System Requirements Quotes

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racial caste systems do not require racial hostility or overt bigotry to thrive. They need only racial indifference, as Martin Luther King Jr. warned more than forty-five years ago.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Revised Edition))
The hypothesis of God, for instance, gives an incomparably absolute opportunity to understand everything and know absolutely nothing. Give man an extremely simplified system of the world and explain every phenomenon away on the basis of that system. An approach like that doesn't require any knowledge. Just a few memorized formulas plus so-called intuition and so-called common sense.
Arkady Strugatsky (Roadside Picnic)
To have faith requires courage, the ability to take a risk, the readiness even to accept pain and disappointment. Whoever insists on safety and security as primary conditions of life cannot have faith; whoever shuts himself off in a system of defense, where distance and possession are his means of security, makes himself a prisoner. To be loved, and to love, need courage, the courage to judge certain values as of ultimate concern—and to take the jump and to stake everything on these values.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
Never has America lost a war ... But name, if you can, the last peace the United States won. Victory yes, but this country has never made a successful peace because peace requires exchanging ideas, concepts, thoughts, and recognizing the fact that two distinct systems of life can exist together without conflict. Consider how quickly America seems to be facing its allies of one war as new enemies.
Vine Deloria Jr. (Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto)
Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.
Brian Tracy (Focal Point: A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals)
Schools in amerika are interested in brainwashing people with amerikanism, giving them a little bit of education, and training them in skills needed to fill the positions the capitalist system requires. As long as we expect amerika's schools to educate us, we will remain ignorant.
Assata Shakur (Assata: An Autobiography)
We must allow ourselves to think, we must dare to think, even though we fail. It is in the nature of things that we always fail, because we suddenly find it impossible to order our thoughts, because the process of thinking requires us to consider every thought there is, every possible thought. Fundamentally we have always failed, like all the others, whoever they were, even the greatest minds. At some point, they suddenly failed and their system collapsed, as is proved by their writings, which we admire because they venture farthest into failure. To think is to fail, I thought.
Thomas Bernhard (Extinction)
To do what you imply would require nothing short of divine intervention. You must change man, not systems.
Rafael Sabatini (Scaramouche (Scaramouche, #1))
The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda.
Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media)
Challenging power structures from the inside, working the cracks within the system, however, requires learning to speak multiple languages of power convincingly.
Patricia Hill Collins (On Intellectual Activism)
Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits in the classic formulation. Now, it's long been understood very well that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist with whatever suffering and injustice it entails as long as it's possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited: that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage-can. At this stage of history, either one of two things is possible: either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community-interests, guided by values of solidarity and sympathy and concern for others; or, alternatively, there will be no destiny for anyone to control. As long as some specialized class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole and, by now, that means the global community. The question is whether privileged elites should dominate mass-communication, and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely, to impose necessary illusions, manipulate and deceive the stupid majority, and remove them from the public arena. The question, in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured, they may well be essential to survival.
Noam Chomsky
People that hold onto hate for so long do so because they want to avoid dealing with their pain. They falsely believe if they forgive they are letting their enemy believe they are a doormat. What they don’t understand is hatred can’t be isolated or turned off. It manifests in their health, choices and belief systems. Their values and religious beliefs make adjustments to justify their negative emotions. Not unlike malware infesting a hard drive, their spirit slowly becomes corrupted and they make choices that don’t make logical sense to others. Hatred left unaddressed will crash a person’s spirit. The only thing he or she can do is to reboot, by fixing him or herself, not others. This might require installing a firewall of boundaries or parental controls on their emotions. Regardless of the approach, we are all connected on this "network of life" and each of us is responsible for cleaning up our spiritual registry.
Shannon L. Alder
In metric, one milliliter of water occupies one cubic centimeter, weighs one gram, and requires one calorie of energy to heat up by one degree centigrade—which is 1 percent of the difference between its freezing point and its boiling point. An amount of hydrogen weighing the same amount has exactly one mole of atoms in it. Whereas in the American system, the answer to ‘How much energy does it take to boil a room-temperature gallon of water?’ is ‘Go fuck yourself,’ because you can’t directly relate any of those quantities.
Josh Bazell (Wild Thing (Peter Brown #2))
The conclusion of intelligent design flows naturally from the data itself—not from sacred books or sectarian beliefs. Inferring that biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent is a humdrum process that requires no new principles of logic or science. It comes simply from the hard work that biochemistry has done over the past forty years, combined with consideration of the way in which we reach conclusions of design every day.
Michael J. Behe (Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution)
Authors can be divided into meteors, planets and fixed stars. The meteors produce a loud momentary effect; we look up, shout 'see there!' and then they are gone for ever. The planets and comets last for a much longer time....The fixed stars alone are constant and unalterable; their position in the firmament is fixed; they have their own light and are at all times active, because they do not alter their appearance through a change in our standpoint, for they have no parallax. Unlike the others, they do not belong to one system (nation) alone, but to the world. But just because they are situated so high, their light usually requires many years before it becomes visible to the inhabitatns of earth.
Arthur Schopenhauer
Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority. The preservation of freedom requires the elimination of such concentration of power to the fullest possible extent and the dispersal and distribution of whatever power cannot be eliminated — a system of checks and balances.
Milton Friedman
What we require is not a formal return to tradition and religion, but a rereading, a reinterpretation, of our history that can illuminate the present and pave the way to a better future. For example, if we delve more deeply into ancient Egyptian and African civilisations we will discover the humanistic elements that were prevalent in many areas of life. Women enjoyed a high status and rights, which they later lost when class patriarchal society became the prevalent social system.
Nawal El Saadawi
Our system requires a continuous supply of highly capable people who are so disgruntled with their jobs that they are willing to chew off their own arms to escape their bosses.
Scott Adams
As your perspective of the world increases not only is the pain it inflicts on you less but also its meaning. Understanding the world requires you to take a certain distance from it. Things that are too small to see with the naked eye, such as molecules and atoms, we magnify. Things that are too large, such as cloud formations, river deltas, constellations, we reduce. At length we bring it within the scope of our senses and we stabilize it with fixer. When it has been fixed we call it knowledge. Throughout our childhood and teenage years, we strive to attain the correct distance to objects and phenomena. We read, we learn, we experience, we make adjustments. Then one day we reach the point where all the necessary distances have been set, all the necessary systems have been put in place. That is when time begins to pick up speed. It no longer meets any obstacles, everything is set, time races through our lives, the days pass by in a flash and before we know that is happening we are fort, fifty, sixty... Meaning requires content, content requires time, time requires resistance. Knowledge is distance, knowledge is stasis and the enemy of meaning. My picture of my father on that evening in 1976 is, in other words, twofold: on the one hand I see him as I saw him at that time, through the eyes of an eight-year-old: unpredictable and frightening; on the other hand, I see him as a peer through whose life time is blowing and unremittingly sweeping large chunks of meaning along with it.
Karl Ove Knausgård (Min kamp 1 (Min kamp #1))
Nursing is a kind of mania; a fever in the blood; an incurable disease which, once contracted, cannot be got out of the system. If it was not like that, there would be no hospital nurses, for compared dispassionately with other professions, the hours are long, the work hard, and the pay inadequate to the amount of concentrated energy required. A nurse, however, does not view her profession dispassionately. It is too much a part of her.
Monica Dickens
He spent several days deciding on the artifacts. Much longer than he had spent deciding to kill himself, and approximately the same time required to get that many reds. He would be found lying on his back, on his bed, with a copy of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead (which would prove he had been a misunderstood superman rejected by the masses and so, in a sense, murdered by their scorn) and an unfinished letter to Exxon protesting the cancellation of his gas credit card. That way he would indict the system and achieve something by his death, over and above what the death itself achieved. Actually, he was not as sure in his mind what the death achieved as what the two artifacts achieved; but anyhow it all added up...
Philip K. Dick
Being constantly looked at like an alien in the country you were born in requires true tolerance.
Reni Eddo-Lodge (Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race)
Our entire system, in an economic sense, is based on restriction. Scarcity and inefficiency are the movers of money; the more there is of any resource the less you can charge for it. The more problems there are, the more opportunities there are to make money. This reality is a social disease, for people can actually gain off the misery of others and the destruction of the environment. Efficiency, abundance and sustainability are enemies of our economic structure, for they are inverse to the mechanics required to perpetuate consumption. This is profoundly critical to understand, for once you put this together you begin to see that the one billion people currently starving on this planet, the endless slums of the poor and all the horrors of a culture due to poverty and pravity are not natural phenomenon due to some natural human order or lack of earthly resources. They are products of the creation, perpetuation and preservation of artificial scarcity and inefficiency.
Peter Joseph
The great majority of us are required to live a constant, systematic duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected by it if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what bring brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn’t just a fiction, it’s part of our physical body, and our soul exists in space and is inside us, like teeth in our mouth. It can’t be forever violated with impunity.
Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago)
Now the primary requirement of a AI based system is that not only it should serve humanity but also should not do any harm to the human liberty, society, environment and the humanity at large. Moreover, AI should act morally, socially, responsibly and compassionately. It should also prevent humanity from corrupt governments and other evil forces. This is Compassionate Artificial Superintelligence or "AI 5.0
Amit Ray (Compassionate Artificial Superintelligence AI 5.0 - AI with Blockchain, BMI, Drone, IOT, and Biometric Technologies)
There is no alternative to action, and that requires faith. The issue is how we are to mold for ourselves a belief system that is worthy of life.
Naguib Mahfouz (Sugar Street)
Humans and AI systems are co-evolving. Gradually they are becoming co-dependent. The gaps between human and AI systems are reducing. Establishing heart to heart communication is a must. Tomorrow's AI based systems must be able to understand humans from its depth and not just fulfill the surface level requirements. Sensitivity towards human pain, mistakes, and sufferings must be the part of the evolving new AI systems.
Amit Ray (Compassionate Artificial Superintelligence AI 5.0 - AI with Blockchain, BMI, Drone, IOT, and Biometric Technologies)
Compassionate artificial intelligence systems are required for looking after those unable to care for themselves, especially sick, physically challenged persons, children or elderly people.
Amit Ray (Compassionate Artificial Superintelligence AI 5.0 - AI with Blockchain, BMI, Drone, IOT, and Biometric Technologies)
Did Soren agree to be part of a system to protect Skench and Spoorn and the others?" Barren, the other Snowy monarch, asked in her soft voice. He did indeed, madam," Ezylryb replied. "Soren is a much-misunderstood owl these days. Believe me, Soren will do whatever is required in this invasion.
Kathryn Lasky (The Burning (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, #6))
I guess that sometimes it just takes a long walk through the darkness, a long walk through the darkest shadows and corners of your soul to realize that those are a part of you as well, that you've created through your experiences and thoughts those parts within yourself and as much as you can choose to fear them and repress them, they will require your attention one day, they will need your care and acceptance before you can clean them away and turn the lights on. For you refuse to shine the light on something that is imperfect, because you fear judgement and rejection, but you can always choose to look towards the light as the only source of true beauty and love that can help you in the cleaning process. Healing, after a long time of struggle and mess is a complex process, but a necessary one nevertheless. We are so overwhelmed by the amount of work it requires that we so often choose to run away from the light, hide in our dark corner and hope that we will never be found, hope that we will never be seen, or desperately look outwards for that love and compassion that we can no longer find within ourselves, for our soul's light no longer shines as it used to. And sometimes we just find those people that can see the light beneath all that dust and darkness that's been pilled up, those kind of light workers that understand our broken souls and manage to pick us up and see the beauty within us, when we find it so hard to see it ourselves. Sometimes I get so tired of separation, of division, of groups and different religions and belief systems. Even if you do find the truth, once you've put it into words, books and rules it already becomes distorted by the mind into something that is no longer truth. So I no longer hope for understanding, no longer hope for the opinion of a judgemental mind, but I hope to find the words that touch the soul before the mind, I hope to find the touch that warms the heart from deep inside, and hope to find that far away abandoned part of me which I've left behind.
Virgil Kalyana Mittata Iordache
The postures are only the "skin" of yoga. Hidden behind them are the "flesh and blood" of breath control and mental techniques that are still more difficult to learn, as well as moral practices that require a lifetime of consistent application and that correspond to the skeletal structure of the body. The higher practices of concentration, meditation and unitive ecstasy(samadhi) are analogous to the circulatory and nervous system." Georg Feuerstein The Deeper Dimension of Yoga
Georg Feuerstein (The Deeper Dimension of Yoga: Theory and Practice)
I can hardly conceive of any educated man believing in God at all without believing that God contains in Himself every perfection including eternal joy; and does not require the solar system to entertain Him like a circus.
G.K. Chesterton (Saint Thomas Aquinas)
Task complete. Shut it down." Unable to comply, the computer responded. "I finished." Inaccurate statement. Previous command stipulated all listed reports and evaluations must be complete before system rest. This command by Dallas, Lieutenant Eve, priority basis, can only be countermanded at her order by fire, terrorist attack, alien invasion or an open and active case requiring her attention ... Jesus, had she really programmed that? "I changed my mind." Previous command specifies changes of mind, fatigue, boredom, and other lame excuses not acceptable for countermand ... "Bite me," Eve muttered.
J.D. Robb (New York to Dallas (In Death, #33))
Thatcher once said that if she were a visitor from Mars required to create a constitutional system, "I would set up ... a hereditary monarchy, wonderfully trained, in duty and in leadership which understands example, which is always there, which is above politics, for which the whole nation has an affection and which is a symbol of patriotism.
Sally Bedell Smith (Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch)
Human beings across every culture I know about require such stories, stories with cool winds and wood smoke. They speak to something deep within us, the capacity to conceptualize, objectify and find patterns, thereby to create the flow of events and perceptions that find perfect expression in fiction. We are built this way, we create stories by reflex, unstoppably. But this elegant system really works best when the elements of the emerging story, whether is is being written or being read, are taken as literal fact. Almost always, to respond to the particulars of the fantastic as if they were metaphorical or allegorical is to drain them of vitality.
Peter Straub (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps)
... no one ever develops and achieves self-awareness in a vacuum, beyond all ears and systems. The period you grow up in and mature in always influences your thinking. This in itself requires no self-criticism. What is more important is how you have allowed yourself to be influenced, whether by good or by evil.
Václav Havel
While there are many feminist strands, which is to say different kinds of feminism, there are also many core principles. The commitment to actively oppose and end patriarchy is one. The recognition that patriarchy works like other systems of oppression, like racism and capitalism, to value some people and brutalise others is another area of agreement. Like other systems of oppression, it also requires the support of many members of the groups it oppresses.
Pumla Dineo Gqola (Reflecting Rogue: Inside the Mind of a Feminist)
In the pursuit of greater equality in our education system, from K to PhD, technology access, print literacies, and verbal skill all collide as requirements for even basic participation in an information-based, technology-dependent economy and society.
Adam J. Banks
It is impossible to exercise free will as long as we are operating from within the system. Free will requires consciousness, and our pervasive and deep-seated patterns of thought are unconscious; they are outside of our awareness and therefore outside of our control. While we remain in the system, we see the world through the eyes of carnism. And as long as we look through eyes other than our own, we will be living in accordance to a truth that is not of our own choosing. We must step outside the system to find our lost empathy and make choices that reflect what we truly feel and believe, rather than what we've been taught to feel and believe.
Melanie Joy (Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism: The Belief System That Enables Us to Eat Some Animals and Not Others)
Our longing for community and purpose is so powerful that it can drive us to join groups, relationships, or systems of belief that, to our diminished or divided self, give the false impression of belonging. But places of false belonging grant us conditional membership, requiring us to cut parts of ourselves off in order to fit in. While false belonging can be useful and instructive for a time, the soul becomes restless when it reaches a glass ceiling, a restriction that prevents us from advancing. We may shrink back from this limitation for a time, but as we grow into our truth, the invisible boundary closes in on us and our devotion to the groupmind weakens. Your rebellion is a sign of health. It is the way of nature to shatter and reconstitute. Anything or anyone who denies your impulse to grow must either be revolutionised or relinquished.
Toko-pa Turner (Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home)
Proper storage is about creating a home for something so that minimal effort is required to find it and put it away.
Geralin Thomas (Decluttering Your Home: Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets)
People find it quite easy to have beliefs and to hold on to them and to let their whole world be a product of their belief system. They also find it quite easy to attack those who disagree. The harder, more courageous thing, which the hero and the heroine, the warrior, and the mystic do, is continually to look one’s beliefs straight in the face, honestly and clearly, and then step beyond them. That requires a lot of heart and kindness. It requires being able to touch and know completely, to the core, your own experience, without harshness, without making any judgment.
Pema Chödrön (The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World)
We all behave like Maxwell’s demon. Organisms organize. In everyday experience lies the reason sober physicists across two centuries kept this cartoon fantasy alive. We sort the mail, build sand castles, solve jigsaw puzzles, separate wheat from chaff, rearrange chess pieces, collect stamps, alphabetize books, create symmetry, compose sonnets and sonatas, and put our rooms in order, and all this we do requires no great energy, as long as we can apply intelligence. We propagate structure (not just we humans but we who are alive). We disturb the tendency toward equilibrium. It would be absurd to attempt a thermodynamic accounting for such processes, but it is not absurd to say we are reducing entropy, piece by piece. Bit by bit. The original demon, discerning one molecules at a time, distinguishing fast from slow, and operating his little gateway, is sometimes described as “superintelligent,” but compared to a real organism it is an idiot savant. Not only do living things lessen the disorder in their environments; they are in themselves, their skeletons and their flesh, vesicles and membranes, shells and carapaces, leaves and blossoms, circulatory systems and metabolic pathways - miracles of pattern and structure. It sometimes seems as if curbing entropy is our quixotic purpose in the universe.
James Gleick (The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood)
These times, indeed all times, demand national political leaders who know not only our history but the history of the world and its nations and peoples. We need leaders of principle, courage, character, wisdom, and discipline; and yet we seem trapped by a system of choosing our presidents that pushes those who possess those traits aside in favor of others who look good on television, are skilled at slandering and demonizing their opponents in a campaign, and are able to raise the hundreds of millions of dollars required to ensure election at any cost.
Harold G. Moore (We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam)
Some people have the luxury of asking themselves whether a job fulfills their career hopes and ambitions. I’ve got my own metric to gauge the fabulosity of a job: Does that job require me to keep my boss informed of the inner workings of my gastrointestinal system, or am I allowed to go to the bathroom at will?
Linda Tirado (Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America)
Since natural selection “selects” or preserves functionally advantageous mutations or variations, it can explain the origin of systems that could have arisen through a series of incremental steps, each of which maintains or confers a functional advantage on a living organism. Nevertheless, by this same logic, selection and mutation face difficulty in explaining structures or systems that could not have been built through a close series of functional intermediates. Moreover, since selection operates only on what mutation first produces, mutation and selection do not readily explain appearances of design that require discrete jumps of complexity that exceed the reach of chance; that is to say, the available probabilistic resources.
Stephen C. Meyer (Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design)
As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
When asked whether or not we are Marxists, our position is the same as that of a physicist, when asked if he is a “Newtonian” or of a biologist when asked if he is a “Pasteurian.” There are truths so evident, so much a part of the peoples’ knowledge, that it is now useless to debate them. One should be a “Marxist” with the same naturalness with which one is a “Newtonian” in physics or a “Pasteurian.” If new facts bring about new concepts, the latter will never take away that portion of truth possessed by those that have come before. Such is the case, for example, of “Einsteinian” relativity or of Planck’s quantum theory in relation to Newton’s discoveries. They take absolutely nothing away from the greatness of the learned Englishman. Thanks to Newton, physics was able to advance until it achieved new concepts of space. The learned Englishman was the necessary stepping-stone for that. Obviously, one can point to certain mistakes of Marx, as a thinker and as an investigator of the social doctrines and of the capitalist system in which he lived. We Latin Americans, for example, cannot agree with his interpretation of Bolivar, or with his and Engels’ analysis of the Mexicans, which accepted as fact certain theories of race or nationality that are unacceptable today. But the great men who discover brilliant truths live on despite their small faults and these faults serve only to show us they were human. That is to say, they were human beings who could make mistakes, even given the high level of consciousness achieved by these giants of human thought. This is why we recognize the essential truths of Marxism as part of humanity’s body of cultural and scientific knowledge. We accept it with the naturalness of something that requires no further argument.
Ernesto Che Guevara
Motherhood goes back in history to a time when a father had no way of knowing his children. Fatherhood only became known when class patriarchal society had established itself and imposed monogamous marriage on women. Motherhood is like sun and rain and plants, a quality and product of nature which does not require laws or systems in order to exist.
