What Are The Most Positive Quotes

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Don't let the expectations and opinions of other people affect your decisions. It's your life, not theirs. Do what matters most to you; do what makes you feel alive and happy. Don't let the expectations and ideas of others limit who you are. If you let others tell you who you are, you are living their reality — not yours. There is more to life than pleasing people. There is much more to life than following others' prescribed path. There is so much more to life than what you experience right now. You need to decide who you are for yourself. Become a whole being. Adventure.
Roy T. Bennett
The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position.
Leo F. Buscaglia
You are unique. You have different talents and abilities. You don’t have to always follow in the footsteps of others. And most important, you should always remind yourself that you don't have to do what everyone else is doing and have a responsibility to develop the talents you have been given.
Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
Life is short. Focus on what really matters most. You have to change your priorities over time.
Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
What other people think and say about you is none of your business. The most destructive thing you would ever do is to believe someone else's opinion of you. You have to stop letting other people's opinions control you.
Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
Stop fighting me!" he said, trying to pull on the arm he held. He was in a precarious position himself, straddling the rail as he tried to lean over far enough to get me and actually hold onto me. “Let go of me!” I yelled back. But he was too strong and managed to haul most of me over the rail, enough so that I wasn’t in total danger of falling again. See, here’s the thing. In that moment before I let go, I really had been contemplating my death. I’d come to terms with it and accepted it. I also, however, had known Dimitri might do something exactly like this. He was just that fast and that good. That was why I was holding my stake in the hand that was dangling free. I looked him in the eye. "I will always love you." Then I plunged the stake into his chest. It wasn’t as precise a blow as I would have liked, not with the skilled way he was dodging. I struggled to get the stake in deep enough to his heart, unsure if I could do it from this angle. Then, his struggles stopped. His eyes stared at me, stunned, and his lips parted, almost into a smile, albeit a grisly and pained one. "That’s what I was supposed to say. . .” he gasped out. Those were his last words.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.
Vincent van Gogh
Make the most of what you have and keep your standards high. Never settle for anything less than you deserve or are capable of achieving.
Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
He stuck the pencil over his ear, looking unconvinced. "Mmm. What position would you be the most comfortable for you?" I couldn't say aloud the answers that popped into my head at that question, but the flush that spread across my face like wildfire gave me away. He caught his lower lip in his teeth, and I was sure it was to contain a laugh. Most comfortable position? What about with my head stuck under a pillow?
Tammara Webber (Easy (Contours of the Heart, #1))
Everyone's time is limited. What matters most is to focus on what matters most.
Roy T. Bennett
I wanted what most people wanted—love, companionship. I wanted someone to touch. I wanted someone to touch me back. I wanted someone to laugh with, someone who would laugh with me, laugh at me. I wanted someone who looked and sawme . Not my power, not my position. I wanted someone to say my name. To call out, “Merit,” when it was time to go, or when we arrived. Someone who wanted to say to someone else, with pride, “I’m here with her. With Merit.” I wanted all those things. Indivisibly. But I didn’t want them from Morgan.
Chloe Neill (Friday Night Bites (Chicagoland Vampires, #2))
… What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want, I'll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusionary -property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life -don't be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn for happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn't last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing. It is enough if you don't freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don't claw at your insides. If your back isn't broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes can see, if both ears hear, then whom should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart -and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it may be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted on their memory.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
For the rest of the earth’s organisms, existence is relatively uncomplicated. Their lives are about three things: survival, reproduction, death—and nothing else. But we know too much to content ourselves with surviving, reproducing, dying—and nothing else. We know we are alive and know we will die. We also know we will suffer during our lives before suffering—slowly or quickly—as we draw near to death. This is the knowledge we “enjoy” as the most intelligent organisms to gush from the womb of nature. And being so, we feel shortchanged if there is nothing else for us than to survive, reproduce, and die. We want there to be more to it than that, or to think there is. This is the tragedy: Consciousness has forced us into the paradoxical position of striving to be unself-conscious of what we are—hunks of spoiling flesh on disintegrating bones.
Thomas Ligotti (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race)
The most incredible architecture Is the architecture of Self, which is ever changing, evolving, revolving and has unlimited beauty and light inside which radiates outwards for everyone to see and feel. With every in breathe you are adding to your life and every out breathe you are releasing what is not contributing to your life. Every breathe is a re-birth.
Allan Rufus (The Master's Sacred Knowledge)
For a great many people, the evening is the most enjoyable part of the day. Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day. After all, 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?
Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day)
It’s called Yes Please because it is the constant struggle and often the right answer. Can we figure out what we want, ask for it, and stop talking? Yes please. Is being vulnerable a power position? Yes please. Am I allowed to take up space? Yes please. Would you like to be left alone? Yes please. I love saying “yes” and I love saying “please.” Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying “please” doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission. “Yes please” sounds powerful and concise. It’s a response and a request. It is not about being a good girl; it is about being a real woman. It’s also a title I can tell my kids. I like when they say “Yes please” because most people are rude and nice manners are the secret keys to the universe.
Amy Poehler (Yes Please)
the happiest, most passionate employees are not those who followed their passion into a position, but instead those who have been around long enough to become good at what they do. On reflection, this makes sense.
Cal Newport (So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love)
I think no more than a week after I started writing I ran into the first block. It's hard to describe it in a way that will be understandable to anyone who is not a neurotic. I will try. All my life I have been haunted by the obsession that to desire a thing or to love a thing intensely is to place yourself in a vulnerable position, to be a possible, if not a probable, loser of what you most want. Let's leave it like that. That block has always been there and always will be, and my chance of getting, or achieving, anything that I long for will always be gravely reduced by the interminable existence of that block.
Tennessee Williams
To the most inconsiderate asshole of a friend, I’m writing you this letter because I know that if I say what I have to say to your face I will probably punch you. I don’t know you anymore. I don’t see you anymore. All I get is a quick text or a rushed e-mail from you every few days. I know you are busy and I know you have Bethany, but hello? I’m supposed to be your best friend. You have no idea what this summer has been like. Ever since we were kids we pushed away every single person that could possibly have been our friend. We blocked people until there was only me and you. You probably haven’t noticed, because you have never been in the position I am in now. You have always had someone. You always had me. I always had you. Now you have Bethany and I have no one. Now I feel like those other people that used to try to become our friend, that tried to push their way into our circle but were met by turned backs. I know you’re probably not doing it deliberately just as we never did it deliberately. It’s not that we didn’t want anyone else, it’s just that we didn’t need them. Sadly now it looks like you don’t need me anymore. Anyway I’m not moaning on about how much I hate her, I’m just trying to tell you that I miss you. And that well . . . I’m lonely. Whenever you cancel nights out I end up staying home with Mum and Dad watching TV. It’s so depressing. This was supposed to be our summer of fun. What happened? Can’t you be friends with two people at once? I know you have found someone who is extra special, and I know you both have a special “bond,” or whatever, that you and I will never have. But we have another bond, we’re best friends. Or does the best friend bond disappear as soon as you meet somebody else? Maybe it does, maybe I just don’t understand that because I haven’t met that “somebody special.” I’m not in any hurry to, either. I liked things the way they were. So maybe Bethany is now your best friend and I have been relegated to just being your “friend.” At least be that to me, Alex. In a few years time if my name ever comes up you will probably say, “Rosie, now there’s a name I haven’t heard in years. We used to be best friends. I wonder what she’s doingnow; I haven’t seen or thought of her in years!” You will sound like my mum and dad when they have dinner parties with friends and talk about old times. They always mention people I’ve never even heard of when they’re talking about some of the most important days of their lives. Yet where are those people now? How could someone who was your bridesmaid 20 years ago not even be someone who you are on talking terms with now? Or in Dad’s case, how could he not know where his own best friend from college lives? He studied with the man for five years! Anyway, my point is (I know, I know, there is one), I don’t want to be one of those easily forgotten people, so important at the time, so special, so influential, and so treasured, yet years later just a vague face and a distant memory. I want us to be best friends forever, Alex. I’m happy you’re happy, really I am, but I feel like I’ve been left behind. Maybe our time has come and gone. Maybe your time is now meant to be spent with Bethany. And if that’s the case I won’t bother sending you this letter. And if I’m not sending this letter then what am I doing still writing it? OK I’m going now and I’m ripping these muddled thoughts up. Your friend, Rosie
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
Capitalist realism insists on treating mental health as if it were a natural fact, like weather (but, then again, weather is no longer a natural fact so much as a political-economic effect). In the 1960s and 1970s, radical theory and politics (Laing, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, etc.) coalesced around extreme mental conditions such as schizophrenia, arguing, for instance, that madness was not a natural, but a political, category. But what is needed now is a politicization of much more common disorders. Indeed, it is their very commonness which is the issue: in Britain, depression is now the condition that is most treated by the NHS. In his book The Selfish Capitalist, Oliver James has convincingly posited a correlation between rising rates of mental distress and the neoliberal mode of capitalism practiced in countries like Britain, the USA and Australia. In line with James’s claims, I want to argue that it is necessary to reframe the growing problem of stress (and distress) in capitalist societies. Instead of treating it as incumbent on individuals to resolve their own psychological distress, instead, that is, of accepting the vast privatization of stress that has taken place over the last thirty years, we need to ask: how has it become acceptable that so many people, and especially so many young people, are ill?
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
Nothing is random, nor will anything ever be, whether a long string of perfectly blue days that begin and end in golden dimness, the most seemingly chaotic political acts, the rise of a great city, the crystalline structure of a gem that has never seen the light, the distributions of fortune, what time the milkman gets up, the position of the electron, or the occurrence of one astonishing frigid winter after another. Even electrons, supposedly the paragons of unpredictability, are tame and obsequious little creatures that rush around at the speed of light, going precisely where they are supposed to go. They make faint whistling sounds that when apprehended in varying combinations are as pleasant as the wind flying through a forest, and they do exactly as they are told. Of this, one is certain. And yet, there is a wonderful anarchy, in that the milkman chooses when to arise, the rat picks the tunnel into which he will dive when the subway comes rushing down the track from Borough Hall, and the snowflake will fall as it will. How can this be? If nothing is random, and everything is predetermined, how can there be free will? The answer to that is simple. Nothing is predetermined, it is determined, or was determined, or will be determined. No matter, it all happened at once, in less than an instant, and time was invented because we cannot comprehend in one glance the enormous and detailed canvas that we have been given - so we track it, in linear fashion piece by piece. Time however can be easily overcome; not by chasing the light, but by standing back far enough to see it all at once. The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was is; everything that ever will be is - and so on, in all possible combinations. Though in perceiving it we image that it is in motion, and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful. In the end, or rather, as things really are, any event, no matter how small, is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue, immobile and accessible; and, when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time, justice becomes apparent not as something that will be, but something that is.
Mark Helprin (Winter's Tale)
Attitude Is Everything We live in a culture that is blind to betrayal and intolerant of emotional pain. In New Age crowds here on the West Coast, where your attitude is considered the sole determinant of the impact an event has on you, it gets even worse.In these New Thought circles, no matter what happens to you, it is assumed that you have created your own reality. Not only have you chosen the event, no matter how horrible, for your personal growth. You also chose how you interpret what happened—as if there are no interpersonal facts, only interpretations. The upshot of this perspective is that your suffering would vanish if only you adopted a more evolved perspective and stopped feeling aggrieved. I was often kindly reminded (and believed it myself), “there are no victims.” How can you be a victim when you are responsible for your circumstances? When you most need validation and support to get through the worst pain of your life, to be confronted with the well-meaning, but quasi-religious fervor of these insidious half-truths can be deeply demoralizing. This kind of advice feeds guilt and shame, inhibits grieving, encourages grandiosity and can drive you to be alone to shield your vulnerability.
Sandra Lee Dennis
Archer, Jenna, and I weren’t exactly clutching each other and sobbing, but we were pretty shaken as we formed a little huddle. “Okay,” I finally said. “Can we all agree that this is maybe the most screwed-up situation we’ve ever found ourselves in?” “Agreed,” they said in unison. “Awesome.” I gave a little nod. “And do either of you have any idea what we should do about it?” “Well, we can’t use magic,” Archer said. “And if we try to leave, we get eaten by Monster Fog,” Jenna added. “Right. So no plans at all, then?” Jenna frowned. “Other than rocking in the fetal position for a while?” “Yeah, I was thinking about taking one of those showers where you huddle in the corner fully clothed and cry,” Archer offered. I couldn’t help but snort with laughter. “Great. So we’ll all go have our mental breakdowns, and then we’ll somehow get ourselves out of this mess.
Rachel Hawkins (Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3))
Most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved , rather than that of loving , of one's capacity to love. Hence the problem to them is how to be loved, how to be lovable. In pursuit of this aim they follow several paths. One, which is especially used by men, is to be successful, to be as powerful and rich as the social margin of one's position permits. Another, used especially by women, is to make oneself attractive, by cultivating one's body, dress, etc. .... Many of the ways to make oneself lovable are the same as those used to make oneself successful, to 'win friends and influence people'. As a matter of fact, what most people in our culture mean by being lovable is essentially a mixture between being popular and having sex appeal.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
I think what hurts the most is that I just really want to belong. I want to stand inside the circle of other people and be noticed for the right things, but it seems like the wrong things are always bigger. And all the advie I've ever read --smile more, be yourself, dream big, stay positive--seems to have some darker side that's never mentioned.
Jane Devin (Elephant Girl: A Human Story)
One of the most frustrating positions you, as a good woman, could ever find yourself in, is in a relationship with a man who makes you feel like you’re still single.” Being in a relationship with a man that has no time for you, shows you no affection, and makes you feel like, half the time, you’re still single… what’s the point?
Amari Soul (Reflections of a Man)
Usually, when we think of power, we think of external power. And we think of powerful people as those who have made it in the world. A powerful woman isn’t necessarily someone who has money, but we think of her as someone with a boldness or a spark that makes her manifest in a dramatic way. When we think of a powerful man, we think of his ability to manifest abundance, usually money, in the world. Most people say that a powerful woman does best with a powerful man, that she needs someone who understands the bigness of her situation, a man who can meet her at the same or even greater level of power in the world. Now this is true, if power is defined as material abundance. A woman often faces cultural prejudice when she makes more money than a man, as does he. A woman who defines power by worldly standards can rarely feel totally relaxed in the arms of a man who doesn’t have it. If power is seen as an internal matter, then the situation changes drastically. Internal power has less to do with money and worldly position, and more to do than with emotional expansiveness, spirituality and conscious living… I used to think I needed a powerful man, someone who could protect me from the harshness and evils of the world. What I have come to realize is that…the powerful man I was looking for would be foremost, someone who supported me in keeping myself on track spiritually, and in so maintaining clarity within myself, that life would present fewer problems. When it did get rough, he would help me forgive. I no longer wanted somebody who would say to me, “Don’t worry honey, if they’re mean to you I’ll beat them up or buy them out.” Instead, I want someone who prays and meditates with me regularly so that fewer monsters from the outer world disturb me, and who when they do, helps me look within my own consciousness for answers, instead of looking to false power to combat false power. There’s a big difference between a gentle man and a weak man. Weak men make us nervous. Gentle men make us calm.
Marianne Williamson
An abuser isn't abusive 24/7. They usually demonstrate positive character traits most of the time. That's what makes the abuse so confusing when it happens, and what makes leaving so much more difficult.
Miya Yamanouchi
The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. 2. Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others. 3. Death ends a life, not a relationship. 4. Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live. 5. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them too-even when you are in the dark. Even when you're falling. 6. As you grow old, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you'd always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It's growth. It's more than the negative that you're going to die, its also the positive that you understand you're going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.
Morrie Schwartz
Because here’s something that’s weird but true: we don’t actually know what a positive or negative experience is. Some of the most difficult and stressful moments of our lives also end up being the most formative and motivating. Some of the best and most gratifying experiences of our lives are also the most distracting and demotivating. Don’t trust your conception of positive/negative experiences. All that we know for certain is what hurts in the moment and what doesn’t. And that’s not worth much. Just
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
You can't see yourself. You know what you look like because of mirrors and photographs, but out there in the world, as you move among your fellow human beings, whether strangers or friends or the most intimate beloveds, your own face is invisible to you. You can see other parts of yourself, arms and legs, hands and feet, shoulders and torso, but only from the front, nothing of the back except the backs of your legs if you twist them into the right position, but not your face, never your face, and in the end - at least as far as others are concerned - your face is who you are, the essential fact of your identity. Passports do not contain pictures of hands and feet. Even you, who have lived inside your body for sixty-four years now, would probably be unable to recognize your foot in an isolated photograph of that foot, not to speak of your ear, or your elbow, or one of your eyes in close-up. All so familiar to you in the context of the whole, but utterly anonymous when taken piece by piece. We are all aliens to ourselves, and if we have any sense of who we are, it is only because we live inside the eyes of others.
Paul Auster (Winter Journal)
Jesus Christ came not to condemn you but to save you, knowing your name, knowing all about you, knowing your weight right now, knowing your age, knowing what you do, knowing where you live, knowing what you ate for supper and what you will eat for breakfast, where you will sleep tonight, how much your clothing cost, who your parents were. He knows you individually as though there were not another person in the entire world. He died for you as certainly as if you had been the only lost one. He knows the worst about you and is the One who loves you the most. If you are out of the fold and away from God, put your name in the words of John 3:16 and say, “Lord, it is I. I’m the cause and reason why Thou didst on earth come to die.” That kind of positive, personal faith and a personal Redeemer is what saves you. If you will just rush in there, you do not have to know all the theology and all the right words. You can say, “I am the one He came to die for.” Write it down in your heart and say, “Jesus, this is me—Thee and me,” as though there were no others. Have that kind of personalized belief in a personal Lord and Savior.
A.W. Tozer (And He Dwelt Among Us: Teachings from the Gospel of John)
We need a better way to talk about eating animals. We need a way that brings meat to the center of public discussion in the same way it is often at the center of our plates. This doesn't require that we pretend we are going to have a collective agreement. However strong our intuitions are about what's right for us personally and even about what's right for others, we all know in advance that our positions will clash with those of our neighbors. What do we do with that most inevitable reality? Drop the conversation, or find a way to reframe it?
Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals)
Most people are too scared to ever put themselves in a position to be criticized. You shouldn’t care what they think if they don’t have the guts to do what you’re doing. You have to remember that too. The only opinion that really matters is your own and other people you respect. Everyone is scared of something, and perfection isn’t realistic. We’re humans, not robots.
Mariana Zapata (All Rhodes Lead Here)
The most terrifying aspect of human health is our refusal to take steps to help ourselves and the fact that we are so often responsible for our own demise through lack of positive action. It makes me want to take a nap.
Lena Dunham (Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned")
A positive attitude is most easily arrived at through a deliberate and rational analysis of what’s required to manifest unwavering positive thought patterns. First, reflect on the actual, present condition of your mind. In other words, is the mind positive or not? We’ve all met individuals who perceive themselves as positive people but don’t appear as such. Since the mind is both invisible and intangible, it’s therefore easier to see the accurate characteristics of the mind through a person’s words, deeds, and posture. For example, if we say, “It’s absolutely freezing today! I’ll probably catch a cold before the end of the day!” then our words expose a negative attitude. But if we say, “The temperature is very cold” (a simple statement of fact), then our expressions, and therefore attitude, are not negative. Sustaining an alert state in which self-awareness becomes possible gives us a chance to discover the origins of negativity. In doing so, we also have an opportunity to arrive at a state of positiveness, so that our words and deeds are also positive, making others feel comfortable, cheerful, and inspired.
H.E. Davey
One feels even in the midst of the traffic, or waking at night, Clarissa was positive, a particular hush, or solemnity; an indescribable pause; a suspense before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air. Such fools we are, she thought, crossing Victoria Street. For Heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh; but the veriest frumps, the most dejected of miseries sitting on doorsteps (drink their downfall) do the same; can't be dealt with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that very reason: they love life. In people's eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment in June.
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
Knowing what to overlook is one way older adults are typically wiser than young adults. With age comes what is known as "positivity effect". We become more interested in positive information, and our brains react less strongly to what negative information we do encounter.
Meg Jay (The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter - And How to Make the Most of Them Now)
Grace cannot be confused with righteousness. Grace is receiving what we do not deserve; mercy is not receiving what we do deserve. Righteousness, on the other hand, includes what most of us would consider difficult matters, such as punishment, correction and judgment. It also includes what most of us would consider positive matters, such as the fruit of the Spirit.
Francis Frangipane
Don’t be afraid to stand tall in YOUR truth! Boldly and confidently face everything that has, and is, keeping you bound. Fight for your inner peace! Fight for your happiness! Fight for everything and everybody that’s important to you! You are NOT a victim! Don’t even play into that. You owe it to yourself to LIVE! Live your life without the regrets, without the resentments, without the unforgiveness, without the blame game, without the self-pity, without any and everything that keeps you from experiencing true joy within! You are too important to waste your life away! Learn to appreciate and value your life, but most importantly, learn to appreciate and value yourself! You count too, no matter what you’ve done!
Stephanie Lahart
Many writing texts caution against asking friends to read your stuff, suggesting you're not apt to get a very unbiased opinion[.] ... It's unfair, according to this view, to put a pal in such a position. What happens if he/she feels he/she has to say, "I'm sorry, good buddy, you've written some great yarns in the past but this one sucks like a vacuum cleaner"? The idea has some validity, but I don't think an unbiased opinion is exactly what I'm looking for. And I believe that most people smart enough to read a novel are also tactful enough to find a gentler mode of expression than "This sucks." (Although most of us know that "I think this has a few problems" actually means "This sucks," don't we?)
Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft)
...Pain and tragedy and injustice happen - they happen to us all. I'd like to believe it's what you choose to do after such an experience that matters the most - that truly changes your life forever.
Anthony Ray Hinton (The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row)
What I am in the eyes of most people - a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person - somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then - even if that were absolutely true, then I should like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.
Vincent van Gogh
When you begin to do what matters most to you, you let go of preconceived notions of who you are which have been fostered by others and start creating the person you most want to be.
Roy T. Bennett
What's more toxic than what they have done, think, or have said about you is how you let your mind receive it. In a world as ours filled with so much noise and hate, what suffers the most is our minds. Know when to keep your mind shut!
Chinonye J. Chidolue
If someone who wanted to learn to dance were to say: For centuries, one generation after the other has learned the positions, and it is high time that I take advantage of this and promptly begin with the quadrille--people would presumably laugh a little at him, but in the world of spirit this is very plausible. What, then, is education? I believed it is the course the individual goes through in order to catch up with himself, and the person who will not go through this course is not much helped by being born in the most enlightened age.
Søren Kierkegaard
Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes–you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and knowable, a alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what is may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.
Rebecca Solnit (Hope in the Dark)
A man worth being with is one… That never lies to you Is kind to people that have hurt him A person that respects another’s life That has manners and shows people respect That goes out of his way to help people That feels every person, no matter how difficult, deserves compassion Who believes you are the most beautiful person he has ever met Who brags about your accomplishments with pride Who talks to you about anything and everything because no bad news will make him love you less That is a peacemaker That will see you through illness Who keeps his promises Who doesn’t blame others, but finds the good in them That raises you up and motivates you to reach for the stars That doesn’t need fame, money or anything materialistic to be happy That is gentle and patient with children Who won’t let you lie to yourself; he tells you what you need to hear, in order to help you grow Who lives what he says he believes in Who doesn’t hold a grudge or hold onto the past Who doesn’t ask his family members to deliberately hurt people that have hurt him Who will run with your dreams That makes you laugh at the world and yourself Who forgives and is quick to apologize Who doesn’t betray you by having inappropriate conversations with other women Who doesn’t react when he is angry, decides when he is sad or keep promises he doesn’t plan to keep Who takes his children’s spiritual life very seriously and teaches by example Who never seeks revenge or would ever put another person down Who communicates to solve problems Who doesn’t play games or passive aggressively ignores people to hurt them Who is real and doesn’t pretend to be something he is not Who has the power to free you from yourself through his positive outlook Who has a deep respect for women and treats them like a daughter of God Who doesn’t have an ego or believes he is better than anyone Who is labeled constantly by people as the nicest person they have ever met Who works hard to provide for the family Who doesn’t feel the need to drink alcohol to have a good time, smoke or do drugs Who doesn't have to hang out a bar with his friends, but would rather spend his time with his family Who is morally free from sin Who sees your potential to be great Who doesn't think a woman's place has to be in the home; he supports your life mission, where ever that takes you Who is a gentleman Who is honest and lives with integrity Who never discusses your private business with anyone Who will protect his family Who forgives, forgets, repairs and restores When you find a man that possesses these traits then all the little things you don’t have in common don’t matter. This is the type of man worth being grateful for.
