It seemed funny that one day I would go to bed in her arms and the next not feel anything, like a switch had gone off. But no, that wasn’t honest either. This had been building for a long time. Our silences were getting longer. Our arguments more frequent. How do you stay with someone when there are no dreams to build? No purpose to accomplish? No meaning? No meaning —that was the monster that drove us away from one another in the end. Always.
The perfect being, huh? There is no such thing as perfect in this world. That may sound cliché, but it’s the truth. The average person admires perfection and seeks to obtain it. But, what’s the point of achieving perfection? There is none. Nothing. Not a single thing. I loathe perfection! If something is perfect, then there is nothing left. There is no room for imagination. No place left for a person to gain additional knowledge or abilities. Do you know what that means? For scientists such as ourselves, perfection only brings despair. It is our job to create things more wonderful than anything before them, but never to obtain perfection. A scientist must be a person who finds ecstasy while suffering from that antimony. In short, the moment that foolishness left your mouth and reached my ears, you had already lost. Of course, that’s assuming you are a scientist
As I thought of these things, I drew aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labour continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God; and at their perfect labour my mortality grew heavy, and I cried out, as so many dreamers and men of letters in our age have cried, for the birth of that elaborate spiritual beauty which could alone uplift souls weighted with so many dreams.
The forest stretched on seemingly forever with the most monotonous predictability, each tree just like the next - trunk, branches, leaves; trunk, branches, leaves. Of course a tree would have taken a different view of the matter. We all tend to see the way others are alike and how we differ, and it's probably just as well we do, since that prevents a great deal of confusion. But perhaps we should remind ourselves from time to time that ours is a very partial view, and that the world is full of a great deal more variety than we ever manage to take in.
A purposeless virtue is a contradiction in terms. Virtue, like harmony, cannot exist alone; a virtue must lead to harmony between one creature and another. To be good for nothing is just that. If a virtue has been thought a virtue long enough, it must be assumed to have practical justification - though the very longevity that proves its practicality may obscure it. That seems to be what happened with the idea of fidelity...Our age could be characterized as a manifold experiment in faithlessness, and if it has as yet produced no effective understanding of the practicalities of faith, it has certainly produced massive evidence of the damage and disorder of its absence.(pg.115-116, "The Body and the Earth")
Those dreaming of the perfect match are outnumbered by those who don't really want it at all, though perhaps they can't admit it. After all, our culture makes individual freedom, autonomy and fulfillment the very highest values, and thoughtful people know deep down that any love relationship at all means the loss of all three. You can say, 'I want someone who will accept me just as I am,' but in your heart of hearts you know that you are not perfect, that there are plenty of things about you that need to be changed, and that anyone who gets to know you up close and personal will want to change them.
Tell me something. Do you believe in God?'Snow darted an apprehensive glance in my direction. 'What? Who still believes nowadays?''It isn't that simple. I don't mean the traditional God of Earth religion. I'm no expert in the history of religions, and perhaps this is nothing new--do you happen to know if there was ever a belief in an...imperfect God?''What do you mean by imperfect?' Snow frowned. 'In a way all the gods of the old religions were imperfect, considered that their attributes were amplified human ones. The God of the Old Testament, for instance, required humble submission and sacrifices, and and was jealous of other gods. The Greek gods had fits of sulks and family quarrels, and they were just as imperfect as mortals...''No,' I interrupted. 'I'm not thinking of a god whose imperfection arises out of the candor of his human creators, but one whose imperfection represents his essential characteristic: a god limited in his omniscience and power, fallible, incapable of foreseeing the consequences of his acts, and creating things that lead to horror. He is a...sick god, whose ambitions exceed his powers and who does not realize it at first. A god who has created clocks, but not the time they measure. He has created systems or mechanisms that serves specific ends but have now overstepped and betrayed them. And he has created eternity, which was to have measured his power, and which measures his unending defeat.'Snow hesitated, but his attitude no longer showed any of the wary reserve of recent weeks:'There was Manicheanism...''Nothing at all to do with the principles of Good and Evil,' I broke in immediately. 'This god has no existence outside of matter. He would like to free himself from matter, but he cannot...'Snow pondered for a while:'I don't know of any religion that answers your description. That kind of religion has never been...necessary. If i understand you, and I'm afraid I do, what you have in mind is an evolving god, who develops in the course of time, grows, and keeps increasing in power while remaining aware of his powerlessness. For your god, the divine condition is a situation without a goal. And understanding that, he despairs. But isn't this despairing god of yours mankind, Kelvin? Is it man you are talking about, and that is a fallacy, not just philosophically but also mystically speaking.'I kept on:'No, it's nothing to do with man. man may correspond to my provisional definition from some point of view, but that is because the definition has a lot of gaps. Man does not create gods, in spite of appearances. The times, the age, impose them on him. Man can serve is age or rebel against it, but the target of his cooperation or rebellion comes to him from outside. If there was only a since human being in existence, he would apparently be able to attempt the experiment of creating his own goals in complete freedom--apparently, because a man not brought up among other human beings cannot become a man. And the being--the being I have in mind--cannot exist in the plural, you see? ...Perhaps he has already been born somewhere, in some corner of the galaxy, and soon he will have some childish enthusiasm that will set him putting out one star and lighting another. We will notice him after a while...''We already have,' Snow said sarcastically. 'Novas and supernovas. According to you they are candles on his altar.''If you're going to take what I say literally...'...Snow asked abruptly:'What gave you this idea of an imperfect god?''I don't know. It seems quite feasible to me. That is the only god I could imagine believing in, a god whose passion is not a redemption, who saves nothing, fulfills no purpose--a god who simply is.
