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pearls

when the swine overwhelm, retreat into the wisdom of these words

Monday, June 26, 2006

Because psychologists have been able to discover, exactly as in a slow-motion picture, the way the human creature acquires knowledge and habits, the normal child has been vastly helped by what the retarded have taught us.

Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.

Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.

Hunger makes a thief of any man.

I am mentally bifocal.

I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.

I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in the kindness of human beings. I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and angels.

If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.

In a mood of faith and hope my work goes on. A ream of fresh paper lies on my desk waiting for the next book. I am a writer and I take up my pen to write.

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that is where I renew my springs that never dry up.

It may be that religion is dead, and if it is, we had better know it and set ourselves to try to discover other sources of moral strength before it is too late.

Love alone could waken love.

Love dies only when growth stops.

Man was lost if he went to a usurer, for the interest ran faster than a tiger upon him.

Men would rather be starving and free than fed in bonds.

None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.

Nothing and no one can destroy the Chinese people. They are relentless survivors.

One faces the future with one's past.

Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.

Praise out of season, or tactlessly bestowed, can freeze the heart as much as blame.

Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.

The bitterest creature under heaven is the wife who discovers that her husband's bravery is only bravado, that his strength is only a uniform, that his power is but a gun in the hands of a fool.

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.

The truth is always exciting. Speak it, then. Life is dull without it.

The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible - and achieve it, generation after generation.

To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.

To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.

We send missionaries to China so the Chinese can get to heaven, but we won't let them into our country.

We should so provide for old age that it may have no urgent wants of this world to absorb it from meditation on the next. It is awful to see the lean hands of dotage making a coffer of the grave.

What is a neglected child? He is a child not planned for, not wanted. Neglect begins, therefore, before he is born.

You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea.

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.

~Pearl S. Buck

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him.

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.

As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.

At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.

Big Brother is watching you.

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

But the thing that I saw in your face no power can disinherit: No bomb that ever burst shatters the crystal spirit.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.

Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.

For a creative writer possession of the "truth" is less important than emotional sincerity.

Happiness can exist only in acceptance.

He was an embittered atheist, the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him.

I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

If you have embraced a creed which appears to be free from the ordinary dirtiness of politics - a creed from which you yourself cannot expect to draw any material advantage - surely that proves that you are in the right?

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

In every one of those little stucco boxes there's some poor bastard who's never free except when he's fast asleep and dreaming that he's got the boss down the bottom of a well and is bunging lumps of coal at him.

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.

It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it; consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.

It is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane.

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals.

Many people genuinely do not want to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings.

Men are only as good as their technical development allows them to be.

Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.

Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.

Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.

No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer.

No one can look back on his schooldays and say with truth that they were altogether unhappy.

Not to expose your true feelings to an adult seems to be instinctive from the age of seven or eight onwards.

On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.

One can love a child, perhaps, more deeply than one can love another adult, but it is rash to assume that the child feels any love in return.

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.

One of the effects of a safe and civilized life is an immense oversensitiveness which makes all the primary emotions somewhat disgusting. Generosity is as painful as meanness, gratitude as hateful as ingratitude.

Part of the reason for the ugliness of adults, in a child's eyes, is that the child is usually looking upwards, and few faces are at their best when seen from below.

Patriotism is usually stronger than class hatred, and always stronger than internationalism.

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Political chaos is connected with the decay of language... one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.

Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Progress and reaction have both turned out to be swindles. Seemingly, there is nothing left but quietism - robbing reality of its terrors by simply submitting to it.

Prolonged, indiscriminate reviewing of books is a quite exceptionally thankless, irritating and exhausting job. It not only involves praising trash but constantly inventing reactions towards books about which one has no spontaneous feeling whatever.

Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent.

Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.

Society has always seemed to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice.

Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.

The aim of a joke is not to degrade the human being, but to remind him that he is already degraded.

The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.

The Catholic and the Communist are alike in assuming that an opponent cannot be both honest and intelligent.

The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor.

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.

The main motive for "nonattachment" is a desire to escape from the pain of living, and above all from love, which, sexual or non-sexual, is hard work.

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.

The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.

There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.

There is hardly such a thing as a war in which it makes no difference who wins. Nearly always one side stands more of less for progress, the other side more or less for reaction.

To a surprising extent the war-lords in shining armour, the apostles of martial virtues, tend not to die fighting when the time comes. History is full of ignominious getaways by the great and famous.

To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others.

To walk through the ruined cities of Germany is to feel an actual doubt about the continuity of civilization.

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

War is a way of shattering to pieces... materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable and... too intelligent.

War is evil, but it is often the lesser evil.

War is war. The only good human being is a dead one.

We of the sinking middle class may sink without further struggles into the working class where we belong, and probably when we get there it will not be so dreadful as we feared, for, after all, we have nothing to lose.

What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?

Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie... a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.

When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.

