Inspiration and Provocation
Inspiration and Provocation
These are some of my favorite quotes by people other than C. S. Lewis. I noticed that so much of Lewis's writing inspires me, I was overwhelming my quotes file with him. So here are the quotes from other people.
This edition 12 July 2013.
As we peer
into society's future, we - you and I and our government - must avoid
the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and
convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the
material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of
their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive
for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of
When one person ... asserts their constitutional rights, they can expect that the Left is going to rise up.
Every physicist must have some sense that there are objective things in the world and that it's our job to go and find out what those objective things are...
That said, physicists almost never talk about reality. The problem is that what people tend to mean by "reality" has more to do with biology and evolution and with our hardwiring and our neural architecture than it has to do with physics itself. We're prisoners of our own neural architecture. We can visualize some things. We can't viasualize other things.
There is in our churches a human-all-too-human self-assurance, an almost metaphysically grounded self-satisfaction which is nurtured by the experience of the centuries and which has created a mentality which almost nothing can disturb because it turns everything to its own advantage; a kind of spiritual urge to self-preservation which has absolutely nothing to do with faith. It is against this attitude that the words of John the Baptist are spoken: "Do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham." This applies to every church on earth, and certainly also to the Roman Catholic Church. [p.146]
The real question which is directed to the church comes, not from the world, but from God through his living Word. Wherever this Word is heard renewal takes place. Not mere religious revival but rather return to the source. This return to the source we as the church must learn. For this reason a good fight must always be fought in the church against the church for the church, a fight against the temptation to identify the church with the kingdom of God, to make it a religious, "supernatural" world, instead of the place where the kingdom of God makes a breakthrough on earth. The church of Jesus Christ is always subject to the threefold temptation in the wilderness. In this temptation it is the purpose of the shrewd and cunning Adversary to let the true church perish in the midst of its own external and inner florescence. The bishops must realize that as fathers of the [Second Vatican] Council they are exposed to this danger and that the most fearful stratagem of the Adversary is to keep them from being aware of this. How will the word renewal be understood by the fathers of the Council during the preparations and at the council itself? [p.147]
The necessity for [the] achievement of a genuine "togetherness" by the Christian churches in the midst of their denominational division rests especially on the world-spanning phenomenon of a consciously a-religious, not infrequently anti-Christian, secularism. This secularism we have in mind here is something fundamentally different from the purely worldly character of civil and institutional science and economy. Who would deny that there is an abundance of areas of human existence in which reason is correctly and competently the rule of knowledge and action? Moreover, reason has its peculiar depth. The worldly character of the civilization it produces is not superficial. The problem which the secularism of our century poses does not rest in reason's claim for the modeling of its own proper areas of life. The problem is rather a matter of keeping reason within its proper sphere. Reason can and should know about its own limitations. But it can also revolt against this possibility and obligation. Therein lies a fatal threat to human existence. In our day this threat is already present in many forms. It will also obtain in the future. This threat has its roots in a fundamental and radical denial of that reality to which we refer with the words: God, revelation, faith, prayer, eternal life. In such a denial, reason goes beyond its legitimate secular realm and raises a claim that extends into the dimension of an absolute claim regarding salvation. Where this occurs, we are dealing with a secularism which, besides denying the reality of God and of his revelation, sets up a dogmatic principle and therefore also provides active expression for its denial. This secularism, in its dogmatic a-religious and anti-Christian attitude, becomes itself a kind of religion - that is, a pseudo-religion. It therefore hurls its anathema against all genuine religion, especially against Christianity, which cannot but bear witness to the exclusive nature of salvation in Jesus Christ. [pp. 186-7]
The Papal Council and the Gospel (1961). Kristen E. Skydsgaard, Professor of Theology, University of Copenhagen. From Chapter VI "The Council and Evangelical Christians" (written on the eve of the Second Vatican Council) translated from German by John Dobberstein, Max Steuer, and David Granskou.
It's gratifying to witness one's children come of age. But of course it doesn't always happen that way...I know parents whose children will never come of age because their lives were cut short by disease or freakish accidents.
There's a question begging for an answer here, but I don't know the answer. The only thing I know is that God had a Son once and had to watch him tortured and killed. So some of us have it easier than God, but nobody has it harder than God.
Mature people develop the habit of extracting lessons from everyday experiences. I urge you to make a list of your life lessons. ... Here are a few questions to jog your memory and get you started:
God gives us different passions so that everything he wants done in the world will get done.
It is an open question whether any behavior based on fear of eternal punishment can be regarded as ethical or should be regarded as merely cowardly.
It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age.
It may be necessary temporarily to accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good.
Life in the twentieth century is like a parachute jump: you have to get it right the first time.
Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation.
One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don't come home at night.
Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.
Thanks to television, for the first time the young are seeing history made before it is censored by their elders.
We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet.
A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again.
Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.
Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.
Having two bathrooms ruined the capacity to co-operate.
Human nature is potentially aggressive and destructive and potentially orderly and constructive.
I have a respect for manners as such, they are a way of dealing with people you don't agree with or like.
I learned the value of hard work by working hard.
I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.
I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.
If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.
Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class,
or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each
range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful.
Father, hear the prayer we offer:
Be our strength in hours of weakness,
Not forever in green pastures
Most people have an unjustified phobia against suffering. Unnecessary
tragedy should be avoided, but we should also realize that there is much
good in suffering.
I believe the 21st century is the century for customization, where we'll see the end of mass manufacturing. We have the technology to do that today. The bigger changes are behavior and process changes, not technology. It will be the ecosystem enabled by technology that will drive change. Technology by itself is overrated. It enables less than 1% of what needs to happen before your vision becomes realized.
The United States pays more than twice a much as the average first-world country for health care, yet does not rank, all things considered, even in the top 20 nations in "healthiness."
The reason is that a big chunk of what we spend does not go to health care for Americans but to "wealth care" for American insurance companies, probably the most, shall we say, ethically challenged, in the world.
"You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they're tried everything else."
In the Cold War, one of the deepest concerns of American society was the putative missle gap between us and the Soviet Union, which threatened America from outside. Today we should be concerned about the gaps in our education, infrastructure, and ambitions that threaten to weaken us from within.
The Sun itself is but the dark simulacrum, and light but the shadow, of God.
Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and
probably themselves will not be realized.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
...We instinctively admire a world expert in something so esoteric as to be inconsequential, while disdaining the generalist who lacks the prestige of specialist knowlege... Systems engineering is often based on experience and common sense, and we know where common sense fits in the hierarchy of things that justify a high salary.
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
They who seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers... call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.
More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars.
Unless the peace that follows recognizes that the whole world is one neighborhood and does justice to the whole human race, the germs of another world war will remain as a constant threat to mankind.
The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation... It must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world.
Freedom of speech
We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.
"We tend to overestimate the impact of a technology in the short
run and underestimate it in the long run."
People were stopping in the street to look at Bronwen and Olwen.
What is the matter then, Huw?" Bron asked me, with big eyes, and a little voice. "Dress, or what, is wrong with us?"
"Nothing wrong, girl," I said and feeling in my pride to be three of me, and twice as high. "Lovelier than Pharaoh's daughters, you are, see. So go you, now."
