An imagined pleasure is never really the pleasure, but an imagined pain, in a very real sense, is the pain, because so much of pain is the consciousness of it. It makes itself objective. Whereas to think about pleasure is to step outside of it; to think about a presently felt pain is to step inside it. And in a very real sense, we’ve already got them in Hell.
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An imagined pleasure is never really the pleasure, but an imagined pain, in a very real sense, is the pain, because so much of pain is the consciousness of it. It makes itself objective. Whereas to think about pleasure is to step outside of it; to think about a presently felt pain is to step inside it. And in a very real sense, we’ve already got them in Hell.

-Geoffrey Wood

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It is said that there are four kinds of horses: excellent ones, good ones, poor ones, and bad ones. The best horse will run slow and fast, right and left, at the driver’s will, before it sees the shadow of the whip; the second best will run as well as the first one does, just before the whip reaches its skin; the third one will run when it feels pain on its body; the fourth will run after the pain penetrates to the marrow of its bones. You can imagine how difficult it is for the fourth one to learn how to run!When we hear this story, almost all of us want to be the best horse. If it is impossible to be the best one, we want to be the second best. That is, I think, the usual understanding of this story, and of Zen. You may think that when you sit in zazen you will find out whether you are one of the best horses or one of the worst ones. Here, however, there is a misunderstanding of Zen. If you think the aim of Zen practice is to train you to become one of the best horses, you will have a big problem. This is not the right understanding. If you practice Zen in the right way it does not matter whether you are the best horse or the worst one. When you consider the mercy of Buddha, how do you think Buddha will feel about the four kinds of horses? He will have more sympathy for the worst one than for the best one.When you are determined to practice zazen with the great mind of Buddha, you will find the worst horse is the most valuable one. In your very imperfections you will find the basis for your firm, way-seeking mind. Those who can sit perfectly physically usually take more time to obtain the true way of Zen, the actual feeling of Zen, the marrow of Zen. But those who find great difficulties in practicing Zen will find more meaning in it. So I think that sometimes the best horse may be the worst horse, and the worst horse can be the best one.If you study calligraphy you will find that those who are not so clever usually become the best calligraphers. Those who are very clever with their hands often encounter great difficulty after they have reached a certain stage. This is also true in art and in Zen. It is true in life. So when we talk about Zen we cannot say, 'He is good,' or 'He is bad,' in the ordinary sense of the words. The posture taken in zazen is not the same for each of us. For some it may be impossible to take the cross-legged posture. But even though you cannot take the right posture, when you arouse your real, way-seeking mind, you can practice Zen in its true sense. Actually it is easier for those who have difficulties in sitting to arouse the true way-seeking mind that for those who can sit easily.

-Shunryu Suzuki

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I imagined my coffin being closed, and the screws being turned. I was immobile, but I was alive, and I wanted to tell my family that I was seeing everything. I wanted to tell them all that I loved them, but not a sound came out of my mouth. My father and mother were weeping, my wife and my friends were gathered around, but I was completely alone! With all of the people dear to me standing there, no one was able to see that I was alive and that I had not yet accomplished all that I wanted to do in this world. I tried desperately to open my eyes, to give a sign, to beat on the lid of the coffin. But I could not move any part of my body. I felt the coffin being carried toward the grave. I could hear the sound of the handles grinding against their fittings, the steps of those in the procession, and conversations from this side and that. Someone said that he had a date for dinner later on, and another observed that I had died early. The smell of flowers all around me began to suffocate me. I remembered how I had given up trying to establish a relationship with two or three women, fearing their rejection. I remembered also the number of times I had failed to do what I wanted to do, thinking I could always do it later. I felt very sorry for myself, not only because I was about to be buried alive but also because I had been afraid to live. Why be fearful of saying no to someone or of leaving something undone when the most important thing of all was to enjoy life fully? There I was, trapped in a coffin, and it was already too late to go back and show the courage I should have had. There I was, having played the role of my own Judas, having betrayed myself. There I was, powerless to move a muscle, screaming for help, while the others were involved in their lives, worrying about what they were going to do that night, admiring statues and buildings that I would never see again. I began to feel how unfair it was to have to be buried while others continued to live. I would have felt better if there had been a catastrophe and all of us had been in the same boat, heading for the same abyss toward which they were carrying me now. Help! I tried to cry out. I’m still alive. I haven’t died. My mind is still functioning! They placed my coffin at the edge of the grave. They are going to bury me! My wife is going to forget all about me; she will marry someone else and spend the money we have struggled to save for all these years! But who cares about that. I want to be with her now, because I’m alive! I hear sobs, and I feel tears falling from my eyes, too. If my friends were to open my coffin now, they would see my tears and save me. But instead all I feel is the lowering of the coffin into the ground. Suddenly, everything is dark. A moment ago, there was a ray of light at the edge of the coffin, but now the darkness is complete. The grave diggers’ shovels are filling in the grave, and I’m alive! Buried alive! I sense that the air is being cut off, and the fragrance of the flowers is awful. I hear the mourners’ departing footsteps. My terror is total. I’m not able to do anything; if they go away now, it will soon be night, and no one will hear me knocking on the lid of my coffin! The footsteps fade, nobody hears my screams, and I am alone in the darkness; the air is heavy, and the smell of the flowers is driving me crazy. Suddenly, I hear a sound. It’s the worms, coming to eat me alive. I try with all my strength to move the parts of my body, but I am inert. The worms begin to climb over my body. They are sticky and cold. They creep over my face and crawl into my shorts. One of them enters through my anus, and another begins to sneak into a nostril. Help! I’m being eaten alive, and nobody can hear me; nobody says a word to me. The worm that entered my nostril has reached my throat. I feel another invading my ear. I have to get out! Where is God; why doesn’t he help me? They are beginning to eat at my throat, and soon I won’t be able to scream! They

