgets her dark glasses when the sun comes out, look out! But when it comes to something truly bad happening, Mom plugs into this supreme calm.
Maria Semple (Where'd You Go, Bernadette)
I love you,” I said, causing his face to contort in pain. “I’m not a man so I do not have a heart that loves as a human does. I’m an immortal god that dwells with supreme power because I hold the keys to Death. But you are my existence. I am yours.” Hot tears streamed down my face as I stared into the face of someone who comprehended an emotion much stronger than my weak, feeble words of love.
Abbi Glines (Existence (Existence, #1))
You cannot be fair to others without first being fair to yourself. Know that a well-honed sense of justice is a measure of personal experience, and all experience is a measure of self. Know that the highest expression of justice is mercy. Thus, as the supreme judge in your own court, you must have compassion for yourself. Otherwise, cede your gavel.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
Some cry out against the majority's despotism that knocks them off their feet and hacks into their fundamental values. Since the unbearable intrusion on their lifestyle's quality frightens them, they are obsessed with losing their integrity through the backlash of an overpowering "democratorship." Spearheading a reconciliation between freethinking and mediation is of supreme importance because mere resentment can be an evil counselor. ("What after bowling alone?" )
Erik Pevernagie
Nothing fires the warrior’s heart more with courage than to find himself and his comrades at the point of annihilation, at the brink of being routed and overrun, and then to dredge not merely from one’s own bowels or guts but from one’s discipline and training the presence of mind not to panic, not to yield to the possession of despair, but instead to complete those homely acts of order which Dienekes had ever declared the supreme accomplishment of the warrior: to perform the commonplace under far-from-commonplace conditions.
Steven Pressfield (Gates of Fire)
You have the right to work, but for the work's sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working. Never give way to laziness, either. Perform every action with you heart fixed on the Supreme Lord. Renounce attachment to the fruits. Be even-tempered in success and failure: for it is this evenness of temper which is meant by yoga. Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender. Seek refuge in the knowledge of Brahma. They who work selfishly for results are miserable.
Bhagavad Gita
I handed them a script and they turned it down. It was too controversial. It talked about concepts like, 'Who is God?' The Enterprise meets God in space; God is a life form, and I wanted to suggest that there may have been, at one time in the human beginning, an alien entity that early man believed was God, and kept those legends. But I also wanted to suggest that it might have been as much the Devil as it was God. After all, what kind of god would throw humans out of Paradise for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. One of the Vulcans on board, in a very logical way, says, 'If this is your God, he's not very impressive. He's got so many psychological problems; he's so insecure. He demands worship every seven days. He goes out and creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes. He's a pretty poor excuse for a supreme being.
Gene Roddenberry
God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger - according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, “God, Your law is not good. My judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do.
R.C. Sproul (The Holiness of God)
The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring. Paintings of Moreau are paintings of ideas. The deepest poetry of Shelley, the words of Hamlet bring our mind into contact with the eternal wisdom; Plato's world of ideas. All the rest is the speculation of schoolboys for schoolboys.
James Joyce (Ulysses)
Neither fear nor self-interest can convert the soul. They may change the appearance, perhaps even the conduct, but never the object of supreme desire... Fear is the motive which constrains the slave; greed binds the selfish man, by which he is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed (James 1:14). But neither fear nor self-interest is undefiled, nor can they convert the soul. Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.
Bernard of Clairvaux
Not too long ago thousands spent their lives as recluses to find spiritual vision in the solitude of nature. Modern man need not become a hermit to achieve this goal, for it is neither ecstasy nor world-estranged mysticism his era demands, but a balance between quantitative and qualitative reality. Modern man, with his reduced capacity for intuitive perception, is unlikely to benefit from the contemplative life of a hermit in the wilderness. But what he can do is to give undivided attention, at times, to a natural phenomenon, observing it in detail, and recalling all the scientific facts about it he may remember. Gradually, however, he must silence his thoughts and, for moments at least, forget all his personal cares and desires, until nothing remains in his soul but awe for the miracle before him. Such efforts are like journeys beyond the boundaries of narrow self-love and, although the process of intuitive awakening is laborious and slow, its rewards are noticeable from the very first. If pursued through the course of years, something will begin to stir in the human soul, a sense of kinship with the forces of life consciousness which rule the world of plants and animals, and with the powers which determine the laws of matter. While analytical intellect may well be called the most precious fruit of the Modern Age, it must not be allowed to rule supreme in matters of cognition. If science is to bring happiness and real progress to the world, it needs the warmth of man's heart just as much as the cold inquisitiveness of his brain.
Franz Winkler
This is the fix we are in. If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again. We cannot do without it, and we cannot do with it. God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
Through me is the way to the city of woe. Through me is the way to sorrow eternal. Through me is the way to the lost below. Justice moved my architect supernal. I was constructed by divine power, supreme wisdom, and love primordial. Before me no created things were. Save those eternal, and eternal I abide. Abandon all hope, you who enter.
Dante Alighieri (Inferno)
The brain is heavily influenced by genes. But from birth through young adulthood, the part of the human brain that most defines us (frontal cortex) is less a product of the genes with which you started life than of what life has thrown at you. Because it is the least constrained by genes and most sculpted by experience. This must be so, to be the supremely complex social species that we are. Ironically, it seems that the genetic program of human brain development has evolved to, as much as possible, free the frontal cortext from genes.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
I have in this War a burning private grudge—which would probably make me a better soldier at 49 than I was at 22: against that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler (for the odd thing about demonic inspiration and impetus is that it in no way enhances the purely intellectual stature: it chiefly affects the mere will). Ruining, perverting, misapplying, and making for ever accursed, that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved, and tried to present in its true light.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien)
How many times had those awful words - "I know what I'm doing" - been uttered throughout history as prelude to disaster?
