Task Force Quotes

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So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don't let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don't force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people. You do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
The important task of literature is to free man, not to censor him, and that is why Puritanism was the most destructive and evil force which ever oppressed people and their literature: it created hypocrisy, perversion, fears, sterility.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947)
Can we get a whiteboard,like on Law and Order?" Andrea asked. Dick nodded. "I was thinking official 'Keep Jane from Being Murdered Task Force' T-shirts.
Molly Harper (Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors (Jane Jameson, #4))
Pack, on how he will run his Task Force: “We don’t defend. We attack constantly, and we don’t quit til we have every mammy-jammin’ fugitive back in custody. Attack, pursuit, exploitation. As Napoleon, and after him Patton said, “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.
John M. Vermillion (Pack's Posse (Simon Pack Book 8))
Nothing fails like success—because the self-imposed task of our society and all its members is a contradiction: to force things to happen which are acceptable only when they happen without force.
Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
Like it or not, we are constantly forced to juggle tasks and battle unwanted distractions—to truly set ourselves apart, we must learn to be creative amidst chaos.
Jocelyn K. Glei (Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind)
Nothing is therefore more dangerous than solitude. Our imagination, forced by its very nature to unfold, nourished by the fantastic visions of poetry, gives shape to a whole order of creatures of which we are the lowliest, and everything around us seems to be more glorious, everyone else more perfect...If, on the other hand, we can make up our minds to go about our daily tasks, resigned to our feelings, and hardships, we often find that, in spite of our meanderings and procrastinations, we have gone farther than quite a few others have gone with their sails unfurled and steering gear functioning.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future - sub specie aeternitatis. And this is his salvation in the most difficult moments of his existence, although he sometimes has to force his mind to the task.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
Our purpose is to consciously, deliberately evolve toward a wiser, more liberated and luminous state of being; to return to Eden, make friends with the snake, and set up our computers among the wild apple trees. Deep down, all of us are probably aware that some kind of mystical evolution - a melding into the godhead, into love - is our true task. Yet we suppress the notion with considerable force because to admit it is to acknowledge that most of our political gyrations, religious dogmas, social ambitions and financial ploys are not merely counterproductive but trivial. Our mission is to jettison those pointless preoccupations and take on once again the primordial cargo of inexhaustible ecstasy. Or, barring that, to turn out a good thin-crust pizza and a strong glass of beer.
Tom Robbins
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
Barack Obama
We were friends and have become estranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as if we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and course; our paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together, as we did - and then the good ships rested so quietly in one harbor and one sunshine that it may have looked as if they had reached their goal and as if they had one goal. But then the mighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never see each other again; perhaps we shall meet again but fail to recognize each other: our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us.
Roland Barthes (A Lover's Discourse: Fragments)
As crude a weapon as the cave man's club, the chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life - a fabric on the one hand delicate and destructible, on the other miraculously tough and resilient, and capable of striking back in unexpected ways. These extraordinary capacities of life have been ignored by the practitioners of chemical control who have brought to their task no "high-minded orientation," no humility before the vast forces with which they tamper.
Rachel Carson (Silent Spring)
It is this nothingness (in solitude) that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone. The wisdom of the desert is that the confrontation with our own frightening nothingness forces us to surrender ourselves totally and unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers)
The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life. To make this a living force and bring it to clear consciousness is perhaps the foremost task of education. The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgment and action.
Albert Einstein (Albert Einstein: The Human Side)
At your birth a seed is planted. That seed is your uniqueness. It wants to grow, transform itself, and flower to its full potential. It has a natural, assertive energy to it. Your Life's Task is to bring that seed to flower, to express your uniqueness through your work. You have a destiny to fulfill. The stronger you feel and maintain it--as a force, a voice or in whatever form-- the greater your chance of fulfilling this Life's Task and achieving mastery.
Robert Greene (Mastery)
Columbine also changed police response to attacks. No more perimeters. A national task force was organized to develop a new plan. In 2003, it released “The Active Shooter Protocol.” The gist was simple: If the shooter seems active, storm the building. Move toward the sound of gunfire. Disregard even victims. There is one objective: Neutralize the shooters. Stop them or kill them.
Dave Cullen (Columbine)
Planetary exploration satisfies our inclination for great enterprises and wanderings and quests that has been with us since our days as hunters and gatherers on the East African savannahs a million years ago. By chance—it is possible, I say, to imagine many skeins of historical causality in which this would not have transpired—in our age we are able to begin again. Exploring other worlds employs precisely the same qualities of daring, planning, cooperative enterprise, and valor that mark the finest in military tradition. Never mind the night launch of an Apollo spacecraft bound for another world. That makes the conclusion foregone. Witness mere F-14s taking off from adjacent flight decks, gracefully canting left and right, afterburners flaming, and there’s something that sweeps you away—or at least it does me. And no amount of knowledge of the potential abuses of carrier task forces can affect the depth of that feeling. It simply speaks to another part of me. It doesn’t want recriminations or politics. It just wants to fly.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
Perhaps the most extraordinary popular delusion about violence of the past quarter-century is that it is caused by low self-esteem. That theory has been endorsed by dozens of prominent experts, has inspired school programs designed to get kids to feel better about themselves, and in the late 1980s led the California legislature to form a Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem. Yet Baumeister has shown that the theory could not be more spectacularly, hilariously, achingly wrong. Violence is a problem not of too little self-esteem but of too much, particularly when it is unearned.
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
…is methodical abuse, often using indoctrination, aimed at breaking the will of another human being. In a 1989 report, the Ritual Abuse Task Force of the L.A. County Commission for Women defined ritual abuse as: “Ritual Abuse usually involves repeated abuse over an extended period of time. The physical abuse is severe, sometimes including torture and killing. The sexual abuse is usually painful,humiliating, intended as a means of gaining dominance over the victim.The psychological abuse is devastating and involves the use of ritual indoctrination. It includes mind control techniques which convey to the victim a profound terror of the cult members …most victims are in a state of terror, mind control and dissociation” (Pg. 35-36)
Chrystine Oksana (Safe Passage to Healing: A Guide for Survivors of Ritual Abuse)
Did you know only fifteen percent of the crimes in this city are committed by prodigies? But the Renegades put eighty percent of their task force on hunting down prodigy offenders, and all but ignore the rest. If they really cared about justice and protecting the weak, you’d think they’d give a bit more effort to the actual problem.” “In their eyes, we are the only real problem,” said Narcissa. “We take the blame for everything that goes wrong in this city. All so the Renegades can go on pretending to be big and honorable. ‘Look, we caught another prodigy, one who robbed a convenience store six years ago! Don’t you feel safe now?’ It’s prejudice, every bit as much as the people who used to stone us for being demons.
Marissa Meyer (Supernova (Renegades, #3))
A statesman in these days has a difficult task. He has to pursue the policy he deems advantageous to his country, but he has at the same time to recognize the force of popular feeling. Popular feeling is very often sentimental, muddleheaded, and eminently unsound, but it cannot be disregarded for all that.
Agatha Christie (Murder in the Mews (Hercule Poirot, #16.5))
Rappers, as a class, are not engaged in anything criminal. They're musicians. Some rappers and friends of rappers commit crimes. Some bus drivers commit crimes. Some accountants commit crimes. But there aren't task forces devoted to bus drivers or accountants. Bus drivers don't have to work under the preemptive suspicion of law enforcement. The difference is obvious, of course: Rappers are young black men telling stories that the police, among others, don't want to hear. Rappers tend to come from places where police are accustomed to treating everybody like a suspect. The general style of rappers is offensive to a lot of people. But being offensive is not acrime, at least not one that's on the books. The fact that law enforcement treats rap like organized crime tells you a lot about just how deeply rap offends some people--they'd love for rap itself to be a crime, but until they get that law passed, they come after us however they can.
Jay-Z (Decoded)
The body of Homo sapiens had not evolved for such tasks. It was adapted to climbing apple trees and running after gazelles, not to clearing rocks and carrying water buckets. Human spines, knees, necks and arches paid the price. Studies of ancient skeletons indicate that the transition to agriculture brought about a plethora of ailments, such as slipped discs, arthritis and hernias. Moreover, the new agricultural tasks demanded so much time that people were forced to settle permanently next to their wheat fields. This completely changed their way of life. We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us. The word ‘domesticate’ comes from the Latin domus, which means ‘house’. Who’s the one living in a house? Not the wheat. It’s the Sapiens.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Me, while I'm heading west, asleep at Mach 0.83, or 455 miles an hour, or true airspeed, the FBI is bomb-squading my suitcase on a vacated runway back in Dulles. Nine out of ten times, the security task force guy says, the vibration is an electric razor. The other time, it's a vibrating dildo. Imagine, the task force guy says, telling a passenger on arrival that a dildo kept her baggage on the East Coast. Sometimes it's even a man. It's airline policy not to imply ownership in the event of a dildo. Use the indefinite article. A dildo. Never your dildo. Never say the dildo accidentally turned itself on. A dildo activated itself and created an emergency situation that required the evacuating of your baggage.
Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)
Burnout occurs when your body and mind can no longer keep up with the tasks you demand of them. Don’t try to force yourself to do the impossible. Delegate time for important tasks, but always be sure to leave time for relaxation and reflection.
Del Suggs (Truly Leading: Lessons in Leadership)
I’ve often wondered, even to this day, why during painful times some people seem to step away from themselves and make decisions that fall far out of their usual line of character and behaviour. Perhaps a natural reluctance to sit still is central, or perhaps, like the lesser animals, instinct forces us to go on even if grief has left us not up to the task…. In one fleeting moment, I stripped away the petals of my future, let them catch wind, and fly away
Ann Howard Creel (The Magic of Ordinary Days)
Star friendship.— We were friends and have become estranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as if we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and course; our paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together, as we did—and then the good ships rested so quietly in one harbor and one sunshine that it may have looked as if they had reached their goal and as if they had one goal. But then the almighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never see one another again,—perhaps we shall meet again but fail to recognize each other: our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us! That we have to become estranged is the law above us: by the same token we should also become more venerable for each other! And thus the memory of our former friendship should become more sacred! There is probably a tremendous but invisible stellar orbit in which our very different ways and goals may be included as small parts of this path,—let us rise up to this thought! But our life is too short and our power of vision too small for us to be more than friends in the sense of this sublime possibility.— Let us then believe in our star friendship even if we should be compelled to be earth enemies.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science)
It’s not the task of the church to change the world by legislative force. It’s the task of the church to be the world changed by Christ. This is revolutionary in a way that conventional politics never can be.
Brian Zahnd (Water To Wine: Some of My Story)
I have seen, the desperation and disorder of the powerless: how it twists the lives of children on the streets of Jakarta or Nairobi in much the same way as it does the lives of children on Chicago’s South Side, how narrow the path is for them between humiliation and untrammeled fury, how easily they slip into violence and despair. I know that the response of the powerful to this disorder -- alternating as it does between a dull complacency and, when the disorder spills out of its proscribed confines, a steady, unthinking application of force, of longer prison sentences and more sophisticated military hardware -- is inadequate to the task. I know that the hardening of lines, the embrace of fundamentalism and tribe, dooms us all.
Barack Obama
The great ones do not set up offices, charge fees, give lectures, or write books. Wisdom is silent, and the most effective propaganda for truth is the force of personal example. The great ones attract disciples, lesser figures whose mission is to preach and to teach. These are gospelers who, unequal to the highest task, spend their lives in converting others. The great ones are indifferent, in the profoundest sense. They don’t ask you to believe: they electrify you by their behavior. They are the awakeners. What you do with your petty life is of no concern to them. What you do with your life is only of concern to you, they seem to say. In short, their only purpose here on earth is to inspire. And what more can one ask of a human being than that?
Henry Miller (Sexus (The Rosy Crucifixion, #1))
it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it. To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all the tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners at everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love.
Rainer Maria Rilke
He turned to Matt and gave a huge smile, one hand on her withers. James reached out and pulled Matt to him, and they stood there in a little circle. It felt disconcertingly like… a family reunion. Matt turned away from James‟s bright smile and looked at Miz in something akin to horror. Was she their… child? Miz nipped him. Hard. While snorting horse mucus all over him. Damn thing couldn‟t even blow her own damn nose. Would she ever grow up?
Anne Tenino (18% Gray (Task Force Iota, #1))
A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit and the press of the external situation. Such were Moses and David and the Old Testament prophets. I think there was hardly a great leader from Paul to the present day but that was drafted by the Holy Spirit for the task, and commissioned by the Lord of the Church to fill a position he had little heart for. I believe it might be accepted as a fairly reliable rule of thumb that the man who is ambitious to lead is disqualified as a leader. The true leader will have no desire to lord it over God's heritage, but will be humble, gentle, self-sacrificing, and altogether as ready to follow as to lead, when the Spirit makes it clear that a wiser and more gifted man than himself has appeared.
A.W. Tozer
I have always been interested in this man. My father had a set of Tom Paine's books on the shelf at home. I must have opened the covers about the time I was 13. And I can still remember the flash of enlightenment which shone from his pages. It was a revelation, indeed, to encounter his views on political and religious matters, so different from the views of many people around us. Of course I did not understand him very well, but his sincerity and ardor made an impression upon me that nothing has ever served to lessen. I have heard it said that Paine borrowed from Montesquieu and Rousseau. Maybe he had read them both and learned something from each. I do not know. But I doubt that Paine ever borrowed a line from any man... Many a person who could not comprehend Rousseau, and would be puzzled by Montesquieu, could understand Paine as an open book. He wrote with a clarity, a sharpness of outline and exactness of speech that even a schoolboy should be able to grasp. There is nothing false, little that is subtle, and an impressive lack of the negative in Paine. He literally cried to his reader for a comprehending hour, and then filled that hour with such sagacious reasoning as we find surpassed nowhere else in American letters - seldom in any school of writing. Paine would have been the last to look upon himself as a man of letters. Liberty was the dear companion of his heart; truth in all things his object. ...we, perhaps, remember him best for his declaration: 'The world is my country; to do good my religion.' Again we see the spontaneous genius at work in 'The Rights of Man', and that genius busy at his favorite task - liberty. Written hurriedly and in the heat of controversy, 'The Rights of Man' yet compares favorably with classical models, and in some places rises to vaulting heights. Its appearance outmatched events attending Burke's effort in his 'Reflections'. Instantly the English public caught hold of this new contribution. It was more than a defense of liberty; it was a world declaration of what Paine had declared before in the Colonies. His reasoning was so cogent, his command of the subject so broad, that his legion of enemies found it hard to answer him. 'Tom Paine is quite right,' said Pitt, the Prime Minister, 'but if I were to encourage his views we should have a bloody revolution.' Here we see the progressive quality of Paine's genius at its best. 'The Rights of Man' amplified and reasserted what already had been said in 'Common Sense', with now a greater force and the power of a maturing mind. Just when Paine was at the height of his renown, an indictment for treason confronted him. About the same time he was elected a member of the Revolutionary Assembly and escaped to France. So little did he know of the French tongue that addresses to his constituents had to be translated by an interpreter. But he sat in the assembly. Shrinking from the guillotine, he encountered Robespierre's enmity, and presently found himself in prison, facing that dread instrument. But his imprisonment was fertile. Already he had written the first part of 'The Age of Reason' and now turned his time to the latter part. Presently his second escape cheated Robespierre of vengeance, and in the course of events 'The Age of Reason' appeared. Instantly it became a source of contention which still endures. Paine returned to the United States a little broken, and went to live at his home in New Rochelle - a public gift. Many of his old companions in the struggle for liberty avoided him, and he was publicly condemned by the unthinking. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
A dog is a pitiful thing, depending wholly on companionship, and utterly lost except in packs or by the side of his master. Leave him alone and he does not know what to do except bark and howl and trot about till sheer exhaustion forces him to sleep. A cat, however, is never without the potentialities of contentment. Like a superior man, he knows how to be alone and happy. Once he looks about and finds no one to amuse him, he settles down to the task of amusing himself; and no one really knows cats without having occasionally peeked stealthily at some lively and well-balanced kitten which believes itself to be alone.
H.P. Lovecraft (Cats and Dogs)
He's convinced most human adults do not know how to play anymore and that playing is one of the best ways to think. Franky finds children, by far, much more pleasant and intelligent than most adults, but they are easily ruined by their families, schools, and society. He says one of the ways they are ruined is by being forced to think of all the tasks that need to be done as work, not as play. It takes the joy out of living.
William Wharton (Franky Furbo)
There were more of them out there. More walkers. And I was being asked to step up and be... what? Some kind of Captain Heroism who would lead the boys in the Red, White, and Blue to victory? What was I getting myself into? This wasn't task force duty, this wasn't even SWAT-team level. I'd never even smelled anything this big before and now I was expected to train and lead a black ops team? How frigging insane was this? Why were they asking me? I'm just a cop. Where are the guys who actually do this for a living? How come none of them were here? Where's James Bond and Jack Bauer? Why me, of all people?
Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero (Joe Ledger, #1))
I have found that battling despair does not mean closing my eyes to the enormity of the tasks of effecting change, nor ignoring the strength and the barbarity of the forces aligned against us. It means teaching, surviving and fighting with the most important resource I have, myself, and taking joy in that battle. It means, for me, recognizing the enemy outside and the enemy within, and knowing that my work is part of a continuum of women’s work, of reclaiming this earth and our power, and knowing that this work did not begin with my birth nor will it end with my death. And it means knowing that within this continuum, my life and my love and my work has particular power and meaning relative to others.
Audre Lorde (The Cancer Journals)
The simple view is that medicine exists to fight death and disease, and that is, of course, its most basic task. Death is the enemy. But the enemy has superior forces. Eventually, it wins. And, in a war that you cannot win, you don't want a general who fights to the point of total annihilation. You don't want Custer. You want Robert E. Lee, someone who knows how to fight for territory that can be won and how to surrender it when it can't, someone who understands that the damage is greatest if all you do is battle to the bitter end.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
Daimler uses Tesla’s battery packs; Mercedes-Benz uses a Tesla powertrain; Toyota uses a Tesla motor. General Motors has even created a task force to track Tesla’s next moves. But
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
People of the Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil—soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come dedicated and committed to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring upon a foundation of indestructible strength, the liberties of your people.
Douglas MacArthur
If you’re an introvert, find your flow by using your gifts. You have the power of persistence, the tenacity to solve complex problems, and the clear-sightedness to avoid pitfalls that trip others up. You enjoy relative freedom from the temptations of superficial prizes like money and status. Indeed, your biggest challenge may be to fully harness your strengths. You may be so busy trying to appear like a zestful, reward-sensitive extrovert that you undervalue your own talents, or feel underestimated by those around you. But when you’re focused on a project that you care about, you probably find that your energy is boundless. So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multitasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way. It’s up to you to use that independence to good effect.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Perhaps you like to torture yourself by trying on some jeans from a few years ago to see if you can button them. Clothes do not exist to humiliate their owners. Please do not force garments into performing psychological tasks for which they were not designed.
Tim Gunn (Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style)
The hoopoe said: 'Your heart's congealed like ice; When will you free yourself from cowardice? Since you have such a short time to live here, What difference does it make? What should you fear? The world is filth and sin, and homeless men Must enter it and homeless leave again. They die, as worms, in squalid pain; if we Must perish in this quest, that, certainly, Is better than a life of filth and grief. If this great search is vain, if my belief Is groundless, it is right that I should die. So many errors throng the world - then why Should we not risk this quest? To suffer blame For love is better than a life of shame. No one has reached this goal, so why appeal To those whose blindness claims it is unreal? I'd rather die deceived by dreams than give My heart to home and trade and never live. We've been and heard so much - what have we learned? Not for one moment has the self been spurned; Fools gather round and hinder our release. When will their stale, insistent whining cease? We have no freedom to achieve our goal Until from Self and fools we free the soul. To be admitted past the veil you must Be dead to all the crowd considers just. Once past the veil you understand the Way From which the crowd's glib courtiers blindly stray. If you have any will, leave women's stories, And even if this search for hidden glories Proves blasphemy at last, be sure our quest Is not mere talk but an exacting test. The fruit of love's great tree is poverty; Whoever knows this knows humility. When love has pitched his tent in someone's breast, That man despairs of life and knows no rest. Love's pain will murder him and blandly ask A surgeon's fee for managing the task - The water that he drinks brings pain, his bread Is turned to blood immediately shed; Though he is weak, faint, feebler than an ant, Love forces him to be her combatant; He cannot take one mouthful unaware That he is floundering in a sea of care.