"Go on with you, boy," Bron said, pretending a frost of impatience, but a smile in the making behind her eyes, and watching people to see if Olwen was having more of the looks. If she had seen a man looking at her, she would have turned her nose to the skies and so put him in a bruise of blushes, but if she had seen him looking at Olwen she would have been hurt, and wondering if she had a bit of soot on her nose or too many years.
A good, good laugh I had, to see them playing the game of Woman. A pretty game it is too, and men having quite as much of the fun when they have the courage to use their eyes. Women love to be looked at, though they will deny it with an oath, and men, the fools will look up, look down, and blind themselves and have humped backs with looking at the pavement, or have twists in the neck from looking at something on either side, only not to look, or be thought looking at a woman. There is senseless, there is stupid and there is dull.
For please to tell me what is better to look at than a lovely woman, and I will come from my dinner to see. And all women, nev er mind who, or what, have a loveliness of their own, so who will say that we must cover our eyes and see nothing only stones and sky, is one without good sense and feeling, an ingrate for the gift of vision, and barely half a man.
Bronwen walked in front of me looking up at first-floor windows in the street, knowing only that eyes were on her, and coming to be a pinchsion full of the spikes of sight.
"I have got a name," she said, when I told her not to mind the stares. "So please to mind your affairs. How would I feel if I looked at a shop and a man spoke?"
"Would you have time to feel?" I asked her. "And would he?"
"Trouble then," she said, "and an end in a police-station. Leave it now. I will look when I want to, and when I want to, I shall look."
Strange that women always trouble for the worst that never happens. Not a man of all the hundreds we saw that day would have dared to say a word to her, even if she had looked back at him, for there was an air about Bronwen that shouted a warning to fools, that was plainer than a written sign.
Too conscious of her womanhood she was, and ready to spoil her day by worrying over it.
"There is silly you are, girl," I said to her. "No matter about tongues at home, but only old eyes here, and you are running up a street with no enjuoyment of it."
"I have yet to hear the words," she said. "But these looks I can feel. Change places only for a minute."
"With gladness," I said. "Only to give you comfort. They are looking because you are a new wonder, not often to be seen, and they will think of you in years to come. So you will live in many places at once, and always in beauty. Are you thankful?"
"No," she said, and then I saw that she was, but denying it because she was playing the game of Woman.
There is a wholeness about a woman, of shape, and sound, and colour, and taste, and smell, a quietness that is her, that you will want to hold tightly to you, all, every little bit, without words, in peace, for jealousy for the things that escape the clumsiness of your arms. So you feel when you love.
So I felt for Bron, but I never told her...
We looked deep at one another again.
O, where is the harm to love any woman who looks as Bron looked, then?
For her womanness is a blessing about her, and you are tender to put hands upon her and kiss, not with lust, but with the joy of one returning to a lost one.
But there is a binding and tying in the mind and conscience, keeping you from lifting as much as a finger, and those strictures were tight round me, to make me dumb and keep me still.
"Sit down and wait," my father said. "No use to talk. Too many are at it with no notion why. I will rest my tongue until I am asked, or till the time is ripe to do a bit of good."
I stood still in the cool quiet, looking up at the blackness of the mountain, hearing only the north-east wind busy with his comb in the grass, and my eyes came to be wide, and sight was pinned to a place in the night, and waters returned to the river.
The sky became a sudden gold, and the mountain was of silver, and the river ran free and wide as a sea in a brilliance of precious stones. All about the mountain-top was a sparkling of unsheathed steel, and I saw, with a loftiness of fear, that a host of men were standing there looking into the Valley, and armour was shining on head and breast, and colours were gay on shields, and hands were clasped on the hilts of swords that pointed into the ground.
I was dull with wonder and drowned in a dream, but fear soon went in a bright tiredness of feeling, and I had strength and wit to wish that I could go closer to see their faces, and hear their voices, and know the sound of their speech.
Somewhere beyond the steadfast ranks, a trumpet sang a rich male song, and a thousand banners were raised as one, and swords went up in a burnish of flame, and steel heels clashed together.
A drum spoke up in a single flourish and the banners began to move, and a golden dust was rising from the marching ranks, shining about their helmets, reaching nearly to the ribbons and flowers that hung from the banner tops.
Then all the winds of Heaven ran to join hands and bend a shoulder, to bring down to me the sound of a noble hymn that was heavy with the perfume of Time That Has Gone.
The glittering multitudes were singing most mightily, and my heart was in blood to hear a Voice that I knew.
The Men of the Valley were marching again.
My Fathers were singing up there.
Loud, triumphant, the anthem rose, and I knew, in some deep place within, that in the royal music was a prayer to lift up my spirit, to be of good cheer, to keep the faith, that Death is only an end to the things that are made of clay, and to fight, without heed of wounds, all that brings death to the Spirit, with Glory to the Eternal Father, for ever, Amen.
The rights of man are poor things beside the eyes of hungry children. Their hurts are keener than the soreness of injustice.
So I kissed her, and went out, and up on top of the mountain to have peace, for I had a grudge that was savage with heat against everybody, and only up on top there, where it was green, and high, and blue, and quiet, with only the winds to come at you, was a place of rest, where the unkindness of man for man could be forgotten, and I could wait for God to send calm and wisdom, and O, a blessed ease.
For as men have fists and heads to defend themselves, so women have a gentleness of silence about them, a barrier built of things of the spirit, of pain, of quiet, of helplessness, of grace, of all that is beautiful and womanly an equal part, given to them because they are women in defence of their womanness. And this barrier a man will find against him to turn aside his male attack, keep his arms pinned, stop his mouth, cool his eyes, reduce his heat and restrain his idle imaginings. This barrier it is that women who are women keep always at a height, coming from behind it only when, with knowledge and in light, they trust. You shall see it in their eyes.
Mr. Gruffydd: Worry, my son? I am not worried now and I never have or will. You must learn to tell worry from thought, and thought from prayer. Sometimes light will go from your life, Huw, and your life becomes a prayer, till you are strong enough to stand under the weight of your own thought again.
There are some hallmarks to complexity that I've noticed over the years. I believe design complexity is a function of the
Bob Colwell, "Complexity in Design". Computer, October 2005, p.11
Prayer is a relinquishing of the sole ownership of life. The statement "If I take right action I can stay healthy" may not be the whole picture. Prayer suggests there may be more to the equation than that. "If I take right action I can stay healthy" is a cosmology, a statement about causality. Prayer involves a release of total individual causality and total individual mastery in a way that is enormously empowering. ...
This is quite personal and not easy to talk about. But I realize that, for me, prayer is ... an experience of relationship that never changes, like gravity. Gravity is the way I experience my relationship to the Earth. Gravity is a factor in my every movement. Everything I do takes gravity into consideration, all the time. Even though I'm unaware of it, every movement I make is a dance with gravity. God is like that, a constant relationship, and, like gravity, if It stopped I would know it instantly. But It never does.
Gravity is the experience of an unceasing relationship in which we live, our relationship to the Earth. Prayer is our experience of the other unceasing relationship in which we live - our relationship to the Infinite.
Complexity exists at the "edge of chaos," seomewhere between too much and too little order.
When things go wrong, it sometimes seems less important to find a remedy than to find a scapegoat.
The demands of individual liberation eventually transform society into a mass of "I"s, each one desiring to control the others. This naturally provokes conflict.
