The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?
A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Do the languages we speak shape the way we think? Do they merely express thoughts, or do the structures in languages (without our knowledge or consent) shape the very thoughts we wish to express? ...
Do English, Indonesian, Russian and Turkish speakers end up attending to, understanding, and remembering their experiences differently simply because they speak different languages?
These questions touch on all the major controversies in the study of mind, with important implications for politics, law and religion. Yet very little empirical work had been done on these questions until recently. The idea that language might shape thought was for a long time considered untestable at best and more often simply crazy and wrong. Now, a flurry of new cognitive science research is showing that in fact, language does profoundly influence how we see the world.
The question of whether languages shape the way we think goes back centuries; Charlemagne proclaimed that "to have a second language is to have a second soul." But the idea went out of favor with scientists when Noam Chomsky's theories of language gained popularity in the 1960s and '70s. Dr. Chomsky proposed that there is a universal grammar for all human languages—essentially, that languages don't really differ from one another in significant ways. And because languages didn't differ from one another, the theory went, it made no sense to ask whether linguistic differences led to differences in thinking...
Languages, of course, are human creations, tools we invent and hone to suit our needs. Simply showing that speakers of different languages think differently doesn't tell us whether it's language that shapes thought or the other way around. To demonstrate the causal role of language, what's needed are studies that directly manipulate language and look for effects in cognition.
One of the key advances in recent years has been the demonstration of precisely this causal link. It turns out that if you change how people talk, that changes how they think. If people learn another language, they inadvertently also learn a new way of looking at the world. When bilingual people switch from one language to another, they start thinking differently, too. And if you take away people's ability to use language in what should be a simple nonlinguistic task, their performance can change dramatically, sometimes making them look no smarter than rats or infants...
All this new research shows us that the languages we speak not only reflect or express our thoughts, but also shape the very thoughts we wish to express. The structures that exist in our languages profoundly shape how we construct reality, and help make us as smart and sophisticated as we are.
Language is a uniquely human gift. When we study language, we are uncovering in part what makes us human, getting a peek at the very nature of human nature. As we uncover how languages and their speakers differ from one another, we discover that human natures too can differ dramatically, depending on the languages we speak. The next steps are to understand the mechanisms through which languages help us construct the incredibly complex knowledge systems we have. Understanding how knowledge is built will allow us to create ideas that go beyond the currently thinkable. This research cuts right to the fundamental questions we all ask about ourselves. How do we come to be the way we are? Why do we think the way we do? An important part of the answer, it turns out, is in the languages we speak.
I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, 'How many good things have you done in your life?' rather he will ask, 'How much love did you put into what you did?
You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.
For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?
And if it is for your comfort to pour your darkness into space, it is also for your delight to pour forth the dawning of your heart.
And if you cannot but weep when your soul summons you to prayer, she should spur you again and yet again, though weeping, until you shall come laughing.
When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour, and whom save in prayer you may not meet.
Therefore let your visit to that temple invisible be for naught but ecstasy and sweet communion.
For if you should enter the temple for no other purpose than asking you shall not receive:
And if you should enter into it to humble yourself you shall not be lifted:
Or even if you should enter into it to beg for the good of others you shall not be heard.
It is enough that you enter the temple invisible.
I cannot teach you how to pray in words. God listens not to your words save when He Himself utters them through your lips.
And I cannot teach you the prayer of the seas and the forests and the mountains.
But you who are born of the mountains and the forests and the seas can find their prayer in your heart,
And if you but listen in the stillness of the night you shall hear them saying in silence,
"Our God, who art our winged self, it is thy will in us that willeth.
It is thy desire in us that desireth.
It is thy urge in us that would turn our nights, which are thine, into days which are thine also.
We cannot ask thee for aught, for thou knowest our needs before they are born in us:
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all."
Three days after I was born, as I lay in my silken cradle, gazing with astonished dismay on the new world round about me, my mother spoke to the wet-nurse, saying, “How does my child?”
And the wet-nurse answered, “He does well, Madame, I have fed him three times; and never before have I seen a babe so young yet so gay.”
And I was indignant; and I cried, “It is not true, mother; for my bed is hard, and the milk I have sucked is bitter to my mouth, and the odour of the breast is foul in my nostrils, and I am most miserable.”
But my mother did not understand, nor did the nurse; for the language I spoke was that of the world from which I came.
