Common Sense by Thomas Paine

 

  • a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong,gives it a superficial appearance of being right
  • Time makes more converts than reasondownload
  • Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one
  • the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered, and the easier repaired when disordered
  • The state of a king shuts him from the world, yet the business of a king requires him to know it thoroughly
  • Oppression is often the consequence, but seldom or never the means of riches
  • there is another and greater distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is, the distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS. Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth enquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind.
  • Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews
  • For as in Adam all sinned, and as in the first electors all men obeyed; as in the one all mankind were subjected to Satan, and in the other to Sovereignty; as our innocence was lost in the first, and our authority in the last; and as both disable us from reassuming some former state and privilege, it unanswerably follows that original sin and hereditary succession are parallels
  • Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.
  • And so uncertain is the fate of war and the temper of a nation, when nothing but personal matters are the ground of a quarrel
  • Even the distance at which the Almighty hath placed England and America, is a strong and natural proof, that the authority of the one, over the other, was never the design of Heaven
  • as Milton wisely expresses, “never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep.”
  • there is something very absurd, in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island
  • When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember, that virtue is not hereditary
  • For no nation in a state of foreign dependance, limited in its commerce, and cramped and fettered in its legislative powers, can ever arrive at any material eminence
  • peace with trade, is preferable to war without
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​ Optimism by Helen Keller

 

“Now touching goal, now backward hurl’d, Toils the indomitable world.”
A rambling essay on Miss Keller’s perspective on optimism, which in my opinion, is the notorious and marred American Dream. Optimism in its true nature is not without 41jp1yjezal-_sx331_bo1204203200_skepticism, faults of which are inextricably linked. To deny the harsher realities that may propagate pessimism is idealistic and although Miss Keller vehemently denies being an idealist – her musings in this essay posit that she definitely is one.
“I see a brighter spiritual era slowly emerge–an era in which there shall be no England, no France, no Germany, no America, no this people or that, but one family, the human race; one law, peace; one need, harmony; one means, labor; one taskmaster, God.”
In her brushing away easily of American brutality abroad and disregarding Eastern religious beliefs, she risks exposing her heavily western inclinations and ignorance of Eastern cultures and history.

  • Certainly most of us regard happiness as the proper end of all earthly enterprise. The will to be happy animates alike the philosopher, the prince and the chimney-sweep. No matter how dull, or how mean, or how wise a man is, he feels that happiness is his indisputable right.
  • A man must understand evil and be acquainted with sorrow before he can write himself an optimist and expect others to believe that he has reason for the faith that is in him.
  • All through the years I have spent in college, my reading has been a continuous discovery of good. In literature, philosophy, religion and history I find the mighty witnesses to my faith.
  • Thus from philosophy I learn that we see only shadows and know only in part, and that all things change; but the mind, the unconquerable mind, compasses all truth, embraces the universe as it is, converts the shadows to realities and makes tumultuous changes seem but moments in an eternal silence, or short lines in the infinite theme of perfection, and the evil but “a halt on the way to good.”
  • Tolstoi said the other day that America, once the hope of the world, was in bondage to Mammon
  • “Now touching goal, now backward hurl’d, Toils the indomitable world.”
  • science converts the dreams of the poet, the theory of the mathematician and the fiction of the economist into ships, hospitals and instruments that enable one skilled hand to perform the work of a thousand
  • The highest result of education is tolerance
  • No loss by flood and lightning, no destruction of cities and temples by the hostile forces of nature, has deprived man of so many noble lives and impulses as those which his intolerance has destroyed
  • One who believes that the pain in the world outweighs the joy, and expresses that
  • Every optimist moves along with progress and hastens it, while every pessimist would keep the world at a standstill

