World Population Quotes

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It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Each year the US population spends more money on diets than the amount needed to feed all the hungry people in the rest of the world.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
I wouldn’t even be the “world’s sexiest man” if the planet were populated entirely by my clones.

Jarod Kintz (At even one penny, this book would be overpriced. In fact, free is too expensive, because you'd still waste time by reading it.)
It's funny how bed and pillows and covers can change a conversation. Words turn quiet and you mean more and say less. It's like you can build your own little world, Population: 2.
Robin Benway (Audrey, Wait!)
The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.
Richard Dawkins (River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life)
The Population Reference Bureau predicts that the world's total population will double to 7,000,000,000 before the year 2000. I suppose they will all want dignity, I said.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
The result of this deeply male-dominated culture is that the male experience, the male perspective, has come to be seen as universal, while the female experience--that of half the global population, after all--is seen as, well, niche.
Caroline Criado Pérez (Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men)
There are people in the world, who are just wrong, and then there are the masses of population that are right, or at the very least they lie in the veil of between. I on the other hand, do not belong to any group. I don’t exist. It’s not that I don’t have substance; I have a body like everyone else. I can feel the fire when it burns against my skin, the rain when it caresses my face and the breeze as it fingers my hair. I have all the senses that other people do. I am just empty, inside.
J.D. Stroube (Caged in Darkness (Caged, #1))
I live in two worlds. One is a world of books. I've been a resident of Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County, hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod, fought alongside Napoleon, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina and strolled down Swann's Way. It's a rewarding world, but my second one is by far superior. My second one is populated with characters slightly less eccentric, but supremely real, made of flesh and bone, full of love, who are my ultimate inspiration for everything.
Rory Gilmore
The optimum population is modeled on the iceberg- eight-ninths below the water line, one-ninth above.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Thankfully the rest of the world assumed that the Irish were crazy, a theory that the Irish themselves did nothing to debunk. They had somehow got it into their heads that each fairy lugged around a pot of gold with him wherever he went. While it was true that LEP had a ransom fund, because of its officers' high-risk occupation, no human had ever taken a chunk of it yet. This didn't stop the Irish population in general from skulking around rainbows, hoping to win the supernatural lottery.
Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1))
They claim their labours are to build a heaven yet their heaven is populated with horrors. Perhaps the world is not made. Perhaps nothing is made. A clock without a craftsman. It's too late. Always has been, always will be…too late.
Alan Moore (Watchmen)
What is a woman's place in this modern world? Jasnah Kholin's words read. I rebel against this question, though so many of my peers ask it. The inherent bias in the inquiry seems invisible to so many of them. They consider themselves progressive because they are willing to challenge many of the assumptions of the past. They ignore the greater assumption--that a 'place' for women must be defined and set forth to begin with. Half of the population must somehow be reduced to the role arrived at by a single conversation. No matter how broad that role is, it will be--by-nature--a reduction from the infinite variety that is womanhood. I say that there is no role for women--there is, instead, a role for each woman, and she must make it for herself. For some, it will be the role of scholar; for others, it will be the role of wife. For others, it will be both. For yet others, it will be neither. Do not mistake me in assuming I value one woman's role above another. My point is not to stratify our society--we have done that far to well already--my point is to diversify our discourse. A woman's strength should not be in her role, whatever she chooses it to be, but in the power to choose that role. It is amazing to me that I even have to make this point, as I see it as the very foundation of our conversation.
Brandon Sanderson (Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2))
God is dead,' Nick said. 'They found his carcass in 2019. Floating in space near Alpha.' 'They found the remains of an organism advanced several thousand times over what we are,' Charley said. 'And evidently could create habitable worlds and populate them with living organisms, derived from itself. But that doesn't prove it was God.
Philip K. Dick (Our Friends from Frolix 8)
Ozone depletion, lack of water, and pollution are not the disease—they are the symptoms. The disease is overpopulation. And unless we face world population head-on, we are doing nothing more than sticking a Band-Aid on a fast-growing cancerous tumor.
Dan Brown (Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4))
According to the most common interpretation of biblical prophecy, Jesus will return only after things have gone horribly awry. Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious. The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this should be considered a moral and intellectual emergency.
Sam Harris
...the chief cause for the impending collapse of the world - the cause sufficient in and by itself - is the enormous growth of the human population: the human flood. The worst enemy of life is too much life: the excess of human life.
Pentti Linkola (Can Life Prevail? - A Radical Approach To The Environmental Crisis (Hardcover))
I don't think whole populations are villainous, but Americans are just extraordinarily unaware of all kinds of things. If you live in the middle of that vast continent, with apparently everything your heart could wish for just because you were born there, then why worry? [...] If people lose knowledge, sympathy and understanding of the natural world, they're going to mistreat it and will not ask their politicians to care for it.
David Attenborough
I've concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress genius because we haven't yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.
John Taylor Gatto (Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through The Dark World of Compulsory Schooling)
As women gain rights, families flourish, and so do societies. That connection is built on a simple truth: Whenever you include a group that's been excluded, you benefit everyone. And when you're working globally to include women and girls, who are half of every population, you're working to benefit all members of every community. Gender equity lifts everyone. Women's rights and society's health and wealth rise together.
Melinda French Gates (The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World)
That night Demosthenes published a scathing denunciation of the population limitation laws. People should be allowed to have as many children as they like, and the surplus population should be sent to other worlds, to spread mankind so far across the galaxy that no disaster, no invasion could ever threaten the human race with annihilation. "The most noble title any child can have," Demosthenes wrote, "is Third.
Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1))
If you have ever met someone who rarely reads, then you will understand the blank look Moti gave me. For nonreaders, life is simply what they touch and see, not what they feel when they open the pages of a play and are transported to the Forest of Arden or Illyria. Where the world is full of a thousand colors for those who love books, I suspect it is simply black and gray to everyone else. A tree is a tree to them; it is never a magical doorway to another world populated with beings that don’t exist here.
Michelle Moran (Rebel Queen)
People talk about the happy quiet that can exist between two loves, but this, too, was great; sitting between his sister and his brother, saying nothing, eating. Before the world existed, before it was populated, and before there were wars and jobs and colleges and movies and clothes and opinions and foreign travel -- before all of these things there had been only one person, Zora, and only one place: a tent in the living room made from chairs and bed-sheets. After a few years, Levi arrived; space was made for him; it was as if he had always been. Looking at them both now, Jerome found himself in their finger joints and neat conch ears, in their long legs and wild curls. He heard himself in their partial lisps caused by puffy tongues vibrating against slightly noticeable buckteeth. He did not consider if or how or why he loved them. They were just love: they were the first evidence he ever had of love, and they would be the last confirmation of love when everything else fell away.
Zadie Smith (On Beauty)
The struggle is inner: Chicano, indio, American Indian, mojado, mexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian--our psyches resemble the bordertowns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the "real" world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.
Gloria E. Anzaldúa
It used to be thought that the events that changed the world were things like big bombs, maniac politicians, huge earthquakes, or vast population movements, but it has now been realized that this is a very old-fashioned view held by people totally out of touch with modern thought. The things that really change the world, according to Chaos theory, are the tiny things. A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian jungle, and subsequently a storm ravages half of Europe.
Neil Gaiman (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
Europe is overpopulated, the world will soon be in the same condition, and if the self-reproduction of man is not rationalized... we shall have war.
Henri Bergson (The Two Sources of Morality and Religion)
The only proven method for curbing population growth is to eradicate extreme poverty
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
To achieve what 1% of the worlds population has (Financial Freedom), you must be willing to do what only 1% dare to do..hard work and perseverance of highest order.
Manoj Arora (From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom)
When they bombed Hiroshima, the explosion formed a mini-supernova, so every living animal, human or plant that received direct contact with the rays from that sun was instantly turned to ash. And what was left of the city soon followed. The long-lasting damage of nuclear radiation caused an entire city and its population to turn into powder. When I was born, my mom says I looked around the whole hospital room with a stare that said, "This? I've done this before." She says I have old eyes. When my Grandpa Genji died, I was only five years old, but I took my mom by the hand and told her, "Don't worry, he'll come back as a baby." And yet, for someone who's apparently done this already, I still haven't figured anything out yet. My knees still buckle every time I get on a stage. My self-confidence can be measured out in teaspoons mixed into my poetry, and it still always tastes funny in my mouth. But in Hiroshima, some people were wiped clean away, leaving only a wristwatch or a diary page. So no matter that I have inhibitions to fill all my pockets, I keep trying, hoping that one day I'll write a poem I can be proud to let sit in a museum exhibit as the only proof I existed. My parents named me Sarah, which is a biblical name. In the original story God told Sarah she could do something impossible and she laughed, because the first Sarah, she didn't know what to do with impossible. And me? Well, neither do I, but I see the impossible every day. Impossible is trying to connect in this world, trying to hold onto others while things are blowing up around you, knowing that while you're speaking, they aren't just waiting for their turn to talk -- they hear you. They feel exactly what you feel at the same time that you feel it. It's what I strive for every time I open my mouth -- that impossible connection. There's this piece of wall in Hiroshima that was completely burnt black by the radiation. But on the front step, a person who was sitting there blocked the rays from hitting the stone. The only thing left now is a permanent shadow of positive light. After the A bomb, specialists said it would take 75 years for the radiation damaged soil of Hiroshima City to ever grow anything again. But that spring, there were new buds popping up from the earth. When I meet you, in that moment, I'm no longer a part of your future. I start quickly becoming part of your past. But in that instant, I get to share your present. And you, you get to share mine. And that is the greatest present of all. So if you tell me I can do the impossible, I'll probably laugh at you. I don't know if I can change the world yet, because I don't know that much about it -- and I don't know that much about reincarnation either, but if you make me laugh hard enough, sometimes I forget what century I'm in. This isn't my first time here. This isn't my last time here. These aren't the last words I'll share. But just in case, I'm trying my hardest to get it right this time around.
Sarah Kay
Oh, how I despised remaining silent under such awful judgment. I’d like to remind each man who held such poor opinions of a woman that their beloved mothers were, in fact, women. I didn’t see any men running about, birthing the world’s population then going on to make supper and tend to the house. Most of them buckled to their knees when the slightest sniffle attacked them.
Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1))
Why, if there is anything in supply and demand, life is the cheapest thing in the world. There is only so much water, so much earth, so much air; but the life that is demanding to be born is limitless. Nature is a spendthrift. Look at the fish and their millions of eggs. For that matter, look at you and me. In our loins are the possibilities of millions of lives. Could we but find time and opportunity and utilize the last bit and every bit of the unborn life that is in us, we could become the fathers of nations and populate continents. Life? Bah! It has no value. Of cheap things it is the cheapest. Everywhere it goes begging. Nature spills it out with a lavish hand. Where there is room for one life, she sows a thousand lives, and it's life eats life till the strongest and most piggish life is left.
Jack London (The Sea Wolf)
People often ask, "What is the single most important environmental population problem facing the world today?" A flip answer would be, "The single most important problem is our misguided focus on identifying the single most important problem!
Jared Diamond (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's definition of "Universe": The Universe is a very big thing that contains a great number of planets and a great number of beings. It is Everything. What we live in. All around us. The lot. Not nothing. It is quite difficult to actually define what the Universe means, but fortunately the Guide doesn't worry about that and just gives us some useful information to live in it. Area: The area of the Universe is infinite. Imports: None. This is a by product of infinity; it is impossible to import things into something that has infinite volume because by definition there is no outside to import things from. Exports: None, for similar reasons as imports. Population: None. Although you might see people from time to time, they are most likely products of your imagination. Simple mathematics tells us that the population of the Universe must be zero. Why? Well given that the volume of the universe is infinite there must be an infinite number of worlds. But not all of them are populated; therefore only a finite number are. Any finite number divided by infinity is zero, therefore the average population of the Universe is zero, and so the total population must be zero. Art: None. Because the function of art is to hold a mirror up to nature there can be no art because the Universe is infinite which means there simply isn't a mirror big enough. Sex: None. Although in fact there is quite a lot, given the zero population of the Universe there can in fact be no beings to have sex, and therefore no sex happens in the Universe.
Douglas Adams
There are slightly more women than men in the world—52 percent of the world’s population is female—but most of the positions of power and prestige are occupied by men.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (We Should All Be Feminists)
I bought an oxygen tank, because with the global population at over seven billion people and rising, what if the world were to suddenly run out of air? And while the people will be suffocating, I’ll be the only guy prepared to pillage and loot.

Jarod Kintz (The Days of Yay are Here! Wake Me Up When They're Over.)
Our world is not safe. It is a toxic swamp populated by predators and parasites. The odds are stacked against us from the moment of conception. We survive only because we fight the elements, hunger, disease, each other. And, although civilization promises us safe harbor, that promise is a fairy tale. Only the storm is real. It comes for each of us. And we cannot win. We can only choose how we will suffer our defeat. We can meekly take our beatings, and die like lemmings, finding solace in the belief that we shall one day inherit the earth. Or, we can plunge into the chaos with eyes wide open, taking comfort instead from the bruises, scars, and broken bones which prove that we fought to live and die as gods.
J.K. Franko (Life for Life (Talion #3))
As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, and diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.
Noam Chomsky (Who Rules the World?)
Most Americans are close to total ignorance about the world. They are ignorant. That is an unhealthy condition in a country in which foreign policy has to be endorsed by the people if it is to be pursued. And it makes it much more difficult for any president to pursue an intelligent policy that does justice to the complexity of the world.
Zbigniew Brzeziński
She gave Pretty Boy a surreptitious glance. Did he honestly expect her to believe he was gay? True, there were the gay boots and those stunning good looks. But, even so, he blasted enough heterosexual mega-wattage to light up the entire female population. Which he’d undoubtedly been doing since he shot out of the birth canal, glimpsed his reflection in the obstetrician’s eyeglasses, and gave the world a high five.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars, #7))
But writers INVITE ghosts, maybe; along with actors and artists, they are the only totally accepted mediums of our society. They make worlds that never were, populate them with people who never existed, and then invite us to join them in their fantasies. And we do it, don't we? Yes. We PAY to do it.
Stephen King (The Dark Half)
I belong to the 8% of the world population who calm their apprehension by drowning it in numbers.
Muriel Barbery
Half of the world population is dying from poverty and hunger and still you think you are not rich enough.
M.F. Moonzajer
The stuff of nightmare is their plain bread. They butter it with pain. They set their clocks by deathwatch beetles, and thrive the centuries. They were the men with the leather-ribbon whips who sweated up the Pyramids seasoning it with other people's salt and other people's cracked hearts. They coursed Europe on the White Horses of the Plague. They whispered to Caesar that he was mortal, then sold daggers at half-price in the grand March sale. Some must have been lazing clowns, foot props for emperors, princes, and epileptic popes. Then out on the road, Gypsies in time, their populations grew as the world grew, spread, and there was more delicious variety of pain to thrive on. The train put wheels under them and here they run down the log road out of the Gothic and baroque; look at their wagons and coaches, the carving like medieval shrines, all of it stuff once drawn by horses, mules, or, maybe, men.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
When a country with less than five percent of the world's population has nearly half of the world's privately owned guns and makes up nearly a third of the world's mass shootings, it's time to stop saying guns make us safer.