Nawal El Saadawi (Walking through Fire: The Later Years of Nawal El Saadawi, In Her Own Words)
There are solutions to the major problems of our time; some of them even simple. But they require a radical shift in our perceptions, our thinking, our values. And, indeed, we are now at the beginning of such a fundamental change of worldview in science and society, a change of paradigms as radical as the Copernican revolution. Unfortunately, this realization has not yet dawned on most of our political leaders, who are unable to “connect the dots,” to use a popular phrase.
Fritjof Capra (The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision)
Reflective processing allows us to handle highly complex choices, but it is slower and more tiring than the automatic system. It requires motivation and significant effort.
Sheena Iyengar (The Art of Choosing)
Value innovation requires companies to orient the whole system toward achieving a leap in value for both buyers and themselves.
W. Chan Kim (Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant)
The system required the consent of everyone, even if they consented by doing nothing.
Tom Rob Smith (The Secret Speech)
The battle between bankers and traders is the closest thing to class warfare on Wall Street. Investment banking was esteemed as an art, while trading was more like a sport, something that required skill, but not necessarily brains or creativity.
Andrew Ross Sorkin (Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System from Crisis — and Themselves)
If you want to expel religion from our European civilization, you can only do it by means of another system of doctrines; and such a system would from the outset take over all the psychological characteristics of religion—the same sanctity, rigidity and intolerance, the same prohibition of thought—for its own defence. You have to have something of the kind in order to meet the requirements of education. And you cannot do without education.
Sigmund Freud (The Future of an Illusion)
A happy mood loosens the control of System 2 over performance: when in a good mood, people become more intuitive and more creative but also less vigilant and more prone to logical errors. Here again, as in the mere exposure effect, the connection makes biological sense. A good mood is a signal that things are generally going well, the environment is safe, and it is all right to let one’s guard down. A bad mood indicates that things are not going very well, there may be a threat, and vigilance is required.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
And what is true for human beings is true for every living thing: all organisms require alternating periods of growth and equilibrium. Any person or system exposed to ceaseless novelty and change risks falling into chaos; but one that is too rigid or static ceases to grow and eventually dies. This never-ending dance between change and stability is like the anchor and the waves. Adult relationships mirror these dynamics all too well. We seek a steady, reliable anchor in our partner. Yet at the same time we expect love to offer a transcendent experience that will allow us to soar beyond our ordinary lives. The challenge for modern couples lies in reconciling the need for what’s safe and predictable with the wish to pursue what’s exciting, mysterious, and awe-inspiring.
Esther Perel (Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence)
To do what you imply would require nothing short of divine intervention. you must change man, not systems. Can you and our vapouring friends of the Literary Chamber of Rennes, or any other learned society of France, devise a system of government that has never yet been tried? Surely not. And can we say of any system tried that it proved other than failure in the end? My dear Philippe, the future is to be read with certainty only in the past. Ad actu ad posse valet consecutio. Man never changes. He is always greedy, always acquisitive, always vile. I am speaking of Man in the bulk.
Rafael Sabatini (Scaramouche (Scaramouche, #1))
The next industrial revolution is toward decentralized, autonomous, and resilient systems where individuals and communities control their own destinies. This requires a transformation of our economic model from privatized control to co-operative models of ownership, which the social technologies of the Internet can facilitate.
Russell Brand (Revolution)
Give to it the place in our institutions of learning now occupied by scholastic theology and physiology, and it will 142 eradicate sickness and sin in less time than the old systems, devised for subduing them, have required for self-establishment and propagation.
Mary Baker Eddy (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (Authorized Edition))
Clearly, there were far more northern Idaho sex gods than I’d given the region credit for. Further classifications were going to be required. If Vaughan topped the super-cool category, then maybe this new guy should win on the lumbersexual front. Given my abrupt return to singledom, I’d have to give this important man-classification system more thought. Disclaimer: Objectifying people is wrong and stuff.
Kylie Scott (Dirty (Dive Bar, #1))
A sophisticated human can become primitive. What this really means is that the human's way of life changes. Old values change, become linked to the landscape with it's plants and animals. This new existence requires a working knowledge of those multiplex and cross-linked events usually referred to as Nature. It requires a measure of respect for the inertial power within such natural systems. When a human gains this knowledge and respect, that is called "being primitive". The converse, of course, is equally true: the primitive human can become sophisticated, but not without incurring dreadful psychological damage.
Frank Herbert
Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change. This pattern shows up everywhere. Cancer spends 80 percent of its life undetectable, then takes over the body in months. Bamboo can barely be seen for the first five years as it builds extensive root systems underground before exploding ninety feet into the air within six weeks. Similarly, habits often appear to make no difference until you cross a critical threshold and unlock a new level of performance. In the early and middle stages of any quest, there is often a Valley of Disappointment. You expect to make progress in a linear fashion and it’s frustrating how ineffective changes can seem during the first days, weeks, and even months. It doesn’t feel like you are going anywhere. It’s a hallmark of any compounding process: the most powerful outcomes
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
Tell me something. Do you believe in God?' Snow darted an apprehensive glance in my direction. 'What? Who still believes nowadays?' 'It isn't that simple. I don't mean the traditional God of Earth religion. I'm no expert in the history of religions, and perhaps this is nothing new--do you happen to know if there was ever a belief in an...imperfect God?' 'What do you mean by imperfect?' Snow frowned. 'In a way all the gods of the old religions were imperfect, considered that their attributes were amplified human ones. The God of the Old Testament, for instance, required humble submission and sacrifices, and and was jealous of other gods. The Greek gods had fits of sulks and family quarrels, and they were just as imperfect as mortals...' 'No,' I interrupted. 'I'm not thinking of a god whose imperfection arises out of the candor of his human creators, but one whose imperfection represents his essential characteristic: a god limited in his omniscience and power, fallible, incapable of foreseeing the consequences of his acts, and creating things that lead to horror. He is a...sick god, whose ambitions exceed his powers and who does not realize it at first. A god who has created clocks, but not the time they measure. He has created systems or mechanisms that serves specific ends but have now overstepped and betrayed them. And he has created eternity, which was to have measured his power, and which measures his unending defeat.' Snow hesitated, but his attitude no longer showed any of the wary reserve of recent weeks: 'There was Manicheanism...' 'Nothing at all to do with the principles of Good and Evil,' I broke in immediately. 'This god has no existence outside of matter. He would like to free himself from matter, but he cannot...' Snow pondered for a while: 'I don't know of any religion that answers your description. That kind of religion has never been...necessary. If i understand you, and I'm afraid I do, what you have in mind is an evolving god, who develops in the course of time, grows, and keeps increasing in power while remaining aware of his powerlessness. For your god, the divine condition is a situation without a goal. And understanding that, he despairs. But isn't this despairing god of yours mankind, Kelvin? Is it man you are talking about, and that is a fallacy, not just philosophically but also mystically speaking.' I kept on: 'No, it's nothing to do with man. man may correspond to my provisional definition from some point of view, but that is because the definition has a lot of gaps. Man does not create gods, in spite of appearances. The times, the age, impose them on him. Man can serve is age or rebel against it, but the target of his cooperation or rebellion comes to him from outside. If there was only a since human being in existence, he would apparently be able to attempt the experiment of creating his own goals in complete freedom--apparently, because a man not brought up among other human beings cannot become a man. And the being--the being I have in mind--cannot exist in the plural, you see? ...Perhaps he has already been born somewhere, in some corner of the galaxy, and soon he will have some childish enthusiasm that will set him putting out one star and lighting another. We will notice him after a while...' 'We already have,' Snow said sarcastically. 'Novas and supernovas. According to you they are candles on his altar.' 'If you're going to take what I say literally...' ...Snow asked abruptly: 'What gave you this idea of an imperfect god?' 'I don't know. It seems quite feasible to me. That is the only god I could imagine believing in, a god whose passion is not a redemption, who saves nothing, fulfills no purpose--a god who simply is.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
I think all this may help explain why women leaders around the world tend to rise higher in parliamentary systems, rather than presidential ones like ours. Prime ministers are chosen by their colleagues—people they’ve worked with day in and day out, who’ve seen firsthand their talents and competence. It’s a system designed to reward women’s skill at building relationships, which requires emotional labor.
Hillary Rodham Clinton (What Happened)
The idealized market was supposed to deliver ‘friction free’ exchanges, in which the desires of consumers would be met directly, without the need for intervention or mediation by regulatory agencies. Yet the drive to assess the performance of workers and to measure forms of labor which, by their nature, are resistant to quantification, has inevitably required additional layers of management and bureaucracy. What we have is not a direct comparison of workers’ performance or output, but a comparison between the audited representation of that performance and output. Inevitably, a short-circuiting occurs, and work becomes geared towards the generation and massaging of representations rather than to the official goals of the work itself. Indeed, an anthropological study of local government in Britain argues that ‘More effort goes into ensuring that a local authority’s services are represented correctly than goes into actually improving those services’. This reversal of priorities is one of the hallmarks of a system which can be characterized without hyperbole as ‘market Stalinism’. What late capitalism repeats from Stalinism is just this valuing of symbols of achievement over actual achievement. […] It would be a mistake to regard this market Stalinism as some deviation from the ‘true spirit’ of capitalism. On the contrary, it would be better to say that an essential dimension of Stalinism was inhibited by its association with a social project like socialism and can only emerge in a late capitalist culture in which images acquire an autonomous force. The way value is generated on the stock exchange depends of course less on what a company ‘really does’, and more on perceptions of, and beliefs about, its (future) performance. In capitalism, that is to say, all that is solid melts into PR, and late capitalism is defined at least as much by this ubiquitous tendency towards PR-production as it is by the imposition of market mechanisms.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
My password? Of course. Three words, Ignis aurum probat. “Fire tests gold.” The rest of the phrase: “. . . and adversity tests the brave.” How true. A strong password, strong indeed, exactly as required by the computer system. Thank you, Seneca.
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
...the incarnation is the complete refutation of every human system and institution that claims to control, possess, and distribute God. Whatever any church or religious leader may claim in regard to their particular access to God or control over your experience of God, the incarnation is the last word: God loves the world. God came into the world in the form of the people he created, the human race (including you and me), who bear his image. God's creation of humanity in his image gives hints of who he is, since we all are marked by his fingerprints. But as flawed humans, we give only a vague hint of God. Our broken reflection of God's image is easily drowned out by our broken humanity. then, two thousand years ago, God came in his fullness. He came to all of us in Jesus. The incarnation is not owned, trademarked, or controlled by any church. It belongs to every human being. The incarnation is not something that requires a distributor or middleman. It is a gracious gift to every person everywhere, religious or not. God gave himself to us in Jesus.
Michael Spencer (Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality)
What does it mean to be truly educated? I think I can do no better about answering the question of what it means to be truly educated than to go back to some of the classic views on the subject. For example the views expressed by the founder of the modern higher education system, Wilhelm von Humboldt, leading humanist, a figure of the enlightenment who wrote extensively on education and human development and argued, I think, kind of very plausibly, that the core principle and requirement of a fulfilled human being is the ability to inquire and create constructively independently without external controls. To move to a modern counterpart, a leading physicist who talked right here [at MIT], used to tell his classes it's not important what we cover in the class, it's important what you discover. To be truly educated from this point of view means to be in a position to inquire and to create on the basis of the resources available to you which you've come to appreciate and comprehend. To know where to look, to know how to formulate serious questions, to question a standard doctrine if that's appropriate, to find your own way, to shape the questions that are worth pursuing, and to develop the path to pursue them. That means knowing, understanding many things but also, much more important than what you have stored in your mind, to know where to look, how to look, how to question, how to challenge, how to proceed independently, to deal with the challenges that the world presents to you and that you develop in the course of your self education and inquiry and investigations, in cooperation and solidarity with others. That's what an educational system should cultivate from kindergarten to graduate school, and in the best cases sometimes does, and that leads to people who are, at least by my standards, well educated.
Noam Chomsky
Our laws as we support them now are slow, wasteful, cumbrous systems, which require a special caste to interpret and another to enforce; wherein the average citizen knows nothing of the law, and cares only to evade it when he can, obey it when he must.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Man-Made World)
This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council,” the voice continued. “As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1))
Public access to government information is a fundamental prerequisite to a functioning democracy. A democratic system is based on the notion that government legitimacy requires the consent of the governed. To be meaningful that consent must be informed.
John Podesta
The most common theory points to the fact that men are stronger than women and that they have used their greater physical power to force women into submission. A more subtle version of this claim argues that their strength allows men to monopolize tasks that demand hard manual labor, such as plowing and harvesting. This gives them control of food production, which in turn translates into political clout. There are two problems with this emphasis on muscle power. First, the statement that men are stronger is true only on average and only with regard to certain types of strength. Women are generally more resistant to hunger, disease, and fatigue than men. There are also many women who can run faster and lift heavier weights than many men. Furthermore, and most problematically for this theory, women have, throughout history, mainly been excluded from jobs that required little physical effort, such as the priesthood, law, and politics, while engaging in hard manual labor in the fields....and in the household. If social power were divided in direct relation to physical strength or stamina, women should have got far more of it. Even more importantly, there simply is no direct relation between physical strength and social power among humans. People in their sixties usually exercise power over people in their twenties, even though twenty-somethings are much stronger than their elders. ...Boxing matches were not used to select Egyptian pharaohs or Catholic popes. In forager societies, political dominance generally resides with the person possessing the best social skills rather than the most developed musculature. In fact, human history shows that there is often an inverse relation between physical prowess and social power. In most societies, it’s the lower classes who do the manual labor. Another theory explains that masculine dominance results not from strength but from aggression. Millions of years of evolution have made men far more violent than women. Women can match men as far as hatred, greed, and abuse are concern, but when push comes to shove…men are more willing to engage in raw physical violence. This is why, throughout history, warfare has been a masculine prerogative. In times of war, men’s control of the armed forces has made them the masters of civilian society too. They then use their control of civilian society to fight more and more wars. …Recent studies of the hormonal and cognitive systems of men and women strengthen the assumption that men indeed have more aggressive and violent tendencies and are…on average, better suited to serve as common soldiers. Yet, granted that the common soldiers are all men, does it follow that the ones managing the war and enjoying its fruits must also be men? That makes no sense. It’s like assuming that because all the slaves cultivating cotton fields are all Black, plantation owners will be Black as well. Just as an all-Black workforce might be controlled by an all-White management, why couldn’t an all-male soldiery be controlled by an all-female government?
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The double role of living systems as parts and wholes requires the interplay of two opposite tendencies: an integrative tendency to function as part of a larger whole, and a self-assertive, or self-organizing tendency to preserve individual autonomy (see Chapter 7).
Fritjof Capra (The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision)
The truth will set you free, but it doesn’t make truth hurt any less, nor does it make truth any prettier, and it certainly doesn’t absolve you of the responsibilities that truth requires. One of the biggest obstacles guys face in unplugging is accepting the hard truths that Game forces upon them. Among these is bearing the burden of realizing what you’ve been conditioned to believe for so long were comfortable ideals and loving expectations are really liabilities. Call them lies if you want, but there’s a certain hopeless nihilism that accompanies categorizing what really amounts to a system that you are now cut away from. It is not that you’re hopeless, it’s that you lack the insight at this point to see that you can create hope in a new system – one in which you have more direct control over.
Rollo Tomassi
Telling a lie is an act with a sharp focus. It is designed to insert a particular falsehood at a particular point in a set or system of beliefs, in order to have that point occupied by the truth. This requires a degree of craftsmanship, in which the teller of the lie submits to objective constraints imposed by what he takes to be the truth. The liar is inescapably concerned with truth-values. In order to invent a lie at all, he must think he knows what is true. And in order to invent an effective lie, he must design his falsehood under the guidance of that truth. On the other hand, a person who takes to bullshit his way through has much more freedom. His focus is panoramic rather than particular. He does not limit himself to inserting a certain falsehood at a specific point, and thus he is not constrained by the truths surrounding that point or intersecting it. He is prepared, so far as is required, to fake the context as well. This freedom from the constraints to which the liar must submit does not necessarily mean, of course, that his task is easier than the task of the liar. But the mode of creativity upon which it relies is less analytical and less deliberative than that which is mobilized in lying. It is more expansive and independent, with more spacious opportunities for improvisation, color and imaginative play. This is less a matter of craft than of art. Hence the familiar notion of the 'bullshit artist'.
Harry G. Frankfurt (On Bullshit)
We cannot educate the citizens of tomorrow based on the requirements of yesterday.
Abhijit Naskar (Every Generation Needs Caretakers: The Gospel of Patriotism)
Tech-savvy types had figured out how to get around the system. With radios it was easy—open up the set, cut the conveyor belt attached to the dial, and replace it with a rubber band that could turn the dial wherever you liked. Television required a little more expertise.
Barbara Demick (Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea)
One early challenge was that the book distributors required retailers to order ten books at a time. Amazon didn’t yet have that kind of sales volume, and Bezos later enjoyed telling the story of how he got around it. “We found a loophole,” he said. “Their systems were programmed in such a way that you didn’t have to receive ten books, you only had to order ten books. So we found an obscure book about lichens that they had in their system but was out of stock. We began ordering the one book we wanted and nine copies of the lichen book. They would ship out the book we needed and a note that said, ‘Sorry, but we’re out of the lichen book.’ ”4
Brad Stone (The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon)
Jesus died for our sins” has been understood. Among some Christians, it is seen as an essential doctrinal element in the Christian belief system. Seen this way, it becomes a doctrinal requirement: we are made right with God by believing that Jesus is the sacrifice. The system of requirements remains, and believing in Jesus is the new requirement. Seeing it as a metaphorical proclamation of the radical grace of God leads to a very different understanding. “Jesus died for our sins” means the abolition of the system of requirements, not the establishment of a new system of requirements.
Marcus J. Borg (The Meaning of Jesus (Plus))
An impersonal generation will take the place of Nature's hideous system. In vast state incubators, rows upon rows of gravid bottles will supply the world with the population it requires. The family system will disappear; society, sapped at its very base, will have to find new foundations; and Eros, beautifully and irresponsibly free, will flit like a gay butterfly from flower to flower through a sunlit world.
Aldous Huxley (Crome Yellow)
The relevant question is not whether back then a few extraordinary individuals could overcome a system strongly weighted against them or whether today an admittedly far greater number requiring far less talent can succeed. The real question is whether it's harder for the people in this audience to succeed be they extraordinary, average, or below average. If it is, and I think it obvious that it is, then that's untenable in a country that purports to provide equal opportunity for all. Now of course you'll dispute my claim that it is more difficult to succeed for them. You say the battle's over. I say not only is it not over but you yourself are stationed on the frontline of the battle and have been all these years. This room and the criminal justice system as a whole is the frontline. This is where modern-day segregation lives on.
Sergio de la Pava (A Naked Singularity)
If a curiously selective plague came along and killed all people of intermediate height, 'tall' and 'short' would come to have just as precise a meaning as 'bird' or 'mammal'. The same is true of human ethics and law. Our legal and moral systems are deeply species-bound. The director of a zoo is legally entitled to 'put down' a chimpanzee that is surplus to requirements, while any suggestion that he might 'put down' a redundant keeper or ticket-seller would be greeted with howls of incredulous outrage. The chimpanzee is the property of the zoo. Humans are nowadays not supposed to be anybody's property, yet the rationale for discriminating against chimpanzees in this way is seldom spelled out, and I doubt if there is a defensible rationale at all. Such is the breathtaking speciesism of our attitudes, the abortion of a single human zygote can arouse more moral solicitude and righteous indignation than the vivisection of any number of intelligent adult chimpanzees! [T]he only reason we can be comfortable with such a double standard is that the intermediates between humans and chimps are all dead.
Richard Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design)
Artificial Intelligence is not just learning patterns from data, but understanding human emotions and its evolution from its depth and not just fulfilling the surface level human requirements, but sensitivity towards human pain, happiness, mistakes, sufferings and well-being of the society are the parts of the evolving new AI systems.
Amit Ray (Compassionate Artificial Intelligence)
He told me that in 1886 he had invented an original system of numbering and that in a very few days he had gone beyond the twenty-four-thousand mark. He had not written it down, since anything he thought of once would never be lost to him. His first stimulus was, I think, his discomfort at the fact that the famous thirty-three gauchos of Uruguayan history should require two signs and two words, in place of a single word and a single sign. He then applied this absurd principle to the other numbers. In place of seven thousand thirteen he would say (for example) Maximo Pérez; in place of seven thousand fourteen, The Railroad; other numbers were Luis Melián Lafinur, Olimar, sulphur, the reins, the whale, the gas, the caldron, Napoleon, Agustin de Vedia. In place of five hundred, he would say nine. Each word had a particular sign, a kind of mark; the last in the series were very complicated...