And on the twenty-first day of my life, as I was being christened, the priest said to my mother, “You should indeed by happy, Madame, that your son was born a Christian.”
And I was surprised,-and I said to the priest, “Then your mother in Heaven should be unhappy, for you were not born a Christian.”
But the priest too did not understand my language.
And after seven moons, one day a soothsayer looked at me, and he said to my mother, “Your son will be a statesman and a great leader of men.”
But I cried out, "That is a false prophet; for I shall be a musician, and naught but a musician shall I be.”
But even at that age my language was not understood-and great was my astonishment.
And after three and thirty years, during which my mother, and the nurse, and the priest have all died, (the shadow of God be upon their spirits) the soothsayer still lives. And yesterday I met him near the gates of the temple; and while we were talking together he said, “I have always known you would become a great musician. Even in your infancy I prophesied and foretold your future.”
And I believed him-for now I too have forgotten the language of that other world.
It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. That is why young people, who are beginners in everything, are not yet capable of love: it is something they must learn. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered around their solitary, anxious, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and therefore loving, for a long time ahead and far on into life, is: solitude, a heightened and deepened kind of aloneness for the person who loves. Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person (for what would a union be of two people who are unclarified, unfinished, and still incoherent?), it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances. Only in this sense, as the task of working on themselves ("to hearken and to hammer day and night"), may young people use the love that is given to them. Merging and surrendering and every kind of communion is not for them (who must still, for a long, long time, save and gather themselves); it is the ultimate, is perhaps that for which human lives are as yet barely large enough.
But this is what young people are so often and so disastrously wrong in doing: they (who by their very nature are impatient) fling themselves at each other when love takes hold of them, they scatter themselves, just as they are, in all their messiness, disorder, bewilderment. And what can happen then? What can life do with this heap of half-broken things that they call their communion and that they would like to call their happiness, if that were possible, and their future? And so each of them loses himself for the sake of the other person, and loses the other, and many others who still wanted to come. And loses the vast distances and possibilities, gives up the approaching and fleeing of gentle, prescient Things in exchange for an unfruitful confusion, out of which nothing more can come; nothing but a bit of disgust, disappointment, and poverty, and the escape into one of the many conventions that have been put up in great numbers like public shelters on this most dangerous road. No area of human experience is so extensively provided with conventions as this one is: there are life-preservers of the most varied invention, boats and water wings; society has been able to create refuges of every sort, for since it preferred to take love life as an amusement, it also had to give it an easy form, cheap, safe, and sure, as public amusements are.
... Letters To A Young Poet (Letter 7), Rainer Maria Rilke
You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since - on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to be displaced by your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. Estella, to the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!
Narrator: A philosopher once asked, "Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Pointless, really... "Do the stars gaze back?" Now *that's* a question.
Yvaine: Tell me about Victoria, then.
Tristan: Well, she... she... There's nothing more to tell you.
Yvaine: The little I know about love is that it's unconditional. It's not something you can buy.
Tristan: Hang on! This wasn't about me buying her love. This was a way for me to prove to her how I felt.
Yvaine: Ah... And what's she doing to prove how she feels about you?
Yvaine: You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn't true. I know a lot about love. I've seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate... It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves... You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and... What I'm trying to say, Tristan is... I think I love you. Is this love, Tristan? I never imagined I'd know it for myself. My heart... It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it's trying to escape because it doesn't belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing in exchange - no gifts. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.
Narrator: They ruled for 80 years. But no man can live forever, except he who possesses the heart of a star, and Yvaine had given hers to Tristan completely. When their children and grandchildren were grown, it was time to light the Babylon Candle... And they still live happily ever after.
Will: What do I wanna way outta here for? I'm gonna live here the rest of my fuckin' life. We'll be neighbors, have little kids, take 'em to Little League up at Foley Field.
Chuckie: Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way but, in 20 years if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house, watchin' the Patriots games, workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill ya. That's not a threat, that's a fact, I'll fuckin' kill ya.
Will: What the fuck you talkin' about?
Chuckie: You got somethin' none of us have...
Will: Oh, come on! What? Why is it always this? I mean, I fuckin' owe it to myself to do this or that. What if I don't want to?