DaShanne Stokes
Our scientific advances will be merely obscene unless they help the large part of our world's population emerge from miserable uncertainty and debilitating terror.
Michael Moorcock (Into the Media Web)
Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits in the classic formulation. Now, it's long been understood very well that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist with whatever suffering and injustice it entails as long as it's possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited: that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage-can. At this stage of history, either one of two things is possible: either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community-interests, guided by values of solidarity and sympathy and concern for others; or, alternatively, there will be no destiny for anyone to control. As long as some specialized class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole and, by now, that means the global community. The question is whether privileged elites should dominate mass-communication, and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely, to impose necessary illusions, manipulate and deceive the stupid majority, and remove them from the public arena. The question, in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured, they may well be essential to survival.
Noam Chomsky
We are told in fairy tales that evil always loses and good eventually will triumph. That is what makes those stories so desirable to the general population. They want to believe that karma works and the bad guys are always defeated in the end. But in a world where no one thinks they are the bad guy and everyone plays the victim, it is harder and harder to find the black and the white of a situation. We are all the hero, and we are all the monster.
John Goode (Maybe With a Chance of Certainty (Tales from Foster High, #1))
We are living in an era in which billions of people are grappling to promote communication, tolerance, and understanding over the more destructive forces of war, terrorism, and political chaos that have characterized the beginning of the 21st Century.
Aberjhani (Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry)
Looking closer at human beings, it becomes clear that each of us is a world of our own. Our forehead is a breezy meadow, our elbows are arid wastelands, our eyes are salty lakes, and our gut is the most amazing giant forest ever, populated by the weirdest of creatures.
Giulia Enders (Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ)
The complexity of economics can be calculated mathematically. Write out the algebraic equation that is the human heart and multiply each unknown by the population of the world.
P.J. O'Rourke (On the Wealth of Nations)
I don’t know why the world has to be populated by so many unpleasant people. I really don’t. It really takes an effort to be rude, too. The amount of energy people expend on being a jerk astounds me sometimes.
Meg Cabot (Haunted (The Mediator, #5))
It's sad that in a world of billions, people can still feel isolated and alone. Sometimes all it takes to brighten up someone's day is a smile or kind word, or the generous actions of a complete stranger. Small things, the tiny details, these are the things that matter in life — the little glint in the eye, curve of a lip, nod of a head, wave of a hand — such minuscule movements have huge ripple effects.
Shaun Hick
We clutter the earth with our inventions, never dreaming that possibly they are unnecessary — or disadvantageous. We devise astounding means of communication, but do we communicate with one another? We move our bodies to and fro and incredible speeds, but do we really leave the spot we started from? Mentally, morally, spiritually, we are fettered. What have we achieved in mowing down mountain ranges, harnessing the energy of mighty rivers, or moving whole populations about like chess pieces, if we ourselves remain the same restless, miserable, frustrated creatures we were before? To call such activity progress is utter delusion. We may succeed in altering the face of the earth until it is unrecognizable even to the Creator, but if we are unaffected wherein lies the meaning?
Henry Miller (The World Of Sex)
The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors. Let us not speak well of it either. Let us not speak of it at all. It is true the population has increased.
Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot)
What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
In the history of the world many souls have been, are, and will be, and with a little reflection this is marvelous and not depressing. Many jerks are made gloomy about it, for they think quantity buries them alive. That's just crazy. Numbers are very dangerous, but the main thing about them is that they humble your pride. And that's good.
Saul Bellow (Henderson the Rain King)
An atom is mostly made up of empty space. If you remove the empty space from every atom, the entire world's human population could fit inside a sugar cube.
Weike Wang (Chemistry)
Jews are estimated to be less than 1% of the world's population yet approximately 25% of the world's billionaires are Jewish.
H.W. Charles (The Money Code: Become a Millionaire With the Ancient Jewish Code)
i mean talk about decadence," he declared, "how decadent can a society get? Look at it this way. This country's probably the psychiatric, psychoanalytical capital of the world. Old Freud himself could never've dreamed up a more devoted bunch of disciples than the population of the United States - isn't that right? Our whole damn culture is geared to it; it's the new religion; it's everybody's intellectual and spiritual sugar-tit. And for all that, look what happens when a man really does blow his top. Call the Troopers, get him out of sight quick, hustle him off and lock him up before he wakes the neighbors. Christ's sake, when it comes to any kind of showdown we're still in the Middle Ages. It's as if everybody'd made this tacit agreement to live in a state of total self-deception. The hell with reality! Let's have a whole bunch of cute little winding roads and cute little houses painted white and pink and baby blue; let's all be good consumers and have a lot of Togetherness and bring our children up in a bath of sentimentality -- and if old reality ever does pop out and say Boo we'll all get busy and pretend it never happened.
Richard Yates (Revolutionary Road)
We stick to the magical places in the world,” Asahi clarified. “Places like the MBRC, the Redwood forest of California, the less populated parts of New Zealand and Japan, Disney World, and Atlantis,” Madeline listed, ticking the places off on her fingers. “Wait, Disney World?” I interrupted. “The most magical place on Earth.
K.M. Shea (My Life at the MBRC (The Magical Beings' Rehabilitation Center, #1))
...the smell that came out of the lorry was disgusting. Sour and rotten. 'Jesus, who's died?" he said. 'About four-fifth's of the population of the world' said Justin. 'Very funny
Charlie Higson (The Fear (The Enemy #3))
There was one thing no one considered, however: Australia was populated by Australians. While the rest of us were trying to adapt to a world that suddenly seemed bent on eradicating the human race, the Australians had been dealing with a hostile environment for centuries. They looked upon our zombie apocalypse, and they were not impressed.
Mira Grant (How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea (Newsflesh, #3.2))
I've been called promiscuous. Not a pretty word, is it? Makes you think of the gloop that comes out of your nose or what comes up your throat when you're gagging, if you're trying to swallow down something you didn't necessarily mean to swallow. Promiscuous: your face has to pucker when you say it. I prefer to think of myself as an adventurer. Charting the souls of so many of god's creatures, and of the floaty beings that populate the land of notions. It's a job. It's a calling. It takes strong thigh muscles, intelligence, cunning, a good pair of boots. It takes heart, in fact. The heart to stay on. To not be defeated.
Sylvia Brownrigg (Ten Women Who Shook The World)
The power of a writer is that he is a god of sorts. He can create his own worlds and populate them with his own people, all by the powers of his imagination. It's the closest a man can come close to the gods. No wonder the most successful writers are considered immortals
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
Is is, therefore, not an exaggeration to say that if the city of New York were suddenly replaced by a ball of fire, some significant percentage of the American population would see a silver-lining in the subsequent mushroom cloud, as it would suggest to them that the best thing that is ever going to happen was about to happen: the return of Christ. It should be blindingly obvious that beliefs of this sort will do little to help us create a durable future for ourselves - socially, economically, environmentally, or geopolitically. Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the US government actually believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious. The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this, purely on the basis of religion dogma, should be considered a moral and intellectual emergency.
Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation)
There is not enough money, not enough staff and volunteers in the world, to support a permanent population of rescuers and victims.
Robert Watson (Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army)
You should make her call you ‘Miss Georgina,’” added Hugh with a mocking southern drawl. “Or at least ‘ma’am.’” Niphon’s presence and Jerome’s lecture had put me in a grouchy mood. “I’m not doing any mentoring. She’s so gungho to take on the world’s male population, she doesn’t even need me.” The three men exchanged more smirks. Cody made some hissing and meowing sounds, scratching at the air. "This isn’t funny,” I said. "Sure it is,” said Cody.
Richelle Mead (Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid, #3))
Like the Nazis, the cadres of jihad have a death wish that sets the seal on their nihilism. The goal of a world run by an oligarchy in possession of Teutonic genes, who may kill or enslave other 'races' according to need, is not more unrealizable than the idea that a single state, let alone the globe itself, could be governed according to the dictates of an allegedly holy book. This mad scheme begins by denying itself the talents (and the rights) of half the population, views with superstitious horror the charging of interest, and invokes the right of Muslims to subject nonbelievers to special taxes and confiscations. Not even Afghanistan or Somalia, scenes of the furthest advances yet made by pro-caliphate forces, could be governed for long in this way without setting new standards for beggary and decline.
Christopher Hitchens (The Enemy)
Man has always been a venal animal. The growth of populations, the huge costs of war, the incessant pressure of confiscatory taxation – all these things make him more and more venal. The average man is tired and scared, and a tired, scared man can’t afford ideals. He has to buy food for his family. In our time we have seen a shocking decline in both public and private morals. You can’t expect quality from people whose lives are a subjection to a lack of quality. You can’t have quality with mass production. You don’t want it because it lasts too long. So you substitute styling, which is a commercial swindle intended to produce artificial obsolescence. Mass production couldn’t sell its goods next year unless it made what is sold this year look unfashionable a year from now. We have the whitest kitchens and the most shining bathrooms in the world. But in the lovely white kitchen the average [person] can’t produce a meal fit to eat, and the lovely shining bathroom is mostly a receptacle for deodorants, laxatives, sleeping pills, and the products of that confidence racket called the cosmetic industry. We make the finest packages in the world, Mr Marlowe. The stuff inside is mostly junk.
Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe, #6))
There are more ideas on earth than intellectuals imagine. And these ideas are more active, stronger, more resistant, more passionate than "politicians" think. We have to be there at the birth of ideas, the bursting outward of their force: not in books expressing them, but in events manifesting this force, in struggles carried on around ideas, for or against them. Ideas do not rule the world. But it is because the world has ideas (and because it constantly produces them) that it is not passively ruled by those who are its leaders or those who would like to teach it, once and for all, what it must think.
Michel Foucault
The shame and the downfall of a modern materialistic society is her inability to treasure, care for, admire, adore, cherish, value, revere, respect, uphold, uplift, protect, shield, defend, safeguard, treasure and love her children. I praise all the cultures of this world that naturally harbor and actively manifest these instincts. If a nation or if a population of people fails to recognize the excellent value and distinction of the lives of her children and is defective enough to have lost the capability of expressing and acting upon these instincts then there is nothing that can save that nation or those people. The prosperity of a people is not measured in banks, financial markets, economy and the death of its humanity is evident not through the loss of life but in the loss of love for its children.
C. JoyBell C.
Men won't easily give up a system in which half the world's population works for next to nothing...[and recognizes that]precisely because that half works for so little, it may have no energy left to fight for anything else.
Marilyn Waring
Ariadne in the labyrinth. The most alive of worlds, human beings with the tenderest flesh, are made of marble. I strew devastation as I pass. I wander dead-eyed through cities and petrified populations.
Jean Genet (Our Lady of the Flowers)
i can’t wrap my head around the fact that i have to convince half the world’s population my body is not their bed
Rupi Kaur (The Sun and Her Flowers)
Okinawa, one of the longest-lived and healthiest populations in the world, practice a principle they call hara hachi bu: Eat until you are 80 percent full.
Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto)
Equally important, anyone stupid enough to contemplate invading America would soon reflect on the fact that it contains hundreds of millions of guns, which are available to a population that takes its life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness very seriously.
Tim Marshall (Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World)
Australia is mostly empty and a long way away. Its population is small and its role in the world consequently peripheral. It doesn't have coups, recklessly overfish, arm disagreeable despots, grow coca in provocative quantities, or throw its weight around in a brash and unseemly manner. It is stable and peaceful and good. It doesn't need watching, and so we don't. But I will tell you this: the loss is entirely ours.
Bill Bryson (In a Sunburned Country)
The paradigms were shifting. He could feel it. The old world, a world of infinite vastness and illimitable resources and future, was being confronted by something else—a web of energy, of opinions, of gulfs. People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe. And then they will not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjurations. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe: and it is that belief, that rock-solid belief, that makes things happen.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
You remember those twin statues of the Buddha that I told you about? Carved out of a mountain in Afghanistan, that got dynamited by the Taliban back in the spring? Notice anything familiar?" "Twin Buddhas, twin towers, interesting coincidence, so what." "The Trade Center towers were religious too. They stood for what this country worships above everything else, the market, always the holy fucking market." "A religious beef, you're saying?" "It's not a religion? These are people who believe the Invisible Hand of the Market runs everything. They fight holy wars against competing religions like Marxism. Against all evidence that the world is finite, this blind faith that resources will never run out, profits will go on increasing forever, just like the world's populations--more cheap labor, more addicted consumers.
Thomas Pynchon (Bleeding Edge)
If anything, global response to the Rising only confirmed something that many Australians had quietly believed for quite some time: If forced to live in Australia for a year, most of the world’s population would simply curl up in a fetal ball and die of terror.
Mira Grant (How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea (Newsflesh, #3.2))
The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors. Let us not speak well of it either. Let us not speak of it at all. (Pause. Judiciously.) (It is true the population has increased.
Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot)
Here are two facts that should not both be true: - There is sufficient food produced in the world every year to feed every human being on the planet. - Nearly 800 million people literally go hungry every day, with more than a third of the earth's population -- 2 billion men and women -- malnourished one way or another, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Michael Dorris (Rooms in the House of Stone: The "Thistle" Series of Essays)
CG Jung:Thoughts grow in me like a forest, populated by many different animals. But man is domineering in his thinking, and therefore he kills the pleasure of the forest and that of the wild animals. Man is violent in his desire, and he himself becomes a darker forest and a sickened forest animal. Just as I have freedom in the world, I also have freedom in my thoughts. Freedom is conditional.
C.G. Jung
All over the ancient world populations were now set against populations, as men were set against women and against other men. Wandering over the width and breadth of this disintegrating world, masses of refugees were everywhere fleeing their homelands, desperately searching for a haven, for a safe place to go. But there was no such place left in their new world. For this was now a world where, having violently deprived the Goddess and the female half of humanity of all power, gods and men of war ruled. It was a world in which the Blade, and not the Chalice, would henceforth be supreme, a world in which peace and harmony would be found only in the myths and legends of a long lost past.
Riane Eisler (The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future (Updated With a New Epilogue))
Males do not represent two discrete populations; heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats, and not all things are black nor all things white. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerning human sexual behaviour, the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex.
Alfred C. Kinsey (Sexual Behavior in the Human Male)
She described to us six lanes' worth of unadulterated fear, populated exclusively by motorists whose driving education had been paid for by the blood of pedestrians.
