Don’t fool yourself: we all have a cruel streak. We keep it under lock and key either because we’re afraid of getting punished or because we believe this will somehow make a difference, make the world a better place.
Now you see. We are all fugitives. We have always been fugitives from the void. Whatever comfort, whatever power we gain from outside of ourselves diminishes us -- because comfort and power, unless they are won from the void inside of us, are illusions that make us forget the emptyness that carries us. When we forget that, we believe we deserve comfort and power and so are capable of any evil. We deserve nothing but what we make of ourselves. We deserve nothing else. And when we understand that, then nothing is enough.
That’s why we all hate ’em, he thought. Those expressionless eyes watch us, those big faces turn to follow us, and doesn’t it just look as if they’re making notes and taking names? If you heard that one had bashed in someone’s head over in Quirm or somewhere, wouldn’t you just love to believe it? A voice inside, a voice which generally came to him only in the quiet hours of the night or, in the old days, half-way down a whiskey bottle, added: Given how we use them, maybe we’re scared because we know we deserve it…
We have to defend views we don't share and impose them on the public; deal with questions we don't understand and vulgarize them for the gallery. We can't have ideas of our own, we have to have those of the editor; and even the editor doesn't have the right to think with his own head, because when he's sent for by the board of directors he has to stifle his own views, if he has any, and support those of the shareholders.
It seems to me that we can’t explain all the truly awful things in the world like war and murder and brain tumors, and we can’t fix these things, so we look at the frightening things that are closer to us and we magnify them until they burst open. Inside is something that we can manage, something that isn’t as awful as it had a first seemed. It is a relief to discover that although there might be axe murderers and kidnappers in the world, most people seem a lot like us: sometimes afraid and sometimes brave, sometimes cruel and sometimes kind.
We don’t yet have a body of scientific knowledge about evil to be called a facet of psychology. Therefore, religious reasoning for actions will always be at the discretion of the psychologist, thus making them the judge and jury over what is delusion and what is a spiritual experience that has to be sedated.
I'm afraid that we all make mistakes. One of the things that defines our character is how we handle mistakes. If we lie about having made a mistake, then it can't be corrected and it festers. On the other hand, if we give up just because we made a mistake, even a big mistake, none of us would get far in life.
What the dead don't know piles up, though we don't notice it at first. They don't know how we're getting along without them, of course, dealing with the hours and days that now accrue so quickly, and, unless they divined this somehow in advance, they don't know that we don't want this inexorable onslaught of breakfasts and phone calls and going to the bank, all this stepping along, because we don't want anything extraneous to get in the way of what we feel about them or the ways we want to hold them in mind.
Don’t hold back because you’re afraid of hurting someone else. If your best friend wants to be a cheerleader and you make the team but she doesn’t, don’t feel guilty. If you end up earning more than your sister, it’s not a betrayal. Your success might be an inspiration for someone else, while limiting yourself to avoid upsetting the balance doesn’t help anyone. Equally, rather than being paralysed by jealousy when someone else is coming out on top, use it to spur you on to greater things. Some of our best achievements will be triggered by envy at seeing someone else fulfilling our secret ambitions.
Don’t be. There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t hurt someone and caused them to suffer. We’re human. We’re supposed to do that from time to time. The divine part comes in when we forgive the person who hurt us most, because we realize they’re worth suffering for."Michael Kavanaugh, Reputable Surrender
When all you know is pain you don’t know that that is not normal. It is not a woman’s lot to suffer, even if we’ve been raised that way.It is not OK to miss a part of your life because of pain and excessive bleeding.It is not OK to be bed-ridden for two-to-three days a month.It is not OK to pain during sex.It is not OK to have major bloating or nausea.
We have all been fooled into believing in people who are entirely imaginary--made-up prisoners in a hypothetical panopticon. But the point isn't whether or not you believe in imaginary people; it's whether or not you want to."I think I'll stick with reality," I said, handing Cassidy back her phone.She stared at it, and then me, disappointed. "I'd think you of all people would want to escape.""Imaginary prisoners are still prisoners.
People don’t seem to realizeit that it is not like we’re onthe Titanic and we have toavoid the iceberg. We’vealready hit the iceberg. Thewater is rushing in down below. But some people justdon’t want to leave the dancefloor; others don’t want togive up on the buffet. But ifwe don’t make the hardchoices, nature will make them for u
And since we don’t just forget things because they don’t matter but also forget things because they matter too much because each of us remembers and forgets in a pattern whose labyrinthine windings are an identification mark no less distinctive than a fingerprint's, it’s no wonder that the shards of reality one person will cherish as a biography can seem to someone else who, say, happened to have eaten some ten thousand dinners at the very same kitchen table, to be a willful excursion into mythomania
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering – these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love – these are what we stay alive for.
Stories don’t teach us to be good; it isn’t as simple as that. They show us what it feels like to be good, or to be bad. They show us people like ourselves doing right things and wrong things, acting bravely or acting meanly, being cruel or being kind, and they leave it up to our own powers of empathy and imagination to make the connection with our own lives. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. It isn’t like putting a coin in a machine and getting a chocolate bar; we’re not mechanical, we don’t respond every time in the same way…The moral teaching comes gently, and quietly, and little by little, and weighs nothing at all. We hardly know it’s happening. But in this silent and discreet way, with every book we read and love, with every story that makes its way into our heart, we gradually acquire models of behaviour and friends we admire and patterns of decency and kindness to follow.Philip Pullman from his Award Lecture, Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Recipient 2005
As Canadians, we don't usually pat ourselves on the back, blow our horn. And veterans are the same, they're very humble, very low-key. But when you hear the stories, sometimes the hair on the back of your neck stands up, because it's so amazing some of the things that they've done, the courage that they've shown.
AubadeI work all day, and get half-drunk at night. Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare. In time the curtain-edges will grow light. Till then I see what’s really always there: Unresting death, a whole day nearer now, Making all thought impossible but how And where and when I shall myself die. Arid interrogation: yet the dread Of dying, and being dead, Flashes afresh to hold and horrify. The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse —The good not done, the love not given, time Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because An only life can take so long to climb Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never; But at the total emptiness for ever, The sure extinction that we travel to And shall be lost in always. Not to be here, Not to be anywhere, And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true. This is a special way of being afraid No trick dispels. Religion used to try, That vast moth-eaten musical brocade Created to pretend we never die, And specious stuff that says No rational being Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound, No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with, Nothing to love or link with, The anaesthetic from which none come round. And so it stays just on the edge of vision, A small unfocused blur, a standing chill That slows each impulse down to indecision. Most things may never happen: this one will, And realisation of it rages out In furnace-fear when we are caught without People or drink. Courage is no good: It means not scaring others. Being brave Lets no one off the grave. Death is no different whined at than withstood. Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape. It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know, Have always known, know that we can’t escape, Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go. Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring Intricate rented world begins to rouse. The sky is white as clay, with no sun. Work has to be done. Postmen like doctors go from house to house.