Jorge Luis Borges (Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings)
It’s very hard to have a productive dialogue with a thirteen-year-old boy, as every gently broached subject becomes an Ultimate Conversation, requiring defense systems and counterattacks to attacks that were never launched. What begins as an innocent observation about his habit of leaving things in the pockets of dirty clothes ends with Sam blaming his parents for his twenty-eighth-percentile height, which makes him want to commit suicide on YouTube.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Here I Am)
But getting the sinner where justice deemed he belonged was the trick. It required a system. And the system demanded its rules, techniques, manpower, organizations, and loopholes. And the occasional seminar to educate and inform.
J.D. Robb (Three in Death (In Death, #7.5, 12.5, 22.5))
Across the centuries the moral systems from medival chivalry to Bruce Springsteen love anthems have worked the same basic way. They take immediate selfish interests and enmesh them within transcendent, spiritual meanings. Love becomes a holy cause, an act of self-sacrifice and selfless commitment. But texting and the utilitarian mind-set are naturally corrosive toward poetry and imagination. A coat of ironic detachment is required for anyone who hopes to withstand the brutal feedback of the marketplace. In today's world, the choice of a Prius can be a more sanctified act than the choice of an erotic partner. This does not mean that young people today are worse or shallower than young people in the past. It does mean they get less help. People once lived within a pattern of being, which educated the emotions, guided the temporary toward the permanent and linked everyday urges to higher things. The accumulated wisdom of the community steered couples as they tried to earn each other's commitment. Today there are fewer norms that guide that way. Today's technology seems to threaten the sort of recurring and stable reciprocity that is the building block of trust.
David Brooks
In Asia, we say that there are three sources of energy--sexual, breath, and spirit...You need to know how to reestablish the balance, or you may act irresponsibly. According to Taoism and buddhism, there are practices to help reestablish that balance, such as meditation or martial arts. You can learn the ways to channel your sexual energy into deep realizations in the domains of art and meditation. The second source of energy is khi, breath energy. Life can be described as a process of burning. In order to burn, every cell in our body needs nutrition and oxygen...Some people cultivate their khi by refraining from smoking and talking, or by practicing conscious breathing after talking a lot...The third soruce of energy is than, spirit energy. When you don't sleep at night, you lose some of this kind of energy. Your nervous system becomes exhausted and you cannot sutdy or practice meditation well, or make good decisions. You don't have a clear mind because of lack of sleep or from worrying too much. Worry and anxiety drain this source of energy. So don't worry. Don't stay up too late. Keep your nervous system healthy. Prevent anxiety. These kinds of practices cultivate the third source of energy. You need this source of energy to practice meditation well. A spritual breakthrough requires the power of your spirit energy, which comes about through concentration and knowing how to preserve this source of energy. When you have strong spirit energy, you only have to focus it on an object, and you will have a breakthrough. If you don't have than, the light of your concentration will not shine brightly, because the light emitted is very weak," (35-36).
Thich Nhat Hanh
There are six canons of conservative thought: 1) Belief in a transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience. Political problems, at bottom, are religious and moral problems. A narrow rationality, what Coleridge called the Understanding, cannot of itself satisfy human needs. "Every Tory is a realist," says Keith Feiling: "he knows that there are great forces in heaven and earth that man's philosophy cannot plumb or fathom." True politics is the art of apprehending and applying the Justice which ought to prevail in a community of souls. 2) Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems; conservatives resist what Robert Graves calls "Logicalism" in society. This prejudice has been called "the conservatism of enjoyment"--a sense that life is worth living, according to Walter Bagehot "the proper source of an animated Conservatism." 3) Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes, as against the notion of a "classless society." With reason, conservatives have been called "the party of order." If natural distinctions are effaced among men, oligarchs fill the vacuum. Ultimate equality in the judgment of God, and equality before courts of law, are recognized by conservatives; but equality of condition, they think, means equality in servitude and boredom. 4) Persuasion that freedom and property are closely linked: separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Economic levelling, they maintain, is not economic progress. 5) Faith in prescription and distrust of "sophisters, calculators, and economists" who would reconstruct society upon abstract designs. Custom, convention, and old prescription are checks both upon man's anarchic impulse and upon the innovator's lust for power. 6) Recognition that change may not be salutary reform: hasty innovation may be a devouring conflagration, rather than a torch of progress. Society must alter, for prudent change is the means of social preservation; but a statesman must take Providence into his calculations, and a statesman's chief virtue, according to Plato and Burke, is prudence.
Russell Kirk (The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot)
Growing beyond our racial ignorance—and getting serious about disrupting white supremacy—requires developing an intersectional sensibility: awareness of interlocking systems of oppression and concern for a wide variety of marginalized groups. To put it bluntly: if you’re not thinking about race intersectionally, then you’re not thinking about race intelligently.
Crystal Marie Fleming (How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide)
To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life. In a sense it might even be said that our failure is to form habits: for, after all, habit is relative to a stereotyped world, and meantime it is only the roughness of the eye that makes two persons, things, situations, seem alike. While all melts under our feet, we may well grasp at any exquisite passion, or any contribution to knowledge that seems by a lifted horizon to set the spirit free for a moment, or any stirring of the sense, strange dyes, strange colours, and curious odours, or work of the artist’s hands, or the face of one’s friend. Not to discriminate every moment some passionate attitude in those about us, and in the very brilliancy of their gifts some tragic dividing on their ways, is, on this short day of frost and sun, to sleep before evening. With this sense of the splendour of our experience and of its awful brevity, gathering all we are into one desperate effort to see and touch, we shall hardly have time to make theories about the things we see and touch. What we have to do is to be for ever curiously testing new opinions and courting new impressions, never acquiescing in a facile orthodoxy, of Comte, or of Hegel, or of our own. Philosophical theories or ideas, as points of view, instruments of criticism, may help us to gather up what might otherwise pass unregarded by us. “Philosophy is the microscope of thought.” The theory or idea or system which requires of us the sacrifice of any part of this experience, in consideration of some interest into which we cannot enter, or some abstract theory we have not identified with ourselves, or of what is only conventional, has no real claim upon us.
Walter Pater
Often those on the more able end of the spectrum may be considered too "high functioning" by the systems in place to require any type of support, yet access to someone who could coach them a few hours a week would make all the difference in their lives.
Chantal Sicile-Kira (A Full Life with Autism: From Learning to Forming Relationships to Achieving Independence)
The job of the autonomic nervous system is to ensure we survive in moments of danger and thrive in times of safety. Survival requires threat detection and the activation of a survival response. Thriving demands the opposite—the inhibition of a survival response so that social engagement can happen. Without the capacity for activation, inhibition, and flexibility of response, we suffer.
Deborah A. Dana (The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation)
Once very smart people are paid huge sums of money to exploit the flaws in the financial system, they have the spectacularly destructive incentive to screw the system up further, or to remain silent as they watch it being screwed up by others. The cost, in the end, is a tangled-up financial system. Untangling it requires acts of commercial heroism—and even then the fix might not work. There was simply too much more easy money to be made by elites if the system worked badly than if it worked well. The whole culture had to want to change. “We know how to cure this,” as Brad had put it. “It’s just a matter of whether the patient wants to be treated.
Michael Lewis (Flash Boys)
The incommensurability between the modern economic system and the people who staff it explains why modern workers have so often been depicted as 'cogs' in the larger 'machinery' of industrial civilization; for while the practical rationalization of enterprise does require workers to be consistent, predictable, precise, uniform, and even to a certain extent creative, it does not really require them to be persons, that is, to live examined lives, to grow, to develop character, to search for truth, to know themselves, etc.
Craig M. Gay (The Way of the (Modern) World: Or, Why It's Tempting to Live As If God Doesn't Exist)
While it is undoubtedly true that there are areas that require individuals with Tiger’s precocity and clarity of purpose, as complexity increases—as technology spins the world into vaster webs of interconnected systems in which each individual only sees a small part—we also need more Rogers: people who start broad and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives while they progress. People with range.
David Epstein (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
To begin with, we have to be more clear about what we mean by patriotic feelings. For a time when I was in high school, I cheered for the school athletic teams. That's a form of patriotism — group loyalty. It can take pernicious forms, but in itself it can be quite harmless, maybe even positive. At the national level, what "patriotism" means depends on how we view the society. Those with deep totalitarian commitments identify the state with the society, its people, and its culture. Therefore those who criticized the policies of the Kremlin under Stalin were condemned as "anti-Soviet" or "hating Russia". For their counterparts in the West, those who criticize the policies of the US government are "anti-American" and "hate America"; those are the standard terms used by intellectual opinion, including left-liberal segments, so deeply committed to their totalitarian instincts that they cannot even recognize them, let alone understand their disgraceful history, tracing to the origins of recorded history in interesting ways. For the totalitarian, "patriotism" means support for the state and its policies, perhaps with twitters of protest on grounds that they might fail or cost us too much. For those whose instincts are democratic rather than totalitarian, "patriotism" means commitment to the welfare and improvement of the society, its people, its culture. That's a natural sentiment and one that can be quite positive. It's one all serious activists share, I presume; otherwise why take the trouble to do what we do? But the kind of "patriotism" fostered by totalitarian societies and military dictatorships, and internalized as second nature by much of intellectual opinion in more free societies, is one of the worst maladies of human history, and will probably do us all in before too long. With regard to the US, I think we find a mix. Every effort is made by power and doctrinal systems to stir up the more dangerous and destructive forms of "patriotism"; every effort is made by people committed to peace and justice to organize and encourage the beneficial kinds. It's a constant struggle. When people are frightened, the more dangerous kinds tend to emerge, and people huddle under the wings of power. Whatever the reasons may be, by comparative standards the US has been a very frightened country for a long time, on many dimensions. Quite commonly in history, such fears have been fanned by unscrupulous leaders, seeking to implement their own agendas. These are commonly harmful to the general population, which has to be disciplined in some manner: the classic device is to stimulate fear of awesome enemies concocted for the purpose, usually with some shreds of realism, required even for the most vulgar forms of propaganda. Germany was the pride of Western civilization 70 years ago, but most Germans were whipped to presumably genuine fear of the Czech dagger pointed at the heart of Germany (is that crazier than the Nicaraguan or Grenadan dagger pointed at the heart of the US, conjured up by the people now playing the same game today?), the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy aimed at destroying the Aryan race and the civilization that Germany had inherited from Greece, etc. That's only the beginning. A lot is at stake.
Noam Chomsky
Asking where memory is "located" in the brain is like asking where running is located in the body. There are certainly parts of the body that are more important (the legs) or less important (the little fingers) in performing the task of running but, in the end, it is an activity that requires complex coordination among a great many body parts and muscle groups. To extend the analogy, looking for differences between memory systems is like looking for differences between running and walking. There certainly are many differences, but the main difference is that running requires more coordination among the different body parts and can be disrupted by small things (such as a corn on the toe) that may not interfere with walking at all. Are we to conclude, then, that running is located in the corn on your toe?
Ian Neath
To reiterate, rather than try to imagine one single alternative to the existing system of incarceration, we might envision an array of alternatives that will require radical transformations of many aspects of our society. Alternatives that fail to address racism, male dominance, homophobia, class bias, and other structures of domination will not, in the final analysis, lead to decarceration and will not advance the goal of abolition.
Angela Y. Davis (Are Prisons Obsolete?)
Here is the rub: Systems that are constructed for order cannot provide satisfaction in domains that require a unique and personal human solution. They are unable to provide the satisfaction that they promise because of their very nature. This is not a critique of any individual’s leadership or method of operation. It is that systems have a limit; by their nature, they cannot provide prosperity or peace of mind or a life of satisfaction.
John McKnight (The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods)
For the decline of capitalism to continue, that is to say, no revolutionary alternative is required, and certainly no masterplan of a better society displacing capitalism. Contemporary capitalism is vanishing on its own, collapsing from internal contradictions, and not least as a result of having vanquished its enemies - who, as noted, have often rescued capitalism from itself by forcing it to assume a new form. What comes after capitalism in its final crisis, now underway, is, I suggest, not socialism or some other defined social order, but a lasting interregnum - no new world system equilibrium a la Wallerstein, but a prolonged period of social entropy or disorder (and precisely for this reason a period of uncertainy and indeterminacy). It is an interesting problem for sociological theory whether and how a society can turn for a significant length of time into less than a society, a post-social society as it were, or a society lite, until it may or may not recover and again to become a society in the full meaning of the term.
Wolfgang Streeck (How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System)
The white slave had taken from him by indirection what the black slave had taken from him directly and without ceremony. Both were plundered, and by the same plunderers. The slave was robbed by his master of all his earnings, above what was required for his bare physical necessities, and the white laboring man was robbed by the slave system, of the just results of his labor, because he was flung into competition with a class of laborers who worked without wages. The slaveholders blinded them to this competition by keeping alive their prejudice against the slaves as men--not against them as slaves.
Frederick Douglass (My Bondage and My Freedom)
I celebrate ideals of individual excellence, self-reliance, and personal responsibility… But rugged individualism alone did not get us to the moon. It did not end slavery, win World War II, pass the Voting Rights Act, or bring down the Berlin Wall. It didn’t build our dams, bridges, and highways, or map the human genome. Our most lasting accomplishments require mutual effort and shared sacrifice; this is an idea that is woven into the very fabric of this country.
Cory Booker (United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good)
Many systems require slack in order to work well. Old reel-to-reel tape recorders needed an extra bit of tape fed into the mechanism to ensure that the tape wouldn't rip. Your coffee grinder won't grind if you overstuff it. Roadways operate best below 70 percent capacity; traffic jams are caused by lack of slack.
Eldar Shafir (Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much)
The neuroplastic brain evolved in ambulatory beings who ranged around the world, always having to explore unknown territories. In other words, the brain evolved to learn. As people become immobile, they see less, hear less, and process less new information, and their brains begin to atrophy from the lack of stimulation (unless they are fundamentally thinkers, and even then the neuroplastic systems require physical movement to generate new cells and nerve growth factor).
Norman Doidge (The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity)
Something went greatly wrong in our collective history and the starting point of it was the industrial revolution. Our school systems are focussed on a single objective: to produce model citizens for society in order to feed this machine and prevent its breakdown. That’s why our school systems have no interest in developing models that actually require and stimulate useful values in people, such as courage or imagination or inventiveness. None of these are taught in our schools, on the contrary the system focuses on memorizing. Memorizing is a way of overloading the mind with mental baggage it doesn’t really need. Besides being horribly dull and stiffening the effect of 20 years of abundant memorization training is modern man: an unimaginative creature stuffed with useless knowledge and unable to clean his mind of this information dirt: our school systems are purposely constructed to deliver mental automatons that are unable to think creatively.
Martijn Benders
But stimulating sustained economic growth required that individuals use their talent and ideas, and this could never be done with a Soviet-style economic system. The rulers of the Soviet Union would have had to abandon extractive economic institutions, but such a move would have jeopardized their political power. Indeed, when Mikhail Gorbachev started to move away from extractive economic institutions after 1987, the power of the Communist Party crumbled, and with it, the Soviet Union.
Daron Acemoğlu (Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty)
It isn’t a matter of wanting it or not,” Malcolm said, eyes closed. He spoke slowly, through the drugs. “It’s a matter of what you think you can accomplish. When the hunter goes out in the rain forest to seek food for his family, does he expect to control nature? No. He imagines that nature is beyond him. Beyond his understanding. Beyond his control. Maybe he prays to nature, to the fertility of the forest that provides for him. He prays because he knows he doesn’t control it. He’s at the mercy of it. “But you decide you won’t be at the mercy of nature. You decide you’ll control nature, and from that moment on you’re in deep trouble, because you can’t do it. Yet you have made systems that require you to do it. And you can’t do it—and you never have—and you never will. Don’t confuse things. You can make a boat, but you can’t make the ocean. You can make an airplane, but you can’t make the air. Your powers are much less than your dreams of reason would have you believe.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1))
Another flaw of the system is the fact that various danger fronts often require very different firmaments. As a logical superstructure is built upon each, there follow clashes of incommensurable modes of feeling and thought. Then despair can enter through the rifts. In such cases, a person may be obsessed with destructive joy, dislodging the whole artificial apparatus of his life and starting with rapturous horror to make a clean sweep of it. The horror stems from the loss of all sheltering values, the rapture from his by now ruthless identification and harmony with our nature’s deepest secret, the biological unsoundness, the enduring disposition for doom.
Peter Wessel Zapffe (Essays)
People aren’t really needed for anything else in the Griftopia, but since Americans require the illusion of self-government, we have elections. To make sure those elections are effectively meaningless as far as Wall Street is concerned, two things end up being true. One is that voters on both sides of the aisle are gradually weaned off that habit of having real expectations for their politicians, consuming the voting process entirely as culture-war entertainment. The other is that millions of tenuously middle-class voters are conned into pushing Wall Street’s own twisted greed ethos as though it were their own. The Tea Party, with its weirdly binary view of society as being split up cleanly into competing groups of producers and parasites—that’s just a cultural echo of the insane greed-is-good belief system on Wall Street that’s provided the foundation/excuse for a generation of brilliantly complex thievery. Those beliefs have trickled down to the ex-middle-class suckers struggling to stay on top of their mortgages and their credit card bills, and the real joke is that these voters listen to CNBC and Fox and they genuinely believe they’re the producers in this binary narrative. They don’t get that somewhere way up above, there’s a group of people who’ve been living the Atlas dream for real—and building a self-dealing financial bureaucracy in their own insane image.
Matt Taibbi (Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America)
Art then becomes a safety valve for the expression of individual and collective neuroses originating in the inability of coping with the environment. Its products serve as a retarded correction of perception braked by the system of conventions and stereotypes that stabilize society. They create a slightly updated system which, eventually assimilated by history, will require a new system and so on without end. Art objects serve as points of identification alienated from the consumer, requiring more sympathy than empathy.
Luis Camnitzer
I had formed the habit of treating those parts of my character that were in any way my responsibility to exhortations so wholesome and sensible as to be comical. As a part of my system of self-discipline, dating from childhood, I constantly told myself it would be better to die than become a lukewarm person, an unmanly person, a person who does not clearly know his likes and dislikes, a person who wants only to be loved without knowing how to love. This exhortation of course had a possible applicability to the parts of my character for which I was to blame, but so far as the other parts were concerned, the parts for which I was not to blame, it was an impossible requirement from the beginning.
Yukio Mishima (Confessions of a Mask)
America is a leap of the imagination. From its beginning, people had only a persistent idea of what a good country should be. The idea involved freedom, equality, justice, and the pursuit of happiness; nowadays most of us probably could not describe it a lot more clearly than that. The truth is, it always has been a bit of a guess. No one has ever known for sure whether a country based on such an idea is really possible, but again and again, we have leaped toward the idea and hoped. What SuAnne Big Crow demonstrated in the Lead high school gym is that making the leap is the whole point. The idea does not truly live unless it is expressed by an act; the country does not live unless we make the leap from our tribe or focus group or gated community or demographic, and land on the shaky platform of that idea of a good country which all kinds of different people share. This leap is made in public, and it's made for free. It's not a product or a service that anyone will pay you for. You do it for reasons unexplainable by economics--for ambition, out of conviction, for the heck of it, in playfulness, for love. It's done in public spaces, face-to-face, where anyone is free to go. It's not done on television, on the Internet, or over the telephone; our electronic systems can only tell us if the leap made elsewhere has succeeded or failed. The places you'll see it are high school gyms, city sidewalks, the subway, bus stations, public parks, parking lots, and wherever people gather during natural disasters. In those places and others like them, the leaps that continue to invent and knit the country continue to be made. When the leap fails, it looks like the L.A. riots, or Sherman's March through Georgia. When it succeeds, it looks like the New York City Bicentennial Celebration in July 1976 or the Civil Rights March on Washington in 1963. On that scale, whether it succeeds or fails, it's always something to see. The leap requires physical presence and physical risk. But the payoff--in terms of dreams realized, of understanding, of people getting along--can be so glorious as to make the risk seem minuscule.