...He abandoned the relationship for the call of religion, but this new obsession exacted an even higher price. ... I felt sorry for God or Buddha, as this poet would certainly grate on them. But perhaps those two gentlemen understand the essence of life better than I and can look beyond him.
While people found him useful, they were often cool toward him because he was completely lacking in false ethics, those gastric juices that allow for the digestion of the inedible components in the relations between people.
Time is a word - a shadow of an idea; but always, always, out of the whirlwind of events, the multiplicity of human activities or the endless boredom of disinterest, there is the sky - the sky with all its unchanging changeableness showing the variations of Now and the stability of Forever. There are the stars, the square-set corners of our eternities what wheel and turn and always find their way back. There are the transient tumbled clouds, the windy wisps of mares' tails, the crackling mackerel skies, and the romping delightful tumult of the thunderstorms. And the moon - the moon that dreams and sets to dreaming - that mends the world with its compassionate light and makes everything look as though newness is forever.
"I don't want to!" Simon's eyes brimmed again.
"I don't think it's a bit of fun. Do I have to?"
"Anything is evil...if it lies on the other sidce of the line you draw around what you will accept as good. Some people's lines are awfully narrow."
Sometimes it's like being a castaway, being a first settler in
a big land. If I were a little younger, maybe I'd play at being Robinson
Crusoe, only I'd die of surprise if I found a footprint, especially a
bare one, this place being where it is.
"They'll find out!" I stubbornly proclaimed. "Someday they'll find out that weeds are essentials. Man wasn't made for such - such neatness. He has to have unimportant clutter to relax in!"
There is a lad here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many? John 6:9
Who among us does not - and should - believe that we are never adequate and have far too little to offer? But again and again we discover that whatever we bring, whatever we are willing to offer, is more than enough. God through Christ will take what we offer, transform it, make it new, offer it back to us to make possible what once upon a time was only a dream.
The longing for intimacy seems to be at the very core of our being and motives much of human behavior. When we unconsciously fear the vulnerability of intimacy, the desire for it will be repressed and replaced by the desire for power. The ability to relate intimately with others is a sign of psychological develpment and is not possible until we have achieved a certain degree of personal identity and maturity.
The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber introduced the term "I-Thou" relationship to describe the nature of intimacy, in which two distinct persons, each with his or her own identity, choose to cross over into the world of the other. His term connotes respect, separateness, and consciousness. An "I-Thou" relationship with another requires that we first have an intimate relationship with ourselves. Until the shadow has been recognized and to some extent assimilated, we do not have an I-Thou relationship with ourselves and so cannot begin to form I-Thou relationships with others.
Intimate relationships depend on an inner connection: to be in touch with another, I must be in touch with myself. On the other thand, it is primarily through relationships that we learn about ourselves. Reflecting on our reactions and responses to others is a road to consciousness. The difficulties we experience in our relationships can be a rich, though painful, path to self-knowledge. Nothing is born into consciousness without suffering. This is why intimacy is only possible with psychological maturity and a willingness to suffer for the sake of growth.
Society's stereotypes of masculine and feminine also inform us about our anima and animus. In a culture that rigidly differentiates sex roles, people are likely to internalize and identify with whatever the domnant culture defines as typically "male" and typically "female," and repress those characteristics that do not fit. Recognizing and challenging those sexual stereotypes is an important step in reclaiming our wholeness.
As our consciousness develops, we come to realize that there is both masculine and feminine, lover and beloved within us, and that the sense of fulfillment we depend on another person to giver us is available to us when we relate deeply with our own soul. Anima and animus images inform us of our human ideals, of what life means to us, and what is possible for us. The process of recognizing and integrating our projections establishes a bridge to the unconscious "other" within, making possible a loving and life-giving union of the masculine and feminine energies inside ourselves. From this marriage of the opposites is born a sense of individuality and personal integrity that frees us to relate to others in their individuality. We know ourselves as separate from, yet equal to, others and are able to respect the natural boundaries between people. This is the basis of intimacy.
Besides being transforming, love relationships are also affirming. To be in love is one of life's most wondrous experiences. When we are in love everything takes on a new meaning. Life is no longer ordinary and mundane, but is suddenly exciting and filled with rich possibilities. Being the object of someone's love and devotion deeply transforms our sense of self and gives us a glimpse of who we are in the eyes of the one who created us.
Contemplation, the still point in our fast-paced world that grounds meaning and purpose, is the foundation of a holistic spirituality. It provides the necessary space in our crowded lives for the essential, but often neglected, "activities of the whole, albeit, incomplete human person...for dreaming and desire, hunger and aspiration"* Contemplation is a way of connecting with our interior life, and flow of emotions, thoughts, sensations, desires, needs, wants, fantasies, urges that consitutes our subjectivity. The intimate self-knowledge that contemplation makes possible deepens our awareness of God's indwelling presence in our hearts and also makes us more conscious and reponsible in our interactions with others. Contemplation is not an optional item on a list of things to do, but is rather the life breath of our compassionate outreach ot others because, without it, we risk losing contact with God, others, and self.
* Quoted from John S. Kavanaugh, "Time to Stand and Stare," The Way: Contemporary Christian Spirituality 23, no. 3 (July 1983):211
A joyous homecoming happens when all the aspects of who we are find a peaceful acceptance in us, allowing us to feel a sense of wholeness. As this process of self-acceptance deepens, our shameful feeling of being defective and unlovable shrinks and is replaced by humility, a deep realization that who we are at the present moment is good enough to warrant our own joyful embrace and also good enough to be held in existence by God's sustaining love. Humility eliminates our anxious need to be perfect and moves us to gratefully accept ourselves as creatures: limited, yet good; sinful, yet loved.
...a wrong that cannot be repaired must be transcended.
...everywhere Ged had lived, it had been without women; so he did the "women's work" and thought nothing about it. It would be a pity, she thought, if he did think about it, if he started fearing that his dignity hung by a dishcloth.
Elijah Bailey: You're a bigtime Spacer and I'm an Earthman, but with all respect, with deepest and most humble apologies, you're scared.
Théoden: Strange powers have our enemies, and strange weaknesses! But it has long been said: oft evil will shall evil mar.
Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly the remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves.
Aragorn: One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters.
Aragorn: This is a night as long as years. How long will
the day tarry?
He that flies counts every foeman twice. (Scout of Rohan)
Gimli to Éomer: The matter of the Lady Galadriel
lies still between us. I have yet to teach you gentle speech.
Éomer: It is hard to be sure of anything among
so many marvels. The world is all grown strange....How shall a man judge
in such times?
Aragorn: The counsel of Gandalf was not founded on foreknowledge of safety, for himself or for others. There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.
Aragorn to Gandalf: In one thing
you have not changed, dear friend: you still speak in riddles.
"I thought Fangorn was dangerous,"
"I owe much to Éomer,""
said Théoden. "Faithful heart may have froward tongue."
Samwise: Don't trust your head, Samwise, its not the best part of you.