Shannon L. Alder
Gareth sucked in a breath. Hyacinth’s brother wasn’t going to make this easy on him. But that didn’t matter. He had vowed to do this right, and he would not be cowed. He looked up, meeting the viscount’s dark eyes with steady purpose. “I would like to marry Hyacinth,” he said. And then, because the viscount did not say anything, because he didn’t even move, Gareth added, “Er, if she’ll have me.” And then about eight things happened at once. Or perhaps there were merely two or three, and it just seemed like eight, because it was all so unexpected. First, the viscount exhaled, although that did seem to understate the case. It was more of a sigh, actually—a huge, tired, heartfelt sigh that made the man positively deflate in front of Gareth. Which was astonishing. Gareth had seen the viscount on many occasions and was quite familiar with his reputation. This was not a man who sagged or groaned. His lips seemed to move through the whole thing, too, and if Gareth were a more suspicious man, he would have thought that the viscount had said, “Thank you, Lord.” Combined with the heavenward tilt of the viscount’s eyes, it did seem the most likely translation. And then, just as Gareth was taking all of this in, Lord Bridgerton let the palms of his hands fall against the desk with surprising force, and he looked Gareth squarely in the eye as he said, “Oh, she’ll have you. She will definitely have you.” It wasn’t quite what Gareth had expected. “I beg your pardon,” he said, since truly, he could think of nothing else. “I need a drink,” the viscount said, rising to his feet. “A celebration is in order, don’t you think?” “Er…yes?” Lord Bridgerton crossed the room to a recessed bookcase and plucked a cut-glass decanter off one of the shelves. “No,” he said to himself, putting it haphazardly back into place, “the good stuff, I think.” He turned to Gareth, his eyes taking on a strange, almost giddy light. “The good stuff, wouldn’t you agree?” “Ehhhh…” Gareth wasn’t quite sure what to make of this. “The good stuff,” the viscount said firmly. He moved some books to the side and reached behind to pull out what looked to be a very old bottle of cognac. “Have to keep it hidden,” he explained, pouring it liberally into two glasses. “Servants?” Gareth asked. “Brothers.” He handed Gareth a glass. “Welcome to the family.
Julia Quinn (It's in His Kiss (Bridgertons, #7))
The man who never weakens when things are against him will grow stronger and stronger until all things will delight to be for him. He will finally have all the strength he may desire or need. Be always strong and you will always be stronger.Picture in your mind your own best idea of what a strong, well-developed individuality would necessarily be, and then think of yourself as becoming more and more like that picture. In this connection it is well to remember that we gradually grow into the likeness of that which we think of the most. Therefore, if you have a very clear idea of a highly developed individuality, and think a great deal of that individuality with a strong, positive desire to develop such an individuality, you will gradually and surely move towards that lofty ideal.
Christian D. Larson
Fresh from a costume fitting, where I had been posing in front of the mirror assuming what I thought was a strong position - arms folded, butch-looking...you know - I met with the woman in charge of Holloway police station. She gave me the most invaluable advice: never let them see you cry, and never cross your arms. When I asked why, she said 'because it is a defensive action and therefore weak.
Helen Mirren
Such fools we are, she thought, crossing Victoria Street. For Heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh; but the veriest frumps, the most dejected of miseries sitting on doorsteps (drink their downfall) do the same; can't be dealt with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that very reason: they love life. In people's eyes, in the swing, tramp and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.
Virginia Woolf
I understood then, with absolute certainty, that the ability of the horse to sense emotion, energy and spirit is beyond what most of the human world realises. This is why their impact on us can be so instant, so consistently positive, so transformational.
Pam Billinge (The Spell of the Horse)
No one can live up to the standards set by racist stereotypes like this that position Black women as so strong they don’t need help, protection, care, or concern. Such stereotypes leave little to no room for real Black women with real problems. In fact, even the most “positive” tropes about women of color are harmful precisely because they dehumanize us and erase the damage that can be done to us by those who might mean well, but whose actions show that they don’t actually respect us or our right to self-determine what happens on our behalf.
Mikki Kendall (Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot)
When we apologize for something we’ve done, make amends, or change a behavior that doesn’t align with our values, guilt—not shame—is most often the driving force. We feel guilty when we hold up something we’ve done or failed to do against our values and find they don’t match up. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but one that’s helpful. The psychological discomfort, something similar to cognitive dissonance, is what motivates meaningful change. Guilt is just as powerful as shame, but its influence is positive, while shame’s is destructive. In fact, in my research I found that shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we can change and do better.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
The challenge for you is to decide not what is important, but what is most important and then focus your attention on that.
Steve Backley (The Champion in all of Us: 12 Rules for Success)
Being grateful all the time isn’t easy. But it’s when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you: perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life—this I know for sure.
Oprah Winfrey (What I Know for Sure)
What am I in the eyes of most people? A good-for-nothing, an eccentric and disagreeable man, somebody who has no position in society and never will have. Very well, even if that were true, I should want to show by my work what there is in the heart of such an eccentric man, of such a nobody.
Vincent van Gogh
Were these boys in their right minds? Here were two boys with good intellect, one eighteen and one nineteen. They had all the prospects that life could hold out for any of the young; one a graduate of Chicago and another of Ann Arbor; one who had passed his examination for the Harvard Law School and was about to take a trip in Europe,--another who had passed at Ann Arbor, the youngest in his class, with three thousand dollars in the bank. Boys who never knew what it was to want a dollar; boys who could reach any position that was to boys of that kind to reach; boys of distinguished and honorable families, families of wealth and position, with all the world before them. And they gave it all up for nothing, for nothing! They took a little companion of one of them, on a crowded street, and killed him, for nothing, and sacrificed everything that could be of value in human life upon the crazy scheme of a couple of immature lads. Now, your Honor, you have been a boy; I have been a boy. And we have known other boys. The best way to understand somebody else is to put yourself in his place. Is it within the realm of your imagination that a boy who was right, with all the prospects of life before him, who could choose what he wanted, without the slightest reason in the world would lure a young companion to his death, and take his place in the shadow of the gallows? ...No one who has the process of reasoning could doubt that a boy who would do that is not right. How insane they are I care not, whether medically or legally. They did not reason; they could not reason; they committed the most foolish, most unprovoked, most purposeless, most causeless act that any two boys ever committed, and they put themselves where the rope is dangling above their heads.... Why did they kill little Bobby Franks? Not for money, not for spite; not for hate. They killed him as they might kill a spider or a fly, for the experience. They killed him because they were made that way. Because somewhere in the infinite processes that go to the making up of the boy or the man something slipped, and those unfortunate lads sit here hated, despised, outcasts, with the community shouting for their blood. . . . I know, Your Honor, that every atom of life in all this universe is bound up together. I know that a pebble cannot be thrown into the ocean without disturbing every drop of water in the sea. I know that every life is inextricably mixed and woven with every other life. I know that every influence, conscious and unconscious, acts and reacts on every living organism, and that no one can fix the blame. I know that all life is a series of infinite chances, which sometimes result one way and sometimes another. I have not the infinite wisdom that can fathom it, neither has any other human brain
Clarence Darrow (Attorney for the Damned: Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom)
It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary 'working' men. They are a race apart--outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men 'work', beggars do not 'work'; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not 'earn' his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic 'earns' his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable. Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no ESSENTIAL difference between a beggar's livelihood and that of numberless respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said; but, then, what is WORK? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course--but, then, many reputable trades are quite useless. And as a social type a beggar compares well with scores of others. He is honest compared with the sellers of most patent medicines, high-minded compared with a Sunday newspaper proprietor, amiable compared with a hire-purchase tout--in short, a parasite, but a fairly harmless parasite. He seldom extracts more than a bare living from the community, and, what should justify him according to our ethical ideas, he pays for it over and over in suffering. I do not think there is anything about a beggar that sets him in a different class from other people, or gives most modern men the right to despise him. Then the question arises, Why are beggars despised?--for they are despised, universally. I believe it is for the simple reason that they fail to earn a decent living. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modem talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except 'Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it'? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are despised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a businessman, getting his living, like other businessmen, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modem people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich.
George Orwell (Down and Out in Paris and London)
and really it would profit little to write down what they said, for they knew each other so well that they could say anything they liked, which is tantamount to saying nothing, or saying such stupid, prosy things, as how to cook an omelette, or where to buy the best boots in London, which have no lustre taken from their setting, yet are positively of amazing beauty within it. For it has come about, by the wise economy of nature, that our modern spirit can almost dispense with language; the commonest expressions do, since no expressions do; hence, the most ordinary conversation is often the most poetic, and the most poetic is precisely that which cannot be written down. For which reasons we leave a great blank here, which must be taken to indicate that the space is filled to repletion.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando)
the most powerful form of reward is relational. Positive interactions with people are rewarding and regulating. Without connection to people who care for you, spend time with you, and support you, it is almost impossible to step away from any form of unhealthy reward and regulation.
Bruce D. Perry (What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing)
No one else can want for me. No one can substitute his act of will for mine. It does sometimes happen that someone very much wants me to want what he wants. This is the moment when the impassable frontier between him and me, which is drawn by free will, becomes most obvious. I may not want that which he wants me to want - and in this precisely I am incommunicabilis. I am, and I must be, independent in my actions. All human relationships are posited on this fact.
Pope John Paul II (Love and Responsibility)
The most insulting aspect of insincere people is that while they're pretending to be something other than what they are, they're inherently positing a different reality to you.
Daniel V Chappell
Maybe I should let my faithful manservant answer the rest of your questions, since he seems to have all the answers." "I'm saving her time," Bodie replied. "She brings you a redhead, you'll give her grief. Look for women with class, Annabelle. That's most important. The sophisticated types who went to boarding schools and speak French. She has to be the real thing because he can spot a phony a mile away. And he likes them athletic." "Of course he does," she said dryly. "Athletic, domestic, gorgeous, brilliant, socially connected, and pathologically submissive. It'll be a snap." "You forgot hot." Heath smiled. "And defeatist thinking is for losers. If you want to be a success in this world, Annabelle, you need a positive attitude. Whatever the client wants, you get it for him. First rule of a successful business." "Uh-huh. What about career women?" "I don't see how that would work." "The kind of potential mate you're describing isn't going to be sitting around waiting for her prince to show up. She's heading a major corporation. In between those Victoria's Secret modeling gigs." He lifted an eyebrow. "Attitude, Annabelle. Attitude.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6))
There are a whole lot of religious people in America, including the majority of Democrats. When we abandon the field of religious discourse—when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations toward one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome—others will fill the vacuum. And those who do are likely to be those with the most insular views of faith, or who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.
Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
Try not to compare your children, even if you think you are skillful at it. You may say most positively that "Susan is pretty and Sandra is bright," but all Susan will remember is that she isn't bright and Sandra that she isn't pretty. Praise each child individually for what that child is and help him or her escape our culture's obsession with comparing, competing, and never feeling we are "enough.
Jeffrey R. Holland (Created for Greater Things)
One of the most frustrating positions you, as a good woman, could ever find yourself in, is in a relationship with a man who makes you feel like you’re still single. Being in a relationship with a man that has no time for you, shows you no affection, and makes you feel like, half the time, you’re still single… what’s the point?
Amari Soul (Reflections of a Man)
Life is potentially meaningful under any conditions, even those which are most miserable. And this in turn presupposes the human capacity to creatively turn life’s negative aspects into something positive or constructive. In other words, what matters is to make the best of any given situation.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
It is a well-known established fact throughout the many-dimensional worlds of the multiverse that most really great discoveries are owed to one brief moment of inspiration. There's a lot of spadework first, of course, but what clinches the whole thing is the sight of, say, a falling apple or a boiling kettle or the water slipping over the edge of the bath. Something goes click inside the observer's head and then everything falls into place. The shape of DNA, it is popularly said, owes its discovery to the chance sight of a spiral staircase when the scientist=s mind was just at the right receptive temperature. Had he used the elevator, the whole science of genetics might have been a good deal different. This is thought of as somehow wonderful. It isn't. It is tragic. Little particles of inspiration sleet through the universe all the time traveling through the densest matter in the same way that a neutrino passes through a candyfloss haystack, and most of them miss. Even worse, most of the ones that hit the exact cerebral target, hit the wrong one. For example, the weird dream about a lead doughnut on a mile-high gantry, which in the right mind would have been the catalyst for the invention of repressed-gravitational electricity generation (a cheap and inexhaustible and totally non-polluting form of power which the world in question had been seeking for centuries, and for the lack of which it was plunged into a terrible and pointless war) was in fact had by a small and bewildered duck. By another stroke of bad luck, the sight of a herd of wild horses galloping through a field of wild hyacinths would have led a struggling composer to write the famous Flying God Suite, bringing succor and balm to the souls of millions, had he not been at home in bed with shingles. The inspiration thereby fell to a nearby frog, who was not in much of a position to make a startling contributing to the field of tone poetry. Many civilizations have recognized this shocking waste and tried various methods to prevent it, most of them involving enjoyable but illegal attempts to tune the mind into the right wavelength by the use of exotic herbage or yeast products. It never works properly.
Terry Pratchett (Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind, #3))
If human nature were not base, but thoroughly honourable, we should in every debate have no other aim than the discovery of truth; we should not in the least care whether the truth proved to be in favour of the opinion which we had begun by expressing, or of the opinion of our adversary. That we should regard as a matter of no moment, or, at any rate, of very secondary consequence; but, as things are, it is the main concern. Our innate vanity, which is particularly sensitive in reference to our intellectual powers, will not suffer us to allow that our first position was wrong and our adversary’s right. The way out of this difficulty would be simply to take the trouble always to form a correct judgment. For this a man would have to think before he spoke. But, with most men, innate vanity is accompanied by loquacity and innate dishonesty. They speak before they think; and even though they may afterwards perceive that they are wrong, and that what they assert is false, they want it to seem thecontrary. The interest in truth, which may be presumed to have been their only motive when they stated the proposition alleged to be true, now gives way to the interests of vanity: and so, for the sake of vanity, what is true must seem false, and what is false must seem true.
Arthur Schopenhauer (The Art of Always Being Right)
I learned a lot, when I was a child, from novels and stories, even fairytales have some point to them--the good ones. The thing that impressed me most forcibly was this: the villains went to work with their brains and always accomplished something. To be sure they were "foiled" in the end, but that was by some special interposition of Providence, not by any equal exertion of intellect on the part of the good people. The heroes and middle ones were mostly very stupid. If bad things happened, they practised patience, endurance, resignation, and similar virtues; if good things happened they practised modesty and magnanimity and virtues like that, but it never seemed to occur to any of them to make things move their way. Whatever the villains planned for them to do, they did, like sheep. The same old combinations of circumstances would be worked off on them in book after book--and they always tumbled. It used to worry me as a discord worries a musician. Hadn't they ever read anything? Couldn't they learn anything from what they read--ever? It appeared not. And it seemed to me, even as a very little child, that what we wanted was good people with brains, not just negative, passive, good people, but positive, active ones, who gave their minds to it. "A good villain. That's what we need!" I said to myself. "Why don't they write about them? Aren't there ever any?" I never found any in all my beloved story books, or in real life. And gradually, I made up my mind to be one.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Benigna Machiavelli)
Truth be told, I'm not an easy man. I can be an entertaining one, though it's been my experience that most people don't want to be entertained. They want to be comforted. And, of course, my idea of entertaining might not be yours. I'm in complete agreement with all those people who say, regarding movies, 'I just want to be entertained.' This populist position is much derided by my academic colleagues as simpleminded and unsophisticated, evidence of questionable analytical and critical acuity. But I agree with the premise, and I too just want to be entertained. That I am almost never entertained by what entertains other people who just want to be entertained doesn't make us philosophically incompatible. It just means that we shouldn't go to movies together.
Richard Russo (Straight Man)
As I say, the happiness with which the pleasure-seekers gathering on this pier greeted this small event would tend to vouch for the correctness of my companion's words; for a great many people, the evening is the most enjoyable part of the day. Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day.
Kazuo Ishiguro (Återstoden av dagen)
Who are we to say getting incested or abused or violated or any of those things can’t have their positive aspects in the long run? … You have to be careful of taking a knee-jerk attitude. Having a knee-jerk attitude to anything is a mistake, especially in the case of women, where it adds up to this very limited and condescending thing of saying they’re fragile, breakable things that can be destroyed easily. Everybody gets hurt and violated and broken sometimes. Why are women so special? Not that anybody ought to be raped or abused, nobody’s saying that, but that’s what is going on. What about afterwards? All I’m saying is there are certain cases where it can enlarge you or make you more of a complete human being, like Viktor Frankl. Think about the Holocaust. Was the Holocaust a good thing? No way. Does anybody think it was good that it happened? No, of course not. But did you read Viktor Frankl? Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning? It’s a great, great book, but it comes out of his experience. It’s about his experience in the human dark side. Now think about it, if there was no Holocaust, there’d be no Man’s Search for Meaning… . Think about it. Think about being degraded and brought within an inch of your life, for example. No one’s gonna say the sick bastards who did it shouldn’t be put in jail, but let’s put two things into perspective here. One is, afterwards she knows something about herself that she never knew before. What she knows is that the most totally terrible terrifying thing that she could ever have imagined happening to her has now happened, and she survived. She’s still here, and now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows. Look, totally terrible things happen… . Existence in life breaks people in all kinds of awful fucking ways all the time, trust me I know. I’ve been there. And this is the big difference, you and me here, cause this isn’t about politics or feminism or whatever, for you this is just ideas, you’ve never been there. I’m not saying nothing bad has ever happened to you, you’re not bad looking, I’m sure there’s been some sort of degradation or whatever come your way in life, but I’m talking Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning type violation and terror and suffering here. The real dark side. I can tell from just looking at you, you never. You wouldn’t even wear what you’re wearing, trust me. What if I told you it was my own sister that was raped? What if I told you a little story about a sixteen-year-old girl who went to the wrong party with the wrong guy and four of his buddies that ended up doing to her just about everything four guys could do to you in terms of violation? But if you could ask her if she could go into her head and forget it or like erase the tape of it happening in her memory, what do you think she’d say? Are you so sure what she’d say? What if she said that even after that totally negative as what happened was, at least now she understood it was possible. People can. Can see you as a thing. That people can see you as a thing, do you know what that means? Because if you really can see someone as a thing you can do anything to him. What would it be like to be able to be like that? You see, you think you can imagine it but you can’t. But she can. And now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows. This is what you wanted to hear, you wanted to hear about four drunk guys who knee-jerk you in the balls and make you bend over that you didn’t even know, that you never saw before, that you never did anything to, that don’t even know your name, they don’t even know your name to find out you have to choose to have a fucking name, you have no fucking idea, and what if I said that happened to ME? Would that make a difference?
David Foster Wallace (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men)
Human intellectual progress, such as it has been, results from our long struggle to see things 'as they are,' or in the most universally comprehensible way, and not as projections of our own emotions. Thunder is not a tantrum in the sky, disease is not a divine punishment, and not every death or accident results from witchcraft. What we call the Enlightenment and hold on to only tenuously, by our fingernails, is the slow-dawning understanding that the world is unfolding according to its own inner algorithms of cause and effect, probability and chance, without any regard for human feelings.
Barbara Ehrenreich (Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America)
Going back to the basis, the phrase ‘Fight Like A Girl’, and we’ve all heard that growing up. And by that they mean that you’re some kind of weakling and have no skills as a male. It’s said to little boys when they can’t fight yet, and it ridicules us. By the time we were born, the most of us hear things which program you to accept and know that you are less than your male counter part. It comes apparent in the way you’re paid for your job, it comes apparent when yóu are not allowed to go outside after a certain hour because you stand a good chance of getting raped while no one says that to your boyfriend. While women, anywhere, live in some kind of fear, there is no equality and that is mathematically impossible. We cannot see that change or solved in our lifetimes, but we have to do everything that we can. We should remind ourselves that we are fifty-one percent. Everyone should know that fighting like a girl is a positive thing and that there is not inherently anything wrong with us by the fact that we are born like ladies. That is a beautiful thing that we should never be put down because of. Being compared to a woman should only make a man feel stronger. It should be a compliment. In this world we’re creating it actually is. I remember this one guy who came to our show in Texas or something and he had painted his shirt “real men fight like a girl”, and I cried, because he was going away in the army next day. He bought my book because he wanted something he could read over there. I just hoped that this men, fully straight and fully male can maintain and retain all of those things that make him understand us, and what makes him so beautiful. A lot of military training is step one: you take all those guys and put them in front of bunch of hardcore videogames where you kill a bunch of people and become desensitised. But that is NOT power! I will not do that. I will not become less of a human being and I refuse to give up my femininity because that’s bullshit. I’m not going to have to shave my head and become all buff and all that to be able to say “now I’m powerful” because that’s bullshit. All of this, all of us, we are power. You don’t have to change anything to be strong.
Emilie Autumn
When we sit down to write, we psychically enter a sanctuary. This safe haven is our own personal space where we can say whatever is on our mind, where we can talk about what matters most to us, where we can imagine the kind of world that we would like to live.
Rob Bignell (Writing Affirmations: A Collection of Positive Messages to Inspire Writers)
What - what - what are you doing?" he demanded. "I am almost six hundred years old," Magnus claimed, and Ragnor snorted, since Magnus changed his age to suit himself every few weeks. Magnus swept on. "It does seem about time to learn a musical instrument." He flourished his new prize, a little stringed instrument that looked like a cousin of the lute that the lute was embarrassed to be related to. "It's called a charango. I am planning to become a charanguista!" "I wouldn't call that an instrument of music," Ragnor observed sourly. "An instrument of torture, perhaps." Magnus cradled the charango in his arms as if it were an easily offended baby. "It's a beautiful and very unique instrument! The sound box is made from an armadillo. Well, a dried armadillo shell." "That explains the sound you're making," said Ragnor. "Like a lost, hungry armadillo." "You are just jealous," Magnus remarked calmly. "Because you do not have the soul of a true artiste like myself." "Oh, I am positively green with envy," Ragnor snapped. "Come now, Ragnor. That's not fair," said Magnus. "You know I love it when you make jokes about your complexion." Magnus refused to be affected by Ragnor's cruel judgments. He regarded his fellow warlock with a lofty stare of superb indifference, raised his charango, and began to play again his defiant, beautiful tune. They both heard the staccato thump of frantically running feet from within the house, the swish of skirts, and then Catarina came rushing out into the courtyard. Her white hair was falling loose about her shoulders, and her face was the picture of alarm. "Magnus, Ragnor, I heard a cat making a most unearthly noise," she exclaimed. "From the sound of it, the poor creature must be direly sick. You have to help me find it!" Ragnor immediately collapsed with hysterical laughter on his windowsill. Magnus stared at Catarina for a moment, until he saw her lips twitch. "You are conspiring against me and my art," he declared. "You are a pack of conspirators." He began to play again. Catarina stopped him by putting a hand on his arm. "No, but seriously, Magnus," she said. "That noise is appalling." Magnus sighed. "Every warlock's a critic." "Why are you doing this?" "I have already explained myself to Ragnor. I wish to become proficient with a musical instrument. I have decided to devote myself to the art of the charanguista, and I wish to hear no more petty objections." "If we are all making lists of things we wish to hear no more . . . ," Ragnor murmured. Catarina, however, was smiling. "I see," she said. "Madam, you do not see." "I do. I see it all most clearly," Catarina assured him. "What is her name?" "I resent your implication," Magnus said. "There is no woman in the case. I am married to my music!" "Oh, all right," Catarina said. "What's his name, then?" His name was Imasu Morales, and he was gorgeous.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
In the end, what’s most meaningful is creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and human relationships. Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.
Danny Meyer (Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business)
Being grateful all the time isn't easy. But it's when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you: perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation, It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It's the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life - this I know for sure.
Oprah Winfrey (What I Know for Sure)
I start from the position that every human endeavor is flawed: if we were to discard everything that is flawed there would be nothing left. We must therefore make the most of what we have; the alternative is to embrace death. The choice is a real one, because death can be embraced in a number of ways; the pursuit of perfection and eternity in all its manifestations is equivalent to choosing the idea of death over the idea of life. If we carry this line of argument to its logical conclusion, the meaning of life consists of the flaws in one's conceptions and what one does about them. Life can be seen as a fertile fallacy.
George Soros (The Alchemy of Finance)
When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognized for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease.