Christopher Buckley (Supreme Courtship)
He, the Life of all, our Lord and Saviour, did not arrange the manner of his own death lest He should seem to be afraid of some other kind. No. He accepted and bore upon the cross a death inflicted by others, and those other His special enemies, a death which to them was supremely terrible and by no means to be faced; and He did this in order that, by destroying even this death, He might Himself be believed to be the Life, and the power of death be recognised as finally annulled. A marvellous and mighty paradox has thus occurred, for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonour and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death's defeat.
Athanasius of Alexandria (On the Incarnation)
It is such a supreme folly to believe that nuclear weapons are deadly only if they're used. The fact that they exist at all, their presence in our lives, will wreak more havoc than we can begin to fathom. Nuclear weapons pervade our thinking. Control our behavior. Administer our societies. Inform our dreams. They bury themselves like meat hooks deep in the base of our brains. They are purveyors of madness. They are the ultimate colonizer. Whiter than any white man that ever lived. The very heart of whiteness.
Arundhati Roy (The Cost of Living)
I believe in the supreme worth of the individual and in his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty. I believe that the law was made for man and not man for the law; that government is the servant of the people and not their master. I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living. I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living and that economy is a prime requisite of a sound financial structure, whether in government, business or personal affairs. I believe that truth and justice are fundamental to an enduring social order. I believe in the sacredness of a promise, that a man's word should be as good as his bond, that character—not wealth or power or position—is of supreme worth. I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind and that only in the purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free. I believe in an all-wise and all-loving God, named by whatever name, and that the individual's highest fulfillment, greatest happiness and widest usefulness are to be found in living in harmony with His will. I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might.
John D. Rockefeller
God created through love and for love. God did not create anything except love itself, and the means to love. He created love in all its forms. He created beings capable of love from all possible distances. Because no other could do it, he himself went to the greatest possible distance, the infinite distance. This infinite distance between God and God, this supreme tearing apart, this agony beyond all others, this marvel of love, is the crucifixion. Nothing can be further from God than that which has been made accursed.
Simone Weil (Waiting for God)
Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did not reason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creed there was no guess — no perhaps. They had a revelation from God. They knew the beginning of things. They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand and four years before Christ. They knew that in the eternity — back of that morning, he had done nothing. They knew that it took him six days to make the earth — all plants, all animals, all life, and all the globes that wheel in space. They knew exactly what he did each day and when he rested. They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death. At the same time they knew that God created man in his own image and was perfectly satisfied with his work... They knew all about the Flood -- knew that God, with the exception of eight, drowned all his children -- the old and young -- the bowed patriarch and the dimpled babe -- the young man and the merry maiden -- the loving mother and the laughing child -- because his mercy endureth forever. They knew too, that he drowned the beasts and birds -- everything that walked or crawled or flew -- because his loving kindness is over all his works. They knew that God, for the purpose of civilizing his children, had devoured some with earthquakes, destroyed some with storms of fire, killed some with his lightnings, millions with famine, with pestilence, and sacrificed countless thousands upon the fields of war. They knew that it was necessary to believe these things and to love God. They knew that there could be no salvation except by faith, and through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Then I asked myself the question: Is there a supernatural power -- an arbitrary mind -- an enthroned God -- a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world -- to which all causes bow? I do not deny. I do not know - but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme - that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken — that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer - no power that worship can persuade or change — no power that cares for man. Is there a God? I do not know. Is man immortal? I do not know. One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be. We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know. We can tell the truth, and we can enjoy the blessed freedom that the brave have won. We can destroy the monsters of superstition, the hissing snakes of ignorance and fear. We can drive from our minds the frightful things that tear and wound with beak and fang. We can civilize our fellow-men. We can fill our lives with generous deeds, with loving words, with art and song, and all the ecstasies of love. We can flood our years with sunshine — with the divine climate of kindness, and we can drain to the last drop the golden cup of joy.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol 1: Lectures)
Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include tooth decay in His divine system of creation? Why in the world did He ever create pain?' 'Pain?' Lieutenant Shiesskopf's wife pounced upon the word victoriously. 'Pain is a warning to us of bodily dangers.' 'And who created the dangers?' Yossarian demanded. 'Why couldn't He have used a doorbell to notify us, or one of His celestial choirs? Or a system of blue-and-red neon tubes right in the middle of each person's forehead?' 'People would certainly look silly walking around with red neon tubes right in the middle of their foreheads.' 'They certainly look beautiful now writhing in agony, don't they?
Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
Consider again that dot [Earth]. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
The first study for the man who wants to be a poet is knowledge of himself, complete: he searches for his soul, he inspects it, he puts it to the test, he learns it. As soon as he has learned it, he must cultivate it! I say that one must be a seer, make oneself a seer. The poet becomes a seer through a long, immense, and reasoned derangement of all the senses. All shapes of love suffering, madness. He searches himself, he exhausts all poisons in himself, to keep only the quintessences. Ineffable torture where he needs all his faith, all his superhuman strength, where he becomes among all men the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed one--and the supreme Scholar! For he reaches the unknown! ....So the poet is actually a thief of Fire!
