It seemed to him that all his life he had followed the ideals that other people, by their words or their writings, had instilled into him, and never the desires of his own heart. Always his course had been swayed by what he thought he should do and never by what he wanted with his whole soul to do. […] He had lived always in the future, and the present always, always had slopped through his fingers. His ideals? He thought of his desire to make a design, intricate and beautiful, out of the myriad pattern, that in which a man was born, worked, married, had children, and died, was likewise the most perfect? It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.
Back then, living hadn't had any meaning. Every so often, without any warning or any real reason, he'd even caught himself thinking, 'Maybe I'll try dying.' He'd had one foot in the world of the dead, and yet the other foot had been chained to the world of the living, and he couldn't pull it out; he'd just looed on disinterestedly, sort of like it was all happening on the other side of some window, as the dull, vague world passed him by. Never making any more to walk out into it himself. Somewhere along the way, though, he'd stopped thinking about trying to die. He wondered when that had happened.
BUT MOST PEOPLE ARE RATHER STUPID AND WASTE THEIR LIVES. HAVE YOU NOT SEEN THAT? HAVE YOU NOT LOOKED DOWN FROM THE HORSE AT A CITY AND THOUGHT HOW MUCH IT RESEMBLED AN ANT HEAP, FULL OF BLIND CREATURES WHO THINK THEIR MUNDANE LITTLE WORLD WAS REAL? YOU SEE THE LIGHTED WINDOWS AND WHAT YOU WANT TO THINK IS THAT THERE MAY BE MANY INTERESTING STORIES BEHIND THEM, BUT WHAT YOU KNOW IS THAT REALLY THERE ARE JUST DULL, DULL SOULS, MERE CONSUMERS OF FOOD, WHO THINK THEIR INSTINCTS ARE EMOTIONS AND THEIR TINY LITTLE LIVES OF MORE ACCOUNT THAN A WHISPER OF WIND.The blue glow was bottmless. It seemed to be sucking her own thoughts out of her mind.'No,' whispered Susan, 'no, I've never thought like that.'Death stood up abruptly and turned away. YOU MAY FIND OUT THAT IT HELPS, he said.
Die. Do you think I will? I suppose I must...I exist now, and everything that exists must end, one day. I wonder how I will die, and what it will be like. It will be most interesting, don't you think? [...] Yes. Yes, I think it will," said the wolf. "I look forward to it. On the whole, I think it is a very strange and terrifying thing, to exist. I really don't understand how you do it. Tell me - how do you deal with the fear? "The fear?" asked George. "Yes. That fear that comes from the feeling that there is you, and then there is...everything else. That you are trapped inside of yourself, a tiny dot insignificant in the face of every everything that could ever be. How do you manage that?" George considered how to answer. "I...guess we just never think about it.""Never think about it!" cried the wolf. "How can you not think about it when it confronts you at every moment? You are lost amid a wide, dark sea, with no shores in sight, and you all so rarely panic! Some days I can barely function, so how on earth can you never think about it?""Well, I...suppose we distract ourselves," said George. "But with what?". "I don't know. With all kinds of things.
Even though we live in a world that people are much more conscience about being politically correct. The truth is if all children were taught from young (at home, church and school) that in our short existence on this planet, that we are all here to help humanity and to not hurt it and that hands are not for hurting but for trying to help all...our world would be a much better place to live in.
Regrets are the last words you speak to your loved ones when you die and the one thing we all fear when we live. I'd rather regret the things I've done and said than regret the things I haven't done or said. It is all the experiences and people you missed out on in life that you will feel the most regretful for in the end. God will forgive you of your mistakes, but there is nothing to forgive if you have never even tried, done or said anything that made a difference in your life or others.