John Maynard Keynes (Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren)
What makes for a livable world is no idle question. It is not merely a question for philosophers. It is posed in various idioms all the time by people in various walks of life. If that makes them all philosophers, then that is a conclusion I am happy to embrace. It becomes a question for ethics, I think, not only when we ask the personal question, what makes my own life bearable, but when we ask, from a position of power, and from the point of view of distributive justice, what makes, or ought to make, the lives of others bearable? Somewhere in the answer we find ourselves not only committed to a certain view of what life is, and what it should be, but also of what constitutes the human, the distinctively human life, and what does not. There is always a risk of anthropocentrism here if one assumes that the distinctively human life is valuable--or most valuable--or is the only way to think the problem of value. But perhaps to counter that tendency it is necessary to ask both the question of life and the question of the human, and not to let them fully collapse into one another.
Judith Butler
Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim. It is absurd to look upon the enormous amount of pain that abounds everywhere in the world, and originates in needs and necessities inseparable from life itself, as serving no purpose at all and the result of mere chance. Each separate misfortune, as it comes, seems, no doubt, to be something exceptional; but misfortune in general is the rule. I know of no greater absurdity than that propounded by most systems of philosophy in declaring evil to be negative in its character. Evil is just what is positive; it makes its own existence felt.
Arthur Schopenhauer
Close your eyes, Maxon." "What?" "Close your eyes." He frowned at me but obeyed. I waited until his eyes were shut and his face looked relaxed before I started. "Somewhere in this palace, there is a woman who will be your wife." I saw his mouth twitch, the beginnings of a hopeful smile. "Maybe you don't know which face it is yet, but think of the girls in that room. Imagine the one who loves you the most. Imagine your 'dear.'" His hand was resting next to mine on the seat, and his fingers grazed mine for a second. I shied away from the touch. "Sorry," he mumbled, looking my way. "Keep 'em closed!" He chuckled and went back to his original position. "This girl? Imagine that she depends on you. She needs you to cherish her and make her feel like the Selection didn't even happen. Like if you were dropped on your own out in the middle of the country to wander around door to door, she's still the one you would have found. She was always the one you would have picked.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
Once we appeal to our most intimate selves, once we begin to labor and to produce, we lay claim to gifts, we become unconscious of our own gaps. No one is in a position to admit that what comes out of his own depths might be worthless. “Self-knowledge"? A contradiction in terms.
Emil M. Cioran (The Trouble with Being Born)
When you feel good you want to go out into the big wide world and make a positive difference. You feel love when you feel good and you want to give that love to everyone you meet. As you go along, you find that most others want what you have and they are usually very willing students, wanting to learn what you already learned so long ago.
Kate McGahan (The Lizard from Rainbow Bridge: A True Tale of an Unexpected Angel (Jack McAfghan Pet Loss Trilogy Book 2))
In my deepest contacts with individuals in therapy, even those whose troubles are most disturbing, whose behavior has been most anti-social, whose feelings seem most abnormal, I find this to be true. When I can sensitively understand the feelings which they are expressing, when I am able to accept them as separate persons in their own right, then I find that they tend to move in certain directions. And what are these directions in which they tend to move? The words which I believe are most truly descriptive are words such as positive, constructive, moving toward self-actualization, growing toward maturity, growing toward socialization.
Carl R. Rogers (On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy)
A friend argues that Americans battle between the “historical self” and the “self self.” By this she means you mostly interact as friends with mutual interest and, for the most part, compatible personalities; however, sometimes your historical selves, her white self and your black self, or your white self and her black self, arrive with the full force of your American positioning. Then you are standing face-to-face in seconds that wipe the affable smiles right from your mouths. What did you say? Instantaneously your attachment seems fragile, tenuous, subject to any transgression of your historical self. And though your joined personal histories are supposed to save you from misunderstandings, they usually cause you to understand all too well what is meant.
Claudia Rankine (Citizen: An American Lyric)
Bibliotherapy is a term that describes the very real process of being positively and therapeutically influenced by what you read. As stated earlier, when it is at its most powerful, bibliotherapy is also relationally healing. It can rescue you from the common Cptsd feeling of abject isolation and alienation.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
Should the king in exile pretend he is happy there? Should he not seek his own country? His miseries are his ally; they urge him on. Let them grow, if need be. But do not forsake the secret of life; do not despise those kingly desires. We abandon the most important journey of our lives when we abandon desire. We leave our hearts by the side of the road and head off in the direction of fitting in, getting by, being productive, what have you. Whatever we might gain – money, position, the approval of others, or just absence of the discontent self – it’s not worth it.
John Eldredge (The Journey of Desire: Searching for the Life We Always Dreamed of)
And, indeed, this is the odd thing that is continually happening: there are continually turning up in life moral and rational persons, sages and lovers of humanity who make it their object to live all their lives as morally and rationally as possible, to be, so to speak, a light to their neighbours simply in order to show them that it is possible to live morally and rationally in this world. And yet we all know that those very people sooner or later have been false to themselves, playing some queer trick, often a most unseemly one. Now I ask you: what can be expected of man since he is a being endowed with strange qualities? Shower upon him every earthly blessing, drown him in a sea of happiness, so that nothing but bubbles of bliss can be seen on the surface; give him economic prosperity, such that he should have nothing else to do but sleep, eat cakes and busy himself with the continuation of his species, and even then out of sheer ingratitude, sheer spite, man would play you some nasty trick. He would even risk his cakes and would deliberately desire the most fatal rubbish, the most uneconomical absurdity, simply to introduce into all this positive good sense his fatal fantastic element. It is just his fantastic dreams, his vulgar folly that he will desire to retain, simply in order to prove to himself--as though that were so necessary-- that men still are men and not the keys of a piano, which the laws of nature threaten to control so completely that soon one will be able to desire nothing but by the calendar. And that is not all: even if man really were nothing but a piano-key, even if this were proved to him by natural science and mathematics, even then he would not become reasonable, but would purposely do something perverse out of simple ingratitude, simply to gain his point. And if he does not find means he will contrive destruction and chaos, will contrive sufferings of all sorts, only to gain his point!
Fyodor Dostoevsky
I’ve been so focused on what’s horrible and unfair and terrifying about my condition that I hadn’t acknowledged what is positive about my condition, as if the positive had been sitting quietly by itself on the far edge of the left side of my condition, there but completely ignored. I can’t copy a whole cat. But I can recognize it, name it, know what one sounds and feels like, and I can copy most of it, enough for anyone who looks at it to know what I’ve drawn. I am lucky.
Lisa Genova (Left Neglected)
I asked him what he thought was the biggest barrier to happiness for most people. ‘It’s just a total absence of awareness, except for the thoughts that are continuously passing through your mind. It is the state of being so identified with the voices in your head’ – and at this point he emitted a tight Germanic chuckle – ‘that you think you are the voices in your head.
Oliver Burkeman (The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking)
Often, when I have been feeling lonely, when a book as been thrust aside in boredom [...] I have lain back and stared at the shadows on the ceiling, wondering what life is all about [...] and then, suddenly, there is the echo of the swinging door, and across the carpet, walking with the utmost delicacy and precision, stalks Four or Five or Oscar. He sits down on the floor beside me, regarding my long legs, my old jumper, and my floppy arms, with a purely practical interest. Which part of this large male body will form the most appropriate lap? Usually he settles for the chest. Whereupon he springs up and there is a feeling of cold fur [...] and the tip of an icy nose, thrust against my wrist and a positive tattoo of purrs. And I no longer wonder what life is all about.
Beverley Nichols (Cats' A. B. C)
Men's ideas about what women are have been formed from their ruling caste position, and have assigned women characteristics that would most advantage their masters, as well as justify men's rule over them. They do not represent 'truth' but have been promoted as if they were, with the backing of science and patriarchal views of biology.
Sheila Jeffreys (Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism)
I think it all basically breaks down to something like this: You have to look and feel great first. If you eat well, exercise and get enough sleep, you will have ample energy and the proper self-confidence to create and produce beyond your wildest dreams! Looking great and radiating positive energy, while presenting your highest quality work, is what will always make you the most valuable and only logical choice in whatever it is that you reach for.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
I believe that any Christian who is qualified to write a good popular book on any science may do much more by that than by any direct apologetic work…. We can make people often attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted…. What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects—with their Christianity latent. You can see this most easily if you look at it the other way around. Our faith is not very likely to be shaken by any book on Hinduism. But if whenever we read an elementary book on Geology, Botany, Politics, or Astronomy, we found that its implications were Hindu, that would shake us. It is not the books written in direct defense of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materialistic assumptions in all the other books. In the same way, it is not books on Christianity that will really trouble him. But he would be troubled if, whenever he wanted a cheap popular introduction to some science, the best work on the market was always by a Christian.
C.S. Lewis (God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics)
I remember clearly the deaths of three men. One was the richest man of the century, who, having clawed his way to wealth through the souls and bodies of men, spent many years trying to buy back the love he had forfeited and by that process performed great service to the world and, perhaps, had much more than balanced the evils of his rise. I was on a ship when he died. The news was posted on the bulletin board, and nearly everyone recieved the news with pleasure. Several said, "Thank God that son of a bitch is dead." Then there was a man, smart as Satan, who, lacking some perception of human dignity and knowing all too well every aspect of human weakness and wickedness, used his special knowledge to warp men, to buy men, to bribe and threaten and seduce until he found himself in a position of great power. He clothed his motives in the names of virtue, and I have wondered whether he ever knew that no gift will ever buy back a man's love when you have removed his self-love. A bribed man can only hate his briber. When this man died the nation rang with praise... There was a third man, who perhaps made many errors in performance but whose effective life was devoted to making men brave and dignified and good in a time when they were poor and frightened and when ugly forces were loose in the world to utilize their fears. This man was hated by few. When he died the people burst into tears in the streets and their minds wailed, "What can we do now?" How can we go on without him?" In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, mo matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror....we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
The newspapers kept stroking my fear. New surveys provided awful statistics on just about everything. Evidence suggested that we were not doing well. Researchers gloomily agreed. Environment psychologists were interviewed. Damage had ‘unwittingly’ been done. There were ‘feared lapses’. There were ‘misconceptions’ about potential. Situations had ‘deteriorated’. Cruelty was on the rise and there was nothing anyone could do about it. The populace was confounded, yet didn’t care. Unpublished studies hinted that we were all paying a price. Scientists peered into data and concluded that we should all be very worried. No one knew what normal behavior was anymore, and some argued that this was a form of virtue. And no one argued back. No one challenged anything. Anxiety was soaking up most people’s days. Everyone had become preoccupied with horror. Madness was fluttering everywhere. There was fifty years of research supporting this data. There were diagrams illustrating all of these problems – circles and hexagons and squares, different sections colored in lime or lilac or gray. Most troubling were the fleeting signs that nothing could transform any of this into something positive. You couldn’t help being both afraid and fascinated. Reading these articles made you feel that the survival of mankind didn’t seem very important in the long run. We were doomed. We deserved it. I was so tired.
Bret Easton Ellis
Are we riding far tonight, Gandalf?” asked Merry after a while. “I don’t know how you feel with small rag-tag dangling behind you; but the rag-tag is tired and will be glad to stop dangling and lie down.” “So you heard that?” said Gandalf. “Don’t let it rankle! Be thankful no longer words were aimed at you. He had his eyes on you. If it is any comfort to your pride, I should say that, at the moment, you and Pippin are more in his thoughts than the rest of us. Who you are; how you came here, and why; what you know; whether you were captured, and if so, how you escaped when all the orcs perished—it is with those little riddles that the great mind of Saruman is troubled. A sneer from him, Meriadoc, is a compliment, if you feel honoured by his concern.” “Thank you!” said Merry. “But it is a greater honour to dangle at your tail, Gandalf. For one thing, in that position one has a chance of putting a question a second time. Are we riding far tonight?” Gandalf laughed. “A most unquenchable hobbit! All wizards should have a hobbit or two in their care—to teach them the meaning of the world, and to correct them.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2))
- The Azan story - The five daily ritual prayers were regularly performed in congregation, and when the time for each prayer came the people would assemble at the site where the Mosque was being built. Everyone judged of the time by the position of the sun in the sky, or by the first signs of its light on the eastern horizon or by the dimming of its glow in the west after sunset; but opinions could differ, and the Prophet felt the need for a means of summoning the people to prayer when the right time had come. At first he thought of appointing a man to blow a horn like that of the Jews, but later he decided on a wooden clapper, ndqiis, such as the Oriental Christians used at that time, and two pieces of wood were fashioned together for that purpose. But they were never destined to be used; for one night a man of Khazraj, 'Abd Allah ibn Zayd, who had been at the Second 'Aqabah, had a dream whieh the next day he recounted to the Prophet: "There passed by me a man wearing two green garments and he carried in his hand a ndqiis, so I said unto him: "0 slave of God, wilt thou sell me that naqusi" "What wilt thou do with it?" he said. "We will summon the people to prayer with it," I answered. "Shall I not show thee a better way?" he said. "What way is that?" I asked, and he answered: "That thou shouldst say: God is most Great, Alldhu Akbar." The man in green repeated this magnification four times, then each of the following twice: I testify that there is no god but God; I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God; come unto the prayer; come unto salvation; God is most Great; and then once again there is no god but God. The Prophet said that this was a true vision, and he told him to go to Bilal, who had an excellent voice, and teach him the words exactly as he had heard them in his sleep. The highest house in the neighbourhood of the Mosque belonged to a woman of the clan of Najjar, and Bilal would come there before every dawn and would sit on the roof waiting for the daybreak. When he saw the first faint light in the east he would stretch out his arms and say in supplication: "0 God I praise Thee, and I ask Thy Help for Quraysh, that they may accept Thy religion." Then he would stand and utter the call to prayer.
Martin Lings (Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources)
The presumption that what is male is universal is a direct consequence of the gender data gap. Whiteness and maleness can only go without saying because most other identities never get said at all. But male universality is also a cause of the gender data gap: because women aren't seen and aren't remembered, because male data makes up the majority of what we know, what is male comes to be seen as universal. It leads to the positioning of women, half the global population, as a minority. With a niche identity and subjective point of view. In such a framing, women are set up to be forgettable. Ignorable. Dispensable - from culture, from history, a from data. And so, women become invisible.
Caroline Criado Pérez (Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men)
Relaxing the shoulders is vital for relaxation in general. However, owing to the effects of gravity, relaxation is problematic unless we let the shoulders remain in their natural place. Let the shoulders drop, or settle in harmony with gravity, into their most comfortable position. It isn’t too difficult to do this for a moment, but to sustain this condition unconsciously in our lives is another matter. We raise our shoulders unnaturally when we lean on a desk or hold the telephone between our shoulders and ears, when we are shocked by a loud noise, and who knows how many other times throughout the day. And the unsettling of the shoulders doesn’t have to be large to produce anxiety, stiff necks, and headaches. Just slightly raising them will create tension, and this tension throws the nervous system out of balance. When do we raise the shoulders in daily life? What are we feeling at that moment and leading up to that moment? Remembering that the body reflects the mind, and that the raising of the shoulders not only creates tension but also is a physical manifestation of psychological tension itself, what are the roots of this tension? Bringing the mind into the moment, let’s observe ourselves in a state free of preconceived ideas or beliefs. Don’t guess at these questions. Observe yourself in relationship to others and the universe
H.E. Davey (Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation)
Deep Blue didn't win by being smarter than a human; it won by being millions of times faster than a human. Deep Blue had no intuition. An expert human player looks at a board position and immediately sees what areas of play are most likely to be fruitful or dangerous, whereas a computer has no innate sense of what is important and must explore many more options. Deep Blue also had no sense of the history of the game, and didn't know anything about its opponent. It played chess yet didn't understand chess, in the same way a calculator performs arithmetic bud doesn't understand mathematics.
Jeff Hawkins (On Intelligence)
What do you think of human intelligence?" asked Mavis Pellington lamely. "Of whose intelligence in particular?" asked Tobermory coldly. "Oh, well, mine for instance," said Mavis with a feeble laugh. "You put me in an embarrassing position," said Tobermory, whose tone and attitude certainly did not suggest a shred of embarrassment. "When your inclusion in this house-party was suggested Sir Wilfrid protested that you were the most brainless woman of his acquaintance, and that there was a wide distinction between hospitality and the care of the feeble-minded. Lady Blemley replied that your lack of brain-power was the precise quality which had earned you your invitation, as you were the only person she could think of who might be idiotic enough to buy their old car. You know, the one they call 'The Envy of Sisyphus,' because it goes quite nicely up-hill if you push it.
Saki
As a physician, who has been deeply privileged to share the most profound moments of people's lives including their final moments, let me tell you a secret. People facing death don't think about what degrees they have earned, what positions they have held, or how much wealth they have accumulated. At the end, what really matters is who you loved and who loved you. That circle of love is everything, and is a great measure of a past life. It is the gift of greatest worth.
Bernadine Healy
You might not see it now, but you are stronger than you can ever imagine. You cannot become comfortable in your pain. You have to let the pain that you feel turn you into a rose without thorns. There are sixteen pieces on the chess board. The king is the most important piece, but the difference is that the queen is the most powerful piece! You are a queen, you can maneuver around your opponents; they do not have the power over your life, your mind or soul. You might think you’ve been a prisoner, but that is your past’ Look in the now and work your way to how you want your future to be. Exercise your thoughts into a pattern of letting go, and think positively about more of what you want than what you do not want. Queen! You are a queen! As a matter of fact, you are the queen! Act as if you know it! You are powerful, determined, strong, and you can make the biggest and most extravagant move and put it into action. Lights, camera, strike a pose and own it! It is yours to own!
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
The symbolic evidence of women’s invisibility in the human race is most clear perhaps in her suppression, her camouflage, her negation even in language. Women are subsumed, excised, erased by male pronouns, by male terminology, by male prayers about brotherhood and brethren, even and always by exclusively male images of God. The tradition that will call God spirit, rock, key door, wind, and bird will never ever call God mother. So much for the creative womb of God; so much for “I am who am.” So much for “Let us make human beings in our own image, male and female, let us make them.” What kind of spirituality is that? To take the position that using two pronouns for the human race is not important in a culture that has thirty words for car, multiple words for flowers, and dozens of words for dog breeds is to say that women are not important.
Joan D. Chittister (Heart of Flesh: Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men)
This is an example of what Jung called “the regressive restoration of the persona,” namely, the re-identification with a former position, role, ideology because it offers a predictable content, security, and script. In the face of the new and uncertain, we often return to the old place, which is why we so often stop growing. (It has become clear to me, for example, that aging itself does not bring wisdom. It often brings regression to childishness, dependency, and bitterness over lost opportunities.
James Hollis (What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life)
At the end of that class Demian said to me thoughtfully: "There’s something I don’t like about this story, Sinclair. Why don’t you read it once more and give it the acid test? There’s something about it that doesn’t taste right. I mean the business with the two thieves. The three crosses standing next to each other on the hill are almost impressive, to be sure. But now comes this sentimental little treatise about the good thief. At first he was a thorough scoundrel, had committed all those awful things and God knows what else, and now he dissolves in tears and celebrates such a tearful feast of self-improvement and remorse! What’s the sense of repenting if you’re two steps from the grave? I ask you. Once again, it’s nothing but a priest’s fairy tale, saccharine and dishonest, touched up with sentimentality and given a high edifying background. If you had to pick a friend from between the two thieves or decide which one you’d rather trust, you most certainly wouldn’t choose the sniveling convert. No, the other fellow, he’s a man of character. He doesn’t give a hoot for ‘conversion’, which to a man in his position can’t be anything but a pretty speech. He follows his destiny to it’s appointed end and does not turn coward and forswear the devil, who has aided and abetted him until then. He has character, and people with character tend to receive the short end of the stick in biblical stories. Perhaps he’s even a descendant of Cain. Don’t you agree?" I was dismayed. Until now I had felt completely at home in the story of the Crucifixion. Now I saw for the first time with how little individuality, with how little power of imagination I had listened to it and read it. Still, Demian’s new concept seemed vaguely sinister and threatened to topple beliefs on whose continued existence I felt I simply had to insist. No, one could not make light of everything, especially not of the most Sacred matters. As usual he noticed my resistance even before I had said anything. "I know," he said in a resigned tone of voice, "it’s the same old story: don’t take these stories seriously! But I have to tell you something: this is one of the very places that reveals the poverty of this religion most distinctly. The point is that this God of both Old and New Testaments is certainly an extraordinary figure but not what he purports to represent. He is all that is good, noble, fatherly, beautiful, elevated, sentimental—true! But the world consists of something else besides. And what is left over is ascribed to the devil, this entire slice of world, this entire half is hushed up. In exactly the same way they praise God as the father of all life but simply refuse to say a word about our sexual life on which it’s all based, describing it whenever possible as sinful, the work of the devil. I have no objection to worshiping this God Jehovah, far from it. But I mean we ought to consider everything sacred, the entire world, not merely this artificially separated half! Thus alongside the divine service we should also have a service for the devil. I feel that would be right. Otherwise you must create for yourself a God that contains the devil too and in front of which you needn’t close your eyes when the most natural things in the world take place.
Hermann Hesse (Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend)
Each of us is called upon to take a stand. So in these days ahead, as we examine ourselves and each other, our works, our fears, our differences, our sisterhood and survivals, I urge you to tackle what is most difficult for us all, self-scrutiny of our complacencies, the idea that since each of us believes she is on the side of right, she need not examine her position.
Audre Lorde (I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings)
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)
A year and a half had indeed made some changes in Veda's appearance. She was still no more than medium height, but her haughty carriage made her seem taller. The hips were as slim as ever, but had taken on some touch of voluptuousness. The legs were Mildred's, to the last graceful contour. But the most noticeable change was what Monty brutally called the Dairy: two round, swelling protuberances that had appeared almost overnight on the high, arching chest. They would have been large, even for a woman: but for a child of thirteen they were positively startling. Mildred had a mystical feeling about them: they made her think tremulously of Love, Motherhood, and similar milky concepts.
James M. Cain (Mildred Pierce)
Its hard to say what was happening inside her head. Her brain doesn't function quite like most people's to begin with and maybe, under a lot of stress, she just lost the ability to hope. Dev pondered this, hope as an ability. I guess that's what's so hard for me to get to, the no hope. To think that, of all the potential scenarios out there, there's not a single good one? It just seems like we- as human beings- know so much, but its nothing compared to what we don't know. The universe surprises us, right? That's just what it does. So how could she be so one hundred percent positive that nothing good would happen?
Marisa de los Santos (Belong to Me (Love Walked In, #2))
What people look like, or, rather, the race they have been assigned or are perceived to belong to, is the visible cue to their caste. It is the historic flash card to the public of how they are to be treated, where they are expected to live, what kinds of positions they are expected to hold, whether they belong in this section of town or that seat in a boardroom, whether they should be expected to speak with authority on this or that subject, whether they will be administered pain relief in a hospital, whether their neighborhood is likely to adjoin a toxic waste site or to have contaminated water flowing from their taps, whether they are more or less likely to survive childbirth in the most advanced nation in the world, whether they may be shot by authorities with impunity.
Isabel Wilkerson (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents)
It is interesting to me to note that those who most frequently call for fair play are those who are advantaged by the play as it currently is, and that only when that position of privilege is endangered are they likely to benefit from the change required to "play by the rules." What if the "rules" are inherently unfair or simply wrong, or a greater good is to be accomplished by changing them? When the gospel says, "The last will be first, and the first will be last," despite the fact it is counterintuitive to our cultural presuppositions, it is invariably good news to those who are last, and at least problematic news to those who see themselves as first.
Peter J. Gomes (The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What's So Good About the Good News?)
...women are conditioned to waste hours, days, weeks, months (although, truth be told, it's most likely years) doubting, undermining, and ultimately hating parts, if not all, of themselves based solely on "problems" with their bodies that can be solved by buying products from an industry that invented these problems in the first place. How fucking convenient. And when all is said and done, what is the prize for this self-torture? Fitting neatly within society's destructive narrative about the female body.
