Traditional Day Quotes

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For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone. ... We leave you a tradition with a future. The tender loving care of human beings will never become obsolete. People even more than things have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed and redeemed. Never throw out anybody. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. Your “good old days” are still ahead of you, may you have many of them.
Sam Levenson (In One Era & Out the Other)
On the day the tree bloomed in the fall, when its white apple blossoms fell and covered the ground like snow, it was tradition for the Waverleys to gather in the garden like survivors of some great catastrophe, hugging one another, laughing as they touched faces and arms, making sure they were all okay, grateful to have gotten through it.
Sarah Addison Allen (First Frost (Waverley Family, #2))
Do what you do. This Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve, Twelfth Night, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, St. Paddy's Day, and every day henceforth. Just do what you do. Live out your life and your traditions on your own terms. If it offends others, so be it. That's their problem.
Chris Rose
Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.
Margaret Thatcher
Traditional hedonism...was based on the direct experience of pleasure: wine, women and song; sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll; or whatever the local variant. The problem, from a capitalist perspective, is that there are inherent limits to all this. People become sated, bored...Modern self-illusory hedonism solves this dilemma because here, what one is really consuming are fantasies and day-dreams about what having a certain product would be like.
David Graeber (Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire)
There was a soft chuckle beside me, and my heart stopped. "So this is Oberon's famous half-blood," Ash mused as I whirled around. His eyes, cold and inhuman, glimmered with amusement. Up close, he was even more beautiful, with high cheekbones and dark tousled hair falling into his eyes. My traitor hands itched, longing to run my fingers through those bangs. Horrified, I clenched them in my lap, trying to concentrate on what Ash was saying. "And to think," the prince continued, smiling, "I lost you that day in the forest and didn't even know what I was chasing." I shrank back, eyeing Oberon and Queen Mab. They were deep in conversation and did not notice me. I didn't want to interrupt them simply because a prince of the Unseelie Court was talking to me. Besides, I was a faery princess now. Even if I didn't quite believe it, Ash certainly did. I took a deep breath, raised my chin, and looked him straight in the eye. "I warn you," I said, pleased that my voice didn't tremble, "that if you try anything, my father will remove your head and stick it to a plaque on his wall." He shrugged one lean shoulder. "There are worse things." At my horrified look, he offered a faint, self-derogatory smile. "Don't worry, princess, I won't break the rules of Elysium. I have no intention of facing Mab's wrath should I embarrass her. That's not why I'm here." "Then what do you want?" He bowed. "A dance." "What!" I stared at him in disbelief. "You tried to kill me!" "Technically, I was trying to kill Puck. You just happened to be there. But yes, if I'd had the shot, I would have taken it." "Then why the hell would you think I'd dance with you?" "That was then." He regarded me blandly. "This is now. And it's tradition in Elysium that a son and daughter of opposite territories dance with each other, to demonstrate the goodwill between the courts." "Well, it's a stupid tradition." I crossed my arms and glared. "And you can forget it. I am not going anywhere with you." He raised an eyebrow. "Would you insult my monarch, Queen Mab, by refusing? She would take it very personally, and blame Oberon for the offense. And Mab can hold a grudge for a very, very long time." Oh, damn. I was stuck.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1))
I brought her flowers one dusky Tuesday evening when the light was perfect. I pointed out the irony of that romantic old tradition— the severed genitalia of another species, offered as a precopulatory bribe—and then I recited my story just as we were about to fuck. To this day, I still don't know what went wrong.
Peter Watts (Blindsight (Firefall, #1))
Brida’s eyes filled with tears. She was proud of her Soulmate. That is what the forest taught me. That you will never be mine, and that is why I will never lose you. You were my hope during my days of loneliness, my anxiety during moments of doubt, my certainty during moments of faith. Knowing that my Soulmate would come one day, I devoted myself to learning the Tradition of the Sun. Knowing that you existed was my one reason for continuing to live.’ Brida could no longer conceal her tears. Then you came, and I understood all of this. You came to free me from the slavery I myself had created, to tell me that I was free to return to the world and to the things of the world. I understood everything I needed to know, and I love you more than all the women I have ever known, more than I loved the woman who, quite unwittingly, exiled me to the forest. I will always remember now that love is liberty. That was the lesson it took me so many years to learn. That is the lesson that sent me into exile and now sets me free again.’ I will always remember you, and you will remember me, just as we will remember the evening, the rain on the windows, and all the things we’ll always have because we cannot possess them.
Paulo Coelho
when I left her to-day, she put her arms around me and felt my shoulder blades, to see if my wings were strong, she said. 'The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth.' 
Kate Chopin (The Awakening)
Rome is burning, Jesus says. Drop your fiddle, change your life and come to Me. Let go of the good days that never were - a regimented church you never attended, traditional virtues you never practiced, legalistic obedience you never honored, and a sterile orthodoxy you never accepted. The old era is done. The decisive inbreak of God has happened.
Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out)
another tradition to politics, a tradition (of politics) that stretched from the days of the country’s founding to the glory of the civil rights movement, a tradition based on the simple idea that we have a stake in one another, and that what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done.
Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
My “Best Woman” speech Good evening everyone, my name is Rosie and as you can see Alex has decided to go down the non-traditional route of asking me to be his best woman for the day. Except we all know that today that title does not belong to me. It belongs to Sally, for she is clearly his best woman. I could call myself the “best friend” but I think we all know that today that title no longer refers to me either. That title too belongs to Sally. But what doesn’t belong to Sally is a lifetime of memories of Alex the child, Alex the teenager, and Alex the almost-a-man that I’m sure he would rather forget but that I will now fill you all in on. (Hopefully they all will laugh.) I have known Alex since he was five years old. I arrived on my first day of school teary-eyed and red-nosed and a half an hour late. (I am almost sure Alex will shout out “What’s new?”) I was ordered to sit down at the back of the class beside a smelly, snotty-nosed, messy-haired little boy who had the biggest sulk on his face and who refused to look at me or talk to me. I hated this little boy. I know that he hated me too, him kicking me in the shins under the table and telling the teacher that I was copying his schoolwork was a telltale sign. We sat beside each other every day for twelve years moaning about school, moaning about girlfriends and boyfriends, wishing we were older and wiser and out of school, dreaming for a life where we wouldn’t have double maths on a Monday morning. Now Alex has that life and I’m so proud of him. I’m so happy that he’s found his best woman and his best friend in perfect little brainy and annoying Sally. I ask you all to raise your glasses and toast my best friend Alex and his new best friend, best woman, and wife, Sally, and to wish them luck and happiness and divorce in the future. To Alex and Sally!
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
The thrill of falling in love is often the thrill of being loved; the thrill of marriage is the thrill of loving someone for the rest of your life. Each day - and year - that passes is a triumph of this act of loving.
Susan Waggoner (I Do! I Do!: From The Veil to the Vows-- How Classic Wedding Traditions Came to Be)
Every time you understand something, religion becomes less likely. Only with the discovery of the double helix and the ensuing genetic revolution have we had grounds for thinking that the powers held traditionally to be the exclusive property of the gods might one day be ours. . . .
James D. Watson
Nothing is ever lost as time passes, it merely metamorphoses into something as wonderful or, in some cases, into something even better than before.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
The peculiar predicament of the present-day self surely came to pass as a consequence of the disappointment of the high expectations of the self as it entered the age of science and technology. Dazzled by the overwhelming credentials of science, the beauty and elegance of the scientific method, the triumph of modern medicine over physical ailments, and the technological transformation of the very world itself, the self finds itself in the end disappointed by the failure of science and technique in those very sectors of life which had been its main source of ordinary satisfaction in past ages. As John Cheever said, the main emotion of the adult Northeastern American who has had all the advantages of wealth, education, and culture is disappointment. Work is disappointing. In spite of all the talk about making work more creative and self-fulfilling, most people hate their jobs, and with good reason. Most work in modern technological societies is intolerably dull and repetitive. Marriage and family life are disappointing. Even among defenders of traditional family values, e.g., Christians and Jews, a certain dreariness must be inferred, if only from the average time of TV viewing. Dreary as TV is, it is evidently not as dreary as Mom talking to Dad or the kids talking to either. School is disappointing. If science is exciting and art is exhilarating, the schools and universities have achieved the not inconsiderable feat of rendering both dull. As every scientist and poet knows, one discovers both vocations in spite of, not because of, school. It takes years to recover from the stupor of being taught Shakespeare in English Lit and Wheatstone's bridge in Physics. Politics is disappointing. Most young people turn their backs on politics, not because of the lack of excitement of politics as it is practiced, but because of the shallowness, venality, and image-making as these are perceived through the media--one of the technology's greatest achievements. The churches are disappointing, even for most believers. If Christ brings us new life, it is all the more remarkable that the church, the bearer of this good news, should be among the most dispirited institutions of the age. The alternatives to the institutional churches are even more grossly disappointing, from TV evangelists with their blown-dry hairdos to California cults led by prosperous gurus ignored in India but embraced in La Jolla. Social life is disappointing. The very franticness of attempts to reestablish community and festival, by partying, by groups, by club, by touristy Mardi Gras, is the best evidence of the loss of true community and festival and of the loneliness of self, stranded as it is as an unspeakable consciousness in a world from which it perceives itself as somehow estranged, stranded even within its own body, with which it sees no clear connection. But there remains the one unquestioned benefit of science: the longer and healthier life made possible by modern medicine, the shorter work-hours made possible by technology, hence what is perceived as the one certain reward of dreary life of home and the marketplace: recreation. Recreation and good physical health appear to be the only ambivalent benefits of the technological revolution.
Walker Percy (Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book)
There was no need for a term like ‘magical thinking’ in the Golden Age of Man...there was only genuine everyday magic and mysticism. Children were not mocked or scolded in those days for singing to the rain or talking to the wind.
Anthon St. Maarten (Divine Living: The Essential Guide To Your True Destiny)
In thinking about miracles, I believe that our frame of reference has been too dramatic. We have been looking for the burning bush, the parting of the sea, the bellowing voice from heaven. Instead we should be looking at the ordinary day-to-day events in our lives for evidence of the miraculous, maintaining at the same time a scientific orientation.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
MOTHER TIME: We all get the exact same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.
Hillary DePiano (New Year's Thieve)
The second thing I wrote down that day was that exclusive male imagery of the Divine not only instilled an imbalance within human consciousness, it legitimized patriarchal power in the culture at large. Here alone is enough reason to recover the Divine Feminine, for there is a real and undeniable connection between the repression of the feminine in our deity and the repression of women.
Sue Monk Kidd (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine)
We shortchange ourselves by regarding religious faith as a matter of intellectual assent. This is a modern aberration; the traditional Christian view is far more holistic, regarding faith as a whole-body experience. Sometimes it is, as W.H. Auden described it, 'a matter of choosing what is difficult all one's days as if it were easy.
Kathleen Norris
If we will build righteous traditions in our families, the light of the gospel can grow ever brighter in the lives of our children from generation to generation. We can look forward to that glorious day when we will all be united together as eternal family units to reap the everlasting joy promised by our Eternal Father for His righteous children.
L. Tom Perry
I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.
Carl Sagan
The festival of the summer solstice speaks of love and light, of freedom and generosity of spirit. It is a beautiful time of year where vibrant flowers whisper to us with scented breath, forests and woodlands hang heavy in the summer’s heat and our souls become enchanted with midsummer magic.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
Once I passed through a populous city imprinting my brain for future use with its shows, architecture, customs, traditions, Yet now of all that city I remember only a woman I Casually met there who detained me for love of me, Day by day and night by night we were together—all else Has long been forgotten by me, I remember I say only that woman who passionately clung To me, Again we wander, we love, we separate again, Again she holds me by the hand, I must not go, I see her close beside me with silent lips sad and tremulous.
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
Those who might be tempted to give way to despair should realize that nothing accomplished in this order can ever be lost, that confusion, error and darkness can win the day only apparently and in a purely ephemeral way, that all partial and transitory disequilibrium must perforce contribute towards the greater equilibrium of the whole, and that nothing can ultimately prevail against the power of truth.
René Guénon (The Crisis of the Modern World)
...What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might. When the churches learn to take this rational view of things, when they become true schools of ethics and stop teaching fables, they will be more effective than they are to-day... If they would turn all that ability to teaching this one thing – the fact that honesty is best, that selfishness and lies of any sort must surely fail to produce happiness – they would accomplish actual things. Religious faiths and creeds have greatly hampered our development. They have absorbed and wasted some fine intellects. That creeds are getting to be less and less important to the average mind with every passing year is a good sign, I think, although I do not wish to talk about what is commonly called theology. The criticisms which have been hurled at me have not worried me. A man cannot control his beliefs. If he is honest in his frank expression of them, that is all that can in justice be required of him. Professor Thomson and a thousand others do not in the least agree with me. His criticism of me, as I read it, charged that because I doubted the soul’s immortality, or ‘personality,’ as he called it, my mind must be abnormal, ‘pathological,’ in other, words, diseased... I try to say exactly what I honestly believe to be the truth, and more than that no man can do. I honestly believe that creedists have built up a mighty structure of inaccuracy, based, curiously, on those fundamental truths which I, with every honest man, must not alone admit but earnestly acclaim. I have been working on the same lines for many years. I have tried to go as far as possible toward the bottom of each subject I have studied. I have not reached my conclusions through study of traditions; I have reached them through the study of hard fact. I cannot see that unproved theories or sentiment should be permitted to have influence in the building of conviction upon matters so important. Science proves its theories or it rejects them. I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. I earnestly believe that I am right; I cannot help believing as I do... I cannot accept as final any theory which is not provable. The theories of the theologians cannot be proved. Proof, proof! That is what I always have been after; that is what my mind requires before it can accept a theory as fact. Some things are provable, some things disprovable, some things are doubtful. All the problems which perplex us, now, will, soon or late, be solved, and solved beyond a question through scientific investigation. The thing which most impresses me about theology is that it does not seem to be investigating. It seems to be asserting, merely, without actual study. ...Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now. [Columbian Magazine interview]
Thomas A. Edison
No scientific theory touches on the mysteries that the religious tradition addresses. A man asking why his days are short and full of suffering is not disposed to turn to algebraic quantum field theory for the answer. The answers that prominent scientific figures have offered are remarkable in their shallowness.
David Berlinski (The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions)
The summer solstice is a time for strength and vitality for action and movement.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
The monk assumes a robe, changes his name, shaves his head, enters a cell and takes a vow of poverty and chastity; in the East he has one loin cloth, one robe, one meal a day - and we all respect such poverty. But those men who have assumed the robe of poverty are still inwardly, psychologically, rich with the things of society because they are still seeking position and prestige; they belong to this order or that order, this religion or that religion; they still live in the divisions of a culture, a tradition. That is not poverty. poverty is to be completely free of society, though one may have a few more clothes, a few more meals - good God, who cares? But unfortunately in most people there is this urge for exhibitionism.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Freedom from the Known)
Farmers tend to eat a very limited and unbalanced diet. Especially in premodern times, most of the calories feeding an agricultural population came from a single crop – such as wheat, potatoes or rice – that lacks some of the vitamins, minerals and other nutritional materials humans need. The typical peasant in traditional China ate rice for breakfast, rice for lunch, and rice for dinner. If she were lucky, she could expect to eat the same on the following day. By contrast, ancient foragers regularly ate dozens of different foodstuffs. The peasant’s ancient ancestor, the forager, may have eaten berries and mushrooms for breakfast; fruits, snails and turtle for lunch; and rabbit steak with wild onions for dinner. Tomorrow’s menu might have been completely different. This variety ensured that the ancient foragers received all the necessary nutrients.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
We too can begin a new life, one that brings satisfaction and enrichment, whether this is by singing, dancing, running through the waves, walking barefoot on the grass or making love under the stars. Perhaps your dreams are greater than this, or perhaps more conservative, but whatever they are, Beltane is a wonderful time for expressing who you truly are.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
I just wanted to be an ordinary girl, married to a man who would provide me with a municipal tap, and three meals a day, while I cooked and cleaned for him.
Rasana Atreya (Tell a Thousand Lies)
I have found that, in the African American oral tradition, if the words are enunciated eloquently enough, no one examines the meaning for definitive truth.
Mat Johnson (Loving Day)
Presently it appears that people are mainly concerned with being well rested. Those capable of uninterrupted sleep are much admired. Unconsciousness is in great demand. This is the day of the milligram. The rigors of learning how to do long division have been a traditional part of childhood, just like learning to smoke. In fact, as far as I am concerned, the two go hand in hand. Any child who cannot do long division by himself does not deserve to smoke.
Fran Lebowitz (Metropolitan Life/Social Studies)
If the beginning of wisdom is in realizing that one knows nothing, then the beginning of understanding is in realizing that all things exist in accord with a single truth: Large things are made of smaller things. Drops of ink are shaped into letters, letters form words, words form sentences, and sentences combine to express thought. So it is with the growth of plants that spring from seeds, as well as with walls built from many stones. So it is with mankind, as the customs and traditions of our progenitors blend together to form the foundation for our own cities, history, and way of life. Be they dead stone, living flesh, or rolling sea; be they idle times or events of world-shattering proportion, market days or desperate battles, to this law, all things hold: Large things are made from small things. Significance is cumulative--but not always obvious. --Gaius Secondus
Jim Butcher (Academ's Fury (Codex Alera, #2))
The rich does not work for money, but money work for them...., While the poor work for money.Illiteracy, both in word and numbers, is the foundation of financial struggle....,Wealth is a person's ability to survive so many number of days forward... or if i stopped working today, how could i survive?...,Wealth is the measure of cash flow from to asset column compared with the expense column...,
Robert T. Kiyosaki (Retire Young, Retire Rich ('Fu Ba Ba, Ti Zao Xiang Shou Cai Fu (1)', In Traditional Chinese, Not In English))
We feel safe on familiar ground, the tried and tested, the accepted, the so-called ‘normal’, but life is meant to be experienced and explored, to be a journey of self-discovery and adventure.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
St Michael’s RC secondary sat on a promontory overlooking the town of Auchenlea. The choice of site was an indirect consequence of a past mistake in vocational guidance, leading someone who had a pathological hatred of children into town planning, rather than the more traditional field of teaching.
Christopher Brookmyre (One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night)
Note another element of Switzerland: it is perhaps the most successful country in history, yet it has traditionally had a very low level of university education compared to the rest of the rich nations. Its system, even in banking during my days, was based on apprenticeship models, nearly vocational rather than the theoretical ones. In other words, on techne (crafts and know how), not episteme (book knowledge, know what).
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder)
We sang, we danced, we talked, we laughed, we ate, we drank, but most of all we shared our contributions and I learned, that Lughnasadh night, that true gifts come from the heart and not necessarily from the purse.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
... if history is told correctly, no man has caused the worldwide stir that Jesus Christ did 2000 years ago... Jesus was the non-conformist of all time. He took the conventions of religion, tradition, and love and turned them upside down. He faced the political and religious leaders of His day and spoke truths they had never heard before. He walked in our world as the human voice of God.
D.C. Talk (Jesus Freaks: Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus, the Ultimate Jesus Freaks (Jesus Freaks, #1))
Accumulating orthodoxy makes it harder year-by-year to be a Christian than it was in Jesus' day.
Brian D. McLaren (A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, anabaptist/anglican, incarnational, depressed-yet-hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian)
THE LUXURIES WE indulge in eventually come to seem to be necessities, as if we could not live without them. —RABBI YISRAEL SALANTER (1810–1883)
Alan Morinis (Every Day, Holy Day: 365 Days of Teachings and Practices from the Jewish Tradition of Mussar)
Modern society becomes more and more complex by the day. What used to be traditional isn’t necessarily traditional anymore.
Fadi Hattendorf (An Evolving Society)
We are born to talk to other people, ... we are born to be sociable and to sit together with others in the shade of the acacia tree and talk about things that happened the day before. We were not born to sit in kitchens by ourselves, with nobody to chat to." Mma Ramotswe
Alexander McCall Smith (Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #10))
We should do that,” he whispered. “Wear flowers in our hair?” I was watching the ceremony and not really paying attention to Luka, despite the warmth of his arm. Tobin’s eldest brother, the head of the household since their father’s death some years ago, had come forward. Skarpin had surprised us by being as garrulous and emotional as Tobin and Ulfrid were silent and controlled. His red beard was a sharp contrast to his shaved head, and he had six earrings in each ear, a sign that he was a wealthy landowner. He took the loaf of bread from the priest and began the traditional praising of the bride’s skills. “No,” Luka said. “We should get married.” Now I gave him my full attention. “What?
Jessica Day George (Dragon Flight (Dragon Slippers))
...condemning Nyasha to whoredom, making her a victim of her femaleness, just as I had felt victimised at home in the days when Nhamo went to school and I grew my maize. The victimisation, I saw, was universal. It didn't depend on poverty, on lack of education or on tradition. It didn't depend on any of the things I had thought it depended on. Men took it everywhere with them. Even heroes like Babamukuru did it. And that was the problem. You had to admit Nyasha had no tact. You had to admit she was altogether too volatile and strong-willed. You couldn't ignore the fact that she had no respect for Babamukuru when she ought to have had lots of it. But what I didn't like was the way that all conflicts came back to the question of femaleness. Femaleness as opposed and inferior to maleness.
Tsitsi Dangarembga (Nervous Conditions)
Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace, Wednesday's child is full of woe, Thursday's child has far to go, Friday's child is loving and giving, Saturday's child works hard for a living, But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day, Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.
Anonymous
I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. I want to grow really old with my wife, Annie, whom I dearly love. I want to see my younger children grow up and to play a role in their character and intellectual development. I want to meet still unconceived grandchildren. There are scientific problems whose outcomes I long to witness—such as the exploration of many of the worlds in our Solar System and the search for life elsewhere. I want to learn how major trends in human history, both hopeful and worrisome, work themselves out: the dangers and promise of our technology, say; the emancipation of women; the growing political, economic, and technological ascendancy of China; interstellar flight. If there were life after death, I might, no matter when I die, satisfy most of these deep curiosities and longings. But if death is nothing more than an endless dreamless sleep, this is a forlorn hope. Maybe this perspective has given me a little extra motivation to stay alive. The world is so exquisite, with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better, it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look Death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.
