Views From Above Quotes

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For several years, I had been bored. Not a whining, restless child's boredom (although I was not above that) but a dense, blanketing malaise. It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again. Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can't recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn't immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blasé: Seeeen it. I've literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can't anymore. I don't know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script. It's a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters. And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soul mate, because we don't have genuine souls. It had gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters, because I'm not a real person and neither is anyone else. I would have done anything to feel real again.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
I gaze out at the glittering sea, the breathtaking sky above it, and think of birds and the moment before the fall, and how my sister as a child had been strong enough for the both of us, and I wonder when exactly that changed. I don't know when, but it did. Jake was right - I'm strong in a way June never was. Because I know that I want to be here. Even with the pain. Even with the ugliness. I've seen the other side - marching side by side down city streets with people who all believe they can change the world and the view of the sunset from Fridgehenge and Tom Waits lyrics and doing the waltz and kisses so hot they melt into each other and best friends who hold your hand and stretching out underneath a sky draped with stars and everything else. There is so much beauty in just existing. In being alive. I don't want to miss a second.
Hannah Harrington (Saving June)
The proper way to understand any social system was to view it from above.
Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries)
Dissociation gets you through a brutal experience, letting your basic survival skills operate unimpeded…Your ability to survive is enhanced as the ability to feel is diminished…All feeling are blocked; you ‘go away.’ You are disconnected from the act, the perpetrator & yourself…Viewing the scene from up above or some other out-of-body perspective is common among sexual abuse survivors.
Renee Fredrickson (Repressed Memories: A Journey to Recovery from Sexual Abuse)
The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been taken a few weeks before his birth. He saw a world that was practically unchanged-the same house, the same people- and then realized that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence. He caught a glimpse of his mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed him, as if it were some mysterious farewell. But what particularly frightened him was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events, his very bones had disintegrated.
Vladimir Nabokov (Speak, Memory)
The first thing I noticed when I woke up was that I was covered in blood. The second thing I noticed was that this didn’t bother me the way it should have. I didn’t feel the urge to scream or speak, to beg for help, or even to wonder where I was. Those instincts were dead, and I was calm as my wet fingers slid up the tiled wall, groping for a light switch. I found one without even having to stand. Four lights slammed on above me, one after the other, illuminating the dead body on the floor just a few feet away. My mind processed the facts first. Male. Heavy. He was lying face down in a wide, red puddle that spread out from beneath him. The tips of his curly black hair were wet with it. There was something in his hand. The fluorescent lights in the white room flickered and buzzed and hummed. I moved to get a better view of the body. His eyes were closed. He could have been asleep, really, if it weren’t for the blood. There was so much of it. And by one of his hands it was smeared into a weird pattern. No. Not a pattern. Words. PLAY ME. My gaze flicked to his hand. His fist was curled around a small tape recorder. I moved his fingers—still warm—and pressed play. A male voice started to speak. "Do I have your attention?" the voice said. I knew that voice. But I couldn’t believe I was hearing it.
Michelle Hodkin (The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3))
He was Antinous, wild. You would have said, seeing the thoughtful reflection of his eye, that he had already, in some preceding existence, been through the revolutionary apocalypse. He knew its tradition like an eyewitness. He knew every little detail of that great thing. A pontifical and warrior nature, strange in a youth. He was officiating and militant; from the immediate point of view, a soldier of democracy; above the movement of the time, a priest of the ideal.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
These growing feathers pluck'd from Caesar's wing Will make him fly an ordinary pitch, Who else would soar above the view of men And keep us all in servile fearfulness.
William Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)
The greatest mystery the universe offers is not life but size. Size encompasses life, and the Tower encompasses size. The child, who is most at home with wonder, says: Daddy, what is above the sky? And the father says: The darkness of space. The child: What is beyond space? The father: The galaxy. The child: Beyond the galaxy? The father: Another galaxy. The child: Beyond the other galaxies? The father: No one knows. You see? Size defeats us. For the fish, the lake in which he lives is the universe. What does the fish think when he is jerked up by the mouth through the silver limits of existence and into a new universe where the air drowns him and the light is blue madness? Where huge bipeds with no gills stuff it into a suffocating box and cover it with wet weeds to die? Or one might take the tip of the pencil and magnify it. One reaches the point where a stunning realization strikes home: The pencil tip is not solid; it is composed of atoms which whirl and revolve like a trillion demon planets. What seems solid to us is actually only a loose net held together by gravity. Viewed at their actual size, the distances between these atoms might become league, gulfs, aeons. The atoms themselves are composed of nuclei and revolving protons and electrons. One may step down further to subatomic particles. And then to what? Tachyons? Nothing? Of course not. Everything in the universe denies nothing; to suggest an ending is the one absurdity. If you fell outward to the limit of the universe, would you find a board fence and signs reading DEAD END? No. You might find something hard and rounded, as the chick must see the egg from the inside. And if you should peck through the shell (or find a door), what great and torrential light might shine through your opening at the end of space? Might you look through and discover our entire universe is but part of one atom on a blade of grass? Might you be forced to think that by burning a twig you incinerate an eternity of eternities? That existence rises not to one infinite but to an infinity of them?
Stephen King (The Gunslinger)
Consider how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view, what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals, what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us by the act of sickness, how we go down in the pit of death and feel the waters of annihilation close above our heads and wake thinking to find ourselves in the presence of the angels and the harpers when we have a tooth out and come to the surface in the dentist's arm-chair and confuse his "Rinse the mouth-rinse the mouth" with the greeting of the Deity stooping from the floor of Heaven to welcome us - when we think of this, as we are so frequently forced to think of it, it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature
Virginia Woolf (On Being Ill)
Little did they know that the place they were about to burgle -- the shop, and the flat above it -- had already been burgled the week before: yes, and the week before that. And the week before that. It was all burgled out. Indeed, burgling, when viewed in Darwinian terms, was clearly approaching a crisis. Burglars were finding that almost everywhere had been burgled. Burglars were forever bumping into one another, stepping on the toes of other burglars. There were burglar jams on rooftops and stairways, on groaning fire-escapes. Burglars were being burgled by fellow burglars, and were doing the same thing back. Burgled goods jigged from flat to flat. Returning from burgling, burglars would discover that they themselves had just been burgled, sometimes by the very burglar that they themselves had just burgled! How would this crisis in burgling be resolved? It would be resolved when enough burglars found burgling a waste of time, and stopped doing it. Then, for a while, burgling would become worth doing again. But burglars had plenty of time to waste -- it was all they had plenty of, and there was nothing else to do with it -- so they just went on burgling.
Martin Amis
It was through this viewer that he got his first reply from Tralfamadore. The reply was written on Earth in huge stones on a plain in what is now England. The ruins of the reply still stand, and are known as Stonehenge. The meaning of Stonehenge in Tralfamadorian, when viewed from above, is: "Replacement part being rushed with all possible speed.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (The Sirens of Titan)
Blind impatience is equally evident in the fruit section. Our ancestors might have delighted in the occasional handful of berries found on the underside of a bush in late summer, viewing it as a sign of the unexpected munificence of a divine creator, but we became modern when we gave up on awaiting sporadic gifts from above and sought to render any pleasing sensation immediately and repeatedly available.
Alain de Botton (The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work)
Not long ago, I learned that if I let other people tell me how God was supposed to work in my life I would be dead. If I would have given into someone else’s version of God then I would have done nothing to improve my situation. The notion that “if it was meant to be, it will be”, is a pacifying, yet harmful quote, that many spiritualists use to soften the blow of anger. God is not passive. He is relentless, and he will build you through fire. He will put in your heart a need for answers. The intensity of what bothers your soul is often his voice trying to take you from the limited vision of mankind to the full view of the best life he would like to offer you. He is above any pastor, any bishop, any prophet, any church, any cleverly crafted sermon or multi-meaning verse. He is the master of his craft and the author of your forever. Inner peace is only found through action. Fear may darken the trail, but the light of peace stands at the end of such a journey ----waiting with truth.
Shannon L. Alder
Even the darkest, thickest cloud shines silver when viewed from above.
Haruki Murakami (Killing Commendatore)
When will someone write from the point of view of a joke, that is to say the way God sees events from above?
Gustave Flaubert
The person who said that it is lonely at top has no idea what the view looks like from above. ~ Aarush Kashyap
Kirtida Gautam (#iAm16iCan)
I was about to reach in the basket to take one when a horse that had been grazing nearby suddenly charged at another horse. Kaden grabbed me and pulled me out of its path. We stumbled back, unable to regain our footing, and both tumbled to the ground. He rolled over me in a protective motion, hovering in case the horse came closer, but it was already gone. The world snapped to silence. The tall grass waved above us, hiding us from view. He gazed down at me, his elbows straddling my sides, his chest brushing mine, his face inches away. I saw the look in his eyes. My heart pounded against my ribs. “Are you all right?” His voice was low and husky. “Yes,” I whispered. His face hovered closer to mine. I was going to push away, look away, do something, but I didn’t, and before I knew what was happening, the space between us disappeared. His lips were warm and gentle against mine, and his breath thrummed in my ears. Heat raced through me. It was just as I had imagined that night with Pauline back in Terravin so long ago. Before— I pushed him away. “Lia—” I got to my feet, my chest heaving, busying myself with a loose button on my shirt. “Let’s forget that happened, Kaden.” He had jumped to his feet too. He grabbed my hand so I had to look at him. “You wanted to kiss me.” I shook my head, denying it, but it was true. I had wanted to kiss him.
Mary E. Pearson (The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1))
That in the winter, seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time, the leaves would be renewed, and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the Providence and Power of GOD, which has never since been effaced from his soul. That this view had perfectly set him loose from the world, and kindled in him such a love for GOD, that he could not tell whether it had increased in above forty years that he had lived since.
Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God)
Of all the sciences cultivated by mankind, Astronomy is acknowledged to be, and undoubtedly is, the most sublime, the most interesting, and the most useful. For, by knowledge derived from this science, not only the bulk of the Earth is discovered . . . ; but our very faculties are enlarged with the grandeur of the ideas it conveys, our minds exalted above [their] low contracted prejudices." JAMES FERGUSON, 1757† Long before anyone knew that the universe had a beginning, before we knew that the nearest large galaxy lies two million light-years from Earth, before we knew how stars work or whether atoms exist, James Ferguson’s enthusiastic introduction to his favorite science rang true. Yet his words, apart from their eighteenth-century flourish, could have been written yesterday. But who gets to think that way? Who gets to celebrate this cosmic view of life? Not the migrant farmworker. Not the sweatshop worker. Certainly not the homeless person rummaging through the trash for food. You need the luxury of time not spent on mere survival. You need to live in a nation whose government values the search to understand humanity’s place in the universe. You need a society in which intellectual pursuit can take you to the frontiers of discovery, and in which news of your discoveries can be routinely disseminated.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)
. . . Beware of being wise above that which is written. Beware of forming fanciful theories of your own, and then trying to make the Bible square with them. Beware of making selections from your Bible to suit your taste. Dare not to say, ‘I believe this verse, for I like it. I refuse that, for I cannot reconcile it with my views.’ Nay! but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? By what right do you talk in this way? Surely it were better to say, over every chapter in the word, ‘Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.’ Ah! if men would do this, they would never deny the unquenchable fire.
J.C. Ryle
As our appreciation of happiness in relationship increases, we take notice of the things that tend to take us away from this feeling. One major catalyst taking us away is the need to be right. An opinion that is taken too seriously sets up conditions that must be met first before you can be happy. In relationships, this might sound like 'You must agree with or see my point of view in order for me to love and respect you.' In a more positive feeling state, this attitude would seem silly or harmful. We can disagree, even on important issues, and still love one another - when our own thought systems no longer have control over our lives and we see the innocence in our divergent points of view. The need to be right stems from an unhealthy relationship to your own thoughts. Do you believe your thoughts are representative of reality and need to be defended, or do you realize that realities are seen through different eyes? Your answer to this question will determine, to a large extent, your ability to remain in a positive feeling state. Everyone I know, who has put positive feeling above being right on their priority list has come to see that differences of opinion will take care of themselves.
Richard Carlson (You Can Be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective)
Eccolo!” he exclaimed. At the same moment the ground gave way, and with a cry she fell out of the wood. Light and beauty enveloped her. She had fallen on to a little open terrace, which was covered with violets from end to end. “Courage!” cried her companion, now standing some six feet above. “Courage and love.” She did not answer. From her feet the ground sloped sharply into view, and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts, irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems, collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam. But never again were they in such profusion; this terrace was the well-head, the primal source whence beauty gushed out to water the earth. Standing at its brink, like a swimmer who prepares, was the good man. But he was not the good man that she had expected, and he was alone. George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her…
E.M. Forster (A Room with a View)
The refreshing pleasure from the first view of nature, after the pain of illness, and the confinement of a sick-chamber, is above the conceptions, as well as the descriptions, of those in health.
Ann Radcliffe (The Mysteries of Udolpho)
It is hard to lift up your own misfortune. To be at once the viewer and the viewed. To be both above and below. The one below is a spot, a shadow . . . To consider your own person in the light of eternity (read: in the light of death). To rise into the air. The world from a bird's-eye view.
Danilo Kiš (Hourglass)
Faith is always coveted most and needed most urgently where will is lacking; for will, as the affect of command, is the decisive sign of sovereignty and strength. In other words, the less one knows how to command, the more urgently one covets someone who commands, who commands severely—a god, prince, class, physician, father confessor, dogma, or party conscience. From this one might perhaps gather that the two world religions, Buddhism and Christianity, may have owed their origin and above all their sudden spread to a tremendous collapse and disease of the will. And that is what actually happened: both religions encountered a situation in which the will had become diseased, giving rise to a demand that had become utterly desperate for some "thou shalt." Both religions taught fanaticism in ages in which the will had become exhausted, and thus they offered innumerable people some support, a new possibility of willing, some delight in willing. For fanaticism is the only "strength of the will" that even the weak and insecure can be brought to attain, being a sort of hypnotism of the whole system of the senses and the intellect for the benefit of an excessive nourishment (hypertrophy) of a single point of view and feeling that henceforth becomes dominant— which the Christian calls his faith. Once a human being reaches the fundamental conviction that he must be commanded, he becomes "a believer." Conversely, one could conceive of such a pleasure and power of self-determination, such a freedom of the will [ This conception of "freedom of the will" ( alias, autonomy) does not involve any belief in what Nietzsche called "the superstition of free will" in section 345 ( alias, the exemption of human actions from an otherwise universal determinism).] that the spirit would take leave of all faith and every wish for certainty, being practiced in maintaining himself on insubstantial ropes and possibilities and dancing even near abysses. Such a spirit would be the free spirit par excellence.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science)
midmorning. The sky steel blue and not a cloud in sight. His perch was atop a thirty-foot guard tower that had been built on the rocky pinnacle of a mountain, far above the timberline. From the open platform, he had a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks, the canyon, the forest, and the town of Wayward Pines, which from four thousand feet above, was little more than a grid of intersecting streets, couched in a protected valley. His radio squeaked. He answered, “Mustin, over.” “Just had a fence strike in zone four, over.” “Stand by.
Blake Crouch (Wayward (Wayward Pines, #2))
She trained the girls in her Girl Scout troop to believe that they could be anything, and she went to lengths to prevent negative stereotypes of their race from shaping their internal views of themselves and other Negroes. It was difficult enough to rise above the silent reminders of Colored signs on the bathroom doors and cafeteria tables. But to be confronted with the prejudice so blatantly, there in that temple to intellectual excellence and rational thought, by something so mundane, so ridiculous, so universal as having to go to the bathroom...In the moment when the white women laughed at her, Mary had been demoted from professional mathematician to a second-class human being, reminded that she was a black girl whose piss wasn't good enough for the white pot.
Margot Lee Shetterly (Hidden Figures)
When Seymour and I were five and three, Les and Bessie played on the same bill for a couple of weeks with Joe Jackson -- the redoubtable Joe Jackson of the nickel-plated trick bicycle that shone like something better than platinum to the very last row of the theater. A good many years later, not long after the outbreak of the Second World War, when Seymour and I had just recently moved into a small New York apartment of our own, our father -- Les, as he'll be called hereafter -- dropped in on us one evening on his way home from a pinochle game. He quite apparently had held very bad cards all afternoon. He came in, at any rate, rigidly predisposed to keep his overcoat on. He sat. He scowled at the furnishings. He turned my hand over to check for cigarette-tar stains on my fingers, then asked Seymour how many cigarettes he smoked a day. He thought he found a fly in his highball. At length, when the conversation -- in my view, at least -- was going straight to hell, he got up abruptly and went over to look at a photograph of himself and Bessie that had been newly tacked up on the wall. He glowered at it for a full minute, or more, then turned around, with a brusqueness no one in the family would have found unusual, and asked Seymour if he remembered the time Joe Jackson had given him, Seymour, a ride on the handle bars of his bicycle, all over the stage, around and around. Seymour, sitting in an old corduroy armchair across the room, a cigarette going, wearing a blue shirt, gray slacks, moccasins with the counters broken down, a shaving cut on the side of his face that I could see, replied gravely and at once, and in the special way he always answered questions from Les -- as if they were the questions, above all others, he preferred to be asked in his life. He said he wasn't sure he had ever got off Joe Jackson's beautiful bicycle.
J.D. Salinger (Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction)
From above, start with the privileged view.
Maureen Howard (Natural History: A Novel)
The person who says it is lonely at the top has no idea what the view looks like from above. ~ Aarush Kashyap
Kirtida Gautam (#iAm16iCan)
looking down from above distorts the view.
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
Before us, over the tree tops, we beheld a great field of open sea to the East. Sheer above us rose single pines, black with precipices. There was no sound but that of the distant breakers, mounting from all around, and the chirp of countless insects in the brush. Not a man, not a sail upon the sea; the very largeness of the view increased the sense of solitude.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island)
To the mind (Geist), good and evil, above and below, are not skeptical, relative concepts, but terms of a function, values that depend on the context they find themselves in…. It regards nothing as fixed, no personality, no order of things: because our knowledge may change from day to day, it regards nothing as binding: everything has the value it has only until the next act of creation, as a face changes with the words we are speaking to it. And so the mind or spirit is the great opportunist, itself impossible to pin down, take hold of, anywhere: on is tempted to believe that of all its influence nothing is left but decay. Every advance is a gain in particular and a separation in general; it is an increase in power leading only to a progressive increase in impotence, but there is no way to quit. Ulrich thought of that body of facts and discoveries, growing almost by the hour, out of which the mind must peer today if it wishes to scrutinize any given problem closely. This body grows away from its inner life. Countless views, opinions, systems of ideas from every age and latitude, from all sorts of sick and sound, waking and dreaming brains run through it like thousands of small sensitive nerve strands, but the central nodal point tying them all together is missing. Man feels dangerously close to repeating the fate of those gigantic primeval species that perished because of their size; but he cannot stop himself.
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities: Volume I (1/2))
Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it, very much like shadows—only hard with luminous edges—and you will then have a pretty correct notion of my country and countrymen. Alas, a few years ago, I should have said "my universe:" but now my mind has been opened to higher views of things. In such a country, you will perceive at once that it is impossible that there should be anything of what you call a "solid" kind; but I dare say you will suppose that we could at least distinguish by sight the Triangles, Squares, and other figures, moving about as I have described them. On the contrary, we could see nothing of the kind, not at least so as to distinguish one figure from another. Nothing was visible, nor could be visible, to us, except Straight Lines; and the necessity of this I will speedily demonstrate.
Edwin A. Abbott (Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions)
In view of the years of careful study that have been devoted to Stonehenge it may seem unlikely that any more information could be extracted from the monument, or at least from that part of it above ground.
Richard Brinckerhoff
My Lord, you own wisdom has taught me to aspire to One even more great, more beautiful, and more closely approximate to perfection than yourself. As you yourself, superior to all Flatland forms, combine many Circles in One, so doubtless there is One above you who combines many Spheres in One Supreme Existence, surpassing even the Solids of Spaceland. And even as we, who are now in Space, look down on Flatland and see the inside of all things, so of a certainly there is yet above us some higher, purer region, whither thou dost surely purpose to lead me - O Thou Whome I shall always call everywhere and in all Dimensions, my Priest, Philosopher, and Friend - some yet more spacious Space, some more dimensionable Dimensionality, from the vantage-ground of which we shall look down together upon the revealed insides of solid things, and where thine own intestines, and those of thy kindred Spheres, will lie exposed to the View of the poor wandering exile from Flatland, to whome so much has already been vouchsafed.
Edwin A. Abbott (Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions)
All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer seeing (one might say) to everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things.
Aristotle (Metaphysics)
Have you ever wondered What happens to all the poems people write? The poems they never let anyone else read? Perhaps they are Too private and personal Perhaps they are just not good enough. Perhaps the prospect of such a heartfelt expression being seen as clumsy shallow silly pretentious saccharine unoriginal sentimental trite boring overwrought obscure stupid pointless or simply embarrassing is enough to give any aspiring poet good reason to hide their work from public view. forever. Naturally many poems are IMMEDIATELY DESTROYED. Burnt shredded flushed away Occasionally they are folded Into little squares And wedged under the corner of An unstable piece of furniture (So actually quite useful) Others are hidden behind a loose brick or drainpipe or sealed into the back of an old alarm clock or put between the pages of AN OBSCURE BOOK that is unlikely to ever be opened. someone might find them one day, BUT PROBABLY NOT The truth is that unread poetry Will almost always be just that. DOOMED to join a vast invisible river of waste that flows out of suburbia. well Almost always. On rare occasions, Some especially insistent pieces of writing will escape into a backyard or a laneway be blown along a roadside embankment and finally come to rest in a shopping center parking lot as so many things do It is here that something quite Remarkable takes place two or more pieces of poetry drift toward each other through a strange force of attraction unknown to science and ever so slowly cling together to form a tiny, shapeless ball. Left undisturbed, this ball gradually becomes larger and rounder as other free verses confessions secrets stray musings wishes and unsent love letters attach themselves one by one. Such a ball creeps through the streets Like a tumbleweed for months even years If it comes out only at night it has a good Chance of surviving traffic and children and through a slow rolling motion AVOIDS SNAILS (its number one predator) At a certain size, it instinctively shelters from bad weather, unnoticed but otherwise roams the streets searching for scraps of forgotten thought and feeling. Given time and luck the poetry ball becomes large HUGE ENORMOUS: A vast accumulation of papery bits That ultimately takes to the air, levitating by The sheer force of so much unspoken emotion. It floats gently above suburban rooftops when everybody is asleep inspiring lonely dogs to bark in the middle of the night. Sadly a big ball of paper no matter how large and buoyant, is still a fragile thing. Sooner or LATER it will be surprised by a sudden gust of wind Beaten by driving rain and REDUCED in a matter of minutes to a billion soggy shreds. One morning everyone will wake up to find a pulpy mess covering front lawns clogging up gutters and plastering car windscreens. Traffic will be delayed children delighted adults baffled unable to figure out where it all came from Stranger still Will be the Discovery that Every lump of Wet paper Contains various faded words pressed into accidental verse. Barely visible but undeniably present To each reader they will whisper something different something joyful something sad truthful absurd hilarious profound and perfect No one will be able to explain the Strange feeling of weightlessness or the private smile that remains Long after the street sweepers have come and gone.
Shaun Tan (Tales from Outer Suburbia)
We climbed this hill. Each step up we could see farther, so of course we kept going. Now we’re at the top. Science has been at the top for a few centuries now. And we look out across the plain and we see this other tribe dancing around above the clouds, even higher than we are. Maybe it’s a mirage, maybe it’s a trick. Or maybe they just climbed a higher peak we can’t see because the clouds are blocking the view. So we head off to find out—but every step takes us downhill. No matter what direction we head, we can’t move off our peak without losing our vantage point. So we climb back up again. We’re trapped on a local maximum. But what if there is a higher peak out there, way across the plain? The only way to get there is to bite the bullet, come down off our foothill and trudge along the riverbed until we finally start going uphill again. And it’s only then you realize: Hey, this mountain reaches way higher than that foothill we were on before, and we can see so much better from up here. But you can’t get there unless you leave behind all the tools that made you so successful in the first place. You have to take that first step downhill.
Peter Watts (Echopraxia (Firefall, #2))
What he longs for instead, as he sits at the food-strewn table, is winter, winter itself. He wants the essentiality of winter, not this half-season grey selfsameness. He wants real winter where woods are sheathed in snow, trees emphatic with its white, their bareness shining and enhanced because of it, the ground underfoot snow-covered as if with frozen feathers or shredded cloud but streaked with gold through the trees from low winter sun, and at the end of the barely discernible track, along the dip in the snow that indicates a muffled path between the trees, the view and the woods opening to a light that’s itself untrodden, never been blemished, wide like an expanse of snow-sea, above it more snow promised, waiting its time in the blank of the sky.
Ali Smith (Winter (Seasonal #2))
What could he say that might make sense to them? Could he say love was, above all, common cause, shared experience? That was the vital cement, wasn't it? Could he say how he felt about their all being here tonight on this wild world running around a big sun which fell through a bigger space falling through yet vaster immensities of space, maybe toward and maybe away from Something? Could he say: we share this billion-mile-an-hour rid. We have common cause against the night. You start with little common causes. Why love the boy in a March field with his kite braving the sky? Because our fingers burn with the hot string singeing our hands. Why love some girl viewed from a train bent to a country well? The tongue remembers iron water cool on some long lost noon. Why weep at strangers dead by the road? They resemble friends unseen in forty years. Why laugh when clowns are hot by pies? We taste custard we taste life. Why love the woman who is your wife? Her nose breathes the air of a world that I know; therefore I love that nose. Her ears hear music I might sing half the night through; therefore I love her ears. Her eyes delight in seasons of the land; and so I love those eyes. Her tongue knows quince, peach, chokeberry, mint and lime; I love to hear it speaking. Because her flesh knows heat, cold, affliction, I know fire, snow, and pain. Shared and once again shared experience. Billions of prickling textures. Cut one sense away, cut part of life away. Cut two senses; life halves itself on the instant. We love what we know, we love what we are. Common cause, common cause, common cause of mouth, eye, ear, tongue, hand, nose, flesh, heart, and soul. But... how to say it?