Phoebe Robinson (Everything's Trash, But It's Okay)
I mention all this to make the point that if you were designing an organism to look after life in our lonely cosmos, to monitor where it is going and keep a record of where it has been, you wouldn't choose human beings for the job. But here's an extremely salient point: we have been chosen, by fate or Providence or whatever you wish to call it. It's an unnerving thought that we may be living the universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously. Because we are so remarkably careless about looking after things, both when alive and when not, we have no idea-- really none at all-- about how many things have died off permanently, or may soon, or may never, and what role we have played in any part of the process. In 1979, in the book The Sinking Ark, the author Norman Myers suggested that human activities were causing about two extinctions a week on the planet. By the early 1990s he had raised the figure to about some six hundred per week. (That's extinctions of all types-- plants, insects, and so on as well as animals.) Others have put the figure ever higher-- to well over a thousand a week. A United Nations report of 1995, on the other hand, put the total number of known extinctions in the last four hundred years at slightly under 500 for animals and slightly over 650 for plants-- while allowing that this was "almost certainly an underestimate," particularly with regard to tropical species. A few interpreters think most extinction figures are grossly inflated. The fact is, we don't know. Don't have any idea. We don't know when we started doing many of the things we've done. We don't know what we are doing right now or how our present actions will affect the future. What we do know is that there is only one planet to do it on, and only one species of being capable of making a considered difference. Edward O. Wilson expressed it with unimprovable brevity in The Diversity of Life: "One planet, one experiment." If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here-- and by "we" i mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better. It is a talent we have only barely begun to grasp. We have arrived at this position of eminence in a stunningly short time. Behaviorally modern human beings-- that is, people who can speak and make art and organize complex activities-- have existed for only about 0.0001 percent of Earth's history. But surviving for even that little while has required a nearly endless string of good fortune. We really are at the beginning of it all. The trick, of course, is to make sure we never find the end. And that, almost certainly, will require a good deal more than lucky breaks.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
So you have chosen aloneness. You have chosen the security and the relative freedom of solitude, because there is no risk involved. You can stay up every night and watch your TV shows and eat ice cream out of the box and scroll through your Tumblr and never let your brain sit still, not even for a moment. You can fill your days up with books and coffees and trips to the store where you forget what you wanted the second you walk in the automatic sliding door. You can do so many little, pointless things throughout the day that all you can think of is how badly you want to sleep, how heavy your whole body is, how much your feet hurt. You can wear yourself out again and again on the pavement, and you do, and it feels good. No one will ever bridge that gap and point to your stomach or your hair or your eyes in the mirror and magically make you see the wonderful things about getting to be next to you. And maybe that’s it, after all, this fear that no one will ever truly feel about you the way you want to be felt about. Maybe what you want is someone to make you love yourself, to put sense into all that positive rhetoric, to make it so the aloneness of TV and blasting music in your ears at all times isn’t the most happy place you can think of. Maybe you want someone who makes you so sure of how wonderful things are that you cannot help but to tell them your feelings first, even at the risk of being humiliated. Because you will know that, when you’re telling them you love them, what you’re really saying is “I love who I become when I am with you.
Chelsea Fagan
Knowing that wisdom waits to be gathered, I actively search her out. I will change my actions TODAY! I will train my eyes and ears to read and listen to books and recordings that bring about positive changes in my personal relationships and a greater understanding of my fellow man. I will read and listen only to what increases my belief in myself and my future. I will seek wisdom. I will choose my friends with care. I am who my friends are. I speak their language, and I wear their clothes. I share their opinions and their habits. From this moment forward, I will choose to associate with people whose lives and lifestyles I admire. If I associate with chickens, I will learn to scratch at the ground and squabble over crumbs. If I associate with eagles, I will learn to soar to great heights. I am an eagle. It is my destiny to fly. I will seek wisdom. I will listen to the counsel of wise men. The words of a wise man are like raindrops on dry ground. They are precious and can be quickly used for immediate results. Only the blade of grass that catches a raindrop will prosper and grow. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others. A wise man will cultivate a servant’s spirit, for that particular attribute attracts people like no other. As I humbly serve others, their wisdom will be freely shared with me. He who serves the most grows the fastest. I will become a humble servant. I will look to open the door for someone. I will be excited when I am available to help. I will be a servant to others. I will listen to the counsel of wise men. I will choose my friends with care. I will seek wisdom.
Andy Andrews (The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success)
What happened to the Divine Feminine? Why has She apparently disappeared from Judaism, Christianity and Islam? In the Gnostic Gospels, we learn that Mary Magdalene was probably the closest disciple of the Christos, the one whom the Master taught the most arcane esoteric wisdom. She was and is the representation of all wisdom. The male apostles of the Christos demonstrated both their jealousy and respect for the wisdom and position of Mary Magdalene.
Laurence Galian (Alien Parasites: 40 Gnostic Truths to Defeat the Archon Invasion!)
This is a key to understanding our history and psychology. Genus Homo’s position in the food chain was, until quite recently, solidly in the middle. For millions of years, humans hunted smaller creatures and gathered what they could, all the while being hunted by larger predators. It was only 400,000 years ago that several species of man began to hunt large game on a regular basis, and only in the last 100,000 years – with the rise of Homo sapiens – that man jumped to the top of the food chain. That spectacular leap from the middle to the top had enormous consequences. Other animals at the top of the pyramid, such as lions and sharks, evolved into that position very gradually, over millions of years. This enabled the ecosystem to develop checks and balances that prevent lions and sharks from wreaking too much havoc. As lions became deadlier, so gazelles evolved to run faster, hyenas to cooperate better, and rhinoceroses to be more bad-tempered. In contrast, humankind ascended to the top so quickly that the ecosystem was not given time to adjust. Moreover, humans themselves failed to adjust. Most top predators of the planet are majestic creatures. Millions of years of dominion have filled them with self-confidence. Sapiens by contrast is more like a banana republic dictator. Having so recently been one of the underdogs of the savannah, we are full of fears and anxieties over our position, which makes us doubly cruel and dangerous. Many historical calamities, from deadly wars to ecological catastrophes, have resulted from this over-hasty jump.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
That war [Bosnian war] in the early 1990s changed a lot for me. I never thought I would see, in Europe, a full-dress reprise of internment camps, the mass murder of civilians, the reinstiutution of torture and rape as acts of policy. And I didn't expect so many of my comrades to be indifferent - or even take the side of the fascists. It was a time when many people on the left were saying 'Don't intervene, we'll only make things worse' or, 'Don't intervene, it might destabilise the region. And I thought - destabilisation of fascist regimes is a good thing. Why should the left care about the stability of undemocratic regimes? Wasn't it a good thing to destabilise the regime of General Franco? It was a time when the left was mostly taking the conservative, status quo position - leave the Balkans alone, leave Milosevic alone, do nothing. And that kind of conservatism can easily mutate into actual support for the aggressors. Weimar-style conservatism can easily mutate into National Socialism. So you had people like Noam Chomsky's co-author Ed Herman go from saying 'Do nothing in the Balkans', to actually supporting Milosevic, the most reactionary force in the region. That's when I began to first find myself on the same side as the neocons. I was signing petitions in favour of action in Bosnia, and I would look down the list of names and I kept finding, there's Richard Perle. There's Paul Wolfowitz. That seemed interesting to me. These people were saying that we had to act. Before, I had avoided them like the plague, especially because of what they said about General Sharon and about Nicaragua. But nobody could say they were interested in oil in the Balkans, or in strategic needs, and the people who tried to say that - like Chomsky - looked ridiculous. So now I was interested.
Christopher Hitchens
Yes, contractions can be intense,' Noura continues. 'But your bodies are designed to handle it. And what you must remember is, it's a positive pain. I'm sure you'll both agree?' She looks over at Mum and Janice. POSITIVE?' Janice looks up, horrified. 'Ooh, no, dear. Mine was agony. 24 hours in the cruel summer heat. I wouldn't wish it on any of you poor girls.' But there are natural methods you can use,' Noura puts in quickly. 'I'm sure you found that rocking and changing position helped with the contractions. I wouldn't have said so,' Mum says kindly. Or a warm bath?' Noura suggets, smile tightening. A bath? Dear, when you're gripped by agony and wanting to die, a bath doesn't really help!' As I glance around the room I can see that all the girls' faces have frozen. Most of the mens' too.
Sophie Kinsella (Shopaholic & Baby (Shopaholic, #5))
Being wrong opens us up to the possibility of change. Being wrong brings the opportunity for growth. It means not cutting your arm open to cure a cold or splashing dog piss on your face to look young again. It means not thinking “mediocre” is a vegetable, and not being afraid to care about things. Because here’s something that’s weird but true: we don’t actually know what a positive or negative experience is. Some of the most difficult and stressful moments of our lives also end up being the most formative and motivating. Some of the best and most gratifying experiences of our lives are also the most distracting and demotivating. Don’t trust your conception of positive/negative experiences. All that we know for certain is what hurts in the moment and what doesn’t. And that’s not worth much. Just
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
The fact that most states are born of violent upheaval does not, of course, mean that disorder leads to order. In writing the history of events that are still unfolding in a state that is still unformed, it is impossible to know which tendencies will prevail and at what price. The safest position is the human rights position, which measures regimes on a strictly negative scale as the sum of their crimes and their abuses: if you damn all offenders and some later mend their ways, you can always take credit for your good influence. Unfortunately, the safest position may not necessarily be the wisest, and I wondered whether there is room--even a need--for exercising political judgment in such matters.
Philip Gourevitch (We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families)
Our faith is faith in some one else's faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case. Our belief in truth itself, for instance, that there is a truth, and that our minds and it are made for each other,--what is it but a passionate affirmation of desire, in which our social system backs us up? We want to have a truth; we want to believe that our experiments and studies and discussions must put us in a continually better and better position towards it; and on this line we agree to fight out our thinking lives.
William James (The Will to Believe, Human Immortality and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy)
Hamilton found it difficult to concentrate on what Eliza was saying. Her lips were moving rapidly, but he couldn't actually decipher what the words coming out of her mouth were. It was such a lovely mouth, and he found it quite quirky, given the fact that it could assume different positions with alarming frequency. Like now, it was pursed in a most attractive manner, and now... it was moving again as if the lady could not get the words out fast enough. His gaze traveled upward, past the eyes that were flashing and settled on her hair. He couldn't help but appreciate the efforts of Mabel. The curls she'd been able to produce on Eliza's head, well, they were tantalizing. He had the strangest urge to reach out and touch them, to feel with his own hand if they were as soft as they appeared, something he'd been contemplating ever since he got a good look at her in the dining room. He pulled abruptly back to reality when Eliza poked him in the chest.
Jen Turano (A Change of Fortune (Ladies of Distinction, #1))
In the market economy the consumers are supreme. Consumers determine, by their buying or abstention from buying, what should be produced, by whom and how, of what quality and in what quantity. The entrepreneurs, capitalists, and landowners who fail to satisfy in the best possible and cheapest way the most urgent of the not yet satisfied wishes of the consumers are forced to go out of business and forfeit their preferred position. In business offices and in laboratories the keenest minds are busy fructifying the most complex achievements of scientific research for the production of ever better implements and gadgets for people who have no inkling of the scientific theories that make the fabrication of such things possible. The bigger an enterprise is, the more it is forced to adjust its production activities to the changing whims and fancies of the masses, its masters. The fundamental principle of capitalism is mass production to supply the masses. It is the patronage of the masses that makes enterprises grow into bigness. The common man is supreme in the market economy. He is the customer “who is always right.
Ludwig von Mises (Economic Freedom and Interventionism: An Anthology of Articles and Essays)
The old man might have been drunk, but he was right. Outsiders have robbed and exploited the people of the Congo ever since the days of the first European and Arab slavers. The territory that Stanley staked in the name of Leopold witnessed what many regard as the first genocide of the modern era, when millions of Congolese were effectively worked to death trying to meet the colonialists’ almost insatiable demand for resources, most notably rubber. And since independence, foreign powers have toyed with the Congo, stripping its mineral assets and exploiting its strategic position, never mindful of the suffering inflicted on its people. And that really was the point. At every stage of its bloody history, outsiders have tended to treat Congolese as somehow sub-human, not worthy of the consideration they would expect for themselves. For progress to be made, outsiders must treat Congolese as equals and they could do worse than follow the example of an amazing white woman I discovered after we got back to Kalemie.
Tim Butcher (Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart)
A child's readiness for school depends on the most basic of all knowledge, how to learn. The report lists the seven key ingredients of this crucial capacity—all related to emotional intelligence:6 1. Confidence. A sense of control and mastery of one's body, behavior, and world; the child's sense that he is more likely than not to succeed at what he undertakes, and that adults will be helpful. 2. Curiosity. The sense that finding out about things is positive and leads to pleasure. 3. Intentionality. The wish and capacity to have an impact, and to act upon that with persistence. This is related to a sense of competence, of being effective. 4. Self-control. The ability to modulate and control one's own actions in age-appropriate ways; a sense of inner control. 5. Relatedness. The ability to engage with others based on the sense of being understood by and understanding others. 6. Capacity to communicate. The wish and ability to verbally exchange ideas, feelings, and concepts with others. This is related to a sense of trust in others and of pleasure in engaging with others, including adults. 7. Cooperativeness. The ability to balance one's own needs with those of others in group activity. Whether or not a child arrives at school on the first day of kindergarten with these capabilities depends greatly on how much her parents—and preschool teachers—have given her the kind of care that amounts to a "Heart Start," the emotional equivalent of the Head Start programs.
Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ)
So what's your doll's name?" Boo asked me. "Barbie," I said. "All their names are Barbie." "I see," she said. "Well, I'd think that would get boring, everyone having the same name." I thought about this, then said, "Okay, then her name is Sabrina." "Well, that's a very nice name," Boo said. I remember she was baking bread, kneading the dough between her thick fingers. "What does she do?" "Do?" I said. "Yes." She flipped the dough over and started in on it from the other side. "What does she do?" "She goes out with Ken," I said. "And what else?" "She goes to parties," I said slowly. "And shopping." "Oh," Boo said, nodding. "She can't work?" "She doesn't have to work," I said. "Why not?" "Because she's Barbie." "I hate to tell you, Caitlin, but somebody has to make payments on that town house and the Corvette," Boo said cheerfully. "Unless Barbie has a lot of family money." I considered this while I put on Ken's pants. Boo started pushing the dough into a pan, smoothing it with her hand over the top. "You know what I think, Caitlin?" Her voice was soft and nice, the way she always spoke to me. "What?" "I think your Barbie can go shopping, and go out with Ken, and also have a productive and satisfying career of her own." She opened the oven and slid in the bread pan, adjusting its position on the rack. "But what can she do?" My mother didn't work and spent her time cleaning the house and going to PTA. I couldn't imagine Barbie, whose most casual outfit had sequins and go-go boots, doing s.uch things. Boo came over and plopped right down beside me. I always remember her being on my level; she'd sit on the edge of the sandbox, or lie across her bed with me and Cass as we listened to the radio. "Well," she said thoughtfully, picking up Ken and examining his perfect physique. "What do you want to do when you grow up?" I remember this moment so well; I can still see Boo sitting there on the floor, cross- legged, holding my Ken and watching my face as she tried to make me see that between my mother's PTA and Boo's strange ways there was a middle ground that began here with my Barbie, Sab-rina, and led right to me. "Well," I said abruptly, "I want to be in advertising." I have no idea where this came from. "Advertising," Boo repeated, nodding. "Okay. Advertising it is. So Sabrina has to go to work every day, coming up with ideas for commercials and things like that." "She works in an office," I went on. "Sometimes she has to work late." "Sure she does," Boo said. "It's hard to get ahead. Even if you're Barbie." "Because she wants to get promoted," I added. "So she can pay off the town house. And the Corvette." "Very responsible of her," Boo said. "Can she be divorced?" I asked. "And famous for her commercials and ideas?" "She can be anything," Boo told me, and this is what I remember most, her freckled face so solemn, as if she knew she was the first to tell me. "And so can you.
Sarah Dessen (Dreamland)
It's moments like this, when you need someone the most, that your world seems smallest. I'm told there's no going back. So I’m choosing forward The exhaustion of living was just too much for me to talk any longer It still might be a shock. To realize you are just one story walking among millions Why is it so much easier to talk to a stranger? Why do we feel we need that disconnect in order to connect? I had done it. I had embraced danger. The experience might have been an epic disaster, but it was still…an experience We are reading the story of our lives/ as though we were in it, /as though we had written it Like dogs and lions, small children can sense fear. The slightest flinch, the slightest disinclination, and they will jump atop you and devour you I might have liked to share a dance with you. If I may be so bold to say In a field, I am the absence of field. In a crowd, I am the absence of crowd. In a dream, I am the absence of dream. But I don’t want to live as an absence. I move to keep things whole. Because sometimes I feel drunk on positivity. Sometimes I feel amazement at the tangle of words and lives, and I want to be a part of that tangle…It’s only a game if there is an absence of meaning. And we’ve already gone too far for that You restore my faith in humanity Do you want to go get coffee or something tomorrow and discuss and analyze the situation at length? Let’s just wander and see what happens It was rather awkward, insofar as we were both teetering between the possibility of something and the possibility of nothing. Fate has a strange way of making plans I love a man who doesn’t let go of the leash, even when it leads him to ruin
Rachel Cohn (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1))
We are afraid of what we will do to others, afraid of the rage that lies in wait somewhere deep in our souls. How many human beings go through the world frozen with rage against life! This deeply hidden inner anger may be the product of hurt pride or of real frustration in office, factory, clinic, or home. Whatever may be the cause of our frozen rage (which is the inevitable mother of depression), the great word of hope today is that this rage can be conquered and drained off into creative channels … …What should we do? We should all learn that a certain amount of aggressive energy is normal and certainly manageable in maturity. Most of us can drain off the excess of our angry feelings and destructive impulses in exercise, in competitive games, or in the vigorous battles against the evils of nature and society. We also must realize that no one will punish us for the legitimate expression of self-assertiveness and creative pugnacity as our parents once punished us for our undisciplined temper tantrums. Furthermore, let us remember that we need not totally repress the angry part of our nature. We can always give it an outlet in the safe realm of fantasy. A classic example of such fantasy is given by Max Beerborn, who made a practice of concocting imaginary letters to people he hated. Sometimes he went so far as to actually write the letters and in the very process of releasing his anger it evaporated. As mature men and women we should regard our minds as a true democracy where all kinds of ideas and emotions should be given freedom of speech. If in political life we are willing to grant civil liberties to all sorts of parties and programs, should we not be equally willing to grant civil liberties to our innermost thoughts and drives, confident that the more dangerous of them will be outvoted by the majority within our minds? Do I mean that we should hit out at our enemy whenever the mood strikes us? No, I repeat that I am suggesting quite the reverse—self-control in action based upon (positive coping mechanisms such as) self expression in fantasy.
Joshua Loth Liebman (Peace of Mind: Insights on Human Nature That Can Change Your Life)
To begin with, we have to be more clear about what we mean by patriotic feelings. For a time when I was in high school, I cheered for the school athletic teams. That's a form of patriotism — group loyalty. It can take pernicious forms, but in itself it can be quite harmless, maybe even positive. At the national level, what "patriotism" means depends on how we view the society. Those with deep totalitarian commitments identify the state with the society, its people, and its culture. Therefore those who criticized the policies of the Kremlin under Stalin were condemned as "anti-Soviet" or "hating Russia". For their counterparts in the West, those who criticize the policies of the US government are "anti-American" and "hate America"; those are the standard terms used by intellectual opinion, including left-liberal segments, so deeply committed to their totalitarian instincts that they cannot even recognize them, let alone understand their disgraceful history, tracing to the origins of recorded history in interesting ways. For the totalitarian, "patriotism" means support for the state and its policies, perhaps with twitters of protest on grounds that they might fail or cost us too much. For those whose instincts are democratic rather than totalitarian, "patriotism" means commitment to the welfare and improvement of the society, its people, its culture. That's a natural sentiment and one that can be quite positive. It's one all serious activists share, I presume; otherwise why take the trouble to do what we do? But the kind of "patriotism" fostered by totalitarian societies and military dictatorships, and internalized as second nature by much of intellectual opinion in more free societies, is one of the worst maladies of human history, and will probably do us all in before too long. With regard to the US, I think we find a mix. Every effort is made by power and doctrinal systems to stir up the more dangerous and destructive forms of "patriotism"; every effort is made by people committed to peace and justice to organize and encourage the beneficial kinds. It's a constant struggle. When people are frightened, the more dangerous kinds tend to emerge, and people huddle under the wings of power. Whatever the reasons may be, by comparative standards the US has been a very frightened country for a long time, on many dimensions. Quite commonly in history, such fears have been fanned by unscrupulous leaders, seeking to implement their own agendas. These are commonly harmful to the general population, which has to be disciplined in some manner: the classic device is to stimulate fear of awesome enemies concocted for the purpose, usually with some shreds of realism, required even for the most vulgar forms of propaganda. Germany was the pride of Western civilization 70 years ago, but most Germans were whipped to presumably genuine fear of the Czech dagger pointed at the heart of Germany (is that crazier than the Nicaraguan or Grenadan dagger pointed at the heart of the US, conjured up by the people now playing the same game today?), the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy aimed at destroying the Aryan race and the civilization that Germany had inherited from Greece, etc. That's only the beginning. A lot is at stake.
Noam Chomsky
In the past, my brain could only compute perfection or failure—nothing in between. So words like competent, acceptable, satisfactory, and good enough fell into the failure category. Even above average meant failure if I received an 88 out of 100 percent on an exam, I felt that I failed. The fact is most things in life are not absolutes and have components of both good and bad. I used to think in absolute terms a lot: all, every, or never. I would all of the food (that is, binge), and then I would restrict every meal and to never eat again. This type of thinking extended outside of the food arena as well: I had to get all of the answers right on a test; I had to be in every extracurricular activity […] The ‘if it’s not perfect, I quit’ approach to life is a treacherous way to live. […] I hadn’t established a baseline of competence: What gets the job done? What is good enough? Finding good enough takes trial and error. For those of us who are perfectionists, the error part of trial and error can stop us dead in our tracks. We would rather keep chasing perfection than risk possibly making a mistake. I was able to change my behavior only when the pain of perfectionism became greater than the pain of making an error. […] Today good enough means that I’m okay just the way I am. I play my position in the world. I catch the ball when it is thrown my way. I don’t always have to make the crowd go wild or get a standing ovation. It’s good enough to just catch the ball or even to do my best to catch it. Good enough means that I finally enjoy playing the game.
Jenni Schaefer (Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life)
{Colonel Carr's testimony of Colonel Robert Ingersoll at his funeral} He was the boldest, most aggressive, courageous, virile, and the kindest and gentlest and most considerate and loving man I ever knew. His was a nature that yielded to no obstacles, that could not be moved nor turned aside by the allurements of place or position, the menaces of power, the favors of the opulent, or the enticing influences of public opinion. Entering upon his career in an age of obsequiousness and time-serving, when the values of political and religious views were estimated by what they would bring from the ruling party and from the church, in offices and emoluments and benefices, he assailed the giant evils of the times with the strength and power of Hercules and ground them to dust under his trip-hammer blows. Throughout his whole active life, there has been no greater and more potential influence than the personality of this sublime character in breaking the shackles of the slave, and in freeing men and women and children from the bonds of ignorance and superstition.
Eugene Asa Carr
What should worry us is not the number of people who oppose us, but how good their reasons are for doing so. We should therefore divert our attention away from the presence of unpopularity to the explanations for it. It may be frightening to hear that a high proportion of a community holds us to be wrong, but before abandoning our position, we should consider the method by which their conclusions have been reached. It is the soundness of their method of thinking that should determine the weight we give to their disapproval. We seem afflicted by the opposite tendency: to listen to everyone, to be upset by every unkind word and sarcastic observation. We fail to ask ourselves the cardinal and most consoling question: on what basis has this dark censure been made? We treat with equal seriousness the objections of the critic who has thought rigorously and honestly and those of the critic who has acted out of misanthropy and envy.
Alain de Botton (The Consolations of Philosophy)
Nietzsche saw that ultimately the problem of nihilism is the problem of what to do with time: Why keep investing in the future when there is no longer any transcendental guarantor, a positive end of time as ultimate reconciliation or redemption, ensuring a pay-off for this investment? Nietzsche's solution — his attempted overcoming of nihilism — consists in affirming the senselessness of becoming as such — all becoming, without reservation or discrimination. The affirmation of eternal recurrence is amor fati: the love of fate. It's an old quandary: either learn to love fate or learn to transform it. To affirm fate is to let time do whatever it will with us, but in such a way that our will might coincide with time's. The principal contention of my book, and the point at which it diverges most fundamentally from Nietzsche, is that nihilism is not the negation of truth, but rather the truth of negation, and the truth of negation is transformative.
Ray Brassier (Nihil Unbound: Naturalism and Anti-Phenomenological Realism)
In neo-classical economic theory, it is claimed without evidence that people are basically self-seeking, that they want above all the satisfaction of their material desires: what economists call "maximising utility". The ultimate objective of mankind is economic growth, and that is maximized only through raw, and lightly regulated, competition. If the rewards of this system are spread unevenly, that is a necessary price. Others on the planet are to be regarded as either customers, competitors or factors of production. Effects upon the planet itself are mere "externalities" to the model, with no reckoning of the cost - at least for now. Nowhere in this analysis appears factors such as human cooperation, love, trust, compassion or hatred, curiosity or beauty. Nowhere appears the concept of meaning. What cannot be measured is ignored. But the trouble is that once our basic needs for shelter and food have been met, these factors may be the most important of all.