Attar of Nishapur
It turns out, my suitcase was vibrating on departure from Dulles, according to the security task force guy, so the police took it off the flight. Everything was in that bag. My contact lens stuff. One red tie with blue strips. One blue tie with red stripes. These are regimental stripes, not club tie stripes. And one solid red tie.
Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)
It may remain for us to learn,... that our task is only beginning; and that there will never be given to us even the ghost of any help, save the help of unutterable unthinkable Time. We may have to learn that the infinite whirl of death and birth, out of which we cannot escape, is of our own creation, of our own seeking;--that the forces integrating worlds are the errors of the Past;--that the eternal sorrow is but the eternal hunger of insatiable desire;--and that the burnt-out suns are rekindled only by the inextinguishable passions of vanished lives.
Lafcadio Hearn (Out of the East)
He didn't care if Matt made him cuddly or made him hornier than he'd ever been or even made him a lovesick fool. James was keeping him. Hopefully Matt would want to keep James too.
Anne Tenino (18% Gray (Task Force Iota, #1))
Being invisible had its advantages.
DiAnn Mills (High Treason (FBI Task Force, #3))
Our task is to make nature, the blind force of nature, into an instrument of universal resuscitation and to become a union of immortal beings.
Nikolai F. Fedorov
...death does leave a daunting array of practical tasks: all those possessions that you were forced to leave behind had to be sorted and packed and redistributed in the living world.
Rosamund Lupton (Sister)
The Gathering According to the Kabbalah, in the beginning everything was God. When God contracted to make room for creation, spiritual energy filled the void. The energy poured into vessels which strained to hold the great power. The vessels shattered, sending countless shards, bits of the glowing matter, into the vastness of the universe. These scattered bits of divine light must be collected. When the task is done the forces of the dark will be vanquished and the world will be healed.
Leonard Nimoy (Shekhina)
child. This ability to grieve—that is, to give up the illusion of his “happy” childhood, to feel and recognize the full extent of the hurt he has endured—can restore the depressive’s vitality and creativity and free the grandiose person from the exertions of and dependence on his Sisyphean task. If a person is able, during this long process, to experience the reality that he was never loved as a child for what he was but was instead needed and exploited for his achievements, success, and good qualities—and that he sacrificed his childhood for this form of love—he will be very deeply shaken, but one day he will feel the desire to end these efforts. He will discover in himself a need to live according to his true self and no longer be forced to earn “love” that always leaves him empty-handed, since it is given to his false self—something he has begun to identify and relinquish.
Alice Miller (The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self)
At your birth a seed is planted. That seed is your uniqueness. It wants to grow, transform itself, and flower to its full potential. It has a natural, assertive energy to it. Your Life’s Task is to bring that seed to flower, to express your uniqueness through your work. You have a destiny to fulfill. The stronger you feel and maintain it—as a force, a voice, or in whatever form—the greater your chance for fulfilling this Life’s Task and achieving mastery.
Robert Greene (Mastery)
Imagine, the task force guy says, telling a passenger on arrival that a dildo kept her baggage on the East Coast. Sometimes it’s even a man. It’s airline policy not to imply ownership in the event of a dildo. Use the indefinite article. A dildo. Never your dildo.
Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)
I am the wind and the wind is invisible, all the leaves tremble but I am invisible, blackbird over the dark field but I am invisible, what fills the balloon and what it moves through, knot without rope, bloom without flower, galloping without the horse, the spirit of the thing without the thing, location without dimension, without a within, song without throat, word without ink, wingless flight, dark boat in the dark night, shine without light, pure velocity, as the hammer is a hammer when it hits the nail and the nail is a nail when it meets the wood and the invisible table begins to appear out of mind, pure mind, out of nothing, pure thinking, hand of the mind, hand of the emperor, arm of the empire, void and vessel, sheath and shear, and wider, and deeper, more vast, more sure, through silence, through darkness, a vector, a violence, and even farther, and even worse, between, before, behind, and under, and even stronger, and even further, beyond form, beyond number, I labor, I lumber, I fumble forward through the valley as winter, as water, a shift in the river, I mist and frost, flexible and elastic to the task, a fountain of gravity, space curves around me, I thirst, I hunger, I spark, I burn, force and field, force and counterforce, agent and agency, push to your pull, parabola of will, massless mass and formless form, dreamless dream and nameless name, intent and rapturous, rare and inevitable, I am the thing that is hurtling towards you…
Richard Siken
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)
Further evidence for the pathogenic role of dissociation has come from a largescale clinical and community study of traumatized people conducted by a task force of the American Psychiatric Association. In this study, people who reported having dissociative symptoms were also quite likely to develop persistent somatic symptoms for which no physical cause could be found. They also frequently engaged in self-destructive attacks on their own bodies. The results of these investigations validate the century-old insight that traumatized people relive in their bodies the moments of terror that they can not describe in words. Dissociation appears to be the mechanism by which intense sensory and emotional experiences are disconnected from the social domain of language and memory, the internal mechanism by which terrorized people are silenced.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
As well, they used their B-52 bombers to drop thousands of tons of bombs which included napalm and cluster bombs. In a particularly vile attack, they used poisonous chemicals on our base regions of Xuyen Moc, the Minh Dam and the Nui Thi Vai mountains. They sprayed their defoliants over jungle, and productive farmland alike. They even bull-dozed bare, both sides along the communication routes and more than a kilometre into the jungle adjacent to our base areas. This caused the Ba Ria-Long Khanh Province Unit to send out a directive to D445 and D440 Battalions that as of 01/November/1969, the rations of both battalions would be set at 27 litres of rice per man per month when on operations. And 25 litres when in base or training. So it was that as the American forces withdrew, their arms and lavish base facilities were transferred across to the RVN. The the forces of the South Vietnamese Government were with thereby more resources but this also created any severe maintenance, logistic and training problems. The Australian Army felt that a complete Australian withdrawal was desirable with the departure of the Task Force (1ATF), but the conservative government of Australia thought that there were political advantages in keeping a small force in south Vietnam. Before his election, in 1964, Johnston used a line which promised peace, but also had a policy of war. The very same tactic was used by Nixon. Nixon had as early as 1950 called for direction intervention by American Forces which were to be on the side of the French colonialists. The defoliants were sprayed upon several millions of hectares, and it can best be described as virtual biocide. According to the figure from the Americans themselves, between the years of 1965 to 1973, ten million Vietnamese people were forced to leave their villages ad move to cities because of what the Americans and their allies had done. The Americans intensified the bombing of whole regions of Laos which were controlled by Lao patriotic forces. They used up to six hundred sorties per day with many types of aircraft including B52s. On 07/January/1979, the Vietnamese Army using Russian built T-54 and T-59 tanks, assisted by some Cambodian patriots liberated Phnom Penh while the Pol Pot Government and its agencies fled into the jungle. A new government under Hun Sen was installed and the Khmer Rouge’s navy was sunk nine days later in a battle with the Vietnamese Navy which resulted in twenty-two Kampuchean ships being sunk.
Michael G. Kramer (A Gracious Enemy)
History is a narrative enterprise, and the telling of stories that are true, that affirm and explain our existence, is the fundamental task of the historian. But truth is delicate, and it has many enemies. Perhaps that is why, although we academics are supposedly in the business of pursuing the truth, the word “truth” is rarely uttered without hedges, adornments, and qualifications. Every time we tell a story about a great atrocity, like the Holocaust or Pingfang, the forces of denial are always ready to pounce, to erase, to silence, to forget. History has always been difficult because of the delicacy of the truth, and denialists have always been able to resort to labeling the truth as fiction. One has to be careful, whenever one tells a story about a great injustice. We are a species that loves narrative, but we have also been taught not to trust an individual speaker. Yes, it is true that no nation, and no historian, can tell a story that completely encompasses every aspect of the truth. But it is not true that just because all narratives are constructed, that they are equally far from the truth. The Earth is neither a perfect sphere nor a flat disk, but the model of the sphere is much closer to the truth. Similarly, there are some narratives that are closer to the truth than others, and we must always try to tell a story that comes as close to the truth as is humanly possible. The fact that we can never have complete, perfect knowledge does not absolve us of the moral duty to judge and to take a stand against evil.
Ken Liu (The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories)
Trees constitute the environmental quality committee—running air and water purification service 24-7. They’re on every task force, from the historical society picnic to the highway department, school board, and library. When it comes to civic beautification, they alone create the crimson fall with little recognition.
Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants)
In the days to come, when it will seem as if I were entombed, when the very firmament threatens to come crashing down upon my head, I shall be forced to abandon everything except what these spirits implanted in me. I shall be crushed, debased, humiliated. I shall be frustrated in every fiber of my being. I shall even take to howling like a dog. But I shall not be utterly lost! Eventually a day is to dawn when, glancing over my own life as though it were a story or history, I can detect in it a form, a pattern, a meaning. From then on the word defeat becomes meaningless. It will be impossible ever to relapse. For on that day I become and I remain one with my creation. On another day, in a foreign land, there will appear before me a young man who, unaware of the change which has come over me, will dub me "The Happy Rock." That is the moniker I shall tender when the great Cosmocrator demands-" Who art thou?" Yes, beyond a doubt, I shall answer "The Happy Rock!" And, if it be asked-"Didst thou enjoy thy stay on earth?"-I shall reply: "My life was one long rosy crucifixion." As to the meaning of this, if it is not already clear, it shall be elucidated. If I fail then I am but a dog in the manger. Once I thought I had been wounded as no man ever had. Because I felt thus I vowed to write this book. But long before I began the book the wound had healed. Since I had sworn to fulfill my task I reopened the horrible wound. Let me put it another way. Perhaps in opening my own wound, I closed other wounds.. Something dies, something blossoms. To suffer in ignorance is horrible. To suffer deliberately, in order to understand the nature of suffering and abolish it forever, is quite another matter. The Buddha had one fixed thought in mind all his life, as we know it. It was to eliminate human suffering. Suffering is unnecessary. But, one has to suffer before he is able to realize that this is so. It is only then, moreover, that the true significance of human suffering becomes clear. At the last desperate moment-when one can suffer no more!-something happens which is the nature of a miracle. The great wound which was draining the blood of life closes up, the organism blossoms like a rose. One is free at last, and not "with a yearning for Russia," but with a yearning for ever more freedom, ever more bliss. The tree of life is kept alive not by tears but the knowledge that freedom is real and everlasting.
Henry Miller
In addition to conformity as a way to relieve the anxiety springing from separateness, another factor of contemporary life must be considered: the role of the work routine and the pleasure routine. Man becomes a 'nine to fiver', he is part of the labour force, or the bureaucratic force of clerks and managers. He has little initiative, his tasks are prescribed by the organisation of the work; there is even little difference between those high up on the ladder and those on the bottom. They all perform tasks prescribed by the whole structure of the organisation, at a prescribed speed, and in a prescribed manner. Even the feelings are prescribed: cheerfulness, tolerance, reliability, ambition, and an ability to get along with everybody without friction. Fun is routinised in similar, although not quite as drastic ways. Books are selected by the book clubs, movies by the film and theatre owners and the advertising slogans paid for by them; the rest is also uniform: the Sunday ride in the car, the television session, the card game, the social parties. From birth to death, from Monday to Monday, from morning to evening - all activities are routinised, and prefabricated. How should a man caught up in this net of routine not forget that he is a man, a unique individual, one who is given only this one chance of living, with hopes and disappointments, with sorrow and fear, with the longing for love and the dread of the nothing and separateness?
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
In the Golleschau quarry, stone-carriers were forced to haul huge blocks of limestone endlessly, from one mound to another and back again. During the torture, they carried their lives in their hands. The insane task was not futile only in the sense that faith is not futile. A camp inmate looked up at the stars and suddenly remembered that they’d once seemed beautiful to him. This memory of beauty was accompanied by a bizarre stab of gratitude. When I first read this I couldn’t imagine it. But later I felt I understood. Sometimes the body experiences a revelation because it has abandoned every other possibility.
Anne Michaels (Fugitive Pieces)
It made her smile a little at how fitting it was to think that an entrance to Hades could be somewhere in the financial district of Manhattan.
David Berger
Imperialism will not last long because it always does evil things. It persists in grooming and supporting reactionaries in all countries who are against the people, it has forcibly seized many colonies and semi-colonies and many military bases, and it threatens the peace with atomic war. Thus, forced by imperialism to do so, more than 90 per cent of the people of the world are rising or will rise in struggle against it. Yet, imperialism is still alive, still running amuck in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the West imperialism is still oppressing the people at home. This situation must change. It is the task of the people of the whole world to put an end to the aggression and oppression perpetrated by imperialism, and chiefly by U.S. imperialism.
Mao Zedong (Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung 毛主席语录: The Little Red Book)
Confident that cast-iron walls separate our nature and situation from theirs, comfortable in the well-broken-in saddle of our high horse, we have exchanged our capacity to be tolerant for detachment and derision. It is the tragedian's task, then, to force us to confront an almost unbearable truth: every folly or myopia of which any human being in history has been guilty may be traced back to some aspect of our collective nature. Because we each bear within ourselves the whole of the human condition, in its worst and best aspects, any one of us might be capable of doing anything at all, or nothing, under the right—or rather the most horribly wrong—conditions.
Alain de Botton (Status Anxiety)
In a sense, New World conquest was about men seeking a way around one of life's basic rules - that human beings have to work for a living, just like the rest of the animal world. In Peru, as elsewhere in the Americas, Spaniards were not looking for fertile land that they could farm, they were looking for the cessation of their own need to perform manual labor. To do so, they needed to find large enough groups of people they could force to carry out all the laborious tasks necessary to provide them with the essentials of life: food, shelter, clothing, and, ideally, liquid wealth. Conquest, then, had little to do with adventure, but rather had everything to do with groups of men willing to do just about anything in order to avoid working for a living. Stripped down to its barest bones, the conquest of Peru was all about finding a comfortable retirement.
Kim MacQuarrie (The Last Days of the Incas)
When the Time Is Right: December 7 There are times when we simply do not know what to do, or where to go, next. Sometimes these periods are brief, sometimes lingering. We can get through these times. We can rely on our program and the disciplines of recovery. We can cope by using our faith, other people, and our resources. Accept uncertainty. We do not always have to know what to do or where to go next. We do not always have clear direction. Refusing to accept the inaction and limbo makes things worse. It is okay to temporarily be without direction. Say “I don’t know,” and be comfortable with that. We do not have to try to force wisdom, knowledge, or clarity when there is none. While waiting for direction, we do not have to put our life on hold. Let go of anxiety and enjoy life. Relax. Do something fun. Enjoy the love and beauty in your life. Accomplish small tasks. They may have nothing to do with solving the problem, or finding direction, but this is what we can do in the interim. Clarity will come. The next step will present itself. Indecision, inactivity, and lack of direction will not last forever. Today, I will accept my circumstances even if I lack direction and insight. I will remember to do things that make myself and others feel good during those times. I will trust that clarity will come of its own accord.
Melody Beattie (The Language of Letting Go: Hazelden Meditation Series)
This defines the task of feminism not only because male dominance is perhaps the most pervasive and tenacious system of power in history, but because it is metaphysically near perfect. Its point of view is the standard for point-of-viewlessness, its particularity the meaning of universality. Its force is exercised as consent, its authority as participation, its supremacy as the paradigm of order, its control as the definition of legitimacy. In the face of this, feminism claims the voice of women's silence, the sexuality of women's eroticized desexualization, the fullness of "lack", the centrality of women's marginality and exclusion, the public nature of privacy, the presence of women's absence. This approach is more complex than transgression, more transformative than transvaluation, deeper than mirror-imaged resistance, more affirmative than the negation of negativity. It is neither materialist nor idealist; it is feminist. Neither the transcendence of liberalism nor the determination of materialism works for women. Idealism is too unreal; women's inequality is enforced, so it cannot simply be thought out of existence, certainly not by women. Materialism is too real; women's inequality has never not existed, so women's equality never has. That is, the equality of women to men will not be scientifically provable until it is no longer necessary to do so... If feminism is revolutionary, this is why.
Catharine A. MacKinnon
The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism – are forced, indeed, so to spoil them. They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease. They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor. But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim. Just as the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it, so, in the present state of things in England, the people who do most harm are the people who try to do most good; and at last we have had the spectacle of men who have really studied the problem and know the life – educated men who live in the East End – coming forward and imploring the community to restrain its altruistic impulses of charity, benevolence, and the like. They do so on the ground that such charity degrades and demoralises. They are perfectly right. Charity creates a multitude of sins.
Oscar Wilde (The Soul of Man Under Socialism, the Socialist Ideal Art, and the Coming Solidarity. by Oscar Wilde, William Morris, W.C. Owen)
Even now, with the expectation that a substantial percentage of newly naturalized aliens would vote for the Democratic Party’s 2016 nominee for president, the Department of Homeland Security’s Task Force on New Americans is reportedly focusing resources on urging 9 million green card holders (aliens and noncitizens) to become naturalized American citizens as quickly as possible, in hopes of influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.65
Mark R. Levin (Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future)
When the First Sea Lord, Admiral Leach, told the Prime Minister and her cabinet colleagues that it would take three weeks to sail the Task Force to the Falklands, he was met with the incredulous response ‘surely you mean three days?
Ian R. Gardiner (The Yompers: With 45 Commando in the Falklands War)
That's what empathy does—it calls us all to task, the conservative and the liberal, the powerful and the powerless, the oppressed and the oppressor. We are all shaken out of our complacency. We are all forced beyond our limited vision.
Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
In fact, the Holocaust began not in the death facilities, but over shooting pits in eastern Europe. And indeed some of the commanders of the Einsatzgruppen, the German task forces that perpetrated some of the murders, were tried at Nuremberg and later in West German courts. But even these trials were a kind of minimization of the scale of the crime. Not the SS commanders alone, but essentially all of the thousands of men who served under their command were murderers.
Timothy Snyder (On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century)
There have been extensive human rights violations by American psychiatrists over the last 70 years. These doctors were pad by the American taxpayer through CIA and military contracts. It is past time for these abuses to stop, it is past time for a reckoning, and it is past time for individual doctors to be held accountable. The Manchurian Candidate Programs are of much more than "historical" interest. ARTICHOKE, BLUEBIRD, MKULTRA and MKSEARCH are precursors of mind control programs that are operational in the twenty first century. Human rights violations by psychiatrists must be ongoing in programs like COPPER GREEN, the interrogation program at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Such programs must be carried out within CIA units like Task Force 121 (The Dallas Morning News, December 1, 2004, p. 1A). Information pointing to ongoing human rights violations by psychiatrists is available in publications like The New Yorker (see article by Seymour M. Hersh, May 24, 2004). Yes the indifference, silence, denial, and disinformation of organized medicine and psychiatry continue. One purpose of The CIA Doctors: Human Rights Violations By American Psychiatrists is to break that silence.
Colin A. Ross (The C.I.A. Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists)
The huge difficulty that so many women and men have in seeing femininity and masculinity as socially constructed rather than natural, attests to the strength and force of culture. Women are, of course, understood to be ``different'' from men in many ways, ``delicate, pretty, intuitive, unreasonable, maternal, non-muscular, lacking an organizing character''. Feminist theorists have shown that what is understood as ``feminine'' behaviour is not simply socially constructed, but politically constructed, as the behaviour of a subordinate social group. Feminist social constructionists understand the task of feminism to be the destruction and elimination of what have been called ``sex roles'' and are now more usually called ``gender''.
Sheila Jeffreys (Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the West)
As the world grows faster and more interdependent, we need to figure out ways to scale the fluidity of teams across entire organizations: groups with thousands of members that span continents, like our Task Force. But this is easier said than done.
Stanley McChrystal (Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World)
If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way. It’s up to you to use that independence to good effect.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
As I look back right now, I realize that it was all of those mindless, repetitive tasks I was forced to endure day after day, the getting up and doing every scene the best I could, over and over, that gave me a kind of “miles in the saddle.” They strengthened muscles not located in my body but in my heart—muscles not easy to access and certainly not fun. But easy is overrated and fun is extremely relative.