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
Someone with a fresh mind, one not conditioned by upbringing and environment, would doubtless look at science and the powerful reductionism that it inspires as overwhelmingly the better mode of understanding the world, and would doubtless scorn religion as sentimental wishful thinking. Would not that same uncluttered mind also see the attempts to reconcile science and religion by disparaging the reduction of the complex to the simple as attempts guided by muddle-headed sentiment and intellectually dishonest emotion? ...Religion closes off the central questions of existence by attempting to dissuade us from further enquiry by asserting that we cannot ever hope to comprehend. We are, religion asserts, simply too puny. Through fear of being shown to be vacuous, religion denies the awesome power of human comprehension. It seeks to thwart, by encouraging awe in things unseen, the disclosure of the emptiness of faith. Religion, in contrast to science, deploys the repugnant view that the world is too big for our understanding. Science, in contrast to religion, opens up the great questions of being to rational discussion, to discussion with the prospect of resolution and elucidation. Science, above all, respects the power of the human intellect. Science is the apotheosis of the intellect and the consummation of the Renaissance. Science respects more deeply the potential of humanity than religion ever can.
Peter Atkins
1. Myth: Without God, life has no meaning. There are 1.2 billion Chinese who have no predominant religion, and 1 billion people in India who are predominantly Hindu. And 65% of Japan's 127 million people claim to be non-believers. It is laughable to suggest that none of these billions of people are leading meaningful lives. 2. Myth: Prayer works. Studies have now shown that inter-cessionary prayer has no effect whatsoever of the health or well-being of the subject. 3. Myth: Atheists are immoral. There are hundreds of millions of non-believers on the planet living normal, decent, moral lives. They love their children, care about others, obey laws, and try to keep from doing harm to others just like everyone else. In fact, in predominantly non-believing countries such as in northern Europe, measures of societal health such as life expectancy at birth, adult literacy, per capita income, education, homicide, suicide, gender equality, and political coercion are better than they are in believing societies. 4. Myth: Belief in God is compatible with science. In the past, every supernatural or paranormal explanation of phenomena that humans believed turned out to be mistaken; science has always found a physical explanation that revealed that the supernatural view was a myth. Modern organisms evolved from lower life forms, they weren't created 6,000 years ago in the finished state. Fever is not caused by demon possession. Bad weather is not the wrath of angry gods. Miracle claims have turned out to be mistakes, frauds, or deceptions. We have every reason to conclude that science will continue to undermine the superstitious worldview of religion. 5. Myth: We have immortal souls that survive death. We have mountains of evidence that makes it clear that our consciousness, our beliefs, our desires, our thoughts all depend upon the proper functioning of our brains our nervous systems to exist. So when the brain dies, all of these things that we identify with the soul also cease to exist. Despite the fact that billions of people have lived and died on this planet, we do not have a single credible case of someone's soul, or consciousness, or personality continuing to exist despite the demise of their bodies. 6. Myth: If there is no God, everything is permitted. Consider the billions of people in China, India, and Japan above. If this claim was true, none of them would be decent moral people. So Ghandi, the Buddha, and Confucius, to name only a few were not moral people on this view. 7. Myth: Believing in God is not a cause of evil. The examples of cases where it was someone's belief in God that was the justification for their evils on humankind are too numerous to mention. 8. Myth: God explains the origins of the universe. All of the questions that allegedly plague non-God attempts to explain our origins still apply to the faux explanation of God. The suggestion that God created everything does not make it any clearer to us where it all came from, how he created it, why he created it, where it is all going. In fact, it raises even more difficult mysteries: how did God, operating outside the confines of space, time, and natural law 'create' or 'build' a universe that has physical laws? We have no precedent and maybe no hope of answering or understanding such a possibility. What does it mean to say that some disembodied, spiritual being who knows everything and has all power, 'loves' us, or has thoughts, or goals, or plans? 9. Myth: There's no harm in believing in God. Religious views inform voting, how they raise their children, what they think is moral and immoral, what laws and legislation they pass, who they are friends and enemies with, what companies they invest in, where they donate to charities, who they approve and disapprove of, who they are willing to kill or tolerate, what crimes they are willing to commit, and which wars they are willing to fight.
Matthew S. McCormick
The ear favours no particular “point of view.” We are enveloped by sound. It forms a seamless web around us. We say, “Music shall fill the air.” We never say, “Music shall fill a particular segment of the air.”We hear sounds from everywhere, without ever having to focus. Sounds come from “above,” from “below,” from in “front” of us, from “behind” us, from our “right,” from our “left.” We can‘t shut out sound automatically. We simply are not equipped with earlids. Where a visual space is an organised continuum of a uniformed connected kind, the ear world is a world of simultaneous relationships.
Marshall McLuhan (The Medium is the Massage)
More profoundly, Nihilist "simplification" may be seen in the universal prestige today accorded the lowest order of knowledge, the scientific, as well as the simplistic ideas of men like Marx, Freud, and Darwin, which underlie virtually the whole of contemporary thought and life. We say "life," for it is important to see that the Nihilist history of our century has not been something imposed from without or above, or at least has not been predominantly this; it has rather presupposed, and drawn its nourishment from, a Nihilist soil that has long been preparing in the hearts of the people. It is precisely from the Nihilism of the commonplace, from the everyday Nihilism revealed in the life and thought and aspiration of the people, that all the terrible events of our century have sprung. The world-view of Hitler is very instructive in this regard, for in him the most extreme and monstrous Nihilism rested upon the foundation of a quite unexceptional and even typical Realism. He shared the common faith in "science," "progress," and "enlightenment" (though not, of course, in "democracy"), together with a practical materialism that scorned all theology, metaphysics, and any thought or action concerned with any other world than the "here and now," priding himself on the fact that he had "the gift of reducing all problems to their simplest foundations." He had a crude worship of efficiency and utility that freely tolerated "birth control", laughed at the institution of marriage as a mere legalization of a sexual impulse that should be "free", welcomed sterilization of the unfit, despised "unproductive elements" such as monks, saw nothing in the cremation of the dead but a "practical" question and did not even hesitate to put the ashes, or the skin and fat, of the dead to "productive use." He possessed the quasi-anarchist distrust of sacred and venerable institutions, in particular the Church with its "superstitions" and all its "outmoded" laws and ceremonies. He had a naive trust in the "natural mom, the "healthy animal" who scorns the Christian virtues--virginity in particular--that impede the "natural functioning" of the body. He took a simple-minded delight in modern conveniences and machines, and especially in the automobile and the sense of speed and "freedom" it affords. There is very little of this crude Weltanschauung that is not shared, to some degree, by the multitudes today, especially among the young, who feel themselves "enlightened" and "liberated," very little that is not typically "modern.
Seraphim Rose
I liked sleeping in the attic. There was no Crucifixion scene hanging at the foot of the bed to trouble me. There were no paintings at all, but the clean scent of linseed oil and the musk of the earth pigments. I liked my view of the New Church, and the quiet. No one came up except him. The girls did not visit me as they sometimes had in the cellar, or secretly search through my things. i felt alone there, perched high above the noisy household, able to see it from a distance.
Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring)
Twenty million people live and work in Tokyo. It’s so big that nobody really knows where it stops. It’s long since filled up the plain, and now it’s creeping up the mountains to the west and reclaiming land from the bay in the east. The city never stops rewriting itself. In the time one street guide is produced, it’s already become out of date. It’s a tall city, and a deep one, as well as a spread-out one. Things are always moving below you, and above your head. All these people, flyovers, cars, walkways, subways, offices, tower blocks, power cables, pipes, apartments, it all adds up to a lot of weight. You have to do something to stop yourself caving in, or you just become a piece of flotsam or an ant in a tunnel. In smaller cities people can use the space around them to insulate themselves, to remind themselves of who they are. Not in Tokyo. You just don’t have the space, not unless you’re a company president, a gangster, a politician or the Emperor. You’re pressed against people body to body in the trains, several hands gripping each strap on the metro trains. Apartment windows have no view but other apartment windows.
David Mitchell (Ghostwritten)
With the elevator stopped between floors, my view is about a cockroach above the green linoleum, and from here at cockroach level the green corridor stretches toward the vanishing point, past half-open doors where titans and their gigantic wives drink barrels of champagne and bellow to each other wearing diamonds bigger than I feel.
Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)
The view from above is always beautiful. Strive to go there, but never forget to be kind.
Debasish Mridha
I’m high above the city I’m standing on the ledge The view from here is pretty And I step off the edge And now I’m fallin’, baby Through the sky Through the sky I’m fallin’ Baby, through the sky It’s my callin’ Baby, don’t you cry, don’t you cry I’m fallin’ down through the sky Toward the street that I’m from Oh, Broadway, here I come Broadway, here I come
Joe Iconis
When we talk mathematics, we may be discussing a secondary language, built on the primary language truly used by the central nervous system. Thus the outward forms of our mathematics are not absolutely relevant from the point of view of evaluating what the mathematical or logical language truly used by the central nervous system is. However, the above remarks about reliability and logical and arithmetical depth prove that whatever the system is, it cannot fail to differ considerably from what we consciously and explicitly consider as mathematics.
John von Neumann (The Computer and the Brain)
This morning Margot talked about the difference between falling and floating. With practice, she says, one may learn to accept the feeling of groundlessness without existential fear. This is akin to the way an experienced parachutist or astronaut might enjoy the wide view from above even as he hurtles through space. She gave us a formula: suffering = pain + resistance. …
Jenny Offill (Weather)
From above you could see the chaos of entangled plots on the other side of the road, and a couple of tough tethered goats, and the glint of a frozen pond somewhere in the trees. Above them the sun was shining vaguely through the milky November sky, old but strong. In April – between the thaw and the jungly green explosion of summer – or in raw mid-October, I bet the same view would have been barren and depressing. But when we stood there all the bits of old tractors and discarded refrigerators, the shoals of empty vodka bottles and dead animals that tend to litter the Russian countryside were invisible, smothered by the annual oblivion of the snow. The snow let you forget the scars and blemishes, like temporary amnesia for a bad conscience.
A.D. Miller
Viewed from above, on the mainmast shroud, they seemed suddenly so small, this little circle, making music, clustered on a floating stage, with the ocean darkening all around and the land behind dissolving into memory. Most of the faces of the people below were in shadow, individual features fading, chins and hair and noses lit by the red glimmer like heads around a hearth.
Harvey Oxenhorn (Tuning the Rig: A Journey to the Arctic)
Say you could view a time lapse film of our planet: what would you see? Transparent images moving through light, “an infinite storm of beauty.” The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth’s face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting, and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up- mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back. A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash-frames. Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread, and crumble, like paths of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck, and wither in a hour. New cities appear, and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any image but the hunched shadowless figures of ghosts. Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows, and vanishes. This is your life.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
The greatest enthusiasts for Civil War history and memory often displace complicated consequences by endlessly focusing on the contest itself. We sometimes lift ourselves out of historical time, above the details, and render the war safe in a kind of national Passover offering as we view a photograph of the Blue and Gray veterans shaking hands across the stone walls at Gettysburg. Deeply embedded in an American mythology of mission, and serving as a mother lode of nostalgia for antimodernists and military history buffs, the Civil War remains very difficult to shuck from its shell of sentimentalism.
David W. Blight (Race and Reunion)
an aristocracy come to power, convinced of its own disinterested quality, believing itself above both petty partisan interest and material greed. The suggestion that this also meant the holding and wielding of power was judged offensive by these same people, who preferred to view their role as service, though in fact this was typical of an era when many of the great rich families withdrew from the new restless grab for money of a modernizing America, and having already made their particular fortunes, turned to the public arena as a means of exercising power. They were viewed as reformers, though the reforms would be aimed more at the newer seekers of wealth than at those who already held it. (“First-generation millionaires,” Garry Wills wrote in Nixon Agonistes, “give us libraries, second-generation millionaires give us themselves.”)
David Halberstam (The Best and the Brightest)
In my Future of an Illusion I was concerned [...] with what the ordinary man understands by his religion, that system of doctrines and pledges that on the one hand explains the riddle of this world to him with an enviable completeness, and on the other assures him that a solicitous Providence is watching over him and will make up to him in a future existence for any shortcomings in this life. The ordinary man cannot imagine this Providence in any other from but that of a greatly exalted father, for only such a one could understand the needs of the sons of men, or be softened by their prayers and placated by the signs of their remorse. The whole thing is so patently infantile, so incongruous with reality, that to one whose attitude to humanity is friendly it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life.
Sigmund Freud (Civilization and Its Discontents)
[The Devil] In my opinion, there is no need to destroy anything, one needs only destroy the idea of God in mankind, that's where the business should start! One should begin with that, with that--oh, blind men, of no understanding! Once mankind has renounced God, one and all (and I believe that this period, analogous to the geological periods, will come), then the entire old world view will fall of itself, without antrhopophagy, and, above all, the entire former morality, and everything will be new. People will come together in order to take from life all that it can give, but, of course, for happiness and joy in this world only. Man will be exalted with the spirit of the divine, tatanic pride, and the man-god will appear. Man, his will and his science no longer limited, conquering nature every hour, will thereby every hour experience such lofty delight as will replace for him all his former hopes of heavenly delight. Each will know himself utterly mortal, without resurrection, and will accept death proudly and calmly, like a god. Out of pride he will understand that he should not murmur against the momentariness of life, and he will love his brother then without any reward. Love will satisfy only the moment of life, but the very awareness of its momentariness will increase its fire, inasmuch as previously it was diffused in hopes of an eternal love beyond the grave.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
It was magic to be above [the clouds], to see their uppermost contours, the way they caught the light and held it, their vast shadows moving upon the face of the earth. I wished I could open the window and know what the world sounded like at that altitude. I thought about the solitude of that world, how it must be inhabited by the voice of the wind, only. ... I thought about what my crows saw as they flew above canyons and treetops, the birds-eye view of life. They would recognize specific trees, perches, and nesting sites from a completely different perspective than I could. Their maps differed from mine; they knew the topography, the contours of the landscape, on a much grander scale.
Elizabeth J. Church (The Atomic Weight of Love)
The neo-cons, or some of them, decided that they would back Clinton when he belatedly decided for Bosnia and Kosovo against Milosevic, and this even though they loathed Clinton, because the battle against religious and ethnic dictatorship in the Balkans took precedence. This, by the way, was partly a battle to save Muslims from Catholic and Christian Orthodox killers. That impressed me. The neo-cons also took the view, quite early on, that coexistence with Saddam Hussein was impossible as well as undesirable. They were dead right about that. They had furthermore been thinking about the menace of jihadism when most people were half-asleep. And then I have to say that I was rather struck by the way that the Weekly Standard and its associated voices took the decision to get rid of Trent Lott earlier this year, thus removing an embarrassment as well as a disgrace from the political scene. And their arguments were on points of principle, not 'perception.' I liked their ruthlessness here, and their seriousness, at a time when much of the liberal Left is not even seriously wrong, but frivolously wrong, and babbles without any sense of responsibility. (I mean, have you read their sub-Brechtian stuff on Halliburton....?) And revolution from above, in some states and cases, is—as I wrote in my book A Long Short War—often preferable to the status quo, or to no revolution at all.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
To bring home conviction to crowds it is necessary first of all to thoroughly comprehend the sentiments by which they are animated, to pretend to share these sentiments, then to endeavour to modify them by calling up, by means of rudimentary associations, certain eminently suggestive notions, to be capable, if need be, of going back to the point of view from which a start was made, and, above all, to divine from instant to instant the sentiments to which one’s discourse is giving birth.
Gustave Le Bon (Psychologie Des Foules)
It was said that the view through the open window above the urinal, straight across the Bay to the Silver Span, was the finest obtainable from such a position anywhere in the world, but today Philip kept his eyes down. Foreshortened, yes, definitely.
David Lodge (Changing Places)
For ages that stagger the imagination this earth spun hot and lifeless, and again for ages of equal vastness it held no life above the level of the animalculæ in a drop of ditch-water. Not only is Space from the point of view of life and humanity empty, but Time is empty also.
H.G. Wells (The Outline of History)
Once, when I was describing to a friend from Syracuse, New York, a place on the plains that I love, a ridge above a glacial moraine with a view of almost fifty miles, she asked, "But what is there to see?" The answer, of course, is nothing. Land, sky, and the ever-changing light.
Kathleen Norris (Dakota: A Spiritual Geography)
This view of the next valley is a view, at one remove, of your own mind, of everybody's mind as it exists above and below the level of personal history. Mysteries of darkness; but the darkness teems with life. Apocalypses of light; and the light shines out as brightly from the flimsy little houses as from the trees, the grass, the blue spaces between the clouds. We do our best to disprove the fact, but a fact it remains; man is as divine as nature, as infinite as the Void. But that's getting perilously close to theology, and nobody was ever saved by a notion.
Aldous Huxley (Island)
If only I could cry. I am beyond that. The light, the light, lending itself to empty downtown Saturday, but still the stupid insensate cars flush by oblivious to their stupidity, my silent plea. It isn't Mexico. It's not Paris. It's a painting by Hopper come to life. I am trapped inside a dead thing. Language is impossible here, even in English. Who has the arrogance to say: I'm mad, this is my crazy view of things, help me. I'm trapped in a silent world, a tableau of forty years ago. The walls are different, the tables, the heights of the veiling and the chairs. I loom above this letter. The view past the rows of cakes in the plate glass window is unfamiliar. I am a ghost. There is nothing now between me and death. Death is the unfamiliarity of everything, the strangeness of the once familiar. The same spatial configurations only the light is hollow, sick. I think I lack the energy to hit expensive discos which I don't know where they are to be rejected tonight. I look passable. My energy's low. I love to dance but despair is not a good muse. This Mexico, babe. Men who don't love you but act wildly as if they do initially. Self-involved, narcissistic men... The men drink and philosophize about pain. The women live it solo and culturelessly. No one cries, except easily, sentimentally. The devil, therefore God, exists. Oaxaca was a pushover compared to this. Pain had boundaries there. Spare us big cities, oh lord!
Maryse Holder (Give Sorrow Words: Maryse Holder's Letters From Mexico)
— If love wants you; if you’ve been melted down to stars, you will love with lungs and gills, with warm blood and cold. With feathers and scales. Under the hot gloom of the forest canopy you’ll want to breathe with the spiral calls of birds, while your lashing tail still gropes for the waes. You’ll try to haul your weight from simple sea to gravity of land. Caught by the tide, in the snail-slip of your own path, for moments suffocating in both water and air. If love wants you, suddently your past is obsolete science. Old maps, disproved theories, a diorama. The moment our bodies are set to spring open. The immanence that reassembles matter passes through us then disperses into time and place: the spasm of fur stroked upright; shocked electrons. The mother who hears her child crying upstairs and suddenly feels her dress wet with milk. Among black branches, oyster-coloured fog tongues every corner of loneliness we never knew before we were loved there, the places left fallow when we’re born, waiting for experience to find its way into us. The night crossing, on deck in the dark car. On the beach wehre night reshaped your face. In the lava fields, carbon turned to carpet, moss like velvet spread over splintered forms. The instant spray freezes in air above the falls, a gasp of ice. We rise, hearing our names called home through salmon-blue dusk, the royal moon an escutcheon on the shield of sky. The current that passes through us, radio waves, electric lick. The billions of photons that pass through film emulsion every second, the single submicroscopic crystal struck that becomes the phograph. We look and suddenly the world looks back. A jagged tube of ions pins us to the sky. — But if, like starlings, we continue to navigate by the rear-view mirror of the moon; if we continue to reach both for salt and for the sweet white nibs of grass growing closest to earth; if, in the autumn bog red with sedge we’re also driving through the canyon at night, all around us the hidden glow of limestone erased by darkness; if still we sish we’d waited for morning, we will know ourselves nowhere. Not in the mirrors of waves or in the corrading stream, not in the wavering glass of an apartment building, not in the looming light of night lobbies or on the rainy deck. Not in the autumn kitchen or in the motel where we watched meteors from our bed while your slow film, the shutter open, turned stars to rain. We will become indigestible. Afraid of choking on fur and armour, animals will refuse the divided longings in our foreing blue flesh. — In your hands, all you’ve lost, all you’ve touched. In the angle of your head, every vow and broken vow. In your skin, every time you were disregarded, every time you were received. Sundered, drowsed. A seeded field, mossy cleft, tidal pool, milky stem. The branch that’s released when the bird lifts or lands. In a summer kitchen. On a white winter morning, sunlight across the bed.
Anne Michaels
All the romance of feeling that men in high places are above personal considerations and act only from motives of pure patriotism, and for the general good of the public has been destroyed. An inside view proves too truly very much the reverse. —ULYSSES S. GRANT to WILLIAM T. SHERMAN, September 18, 1867
Ronald C. White Jr. (American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant)
But I guess my absolute favorite place, other than you, of course, is my house. I know, I know. My dad is there, so why would I want to be? But actually… After my dad and sister have gone to sleep at night, when everything is dark, I crawl out my window and up to the roof. There’s a little hidden valley between the ridges where I sit back against the chimney, sometimes for hours, dicking around on my phone, taking in the view, or sometimes I write you. I love it up there. I can see the tops of the trees, blowing in the night wind, the glow of the street lamps and stars, the sound of leaves rustling… I guess it makes me feel like anything is possible. The world isn’t always what’s right in front of you, you know? It’s below, it’s above, it’s out there somewhere. Every burn of every light inside every house I see when I look down from the rooftop has a story. Sometimes we just need to change our perspective. And when I look down at everything, I remember that there’s more out there than just what’s going on in my house—the bullshit with my dad, school, my future. I look at all those full houses, and I remember, I’m just one of many. It’s not to say we’re not special or important, but it’s comforting, I guess. You don’t feel so alone.
Penelope Douglas (Punk 57)
George Williams, the revered evolutionary biologist, describes the natural world as “grossly immoral.” Having no foresight or compassion, natural selection “can honestly be described as a process for maximizing short-sighted selfishness.” On top of all the miseries inflicted by predators and parasites, the members of a species show no pity to their own kind. Infanticide, siblicide, and rape can be observed in many kinds of animals; infidelity is common even in so-called pair-bonded species; cannibalism can be expected in all species that are not strict vegetarians; death from fighting is more common in most animal species than it is in the most violent American cities. Commenting on how biologists used to describe the killing of starving deer by mountain lions as an act of mercy, Williams wrote: “The simple facts are that both predation and starvation are painful prospects for deer, and that the lion's lot is no more enviable. Perhaps biology would have been able to mature more rapidly in a culture not dominated by Judeo-Christian theology and the Romantic tradition. It might have been well served by the First Holy Truth from [Buddha's] Sermon at Benares: “Birth is painful, old age is painful, sickness is painful, death is painful...”” As soon as we recognize that there is nothing morally commendable about the products of evolution, we can describe human psychology honestly, without the fear that identifying a “natural” trait is the same as condoning it. As Katharine Hepburn says to Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen, “Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.
Steven Pinker (The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature)
Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated and fraught with the effects of moments from the past. My mom knew this and wanted me to know it too. On one visit home, I found an essay from the Washington Post by the linguistics professor Deborah Tannen that had been cut out and left on my desk. My mom, and her mom before her, loved clipping newspaper articles and cartoons from the paper to send to Barbara and me. This article was different. Above it, my mom had written a note: “Dear Benny”—I was “Benny” from the time I was a toddler; the family folklore was that when we were babies, a man approached my parents, commenting on their cute baby boys, and my parents played along, pretending our names were Benjamin and Beauregard, later shorted to Benny and Bo. In her note, my mom confessed to doing many things that the writer of this piece had done: checking my hair, my appearance. As a teenager, I was continually annoyed by some of her requests: comb your hair; pull up your jeans (remember when low-rise jeans were a thing? It was not a good look, I can assure you!). “Your mother may assume it goes without saying that she is proud of you,” Deborah Tannen wrote. “Everyone knows that. And everyone probably also notices that your bangs are obscuring your vision—and their view of your eyes. Because others won’t say anything, your mother may feel it’s her obligation to tell you.” In leaving her note and the clipping, my mom was reminding me that she accepted and loved me—and that there is no perfect way to be a mother. While we might have questioned some of the things our mother said, we never questioned her love.
Jenna Bush Hager (Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life)
Empathy is not sympathy. Sympathy is looking across at someone and feeling sorrow, often in times of loss. Empathy is not pity. Pity is looking down from above and feeling a distant sadness for another in their misfortune. Empathy is commonly viewed as putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagining how you would feel.
Isabel Wilkerson (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents)
The popular conception of any philosophical doctrine is necessarily imperfect, and very generally unjust. Lucretius is often alluded to as an atheistical writer, who held the silly opinion that the universe was the result of a fortuitous concourse of atoms readers are asked to consider how long letters must be shaken in a bag before a complete annotated edition of Shakespeare could result from the process; and after being reminded how much more complex the universe is than the works of Shakespeare, they are expected to hold Lucretius, with his teachers and his followers, in derision. A nickname which sticks has generally some truth in it, and so has the above view, but it would be unjust to form our judgment of a man from his nickname alone, and we may profitably consider what the real tenets of Lucretius were, especially now that men of science are beginning, after a long pause in the inquiry, once more eagerly to attempt some explanation of the ultimate constitution of matter.
Fleeming Jenkin (Papers, Literary, Scientific, Etc.)
I shall expect you and the Slytherins in the Great Hall in twenty minutes, also,” said Professor McGonagall. “If you wish to leave with your students, we shall not stop you. But if any of you attempt to sabotage our resistance or take up arms against us within this castle, then, Horace, we duel to kill.” “Minerva!” he said, aghast. “The time has come for Slytherin House to decide upon its loyalties,” interrupted Professor McGonagall. “Go and wake your students, Horace.” Harry did not stay to watch Slughorn splutter: He and Luna ran after Professor McGonagall, who had taken up a position in the middle of the corridor and raised her wand. “Piertotum--oh, for heaven’s sake, Filch, not now--” The aged caretaker had just come hobbling into view, shouting, “Students out of bed! Students in the corridors!” “They’re supposed to be, you blithering idiot!” shouted McGonagall. “Now go and do something constructive! Find Peeves!” “P-Peeves?” stammered Filch as though he had never heard the name before. “Yes, Peeves, you fool, Peeves! Haven’t you been complaining about him for a quarter of a century? Go and fetch him, at once!” Filch evidently thought Professor McGonagall had taken leave of her senses, but hobbled away, hunch-shouldered, muttering under his breath. “And now--Piertotum Locomotor!” cried Professor McGonagall. And all along the corridor the statues and suits of armor jumped down from their plinths, and from the echoing crashes from the floors above and below, Harry knew that their fellows throughout the castle had done the same. “Hogwarts is threatened!” shouted Professor McGonagall. “Man the boundaries, protect us, do your duty to our school!
