Quotation

No Comment, Quotation — March 23, 2012, 2:17 pm

Merton: The Distortion of Dogma

It seems a little strange that we [Catholics] are so wildly exercised about the “murder” (and the word is of course correct) of an unborn infant by abortion, or even the prevention of conception which is hardly murder, and yet accept without a qualm the extermination of millions of helpless and innocent adults, some of whom may be Christians and even our friends rather than our enemies. I submit that we ought to fulfill the one without omitting the other. —Thomas Merton, Cold War Letters, p. 38 (letter to Dorothy Day, Dec. 20, 1961). The U.S. Department of Health and …

No Comment, Quotation — February 13, 2012, 10:18 am

Schopenhauer: Causality and Synchronicity

Alle Ereignisse im Leben eines Menschen standen demnach in zwei grundverschiedenen Arten des Zusammenhangs: erstlich, im objektiven, kausalen Zusammenhange des Naturlaufs; zweitens, in einem subjektiven Zusammenhange, der nur in Beziehung auf das sie erlebende Individuum vorhanden und so subjektiv wie dessen eigene Träume ist, in welchem jedoch ihre Succession und Inhalt ebenfalls nothwendig bestimmt ist, aber in der Art, wie die Succession der Scenen eines Drama‘s, durch den Plan des Dichters. Daß nun jene beiden Arten des Zusammenhangs zugleich bestehn und die nämliche Begebenheit, als ein Glied zweier ganz verschiedener Ketten, doch beiden sich genau einfügt, in Folge wovon jedes …

No Comment, Quotation — January 23, 2012, 10:41 am

Lessing: In Praise of Laziness

Faulheit, jetzo will ich dir Auch ein kleines Loblied bringen.— O—wie—sau—er—wird es mir,— Dich—nach Würden—zu besingen! Doch, ich will mein Bestes tun, Nach der Arbeit ist gut ruhn.   Höchstes Gut! wer dich nur hat, Dessen ungestörtes Leben— Ach!—ich—gähn’—ich—werde matt— Nun—so—magst du—mir’s vergeben, Daß ich dich nicht singen kann; Du verhinderst mich ja dran.   Laziness, now I’ll sing you A little song of praise, Oh what a challenge it will be To craft a song worthy of you But I’ll do my best For after work comes the soundest rest.   The highest good! He who possesses you Will …

No Comment, Quotation — January 16, 2012, 11:07 am

Martin Luther King Jr.: Nonviolence and the Struggle Between Rich and Poor

The emergency we now face is economic, and it is a desperate and worsening situation. For the 35 million poor people in America—not even to mention, just yet, the poor in other nations—there is a kind of strangulation in the air. In our society it is murder, psychologically, to deprive a man of a job or an income. You are in substance saying to that man that he has no right to exist. You are in a real way depriving him of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, denying in his case the very creed of his society. Now, …

No Comment, Quotation — January 13, 2012, 11:38 am

Donne: An Anatomy of the World

And new philosophy calls all in doubt, The element of fire is quite put out, The sun is lost, and th’ earth, and no man’s wit Can well direct him where to look for it. And freely men confess that this world’s spent, When in the planets and the firmament They seek so many new; they see that this Is crumbled out again to his atomies. ‘Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone, All just supply, and all relation; Prince, subject, father, son, are things forgot, For every man alone thinks he hath got To be a phoenix, and that …

No Comment, Quotation — December 28, 2011, 7:26 pm

Tolstoy: The Chain of Ideas that Constitutes Art

??? ??? ?????? ????? ????? ??????, ??? ?????????, ???? ????????? ??? ????. ??????, ??? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ???????, ?? ????? ?? ????????? ? ??, ?????????? ?????????, ???? ?? ???????. ?????? ??, ??????, ??? ????? 9/10 ????? ????????? ???? ???????, ?? ??? ??????? ????????? ????? ????, ??????? ?? ?????????? ??????????? ??????????? ?????? ? ?????????????? ???????????? ? ????????? ?????????? ?? ????????? ? ??? ??????????? ????????? ?????????, ? ??????? ? ??????? ???????? ?????????, ? ? ??? ???????, ??????? ?????? ?????????? ???? ?????????. ? ???? ??????? ?????? ??? ???????? ? ? ????????? ????? ???????? ??, ??? ? ???? ???????, ?? ? ?? …