Carne Ross (The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century)
Boys are suffering, in the modern world. They are more disobedient—negatively—or more independent—positively—than girls, and they suffer for this, throughout their pre-university educational career. They are less agreeable (agreeableness being a personality trait associated with compassion, empathy and avoidance of conflict) and less susceptible to anxiety and depression,172 at least after both sexes hit puberty.173 Boys’ interests tilt towards things; girls’ interests tilt towards people.174 Strikingly, these differences, strongly influenced by biological factors, are most pronounced in the Scandinavian societies where gender-equality has been pushed hardest: this is the opposite of what would be expected by those who insist, ever more loudly, that gender is a social construct. It isn’t. This isn’t a debate. The data are in.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
She might have seen that what had bowed her head so profoundly - the thought of the world's concern at her situation - was founded on an illusion. She was not an existence, an experience, a passion, a structure of sensations, to anybody but herself. To all humankind besides Tess was only a passing thought. Even to friends she was no more than a frequently passing thought. If she made herself miserable the livelong night and day it was only this much to them - 'Ah,she makes herself unhappy.' If she tried to be cheerful, to dismiss all care, to take pleasure in the daylight, the flowers, the baby, she could only be this idea to them - 'Ah, she bears it very well.' Moreover, alone in a desert island would she have been wretched at what had happened to her? Not greatly. If she could but have been just created, to discover herself as a spouseless mother, with no experience of life except as the parent of a nameless child, would the position have caused her to despair? No, she would have taken it calmly, and found pleasures therein. Most of the misery had been generated by her conventional aspect, and not by her innate sensations.
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D’Urbervilles)
THE WISDOM OF SURRENDER It is the quality of your consciousness at this moment that is the main determinant of what kind of future you will experience, so to surrender is the most important thing you can do to bring about positive change. Any action you take is secondary. No truly positive action can arise out of an unsurrendered state of consciousness. To some people, surrender may have negative connotations, implying defeat, giving up, failing to rise to the challenges of life, becoming lethargic, and so on. True surrender, however, is something entirely different. It does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation you find yourself in and to do nothing about it. Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action. SURRENDER IS THE SIMPLE but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life. The only place where you can experience the flow of life is the Now, so to surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally and without reservation.
Eckhart Tolle (Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises from the Power of Now)
The child was left alone to die in the hallway. Here, in the dawn, was mortality itself. In the city were places to fall from which one could never emerge -- dark dreams and slow death, the death of children, suffering without grace or redemption, ultimate and eternal loss. The memory of the child stayed with Peter. But that was not to be the end of it, for reality went around in a twisting ring. Even the irredeemable would be redeemed, and there was a balance for everything. There had to be. The old man said, "Nothing is random, nor will anything ever be, whether a long string of perfectly blue days that begin and end in golden dimness, the most seemingly chaotic political acts, the rise of a great city, the crystalline structure of a gem that has never seen the light, the distributions of fortune, what time the milkman gets up, or the position of the electron. Even electrons, supposedly the paragons of unpredictability, do exactly as they are told. Of this, one is certain. And yet, there is a wonderful anarchy, in that the milkman chooses when to arise, the rat picks the tunnel into which he will dive when the subway comes rushing down the track from Borough Hall, and the snowflake will fall as it will. How can this be? If nothing is random, and everything is predetermined, how can there be free will? The answer to that is simple. Nothing is predetermined, it is determined, or was determined, or will be determined. No matter, it all happened at once, in less than an instant, and time was invented because we cannot comprehend in one glance the enormous and detailed canvas that we have been given - so we track it, in linear fashion piece by piece. Time however can be easily overcome; not by chasing the light, but by standing back far enough to see it all at once. The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is. Everything that ever will be, is. In all possible combinations. Though we imagine that it is in motion and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful. So any event is intimately and sensibly tied to all others. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue, immobile and accessible. And, when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time, justice becomes apparent not as something that will be, but something that is.
Mark Helprin (Winter's Tale)
There wasn't any fanfare in quitting my job. Most of my clients would know I'd left and been replaced by a new person. Maybe they would vacuum or position the throw pillows differently. Maybe the clients would come home to find the shampoo bottles arranged in a new way, but most of them probably wouldn't notice the change at all. When I thought about a new maid taking over my job, I wondered again what it would be like to know a stranger had been in your house, wiping every surface, emptying the garbage of your bloody pads. Would you not feel exposed in some way? After a couple of years, my clients trusted our invisible relationship. Now there would be another invisible human being magically making lines in the carpet.
Stephanie Land (Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive)
Phoebe asked me, "Tell me, what do you think of the afterlife?" I was a bit nonplussed. I had no idea what she thought, but I knew that the question must be of greater interest to someone of her age than to me. But our conversation had been completely honest, and before I could speak, honesty and tact had joined hands in my answer. "I have no faith at all," I said, "but sometimes I have hope." I rather think," she replied, "that total annihilation is the most comfortable position." I was shaken. The horse clopped on. The children laughed behind us. When I die," she said, "I don't expect to see any of my loved ones again. I'll just become a part of all this." She waved her hand at the surrounding countryside. "That's all right with me.
Sena Jeter Naslund (Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer)
It is a special blessing to belong among those who can and may devote their best energies to the contemplation and exploration of objective and timeless things. How happy and grateful I am for having been granted this blessing, which bestows upon one a large measure of independence from one's personal fate and from the attitude of one's contemporaries. Yet this independence must not inure us to the awareness of the duties that constantly bind us to the past, present and future of humankind at large. Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here, involuntarily and uninvited, for a short stay, without knowing the why and the wherefore. In our daily lives we feel only that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own. I am often troubled by the thought that my life is based to such a large extent on the work of my fellow human beings, and I am aware of my great indebtedness to them. I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer's words: 'Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills,' accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper. I have never coveted affluence and luxury and even despise them a good deal. My passion for social justice has often brought me into conflict with people, as has my aversion to any obligation and dependence I did not regard as absolutely necessary. [Part 2] I have a high regard for the individual and an insuperable distaste for violence and fanaticism. All these motives have made me a passionate pacifist and antimilitarist. I am against any chauvinism, even in the guise of mere patriotism. Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as does any exaggerated personality cult. I am an adherent of the ideal of democracy, although I know well the weaknesses of the democratic form of government. Social equality and economic protection of the individual have always seemed to me the important communal aims of the state. Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice keeps me from feeling isolated. The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all there is.
Albert Einstein
I know it hurts and I know there are days when you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t breathe because of this unbearable lack of something or someone. I know what it’s like to be sad for no reason at all, standing in the rain with no intention of surviving. I know things hurts, I hurt, but life can also be so beautiful… Wonderful things are waiting for you. I know it, I’ve had a taste of it, small moments of complete clarity. Magical nights under the stars and peaceful mornings with someone you love. Before you know it you will thank yourself for staying strong and holding on. I do, most of the days. I know there are days when even one single positive thought feels like too much effort, but you must develop an unconditional love for life. You must never lose your childish curiosity for the possibilities in every single day. Who you can be, what you can see, what you can feel and where it can lead you. Be in love with your life, everything about it. The sadness and the joys, the struggles and the lessons, your flaws and strengths, what you lose and what you gain.
Charlotte Eriksson (Empty Roads & Broken Bottles: in search for The Great Perhaps)
One of many beautiful young girls in traditional hijab came up to me to have her photo signed. Her green eyes glistened as she looked at me directly and asked, “Can you put ‘Women can be heroes, too’?” I met everyday heroines on this trip–ladies with a glow and a sparkle, a determination and a strength in the face of adversity. We did have tremendous fun in the making of Agent Carter, but the positive effect–particularly on young women–is what I hold closest to my heart. I met a girl named Nada at the convention. She said, “Most people think my name means ‘Nothing,’ but in fact it means ‘dewdrop’ and ‘honesty’ in my culture.” Whatever happens in the future for Peggy, and the show, Season One and its small impact on young girls are a drop of positivity in our world. Peggy is an honest girl following her own moral compass in the face of adversity. She makes us strive to be better than we want to be. Thank you, Marvel, for letting me step into her high heels, apply her lipstick, and fight the good fight. For all you little Peggys out there, you are not alone. Go forth and kick ass.
Hayley Atwell (Marvel's Agent Carter: Season One Declassified)
The 1970s-80s social movement called U.S. third world feminism functioned as a central locus of possibility, an insurgent social movement that shattered the construction of any one ideology as the single most correct site where truth can be represented. Indeed, without making this kind of metamove, any 'liberation' or social movement eventually becomes destined to repeat the oppressive authoritarianism from which it is attempting to free itself, and become trapped inside a drive for truth that ends only in producing its own brand of dominations. What U.S. third world feminism thus demanded was a new subjectivity, a political revision that denied any one ideology as the final answer, while instead positing a tactical subjectivity with the capactiy to de- and recenter, given the forms of power to be moved. These dynamics are what were required in the shift from enacting a hegemonic oppositional theory and practice to engaging in the differential form of social movement, as performed by U.S. feminists of color during the post-World War II period of great social transformation. p. 58-59.
Chela Sandoval (Methodology of the Oppressed)
The antidote, in so far as it is a matter of individual psychology, is to be found in history, biology, astronomy, and all those studies which, without destroying self-respect, enable the individual to see himself in his proper perspective. What is needed is not this or that specific piece of information, but such knowledge as inspires a conception of the ends of human life as a whole: art and history, acquaintance with the lives of heroic individuals, and some understanding of the strangely accidental and ephemeral position of man in the cosmos - all this touched with an emotion of pride in what is distinctively human, the power to see and to know, to feel magnanimously and to think with understanding. It is from large perceptions combined with impersonal emotion that wisdom most readily springs.
Bertrand Russell (In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays)
Whereas the craftsman mindset focuses on what you can offer the world, the passion mindset focuses instead on what the world can offer you. This mindset is how most people approach their working lives. There are two reasons why I dislike the passion mindset (that is, two reasons beyond the fact that, as I argued in Rule #1, it’s based on a false premise). First, when you focus only on what your work offers you, it makes you hyperaware of what you don’t like about it, leading to chronic unhappiness. This is especially true for entry-level positions, which, by definition, are not going to be filled with challenging projects and autonomy—these come later. When you enter the working world with the passion mindset, the annoying tasks you’re assigned or the frustrations of corporate bureaucracy can become too much to handle. Second, and more serious, the deep questions driving the passion mindset—“Who am I?” and “What do I truly love?”—are essentially impossible to confirm. “Is this who I really am?” and “Do I love this?” rarely reduce to clear yes-or-no responses. In other words, the passion mindset is almost guaranteed to keep you perpetually unhappy and confused, which probably explains why Bronson admits, not long into his career-seeker epic What Should I Do With My Life? that “the one feeling everyone in this book has experienced is of missing out on life.
Cal Newport (So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love)
Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground. It presented us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased. We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature, and found them engraved on our hearts. Yet we did not avail ourselves of all the advantages of our position. We had never been permitted to exercise self-government. When forced to assume it, we were novices in its science. Its principles and forms had entered little into our former education. We established however some, although not all its important principles. The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.
Thomas Jefferson
The more obsessed with personal identity campus liberals become, the less willing they become to engage in reasoned political debate. Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: 'Speaking as an X' . . . This is not an anodyne phrase. It tells the listener that I am speaking from a privileged position on this matter. (One never says, 'Speaking as an gay Asian, I fell incompetent to judge on this matter'). It sets up a wall against questions, which by definition come from a non-X perspective. And it turns the encounter into a power relation: the winner of the argument will be whoever has invoked the morally superior identity and expressed the most outrage at being questioned. So classroom conversations that once might have begun, 'I think A, and here is my argument', now take the form, 'Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B'. This makes perfect sense if you believe that identity determines everything. It means that there is no impartial space for dialogue. White men have one "epistemology", black women have another. So what remains to be said? What replaces argument, then, is taboo. At times our more privileged campuses can seem stuck in the world of archaic religion. Only those with an approved identity status are, like shamans, allowed to speak on certain matters. Particular groups -- today the transgendered -- are given temporary totemic significance. Scapegoats -- today conservative political speakers -- are duly designated and run off campus in a purging ritual. Propositions become pure or impure, not true or false. And not only propositions but simple words. Left identitarians who think of themselves as radical creatures, contesting this and transgressing that, have become like buttoned-up Protestant schoolmarms when it comes to the English language, parsing every conversation for immodest locutions and rapping the knuckles of those who inadvertently use them.
Mark Lilla (The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics)
THE RETURN OF THE REPRESSED: RELIVING DISSOCIATED EXPERIENCES The reexperiencing of previously dissociated traumatic events presents in a variety of complex ways. The central principle is that dissociated experiences often do not remain dormant. Freud's concept of the “repetition compulsion” is enormously helpful in understanding how dissociated events are later reexperienced. In his paper, "Beyond the Pleasure Principle," Freud (1920/ 1955) described how repressed (and dissociated) trauma and instinctual conflicts can become superimposed on current reality. He wrote: The patient cannot remember the whole of what is repressed in him, and what he cannot remember may be precisely the essential part of it. .. . He is obliged to repeat the repressed material as a contemporary experience instead of remembering it as something in the past. (p. 18) If one understands repression as the process in which overwhelming experiences are forgotten, distanced, and dissociated, Freud posited that these experiences are likely to recur in the mind and to be reexperienced. He theorized that this "compulsion to repeat" served a need to rework and achieve mastery over the experience and that it perhaps had an underlying biologic basis as well. The most perceptive tenet of Freud’s theory is that previously dissociated events are actually reexperienced as current reality rather than remembered as occurring in the past. Although Freud was discussing the trauma produced by intense intrapsychic conflict, clinical experience has shown that actual traumatic events that have been dissociated are often repeated and reexperienced.
James A. Chu (Rebuilding Shattered Lives: Treating Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders)
Thank you,” she said once more, stepping to where he was and lightly kissing his left cheek, placing her hand on Adam’s chest for support. She felt her face heat at the gesture of gratitude but did not regret her actions. She needed him to know that what he’d done went beyond the ordinary polite interest most people took in the suffering of others. Relieved that he, at least, didn’t object to her offering, Persephone smiled a little shyly and stepped away, determined to run all the way to her rooms and devour Linus’s letter. She didn’t manage a single step. Adam reached for her—something he’d never done before—and with a look of intense determination, he pulled her back to her previous position, hand pressed to his chest. He kissed her. Not on the cheek, not a friendly greeting, but a kiss unlike any she had experienced before, made even more remarkable by the fact that it was entirely unexpected.
Sarah M. Eden (Seeking Persephone (The Lancaster Family, #1))
The Idiot. I have read it once, and find that I don't remember the events of the book very well--or even all the principal characters. But mostly the 'portrait of a truly beautiful person' that dostoevsky supposedly set out to write in that book. And I remember how Myshkin seemed so simple when I began the book, but by the end, I realized how I didn't understand him at all. the things he did. Maybe when I read it again it will be different. But the plot of these dostoevsky books can hold such twists and turns for the first-time reader-- I guess that's b/c he was writing most of these books as serials that had to have cliffhangers and such. But I make marks in my books, mostly at parts where I see the author's philosophical points standing in the most stark relief. My copy of Moby Dick is positively full of these marks. The Idiot, I find has a few... Part 3, Section 5. The sickly Ippolit is reading from his 'Explanation' or whatever its called. He says his convictions are not tied to him being condemned to death. It's important for him to describe, of happiness: "you may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it." That it's the process of life--not the end or accomplished goals in it--that matter. Well. Easier said than lived! Part 3, Section 6. more of Ippolit talking--about a christian mindset. He references Jesus's parable of The Word as seeds that grow in men, couched in a description of how people are interrelated over time; its a picture of a multiplicity. Later in this section, he relates looking at a painting of Christ being taken down from the cross, at Rogozhin's house. The painting produced in him an intricate metaphor of despair over death "in the form of a huge machine of the most modern construction which, dull and insensible, has aimlessly clutched, crushed, and swallowed up a great priceless Being, a Being worth all nature and its laws, worth the whole earth, which was created perhaps solely for the sake of the advent of this Being." The way Ippolit's ideas are configured, here, reminds me of the writings of Gilles Deleuze. And the phrasing just sort of remidns me of the way everyone feels--many people feel crushed by the incomprehensible machine, in life. Many people feel martyred in their very minor ways. And it makes me think of the concept that a narrative religion like Christianity uniquely allows for a kind of socialized or externalized, shared experience of subjectivity. Like, we all know the story of this man--and it feels like our own stories at the same time. Part 4, Section 7. Myshkin's excitement (leading to a seizure) among the Epanchin's dignitary guests when he talks about what the nobility needs to become ("servants in order to be leaders"). I'm drawn to things like this because it's affirming, I guess, for me: "it really is true that we're absurd, that we're shallow, have bad habits, that we're bored, that we don't know how to look at things, that we can't understand; we're all like that." And of course he finds a way to make that into a good thing. which, it's pointed out by scholars, is very important to Dostoevsky philosophy--don't deny the earthly passions and problems in yourself, but accept them and incorporate them into your whole person. Me, I'm still working on that one.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
At home I walked through a haze of belongings that knew, at least vaguely, who they belonged to. Grampar’s chair resented anyone else sitting on it as much as he did himself. Gramma’s shirts and jumpers adjusted themselves to hide her missing breast. My mother’s shoes positively vibrated with consciousness. Our toys looked out for us. There was a potato knife in the kitchen that Gramma couldn’t use. It was an ordinary enough brown-handled thing, but she’d cut herself with it once, and ever after it wanted more of her blood. If I rummaged through the kitchen drawer, I could feel it brooding. After she died, that faded. Then there were the coffee spoons, rarely used, tiny, a wedding present. They were made of silver, and they knew themselves superior to everything else and special. None of these things did anything. The coffee spoons didn’t stir the coffee without being held or anything. They didn’t have conversations with the sugar tongs about who was the most cherished. I suppose what they really did was physiological. They confirmed the past, they connected everything, they were threads in a tapestry.
Jo Walton (Among Others)
Thank you," he said. "Welcome. Welcome especially to Mr. Coyle Mathis and the other men and women of Forster Hollow who are going to be employed at this rather strikingly energy-inefficient plant. It's a long way from Forster Hollow, isn't it?" "So, yes, welcome," he said. "Welcome to the middle class! That's what I want to say. Although, quickly, before I go any further, I also want to say to Mr. Mathis here in the front row: I know you don't like me. And I don't like you. But, you know, back when you were refusing to have anything to do with us, I respected that. I didn't like it, but I had respect for your position. For your independence. You see, because I actually came from a place a little bit like Forster Hollow myself, before I joined the middle class. And, now you're middle-class, too, and I want to welcome you all, because it's a wonderful thing, our American middle class. It's the mainstay of economies all around the globe!" "And now that you've got these jobs at this body-armor plant," he continued, "You're going to be able to participate in those economies. You, too, can help denude every last scrap of native habitat in Asia, Africa, and South America! You, too, can buy six-foot-wide plasma TV screens that consume unbelievable amounts of energy, even when they're not turned on! But that's OK, because that's why we threw you out of your homes in the first places, so we could strip-mine your ancestral hills and feed the coal-fired generators that are the number-one cause of global warming and other excellent things like acid rain. It's a perfect world, isn't it? It's a perfect system, because as long as you've got your six-foot-wide plasma TV, and the electricity to run it, you don't have to think about any of the ugly consequences. You can watch Survivor: Indonesia till there's no more Indonesia!" "Just quickly, here," he continued, "because I want to keep my remarks brief. Just a few more remarks about this perfect world. I want to mention those big new eight-miles-per-gallon vehicles you're going to be able to buy and drive as much as you want, now that you've joined me as a member of the middle class. The reason this country needs so much body armor is that certain people in certain parts of the world don't want us stealing all their oil to run your vehicles. And so the more you drive your vehicles, the more secure your jobs at this body-armor plant are going to be! Isn't that perfect?" "Just a couple more things!" Walter cried, wresting the mike from its holder and dancing away with it. "I want to welcome you all to working for one of the most corrupt and savage corporations in the world! Do you hear me? LBI doesn't give a shit about your sons and daughters bleeding in Iraq, as long as they get their thousand-percent profit! I know this for a fact! I have the facts to prove it! That's part of the perfect middle-class world you're joining! Now that you're working for LBI, you can finally make enough money to keep your kids from joining the Army and dying in LBI's broken-down trucks and shoddy body armor!" The mike had gone dead, and Walter skittered backwards, away from the mob that was forming. "And MEANWHILE," he shouted, "WE ARE ADDING THIRTEEN MILLION HUMAN BEINGS TO THE POPULATION EVERY MONTH! THIRTEEN MILLION MORE PEOPLE TO KILL EACH OTHER IN COMPETITION OVER FINITE RESOURCES! AND WIPE OUT EVERY OTHER LIVING THING ALONG THE WAY! IT IS A PERFECT FUCKING WORLD AS LONG AS YOU DON'T COUNT EVERY OTHER SPECIES IN IT! WE ARE A CANCER ON THE PLANT! A CANCER ON THE PLANET!
Jonathan Franzen (Freedom)
But there is an unbounded pleasure to be had in the possession of a young, newly blossoming soul! It is like a flower, from which the best aroma evaporates when meeting the first ray of the sun; you must pluck it at that minute, breathing it in until you’re satisfied, and then throw it onto the road: perhaps someone will pick it up! I feel this insatiable greed, which swallows everything it meets on its way. I look at the suffering and joy of others only in their relation to me, as though it is food that supports the strength of my soul. I myself am not capable of going mad under the influence of passion. My ambition is stifled by circumstances, but it has manifested itself in another way, for ambition is nothing other than a thirst for power, and my best pleasure is to subject everyone around me to my will, to arouse feelings of love, devotion and fear of me—is this not the first sign and the greatest triumph of power? Being someone’s reason for suffering while not being in any position to claim the right—isn’t this the sweetest nourishment for our pride? And what is happiness? Sated pride. If I considered myself to be better, more powerful than everyone in the world, I would be happy. If everyone loved me, I would find endless sources of love within myself. Evil spawns evil. The first experience of torture gives an understanding of the pleasure in tormenting others. An evil idea cannot enter a person’s head without his wanting to bring it into reality: ideas are organic creations, someone once said. Their birth gives them form immediately, and this form is an action. The person in whom most ideas are born is the person who acts most. Hence a genius, riveted to his office desk, must die or lose his mind, just as a man with a powerful build who has a sedentary life and modest behavior will die from an apoplectic fit. Passions are nothing other than the first developments of an idea: they are a characteristic of the heart’s youth, and whoever thinks to worry about them his whole life long is a fool: many calm rivers begin with a noisy waterfall, but not one of them jumps and froths until the very sea. And this calm is often the sign of great, though hidden, strength. The fullness and depth of both feeling and thought will not tolerate violent upsurges. The soul, suffering and taking pleasure, takes strict account of everything and is always convinced that this is how things should be. It knows that without storms, the constant sultriness of the sun would wither it. It is infused with its own life—it fosters and punishes itself, like a child. And it is only in this higher state of self-knowledge that a person can estimate the value of divine justice.
Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time)
From a philosophical point of view, Leibniz's most interesting argument was that absolute space conflicted with what he called the principle of the identity of indiscernibles (PII). PII says that if two objects are indiscernible, then they are identical, i.e. they are really one and the same object. What does it mean to call two objects indiscernible? It means that no difference at all can be found between them--they have exactly the same attributes. So if PII is true, then any two genuinely distinct objects must differ in at least one of their attributes--otherwise they would be one, not two. PII is intuitively quite compelling. It certainly is not easy to find an example of two distinct objects that share all their attributes. Even two mass-produced factory goods will normally differ in innumerable ways, even if the differences cannot be detected with the naked eye. Leibniz asks us to imagine two different universes, both containing exactly the same objects. In Universe One, each object occupies a particular location in absolute space.In Universe Two, each object has been shifted to a different location in absolute space, two miles to the east (for example). There would be no way of telling these two universes apart. For we cannot observe the position of an object in absolute space, as Newton himself admitted. All we can observe are the positions of objects relative to each other, and these would remain unchanged--for all objects are shifted by the same amount. No observations or experiments could ever reveal whether we lived in universe One or Two.
Samir Okasha (Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction)
Collateral learning in the way of formation of enduring attitudes, of likes and dislikes, may be and often is much more important than the spelling lesson or lesson in geography or history that is learned. For these attitudes are fundamentally what count in the future. The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning. If impetus in this direction is weakened instead of being intensified, something much more than mere lack of preparation takes place. The pupil is actually robbed of native capacities which otherwise would enable him [sic] to cope with the circumstances that he meets in the course of his life. We often see persons who have had little schooling and in whose case the absence of set schooling proves to be a positive asset. They have at least retained their native common sense and power of judgement, and its exercise in the actual conditions of living has given them the precious gift of ability to learn from the experiences they have.