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Sense of humor means seeing both poles of a situation as they are, from an aerial point of view. There is good and there is bad and you see both with a panoramic view as though from above. Then you begin to feel that these little people on the ground, killing each other or making love or just being little people, are very insignificant in the sense that, if they begin to make a big deal of their warfare or lovemaking, then we begin to see the ironic aspect of their clamor. If we try very hard to build something tremendous, really meaningful, powerful—“I’m really searching for something, I’m really trying to fight my faults,” or “I’m really trying to be good”—then it loses its seriousness, becomes a paper tiger; it is extremely ironic.
Chögyam Trungpa (Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism)
And even though body has entwined with body, vows have been whispered into the lover’s ears in the throws of unimaginable passion, there’s a pang still. One has not felt understood by the lover. And that is a different quality of loneliness. A constant dull hammering. Like static hum. Dissonance. Ultimately it translates into a plain inability to see the other’s view. We shout betrayal. We shift blame. We feel inadequate. When it is plain inability. So their intimacy has a narrow gap running across, like a rift between two continents and it’s only when you examine it from above, do you really see it. You realize that the gap could be the breadth of a hairline but it is deep. It’s darkness stretches all the way down into a free falling abyss.
Sakoon Singh
His lips fell back against mine and in the blink of an eye, our bathing suits were shed. He fisted my hair and tilted my head off to the side, nibbling down my neck as he sucked marks against my skin. I felt my pussy heating for him. I felt my toes curling as he kissed down the valley of my breasts. He cupped them forcefully, massaging and tweaking my puckered peaks as I moaned and squealed and whimpered. “Teo,” I whispered. He growled. “Already so wet for me.” He slid two fingers inside of my body and my back arched dangerously. He crooked them against that pebbled spot as his thumb slid against my clit, and already I felt my ending approaching. I fisted the bed sheets as he pumped his dexterous fingers, tickling that sweet spot that made my eyes widen and my jaw unhinge with silent pleasure. An unearthly drone bubbled up the back of my throat as my orgasm crashed over me. But, nothing felt even remotely wonderful compared to the feeling of his cock sliding between my legs. “Holy fuck,” he growled. He pinned my wrists above my head and pounded against my body. My tits jumped for his viewing pleasure as he planted his knees into the mattress. My legs locked around him as I opened myself up for his assault. His thick dick, sliding against my walls as they clamped around him. My body, puckering at every movement and every sound he graced me with. All I knew was pleasure. All I understood was his presence. And the only name that came to mind as my second orgasm approached was his name. “Teo! Holy shit!” I exclaimed. He grunted. “Come for me. Squeeze that tight little pussy ar—ound—oh, shit.” He slowed his movements long enough to work me through an ecstasy that crashed so hard against my body that my vision tunneled. My body shook and tensed. Contracted and released. Then finally, my back collapsed to the bed. I felt physically spent until Teo’s dick slid from between my legs. And automatically, I missed him.
Callie Vincent (Monster (Sold to the Don, #1))
Some guns were fired to give notice that the departure of the balloon was near. ... Means were used, I am told, to prevent the great balloon's rising so high as might endanger its bursting. Several bags of sand were taken on board before the cord that held it down was cut, and the whole weight being then too much to be lifted, such a quantity was discharged as would permit its rising slowly. Thus it would sooner arrive at that region where it would be in equilibrio with the surrounding air, and by discharging more sand afterwards, it might go higher if desired. Between one and two o'clock, all eyes were gratified with seeing it rise majestically from above the trees, and ascend gradually above the buildings, a most beautiful spectacle. When it was about two hundred feet high, the brave adventurers held out and waved a little white pennant, on both sides of their car, to salute the spectators, who returned loud claps of applause. The wind was very little, so that the object though moving to the northward, continued long in view; and it was a great while before the admiring people began to disperse. The persons embarked were Mr. Charles, professor of experimental philosophy, and a zealous promoter of that science; and one of the Messrs Robert, the very ingenious constructors of the machine. {While U.S. ambassador to France, writing about witnessing, from his carriage outside the garden of Tuileries, Paris, the first manned balloon ascent using hydrogen gas by Jacques Charles on the afternoon of 1 Dec 1783. A few days earlier, he had watched the first manned ascent in Montgolfier's hot-air balloon, on 21 Nov 1783.}
Benjamin Franklin (Writings: The Autobiography / Poor Richard’s Almanack / Bagatelles, Pamphlets, Essays & Letters)
That is my view of the monk, and is it false? Is it too proud? Look at the worldly and all who set themselves up above the people of God; has not God’s image and His truth been distorted in them? They have science; but in science there is nothing but what is the object of sense. The spiritual world, the higher part of man’s being is rejected altogether, dismissed with a sort of triumph, even with hatred. The world has proclaimed the reign of freedom, especially of late, but what do we see in this freedom of theirs? Nothing but slavery and self-destruction! For the world says: “You have desires and so satisfy them, for you have the same rights as the most rich and powerful. Don’t be afraid of satisfying them and even multiply your desires.” That is the modern doctrine of the world. In that they see freedom. And what follows from this right of multiplication of desires? In the rich, isolation and spiritual suicide; in the poor, envy and murder; for they have been given rights, but have not been shown the means of satisfying their wants. They maintain that the world is getting more and more united, more and more bound together in brotherly community, as it overcomes distance and sets thoughts flying through the air.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
I've read the dying feel no pain but sense everything that goes on around them. They view the scene from a brief distance above and no matter who they are or how old, they gain a wisdom from that last vista. But we are the living, remaining on the ground, and what we know is the narrow and the unbroken. Here, we are strewn about in in the lengthy expanse of an archipelago, too far to call one another, too far to see.
Chang-rae Lee (Native Speaker)
Where are we?” she asked when I pulled into a parking lot. “The park.” “Isn’t it dangerous at night?” “Not here. Come on.” I pulled her out of her seat and grabbed a blanket from the trunk before trekking through the soft grass. “You always keep a blanket in your car?” “Yeah, for emergencies. Never know when you might need it. Food, water, first-aid kit, too.” “Oh!” she grunted and caught my arm as one of her heels pierced the soft dirt and sank. “You should take those off.” “And walk around barefoot? Hello? Ever heard of hookworms and tetanus?” “Ever heard of snapping your ankles as you fall flat on your face in the dark?” I asked as I squatted in front of her and slipped her foot out of the high heels. “What are you doing?” she gasped, tumbling forward and grabbing onto my shoulders for support. “Removing your obstacles.” She landed a bare foot on the grass as I undid the other shoe. “So now I get tetanus?” I looked up at her, my hands lightly stroking her ankles up to her calves. “You worry too much.” “It’s a real risk. Ask Preeti.” I stood slowly, moving up her body, and hovered above her. “How…how far are we walking?” she asked. “To the river.” “In the dark?” I nodded and handed her the shoes. “Took these off and you won’t even carry them?” “I’ll carry them,” I replied, swooped down, and threw her over the blanket on my shoulder. Liya yelped. “Put me down!” “So you can get tetanus?” I asked and walked toward the river. She laughed. “I hate you!” “You love it.” She slapped my butt and then poked her pointy elbows into my shoulder as she arched her back. “Enjoying the view of my backside from over there?” I slid my hand up the back of her thighs and tugged her dress down to keep her covered. “This isn’t so bad,” she said. “Oh, yeah?” “Yeah.” She slapped my butt again. “Giddyap!” “All right. You asked for it.” Her next words were swallowed up in a scream as I took off at a full sprint. She gripped my shirt, clutching for my waist, as the breeze broke around us. I ran the short distance to the riverside in no time, slowing only when the moonlit gleam on the water’s surface appeared. I placed Liya on the grass, but she swayed away. I grabbed her by the waist to steady her and chuckled. “Are you okay?” “You try doing that upside down.
Sajni Patel (The Trouble with Hating You (The Trouble with Hating You, #1))
The opinion that one cannot express an opinion, however potentially harmful, is the most dangerous of all. The only effective way that I know of to fight an idea that we believe to be potentially damaging to our values, principles, ideals, is to try to support the validity of alternative points of view. The more you talk about something or someone or prevent them from expressing themselves, the more you give them strength, even - and perhaps above all - when you talk about them badly.
Luigina Sgarro
Emerging, as we had, from the dark and gloomy bowels of the earth, the scene before us presented a view of wondrous beauty, and, while doubtless enhanced by contrast, it was nevertheless such an aspect as is seldom given to the eyes, of a Barsoomian of today to view. To me it seemed a little garden spot upon a dying world preserved from an ancient era when Barsoom was young and meteorological conditions were such as to favor the growth of vegetation that has since become extinct over practically the entire area of the planet. In this deep valley, surrounded by lofty cliffs, the atmosphere doubtless was considerably denser than upon the surface of the planet above. The sun's days were reflected by the lofty escarpment, which must also hold the heat during the colder periods of night, and, in addition to this, there was ample water for irrigation which nature might easily have achieved through percolation of the waters of the river through and beneath the top soil of the valley.
Edgar Rice Burroughs (A Fighting Man of Mars (Barsoom, #7))
Humor, in its highest sense, transcends the momentary tension release of laughter, and expands into a profound sense of ease and a relaxed approach to life’s occasional challenges, large or small. When you view your world through this lens of transcendent humor, as if from a distant peak, you discover that life is a game you can play as if it matters— with a peaceful heart and a warrior’s spirit. You can remain engaged with the world but also rise above it, looking beyond your personal dramas.
Dan Millman (The Hidden School: Return of the Peaceful Warrior)
As a fantasist, I well understand the power of escapism, particularly as relates to romance. But when so many stories aimed at the same audience all trumpet the same message – And Lo! There shall be Two Hot Boys, one of them your Heart’s Intended, the other a vain Pretender who is also hot and with whom you shall have guilty makeouts before settling down with your One True Love – I am inclined to stop viewing the situation as benign and start wondering why, for instance, the heroines in these stories are only ever given a powerful, magical destiny of great importance to the entire world so long as fulfilling it requires male protection, guidance and companionship, and which comes to an end just as soon as they settle their inevitable differences with said swain and start kissing. I mean to invoke is something of the danger of mob rule, only applied to narrative and culture. Viz: that the comparative harmlessness of individuals does not prevent them from causing harm en masse. Take any one story with the structure mentioned above, and by itself, there’s no problem. But past a certain point, the numbers begin to tell – and that poses a tricky question. In the case of actual mobs, you’ll frequently find a ringleader, or at least a core set of agitators: belligerent louts who stir up feeling well beyond their ability to contain it. In the case of novels, however, things aren’t so clear cut. Authors tell the stories they want to tell, and even if a number of them choose to write a certain kind of narrative either in isolation or inspired by their fellows, holding any one of them accountable for the total outcome would be like trying to blame an avalanche on a single snowflake. Certainly, we may point at those with the greatest (arguable) influence or expostulate about creative domino effects, but as with the drop that breaks the levee, it is impossible to try and isolate the point at which a cluster of stories became a culture of stories – or, for that matter, to hold one particular narrative accountable for the whole.
Foz Meadows
I've heard about a man and woman who are walking the length of the Great Wall of China, approaching each other from opposite directions. Every time I think of them, I see them from above., with the Wall twisting and winding through the landscape and two tiny human figures moving toward each other from remote provinces, step by step. I think this is a story of reverence for the planet, of trying to understand how we belong to the planet in a new way. And it's strange how I construct an aerial view so naturally.
Don DeLillo (Mao II)
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea-cosy. I can't say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring - I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen-house. Though even that isn't a very good poem. I have decided my best poetry is so bad that I mustn't write any more of it. Drips from the roof are plopping into the water-butt by the back door. The view through the windows above the sink is excessively drear. Beyond the dank garden in the courtyard are the ruined walls on the edge of the moat. Beyond the moat, the boggy ploughed fields stretch to the leaden sky. I tell myself that all the rain we have had lately is good for nature, and that at any moment spring will surge on us. I try to see leaves on the trees and the courtyard filled with sunlight. Unfortunately, the more my mind's eye sees green and gold, the more drained of all colour does the twilight seem. It is comforting to look away from the windows and towards the kitchen fire, near which my sister Rose is ironing - though she obviously can't see properly, and it will be a pity if she scorches her only nightgown. (I have two, but one is minus its behind.) Rose looks particularly fetching by firelight because she is a pinkish person; her skin has a pink glow and her hair is pinkish gold, very light and feathery. Although I am rather used to her I know she is a beauty. She is nearly twenty-one and very bitter with life. I am seventeen, look younger, feel older. I am no beauty but I have a neatish face. I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic - two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud. I must admit that our home is an unreasonable place to live in. Yet I love it. The house itself was built in the time of Charles II, but it was grafted on to a fourteenth-century castle that had been damaged by Cromwell. The whole of our east wall was part of the castle; there are two round towers in it. The gatehouse is intact and a stretch of the old walls at their full height joins it to the house. And Belmotte Tower, all that remains of an even older castle, still stands on its mound close by. But I won't attempt to describe our peculiar home fully until I can see more time ahead of me than I do now. I am writing this journal partly to practise my newly acquired speed-writing and partly to teach myself how to write a novel - I intend to capture all our characters and put in conversations. It ought to be good for my style to dash along without much thought, as up to now my stories have been very stiff and self-conscious. The only time father obliged me by reading one of them, he said I combined stateliness with a desperate effort to be funny. He told me to relax and let the words flow out of me.
Dodie Smith (I Capture the Castle)
Music can be appreciated from several points of view: the listener, the performer, the composer. In mathematics there is nothing analogous to the listener; and even if there were, it would be the composer, rather than the performer, that would interest him. It is the creation of new mathematics, rather than its mundane practice, that is interesting. Mathematics is not about symbols and calculations. These are just tools of the tradequavers and crotchets and five-finger exercises. Mathematics is about ideas. In particular it is about the way that different ideas relate to each other. If certain information is known, what else must necessarily follow? The aim of mathematics is to understand such questions by stripping away the inessentials and penetrating to the core of the problem. It is not just a question of getting the right answer; more a matter of understanding why an answer is possible at all, and why it takes the form that it does. Good mathematics has an air of economy and an element of surprise. But, above all, it has significance.
Ian Stewart
Yet the contents and structures of the unconscious are the result of immemorial existential situations, especially of critical situations, and this is why the unconscious has a religious aura. For every existential crisis once again puts in question both the reality of the world and man's presence in the world. This means that the existential crisis is, finally, "religious," since on the archaic levels of culture *being* and *the sacred* are one. As we saw, it is the experience of the sacred that founds the world, and even the most elementary religion is, above all, an ontology. In other words, in so far as the unconscious is the result of countless existential experiences, it cannot but resemble the various religious universes. For religion is the paradigmatic solution for every existential crisis. It is the paradigmatic solution notb only because it can be indefinately repeated, but also because it is believed to have a transcendental origin and hence is valorised as a revelation received from an *other*, transhuman world. The religious solution not only resolves the crisis but at the same time makes existence "open" to values that are no longer contingent or particular, thus enabling man to transcend personal situations and, finally, gain access to the world of spirit. This is not the place to develop all the consequences of this close relation between the content and structures of the unconscious on the one hand and the values of religion on the other. We were led to refer to it in order to show in what sense even the most avowedly nonreligious man still, in his deeper being, shares a religiously oriented behavior. But modern man's "private mythologies" -his dreams, reveries, fantasies, and so on- never rise to the ontological status of myths, precisely because they are not experienced by the *whole man* and therefore do not transform a particular situation into a situation that is paradigmatic. In the same way, modern man's anxieties, his experiences in dream or imagination, although "religious" from the point of view of form, do not, as in *homo religiosus*, make part of a *Weltanschauung* and provide the basis for a system of behaviour. -Mircea Eliade, The Sacred And The Profane:The Nature of Religion
Mircea Eliade
Bill.' If you don't, I'll do this," and with that he gave me a twitch that I thought would have made me faint. Between this and that, I was so utterly terrified of the blind beggar that I forgot my terror of the captain, and as I opened the parlour door, cried out the words he had ordered in a trembling voice. The poor captain raised his eyes, and at one look the rum went out of him and left him staring sober. The expression of his face was not so much of terror as of mortal sickness. He made a movement to rise, but I do not believe he had enough force left in his body. "Now, Bill, sit where you are," said the beggar. "If I can't see, I can hear a finger stirring. Business is business. Hold out your left hand. Boy, take his left hand by the wrist and bring it near to my right." We both obeyed him to the letter, and I saw him pass something from the hollow of the hand that held his stick into the palm of the captain's, which closed upon it instantly. "And now that's done," said the blind man; and at the words he suddenly left hold of me, and with incredible accuracy and nimbleness, skipped out of the parlour and into the road, where, as I still stood motionless, I could hear his stick go tap-tap-tapping into the distance. It was some time before either I or the captain seemed to gather our senses, but at length, and about at the same moment, I released his wrist, which I was still holding, and he drew in his hand and looked sharply into the palm. "Ten o'clock!" he cried. "Six hours. We'll do them yet," and he sprang to his feet. Even as he did so, he reeled, put his hand to his throat, stood swaying for a moment, and then, with a peculiar sound, fell from his whole height face foremost to the floor. I ran to him at once, calling to my mother. But haste was all in vain. The captain had been struck dead by thundering apoplexy. It is a curious thing to understand, for I had certainly never liked the man, though of late I had begun to pity him, but as soon as I saw that he was dead, I burst into a flood of tears. It was the second death I had known, and the sorrow of the first was still fresh in my heart. 4 The Sea-chest I LOST no time, of course, in telling my mother all that I knew, and perhaps should have told her long before, and we saw ourselves at once in a difficult and dangerous position. Some of the man's money—if he had any—was certainly due to us, but it was not likely that our captain's shipmates, above all the two specimens seen by me, Black Dog and the blind beggar, would be inclined to give up their booty in payment of the dead man's debts. The captain's order to mount at once and ride for Doctor Livesey would have left my mother alone and unprotected, which was not to be thought of. Indeed, it seemed impossible for either of us to remain much longer in the house; the fall of coals in the kitchen grate, the very ticking of the clock, filled us with alarms. The neighbourhood, to our ears, seemed haunted by approaching footsteps; and what between the dead body of the captain on the parlour floor and the thought of that detestable blind beggar hovering near at hand and ready to return, there were moments when, as the saying goes, I jumped in my skin for terror. Something must speedily be resolved upon, and it occurred to us at last to go forth together and seek help in the neighbouring hamlet. No sooner said than done. Bare-headed as we were, we ran out at once in the gathering evening and the frosty fog. The hamlet lay not many hundred yards away, though out of view, on the other side of the next cove; and what greatly encouraged me, it was in an opposite direction from that whence the blind man had made his appearance and whither he had presumably returned. We were not many minutes on the road, though we sometimes stopped to lay hold of each other and hearken. But there was no unusual sound—nothing but the low wash of the ripple and the croaking of the inmates of the wood.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island)
So here’s the deal and this is what you get: The penthouse suite with world-commanding views, The banker’s bonus and the private jet, Control and ownership of all the news, An ‘in’ to that exclusive one per cent, Who know the score, who really run the show, With interest on every penny lent  And sweeteners for cronies in the know. A straight arrangement between me and you, No hell below or heaven high above, You just admit it, and give me my due, And wake up from this foolish dream of love … But Jesus laughed, ‘You are not what you seem. Love is the waking life, you are the dream.
Malcolm Guite (The Word in the Wilderness)
Suppose that, instead of limiting ‘Earth’ to the solid globe that we 20th century materialists define it as, the archaic ‘Earth’ was everything that lay on the plane of the ecliptic (the orbital plane of the earth around the sun, which we on Earth perceive as the path of the Sun in the sky). This extension of Earth out into the skv would make an Earth that was truly flat. Like the physical Earth the continents of this ‘Greater Earth’ would still be surrounded by water, but the water would be a mighty ocean which stretched out into space to lap at the feet of the stars. Above this ‘Earth’ would be ‘heaven,’ and below it would be the ‘underworld.’ Those stars which disappear from view (‘die’) later reappear (are ‘reborn,’ or released from Hades). * As soon as we accept these suppositions into our world-view, our frame of reference and our perspectives broaden infinitely. Suddenly the space we live in takes on the limitlessness of the space in which the sky-gods live, and our previous assumptions of what might be “real” get stood on their pointy little heads. Now when we think of the Great Flood, a myth which has appeared in ancient cultures all over the earth, it
Robert E. Svoboda (The Greatness of Saturn: A Therapeutic Myth)
Two things fill the mind with every new and increasing wonder and awe, the oftener and the more steadily I reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. I do not merely conjecture them and seek them as if they were obscured in darkness or in the transcendent region beyond my horizon: I see them before me, and I connect them directly with the consciousness of my own existence. The starry heavens begin at the place I occupy in the external world of sense, and they broaden the connection in which I stand into an unbounded magnitude of worlds beyond worlds and systems of systems and into the limitless times of their periodic motion, their beginning and duration. The latter begins at my invisible self, my personality, and exhibits me in a world which has true infinity but which only the understanding can trace - a world in which I recognise myself as existing in a universal and necessary ( and not, as in the first case, only contingent) connection, and thereby also in connection with all those visible worlds. The former view of a countless multitude of worlds annihilates, as it were, my importance as an 'animal creature' which must give back to the planet (a mere speck in the universe) the matter fro which it came, matter which is for a little time endowed with vital force, we know not how. The latter, on the contrary, infinitely raises my worth as that of an 'intelligence' by my being a person in whom the moral law reveals to me a life independent of all animality and even of the whole world of sense, at least so far as it may be inferred from the final destination assigned to my existence by this law, a destination which is not restricted to the conditions and boundaries of this life but reaches into the infinite.
Immanuel Kant (Critique of Pure Reason)
Jess Pepper's review of the Avalon Strings: 'In a land so very civilized and modern as ours, it is unpopular to suggest that the mystical isle of Avalon ever truly existed. But I believe I have found proof of it right here in Manhattan. To understand my reasoning, you must recall first that enchanting tale of a mist-enshrouded isle where medieval women--descended from the gods--spawned heroic men. Most notable among these was the young King Arthur. In their most secret confessions, these mystic heroes acknowledged Avalon, and particularly the music of its maidens, as the source of their power. Many a school boy has wept reading of Young King Arthur standing silent on the shore as the magical isle disappears from view, shrouded in mist. The boy longs as Arthur did to leap the bank and pilot his canoe to the distant, singing atoll. To rejoin nymphs who guard in the depths of their water caves the meaning of life. To feel again the power that burns within. But knowledge fades and memory dims, and schoolboys grow up. As the legend goes, the way became unknown to mortal man. Only woman could navigate the treacherous blanket of white that dipped and swirled at the surface of the water. And with its fading went also the music of the fabled isle. Harps and strings that heralded the dawn and incited robed maidens to dance evaporated into the mists of time, and silence ruled. But I tell you, Kind Reader, that the music of Avalon lives. The spirit that enchanted knights in chain mail long eons ago is reborn in our fair city, in our own small band of fair maids who tap that legendary spirit to make music as the Avalon Strings. Theirs is no common gift. Theirs is no ordinary sound. It is driven by a fire from within, borne on fingers bloodied by repetition. Minds tormented by a thirst for perfection. And most startling of all is the voice that rises above, the stunning virtuoso whose example leads her small company to higher planes. Could any other collection of musicians achieve the heights of this illustrious few? I think not. I believe, Friends of the City, that when we witnes their performance, as we may almost nightly at the Warwick Hotel, we witness history's gift to this moment in time. And for a few brief moments in the presence of these maids, we witness the fiery spirit that endured and escaped the obliterating mists of Avalon.
Bailey Bristol (The Devil's Dime (The Samaritan Files #1))
So here again we may clearly observe the contrast with the Enlightenment, with which individual commentators have tried to associate Nietzsche because of his atheism. In the Enlightenment, the idea was to prove that belief in God might not signify any kind of moral imperative for mankind, that the moral laws would operate in a society of atheists just as much as in one where religious patronage held sway. Nietzsche, on the contrary, wanted to show that the demise of the idea of God (or the death of God) would entail a moral renaissance in the sense we have noted above. Apart, therefore, from the other ethical contradictions in the ‘old’ and ‘new’ Enlightenment, about which we again already know Nietzsche’s opinion, we find another contrast here in respect of the socio-ethical role of religion. The ‘old’ Enlightenment regarded the religious concept as irrelevant to men’s morality, actions, views etc., which in reality were adequately determined by a combination of society and men’s reason. On the other hand, Nietzsche — and here he far exceeded all Feuerbach’s weaknesses in the realm of historico-philosophical idealism — regarded the switch to atheism as a turning point for morality. (At this point let us just briefly remark that here Nietzsche’s worldview is very close to certain tendencies in Dostoievsky.)
György Lukács (The Destruction of Reason)
WHEN YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN AN ARGUMENT or some conflict situation, perhaps with a partner or someone close to you, start by observing how defensive you become as your own position is attacked, or feel the force of your own aggression as you attack the other person's position. Observe the attachment to your views and opinions. Feel the mental-emotional energy behind your need to be right and make the other person wrong. That's the energy of the egoic mind. You make it conscious by acknowledging it, by feeling it as fully as possible. Then one day, in the middle of an argument, you will suddenly realize that you have a choice, and you may decide to drop your own reaction — just to see what happens. You surrender. I don't mean dropping the reaction just verbally by saying “Okay, you are right,” with a look on your face that says, “I am above all this childish unconsciousness.” That's just displacing the resistance to another level, with the egoic mind still in charge, claiming superiority. I am speaking of letting go of the entire mental-emotional energy field inside you that was fighting for power. The ego is cunning, so you have to be very alert, very present, and totally honest with yourself to see whether you have truly relinquished your identification with a mental position and so freed yourself from your mind.
Eckhart Tolle (Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises from the Power of Now)
To the question Was Jesus God or man?, the Christians therefore answered: both. After 70 AD, their answer was unanimous and increasingly emphatic. This made a complete breach with Judaism inevitable. The Jews could accept the decentralization of the Temple: many had long done so, and soon all had to do so. They could accept a different view of the Law. What they could not accept was the removal of the absolute distinction they had always drawn between God and man, because that was the essence of Jewish theology, the belief that above all others separated them from the pagans. By removing that distinction, the Christians took themselves irrecoverably out of the Judaic faith.
Paul Johnson (History of the Jews)
Say you could view a time-lapse film of our planet: what would you see? Transparent images moving through light, “an infinite storm of beauty.” The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth’s face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by a widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up-mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back. A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too swift and intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash frames. Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread, and then crumble, like patches of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck, and wither in a hour. New cities appear, and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues that roamed the earth’s surface, are a wavering blur whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any images. The great herds of caribou pour into the valleys and trickle back, and pour, a brown fluid. Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, like a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows, and vanishes. This is your life.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
Morning pages are, as author Julia Cameron puts it, “spiritual windshield wipers.” It’s the most cost-effective therapy I’ve ever found. To quote her further, from page viii: “Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts [nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations] on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.” Please reread the above quote. It may be the most important aspect of trapping thought on paper (i.e., writing) you’ll ever encounter. Even if you consider yourself a terrible writer, writing can be viewed as a tool. There are huge benefits to writing, even if no one—yourself included—ever reads what you write. In other words, the process matters more than the product.
Timothy Ferriss (Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers)
The doctrine of Relativity is carried to a fallacious pitch, when applied to prove that there must be something absolute, because the Relative must suppose the non- Relative. If there be Relation, it is said, there must be something Un-related, or above all relation. But Relation cannot in this way, be brought round on itself, except by a verbal juggle. Relation means that every conscious state has a correlative state ; which brings us at last to a couple (the subject-mind, and the object or extended world). This is the final end of all possible cognition. We may view the two facts separately or together; and we may call the conjunct view an Absolute (as Ferrier does), but this adds nothing to our knowledge. A self-contradiction is committed by inferring from * everything is relative,' that * something is non-relative.' Fallacies of Relativity often arise in the hyperboles of Rhetoric. In order to reconcile to their lot the more humble class of manual labourers, the rhetorician proclaims the dignity of all labour, without being conscious that if all labour is dignified, none is ; dignity supposes inferior grades ; a mountain height is abolished if all the surrounding plains are raised to the level of its highest peak. So, in spurring men to industry and perseverance, examples of distinguished success are held up for universal imitation ; while, in fact, these cases owe their distinction to the general backwardness.
Alexander Bain (Logic: Deductive and Inductive)
The light stayed wan, but reached further, every new minute, until the whole sky was gold, but pale, not enough to see by, too weak to cast the faintest shadow. Then warmer streaks bloomed, and lit the horizon, and finally the sun rose, unstoppable, for a second as red and angry as a sunset, then settling to a hot yellow blaze, half-clearing the horizon, and throwing immediate shadows, at first perfectly horizontal, then merely miles long. The sky washed from pale gold to pale blue, down through all the layers, so the world above looked newly deep as well as infinitely high and infinitely wide. The night dew had settled the dust, and until it dried the air was crystal. The view was pure and clear in every direction.
Lee Child (Make Me (Jack Reacher, #20))
It is almost impossible to understand the extent to which upheaval agitated, and by that very fact had temporarily enriched, the mind of M. de Charlus. Love in this way produces real geological upheavals of thought. In the mind of M. de Charlus, which only several days before resembled a plane so flat that even from a good vantage point one could not have discerned an idea sticking up above the ground, a mountain range had abruptly thrust itself into view, hard as rock--but mountains sculpted as if an artist, instead of taking the marble away, had worked it on the spot, and where there twisted about one another, in giant and swollen groupings, Rage, Jealousy, Curiosity, Envy, Suffering, Pride, Astonishment, and Love.
Marcel Proust
Meditation Take the world, but give me Jesus, Sweetest comfort of my soul; With my Savior watching o’er me, I can sing though billows roll. Take the world, but give me Jesus, Let me view his constant smile; Then throughout my pilgrim journey Light will cheer me all the while. Take the world, but give me Jesus, All its joys are but a name; But his love abideth ever, Through eternal years the same. Take the world, but give me Jesus. In his cross my trust shall be, Till, with clearer, brighter vision, Face to face my Lord I see. Refrain Oh, the height and depth of mercy! Oh, the length and breadth of love! Oh, the fullness of redemption, Pledge of endless life above! “TAKE THE WORLD, BUT GIVE ME JESUS,” FANNY CROSBY (1879)
John Dunlop (Finishing Well to the Glory of God: Strategies from a Christian Physician)
During World War II, there had been a project to sabotage the Nazi nuclear weapons program. Years earlier, Leo Szilard, the first person to realize the possibility of a fission chain reaction, had convinced Fermi not to publish the discovery that purified graphite was a cheap and effective neutron moderator. Fermi had wanted to publish, for the sake of the great international project of science, which was above nationalism. But Szilard had persuaded Rabi, and Fermi had abided by the majority vote of their tiny three-person conspiracy. And so, years later, the only neutron moderator the Nazis had known about was deuterium. The only deuterium source under Nazi control had been a captured facility in occupied Norway, which had been knocked out by bombs and sabotage, causing a total of twenty-four civilian deaths. The Nazis had tried to ship the deuterium already refined to Germany, aboard a civilian Norwegian ferry, the SS Hydro. Knut Haukelid and his assistants had been discovered by the night watchman of the civilian ferry while they were sneaking on board to sabotage it. Haukelid had told the watchman that they were escaping the Gestapo, and the watchman had let them go. Haukelid had considered warning the night watchman, but that would have endangered the mission, so Haukelid had only shaken his hand. And the civilian ship had sunk in the deepest part of the lake, with eight dead Germans, seven dead crew, and three dead civilian bystanders. Some of the Norwegian rescuers of the ship had thought the German soldiers present should be left to drown, but this view had not prevailed, and the German survivors had been rescued. And that had been the end of the Nazi nuclear weapons program. Which was to say that Knut Haukelid had killed innocent people. One of whom, the night watchman of the ship, had been a good person. Someone who'd gone out of his way to help Haukelid, at risk to himself; from the kindness of his heart, for the highest moral reasons; and been sent to drown in turn. Afterward, in the cold light of history, it had looked like the Nazis had never been close to getting nuclear weapons after all. And Harry had never read anything suggesting that Haukelid had acted wrongly.
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)
Enquirer," Neverfell said slowly, "do you really think I would have walked into this court if I didn’t have a way of getting out again?" "What? What way?" "I don’t know." Neverfell gave Enquirer Treble an enormous smile, as bright and mad as a sun souffé. "Do you like surprises, Enquirer? I do. Just as well, really." It is fair to say that what happened after that was a surprise to everybody in the courtroom, including Neverfell. Somewhere high above in the shadowy, stalagmite-fanged ceiling, a trapdoor flipped open, revealing a darkened hatch. From this darkness a coil of wire whispered down, unravelling and unravelling as it fell, until the bottom end brushed the dais on which Neverfell stood. Then with a singing, metallic whine, a stocky figure in a gleaming metal suit and goggled mask dropped out of the trap and slid down the wire, to land with a jolt beside Neverfell. "Seize . . ." began Treble. A metal-scaled arm was thrown round Neverfell’s middle. An armoured hand flicked two belt levers. ". . . that . . ." With a lurch, Neverfell was dragged aloft as the armoured figure whizzed back up the wire, carrying her with it, the whine of the mechanism rising to a screech. The dais dropped away, and she was staring down at a receding sea of frozen, upturned faces. ". . . girl!" finished the Enquirer in a deafening yell as both soaring figures disappeared upward through the hatch. The court vanished from Neverfell’s view as the trapdoor flapped shut.
Frances Hardinge (A Face Like Glass)
What a revolution! In less than a century the persecuted church had become a persecuting church. Its enemies, the “heretics” (those who “selected” from the totality of the Catholic faith), were now also the enemies of the empire and were punished accordingly. For the first time now Christians killed other Christians because of differences in their views of the faith. This is what happened in Trier in 385: despite many objections, the ascetic and enthusiastic Spanish lay preacher Priscillian was executed for heresy together with six companions. People soon became quite accustomed to this idea. Above all the Jews came under pressure. The proud Roman Hellenistic state church hardly remembered its own Jewish roots anymore. A specifically Christian ecclesiastical anti-Judaism developed out of the pagan state anti-Judaism that already existed. There were many reasons for this: the breaking off of conversations between the church and the synagogue and mutual isolation; the church’s exclusive claim to the Hebrew Bible; the crucifixion of Jesus, which was now generally attributed to the Jews; the dispersion of Israel, which was seen as God’s just curse on a damned people who were alleged to have broken the covenant with God . . . Almost exactly a century after Constantine’s death, by special state-church laws under Theodosius II, Judaism was removed from the sacral sphere, to which one had access only through the sacraments (that is, through baptism). The first repressive measures
Hans Küng (The Catholic Church: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles))
The main thing is to abhor dishonesty, any kind of dishonesty, but above all, dishonesty with regard to your own self. Be aware of your dishonesty and ponder it every hour, every minute of the day. Never be squeamish, both with regard to yourself and others; what appears to you disgusting in yourself is cleansed by the very fact that you have acknowledged it within yourself. Avoid giving in to fear too, since all fear is only the consequence of falsity. Never be afraid of your own faint-heartedness in the endeavour to love, nor even too fearful of any bad actions that you may commit in the course of that endeavour. I am sorry I cannot say anything more comforting to you, for active love compared with contemplative love is a hard and awesome business. Contemplative love seeks a heroic deed that can be accomplished without delay and in full view of everyone. Indeed, some people are even ready to lay down their lives as long as the process is not long drawn out but takes place quickly, as though it were being staged for everybody to watch and applaud. Active love, on the other hand, is unremitting hard work and tenacity, and for some it is a veritable science. But let me tell you in advance: even as you may realize with horror that, in spite of your best efforts, not only have you not come any nearer to your goal, but you may even have receded from it, it is precisely at that moment, I tell you, that you will suddenly reach your goal and clearly behold the wondrous power of God, who has at all times loved you, at all times mysteriously guided you. I am sorry
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Karamazov Brothers)
Seen from an aeroplane high in the air, even the most gigantic skyscraper is only a tall stone black, a mere sculptural form, not a real building in which people can live. But as the plane descends from the great heights there will be one moment when the buildings change character completely. Suddenly, they take on human scale, become houses for human beings like ourselves, not the tiny dolls observed from the heights. This strange tranformation takes place at the instant when the contours of the buildings begin to rise above the horizon so that we get a side view of them instead of looking down on them. The buildings pass into a new stage of existence, become architecture in place of neat toys -- for architecture means shapes formed around man, formed to be lived in, not merely to be seen from outside.
Steen Eiler Rasmussen (Experiencing Architecture)
THE JOURNEY There is every reason to despair due to all the present events that seem out of our control, but there is every reason to hope that with attention and discipline, we can bring ourselves and our societies, through a kind of necessary seasonal disappearance, back into the realm of choice. Firstly, the easy part: despair. The world at present seems to be a mirror to many of our worst qualities. We could not have our individual fears and prejudices, our wish to feel superior to others, and our deep desire not to be touched by the heartbreak and vulnerabilities that accompany every life, more finely drawn and better represented in the outer world than are presented to us now, by the iconic and often ugly political figures, encouraging the worst in their fellows that dominate our screens and our times. Life is fierce and difficult. There is no life we can live without being subject to grief, loss and heartbreak. Half of every conversation is mediated through disappearance. Thus, there is every reason to want to retreat from life, to carry torches that illuminate only our own view, to make enemies of life and of others, to hate what we cannot understand and to keep the world and the people who inhabit it at a distance through prejudicial naming; but therefore, it also follows, that our ability to do the opposite, to meet the other in the world on their own terms, without diminishing them, is one of the necessary signatures of human courage; and one we are being asked to write, above all our flaws and difficulties, across the heavens of this, our present time. The essence in other words of The Journey.
David Whyte (David Whyte: Essentials)
What could he say that might make sense to them? Could he say love was, above all, common cause, shared experience? That was the vital cement, wasn’t it? Could he say how he felt about their all being here tonight on this wild world running around a big sun which fell through a bigger space falling through yet vaster immensities of space, maybe toward and maybe away from Something? Could he say: we share this billion-mile-an-hour ride. We have common cause against the night. You start with little common causes. Why love the boy in a March field with his kite braving the sky? Because our fingers burn with the hot string singeing our hands. Why love some girl viewed from a train, bent to a country well? The tongue remembers iron water cool on some long lost noon. Why weep at strangers dead by the road? They resemble friends unseen in forty years. Why laugh when clowns are hit by pies? We taste custard, we taste life. Why love the woman who is your wife? Her nose breathes in the air of a world that I know; therefore I love that nose. Her ears hear music I might sing half the night through; therefore I love her ears. Her eyes delight in seasons of the land; and so I love those eyes. Her tongue knows quince, peach, chokeberry, mint and lime; I love to hear it speaking. Because her flesh knows heat, cold, affliction, I know fire, snow, and pain. Shared and once again shared experience. Billions of prickling textures. Cut one sense away, cut part of life away. Cut two senses; life halves itself on the instant. We love what we know, we love what we are. Common cause, common cause, common cause of mouth, eye, ear, tongue, hand, nose, flesh, heart, and soul.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
If you have ever come upon a grove that is thick with ancient trees rising far above their usual height and blocking the view of the sky with their cover of intertwining branches, the loftiness of the forest, the seclusion of the spot, and your wonder at the unbroken shade in the midst of open space will create in you a sense of the divine (numen). Or, if a cave made by the deep erosion of rocks supports a mountain with its arch, a place not made by hands but hollowed out by natural causes into spaciousness, then your mind will be aroused by a feeling of religious awe (religio). We venerate the sources of mighty rivers, we build an altar where a great stream suddenly bursts forth from a hidden source, we worship hot springs, and we deem lakes sacred because of their darkness or immeasurable depth. (Seneca the Younger, Letters 41.3)
Valerie M. Warrior (Roman Religion (Cambridge Introduction to Roman Civilization))
She's saying something. My mother's words found me, there in the black. I pinched my eyes closed, her face coming into perfect view One long, dark red braid over her shoulder. Pale gray eyes the color of morning fog and the sea-dragon necklace around her neck as she looked up into the clouds above us. Isolde loved the storms. That night, the bell rang out and my father came for me, pulling me from my hammock bleary-eyed and confused. and when he put me in the rowboat, I screamed for my mother until my throat was raw. The Lark was already half-sunk, disappearing in the water behind us. My mother called it touching the soul of the storm. When she came upon us like that, she was taking us into her hart and letting us see her. She was saying something. And only then would we know what lay within her. Only then would we know who she was.
Adrienne Young (Fable (Fable, #1))
In fact, the summum bonum of his ethic, the earning of more and more money, combined with the strict avoidance of all spontaneous enjoyment of life, is above all completely devoid of any eudaemonistic, not to say hedonistic, admixture. It is thought of so purely as an end in itself, that from the point of view of the happiness of, or utility to, the single individual, it appears entirely transcendental and absolutely irrational. Man is dominated by the making of money, by acquisition as the ultimate purpose of his life. Economic acquisition is no longer subordinated to man as the means for the satisfaction of his material needs. This reversal of what we should call the natural relationship, so irrational from a naive point of view, is evidently as definitely a leading principle of capitalism as it is foreign to all peoples not under capitalistic influence.
Max Weber (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism)
WHEN I DESCRIBED THE TUMOR IN MY ESOPHAGUS as a “blind, emotionless alien,” I suppose that even I couldn’t help awarding it some of the qualities of a living thing. This at least I know to be a mistake: an instance of the pathetic fallacy (angry cloud, proud mountain, presumptuous little Beaujolais) by which we ascribe animate qualities to inanimate phenomena. To exist, a cancer needs a living organism, but it cannot ever become a living organism. Its whole malice—there I go again—lies in the fact that the “best” it can do is to die with its host. Either that or its host will find the measures with which to extirpate and outlive it. But, as I knew before I became ill, there are some people for whom this explanation is unsatisfying. To them, a rodent carcinoma really is a dedicated, conscious agent—a slow–acting suicide–murderer—on a consecrated mission from heaven. You haven’t lived, if I can put it like this, until you have read contributions such as this on the websites of the faithful: Who else feels Christopher Hitchens getting terminal throat cancer [sic] was God’s revenge for him using his voice to blaspheme him? Atheists like to ignore FACTS. They like to act like everything is a “coincidence.” Really? It’s just a “coincidence” [that] out of any part of his body, Christopher Hitchens got cancer in the one part of his body he used for blasphemy? Yeah, keep believing that, Atheists. He’s going to writhe in agony and pain and wither away to nothing and then die a horrible agonizing death, and THEN comes the real fun, when he’s sent to HELLFIRE forever to be tortured and set afire. There are numerous passages in holy scripture and religious tradition that for centuries made this kind of gloating into a mainstream belief. Long before it concerned me particularly I had understood the obvious objections. First, which mere primate is so damn sure that he can know the mind of god? Second, would this anonymous author want his views to be read by my unoffending children, who are also being given a hard time in their way, and by the same god? Third, why not a thunderbolt for yours truly, or something similarly awe–inspiring? The vengeful deity has a sadly depleted arsenal if all he can think of is exactly the cancer that my age and former “lifestyle” would suggest that I got. Fourth, why cancer at all? Almost all men get cancer of the prostate if they live long enough: It’s an undignified thing but quite evenly distributed among saints and sinners, believers and unbelievers. If you maintain that god awards the appropriate cancers, you must also account for the numbers of infants who contract leukemia. Devout persons have died young and in pain. Betrand Russell and Voltaire, by contrast, remained spry until the end, as many psychopathic criminals and tyrants have also done. These visitations, then, seem awfully random. My so far uncancerous throat, let me rush to assure my Christian correspondent above, is not at all the only organ with which I have blasphemed. And even if my voice goes before I do, I shall continue to write polemics against religious delusions, at least until it’s hello darkness my old friend. In which case, why not cancer of the brain? As a terrified, half–aware imbecile, I might even scream for a priest at the close of business, though I hereby state while I am still lucid that the entity thus humiliating itself would not in fact be “me.” (Bear this in mind, in case of any later rumors or fabrications.)
Christopher Hitchens (Mortality)
Fuchsia took three paces forward in the first of the attics and then paused a moment to re-tie a string above her knee. Over her head vague rafters loomed and while she straightened her-self she noticed them and unconsciously loved them. This was the lumber room. Though very long and lofty it looked relatively smaller than it was, for the fantastic piles of every imaginable kind of thing, from the great organ to the lost and painted head of a broken toy lion that must one day have been the plaything of one of Fuchsia's ancestors, spread from every wall until only an avenue was left to the adjacent room. This high, narrow avenue wound down the centre of the first attic before suddenly turning at a sharp angle to the right. The fact that this room was filled with lumber did not mean that she ignored it and used it only as a place of transit. Oh no, for it was here that many long afternoons had been spent as she crawled deep into the recesses and found for herself many a strange cavern among the incongruous relics of the past. She knew of ways through the centre of what appeared to be hills of furniture, boxes, musical instruments and toys, kites, pictures, bamboo armour and helmets, flags and relics of every kind, as an Indian knows his green and secret trail. Within reach of her hand the hide and head of a skinned baboon hung dustily over a broken drum that rose above the dim ranges of this attic medley. Huge and impregnable they looked in the warm still half-light, but Fuchsia, had she wished to, could have disappeared awkwardly but very suddenly into these fantastic mountains, reached their centre and lain down upon an ancient couch with a picture book at her elbow and been entirely lost to view within a few moments.
Mervyn Peake (The Gormenghast Novels (Gormenghast, #1-3))
Why could Tolkien not be more like Sir Thomas Malory, asked [Edwin] Muir, in the third Observer review of those cited above, and give us heroes and heroines like Lancelot and Guinevere, who ' knew temptation, were sometimes unfaithful to their vows,' were engagingly marked by adulterous passion? But T.H. White had already considered that paradigm, was indeed rewriting it at the same time as Tolkien in The Once and Future King; and he had seen the core of Malory's work not in romantic vice but in the human urge to murder. In White the poisonous adder that provokes the last disastrous battle is no adder but a harmless grass-snake, and the flash of the sword which brings on the two armies is not natural self-defense but natural blood-lust, creating a continuum from cruelty to animals to world wars and holocausts. Malory has to be rewritten to encompass a new view of evil.
Tom Shippey (J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century)
Long before there were effective treatments, physicians dispensed prognoses, hope, and, above all, meaning. When something terrible happens-and serious disease is always terrible-people want to know why. In a pantheistic world, the explanation was simple-one god had caused the problem, another could cure it. In the time since people have been trying to get along with only one God, explaining disease and evil has become more difficult. Generations of theologians have wrestled with the problem of theodicy-how can a good God allow such bad things to happen to good people? Darwinian medicine can't offer a substitute for such explanations. It can't provide a universe in which events are part of a divine plan, much less one in which individual illness reflects individual sins. It can only show us why we are the way we are, why we are vulnerable to certain diseases. A Darwinian view of medicine simultaneously makes disease less and more meaningful. Diseases do not result from random or malevolent forces, they arise ultimately from past natural selection. Paradoxically, the same capacities that make us vulnerable to disease often confer benefits. The capacity for suffering is a useful defense. Autoimmune disease is a price of our remarkable ability to attack invaders. Cancer is the price of tissues that can repair themselves. Menopause may protect the interests of our genes in existing children. Even senescence and death are not random, but compromises struck by natural selection as it inexorably shaped out bodies to maximize the transmission of our genes. In such paradoxical benefits, some may find a gentle satisfaction, even a bit of meaning-at least the sort of meaning Dobzhansky recognized. After all, nothing in medicine makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Randolph M. Nesse (Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine)
You can build a fortune through the aid of laws which are immutable. But, first, you must become familiar with these laws, and learn to USE them. Through repetition, and by approaching the description of these principles from every conceivable angle, the author hopes to reveal to you the secret through which every great fortune has been accumulated. Strange and paradoxical as it may seem, the "secret" is NOT A SECRET. Nature, herself, advertises it in the earth on which we live, the stars, the planets suspended within our view, in the elements above and around us, in every blade of grass, and every form of life within our vision. Nature advertises this "secret" in the terms of biology, in the conversion of a tiny cell, so small that it may be lost on the point of a pin, into the HUMAN BEING now reading this line. The conversion of desire into its physical equivalent is, certainly, no more miraculous!
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich [Illustrated & Annotated])
It was through this viewer that he got his first reply from Tralfamadore. The reply was written on Earth in huge stones on a plain in what is now England. The ruins of the reply still stand, and are known as Stonehenge. The meaning of Stonehenge in Tralfamadorian, when viewed from above, is: "Replacement part being rushed with all possible speed." Stonehenge wasn't the only message old Salo had received. There had been four others, all of them written on Earth. The Great Wall of China means in Tralfamadorian, when viewed from above: "Be patient. We haven't forgotten about you." The Golden House of the Roman Emperor Nero meant: "We are doing the best we can." The meaning of the Moscow Kremlin when it was first walled was: "You will be on your way before you know it." The meaning of the Palace of the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, is: "Pack up your things and be ready to leave on short notice.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
The thing I remember from the Letters Page in those antique days was the way the OBs signed off. There was Yours faithfully, Yours sincerely, and I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant. But the ones I always looked for - and which I took to be the true sign of an Old Bastard - simply ended like this: Yours etc. And then the newspaper drew even more attention to the sign-off by printing it: Yours &c. Yours &c. I used to muse about that. What did it mean? Where did it come from? I imagined some bespatted captain of industry dictating his OB’s views to his secretary for transmission to the Newspaper of Record which he doubtless referred to with jocund familiarity as ‘The Thunderer’. When his oratorical belch was complete, he would say ‘Yours, etc,’ which Miss ffffffolkes would automatically transcribe into, ‘I have the honour to be, sir, one of the distinguished Old Bastards who could send you the label off a tin of pilchards and you would still print it above this my name,’ or whatever, and then it would be, ‘Despatch this instanter to The Thunderer, Miss ffffffolkes.’ But one day Miss ffffffolkes was away giving a handjob to the Archbishop of York, so they sent a temp. And the temp wrote Yours, etc, just as she heard it and The Times reckoned the OB captain a very gusher of wit, but decided to add their own little rococo touch by compacting it further to &c., whereupon other OBs followed the bespatted lead of the captain of industry, who claimed all the credit for himself. There we have it: Yours &c. Whereupon, as an ardent damp-ear of sixteen, I took to the parodic sign-off: Love, &c. Not all my correspondents unfailingly seized the reference, I regret to say. One demoiselle hastened her own de-accessioning from the museum of my heart by informing me with hauteur that use of the word etc., whether in oral communication or in carven prose, was common and vulgar. To which I replied, first, that ‘the word’ et cetera was not one but two words, and that the only common and vulgar thing about my letter - given the identity of its recipient - was affixing to it the word that preceded etc. Alack, she didn’t respond to this observation with the Buddhistic serenity one might have hoped. Love, etc. The proposition is simple. The world divides into two categories: those who believe that the purpose, the function, the bass pedal and principal melody of life is love, and that anything else - everything else - is merely an etc.; and those, those unhappy many, who believe primarily in the etc. of life, for whom love, however agreeable, is but a passing flurry of youth, the pattering prelude to nappy-duty, but not something as solid, steadfast and reliable as, say, home decoration. This is the only division between people that counts.
Julian Barnes (Talking It Over)
This vision is very much in line with the views of the economist John Kay in his book Other People’s Money (2015). As he says, stock markets, when first started, were the vehicles for raising finance often for large infrastructure projects (typically railways) from many dispersed shareholders. But markets no longer provide this function. Almost no new projects are financed via the stock market. (Indeed, the observation that few early-state companies come to the stock market for financing rather confirms the hypothesis that stock markets have significant problems dealing with them.) Rather, stock market trading is dominated by large asset managers trading with each other. In Kay’s view, they are searching for returns over and above those available to the market as a whole (searching for “alpha”) by trying to anticipate what others are thinking about the value of assets rather than the value of the underlying assets themselves.