No Comment, Quotation — November 23, 2011, 11:42 am

Quesnay: The Despotism of Natural Law

Les loix naturelles et fondamentales des sociétés sont la règle souveraine et decisive du juste et de l’injuste absolu, du bien et du mal moral, elles s’impriment dans le cœur des hommes, elles sont la lumière qui les éclaire et maîtrise leur conscience: cette lumière n’est affaiblie ou obscurcie que par leurs passions déréglées. Le principal objet des loix positives est ce dérèglement même auquel elles oposent une sanction redoubtable aux hommes pervers: car en gros de quoi s’agit-it pour la prospérité d’une nation? De cultiver la terre avec le plus grand succès possible et de preserver la société des …

No Comment, Quotation — November 18, 2011, 4:43 pm

Leopardi: The Eve of the Feast Day

Ecco è fuggito Il dì festivo, ed al festivo il giorno Volgar succede, e si travolge il tempo Ogni umano accidente. Or dov’è ’l suono Di que’ popoli antichi? or dov’è ’l grido De’ nostri avi famosi, e ’l grande impero Di quella Roma, e l’armi, e ’l fragorio Che n’andò per la terra e l’oceano? Tutto è silenzio e pace, e tutto cheto È ’l mondo, e più di lor non si favella. Ne la mia prima età, quando s’aspetta Bramosamente il dì festivo, or poscia Ch’egli era spento, io doloroso e desto Premea le piume; e per la …

No Comment, Quotation — October 21, 2011, 1:13 pm

Plato — The Origins of Democracy

?????? ?? ? ???????? ????? ??????? ??????, ?????? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?????????? ???? ????? ????? ????????, ??? ????????? ?????? ?? ????????? ??? ???????? ????: ?????? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ??????????? ?? ?????, ??? ???????? ??? ??????? ??? ????????? ??? ???????? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ??????. ???? ?? ??????????????? ???? ????? ???????? ????? ????????, ?????? ?? ??? ????: ????????? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ?? ??????? ????? ???????????? ?????, ??? ? ??????????? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ?????? ????? ?????? ??, ???? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ??????? ?????? — ????????? ??? ?????? ???? ?????, ?? ????? ???????? — ??????? …

No Comment, Quotation — September 2, 2011, 12:39 pm

Shakespeare/Morley — “O Mistress Mine”

O Mistress mine, where are you roaming? O, stay and hear; your true love’s coming, That can sing both high and low: Trip no further, pretty sweeting; Journeys end in lovers meeting, Every wise man’s son doth know. What is love? ’Tis not hereafter; Present mirth hath present laughter; What’s to come is still unsure: In delay there lies not plenty; Then, come kiss me, sweet and twenty, Youth’s a stuff will not endure. —William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, II, iii (1602) These lines are sung by Feste, one of the more complex comic foils to appear in a Shakespearean work. …

No Comment, Quotation — August 18, 2011, 2:32 pm

Solov'ëv and the Eternal Struggle with Evil

Ka?e?c?, o? ?????. ??o ?e?c????e???o cy?ec??ye?, ? o?o ??pa?ae?c? ?e ? o??o? o?cy?c???? ?o?pa, a ? ?o?o???e???o? c??po????e??? ? ?epe?ece ?????x ?a?ec?? ?a? ??c???? ?o ?cex o??ac??x ?????. Ec?? ??o ???????ya???oe — o?o ??pa?ae?c? ? ?o?, ??o ????a? c??po?a ?e?o?e?a, c?o?c??e ? ??epc??e c?pac?? ?po?????c? ?y???? c?pe??e???? ?y?? u ocu?u?a?m ux ? o?po??o? ?o?????c??e ???e?. Ec?? ??o o??ec??e??oe — o?o ? ?o?, ??o ???c?a? ?o??a, ???????ya???o ?opa?o?e??a? ??y, ?po?????c? c?ac??e????? yc????? ?e??o??x ?y???x ???e? ? o?o?e?ae? ?x; ec??, ?a?o?e?, ??o ?????ec?oe ? ?e?o?e?e — ? ?o?, ??? ?????e ?a?ep?a????e ??e?e??? e?o ?e?a co?po???????c? ???o? ? c?e??o? c??e, c?????a??e? ?x ? …

