Understanding Others Quotes

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I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.
Oscar Wilde (The Happy Prince and Other Stories)
Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.
Charles Dickens (Great Expectations)
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
C.G. Jung
When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
Ernest Hemingway
Whenever you feel like criticizing any one...just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel... is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.
Ursula K. Le Guin
The heart of another is a dark forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one’s own.
Willa Cather
In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion." [The Minotaur]
Albert Camus (The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays)
I'm starting to realize that people lack good mirrors. It's so hard for anyone to show us how we look, & so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.
John Green (Paper Towns)
Eragon looked back at him, confused. "I don't understand." "Of course you don't," said Brom impatiently. "That's why I'm teaching you and not the other way around.
Christopher Paolini (Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1))
Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.
John Steinbeck
I have faith that God will show you the answer. But you have to understand that sometimes it takes a while to be able to recognize what God wants you to do. That's how it often is. God's voice is usually nothing more than a whisper, and you have to listen very carefully to hear it. But other times, in those rarest of moments, the answer is obvious and rings as loud as a church bell.
Nicholas Sparks (The Last Song)
If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.
Stephen Fry
I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.
Abraham Lincoln
We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison)
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond.
Gwendolyn Brooks
Is it possible, in the final analysis, for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another? We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close can we come to that person's essence? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone?
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That's part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads - at least that's where I imagine it - there's a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you'll live forever in your own private library.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
Isn't it also that on some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings in the same way that we are? We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals.
John Green (Paper Towns)
Finding someone you love and who loves you back is a wonderful, wonderful feeling. But finding a true soul mate is an even better feeling. A soul mate is someone who understands you like no other, loves you like no other, will be there for you forever, no matter what. They say that nothing lasts forever, but I am a firm believer in the fact that for some, love lives on even after we're gone.
Cecelia Ahern (P.S. I Love You (P.S. I Love You, #1))
You should date a girl who reads. Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve. Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn. She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. Buy her another cup of coffee. Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice. It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does. She has to give it a shot somehow. Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world. Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two. Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are. You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype. You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots. Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads. Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
Rosemarie Urquico
There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.
David Foster Wallace
A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
I don't understand people who say they need more "Me Time." What other time is there? Do these people spend part of their day in someone else's body?
Jarod Kintz (This Book is Not for Sale)
Only now that I loved a grenade did I understand the foolishness of trying to save others from my own impending fragmentation: I couldn’t unlove Augustus Waters. And I didn’t want to.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.
Jane Austen (Emma)
The Reality of The Other Person Lies Not In What He Reveals To You, But What He Cannot Reveal To You. Therefore, If You Would Understand Him, Listen Not To What He Says, But Rather To What He Does Not Say.
Kahlil Gibran
Mama used to say, you have to know someone a thousand days before you can glimpse her soul.
Shannon Hale (Book of a Thousand Days)
Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating ... but there are other ways to understanding.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
There is no such thing as a weird human being, It's just that some people require more understanding than others.
Tom Robbins
Knowing too much about other people puts you in their power, they have a claim on you, you are forced to understand their reasons for doing things and then you are weakened.
Margaret Atwood (Cat's Eye)
But love, I’ve come to understand, is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day.
Nicholas Sparks (The Wedding (The Notebook, #2))
Sometimes we need to be apart to understand just how much we truly love each other .
Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook (The Notebook, #1))
When you really know somebody you can’t hate them. Or maybe it’s just that you can’t really know them until you stop hating them.
Orson Scott Card (Speaker for the Dead (Ender's Saga, #2))
If you understand others you are smart. If you understand yourself you are illuminated. If you overcome others you are powerful. If you overcome yourself you have strength. If you know how to be satisfied you are rich. If you can act with vigor, you have a will. If you don't lose your objectives you can be long-lasting. If you die without loss, you are eternal.
Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. My temper I dare not vouch for. It is, I believe, too little yielding— certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of other so soon as I ought, nor their offenses against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.
Dalai Lama XIV
Because God is never cruel, there is a reason for all things. We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one.
Dean Koontz (The Darkest Evening of the Year)
We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.
Malcolm X
I call him religious who understands the suffering of others.
Mahatma Gandhi
The difficult thing isn't living with other people, it's understanding them.
José Saramago (Blindness)
If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other? If they're all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time. It's because he wants to stay inside.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
There are only patterns, patterns on top of patterns, patterns that affect other patterns. Patterns hidden by patterns. Patterns within patterns. If you watch close, history does nothing but repeat itself. What we call chaos is just patterns we haven't recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can't decipher. what we can't understand we call nonsense. What we can't read we call gibberish. There is no free will. There are no variables.
Chuck Palahniuk (Survivor)
Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.
Emma Goldman
Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Francis Bacon (The Essays)
We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.
Pablo Picasso
Before you can live a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change the past experiences, opinions of others at that moment in time or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally recognize that truth then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others. From this point you will finally be free.
Shannon L. Alder
We use words to understand each other and even, sometimes, to find each other.
José Saramago
Accepting all the good and bad about someone. It's a great thing to aspire to. The hard part is actually doing it.
Sarah Dessen (What Happened to Goodbye)
I think that hate is a feeling that can only exist where there is no understanding.
Tennessee Williams (Sweet Bird of Youth)
The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little bit more off you, until there was nothing left. At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidates who reminded them most of themselves. I had no interests. I had no interest in anything. I had no idea how I was going to escape. At least the others had some taste for life. They seemed to understand something that I didn't understand. Maybe I was lacking. It was possible. I often felt inferior. I just wanted to get away from them. But there was no place to go.
Charles Bukowski
A European says: I can't understand this, what's wrong with me? An American says: I can't understand this, what's wrong with him? I make no suggestion that one side or other is right, but observation over many years leads me to believe it is true.
Terry Pratchett
Don't you want the guy who'll forget about all the other things in his life before he forgets about you?
Greg Behrendt (He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys)
Life is hard, and children have to be told how hard life can be…So they will be sympathetic to others. So they will understand that some people have it harder than they do and that a trip through this world can be a wildly different experience, depending on what chemicals are raging through one’s mind.
Matthew Quick (The Silver Linings Playbook)
When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change
Thich Nhat Hanh
B.O.B. and I have a longtime understanding - when we're done with each other, we know exactly which one of us has been used, and it isn't me. Good night Gideon.
Sylvia Day (Bared to You (Crossfire, #1))
Love is . . . Being happy for the other person when they are happy, Being sad for the person when they are sad, Being together in good times, And being together in bad times. LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF STRENGTH. Love is . . . Being honest with yourself at all times, Being honest with the other person at all times, Telling, listening, respecting the truth, And never pretending. LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF REALITY. Love is . . . An understanding so complete that you feel as if you are a part of the other person, Accepting the other person just the way they are, And not trying to change them to be something else. LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF UNITY. Love is . . . The freedom to pursue your own desires while sharing your experiences with the other person, The growth of one individual alongside of and together with the growth of another individual. LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF SUCCESS. Love is . . . The excitement of planning things together, The excitement of doing things together. LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF THE FUTURE. Love is . . . The fury of the storm, The calm in the rainbow. LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF PASSION. Love is . . . Giving and taking in a daily situation, Being patient with each other's needs and desires. LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF SHARING. Love is . . . Knowing that the other person will always be with you regardless of what happens, Missing the other person when they are away but remaining near in heart at all times. LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF SECURITY. LOVE IS . . . THE SOURCE OF LIFE!
Susan Polis Schutz
If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don't tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don't understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don't have the courage to ask questions.
Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom)
He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.
Lao Tzu
Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.
George Orwell (1984)
When you say "I" and "my" too much, you lose the capacity to understand the "we" and "our".
Steve Maraboli (Life, the Truth, and Being Free)
Whether or not you believe in God, you must believe this: when we as a species abandon our trust in a power greater than us, we abandon our sense of accountability. Faiths… all faiths… are admonitions that there is something we cannot understand, something to which we are accountable. With faith we are accountable to each other, to ourselves, and to a higher truth. Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed. The church consists of a brotherhood of imperfect, simple souls wanting only to be a voice of compassion in a world spinning out of control.
Dan Brown (Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, #1))
When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth...... But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself." But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
Kahlil Gibran (Le Prophète)
Percy, let me go" she croaked. "You can't pull me up." His face was white with effort. She could see in his eyes that he knew it was hopeless. "Never," he said. He looked up at Nico, fifteen feet above. "The other side, Nico! We'll see you there. Understand?" Nico's eyes widened. "But-" "Lead them!" Percy shouted. "Promise me!" "I-I will." Below them, the voice laughed in the darkness. Sacrifices. Beautiful sacrifices to wake the goddess. Percy tightened his grip on Annabeth's wrist. His face was gaunt, scraped and bloody, his hair dusted with cobwebs, but when he locked eyes with her, she thought he had never looked more handsome. "We're staying together," he promised. "You're not getting away from me. Never again." Only then did she understand what would happen. A one-way trip. A very hard fall. "As long as we're together," she said. She heard Nico and Hazel still screaming for help. She saw sunlight far, far above- maybe the last sunlight she would ever see. Then Percy let go of his ledge, and together, holding hands, he and Annabeth fell into the endless darkness.
Rick Riordan (The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3))
Some hearts understand each other, even in silence.
Yasmin Mogahed
Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one — himself. Better to conquer yourself than others. When you've trained yourself, living in constant self-control, neither a deva nor gandhabba, nor a Mara banded with Brahmas, could turn that triumph back into defeat.
Gautama Buddha
Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you're keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls...are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.
James Patterson (Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas)
Lady Katsa, is it?" "Yes, Lord Prince." "I've heard you have one eye green as the Middluns grasses, and the other eye blue as the sky." "Yes, Lord Prince." "I've heard you can kill a man with the nail of your smallest finger." She smiled. "Yes, Lord Prince." "Does it make it easier?" "I don't understand you." "To have beautiful eyes. Does it lighten the burden of your Grace, to know you have beautiful eyes?
Kristin Cashore (Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1))
To learn is not to know; there are the learners and the learned. Memory makes the one, philosophy the others.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
Do you know what people really want? Everyone, I mean. Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who'd be kind to me. That's what people really want, if they're telling the truth.
Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook)
Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.
Amy Bloom
I don't understand dating.. and the other things that people do.. all I know is that you ought to find the one you recognize. The one who gives you four arms, four legs, four eyes, and has the other half of your heart. There's only one of those, so what are all the other things for? Like dating?
C. JoyBell C.
She's a woman, you're a dude. You're not supposed to understand her. That's not what she's after.... She doesn't want you to understand her. She knows that's impossible. She just wants you to understand yourself. Everything else is negotiable.
Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
Stephen Roberts
If men could only know each other, they would neither idolize nor hate.
Elbert Hubbard
Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to do.
Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene)
I don't know what's the matter with people: they don't learn by understanding, they learn by some other way — by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!
Richard P. Feynman
I understand that fear is my friend, but not always. Never turn your back on Fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed. My father taught me that, along with a few other things that have kept my life interesting.
Hunter S. Thompson (Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century)
If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool
C.G. Jung
Let no one think of me that I am humble or weak or passive; let them understand I am of a different kind: dangerous to my enemies, loyal to my friends. To such a life glory belongs.
Euripides (Medea and Other Plays)
What is home? My favorite definition is "a safe place," a place where one is free from attack, a place where one experiences secure relationships and affirmation. It's a place where people share and understand each other. Its relationships are nurturing. The people in it do not need to be perfect; instead, they need to be honest, loving, supportive, recognizing a common humanity that makes all of us vulnerable.
Gladys M. Hunt (Honey for a Child's Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life)
Your sibling, after all, is the only other person in the world who understands how fucked up your parents made you.
Deb Caletti (The Nature of Jade)
We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It's easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven't even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these loveable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really, want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.
