At what point, 2,000 years on from the life of Jesus, do we need a refresher course? Another 2,000 years? Imagine 100,000 years’ time – would the story of Moses’ burning bush amaze a generation laden with unimaginable scientific and technological wonders? Here lies religion’s biggest quandary. While science is squeezing the life out of God, how is religion going to muster a counterattack from here?
It's not Americans I find annoying; it's Americanism: a social disease of the postindustrial world that must inevitably infect each of the mercantile nations in turn, and is called 'American' only because your nation is the most advanced case of the malady, much as one speaks of Spanish flu, or Japanese Type-B encephalitis. It's symptoms are a loss of work ethic, a shrinking of inner resources, and a constant need for external stimulation, followed by spiritual decay and moral narcosis. You can recognize the victim by his constant efforts to get in touch with himself, to believe his spiritual feebleness is an interesting psychological warp, to construe his fleeing from responsibility as evidence that he and his life are uniquely open to new experiences. In the later stages, the sufferer is reduced to seeking that most trivial of human activities: fun.
How, then,' I hear you ask, 'shall I attain my end, whether it be Christian love, socialism, or American democracy?' Your Christian love and your socialism and your American democracy are what you do each day, your manner of thinking each hour, of embracing your life companion and loving your child; they are your attitude of social responsibility towards your work, and your determination not to become like the crushers of life you so hate.
I thought he should know the truth."Some say that I'm a ... well a ..." I hated to say what others teased me mercilessly about... "A... slow learner."He shrugged as if to indicate that it didn't mean anything to him, but seemed anxious about what to say to console me. Finally, he reached out and touched my hand. "Yeah, but they don't have life mates whose destines are written in the stars." I wanted to groan out loud. I was a slow learner and was to be mated with a vampiric human whose old flame wanted me dead. How was this a good thing?
Now, how do the young prepare to meet the old? The same way the old prepare to meet the young: with a little condescension; with low expectation of the other’s rationality; with the knowledge that the other will find what they say hard to understand, that it will go beyond them (not so much over the head as between the legs); and with the feeling that they must arrive with something the other will like, something suitable.
Oh, what had she done?"He'd startled her; that was the problem. It was all his fault he was lying on the ground, looking rather cherub like, his blond hair curling about his ears, his bright blue eyes closed now, his masculine lips parted slightly as he slept the sleep of the dead.She studied his masculine lips. And thought just how much havoc she could wreak if she kissed him. Served him right for startling her so.Without analyzing whether she should do it, and just because she could, she pressed her mouth against his and gently kissed his lips, meaning only to give a quick peck and that was it.... His lips curved up under hers and for a second, she thought he was awake, smiling at her kissing him....Her thoughts reverted to the kiss and immediately the human faery tale Sleeping Beauty and the prince giving the princess a kiss to wake her sprang to mind. Why ever did humans make up such nonsense anyway?
[..] as midnight inevitably came and went without the horsemen of the apocalypse making an appearance, Clara surprised herself by falling into a melancholy.For ridding oneself of faith is like boiling sea-water to retrieve the salt something is gained but something is lost. Though her friends Merlin, Wan-Si, et al. clapped her on the back and congratulated her for exorcizing those fervid dreams of perdition and redemption, Clara quietly mourned the warmer touch she had waited for these nineteen years, the all-enveloping bear hug of the Saviour, the One who was Alpha and Omega, both the beginning and the end; the man who was meant to take her away from all this, from the listless reality of life in a ground-floor flat in Lambeth. What now for Clara? Ryan would find another fad; Darcus need only turn to the other channel; for Hortense another date would of course materialize, along with more leaflets, ever more faith. But Clara was not like Hortense. Yet a residue, left over from the evaporation of Clara's faith, remained. She still wished for a saviour. She still wished for a man to whisk her away, to choose her above others so that she might Walk in white with Him: for [she] was worthy. Revelation 3:4.
I have known many true connoisseurs, with excellent tastes that range across the humanities and the culinary arts--and they never fail to have a fatal effect on my self-esteem. When I find myself sitting at dinner next to someone who knows just as much about novels as I do but has somehow also found the mental space to adore and be knowledgeable about the opera, have strong opinions about the relative rankings of Renaissance painters, an encyclopedic knowledge of the English civil war, of French wines--I feel an anxiety that nudges beyond the envious into the existential. How did she find the time?