Jeff Deck (The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time)
Human beings were never meant to participate in a worldwide social network comprised of billions of people. We were designed by evolution to be hunter-gatherers, with the mental capacity to interact and socialize with the other members of our tribe—a tribe made up of a few hundred other people at most. Interacting with thousands or even millions of other people on a daily basis was way too much for our ape-descended melons to handle. That was why social media had been gradually driving the entire population of the world insane since it emerged back around the turn of the century.
Ernest Cline (Ready Player Two (Ready Player One #2))
As I look around on Sunday morning at the people populating the pews, I see the risk that God has assumed. For whatever reason, God now reveals himself in the world not through a pillar of smoke and fire, not even through the physical body of his Son in Galilee, but through the mongrel collection that comprises my local church and every other such gathering in God’s name. (p. 68, Church: Why Bother?)
Philip Yancey (Church: Why Bother?: My Personal Pilgrimage (Growing Deeper))
The exercise of my reason itself was forbidden. But the questions never stopped coming, eventually leading to this one: “Why would a benevolent God set up the world like this, marking one half of the population to be second-class citizens? Or was it just men who did this?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now)
The world has a very serious problem, my friend' Shiva went on. 'Poor children still die by their millions. Westerners and the global rich -- like me -- live in post-scarcity society, while a billion people struggle to get enough to eat. And we're pushing the planet towards a tipping point, where the corals die and the forests burn and life becomes much, much harder. We have the resources to solve those problems, even now, but politics and economics and nationalism all get in the way. If we could access all those minds, though...
Ramez Naam (Crux (Nexus, #2))
It was a splendid population - for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home - you never find that sort of people among pioneers - you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day - and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, "Well, that is California all over.
Mark Twain (Roughing It)
Once, books appealed to a few people, here, there, everywhere. They could afford to be different. The world was roomy. But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths. Double, triple, quadruple the population. Films and radios, magazines, books levelled down to a sort of paste pudding norm, do you follow me?
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
UN studies conducted in more than forty developing countries show that the birth rate falls as women gain equality... I believe income-earning opportunities that empower poor women ... will have more impact on curbing population growth that the current system of "encouraging" family planning practices through intimidation tactics.. Family planning should be left to the family.
Muhammad Yunus (Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty)
POPULATION: None. It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
Populists (and 'national socialists') look at the supposedly secret deals that run the world 'behind the scenes'. Child's play. Except that childishness is sinister in adults.
Christopher Hitchens
I believe that the emphasis on curbing population growth diverts attention from the more vital issue of pursuing policies that allow the population to take care of itself.
Muhammad Yunus (Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty)
When they were together like that, they had been their own private universe, bounded just by themselves, a population of two. They were the world, and the world was them.
Patrick Ness (More Than This)
The last time everyone loved or at least liked everyone was when the world had a population of about 4.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana (The Use and Misuse of Children)
But it was one thing to release a population of virtual agents inside a computer's memory to solve a problem. It was another thing to set real agents free in the real world.
Michael Crichton (Prey)
The only thing war will ever do (and do well), is decrease the world’s population of young men.
Michael Zboray (Teenagers War: Vietnam 1969)
The state of our civilization manifests itself both in the non-problems that terrify us beyond all reason - rising sea levels - and in the real problems we pay no heed to [population decline]...In reality, much of the planet will be uninhabited long before it's uninhabitable
Mark Steyn (America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It)
At its core, comedy is an act of rebellion. Evidence shows that compared to the norms in the population, comedians tend to be more original and rebellious—and the higher they score on these dimensions, the more professional success they attain. After
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World)
Think about the world. War, violence, natural disasters, man-made disasters, corruption. Things are bad, and it feels like they are getting worse, right? The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer; and the number of poor just keeps increasing; and we will soon run out of resources unless we do something drastic. At least that’s the picture that most Westerners see in the media and carry around in their heads. I call it the overdramatic worldview. It’s stressful and misleading. In fact, the vast majority of the world’s population lives somewhere in the middle of the income scale. Perhaps they are not what we think of as middle class, but they are not living in extreme poverty. Their girls go to school, their children get vaccinated, they live in two-child families, and they want to go abroad on holiday, not as refugees. Step-by-step, year-by-year, the world is improving. Not on every single measure every single year, but as a rule. Though the world faces huge challenges, we have made tremendous progress. This is the fact-based worldview.
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.... Is there no other way the world may live?
Dwight D. Eisenhower
The struggle is inner: Chicano, indio, American Indian, mojado, mexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian--our psyches resemble the bordertowns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the "real" world unless it first happens in the images in our heads. (G. Anzaldua Tejana Chicana poet, 1942- )
Gloria E. Anzaldúa
The sunlight now lay over the valley perfectly still. I went over to the graveyard beside the church and found them under the old cedars... I am finding it a little hard to say that I felt them resting there, but I did. I felt their completeness as whatever they had been in the world. I knew I had come there out of kindness, theirs and mine. The grief that came to me then was nothing like the grief I had felt for myself alone... This grief had something in it of generosity, some nearness to joy. In a strange way it added to me what I had lost. I saw that, for me, this country would always be populated with presences and absences, presences of absences, the living and the dead. The world as it is would always be a reminder of the world that was, and of the world that is to come.
Wendell Berry (Jayber Crow)
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln (Great Speeches / Abraham Lincoln: with Historical Notes by John Grafton)
it will be objected that a constantly increasing population makes resistance and conservation a hopeless battle. this is true. unless a way is found to stabilize the nation's population, the parks can not be saved. or anything else worth a damn. wilderness preservation, like a hundred other good causes, will be forgotten under the overwhelming pressure of a struggle for mere survival and sanity in a completely urbanized, completely industrialized, ever more crowded environment. for my own part i would rather take my chances in a thermonuclear war than live in such a world.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
Those who are in pain – most of the world’s populations at any given moment – do not do a lot of thinking, speaking, or writing about suffering. All their energy goes into surviving. That is why a lot of what is said and written about suffering seems hollow to those actually in pain.
Luke Timothy Johnson (The Living Gospel (Icons))
We who believe that children want to learn about the world, are good at it, and can be trusted to do it with very little adult coercion or interference, are probably no more than one percent of the population, if that. And we are not likely to become the majority in my lifetime. This doesn't trouble me much anymore, as long as this minority keeps on growing. My work is to help it grow.
John C. Holt
Australians are the biggest gamblers on the planet – one of the more arresting statistics I saw was that the country has less than 1 per cent of the world’s population but more than 20 per cent of its slot machines
Bill Bryson (In a Sunburned Country)
For half of the world's population, roughly three billion people around the world living on less than two dollars a day, an election is at best a means, not an end; a starting point, not deliverance. These people are looking less for an "electocracy" than for the basic elements that for most of us define a decent life--food, shelter, electricity, basic health care, education for their children, and the ability to make their way through life without having to endure corruption, violence, or arbitrary power.
Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
However, the majority of women are neither harlots nor courtesans; nor do they sit clasping pug dogs to dusty velvet all through the summer afternoon. But what do they do then? and there came to my mind’s eye one of those long streets somewhere south of the river whose infinite rows are innumerably populated. With the eye of the imagination I saw a very ancient lady crossing the street on the arm of a middle-aged woman, her daughter, perhaps, both so respectably booted and furred that their dressing in the afternoon must be a ritual, and the clothes themselves put away in cupboards with camphor, year after year, throughout the summer months. They cross the road when the lamps are being lit (for the dusk is their favourite hour), as they must have done year after year. The elder is close on eighty; but if one asked her what her life has meant to her, she would say that she remembered the streets lit for the battle of Balaclava, or had heard the guns fire in Hyde Park for the birth of King Edward the Seventh. And if one asked her, longing to pin down the moment with date and season, but what were you doing on the fifth of April 1868, or the second of November 1875, she would look vague and say that she could remember nothing. For all the dinners are cooked; the plates and cups washed; the children sent to school and gone out into the world. Nothing remains of it all. All has vanished. No biography or history has a word to say about it. And the novels, without meaning to, inevitably lie. All these infinitely obscure lives remain to be recorded, I said, addressing Mary Carmichael as if she were present; and went on in thought through the streets of London feeling in imagination the pressure of dumbness, the accumulation of unrecorded life, whether from the women at the street corners with their arms akimbo, and the rings embedded in their fat swollen fingers, talking with a gesticulation like the swing of Shakespeare’s words; or from the violet-sellers and match-sellers and old crones stationed under doorways; or from drifting girls whose faces, like waves in sun and cloud, signal the coming of men and women and the flickering lights of shop windows. All that you will have to explore, I said to Mary Carmichael, holding your torch firm in your hand.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own)
Einstein’s remark on the limitlessness of human stupidity is made even more disturbing by the discovery that infinity comes in different sizes. Answering ‘How much stupider?’ or trying to measure the minimal idiocy bounded by an IQ test are mysteries which are themselves infinitely less alarming than simply attempting to tally the anti-savant population. One can count all the natural idiots (they’re the same as the even number of idiots – twice as many), but the number of real idiots continues forever: all the counting idiots (finger reckoners) plus all the fractional idiots (geniuses on a bad day) plus all the irrational idiots (they go on and on and on) add up to a world in which the approaching upper limit of our set of natural resources has its complement in the inexhaustible lower limit of our set of mental ones.
Bauvard (Some Inspiration for the Overenthusiastic)
The world soon to be largely populated by men who would eat your children in front of your eyes and the cities themselves held by cores of blackened looters who tunneled among the ruins and crawled from the rubble white of tooth and eye carrying charred and anynymous tins of food in nylon nets like shoppers in the commissaries of hell. The soft black talc blew through the streets like squid ink uncoiling along a sea floor and the cold crept down and the dark came early and the scavengers passing down the steep canyons with their torches trod silky holes in the drifted ash that closed behind them silently as eyes. Out on the roads the pilgrims sank down and fell over and died and the bleak and shrouded earth went trundling past the sun and returned again as trackless and as unremarked as the path of any nameless sisterworld in the ancient dark beyond.
Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
As far as food is concerned, the great extravagance is not caviar or truffles, but beef, pork and poultry. Some 38 percent of the world's grain crop is now fed to animals, as well as large quantities of soybeans. There are three times as many domestic animals on this planet as there are human beings. The combined weight of the world's 1.28 billion cattle alone exceeds that of the human population. While we look darkly at the number of babies being born in poorer parts of the world, we ignore the over-population of farm animals, to which we ourselves contribute...[t]hat, however, is only part of the damage done by the animals we deliberately breed. The energy intensive factory farming methods of the industrialised nations are responsible for the consumption of huge amounts of fossil fuels. Chemical fertilizers, used to grow the feed crops for cattle in feedlots and pigs and chickens kept indoors in sheds, produce nitrous oxide, another greenhouse gas. Then there is the loss of forests. Everywhere, forest-dwellers, both human and non-human, can be pushed out. Since 1960, 25 percent of the forests of Central America have been cleared for cattle. Once cleared, the poor soils will support grazing for a few years; then the graziers must move on. Shrub takes over the abandoned pasture, but the forest does not return. When the forests are cleared so the cattle can graze, billions of tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. Finally, the world's cattle are thought to produce about 20 percent of the methane released into the atmosphere, and methane traps twenty-five times as much heat from the sun as carbon dioxide. Factory farm manure also produces methane because, unlike manured dropped naturally in the fields, it dies not decompose in the presence of oxygen. All of this amounts to a compelling reason...for a plant based diet.
Peter Singer (Practical Ethics)
God is not glorified when we keep for ourselves (no matter how thankfully) what we ought to be using to alleviate the misery of unevangelized, uneducated, unmedicated, and unfed millions. The evidence that many professing Christians have been deceived by this doctrine is how little they give and how much they own. God has prospered them. And by an almost irresistible law of consumer culture (baptized by a doctrine of health, wealth, and prosperity) they have bought bigger (and more) houses, newer (and more) cars, fancier (and more) clothes, better (and more) meat, and all manner of trinkets and gadgets and containers and devices and equipment to make life more fun. They will object: Does not the Old Testament promise that God will prosper his people? Indeed! God increases our yield, so that by giving we can prove our yield is not our god. God does not prosper a man's business so that he can move from a Ford to a Cadillac. God prospers a business so that 17,000 unreached people can be reached with the gospel. He prospers the business so that 12 percent of the world's population can move a step back from the precipice of starvation.
John Piper (Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist)
The numbers of universes perceived by human beings does not equal the population of the planet, but several times the population of the planet. It thus appears some sort of miracle that we sometimes find it possible to communicate with each other at all, at all.
Robert Anton Wilson (Quantum Psychology: How Brain Software Programs You & Your World)
It is estimated that Josef Stalin killed more than twenty million people during his reign of terror. The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia lost more than a third of their population during the Soviet genocide. The deportations reached as far as Finland. To this day, many Russians deny they ever deported a single person. But most Baltic people harbor no grudge, resentment, or ill will. They are grateful to the Soviets who showed compassion. Their freedom is precious, and they are learning to live within it. For some, the liberties we have as American citizens came at the expense of people who lie in unmarked graves in Siberia. Like Joana for Lina, our freedom cost them theirs. Some wars are about bombing. For the people of the Baltics, this war was about believing. In 1991, after 50 years of brutal occupation, the three Baltic countries regained their independence, peacefully and with dignity. They chose hope over hate and showed the world that even through the darkest night, there is light. Please research it. Tell someone. These three tiny nations have taught us that love is the most powerful army. Whether love of friend, love of country, love of God, or even love of enemy - love reveals to us the truly miraculous nature of the human spirit.
Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray)
Capitalism is unnatural. Democracy is unnatural. Human rights are unnatural. The world we live in today is unnatural, and we stumble into it more or less by accident. The natural state of mankind is grinding poverty punctuated by horrific violence terminating with an early death. It was like this for a very very long time.
Jonah Goldberg (Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy)
Boy, there are people who conquered half the world, slaughtered whole populations, wiped cultures off the face of the planet, and you know what history calls them? Heroes! Kings, presidents, champions, explorers. You think America was settled by white men because the Indians invited us her? No, we took this land because we were stronger, and that's how every page of human history is written. It's just our nature. We're a predator species, top of the food chain. Survival of the fittest is written in our blood, it's stenciled on every gene of our DNA. The strong take and the strong make, and the weak are there only to help them do it. End of story.
Jonathan Maberry (Rot & Ruin (Rot & Ruin, #1))
I’m not big on meeting new people, especially new people I’m never going to see again. There’s all kinds of uninteresting, insincere banter, I have to pretend to be a nice person, and because 96 percent of the world’s population are dim bulbs, odds are excellent that I’ll be stuck in the middle of a Spontaneous Freak Encounter.
