To me, the irony of this involvement with size, as I observed earlier, is the unwillingness or inability of so many Americans to identify themselves with something as vast as the United States. Bigger cars, bigger parking lots, bigger corporate structures, bigger farms, bigger drug stores, bigger supermarkets, bigger motion-picture screens. The tangible and the functional expand, while the intangible and the beautiful shrink. Left to wither is the national purpose, national educational needs, literature and theater, and our critical faculties. The national dialogue is gradually being lost in a froth of misleading self-congratulation and cliche. National needs and interests are slowly being submerged by the national preoccupation with the irrelevant.
...Federal aid promotes the idea that federal school money is 'free' money, and thus gives the people a distorted picture of the cost of education. I was distressed to find that five out of six high school and junior college students recently interviewed in Phoenix said they favored federal aid because it would mean more money for local schools and ease the financial burden on Arizona taxpayers. The truth, of course, is that the federal government has no funds except those it extracts from the taxpayers who resided in the various States. The money that the federal government pays to State X for education has been taken from the citizens of State X in federal taxes and comes back to them, minus the Washington brokerage fee.
Barry Goldwater, Conscience of a
I wept in my dreams. I dreamed you lay in the grave;I awoke, and the tearsstill poured down my cheeks.I wept in my dreams,I dreamed you had left me;I awoke and I went on weeping long and bitterly.I wept in my dreams,I dreamed you were still kind to me;I awoke, and stillthe flow of my tears streams on.
My own participation in the campaign was delayed by the death of my son Calvin, which occurred on the seventh of July. He was a boy of much promise, proficient in his studies, with a scholarly mind, who had just turned sixteen.He had a remarkable insight into things.The day I became President he had just started to work in a tobacco field. When one of his fellow laborers said to him, if my father was President I would not work in a tobacco field, Calvin replied, If my father were your father, you would....We do not know what might have happened to him under other circumstances, but if I had not been President, he would not have raised a blister on his toe, which resulted in blood poisoning, playing lawn tennis in the South Grounds.In his suffering he was asking me to make him well. I could not.When he went the power and the glory of the Presidency went with him.The ways of Providence are often beyond our understanding. It seemed to me that the world had need of the work that it was probable he could do.I do not know why such a price was exacted for occupying the White House.
Calvin Coolidge, (autobiography)
Some would deny any legitimate use of the word God because it has been misused so much. Certainly it is the most burdened of all human words. Precisely for that reason it is the most imperishable and unavoidable. And how much weight has all erroneous talk about God's nature and works (although there never has been nor can be any such talk that is not erroneous) compared with the one truth that all men who have addressed God really meant him? For whoever pronounces the word God and really means Thou, addresses, no matter what his delusion, the true Thou of his life that cannot be restricted by any other and to whom he stands in a relationship that includes all others.
Martin Buber, I and Thou, 1923
The futility of everything that comes to us from the media is the inescapable consequence of the absolute inability of that particular stage to remain silent. Music, commercial breaks, news flashes, adverts, news broadcasts, movies, presenters -- there is no alternative but to fill the screen; otherwise there would be an irremediable void. That's why the slightest technical hitch, the slightest slip on the part of the presenter becomes so exciting, for it reveals the depth of the emptiness squinting out at us through this little window.
We are becoming like cats, slyly parasitic, enjoying an indifferent domesticity. Nice and snug in the social, our historic passions have withdrawn into the glow of an artificial coziness, and our half-closed eyes now seek little other than the peaceful parade of television pictures.
If there is a species which is more maltreated than children, then it must be their toys, which they handle in an incredibly off-hand manner. Toys are thus the end point in that long chain in which all the conditions of despotic high-handedness are in play which enchain beings one to another, from one species to another --cruel divinities to their sacrificial victims, from masters to slaves, from adults to children, and from children to their objects.
Politicians -- power itself -- are abject because they merely embody the profound contempt people have for their own lives. One should be grateful to the politicians for accepting the abstractness of power, and ridding others of its burden. This inevitably kills them but they get their revenge by passing onto others the corpse of power.
Contact with men who wield power and authority still leaves an intangible sense of repulsion. It's very like being in close proximity to fecal matter, the fecal embodiment of something unmentionable, and you wonder what it is made of and when it acquired its historically sacred character.
The price we pay for the complexity of life is too high. When you think of all the effort you have to put in --telephonic, technological and relational --to alter even the slightest bit of behavior in this strange world we call social life, you are left pining for the straightforwardness of primitive peoples and their physical work.
Smile and others will smile back. Smile to show how transparent, how candid you are. Smile if you have nothing to say. Most of all, do not hide the fact you have nothing to say nor your total indifference to others. Let this emptiness, this profound indifference shine out spontaneously in your smile.
It is not enough for theory to describe and analyze, it must itself be an event in the universe it describes. In order to do this theory must partake of and become the acceleration of this logic. It must tear itself from all referents and take pride only in the future. Theory must operate on time at the cost of a deliberate distortion of present reality.
As the end of the century approaches, all our culture is like the culture of flies at the beginning of winter. Having lost their agility, dreamy and demented, they turn slowly about the window in the first icy mists of morning. They give themselves a last wash and brush-up, their oscillated eyes roll, and they fall down the curtains.