Bedap to Shevek: "No. We have no government, no laws, all right. But as far as I can see, ideas never were controlled by laws and governments, even on Urras. ... You can't crush ideas by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring them. By refusing to think, refusing to change. And that's precisely what our society is doing! Sabul uses you where he can, and where he can't, he prevents you from publishing, from teaching, even from working. Right? In other words, he has power over you. Where does he get it from? Not from vested authority, there isn't any. Not from intellectual excellence, he hasn't any. He gets it from the innate cowardice of the average human mind. Public opinion! That's the power structure he's part of, and knows how to use. The unadmitted, inadmissible government that rules the Odonian society by stifling the individual mind."
His gentleness was uncompromising; because he would not compete for dominance, he was indomitable.
Therefore the work-posting called Defense never had to call for volunteers. Most Defense work was so boring that it was not called work in Pravic, which used the same word for work and play, but kleggich, drudgery.
Defense workers manned the twelve old interplanetary ships, keeping them repaired and in orbit as a guard network; maintained radar and radio-telescopic scans in lonesome places; did dull duty at the Port. An yet they always had a waiting list. However pragmatic the morality a young Anarresti absored, yet life overflowed in him, demanding altruism, self-sacrifice, scope for the absolute gesture. Loneliness, watchfulness, danger, spaceships: they offered the lure of romance.
This room ... contained only one of each kind of fixture, though each was of a sensuous luxury that far surpassed mere eroticism and partook, in Shevek's view, of a kind of ultimate apotheosis of the excremental.
"You were never afraid of anything, right from the beginning. I am sure that is what I first liked about you. Oh, it is so good to have someone upon whom one can rely."
Shame kills intimacy. The soul that still is in some way hiding cannot enjoy the fullness of knowing what characterizes the love between God and the saints in heaven.
We all want to be someone's hero or someone's beauty, to be in a relationship of heroic proportions. Contrary to legalistic forms of self-denial, we need to feel free to admit this without embarrassment. It is a core longing God himself placed within us and a deep part of our identity as men and women.It is in how we go about being heroes and beauties that is the issue.
So much of the journey forward involves a letting go of all that once brought us life. We turn away from the familiar abiding places of the heart, the false selves we have lived out, the strengths we have used to make a place for ourselves and all our false loves, and we venture forth in our hearts to trace the steps of the One who said, "Follow me."
Batter my heart, three personed God; for you
Yet dearly I love you and would be loved fain;
If we were to try to picture the one who anesthetizes her heart to control life's Arrows as a wife, we would see a soul occupied by a seeminly redemptive busyness - involvement with her household and community that is productive and worthwhile. When her husband comes home from work, she is satisfied with a peck on the cheek and a few pleasant words about the day. She doesn't mind lovemaking if it's not too spontaneous but she rearely if ever pursues it. An evening of television or a good book would do just as well.
Looking at a face is like peering down a well, and there it is
reflecting back at you--the soul.
Look at this land; look about you. This is your kingdom, the kindom of life. This is your immortality. Look at the hills, the mortal hills. They do not endure forever. The hills with the living grass on them, and the streams of water running . . . In all the world, in all the worlds, in all the immensity of time, there is no other like each of those streams, rising cold out of the earth where no eye sees it, running through the sunlight and the darkness to the sea. Deep are the springs of being, deeper than life, than death . . ."
[Arren] was very weary; the day had been long, and full of dragons. And the way ahead grew dark.
Discipline is the channel in which our acts run strong and deep; where there is no direction, the deeps of men run shallow, and wander, and are wasted.
His heart went out utterly to his companion, not now with that first romantic ardour and adoration, but painfully as if a link were drawn forth from the very inmost of it and forged into an unbreaking bond. For in this love he now felt there was compassion: without which love is untempered, and is not whole, and does not last.
The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that the English language is as pure as a crib-house whore. It not only borrows words from other languages; it has on occasion chased other languages down dark alley-ways, clubbed them unconscious, and rifled their pockets for new vocabulary.
Complex systems are often exquisitely sensitive to a myriad of parameters beyond our ability to sense and record - much less control - with sufficient regularity and precision. ... The delightful truth is that, for complex systems, we do not, and ultimately probably cannot, know everything that is important.
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Colin Powell's Rules
"Hold up!" said an elderly rabbit at the gap. "Sixpence for the privilege of passing by the private road!" He was bowled over in an instant by the impatient and contemptuous Mole, who trotted along the side of the hedge chaffing the other rabbits as they peeped hurriedly from their holes to see what the row was about. "Onion-sauce! Onion-sauce!" he remarked jeeringly, and was gone before they could think of a thoroughly satisfactory reply.
The Toad never answered a word, or budged from his seat in the road; so they went to see what was the matter with him. They found him in a sort of trance, a happy smile on his face, his eyes still fixed on the dusty wake of their destroyer. At intervals he was still heard to murmur "Poop-poop!" ...
"O, Ratty! You can't think how obliged I am to you for consenting to come on this trip! I wouldn't have gone without you, and then I might never have seen that - that swan, that sunbeam, that thunderbolt! I might never have heard that entrancing sound, or smelt that bewitching smell! I owe it all to you, my best of friends!"
The gaoler nodded grimly, laying his withered hand on the shoulder of the miserable Toad. The rusty key creaked in the lock, the great door clanged behind them; and Toad was a helpless prisoner in the remotest dungeon of the best-guarded keep of the stoutest castle in all the length and breadth of Merry England.
Toad was quite alarmed at this very serious and portentous style of greeting; but the Rat whispered to him, "Never mind; don't take any notice; and don't say anything to him just yet. He's always rather low and despondent when he's wanting his victuals. In half an hour's time he'll be quite a different animal."
"No, not one little song," replied the Rat firmly, though his heart bled as he noticed the trembling lip of the poor disappointed Toad."It's no good, Toady; you know well that your songs are all conceit and boasting and vanity; and your speeches are all self-praise and - and - well, and gross exaggeration and - and -"
"And gas," put in the Badger, in his common way.
I had now, after many hears, finally convinced myself that a certain intellectual steadiness was not only desirable, but essential; somewhere in my heart, however, I continued to believe that intense and lasting love was possible only in a climate of somewhat tumultuous passions. This, I felt, consigned me to being with a man whose temperament was largely similar to my own. I was late to understand that chaos and intensity are no substitute for lasting love, nor are they necessarily an improvement on real life. Normal people are not always boring. On the contrary. Volatility and passion, although often more romantic and enticing, are not intrinsically preferable to a steadiness of experience and feeling about another person - nor are they incompatible.
Resembling, 'mid the torture of the scene,
But if love is not the cure, it certainly can act as a very strong medicine. As John Donne has written, it is not so pure and abstract as one might once have thought and wished, but it does endure, and it does grow.
Churchill once said, "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."
Philip Boyes was always determined to be a victim, and it was very irritating of him to succeed in the end. I believe that's what he did it [committed suicide] for.
Congresswoman Pat Schroeder of Colorado...quoted a 1942 government report and claimed that the same arguments used then against racial integration in the military were being used against gays today. "Your reasoning would have kept you from the mess hall, a few decades ago," Schroeder said.
"I need no reminders concerning the history of African-Americans in the defense of their nation," I wrote back. But she had her logic wrong. "Skin color is a benign, nonbehavioral characteristic," I pointed out. "Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is a convenient but invalid argument."