-Paulo Coelho

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Billos ran. He tore down the shore, bounded up on the rock, and dove into the air. The warm water engulfed him. A boiling heat knocked the wind from his lungs. The shock alone might kill him. But it was pleasure that surged through his body, not pain. The sensations coursed through his bones in great unrelenting waves. Elyon. How he was certain, he did not know. But he knew. Elyon was in this lake with him. Billos opened his eyes. Gold light drifted by. He lost all sense of direction. The water pressed in on every inch of his body, as intense as any acid, but one that burned with pleasure instead of pain. He sank into the water, opened his mouth and laughed. He wanted more, much more. He wanted to suck the water in and drink it. Without thinking, he did just that. The liquid hit his lungs. Billos pulled up, panicked. He tried to hack the water from his lungs, but inhaled more instead. No pain. He carefully sucked more water and breathed it out slowly. Then again, deep and hard. Out with a soft whoosh. He was breathing the water! Billos shrieked with laughter. He swam into the lake, deeper and deeper. The power contained in this lake was far greater than anything he'd ever imagined. "I made this, Billos." Billos whipped his body around, searching for the words' source. "Elyon?" His voice was muffled, hardly a voice at all. "Do you like it?" "Yes!" Billos said. He might have spoken; he might have shouted--he didn't know. He only knew that his whole body screamed it. Billos looked around. "Elyon?" "Why do you doubt me, Billos?" In that single moment the full weight of Billos's foolishness crashed on him like a sledgehammer. "I see you, Billos." "I made you." "I love you." The words crashed over him, reaching into the deepest folds of his flesh, caressing each hidden synapse, flowing through every vein, as though he had been given a transfusion. "I choose you, Billos." Billos began to weep. The feeling was more intense than any pain he had ever felt. The current pulled at him, tugging him up through the colors. His body trembled with pleasure. He wanted to speak, to yell, to tell the whole world that he was the most fortunate person in the universe. That he was loved by Elyon. Elyon himself. "Never leave me, Billos." "Never! I will never leave you." The current pushed him through the water and then above the surface not ten meters from the shore. He stood on the sandy bottom. For a moment he had such clarity of mind that he was sure he could understand the very fabric of space if he put his mind to it. He was chosen. He was loved.

-Ted Dekker

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Betrayal is too kind a word to describe a situation in which a father says he loves his daughter but claims he must teach her about the horrors of the world in order to make her a stronger person; a situation in which he watches or participates in rituals that make her feel like she is going to die. She experiences pain that is so intense that she cannot think; her head spins so fast she can't remember who she is or how she got there.All she knows is pain. All she feels is desperation. She tries to cry out for help, but soon learns that no one will listen. No matter how loud she cries, she can't stop or change what is happening. No matter what she does, the pain will not stop. Her father orders her to be tortured and tells her it is for her own good. He tells her that she needs the discipline, or that she has asked for it by her misbehavior. Betrayal is too simple a word to describe the overwhelming pain, the overwhelming loneliness and isolation this child experiences.As if the abuse during the rituals were not enough, this child experiences similar abuse at home on a daily basis. When she tries to talk about her pain, she is told that she must be crazy. "Nothing bad has happened to you;' her family tells her Each day she begins to feel more and more like she doesn't know what is real. She stops trusting her own feelings because no one else acknowledges them or hears her agony. Soon the pain becomes too great. She learns not to feel at all. This strong, lonely, desperate child learns to give up the senses that make all people feel alive. She begins to feel dead.She wishes she were dead. For her there is no way out. She soon learns there is no hope.As she grows older she gets stronger. She learns to do what she is told with the utmost compliance. She forgets everything she has ever wanted. The pain still lurks, but it's easier to pretend it's not there than to acknowledge the horrors she has buried in the deepest parts of her mind. Her relationships are overwhelmed by the power of her emotions. She reaches out for help, but never seems to find what she is looking for The pain gets worse. The loneliness sets in. When the feelings return, she is overcome with panic, pain, and desperation.She is convinced she is going to die. Yet, when she looks around her she sees nothing that should make her feel so bad. Deep inside she knows something is very, very wrong, but she doesn't remember anything. She thinks, "Maybe I am crazy.