Carl Sagan (Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium)
Present-day culture, social relations, cityscapes, modes of production, agriculture, and transportation have remade the traditional proletarian into a largely petty bourgeois stratum whose mentality is marked by its own utopianism of “consumption for the sake of consumption.” We
Murray Bookchin (The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy)
Listen,’ she whispered and pointed towards the window. ‘Whenever the wind blows from the east and the wind chimes dance in the moonlight, there is magic in the air.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
Let the universe move you, surprise you, challenge you, and support you—as a witch, your connection to it is mystical and beautiful.
Tonya A. Brown (The Door to Witchcraft: A New Witch's Guide to History, Traditions, and Modern-Day Spells)
I would like to invite you to savour every moment of this experiential journey. Feel the energies of the earth, listen to them calling on the wind, whispering their secrets and beckoning you to explore their mysteries.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
On a small planet where minute follows minute, day follows day, year follows year, where tradition marches on with a deafening orderly beat-sometimes the order is disturbed by a dreamer, and artist, a scribbler-sometimes the beat is changed by one person at a time.
Mary E. Pearson (Scribbler of Dreams)
Serving my country was a life-changing experience for me. It was during those years that I realized the importance of commitment, dedication, honor, and discipline. I have never laughed so much; nor have I ever prayed so much. I made life-long friends. The leaders and heroes I served with helped shape me into the man I am today. I feel honored to have been a part of such a great tradition and grateful to others who have walked the same path. Thank you!
Steve Maraboli
If you are someone who feels drawn to mysticism in any way, if you seek to discover life’s mysteries, or if the label “witch” feels comfortable or intriguing to you—you, my amazing reader, are a witch.
Tonya A. Brown (The Door to Witchcraft: A New Witch's Guide to History, Traditions, and Modern-Day Spells)
That Anarchist world, I admit, is our dream; we do believe - well, I, at any rate, believe this present world, this planet, will some day bear a race beyond our most exalted and temerarious dreams, a race begotten of our wills and the substance of our bodies, a race, so I have said it, 'who will stand upon the earth as one stands upon a footstool, and laugh and reach out their hands amidst the stars,' but the way to that is through education and discipline and law. Socialism is the preparation for that higher Anarchism; painfully, laboriously we mean to destroy false ideas of property and self, eliminate unjust laws and poisonous and hateful suggestions and prejudices, create a system of social right-dealing and a tradition of right-feeling and action. Socialism is the schoolroom of true and noble Anarchism, wherein by training and restraint we shall make free men.
H.G. Wells (New Worlds for Old)
Ancient spiritual traditions remind us that in each moment of the day, we make the choices that either affirm or deny our lives. Every second we choose to nourish ourselves in a way that supports or depletes our lives; to breathe deep and life-affirming breaths or shallow, life-denying ones; and to think and speak about other people in a manner that is honoring or dishonoring.
Gregg Braden (The Divine Matrix: Bridging Time, Space, Miracles, and Belief)
Set aside the old traditional notion of female as nurturer and male as leader; set aside, too, the new traditional notion of female as superwoman and male as oppressor. Begin with that most frightening of all things, a clean slate. And then look, every day, at the choices you are making, and when you ask yourself why you are making them, find this answer: Because they are what I want, or wish for. Because they reflect who and what I am. This is the hard work of life in the world, to acknowledge within yourself the introvert, the clown, the artist, the homebody, the goofball, the thinker. Look inside. That way lies dancing to the melodies spun out by your own heart.
Anna Quindlen (Being Perfect)
The greater puzzle of universal wisdom and beauty that we have strived to honor through our work includes the profound legacies of world artistic and spiritual traditions, the innate integrity of human communities where people seek to live in social harmony, and that regenerative stream of life sustained upon the earth itself as it spins through the cosmos to the music of the spheres.
Luther E. Vann (Elemental: The Power of Illuminated Love)
This tradition argues that education is not just about the passive assimilation of facts and cultural traditions, but about challenging the mind to become active, competent, and thoughtfully critical in a complex world. This model of education supplanted an older one in which children sat still at desks all day and simply absorbed, and then regurgitated, the material that was brought their way.
Martha C. Nussbaum (Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (The Public Square))
What does Christianity mean today? National Socialism is a religion. All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel.
Joseph Goebbels
PEOPLE SEARCH relentlessly for a “city of happiness”—not realizing that it could only be found in a “state of mind.” —RABBI AVRAHAM PAM (1913–2001)
Alan Morinis (Every Day, Holy Day: 365 Days of Teachings and Practices from the Jewish Tradition of Mussar)
Witchcraft is about taking the raw, beautiful, and powerful forces of our world and using them to create change.
Tonya A. Brown (The Door to Witchcraft: A New Witch's Guide to History, Traditions, and Modern-Day Spells)
Now naturally, like many of us, I have a reluctance to change too much of the old ways. But there is no virtue at all in clinging as some do to tradition merely for its own sake.
Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day)
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)
Europeans, since the days when they began to believe in :progress" and in "evolution," that is to say since a little more than a century ago, profess to see a sign of inferiority in this absence of change, whereas for our part, we look upon it as a balanced condition which Western civilization has failed to achieve.
René Guénon (Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines)
A fundamental approach to life transformation is using social media for therapy; it forces you to have an opinion, provides intellectual stimulation, increases awareness, boosts self-confidence, and offers the possibility of hope.
Germany Kent
To our indigenous ancestors, and to the many aboriginal peoples who still hold fast to their oral traditions, language is less a human possession than it is a property of the animate earth itself, an expressive, telluric power in which we, along with the coyotes and the crickets, all participate. Each creature enacts this expressive magic in its own manner, the honeybee with its waggle dance no less than a bellicose, harrumphing sea lion. Nor is this power restricted solely to animals. The whispered hush of the uncut grasses at dawn, the plaintive moan of trunks rubbing against one another in the deep woods, or the laughter of birch leaves as the wind gusts through their branches all bear a thicket of many-layered meanings for those who listen carefully. In the Pacific Northwest I met a man who had schooled himself in the speech of needled evergreens; on a breezy day you could drive him, blindfolded, to any patch of coastal forest and place him, still blind, beneath a particular tree -- after a few moments he would tell you, by listening, just what species of pine or spruce or fir stood above him (whether he stood beneath a Douglas fir or a grand fir, a Sitka spruce or a western red cedar). His ears were attuned, he said, to the different dialects of the trees.
David Abram (Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology)
Autumn is always a time of Fear and Greed and Hoarding for the winter coming on. Debt collectors are active on old people and fleece the weak and helpless. They want to lay in enough cash to weather the known horrors of January and February. There is always a rash of kidnapping and abductions of schoolchildren in the football months. Preteens of both sexes are traditionally seized and grabbed off the streets by gangs of organized perverts who traditionally give them as Christmas gifts to each other to be personal sex slaves and playthings. Most of these things are obviously Wrong and Evil and Ugly — but at least they are Traditional. They will happen. Your driveway will ice over, your furnace will blow up, and you will be rammed in traffic by an uninsured driver in a stolen car. But what the hell? That's why we have Insurance, eh? And the Inevitability of these nightmares is what makes them so reassuring. Life will go on, for good or ill. But some things are forever, right? The structure may be a little Crooked, but the foundations are still strong and unshakable.
Hunter S. Thompson (Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century)
The healthy snack is one of the greatest weight-loss deceptions. The myth that ‘grazing is healthy’ has attained legendary status. If we were meant to ‘graze,’ we would be cows. Grazing is the direct opposite of virtually all food traditions. Even as recently as the 1960s, most people still ate just three meals per day. Constant stimulation of insulin eventually leads to insulin resistance. (For
Jason Fung (The Obesity Code: unlocking the secrets of weight loss)
What I am about to say does not concern the ordinary man of our day. On the contrary, I have in mind the man who finds himself involved in today's world, even at its problematic and paroxysmal points; yet he does not belong inwardly to such a world, nor will he give in to it. He feels himself, in essence, as belonging to a different race from that of the overwhelming majority of his contemporaries. The natural place for such a man, the land in which he would not be a stranger, is the world of Tradition.
Julius Evola (Ride the Tiger: A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats of the Soul)
Mama had greeted him the traditional way that women were supposed to, bending low and offering him her back so that he would pat it with his fan made of the soft, straw-colored tail of an animal. Back home that night, Papa told Mama that it was sinful. You did not bow to another human being. It was an ungodly tradition, bowing to an Igwe. So, a few days later, when we went to see the bishop at Awka, I did not kneel to kiss his ring. I wanted to make Papa proud. But Papa yanked my ear in the car and said I did not have the spirit of discernment: the bishop was a man of God; the Igwe was merely a traditional ruler.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Purple Hibiscus)
Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress... Actually, when you think about it, not many novels in the Spare tradition are terribly cheerful. Jokes you can usually pluck out whole, by the roots, so if you're doing some heavy-duty prose-weeding, they're the first to go. And there's some stuff about the whole winnowing process I just don't get. Why does it always stop when the work in question has been reduced to sixty or seventy thousand words--entirely coincidentally, I'm sure, the minimum length for a publishable novel? I'm sure you could get it down to twenty or thirty if you tried hard enough. In fact, why stop at twenty or thirty? Why write at all? Why not just jot the plot and a couple of themes down on the back of an envelope and leave it at that? The truth is, there's nothing very utilitarian about fiction or its creation, and I suspect that people are desperate to make it sound manly, back-breaking labor because it's such a wussy thing to do in the first place. The obsession with austerity is an attempt to compensate, to make writing resemble a real job, like farming, or logging. (It's also why people who work in advertising put in twenty-hour days.) Go on, young writers--treat yourself to a joke, or an adverb! Spoil yourself! Readers won't mind!
Nick Hornby (The Polysyllabic Spree)
Of course, it would be much easier if we could all continue to think in traditional political patterns—of liberalism and conservatism, as Republicans and Democrats, from the viewpoint of North and South, management and labor, business and consumer or some equally narrow framework. It would be more comfortable to continue to move and vote in platoons, joining whomever of our colleagues are equally enslaved by some current fashion, raging prejudice or popular movement. But today this nation cannot tolerate the luxury of such lazy political habits. Only the strength and progress and peaceful change that come from independent judgment and individual ideas—and even from the unorthodox and the eccentric—can enable us to surpass that foreign ideology that fears free thought more than it fears hydrogen bombs. We shall need compromises in the days ahead, to be sure. But these will be, or should be, compromises of issues, not of principles. We can compromise our political positions, but not ourselves.
John F. Kennedy (Profiles in Courage: Deluxe Modern Classic (Harper Perennial Modern Classics))
The festival of the spring equinox speaks of freshness and youth, of excitement and endless possibilities. Nature begins to quicken and early flowers open to the warmth of the strengthening sun, bringing the colours of lemon and yellow into our lives on the wings of a March wind.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
I was a trapped animal. Not trapped by the women, the house, or tradition. I was trapped by life. Like I had been a free spirit for millennia and then one day something snatched me up, something violent and angry and vengeful, and I was pulled into the body that I now resided in.
Nnedi Okorafor (Who Fears Death)
...the novel had reached its apogee with the marriage plot and had never recovered from its disappearance. In the days when success in life had depended on marriage, and marriage had depended on money, novelists had had a subject to write about. The great epics sang of war, the novel of marriage. Sexual equality, good for women, had been bad for the novel. And divorce had undone it completely. What would it matter whom Emma married if she could file for separation later? How would Isabel Archer’s marriage to Gilbert Osmond have been affected by the existence of a prenup? As far as Saunders was concerned, marriage didn’t mean much anymore, and neither did the novel. Where could you find the marriage plot nowadays? You couldn’t. You had to read historical fiction. You had to read non-Western novels involving traditional societies. Afghani novels, Indian novels. You had to go, literarily speaking, back in time.
Jeffrey Eugenides (The Marriage Plot)
I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron: Penelope did this too. And more than once: you can't keep weaving all day And undoing it all through the night; Your arms get tired, and the back of your neck gets tight; And along towards morning, when you think it will never be light, And your husband has been gone, and you don't know where, for years. Suddenly you burst into tears; There is simply nothing else to do. And I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron: This is an ancient gesture, authentic, antique, In the very best tradition, classic, Greek; Ulysses did this too. But only as a gesture,—a gesture which implied To the assembled throng that he was much too moved to speak. He learned it from Penelope... Penelope, who really cried.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
The farm labourers employed to harvest the corn often displayed a real fear of cutting the last sheaf, due to the fact that they felt they were slaying the spirit of the corn.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
So when modern-day religious conservatives wax nostalgic about how marriage is a sacred tradition that reaches back into history for thousands of uninterrupted years, they are correct, but in only one respect - only if they happen to be talking about Judaism. Christianity simply does not share that deep and consistent historical reverence toward matrimony. Lately it has, yes- but not originally. For the first thousand or so years of Christian history, the church regarded monogamous marriage as marginally less wicked that flat-out whoring but only very marginally.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage)
MODESTY AT A WEDDING means rejoicing fully in the singing, dancing, and feasting while inwardly striving to direct all of those activities for the happiness of the wedding couple, not for oneself. —RABBI NOSSON TZVI FINKEL, THE ALTER OF SLABODKA (1849–1927)
Alan Morinis (Every Day, Holy Day: 365 Days of Teachings and Practices from the Jewish Tradition of Mussar)
All European writers are ‘slaves of their baptism,’ if I may paraphrase Rimbaud; like it or not, their writing carries baggage from an immense and almost frightening tradition; they accept that tradition or they fight against it, it inhabits them, it is their familiar and their succubus. Why write, if everything has, in a way, already been said? Gide observed sardonically that since nobody listened, everything has to be said again, yet a suspicion of guilt and superfluity leads the European intellectual to the most extreme refinements of his trade and tools, the only way to avoid paths too much traveled. Thus the enthusiasm that greets novelties, the uproar when a writer has succeeded in giving substance to a new slice of the invisible; merely recall symbolism, surrealism, the ‘nouveau roman’: finally something truly new that neither Ronsard, nor Stendahl , nor Proust imagined. For a moment we can put aside our guilt; even the epigones begin too believe they are doing something new. Afterwards, slowly, they begin to feel European again and each writer still has his albatross around his neck.
Julio Cortázar (Around the Day in Eighty Worlds)
EVERY SIN CAUSES a special anxiety on the spirit, which can only be erased by repentance, which transforms the anxiety itself into inner security and courage. —RABBI ABRAHAM ISAAC KOOK (1865–1935)
Alan Morinis (Every Day, Holy Day: 365 Days of Teachings and Practices from the Jewish Tradition of Mussar)
Strange as it may seem, the association of eggs and bunnies at Easter time are actually connected and, to discover more, we must once again turn our attention to the Saxon fertility Goddess, Eostre.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
I stood by and spoke out for Amazon when Amazon was attacked by Hatchett and other traditional publishers in the early days. I also represented Amazon as an author spokesperson to the media during the Press Conference launch in Santa Monica for Kindle Family as well as at Book Expo America. Today, authors don't have that kind of loyalty to a distributor of their books. They don't have that kind of loyalty to the publishers of their books and jump around to find the best deal for each book and going back and forth between publishing with a big publisher and self-publishing. Publishing like any industry is built on relationships. When an author is published by multiple publishers and jumps around, it signals to her publishers her lack of commitment to them. It is only human to see this lack of trust. So, my advice to authors who jump around...find a good publisher to land with if you decide to go with a traditional publisher. Be committed to them or it will seem like a betrayal when you are published with another publisher in the same genre. - Advice to Authors by Kailin Gow
Kailin Gow
So one of my core themes in The Myth of Male Power—that history’s controlling force was not patriarchy, but survival—is still ignored. Instead, the leading universities’ women’s studies and “gender studies” courses still emanate from the Marxist and Civil Rights model of oppressor vs. oppressed. We’ll see in this book exactly why the dichotomy of oppressor/oppressed is both inaccurate and, more important, undermines love and women’s empowerment. In virtually every leading university this leads to a demonizing of men and masculinity that distorts the very essence of traditional masculinity—being socialized to be a hero by being willing to sacrifice oneself in war or in work. The possibility that being socialized to be disposable is not genuine power is, to this day, either considered radical, heretical, or, most frequently, not considered.
Warren Farrell (The Myth of Male Power)
The wood-carver can fashion whatever he will. Yet his products are but toys of the moment, to be glanced at in jest, not fashioned according to any precept or law. When times change, the carver too will change his style and make new trifles to hit the fancy of the passing day. But there is another kind of artist, who sets more soberly about his work, striving to give real beauty to the things which men actually use and to give to them the shape which tradition has ordained. This maker of real things must not for a moment be confused with the maker of idle toys.
Murasaki Shikibu (The Tale of Genji)
The word ‘equinox’ simply means ‘of equal length’ and refers to the twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness at this point in the year. It was originally thought to stem from two Latin words aequus meaning equal and nox meaning night. The word ‘Vernal’, as this equinox is often called, is derived from the Latin word vernus meaning ‘of spring’.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
There is a delightful story which tells of Eostre finding an injured bird on the ground and, in order to save its life, she transformed it into a hare. The transformation however was incomplete and, although the bird looked like a hare, it still retained the ability to lay eggs. Regardless of this slight mishap, the hare was so grateful for the goddess saving her life that on Eostre’s festival the hare would lay eggs, decorate them and leave them as a token of thanks. In Germany today, many young children still believe that their Easter eggs are laid and delivered by the Easter hare.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
In the discoveries of science the harmony of the spheres is also now the harmony of life. And as the eerie illumination of science penetrates evermore deeply into the order of nature, the cosmos appears increasingly to be a vast system finely tuned to generate life and organisms of biology very similar, perhaps identical, to ourselves. All the evidence available in the biological sciences supports the core proposition of traditional natural theology - that the cosmos is a specially designed whole with life and mankind as a fundamental goal and purpose, a whole in which all facets of reality, from the size of galaxies to the thermal capacity of water, have their meaning and explanation in this central fact. Four centuries after the scientific revolution apparently destroyed irretrievably man's special place in the universe, banished Aristotle, and rendered teleological speculation obsolete, the relentless stream of discovery has turned dramatically in favor of teleology and design, and the doctrine of the microcosm is reborn. As I hope the evidence presented in this book has shown, science, which has been for centuries the great ally of atheism and skepticism, has become at last, in the final days of the second millennium, what Newton and many of its early advocates had so fervently wished - the "defender of the anthropocentric faith.
Michael Denton (Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe)
We become paralysed with fear and guilt, obsessed by ‘labels’ and become unable to question the reasoning behind our beliefs or indeed realise that it is acceptable to challenge them. Sometimes we simply need to give ourselves permission to break free from the confines of the tribe and find our own way.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
Witchcraft is an empowering practice that any person can learn, cultivate, and personalize. It is all about stepping outside of our mundane world and choosing to take on a perspective of mysticism and reverence for nature, life, and the energetic forces of this world. But what makes witch-craft simply intoxicating is that it’s about appreciating the world around us. It’s not just about what we can see; it’s about everything in between. It is the love for spirits, messages, other-worldliness, unexplainable things, mysterious connections, and the universal system of checks and balances. That is witchcraft,
Tonya A. Brown (The Door to Witchcraft: A New Witch's Guide to History, Traditions, and Modern-Day Spells)
After nonfiction was science fiction. No one knows why science fiction is kept separately form the rest of the nonfiction. Tradition is a powerful thing. These shelves were much less censored than the main nonfiction section, since science fiction tended to be about day-to-day stuff that everyone already knew.
Joseph Fink (Welcome to Night Vale (Welcome to Night Vale, #1))
The significance of the vast Islamic scientific tradition for Muslims and especially for young Muslims today is not only that it gives them a sense of pride in their own civilization because of the prestige that science fhas in the present day world. It is furthermore a testament to the way Islam was able to cultivate various sciences extensively without becoming alienated from the Islamic world view and without creating a science whose application would destroy the world of nature and the harmony that must exist between man and the natural environment.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (A Young Muslim's Guide to the Modern World)
We do have some strong traditions of community in the United States, but it’s interesting to me that our traditionally patriotic imagery in this country celebrates the individual, the solo flier, independence. We celebrate Independence Day; we don’t celebrate We Desperately Rely on Others Day. Oh, I guess that’s Mother’s Day [laughter]. It does strike me that our great American mythology tends to celebrate separate achievement and separateness, when in fact nobody does anything alone.
Barbara Kingsolver (The Bean Trees)
Tea was the order of the day, neat for the hardened drinker or containing a tot of whiskey for those who liked it watered down! Throughout the afternoon, the wonderful aroma of rosemary wafted throughout the cottage and I later discovered that Mrs Darley sprinkled the dried herb on her grill pan and, with the grill on a low heat, it scented the whole cottage, bringing a feeling of warmth and security to us all.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
MOTHER TIME: Every New Year is the same. Every day, every second is too for that matter. But when we deliver them in secret, when another year just begins as a matter of fact, it's easy to fail to appreciate what a miracle it is to have more time. So, I suppose, it feels different right now because this time you're paying attention
Hillary DePiano (New Year's Thieve)
The real problem here is that we’re all dying. All of us. Every day the cells weaken and the fibres stretch and the heart gets closer to its last beat. The real cost of living is dying, and we’re spending days like millionaires: a week here, a month there, casually spunked until all you have left are the two pennies on your eyes. Personally, I like the fact we’re going to die. There’s nothing more exhilarating than waking up every morning and going ‘WOW! THIS IS IT! THIS IS REALLY IT!’ It focuses the mind wonderfully. It makes you love vividly, work intensely, and realise that, in the scheme of things, you really don’t have time to sit on the sofa in your pants watching Homes Under the Hammer. Death is not a release, but an incentive. The more focused you are on your death, the more righteously you live your life. My traditional closing-time rant – after the one where I cry that they closed that amazing chippy on Tollington Road; the one that did the pickled eggs – is that humans still believe in an afterlife. I genuinely think it’s the biggest philosophical problem the earth faces. Even avowedly non-religious people think they’ll be meeting up with nana and their dead dog, Crackers, when they finally keel over. Everyone thinks they’re getting a harp. But believing in an afterlife totally negates your current existence. It’s like an insidious and destabilising mental illness. Underneath every day – every action, every word – you think it doesn’t really matter if you screw up this time around because you can just sort it all out in paradise. You make it up with your parents, and become a better person and lose that final stone in heaven. And learn how to speak French. You’ll have time, after all! It’s eternity! And you’ll have wings, and it’ll be sunny! So, really, who cares what you do now? This is really just some lacklustre waiting room you’re only going to be in for 20 minutes, during which you will have no wings at all, and are forced to walk around, on your feet, like pigs do. If we wonder why people are so apathetic and casual about every eminently avoidable horror in the world – famine, war, disease, the seas gradually turning piss-yellow and filling with ringpulls and shattered fax machines – it’s right there. Heaven. The biggest waste of our time we ever invented, outside of jigsaws. Only when the majority of the people on this planet believe – absolutely – that they are dying, minute by minute, will we actually start behaving like fully sentient, rational and compassionate beings. For whilst the appeal of ‘being good’ is strong, the terror of hurtling, unstoppably, into unending nullity is a lot more effective. I’m really holding out for us all to get The Fear. The Fear is my Second Coming. When everyone in the world admits they’re going to die, we’ll really start getting some stuff done.