Dr. Bruce Knauft, professor of anthropology at Emory [University], recounted his field work with the Gembusi, a small tribe in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea. During his first visit many years ago, he discovered an extremely high correlation between deaths from natural causes and homicides. The reason was that each time a person died, a discernment ritual was held to identify the person who had "killed" the deceased through sorcery. The identified "sorcerer" was then stalked by a member of the deceased's family and executed. ...
Several years later, when Dr. Knauft returned to do follow-up research on this tribe, he found the situation radically transformed. Missionaries had converted this tribe to Christianity in a particularly pacific form, that is, stressing the love of Christ rather than hellfire and damnation. As a results, the entire apparatus of descernment of witchcraft had been dropped and the homicide rate had been reduced almost to zero.
There is a post-Cartesian myth that we are autonomous individuals who freely choose to enter into relationships. It is not true. I am the product of relationships - those between my parents, between my parents and myself, relationships that everyone and every group I have ever encountered has had with me and with every other entity that has ever been in relationship with any other. Existence is relationships.
If God exists, then God is in relationship. If God is the creator, as Judaism, Christianity and Islam teach, then he must have been in relationship with himself before creation. Rather than the Trinity's being an unnecessary abstraction, it is a necessary truth. If existence is relationships, then a God who is not a Trinity could not exist. Because He does, we do.
Erst in der Fremde lernt man sein eigenes Land kennen.
Where beauty moves, and wit delights
The Beatitudes are one of those sublime passages with which we are so familiar we run the risk of losing its power. Blessed. That is what Jesus is telling us all these sorts and conditions of poeple are. Not powerful, not important, not victorious, not vindicated. Blessed.
We have lost the habit of blessing. We say grace before meals, and we offer blessing reflexively when someone sneezes. We receive a blessing at the end of the Eucharist. We don't practice it much beyond this. We smile at those who still ask the local priest to bless the hounds, or the fleet, or a new building. We are a bit smug at the notion that God's favor should be involved for something so everyday.
It is in everydayness that blessing makes the most sense. Blessing belongs in everyday life, in the midst of ordinariness. It should not be saved for state occasions or when we are in trouble.
Blessing should be the province of all of us. We all should bless our lives, and each other's. My wife's parents were dead by the time we married; I went to see her brother as the senior presiding member of the family. I didn't want his permission; we were, after all, both practicing physicians and we had been around a few blocks. I did want his blessing. Marriages need support, and the blessing of those who surround them. I wanted to hear it.
I took care of a child with intractable epilepsy. His seizures could not be brought under control. The family, who were charismatic Roman Catholics, were convinced the child was possessed. They asked for an exorcism. After an investigation, the ecclesiatical authorities apparently felt there were enough signs to permit this to proceed.
I met with the exorcist when he came; I was a very callow chief resident. He quickly explained that he was both a priest and a physician, a psychiatrist by training. The Church demanded this, lest too many confused and wandering souls ask for exorcism when therapy was in order. I began to explain the child's illness; he waved me silent. "The enemy is always the same." I swallowed.
He performed the rite; we spoke afterwards. "I make you uncomfortable." I allowed as that was true. "I make you uncomfortable, because I have been to all the same places you have, taken all the same courses, and I have come to the conclusion that evil is a palpable force in the universe. But let me ask you a question, young man. In a century that has included the trenches of World War I, the Holocaust, and the Cambodian Killing Fields, I believe that evil is real and you do not. Which one of us is naïve?"
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
"But let's not try to always deal with only the symptoms of a sick society, because there is no end of doing that. There's something better, something higher, something to live for, something to suffer for, something to die for. Then the other problems will disappear."
The national holiday of Martin Luther King is once again here. Perhaps a fitting way to observe this day is to read some of his own words, rather than words spoken about him. Here are some excerpts from his doctoral dissertation at Boston University:
...without faith and recourse to analogy it is impossible to develop
a working knowledge of the actual world.
Gandhi's Seven Deadly Social Sins:
"You're looking at a man who doesn't just believe in miracles, he relies on them."
"I.P. on everything!" - an early goal of the ARPA net project was to have Internet Protocol run on all types of computers.
"You know Lord Nelson, sir?"
"I had the honour of serving under him at the Nile," said Jack, "and of dining in his company twice." His face broke into a smile at the recollection. ... "He spoke to me on each occasion. The first time it was to say, 'May I trouble you for the salt, sir?' - I have always said it as close as I can to his way ever since - you may have noticed it. But the second time I was trying to make my neighbour, a soldier, understand our naval tactics - weather-gage, breaking the line, and so on - and in a pause he leant over with such a smile and said, 'Never mind manoeuvres - always go at 'em.'"
There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) the heart of the fattest and most timid hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow.
Suddenly a song began: a cold murmur, rising and falling. ... Out of the formless stream of sad but horrible sounds, strings of words would now and again shape themselves: grim, hard, cold words, hearless and miserable. The night was railing against the morning of which it was bereaved, and the cold was cursing the warmth for which it hungered.
Erestor, an elf of the Grey Havens: Thus we return once more to the destroying of the Ring, and yet we come no nearer. What strength have we for the finding of the Fire in which it was made? That is the path of despair. Of folly I would say, if the long wisdom of Elrond did not forbid me.
Gandalf: Despair, or folly? It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of his reckoning.
I sit beside the fire and think
Of yellow leaves and gossamer
I sit beside the fire and think
For still there are so many things
I sit beside the fire and think
But all the while I sit and think
For a while the hobbits continued to talk and think of the past journey and of the perils that lay ahead; but such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.
When winter first begins to bite
All the council sat with downcast eyes, as if in
deep thought. A great dread fell on [Frodo], as if he was awaiting the
pronouncement of some doom that he had long foreseen and vainly hoped
might after all never be spoken. An overwhelming longing to rest and remain
at peace by Bilbo's side in Rivendell filled all his heart. At last with
an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other
will was using his small voice.
Elrond: The Three [rings] were not made by Sauron, nor did he ever touch them. But of them it is not permitted to speak. So much only in this hour of doubt I may now say. They are not idle. But they were not made as weapons of war or conquest: that is not their power. Those who made them did not desire strength or donination or hoarded wealth, but understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained. These things the Elves of Middle-earth have in some measure gained, though with sorrow. But all that has been wrought by those who wield the Three will turn to their undoing, and their minds and hearts will become revealed to Sauron, if he regains the One. It would be better if the Three had never been. That is his purpose.
'I wish I had known all this before,' said Pippin. 'I had no notion of what I was doing.'
'Oh yes, you had,' said Gandalf. 'You know you were behaving wrongly and foolishly; and you told yourself so, though you did not listen. I did not tell you all this before, because it is only by musing upon all that has happened that I have at last understood, even as we ride together. But if I had spoken sooner, it would not have lessened your desire, or made it easier to resist. On the contrary! No, the burned hand teachest best. After that advice about fire goes to the heart.'
Sam said nothing. The look on Frodo's face was enough for him; he knew that words of his were useless. And after all he never had any real hope from the beginning; but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.
'Sméagol won't go, O no precious, not this time,' hissed Gollum. 'He's frightened, and he's very tired, and this hobbit's not nice, not nice at all. Sméagol won't grub for roots and carrotses and - taters. What's taters, precious, eh, what's taters?'
'Po - ta - toes,' said Sam. 'The Gaffer's delight, and rare good ballast for an empty belly.'
'But fear no more! [said Faramir] I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo.'
