“Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” says the tendentious Polonius of Shakespeare’s Hamlet to his impatient son, Laertes, “for loan oft loses both itself and friend / And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” In other words, if you lend a friend some money and he doesn’t pay you back, you’ll end up being angry with him, and he with you. And if you borrow, you’ll be spending money that isn’t yours and that you haven’t earned, rather than managing within your income.
Margaret Atwood – Payback
Whoever told you that Atlas Shrugged is a boring book, they never mentioned that it features some pretty cool characters, love triangles by the truckload and one sex scene that would make Anne Rice blush! Well, maybe not Anne Rice but it’s definitely better than Murakami’s approach.
The sound came from his engine, from the control of his hands on the wheel; she held onto that; the rest was to be endured, not resisted.
She lay still, her legs stretched forward, her hands on the arms of the seat, with no sense of motion, not even her own, to give her a sense of time, with no space, no sight, no future, with the night of closed eyelids under the pressure of the cloth-and with the knowledge of his presence beside her as her single, unchanging reality, They did not speak. Once, she said suddenly, “Mr. Galt.”
“No. Nothing. I just wanted to know whether you were still there.”
“I will always be there.”
Still reading Atlas Shrugged (been about two months now) and I came across this part of John Gault’s speech.
Close to the finish now but I still don’t want this book to end…
“Did you wonder what is wrong with the world? You are now seeing the climax of the creed of the uncaused and unearned. All your gangs of mystics, of spirit or muscle, are fighting one another for power to rule you, snarling that love is the solution for all the problems of your spirit and that a whip is the solution for all the problems of your body – you who have agreed to have no mind.
Granting man less dignity than they grant to cattle, ignoring what an animal trainer could tell them-that no animal can be trained by fear, that a tortured elephant will trample its torturer, but will not work for him or carry his burdens -they expect man to continue to produce electronic tubes, supersonic airplanes, atom-smashing engines and interstellar telescopes, with his ration of meat for reward and a lash on his back for incentive.
“Make no mistake about the character of mystics. To undercut your consciousness has always been their only purpose throughout the ages -and power, the power to rule you by force, has always been their only lust.
“From the rites of the jungle witch-doctors, which distorted reality into grotesque absurdities, stunted the minds of their victims and kept them in terror of the supernatural for stagnant stretches of centuries- to the supernatural doctrines of the Middle Ages, which kept men huddling on the mud floors of their hovels, in terror that the devil might steal the soup they had worked eighteen hours to earn -to the seedy little smiling professor who assures you that your brain has no capacity to think, that you have no means of perception and must blindly obey the omnipotent will of that supernatural force:
Society-all of it is the same performance for the same and only purpose: to reduce you to the kind of pulp that has surrendered the validity of its consciousness.
“But it cannot be done to you without your consent.
If you permit it to be done, you deserve it.
This is what happens when inept people rule the country and prioritize budgeting for friends and luxury rather than food and subsistence and jobs:
“Soybeans make an excellent substitute for bread, meat, cereals and coffee-and if all of us were compelled to adopt soybeans as our staple diet, it would solve the national food crisis and make it possible to feed more people.
The greatest food for the greatest number-that’s my slogan.
At a time of desperate public need, it’s our duty to sacrifice our luxurious tastes and eat our way back to prosperity by adapting ourselves to the simple, wholesome foodstuff on which the peoples of the Orient have so nobly subsisted for centuries. There’s a great deal that we could learn from the peoples of the Orient.”
I am still reading Atlas Shrugged (and I am basically on the last few hundred pages). I’ve reached a stage where I could see parts of the Communism dictatorship in Romania, where I could see what a greedy government can do to its people and I could see that favours and money made the world go round. I know it. I’ve lived in it. And reading Atlas Shrugged brought it all back to me.
I’ve reached a stage in the book where Ayn Rand is explaining in great detail what happens if the men in power listen to whimsical ideas whispered in their ears rather than think of consequences. They’ve nearly nationalized all the railroads through the Railroad Unification Act and they’ve diverted 15,000 train carts from the harvest in Minnesota to a soy-bean farm project a colleague of theirs was blabbing about. The granaries of the country – ready to dispatch their wheat to the starving people – left alone in their single hour of need.