Caitlin Moran
Granny Trill and Granny Wallon were traditional ancients of a kind we won’t see today, the last of that dignity of grandmothers to whom age was its own embellishment. The grandmothers of those days dressed for the part in that curious but endearing uniform which is now known to us only through music-hall. And our two old neighbours, when setting forth on errands, always prepared themselves scrupulously so. They wore high laced boots and long muslin dresses, beaded chokers and candlewick shawls, crowned by tall poke bonnets tied with trailing ribbons and smothered with inky sequins. They looked like starlings, flecked with jet, and they walked in a tinkle of darkness. Those severe and similar old bodies enthralled me when they dressed that way. When I finally became King (I used to think) I would command a parade of grandmas, and drill them, and march them up and down - rank upon rank of hobbling boots, nodding bonnets, flying shawls, and furious chewing faces. They would be gathered from all the towns and villages and brought to my palace in wagon-loads. No more than a monarch’s whim, of course, like eating cocoa or drinking jellies; but far more spectacular any day than those usual trudging guardsmen.
Laurie Lee (Cider with Rosie)
So when modern-day religious conservatives wax nostalgic about how marriage is a sacred tradition that reaches back into history for thousands of uninterrupted years, they are absolutely correct, but in only one respect—only if they happen to be talking about Judaism.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage)
Jesus was Jewish. He went to synagogue “as was his tradition” and celebrated holy days such as Passover. But Jesus also healed on the Sabbath. Jesus points us to a God who is able to work within institutions and order, a God who is too big to be confined. God is constantly coloring outside the lines. Jesus challenges the structures that oppress and exclude, and busts through any traditions that put limitations on love. Love cannot be harnessed.
Shane Claiborne (Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals)
Baseball has traditionally possessed a wonderful lack of seriousness. The game's best player, Babe Ruth, was a Rabelaisian fat man, and its most loved manager, Casey Stengel, spoke gibberish. In this lazy sport, only the pitcher pours sweat. Then he takes three days off.
Thomas Boswell (Why Time Begins on Opening Day)
COMPASSION IS AN EXTREMELY noble soul-trait. Anything that one can do to cultivate this soul-trait, one should exert oneself to do. Just as one wishes to receive compassion in one’s own time of need, so too, one should pity others when they are in need. As it is written: “And you should love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). —ORCHOT TZADDIKIM (1540)
Alan Morinis (Every Day, Holy Day: 365 Days of Teachings and Practices from the Jewish Tradition of Mussar)
By educating me at home, my parents were able to give me individualized attention without the usual distractions that kids in regular school experience, like dating and friendship. Not to mention that traditional school can be dangerous. I’ve heard about kids catching the flu and chicken pox, even Judaism. And how about those poor kids lugging all those heavy books to and from school every day? My books never went anywhere, just like me. I felt so bad when I’d see kids on my street giggling and chasing each other around with those awkward backpacks.
Colin Nissan
I saw exactly one picture of Marx and one of Lenin in my whole stay, but it's been a long time since ideology had anything to do with it. Not without cunning, Fat Man and Little Boy gradually mutated the whole state belief system into a debased form of Confucianism, in which traditional ancestor worship and respect for order become blended with extreme nationalism and xenophobia. Near the southernmost city of Kaesong, captured by the North in 1951, I was taken to see the beautifully preserved tombs of King and Queen Kongmin. Their significance in F.M.-L.B. cosmology is that they reigned over a then unified Korea in the 14th century, and that they were Confucian and dynastic and left many lavish memorials to themselves. The tombs are built on one hillside, and legend has it that the king sent one of his courtiers to pick the site. Second-guessing his underling, he then climbed the opposite hill. He gave instructions that if the chosen site did not please him he would wave his white handkerchief. On this signal, the courtier was to be slain. The king actually found that the site was ideal. But it was a warm day and he forgetfully mopped his brow with the white handkerchief. On coming downhill he was confronted with the courtier's fresh cadaver and exclaimed, 'Oh dear.' And ever since, my escorts told me, the opposite peak has been known as 'Oh Dear Hill.' I thought this was a perfect illustration of the caprice and cruelty of absolute leadership, and began to phrase a little pun about Kim Jong Il being the 'Oh Dear Leader,' but it died on my lips.
Christopher Hitchens (Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays)
So what happened to the comma in this process? Well, between the 16th century and the present day, it became a kind of scary grammatical sheepdog. As we shall shortly see, the comma has so many jobs as a “separator” (punctuation marks are traditionally either “separators” or “terminators”) that it tears about on the hillside of language, endlessly organising words into sensible groups and making them stay put: sorting and dividing; circling and herding; and of course darting off with a peremptory “woof” to round up any wayward subordinate clause that makes a futile bolt for semantic freedom.
Lynne Truss (Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation)
It's true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you'll find you've created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul.
Caroline Kennedy
Our spiritual traditions have carried virtues across time. They are tools for the art of living. They are pieces of intelligence about human behavior that neuroscience is now exploring with new words and images: what we practice, we become. What’s true of playing the piano or throwing a ball also holds for our capacity to move through the world mindlessly and destructively or generously and gracefully. I’ve come to think of virtues and rituals as spiritual technologies for being our best selves in flesh and blood, time and space. There are superstar virtues that come most readily to mind and can be the work of a day or a lifetime—love, compassion, forgiveness. And there are gentle shifts of mind and habit that make those possible, working patiently through the raw materials of our lives.
Krista Tippett (Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living)
In the pre-war era when itinerant home-remedy salesmen still wandered the country, they had a traditional patter for selling a potion that was supposed to be particularly effective in treating burns and cuts. A toad with four legs in front and six behind would be placed in a box with mirrors lining the four walls. The toad, amazed at its own appearance from every angle, would break into an oily sweat. This sweat would be collected and simmered for 3,721 days while being stirred with a willow branch. The result was the marvelous potion. When writing about myself, I feel something like that toad in the box.
Akira Kurosawa (Something Like an Autobiography)
The Green Man has also become synonymous with Cernunnos, the Celtic horned God, often portrayed in Celtic art as part man, part stag, who roams the greenwood wild and free. He is a character of strength and power, but often sadly mistaken for the devil by the Christian fraternity due to his horned appearance.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
Unfortunately, many of us start that journey with enthusiasm but fail to sustain it. Our faith goes on cruise control as we start seeking comfort and not a calling. It doesn’t help that too often in our churches we pigeonhole Jesus safely behind the altar rails and communion tables of our tame religious traditions, teaching people to revere Jesus instead of following Jesus sacrificially every day in the trenches of life. Jesus’ call is not to revere; his call is to follow. When we do so, reverence will naturally result.
Mike Slaughter (Renegade Gospel: The Rebel Jesus)
He wondered again at the easy, graceful manner in which the Roman lyricists accepted the fact of death, as if the nothingness they faced were a tribute to the richness of the years they had enjoyed; and he marveled at the bitterness, the terror, the barely concealed hatred he found in some of the later Christian poets of the Latin tradition when they looked to that death which promised, however vaguely, a rich and ecstatic eternity of life, as if that death and promise were a mockery that soured the days of their living.
John Williams (Stoner)
It is interesting to observe in traditional cultures, especially in the Muslim world, that the marketplaces are comprised of rows of businesses dealing with the same product. In America, many would consider it foolish to open a business in proximity to another business already selling the same product. In Damascus, everyone knows where the marketplace for clothing is. There are dozens of stores strung together selling virtually the same material and fashions. Not only are the stores together, but when the time for prayer comes, the merchants pray together. They often attend the same study circles, have the same teachers, and are the best of friends. It used to be that when one person sold enough for the day, he would shut down, go home, and allow other merchants to get what they need. This is not make-believe or part of a utopian world. It actually happened. It is hard to believe that there were people like that on the planet. They exist to this day, but to a lesser extent. They are now old, and many of their sons have not embraced the beauty of that way of doing business.
Hamza Yusuf (Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart)
Death went on, If I'd sent you, with your taste for expeditious methods, the matter would have been resolved, but times have changed a lot lately, and one has to update the means and the systems one uses, to keep up with the new technologies, by using e-mail, for example, I've heard tell that it's the most hygienic way, one that does away with inkblots and fingerprints, besides which it's fast, you just open up outlook express on microsoft and it's gone, the difficulty would be having to work with two separate archives, one for those who use computers and another for those who don't, anyway, we've got plenty of time to think about it, they're always coming out with new models and new designs, with new improved technologies, perhaps I'll try it some day, but until then, I'll continue to write with pen, paper and ink, it has the charm of tradition, and tradition counts for a lot when it comes to dying.
José Saramago (Death with Interruptions)
It's good luck!" Winter said suddenly, her eyes bright with mischief. Scarlet paused. "What's good luck?" "On Luna," said Winter, folding her hands as if she were reciting from a wedding etiquette guide, "it's considered good luck for the bride to don her dress for at least an hour for each of the three days leading up to the wedding. It symbolizes her commitment to the marriage. And as your groom is Lunar, I think we should follow some of his traditions, don't you?" "An hour? said Scarlet. "That's really pushing it, don't you think?" Winter shrugged. With a drawn-out sigh, Scarlet said, "Fine, I'll go put it on. But I'm not going to stay in it for an hour. I still have chores to do." She slipped out of the bedroom carrying the dress, and a moment later they heard the click of the bathroom door in the hall. "I've never heard of that tradition before," said Cress. "That's because I made it up," said Winter.
Marissa Meyer (Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5))
Only in the latest of our Gospels, John, a Gospel that shows considerably more theological sophistication than the others, does Jesus indicate that he is divine. I had come to realize that none of our earliest traditions indicates that Jesus said any such thing about himself. And surely if Jesus had really spent his days in Galilee and then Jerusalem calling himself God, all of our sources would be eager to report it. To put it differently, if Jesus claimed he was divine, it seemed very strange indeed that Matthew, Mark, and Luke all failed to say anything about it. Did they just forget to mention that part? I had come to realize that Jesus’ divinity was part of John’s theology, not a part of Jesus’ own teaching.
Bart D. Ehrman (Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them))
Legend has it that during the festival of Eostre, all fires had to be extinguished in the Goddess’ honour and could only be relit from a sacred flame in the centre of the village. The new fire was seen as a symbol of sacredness and purity, something which everyone wanted to bring into their homes at such a lovely time of year when everything was fresh and new.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
Ecclesiastes This is a book of the Old Testament. I don't believe I've ever read this section of the Bible - I know my Genesis pretty well and my Ten Commandments (I like lists), but I'm hazy on a lot of the other parts. Here, the Britannica provides a handy Cliff Notes version of Ecclesiastes: [the author's] observations on life convinced him that 'the race is not swift, nor the battle strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all' (9:11). Man's fate, the author maintains, does not depend on righteous or wicked conduct but is an inscrutable mystery that remains hidden in God (9:1). All attempts to penetrate this mystery and thereby gain the wisdom necessary to secure one's fate are 'vanity' or futile. In the face of such uncertainty, the author's counsel is to enjoy the good things that God provides while one has them to enjoy. This is great. I've accumulated hundreds of facts in the last seven thousand pages, but i've been craving profundity and perspective. Yes, there was that Dyer poem, but that was just cynical. This is the real thing: the deepest paragraph I've read so far in the encyclopedia. Instant wisdom. It couldn't be more true: the race does not go to the swift. How else to explain the mouth-breathing cretins I knew in high school who now have multimillion-dollar salaries? How else to explain my brilliant friends who are stuck selling wheatgrass juice at health food stores? How else to explain Vin Diesel's show business career? Yes, life is desperately, insanely, absurdly unfair. But Ecclesiastes offers exactly the correct reaction to that fact. There's nothing to be done about it, so enjoy what you can. Take pleasure in the small things - like, for me, Julie's laugh, some nice onion dip, the insanely comfortable beat-up leather chair in our living room. I keep thinking about Ecclesiastes in the days that follow. What if this is the best the encyclopedia has to offer? What if I found the meaning of life on page 347 of the E volume? The Britannica is not a traditional book, so there's no reason why the big revelation should be at the end.
A.J. Jacobs
The Savior is working mightily among men, every day He is invisibly persuading numbers of people all over the world, both within and beyond the Greek-speaking world, to accept His faith and be obedient to His teaching. Can anyone, in face of this, still doubt that He has risen and lives, or rather that He is Himself the Life? Does a dead man prick the consciences of men, so that they throw all the traditions of their fathers to the winds and bow down before the teaching of Christ?
Athanasius of Alexandria (On The Incarnation)
There were two things about this particular book (The Golden Book of Fairy Tales) that made it vital to the child I was. First, it contained a remarkable number of stories about courageous, active girls; and second, it portrayed the various evils they faced in unflinching terms. Just below their diamond surface, these were stories of great brutality and anguish, many of which had never been originally intended for children at all. (Although Ponsot included tales from the Brothers Grimm and Andersen, the majority of her selections were drawn from the French contes de fées tradition — stories created as part of the vogue for fairy tales in seventeenth century Paris, recounted in literary salons and published for adult readers.) I hungered for a narrative with which to make some sense of my life, but in schoolbooks and on television all I could find was the sugar water of Dick and Jane, Leave it to Beaver and the happy, wholesome Brady Bunch. Mine was not a Brady Bunch family; it was troubled, fractured, persistently violent, and I needed the stronger meat of wolves and witches, poisons and peril. In fairy tales, I had found a mirror held up to the world I knew — where adults were dangerous creatures, and Good and Evil were not abstract concepts. (…) There were in those days no shelves full of “self–help” books for people with pasts like mine. In retrospect, I’m glad it was myth and folklore I turned to instead. Too many books portray child abuse as though it’s an illness from which one must heal, like cancer . . .or malaria . . .or perhaps a broken leg. Eventually, this kind of book promises, the leg will be strong enough to use, despite a limp betraying deeper wounds that might never mend. Through fairy tales, however, I understood my past in different terms: not as an illness or weakness, but as a hero narrative. It was a story, my story, beginning with birth and ending only with death. Difficult challenges and trials, even those that come at a tender young age, can make us wiser, stronger, and braver; they can serve to transform us, rather than sending us limping into the future.
Terri Windling (Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales)
The horrors of the Middle Ages were really nonexistent. A man of the Middle Ages would detest the whole mode of our present-day life as something far more than horrible, far more than barbarous. Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap. A man of the Classical Age who had to live in medieval times would suffocate miserably just as a savage does in the midst of our civilization. Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence. Naturally, every one does not feel this equally strongly. A nature such as Nietzsche's had to suffer our present ills more than a generation in advance. What he had to go through alone and misunderstood, thousands suffer today.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
You must be a rich man," she said. "Not much of a warrior, though. You keep letting me sneak up on you." You don't surprise me," he said. "The Plains Indians had women who rode their horses eighteen hours a day. They could shoot seven arrows consecutively, have them all in the air at the same time. They were the best light cavalry in the world." Just my luck," she said. "An educated Indian." Yeah," he said. "Reservation University." They both laughed at the old joke. Every Indian is an alumnus. Where you from?" she asked. Wellpinit," he said. "I'm a Spokane." I should've known. You got those fisherman's hands." Ain't no salmon left in our river. Just a school bus and a few hundred basketballs." What the hell you talking about?" Our basketball team drives into the river and drowns every year," he said. "It's a tradition." She laughed. "You're just a storyteller, ain't you?" I'm just telling you things before they happen," he said. "The same things sons and daughters will tell your mothers and fathers." Do you ever answer a question straight?" Depends on the question," he said. Do you want to be my powwow paradise?
Sherman Alexie (The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven)
When we don’t pay close attention to the decisions made by our leaders, when we fail to educate ourselves about the major issues of the day, when we choose not to make our voices and opinions heard, that’s when democracy breaks down. That’s when power is abused. That’s when the most extreme voices in our society fill the void that we leave. That’s when powerful interests and their lobbyists are most able to buy access and influence in the corridors of power –- because none of us are there to speak up and stop them. Participation in public life doesn’t mean that you all have to run for public office -– though we could certainly use some fresh faces in Washington. (Laughter and applause.) But it does mean that you should pay attention and contribute in any way that you can. Stay informed. Write letters, or make phone calls on behalf of an issue you care about. If electoral politics isn’t your thing, continue the tradition so many of you started here at Michigan and find a way to serve your community and your country –- an act that will help you stay connected to your fellow citizens and improve the lives of those around you.
Barack Obama
The patriarchy longs for the days 'when men were men' and women were oppressed, subservient - and they can see no wrong in it. It justifies its former power and lust to hold on to it - and if possible, to regain it by quoting fundamentalist and radical religion and tradition and calling it 'love'. Some love. How can oppression and power over another person's life ever be 'love'?
Christina Engela (Autumn Burning: Dreadtime Stories for the Wicked Soul)
In [the] early days, Muslims did not see Islam as a new, exclusive religion but as a continuation of the primordial faith of the ‘People of the Book’, the Jews and Christians. In one remarkable passage, God insists that Muslims must accept indiscriminately the revelations of every single one of God’s messengers: Abraham, Isaac, Ishamel, Jacob, Moses, Jesus and all the other prophets. The Qur’an is simply a ‘confirmation’ of the previous scriptures. Nobody must be forced to accept Islam, because each of the revealed traditions had its own din; it was not God’s will that all human beings should belong to the same faith community. God was not the exclusive property of any one tradition; the divine light could not be confined to a single lamp, belonged neither to the East or to the West, but enlightened all human beings. Muslims must speak courteously to the People of the Book, debate with them only in ‘the most kindly manner’, remember that they worshipped the same God, and not engage in pointless, aggressive disputes.
Karen Armstrong (The Case for God)
History proves beyond any possibility of doubt that no religion has ever given a stimulus to scientific progress comparable to that of Islam. The encouragement which learning and scientific research received from Islamic theology resulted in the splendid cultural achievements in the days of the Umayyads and Abbasids and the Arab rule in Sicily and Spain. I do not mention this in order that we might boast of those glorious memories at a time when the Islamic world has forsaken its own traditions and reverted to spiritual blindness and intellectual poverty. We have no right, in our present misery, to boast of past glories. But we must realize that it was the negligence of the Muslims and not any deficiency in the teachings of Islam that caused our present decay. Islam has never been a barrier to progress and science. It appreciates the intellectual activities of man to such a degree as to place him above the angels. No other religion ever went so far in asserting the dominance of reason and, consequently, of learning, above all other manifestations of human life.
Muhammad Asad (Islam at the Crossroads)
Through our own creative experience we came to know that the real tradition in art is not housed only in museums and art galleries and in great works of art; it is innate in us and can be galvanized into activity by the power of creative endeavor in our own day, and in our own country, by our own creative individuals in the arts. We also came to realize that we in Canada cannot truly understand the great cultures of the past and of other peoples, until we ourselves commence our own creative life in the arts. Until we do so, we are looking at these from the outside.
Lawren Harris (The Best of the Group of Seven)
Everybody has heard of the great Heidelberg Tun, and most people have seen it, no doubt. It is a wine-cask as big as a cottage, and some traditions say it holds eighteen hundred thousand bottles, and other traditions say it holds eighteen hundred million barrels. I think it likely that one of these statements is a mistake, and the other is a lie. However, the mere matter of capacity is a thing of no sort of consequence, since the cask is empty, and indeed has always been empty, history says. An empty cask the size of a cathedral could excite but little emotion in me. I do not see any wisdom in building a monster cask to hoard up emptiness in, when you can get a better quality, outside, any day, free of expense.
Mark Twain (A Tramp Abroad)
I can teach them little things that may not be in any of the great books on writing. For instance, I’m not sure if anyone else has mentioned that December is traditionally a bad month for writing. It is a month of Mondays. Mondays are not good writing days. One has had all that freedom over the weekend, all that authenticity, all those dreamy dreams, and then your angry mute Slavic Uncle Monday arrives, and it is time to sit down at your desk.
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)
...the experience of reading a novel has certain qualities that remind us of the traditional apprehension of mythology. It can be seen as a form of meditation. Readers have to live with a novel for days or even weeks. It projects them into another world, parallel to but apart from their ordinary lives. They know perfectly well that this fictional realm is not 'real' and yet while they are reading it becomes compelling. A powerful novel becomes part of the backdrop of our lives, long after we have laid the book asie. It is an exercise of make-believe that, like yoga or a religious festival, breaks down barriers of space and time and extends our sympathies, so that we are able to empathise with others lives and sorrows. It teaches compassion, the ability to 'feel with' others. And, like mythology, an important novel is transformative. If we allow it to do so, it can change us forever.
