The Mind, Emotions, Human Nature
|This page... Mind Emotions, Human Nature:||
Pages on Other Ideas:
You Cannot Win Life
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Of mixed mind...
Ambivalence is Everywhere!
Whatever we feel strongly about,
"The Principle of Ambivalence,"
It is one of the great troubles of life that we cannot have any unmixed emotions. There is always something in our enemy that we like, and something in our sweetheart that we dislike.
William Butler Yeats
Love involves a peculiar
If I am not for myself,
who will be for me?
The test of a first-rate intelligence is
the ability to hold
two opposed ideas in the mind
at the same time,
and still retain the ability to function.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The dangerous man
You yourself are participating
Nothing endures but change.
One may not reach the dawn
save by the path of the night.
Even in our sleep,
Aeschylus, quoted by Robert F. Kennedy in Spring, 1968, on the occasion of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination , and referring back to his brother', J FK's assassination 5 years earlier. Within a few months, Bobby himself was assassinated upon winning the California Democratic Presidential primary.
You wish to see?
How do I know what I think
Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise.
On the desk before which I sit lies a sheet of paper. If I have in mind to make some notes on the paper for my
manuscript, I see the paper in terms of its whiteness; has it already been scribbled upon? If my intention is to
fold it into a toy plane for my grandson, I see the paper in its sturdiness. Or if my intention is to draw a picture
on it, I see the rough, course grained texture of the paper inviting my pencil and promising to make my lines
…. Such is the amazingly intimate interrelation of my subjective experience with what goes on in the objective world:
I cannot perceive something until I can conceive of it. Professor Donald Snygg has reminded us of that memorable
event when the people in a primitive society were unable to see Captain Cook’s ship when it sailed into their harbor
because they had no word, no symbol, for such a ship.
What they did perceive I do not know – possibly a cloud or an animal;
but at least it was something they did have a symbol for….
The word “conceive” is used in our society to mean to become pregnant, and the analogy is not inappropriate.
For the act of perceiving also requires the capacity to bring something in one’s self; if one cannot, or for some
reason is not ready, to bring to birth in himself some position, some stance toward what he is seeing, he
cannot perceive it.Rollo May, Love and Will (1969)
The pleasure a man gets from a landscape would [not] last long
if he were convinced a priori that the forms and colors he sees
are just forms and colors, that all structures in which they play a role
are purely subjective and have no relation whatsoever
to any meaningful order or totality, that they simply and necessarily express nothing....
No walk through the landscape is necessary any longer;
and thus the very concept of landscape as experienced by a pedestrian
becomes meaningless and arbitrary. Landscape deteriorates altogether into landscaping.
Max Horkheimer, The Eclipse of Reason (1947) via Doug Linder
We know what it is to get out of bed on a freezing morning in a room without a fire, and how the very vital principle within us protests against the idea. Probably most persons have lain certain mornings for an hour at a time unable to brace themselves to the resolve. We think how late we shall be, how the duties of the day [on Harvard's psychology faculty] will suffer; we say, “I must get up, this is ignominious,” and so on. But still the warm couch feels too delicious, and the cold outside too cruel, and resolution faints away and postpones itself again and again just as it seemed on the verge of the decisive act. Now how do we ever get up under such circumstances? If I may generalize from my own experience, we more often than not get up without any struggle or decision at all. We suddenly find that we have got up. A fortunate lapse of consciousness occurs, we forget both the warmth and the cold; we fall into some reverie connected with the day’s life, in the course of which the idea flashes across us, “Hollo! I must lie here no longer” – an idea which at that lucky instant awakes no contradictory or paralyzing suggestions, and consequently produces immediately its appropriate motor effects. It was our acute consciousness of both the warmth and the cold during the period of struggle which paralyzed our activity….
This case seems to me to contain in miniature form the data for an entire psychology of volition. William James, Principles of Psychology (1890)
Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together;
and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will,
we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.
Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past was different than it was.
Your own lights..
There is something in every one of you that waits and listens
.... It’s like the story of the old rabbi who lay upon his deathbed as the final hour drew near. His name was Zushya and he had lived a long enough life. He was a holy man who had studied scholarly texts and taught others for many years.... More than that, he was revered and loved by his students for his honesty and for his wit.
Now that his time had come, his faithful students gathered around to share in his final moments. With characteristic honesty, the old teacher ... explained that with the hour of death approaching he feared having to face God. “I am afraid, “he said, “of God’s final justice. I fear that I will be punished in the world to come.”