Sally Field (In Pieces)
Existentialism “every appearance in nature corresponds to some state of the mind,” we have entered the familiar Wordsworthian Romantic territory in which nature is phenomena and spirit is noumena and the task of the human person is to draw his being from whatever inscrutable force produces, organizes, and infuses the phenomenal universe —an “ineffable essence which we call Spirit. Being as not being stable but forever in flux and transition. Even history, Which seems obviously about the past, has its true use as the servant of the present.' Emerson and Buddhism stand for spirituality purged of creed detritus.' the essence of Existentialism is that you find meaning in nature, wisdom, mind and body.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
(ATTF) represented in this novel is based on the actual Joint Terrorism Task Force, though I have taken some literary license where necessary. The Joint Terrorism Task Force is an organization of dedicated, professional, and hardworking men and women who are in the front line in the war
Nelson DeMille (The Lion (John Corey, #5))
London was but a foretaste of this nomadic civilization which is altering human nature so profoundly, and throws upon personal relations a stress greater than they have ever borne before. Under cosmopolitanism, if it comes, we shall receive no help from the earth. Trees and meadows and mountains will only be a spectacle, and the binding force that once exercised on character must be entrusted to Love alone. May Love be equal to the task!
E.M. Forster (Howards End)
It is wrong to say that schoolmasters lack heart and are dried-up, soulless pedants! No, by no means. When a child's talent which he has sought to kindle suddenly bursts forth, when the boy puts aside his wooden sword, slingshot, bow-and-arrow and other childish games, when he begins to forge ahead, when the seriousness of the work begins to transform the rough-neck into a delicate, serious and an almost ascetic creature, when his face takes on an intelligent, deeper and more purposeful expression - then a teacher's heart laughs with happiness and pride. It is his duty and responsibility to control the raw energies and desires of his charges and replace them with calmer, more moderate ideals. What would many happy citizens and trustworthy officials have become but unruly, stormy innovators and dreamers of useless dreams, if not for the effort of their schools? In young beings there is something wild, ungovernable, uncultured which first has to be tamed. It is like a dangerous flame that has to be controlled or it will destroy. Natural man is unpredictable, opaque, dangerous, like a torrent cascading out of uncharted mountains. At the start, his soul is a jungle without paths or order. And, like a jungle, it must first be cleared and its growth thwarted. Thus it is the school's task to subdue and control man with force and make him a useful member of society, to kindle those qualities in him whose development will bring him to triumphant completion.
Hermann Hesse (Beneath the Wheel)
If there’s one thing that we capitalists have in common with the communists of old, it’s a pathological obsession with gainful employment. Just as Soviet-era shops employed “three clerks to sell a piece of meat,” we’ll force benefit claimants to perform pointless tasks, even if it bankrupts us.
Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World)
In the politics of Jesus the world will be changed by non-coercive love or not at all. It’s not the task of the church to change the world by legislative force. It’s the task of the church to be the world changed by Christ. This is revolutionary in a way that conventional politics never can be.
Brian Zahnd (Water To Wine: Some of My Story)
If you're an introvert, find your flow by using your gifts. You have the power of persistence, the tenacity to solve complex problems, and the clear-sightedness to avoid pitfalls that trip others up. You enjoy relative freedom from the temptations of superficial prizes like money and status. Indeed, your biggest challenge may be to fully harness your strengths. You may be so busy trying to appear like a zestful, reward-sensitive extrovert that you undervalue your own talents, or feel underestimated by those around you. But when you're focused on a project you care about, you probably find that your energy is boundless. So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow, steady way, don't let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don't force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way. It's up to you to use that independence to good effect.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
James had been acting a little weird. After waking up yesterday, he'd been a little bit distant. It might just be the stress of the trip. It was probably hard on James to be in charge of the little group. He was responsible for the welfare of his lover, a nun, and a talking horse. That couldn't be easy.
Anne Tenino (18% Gray (Task Force Iota, #1))
Do not force things.... Can you afford to be careless? So then, flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free; stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. How else can you carry out your task? It is best to leave everything to work naturally, though this is not easy.21
David H. Rosen (The Tao of Jung: The Way of Integrity (Compass))
Anything that binds people together into a moral matrix that glorifies the in-group while at the same time demonizing another group can lead to moralistic killing, and many religions are well suited for that task. Religion is therefore often an accessory to atrocity, rather than the driving force of the atrocity.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
He worked with that aggrieved persistence, as though calling on heaven to witness the injustice done him, which the sullen everywhere bring to their trivial tasks; and as he worked, his lips moved in unison with his hands to shape his petulant thoughts for his pleasure, for his mind rehearsed eternally the inequities that had been forced upon him—inequities which he must endure in silence, since he was one of the underprivileged ones of the world, the unfortunate son of an unfortunate sharecropper, the pathetic victim of an oppressive system, as everyone who knew anything at all admitted, and had admitted for a long time.
William March (The Bad Seed)
When religion does not move people to the mystical or non-dual level of consciousness9 it is more a part of the problem than any solution whatsoever. It solidifies angers, creates enemies, and is almost always exclusionary of the most recent definition of “sinner.” At this level, it is largely incapable of its supreme task of healing, reconciling, forgiving, and peacemaking. When religion does not give people an inner life or a real prayer life, it is missing its primary vocation. Let me sum up, then, the foundational ways that I believe Jesus and the Twelve Steps of A.A. are saying the same thing but with different vocabulary:   We suffer to get well. We surrender to win. We die to live. We give it away to keep it.   This counterintuitive wisdom will forever be resisted as true, denied, and avoided, until it is forced upon us—by some reality over which we are powerless—and if we are honest, we are all powerless in the presence of full Reality.
Richard Rohr (Breathing Underwater)
Then there was a new epidemic—of fear,” said Dr. Sam Okware, Commissioner of Health Services, when I visited him in Kampala a month later. Among Dr. Okware’s other duties, he served as chairman of the national Ebola virus task force. “That was the most difficult to contain,” he said. “There was a new epidemic—of panic.
David Quammen (Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus)
From the standpoint of education, genius means essentially 'giving birth to the joy in learning.' I'd like to suggest that this is the central task of all educators. It is the genius of the student that is the driving force behind all learning. Before educators take on any of the other important issues in learning, they must first have a thorough understanding of what lies at the core of each student's intrinsic motivation to learn, and that motivation originates in each student's genius.
Thomas Armstrong (Awakening Genius in the Classroom)
Generally certain symptoms appear, among them a peculiar use of language: one wants to speak forcefully in order to impress one's opponent, so one employs a special, "bombastic" style full of neologisms which might be described as "power-words." This symptom is observable not only in the psychiatric clinic but also among certain modern philosophers, and, above all, whenever anything unworthy of belief has to be insisted on in the teeth of inner resistance: the language swells up, overreaches itself, sprouts grotesque words distinguished only by their needless complexity. The word is charged with the task of achieving what cannot be done by honest means.
C.G. Jung (Alchemical Studies (Collected Works 13))
By being forced to memorize the Creed, Rangers begin to live the creed. It includes some affirmations as, “Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong, and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred percent and then some.” That’s
Mike Cernovich (Gorilla Mindset: How to Control Your Thoughts and Emotions to Live Life on Your Terms)
There was at least one exception to this description of the [Energy Task Force] papers as uninteresting. One document later obtained by Judicial Watch showed that Cheney's energy task force was studying Iraqi oil fields, and the companies that had drilling rights on them, as early as March 2001, two years before the invasion of Iraq.
Charlie Savage (Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy)
My love for these books, at its purest, is not really about Peeta or anything silly and girly. I love that a young woman character is fierce and strong but hum in ways I find believable, relatable. Katniss is clearly a heroine, but a heroine with issues. She intrigues me because she never seems to know her own strength. She isn't blandly insecure the way girls are often forced to be in fiction. She is brave but flawed. She is a heroine, but she is also a girl who loves two boys and can't choose which boy she loves more. She is not sure she is up to the task of leading a revolution, but she does her best, even as she doubts herself. Katniss endures the unendurable. She is damaged and it shows. At times, it might seem like her suffering is gratuitous, but life often presents unendurable circumstances people manage to survive. Only the details differ. The Hunger Games trilogy is dark and brutal, but in the end, the books also offer hope - for a better world and a better people and, for one woman, a better life, a life she can share with a man who understands her strength and doesn't expect her to compromise that strength, a man who can hold her weak places and love her through the darkest of her memories, the worst of her damage. Of course I love the Hunger Games. The trilogy offers the tempered hope that everyone who survives something unendurable hungers for.
Roxane Gay
A tormenting thought: as of a certain point, history was no longer real. Without noticing it, all mankind suddenly left reality; everything happening since then was supposedly not true; but we supposedly didn't notice. Our task would now be to find that point, and as long as we didn't have it, we would be forced to abide in our present destruction.
Elias Canetti (The Human Province)
Being sick is supposed to come along with grand realizations about What Really Matters, but I don't know. I think deep down, we're already aware of what's important and what's not. Which isn't to say that we always live our lives accordingly. We snap at our spouses and curse the traffic and miss the buds pushing up from the ground. But we know. We just forget to know sometimes. Near-death forces us to remember. It pushes us into a state of aggressive gratitude that throws what's big and what's small into the sharpest relief. It's awfully hard to worry about the puddle of milk when you're just glad to be here to spill it. Aggressive gratitude, though, is no way to live. It's too easy. We're meant to work at these things. To strive to know. Our task is to seek out what's essential, get distracted by the fluff, and still know, feel annoyed by annoyances, and find our way back. The so-called small stuff actually matters very much. It's what we push against on our way to figuring out how much we wish to think and be. We need that dialectic, and illness snatches it away. A stubbed toe, a too-long line at the post office, these things and the fluster they bring are signifiers of a healthy life, and I craved them.
Jessica Fechtor (Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home)
the force of the water drop that hollows the stone. A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.
Laura Vanderkam (What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings--and Life)
We still have time to back out, I guess, if we want to. I don't see the karmic police coming to take us into existential custody, y'know?
David Berger
The pain of regret is far worse than the pain of discipline. We will never have the anointing, the ministry or the revivals of our heroes if we don’t become as disciplined as they were. They went to bed early to get up early to pray, and they fasted for days on end. We shouldn’t just pray to mark it off of our lists or read a few chapters of our Bible each day to keep up with the church Bible reading chart. We must have a deeper purpose for doing these tasks. Discipline without direction is drudgery. In other words, discipline has to have a purpose to drive it each and every day. The price for spiritual change is expensive, but the rewards are far greater. The world’s ways, ideologies, and influence cannot be present in a life dedicated to Jesus because consecration’s purpose is for us to be different from the world. And, for that matter, if we are separate from the world, then sin must not be a part of our lives either. Sin ruins a life of consecration. It would be a shame to believe that holiness is nothing more than rules or guidelines we are to live by. Holiness and consecration flow from a life given to the spiritual disciplines, a life we can only maintain by continuing to seek for Him daily. Your pursuit will never be greater than your disciplines. No man is greater than his prayer life. Even though Jesus requires us to pray, praying is not to be done out of duty, but it is to be done out of delight. A person’s appetite reveals much about their physical health. Our physical appetite can reveal just as much about our spiritual health. Prayer is the dominant discipline in a godly life and it takes a backseat to no other task. Prayer is the guiding force to a life of consecration and spiritual discipline. Self-denial is tough, but self-indulgence is dangerous.
Nathan Whitley (The Lost Art Of Spiritual Disciplines)
But every evil brings its own remedy. Another quality of Saturn is melancholy; Saturn represents the sorrow of the universe; it is the Trance of sorrow that has determined one to undertake the task of emancipation. This is the energizing force of Law; it is the rigidity of the fact that everything is sorrow which moves one to the task, and keeps one on the Path.
Aleister Crowley (Eight Lectures on Yoga)
Certain vocations, e.g., raising children, offer a perfect setting for living a contemplative life. They provide a desert for reflection, a real monastery. The mother who stays home with small children experiences a very real withdrawal from the world. Her existence is certainly monastic. Her tasks and preoccupations remove her from the centres of social life and from the centres of important power. She feels removed. Moreover, her constant contact with young children, the mildest of the mild, gives her a privileged opportunity to be in harmony with the mild and learn empathy and unselfishness. Perhaps more so even than the monk or the minister of the Gospel, she is forced, almost against her will, to mature. For years, while she is raising small children, her time is not her own, her own needs have to be put into second place, and every time she turns around some hand is reaching out demanding something.
Ronald Rolheiser
Almost all empires were created by force, but none can be sustained by it. Universal rule, to last, needs to translate force into obligation. Otherwise, the energies of the rulers will be exhausted in maintaining their dominance at the expense of their ability to shape the future, which is the ultimate task of statesmanship. Empires persist if repression gives way to consensus.
Henry Kissinger (On China)
Why were so few voices raised in the ancient world in protest against the ruthlessness of man? Why are human beings so obsequious, ready to kill and ready to die at the call of kings and chieftains? Perhaps it is because they worship might, venerate those who command might, and are convinced that it is by force that man prevails. The splendor and the pride of kings blind the people. The Mesopotamian, for example, felt convinced that authorities were always right: "The command of the palace, like the command of Anu, cannot be altered. The king's word is right; his utterance, like that of a god, cannot be changed!" The prophets repudiated the work as well as the power of man as an object of supreme adoration. They denounced "arrogant boasting" and "haughty pride" (Isa. 10:12), the kings who ruled the nations in anger, the oppressors (Isa. 14:4-6), the destroyers of nations, who went forth to inflict waste, ruin, and death (Jer. 4:7), the "guilty men, whose own might is their god" (Hab. 1: 11). Their course is evil, Their might is not right. Jeremiah 23:10 The end of public authority is to realize the moral law, a task for which both knowledge and understanding as well as the possession of power are indispensable means. Yet inherent in power is the tendency to breed conceit. " . . . one of the most striking and one of the most pervasive features of the prophetic polemic [is] the denunciation and distrust of power in all its forms and guises. The hunger of the powerfit! knows no satiety; the appetite grows on what it feeds. Power exalts itself and is incapable of yielding to any transcendent judgment; it 'listens to no voice' (Zeph. 3:2) ." It is the bitter irony of history that the common people, who are devoid of power and are the prospective victims of its abuse, are the first to become the ally of him who accumulates power. Power is spectacular, while its end, the moral law, is inconspicuous.
Abraham Joshua Heschel (The Prophets)
All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this negative trait work for you. The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, such as gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it. Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important. If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him to do it. The procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely, and important tasks, however, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.
John R. Perry (The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing)
So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way. It’s up to you to use that independence to good effect.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
The economic system is filled with trickery, and everyone needs to know that. We all have to navigate this system in order to maintain our dignity and integrity, and we all have to find inspiration to go on despite craziness all around us. We wrote this book for consumers, who need to be vigilant against a multitude of tricks played on them. We wrote it for businesspeople, who feel depressed at the cynicism of some of their colleagues and trapped into following suit out of economic necessity. We wrote it for government officials, who undertake the usually thankless task of regulating business. We wrote it for the volunteers, the philanthropists, the opinion leaders, who work on the side of integrity. And we wrote it for young people, looking ahead to a lifetime of work and wondering how they can find personal meaning in it. All these people will benefit from a study of phishing equilibrium—of economic forces that build manipulation and deception into the system unless we take courageous steps to fight it. We also need stories of heroes, people who out of personal integrity (rather than for economic gain) have managed to keep deception in our economy down to livable levels. We will tell plenty of stories of these heroes.
George A. Akerlof (Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception)
Mike Cabral’s task force came to believe that John Orr was responsible for the vast majority of all the arsons they were studying, and by way of unverifiable proof, they pointed to the astounding statistic that showed a 90 percent drop in brush-fire activity since his arrest. In the county foothill area, brush fires had averaged sixty-seven a year clear back to 1981. After his arrest the average had dropped to one per year.
Joseph Wambaugh (Fire Lover: A True Story)
The rhythm of these menial tasks comforted me, and I felt a sense of peace descend on our home. It squeezed between the cracks in our walls, forcing its way in until every empty crevice of our home had been touched.
James Flerlage (Before Bethlehem)
Professor Smith has kindly submitted his book to me before publication. After reading it thoroughly and with intense interest I am glad to comply with his request to give him my impression. The work is a broadly conceived attempt to portray man's fear-induced animistic and mythic ideas with all their far-flung transformations and interrelations. It relates the impact of these phantasmagorias on human destiny and the causal relationships by which they have become crystallized into organized religion. This is a biologist speaking, whose scientific training has disciplined him in a grim objectivity rarely found in the pure historian. This objectivity has not, however, hindered him from emphasizing the boundless suffering which, in its end results, this mythic thought has brought upon man. Professor Smith envisages as a redeeming force, training in objective observation of all that is available for immediate perception and in the interpretation of facts without preconceived ideas. In his view, only if every individual strives for truth can humanity attain a happier future; the atavisms in each of us that stand in the way of a friendlier destiny can only thus be rendered ineffective. His historical picture closes with the end of the nineteenth century, and with good reason. By that time it seemed that the influence of these mythic, authoritatively anchored forces which can be denoted as religious, had been reduced to a tolerable level in spite of all the persisting inertia and hypocrisy. Even then, a new branch of mythic thought had already grown strong, one not religious in nature but no less perilous to mankind -- exaggerated nationalism. Half a century has shown that this new adversary is so strong that it places in question man's very survival. It is too early for the present-day historian to write about this problem, but it is to be hoped that one will survive who can undertake the task at a later date.
Albert Einstein (Man and His Gods)
Yes, nitroglycerin,” Simoun repeated slowly, with a frigid smile, staring at the glass flask with delight. “It’s more than nitroglycerin, however. It’s a concentration of tears, compressed, hatred, injustices, offenses. This is the supreme arbiter of weakness, force against force, violence against violence . . . a moment ago I was hesitating, but then you arrived and convinced me. Tonight those most dangerous of tyrants who have hidden behind God and the state, whose abuses remain unpunished because no one can take them to task. Tonight, the Philippines will hear an explosion that will convert into rubble the infamous monument whose rottenness I helped bring about.
José Rizal (El Filibusterismo (Noli Me Tangere, #2))
t is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future—sub specie aeternitatis. And this is his salvation in the most diffcult moments of his existence, although he sometimes has to force his mind to the task.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
While attending to the customary tasks of assembling a cabinet, rewarding political loyalists with federal appointments, and drafting an inaugural address alone—he employed no speechwriters—Lincoln was uniquely forced to confront the collapse of the country itself, with no power to prevent its disintegration. Bound to loyalty to the Republican party platform on which he had run and won, he could yield little to the majority that had in fact voted against him.
Harold Holzer (Lincoln President-Elect : Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter, 1860-1861)
Under the leadership of Henry Kissinger, first as Richard Nixon’s national security adviser and later as secretary of state, the United States sent an unequivocal signal to the most extreme rightist forces that democracy could be sacrificed in the cause of ideological warfare. Criminal operational tactics, including assassination, were not only acceptable but supported with weapons and money. A CIA internal memo laid it out in unsparing terms:        On September 16, 1970 [CIA] Director [Richard] Helms informed a group of senior agency officers that on September 15, President Nixon had decided that an Allende regime was not acceptable to the United States. The President asked the Agency to prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him and authorized up to $10 million for this purpose. . . . A special task force was established to carry out this mandate, and preliminary plans were discussed with Dr. Kissinger on 18 September 1970.