-Margaret Smith

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The discords of our experience--delight in change, fear of change; the death of the individual and the survival of the species, the pains and pleasures of love, the knowledge of light and dark, the extinction and the perpetuity of empires--these were Spenser's subject; and they could not be treated without this third thing, a kind of time between time and eternity. He does not make it easy to extract philosophical notions from his text; but that he is concerned with the time-defeating aevum and uses it as a concord-fiction, I have no doubt. 'The seeds of knowledge,' as Descartes observed, 'are within us like fire in flint; philosophers educe them by reason, but the poets strike them forth by imagination, and they shine the more clearly.' We leave behind the philosophical statements, with their pursuit of logical consequences and distinctions, for a free, self-delighting inventiveness, a new imagining of the problems. Spenser used something like the Augustinian seminal reasons; he was probably not concerned about later arguments against them, finer discriminations. He does not tackle the questions, in the Garden cantos, of concreation, but carelessly--from a philosophical point of view--gives matter chronological priority. The point that creation necessitates mutability he may have found in Augustine, or merely noticed for himself, without wondering how it could be both that and a consequence of the Fall; it was an essential feature of one's experience of the world, and so were all the arguments, precise or not, about it.Now one of the differences between doing philosophy and writing poetry is that in the former activity you defeat your object if you imitate the confusion inherent in an unsystematic view of your subject, whereas in the second you must in some measure imitate what is extreme and scattering bright, or else lose touch with that feeling of bright confusion. Thus the schoolmen struggled, when they discussed God, for a pure idea of simplicity, which became for them a very complex but still rational issue: for example, an angel is less simple than God but simpler than man, because a species is less simple than pure being but simpler than an individual. But when a poet discusses such matters, as in say 'Air and Angels,' he is making some human point, in fact he is making something which is, rather than discusses, an angel--something simple that grows subtle in the hands of commentators. This is why we cannot say the Garden of Adonis is wrong as the Faculty of Paris could say the Averroists were wrong. And Donne's conclusion is more a joke about women than a truth about angels. Spenser, though his understanding of the expression was doubtless inferior to that of St. Thomas, made in the Garden stanzas something 'more simple' than any section of the Summa. It was also more sensuous and more passionate. Milton used the word in his formula as Aquinas used it of angels; poetry is more simple, and accordingly more difficult to talk about, even though there are in poetry ideas which may be labelled 'philosophical.