No Comment, Quotation — April 24, 2011, 5:39 am

Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes

Let Observation with extensive View, Survey Mankind, from China to Peru; Remark each anxious Toil, each eager Strife, And watch the busy Scenes of crouded Life; Then say how Hope and Fear, Desire and Hate, O’er spread with Snares the clouded Maze of Fate, Where wav’ring Man, betray’d by vent’rous Pride, To tread the dreary Paths without a Guide; As treach’rous Phantoms in the Mist delude, Shuns fancied Ills, or chases airy Good. How rarely Reason guides the stubborn Choice, Rules the bold Hand, or prompts the suppliant Voice, How Nations sink, by darling Schemes oppres’d, When Vengeance listens to …

No Comment, Quotation — April 23, 2011, 9:23 am

Barth – Standing with the Downtrodden

In diesem Zusammenhang wird es nun wichtig, daß als das Volk, dem Gott sich in seiner Gerechtigkeit als Helfer und Retter zuwendet, im Alten Testament durchweg das bedrängte, unterdrückte, recht- und hilfslose, das ohne ihn der Übergewalt seiner Feinde preisgegebene, das aus eigener Kraft ohnmächtige Israel sichtbar wird und innerhalb Israels im Besonderen: die Armen, die Witwen und Waisen, die Schwachen und Rechtlosen. Der Sproß aus der Wurzel Isai «wird Wohlgefallen haben an der Furcht des Herrn. Er wird nicht richten nach dem, was seine Augen sehen, noch Recht sprechen nach dem, was seine Ohren hören», d. h. offenbar: er …

No Comment, Quotation — April 3, 2011, 7:15 am

Al-Shabi – To the Tyrants of the World

??? ???? ?????? ??????? ???? ?????? ??? ?????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ? ???? ??? ????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ?????? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ????? ??? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ?????? ? ?? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ???? ????? ? ???? ????? ? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ?????? ? ????? ?????? ??????? Hey you, the unfair tyrants… You the lovers of the darkness… You the enemies of life… …

No Comment, Quotation — April 2, 2011, 9:18 am

Constant – The Faulty Judgment of the Powerful

Il y a dans le pouvoir quelque chose qui fausse plus ou moins le jugement. Les chances d’erreur de la force sont multipliées que celles de la faiblesse. La force trouve ses ressources en elle-même. La faiblesse a besoin de raison. Toutes choses égales, il est toujours vraisemblable que les gouvernants auront des opinions moins justes, moins saines, moines impartiales que les gouvernés. There is something about power that distorts judgments more or less. The chances that a powerful person will make an error are much greater than those of a weak person. Power has recourse to its own resources. …

No Comment, Quotation — February 13, 2011, 6:48 am

The Life of Wolkenstein

Es fügt sich, do ich was von zehen jaren alt ich wolt besehen, wie die werlt wer gestalt. mit ellend, armüt mangen winkel, haiss und kalt hab ich gebawt bei cristen, Kriechen, haiden. Drei pfenning in dem peutel und ain stücklin brot, das was von haim mein zerung, do ich loff in not. von fremden freunden so hab ich manchen tropfen rot gelassen seider, das ich wand verschaiden. Ich loff ze füss mit swerer büss, bis das mir starb mein vatter, zwar wol vierzen jar nie ross erwarb, wann aines roupt, stal ich halbs zu mal mit valber varb und …

No Comment, Quotation — February 12, 2011, 11:44 am

Planck on Science’s Commitment to Truth

Sollte aber Ihr ehrliches, durch mehrfache Proben bewährtes Streben Ihnen mit Entschiedenheit besondere, von den bisherigen abweichende Wege weisen, dann—folgen Sie Ihrer eigenen Überzeugung mehr als jeder anderen. Denn diese ist und bleibt Ihr höchstes, köstlichstes Gut, so gewiß als die Heranbildung zur wissenschaftlichen Selbständigkeit das schönste Ziel des akademischen Unterrichts bildet, und so gewiß eine in redlicher Arbeit erworbene eigene wissenschaftliche Überzeugung einen festen Ankergrund angibt, um auch der sittlichen Weltanschauung allen den möglichen Wechselfällen des Lebens gegenüber den nötigen Halt zu gewähren. Die edelste unter den sittlichen Blüten der Wissenschaft und zugleich auch ihre eigentümlichste ist ohne Zweifel …