Ian Frazier (On the Rez)
A complex system, contrary to what people believe, does not require complicated systems and regulations and intricate policies. The simpler, the better. Complications lead to multiplicative chains of unanticipated effects. Because of opacity, an intervention leads to unforeseen consequences, followed by apologies about the “unforeseen” aspect of the consequences, then to another intervention to correct the secondary effects, leading to an explosive series of branching “unforeseen” responses, each one worse than the preceding one. Yet simplicity has been difficult to implement in modern life because it is against the spirit of a certain brand of people who seek sophistication so they can justify their profession.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder)
Dense urban environments may do away with nature altogether—there are many vibrantly healthy neighborhoods in Paris or Manhattan that lack even a single tree—but they also perform the crucial service of reducing mankind’s environmental footprint. Compare the sewage system of a midsized city like Portland, Oregon, with the kind of waste management resources that would be required to support the same population dispersed across the countryside. Portland’s 500,000 inhabitants require two sewage treatment plants, connected by 2,000 miles of pipes. A rural population would require more than 100,000 septic tanks, and 7,000 miles of pipe. The rural waste system would be several times more expensive than the urban version.
Steven Johnson (The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World)
A recent invention, vocal language may date back only ca. 200,000 years. As human primates, we have not fully come to grips with the prolonged, face-to-face closeness required for speech. Speaking to a stranger, e.g., stresses our autonomic nervous system's sympathetic (i.e., fight-or-flight) division, which a. speeds our heartbeat, b. dilates our pupils, and c. cools and moistens our hands. The limbic brain's hypothalamus instructs the pituitary gland to release hormones into the circulatory system, arousing our blood, sweat, and fears.
David B. Givens (The NONVERBAL DICTIONARY of gestures, signs and body language cues)
The Allatians believe that they have a writing system superior to all others. Unlike books written in alphabets, syllabaries, or logograms, an Allatian book captures not only words, but also the writer’s tone, voice, inflection, emphasis, intonation, rhythm. It is simultaneously a score and a recording. A speech sounds like a speech, a lament a lament, and a story re-creates perfectly the teller’s breathless excitement. For the Allatians, reading is literally hearing the voice of the past. But there is a cost to the beauty of the Allatian book. Because the act of reading requires physical contact with the soft, malleable surface, each time a text is read, it is also damaged and some aspects of the original irretrievably lost. Copies made of more durable materials inevitably fail to capture all the subtleties of the writer’s voice, and are thus shunned. In order to preserve their literary heritage, the Allatians have to lock away their most precious manuscripts in forbidding libraries where few are granted access. Ironically, the most important and beautiful works of Allatian writers are rarely read, but are known only through interpretations made by scribes who attempt to reconstruct the original in new books after hearing the source read at special ceremonies.
Ken Liu (The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories)
Innovation liberalism is "a liberalism of the rich," to use the straightforward phrase of local labor leader Harris Gruman. This doctrine has no patience with the idea that everyone should share in society's wealth. What Massachusetts liberals pine for, by and large, is a more perfect meritocracy--a system where everyone gets an equal chance and the truly talented get to rise. Once that requirement is satisfied--once diversity has been achieved and the brilliant people of all races and genders have been identified and credentialed--this species of liberal can't really conceive of any further grievance against the system. The demands of ordinary working-class people, Gruman says, are unpersuasive to them: "Janitors, fast-food servers home care or child care providers--most of whom are women and people of color--they don't have college degrees." And if you don't have a college degree in Boston--brother, you've got no one to blame but yourself.
Thomas Frank (Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People)
I've heard youngsters use some of George Lucas' terms––"the Force and "the dark side." So it must be hitting somewhere. It's a good sound teaching, I would say. The fact that the evil power is not identified with any specific nation on this earth means you've got an abstract power, which represents a principle, not a specific historical situation. The story has to do with an operation of principles, not of this nation against that. The monster masks that are put on people in Star Wars represent the real monster force in the modern world. When the mask of Darth Vader is removed, you see an unformed man, one who has not developed as a human individual. What you see is a strange and pitiful sort of undifferentiated face. Darth Vader has not developed his humanity. He's a robot. He's a bureaucrat, living not in terms of himself but of an imposed system. This is the threat to our lives that we all face today. Is the system going to flatten you out and deny you your humanity, or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes? How do you relate to the system so that you are not compulsively serving it? . . . The thing to do is to learn to live in your period of history as a human being ...[b]y holding to your own ideals for yourself and, like Luke Skywalker, rejecting the system's impersonal claims upon you. Well, you see, that movie communicates. It is in a language that talks to young people, and that's what counts. It asks, Are you going to be a person of heart and humanity––because that's where the life is, from the heart––or are you going to do whatever seems to be required of you by what might be called "intentional power"? When Ben Knobi says, "May the Force be with you," he's speaking of the power and energy of life, not of programmed political intentions. ... [O]f course the Force moves from within. But the Force of the Empire is based on an intention to overcome and master. Star Wars is not a simple morality play. It has to do with the powers of life as they are either fulfilled or broken and suppressed through the action of man.
Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth)
manufacturing false hierarchies based on race and gender in order to enforce a brutal class system is a very long story. Our modern capitalist economy was born thanks to two very large subsidies: stolen Indigenous land ​and stolen African people. Both required the creation of intellectual theories that ranked the relative value of human lives and labor, placing white men at the top. These church and state–sanctioned theories of white (and Christian) supremacy are what allowed Indigenous civilizations to be actively “unseen” by European explorers—visually perceived and yet not acknowledged to have preexisting rights to the land—and entire richly populated continents to be legally classified as unoccupied and therefore fair game on an absurd “finders keepers” basis.
Naomi Klein (No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need)
[These] powerful women understood that success in imperfect. What would happen if we all started speaking honestly and openly about our priorities and the choices we make about how we spend our time? How inspiring would it be to the young women in our offices if they saw female executives who don't pretend to do it all, but are open and honest about the balls they have dropped to get where they are today? Women need to support one another by being honest about the compromises we make and by speaking openly about the help we require from our partners and other support systems.
Tiffany Dufu (Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less)
Colleges and departments of education have developed in response to the need for preparing the tens of thousands of teachers required to staff our immense public school system. That they have a most important function to discharge is plain for all to see. But instead of seeing that their products are equipped with sound learning in the various arts and sciences, they have ignored this and have concentrated almost exclusively upon methods of education. They have erected pseudo-science called "Education," most of whose courses are made up of commonplaces expressed in pretentious jargon.
Richard Weaver (In Defense of Tradition: Collected Shorter Writings of Richard M. Weaver, 1929–1963)
Historically one of the main defects of constitutional government has been the failure to insure the fair value of political liberty. The necessary corrective steps have not been taken, indeed, they never seem to have been seriously entertained. Disparities in the distribution of property and wealth that far exceed what is compatible with political equality have generally been tolerated by the legal system. Public resources have not been devoted to maintaining the institutions required for the fair value of political liberty. Essentially the fault lies in the fact that the democratic political process is at best regulated rivalry; it does not even in theory have the desirable properties that price theory ascribes to truly competitive markets. Moreover, the effects of injustices in the political system are much more grave and long lasting than market imperfections. Political power rapidly accumulates and becomes unequal; and making use of the coercive apparatus of the state and its law, those who gain the advantage can often assure themselves of a favored position. Thus inequities in the economic and social system may soon undermine whatever political equality might have existed under fortunate historical conditions. Universal suffrage is an insufficient counterpoise; for when parties and elections are financed not by public funds but by private contributions, the political forum is so constrained by the wishes of the dominant interests that the basic measures needed to establish just constitutional rule are seldom properly presented. These questions, however, belong to political sociology. 116 I mention them here as a way of emphasizing that our discussion is part of the theory of justice and must not be mistaken for a theory of the political system. We are in the way of describing an ideal arrangement, comparison with which defines a standard for judging actual institutions, and indicates what must be maintained to justify departures from it.
John Rawls (A Theory of Justice)
Fundamental to a radical and lesbian feminist politics is the understanding that 'the personal is political'. This phrase has two interrelated meanings. It means that the political power structures of the 'public' world are reflected in the private world. Thus, for women in particular, the 'private' world of heterosexuality is not a realm of personal security, a haven from a heartless world, but an intimate realm in which their work is extracted and their bodies, sexuality and emotions are constrained and exploited for the benefits of individual men and the male supremacist political system. The very concept of 'privacy' as Catharine MacKinnon so cogently expresses it, 'has shielded the place of battery, marital rape, and women's exploited labor'. But the phrase has a complementary meaning, which is that the 'public' world of male power, the world of corporations, militaries and parliaments is founded upon this private subordination. The edifice of masculine power relations, from aggressive nuclear posturing to take-over bids, is constructed on the basis of its distinctiveness from the 'feminine' sphere and based upon the world of women which nurtures and services that male power. Transformation of the public world of masculine aggression, therefore, requires transformation of the relations that take place in 'private'. Public equality cannot derive from private slavery.
Sheila Jeffreys (Unpacking Queer Politics: A Lesbian Feminist Perspective)
Change is a difficult process. It can truly take place in an environment of support, structure, and sacrifice. Support comes from asking for help, seeking professional coaching, and surrounding yourself with the right people. Structure requires accountability, a follow-up system, and action. Sacrifice requires paying the price and getting out of your comfort zone but staying in your strength zone.
Farshad Asl (The "No Excuses" Mindset: A Life of Purpose, Passion, and Clarity)
Undergoing personal change is a difficult but necessary process of maturing into the ultimate manifestation of a desirable self. True personal transformation requires a person honestly to assess their inner spirituality and adopt a clear vision of who they want to be. An earnest person experiencing inner transformation of their values and belief system is apt to feel conflicted, confused, and disorientated. Change of self is displacement, disarticulation, and loss of self. Alteration of our self-image results in disrupting, dislocating, and modifying a person’s perspective of what is significant.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Over recent years, [there's been] a strong tendency to require assessment of children and teachers so that [teachers] have to teach to tests and the test determines what happens to the child, and what happens to the teacher...that's guaranteed to destroy any meaningful educational process: it means the teacher cannot be creative, imaginative, pay attention to individual students' needs, that a student can't pursue things [...] and the teacher's future depends on it as well as the students'...the people who are sitting in the offices, the bureaucrats designing this - they're not evil people, but they're working within a system of ideology and doctrines, which turns what they're doing into something extremely harmful [...] the assessment itself is completely artificial; it's not ranking teachers in accordance with their ability to help develop children who reach their potential, explore their creative interests and so on [...] you're getting some kind of a 'rank,' but it's a 'rank' that's mostly meaningless, and the very ranking itself is harmful. It's turning us into individuals who devote our lives to achieving a rank, not into doing things that are valuable and important. It's highly destructive...in, say, elementary education, you're training kids this way [...] I can see it with my own children: when my own kids were in elementary school (at what's called a good school, a good-quality suburban school), by the time they were in third grade, they were dividing up their friends into 'dumb' and 'smart.' You had 'dumb' if you were lower-tracked, and 'smart' if you were upper-tracked [...] it's just extremely harmful and has nothing to do with education. Education is developing your own potential and creativity. Maybe you're not going to do well in school, and you'll do great in art; that's fine. It's another way to live a fulfilling and wonderful life, and one that's significant for other people as well as yourself. The whole idea is wrong in itself; it's creating something that's called 'economic man': the 'economic man' is somebody who rationally calculates how to improve his/her own status, and status means (basically) wealth. So you rationally calculate what kind of choices you should make to increase your wealth - don't pay attention to anything else - or maybe maximize the amount of goods you have. What kind of a human being is that? All of these mechanisms like testing, assessing, evaluating, measuring...they force people to develop those characteristics. The ones who don't do it are considered, maybe, 'behavioral problems' or some other deviance [...] these ideas and concepts have consequences. And it's not just that they're ideas, there are huge industries devoted to trying to instill them...the public relations industry, advertising, marketing, and so on. It's a huge industry, and it's a propaganda industry. It's a propaganda industry designed to create a certain type of human being: the one who can maximize consumption and can disregard his actions on others.
Noam Chomsky
Fear is not to be overcome, or dreaded, or avoided, or expelled from our life; neither is it to be our dwelling, obsession or constant companion. But it should be respected, recognized, and humbly listened to for its singular solemn advice. Indeed, it's wise and cautionary warnings should always be heeded. Fear was designed to function as a familiar adviser, an overly critical, cautious, conservative friend - not our foe. When it is accepted, and appreciated for what it is, fear is a sage, a warning system, and one of our oldest, most experienced guides. When it holds itself at bay as necessary, it is like the security detail that waits at some serious attention in the back of the room, ever watchful, ever ready, benign, non-threatening - until circumstances require its sensitive, timely services.
Connie Kerbs (Paths of Fear: An Anthology of Overcoming Through Courage, Inspiration, and the Miracle of Love (Pebbled Lane Books Book 1))
Without the pieces there can be no whole and without the whole the pieces have no place. What the hell does that mean? Did you know that it requires the time and effort of approximately 10,000 individuals to get the coffee from the plant to your coffee pot each and every morning? That's just your morning cup of coffee! Expand that outwards to all the other products you pick up from your grocery store, to the water, sewage, and power systems hooked up to your house. In order for you to maintain your lifestyle, it requires the efforts of millions of individuals you don't even know exist. Suddenly the concept of independence sounds kind of absurd! If you are special, it's not because of you as an individual, it's because of your compatibility within the whole. Become a source of dysfunction within the whole and suddenly your importance wanes, folks try to avoid you. This is the philosophy of sunyata which some refer to as the theory of emptiness but which I choose to think of as the theory of the pieces and the whole.
Bryan Oftedahl
We see then that the self too is an imaginary story, just like nations, gods and money. Each of us has a sophisticated system that throws away most of our experiences, keeps only a few choice samples, mixes them up with bits from movies we’ve seen, novels we’ve read, speeches we’ve heard, and daydreams we’ve savoured, and out of all that jumble it weaves a seemingly coherent story about who I am, where I came from and where I am going. This story tells me what to love, whom to hate and what to do with myself. This story may even cause me to sacrifice my life, if that’s what the plot requires. We all have our genre. Some people live a tragedy, others inhabit a never-ending religious drama, some approach life as if it were an action film, and not a few act as if in a comedy. But in the end, they are all just stories.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
While the 1960s and 1970s were turbulent times for US–Pakistan ties, Pakistan again became closely allied with the United States in the 1980s, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Pakistan argued that US military assistance was required to expand the Pakistan Army, ostensibly because doing so would enable Pakistan to better counter the emerging Soviet threat, even though Pakistan sought this assistance to strengthen its position vis-à-vis India. Consequently, with US military and economic assistance, by 1989, the Pakistan Army had grown to nearly 450,000 and had become increasingly reliant upon US weapon systems.
C. Christine Fair (Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War)
The natural state of mammals is to be somewhat on guard. However, in order to feel emotionally close to another human being, our defensive system must temporarily shut down. In order to play, mate, and nurture our young, the brain needs to turn off its natural vigilance . . . Many traumatized individuals are too hypervigilant to enjoy the ordinary pleasures that life has to offer, while others are too numb to absorb new experiences — or to be alert to signs of real danger . . . Many people feel safe as long as they can limit their social contact to superficial conversations, but actual physical contact can trigger intense reactions. However … achieving any sort of deep intimacy — a close embrace, sleeping with a mate, and sex — requires allowing oneself to experience immobilization without fear. It is especially challenging for traumatized people to discern when they are actually safe and to be able to activate their defenses when they are in danger. This requires having experiences that can restore the sense of physical safety.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
Much of what is being taught is the acceptance of a “kinder, gentler suffering” that does not question the unwholesome roots of systemic suffering and the structures that hold it in place. What is required is a new Dharma, a radical Dharma that deconstructs rather than amplifies the systems of suffering, that starves rather than fertilizes the soil of the conditions that the deep roots of societal suffering grow in.
Angel Kyodo Williams (Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation)
Run by the king’s army, the stocks act as our kingdom’s labor force, spreading throughout all of Orïsha. Whenever someone can’t afford the taxes, he’s required to work off the debt for our king. Those stuck in the stocks toil endlessly, erecting palaces, building roads, mining coal, and everything in between. It’s a system that served Orïsha well once, but since the Raid it’s no more than a state-sanctioned death sentence. An excuse to round up my people, as if the monarchy ever needed one. With all the divîners left orphaned from the Raid, we are the ones who can’t afford the monarchy’s high taxes. We are the true targets of every tax raise.
Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1))
The suppression of awareness required by our universal practice of commodifying, enslaving, and killing animals for food generates the “built-in mental disorder” that drives us toward the destruction not only of ourselves but of the other living creatures and systems of this earth. Because this practice of exploiting and brutalizing animals for food has come to be regarded as normal, natural, and unavoidable, it has become invisible.
Will Tuttle (The World Peace Diet)
We therefore conclude that no philosophy and no system of life produced by human thought can have the characteristic of "comprehensiveness." At most, it can cover a segment of human life and can be valid for a temporary period. Because of its limited scope, it is always deficient in many respects, and because of its temporariness it is bound to cause problems that require modifications and changes in the original philosophy or system of life. Peoples and nations basing their social, political, and economic systems on human philosophies are forever confronted with contradictions and "dialectics." The history of European peoples is an example of such a process.
Sayed Qutb
the American Government is in fact enforcing a system of employment on the universities under which they are required, under pain of bankruptcy, to employ members of minority groups in spite of the fact that a better qualified member of a non-minority group is applying for the job...Quotas were considered undesirable when they were used against minority groups; they do not become desirable when they are used against majority groups. Positive discrimination, so called, is still discrimination against somebody; one man`s positive discrimination is another man`s negative discrimination. Furthermore, who shall define a minority?...Why are some minorities more minor than others?
Hans Jürgen Eysenck (The Inequality Of Man)
..I began speaking.. First, I took issue with the media's characterization of the post-Katrina New Orleans as resembling the third world as its poor citizens clamored for a way out. I suggested that my experience in New Orleans working with the city's poorest people in the years before the storm had reflected the reality of third-world conditions in New Orleans, and that Katrina had not turned New Orleans into a third-world city but had only revealed it to the world as such. I explained that my work, running Reprieve, a charity that brought lawyers and volunteers to the Deep South from abroad to work on death penalty issues, had made it clear to me that much of the world had perceived this third-world reality, even if it was unnoticed by our own citizens. To try answer Ryan's question, I attempted to use my own experience to explain that for many people in New Orleans, and in poor communities across the country, the government was merely an antagonist, a terrible landlord, a jailer, and a prosecutor. As a lawyer assigned to indigent people under sentence of death and paid with tax dollars, I explained the difficulty of working with clients who stand to be executed and who are provided my services by the state, not because they deserve them, but because the Constitution requires that certain appeals to be filed before these people can be killed. The state is providing my clients with my assistance, maybe the first real assistance they have ever received from the state, so that the state can kill them. I explained my view that the country had grown complacent before Hurricane Katrina, believing that the civil rights struggle had been fought and won, as though having a national holiday for Martin Luther King, or an annual march by politicians over the bridge in Selma, Alabama, or a prosecution - forty years too late - of Edgar Ray Killen for the murder of civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, were any more than gestures. Even though President Bush celebrates his birthday, wouldn't Dr. King cry if he could see how little things have changed since his death? If politicians or journalists went to Selma any other day of the year, they would see that it is a crumbling city suffering from all of the woes of the era before civil rights were won as well as new woes that have come about since. And does anyone really think that the Mississippi criminal justice system could possibly be a vessel of social change when it incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than almost any place in the world, other than Louisiana and Texas, and then compels these prisoners, most of whom are black, to work prison farms that their ancestors worked as chattel of other men? ... I hoped, out loud, that the post-Katrina experience could be a similar moment [to the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fiasco], in which the American people could act like the children in the story and declare that the emperor has no clothes, and hasn't for a long time. That, in light of Katrina, we could be visionary and bold about what people deserve. We could say straight out that there are people in this country who are racist, that minorities are still not getting a fair shake, and that Republican policies heartlessly disregard the needs of individual citizens and betray the common good. As I stood there, exhausted, in front of the thinning audience of New Yorkers, it seemed possible that New Orleans's destruction and the suffering of its citizens hadn't been in vain.