I feel to that the gap between my new life in New York and the situation at home in Africa is stretching into a gulf, as Zimbabwe spirals downwards into a violent dictatorship. My head bulges with the effort to contain both worlds. When I am back in New York, Africa immediately seems fantastical – a wildly plumaged bird, as exotic as it is unlikely.Most of us struggle in life to maintain the illusion of control, but in Africa that illusion is almost impossible to maintain. I always have the sense there that there is no equilibrium, that everything perpetually teeters on the brink of some dramatic change, that society constantly stands poised for some spasm, some tsunami in which you can do nothing but hope to bob up to the surface and not be sucked out into a dark and hungry sea. The origin of my permanent sense of unease, my general foreboding, is probably the fact that I have lived through just such change, such a sudden and violent upending of value systems.In my part of Africa, death is never far away. With more Zimbabweans dying in their early thirties now, mortality has a seat at every table. The urgent, tugging winds themselves seem to whisper the message, memento mori, you too shall die. In Africa, you do not view death from the auditorium of life, as a spectator, but from the edge of the stage, waiting only for your cue. You feel perishable, temporary, transient. You feel mortal. Maybe that is why you seem to live more vividly in Africa. The drama of life there is amplified by its constant proximity to death. That’s what infuses it with tension. It is the essence of its tragedy too. People love harder there. Love is the way that life forgets that it is terminal. Love is life’s alibi in the face of death. For me, the illusion of control is much easier to maintain in England or America. In this temperate world, I feel more secure, as if change will only happen incrementally, in manageable, finely calibrated, bite-sized portions. There is a sense of continuity threaded through it all: the anchor of history, the tangible presence of antiquity, of buildings, of institutions. You live in the expectation of reaching old age.At least you used to.But on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, those two states of mind converge. Suddenly it feels like I am back in Africa, where things can be taken away from you at random, in a single violent stroke, as quick as the whip of a snake’s head. Where tumult is raised with an abruptness that is as breathtaking as the violence itself.
Top 10 Deathbed Regrets:1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life other people expected of me.2. I wish I took time to be with my children more when they were growing up.3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings, without the fear of being rejected or unpopular.4. I wish I would have stayed in touch with friends and family.5. I wish I would have forgiven someone when I had the chance.6. I wish I would have told the people I loved the most how important they are to me.7. I wish I would have had more confidence and tried more things, instead of being afraid of looking like a fool.8. I wish I would have done more to make an impact in this world.9. I wish I would have experienced more, instead of settling for a boring life filled with routine, mediocrity and apathy.10. I wish I would have pursued my talents and gifts.(contributed by Shannon L. Alder, author and therapist that has 17 years of experience working with hospice patients)
To your request of my opinion of the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted, so as to be most useful, I should answer, ‘by restraining it to true facts & sound principles only.’ Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly deprive the nation of its benefits, than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knolege with the lies of the day. I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens, who, reading newspapers, live & die in the belief, that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time; whereas the accounts they have read in newspapers are just as true a history of any other period of the world as of the present, except that the real names of the day are affixed to their fables. General facts may indeed be collected from them, such as that Europe is now at war, that Bonaparte has been a successful warrior, that he has subjected a great portion of Europe to his will, &c., &c.; but no details can be relied on. I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false.”—Letter to John Norvell, 14 June 1807[Works 10:417--18]
When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and opens ways for better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it and shows there are still more pages possible.
There have been ample opportunities since 1945 to show that material superiority in war is not enough if the will to fight is lacking. In Algeria, Vietnam and Afghanistan the balance of economic and military strength lay overwhelmingly on the side of France, the United States, and the Soviet Union, but the will to win was slowly eroded. Troops became demoralised and brutalised. Even a political solution was abandoned. In all three cases the greater power withdrew. The Second World War was an altogether different conflict, but the will to win was every bit as important - indeed it was more so. The contest was popularly perceived to be about issues of life and death of whole communities rather than for their fighting forces alone. They were issues, wrote one American observer in 1939, 'worth dying for'. If, he continued, 'the will-to-destruction triumphs, our resolution to preserve civilisation must become more implacable...our courage must mount'.Words like 'will' and 'courage' are difficult for historians to use as instruments of cold analysis. They cannot be quantified; they are elusive of definition; they are products of a moral language that is regarded sceptically today, even tainted by its association with fascist rhetoric. German and Japanese leaders believed that the spiritual strength of their soldiers and workers in some indefinable way compensate for their technical inferiority. When asked after the war why Japan lost, one senior naval officer replied that the Japanese 'were short on spirit, the military spirit was weak...' and put this explanation ahead of any material cause. Within Germany, belief that spiritual strength or willpower was worth more than generous supplies of weapons was not confined to Hitler by any means, though it was certainly a central element in the way he looked at the world.The irony was that Hitler's ambition to impose his will on others did perhaps more than anything to ensure that his enemies' will to win burned brighter still. The Allies were united by nothing so much as a fundamental desire to smash Hitlerism and Japanese militarism and to use any weapon to achieve it. The primal drive for victory at all costs nourished Allied fighting power and assuaged the thirst for vengeance. They fought not only because the sum of their resources added up to victory, but because they wanted to win and were certain that their cause was just.The Allies won the Second World War because they turned their economic strength into effective fighting power, and turned the moral energies of their people into an effective will to win. The mobilisation of national resources in this broad sense never worked perfectly, but worked well enough to prevail. Materially rich, but divided, demoralised, and poorly led, the Allied coalition would have lost the war, however exaggerated Axis ambitions, however flawed their moral outlook. The war made exceptional demands on the Allied peoples. Half a century later the level of cruelty, destruction and sacrifice that it engendered is hard to comprehend, let alone recapture. Fifty years of security and prosperity have opened up a gulf between our own age and the age of crisis and violence that propelled the world into war. Though from today's perspective Allied victory might seem somehow inevitable, the conflict was poised on a knife-edge in the middle years of the war. This period must surely rank as the most significant turning point in the history of the modern age.
The hide was being flayed off the still living body of the Revolution so that a new age could slip in to it; as for the red bloody meat, the steaming innards - they were being thrown onto the scrapheap. The new age needed only the hide of the Revolution - and this was being flayed off people who were still alive. Those who slipped into it spoke the language of the Revolution and mimicked it's gestures, but their brains, lungs, livers and eyes were utterly different.
When a person dies, they cross over from the realm of freedom to the realm of slavery. Life is freedom, and dying is a gradual denial of freedom. Consciousness first weakens and then disappears. The life-processes – respiration, the metabolism, the circulation – continue for some time, but an irrevocable move has been made towards slavery; consciousness, the flame of freedom, has died out.The stars have disappeared from the night sky; the Milky Way has vanished; the sun has gone out; Venus, Mars and Jupiter have been extinguished; millions of leaves have died; the wind and the oceans have faded away; flowers have lost their colour and fragrance; bread has vanished; water has vanished; even the air itself, the sometimes cool, sometimes sultry air, has vanished. The universe inside a person has ceased to exist. This universe is astonishingly similar to the universe that exists outside people. It is astonishingly similar to the universes still reflected within the skulls of millions of living people. But still more astonishing is the fact that this universe had something in it that distinguished the sound of its ocean, the smell of its flowers, the rustle of its leaves, the hues of its granite and the sadness of its autumn fields both from those of every other universe that exists and ever has existed within people, and from those of the universe that exists eternally outside people. What constitutes the freedom, the soul of an individual life, is its uniqueness. The reflection of the universe in someone's consciousness is the foundation of his or her power, but life only becomes happiness, is only endowed with freedom and meaning when someone exists as a whole world that has never been repeated in all eternity. Only then can they experience the joy of freedom and kindness, finding in others what they have already found in themselves.
People beleived that the most devastating part of a war are the corpses with their guts out in the open, the puddles of blood, and all that you can capture at first glance. But sometimes the horror is off to the side, in the lost look on the face of a woman who's just been raped, as she limps away alone within the ruins, trying to keep her head down. Gerda and Capa were not aware of this yet. They were too young. And that was their first conflict. They still believed war had its romantic side.
I'm still trying to get them to come up and stay with me, but they won't, ... It's home, their roots, their whole lives. It's kind of hard for me knowing that this has happened and my parents won't leave and there's nothing I can do to get my people up here. It's hurtful every day, stressful.
Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won’t tell you about themselves if they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they become the worse type of person. Unfortunately, they end up hurting themselves in the long run. They don’t want to hurt other people. It is against their very nature. They want to make amends and undo the wrong they did. Their life is a wave of highs and lows. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings. They are tortured souls that are not able to live with hatred or being hated. This type of person needs the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing, and the ones that often become activists for the broken hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved.
Imagine a soldier who believes killing another human being is wrong, kills his first human being in war when he has never killed before. Worse still, imagine this same soldier has his enemy in his sites and the enemy appears defenseless. Here, he might be allowed the luxury to have that moment with himself to debate whether he should pull the trigger or not. But on another day he may not have that luxury. Imagine further, a soldier is in this situation because his father was a soldier, and his grandfather was a soldier, and he is trying to please them but, unlike them, he doesn’t believe killing people in war is right, yet there he is on the battlefield anyway where ‘killed or be killed’ leads the list in the army’s operation manual. So, he pulls the trigger anyway even though he’s categorically against killing another human being. And maybe this is the first time he’s compromised on such a high principle and he continues killing other people as long as he’s in the war and each time it becomes easier and easier until his principle, his absolute truth, is a motto not to live by, but one that is just a topic of conversation in a philosophy class or a backyard barbecue. War has changed him. From Messages From a Grandfather, by Robert Gately