No Comment, Quotation — January 16, 2011, 11:07 am

Fet/Rachmaninoff – In the Mysterious Silence of the Night

?, ????? ???? ?, ? ???????? ???? ??????, ???????? ????? ????, ??????, ???? ?????????, ??????? ????????? ????? ?????? ????? ?? ?????? ???????? ? ????? ?????????; ???? ?????????, ????, ????? ?? ??????, ?????? ? ????? ???????? ???????, ?????? ???? ????? ?????????? ????? ? ??????, ??????? ??????????? ??; ??????? ? ?????????? ????? ????????? ????? ???? ? ?????, ??????????? ????????, ? ? ?????????, ????????? ???, ???????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ????. Oh, I will spend long moments, in the mysterious silence of the night, driving from my mind thoughts of your insidious chatter, your smile, your gaze, a casual look, the hair that obeyed …

No Comment, Quotation — January 15, 2011, 3:20 pm

Burke on Sharia Law

On one side, your lordships have the prisoner declaring that the people have no laws, no rights, no usages, no distinctions of rank, no sense of honor, no property; in short that they are nothing but a herd of slaves to be governed by the arbitrary will of a master. On the other side, we assert that the direct contrary of this is true. And to prove out assertion we have referred you to the institutes of Ghinges Khân and of Tamerlane: we have referred you to the Mahomedan law, which is binding upon all, from the crowned head to …

No Comment, Quotation — December 26, 2010, 2:21 pm

Monteverdi – Beatus vir

Beatus vir qui timet Dominum: In mandates ejus volet nimis. Potens in terra erit semen ejus Benedicetur generatio rectorum, Gloria et divitiae in domo ejus: et justitia ejus manet in saeculum saeculi. Exortum est in tenebris lumen rectis misericors, miserator et justus. Jucundus homo qui miseretur et commodat, disponet sermones suos in judicio: quia in aeternum non commovebitur. In memoria aeterna, ab auditione mala non timebit. Paratum cor ejus confirmatum est, non commovebitur donec despiciat inimicos suos Dispersit dedit pauperibus, justitia ejus manet in saeculum saeculi cornu ejus exaltabitur in gloria. Peccator videbit, et irascetur dentibus suis, fremet et tabescet: …

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2019

The Wood Chipper

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Common Ground

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Love and Acid

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Black Axe

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Wood Chipper·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I was tucked in a blind behind a soda machine, with nothing in my hand but notepad and phone, when a herd of running backs broke cover and headed across the convention center floor. My God, they’re beautiful! A half dozen of them, compact as tanks, stuffed into sports shirts and cotton pants, each, around his monstrous neck, wearing a lanyard that listed number and position, name and schedule, tasks to be accomplished at the 2019 N.F.L. Scout­ing Combine. They attracted the stunned gaze of football fans and beat writers, yet, seemingly unaware of their surroundings, continued across the carpet.

Article
Common Ground·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Thirty miles from the coast, on a desert plateau in the Judaean Mountains without natural resources or protection, Jerusalem is not a promising site for one of the world’s great cities, which partly explains why it has been burned to the ground twice and besieged or attacked more than seventy times. Much of the Old City that draws millions of tourists and Holy Land pilgrims dates back two thousand years, but the area ­likely served as the seat of the Judaean monarchy a full millennium before that. According to the Bible, King David conquered the Canaanite city and established it as his capital, but over centuries of destruction and rebuilding all traces of that period were lost. In 1867, a British military officer named Charles Warren set out to find the remnants of David’s kingdom. He expected to search below the famed Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, but the Ottoman authorities denied his request to excavate there. Warren decided to dig instead on a slope outside the Old City walls, observing that the Psalms describe Jerusalem as lying in a valley surrounded by hills, not on top of one.

On a Monday morning earlier this year, I walked from the Old City’s Muslim Quarter to the archaeological site that Warren unearthed, the ancient core of Jerusalem now known as the City of David. In the alleys of the Old City, stone insulated the air and awnings blocked the sun, so the streets were cold and dark and the mood was somber. Only the pilgrims were up this early. American church groups filed along the Via Dolorosa, holding thin wooden crosses and singing a hymn based on a line from the Gospel of Luke: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Narrow shops sold gardenia, musk, and amber incense alongside sweatshirts promoting the Israel Defense Forces.

