If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
If you've got power and money and connections, some differences won't change anything. Or if you're resigned to dying in the near future ... It's the people without the money and the power, who desperately want to live, for those people small things aren't small at all. What you call no difference is life and death to them.
Music may be the activity that prepared our pre-human ancestors for speech communication and for the very cognitive, representational flexibility necessary to become humans.
—Daniel J. Levitin
Whether you end up with a bullet in your neck will depend on many factors, there are lots of bullets, and some necks are thicker than others, but let us pause to remember that the most important meaning of freedom of expression is not that you can say anything you like without any consequences whatsoever but that the bullet should not be your government's, and it should not be fired into your neck for an expression of political views that don't coincide with theirs ... However, instead of all these chariots and swords, I'll propose something simpler. Don't panic. Think carefully. Write clearly. Act in good faith. Repeat.
Life might merely be a momentary bolt of lightning in the dark, after which the self melts into the infinite darkness.
They'd laughed at him then, a cold, academic laughter that only knew the world through the New York Times.
We are the memories we don't remember, which live in us, which we feel, which make us sing and dance and pray the way we do, feelings from memories that flare and bloom unexpectedly in our lives like blood through a blanket from a wound made by a bullet fired by a man shooting us in the back for our hair, for our heads, for a bounty, or just to get rid of us.
You think you know what is just and what is not. I understand. We all think we know." I had no doubt, myself, then, that at each moment each one of us, man, woman, child, perhaps even the poor old horse turning the mill-wheel, knew what was just: all creatures come into the world bringing with them the memory of justice. "But we live in a world of laws," I said to my poor prisoner, "a world of the second-best. There is nothing we can do about that. We are fallen creatures. All we can do is to uphold the laws, all of us, without allowing the memory of justice to fade.
Any intelligent person knows that life is a beautiful thing and that the purpose of life is to be happy ... But it seems only idiots are ever happy. How can we explain this?
One by one they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.
Where most people live, most of us, imagining it to be the real sunlit world when it is only a cave lit by the flickering fires of illusion.
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances.
—St. Vincent de Paul
The room was ringed by an amphitheater of figures of Anubis, and there was a portrait of Cagliostro (it could hardly have been of anyone else, could it?), a gilded mummy in Cheops format, two five-armed candelabra, a gong suspended from two rampant snakes, on a podium a lectern covered by calico printed with hieroglyphics, and two crowns, two tripods, a little portable sarcophagus, a throne, a fake seventeenth-century fauteuil, four unmatched chairs suitable for a banquet with the sheriff of Nottingham, and candles, tapers, votive lights, all flickering very spiritually.
We commit honest maniacs to Bedlam, so judges should be withdrawn from their bench, whose erroneous biases are leading us to dissolution.
It's hard to be sad when you're being useful.
Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there.
Day is ended, dim my eyes,
But journey long before me lies.
Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship's beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
Beyond the sunset leads my way.
Foam is salt, the wind is free;
I hear the rising of the Sea.
Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
We do not truly see light, we only see slower things lit by it, so that for us light is on the edge-the last thing we know before things become too swift for us.
Every gathering has its moment. As an adult, I distract myself by trying to identify it, dreading the inevitable downsing that is sure to follow.
The light which enlightens us bathes the whole of creation but it enters us through a narrow aperture.
Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
Can one think that because we are engineers, beauty does not preoccupy us or that we do not try to build beautiful, as well as solid and long lasting structures? Aren't the genuine functions of strength always in keeping with unwritten conditions of harmony?
It's like being at the kids' table at Thanksgiving - you can put your elbows on it, you don't have to talk politics ... no matter how old I get, there's always a part of me that's sitting there.
The late afternoon sunlight, warm as oil, sweet as childhood ...
It was always Christmas at my grandparents' house, or Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July, or somebody's birthday. There was always happiness there.