The students were shocked; how could
such a thing be possible? Their teacher was an exceptional religious
leader who had taught them generously and guided them wisely. Now, the
students began to reassure the teacher: “Rabbi
you are a pure and righteous man. You have shown the leadership of
Abraham, the courage of Jacob, the vision of Moses, and the moral
fortitude of the greatest prophets. What do you have to fear in facing
Teaching from Reb Zushya at his death
If you expect someone else to guide you, you'll be lost.
James Earl Jones
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
If they give you lined paper, write the other way...
Juan Ramon Jimenez
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.George Bernard Shaw
Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.John Archibald Wheeler , American J. of Physics 1978
In heads replete with thoughts of other men;
Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.
William Cowper, 1785
(This is one of several quotations on these pages drawn from the collections of my dear friend Michael Maggio
Wisdom is not communicable.
The real wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish.
Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.
One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.
"You don't choose a life, dad. You live one.”
Emilio Estevez, in The Way (2011)
unconsciousness seems to be not a person,
but something like an unceasing stream or perhaps ocean of images and figures,
which drift into consciousness in our dreams or in abnormal states of mind.
I understood that there is something in me which can say things that I do not know and do not intend,
things which may even be directed against me.
You can never step in the same river twice.
Life is what happens when you are making other plans.
(shortly before he was murdered)
The more intelligence one has the more people one finds original.
Commonplace people see no difference between men.
Blaise Pascal, 1669
A widely-read man never quotes accurately,
for the rather obvious reason that he has read too widely.
Hesketh Pearson, Common Misquotations (1934)
As far as the laws of mathematics
refer to reality,
they are not certain. And as far as they are certain,
they do not refer to reality.
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Happiness if a form of courage
As I've gotten older, I find I am able to be nourished more
by sorrow and to distinguish it from depression.
The soul needs actually more rest than the body
and it could be that our restless soul is at the basis of all of our physical ills.
quoted by Eleanor Futscher
You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world,
that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature,
but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.
It's never too late to become what you might have been.
Georg Eliott (thanks to Lisa Gilford)
Accept the fact that you are accepted, despite the fact that you are unacceptable.
Paul Tillich, defining “Grace”, in his Shaking the Foundations
The Western Idea of practice is to acquire a skill. It is very much related to your work ethic,
which enjoins us to endure struggle or boredom now in return for future rewards. The Eastern idea
of practice, on the other hand, is to create the person, or rather to actualize or reveal the complete
person who is already there…. Not only is practice necessary to art, it is art.Stephen Nachmanovitch, in Free Play (1990)
A really intelligent man feels what other men only know.
Baron de Montesquieu, 1736A little knowledge is a dangerous thing…. But, then, so is a lot. Albert. Einstein
Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do.
I do not know what I may appear to the
but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore,
and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary,
whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions,
their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.Oscar Wilde
A bore is a person who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.
It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
A good listener is a good talker with a sore throat.
Our deepest fear is
not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who are we to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people won't feel insecure around you.....
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others!
Marianne Williamson, A
Return to Love
famously attributed to Nelson Mandela's 1994 Inauguration Speech,
though Mandela apparently never used the quote in his speeches
Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed,
and in such desperate enterprises?
If a man does not keep pace with his companions,
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer:
Let him step to the music which he hears,
however measured or far away.
Henry David Thoreau
These next 2 passages on the Balanced Life were also encountered on Doug Linder's site
This at least seems to me the main problem for philosophers....How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it? How can this world give us at once the fascination of a strange town and the comfort and honour of being our own town?....We need this life of practical romance; the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome. We need to be happy in this wonderland without being once merely comfortable.
G. K. Chesterton
Healthy personality involves a balance between receptivity and manipulation, between wonder and action....The unity of the authentic life is plural; its wisdom lies in understanding the necessity for the changing moments and seasons of life....Wisdom comes, usually with age, when a man can look back over his years and realize that there is an economy to the seasons of life. He see that the times of strife, suffering, and waiting which seemed so difficult to endure were as necessary to the formation of personality as the times of love, joy, and ecstasy. To love and accept the self as it is, is to accept all the moments that formed it.
It is possible that the contemplation of cruelty will not make us humane but
Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.
Lately it doesn't seem to be working....
Albert von Szent-Gyorgy
Barack might be thinking this right about now, 5/09 :
The Ku tribe have a tradition
that a convicted murderer will be bound
The Drowning Man Ritual, a mythical custom, per "Sylvia Broome" (played by Nicole Kidman) in The Interpreter (2005), written by Charles Randolph, Scott Frank & Steven Zaillian
"What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." Albert Einstein, remarking to his assistant, Ernst Straus
Food for the mind is like food for the body: the inputs are never the same as the outputs.