'Neither did the Council,' said Frodo. 'Nor do I. I would have nothing to do with such matters.'
'For myself,' said Faramir, 'I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minis Tirith in peace: Minas Anor again as of old, full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens: not a mistress of many slaves, nay, not even a kind mistress of willing slaves. War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, not the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the Men of Númenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom. Not feared, save as men may fear the dignity of a man, old and wise.'
'Maybe,' said Sam; 'but where there's life there's hope, as my Gaffer used to say; and need of vittles, as he mostways used to add. You have a bite, Mr. Frodo, and then a bit of sleep.'
The hobbits came back to their seats and sat very quiet. Men turned back to their drink and their talk, perceiving that their captain had had some jest or other with the little guests, and that it was over.
'Well, Frodo, now at last we understand one another,' said Faramir, 'If you took this thing on yourself, unwilling, at others' asking, then you have pity and honor from me. And I marvel at you: to keep it hid and not to use it. You are a new people and a new world to me. Are all your kin of like sort? Your land must be a realm of peace and content, and there must gardenters be in high honour.'
'Not all is well there,' said Frodo, 'but certainly gardeners are honoured.'
But folk must grow weary there, even in their gardens, as do all things under the Sun of this world. And you are far from home and wayworn. No more tonight. Sleep, both of you - in peace, if you can. Fear not! I do not wish to see it, or touch it, or know more of it than I know (which is enough), lest peril perchance waylay me and I fall lower in the test than Frodo son of Drogo. Go now to rest - but first tell me only, if you will, whither you wish to go, and what to do. For I must watch, and wait, and think. Time passes. In the morning we must each go swiftly on the ways appointed to us.'
Frodo had felt hemself trembling as the first shock of fear passed. Now a great weariness came down on him like a cloud. He could dissemble and resist no longer.
'I was going to find a way into Mordor,' he said faintly. 'I was going to Gorgoroth. I must find the Mountain of Fire and cast the thing into the gulf of Doom. Gandalf said so. I do not think I shall ever get there.'
Faramir stared at him for a moment in grave astonishment. Then suddenly he caught him as he swayed, and lifting him gently, carried him to the bed and laid him there, and covered him warmly. At once he fell into a deep sleep.
Another bed was set beside him for his servant. Sam hesitated for a moment, then bowing very low: 'Good night, Captian, my lord,' he said. 'You took the chance, sir.'
'Did I so?' said Faramir.
'Yes sir, and showed your quality: the very highest.'
Faramir smiled. 'A pert servant Master Samwise. But nay: the praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards. Yet there was nought in this to priase. I had no lure or desire to do other than I have done.'
'Ah well, sir,' said Sam, 'you said my master had an elvish air; and that was good and true. But I can say this: you have an air too, sir, that reminds me of, of - well, Gandalf, of wizards.'
'Maybe,' said Faramir. 'Maybe you discern from far away the air of Númenor. Good night!
'Maybe,' said Sam; 'but where there's life there's hope, as my Gaffer used to say; and need of vittles, as he mostways used to add. You have a bite, Mr. Frodo, and then a bit of sleep.'
There was a tall mountain in the midst of the land, the Meneltarma, and from its summit the farsighted could descry the white tower of the Haven of the Eldar in Eressëa. Thence the Eldar came to the Edain and enriched them with knowledge and many gifts; but one command had been laid upon the Númenoreans, the 'Ban of the Valar': they were forbidden to sail west out of sight of their own shores or to attempt to set foot on the Undying Lands. For though a long span of life had been granted to them, in the beginning thrice that of lesser Men, they must remain mortal, since the Valar were not permitted to take from them the Gift of Men (or the Doom of Men, as it was afterwards called).
And Sauron lied to the King, declaring that everlasting life would be his who possessed the Undying Lands, and that the Ban was imposed only to prevent the Kings of Men from surpassing the Valar. 'But great Kings take what is their right,' he said.
At length Ar-Pharazôn listened to this counsel, for he felt the waning of his days and was besotted by the fear of Death. He prepared then the greatest armament that the world had seen, and when all wa ready he sounded his trumpets and set sail; and he broke the Ban of the Valar, going up with war to wrest everlasting life from the Lords of the West. But when Ar-Pharazôn set foot upon the shores of Aman the Blessed, the Valar laid down their Guardianship and called upon the One, and the world was changed. Númenor was thrown down and swallowed in the Sea, and the Undying Lands were removed for ever from the circles of the world. So ended the glory of Númenor.
"Lady Undómiel," said Aragorn, "the hour is indeed hard, yet it was made even in that day when we met under the white birches in the garden of Elrond where none now walk. And on the hill of Cerin Amroth when we forsook both the Shadow and the Twilight this doom we accepted. Take counsel with yourself, beloved, and ask whether you would indeed have me wait until I wither and fall from my high seat unmanned and witless. Nay, lady, I am the last of the Númenoreans and the latest King of the Elder Days; and to me has been given not only a span thrice that of Men of Middle-earth, but also the grace to go at my will, and give back the gift. Now, therefore, I will sleep.
"I speak no comfort to you, for there is no comfort for such pain within the circles of the world. The uttermost choice is before you: to repent and go to the havens and bear away into the West the memory of our days together that shall there be evergreen but never more than memory; or else to abide the Doom of Men."
"Nay, dear lord," she said, "that choice is long over. There is now no ship that would bear me hence, and I must indeed abide the Doom of Men, whether I will or I nill: the loss and the silence. But I say to you, King of the Númenoreans, not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall. As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last. For if this is indeed, as the eldar say, the gift of the One to Men, it is bitter to receive."
"So it seems," he said. "But let us not be overthrown at the final test, who of old renounced the Shadow and the Ring. In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory, Farewell!"
"Estel, Estel!" she cried, and with that even as he took her hand and kissed it, he fell into sleep.
Frodo: Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.
Gandalf: Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.
'I don't think you quite understand things, Pippin,' said Frodo. Lotho never meant things to come to this pass. ... He's a prisoner in Bag End now, I expect, and very frightened. We ought to try and rescue him.'
'Well I am staggered!' said Pippin. 'Of all the ends to our journey that is the very last I should have thought of: to have to fight half-orcs and ruffians in the Shire itself - to rescue Lotho Pimple!'
'Fight?' said Frodo. 'Well, I suppose it may come to that. But remember: there is to be no slaying of hobbits, not even if they have gone over to the other side. Really gone over, I mean; not just obeying ruffians' orders because they are frightened. No hobbit has ever killed another on purpose in the Shire, and it is not to begin now. And nobody is to be killed at all, if it can be helped. Keep your tempers and hold your hands to the last possible moment!'
'But if there are many of these ruffians,' said Merry, 'it will certainly mean fighting. You won't rescue Lotho, or the Shire, just by being shocked and sad, my dear Frodo.'
Sam: 'Well, Mr. Frodo, we've been far and seen a deal, and yet I don't think we've found a better place than [Rivendell]. There's something of everything here, if you understand me: the Shire and the Golden Wood and Gondor and kings' houses and inns and meadows and mountains all mixed.'
...and beside [Elrond] upon a grey palfrey rode Arwen his daughter, Evenstar of her people.