Chuckie: No. No, no no no. Fuck you, you don't owe it to yourself man, you owe it to me. Cuz tomorrow I'm gonna wake up and I'll be 50, and I'll still be doin' this shit. And that's all right. That's fine. I mean, you're sittin' on a winnin' lottery ticket. And you're too much of a pussy to cash it in, and that's bullshit. 'Cause I'd do fuckin' anything to have what you got. So would any of these fuckin' guys. It'd be an insult to us if you're still here in 20 years. Hangin' around here is a fuckin' waste of your time.
Chuckie: Every day I come by your house and I pick you up. And we go out. We have a few drinks, and a few laughs, and it's great. But you know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, from when I pull up to the curb and when I get to your door, 'cause I think, maybe I'll get up there and I'll knock on the door and you won't be there. No goodbye. No see you later. No nothing. You just left. I don't know much, but I know that.
Lambeau: Sometimes I wish I had never met you. Because then I could go to sleep at night not knowing there was someone like you out there.
Thus I began my new life, in a new name, and with everything new about me. Now that the state of doubt was over, I felt, for many days, like one in a dream. I never thought that I had a curious couple of guardians, in my aunt and Mr. Dick. I never thought of anything about myself, distinctly. The two things clearest in my mind were, that a remoteness had come upon the old Blunderstone life - which seemed to lie in the haze of an immeasurable distance; and that a curtain had for ever fallen on my life at Murdstone and Grinby's. No one has ever raised that curtain since. I have lifted it for a moment, even in this narrative, with a reluctant hand, and dropped it gladly. The remembrance of that life is fraught with so much pain to me, with so much mental suffering and want of hope, that I have never had the courage even to examine how long I was doomed to lead it. Whether it lasted for a year, or more, or less, I do not know. I only know that it was, and ceased to be; and that I have written, and there I leave it.
Homer, here in St. Cloud's, I have been given the opportunity of playing God or leaving practically everything up to chance. Men and women of conscience should sieze those moments when it's possible to play God. There won't be many. Do I interfere when absolutely helpless women tell me they simply can't have an abortion - that they simply must go through with having another and yet another orphan? I do not. I do not even recommend. I just give them what they want. You are my work of art, Homer. Everything else has been just a job. I don't know if you have a work of art in you, but I know what your job is: you're a doctor.
Joshua David Bell is an American Grammy Award-winning violinist. At the age of fourteen, Bell appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. Joshua Bell made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1985 with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He has since performed with almost all of the world's major orchestras and conductors. Bell's instrument is a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin called the Gibson ex Huberman, which was made in 1713 during what is known as Antonio Stradivari's "Golden Era." ... wikipedia
Washington Post Experiment:
"A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth US$3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?"
World Cup 2010 ended disappointingly for me when Germany was kicked out of the semi-finals. The Netherlands then went on to lose the Cup to Spain. However, one person shined for me this year and he is Thomas Müller. He won the adidas Golden Boot (for scoring the most number of goals) and the Best Young Player Award in this World Cup. A snippet of Thomas Müller:
Thomas Müller (born 13 September 1989 in Weilheim) is a German international footballer who plays for Bayern Munich. Müller plays as a midfielder or forward, and has been deployed in a variety of attacking roles – as an attacking midfielder, second striker, or on either wing. He has been praised for his pace, technique and composure, and has shown consistency in both scoring and creating goals. A product of Bayern's youth system, he made his first-team breakthrough under new Bayern manager Louis van Gaal during the 2009–10 season, playing almost every game as the club won the league and cup double, and reached the Champions League final. This earned him an international call-up, and at the end of the season he was named in Germany's squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where he scored five goals in six appearances as the team finished in third place. He was named as the Best Young Player of the tournament and with five goals and three assists, won the Golden Boot.