Sleep Donation by Karen Russell

  • Hundreds of our old neighbors, friends, coworkers, and teachers are new insomniacs. They file for dream bankruptcy, appeal for Slumber Corps aid, wait to be approved for a sleep donor
  • It is a special kind of homelessness, says our mayor, to be evicted from your dreams
  • Some intern has made curtains for the trailer windows, snaggy lace, which look nothing like curtains, in fact, but vestments tiny and obscene: bridal veils for mice, chinchilla negligees. They flutter in the trailer’s manic air-conditioning. Outside, the moon is a colossus. Its radiance makes every white of human manufacture seem dingy, impure.sleepdonation
  • I hated watching her go speechless under the conglomerate weight of so much unrelenting looking and thinking and listening and feeling, her mind worn thin by the sound of every cough and the plinking moisture of every raindrop, these noises exploding like grenades through her naked awareness—her mind crushed, in the end, by an avalanche of waking moments
  • frightening, exhilarating charge permeates the entire atmosphere of the Sleep Van; an overpowering sense of ambient destiny, fate crushing in on all sides. This accompanied by a nostril-flaring, neck-prickling vertigo. What provokes this disorientation, says Dr. Peebles, is your body’s awareness of its proximity to an enveloping illusion—a dream, not your own, pumping out of a donor’s prone form
  • His handwriting is neat and evenly spaced; the only unusual thing about it is that Donor Y wrote in tiny all-capitals, like a scream shrunken down into a whisper
  • What she could say about the dream melted quickly away, like a visitation from another world entirely
  • Iatrogenic”: a word that sends me to the dictionary. More deadpan comedy: it means our “lifesaving” transfusions have provoked a secondary insomnia. The cure is worse than the disease.
  • Dori’s suffering I describe so freshly that anyone could be forgiven for forgetting that it’s over, forever.
  • There are natural laws that govern the flow of dream and substance from body to body, laws that determine the passage of electricity through tissue, the routes taken by ruby marrow and iodine crystals and colorless vibrations. Laws to order every visible and invisible migration.
  • Jim’s face unpetals, revealing some depth of emotion beneath his initial affectionate dismissal, his Storchy I’m-on-your-side smile. Rage, I think
  • Doesn’t it matter how you ask the question? Or if the tone of your request is closer to a fist than to an open palm? Can the nature of the request corrupt the purity of the gift, the donated sleep
  • Tiny woodsprite eyes litter the darkness, red and green—just the office electronics. No true darkness left in the modern world, some Luddites complain, fingering light pollution as the root of the new insomnia.
  • America’s great talent, I think, is to generate desires that would never have occurred, natively, to a body like mine, and to make those desires so painfully real that money becomes a fiction, an imaginary means to some concrete end
  • Whatever came unravelled last night feels neatly spooled this morning
  • I make this promise at a moment when people are plunging their straws into any available centimeter of shale and water, every crude oil and uranium and mineral well on earth, with an indiscriminate and borderless appetite. Fresh air, the sight of trees—these are birthrights and pleasures that we seem bent on extinguishing. Some animals we’ve turned out to be.
  • We take, at most, six hours from her. We ration our greed.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

 