“Well, after all, it is a matter of opinion whether wheat is essential to a nation’s welfare-
She was thinking that for thousands of years, when people died – especially powerful people, especially people who were feared – the survivors had gone to a lot of trouble. They’d slit the throats of their best horses, they’d buried slaves and favourite wives alive, they’d poured blood into the earth. It hadn’t been mourning, it had been appeasement. They’d wanted to show their good will, however spurious, because they’d known the spirit of the dead one would be envious of them for still being alive.
Robber Bride – Margaret Atwood
A 2,400-year-old pit containing the remains of horses and chariots believed to belong to a member of an ancient royal household has been uncovered in China.
The Russians did it too:
Warrior king found in ancient Russian tomb: Scythian ruler was buried with riches, weapons and even his HORSE
I believe that even from ancient times, people were dedicated to the afterlife. This was perhaps because their mortal lives were relatively short; very few lived to beyond 40 years old. Mummifying their dead was a way to preserve and prepare them for the afterlife (mummies have been found from Egypt all the way to Peru and Siberia). Items that might be useful in the afterlife were also customarily buried with the dead including everyday objects, foods, beverages, jewelry, pets and servants. The people believed that life after death was similar to life on Earth, so they felt it was important to include all the daily necessities in their burial tombs. If items were not in the tomb, the dead would not have access to them in the afterlife. Some kings began filling their tombs long before their deaths to ensure they would have all they needed and wanted.
Most Mesopotamians (Sumerians) were buried in cemeteries. The bodies were laid on their backs in individual graves. The graves were sometimes reopened to place a second family member instead. Why did they do this? Who was generally the second family member? Maybe they placed the wife or husband with the first body. Alas, we do not have this information.
Some of the graves contained the bodies of dogs. It was common for pets to be buried just like their owners, with the same care that is. Meat bones have been found placed near the mouths of dogs to be food for the afterlife.
As time moved on, the people sacrificed were replaced with statues or symbolic items. This practice has continued until today when people are buried holding on a precious item (to them).
Because I picked that amazing quote about love and loving from the discussion between Francisco and Henry Reardon when they both loved the same woman, I decided to pick a discussion about love between Jim Taggart and his wife.
“What do you want from me?”
“Love,” he answered.
She felt herself sagging with hopelessness, in the face of that answer which was at once so simple and so meaningless.
“You don’t love me,” he said accusingly. She did not answer. “You don’t love me or you wouldn’t ask such a question.”
“I did love you once,” she said dully, “but it wasn’t what you wanted. I loved you for your courage, your ambition, your ability. But it wasn’t real, any of it.”
The men who think that wealth comes from material resources and has no intellectual root or meaning, are the men who think-for the same reason-that sex is a physical capacity which functions independently of one’s mind, choice or code of values.
They think that your body creates a desire and makes a choice for you-just about in some such way as if iron ore transformed itself into railroad rails of its own volition. Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all philosophers. But, in fact, a man’s sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life.
Show me the woman he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself.
We enjoy publishing our thoughts and those of our writers, but we also love going to primary sources whenever possible. Today we’re sitting at the feet of ancient Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius to hear his timeless thoughts on what matters in life—and what doesn’t. The following is excerpted from Book II of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations.
When you write, I feel as if you are drawing on me, drawing on my skin with the feather end of an old-fashioned goose pen. As if hundreds of butterflies have settled all over my face, and are softly opening and closing their wings. But underneath that is another feeling, a feeling of being wide-eyed awake and watchful. It’s like being wakened suddenly in the middle of the night, by a hand over your face, and you sit up with your heart going fast, and no one is there. And underneath that is another feeling still, a feeling of being torn open, not like a body of flesh, it is not painful as such, but like a peach. And not even torn open, but too ripe and splitting of its own accord. And inside the peach, there’s a stone