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Quotes - October 2016

Writing

Quotes - October 2016

Alexei Muravsky

“In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons.”

- Herodotus


“He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.”

- Nietzsche via Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“The inclusion of literature among the healing arts has legitimacy when one understands the various ways in which storytelling can itself be a healing activity. Suffering is produced and alleviated by the meaning that one attaches to one’s experience. The primary human mechanism for attaching meaning to particular experiences is to tell stories about them. Stories serve to relate individual experiences to the explanatory constructs of the society and culture and also to place the experiences within the context of an individual’s life history. The first function of storytelling allows one to label an experience as representing, say, an act of cowardice or an act of religious devotion. The second function allows one to label an experience as, say, completely in character with the early upbringing of that individual or totally atypical and out of character. The meaning of an experience for an individual person, in the sense that I will use this term, partakes of both these individual and sociocultural dimensions.”

- Howard Brody, Experts from ‘Stories of Sickness’ via EN 1102 – Literature and Health @ York University


“I have always felt that the action most worth watching is not at the center of things but where edges meet. I like shorelines, weather fronts, international borders. There are interesting frictions and incongruities in these places, and often, if you stand at the point of tangency, you can see both sides better than if you were in the middle of either one. This is especially true, I think, when the apposition is cultural. When I first came to Merced, I hoped that the culture of American medicine, about which I knew little, and the culture of the Hmong, about which I knew nothing, would in some way illuminate each other if I could position myself between the two and manage not to get caught in the cross fire.”

- Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures


“It is said that what is called ‘the spirit of an age’ is something to which one cannot return. That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world’s coming to an end. For this reason, although one would like to change today’s world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation.”

- Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)


“Is my intellect up to this? If so, then I’ll put it to work, like a tool provided by nature. And if it isn’t, then I’ll turn the job over to someone who can do it better – unless I have no choice. Or I do the best I can with it, and collaborate with whoever can make use of it, to do what the community needs done. Because whatever I do – alone or with others – can aim at one thing only: what squares with those requirements… Don’t be ashamed to need help. Like a soldier storming a wall you have a mission to accomplish. And if you’ve been wounded and you need a comrade to pull you up? So what?”

- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


The Wolf and the Lamb

“A hungry Wolf one day saw a Lamb drinking at a stream below him and wished to find some excuse for eating her. ‘What do you mean by muddying the water I am going to drink?’ said he fiercely to the Lamb. ‘Pray forgive me,’ meekly answered the Lamb; ‘I should be sorry in any way to displease you, but as the stream runs from you towards me, you will see that I am not to blame.’ ‘That’s all very well,’ said the Wolf; ‘but you know you spoke ill of me behind my back a year ago.’ ‘Nay, believe me,’ replied the Lamb, ‘I was not then born.’ ‘It must have been your brother, then,’ growled the Wolf. ‘It cannot have been, for I never had any,’ answered the Lamb. ‘I know it was one of your lot,’ rejoined the Wolf, ‘so make no more such idle excuses.’ He then seized the poor Lamb, carried her off to the woods, and ate her.”

The wicked always find an excuse for wrongdoing

- Aesop, Aesop’s Fables with Illustrations by Ernest Griset


Among the prisoners was an illiterate seventeen-year-old girl whom Sheremetev did not send to Azov but kept in his own house. In time, this girl would rise. Martha Skavronskaya, as she was born, would join the household of the great Prince Menshikov, become the mistress of the Tsar, Peter’s wife, and, finally, sovereign in her own right, Catherine I, Empress of Russia.

- Robert K. Massie, Peter the Great: His Life and World


“Specifically, it was hypothesized that females should respond more negatively than males to side-by-side invasions of personal space, while males should respond more negatively than females to face-to-face invasions.”

- Paul A. Bell et. al, Environmental Psychology 5th Edition


“To start with, the framework of evolutionary psychology dissolves dichotomies such as ‘nature versus nurture,’ ‘innate versus learned,’ and ‘biological versus cultural.’ If you go back to the definition of evolved psychological mechanisms, you will note that (1) environments featuring recurrent selection pressure over deep time formed each mechanism; (2) environmental input during a person’s development is necessary for the emergence of each mechanism; and (3) environmental input is necessary for the activation of each mechanism. Thus, it does not make sense to ask whether a callus or jealous behaviour is ‘evolved’ or ‘learned.’ ‘Evolved’ is not the opposite of ‘learned.’ All behaviour requires evolved psychological mechanisms combined with environmental input at each stage in the casual chain.”

- David M. Buss, Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind 5th Edition


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