Karen Armstrong
José What now, José? The party’s over, the lights are off, the crowd’s gone, the night’s gone cold, what now, José? what now, you? you without a name, who mocks the others, you who write poetry who love, protest? what now, José? You have no wife, you have no speech you have no affection, you can’t drink, you can’t smoke, you can’t even spit, the night’s gone cold, the day didn’t come, the tram didn’t come, laughter didn’t come utopia didn’t come and everything ended and everything fled and everything rotted what now, José? what now, José? Your sweet words, your instance of fever, your feasting and fasting, your library, your gold mine, your glass suit, your incoherence, your hate—what now? Key in hand you want to open the door, but no door exists; you want to die in the sea, but the sea has dried; you want to go to Minas but Minas is no longer there. José, what now? If you screamed, if you moaned, if you played a Viennese waltz, if you slept, if you tired, if you died… But you don’t die, you’re stubborn, José! Alone in the dark like a wild animal, without tradition, without a naked wall to lean against, without a black horse that flees galloping, you march, José! José, where to?
Carlos Drummond de Andrade
It is a mistake to think of the expatriate as someone who abdicates, who withdraws and humbles himself, resigned to his miseries, his outcast state. On a closer look, he turns out to be ambitious, aggressive in his disappointments, his very acrimony qualified by his belligerence. The more we are dispossessed, the more intense our appetites and illusions become. I even discern some relation between misfortune and megalomania. The man who has lost everything preserves as a last resort the hope of glory, or of literary scandal. He consents to abandon everything, except his name. [ . . . ] Let us say a man writes a novel which makes him, overnight, a celebrity. In it he recounts his sufferings. His compatriots in exile envy him: they too have suffered, perhaps more. And the man without a country becomes—or aspires to become—a novelist. The consequence: an accumulation of confusions, an inflation of horrors, of frissons that date. One cannot keep renewing Hell, whose very characteristic is monotony, or the face of exile either. Nothing in literature exasperates a reader so much as The Terrible; in life, it too is tainted with the obvious to rouse our interest. But our author persists; for the time being he buries his novel in a drawer and awaits his hour. The illusion of surprise, of a renown which eludes his grasp but on which he reckons, sustains him; he lives on unreality. Such, however, is the power of this illusion that if, for instance, he works in some factory, it is with the notion of being freed from it one day or another by a fame as sudden as it is inconceivable. * Equally tragic is the case of the poet. Walled up in his own language, he writes for his friends—for ten, for twenty persons at the most. His longing to be read is no less imperious than that of the impoverished novelist. At least he has the advantage over the latter of being able to get his verses published in the little émigré reviews which appear at the cost of almost indecent sacrifices and renunciations. Let us say such a man becomes—transforms himself—into an editor of such a review; to keep his publication alive he risks hunger, abstains from women, buries himself in a windowless room, imposes privations which confound and appall. Tuberculosis and masturbation, that is his fate. No matter how scanty the number of émigrés, they form groups, not to protect their interests but to get up subscriptions, to bleed each other white in order to publish their regrets, their cries, their echoless appeals. One cannot conceive of a more heart rending form of the gratuitous. That they are as good poets as they are bad prose writers is to be accounted for readily enough. Consider the literary production of any "minor" nation which has not been so childish as to make up a past for itself: the abundance of poetry is its most striking characteristic. Prose requires, for its development, a certain rigor, a differentiated social status, and a tradition: it is deliberate, constructed; poetry wells up: it is direct or else totally fabricated; the prerogative of cave men or aesthetes, it flourishes only on the near or far side of civilization, never at the center. Whereas prose demands a premeditated genius and a crystallized language, poetry is perfectly compatible with a barbarous genius and a formless language. To create a literature is to create a prose.
Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
To pragmatists, the letter Z is nothing more than a phonetically symbolic glyph, a minor sign easily learned, readily assimilated, and occasionally deployed in the course of a literate life. To cynics, Z is just an S with a stick up its butt. Well, true enough, any word worth repeating is greater than the sum of its parts; and the particular word-part Z can, from a certain perspective, appear anally wired. On those of us neither prosaic nor jaded, however, those whom the Fates have chosen to monitor such things, Z has had an impact above and beyond its signifying function. A presence in its own right, it’s the most distant and elusive of our twenty-six linguistic atoms; a mysterious, dark figure in an otherwise fairly innocuous lineup, and the sleekest little swimmer ever to take laps in a bowl of alphabet soup. Scarcely a day of my life has gone by when I’ve not stirred the alphabetical ant nest, yet every time I type or pen the letter Z, I still feel a secret tingle, a tiny thrill… Z is a whip crack of a letter, a striking viper of a letter, an open jackknife ever ready to cut the cords of convention or peel the peach of lust. A Z is slick, quick, arcane, eccentric, and always faintly sinister - although its very elegance separates it from the brutish X, that character traditionally associated with all forms of extinction. If X wields a tire iron, Z packs a laser gun. Zap! If X is Mike Hammer, Z is James Bond. If X marks the spot, Z avoids the spot, being too fluid, too cosmopolitan, to remain in one place. In contrast to that prim, trim, self-absorbed supermodel, I, or to O, the voluptuous, orgasmic, bighearted slut, were Z a woman, she would be a femme fatale, the consonant we love to fear and fear to love.
Tom Robbins
I keep meeting so many couples who feel trapped by the traditional concept of love. They’re actually stuck in between love and sensuality. They seek more sensuality because love, quite frankly, is just not enough. As I usually say, love is an occupation of the idle. The reason why love today doesn’t work like it used to is because we have outgrown it. Have you looked at couples these days? They are bored out of their minds with each other they don’t know what to do with themselves. Many feel trapped or like they’re letting their lives pass them by. I can’t blame them. Here’s the thing, the concept of love has to be constantly renewed (for every generation), and the only way to renew it is through evolving our sensuality. But sensuality is still a taboo in our society. If only people knew that by consistently upgrading our own sensuality we are essentially making sure that we keep love FOREVER FRESH and relevant to our ever-evolving needs (and every generation), then they would be more embracing towards this idea of sensual living. Remember, human beings are not stagnant creatures. Your partner’s needs are a constantly moving target. In fact, love is a constantly moving target. So how do you build foresight that will help you keep figuring out what (or who) your partner IS BECOMING... daily... weekly... monthly... yearly, so that you can avoid being washed out by their perpetual evolution? I believe that developing your ability to stay consistent with our own sensual growth is highly crucial in this day and age. It’s what’s going to help you survive being washed out, outgrown, or become irrelevant in your partner’s life. You’ve got to keep up. You can’t be lazy or complacent because you’re ‘in love.’ Stop using love as a security. Sensuality is the new security. Sensuality is what’s going to help you keep up with the chase of your partner's constantly evolving nature.
Lebo Grand
Alex took a high stool and ordered a whiskey. “Little early in the day for celebration,” the barkeep said as he poured. “What’s the occasion?” “It turns out,” Alex said, exaggerating his Mariner Valley drawl just a little for the effect, “that sometimes I’m an asshole.” “Hard truth.” “It is.” “You expect drinking alone to improve that?” “Nope. Just observing the traditions of alienated masculine pain.” “Fair enough,” the barkeep said. “Want some food with it?” “I’d look at a menu.
James S.A. Corey (Nemesis Games (Expanse #5))
Brida’s eyes filled with tears. She was proud of her Soulmate. That is what the forest taught me. That you will never be mine, and that is why I will never lose you. You were my hope during my days of loneliness, my anxiety during moments of doubt, my certainty during moments of faith. Knowing that my Soulmate would come one day, I devoted myself to learning the Tradition of the Sun. Knowing that you existed was my one reason for continuing to live.’ Brida could no longer conceal her tears. Then you came, and I understood all of this. You came to free me from the slavery I myself had created, to tell me that I was free to return to the world and to the things of the world. I understood everything I needed to know, and I love you more than all the women I have ever known, more than I loved the woman who, quite unwittingly, exiled me to the forest. I will always remember now that love is liberty. That was the lesson it took me so many years to learn. That is the lesson that sent me into exile and now sets me free again.’ I will always remember you, and you will remember me, just as we will remember the evening, the rain on the windows, and all the things we’ll always have because we cannot possess them.
Paulo Coelho (Brida)
It takes work to keep the world whole. A simple thing like a cup needs to be cleaned each day, placed carefully back on the shelf, not dropped. A city, in its own way, is every bit as delicate. People move over the causeways, ply the canals with their oars, go between their markets and their homes, buy and barter, swindle and sell, and all the while, mostly unknowingly, they are holding that city together. Each civil word is a stitch knitting it tight. Every law observed, willingly or grudgingly, helps to bind the whole. Every tradition, every social more, every act of neighborly goodwill is a stay against chaos. So many souls, so much effort, so difficult to create and so simple to shatter.
Brian Staveley (Skullsworn (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne))
Then there was Mr Mandela. Everybody knew about Mr Mandela and how he had forgiven those who had imprisoned him. They had taken away years and years of his life simply because he wanted justice. They had set him to work in a quarry and his eyes had been permanently damaged by the rock dust. But at last, when he had walked out of the prison on that breathless, luminous day, he had said nothing about revenge or even retribution. He had said that there were more important things to do than to complain about the past, and in time he had shown that he meant this by hundreds of acts of kindness towards those who had treated him so badly. That was the real African way, the tradition that was closest to the heart of Africa. We are all children of Africa, and none of us is better or more important than the other. This is what Africa could say to the world: it could remind it what it is to be human.
Alexander McCall Smith (Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #2))
However, revolt is the only way out of the colonial situation, and the colonized realizes it sooner or later. His condition is absolute and cries for an absolute solution; a break and not a compromise. He has been torn away from his past and cut off from his future, his traditions are dying and he loses the hope of acquiring a new culture. He has neither language, nor flag, nor technical knowledge, nor national or international existence, nor rights, nor duties. He possesses nothing, is no longer anything and no longer hopes for anything. Moreover, the solution becomes more urgent every day. The mechanism for destroying the colonized cannot but worsen daily. The more oppression increases, the more the colonizer needs justification. The more he must debase the colonized, the more guilty he feels, the more he must justify himself, etc. How can he emerge from this increasingly explosive circle except by rupture, explosion? The colonial situation, by its own internal inevitability, brings on revolt. For the colonial condition cannot be adjusted to; like an iron collar, it can only be broken.
Albert Memmi (The Colonizer and the Colonized)
The decadence which did occur in the Islamic world belongs to a much later period of Islamic history than is usually claimed. This fact would be fully substantiated if the integral history of Islamic science and civilization were to be written one day. Unfortunately to this day such a detailed history does not exist and moreover much of the scholarly work that has been done in this field has been carried out by Western scholars who have been naturally primarily interested in those aspects of the Islamic sciences that have influenced the West. It remains the task of Muslims scholars and scientists to look upon the whole of this scientific tradition from the point of view of Islam and the inner dynamics of Islamic history itself.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (A Young Muslim's Guide to the Modern World)
Traditional feminism would tell you that we should concentrate on the big stuff like pay inequality, female circumcision in the Third World, and domestic abuse. And they are, obviously, pressing and disgusting and wrong, and the world cannot look itself squarely in the eye until they're stopped. But all those littler, stupider, more obvious day-to-day problems with being a woman are, in many ways, just as deleterious to women's peace of mind. It is the "Broken Windows" philosophy, transferred to female inequality. In the Broken Windows theory, if a single broken window on an empty building is ignored and not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may break into the building and light fires, or become squatters. Similarly, if we live in a climate where female pubic hair is considered distasteful, or famous and powerful women are constantly pilloried for being too fat or too thin, or badly dressed, then, eventually, people start breaking into women, and lighting fires in them. Women will get squatters. Clearly, this is not a welcome state of affairs.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
Takamasa Saegusa: 'Seigen, a mere member of the Toudouza, had the effrontery to sully the sacred dueling ground. For that reason, our lord had already decided to subject him to tu-uchi before long. Cut off his head immediately, and stick it on a pike!' Gennosuke could hardly believe his ears. Such an insult to Irako Seigen was unwarranted. It was pride. For Gennosuke, Irako Seigen was pride itself. Takamasa Saegusa: 'Fujiki Gennosuke! It is the way of the samurai to take the head of the defeated enemy on the battleground. Do not hesitate! If you are a samurai, you must carry out the duty of a samurai!' Samurai... Saegusa, Lord of Izu, continued shouting, but Gennosuke did not attend. That word 'samurai' alone reverberated through his body. If one aims at the juncture between the base of the skull and the spine, decapitation is not that difficult, but Gennosuke could muster no more strength than a baby. He grew pale and trembled with the strain. He could only hack with his sword as if he were sawing wood. He felt nauseated, as if his own cells one after another were being annihilated. But this... Lord Tokugawa Tadanaga: 'I approve.' Takamasa Saegusa: 'Fujiki Gennosuke, for this splendid action you have received words of thanks from our lord. As a sign of his exceptional approval, you shall be given employment at Sunpu Castle. This great debt will by no means be forgotten. From this day forward you must offer your life to our lord!' Prostrating himself, Gennosuke vomited.
Takayuki Yamaguchi (シグルイ 15(Shigurui, #15))
A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words. This man – or this woman – may use a typewriter, profit from the ease of a computer, or write with a pen on paper, as I have done for 30 years. As he writes, he can drink tea or coffee, or smoke cigarettes. From time to time he may rise from his table to look out through the window at the children playing in the street, and, if he is lucky, at trees and a view, or he can gaze out at a black wall. He can write poems, plays, or novels, as I do. All these differences come after the crucial task of sitting down at the table and patiently turning inwards. To write is to turn this inward gaze into words, to study the world into which that person passes when he retires into himself, and to do so with patience, obstinacy, and joy. As I sit at my table, for days, months, years, slowly adding new words to the empty page, I feel as if I am creating a new world, as if I am bringing into being that other person inside me, in the same way someone might build a bridge or a dome, stone by stone. The stones we writers use are words. As we hold them in our hands, sensing the ways in which each of them is connected to the others, looking at them sometimes from afar, sometimes almost caressing them with our fingers and the tips of our pens, weighing them, moving them around, year in and year out, patiently and hopefully, we create new worlds.
Orhan Pamuk
[from Some words about 'War and Peace'] In those days also people loved, envied, sought truth and virtue, and where carried away by passions; and there was the same complex mental and moral life among the upper classes, where were in some instances even more refined than now. If we have come to believe in the perversity and coarse violence of that period, that is only because the traditions, memoirs, stories, and novels that have been handed to us, record for the most part exceptional cases of violence and brutality. To suppose that the predominant characteristic of that period was turbulence, is as unjust as it would before a man, seeing nothing but the tops of trees beyond a hill, to conclude that there was nothing to be found in that locality but trees.
Leo Tolstoy
The marriage ceremony is sexist beyond parody. The bride appears in a fussy white dress that symbolizes her virtue and virginity, and everyone keeps on remarking on how thin and beautiful she looks. Her father walks her down the aisle to ‘give her away’, and she passes, like property, from one man to another. The minister, who is traditionally a man, gives the man permission to kiss the woman, as if that is in the minister’s authority and the woman has none. The man kisses, the woman is kissed. At the reception, only men are given to speak, while the bride remains seated and silent. Henceforth, the woman will adopt the man’s name, as will their eventual offspring. Despite all this, the wedding day is said to belong to the woman. This, would you believe, is ‘her day’.
Neel Burton (For Better For Worse: Should I Get Married?)
That's what arrest is: it's a blinding flash and a blow which shifts the present instantly into the past and the impossible into omnipotent actuality. That's all. And neither for the first hour nor for the first day will you be able to grasp anything else. Except that in your desperation the fake circus moon will blink at you: "It's a mistake! They'll set things right!" And everything which is by now comprised in the traditional, even literary, image of an arrest will pile up and take shape, not in your own disordered memory, but in what your family and your neighbors in your apartment remember: The sharp nighttime ring or the rude knock at the door. The insolent entrance of the unwiped jackboots of the unsleeping State Security operatives. The frightened and cowed civilian witness at their backs. (And what function does this civilian witness serve? The victim doesn't even dare think about it and the operatives don't remember, but that's what the regulations call for, and so he has to sit there all night long and sign in the morning. 1 For the witness, jerked from his bed, it is torture too—to go out night after night to help arrest his own neighbors and acquaintances.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
For the first time in his life, Midhat wished he were more religious. Of course he prayed, but though that was a private mechanism it sometimes felt like a public act, and the lessons of the Quran were lessons by rote, one was steeped in them, hearing them so often. They were the texture of his world, and yet they did not occupy that central, vital part of his mind, the part that was vibrating at this moment, on this train, rattling forward while he struggled to hold all these pieces. As a child he had felt some of the same curiosity he held for the mysteries of other creeds—for Christianity with its holy fire, the Samaritans with their alphabets—but that feeling had dulled while he was still young, when traditional religion began to seem a worldly thing, a realm of morals and laws and the same old stories and holidays. They were acts, not thoughts. He faced the water now along the coast, steadying his gaze on the slow distance, beyond the blur of trees pushing past the tracks, on the desolate fishing boats hobbling over the waves. He sensed himself tracing the lip of something very large, something black and well-like, a vessel which was at the same time an emptiness, and he thought, without thinking precisely, only feeling with the tender edges of his mind, what the Revelation might have been for in its origin. Why it was so important that they could argue to the sword what it meant if God had hands, and whether He had made the universe. Underneath it all was a living urgency, that original issue of magnitude; the way several hundred miles on foot could be nothing to the mind, Nablus to Cairo, one thought of a day’s journey by train, but placed vertically that same distance in depth exposed the body’s smallness and suddenly one thought of dying. Did one need to face the earth, nose to soil, to feel that distance towering above? There was something of his own mortality in this. Oh then but why, in a moment of someone else’s death, must he think of his own disappearance?
Isabella Hammad (The Parisian)
Oh, by the way," Coop announces as he weaves his DeathBot ship through a barrage of space debris on his laptop screen. "In case you didn't know. It's national 'That's What She Said' Day." I give him a thumbs-up. "I like it." We're camping out in Sean's backyard tonight. It's another one of our traditions. One night, every summer, we buy a ton of junk food and energy drinks and set up Sean's six-person tent in the far corner of his yard. We've got an extension cord running from the garage so that we can rough it in style, with computers and a TV and DVD player. There's a citronella candle burning in the middle of the tent to ward off mosquitoes and to mask the thick stink of mildew. Everyone's brought sleeping bags and pillows, but we aren't planning on logging too many Zs. Sean enters the tent carrying his Xbox. "I don't think there are enough sockets for all of these." I waggle my eyebrows at Coop. "That's what she said." Coop busts up. Sean stands there, looking confused. "I don't get it." "That's what she says," Coop says, sending him and me into hysterics. Sean sighs and puts the Xbox down. "I can see this is going to be a long night." "That's what she said," me and Coop howl in chorus. "Are you guys done yet?" Coop is practically in tears. "That's what she said." "Okay. I'll just keep my mouth shut," Sean grumbles. "That's what she said." I can barely talk I'm laughing so hard. "Enough. No more. My cheeks hurt," Coop says, rubbing his face. I point at him. "That's what she said." And with that, the three of us fall over in fits. "Oh, man, now look what you made me do." Coop motions to his computer. "That was my last DeathBot ship." "That's what she said," Sean blurts out, laughing at his nonsensical joke. Coop and I stare at him, and then silmultaniously, we hit Sean in the face with our pillows.
Don Calame (Swim the Fly (Swim the Fly, #1))
Original sin is a self-initiating act because it evidences human free will. If humanity were devoid of free will, it would relegate humankind to living by instinct. A person who lives by instinct might survive for an enviable period, but they will never live a heroic existence. Every hero’s story commences with an unsatisfied and optimistic person venturing out from the comfortable confines of their common day world, facing forces of fabulous power, and fighting a magnificent personal battle. The greatest traditional heroes were warriors whom survived on the battlefield and learned valuable lessons of honor, love, loyalty, and courage. Heroic warriors and spiritual seekers undertook a rigorous quest, an enduring ordeal that enabled them to transcend their own personhood’s shallow desire merely to survive. By enduring hardships, experiencing breathtaking encounters with the physical world, and undergoing a spiritual renaissance, the hero gains a hard-won sense self-discovery, comprehends his or her place in society, and accepts their role as a teacher. A hero is a bearer of light, wisdom, and charity. The hero reenters society and shares their culmination of knowledge by devoting their life to teaching other people.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Karl Marx famously belittled religion as an “opiate for the masses,” a drug that the spread of worldwide socialism would one day make undesirable. Obama’s aside in San Francisco about “bitter” Americans clinging to belief in God out of economic frustration was nothing more than a restatement of Marx’s view of religion. Like Marx, Obama views traditional religion as a temporary opiate for the poor, confused, and jobless—a drug that will dissipate, he hopes, as the federal government assumes more God-like powers, and his new morality of abortion, subsidized contraception, and gay marriage gains adherents. “You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not,” Obama said, warming to his theme in San Francisco. “So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Phyllis Schlafly (No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom)
But where should he begin? - Well, then, the trouble with the English was their: Their: In a word, Gibreel solemnly pronounced, their weather. Gibreel Farishta floating on his cloud formed the opinion that the moral fuzziness of the English was meteorologically induced. 'When the day is not warmer than the night,' he reasoned, 'when the light is not brighter than the dark, when the land is not drier than the sea, then clearly a people will lose the power to make distinctions, and commence to see everything - from political parties to sexual partners to religious beliefs - as much-the-same, nothing-to-choose, give-or-take. What folly! For truth is extreme, it is so and not thus, it is him and not her; a partisan matter, not a spectator sport. It is, in brief, heated. City,' he cried, and his voice rolled over the metropolis like thunder, 'I am going to tropicalize you.' Gibreel enumerated the benefits of the proposed metamorphosis of London into a tropical city: increased moral definition, institution of a national siesta, development of vivid and expansive patterns of behaviour among the populace, higher-quality popular music, new birds in the trees (macaws, peacocks, cockatoos), new trees under the birds (coco-palms, tamarind, banyans with hanging beards). Improved street-life, outrageously coloured flowers (magenta, vermilion, neon-green), spider-monkeys in the oaks. A new mass market for domestic air-conditioning units, ceiling fans, anti-mosquito coils and sprays. A coir and copra industry. Increased appeal of London as a centre for conferences, etc.: better cricketeers; higher emphasis on ball-control among professional footballers, the traditional and soulless English commitment to 'high workrate' having been rendered obsolete by the heat. Religious fervour, political ferment, renewal of interest in the intellegentsia. No more British reserve; hot-water bottles to be banished forever, replaced in the foetid nights by the making of slow and odorous love. Emergence of new social values: friends to commence dropping in on one another without making appointments, closure of old-folks' homes, emphasis on the extended family. Spicier foods; the use of water as well as paper in English toilets; the joy of running fully dressed through the first rains of the monsoon. Disadvantages: cholera, typhoid, legionnaires' disease, cockroaches, dust, noise, a culture of excess. Standing upon the horizon, spreading his arms to fill the sky, Gibreel cried: 'Let it be.
Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses)
The first school shooting that attracted the attention of a horrified nation occurred on March 24, 1998, in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Two boys opened fire on a schoolyard full of girls, killing four and one female teacher. In the wake of what came to be called the Jonesboro massacre, violence experts in media and academia sought to explain what others called “inexplicable.” For example, in a front-page Boston Globe story three days after the tragedy, David Kennedy from Harvard University was quoted as saying that these were “peculiar, horrible acts that can’t easily be explained.” Perhaps not. But there is a framework of explanation that goes much further than most of those routinely offered. It does not involve some incomprehensible, mysterious force. It is so straightforward that some might (incorrectly) dismiss it as unworthy of mention. Even after a string of school shootings by (mostly white) boys over the past decade, few Americans seem willing to face the fact that interpersonal violence—whether the victims are female or male—is a deeply gendered phenomenon. Obviously both sexes are victimized. But one sex is the perpetrator in the overwhelming majority of cases. So while the mainstream media provided us with tortured explanations for the Jonesboro tragedy that ranged from supernatural “evil” to the presence of guns in the southern tradition, arguably the most important story was overlooked. The Jonesboro massacre was in fact a gender crime. The shooters were boys, the victims girls. With the exception of a handful of op-ed pieces and a smattering of quotes from feminist academics in mainstream publications, most of the coverage of Jonesboro omitted in-depth discussion of one of the crucial facts of the tragedy. The older of the two boys reportedly acknowledged that the killings were an act of revenge he had dreamed up after having been rejected by a girl. This is the prototypical reason why adult men murder their wives. If a woman is going to be murdered by her male partner, the time she is most vulnerable is after she leaves him. Why wasn’t all of this widely discussed on television and in print in the days and weeks after the horrific shooting? The gender crime aspect of the Jonesboro tragedy was discussed in feminist publications and on the Internet, but was largely absent from mainstream media conversation. If it had been part of the discussion, average Americans might have been forced to acknowledge what people in the battered women’s movement have known for years—that our high rates of domestic and sexual violence are caused not by something in the water (or the gene pool), but by some of the contradictory and dysfunctional ways our culture defines “manhood.” For decades, battered women’s advocates and people who work with men who batter have warned us about the alarming number of boys who continue to use controlling and abusive behaviors in their relations with girls and women. Jonesboro was not so much a radical deviation from the norm—although the shooters were very young—as it was melodramatic evidence of the depth of the problem. It was not something about being kids in today’s society that caused a couple of young teenagers to put on camouflage outfits, go into the woods with loaded .22 rifles, pull a fire alarm, and then open fire on a crowd of helpless girls (and a few boys) who came running out into the playground. This was an act of premeditated mass murder. Kids didn’t do it. Boys did.
Jackson Katz (Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and and How All Men Can Help)
You may have read or heard about the so-called positive thinkers of the West. They say just the opposite -- they don't know what they are saying. They say, "When you breathe out, throw out all your misery and negativity; and when you breathe in, breathe in joy, positivity, happiness, cheerfulness." Atisha's method is just the opposite: when you breathe in, breathe in all the misery and suffering of all the beings of the world -- past, present and future. And when you breathe out, breathe out all the joy that you have, all the blissfulness that you have, all the benediction that you have. Breathe out, pour yourself into existence. This is the method of compassion: drink in all the suffering and pour out all the blessings. And you will be surprised if you do it. The moment you take all the sufferings of the world inside you, they are no longer sufferings. The heart immediately transforms the energy. The heart is a transforming force: drink in misery, and it is transformed into blissfulness... then pour it out. Once you have learned that your heart can do this magic, this miracle, you would like to do it again and again. Try it. It is one of the most practical methods -- simple, and it brings immediate results. Do it today, and see. That is one of the approaches of Buddha and all his disciples. Atisha is one of his disciples, in the same tradition, in the same line. Buddha says again and again to his disciples, "IHI PASSIKO: come and see!" They are very scientific people. Buddhism is the most scientific religion on the earth; hence, Buddhism is gaining more and more ground in the world every day. As the world becomes more intelligent, Buddha will become more and more important. It is bound to be so. As more and more people come to know about science, Buddha will have great appeal, because he will convince the scientific mind -- because he says, "Whatsoever I am saying can be practiced." And I don't say to you, "Believe it," I say, "Experiment with it, experience it, and only then if you feel it yourself, trust it. Otherwise there is no need to believe.
Osho (The Book of Wisdom)
At the end of the vacation, I took a steamer alone from Wuhan back up through the Yangtze Gorges. The journey took three days. One morning, as I was leaning over the side, a gust of wind blew my hair loose and my hairpin fell into the river. A passenger with whom I had been chatting pointed to a tributary which joined the Yangtze just where we were passing, and told me a story.In 33 B.C., the emperor of China, in an attempt to appease the country's powerful northern neighbors, the Huns, decided to send a woman to marry the barbarian king. He made his selection from the portraits of the 3,000 concubines in his court, many of whom he had never seen. As she was for a barbarian, he selected the ugliest portrait, but on the day of her departure he discovered that the woman was in fact extremely beautiful. Her portrait was ugly because she had refused to bribe the court painter. The emperor ordered the artist to be executed, while the lady wept, sitting by a river, at having to leave her country to live among the barbarians. The wind carried away her hairpin and dropped it into the river as though it wanted to keep something of hers in her homeland. Later on, she killed herself. Legend had it that where her hairpin dropped, the river turned crystal clear, and became known as the Crystal River. My fellow passenger told me this was the tributary we were passing. With a grin, he declared: "Ah, bad omen! You might end up living in a foreign land and marrying a barbarian!" I smiled faintly at the traditional Chinese obsession about other races being 'barbarians," and wondered whether this lady of antiquity might not actually have been better off marrying the 'barbarian' king. She would at least be in daily contact with the grassland, the horses, and nature. With the Chinese emperor, she was living in a luxurious prison, without even a proper tree, which might enable the concubines to climb a wall and escape. I thought how we were like the frogs at the bottom of the well in the Chinese legend, who claimed that the sky was only as big as the round opening at the top of their well. I felt an intense and urgent desire to see the world. At the time I had never spoken with a foreigner, even though I was twenty-three, and had been an English language student for nearly two years. The only foreigners I had ever even set eyes on had been in Peking in 1972. A foreigner, one of the few 'friends of China," had come to my university once. It was a hot summer day and I was having a nap when a fellow student burst into our room and woke us all by shrieking: "A foreigner is here! Let's go and look at the foreigner!" Some of the others went, but I decided to stay and continue my snooze. I found the whole idea of gazing, zombie like rather ridiculous. Anyway, what was the point of staring if we were forbidden to open our mouths to him, even though he was a 'friend of China'? I had never even heard a foreigner speaking, except on one single Linguaphone record. When I started learning the language, I had borrowed the record and a phonograph, and listened to it at home in Meteorite Street. Some neighbors gathered in the courtyard, and said with their eyes wide open and their heads shaking, "What funny sounds!" They asked me to play the record over and over again.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
The Chicago literary tradition is born not out of its Universities, but out of the sports desk and the city desk of its newspapers. Hemingway revolutionized English prose. His inspiration was the telegraph, whose use, at Western Union, taught this: every word costs something, This, of course, is the essence of poetry, which is the essence of great prose. Chicagoan literature came from the newspaper, whose purpose, in those days, was to Tell What Happened. Hemingway's epiphany was reported, earlier, by Keats as " 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty' --that is all ye know earth, and all ye need to know." I would add to Keats' summation only this: "Don't let the other fellow piss on your back and tell you it's raining." I believe one might theoretically forgive one who cheats at business, but never one who cheats at cards; for business adversaries operate at arm's length, the cardplayer under the strict rules of the game, period. That was my first political epiphany. And now, I have written a political book. What are the qualifications for a Political Writer? They are, I believe, the same as those of an aspiring critic: an inability to write for the Sports Page.
David Mamet
On the human imagination events produce the effects of time. Thus he who has travelled far and seen much is apt to fancy that he has lived long; and the history that most abounds in important incidents soonest assumes the aspect of antiquity. In no other way can we account for the venerable air that is already gathering around American annals. When the mind reverts to the earliest days of colonial history, the period seems remote and obscure, the thousand changes that thicken along the links of recollections, throwing back the origin of the nation to a day so distant as seemingly to reach the mists of time; and yet four lives of ordinary duration would suffice to transmit, from mouth to mouth, in the form of tradition, all that civilized man has achieved within the limits of the republic.....Thus, what seems venerable by an accumulation of changes is reduced to familiarity when we come seriously to consider it solely in connection with time.
James Fenimore Cooper (The Deer Slayer V1: Or The First Warpath (1841))
The Loneliness of the Military Historian Confess: it's my profession that alarms you. This is why few people ask me to dinner, though Lord knows I don't go out of my way to be scary. I wear dresses of sensible cut and unalarming shades of beige, I smell of lavender and go to the hairdresser's: no prophetess mane of mine, complete with snakes, will frighten the youngsters. If I roll my eyes and mutter, if I clutch at my heart and scream in horror like a third-rate actress chewing up a mad scene, I do it in private and nobody sees but the bathroom mirror. In general I might agree with you: women should not contemplate war, should not weigh tactics impartially, or evade the word enemy, or view both sides and denounce nothing. Women should march for peace, or hand out white feathers to arouse bravery, spit themselves on bayonets to protect their babies, whose skulls will be split anyway, or,having been raped repeatedly, hang themselves with their own hair. There are the functions that inspire general comfort. That, and the knitting of socks for the troops and a sort of moral cheerleading. Also: mourning the dead. Sons,lovers and so forth. All the killed children. Instead of this, I tell what I hope will pass as truth. A blunt thing, not lovely. The truth is seldom welcome, especially at dinner, though I am good at what I do. My trade is courage and atrocities. I look at them and do not condemn. I write things down the way they happened, as near as can be remembered. I don't ask why, because it is mostly the same. Wars happen because the ones who start them think they can win. In my dreams there is glamour. The Vikings leave their fields each year for a few months of killing and plunder, much as the boys go hunting. In real life they were farmers. The come back loaded with splendour. The Arabs ride against Crusaders with scimitars that could sever silk in the air. A swift cut to the horse's neck and a hunk of armour crashes down like a tower. Fire against metal. A poet might say: romance against banality. When awake, I know better. Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters, or none that could be finally buried. Finish one off, and circumstances and the radio create another. Believe me: whole armies have prayed fervently to God all night and meant it, and been slaughtered anyway. Brutality wins frequently, and large outcomes have turned on the invention of a mechanical device, viz. radar. True, valour sometimes counts for something, as at Thermopylae. Sometimes being right - though ultimate virtue, by agreed tradition, is decided by the winner. Sometimes men throw themselves on grenades and burst like paper bags of guts to save their comrades. I can admire that. But rats and cholera have won many wars. Those, and potatoes, or the absence of them. It's no use pinning all those medals across the chests of the dead. Impressive, but I know too much. Grand exploits merely depress me. In the interests of research I have walked on many battlefields that once were liquid with pulped men's bodies and spangled with exploded shells and splayed bone. All of them have been green again by the time I got there. Each has inspired a few good quotes in its day. Sad marble angels brood like hens over the grassy nests where nothing hatches. (The angels could just as well be described as vulgar or pitiless, depending on camera angle.) The word glory figures a lot on gateways. Of course I pick a flower or two from each, and press it in the hotel Bible for a souvenir. I'm just as human as you. But it's no use asking me for a final statement. As I say, I deal in tactics. Also statistics: for every year of peace there have been four hundred years of war.
Margaret Atwood (Morning in the Burned House)
I am just like you. My immediate response to most situations is with reactions of attachment, defensiveness, judgment, control, and analysis. I am better at calculating than contemplating. Let’s admit that we all start there. The False Self seems to have the “first gaze” at almost everything. The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: “How will this affect me?” or “How can I get back in control of this situation?” This leads us to an implosion, a self-preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live “undefended,” can we immediately stand with and for the other, and in the present moment. It takes lots of practice. On my better days, when I am “open, undefended, and immediately present,” as Gerald May says, I can sometimes begin with a contemplative mind and heart. Often I can get there later and even end there, but it is usually a second gaze. The True Self seems to always be ridden and blinded by the defensive needs of the False Self. It is an hour-by-hour battle, at least for me. I can see why all spiritual traditions insist on daily prayer, in fact, morning, midday, evening, and before we go to bed, too! Otherwise, I can assume that I am back in the cruise control of small and personal self-interest, the pitiable and fragile “Richard self.
Richard Rohr (Radical Grace: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr)
The “rising tide” theory rested on a notion of separate but equal class ladders. And so there was a class of black poor and an equivalent class of white poor, a black middle class and a white middle class, a black elite and a white elite. From this angle, the race problem was merely the result of too many blacks being found at the bottom of their ladder—too many who were poor and too few who were able to make their way to the next rung. If one could simply alter the distribution, the old problem of “race” could be solved. But any investigation into the actual details revealed that the ladders themselves were not equal—that to be a member of the “black race” in America had specific, quantifiable consequences. Not only did poor blacks tend to be much less likely to advance up their ladder, but those who did stood a much greater likelihood of tumbling back. That was because the middle-class rung of the black ladder lacked the financial stability enjoyed by the white ladder. Whites in the middle class often brought with them generational wealth—the home of a deceased parent, a modest inheritance, a gift from a favorite uncle. Blacks in the middle class often brought with them generational debt—an incarcerated father, an evicted niece, a mother forced to take in her sister’s kids. And these conditions, themselves, could not be separated out from the specific injury of racism, one that was not addressed by simply moving up a rung. Racism was not a singular one-dimensional vector but a pandemic, afflicting black communities at every level, regardless of what rung they occupied. From that point forward the case for reparations seemed obvious and the case against it thin. The sins of slavery did not stop with slavery. On the contrary, slavery was but the initial crime in a long tradition of crimes, of plunder even, that could be traced into the present day. And whereas a claim for reparations for slavery rested in the ancestral past, it was now clear that one could make a claim on behalf of those who were very much alive.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy)
An Ojibwa tradition seems relevant. It speaks of a comet that 'burned up the earth' in the remote past and that is destined to return: 'The star with the long, wide tail is going to destroy the world some day when it comes low again. That's the comet called Long-Tailed Heavenly Climbing Star. It came down here once, thousands of years ago. Just like the sun. It had radiation and burning heat in its tail ... Indian people were here before that happened, living on the earth. But things were wrong with nature on the earth, and a lot of people had abandoned the spiritual path. The Holy Spirit warned them a long time before the comet came. Medicine men told everyone to prepare. ... The comet burnt everything to the ground. There wasn't a thing left ... There is a prophecy that the comet will destroy the earth again. But it's a restoration. The greatest blessing this island [Turtle Island/America] will ever have. People don't listen to their spiritual guidance today. There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars when the comet comes down again.
Graham Hancock (America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization)
The phrase was so simple and for most women, so generic. Any other female would have laughed off such a question from a boy she had no interest in. But in my case, it was a landmark moment in my life. Number 23 had gone where no other man had gone before. Until then, my history with men had been volatile. Instead of a boyfriend or even a drunken prom date, my virginity was forfeited to a very disturbed, grown man while I was unconscious on a bathroom floor. The remnants of what could be considered high school relationships were blurry and drug infused. Even the one long-lasting courtship I held with Number 3 went without traditional dating rituals like Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversary gifts, or even dinner. Into young adulthood, I was never the girl who men asked on dates. I was asked on many fucks. I was a pair of tits to cum on, a mouth to force a cock down, and even a playmate to spice up a marriage. At twenty-four, I had slept with twenty-two men, gotten lustfully heated with countless more, but had never once been given flowers. With less than a handful of dates in my past, romance was something I accepted as not being in the cards for me. My personality was too strong, my language too foul, and my opinions too outspoken. No, I was not the girl who got asked out on dates and though that made me sad at times, I buried myself too deeply in productivity to dwell on it. But, that day, Number 23 sparked a fuse. That question showed a glimmer of a simplistic sweetness that men never gave me. Suddenly he went from being some Army kid to the boyfriend I never had.
Maggie Georgiana Young (Just Another Number)
There is a bench in the back of my garden shaded by Virginia creeper, climbing roses, and a white pine where I sit early in the morning and watch the action. Light blue bells of a dwarf campanula drift over the rock garden just before my eyes. Behind it, a three-foot stand of aconite is flowering now, each dark blue cowl-like corolla bowed for worship or intrigue: thus its common name, monkshood. Next to the aconite, black madonna lilies with their seductive Easter scent are just coming into bloom. At the back of the garden, a hollow log, used in its glory days for a base to split kindling, now spills white cascade petunias and lobelia. I can't get enough of watching the bees and trying to imagine how they experience the abundance of, say, a blue campanula blosssom, the dizzy light pulsing, every fiber of being immersed in the flower. ... Last night, after a day in the garden, I asked Robin to explain (again) photosynthesis to me. I can't take in this business of _eating light_ and turning it into stem and thorn and flower... I would not call this meditation, sitting in the back garden. Maybe I would call it eating light. Mystical traditions recognize two kinds of practice: _apophatic mysticism_, which is the dark surrender of Zen, the Via Negativa of John of the Cross, and _kataphatic mysticism_, less well defined: an openhearted surrender to the beauty of creation. Maybe Francis of Assissi was, on the whole, a kataphatic mystic, as was Thérèse of Lisieux in her exuberant momemnts: but the fact is, kataphatic mysticism has low status in religious circles. Francis and Thérèse were made, really made, any mother superior will let you know, in the dark nights of their lives: no more of this throwing off your clothes and singing songs and babbling about the shelter of God's arms. When I was twelve and had my first menstrual period, my grandmother took me aside and said, 'Now your childhood is over. You will never really be happy again.' That is pretty much how some spiritual directors treat the transition from kataphatic to apophatic mysticism. But, I'm sorry, I'm going to sit here every day the sun shines and eat this light. Hung in the bell of desire.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
OUR age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to-day also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Nature)
In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, writing in The Communist Manifesto, declared: “In bourgeois society . . . the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past.”13 This view is shared by contemporary statists, including the current occupants of the White House. On May 14, 2008, the future First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, while campaigning for her husband, Barack Obama, proclaimed: “We are going to have to change our conversation; we’re going to have to change our traditions, our history. We’re going to have to move into a different place as a nation.”14 On October 30, 2008, when the polls showed him the likely winner of the upcoming presidential election, Barack Obama shouted during a campaign stop days before the vote: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”15
Mark R. Levin (Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future)
The obstinacy of antiquated institutions in perpetuating themselves resembles the stubbornness of the rancid perfume which should claim our hair, the pretensions of the spoiled fish which should persist in being eaten, the persecution of the child's garment which should insist on clothing the man, the tenderness of corpses which should return to embrace the living. "Ingrates!" says the garment, "I protected you in inclement weather. Why will you have nothing to do with me?" "I have just come from the deep sea," says the fish. "I have been a rose," says the perfume. "I have loved you," says the corpse. "I have civilized you," says the convent. To this there is but one reply: "In former days." To dream of the indefinite prolongation of defunct things, and of the government of men by embalming, to restore dogmas in a bad condition, to regild shrines, to patch up cloisters, to rebless reliquaries, to refurnish superstitions, to revictual fanaticisms, to put new handles on holy water brushes and militarism, to reconstitute monasticism and militarism, to believe in the salvation of society by the multiplication of parasites, to force the past on the present, – this seems strange. Still, there are theorists who hold such theories. These theorists, who are in other respects people of intelligence, have a very simple process; they apply to the past a glazing which they call social order, divine right, morality, family, the respect of elders, antique authority, sacred tradition, legitimacy, religion; and they go about shouting, "Look! take this, honest people." This logic was known to the ancients. The soothsayers practise it. They rubbed a black heifer over with chalk, and said, "She is white, Bos cretatus." As for us, we respect the past here and there, and we spare it, above all, provided that it consents to be dead. If it insists on being alive, we attack it, and we try to kill it. Superstitions, bigotries, affected devotion, prejudices, those forms all forms as they are, are tenacious of life; they have teeth and nails in their smoke, and they must be clasped close, body to body, and war must be made on them, and that without truce; for it is one of the fatalities of humanity to be condemned to eternal combat with phantoms. It is difficult to seize darkness by the throat, and to hurl it to the earth.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
Throughout His ministry Jesus gave commandments. And He taught, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15; see also verses 21, 23). He affirmed that keeping His commandments would require His followers to leave what He called “that which is highly esteemed among men” (Luke 16:15) and “the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8; see also verse 13). He also warned, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19). As the Apostle Peter later declared, the followers of Jesus were to be “a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9). Latter-day Saints understand that we should not be “of the world” or bound to “the tradition of men,” but like other followers of Christ, we sometimes find it difficult to separate ourselves from the world and its traditions. Some model themselves after worldly ways because, as Jesus said of some whom He taught, “they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43). These failures to follow Christ are too numerous and too sensitive to list here. They range all the way from worldly practices like political correctness and extremes in dress and grooming to deviations from basic values like the eternal nature and function of the family. Jesus’s teachings were not meant to be theoretical. . . . Following Christ is not a casual or occasional practice but a continuous commitment and way of life that applies at all times and in all places.