I passed through the Western Wall Plaza to the Dung Gate, popularly believed to mark the ancient route along which red heifers were led to the Temple for sacrifice. Outside the Old City walls, in the open air, I found light and heat and noise. Tour buses lined up like train cars along the ridge. Monday is the day when bar and bat mitzvahs are held in Israel, and drumbeats from distant celebrations mixed with the pounding of jackhammers from construction sites nearby. When I arrived at the City of David, workmen were refinishing the wooden deck at the site’s entrance and laying down a marble mosaic by the ticket window.

Article
The Black Axe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Eleven years ago, on a bitter January night, dozens of young men, dressed in a uniform of black berets, white T-­shirts, and black pants, gathered on a hill overlooking the Nigerian city of Jos, shouting, dancing, and shooting guns into the black sky. A drummer pounded a rhythmic beat. Amid the roiling crowd, five men crawled toward a candlelit dais, where a white-­robed priest stood holding an axe. Leading them was John, a sophomore at the local college, powerfully built and baby-faced. Over the past six hours, he had been beaten and burned, trampled and taunted. He was exhausted. John looked out at the landscape beyond the priest. It was the harmattan season, when Saharan sand blots out the sky, and the city lights in the distance blurred in John’s eyes as if he were underwater.

John had been raised by a single mother in Kaduna, a hardscrabble city in Nigeria’s arid north. She’d worked all hours as a construction supplier, but the family still struggled to get by. Her three boys were left alone for long stretches, and they killed time hunting at a nearby lake while listening to American rap. At seventeen, John had enrolled at the University of Jos to study business. Four hours southeast of his native Kaduna, Jos was another world, temperate and green. John’s mother sent him an allowance, and he made cash on the side rearing guard dogs for sale in Port Harcourt, the perilous capital of Nigeria’s oil industry. But it wasn’t much. John’s older brother, also studying in Jos, hung around with a group of Axemen—members of the Black Axe fraternity—who partied hard and bought drugs and cars. Local media reported a flood of crimes that Axemen had allegedly committed, but his brother’s friends promised John that, were he to join the group, he wouldn’t be forced into anything illegal. He could just come to the parties, help out at the odd charity drive, and enjoy himself. It was up to him.

John knew that the Black Axe was into some “risky” stuff. But he thought it was worth it. Axemen were treated with respect and had connections to important people. Without a network, John’s chances of getting a good job post-­degree were almost nil. In his second year, he decided to join, or “bam.” On the day of the initiation, John was given a shopping list: candles, bug spray, a kola nut (a caffeinated nut native to West Africa), razor blades, and 10,000 Nigerian naira (around thirty dollars)—his bamming fee. He carried it all to the top of the hill. Once night fell, Axemen made John and the other four initiates lie on their stomachs in the dirt, pressed toge­ther shoulder to shoulder, and hurled insults at them. They reeked like goats, some Axemen screamed. Others lashed them with sticks. Each Axeman walked over their backs four times. Somebody lit the bug spray on fire, and ran the flames across them, “burning that goat stink from us,” John recalled.

Article
Who Is She?·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t get up—­just couldn’t get up, couldn’t get up or leave. All day lying in that median, unable. Was this misery or joy?

It’s happened to you, too, hasn’t it? A habit or phase, a marriage, a disease, children or drugs, money or debt—­something you believed inescapable, something that had been going on for so long that you’d forgotten any and every step taken to lead your life here. What did you do? How did this happen? When you try to solve the crossword, someone keeps adding clues.

It’s happened to us all. The impossible knowledge is the one we all want—­the big why, the big how. Who among us won’t buy that lotto ticket? This is where stories come from and, believe me, there are only two kinds: ­one, naked lies, and two, pot holders, gas masks, condoms—­something you must carefully place between yourself and a truth too dangerous to touch.

Article
Murder Italian Style·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Catholic School, by Edoardo Albinati. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1,280 pages. $40.

In a quiet northern suburb of Rome, a woman hears noises in the street and sends her son to investigate. Someone is locked in the trunk of a Fiat 127. The police arrive and find one girl seriously injured, together with the corpse of a second. Both have been raped, tortured, and left for dead. The survivor speaks of three young aggressors and a villa by the sea. Within hours two of the men have been arrested. The other will never be found.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

After not making a public appearance for weeks and being rumored dead, the president of Turkmenistan appeared on state television and drove a rally car around The Gates of Hell, a crater of gas that has been burning since it was discovered in 1971.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Happiness Is a Worn Gun

By

“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

Subscribe Today