The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well.
There is also in us the maverick, the darling stubborn one who won't listen, who insists, who chooses preference or the spirited guess over yardsticks or even history. I suspect this maverick is somewhat what the soul is, or at least that the soul lives close by.
Mary Oliver, Long Life and Other Essays.
I never have found the perfect quote.
At best I have been able to find a string of quotations
which merely circle the ineffable idea I seek to express.
Ways to Rethink Fear
Frances Moore Lappe and Jeffrey Perkins
danger. Something's wrong.
pure energy. It's a signal
that could mean stop or could mean go.
If I stop
what I'm doing, I'll be lost.
we have to stop in order to find our path.
I have to
figure it all out before I can do anything
have to believe we can do it.
Showing up, even with fear, has power.
If I act on
what I believe, conflict will break out.
means engagement. Something is in motion.
It is an opening, not a closing.
fears are our worst enemies;
fears are our greatest teachers.
If I'm really myself, I'll be excluded and alone forever.
||To find real
connection, we must risk disconnection.
Our courage draws others toward us.
I'm just a drop in the bucket.
My effort might make me feel better, but it won't help.
we act, even with fear,
we help others to do the same. Courage is contagious.
The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected
Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves
as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.
Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke,
From Letters to a Young Poet
The sacred demands the violation of what is normally the object of terrified respect. Georges Battaille
Learning carries within itself certain dangers because out of necessity one has to learn from one's enemies.
When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be
touched, you begin to discover that it's bottomless,
that it doesn't have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how
much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space. Your world seems less solid, more
roomy and spacious. The burden lightens. In the beginning it might feel like sadness or a shaky feeling,
accompanied by a lot of fear, but your willingness to feel the fear, to make fear your companion, is
growing. You're willing to get to know yourself at this deep level. After a while this same feeling begins
to turn into a longing to raze all the walls, a longing to be fully human and to live in your world without
always having to shut down and close off when certain things come along. It begins to turn into a longing
to be there for your friends when they're in trouble, to be of real help to this poor, aching planet. Curiously
enough, along with this longing and this sadness and this tenderness, there's an immense sense of well-being,
unconditional well-being, which doesn't have anything to do with pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad, hope
or fear, disgrace or fame. It's something that simply comes to you when you feel that you can keep your
Pema Chodrun, Start Where You Are,1994
Ideas that enter the mind under fire remain there securely and for ever.
Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe
that something inside them was superior to circumstance
Nothing worth doing is
completed in our lifetime;
therefore we must be saved by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful makes complete sense
in any immediate context of history;
therefore we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone;
therefore, we are saved by love.
"What a curious phenomenon it is that you can get men to die for liberty of the world,
who will not make the little sacrifice that is needed to free themselves from their own individual bondage..."
Is teann gach madra gearr i ndoras a thi fein :
Every terrier (little dog) is brave in its own doorway.
Irish Proverb (thanks to Mari)
You can discover what your enemy fears most
by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
It is a terrible, inexorable law
that one cannot deny the humanity of another
without diminishing one's own:
in the face of one's victim, one sees oneself.
The Hierarchy Of Human Needs:
1. Safety (to-day’s food, clothing, shelter )
2. Security (future physical requirements under control)
3. Self / Other esteem
4. To love and be loved
5. Self-actualization ( living your role )
6. Need to ‘KNOW’ ( vs. fear of knowing )
7. Realization of universal harmony, balance and order and participation therein.
Miscellaneous Short Quotes
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi
There is more to life than increasing its speed.
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend. Abraham Lincoln
There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.
Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac,
wisdom often quoted by Morris J. Winokur
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. Albert Einstein
We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years, 1950
The only road to strength is through vulnerability. Stephen Nachmanovitch, in Free Play (1990)
Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident and money takes wings. All that endures is character. Don't
cry for me when I go. You'll hold me back on my journey. How deep is my thought? So deep that it
can be mistaken for being cold and distant."
He’s not prolific, he’s incontinent.
David Brooks, New York Times Book Review, January 13, 2002;
reviewing Hon. Richard Posner’s Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline,
rating and applying ‘economic analysis’ to explain the dearth of true intellectuals’
in postmodern America, and their propensity toward ‘crude rationicination’.
Either he's dead or my watch has stopped.
They sicken of the calm, who know the storm.
There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it.
... and some Yogi Berra classics:
"It's like deja vu all over again."
"Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical."
"Nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded."
"So I'm ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face."
"Take it with a grin of salt."
"The game's isn't over until it's over."
"The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase."
"You can observe a lot just by watching."
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
"I never said most of the things I said."