~George Orwell

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs, is to be ruled by evil men." ~Plato

"Anyone who tells you that 'It Can't Happen Here' is whistling past the graveyard of history. There is no 'house rule' that bars tyranny coming to America. History is replete with republics whose people grew complacent and descended into imperial butchery and chaos." ~Mike Vanderboegh

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all." ~Thomas Jefferson

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"To educate a man is to unfit him to be a slave." ~Frederick Douglass

"A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins." ~Benjamin Franklin

"Freedom of the press, freedom of association, the inviolability of domicile, and all the rest of the rights of man are respected so long as no one tries to use them against the privileged class. On the day they are launched against the privileged they are overthrown." ~Prince Peter Kropotkin

"Thus corporations finally claimed the full rights enjoyed by individual citizens while being exempted from many of the responsibilities and liabilities of citizenship. Furthermore, in being guaranteed the same right to free speech as individual citizens, they achieved, in the words of Paul Hawken, 'precisely what the Bill of Rights was intended to prevent: domination of public thought and discourse.' The subsequent claim by corporations that they have the same right as any individual to influence the government in their own interest pits the individual citizen against the vast financial and communications resources of the corporation and mocks the constitutional intent that all citizens have an equal voice in the political debates surrounding important issues." ~David C. Korten

"I never could believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden." ~Richard Rumbold

"A State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands -- even for beneficial purposes -- will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished." ~John Stuart Mill

"Most Americans aren't the sort of citizens the Founding Fathers expected; they are contented serfs. Far from being active critics of government, they assume that its might makes it right." ~Joseph Sobran

"Were the talents and virtues which heaven has bestowed on men given merely to make them more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambition of a few? Or, were not the noble gifts so equally dispensed with a divine purpose and law, that they should as nearly as possible be equally exerted, and the blessings of Providence be equally enjoyed by all? ~Samuel Adams

"Every evil, harm and suffering in this life comes from the love of riches." ~Catherine of Siena

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." ~Samuel Adams

"If the innocent honest Man must quietly quit all he has for Peace sake, to him who will lay violent hands upon it, I desire it may be considered what kind of Peace there will be in the World, which consists only in Violence and Rapine; and which is to be maintained only for the benefit of Robbers and Oppressors." ~John Locke

"Reason and Ignorance, the opposites of each other, influence the great bulk of mankind. If either of these can be rendered sufficiently extensive in a country, the machinery of Government goes easily on. Reason obeys itself; and Ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it." ~Thomas Paine

"COWARDICE, n. A charge often levelled by all-American types against those who stand up for their beliefs by refusing to fight in wars they find unconscionable and who willingly go to prison or into exile in order to avoid violating their own consciences. These 'cowards' are to be contrasted with red-blooded, 'patriotic' youths who literally bend over, grab their ankles, submit to the government, fight in wars they do not understand (or disapprove of), and blindly obey orders to maim and to kill simply because they are ordered to do so—all to the howling approval of the all-American mob. This type of behavior is commonly termed 'courageous.'" ~Chaz Bufe

Men love their ideas more than their lives. And the more preposterous the idea, the more eager they are to die for it. And to kill for it. ~Edward Abbey

“If it's natural to kill, how come men have to go into training to learn how?” ~Joan Baez

The pioneers of a warless world are the youth that refuse military service. ~Albert Einstein

[I]n such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners. ~Albert Camus

They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason. ~Ernest Hemmingway

The aim of military training is not just to prepare men for battle, but to make them long for it. ~Louis Simpson

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. ~Mark Twain

I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom,

Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.

Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.

And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment. ~Kahlil Gibran

The sentiment of justice is so natural, and so universally acquired by all mankind, that it seems to be independent of all law, all party, all religion. ~Voltaire

Friday, June 23, 2006

"The more you succeed in loving, the more you'll be convinced at the existence of God and the immortality of your soul." ~Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1821-1881

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." ~Joseph Pulitzer

"Such as it is, the press has become the greatest power within the Western World, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and judiciary. One would like to ask: by whom has it been elected, and to whom is it responsible?" ~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. ~Shel Silverstein.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. What I want is so simple I almost can't say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed. That's about it..." Barbara Kingsolver

Friday, June 16, 2006

Our government ... teaches the whole people by its example.
If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. ~Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis

Monday, June 12, 2006

“The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone's neurosis.”

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted. You should live several lives while reading it.”

“Mysteriously and in ways that are totally remote from natural experience, the gray drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain.”

“In depression . . . faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come -- not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. . . . It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul.”

“Most books, like their authors, are born to die; of only a few books can it be said that death has no dominion over them; they live, and their influence lives forever.”

“The madness of depression is the antithesis of violence. It is a storm indeed, but a storm of murk. Soon evident are the slowed-down responses, near paralysis, psychic energy throttled back close to zero. Ultimately, the body is affected and feels sapped, drained.”

“Reading - the best state yet to keep absolute loneliness at bay.”

“The pain is unrelenting; one does not abandon, even briefly, one's bed of nails, but is attached to it wherever one goes.”

~William Styron

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