Dallin H. Oaks
Yet, there is a Chennai that hasn’t changed and never will. Women still wake up at the crack of dawn and draw the kolam—the rice-flour design—outside their doorstep. Men don’t consider it old-fashioned to wear a dhoti, which is usually matched with a modest pair of Bata chappals. The day still begins with coffee and lunch ends with curd rice. Girls are sent to Carnatic music classes. The music festival continues to be held in the month of December. Tamarind rice is still a delicacy—and its preparation still an art form. It’s the marriage between tradition and transformation that makes Chennai unique. In a place like Delhi, you’ll have to hunt for tradition. In Kolkata, you’ll itch for transformation. Mumbai is only about transformation. It is Chennai alone that firmly holds its customs close to the chest, as if it were a box of priceless jewels handed down by ancestors, even as the city embraces change.
Bishwanath Ghosh (Tamarind City)
The plane banked, and he pressed his face against the cold window. The ocean tilted up to meet him, its dark surface studded with points of light that looked like constellations, fallen stars. The tourist sitting next to him asked him what they were. Nathan explained that the bright lights marked the boundaries of the ocean cemeteries. The lights that were fainter were memory buoys. They were the equivalent of tombstones on land: they marked the actual graves. While he was talking he noticed scratch-marks on the water, hundreds of white gashes, and suddenly the captain's voice, crackling over the intercom, interrupted him. The ships they could see on the right side of the aircraft were returning from a rehearsal for the service of remembrance that was held on the ocean every year. Towards the end of the week, in case they hadn't realised, a unique festival was due to take place in Moon Beach. It was known as the Day of the Dead... ...When he was young, it had been one of the days he most looked forward to. Yvonne would come and stay, and she'd always bring a fish with her, a huge fish freshly caught on the ocean, and she'd gut it on the kitchen table. Fish should be eaten, she'd said, because fish were the guardians of the soul, and she was so powerful in her belief that nobody dared to disagree. He remembered how the fish lay gaping on its bed of newspaper, the flesh dark-red and subtly ribbed where it was split in half, and Yvonne with her sleeves rolled back and her wrists dipped in blood that smelt of tin. It was a day that abounded in peculiar traditions. Pass any candy store in the city and there'd be marzipan skulls and sugar fish and little white chocolate bones for 5 cents each. Pass any bakery and you'd see cakes slathered in blue icing, cakes sprinkled with sea-salt.If you made a Day of the Dead cake at home you always hid a coin in it, and the person who found it was supposed to live forever. Once, when she was four, Georgia had swallowed the coin and almost choked. It was still one of her favourite stories about herself. In the afternoon, there'd be costume parties. You dressed up as Lazarus or Frankenstein, or you went as one of your dead relations. Or, if you couldn't think of anything else, you just wore something blue because that was the colour you went when you were buried at the bottom of the ocean. And everywhere there were bowls of candy and slices of special home-made Day of the Dead cake. Nobody's mother ever got it right. You always had to spit it out and shove it down the back of some chair. Later, when it grew dark, a fleet of ships would set sail for the ocean cemeteries, and the remembrance service would be held. Lying awake in his room, he'd imagine the boats rocking the the priest's voice pushed and pulled by the wind. And then, later still, after the boats had gone, the dead would rise from the ocean bed and walk on the water. They gathered the flowers that had been left as offerings, they blew the floating candles out. Smoke that smelt of churches poured from the wicks, drifted over the slowly heaving ocean, hid their feet. It was a night of strange occurrences. It was the night that everyone was Jesus... ...Thousands drove in for the celebrations. All Friday night the streets would be packed with people dressed head to toe in blue. Sometimes they painted their hands and faces too. Sometimes they dyed their hair. That was what you did in Moon Beach. Turned blue once a year. And then, sooner or later, you turned blue forever.
Rupert Thomson (The Five Gates of Hell)
Her kiss is hungry, as if long deprived. As if they didn’t already spend the morning doing just exactly this, making up for the lost time they were apart. Triton’s trident, I could do this all day. Then he catches himself. No, I couldn’t. Not without wanting more. Which is why we need to stop. Instead, he entwines his hands in her hair, and she teases his lips with her tongue, trying to get him to fully open his mouth to her. He gladly complies. Her fingers sneak their way under his shirt, up his stomach, sending a trail of fire to his chest. He is about to lose his shirt altogether. Until Antonis’s voice booms from the doorway. “Extract yourself from Prince Galen, Emma,” he says. “You two are not mated. This behavior is inappropriate for any Syrena, let alone a Royal.” Emma’s eyes go round as sand dollars. He can tell she’s not sure what to think about her grandfather telling her what to do. Or maybe she’s caught off guard that he called her a Royal. Either way, like most people, Emma decides to obey. Galen does, too. They stand up side by side, not daring to be close enough to touch. They behold King Antonis in a polka-dot bathrobe, and though he’s the one who looks silly, they are the ones who look shamed. Galen feels like a fingerling again. “I apologize, Highness,” he says. It seems like all he does lately is apologize to the Poseidon king. “It was my fault.” Antonis gives him a reproving look. “I like you, young prince. But you well know the law. Do not disappoint me, Galen. My granddaughter is deserving of a proper mating ceremony.” Galen can’t meet his eyes. He’s right. I shouldn’t be flirting with temptation like this. With the Archives on their way-or possibly here already-there is a distant but small chance that he and Emma can still live within the confines of the law. That they can still live as mates under the Syrena tradition. And he almost just blew it. What if it had gone too far? Then his mating with Emma would forever be blemished by breaking the law. “It won’t happen again, Highness.” Not until we’re mated, anyway. “Um. Did you just promise not to kiss me ever again?” Emma whispers. “Can we talk about this later? The Archives are obviously here, angelfish.” She’s on the verge of a fit, he can tell. “He’s just looking out for us,” Galen says quickly. “I agree, we need to respect the law-“ At this her fit subsides as if it was never there. She smiles wide at him. He can’t decide if it’s genuine, or if it’s the kind of smile she gives him when he’ll pay for something later. “Okay, Galen.” “Galen, Emma,” Nalia calls from the dining room, saving him from making a fool of himself. “Everyone is here.” Emma gives him a look that clearly says, “We’re so not done with this conversation.” Then she turns and walks away. Galen takes a second to regain a little bit of composure-which kissing Emma tends to steal from him. Then there’s the mortification of being interrupted by-Get it together, idiot.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
That first day I asked my students what they thought fiction should accomplish, why one should bother to read fiction at all. It was an odd way to start, but I did succeed in getting their attention. I explained that we would in the course of the semester read and discuss many different authors, but that one thing these authors all had in common was their subversiveness. Some, like Gorky or Gold, were overtly subversive in their political aims; others, like Fitzgerald and Mark Twain, were in my opinion more subversive, if less obviously so. I told them we would come back to this term, because my understanding of it was somewhat different from its usual definition. I wrote on the board one of my favorite lines from the German thinker Theodor Adorno: “The highest form of morality is not to feel at home in one’s own home.” I explained that most great works of the imagination were meant to make you feel like a stranger in your own home. The best fiction always forced us to question what we took for granted. It questioned traditions and expectations when they seemed too immutable. I told my students I wanted them in their readings to consider in what ways these works unsettled them, made them a little uneasy, made them look around and consider the world, like Alice in Wonderland, through different eyes.
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
A person who has had the misfortune to fall victim to the spell of a philosophical system (and the spells of sorcerers are mere trifles in comparison to the disastrous effect of the spell of a philosophical system!) can no longer see the world, or people, or historic events, as they are; he sees everything only through the distorting prism of the system by which he is possessed. Thus, a Marxist of today is incapable of seeing anything else in the history of mankind other than the “class struggle”. What I am saying concerning mysticism, gnosis, magic and philosophy would be considered by him only as a ruse on the part of the bourgeois class, with the aim of “screening with a mystical and idealistic haze” the reality of the exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie…although I have not inherited anything from my parents and I have not experienced a single day without having to earn my living by means of work recognised as “legitimate” by Marxists! Another contemporary example of possession by a system is Freudianism. A man possessed by this system will see in everything that I have written only the expression of “suppressed libido”, which seeks and finds release in this manner. It would therefore be the lack of sexual fulfillment which has driven me to occupy myself with the Tarot and to write about it! Is there any need for further examples? Is it still necessary to cite the Hegelians with their distortion of the history of humanity, the Scholastic “realists” of the Middle Ages with the Inquisition, the rationalists of the eighteenth century who were blinded by the light of their own autonomous reasoning? Yes, autonomous philosophical systems separated from the living body of tradition are parasitic structures, which seize the thought, feeling and finally the will of human beings. In fact, they play a role comparable to the psycho-pathological complexes of neurosis or other psychic maladies of obsession. Their physical analogy is cancer.
Valentin Tomberg (Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism)
The ruinous deeds of the ravaging foe (Beowulf) The best-known long text in Old English is the epic poem Beowulf. Beowulf himself is a classic hero, who comes from afar. He has defeated the mortal enemy of the area - the monster Grendel - and has thus made the territory safe for its people. The people and the setting are both Germanic. The poem recalls a shared heroic past, somewhere in the general consciousness of the audience who would hear it. It starts with a mention of 'olden days', looking back, as many stories do, to an indefinite past ('once upon a time'), in which fact blends with fiction to make the tale. But the hero is a mortal man, and images of foreboding and doom prepare the way for a tragic outcome. He will be betrayed, and civil war will follow. Contrasts between splendour and destruction, success and failure, honour and betrayal, emerge in a story which contains a great many of the elements of future literature. Power, and the battles to achieve and hold on to power, are a main theme of literature in every culture - as is the theme of transience and mortality. ................ Beowulf can be read in many ways: as myth; as territorial history of the Baltic kingdoms in which it is set; as forward-looking reassurance. Questions of history, time and humanity are at the heart of it: it moves between past, present, and hope for the future, and shows its origins in oral tradition. It is full of human speech and sonorous images, and of the need to resolve and bring to fruition a proper human order, against the enemy - whatever it be - here symbolised by a monster and a dragon, among literature's earliest 'outsiders'. ....... Beowulf has always attracted readers, and perhaps never more than in the 1990s when at least two major poets, the Scot Edwin Morgan and the Irishman Seamus Heaney, retranslated it into modern English. Heaney's version became a worldwide bestseller, and won many awards, taking one of the earliest texts of English literature to a vast new audience.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Roosevelt fought hard for the United States to host the opening session [of the United Nations]; it seemed a magnanimous gesture to most of the delegates. But the real reason was to better enable the United States to eavesdrop on its guests. Coded messages between the foreign delegations and their distant capitals passed through U.S. telegraph lines in San Francisco. With wartime censorship laws still in effect, Western Union and the other commercial telegraph companies were required to pass on both coded and uncoded telegrams to U.S. Army codebreakers. Once the signals were captured, a specially designed time-delay device activated to allow recorders to be switched on. Devices were also developed to divert a single signal to several receivers. The intercepts were then forwarded to Arlington Hall, headquarters of the Army codebreakers, over forty-six special secure teletype lines. By the summer of 1945 the average number of daily messages had grown to 289,802, from only 46,865 in February 1943. The same soldiers who only a few weeks earlier had been deciphering German battle plans were now unraveling the codes and ciphers wound tightly around Argentine negotiating points. During the San Francisco Conference, for example, American codebreakers were reading messages sent to and from the French delegation, which was using the Hagelin M-209, a complex six-wheel cipher machine broken by the Army Security Agency during the war. The decrypts revealed how desperate France had become to maintain its image as a major world power after the war. On April 29, for example, Fouques Duparc, the secretary general of the French delegation, complained in an encrypted note to General Charles de Gaulle in Paris that France was not chosen to be one of the "inviting powers" to the conference. "Our inclusion among the sponsoring powers," he wrote, "would have signified, in the eyes of all, our return to our traditional place in the world." In charge of the San Francisco eavesdropping and codebreaking operation was Lieutenant Colonel Frank B. Rowlett, the protégé of William F. Friedman. Rowlett was relieved when the conference finally ended, and he considered it a great success. "Pressure of work due to the San Francisco Conference has at last abated," he wrote, "and the 24-hour day has been shortened. The feeling in the Branch is that the success of the Conference may owe a great deal to its contribution." The San Francisco Conference served as an important demonstration of the usefulness of peacetime signals intelligence. Impressive was not just the volume of messages intercepted but also the wide range of countries whose secrets could be read. Messages from Colombia provided details on quiet disagreements between Russia and its satellite nations as well as on "Russia's prejudice toward the Latin American countries." Spanish decrypts indicated that their diplomats in San Francisco were warned to oppose a number of Russian moves: "Red maneuver . . . must be stopped at once," said one. A Czechoslovakian message indicated that nation's opposition to the admission of Argentina to the UN. From the very moment of its birth, the United Nations was a microcosm of East-West spying. Just as with the founding conference, the United States pushed hard to locate the organization on American soil, largely to accommodate the eavesdroppers and codebreakers of NSA and its predecessors.
James Bamford (Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency from the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century)
Imagine my surprise, my ditress, when one of our regular patrons raced screaming into camera range,her Templeton Spa robe flapping open, her eyes wild as she sputtered accusations about being attacked-bodily attacked-by Laura Templeton Ridgeway and her cohorts." "Oh,Josh,I'm so sorry." Laura turned her head away, hoping he'd take it for shame.It would never,never do to laugh. He showed his teeth. "One snicker,Laura. Just one." "I'm not snickering." Composed,she turned back."I'm terribly sorry.It must have been very embarrassing for you." "And don't it just be a laugh riot when they run that little scene?Of course, they'll beep out most of the dialogue to conform to Standards and Practices, but I think the viewing audience, the millions of people who tune into Informed each week will get the gist." "She started it," Kate said,then winced when he turned flinty eyes on her. "Well,she did." "I'm sure Mom and Dad will understand that completely." Even the stalwart Kate could be cowed."It was Margo's idea." Margo hissed through her teeth. "Traitor.She called Kate a lesbian." Shaking his head,Josh covered his face with his hands and rubbed hard."Oh, well,then, get the rope." "I suppose you'd have let her get away with it.She's been trying to damage the shop.She said nasty things to Laura," Margo went on,heating up. "And just the other day she came into the shop and called me a slut. A second-class slut." "And your answer was to gang up on her, three to one,smack her around, strip her naked,and shove her into a locker?" "We never smacked her.Not once." Not, Margo thought,that she wouldn't have liked to. "As for the locker business, it was a matter of tradition.We did nothing more than embarrass her, which is no more than she deserved after the way she insulted us.And anyway, a real man would applaud our actions.
Nora Roberts (Daring to Dream (Dream Trilogy, #1))
Every generation of children instinctively nests itself in nature, no matter matter how tiny a scrap of it they can grasp. In a tale of one city child, the poet Audre Lord remembers picking tufts of grass which crept up through the paving stones in New York City and giving them as bouquets to her mother. It is a tale of two necessities. The grass must grow, no matter the concrete suppressing it. The child must find her way to the green, no matter the edifice which would crush it. "The Maori word for placenta is the same word for land, so at birth the placenta is buried, put back in the mothering earth. A Hindu baby may receive the sun-showing rite surya-darsana when, with conch shells ringing to the skies, the child is introduced to the sun. A newborn child of the Tonga people 'meets' the moon, dipped in the ocean of Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. Among some of the tribes of India, the qualities of different aspects of nature are invoked to bless the child, so he or she may have the characteristics of earth, sky and wind, of birds and animals, right down to the earthworm. Nothing is unbelonging to the child. "'My oldest memories have the flavor of earth,' wrote Frederico García Lorca. In the traditions of the Australian deserts, even from its time in the womb, the baby is catscradled in kinship with the world. Born into a sandy hollow, it is cleaned with sand and 'smoked' by fire, and everything -- insects, birds, plants, and animals -- is named to the child, who is told not only what everything is called but also the relationship between the child and each creature. Story and song weave the child into the subtle world of the Dreaming, the nested knowledge of how the child belongs. "The threads which tie the child to the land include its conception site and the significant places of the Dreaming inherited through its parents. Introduced to creatures and land features as to relations, the child is folded into the land, wrapped into country, and the stories press on the child's mind like the making of felt -- soft and often -- storytelling until the feeling of the story of the country is impressed into the landscape of the child's mind. "That the juggernaut of ants belongs to a child, belligerently following its own trail. That the twitch of an animal's tail is part of a child's own tale or storyline, once and now again. That on the papery bark of a tree may be written the songline of a child's name. That the prickles of a thornbush may have dynamic relevance to conscience. That a damp hollow by the riverbank is not an occasional place to visit but a permanent part of who you are. This is the beginning of belonging, the beginning of love. "In the art and myth of Indigenous Australia, the Ancestors seeded the country with its children, so the shimmering, pouring, circling, wheeling, spinning land is lit up with them, cartwheeling into life.... "The human heart's love for nature cannot ultimately be concreted over. Like Audre Lord's tufts of grass, will crack apart paving stones to grasp the sun. Children know they are made of the same stuff as the grass, as Walt Whitman describes nature creating the child who becomes what he sees: There was a child went forth every day And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became... The early lilacs became part of this child... And the song of the phoebe-bird... In Australia, people may talk of the child's conception site as the origin of their selfhood and their picture of themselves. As Whitman wrote of the child becoming aspects of the land, so in Northern Queensland a Kunjen elder describes the conception site as 'the home place for your image.' Land can make someone who they are, giving them fragments of themselves.
Jay Griffiths (A Country Called Childhood: Children and the Exuberant World)
Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails. Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry, -- determined to make a day of it. Why should we knock under and go with the stream? Let us not be upset and overwhelmed in that terrible rapid and whirlpool called a dinner, situated in the meridian shallows. Weather this danger and you are safe, for the rest of the way is down hill. With unrelaxed nerves, with morning vigor, sail by it, looking another way, tied to the mast like Ulysses. If the engine whistles, let it whistle till it is hoarse for its pains. If the bell rings, why should we run? We will consider what kind of music they are like. Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake; and then begin, having a point d'appui, below freshet and frost and fire, a place where you might found a wall or a state, or set a lamp-post safely, or perhaps a gauge, not a Nilometer, but a Realometer, that future ages might know how deep a freshet of shams and appearances had gathered from time to time. If you stand right fronting and face to face to a fact, you will see the sun glimmer on both its surfaces, as if it were a cimeter, and feel its sweet edge dividing you through the heart and marrow, and so you will happily conclude your mortal career. Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business. Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born. The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things. I do not wish to be any more busy with my hands than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it. My instinct tells me that my head is an organ for burrowing, as some creatures use their snout and fore-paws, and with it I would mine and burrow my way through these hills. I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabouts; so by the divining rod and thin rising vapors I judge; and here I will begin to mine.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
What is a “pyramid?” I grew up in real estate my entire life. My father built one of the largest real estate brokerage companies on the East Coast in the 1970s, before selling it to Merrill Lynch. When my brother and I graduated from college, we both joined him in building a new real estate company. I went into sales and into opening a few offices, while my older brother went into management of the company. In sales, I was able to create a six-figure income. I worked 60+ hours a week in such pursuit. My brother worked hard too, but not in the same fashion. He focused on opening offices and recruiting others to become agents to sell houses for him. My brother never listed and sold a single house in his career, yet he out-earned me 10-to-1. He made millions because he earned a cut of every commission from all the houses his 1,000+ agents sold. He worked smarter, while I worked harder. I guess he was at the top of the “pyramid.” Is this legal? Should he be allowed to earn more than any of the agents who worked so hard selling homes? I imagine everyone will agree that being a real estate broker is totally legal. Those who are smart, willing to take the financial risk of overhead, and up for the challenge of recruiting good agents, are the ones who get to live a life benefitting from leveraged Income. So how is Network Marketing any different? I submit to you that I found it to be a step better. One day, a friend shared with me how he was earning the same income I was, but that he was doing so from home without the overhead, employees, insurance, stress, and being subject to market conditions. He was doing so in a network marketing business. At first I refuted him by denouncements that he was in a pyramid scheme. He asked me to explain why. I shared that he was earning money off the backs of others he recruited into his downline, not from his own efforts. He replied, “Do you mean like your family earns money off the backs of the real estate agents in your company?” I froze, and anyone who knows me knows how quick-witted I normally am. Then he said, “Who is working smarter, you or your dad and brother?” Now I was mad. Not at him, but at myself. That was my light bulb moment. I had been closed-minded and it was costing me. That was the birth of my enlightenment, and I began to enter and study this network marketing profession. Let me explain why I found it to be a step better. My research led me to learn why this business model made so much sense for a company that wanted a cost-effective way to bring a product to market. Instead of spending millions in traditional media ad buys, which has a declining effectiveness, companies are opting to employ the network marketing model. In doing so, the company only incurs marketing cost if and when a sale is made. They get an army of word-of-mouth salespeople using the most effective way of influencing buying decisions, who only get paid for performance. No salaries, only commissions. But what is also employed is a high sense of motivation, wherein these salespeople can be building a business of their own and not just be salespeople. If they choose to recruit others and teach them how to sell the product or service, they can earn override income just like the broker in a real estate company does. So now they see life through a different lens, as a business owner waking up each day excited about the future they are building for themselves. They are not salespeople; they are business owners.