Chuck Klosterman (Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story)
It's okay,' he tells me. 'If you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay. I want you to stay more than I've ever wanted anything in my life.' His voice cracks with emotion. He stops, clears his throat, takes a breath, and continues. 'But that's what I want and I could see why it might not be what you want. So I just wanted to tell you that I understand if you go. It's okay if you have to leave us. It's okay if you want to stop fighting.' For the first time since I realized that Teddy was gone, too, I feel something unclench. I feel myself breathe. I know that Gramps can't be that late-inning pinch hitter I'd hoped for. He won't unplug my breathing tube or overdoes me with morphine or anything like that. But this is the first time today that anyone has acknowledged what I have lost. I know that the social worker warned Gran and Gramps not to upset me, but Gramps's recognition, and the permission he just offered me--it feels like a gift. Gramps doesn't leave me. He slumps back into the chair. It's quiet now. So quiet you can almost hear other people's dreams. So quiet that you can almost hear me tell Gramps, 'Thank you.
Gayle Forman (If I Stay (If I Stay, #1))
As soon as we start putting our thoughts into words and sentences everything gets distorted, language is just no damn good—I use it because I have to, but I don’t put any trust in it. We never understand each other.
Marcel Duchamp
If other people do not understand our behavior—so what? Their request that we must only do what they understand is an attempt to dictate to us. If this is being "asocial" or "irrational" in their eyes, so be it. Mostly they resent our freedom and our courage to be ourselves. We owe nobody an explanation or an accounting, as long as our acts do not hurt or infringe on them. How many lives have been ruined by this need to "explain," which usually implies that the explanation be "understood," i.e. approved. Let your deeds be judged, and from your deeds, your real intentions, but know that a free person owes an explanation only to himself—to his reason and his conscience—and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Being)
Souls" When two souls fall in love, there is nothing else but the yearning to be close to the other. The presence that is felt through a hand held, a voice heard, or a smile seen. Souls do not have calendars or clocks, nor do they understand the notion of time or distance. They only know it feels right to be with one another. This is the reason why you miss someone so much when they are not there— even if they are only in the very next room. Your soul only feels their absence— it doesn’t realize the separation is temporary.
Lang Leav
It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. He was more certain of it than of anything in the world. He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when you know that language, it's easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it's in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one's dreams would have no meaning.
Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
I don't understand why people insist on pitting concepts of evolution and creation against each other. Why can't they see that spiritualism and science are one? That bodies evolve and souls evolve and the universe is a fluid package that marries them both in a wonderful package called a human being. What's wrong with that idea?
Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain)
I have a friend who's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. Then he says "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing," and I think that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.
Richard P. Feynman (The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman)
Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them - we can love completely without complete understanding.
Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through it and Other Stories)
I think that the most necessary quality for any person to have is imagination. It makes people able to put themselves in other people's places. It makes them kind and sympathetic and understanding.
Jean Webster (Daddy-Long-Legs (Daddy-Long-Legs, #1))
Sometimes we have thoughts that even we don’t understand. Thoughts that aren’t even true—that aren’t really how we feel—but they’re running through our heads anyway because they’re interesting to think about. If you could hear other people’s thoughts, you’d overhear things that are true as well as things that are completely random. And you wouldn’t know one from the other. It’d drive you insane. What’s true? What’s not? A million ideas, but what do they mean?
Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why)
If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.
Marvin J. Ashton
When I think of you and me and what we shared, I know it would be easy for others to dismiss our time together as simply a by-product of the days and nights we spent by the sea, a "fling" that, in the long run, would mean absolutely nothing. Thats why I don't tell people about us. They wouldn't understand, and I don't feel the need to explain, simply becasue I know in my heart how real it was... how real this is. When I think of you I cant help smiling, knowing that you've completed me somehow. I love you, not just for now, but for always, and I dream of the day that you'll take me in your arms again
Nicholas Sparks (Dear John)
when your little girl asks you if she’s pretty your heart will drop like a wineglass on the hardwood floor part of you will want to say of course you are, don’t ever question it and the other part the part that is clawing at you will want to grab her by her shoulders look straight into the wells of her eyes until they echo back to you and say you do not have to be if you don’t want to it is not your job both will feel right one will feel better she will only understand the first when she wants to cut her hair off or wear her brother’s clothes you will feel the words in your mouth like marbles you do not have to be pretty if you don’t want to it is not your job
Caitlyn Siehl
Finding someone you love and loves you back is a wonderful feeling. But finding a true soulmate is an even better feelin. A soulmate is someone who understands you like no other will be there for you forever no matter what.
Cecelia Ahern (P.S. I Love You (P.S. I Love You, #1))
In what terms should we think of these beings, nonhuman yet possessing so very many human-like characteristics? How should we treat them? Surely we should treat them with the same consideration and kindness as we show to other humans; and as we recognize human rights, so too should we recognize the rights of the great apes? Yes.
Jane Goodall
Could it be because it reminds us that we are alive, of our mortality, of our individual souls- which, after all, we are too afraid to surrender but yet make us feel more miserable than any other thing? But isn't it also pain that often makes us most aware of self? It is a terrible thing to learn as a child that one is a being separate from the world, that no one and no thing hurts along with one's burned tongues and skinned knees, that one's aches and pains are all one’s own. Even more terrible, as we grow old, to learn that no person, no matter how beloved, can ever truly understand us. Our own selves make us most unhappy, and that's why we're so anxious to lose them, don't you think?
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
I was naturally a loner, content just to live with a woman, eat with her, sleep with her, walk down the street with her. I didn't want conversation, or to go anywhere except the racetrack or the boxing matches. I didn't understand t.v. I felt foolish paying money to go into a movie theatre and sit with other people to share their emotions. Parties sickened me. I hated the game-playing, the dirty play, the flirting, the amateur drunks, the bores.
Charles Bukowski (Women)
Stop caring what other people think. How? Understand that this is your life, not theirs, and you'll have no one to blame but yourself if things don't work out the way you'd hoped...their opinion shouldn't matter more than your own.
Stephanie Klein
If you reveal everything, bare every feeling, ask for understanding, you lose something crucial to your sense of yourself. You need to know things that others don't know. It's what no one knows about you that allows you to know yourself.
Don DeLillo (Point Omega)
In the years afterward, I fled whenever somebody began to understand me. That has subsided. But one thing remained: I don't want anybody to understand me completely. I want to go through life unknown. The blindness of others is my safety and my freedom.
Pascal Mercier (Night Train to Lisbon)
What part of 'directly' didn't you understand?" "Same part of 'play well with others' you never understand, O cantankerous one," I muttered. He laughed, surprising me [...] "I'd be a lot less cantankerous if you admitted you wanted to fuck me and we got down to it.
Karen Marie Moning (Shadowfever (Fever, #5))
The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one's narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see other people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one's desires and fears.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
Achilles glared at him and answered, "Fool, prate not to me about covenants. There can be no covenants between men and lions, wolves and lambs can never be of one mind, but hate each other out and out an through. Therefore there can be no understanding between you and me, nor may there be any covenants between us, till one or other shall fall
Homer (The Iliad)
How little we know of what there is to know. I wish that I were going to live a long time instead of going to die today because I have learned much about life in these four days; more, I think than in all other time. I'd like to be an old man to really know. I wonder if you keep on learning or if there is only a certain amount each man can understand. I thought I knew so many things that I know nothing of. I wish there was more time.
Ernest Hemingway (For Whom The Bell Tolls)
When I was alive, I believed — as you do — that time was at least as real and solid as myself, and probably more so. I said 'one o'clock' as though I could see it, and 'Monday' as though I could find it on the map; and I let myself be hurried along from minute to minute, day to day, year to year, as though I were actually moving from one place to another. Like everyone else, I lived in a house bricked up with seconds and minutes, weekends and New Year's Days, and I never went outside until I died, because there was no other door. Now I know that I could have walked through the walls. (...) You can strike your own time, and start the count anywhere. When you understand that — then any time at all will be the right time for you.
Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn, #1))
We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle; easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we would still live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan.
Irving Townsend
Philosophy [nature] is written in that great book which ever is before our eyes -- I mean the universe -- but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. The book is written in mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.
Galileo Galilei
Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men´s eyes, because they know -or think they know- some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain.
Bram Stoker (Dracula)
If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger-- If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early-- If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless-- If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won't understand what Bastian did next.
Michael Ende (The Neverending Story)
To have regret is to be disappointed with yourself and your choices. Those who are wise, see their life like stepping stones across a great river. Everyone misses a stone from time to time. No one can cross the river without getting wet. Success is measured by your arrival on the other side, not on how muddy your shoes are. Regrets are only felt by those who do not understand life’s purpose. They become so disillusioned that they stand still in the river and do not take the next leap.
Colleen Houck
There are only so many of us born at a time and we are thrown into the world to find each other, to find the other ones who don't think you're strange, who understand your jokes, your smile, the way you talk. There are only so many of us born at a time and we only have so long to find each other before we die. But we have to try.
pleasefindthis (I Wrote This For You (I Wrote This For You #4))
You do not seek to kill me, Dumbledore?' called Voldemort, his scarlet eyes narrowed over the top of the shield. 'Above such brutality, are you?' 'We both know that there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom,' Dumbledore said calmly, continuing to walk towards Voldemort as though he had not a fear in the world, as though nothing had happened to interrupt his stroll up the hall. “Merely taking your life would not satisfy me, I admit —' 'There is nothing worse than death, Dumbledore!' snarled Voldemort. 'You are quite wrong,' said Dumbledore, still closing in upon Voldemort and speaking as lightly as though they were discussing the matter over drinks. 'Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness'.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
Rose. Listen to me. Run. Run as fast and as hard as you can back to your dorm. Tell the guardians." I nodded. There was no questioning here. Reaching out, he gripped my upper arm, gaze locked on me to make sure I understood his next words. "Do not stop," he said. "No matter what you hear, no matter what you see, do not stop. Not until you've warned the others. Don't stop unless you're directly confronted. Do you understand?" I nodded again. He released his hold. "Tell them buria." I nodded again. "Run.
Richelle Mead (Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3))
I draw because words are too unpredictable. I draw because words are too limited. If you speak and write in English, or Spanish, or Chinese, or any other language, then only a certain percentage of human beings will get your meaning. But when you draw a picture everybody can understand it. If I draw a cartoon of a flower, then every man, woman, and child in the world can look at it and say, "That's a flower.
Sherman Alexie (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian)
In life man commits himself and draws his own portrait, outside of which there is nothing. No doubt this thought may seem harsh to someone who has not made a success of his life. But on the other hand, it helps people to understand that reality alone counts, and that dreams, expectations and hopes only serve to define a man as a broken dream, aborted hopes, and futile expectations.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Existentialism is a Humanism)
Will’s eyes met Tessa’s as she came closer, almost tripping again over the torn hem of her gown. For a moment, they were in perfect understanding. Jem was what they could still look each other straight in the eye about. On the topic of Jem, they were both fierce and unyielding. Tessa saw Will’s hand tighten on Jem’s sleeve. “She’s here,” he said. Jem’s eyes opened slowly. Tessa fought to keep the look of shock from her face. His pupils were blown out, his irises a thin ring of silver around the black. “Ni shou shang le ma, quin ai de?” he whispered.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
Do you know what I would answer to someone who asked me for a description of myself, in a hurry? This: ?? !! For indeed my life is a perpetual question mark--my thirst for books, my observations of people, all tend to satisfy a great, overwhelming desire to know, to understand, to find an answer to a million questions. And gradually the answers are revealed, many things are explained, and above all, many things are given names and described, and my restlessness is subdued. Then I become an exclamatory person, clapping my hands to the immense surprises the world holds for me, and falling from one ecstasy into another. I have the habit of peeping and prying and listening and seeking--passionate curiosity and expectation. But I have also the habit of being surprised, the habit of being filled with wonder and satisfaction each time I stumble on some wondrous thing. The first habit could make me a philosopher or a cynic or perhaps a humorist. But the other habit destroys all the delicate foundations, and I find each day that I am still...only a Woman!
Anaïs Nin (The Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 2: 1920-1923)
To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves or to bring about a modified change through revolution, either of the left or of the right. It is important to understand that this is our responsibility, yours and mine...