John Dinges (The Condor Years: How Pinochet And His Allies Brought Terrorism To Three Continents)
This new science of performance argues that you get better at a skill as you develop more myelin around the relevant neurons, allowing the corresponding circuit to fire more effortlessly and effectively. To be great at something is to be well myelinated. This understanding is important because it provides a neurological foundation for why deliberate practice works. By focusing intensely on a specific skill, you’re forcing the specific relevant circuit to fire, again and again, in isolation. This repetitive use of a specific circuit triggers cells called oligodendrocytes to begin wrapping layers of myelin around the neurons in the circuits—effectively cementing the skill. The reason, therefore, why it’s important to focus intensely on the task at hand while avoiding distraction is because this is the only way to isolate the relevant neural circuit enough to trigger useful myelination. By contrast, if you’re trying to learn a complex new skill (say, SQL database management) in a state of low concentration (perhaps you also have your Facebook feed open), you’re firing too many circuits simultaneously and haphazardly to isolate the group of neurons you actually want to strengthen. In
Cal Newport (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)
New Rule: Now that liberals have taken back the word "liberal," they also have to take back the word "elite." By now you've heard the constant right-wing attacks on the "elite media," and the "liberal elite." Who may or may not be part of the "Washington elite." A subset of the "East Coast elite." Which is overly influenced by the "Hollywood elite." So basically, unless you're a shit-kicker from Kansas, you're with the terrorists. If you played a drinking game where you did a shot every time Rush Limbaugh attacked someone for being "elite," you'd be almost as wasted as Rush Limbaugh. I don't get it: In other fields--outside of government--elite is a good thing, like an elite fighting force. Tiger Woods is an elite golfer. If I need brain surgery, I'd like an elite doctor. But in politics, elite is bad--the elite aren't down-to-earth and accessible like you and me and President Shit-for-Brains. Which is fine, except that whenever there's a Bush administration scandal, it always traces back to some incompetent political hack appointment, and you think to yourself, "Where are they getting these screwups from?" Well, now we know: from Pat Robertson. I'm not kidding. Take Monica Goodling, who before she resigned last week because she's smack in the middle of the U.S. attorneys scandal, was the third-ranking official in the Justice Department of the United States. She's thirty-three, and though she never even worked as a prosecutor, was tasked with overseeing the job performance of all ninety-three U.S. attorneys. How do you get to the top that fast? Harvard? Princeton? No, Goodling did her undergraduate work at Messiah College--you know, home of the "Fighting Christies"--and then went on to attend Pat Robertson's law school. Yes, Pat Robertson, the man who said the presence of gay people at Disney World would cause "earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor," has a law school. And what kid wouldn't want to attend? It's three years, and you have to read only one book. U.S. News & World Report, which does the definitive ranking of colleges, lists Regent as a tier-four school, which is the lowest score it gives. It's not a hard school to get into. You have to renounce Satan and draw a pirate on a matchbook. This is for the people who couldn't get into the University of Phoenix. Now, would you care to guess how many graduates of this televangelist diploma mill work in the Bush administration? On hundred fifty. And you wonder why things are so messed up? We're talking about a top Justice Department official who went to a college founded by a TV host. Would you send your daughter to Maury Povich U? And if you did, would you expect her to get a job at the White House? In two hundred years, we've gone from "we the people" to "up with people." From the best and brightest to dumb and dumber. And where better to find people dumb enough to believe in George Bush than Pat Robertson's law school? The problem here in America isn't that the country is being run by elites. It's that it's being run by a bunch of hayseeds. And by the way, the lawyer Monica Goodling hired to keep her ass out of jail went to a real law school.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
When Norway fell to the Germans the following year, he established the Norwegian Air Force training base known as Little Norway in Canada, to train pilots who’d escaped the Nazis. After handing that task to others, Balchen ferried bombers for the British.
Mitchell Zuckoff (Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II)
You have to get into the habit of forcing yourself to analyze, at the time you accept a task, the costs and benefits of doing a less-than-perfect job. You must ask yourself some questions: How useful would a perfect job be here? How much more useful would it be than a merely adequate job? Or even a half-assed job? And you’ve got to ask yourself: What is the probability that I will really do anything like a remotely perfect job on this? And: What difference will it make to me, and to others, whether I do or not?
John R. Perry (The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing)
Repetition and memorization of imposed lessons are indeed tedious work for children, whose instincts urge them constantly to play and think freely, raise their own questions, and explore the world in their own ways. Children did not adapt well to forced schooling, and in many cases they rebelled. This was no surprise to the adults. By this point in history, the idea that children’s own preferences had any value had been pretty well forgotten. Brute force, long used to keep children on task in fields and factories, was transported into the classroom to make children learn. Some of the underpaid, ill-prepared schoolmasters were quite sadistic. One master in Germany kept records of the punishments he meted out in fifty-one years of teaching, a partial list of which included: “911,527 blows with a rod, 124,010 blows with a cane, 20,989 taps with a ruler, 136,715 blows with the hand, 10,235 blows to the mouth, 7,905 boxes on the ear, and 1,118,800 blows on the head.”25 Clearly he was proud of all the educating he had done.
Peter O. Gray (Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life)
some modern ‘labour-saving’ devices might more precisely be labelled ‘male labour-saving’ devices. A 2014 study in Syria, for example, found while the introduction of mechanisation in farming did reduce demand for male labour, freeing men up to ‘pursue better-paying opportunities outside of agriculture’, it actually increased demand ‘for women’s labour-intensive tasks such as transplanting, weeding, harvesting and processing’.20 Conversely, when some agricultural tasks were mechanised in Turkey, women’s participation in the agricultural labour force decreased, ‘because of men’s appropriation of machinery’, and because women were reluctant to adopt it. This was in part due to lack of education and sociocultural norms, but also ‘because the machinery was not designed for use by women’.
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
The simple view is that medicine exists to fight death and disease, and that is, of course, its most basic task. Death is the enemy. But the enemy has superior forces. Eventually, it wins. And in a war that you cannot win, you don’t want a general who fights to the point of total annihilation. You don’t want Custer. You want Robert E. Lee, someone who knows how to fight for territory that can be won and how to surrender it when it can’t, someone who understands that the damage is greatest if all you do is battle to the bitter end.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
In all of these examples, it’s not just the change of environment or seeking of quiet that enables more depth. The dominant force is the psychology of committing so seriously to the task at hand. To put yourself in an exotic location to focus on a writing project, or to take a week off from work just to think, or to lock yourself in a hotel room until you complete an important invention: These gestures push your deep goal to a level of mental priority that helps unlock the needed mental resources. Sometimes to go deep, you must first go big.
Cal Newport (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)
The work of God requires stamina. Nehemiah sustained his stamina even through staggering difficulties. He persisted through both ridicule and discouragement, and he remained faithful when tempted to compromise. This tenacity is required of leaders who will make a difference. Will you crumble under the pressures, or will you face the trials with God’s strength? Many today question the possibility of revival. These naysayers see only the decaying moral condition of society and the disappointing lukewarm condition of churches. Revival, however, is not dependent on or the result of a flourishing spiritual condition. Some of the greatest revivals in Scripture came during the darkest times. Let us not look at the rubbish, but at Christ, the Rock, who can rebuild our country through revival. Let us be leaders God can use to bring revival. Nehemiah was not a man to sit idly by when there was tremendous need. Neither was he a man to attempt meeting such need in his own strength. God used Nehemiah to bring revival because Nehemiah began with supplication for God’s forgiveness and power. The task of rebuilding the walls could never have been completed by one man alone; it needed a leader who understood the power of synergy. Nehemiah’s willingness to be personally involved in the work, as well as his ability to convey the need to others, resulted in a task force that completed this enormous building project in a mere fifty-two days—to the glory of God. Like any godly leader, Nehemiah did not go unchallenged. Yet, he sustained his stamina in the face of every opposition. Nehemiah’s life proves that revival is possible, even when it appears the most unlikely. God sends revival through leaders willing to make a difference.
Paul Chappell (Leaders Who Make a Difference: Leadership Lessons from Three Great Bible Leaders)
When I look at all the forces aligned to roll back and block democratic change--the concentration of wealth, the structures of minority rule, the market imperative of endless growth, the seemingly irrepressible appeal of racism, and the rapidity of climate change--I feel my will weaken. Given the magnitude of the task at hand, how can people like me possibly make a dent? The established order is so big and powerful, and a single individual so vulnerable and small. But when I engage my intellect, something approaching optimism is possible. The past is proof that it can be done,
Astra Taylor (Democracy May Not Exist, But We'll Miss It When It's Gone)
If I now consider man in his isolated capacity, I find that dogmatic belief is no less indispensable to him in order to live alone than it is to enable him to co-operate with his fellows. If man were forced to demonstrate for himself all the truths of which he makes daily use, his task would never end. He would exhaust his strength in preparatory demonstrations without ever advancing beyond them. As, from the shortness of his life, he has not the time, nor, from the limits of his intelligence, the capacity, to act in this way, he is reduced to take on trust a host of facts and opinions which he has not had either the time or the power to verify for himself, but which men of greater ability have found out, or which the crowd adopts. On this groundwork he raises for himself the structure of his own thoughts; he is not led to proceed in this manner by choice, but is constrained by the inflexible law of his condition. There is no philosopher in the world so great but that he believes a million things on the faith of other people and accepts a great many more truths than he demonstrates. (Tocqueville 1945 2:9-10; Oeuvres Completes (M) 1(2):16-17, (B) 3:15-16).
Alexis de Tocqueville (Tocqueville : Oeuvres complètes, tome 2)
The coming of Caesarism breaks the dictature of money and its political weapon, democracy. After a long triumph of world-city economy and its interests over political creative force, the political side of life manifests itself after all as the stronger of the two. The sword is victorious over the money, the master-will subdues again the plunderer-will. If we call these money-powers 'Capitalism,' then we may designate as Socialism the will to call into life a mighty politico-economic order that transcends all class interests, a system of lofty thoughtfulness and duty-sense that keeps the whole in fine condition for the decisive battle of its history, and this battle is also the battle of money and law. The private powers of the economy want free paths for their acquisition of great resources. No legislation must stand in their way. They want to make the laws themselves, in their interests, and to that end they make use of the tool they have made for themselves, democracy, the subsidized party. Law needs, in order to resist this onslaught, a high tradition and an ambition of strong families that finds its satisfaction not in the heaping-up of riches, but in the tasks of true rulership, above and beyond all money-advantage. A power can be overthrown only by another power, not by a principle, and no power that can confront money is left but this one. Money is overthrown and abolished only by blood. Life is alpha and omega, the cosmic stream in microcosmic form. It is the fact of facts within the world-as-history. Before the irresistible rhythm of the generation-sequence, everything built up by the waking-consciousness in its intellectual world vanishes at the last. Ever in History it is life and life only race-quality, the triumph of the will-to-power and not the victory of truths, discoveries, or money that signifies. World-history is the world court, and it has ever decided in favour of the stronger, fuller, and more self-assured life decreed to it, namely, the right to exist, regardless of whether its right would hold before a tribunal of waking-consciousness.
Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West)
It is hard to understand how a compassionate world order can include so many people afflicted by acute misery, persistent hunger and deprived and desperate lives, and why millions of innocent children have to die each year from lack of food or medical attention or social care. This issue, of course, is not new, and it has been a subject of some discussion among theologians. The argument that God has reasons to want us to deal with these matters ourselves has had considerable intellectual support. As a nonreligious person, I am not in a position to assess the theological merits of this argument. But I can appreciate the force of the claim that people themselves must have responsibility for the development and change of the world in which they live. One does not have to be either devout or non devout to accept this basic connection. As people who live-in a broad sense-together, we cannot escape the thought that the terrible occurrences that we see around us are quintessentially our problems. They are our responsibility-whether or not they are also anyone else's. As competent human beings, we cannot shirk the task of judging how things are and what needs to be done. As reflective creatures, we have the ability to contemplate the lives of others. Our sense of behavior may have caused (though that can be very important as well), but can also relate more generally to the miseries that we see around us and that lie within our power to help remedy. That responsibility is not, of course, the only consideration that can claim our attention, but to deny the relevance of that general claim would be to miss something central about our social existence. It is not so much a matter of having the exact rules about how precisely we ought to behave, as of recognizing the relevance of our shared humanity in making the choices we face.
Amartya Sen (Development as Freedom)
During the first couple years I worked for myself, entire weeks would go by without my accomplishing much, for no other reason than that I was anxious and stressed about what I had to do, and it was too easy to put everything off. I quickly learned, though, that forcing myself to do something, even the most menial of tasks, quickly made the larger tasks seem much easier. If I had to redesign an entire website, I’d force myself to sit down and would say, “Okay, I’ll just design the header right now.” But after the header was done, I’d find myself moving on to other parts of the site. And before I knew it, I’d be energized and engaged in the project. The
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
how to focus—how to, as we might say these days, “bring it.” Like Hokusai, their lives begin to look like guided missiles. How exactly do they accomplish this? How do you get from where most of us live—the run-of-the-mill split mind—to the gathered mind of a Hokusai? Krishna articulates the principle succinctly: Acting in unity with your purpose itself creates unification. Actions that consciously support dharma have the power to begin to gather our energy. These outward actions, step-by-step, shape us inwardly. Find your dharma and do it. And in the process of doing it, energy begins to gather itself into a laser beam of effectiveness. Krishna quickly adds: Do not worry about the outcome. Success or failure are not your concern. It is better to fail at your own dharma than to succeed at the dharma of another. Your task is only to bring as much life force as you can muster to the execution of your dharma. In this spirit, Chinese Master Guan Yin Tzu wrote: “Don’t waste time calculating your chances of success and failure. Just fix your aim and begin.
Stephen Cope (The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling)
Many operations involved intercepting and seizing someone traveling in a moving vehicle, often with bodyguards. The task force would surreptitiously attach a tracking beacon to the target’s car. Delta was already experimenting with technologies that used an electromagnetic pulse to shut a car’s battery down remotely. The unit also used a catapult net system that would ensnare car and driver alike. Once the car had been immobilized, operators would smash the window with a sledgehammer, pull their target through the window, and make off with him, shooting any bodyguards who posed a threat, while an outer security perimeter kept anyone who might interfere at bay. The operators had a name for these snatches: habeas grab-ass.
Sean Naylor (Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command)
And while he may have a longer fuse, beware. When he’s forced to face the frustration of a challenging task or finds himself the butt of one too many jousts in verbal repartee, his sensitivity to feeling foolish and defective may either launch him into the tyrannical state of meanness typical of narcissists or cause him to disappear within his stonewalled, silent abyss.
Wendy T. Behary (Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed)
Playing and fun are not the same thing, though when we grow up we may forget that and find ourselves mixing up playing with happiness. There can be a kind of amnesia about the seriousness of playing, especially when we played by ourselves or looked like we were playing by ourselves. I believe a kid who is playing is not alone. There is something brought alive during play, and this something, when played, seems to play back. If playing isn't happiness or fun, if it is something which may lead to those things or to something else entirely, not being able to play is a misery. No one stopped me from playing when I was alone, but there were times when I wasn't able to, though I wanted to--there were times when nothing played back. Writers call it 'writer's block'. For kids there are other names for that feeling, though kids don't usually know them. Fairy tales and myths are often about this very thing. They begin sometimes with this very situation: a dead kingdom. Its residents all turned to stone. It's a good way to say it, that something alive is gone. The television eased the problem by presenting channels to an ever-lively world I could watch, though it couldn't watch me back, not that it would see much if it could. A girl made of stone facing a flickering light, 45 years later a woman made of stone doing the same thing. In a myth or a fairy tale one doesn't restore the kingdom by passivity, nor can it be done by force. It can't be done by logic or thought. It can't be done by logic or thought. So how can it be done? Monsters and dangerous tasks seem to be part of it. Courage and terror and failure or what seems like failure, and then hopelessness and the approach of death convincingly. The happy ending is hardly important, though we may be glad it's there. The real joy is knowing that if you felt the trouble in the story, your kingdom isn't dead.
Lynda Barry (What It Is)
In order to understand how engineers endeavor to insure against such structural, mechanical, and systems failures, and thereby also to understand how mistakes can be made and accidents with far-reaching consequences can occur, it is necessary to understand, at least partly, the nature of engineering design. It is the process of design, in which diverse parts of the 'given-world' of the scientist and the 'made-world' of the engineer are reformed and assembled into something the likes of which Nature had not dreamed, that divorces engineering from science and marries it to art. While the practice of engineering may involve as much technical experience as the poet brings to the blank page, the painter to the empty canvas, or the composer to the silent keyboard, the understanding and appreciation of the process and products of engineering are no less accessible than a poem, a painting, or a piece of music. Indeed, just as we all have experienced the rudiments of artistic creativity in the childhood masterpieces our parents were so proud of, so we have all experienced the essence of structual engineering in our learning to balance first our bodies and later our blocks in ever more ambitious positions. We have learned to endure the most boring of cocktail parties without the social accident of either our bodies or our glasses succumbing to the force of gravity, having long ago learned to crawl, sit up, and toddle among our tottering towers of blocks. If we could remember those early efforts of ours to raise ourselves up among the towers of legs of our parents and their friends, then we can begin to appreciate the task and the achievements of engineers, whether they be called builders in Babylon or scientists in Los Alamos. For all of their efforts are to one end: to make something stand that has not stood before, to reassemble Nature into something new, and above all to obviate failure in the effort.
Henry Petroski
The news filled me with such euphoria that for an instant I was numb. My ingrained self-censorship immediately started working: I registered the fact that there was an orgy of weeping going on around me, and that I had to come up with some suitable performance. There seemed nowhere to hide my lack of correct emotion except the shoulder of the woman in front of me, one of the student officials, who was apparently heartbroken. I swiftly buried my head in her shoulder and heaved appropriately. As so often in China, a bit of ritual did the trick. Sniveling heartily she made a movement as though she was going to turn around and embrace me I pressed my whole weight on her from behind to keep her in her place, hoping to give the impression that I was in a state of abandoned grief. In the days after Mao's death, I did a lot of thinking. I knew he was considered a philosopher, and I tried to think what his 'philosophy' really was. It seemed to me that its central principle was the need or the desire? for perpetual conflict. The core of his thinking seemed to be that human struggles were the motivating force of history and that in order to make history 'class enemies' had to be continuously created en masse. I wondered whether there were any other philosophers whose theories had led to the suffering and death of so many. I thought of the terror and misery to which the Chinese population had been subjected. For what? But Mao's theory might just be the extension of his personality. He was, it seemed to me, really a restless fight promoter by nature, and good at it. He understood ugly human instincts such as envy and resentment, and knew how to mobilize them for his ends. He ruled by getting people to hate each other. In doing so, he got ordinary Chinese to carry out many of the tasks undertaken in other dictatorships by professional elites. Mao had managed to turn the people into the ultimate weapon of dictatorship. That was why under him there was no real equivalent of the KGB in China. There was no need. In bringing out and nourishing the worst in people, Mao had created a moral wasteland and a land of hatred. But how much individual responsibility ordinary people should share, I could not decide. The other hallmark of Maoism, it seemed to me, was the reign of ignorance. Because of his calculation that the cultured class were an easy target for a population that was largely illiterate, because of his own deep resentment of formal education and the educated, because of his megalomania, which led to his scorn for the great figures of Chinese culture, and because of his contempt for the areas of Chinese civilization that he did not understand, such as architecture, art, and music, Mao destroyed much of the country's cultural heritage. He left behind not only a brutalized nation, but also an ugly land with little of its past glory remaining or appreciated. The Chinese seemed to be mourning Mao in a heartfelt fashion. But I wondered how many of their tears were genuine. People had practiced acting to such a degree that they confused it with their true feelings. Weeping for Mao was perhaps just another programmed act in their programmed lives. Yet the mood of the nation was unmistakably against continuing Mao's policies. Less than a month after his death, on 6 October, Mme Mao was arrested, along with the other members of the Gang of Four. They had no support from anyone not the army, not the police, not even their own guards. They had had only Mao. The Gang of Four had held power only because it was really a Gang of Five. When I heard about the ease with which the Four had been removed, I felt a wave of sadness. How could such a small group of second-rate tyrants ravage 900 million people for so long? But my main feeling was joy. The last tyrants of the Cultural Revolution were finally gone.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
The most important lesson to take from all this is that there is no way to confront the climate crisis as a technocratic problem, in isolation. It must be seen in the context of austerity and privatization, of colonialism and militarism, and of the various systems of othering needed to sustain them all. The connections and intersections between them are glaring, and yet so often, resistance to them is highly compartmentalized. The anti-austerity people rarely talk about climate change; the climate change people rarely talk about war or occupation. Too many of us fail to make the connection between the guns that take black lives on the streets of US cities and in police custody and the much larger forces that annihilate so many black lives on arid land and in precarious boats around the world. Overcoming these disconnections, strengthening the threads tying together our various issues and movements, is, I would argue, the most pressing task of anyone concerned with social and economic justice. It is the only way to build a counterpower sufficiently robust to win against the forces protecting the highly profitable but increasingly untenable status quo.