Jonathan Haskel (Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy)
In learning general relativity, and then in teaching it to classes at Berkeley and MIT, I became dissatisfied with what seemed to be the usual approach to the subject. I found that in most textbooks geometric ideas were given a starring role, so that a student...would come away with an impression that this had something to do with the fact that space-time is a Riemannian [curved] manifold. Of course, this was Einstein's point of view, and his preeminent genius necessarily shapes our understanding of the theory he created. However, I believe that the geometrical approach has driven a wedge between general relativity and [Quantum Field Theory]. As long as it could be hoped, as Einstein did hope, that matter would eventually be understood in geometrical terms, it made sense to give Riemannian geometry a primary role in describing the theory of gravitation. But now the passage of time has taught us not to expect that the strong, weak, and electromagnetic interactions can be understood in geometrical terms, and too great an emphasis on geometry can only obscuret he deep connections between gravitation and the rest of physics...[My] book sets out the theory of gravitation according to what I think is its inner logic as a branch of physics, and not according to its historical development. It is certainly a historical fact that when Albert Einstein was working out general relativity, there was at hand a preexisting mathematical formalism, that of Riemannian geometry, that he could and did take over whole. However, this historical fact does not mean that the essence of general relativity necessarily consists in the application of Riemannian geometry to physical space and time. In my view, it is much more useful to regard general relativity above all as a theory of gravitation, whose connection with geometry arises from the peculiar empirical properties of gravitation.
Steven Weinberg (Gravitation and Cosmology: Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity)
Lalla Ruk Dearest dream, my soul's enchantment Lovely guest from heav'n above, Most benevolent attender To the earthly realm below, You gave me blissful satisfaction Momentary but complete: Bringing with you happy tidings - Like a herald from the skies. I dreamed dreams of life eternal In that Promised Land of peace; I dreamed dreams of fragrant regions, Of a tranquil, sweet Kashmir; I could witness celebrations, Festivals of roses vernal Honoring that lovely maiden From lands strange and far away. And, with glistening enchantment Like an angel from above, - This untainted, youthful vision Came before my dreaming eyes; Like a veil, a shining shroud Screened her lovely face from view, Tenderly she did incline Her shy gazes toward the earth. All her traits - her timid shyness Underneath her shining crown, Childlike her animation, And her face's noble beauty - Glowing with a depth of feeling, Sweet serenity and peace - All of these completely artless Indescribably sublime! As I watched, the apparition (Captivating me in passing) Never to return, flew by; I pursued - but it had gone! T'was a vision merely fleeting, Transient illumination Leaving nothing but a legend Of its passing through my life! T'is not ours to harbor Beauty's spirit - Ah, so pure! It comes nigh but for a moment From its heavenly abode; Like a dream, it slips away, Like an airy dream of morning: But in sacred reminiscence It is married with the heart! Only in the purest instants Of our life does it appear Bringing with it revelations Beneficial to our hearts; That our hearts may know of heaven In this earthly shadow realm, It allows us momentary Glimpses through the earthly veil. And through all that here is lovely, All that animates our lives, To our souls it speaks a language Reassuring and distinct; When it quits our earthly region It bestows a gift of love Glowing in our evening heaven: "Tis a farewell star for all to see.
Vasily Zhukovsky
I use “Witch” to identify with the heritage outlined above, to place myself firmly in the line of outlaw healers and purveyors of unapproved wisdom. And I use the word “magic” for much the same reason. I could say “sophisticated non-mechanistic psychology,” but that term lacks the same ring. Magic is a discipline of the mind, and it begins with understanding how consciousness is shaped and how our view of reality is constructed. Since the time of the Witch persecutions, knowledge that derives from the worldview of an animate, interconnected, dynamic universe is considered suspect—either outright evil or simply woo-woo. But whenever an area of knowledge is considered suspect, our minds are constricted. The universe is too big, too complex, too ever-changing for us to know it completely, so we choose to view it through a certain frame—one that screens out pieces of information that conflict with the categories in our minds. The narrower that frame, the more we screen out, the less we are capable of understanding or doing.
Starhawk (The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature)
One may readily concede that the historical factuality of the resurrection cannot be affirmed with the same level of confidence as the historical factuality of the crucifixion. All historical judgments can be made only with relative certainty, and the judgment that Jesus rose from the dead can be offered—from the historian’s point of view—only with great caution. The character of the event itself hardly falls within ordinary categories of experience.28 Still, something extraordinary happened shortly after Jesus’ death that rallied the dispirited disciples and sent them out proclaiming to the world that Jesus had risen and had appeared to them. Reductive psychological explanations fail to do justice to the widespread testimony to this event within the original community and to the moral seriousness of the movement that resulted from it. The best explanation is to say that God did something beyond all power of human imagining by raising Jesus from the dead. To make such a claim is to make an assertion that redefines reality.29 If such an event has happened in history, then history is not a closed system of immanent causes and effects. God is powerfully at work in the world in ways that defy common sense, redeeming the creation from its bondage to necessity and decay. That, of course, is precisely what the early Christians believed and proclaimed: I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. (EPH. 1:17–21. emphasis mine)
Richard B. Hays (The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New CreationA Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethic)
At length, when the conversation-in my view, at least -was going straight to hell, he got up abruptly and went over to look at a photograph of himself and Bessie that had been newly tacked up on the wall. He glowered at it for a full minute, or more, then turned around, with a brusqueness no one in the family would have found unusual, and asked Seymour if he remembered the time Joe Jackson had given him, Seymour, a ride on the handle bars of his bicycle, all over the stage, around and around. Seymour, sitting in an old corduroy armchair across the room, a cigarette going, wearing a blue shirt, gray slacks, moccasins with the counters broken down, a shaving cut on the side of his face that I could see, replied gravely and at on cc, and in the special way he always answered questions from Les - as if they were the questions, above all others, he preferred to be asked in his life. He said he wasn't sure he had ever got off Joe Jackson's beautiful bicycle. And aside from its enormous sentimental value to my father personally, this answer, in a great many ways, was true, true, true.
J.D. Salinger (Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction)
I know that a brighter view may be taken, and if the sadder has been emphasized in these letters, it is only because we feel you know less about it. For more has been written about the successes than about the failures, and it seems to us that it is more important that you should know about the reverses than about the successes of the war. We shall have all eternity to celebrate the victories, but we have only the few hours before sunset in which to win them. We are not winning them as we should, because the fact of the reverses is so little realized, and the needed reinforcements are not forthcoming, as they would be if the position were thoroughly understood. Reinforcements of men and women are needed, but, far above all, reinforcements of prayer. And so we have tried to tell you the truth the uninteresting, unromantic truth about the heathen as we find them, the work as it is. More workers are needed. No words can tell how much they are needed, how much they are wanted here. But we will never try to allure anyone to think of coming by painting coloured pictures, when the facts are in black and white. What if black and white will never attract like colours ? We care not for it ; our business is to tell the truth. The work is not a pretty thing, to be looked at and admired. It is a fight. And battlefields are not beautiful. But if one is truly called of God, all the difficulties and discouragements only intensify the Call. If things were easier there would be less need. The greater the need, the clearer the Call rings through one, the deeper the conviction grows: it was God s Call. And as one obeys it, there is the joy of obedience, quite apart from the joy of success. There is joy in being with Jesus in a place where His friends are few ; and sometimes, when one would least expect it, coming home tired out and disheartened after a day in an opposing or indifferent town, suddenly how, you can hardly tell such a wave of the joy of Jesus flows over you and through you, that you are stilled with the sense of utter joy. Then, when you see Him winning souls, or hear of your comrades victories, oh ! all that is within you sings, I have more than an overweight of joy !
Amy Carmichael (Things as They Are: Mission Work in Southern India)
my temporal lobes, generally considered to be the most “ticklish” part of the brain.5 The temporal lobe houses the ancient structures of the hippocampus and the amygdala, the parts of the brain responsible for emotion and memory. The symptoms from this type of seizure can range from a “Christmas morning” feeling of euphoria to sexual arousal to religious experiences.67 Often people report feeling déjà vu and its opposite, something called jamais vu, when everything seems unfamiliar, such as my feeling of alienation in the office bathroom; seeing halos of light or viewing the world as if it is bizarrely out of proportion (known as the Alice in Wonderland effect), which is what was happening while I was on my way to interview John Walsh; and experiencing photophobia, an extreme sensitivity to light, like my visions in Times Square. These are all common symptoms or precedents of temporal lobe seizures. A small subset of those with temporal lobe epilepsy—about 5 to 6 percent—report an out-of-body experience, a feeling described as being removed from your body and able to look at yourself, usually from above.
Susannah Cahalan (Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness)
Consider the fact that we care deeply about what happens to the world after we die. If self-interests were the primary source of meaning in life, then it wouldn’t matter to people if an hour after their death everyone they know were to be wiped from the face of the earth. Yet, it matters greatly to most people. We feel that such an occurrence would make our lives meaningless. The only way death is not meaningless is to see yourself as part of something greater; a family, a community, a society. If you don’t, mortality is only a horror, but if you do, it is not. Loyalty, said Royce, solves the paradox of our ordinary existence, by showing us outside of ourselves the cause which is to be served, and inside of ourselves, the will which delights to do this service, and is not thwarted, but enriched and expressed in such service… Above the level of self-actualization in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they suggest the existence in people of a transcendent desire to see and help other beings achieve their potential. As our time winds down, we all seek comfort in simple pleasures; companionship, everyday routines, the taste of good food, the warmth of sunlight on our faces. We become less interested in the awards of achieving and accumulating and more interested in the rewards of simply being. Yet, while we may feel less ambitious, we also have become concerned for our legacy, and we have a deep need to identify purposes outside ourselves that make living feel meaningful and worthwhile. In the end, people don’t view their life as merely the average of all of its moments, which after all is mostly nothing much, plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments; the ones where something happens. Measurements of people’s minute by minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life may be empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves. Unlike your experiencing self, which is absorbed in the moment, your remembering self is attempting to recognize not only the peaks of joy and valleys of misery, but also how the story works out as a whole. That is profoundly affected by how things ultimately turn out.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
As we lifted off, China growing ever more distant from the window-seat, the endless ocean opening up before us, I was torn between the excitement of something new and leaving that which I'd grown to love. In that moment, I understood we may never come back; that we were floating there suspended between two worlds, above the world. There was no logic in where we would go from here, nor any limitation. We had each other, and we knew now of what adaptation we were capable. Their faces flashed through my mind, and I wondered if we'd ever find a country like that again, or if we'd ever be as open with new friends, knowing now what it was like to leave them. Like a first love lost. I hoped we'd have the courage to love Germany so that the day we'd leave our hearts would also break. For what is life except that kind of attachment? And isn't it true that one can live in a place all their life, surrounded by comfort and familiarity, and never feel this longing? As the last view of China slipped off the horizon, I promised myself that I would always dare to love, squeezing Patrick's hand, and seeing that in our love for each other, we'd always have the strength to let go.
Megan Rich (Six Years of A Floating Life: A Memoir)
unfairness can take many forms. It can take the form of the inheritance of property—bonds and stocks, houses, factories; it can also take the form of the inheritance of talent—musical ability, strength, mathematical genius. The inheritance of property can be interfered with more readily than the inheritance of talent. But from an ethical point of view, is there any difference between the two? Yet many people resent the inheritance of property but not the inheritance of talent. Look at the same issue from the point of view of the parent. If you want to assure your child a higher income in life, you can do so in various ways. You can buy him (or her) an education that will equip him to pursue an occupation yielding a high income; or you can set him up in a business that will yield a higher income than he could earn as a salaried employee; or you can leave him property, the income from which will enable him to live better. Is there any ethical difference among these three ways of using your property? Or again, if the state leaves you any money to spend over and above taxes, should the state permit you to spend it on riotous living but not to leave it to your children?
Milton Friedman (Free to Choose: A Personal Statement)
Calumny... gives [Harry] a spiritual purity in the sense that it scours away any outward show, any wish to live by the impression he makes on others. It gives him a lonely independence, so that he is able to act from his own depth. As he goes on to fulfill "his true destiny", which as far as he knows is his death, he is able to walk, hidden from view, past the woman he loves, without speaking, without looking back. This ability to act alone contrasts him with Voldemort, who needs others. That need is apparent in Voldemort's possession of Quirrell. Voldemort's shallowness is apparent in the way Pettigrew has to do his work for him and then has to carry him to his rebirthing. Above all, it is in his need to be encircled by Death Eaters. Yet Voldemort is not truly in relationship with any of these people. He is connected to them only by magic, manipulation and threats. To be truly in relation with others, he would need, like Harry, to be capable of acting from his own depth. He would need to be able to act WITHOUT them. Voldemort, who wants to be independent, cannot truly act alone. ... Voldemort lives outwardly, in his domination of others; Harry lives inwardly, in the purity of his own being.
Luke Bell (Baptizing Harry Potter: A Christian Reading of J.K. Rowling)
...spirit was wrenched from its organic origins, separated from the body - the mother {woman} and the goddess - the mother Earth or Earth Goddess. The new manifestation of spirit, projected in hierarchical terms, emanated from the father in whom the 'spirit of life' as sperm was ejected as minuscule baby into the womb {viewed as nutrient value only}. The father as reflected in early patriarchal mythology and later patriarchal science was believed the sole parent. The cosmic dimension of the same movement ripped spirit from its earth people origin and placed it above the people, in the sky as originating in an all-powerful Father - or male God. In patriarchal religious ritual spirit came to be owned and controlled as property in the one and same manner as women were owned. Patriarchs usurped the exclusive right to define, interpret, and evoke the spirit out of their experience and project it onto women and children, as they deemed that women and children 'should' experience it. The moving verb 'transcending' {synonymous with breath and spirit} changed to a static noun, 'transcendence,' separated from the body and woman. The hierarchical direction assumed ultimacy - 'down from up above' instead of the former direction of 'up from down under.
Nelle Morton (The Journey is Home)
But how does it come about that while the ‘I think’ gives Kant a genuine phenomenal starting-point, he cannot exploit it ontologically, and has to fall back on the ‘subject’—that is to say, something *substantial*? The “I” is not just an ‘I think’, but an ‘I think something’. And does not Kant himself keep on stressing that the “I” remains related to its representations, and would be nothing without them? For Kant, however, these representations are the ‘empirical’, which is ‘accompanied’ by the “I”—the appearances to which the “I” ‘clings’. Kant nowhere shows the kind of Being of this ‘clinging’ and ‘accompanying’. At bottom, however, their kind of Being is understood as the constant Being-present-at-hand of the “I” along with its representations. Kant has indeed avoided cutting the “I” adrift from thinking; but he has done so without starting with the ‘I think’ itself in its full essential content as an ‘I think something’, and above all, without seeing what is ontologically ‘presupposed’ in taking the ‘I think something’ as a basic characteristic of the Self. For even the ‘I think something’ is not definite enough ontologically as a starting-point, because the ‘something’ remains indefinite. If by this “something” we understand an entity *within-the-world*, then it tacitly implies that the *world* has been presupposed; and this very phenomenon of the world co-determines the state of Being of the “I,” if indeed it is to be possible for the “I” to be something like an ‘I think something’. In saying “I,” I have in view the entity which in each case I am as an ‘I-am-in-a-world’. Kant did not see the phenomenon of the world, and was consistent enough to keep the ‘representations’ apart from the *a priori* content of the ‘I think’. But as a consequence the “I” was again forced back to an *isolated* subject, accompanying representations in a way which is ontologically quite indefinite. *In saying “I,” Dasein expresses itself as Being-in-the-world*. But does saying “I” in the everyday manner have *itself* in view *as* being-in-the-world [*in-der-Welt-seiend*]? Here we must make a distinction. When saying “I,” Dasein surely has in view the entity which, in every case, it is itself. The everyday interpretation of the Self, however, has a tendency to understand itself in terms of the ‘world’ with which it is concerned. When Dasein has itself in view ontically, it *fails to see* itself in relation to the kind of Being of that entity which it is itself. And this holds especially for the basic state of Dasein, Being-in-the-world." ―from_Being and Time_. Translated by John Macquarrie & Edward Robinson, pp. 367-370
Martin Heidegger
Populism is an authoritarian form of democracy. Defined historically, it thrives in contexts of real or imagined political crises, wherein populism offers itself as antipolitics. It claims to do the work of politics while keeping itself free from the political process. Democracy in this sense simultaneously increases the political participation of real or imagined majorities while it excludes, and limits the rights of, political, sexual, ethnic, and religious minorities. As noted above, populism conceives the people as One—namely, as a single entity consisting of leader, followers, and nation. This trinity of popular sovereignty is rooted in fascism but is confirmed by votes. Populism stands against liberalism, but for electoral politics. Therefore, we can better understand populism if we think of it as an original historical reformulation of fascism that first came to power after 1945. Populism’s homogenizing view of the people conceives of political opponents as the antipeople. Opponents become enemies: nemeses who, consciously or unconsciously, stand for the oligarchical elites and for a variety of illegitimate outsiders. Populism defends an illuminated nationalist leader who speaks and decides for the people. It downplays the separation of powers, the independence and legitimacy of a free press, and the rule of law. In populism, democracy is challenged but not destroyed.
Federico Finchelstein (From Fascism to Populism in History)
Once he has recognized his invisible guide, a mystic sometimes decides to trace his own isnlld, to reveal his spiritual genealogy, that is, to disclose the "chain of transmission" culminating in his person and bear witness to the spiritual ascendancy which he invokes across the generations of mankind. He does neither more nor less than to designate by name the minds to whose family he is conscious of belonging. Read in the opposite order from their phenomenological emergence, these genealogies take on the appearance of true genealogies. Judged by the rules of _our historical criticism, the claim of these genealogies to truth seems highly precarious. Their relevance is to another "transhistoric truth," which cannot be regarded as inferior (because it is of a different order) to the material historic truth whose claim to truth, with the documentation at our disposal, is no less precarious. Suhrawardi traces the family tree of the IshrlqiyOn back to Hermes, ancestor of the Sages, (that Idris-Enoch of Islamic prophetology, whom Ibn rArabi calls the prophet of the Philosophers) ; from him are descended the Sages of Greece and Persia, who are followed by certain �ofis (Abo Yazid Bastlmi, Kharraqlni, I;Ialllj, and the choice seems particularly significant in view of what has been said above about the Uwaysis}, and all these branches converge in his own doctrine and school. This is not a history of philosophy in our sense of the term; but still less is it a mere fantasy.
Henry Corbin (Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi)
I recall a frosty sunny morning in March when I was sitting in the interrogator's office. He was asking his customary crude questions and writing down my answers, distorting my words as he did so. The sun played in the melting latticework of frost on the wide window... In the gaps where the frost had melted, the rooftops of Moscow could be seen, rooftop after rooftop, and above them merry little puffs of smoke. But I was staring not in that direction but at a mound of piled-up manuscripts which had been dumped there a little while before and had not yet been examined. In notebooks, in file folders, in homemade binders, in tied and untied bundles, and simply in loose pages. The manuscripts lay there like the burial mound of some interred human spirit, its conical top rearing higher than the interrogator's desk, almost blocking me from his view. And brotherly pity ached in me for the labor of that unknown person who had been arrested the previous night, these spoils from the search of his premises having been dumped that very morning on the parquet floor of the torture chamber... I sat there and I wondered: Whose extraordinary life had they brought in for torment, for dismemberment, and then for burning? Oh, how many idea and works had perished in that building - a whole lost culture? Oh, soot, soot, from the Lubyanka chimneys! And the most hurtful thing of all was that our descendants would consider our generation more stupid, less gifted, less vocal than in actual fact it was.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago, 1918 - 1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books I-II)
Arnold's notion of the intellectual as disinterested critic distinguished him from both Marx and Hegel. For Marx, the proper function of the intellectual was to be a partisan on behalf of the proletariat, criticizing bourgeois society for its fundamental, structural oppression. For Hegel, the role of the intellectual was to stand above particular group interests, and to bring to consciousness the ethical basis of modern, capitalist society, in the process creating standards by which to guide politics and culture. Arnold's conception of "aliens" has obvious affinities with this Hegelian image of the intellectual. But "disinterestedness" for Arnold had a rather different meaning. It implied the ability to free oneself from partisanship, to take a distanced enough view to be able to criticize the side of the issue to which one had been committed, as circumstances required. "Living by ideas" he wrote, means that "when one side of a question has long had your earnest support, when all your feelings are engaged, when you hear all around you no language but one, when your party talks this language like a steam-engine and can imagine no other--still to be able to think, still to be irresistibly carried, if so it be, by the current of thought to the opposite side of the question..." The role of the intellectual, then, was to embody and encourage that quality of mind that allowed individuals to get some distance from their social, political, and economic milieu; to reflect critically, and to be carried away by truth. (p. 227)
Jerry Z. Muller (The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought)
All analysis is thus a translation, a development into symbols, a representation taken from successive points of view from which are noted a corresponding number of contacts between the new object under consideration and others believed to be already known. In its eternally unsatisfied desire to embrace the object around which it is condemned to turn, analysis multiplies endlessly the points of view in order to complete the ever incomplete representation, varies interminably the symbols with the hope of perfecting the always imperfect translation. It is analysis ad infinitum. But intuition, if it is possible, is a simple act. This being granted, it would be easy to see that for positive science analysis is its habitual function. It works above all with symbols. Even the most concrete of the sciences of nature, the sciences of life, confine themselves to the visible form of living beings, their organs, their anatomical elements. They compare these forms with one another, reduce the more complex to the more simple, in fact they study the functioning of life in what is, so to speak, its visual symbol. If there exists a means of possessing a reality absolutely, instead of knowing it relatively, of placing oneself within it instead of adopting points of view toward it, of having the intuition of it instead of making the analysis of it, in short, of grasping it over and above all expression, translation or symbolical representation, metaphysics is that very means. Metaphysics is therefore the science which claims to dispense with symbols.
Henri Bergson (The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics)
A lot of the time, when we think about the past, there’s a slightly smug patronizing attitude that kicks in. We know so much more than our ancestors did. We make it a joke: can you believe that in Tang dynasty China they thought that ghosts of soldiers, if they weren’t buried, would live in some limbo forever, floating above the battlefield in their unburied bodies? There’s always the risk, or the reality, of that slight pulling back, for the modern reader, from connecting with or understanding the past. We always have this space between the foolishness, from our point of view, of what they thought of the world, and the correctness of our understanding of it. What the fantastic lets me do, along with the other things that we’ve discussed, is make the world be as my characters believe it to be. When I do that, when I make the reader understand it, the reader is there, the ghosts are there above that battlefield. They’re actually there. You read a book that takes that matter-of-factly. That’s one of the definitions of magic realism, by the way: the world is presented as the characters believe it to be, without any sense that the worldview is quaint. The strength of this, for me, is enormous, because it removes that smugness from the reader who’s willing to go there, to be immersed in it. You accept the way the world is, the way the characters do, because that’s what you’ve got. That’s one of the things the fantastic gives me. Or, I’ll put it differently. Anything that’s given to me is given to the reader. Any strength for the writer, from form, from craft, from technique, becomes a strength for the reader, because we’re in this together.
Guy Gavriel Kay
Consider a world in which cause and effect are erratic. Sometimes the first precedes the second, sometimes the second the first. Or perhaps cause lies forever in the past while effect in the future, but future and past are entwined. On the terrace of the Bundesterrasse is a striking view: the river Aare below and the Bernese Alps above. A man stands there just now, absently emptying his pockets and weeping. Without reason, his friends have abandoned him. No one calls any more, no one meets him for supper or beer at the tavern, no one invites him to their home. For twenty years he has been the ideal friend to his friends, generous, interested, soft-spoken, affectionate. What could have happened? A week from this moment on the terrace, the same man begins acting the goat, insulting everyone, wearing smelly clothes, stingy with money, allowing no one to come to his apartment on Laupenstrasse. Which was cause and which effect, which future and which past? In Zürich, strict laws have recently been approved by the Council. Pistols may not be sold to the public. Banks and trading houses must be audited. All visitors, whether entering Zürich by boat on the river Limmat or by rail on the Selnau line, must be searched for contraband. The civil military is doubled. One month after the crackdown, Zürich is ripped by the worst crimes in its history. In daylight, people are murdered in the Weinplatz, paintings are stolen from the Kunsthaus, liquor is drunk in the pews of the Münsterhof. Are these criminal acts not misplaced in time? Or perhaps the new laws were action rather than reaction? A young woman sits near a fountain in the Botanischer Garten. She comes here every Sunday to smell the white double violets, the musk rose, the matted pink gillyflowers. Suddenly, her heart soars, she blushes, she paces anxiously, she becomes happy for no reason. Days later, she meets a young man and is smitten with love. Are the two events not connected? But by what bizarre connection, by what twist in time, by what reversed logic? In this acausal world, scientists are helpless. Their predictions become postdictions. Their equations become justifications, their logic, illogic. Scientists turn reckless and mutter like gamblers who cannot stop betting. Scientists are buffoons, not because they are rational but because the cosmos is irrational. Or perhaps it is not because the cosmos is irrational but because they are rational. Who can say which, in an acausal world? In this world, artists are joyous. Unpredictability is the life of their paintings, their music, their novels. They delight in events not forecasted, happenings without explanation, retrospective. Most people have learned how to live in the moment. The argument goes that if the past has uncertain effect on the present, there is no need to dwell on the past. And if the present has little effect on the future, present actions need not be weighed for their consequence. Rather, each act is an island in time, to be judged on its own. Families comfort a dying uncle not because of a likely inheritance, but because he is loved at that moment. Employees are hired not because of their résumés, but because of their good sense in interviews. Clerks trampled by their bosses fight back at each insult, with no fear for their future. It is a world of impulse. It is a world of sincerity. It is a world in which every word spoken speaks just to that moment, every glance given has only one meaning, each touch has no past or no future, each kiss is a kiss of immediacy.
Alan Lightman (Einstein's Dreams)
As I see it, the War on Drugs—more than any other government program or political initiative—gave rise to mass incarceration as defined above. Although the political dynamics that gave birth to the system date back to slavery, the drug war marked an important turning point in American history, one that cannot be measured simply by counting heads in prisons and jails. The declaration and escalation of the War on Drugs marked a moment in our past when a group of people defined by race and class was viewed and treated as the “enemy.” A literal war was declared on a highly vulnerable population, leading to a wave of punitiveness that permeated every aspect of our criminal justice system and redefined the scope of fundamental constitutional rights. The war mentality resulted in the militarization of local police departments and billions invested in drug law enforcement at the state and local levels. It also contributed to astronomical expenditures for prison building for people convicted of all crimes and the slashing of billions from education, public housing and welfare programs, as well as a slew of legislation authorizing legal discrimination against millions of people accused of drug offenses, denying them access to housing, food stamps, credit, basic public benefits, and financial aid for schooling. This war did not merely increase the number of people in prisons and jails. It radically altered the life course of millions, especially black men who were the primary targets in the early decades of the war. Their lives and families were destroyed for drug crimes that were largely ignored on the other side of town. Those who define “mass incarceration” narrowly, to include only individuals currently locked in prisons or jails, erase from public view the overwhelming majority of
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
The child, who is most at home with wonder, says: Daddy, what is above the sky? And the father says: The darkness of space. The child: What is beyond space? The father: The galaxy. The child: Beyond the galaxy? The father: Another galaxy. The child: Beyond the other galaxies? The father: No one knows. “You see? Size defeats us. For the fish, the lake in which he lives is the universe. What does the fish think when he is jerked up by the mouth through the silver limits of existence and into a new universe where the air drowns him and the light is blue madness? Where huge bipeds with no gills stuff it into a suffocating box and cover it with wet weeds to die? “Or one might take the tip of a pencil and magnify it. One reaches the point where a stunning realization strikes home: The pencil-tip is not solid; it is composed of atoms which whirl and revolve like a trillion demon planets. What seems solid to us is actually only a loose net held together by gravity. Viewed at their actual size, the distances between these atoms might become leagues, gulfs, aeons. The atoms themselves are composed of nuclei and revolving protons and electrons. One may step down further to subatomic particles. And then to what? Tachyons? Nothing? Of course not. Everything in the universe denies nothing; to suggest an ending is the one absurdity. “If you fell outward to the limit of the universe, would you find a board fence and signs reading DEAD END? No. You might find something hard and rounded, as the chick must see the egg from the inside. And if you should peck through that shell (or find a door), what great and torrential light might shine through your opening at the end of space? Might you look through and discover our entire universe is but part of one atom on a blade of grass? Might you be forced to think that by burning a twig you incinerate an eternity of eternities? That existence rises not to one infinite but to an infinity of them?
Stephen King (The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1))
Our conduct of the ontological investigation in the first and second parts opens up for us at the same time a view of the way in which these phenomenological investigations proceed. This raises the question of the character of method in ontology. Thus we come to the third part of the course: the scientific method of ontology and the idea of phenomenology. The method of ontology, that is, of philosophy in general, is distinguished by the fact that ontology has nothing in common with any method of any of the other sciences, all of which as positive sciences deal with beings. On the other hand, it is precisely the analysis of the truth-character of Being which shows that Being also is, as it were, based in a being, namely, in the Dasein. Being is given only if the understanding of Being, hence the Dasein, exists. This being accordingly lays claim to a distinctive priority in ontological inquiry. It makes itself manifest in all discussions of the basic problems of ontology and above all in the fundamental question of the meaning of Being in general. The elaboration of this question and its answer requires a general analytic of the Dasein. Ontology has for its fundamental discipline the analytic of the Dasein. This implies at the same time that ontology cannot be established in a purely ontological manner. Its possibility is referred back to a being, that is, to something ontical―the Dasein. Ontology has an ontical foundation, a fact which is manifest over and over again in the history of philosophy down to the present. For example, it is expressed as early as Aristotle's dictum that the first science, the science of Being, is theology. As the work of the freedom of the human Dasein, the possibilities and destinies of philosophy are bound up with man's existence, and thus with temporality and with historicality, and indeed in a more original sense than is any other science. Consequently, in clarifying the scientific character of ontology, *the first task is the demonstration of its ontical foundation* and the characterisation of this foundation itself." ―from_The Basic Problems of Phenomenology_
Martin Heidegger
My mum once told me that the bravest sailors weren’t the ones who sailed through the storm, but the ones who remained in port whilst it raged out at sea. I never really understood what she meant by that, until now. For seventeen years I succeeded in standing back and watching that storm wreak havoc, never once venturing into the expanse of the ocean like a large proportion of kids on my estate had done. Unlike me, they were drawn into the glamour and the notoriety of joining a gang. Some did it for the promise of a family unit that they didn’t have at home. Some did it because they were too weak or too vulnerable to say no, while others did it because they were bored. And some, like Eastern, joined out of sheer desperation. I chose to stay away. It’s true, I might’ve been the delinquent kid that everyone saw when they looked at me. I might’ve gotten into trouble with the law, but I refused to set sail into a storm that wasn’t of my own making. I refused to join a gang. The way I saw it, whatever trouble I got into was on my terms and not for some self-proclaimed gang leader with a skewed view of the world and their own set of rules. I never wanted to be beholden to anyone but myself, and above all else, I always wanted more out of life than the hand I’ve been dealt. Maybe it was my mother’s fault for filling my head with far-fetched stories, but I wanted what was on the other side of the storm. I wanted what lay far, far beyond the horizon. Deep down I’d craved the life my mum used to tell me about in her stories. It gave me something to focus on, to dream about, even if it wasn’t real. Ironic then, that I’m now a part of the life I worked so hard to avoid, trying to protect the people I love from falling victim to it. And all because my love for a makeshift family meant I couldn’t stand back and watch the storm anymore. I must set sail right into the heart of it because I love Eastern, Tracy and Braydon enough to do something about their situation. They might not be my blood, but they are my family and I won’t abandon them in a time of need. Pity the same couldn’t be said for my own parents.
Bea Paige (Reject (Academy of Misfits, #2))
My intention, this time, was to transfer a play to the screen while keeping its theatrical character. It was in some senses a matter of walking, invisibly, around the stage and catching the different aspects and nuances in the play, the urgency and the facial expressions that escape a spectator who cannot follow them in detail from a seat in the stalls. Apart from that, I had noticed how effective a play becomes when you have a bird's-eye view from it, for example from the flies, that is to say from the viewpoint of a voyeur. The Audience is enclosed with the characters in a room lacking its fourth wall and listens to them on equal terms, without the element of my story conferred on scenes of intimacy by the whimsical shape of a keyhole.” “L'aigle à deux têtes is not History. It is a story, an invented story lived out by imaginary heroes, and I should never have dared venture into the realistic world of cinema without being able to rely on the help of Christian Bérard. He has a genius for situating whatever he touches, for giving it a depth in time and space and an appearance of truth that are literally inimitable.” (...) “A drama of this kind would be unacceptable, and almost impossible to tell, unless it was interpreted by superb actors who could instill grandeur and life into it. Edwige Feuillère and Jean Marais, applauded evening after evening in their parts in the play, surpass themselves on the screen and give of themselves, as I suggested above, everything that they cannot give us on the stage.” “George Auric's music and the Strauss waltzes at the krantz ball make up the liquid in this drama of love and death is immersed.” (...) “In L'aigle à deux têtes, I wanted to make a theatrical film.” (...) “I know the faults of the film, but unfortunately the expense of the medium and the constraints of time that it imposes on us, prevent us from correcting our faults, Cinematography costs too much.” (...) “In Les parents terribles (1948), what I determined to do was the opposite of what I did in L'aigle à deux têtes; to de-theatricalize a play, to film it in chronological order and to catch the characters by surprise from the indiscreet angle of the camera. In short, I wanted to watch a family through the keyhole instead of observing its life from a seat in the stalls.
Jean Cocteau (The Art of Cinema)
The cheerful trumpet strains of Purcell’s “Prince of Denmark March” sang out as Prince Charles, flanked by Princes Andrew and Edward, strode confidently up the aisle, smiling and nodding to his friends in the congregation. He seemed very much at ease as he took his place to await his bride. Then . . . we heard the trumpet fanfare that heralded Diana’s entrance. We could not see her arrival from our seats to the side. Very clearly, though, we could hear the murmurs and gasps of approval inside the church along with the cheers and applause outside, as the entire world first glimpsed the bride in her fairy-tale dress. Diana looked an absolute vision in her cloud of tulle, taffeta, and lace, with the Spencer diamond tiara sparkling above her veil. Lovely, innocent, and demure, she more than met her subjects’ expectations that glorious morning. Holding her father’s arm, Diana progressed slowly and beautifully up the aisle to the rustle of silk and the scrutiny of the congregation. I recognized the processional march as Jeremiah Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary” from my own wedding. She appeared outwardly composed, almost deadly calm, with an endearing tentative quality to her smile. I felt certain she was trembling inside. I was quaking in sympathy for her. It may have been simply the effect of the artificial light, but I thought Diana looked rather pale and tense under her veil. Even Pat noticed. He turned to me and whispered, “She looks as nervous as you did, almost green around the gills.” I definitely agreed. Diana had looked happier, healthier, fresher the previous year and the night of the ball. The strain of recent events was telling on her. We supposed it to be the excessive prewedding stress—simply too much pressure at one time for so young a bride. I know mine is a minority view, but I would have preferred a simpler wedding gown on Diana. I thought the ruffles, poufs and bows drew too much attention to the dress and not enough to the naturally lovely, graceful bride. Still, the overall effect of the intricate design and sumptuous fabric on Diana was marvelous. Pat and I listened attentively to the ceremony and wiped at our tears when Prince Charles and Diana exchanged the traditional vows. We both sniffle at weddings, probably because we remember our own and we’re still so happy with each other.
Mary Robertson (The Diana I Knew: Loving Memories of the Friendship Between an American Mother and Her Son's Nanny Who Became the Princess of Wales)
If Marx had no time for the state, it was partly because he viewed it as a kind of alienated power. It was as though this august entity had confiscated the abilities of men and women to determine their own existence, and was now doing so on their behalf. It also had the impudence to call this process ‘‘democracy.’’ Marx himself began his career as a radical democrat and ended up as a revolutionary one, as he came to realize just how much transformation genuine democracy would entail; and it is as a democrat that he challenges the state’s sublime authority. He is too wholehearted a believer in popular sovereignty to rest content with the pale shadow of it known as parliamentary democracy. He is not in principle opposed to parliaments, any more than was Lenin. But he saw democracy as too precious to be entrusted to parliaments alone. It had to be local, popular and spread across all the institutions of civil society. It had to extend to economic as well as political life. It had to mean actual self-government, not government entrusted to a political elite. The state Marx approved of was the rule of citizens over themselves, not of a minority over a majority. The state, Marx considered, had come adrift from civil society. There was a blatant contradiction between the two. We were, for example, abstractly equal as citizens within the state, but dramatically unequal in everyday social existence. That social existence was riven with conflicts, but the state projected an image of it as seamlessly whole. The state saw itself as shaping society from above, but was in fact a product of it. Society did not stem from the state; instead, the state was a parasite on society. The whole setup was topsy-turvy. As one commentator puts it, ‘‘Democracy and capitalism have been turned upside down’’—meaning that instead of political institutions regulating capitalism, capitalism regulated them. The speaker is Robert Reich, a former U.S. labour secretary, who is not generally suspected of being a Marxist. Marx’s aim was to close this gap between state and society, politics and everyday life, by dissolving the former into the latter. And this is what he called democracy. Men and women had to reclaim in their daily lives the powers that the state had appropriated from them. Socialism is the completion of democracy, not the negation of it. It is hard to see why so many defenders of democracy should find this vision objectionable.
Terry Eagleton (Why Marx Was Right)
Areli kicked her dragon upwards and followed Aquilina and Fides through the lanterns and rock, out into clean mountain air. Aquilina had picked only the two, whom she said were hands down the greatest riders on the team, to ride with her. Areli didn’t know how to respond to that, except to turn red and cover her mouth with surprise. And now she was flying, not in an arena, but in free air, a privilege given to only the best professional riders. They flew over the city. The buildings looked like small blocks and the carriages looked like gold-colored ants roaming about. The sweep of the cool air was refreshing against Areli’s face. They flew over the trees leading to Emperor Abhiraja’s forest, which looked like nothing but a tossed salad from their view. And then they were over Emperor Abhiraja’s trees. Back at the boarding facility, before they left, Aquilina told them there was only one rule if they were to ride with her . . . keep up. Aquilina veered down towards the trees. Fides took after her and Areli followed. Areli sat hard into her seat and pulled the reins to her right. She leaned her leg into Kaia’s left shoulder and held on tight to the saddle horn. Kaia leaned her body and they knifed through the air. Areli shifted her legs and hands, chasing after Fides and Aquilina. They slipped through a tiny gap in the tops of the massive trees. Areli saw the red of Fidelja’s dragon ahead of her, and then it disappeared. She saw shades of brown and green coming up fast. Areli pulled on the reins, keeping her hands light, and sunk into the seat, leveling off their descent into the forest. She immediately started kicking Kaia forward as she saw Fides dragon’s tail wrap past a tree. Areli commanded Kaia in a way she never had before. Using every skill she ever learned, she cued Kaia right, then left, then into a roll to get through two narrowly placed trees, and then up, always following the blur of red in front of her. They came out above the trees again and then they swooped back down. This time it was into the Columns of Abhi. They curved around the large rock structures like a knife full of butter caressing a freshly baked roll. Areli didn’t think she could feel this exhilarated. But there was something utterly breathtaking about flying without walls, without spectators or trainers. This was true freedom, according to Areli. Freedom from homework, freedom from fears, freedom from worries. This was the place where she could be . . . just to be.
Jeffrey Johnson (The Column Racer (Column Racer, #1))
It has to be said: there are too many great men in the world. There are too many legislators, organizers, founders of society, leaders of peoples, fathers of nations, etc., etc. Too many people put themselves above humanity in order to rule it and too many people think their job is to become involved with it. People will say to me: you yourself are becoming involved, you who talk about it. That is true. But they will agree that it is for a very different reason and from a very different point of view, and while I am taking on those who wish to reform, it is solely to make them abandon their effort. I am becoming involved with it not like Vaucanson with his automaton but like a physiologist with the human organism, in order to examine it and admire it. I am becoming involved with it in the same spirit as that of a famous traveler. He arrived among a savage tribe. A child had just been born and a host of fortune-tellers, warlocks, and quacks were crowding around it, armed with rings, hooks, and ties. One said, “This child will never smell the aroma of a pipe if I do not lengthen his nostrils.” Another said, “He will be deprived of the sense of hearing if I do not make his ears reach down to his shoulders.” A third said, “He will never see the light of the sun unless I make his eyes slant obliquely.” A fourth said, “He will never stand upright if I do not make his legs curve.” A fifth said, “He will never be able to think if I do not squeeze his brain.” “Away with you,” said the traveler. “God does His work well. Do not claim to know more than He does and, since He has given organs to this frail creature, leave those organs to develop and grow strong through exercise, experimentation, experience, and freedom.” [print edition page 146] God has also provided humanity with all that is necessary for it to accomplish its destiny. There is a providential social physiology just as there is a providential human physiology. The social organs are also constituted so as to develop harmoniously in the fresh air of freedom. Away with you, therefore, you quacks and organizers! Away with your rings, chains, hooks, and pincers! Away with your artificial means! Away with your social workshop, your phalanstery, your governmentalism, your centralization, your tariffs, your universities, your state religion, your free credit or monopolistic banks, your constraints, your restrictions, your moralizing, or your equalizing through taxes! And since the social body has had inflicted on it so many theoretical systems to no avail, let us finish where we should have started; let us reject these and at last put freedom to the test, freedom, which is an act of faith in God and in His work.
Frédéric Bastiat (The Law, The State, and Other Political Writings, 1843–1850)
The top surface of the computer is smooth except for a fisheye lens, a polished glass dome with a purplish optical coating. Whenever Hiro is using the machine, this lens emerges and clicks into place, its base flush with the surface of the computer. The neighborhood loglo is curved and foreshortened on its surface. Hiro finds it erotic. This is partly because he hasn't been properly laid in several weeks. But there's more to it. Hiro's father, who was stationed in Japan for many years, was obsessed with cameras. He kept bringing them back from his stints in the Far East, encased in many protective layers, so that when he took them out to show Hiro, it was like watching an exquisite striptease as they emerged from all that black leather and nylon, zippers and straps. And once the lens was finally exposed, pure geometric equation made real, so powerful and vulnerable at once, Hiro could only think it was like nuzzling through skirts and lingerie and outer labia and inner labia. . . . It made him feel naked and weak and brave. The lens can see half of the universe -- the half that is above the computer, which includes most of Hiro. In this way, it can generally keep track of where Hiro is and what direction he's looking in. Down inside the computer are three lasers -- a red one, a green one, and a blue one. They are powerful enough to make a bright light but not powerful enough to burn through the back of your eyeball and broil your brain, fry your frontals, lase your lobes. As everyone learned in elementary school, these three colors of light can be combined, with different intensities, to produce any color that Hiro's eye is capable of seeing. In this way, a narrow beam of any color can be shot out of the innards of the computer, up through that fisheye lens, in any direction. Through the use of electronic mirrors inside the computer, this beam is made to sweep back and forth across the lenses of Hiro's goggles, in much the same way as the electron beam in a television paints the inner surface of the eponymous Tube. The resulting image hangs in space in front of Hiro's view of Reality. By drawing a slightly different image in front of each eye, the image can be made three-dimensional. By changing the image seventy-two times a second, it can be made to move. By drawing the moving three-dimensional image at a resolution of 2K pixels on a side, it can be as sharp as the eye can perceive, and by pumping stereo digital sound through the little earphones, the moving 3-D pictures can have a perfectly realistic soundtrack. So Hiro's not actually here at all. He's in a computer-generated universe that his computer is drawing onto his goggles and pumping into his earphones. In the lingo, this imaginary place is known as the Metaverse. Hiro spends a lot of time in the Metaverse. It beats the shit out of the U-Stor-It.
Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
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The forestland thickened at one point, and without warning it opened onto a road. Fading back behind a screen of ferns, I watched the traffic. It appeared I’d reached a major crossroads. A stone marker at the intersection indicated the Akaeriki road downhill, and to the north lay the town of Thoresk. A town. Surely one anonymous female could lose herself in a town? And while she was at it, find some shelter? Big raindrops started plopping in the leaves around me. The coming storm wouldn’t be warded by tree branches and leaves, that was for certain. Clutching my half-empty basket to my side, I started up the road, careful not to limp if anyone came into view from the opposite direction. I saw a line of slow wagons up ahead, with a group of small children gamboling around them. I hurried my pace slightly so I would look like I belonged with them; I had nearly caught up when a deep thundering noise seemed to vibrate up from the ground. “Cavalcade! Cavalcade!” a high childish voice shrieked. The farmers clucked at their oxen and the wagons hulked and swung, metal frames creaking, over to one side. The children ran up the grassy bank beside the road, hopping and shrieking with excitement. Feeling my knees go suddenly watery, I scrambled up the bank as well, then sat in the grass with my basket on my lap. I checked my kerchief surreptitiously and snatched my hand down as two banner-carrying outriders galloped into view around the bend I’d walked so shortly before. Behind them a single rider cantered on a nervous white horse. The rider was short but strongly built. A gray beard, finicky mustache, and long hair marked him as a noble; his mouth and eyes were narrowed, whether in habit or in anger I didn’t know--but my instinctive reaction to him was fear. He wore the plumed helm of a commander, and his battle tunic was brown velvet. He had passed by before I realized that I had very nearly come face-to-face with Baron Nenthar Debegri, Galdran Merindar’s former--and now present--commander. Then behind him came row on row of soldiers, all formidably armed, riding three abreast. Dust and mud flew from the horses’ hooves, and the noise was enough to set the oxen bellowing in distress and pulling at their traces. Seven, eight, nine ridings--a full wing. A full wing of warriors, all to search for me? I didn’t know whether to laugh or to faint in terror. So I just sat there numbly and watched them all ride by--a very strange kind of review. As the end of the cavalcade at last drew nigh, the children were already skidding down the bank. My eyes, caught by a change in color, lifted. Instead of rows of brown-and-green battle gear, the last portion were in blue with black and white, their device three stars above a coronet. As my astonished mind registered that this was the Renselaeus device, my gaze was drawn to the single rider leading their formation. A single rider on a dapple-gray. Tall in the saddle, long blond hair flying in the wind, hat so low it shadowed the upper portion of his face, the Marquis of Shevraeth rode by. And as he drew abreast, his head lifted slightly, turned, and he stared straight into my eyes.
Sherwood Smith (Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1))
The masses of dense foliage all round became prison walls, impassable circular green ice-walls, surging towards her; just before they closed in, I caught the terrified glint of her eyes. On a winter day she was in the studio, posing for him in the nude, her arms raised in a graceful position. To hold it for any length of time must have been a strain, I wondered how she managed to keep so still; until I saw the cords attached to her wrists and ankles. Instead of the darkness, she faced a stupendous sky-conflagration, an incredible glacial dream-scene. Cold coruscations of rainbow fire pulsed overhead, shot through by shafts of pure incandescence thrown out by mountains of solid ice towering all round. Closer, the trees round the house, sheathed in ice, dripped and sparkled with weird prismatic jewels, reflecting the vivid changing cascades above. Instead of the familiar night sky, the aurora borealis formed a blazing, vibrating roof of intense cold and colour, beneath which the earth was trapped with all its inhabitants, walled in by those impassable glittering ice-cliffs. The world had become an arctic prison from which no escape was possible, all its creatures trapped as securely as were the trees, already lifeless inside their deadly resplendent armour. Frozen by the deathly cold emanating from the ice, dazzled by the blaze of crystalline ice-light, she felt herself becoming part of the polar vision, her structure becoming one with the structure of ice and snow. As her fate, she accepted the world of ice, shining, shimmering, dead; she resigned herself to the triumph of glaciers and the death of her world. Fear was the climate she lived in; if she had ever known kindness it would have been different. The trees seemed to obstruct her with deliberate malice. All her life she had thought of herself as a foredoomed victim, and now the forest had become the malign force that would destroy her. In desperation she tried to run, but a hidden root tripped her, she almost fell. Branches caught in her hair, tugged her back, lashed out viciously when they were disentangled. The silver hairs torn from her head glittered among black needles; they were the clues her pursuers would follow, leading them to their victim. She escaped from the forest at length only to see the fjord waiting for her. An evil effluence rose from the water, something primitive, savage, demanding victims, hungry for a human victim. It had been night overhead all along, but below it was still daylight. There were no clouds. I saw islands scattered over the sea, a normal aerial view. Then something extraordinary, out of this world: a wall of rainbow ice jutting up from the sea, cutting right across, pushing a ridge of water ahead of it as it moved, as if the flat pale surface of sea was a carpet being rolled up. It was a sinister, fascinating sight, which did not seem intended for human eyes. I stared down at it, seeing other things at the same time. The ice world spreading over our world. Mountainous walls of ice surrounding the girl. Her moonwhite skin, her hair sparkling with diamond prisms under the moon. The moon’s dead eye watching the death of our world.
Anna Kavan (Ice)
Robert.” It was a sigh and a call at the same time. She ignored the lump in her throat and called again. In an instant, her view was obscured. “Lydia!” They were eye-to-eye, and neither said anything for a moment or two. Finally, after an audible gulp, Robert spoke in a whisper. “Are you all right?” “I’ve had better days,” she said in seriousness, and then realized the absurdity of her words and chuckled. “I’m covered in dirt, cuts, and bruises and sporting a lovely goose egg above my ear. One of my favorite gowns is nothing but a ruin, but other than that, I am fine. And now that you are here, I am better.” “Thank the Lord. I cannot tell you how relieved I am to hear you say so. I have been imagining all sorts … well, let’s talk about this later.” “Yes, when we don’t have to whisper through a wall.” “Indeed.” “So what is the plan?” “Hmm … well, plans are a little lacking at this moment. I had expected to rush in and simply grab you, but there are three guards by the door. I procured a thick stick, but three to one … well, not good odds. My second idea was to loosen some of these boards and pull you out. I have also acquired a horse. So once out, we can sneak or run, whichever is the most prudent.” “Yes, but the getting-out part seems to be the problem. For, if I am not mistaken, none of the boards on this side of the barn are loose, and the other sides are too close to the villains.” “There does seem to be a decided lack of cooperation on the part of the building. I have, however, noticed something that might offer another possibility. It would require a great deal of trust on your part.” “Oh?” Lydia was almost certain she was not going to like this new possibility. “Yes. There is a hay door above me. Is there a loft inside?” “Are you thinking that I should climb a rickety ladder to the loft and then try to escape through the hay door?” “Just a thought.” “How would I get down?” “That would be the trust part.” “Ahh. I would jump, and you would catch me.” Lydia visualized her descent, skirts every which way, and a very hard landing that might produce a broken body part. “Yes. Not a brilliant plan. Do you have another?” Robert sounded hopeful. “Not really. But might I suggest a variation to yours?” “By all means.” “I will return to my cell and get the rope that the thugs used to tie me up.” “They tied you up?” “Yes. But don’t let it bother you.…” “No?” “No. Because if they hadn’t, then I wouldn’t have a rope to lower myself from the hay door. I can use the one they used on my feet; it’s thick and long.” “I like that so much better than watching you fling yourself from a high perch.” “Me too. It might take a few minutes as I must return to my original cell—I escaped, you know.” “I didn’t. That is quite impressive.” “Thank you. Anyway, I must return to my cell for the rope, climb the ladder, cross the loft to the door … et cetera, et cetera. All in silence, of course.” “Of course.” “It might take as much as twenty minutes.” “I promise to wait. Won’t wander off … pick flowers or party with the thugs.” “Good to know.” “Just warn me before you jump.” “Oh, yes. I will most certainly let you know.” With a deep sigh, Lydia headed back to her cell, slowly and quietly.
Cindy Anstey (Duels & Deception)
Bannon thrived on the chaos he created and did everything he could to make it spread. When he finally made his way through the crowd to the back of the town house, he put on a headset to join the broadcast of the Breitbart radio show already in progress. It was his way of bringing tens of thousands of listeners into the inner sanctum of the “Breitbart Embassy,” as the town house was ironically known, and thereby conscripting them into a larger project. Bannon was inordinately proud of the movement he saw growing around him, boasting constantly of its egalitarian nature. What to an outsider could look like a cast of extras from the Island of Misfit Toys was, in Bannon’s eyes, a proudly populist and “unclubbable” plebiscite rising up in defiant protest against the “globalists” and “gatekeepers” who had taken control of both parties. Just how Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty figured into a plan to overthrow the global power structure wasn’t clear, even to many of Bannon’s friends. But, then, Bannon derived a visceral thrill anytime he could deliver a fuck-you to the establishment. The thousands of frustrated listeners calling in to his radio show, and the millions more who flocked to Breitbart News, had left him no doubt that an army of the angry and dispossessed was eager to join him in lobbing a bomb at the country’s leaders. As guests left the party, a doorman handed out a gift that Bannon had chosen for the occasion: a silver hip flask with “Breitbart” imprinted above an image of a honey badger, the Breitbart mascot. — Bannon’s cult-leader magnetism was a powerful draw for oddballs and freaks, and the attraction ran both ways. As he moved further from the cosmopolitan orbits of Goldman Sachs and Hollywood, there was no longer any need for him to suppress his right-wing impulses. Giving full vent to his views on subjects like immigration and Islam isolated him among a radical fringe that most of political Washington regarded as teeming with racist conspiracy theorists. But far from being bothered, Bannon welcomed their disdain, taking it as proof of his authentic conviction. It fed his grandiose sense of purpose to imagine that he was amassing an army of ragged, pitchfork-wielding outsiders to storm the barricades and, in Andrew Breitbart’s favorite formulation, “take back the country.” If Bannon was bothered by the incendiary views held by some of those lining up with him, he didn’t show it. His habit always was to welcome all comers. To all outward appearances, Bannon, wild-eyed and scruffy, a Falstaff in flip-flops, was someone whom the political world could safely ignore. But his appearance, and the company he kept, masked an analytic capability that was undiminished and as applicable to politics as it had been to the finances of corrupt Hollywood movie studios. Somehow, Bannon, who would happily fall into league with the most agitated conservative zealot, was able to see clearly that conservatives had failed to stop Bill Clinton in the 1990s because they had indulged this very zealotry to a point where their credibility with the media and mainstream voters was shot. Trapped in their own bubble, speaking only to one another, they had believed that they were winning, when in reality they had already lost.
Joshua Green (Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency)
Ione I. AH, yes, 't is sweet still to remember, Though 't were less painful to forget; For while my heart glows like an ember, Mine eyes with sorrow's drops are wet, And, oh, my heart is aching yet. It is a law of mortal pain That old wounds, long accounted well, Beneath the memory's potent spell, Will wake to life and bleed again. So 't is with me; it might be better If I should turn no look behind, — If I could curb my heart, and fetter From reminiscent gaze my mind, Or let my soul go blind — go blind! But would I do it if I could? Nay! ease at such a price were spurned; For, since my love was once returned, All that I suffer seemeth good. I know, I know it is the fashion, When love has left some heart distressed, To weight the air with wordful passion; But I am glad that in my breast I ever held so dear a guest. Love does not come at every nod, Or every voice that calleth 'hasten;' He seeketh out some heart to chasten, And whips it, wailing, up to God! Love is no random road wayfarer Who Where he may must sip his glass. Love is the King, the Purple-Wearer, Whose guard recks not of tree or grass To blaze the way that he may pass. What if my heart be in the blast That heralds his triumphant way; Shall I repine, shall I not say: 'Rejoice, my heart, the King has passed!' In life, each heart holds some sad story — The saddest ones are never told. I, too, have dreamed of fame and glory, And viewed the future bright with gold; But that is as a tale long told. Mine eyes have lost their youthful flash, My cunning hand has lost its art; I am not old, but in my heart The ember lies beneath the ash. I loved! Why not? My heart was youthful, My mind was filled with healthy thought. He doubts not whose own self is truthful, Doubt by dishonesty is taught; So loved! boldly, fearing naught. I did not walk this lowly earth; Mine was a newer, higher sphere, Where youth was long and life was dear, And all save love was little worth. Her likeness! Would that I might limn it, As Love did, with enduring art; Nor dust of days nor death may dim it, Where it lies graven on my heart, Of this sad fabric of my life a part. I would that I might paint her now As I beheld her in that day, Ere her first bloom had passed away, And left the lines upon her brow. A face serene that, beaming brightly, Disarmed the hot sun's glances bold. A foot that kissed the ground so lightly, He frowned in wrath and deemed her cold, But loved her still though he was old. A form where every maiden grace Bloomed to perfection's richest flower, — The statued pose of conscious power, Like lithe-limbed Dian's of the chase. Beneath a brow too fair for frowning, Like moon-lit deeps that glass the skies Till all the hosts above seem drowning, Looked forth her steadfast hazel eyes, With gaze serene and purely wise. And over all, her tresses rare, Which, when, with his desire grown weak, The Night bent down to kiss her cheek, Entrapped and held him captive there. This was Ione; a spirit finer Ne'er burned to ash its house of clay; A soul instinct with fire diviner Ne'er fled athwart the face of day, And tempted Time with earthly stay. Her loveliness was not alone Of face and form and tresses' hue; For aye a pure, high soul shone through Her every act: this was Ione.
Paul Laurence Dunbar
An upbeat song played over the loudspeaker, and everyone's attention focused on the Jumbotron above the basketball court. "It's time for the Bulls' Kiss Cam. So, pucker up for your sweetie and kiss them." The camera found an older couple in their fifties. The man pulled his wife, I assumed, in for a quick peck on the lips. "Aww. That is so sweet," Trina said. She proceeded to yank poor Owen to his seat in case the spotlight landed on them. She'd do just about anything to get on television, even if it meant not kissing Owen tonight to do so. "That is so staged," I said and sneaked a quick peek at my phone, seeing if he messaged me back. He didn’t. "Really?" she countered and slapped my arm. Once I glanced her way, she pointed towards the large screen looming above. On the screen was Sebastian and me as the camera had just so happened to find us. It stayed there zooming closer. And closer. And closer. "Come on," the announcer called out, prodding us. "Just one kiss won't hurt." He had no idea what he was asking. A kiss would initiate feelings I couldn't avoid any longer. I momentarily forgot how to breathe as the song, “Kiss the Girl” from the Little Mermaid hummed at my lips. Not the best choice, but still. Everything became much worse once my giant moved into view, smiling my favorite smile. Sebastian inched closer; eyebrow cocked to dare me."No pressure or anything." I was quiet for a moment before whispering, "Game on, buddy." My eyes closed a few heartbeats shy of Sebastian's lips meeting mine. His hands rose, cupping my cheeks to keep me from pulling away. Like that was going to happen. Sebastian’s mouth moved against mine, and I conceded, kissing him in return. He tasted sweet and minty, like the home I’d been missing. The kiss turned from soft and tame to fierce and wantingas if neither of us could get enough. And already, I considered myself a goner. Everything became a haze. My heart thumped so wildly against my chest, I swore Sebastian could hear. The crowd surrounding us was whistling and cheering us on, and it only kept gaining momentum as the moments passed. The noise quickly faded until it was as if we were the only two people in the room. We could have been the only two people on earth. "Okay, guys." Trina tapped my shoulder, garnering my attention. "Camera has moved on now." That was our cue to separate, and I slowly drew away from Sebastian. He, in turn, slipped his hand to the back of my neck, holding me here. "Don't," he sighed against my lips. I didn't budge another inch. I didn't want to. Sebastian rewarded me by deepening the kiss. Dear God. There were sparks. My stomach flipped. My toes curled. My body warmed. Every single inch of me only wanted one thing and one thing only. If this continued for too much longer, it was easy to guess my new favorite hobby: Kissing Sebastian Freaking Birch. Needing some air, I pressed my palm flat against his chest. This time he released me as we both were breathless. Sebastian's eyes carefully studied me. He kept staring as if he could read my heart, my mind. And for those brief few seconds, I honestly didn't believe there were any secrets between us. His gaze shifted as he gauged what to do next, and I had no freaking idea where we went from here. We'd done it now. We crossed that line, and there was no way of ever going back.
Patty Carothers and Amy Brewer (Texting Prince Charming)
This brings me to an objection to integrated information theory by the quantum physicist Scott Aaronson. His argument has given rise to an instructive online debate that accentuates the counterintuitive nature of some IIT's predictions. Aaronson estimates phi.max for networks called expander graphs, characterized by being both sparsely yet widely connected. Their integrated information will grow indefinitely as the number of elements in these reticulated lattices increases. This is true even of a regular grid of XOR logic gates. IIT predicts that such a structure will have high phi.max. This implies that two-dimensional arrays of logic gates, easy enough to build using silicon circuit technology, have intrinsic causal powers and will feel like something. This is baffling and defies commonsense intuition. Aaronson therefor concludes that any theory with such a bizarre conclusion must be wrong. Tononi counters with a three-pronged argument that doubles down and strengthens the theory's claim. Consider a blank featureless wall. From the extrinsic perspective, it is easily described as empty. Yet the intrinsic point of view of an observer perceiving the wall seethes with an immense number of relations. It has many, many locations and neighbourhood regions surrounding these. These are positioned relative to other points and regions - to the left or right, above or below. Some regions are nearby, while others are far away. There are triangular interactions, and so on. All such relations are immediately present: they do not have to be inferred. Collectively, they constitute an opulent experience, whether it is seen space, heard space, or felt space. All share s similar phenomenology. The extrinsic poverty of empty space hides vast intrinsic wealth. This abundance must be supported by a physical mechanism that determines this phenomenology through its intrinsic causal powers. Enter the grid, such a network of million integrate-or-fire or logic units arrayed on a 1,000 by 1,000 lattice, somewhat comparable to the output of an eye. Each grid elements specifies which of its neighbours were likely ON in the immediate past and which ones will be ON in the immediate future. Collectively, that's one million first-order distinctions. But this is just the beginning, as any two nearby elements sharing inputs and outputs can specify a second-order distinction if their joint cause-effect repertoire cannot be reduced to that of the individual elements. In essence, such a second-order distinction links the probability of past and future states of the element's neighbours. By contrast, no second-order distinction is specified by elements without shared inputs and outputs, since their joint cause-effect repertoire is reducible to that of the individual elements. Potentially, there are a million times a million second-order distinctions. Similarly, subsets of three elements, as long as they share input and output, will specify third-order distinctions linking more of their neighbours together. And on and on. This quickly balloons to staggering numbers of irreducibly higher-order distinctions. The maximally irreducible cause-effect structure associated with such a grid is not so much representing space (for to whom is space presented again, for that is the meaning of re-presentation?) as creating experienced space from an intrinsic perspective.
Christof Koch (The Feeling of Life Itself: Why Consciousness Is Widespread But Can't Be Computed)
As in everything, nature is the best instructor, even as regards selection. One couldn't imagine a better activity on nature's part than that which consists in deciding the supremacy of one creature over another by means of a constant struggle. While we're on the subject, it's somewhat interesting to observe that our upper classes, who've never bothered about the hundreds of thousands of German emigrants or their poverty, give way to a feeling of compassion regarding the fate of the Jews whom we claim the right to expel. Our compatriots forget too easily that the Jews have accomplices all over the world, and that no beings have greater powers of resistance as regards adaptation to climate. Jews can prosper anywhere, even in Lapland and Siberia. All that love and sympathy, since our ruling class is capable of such sentiments, would by rights be applied exclusively—if that class were not corrupt—to the members of our national community. Here Christianity sets the example. What could be more fanatical, more exclusive and more intolerant than this religion which bases everything on the love of the one and only God whom it reveals? The affection that the German ruling class should devote to the good fellow-citizen who faithfully and courageously does his duty to the benefit of the community, why is it not just as fanatical, just as exclusive and just as intolerant? My attachment and sympathy belong in the first place to the front-line German soldier, who has had to overcome the rigours of the past winter. If there is a question of choosing men to rule us, it must not be forgotten that war is also a manifestation of life, that it is even life's most potent and most characteristic expression. Consequently, I consider that the only men suited to become rulers are those who have valiantly proved themselves in a war. In my eyes, firmness of character is more precious than any other quality. A well toughened character can be the characteristic of a man who, in other respects, is quite ignorant. In my view, the men who should be set at the head of an army are the toughest, bravest, boldest, and, above all, the most stubborn and hardest to wear down. The same men are also the best chosen for posts at the head of the State—otherwise the pen ends by rotting away what the sword has conquered. I shall go so far as to say that, in his own sphere, the statesman must be even more courageous than the soldier who leaps from his trench to face the enemy. There are cases, in fact, in which the courageous decision of a single statesman can save the lives of a great number of soldiers. That's why pessimism is a plague amongst statesmen. One should be able to weed out all the pessimists, so that at the decisive moment these men's knowledge may not inhibit their capacity for action. This last winter was a case in point. It supplied a test for the type of man who has extensive knowledge, for all the bookworms who become preoccupied by a situation's analogies, and are sensitive to the generally disastrous epilogue of the examples they invoke. Agreed, those who were capable of resisting the trend needed a hefty dose of optimism. One conclusion is inescapable: in times of crisis, the bookworms are too easily inclined to switch from the positive to the negative. They're waverers who find in public opinion additional encouragement for their wavering. By contrast, the courageous and energetic optimist—even although he has no wide knowledge— will always end, guided by his subconscious or by mere commonsense, in finding a way out.
Adolf Hitler (Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944)
The question is also debated, whether a man should love himself most, or some one else. People criticize those who love themselves most, and call them self-lovers, using this as an epithet of disgrace, and a bad man seems to do everything for his own sake, and the more so the more wicked he is — and so men reproach him, for instance, with doing nothing of his own accord — while the good man acts for honour's sake, and the more so the better he is, and acts for his friend's sake, and sacrifices his own interest. Perhaps we ought to mark off such arguments from each other and determine how far and in what respects each view is right. Now if we grasp the sense in which each school uses the phrase 'lover of self', the truth may become evident. Those who use the term as one of reproach ascribe self-love to people who assign to themselves the greater share of wealth, honours, and bodily pleasures; for these are what most people desire, and busy themselves about as though they were the best of all things, which is the reason, too, why they become objects of competition. So those who are grasping with regard to these things gratify their appetites and in general their feelings and the irrational element of the soul; and most men are of this nature (which is the reason why the epithet has come to be used as it is — it takes its meaning from the prevailing type of self-love, which is a bad one); it is just, therefore, that men who are lovers of self in this way are reproached for being so. That it is those who give themselves the preference in regard to objects of this sort that most people usually call lovers of self is plain; for if a man were always anxious that he himself, above all things, should act justly, temperately, or in accordance with any other of the virtues, and in general were always to try to secure for himself the honourable course, no one will call such a man a lover of self or blame him. Therefore the good man should be a lover of self (for he will both himself profit by doing noble acts, and will benefit his fellows), but the wicked man should not; for he will hurt both himself and his neighbours, following as he does evil passions. For the wicked man, what he does clashes with what he ought to do, but what the good man ought to do he does; for reason in each of its possessors chooses what is best for itself, and the good man obeys his reason. It is true of the good man too that he does many acts for the sake of his friends and his country, and if necessary dies for them; for he will throw away both wealth and honours and in general the goods that are objects of competition, gaining for himself nobility; since he would prefer a short period of intense pleasure to a long one of mild enjoyment, a twelvemonth of noble life to many years of humdrum existence, and one great and noble action to many trivial ones. Now those who die for others doubtless attain this result; it is therefore a great prize that they choose for themselves. They will throw away wealth too on condition that their friends will gain more; for while a man's friend gains wealth he himself achieves nobility; he is therefore assigning the greater good to himself. The same too is true of honour and office; all these things he will sacrifice to his friend; for this is noble and laudable for himself. Rightly then is he thought to be good, since he chooses nobility before all else. But he may even give up actions to his friend; it may be nobler to become the cause of his friend's acting than to act himself. In all the actions, therefore, that men are praised for, the good man is seen to assign to himself the greater share in what is noble. In this sense, then, as has been said, a man should be a lover of self; but in the sense in which most men are so, he ought not.
Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics)
He contained two equal sorts of knowledge: the warm lazy knowledge that above on the mountain a blond girl in a white dress waited for him, shy and eager; and the cooler knowledge that this was unlikely and the good of climbing was the exercise and view from the top. There was no conflict between these knowledges, his mind passed easily from one to the other, but when he stood up to begin the last of the climb the thought of the girl was stronger.
Alasdair Gray (Lanark)
We climbed this hill. Each step up we could see farther, so of course we kept going. Now we’re at the top. Science has been at the top for a few centuries now. And we look out across the plain and we see this other tribe dancing around above the clouds, even higher than we are. Maybe it’s a mirage, maybe it’s a trick. Or maybe they just climbed a higher peak we can’t see because the clouds are blocking the view. So we head off to find out—but every step takes us downhill. No matter what direction we head, we can’t move off our peak without losing our vantage point. So we climb back up again. We’re trapped on a local maximum. But what if there is a higher peak out there, way across the plain? The only way to get there is bite the bullet, come down off our foothill and trudge along the riverbed until we finally start going uphill again. And it’s only then you realize: Hey, this mountain reaches way higher than that foothill we were on before, and we can see so much better from up here. But you can’t get there unless you leave behind all the tools that made you so successful in the first place. You have to take that first step downhill. —Dr. Lianna Lutterodt, “Faith and the Fitness Landscape” In Conversation, 2091
IV-132. Of Eden, where delicious Paradise, / Now nearer, Crowns with her enclosure green, / As with a rural mound the champain head IV-135. Of a steep wilderness, whose hairie sides / With thicket overgrown, grottesque and wilde, IV-137. Access deni'd; and over head up grew / Insuperable highth of loftiest shade, / Cedar, and Pine, and Firr, and branching Palm / A Silvan Scene, and as the ranks ascend / Shade above shade, a woodie Theatre IV-142. Of stateliest view. Yet higher then thir tops / The verdurous wall of paradise up sprung: IV-144. Which to our general Sire gave prospect large / Into his neather Empire neighbouring round. IV-146. And higher then that Wall a circling row / Of goodliest Trees loaden with fairest Fruit, / Blossoms and Fruits at once of golden hue / Appeerd, with gay enameld colours mixt: IV-150. On which the Sun more glad impress'd his beams / Then in fair Evening Cloud, or humid Bow, / When God hath showrd the earth; so lovely seemd IV-153. That Lantskip: And of pure now purer aire / Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires / Vernal delight and joy, able to drive / All sadness but despair: now gentle gales / Fanning thir odoriferous wings dispense IV-158. Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole IV-159. Those balmie spoiles. As when to them who saile / Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past / Mozambic, off at Sea North-East windes blow / Sabean Odours from the spicie shoare / Of Arabie the blest, with such delay / Well pleas'd they slack thir course, and many a League / Chear'd with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles.
Joseph Lanzara (John Milton's Paradise Lost In Plain English)
The full moon rose above the harbor as brightly lit tour boats skimmed along the black water, the brilliant cluster of lower Manhattan piled like stacks of coins from a treasure chest in the distance. Up the river, bridges arched across the wide water all the way up the east side, while the Brooklyn side was marked by soft, round lights, like a string of pearls.
Andrew Cotto (Outerborough Blues: A Brooklyn Mystery)
From a distance, even the most violent events in nature can seem innocuous and easily overlooked. Thousands of feet above the Earth, viewed from tiny cabin windows, even the mightiest river – all that tumultuous and chaotic force – becomes just another blue scratch on the land below. The collapse of a star, an explosion a billion miles wide, wreaking havoc on an entire galaxy, becomes just a pin prick of light in the night sky. Had a casual observer been scanning that same night sky on the morning it began the falling object would most likely have been overlooked. From a distance, the tiny object made its way serenely and
K.R. Griffiths (Panic (Wildfire Chronicles #1))
Stalin was the most audible and powerful spokesman in the campaign against what he contemptuously called uravnilovka (leveling). His hostility - voiced in sarcastic and dismissive terms - was so deep and so clearly enunciated that it rapidly became state policy and social doctrine. He believed in productive results, not through spontaneity or persuasion, but through force, hierarchy, reward, punishment, and above all differential wages. He applied this view to the whole of society. Stalin's anti-egalitarianism was not born of the five-year plan era. He was offended by the very notion and used contemptuous terms such as "fashionable leftists", "blockheads", "petty bourgeois nonsense" and "silly chatter," thus reducing the discussion to a sweeping dismissal of childish, unrealistic, and unserious promoters of equality. The toughness of the delivery evoked laughter of approval from his audience.
Richard Stites
And for all of Martin’s actions of peace and love, he was targeted with violence, harassed, arrested, blackmailed, followed by the FBI, and eventually murdered. For all of the pedestals MLK is now put on, far above the reach of ordinary black Americans, Martin was in his life viewed as the most dangerous man in America. Martin was the black man who asked for too much, too loudly. Martin was why white America couldn’t support equality. Because no matter what we ask for, if it threatens the system of White Supremacy, it will always be seen as too much. When we were slaves nursing their babies, we were not nice enough. When we were maids cleaning their homes we were not nice enough. When we were porters shining their shoes we were not nice enough. And when we danced and sang for their entertainment we were not nice enough. For hundreds of years we have been told that the path to freedom from racial oppression lies in our virtue, that our humanity must be earned. We simply don’t deserve equality yet. So when people say that they don’t like my tone, or when they say they can’t support the “militancy” of Black Lives Matter, or when they say that it would be easier if we just didn’t talk about race all the time—I ask one question: Do you believe in justice and equality? Because if you believe in justice and equality you believe in it all of the time, for all people. You believe in it for newborn babies, you believe in it for single mothers, you believe in it for kids in the street, you believe in justice and equality for people you like and people you don’t. You believe in it for people who don’t say please. And if there was anything I could say or do that would convince someone that I or people like me don’t deserve justice or equality, then they never believed in justice and equality in the first place. Yes, I am a Malcolm. And Martin, and Angela, Marcus, Rosa, Biko, Baldwin, Assata, Harriet, and Nina. I’m fighting for liberation. I’m filled with righteous anger and love. I’m shouting, as all before me have in their way. And I’m a human being who was born deserving justice and equality, and that is all you should need to know in order to stand by my side.
Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want to Talk About Race)
Philosophy is not science, because science believes it can soar over its object and holds the correlation of knowledge with being as established, whereas philosophy is the set of questions wherein he who questions is himself implicated by the question. But a physics that has learned to situate the physicist physically, a psychology that has learned to situate the psychologist in the socio-historical world, have lost the illusion of the absolute view from above: they do not only tolerate, they enjoin a radical examination of our belongingness to the world before all science.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (The Visible and the Invisible)
What is love" was the most searched phrase on Google in 2012, according to the company. In an attempt to get to the bottom of the question once and for all, the Guardian has gathered writers from the fields of science, literature, religion and philosophy to give their definition of the much-pondered word. 카톡►ppt33◄ 〓 라인►pxp32◄ 홈피는 친추로 연락주세요 네노마정파는곳,네노마정구입방법,네노마정복용법,네노마정처방 The physicist: 'Love is chemistry' Biologically, love is a powerful neurological condition like hunger or thirst, only more permanent. We talk about love being blind or unconditional, in the sense that we have no control over it. But then, that is not so surprising since love is basically chemistry. While lust is a temporary passionate sexual desire involving the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and oestrogen, in true love, or attachment and bonding, the brain can release a whole set of chemicals: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin. However, from an evolutionary perspective, love can be viewed as a survival tool – a mechanism we have evolved to promote long-term relationships, mutual defense and parental support of children and to promote feelings of safety and security. The philosopher: 'Love is a passionate commitment' The answer remains elusive in part because love is not one thing. Love for parents, partners, children, country, neighbor, God and so on all have different qualities. Each has its variants – blind, one-sided, tragic, steadfast, fickle, reciprocated, misguided, and unconditional. At its best, however, all love is a kind a passionate commitment that we nurture and develop, even though it usually arrives in our lives unbidden. That's why it is more than just a powerful feeling. Without the commitment, it is mere infatuation. Without the passion, it is mere dedication. Without nurturing, even the best can wither and die. The romantic novelist: 'Love drives all great stories' What love is depends on where you are in relation to it. Secure in it, it can feel as mundane and necessary as air – you exist within it, almost unnoticing. Deprived of it, it can feel like an obsession; all consuming, a physical pain. Love is the driver for all great stories: not just romantic love, but the love of parent for child, for family, for country. It is the point before consummation of it that fascinates: what separates you from love, the obstacles that stand in its way. It is usually at those points that love is everything. The nun: 'Love is free yet binds us' Love is more easily experienced than defined. As a theological virtue, by which we love God above all things, it seems remote until we encounter it enfleshed, so to say, in the life of another – in acts of kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice. Love's the one thing that can never hurt anyone, although it may cost dearly. The paradox of love is that it is supremely free yet attaches us with bonds stronger than death. It cannot be bought or sold; there is nothing it cannot face; love is life's greatest blessing.
네노마정처방 카톡:ppt33 네노마정파는곳 네노마정구입방법 네노마정구매방법 네노마정복용법 네노마정부작용
Each one in the world has a god at birth; either they’re gods above or those on earth. The gods above are ones from religions; those on earth are money and its minions. You say, “God above or below, I’ve none. I am more at peace bowing to no one!” This I say to all who may share your view: “You yet have a god—and that god is YOU!
Rodolfo Martin Vitangcol
he pugnaciously advanced his view that the study of ‘high culture’ has to be the main aim of education. Above all, he said, we must pay attention to ancient Greece, because it provided ‘the models for modern achievement’. Bloom believed that the philosophers and poets of the classical world are those from whom we have most to learn, because the big issues they raised have not changed as the years have passed.
Peter Watson (Ideas: A History)
We live in a world that we know is infinitely complex, overpoweringly beautiful, and often times deeply mysterious. From time immemorial, human beings have peered into the heavens and contemplated the meaning of the world around them, and the meaning of their own lives within this world. When we human beings do begin to contemplate the meaning of our reality, there are really only two mutually exclusive conclusions that we can possible come to. And we must choose between one of these two possible explanations. The first way of viewing reality tries to convince us that the world we see around us is ultimately devoid of any real and lasting meaning. That everything happens in a thoroughly random manner. That the world is an inherently chaotic place, without an ultimate purpose, or any higher principle governing what happens in our cosmos or what happens to us. We are alone. This uninspired response to the mysteries of the world around us is the typical secular materialist response. It is the depressing conclusion that the atheist comes to. This atheistic way of viewing reality is now the dominant worldview, purposefully and systematically foisted upon us for over two centuries by those who control public discourse and culture. The second way in which we can choose to see our world tells us just the very opposite of the above pessimistic and ultimately hopeless scenario. This second way envisions the universe around us as being full of deep meaning and alive with exciting possibility. Our cosmos is understood to be a reality in which, while oftentimes seemingly chaotic or confusing at a cursory glance, is in actuality governed by a higher and benevolent intelligence. It is a reality in which a nuanced order, balance, harmony and purpose lay hidden behind every important occurrence. Ours is a cosmos that is ruled by Natural Law. Though each and every one of these eternal principles of this Natural Law are not necessarily all known to us at all times, they are nonetheless discernible by those among us who are wise, patient and sensitive enough to listen to the quiet whispers of nature and to humbly open ourselves to the many lessons to be learned from Her. When we fully realize the nature and power of this Natural Law, and live according to its wise guidance, then we are living in harmony with the cosmos, and we open ourselves to experiencing the peace, health, joy, sense of oneness with all of creation and with every being in creation, and deep sense of meaning that each of us, in our own way, yearns for. This second response to the mystery of our cosmos represents the optimistic and hopeful world-view of Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Natural Way. The spiritual path of Sanatana Dharma, or “The Eternal Natural Way”, is the most ancient spiritual culture and tradition on the earth. Indeed, it is "sanatana", or eternal. To one degree or another, it forms the archetypal antecedent of every other later religion, denomination, and spiritually-minded culture known to humanity.
Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya (Sanatana Dharma: The Eternal Natural Way)
The most basic culture in which we develop is the culture of our family, and our parents are its “culture leaders.” Moreover, the most significant aspect of that culture is not what our parents tell us about God and the nature of things but rather what they do—how they behave toward each other, toward our siblings and, above all, toward us. In other words, what we learn about the nature of the world when we are growing up is determined by the actual nature of our experience in the microcosm of the family. It is not so much what our parents say that determines our world view as it is the unique world they create for us by their behavior. “I agree that I have this notion of a cutthroat God,” Stewart said, “but where did it come from? My parents certainly believed in God—they talked about it incessantly—but theirs was a God of Love. Jesus loves us. God loves us. We love God and Jesus. Love, love, love, that’s all I ever heard.” “Did you have a happy childhood?” I asked.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
At the suggestion of the Athenian, the three men converse about laws and regimes. The Athenian learns from the Cretan that the Cretan legislator has framed all his laws with a view to war: by nature every city is at all times in a state of undeclared war with every other city; victory in war, and hence war, is the condition for all blessings. The Athenian easily convinces the Cretan that the Cretan laws aim at the wrong end: the end is not war but peace. For if victory in war is the condition of all blessings, war is not the end: the blessings themselves belong to peace. Hence the virtue of war, courage, is the lowest part of virtue, inferior to moderation and above all to justice and wisdom. Once we have seen the natural order of the virtues, we know the highest principle of legislation, for that legislation must be concerned with virtue, with the excellence of the human soul, rather than with any other goods is easily granted by the Cretan gentleman Kleinias who is assured by the Athenian that the possession of virtue is necessarily followed by the possession of health, beauty, strength, and wealth.
Leo Strauss (History of Political Philosophy)
For Husbands: 1. Do you still "court" your wife with an occasional gift of flowers, with remembrances of her birthday and wedding anniversary, or with some unexpected attention, some unlooked-for tenderness? 2. Are you careful never to criticize her before others? 3. Do you give her money to spend entirely as she chooses, above the household expenses? 4. Do you make an effort to understand her varying feminine moods and help her through periods of fatigue, nerves, and irritability? 5. Do you share at least half of your recreation hours with your wife? 6. Do you tactfully refrain from comparing your wife's cooking or housekeeping with that of your mother or of Bill Jones' wife, except to her advantage? 7. Do you take a definite interest in her intellectual life, her clubs and societies, the books she reads, her views on civic problems? 8. Can you let her dance with and receive friendly attentions from other men without making jealous remarks? 9. Do you keep alert for opportunities to praise her and express your admiration for her? 10. Do you thank her for the little jobs she does for you, such as sewing on a button, darning your socks, and sending your clothes to the cleaners?
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
Reformers must be able to pre-empt the expected jibes over lack of ‘reciprocity’, affordability, inducement to laziness, ‘something for nothing’ and cash for the undeserving and unneedy. Above all in this respect, reformers must confront the view that ordinary citizens would be taxed to help pay for some people to live at their expense. The right-wing media would seize upon any poor person they could display as enjoying life as proof that the basic income was encouraging debauchery, using ‘taxpayers’ money’. Sadly, statistical evidence would not be enough to curb such prejudiced journalism. Either a pre-emptive strategy would be required in which such incidents were built into the learning process. Or, better, the funding should be shown as coming from ‘capital’ or forms of rent, so the media could not present it as taxing Bill to pay Jack.
Guy Standing (Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen)
Some processes are unconscious because of deliberate dissociation. In other words, an unpleasant thought or emotion may be dissociated from consciousness not because it is structurally incompatible but because it produces a dissonance with the overall world-view of the person. The unpleasant thought or emotion becomes functionally detached from the rest of consciousness and begins to take on the characteristics of a relatively independent functioning system. Jung regarded this type of unconscious as making up the personal unconscious and, as indicated above, it may also be referred to as the subconscious.
John G. Shobris (Psychology of the Spirit: A New Vision of the Soul Integrating Depth Psychology, Modern Neuroscience, and Ancient Christianity)
That Tolkien also included in Roverandom words such as paraphernalia, and phosphorescent, primordial, and rigmarole, is refreshing in these later days when such language is considered too ‘difficult’ for young children – a view with which Tolkien would have disagreed. ‘A good vocabulary,’ he once wrote (April 1959), ‘is not acquired by reading books written according to some notion of the vocabulary of one’s age-group. It comes from reading books above one’ (Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien [1981], pp. 298–9).
J.R.R. Tolkien (Roverandom)
Good morning sky," responded the little stream. "How beautiful and blue you are today." "Yes, I am," responded the beautiful sky. I stand high above everything, and look at everyone from a top view. But what do you do? You flow here in the little woods and don't know anything about the rest of the world.
Silvia Marsz (A Little River Which Became an Ocean)
range viewer mounted near our ship’s console. Jafar steered for Lucas. After a few more minutes, Lucas signed off and turned to us. “We have a carrier strike group nearby, guys. Denny says they launched two 60H Seahawk helicopters with Seal Teams aboard. We get to clear the Mother Ship’s deck for safe boarding of the Seal teams. I’ll circle the wagons and you guys go rain some death down on the Mother Ship deck until ain’t nothin’ livin’ there. Then we hold shadow position until the Seahawks get here, maintaining a safe landing zone.” Casey and I just smile at each other. Oh yeah! And it’s my turn on the XM307. We jog back into position with Casey manning our Browning fifty while I slipped behind the XM307. We started taking small arms fire from the pirate ship as Lucas passed them to the port side before giving us a clear field of fire. Casey tilted and fired short bursts with tracers. Soon, anything stupid enough to get near the railing was cut in half. I fired 25mm bursts stem to stern. Airburst shells exploded all along the pirate deck, blowing out the view windows on their bridge, and leaving no inch of the vessel untouched above deck. Lucas sped up, passed the pirate bow and angled out on the starboard side. We repeated our dual assault although there really wasn’t anyone alive anyway. Twenty minutes later, we heard the Seahawk helicopters approaching. I fired one more burst as Lucas passed once again on the port side. With the helicopters in sight, Lucas headed for the open sea. Shortly after Casey and I closed up shop, Jafar came to summon us to the bridge. Denny was on speaker. “We’re all here, Captain Blood,” Lucas told him. “The Seals found twenty-six mangled pirates above deck and took no fire from the vessel. Below decks, fourteen more pirates were taken prisoner and eleven of the original ship’s crew rescued. No one spotted you guys so steam for our next baiting area. Once things get wrapped up with the rescued ship the carrier group will get orders to take up a support position within striking distance in case we get this lucky again. Great job! Man, we fucked them up today!” We did our ‘pirate talk’ for a few minutes, including Jafar. Denny cracked up. Who says pirate warfare and cold blooded murder can’t be fun. I had to ask though. “What was the cover story for no live pirates on deck to the carrier group?” “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” Denny adlibbed for our amusement. “The Seals didn’t mind. The official news coverage will be a pirate falling out. The mysterious crater where the pirate den used to be near Mogadishu will be rumored a munitions accident. Those
Bernard Lee DeLeo (Hard Case (John Harding: Hard Case, #1))
I shifted so I was leaning back on my elbows and my knees fell open. They got an intimate view of my junk. As one, they walked toward me. It made my pulse speed up and beat against my veins like a thriving demon. My first blowjob. Three men. This was a fucking reward from the universe. Beau knelt on my right, Chaos was on my left, and Grim was right between my legs. My cock gave an excited spurt of pre-cum as they leaned over me. I couldn’t even control my rapid breathing. Grim moved lower first, his lips open, and his tongue sliding out. Oh, fuck, this was really going to happen. I watched as he slowly descended. His breath rushed across my aroused flesh and then his mouth came over my tip. I inhaled sharply and then he touched. His tongue probed my piss slit and my foreskin. The sensations were astonishing. He sucked as Beau and Chaos kissed above me, their passion obvious as their mouths met and Grim took more of me into his. I gasped, moaned, unable to hold back. He was so warm and wet. Chaos and Beau broke apart. Grim kissed down my length, taking a swipe at my balls. I tucked my hips under so he could reach them better. My mind was totally fucking blown. And then Beau and Chaos lowered. I hissed out a breath as they each took a side of my cock and licked. “Please.” The word gushed out. Chaos slid his lips up and down my dick while Beau did the same to the other side. Grim was sucking the skin around my balls into his mouth. I was going to have heart failure at this rate. Then Chaos and Beau met at my tip. They tongued each other around my cockhead. I felt the swift contact as they kissed. “Yes!” I cried out. My hips bucked. Grim chuckled, reaching under and stroking a finger over my hole. His wet finger slipped inside me. I could hardly catch my breath. The stimulations were too much. I reached out, grabbing Beau and Chaos’s thigh. Gripping them as my body rebelled from so much pleasure. “Please. Need to. Come.” Beau eased back and Chaos moved over my dick. He took inch after inch inside his throat. I was overwhelmed. “Oh, fuck. Yes. Yes!” He lifted. My dick flopped out of his mouth only to have Beau take over. He deep throated me, bringing me to an entirely new realm of intensity. I was gasping, squirming by the time he stopped. My cock was going to blow. “Coming,” Grim was next. He took my cock in his mouth and descended. His tongue, his teeth, his lips. I blew. My body jerked, sending my shaft completely down his throat. “Grim!” I screamed. My orgasm exploded, cum erupted out of my body and into his. “Hold it!” I managed to say. The pleasure so intense I wanted to stay like this forever. I grabbed his head in my hands, coming and coming into him. Over and over. Spurt after spurt. Grim took every drop without fighting my hold. Then my shaky body gave way and I collapsed on the blanket. My hands fell to my sides as Grim rose and gasped for breath. I had a permanent smile as I lay there. Beau and Chaos were kissing above me again. I watched them, content to lay here for eternity.
James Cox (A Few Bad Men (Outlaw MC Book 7))
Powell and others in the newly aggressive corporate vanguard inverted from a negative into a positive the accusation that conservative organizations were slanted by successfully redefining existing establishment organizations like Brookings and The New York Times as equally biased but on the liberal side. They argued that a “market” of ideas was necessary that would give equal balance to all views. In effect, they reduced the older organizations that prided themselves on their above-the-fray public-service-oriented neutrality to mere combatants in a polarized war.
Jane Mayer (Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right)
How many planes there are, we do not know. The levels of nature that science discriminates give us no clue, for these all pertain to size which, being an aspect of space, belongs to our plane only. (We discount as irrelevant for present purposes the peculiar modes of space we experience when dreaming.) The entire size-continuum, from minutest particle to our 26-billion-light-year universe, falls along the horizontal arms we see. The planes that bracket this central one—central from our point of view—may be indefinite in number, but even if they are, something can be said about their antipodes. As the levels of reality array themselves along the vertical axis in descending degrees of reality, reality being (as noted in the preceding chapter) worth's final criterion, the bottom of the arm represents the point—a fraction of a degree above absolute zero as we might say—where being phases out completely; all that could lie beyond this margin is a nothing that is as unthinkable as it is non-existent. The top of the axis represents the opposite of this, that is, everything. Opposites being well acquainted, this everything shares in common with its antithesis the fact that it too cannot be imaged, but unlike complete nothingness it can be conceived. Being we experience, whereas nothing, by itself, we do not. The zenith of being is Being Unlimited, Being relieved of all confines and conditionings. The next chapter will discuss it; for now we simply name it. It is All-Possibility, the Absolute, the In-finite in all the directions that word can possibly point." from_The Forgotten Truth_
Huston Smith
To minimize the sense of confinement, one of our video channels provided a breathtaking view of our journey, as seen from a helicopter flying low over the landscape, following our exact route on a lovely spring day. The photographic sequence had been speeded up so that each view corresponded in real-time to a point directly above our location deep underground in the floater tunnel. That was, I concluded, a rather easy trick technically, because all the photographic information obtained in the original helicopter flight was stored electronically for easy recall.
Gerard K. O'Neill (2081)
Science writers Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman have found that ethnic pride is an important element of self-esteem for other races but they draw the line at whites: “It’s horrifying to imagine kids being ‘proud to be white’. ” Many intellectuals believe whites are collectively guilty. As James Traub of The New Yorker wrote, when it comes to any discussion about race, whites must acknowledge that they are the offending party: “One’s hand is stayed by the knowledge of innumerable past hurts and misdeeds. The recognition of those wrongs, along with the acceptance of the sense of collective responsibility—guilt—that comes with recognition is a precondition to entering the discussion [about race].” Joe Klein, in New York Magazine, wrote that any conversation about race must begin with a confession: “It’s our fault; we’re racists.” “Black anger and white surrender have become a staple of contemporary racial discourse,” writes another commentator. Most blacks endorse this view. James Baldwin wrote that any real dialogue between the races requires a confession from whites that is nothing less than “a cry for help and healing.” Popular culture casually denigrates whites. Jay Blumenfield, an executive producer for the Showtime cable network, was working in 2004 on a reality program tentatively titled “Make Me Cool,” in which a group of blacks were to give “hipness makeovers” to a series of “desperately dweebie” whites. Why whites? Mr. Blumenfield explained that the purpose of the program was to correct “uncoolness,” and that “the easiest way to express that is they’ll be white.” Gary Bassell, head of an advertising agency that specializes in reaching Hispanics explained that “we’ve been shaped by an American pop culture today that increasingly proves that color is cool and white is washed out.” Miss Gallagher noted above that there are “few things more degrading than being proud to be white.” The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) agrees. In 2005, it refused to grant a trademark on the phrase “White Pride Country Wide.” It explained that “the ‘white pride’ element of the proposed mark is considered offensive and therefore scandalous.” The USPTO has nevertheless trademarked “Black Power” and “Black Supremacy,” and apparently finds nothing scandalous in “African Pride,” “Native Pride!” “Asian Pride,” “Black Pride,” “Orgullo Hispano” (Hispanic Pride), “Mexican Pride,” and “African Man Pride,” all of which have been trademarked.
Jared Taylor (White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century)
The notion, popularized by classicist and romanticist critics alike, of the Attic theatre as the perfect example of a national theatre, and of its audiences as realizing the ideal of a whole people united in support of art, is a falsification of historical truth.33 The festival theatre of Athenian democracy was certainly no ‘people’s theatre’ —the German classical and romantic theorists could only represent it as such, because they conceived the theatre to be an educational institution. The true ‘people’s theatre’ of ancient times was the mime, which received no subvention from the state, in consequence did not have to take instructions from above, and so worked out its artistic principles simply and solely from its own immediate experience with the audiences. It offered its public not artistically constructed dramas of tragi-heroic manners and noble or even sublime personages, but short, sketchy, naturalistic scenes with subjects and persons drawn from the most trivial, everyday life. Here at last we have to do with an art which has been created not merely for the people but also in a sense by the people. Mimers may have been professional actors, but they remained popular and had nothing to do with the educated élite, at least until the mime came into fashion. They came from the people, shared their taste and drew upon their common sense. They wanted neither to educate nor to instruct, but to entertain their audience. This unpretentious, naturalistic, popular theatre was the product of a much longer and more continuous development, and had to its credit a much richer and more varied output than the official classical theatre; unfortunately, this output has been almost completely lost to us. Had these plays been preserved, we should certainly take quite a different view of Greek literature and probably of the whole of Greek culture from that taken now. The mime is not merely much older than tragedy; it is probably prehistoric in origin and directly connected with the symbolic-magical dances, vegetation rites, hunting magic, and the cult of the dead. Tragedy originates in the dithyramb, an undramatic art form, and to all appearances it got its dramatic form—involving the transformation of the performers into fictitious personages and the transposition of the epic past into present —from the mime. In tragedy, the dramatic element certainly always remained subordinate to the lyrical and didactic element; the fact that the chorus was able to survive shows that tragedy was not exclusively concerned to get dramatic effect and so was intended to serve other ends than mere entertainment.
Arnold Hauser (The Social History of Art, Volume 1: From Prehistoric Times to the Middle Ages)
Science cannot replace a religious view of the world, since there is no such thing as "the scientific worldview". A method of inquiry rather than a settled body of theories, science yields different views of the world as knowledge advances...Above all, science cannot dispel religion by showing it to be an illusion. The rationalist philosophy according to which religion is an intellectual error is fundamentally at odds with scientific inquiry into religion as a natural human activity. Religion may involve the creation of illusions. But there is nothing in science that says illusion may not be useful, even indispensable, in life. The human mind is programmed for survival, not for truth. Rather than producing minds that see the world ever more clearly, evolution could have the effect of breeding any clear view of things out of the mind. The upshot of scientific inquiry could be that a need for illusion goes with being human. The recurring appearance of religions of science suggests this may in fact be the case. Atheists who think of religions as erroneous theories mistake faith—trust in an unknown power—for belief. But if there is a problem with belief, it is not confined to religion. Much of what passes as scientific knowledge is as open to doubt as the miraculous events that feature in traditional faiths. Wander among the shelves of the social sciences stacks in university libraries, and you find yourself in a mausoleum of dead theories. These theories have not passed into the intellectual netherworld by being falsified. Most are not even false; they are too nebulous to allow empirical testing. Systems of ideas, such as Positivism and Marxism, that forecast the decline of religion have been confounded time and time again. Yet these cod-scientific speculations linger on in a dim afterlife in the minds of many who have never heard the ideas from which they spring.
John N. Gray (Seven Types of Atheism)
judge sits higher than the participants to mark the fact that he is above the fray. According to legend, this tradition goes back more than one thousand years, when the British king conducted the court from his raised throne. As the court system spread throughout his realm, the king’s chosen representatives served as judges, and to signify their importance they sat higher than anyone else. In addition to its practicality—the high seat enabled the judge to view the entire courtroom—it also became symbolic of the fact that the impartial keeper of the law was not a participant in the dispute. So Judge Andrews, in his soft, steady voice, decided, “I can agree with a great many of the propositions that both sides have laid down in this argument...
Dan Abrams (Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense: A Reporter's Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times)
I have mentioned that from a macro point of view (without hesitation), I exit markets for my trading account when the general index, such as the S&P 500, or NZX50, drops below the 200-day moving average and consider re-entering when it moves above.
John Ryder (Global Investing: A Guide for New Zealanders)
Moreover and above all, a considerable interval of time had elapsed during which, if, from the historical point of view, events had, to some extent, seemed to justify the Dreyfusard argument, the anti-Dreyfusard opposition had doubled its violence, and, from being purely political, had become social. It was now a question of militarism, of patriotism, and the waves of anger that had been stirred up in society had had time to gather the force which they never have at the beginning of a storm.
Marcel Proust (In Search Of Lost Time (All 7 Volumes) (ShandonPress))
Economics should help us rise above fear and greed. It should not exploit these feelings. Economic science should be about how one turns a social vision into a modern economic system. It should be a tool to create opportunities for human and social development. Not just address our fears as they are expressed as demand in the market. It should be devoted to concrete questions that are important for humanity. Not to abstract analyses of hypothetical choices. It should see people as reasonable beings. Not as wagons hooked to the consequences of an unavoidable, coercive rationality. It should see people as embedded in society. Not as individuals whose core never changes and who float in a vacuum at an arm’s length from each other. It should see relationships as fundamental for us to even be able to individuate ourselves. Not as something that can be reduced to competition, profit, loss, buying low, selling high and calculating who won. It should see a person as someone who acts according to her bonds with others. Not just out of self-interest and the denial of all context and power relationships. It should not see self-interest and altruism as opposites – because it should no longer view the surrounding world as something that is in opposition to one’s self.
Katrine Kielos (Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner?: A Story About Women and Economics)
There are several aerial films of the incoming tsunami, but the one that plays and replays in my imagination was shot above the town of Natori, south of the city of Sendai. It begins over land rather than sea, with a view of dun winter paddy fields. Something is moving across the landscape as if it is alive, a brown-snouted animal hungrily bounding over the earth. Its head is a scum of splintered debris; entire cars bob along on its back. It seems to steam and smoke as it moves; its body looks less like water or mud than a kind of solid vapor. And then a large boat can be seen riding it inland, hundreds of yards from the sea, and—unbelievably—blue-tiled houses, still structurally intact, spinning across the inundated fields with orange flames dancing on their roofs. The creature turns a road into a river, then swallows it whole, and then it is raging over more fields and roads towards a village and a highway thick with cars. One driver is accelerating ahead of it, racing to escape—before the car and its occupants are gobbled up by the wave.
Richard Lloyd Parry (Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zone)
The Tenth Planet There was this buoyant blue balloon That felt a little spare. It had been given life on Earth, Was puffed with human air. It bumped into a telescope And glanced at outer space; It thought it saw some more balloons Each with a friendly face. It gazed on all the planets That lay beyond the moon: Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. And further out was Pluto. A cold and distant sphere; That had to be the target, The lonliest by far. So the balloon floated upwards, Sneaked through the Earth's thick clouds; Saw stars above get closer And, down below, the crowds. The Earth itself got smaller, A mottled ball of blue; It too was balloon-like From a certain point of view. Out, out into the darkness The balloon kept to its course. It kept away from comets Speeding among the stars. Mars was red and arid, Jupiter was gas, Saturn's rings were brilliant, Uranus a great mass. Neptune was a freezeup And - furthest out of all - Pluto, the ninth planet, A revolving snowball. Past Pluto was a dark spot Where a planet ought to be The balloon took its position To orbit endlessly. Back on Earth astronomers Studied evidence of a new, 10th planet And called it Providence. They say they'll send a spaceprobe To Providence quite soon; They'll either find some sign of life Or burst their own balloon. Alan Bold
John Foster
The historian (and for that matter the philosopher) is not God, looking at the world from above and outside. He is a man, and a man of his own time and place. He looks at the past from the point of view of the present: he looks at other countries and civilizations from the point of view of his own. This point of view is valid only for him and people situated like him, but for him it is valid. He must stand firm in it, because it is the only one accessible to him, and unless he has a point of view he can see nothing at all.
R.G. Collingwood (The Idea of History)
Indeed, as early as 1963, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that the Community constituted ‘a new legal order of international law for the benefit of which the states have limited their sovereign rights, albeit within limited fields, and the subjects of which comprise not only Member States but also their nationals’.12 The following year, the Court went even further: By creating a Community of unlimited duration, having its own institutions, its own personality, its own legal capacity and capacity of representation on the international plane and, more particularly, real powers stemming from a limitation of sovereignty or a transfer of powers from the States to the Community, the Member States have limited their sovereign rights, albeit within limited fields, and have thus created a body of law which binds both their nationals and themselves.13 These considerations led the Court to conclude that the law stemming from the Treaty, ‘an independent source of law’, cannot ‘because of its special and original nature’ be overridden by domestic legal provisions, ‘however framed’, and that the transfer of powers from the Member States ‘carries with it a permanent limitation of their sovereign rights’. These early landmark judgments were, of course, just the beginning. In particular, the reservation made in both judgments concerning the scope of the transfer of powers—‘albeit within limited fields’—is no longer valid14 and the institutional developments presented above have certainly done nothing to negate the early view of the Court.
Allan Rosas (EU Constitutional Law: An Introduction)
Y Talbot in Tregaron, Wales On the town square in Tregaron, a convenient base for exploring the Cambrian Mountains or the western coast, the 17th-century Y Talbot inn, above, offers board and bed in a stone-constructed pub with nine rooms. The rooms were recently updated with bright décor, and while each is distinct in layout, several offer walkout access to or balcony views over a rear garden. The pub champions local and sustainable ingredients, and the bar features Welsh cask ales brewed nearby. Doubles from 110 pounds, or about $159 at $1.44
Ask about these numbers and you hear other numbers. As usual, the fate of the poor hangs upon the decision of those concerned only with what those above them think. An endless cycle of egotism, self-sympathy. You see it everywhere here, those too weak and ashamed to defend themselves are blamed for their own misfortune. Separated and debased, they’re swept deeper under society’s carpet, thus the richest society in the history of the world lacks the will and conscience to end poverty while the poor become the victims of their own spiritual and physical misery . . .” In other words, according to Swigge, our job is to hide from the public’s view the suffering and helplessness of the constituents of our largest minority, and thereby further diminish them in their eyes and in ours.
Philip Schultz (The Wherewithal: A Novel in Verse)