Billy Sothern (Down in New Orleans: Reflections from a Drowned City)
If…an infant, especially one born with a genetically-encoded altered neurophysiologic reactivity, does not have adequate experiences of being part of an open dynamic system with an emotionally responsive adult human, its corticolimbic organization will be poorly capable of coping with the stressful chaotic dynamics that are inherent in all human relationships. Such a system tends to become static and closed, and invested in defensive structures to guard against anticipated interactive assaults that potentially trigger disorganizing and emotionally painful psychobiological states. Due to its avoidance of novel situations and diminished capacity to cope with challenging situations, it does not expose itself to new socioemotional learning experiences that are required for the continuing experience-dependent growth of the right brain. This structural limitation, in turn, negatively impacts the future trajectory of self-organization.
Allan N. Schore
To summarise, the design of Nordic tax systems has over time created a ‘fiscal illusion’, whereby the public is not aware of the taxes they are paying. One can reflect on whether it is really in line with democratic principles to raise taxes in a way such that citizens are unaware of them. Interestingly, few proponents of introducing a Nordic model of high taxes in other countries stress that such a move would require hiding the true cost of taxation from the public.
Nima Sanandaji (Scandinavian Unexceptionalism: Culture, Markets and the Failure of Third-Way Socialism (Readings in Political Economy))
To take another example, with regard to healthcare, the left suggests that their entire goal is to make healthcare available to everyone. But they don’t mandate that a certain percentage of the population go to medical school. That’s because in order for government to guarantee a product’s availability, the government must either hire workers or force workers to get into a given industry. The government hiring workers would require paying money for doctors – and the left argues that doctors already make too much money. And the left won’t argue openly for what they would prefer: forcing people to practice medicine for patients deemed worthy by the government. Unless you are willing to force people using the law to go to medical school, you cannot have a successful universal healthcare system. That’s what they’re finding out in Britain, Canada, and Israel – all countries in which private medicine is on the rise, legally or illegally, outside government auspices.
Ben Shapiro (How to Debate Leftists and Destroy Them: 11 Rules for Winning the Argument)
One of the great failings of the American education system, in our view, is that young people can graduate from university without any understanding of poverty at home or abroad. Study-abroad programs tend to consist of herds of students visiting Oxford or Florence or Paris. We believe that universities should make it a requirement that all graduates spend at least some time in the developing world, either by taking a "gap year" or by studying abroad. If more Americans worked for a summer teaching English at a school like Mukhtar's in Pakistan, or working at a hospital like HEAL Africa in Congo, our entire society would have a richer understanding of the world around us. And the rest of the world might also hold a more positive view of Americans.
Nicholas D. Kristof (Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide)
The cry for an equality of wages rests, therefore, upon a mistake is an inane wish never to be fulfilled. It is an offspring of that false and superficial radicalism that accepts premises and tries to evade conclusions. Upon the basis of the wages system the value of labouring power is settled like that of every other commodity; and as different kinds of labouring power have different values, or require different quantities of labour for their production, they must fetch different prices in the labour market. To clamour for equal or even equitable retribution on the basis of the wages system is the same as to clamour for freedom on the basis of the slavery system. What you think just or equitable is out of the question. The question is: What is necessary and unavoidable with a given system of production? After what has been said, it will be seen that the value of labouring power is determined by the value of the necessaries required to produce, develop, maintain, and perpetuate the labouring power.
Karl Marx (Wage-Labour and Capital/Value, Price and Profit)
True choice requires that a person have the ability to choose an option and not be prevented from choosing it by any external force, meaning that a system tending too far toward either extreme will limit People’s opportunities. Also, both extremes can produce additional problems in practice. Aside from the fact that a lack of “freedom to” can lead to privation, suffering, and death for those who can’t provide for themselves, it can also lead to a de facto plutocracy. The extremely wealthy can come to wield disproportionate power, enabling them to avoid punishment for illegal practices or to change the law itself in ways that perpetuate their advantages at the cost of others, a charge often levied against the “robber baron” industrialists of the late nineteenth century. A lack of “freedom from,” on the other hand, can encourage people to do less work than they’re capable of since they know their needs will be met, and it may stifle innovation and entrepreneurship because people receive few or no additional material benefits for exerting additional effort. Moreover, a government must have extensive power over its people to implement such a system, and as can be seen in the actions of the majority of communist governments in the past, power corrupts.
Sheena Iyengar (The Art of Choosing)
The other thing you have to understand was that the message crept into our national consciousness very slowly. It did not happen all at once. We did not wake up one morning to hear it pouring out of the radio at full strength. It started with a sneering comment, the casual use of the term "cockroach," the almost humorous suggestion that Tutsis should be airmailed back to Ethiopia. Stripping the humanity from an entire group of people takes time. It is an attitude that requires cultivation, a series of small steps, daily tending.
Paul Rusesabagina (An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography)
[Texting] discourages thoughtful discussion or any level of detail. And the addictive problems are compounded by texting's hyperimmediacy. E-mails take some time to work their way through the Internet, through switches and routers and servers, and they require that you take the step of explicitly opening them. Text messages magically appear on the screen of your phone and demand immediate attention from you. Add to that the social expectation that an unanswered text feels insulting to the sender, and you've got a recipe for addiction: You receive a text, and that activates your novelty centers. You respond and feel rewarded for having completed a task (even though that task was entirely unknown to you fifteen seconds earlier). Each of those delivers a shot of dopamine as your limbic system cries out "More! More! Give me more!
Daniel J. Levitin (The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload)
The first twenty years of the young person’s life are spent functioning as a subordinate element in an authority system, and upon leaving school, the male usually moves into either a civilian job or military service. On the job, he learns that although some discreetly expressed dissent is allowable, an underlying posture of submission is required for harmonious functioning with superiors. However much freedom of detail is allowed the individual, the situation is defined as one in which he is to do a job prescribed by someone else. While structures of authority are of necessity present in all societies, advanced or primitive, modern society has the added characteristic of teaching individuals to respond to impersonal authorities. Whereas submission to authority is probably no less for an Ashanti than for an American factory worker, the range of persons who constitute authorities for the native are all personally known to him, while the modern industrial world forces individuals to submit to impersonal authorities, so that responses are made to abstract rank, indicated by an insignia, uniform or title.
Stanley Milgram (Obedience to Authority (Perennial Classics))
Ritual abuse is highly organised and, obviously, secretive. It is often linked with other major crimes such as child pornography, child prostitution, the drugs industry, trafficking, and many other illegal and heinous activities. Ritual abuse is organised sexual, physical and psychological abuse, which can be systematic and sustained over a long period of time. It involves the use of rituals - things which the abusers 'need' to do, or 'need' to have in place - but it doesn't have to have a belief system. There doesn't have to be God or the Devil, or any other deity for it to be considered 'ritual'. It involves using patterns of learning and development to keep the abuse going and to make sure the child stays quiet. There has been, and still is a great deal of debate about whether or not such abuse exists anywhere in the world. There are many people who constantly deny that there is even such a thing as ritual abuse. All I can say is that I know there is. Not only have I been a victim of it myself, but I have been dealing with survivors of this type of abuse for almost 30 years. If there are survivors, there must be something that they have survived. The things is, most sexual abuse of children is ritualised in some way. Abusers use repetition, routine and ritual to forced children into the patterns of behaviour they require. Some abusers want their victims to wear certain clothing, to say certain things. They might bathe them or cut them, they might burn them or abuse them only on certain days of the week. They might do a hundred other things which are ritualistic, but aren't always called that - partly, I think because we have a terror of the word and of accepting just how premeditated abuse actually is. Abusers instill fear in their victims and ensure silence; they do all they can to avoid being caught. Sexual abuse of a child is rarely a random act. It involves thorough planning and preparation beforehand. They threaten the children with death, with being taken into care, with no one believing them, which physical violence or their favourite teddy being taken away. They are told that their mum will die, or their dad will hate them, the abusers say everyone will think it's their fault, that everyone already knows they are bad. Nothing is too big or small for an abuser to use as leverage. There is unmistakable proof that abusers do get together in order to share children, abuse more children, and even learn from each other. As more cases have come into the public eye in recent years, this has become increasingly obvious. More and more of this type of abuse is coming to light. I definitely think it is the word ritual which causes people to question, to feel uncomfortable, or even just disbelieve. It seems almost incredible that such things would happen, but too many of us know exactly how bad the lives of many children are. A great deal of child pornography shows children being abused in a ritualised setting, and many have now come forward to share their experiences, but there is a still tendency to say it just couldn't happen. p204-205
Laurie Matthew (Groomed)
The industrial and technological revolutions have made our lives simpler, in terms of what is physically required of us on a daily basis, but they have also made it possible for us to do a whole lot less than we ought to be doing, and we suffer for it. We have become flabby and overweight; our joints and muscles have become stiff from lack of use. We suffer from all sorts of problems related to our lack of physical exercise; it affects us on all levels, causing high blood pressure, increased cholesterol, anxiety, depression, insomnia and the list goes on and on. We know, too, how much better we feel for a bit of exercise. Those “feel-good” hormones lift our spirits, boost self-esteem and improve our overall sense of well-being. It’s a sort of built-in reward system. There’s a reason for that. It’s because we are meant to be active.
Liberty Forrest (The Power and Simplicity of Self-Healing: With scientific proof that you can create your own miracle)
[T]he old stories of human relationships with animals can't be discounted. They are not primitive; they are primal. They reflect insights that came from considerable and elaborate systems of knowledge, intellectual traditions and ways of living that were tried, tested, and found true over many thousands of years and on all continents. But perhaps the truest story is with the animals themselves because we have found our exemplary ways through them, both in the older world and in the present time, both physically and spiritually. According to the traditions of the Seneca animal society, there were medicine animals in ancient times that entered into relationships with people. The animals themselves taught ceremonies that were to be performed in their names, saying they would provide help for humans if this relationship was kept. We have followed them, not only in the way the early European voyagers and prenavigators did, by following the migrations of whales in order to know their location, or by releasing birds from cages on their sailing vessels and following them towards land, but in ways more subtle and even more sustaining. In a discussion of the Wolf Dance of the Northwest, artists Bill Holm and William Reid said that 'It is often done by a woman or a group of women. The dance is supposed to come from the wolves. There are different versions of its origin and different songs, but the words say something like, 'Your name is widely known among the wolves. You are honored by the wolves.' In another recent account, a Northern Cheyenne ceremonialist said that after years spent recovering from removals and genocide, indigenous peoples are learning their lost songs back from the wolves who retained them during the grief-filled times, as thought the wolves, even though threatened in their own numbers, have had compassion for the people.... It seems we have always found our way across unknown lands, physical and spiritual, with the assistance of the animals. Our cultures are shaped around them and we are judged by the ways in which we treat them. For us, the animals are understood to be our equals. They are still our teachers. They are our helpers and healers. They have been our guardians and we have been theirs. We have asked for, and sometimes been given, if we've lived well enough, carefully enough, their extraordinary powers of endurance and vision, which we have added to our own knowledge, powers and gifts when we are not strong enough for the tasks required of us. We have deep obligations to them. Without other animals, we are made less. (from her essay "First People")
Linda Hogan (Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals)
What is education for? And more specifically, what is at stake in a distinctly Christian education? What does the qualifier Christian mean when appended to education? It is usually understood that education is about ideas and information (though it is also too often routinely reduced to credentialing for a career and viewed as a ticket to a job). And so distinctively Christian education is understood to be about Christian ideas--which usually requires a defense of the importance of "the life of the mind." On this account, the goal of a Christian education is the development of a Christian perspective, or more commonly now, a Christian worldview, which is taken to be a system of Christian beliefs, ideas, and doctrines. But what if this line of thinking gets off on the wrong foot? What if education ... is not primarily about the absorption of ideas and information, but about the formation of hearts and desires? What if we began by appreciating how education not only gets into our head but also (and more fundamentally) grabs us by the gut? What if education was primarily concerned with shaping our hopes and passions - our visions of 'the good life' - and not merely about the dissemination of data and information as inputs to our thinking? What if the primary work of education was the transforming of our imagination rather than the saturation of our intellect? ... What if education wasn't first and foremost about what we know, but about what we love?
James K.A. Smith
And, just as consequential, the post-Hart climate made it much easier for candidates who weren’t especially thoughtful—who didn’t have any complex understanding of governance, or even much affinity for it—to gain national prominence. When a politician could duck any real intellectual scrutiny simply by deriding the evident triviality of the media, when the status quo was to never say anything that required more than ten words’ worth of explanation, then pretty much anyone could rail against the system and glide through the process without having to establish more than a passing familiarity with the issues. As long as you weren’t delinquent on your taxes or having an affair with a stripper or engaged in some other form of rank duplicity, you could run as a “Tea Partier” or a “populist” without ever having to elaborate on what you actually believed or what you would do for the country.
Matt Bai (All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid)
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills. It is not the effort nor the failure tires. The waste remains, the waste remains and kills. It is not your system or clear sight that mills Down small to the consequence a life requires; Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills. They bled an old dog dry yet the exchange rills Of young dog blood gave but a month's desires. The waste remains, the waste remains and kills. It is the Chinese tombs and the slag hills Usurp the soil, and not the soil retires. Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills. Not to have fire is to be a skin that shrills. The complete fire is death. From partial fires The waste remains, the waste remains and kills. It is the poems you have lost, the ills From missing dates, at which the heart expires. Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills. The waste remains, the waste remains and kills. - 'Missing Dates
William Empson (The Complete Poems)
From then on, my computer monitored my vital signs and kept track of exactly how many calories I burned during the course of each day. If I didn’t meet my daily exercise requirements, the system prevented me from logging into my OASIS account. This meant that I couldn’t go to work, continue my quest, or, in effect, live my life. Once the lockout was engaged, you couldn’t disable it for two months. And the software was bound to my OASIS account, so I couldn’t just buy a new computer or go rent a booth in some public OASIS café. If I wanted to log in, I had no choice but to exercise first. This proved to be the only motivation I needed. The lockout software also monitored my dietary intake. Each day I was allowed to select meals from a preset menu of healthy, low-calorie foods. The software would order the food for me online and it would be delivered to my door. Since I never left my apartment, it was easy for the program to keep track of everything I ate. If I ordered additional food on my own, it would increase the amount of exercise I had to do each day, to offset my additional calorie intake. This was some sadistic software. But it worked. The pounds began to melt off, and after a few months, I was in near-perfect health. For the first time in my life I had a flat stomach, and muscles. I also had twice the energy, and I got sick a lot less frequently. When the two months ended and I was finally given the option to disable the fitness lockout, I decided to keep it in place. Now, exercising was a part of my daily ritual.
Ernest Cline (Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1))
With the best of intentions, the generation before mine worked diligently to prepare their children to make an intelligent case for Christianity. We were constantly reminded of the superiority of our own worldview and the shortcomings of all others. We learned that as Christians, we alone had access to absolute truth and could win any argument. The appropriate Bible verses were picked out for us, the opposing positions summarized for us, and the best responses articulated for us, so that we wouldn’t have to struggle through two thousand years of theological deliberations and debates but could get right to the bottom line on the important stuff: the deity of Christ, the nature of the Trinity, the role and interpretation of Scripture, and the fundamentals of Christianity. As a result, many of us entered the world with both an unparalleled level of conviction and a crippling lack of curiosity. So ready with the answers, we didn’t know what the questions were anymore. So prepared to defend the faith, we missed the thrill of discovering it for ourselves. So convinced we had God right, it never occurred to us that we might be wrong. In short, we never learned to doubt. Doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God. The former has the potential to destroy faith; the latter has the power to enrich and refine it. The former is a vice; the latter a virtue. Where would we be if the apostle Peter had not doubted the necessity of food laws, or if Martin Luther had not doubted the notion that salvation can be purchased? What if Galileo had simply accepted church-instituted cosmology paradigms, or William Wilberforce the condition of slavery? We do an injustice to the intricacies and shadings of Christian history when we gloss over the struggles, when we read Paul’s epistles or Saint Augustine’s Confessions without acknowledging the difficult questions that these believers asked and the agony with which they often asked them. If I’ve learned anything over the past five years, it’s that doubt is the mechanism by which faith evolves. It helps us cast off false fundamentals so that we can recover what has been lost or embrace what is new. It is a refining fire, a hot flame that keeps our faith alive and moving and bubbling about, where certainty would only freeze it on the spot. I would argue that healthy doubt (questioning one’s beliefs) is perhaps the best defense against unhealthy doubt (questioning God). When we know how to make a distinction between our ideas about God and God himself, our faith remains safe when one of those ideas is seriously challenged. When we recognize that our theology is not the moon but rather a finger pointing at the moon, we enjoy the freedom of questioning it from time to time. We can say, as Tennyson said, Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be; They are but broken lights of thee, And thou, O Lord, art more than they.15 I sometimes wonder if I might have spent fewer nights in angry, resentful prayer if only I’d known that my little systems — my theology, my presuppositions, my beliefs, even my fundamentals — were but broken lights of a holy, transcendent God. I wish I had known to question them, not him. What my generation is learning the hard way is that faith is not about defending conquered ground but about discovering new territory. Faith isn’t about being right, or settling down, or refusing to change. Faith is a journey, and every generation contributes its own sketches to the map. I’ve got miles and miles to go on this journey, but I think I can see Jesus up ahead.
Rachel Held Evans (Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions)
Manifest in this trade (commercial sale of indulgences via bankers) at the same time was a pernicious tendency in the Roman Catholic system, for the trade in indulgences was not an excess or an abuse but the direct consequence of the nomistic degradation of the gospel. That the Reformation started with Luther’s protest against this traffic in indulgences proves its religious origin and evangelical character. At issue here was nothing less than the essential character of the gospel, the core of Christianity, the nature of true piety. And Luther was the man who, guided by experience in the life of his own soul, again made people understand the original and true meaning of the gospel of Christ. Like the “righteousness of God,” so the term “penitence” had been for him one of the most bitter words of Holy Scripture. But when from Romans 1:17 he learned to know a “righteousness by faith,” he also learned “the true manner of penitence.” He then understood that the repentance demanded in Matthew 4:17 had nothing to do with the works of satisfaction required in the Roman institution of confession, but consisted in “a change of mind in true interior contrition” and with all its benefits was itself a fruit of grace. In the first seven of his ninety-five theses and further in his sermon on “Indulgences and Grace” (February 1518), the sermon on “Penitence” (March 1518), and the sermon on the “Sacrament of Penance” (1519), he set forth this meaning of repentance or conversion and developed the glorious thought that the most important part of penitence consists not in private confession (which cannot be found in Scripture) nor in satisfaction (for God forgives sins freely) but in true sorrow over sin, in a solemn resolve to bear the cross of Christ, in a new life, and in the word of absolution, that is, the word of the grace of God in Christ. The penitent arrives at forgiveness of sins, not by making amends (satisfaction) and priestly absolution, but by trusting the word of God, by believing in God’s grace. It is not the sacrament but faith that justifies. In that way Luther came to again put sin and grace in the center of the Christian doctrine of salvation. The forgiveness of sins, that is, justification, does not depend on repentance, which always remains incomplete, but rests in God’s promise and becomes ours by faith alone.
