Unpredictability is in general a fine protective feature, which should never be squandered but always spent wisely. There is much to be gained from communication if it is craftily doled out - enough truth to keep one's credibility high but enough falsehood to keep one's options open.
The doctors take the bodily evidence as the disease. . . . disease is itself an impudent opinion. He throws off the feelings of the sick and imparts to them his own which are perfect health, and his explanation destroys their feelings or disease. . . . He is like a captain who knows his business and feels confident in a storm, and his confidence sustains the crew and ship when both would be lost if the captain should give way to his fears.
A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. It is grossly selfish to require of one's neighbour that he should think in the same way, and hold the same opinions. Why should he? If he can think, he will probably think differently. If he cannot think, it is monstrous to require thought of any kind from him.
Places are produced in that wonderful interaction of people, place, narrative, and time. When the people desert these places, narratives are forgotten, ties break, and the place is unmade. What is un-remembered in abandonment cannot be re-remembered in transient automobile suburbs with too few places for shared experience and story making. The extreme is amnesia, and it means that those afflicted do not know who they are anymore. They are disoriented, isolated, and robbed of the ability to recognize emotional attachments to others. The sufferers do not have a coherent story anymore. Un-remembering is the enemy of good places and of public history.
Lives are not stories. A day, a month, a year, or a lifetime has no plot. Our experiences are only the raw stuff of stories. The beginnings of our lives are arbitrary; usually their endings come too soon or too late for any neat narrative conclusions.We turn our lives into stories, and, in doing so, we can stop them where we choose. Our stories do in a small way what memoirs and autobiographies do on a grander scale: they allow a self-fashioning that gives remembered lives a coherence that the day-to-day lives of actual experience lack. History, of course, also imposes coherence, but the historian works will less malleable stuff than memory. Memoirs are seamless; good histories disrupt.
She wants her silence to be final. Here, more than anyplace else, she wants her memory uncontested. She does not want me talking to others, gathering other stories, looking into the remnants of my father's past. When she is silent, she wants those things about which she refuses to speak to remain as quiet as the tomb. That is the ultimate power of stories. They take on themselves the decision about what will be remembered and what will be told. The part of the past she claims most fiercely is the part she wants forgotten.
While history offers us many stories worth telling, some belong to other people, who paid for them with their lives. We may retell their stories badly or well. We may embellish them or get them wrong. But we should not do so blithely, just as we should not scrawl slogans on other people's houses, or stride into their living rooms to replace the furniture. Thinking that we can is not novel history. It's novel morality, unworthy of artists and storytellers.
Wherever a story comes from, whether it is a familiar myth or a private memory, the retelling exemplifies the making of a connection from one pattern to another: a potential translation in which narrative becomes parable and the once upon a time comes to stand for some renascent truth. This approach applies to all the incidents of everyday life: the phrase in the newspaper, the endearing or infuriating game of a toddler, the misunderstanding at the office. Our species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.
The supreme, the merciless, the destroyer of opposition, the exalted King, the shepherd, the protector of the quarters of the world, the King the word of whose mouth destroys mountains and seas, who by his lordly attack has forced mighty and merciless Kings from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same to acknowledge one supremacy.
When one is rising, standing, walking, doing something, stopping, one should constantly concentrate one's mind on the act and the doing of it, not one ones' relation to the act or its character or value... One should simply practice concentration of the mind on the act itself, understanding it to be an expedient means for attaining tranquility of mind, realization, insight, and wisdom.
The first element of greatness is fundamental humbleness (this should not be confused with servility); the second is freedom from self; the third is intrepid courage, which, taken in its widest interpretation, generally goes with truth; and the fourth --the power to love --although I have put it last, is the rarest.
Journalism over here is not only an obsession but a drawback that cannot be overrated. Politicians are frightened of the press, and in the same way as bull-fighting has a brutalizing effect upon Spain (of which she is unconscious), headlines of murder, rape, and rubbish, excite and demoralize the American public.
To marry a man out of pity is folly; and, if you think you are going to influence the kind of fellow who has never had a chance, poor devil, you are profoundly mistaken. One can only influence the strong characters in life, not the weak; and it is the height of vanity to suppose that you can make an honest man of anyone.