John Dewey (Experience and Education)
You may have read or heard about the so-called positive thinkers of the West. They say just the opposite -- they don't know what they are saying. They say, "When you breathe out, throw out all your misery and negativity; and when you breathe in, breathe in joy, positivity, happiness, cheerfulness." Atisha's method is just the opposite: when you breathe in, breathe in all the misery and suffering of all the beings of the world -- past, present and future. And when you breathe out, breathe out all the joy that you have, all the blissfulness that you have, all the benediction that you have. Breathe out, pour yourself into existence. This is the method of compassion: drink in all the suffering and pour out all the blessings. And you will be surprised if you do it. The moment you take all the sufferings of the world inside you, they are no longer sufferings. The heart immediately transforms the energy. The heart is a transforming force: drink in misery, and it is transformed into blissfulness... then pour it out. Once you have learned that your heart can do this magic, this miracle, you would like to do it again and again. Try it. It is one of the most practical methods -- simple, and it brings immediate results. Do it today, and see. That is one of the approaches of Buddha and all his disciples. Atisha is one of his disciples, in the same tradition, in the same line. Buddha says again and again to his disciples, "IHI PASSIKO: come and see!" They are very scientific people. Buddhism is the most scientific religion on the earth; hence, Buddhism is gaining more and more ground in the world every day. As the world becomes more intelligent, Buddha will become more and more important. It is bound to be so. As more and more people come to know about science, Buddha will have great appeal, because he will convince the scientific mind -- because he says, "Whatsoever I am saying can be practiced." And I don't say to you, "Believe it," I say, "Experiment with it, experience it, and only then if you feel it yourself, trust it. Otherwise there is no need to believe.
Osho (The Book of Wisdom)
Your friend is most original,' Dan Needham said, with the greatest respect. 'Don't you see, Johnny? If he could, he would cut off his hands for you - that's how it makes him feel, to have touched that baseball bat, to have swung that bat with those results. It's how we all feel - you and me and Owen. We've lost a part of ourselves.' And Dan picked up the wrecked armadillo and began to experiment with it on my night table, trying - as I had tried - to find a position that allowed the beast to stand, or even to lie down, with any semblance of comfort or dignity; it was quite impossible. The thing had been crippled; it was rendered an invalid. And how had Owen arranged the claws? I wondered. What sort of terrible altarpiece had he constructed? Were the claws gripping the murderous baseball? And so Dan and I became quite emotional, while we struggled to find a way to make the armadillo's appearance acceptable - but that was the point, Dan concluded: there was no way that any or all of this was acceptable. What had happened was unacceptable! Yet we still had to live with it.
John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)
Phil talked openly about his current life, but he closed up when I asked him about his early years. With some gentle probing, he told me that what he remembered most vividly about his childhood was his father’s constant teasing. The jokes were always at Phil’s expense and he often felt humiliated. When the rest of the family laughed, he felt all the more isolated. It was bad enough being teased, but sometimes he really scared me when he’d say things like: “This boy can’t be a son of ours, look at that face. I’ll bet they switched babies on us in the hospital. Why don’t we take him back and swap him for the right one.” I was only six, and I really thought I was going to get dropped off at the hospital. One day, I finally said to him, “Dad, why are you always picking on me?” He said, “I’m not picking on you. I’m just joking around. Can’t you see that?” Phil, like any young child, couldn’t distinguish the truth from a joke, a threat from a tease. Positive humor is one of our most valuable tools for strengthening family bonds. But humor that belittles can be extremely damaging within the family. Children take sarcasm and humorous exaggeration at face value. They are not worldly enough to understand that a parent is joking when he says something like, “We’re going to have to send you to preschool in China.” Instead, the child may have nightmares about being abandoned in some frightening, distant land. We have all been guilty of making jokes at someone else’s expense. Most of the time, such jokes can be relatively harmless. But, as in other forms of toxic parenting, it is the frequency, the cruelty, and the source of these jokes that make them abusive. Children believe and internalize what their parents say about them. It is sadistic and destructive for a parent to make repetitive jokes at the expense of a vulnerable child. Phil was constantly being humiliated and picked on. When he made an attempt to confront his father’s behavior, he was accused of being inadequate because he “couldn’t take a joke.” Phil had nowhere to go with all these feelings. As Phil described his feelings, I could see that he was still embarrassed—as if he believed that his complaints were silly.
Susan Forward (Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life)
It ended by my almost believing (perhaps actually believing) that this was perhaps my normal condition. But at first, in the beginning, what agonies I endured in that struggle! I did not believe it was the same with other people, and all my life I hid this fact about myself as a secret. I was ashamed (even now, perhaps, I am ashamed): I got to the point of feeling a sort of secret abnormal, despicable enjoyment in returning home to my corner on some disgusting Petersburg night, acutely conscious that that day I had committed a loathsome action again, that what was done could never be undone, and secretly, inwardly gnawing, gnawing at myself for it, tearing and consuming myself till at last the bitterness turned into a sort of shameful accursed sweetness, and at last—into positive real enjoyment! Yes, into enjoyment, into enjoyment! I insist upon that. I have spoken of this because I keep wanting to know for a fact whether other people feel such enjoyment? I will explain; the enjoyment was just from the too intense consciousness of one’s own degradation; it was from feeling oneself that one had reached the last barrier, that it was horrible, but that it could not be otherwise; that there was no escape for you; that you never could become a different man; that even if time and faith were still left you to change into something different you would most likely not wish to change; or if you did wish to, even then you would do nothing; because perhaps in reality there was nothing for you to change into. And the worst of it was, and the root of it all, that it was all in accord with the normal fundamental laws of over-acute consciousness, and with the inertia that was the direct result of those laws, and that consequently one was not only unable to change but could do absolutely nothing. Thus it would follow, as the result of acute consciousness, that one is not to blame in being a scoundrel; as though that were any consolation to the scoundrel once he has come to realise that he actually is a scoundrel.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
This was not going the way I wanted it to. I felt a desperate need to escape before I said something that would screw up my plans. Ren was the dark side, the forbidden fruit, my personal Delilah-the ultimate temptation. The question was…could I resist? I gave his knee a friendly pat and played my trump card…”I’m leaving.” “You’re what?” “I’m going home to Oregon. Mr. Kadam thinks it will be safer for me anyway, with Lokesh out there looking to kill us and all. Besides, you need time to figure out…stuff.” “If you’re leaving, then I’m going with you!” I smiled at him wryly. “That kind of defeats the purpose of me leaving. Don’t you think?” He slicked back his hair, let out a deep breath, then took my hand and looked intently into my eyes. “Kells, when are you going to accept the fact that we belong together?” I felt sick, like I was kicking a faithful puppy who only wanted to be loved. I looked out at the pool. After a moment, he sat back scowling and said menacingly, “I won’t let you leave.” Inside, I desperately wanted to take his hand and beg him to forgive me, to love me, but I steeled myself, dropped my hands in my lap, then implored, “Ren, please. You have to let me go. I need…I’m afraid…look, I just can’t be here, near you, when you change your mind.” “It’s not going to happen.” “it might. There’s a good chance.” He growled angrily. “There’s no chance!” “Well, my heart can’t take that risk, and I don’t want to put you in what can only be an awkward position. I’m sorry, Ren. I really am. I do want to be your friend, but I understand if you don’t want that. Of course, I’ll return when you need me, if you need me, to help you find the other three gifts. I wouldn’t abandon you or Kishan in that way. I just can’t stay here with you feeling obligated to pity-date me because you need me. But I’d never abandon your cause. I’ll always be there for you both, no matter what.” He spat out, “Pity-date! You? Kelsey, you can’t be serious!” “I am. Very, very serious. I’ll ask Mr. Kadam to make arrangements to send me back in the next few days.” He didn’t say another word. He just sat back in his chair. I could tell he was fuming mad, but I felt that, after a week or two, when he started getting back out in the world, he would come to appreciate my gesture. I looked away from him. “I’m very tired now. I’d like to go to bed.” I got up and headed to my room. Before I closed the sliding door, I asked, “Can I make one last request?” He sat there tight-lipped, his arms folded over his chest, with a tense, angry face. I sighed. Even infuriated he was beautiful. He said nothing so I went on, “It would be a lot easier on me if I didn’t see you, I mean as a man. I’ll try to avoid most of the house. It is yours after all, so I’ll stay in my room. If you see Mr. Kadam, please tell him I’d like to speak with him.” He didn’t respond. “Well, good-bye, Ren. Take care of yourself.” I tore my eyes away from him, shut the door, and drew the curtains. Take care of yourself? That was a lame goodbye. Tears welled in my eyes and blurred my vision. I was proud that I’d gotten through it without showing emotion. But, now, I felt like a steamroller had come along and flattened me.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
the phenomenology of enjoyment has eight major components. When people reflect on how it feels when their experience is most positive, they mention at least one, and often all, of the following. First, the experience usually occurs when we confront tasks we have a chance of completing. Second, we must be able to concentrate on what we are doing. Third and fourth, the concentration is usually possible because the task undertaken has clear goals and provides immediate feedback. Fifth, one acts with a deep but effortless involvement that removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life. Sixth, enjoyable experiences allow people to exercise a sense of control over their actions. Seventh, concern for the self disappears, yet paradoxically the sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over. Finally, the sense of the duration of time is altered; hours pass by in minutes, and minutes can stretch out to seem like hours. The combination of all these elements causes a sense of deep enjoyment that is so rewarding people feel that expending a great deal of energy is worthwhile simply to be able to feel it.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience)
The nine in our list are based on a longer list in Robert Leahy, Stephen Holland, and Lata McGinn’s book, Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders. For more on CBT—how it works, and how to practice it—please see Appendix 1.) EMOTIONAL REASONING: Letting your feelings guide your interpretation of reality. “I feel depressed; therefore, my marriage is not working out.” CATASTROPHIZING: Focusing on the worst possible outcome and seeing it as most likely. “It would be terrible if I failed.” OVERGENERALIZING: Perceiving a global pattern of negatives on the basis of a single incident. “This generally happens to me. I seem to fail at a lot of things.” DICHOTOMOUS THINKING (also known variously as “black-and-white thinking,” “all-or-nothing thinking,” and “binary thinking”): Viewing events or people in all-or-nothing terms. “I get rejected by everyone,” or “It was a complete waste of time.” MIND READING: Assuming that you know what people think without having sufficient evidence of their thoughts. “He thinks I’m a loser.” LABELING: Assigning global negative traits to yourself or others (often in the service of dichotomous thinking). “I’m undesirable,” or “He’s a rotten person.” NEGATIVE FILTERING: You focus almost exclusively on the negatives and seldom notice the positives. “Look at all of the people who don’t like me.” DISCOUNTING POSITIVES: Claiming that the positive things you or others do are trivial, so that you can maintain a negative judgment. “That’s what wives are supposed to do—so it doesn’t count when she’s nice to me,” or “Those successes were easy, so they don’t matter.” BLAMING: Focusing on the other person as the source of your negative feelings; you refuse to take responsibility for changing yourself. “She’s to blame for the way I feel now,” or “My parents caused all my problems.”11
Greg Lukianoff (The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure)
My Darling, It is late at night and though the words are coming hard to me, I can’t escape the feeling that it’s time that I finally answer your question. Of course I forgive you. I forgive you now, and I forgave you the moment I read your letter. In my heart, I had no other choice. Leaving you once was hard enough; to have done it a second time would have been impossible. I loved you too much to have let you go again. Though I’m still grieving over what might have been, I find myself thankful that you came into my life for even a short period of time. In the beginning, I’d assumed that we were somehow brought together to help you through your time of grief. Yet now, one year later, I’ve come to believe that it was the other way around. Ironically, I am in the same position you were, the first time we met. As I write, I am struggling with the ghost of someone I loved and lost. I now understand more fully the difficulties you were going through, and I realize how painful it must have been for you to move on. Sometimes my grief is overwhelming, and even though I understand that we will never see each other again, there is a part of me that wants to hold on to you forever. It would be easy for me to do that because loving someone else might diminish my memories of you. Yet, this is the paradox: Even though I miss you greatly, it’s because of you that I don’t dread the future. Because you were able to fall in love with me, you have given me hope, my darling. You taught me that it’s possible to move forward in life, no matter how terrible your grief. And in your own way, you’ve made me believe that true love cannot be denied. Right now, I don’t think I’m ready, but this is my choice. Do not blame yourself. Because of you, I am hopeful that there will come a day when my sadness is replaced by something beautiful. Because of you, I have the strength to go on. I don’t know if spirits do indeed roam the world, but even if they do, I will sense your presence everywhere. When I listen to the ocean, it will be your whispers; when I see a dazzling sunset, it will be your image in the sky. You are not gone forever, no matter who comes into my life. you are standing with God, alongside my soul, helping to guide me toward a future that I cannot predict. This is not a good-bye, my darling, this is a thank-you. Thank you for coming into my life and giving me joy, thank you for loving me and receiving my love in return. Thank you for the memories I will cherish forever. But most of all, thank you for showing me that there will come a time when I can eventually let you go. I love you
Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
Nana and Pops were waiting in the living room. They had their recliners pushed in front of the couch, the only place available for Cole and me to sit. The moment we were in position, the interrogation began. Pops: Plans for the future? Groaning, I dropped my head in my hands. He'd kicked things off with Justin the exact same way. Guaranteed, he'd end the same way. Cole: College, law enforcement. Nana: Oh, I like him better than that other boy already. Pops: Good, that's good. Now finish this sentence for me. When a girl says no, she means... Yep. Exactly the same. Cole: No. And that's that. I don't push for more. Nana: Another excellent answer. But here's an even tougher sentence for you to finish. Premarital sex is... I should have let the zombies have me. Cole: Up to the couple. What happens between them is no one else's business. Sorry, but not even yours. Both Pops ans Nana blustered over that for a minute, but they soon calmed down. I, of course, blushed the most horrifying shade of lobster. (That was just a guess.) However, I found Cole's answer exceptional. Pops: That's fair enough, I guess. So how do you feel about drinking and driving? Cole: I think it's stupid, that's one thing you'll never have to worry about with me and Ali. I never drink, and if she does, I won't take advantage of her. I'd bring her home. I'll always look out for her safety, you have my word. "I won't be drinking, either," I said. "Ever." Nana: Aren't you just a breath of fresh air? Pops: He is. He is indeed. I think I was as impressed with him as my grandparents were. Underneath the muscles, scars and tattoos (which my grandparents couldn't see, since he wore a long-sleeved shirt) he was a really good guy. And because they were so impressed, they let us go with no more fuss!
Gena Showalter
In 90% of cases, you can start with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story. Our brain doesn’t remember what we hear. It remembers only what we “see” or imagine while we listen. You can remember stories. Everything else is quickly forgotten. Smell is the most powerful sense out of 4 to immerse audience members into a scene. Every sentence either helps to drive your point home, or it detracts from clarity. There is no middle point. If you don’t have a foundational phrase in your speech, it means that your message is not clear enough to you, and if it’s not clear to you, there is no way it will be clear to your audience. Share your failures first. Show your audience members that you are not any better, smarter or more talented than they are. You are not an actor, you are a speaker. The main skill of an actor is to play a role; to be someone else. Your main skill as a speaker is to be yourself. People will forgive you for anything except for being boring. Speaking without passion is boring. If you are not excited about what you are talking about, how can you expect your audience to be excited? Never hide behind a lectern or a table. Your audience needs to see 100% of your body. Speak slowly and people will consider you to be a thoughtful and clever person. Leaders don’t talk much, but each word holds a lot of meaning and value. You always speak to only one person. Have a conversation directly with one person, look him or her in the eye. After you have logically completed one idea, which usually is 10-20 seconds, scan the audience and then stop your eyes on another person. Repeat this process again. Cover the entire room with eye contact. When you scan the audience and pick people for eye contact, pick positive people more often. When you pause, your audience thinks about your message and reflects. Pausing builds an audiences’ confidence. If you don’t pause, your audience doesn’t have time to digest what you've told them and hence, they will not remember a word of what you've said. Pause before and after you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. After you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. Speakers use filler words when they don’t know what to say, but they feel uncomfortable with silence. Have you ever seen a speaker who went on stage with a piece of paper and notes? Have you ever been one of these speakers? When people see you with paper in your hands, they instantly think, “This speaker is not sincere. He has a script and will talk according to the script.” The best speeches are not written, they are rewritten. Bad speakers create a 10 minutes speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Great speakers create a 5 minute speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Explain your ideas in a simple manner, so that the average 12-year-old child can understand the concept. Good speakers and experts can always explain the most complex ideas with very simple words. Stories evoke emotions. Factual information conveys logic. Emotions are far more important in a speech than logic. If you're considering whether to use statistics or a story, use a story. PowerPoint is for pictures not for words. Use as few words on the slide as possible. Never learn your speech word for word. Just rehearse it enough times to internalize the flow. If you watch a video of your speech, you can triple the pace of your development as a speaker. Make videos a habit. Meaningless words and clichés neither convey value nor information. Avoid them. Never apologize on stage. If people need to put in a lot of effort to understand you they simply won’t listen. On the other hand if you use very simple language you will connect with the audience and your speech will be remembered.
Andrii Sedniev (Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker)
At some point, sisters began to talk about how unseen they have felt. How the media has focused on men, but it has been them - the sisters - who were there. They were there, in overwhelming numbers, just as they were during the civil rights movement. Women - all women, trans women - are roughly 80% of the people who were staring down the terror of Ferguson, saying “we are the caretakers of this community”. Is it women who are out there, often with their children, calling for an end to police violence, saying “we have a right to raise our children without fear”. But it is not women’s courage that is showcased in the media. One sister says “when the police move in we do not run, we stay. And for this, we deserve recognition”. Their words will live with us, will live in us, as Ferguson begins to unfold and as the national attention begins to really focus on what Alicia, Opal and I have started. The first time there’s coverage of Black Lives Matter in a way that is positive is on the Melissa Harris-Perry show. She does not invite us - it isn’t intentional, I’m certain of that. And about a year later she does, but in this early moment, and despite the overwhelming knowledge of the people on the ground who are talking about what Alicia, Opal and I have done, and despite of it being part of the historical record, that it is always women who do the work even as men get the praise. It takes a long time for us to occur to most reporters and the mainstream. Living in patriarchy means that the default inclination is to center men and their voices, not women and their work. The fact seems ever more exacerbated in our day and age, when presence on twitter, when the number of followers one has, can supplant the everyday and heralded work of those who, by virtue of that work, may not have time to tweet constantly or sharpen and hone their personal brand so that it is an easily sellable commodity. Like the women who organized, strategized, marched, cooked, typed up and did the work to ensure the civil rights movement; women whose names go unspoken, unknown, so too that this dynamic unfolds as the nation began to realize that we were a movement. Opal, Alicia and I never wanted or needed to be the center of anything. We were purposeful about decentralizing our role in the work, but neither did we want, nor deserved, to be erased.
Patrisse Khan-Cullors (When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir)
Good evening," it lowed and sat back heavily on its haunches, "I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in parts of my body? It harrumphed and gurgled a bit, wriggled its hind quarters into a more comfortable position and gazed peacefully at them. Its gaze was met by looks of startled bewilderment from Arthur and Trillian, a resigned shrug from Ford Prefect and naked hunger from Zaphod Beeblebrox. "Something off the shoulder perhaps?" suggested the animal. "Braised in a white wine sauce?" "Er, your shoulder?" said Arthur in a horrified whisper. "But naturally my shoulder, sir," mooed the animal contentedly, "nobody else's is mine to offer." Zaphod leapt to his feet and started prodding and feeling the animal's shoulder appreciatively. "Or the rump is very good," murmured the animal. "I've been exercising it and eating plenty of grain, so there's a lot of good meat there." It gave a mellow grunt, gurgled again and started to chew the cud. It swallowed the cud again. "Or a casserole of me perhaps?" it added. "You mean this animal actually wants us to eat it?" whispered Trillian to Ford. "Me?" said Ford, with a glazed look in his eyes. "I don't mean anything." "That's absolutely horrible," exclaimed Arthur, "the most revolting thing I've ever heard." "What's the problem, Earthman?" said Zaphod, now transferring his attention to the animal's enormous rump. "I just don't want to eat an animal that's standing there inviting me to," said Arthur. "It's heartless." "Better than eating an animal that doesn't want to be eaten," said Zaphod. "That's not the point," Arthur protested. Then he thought about it for a moment. "All right," he said, "maybe it is the point. I don't care, I'm not going to think about it now. I'll just ... er ..." The Universe raged about him in its death throes. "I think I'll just have a green salad," he muttered. "May I urge you to consider my liver?" asked the animal, "it must be very rich and tender by now, I've been force-feeding myself for months." "A green salad," said Arthur emphatically. "A green salad?" said the animal, rolling his eyes disapprovingly at Arthur. "Are you going to tell me," said Arthur, "that I shouldn't have green salad?" "Well," said the animal, "I know many vegetables that are very clear on that point. Which is why it was eventually decided to cut through the whole tangled problem and breed an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of saying so clearly and distinctly. And here I am." It managed a very slight bow. "Glass of water please," said Arthur. "Look," said Zaphod, "we want to eat, we don't want to make a meal of the issues. Four rare steaks please, and hurry. We haven't eaten in five hundred and seventy-six thousand million years." The animal staggered to its feet. It gave a mellow gurgle. "A very wise choice, sir, if I may say so. Very good," it said. "I'll just nip off and shoot myself." He turned and gave a friendly wink to Arthur. "Don't worry, sir," he said, "I'll be very humane." It waddled unhurriedly off to the kitchen. A matter of minutes later the waiter arrived with four huge steaming steaks.
Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
I once read a theory about ‘positive thinking’ that seems to be true or, at least, made a sufficient impression on me to remember it. I have always been distrustful of positive thinking, believing it to be as fixed and unyielding as negative thinking. Yet it is the advice most often offered to depressives. That it does not work seems not to occur to those who offer it up like some benevolent panacea. Perhaps it works for them or perhaps they are a product of some positive thinking gene pool. Who knows? Anywhere, here is the theory that helped me. I hope that it will help you too. Imagine you are driving a car, and you are heading straight for a brick wall. If you stay in habitual or rigid thinking (the kind of thinking that says, ‘this is the way I always do things’) and do not change the direction in the way you are headed, you will drive you car into the brick wall. Now imagine you are driving that same car towards that same brick wall. Now use positive thinking to imagine that wall is, in fact, a tunnel. It is not, of course, you simply hope or wish that it is a tunnel but it is the same old, intractable brick. You still drive your car into the wall. You are in the same car, facing the same wall except that you use creative or constructive thinking. You see the wall as an obstacle set dead ahead and see that it is solid and immoveable. You use your thinking to change direction and drive your car around it. Understanding that our thinking is not always helpful sounds so obvious and simple. So does changing our thinking, yet both are formidably difficult to do, perhaps because, most of the time, we never question it. We go right ahead and do what we have always done, in the same way we have always done it. We crash into relationships, mess up jobs, ruin friendships and all because we believe that our way is the right way. There is a saying: ‘I’d rather be right than happy.’ And here is another: ‘My way or no way.’ I see that wall as a symbol for an obstacle (or obstacles, there may be many) in our emotional make-up. If we go on behaving in the same way, we will crash. If we pretend that those obstacles in our character don’t exist, or are something else entirely, we will still crash. But if we acknowledge them and behave in a different way, we will come to a better and safer place. Or at least we will, until we meet the next obstacle.
Sally Brampton (Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression)
There are four independent brain circuits that influence our lasting well-being, Davidson explained. The first is “our ability to maintain positive states.” It makes sense that the ability to maintain positive states or positive emotions would directly impact one’s ability to experience happiness. These two great spiritual leaders were saying that the fastest way to this state is to start with love and compassion. The second circuit is responsible for “our ability to recover from negative states.” What was most fascinating to me was that these circuits were totally independent. One could be good at maintaining positive states but easily fall into an abyss of a negative state from which one had a hard time recovering. That explained a lot in my life. The third circuit, also independent but essential to the others, is “our ability to focus and avoid mind-wandering.” This of course was the circuit that so much of meditation exists to develop. Whether it was focusing on one’s breath, or a mantra, or the analytic meditation that the Dalai Lama did each morning, this ability to focus one’s attention was fundamental. The fourth and final circuit is “our ability to be generous.” That was amazing to me: that we had an entire brain circuit, one of four, devoted to generosity. It is no wonder that our brains feel so good when we help others or are helped by others, or even witness others being helped, which Ekman had described as the elevation that is one dimension of joy. There was strong and compelling research that we come factory equipped for cooperation, compassion, and generosity.
Dalai Lama XIV (The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World)
Among this bewildering multiplicity of ideals which shall we choose? The answer is that we shall choose none. For it is clear that each one of these contradictory ideals is the fruit of particular social circumstances. To some extent, of course, this is true of every thought and aspiration that has ever been formulated. Some thoughts and aspirations, however, are manifestly less dependent on particular social circumstances than others. And here a significant fact emerges: all the ideals of human behaviour formulated by those who have been most successful in freeing themselves from the prejudices of their time and place are singularly alike. Liberation from prevailing conventions of thought, feeling and behaviour is accomplished most effectively by the practice of disinterested virtues and through direct insight into the real nature of ultimate reality. (Such insight is a gift, inherent in the individual; but, though inherent, it cannot manifest itself completely except where certain conditions are fulfilled. The principal pre-condition of insight is, precisely, the practice of disinterested virtues.) To some extent critical intellect is also a liberating force. But the way in which intellect is used depends upon the will. Where the will is not disinterested, the intellect tends to be used (outside the non-human fields of technology, science or pure mathematics) merely as an instrument for the rationalization of passion and prejudice, the justification of self-interest. That is why so few even of die acutest philosophers have succeeded in liberating themselves completely from the narrow prison of their age and country. It is seldom indeed that they achieve as much freedom as the mystics and the founders of religion. The most nearly free men have always been those who combined virtue with insight. Now, among these freest of human beings there has been, for the last eighty or ninety generations, substantial agreement in regard to the ideal individual. The enslaved have held up for admiration now this model of a man, now that; but at all times and in all places, the free have spoken with only one voice. It is difficult to find a single word that will adequately describe the ideal man of the free philosophers, the mystics, the founders of religions. 'Non-attached* is perhaps the best. The ideal man is the non-attached man. Non-attached to his bodily sensations and lusts. Non-attached to his craving for power and possessions. Non-attached to the objects of these various desires. Non-attached to his anger and hatred; non-attached to his exclusive loves. Non-attached to wealth, fame, social position. Non-attached even to science, art, speculation, philanthropy. Yes, non-attached even to these. For, like patriotism, in Nurse Cavel's phrase, 'they are not enough, Non-attachment to self and to what are called 'the things of this world' has always been associated in the teachings of the philosophers and the founders of religions with attachment to an ultimate reality greater and more significant than the self. Greater and more significant than even the best things that this world has to offer. Of the nature of this ultimate reality I shall speak in the last chapters of this book. All that I need do in this place is to point out that the ethic of non-attachment has always been correlated with cosmologies that affirm the existence of a spiritual reality underlying the phenomenal world and imparting to it whatever value or significance it possesses.
Aldous Huxley (Ends and Means)
Rearview Mirror Syndrome One of the most crippling causes of mediocrity in life is a condition I call Rearview Mirror Syndrome (RMS). Our subconscious minds are equipped with a self-limiting rearview mirror, through which we continuously relive and recreate our past. We mistakenly believe that who we were is who we are, thus limiting our true potential in the present, based on the limitations of our past.   As a result, we filter every choice we make—from what time we will wake up in the morning to which goals we will set to what we allow ourselves to consider possible for our lives—through the limitations of our past experiences. We want to create a better life, but sometimes we don’t know how to see it any other way than how it’s always been.   Research shows that on any given day, the average person thinks somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 thoughts. The problem is that ninety-five percent of our thoughts are the same as the ones we thought the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that. It’s no wonder most people go through life, day after day, month after month, year after year, and never change the quality of their lives.   Like old, worn baggage, we carry stress, fear, and worry from yesterday with us into today. When presented with opportunities, we quickly check our rearview mirror to assess our past capabilities. “No, I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve never achieved at that level. In fact, I’ve failed, time and time again.”   When presented with adversity, we go back to our trusty rearview mirror for guidance on how to respond. “Yep, just my luck. This crap always happens to me. I’m just going to give up; that’s what I’ve always done when things get too difficult.”   If you are to move beyond your past and transcend your limitations, you must stop living out of your rearview mirror and start imagining a life of limitless possibilities. Accept the paradigm:  my past does not equal my future. Talk to yourself in a way that inspires confidence that not only is anything possible, but that you are capable and committed to making it so. It’s not even necessary to believe it at first. In fact, you probably won’t believe it. You might find it uncomfortable and that you resist doing it. That’s okay. Repeat it to yourself anyway, and your subconscious mind will begin to absorb the positive self-affirmations. (More on how to do this in Chapter 6:  The Life S.A.V.E.R.S.)   Don’t place unnecessary limitations on what you want for your life. Think bigger than you’ve allowed yourself to think up until this point. Get clear on what you truly want, condition yourself to the belief that it’s possible by focusing on and affirming it every day, and then consistently move in the direction of your vision until it becomes your reality. There is nothing to fear, because you cannot fail—only learn, grow, and become better than you’ve ever been before.   Always remember that where you are is a result of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be, from this moment on.
Hal Elrod (The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life: Before 8AM)
In the car inching its way down Fifth Avenue, toward Bergdorf Goodman and this glamorous party, I looked back on my past with a new understanding. This sickness, the “endo-whatever,” had stained so much—my sense of self, my womanhood, my marriage, my ability to be present. I had effectively missed one week of each month every year of my life since I was thirteen, because of the chronic pain and hormonal fluctuations I suffered during my period. I had lain in bed, with heating pads and hot-water bottles, using acupuncture, drinking teas, taking various pain medications and suffering the collateral effects of them. I thought of all the many tests I missed in various classes throughout my education, the school dances, the jobs I knew I couldn’t take as a model, because of the bleeding and bloating as well as the pain (especially the bathing suit and lingerie shoots, which paid the most). How many family occasions was I absent from? How many second or third dates did I not go on? How many times had I not been able to be there for others or for myself? How many of my reactions to stress or emotional strife had been colored through the lens of chronic pain? My sense of self was defined by this handicap. The impediment of expected pain would shackle my days and any plans I made. I did not see my own womanhood as something positive or to be celebrated, but as a curse that I had to constantly make room for and muddle through. Like the scar on my arm, my reproductive system was a liability. The disease, developing part and parcel with my womanhood starting at puberty with my menses, affected my own self-esteem and the way I felt about my body. No one likes to get her period, but when your femininity carries with it such pain and consistent physical and emotional strife, it’s hard not to feel that your body is betraying you. The very relationship you have with yourself and your person is tainted by these ever-present problems. I now finally knew my struggles were due to this condition. I wasn’t high-strung or fickle and I wasn’t overreacting.
Padma Lakshmi (Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir)
What is the most helpful thing we can do for the earth and her people, Kuan Yin?” “Kuan Yin is changing shape in response to your question, Hope. I’m not sure what this particular shape-shifting means, if it is an answer in itself or if she is adjusting to the question” Lena contemplates. “I’ll just watch for a moment and try to understand.” “Loving people is the most helpful thing anyone can do,” Kuan Yin answers after a short while. “Your society has the resources, at this very moment, to fashion industries and lifestyles conducive to a non-harmful environment. There is a popular belief that over-population is the threat to the earth’s environment. However, for many places upon the earth it is also very much a question of resource availability and distribution. There is a real need for creating a holistic infrastructure that can support everyone. A helpful mindset is simple-living and high-thinking”, continues Kuan Yin. “Science is constantly evolving. There are now recyclable batteries, ink cartridges, etc. Keep up to date on the latest technologies. Be aware, set examples and create trends that will positively influence people’s lives and the environment. As I said earlier, however, this is also a discussion about love and developing a greater capacity to love. It can help everyone. We’re all one huge family, a great continuum. Don’t underestimate the power of the love created in your homes and families. This love has an immense potency, the power to influence others lives in a positive way.
Hope Bradford (Oracle of Compassion: The Living Word of Kuan Yin)
We are committed to involving as many people as possible, as young as possible, as soon as possible. Sometimes too young and too soon! But we intentionally err on the side of too fast rather than too slow. We don’t wait until people feel “prepared” or “fully equipped.” Seriously, when is anyone ever completely prepared for ministry? Ministry makes people’s faith bigger. If you want to increase someone’s confidence in God, put him in a ministry position before he feels fully equipped. The messages your environments communicate have the potential to trump your primary message. If you don’t see a mess, if you aren’t bothered by clutter, you need to make sure there is someone around you who does see it and is bothered by it. An uncomfortable or distracting setting can derail ministry before it begins. The sermon begins in the parking lot. Assign responsibility, not tasks. At the end of the day, it’s application that makes all the difference. Truth isn’t helpful if no one understands or remembers it. If you want a church full of biblically educated believers, just teach what the Bible says. If you want to make a difference in your community and possibly the world, give people handles, next steps, and specific applications. Challenge them to do something. As we’ve all seen, it’s not safe to assume that people automatically know what to do with what they’ve been taught. They need specific direction. This is hard. This requires an extra step in preparation. But this is how you grow people. Your current template is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently getting. We must remove every possible obstacle from the path of the disinterested, suspicious, here-against-my-will, would-rather-be-somewhere-else, unchurched guests. The parking lot, hallways, auditorium, and stage must be obstacle-free zones. As a preacher, it’s my responsibility to offend people with the gospel. That’s one reason we work so hard not to offend them in the parking lot, the hallway, at check-in, or in the early portions of our service. We want people to come back the following week for another round of offending! Present the gospel in uncompromising terms, preach hard against sin, and tackle the most emotionally charged topics in culture, while providing an environment where unchurched people feel comfortable. The approach a church chooses trumps its purpose every time. Nothing says hypocrite faster than Christians expecting non-Christians to behave like Christians when half the Christians don’t act like it half the time. When you give non-Christians an out, they respond by leaning in. Especially if you invite them rather than expect them. There’s a big difference between being expected to do something and being invited to try something. There is an inexorable link between an organization’s vision and its appetite for improvement. Vision exposes what has yet to be accomplished. In this way, vision has the power to create a healthy sense of organizational discontent. A leader who continually keeps the vision out in front of his or her staff creates a thirst for improvement. Vision-centric churches expect change. Change is a means to an end. Change is critical to making what could and should be a reality. Write your vision in ink; everything else should be penciled in. Plans change. Vision remains the same. It is natural to assume that what worked in the past will always work. But, of course, that way of thinking is lethal. And the longer it goes unchallenged, the more difficult it is to identify and eradicate. Every innovation has an expiration date. The primary reason churches cling to outdated models and programs is that they lack leadership.
Andy Stanley (Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend)
Stop Looking for Occasions to Be Offended When you live at or below ordinary levels of awareness, you spend a great deal of time and energy finding opportunities to be offended. Today we’re going to examine how you can stop allowing yourself to be offended by others and instead respond positively with love and forgiveness. A news report, an economic downturn, a rude stranger, a fashion miscue, someone cursing, a sneeze, a black cloud, any cloud, an absence of clouds—just about anything will do if you’re looking for an occasion to be offended. Along the extra mile, you’ll never find anyone engaging in such absurdities. Become a person who refuses to be offended by anyone, any thing, or any set of circumstances. If something takes place and you disapprove, by all means state what you feel from your heart; and if possible, work to eliminate it and then let it go. Most people operate from the ego and really need to be right. So, when you encounter someone saying things that you find inappropriate, or when you know they’re wrong, wrong, wrong, forget your need to be right and instead say, “You’re right about that!” Those words will end potential conflict and free you from being offended. Your desire is to be peaceful—not to be right, hurt, angry, or resentful. If you have enough faith in your own beliefs, you’ll find that it’s impossible to be offended by the beliefs and conduct of others. Not being offended is a way of saying, “I have control over how I’m going to feel, and I choose to feel peaceful regardless of what I observe going
Wayne W. Dyer (21 Days to Master Success and Inner Peace)
Most such criticism and confrontation, usually made impulsively in anger or annoyance, does more to increase the amount of confusion in the world than the amount of enlightenment. For the truly loving person the act of criticism or confrontation does not come easily; to such a person it is evident that the act has great potential for arrogance. To confront one’s beloved is to assume a position of moral or intellectual superiority over the loved one, at least so far as the issue at hand is concerned. Yet genuine love recognizes and respects the unique individuality and separate identity of the other person. (I will say more about this later.) The truly loving person, valuing the uniqueness and differentness of his or her beloved, will be reluctant indeed to assume, “I am right, you are wrong; I know better than you what is good for you.” But the reality of life is such that at times one person does know better than the other what is good for the other, and in actuality is in a position of superior knowledge or wisdom in regard to the matter at hand. Under these circumstances the wiser of the two does in fact have an obligation to confront the other with the problem. The loving person, therefore, is frequently in a dilemma, caught between a loving respect for the beloved’s own path in life and a responsibility to exercise loving leadership when the beloved appears to need such leadership. The dilemma can be resolved only by painstaking self-scrutiny, in which the lover examines stringently the worth of his or her “wisdom” and the motives behind this need to assume leadership. “Do I really see things clearly or am I operating on murky assumptions? Do I really understand my beloved? Could it not be that the path my beloved is taking is wise and that my perception of it as unwise is the result of limited vision on my part? Am I being self-serving in believing that my beloved needs redirection?” These are questions that those who truly love must continually ask themselves. This self-scrutiny, as objective as possible, is the essence of humility or meekness. In the words of an anonymous fourteenth-century British monk and spiritual teacher, “Meekness in itself is nothing else than a true knowing and feeling of
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
Book Excerpt: "What about your family, Abu Huwa? Are you an orphan?” the little girl very innocently asked the Sphinx. “My father and your father are one and the same. However, I do have a brother who has stood as my mirror throughout time on the opposite horizon. It is I who faces east, but it is he who faces west. I am the recorder of yesterday and he holds the records of tomorrow. I am the positive, and he is my negative. I carry the right eye of the sun and he carries the left eye of the moon. He keeps his eye on the underworld and I keep an eye on the world over. Together we have joined the sky and earth, and split fire and water.” Seham stood on all toes to peek over the Sphinx's shoulder for a sign of his brother. “Where is he?” she asked, her eyes still searching the open horizon. “He has yet to be uncovered, but as I stand above the sands of time, he still sleeps below. Before the descent of Adam, we have both stood as loyal Protectors of the Two Halls of Truth.” The girl asked in astonishment, “I've never heard of these halls, Abu Huwa. Where are they?” “At the end of each of our tails is a passage that will reveal to you the secrets of Time. One hall reflects a thousand truths, and the other hall reflects all that is untrue. One will speak to your heart, and the other will speak to your mind. This is why you need to use both your heart and mind to understand which one is real, and which is a distorted illusion created to misguide those that have neglected their conscience. Both passageways connect you to the Great Hall of Records.” “What is the Hall of Records?” “The Great Pyramid, my child. It is as multidimensional in its shape as it is in its purpose. Every layer and every brick marks the coming of a prophet, the ascension of evil, or another cycle of man. It contains the entire history and future of mankind. And, as is above, so is below. Above ground, it serves as the most powerful energy source to harmonize and power the world! The shape of the pyramid above ground is also the same image mirrored beneath it. Underground, it serves as a powerful well and drain. This is really why Egypt is called the Land of Two Lands. There exists a huge world of its own underneath the plateau, a world within worlds. Large amounts of gold, copper and mercury were once housed here, including the secrets of Time, the 100th name of He Who Is All, and a gift from Truth that still awaits to be discovered. It sleeps with Time in the Great Pyramid, hidden away in a lower shaft that leads to the stars.” Dialogue from 'The Little Girl and the Sphinx' by Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun (Dar-El Shams, 2010)
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Be honest with yourself. You were at your lowest and broken down. You were unsure and lost hope. You were hiding your fears until you showed them on your sleeve. You felt like everything and everyone was the hammer and you were the nail as they were beating down on you, and it was never-ending. Their empty threats had you scared and you were always running because your weakness was exposed. You were their prey. You didn’t know who to believe because of their mixed signals. You might not see it now, but you are stronger than you can ever imagine. You cannot become comfortable in your pain. You have to let the pain that you feel turn you into a rose without thorns. There are sixteen pieces on the chessboard. The king is the most important piece, but the difference is that the queen is the most powerful piece! You are a queen, you can maneuver around your opponents; they do not have the power over your life, your mind or soul. You might think you’ve been a prisoner, but that is your past’. Look in the now and work your way to how you want your future to be. Exercise your thoughts into a pattern of letting go, and think positively about more of what you want than what you do not want. Queen! You are a queen! As a matter of fact, you are the queen! Act as if you know it! You are powerful, determined, strong, and you can make the biggest and most extravagant move and put it into action. Lights, camera, strike a pose and own it! It is yours to own! Yes, you loved and loved so much. You also lost as well, but you lost hurt, pain, agony, and confusion. You’ve lost interest in wanting to know answers to unanswered questions. You’ve lost the willingness to give a shit about what others think. You’ve surrendered to being fine, that you cannot change the things you have no control over. You’ve lost a lot, but you’ve gained closure. You are now balanced, centered, focused, and filled with peace surrounding you in your heart, mind, body, and soul. Your pride was hurt, but you would rather walk alone and be more willing to give and learn more about the queen you are. You lost yourself in the process, but the more you learn about the new you, the more you will be so much in love with yourself. The more you learn about the new you, the more you will know your worth. The more you learn about the new you, the happier you are going to be, and this time around you will be smiling inside and out! The dots are now connecting. You feel alive! You know now that all is not lost. Now that you’ve cut the cord it is time to give your heart a second chance at loving yourself. Silence your mind. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. As you open your eyes, look at your reflection in the mirror. Aren’t you beautiful, Queen? Embrace who you are. Smile, laugh, welcome the new you and say, “My world is just now beginning.
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
They had found out. Before I could panic, I made myself stretch my fingers wide and take a calming breath. You already knew this was bound to happen. At least that’s what I told myself. The more I thought about it, the more I should have been appreciative that the people at the chapel in Las Vegas hadn’t recognized him. Or that people on the street had been oblivious and hadn’t seen us going in and out of there. Or that the receptionist at the acupuncturist hadn’t snapped a picture on her phone and posted it online. Because I might not understand all people, much less most of them, but I understood nosey folks. And nosey folks would do something like that without a second thought. Yet, I reminded myself that there was nothing to be embarrassed about. It would be fine. So, one gossip site posted about us getting married. Whoop-de-do. There was probably a thousand sites just like it. I briefly thought about Diana hearing about it, but I’d deal with that later. There was no use in getting scared now. She was the only one whose reaction I cared about. My mom and sisters’ opinions and feelings weren’t exactly registering at the top of my list now… or ever. I made myself shove them to the back of my thoughts. I was tired of being mad and upset; it affected my work. Plus, they’d made me sad and mad enough times in my life. I wasn’t going to let them ruin another day. Picking my phone up again, I quickly texted Aiden back, swallowing my nausea at the same time. Me: Who told you? Not even two minutes passed before my phone dinged with a response. Miranda: Trevor’s blowing up my phone. Eww. Trevor. Me: We knew it was going to happen eventually, right? Good luck with Trev. I’m glad he doesn’t have my number. And I was even gladder there wasn’t a home phone; otherwise, I’m positive he would have been blowing it up too. I managed to get back to looking at images on the screen for a few more minutes—a bit more distracted than usual—when the phone beeped again. It was Aiden/Miranda. I should really change his contact name. Miranda: Good luck? I’m not answering his calls. What? Me: That psycho will come visit if you don’t. Was that me being selfish? Yes. Did I care? No. Aiden: I know. Uh. Me: You’re always at practice… Aiden: Have fun. This asshole! I almost laughed, but before I could, he sent me another message. Aiden: I’ll get back to him in a couple days. Don’t worry. Snorting, I texted back. Me: I’m not worried. If he drops by, I’ll set him up in your room. Aiden: You genuinely scare me. Me: You don’t know how many times you barely made it through the day alive, for the record. He didn’t text me back after that
Mariana Zapata (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me)
The Job Application Esteemed gentlemen, I am a poor, young, unemployed person in the business field, my name is Wenzel, I am seeking a suitable position, and I take the liberty of asking you, nicely and politely, if perhaps in your airy, bright, amiable rooms such a position might be free. I know that your good firm is large, proud, old, and rich, thus I may yield to the pleasing supposition that a nice, easy, pretty little place would be available, into which, as into a kind of warm cubbyhole, I can slip. I am excellently suited, you should know, to occupy just such a modest haven, for my nature is altogether delicate, and I am essentially a quiet, polite, and dreamy child, who is made to feel cheerful by people thinking of him that he does not ask for much, and allowing him to take possession of a very, very small patch of existence, where he can be useful in his own way and thus feel at ease. A quiet, sweet, small place in the shade has always been the tender substance of all my dreams, and if now the illusions I have about you grow so intense as to make me hope that my dream, young and old, might be transformed into delicious, vivid reality, then you have, in me, the most zealous and most loyal servitor, who will take it as a matter of conscience to discharge precisely and punctually all his duties. Large and difficult tasks I cannot perform, and obligations of a far-ranging sort are too strenuous for my mind. I am not particularly clever, and first and foremost I do not like to strain my intelligence overmuch. I am a dreamer rather than a thinker, a zero rather than a force, dim rather than sharp. Assuredly there exists in your extensive institution, which I imagine to be overflowing with main and subsidiary functions and offices, work of the kind that one can do as in a dream? --I am, to put it frankly, a Chinese; that is to say, a person who deems everything small and modest to be beautiful and pleasing, and to whom all that is big and exacting is fearsome and horrid. I know only the need to feel at my ease, so that each day I can thank God for life's boon, with all its blessings. The passion to go far in the world is unknown to me. Africa with its deserts is to me not more foreign. Well, so now you know what sort of a person I am.--I write, as you see, a graceful and fluent hand, and you need not imagine me to be entirely without intelligence. My mind is clear, but it refuses to grasp things that are many, or too many by far, shunning them. I am sincere and honest, and I am aware that this signifies precious little in the world in which we live, so I shall be waiting, esteemed gentlemen, to see what it will be your pleasure to reply to your respectful servant, positively drowning in obedience. Wenzel
Robert Walser (Selected Stories)
The dissolving, uniting forces combine what to us have been incompatible: attraction with repulsion, darkness with light, the erotic with the destructive.  If we can allow these opposites to meet they move our inner resonance to a higher vibratory plane, expanding consciousness into new realms.  It was exciting, through my explorations some of which I share in later chapters, to learn firsthand that the sacred marriage or coniunctio, the impulse to unite seeming opposites, does indeed seem to lie at the heart of the subtle body’s imaginal world. One important characteristic of the coniunctio is its paradoxical dual action.  The creative process of each sacred marriage, or conjoining of opposites, involves not only the unitive moment of joining together in a new creation or ‘third,’ but also, as I have mentioned, a separating or darkening moment.5 The idea that “darkness comes before dawn” captures this essential aspect of creativity.  To state an obvious truth we as a culture are just beginning to appreciate.  In alchemical language, when darkness falls, it is said to be the beginning of the inner work or the opus of transformation. The old king (ego) must die before the new reign dawns. The early alchemists called the dark, destructive side of these psychic unions the blackness or the nigredo.  Chaos, uncertainty, disillusionment, depression, despair, or madness prevails during these liminal times of  “making death.” The experiences surrounding these inner experiences of darkness and dying (the most difficult aspects were called mortificatio) may constitute our culture’s ruling taboo. This taboo interferes with our moving naturally to Stage Two in the individuating process, a process that requires that we pass through a descent into the underworld of the Dark Feminine realities of birthing an erotic intensity that leads to dying. Entranced by our happily-ever-after prejudiced culture, we often do not see that in any relationship, project or creative endeavor or idea some form of death follows naturally after periods of intense involvement.  When dark experiences befall, we tend to turn away, to move as quickly as possible to something positive or at least distracting, away from the negative affects of grieving, rage, terror, rotting and loss we associate with darkness and dying. As
Sandra Dennis (Embrace of the Daimon: Healing through the Subtle Energy Body: Jungian Psychology & the Dark Feminine)
The thing that weighed on him most, however, was the irrationality of the world in which he now found himself. To some extent he was a prisoner of his own training. As a historian, he had come to view the world as the product of historical forces and the decisions of more or less rational people, and he expected the men around him to behave in a civil and coherent manner. But Hitler’s government was neither civil nor coherent, and the nation lurched from one inexplicable moment to another. Even the language used by Hitler and party officials was weirdly inverted. The term “fanatical” became a positive trait. Suddenly it connoted what philologist Victor Klemperer, a Jewish resident of Dresden, described as a “happy mix of courage and fervent devotion.” Nazi-controlled newspapers reported an endless succession of “fanatical vows” and “fanatical declarations” and “fanatical beliefs,” all good things. Göring was described as a “fanatical animal lover.” Fanatischer Tierfreund. Certain very old words were coming into darkly robust modern use, Klemperer found. Übermensch: superman. Untermensch: sub-human, meaning “Jew.” Wholly new words were emerging as well, among them Strafexpedition—“punitive expedition”—the term Storm Troopers applied to their forays into Jewish and communist neighborhoods. Klemperer detected a certain “hysteria of language” in the new flood of decrees, alarms, and intimidation—“This perpetual threatening with the death penalty!”—and in strange, inexplicable episodes of paranoid excess, like the recent nationwide search. In all this Klemperer saw a deliberate effort to generate a kind of daily suspense, “copied from American cinema and thrillers,” that helped keep people in line. He also gauged it to be a manifestation of insecurity among those in power. In late July 1933 Klemperer saw a newsreel in which Hitler, with fists clenched and face contorted, shrieked, “On 30 January they”—and here Klemperer presumed he meant the Jews—“laughed at me—that smile will be wiped off their faces!” Klemperer was struck by the fact that although Hitler was trying to convey omnipotence, he appeared to be in a wild, uncontrolled rage, which paradoxically had the effect of undermining his boasts that the new Reich would last a thousand years and that all his enemies would be annihilated. Klemperer wondered, Do you talk with such blind rage “if you are so sure of this endurance and this annihilation”?