Arthur Rimbaud
Conditioned to ecstasy, the poet is like a gorgeous unknown bird mired in the ashes of thought. If he succeeds in freeing himself, it is to make a sacrificial flight to the sun. His dreams of a regenerate world are but the reverberations of his own fevered pulse beats. He imagines the world will follow him, but in the blue he finds himself alone. Alone but surrounded by his creations; sustained, therefore, to meet the supreme sacrifice. The impossible has been achieved; the duologue of author with Author is consummated. And now forever through the ages the song expands, warming all hearts, penetrating all minds. At the periphery the world is dying away; at the center it glows like a live coal. In the great solar heart of the universe the golden birds are gathered in unison. There it is forever dawn, forever peace, harmony and communion. Man does not look to the sun in vain; he demands light and warmth not for the corpse which he will one day discard but for his inner being. His greatest desire is to burn with ecstasy, to commerge his little flame with the central fire of the universe. If he accords the angels wings so that they may come to him with messages of peace, harmony and radiance from worlds beyond, it is only to nourish his own dreams of flight, to sustain his own belief that he will one day reach beyond himself, and on wings of gold. One creation matches another; in essence they are all alike. The brotherhood of man consists not in thinking alike, nor in acting alike, but in aspiring to praise creation. The song of creation springs from the ruins of earthly endeavor. The outer man dies away in order to reveal the golden bird which is winging its way toward divinity.
Henry Miller (The Time of the Assassins: a Study of Rimbaud)
It was a heady feeling, the idea that one could conjure a man from a stain on a calico patchwork quilt from 1978, that one could reverse the flow of power. If you commit murder and then vanish, what you leave behind isn’t just pain but absence, a supreme blankness that triumphs over everything else. The unidentified murderer is always twisting a doorknob behind a door that never opens. But his power evaporates the moment we know him. We learn his banal secrets. We watch as he’s led, shackled and sweaty, into a brightly lit courtroom as someone seated several feet higher peers down unsmiling, raps a gavel, and speaks, at long last, every syllable of his birth name.
Michelle McNamara (I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer)
The men and women on death row have some combination of bad genes, bad parents, bad environments, and bad ideas (and the innocent, of course, have supremely bad luck). Which of these quantities, exactly, were they responsible for? No human being is responsible for his genes or his upbringing, yet we have every reason to believe that these factors determine his character. Our system of justice should reflect an understanding that any of us could have been dealt a very different hand in life. In fact, it seems immoral not to recognize just how much luck is involved in morality itself.
Sam Harris (Free Will)
Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission; this is all we can expect - We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Country's Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions - The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.
George Washington
Relativism poses as humble by saying: “We are not smart enough to know what the truth is—or if there is any universal truth.” It sounds humble. But look carefully at what is happening. It’s like a servant saying: I am not smart enough to know which person here is my master—or if I even have a master. The result is that I don’t have a master and I can be my own master. That is in reality what happens to relativists: In claiming to be too lowly to know the truth, they exalt themselves as supreme arbiter of what they can think and do. This is not humility. This is the essence of pride.
John Piper (Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God)
Mother,” Alec’s voice as he interrupted his mother was firm, implacable, and not unkind. “Father. There’s something I have to tell you.” he smiled at them. “I‘m seeing someone.” Robert Lightwood looked at his son with some exasperation. “Alec,” he said. “This is hardly the time.” “Yes, it is. This is important. You see, I‘m not just seeing anyone.” Words seemed to be pouring out of Alec in a torrent, while his parents looked on in confusion. Isabelle and Magnus were staring at him with expressions of nearly identical astonishment. “I‘m seeing a Downworlder. In fact, I‘m seeing a war-” Magnus‘s fingers moved, quick as a flash of light, in Alec‘s direction. There was a faint shimmer in the air around Alec-his eyes rolled up-and he dropped to the floor, felled like a tree. “Alec!” Maryse clapped her hand to her mouth. Isabelle, who had been closest to her brother, dropped down beside him. But Alec had already begun to stir, his eyelids fluttering open. “Wha-what-why am I on the floor?” “That‘s a good question.” Isabelle glowered down at her brother. “What was that?” “What was what?” Alec sat up, holding his head. A look of alarm crossed his face. “Wait-did I say anything? Before I passed out, I mean.” Jace snorted. “You know how we were wondering if that thing Clary did would work or not?” he asked. “It works all right.” Alec looked supremely horrified. “What did I say?” “You said you were seeing someone,” his father told him. “Though you weren’t clear as to why that was important.” “Its not,” Alec said. “I mean, I‘m not seeing anyone. And its not important. Or it wouldn’t be if I was seeing someone, which I‘m not.” Magnus looked at him as if he were an idiot. “Alec‘s been delirious,” he said. “Side effect of some demon toxins. Most unfortunate, but he‘ll be fine soon.” ~pg.286-287~
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
This idea of all education springing from and resting upon our relation to Almighty God-we do not merely give a religious education because that would seem to imply the possibility of some other education, a secular education, for example. But we hold that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above, that the Lord the Holy Spirit is the supreme educator of mankind, and that the culmination of all education (which may at the same time be reached by a little child) is that personal knowledge of and intimacy with God in which our being finds its fullest perfection.
Charlotte M. Mason
Or consider a story in the Jewish Talmud left out of the Book of Genesis. (It is in doubtful accord with the account of the apple, the Tree of Knowledge, the Fall, and the expulsion from Eden.) In The Garden, God tells Eve and Adam that He has intentionally left the Universe unfinished. It is the responsibility of humans, over countless generations, to participate with God in a "glorious" experiment - the "completing of the Creation." The burden of such a responsibility is heavy, especially on so weak and imperfect a species as ours, one with so unhappy a history. Nothing remotely like "completion" can be attempted without vastly more knowledge than we have today. But, perhaps, if our very existence is at stake, we will find ourselves able to rise to this supreme challenge.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
However hard some things are to understand, it is never helpful to start picking and choosing biblical truths we find congenial, as if the Bible is an open-shelved supermarket where we are at perfect liberty to choose only the chocolate bars. For the Christian, it is God's Word, and it is not negotiable. What answers we find may not be exhaustive, but they give us the God who is there, and who gives us some measure of comfort and assurance. The alternative is a god we manufacture, and who provides no comfort at all. Whatever comfort we feel is self-delusion, and it will be stripped away at the end when we give an account to the God who has spoken to us, not only in Scripture, but supremely in his Son Jesus Christ.
D.A. Carson (How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil)
There must be a glowing light above such houses. The joy they contain must escape in light through the stones of the walls and shine dimly into the darkness. It is impossible that this sacred festival of destiny should not send a celestial radiation to the infinite. Love is the sublime crucible in which is consummated the fusion of man and woman; the one being, the triple being, the final being-- the human trinity springs from it. This birth of two souls into one space must be an emotion for space. The lover is priest; the apprehensive maiden submits. Something of this joy goes to God. Where there really is marriage, that is to say, where there is love, the ideal is mingled with it. A nuptial bed makes a halo in the darkness. Were it given to the eye of the flesh to perceive the fearful and enchanting sights of the superior life, it is likely that we should see the forms of night, the winged stranger, the blue travelers of the invisible, bending, a throng of shadowy heads, over the luminous house, pleased, blessing, showing to one another the sweetly startled maiden bride and wearing the reflection of the human felicity on their divine countenances. If at that supreme hour, the wedded pair, bewildered with pleasure, and believing themselves alone, were to listen, they would hear in their room a rustling of confused wings. Perfect happiness implies the solidarity of the angels. That obscure little alcove has for its ceiling the whole heavens. When two mouths, made sacred by love, draw near to each other to create, it is impossible, that above that ineffable kiss there should not be a thrill in the immense mystery of the stars.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
According to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord's work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.
George Müller
CHAPTER VI Concerning New Principalities Which Are Acquired By One's Own Arms And Ability LET no one be surprised if, in speaking of entirely new principalities as I shall do, I adduce the highest examples both of prince and of state; because men, walking almost always in paths beaten by others, and following by imitation their deeds, are yet unable to keep entirely to the ways of others or attain to the power of those they imitate. A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it. Let him act like the clever archers who, designing to hit the mark which yet appears too far distant, and knowing the limits to which the strength of their bow attains, take aim much higher than the mark, not to reach by their strength or arrow to so great a height, but to be able with the aid of so high an aim to hit the mark they wish to reach.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
Nor had he, as far as he knew, ever believed in anything. It had been embarrassing, because he quite wanted to believe in something, since he recognized that belief was the lifebelt that got most people through the choppy waters of Life. He'd have liked to believe in a supreme God, although he'd have preferred a half-hour's chat with Him before committing himself, to clear up one or two points. He'd sat in all sorts of churches, waiting for that single flash of blue light, and it hadn't come. And then he'd tried to become an official Atheist and hadn't got the rock-hard, self-satisfied strength of belief even for that. And every single political party had seemed to him equally dishonest. And he'd give up on ecology...Then he'd tried believe in the Universe, which seemed sound enough until he'd innocently started reading books with words like Chaos and Time and Quantum in the titles. He'd found that even the people whose job of work was, so to speak, the Universe, didn't really believe in it and were actually quite proud of not knowing what or even if it could theoretically exist.
Terry Pratchett (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
Then, O King! the God, so saying, Stood, to Pritha's Son displaying All the splendour, wonder, dread Of His vast Almighty-head. Out of countless eyes beholding, Out of countless mouths commanding, Countless mystic forms enfolding In one Form: supremely standing Countless radiant glories wearing, Countless heavenly weapons bearing, Crowned with garlands of star-clusters, Robed in garb of woven lustres, Breathing from His perfect Presence Breaths of every subtle essence Of all heavenly odours; shedding Blinding brilliance; overspreading- Boundless, beautiful- all spaces With His all-regarding faces; So He showed! If there should rise Suddenly within the skies Sunburst of a thousand suns Flooding earth with beams undeemed-of, Then might be that Holy One's Majesty and radiance dreamed of!
Edwin Arnold (The Bhagavad Gita)
It is horrible to think that the world could one day be filled with nothing but those little cogs, little men clinging to little jobs and striving towards bigger ones - a state of affairs which is to be seen once more, as in the Egyptian records, playing an ever-increasing part in the spirit of our present administrative system, and especially of its offspring, the students. This passion for bureaucracy ... is enough to drive one to despair. It is as if in politics ... we were deliberately to become men who need "order" and nothing but order, become nervous and cowardly if for one moment this order wavers, and helpless if they are torn away from their total incorporation in it. That the world should know no men but these: it is such an evolution that we are already caught up, and the great question is, therefore, not how we can promote and hasten it, but what can we oppose to this machinery in order to keep a portion of mankind free from this parcelling-out of the soul, from this supreme mastery of the bureaucratic way of life.
Max Weber
The ultimate good of the gospel is seeing and savoring the beauty and value of God. God’s wrath and our sin obstruct that vision and that pleasure. You can’t see and savor God as supremely satisfying while you are full of rebellion against Him and He is full of wrath against you. The removal of this wrath and this rebellion is what the gospel is for. The ultimate aim of the gospel is the display of God’s glory and the removal of every obstacle to our seeing it and savoring it as our highest treasure. “Behold Your God!” is the most gracious command and the best gift of the gospel. If we do not see Him and savor Him as our greatest fortune, we have not obeyed or believed the gospel.
