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 ????? ????????? ???? ???????, ?? ??? ??????? ????????? ????? ????, ??????? ?? ?????????? ??????????? ??????????? ?????? ? ?????????????? ???????????? ? ????????? ?????????? ?? ????????? ? ??? ??????????? ????????? ?????????, ? ??????? ? ??????? ???????? ?????????, ? ? ??? ???????, ??????? ?????? ?????????? ???? ?????????. ? ???? ??????? ?????? ??? ???????? ? ? ????????? ????? ???????? ??, ??? ? ???? ???????, ?? ? ?? …

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In the heart of the US Capitol there’s a small men’s room with an uplifting Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt quotation above the door. Making use of the facilities there after lunch in the nearby House dining room about a year ago, I found myself standing next to Trent Lott. Once a mighty power in the building as Senate Republican leader, he had been forced to resign his post following some imprudently affectionate references to his fellow Republican senator, arch-segregationist Strom Thurmond. Now he was visiting the Capitol as a lucratively employed lobbyist.

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The squatter camp outside Lawley township, in the southwest of Johannesburg, stretches for miles against a bare hillside, without electricity, water, or toilets. I visited on a blustery morning in October with a local journalist named Mophethe Thebe, who spent much of his childhood in the area. As we drove toward the settlement he pointed out land that had been abandoned by white Afrikaner farmers after the end of apartheid in 1994, and had since been taken over by impoverished black settlers who built over the former farms with half-paved roadways and tiny brick houses. You could still see stands of headstones inscribed in Afrikaans, all that remained visible of the former inhabitants.

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The story begins, as so many do, with a journey. In this case, it’s a seemingly simple one: a young girl, cloaked in red, must carry a basket of food through the woods to her bedridden grandmother. Along the way, she meets a duplicitous wolf who persuades her to dawdle: Notice the robins, he says; Laze in the sun, breathe in the hyacinth and bluebells; Wouldn’t your grandmother like a fresh bouquet? Meanwhile, he hastens to her grandmother’s cottage, where he swallows the old woman whole, slips into her bed, and waits for his final course.

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They were released.

For the first time in seven years, they stood outside in the courtyard of the reeducation center. They looked across at the gate. They remembered none of this. The flagpole and the towers. The cameras. Prany counted the sentries in the towers. He heard the rattle of keys as the guard behind him, wearing a green uniform, undid his handcuffs. Then the guard undid Vang’s. They rubbed their free wrists. Vang made fists with his hands.

Prany dug the soles of his new shoes into the dirt. He watched Vang’s hands and then turned to see the building they had exited. It resembled a schoolhouse or a gymnasium. The flag flapped in the wind. The sun on him. The immense sky. His neck was stiff. He knew that if they were forced to run right now his legs might buckle. Not because he was weak, but because in this moment, in the new environment, out in the open, his entire body felt uncertain.

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Ten years ago, a week after his sixtieth birthday, and six months after his first appointment with an oncologist, my father died. That afternoon, I went to my parents’ bedroom to clear up the remains of the lunch my mother had brought him not long before he collapsed. A copy of Yiyun Li’s novel The Vagrants, which he’d asked me for after I reviewed it in a newspaper, was open on his bedside table. He had gotten about halfway through it. The Vagrants isn’t what you’d call a consoling book—it centers on a young woman’s unjust execution in a provincial Chinese town in 1979—and I had mixed feelings about it being the last thing he’d read. Perhaps an adolescent part of me had been happy to let him have it out of a need to see him as a more fearless reader than he might have wanted to be just then. Still, my father had read Proust and Robert Musil while working as a real estate agent. There was comfort, of a sort, for me, and maybe him, in his refusal of comfort reading.

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

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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.

Classes at a Catholic school in Durham, North Carolina, were canceled in anticipation of protests against a lesbian alumna, who had been invited to speak at a Black History Month event.

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“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.”

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