And Frodo when he saw her come glimmering in the evening, with stars on her brow and a sweet fragrance about her, was moved with great wonder, and he said to Gandalf: 'At last I understand why we have waited! This is the ending. Now not day only shall be beloved, but night too shall be beautiful and blessed and all its fear pass away!'
And when Sam heard that he laughed aloud for sheer delight, and he stood up and cried: 'O great glory and splendour! And all my wishes have come true!' And then he wept.
But even as hope died in Sam, or seemed to die, it was turned to a new strength. Sam's plain hobbit-face grew stern, almost grim, as the will hardened in him, and he felt through all his limbs a thrill, as if he was turning into some creature of stone and steel that neither despair nor weariness nor endless barren miles could subdue.
Now and again the orc-driver fell back and jeered at them.
"There now!" he laughed, flicking at their legs. "Where there's a whip there's a will, my slugs. Hold up!"
"Far above the Ephel Dúath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as a looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach."
Gandalf: Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.
Pippin to Merry: "Come on now! Longbottom leaf it is. Fill up while I run and see about some food. And then let's be easy for a bit. Dear me! We Tooks and Brandybucks, we can't live long on the heights."
"No," said Merry. "I can't. No yet, at any rate. But at least, Pippin, we can now see them, and honour them. It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots, and the soil of the Shire is deep. Still there are things deeper and higher; and not a gaffer could tend his garden in what he calls peace but for them, whether he knows about them or not. I am glad that I know about them, a little."
Aragorn, speaking of Meriadoc: He is weary now, and grieved, and he has taken a hurt like the lady Éowyn, daring to smite that deadly thing. But these evils can be amended, so strong and gay a spirit is in him. His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.
A description of athelas or 'kingsfoil,' which translates as basil:
Once more Aragorn bruised two leaves of athelas and cast them into steaming water; and he laved [Éowyn's] brow with it, and her right arm lying cold and nerveless on the coverlet.
Then, whether Aragorn had indeed some forgotten power of Westernesse, or whether it was but his words of the Lady Éowyn that wrought on them, as the sweet influence of the herb stole about the chamber it seemed to those who stood by that a keen wind blew through the window, and it bore no scent, but was an air wholly fresh and clean and young, as if it had not before been breathed by any living thing and came new-made from snowy mountains high beneath a dome of stars, or from shores of silver far away washed by seas of foam.
Peregrin Took, hobbit of the Shire: I am nearly twenty-nine, so I pass you there; though I am but four feet, and not likely to grow any more, save sideways.
Beregond, Guard of the Citadel of Gondor: What would you know, Master Peregrin?
Peregrin Took, hobbit of the Shire: Er well, if I may venture to say so, rather a burning question in my mind at present is, well, what about breakfat and all that? I mean, what are the meal-times, if you understand me, and where is the dining-room, if there is one? And the inns? I looked, but never a one could I see as we rode up, though I had been borne up by the hope of a draught of ale as soon as we came to the homes of wise and courtly men.
Beregond: An old campaigner, I see. They say that men who go warring afield look ever to the next hope of food and of drink...
Generous deed should not be checked by cold counsel.
Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for, the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard's face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth.
Gandalf: But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?
Masterful descriptions: the city of Minas Tirith:
Now after Gandalf had ridden for some time the light of day grew in the sky, and Pippin roused himself and looked up. To his left lay a sea of mist, rising to a bleak shadow in the East; but to his right great mountains reared their heads, ranging from the West to a steep and sudden end, as if in the making of the land the River had burst through a great barrier, carving out a mighty valley to be a land of battle and debate in times to come. And there where the White Mountains of Ered Nimrais came to their end he saw, as Gandalf had promised, the dark mass of Mount Mindolluin, the deep purple shadows of its high glens, and its tall face whitening in the rising day. And upon its out-thrust knee was the Guarded City, with its seven walls of stone so strong and old that it seemed to have been not builded but carven by giants out of the bones of the earth.
Even as Pippin gazed in wonder the walls passed from looming grey to white, blushing faintly in the dawn; and suddenly the sun climbed over the eastern shadow and sent forth a shaft that smote the face of the City. Then Pippin cried aloud, for the Tower of Ecthelion, standing high within the topmost wall, shone out against the sky, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver, tall and fair and shapely, and its pinnacle glittered as if it were wrought of crystals; and white banners broke and fluttered from the battlements in the morning breeze, and high and far he heard a clear ringing as of silver trumpets.
Clinton's dalliances are nothing new to the office. Other presidents have entertained insignificant others while holding the nation's highest office. ... There [is] ... some redemptive value in this lurid business. It is that American television journalism has at last been given a story well within its intellectual resources and editorial competence.
The causal way of looking at things ... always answers only the question 'Why?', but never the question 'To what end?' No utility principle and no natural selection will make us get over that. However, if someone asks 'To what purpose should we help one another, make life easier for each other, make beautiful music, or have inspired thoughts?', he would have to be told: 'If you don't feel it, no one can explain it to you.' Without this primary feeling we are nothing and had better not live at all.
L'amore fa passare il tempo; il tempo fa passare l'amore.
L'ospite è come il pesce: dopo tre giorni puzza.
It's an illusion to think we can have obscene wealth on the one hand and desperate poverty on the other, and have that be a world anybody - even the extremely wealthy - wants to live in.
If you're always in control, you're not going fast enough.
There's a kind of unfocused apprehension that surrounds these date transformations. The year 2000, in a way, is a symbol without a content - a symbol that can be filled with whatever content an individual wishes to give it.
Ever since he had seen her face, on the black steps over the tide, he had thought of her and yearned to see her, like an adolescent mooning after his first girl; and if there was anything he hated it was the stupidity, the obstinate stupidity of uncontrolled passion. It led men to take blind risks, to hazard really important things for a mere moment of lust, to lose control over their acts... The absolute happiness she had given him came up in him like a tide, drowning all thought. He ceased to tell himself anything.
Genly Ai: "The Ekumen wants an alliance with
the nations of Gethen."
As they say in Ekumenical School, when action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.
Tibe...wanted his hearers to be frightened and angry. His themes
were not pride and love at all, though he used the words perpetually;
as he used them they meant self-praise and hate. He talked a great deal
about Truth also, for he was, he said, "cutting down beneath the veneer
[Therem Harth rem ir Estraven speaking to Genly Ai] Hate Orgoreyn? No, how should I? How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe talks about; I lack the trick of it. I know poeople, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one's country; is it hate of one's uncountry? Then it's not a good thing. Is it simply self-love? That's a good thing, but one mustn't make a virtue of it, or a profession. . . . Insofar as I love life, I love the hills of the Domain of Estre, but that sort of love does not have a boundary-line of hate. And beyond that, I am ignorant, I hope.
There are more servants, more services in Orgoreyn than in Karhide. This is because all Orgota are employees of the state; the state must find employment for all citizens, and does so. This, at least, is the accepted explanation, though like most economic explanations it seems, under certain lights, to omit the main point.
Following the east bank of the great River Kunderer I came on my third morning in Orgoreyn to Mishnory, the largest city on that world.