Herman Bavinck
What rhymes with insensitive?” I tap my pen on the kitchen table, beyond frustrated with my current task. Who knew rhyming was so fucking difficult? Garrett, who’s dicing onions at the counter, glances over. “Sensitive,” he says helpfully. “Yes, G, I’ll be sure to rhyme insensitive with sensitive. Gold star for you.” On the other side of the kitchen, Tucker finishes loading the dishwasher and turns to frown at me. “What the hell are you doing over there, anyway? You’ve been scribbling on that notepad for the past hour.” “I’m writing a love poem,” I answer without thinking. Then I slam my lips together, realizing what I’ve done. Dead silence crashes over the kitchen. Garrett and Tucker exchange a look. An extremely long look. Then, perfectly synchronized, their heads shift in my direction, and they stare at me as if I’ve just escaped from a mental institution. I may as well have. There’s no other reason for why I’m voluntarily writing poetry right now. And that’s not even the craziest item on Grace’s list. That’s right. I said it. List. The little brat texted me not one, not two, but six tasks to complete before she agrees to a date. Or maybe gestures is a better way to phrase it... “I just have one question,” Garrett starts. “Really?” Tuck says. “Because I have many.” Sighing, I put my pen down. “Go ahead. Get it out of your systems.” Garrett crosses his arms. “This is for a chick, right? Because if you’re doing it for funsies, then that’s just plain weird.” “It’s for Grace,” I reply through clenched teeth. My best friend nods solemnly. Then he keels over. Asshole. I scowl as he clutches his side, his broad back shuddering with each bellowing laugh. And even while racked with laughter, he manages to pull his phone from his pocket and start typing. “What are you doing?” I demand. “Texting Wellsy. She needs to know this.” “I hate you.” I’m so busy glaring at Garrett that I don’t notice what Tucker’s up to until it’s too late. He snatches the notepad from the table, studies it, and hoots loudly. “Holy shit. G, he rhymed jackass with Cutlass.” “Cutlass?” Garrett wheezes. “Like the sword?” “The car,” I mutter. “I was comparing her lips to this cherry-red Cutlass I fixed up when I was a kid. Drawing on my own experience, that kind of thing.” Tucker shakes his head in exasperation. “You should have compared them to cherries, dumbass.” He’s right. I should have. I’m a terrible poet and I do know it. “Hey,” I say as inspiration strikes. “What if I steal the words to “Amazing Grace”? I can change it to…um…Terrific Grace.” “Yup,” Garrett cracks. “Pure gold right there. Terrific Grace.” I ponder the next line. “How sweet…” “Your ass,” Tucker supplies. Garrett snorts. “Brilliant minds at work. Terrific Grace, how sweet your ass.” He types on his phone again. “Jesus Christ, will you quit dictating this conversation to Hannah?” I grumble. “Bros before hos, dude.” “Call my girlfriend a ho one more time and you won’t have a bro.” Tucker chuckles. “Seriously, why are you writing poetry for this chick?” “Because I’m trying to win her back. This is one of her requirements.” That gets Garrett’s attention. He perks up, phone poised in hand as he asks, “What are the other ones?” “None of your fucking business.” “Golly gee, if you do half as good a job on those as you’re doing with this epic poem, then you’ll get her back in no time!” I give him the finger. “Sarcasm not appreciated.” Then I swipe the notepad from Tuck’s hand and head for the doorway. “PS? Next time either of you need to score points with your ladies? Don’t ask me for help. Jackasses.” Their wild laughter follows me all the way upstairs. I duck into my room and kick the door shut, then spend the next hour typing up the sorriest excuse for poetry on my laptop. Jesus. I’m putting more effort into this damn poem than for my actual classes.
Elle Kennedy (The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2))
I hold it perniciously false to teach that all cultural forms are equally probable and that by mere force of will an inspired individual can at any moment alter the trajectory of an entire cultural system in a direction convenient to any philosophy. Convergent and parallel trajectories far outnumber divergent trajectories in cultural evolution. Most people are conformists. History repeats itself in countless acts of individual obedience to cultural rule and pattern, and individual wills seldom prevail in matters requiring radical alterations of deeply conditioned beliefs and practices. At the same time, nothing I have written in this book supports the view that the individual is helpless before the implacable march of history or that resignation and despair are appropriate responses to the concentration of industrial managerial power. The determinism that has governed cultural evolution has never been the equivalent of the determinism that governs a closed physical system. Rather, it resembles the causal sequences that account for the evolution of plant and animal species.
Marvin Harris (Cannibals and Kings: Origins of Cultures)
Because complex animals can evolve their behavior rapidly. Changes can occur very quickly. Human beings are transforming the planet, and nobody knows whether it’s a dangerous development or not. So these behavioral processes can happen faster than we usually think evolution occurs. In ten thousand years human beings have gone from hunting to farming to cities to cyberspace. Behavior is screaming forward, and it might be nonadaptive. Nobody knows. Although personally, I think cyberspace means the end of our species.” “Yes? Why is that?” “Because it means the end of innovation,” Malcolm said. “This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they’ll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behavior. We innovate new behavior to adapt. And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That’s the effect of mass media—it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there’s a McDonald’s on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there’s less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity—our most necessary resource? That’s disappearing faster than trees. But we haven’t figured that out, so now we’re planning to put five billion people together in cyberspace. And it’ll freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same thing at the same time. Global uniformity. Oh, that hurts. Are you done?” “Almost,” Harding said. “Hang on.” “And believe me, it’ll be fast. If you map complex systems on a fitness landscape, you find the behavior can move so fast that fitness can drop precipitously. It doesn’t require asteroids or diseases or anything else. It’s just behavior that suddenly emerges, and turns out to be fatal to the creatures that do it. My idea was that dinosaurs—being complex creatures—might have undergone some of these behavioral changes. And that led to their extinction.
Michael Crichton (The Lost World (Jurassic Park, #2))
It is important to note that the design of an entire brain region is simpler than the design of a single neuron. As discussed earlier, models often get simpler at a higher level—consider an analogy with a computer. We do need to understand the detailed physics ofsemiconductors to model a transistor, and the equations underlying a single real transistor are complex. A digital circuit that multiples two numbers requires hundreds of them. Yet we can model this multiplication circuit very simply with one or two formulas. An entire computer with billions of transistors can be modeled through its instruction set and register description, which can be described on a handful of written pages of text and formulas. The software programs for an operating system, language compilers, and assemblers are reasonably complex, but modeling a particular program—for example, a speech recognition programbased on hierarchical hidden Markov modeling—may likewise be described in only a few pages of equations. Nowhere in such a description would be found the details ofsemiconductor physics or even of computer architecture. A similar observation holds true for the brain. A particular neocortical pattern recognizer that detects a particular invariant visualfeature (such as a face) or that performs a bandpass filtering (restricting input to a specific frequency range) on sound or that evaluates the temporal proximity of two events can be described with far fewer specific details than the actual physics and chemicalrelations controlling the neurotransmitters, ion channels, and other synaptic and dendritic variables involved in the neural processes. Although all of this complexity needs to be carefully considered before advancing to the next higher conceptual level, much of it can be simplified as the operating principles of the brain are revealed.
Ray Kurzweil (How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed)
Nothing can appear more contradictory than the principles on which the old governments began, and the condition to which society, civilisation and commerce are capable of carrying mankind. Government, one the old system, is an assumption of power, for the aggrandisement of itself; on the new, a delegation of power for the common benefit of society. The former supports itself by keeping up a system of war; the later promotes a system of peace, as the true means of enriching a nation. The one encourages national prejudices; the other promotes universal society, as the means of universal commerce. The one measures its prosperity, by the quantity of revenue it extorts; the other proves its excellence, by the small quantity of taxes it requires.
Thomas Paine
This is the real work of woman of color feminism: to resist acquiescence to fatality and guilt, to become warriors of conscience and action who resist death in all its myriad manifestations: poverty, cultural assimilation, child abuse, motherless mothering, gentrification, mental illness, welfare cuts, the prison system, racial profiling, immigrant and queer bashing, invasion and imperialism at home and at war. To fight any kind of war, Kahente Horn-Miller writes. "The Biggest single requirement is fighting spirit." I thought much of this as I read Colonize This! since this collection appears in print at a time of escalating world-wide war--In Colombia, Afghanistan, Palestine. But is there ever a time of no-war for women of color? Is there ever a time when our home (our body, our land of origin) is not subject to violent occupation, violent invasion? If I retain any image to hold the heart-intention of this book, it is found in what Horn-Miller calls the necessity of the war dance. This book is one rite of passage, one ceremony of preparedness on the road to consciousness, on the "the war path of greater empowerment.
Bushra Rehman (Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism)
When it comes to mastering a skill, time is the magic ingredient. Assuming your practice proceeds at a steady level, over days and weeks certain elements of the skill become hardwired. Slowly, the entire skill becomes internalized, part of your nervous system. The mind is no longer mired in the details, but can see the larger picture. It is a miraculous sensation and practice will lead you to that point, no matter the talent level you are born with. The only real impediment to this is yourself and your emotions—boredom, panic, frustration, insecurity. You cannot suppress such emotions—they are normal to the process and are experienced by everyone, including Masters. What you can do is have faith in the process. The boredom will go away once you enter the cycle. The panic disappears after repeated exposure. The frustration is a sign of progress—a signal that your mind is processing complexity and requires more practice. The insecurities will transform into their opposites when you gain mastery. Trusting this will all happen, you will allow the natural learning process to move forward, and everything else will fall into place.
Robert Greene (Mastery (The Robert Greene Collection))
Further, any way of life based on the importation of resources is also functionally based on violence, because if your way of life requires the importation of resources, trade will never be sufficiently reliable: if people in the next watershed over won't trade you for some necessary resource, you will take it, because you need it. So, to bring this to the present, we could all become enlightened, and the US military would still have to be huge: how else will they get access to the oil they need to run the economy, oil that just happens to lie under someone else's land? The point is that no matter what we think of the irredeemability of this culture's mass psychology or system of rewards, this culture–civilization–is also irredeemable on a purely functional level.
Aric McBay (Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet)
Imagine a person who enjoys alcohol, perhaps a bit too much. He has a quick three or four drinks. His blood alcohol level spikes sharply. This can be extremely exhilarating, particularly for someone who has a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.23 But it only occurs while blood alcohol levels are actively rising, and that only continues if the drinker keeps drinking. When he stops, not only does his blood alcohol level plateau and then start to sink, but his body begins to produce a variety of toxins, as it metabolizes the ethanol already consumed. He also starts to experience alcohol withdrawal, as the anxiety systems that were suppressed during intoxication start to hyper-respond. A hangover is alcohol withdrawal (which quite frequently kills withdrawing alcoholics), and it starts all too soon after drinking ceases. To continue the warm glow, and stave off the unpleasant aftermath, the drinker may just continue to drink, until all the liquor in his house is consumed, the bars are closed and his money is spent. The next day, the drinker wakes up, badly hungover. So far, this is just unfortunate. The real trouble starts when he discovers that his hangover can be “cured” with a few more drinks the morning after. Such a cure is, of course, temporary. It merely pushes the withdrawal symptoms a bit further into the future. But that might be what is required, in the short term, if the misery is sufficiently acute. So now he has learned to drink to cure his hangover. When the medication causes the disease, a positive feedback loop has been established.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
Equally important was the fact that the interpretation provided the model for how Tianming had hidden his message in the three stories. He employed two basic methods: dual-layer metaphors and two-dimensional metaphors. The dual-layer metaphors in the stories did not directly point to the real meaning, but to something far simpler. The tenor of this first metaphor became the vehicle for a second metaphor, which pointed to the real intelligence. In the current example, the princess’s boat, the He’ershingenmosiken soap, and the Glutton’s Sea formed a metaphor for a paper boat driven by soap. The paper boat, in turn, pointed to curvature propulsion. Previous attempts at decipherment had failed largely due to people’s habitual belief that the stories only involved a single layer of metaphors to hide the real message. The two-dimensional metaphors were a technique used to resolve the ambiguities introduced by literary devices employed in conveying strategic intelligence. After a dual-layer metaphor, a single-layer supporting metaphor was added to confirm the meaning of the dual-layer metaphor. In the current example, the curved snow-wave paper and the ironing required to flatten it served as a metaphor for curved space, confirming the interpretation of the soap-driven boat. If one viewed the stories as a two-dimensional plane, the dual-layer metaphor only provided one coordinate; the supporting single-layer metaphor provided a second coordinate that fixed the interpretation on the plane. Thus, this single-layer metaphor was also called the bearing coordinate. Viewed by itself, the bearing coordinate seemed meaningless, but once combined with the dual-layer metaphor, it resolved the inherent ambiguities in literary language. “A subtle and sophisticated system,” a PIA specialist said admiringly. All the committee members congratulated Cheng Xin and AA. AA, who had always been looked down on, saw her status greatly elevated among the committee members. Cheng
Liu Cixin (Death's End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #3))
First of all, historically, markets simply did not emerge as some autonomous domain of freedom independent of, and opposed to, state authorities. Exactly the opposite is the case. Historically, markets are generally either a side effects of government operations, especially military operations, or were directly created by government policy. This has been true at least since the invention of coinage, which was first created and promulgated as a means of provisioning soldiers; for most of Eurasian history, ordinary people used informal credit arrangements and physical money, gold, silver, bronze, and the kind of impersonal markets they made possible remained mainly an adjunct to the mobilization of legions, sacking of cities, extraction of tribute, and disposing of loot. Modern central banking systems were likewise first created to finance wars. So there's one initial problem with the conventional history. There's another even more dramatic one. While the idea that the market is somehow opposed to and independent of government has been used at least since the nineteenth century to justify laissez faire economic policies designed to lessen the role of government, they never actually have that effect. English liberalism, for instance, did not lead to a reduction of state bureaucracy, but the exact opposite: an endlessly ballooning array of legal clerks, registrars, inspectors, notaries, and police officials who made the liberal dream of a world of free contract between autonomous individuals possible. It turned out that maintaining a free market economy required a thousand times more paperwork than a Louis XIV-style absolutist monarchy. (p. 8-9)
David Graeber (The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy)
I believe this movement will prevail. I don’t mean it will defeat, conquer, or create harm to someone else. Quite the opposite. I don’t tender the claim in an oracular sense. I mean that the thinking that informs the movement’s goals will reign. It will soon suffuse most institutions, but before then, it will change a sufficient number of people so as to begin the reversal of centuries of frenzied self-destructive behavior. Some say it is too late, but people never change when they are comfortable. Helen Keller threw aside the gnawing fears of chronic bad news when she declared, “I rejoice to live in such a splendidly disturbing time!” In such a time, history is suspended and thus unfinished. It will be the stroke of midnight for the rest of our lives. My hopefulness about the resilience of human nature is matched by the gravity of our environmental and social condition. If we squander all our attention on what is wrong, we will miss the prize: In the chaos engulfing the world, a hopeful future resides because the past is disintegrating before us. If that is difficult to believe, take a winter off and calculate what it requires to create a single springtime. It’s not too late for the world’s largest institutions and corporations to join in saving the planet, but cooperation must be on the planet’s terms. The “Help Wanted” signs are everywhere. All people and institutions including commerce, governments, schools, churches and cities, need to learn from life and reimagine the world from the bottom up, based on the first principles if justice and ecology. Ecological restoration is extraordinarily simple: You remove whatever prevents the system from healing itself. Social restoration is no different. We have the heart, knowledge, money and sense to optimize out social and ecological fabric. It is time for all that is harmful to leave. One million escorts are here to transform the nightmares of empire and the disgrace of war on people and place. We are the transgressors and we are the forgivers. “We” means all of us, everyone. There can be no green movement unless there is also a black, brown and copper movement. What is more harmful resides within is, the accumulated wounds of the past, the sorrow, shame, deceit, and ignominy shared by every culture, passed down to every person, as surely as DNA, as history of violence and greed. There is not question that the environmental movement is most critical to our survival. Our house is literally burning, and it is only logical that environmentalists expect the social justice movement to get on the environmental bus. But is actually the other way around; the only way we are going to put out this fire is to get on the social justice bus and heal our wounds, because in the end, there is only one bus. Armed with that growing realization, we can address all that is harmful externally. What will guide us is a living intelligence that creates miracles every second, carried forth by a movement with no name.
Paul Hawken
From the standpoint of the upper classes, the system had many merits. They felt that what was paid out of the poor rate was charity, and therefore a proof of their benevolence; at the same time, wages were kept at starvation level by a method which just prevented discontent from developing into revolution...It was plainly the certainty, derived from the old Poor Law, that actual death would be averted by the parish authorities, which induced the rural poor of England to endure their misery patiently...it taught them respect for their 'betters'.While leaving all the wealth that they produced, beyond the absolute minimum required for subsistence, in the hands of the landowners and farmers. It was at this period that landowners built the sham Gothic ruins called 'follies', where they indulged in romantic sensibility about the past while they filled the present with misery and degradation.
Bertrand Russell
we can never really experience what other people are experiencing. We always remain on the outside looking in, and this is the cause of so many misunderstandings and conflicts. But the primal source of human intelligence comes from the development of mirror neurons (see here), which gives us the ability to place ourselves in the skin of another and imagine their experience. Through continual exposure to people and by attempting to think inside them we can gain an increasing sense of their perspective, but this requires effort on our part. Our natural tendency is to project onto other people our own beliefs and value systems, in ways in which we are not even aware. When it comes to studying another culture, it is only through the use of our empathic powers and by participating in their lives that we can begin to overcome these natural projections and arrive at the reality of their experience.
Robert Greene (Mastery)
In a 2007 cable about Nauru, made public by WikiLeaks, an unnamed U.S. official summed up his government’s analysis of what went wrong on the island: “Nauru simply spent extravagantly, never worrying about tomorrow.” Fair enough, but that diagnosis is hardly unique to Nauru; our entire culture is extravagantly drawing down finite resources, never worrying about tomorrow. For a couple of hundred years we have been telling ourselves that we can dig the midnight black remains of other life forms out of the bowels of the earth, burn them in massive quantities, and that the airborne particles and gases released into the atmosphere - because we can’t see them - will have no effect whatsoever. Or if they do, we humans, brilliant as we are, will just invent our way out of whatever mess we have made. And we tell ourselves all kinds of similarly implausible no-consequences stories all the time, about how we can ravage the world and suffer no adverse effects. Indeed we are always surprised when it works out otherwise. We extract and do not replenish and wonder why the fish have disappeared and the soil requires ever more “inputs” (like phosphate) to stay fertile. We occupy countries and arm their militias and then wonder why they hate us. We drive down wages, ship jobs overseas, destroy worker protections, hollow out local economies, then wonder why people can’t afford to shop as much as they used to. We offer those failed shoppers subprime mortgages instead of steady jobs and then wonder why no one foresaw that a system built on bad debts would collapse. At every stage our actions are marked by a lack of respect for the powers we are unleashing - a certainty, or at least a hope, that the nature we have turned to garbage, and the people we have treated like garbage, will not come back to haunt us.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
Actual class struggles apart, one of the aesthetic ways you could prove that there was a class system in America was by cogitating on the word, or acronym, 'WASP.' First minted by E. Digby Baltzell in his book The Protestant Establishment , the term stood for 'White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.' Except that, as I never grew tired of pointing out, the 'W' was something of a redundancy (there being by definition no BASPs or JASPs for anyone to be confused with, or confused about). 'ASP,' on the other hand, lacked some of the all-important tone. There being so relatively few Anglo-Saxon Catholics in the United States, the 'S' [sic] was arguably surplus to requirements as well. But then the acronym AS would scarcely do, either. And it would raise an additional difficulty. If 'Anglo-Saxon' descent was the qualifying thing, which surely it was, then why were George Wallace and Jerry Falwell not WASPs? After all, they were not merely white and Anglo-Saxon and Protestant, but very emphatic about all three things. Whereas a man like William F. Buckley, say, despite being a white Irish Catholic, radiated the very sort of demeanor for which the word WASP had been coined to begin with. So, for the matter of that, did the dapper gentleman from Richmond, Virginia, Tom Wolfe. Could it be, then, that WASP was really a term of class rather than ethnicity? Q.E.D.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Every innovation—technological, sociological, or otherwise—begins as a crusade, organizes itself into a practical business, and then, over time, degrades into common exploitation. This is simply the life cycle of how human ingenuity manifests in the material world. What goes forgotten, though, is that those who partake in this system undergo a similar transformation: people begin as comrades and fellow citizens, then become labor resources and assets, and then, as their utility shifts or degrades, transmute into liabilities, and thus must be appropriately managed. This is a fact of nature just as much as the currents of the winds and the seas. The flow of force and matter is a system, with laws and maturation patterns. We should harbor no guilt for complying with those laws—even if they sometimes require a little inhumanity. —TRIBUNO CANDIANO, LETTER TO THE COMPANY CANDIANO CHIEF OFFICER’S ASSEMBLY
Robert Jackson Bennett (Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy, #1))
Carbohydrates are not required in a healthy human diet. Another way to say this (as proponents of carbohydrate restriction have) is that there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. Nutritionists will say that 120 to 130 grams of carbohydrates are required in a healthy diet, but this is because they confuse what the brain and central nervous system will burn for fuel when diets are carbohydrate rich—120 to 130 grams daily—with what we actually have to eat. If there are no carbohydrates in the diet, the brain and central nervous system will run on molecules called “ketones.” These are synthesized in the liver from the fat we eat and from fatty acids, mobilized from the fat tissue because we’re not eating carbohydrates and insulin levels are low, and even from some amino acids. With no carbohydrates in the diet, ketones will provide roughly three-quarters of the energy that our brains use. And this is why severely carbohydrate-restricted diets are known as “ketogenic” diets. The rest of the energy required will come from glycerol, which is also being released from the fat tissue when the triglycerides are broken down into their component parts, and from glucose synthesized in the liver from the amino acids in protein. Because a diet that doesn’t include fattening carbohydrates will still include plenty of fat and protein, there will be no shortage of fuel for the brain.