Jiddu Krishnamurti
Did you know I always thought you were braver than me? Did you ever guess that that was why I was so afraid? It wasn't that I only loved some of you. But I wondered if you could ever love more than some of me. I knew I'd miss you. But the surprising thing is, you never leave me. I never forget a thing. Every kind of love, it seems, is the only one. It doesn't happen twice. And I never expected that you could have a broken heart and love with it too, so much that it doesn't seem broken at all. I know young people look at me and think my youth seems so far away, but it's all around me, and you're all around me. Tiger Lily, do you think magic exists if it can be explained? I can explain why I loved you, I can explain the theory of evolution that tells me why mermaids live in Neverland and nowhere else. But it still feels magic. The lost boys all stood at our wedding. Does it seem odd to you that they could have stood at a wedding that wasn't yours and mine? It does to me. and I'm sorry for it, and for a lot, and I also wouldn't change it. It is so quiet here. Even with all the trains and the streets and the people. It's nothing like the jungle. The boys have grown. Everything has grown. Do you think you will ever grow? I hope not. I like to think that even if I change and fade away, some other people won't. I like to think that one day after I die, at least one small particle of me - of all the particles that will spread everywhere - will float all the way to Neverland, and be part of a flower or something like that, like that poet said, the one that your Tik Tok loved. I like to think that nothing's final, and that everyone gets to be together even when it looks like they don't, that it all works out even when all the evidence seems to say something else, that you and I are always young in the woods, and that I'll see you sometime again, even if it's not with any kind of eyes I know of or understand. I wouldn't be surprised if that is the way things go after all - that all things end happy. Even for you and Tik Tok. and for you and me. Always, Your Peter P.S. Please give my love to Tink. She was always such a funny little bug.
Jodi Lynn Anderson (Tiger Lily)
We can't lose you," she said after a few moments of awkward as hell silence. "You have to understand that we aren't doing this because we don't care about Kat. We're doing this because we love you." "But I love her," I said without hesitation. Dee's eyes widened, probably since it was the first time she'd herd me say it out loud, well, about anyone other than my family. I wished I had said it more often, especially to Kat. Funny how that kind of shit always turns out in the end. While you're deep in something, you never say or do what you need to. It's always after the fact, when it's too late that you realize what you've should've said or done/ It couldn't be too late. I knew that. The fact that I was still alive was testament to that. Like Dee said, though, there were worse things than death.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Origin (Lux, #4))
People are shitty for a lot of reasons. Sometimes they're just shitty people. Sometimes people have been shitty to them and, even though they don't realize it, they take that shitty upbringing and go out into the world and treat others the same way. Sometimes they're shitty because they're afraid. Sometimes they choose to be shitty to others before others can be shitty to them. So it's like self-defensive shittiness.
Jennifer Niven (Holding Up the Universe)
To be beautiful means to be yourself.You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don't try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.
Thich Nhat Hanh (The Art of Power)
For a moment, I pretended. Not that we weren't two different species, because I didn't see him that way, but that we actually liked each other. And then he shifted and rolled. I was on my back, and he was still on the move. His face burrowed into the space between my neck and shoulder, nuzzling. Sweet baby Jesus...Warm breath danced over my skin, sending shivers down my body. His arm was heavy against my stomach, his leg between mine, pushing up and up. Scorched air fled my lungs. Daemon murmured in a language I couldn't understand. Whatever it was, it sounded beautiful and soft. Magical. Unearthly. I could've woken him up but for some reason I didn't. The thrill of him touching me was far stronger than anything else. His hand was on the edge of the borrowed shirt, his long fingers on the strip of exposed flesh between the hem on the shirt and the band of the worn pajama bottoms. And his hand inched up under the shirt, across my stomach, where it dipped slightly. My pulse went into cardiac territory. The tips of his fingers brushed my ribs. His body moved, his knee pressed against me. I gasped. Daemon stilled. No one moved. The clock on the wall ticked. And I cringed.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Obsidian (Lux, #1))
This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.
Howard W. Hunter
There is a twilight zone in our hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves-our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and our drives-large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness. This is a very good thing. We will always remain partially hidden to ourselves. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. We will never fully know the significance of our presence in the lives of our friends. That's a grace, a grace that calls us not only to humility, but to a deep trust in those who love us. It is the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
My wife and I just don't have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don't love her anymore and she doesn't love me. What can i do?" "The feeling isn't there anymore?" I asked. "That's right," he reaffirmed. "And we have three children we're really concerned about. What do you suggest?" "love her," I replied. "I told you, the feeling just isn't there anymore." "Love her." "You don't understand. the feeling of love just isn't there." "Then love her. If the feeling isn't there, that's a good reason to love her." "But how do you love when you don't love?" "My friend , love is a verb. Love - the feeling - is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change)
Writers imagine that they cull stories from the world. I'm beginning to believe that vanity makes them think so. That it's actually the other way around. Stories cull writers from the world. Stories reveal themselves to us. The public narrative, the private narrative - they colonize us. They commission us. They insist on being told. Fiction and nonfiction are only different techniques of story telling. For reasons that I don't fully understand, fiction dances out of me, and nonfiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
I had no interests. I had no interest in anything. I had no idea how I was going to escape. At least the others had some taste for life. They seemed to understand something that I didn’t understand. Maybe I was lacking. It was possible. I often felt inferior. I just wanted to get away from them. But there was no place to go. Suicide? Jesus Christ, just more work. I felt like sleeping for five years but they wouldn’t let me.
Charles Bukowski
Of course, we can't visit every place or meet every person or do every job, yet most of what we'd feel in any life is still available. We don't have to play every game to know what winning feels like. We don't have to hear every piece of music in the world to understand music. We don't have to have tried every variety of grape from every vineyard to know the pleasure of wine. Love and laughter and fear and pain are universal currencies. We just have to close our eyes and savour the taste of the drink in front of us and listen to the song as it plays. We are as completely and utterly alive as we are in any other life and have access to the same emotional spectrum.
Matt Haig (The Midnight Library)
Our lives are so important to us that we tend to think the story of them begins with our birth. First there was nothing, then I was born...Yet that is not so. Human lives are not pieces of string that can be separated out from a knot of others and laid out straight. Families are webs. Impossible to touch one part of it without setting the rest vibrating. Impossible to understand one part without having a sense of the whole. - Vida Winter
Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)
The ones who are not soul-mated – the ones who have settled – are even more dismissive of my singleness: It’s not that hard to find someone to marry, they say. No relationship is perfect, they say – they, who make do with dutiful sex and gassy bedtime rituals, who settle for TV as conversation, who believe that husbandly capitulation – yes, honey, okay, honey – is the same as concord. He’s doing what you tell him to do because he doesn’t care enough to argue, I think. Your petty demands simply make him feel superior, or resentful, and someday he will fuck his pretty, young coworker who asks nothing of him, and you will actually be shocked. Give me a man with a little fight in him, a man who calls me on my bullshit. (But who also kind of likes my bullshit.) And yet: Don’t land me in one of those relationships where we’re always pecking at each other, disguising insults as jokes, rolling our eyes and ‘playfully’ scrapping in front of our friends, hoping to lure them to our side of an argument they could not care less about. Those awful if only relationships: This marriage would be great if only… and you sense the if only list is a lot longer than either of them realizes. So I know I am right not to settle, but it doesn’t make me feel better as my friends pair off and I stay home on Friday night with a bottle of wine and make myself an extravagant meal and tell myself, This is perfect, as if I’m the one dating me. As I go to endless rounds of parties and bar nights, perfumed and sprayed and hopeful, rotating myself around the room like some dubious dessert. I go on dates with men who are nice and good-looking and smart – perfect-on-paper men who make me feel like I’m in a foreign land, trying to explain myself, trying to make myself known. Because isn’t that the point of every relationship: to be known by someone else, to be understood? He gets me. She gets me. Isn’t that the simple magic phrase? So you suffer through the night with the perfect-on-paper man – the stutter of jokes misunderstood, the witty remarks lobbed and missed. Or maybe he understands that you’ve made a witty remark but, unsure of what to do with it, he holds it in his hand like some bit of conversational phlegm he will wipe away later. You spend another hour trying to find each other, to recognise each other, and you drink a little too much and try a little too hard. And you go home to a cold bed and think, That was fine. And your life is a long line of fine.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
It's just that the thing you never understand about being a mother, until you are one, is that it is not the grown man - the galumphing, unshaven, stinking, opinionated off-spring - you see before you, with his parking tickets and unpolished shoes and complicated love life. You see all the people he has ever been all rolled up into one. I look at him and see the baby I held in my arms, dewing besotted, unable to believe that I'd created another human being. I see the toddler, reaching for my hand, the schoolboy weeping tears of fury after being bullied  by some other child. I saw the vulnerabilities, the love, the history.
Jojo Moyes (Me Before You (Me Before You, #1))
Books, purchasable at low cost, permit us to interrogate the past with high accuracy; to tap the wisdom of our species; to understand the point of view of others, and not just those in power; to contemplate--with the best teachers--the insights, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, drawn from the entire planet and from all of our history. They allow people long dead to talk inside our heads. Books can accompany us everywhere. Books are patient where we are slow to understand, allow us to go over the hard parts as many times as we wish, and are never critical of our lapses. Books are key to understanding the world and participating in a democratic society.
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
Humans — who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals — have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and 'animals' is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them — without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us.
Carl Sagan
And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it? It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out. I want to repeat one word for you: Leave. Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn't it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don't worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
I can't--I can't think about anything or anyone else," he whispered. A hand drifted up, dragging back through his hair. "I can't think straight when you're around. I can't sleep. It feels like I can't breathe--I just--" "Liam, please," I begged. "You're tired. You're barely over being sick. Let's just... Can we just go back to the others?" "I love you." He turned toward me, that agonized expression still on his face. "I love you every second of everyday, and I don't understand why, or how to make it stop--" He looked wild with pain; it pinned me in place, even before what he had said registered in my mind. "I know it's wrong; I know it down to my damn bones. And I feel like I'm sick. I'm trying to be a good person, but I can't. I can't do this anymore.
Alexandra Bracken (Never Fade (The Darkest Minds, #2))
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97: Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine. Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you. Sing. Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself. Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements. Stretch. Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone. Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's. Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own. Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room. Read the directions, even if you don't follow them. Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out. Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. But trust me on the sunscreen.
Mary Schmich (Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life)
I was no better at reading people than I had been ten seconds ago, but in that moment, I suddenly gained a flash of understanding into the mystery that was Adrian Ivashkov. People didn't believe in him very often. They had low expectations of him, so he did as well. Even Eddie had sort of written him off: 'He's Adrian'. As though there was nothing to be done for it. I also suddenly realized that, as unlikely as it seemed, Adrian and I had a lot in common. Both of us were constantly boxed in by others' expectations. It didn't matter that people expected everything of me and nothing of him. We were still the same, both of us constantly trying to break out of the lines that others had defined for us and be our own person. Adrian Ivashkov — flippant, vampire party boy — was more like me than anyone else knew.
Richelle Mead (Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1))
Lately I can't help wanting us to be like other people. For example, if I were a smoker, you'd lift a match to the cigarette just as I put it between my lips. It's never been like that between us: none of that easy chemistry, no quick, half automatic flares. Everything between us had to be learned. Saturday finds me brooding behind my book, all my fantasies of seduction run up against the rocks. Tell me again why you don't like sex in the afternoon? No, don't tell me-- I'll never understand you never understand us, America's strangest loving couple: they never drink a bottle of wine together and rarely look at each other. Into each other's eyes, I mean.
Deborah Garrison (A Working Girl Can't Win)
Fights between individuals, as well as governments and nations, invariably result from misunderstandings in the broadest interpretation of this term. Misunderstandings are always caused by the inability of appreciating one another's point of view. This again is due to the ignorance of those concerned, not so much in their own, as in their mutual fields. The peril of a clash is aggravated by a more or less predominant sense of combativeness, posed by every human being. To resist this inherent fighting tendency the best way is to dispel ignorance of the doings of others by a systematic spread of general knowledge. With this object in view, it is most important to aid exchange of thought and intercourse.