  • Prehistoric man in a sterile white lab coat in some Berlin university lab, experimenting with uses to which other people’s skull, skin, ears, fat could be put to. Ja, Herr Doktor. A new use for the big toe; see, one can adapt the joint for a quick-acting cigarette lighter mechanism. Now, if only Herr Krupp can produce it in quantity… It horrified him, this thought: the ancient gigantic cannibal near-man flourishing now, ruling the world once more. We spent a million years escaping him, Frink thought, and now he’s back. And not merely as the adversary… but as the masterman-in-the-high-castle
  • they were thanking him for having things like these for them to see, pick up and examine, handle perhaps without even buying. Yes, he thought, they know what sort of store they are in
  • It was a chance to meet a young Japanese couple socially, on a basis of acceptance of him as a man rather than him as a yank or, at best, a tradesman who sold art objects
  • And nowadays such a violation of the harsh, rigid, but just Japanese civil law was unheard of. It was a credit to the incorruptibility of the Jap occupation officials, especially those who had come in after the War Cabinet had fallen
  • The radio said: “Co-Prosperity Civilization must pause and consider whether in our quest to provide a balanced equity of mutual duties and responsibilities coupled with remunerations…” Typical jargon from the ruling hierarchy, Frink noted. “…we have not failed to perceive the future arena in which the affairs of man will be acted out, be they Nordic, Japanese, Negroid…” On and on it went.
  • At first he had thought it was just plain bad eyesight, but finally he had decided that it revealed a deep-dyed otherwise concealed stupidity at her core. And so finally her borderline flicker of greeting to strangers had annoyed him, as had her plantlike, silent, I’m-on-a-mysterious-errand way of coming and going. But even then, toward the end, when they had been fighting so much, he still never saw her as anything but a direct, literal invention of God’s, dropped into his life for reasons he would never know. And on that account—a sort of religious intuition or faith about her—he could not get over having lost her.
  • Nor did he take notice of the enormous neon signs with their permanent ads obliterating the front of virtually every large building
  • In fact, the uproar of radios, traffic noises, the signs and people lulled him. They blotted out his inner worries.
  • But Africa. They had simply let their enthusiasm get the better of them there, and you had to admire that, although more thoughtful advice would have cautioned them to perhaps let it wait a bit until, for instance, Project Farmland had been completed. Now there the Nazis had shown genius; the artist in them had truly emerged. The Mediterranean Sea bottled up, drained, made into tillable farmland, through the use of atomic power—what daring
  • I’m not a countryman of yours,” Baynes said. “Oh, yes; that’s so. But racially, you’re quite close. For all intents and purposes the same.”
  • Obviously, it was God’s sardonic vengeance, right out of some silent movie. That awful man struck down by an internal filth, the historic plague for man’s wickedness.
  • Be small… and you will escape the jealousy of the great.
  • The jewelry business will bring good fortune; the judgment refers to that. But the line, the goddam line; it refers to something deeper, some future catastrophe probably not even connected with the jewelry business. Some evil fate that’s in store for me anyhow… War! he thought. Third World War! All frigging two billion of us killed, our civilization wiped out. Hydrogen bombs falling like hail. Oy gewalt! he thought. What’s happening? Did I start it in motion? Or is someone else tinkering, someone I don’t even know? Or—the whole lot of us. It’s the fault of those physicists and that synchronicity theory, every particle being connected with every other; you can’t fart without changing the balance in the universe. It makes living a funny joke with nobody around to laugh. I open a book and get a report on future events that even God would like to file and forget. And who am I? The wrong person; I can tell you that.
  • Gresham’s Law: the fakes would undermine the value of the real.
  • “You know what I think? I think you’ve picked up the Nazi idea that Jews can’t create. That they can only imitate and sell. Middlemen.” He fixed his merciless scrutiny on Frink.
  • The oracle. I’m sorry. Fleece-seeking cortical response.” Woolgathering, Baynes thought. That’s the idiom he means. To himself he smiled
  • The paper proves its worth, not the object itself!
  • the word “fake” meant nothing really, since the word “authentic” meant nothing really
  • There’s nothing more foolish than economic competition
  • “This situation has occurred before. We have not in our society solved the problem of the aged, more of which persons occur constantly as medical measures improve. China teaches us rightly to honor the old. However, the Germans cause our neglect to seem close to outright virtue. I understand they murder the old.”
  • The Nazis have no sense of humor, so why should they want television? Anyhow, they killed most of the really great comedians. Because most of them were Jewish
  • Slavs, Poles, Puerto Ricans, were the most limited as to what they could read, do, listen to. The Anglo-Saxons had it much better; there was public education for their children, and they could go to libraries and museums and concerts
  • Object of his drives; self-glorification in ancient emperor fashion.
  • Not self-gratification, is underlying ambition, but power for its use purely
  • Period after death of Leader critical in totalitarian society
  • I’m trying to pretend that these Japanese and I are alike. But observe: even when I burst out as to my gratification that they won the war, that my nation lost– there’s still no common ground
  • You cook the native foods to perfection, Robert Childan thought. What they say is true: your powers of imitation are immense
  • Why do I cater to them? Due solely to their having won?
  • They know a million tricks, those novelists. Take Doctor Goebbels; that’s how he started out, writing fiction. Appeals to the base lusts that hide in everyone no matter how respectable on the surface. Yes, the novelist knows humanity, how worthless they are, ruled by their testicles, swayed by cowardice, selling out every cause because of their greed—all he’s got to do is thump on the drum, and there’s his response. And he laughing, of course, behind his hand at the effect he gets.
  • Juliana, Frink thought. Are you as alone as I am?
  • He said nothing. His breathing, long, slow, regular… like the ocean, she thought. We’re nothing but water inside.
  • He no longer viewed his stock with the same reverence. Bit of knowledge like that goes a long way. Akin to primal childhood awakening; facts of life
  • “I think they should be the rulers,” Juliana said, pausing. “They always were the best. The British.”
  • I tell you; a state is no better than its leader. Fuhrerprinzip–Principle of Leadership, like the Nazis say. They’re right. Even this Abendsen has to face that. Sure, the U.S.A. expands economically after winning the war over Japan, because it’s got that huge market in Asia that it’s wrested from the Japs. But that’s not enough; that’s got no spirituality. Not that the British have. They’re both plutocracies, rule by the rich. If they had won, all they’d have thought about was making more money, that upper class. Abendsen, he’s wrong; there would be no social reform, no welfare public works plans—the Anglo-Saxon plutocrats wouldn’t have permitted it.”
  • “Those old rotten money-run empires, Britain and France and U.S.A., although the latter actually a sort of bastard sideshoot, not strictly empire, but money-oriented even so. They had no soul, so naturally no future. No growth. Nazis a bunch of street thugs; I agree
  • Example: they won’t help a hurt man up from the gutter due to the obligation it imposes. What do you call that? I say that’s typical; just what you’d expect from a race that when told to duplicate a British destroyer managed even to copy the patches on the boiler
  • Humiliated me and my race. And I’m helpless. There’s no avenging this; we are defeated and our defeats are like this, so tenuous, so delicate, that we’re hardly able to perceive them. In fact, we have to rise a notch in our evolution to know it ever happened
  • The SD man’s jaw burst. Bits of bone, flesh, shreds of tooth, flew in the air. Hit in the mouth, Mr. Tagomi realized. Dreadful spot, especially if ball ascending. The jawless SD man’s eyes still contained life, of a kind. He still perceives me, Mr. Tagomi thought. Then the eyes lost their luster and the SD man collapsed, dropping his gun and making un-human gargling noises
  • To save one life, Mr. Tagomi had to take two. The logical, balanced mind cannot make sense of that. A kindly man like Mr. Tagomi could be driven insane by the implications of such reality.
  • The oracle enigmatic. Perhaps it has withdrawn from the world of man in sorrow. The sages leaving. We have entered a Moment when we are alone. We cannot get assistance, as before. Well, Mr. Tagomi thought, perhaps that too is good. Or can be made good. One must still try to find the Way.
  • When I was a child I thought as a child. But now I have put away childish things. Now I must seek in other realms. I must keep after this object in new ways
  • Metal is from the earth, he thought as he scrutinized. From below: from that realm which is the lowest, the most dense. Land of trolls and caves, dank, always dark. Yin world, in its most melancholy aspect. World of corpses, decay and collapse. Of feces. All that has died, slipping and disintegrating back down layer by layer. The daemonic world of the immutable; the time-that-was.
  • The terrible dilemma of our lives. Whatever happens, it is evil beyond compare. Why struggle, then? Why choose? If all alternatives are the same.
  • We do not have the ideal world, such as we would like, where morality is easy because cognition is easy.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