Laurie Notaro (I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies))
The argument that there are just wars often rests on the social system of the nation engaging in war. It is supposed that if a ‘liberal’ state is at war with a ‘totalitarian’ state, then the war is justified. The beneficent nature of a government was assumed to give rightness to the wars it wages. ...Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt were liberals, which gave credence to their words exalting the two world wars, just as the liberalism of Truman made going into Korea more acceptable and the idealism of Kennedy’s New Frontier and Johnson’s Great Society gave an early glow of righteousness to the war in Vietnam. What the experience of Athens suggests is that a nation may be relatively liberal at home and yet totally ruthless abroad. Indeed, it may more easily enlist its population in cruelty to others by pointing to the advantages at home. An entire nation is made into mercenaries, being paid with a bit of democracy at home for participating in the destruction of life abroad.
Howard Zinn (Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology)
To perceive others as fully human means to be saddened by the death of every single person, regardless of the population, group, or part of the world from which he comes, and regardless of our own personal acquaintance with him. If we accord him identity, then we must individualize his death [and] … if we accord him community, then we must experience his death as a personal loss.
David Livingstone Smith (Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others)
Secret ceremonies in which malevolent men and women cloaked in hooded robes, hiding behind painted faces and chanting demonic incantations while inflicting sadistic wounds on innocent children lying on makeshift alters, or tied to inverted crosses, sounds like the stuff of which B-grade horror movies are made. Some think amoral religious cults only populate the world of Rosemary's Baby, but don't exist in real life. Or, do they? Ask Jenny Hill.
Judy Byington (Twenty-Two Faces)
I've since come to believe that the world is populated by multitudes of women sitting at windows, inseparable from their surroundings. I myself spent many hours at a window on the Zattere, waiting for my father's return, waiting for my life to appear like one of those great ships that came into the harbor, broad sails filled with the wind of providence...I'd grown transparent as the glass through which I peered, dangerously invisible even to myself. It was then I knew I must set my life in motion or I would disappear.
Regina O'Melveny (The Book of Madness and Cures)
Were any other crisis to cost the lives of more than two people every week in the UK – or to threaten one third of the entire world’s population – it would be considered an international emergency. But the rape, assault and murder of women by men is enshrined in our international history. It is so common that it has become an accepted part of the wallpaper. Women are
Laura Bates (Everyday Sexism)
Henceforth the cosmos, once a swarm of blazing galaxies, each a swarm of stars, was composed wholly of star-corpses. These dark grains drifted through the dark void, like an infinitely tenuous smoke rising from an extinguished fire. Upon these motes, these gigantic worlds, the ultimate populations had created here and there with their artificial lighting a pale glow, invisible even from the innermost ring of lifeless planets.
Olaf Stapledon (Star Maker)
It's certainly true that Chernobyl, while an accident in the sense that no one intentionally set it off, was also the deliberate product of a culture of cronyism, laziness, and a deep-seated indifference toward the general population. The literature on the subject is pretty unanimous in its opinion that the Soviet system had taken a poorly designed reactor and then staffed it with a group of incompetents. It then proceeded, as the interviews in this book attest, to lie about the disaster in the most criminal way. In the crucial first ten days, when the reactor core was burning and releasing a steady stream of highly radioactive material into the surrounding areas, the authorities repeatedly claimed that the situation was under control. . . In the week after the accident, while refusing to admit to the world that anything really serious had gone wrong, the Soviets poured thousands of men into the breach. . . The machines they brought broke down because of the radiation. The humans wouldn't break down until weeks or months later, at which point they'd die horribly.
Svetlana Alexievich (Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster)
In our contemporary social and intellectual plight, it is nothing less than shocking to discover that those persons who claim to have discovered an absolute are usually the same people who also pretend to be superior to the rest. To find people in our day attempting to pass off to the world and recommending to others some nostrum of the absolute which they claim to have discovered is merely a sign of the loss of and the need for intellectual and moral certainty, felt by broad sections of the population who are unable to look life in the face.
Karl Mannheim (Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge)
The New York Times denounces America's "dancing with dictators." Guilty as charged. Dance we do. And without apology. With no more apology than Franklin Roosevelt offered when he reportedly said of Nicaragua's Anastasio Somoza, "He may be a son of a bitch. But he's our son of a bitch." Roosevelt was a grownup. He made choices. He slew his dragons one at a time. He understood that we do not live in the best of all possible worlds. He understood that in an international arena populated by sons of bitches, you make your distinctions, or you die.
Charles Krauthammer
And yet viewing several depictions of even an imaginary city, is enlightening in a way," Leibniz said. "Each painter can view the city from only one standpoint at a time, so he will move about the place, and paint it from a hilltop on one side, then a tower on the other, then from a grand intersection in the middle--all in the same canvas. When we look at the canvas, then, we glimpse in a small way how God understands the universe--for he sees it from every point of view at once. By populating the world with so many different minds, each with its own point of view, God gives us a suggestion of what it means to be omniscient.
Neal Stephenson (Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle, #1))
A mustache sends a visual message to the mating population of Earth that says, "No thank you. I have procreated. My DNA is out in the world, and so I no longer deserve physical affection. Instead, it is time for me to turn away from sex and toward new pursuits, the classic weird dad hobbies such as puns, learning trivia about bridges and wars, and dreaming about societal collapse and global apocalypse.
John Hodgman (Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches)
The world of things entered your infant mind To populate that crystal cabinet. Within its walls the strangest partners met, And things turned thoughts did propagate their kind. For, once within, corporeal fact could find A spirit. Fact and you in mutual debt Built there your little microcosm - which yet Had hugest tasks to its small self assigned. Dead men can live there, and converse with stars: Equator speaks with pole, and night with day; Spirit dissolves the world's material bars - A million isolations burn away. The Universe can live and work and plan, At last made God within the mind of man.
Julian Huxley
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)
The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That's one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population -- the intelligent ones or the fools? I think we can agree it's the fools, no matter where you go in this world, it's the fools that form the overwhelming majority.
Henrik Ibsen
Here’s a quick overview of what happens when groups of passionate believers start to define themselves in opposition to others: A simple message seems obvious to a large population, and those people can’t understand what the opposition could possibly be thinking. They never or almost never engage with someone who holds those different beliefs, and if they do, it’s in the context of the discussion, not in the context of, like, also being a human. The vast majority of those people nod appreciatively and then change the channel and watch NCIS and eat the tacos that they made. It’s their own recipe. They’ve developed it over years, and they like it better than any taco you could get at even a super fancy restaurant. They go to bed at 10: 30 and worry a bit about whether their son is adjusting well to college. A very small percentage get really riled up. They’re angry, but they’re mostly worried or even scared and want to cause some kind of action. They call their representatives and do a little organizing. They’re usually motivated not just by agreement in the message but by a hatred of the people trying to fight the message. A tiny percentage of that percentage just go way the fuck overboard. They get so frightened and angry that they need to make something happen. How? Well, that’s simple, right? You eliminate the people who are actively trying to destroy the world. If we’re all really unlucky, and if there are enough of them, those people find each other and they confirm and exacerbate their own extremism.
Hank Green (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (The Carls, #1))
Work is a four letter word. It conjures up the same image the world over getting up in the morning to do something you don't want to do, day in day out. After a few months work, or years, depending on the person's primeval yearning for freedom, you feel like a robot: alarm clock, get up, wash, catch the train, work, go home, watch TV, go to bed. In that one sentence I've probably just described the daily routine of 95% of the working population of England. It's the same in every other developed country in the world. Routine is the cause of most marriage break ups and social discontent.
John Harris (The Backpacker)
Famine isn’t unique to humans. All species are subject to it everywhere in the world. When the population of any species outstrips its food resources, that population declines until it’s once again in balance with its resources. Mother Culture says that humans should be exempt from that process, so when she finds a population that has outstripped its resources, she rushes in food from the outside, thus making it a certainty that there will be even more of them to starve in the next generation. Because the population is never allowed to decline to the point at which it can be supported by its own resources, famine becomes a chronic feature of their lives.
Daniel Quinn (Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit)
The population of every country is nowadays a collection of diasporas. Every sizable city is now an aggregate of ethnic, religious, and lifestyle enclaves in which the line dividing insiders from outsiders is a hotly contested issue, while the right to draw that line, to keep it intact and make it unassailable, is the prime stake in the skirmishes over influence and battles for recognition that follow.
Zygmunt Bauman (Does Ethics Have a Chance in a World of Consumers?)
An impersonal generation will take the place of Nature's hideous system. In vast state incubators, rows upon rows of gravid bottles will supply the world with the population it requires. The family system will disappear; society, sapped at its very base, will have to find new foundations; and Eros, beautifully and irresponsibly free, will flit like a gay butterfly from flower to flower through a sunlit world.
Aldous Huxley (Crome Yellow)
Imagine a land where people are afraid of dragons. It is a reasonable fear: dragons possess a number of qualities that make being afraid of them a very commendable response. Things like their terrible size, their ability to spout fire, or to crack boulders into splinters with their massive talons. In fact, the only terrifying quality that dragons do not possess is that of existence. Now, the people of this land know about dragons because their leaders have warned them about them. They tell stories about cruel dragons with razor teeth and fiery breath. They recount legends of dragons hunting by night on silent wings. In short, the leaders make sure that the people believe in all the qualities of dragons, including that key quality of existence. And then they control the people — when they need to — with their fear of dragons. The people pay a dragon-slaying tax … everyone stays indoors after dark to avoid being snatched by swooping claws … and nobody ever strays out of bounds for fear of being eaten well and truly up. Perhaps somebody will wonder if dragons aren’t, after all, fictitious because — despite their size — nobody seems to have actually seen one. And so it is necessary from time to time to provide evidence: a burnt tree or two, a splintered rock, the mysterious absence of a villager. The population is controlled by the dragons in its collective mind. It’s contrived superstition, and it is possible because the people do not know enough about the way the world works to know that dragons do not exist.
David Whiteland (Book of Pages)
One of the difficulties in raising public concern over the very severe threats of global warming is that 40 percent of the US population does not see why it is a problem, since Christ is returning in a few decades. About the same percentage believe that the world was created a few thousand years ago. If science conflicts with the Bible, so much the worse for science. It would be hard to find an analogue in other societies.
Noam Chomsky
Indeed, the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today. Thus, as is now well known, this way of life has brought about pollution, destruction of the balance of nature, over-population, world-wide economic and political disorder, and the creation of an overall environment that is neither physically nor mentally healthy for most of the people who have to live in it.
David Bohm (Wholeness and the Implicate Order (Routledge Classics))
Neither the great political and financial power structures of the world, nor the specialization-blinded professionals, nor the population in general realize that...it is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on earth at a “higher standard of living than any have ever known”. It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary and henceforth unrationalizable as mandated by survival. War is obsolete.4 -R. Buckminster Fuller
TZM Lecture Team (The Zeitgeist Movement Defined: Realizing a New Train of Thought)
It is the individual who can and does make a difference even in this increasingly populous, complex world of ours. The individual can make things happen. It is the individual who can bring a tear to my eye and then cause me to take pen in hand. It is the individual who has acted or tried to act who will not only force a decision but also have a hand in shaping it. Whether acting in the legal, governmental, or private realm, one concerned and dedicated person can meaningful affect what some consider an uncaring world. So give freely of yourself always to your family, your friends, your community, and your country. The world will pay you back many times over.
Sandra Day O'Connor (The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice)
Creation is built upon the promise of hope, that things will get better, that tomorrow will be better than the day before. But it's not true. Cities collapse. Populations expand. Environments decay. People get ruder. You can't go to a movie without getting in a fight with the guy in the third row who won't shut up. Filthy streets. Drive-by shootings. Irradiated corn. Permissible amounts of rat-droppings per hot dog. Bomb blasts, and body counts. Terror in the streets, on camera, in your living room. Aids and Ebola and Hepatitis B and you can't touch anyone because you're afraid you'll catch something besides love and nothing tastes as good anymore and Christopher Reeve is [dead] and love is statistically false. Pocket nukes and subway anthrax. You grow up frustrated, you live confused, you age frightened, you die alone. Safe terrain moves from your city to your block to your yard to your home to your living room to the bedroom and all you want is to be allowed to live without somebody breaking in to steal your tv and shove an ice-pick in your ear. That sound like a better world to you? That sound to you like a promise kept?
J. Michael Straczynski (Midnight Nation)
It must grieve God’s heart when he sees Christians fighting about whose doctrine is right; he doesn’t see denominations, he sees one big glorious bride. When Christians argue about doctrinal issues, all he sees is carnal people acting like children. All that prideful, controlling religious crap is what drives young people away from churches, and it has to go. Much of the world’s population is under the age of eighteen, and we have to bring the love of Christ to them without all this controlling crap going on. Because, where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Brian Welch (Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story)
The world of men is a brutal place. And yet women visit our offices, approach us in the streets, and send us petitions with tens of thousands more signatures every year to ask for more freedom. They feel their safety comes at the expense of their freedom. And, gentlemen, the trouble with freedom is it isn't just an empty phrase that serves well in a speech. The desire to be free is an instinct deeply ingrained in every living thing. Trap any wild animal, and it will bite off its own paw to be free again. Capture a man, and breaking free will become his sole mission. Te only way to dissuade a creature from striving for its freedom is to break it ... I, for my part, am not prepared to break half the population of Britain. I am, in fact, unprepared to see single woman harmed because of her desire for some liberty.
Evie Dunmore (Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1))
So long as we have wage slavery," answered Schliemann, "it matters not in the least how debasing and repulsive a task may be, it is easy to find people to perform it. But just as soon as labor is set free, then the price of such work will begin to rise. So one by one the old, dingy, and unsanitary factories will come down— it will be cheaper to build new; and so the steamships will be provided with stoking machinery , and so the dangerous trades will be made safe, or substitutes will be found for their products. In exactly the same way, as the citizens of our Industrial Republic become refined, year by year the cost of slaughterhouse products will increase; until eventually those who want to eat meat will have to do their own killing— and how long do you think the custom would survive then?— To go on to another item— one of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption; and one of the consequences of civic administration by ignorant and vicious politicians, is that preventable diseases kill off half our population. And even if science were allowed to try, it could do little, because the majority of human beings are not yet human beings at all, but simply machines for the creating of wealth for others. They are penned up in filthy houses and left to rot and stew in misery, and the conditions of their life make them ill faster than all the doctors in the world could heal them; and so, of course, they remain as centers of contagion , poisoning the lives of all of us, and making happiness impossible for even the most selfish. For this reason I would seriously maintain that all the medical and surgical discoveries that science can make in the future will be of less importance than the application of the knowledge we already possess, when the disinherited of the earth have established their right to a human existence.
Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)
Be fruitful. God’s command in Genesis 1:28 is most often understood as referring to procreation, but filling the earth with people is only part of the meaning. The Hebrew word for fruitful means more than just sexual reproduction; it refers to being fruitful in either a literal or a figurative sense. Fruitfulness can be qualitative in nature as well as quantitative. Mankind has never had a problem being procreative—a current global population of over six billion is proof of that—but we do have a problem with being fruitful in the other ways God desires. Essentially, being fruitful means releasing our potential. Fruit is an end product. An apple tree may provide cool shade and be beautiful to look at, but until it produces apples it has not fulfilled its ultimate purpose. Apples contain the seeds of future apple trees and, therefore, future apples. However, apples also have something else to offer: a sweet and nourishing food to satisfy human physical hunger. In this sense, fruit has a greater purpose than simply reproducing; fruit exists to bless the world. Every person is born with a seed of greatness. God never tells us to go find seed; it is already within us. Inside each of us is the seed potential for a full forest—a bumper crop of fruit with which to bless the world. We each were endowed at birth with a unique gift, something we were born to do or become that no one else can achieve the way we can. God’s purpose is that we bear abundant fruit and release the blessings of our gift and potential to the world.
Myles Munroe (The Purpose and Power of Love & Marriage)
Our world is filled with competition, frenzied ambition in every domain. Each of us is acquainted with the spirit of competition. This spirit is not a bad thing in and of itself. Its influence has long been felt in personal relations within the dominant classes. Subsequently it spread throughout the whole of society, to the point that today it has more or less openly triumphed in every part of the world. In Western nations, and above all in the United States, it animates not only economic and financial life, but scientific research and intellectual life as well. Despite the tension and the unrest it brings, these nations are inclined on the whole to congratulate themselves for having embraced the spirit of competition, for its positive effects are considerable. Not the least of these is the impressive wealth it has brought a large part of the population. No one, or almost no one, any longer thinks of forgoing rivalry, since it allows us to go on dreaming of a still more glittering and prosperous future than the recent past. Our world seems to us the most desirable one there ever was, especially when we compare it to life in nations that have not enjoyed the same prosperity.
René Girard (The One by Whom Scandal Comes)
The Los Angeles Air Pollution Control Board is established in 1946 in an effort to discover the cause of the brown cloud hanging over the city and decide how to combat and disperse it. In 1949, after intense lobbying from both the automobile and oil industries, and against the recommendations and position of the Los Angeles Air Pollution Control Board, the public rail system, which at one time was the largest in the world, and still serves a majority of the city's population, is decommissioned and torn out. It is replaced by a small fleet of buses.
James Frey (Bright Shiny Morning)
But to such a man as Schopenhauer,—one who considered five sixths of the population to be knaves or blockheads, and who had thought out a system for the remaining fraction,—to such a man as he, the question of esteem, or the lack thereof, was of small consequence. He cared nothing for the existence which he led in the minds of other people. To his own self he was true, to the calling of his destiny constant, and he felt that he could sit and snap his fingers at the world, knowing that Time, who is at least a gentleman, would bring him his due unasked.
Edgar Saltus (The Philosophy of Disenchantment)
He divided the inhabitants of this world into two groups, into those who had loved and those who had not. It was a horrible aristocracy, apparently, for those who had no capacity for love (or rather for suffering in love) could not be said to be alive and certainly would not live again after their death. They were a kind of straw population, filling the world with their meaningless laughter and tears and chatter and disappearing still lovable and vain into thin air. For this distinction he cultivated his own definition of love that was like no other and that had gathered all its bitterness and pride from his odd life. He regarded love as a sort of cruel malady through which the elect are required to pass in their late youth and from which they emerge, pale and wrung, but ready for the business of living. There was (he believed) a great repertory of errors mercifully impossible to human beings who had recovered from this illness. Unfortunately there remained to them a host of failings, but at least (from among many illustrations) they never mistook a protracted amiability for the whole conduct of life, they never again regarded any human being, from a prince to a servant, as a mechanical object.
Thornton Wilder (The Bridge of San Luis Rey)
In year 1500, there were about 500 million Homo Sapiens in the entire world. Today, there are 7 billion. The total value of goods and services produced by humankind in the year 1500 is estimated at $250 billion, in today's dollars. Nowadays the value of a year of human production is close to $60 trillion. In 1500 humanity consumed about 13 trillion calories of energy per day. Today, we consume 1,500 trillion calories a day. (Take a second look at those figures -- human population has increased fourteen-fold, production 240-fold, and energy consumption 115-fold.)
Yuval Noah Harari
preventable diseases kill off half our population. And even if science were allowed to try, it could do little, because the majority of human beings are not yet human beings at all, but simply machines for the creating of wealth for others. They are penned up in filthy houses and left to rot and stew in misery, and the conditions of their life make them ill faster than all the doctors in the world could heal them; and so, of course, they remain as centers of contagion, poisoning the lives of all of us, and making happiness impossible for even the most selfish. For this reason I would seriously maintain that all the medical and surgical discoveries that science can make in the future will be of less importance than the application of the knowledge we already possess, when the disinherited of the earth have established their right to a human existence.
Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)
Humans, like all mammals, are heat engines; surviving means having to continually cool off, as panting dogs do. For that, the temperature needs to be low enough for the air to act as a kind of refrigerant, drawing heat off the skin so the engine can keep pumping. At seven degrees of warming, that would become impossible for portions of the planet’s equatorial band, and especially the tropics, where humidity adds to the problem. And the effect would be fast: after a few hours, a human body would be cooked to death from both inside and out. At eleven or twelve degrees Celsius of warming, more than half the world’s population, as distributed today, would die of direct heat. Things almost certainly won’t get that hot anytime soon, though some models of unabated emissions do bring us that far eventually, over centuries. But at just five degrees, according to some calculations, whole parts of the globe would be literally unsurvivable for humans. At six, summer labor of any kind would become impossible in the lower Mississippi Valley, and everybody in the United States east of the Rockies would suffer more from heat than anyone, anywhere, in the world today. New York City would be hotter than present-day Bahrain, one of the planet’s hottest spots, and the temperature in Bahrain “would induce hyperthermia in even sleeping humans.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
Countries with high levels of atheism are also the most charitable both in terms of the percentage of their wealth they devote to social welfare programs and the percentage they give in aid to the developing world. The dubious link between Christian literalism and Christian values is belied by other indices of social equality. Consider the ratio of salaries paid to top-tier CEOs and those paid to the same firms’ average employees: in Britain it is 24:1; in France, 15:1; in Sweden, 13:1; in the United States, where 80 percent of the population expects to be called before God on Judgment Day, it is 475:1. Many a camel, it would seem, expects to pass easily through the eye of a needle.
Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation)
Smiley himself was one of those solitaires who seem to have come into the world fully educated at the age of eighteen. Obscurity was his nature, as well as his profession. The byways of espionage are not populated by the brash and colourful adventurers of fiction. A man who, like Smiley, has lived and worked for years among his country's enemies learns only one prayer: that he may never, never be noticed. Assimilation is his highest aim, he learns to love the crowds who pass him in the street without a glance; he clings to them for his anonimity and his safety. His fear makes him servile - he could embrace the shoppers who jostle him in their impatience, and force him from the pavement. He could adore the officials, the police, the bus conductors, for the terse indifference of their attitudes. (ch. 9)
John le Carré (A Murder of Quality (George Smiley, #2))
Dickens has not seen it all. The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply: life is their only weapon against life, life is all that they have. This is why the dispossessed and starving will never be convinced (though some may be coerced) by the population-control programs of the civilized. I have watched the dispossessed and starving laboring in the fields which others own, with their transistor radios at their ear, all day long: so they learn, for example, along with equally weighty matters, that the pope, one of the heads of the civilized world, forbids to the civilized that abortion which is being, literally, forced on them, the wretched. The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their ‘vital interests’ are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the ‘sanctity’ of human life, or the ‘conscience’ of the civilized world. There is a ‘sanctity’ involved with bringing a child into this world: it is better than bombing one out of it. Dreadful indeed it is to see a starving child, but the answer to that is not to prevent the child’s arrival but to restructure the world so that the child can live in it: so that the ‘vital interest’ of the world becomes nothing less than the life of the child. However—I could not have said any of this then, nor is so absurd a notion about to engulf the world now. But we were all starving children, after all, and none of our fathers, even at their most embittered and enraged, had ever suggested that we ‘die out.’ It was not we who were supposed to die out: this was, of all notions, the most forbidden, and we learned this from the cradle. Every trial, every beating, every drop of blood, every tear, were meant to be used by us for a day that was coming—for a day that was certainly coming, absolutely certainly, certainly coming: not for us, perhaps, but for our children. The children of the despised and rejected are menaced from the moment they stir in the womb, and are therefore sacred in a way that the children of the saved are not. And the children know it, which is how they manage to raise their children, and why they will not be persuaded—by their children’s murderers, after all—to cease having children.
James Baldwin (The Devil Finds Work)
We don’t really want to know what soldiers go through in combat. We do not really want to know how many children are being molested and abused in our own society or how many couples—almost a third, as it turns out—engage in violence at some point during their relationship. We want to think of families as safe havens in a heartless world and of our own country as populated by enlightened, civilized people. We prefer to believe that cruelty occurs only in faraway places like Darfur or the Congo. It is hard enough for observers to bear witness to pain. Is it any wonder, then, that the traumatized individuals themselves cannot tolerate remembering it and that they often resort to using drugs, alcohol, or self-mutilation to block out their unbearable knowledge?
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
Take an instance: the removal of the motto [In God We Trust] fetched out a clamor from the pulpit; little groups and small conventions of clergymen gathered themselves together all over the country, and one of these little groups, consisting of twenty-two ministers, put up a prodigious assertion unbacked by any quoted statistics and passed it unanimously in the form of a resolution: the assertion, to wit, that this is a Christian country. Why, Carnegie, so is hell. Those clergymen know that, inasmuch as "Strait is the way and narrow is the gate, and few — few — are they that enter in thereat" has had the natural effect of making hell the only really prominent Christian community in any of the worlds; but we don't brag of this and certainly it is not proper to brag and boast that America is a Christian country when we all know that certainly five-sixths of our population could not enter in at the narrow gate.
Mark Twain
Dense urban environments may do away with nature altogether—there are many vibrantly healthy neighborhoods in Paris or Manhattan that lack even a single tree—but they also perform the crucial service of reducing mankind’s environmental footprint. Compare the sewage system of a midsized city like Portland, Oregon, with the kind of waste management resources that would be required to support the same population dispersed across the countryside. Portland’s 500,000 inhabitants require two sewage treatment plants, connected by 2,000 miles of pipes. A rural population would require more than 100,000 septic tanks, and 7,000 miles of pipe. The rural waste system would be several times more expensive than the urban version.
Steven Johnson (The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World)
The funny thing about games and fictions is that they have a weird way of bleeding into reality. Whatever else it is, the world that humans experience is animated with narratives, rituals, and roles that organize psychological experience, social relations, and our imaginative grasp of the material cosmos. The world, then, is in many ways a webwork of fictions, or, better yet, of stories. The contemporary urge to “gamify” our social and technological interactions is, in this sense, simply an extension of the existing games of subculture, of folklore, even of belief. This is the secret truth of the history of religions: not that religions are “nothing more” than fictions, crafted out of sociobiological need or wielded by evil priests to control ignorant populations, but that human reality possesses an inherently fictional or fantastic dimension whose “game engine” can — and will — be organized along variously visionary, banal, and sinister lines. Part of our obsession with counterfactual genres like sci-fi or fantasy is not that they offer escape from reality — most of these genres are glum or dystopian a lot of the time anyway — but because, in reflecting the “as if” character of the world, they are actually realer than they appear.
Erik Davis (TechGnosis: Myth, Magic Mysticism in the Age of Information)
However, not only are fortunes equal in America, equality extends to some degree to intelligence itself. I do not think that there is a single country in the world where, in proportion to the population, there are so few ignorant and, at the same time, so few educated individuals as in America. Primary education is available to all; secondary is within reach of no one, which can be explained quite easily as the inevitable result, so to speak, of my argument above. Almost all Americans enjoy a life of comfort and can, therefore, obtain the first elements of human knowledge. In America there are few rich people; therefore, all Americans have to learn the skills of a profession which demands a period of apprenticeship. Thus America can devote to general learning only the early years of life. At fifteen, they begin a career; their education ends most often when ours begins. If education is pursued beyond that point, it is directed only towards specialist subjects with a profitable return in mind. Science is studied as if it were a job and only those branches are taken up which have a recognized and immediate usefulness.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
There is coming a day, when freedom will just be a essence of the mind, an inner dwelling that was once physically attainable. They will tell you where you can live, and what you can wear and drive, what and how much you can eat and drink, and how to purchase those. They will strip you of your religion, race, gender, national origin, age, color, creed, views and power, and have control of the population. They will set in a new world order, and put you in the back of the line, marked and branded. Everything before will be erased, and the new will be manipulated. And what you believe most, can only be kept secret, for all must fall in line of their govern. Anything outside will be abolished. Even death, will be sought, but restrained. They will execute complete and total control over everything, and be sole owners of your soul. The light, that once guided will go dim, and liberty will be like an unwilled bird, suppressed in the cage of your ribs; wings cut off.
Anthony Liccione
I had to first overcome the nightmares: my dreams were populated by menaces, shadows, murderous persecutions, disgusting events and objects, ambiguous sexual relations that excited me while also making me feel guilty. Here, I was a character inferior to my level of consciousness in the real world, capable of misdeeds that I would never have allowed myself to perpetrate while awake. I repeated many times, like a litany, “It is I who dream, just as it is I who am awake, and not a perverse and vulnerable child. The dreams happen in me; they are part of me. All that appears is myself. These monsters are aspects of me that have not been resolved. They are not my enemies. The subconscious is my ally. I must confront the terrible images and transform them.” I often had the same nightmare: I was in a desert, and a psychic entity determined to destroy me would come from the horizon as a huge cloud of negativity. I would wake up screaming and soaked in sweat. Now, tired of this undignified flight, I decided to offer myself in sacrifice. At the climax of the dream, in a state of lucid terror, I said, “Enough, I will stop wanting to wake up! Abomination, destroy me!” The entity approached threateningly. I stood still, calm. Then, the immense threat dissolved. I woke up for a few seconds, then peacefully went back to sleep. I realized it was I myself who had fed my terrors. I now knew that what terrifies us loses all its power in the moment that we stop fighting it. I began a long period during which whenever I had dreams, instead of running I would face my enemies and ask them what they wanted to tell me. Gradually, the images transformed before me and began to offer me presents: sometimes a ring, other times a golden sphere or a pair of keys. I now understood that just as every devil is a fallen angel, every angel is also a demon that has risen.
Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Dance of Reality: A Psychomagical Autobiography)
After Darwin, human morality became a scientific mystery. Natural selection could explain how intelligent, upright, linguistic, not so hairy, bipedal primates could evolve, but where did our morals come from? Darwin himself was absorbed by this question. Natural selection, it was thought, promotes ruthless self-interest. Individuals who grab up all the resources and destroy the competition will survive better, reproduce more often, and thus populate the world with their ruthlessly selfish offspring. How, then, could morality evolve in a world that Tennyson famously described as “red in tooth and claw”? We now have an answer. Morality evolved as a solution to the problem of cooperation, as a way of averting the Tragedy of the Commons: Morality is a set of psychological adaptations that allow otherwise selfish individuals to reap the benefits of cooperation.
Joshua Greene (Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them)
Conquest occurred through violence, and over-expolitation and oppression necessitate continued violence, so the army is present. There would be no contradiction in that, if terror reigned everywhere in the world, but the colonizer enjoys, in the mother country, democratic rights that the colonialist system refuses to the colonized native. In fact, the colonialist system favors population growth to reduce the cost of labor, and it forbids assimilation of the natives, whose numerical superiority, if they had voting rights, would shatter the system. Colonialism denies human rights to human beings whom it has subdued by violence, and keeps them by force in a state of misery and ignorance that Marx would rightly call a subhuman condition. Racism is ingrained in actions, institutions, and in the nature of the colonialist methods of production and exchange. Political and social regulations reinforce one another. Since the native is subhuman, the Declaration of Human Rights does not apply to him; inversely, since he has no rights, he is abandoned without protection to inhuman forces - brought in with the colonialist praxis, engendered every moment by the colonialist apparatus, and sustained by relations of production that define two sorts of individuals - one for whom privilege and humanity are one, who becomes a human being through exercising his rights; and the other, for whom a denial of rights sanctions misery, chronic hunger, ignorance, or, in general, 'subhumanity.
Albert Memmi (The Colonizer and the Colonized)
There is nothing new about prophecies to the effect that the end of the world is near if we do not repent. What is new is that such a prophecy is now true, for two obvious reasons. First, nuclear weapons give us the means to wipe ourselves out quickly: no humans possessed this means before. Second, we already appropriate about forty per cent of the Earth’s net productivity (that is, the net energy captured from sunlight). With the world’s human population now doubling every forty-one years, we will soon have reached the biological limit to growth, at which point we will have to start fighting each other in deadly earnest for a slice of the world’s fixed pie of resources. In addition, given the present rate at which we are exterminating species, most of the world’s species will become extinct or endangered within the next century, but we depend on many species for our own life support.
Jared Diamond (The Rise And Fall Of The Third Chimpanzee: Evolution and Human Life)
It was a cruel world though. More than half of all children died before they could reach maturity, thanks to chronic epidemics and malnutrition. People dropped like flies from polio and tuberculosis and smallpox and measles. There probably weren't many people who lived past forty. Women bore so many children, they became toothless old hags by the time they were in their thirties. People often had to resort to violence to survive. Tiny children were forced to do such heavy labor that their bones became deformed, and little girls were forced to become prostitutes on a daily basis. Little boys too, I suspect. Most people led minimal lives in worlds that had nothing to do with richness of perception or spirit. City streets were full of cripples and beggars and criminals. Only a small fraction of the population could gaze at the moon with deep feeling or enjoy a Shakespeare play or listen to the beautiful music of Dowland.
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3))
The characters populating male fantasies have little in common with those inhabiting female fantasies. In porn, the mind of a woman is usually empty of all thought and feeling – except for an overwhelming urge to have sex with plumbers, pizza boys, and her BFF. Women’s hopes and fears are irrelevant. Their skills are inconsequential, except for the admirable ability to satisfy multiple lovers simultaneously and an impressive capacity for moaning. Their bodies, on the other hand, are depicted in lavish, graphic detail. The heroes of romance novels often seem like members of a more evolved species. They are natural leaders, rich, powerful, and well-connected. Their minds are intelligent and savvy, though they are reticent about their abilities and hide their inner demons. Despite the fact that they are a five-star general or lord of southern England, they hide a troubled and tempestuous soul that can only be healed by the magical balm of a woman’s love.
Ogi Ogas (A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire)
We are the last generation that can experience true wilderness. Already the world has shrunk dramatically. To a Frenchman, the Pyrenees are “wild.” To a kid living in a New York City ghetto, Central Park is “wilderness,” the way Griffith Park in Burbank was to me when I was a kid. Even travelers in Patagonia forget that its giant, wild-looking estancias are really just overgrazed sheep farms. New Zealand and Scotland were once forested and populated with long-forgotten animals. The place in the lower forty-eight states that is farthest away from a road or habitation is at the headwaters of the Snake River in Wyoming, and it’s still only twenty-five miles. So if you define wilderness as a place that is more than a day’s walk from civilization, there is no true wilderness left in North America, except in parts of Alaska and Canada. In a true Earth-radical group, concern for wilderness preservation must be the keystone. The idea of wilderness, after all, is the most radical in human thought—more radical than Paine, than Marx, than Mao. Wilderness says: Human beings are not paramount, Earth is not for Homo sapiens alone, human life is but one life form on the planet and has no right to take exclusive possession. Yes, wilderness for its own sake, without any need to justify it for human benefit. Wilderness for wilderness. For bears and whales and titmice and rattlesnakes and stink bugs. And…wilderness for human beings…. Because it is home. —Dave Foreman, Confessions of an Eco-Warrior We need to protect these areas of unaltered wildness and diversity to have a baseline, so we never forget what the real world is like—in perfect balance, the way nature intended the earth to be. This is the model we need to keep in mind on our way toward sustainability.
Yvon Chouinard (Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman)
NOTHING should more deeply shame the modern student than the recency and inadequacy of his acquaintance with India. Here is a vast peninsula of nearly two million square miles; two-thirds as large as the United States, and twenty times the size of its master, Great Britain; 320,000,000 souls, more than in all North and South America combined, or one-fifth of the population of the earth; an impressive continuity of development and civilization from Mohenjo-daro, 2900 B.C. or earlier, to Gandhi, Raman and Tagore; faiths compassing every stage from barbarous idolatry to the most subtle and spiritual pantheism; philosophers playing a thousand variations on one monistic theme from the Upanishads eight centuries before Christ to Shankara eight centuries after him; scientists developing astronomy three thousand years ago, and winning Nobel prizes in our own time; a democratic constitution of untraceable antiquity in the villages, and wise and beneficent rulers like Ashoka and Akbar in the capitals; minstrels singing great epics almost as old as Homer, and poets holding world audiences today; artists raising gigantic temples for Hindu gods from Tibet to Ceylon and from Cambodia to Java, or carving perfect palaces by the score for Mogul kings and queens—this is the India that patient scholarship is now opening up, like a new intellectual continent, to that Western mind which only yesterday thought civilization an exclusively European thing.I
Will Durant (Our Oriental Heritage (Story of Civilization 1))
Lizzie and I arrived in the polluted heat of a London summer. We stood frozen at street corners as a blur of pedestrians burst out of the subways and spilled like ants down the pavements. The crowed bars, the expensive shops, the fashionable clothes - to me it all seemed a population rushing about to no avail...I stared at a huge poster of a woman in her underwear staring down at her own breasts. HELLO BOYS, she said. At the movies we witnessed sickening violence, except that this time we held tubs of popcorn between our legs and the gunfire and screams were broadcast in digital Dolby. We had escaped a skull on a battlefield, only to arrive in London, where office workers led lines of such tedium and plenty that they had to entertain themselves with all the f****** and killing on the big screen. So here then was the prosperous, democratic and civilized Western world. A place of washing machines, reality TV, Armani, frequent-flier miles, mortgages. And this is what the Africans are supposed to hope for, if they're lucky.
Aidan Hartley (The Zanzibar Chest: A Story of Life, Love, and Death in Foreign Lands)
And because they had mass, they became simpler,” said Beatty. “Once, books appealed to a few people, here, there, everywhere. They could afford to be different. The world was roomy. But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths. Double, triple, quadruple population. Films and radios, magazines, books leveled down to a sort of paste pudding norm, do you follow me?” “I think so.” Beatty peered at the smoke pattern he had put out on the air. “Picture it. Nineteenth-century man with his horses, dogs, carts, slow motion. Then, in the twentieth century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests, Tabloids. Everything boils down to the gag, the snap ending.” “Snap ending.” Mildred nodded. “Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two-minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve-line dictionary resume.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
I was in the local shop today, getting something to eat for lunch, when I suddenly had the strangest sensation—a spontaneous awareness of the unlikeliness of this life. I mean, I thought of all the rest of the human population—most of whom live in what you and I would consider abject poverty—who have never seen or entered such a shop. And this, this, is what all their work sustains! This lifestyle, for people like us! All the various brands of soft drinks in plastic bottles and all the pre-packaged lunch deals and confectionery in sealed bags and store-baked pastries—this is it, the culmination of all the labour in the world, all the burning of fossil fuels and all the back-breaking work on coffee farms and sugar plantations. All for this! This convenience shop! I felt dizzy thinking about it. I mean I really felt ill. It was as if I suddenly remembered that my life was all part of a television show—and every day people died making the show, were ground to death in the most horrific ways, children, women, and all so that I could choose from various lunch options, each packaged in multiple layers of single-use plastic. That was what they died for—that was the great experiment. I thought I would throw up. Of course, a feeling like that can’t last. Maybe for the rest of the day I feel bad, even for the rest of the week—so what? I still have to buy lunch. And in case you’re worrying about me, let me assure you, buy lunch I did.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
What do you see happening to the idea of dignity to human species if this population growth continues at its present rate? It's going to destroy it all. I use what I call my bathroom metaphor. If two people live in an apartment, and there are two bathrooms, then both have what I call freedom of the bathroom, go to the bathroom any time you want, and stay as long as you want to for whatever you need. And this to my way is ideal. And everyone believes in the freedom of the bathroom. It should be right there in the Constitution. But if you have 20 people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up, you have to set up times for each person, you have to bang at the door, aren't you through yet, and so on. And in the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, but it disappears. It doesn't matter if someone dies.
Isaac Asimov
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)
Cannabis sativa and its derivatives are strictly prohibited in Turkey, and the natural correlative of this proscription is that alcohol, far from being frowned upon as it is in other Moslem lands, is freely drunk; being a government monopoly it can be bought at any cigarette counter. This fact is no mere detail; it is of primary social importance, since the psychological effects of the two substances are diametrically opposed to each other. Alcohol blurs the personality by loosening inhibitions. The drinker feels, temporarily at least, a sense of participation. Kif abolishes no inhibitions; on the contrary it reinforces them, pushes the individual further back into the recesses of his own isolated personality, pledging him to contemplation and inaction. It is to be expected that there should be a close relationsip between the culture of a given society and the means used by its members to achieve release and euphoria. For Judaism and Christianity the means has always been alcohol; for Islam it has been hashish. The first is dynamic in its effects, the other static. If a nation wishes, however mistakenly, to Westernize itself, first let it give up hashish. The rest will follow, more or less as a manner of course. Conversely, in a Western country, if a whole segment of the population desires, for reasons of protest (as has happened in the United States), to isolate itself in a radical fashion from the society around it, the quickest and surest way is for it to replace alcohol by cannabis.
Paul Bowles (Their Heads are Green and Their Hands are Blue: Scenes from the Non-Christian World)
Owing to the shape of a bell curve, the education system is geared to the mean. Unfortunately, that kind of education is virtually calculated to bore and alienate gifted minds. But instead of making exceptions where it would do the most good, the educational bureaucracy often prefers not to be bothered. In my case, for example, much of the schooling to which I was subjected was probably worse than nothing. It consisted not of real education, but of repetition and oppressive socialization (entirely superfluous given the dose of oppression I was getting away from school). Had I been left alone, preferably with access to a good library and a minimal amount of high-quality instruction, I would at least have been free to learn without useless distractions and gratuitous indoctrination. But alas, no such luck. Let’s try to break the problem down a bit. The education system […] is committed to a warm and fuzzy but scientifically counterfactual form of egalitarianism which attributes all intellectual differences to environmental factors rather than biology, implying that the so-called 'gifted' are just pampered brats who, unless their parents can afford private schooling, should atone for their undeserved good fortune by staying behind and enriching the classroom environments of less privileged students. This approach may appear admirable, but its effects on our educational and intellectual standards, and all that depends on them, have already proven to be overwhelmingly negative. This clearly betrays an ulterior motive, suggesting that it has more to do with social engineering than education. There is an obvious difference between saying that poor students have all of the human dignity and basic rights of better students, and saying that there are no inherent educationally and socially relevant differences among students. The first statement makes sense, while the second does not. The gifted population accounts for a very large part of the world’s intellectual resources. As such, they can obviously be put to better use than smoothing the ruffled feathers of average or below-average students and their parents by decorating classroom environments which prevent the gifted from learning at their natural pace. The higher we go on the scale of intellectual brilliance – and we’re not necessarily talking just about IQ – the less support is offered by the education system, yet the more likely are conceptual syntheses and grand intellectual achievements of the kind seldom produced by any group of markedly less intelligent people. In some cases, the education system is discouraging or blocking such achievements, and thus cheating humanity of their benefits.
Christopher M. Langan
There are, no doubt, lessons here for the contemporary reader. The changing character of the native population, brought about through unremarked pressures on porous borders; the creation of an increasingly unwieldy and rigid bureaucracy, whose own survival becomes its overriding goal; the despising of the military and the avoidance of its service by established families, while its offices present unprecedented opportunity for marginal men to whom its ranks had once been closed; the lip service paid to values long dead; the pretense that we still are what we once were; the increasing concentrations of the populace into richer and poorer by way of a corrupt tax system, and the desperation that inevitably follows; the aggrandizement of executive power at the expense of the legislature; ineffectual legislation promulgated with great show; the moral vocation of the man at the top to maintain order at all costs, while growing blind to the cruel dilemmas of ordinary life—these are all themes with which our world is familiar, nor are they the God-given property of any party or political point of view, even though we often act as if they were. At least, the emperor could not heap his economic burdens on posterity by creating long-term public debt, for floating capital had not yet been conceptualized. The only kinds of wealth worth speaking of were the fruits of the earth.
Thomas Cahill (How The Irish Saved Civilization)
Is it not late? A late time to be living? Are not our generations the crucial ones? For we have changed the world. Are not our heightened times the important ones? For we have nuclear bombs. Are we not especially significant because our century is? - our century and its unique Holocaust, its refugee populations, its serial totalitarian exterminations; our century and its antibiotics, silicon chips, men on the moon, and spliced genes? No, we are not and it is not. These times of ours are ordinary times, a slice of life like any other. Who can bear to hear this, or who will consider it?... Take away the bomb threat and what are we? Ordinary beads on a never-ending string. Our time is a routine twist of an improbable yarn...There must be something heroic about our time, something that lifts it above all those other times. Plague? Funny weather? Dire things are happening... Why are we watching the news, reading the news, keeping up with the news? Only to enforce our fancy - probably a necessary lie - that these are crucial times, and we are in on them. Newly revealed, and we are in the know: crazy people, bunches of them. New diseases, shifts in power, floods! Can the news from dynastic Egypt have been any different?