Nikola Tesla
And I want to play hide-and-seek and give you my clothes and tell you I like your shoes and sit on the steps while you take a bath and massage your neck and kiss your feet and hold your hand and go for a meal and not mind when you eat my food and meet you at Rudy's and talk about the day and type up your letters and carry your boxes and laugh at your paranoia and give you tapes you don't listen to and watch great films and watch terrible films and complain about the radio and take pictures of you when you're sleeping and get up to fetch you coffee and bagels and Danish and go to Florent and drink coffee at midnight and have you steal my cigarettes and never be able to find a match and tell you about the tv programme I saw the night before and take you to the eye hospital and not laugh at your jokes and want you in the morning but let you sleep for a while and kiss your back and stroke your skin and tell you how much I love your hair your eyes your lips your neck your breasts your arse your and sit on the steps smoking till your neighbour comes home and sit on the steps smoking till you come home and worry when you're late and be amazed when you're early and give you sunflowers and go to your party and dance till I'm black and be sorry when I'm wrong and happy when you forgive me and look at your photos and wish I'd known you forever and hear your voice in my ear and feel your skin on my skin and get scared when you're angry and your eye has gone red and the other eye blue and your hair to the left and your face oriental and tell you you're gorgeous and hug you when you're anxious and hold you when you hurt and want you when I smell you and offend you when I touch you and whimper when I'm next to you and whimper when I'm not and dribble on your breast and smother you in the night and get cold when you take the blanket and hot when you don't and melt when you smile and dissolve when you laugh and not understand why you think I'm rejecting you when I'm not rejecting you and wonder how you could think I'd ever reject you and wonder who you are but accept you anyway and tell you about the tree angel enchanted forest boy who flew across the ocean because he loved you and write poems for you and wonder why you don't believe me and have a feeling so deep I can't find words for it and want to buy you a kitten I'd get jealous of because it would get more attention than me and keep you in bed when you have to go and cry like a baby when you finally do and get rid of the roaches and buy you presents you don't want and take them away again and ask you to marry me and you say no again but keep on asking because though you think I don't mean it I do always have from the first time I asked you and wander the city thinking it's empty without you and want what you want and think I'm losing myself but know I'm safe with you and tell you the worst of me and try to give you the best of me because you don't deserve any less and answer your questions when I'd rather not and tell you the truth when I really don't want to and try to be honest because I know you prefer it and think it's all over but hang on in for just ten more minutes before you throw me out of your life and forget who I am and try to get closer to you because it's beautiful learning to know you and well worth the effort and speak German to you badly and Hebrew to you worse and make love with you at three in the morning and somehow somehow somehow communicate some of the overwhelming undying overpowering unconditional all-encompassing heart-enriching mind-expanding on-going never-ending love I have for you.
Sarah Kane (Crave)
I examined the poets, and I look on them as people whose talent overawes both themselves and others, people who present themselves as wise men and are taken as such, when they are nothing of the sort. From poets, I moved to artists. No one was more ignorant about the arts than I; no one was more convinced that artists possessed really beautiful secrets. However, I noticed that their condition was no better than that of the poets and that both of them have the same misconceptions. Because the most skillful among them excel in their specialty, they look upon themselves as the wisest of men. In my eyes, this presumption completely tarnished their knowledge. As a result, putting myself in the place of the oracle and asking myself what I would prefer to be — what I was or what they were, to know what they have learned or to know that I know nothing — I replied to myself and to the god: I wish to remain who I am. We do not know — neither the sophists, nor the orators, nor the artists, nor I— what the True, the Good, and the Beautiful are. But there is this difference between us: although these people know nothing, they all believe they know something; whereas, I, if I know nothing, at least have no doubts about it. As a result, all this superiority in wisdom which the oracle has attributed to me reduces itself to the single point that I am strongly convinced that I am ignorant of what I do not know.
Socrates
Doubt--because doubt is not a sin, it is a sign of your intelligence. You are not responsible to any nation, to any church, to any God. You are responsible only for one thing, and that is self knowledge. And the miracle is, if you can fulfill this responsibility, you will be able to fulfill many other responsibilities without any effort. The moment you come to your own being, a revolution happens in your vision. Your whole outlook about life goes through a radical change. You start feeling new responsibilities--not as some thing to be done, not as a duty to be fulfilled, but as a joy to do.
Osho (The Book of Understanding: Creating Your Own Path to Freedom)
A poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within himself all poisons, and preserves their quintessences. Unspeakable torment, where he will need the greatest faith, a superhuman strength, where he becomes all men the great invalid, the great criminal, the great accursed--and the Supreme Scientist! For he attains the unknown! Because he has cultivated his soul, already rich, more than anyone! He attains the unknown, and if, demented, he finally loses the understanding of his visions, he will at least have seen them! So what if he is destroyed in his ecstatic flight through things unheard of, unnameable: other horrible workers will come; they will begin at the horizons where the first one has fallen!
Arthur Rimbaud
…there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there. It is hard for me to make sense on any given level. Myself is fabricated, an aberration. I am a noncontingent human being. My personality is sketchy and unformed, my heartlessness goes deep and is persistent. My conscience, my pity, my hopes disappeared a long time ago (probably at Harvard) if they ever did exist. There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it, I have now surpassed. I still, though, hold on to one single bleak truth: no one is safe, nothing is redeemed. Yet I am blameless. Each model of human behavior must be assumed to have some validity. Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this—and I have countless times, in just about every act I’ve committed—and coming face-to-face with these truths, there is no catharsis. I gain no deeper knowledge about myself, no new understanding can be extracted from my telling. There has been no reason for me to tell you any of this. This confession has meant nothing….
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)
Hurt people hurt people. We are not being judgmental by separating ourselves from such people. But we should do so with compassion. Compassion is defined as a "keen awareness of the suffering of another coupled with a desire to see it relieved." People hurt others as a result of their own inner strife and pain. Avoid the reactive response of believeing they are bad; they already think so and are acting that way. They aren't bad; they are damaged and they deserve compassion. Note that compassion is an internal process, an understanding of the painful and troubled road trod by another. It is not trying to change or fix that person.
Will Bowen (Complaint Free Relationships: Transforming Your Life One Relationship at a Time)
I look at the blanked-out faces of the other passengers--hoisting their briefcases, their backpacks, shuffling to disembark--and I think of what Hobie said: beauty alters the grain of reality. And I keep thinking too of the more conventional wisdom: namely, that the pursuit of pure beauty is a trap, a fast track to bitterness and sorrow, that beauty has to be wedded to something more meaningful. Only what is that thing? Why am I made the way I am? Why do I care about all the wrong things, and nothing at all for the right ones? Or, to tip it another way: how can I see so clearly that everything I love or care about is illusion, and yet--for me, anyway--all that's worth living for lies in that charm? A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don't get to choose our own hearts. We can't make ourselves want what's good for us or what's good for other people. We don't get to choose the people we are. Because--isn't it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture--? From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it's a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what's right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: "Be yourself." "Follow your heart." Only here's what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can't be trusted--? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?...If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or...is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Why does that obstinate little voice in our heads torment us so? Could it be because it reminds us that we are alive, of our mortality, of our individual souls – which, after all, we are too afraid to surrender but yet make us feel more miserable than any other thing? It is a terrible thing to learn as a child that one is a being separate from the world, that no one and no thing hurts along with one’s burned tongues and skinned knees, that one’s aches and pains are all one’s own. Even more terrible, as we grow older, to learn that no person, no matter how beloved, can ever truly understand us. Our own selves make us most unhappy, and that’s why we’re so anxious to lose them, don’t you think?
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn't care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil, or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely. The only sense to make of tragedies like this is that terrible things can happen to perfectly innocent people. This understanding inspires compassion. Religious faith, on the other hand, erodes compassion. Thoughts like, 'this might be all part of God’s plan,' or 'there are no accidents in life,' or 'everyone on some level gets what he or she deserves' - these ideas are not only stupid, they are extraordinarily callous. They are nothing more than a childish refusal to connect with the suffering of other human beings. It is time to grow up and let our hearts break at moments like this.
Sam Harris
Perfectly Imperfect We have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path. Along this gravity-driven journey, some snowflakes collide and damage each other, some collide and join together, some are influenced by wind... there are so many transitions and changes that take place along the journey of the snowflake. But, no matter what the transition, the snowflake always finds itself perfectly shaped for its journey. I find parallels in nature to be a beautiful reflection of grand orchestration. One of these parallels is of snowflakes and us. We, too, are all headed in the same direction. We are being driven by a universal force to the same destination. We are all individuals taking different journeys and along our journey, we sometimes bump into each other, we cross paths, we become altered... we take different physical forms. But at all times we too are 100% perfectly imperfect. At every given moment we are absolutely perfect for what is required for our journey. I’m not perfect for your journey and you’re not perfect for my journey, but I’m perfect for my journey and you’re perfect for your journey. We’re heading to the same place, we’re taking different routes, but we’re both exactly perfect the way we are. Think of what understanding this great orchestration could mean for relationships. Imagine interacting with others knowing that they too each share this parallel with the snowflake. Like you, they are headed to the same place and no matter what they may appear like to you, they have taken the perfect form for their journey. How strong our relationships would be if we could see and respect that we are all perfectly imperfect for our journey.
Steve Maraboli (Life, the Truth, and Being Free)
For those who are not frightened by the solitude, everything will have a different taste. In solitude, they will discover the love that might otherwise arrive unnoticed. In solitude, they will understand and respect the love that left them. In solitude, they will be able to decide whether it is worth asking that lost love to come back or if they should simply let it go and set off along a new path. In solitude, they will learn that saying ‘No’ does not always show a lack of generosity and that saying ‘Yes’ is not always a virtue. And those who are alone at this moment, need never be frightened by the words of the devil: ‘You’re wasting your time.’ Or by the chief demon’s even more potent words: ‘No one cares about you.’ The Divine Energy is listening to us when we speak to other people, but also when we are still and silent and able to accept solitude as a blessing. And when we achieve that harmony, we receive more than we asked for.
Paulo Coelho (Manuscript Found in Accra)
What does one person give to another? He gives of himself, of the most precious he has, he gives of his life. This does not necessarily mean that he sacrifices his life for the other—but that he gives him of that which is alive in him; he gives him of his joy, of his interest, of his understanding, of his knowledge, of his humor, of his sadness—of all expressions and manifestations of that which is alive in him. In thus giving of his life, he enriches the other person, he enhances the other's sense of aliveness by enhancing his own sense of aliveness. He does not give in order to receive; giving is in itself exquisite joy. But in giving he cannot help bringing something to life in the other person, and this which is brought to life reflects back to him.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
When she opened her eyes, she was both in her body and watching it, nowhere near the cavity of the tree. The Blue that was before her stood inches from a boy in an Aglionby sweater. There was a slight stoop to his posture, and his shoulders were spattered darkly with rain. It was his fingers that Blue felt on her face. He touched her cheek with the backs of his fingers. Tears coursed down the other Blue's face. Though some strange magic, Blue could feel them on her face as well. She could feel, too, sick, rising misery she'd felt in the churchyard, the grief that felt bigger than her. The other Blue's tears seemed endless. One drop slid after another, each following an identical path down her cheeks. The boy in the Aglionby sweater leaned his forehead against Blue's. She felt the pressure of his skin against hers, and suddenly she could smell mint. It'll be okay. Gansey told the other Blue. She could tell that he was afraid. It'll be okay. Impossibly, Blue realized that this other Blue was crying because she loved Gansey. And that the reason Gansey touched her like that, his fingers so careful with her, was because he knew that her kiss could kill him. She could feel how badly the other Blue wanted to kiss him, even as she dreaded it. Though she couldn't understand why, her real, present day memories in the tree cavity were clouded with other false memories of their lips nearly touching, a life this other Blue had already lived. Okay, I'm ready- Gansey's voice caught, just a little. Blue, kiss me.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
You differ from a great man in only one respect: the great man was once a very little man, but he developed one important quality: he recognized the smallness and narrowness of his thoughts and actions. Under the pressure of some task that meant a great deal to him, he learned to see how his smallness, his pettiness endangered his happiness. In other words, a great man knows when and in what way he is a little man. A little man does not know he is little and is afraid to know. He hides his pettiness and narrowness behind illusions of strength and greatness, someone else's strength and greatness. He's proud of his great generals but not of himself. He admires an idea he has not had, not one he has had. The less he understands something, the more firmly he believes in it. And the better he understands an idea, the less he believes in it.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . . History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened. My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder's jacket . . . booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) . . . but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that. . . . There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . . And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . . So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
I wish someone had just told me the truth right up front, as soon as I was old enough to understand it. I wish someone had just said: “Here’s the deal, Wade. You’re something called a ‘human being.’ That’s a really smart kind of animal. Like every other animal on this planet, we’re descended from a single-celled organism that lived millions of years ago. This happened by a process called evolution, and you’ll learn more about it But trust me, that’s really how we all got here. There’s proof of it everywhere, buried in the rocks. That story you heard? About how we were all created by a super-powerful dude named God who lives up in the sky? Total bullshit. The whole God thing is actually an ancient fairy tale that people have been telling one another for thousands of years. We made it all up. Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. “Oh, and by the way … there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. Also bullshit. Sorry, kid Deal with it.
Ernest Cline (Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1))
Likewise and during every day of an unillustrious life, time carries us. But a moment always comes when we have to carry it. We live on the future: “tomorrow,” “later on,” “when you have made your way,” “you will understand when you are old enough.” Such irrelevancies are wonderful, for, after all, it’s a matter of dying. Yet a day comes when a man notices or says that he is thirty. Thus he asserts his youth. But simultaneously he situates himself in relation to time. He takes his place in it. He admits that he stands at a certain point on a curve that he acknowledges having to travel to its end. He belongs to time, and by the horror that seizes him, he recognizes his worst enemy. Tomorrow, he was longing for tomorrow, whereas everything in him ought to reject it. That revolt of the flesh is the absurd.
Albert Camus (The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays)
To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future. And we need freedom (or, at least, the illusion of freedom) to get beyond ourselves, whether with telescopes and microscopes and our ever-burgeoning technology, or in states of mind that allow us to travel to other worlds, to rise above our immediate surroundings. We may seek, too, a relaxing of inhibitions that makes it easier to bond with each other, or transports that make our consciousness of time and mortality easier to bear. We seek a holiday from our inner and outer restrictions, a more intense sense of the here and now, the beauty and value of the world we live in.
Oliver Sacks
Simon: You're in a dangerous line of work, Jayne. Odds are you'll be under my knife again, often. So I want you to understand one thing very clearly: No matter what you do or say or plot, no matter how you come down on us, I will never, ever harm you. You're on this table, you're safe... 'cause I'm your medic. And however little we may like or trust each other, we're on the same crew. Got the same troubles, same enemies, and more than enough of both. Now, we could circle each other and growl, sleep with one eye open, but that thought wearies me. I don't care what you've done, I don't know what you're planning on doing, but I'm trusting you. I think you should do the same. 'Cause I don't see this working any other way. River: Also, I can kill you with my brain.
Ben Edlund
Other people spoke, and I tried to keep up with the translations. All the stories were about Dimitri's kindness and strength of character. Even when not out battling the undead, Dimitri had always been there to help those who needed it. Almost everyone could recall sometime that Dimitri had stepped up to help others, going out of his way to do what was right, even in situations that could put him at risk. That was no surprise to me. Dimitri always did the right thing. And it was that attitude that had made me love him so much. I had a similar nature. I too rushed in when others needed me, sometimes when I shouldn't have. Others called me crazy for it, but Dimitri had understood. He'd always understood me, and part of what we'd worked on was how to temper that impulsive need to run into danger with reason and calculation. I had a feeling no one else in this world would ever understand me like he did.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
[...] I grew up out of that strange, dreamy childhood of mine and went into the world of reality. I met with experiences that bruised my spirit - but they never harmed my ideal world. That was always mine to retreat into at will. I learned that that world and the real world clashed hopelessly and irreconcilably; and I learned to keep them apart so that the former might remain for me unspoiled. I learned to meet other people on their own ground since there seemed to be no meeting place on mine. I learned to hide the thoughts and dreams and fancies that had no place in the strife and clash of the market place. I found that it was useless to look for kindred souls in the multitude; one might stumble on such here and there, but as a rule it seemed to me that the majority of people lived for the things of time and sense alone and could not understand my other life. So I piped and danced to other people's piping - and held fast to my own soul as best I could.
L.M. Montgomery (My Dear Mr. M: Letters to G.B. Macmillan from L.M. Montgomery)
There is probably no better or more reliable measure of whether a woman has spent time in ugly duckling status at some point or all throughout her life than her inability to digest a sincere compliment. Although it could be a matter of modesty, or could be attributed to shyness- although too many serious wounds are carelessly written off as "nothing but shyness"- more often a compliment is stuttered around about because it sets up an automatic and unpleasant dialogue in the woman's mind. If you say how lovely she is, or how beautiful her art is, or compliment anything else her soul took part in, inspired, or suffused, something in her mind says she is undeserving and you, the complimentor, are an idiot for thinking such a thing to begin with. Rather than understand that the beauty of her soul shines through when she is being herself, the woman changes the subject and effectively snatches nourishment away from the soul-self, which thrives on being acknowledged." "I must admit, I sometimes find it useful in my practice to delineate the various typologies of personality as cats and hens and ducks and swans and so forth. If warranted, I might ask my client to assume for a moment that she is a swan who does not realzie it. Assume also for a moment that she has been brought up by or is currently surrounded by ducks. There is nothing wrong with ducks, I assure them, or with swans. But ducks are ducks and swans are swans. Sometimes to make the point I have to move to other animal metaphors. I like to use mice. What if you were raised by the mice people? But what if you're, say, a swan. Swans and mice hate each other's food for the most part. They each think the other smells funny. They are not interested in spending time together, and if they did, one would be constantly harassing the other. But what if you, being a swan, had to pretend you were a mouse? What if you had to pretend to be gray and furry and tiny? What you had no long snaky tail to carry in the air on tail-carrying day? What if wherever you went you tried to walk like a mouse, but you waddled instead? What if you tried to talk like a mouse, but insteade out came a honk every time? Wouldn't you be the most miserable creature in the world? The answer is an inequivocal yes. So why, if this is all so and too true, do women keep trying to bend and fold themselves into shapes that are not theirs? I must say, from years of clinical observation of this problem, that most of the time it is not because of deep-seated masochism or a malignant dedication to self-destruction or anything of that nature. More often it is because the woman simply doesn't know any better. She is unmothered.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype)
Do you love me, Westley? Is that it?’ He couldn’t believe it. ‘Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches. If your love were—‘ ‘I don’t understand the first one yet,’ Buttercup interrupted. She was starting to get very excited now. ‘Let me get this straight. Are you saying my love is the size of a grain of sand and yours is this other thing? Images just confuse me so—is this universal business of yours bigger than my sand? Help me, Westley. I have the feeling we’re on the verge of something just terribly important.’ ‘I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body. I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids….Is any of this getting through to you, Buttercup, or do you want me to go on for a while?’ ‘Never stop.’ ‘There has not been—‘ ‘If you’re teasing me, Westley, I’m just going to kill you.’ ‘How can you even dream I might be teasing?’ ‘Well, you haven’t once said you loved me.’ ‘That’s all you need? Easy. I love you. Okay? Want it louder? I love you. Spell it out, should I? I ell-oh-vee-ee why-oh-you. Want it backward? You love I.’ ‘You are teasing now; aren’t you?’ ‘A little maybe; I’ve been saying it so long to you, you just wouldn’t listen. Every time you said ‘Farm boy do this’ you thought I was answering ‘As you wish’ but that’s only because you were hearing wrong. ‘I love you’ was what it was, but you never heard, and you never heard.
William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
There is an emotional promiscuity we’ve noticed among many good young men and women. The young man understands something of the journey of the heart. He wants to talk, to “share the journey.” The woman is grateful to be pursued, she opens up. They share the intimacies of their lives - their wounds, their walks with God. But he never commits. He enjoys her... then leaves. And she wonders, What did I do wrong? She failed to see his passivity. He really did not ever commit or offer assurances that he would. Like Willoughby to Marianne in Sense and Sensibility. Be careful you do not offer too much of yourself to a man until you have good, solid evidence that he is a strong man willing to commit. Look at his track record with other women. Is there anything to be concerned about there? If so, bring it up. Also, does he have any close male friends - and what are they like as men? Can he hold down a job? Is he walking with God in a real and intimate way? Is he facing the wounds of his own life, and is he also demonstrating a desire to repent of Adam’s passivity and/or violence? Is he headed somewhere with his life? A lot of questions, but your heart is a treasure, and we want you to offer it only to a man who is worthy and ready to handle it well.
Stasi Eldredge (Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul)
I've often thought there ought to be a manual to hand to little kids, telling them what kind of planet they're on, why they don't fall off it, how much time they've probably got here, how to avoid poison ivy, and so on. I tried to write one once. It was called Welcome to Earth. But I got stuck on explaining why we don't fall off the planet. Gravity is just a word. It doesn't explain anything. If I could get past gravity, I'd tell them how we reproduce, how long we've been here, apparently, and a little bit about evolution. I didn't learn until I was in college about all the other cultures, and I should have learned that in the first grade. A first grader should understand that his or her culture isn't a rational invention; that there are thousands of other cultures and they all work pretty well; that all cultures function on faith rather than truth; that there are lots of alternatives to our own society. Cultural relativity is defensible and attractive. It's also a source of hope. It means we don't have to continue this way if we don't like it.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
My dearest Emma," said he, "for dearest you will always be, whatever the event of this hour's conversation, my dearest, most beloved Emma -- tell me at once. Say 'No,' if it is to be said." She could really say nothing. "You are silent," he cried, with great animation; "absolutely silent! at present I ask no more." Emma was almost ready to sink under the agitation of this moment. The dread of being awakened from the happiest dream, was perhaps the most prominent feeling. "I cannot make speeches, Emma," he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing. "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it. Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover. But you understand me. Yes, you see, you understand my feelings and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice.
Jane Austen (Emma)
We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love. We must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs, aspirations, and suffering of the person we love. This is the ground of real love. You cannot resist loving another person when you really understand him or her. From time to time, sit close to the one you love, hold his or her hand, and ask, 'Darling, do I understand you enough? Or am I making you suffer? Please tell me so that I can learn to love you properly. I don't want to make you suffer, and if I do so because of my ignorance, please tell me so that I can love you better, so that you can be happy." If you say this in a voice that communicates your real openness to understand, the other person may cry. That is a good sign, because it means the door of understanding is opening and everything will be possible again. Maybe a father does not have time or is not brave enough to ask his son such a question. Then the love between them will not be as full as it could be. We need courage to ask these questions, but if we don't ask, the more we love, the more we may destroy the people we are trying to love. True love needs understanding. With understanding, the one we love will certainly flower.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life)
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Mary Schmich
I know there's no way I can convince you this is not one of their tricks, but I don't care, I am me. My name is Valerie, I don't think I'll live much longer and I wanted to tell someone about my life. This is the only autobiography ill ever write, and god, I'm writing it on toilet paper. I was born in Nottingham in 1985, I don't remember much of those early years, but I do remember the rain. My grandmother owned a farm in Tuttlebrook, and she use to tell me that god was in the rain. I passed my 11th lesson into girl's grammar; it was at school that I met my first girlfriend, her name was Sara. It was her wrists. They were beautiful. I thought we would love each other forever. I remember our teacher telling us that is was an adolescent phase people outgrew. Sara did, I didn't. In 2002 I fell in love with a girl named Christina. That year I came out to my parents. I couldn't have done it without Chris holding my hand. My father wouldn't look at me, he told me to go and never come back. My mother said nothing. But I had only told them the truth, was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free. I'd always known what I wanted to do with my life, and in 2015 I starred in my first film, "The Salt Flats". It was the most important role of my life, not because of my career, but because that was how I met Ruth. The first time we kissed, I knew I never wanted to kiss any other lips but hers again. We moved to a small flat in London together. She grew Scarlet Carsons for me in our window box, and our place always smelled of roses. Those were there best years of my life. But America's war grew worse, and worse. And eventually came to London. After that there were no roses anymore. Not for anyone. I remember how the meaning of words began to change. How unfamiliar words like collateral and rendition became frightening. While things like Norse Fire and The Articles of Allegiance became powerful, I remember how different became dangerous. I still don't understand it, why they hate us so much. They took Ruth while she was out buying food. I've never cried so hard in my life. It wasn't long till they came for me.It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years, I had roses, and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An Inch, it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you. -Valerie
Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
I'll tell you something banal.We're emotional illiterates.And not only you and I-practically everybody,that's the depressing thing.We're taught everything about the body and about agriculture in Madagascar and about the square root of pi, or whatever the hell it's called,but not a word about the soul.We're abysmally ignorant,about both ourselves and others.There's a lot of loose talk nowadays to the effect that children should be brought up to know all about brotherhood and understanding and coexistence and equality and everything else that's all the rage just now.But it doesn't dawn on anyone that we must first learn something about ourselves and our own feelings.Our own fear and loneliness and anger.We're left without a chance,ignorant and remorseful among the ruins of our ambitions.To make a child aware of it's soul is something almost indecent.You're regarded as a dirty old man.How can you understand other people if you don't know anything about yourself?Now you're yawning,so that's the end of the lecture.
Ingmar Bergman
The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. Maybe they always have been and always will be. Maybe we've lived a thousand lives before this one and in each of them we've found each other. And maybe each time, we've been forced apart for the same reasons. That means that this goodbye is both a goodbye for the past ten thousand years and a prelude to what will come. 

When I look at you, I see your beauty and grace and know they have grown stronger with every life you have lived. And I know I have spent every life before this on searching for you. Not someone like you, but you, for your soul and mine must always come together. And then, for a reason neither of us understand, we've been forced to say goodbye.

 I would love to tell you that everything will work out for us, and I promise to do all I can to make sure it does. But if we never meet again and this is truly goodbye, I know we will see each other again, and maybe the stars will have changed, and we will not only love each other in that time, but for all the times we've had before.
Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook (The Notebook, #1))
I understand, all right. The hopeless dream of being - not seeming, but being. At every waking moment, alert. The gulf between what you are with others and what you are alone. The vertigo and the constant hunger to be exposed, to be seen through, perhaps even wiped out. Every inflection and every gesture a lie, every smile a grimace. Suicide? No, too vulgar. But you can refuse to move, refuse to talk, so that you don't have to lie. You can shut yourself in. Then you needn't play any parts or make wrong gestures. Or so you thought. But reality is diabolical. Your hiding place isn't watertight. Life trickles in from the outside, and you're forced to react. No one asks if it is true or false, if you're genuine or just a sham. Such things matter only in the theatre, and hardly there either. I understand why you don't speak, why you don't move, why you've created a part for yourself out of apathy. I understand. I admire. You should go on with this part until it is played out, until it loses interest for you. Then you can leave it, just as you've left your other parts one by one.
Ingmar Bergman
HELPED are those who are content to be themselves; they will never lack mystery in their lives and the joys of self-discovery will be constant. HELPED are those who love the entire cosmos rather than their own tiny country, city, or farm, for to them will be shown the unbroken web of life and the meaning of infinity. HELPED are those who live in quietness, knowing neither brand name nor fad; they shall live every day as if in eternity, and each moment shall be as full as it is long. HELPED are those who love others unsplit off from their faults; to them will be given clarity of vision. HELPED are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception, and realize an partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful. HELPED are those who love the Earth, their mother, and who willingly suffer that she may not die; in their grief over her pain they will weep rivers of blood, and in their joy in her lively response to love, they will converse with the trees. HELPED are those whose ever act is a prayer for harmony in the Universe, for they are the restorers of balance to our planet. To them will be given the insight that every good act done anywhere in the cosmos welcomes the life of an animal or a child. HELPED are those who risk themselves for others' sakes; to them will be given increasing opportunities for ever greater risks. Theirs will be a vision of the word in which no one's gift is despised or lost. HELPED are those who strive to give up their anger; their reward will be that in any confrontation their first thoughts will never be of violence or of war. HELPED are those whose every act is a prayer for peace; on them depends the future of the world. HELPED are those who forgive; their reward shall be forgiveness of every evil done to them. It will be in their power, therefore, to envision the new Earth. HELPED are those who are shown the existence of the Creator's magic in the Universe; they shall experience delight and astonishment without ceasing. HELPED are those who laugh with a pure heart; theirs will be the company of the jolly righteous. HELPED are those who love all the colors of all the human beings, as they love all the colors of the animals and plants; none of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them. HELPED are those who love the lesbian, the gay, and the straight, as they love the sun, the moon, and the stars. None of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them. HELPED are those who love the broken and the whole; none of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them. HELPED are those who do not join mobs; theirs shall be the understanding that to attack in anger is to murder in confusion. HELPED are those who find the courage to do at least one small thing each day to help the existence of another--plant, animal, river, or human being. They shall be joined by a multitude of the timid. HELPED are those who lose their fear of death; theirs is the power to envision the future in a blade of grass. HELPED are those who love and actively support the diversity of life; they shall be secure in their differences. HELPED are those who KNOW.
Alice Walker
Love does not cost anything. Kind words and deeds do not cost anything. The real beauty of the world is equal for everyone to see. It was given by God equally to all, without restrictions. Everyone, was given a beautiful vehicle in which to express love to others. Feelings are free to express and give to ourselves and each other through our willingness to give and care. What is complicated about this... Why have we made others feel they have to climb mountains and swim oceans in order to make a difference. All we need to understand my friends, is that human life was given equally to us all, not partially but in totality. The sun was given to all. It does not shine on the few. So, just has nature is indifferent to our station or situation, we need to know that we are all equal. We need to focus on the things that are constant and not place our values on things that can be blown away with the next, great, wind. Value life in what ever house it dwells. For when it comes time that we are all stripped to bare bones before the divine and facing eternity, we will understand that the only law we were meant to follow, was to love ourselves and each other. Nothing more...nothing less.
Carla Jo Masterson
As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I had become more and more enraged and mystified by the idiot decisions made by my countrymen. And then I had come suddenly to pity them, for I understood how innocent and natural it was for them to behave so abominably, and with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented in story books. This was the reason Americans shot each other so often: It was a convenient literary device for ending short stories and books. Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tis-sues? Because that was the way authors customarily treated bit-part players in their made-up tales. And so on.Once I understood what was making America such a dangerous, unhappy nation of people who had nothing to do with real life, I resolved to shun storytelling. I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order, instead, which I think I have done. If all writers would do that, then perhaps citizens not in the literary trades will understand that there is no order in the world around us, that we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead. It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
What are you doing following me around the back streets of London, you little idiot?” Will demanded, giving her arm a light shake. Cecily’s eyes narrowed. “This morning it was cariad (note: Welsh endearment, like ‘darling’ or ‘love’), now it’s idiot.” “Oh, you’re using a Glamour rune. There’s one thing to declare, you are not afraid of anything when you live in the country. But this is London.” “I’m not afraid of London,” Cecily said defiantly. Will leaned closer, almost hissing in her ear *and said something very complicated in Welsh* She laughed. “No, it wouldn’t do you any good to tell me to go home. You are my brother, and I want to go with you.” Will blinked at her words. You are my brother, and I want to go with you. It was the sort of thing he was used to hearing Jem say. Although Cecily was unlike Jem in every other conceivable possible way, she did share one quality with him. Stubbornness. When Cecily said she wanted something, it did not express an idle desire, but an iron determination. “Do you even care where I’m going?” he said. “What if I were going to hell?” “I’ve always wanted to see hell,” Cecily said. “Doesn’t everyone?” “Most of us spend our time trying to stay out of it, Cecily. I’m going to an ifrit den, if you must know, to purchase drugs from vile, dissolute criminals. They may clap eyes on you, and decide to sell you.” “Wouldn’t you stop them?” “I suppose it would depend on whether they cut me a part of the profit.” She shook her head. “Jem is your parabatai,” she said. “He is your brother, given to you by the Clave, but I am your sister by blood. Why would you do anything for him, but you only want me to go home?” “How do you know the drugs are for Jem?” Will said. “I’m not an idiot, Will.” “No, more’s the pity. Jem- Jem is like the better part of me. I would not expect you to understand. I owe him. I owe him this.” “So what am I?” Cecily said. Will exhaled, too desperate to check himself. “You are my weakness.” “And Tessa is your heart,” she said, not angrily, but thoughtfully. “I am not fooled. As I told you, I’m not an idiot. And more’s the pity for you, although I suppose we all want things we can’t have.” “Oh,” said Will, “and what do you want?” “I want you to come home.” A strand of black hair was stuck to her cheek by the dampness, and Will fought the urge to pull her cloak closer about her, to make her safe as he had when she was a child. “The Institute is my home,” Will sighed, and leaned his head against the stone wall. “I can’t stand out her arguing with you all evening, Cecily. If you’re determined to follow me into hell, I can’t stop you.” “Finally,” she said provingly. “You’ve seen sense. I knew you would, you’re related to me.” Will fought the urge to shake her. “Are you ready?” She nodded, and he raised his hand to knock on the door.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
The children came to a perfume shop. In the show window was a large jar of freckle salve, and beside the jar was a sign, which read: DO YOU SUFFER FROM FRECKLES? 'What does the sign say?' ask Pippi. She couldn’t read very well because she didn’t want to go to school as other children did. 'It says, "Do you suffer from freckles?"' said Annika. 'Does it indeed?' said Pippi thoughtfully. 'Well, a civil question deserves a civil answer. Let’s go in.' She opened the door and entered the shop, closely followed by Tommy and Annika. An elderly lady stood back of the counter. Pippi went right up to her. 'No!' she said decidedly. 'What is it you want?' asked the lady. 'No,' said Pippi once more. 'I don’t understand what you mean,' said the lady. 'No, I don’t suffer from freckles,' said Pippi. Then the lady understood, but she took one look at Pippi and burst out, 'But, my dear child, your whole face is covered with freckles!' 'I know it,' said Pippi, 'but I don’t suffer from them. I love them. Good morning.' She turned to leave, but when she got to the door she looked back and cried, 'But if you should happen to get in any salve that gives people more freckles, then you can send me seven or eight jars.
Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Långstrump, #1))
I write to find strength. I write to become the person that hides inside me. I write to light the way through the darkness for others. I write to be seen and heard. I write to be near those I love. I write by accident, promptings, purposefully and anywhere there is paper. I write because my heart speaks a different language that someone needs to hear. I write past the embarrassment of exposure. I write because hypocrisy doesn’t need answers, rather it needs questions to heal. I write myself out of nightmares. I write because I am nostalgic, romantic and demand happy endings. I write to remember. I write knowing conversations don’t always take place. I write because speaking can’t be reread. I write to sooth a mind that races. I write because you can play on the page like a child left alone in the sand. I write because my emotions belong to the moon; high tide, low tide. I write knowing I will fall on my words, but no one will say it was for very long. I write because I want to paint the world the way I see love should be. I write to provide a legacy. I write to make sense out of senselessness. I write knowing I will be killed by my own words, stabbed by critics, crucified by both misunderstanding and understanding. I write for the haters, the lovers, the lonely, the brokenhearted and the dreamers. I write because one day someone will tell me that my emotions were not a waste of time. I write because God loves stories. I write because one day I will be gone, but what I believed and felt will live on.
Shannon L. Alder
You were already in a prison. You've been in a prison all your life. Happiness is a prison, Evey. Happiness is the most insidious prison of all. Your lover lived in the penitentiary that we are all born into, and was forced to rake the dregs of that world for his living. He knew affection and tenderness but only briefly. Eventually, one of the other inmates stabbed him with a cutlass and he drowned upon his own blood. Is that it, Evey? Is that the happiness worth more than freedom? It's not an uncommon story, Evey. Many convicts meet with miserable ends. Your mother. Your father. Your lover. One by one, taken out behind the chemical sheds... and shot. All convicts, hunched and deformed by the smallness of their cells, the weight of their chains, the unfairness of their sentences. I didn't put you in a prison, Evey. I just showed you the bars.' 'You're wrong! It's just life, that's all! It's just how life is. It's what we've got to put up with. It's all we've got. What gives you the right to decide it's not good enough?' 'You're in a prison, Evey. You were born in a prison. You've been in a prison so long, you no longer believe there's a world outside. That's because you're afraid, Evey. You're afraid because you can feel freedom closing in upon you. You're afraid because freedom is terrifying. Don't back away from it, Evey. Part of you understands the truth even as part pretends not to. You were in a cell, Evey. They offered you a choice between the death of your principles and the death of your body. You said you'd rather die. You faced the fear of your own death and you were calm and still. The door of the cage is open, Evey. All that you feel is the wind from outside.
Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
I almost miss the sound of your voice but know that the rain outside my window will suffice for tonight. I’m not drunk yet, but we haven’t spoken in months now and I wanted to tell you that someone threw a bouquet of roses in the trash bin on the corner of my street, and I wanted to cry because, because — well, you know exactly why. And, I guess I’m calling because only you understand how that would break my heart. I’m running out of things to say. My gas is running on empty. I’ve stopped stealing pages out of poetry books, but last week I pocketed a thesaurus and looked for synonyms for you but could only find rain and more rain and a thunderstorm that sounded like glass, like crystal, like an orchestra. I wanted to tell you that I’m not afraid of being moved anymore; Not afraid of this heart packing up its things and flying transcontinental with only a wool coat and a pocket with a folded-up address inside. I’ve saved up enough money to disappear. I know you never thought the day would come. Do you remember when we said goodbye and promised that it was only for then? It’s been years since I last saw you, years since we last have spoken. Sometimes, it gets quiet enough that I can hear the cicadas rubbing their thighs against each other’s. I’ve forgotten almost everything about you already, except that your skin was soft, like the belly of a peach, and how you would laugh, making fun of me for the way I pronounced almonds like I was falling in love with language.
Shinji Moon
The Earth should not be cut up into hundreds of different sections, each inhabited by a self-defined segment of humanity that considers its own welfare and its own "national security" to be paramount above all other consideration. I am all for cultural diversity and would be willing to see each recognizable group value its cultural heritage. I am a New York patriot, for instance, and if I lived in Los Angeles, I would love to get together with other New York expatriates and sing "Give My Regards to Broadway." This sort of thing, however, should remain cultural and benign. I'm against it if it means that each group despises others and lusts to wipe them out. I'm against arming each little self-defined group with weapons with which to enforce its own prides and prejudices. The Earth faces environmental problems right now that threaten the imminent destruction of civilization and the end of the planet as a livable world. Humanity cannot afford to waste its financial and emotional resources on endless, meaningless quarrels between each group and all others. there must be a sense of globalism in which the world unites to solve the real problems that face all groups alike. Can that be done? The question is equivalent to: Can humanity survive? I am not a Zionist, then, because I don't believe in nations, and because Zionism merely sets up one more nation to trouble the world. It sets up one more nation to have "rights" and "demands" and "national security" and to feel it must guard itself against its neighbors. There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don't come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity.
Isaac Asimov (I. Asimov: A Memoir)
All my life I've wanted to be the kid who gets to cross over into the magical kingdom. I devoured those books by C.S. Lewis and William Dunthorn, Ellen Wentworth, Susan Cooper, and Alan Garner. When I could get them from the library, I read them out of order as I found them, and then in order, and then reread them all again, many times over. Because even when I was a child I knew it wasn't simply escape that lay on the far side of the borders of fairyland. Instinctively I knew crossing over would mean more than fleeing the constant terror and shame that was mine at that time of my life. There was a knowledge – an understanding hidden in the marrow of my bones that only I can access ― telling me that by crossing over, I'd be coming home. That's the reason I’ve yearned so desperately to experience the wonder, the mystery, the beauty of that world beyond the World As It Is. It's because I know that somewhere across the border there's a place for me. A place of safety and strength and learning, where I can become who I'm supposed to be. I've tried forever to be that person here, but whatever I manage to accomplish in the World As It Is only seems to be an echo of what I could be in that other place that lies hidden somewhere beyond the borders.
Charles de Lint
Dear Child, Sometimes on your travel through hell, you meet people that think they are in heaven because of their cleverness and ability to get away with things. Travel past them because they don't understand who they have become and never will. These type of people feel justified in revenge and will never learn mercy or forgiveness because they live by comparison. They are the people that don't care about anyone, other than who is making them feel confident. They don’t understand that their deity is not rejoicing with them because of their actions, rather he is trying to free them from their insecurities, by softening their heart. They rather put out your light than find their own. They don't have the ability to see beyond the false sense of happiness they get from destroying others. You know what happiness is and it isn’t this. Don’t see their success as their deliverance. It is a mask of vindication which has no audience, other than their own kind. They have joined countless others that call themselves “survivors”. They believe that they are entitled to win because life didn’t go as planned for them. You are not like them. You were not meant to stay in hell and follow their belief system. You were bound for greatness. You were born to help them by leading. Rise up and be the light home. You were given the gift to see the truth. They will have an army of people that are like them and you are going to feel alone. However, your family in heaven stands beside you now. They are your strength and as countless as the stars. It is time to let go! Love, Your Guardian Angel
Shannon L. Alder
Koschei smiled. His pale lips sought hers, crushing her into a kiss like dying. She tasted sweetness there, as though he still kissed her with honey and sugar on his tongue. When he pulled away, his eyes shone. "I don't care, Marya Morevna. Kiss him. Take him to your bed, and the vila, too, for all it matters to me. Do you understand me, wife? There need never be any rules between us. Let us be greedy together; let us hoard. Let us hit each other with birch branches and lock each other in dungeons; let us drink each other's blood in the night and betray each other in the sun. Let us lie and lust and take hundreds of lovers; let us dance until snow melts beneath us. Let us steal and eat until we grow fat and roll in the pleasures of life, clutching each other for purchase. Only leave me my death — let me hold this one thing sacred and unmolested and secret — and I will serve you a meal myself, served on a platter of all the world's bounty. Only do not leave me, swear that you will never leave me, and no empress will stand higher. Forget the girls in the factory. Be selfish and cruel and think nothing of them. I am selfish. I am cruel. My mate cannot be less than I. I will have you in my hoard, Marya Morevna, my black mirror.
Catherynne M. Valente (Deathless)
What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed in there, regardless. It wasn't just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something wider, bigger. Cora was right- we had many families over time. Our family of origin, the family we created, as well as the groups you moved through while all of this was happening: friends, lovers, sometimes even strangers. None of them were perfect, and we couldn't expect them to be. You couldn't make any one person your world. The trick was to take what each could give you and build a world from it. So my true family was not just my mom, lost or found; my dad, gone from the start; and Cora, the only one who had really been there all along. It was Jamie, who took me in without question and gave me a future I once couldn't even imagine; Oliva, who did question, but also gave me answers; Harriet, who, like me, believed she needed no one and discovered otherwise. And then there was Nate. Nate, who was a friend to me before I even knew what a friend was. Who picked me up, literally, over and over again, and never asked for anything in return except for my word and my understanding. I'd given him one but not the other, because at the time I thought I couldn't, and then proved myself right by doing exactly as my mother had, hurting to prevent from being hurt myself. Needing was so easy: it came naturally, like breathing. Being needed by someone else, though, that was the hard part. But as with giving help and accepting it, we had to do both to be made complete- like links overlapping to form a chain, or a lock finding the right key. ~Ruby (pgs 400-401)
Sarah Dessen (Lock and Key)
Closing The Cycle One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill. None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else. Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important. Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
Paulo Coelho
Rosie, I'm returning to Boston tomorrow but before I go I wanted to write this letter to you. All the thoughts and feelings that have been bubbling up inside me are finally overflowing from this pen and I'm leaving this letter for you so that you don't feel that I'm putting you under any great pressure. I understand that you will need to take your time trying to decide on what I am about to say. I no what's going on, Rosie. You're my best friend and I can see the sadness in your eyes. I no that Greg isn't away working for the weekend. You never could lie to me; you were always terrible at it. Your eyes betray you time and time again. Don't pretend that everything is perfect because I see it isn't. I see that Greg is a selfish man who has absolutely no idea just how lucky he is and it makes me sick. He is the luckiest man in the world to have you, Rosie, but he doesn't deserve you and you deserve far better. You deserve someone who loves you with every single beat of his heart, someone who thinks about you constantly, someone who spends every minute of every day just wondering what you're doing, where you are, who you're with and if you're OK. You need someone who can help you reach your dreams and who can protect you from your fears. You need someone who will treat you with respect, love every part of you, especially your flaws. You should be with someone who can make you happy, really happy, dancing-on-air happy. Someone who should have taken the chance to be with you years ago instead of becoming scared and being too afraid to try. I am not scared any more, Rosie. I am not afraid to try. I no what the feeling was at your wedding - it was jealousy. My heart broke when I saw the woman I love turning away from me to walk down the aisle with another man, a man she planned to spend the rest of her life with. It was like a prison sentence for me - years stretching ahead without me being able to tell you how I feel or hold you how I wanted to. Twice we've stood beside each other at the altar, Rosie. Twice. And twice we got it wrong. I needed you to be there for my wedding day but I was too stupid to see that I needed you to be the reason for my wedding day. I should never have let your lips leave mine all those years ago in Boston. I should never have pulled away. I should never have panicked. I should never have wasted all those years without you. Give me a chance to make them up to you. I love you, Rosie, and I want to be with you and Katie and Josh. Always. Please think about it. Don't waste your time on Greg. This is our opportunity. Let's stop being afraid and take the chance. I promise I'll make you happy. All my love, Alex
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
To the most inconsiderate asshole of a friend, I’m writing you this letter because I know that if I say what I have to say to your face I will probably punch you. I don’t know you anymore. I don’t see you anymore. All I get is a quick text or a rushed e-mail from you every few days. I know you are busy and I know you have Bethany, but hello? I’m supposed to be your best friend. You have no idea what this summer has been like. Ever since we were kids we pushed away every single person that could possibly have been our friend. We blocked people until there was only me and you. You probably haven’t noticed, because you have never been in the position I am in now. You have always had someone. You always had me. I always had you. Now you have Bethany and I have no one. Now I feel like those other people that used to try to become our friend, that tried to push their way into our circle but were met by turned backs. I know you’re probably not doing it deliberately just as we never did it deliberately. It’s not that we didn’t want anyone else, it’s just that we didn’t need them. Sadly now it looks like you don’t need me anymore. Anyway I’m not moaning on about how much I hate her, I’m just trying to tell you that I miss you. And that well . . . I’m lonely. Whenever you cancel nights out I end up staying home with Mum and Dad watching TV. It’s so depressing. This was supposed to be our summer of fun. What happened? Can’t you be friends with two people at once? I know you have found someone who is extra special, and I know you both have a special “bond,” or whatever, that you and I will never have. But we have another bond, we’re best friends. Or does the best friend bond disappear as soon as you meet somebody else? Maybe it does, maybe I just don’t understand that because I haven’t met that “somebody special.” I’m not in any hurry to, either. I liked things the way they were. So maybe Bethany is now your best friend and I have been relegated to just being your “friend.” At least be that to me, Alex. In a few years time if my name ever comes up you will probably say, “Rosie, now there’s a name I haven’t heard in years. We used to be best friends. I wonder what she’s doingnow; I haven’t seen or thought of her in years!” You will sound like my mum and dad when they have dinner parties with friends and talk about old times. They always mention people I’ve never even heard of when they’re talking about some of the most important days of their lives. Yet where are those people now? How could someone who was your bridesmaid 20 years ago not even be someone who you are on talking terms with now? Or in Dad’s case, how could he not know where his own best friend from college lives? He studied with the man for five years! Anyway, my point is (I know, I know, there is one), I don’t want to be one of those easily forgotten people, so important at the time, so special, so influential, and so treasured, yet years later just a vague face and a distant memory. I want us to be best friends forever, Alex. I’m happy you’re happy, really I am, but I feel like I’ve been left behind. Maybe our time has come and gone. Maybe your time is now meant to be spent with Bethany. And if that’s the case I won’t bother sending you this letter. And if I’m not sending this letter then what am I doing still writing it? OK I’m going now and I’m ripping these muddled thoughts up. Your friend, Rosie
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
Sensuality does not wear a watch but she always gets to the essential places on time. She is adventurous and not particularly quiet. She was reprimanded in grade school because she couldn’t sit still all day long. She needs to move. She thinks with her body. Even when she goes to the library to read Emily Dickinson or Emily Bronte, she starts reading out loud and swaying with the words, and before she can figure out what is happening, she is asked to leave. As you might expect, she is a disaster at office jobs. Sensuality has exquisite skin and she appreciates it in others as well. There are other people whose skin is soft and clear and healthy but something about Sensuality’s skin announces that she is alive. When the sun bursts forth in May, Sensuality likes to take off her shirt and feel the sweet warmth of the sun’s rays brush across her shoulder. This is not intended as a provocative gesture but other people are, as usual, upset. Sensuality does not understand why everyone else is so disturbed by her. As a young girl, she was often scolded for going barefoot. Sensuality likes to make love at the border where time and space change places. When she is considering a potential lover, she takes him to the ocean and watches. Does he dance with the waves? Does he tell her about the time he slept on the beach when he was seventeen and woke up in the middle of the night to look at the moon? Does he laugh and cry and notice how big the sky is? It is spring now, and Sensuality is very much in love these days. Her new friend is very sweet. Climbing into bed the first time, he confessed he was a little intimidated about making love with her. Sensuality just laughed and said, ‘But we’ve been making love for days.
J. Ruth Gendler (The Book of Qualities)
We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies - all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes. Most island universes are sufficiently like one another to Permit of inferential understanding or even of mutual empathy or "feeling into." Thus, remembering our own bereavements and humiliations, we can condole with others in analogous circumstances, can put ourselves (always, of course, in a slightly Pickwickian sense) in their places. But in certain cases communication between universes is incomplete or even nonexistent. The mind is its own place, and the Places inhabited by the insane and the exceptionally gifted are so different from the places where ordinary men and women live, that there is little or no common ground of memory to serve as a basis for understanding or fellow feeling. Words are uttered, but fail to enlighten. The things and events to which the symbols refer belong to mutually exclusive realms of experience.
Aldous Huxley (The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hell)
When I've thought about him dying - which admittedly isn't that much - I always thought of it like you said, that all strings inside him broke. But there are a thousand ways to look at it: maybe the strings break, or maybe our ships think, or maybe we're grass - our roots are so interdependent that no one is dead as long as soneone is still alive. We don't suffer from a shortage of metaphors, is what I mean. But you have to be careful which metaphor you choose, because it matters. If you choose the strings, then you're imagining a world in which you can become irreparably broken. If you choose grass, you're saying that we are all infinitely interconnected, that we can use these root systems not only to understand one another but to become one another. The metaphors have implications... I like the strings, I always have. Because that's how it feels. But the strings make pain seem more fatal than it is...We are not as frail as the strings would make us believe. And I like the grass, too. The grass got me to you, helped me imagine you as an actual person. But we're not different sprouts from the same plant. I can't be you. You can't be me. You can imagine another well- but not quite perfectly, you know? "Maybe, it's more like you said before, all of us being cracked open. Like each of us starts out as a watertight vessel. And these things happen-these people leave us, or don't love us, or don't get us, or we don't get them, and we lose and fail and hurt one another. And the vessel starts to crack open in places. And I mean, yeah, once the vessel cracks open, the end becomes inevitable...But there is all this time between when the cracks start to open up and when we finally fall apart. And it's only in that time that we can see each other, because we see out of ourselves through our cracks and into others through theirs. When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never looking inside. But once the vessel cracks, the like can get in. The like can get out.
John Green (Paper Towns)
I'll tell you how the sun rose A ribbon at a time... It's a living book, this life; it folds out in a million settings, cast with a billion beautiful characters, and it is almost over for you. It doesn't matter how old you are; it is coming to a close quickly, and soon the credits will roll and all your friends will fold out of your funeral and drive back to their homes in cold and still and silence. And they will make a fire and pour some wine and think about how you once were . . . and feel a kind of sickness at the idea you never again will be. So soon you will be in that part of the book where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand, and only a thin wisp of the story in your right. You will know by the page count, not by the narrative, that the Author is wrapping things up. You begin to mourn its ending, and want to pace yourself slowly toward its closure, knowing the last lines will speak of something beautiful, of the end of something long and earned, and you hope the thing closes out like last breaths, like whispers about how much and who the characters have come to love, and how authentic the sentiments feel when they have earned a hundred pages of qualification. And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
Fireflies out on a warm summer's night, seeing the urgent, flashing, yellow-white phosphorescence below them, go crazy with desire; moths cast to the winds an enchantment potion that draws the opposite sex, wings beating hurriedly, from kilometers away; peacocks display a devastating corona of blue and green and the peahens are all aflutter; competing pollen grains extrude tiny tubes that race each other down the female flower's orifice to the waiting egg below; luminescent squid present rhapsodic light shows, altering the pattern, brightness and color radiated from their heads, tentacles, and eyeballs; a tapeworm diligently lays a hundred thousand fertilized eggs in a single day; a great whale rumbles through the ocean depths uttering plaintive cries that are understood hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, where another lonely behemoth is attentively listening; bacteria sidle up to one another and merge; cicadas chorus in a collective serenade of love; honeybee couples soar on matrimonial flights from which only one partner returns; male fish spray their spunk over a slimy clutch of eggs laid by God-knows-who; dogs, out cruising, sniff each other's nether parts, seeking erotic stimuli; flowers exude sultry perfumes and decorate their petals with garish ultraviolet advertisements for passing insects, birds, and bats; and men and women sing, dance, dress, adorn, paint, posture, self-mutilate, demand, coerce, dissemble, plead, succumb, and risk their lives. To say that love makes the world go around is to go too far. The Earth spins because it did so as it was formed and there has been nothing to stop it since. But the nearly maniacal devotion to sex and love by most of the plants, animals, and microbes with which we are familiar is a pervasive and striking aspect of life on Earth. It cries out for explanation. What is all this in aid of? What is the torrent of passion and obsession about? Why will organisms go without sleep, without food, gladly put themselves in mortal danger for sex? ... For more than half the history of life on Earth organisms seem to have done perfectly well without it. What good is sex?... Through 4 billion years of natural selection, instructions have been honed and fine-tuned...sequences of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts, manuals written out in the alphabet of life in competition with other similar manuals published by other firms. The organisms become the means through which the instructions flow and copy themselves, by which new instructions are tried out, on which selection operates. 'The hen,' said Samuel Butler, 'is the egg's way of making another egg.' It is on this level that we must understand what sex is for. ... The sockeye salmon exhaust themselves swimming up the mighty Columbia River to spawn, heroically hurdling cataracts, in a single-minded effort that works to propagate their DNA sequences into future generation. The moment their work is done, they fall to pieces. Scales flake off, fins drop, and soon--often within hours of spawning--they are dead and becoming distinctly aromatic. They've served their purpose. Nature is unsentimental. Death is built in.
Carl Sagan (Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search For Who We Are)
A NATION'S GREATNESS DEPENDS ON ITS LEADER To vastly improve your country and truly make it great again, start by choosing a better leader. Do not let the media or the establishment make you pick from the people they choose, but instead choose from those they do not pick. Pick a leader from among the people who is heart-driven, one who identifies with the common man on the street and understands what the country needs on every level. Do not pick a leader who is only money-driven and does not understand or identify with the common man, but only what corporations need on every level. Pick a peacemaker. One who unites, not divides. A cultured leader who supports the arts and true freedom of speech, not censorship. Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes -- or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist. Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labor when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies. Most importantly, a great leader must serve the best interests of the people first, not those of multinational corporations. Human life should never be sacrificed for monetary profit. There are no exceptions. In addition, a leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader. And lastly, pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader's greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
what love looks like what does love look like the therapist asks one week after the breakup and i’m not sure how to answer her question except for the fact that i thought love looked so much like you that’s when it hit me and i realized how naive i had been to place an idea so beautiful on the image of a person as if anybody on this entire earth could encompass all love represented as if this emotion seven billion people tremble for would look like a five foot eleven medium-sized brown-skinned guy who likes eating frozen pizza for breakfast what does love look like the therapist asks again this time interrupting my thoughts midsentence and at this point i’m about to get up and walk right out the door except i paid too much money for this hour so instead i take a piercing look at her the way you look at someone when you’re about to hand it to them lips pursed tightly preparing to launch into conversation eyes digging deeply into theirs searching for all the weak spots they have hidden somewhere hair being tucked behind the ears as if you have to physically prepare for a conversation on the philosophies or rather disappointments of what love looks like well i tell her i don’t think love is him anymore if love was him he would be here wouldn’t he if he was the one for me wouldn’t he be the one sitting across from me if love was him it would have been simple i don’t think love is him anymore i repeat i think love never was i think i just wanted something was ready to give myself to something i believed was bigger than myself and when i saw someone who probably fit the part i made it very much my intention to make him my counterpart and i lost myself to him he took and he took wrapped me in the word special until i was so convinced he had eyes only to see me hands only to feel me a body only to be with me oh how he emptied me how does that make you feel interrupts the therapist well i said it kind of makes me feel like shit maybe we’re looking at it wrong we think it’s something to search for out there something meant to crash into us on our way out of an elevator or slip into our chair at a cafe somewhere appear at the end of an aisle at the bookstore looking the right amount of sexy and intellectual but i think love starts here everything else is just desire and projection of all our wants needs and fantasies but those externalities could never work out if we didn’t turn inward and learn how to love ourselves in order to love other people love does not look like a person love is our actions love is giving all we can even if it’s just the bigger slice of cake love is understanding we have the power to hurt one another but we are going to do everything in our power to make sure we don’t love is figuring out all the kind sweetness we deserve and when someone shows up saying they will provide it as you do but their actions seem to break you rather than build you love is knowing who to choose
Rupi Kaur (The Sun and Her Flowers)
A floorboard cracked; knuckles tapped once on the open door. Adam looked up to see Niall Lynch standing in the doorway. No, it was Ronan, face lit bright on one side, in stark shadow on the other, looking powerful and at ease with his thumbs tucked in the pockets of his jeans, leather bracelets looped over his wrist, feet bare. He wordlessly crossed the floor and sat beside Adam on the mattress. When he held out his hand, Adam put the model into it. “This old thing,” Ronan said. He turned the front tyre, and again the music played out of it. They sat like that for a few minutes, as Ronan examined the car and turned each wheel to play a different tune. Adam watched how intently Ronan studied the seams, his eyelashes low over his light eyes. Ronan let out a breath, put the model down on the bed beside him, and kissed Adam. Once, when Adam had still lived in the trailer park, he had been pushing the lawn mower around the scraggly side yard when he realized that it was raining a mile away. He could smell it, the earthy scent of rain on dirt, but also the electric, restless smell of ozone. And he could see it: a hazy gray sheet of water blocking his view of the mountains. He could track the line of rain travelling across the vast dry field towards him. It was heavy and dark, and he knew he would get drenched if he stayed outside. It was coming from so far away that he had plenty of time to put the mower away and get under cover. Instead, though, he just stood there and watched it approach. Even at the last minute, as he heard the rain pounding the grass flat, he just stood there. He closed his eyes and let the storm soak him. That was this kiss. They kissed again. Adam felt it in more than his lips. Ronan sat back, his eyes closed, swallowing. Adam watched his chest rise and fall, his eyebrows furrow. He felt as bright and dreamy and imaginary as the light through the window. He did not understand anything. It was a long moment before Ronan opened his eyes, and when he did, his expression was complicated. He stood up. He was still looking at Adam, and Adam was looking back, but neither said anything. Probably Ronan wanted something from him, but Adam didn’t know what to say. He was a magician, Persephone had said, and his magic was making connections between disparate things. Only now he was too full of white, fuzzy light to make any sort of logical connections. He knew that of all the options in the world, Ronan Lynch was the most difficult version of any of them. He knew that Ronan was not a thing to be experimented with. He knew his mouth still felt warm. He knew he had started his entire time at Aglionby certain that all he wanted to do was get as far away from this state and everything in it as possible. He was pretty sure he had just been Ronan’s first kiss. “I’m gonna go downstairs,” Ronan said.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4))