-Frank Kermode

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Bohr is really doing what the Stoic allegorists did to close the gap between their world and Homer's, or what St. Augustine did when he explained, against the evidence, the concord of the canonical scriptures. The dissonances as well as the harmonies have to be made concordant by means of some ultimate complementarity. Later biblical scholarship has sought different explanations, and more sophisticated concords; but the motive is the same, however the methods may differ. An epoch, as Einstein remarked, is the instruments of its research. Stoic physics, biblical typology, Copenhagen quantum theory, are all different, but all use concord-fictions and assert complementarities.Such fictions meet a need. They seem to do what Bacon said poetry could: 'give some show of satisfaction to the mind, wherein the nature of things doth seem to deny it.' Literary fictions ( Bacon's 'poetry') do likewise. One consequence is that they change, for the same reason that patristic allegory is not the same thing, though it may be essentially the same kind of thing, as the physicists' Principle of Complementarity. The show of satisfaction will only serve when there seems to be a degree of real compliance with reality as we, from time to time, imagine it. Thus we might imagine a constant value for the irreconcileable observations of the reason and the imagination, the one immersed in chronos, the other in kairos; but the proportions vary indeterminably. Or, when we find 'what will suffice,' the element of what I have called the paradigmatic will vary. We measure and order time with our fictions; but time seems, in reality, to be ever more diverse and less and less subject to any uniform system of measurement. Thus we think of the past in very different timescales, according to what we are doing; the time of the art-historian is different from that of the geologist, that of the football coach from the anthropologist's. There is a time of clocks, a time of radioactive carbon, a time even of linguistic change, as in lexicostatics. None of these is the same as the 'structural' or 'family' time of sociology. George Kubler in his book The Shape of Time distinguished between 'absolute' and 'systematic' age, a hierarchy of durations from that of the coral reef to that of the solar year. Our ways of filling the interval between the tick and tock must grow more difficult and more selfcritical, as well as more various; the need we continue to feel is a need of concord, and we supply it by increasingly varied concord-fictions. They change as the reality from which we, in the middest, seek a show of satisfaction, changes; because 'times change.' The fictions by which we seek to find 'what will suffice' change also. They change because we no longer live in a world with an historical tick which will certainly be consummated by a definitive tock. And among all the other changing fictions, literary fictions take their place. They find out about the changing world on our behalf; they arrange our complementarities. They do this, for some of us, perhaps better than history, perhaps better than theology, largely because they are consciously false; but the way to understand their development is to see how they are related to those other fictional systems. It is not that we are connoisseurs of chaos, but that we are surrounded by it, and equipped for coexistence with it only by our fictive powers. This may, in the absence of a supreme fiction-or the possibility of it, be a hard fate; which is why the poet of that fiction is compelled to say From this the poem springs: that we live in a place That is not our own, and much more, nor ourselves And hard it is, in spite of blazoned days.

-Frank Kermode

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PROLOGUE Some years ago in the Planet Orfheus ... It was dark when Lucius reached the rendezvous which had been chosen to be the new hideout. The latter had been used for several months and they were concerned that they were being followed and were close to being discovered. "I thought you were not coming. I've been waiting for you for almost an hour. I was getting anxious," Sofia said, relieved. "Sorry, love. It is becoming increasingly difficult. I almost didn't make it today. The troops were ambushed in the last invasion. Igor and many warriors returned seriously injured," Lucius replied. He looked worried. Why this sudden encounter? They had agreed that the next would be the following week. Lucius gave her a big hug, pulled her close to him, and remained silent for a few moments. His longing and desire consumed him. She meant the world to him. Without Sofia, his life would never make sense. He would never forget those eyes, serene and sincere, with a blue so bright and clear that were able to see the soul of the tormented warrior that was he. With her golden hair, Sofia looked like an angel. "Is there a problem? You're so quiet and deep in thought," she asked, puzzled. He answered, "I'm thinking about us. How long are we keeping it secret?" He walked away from her, sighing. "We can't keep lying and pretending that all is well. You have no idea how much I have to endure when you are away from me, or when I see you with him." "Love, not now. We have already discussed this subject several times. You know that our only alternative would be to flee and pray they will never find us," she replied. Sofia knew very well that the laws of the kingdom could not be disregarded. Love, respect, and loyalty were key factors that were part of the hierarchy of Orfheus. Although she had always been in love with Lucius who had never shown any interest in her, Sofia was bound to his brother Alex as a result of a pact. Over the centuries, Lucius began to change and express loving feelings for her. She never ceased to love him and both succumbed to the temptation and passion of it. Inevitably, a love affair developed between the two. Interrupting her thoughts, Lucius grabbed her by the hand and led her into the hut. This hut was located inside a vast and beautiful forest. He pulled her by the waist, gave her a passionate kiss, stroked her hair, and said softly, "Love, I missed you so much." "I also felt homesick but the real reason I came here today is to tell you something very important. I need you to listen carefully and keep calm," she said as she ran her hands through her hair which contrasted with her pale skin. Sofia did not want to scare him. However, she imagined that he would be upset and angry with the news. Unfortunately, the revelation was inevitable and sooner or later, everything would come out. "I'm pregnant," she said unceremoniously. For a brief moment, Lucius said nothing. He just stared at her without any reaction. He seemed to be in a silent battle with his own thoughts. "But how?" he babbled, not believing what he had just heard. It was surely a bombshell revelation. That would be the end for them. Sofia said, "Stay calm, love. I know this changes everything. What we were planning for months is no longer possible." She sat on a makeshift stool and continued with tears in her eyes. "With the baby coming, I cannot simply go through the portal. The baby and I would die during the crossing." Lucius replied, "Could we ask for help from Aunt Wilda? She is very powerful. Probably she would be able to break through the magic of the portals." Sofia had already thought of that. She was well aware that it was the only choice left. Aunt Wilda had always been like a mother to her. The sorceress adopted her when she was a girl, soon after her family had died in combat.

-Gisele de

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If we get rid of all wishful thinking and dubious metaphysical speculations, we can hardly doubt that – at a time not too distant – each one of us will simply cease to be. It won’t be like going into darkness forever, for there will be neither darkness, nor time, nor sense of futility, nor anyone to feel anything about it. Try as best you can to imagine this, and keep at it. The universe will, supposedly, be going on as usual, but for each individual it will be as if it had never happened at all; and even that is saying too much, because there won’t be anyone for whom it never happened. Make this prospect as real as possible: the one total certainty. You will be as if you had never existed, which was, however, the way you were before you did exist – and not only you but everything else. Nevertheless, with such an improbable past, here we are. We begin from nothing and end in nothing. You can say that again. Think it over and over, trying to conceive the fact of coming to never having existed. After a while you will begin to feel rather weird, as if this very apparent something that you are is at the same time nothing at all. Indeed, you seem to be rather firmly and certainly grounded in nothingness, much as your sight seems to emerge from that total blankness behind your eyes. The weird feeling goes with the fact that you are being introduced to a new common sense, a new logic, in which you are beginning to realize the identity of ku and shiki, void and form. All of a sudden it will strike you that this nothingness is the most potent, magical, basic, and reliable thing you ever thought of, and that the reason you can’t form the slight idea of it is that it’s yourself. But not the self you thought you were.

-Alan W. Watts

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a serious contender for my book of year. I can't believe I only discovered Chris Carter a year ago and I now consider him to be one of my favourite crime authors of all time. For that reason this is a difficult review to write because I really want to show just how fantastic this book is.It's a huge departure from what we are used to from Chris, this book is very different from the books that came before. That said it could not have been more successful in my opinion. After five books of Hunter trying to capture a serial killer it makes sense to shake things up a bit and Chris has done that in best possible way. By allowing us to get inside the head of one of the most evil characters I've ever read about. It is also the first book based on real facts and events from Chris's criminal psychology days and that makes it all the more shocking and fascinating. Chris Carter's imagination knows no bounds and I love it. The scenes, the characters, whatever he comes up with is both original and mind blowing and that has never been more so than with this book. I feel like I can't even mention the plot even just a little bit. This is a book that should be read in the same way that I read it: with my heart in my mouth, my eyes unblinking and in a state of complete obliviousness to the world around me while I was well and truly hooked on this book. This is addictive reading at its absolute best and I was devastated when I turned the very last page. Robert Hunter, after the events of the last few books is looking forward to a much needed break in Hawaii. Before he can escape however his Captain calls him to her office. Arriving, Hunter recognises someone - one of the most senior members of the FBI who needs his help. They have in custody one of the strangest individuals they have ever come across, a man who is more machine than human and who for days has uttered not a single word. Until one morning he utters seven: 'I will only speak to Robert Hunter'. The man is Hunter's roommate and best friend from college, Lucien Folter, and found in the boot of his car are two severed and mutilated heads. Lucien cries innocence and Hunter, a man incredibly difficult to read or surprise is played just as much as the reader is by Lucien. There are a million and one things I want to say but I just can't. You really have to discover how this story unfolds for yourself. In this book we learn so much more about Hunter and get inside his head even further than we have before. There's a chapter that almost brought me to tears such is the talent of Chris to connect the reader with Hunter. This is a character like no other and he is now one of my favourite detectives of all time. We go back in time and learn more about Hunter when he was younger, and also when he was in college with Lucien. Lucien is evil. The scenes depicted in this book are some of the most graphic I've ever read and you know what, I loved it. After five books of some of the scariest and goriest scenes I've ever read I wondered whether Chris could come up with something even worse (in a good way), but trust me, he does. This book is horrifying, terrifying and near impossible to put down until you reach its conclusion. I spent my days like a zombie and my nights practically giving myself paper cuts turning the pages. If when reading this book you think you have an idea of where it will go, prepare to be wrong. I've learnt never to underestimate Chris, keeping readers on their toes he takes them on an absolute rollercoaster of a ride with the twistiest of turns and the biggest of drops you will finish this book reeling. I am on a serious book hangover, what book can I read next that can even compare to this? I have no idea but if you are planning on reading An Evil Mind I cannot reccommend it enough. Not only is this probably my book of the year it is probably the best crime fiction book I have ever read. An exaggeration you might say but my opinion is my own and this real

-Ayaz mallah

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