Annie Dillard (For the Time Being)
This background enables us to understand a fact that is symptomatic of the current phase of saturation: there are countless people who want to withdraw from the omnipresence of advertising, who even avoid it like the plague. Here too, it is helpful to distinguish between the states before and after. From the perspective of the burgeoning world of products, advertising could be justified by the argument that spreading the word about the existence of new means of life improvements was indispensable, as the populations of industrial and trading nations would otherwise have been cheated of major knowledge about discreet improvements to the world. As the ambassador of new bringers of advantage, early advertising was the general training medium for contemporary performance collectives thoughtlessly denounced in culture-conservative milieus as 'consumer societies'. The aversion to advertising that pervades the saturated infospheres of the present, however, is based on the correct intuition that, in most of its manifestations, it has long since become a form of downward training. It no longer passes on what people should know in order to access advantageous innovations; it creates illusions of purchasable self-elevations that de facto usually lead to weakenings.
Peter Sloterdijk (Du mußt dein Leben ändern)
The moon fled eastward like a frightened dove, while the stars changed their places in the heavens, like a disbanding army. 'Where are we?' asked Gil Gil. 'In France,' responded the Angel of Death. 'We have now traversed a large portion of the two bellicose nations which waged so sanguinary a war with each other at the beginning of the present century. We have seen the theater of the War of Succession. Conquered and conquerors both lie sleeping at this instant. My apprentice, Sleep, rules over the heroes who did not perish then, in battle, or afterward of sickness or of old age. I do not understand why it is that below on earth all men are not friends? The identity of your misfortunes and your weaknesses, the need you have of each other, the shortness of your life, the spectacle of the grandeur of other worlds, and the comparison between them and your littleness, all this should combine to unite you in brotherhood, like the passengers of a vessel threatened with shipwreck. There, there is neither love, nor hate, nor ambition, no one is debtor or creditor, no one is great or little, no one is handsome or ugly, no one is happy or unfortunate. The same danger surrounds all and my presence makes all equal. Well, then, what is the earth, seen from this height, but a ship which is foundering, a city delivered up to an epidemic or a conflagration?' 'What are those ignes fatui which I can see shining in certain places on the terrestrial globe, ever since the moon veiled her light?' asked the young man. 'They are cemeteries. We are now above Paris. Side by side with every city, every town, every village of the living there is always a city, a town, or a village of the dead, as the shadow is always beside the body. Geography, then, is of two kinds, although mortals only speak of the kind which is agreeable to them. A map of all the cemeteries which there are on the earth would be sufficient indication of the political geography of your world. You would miscalculate, however, in regard to the population; the dead cities are much more densely populated than the living; in the latter there are hardly three generations at one time, while, in the former, hundreds of generations are often crowded together. As for the lights you see shining, they are phosphorescent gleams from dead bodies, or rather they are the expiring gleams of thousands of vanished lives; they are the twilight glow of love, ambition, anger, genius, mercy; they are, in short, the last glow of a dying light, of the individuality which is disappearing, of the being yielding back his elements to mother earth. They are - and now it is that I have found the true word - the foam made by the river when it mingles its waters with those of the ocean.' The Angel of Death paused. ("The Friend of Death")
Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (Ghostly By Gaslight)
..I began speaking.. First, I took issue with the media's characterization of the post-Katrina New Orleans as resembling the third world as its poor citizens clamored for a way out. I suggested that my experience in New Orleans working with the city's poorest people in the years before the storm had reflected the reality of third-world conditions in New Orleans, and that Katrina had not turned New Orleans into a third-world city but had only revealed it to the world as such. I explained that my work, running Reprieve, a charity that brought lawyers and volunteers to the Deep South from abroad to work on death penalty issues, had made it clear to me that much of the world had perceived this third-world reality, even if it was unnoticed by our own citizens. To try answer Ryan's question, I attempted to use my own experience to explain that for many people in New Orleans, and in poor communities across the country, the government was merely an antagonist, a terrible landlord, a jailer, and a prosecutor. As a lawyer assigned to indigent people under sentence of death and paid with tax dollars, I explained the difficulty of working with clients who stand to be executed and who are provided my services by the state, not because they deserve them, but because the Constitution requires that certain appeals to be filed before these people can be killed. The state is providing my clients with my assistance, maybe the first real assistance they have ever received from the state, so that the state can kill them. I explained my view that the country had grown complacent before Hurricane Katrina, believing that the civil rights struggle had been fought and won, as though having a national holiday for Martin Luther King, or an annual march by politicians over the bridge in Selma, Alabama, or a prosecution - forty years too late - of Edgar Ray Killen for the murder of civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, were any more than gestures. Even though President Bush celebrates his birthday, wouldn't Dr. King cry if he could see how little things have changed since his death? If politicians or journalists went to Selma any other day of the year, they would see that it is a crumbling city suffering from all of the woes of the era before civil rights were won as well as new woes that have come about since. And does anyone really think that the Mississippi criminal justice system could possibly be a vessel of social change when it incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than almost any place in the world, other than Louisiana and Texas, and then compels these prisoners, most of whom are black, to work prison farms that their ancestors worked as chattel of other men? ... I hoped, out loud, that the post-Katrina experience could be a similar moment [to the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fiasco], in which the American people could act like the children in the story and declare that the emperor has no clothes, and hasn't for a long time. That, in light of Katrina, we could be visionary and bold about what people deserve. We could say straight out that there are people in this country who are racist, that minorities are still not getting a fair shake, and that Republican policies heartlessly disregard the needs of individual citizens and betray the common good. As I stood there, exhausted, in front of the thinning audience of New Yorkers, it seemed possible that New Orleans's destruction and the suffering of its citizens hadn't been in vain.
Billy Sothern (Down in New Orleans: Reflections from a Drowned City)
From the end of the World War twenty-one years ago, this country, like many others, went through a phase of having large groups of people carried away by some emotion--some alluring, attractive, even speciously inspiring, public presentation of a nostrum, a cure-all. Many Americans lost their heads because several plausible fellows lost theirs in expounding schemes to end barbarity, to give weekly handouts to people, to give everybody a better job--or, more modestly, for example, to put a chicken or two in every pot--all by adoption of some new financial plan or some new social system. And all of them burst like bubbles. Some proponents of nostrums were honest and sincere, others--too many of them--were seekers of personal power; still others saw a chance to get rich on the dimes and quarters of the poorer people in our population. All of them, perhaps unconsciously, were capitalizing on the fact that the democratic form of Government works slowly. There always exists in a democratic society a large group which, quite naturally, champs at the bit over the slowness of democracy; and that is why it is right for us who believe in democracy to keep the democratic processes progressive--in other words, moving forward with the advances in civilization. That is why it is dangerous for democracy to stop moving forward because any period of stagnation increases the numbers of those who demand action and action now.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
We are all of us exposed to grief: the people we love die, as we shall ourselves in due course; expectations are disappointed and ambitions are thwarted by circumstance. Finally, there are some who insist upon feeling guilty over the ill they have done or simply on account of the ugliness which they perceive in their own souls. A solution of a kind has been found to this problem in the form of sedatives and anti-depressant drugs, so that many human experiences which used to be accepted as an integral part of human life are now defined and dealt with as medical problems. The widow who grieves for a beloved husband becomes a 'case', as does the man saddened by the recollection of the napalm or high explosives he has dropped on civilian populations. One had thought that guilt was a way, however indirect, in which we might perceive the nature of reality and the laws which govern our human experience; but it is now an illness that can be cured. Death however, remains incurable. Though we might be embarrassed by Victorian death-bed scenes or the practices of mourning among people less sophisticated than ourselves, the fact of death tells us so much about the realities of our condition that to ignore it or try to forget it is to be unaware of the most important thing we need to know about our situation as living creatures. Equally, to witness and participate in the dying of our fellow men and women is to learn what we are and, if we have any wisdom at all, to draw conclusions which must in their way affect our every thought and our every act.
Charles Le Gai Eaton (King of the Castle: Choice and Responsibility in the Modern World)
In the early months of World War II, San Francisco's Fill-more district, or the Western Addition, experienced a visible revolution. On the surface it appeared to be totally peaceful and almost a refutation of the term “revolution.” The Yakamoto Sea Food Market quietly became Sammy's Shoe Shine Parlor and Smoke Shop. Yashigira's Hardware metamorphosed into La Salon de Beauté owned by Miss Clorinda Jackson. The Japanese shops which sold products to Nisei customers were taken over by enterprising Negro businessmen, and in less than a year became permanent homes away from home for the newly arrived Southern Blacks. Where the odors of tempura, raw fish and cha had dominated, the aroma of chitlings, greens and ham hocks now prevailed. The Asian population dwindled before my eyes. I was unable to tell the Japanese from the Chinese and as yet found no real difference in the national origin of such sounds as Ching and Chan or Moto and Kano. As the Japanese disappeared, soundlessly and without protest, the Negroes entered with their loud jukeboxes, their just-released animosities and the relief of escape from Southern bonds. The Japanese area became San Francisco's Harlem in a matter of months. A person unaware of all the factors that make up oppression might have expected sympathy or even support from the Negro newcomers for the dislodged Japanese. Especially in view of the fact that they (the Blacks) had themselves undergone concentration-camp living for centuries in slavery's plantations and later in sharecroppers' cabins. But the sensations of common relationship were missing. The Black newcomer had been recruited on the desiccated farm lands of Georgia and Mississippi by war-plant labor scouts. The chance to live in two-or three-story apartment buildings (which became instant slums), and to earn two-and even three-figured weekly checks, was blinding. For the first time he could think of himself as a Boss, a Spender. He was able to pay other people to work for him, i.e. the dry cleaners, taxi drivers, waitresses, etc. The shipyards and ammunition plants brought to booming life by the war let him know that he was needed and even appreciated. A completely alien yet very pleasant position for him to experience. Who could expect this man to share his new and dizzying importance with concern for a race that he had never known to exist? Another reason for his indifference to the Japanese removal was more subtle but was more profoundly felt. The Japanese were not whitefolks. Their eyes, language and customs belied the white skin and proved to their dark successors that since they didn't have to be feared, neither did they have to be considered. All this was decided unconsciously.
Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou's Autobiography, #1))
I once saw a woman wearing a low-cut dress; she had a glazed look in her eyes, and she was walking the streets of Ljubljana when it was five degrees below zero. I thought she must be drunk, and I went to help her, but she refused my offer to lend her my jacket. Perhaps in her world it was summer and her body was warmed by the desire of the person waiting for her. Even if that person only existed in her delirium, she had the right to live and die as she wanted, don’t you think?” Veronika didn’t know what to say, but the madwoman’s words made sense to her. Who knows; perhaps she was the woman who had been seen half-naked walking the streets of Ljubljana? “I’m going to tell you a story,” said Zedka. “A powerful wizard, who wanted to destroy an entire kingdom, placed a magic potion in the well from which all the inhabitants drank. Whoever drank that water would go mad. “The following morning, the whole population drank from the well and they all went mad, apart from the king and his family, who had a well set aside for them alone, which the magician had not managed to poison. The king was worried and tried to control the population by issuing a series of edicts governing security and public health. The policemen and the inspectors, however, had also drunk the poisoned water, and they thought the king’s decisions were absurd and resolved to take no notice of them. “When the inhabitants of the kingdom heard these decrees, they became convinced that the king had gone mad and was now giving nonsensical orders. They marched on the castle and called for his abdication. “In despair the king prepared to step down from the throne, but the queen stopped him, saying: ‘Let us go and drink from the communal well. Then we will be the same as them.’ “And that was what they did: The king and the queen drank the water of madness and immediately began talking nonsense. Their subjects repented at once; now that the king was displaying such wisdom, why not allow him to continue ruling the country? “The country continued to live in peace, although its inhabitants behaved very differently from those of its neighbors. And the king was able to govern until the end of his days.” Veronika laughed. “You don’t seem crazy at all,” she said. “But I am, although I’m undergoing treatment since my problem is that I lack a particular chemical. While I hope that the chemical gets rid of my chronic depression, I want to continue being crazy, living my life the way I dream it, and not the way other people want it to be. Do you know what exists out there, beyond the walls of Villete?” “People who have all drunk from the same well.” “Exactly,” said Zedka. “They think they’re normal, because they all do the same thing. Well, I’m going to pretend that I have drunk from the same well as them.
Paulo Coelho (Veronika Decides to Die)
It happened to me. And I'll never forget it. Back when I was in the sixth grade, my whole family went out to go watch a baseball game at the stadium. I didn't really care about baseball, but I was surprised by what I saw when we got there. Everywhere I looked, I saw people. On the other side of the stadium, the people looked so small, like little moving grains of rice. It was so crowded. I thought that everyone in Japan had to be packed in there. So I turned to my dad and asked him, "Do you know how many people are here right now"? He said since the stadium was full, probably fifty thousand. After the game, the street was filled with people and I was really shocked to see that, too. To me, it seemed like there was a ton of people there. But then, I realized it could only be a tiny fraction of all the people in Japan. When I got home, I pulled out my calculator. In social studies, I'd learned that the population of Japan was a hundred some odd million. So I divided that by fifty thousand. The answer was one two-thousandth. That shocked me even more. I was only one little person in that big crowded stadium filled with people, and believe me, there were so many people there, but it was just a handful of the entire population. Up till then, I always thought that I was, I don't know, kind of a special person. It was fun to be with my family. I had fun with my classmates. And the school that I was going to, it had just about the most interesting people anywhere. But that night, I realized it wasn't true. All the stuff we did during class that I thought was so fun and cool, was probably happening just like that in classes in other schools all over Japan. There was nothing special about my school at all. When I realized that, it suddenly felt like the whole world around me started to fade into a dull gray void. Brushing my teeth and going to sleep at night, waking up and eating breakfast in the morning, that stuff happened all over the place. They were everyday things that everybody was doing. When I thought about it like that, everything became boring. If there's really that many people in the world, then there had to be someone who wasn't ordinary. There had to be someone who was living an interesting life. There just had to be. But why wasn't I that person? So, that's how I felt till I finished elementary school. And then I had another realization. I realized fun things wouldn't come my way just by waiting for them. I thought when I got into junior high, it was time for me to make a change. I'd let the world know I wasn't a girl who was happy sitting around waiting. And I've done my best to become that person. But in the end, nothing happened. More time went by and before I knew it, I was in high school. I thought that something would change.