Gary Taubes (Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It)
Hence, contrary to the conclusion arrived at by the public goods theorists, logic forces one to accept the result that only a pure market system can safeguard the rationality, from the point of view of the consumers, of a decision to produce a public good. And only under a pure capitalist order could it be ensured that the decision about how much of a public good to produce (provided it should be produced at all) would be rational as well. 17 No less than a semantic revolution of truly Orwellian dimensions would be required to come up with a different result. Only if one were willing to interpret someone’s ”no” as really meaning “yes,” the “nonbuying of something” as meaning that it is really “preferred over that which the nonbuying person does instead of nonbuying,” of “force” really meaning “freedom,” of “noncontracting” really meaning “making a contract” and so on, could the public goods theorists’ point be “proven.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe (The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy, 2nd Edition)
Take the example of our spinner. We have seen that, to daily reproduce his labouring power, he must daily reproduce a value of three shillings, which he will do by working six hours daily. But this does not disable him from working ten or twelve or more hours a day. But by paying the daily or weekly value of the spinner's labouring power the capitalist has acquired the right of using that labouring power during the whole day or week. He will, therefore, make him work say, daily, twelve hours. Over and above the six hours required to replace his wages, or the value of his labouring power, he will, therefore, have to work six other hours, which I shall call hours of surplus labour, which surplus labour will realize itself in a surplus value and a surplus produce. If our spinner, for example, by his daily labour of six hours, added three shillings' value to the cotton, a value forming an exact equivalent to his wages, he will, in twelce hours, add six shillings' worth to the cotton, and produce a proportional surplus of yarn. As he has sold his labouring power to the capitalist, the whole value of produce created by him belongs to the capitalist, the owner pro tem. of his labouring power. By advancing three shillings, the capitalist will, therefore, realize a value of six shillings, because, advancing a value in which six hours of labour are crystallized. By repeating this same process daily, the capitalist will daily advance three shillings and daily pocket six shillings, one half of which will go to pay wages anew, and the other half of which will form surplus value, for which the capitalist pays no equivalent. It is this sort of exchange between capital and labour upon which capitalistic production, or the wages system, is founded, and which must constantly result in reproducing the working man as a working man, and the capitalist as a capitalist.
Karl Marx (Wage-Labour and Capital/Value, Price and Profit)
Many people experience a sense of rage and very strong anger toward their parents and others who hurt them. Ultimately that is also a thought. It doesn’t really exist in this very pure and present moment. It doesn’t really exist. So actually what we are really carrying is nothing but a bunch of thoughts. When we let go of those thoughts then nothing else is required. We are free... ...Whenever you suffer, whenever you struggle, don’t go outside trying to find out what is wrong with your life. Don’t treat your life like you treat your car. When something is wrong with the car we get out, open the hood, see what’s wrong with the engine, and fix it. But life is not like a car. Life is consciousness. Life is not something outside of us. Therefore whenever we feel that we are suffering, tormented, or challenged we should always look into our consciousness. Immediately we discover that we are having a very evil affair with an evil thought. That’s all there is. Just that thought. Such thoughts always come with a specific idea and with some kind of voice: “I am good. I am bad. I am poor. I don’t have this or that. I am not enlightened.” It is always associate with a concept and a belief system. Until we are awakened to the ultimate truth we are completely ruled by our thoughts. Thoughts are always dictating reality to us. So in that sense thought is the ultimate empire of propaganda. Thought is always coloring and defining reality.
Anam Thubten
Part of what kept him standing in the restive group of men awaiting authorization to enter the airport was a kind of paralysis that resulted from Sylvanshine’s reflecting on the logistics of getting to the Peoria 047 REC—the issue of whether the REC sent a van for transfers or whether Sylvanshine would have to take a cab from the little airport had not been conclusively resolved—and then how to arrive and check in and where to store his three bags while he checked in and filled out his arrival and Post-code payroll and withholding forms and orientational materials then somehow get directions and proceed to the apartment that Systems had rented for him at government rates and get there in time to find someplace to eat that was either in walking distance or would require getting another cab—except the telephone in the alleged apartment wasn’t connected yet and he considered the prospects of being able to hail a cab from outside an apartment complex were at best iffy, and if he told the original cab he’d taken to the apartment to wait for him, there would be difficulties because how exactly would he reassure the cabbie that he really was coming right back out after dropping his bags and doing a quick spot check of the apartment’s condition and suitability instead of it being a ruse designed to defraud the driver of his fare, Sylvanshine ducking out the back of the Angler’s Cove apartment complex or even conceivably barricading himself in the apartment and not responding to the driver’s knock, or his ring if the apartment had a doorbell, which his and Reynolds’s current apartment in Martinsburg most assuredly did not, or the driver’s queries/threats through the apartment door, a scam that resided in Claude Sylvanshine’s awareness only because a number of independent Philadelphia commercial carriage operators had proposed heavy Schedule C losses under the proviso ‘Losses Through Theft of Service’ and detailed this type of scam as prevalent on the poorly typed or sometimes even handwritten attachments required to explain unusual or specific C-deductions like this, whereas were Sylvanshine to pay the fare and the tip and perhaps even a certain amount in advance on account so as to help assure the driver of his honorable intentions re the second leg of the sojourn there was no tangible guarantee that the average taxi driver—a cynical and ethically marginal species, hustlers, as even their smudged returns’ very low tip-income-vs.-number-of-fares-in-an-average-shift ratios in Philly had indicated—wouldn’t simply speed away with Sylvanshine’s money, creating enormous hassles in terms of filling out the internal forms for getting a percentage of his travel per diem reimbursed and also leaving Sylvanshine alone, famished (he was unable to eat before travel), phoneless, devoid of Reynolds’s counsel and logistical savvy in the sterile new unfurnished apartment, his stomach roiling in on itself in such a way that it would be all Sylvanshine could do to unpack in any kind of half-organized fashion and get to sleep on the nylon travel pallet on the unfinished floor in the possible presence of exotic Midwest bugs, to say nothing of putting in the hour of CPA exam review he’d promised himself this morning when he’d overslept slightly and then encountered last-minute packing problems that had canceled out the firmly scheduled hour of morning CPA review before one of the unmarked Systems vans arrived to take him and his bags out through Harpers Ferry and Ball’s Bluff to the airport, to say even less about any kind of systematic organization and mastery of the voluminous Post, Duty, Personnel, and Systems Protocols materials he should be receiving promptly after check-in and forms processing at the Post, which any reasonable Personnel Director would expect a new examiner to have thoroughly internalized before reporting for the first actual day interacting with REC examiners, and which there was no way in any real world that Sylvanshine could expect
David Foster Wallace (The Pale King)
Complex operations, in which agencies assume complementary roles and operate in close proximity-often with similar missions but conflicting mandates-accentuate these tensions. The tensions are evident in the processes of analyzing complex environments, planning for complex interventions, and implementing complex operations. Many reports and analyses forecast that these complex operations are precisely those that will demand our attention most in the indefinite future. As essayist Barton and O'Connell note, our intelligence and understanding of the root cause of conflict, multiplicity of motivations and grievances, and disposition of actors is often inadequate. Moreover, the problems that complex operations are intended and implemented to address are convoluted, and often inscrutable. They exhibit many if not all the characteristics of "wicked problems," as enumerated by Rittel and Webber in 1973: they defy definitive formulations; any proposed solution or intervention causes the problem to mutate, so there is no second chance at a solution; every situation is unique; each wicked problem can be considered a symptom of another problem. As a result, policy objectives are often compound and ambiguous. The requirements of stability, for example, in Afghanistan today, may conflict with the requirements for democratic governance. Efforts to establish an equitable social contract may well exacerbate inter-communal tensions that can lead to violence. The rule of law, as we understand it, may displace indigenous conflict management and stabilization systems. The law of unintended consequences may indeed be the only law of the land. The complexity of the challenges we face in the current global environment would suggest the obvious benefit of joint analysis - bringing to bear on any given problem the analytic tools of military, diplomatic and development analysts. Instead, efforts to analyze jointly are most often an afterthought, initiated long after a problem has escalated to a level of urgency that negates much of the utility of deliberate planning.
Michael Miklaucic (Commanding Heights: Strategic Lessons from Complex Operations)
Well, that's pretty much what the schools are like, I think: they reward discipline and obedience, and they punish independence of mind. If you happen to be a little innovative, or maybe you forgot to come to school one day because you were reading a book or something, that's a tragedy, that's a crime―because you're not supposed to think, you're supposed to obey, and just proceed through the material in whatever way they require. And in fact, most of the people who make it through the education system and get into the elite universities are able to do it because they've been willing to obey a lot of stupid orders for years and years―that's the way I did it, for example. Like, you're told by some stupid teacher, "Do this," which you know makes no sense whatsoever, but you do it, and if you do it you get to the next rung, and then you obey the next order, and finally you work your way through and they give you your letters: an awful lot of education is like that, from the very beginning. Some people go along with it because they figure, "Okay, I'll do any stupid thing that asshole says because I want to get ahead"; others do it because they've just internalized the values―but after a while, those two things tend to get sort of blurred. But you do it, or else you're out: you ask too many questions and you're going to get in trouble. Now, there are also people who don't go along-and they're called "behavior problems," or "unmotivated," or things like that. Well, you don't want to be too glib about it―there are children with behavior problems but a lot of them are just independent-minded, or don't like to conform, or just want to go their own way. And they get into trouble right from the very beginning, and are typically weeded out. I mean, I've taught young kids too, and the fact is there are always some who just don't take your word for it. And the very unfortunate tendency is to try to beat them down, because they're a pain in the neck. But what they ought to be is encouraged. Yeah: why take my word for it? Who the heck am I? Figure it out for yourself. That's what real education would be about, in fact.
Noam Chomsky (Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky)
When we are told what is healthy we are being told what is right to think and feel. When we are told what is mentally ill we are being told what ideas, behaviour, and fantasies are wrong. [...] The avenues of escape are blocked by the professioal abuse of pathologizing. To refuse the mental health approach confirms one's 'sickness'. One needs 'therapy', [...] How can we take back therapy [...] from a system which must find illness in order to promote health and which, in order to increase the range of its helping, is obliged to extend the area of sickness. Ever deeper pockets of pathology to be analyzed, ever earlier traumata: primal, prenatal, into my astral body; ever more people into the ritual: the family, the office force, community mental health, analysis for everyone. [...] Its practice may differ [...] but the premise is the same. The work of making soul requires professional help. Soul-making has become restricted by therapy and to therapy. And psychopathology has become restricted to therapy's negative definition of it, reduced to its role in the therapy game.
James Hillman (Re-Visioning Psychology)
Very few eighteenth-century slaves have shared their stories about the institution and experience of slavery. The violence required to feed the system of human bondage often made enslaved men and women want to forget their pasts, not recollect them. For fugitives, like Ona Judge, secrecy was a necessity. Enslaved men and women on the run often kept their pasts hidden, even from the people they loved the most: their spouses and children. Sometimes, the nightmare of human bondage, the murder, rape, dismemberment, and constant degradation, was simply too terrible to speak of. But it was the threat of capture and re-enslavement that kept closed the mouths of those who managed to beat the odds and successfully escape. Afraid of being returned to her owners, Judge lived a shadowy life that was isolated and clandestine. For almost fifty years, the fugitive slave woman kept to herself, building a family and a new life upon the quicksand of her legal enslavement. She lived most of her time as a fugitive in Greenland, New Hampshire, a tiny community just outside the city of Portsmouth. At
Erica Armstrong Dunbar (Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge)
The apparatus of corrective penality acts in a quite different way. The point of application of the penality is not the representation, but the body, time, everyday gestures and activities; the soul, too, but in so far as it is the seat of habits. The body and the soul, as principles of behaviour, from the element that is now proposed for punitive intervention. Rather than on an art of representations, this punitive intervention must rest on studied manipulation of the individual:'I have no more doubt of every crime having its cure in moral and physical influence...'; so, in order to decide on punishments, one 'will require some knowledge of the principles of sensations, and of the sympathies which occur in the nervous system'. As for the instruments used, these are no longer complexes of representation, reinforced and circulated, but forms of coercion, schemata of constraint, applied and repeated. Exercises, not signs: time-tables, compulsory movements, regular activities, solitary meditation, work in common, silence, application, respect, good habits. And, ultimately, what one is trying to restore in this technique of correction is not so much the juridical subject, who is caught up in the fundamental interests of the social pact, but the obedient subject, the individual subjected to habits, rules, orders, an authority that is exercised continually around him and upon him, and which he must allow to function automatically in him. There are two quite distinct ways, therefore, of reacting to the offence: one may restore the juridical subject of the social pact, or shape an obedient subject, according to the general and detailed form of some power.
Michel Foucalut
A prohibition on the hoarding or possession of gold was integral to the plan to devalue the dollar against gold and get people spending again. Against this background, FDR issued Executive Order 6102 on April 5, 1933, one of the most extraordinary executive orders in U.S. history. The blunt language over the signature of Franklin Delano Roosevelt speaks for itself: I, Franklin D. Roosevelt . . . declare that [a] national emergency still continues to exist and . . . do hereby prohibit the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the . . . United States by individuals, partnerships, associations and corporations.... All persons are hereby required to deliver, on or before May 1, 1933, to a Federal reserve bank . . . or to any member of the Federal Reserve System all gold coin, gold bullion and gold certificates now owned by them.... Whoever willfully violates any provision of this Executive Order . . . may be fined not more than $10,000 or . . . may be imprisoned for not more than ten years. The people of the United States were being ordered to surrender their gold to the government and were offered paper money at the exchange rate of $20.67 per ounce. Some relatively minor exceptions were made for dentists, jewelers and others who made “legitimate and customary” use of gold in their industry or art. Citizens were allowed to keep $100 worth of gold, about five ounces at 1933 prices, and gold in the form of rare coins. The $10,000 fine proposed in 1933 for those who continued to hoard gold in violation of the president’s order is equivalent to over $165,000 in today’s money, an extraordinarily large statutory fine. Roosevelt followed up with a
James Rickards (Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Gobal Crisis)
The three conditions without which healthy growth does not take place can be taken for granted in the matrix of the womb: nutrition, a physically secure environment and the unbroken relationship with a safe, ever-present maternal organism. The word matrix is derived from the Latin for “womb,” itself derived from the word for “mother.” The womb is mother, and in many respects the mother remains the womb, even following birth. In the womb environment, no action or reaction on the developing infant’s part is required for the provision of any of his needs. Life in the womb is surely the prototype of life in the Garden of Eden where nothing can possibly be lacking, nothing has to be worked for. If there is no consciousness — we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Knowledge — there is also no deprivation or anxiety. Except in conditions of extreme poverty unusual in the industrialized world, although not unknown, the nutritional needs and shelter requirements of infants are more or less satisfied. The third prime requirement, a secure, safe and not overly stressed emotional atmosphere, is the one most likely to be disrupted in Western societies. The human infant lacks the capacity to follow or cling to the parent soon after being born, and is neurologically and biochemically underdeveloped in many other ways. The first nine months or so of extrauterine life seem to have been intended by nature as the second part of gestation. The anthropologist Ashley Montagu has called this phase exterogestation, gestation outside the maternal body. During this period, the security of the womb must be provided by the parenting environment. To allow for the maturation of the brain and nervous system that in other species occurs in the uterus, the attachment that was until birth directly physical now needs to be continued on both physical and emotional levels. Physically and psychologically, the parenting environment must contain and hold the infant as securely as she was held in the womb. For the second nine months of gestation, nature does provide a near-substitute for the direct umbilical connection: breast-feeding. Apart from its irreplaceable nutritional value and the immune protection it gives the infant, breast-feeding serves as a transitional stage from unbroken physical attachment to complete separation from the mother’s body. Now outside the matrix of the womb, the infant is nevertheless held close to the warmth of the maternal body from which nourishment continues to flow. Breast-feeding also deepens the mother’s feeling of connectedness to the baby, enhancing the emotionally symbiotic bonding relationship. No doubt the decline of breast-feeding, particularly accelerated in North America, has contributed to the emotional insecurities so prevalent in industrialized countries. Even more than breast-feeding, healthy brain development requires emotional security and warmth in the infant’s environment. This security is more than the love and best possible intentions of the parents. It depends also on a less controllable variable: their freedom from stresses that can undermine their psychological equilibrium. A calm and consistent emotional milieu throughout infancy is an essential requirement for the wiring of the neurophysiological circuits of self-regulation. When interfered with, as it often is in our society, brain development is adversely affected.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
In agricultural communities, male leadership in the hunt ceased to be of much importance. As the discipline of the hunting band decayed, the political institutions of the earliest village settlements perhaps approximated the anarchism which has remained ever since the ideal of peaceful peasantries all round the earth. Probably religious functionaries, mediators between helpless mankind and the uncertain fertility of the earth, provided an important form of social leadership. The strong hunter and man of prowess, his occupation gone or relegated to the margins of social life, lost the umambiguous primacy which had once been his; while the comparatively tight personal subordination to a leader necessary to the success of a hunting party could be relaxed in proportion as grain fields became the center around which life revolved. Among predominantly pastoral peoples, however, religious-political institutions took a quite different turn. To protect the flocks from animal predators required the same courage and social discipline which hunters had always needed. Among pastoralists, likewise, the principal economic activity- focused, as among the earliest hunters, on a parasitic relation to animals- continued to be the special preserve of menfolk. Hence a system of patrilineal families, united into kinship groups under the authority of a chieftain responsible for daily decisions as to where to seek pasture, best fitted the conditions of pastoral life. In addition, pastoralists were likely to accord importance to the practices and discipline of war. After all, violent seizure of someone else’s animals or pasture grounds was the easiest and speediest way to wealth and might be the only means of survival in a year of scant vegetation. Such warlikeness was entirely alien to communities tilling the soil. Archeological remains from early Neolithic villages suggest remarkably peaceful societies. As long as cultivable land was plentiful, and as long as the labor of a single household could not produce a significant surplus, there can have been little incentive to war. Traditions of violence and hunting-party organization presumably withered in such societies, to be revived only when pastoral conquest superimposed upon peaceable villagers the elements of warlike organization from which civilized political institutions without exception descend.
William H. McNeill
Darwin proposed that creatures like us who, by their nature, are riven by strong emotional conflicts, and who have also the intelligence to be aware of those conflicts, absolutely need to develop a morality because they need a priority system by which to resolve them. The need for morality is a corollary of conflicts plus intellect: 'Man, from the activity of his mental faculties, cannot avoid reflection. . . . Any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well-developed, or anything like as well-developed as in man.' - Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man That (he said) is why we have within us the rudiments of such a priority system and why we have also an intense need to develop those rudiments. We try to shape our moralities in accordance with our deepest wishes so that we can in some degree harmonize our muddled and conflict-ridden emotional constitution, thus finding ourselves a way of life that suits it so far as is possible. These systems are, therefore, something far deeper than mere social contracts made for convenience. They are not optional. They are a profound attempt -- though of course usually an unsuccessful one -- to shape our conflict-ridden life in a way that gives priority to the things that we care about most. If this is right, then we are creatures whose evolved nature absolutely requires that we develop a morality. We need it in order to find our way in the world. The idea that we could live without any distinction between right and wrong is as strange as the idea that we -- being creatures subject to gravitation -- could live without any idea of up and down. That at least is Darwin’s idea and it seems to me to be one that deserves attention. “Wickedness: An Open Debate,” The Philosopher’s Magazine, No. 14, Spring 2001
Mary Midgley
This is often the primary difference between him and so many of those of us who follow him. When we encounter the many ills of the world, we find ourselves growing more and more callous toward people, more and more judgmental, less and less hopeful. Rather than seeing the hurting humanity we encounter every day as an opportunity to be the very loving presence of Jesus, we see them as reason to withdraw from it all. Faith becomes about retreating from the world when it should be about moving toward it. As we walk deeper into organized religion, we run the risk of eventually becoming fully blind to the tangible suffering around us, less concerned about mending wounds or changing systems, and more preoccupied with saving or condemning souls. In this way, the spiritual eyes through which we see the world change everything. If our default lens is sin, we tend to look ahead to the afterlife, but if we focus on suffering, we’ll lean toward presently transforming the planet in real time—and we’ll create community accordingly. The former seeks to help people escape the encroaching moral decay by getting them into heaven; the latter takes seriously the prayer Jesus teaches his disciples, that they would make the kingdom come—that through lives resembling Christ and work that perpetuates his work, we would actually bring heaven down. Practically speaking, sin management seems easier because essentially all that is required of us is to preach, to call out people’s errors and invite them to repentance, and to feel we’ve been faithful. But seeing suffering requires us to step into the broken, jagged chaos of people’s lives to be agents of healing and change. It’s far more time consuming and much more difficult to do as a faith community. It is a lot easier to train preachers to lead people in a Sinner’s Prayer than it is to equip them to address the systematic injustices around them.