Naomi Klein (On Fire: The Case for the Green New Deal)
If I now consider man in his isolated capacity, I find that dogmatic belief is no less indispensable to him in order to live alone than it is to enable him to co-operate with his fellows. If man were forced to demonstrate for himself all the truths of which he makes daily use, his task would never end. He would exhaust his strength in preparatory demonstrations without ever advancing beyond them. As, from the shortness of his life, he has not the time, nor, from the limits of his intelligence, the capacity, to act in this way, he is reduced to take on trust a host of facts and opinions which he has not had either the time or the power to verify for himself, but which men of greater ability have found out, or which the crowd adopts. On this groundwork he raises for himself the structure of his own thoughts; he is not led to proceed in this manner by choice, but is constrained by the inflexible law of his condition. There is no philosopher in the world so great but that he believes a million things on the faith of other people and accepts a great many more truths than he demonstrates. (Tocqueville 1945 2:9-10; Oeuvres Completes (M) 1(2):16-17, (B) 3:15-16).
Alexis de Tocqueville (Tocqueville : Oeuvres complètes, tome 2)
Self-Confidence Formula First. I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my Definite Purpose in life, therefore, I demand of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to render such action. Second. I realize the dominating thoughts of my mind will eventually reproduce themselves in outward, physical action, and gradually transform themselves into physical reality, therefore, I will concentrate my thoughts for thirty minutes daily, upon the task of thinking of the person I intend to become, thereby creating in my mind a clear mental picture of that person. Third. I know through the principle of auto-suggestion, any desire that I persistently hold in my mind will eventually seek expression through some practical means of attaining the object back of it, therefore, I will devote ten minutes daily to demanding of myself the development of self-confidence. Fourth. I have clearly written down a description of my definite chief aim in life, and I will never stop trying, until I shall have developed sufficient self-confidence for its attainment. Fifth. I fully realize that no wealth or position can long endure, unless built upon truth and justice, therefore, I will engage in no transaction which does not benefit all whom it affects. I will succeed by attracting to myself the forces I wish to use, and the cooperation of other people. I will induce others to serve me, because of my willingness to serve others. I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism, by developing love for all humanity, because I know that a negative attitude toward others can never bring me success. I will cause others to believe in me, because I will believe in them, and in myself. I will sign my name to this formula, commit it to memory, and repeat it aloud once a day, with full faith that it will gradually influence my thoughts and actions so that I will become a self-reliant, and successful person.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich)
Let’s imagine a cluttered room. It does not get messy all by itself. You, the person who lives in it, makes the mess. There is a saying that “a messy room equals a messy mind.” I look at it this way. When a room becomes cluttered, the cause is more than just physical. Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder. The act of cluttering is really an instinctive reflex that draws our attention away from the heart of an issue. If you can’t feel relaxed in a clean and tidy room, try confronting your feeling of anxiety. It may shed light on what is really bothering you. When your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state. You can see any issues you have been avoiding and are forced to deal with them. From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. That’s why the task of putting your house in order should be done quickly. It allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order. Storage
Marie Kondō (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Magic Cleaning #1))
Look at the pattern this seashell makes. The dappled whorl, curving inward to infinity. That's the shape of the universe itself. There's a constant pressure, pushing toward pattern. A tendency in matter to evolve into ever more complex forms. It's a kind of pattern gravity, a holy greening power we call viriditas, and it is the driving force in the cosmos. Life, you see. … And because we are alive, the universe must be said to be alive. We are its consciousness as well as our own. We rise out of the cosmos and we see its mesh of patterns, and it strikes us as beautiful. And that feeling is the most important thing in all the universe—its culmination, like the color of a flower at first bloom on a wet morning. It’s a holy feeling, and our task in this world is to do everything we can to foster it.
Kim Stanley Robinson (Green Mars (Mars Trilogy, #2))
Leadership Philosophy: Understand where we have been; focus on the present and plan for the future. Everything has a triangle which encompasses three major points. Discipline, Competence and Trust comprise the first triangle. Trust was the base of the triangle. We were expected to be able to look in the mirror, not out the window. Confidence and familiarity with even the smallest tasks established this. Competence was next. There was always an expectation to focus on the fundamentals, understand the psychology of war, and do the right thing. The final and most crucial ingredient was discipline; discipline in yourself and in your soldiers. To Lieutenant Colonel Bolduc, discipline was not about power, it was about the judicious use of authority and responsibility. Special Forces had a boatload of both.
Rusty Bradley (Lions of Kandahar: The Story of a Fight Against All Odds)
But in situations where innovations proliferate, where group boundaries are uncertain, when the range of entities to be taken into account fluctuates, the sociology of the social is no longer able to trace actors’ new associations. At this point, the last thing to do would be to limit in advance the shape, size, heterogeneity, and combination of associations. To the convenient shorthand of the social, one has to substitute the painful and costly longhand of its associations. The duties of the social scientist mutate accordingly: it is no longer enough to limit actors to the role of informers offering cases of some well-known types. You have to grant them back the ability to make up their own theories of what the social is made of. Your task is no longer to impose some order, to limit the range of acceptable entities, to teach actors what they are, or to add some reflexivity to their blind practice. Using a slogan from ANT, you have ‘to follow the actors themselves’, that is try to catch up with their often wild innovations in order to learn from them what the collective existence has become in their hands, which methods they have elaborated to make it fit together, which accounts could best define the new associations that they have been forced to establish.
Bruno Latour (Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory)
Close your eyes and stare into the dark. My father's advice when I couldn't sleep as a little girl. He wouldn't want me to do that now but I've set my mind to the task regardless. I'm staring beyond my closed eyelids. Though I lie still on the ground, I feel perched at the highest point I could possibly be; clutching at a star in the night sky with my legs dangling above cold black nothingness. I take one last look at my fingers wrapped around the light and let go. Down I go, falling, then floating, and, falling again, I wait for the land of my life. I know now, as I knew as that little girl fighting sleep, that behind her gauzed screen of shut-eye, lies colour. It taunts me, dares me to open my eyes and lose sleep. Flashes of red and amber, yellow and white speckle my darkness. I refuse to open them. I rebel and I squeeze my eyelids together tighter to block out the grains of light, mere distractions that keep us awake but a sign that there's life beyond. But there's no life in me. None that I can feel, from where I lie at the bottom of the staircase. My heart beats quicker now, the lone fighter left standing in the ring, a red boxing glove pumping victoriously into the air, refusing to give up. It's the only part of me that cares, the only part that ever cared. It fights to pump the blood around to heal, to replace what I'm losing. But it's all leaving my body as quickly as it's sent; forming a deep black ocean of its own around me where I've fallen. Rushing, rushing, rushing. We are always rushing. Never have enough time here, always trying to make our way there. Need to have left here five minutes ago, need to be there now. The phone rings again and I acknowledge the irony. I could have taken my time and answered it now. Now, not then. I could have taken all the time in the world on each of those steps. But we're always rushing. All, but my heart. That slows now. I don't mind so much. I place my hand on my belly. If my child is gone, and I suspect this is so, I'll join it there. There.....where? Wherever. It; a heartless word. He or she so young; who it was to become, still a question. But there, I will mother it. There, not here. I'll tell it; I'm sorry, sweetheart, I'm sorry I ruined your chances - our chances of a life together.But close your eyes and stare into the darkness now, like Mummy is doing, and we'll find our way together. There's a noise in the room and I feel a presence. 'Oh God, Joyce, oh God. Can you hear me, love? Oh God. Oh God, please no, Hold on love, I'm here. Dad is here.' I don't want to hold on and I feel like telling him so. I hear myself groan, an animal-like whimper and it shocks me, scares me. I have a plan, I want to tell him. I want to go, only then can I be with my baby. Then, not now. He's stopped me from falling but I haven't landed yet. Instead he helps me balance on nothing, hover while I'm forced to make the decision. I want to keep falling but he's calling the ambulance and he's gripping my hand with such ferocity it's as though I'm all he has. He's brushing the hair from my forehead and weeping loudly. I've never heard him weep. Not even when Mum died. He clings to my hand with all of his strength I never knew his old body had and I remember that I am all he has and that he, once again just like before, is my whole world. The blood continues to rush through me. Rushing, rushing, rushing. We are always rushing. Maybe I'm rushing again. Maybe it's not my time to go. I feel the rough skin of old hands squeezing mine, and their intensity and their familiarity force me to open my eyes. Lights fills them and I glimpse his face, a look I never want to see again. He clings to his baby. I know I lost mind; I can't let him lose his. In making my decision I already begin to grieve. I've landed now, the land of my life. And still my heart pumps on. Even when broken it still works.
Cecelia Ahern (Thanks for the Memories)
The concept of internal selection, of a hierarchy of controls which eliminate the consequences of harmful gene-mutations and co-ordinates the effects of useful mutations, is the missing link in orthodoxy theory between the 'atoms' of heredity and the living stream of evolution. Without that link, neither of them makes sense. There can be no doubt that random mutations do occur: they can be observed in the laboratory. There can be no doubt that Darwinian selection is a powerful force. But in between these two events, between the chemical changes in a gene and the appearance of the finished product as a newcomer on the evolutionary stage, there is a whole hierarchy of internal processes at work which impose strict limitations on the range of possible mutations and thus considerably reduce the importance of the chance factor. We might say that the monkey works at a typewriter which the manufacturers have programmed to print only syllables which exist in our language, but not nonsense syllables. If a nonsense syllable occurs, the machine will automatically erase it. To pursue the metaphor, we would have to populate the higher levels of the hierarchy with proof-readers and then editors, whose task is no longer elimination, but correction, self-repair and co-ordination-as in the example of the mutated eye.
Arthur Koestler (The Ghost in the Machine)
..And they spun, he and the blackness. And as they spun supernaturally downward in a motion that Gabe could only liken to a flushing toilet, Tzaddik was engaging the enemy. This truth was lost on Gabriel Katz, but as long as he held on and fought with every ounce of his strength, every evil dot of that malevolent force, that legion of Hell sent to destroy the boy, was engaged instead with Tzaddik Gabrielus, chosen by God for that very task.
Carla Coon
at Dunkin’ Donuts, how did we move our anchor to Starbucks? This is where it gets really interesting. When Howard Shultz created Starbucks, he was as intuitive a businessman as Salvador Assael. He worked diligently to separate Starbucks from other coffee shops, not through price but through ambience. Accordingly, he designed Starbucks from the very beginning to feel like a continental coffeehouse. The early shops were fragrant with the smell of roasted beans (and better-quality roasted beans than those at Dunkin’ Donuts). They sold fancy French coffee presses. The showcases presented alluring snacks—almond croissants, biscotti, raspberry custard pastries, and others. Whereas Dunkin’ Donuts had small, medium, and large coffees, Starbucks offered Short, Tall, Grande, and Venti, as well as drinks with high-pedigree names like Caffè Americano, Caffè Misto, Macchiato, and Frappuccino. Starbucks did everything in its power, in other words, to make the experience feel different—so different that we would not use the prices at Dunkin’ Donuts as an anchor, but instead would be open to the new anchor that Starbucks was preparing for us. And that, to a great extent, is how Starbucks succeeded. GEORGE, DRAZEN, AND I were so excited with the experiments on coherent arbitrariness that we decided to push the idea one step farther. This time, we had a different twist to explore. Do you remember the famous episode in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the one in which Tom turned the whitewashing of Aunt Polly’s fence into an exercise in manipulating his friends? As I’m sure you recall, Tom applied the paint with gusto, pretending to enjoy the job. “Do you call this work?” Tom told his friends. “Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?” Armed with this new “information,” his friends discovered the joys of whitewashing a fence. Before long, Tom’s friends were not only paying him for the privilege, but deriving real pleasure from the task—a win-win outcome if there ever was one. From our perspective, Tom transformed a negative experience to a positive one—he transformed a situation in which compensation was required to one in which people (Tom’s friends) would pay to get in on the fun. Could we do the same? We
Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions)
The extermination of the Jews has sometimes been seen as a kind of industrialized, assembly-line kind of mass murder, and this picture has at least some element of truth to it. No other genocide in history has been carried out by mechanical means - gassing - in specially constructed facilities like those in operation at Auschwitz or Treblinka. At the same time, however, these facilities did not operate efficiently or effectively, and if the impression given by calling them industrialized is that they were automated or impersonal, then it is a false one. Men such as Hess and Stangl and their subordinates tried to insulate themselves from the human dimensions of what they were doing by referring to their victims as 'cargo' or 'items.' Talking to Gerhard Stabenow, the head of the SS Security Service in Warsaw, in September 1942, Wilm Hosenfeld noted how the language Stabenow used distanced himself from the fact that what he was involved in was the mass murder of human beings: 'He speaks of the Jews as ants or other vermin, of their 'resettlement', that means their mass murder, as he would of the extermination of the bedbugs in the disinfestation of a house.' But at the same time such men were not immune from the human emotions they tried so hard to repress, and they remembered incidents in which individual women and children had appealed to their conscience, even if such appeals were in vain. The psychological strain that continual killing of unarmed civilians, including women and children, imposed on such men was considerable, just as it had been in the case of the SS Task Forces, whose troops had been shooting Jews in their hundreds of thousands before the first gas vans were deploted in an attempt not only to speed up the killing but also to make it somehow more impersonal.
Richard J. Evans (The Third Reich at War (The History of the Third Reich, #3))
The Job Application Esteemed gentlemen, I am a poor, young, unemployed person in the business field, my name is Wenzel, I am seeking a suitable position, and I take the liberty of asking you, nicely and politely, if perhaps in your airy, bright, amiable rooms such a position might be free. I know that your good firm is large, proud, old, and rich, thus I may yield to the pleasing supposition that a nice, easy, pretty little place would be available, into which, as into a kind of warm cubbyhole, I can slip. I am excellently suited, you should know, to occupy just such a modest haven, for my nature is altogether delicate, and I am essentially a quiet, polite, and dreamy child, who is made to feel cheerful by people thinking of him that he does not ask for much, and allowing him to take possession of a very, very small patch of existence, where he can be useful in his own way and thus feel at ease. A quiet, sweet, small place in the shade has always been the tender substance of all my dreams, and if now the illusions I have about you grow so intense as to make me hope that my dream, young and old, might be transformed into delicious, vivid reality, then you have, in me, the most zealous and most loyal servitor, who will take it as a matter of conscience to discharge precisely and punctually all his duties. Large and difficult tasks I cannot perform, and obligations of a far-ranging sort are too strenuous for my mind. I am not particularly clever, and first and foremost I do not like to strain my intelligence overmuch. I am a dreamer rather than a thinker, a zero rather than a force, dim rather than sharp. Assuredly there exists in your extensive institution, which I imagine to be overflowing with main and subsidiary functions and offices, work of the kind that one can do as in a dream? --I am, to put it frankly, a Chinese; that is to say, a person who deems everything small and modest to be beautiful and pleasing, and to whom all that is big and exacting is fearsome and horrid. I know only the need to feel at my ease, so that each day I can thank God for life's boon, with all its blessings. The passion to go far in the world is unknown to me. Africa with its deserts is to me not more foreign. Well, so now you know what sort of a person I am.--I write, as you see, a graceful and fluent hand, and you need not imagine me to be entirely without intelligence. My mind is clear, but it refuses to grasp things that are many, or too many by far, shunning them. I am sincere and honest, and I am aware that this signifies precious little in the world in which we live, so I shall be waiting, esteemed gentlemen, to see what it will be your pleasure to reply to your respectful servant, positively drowning in obedience. Wenzel
Robert Walser (Selected Stories)
One of the fruits of the long predominance of labourism is precisely that the party of the working class has never carried out any sustained campaign of education and propaganda on behalf of a socialist programme; and that Labour leaders have frequently turned themselves into fierce propagandists against the socialist proposals of their critics inside the Labour Party and out, and have bent their best efforts to the task of defeating all attempts to have the Labour Party adopt such proposals. Moreover, a vast array of conservative forces, of the most diverse kind, are always at hand to dissuade the working class from even thinking about the socialist ideas which evil or foolish people are forever trying to foist upon them. This simply means that a ceaseless battle for the ‘hearts and minds’ of the people is waged by the forces of conservatism, against which have only been mobilised immeasurably smaller socialist forces. A socialist party would seek to strengthen these forces and to defend socialist perspectives and a socialist programme over an extended period of time, and would accept that more than one election might have to be held before a majority of people came to support it. In any case, a socialist party would not only be concerned with office, but with the creation of the conditions under which office would be more than the management of affairs on capitalist lines.
Ralph Miliband (Class War Conservatism: And Other Essays)
I usually enjoy setting up a new kitchen, but this has become a joyless and highly charged task. My mother and I each have our own set of kitchen boxes, which means that if there are two cheese graters between us, only one will make it into a cupboard. The other will be put back in a box or given to Goodwill. Each such little decision has the weight of a Middle East negotiation. While her kitchenware is serviceable, I’m a sucker for the high end: All-Clad saucepans and Emile Henry pie dishes. Before long, I’m shaking my head at pretty much everything my mother removes from her San Diego boxes. She takes each rejected item as a personal slight – which in fact it is. I begrudge her even her lightweight bowls, which she can lift easily with her injured hand. Here she is, a fragile old woman barely able to bend down as she peers into a low cupboard, looking for a place where she can share life with her grown daughter. At such a sight my heart should be big, but it’s small, so small that when I see her start stuffing her serving spoons into the same drawer as my own sturdy pieces, lovingly accumulated over the years, it makes me crazy. Suddenly I’m acting out decades of unvoiced anger about my mother’s parenting, which seems to be materializing in the form of her makeshift collection of kitchenware being unpacked into my drawers. When I became a mother myself, I developed a self-righteous sense of superiority to my mother: I was better than my mother, for having successfully picked myself up and dusted myself off, for never having lain in bed for days on end, too blotto to get my child off to school or even to know if it was a school day. By sheer force of will and strength of character, I believed, I had risen above all that she succumbed to and skirted all that I might have inherited. This, of course, is too obnoxiously smug to say in words. So I say it with flatware.
Katie Hafner (Mother Daughter Me)
When God redeems us, He releases us from the guilt and power of sin, and restores us to our full humanity, so that we can once again carry out the tasks for which we were created. Because of Christ's redemption on the cross, our work takes on a new aspect as well- it becomes a means of sharing in His redemptive purposes. In cultivating creation, we not only recover our original purpose, but also bring a redemptive force to reverse the evil and corruption introduced by the fall.
Nancy R. Pearcey (Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity)
Nick and I, we sometimes laugh, laugh out loud, at the horrible things women make their husbands do to prove their love. The pointless tasks, the myriad sacrifices, the endless small surrenders. We call these men the dancing monkeys. Nick will come home, sweaty and salty and beer-loose from a day at the ballpark,and I’ll curl up in his lap, ask him about the game, ask him if his friend Jack had a good time, and he’ll say, ‘Oh, he came down with a case of the dancing monkeys – poor Jennifer was having a “real stressful week” and really needed him at home.’ Or his buddy at work, who can’t go out for drinks because his girlfriend really needs him to stop by some bistro where she is having dinner with a friend from out of town. So they can finally meet. And so she can show how obedient her monkey is: He comes when I call, and look how well groomed! Wear this, don’t wear that. Do this chore now and do this chore when you get a chance and by that I mean now. And definitely, definitely, give up the things you love for me, so I will have proof that you love me best. It’s the female pissing contest – as we swan around our book clubs and our cocktail hours, there are few things women love more than being able to detail the sacrifices our men make for us. A call-and-response, the response being: ‘Ohhh, that’s so sweet.’ I am happy not to be in that club. I don’t partake, I don’t get off on emotional coercion, on forcing Nick to play some happy-hubby role – the shrugging, cheerful, dutiful taking out the trash, honey! role. Every wife’s dream man, the counterpoint to every man’s fantasy of the sweet, hot, laid-back woman who loves sex and a stiff drink. I like to think I am confident and secure and mature enough to know Nick loves me without him constantly proving it. I don’t need pathetic dancing-monkey scenarios to repeat to my friends, I am content with letting him be himself. I don’t know why women find that so hard.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
Welcome to Sanctuary, my home and the focus of the Imperials, whom I serve and direct. This is an island of force in Free Alaska, of the planet Earth, and the system of mankind. We are those who wage eternal war against tyranny. We are those who choose death over submission. Freedom over oppression. And honor always. Choose our values, and you will have found a friend. Choose to control a free spirit and we will control you. Decide for others and we will decide for you. Use force against the vulnerable and our force will render you helpless. Practice coercion and we will oppress you. Bring strife to mankind and we will bring you war! Now is the time for your misgivings and complaints. Now is the time for you to voice your concerns and your apprehensions. Stand now and speak in freedom. Speak your mind and you will be heard. If you be injured, say now by whom. If you seek redress and your cause be just, I will stand with you. If a wrong can be righted, I will undertake that task. If it is I that have offended, show me my error and I will correct it. This is also the time for blood, if blood is what you seek. Here you can fight, if only combat will give you satisfaction. Here you can win in trial by ordeal, but here too you can lose. If your cause be as important as life itself to you, it is here you can wager your life. Fairness is intended, but beware that here lies the intent to prevail.| Your cause, if true, would be better served by reason, for with reason the Imperials can be moved. Force is the resort of passion, but passion may serve evil or good. Here it serves us and we will stand by its consequences even if it takes us all from the Earth. It is said where you find those who live by the sword you will find those who die by the sword. Look no further. You have found those who make such a choice for their life. You have found the Imperials. I am their Voice. Speak for yourself now if you will.
William C. Samples (Fe Fi FOE Comes)
Why should we, the brains of the military, have so much anxiety about our contribution to the war that we feel we have to ape Special Forces guys? To Fitzgerald commandos were just glorified jocks - pitchers and quarterbacks from suburban high schools who traded baseballs for bullets. There's no doubt they had skills. They could slither right up to the enemy on their stomachs survive on worms for days and plunk a target with a piece of lead from a mile away. All very impressive. But they couldn't speak Arabic or juggle a million intelligence requirements and 703 follow-up questions from the community while sitting three feet away from some Islamic firebrand who has no reason to talk. "Do you think those Special Forces guys are wracked with Interrogator envy?" Fitzgerald would say. "You think they're over there in their special sunglasses polishing their special weapons saying 'man if only I could do some hot-shit interrogations and write some hot-shit reports?
Chris Mackey (The Interrogators: Task Force 500 and America's Secret War Against Al Qaeda)
Alas, Experience! No other mentor has so wasted and frozen a face as yours, none wears a robe so black, none bears a rod so heavy, none with hand so inexorable draws the novice so sternly to his task, and forces him with authority so resistless to its acquirement. It is by your instructions alone that man or woman can ever find a safe track through life's wilds; without it, how they stumble, how they stray! On what forbidden grounds do they intrude, down what dread declivities are they hurled!
Charlotte Brontë (Shirley)
It is not enough to overthrow governments, masters, tyrants: one must overthrow his own preconceived ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust. We must abandon the hard-fought trenches, we have dug ourselves into and come out into the open, surrender our arms, our possessions, our rights as individuals, classes, nations, peoples. A billion men seeking peace cannot be enslaved. We have enslaved ourselves, by our own petty, circumscribed view of life. It is glorious to offer one's life for a cause, but dead men accomplish nothing. Life demands that we offer something more—spirit, soul, intelligence, good-will. Nature is ever ready to repair the gaps caused by death, but nature cannot supply the intelligence, the will, the imagination to conquer the forces of death. Nature restores and repairs, that is all. It is man's task to eradicate the homicidal instinct which is infinite in its ramifications and manifestations. It is useless to call upon God, as it is futile to meet force with force.
Henry Miller (The Colossus of Maroussi)
For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and, so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into life, is—solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves. Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate—?), it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world for himself for another’s sake, it is great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
This story twists the ancient myths we grow up with,” Berger says, “where what the reader knows about the Olympian gods, or thinks he knows, is challenged in fresh and curious ways. One god’s journey and actions unimaginably affect the entire universe. Berger took from childhood experiences to create this saga. “My own fascination with Greek mythology and comic books helped bring this story to life. If it weren't for characters like Wonder Woman or ancient heroes like Perseus, this story couldn't have emerged.
David Berger (Finding Balance (Task Force: Gaea, #1))
I know, I have seen, the desperation and disorder of the powerless: how it twists the lives of children on the streets of Jakarta or Nairobi in much the same way as it does the lives of children on Chicago’s South Side, how narrow the path is for them between humiliation and untrammeled fury, how easily they slip into violence and despair. I know that the response of the powerful to this disorder—alternating as it does between a dull complacency and, when the disorder spills out of its proscribed confines, a steady, unthinking application of force, of longer prison sentences and more sophisticated military hardware—is inadequate to the task. I know that the hardening of lines, the embrace of fundamentalism and tribe, dooms us all. And so what was a more interior, intimate effort on my part, to understand this struggle and to find my place in it, has converged with a broader public debate, a debate in which I am professionally engaged, one that will shape our lives and the lives of our children for many years to come. The
Barack Obama (Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance)
Those who had seen eyes like hers before understood instantly that she was a woman who had suffered, but wore it well, with dignity and grace. Rather than dragging her down into depression, her pain had lifted her into a peaceful place. She was not a Buddhist, but shared philosophies with them, in that she didn’t fight what happened to her, but instead drifted with it, allowing life to carry her from one experience to the next. It was that depth and wisdom that shone through her work. An acceptance of life as it really was, rather than trying to force it to be what one wanted, and it never could be. She was willing to let go of what she loved, which was the hardest task of all. And the more she lived and learned and studied, the humbler she was. A monk she had met in Tibet called her a holy woman, which in fact she was, although she had no particular affinity for any formal church. If she believed in anything, she believed in life, and embraced it with a gentle touch. She was a strong reed bending in the wind, beautiful and resilient.
Danielle Steel (Matters of the Heart)
The distinctive trait of the household sphere was that in it men lived together because they were driven by their wants and needs. The driving force was life itself—the penates, the household gods, were, according to Plutarch, “the gods who make us live and nourish our body”19—which, for its individual maintenance and its survival as the life of the species needs the company of others. That individual maintenance should be the task of the man and species survival the task of the woman was obvious, and both of these natural functions, the labor of man to provide nourishment and the labor of the woman in giving birth, were subject to the same urgency of life. Natural community in the household therefore was born of necessity, and necessity ruled over all activities performed in it. The realm of the polis, on the contrary, was the sphere of freedom, and if there was a relationship between these two spheres, it was a matter of course that the mastering of the necessities of life in the household was the condition for freedom of the polis.
Hannah Arendt (The Human Condition)
It had been in 1985, through the headsets of a helicopter being flown by a veteran Night Stalker named Steel. Being called a customer put me off. It felt too much like business, too transactional—not how warriors should think of their comrades. I soon came to see that the Night Stalkers’ constant use of the term was a skillful way of reminding themselves that they existed to support and enable the forces—the customers—whom they flew. The culture that formed around this word was one of the Night Stalkers’ great strengths.
Stanley McChrystal (My Share of the Task: A Memoir)
Professional life. Personal life. Social life. They are often treated as separate entities, but our lives and insights cannot be segregated. Work / life balance is a false dichotomy; compartmentalization is not sustainable. It forces life’s professional, personal, and social elements to vie for attention, bringing with them seemingly competing expectations and goals. When we compartmentalize our lives, these elements become pathological, pushing us from one task to the next in an effort to satisfy their own jealous needs.
Jim Benson (Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life)
And are we not guilty of offensive disparagement in calling chess a game? Is it not also a science and an art, hovering between those categories as Muhammad’s coffin hovered between heaven and earth, a unique link between pairs of opposites: ancient yet eternally new; mechanical in structure, yet made effective only by the imagination; limited to a geometrically fixed space, yet with unlimited combinations; constantly developing, yet sterile; thought that leads nowhere; mathematics calculating nothing; art without works of art; architecture without substance – but nonetheless shown to be more durable in its entity and existence than all books and works of art; the only game that belongs to all nations and all eras, although no one knows what god brought it down to earth to vanquish boredom, sharpen the senses and stretch the mind. Where does it begin and where does it end? Every child can learn its basic rules, every bungler can try his luck at it, yet within that immutable little square it is able to bring forth a particular species of masters who cannot be compared to anyone else, people with a gift solely designed for chess, geniuses in their specific field who unite vision, patience and technique in just the same proportions as do mathematicians, poets, musicians, but in different stratifications and combinations. In the old days of the enthusiasm for physiognomy, a physician like Gall might perhaps have dissected a chess champion’s brain to find out whether some particular twist or turn in the grey matter, a kind of chess muscle or chess bump, is more developed in such chess geniuses than in the skulls of other mortals. And how intrigued such a physiognomist would have been by the case of Czentovic, where that specific genius appeared in a setting of absolute intellectual lethargy, like a single vein of gold in a hundredweight of dull stone. In principle, I had always realized that such a unique, brilliant game must create its own matadors, but how difficult and indeed impossible it is to imagine the life of an intellectually active human being whose world is reduced entirely to the narrow one-way traffic between black and white, who seeks the triumphs of his life in the mere movement to and fro, forward and back of thirty-two chessmen, someone to whom a new opening, moving knight rather than pawn, is a great deed, and his little corner of immortality is tucked away in a book about chess – a human being, an intellectual human being who constantly bends the entire force of his mind on the ridiculous task of forcing a wooden king into the corner of a wooden board, and does it without going mad!
Stefan Zweig (Chess)
In the first case it emerges that the evidence that might refute a theory can often be unearthed only with the help of an incompatible alternative: the advice (which goes back to Newton and which is still popular today) to use alternatives only when refutations have already discredited the orthodox theory puts the cart before the horse. Also, some of the most important formal properties of a theory are found by contrast, and not by analysis. A scientist who wishes to maximize the empirical content of the views he holds and who wants to understand them as clearly as he possibly can must therefore introduce other views; that is, he must adopt a pluralistic methodology. He must compare ideas with other ideas rather than with 'experience' and he must try to improve rather than discard the views that have failed in the competition. Proceeding in this way he will retain the theories of man and cosmos that are found in Genesis, or in the Pimander, he will elaborate them and use them to measure the success of evolution and other 'modern' views. He may then discover that the theory of evolution is not as good as is generally assumed and that it must be supplemented, or entirely replaced, by an improved version of Genesis. Knowledge so conceived is not a series of self-consistent theories that converges towards an ideal view; it is not a gradual approach to truth. It is rather an ever increasing ocean of mutually incompatible alternatives, each single theory, each fairy-tale, each myth that is part of the collection forcing the others in greater articulation and all of them contributing, via this process of competition, to the development of our consciousness. Nothing is ever settled, no view can ever be omitted from a comprehensive account. Plutarch or Diogenes Laertius, and not Dirac or von Neumann, are the models for presenting a knowledge of this kind in which the history of a science becomes an inseparable part of the science itself - it is essential for its further development as well as for giving content to the theories it contains at any particular moment. Experts and laymen, professionals and dilettani, truth-freaks and liars - they all are invited to participate in the contest and to make their contribution to the enrichment of our culture. The task of the scientist, however, is no longer 'to search for the truth', or 'to praise god', or 'to synthesize observations', or 'to improve predictions'. These are but side effects of an activity to which his attention is now mainly directed and which is 'to make the weaker case the stronger' as the sophists said, and thereby to sustain the motion of the whole.
Paul Karl Feyerabend (Against Method)
Starting a family doesn’t mean we leave the fight. It means we dare to rebuild our nation, even on a battlefield. I believe that in a world so often restless and cynical, saying yes to romance, to love, to the everyday tasks of marriage and family is its own quiet revolution. Defying the forces of evil, one man and one woman making a little home where vulnerability, tenderness, and laughter can thrive is a subversive act. It also means creating a family is the supreme act of defiance—a celebration of life in the midst of war.
Lila Grace Rose (Fighting for Life: Becoming a Force for Change in a Wounded World)
Despite their efficiency, some people still wonder about the benefits of habits. The argument goes like this: “Will habits make my life dull? I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into a lifestyle I don’t enjoy. Doesn’t so much routine take away the vibrancy and spontaneity of life?” Hardly. Such questions set up a false dichotomy. They make you think that you have to choose between building habits and attaining freedom. In reality, the two complement each other. Habits do not restrict freedom. They create it. In fact, the people who don’t have their habits handled are often the ones with the least amount of freedom. Without good financial habits, you will always be struggling for the next dollar. Without good health habits, you will always seem to be short on energy. Without good learning habits, you will always feel like you’re behind the curve. If you’re always being forced to make decisions about simple tasks—when should I work out, where do I go to write, when do I pay the bills—then you have less time for freedom. It’s only by making the fundamentals of life easier that you can create the mental space needed for free thinking and creativity.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
The next year, in March 1888, her parents sent her to Philadelphia, to be examined and cared for by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, a physician famous for treating patients, mainly women, suffering from neurasthenia, or nervous exhaustion. Mitchell’s solution for Theodate was his then-famous “Rest Cure,” a period of forced inactivity lasting up to two months. “At first, and in some cases for four or five weeks, I do not permit the patient to sit up or to sew or write or read,” Mitchell wrote, in his book Fat and Blood. “The only action allowed is that needed to clean the teeth.” He forbade some patients from rolling over on their own, insisting they do so only with the help of a nurse. “In such cases I arrange to have the bowels and water passed while lying down, and the patient is lifted on to a lounge at bedtime and sponged, and then lifted back again into the newly-made bed.” For stubborn cases, he reserved mild electrical shock, delivered while the patient was in a filled bathtub. His method reflected his own dim view of women. In his book Wear and Tear; or, Hints for the Overworked, he wrote that women “would do far better if the brain were very lightly tasked.
Erik Larson (Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania)
I concluded that first of all I had to understand better what I was. Investigate my nature as a woman. I had been excessive, I had striven to give myself male capacities. I thought I had to know everything, be concerned with everything. What did I care about politics, about struggles. I wanted to make a good impression on men, be at their level. I had been conditioned by my education, which had shaped my mind, my voice. To what secret pacts with myself had I consented, just to excel. And now, after the hard work of learning, what must I unlearn. Also, I had been forced by the powerful presence of Lila to imagine myself as I was not. I was added to her, and I felt mutilated as soon as I removed myself. Not an idea, without Lila. Not a thought I trusted, without the support of her thoughts. Not an image. I had to accept myself outside of her. The gist was that. Accept that I was an average person. What should I do. Try again to write. Maybe I didn’t have the passion. I merely limited myself to carrying out a task. So don’t write anymore. Find some job. Or act the lady, as my mother said. Shut myself up in the family. Or turn everything upside down. Home. Children. Husband.
Elena Ferrante (Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3))
Many a tale of inguldgent parenthood illustrates the antique idea that when the roles of life are assumed by the improperly initiated, chaos supervenes. When the child outgrows the popular idyle of the mother breast and turns to face the world of specialized adult action, it passes, spiritually, into the sphere of the father-who becomes for his son, the sign of the future task, and for his daughter, the future husband. Whether he knows it or not, and no matter what his position in society, the father is the initiating priest through whom the young being passes on into the larger world. And just as, formerly, the mother represented the good and evil, so does now the father, but with this complication - that there is a new element of rivalry in the picture: the son against the father for the mastery of the universe, and the daughter against the mother to be the mastered world. The traditional idea of initiation combines an introduction of the candidate into the techniques, duties, and prerogatives of his vocation with a radical readjustment of his emotional relationship to the parental images. The mystagogue is to entrust the symbols of office only to a son who has been effectually purged of all inappropriate infantile cathexes-for whom the just, impersonal exercise of the powers will not be rendered impossible by unconscious motives of self-aggrandizement, personal preference, or resentment. Ideally, the invested one has been divested of his mere humanity and is representative of an impersonal cosmic force. He is the twice-born: he has become himself the father. And he is competent consequently now to enact himself the role of the initiator, the guide, the sun door, through whom one may pass from infantile illusions of good and evil to an experience of the majesty of cosmic law, purged of hope and fear, and at peace in understanding the revelation of being.
Joseph Campbell (The Hero With a Thousand Faces)
The relationship between the Sophotechs and the men as depicted in that tale made no sense. How could they be hostile to each other?” Diomedes said, “Aren’t men right to fear machines which can perform all tasks men can do, artistic, intellectual, technical, a thousand or a million times better than they can do? Men become redundant.” Phaethon shook his head, a look of distant distaste on his features, as if he were once again confronted with a falsehood that would not die no matter how often it was denounced. In a voice of painstaking patience, he said: “Efficiency does not harm the inefficient. Quite the opposite. That is simply not the way it works. Take me, for example. Look around: I employed partials to do the thought-box junction spotting when I built this ship. My employees were not as skilled as I was in junction spotting. It took them three hours to do the robopsychology checks and hierarchy links I could have done in one hour. But they were in no danger of competition from me. My time is too valuable. In that same hour it would have taken me to spot their thought-box junction, I can earn far more than their three-hour wages by writing supervision architecture thought flows. And it’s the same with me and the Sophotechs. “Any midlevel Sophotech could have written in one second the architecture it takes me, even with my implants, an hour to compose. But if, in that same one second of time, that Sophotech can produce something more valuable—exploring the depth of abstract mathematics, or inventing a new scientific miracle, anything at all (provided that it will earn more in that second than I earn in an hour)—then the competition is not making me redundant. The Sophotech still needs me and receives the benefit of my labor. Since I am going to get the benefit of every new invention and new miracle put out on the market, I want to free up as many of those seconds of Sophotech time as my humble labor can do. “And I get the lion’s share of the benefit from the swap. I only save him a second of time; he creates wonder upon wonder for me. No matter what my fear of or distaste for Sophotechs, the forces in the marketplace, our need for each other, draw us together. “So you see why I say that not a thing the Silent One said about Sophotechs made sense. I do not understand how they could have afforded to hate each other. Machines don’t make us redundant; they increase our efficiency in every way. And the bids of workers eager to compete for Sophotech time creates a market for merely human work, which it would not be efficient for Sophotechs to underbid.
John C. Wright (The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age, #3))
8.22-5. “Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:17.) Scripture tells us that, in the as yet unredeemed world in which the Church also exists, the State has by divine appointment the task of providing for justice and peace. [It fulfills this task] by means of the threat and exercise of force, according to the measure of human judgment and human ability. The Church acknowledges the benefit of this divine appointment in gratitude and reverence before him. It calls to mind the Kingdom of God, God’s commandment and righteousness, and thereby the responsibility both of rulers and of the ruled. It trusts and obeys the power of the Word by which God upholds all things.
Eric Metaxas (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy)
Back from the funeral, we think we felt the grim reaper swing close; we feel him stalking us. We ward off anxiety before the imminent and inescapable annihilation awaiting us by establishing control over our life and field of operations, by projecting an advance representation of what each day brings, and by measuring our enterprises to our forces. We arrange our home and our situation and our workday in such a way that we retain, behind the forms of our performances, a reserve of force for the tasks that will recur the next day. We settle into an occupation that requires only those mental tasks for which we have already contracted the mental skills. We frame our pleasures and our angers, our affections and our vexations, in the patterns and confines of feelings we can repeat indefinitely. We avoid going to places utterly unlike any other, which would leave us wholly astonished, with an astonishment that could never recur. We seek out partners others might also fall in love with, and we love our partner as others love like partners, with a love that we could recycle for another partner should we lose this one. For we sense that were we to expend all our forces on an adventure, discharge all our mental powers on a problem, empty out all the love in our heart on a woman or a man unlike any other, we would be dying in that adventure, that problem, that love.
Alphonso Lingis (Dangerous Emotions)
The judicious words of Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), the first existentialist philosopher, are apropos to end this lumbering manuscript. 1. “One must learn to know oneself before knowing anything else.” 2. “Life always expresses the results of our dominate thoughts.” 3. “Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.” 4. “Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own.” 5. “Love is all, it gives all, and it takes all.” 6. “Don’t forget to love yourself.” 7. “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” 8. “Life has its own hidden forces, which you can only discover by living.” 9. “The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, or read about, nor seen, but if one will, are to be lived.” 10. “Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.” 11. “It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate on only what is most significant and important.” 12. “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” 13. “Since my earliest childhood, a barb of sorrow has lodged in my heart. As long as it stays I am ironic, if it is pulled out I shall die.” 14. “A man who as a physical being is always turned to the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside of him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.” 15. “Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend into a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God.” Kierkegaard warned, “The greatest hazard of all, losing the self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed.” Kierkegaard said that the one method to avoid losing oneself is to live joyfully in the moment, which he described as “to be present in oneself in truth,” which in turn requires “to be today, in truth be today.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Every once in a bestseller list, you come across a truly exceptional craftsman, a wordsmith so adept at cutting, shaping, and honing strings of words that you find yourself holding your breath while those words pass from page to eye to brain. You know the feeling: you inhale, hold it, then slowly let it out, like one about to take down a bull moose with a Winchester .30-06. You force your mind to the task, scope out the area, take penetrating aim, and . . . read. But instead of dropping the quarry, you find you’ve become the hunted, the target. The projectile has somehow boomeranged and with its heat-sensing abilities (you have raised a sweat) darts straight towards you. Duck! And turn the page lest it drill between your eyes.