Nagaru Tanigawa
The desert frightens me, I think. It looks too much like the seventh circle of hell. I'm afraid of damnation." "Why?" "Why?" Evelyn repeated, peering at Ann from behind her hand. She lay back again and closed her eyes. "I don't know. I've always supposed everyone is." "Well, they're not. I, for instance, am a hell of a lot more frightened of being saved." Evelyn chuckled. "I'm serious," Ann protested. "Virtue smells to me of rotting vegetation. Here you burn or freeze. Either way it's clean." "Sterile," Evelyn said and felt the word a laceration of her own flesh. "I wonder. It's fertility that's a dirty word for me." "Is it?" "Yes, I'm terrified of giving in, of justifying my own existence by means of simple reproduction. So many people do or try to. And there are the children, so unfulfilling after all. And they grow up to do nothing but reproduce children who will reproduce, everyone so busy reproducing that there's no time to produce anything. But it's such a temptation. It seems so natural — another dirty word for me. What's the point?" "You'd have the human race die out?" "No. We'll multiply in spite of ourselves always. We'll populate the desert. One day there will be little houses and docks all along this shore, signs of our salvation." "What would you have us do instead?" Evelyn asked. "Accept damnation," Ann said. "It has its power and its charm. And it's real." "So we should all get jobs in gambling casinos." "We all do," Ann said, her voice amused. "What do you think the University of California is? It's just a minor branch of the Establishment. The only difference is that it has to be subsidized." "Are you talking nonsense on purpose?" "No, I'm serious." "You think nothing has any value?" "No, I think everything has value, absolute value, a child, a house, a day's work, the sky. But nothing will save us. We were never meant to be saved." "What were we meant for then?" "To love the whole damned world," Ann said… "I live in the desert of the heart," Evelyn said quietly, "I can't love the whole damned world." 'Love me, Evelyn.' 'I do.
Jane Rule (Desert of the Heart)
As a result of the work done by all these stratifying force in language, there are no "neutral" words and forms - words and forms that can belong to "no one"; language has been completely taken over, shot through with intentions and accents. For any individual consciousness living in it, language is not an abstract system of normative forms, but rather a concrete heteroglot conception of the world. All words have the "taste" of a profession, a genre, a tendency, a party, a particular work, a particular person, a generation, an age group, the day and hour. Each word tastes of the context and contexts in which it has lived it socially charged life; all words and forms are populated by intentions. Contextual overtones (generic, tendentious, individualistic) are inevitable in the word. As a living, socio-ideological concrete thing, as heteroglot opinion, language, for the individual consciousness, lies on the borderline between oneself and the other. The word in language is half someone else's. It becomes "one's own" only when the speaker populates it with his own intention, his own accent, when he appropriates the word, adapting it to his own semantic and expressive intention. Prior to this moment of appropriation, the word does not exist in a neutral and impersonal language (it is not, after all, out of a dictionary that the speaker gets his words!), but rather it exists in other people's mouths, in other people's contexts, serving other people's intentions: it is from there that one must take the word, and make it one's own. And not all words for just anyone submit equally easy to this appropriation, to this seizure and transformation into private property: many words stubbornly resist, others remain alien, sound foreign in the mouth of the one who appropriated them and who now speaks them; they cannot be assimilated into his context and fall out of it; it is as if they put themselves in quotation marks against the will of the speaker. Language is not a neutral medium that passes freely and easily into the private property of the speaker's intentions; it is populated - overpopulated - with the intentions of others. Expropriating it, forcing it to submit to one's own intentions and accents, is a difficult and complicated process.
Mikhail Bakhtin
Dr. Chanter, in his brilliant History of Human Thought in the Twentieth Century, has made the suggestion that only a very small proportion of people are capable of acquiring new ideas of political or social behaviour after they are twenty-five years old. On the other hand, few people become directive in these matters until they are between forty and fifty. Then they prevail for twenty years or more. The conduct of public affairs therefore is necessarily twenty years or more behind the living thought of the times. This is what Dr. Chanter calls the "delayed realisation of ideas". In the less hurried past this had not been of any great importance, but in the violent crises of the Revolutionary Period it became a primary fact. It is evident now that whatever the emergency, however obvious the new problem before our species in the nineteen-twenties, it was necessary for the whole generation that had learned nothing and could learn nothing from the Great War and its sequelae, to die out before any rational handling of world affairs could even begin. The cream of the youth of the war years had been killed; a stratum of men already middle-aged remained in control, whose ideas had already set before the Great War. It was, says Chanter, an inescapable phase. The world of the Frightened Thirties and the Brigand Forties was under the dominion of a generation of unteachable, obstinately obstructive men, blinded men, miseducating, misleading the baffled younger people for completely superseded ends. If they could have had their way, they would have blinded the whole world for ever. But the blinding was inadequate, and by the Fifties all this generation and its teachings and traditions were passing away, like a smoke-screen blown aside. Before a few years had passed it was already incredible that in the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century the whole political life of the world was still running upon the idea of competitive sovereign empires and states. Men of quite outstanding intelligence were still planning and scheming for the "hegemony" of Britain or France or Germany or Japan; they were still moving their armies and navies and air forces and making their combinations and alliances upon the dissolving chess-board of terrestrial reality. Nothing happened as they had planned it; nothing worked out as they desired; but still with a stupefying inertia they persisted. They launched armies, they starved and massacred populations. They were like a veterinary surgeon who suddenly finds he is operating upon a human being, and with a sort of blind helplessness cuts and slashes more and more desperately, according to the best equestrian rules. The history of European diplomacy between 1914 and 1944 seems now so consistent a record of incredible insincerity that it stuns the modern mind. At the time it seemed rational behaviour. It did not seem insincere. The biographical material of the period -- and these governing-class people kept themselves in countenance very largely by writing and reading each other's biographies -- the collected letters, the collected speeches, the sapient observations of the leading figures make tedious reading, but they enable the intelligent student to realise the persistence of small-society values in that swiftly expanding scene. Those values had to die out. There was no other way of escaping from them, and so, slowly and horribly, that phase of the moribund sovereign states concluded.
H.G. Wells (The Holy Terror)
The case I’ve presented in this book suggests that humans are undergoing what biologists call a major transition. Such transitions occur when less complex forms of life combine in some way to give rise to more complex forms. Examples include the transition from independently replicating molecules to replicating packages called chromosomes or, the transition from different kinds of simple cells to more complex cells in which these once-distinct simple cell types came to perform critical functions and become entirely mutually interdependent, such as the nucleus and mitochondria in our own cells. Our species’ dependence on cumulative culture for survival, on living in cooperative groups, on alloparenting and a division of labor and information, and on our communicative repertoires mean that humans have begun to satisfy all the requirements for a major biological transition. Thus, we are literally the beginnings of a new kind of animal.1 By contrast, the wrong way to understand humans is to think that we are just a really smart, though somewhat less hairy, chimpanzee. This view is surprisingly common. Understanding how this major transition is occurring alters how we think about the origins of our species, about the reasons for our immense ecological success, and about the uniqueness of our place in nature. The insights generated alter our understandings of intelligence, faith, innovation, intergroup competition, cooperation, institutions, rituals, and the psychological differences between populations. Recognizing that we are a cultural species means that, even in the short run (when genes don’t have enough time to change), institutions, technologies, and languages are coevolving with psychological biases, cognitive abilities, emotional responses, and preferences. In the longer run, genes are evolving to adapt to these culturally constructed worlds, and this has been, and is now, the primary driver of human genetic evolution. Figure 17.1.
Joseph Henrich (The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter)
New Rule: Americans must realize what makes NFL football so great: socialism. That's right, the NFL takes money from the rich teams and gives it to the poorer one...just like President Obama wants to do with his secret army of ACORN volunteers. Green Bay, Wisconsin, has a population of one hundred thousand. Yet this sleepy little town on the banks of the Fuck-if-I-know River has just as much of a chance of making it to the Super Bowl as the New York Jets--who next year need to just shut the hell up and play. Now, me personally, I haven't watched a Super Bowl since 2004, when Janet Jackson's nipple popped out during halftime. and that split-second glimpse of an unrestrained black titty burned by eyes and offended me as a Christian. But I get it--who doesn't love the spectacle of juiced-up millionaires giving one another brain damage on a giant flatscreen TV with a picture so real it feels like Ben Roethlisberger is in your living room, grabbing your sister? It's no surprise that some one hundred million Americans will watch the Super Bowl--that's forty million more than go to church on Christmas--suck on that, Jesus! It's also eighty-five million more than watched the last game of the World Series, and in that is an economic lesson for America. Because football is built on an economic model of fairness and opportunity, and baseball is built on a model where the rich almost always win and the poor usually have no chance. The World Series is like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. You have to be a rich bitch just to play. The Super Bowl is like Tila Tequila. Anyone can get in. Or to put it another way, football is more like the Democratic philosophy. Democrats don't want to eliminate capitalism or competition, but they'd like it if some kids didn't have to go to a crummy school in a rotten neighborhood while others get to go to a great school and their dad gets them into Harvard. Because when that happens, "achieving the American dream" is easy for some and just a fantasy for others. That's why the NFL literally shares the wealth--TV is their biggest source of revenue, and they put all of it in a big commie pot and split it thirty-two ways. Because they don't want anyone to fall too far behind. That's why the team that wins the Super Bowl picks last in the next draft. Or what the Republicans would call "punishing success." Baseball, on the other hand, is exactly like the Republicans, and I don't just mean it's incredibly boring. I mean their economic theory is every man for himself. The small-market Pittsburgh Steelers go to the Super Bowl more than anybody--but the Pittsburgh Pirates? Levi Johnston has sperm that will not grow and live long enough to see the Pirates in a World Series. Their payroll is $40 million; the Yankees' is $206 million. The Pirates have about as much chance as getting in the playoffs as a poor black teenager from Newark has of becoming the CEO of Halliburton. So you kind of have to laugh--the same angry white males who hate Obama because he's "redistributing wealth" just love football, a sport that succeeds economically because it does just that. To them, the NFL is as American as hot dogs, Chevrolet, apple pie, and a second, giant helping of apple pie.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Over the years I have read many, many books about the future, my ‘we’re all doomed’ books, as Connie liked to call them. ‘All the books you read are either about how grim the past was or how gruesome the future will be. It might not be that way, Douglas. Things might turn out all right.’ But these were well-researched, plausible studies, their conclusions highly persuasive, and I could become quite voluble on the subject. Take, for instance, the fate of the middle-class, into which Albie and I were born and to which Connie now belongs, albeit with some protest. In book after book I read that the middle-class are doomed. Globalisation and technology have already cut a swathe through previously secure professions, and 3D printing technology will soon wipe out the last of the manufacturing industries. The internet won’t replace those jobs, and what place for the middle-classes if twelve people can run a giant corporation? I’m no communist firebrand, but even the most rabid free-marketeer would concede that market-forces capitalism, instead of spreading wealth and security throughout the population, has grotesquely magnified the gulf between rich and poor, forcing a global workforce into dangerous, unregulated, insecure low-paid labour while rewarding only a tiny elite of businessmen and technocrats. So-called ‘secure’ professions seem less and less so; first it was the miners and the ship- and steel-workers, soon it will be the bank clerks, the librarians, the teachers, the shop-owners, the supermarket check-out staff. The scientists might survive if it’s the right type of science, but where do all the taxi-drivers in the world go when the taxis drive themselves? How do they feed their children or heat their homes and what happens when frustration turns to anger? Throw in terrorism, the seemingly insoluble problem of religious fundamentalism, the rise of the extreme right-wing, under-employed youth and the under-pensioned elderly, fragile and corrupt banking systems, the inadequacy of the health and care systems to cope with vast numbers of the sick and old, the environmental repercussions of unprecedented factory-farming, the battle for finite resources of food, water, gas and oil, the changing course of the Gulf Stream, destruction of the biosphere and the statistical probability of a global pandemic, and there really is no reason why anyone should sleep soundly ever again. By the time Albie is my age I will be long gone, or, best-case scenario, barricaded into my living module with enough rations to see out my days. But outside, I imagine vast, unregulated factories where workers count themselves lucky to toil through eighteen-hour days for less than a living wage before pulling on their gas masks to fight their way through the unemployed masses who are bartering with the mutated chickens and old tin-cans that they use for currency, those lucky workers returning to tiny, overcrowded shacks in a vast megalopolis where a tree is never seen, the air is thick with police drones, where car-bomb explosions, typhoons and freak hailstorms are so commonplace as to barely be remarked upon. Meanwhile, in literally gilded towers miles above the carcinogenic smog, the privileged 1 per cent of businessmen, celebrities and entrepreneurs look down through bullet-proof windows, accept cocktails in strange glasses from the robot waiters hovering nearby and laugh their tinkling laughs and somewhere, down there in that hellish, stewing mess of violence, poverty and desperation, is my son, Albie Petersen, a wandering minstrel with his guitar and his keen interest in photography, still refusing to wear a decent coat.
David Nicholls (Us)
There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world today. Of course not all of them are radicals. The majority of them are peaceful people. The radicals are estimated to be between 15-25%, according to all intelligence services around the world. That leaves 75% of them - peaceful people. But when you look at 15-25% of the world Muslim population, you're looking at 180 million to 300 million people dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization. That is as big as the United States. So why should we worry about the radical 15-25%? Because it is the radicals that kill. Because it is the radicals that behead and massacre. When you look throughout history, when you look at all the lessons of history, most Germans were peaceful. Yet the Nazis drove the agenda. And as a result, 60 million people died, almost 14 million in concentration camps. 6 million were Jews. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. When you look at Russia, most Russians were peaceful as well. Yet the Russians were able to kill 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. When you look at China for example, most Chinese were peaceful as well. Yet the Chinese were able to kill 70 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. When you look at Japan prior to World War II, most Japanese were peaceful as well. Yet, Japan was able to butcher its way across Southeast Asia, killing 12 million people, mostly killed by bayonets and shovels. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. On September 11th in the United States we had 2.3 million Arab Muslims living in the United States. It took 19 hijackers - 19 radicals - to bring America down to its knees, destroy the World Trade Center, attack the Pentagon and kill almost 3000 Americans that day. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. So for all our power of reason, and for all us talking about moderate and peaceful Muslims, I'm glad you're here. But where are the others speaking out? And since you are the only Muslim representative in here, you took the limelight instead of speaking about why our government - I assume you're an American (the Muslim says yes) - As an American citizen, you sat in this room, and instead of standing up and saying a question, or asking something about our four Americans that died and what our government is doing to correct the problem, you stood there to make a point about peaceful, moderate Muslims. I wish you had brought ten with you to question about how we could hold our government responsible. It is time we take political correctness and throw it in the garbage where it belongs.” - Brigette Gabriel (transcript from Benghazi Accountability Coalition - Heritage Foundation)
J.K. Sheindlin (The People vs Muhammad - Psychological Analysis)