John Piper (God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself)
Why should I have to hide the fact that I don't believe there’s a supreme being? There’s no proof of it. There’s no harm in saying you’re an atheist. It doesn't mean you treat people any differently. I live by the Golden Rule to do unto others, as you'd want to be treated. I just simply don't believe in religion, and I don’t believe necessarily that there’s a supreme being that watches over all of us. I follow the teachings of George Carlin. George said he worshipped the sun. He was a fellow atheist. I’m in good company … Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Charles Darwin. It’s not like I’m not with good company and intelligent people. There have been some good, intelligent atheists who have lived in the world.
Jesse Ventura
Children of her type contrive the purest philosophies. Ada had worked out her own little system. Hardly a week had elapsed since Van’s arrival when he was found worthy of being initiated in her web of wisdom. An individual’s life consisted of certain classified things: "real things" which were unfrequent and priceless, simply "things" which formed the routine stuff of life; and "ghost things," also called "fogs," such as fever, toothache, dreadful disappointments, and death. Three or more things occurring at the same time formed a "tower," or, if they came in immediate succession, they made a "bridge." "Real towers" and "real bridges" were the joys of life, and when the towers came in a series, one experienced supreme rapture; it almost never happened, though. In some circumstances, in a certain light, a neutral "thing" might look or even actually become "real" or else, conversely, it might coagulate into a fetid "fog." When the joy and the joyless happened to be intermixed, simultaneously or along the ramp of duration, one was confronted with "ruined towers" and "broken bridges.
Vladimir Nabokov (Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle)
I believe in the Supreme Being, in a Creator, whatever he may be. I care little who has placed us here below to fulfil our duties as citizens and fathers of families; but I don't need to go to church to kiss silver plates, and fatten, out of my pocket, a lot of good-for-nothings who live better than we do. For one can know him as well in a wood, in a field, or even contemplating the eternal vault like the ancients. My God! mine is the God of Socrates, of Franklin, of Voltaire, and of Beranger! I am for the profession of faith of the 'Savoyard Vicar,' and the immortal principles of '89! And I can't admit of an old boy of a God who takes walks in his garden with a cane in his hand, who lodges his friends in the belly of whales, dies uttering a cry, and rises again at the end of three days; things absurd in themselves, and completely opposed, moreover, to all physical laws, which proves to us, by the way, that priests have always wallowed in turpid ignorance, in which they would fain engulf the people with them.
Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary)
Out of the starless night that covers me, (O tribulation of the wind that rolls!) Black as the cloud of some tremendous spell, The susurration of the sighing sea Sounds like the sobbing whisper of two souls That tremble in a passion of farewell. To the desires that trebled life in me, (O melancholy of the wind that rolls!) The dreams that seemed the future to foretell, The hopes that mounted herward like the sea, To all the sweet things sent on happy souls, I cannot choose but bid a mute farewell. And to the girl who was so much to me (O lamentation of this wind that rolls!) Since I may not the life of her compel, Out of the night, beside the sounding sea, Full of the love that might have blent our souls, A sad, a last, a long, supreme farewell.
William Ernest Henley (A Selection of Poems)
If there is one thing developmental psychologists have learned over the years, it is that parents don’t have to be brilliant psychologists to succeed. They don’t have to be supremely gifted teachers. Most of the stuff parents do with flashcards and special drills and tutorials to hone their kids into perfect achievement machines don’t have any effect at all. Instead, parents just have to be good enough. They have to provide their kids with stable and predictable rhythms. They need to be able to fall in tune with their kids’ needs, combining warmth and discipline. They need to establish the secure emotional bonds that kids can fall back upon in the face of stress. They need to be there to provide living examples of how to cope with the problems of the world so that their children can develop unconscious models in their heads.
David Brooks (The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement)
Whenever you go out-of-doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are requiered for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the running tide the element it needs. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual... Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude - the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are good in the chrysalis.
Elbert Hubbard
I think the knowledge came to him at last — only at the very last. But the wilderness had found him out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with this great solitude — and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating. Anything approaching the change that came over his features I have never seen before, and hope never to see again. Oh, I wasn’t touched. I was fascinated. It was as though a veil had been rent. I saw on that ivory face the expression of somber pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror — of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision, — he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath — ‘The horror! The horror!
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
Let's say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I'll take 100,000. In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth. Famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for 98,000 years. Heaven watches this with complete indifference. And then 2000 years ago, thinks 'That's enough of that. It's time to intervene,' and the best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the Middle East. Don't lets appeal to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let's go to the desert and have another revelation there. This is nonsense. It can't be believed by a thinking person. Why am I glad this is the case? To get to the point of the wrongness of Christianity, because I think the teachings of Christianity are immoral. The central one is the most immoral of all, and that is the one of vicarious redemption. You can throw your sins onto somebody else, vulgarly known as scapegoating. In fact, originating as scapegoating in the same area, the same desert. I can pay your debt if I love you. I can serve your term in prison if I love you very much. I can volunteer to do that. I can't take your sins away, because I can't abolish your responsibility, and I shouldn't offer to do so. Your responsibility has to stay with you. There's no vicarious redemption. There very probably, in fact, is no redemption at all. It's just a part of wish-thinking, and I don't think wish-thinking is good for people either. It even manages to pollute the central question, the word I just employed, the most important word of all: the word love, by making love compulsory, by saying you MUST love. You must love your neighbour as yourself, something you can't actually do. You'll always fall short, so you can always be found guilty. By saying you must love someone who you also must fear. That's to say a supreme being, an eternal father, someone of whom you must be afraid, but you must love him, too. If you fail in this duty, you're again a wretched sinner. This is not mentally or morally or intellectually healthy. And that brings me to the final objection - I'll condense it, Dr. Orlafsky - which is, this is a totalitarian system. If there was a God who could do these things and demand these things of us, and he was eternal and unchanging, we'd be living under a dictatorship from which there is no appeal, and one that can never change and one that knows our thoughts and can convict us of thought crime, and condemn us to eternal punishment for actions that we are condemned in advance to be taking. All this in the round, and I could say more, it's an excellent thing that we have absolutely no reason to believe any of it to be true.
Christopher Hitchens
….Nothing was inevitable. She had not chosen this way. It was her fate. It had been decided since before time began. It had been decided before she began. Nothing could be done. There was no point in trying. It was way too late. The inevitability of nothing was totally supreme, overriding everything. No way out. No way through. She could only accept the unacceptable. She could only endure the unendurable. Nothing was wrong! Nothing was wrong and the wrongness of this awesome nothing seeped from her. Some people, only a few, saw it. Some people, only a few felt it. Some people, only a few, recognised it and in recognising it for what it was, raged against it. Through the nothingness, these few reached out for her. She could not reach back. Through the nothingness, these few fought for her. She could not fight back for herself. Through the nothingness, these few cared for her. She could not care back for herself. Through the nothingness, these few spoke out for her, shattering the frozen silence over and over again. She could not speak out for herself…. “ *I hope this may give some comfort to people who need it. There are good, caring people (whether outside or within yourself, if need be) and you do deserve to be cared for and supported as much as anyone else does." From “Nothing”, one of the short stories in “Fight! Rabbit! Fight!
Laurie Matthew (Fight! Rabbit! Fight!)
What man most passionately wants is his living wholeness and his living unison, not his own isolate salvation of his "soul." Man wants his physical fulfillment first and foremost, since now, once and once only, he is in the flesh and potent. For man, the vast marvel is to be alive. For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive. Whatever the unborn and the dead may know, they cannot know the beauty, the marvel of being alive in the flesh. The dead may look after the afterwards. But the magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours, and ours alone, and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos. I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. My soul knows that I am part of the human race, my soul is an organic part of the great human soul, as my spirit is part of my nation. In my own very self, I am part of my family. There is nothing of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the waters.
D.H. Lawrence
Of the not very many ways known of shedding one's body, falling, falling, falling is the supreme method, but you have to select your sill or ledge very carefully so as not to hurt yourself or others. Jumping from a high bridge is not recommended even if you cannot swim, for wind and water abound in weird contingencies, and tragedy ought not to culminate in a record dive or a policeman's promotion. If you rent a cell in the luminous waffle, room 1915 or 1959, in a tall business centre hotel browing the star dust, and pull up the window, and gently - not fall, not jump - but roll out as you should for air comfort, there is always the chance of knocking clean through into your own hell a pacific noctambulator walking his dog; in this respect a back room might be safer, especially if giving on the roof of an old tenacious normal house far below where a cat may be trusted to flash out of the way. Another popular take-off is a mountaintop with a sheer drop of say 500 meters but you must find it, because you will be surprised how easy it is to miscalculate your deflection offset, and have some hidden projection, some fool of a crag, rush forth to catch you, causing you to bounce off it into the brush, thwarted, mangled and unnecessarily alive. The ideal drop is from an aircraft, your muscles relaxed, your pilot puzzled, your packed parachute shuffled off, cast off, shrugged off - farewell, shootka (little chute)! Down you go, but all the while you feel suspended and buoyed as you somersault in slow motion like a somnolent tumbler pigeon, and sprawl supine on the eiderdown of the air, or lazily turn to embrace your pillow, enjoying every last instant of soft, deep, death-padded life, with the earth's green seesaw now above, now below, and the voluptuous crucifixion, as you stretch yourself in the growing rush, in the nearing swish, and then your loved body's obliteration in the Lap of the Lord.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pale Fire)
But gay marriage is coming to America first and foremost because marriage here is a secular concern, not a religious one. The objection to gay marriage is almost invariably biblical, but nobody's legal vows in this country are defined by interpretation of biblical verse - or at least, not since the Supreme Court stood up for Richard and Mildred Loving. A church wedding ceremony is a nice thing, but it is neither required for legal marriage in America nor does it constitute legal marriage in America. What constitutes legal marriage in this country is that critical piece of paper that you and your betrothed must sign and then register with the state. The morality of your marriage may indeed rest between you and God, but it's that civic and secular paperwork which makes your vows official here on earth. Ultimately, then, it is the business of America's courts, not America's churches, to decide the rules of matrimonial law, and it is in those courts that the same-sex marriage debate will finally be settled.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage)
I came into the unknown and stayed there unknowing rising beyond all science. I did not know the door but when I found the way, unknowing where I was, I learned enormous things, but what I felt I cannot say, for I remained unknowing, rising beyond all science. It was the perfect realm of holiness and peace. In deepest solitude I found the narrow way: a secret giving such release that I was stunned and stammering, rising beyond all science. I was so far inside, so dazed and far away my senses were released from feelings of my own. My mind had found a surer way: a knowledge of unknowing, rising beyond all science. And he who does arrive collapses as in sleep, for all he knew before now seems a lowly thing, and so his knowledge grows so deep that he remains unknowing, rising beyond all science. The higher he ascends the darker is the wood; it is the shadowy cloud that clarified the night, and so the one who understood remains always unknowing, rising beyond all science. This knowledge by unknowing is such a soaring force that scholars argue long but never leave the ground. Their knowledge always fails the source: to understand unknowing, rising beyond all science. This knowledge is supreme crossing a blazing height; though formal reason tries it crumbles in the dark, but one who would control the night by knowledge of unknowing will rise beyond all science. And if you wish to hear: the highest science leads to an ecstatic feeling of the most holy Being; and from his mercy comes his deed: to let us stay unknowing, rising beyond all science.
Juan de la Cruz
The Trial By Existence Even the bravest that are slain Shall not dissemble their surprise On waking to find valor reign, Even as on earth, in paradise; And where they sought without the sword Wide fields of asphodel fore’er, To find that the utmost reward Of daring should be still to dare. The light of heaven falls whole and white And is not shattered into dyes, The light for ever is morning light; The hills are verdured pasture-wise; The angel hosts with freshness go, And seek with laughter what to brave;— And binding all is the hushed snow Of the far-distant breaking wave. And from a cliff-top is proclaimed The gathering of the souls for birth, The trial by existence named, The obscuration upon earth. And the slant spirits trooping by In streams and cross- and counter-streams Can but give ear to that sweet cry For its suggestion of what dreams! And the more loitering are turned To view once more the sacrifice Of those who for some good discerned Will gladly give up paradise. And a white shimmering concourse rolls Toward the throne to witness there The speeding of devoted souls Which God makes his especial care. And none are taken but who will, Having first heard the life read out That opens earthward, good and ill, Beyond the shadow of a doubt; And very beautifully God limns, And tenderly, life’s little dream, But naught extenuates or dims, Setting the thing that is supreme. Nor is there wanting in the press Some spirit to stand simply forth, Heroic in its nakedness, Against the uttermost of earth. The tale of earth’s unhonored things Sounds nobler there than ’neath the sun; And the mind whirls and the heart sings, And a shout greets the daring one. But always God speaks at the end: ’One thought in agony of strife The bravest would have by for friend, The memory that he chose the life; But the pure fate to which you go Admits no memory of choice, Or the woe were not earthly woe To which you give the assenting voice.’ And so the choice must be again, But the last choice is still the same; And the awe passes wonder then, And a hush falls for all acclaim. And God has taken a flower of gold And broken it, and used therefrom The mystic link to bind and hold Spirit to matter till death come. ‘Tis of the essence of life here, Though we choose greatly, still to lack The lasting memory at all clear, That life has for us on the wrack Nothing but what we somehow chose; Thus are we wholly stripped of pride In the pain that has but one close, Bearing it crushed and mystified.
Robert Frost
Immediately when you arrive in Sahara, for the first or the tenth time, you notice the stillness. An incredible, absolute silence prevails outside the towns; and within, even in busy places like the markets, there is a hushed quality in the air, as if the quiet were a conscious force which, resenting the intrusion of sound, minimizes and disperses sound straightaway. Then there is the sky, compared to which all other skies seem fainthearted efforts. Solid and luminous, it is always the focal point of the landscape. At sunset, the precise, curved shadow of the earth rises into it swiftly from the horizon, cutting into light section and dark section. When all daylight is gone, and the space is thick with stars, it is still of an intense and burning blue, darkest directly overhead and paling toward the earth, so that the night never really goes dark. You leave the gate of the fort or town behind, pass the camels lying outside, go up into the dunes, or out onto the hard, stony plain and stand awhile alone. Presently, you will either shiver and hurry back inside the walls, or you will go on standing there and let something very peculiar happen to you, something that everyone who lives there has undergone and which the French call 'le bapteme de solitude.' It is a unique sensation, and it has nothing to do with loneliness, for loneliness presupposes memory. Here in this wholly mineral landscape lighted by stars like flares, even memory disappears...A strange, and by no means pleasant, process of reintergration begins inside you, and you have the choice of fighting against it, and insisting on remaining the person you have always been, or letting it take its course. For no one who has stayed in the Sahara for a while is quite the same as when he came. ...Perhaps the logical question to ask at this point is: Why go? The answer is that when a man has been there and undergone the baptism of solitude he can't help himself. Once he has been under the spell of the vast luminous, silent country, no other place is quite strong enough for him, no other surroundings can provide the supremely satisfying sensation of existing in the midst of something that is absolute. He will go back, whatever the cost in time or money, for the absolute has no price.
Paul Bowles (Their Heads are Green and Their Hands are Blue: Scenes from the Non-Christian World)
Evil is not one large entity, but a collection of countless, small depravities brought up from the muck by petty men. Many have traded the enrichment of vision for a gray fog of mediocrity--the fertile inspiration of striving and growth, for mindless stagnation and slow decay--the brave new ground of the attempt, for the timid quagmire of apathy. Many of you have traded freedom not even for a bowl of soup, but worse, for the spoken empty feelings of others who say that you deserve to have a full bowl of soup provided by someone else. Happiness, joy, accomplishment, achievement . . . are not finite commodities, to be divided up. Is a child’s laughter to be divided and allotted? No! Simply make more laughter! Every person’s life is theirs by right. An individual’s life can and must belong only to himself, not to any society or community, or he is then but a slave. No one can deny another person their right to their life, nor seize by force what is produced by someone else, because that is stealing their means to sustain their life. It is treason against mankind to hold a knife to a man’s throat and dictate how he must live his life. No society can be more important than the individuals who compose it, or else you ascribe supreme importance, not to man, but to any notion that strikes the fancy of the society, at a never-ending cost of lives. Reason and reality are the only means to just laws; mindless wishes, if given sovereignty, become deadly masters. Surrendering reason to faith in unreasonable men sanctions their use of force to enslave you--to murder you. You have the power to decide how you will live your life. Those mean, unreasonable little men are but cockroaches, if you say they are. They have no power to control you but that which you grant them!
Terry Goodkind (Faith of the Fallen (Sword of Truth, #6))
Energy can have two dimensions. One is motivated, going somewhere, a goal somewhere, this moment is only a means and the goal is going to be the dimension of activity, goal oriented--then everything is a means, somehow it has to be done and you have to reach the goal, then you will relax. But for this type of energy the goal never comes because this type of energy goes on changing every present moment into a means for something else, into the future. The goal always remains on the horizon. You go on running, but the distance remains the same. No, there is another dimension of energy: that dimension is unmotivated celebration. The goal is here, now; the goal is not somewhere else. In fact, you are the goal. In fact there is no other fulfillment than that of this moment--consider the lilies. When you are the goal and when the goal is not in the future, when there is nothing to be achieved, rather you are just celebrating it, then you have already achieved it, it is there. This is relaxation, unmotivated energy.
Osho (Tantra: The Supreme Understanding - Discourses on the Tantric Way of Tilopa's Song of Mahamudra)
Tell the world what scares you the most” says Brandy. She gives us each an Aubergine Dreams eyebrow pencil and says “Save the world with some advice from the future” Seth writes on the back of a card and hands the card to Brandy for her to read. On game shows, Brandy reads, some people will take the trip to France, but most people will take the washer dryer pair.” Brandy puts a big Plumbago kiss in the little square for the stamp and lets the wind lift and card and sail it off toward the towers of downtown Seattle. Seth hands her another, and Brandy reads: Game shows are designed to make us feel better about the random useless facts that are all we have left from our education” A kiss and the card’s on it’s way toward Lake Washington. From Seth: When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” A kiss and it’s off on the wind toward Ballard. Only when we eat up this planet will God give us another. We’ll be remembered more for what we destroy than what we create.” Interstate 5 snakes by in the distance. From high atop the Space Needle, the southbound lanes are red chase lights, and the northbound lanes are white chase lights. I take a card and write: I love Seth Thomas so much I have to destroy him. I overcompensate by worshipping the queen supreme. Seth will never love me. No one will ever love me ever again. Beandy is waiting to rake the card and read it out loud. Brandy’s waiting to read my worst fears to the world, but I don’t give her the card. I kiss it myself with the lips I don’t have and let the wind take it out of my hand. The card flies up, up, up to the stars and then falls down to land in the suicide net. While I watch my future trapped in the suicide net Brandy reads another card from Seth. We are all self-composting” I write another card from the future and Brandy reads it: When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves” An updraft lifts up my worst fears from the suicide net and lifts them away. Seth writes and Brandy reads. You have to keep recycling yourself”. I write and Brandy reads. Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known.” I write and Brandy reads. The one you love and the one who loves you are never ever the same person.
Chuck Palahniuk (Invisible Monsters)
Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits. After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …'" Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false–a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.'" Mustapha Mond shut the book and leaned back in his chair. "One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn't dream about was this" (he waved his hand), "us, the modern world. 'You can only be independent of God while you've got youth and prosperity; independence won't take you safely to the end.' Well, we've now got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently, that we can be independent of God. 'The religious sentiment will compensate us for all our losses.' But there aren't any losses for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order?
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
I mention all this to make the point that if you were designing an organism to look after life in our lonely cosmos, to monitor where it is going and keep a record of where it has been, you wouldn't choose human beings for the job. But here's an extremely salient point: we have been chosen, by fate or Providence or whatever you wish to call it. It's an unnerving thought that we may be living the universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously. Because we are so remarkably careless about looking after things, both when alive and when not, we have no idea-- really none at all-- about how many things have died off permanently, or may soon, or may never, and what role we have played in any part of the process. In 1979, in the book The Sinking Ark, the author Norman Myers suggested that human activities were causing about two extinctions a week on the planet. By the early 1990s he had raised the figure to about some six hundred per week. (That's extinctions of all types-- plants, insects, and so on as well as animals.) Others have put the figure ever higher-- to well over a thousand a week. A United Nations report of 1995, on the other hand, put the total number of known extinctions in the last four hundred years at slightly under 500 for animals and slightly over 650 for plants-- while allowing that this was "almost certainly an underestimate," particularly with regard to tropical species. A few interpreters think most extinction figures are grossly inflated. The fact is, we don't know. Don't have any idea. We don't know when we started doing many of the things we've done. We don't know what we are doing right now or how our present actions will affect the future. What we do know is that there is only one planet to do it on, and only one species of being capable of making a considered difference. Edward O. Wilson expressed it with unimprovable brevity in The Diversity of Life: "One planet, one experiment." If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here-- and by "we" i mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better. It is a talent we have only barely begun to grasp. We have arrived at this position of eminence in a stunningly short time. Behaviorally modern human beings-- that is, people who can speak and make art and organize complex activities-- have existed for only about 0.0001 percent of Earth's history. But surviving for even that little while has required a nearly endless string of good fortune. We really are at the beginning of it all. The trick, of course, is to make sure we never find the end. And that, almost certainly, will require a good deal more than lucky breaks.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
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)