In the weak sunlight between autumn showers it was a queer-looking city, all blank stone walls with a few narrow windows set too high, wide streets that dwarfed the crowds, street-lamps perched on ridiculous tall posts, roofs pitched steep as praying hands, shed-roofs sticking out of housewalls eighteen feet above ground like big aimless bookshelves - an ill-proportioned, grotesque city, in the the sunlight. It was not built for sunlight. It was built for winter. In winter, with those streets filled ten feet up with packed, hard-rolled snow, the steep roofs icicle-fringed, sleds parked under the shed-roofs, narrow window-slits shining yellow through driving sleet, you would see the fitness of that city, its economy, its beauty.
Therem Harth rem ir Estraven (writing in his journal): In my part of Mishnory they broke the streetlamps, to keep their doings in the dark. But the Inspectors' cars were forever snooping and spotlighting those dark streets, taking from poor men their one privacy, the night.
Therem Harth rem ir Estraven (to Genly Ai): "Do you know the saying, Karhide is not a nation but a family quarrel?"
Overnight the weather thickened somewhat. All brightness was gone, leaving nothing. We stepped out of the tent onto nothing. Sledge and tent were there, Estraven stood beside me, but neither he nor I cast any shadow. There was dull light all around, everywhere. When we walked on the crisp snow no shadow showed the footprint. We left no track. Sledge, tent, himself, myself: nothing else at all. No sun, no sky, no horizon, no world. A whitish-gray void, in which we appeared to hang. The illusion was so complete that I had trouble keeping my balance. My inner ears were used to confirmation from my eyes as to how I stood; they got none; I might as well be blind. It was all right while we loaded up, but hauling, with nothing ahead, nothing to look at, nothing for the eye to touch, as it were, it was at first disagreeable and then exhausting. We were on skis, on a good surface of firn, without sastrugi, and solid - that was certain - for five or six thousand feet down. ... Day after day was like this, and we began to shorten our hauls, for by mid-afternoon both of us would be sweating and shaking with strain and fatigue. I came to long for snow, for blizzard, for anything: but morning after morning we came out of the tent into the void, the white weather, what Estraven called the Unshadow.
Matthew 3:7-12. God is able from these stones to raise up children
Colossians 3:1-17. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do
everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Where there was no equality there was no companionship: when a man was obliged to say 'Yes, sir,' his agreement was of no worth even if it happened to be true.
Some say love, it is a river that drowns the tender reed;
It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance;
When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
I cried a tear; you wiped it dry.
You gave me strength to stand alone again,
And I can't believe it's you - I can't believe it's true.
You held my hand when it was cold
"Yes," said Blaine at last. "Marriage. Liaisons are very well; indeed, very agreeable at times; but there is a certain shall I say restless sterility about them and in any case the lady in question is strictly virtuous. Yet perhaps I have left it too late. Of recent months I have become most painfully aware of a certain - how shall I put it? Of a certain want of vigour, of a certin debility... Is there nothing that physic can do in such a case, or is it inevitable at my age?..."
"It is not inevitable at all," said Stephen... "Yet before I speak as a physician, may I ask you as a friend whether you have fully considered the wisdom of reviving these fires? When a man looks about him, surely he sees that in general the pain outweighs the pleasure? ... Is not peace the greatest good? Calm rather than storms?..."
"I quite take your point, and a very cogent point it is; ... But since
this weakness came upon me I find that I must always have looked at the
more personable members of the sex with a certain eye, an appreciative,
even a remotely concupiscent, a faintly hopeful eye; and with that eye
extinguished, it is as though the spring of life were gone. I had no conception
of its importance. You are younger than I am, Maturin, and it may be that
you do not know from experience that the absence of a torment may be a
worse torment still: you may wish to throw a hair-shirt aside, not realizing
that it is the hair-shirt alone that keeps you warm...and that the peace
of which you speak has a close resemblance to death. We are all Stoics
in the grave."
A yearning of every child is to be blessed by father. Because of impatience or ignorance or not knowing how, fathers instead often give a curse. Deep within us are curses that we for a lifetime have been getting over or living down. So much of our searching and hard work has been trying to find or bribe or woo a blessing from another in hopes that it will heal and make us whole...
In Dorothy Allison's novel, Bastard out of Carolina, Bone, a thirteen-year-old girl whose life has been nothing but abuse and curse, is held by her mother. "I pressed my face into her neck, and let it all go. The grief. The anger. The guilt and the shame. It would come back. It would come back forever. We had all wanted the simplest thing, to love and be loved and be safe together, but we had lost it and I didn't know how to get it back."
John 17:1-11. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world...
Jesus not in the world? A hard reality facing the church of the late first century as well as the twentieth century. There is the stunning account of Jesus feeding the multitude where, in response to the disciples' anxiety about from whence the food will come, Jesus says, "You feed them!" The miracle of the multiplication is that what they had is enough. Even if they can't believe it. Even if for two millennia we continue to deny it.
God has no lips but ours with which to speak, no other hands with which to reach out and minister. The incarnational God continues to live in the flesh and walk about our world. God now in us. You and me.
Do we worship Jesus or follow Jesus? Worshiping without following may seem to compensate for his "absence," to keep him alive and well in our midst, still solely responsible for accomplishing things for which we pray. Following him means staying the course that he has set and acting for and with him. Worshiping only seeks to create a safe haven in a world for which Jesus is liable. Following Jesus takes us to those unsavory places he went, eating with outsiders and outcasts, banqueting with the halt, lame, and blind, lepers and prostitutes. Following Jesus is taking up the cross he promised and walking with him.
In a moment they would slide down the slippery slopes of sentiment, and that would be unbearable.
does it look so beautiful?" Takver said, lying beside Shevek under the
orange blanket, the light out. Over them the Occupations of Uninhabited
Space hung, dim; out the window the full Moon hung, brilliant. "When we
know that it's a planet just like this one, only with a better climate
and worse people — when we know they're all propertarians, and fight
wars, and make laws, and eat while others starve, and anyhow are all
getting older and having bad luck and getting rheumatic knees and corns
He crossed the campus on his way to a lecture. The birds were singing in the newly leafed trees. He had not heard them sing all winter, but now they were at it, pouring it out, the sweet tunes. Ree-dee, they sang, tee-dee. This is my propertee-tee, this is my territoree-ree-ree, it belongs to mee, mee.
Like all power seekers, Pae was amazingly shortsighted. There was a trivial, abortive quality to his mind; it lacked depth, affect, imagination. It was, in fact, a primitive instrument. Yet its potentiality had been real, and though deformed had not been lost. Pae was a very clever physicist. Or, more exactly, he was very clever about physics. He had not done anything original, but his opportunism, his sense for where advantage lay, led him time after time to the most promising field. He had the flair for where to set to work, just as Shevek did, and Shevek respected it in him as in himself, for it is a singularly important attribute in a scientist.
I'll tell you what was wrong. I was pregnant. Pregnant women have no ethics. Only the most primitive kind of sacrifice impulse. To hell with the book, and the partnership, and the truth, if they threaten the precious fetus! It's a racial preservation drive, but it can work right against community; it's biological, not social. A man can be grateful he never gets into the grip of it. But he'd better realize that a woman can, and watch out for it.
my people refuse to look outward, I thought I might make others look at
us. I thought it would be better not to hold apart behind a wall, but
to be a society among the others, a world among the others, giving and
taking. But there I was wrong — I was absolutely wrong."
Ursula LeGuin, The Dispossessed (Avon, 1974), p. 278
"We are the children of time," Shevek said.