For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command or faith a dictum. I am my own God. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.
The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”
- David Foster Wallace (This is Water)
I’ve had the most terrible things happen. and the most brilliant things. and sometimes, well, I can’t tell the difference. they’re all the same thing. they’re… they’re just me.
"Why didn’t I learn to treat everything like it was the last time. My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future."
— Jonathan Safran Foer
“To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.”
"...and yet, you’re still alone. all that trying and still you stand apart, watching from the other side of the glass. afraid to have what you truly want because what if it’s not enough after all? so much better to wrap yourself up in the longing. the yearning. the restlessness."
The reliance on Property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the want of self-reliance. Men have looked away from themselves and at things so long that they have come to esteem the religious, learned and civil institutions as guards of property, and they deprecate assaults on these, because they feel them to be assaults on property. They measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is. But a cultivated man becomes ashamed of his property, out of new respect for his nature. Especially he hates what he has if he see that it is accidental,—came to him by inheritance, or gift, or crime; then he feels that it is not having; it does not belong to him, has no root in him and merely lies there because no revolution or no robber takes it away. But that which a man is, does always by necessity acquire, and what the man acquires is living property, which does not wait the beck of rulers, or mobs, or revolutions, or fire, or storm, or bankruptcies, but perpetually renews itself wherever the man breathes.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sooner or later we all discover that the big moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these. You were born an original. Don't die a copy. There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval. So mine's a double and I'll see you all in hell suckers!
“It was not the passion that was new to her, it was the yearning adoration. She knew she had always feared it, for it left her helpless; she feared it still, lest if she adored him too much, then she would lose herself, become effaced, and she did not want to be effaced, a slave, like a savage woman. She must not become a slave. She feared her adoration, yet she would not at once fight against it.”
— D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover
There will be days when you’ll look at your hands and you’ll want to take something and smash every bone in them, because they’ll be taunting you with what they could do, if you found a chance for them to do it, and you can’t find that chance, and you can’t bear your living body because it has failed you somewhere. There will be days when a bus driver will snap at you as you enter a bus, and he’ll be only asking you for a dime, but that won’t be what you hear, you’ll hear that you’re nothing, that he’s laughing at you, that it’s written on your forehead, that thing they hate you for.
You're the best I can do; but I'm sorry, you are just not good enough.
“The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them - words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.”- Stephen King
My life's been too much of a self-created vocation. And there are times when I think I've done everything in the name of defiance.
- Anne Rice (Exit to Eden)