Erik Larson (In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin)
Two centuries ago, the United States settled into a permanent political order, after fourteen years of violence and heated debate. Two centuries ago, France fell into ruinous disorder that ran its course for twenty-four years. In both countries there resounded much ardent talk of rights--rights natural, rights prescriptive. . . . [F]anatic ideology had begun to rage within France, so that not one of the liberties guaranteed by the Declaration of the Rights of Man could be enjoyed by France's citizens. One thinks of the words of Dostoievski: "To begin with unlimited liberty is to end with unlimited despotism." . . . In striking contrast, the twenty-two senators and fifty-nine representatives who during the summer of 1789 debated the proposed seventeen amendments to the Constitution were men of much experience in representative government, experience acquired within the governments of their several states or, before 1776, in colonial assembles and in the practice of the law. Many had served in the army during the Revolution. They decidedly were political realists, aware of how difficult it is to govern men's passions and self-interest. . . . Among most of them, the term democracy was suspect. The War of Independence had sufficed them by way of revolution. . . . The purpose of law, they knew, is to keep the peace. To that end, compromises must be made among interests and among states. Both Federalists and Anti-Federalists ranked historical experience higher than novel theory. They suffered from no itch to alter American society radically; they went for sound security. The amendments constituting what is called the Bill of Rights were not innovations, but rather restatements of principles at law long observed in Britain and in the thirteen colonies. . . . The Americans who approved the first ten amendments to their Constitution were no ideologues. Neither Voltaire nor Rousseau had any substantial following among them. Their political ideas, with few exceptions, were those of English Whigs. The typical textbook in American history used to inform us that Americans of the colonial years and the Revolutionary and Constitutional eras were ardent disciples of John Locke. This notion was the work of Charles A. Beard and Vernon L. Parrington, chiefly. It fitted well enough their liberal convictions, but . . . it has the disadvantage of being erroneous. . . . They had no set of philosophes inflicted upon them. Their morals they took, most of them, from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Their Bill of Rights made no reference whatever to political abstractions; the Constitution itself is perfectly innocent of speculative or theoretical political arguments, so far as its text is concerned. John Dickinson, James Madison, James Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, George Mason, and other thoughtful delegates to the Convention in 1787 knew something of political theory, but they did not put political abstractions into the text of the Constitution. . . . Probably most members of the First Congress, being Christian communicants of one persuasion or another, would have been dubious about the doctrine that every man should freely indulge himself in whatever is not specifically prohibited by positive law and that the state should restrain only those actions patently "hurtful to society." Nor did Congress then find it necessary or desirable to justify civil liberties by an appeal to a rather vague concept of natural law . . . . Two centuries later, the provisions of the Bill of Rights endure--if sometimes strangely interpreted. Americans have known liberty under law, ordered liberty, for more than two centuries, while states that have embraced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, with its pompous abstractions, have paid the penalty in blood.
Russell Kirk (Rights And Duties: Reflections On Our Conservative Constitution)
The last time I’d been unwell, suicidally depressed, whatever you want to call it, the reactions of my friends and family had fallen into several different camps: The Let’s Laugh It Off merchants: Claire was the leading light. They hoped that joking about my state of mind would reduce it to a manageable size. Most likely to say, ‘Feeling any mad urges to fling yourself into the sea?’ The Depression Deniers: they were the ones who took the position that since there was no such thing as depression, nothing could be wrong with me. Once upon a time I’d have belonged in that category myself. A subset of the Deniers was The Tough Love people. Most likely to say, ‘What have you got to be depressed about?’ The It’s All About Me bunch: they were the ones who wailed that I couldn’t kill myself because they’d miss me so much. More often than not, I’d end up comforting them. My sister Anna and her boyfriend, Angelo, flew three thousand miles from New York just so I could dry their tears. Most likely to say, ‘Have you any idea how many people love you?’ The Runaways: lots and lots of people just stopped ringing me. Most of them I didn’t care about, but one or two were important to me. Their absence was down to fear; they were terrified that whatever I had, it was catching. Most likely to say, ‘I feel so helpless … God, is that the time?’ Bronagh – though it hurt me too much at the time to really acknowledge it – was the number one offender. The Woo-Woo crew: i.e. those purveying alternative cures. And actually there were hundreds of them – urging me to do reiki, yoga, homeopathy, bible study, sufi dance, cold showers, meditation, EFT, hypnotherapy, hydrotherapy, silent retreats, sweat lodges, felting, fasting, angel channelling or eating only blue food. Everyone had a story about something that had cured their auntie/boss/boyfriend/next-door neighbour. But my sister Rachel was the worst – she had me plagued. Not a day passed that she didn’t send me a link to some swizzer. Followed by a phone call ten minutes later to make sure I’d made an appointment. (And I was so desperate that I even gave plenty of them a go.) Most likely to say, ‘This man’s a miracle worker.’ Followed by: ‘That’s why he’s so expensive. Miracles don’t come cheap.’ There was often cross-pollination between the different groupings. Sometimes the Let’s Laugh It Off merchants teamed up with the Tough Love people to tell me that recovering from depression is ‘simply mind over matter’. You just decide you’re better. (The way you would if you had emphysema.) Or an All About Me would ring a member of the Woo-Woo crew and sob and sob about how selfish I was being and the Woo-Woo crew person would agree because I had refused to cough up two grand for a sweat lodge in Wicklow. Or one of the Runaways would tiptoe back for a sneaky look at me, then commandeer a Denier into launching a two-pronged attack, telling me how well I seemed. And actually that was the worst thing anyone could have done to me, because you can only sound like a self-pitying malingerer if you protest, ‘But I don’t feel well. I feel wretched beyond description.’ Not one person who loved me understood how I’d felt. They hadn’t a clue and I didn’t blame them, because, until it had happened to me, I hadn’t a clue either.
Marian Keyes
We are by the river bank. The river is very, very low. Almost dry. But mostly is wet stones. Grey on the outside. We walk on the stones for awhile. You pick up a stone and crash it onto the others. As it breaks, it is quite wet inside and is very colorful, very pretty. I pick up a stone and break it and run toward the pieces to see the colors. They are beautiful. I laugh and bring the pieces back to you and you are doing the same with your pieces. We keep on crashing stones for hours, anxious to see the beautiful new colors. We are playing. The playfulness of our activity does not presuppose that it is a particular form of play with its own rules. Rather the attitude that carries us through the activity, a playful attitude, turns the activity into play. Our activity has no rules, though it is certainly intentional activity and we both understand what we are doing. The playfulness that gives meaning to our activity includes uncertainty, but in this case the uncertainty is an openness to surprise. This is a particular metaphysical attitude that does not expect the world to be neatly packaged, ruly. Rules may fail to explain what we are doing. We are not self-important, we are not fixed in particular constructions of ourselves, which is part of saying that we are open to self-construction. We are not worried about competence. We are not wedded to a particular way of doing things. While playful we have not abandoned ourselves to, nor are we stuck in, any particular ‘world.’ We are there creatively. We are not passive. Playfulness is, in part, an openness to being a fool, which is a combination of not worrying about competence, not being self-important, not taking norms as sacred and finding ambiguity and double edges a source of wisdom and delight. So, positively, the playful attitude involves openness to surprise, openness to being a fool, openness to self-construction or reconstruction and to construction or reconstruction of the ‘worlds’ we inhabit playfully. Negatively, playfulness is characterized by uncertainty, lack of self-importance, absence of rules or a not taking rules as scared, a no worrying about competence and a lack of abandonment to a particular construction of oneself, others and one’s relation to them. In attempting to take a hold of oneself and one’s relation to others in a particular ‘world,’ one may study, examine and come to understand oneself. One may then see what the possibilities for play are for being one is in that ‘world.’ One may even decide to inhabit that self fully in order to understand it better and find its creative possibilities. All of this is just self-reflection, and is quite different from residing or abandoning oneself to the particular construction of oneself that one is attempting to take a hold of.
María Lugones
The formerly absolute distinction between time and eternity in Christian thought--between nunc movens with its beginning and end, and nunc stans, the perfect possession of endless life--acquired a third intermediate order based on this peculiar betwixt-and-between position of angels. But like the Principle of Complementarity, this concord-fiction soon proved that it had uses outside its immediate context, angelology. Because it served as a means of talking about certain aspects of human experience, it was humanized. It helped one to think about the sense, men sometimes have of participating in some order of duration other than that of the nunc movens--of being able, as it were, to do all that angels can. Such are those moments which Augustine calls the moments of the soul's attentiveness; less grandly, they are moments of what psychologists call 'temporal integration.' When Augustine recited his psalm he found in it a figure for the integration of past, present, and future which defies successive time. He discovered what is now erroneously referred to as 'spatial form.' He was anticipating what we know of the relation between books and St. Thomas's third order of duration--for in the kind of time known by books a moment has endless perspectives of reality. We feel, in Thomas Mann's words, that 'in their beginning exists their middle and their end, their past invades the present, and even the most extreme attention to the present is invaded by concern for the future.' The concept of aevum provides a way of talking about this unusual variety of duration-neither temporal nor eternal, but, as Aquinas said, participating in both the temporal and the eternal. It does not abolish time or spatialize it; it co-exists with time, and is a mode in which things can be perpetual without being eternal. We've seen that the concept of aevum grew out of a need to answer certain specific Averroistic doctrines concerning origins. But it appeared quite soon that this medium inter aeternitatem et tempus had human uses. It contains beings (angels) with freedom of choice and immutable substance, in a creation which is in other respects determined. Although these beings are out of time, their acts have a before and an after. Aevum, you might say, is the time-order of novels. Characters in novels are independent of time and succession, but may and usually do seem to operate in time and succession; the aevum co-exists with temporal events at the moment of occurrence, being, it was said, like a stick in a river. Brabant believed that Bergson inherited the notion through Spinoza's duratio, and if this is so there is an historical link between the aevum and Proust; furthermore this durée réelle is, I think, the real sense of modern 'spatial form,' which is a figure for the aevum.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
What, in fact, do we know about the peak experience? Well, to begin with, we know one thing that puts us several steps ahead of the most penetrating thinkers of the 19th century: that P.E’.s are not a matter of pure good luck or grace. They don’t come and go as they please, leaving ‘this dim, vast vale of tears vacant and desolate’. Like rainbows, peak experiences are governed by definite laws. They are ‘intentional’. And that statement suddenly gains in significance when we remember Thorndike’s discovery that the effect of positive stimuli is far more powerful and far reaching than that of negative stimuli. His first statement of the law of effect was simply that situations that elicit positive reactions tend to produce continuance of positive reactions, while situations that elicit negative or avoidance reactions tend to produce continuance of these. It was later that he came to realise that positive reactions build-up stronger response patterns than negative ones. In other words, positive responses are more intentional than negative ones. Which is another way of saying that if you want a positive reaction (or a peak experience), your best chance of obtaining it is by putting yourself into an active, purposive frame of mind. The opposite of the peak experience—sudden depression, fatigue, even the ‘panic fear’ that swept William James to the edge of insanity—is the outcome of passivity. This cannot be overemphasised. Depression—or neurosis—need not have a positive cause (childhood traumas, etc.). It is the natural outcome of negative passivity. The peak experience is the outcome of an intentional attitude. ‘Feedback’ from my activities depends upon the degree of deliberately calculated purpose I put into them, not upon some occult law connected with the activity itself. . . . A healthy, perfectly adjusted human being would slide smoothly into gear, perform whatever has to be done with perfect economy of energy, then recover lost energy in a state of serene relaxation. Most human beings are not healthy or well adjusted. Their activity is full of strain and nervous tension, and their relaxation hovers on the edge of anxiety. They fail to put enough effort—enough seriousness—into their activity, and they fail to withdraw enough effort from their relaxation. Moods of serenity descend upon them—if at all—by chance; perhaps after some crisis, or in peaceful surroundings with pleasant associations. Their main trouble is that they have no idea of what can be achieved by a certain kind of mental effort. And this is perhaps the place to point out that although mystical contemplation is as old as religion, it is only in the past two centuries that it has played a major role in European culture. It was the group of writers we call the romantics who discovered that a man contemplating a waterfall or a mountain peak can suddenly feel ‘godlike’, as if the soul had expanded. The world is seen from a ‘bird’s eye view’ instead of a worm’s eye view: there is a sense of power, detachment, serenity. The romantics—Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Goethe, Schiller—were the first to raise the question of whether there are ‘higher ceilings of human nature’. But, lacking the concepts for analysing the problem, they left it unsolved. And the romantics in general accepted that the ‘godlike moments’ cannot be sustained, and certainly cannot be re-created at will. This produced the climate of despair that has continued down to our own time. (The major writers of the 20th century—Proust, Eliot, Joyce, Musil—are direct descendants of the romantics, as Edmund Wilson pointed out in Axel’s Castle.) Thus it can be seen that Maslow’s importance extends far beyond the field of psychology. William James had asserted that ‘mystical’ experiences are not mystical at all, but are a perfectly normal potential of human consciousness; but there is no mention of such experiences in Principles of Psychology (or only in passing).
Colin Wilson (New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow & the Post-Freudian Revolution)
THE WISDOM OF SURRENDER It is the quality of your consciousness at this moment that is the main determinant of what kind of future you will experience, so to surrender is the most important thing you can do to bring about positive change. Any action you take is secondary. No truly positive action can arise out of an unsurrendered state of consciousness. To some people, surrender may have negative connotations, implying defeat, giving up, failing to rise to the challenges of life, becoming lethargic, and so on. True surrender, however, is something entirely different. It does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation you find yourself in and to do nothing about it. Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action. SURRENDER IS THE SIMPLE but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life. The only place where you can experience the flow of life is the Now, so to surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally and without reservation. It is to relinquish inner resistance to what is. Inner resistance is to say “no” to what is, through mental judgment and emotional negativity. It becomes particularly pronounced when things “go wrong,” which means that there is a gap between the demands or rigid expectations of your mind and what is. That is the pain gap. If you have lived long enough, you will know that things “go wrong” quite often. It is precisely at those times that surrender needs to be practiced if you want to eliminate pain and sorrow from your life. Acceptance of what is immediately frees you from mind identification and thus reconnects you with Being. Resistance is the mind. Surrender is a purely inner phenomenon. It does not mean that on the outer level you cannot take action and change the situation. In fact, it is not the overall situation that you need to accept when you surrender, but just the tiny segment called the Now. For example, if you were stuck in the mud somewhere, you wouldn't say: “Okay, I resign myself to being stuck in the mud.” Resignation is not surrender. YOU DON'T NEED TO ACCEPT AN UNDESIRABLE OR UNPLEASANT LIFE SITUATION. Nor do you need to deceive yourself and say that there is nothing wrong with it. No. You recognize fully that you want to get out of it. You then narrow your attention down to the present moment without mentally labeling it in any way. This means that there is no judgment of the Now. Therefore, there is no resistance, no emotional negativity. You accept the “isness” of this moment. Then you take action and do all that you can to get out of the situation. Such action I call positive action. It is far more effective than negative action, which arises out of anger, despair, or frustration. Until you achieve the desired result, you continue to practice surrender by refraining from labeling the Now
Eckhart Tolle (Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises from the Power of Now)
Any true definition of preaching must say that that man is there to deliver the message of God, a message from God to those people. If you prefer the language of Paul, he is 'an ambassador for Christ'. That is what he is. He has been sent, he is a commissioned person, and he is standing there as the mouthpiece of God and of Christ to address these people. In other words he is not there merely to talk to them, he is not there to entertain them. He is there - and I want to emphasize this - to do something to those people; he is there to produce results of various kinds, he is there to influence people. He is not merely to influence a part of them; he is not only to influence their minds, not only their emotions, or merely to bring pressure to bear upon their wills and to induce them to some kind of activity. He is there to deal with the whole person; and his preaching is meant to affect the whole person at the very centre of life. Preaching should make such a difference to a man who is listening that he is never the same again. Preaching, in other words, is a transaction between the preacher and the listener. It does something for the soul of man, for the whole of the person, the entire man; it deals with him in a vital and radical manner. I remember a remark made to me a few years back about some studies of mine on “The Sermon on the Mount.” I had deliberately published them in sermonic form. There were many who advised me not to do that on the grounds that people no longer like sermons. The days for sermons, I was told, were past, and I was pressed to turn my sermons into essays and to give them a different form. I was most interested therefore when this man to whom I was talking, and he is a very well-known Christian layman in Britain, said, "I like these studies of yours on “The Sermon on the Mount” because they speak to me.” Then he went on to say, “I have been recommended many books by learned preachers and professors but,” he said, “what I feel about those books is that it always seems to be professors writing to professors; they do not speak to me. But,” he said, “your stuff speaks to me.” Now he was an able man, and a man in a prominent position, but that is how he put it. I think there is a great deal of truth in this. He felt that so much that he had been recommended to read was very learned and very clever and scholarly, but as he put it, it was “professors writing to professors.” This is, I believe, is a most important point for us to bear in mind when we read sermons. I have referred already to the danger of giving the literary style too much prominence. I remember reading an article in a literary journal some five or six years ago which I thought was most illuminating because the writer was making the selfsame point in his own field. His case was that the trouble today is that far too often instead of getting true literature we tend to get “reviewers writing books for reviewers.” These men review one another's books, with the result that when they write, what they have in their mind too often is the reviewer and not the reading public to whom the book should be addressed, at any rate in the first instance. The same thing tends to happen in connection with preaching. This ruins preaching, which should always be a transaction between preacher and listener with something vital and living taking place. It is not the mere imparting of knowledge, there is something much bigger involved. The total person is engaged on both sides; and if we fail to realize this our preaching will be a failure.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Preaching and Preachers)
(Inevitably, someone raises the question about World War II: What if Christians had refused to fight against Hitler? My answer is a counterquestion: What if the Christians in Germany had emphatically refused to fight for Hitler, refused to carry out the murders in concentration camps?) The long history of Christian “just wars” has wrought suffering past all telling, and there is no end in sight. As Yoder has suggested, Niebuhr’s own insight about the “irony of history” ought to lead us to recognize the inadequacy of our reason to shape a world that tends toward justice through violence. Might it be that reason and sad experience could disabuse us of the hope that we can approximate God’s justice through killing? According to the guideline I have proposed, reason must be healed and taught by Scripture, and our experience must be transformed by the renewing of our minds in conformity with the mind of Christ. Only thus can our warring madness be overcome. This would mean, practically speaking, that Christians would have to relinquish positions of power and influence insofar as the exercise of such positions becomes incompatible with the teaching and example of Jesus. This might well mean, as Hauerwas has perceived, that the church would assume a peripheral status in our culture, which is deeply committed to the necessity and glory of violence. The task of the church then would be to tell an alternative story, to train disciples in the disciplines necessary to resist the seductions of violence, to offer an alternative home for those who will not worship the Beast. If the church is to be a Scripture-shaped community, it will find itself reshaped continually into a closer resemblance to the socially marginal status of Matthew’s nonviolent countercultural community. To articulate such a theological vision for the church at the end of the twentieth century may be indeed to take most seriously what experience is telling us: the secular polis has no tolerance for explicitly Christian witness and norms. It is increasingly the case in Western culture that Christians can participate in public governance only insofar as they suppress their explicitly Christian motivations. Paradoxically, the Christian community might have more impact upon the world if it were less concerned about appearing reasonable in the eyes of the world and more concerned about faithfully embodying the New Testament’s teaching against violence. Let it be said clearly, however, that the reasons for choosing Jesus’ way of peacemaking are not prudential. In calculable terms, this way is sheer folly. Why do we choose the way of nonviolent love of enemies? If our reasons for that choice are shaped by the New Testament, we are motivated not by the sheer horror of war, not by the desire for saving our own skins and the skins of our children (if we are trying to save our skins, pacifism is a very poor strategy), not by some general feeling of reverence for human life, not by the naive hope that all people are really nice and will be friendly if we are friendly first. No, if our reasons for choosing nonviolence are shaped by the New Testament witness, we act in simple obedience to the God who willed that his own Son should give himself up to death on a cross. We make this choice in the hope and anticipation that God’s love will finally prevail through the way of the cross, despite our inability to see how this is possible. That is the life of discipleship to which the New Testament repeatedly calls us. When the church as a community is faithful to that calling, it prefigures the peaceable kingdom of God in a world wracked by violence.
Richard B. Hays (The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New CreationA Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethic)
It might be useful here to say a word about Beckett, as a link between the two stages, and as illustrating the shift towards schism. He wrote for transition, an apocalyptic magazine (renovation out of decadence, a Joachite indication in the title), and has often shown a flair for apocalyptic variations, the funniest of which is the frustrated millennialism of the Lynch family in Watt, and the most telling, perhaps, the conclusion of Comment c'est. He is the perverse theologian of a world which has suffered a Fall, experienced an Incarnation which changes all relations of past, present, and future, but which will not be redeemed. Time is an endless transition from one condition of misery to another, 'a passion without form or stations,' to be ended by no parousia. It is a world crying out for forms and stations, and for apocalypse; all it gets is vain temporality, mad, multiform antithetical influx. It would be wrong to think that the negatives of Beckett are a denial of the paradigm in favour of reality in all its poverty. In Proust, whom Beckett so admires, the order, the forms of the passion, all derive from the last book; they are positive. In Beckett, the signs of order and form are more or less continuously presented, but always with a sign of cancellation; they are resources not to be believed in, cheques which will bounce. Order, the Christian paradigm, he suggests, is no longer usable except as an irony; that is why the Rooneys collapse in laughter when they read on the Wayside Pulpit that the Lord will uphold all that fall. But of course it is this order, however ironized, this continuously transmitted idea of order, that makes Beckett's point, and provides his books with the structural and linguistic features which enable us to make sense of them. In his progress he has presumed upon our familiarity with his habits of language and structure to make the relation between the occulted forms and the narrative surface more and more tenuous; in Comment c'est he mimes a virtually schismatic breakdown of this relation, and of his language. This is perfectly possible to reach a point along this line where nothing whatever is communicated, but of course Beckett has not reached it by a long way; and whatever preserves intelligibility is what prevents schism. This is, I think, a point to be remembered whenever one considers extremely novel, avant-garde writing. Schism is meaningless without reference to some prior condition; the absolutely New is simply unintelligible, even as novelty. It may, of course, be asked: unintelligible to whom? --the inference being that a minority public, perhaps very small--members of a circle in a square world--do understand the terms in which the new thing speaks. And certainly the minority public is a recognized feature of modern literature, and certainly conditions are such that there may be many small minorities instead of one large one; and certainly this is in itself schismatic. The history of European literature, from the time the imagination's Latin first made an accommodation with the lingua franca, is in part the history of the education of a public--cultivated but not necessarily learned, as Auerbach says, made up of what he calls la cour et la ville. That this public should break up into specialized schools, and their language grow scholastic, would only be surprising if one thought that the existence of excellent mechanical means of communication implied excellent communications, and we know it does not, McLuhan's 'the medium is the message' notwithstanding. But it is still true that novelty of itself implies the existence of what is not novel, a past. The smaller the circle, and the more ambitious its schemes of renovation, the less useful, on the whole, its past will be. And the shorter. I will return to these points in a moment.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)