On 6 May, Müller was named in Germany's provisional 27-man squad for the 2010 World Cup, along with seven other Bayern Munich players. Despite suffering a scare when he fell off his bicycle at the team's training camp in South Tirol, Müller only suffered superficial injuries, and made the final cut for the tournament when the squad was reduced to 23 players on 1 June. He was allocated the number 13, normally worn by injured captain Michael Ballack, and previously worn by Müller's namesake Gerd. He earned his second international cap in the final warm-up match before the World Cup, coming on as a half-time substitute for Piotr Trochowski in a 3–1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina. He started the first game of Germany's World Cup campaign, a 4–0 win over Australia and scored his first international goal, the third of the game. He played in all Germany's group games, as they finished top of Group D, and he scored twice and assisted once in the 4–1 victory over England in the round of 16. This made him the youngest player since Pelé to score multiple goals in a knockout round, and the youngest German since Franz Beckenbauer to do so in any game. He scored his fourth goal of the tournament in the quarter final against Argentina, opening the scoring in the third minute as Germany won 4–0. However, having picked up his second booking of the tournament in the second half, he missed the semi-final defeat against Spain. He returned to the team for the third-place playoff against Uruguay, scoring the first goal - his fifth of the tournament - as Germany won 3–2 to take the bronze medals. With five goals he ended as joint top goalscorer of the tournament, and his three assists meant that he won the Golden Boot.He has also won the Best Young Player Award, ahead of fellow nominees André Ayew of Ghana and Giovani dos Santos of Mexico.In both cases he succeeded a German team-mate, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski having won the respective awards in 2006.
It's been 84 years, and I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. Titanic was called the Ship of Dreams, and it was. It really was.
Fifteen-hundred people went into the sea, when Titanic sank from under us. There were twenty boats floating nearby... and only one came back. One. Six were saved from the water, myself included. Six... out of fifteen-hundred. Afterward, the seven-hundred people in the boats had nothing to do but wait... wait to die... wait to live... wait for an absolution... that would never come.
We never found anything on Jack... there's no record of him at all.
No, there wouldn't be, would there? And I've never spoken of him until now... Not to anyone... Not even your grandfather... A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets. But now you know there was a man named Jack Dawson and that he saved me... in every way that a person can be saved. I don't even have a picture of him. He exists now... only in my memory.
I say we make a pact. Here and now. We're here for each other, always, no matter what happens in life. If Teeny goes off to Hollywood or I marry a rich doctor, we remember this day and this pact. Whenever we need a friend, we're here for each other. We can count on it. Always. No matter what.
As we grow older, it becomes difficult to just believe. It's not that we don't want to, but too much has happened and we can't.
We all used to try so hard to fit in. We wanted to look exactly alike, do all the same things, practically be the same person, but when we weren't looking that all changed. The tree house was supposed to bring us more independence, but what the summer actually brought was independence from each other.
He said something that didn't mean as much then as it does now... He told me that things happen in life that you can't stop but it wasn't a reason to shut out the world...
You can run from the dissapointments you're trying to forget. But its only when you embrace your past that you truly move forward. Maybe Thomas Wolfe never got to go home again, but I found my way there. And I'm glad I did.
Wow... I realize that... I've been so afraid of the bad things that um... That I've missed out on the good... You know I didn't wanna come back here... But I'm really glad I did... I'd forgotten how much it helped to have you guys as friends... I'm really lucky to have this place... and each other...
I want to look back and say that I didn't turn my back, that I was happy.
Whether by fate or the divine ironies of some higher power, I find myself returned once more to Brideshead. Did I want too much? Did my own hunger blind me to the ties that bound them to their faith? Am I only now, shadowed by war, all moorings gone, alone enough to see the light?
I take it you're not religious, Hooper?
Me? God, no. Can't see the point in it. You're born, you live, then you die.
Do you have any hope for the future, Hooper?
Hopes? Oh, aye, plenty. It's our time now. You watch. The old ways, all this, they're gone. Future belongs to us, so long as we don't get shot.
How about you, sir? You got someone special waiting for you?
Me? No. I've loved and lost for more than one lifetime.
"Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love take no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes"
"Jamie and I had a perfect summer together, with more love than lots of people know in a lifetime. And then she went, with her unfailing faith. Its been four years, but the vision of Jamie walking towards me will stay with me forever"
"Landon: I'm sorry she never got her miracle.
Reverend Sullivan: She did... it was you"
"Jamie saved my life. She taught me everything. About life, hope and the long journey ahead. I'll always miss her. But our love is like the wind. I can't see it, but I can feel it"
"Now Woody, he's been my pal for as long as I can remember. He's brave, like a cowboy should be. And kind, and smart. But the thing that makes Woody special, is he'll never give up on you ... ever. He'll be there for you, no matter what."
"That's death and life, you see. We all shine on. You just have to release your hearts, alert your senses, and pay attention. A leaf, a star, a song, a laugh. Notice all the little things, because somebody is reaching out to you. Qualcuno ti ama. Somebody loves you."
... The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, Ben Sherwood