Humans have evolved to their relatively high state by retaining the immature characteristics of their ancestors. Humans are the most advanced of mammals – although a case could be made for the dolphins – because they seldom grow up. Behavioral traits such as curiosity about the world, flexibility of response, and playfulness are common to practically all young mammals but are usually rapidly lost with the onset of maturity in all but humans. Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.
Beauty! Wasn't that what mattered? Beauty was hardly a popular ideal at that jumpy moment in history. The masses had been desensitized to it, the intelligentsia regarded it with suspicion. To most of her peers, 'beauty' smacked of the rarefied, the indulgent, the superfluous, the effete. How could persons of good conscience pursue the beautiful when there was so much suffering and injustice in the world? Ellen Cherry's answer was that if one didn't cultivate beauty, soon he or she wouldn't be able to recognize ugliness. The prevalence of social ugliness made commitment to physical beauty all the more essential. And the very presence in life of double-wide mobile homes, Magic Marker graffiti, and orange shag carpeting had the effect of making ills such as poverty, crime, repression, pollution, and child abuse seem tolerable. In a sense, beauty was the ultimate protest, and, in that it generally lasted longer than an orgasm, the ultimate refuge. The Venus de Milo screamed 'No!' at evil, whereas the Spandex stretch pant, the macrame plant holder were compliant with it. Ugly bedrooms bred ugly habits. Of course, it wasn't required of beauty that it perform a social function. That was what was valuable about it.
We modern human beings are looking at life, trying to make some sense of it; observing a 'reality' that often seems to be unfolding in a foreign tongue--only we've all been issued the wrong librettos. For a text, we're given the Bible. Or the Talmud or the Koran. We're given Time magazine, and Reader's Digest, daily papers, and the six o'clock news; we're given schoolbooks, sitcoms, and revisionist histories; we're given psychological counseling, cults, workshops, advertisements, sales pitches, and authoritative pronouncements by pundits, sold-out scientists, political activists, and heads of state. Unfortunately, none of these translations bears more than a faint resemblance to what is transpiring in the true theater of existence, and most of them are dangerously misleading. We're attempting to comprehend the spiraling intricacies of a magnificently complex tragicomedy with librettos that describe the barrom melodramas or kindergarten skits. And when's the last time you heard anybody bitch about it to the management?
I think people weren't expecting much of us at the beginning of the year, but we've shown how much we've wanted it and we've beaten the odds. We're improving every game and becoming more solid as a team offensively and defensively. We play together well. Nobody tries to run the show. Everybody works together to try to win the game.
She remembered the day vividly, for how can you forget the day your heart is broken? The funny thing about a broken heart is that it's not fatal. Though you wish in vain that it were, life continues on and you have no choice but to continue on with it. You take the hand that fate has dealt you and you press forward because there is nothing else that can be done.
Light and the human is poorly understood by the astronomicalprofession, with many astronomers not understanding which light bulbs they should have in their ownhomes and offices! It is embarrassing that astronomers do not understand the many forms of artificiallighting that they are exposed to every day and how it affects them.
It took a couple of months before we were both convinced there were no rules about sexual activities in Hell and our spouses were not going to show up out of the blue. It was hard to start a sexual relationship in circumstances of such bizarre uncertainty, especially for an active Mormon and a good Christian, both lost in a Zoroastrian Hell. We were like virgin newlyweds. All my life I’d been raised to believe this kind of thing was wrong. All my life I had lived with a strong sense of morality. How do you give it up? How do you do things you thought you’d never do? Where do all the things you believed go, when all the supporting structure is found to be a myth? How do you know how or on what to take a moral stand, how do you behave when it turns out there are no cosmic rules, no categorical imperatives? It was difficult. So tricky to untangle.
Are you sure? I mean, I don’t understand how this could have happened. She’s only fifteen; I didn’t even know she was sexually active.” Mallory’s father, normally in control, was on the verge of tears. He refused to look at his daughter, his little girl. As much as he had preached abstinence to her, he still kept a watchful eye over her, yet here they were, facing the unthinkable. He wanted to know when this happened, and with whom—but those questions would have to wait.