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 age-old, seemingly inexorable process whereby diseases acquire meanings (by coming to stand for the deepest fears) and inflict stigma is always worth challenging, and it does seem to have more limited credibility in the modern world, among people willing to be modern - the process is under surveillance now. With this illness, one that elicits so much guilt and shame, the effort to detach it from these meanings, these metaphors, seems particularly liberating, even consoling. But the metaphors cannot be distanced just by abstaining from them. They have to be exposed, criticized, belabored, used up.
how did you end up there?” Americans, it seems, find comfort in reasons and explanations. They honestly believe that if they can find the reason for someone else’s misfortune, they can avoid that misfortune themselves. If they could find out how I ended up in the tenements, they could assure themselves that it could never have happened to them.
Can I have my knife back?' Meaning, can I have my knife back. I don't care whether this man seems like he only goes after age appropriate penis; I won't be taking any chances. And I won't be going any farther thank the juvie center parking lot with him either. I put the run in runaway.
A sound interrupted him; a frail quivering sound, a voice bubbling up without direction, vigour, beginning or end, running weakly and shrilly and with an absence of all human meaning intoee um fah sofoo swee too eem oo--the voice of no age or sex, the voice of an ancient spring spouting from the earth; which issued, just opposite regent's Park Tube station from a tall quivering shape, like a funnel, like a rusty pump, like a wind-beaten tree for ever barren of leaves which lets the wind run up and down its branches singingee um fah sofoo swee too eem ooand rocks and creaks and moans in the eternal breeze. Through all the ages - when the pavement was grass, when it was swamp, through the ages of tusk and mammoth, through the age of silent sunrise, the battered woman - for she wore a skirt - with her right hand exposed, her left clutching at her side, stood singing of love - love which has lasted a million years, she sang, love which prevails, and millions of years ago, her lover, who had been dead these centuries, had walked, she crooned, with her in May; but in the course of ages, long as summer days, and flaming, she remembered, with nothing but red asters, he had gone; death's enormous sickle had swept those tremendous hills, and when at last she laid her hoary and immensely aged head on the earth, now become a mere cinder of ice, she implored the Gods to lay by her side a bunch of purple heather, there on her high burial place which the last ruined rays of the last sun caressed; for then the pageant of the universe would be over.As the ancient song bubbled up opposite Regent's Park Tube station still the earth seemed green and flowery; still, though it issued from so rude a mouth, a mere hole in the earth, muddy too, matted with root fibres and tangled grasses, still the old bubbling burbling song, soaking through the knotted roots of infinite ages, and skeletons and treasure, streamed away in rivulets over the pavement and all along Marylebone Road, and down towards Euston, fertilising, leaving a damp stain.Still remembering how once in some primeval May she had walked with her lover, this rusty pump, this battered old woman with one hand exposed for coppers the other side clutching her side, would still be there in ten million years, remembering how once she had walked in May, where the sea flows now, with whom it did not matter - he was a man, oh yes, a man who had loved her. but the passage of ages had blurred the clarity of that ancient May day; the bright petalled flowers were hoar and silver frosted; and she no longer saw, when she implored him (as she did not quite clearly) "look in my eyes with thy sweet eyes intently," she no longer saw brown eyes, black whiskers or sunburnt face but only a looming shape, a shadow shape, to which, with the bird-like freshness of the very aged she still twittered "give me your hand and let me press it gently" (Peter Walsh could not help giving the poor creature a coin as he stepped into his taxi), "and if some one should see, what matter they?" she demanded; and her fist clutched at her side, and she smiled, pocketing her shilling, and all peering inquisitive eyes seemed blotted out, and the passing generations - the pavement was crowded with bustling middle-class people - vanished, like leaves, to be trodden under, to be soaked and steeped and made mould of by that eternal spring - ee um fah um soofoo swee too eem oo
Marx was troubled by the question of why ancient Greek art retained an ‘eternal charm’, even though the social conditions which produced it had long passed; but how do we know that it will remain ‘eternally’ charming, since history has not yet ended? Let us imagine that by dint of some deft archaeological research we discovered a great deal more about what ancient Greek tragedy actually meant to its original audiences, recognized that these concerns were utterly remote from our own, and began to read the plays again in the light of this deepened knowledge. One result might be that we stopped enjoying them. We might come to see that we had enjoyed them previously because we were unwittingly reading them in the light of our own preoccupations; once this became less possible, the drama might cease to speak at all significantly to us.The fact that we always interpret literary works to some extent in the light of our own concerns - indeed that in one sense of ‘our own concerns’ we are incapable of doing anything else - might be one reason why certain works of literature seem to retain their value across the centuries. It may be, of course, that we still share many preoccupations with the work itself; but it may also be that people have not actually been valuing the ‘same’ work at all, even though they may think they have. ‘Our’ Homer is not identical with the Homer of the Middle Ages, nor ‘our’ Shakespeare with that of his contemporaries; it is rather that different historical periods have constructed a ‘different’ Homer and Shakespeare for their own purposes, and found in these texts elements to value or devalue, though not necessarily the same ones. All literary works, in other words, are ‘rewritten’, if only unconsciously, by the societies which read them; indeed there is no reading of a work which is not also a ‘re-writing’. No work, and no current evaluation of it, can simply be extended to new groups of people without being changed, perhaps almost unrecognizably, in the process; and this is one reason why what counts as literature is a notably unstable affair.
As for wealth, we live in a civilization which piously denies that it is an end in itself, and treats it exactly this way in practice. One of the most powerful indictments of capitalism is that it compels us to invest most of our creative energies in matters which are in fact purely utilitarian. The means of life become the end. Life consists in laying the material infrastructure for living. It is astonishing that in the twenty-fi rst century, the material organization of life should bulk as large as it did in the Stone Age. The capital which might be devoted to releasing men and women, at least to some moderate degree, from the exigencies of labour is dedicated instead to the task of amassing more capital.
They also knew that there was a string of DNA at the end of each chromosome called a telomere, which shortened a tiny bit each time a cell divided, like time ticking off a clock. As normal cells go through life, their telomeres shorten with each division until they’re almost gone. Then they stop dividing and begin to die. This process correlates with the age of a person: the older we are, the shorter our telomeres, and the fewer times our cells have left to divide before they die. By the early nineties, a scientist at Yale had used HeLa to discover that human cancer cells contain an enzyme called telomerase that rebuilds their telomeres. The presence of telomerase meant cells could keep regenerating their telomeres indefinitely. This explained the mechanics of HeLa’s immortality: telomerase constantly rewound the ticking clock at the end of Henrietta’s chromosomes so they never grew old and never died.
You see, the penis, it's so graceless, wouldn't you agree? When it's cold and shrivelled up, it looks like W.H. Auden in his old age; when it's hot, it flops and dangles about in a ridiculous way; when it's excited, it looks so pained and earnest you'd think it was going to burst into tears. And the scrotum! To think that something so vital to the survival of the species, fully responsible for 50 per cent of the ingredients--though none of the work--should hang freely from the body in a tiny, defenceless bag of skin. One whack, one bite, one paw-scratch--and it's just the right level, too, for your average animal, a dog, a lion, a sabre-tooth tiger--and that's it, end of story. Don't you think it should get better protection? Behind some bone, for example, like us? What could be better than our nicely tapered entrance? It's discreet and stylish, everything is cleverly and compactly encased in the body, with nothing hanging out within easy reach of a closing subway door, there's a neat triangle of hair above it, like a road sign, should you lose your way--it's perfect. The penis is just such a lousy design. It's pre-Scandinavian. Pre-Bauhaus, even.
Now the line is: Forget the classics, concentrate on an education for the 21st century! Which apparently means knowing how to operate electronic devices and figure out a spreadsheet. That's not education, it's vocational training. What once were means seem to have become ends in education. And our more with-it "educators" shift with every passing wind, clutching at the latest gimmick the way drowning men do at straws.