John Pavlovitz (A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community)
One of those was Gary Bradski, an expert in machine vision at Intel Labs in Santa Clara. The company was the world’s largest chipmaker and had developed a manufacturing strategy called “copy exact,” a way of developing next-generation manufacturing techniques to make ever-smaller chips. Intel would develop a new technology at a prototype facility and then export that process to wherever it planned to produce the denser chips in volume. It was a system that required discipline, and Bradski was a bit of a “Wild Duck”—a term that IBM originally used to describe employees who refused to fly in formation—compared to typical engineers in Intel’s regimented semiconductor manufacturing culture. A refugee from the high-flying finance world of “quants” on the East Coast, Bradski arrived at Intel in 1996 and was forced to spend a year doing boring grunt work, like developing an image-processing software library for factory automation applications. After paying his dues, he was moved to the chipmaker’s research laboratory and started researching interesting projects. Bradski had grown up in Palo Alto before leaving to study physics and artificial intelligence at Berkeley and Boston University. He returned because he had been bitten by the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial bug.
John Markoff (Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots)
Adding carbon dioxide, or any other greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere by, say, burning fossil fuels or leveling forests is, in the language of climate science, an anthropogenic forcing. Since preindustrial times, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by roughly a third, from 280 to 378 parts per million. During the same period, the concentration of methane has more than doubled, from .78 to 1.76 parts per million. Scientists measure forcings in terms of watts per square meter, or w/m2, by which they mean that a certain number of watts have been added (or, in the case of a negative forcing, like aerosols, subtracted) for every single square meter of the earth’s surface. The size of the greenhouse forcing is estimated, at this point, to be 2.5 w/m2. A miniature Christmas light gives off about four tenths of a watt of energy, mostly in the form of heat, so that, in effect (as Sophie supposedly explained to Connor), we have covered the earth with tiny bulbs, six for every square meter. These bulbs are burning twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, year in and year out. If greenhouse gases were held constant at today’s levels, it is estimated that it would take several decades for the full impact of the forcing that is already in place to be felt. This is because raising the earth’s temperature involves not only warming the air and the surface of the land but also melting sea ice, liquefying glaciers, and, most significant, heating the oceans, all processes that require tremendous amounts of energy. (Imagine trying to thaw a gallon of ice cream or warm a pot of water using an Easy-Bake oven.) The delay that is built into the system is, in a certain sense, fortunate. It enables us, with the help of climate models, to foresee what is coming and therefore to prepare for it. But in another sense it is clearly disastrous, because it allows us to keep adding CO2 to the atmosphere while fobbing the impacts off on our children and grandchildren.
Elizabeth Kolbert (Field Notes from a Catastrophe)
Of real sensational journalism, as it exists in France, in Ireland, and in America, we have no trace in this country. When a journalist in Ireland wishes to create a thrill, he creates a thrill worth talking about. He denounces a leading Irish member for corruption, or he charges the whole police system with a wicked and definite conspiracy. When a French journalist desires a frisson there is a frisson; he discovers, let us say, that the President of the Republic has murdered three wives. Our yellow journalists invent quite as unscrupulously as this; their moral condition is, as regards careful veracity, about the same. But it is their mental calibre which happens to be such that they can only invent calm and even reassuring things. The fictitious version of the massacre of the envoys of Pekin was mendacious, but it was not interesting, except to those who had private reasons for terror or sorrow. It was not connected with any bold and suggestive view of the Chinese situation. It revealed only a vague idea that nothing could be impressive except a great deal of blood. Real sensationalism, of which I happen to be very fond, may be either moral or immoral. But even when it is most immoral, it requires moral courage. For it is one of the most dangerous things on earth genuinely to surprise anybody. If you make any sentient creature jump, you render it by no means improbable that it will jump on you. But the leaders of this movement have no moral courage or immoral courage; their whole method consists in saying, with large and elaborate emphasis, the things which everybody else says casually, and without remembering what they have said. When they brace themselves up to attack anything, they never reach the point of attacking anything which is large and real, and would resound with the shock. They do not attack the army as men do in France, or the judges as men do in Ireland, or the democracy itself as men did in England a hundred years ago. They attack something like the War Office--something, that is, which everybody attacks and nobody bothers to defend, something which is an old joke in fourth-rate comic papers
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
In his book 'God and the Universe of Faiths,' British theologian John Hick makes a compelling argument. Before Copernicus, he says, earthlings believed they occupied the center of the universe - and why not? Earth was the place from which they saw everything else. It was the ground under their feet, and as far as they could tell everything revolved around them. Then Copernicus proposed a new map of the universe with the sun at the center and all the planets orbiting around it. His proposal raised religious questions as well as scientific ones, but he was right. The sun, not the earth, holds the planets in our solar system together. Hick argues that it is past time for a Copernican revolution in theology, in which God assumes the prime place at the center and Christianity joins the orbit of the great religions circling around. Like the scientific revolution, this one requires the surrender of primary place and privileged view. Absolute truth moves to the center of the system, leaving people of good faith with meaningful perceptions of that truth from their own orbits. This new map does not require anyone to give up the claim to uniqueness. It only requires the acceptance of unique neighbors, who concur that the brightness they see at the center of everything exceeds their ability to possess it. The Franciscan father Richard Rohr had his eye on a different planetary body when he said, 'We are all of us pointing toward the same moon, and yet we persist in arguing about who has the best finger.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others)
Everything we do and say will either underline or undermine our discipleship process. As long as there is one unsaved person on my campus or in my city, then my church is not big enough. One of the underlying principles of our discipleship strategy is that every believer can and should make disciples. When a discipleship process fails, many times the fatal flaw is that the definition of discipleship is either unclear, unbiblical, or not commonly shared by the leadership team. Write down what you love to do most, and then go do it with unbelievers. Whatever you love to do, turn it into an outreach. You have to formulate a system that is appropriate for your cultural setting. Writing your own program for making disciples takes time, prayer, and some trial and error—just as it did with us. Learn and incorporate ideas from other churches around the world, but only after modification to make sure the strategies make sense in our culture and community. Culture is changing so quickly that staying relevant requires our constant attention. If we allow ourselves to be distracted by focusing on the mechanics of our own efforts rather than our culture, we will become irrelevant almost overnight. The easiest and most common way to fail at discipleship is to import a model or copy a method that worked somewhere else without first understanding the values that create a healthy discipleship culture. Principles and process are much more important than material, models, and methods. The church is an organization that exists for its nonmembers. Christianity does not promise a storm-free life. However, if we build our lives on biblical foundations, the storms of life will not destroy us. We cannot have lives that are storm-free, but we can become storm-proof. Just as we have to figure out the most effective way to engage our community for Christ, we also have to figure out the most effective way to establish spiritual foundations in each unique context. There is really only one biblical foundation we can build our lives on, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Pastors, teachers, and church staff believe their primary role is to serve as mentors. Their task is to equip every believer for the work of the ministry. It is not to do all the ministry, but to equip all the people to do it. Their top priority is to equip disciples to do ministry and to make disciples. Do you spend more time ministering to people or preparing people to minister? No matter what your church responsibilities are, you can prepare others for the same ministry. Insecurity in leadership is a deadly thing that will destroy any organization. It drives pastors and presidents to defensive positions, protecting their authority or exercising it simply to show who is the boss. Disciple-making is a process that systematically moves people toward Christ and spiritual maturity; it is not a bunch of randomly disconnected church activities. In the context of church leadership, one of the greatest and most important applications of faith is to trust the Holy Spirit to work in and through those you are leading. Without confidence that the Holy Spirit is in control, there is no empowering, no shared leadership, and, as a consequence, no multiplication.
Steve Murrell (WikiChurch: Making Discipleship Engaging, Empowering, and Viral)
Security is a big and serious deal, but it’s also largely a solved problem. That’s why the average person is quite willing to do their banking online and why nobody is afraid of entering their credit card number on Amazon. At 37signals, we’ve devised a simple security checklist all employees must follow: 1. All computers must use hard drive encryption, like the built-in FileVault feature in Apple’s OS X operating system. This ensures that a lost laptop is merely an inconvenience and an insurance claim, not a company-wide emergency and a scramble to change passwords and worry about what documents might be leaked. 2. Disable automatic login, require a password when waking from sleep, and set the computer to automatically lock after ten inactive minutes. 3. Turn on encryption for all sites you visit, especially critical services like Gmail. These days all sites use something called HTTPS or SSL. Look for the little lock icon in front of the Internet address. (We forced all 37signals products onto SSL a few years back to help with this.) 4. Make sure all smartphones and tablets use lock codes and can be wiped remotely. On the iPhone, you can do this through the “Find iPhone” application. This rule is easily forgotten as we tend to think of these tools as something for the home, but inevitably you’ll check your work email or log into Basecamp using your tablet. A smartphone or tablet needs to be treated with as much respect as your laptop. 5. Use a unique, generated, long-form password for each site you visit, kept by password-managing software, such as 1Password.§ We’re sorry to say, “secretmonkey” is not going to fool anyone. And even if you manage to remember UM6vDjwidQE9C28Z, it’s no good if it’s used on every site and one of them is hacked. (It happens all the time!) 6. Turn on two-factor authentication when using Gmail, so you can’t log in without having access to your cell phone for a login code (this means that someone who gets hold of your login and password also needs to get hold of your phone to login). And keep in mind: if your email security fails, all other online services will fail too, since an intruder can use the “password reset” from any other site to have a new password sent to the email account they now have access to. Creating security protocols and algorithms is the computer equivalent of rocket science, but taking advantage of them isn’t. Take the time to learn the basics and they’ll cease being scary voodoo that you can’t trust. These days, security for your devices is just simple good sense, like putting on your seat belt.
Jason Fried (Remote: Office Not Required)
MAN: Mr. Chomsky, I’m wondering what specific qualifications you have to be able to speak all around the country about world affairs?   None whatsoever. I mean, the qualifications that I have to speak on world affairs are exactly the same ones Henry Kissinger has, and Walt Rostow has, or anybody in the Political Science Department, professional historians—none, none that you don’t have. The only difference is, I don’t pretend to have qualifications, nor do I pretend that qualifications are needed. I mean, if somebody were to ask me to give a talk on quantum physics, I’d refuse—because I don’t understand enough. But world affairs are trivial: there’s nothing in the social sciences or history or whatever that is beyond the intellectual capacities of an ordinary fifteen-year-old. You have to do a little work, you have to do some reading, you have to be able to think, but there’s nothing deep—if there are any theories around that require some special kind of training to understand, then they’ve been kept a carefully guarded secret. In fact, I think the idea that you’re supposed to have special qualifications to talk about world affairs is just another scam—it’s kind of like Leninism [position that socialist revolution should be led by a “vanguard” party]: it’s just another technique for making the population feel that they don’t know anything, and they’d better just stay out of it and let us smart guys run it. In order to do that, what you pretend is that there’s some esoteric discipline, and you’ve got to have some letters after your name before you can say anything about it. The fact is, that’s a joke.   MAN: But don’t you also use that system too, because of your name-recognition and the fact that you’re a famous linguist? I mean, would I be invited to go somewhere and give talks?   You think I was invited here because people know me as a linguist? Okay, if that was the reason, then it was a bad mistake. But there are plenty of other linguists around, and they aren’t getting invited to places like this—so I don’t really think that can be the reason. I assumed that the reason is that these are topics that I’ve written a lot about, and I’ve spoken a lot about, and I’ve demonstrated a lot about, and I’ve gone to jail about, and so on and so forth—I assumed that’s the reason. If it’s not, well, then it’s a bad mistake. If anybody thinks that you should listen to me because I’m a professor at M.I.T., that’s nonsense. You should decide whether something makes sense by its content, not by the letters after the name of the person who says it. And the idea that you’re supposed to have special qualifications to talk about things that are common sense, that’s just another scam—it’s another way to try to marginalize people, and you shouldn’t fall for it.
Noam Chomsky (Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky)
What does it mean to be truly educated? I think I can do no better about answering the question of what it means to be truly educated than to go back to some of the classic views on the subject. For example the views expressed by the founder of the modern higher education system, Wilhelm von Humboldt, leading humanist, a figure of the enlightenment who wrote extensively on education and human development and argued, I think, kind of very plausibly, that the core principle and requirement of a fulfilled human being is the ability to inquire and create constructively independently without external controls. To move to a modern counterpart, a leading physicist who talked right here [at MIT], used to tell his classes it's not important what we cover in the class, it's important what you discover. To be truly educated from this point of view means to be in a position to inquire and to create on the basis of the resources available to you which you've come to appreciate and comprehend. To know where to look, to know how to formulate serious questions, to question a standard doctrine if that's appropriate, to find your own way, to shape the questions that are worth pursuing, and to develop the path to pursue them. That means knowing, understanding many things but also, much more important than what you have stored in your mind, to know where to look, how to look, how to question, how to challenge, how to proceed independently, to deal with the challenges that the world presents to you and that you develop in the course of your self education and inquiry and investigations, in cooperation and solidarity with others. That's what an educational system should cultivate from kindergarten to graduate school, and in the best cases sometimes does, and that leads to people who are, at least by my standards, well educated.” ― Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
[M]ost Americans are still drawing some water from the Christian well. But a growing number are inventing their own versions of what Christianity means, abandoning the nuances of traditional theology in favor of religions that stroke their egos and indulge or even celebrate their worst impulses. . . . Both doubters and believers stand to lose if religion in the age of heresy turns out to be complicit in our fragmented communities, our collapsing families, our political polarization, and our weakened social ties. Both doubters and believers will inevitably suffer from a religious culture that supplies more moral license than moral correction, more self-satisfaction than self-examination, more comfort than chastisement. . . . Many of the overlapping crises in American life . . . can be traced to the impulse to emphasize one particular element of traditional Christianity—one insight, one doctrine, one teaching or tradition—at the expense of all the others. The goal is always progress: a belief system that’s simpler or more reasonable, more authentic or more up-to-date. Yet the results often vindicate the older Christian synthesis. Heresy sets out to be simpler and more appealing and more rational, but it often ends up being more extreme. . . . The boast of Christian orthodoxy . . . has always been its fidelity to the whole of Jesus. Its dogmas and definitions seek to encompass the seeming contradictions in the gospel narratives rather than evading them. . . . These [heretical] simplifications have usually required telling a somewhat different story about Jesus than the one told across the books of the New Testament. Sometimes this retelling has involved thinning out the Christian canon, eliminating tensions by subtracting them. . . . More often, though, it’s been achieved by straightforwardly rewriting or even inventing crucial portions of the New Testament account. . . . “Religious man was born to be saved,” [Philip Rieff] wrote, but “psychological man is born to be pleased.” . . . In 2005, . . . . Smith and Denton found no evidence of real secularization among their subjects: 97 percent of teenagers professed some sort of belief in the divine, 71 percent reported feeling either “very” or “somewhat” close to God, and the vast majority self-identified as Christian. There was no sign of deep alienation from their parents’ churches, no evidence that the teenagers in the survey were poised to convert outright to Buddhism or Islam, and no sign that real atheism was making deep inroads among the young. But neither was there any evidence of a recognizably orthodox Christian faith. “American Christianity,” Smith and Denton suggested, is “either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself,” or else is “actively being colonized and displaced by a quite different religious faith.” They continued: “Most religious teenagers either do not really comprehend what their own religious traditions say they are supposed to believe, or they do understand it and simply do not care to believe it.” . . . An ego that’s never wounded, never trammeled or traduced—and that’s taught to regard its deepest impulses as the promptings of the divine spirit—can easily turn out to be an ego that never learns sympathy, compassion, or real wisdom. And when contentment becomes an end unto itself, the way that human contents express themselves can look an awful lot like vanity and decadence. . . . For all their claims to ancient wisdom, there’s nothing remotely countercultural about the Tolles and Winfreys and Chopras. They’re telling an affluent, appetitive society exactly what it wants to hear: that all of its deepest desires are really God’s desires, and that He wouldn’t dream of judging. This message encourages us to justify our sins by spiritualizing them. . . . Our vaunted religiosity is real enough, but our ostensible Christian piety doesn’t have the consequences a casual observer might expect. . . . We nod to God, and then we do as we please.
Ross Douthat (Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics)
You’ve said, “You can lie or distort the story of the French Revolution as long as you like and nothing will happen. Propose a false theory in chemistry and it will be refuted tomorrow.” How does your approach to the world as a scientist affect and influence the way you approach politics? Nature is tough. You can’t fiddle with Mother Nature, she’s a hard taskmistress. So you’re forced to be honest in the natural sciences. In the soft fields, you’re not forced to be honest. There are standards, of course; on the other hand, they’re very weak. If what you propose is ideologically acceptable, that is, supportive of power systems, you can get away with a huge amount. In fact, the difference between the conditions that are imposed on dissident opinion and on mainstream opinion is radically different. For example, I’ve written about terrorism, and I think you can show without much difficulty that terrorism pretty much corresponds to power. I don’t think that’s very surprising. The more powerful states are involved in more terrorism, by and large. The United States is the most powerful, so it’s involved in massive terrorism, by its own definition of terrorism. Well, if I want to establish that, I’m required to give a huge amount of evidence. I think that’s a good thing. I don’t object to that. I think anyone who makes that claim should be held to very high standards. So, I do extensive documentation, from the internal secret records and historical record and so on. And if you ever find a comma misplaced, somebody ought to criticize you for it. So I think those standards are fine. All right, now, let’s suppose that you play the mainstream game. You can say anything you want because you support power, and nobody expects you to justify anything. For example, in the unimaginable circumstance that I was on, say, Nightline, and I was asked, “Do you think Kadhafi is a terrorist?” I could say, “Yeah, Kadhafi is a terrorist.” I don’t need any evidence. Suppose I said, “George Bush is a terrorist.” Well, then I would be expected to provide evidence—“Why would you say that?” In fact, the structure of the news production system is, you can’t produce evidence. There’s even a name for it—I learned it from the producer of Nightline, Jeff Greenfield. It’s called “concision.” He was asked in an interview somewhere why they didn’t have me on Nightline. First of all, he says, “Well, he talks Turkish, and nobody understands it.” But the other answer was, “He lacks concision.” Which is correct, I agree with him. The kinds of things that I would say on Nightline, you can’t say in one sentence because they depart from standard religion. If you want to repeat the religion, you can get away with it between two commercials. If you want to say something that questions the religion, you’re expected to give evidence, and that you can’t do between two commercials. So therefore you lack concision, so therefore you can’t talk. I think that’s a terrific technique of propaganda. To impose concision is a way of virtually guaranteeing that the party line gets repeated over and over again, and that nothing else is heard.
Noam Chomsky (On Anarchism)
It will be noticed that the fundamental theorem proved above bears some remarkable resemblances to the second law of thermodynamics. Both are properties of populations, or aggregates, true irrespective of the nature of the units which compose them; both are statistical laws; each requires the constant increase of a measurable quantity, in the one case the entropy of a physical system and in the other the fitness, measured by m, of a biological population. As in the physical world we can conceive the theoretical systems in which dissipative forces are wholly absent, and in which the entropy consequently remains constant, so we can conceive, though we need not expect to find, biological populations in which the genetic variance is absolutely zero, and in which fitness does not increase. Professor Eddington has recently remarked that 'The law that entropy always increases—the second law of thermodynamics—holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of nature'. It is not a little instructive that so similar a law should hold the supreme position among the biological sciences. While it is possible that both may ultimately be absorbed by some more general principle, for the present we should note that the laws as they stand present profound differences—-(1) The systems considered in thermodynamics are permanent; species on the contrary are liable to extinction, although biological improvement must be expected to occur up to the end of their existence. (2) Fitness, although measured by a uniform method, is qualitatively different for every different organism, whereas entropy, like temperature, is taken to have the same meaning for all physical systems. (3) Fitness may be increased or decreased by changes in the environment, without reacting quantitatively upon that environment. (4) Entropy changes are exceptional in the physical world in being irreversible, while irreversible evolutionary changes form no exception among biological phenomena. Finally, (5) entropy changes lead to a progressive disorganization of the physical world, at least from the human standpoint of the utilization of energy, while evolutionary changes are generally recognized as producing progressively higher organization in the organic world.
Ronald A. Fisher (The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection: A Complete Variorum Edition)