Chila Woychik (On Being a Rat and Other Observations)
The frequent hearing of my mistress reading the bible--for she often read aloud when her husband was absent--soon awakened my curiosity in respect to this mystery of reading, and roused in me the desire to learn. Having no fear of my kind mistress before my eyes, (she had given me no reason to fear,) I frankly asked her to teach me to read; and without hesitation, the dear woman began the task, and very soon, by her assistance, I was master of the alphabet, and could spell words of three or four letters...Master Hugh was amazed at the simplicity of his spouse, and, probably for the first time, he unfolded to her the true philosophy of slavery, and the peculiar rules necessary to be observed by masters and mistresses, in the management of their human chattels. Mr. Auld promptly forbade the continuance of her [reading] instruction; telling her, in the first place, that the thing itself was unlawful; that it was also unsafe, and could only lead to mischief.... Mrs. Auld evidently felt the force of his remarks; and, like an obedient wife, began to shape her course in the direction indicated by her husband. The effect of his words, on me, was neither slight nor transitory. His iron sentences--cold and harsh--sunk deep into my heart, and stirred up not only my feelings into a sort of rebellion, but awakened within me a slumbering train of vital thought. It was a new and special revelation, dispelling a painful mystery, against which my youthful understanding had struggled, and struggled in vain, to wit: the white man's power to perpetuate the enslavement of the black man. "Very well," thought I; "knowledge unfits a child to be a slave." I instinctively assented to the proposition; and from that moment I understood the direct pathway from slavery to freedom. This was just what I needed; and got it at a time, and from a source, whence I least expected it.... Wise as Mr. Auld was, he evidently underrated my comprehension, and had little idea of the use to which I was capable of putting the impressive lesson he was giving to his wife.... That which he most loved I most hated; and the very determination which he expressed to keep me in ignorance, only rendered me the more resolute in seeking intelligence.
Frederick Douglass
Danger in modesty ― To adapt ourselves too early to the tasks, societies, everyday life and everyday work, in which chance has placed us, at a time when neither our strength nor our goal has yet entered our consciousness with the force of law; the all-too-early certainty of consciousness, comfortableness, sociability thus achieved, this premature resignation that insinuates itself into our feelings as a release from inner and outer unrest, pampers and holds one back in the most dangerous fashion. To learn to feel respect after the fashion of 'those like us,' as if we ourselves had no measure in us and no right to determine values; the effort to evaluate as others do, against the inner voice of our taste, which is also a form of conscience, becomes a terrible, subtle constraint: if there is not finally an explosion, with a sudden bursting asunder of all the bonds of love and morality, then such a spirit becomes withered, petty, effeminate, and factual. The opposite is bad enough, but better nonetheless: to suffer from one’s environment, from its praise as well as from its blame, wounded by it and festering inwardly without betraying the fact; to defend oneself with involuntary mistrust against its love, to learn silence, perhaps concealing it behind speech, to create for oneself nooks and undiscoverable solitudes for moments of relief, of tears, of sublime consolation ― until one is finally strong enough to say, 'what do I have to do with you?' and go one’s own way.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Will to Power)
During her time at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington she had often become depressed and was hobbled by fatigue. In 1887, when she was twenty, she wrote in her diary, “Tears come without any provocation. Headache all day.” The school’s headmistress and founder, Sarah Porter, offered therapeutic counsel. “Cheer up,” she told Theodate. “Always be happy.” It did not work. The next year, in March 1888, her parents sent her to Philadelphia, to be examined and cared for by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, a physician famous for treating patients, mainly women, suffering from neurasthenia, or nervous exhaustion. Mitchell’s solution for Theodate was his then-famous “Rest Cure,” a period of forced inactivity lasting up to two months. “At first, and in some cases for four or five weeks, I do not permit the patient to sit up or to sew or write or read,” Mitchell wrote, in his book Fat and Blood. “The only action allowed is that needed to clean the teeth.” He forbade some patients from rolling over on their own, insisting they do so only with the help of a nurse. “In such cases I arrange to have the bowels and water passed while lying down, and the patient is lifted on to a lounge at bedtime and sponged, and then lifted back again into the newly-made bed.” For stubborn cases, he reserved mild electrical shock, delivered while the patient was in a filled bathtub. His method reflected his own dim view of women. In his book Wear and Tear; or, Hints for the Overworked, he wrote that women “would do far better if the brain were very lightly tasked.
Erik Larson (Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania)
I hope I have now made it clear why I thought it best, in speaking of the dissonances between fiction and reality in our own time, to concentrate on Sartre. His hesitations, retractations, inconsistencies, all proceed from his consciousness of the problems: how do novelistic differ from existential fictions? How far is it inevitable that a novel give a novel-shaped account of the world? How can one control, and how make profitable, the dissonances between that account and the account given by the mind working independently of the novel? For Sartre it was ultimately, like most or all problems, one of freedom. For Miss Murdoch it is a problem of love, the power by which we apprehend the opacity of persons to the degree that we will not limit them by forcing them into selfish patterns. Both of them are talking, when they speak of freedom and love, about the imagination. The imagination, we recall, is a form-giving power, an esemplastic power; it may require, to use Simone Weil's words, to be preceded by a 'decreative' act, but it is certainly a maker of orders and concords. We apply it to all forces which satisfy the variety of human needs that are met by apparently gratuitous forms. These forms console; if they mitigate our existential anguish it is because we weakly collaborate with them, as we collaborate with language in order to communicate. Whether or no we are predisposed towards acceptance of them, we learn them as we learn a language. On one view they are 'the heroic children whom time breeds / Against the first idea,' but on another they destroy by falsehood the heroic anguish of our present loneliness. If they appear in shapes preposterously false we will reject them; but they change with us, and every act of reading or writing a novel is a tacit acceptance of them. If they ruin our innocence, we have to remember that the innocent eye sees nothing. If they make us guilty, they enable us, in a manner nothing else can duplicate, to submit, as we must, the show of things to the desires of the mind. I shall end by saying a little more about La Nausée, the book I chose because, although it is a novel, it reflects a philosophy it must, in so far as it possesses novel form, belie. Under one aspect it is what Philip Thody calls 'an extensive illustration' of the world's contingency and the absurdity of the human situation. Mr. Thody adds that it is the novelist's task to 'overcome contingency'; so that if the illustration were too extensive the novel would be a bad one. Sartre himself provides a more inclusive formula when he says that 'the final aim of art is to reclaim the world by revealing it as it is, but as if it had its source in human liberty.' This statement does two things. First, it links the fictions of art with those of living and choosing. Secondly, it means that the humanizing of the world's contingency cannot be achieved without a representation of that contingency. This representation must be such that it induces the proper sense of horror at the utter difference, the utter shapelessness, and the utter inhumanity of what must be humanized. And it has to occur simultaneously with the as if, the act of form, of humanization, which assuages the horror. This recognition, that form must not regress into myth, and that contingency must be formalized, makes La Nausée something of a model of the conflicts in the modern theory of the novel. How to do justice to a chaotic, viscously contingent reality, and yet redeem it? How to justify the fictive beginnings, crises, ends; the atavism of character, which we cannot prevent from growing, in Yeats's figure, like ash on a burning stick? The novel will end; a full close may be avoided, but there will be a close: a fake fullstop, an 'exhaustion of aspects,' as Ford calls it, an ironic return to the origin, as in Finnegans Wake and Comment c'est. Perhaps the book will end by saying that it has provided the clues for another, in which contingency will be defeated, ...
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
The profilers’ plan to coax me out of the woods resembled a comedy skit. During their search of my Cane Creek trailer, the feds had found dozens of books on the Civil War. And interviews with my friends confirmed that I was a bona fide Civil War buff. The profilers looked at all this Civil War “stimuli” and concluded that my hiding in the mountains was a form of role-playing. Starring in my own Civil War fantasy, I was a lone rebel fighting for the Lost Cause, and the task force was a Yankee army out to capture me. To talk On August 16, the task force pulled out of the woods while Bo and his rebels went in. They had to look the part, so the FBI profilers dressed them in white hats with the word “REBEL” stenciled in red letters across the front; and around their neck each rebel wore a Confederate flag bandanna.me into surrendering, they needed some of my rebel comrades to convince me that the war was over and it was time to lay down my arms. Colonel Gritz and his crew were assigned the role of my rebel comrades. They were there to “rescue” me from the Yankee horde. Bo’s band of rebels pitched camp down in Tusquitee, north of the town of Hayesville. Beginning at Bob Allison Campground – the place where I’d abandoned Nordmann’s truck – they worked their way west into the Tusquitee Mountains. They walked the trails, blowing whistles and yelling “Eric, we’re here with Bo Gritz to save you.” They searched for a week. I lost it when I heard on the radio that the profilers had dressed Gritz’s clowns in “REBEL” hats and Confederate flag bandannas. I laughed so hard I think I broke a rib.
Eric Rudolph (Between the Lines of Drift: The Memoirs of a Militant)
If the interest of a scientific expositor ought to be measured by the importance of the subject, I shall be applauded for my choice. In fact, there are few questions which touch more closely the very existence of man than that of animated motors—those docile helps whose power or speed he uses at his pleasure, which enjoy to some extent his intimacy, and accompany him in his labors and his pleasures. The species of animal whose coöperation we borrow are numerous, and vary according to latitude and climate. But whether we employ the horse, the ass, the camel, or the reindeer, the same problem is always presented: to get from the animal as much work as possible, sparing him, as far as we can, fatigue and suffering. This identity of standpoint will much simplify my task, as it will enable me to confine the study of animated motors to a single species: I have chosen the horse as the most interesting type. Even with this restriction the subject is still very vast, as all know who are occupied with the different questions connected therewith. In studying the force of traction of the horse, and the best methods of utilizing it, we encounter all the problems connected with teams and the construction of vehicles. But, on a subject which has engaged the attention of humanity for thousands of years, it seems difficult to find anything new to say. If in the employment of the horse we consider its speed and the means of increasing it, the subject does not appear less exhausted. Since the chariot-races, of which Greek and Roman antiquity were passionately fond, to our modern horse-races, men have never ceased to pursue with a lively interest the problem of rapid locomotion. What tests and comparisons have not been made to discover what race has most speed, what other most bottom, what crossings, what training give reason to expect still more speed?
Etienne-Jules Marey
Workaholism Our culture celebrates the idea of the workaholic. We hear about people burning the midnight oil. They pull all- nighters and sleep at the office. It’s considered a badge of honor to kill yourself over a project. No amount of work is too much work. Not only is this workaholism unnecessary, it’s stupid. Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more. Workaholics wind up creating more problems than they solve. First off, working like that just isn’t sustainable over time. When the burnout crash comes— and it will— it’ll hit that much harder. Workaholics miss the point, too. They try to fix problems by throwing sheer hours at them. They try to make up for intellectual laziness with brute force. This results in inelegant solutions. They even create crises. They don’t look for ways to be more efficient because they actually like working overtime. They enjoy feeling like heroes. They create problems (often unwittingly) just so they can get off on working more. Workaholics make the people who don’t stay late feel inadequate for “merely” working reasonable hours. That leads to guilt and poor morale all around. Plus, it leads to an ass- in- seat mentality—people stay late out of obligation, even if they aren’t really being productive. If all you do is work, you’re unlikely to have sound judgments. Your values and decision making wind up skewed. You stop being able to decide what’s worth extra effort and what’s not. And you wind up just plain tired. No one makes sharp decisions when tired. In the end, workaholics don’t actually accomplish more than nonworkaholics. They may claim to be perfectionists, but that just means they’re wasting time fixating on inconsequential details instead of moving on to the next task. Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done.
Jason Fried
You possess a kind of inner force that seeks to guide you toward your Life’s Task—what you are meant to accomplish in the time that you have to live. In childhood this force was clear to you. It directed you towards activities and subjects that fit your natural inclinations, that sparked a curiosity . . . In the intervening years, the force tends to fade in and out as you listen more to your parents and peers, to the daily anxieties that wear away at you. This can be the source of unhappiness—your lack of connection to who you are and what makes you unique. The first move toward mastery is always inward—learning who you really are and reconnecting with that innate force. Knowing it with clarity, you will find your way to the proper career path and everything else will fall into place. Greene goes on to provide a three-step method to help you find your calling: Step 1: You must connect (or reconnect) with your inclinations, with your sense of uniqueness. In that regard, Step 1 focuses
Saurabh Mukherjea (The Victory Project: Six Steps to Peak Potential)
There’s my girl,” he said. “On her feet already. You’ll be a military officer in no time with an attitude like that.” Kestrel sat. She gave him a slight, ironic smile. He returned it. “What I meant to say is that I’m glad you’re better, and that I’m sorry I can’t go to the Firstwinter ball.” It was good that she was already sitting. “Why would you want to go to a ball?” “I thought I would take you.” She stared. “It occurred to me that I have never danced with my daughter,” he said. “And it would have been a wise move.” A wise move. A show of force, then. A reminder of the respect due to the general’s family. Quietly, Kestrel said, “You’ve heard the rumors.” He raised a hand, palm flat and facing her. “Father--” “Stop.” “It’s not true. I--” “We will not have this discussion.” His hand lifted to block his eyes, then fell. “Kestrel, I’m not here for that. I’m here to tell you that I’m leaving. The emperor is sending me east to fight the barbarians.” It wasn’t the first time in Kestrel’s memory that her father had been sent to war, but the fear she felt was always the same, always keen. “For how long?” “As long as it takes. I leave the morning of the ball with my regiment.” “The entire regiment?” He caught the tone in her voice. He sighed. “Yes.” “That means there will be no soldiers in the city or its surroundings. If there’s a problem--” “The city guard will be here. The emperor feels they can deal with any problem, at least until a force arrives from the capital.” “Then the emperor is a fool. The captain of the city guard isn’t up to the task. You yourself said that the new captain is nothing but a bungler, someone who got the position because he’s the governor’s toady--” “Kestrel.” His voice was quelling. “I’ve already expressed my reservations to the emperor. But he gave me orders. It’s my duty to follow them.” Kestrel studied her fingers, the way they wove together. She didn’t say Come back safely, and he didn’t say I always have. She said what a Valorian should. “Fight well.” “I will.” He was halfway to the door when he glanced back and said, “I’m trusting you to do what’s right while I’m gone.” Which meant that he didn’t trust her--not quite.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
If I now consider man in his isolated capacity, I find that dogmatic belief is no less indispensable to him in order to live alone than it is to enable him to co-operate with his fellows. If man were forced to demonstrate for himself all the truths of which he makes daily use, his task would never end. He would exhaust his strength in preparatory demonstrations without ever advancing beyond them. As, from the shortness of his life, he has not the time, nor, from the limits of his intelligence, the capacity, to act in this way, he is reduced to take on trust a host of facts and opinions which he has not had either the time or the power to verify for himself, but which men of greater ability have found out, or which the crowd adopts. On this groundwork he raises for himself the structure of his own thoughts; he is not led to proceed in this manner by choice, but is constrained by the inflexible law of his condition. There is no philosopher in the world so great but that he believes a million things on the faith of other people and accepts a great many more truths than he demonstrates. (Tocqueville 1945 2:9-10; Oeuvres Completes (M) 1(2):16-17, (B) 3:15-16).
Alexis de Tocqueville (Tocqueville : Oeuvres complètes, tome 2)
Corvallis sometimes thought back on the day, three decades ago, when Richard Forthrast had reached down and plucked him out of his programming job at Corporation 9592 and given him a new position, reporting directly to Richard. Corvallis had asked the usual questions about job title and job description. Richard had answered, simply, “Weird stuff.” When this proved unsatisfactory to the company’s ISO-compliant HR department, Richard had been forced to go downstairs and expand upon it. In a memorable, extemporaneous work of performance art in the middle of the HR department’s open-plan workspace, he had explained that work of a routine, predictable nature could and should be embodied in computer programs. If that proved too difficult, it should be outsourced to humans far away. If it was somehow too sensitive or complicated for outsourcing, then “you people” (meaning the employees of the HR department) needed to slice it and dice it into tasks that could be summed up in job descriptions and advertised on the open employment market. Floating above all of that, however, in a realm that was out of the scope of “you people,” was “weird stuff.” It was important that the company have people to work on “weird stuff.” As a matter of fact it was more important than anything else. But trying to explain “weird stuff” to “you people” was like explaining blue to someone who had been blind since birth, and so there was no point in even trying. About then, he’d been interrupted by a spate of urgent text messages from one of the company’s novelists, who had run aground on some desolate narrative shore and needed moral support, and so the discussion had gone no further. Someone had intervened and written a sufficiently vague job description for Corvallis and made up a job title that would make it possible for him to get the level of compensation he was expecting. So it had all worked out fine. And it made for a fun story to tell on the increasingly rare occasions when people were reminiscing about Dodge back in the old days. But the story was inconclusive in the sense that Dodge had been interrupted before he could really get to the essence of what “weird stuff” actually was and why it was so important. As time went on, however, Corvallis understood that this very inconclusiveness was really a fitting and proper part of the story.
Neal Stephenson (Fall; or, Dodge in Hell)
If the symbolic father is often lurking behind the boss--which is why one speaks of 'paternalism' in various kinds of enterprises--there also often is, in a most concrete fashion, a boss or hierarchic superior behind the real father. In the unconscious, paternal functions are inseparable from the socio-professional and cultural involvements which sustain them. Behind the mother, whether real or symbolic, a certain type of feminine condition exists, in a socially defined imaginary context. Must I point out that children do not grow up cut off from the world, even within the family womb? The family is permeable to environmental forces and exterior influences. Collective infrastructures, like the media and advertising, never cease to interfere with the most intimate levels of subjective life. The unconscious is not something that exists by itself to be gotten hold of through intimate discourse. In fact, it is only a rhizome of machinic interactions, a link to power systems and power relations that surround us. As such, unconscious processes cannot be analyzed in terms of specific content or structural syntax, but rather in terms of enunciation, of collective enunciative arrangements, which, by definition, correspond neither to biological individuals nor to structural paradigms... The customary psychoanalytical family-based reductions of the unconscious are not 'errors.' They correspond to a particular kind of collective enunciative arrangement. In relation to unconscious formation, they proceed from the particular micropolitics of capitalistic societal organization. An overly diversified, overly creative machinic unconscious would exceed the limits of 'good behavior' within the relations of production founded upon social exploitation and segregation. This is why our societies grant a special position to those who specialize in recentering the unconscious onto the individuated subject, onto partially reified objects, where methods of containment prevent its expansion beyond dominant realities and significations. The impact of the scientific aspirations of techniques like psychoanalysis and family therapy should be considered as a gigantic industry for the normalization, adaption and organized division of the socius. The workings of the social division of labor, the assignment of individuals to particular productive tasks, no longer depend solely on means of direct coercion, or capitalistic systems of semiotization (the monetary remuneration based on profit, etc.). They depend just as fundamentally on techniques modeling the unconscious through social infrastructures, the mass media, and different psychological and behavioral devices...Even the outcome of the class struggle of the oppressed--the fact that they constantly risk being sucked into relations of domination--appears to be linked to such a perspective.
Félix Guattari (Chaosophy: Texts and Interviews 1972–1977)
But hypnotism had been of immense help in the cathartic treatment, by widening the field of the patient's consciousness and putting within his reach knowledge which he did not possess in his waking life. It seemed no easy task to find a substitute for it. While I was in this perplexity there came to my help the recollection of an experiment which I had often witnessed while I was with Bernheim. When the subject awoke from the state of somnambulism, he seemed to have lost all memory of what had happened while he was in that state. But Bernheim maintained that the memory was present all the same; and if he insisted on the subject remembering, if he asseverated that the subject knew it all and had only to say it, and if at the same time he laid his hand on the subject's forehead, then the forgotten memories used in fact to return, hesitatingly at first, but eventually in a flood and with complete clarity. I determined that I would act the same way. My patients I reflected, must in fact 'know' all the things which had hitherto only been made accessible to them in hypnosis; and assurances and encouragement on my part, assisted perhaps by the touch of my hand, would, I thought, have the power of forcing the forgotten facts and connections into consciousness. No doubt this seemed a more laborious process than putting the patients into hypnosis, but it might prove highly instructive. So I abandoned hypnotism, only retaining my practice of requiring the patient to lie upon a sofa while I sat behind him, seeing him, but not seen myself.