  • Where there is no vision,” Miss Brodie had assured them, “the people perish
  • Miss Mackay retains him on the wall because she believes in the slogan ‘Safety First.’ But Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth and Beauty come first. Follow me
  • I have frequently told you, and the holidays just past have convinced me, that my prime has truly begun. One’s prime is elusive. You little girls, when you grow up, must be on the alert to recognise your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur. You must then live it to the full517188
  • He fell like an autumn leaf, although he was only twenty-two years of age. When we go indoors we shall look on the map at Flanders, and the spot where my lover was laid before you were born. He was poor
  • It had been raining and the ground was too wet for them to go and finish digging the hole to Australia, so the girls lifted the tea-table with all its festal relics over to the corner of the room
  • other people’s Edinburghs quite different from hers, and with which she held only the names of districts and streets and monuments in common
  • The word ‘education’ comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul. To Miss Mackay it is a putting in of something that is not there, and that is not what I call education, I call it intrusion, from the Latin root prefix in meaning in and the stem trudo, I thrust
  • Outwardly she differed from the rest of the teaching staff in that she was still in a state of fluctuating development, whereas they had only too understandably not trusted themselves to change their minds, particularly on ethical questions, after the age of twenty. There
  • And the principles governing the end of her prime would have astonished herself at the beginning of it.
  • As you know, I don’t believe in talking down to children, you are capable of grasping more than is generally appreciated by your elders
  • “Good mawning,” she replied, in the corridors, flattening their scorn beneath the chariot wheels of her superiority, and deviating her head towards them no more than an insulting halfinch
  • It was impossible to know how much Miss Brodie planned by deliberation, or how much she worked by instinct alone
  • It happened she was standing with a man whom she did not know very well outside a famous building in Rome, waiting for the rain to stop. She was surprised by a reawakening of that same buoyant and airy discovery of sex, a total sensation which it was impossible to say was physical or mental, only that it contained the lost and guileless delight of her eleventh year. She supposed herself to have fallen in love with the man, who might, she thought, have been moved towards her in his own way out of a world of his own, the associations of which were largely unknown to her. There was nothing whatever to be done about it,
  • I’d rather deal with a rogue than a fool
  • it was a gift and she an exception to all the rules, she was the exception that proved the rule
  • But Monica had not thought she would be able to help much, for she knew Sandy of old, and persons known of old can never be of much help