(Thank You - Susan C. Jorgensen)
John Steinbeck (Ed Ricketts talking to his children during a particularly lean time)
"We must remember three things," he said to them. "I will tell them to you in the order of their importance. Number one and first in importance, we must have as much fun as we can with what we have. Number two, we must eat as well as we can, because if we don't we won't have the health and strength to have as much fun as we might. And number three and third and last in importance, we must keep the house reasonably in order, wash the dishes, and such things. But we will not let the last interfere with the other two."
John D. MacDonald (as Travis McGee)
...I could have gone to sleep at once if I could have convinced myself that everything was just peachy fine. But I felt I had maneuvered myself into a rather nasty little corner. Where does responsibility stop? Do you buy the cripple a shoeshine box and send it out into the traffic? I had the feeling I now owned this sleeping thing. True, it was a splendid specimen; good bones, a true heart, and a marvelous pelt. It could cook and adore and it had a special talent for making love. Sew it into burlap and roll it in the mud and it would still be, unmistakably, a lady...
But I wasn't built for owning, nor for anything which lasts. I could mend her spirit, only to go on and break her loving heart. And she would probably think it a poor bargain when the time came.
John Voelker (writing as Robert Traver)
I fish because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly; because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape; because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience; because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip; because mercifully there are no telephones on trout water; because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness; because bourbon out of an old tin cup always tastes better out there; because maybe one day I will catch a mermaid; and finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant - and not nearly so much fun.
It is said that whosoever the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. In fact, whosoever the gods wish to destroy, they first hand the equilivent of a stick with a fizzing fuse and Acme Dynamite Company written on the side. It's more interesting, and doesn't take so long.
It is the good life I have traveled, and I have turned the world over in my hand, like a stone with attractive veining, and this I have discovered: a man is happiest when there is a balance between his needs and his possessions. Now the question is: how to achieve this balance. One could seek to do this by increasing his goods to the level of his appetities, but that would be stupid. It would involve doing un-natural things - bargaining, haggling, scrimping, working. Ergo, the wise man achieves the balance by reducing his needs to the level of his possessions. And this is best done by learning to value the free things of life: the mountains, laughter, poetry, wine offered by a friend, older and fatter women.
- You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's yours to keep for the entire period.
- You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called "life".
- There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work".
- Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
- Learning lessons does not end. There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to learned.
- "There" is no better a place than "here". When your "there" has become "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here".
- Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
- What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
- Your answers lie within you. The answers to life's questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
- Keep looking ahead. There are still so many good books to read, things to learn, beautiful places to visit, people to meet, and new opportunities for growth and discovery.
The commitment problem has caused many women to mistakenly conclude that men, as a group, have the emotional maturity of hamsters. This is not the case. A hamster is much more capable of making a lasting commitment to a woman, especially if she gives it those little food pellets. Whereas a guy, in a relationship,will consume the pellets of companionship, and he will run on the exercise wheel of lust; but as soon as he senses that the door of commitment is about to close and trap him in the wire cage of true intimacy, he'll squirm out, scamper across the kitchen floor of uncertainty and hide under the refrigerator of non-readiness.
Trevanian - Shibumi
I can see my father's face. (And in my memory I am always looking up at it.) I can remember how big and strong his hand felt to my small fingers. I can still feel in my chest...as though nerves themselves have independent memories...the melancholy tug I felt then over my inability to tell my father that I loved him. We did not have the habit of communicating in such bold and earthy terms. I can see each line in my father's stern but delicate profile. Fifty years. But all the insignificant, busy things-the terribly important, now forgotten things that cluttered the intervening time collapse and fall away from my memory. I used to think I felt sorry for my father because I could never tell him I loved him. It was for myself that I felt sorry. I needed the saying more than he needed the hearing.
Michael Crichton - Ian Malcolm On Cyberspace
...Although, personally, I think cyberspace means the end of our species...
...Why is that?
... because it means the end of innovation. This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they'll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behavior. We innovate new behavior to adapt. And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That's the effect of mass media-it keeps anything from happenning. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there's a McDonald's on one corner, a Benneton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there's less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity-our most necessary resource? That's disappearing faster than trees. But we haven't figured that out, so now we're planning to put five billion people together in cyberspace. And it'll freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same at the same time. Global uniformity.
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