Sigmund Freud (An Autobiographical Study)
Our country, as well as the rest of the world, faces an enormous threat from ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorist organizations that aspire to achieve world domination. These were the same aspirations held by the followers of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. Our government must recognize the importance of directly and vigorously confronting these forces of evil. We must not make the mistake of avoiding necessary conflict; we did not get involved in World War I or World War II until we felt that American interests were directly threatened, and this proved to be the wrong choice, though we eventually were victorious. If a vicious enemy that is willing to decapitate people, burn people alive, and even crucify children is allowed to grow with only minor to moderate resistance, it will only become a more formidable adversary in the future. If during this period of tepid responses to terrorist expansion the radical Islamists manage to acquire nuclear weapons, providing for the common defense will take on an entirely new different meaning. The longer we wait to eliminate the threat, the more difficult that task will become and the more dangerous the world will be for our children and grandchildren. We must use all necessary resources to protect the lives of our people. Given the existence of enemies who have a stated goal of destroying our nation and our way of life, one way to provide for the common defense is to hide, which in our case would not be possible. A better option is to try to eliminate the threat, and the earlier the threat can be eliminated, the fewer lives will be lost in the conflict.
Ben Carson (A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties)
These negative-sum games of coercion and extortion lead to highly inefficient outcomes, and they can only be avoided by carefully crafting the ex ante rules to avoid such coercion and extortion. These coercive threats that make negative-sum games possible, and that decrease the payoffs of positive-sum games, cannot be neatly distinguished in practice from innocent externalities: any act or omission of one party that harms another, i.e. any externality, doubles as a threat, whether a tiny threat or a large threat, from which an extortion premium, its size depending on the size of the threat, can be extracted. In order to try to distinguish coercion, and the extortion it gives rise to, from an "innocent" externality that can be cured by efficient bargaining, there are ways to exclude some of these extreme possibilities from the prior allocation of rights. And indeed criminal and tort law do this: they distinguish purposeful behavior from negligent, and negligent from the mere unfortunate accident. But any such ex ante distiction contradicts the claim that the Coase Theorem applies to any prior allocation of rights. Voluntary bargaining cannnot give rise to tort and criminal law. Quite the opposite is true: at least a basic tort law is necessary to make voluntary bargaining possible. Tort law (and the associated property law which defines boundaries for the tort of trespass) is logically prior to contract law: good contracts depend on good tort and property law. Without a good tort law already in place, nobody, including the "protection firms" posited by anarcho-capitalism, can engage in the voluntary bargains that are necessary for efficient outcomes. This is not to claim that the polar opposite of anarcho-capitalism must be true, i.e. that "the government" along the lines we are familiar with is necessary. Instead, a system of political property rights that is unbundled and decentralized is possible, and may give rise to many of the benefits (e.g. peaceful competition between jurisdictions) promised by anarcho-capitalism. But political property rights are not based on a Rothbardian assumption of voluntary agreement -- instead, in these systems the procedural law of political property rights, as well as much of substantive property rights and tort law, is prior to contract law, and their origin necessarily involves some degree of coercion. Political and legal systems have not, do not, and cannot originate solely from voluntary contract. Both traditional "social contract" justifications of the state and the Rothbardian idea that contracts can substitute for the state are false: in all cases coercion is involved, both at the origin and in the ongoing practice of legal procedure. In both cases the term "contract" is used, implying voluntary agreement, when the term "treaty", a kind of agreement often forced by coercion, would far more accurately describe the reality. The real task for libertarians and other defenders of sound economics and law is not to try to devise law from purely voluntary origins, an impossible task, but to make sure the ex ante laws make voluntary bargaining possible and discourage coercion and extortion (by any party, including political property rights holders or governments) as much as possible.
The best time to write about one’s childhood is in the early thirties, when the contrast between early forced passivity and later freedom is marked; and when one’s energy is in full flood. Later, not only have the juices dried up, and the energy ceased to be abundant, but the retracing of the scene of earliest youth has become a task filled with boredom and dismay. The figures that surrounded one have now turned their full face toward us; we understand them perhaps still partially, but we know them only too well. They have ceased to be background to our own terribly important selves; they have irremediably taken on the look of figures in a tragi-comedy; for we know their end, although they themselves do not yet know it. And now—in the middle-fifties—we have traced and retraced their tragedy so often that, in spire of the understanding we have, it bores and offends us. There is a final antidote we must learn: to love and forgive them. This attitude comes hard and must be reached with anguish. For if one is to deal with people in the past—of one’s past—at all, one must feel neither anger nor bitterness. We are not here to expose each other, like journalists writing gossip, or children blaming others for their own bad behavior. And open confession, for certain temperaments (certainly my own), is not good for the soul, in any direct way. To confess is to ask for pardon; and the whole confusing process brings out too much self-pity and too many small emotions in general. For people like myself to look back is a task. It is like re-entering a trap, or a labyrinth, from which one has only too lately, and too narrowly, escaped.
Louise Bogan (Journey Around My Room: The Autobiography of Louise Bogan)
The definition of morality; Morality is the idiosyncrasy of decadents, actuated by a desire to avenge themselves with success upon life. I attach great value to this definition. 8 [Pg 141] Have you understood me? I have not uttered a single word which I had not already said five years ago through my mouthpiece Zarathustra. The unmasking of Christian morality is an event which unequalled in history, it is a real catastrophe. The man who throws light upon it is a force majeure, a fatality; he breaks the history of man into two. Time is reckoned up before him and after him. The lightning flash of truth struck precisely that which theretofore had stood highest: he who understands what was destroyed by that flash should look to see whether he still holds anything in his hands. Everything which until then was called truth, has been revealed as the most detrimental, most spiteful, and most subterranean form of life; the holy pretext, which was the "improvement" of man, has been recognised as a ruse for draining life of its energy and of its blood. Morality conceived as Vampirism.... The man who unmasks morality has also unmasked the worthlessness of the values in which men either believe or have believed; he no longer sees anything to be revered in the most venerable man—even in the types of men that have been pronounced holy; all he can see in them is the most fatal kind of abortions, fatal, because they fascinate. The concept "God" was invented as the opposite of the concept life—everything detrimental, poisonous, and slanderous, and all deadly hostility to life, wad bound together in one horrible unit in Him. The concepts "beyond" and "true world" were invented in order to depreciate the only world that exists—in order that no goal or aim, no sense or task, might be left to earthly reality. The concepts "soul," "spirit," and last of all the concept "immortal soul," were invented in order to throw contempt on the body, in order to make it sick and "holy," in order to cultivate an attitude of appalling levity towards all things in life which deserve to be treated seriously, i.e. the questions of nutrition and habitation, of intellectual diet, the treatment of the sick, cleanliness, and weather. Instead of health, we find the "salvation of the soul"—that is to say, a folie circulate fluctuating between convulsions and penitence and the hysteria of redemption. The concept "sin," together with the torture instrument appertaining to it, which is the concept "free will," was invented in order to confuse and muddle our instincts, and to render the mistrust of them man's second nature! In the concepts "disinterestedness" and "self-denial," the actual signs of decadence are to be found. The allurement of that which is [Pg 142] [Pg 143] The Project Gutenberg eBook of Ecce Homo, by Friedrich Nietzsche. detrimental, the inability to discover one's own advantage and self-destruction, are made into absolute qualities, into the "duty," the "holiness," and the "divinity" of man. Finally—to keep the worst to the last—by the notion of the good man, all that is favoured which is weak, ill, botched, and sick-in-itself, which ought to be wiped out. The law of selection is thwarted, an ideal is made out of opposition to the proud, well-constituted man, to him who says yea to life, to him who is certain of the future, and who guarantees the future—this man is henceforth called the evil one. And all this was believed in as morality!
Patton had been a reflective man, an extraordinarily well-read student of wars and military leaders, ancient and modern, with a curiosity about his war to match his energy. No detail had been too minor or too dull for him, nor any task too humble. Everything from infantry squad tactics to tank armor plate and chassis and engines had interested him. To keep his mind occupied while he was driving through a countryside, he would study the terrain and imagine how he might attack this hill or defend that ridge. He would stop at an infantry position and look down the barrel of a machine gun to see whether the weapon was properly sited to kill counterattacking Germans. If it was not, he would give the officers and men a lesson in how to emplace the gun. He had been a military tailor’s delight of creased cloth and shined leather, and he had worn an ivory-handled pistol too because he thought he was a cavalier who needed these trappings for panache. But if he came upon a truck stuck in the mud with soldiers shirking in the back, he would jump from his jeep, berate the men for their laziness, and then help them push their truck free and move them forward again to battle. By dint of such lesson and example, Patton had formed his Third Army into his ideal of a fighting force. In the process he had come to understand the capabilities of his troops and he had become more knowledgeable about the German enemy than any other Allied general on the Western Front. Patton had been able to command with certainty, overcoming the mistakes that are inevitable in the practice of the deadly art as well as personal eccentricities and public gaffes that would have ruined a lesser general, because he had always stayed in touch with the realities of his war.
Neil Sheehan (A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam)
Let me put the contrast in a single concrete example. The physician who finds time to give personal attention to his patients and listens to them. carefully probing inner conditions that may be more significant than any laboratory reports, has become a rarity. Where the power complex is dominant, a visit to a physician is paced, not to fit the patient's needs, but mainly to perform the succession of physical tests upon which the diagnosis will be based. Yet if there were a sufficient number of competent physicians on hand whose inner resources were as available as their laboratory aids, a more subtle diagnosis might be possible, and the patient's subjective response might in many cases effectively supplement the treatment. Thoreau expressed this to perfection when he observed in his 'Journal' that "the really efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure." Without this slowing of the tempo of all activities the positive advantages of plenitude could not be sufficiently enjoyed; for the congestion of time is as threatening to the good life as the congestion of space or people, and produces stresses and tensions that equally undermine human relations. The inner stability that such a slowdown brings about is essential to the highest uses of the mind, through opening up that second life which one lives in reflection and contemplation and self-scrutiny. The means to escape from the "noisy crowing up of things and whatsoever wars on the divine" was one of the vital offerings of the classic religions: hence their emphasis was not on technological productivity but on personal poise. The old slogan of New York subway guards in handling a crush of passengers applies with even greater force to the tempo of megatechnic society: "What's your hurry...Watch your step!
Lewis Mumford (The Pentagon of Power (The Myth of the Machine, Vol 2))
HAPPINESS: "Flourishing is a fact, not a feeling. We flourish when we grow and thrive. We flourish when we exercise our powers. We flourish when we become what we are capable of becoming...Flourishing is rooted in action..."happiness is a kind of working of the soul in the way of perfect excellence"...a flourishing life is a life lived along lines of excellence...Flourishing is a condition that is created by the choices we make in the world we live in...Flourishing is not a virtue, but a condition; not a character trait, but a result. We need virtue to flourish, but virtue isn't enough. To create a flourishing life, we need both virtue and the conditions in which virtue can flourish...Resilience is a virtue required for flourishing, bur being resilient will not guarantee that we will flourish. Unfairness, injustice, and bad fortune will snuff our promising lives. Unasked-for pain will still come our way...We can build resilience and shape the world we live in. We can't rebuild the world...three primary kinds of happiness: the happiness of pleasure, the happiness of grace, and happiness of excellence...people who are flourishing usually have all three kinds of happiness in their lives...Aristotle understood: pushing ourselves to grow, to get better, to dive deeper is at the heart of happiness...This is the happiness that goes hand in hand with excellence, with pursuing worthy goals, with growing mastery...It is about the exercise of powers. The most common mistake people make in thinking about the happiness of excellence is to focus on moments of achievement. They imagine the mountain climber on the summit. That's part of the happiness of excellence, and a very real part. What counts more, though, is not the happiness of being there, but the happiness of getting there. A mountain climber heads for the summit, and joy meets her along the way. You head for the bottom of the ocean, and joy meets you on the way down...you create joy along the way...the concept of flow, the kind of happiness that comes when we lose ourselves through complete absorption in a rewarding task...the idea of flow..."Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times...The best moments usually occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limit in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile."...Joy, like sweat, is usually a byproduct of your activity, not your aim...A focus on happiness will not lead to excellence. A focus on excellence will, over time, lead to happiness. The pursuit of excellence leads to growth, mastery, and achievement. None of these are sufficient for happiness, yet all of them are necessary...the pull of purpose, the desire to feel "needed in this world" - however we fulfill that desire - is a very powerful force in a human life...recognize that the drive to live well and purposefully isn't some grim, ugly, teeth-gritting duty. On the contrary: "it's a very good feeling." It is really is happiness...Pleasures can never make up for an absence of purposeful work and meaningful relationships. Pleasures will never make you whole...Real happiness comes from working together, hurting together, fighting together, surviving together, mourning together. It is the essence of the happiness of excellence...The happiness of pleasure can't provide purpose; it can't substitute for the happiness of excellence. The challenge for the veteran - and for anyone suddenly deprived of purpose - is not simple to overcome trauma, but to rebuild meaning. The only way out is through suffering to strength. Through hardship to healing. And the longer we wait, the less life we have to live...We are meant to have worthy work to do. If we aren't allowed to struggle for something worthwhile, we'll never grow in resilience, and we'll never experience complete happiness.
Eric Greitens (Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life)
One section of the socialists, the Mensheviks, deduced that the leadership in the coming revolution should belong to the liberal bourgeoisie. Lenin and his followers realized that the liberal bourgeoisie was unable and unwilling to cope with such a task, and that Russia's young working class, supported by a rebellious peasantry, was the only force capable of waging the revolutionary struggle to a conclusion. But Lenin remained convinced, and emphatically asserted, that Russia, acting alone, could not go beyond a bourgeois revolution; and that only after capitalism had been overthrown in Western Europe would she too be able to embark on socialist revolution. For a decade and a half, from 1903 till 1917, Lenin wrestled with this problem: how could a revolution led, against bourgeois opposition, by a socialist working class result in the establishment of a capitalist order? Trotsky cut through this dogmatic tangle with the conclusion that the dynamic of the revolution could not be contained within any particular stage, and that once released it would overflow all barriers and sweep away not only tsardom but also Russia's weak capitalism, so that what had begun as a bourgeois revolution would end as a socialist one. Here a fateful question posed itself. Socialism, as understood by Marxists, presupposed a highly developed modern economy and civilization, an abundance of material and cultural wealth, that alone could enable society to satisfy the needs of all its members and abolish class divisions. This was obviously beyond the reach of an underdeveloped and backward Russia. Trotsky, therefore argued that Russia could only begin the socialist revolution, but would find it extremely difficult to continue it, and impossible to complete it. The revolution would run into a dead end, unless it burst Russia's national boundaries and brought into motion the forces of revolution in the West. Trotsky assumed that just as the Russian Revolution could not be contained within the bourgeois stage, so it would not be brought to rest within its national boundaries: it would be the prelude, or the first act, of a global upheaval. Internationally as well as nationally, this would be permanent revolution.
Isaac Deutscher (Marxism In Our Time)
The trends speak to an unavoidable truth. Society's future will be challenged by zoonotic viruses, a quite natural prediction, not least because humanity is a potent agent of change, which is the essential fuel of evolution. Notwithstanding these assertions, I began with the intention of leaving the reader with a broader appreciation of viruses: they are not simply life's pathogens. They are life's obligate partners and a formidable force in nature on our planet. As you contemplate the ocean under a setting sun, consider the multitude of virus particles in each milliliter of seawater: flying over wilderness forestry, consider the collective viromes of its living inhabitants. The stunnig number and diversity of viruses in our environment should engender in us greater awe that we are safe among these multitudes than fear that they will harm us. Personalized medicine will soon become a reality and medical practice will routinely catalogue and weigh a patient's genome sequence. Not long thereafter one might expect this data to be joined by the patient's viral and bacterial metagenomes: the patient's collective genetic identity will be recorded in one printout. We will doubtless discover some of our viral passengers are harmful to our health, while others are protective. But the appreciation of viruses that I hope you have gained from these pages is not about an exercise in accounting. The balancing of benefit versus threat to humanity is a fruitless task. The viral metagenome will contain new and useful gene functionalities for biomedicine: viruses may become essential biomedical tools and phages will continue to optimize may also accelerate the development of antibiotic drug resistance in the post-antibiotic era and emerging viruses may threaten our complacency and challenge our society economically and socially. Simply comparing these pros and cons, however, does not do justice to viruses and acknowledge their rightful place in nature. Life and viruses are inseparable. Viruses are life's complement, sometimes dangerous but always beautiful in design. All autonomous self-sustaining replicating systems that generate their own energy will foster parasites. Viruses are the inescapable by-products of life's success on the planet. We owe our own evolution to them; the fossils of many are recognizable in ERVs and EVEs that were certainly powerful influences in the evolution of our ancestors. Like viruses and prokaryotes, we are also a patchwork of genes, acquired by inheritance and horizontal gene transfer during our evolution from the primitive RNA-based world. It is a common saying that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' It is a natural response to a visual queue: a sunset, the drape of a designer dress, or the pattern of a silk tie, but it can also be found in a line of poetry, a particularly effective kitchen implement, or even the ruthless efficiency of a firearm. The latter are uniquely human acknowledgments of beauty in design. It is humanity that allows us to recognize the beauty in the evolutionary design of viruses. They are unique products of evolution, the inevitable consequence of life, infectious egotistical genetic information that taps into life and the laws of nature to fuel evolutionary invention.
Michael G. Cordingley (Viruses: Agents of Evolutionary Invention)
The Reign of Terror: A Story of Crime and Punishment told of two brothers, a career criminal and a small-time crook, in prison together and in love with the same girl. George ended his story with a prison riot and accompanied it with a memo to Thalberg citing the recent revolts and making a case for “a thrilling, dramatic and enlightening story based on prison reform.” --- Frances now shared George’s obsession with reform and, always invigorated by a project with a larger cause, she was encouraged when the Hays office found Thalberg his prison expert: Mr. P. W. Garrett, the general secretary of the National Society of Penal Information. Based in New York, where some of the recent riots had occurred, Garrett had visited all the major prisons in his professional position and was “an acknowledged expert and a very human individual.” He agreed to come to California to work with Frances for several weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas for a total of kr 4,470.62 plus expenses. Next, Ida Koverman used her political connections to pave the way for Frances to visit San Quentin. Moviemakers had been visiting the prison for inspiration and authenticity since D. W. Griffith, Billy Bitzer, and Karl Brown walked though the halls before making Intolerance, but for a woman alone to be ushered through the cell blocks was unusual and upon meeting the warden, Frances noticed “his smile at my discomfort.” Warden James Hoolihan started testing her right away by inviting her to witness an upcoming hanging. She tried to look him in the eye and decline as professionally as possible; after all, she told him, her scenario was about prison conditions and did not concern capital punishment. Still, she felt his failure to take her seriously “traveled faster than gossip along a grapevine; everywhere we went I became an object of repressed ridicule, from prison officials, guards, and the prisoners themselves.” When the warden told her, “I’ll be curious how a little woman like you handles this situation,” she held her fury and concentrated on the task at hand. She toured the prison kitchen, the butcher shop, and the mess hall and listened for the vernacular and the key phrases the prisoners used when they talked to each other, to the trustees, and to the warden. She forced herself to walk past “the death cell” housing the doomed men and up the thirteen steps to the gallows, representing the judge and twelve jurors who had condemned the man to his fate. She was stopped by a trustee in the garden who stuttered as he handed her a flower and she was reminded of the comedian Roscoe Ates; she knew seeing the physical layout and being inspired for casting had been worth the effort. --- Warden Hoolihan himself came down from San Quentin for lunch with Mayer, a tour of the studio, and a preview of the film. Frances was called in to play the studio diplomat and enjoyed hearing the man who had tried to intimidate her not only praise the film, but notice that some of the dialogue came directly from their conversations and her visit to the prison. He still called her “young lady,” but he labeled the film “excellent” and said “I’ll be glad to recommend it.” ---- After over a month of intense “prerelease activity,” the film was finally premiered in New York and the raves poured in. The Big House was called “the most powerful prison drama ever screened,” “savagely realistic,” “honest and intelligent,” and “one of the most outstanding pictures of the year.
Cari Beauchamp (Without Lying Down: Screenwriter Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood)