Those who study a wide variety of things realize that they don’t know everything whereas specialists think they do.
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.
Put that thing down, girl. Don't you know it steals part of your soul, that little mechanical masterpiece you hold so frivolously? Don't you know it's not just mine it seals into its gears and trick mirrors, but yours, too. What you feel at this moment, what you hope for, what your dreams are, what you think your future will unfold like, it steals it all from you, too. You aren't safe just because of the side of the lens you're on. And later, when everything is said and done, and you want to forget everything that happened in these walls, when you're all alone, this picture, this piece of your soul you didn't even know was gone, will haunt you. It will come bearing knives and AKs and nine millimeters, and it will destroy you from the inside out. Put that damned thing down and stop acting like any of this is something worth remembering.
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.
It's a fact—everyone is ignorant in some way or another.Ignorance is our deepest secret.And it is one of the scariest things out there, because those of us who are most ignorant are also the ones who often don't know it or don't want to admit it.Here is a quick test:If you have never changed your mind about some fundamental tenet of your belief, if you have never questioned the basics, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are likely ignorant.Before it is too late, go out there and find someone who, in your opinion, believes, assumes, or considers certain things very strongly and very differently from you, and just have a basic honest conversation.It will do both of you good.
There are people who fantasize about suicide, and paradoxically, these fantasies can be soothing because they usually involve either fantasizing about others' reactions to one's suicide or imagining how death would be a relief from life's travails. In both cases, an aspect of the fantasy is to exert control, either over others' views or toward life's difficulties. The writer A. Alvarez stated, " There people ... for whom the mere idea of suicide is enough; they can continue to function efficiently and even happily provided they know they have their own, specially chosen means of escape always ready..." In her riveting 2008 memoir of bipolar disorder, Manic, Terri Cheney opened the book by stating, "People... don't understand that when you're seriously depressed, suicidal ideation can be the only thing that keeps you alive. Just knowing there's an out--even if it's bloody, even if it's permanent--makes the pain bearable for one more day."This strategy appears to be effective for some people, but only for a while. Over longer periods, fantasizing about death leaves people more depressed and thus at higher risk for suicide, as Eddie Selby, Mike Amestis, and I recently showed in a study on violent daydreaming. A strategy geared toward increased feelings of self-control (fantasizing about the effects of one's suicide) "works" momentarily, but ultimately backfires by undermining feelings of genuine self-control in the long run.
Richard rubbed his temples. He had a headache from lack of sleep. "Don't you understand? This isn't about conquering lands and taking things from others; this is about fighting oppression."The general rested a boot on the gilded rung of a chair and hooked a thumb behind his wide belt. "I don't see much difference. From my experience, the Master Rahl always thinks he knows best, and always wants to rule the world. You are your father's son. War is war. Reasons make no difference to us; we fight because we are told to, same as those on the other side. Reasons mean little to a man swinging his sword, trying to keep his head.
The thing is, all memory is fiction. You have to remember that. Of course, there are things that actually, certifiably happened, things you can pinpoint the day, the hour, the minute. When you think about it, though, those things, mostly seem to happen to other people. This story actually happened, and it happened pretty much the way I am going to tell it to you. It's a true story as much as six decades or telling and remembering can allow it to be true. Time changes things, and you don't always get everything right. You remember a little thing clear as a bell, the weather, say, or the splash of light on the river's ripples as the sun was going down into the black pines. things not even connected to anything in particular, while other things, big things even, come completely disconnected and no longer have any shape or sound. The little things seem more real than the big things.
There's one other thing I'd like to remind you of, my dear. There've been many times when you've sworn to me that after all that life has dealt you, it was no longer possible for you to believe in anything. I replied that both life and my studies had led me to the same conclusion. I asked you, 'What is a person permitted, once he's realized that truth is unattainable and consequently doesn't exist for him?' Do you remember your answer?""I do, ibn Sabbah. I said something like this: 'If a person realized that everything people call happiness, love and joy was just a miscalculation based on a false premise, he'd feel a horrible emptiness inside. The only thing that could rouse him from his paralysis would be to gamble with his own face and the face of others. The person capable of that would be permitted anything.
Reggie was one of those guys who represented all that is good about football and athletics. He was a man of great principle, who obviously carried his faith out front. I don't know if there's any one person, in my time as a football coach, whom I've had much admiration and respect for. Even though he was sometimes outspoken, even to the point of being controversial, he always said and did what he believed was the right thing.
And those who will carefully study the so-called 'Mosaic code' contained in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, will see that, though Jahveh's prohibitions of certain forms of immorality are strict and sweeping, his wrath is quite as strongly kindled against infractions of ritual ordinances. Accidental homicide may go unpunished, and reparation may be made for wilful theft. On the other hand, Nadab and Abihu, who 'offered strange fire before Jahveh, which he had not commanded them,' were swiftly devoured by Jahveh's fire; he who sacrificed anywhere except at the allotted place was to be 'cut off from his people'; so was he who ate blood; and the details of the upholstery of the Tabernacle, of the millinery of the priests' vestments, and of the cabinet work of the ark, can plead direct authority from Jahveh, no less than moral commands.
Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier 'til this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer. I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.
This island has no secrets, not from me. It loves me, and I love it, and when I paint my face I'm a part of the island. The swarthiness of my face hidden behind the clay and charcoal. I leave behind England, it's not important anymore, our island is all that matters. The rhythm of the hunt, the sun, beats deep in my blood. The littl'uns play, eat, and sleep, there good for nothing and just take up precious space on my island.I couldn't have known a ship would pass at the exact moment my hunters left the fire. We needed the meat. Everything was perfect, the pigs on the mountain, the hunters and our spears, we had to go then. The hunt was perfect, the gouts and gouts of blood, the pigs death screams. But that stupid boat went by, and destroyed my trophy.Then Simon, stupid little Simon, gives the fat belligerent Fatty a piece of meat. He doesn't deserve it, the fat, ass-mar infected, fatty. The know-it-all that says he could do better, he wouldn't he'd do the exact same thing in my shoes. Damn him, damn them all! They should have just taken the meat. Then Ralph stands there and tells me I'm too malevolent. I even apologized. He doesn't deserve to be chief, he's weak. He wouldn't do it, he wouldn't kill. There's power behind the spear, impalpable to people like Ralph. We dominate those pigs. Now that we have found the way to kill the pigs, we don't even need to be rescued. It doesn't matter that there was no fire to signal the ship, because we needed the men for the hunt, and I don't regret it anymore because now we have meat.
Those who aren't following Jesus aren't his followers. It's that simple. Followers follow, and those who don't follow aren't followers. To follow Jesus means to follow Jesus into a society where justice rules, where love shapes everything. To follow Jesus means to take up his dream and work for it.
Their management and regulation of our lives spans the total spectrum of American experience, from their obtuse Imperial Measurement System, to their irregularity-strangled English language. From their lobbyist-ruled government bureaucracy, to their consumer-oriented religious holidays like Christmas. From their brainless professional sports jocks cast as heroes, to their anorexic supermodels warping the concept of beauty. These are the people who made sugary colas more important that water; fast food more important than health; television sitcoms more important than reading literature. They made smoking a joint in your home a crime; going out in public without your hair tinted an embarrassment; and accidentally carrying a half-filled bottle of baby formula on an airplane a terrorist act. Do you realize 85 percent of Americans still say 'God bless you' after someone sneezes? And that 'In God We Trust' is on every single dollar in circulation? Or that 'One nation under God' is recited everyday in the Pledge of Allegiance by millions of impressionable kids?From our first day alive on this planet, they began teaching society everything it knows and experiences. It was all brainwashing bullshit. Their trio of holy catechisms is: faith is more important than reason; inputs are more important than outcomes; hope is more important than reality. It was designed to choke your independent thinking and acting—to bring out the lowest common denominator in people—so that vast amounts of the general public would literally buy into sponsorship and preservation of their hegemonic nation. Their greatest achievement was the creation of the two-party political system; it gave only the illusion of choice, but never offered any change; it promised freedom, but only delivered more limits. In the end, you got stuck with two leading loser parties and not just one. It completed their trap of underhanded domination, and it worked masterfully. Look anywhere you go. America is a nation of submissive, dumbed-down, codependent, faith-minded zombies obsessed with celebrity gossip, buying unnecessary goods, and socializing without purpose on their electronic gadgets. The crazy thing is that people don't even know it; they still think they're free. Everywhere, people have been made into silent accomplices in the government's twisted control game. In the end, there is no way out for anyone.What seems worst of all, though, is that even the leaders don't recognize this. The greatest danger of the whole mess is that all this Western-American conditioning has been on autopilot for centuries. Nobody is in control of it anymore. It's a mindless goliath wandering the Earth, devouring lives, erasing potential, and following its every whim—regardless of how irrational, obscene, uneducated, enslaving, or backwards its actions are. The American Dream has become a death sentence of drudgery, consumerism, and fatalism: a garage sale where the best of the human spirit is bartered away for comfort, obedience and trinkets. It's unequivocally absurd.
The phone rang. It was a familiar voice.It was Alan Greenspan. Paul O'Neill had tried to stay in touch with people who had served under Gerald Ford, and he'd been reasonably conscientious about it. Alan Greenspan was the exception. In his case, the effort was constant and purposeful. When Greenspan was the chairman of Ford's Council of Economic Advisers, and O'Neill was number two at OMB, they had become a kind of team. Never social so much. They never talked about families or outside interests. It was all about ideas: Medicare financing or block grants - a concept that O'Neill basically invented to balance federal power and local autonomy - or what was really happening in the economy. It became clear that they thought well together. President Ford used to have them talk about various issues while he listened. After a while, each knew how the other's mind worked, the way married couples do.In the past fifteen years, they'd made a point of meeting every few months. It could be in New York, or Washington, or Pittsburgh. They talked about everything, just as always. Greenspan, O'Neill told a friend, "doesn't have many people who don't want something from him, who will talk straight to him. So that's what we do together - straight talk."O'Neill felt some straight talk coming in."Paul, I'll be blunt. We really need you down here," Greenspan said. "There is a real chance to make lasting changes. We could be a team at the key moment, to do the things we've always talked about."The jocular tone was gone. This was a serious discussion. They digressed into some things they'd "always talked about," especially reforming Medicare and Social Security. For Paul and Alan, the possibility of such bold reinventions bordered on fantasy, but fantasy made real."We have an extraordinary opportunity," Alan said. Paul noticed that he seemed oddly anxious. "Paul, your presence will be an enormous asset in the creation of sensible policy."Sensible policy. This was akin to prayer from Greenspan. O'Neill, not expecting such conviction from his old friend, said little. After a while, he just thanked Alan. He said he always respected his counsel. He said he was thinking hard about it, and he'd call as soon as he decided what to do.The receiver returned to its cradle. He thought about Greenspan. They were young men together in the capital. Alan stayed, became the most noteworthy Federal Reserve Bank chairman in modern history and, arguably the most powerful public official of the past two decades. O'Neill left, led a corporate army, made a fortune, and learned lessons - about how to think and act, about the importance of outcomes - that you can't ever learn in a government.But, he supposed, he'd missed some things. There were always trade-offs. Talking to Alan reminded him of that. Alan and his wife, Andrea Mitchell, White House correspondent for NBC news, lived a fine life. They weren't wealthy like Paul and Nancy. But Alan led a life of highest purpose, a life guided by inquiry.Paul O'Neill picked up the telephone receiver, punched the keypad."It's me," he said, always his opening.He started going into the details of his trip to New York from Washington, but he's not much of a phone talker - Nancy knew that - and the small talk trailed off."I think I'm going to have to do this."She was quiet. "You know what I think," she said.She knew him too well, maybe. How bullheaded he can be, once he decides what's right. How he had loved these last few years as a sovereign, his own man. How badly he was suited to politics, as it was being played. And then there was that other problem: she'd almost always been right about what was best for him."Whatever, Paul. I'm behind you. If you don't do this, I guess you'll always regret it."But it was clearly about what he wanted, what he needed.Paul thanked her. Though somehow a thank-you didn't seem appropriate.And then he realized she was crying.
Every time he studied this instrument, with its slender, gleaming steel rod that tapered down to such needle-like sharpness, he wondered why it was necessary to have things like this in the world. If it were truly only for chopping ice, you'd think a completely different design might do. The people who produce and sell things like this don't understand, he thought. They don't realize that some of us break out in a cold sweat at just a glimpse of that shiny, pointed tip.
Too many of us wait to do the perfect thing, with the result we do nothing. The way to get ahead is to start now. While many of us are waiting until conditions are "just right" before we go ahead, others are stumbling along, fortunately ignorant of the dangers that beset them. By the time we are, in our superior wisdom, decided to make a start, we discover that those who have gone fearlessly on before, have, in their blundering way, traveled a considerable distance. If you start now, you will know a lot next year that you don't know now, and that you will not know next year, if you wait.