We Contribute Quotes

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In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
When we are shown scenes of starving children in Africa, with a call for us to do something to help them, the underlying ideological message is something like: "Don't think, don't politicize, forget about the true causes of their poverty, just act, contribute money, so that you will not have to think!
Slavoj Žižek
Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn't motivating, what would be? If being the number one contributor to the most serious threat facing the planet (global warming) isn't enough, what is? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say not now, then when?
Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals)
Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
N.H. Kleinbaum (Dead Poets Society)
We are visitors on this planet. We are here for one hundred years at the very most. During that period we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. if you contribute to other people's happiness, you will find the true meaning of life.
Dalai Lama XIV
We must recall the most important of humanity guidelines: Be polite. Being polite is possibly the greatest daily contribution everyone can make to life on Earth.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute ... that gives meaning to our lives.
Anthony Robbins
How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straightaway... And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!
Anne Frank
I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try.
Roger Ebert
Your question is the most difficult in the world. It is not a question I can answer simply with yes or no. I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza's Pantheism. I admire even more his contributions to modern thought. Spinoza is the greatest of modern philosophers, because he is the first philosopher who deals with the soul and the body as one, not as two separate things.
Albert Einstein
Finding the center of strength within ourselves is in the long run the best contribution we can make to our fellow men. ... One person with indigenous inner strength exercises a great calming effect on panic among people around him. This is what our society needs — not new ideas and inventions; important as these are, and not geniuses and supermen, but persons who can "be", that is, persons who have a center of strength within themselves.
Rollo May (Man's Search for Himself)
Though my work may be menial, though my contribution may be small, I can perform it with dignity and offer it with unselfishness. My talents may not be great, but I can use them to bless the lives of others.... The goodness of the world in which we live is the accumulated goodness of many small and seemingly inconsequential acts.
Gordon B. Hinckley
What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears. When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my father would say: “Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.
Gordon B. Hinckley
When we pay attention to nature's music, we find that everything on the Earth contributes to its harmony.
Hazrat Inayat Khan
The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don't help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don't increase you will eventually decrease you. Consider this: Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don't follow anyone who's not going anywhere. With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights. "A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses." The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate - for the good and the bad. Note: Be not mistaken. This is applicable to family as well as friends. Yes...do love, appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they will always be your family no matter what. Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria above. "In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us. In Adversity We Know Our friends." "Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them." "If you are going to achieve excellence in big things,you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.."..
Colin Powell
[T]his readiness to assume the guilt for the threats to our environment is deceptively reassuring: We like to be guilty since, if we are guilty, it all depends on us. We pull the strings of the catastrophe, so we can also save ourselves simply by changing our lives. What is really hard for us (at least in the West) to accept is that we are reduced to the role of a passive observer who sits and watches what our fate will be. To avoid this impotence, we engage in frantic, obsessive activities. We recycle old paper, we buy organic food, we install long-lasting light bulbs—whatever—just so we can be sure that we are doing something. We make our individual contribution like the soccer fan who supports his team in front of a TV screen at home, shouting and jumping from his seat, in the belief that this will somehow influence the game's outcome.
Slavoj Žižek
What can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished? The hard reality is, surely, that for the likes of you and I, there is little choice other than to leave our fate, ultimately, in the hands of those great gentlemen at the hub of this world who employ our services. What is the point in worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one’s life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that is in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.
Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day)
The question we need to ask ourselves is whether there is any place we can stand in ourselves where we can look at all that's happening around us without freaking out, where we can be quiet enough to hear our predicament, and where we can begin to find ways of acting that are at least not contributing to further destabilization.
Ram Dass
Not only does the universe have its own laws, all of them indifferent to the contradictory dreams and desires of humanity, and in the formulation of which we contribute not one iota, apart, that is, from the words by which we clumsily name them, but everything seems to indicate that it uses these laws for aims and objectives that transcend and always will transcend our understanding.
José Saramago
We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man.
Oswald Spengler (Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life)
We learn that the more we are true to ourselves, the more we can connect with and contribute to the world.
Brendon Burchard (The Motivation Manifesto)
If you or I are having a single thought of violence or hatred against anyone in the world at this moment, we are contributing to the wounding of the world.
Deepak Chopra
I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.
Hugh Mackay
Using your talent, hobby or profession in a way that makes you contribute with something good to this world is truly the way to go.
Simon Zingerman (We All Need Heroes: Stories of the Brave and Foolish)
If we read history with an open mind, we cannot fail to conclude that, among all the military virtues, the energetic conduct of war has always contributed most to glory and success.
Carl von Clausewitz (On War)
These same people who tell us we must defend the lives of the unborn-they are the same people who seem not so interested in defending anyone but themselves after the accident of birth is complete! These same people who profess their love of the unborn's soul-they don't care to make much of a contribution to the poor, they don't care to offer much assistance to the unwanted or the oppressed! How do they justify such a concern for the fetus and such a lack of concern for unwanted and abused children? They condemn others for the accident of conception; they condemn the poor-as if the poor can help being poor. One way the poor could help themselves would be to be in control of the size of their families. I thought that freedom of choice was obviously democratic-was obviously American!
John Irving (The Cider House Rules)
We can all make a difference in the lives of others in need, because it is the most simple of gestures that make the most significant of differences.
Miya Yamanouchi
It’s only when we can work with something that brings out our strengths that we’re of any real use.
Henning Mankell (The Fifth Woman (Kurt Wallander, #6))
Happiness is good, but well-overrated: what we hate most are the very motivators that put us in gear. A man drifts along with little to contribute until something agitates him enough to make a difference, whether for himself or for his communities.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
It is hard to see how a great man can be an atheist. Without the sustaining influence of faith in a divine power we could have little faith in ourselves. We need to feel that behind us is intelligence and love. Doubters do not achieve; skeptics do not contribute; cynics do not create. Faith is the great motive power, and no man realizes his full possibilities unless he has the deep conviction that life is eternally important, and that his work, well done, is a part of an unending plan.
Calvin Coolidge
We are all here to contribute our gifts toward something greater than ourselves, and will never be content unless we are.
Charles Eisenstein (The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible)
What ever happened to the passion we all had to improve ourselves, live up to our potential, leave a mark on the world? Our hottest arguments were always about how we could contribute. We did not care about the rewards. We were young and earnest.
Wallace Stegner (Crossing to Safety)
Life is revealed as a place to contribute and we as contributors. Not because we have done a measurable amount of good, but because that is the story we tell.
Benjamin Zander (The Art of Possibility)
I think we need more women in positions of power across the world. I think a lot of the world's problems could be solved if we allowed more contribution from women.
Zayn Malik (Zayn: The Official Autobiography)
The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to.... No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.
Richard P. Feynman
Finding the center of strenghth within ourselves is in the long run best contribution we can do to our fellow man
Rollo May
You know, that man has a spirit, that each man and woman is unique, that we have duty to promote our unalienable rights and to protect them, that we have a duty to our families and ourselves, to take care of ourselves, to contribute to charity, that we have a duty to support a just and righteous law that is stable and predictable.
Mark R. Levin
We seldom consider how much of our lives we must render in return for some object we barely want, seldom need, buy only because it was put before us...And this is understandable given the workings of our system where without a job we perish, where if we don't want a job and are happy to get by we are labeled irresponsible, non-contributing leeches on society. But if we hire a fleet of bulldozers, tear up half the countryside and build some monstrous factory, casino or mall, we are called entrepreneurs, job-creators, stalwarts of the community. Maybe we should all be shut away on some planet for the insane. Then again, maybe that is where we are.
Ferenc Máté (A Reasonable Life: Toward a Simpler, Secure, More Humane Existence)
To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try.
Roger Ebert (Life Itself)
However, there is a way to know for certain that Noah’s Flood and the Creation story never happened: by looking at our mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).  Mitochondria are the “cellular power plants” found in all of our cells and they have their own DNA which is separate from that found in the nucleus of the cell.  In humans, and most other species that mitochondria are found in, the father’s mtDNA normally does not contribute to the child’s mtDNA; the child normally inherits its mtDNA exclusively from its mother.  This means that if no one’s genes have mutated, then we all have the same mtDNA as our brothers and sisters and the same mtDNA as the children of our mother’s sisters, etc. This pattern of inheritance makes it possible to rule out “population bottlenecks” in our species’ history.  A bottleneck is basically a time when the population of a species dwindled to low numbers.  For humans, this means that every person born after a bottleneck can only have the mtDNA or a mutation of the mtDNA of the women who survived the bottleneck. This doesn’t mean that mtDNA can tell us when a bottleneck happened, but it can tell us when one didn’t happen because we know that mtDNA has a rate of approximately one mutation every 3,500 years (Gibbons 1998; Soares et al 2009). So if the human race were actually less than 6,000 years old and/or “everything on earth that breathed died” (Genesis 7:22) less than 6,000 years ago, which would be the case if the story of Adam and the story of Noah’s flood were true respectively, then every person should have the exact same mtDNA except for one or two mutations.  This, however, is not the case as human mtDNA is much more diverse (Endicott et al 2009), so we can know for a fact that the story of Adam and Eve and the story of Noah are fictional.   There
Alexander Drake (The Invention of Christianity)
Wellbeing is about the combination of our love for what we do each day, the quality of our relationships, the security of our finances, the vibrancy of our physical health, and the pride we take in what we have contributed to our communities. Most importantly, it’s about how these five elements interact.
Tom Rath (Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements)
We are now part of this giant machine where every second we have to take out a device and contribute our thoughts and opinions.
Gary Shteyngart
He is among those beings of great scope who spread their leafy branches willingly over broad horizons. To be a man is, precisely, to be responsible. It is to know shame at the sight of poverty which is not of our making. It is to be proud of a victory won by our comrades. It is to feel, as we place our stone, that we are contributing to the building of the world.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Wind, Sand and Stars)
When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make. Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. 'This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar' she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. ‘My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.’ It was a moment that changed my life. In that second I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions?
Sandi Toksvig
What happened in the past that was painful has a great deal to do with what we are today, but revisiting this painful past can contribute little or nothing to what we need to do now
William Glasser
Be aware of this truth that the people on this earth could be joyous, if only they would live rationally and if they would contribute mutually to each others' welfare. This world is not a vale of sorrows if you will recognize discriminatingly what is truly excellent in it; and if you will avail yourself of it for mutual happiness and well-being. Therefore, let us explain as often as possible, and particularly at the departure of life, that we base our faith on firm foundations, on Truth for putting into action our ideas which do not depend on fables and ideas which Science has long ago proven to be false.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage)
Samadhi is the journey from individual to collective consciousness. The steps of Samadhi are the steps towards reaching the collective consciousness. In meditation, the more we radiate love, compassion, peace, harmony and tranquility, the more is our contribution towards the collective consciousness. The more we positively contribute towards the collective consciousness the more is our progress in Samadhi.
Amit Ray (Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style)
Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again." Catherine turned away her head, not knowing whether she might venture to laugh. "I see what you think of me," said he gravely -- "I shall make but a poor figure in your journal tomorrow." My journal!" Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday, went to the Lower Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings -- plain black shoes -- appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed me by his nonsense." Indeed I shall say no such thing." Shall I tell you what you ought to say?" If you please." I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr. King; had a great deal of conversation with him -- seems a most extraordinary genius -- hope I may know more of him. That, madam, is what I wish you to say." But, perhaps, I keep no journal." Perhaps you are not sitting in this room, and I am not sitting by you. These are points in which a doubt is equally possible. Not keep a journal! How are your absent cousins to understand the tenour of your life in Bath without one? How are the civilities and compliments of every day to be related as they ought to be, unless noted down every evening in a journal? How are your various dresses to be remembered, and the particular state of your complexion, and curl of your hair to be described in all their diversities, without having constant recourse to a journal? My dear madam, I am not so ignorant of young ladies' ways as you wish to believe me; it is this delightful habit of journaling which largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies are so generally celebrated. Everybody allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female. Nature may have done something, but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping a journal.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
if we hope for more significant therapeutic change, we must encourage our patients to assume responsibility—that is, to apprehend how they themselves contribute to their distress.
Irvin D. Yalom (The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients)
The truth about our own modest contribution might immobilize us: much easier then, to tell ourselves a story about how much we make our own reality.
David Whyte (The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship)
We cannot win in team situations or in relationships by ourselves. It is like trying to pick up a pencil with only one finger...Even if that one finger is extremely strong, it will prove almost impossible to pick up that pencil unless you use your other fingers or some other part of your hand. Teamwork is a bit like using all of your fingers. Each one is unique and contributes something different, but they unite in pursuit of a common goal.
Terry Orlick
We discover that we are at the same time very insignificant and very important, because each of our actions is preparing the humanity of tomorrow; it is a tiny contribution to the construction of the huge and glorious final humanity
Jean Vanier (Community And Growth)
Every once in awhile try to do something nice for somebody you don't know, even if it's just leaving an opening in traffic for them to merge into, small things like that give people hope that we're not all assholes.
Joshua Neik
Our friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors contribute to make us what we are. We should be humble enough to appreciate and accept their respective roles in shaping our persona.
Prem Jagyasi
Until we accept that our children have much more of a risk of being sexually abused than drowning in a pool, being struck by a car, stricken with cancer, hurt by a vaccination, or diagnosed with ebola, we contribute to a culture of panic and ignorance.
Ann Brasco
This is a beautiful and hopeful time to be alive. We are at a turning point, and your contribution to the world is needed more than ever. All of your struggles, all the struggles of your ancestors, all the struggles of all life have led to this moment right now. You are the culmination of life's great yearning; you are the hope of the world.
Ilchi Lee (Brain Wave Vibration: Getting Back Into the Rhythm of a Happy, Healthy Life)
We let them help because they needed it, not us. We didn't let them help us because we needed it, we let them help us because inside of humans is this thing, this unnamed need to feel as if we are usefel in the world. To feel as if we have something significant to contribute."---Cullen
John Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back)
I only accept and pay attention to feedback from people who are also in the arena. If you're occasionally getting your butt kicked as you respond, and if you're also figuring out how to stay open to feedback without getting pummeled by insults, I'm more likely to pay attention to your thought about my work. If, on the other hand, you're not helping, contributing, or wrestling with your own gremlins, I'm not at all interested in your commentary.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
We start from the presumption that our people are talented and want to contribute. We accept that, without meaning to, our company is stifling that talent in myriad unseen ways. Finally, we try to identify those impediments and fix them.
Ed Catmull (Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration)
We find these joys to be self evident: That all children are created whole, endowed with innate intelligence, with dignity and wonder, worthy of respect. The embodiment of life, liberty and happiness, children are original blessings, here to learn their own song. Every girl and boy is entitled to love, to dream and belong to a loving “village.” And to pursue a life of purpose. We affirm our duty to nourish and nurture the young, to honour their caring ideals as the heart of being human. To recognize the early years as the foundation of life, and to cherish the contribution of young children to human evolution. We commit ourselves to peaceful ways and vow to keep from harm or neglect these, our most vulnerable citizens. As guardians of their prosperity we honour the bountiful Earth whose diversity sustains us. Thus we pledge our love for generations to come.
Raffi Cavoukian
Memories remind us that every moment of our lives, even the most tragic, have contributed to our strength. We’ve gotten through. We’re still here.
Willie Nelson (It's a Long Story: My Life)
We must never forget our teachers, our lecturers and our mentors. In their individual capacities have contributed to our academic, professional and personal development.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
. . . the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us; and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (The Remarkable Soul of a Woman)
To avoid being a diffident, contrite and regretful personality, we should work hard to explore our true potential and take a cue from our abilities to exploit available opportunities.
Prem Jagyasi
Enthusiasm needs to be effective enthusiasm. We must distinguish between the contribution and enthusiasm of the cheerleader and the enthusiasm of the player. While cheerleaders serve an important purpose, the real contest involves players on the field or on the court of life. We must not go through life acting only as enthusiastic cheerleaders available for hire; we must be anxiously and personally engaged.
Neal A. Maxwell (Deposition of a Disciple)
There is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some people will test you, some will use you, some will bring out the best in you, but everyone will teach you something about yourself. Both positive and negative relationships teach you valuable lessons. This is an incredible step toward expanding your consciousness. The road to self-discovery requires help from others. As humans we are always seeking feedback and approval from others. That is how we learn and become better as individuals. No relationship is a waste of time. The wrong ones teach you the lessons that prepare you for the right ones. Appreciate everyone that enters your life because they are contributing to your growth and happiness.
John Geiger
I do not write this in a spirit of sourness or personal disappointment of any kind, nor do I have any romantic attachment to suffering as a source of insight or virtue. On the contrary, I would like to see more smiles, more laughter, more hugs, more happiness and, better yet, joy. In my own vision of utopia, there is not only more comfort, and security for everyone — better jobs, health care, and so forth — there are also more parties, festivities, and opportunities for dancing in the streets. Once our basic material needs are met — in my utopia, anyway — life becomes a perpetual celebration in which everyone has a talent to contribute. But we cannot levitate ourselves into that blessed condition by wishing it. We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world. And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking.
Barbara Ehrenreich (Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America)
A very important but difficult piece of renewing relationships is accepting responsibility for our part in any conflict. If we have a relationship in need of repair, we must remember that the wrong is not usually all on one side, and we are more easily able to restore relations when we look at our contribution to a conflict.
Desmond Tutu (The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World)
We must never forget our teachers and our lecturers. In their individual capacities have contributed to our academic, professional and personal development.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
A boddhisattva is someone who is on the way to becoming a buddha. All of us become boddhisattvas as soon as we start to take our Zen work seriously and the work we do contributes to creating a world in which all good actions become more efficacious.
David Brazier
Also, please don’t think I’ve forgotten about your outstanding service record, or about all the invaluable contributions that you’ve made to the company. Fire, the wheel, agriculture..It’s an impressive list, old timer. A jolly impressive list. Don’t get me wrong. But well...to be frank, we’ve had our problems , too. There’s no getting away from it. Do you know what I think? A lot of it stems from? I’ll tell you… It’s your basic unwillingness to get on with the company. You don’t seem to want to face up to any real responsibility, or to be your own boss. Lord knows you’ve been given plenty of opportunities. We’ve offered you promotion time and time again, and each time you’ve turned us down… To be frank, you’re not really trying are you?
Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
…There are times when something is asked of us, and we find we must do it. There is no calculation involved, no measure of the necessity of the thing itself, the action that must be performed. There is simply an acknowledgment that we will do the thing in question, and then the thing is done, often at considerable personal cost. " "What goes into these decisions? What tiny factors, invisible, in the jutting edges of personality and circumstance, contribute to this inevitability?
Jesse Ball (The Curfew)
The reality is, I like imperfection. You take away from the world when you're not yourself. Whatever is unique and special about you was designed by God. And when you try to be someone else, we don't get you. Who knows what you would have contributed to the world had you just been yourself, if you had just celebrated who you are and just walked boldly?
Queen Latifah
Maybe it’s not metaphysics. Maybe it’s existential. I’m talking about the individual US citizen’s deep fear, the same basic fear that you and I have and that everybody has except nobody ever talks about it except existentialists in convoluted French prose. Or Pascal. Our smallness, our insignificance and mortality, yours and mine, the thing that we all spend all our time not thinking about directly, that we are tiny and at the mercy of large forces and that time is always passing and that every day we’ve lost one more day that will never come back and our childhoods are over and our adolescence and the vigor of youth and soon our adulthood, that everything we see around us all the time is decaying and passing, it’s all passing away, and so are we, so am I, and given how fast the first forty-two years have shot by it’s not going to be long before I too pass away, whoever imagined that there was a more truthful way to put it than “die,” “pass away,” the very sound of it makes me feel the way I feel at dusk on a wintry Sunday—’ ‘And not only that, but everybody who knows me or even knows I exist will die, and then everybody who knows those people and might even conceivably have even heard of me will die, and so on, and the gravestones and monuments we spend money to have put in to make sure we’re remembered, these’ll last what—a hundred years? two hundred?—and they’ll crumble, and the grass and insects my decomposition will go to feed will die, and their offspring, or if I’m cremated the trees that are nourished by my windblown ash will die or get cut down and decay, and my urn will decay, and before maybe three or four generations it will be like I never existed, not only will I have passed away but it will be like I was never here, and people in 2104 or whatever will no more think of Stuart A. Nichols Jr. than you or I think of John T. Smith, 1790 to 1864, of Livingston, Virginia, or some such. That everything is on fire, slow fire, and we’re all less than a million breaths away from an oblivion more total than we can even bring ourselves to even try to imagine, in fact, probably that’s why the manic US obsession with production, produce, produce, impact the world, contribute, shape things, to help distract us from how little and totally insignificant and temporary we are.
David Foster Wallace (The Pale King)
I guess it means we don't understand everything, and we're not going to. Maybe the whys aren't answered here. Not because there aren't answers, but because we wouldn't understand the answers if we had them. Maybe there's a bigger purpose, a bigger picture that we only contribute a very small piece to. You know, like one of those thousand piece puzzles? There's no way you can tell by looking at one piece of the puzzle what the puzzle is going to look like in the end. And we don't have the picture on the outside of the puzzle box to guide us. Maybe everyone represents a piece of the puzzle. We all fit together to create this experience we call life. None of us can see the part we play or the way it all turns out. Maybe the miracles that we see are just the tip of the iceberg. And maybe we just don't recognize the blessings that come as a result of terrible things.
Amy Harmon (Making Faces)
It is not enough just to be good. We must be good for something. We must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for our presence. And the good that is in us must be spread to others. This is the measure of our civility.
Gordon B. Hinckley (Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes)
What can we learn from women like Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday that we may not be able to learn from Ida B. Wells, Anna Julia Cooper, and Mary Church Terrell? If we were beginning to appreciate the blasphemies of fictionalized blues women - especially their outrageous politics of sexuality - and the knowledge that might be gleaned from their lives about the possibilities of transforming gender relations within black communities, perhaps we also could benefit from a look at the artistic contributions of the original blues women.
Angela Y. Davis
Perfectionism is a particularly evil lure for women, who, I believe, hold themselves to an even higher standard of performance than do men. There are many reasons why women’s voices and visions are not more widely represented today in creative fields. Some of that exclusion is due to regular old misogyny, but it’s also true that—all too often—women are the ones holding themselves back from participating in the first place. Holding back their ideas, holding back their contributions, holding back their leadership and their talents. Too many women still seem to believe that they are not allowed to put themselves forward at all, until both they and their work are perfect and beyond criticism. Meanwhile, putting forth work that is far from perfect rarely stops men from participating in the global cultural conversation. Just sayin’. And I don’t say this as a criticism of men, by the way. I like that feature in men—their absurd overconfidence, the way they will casually decide, “Well, I’m 41 percent qualified for this task, so give me the job!” Yes, sometimes the results are ridiculous and disastrous, but sometimes, strangely enough, it works—a man who seems not ready for the task, not good enough for the task, somehow grows immediately into his potential through the wild leap of faith itself. I only wish more women would risk these same kinds of wild leaps. But I’ve watched too many women do the opposite. I’ve watched far too many brilliant and gifted female creators say, “I am 99.8 percent qualified for this task, but until I master that last smidgen of ability, I will hold myself back, just to be on the safe side.” Now, I cannot imagine where women ever got the idea that they must be perfect in order to be loved or successful. (Ha ha ha! Just kidding! I can totally imagine: We got it from every single message society has ever sent us! Thanks, all of human history!) But we women must break this habit in ourselves—and we are the only ones who can break it. We must understand that the drive for perfectionism is a corrosive waste of time, because nothing is ever beyond criticism. No matter how many hours you spend attempting to render something flawless, somebody will always be able to find fault with it. (There are people out there who still consider Beethoven’s symphonies a little bit too, you know, loud.) At some point, you really just have to finish your work and release it as is—if only so that you can go on to make other things with a glad and determined heart. Which is the entire point. Or should be.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear)
In a truly free society, individuals are granted responsibility for themselves. Freedom necessitates that we learn how to provide for ourselves, contributing value in whatever form, to generate personal income. We then decide how we wish to spend or save earned income; freedom is the reward for fulfilling personal responsibilities.
Candace Owens (Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation)
When we express appreciation, it means that we recognize the value of the other person's contribution to our relationship/ Each of us expends our energy and abilities in ways that benefit our relationship.
Gary Chapman
Shame can only rise so far in any system before people disengage to protect themselves. When we’re disengaged, we don’t show up, we don’t contribute, and we stop caring.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
Look, we've all got something to contribute to this discussion. And I think what you should contribute from now on is silence.
Chris Barrie as Arnold Rimmer on Red Dwarf
Our highest contribution is making this world peaceful and happy. That comes when we can radiate peace and harmony from every cell, gene and DNA of our body.
Amit Ray (Enlightenment Step by Step)
We must desire to see people rising in life, rather than looking for ways to contribute to their fall.
Bamigboye Olurotimi
Sometimes we think we're a little too gifted to show up, yo uknow. But none of us truly is...By avoiding risk we really risk what's most important in life---reaching toward growth, our potential, and a true contribution to a common good.
Max DePree (Leading Without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community)
We sang, we danced, we talked, we laughed, we ate, we drank, but most of all we shared our contributions and I learned, that Lughnasadh night, that true gifts come from the heart and not necessarily from the purse.
Carole Carlton (Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year)
Today, despite all of the gains we have made, neither men nor women have real choice. Until women have supportive employers and colleagues as well as partners who share family responsibilities, they don't have real choice. And until men are fully respected for contributing inside the home, they don't have real choice either.
Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead)
I saw how Jesus didn’t treat women any differently than men, and I liked that. We weren’t too precious for words, dainty like fine china. We received no free pass or delicate worries about our ability to understand or contribute or work. Women were not too sweet or weak for the conviction of the Holy Spirit, or too manipulative and prone to jealousy, insecurity, and deception to push back the kingdom of darkness.
Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist)
Service is the measure of greatness; it always has been true; it is true today, and it always will be true, that he is greatest who does the most of good. Nearly all of our controversies and combats grow out of the fact that we are trying to get something from each other--there will be peace when our aim is to do something for each other. The human measure of a human life is its income; the divine measure of a life is its outgo, its overflow--its contribution to the welfare of all.
William Jennings Bryan
It is not your beauty, success or money that should define you; neither should your church calling, your charitable contributions or talents. Humility is the cornerstone of character, by which God judges our truth worth, and wisdom is the door he opens when we use it.
Shannon L. Alder
We have learned that history is something that takes no notice whatever of our expectations.
Oswald Spengler (Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life)
We don't read and write poetry because it is cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote Whitman, 'O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?' Answer: That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
Tom Schulman
Listen, I wanted to say, I don't need your judgment, okay? I have enough to deal with without you contributing, so can we just get on with this so I can get out of here? But I couldn't form the words. Dr. Johnson viewed me as a child, and somehow, under his contemptuous gaze, I had regressed to one. I was frightened and shy, and it was all I could do to answer his questions and count the seconds until the end of the visit.
Jessica Verdi (My Life After Now)
The only way to maximize group creativity—to make the whole more than the sum of its parts—is to encourage a candid discussion of mistakes. In part, this is because the acceptance of error reduces cost. When you believe your flaws will be quickly corrected by the group, you're less worried about perfecting your contribution, which leads to a more candid conversation. We can only get it right when we talk about what we got wrong.
Jonah Lehrer (Imagine: How Creativity Works)
For Americans, Acts 16:9 is the high-fructose corn syrup of Bible verses--an all-purpose ingredient we'll stir into everything from the ink on the Marshall Plan to canisters of Agent Orange. Our greatest goodness and our worst impulses come out of this missionary zeal, contributing to our overbearing (yet not entirely unwarranted) sense of our country as an inherently helpful force in the world. And, as with the apostle Paul, the notion that strangers want our help is sometimes a delusion.
Sarah Vowell (Unfamiliar Fishes)
We hope to help you discover Your Self; inspire you to live more passionate and sensitive life; helping you listen to your Soul, finding your-own space in this matrix of life, making a genuine contribution to humanity.
Nataša Pantović (Mindful Being)
There are always rebels and radicals, I suppose,' McCleethy allows. 'Those who live on the fringes of society. But what do they contribute to the society itself? They reap its rewards without experiencing its costs. No. I submit that loyal, hardworking citizens who push aside their own selfish desires for the good of the whole are the backbone of the world. What if we all decided to run off and live freely without thought or care for society's rules? Our civilization would crumble. There is a joy in duty and a security in knowing one's place...It is the only way.
Libba Bray (The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3))
We Pashtuns love shoes but don't love the cobbler; we love our scarves and blankets but do not respect the weaver. Manual workers made a great contribution to our society but received no recognition, and this is the reason so many of them joined the Taliban—to finally achieve status and power.
Malala Yousafzai (I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban)
We are inundated with advice on where to travel to, but we hear little of why and how we should go, even though the art of travel seems naturally to sustain a number of questions neither so simple nor so trivial, and whose study might in modest ways contribute to an understanding of what the Greek philosophers beautifully termed eudaimonia, or ‘human flourishing’.
Alain de Botton (The Art of Travel)
Clearly,” I said, “we should choose not to have good sense, if that good sense contributes to our misery.” Everyone agreed with me, and yet I found no one who wanted to accept the bargain of becoming ignorant in order to become content. From this I concluded that though we greatly value happiness, we place even greater value on reason. But yet, upon reflection, it seems that to prefer reason to happiness is to be quite insane.
Voltaire
We encounter God in the face of a stranger. That, I believe, is the Hebrew Bible’s single greatest and most counterintuitive contribution to ethics. God creates difference; therefore it is in one-who-is-different that we meet god. Abraham encounters God when he invites three strangers into his tent.
Jonathan Sacks (The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations)
When does a job feel meaningful? Whenever it allows us to generate delight or reduce suffering in others. Though we are often taught to think of ourselves as inherently selfish, the longing to act meaningfully in our work seems just as stubborn a part of our make-up as our appetite for status or money. It is because we are meaning-focused animals rather than simply materialistic ones that we can reasonably contemplate surrendering security for a career helping to bring drinking water to rural Malawi or might quit a job in consumer goods for one in cardiac nursing, aware that when it comes to improving the human condition a well-controlled defibrillator has the edge over even the finest biscuit. But we should be wary of restricting the idea of meaningful work too tightly, of focusing only on the doctors, the nuns of Kolkata or the Old Masters. There can be less exalted ways to contribute to the furtherance of the collective good.... ....An endeavor endowed with meaning may appear meaningful only when it proceeds briskly in the hands of a restricted number of actors and therefore where particular workers can make an imaginative connection between what they have done with their working days and their impact upon others.
Alain de Botton (The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work)
And when I look around the apartment where I now am,—when I see Charlotte’s apparel lying before me, and Albert’s writings, and all those articles of furniture which are so familiar to me, even to the very inkstand which I am using,—when I think what I am to this family—everything. My friends esteem me; I often contribute to their happiness, and my heart seems as if it could not beat without them; and yet—if I were to die, if I were to be summoned from the midst of this circle, would they feel—or how long would they feel—the void which my loss would make in their existence? How long! Yes, such is the frailty of man, that even there, where he has the greatest consciousness of his own being, where he makes the strongest and most forcible impression, even in the memory, in the heart of his beloved, there also he must perish,—vanish,—and that quickly. I could tear open my bosom with vexation to think how little we are capable of influencing the feelings of each other. No one can communicate to me those sensations of love, joy, rapture, and delight which I do not naturally possess; and though my heart may glow with the most lively affection, I cannot make the happiness of one in whom the same warmth is not inherent. Sometimes I don’t understand how another can love her, is allowed to love her, since I love her so completely myself, so intensely, so fully, grasp nothing, know nothing, have nothing but her! I possess so much, but my love for her absorbs it all. I possess so much, but without her I have nothing. One hundred times have I been on the point of embracing her. Heavens! what a torment it is to see so much loveliness passing and repassing before us, and yet not dare to lay hold of it! And laying hold is the most natural of human instincts. Do not children touch everything they see? And I! Witness, Heaven, how often I lie down in my bed with a wish, and even a hope, that I may never awaken again! And in the morning, when I open my eyes, I behold the sun once more, and am wretched. If I were whimsical, I might blame the weather, or an acquaintance, or some personal disappointment, for my discontented mind; and then this insupportable load of trouble would not rest entirely upon myself. But, alas! I feel it too sadly; I am alone the cause of my own woe, am I not? Truly, my own bosom contains the source of all my pleasure. Am I not the same being who once enjoyed an excess of happiness, who at every step saw paradise open before him, and whose heart was ever expanded towards the whole world? And this heart is now dead; no sentiment can revive it. My eyes are dry; and my senses, no more refreshed by the influence of soft tears, wither and consume my brain. I suffer much, for I have lost the only charm of life: that active, sacred power which created worlds around me,—it is no more. When I look from my window at the distant hills, and behold the morning sun breaking through the mists, and illuminating the country around, which is still wrapped in silence, whilst the soft stream winds gently through the willows, which have shed their leaves; when glorious Nature displays all her beauties before me, and her wondrous prospects are ineffectual to extract one tear of joy from my withered heart,—I feel that in such a moment I stand like a reprobate before heaven, hardened, insensible, and unmoved. Oftentimes do I then bend my knee to the earth, and implore God for the blessing of tears, as the desponding labourer in some scorching climate prays for the dews of heaven to moisten his parched corn.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther)
As we’ve seen, all criticism, attack, insults, and judgments vanish when we focus attention on hearing the feelings and needs behind a message. The more we practice in this way, the more we realize a simple truth: behind all those messages we’ve allowed ourselves to be intimidated by are just individuals with unmet needs appealing to us to contribute to their well-being. When we receive messages with this awareness, we never feel dehumanized by what others have to say to us. We only feel dehumanized when we get trapped in derogatory images of other people or thoughts of wrongness about ourselves. As
Marshall B. Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships (Nonviolent Communication Guides))
Until we boycott meat, and all other products of animal factories, we are, each one of us, contributing to the continued existence, prosperity, and growth of factory farming and all the other cruel practices used in rearing animals for food.
Peter Singer (Animal Liberation)
If we imagine the action of a vaccine not just in terms of how it affects a single body, but also in terms of how it affects the collective body of a community, it is fair to think of vaccination as a kind of banking of immunity. Contributions to this bank are donations to those who cannot or will not be protected by their own immunity. This is the principle of herd immunity, and it is through herd immunity that mass vaccination becomes far more effective than individual vaccination.
Eula Biss (On Immunity: An Inoculation)
Becoming aware of the intense suffering of billions of animals, and of our own participation in that suffering, can bring up painful emotions: sorrow and grief for the animals; anger at the injustice and deception of the system; despair at the enormity of the problem; fear that trusted authorities and institutions are, in fact, untrustworthy; and guilt for having contributed to the problem. Bearing witness means choosing to suffer. Indeed, empathy is literally 'feeling with.' Choosing to suffer is particularly difficult in a culture that is addicted to comfort--a culture that teaches that pain should be avoided whenever possible and that ignorance is bliss. We can reduce our resistance to witnessing by valuing authenticity over personal pleasure, and integration over ignorance.
Melanie Joy (Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism: The Belief System That Enables Us to Eat Some Animals and Not Others)
The economics we need is of the "seminar room" variety, not the "rule-of-thumb" kind. It is an economics that recognizes its limitations and caveats and knows that the right message depends on the context. The fine print is what economists have to contribute.
Dani Rodrik (The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy)
I cannot, however, but think that the world would be better and brighter if our teachers would dwell on the Duty of Happiness as well as the Happiness of Duty; for we ought to be as cheerful as we can, if only because to be happy ourselves is a most effectual contribution to the happiness of others.
John Lubbock (The Pleasures of Life)
Now discontent nibbled at him - not painfully, but constantly. Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there's time, the bastard Time. The end of life is now not so terribly far away - you can see it the way you see the finish line when you come into the stretch - and your mind says, "Have I worked enough? Have I eaten enough? Have I loved enough?" All of these, of course, are the foundation of man's greatest curse, and perhaps his greatest glory. "What has my life meant so far, and what can it mean in the time left to me?" And now we're coming to the wicked, poisoned dart: "What have I contributed in the Great Ledger? What am I worth?" And this isn't vanity or ambition. Men seem to be born with a debt they can never pay no matter how hard they try. It piles up ahead of them. Man owes something to man. If he ignores the debt it poisons him, and if he tries to make payments the debt only increases, and the quality of his gift is the measure of the man.
John Steinbeck (Sweet Thursday (Cannery Row, #2))
What drove me? I think most creative people want to express appreciation for being able to take advantage of the work that's been done by others before us. I didn't invent the language or mathematics I use. I make little of my own food, none of my own clothes. Everything I do depends on other members of our species and the shoulders that we stand on. And a lot of us want to contribute something back to our species and to add something to the flow. It's about trying to express something in the only way that most of us know how-because we can't write Bob Dylan songs or Tom Stoppard plays. We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow. That's what has driven me.
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
We in this room have no private properties. Perhaps one or two of us may own the homes we live in, or have a dollar or two set aside - but we own nothing that does not contribute directly toward keeping us alive. All that we own is our bodies. And we sell our bodies every day we live. We sell them when we go out in the morning to our jobs and when we labor all day. We are forced to sell at any price, at any time, for any purpose. We are forced to sell our bodies so that we can eat and live. And the price which is given us for this is only enough so that we will have the strength to labor longer for the profits of others. Today we are not put up on platforms and sold at the courthouse square. But we are forced to sell our strength, our time, our souls during almost every hour that we live. We have been freed from one kind of slavery only to be delivered into another. Is this freedom? Are we yet free men?
Carson McCullers (The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter)
Down our way we're always had a theory that the Civil War was not brought on by Secession of Slavery or the State's Rights issue. These matters contributed to the quarrel, but there is a deeper reason. It was bought on by some Yankee coming down south and putting nutmeg in a julep. So our folks up and left the Union flat.
Irvin S. Cobb
I have always been interested in this man. My father had a set of Tom Paine's books on the shelf at home. I must have opened the covers about the time I was 13. And I can still remember the flash of enlightenment which shone from his pages. It was a revelation, indeed, to encounter his views on political and religious matters, so different from the views of many people around us. Of course I did not understand him very well, but his sincerity and ardor made an impression upon me that nothing has ever served to lessen. I have heard it said that Paine borrowed from Montesquieu and Rousseau. Maybe he had read them both and learned something from each. I do not know. But I doubt that Paine ever borrowed a line from any man... Many a person who could not comprehend Rousseau, and would be puzzled by Montesquieu, could understand Paine as an open book. He wrote with a clarity, a sharpness of outline and exactness of speech that even a schoolboy should be able to grasp. There is nothing false, little that is subtle, and an impressive lack of the negative in Paine. He literally cried to his reader for a comprehending hour, and then filled that hour with such sagacious reasoning as we find surpassed nowhere else in American letters - seldom in any school of writing. Paine would have been the last to look upon himself as a man of letters. Liberty was the dear companion of his heart; truth in all things his object. ...we, perhaps, remember him best for his declaration: 'The world is my country; to do good my religion.' Again we see the spontaneous genius at work in 'The Rights of Man', and that genius busy at his favorite task - liberty. Written hurriedly and in the heat of controversy, 'The Rights of Man' yet compares favorably with classical models, and in some places rises to vaulting heights. Its appearance outmatched events attending Burke's effort in his 'Reflections'. Instantly the English public caught hold of this new contribution. It was more than a defense of liberty; it was a world declaration of what Paine had declared before in the Colonies. His reasoning was so cogent, his command of the subject so broad, that his legion of enemies found it hard to answer him. 'Tom Paine is quite right,' said Pitt, the Prime Minister, 'but if I were to encourage his views we should have a bloody revolution.' Here we see the progressive quality of Paine's genius at its best. 'The Rights of Man' amplified and reasserted what already had been said in 'Common Sense', with now a greater force and the power of a maturing mind. Just when Paine was at the height of his renown, an indictment for treason confronted him. About the same time he was elected a member of the Revolutionary Assembly and escaped to France. So little did he know of the French tongue that addresses to his constituents had to be translated by an interpreter. But he sat in the assembly. Shrinking from the guillotine, he encountered Robespierre's enmity, and presently found himself in prison, facing that dread instrument. But his imprisonment was fertile. Already he had written the first part of 'The Age of Reason' and now turned his time to the latter part. Presently his second escape cheated Robespierre of vengeance, and in the course of events 'The Age of Reason' appeared. Instantly it became a source of contention which still endures. Paine returned to the United States a little broken, and went to live at his home in New Rochelle - a public gift. Many of his old companions in the struggle for liberty avoided him, and he was publicly condemned by the unthinking. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
I have, for my own projected works and ideas, only the silliest and dewiest of hopes; no matter what, I am romantic enough or sentimental enough to wish to contribute something to life’s fabric, to the world’s beauty.... [S]imply to live does not justify existence, for life is a mere gesture on the surface of the earth, and death a return to that from which we had never been wholly separated; but oh to leave a trace, no matter how faint, of that brief gesture! For someone, some day, may find it beautiful!
Frank O'Hara
whatever your career may be, do not let yourselves become tainted by a deprecating and barren scepticism, do not let yourselves be discouraged by the sadness of certain hours which pass over nations. Live in the serene peace of laboratories and libraries. Say to yourselves first : ' What have I done for my instruction ? ' and , as you gradually advance, 'What have I done for my country?' until the time comes when you may have the immense happiness of thinking that you have contributed in some way to the progress and to the good of humanity. But, whether our efforts are or not favoured by life, let us be able to say, when we come near the great goal, ' I have done what I could
Louis Pasteur
There are those whose views about religion are not very different from my own, but who nevertheless feel that we should try to damp down the conflict, that we should compromise it. … I respect their views and I understand their motives, and I don't condemn them, but I'm not having it. To me, the conflict between science and religion is more important than these issues of science education or even environmentalism. I think the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief; and anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization.
Steven Weinberg
From the cave to the skyscraper, from the club to weapons of mass destruction, from the tautological life of the tribe to the era of globalization, the fictions of literature have multiplied human experiences, preventing us from succumbing to lethargy, self-absorption, resignation. Nothing has sown so much disquiet, so disturbed our imagination and our desires as the life of lies we add, thanks to literature, to the one we have, so we can be protagonists in the great adventures, the great passions real life will never give us. The lies of literature become truths through us, the readers transformed, infected with longings and, through the fault of fiction, permanently questioning a mediocre reality. Sorcery, when literature offers us the hope of having what we do not have, being what we are not, acceding to that impossible existence where like pagan gods we feel mortal and eternal at the same time, that introduces into our spirits non-conformity and rebellion, which are behind all the heroic deeds that have contributed to the reduction of violence in human relationships. Reducing violence, not ending it. Because ours will always be, fortunately, an unfinished story. That is why we have to continue dreaming, reading, and writing, the most effective way we have found to alleviate our mortal condition, to defeat the corrosion of time, and to transform the impossible into possibility.
Mario Vargas Llosa
When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature. If a writer can make people live there may be no great characters in his book, but it is possible that his book will remain as a whole; as an entity; as a novel. If the people the writer is making talk of old masters; of music; of modern painting; of letters; or of science then they should talk of those subjects in the novel. If they do not talk of these subjects and the writer makes them talk of them he is a faker, and if he talks about them himself to show how much he knows then he is showing off. No matter how good a phrase or a simile he may have if he puts it in where it is not absolutely necessary and irreplaceable he is spoiling his work for egotism. Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over. For a writer to put his own intellectual musings, which he might sell for a low price as essays, into the mouths of artificially constructed characters which are more remunerative when issued as people in a novel is good economics, perhaps, but does not make literature. People in a novel, not skillfully constructed characters, must be projected from the writer’s assimilated experience, from his knowledge, from his head, from his heart and from all there is of him. If he ever has luck as well as seriousness and gets them out entire they will have more than one dimension and they will last a long time. A good writer should know as near everything as possible. Naturally he will not. A great enough writer seems to be born with knowledge. But he really is not; he has only been born with the ability to learn in a quicker ratio to the passage of time than other men and without conscious application, and with an intelligence to accept or reject what is already presented as knowledge. There are some things which cannot be learned quickly and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man’s life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave. Every novel which is truly written contributes to the total of knowledge which is there at the disposal of the next writer who comes, but the next writer must pay, always, a certain nominal percentage in experience to be able to understand and assimilate what is available as his birthright and what he must, in turn, take his departure from. If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. A writer who appreciates the seriousness of writing so little that he is anxious to make people see he is formally educated, cultured or well-bred is merely a popinjay. And this too remember; a serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.
Ernest Hemingway (Death in the Afternoon)
The reality of the Life Review is becoming part of our every day understanding. We know that after death, we have to look at our lives again; and we’re going to agonize over every missed opportunity, over every case in which we failed to act. This knowledge is contributing to our determination to pursue every intuitive image that comes to mind, and keep it firmly in awareness. We’re living life in a more deliberate way. We don’t want to miss a single important event. We don’t want the pain of looking back later and realizing that we blew it, that we failed to make the right decisions.
James Redfield (The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision (Celestine Prophecy, #2))
As far as food is concerned, the great extravagance is not caviar or truffles, but beef, pork and poultry. Some 38 percent of the world's grain crop is now fed to animals, as well as large quantities of soybeans. There are three times as many domestic animals on this planet as there are human beings. The combined weight of the world's 1.28 billion cattle alone exceeds that of the human population. While we look darkly at the number of babies being born in poorer parts of the world, we ignore the over-population of farm animals, to which we ourselves contribute...[t]hat, however, is only part of the damage done by the animals we deliberately breed. The energy intensive factory farming methods of the industrialised nations are responsible for the consumption of huge amounts of fossil fuels. Chemical fertilizers, used to grow the feed crops for cattle in feedlots and pigs and chickens kept indoors in sheds, produce nitrous oxide, another greenhouse gas. Then there is the loss of forests. Everywhere, forest-dwellers, both human and non-human, can be pushed out. Since 1960, 25 percent of the forests of Central America have been cleared for cattle. Once cleared, the poor soils will support grazing for a few years; then the graziers must move on. Shrub takes over the abandoned pasture, but the forest does not return. When the forests are cleared so the cattle can graze, billions of tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. Finally, the world's cattle are thought to produce about 20 percent of the methane released into the atmosphere, and methane traps twenty-five times as much heat from the sun as carbon dioxide. Factory farm manure also produces methane because, unlike manured dropped naturally in the fields, it dies not decompose in the presence of oxygen. All of this amounts to a compelling reason...for a plant based diet.
Peter Singer (Practical Ethics)
Finally, I would like to assure my many Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim friends that I am sincerely happy that the religion which Chance has given you has contributed to your peace of mind (and often, as Western medical science now reluctantly admits, to your physical well-being). Perhaps it is better to be un-sane and happy, than sane and un-happy. But it is the best of all to be sane and happy. Whether our descendants can achieve that goal will be the greatest challenge of the future. Indeed, it may well decide whether we have any future.
Arthur C. Clarke (3001: The Final Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #4))
This election is about the past vs. the future. It's about whether we settle for the same divisions and distractions and drama that passes for politics today or whether we reach for a politics of common sense and innovation, a politics of shared sacrifice and shared prosperity. There are those who will continue to tell us that we can't do this, that we can't have what we're looking for, that we can't have what we want, that we're peddling false hopes. But here is what I know. I know that when people say we can't overcome all the big money and influence in Washington, I think of that elderly woman who sent me a contribution the other day, an envelope that had a money order for $3.01 along with a verse of scripture tucked inside the envelope. So don't tell us change isn't possible. That woman knows change is possible. When I hear the cynical talk that blacks and whites and Latinos can't join together and work together, I'm reminded of the Latino brothers and sisters I organized with and stood with and fought with side by side for jobs and justice on the streets of Chicago. So don't tell us change can't happen. When I hear that we'll never overcome the racial divide in our politics, I think about that Republican woman who used to work for Strom Thurmond, who is now devoted to educating inner city-children and who went out into the streets of South Carolina and knocked on doors for this campaign. Don't tell me we can't change. Yes, we can. Yes, we can change. Yes, we can. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can seize our future. And as we leave this great state with a new wind at our backs and we take this journey across this great country, a country we love, with the message we carry from the plains of Iowa to the hills of New Hampshire, from the Nevada desert to the South Carolina coast, the same message we had when we were up and when we were down, that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we will hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubt and fear and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of the American people in three simple words -- yes, we can.
Barack Obama
One of the most painful parts of teaching mathematics is seeing students damaged by the cult of the genius. The genius cult tells students it’s not worth doing mathematics unless you’re the best at mathematics, because those special few are the only ones whose contributions matter. We don’t treat any other subject that way! I’ve never heard a student say, “I like Hamlet, but I don’t really belong in AP English—that kid who sits in the front row knows all the plays, and he started reading Shakespeare when he was nine!” Athletes don’t quit their sport just because one of their teammates outshines them. And yet I see promising young mathematicians quit every year, even though they love mathematics, because someone in their range of vision was “ahead” of them.
Jordan Ellenberg (How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking)
Some people awake each morning dreading the day looking for the negatives in their lives and in others, while some awaken fresh appreciating the opportunity to contribute to life, making the world a better place and see the positives. Neither is right or wrong for we are human, we all make a conscience choice everyday as to who we shall be.
Mark W. Boyer
The addiction crisis is terrifying, and many people don’t comprehend appropriate opioid use. When I first started taking pain medication, I remember a family member saying, “Dianne, you’re going to become an addict!” We need to help people understand that taking pain medicine to maximize one’s ability to be productive and to sustain enriching relationships is very different than the disease of addiction, which limits one’s ability to contribute to society and maintain healthy habits.
Dianne Bourque
Journalists can sound grandiose when they talk about their profession. Some of us are adrenaline junkies; some of us are escapists; some of us do wreck our personal lives and hurt those who love us most. This work can destroy people. I have seen so many friends and colleagues become unrecognizable from trauma: short-tempered, sleepless, and alienated from friends. But after years of witnessing so much suffering in the world, we find it hard to acknowledge that lucky, free, prosperous people like us might be suffering, too. We feel more comfortable in the darkest places than we do back home, where life seems too simple and too easy. We don’t listen to that inner voice that says it is time to take a break from documenting other people’s lives and start building our own. Under it all, however, are the things that sustain us and bring us together: the privilege of witnessing things that others do not; an idealistic belief that a photograph might affect people’s souls; the thrill of creating art and contributing to the world’s database of knowledge. When I return home and rationally consider the risks, the choices are difficult. But when I am doing my work, I am alive and I am me. It’s what I do. I am sure there are other versions of happiness, but this one is mine.
Lynsey Addario (It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War)
it was only when children’s actual economic value declined, because they were no longer necessary additions to the household labor force, that they became the priceless little treasures we know them as today. Once they started costing more to raise than they contributed to the household economy, there had to be some justification for having them, which is when the story that having children was a big emotionally fulfilling thing first started taking hold.
Laura Kipnis (Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids)
Life is not about control or making things happen in the ways we think they should happen. In fact, it's rather arrogant for us to be on this planet that's been here for so long and expect to be able to control life on it. If we want to see changes, then our task is to set things in motion, not to micromanage and make them happen in the ways we think they should. If we have something that is possessing us, such as alcohol or our television sets or our cell phones, then it could be time to let it go and move on with our lives. If we're holding on to resentment and anger, we're simply raising our own stress levels and blood pressure, but we're not contributing anything positive to the situation--and it's time to let it go.
Tom Walsh
A child is a Soul, a Unit Consciousness materialized on Earth to learn, fulfill its purpose contributing within the Matrix of Gaia. Our parents fought for ‘Expression of Thoughts’, ‘Equality’, we now have a task to fight for the Supremacy of Love over Control within all Areas of Life.‘ Conscious Parenting by Natasa Pantovic Nuit Quotes about kids development soul
Nataša Pantović (Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents (AoL Mindfulness #5))
In 1995, each cast at The Second City was made up of four men and two women. When it was suggested that they switch one of the companies to three men and three women, the producers and directors had the same panicked reaction. 'You can't do that. There won't be enough parts to go around. There won't be enough for the girls.' This made no sense to me, probably because I speak English and have never had a head injury. We weren't doing _Death of a Salesman._ _We were making up the show ourselves. How could there not be enough parts?_ If everyone had something to contribute, there would be enough. The insulting implication, of course, was that the women wouldn't have any ideas.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
A providence is shaping our ends; a plan is developing in our lives; a supremely wise and loving Being is making all things work together for good. In the sequel of our life's story, we shall see that there was a meaning and necessity in all the previous incidents, except those that were the result of our own folly and sin, and that even these have been made to contribute to the final result. Trust Him, child of God: He is leading you by a right way to the celestial city of habitation; and as from the terrace of eternity you review the path by which you came from the morning-land of childhood, you will confess that He has done all things well.
F.B. Meyer
The stakes involved in Washington policy debates are often so high-- whether we send our young men and women to war; whether we allow stem cell research to go forward-- that even small differences in perspective are magnified. The demands of party loyalty, the imperative of campaigns, and the amplification of conflict by the media all contribute to an atmosphere of suspicion. Moreover, most people who serve in Washington have been trained either as lawyers or as political operatives-- professions that tend to place a premium on winning arguments rather than solving problems. I can see how, after a certain amount of time in the capital, it becomes tempting to assume that those who disagree with you have fundamentally different values-- indeed, that they are motivated by bad faith, and perhaps are bad people.
Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
I got the idea from our family’s plant book. The place where we recorded things you cannot trust to memory. The page begin’s with the person’s picture. A photo if we can find it. If not, a sketch or a painting by Peeta. Then, in my most careful handwriting, come all the details it would be a crime to forget. Lady licking Prim’s cheek. My father’s laugh. Peeta’s father with the cookies. The colour of Finnick’s eyes. What Cinna would do with a length of silk. Boggs reprogramming the Holo. Rue poised on her toes, arms slightly extended, like bird about to take flight. On and on. We seal the pages with salt water and promises to live well to make their deaths count. Haymitch finally joins us, contributing twenty-three years of tributes he was forced to mentor. Additions become smaller. An old memory that surfaces. A late promise preserved between the pages. Strange bits of happiness, like the photo of Finnick and Annie’s newborn son.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
Even utopias need a tax clause. For example, we could start with a transactions tax to rein in the financial industry. Back in 1970, American stocks were still held for an average of five years; forty years later, it’s a mere five days.21 If we imposed a transactions tax – where you would have to pay a fee each time you buy or sell a stock – those high-frequency traders who contribute almost nothing of social value would no longer profit from split-second buying and selling of financial assets. In
Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There)
Man was, and is, too shallow and cowardly to endure the fact of the mortality of everything living. He wraps it up in rose-coloured progress-optimism, he heaps upon it the flowers of literature, he crawls behind the shelter of ideals so as not to see anything. But impermanence, the birth and the passing, is the form of all that is actual -- from the stars, whose destiny is for us incalculable, right down to the ephemeral concourses on our planet. The life of the individual -- whether this be animal or plant or man -- is as perishable as that of peoples of Cultures. Every creation is foredoomed to decay, every thought, every discovery, every deed to oblivion. Here, there, and everywhere we are sensible of grandly fated courses of history that have vanished. Ruins of the "have-been" works of dead Cultures lie all about us. The hybris of Prometheus, who thrust his hand into the heavens in order to make the divine powers subject to man, carries with it his fall. What, then, becomes of the chatter about "undying achievements"?
Oswald Spengler (Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life)
When we held Owen Meany above our heads, when we passed him back and forth - so effortlessly - we believed that Owen weighed nothing at all. We did not realize that there were forces beyond our play. Now I know that they were the forces that contributed to our illusion of Owen's weightlessness; they were the forces we didn't have the faith to feel, they were the forces we failed to believe in - and they were also lifting up Owen Meany, taking him out of our hands. O God - please give him back! I shall keep asking You.
John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)
Other eras and cultures often asked different questions from the ones we ask now: What is the most meaningful thing you can do with your life? What’s your contribution to the world or your community? Do you live according to your principles? What will your legacy be? What does your life mean? Maybe our obsession with happiness is a way not to ask those other questions, a way to ignore how spacious our lives can be, how effective our work can be, and how far-reaching our love can be.
Rebecca Solnit (The Mother of All Questions)
People didn't like having to come up with something smart or helpful or sensitive to say, and they weren't intelligent enough to realize that all we wanted, all I wanted, was to be treated the same as I had been three months before. I wanted to be ignored because of my eccentricities, not because of my brother. And I wanted to be offered help from people because they cared about me, not because they felt some strange social obligation to do so. I wanted the world to sit back, listen up, and let me explain to it that when someone is sad and hopeless, the last thing they need to feel is that they are the only ones in the world with that feeling. So, if you feel sorry for someone, don't pretend to be happy. Don't pretend to care only about their problems. People aren't stupid. Not all of us, anyway. If someone's little brother disappears, don't give him a free hamburger to make him feel better-- it doesn't work. It's a good burger, sure, but it means nothing. It means something only to the Mr. Burkes of the world. Offering free meals, free stays in condos in Florida, even free plumbing. And we let them. We let them because they need it, not us. We didn't let them help us because we needed it, we let them help us because inside of humans is this thing, this unnamed need to feel as if we were useful in the world. To feel as if we have something significant to contribute. So, old ladies, make your casseroles and set them on doorsteps. And old men, grill your burgers and give them to teenagers with cynical worldviews. The world can't be satisfied, but that need to fix it all can.
John Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back)
Enforcing silence is easy. All you have to do is make it feel like the safest option. You can, for example, make speaking as unpleasant as possible, by creating an anonymous social media account to flood women with virulent personal criticism, sexual harassment, and threats. You can talk over women, or talk down to them, until they begin to doubt that they have anything worthwhile to say. You can encourage men's speech, and ignore women's, so that women will get the message that they are taking up too much room, and contributing too little value. You can nitpick a woman's actual voice—the way she writes, her grammar, her tone, her register, her accent—until she honestly believes she's bad at talking, and spends more time trying to sound 'better' than thinking about what she wants to say. And if a woman somehow makes it past all this, you can humiliate her anyway.
Sady Doyle (Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear... and Why)
Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place whey are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it. As busy, active, relevant ministers, we want to earn our bread by making a real contribution. This means first and foremost doing something to show that our presence makes a difference. And so we ignore our greatest gift, which is our ability to enter into solidarity with those who suffer.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
HSPs tend to fill that advisor role. We are the writers, historians, philosophers, judges, artists, researchers, theologians, therapists, teachers, parents, and plain conscientious citizens. What we bring to any of these roles is a tendency to think about all the possible effects of an idea. Often we have to make ourselves unpopular by stopping the majority from rushing ahead. Thus, to perform our role well, we have to feel very good about ourselves. We have to ignore all the messages from the warriors that we are not as good as they are. The warriors have their bold style, which has its value. But we, too, have our style and our own important contribution to make.
Elaine N. Aron (The Highly Sensitive Person)
I just think of people," she continued, "whether they seem right where they are and fit into the picture. I don't mind if they don't do anything. I don't see why they should; in fact it always astonishes me when anybody does anything." "You don't want to do anything?" "I want to sleep." -Gloria Gilbert "Once upon a time all the men of mind and genius in the world became of one belief--that is to say, of no belief. But it wearied them to think that within a few years after their death many cults and systems and prognostications would be ascribed to them which they had never meditated nor intended. So they said to one another: "'Let's join together and make a great book that will last forever to mock the credulity of man. Let's persuade our more erotic poets to write about the delights of the flesh, and induce some of our robust journalists to contribute stories of famous amours. We'll include all the most preposterous old wives' tales now current. We'll choose the keenest satirist alive to compile a deity from all the deities worshipped by mankind, a deity who will be more magnificent than any of them, and yet so weakly human that he'll become a byword for laughter the world over--and we'll ascribe to him all sorts of jokes and vanities and rages, in which he'll be supposed to indulge for his own diversion, so that the people will read our book and ponder it, and there'll be no more nonsense in the world. "'Finally, let us take care that the book possesses all the virtues of style, so that it may last forever as a witness to our profound scepticism and our universal irony.' "So the men did, and they died. "But the book lived always, so beautifully had it been written, and so astounding the quality of imagination with which these men of mind and genius had endowed it. They had neglected to give it a name, but after they were dead it became known as the Bible." -Maury Noble
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned)
I do not believe ADD leads to creativity any more than creativity causes ADD. Rather, they both originate in the same inborn trait: sensitivity. For creativity, a temperamental sensitivity is indispensable. The sensitive individual, as we have seen, draws into herself the unseen emotional and psychic communications of her environment. On some levels of the unconscious, she will, therefore, have a deeper awareness of the world. She may also be more attuned to particular sensory input, such as sound, color or musical tone. Thus the sensitivity provides her with the raw materials her mind will rework and reshape. Thus sensitivity contributes to the emergence of attention deficit disorder, as well as to creativity. Colin,
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates And What You Can Do About It)
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
John Keating
Scientists still do not appear to understand sufficiently that all earth sciences must contribute evidence toward unveiling the state of our planet in earlier times, and that the truth of the matter can only be reached by combing all this evidence. ... It is only by combing the information furnished by all the earth sciences that we can hope to determine 'truth' here, that is to say, to find the picture that sets out all the known facts in the best arrangement and that therefore has the highest degree of probability. Further, we have to be prepared always for the possibility that each new discovery, no matter what science furnishes it, may modify the conclusions we draw.
Alfred Wegener (The Origin of Continents and Oceans)
A TV show comprises many departments—Costumes, Props, Talent, Graphics, Set Dressing, Transportation. Everyone in every department wants to show off their skills and contribute creatively to the show, which is a blessing. You’re grateful to work with people who are talented and enthusiastic about their jobs. You would think that as a producer, your job would be to churn up creativity, but mostly your job is to police enthusiasm. You may have an occasion where the script calls for a bran muffin on a white plate and the Props Department shows up with a bran cake in the shape of Santa Claus sitting on a silver platter that says “Welcome to Denmark.” “We just thought it would be funny.” And you have to find a polite way to explain that the character is Jewish, so her eating Santa’s face might have negative connotations, and the silver tray, while beautiful, is giving a weird glare on camera and maybe let’s go with the bran muffin on the white plate. And then sometimes Actors have what they call “ideas.” Usually it involves them talking more, or, in the case of more experienced actors, sitting more. When Actors have ideas it’s very important to get to the core reason behind their idea.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. There are black men and white men and yellow men and red men, but nothing counts except whether they're honest men or dishonest men. "Some men work almost entirely with their brains; some almost entirely with their hands; though most of us have to use both. But we all fall into one of the two classes--honest and dishonest. "Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest. The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He planned it so that it would yield every single thing that the people on it need. But He was careful to plan it so that it would only yield up its wealth in exchange for the labor of man. Any man who tries to share in that wealth without contributing the work of his brain or his hands is dishonest.
Ralph Moody
We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
Tom Schulman
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness. Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out. Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
Shaun Usher (Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Circulation)
하이햄프"텔레+위커:HighHemp,"Full Disclosure: I'm a big MJ fan, so any publication that puts him in a good light is going to get high marks from me. While I do have a problem with outsiders trying to make a fast buck off MJ's (still years after his passing) rather valuable name, I was happy to use my B&N (sorry Amazon) giftcard to purchase Ms. Jones' book. It was very readable, as publications written by journalists are apt to be, and it was full of information. I always assume info written by jouranlists is going to be biased, even though we are supposed to count on them to just report the facts, I was intrigued by this one because Ms. Jones was one of the journalists who were hell-bent on crucifying MJ. Another reason I was a little hesitant to contribute to her fortune. 텔레그램 혹은 위커메신저 아이디: HighHemp 텔레그램 혹은 위커메신저 아이디: HighHemp 텔레그램 혹은 위커메신저 아이디: HighHemp 텔레그램 혹은 위커메신저 아이디: HighHemp 텔레그램 혹은 위커메신저 아이디: HighHemp
"하이햄프"텔레+위커:HighHemp,"Full Disclosure:
We deem it opportune to remind our children of their duty to take an active part in public life and to contribute toward the attainment of the common good of the entire human family as well as to that of their own political community. They should endeavor, therefore, in the light of their Christian faith and led by love, to insure that the various institutions—whether economic, social, cultural or political in purpose—should be such as not to create obstacles, but rather to facilitate or render less arduous man’s perfecting of himself in both the natural order and the supernatural.... Every believer in this world of ours must be a spark of light, a center of love, a vivifying leaven amidst his fellow men. And he will be this all the more perfectly, the more closely he lives in communion with God in the intimacy of his own soul
Pope John XXIII (Pacem in Terris: On Establishing Universal Peace)
Happiness, as far as we are concerned, is achieved through living a meaningful life, a life that is filled with passion and freedom, a life in which we can grow as individuals and contribute to other people in meaningful ways. Growth and contribution: those are the bedrocks of happiness. Not stuff. This may not sound sexy or marketable or sellable, but it’s the cold truth. Humans are happy if we are growing as individuals and if we are contributing beyond ourselves. Without growth, and without a deliberate effort to help others, we are just slaves to cultural expectations, ensnared by the trappings of money and power and status and perceived success.
Joshua Fields Millburn (Minimalism: Essential Essays)
We were all made with the potential to be the people we are supposed to be. We all have souls and we all have minds and we all have wills. Many people look at the world and see a beautiful place full of potential and love and beauty those are the people you want as friends. But many people look at the world and see a place that hurts, that causes pain, that destroys and corrupts. Those are the people you don't want to have as friends, for those are the people who will pull you down with them, who will fill your mind with similar thoughts, who will turn you from a positive person to a negative person. God made us all with the potential to be positive people, contributing to the growth of this world, but many people choose to be negative, diminishing the light of those who wish to do good.' 'Why?' Walker asked. 'Because, my friend, it's easier. It's unfortunate, but it's true. It's much easier for a person to think that the world will not let him advance, because then that person won't have many expectations of himself, and it's easier to fulfill low expectations.
Tom Walsh
You will know if you are too acidic if you get sick often, get urinary tract infections, suffer from headaches, and have bad breath and body odor (when you do not use antiperspirant). Acidosis is the medical term for a blood alkalinity of less than 7.35. A normal reading is called homeostasis. It is not considered a disease; although in and of itself it is recognized as an indicator of disease. Your blood feeds your organs and tissues; so if your blood is acidic, your organs will suffer and your body will have to compensate for this imbalance somehow. We need to do all we can to keep our blood alkalinity high. The way to do this is to dramatically increase our intake of alkaline-rich elements like fresh, clean air; fresh, clean water; raw vegetables (particularly their juices); and sunlight, while drastically reducing our intake of and exposure to acid-forming substances: pollution, cigarettes, hard alcohol, white flour, white sugar, red meat, and coffee. By tipping the scales in the direction of alkalinity through alkaline diet and removal of acid waste through cleansing, and acidic body can become an alkaline one. "Bear in mind that some substances that are alkaline outside the body, like milk, are acidic to the body; meaning that they leave and acid reside in the tissues, just as many substances that are acidic outside the body, like lemons and ripe tomatoes, are alkaline and healing in the body and contribute to the body's critical alkaline reserve.
Natalia Rose (Detox for Women: An All New Approach for a Sleek Body and Radiant Health in 4 Weeks)
Loving, of enemies is another dogma of feigned morality, and has besides no meaning. It is incumbent on man, as a moralist, that he does not revenge an injury; and it is equally as good in a political sense, for there is no end to retaliation; each retaliates on the other, and calls it justice: but to love in proportion to the injury, if it could be done, would be to offer a premium for a crime. Besides, the word enemies is too vague and general to be used in a moral maxim, which ought always to be clear and defined, like a proverb. If a man be the enemy of another from mistake and prejudice, as in the case of religious opinions, and sometimes in politics, that man is different to an enemy at heart with a criminal intention; and it is incumbent upon us, and it contributes also to our own tranquillity, that we put the best construction upon a thing that it will bear. But even this erroneous motive in him makes no motive for love on the other part; and to say that we can love voluntarily, and without a motive, is morally and physically impossible. Morality is injured by prescribing to it duties that, in the first place, are impossible to be performed, and if they could be would be productive of evil; or, as before said, be premiums for crime. The maxim of doing as we would be done unto does not include this strange doctrine of loving enemies; for no man expects to be loved himself for his crime or for his enmity. Those who preach this doctrine of loving their enemies, are in general the greatest persecutors, and they act consistently by so doing; for the doctrine is hypocritical, and it is natural that hypocrisy should act the reverse of what it preaches. For my own part, I disown the doctrine, and consider it as a feigned or fabulous morality; yet the man does not exist that can say I have persecuted him, or any man, or any set of men, either in the American Revolution, or in the French Revolution; or that I have, in any case, returned evil for evil.
Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
For my present purpose I require a word which shall embrace both the Sub-Creative Art in itself, and a quality of strangeness and wonder in the Expression, derived from the Image: a quality essential to fairy-story. I propose, therefore, to arrogate to myself the powers of Humpty-Dumpty, and to use Fantasy for this purpose: in a sense, that is, which combines with its older and higher use as an equivalent of Imagination the derived notions of 'unreality' (that is, of unlikeness to the Primary World), of freedom from the dominion of 'observed fact,' in short of the fantastic. I am thus not only aware but glad of the etymological and semantic connexions of fantasy with fantastic: with images of things that are not only 'not actually present,' but which are indeed not to be found in our primary world at all, or are generally believed not to be found there. But while admitting that, I do not assent to the depreciative tone. That the images are of things not in the primary world (if that indeed is possible) is, I think, not a lower but a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so (when achieved) the most Potent. Fantasy, of course, starts out with an advantage: arresting strangeness. But that advantage has been turned against it, and has contributed to its disrepute. Many people dislike being 'arrested.' They dislike any meddling with the Primary World, or such small glimpses of it as are familiar to them. They, therefore, stupidly and even maliciously confound Fantasy with Dreaming, in which there is no Art; and with mental disorders, in which there is not even control; with delusion and hallucination. But the error or malice, engendered by disquiet and consequent dislike, is not the only cause of this confusion. Fantasy has also an essential drawback: it is difficult to achieve. . . . Anyone inheriting the fantastic device of human language can say the green sun. Many can then imagine or picture it. But that is not enough -- though it may already be a more potent thing than many a 'thumbnail sketch' or 'transcript of life' that receives literary praise. To make a Secondary World inside which the green sun will be credible, commanding Secondary Belief, will probably require labour and thought, and will certainly demand a special skill, a kind of elvish craft. Few attempt such difficult tasks. But when they are attempted and in any degree accomplished then we have a rare achievement of Art: indeed narrative art, story-making in its primary and most potent mode.
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Warrior archetype is hard-wired into our brain structure. Socialization means repression, which only keeps aggressiveness in an all the more volatile, compressed, and explosive form. But aggression is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. In many ways legitimate aggression contributes vitally to our lives. In aggression we find our drives for life, career, social contact, self-definition, and service. Perseverance and fidelity are products of the Warriors determination. Though the Lover initiates a relationship, it is the Warrior who maintains it-without the Warrior the Lover is merely promiscuous. The answer then is not to banish any of the archetypes, but to work on achieving the maturity necessary to manage them.
Douglas Gillette (Warrior Within: Accessing the Knight in the Male Psyche)
When we encounter a friend who's depressed or afraid, we automatically try to take that distress away and to cheer the person up. While we may be operating with the best of intentions, this Band-Aid approach only reinforces the condition. Unless people experience their pain completely and begin to undrstand it, they will not only fail to overcome it, they'll also lose the opportunity of using it to advance their own growth. Pain can get you somewhere, and that somewhere can be a life-enhancing experience. We all tend to forget that pain can signal change. Alleviating the symptoms of pain in someone, without helping them to get at its underlying source, robs them of an important to for self-exploration. It's also a way of placating that reinforces the person'S need to cave in and succumb to another. This attitude undermines healthy character development and contributes to psychospiritual, moral, and ultimately social decay.
Adele von Rust McCormick (Horse Sense and the Human Heart)
For sure we live in a youth-obsessed culture that is constantly trying to tell us that if we’re not young and glowing and “hot,” we don’t matter. But I refuse to buy into such a distorted view of reality. And I would never lie about or deny my age. To do so is to contribute to a sickness pervading our society—the sickness of wanting to be what you’re not. I know for sure that only by owning who and what you are can you step into the fullness of life. I feel sorry for anyone who buys into the myth that you can be what you once were. The way to your best life isn’t denial. It’s owning every moment and staking a claim to the here and now. You’re not the same woman you were a decade ago; if you’re lucky, you’re not the same woman you were last year. The whole point of aging, as I see it, is change. If we let them, our experiences can keep teaching us about ourselves. I celebrate that. Honor it. Hold it in reverence. And I’m grateful for every age I’m blessed to become.
Oprah Winfrey (What I Know for Sure)
Every individual is multicultural; cultures are not monolithic islands but criss-crossed alluvial plains. Individual identity stems from the encounter of multiple collective identities within one and the same person; each of our various affiliations contributes to the formation of the unique creature that we are. Human beings are not all similar, or entirely different; they are all plural within themselves, and share their constitutive traits with very varied groups, combining them in an individual way. The cohabitation of different types of belonging within each one of us does not in general cause any problems- and this ought , in turn, to arouse admiration: like a juggler, we keep all the balls of our identity in the air at once, with the greatest ease! Individual identity results from the interweaving of several collective identities; it is not alone in this respect. What is the origin of the culture of a human group? The reply- paradoxically- is that it comes from previous cultures. A new culture arises from the encounter between several smaller cultures, or from the decomposition of a bigger culture, or from interaction with neighboring culture. There is never a human life prior to the advent of culture.
Tzvetan Todorov
The longstanding effort to "colorize" feminist theory by inserting the experiences of women of color represents at best genuine efforts to reduce bias in Women's Studies. But at its worst, colorization also contains elements of both voyeurism and academic colonialism. As a result of new technologies and perceived profitability, we can now watch black-and-white movie classics in color. While the tinted images we are offered may be more palatable to the modern viewer, we are still watching the same old movie that was offered to us before. Movie colorization adds little of substance-its contributions remain cosmetic. Similarly, women of color allegedly can teach White feminists nothing about feminism, but must confine ourselves to "colorizing" preexisting feminist theory. Rather than seeing women of color as fully human individuals, we are treated as the additive sum of our categories.
Patricia Hill Collins (On Intellectual Activism)
The fact that it has nothing else to contribute to human wisdom is no reason to hand religion a free licence to tell us what to do. Which religion, anyway? The one in which we happen to have been brought up? To which chapter, then, of which book of the Bible should we turn—for they are far from unanimous and some of them are odious by any reasonable standards. How many literalists have read enough of the Bible to know that the death penalty is prescribed for adultery, for gathering sticks on the sabbath and for cheeking your parents? If we reject Deuteronomy and Leviticus (as all enlightened moderns do), by what criteria do we then decide which of religion's moral values to accept? Or should we pick and choose among all the world's religions until we find one whose moral teaching suits us? If so, again we must ask, by what criterion do we choose? And if we have independent criteria for choosing among religious moralities, why not cut out the middle man and go straight for the moral choice without the religion?
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
Cognitive science has something of enormous importance to contribute to human freedom: the ability to learn what our unconscious conceptual systems are like and how our cognitive unconscious functions. If we do not realize that most of our thought is unconscious and that we think metaphorically, we will indeed be slaves to the cognitive unconscious. Paradoxically, the assumption that we have a radically autonomous rationality as traditionally conceived actually limits our rational autonomy. It condemns us to cognitive slavery - to an unaware and uncritical dependence on our unconscious metaphors. To maximize what conceptual freedom we can have, we must be able to see through and move beyond philosophies that deny the existence of an embodied cognitive unconscious that governs most of our mental lives.
George Lakoff (Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought)
Nowadays, being “connected” means 24/7 availability. Emailing, texting, Twittering, calling, keeping one’s website and Facebook status current seem essential to being and remaining relevant in the world. In addition to the positive impact of globally interconnecting humanity, the information era is also contributing to the creation of a high-tech, low-touch society. It is impacting language, the publishing world, education, and social revolts. Neurologists and other pundits, including Nicholas Carr in his Atlantic article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, point out the paradoxical downsides of not setting healthy boundaries or applying discipline to how we engage technology. Some have gone so far as to suggest that it is making us “spiritually stupid” by keeping us too distracted to participate in spiritual practices. But how about this: can using technology with mindfulness lead to beneficial social and spiritual connection?
Michael Bernard Beckwith (Life Visioning: A Transformative Process for Activating Your Unique Gifts and Highest Potential)
When we die there are two things we can leave behind us: genes and memes. We were built as gene machines, created to pass on our genes. But that aspect of us will be forgotten in three generations. Your child, even your grandchild, may bear a resemblance to you, perhaps in facial features, in a talent for music, in the colour of her hair. But as each generation passes, the contribution of your genes is halved. It does not take long to reach negligible proportions. Our genes may be immortal but the collection of genes that is any one of us is bound to crumble away. Elizabeth II is a direct descendant of William the Conqueror. Yet it is quite probable that she bears not a single one of the old king’s genes. We should not seek immortality in reproduction. But if you contribute to the world’s culture, if you have a good idea, compose a tune, invent a sparking plug, write a poem, it may live on, intact, long after your genes have dissolved in the common pool. Socrates may or may not have a gene or two alive in the world today, as G. C. Williams has remarked, but who cares? The memecomplexes of Socrates, Leonardo, Copernicus and Marconi are still going strong.
Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene)
Dear Mr. Nadeau: As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness. Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society – things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out. Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day. Sincerely, E. B. White
E.B. White
Surveys have shown that ranking very close to the fear of death is the fear of public speaking. Why would someone feel profound fear, deep in his or her stomach, about public speaking, which is so far from death? Because it isn’t so far from death when we link it. Those who fear public speaking actually fear the loss of identity that attaches to performing badly, and that is firmly rooted in our survival needs. For all social animals, from ants to antelopes, identity is the pass card to inclusion, and inclusion is the key to survival. If a baby loses its identity as the child of his or her parents, a possible outcome is abandonment. For a human infant, that means death. As adults, without our identity as a member of the tribe or village, community or culture, a likely outcome is banishment and death. So the fear of getting up and addressing five hundred people at the annual convention of professionals in your field is not just the fear of embarrassment—it is linked to the fear of being perceived as incompetent, which is linked to the fear of loss of employment, loss of home, loss of family, your ability to contribute to society, your value, in short, your identity and your life. Linking an unwarranted fear to its ultimate terrible destination usually helps alleviate that fear. Though you may find that public speaking can link to death, you’ll see that it would be a long and unlikely trip.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
Because we cannot discover God's throne in the sky with a radiotelescope or establish (for certain) that a beloved father or mother is still about in a more or less corporeal form, people assume that such ideas are "not true." I would rather say that they are not "true" enough, for these are conceptions of a kind that have accompanied human life from prehistoric times, and that still break through into consciousness at any provocation. Modern man may assert that he can dispose with them, and he may bolster his opinion by insisting that there is no scientific evidence of their truth. Or he may even regret the loss of his convictions. But since we are dealing with invisible and unknowable things (for God is beyond human understanding, and there is no means of proving immortality), why should we bother about evidence? Even if we did not know by reason our need for salt in our food, we should nonetheless profit from its use. We might argue that the use of salt is a mere illusion of taste or a superstition; but it would still contribute to our well-being. Why, then, should we deprive ourselves of views that would prove helpful in crises and would give a meaning to our existence? And how do we know that such ideas are not true? Many people would agree with me if I stated flatly that such ideas are probably illusions. What they fail to realize is that the denial is as impossible to "prove" as the assertion of religious belief. We are entirely free to choose which point of view we take; it will in any case be an arbitrary decision. There is, however, a strong empirical reason why we should cultivate thoughts that can never be proved. It is that they are known to be useful. Man positively needs general ideas and convictions that will give a meaning to his life and enable him to find a place for himself in the universe. He can stand the most incredible hardships when he is convinced that they make sense; he is crushed when, on top of all his misfortunes, he has to admit that he is taking part in a "tale told by an idiot." It is the role of religious symbols to give a meaning to the life of man. The Pueblo Indians believe that they are the sons of Father Sun, and this belief endows their life with a perspective (and a goal) that goes far beyond their limited existence. It gives them ample space for the unfolding of personality and permits them a full life as complete persons. Their plight is infinitely more satisfactory than that of a man in our own civilization who knows that he is (and will remain) nothing more than an underdog with no inner meaning to his life.
C.G. Jung (Man and His Symbols)
Our talent for division, for seeing the parts, is of staggering importance – second only to our capacity to transcend it, in order to see the whole. These gifts of the left hemisphere have helped us achieve nothing less than civilisation itself, with all that that means. Even if we could abandon them, which of course we can't, we would be fools to do so, and would come off infinitely the poorer. There are siren voices that call us to do exactly that, certainly to abandon clarity and precision (which, in any case, importantly depend on both hemispheres), and I want to emphasise that I am passionately opposed to them. We need the ability to make fine discriminations, and to use reason appropriately. But these contributions need to be made in the service of something else, that only the right hemisphere can bring. Alone they are destructive. And right now they may be bringing us close to forfeiting the civilisation they helped to create.
Iain McGilchrist (The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World)
Boys who grow up seeing themselves everywhere as powerful and central just by virtue of being boys, often white, are critically impaired in many ways. It’s a rude shock to many when things don’t turn out the way they were told they should. It seems reasonable to suggest media misrepresentations like these contribute, in boys, to a heightened inability to empathize with others, a greater propensity to peg ambition to intrinsic qualities instead of effort and a failure to understand why rules apply or why accountability is a thing. It should mean something to parents that the teenagers with the highest likelihood of sexually assaulting a peer and feel no responsibility for their actions are young white boys from higher-income families. The real boy crisis we should be talking about is entitlement and outdated notions of masculinity, both of which are persistently responsible for leaving boys confused and unprepared for contemporary adulthood.
Soraya Chemaly
To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life. In a sense it might even be said that our failure is to form habits: for, after all, habit is relative to a stereotyped world, and meantime it is only the roughness of the eye that makes two persons, things, situations, seem alike. While all melts under our feet, we may well grasp at any exquisite passion, or any contribution to knowledge that seems by a lifted horizon to set the spirit free for a moment, or any stirring of the sense, strange dyes, strange colours, and curious odours, or work of the artist’s hands, or the face of one’s friend. Not to discriminate every moment some passionate attitude in those about us, and in the very brilliancy of their gifts some tragic dividing on their ways, is, on this short day of frost and sun, to sleep before evening. With this sense of the splendour of our experience and of its awful brevity, gathering all we are into one desperate effort to see and touch, we shall hardly have time to make theories about the things we see and touch. What we have to do is to be for ever curiously testing new opinions and courting new impressions, never acquiescing in a facile orthodoxy, of Comte, or of Hegel, or of our own. Philosophical theories or ideas, as points of view, instruments of criticism, may help us to gather up what might otherwise pass unregarded by us. “Philosophy is the microscope of thought.” The theory or idea or system which requires of us the sacrifice of any part of this experience, in consideration of some interest into which we cannot enter, or some abstract theory we have not identified with ourselves, or of what is only conventional, has no real claim upon us.
Walter Pater
Our privileges are the things not within our own control that push us forward and move us ahead from that starting line. Acknowledging them does not mean you are admitting to doing something to purposefully contribute to someone else’s oppression or marginalization. Nay, friends. It means you recognize that some part of your identity puts you in a better position than others. It means something about you assists your progress in the race of life. It also means that whatever majority group you belong to has likely contributed to the oppression of another. Knowing our privilege does not make us villains, but it should make us more conscious about the parts we play in systems that are greater than us. It should make us be more thoughtful; it should humble us. We need to admit that some of us had a head start and aren’t just flourishing on our strength alone.
Luvvie Ajayi Jones (I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual)
He slouches,' DeeDee contributes. 'True--he needs to work on his posture,' Thelma says. 'You guys,' I say. 'I'm serious,' Thelma says. 'What if you get married? Don't you want to go to fancy dinners with him and be proud?' 'You guys. We are not getting married!' 'I love his eyes,' Jolene says. 'If your kids get his blue eyes and your dark hair--wouldn't that be fabulous?' 'The thing is,' Thelma says, 'and yes, I know, this is the tricky part--but I'm thinking Bliss has to actually talk to him. Am I right? Before they have their brood of brown-haired, blue-eyed children?' I swat her. "I'm not having Mitchell's children!' 'I'm sorry--what?' Thelma says. Jolene is shaking her head and pressing back laughter. Her expressing says, Shhh, you crazy girl! But I don't care. If they're going to embarrass me, then I'll embarrass them right back. 'I said'--I raise my voice--'I am not having Mitchell Truman's children!' Jolene turns beet red, and she and DeeDee dissolve into mad giggles. 'Um, Bliss?' Thelma says. Her gaze travels upward to someone behind me. The way she sucks on her lip makes me nervous. 'Okaaay, I think maybe I won't turn around,' I announce. A person of the male persuasion clears his throat. 'Definitely not turning around,' I say. My cheeks are burning. It's freaky and alarming how much heat is radiating from one little me. 'If you change your mind, we might be able to work something out,' the person of the male persuasion says. 'About the children?' DeeDee asks. 'Or the turning around?' 'DeeDee!' Jolene says. 'Both,' says the male-persuasion person. I shrink in my chair, but I raise my hand over my head and wave. 'Um, hi,' I say to the person behind me whom I'm still not looking at. 'I'm Bliss.' Warm fingers clasp my own. 'Pleased to meet you,' says the male-persuasion person. 'I'm Mitchell.' 'Hi, Mitchell.' I try to pull my hand from his grasp, but he won't let go. 'Um, bye now!' I tug harder. No luck. Thelma, DeeDee, and Jolene are close to peeing their pants. Fine. I twist around and give Mitchell the quickest of glances. His expressions is amused, and I grow even hotter. He squeezes my hand, then lets go. 'Just keep me in the loop if you do decide to bear my children. I'm happy to help out.' With that, he stride jauntily to the food line. Once he's gone, we lost it. Peals of laughter resound from our table, and the others in the cafeteria look at us funny. We laugh harder. 'Did you see!' Thelma gasps. 'Did you see how proud he was?' 'You improve his posture!' Jolene says. 'I'm so glad, since that was my deepest desire,' I say. 'Oh my God, I'm going to have to quit school and become a nun.' 'I can't believe you waved at him,' DeeDee says. 'Your hand was like a little periscope,' Jolene says. 'Or, no--like a white surrender flag.' 'It was a surrender flag. I was surrendering myself to abject humiliation.' 'Oh, please,' Thelma says, pulling me into a sideways hug. 'Think of it this way: Now you've officially talked to him.
Lauren Myracle (Bliss (Crestview Academy, #1))
We have to examine the extent to which we export poverty to other societies. When we decide that we will import products from China that are produced by people earning less than a dollar an hour, and grant their country most-favored-nation status (political contributions notwithstanding), we are deciding to make American workers who must earn the minimum wage compete with them. I am not suggesting that we close the doors to China or to Mexico, but I am suggesting that we look very carefully at the web of international relationships that we are creating. At the very minimum, we should understand that we have two choices in our country: we can raise world living standards by exporting those standards, or we can lower living standards- not only the world’s but also our own- by deciding that it is acceptable for the products of exploited labor to enter this country.
Julianne Malveaux
When we don’t pay close attention to the decisions made by our leaders, when we fail to educate ourselves about the major issues of the day, when we choose not to make our voices and opinions heard, that’s when democracy breaks down. That’s when power is abused. That’s when the most extreme voices in our society fill the void that we leave. That’s when powerful interests and their lobbyists are most able to buy access and influence in the corridors of power –- because none of us are there to speak up and stop them. Participation in public life doesn’t mean that you all have to run for public office -– though we could certainly use some fresh faces in Washington. (Laughter and applause.) But it does mean that you should pay attention and contribute in any way that you can. Stay informed. Write letters, or make phone calls on behalf of an issue you care about. If electoral politics isn’t your thing, continue the tradition so many of you started here at Michigan and find a way to serve your community and your country –- an act that will help you stay connected to your fellow citizens and improve the lives of those around you.
Barack Obama
As an African myself, I cannot tell how much proud and excited I am to see our nation having the first African-American president. This is a historical time for our nation. Arab and Muslim Americans are amongst those who overwhelmingly voted for Mr. Obama. As we know, there are about three million Arab Americans and about seven million Muslim Americans in this country. Not all Arab American are Muslims, and not all Muslim Americans are Arabs. These are very diverse communities. They come in all colors and backgrounds. They have been contributing to this nation for so long. Islam is not a foreign religion to this great nation of ours; Islam knew its way with the first sailors who came to America with Columbus after the fall of Granada in 1492. Islam was the religion of many Africans brought here to America. Muslim soldiers and chaplains contribute to the success of our military.