Brian Carruthers (Building an Empire:The Most Complete Blueprint to Building a Massive Network Marketing Business)
THE MEETING" "Scant rain had fallen and the summer sun Had scorched with waves of heat the ripening corn, That August nightfall, as I crossed the down Work-weary, half in dream. Beside a fence Skirting a penning’s edge, an old man waited Motionless in the mist, with downcast head And clothing weather-worn. I asked his name And why he lingered at so lonely a place. “I was a shepherd here. Two hundred seasons I roamed these windswept downlands with my flock. No fences barred our progress and we’d travel Wherever the bite grew deep. In summer drought I’d climb from flower-banked combe to barrow’d hill-top To find a missing straggler or set snares By wood or turmon-patch. In gales of March I’d crouch nightlong tending my suckling lambs. “I was a ploughman, too. Year upon year I trudged half-doubled, hands clenched to my shafts, Guiding my turning furrow. Overhead, Cloud-patterns built and faded, many a song Of lark and pewit melodied my toil. I durst not pause to heed them, rising at dawn To groom and dress my team: by daylight’s end My boots hung heavy, clodded with chalk and flint. “And then I was a carter. With my skill I built the reeded dew-pond, sliced out hay From the dense-matted rick. At harvest time, My wain piled high with sheaves, I urged the horses Back to the master’s barn with shouts and curses Before the scurrying storm. Through sunlit days On this same slope where you now stand, my friend, I stood till dusk scything the poppied fields. “My cob-built home has crumbled. Hereabouts Few folk remember me: and though you stare Till time’s conclusion you’ll not glimpse me striding The broad, bare down with flock or toiling team. Yet in this landscape still my spirit lingers: Down the long bottom where the tractors rumble, On the steep hanging where wild grasses murmur, In the sparse covert where the dog-fox patters.” My comrade turned aside. From the damp sward Drifted a scent of melilot and thyme; From far across the down a barn owl shouted, Circling the silence of that summer evening: But in an instant, as I stepped towards him Striving to view his face, his contour altered. Before me, in the vaporous gloaming, stood Nothing of flesh, only a post of wood.
John Rawson (From The English Countryside: Tales Of Tragedy: Narrated In Dramatic Traditional Verse)
A disdain for the practical swept the ancient world. Plato urged astronomers to think about the heavens, but not to waste their time observing them. Aristotle believed that: “The lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master.… The slave shares in his master’s life; the artisan is less closely connected with him, and only attains excellence in proportion as he becomes a slave. The meaner sort of mechanic has a special and separate slavery.” Plutarch wrote: “It does not of necessity follow that, if the work delight you with its grace, the one who wrought it is worthy of esteem.” Xenophon’s opinion was: “What are called the mechanical arts carry a social stigma and are rightly dishonoured in our cities.” As a result of such attitudes, the brilliant and promising Ionian experimental method was largely abandoned for two thousand years. Without experiment, there is no way to choose among contending hypotheses, no way for science to advance. The anti-empirical taint of the Pythagoreans survives to this day. But why? Where did this distaste for experiment come from? An explanation for the decline of ancient science has been put forward by the historian of science, Benjamin Farrington: The mercantile tradition, which led to Ionian science, also led to a slave economy. The owning of slaves was the road to wealth and power. Polycrates’ fortifications were built by slaves. Athens in the time of Pericles, Plato and Aristotle had a vast slave population. All the brave Athenian talk about democracy applied only to a privileged few. What slaves characteristically perform is manual labor. But scientific experimentation is manual labor, from which the slaveholders are preferentially distanced; while it is only the slaveholders—politely called “gentle-men” in some societies—who have the leisure to do science. Accordingly, almost no one did science. The Ionians were perfectly able to make machines of some elegance. But the availability of slaves undermined the economic motive for the development of technology. Thus the mercantile tradition contributed to the great Ionian awakening around 600 B.C., and, through slavery, may have been the cause of its decline some two centuries later. There are great ironies here.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
Zoroaster was the prophet of the Persians, the people who restored the Jews to Jerusalem, the same Persians who later gave rise to the Chaldeans. The basic idea in Zoroaster’s teaching is that there are two Gods, one good, the other evil. The good God is a God of Light, of Justice, of Wisdom, who created a perfectly good world. His name is Ahura Mazda, “First Father of the Righteous Order, who gave to the sun and stars their paths.” The Mazda bulbs were named after this God of Light. Against him stands a God of Evil, Angra Mainyu, “the Deceiver,” who is the god of lies, darkness, hypocrisy, violence, and malice. He it was who threw evil into this good and well-made world. Thus the world in which we live is a mixture of light and darkness, of good and evil. This worldview is the mythology of the Fall. In its biblical transformation, it is the Fall. There is then a nature world that is not good and one does not put oneself in accord with it. It is evil and one pulls out or away in order to correct it. From this view arises a mythology with this sequence: Creation, a Fall, followed by Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), who teaches the way of virtue that will bring a gradual restoration of goodness. On the last day, after a terrific battle known as Armageddon, or the Reckoning of Spirits, Zoroaster will appear, in a second incarnation, the evil power will be wiped out, and all will be peace, light, and virtue forever. This mythology is surely familiar to all.
Joseph Campbell (Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Tradition (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell))
I have used the theologians and their treatment of apocalypse as a model of what we might expect to find not only in more literary treatments of the same radical fiction, but in the literary treatment of radical fictions in general. The assumptions I have made in doing so I shall try to examine next time. Meanwhile it may be useful to have some kind of summary account of what I've been saying. The main object: is the critical business of making sense of some of the radical ways of making sense of the world. Apocalypse and the related themes are strikingly long-lived; and that is the first thing to say tbout them, although the second is that they change. The Johannine acquires the characteristics of the Sibylline Apocalypse, and develops other subsidiary fictions which, in the course of time, change the laws we prescribe to nature, and specifically to time. Men of all kinds act, as well as reflect, as if this apparently random collocation of opinion and predictions were true. When it appears that it cannot be so, they act as if it were true in a different sense. Had it been otherwise, Virgil could not have been altissimo poeta in a Christian tradition; the Knight Faithful and True could not have appeared in the opening stanzas of "The Faerie Queene". And what is far more puzzling, the City of Apocalypse could not have appeared as a modern Babylon, together with the 'shipmen and merchants who were made rich by her' and by the 'inexplicable splendour' of her 'fine linen, and purple and scarlet,' in The Waste Land, where we see all these things, as in Revelation, 'come to nought.' Nor is this a matter of literary allusion merely. The Emperor of the Last Days turns up as a Flemish or an Italian peasant, as Queen Elizabeth or as Hitler; the Joachite transition as a Brazilian revolution, or as the Tudor settlement, or as the Third Reich. The apocalyptic types--empire, decadence and renovation, progress and catastrophe--are fed by history and underlie our ways of making sense of the world from where we stand, in the middest.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
We were always looking for the perfect man. Even those of us who were not signed up for the traditional, heteronormative experience were nevertheless fascinated with the anthropological, unicorn-like search for one. Married or single, we were either searching for him or trying to mold him from one we already had. This perfect specimen would consist of the following essential attributes: He shared his food and always ordered dessert. When we recommended a book, he bought it without needing a friend to second our suggestion first. He knew how to pack a diaper bag without being told. He was a Southern gentleman with a mother from the East Coast who fostered his quietly progressive sensibilities. He said “I love you” after 2.5 months. He didn’t get drunk. He knew how to do taxes. He never questioned our feminist ideals when we refused to squish bugs or change oil. He didn’t sit down to put on his shoes. He had enough money for retirement. He wished vehemently for male-hormonal birth control. He had a slight unease with the concept of women’s shaved vaginas, but not enough to take a stance one way or another. He thought Mindy Kaling was funny. He liked throw pillows. He didn’t care if we made more money than him. He liked women his own age. We were reasonable and irrational, cynical and naïve, but always, always on the hunt. Of course, this story isn’t about perfect men, but Ardie Valdez unfortunately didn’t know that yet when, the day after Desmond’s untimely death, Ardie’s phone lit up: a notification from her dating app.
Chandler Baker (Whisper Network)
This new situation, in which "humanity" has in effect assumed the role formerly ascribed to nature or history, would mean in this context that the right to have rights, or the right of every individual to belong to humanity, should be guaranteed by humanity itself. It is by no means certain whether this is possible. For, contrary to the best-intentioned humanitarian attempts to obtain new declarations of human rights from international organizations, it should be understood that this idea transcends the present sphere of international law which still operates in terms of reciprocal agreements and treaties between sovereign states; and, for the time being, a sphere that is above the nation does not exist. Furthermore, this dilemma would by no means be eliminated by the establishment of a "world government." Such a world government is indeed within the realm of possibility, but one may suspect that in reality it might differ considerably from the version promoted by idealistic-minded organizations. The crimes against human rights, which have become a specialty of totalitarian regimes, can always be justified by the pretext that right is equivalent to being good or useful for the whole in distinction to its parts. (Hitler's motto that "Right is what is good for the German people" is only the vulgarized form of a conception of law which can be found everywhere and which in practice will remain effectual only so long as older traditions that are still effective in the constitutions prevent this.) A conception of law which identifies what is right with the notion of what is good for—for the individual, or the family, or the people, or the largest number—becomes inevitable once the absolute and transcendent measurements of religion or the law of nature have lost their authority. And this predicament is by no means solved if the unit to which the "good for" applies is as large as mankind itself. For it is quite conceivable, and even within the realm of practical political possibilities, that one fine day a highly organized and mechanized humanity will conclude quite democratically—namely by majority decision—that for humanity as a whole it would be better to liquidate certain parts thereof.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
Though small, the shrine has a long history. In 1333—the Third Year of the Genko era—Lord Takeshigé Kikuchi ascended to it in order to implore the divine favor before going into battle. Victory was his, and in gratitude he had the shrine rebuilt. According to tradition, he himself carved the Worship Image, reciting a triple prayer after each stroke. This represented the god as standing on the mountain peak with one hand raised, gazing at the armed host he had blessed. It was an image of victory. Now, however, the morning after the rising, early on the auspicious Ninth Day of the Ninth Month, the time of the Chrysanthemum Festival, there were gathered around the shrine forty-six hunted survivors of a defeated force. Some standing, some sitting, they stared blankly about them, though the penetrating autumn chill made their wounds sting. The clear light of the rising sun cast a striped pattern as it shone down through the branches of the few old cedars that surrounded the shrine. Birds were singing. The air was fresh and clear. As for signs of last night’s sanguinary combat, these were visible in the soiled and bloodstained garments, the haggard visages, and the eyes that burned like live embers. Among the forty-six were Unshiro Ishihara, Kageki Abé, Kisou Onimaru, Juro Furuta, Tsunetaro Kobayashi, the brothers Gitaro and Gigoro Tashiro, Tateki Ura, Mitsuo Noguchi, Mikao Kashima, and Kango Hayami. Every man was silent, sunk deep in thought, looking off at the sea, or at the mountains, or at the smoke still rising from Kumamoto. Such were the men of the League at rest on the slope of Kimpo, some with fingers yellowed from brushing the petals of wild chrysanthemums that they had plucked while staring across the water at Shimabara Peninsula.
Yukio Mishima (Runaway Horses)
The biggest fear for homeschooled children is that they will be unable to relate to their peers, will not have friends, or that they will otherwise be unable to interact with people in a normal way. Consider this: How many of your daily interactions with people are solely with people of your own birth year?  We’re not considering interactions with people who are a year or two older or a year or two younger, but specifically people who were born within a few months of your birthday. In society, it would be very odd to section people at work by their birth year and allow you to interact only with persons your same age. This artificial constraint would limit your understanding of people and society across a broader range of ages. In traditional schools, children are placed in grades artificially constrained by the child’s birth date and an arbitrary cut-off day on a school calendar. Every student is taught the same thing as everyone else of the same age primarily because it is a convenient way to manage a large number of students. Students are not grouped that way because there is any inherent special socialization that occurs when grouping children in such a manner. Sectioning off children into narrow bands of same-age peers does not make them better able to interact with society at large. In fact, sectioning off children in this way does just the opposite—it restricts their ability to practice interacting with a wide variety of people. So why do we worry about homeschooled children’s socialization?  The erroneous assumption is that the child will be homeschooled and will be at home, schooling in the house, all day every day, with no interactions with other people. Unless a family is remotely located in a desolate place away from any form of civilization, social isolation is highly unlikely. Every homeschooling family I know involves their children in daily life—going to the grocery store or the bank, running errands, volunteering in the community, or participating in sports, arts, or community classes. Within the homeschooled community, sports, arts, drama, co-op classes, etc., are usually sectioned by elementary, pre-teen, and teen groupings. This allows students to interact with a wider range of children, and the interactions usually enhance a child’s ability to interact well with a wider age-range of students. Additionally, being out in the community provides many opportunities for children to interact with people of all ages. When homeschooling groups plan field trips, there are sometimes constraints on the age range, depending upon the destination, but many times the trip is open to children of all ages. As an example, when our group went on a field trip to the Federal Reserve Bank, all ages of children attended. The tour and information were of interest to all of the children in one way or another. After the tour, our group dined at a nearby food court. The parents sat together to chat and the children all sat with each other, with kids of all ages talking and having fun with each other. When interacting with society, exposure to a wider variety of people makes for better overall socialization. Many homeschooling groups also have park days, game days, or play days that allow all of the children in the homeschooled community to come together and play. Usually such social opportunities last for two, three, or four hours. Our group used to have Friday afternoon “Park Day.”  After our morning studies, we would pack a picnic lunch, drive to the park, and spend the rest of the afternoon letting the kids run and play. Older kids would organize games and play with younger kids, which let them practice great leadership skills. The younger kids truly looked up to and enjoyed being included in games with the older kids.
Sandra K. Cook (Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling with Insider Information)
Gentlemen,” he said, “I invite you to go and measure that kiosk. You will see that the length of the counter is one hundred and forty-nine centimeters – in other words, one hundred-billionth of the distance between the earth and the sun. The height at the rear, one hundred and seventy-six centimeters, divided by the width of the window, fifty-six centimeters, is 3.14. The height at the front is nineteen decimeters, equal, in other words, to the number of years of the Greek lunar cycle. The sum of the heights of the two front corners and the two rear corners is one hundred and ninety times two plus one hundred and seventy-six times two, which equals seven hundred and thirty-two, the date of the victory at Poitiers. The thickness of the counter is 3.10 centimeters, and the width of the cornice of the window is 8.8 centimeters. Replacing the numbers before the decimals by the corresponding letters of the alphabet, we obtain C for ten and H for eight, or C10H8, which is the formula for naphthalene.” “Fantastic,” I said. “You did all these measurements?” “No,” Aglie said. “They were done on another kiosk, by a certain Jean-Pierre Adam. But I would assume that all lottery kiosks have more or less the same dimensions. With numbers you can do anything you like. Suppose I have the sacred number 9 and I want to get the number 1314, date of the execution of Jacques de Molay – a date dear to anyone who, like me, professes devotion to the Templar tradition of knighthood. What do I do? I multiply nine by one hundred and forty-six, the fateful day of the destruction of Carthage. How did I arrive at this? I divided thirteen hundred and fourteen by two, by three, et cetera, until I found a satisfying date. I could also have divided thirteen hundred and fourteen by 6.28, the double of 3.14, and I would have got two hundred and nine. That is the year in which Attalus I, king of Pergamon, joined the anti-Macedonian League. You see?
Umberto Eco (Foucault's Pendulum)
Hey Pete. So why the leave from social media? You are an activist, right? It seems like this decision is counterproductive to your message and work." A: The short answer is I’m tired of the endless narcissism inherent to the medium. In the commercial society we have, coupled with the consequential sense of insecurity people feel, as they impulsively “package themselves” for public consumption, the expression most dominant in all of this - is vanity. And I find that disheartening, annoying and dangerous. It is a form of cultural violence in many respects. However, please note the difference - that I work to promote just that – a message/idea – not myself… and I honestly loath people who today just promote themselves for the sake of themselves. A sea of humans who have been conditioned into viewing who they are – as how they are seen online. Think about that for a moment. Social identity theory run amok. People have been conditioned to think “they are” how “others see them”. We live in an increasing fictional reality where people are now not only people – they are digital symbols. And those symbols become more important as a matter of “marketing” than people’s true personality. Now, one could argue that social perception has always had a communicative symbolism, even before the computer age. But nooooooothing like today. Social media has become a social prison and a strong means of social control, in fact. Beyond that, as most know, social media is literally designed like a drug. And it acts like it as people get more and more addicted to being seen and addicted to molding the way they want the world to view them – no matter how false the image (If there is any word that defines peoples’ behavior here – it is pretention). Dopamine fires upon recognition and, coupled with cell phone culture, we now have a sea of people in zombie like trances looking at their phones (literally) thousands of times a day, merging their direct, true interpersonal social reality with a virtual “social media” one. No one can read anymore... they just swipe a stream of 200 character headlines/posts/tweets. understanding the world as an aggregate of those fragmented sentences. Massive loss of comprehension happening, replaced by usually agreeable, "in-bubble" views - hence an actual loss of variety. So again, this isn’t to say non-commercial focused social media doesn’t have positive purposes, such as with activism at times. But, on the whole, it merely amplifies a general value system disorder of a “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM!” – rooted in systemic insecurity. People lying to themselves, drawing meaningless satisfaction from superficial responses from a sea of avatars. And it’s no surprise. Market economics demands people self promote shamelessly, coupled with the arbitrary constructs of beauty and success that have also resulted. People see status in certain things and, directly or pathologically, use those things for their own narcissistic advantage. Think of those endless status pics of people rock climbing, or hanging out on a stunning beach or showing off their new trophy girl-friend, etc. It goes on and on and worse the general public generally likes it, seeking to imitate those images/symbols to amplify their own false status. Hence the endless feedback loop of superficiality. And people wonder why youth suicides have risen… a young woman looking at a model of perfection set by her peers, without proper knowledge of the medium, can be made to feel inferior far more dramatically than the typical body image problems associated to traditional advertising. That is just one example of the cultural violence inherent. The entire industry of social media is BASED on narcissistic status promotion and narrow self-interest. That is the emotion/intent that creates the billions and billions in revenue these platforms experience, as they in turn sell off people’s personal data to advertisers and governments. You are the product, of course.
Peter Joseph
They will eat him alive. On his current course, Henry will fail spectacularly.” My chest constricts so tight it feels like my bones may crack. Because she’s right. “He won’t.” “You don’t know that,” she swipes back. “I damn well do! I never would have abdicated otherwise.” “What?” “Don’t mistake me—I wouldn’t have married anyone but Olivia, and I would’ve waited a lifetime if I had to, until the laws were changed. But I didn’t because I knew in my heart and soul that Henry will not just be a good king, he will be better than I ever could’ve been.” For a moment I don’t breathe. I can’t. The shock of my brother’s words has knocked the air right out of my lungs. Granny’s too, if her whisper is any indication. “You truly believe that?” “Absolutely. And, frankly, I’m disheartened that you don’t.” “Henry has never been one to rise to the occasion,” she states plainly. “He’s never needed to,” my brother insists. “He’s never been asked—not once in his whole life. Until now. And he will not only rise to the occasion . . . he will soar beyond it.” The Queen’s voice is hushed, like she’s in prayer. “I want to believe that. More than I can say. Lend me a bit of your faith, Nicholas. Why are you so certain?” Nicholas’s voice is rough, tight with emotion. “Because . . . he’s just like Mum.” My eyes close when the words reach my ears. Burning and wet. There’s no greater compliment—not to me—not ever. But, Christ, look at me . . . it’s not even close to true. “He’s exactly like her. That way she had of knowing just what a person needed—whether it was strength or guidance, kindness or comfort or joy—and effortlessly giving it to them. The way people used to gravitate to her . . . at parties, the whole room would shift when she walked in . . . because everyone wanted to be nearer to her. She had a light, a talent, a gift—it doesn’t matter what it’s called—all that matters is that Henry has it too. He doesn’t see it in himself, but I do. I always have.” There’s a moment of quiet and I imagine Nicholas leaning in closer to the Queen. “The people would have followed me or Dad for the same reason they follow you—because we are dependable, solid. They trust our judgment; they know we would never let them down. But they will follow Henry because they love him. They’ll see in him their son, brother, best friend, and even if he mucks it up now, they will stick with him because they will want him to succeed. I would have been respected and admired, but Grandmother . . . he will be beloved. And if I have learned anything since the day Olivia came into my life, it’s that more than reasoning or duty, honor or tradition . . . love is stronger.
Emma Chase (Royally Matched (Royally, #2))
The Bible is full of evidence that God’s attention is indeed fixed on the little things. But this is not because God is a Great Cosmic Cop, eager to catch us in minor transgressions, but simply because God loves us—loves us so much that the divine presence is revealed even in the meaningless workings of daily life. It is in the ordinary, the here—and—now, that God asks us to recognize that the creation is indeed refreshed like dew—laden grass that is “renewed in the morning” (Ps 90:5), or to put it in more personal and also theological terms, “our inner nature is being renewed every day” (2 Cor 4:16). Seen in this light, what strikes many modern readers as the ludicrous attention to detail in the book of Leviticus, involving God in the minutiae of daily life—all the cooking and cleaning of a people’s domestic life—might be revisioned as the very love of God. A God who cares so much as to desire to be present to us in everything we do. It is this God who speaks to us through the psalmist as he wakes from sleep, amazed, to declare, “I will bless you, Lord, you give me counsel, and even at night direct my heart” (Ps 16:7, GR). It is this God who speaks to us through the prophets, reminding us that by meeting the daily needs of the poor and vulnerable, characterized in the scriptures as the widows and orphans, we prepare the way of the Lord and make our own hearts ready for the day of salvation. When it comes to the nitty—gritty, what ties these threads of biblical narrative together into a revelation of God’s love is that God has commanded us to refrain from grumbling about the dailiness of life. Instead we are meant to accept it gratefully, as a reality that humbles us even as it gives us cause for praise. The rhythm of sunrise and sunset marks a passage of time that makes each day rich with the possibility of salvation, a concept that is beautifully summed up in an ancient saying from the monastic tradition: “Abba Poeman said concerning Abba Pior that every day he made a new beginning.
Kathleen Norris (The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work")
Stepan Arkadyevitch had not chosen his political opinions or his views; these political opinions and views had come to him of themselves, just as he did not choose the shapes of his hat and coat, but simply took those that were being worn. And for him, living in a certain society—owing to the need, ordinarily developed at years of discretion, for some degree of mental activity—to have views was just as indispensable as to have a hat. If there was a reason for his preferring liberal to conservative views, which were held also by many of his circle, it arose not from his considering liberalism more rational, but from its being in closer accordance with his manner of life. The liberal party said that in Russia everything is wrong, and certainly Stepan Arkadyevitch had many debts and was decidedly short of money. The liberal party said that marriage is an institution quite out of date, and that it needs reconstruction; and family life certainly afforded Stepan Arkadyevitch little gratification, and forced him into lying and hypocrisy, which was so repulsive to his nature. The liberal party said, or rather allowed it to be understood, that religion is only a curb to keep in check the barbarous classes of the people; and Stepan Arkadyevitch could not get through even a short service without his legs aching from standing up, and could never make out what was the object of all the terrible and high-flown language about another world when life might be so very amusing in this world. And with all this, Stepan Arkadyevitch, who liked a joke, was fond of puzzling a plain man by saying that if he prided himself on his origin, he ought not to stop at Rurik and disown the first founder of his family—the monkey. And so Liberalism had become a habit of Stepan Arkadyevitch's, and he liked his newspaper, as he did his cigar after dinner, for the slight fog it diffused in his brain. He read the leading article, in which it was maintained that it was quite senseless in our day to raise an outcry that radicalism was threatening to swallow up all conservative elements, and that the government ought to take measures to crush the revolutionary hydra; that, on the contrary, "in our opinion the danger lies not in that fantastic revolutionary hydra, but in the obstinacy of traditionalism clogging progress," etc., etc. He read another article, too, a financial one, which alluded to Bentham and Mill, and dropped some innuendoes reflecting on the ministry. With his characteristic quickwittedness he caught the drift of each innuendo, divined whence it came, at whom and on what ground it was aimed, and that afforded him, as it always did, a certain satisfaction. But today that satisfaction was embittered by Matrona Philimonovna's advice and the unsatisfactory state of the household. He read, too, that Count Beist was rumored to have left for Wiesbaden, and that one need have no more gray hair, and of the sale of a light carriage, and of a young person seeking a situation; but these items of information did not give him, as usual, a quiet, ironical gratification. Having finished the paper, a second cup of coffee and a roll and butter, he got up, shaking the crumbs of the roll off his waistcoat; and, squaring his broad chest, he smiled joyously: not because there was anything particularly agreeable in his mind—the joyous smile was evoked by a good digestion.
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
Lillian kept her face against Marcus’s shoulder. As mortified as she had been on the day that he had seen her playing rounders in her knickers, this was ten times worse. She would never be able to face Simon Hunt again, she thought, and groaned. “It’s all right,” Marcus murmured. “He’ll keep his mouth shut.” “I don’t care whom he tells,” Lillian managed to say. “I’m not going to marry you. Not if you compromised me a hundred times.” “Lillian,” he said, a sudden tremor of laughter in his voice, “it would be my greatest pleasure to compromise you a hundred times. But first I would like to know what I’ve done this morning that is so unforgivable.” “To begin with, you talked to my father.” His brows lifted a fraction of an inch. “That offended you?” “How could it not? You’ve behaved in the most highhanded manner possible by going behind my back and trying to arrange things with my father, without one word to me—” “Wait,” Marcus said sardonically, rolling to his side and sitting up in an easy movement. He reached out with a broad hand to pull Lillian up to face him. “I was not being high-handed in meeting with your father. I was adhering to tradition. A prospective bridegroom usually approaches a woman’s father before he makes a formal proposal.” A gently caustic note entered his voice as he added, “Even in America. Unless I’ve been misinformed?” The clock on the mantel dispensed a slow half-minute before Lillian managed a grudging reply. “Yes, that’s how it’s usually done. But I assumed that you and he had already made a betrothal agreement, regardless of whether or not it was what I wanted—” “Your assumption was incorrect. We did not discuss any details of a betrothal, nor was anything mentioned about a dowry or a wedding date. All I did was ask your father for permission to court you.” Lillian stared at him with surprised chagrin, until another question occurred to her. “What about your discussion with Lord St. Vincent just now?” Now it was Marcus’s turn to look chagrined. “That was high-handed,” he admitted.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
Yoga has been superficially misunderstood by certain Western writers, but its critics have never been its practitioners. Among many thoughtful tributes to yoga may be mentioned one by Dr. C. G. Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist. “When a religious method recommends itself as ‘scientific,’ it can be certain of its public in the West. Yoga fulfills this expectation,” Dr. Jung writes (7). “Quite apart from the charm of the new, and the fascination of the half-understood, there is good cause for Yoga to have many adherents. It offers the possibility of controllable experience, and thus satisfies the scientific need of ‘facts,’ and besides this, by reason of its breadth and depth, its venerable age, its doctrine and method, which include every phase of life, it promises undreamed-of possibilities. “Every religious or philosophical practice means a psychological discipline, that is, a method of mental hygiene. The manifold, purely bodily procedures of Yoga (8) also mean a physiological hygiene which is superior to ordinary gymnastics and breathing exercises, inasmuch as it is not merely mechanistic and scientific, but also philosophical; in its training of the parts of the body, it unites them with the whole of the spirit, as is quite clear, for instance, in the Pranayama exercises where Prana is both the breath and the universal dynamics of the cosmos. “When the thing which the individual is doing is also a cosmic event, the effect experienced in the body (the innervation), unites with the emotion of the spirit (the universal idea), and out of this there develops a lively unity which no technique, however scientific, can produce. Yoga practice is unthinkable, and would also be ineffectual, without the concepts on which Yoga is based. It combines the bodily and the spiritual with each other in an extraordinarily complete way. “In the East, where these ideas and practices have developed, and where for several thousand years an unbroken tradition has created the necessary spiritual foundations, Yoga is, as I can readily believe, the perfect and appropriate method of fusing body and mind together so that they form a unity which is scarcely to be questioned. This unity creates a psychological disposition which makes possible intuitions that transcend consciousness.” The Western day is indeed nearing when the inner science of self- control will be found as necessary as the outer conquest of nature. This new Atomic Age will see men’s minds sobered and broadened by the now scientifically indisputable truth that matter is in reality a concentrate of energy. Finer forces of the human mind can and must liberate energies greater than those within stones and metals, lest the material atomic giant, newly unleashed, turn on the world in mindless destruction (9).
Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi (Illustrated and Annotated Edition))
Damn it, Jacob, I’m freezing my butt off.” “I came as fast as I could, considering I thought it would be wise to walk the last few yards.” Isabella whirled around, her smiling face lighting up the silvery night with more ease than the fullest of moons. She leapt up into his embrace, eagerly drinking in his body heat and affection. “I can see it now. ‘Daddy, tell me about your wedding day.’ ‘Well, son,’” she mocked, deepening her voice to his timbre and reflecting his accent uncannily, “’The first words out of your mother’s mouth were I’m freezing my butt off!’” “Very romantic, don’t you think?” he teased. “So, you think it will be a boy, then? Our first child?” “Well, I’m fifty percent sure.” “Wise odds. Come, little flower, I intend to marry you before the hour is up.” With that, he scooped her off her feet and carried her high against his chest. “Unfortunately, we are going to have to do this hike the hard way.” “As Legna tells it, that’s what you’re supposed to do.” “Yeah, well, I assure you a great many grooms have fudged that a little.” He reached to tuck her chilled face into the warm crook of his neck. “Surely the guests would know. It takes longer to walk than it does to fly . . . or whatever . . . out of the woods.” “This is true, little flower. But passing time in the solitude of the woods is not necessarily a difficult task for a man and woman about to be married.” “Jacob!” she gasped, laughing. “Some traditions are not necessarily publicized,” he teased. “You people are outrageous.” “Mmm, and if I had the ability to turn to dust right now, would you tell me no if I asked to . . . pass time with you?” Isabella shivered, but it was the warmth of his whisper and intent, not the cold, that made her do so. “Have I ever said no to you?” “No, but now would be a good time to start, or we will be late to our own wedding,” he chuckled. “How about no . . . for now?” she asked silkily, pressing her lips to the column on his neck beneath his long, loose hair. His fingers flexed on her flesh, his arms drawing her tighter to himself. He tried to concentrate on where he was putting his feet. “If that is going to be your response, Bella, then I suggest you stop teasing me with that wicked little mouth of yours before I trip and land us both in the dirt.” “Okay,” she agreed, her tongue touching his pulse. “Bella . . .” “Jacob, I want to spend the entire night making love to you,” she murmured. Jacob stopped in his tracks, taking a moment to catch his breath. “Okay, why is it I always thought it was the groom who was supposed to be having lewd thoughts about the wedding night while the bride took the ceremony more seriously?” “You started it,” she reminded him, laughing softly. “I am begging you, Isabella, to allow me to leave these woods with a little of my dignity intact.” He sighed deeply, turning his head to brush his face over her hair. “It does not take much effort from you to turn me inside out and rouse my hunger for you. If there is much more of your wanton taunting, you will be flushed warm and rosy by the time we reach that altar, and our guests will not have to be Mind Demons in order to figure out why.” “I’m sorry, you’re right.” She turned her face away from his neck. Jacob resumed his ritual walk for all of thirty seconds before he stopped again. “Bella . . .” he warned dangerously. “I’m sorry! It just popped into my head!” “What am I getting myself into?” he asked aloud, sighing dramatically as he resumed his pace. “Well, in about an hour, I hope it will be me.
Jacquelyn Frank (Jacob (Nightwalkers, #1))
Do not fear the ghosts in this house; they are the least of your worries. Personally I find the noises they make reassuring. The creaks and footsteps in the night, their little tricks of hiding things, or moving them, I find endearing, not upsettling. It makes the place feel so much more like a home. Inhabited. Apart from ghosts nothing lives here for long. No cats no mice, no flies, no dreams, no bats. Two days ago I saw a butterfly, a monarch I believe, which danced from room to room and perched on walls and waited near to me. There are no flowers in this empty place, and, scared the butterfly would starve, I forced a window wide, cupped my two hands around her fluttering self, feeling her wings kiss my palms so gentle, and put her out, and watched her fly away. I've little patience with the seasons here, but your arrival eased this winter's chill. Please, wander round. Explore it all you wish. I've broken with tradition on some points. If there is one locked room here, you'll never know. You'll not find in the cellar's fireplace old bones or hair. You'll find no blood. Regard: just tools, a washing-machine, a drier, a water-heater, and a chain of keys. Nothing that can alarm you. Nothing dark. I may be grim, perhaps, but only just as grim as any man who suffered such affairs. Misfortune, carelessness or pain, what matters is the loss. You'll see the heartbreak linger in my eyes, and dream of making me forget what came before you walked into the hallway of this house. Bringing a little summer in your glance, and with your smile. While you are here, of course, you will hear the ghosts, always a room away, and you may wake beside me in the night, knowing that there's a space without a door, knowing that there's a place that's locked but isn't there. Hearing them scuffle, echo, thump and pound. If you are wise you'll run into the night, fluttering away into the cold, wearing perhaps the laciest of shifts. The lane's hard flints will cut your feet all bloody as you run, so, if I wished, I could just follow you, tasting the blood and oceans of your tears. I'll wait instead, here in my private place, and soon I'll put a candle in the window, love, to light your way back home. The world flutters like insects. I think this is how I shall remember you, my head between the white swell of your breasts, listening to the chambers of your heart.
Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders)
Comparing marriage to football is no insult. I come from the South where football is sacred. I would never belittle marriage by saying it is like soccer, bowling, or playing bridge, never. Those images would never work, only football is passionate enough to be compared to marriage. In other sports, players walk onto the field, in football they run onto the field, in high school ripping through some paper, in college (for those who are fortunate enough) they touch the rock and run down the hill onto the field in the middle of the band. In other sports, fans cheer, in football they scream. In other sports, players ‘high five’, in football they chest, smash shoulder pads, and pat your rear. Football is a passionate sport, and marriage is about passion. In football, two teams send players onto the field to determine which athletes will win and which will lose, in marriage two families send their representatives forward to see which family will survive and which family will be lost into oblivion with their traditions, patterns, and values lost and forgotten. Preparing for this struggle for survival, the bride and groom are each set up. Each has been led to believe that their family’s patterns are all ‘normal,’ and anyone who differs is dense, naïve, or stupid because, no matter what the issue, the way their family has always done it is the ‘right’ way. For the premarital bride and groom in their twenties, as soon as they say, “I do,” these ‘right’ ways of doing things are about to collide like two three hundred and fifty pound linemen at the hiking of the ball. From “I do” forward, if not before, every decision, every action, every goal will be like the line of scrimmage. Where will the family patterns collide? In the kitchen. Here the new couple will be faced with the difficult decision of “Where do the cereal bowls go?” Likely, one family’s is high, and the others is low. Where will they go now? In the bathroom. The bathroom is a battleground unmatched in the potential conflicts. Will the toilet paper roll over the top or underneath? Will the acceptable residing position for the lid be up or down? And, of course, what about the toothpaste? Squeeze it from the middle or the end? But the skirmishes don’t stop in the rooms of the house, they are not only locational they are seasonal. The classic battles come home for the holidays. Thanksgiving. Which family will they spend the noon meal with and which family, if close enough, will have to wait until the nighttime meal, or just dessert if at all? Christmas. Whose home will they visit first, if at all? How much money will they spend on gifts for his family? for hers? Then comes for many couples an even bigger challenge – children of their own! At the wedding, many couples take two candles and light just one often extinguishing their candle as a sign of devotion. The image is Biblical. The Bible is quoted a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. What few prepare them for is the upcoming struggle, the conflict over the unanswered question: the two shall become one, but which one? Two families, two patterns, two ways of doing things, which family’s patterns will survive to play another day, in another generation, and which will be lost forever? Let the games begin.
David W. Jones (The Enlightenment of Jesus: Practical Steps to Life Awake)
The family were wild," she said suddenly. "They tried to marry me off. And then when I'd begun to feel that after all life was scarcely worth living I found something"—her eyes went skyward exultantly—"I found something!" Carlyle waited and her words came with a rush. “Courage—just that; courage as a rule of life, and something to cling to always. I began to build up this enormous faith in myself. I began to see that in all my idols in the past some manifestation of courage had unconsciously been the thing that attracted me. I began separating courage from the other things of life. All sorts of courage—the beaten, bloody prize-fighter coming up for more—I used to make men take me to prize-fights; the déclassé woman sailing through a nest of cats and looking at them as if they were mud under her feet; the liking what you like always; the utter disregard for other people's opinions—just to live as I liked always and to die in my own way—Did you bring up the cigarettes?" He handed one over and held a match for her silently. "Still," Ardita continued, "the men kept gathering—old men and young men, my mental and physical inferiors, most of them, but all intensely desiring to have me—to own this rather magnificent proud tradition I'd built up round me. Do you see?" "Sort of. You never were beaten and you never apologized." "Never!" She sprang to the edge, poised or a moment like a crucified figure against the sky; then describing a dark parabola plunked without a slash between two silver ripples twenty feet below. Her voice floated up to him again. "And courage to me meant ploughing through that dull gray mist that comes down on life—not only over-riding people and circumstances but over-riding the bleakness of living. A sort of insistence on the value of life and the worth of transient things." She was climbing up now, and at her last words her head, with the damp yellow hair slicked symmetrically back, appeared on his level. "All very well," objected Carlyle. "You can call it courage, but your courage is really built, after all, on a pride of birth. You were bred to that defiant attitude. On my gray days even courage is one of the things that's gray and lifeless." She was sitting near the edge, hugging her knees and gazing abstractedly at the white moon; he was farther back, crammed like a grotesque god into a niche in the rock. "I don't want to sound like Pollyanna," she began, "but you haven't grasped me yet. My courage is faith—faith in the eternal resilience of me—that joy'll come back, and hope and spontaneity. And I feel that till it does I've got to keep my lips shut and my chin high, and my eyes wide—not necessarily any silly smiling. Oh, I've been through hell without a whine quite often—and the female hell is deadlier than the male." "But supposing," suggested Carlyle, "that before joy and hope and all that came back the curtain was drawn on you for good?" Ardita rose, and going to the wall climbed with some difficulty to the next ledge, another ten or fifteen feet above. "Why," she called back, "then I'd have won!
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Offshore Pirate)
As I became older, I was given many masks to wear. I could be a laborer laying railroad tracks across the continent, with long hair in a queue to be pulled by pranksters; a gardener trimming the shrubs while secretly planting a bomb; a saboteur before the day of infamy at Pearl Harbor, signaling the Imperial Fleet; a kamikaze pilot donning his headband somberly, screaming 'Banzai' on my way to my death; a peasant with a broad-brimmed straw hat in a rice paddy on the other side of the world, stooped over to toil in the water; an obedient servant in the parlor, a houseboy too dignified for my own good; a washerman in the basement laundry, removing stains using an ancient secret; a tyrant intent on imposing my despotism on the democratic world, opposed by the free and the brave; a party cadre alongside many others, all of us clad in coordinated Mao jackets; a sniper camouflaged in the trees of the jungle, training my gunsights on G.I. Joe; a child running with a body burning from napalm, captured in an unforgettable photo; an enemy shot in the head or slaughtered by the villageful; one of the grooms in a mass wedding of couples, having met my mate the day before through our cult leader; an orphan in the last airlift out of a collapsed capital, ready to be adopted into the good life; a black belt martial artist breaking cinderblocks with his head, in an advertisement for Ginsu brand knives with the slogan 'but wait--there's more' as the commercial segued to show another free gift; a chef serving up dog stew, a trick on the unsuspecting diner; a bad driver swerving into the next lane, exactly as could be expected; a horny exchange student here for a year, eager to date the blonde cheerleader; a tourist visiting, clicking away with his camera, posing my family in front of the monuments and statues; a ping pong champion, wearing white tube socks pulled up too high and batting the ball with a wicked spin; a violin prodigy impressing the audience at Carnegie Hall, before taking a polite bow; a teen computer scientist, ready to make millions on an initial public offering before the company stock crashes; a gangster in sunglasses and a tight suit, embroiled in a turf war with the Sicilian mob; an urban greengrocer selling lunch by the pound, rudely returning change over the counter to the black patrons; a businessman with a briefcase of cash bribing a congressman, a corrupting influence on the electoral process; a salaryman on my way to work, crammed into the commuter train and loyal to the company; a shady doctor, trained in a foreign tradition with anatomical diagrams of the human body mapping the flow of life energy through a multitude of colored points; a calculus graduate student with thick glasses and a bad haircut, serving as a teaching assistant with an incomprehensible accent, scribbling on the chalkboard; an automobile enthusiast who customizes an imported car with a supercharged engine and Japanese decals in the rear window, cruising the boulevard looking for a drag race; a illegal alien crowded into the cargo hold of a smuggler's ship, defying death only to crowd into a New York City tenement and work as a slave in a sweatshop. My mother and my girl cousins were Madame Butterfly from the mail order bride catalog, dying in their service to the masculinity of the West, and the dragon lady in a kimono, taking vengeance for her sisters. They became the television newscaster, look-alikes with their flawlessly permed hair. Through these indelible images, I grew up. But when I looked in the mirror, I could not believe my own reflection because it was not like what I saw around me. Over the years, the world opened up. It has become a dizzying kaleidoscope of cultural fragments, arranged and rearranged without plan or order.
Frank H. Wu (Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White)
It is already the fashion to diminish Eliot by calling him derivative, the mouthpiece of Pound, and so forth; and yet if one wanted to understand the apocalypse of early modernism in its true complexity it would be Eliot, I fancy, who would demand one's closest attention. He was ready to rewrite the history of all that interested him in order to have past and present conform; he was a poet of apocalypse, of the last days and the renovation, the destruction of the earthly city as a chastisement of human presumption, but also of empire. Tradition, a word we especially associate with this modernist, is for him the continuity of imperial deposits; hence the importance in his thought of Virgil and Dante. He saw his age as a long transition through which the elect must live, redeeming the time. He had his demonic host, too; the word 'Jew' remained in lower case through all the editions of the poems until the last of his lifetime, the seventy-fifth birthday edition of 1963. He had a persistent nostalgia for closed, immobile hierarchical societies. If tradition is, as he said in After Strange Gods--though the work was suppressed--'the habitual actions, habits and customs' which represent the kinship 'of the same people living in the same place' it is clear that Jews do not have it, but also that practically nobody now does. It is a fiction, a fiction cousin to a myth which had its effect in more practical politics. In extenuation it might be said that these writers felt, as Sartre felt later, that in a choice between Terror and Slavery one chooses Terror, 'not for its own sake, but because, in this era of flux, it upholds the exigencies proper to the aesthetics of Art.' The fictions of modernist literature were revolutionary, new, though affirming a relation of complementarity with the past. These fictions were, I think it is clear, related to others, which helped to shape the disastrous history of our time. Fictions, notably the fiction of apocalypse, turn easily into myths; people will live by that which was designed only to know by. Lawrence would be the writer to discuss here, if there were time; apocalypse works in Woman in Love, and perhaps even in Lady Chatterley's Lover, but not n Apocalypse, which is failed myth. It is hard to restore the fictive status of what has become mythical; that, I take it, is what Mr. Saul Bellow is talking about in his assaults on wastelandism, the cant of alienation. In speaking of the great men of early modernism we have to make very subtle distinctions between the work itself, in which the fictions are properly employed, and obiter dicta in which they are not, being either myths or dangerous pragmatic assertions. When the fictions are thus transformed there is not only danger but a leak, as it were, of reality; and what we feel about. all these men at times is perhaps that they retreated inso some paradigm, into a timeless and unreal vacuum from which all reality had been pumped. Joyce, who was a realist, was admired by Eliot because he modernized myth, and attacked by Lewis because he concerned himself with mess, the disorders of common perception. But Ulysses ,alone of these great works studies and develops the tension between paradigm and reality, asserts the resistance of fact to fiction, human freedom and unpredictability against plot. Joyce chooses a Day; it is a crisis ironically treated. The day is full of randomness. There are coincidences, meetings that have point, and coincidences which do not. We might ask whether one of the merits of the book is not its lack of mythologizing; compare Joyce on coincidence with the Jungians and their solemn concordmyth, the Principle of Synchronicity. From Joyce you cannot even extract a myth of Negative Concord; he shows us fiction fitting where it touches. And Joyce, who probably knew more about it than any of the others, was not at tracted by the intellectual opportunities or the formal elegance of fascism.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)