Aladdin Elaasar
By not talking about death with our loved ones, not being clear through advanced directives, DNR (do not resuscitate) orders, and funeral plans, we are directly contributing to this future ... and a rather bleak present, at that. Rather than engage in larger societal discussions about dignified ways for the terminally ill to end their lives, we accept intolerable cases like that of Angelita, a widow in Oakland who covered her head with a plastic bag because the arthritic pain of her gnarled joints was too much to bear. Or that of Victor in Los Angeles, who hung himself from the rafters of his apartment after his third unsuccessful round of chemotherapy, leaving his son to discover his body. Or the countless bodies with decubitus ulcers, more painful for me to care for them even babies or suicides. When these bodies come into the funeral home, I can only offer my sympathy to their living relatives, and promise to work to ensure that more people are not robbed of a dignified death by a culture of silence.
Caitlin Doughty (Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory)
When our hopes are most alive, it is less from a view of the imperfect beginnings of grace in our hearts, than from an apprehension of him who is our all in all. His person, his love, his sufferings, his intercession, his compassion, his fullness, and his faithfulness—these are our delightful themes, which leave us little leisure, when in our best frames, to speak of ourselves... If any people have contributed a mite to their own salvation, it was more than we could do. If any were obedient and faithful to the first calls and impressions of his Spirit, it was not our case. If any were prepared to receive him beforehand, we know that we were in a state of alienation from him. We needed sovereign, irresistible grace to save us, or we would be lost forever! If there are any who have a power of their own, we must confess ourselves poorer than they are. We cannot watch, unless he watches with us; we cannot strive, unless he strives with us; we cannot stand one moment, unless he holds us up; and we believe we must perish after all, unless his faithfulness is engaged to keep us. But this we trust he will do, not for our righteousness, but for his own name's sake, and because, having loved us with an everlasting love, he has been pleased in loving kindness to draw us to himself, and to be found by us when we sought him not.
John Newton (Select Letters of John Newton)
The fundamental core of contemporary Darwinism, the theory of DNA-based reproduction and evolution, is now beyond dispute among scientists. It demonstrates its power every day, contributing crucially to the explanation of planet-sized facts of geology and meteorology, through middle-sized facts of ecology and agronomy, down to the latest microscopic facts of genetic engineering. It unifies all of biology and the history of our planet into a single grand story. Like Gulliver tied down in Lilliput, it is unbudgeable, not because of some one or two huge chains of argument that might–hope against hope–have weak links in them, but because it is securely tied by hundreds of thousands of threads of evidence anchoring it to virtually every other field of knowledge. New discoveries may conceivably lead to dramatic, even 'revolutionary' shifts in the Darwinian theory, but the hope that it will be 'refuted' by some shattering breakthrough is about as reasonable as the hope that we will return to a geocentric vision and discard Copernicus.
Daniel C. Dennett (Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life)
If you’re going to build a strong culture, it’s paramount to make diversity one of your core values. This is what separates Bridgewater’s strong culture from a cult: The commitment is to promoting dissent. In hiring, instead of using similarity to gauge cultural fit, Bridgewater assesses cultural contribution.* Dalio wants people who will think independently and enrich the culture. By holding them accountable for dissenting, Dalio has fundamentally altered the way people make decisions. In a cult, core values are dogma. At Bridgewater, employees are expected to challenge the principles themselves. During training, when employees learn the principles, they’re constantly asked: Do you agree? “We have these standards that are stress tested over time, and you have to either operate by them or disagree with them and fight for better ones,” explains Zack Wieder, who works with Dalio on codifying the principles. Rather than deferring to the people with the greatest seniority or status, as was the case at Polaroid, decisions at Bridgewater are based on quality. The goal is to create an idea meritocracy, where the best ideas win. To get the best ideas on the table in the first place, you need radical transparency. Later, I’m going to challenge some of Dalio’s principles, but first I want to explain the weapons he has used to wage a war on groupthink.
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World)
Edward genially enough did not disagree with what I said, but he didn't seem to admit my point, either. I wanted to press him harder so I veered close enough to the ad hominem to point out that his life—the life of the mind, the life of the book collector and music lover and indeed of the gallery-goer, appreciator of the feminine and occasional boulevardier—would become simply unlivable and unthinkable in an Islamic republic. Again, he could accede politely to my point but carry on somehow as if nothing had been conceded. I came slowly to realize that with Edward, too, I was keeping two sets of books. We agreed on things like the first Palestinian intifadah, another event that took the Western press completely off guard, and we collaborated on a book of essays that asserted and defended Palestinian rights. This was in the now hard-to-remember time when all official recognition was withheld from the PLO. Together we debated Professor Bernard Lewis and Leon Wieseltier at a once-celebrated conference of the Middle East Studies Association in Cambridge in 1986, tossing and goring them somewhat in a duel over academic 'objectivity' in the wider discipline. But even then I was indistinctly aware that Edward didn't feel himself quite at liberty to say certain things, while at the same time feeling rather too much obliged to say certain other things. A low point was an almost uncritical profile of Yasser Arafat that he contributed to Interview magazine in the late 1980s.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
The War on Men Through the Degradation of Woman” - "How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only. The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes. I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection. There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status. It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer. He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize. He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him 4 four children. When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul. Power and control will NEVER out weigh love. May we all find our way.
Jada Pinkett Smith
When we strike a balance between the challenge of an activity and our skill at performing it, when the rhythm of the work itself feels in sync with our pulse, when we know that what we're doing matters, we can get totally absorbed in our task. That is happiness. The life coach Martha Beck asks new potential clients, "Is there anything you do regularly that makes you forget what time it is?" That forgetting -- that pure absorption -- is what the psychologist Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi calls "flow" or optimal experience. In an interview with Wired magazine, he described flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost." In a typical day that teeters between anxiety and boredom, flow experiences are those flashes of intense living -- bright against the dull. These optimal experiences can happen when we're engaged in work paid and unpaid, in sports, in music, in art. The researchers Maria Allison and Margaret Duncan have studied the role of flow in women's lives and looked at factors that contributed to what they call "antiflow." Antiflow was associated with repetitive household tasks, repetitive tasks at work, unchallenging tasks, and work we see as meaningless. But there's an element of chaos when it comes to flow. Even if we're doing meaningful and challenging work, that sense of total absoprtion can elude us. We might get completely and beautifully lost in something today, and, try as we might to re-create the same conditions tomorrow, our task might jsut feel like, well, work. In A Life of One's Own, Marion Milner described her effort to re-create teh conditions of her own recorded moments of happiness, saying, "Often when I felt certain that I had discovered the little mental act which produced the change I walked on air, exulting that I had found the key to my garden of delight and could slip through the door whenever I wished. But most often when I came again the place seemed different, the door overgrown with thorns and my key stuck in the lock. It was as if the first time I had said 'abracadabra' the door had opened, but the next time I must use a different word. (123-124).
Ariel Gore (Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness)
Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you. 1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He is often cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on. 2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time. 3. The master has a group of slave, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on. 4. The master allows the slave four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own. 5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking. 6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what use to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on. 7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into discussion of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers. 8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselve3s to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master may also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.) 9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome. The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of the slave?
Robert Nozick (Anarchy, State, and Utopia)
We need allies who are going to help us achieve a victory, not allies who are going to tell us to be nonviolent. If a white man wants to be your ally, what does he think of John Brown? You know what John Brown did? He went to war. He was a white man who went to war against white people to help free slaves. He wasn’t nonviolent. White people call John Brown a nut. Go read the history, go read what all of them say about John Brown. They’re trying to make it look like he was a nut, a fanatic. They made a movie on it, I saw a movie on the screen one night. Why, I would be afraid to get near John Brown if I go by what other white folks say about him. But they depict him in this image because he was willing to shed blood to free the slaves. And any white man who is ready and willing to shed blood for your freedom—in the sight of other whites, he’s nuts. As long as he wants to come up with some nonviolent action, they go for that, if he’s liberal, a nonviolent liberal, a love-everybody liberal. But when it comes time for making the same kind of contribution for your and my freedom that was necessary for them to make for their own freedom, they back out of the situation. So, when you want to know good white folks in history where black people are concerned, go read the history of John Brown. That was what I call a white liberal. But those other kind, they are questionable. So if we need white allies in this country, we don’t need those kind who compromise. We don’t need those kind who encourage us to be polite, responsible, you know. We don’t need those kind who give us that kind of advice. We don’t need those kind who tell us how to be patient. No, if we want some white allies, we need the kind that John Brown was, or we don’t need you. And the only way to get those kind is to turn in a new direction.
Malcolm X
I belong to a culture that includes Proust, Henry James, Tchaikovsky, Cole Porter, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Christopher Marlowe, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Tennessee Williams, Byron, E.M. Forster, Lorca, Auden, Francis Bacon, James Baldwin, Harry Stack Sullivan, John Maynard Keynes, Dag Hammarskjold… These are not invisible men. Poor Bruce. Poor frightened Bruce. Once upon a time you wanted to be a soldier. Bruce, did you know that an openly gay Englishman was as responsible as any man for winning the Second World War? His name was Alan Turing and he cracked the Germans' Enigma code so the Allies knew in advance what the Nazis were going to do — and when the war was over he committed suicide he was so hounded for being gay. Why don't they teach any of this in the schools? If they did, maybe he wouldn't have killed himself and maybe you wouldn't be so terrified of who you are. The only way we'll have real pride is when we demand recognition of a culture that isn't just sexual. It's all there—all through history we've been there; but we have to claim it, and identify who was in it, and articulate what's in our minds and hearts and all our creative contributions to this earth. And until we do that, and until we organize ourselves block by neighborhood by city by state into a united visible community that fights back, we're doomed. That's how I want to be defined: as one of the men who fought the war.
Larry Kramer (The Normal Heart)
I’m frustrated and sad to think of all the good people who have abandoned Christianity because they felt they had to choose between their faith and their intellectual integrity or between their religion and their compassion. I’m heartbroken to think of all the new ideas they could have contributed had someone not told them that new ideas were unwelcome. Of course, we all carry around false fundamentals. We all have unexamined assumptions and lists of rules, both spoken and unspoken, that weigh down our faith. We’ve all got little measuring sticks that help us determine who’s “in” and who’s “out,” and we’ve all got truths we don’t want to face because we’re afraid that our faith can’t withstand any change. It’s not just conservative Christians. Many of us who consider ourselves more progressive can be tolerant of everyone except the intolerant, judgmental toward those we deem judgmental, and unfairly critical of tradition or authority or doctrine or the establishment or whatever it is we’re in the process of deconstructing at the moment. In a way, we’re all fundamentalists. We all have pet theological systems, political positions, and standards of morality that are not essential to the gospel but that we cling to so tightly that we leave fingernail marks on the palms of our hands.
Rachel Held Evans (Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions)
Historically one of the main defects of constitutional government has been the failure to insure the fair value of political liberty. The necessary corrective steps have not been taken, indeed, they never seem to have been seriously entertained. Disparities in the distribution of property and wealth that far exceed what is compatible with political equality have generally been tolerated by the legal system. Public resources have not been devoted to maintaining the institutions required for the fair value of political liberty. Essentially the fault lies in the fact that the democratic political process is at best regulated rivalry; it does not even in theory have the desirable properties that price theory ascribes to truly competitive markets. Moreover, the effects of injustices in the political system are much more grave and long lasting than market imperfections. Political power rapidly accumulates and becomes unequal; and making use of the coercive apparatus of the state and its law, those who gain the advantage can often assure themselves of a favored position. Thus inequities in the economic and social system may soon undermine whatever political equality might have existed under fortunate historical conditions. Universal suffrage is an insufficient counterpoise; for when parties and elections are financed not by public funds but by private contributions, the political forum is so constrained by the wishes of the dominant interests that the basic measures needed to establish just constitutional rule are seldom properly presented. These questions, however, belong to political sociology. 116 I mention them here as a way of emphasizing that our discussion is part of the theory of justice and must not be mistaken for a theory of the political system. We are in the way of describing an ideal arrangement, comparison with which defines a standard for judging actual institutions, and indicates what must be maintained to justify departures from it.
John Rawls (A Theory of Justice)
-i was "far and away"-riding my motorcycle along an american back road, skiing through the snowy Quebec woods, or lying awake in a backwater motel. the theme i was grappling with was nothing less than the Meaning of Life, and i was pretty sure i had defined it: love and respect. love and respect, love and respect-i have been carrying those words around with me for two years, daring to consider that perhaps they convey the real meaning of life. beyond basic survival needs, everybody wants to be loved and respected. and neither is any good without the other. love without respect can be as cold as pity; respect without love can be as grim as fear. love and respect are the values in life that most contribute to "the pursuit of happiness"-and after, they are the greatest legacy we can leave behind. it's an elegy you'd like to hear with your own ears: "you were loved and respected." if even one person can say that about you, it's a worthy achievement, and if you can multiply that many times-well, that is true success. among materialists, a certain bumper sticker is emblematic: "he who dies with the most toys wins!" well, no-he or she who dies with the most love and respect wins... then there's love and respect for oneself-equally hard to achieve and maintain. most of us, deep down, are not as proud of ourselves as we might pretend, and the goal of bettering ourselves-at least partly by earning the love and respect of others-is a lifelong struggle. Philo of Alexandria gave us that generous principle that we have somehow succeeded in mostly ignoring for 2,000 years: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Neil Peart (Far and Away: A Prize Every Time)
Since the dawn of time, several billion human (or humanlike) beings have lived, each contributing a little genetic variability to the total human stock. Out of this vast number, the whole of our understanding of human prehistory is based on the remains, often exceedingly fragmentary, of perhaps five thousand individuals. You could fit it all into the back of a pickup truck if you didn't mind how much you jumbled everything up, Ian Tattersall, the bearded and friendly curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, replied when I asked him the size of the total world archive of hominid and early human bones. The shortage wouldn't be so bad if the bones were distributed evenly through time and space, but of course they are not. They appear randomly, often in the most tantalizing fashion. Homo erectus walked the Earth for well over a million years and inhabited territory from the Atlantic edge of Europe to the Pacific side of China, yet if you brought back to life every Homo erectus individual whose existence we can vouch for, they wouldn't fill a school bus. Homo habilis consists of even less: just two partial skeletons and a number of isolated limb bones. Something as short-lived as our own civilization would almost certainly not be known from the fossil record at all. In Europe, Tattersall offers by way of illustration, you've got hominid skulls in Georgia dated to about 1.7 million years ago, but then you have a gap of almost a million years before the next remains turn up in Spain, right on the other side of the continent, and then you've got another 300,000-year gap before you get a Homo heidelbergensis in Germany and none of them looks terribly much like any of the others. He smiled. It's from these kinds of fragmentary pieces that you're trying to work out the histories of entire species. It's quite a tall order. We really have very little idea of the relationships between many ancient species which led to us and which were evolutionary dead ends. Some probably don't deserve to be regarded as separate species at all.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
I’m not sure how the ponies happened, though I have an inkling: “Can I get you anything?” I’ll say, getting up from a dinner table, “Coffee, tea, a pony?” People rarely laugh at this, especially if they’ve heard it before. “This party’s ‘sposed to be fun,” a friend will say. “Really? Will there be pony rides?” It’s a nervous tic and a cheap joke, cheapened further by the frequency with which I use it. For that same reason, it’s hard to weed it out of my speech – most of the time I don’t even realize I’m saying it. There are little elements in a person’s life, minor fibers that become unintentionally tangled with your personality. Sometimes it’s a patent phrase, sometimes it’s a perfume, sometimes it’s a wristwatch. For me, it is the constant referencing of ponies. I don’t even like ponies. If I made one of my throwaway equine requests and someone produced an actual pony, Juan-Valdez-style, I would run very fast in the other direction. During a few summers at camp, I rode a chronically dehydrated pony named Brandy who would jolt down without notice to lick the grass outside the corral and I would careen forward, my helmet tipping to cover my eyes. I do, however, like ponies on the abstract. Who doesn’t? It’s like those movies with the animated insects. Sure, the baby cockroach seems cute with CGI eyelashes, but how would you feel about fifty of her real-life counterparts living in your oven? And that’s precisely the manner in which the ponies clomped their way into my regular speech: abstractly. “I have something for you,” a guy will say on our first date. “Is it a pony?” No. It’s usually a movie ticket or his cell phone number. But on our second date, if I ask again, I’m pretty sure I’m getting a pony. And thus the Pony drawer came to be. It’s uncomfortable to admit, but almost every guy I have ever dated has unwittingly made a contribution to the stable. The retro pony from the ‘50s was from the most thoughtful guy I have ever known. The one with the glitter horseshoes was from a boy who would later turn out to be straight somehow, not gay. The one with the rainbow haunches was from a librarian, whom I broke up with because I felt the chemistry just wasn’t right, and the one with the price tag stuck on the back was given to me by a narcissist who was so impressed with his gift he forgot to remover the sticker. Each one of them marks the beginning of a new relationship. I don’t mean to hint. It’s not a hint, actually, it’s a flat out demand: I. Want. A. Pony. I think what happens is that young relationships are eager to build up a romantic repertoire of private jokes, especially in the city where there’s not always a great “how we met” story behind every great love affair. People meet at bars, through mutual friends, on dating sites, or because they work in the same industry. Just once a coworker of mine, asked me out between two stops on the N train. We were holding the same pole and he said, “I know this sounds completely insane, bean sprout, but would you like to go to a very public place with me and have a drink or something...?” I looked into his seemingly non-psycho-killing, rent-paying, Sunday Times-subscribing eyes and said, “Sure, why the hell not?” He never bought me a pony. But he didn’t have to, if you know what I mean.
Sloane Crosley (I Was Told There'd Be Cake: Essays)
Some books about the Holocaust are more difficult to read than others. Some books about the Holocaust are nearly impossible to read. Not because one does not understand the language and concepts in the books, not because they are gory or graphic, but because such books are confrontational. They compel us to “think again,” or to think for the first time, about issues and questions we might rather avoid. Gabriel Wilensky’s book, Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Antisemitism Paved the Road to the Holocaust is one book I found difficult, almost impossible to read. Why? Because I had to confront the terrible underside of Christian theology, an underside that contributed in no small part to the beliefs and attitudes too many Christians – Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox – had imbibed throughout centuries of anti-Jewish preaching and teaching that “paved the road to the Holocaust.” I cannot say that I “liked” Gabriel Wilensky’s book, Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Antisemitism Paved the Road to the Holocaust. I didn’t, but I can say it was instructive and forced me to think again about that Jew from Nazareth, Jesus, and about his message of universal love and service – “What you do for the least of my brothers [and sisters], you do for me” (Matthew 25: 40). As Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, the Holocaust did not begin with Auschwitz. The Holocaust began with words. And too many of those hate-filled words had their origin in the Christian Scriptures and were uttered by Christian preachers and teachers, by Christians generally, for nearly two millennia. Is it any wonder so many Christians stood by, even participated in, the destruction of the European Jews during the Nazi era and World War II? I recommend Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Antisemitism Paved the Road to the Holocaust because all of us Christians – Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox – must think again, or think for the first time, about how to teach and preach the Christian Scriptures – the “New Testament” writings – in such a way that the words we utter, the attitudes we encourage, do not demean, disrespect, or disregard our Jewish brothers and sisters, that our words do not demean, disrespect, or disregard Judaism. I hope the challenge is not an impossible one.
Carol Rittner
Everything belonged to him--but that was a trifle. The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own. That was the reflection that made you creepy all over. It was impossible--it was not good for one either--trying to imagine. He had taken a high seat amongst the devils of the land--I mean literally. You can't understand. How could you?--with solid pavement under your feet, surrounded by kind neighbors ready to cheer you or to fall on you, stepping delicately between the butcher and the policeman, in the holy terror of scandal and gallows and lunatic asylums--how can you imagine what particular region of the first ages a man's untrammeled feet may take him into by the way of solitude--utter solitude without a policeman--by the way of silence, utter silence, where no warning voice of a kind neighbor can be heard whispering of public opinion? These little things make all the great difference. When they are gone you must fall back upon your own innate strength, upon your own capacity for faithfulness. Of course you may be too much of a fool to go wrong--too dull even to know you are being assaulted by the powers of darkness. I take it, no fool ever made a bargain for his soul with the devil: the fool is too much of a fool, or the devil too much of a devil--I don't know which. Or you may be such a thunderingly exalted creature as to be altogether deaf and blind to anything but heavenly sights and sounds. Then the earth for you is only a standing place -- and whether to be like this is your loss or your gain I won't pretend to say. But most of us are neither one nor the other. The earth for us is a place to live in, where we must put up with sights, with sounds, with smells too, by Jove!-- breathe dead hippo, so to speak, and not be contaminated. And there, don't you see? Your strength comes in, the faith in your ability for the digging of unostentatious holes to bury the stuff in--your power of devotion, not to yourself, but to an obscure, back-breaking business. And that's difficult enough. Mind, I am not trying to excuse or even explain--I am trying to account to myself for--for--Mr. Kurtz--for the shade of Mr. Kurtz. This initiated wraith from the back of Nowhere honored me with its amazing confidence before it vanished altogether. This was because it could speak English to me. The original Kurtz had been educated partly in England, and--as he was good enough to say himself--his sympathies were in the right place. His mother was half-English, his father was half-French. All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
With the best of intentions, the generation before mine worked diligently to prepare their children to make an intelligent case for Christianity. We were constantly reminded of the superiority of our own worldview and the shortcomings of all others. We learned that as Christians, we alone had access to absolute truth and could win any argument. The appropriate Bible verses were picked out for us, the opposing positions summarized for us, and the best responses articulated for us, so that we wouldn’t have to struggle through two thousand years of theological deliberations and debates but could get right to the bottom line on the important stuff: the deity of Christ, the nature of the Trinity, the role and interpretation of Scripture, and the fundamentals of Christianity. As a result, many of us entered the world with both an unparalleled level of conviction and a crippling lack of curiosity. So ready with the answers, we didn’t know what the questions were anymore. So prepared to defend the faith, we missed the thrill of discovering it for ourselves. So convinced we had God right, it never occurred to us that we might be wrong. In short, we never learned to doubt. Doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God. The former has the potential to destroy faith; the latter has the power to enrich and refine it. The former is a vice; the latter a virtue. Where would we be if the apostle Peter had not doubted the necessity of food laws, or if Martin Luther had not doubted the notion that salvation can be purchased? What if Galileo had simply accepted church-instituted cosmology paradigms, or William Wilberforce the condition of slavery? We do an injustice to the intricacies and shadings of Christian history when we gloss over the struggles, when we read Paul’s epistles or Saint Augustine’s Confessions without acknowledging the difficult questions that these believers asked and the agony with which they often asked them. If I’ve learned anything over the past five years, it’s that doubt is the mechanism by which faith evolves. It helps us cast off false fundamentals so that we can recover what has been lost or embrace what is new. It is a refining fire, a hot flame that keeps our faith alive and moving and bubbling about, where certainty would only freeze it on the spot. I would argue that healthy doubt (questioning one’s beliefs) is perhaps the best defense against unhealthy doubt (questioning God). When we know how to make a distinction between our ideas about God and God himself, our faith remains safe when one of those ideas is seriously challenged. When we recognize that our theology is not the moon but rather a finger pointing at the moon, we enjoy the freedom of questioning it from time to time. We can say, as Tennyson said, Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be; They are but broken lights of thee, And thou, O Lord, art more than they.15 I sometimes wonder if I might have spent fewer nights in angry, resentful prayer if only I’d known that my little systems — my theology, my presuppositions, my beliefs, even my fundamentals — were but broken lights of a holy, transcendent God. I wish I had known to question them, not him. What my generation is learning the hard way is that faith is not about defending conquered ground but about discovering new territory. Faith isn’t about being right, or settling down, or refusing to change. Faith is a journey, and every generation contributes its own sketches to the map. I’ve got miles and miles to go on this journey, but I think I can see Jesus up ahead.
Rachel Held Evans (Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions)
Death appears as the harsh victory of the law of our ancestors of the dimension of our becoming. It is a fact that, as productivity increases, each succeeding generation becomes smaller in stature. The defeat of our fathers is revisited upon us as the limits of our world. Yes, structure is human, it is the monumentalization of congealed sweat, sweat squeezed from old exploitation and represented as nature, the world we inhabit, the objective ground. We do not, in our insect-like comings and going, make the immediate world in which we live, we do not make a contribution, on the contrary we are set in motion by it; a generation will pass before what we have done, as an exploited class, will seep through as an effect of objectivity. (Our wealth is laid down in heaven.) The structure of the world has been built by the dead, they were paid in wages, and when the wages were spent and they were in the ground, what they had made continued to exist, these cities, roads and factories are their calcified bones. They had nothing but their wages to show for what they had done, who they were and what they did has been cancelled out. But what they made has continued into our present, their burial and decay is our present. This is the definition of class hatred. We are no closer now to rest, to freedom, to communism than they were, their sacrifice has brought us nothing, what they did counted for nothing, we have inherited nothing, but they did produce value, they did make the world in which we now live, the world that now oppresses us is constructed from the wealth they made, wealth that was taken from them as soon as they were paid a wage, taken and owned by someone else, owned and used to define the nature of class domination. We too must work, and the value we produce leaks away from us, from each only a trickle but in all a sea of it and that, for the next generation, will thicken into wealth for others to own and as a congealed structure it will be used to frame new enterprises in different directions. The violence of what they produced becomes the structure that dominates our existence. Our lives begin amidst the desecration of our ancestors, millions of people who went to their graves as failures, and forever denied experiences of a full human existence, their simply being canceled out; as our parents die, we can say truly that their lives were for nothing, that the black earth that is thrown down onto them blacks out our sky.
frére dupont
In all conflicts between groups, there are three elements. One: the certitude that our group is morally superior, possibly even chosen by God. All others should follow our example or be at our service. In order to bring peace to the world, we have to impose our set of beliefs upon others, through manipulation, force, and fear, if necessary. Two: a refusal or incapacity to see or admit to any possible errors or faults in our group. The undeniable nature of our own goodness makes us think we are infallible; there can be no wrong in us. Three: a refusal to believe that any other group possesses truth or can contribute anything of value. At best, others may be regarded as ignorant, unenlightened, and possessing only half—truths; at worst, they are seen as destructive, dangerous, and possessed by evil spirits: they need to be overpowered for the good of humanity. Society and cultures are, then, divided into the “good” and the “bad”; the good attributing to themselves the mission to save, to heal, to bring peace to a wicked world, according to their own terms and under their controlling power. Such is the story of all civilizations through the ages as they spread over the earth by invading and colonizing. Differences must be suppressed; “savages” must be civilized. We must prove by all possible means that our culture, our power, our knowledge, and our technology are the best, that our gods are the only gods! This is not just the story of civilizations but also of all wars of religion, inquisitions, censorships, dictatorships; all things, in short, that are ideologies. An ideology is a set of ideas translated into a set of values. Because they are held to be absolutely true, these ideas and values need to be imposed on others if they are not readily accepted. A political system, a school of psychology, and a philosophy of economics can all be ideologies. Even a place of work can be an ideology. Religious sub—groups, sects, are based upon ideological principles. Religions themselves can become ideologies. And ideologues, by their nature, are not open to new ideas or even to debate; they refuse to accept or listen to anyone else’s reality. They refuse to admit any possibility of error or even criticism of their system; they are closed up in their set of ideas, theories, and values. We human beings have a great facility for living illusions, for protecting our self—image with power, for justifying it all by thinking we are the favoured ones of God.
Jean Vanier (Becoming Human)
We are dealing, then, with an absurdity that is not a quirk or an accident, but is fundamental to our character as people. The split between what we think and what we do is profound. It is not just possible, it is altogether to be expected, that our society would produce conservationists who invest in strip-mining companies, just as it must inevitably produce asthmatic executives whose industries pollute the air and vice-presidents of pesticide corporations whose children are dying of cancer. And these people will tell you that this is the way the "real world" works. The will pride themselves on their sacrifices for "our standard of living." They will call themselves "practical men" and "hardheaded realists." And they will have their justifications in abundance from intellectuals, college professors, clergymen, politicians. The viciousness of a mentality that can look complacently upon disease as "part of the cost" would be obvious to any child. But this is the "realism" of millions of modern adults. There is no use pretending that the contradiction between what we think or say and what we do is a limited phenomenon. There is no group of the extra-intelligent or extra-concerned or extra-virtuous that is exempt. I cannot think of any American whom I know or have heard of, who is not contributing in some way to destruction. The reason is simple: to live undestructively in an economy that is overwhelmingly destructive would require of any one of us, or of any small group of us, a great deal more work than we have yet been able to do. How could we divorce ourselves completely and yet responsibly from the technologies and powers that are destroying our planet? The answer is not yet thinkable, and it will not be thinkable for some time -- even though there are now groups and families and persons everywhere in the country who have begun the labor of thinking it. And so we are by no means divided, or readily divisible, into environmental saints and sinners. But there are legitimate distinctions that need to be made. These are distinctions of degree and of consciousness. Some people are less destructive than others, and some are more conscious of their destructiveness than others. For some, their involvement in pollution, soil depletion, strip-mining, deforestation, industrial and commercial waste is simply a "practical" compromise, a necessary "reality," the price of modern comfort and convenience. For others, this list of involvements is an agenda for thought and work that will produce remedies. People who thus set their lives against destruction have necessarily confronted in themselves the absurdity that they have recognized in their society. They have first observed the tendency of modern organizations to perform in opposition to their stated purposes. They have seen governments that exploit and oppress the people they are sworn to serve and protect, medical procedures that produce ill health, schools that preserve ignorance, methods of transportation that, as Ivan Illich says, have 'created more distances than they... bridge.' And they have seen that these public absurdities are, and can be, no more than the aggregate result of private absurdities; the corruption of community has its source in the corruption of character. This realization has become the typical moral crisis of our time. Once our personal connection to what is wrong becomes clear, then we have to choose: we can go on as before, recognizing our dishonesty and living with it the best we can, or we can begin the effort to change the way we think and live.
Wendell Berry (The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture)