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Contingency
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--- DICTIONARIES (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)


contingency ::: n. --> Union or connection; the state of touching or contact.
The quality or state of being contingent or casual; the possibility of coming to pass.
An event which may or may not occur; that which is possible or probable; a fortuitous event; a chance.
An adjunct or accessory.
A certain possible event that may or may not happen, by which, when happening, some particular title may be affected.

Contingency: (Lat. contingere, to touch on all sides) In its broadest philosophical usage a state of affairs is said to be contingent if it may and also may not be. A certain event, for example, is contingent if, and only if, it may come to pass and also may not come to pass. For this reason contingency is not quite equivalent in meaning to possibility (q.v.); for while a possible state of affairs is one which may be, it may at the same time be necessary, and hence it would be false to say that it may not be.

contingency ::: n. --> Union or connection; the state of touching or contact.
The quality or state of being contingent or casual; the possibility of coming to pass.
An event which may or may not occur; that which is possible or probable; a fortuitous event; a chance.
An adjunct or accessory.
A certain possible event that may or may not happen, by which, when happening, some particular title may be affected.

Contingency Plan ::: A document setting out an organized, planned, and coordinated course of action to be followed in case of a fire, explosion, or other accident that releases toxic chemicals, hazardous waste, or radioactive materials that threaten human health or the environment.



Contingency plan - A plan that provides an outline of decisions and measures to be taken if defined circumstances, outside the control of the affected organisation, should occur.

contingency table: An array of frequencies (or relative frequencies and by extension, probabilities) recorded to study the relationship between 2 or more discrete variables.

contingency of reinforcement: in operant conditioning, a description of the relationship between a response and a reinforcer.


--- QUOTES [0 / 0 - 170 / 170] (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



KEYS (10k)


NEW FULL DB (2.4M)

   7 Jean Paul Sartre

   5 Stephen Batchelor

   4 Stephen Jay Gould

   4 Mark Fisher

   3 Stephen King

   3 Randy Pausch

   3 Blaise Cendrars

   3 Ben Horowitz

   3 Anonymous

   3 Alain Badiou

   2 Ryder Carroll

   2 Rick Riordan

   2 Philip Roth

   2 P G Wodehouse

   2 Percy Bysshe Shelley
   2 Nathaniel Hawthorne

   2 Nate Silver

   2 McGeorge Bundy

   2 Maurice Merleau Ponty

   2 Martin Luther

   2 Lewis Hyde

   2 Kelly Link

   2 Kehinde Wiley

   2 Frank Beddor

   2 Christian Wiman

   2 Charles Krauthammer


*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:Do you have a zombie contingency plan? ~ Kelly Link
2:Freedom is the recognition of contingency. ~ Richard Rorty
3:Freedom is the recognition of contingency. ~ Richard M Rorty
4:The flesh is the pure contingency of presence. ~ Jean Paul Sartre
5:I'd be a dumbass if I didn't plan for every contingency. ~ Maya Banks
6:you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. ~ Randy Pausch
7:We are a fluke of nature, a quirk of evolution, a glorious contingency. ~ Michael Shermer
8:There is a kinship between the concepts of nature and radical contingency. ~ Maurice Merleau Ponty
9:Contingency is a thing unto itself, not the titration of determinism by randomness. ~ Stephen Jay Gould
10:There is nearly always uh, a process of wanting contingency plans made in the military. ~ McGeorge Bundy
11:The only contingency he had not learned how to bear was the possibility of his own madness. ~ Stephen King
12:The only contingency he had not learned how to bear was the possibility of his own madness. He ~ Stephen King
13:We must allow for every contingency, must prepare for every eventuality and turn in the game. ~ R A Salvatore
14:He is always becoming, and if it were not for the contingency of death, he would never end. ~ Jean Paul Sartre
15:[A] power equal to every possible contingency must exist somewhere in the government . . . ~ Alexander Hamilton
16:And even, if circumstances required, a contingency plan for his contingency plan's contingency plan. ~ Frank Beddor
17:It seems to me that everything that happens to us is a disconcerting mix of choice and contingency. ~ Penelope Lively
18:The immediate contingency overtook him, pulling him back from the edge of the theoretical abyss. ~ F Scott Fitzgerald
19:Peacetime CEO always has a contingency plan. Wartime CEO knows that sometimes you gotta roll a hard six. ~ Ben Horowitz
20:The world changed from having the determinism of a clock to having the contingency of a pinball machine. ~ Heinz Pagels
21:The only contingency he had not learned how to bear was the possibility of his own madness. He went back inside. ~ Stephen King
22:You can’t control every contingency. You have to accept that. Let it scare you. Trust that it’ll be okay anyway. ~ Rick Riordan
23:To ... not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues. ~ Sun Tzu
24:One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. ~ Randy Pausch
25:The war on terror, rebranded under Obama as the "Overseas Contingency Operation," has morphed into war on democracy. ~ Henry Giroux
26:don’t try to plan for every contingency. Doing so will only overburden you and weigh you down so that you cannot quickly maneuver. ~ Jocko Willink
27:Presidents and Lyndon Johnson was really no exception, very rapidly learned the difference between a contingency plan and an authorized act. ~ McGeorge Bundy
28:We burn through a lot of resources obsessing over possible outcomes and forming contingency plans, but in reality we’re just fueling our anxiety. ~ Ryder Carroll
29:A true woman, she would assume the remotest possibility to be the most likely contingency, if the possibility had the recommendation of being tragical; ~ Anonymous
30:It must be that sometimes our assertions about higher order and hidden design are fables we’ve made up to help us ignore our own contingency. Accidents tear ~ Lewis Hyde
31:The contingency we have not considered seriously looks strange; what looks strange is thought improbable; what is improbable need not be considered seriously. ~ Nate Silver
32:that nothing in biology made sense except in the light of evolution and chance, contingency. He put everything in the context of deep evolutionary time. Steve ~ Oliver Sacks
33:Chance doesn't mean meaningless randomness, but historical contingency. This happens rather than that, and that's the way that novelty, new things, come about. ~ John Polkinghorne
34:Feminism has exceeded its proper mission of seeking political equality for women and has ended by rejecting contingency, that is, human limitation by nature or fate. ~ Camille Paglia
35:Look in at the Drones and ask the first fellow you meet ''Can the fine spirit of the Woosters be crushed?'' and he will offer you attractive odds against such a contingency. ~ P G Wodehouse
36:[Y]ou will understand the game behind the curtain too well not to perceive the old trick of turning every contingency into a resource for accumulating force in the government. ~ James Madison
37:I mean, the radical contingency that is - that exists and the fact that I'm going into the streets and finding random strangers any given day - who's in these streets that day? ~ Kehinde Wiley
38:Nausea’s very subject is the randomness, the contingency, the superfluity, of the world; where better to begin than with Roquentin’s own randomness, his contingency as an invented character? ~ Jean Paul Sartre
39:You can get far in North America with laconic grunts. "Huh," "hun," and "hi!" in their various modulations, together with "sure," "guess so," "that so?" and "nuts!" will meet almost any contingency. ~ Ian Fleming
40:New terms used like, 'overseas contingency operation' instead of the word 'war' - that reflects a worldview that is out of touch with the enemy that we face. We can't spin our way out of this threat. ~ Sarah Palin
41:Books, like lives, are always unfinished even when they end, for to write is to struggle with contingency, to impose a certain false order upon the endless, and endlessly frustrating, nature of thought. ~ Mark Kingwell
42:There are contingency plans in the NATO doctrine to fire a nuclear weapon for demonstrative purposes, to demonstrate to the other side that they are exceeding the limits of toleration in the conventional area. ~ Alexander Haig
43:If the bureaucracy is not checked, it will tend to build, in the name of peace, a defense against every conceivable contingency - so much 'security' that 'the secured' are without resources - helpless and hopeless. ~ Leonard Read
44:The good lawyer is not the man who has an eye to every side and angle of contingency, and qualifies all his qualifications, but who throws himself on your part so heartily, that he can get you out of a scrape. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
45:Once the dollar begins to collapse beneath the weight of all this new deficit spending, accumulation of contingency liabilities and the socialization of our economy, commodity prices and interest rates will head skyward. ~ Peter Schiff
46:God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, "Free-will" is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces. ~ Martin Luther
47:devotion to God, for modern believers, involves learning to inhabit—rather than simply trumping with dogma or literal scripture—those elements of our existence that seem inimical to his: limitedness, contingency, suffering, death. ~ Christian Wiman
48:The absolute contingency of the encounter takes on the appearance of destiny. The declaration of love marks the transition from chance to destiny and that's why it is so perilous and so burdened with a kind of horrifying stage fright. ~ Alain Badiou
49:Sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you're not. Any biography is chance, and, beginning at conception, chance—the tyranny of contingency—is everything. Chance is what I believed Mr. Cantor meant when he was decrying what he called God. ~ Philip Roth
50:Yet Gotama's Dhamma is more than just a series of axioms. It is to be lived rather than simply adopted and believed in. It entails that one embrace this world in all its contingency and specificity, with all its ambiguity and flaws. ~ Stephen Batchelor
51:Nevertheless, like the greater part of our misfortunes, even so serious a contingency brings its remedy and consolation with it, if the sufferer will but make the best, rather than the worst, of the accident which has befallen him. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
52:There is a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable. The contingency we have not considered seriously looks strange; what looks strange is thought improbable; what is improbable need not be considered seriously. ~ Nate Silver
53:emancipatory politics must always destroy the appearance of a ‘natural order’, must reveal what is presented as necessary and inevitable to be a mere contingency, just as it must make what was previously deemed to be impossible seem attainable. ~ Mark Fisher
54:To embrace the contingency of one’s life is to embrace one’s fate as an ephemeral but sentient being. As Nietzsche claimed, one can come to love that fate. But to do so one must first embrace it, though one instinctively recoils at such a prospect. ~ Stephen Batchelor
55:You know, the process, I think, is the story. And it goes back, again, to what I said about chance and about radical contingency, the idea that all of this is this well-oiled machine that's been reared up and, like, really articulated and thought about. ~ Kehinde Wiley
56:DOES THE PROGRESS OF PHYSICAL SCIENCE TEND TO GIVE ANY ADVANTAGE TO THE OPINION OF NECESSITY (OR DETERMINISM) OVER THAT OF THE CONTINGENCY OF EVENTS AND THE FREEDOM OF THE WILL?

NO.


- ESSAY FOR THE ERANUS CLUB ON SCIENCE AND FREE WILL ~ James Clerk Maxwell
57:Trains induce such terrible anxiety. They image the possibility of total and irrevocable failure. They are also dirty, rackety, packed with strangers, an object lesson in the foul contingency of life: the talkative fellow-traveller, the possibility of children. ~ Iris Murdoch
58:The absolute contingency of the encounter with someone I didn’t know finally takes on the appearance of destiny. The declaration of love marks the transition from chance to destiny, and that’s why it is so perilous and so burdened with a kind of horrifying stage fright. ~ Alain Badiou
59:For many people, God is simply a gauze applied to the wound of not knowing, when in fact that wound has bled into every part of the world, is bleeding now in a way that is life if we acknowledge it, death if we don’t. Christ is contingency. Christ’s life is right now. ~ Christian Wiman
60:Organizational theorists, at least since Burns and Stalker, 1961 and Joan Woodward, 1965 in what came to be called the contingency school, have recognized that centralization is appropriate for organizations with routine tasks, and decentralization for those with nonroutine tasks. ~ Charles Perrow
61:The boom in the contingency law business has been driven in part by former attorneys general like Ms. Singer who have capitalized on personal relationships with former colleagues that they have nurtured since leaving office, often at resort destination conferences where they pay to gain access. ~ Anonymous
62:The historical account we have presented so far indicates that any approach based on historical determinism—based on geography, culture, or even other historical factors—is inadequate. Small differences and contingency are not just part of our theory; they are part of the shape of history. ~ Daron Acemo lu
63:When I say only himself, I mean directly, and in the first instance: for whatever affects himself, may affect others through himself; and the objection which may be grounded on this contingency, will receive consideration in the sequel. This, then, is the appropriate region of human liberty. ~ John Stuart Mill
64:The way of suffering was the Father's plan. It was the Father's will. The cross was not Satan's idea. The passion of Christ was not the result of human contingency. It was not the accidental contrivance of Caiaphas, Herod, or Pilate. The cup was prepared, delivered, and administered by almighty God. ~ R C Sproul
65:I like to pretend that I’m covering my tracks, bracing for any contingency. Ready for the worst, and all that jazz. I always feel better if there’s a plan in place. And in this case, the plan was, “Leave the blind guy in charge of the juvenile delinquents and everything will be just fine. Probably. ~ Cherie Priest
66:Certainly, I know what to do, and when I am Vice President -- and I will be -- there will be contingency plans under different sets of situations and I tell you what, I'm not going to go out and hold a news conference about it. I'm going to put it in a safe and keep it there! Does that answer your question? ~ Dan Quayle
67:I just need to know how far on the scale she is, so I know what sort of contingency plans to come up with—air, water or ground rescue? Will a drone be required? Does she have the means to shoot down my drone? I need to take all of these things into account and in order to do that, I need more information. ~ Molly Harper
68:Joy being of God was a living thing, a fountain not a cistern, one of those divine things that are possessed only as they overflow and flow away, and not easily come by because it must break into human life through the hard crust of sin and contingency. Joy came now here, now there, was held and escaped. ~ Elizabeth Goudge
69:These are not men of great imagination, but one can hardly blame them for not being prepared for this particular contingency, the sight of a tweet-jacketed, tenured, middle-aged, senior professor and department chair in a fake nose and glasses, brandishing a live, terrified goose... (Richard Russo, Straight Man) ~ Richard Russo
70:Leibniz believed in freedom, both divine and human, and he thought that contingency was a necessary condition of freedom. That is, if an agent A acts freely when choosing X, then A's choosing X cannot be necessary. But there are some elements in his philosophy that seem to make contingency impossible. ~ Gonzalo Rodriguez Pereyra
71:By no amount of reasoning can we altogether eliminate all contingency from our world. Moreover, pure speculation alone will not enable us to get a determinate picture of the existing world. We must eliminate some of the conflicting possibilities, and this can be brought about only by experiment and observation. ~ Morris Raphael Cohen
72:The contingency of history (both for life in general and for the cultures of Homo sapiens ) and human free will (in the factual rather than theological sense) are conjoined concepts, and no better evidence can be produced than the "experimental" production of markedly different solutions in identical environments. ~ Stephen Jay Gould
73:She snapped out of it, her instincts kicking in. She saw Srog, Brom, Kolk, Kendrick, Godfrey, and the others retreating with the soldiers down the back steps of the parapets, and she remembered their contingency plan. She had gone over the plan endlessly with her generals, and now it was surreal to see it put into motion. ~ Morgan Rice
74:THIS, therefore, is also essentially necessary and wholesome for Christians to know: That God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, “Free-will” is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces. ~ Martin Luther
75:But [in bureaucracies], too, decision making takes place in a world full of unceratinties. Any actual system of information processing, planning and control will never be optimal but merely practical, applying rote responses to recurrent problems and employing a variety of contingency tactics to deal with unforeseen events. ~ Manuel De Landa
76:As any numbers of radical theorists from Brecht through to Foucault and Badiou have maintained, emancipatory politics must always destroy the appearance of a ‘natural order’, must reveal what is presented as necessary and inevitable to be a mere contingency, just as it must make what was previously deemed to be impossible seem attainable. ~ Mark Fisher
77:In brief, nationalism is a theory of political legitimacy, which requires the ethnic boundaries should not be cut across political ones, and, in particular, that ethnic boundaries within a given state a contingency already formally excluded by the principle in its general formulation should not separate the power holders from the rest. ~ Ernest Gellner
78:The essence of policy is its contingency; its success depends on the correctness of an estimate which is in part conjectural. The essence of bureaucracy is its quest for safety; its success is calculability . . . The attempt to conduct policy bureaucratically leads to a quest for calculability which tends to become a prisoner of events. ~ Niall Ferguson
79:The new goddess contingency could not be erected until the God of heaven was utterly despoiled of his dominion over the sons of men, and in the room thereof a home-bred idol of self-sufficiency set up, and the world persuaded to worship it. But that the building climb no higher, let all men observe how the word of God overthrows this babylonian tower. ~ John Owen
80:This ordinarily even-tempered man struck furiously at his heart like
some fanatic at prayer, and, assailed by remorse not just for this mistake but for all his
mistakes, all the ineradicable, stupid, inescapable mistakes — swept away by the misery
of his limitations yet acting as if life's every incomprehensible contingency were of his
making ~ Philip Roth
81:I can conceive that after what occurred in New York it might be distressing for you to encounter Miss Stoker, sir. But I fancy the contingency need scarcely arise.’ I weighed this. ‘When you start talking about contingencies arising, Jeeves, the brain seems to flicker and I rather miss the gist. Do you mean that I ought to be able to keep out of her way? ~ P G Wodehouse
82:Places to which I am instinctively attracted are places where I imagine suffering to be absent. “There,” I think, “if only I could get there, then I would suffer no more.” The groundless ground of contingency, however, holds out no such hope. For this is the ground where you are born and die, get sick and grow old, are disappointed and frustrated. To ~ Stephen Batchelor
83:I believe that the broad sweep of the way in which prayer works in the Bible — and I’m thinking here of Jonah and the repentance of Nineveh — teaches us that God, in his sovereignty, has established a kind of contingency in the universe, and that God genuinely interacts with humans who pray in such a way that the universe changes as a result of our prayers. ~ Scot McKnight
84:The moment when a man's head drops off is seldom or never, I am inclined to think, precisely the most agreeable of his life. Nevertheless, like the greater part of our misfortunes, even so serious a contingency brings its remedy and consolation with it, if the sufferer will but make the best, rather than the worst, of the accident which has befallen him. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
85:Terror attacks are now 'man-caused disasters.' And the 'global war on terror' is no more. It is an 'overseas contingency operation.'
Nidal Hassan proudly tells a military court that he, a soldier of Allah, killed 13 American soldiers in the name of jihad. but the massacre remains officially classified as an act not of terrorism but of 'workplace violence. ~ Charles Krauthammer
86:Contingency is rich and fascinating; it embodies an exquisite tension between the power of individuals to modify history and the intelligible limits set by laws of nature. The details of individual and species's lives are not mere frills, without power to shape the large-scale course of events, but particulars that can alter entire futures, profoundly and forever. ~ Stephen Jay Gould
87:The guarantee of safety in a battering relationship can never be based upon a promise from the perpetrator, no matter how heartfelt. Rather, it must be based upon the self-protective capability of the victim. Until the victim has developed a detailed and realistic contingency plan and has demonstrated her ability to carry it out, she remains in danger of repeated abuse. ~ Judith Lewis Herman
88:The last five years had been a series of carefully orchestrated events. Every move, every strategy had been poured over in painstaking detail before it was set into motion.
Pieces on a chess board.
A collision of fate and circumstance. I’d planned for every hitch. Every contingency. Except the one that blindsided me like a vat of acid to the face.
I fell in love with her. ~ A Zavarelli
89:what are you looking for? There is no Truth. There's only action, action obeying a million different impulses, ephemeral action, action subjected to every possible and imaginable contingency and contradiction, Life. Life is crime, theft, jealousy, hunger, lies, disgust,stupidity, sickness, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, piles of corpses. what can you do about it, my poor friend? ~ Blaise Cendrars
90:The best=laid plans, one's most fastidious contingency strategies have revealed themselves in the cold light of day to be laughably inadequate, no match for the happenstance that seems of late only to promise death, mayhem, poverty, flood. And here you are, having spent all that time protecting your home from the oncoming elements only to find that it has been shored up with crackers. ~ David Rakoff
91:But there is no substance under the things I have gathered together about me. I am hollow, and my structure of pleasures and ambitions has no foundation. I am objectified in them. But they are all destined by their very contingency to be destroyed. And when they are gone there will be nothing left of me but my own nakedness and emptiness and hollowness, to tell me that I am a mistake. ~ Thomas Merton
92:When you are not at home in your self, as a child, you don’t experience your self as “natural” or “inevitable”—as so many other people seem to do—and this, though melancholy at the time, can come with certain distinct advantages. Not to take yourself as a natural, unquestionable entity can lead you in turn to become aware of the radical contingency of life in general, its supremely accidental nature. ~ Zadie Smith
93:When it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table. ... That includes all elements of American power: a political effort aimed at isolating Iran, a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored, an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency. ~ Barack Obama
94:Much history as well as popular imagination not only erases their contingency but implicitly attributes to historical actors intentions and consciousness they could not have possibly had...Once a significant historical event is codified, it travels a sort of condensation symbol and, unless we are very careful, takes on a false logic and order that does a grave injustice to how it was experienced at the time. ~ James C Scott
95:It should be clear by now that even short-term antibiotic treatments can lead to long-term shifts in the microbes colonizing our bodies. A full recovery or bounce-back of healthy bacteria is in no way guaranteed, despite the long-held belief that such was the case. But that is not my only worry. I also fear that some of our residential organisms—what I think of as contingency species—may disappear altogether. ~ Martin J Blaser
96:Theology recognizes the contingency of human existence only to derive it from a necessary being, that is, to remove it. Theology makes use of philosophical wonder only for the purpose of motivating an affirmation which ends it. Philosophy, on the other hand, arouses us to what is problematic in our own existence and in that of the world, to such a point that we shall never be cured of searching for a solution. ~ Maurice Merleau Ponty
97:Encased in an elaborate illusion of unlimited power and progress, each of us subscribes, at least until one's midlife crisis, to the belief that existence consists of an eternal, upward spiral of achievement, dependent on will alone.
This comforting illusion may be shattered by some urgent irreversible experience ... None more potently confronts us with finiteness and contingency than the imminence of our own death. ~ Irvin D Yalom
98:Potentially the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia and perhaps Iran, an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition, united not by ideology but by complementary grievances. . . . Averting this contingency . . . will require a display of US geostrategic skill on the western, eastern and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously.” — Zbigniew Brzezinski, former foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama ~ F William Engdahl
99:I never built that contingency plan. Through the seemingly impossible Loudcloud series C and IPO processes, I learned one important lesson: Startup CEOs should not play the odds. When you are building a company, you must believe there is an answer and you cannot pay attention to your odds of finding it. You just have to find it. It matters not whether your chances are nine in ten or one in a thousand; your task is the same. ~ Ben Horowitz
100:In all cultures, it is the task of a religion to close the field of contingency ...and to set up havens of the absolute where it is possible to be led from acting to listening, from having to being, from planning to hoping, from judging to forgiving from the finite into the infinite. A society in which such open spaces of eternity do not exist or are only insufficiently developed dies of itself due to lack of air to breathe. ~ Eugen Drewermann
101:In place of a view of the genome as a static blueprint that operates independently of experience and only up to the moment of birth, we have come to understand the genome as a complex, dynamic set of self-regulating recipes that actively modulate every step of life. Nature is not a dictator hell-bent on erecting the same building regardless of the environment, but a flexible Cub Scout prepared with contingency plans for many occasions. ~ Gary F Marcus
102:The denial of "self" challenges only the notion of a static self independent of body and mind-not the ordinary sense of ourself as a person distinct from everyone else. The notion of a static self is the primary obstruction to the realization of our unique potential as an individual being. By dissolving this fiction through a centered vision of the transiency, ambiguity, and contingency of experience, we are freed to create ourself anew. ~ Stephen Batchelor
103:A writer's work has to take account of many rhythms: Vulcan's and Mercury's, a message of urgency obtained by dint of patient and meticulous adjustments and an intuition so instantaneous that, when formulated, it acquires the finality of something that could never have been otherwise. But it is also the rhythm of time that passes with no other aim than to let feelings and thoughts settle down, mature, and shed all impatience or ephemeral contingency. ~ Italo Calvino
104:Every human reality is a passion in that it projects losing itself so as to found being and by the same stroke to constitute the In-itself which escapes contingency by being its own foundation, the Ens causa sui,
which religions call God. Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. ~ Jean Paul Sartre
105:Fetish Commodity
I used to be brave. Emancipation
eludes me now. There’s nothing real
in what I get paid to do. Rhetoric
and composition, in-text citation
as useful to my ‘students’ as sex
education to celibate eunuchs. Pedagogy
is the ideological gloss. As a boy
I had a penchant for walking out. Life
is possible as necessity-cum
-contingency. In the way of a Notion? Desire
must become a drive. I used to fly.
~ Ali Alizadeh
106:There are times when the marvels of scientific advancement expedite our processes, making our lives easier. Modern technology provides machines that can think three or five or seven steps ahead of the human mind, machines that offer elegant solutions, a selection of contingency plans, Bs and Cs and Ds in case A isn't to your liking.

And then there are times when a screwdriver and a bit of elbow grease are all that's necessary to get the job done. ~ Victoria Schwab
107:Fiction, with its preference for what is small and might elsewhere seem irrelevant; its facility for smuggling us into another skin and allowing us to live a new life there; its painstaking devotion to what without it might go unnoticed and unseen; its respect for contingency, and the unlikely and odd; its willingness to expose itself to moments of low, almost animal being and make them nobly illuminating, can deliver truths we might not otherwise stumble on. ~ David Malouf
108:It's didn't take a genis tactician to see that failure was imminent, Alyss more powerful that Arch had supposed. He would have to focus on his contingency plan and let the Glass Eyes attack on Wonderland fizzle out--a circunstance mildly disapointing, but not worrisome. Such a strategist was the king that he had a contingency plan for his contingency plan, and even, if circunstances required, a contingency plan for his contingency plan's contingency plan.
~ Frank Beddor
109:Theology recognizes the contingency of human existence only to derive it from a necessary being, that is, to remove it. Theology makes use of philosophical wonder only for the purpose of motivating an affirmation which ends it. Philosophy, on the other hand, arouses us to what is problematic in our own existence and in that of the world, to such a point that we shall never be cured of searching for a solution. ~ Maurice Merleau-Ponty, In Praise of Philosophy (Chicago: 1963), p. 44.
110:Kripke says that physicalists like me can't explain the 'apparent contingency' of mind-brain identities. He maintains that, if I really believed that pains are C-fibres, then I ought no longer to have any room for the thought that 'they' might come apart. His argument is that, since pains aren't identified via some contingent description, but in terms of how they feel, I have no good way of constructing a possible world, so to speak, where C-fibres are present yet pains absent. ~ David Papineau
111:Heeding Clausewitz’s warning that military plans which leave no room for the unexpected can lead to disaster, the Germans with infinite care had attempted to provide for every contingency. Their staff officers, trained at maneuvers and at war-college desks to supply the correct solution for any given set of circumstances, were expected to cope with the unexpected. Against that elusive, that mocking and perilous quantity, every precaution had been taken except one—flexibility. While ~ Barbara W Tuchman
112:Another way to be prepared is to think negatively. Yes, I'm a great optimist. but, when trying to make a decision, I often think of the worst case scenario. I call it 'the eaten by wolves factor.' If I do something, what's the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves? One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don't worry about, because I have a plan in place if they do. ~ Randy Pausch
113:...if mankind was put on earth to create works of art, then other people were put on earth to comment on those works, to say what they think of them. Not to judge objectively or critically assess these works but to articulate their feelings about them with as much precision as possible, without seeking to disguise the vagaries of their nature, their lapses of taste and the contingency of their own experiences, even if those feelings are of confusion, uncertainty or-in this case-undiminished wonder. ~ Geoff Dyer
114:The essential thing is contingency. I mean that, by definition, existence is not necessity. To exist is simply to be there; what exists appears, lets itself be encountered, but you can never deduce it...contingency is not an illusion, an appearance which can be dissipated; it is absolute, and consequently perfect gratuitousness. Everything is gratuitous, that park, this town, and myself. When you realise that, it turns your stomach over and everything starts floating about...; that is the Nausea. ~ Jean Paul Sartre
115:When Hamilton heard about British depredations, he did not behave like a pawn of British interests. Rather, he drew up for Washington contingency plans to raise a twenty-thousand-man army to defend coastal cities and impose a partial trade embargo. “The pains taken to preserve peace,” he told Washington, “include a proportional responsibility that equal pains be taken to be prepared for war.”4 Once again, Hamilton and Washington agreed that the executive branch should take the lead in a national emergency. ~ Ron Chernow
116:There is no way to suppress change…not even in heaven; there is only a choice between a way of living which allows constant, if gradual alterations and a way of living that combines great control and cataclysmic upheavals. Those who panic and bind the trickster choose the latter path. It would be better to learn to play with him, better especially to develop skills (cultural, spiritual, artistic) that allow some commerce with accident, and some acceptance of the changes that contingency will always engender. ~ Lewis Hyde
117:It turned out that everyone in the prison had a zombie contingency plan, once you asked them, just like everyone in prison had a prison escape plan, only nobody talked about those. Soap tried not to dwell on escape plans, although sometimes he dreamed that he was escaping. Then the zombies would show up. They always showed up in his escape dreams. You could escape prison, but you couldn’t escape zombies. This was true in Soap’s dreams, just the way it was true in the movies. You couldn’t get any more true than that. ~ Kelly Link
118:The skin is a variety of contingency: in it, through it, with it, the world and my body touch each other, the feeling and the felt, it defines their common edge. Contingency means common tangency: in it the world and the body intersect and caress each other. I do not wish to call the place in which I live a medium, I prefer to say that things mingle with each other and that I am no exception to that. I mix with the world which mixes with me. Skin intervenes between several things in the world and makes them mingle. ~ Michel Serres
119:It seems the height of antiquated hubris to claim that the universe carried on as it did for billions of years in order to form a comfortable abode for us. Chance and historical contingency give the world of life most of its glory and fascination. I sit here happy to be alive and sure that some reason must exist for "why me?" Or the earth might have been totally covered with water, and an octopus might now be telling its children why the eight-legged God of all things had made such a perfect world for cephalopods. ~ Stephen Jay Gould
120:GREGORY OF NYSSA. How vain moreover is prayer for those who live by fate; Divine Providence is banished from the world together with piety, and man is made the mere instrument of the sidereal motions. For these they say move to action, not only the bodily members, but the thoughts of the mind. In a word, they who teach this, take away all that is in us, and the very nature of a contingency; which is nothing less than to overturn all things. For where will there be free will? but that which is in us must be free. ~ Saint Thomas Aquinas
121:McEwan's Atonement…truly dazzles, proving to be as much about the art and morality of writing as it is about the past…. The middle section of Atonement, the two vividly realized set pieces of Robbie's trek to the Channel and Briony's experiences with the wounded evacuees of Dunkirk, would alone have made an outstanding novel…. There is wonderful writing throughout as McEwan weaves his many themes — the accidents of contingency, the sins of absent fathers, class oppression — into his narrative, and in a magical love scene. ~ Noah Richler
122:Fear can't be reasoned with. Neither can hate. They're like love. They're almost identical emotions. That's why Ares and Aphrodite like each other. Their twin sons - Fear and Panic - were spawned from both war and love.'
'But I don't...this doesn't make sense.'
'No,' Piper agreed. 'Stop thinking about it. Just feel.'
'I hate that.'
'I know. You can't plan for feelings. Like with Percy, and your future - you can't control every contingency. You have to accept that. Let it scare you. Trust that it'll be okay anyway. ~ Rick Riordan
123:The vanity of existence is revealed in the whole form existence assumes: in the infiniteness of time and space contrasted with the finiteness of the individual in both; in the fleeting present as the sole form in which actuality exists; in the contingency and relativity of all things; in continual becoming without being; in continual desire without satisfaction; in the continual frustration of striving of which life consists. . . Time is that by virtue of which everything becomes nothingness in our hands and loses all real value. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
124:He spent the next two days in careful, decisive preparation efficiently conducted around his day job. The three imperatives of his mission were embedded in every action he performed: (1) keep it simple; (2) provide for every contingency; and (3) never panic no matter how much your plan goes awry, which it occasionally did. However, if there were a fourth rule, it would have to be: exploit the fact that most people are fools when it comes to things that actually matter, like their own survival. He had never suffered from that shortcoming. ~ David Baldacci
125:We left the Bentley and Tim at a garage, and Alan and I travelled back to Brussels to hire a much less magnificent vehicle. When we picked Tim up the next morning, he told us that he’d spent the night in his room with a ‘bird’. Intrigued, we questioned him closely, and learned that he had been woken in the middle of the night by a strange, rather alarming noise and that when he had put the light on he had discovered a turkey vomiting on the mantelpiece. He’d thought of complaining but found that his phrase book did not cover this contingency. ~ John Cleese
126:You never explained the change of heart."
"Maybe I got tired of seeing Kevin bend. Or maybe it was the zombies. A few weeks back you and Renee argued contingency plans for a zombie apocalypse. She said she'd focus on survivors. You said you'd go back for some of us. Five of us. You weren't counting Abby or Coach. Since you trust Renee to handle the rest of the team, I'm guessing the last spot is for Dobson. I didn't say anything then because I knew I'd look out for only me when the world went to hell. I don't want to be that person anymore. I want to go back for you. ~ Nora Sakavic
127:Mark Twain once wrote, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”49 Worry has a way of holding our attention hostage. This is especially true for things we can’t control due to the elevated level of uncertainty. We burn through a lot of resources obsessing over possible outcomes and forming contingency plans, but in reality we’re just fueling our anxiety. Trying to think our way out of situations beyond our control may feel productive, but it’s nothing more than a powerful distraction. Worry baits us with the promise of a solution but usually offers none. ~ Ryder Carroll
128:So-called real life has only once interfered with me, and it had been a far cry from what the words, lines, books had prepared me for. Fate had to do with blind seers, oracles, choruses announcing death, not with panting next to the refrigerator, fumbling with condoms, waiting in a Honda parked round the corner and surreptitious encounters in a Lisbon hotel. Only the written word exists, everything one must do oneself is without form, subject to contingency without rhyme or reason. It takes too long. And if it ends badly the metre isn't right, and there's no way to cross things out. ~ Cees Nooteboom
129:That nature does not care, one way or the other, is the true abyss. That only man cares, in his finitude facing nothing but death, alone with his contingency and the objective meaninglessness of his projecting meanings, is a truly unprecedented situation... Will replaces vision; temporality of the act outsts the eternity of the "good-in-itself"As the product of the indifferent, his being, too, must be indifferent. Then the facing of his morality would simply warrant the reaction "let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die." There is no point in caring for what has no sanction behind it in any creative intention. ~ Hans Jonas
130:At that moment I saw you at the end of the platform. You were wearing trousers. On the long platform beside the stranded train, in the vast white diffused late-afternoon light of the rift valley, you looked very small. With your appearance everything changed. Everything from the passage under the railway tracks to the sun setting, from the Arabic numerals on the board which announced the times of the trains, to the gulls perched on a roof, from the invisible stars to the taste of coffee on my palate. The world of circumstance and contingency, into which, long before, I had been born, became like a room. I was home. ~ John Berger
131:He had given each a code and procedure to follow should any kind of disaster arise, be it a siege of the city or a revolt from within. This revolt fulfilled the second contingency. He would not have to gather everyone himself. He need only contact a couple of them and they would pass along the information through their prescribed channels. All of them would follow various prepared routes to meet in the secret passageways below the palace, created for this very purpose. Down there, they could weather the danger in the city above. They even had food stores which stayed well-preserved in the cool and dry environment. ~ Brian Godawa
132:Some women, it seemed, were entirely without guile and bestowed their affections with hardly a moment's conscious thought. Others set out to implement a campaign of military thoroughness, with branched contingency trees and fallback positions, all to 'catch' a desirable man. The word 'desirable' was the giveaway, she thought. The poor jerk wasn't actually desired, only 'desirable' - a plausible object of desire in the opinion of those others on whose account this whole sorry charade was performed. Most women, she thought, were somewhere in the middle, seeking to reconcile their passions with their perceived long-term advantage. ~ Carl Sagan
133:To deconstruct a concept is to analyze it in a way which reveals its construction—both in the temporal sense of its birth and development over time and in a certain cultural and political matrix, and in the sense of its own present structure, its meaning, and its relation to other concepts. One of the most impressive aspects of such an analysis is the revelation of the ‘contingency’ of the concept, i.e. the fact that it is only the accidental collaboration of various historical events and circumstances that brought that concept into being, and the fact that there could be a world of sense without that concept in it (emphasis added).26 In ~ Robert Jensen
134:At the same time, minor failings or incidental impropriety may, he feels, be interpreted as a direct expression of his stigmatized differentness. Ex-mental patients, for example, are sometimes afraid to engage in sharp interchanges with spouse or employer because of what a show of emotion might be taken as a sign of. Mental defectives face a similar contingency:   It also happens that if a person of low intellectual ability gets into some sort of trouble the difficulty is more or less automatically attributed to “mental defect” whereas if a person of “normal intelligence” gets into a similar difficulty, it is not regarded as symptomatic of anything in particular.31 ~ Erving Goffman
135:Reclaimed by the small-time day-to-day, pretending life is Back To Normal, wrapping herself shivering against contingency's winter in some threadbare blanket of first-quarter expenses, school committees, cable-bill irregularities, a workday jittering with low-life fantasies for which "fraud" is often too elegant a term, upstairs neighbors to whom bathtub caulking is an alien concept, symptoms upper-respiratory and lower-intestinal, all in the quaint belief that change will always be gradual enough to manage, with insurance, with safety equipment, with healthy diets and regular exercise, and that evil never comes roaring out of the sky to explode into anybody's towering delusions about being exempt. . . ~ Thomas Pynchon
136:Consciousness does not know its own character -- unless in determining itself reflectively from the standpoint of another's point of view. It exists its character in pure distinction non-thematically and non-thetically in the proof which it effects of its own contingency and in the nihilation by which it recognizes and surpasses its facticity. This is why pure introspective self-description does not give us character. Proust's hero 'does not have' a directly apprehensible character; he is presented first as being conscious of himself as an ensemble of general reactions common to all men...in which each man can recognise himself. This is because these reactions belong to the general 'nature' of the psychic. ~ Jean Paul Sartre
137:Langley felt the airport was too controlled and therefore too easy for the Chinese to tilt in their favor. The CIA wanted a public location with multiple evacuation routes. They had cars, safe houses, changes of clothes, medical equipment, fake passports, and even a high-speed boat on standby. They had thought of every contingency and had built plans for each. That was how worried they were.
Stepping inside, Harmon scanned the café. The air-conditioning felt like being hooked up to a bottle of pure, crisp oxygen. He grabbed a paper napkin and starting at the top of his shaved head, wiped all the way down the back of his thick neck. He ordered a Coke in a can, no ice. He had learned the hard way about ice in foreign countries ~ Brad Thor
138:. . . [Nietzsche] had the good manners to despise Christianity, in large part, for what it actually was--above all, for its devotion to an ethics of compassion--rather than allow himself the soothing, self-righteous fantasy that Christianity’s history had been nothing but an interminable pageant of violence, tyranny, and sexual neurosis. He may have hated many Christians for their hypocrisy, but he hated Christianity itself principally on account of its enfeebling solicitude for the weak, the outcast, the infirm, and the diseased; and, because he was conscious of the historical contingency of all cultural values, he never deluded himself that humanity could do away with Christian faith while simply retaining Christian morality in some diluted form, such as liberal social conscience or innate human sympathy. ~ David Bentley Hart
139:One curious feature of the condition is that if two werewolves meet and mate at the full moon (a highly unlikely contingency, which is known to have occurred only twice) the result of the mating will be wolf cubs which resemble true wolves in everything except their abnormally high intelligence. They are not more aggressive than normal wolves and do not single out humans for attack. Such a litter was once set free, under conditions of extreme secrecy, in the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts, with the kind permission of Albus Dumbledore. The cubs grew into beautiful and unusually intelligent wolves and some of them live there still, which has given rise to the stories about ‘werewolves’ in the Forest – stories none of the teachers, or the gamekeeper, has done much to dispel because keeping students out of the Forest is, in their view, highly desirable. ~ J K Rowling
140:Christianity grasped perfectly that there is an element in the apparent contingency of love that can’t be reduced to that contingency. But it immediately raised it to the level of transcendence, and that is the root of the problem. This universal element I too recognize in love as immanent. But Christianity has somehow managed to elevate it and refocus it onto a transcendent power. It’s an ideal that was already partly present in Plato, through the idea of the Good. It is a brilliant first manipulation of the power of love and one we must now bring back to earth. I mean we must demonstrate that love really does have universal power, but that it is simply the opportunity we are given to enjoy a positive, creative, affirmative experience of difference. The Other, no doubt, but without the “Almighty-Other”, without the “Great Other” of transcendence. ~ Alain Badiou
141:Love has two affirmations. First of all, when the lover encounters the other, there is an immediate affirmation (psychologically: dazzlement, enthusiasm, exaltation, mad projection of a fulfilled future: I am devoured by desire, the impulse to be happy): I say yes to everything (blinding myself). There follows a long tunnel: my first yes is riddled by doubts, love’s value is ceaselessly threatened by depreciation: this is the moment of melancholy passion, the rising of resentment and oblation. Yet I can emerge from this tunnel; I can ‘surmount,’ without liquidating; what I have affirmed a first time, I can once again affirm, without repeating it, for then what I affirm is the affirmation, not its contingency. I affirm the first encounter in its difference, I desire its return, not its repetition. I say to the other (old or new): Let us begin again. ~ Roland Barthes
142:[W]hat counts as ‘realistic’, what seems possible at any point in the social field, is defined by a series of political determinations. An ideological position can never be really successful until it is naturalized, and it cannot be naturalized while it is still thought of as a value rather than a fact. Accordingly, neoliberalism has sought to eliminate the very category of value in the ethical sense. Over the past thirty years, capitalist realism has successfully installed a ‘business ontology’ in which it is simply obvious that everything in society, including healthcare and education, should be run as a business. … [E]mancipatory politics must always destroy the appearance of a ‘natural order’, must reveal what is presented as necessary and inevitable to be a mere contingency, just as it must make what was previously deemed to be impossible seem attainable. ~ Mark Fisher
143:you make me laugh, with your metaphysical anguish, its just that you're scared silly, frightened of life, of men of action, of action itself, of lack of order. But everything is disorder, dear boy. Vegetable, mineral and animal, all
disorder, and so is the multitude of human races, the life of man, thought,
history, wars, inventions, business and the arts, and all theories, passions
and systems. Its always been that way. Why are you trying to make something out
of it? And what will you make? what are you looking for? There is no Truth.
There's only action, action obeying a million different impulses, ephemeral
action, action subjected to every possible and imaginable contingency and
contradiction, Life. Life is crime, theft, jealousy, hunger, lies, disgust,
stupidity, sickness, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, piles of corpses. what can you do about it, my poor friend? ~ Blaise Cendrars
144:These views of the world support diverging conceptions of human salvation. For those who follow Plato, humans are exiles from eternity; freedom consists in ascending from the realm of shadows and leaving behind the illusion of being a separate, time-bound individual. In biblical accounts, salvation is not an escape from contingency but a miraculous event in the contingent world. It was some such event that Jesus expected when he announced the kingdom of God. Those who were saved would not be assimilated into an eternal spirit but would be brought back from the grave as corporeal human beings.


These Jewish and Greek views of the world are not just divergent but irreconcilably opposed. Yet from its beginnings Christianity has been an attempt to join Athens with Jerusalem. Augustine’s Christian Platonism was only the first of many such attempts. Without knowing what they are doing, secular thinkers have continued this vain effort. ~ John Gray
145:[Foucault's] criticism is not transcendental, and its goal is not that of making a metaphysics possible: it is genealogical in its design and archaeological in its method.

Archaeological –and not transcendental– in the sense that it will not seek to identify the universal structures of all knowledge or of all possible moral action, but will seek to treat the instances of discourse that articulate what we think, say, and do as so many historical events.

And this critique will be genealogical in the sense it will not deduce from the form of what we are what is impossible for us to do and to know; but it will separate out, from the contingency that has made us what we are, the possibility of no longer being, doing, or thinking what we are, do or think. It is not seeking to make possible a metaphysics that has finally become a science; it is seeking to give new impetus, as far and wide as possible, to the undefined work of freedom. ~ Paul Rabinow
146:Haven't you got it through your head that human thought is a thing of the past & that philosophy is worse than Bertillon's guide to harassed cops? You make me laugh with your metaphysical anguish, it's just that you're scared silly, frightened of life, of men of action, of action itself, of lack of order. But everything is disorder, dear boy. Vegetable, mineral & animal, all disorder, & so is the multitude of human races, the life of man, thought, history, wars, inventions, business & the arts, & all theories, passions & systems. It's always been that way. Why are you trying to make something out of it? And what will you make? What are you looking for? There's no truth. There's only action, action subjected to every possible & imaginable contingency & contradiction. Life. Life is a crime, theft, jealousy, hunger, lies, disgust, stupidity, sickness, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, piles of corpses. What can you do about it, my poor friend? ~ Blaise Cendrars
147:Grant said. "I've already told you too much," Evers replied. It struck Grant that suddenly Evers looked very old. "It won't be long now," he said quietly. Grant's mind was racing too fast to catch the remark, but once he did, he came crashing to a stop. "Not long until what?" "There's more," Evers said, urgency rising into his voice, "much more you need to know; I'm sorry I won't get a chance to tell you. But you don't last as long as I have in this business without planning for every possible contingency, and trust me, I have. So did your father." "I don't understand," said Grant. "How long has it been, son?" Evers asked, wistful. "How long since you were there? Your parents' old house?" Grant blinked. "I don't know. More than twenty-five years, I guess." "Go back." "What? Why?" The first home he'd ever known-where his father and sister lived with him, before the orphanage-was military housing on an old Army base north of Monterey. Only vague images remained as his memory of the place. "Would the house even ~ Robin Parrish
148:Women's magazines sadly remark that children can have a disruptive effect on the conjugal relationship, that the young wife's involvement with her children and her exhaustion can interfere with her husband's claims on her. What a notion- a family that is threatened by its children! Contraception has increased the egotism of the couple: planned children have a pattern to fit into; at least unplanned children had some of the advantages of contingency. First and foremost they were whether their parents liked it or not. In the limited nuclear family the parents are the principals and children are theirs to manipulate in a newly purposive way. The generation gap is being intensified in these families where children must not inconvenience their parents, where they are disposed of in special living quarters at special times of day, their own rooms and so forth. Anything less than this is squalor. Mother must not have more children than she can control: control means full attention for much of the day, then isolation. ~ Germaine Greer
149:As any number of radical theorists from Brecht through to Foucault and Badiou have maintained, emancipatory politics must always destroy the appearance of a ‘natural order’, must reveal what is presented as necessary and inevitable to be a mere contingency, just as it must make what was previously deemed to be impossible seem attainable. It is worth recalling that what is currently called realistic was itself once ‘impossible’: the slew of privatizations that took place since the 1980s would have been unthinkable only a decade earlier, and the current political-economic landscape (with unions in abeyance, utilities and railways denationalized) could scarcely have been imagined in 1975. Conversely, what was once eminently possible is now deemed unrealistic. ‘Modernization’, Badiou bitterly observes, ‘is the name for a strict and servile definition of the possible. These ‘reforms’ invariably aim at making impossible what used to be practicable (for the largest number), and making profitable (for the dominant oligarchy) what did not used to be so’. At ~ Mark Fisher
150:The essential thing is contingency. I mean that one cannot define existence as necessity. To exist is simply to be there; those who exist let themselves be encountered, but you can never deduce anything from them. I believe there are people who have understood this. Only they tried to overcome this contingency by inventing a necessary, causal being. But no necessary being can explain existence: contingency is not a delusion, a probability which can be dissipated; it is the absolute, consequently, the perfect free gift. All is free, this park, this city and myself. When you realize that, it turns your heart upside down and everything begins to float, as the other evening at the "Railwaymen's Rendezvous": here is Nausea; here there is what those bastards—the ones on the Coteau Vert and others—try to hide from themselves with their idea of their rights. But what a poor lie: no one has any rights; they are entirely free, like other men, they cannot succeed in not feeling superfluous. And in themselves, secretly, they are superfluous, that is to say, amorphous, vague, and sad. ~ Jean Paul Sartre
151:The cost of defense, meanwhile, goes up and up and up, with little political resistance and barely any public discussion. By the fullest accounting, which is different from usual budget figures, the United States will spend more than $1 trillion on national security this year. That includes about $580 billion for the Pentagon’s baseline budget plus “overseas contingency” funds, $20 billion in the Department of Energy budget for nuclear weapons, nearly $200 billion for military pensions and Department of Veterans Affairs costs, and other expenses. But it doesn’t count more than $80 billion a year of interest on the military-related share of the national debt. After adjustments for inflation, the United States will spend about 50 percent more on the military this year than its average through the Cold War and Vietnam War. It will spend about as much as the next 10 nations combined—three to five times as much as China, depending on how you count, and seven to nine times as much as Russia. The world as a whole spends about 2 percent of its total income on its militaries; the United States, about 4 percent. ~ Anonymous
152:Religious discourse was not intended to be understood literally because it was only possible to speak about a reality that transcended language in symbolic terms. The story of the lost paradise was a myth, not a factual account of a historical event. People were not expected to “believe" it in the abstract; like any mythos, it depended upon the rituals associated with the cult of a particular holy place to make what it signified a reality in the lives of participants.

The same applies to the creation myth that was central to ancient religion and has now become controversial in the Western world because the Genesis story seems to clash with modern science. But until the early modern period, nobody read a cosmology as a literal account of the origins of life. In the ancient world, it was inspired by an acute sense of the contingency and frailty of existence. Why had anything come into being at all, when there could so easily have been nothing? There has never been a simple or even a possible answer to this question, but people continue to ask it, pushing their minds to the limit of what we can know. ~ Karen Armstrong
153:Furthermore, Kauffman felt that it might ultimately be possible to apply these ideas far beyond the economy. "I think these kinds of models are the place for contingency and law at the same time," he says. "The point is that the phase transitions may be lawful, but the specific details are not. So maybe we have the starts of models of historical, unfolding processes for such things as the Industrial Revolution, for example, or the Renaissance as a cultural transformation,a nd why it is that an isolated society, or ethos, can't stay isolated when you start plugging some new ideas into it." You can ask the same thing about the Cambrian explosion: the period some 570 million years ago when a world full of algae and pond scum suddenly burst forth with complex, multicellular creatures in immense profusion. "Why all of a sudden do you get all this diversity?" Kauffman asks. "Maybe you had to get to a critical diversity to then explode. Maybe it's because you've gone from algal mats to something that's a little more trophic and complex, so that there's an explosion of processes acting on processes to make new processes. It's the same thing as in an economy. ~ M Mitchell Waldrop
154:We do not have to believe in magic spells for this to work. We only have to be able to enjoy a film. The same elements are at work: cinematic technology, suspension of disbelief, the director’s skill in organizing a compelling narrative. The result is the same. Life, too, is like this. What appears to us through the senses seems real and solid enough, but once we submit it to deeper scrutiny (whether through physics, postmodern philosophy, or Buddhist meditation), that out-thereness-in-its-own-right of the thing starts to dissolve. Once we notice its utter contingency, the gut feeling that there must be something solid and unchanging at its core weakens. The thing is seen not only to emerge from a complex set of causes and conditions but also to depend on a vast number of parts, attributes, and components. If we look closer still, we find that it is what it is because of the way we talk and think about it, because of the peculiar way in which our culture perceptually organizes it so that it makes sense. Nothing else, no extra metaphysical essence, is necessary. While language forces us to use the word “it,” ultimately there is nothing to which it refers. Life ~ Stephen Batchelor
155:And yet, you didn’t bother telling me yourself,” I snapped, still outraged. “I couldn’t! They made me promise not to.” Somehow, his betrayal hurt worse than all the others. I had come to trust him implicitly. How could he do this to me? “No one believed I’d be able to talk the Warriors down, so everyone just made contingency plans without me.” Never mind that I Hadn’t been able to talk them down. “Someone should have told me. You should have told me.” There was legitimate pain and regret in his voice. “I’m telling you, I wanted to. But I was trapped. You of all people should know what it’s like being caught between groups, Sage. Besides, don’t you remember what I said just before you got in the car with Trey?” I did actually. Almost word for word. No matter what happens, I want you to know that I never doubted what you’re going to do. It’s smart, and it’s brave. I slouched further into my seat and felt like I was on the verge of tears. Adrian was right. I did know what it was like to have your loyalty stretched between different groups. I understood the position he’d been in. It was just, some selfish part of me wished that I’d been the one his loyalty has been strongest to. ~ Richelle Mead
156:For primordial man Revelation and intellection coincided: contingency was still transparent so that there were as yet neither “points of view” nor "perspectives”; whereas in later times Revelation is multiple because geometrically speaking the circumference implies many radii, the “point of view” of primordial man corresponded to the entire circle; the center was everywhere. In the same way the unavoidably limiting aspect of expressions, forms, or symbols did not yet imprison minds; there was therefore no place for a diversity of forms, each expressing the same Truth in the name of the impersonal Self while excluding each other in the name of this or that particular manifestation of the personal God. Now that these diverse manifestations exist, what matters is knowing that intrinsically they speak in an absolute mode since it is the Absolute which is speaking, but that extrinsically they are clothed in the language of a particular mental coloring and a particular system of contingencies since they are addressed to man; now the man to whom they are addressed in this manner is already cut off from the inward Revelation that is direct and “supernaturally natural” intellection. ~ Frithjof Schuon
157:Since the self, in maintaining its isolation and detachment does
not commit itself to a creative relationship with the other and is
preoccupied with the figures of phantasies, thought, memories, etc.
(imagos), which cannot be directly observable by or directly
expressed to others, anything (in a sense) is possible. Whatever
failures or successes come the way of the false-self system, the self
is able to remain uncommitted and undefined. In phantasy, the
self can be anyone, anywhere, do anything, have everything. It is
thus omnipotent and completely free - but only in phantasy. Once it
commits itself to any real project it suffers the agonies of humiliation
- not necessarily for any failure, but simply because it has to
subject itself to necessity and contingency. It is omnipotent and
free only in phantasy. The more this phantastic omnipotence and
freedom are indulged, the more weak, helpless, and fettered it
becomes in actuality. The illusion of omnipotence and freedom
can be sustained only within the magic circle of its own shut-upness
in phantasy. And in order that this attitude be not dissipated
by the slightest intrusion of reality, phantasy and reality have to
be kept apart. ~ R D Laing
158:Sure, zombies can “be a metaphor.” They can represent the oppressed, as in Land of the Dead, or humanity’s feral nature, as in 28 Days. Or racial politics or fear of contagion or even the consumer unconscious (Night of the Living Dead, Resident Evil, Dawn of the Dead). We could play this game all night.

But really, zombies are not “supposed to be metaphors.” They’re supposed to be friggin’ zombies. They follow the Zombie Rules: they rise from death to eat the flesh of the living, they shuffle in slow pursuit (or should, anyway), and most important, they multiply exponentially. They bring civilization down, taking all but the most resourceful, lucky and well-armed among us, whom they save for last. They make us the hunted; all of us.

That’s the stuff zombies are supposed to do. Yes, they make excellent symbols, and metaphors, and have kick-ass mythopoeic resonance to boot. But their main job is to follow genre conventions, to play with and expand the Zombie Rules, to make us begin to see the world as a place colored by our own zombie contingency plans. […]

Stories are the original virtual reality device; their internal rules spread out into reality around us like a bite-transmitted virus, slowly but inexorably consuming its flesh. They don’t just stand around “being metaphors” whose sole purpose is to represent things in the real world; they eat the real world. ~ Scott Westerfeld
159:We have considered the problem of mental fragmentation and arbitrariness that results when our contact with the world is mediated by representations: representations collapse the basic axis of proximity and distance by which an embodied being orients in the world and draws a horizon of relevance around itself. We noted the prominence of a design philosophy that severs the bonds between action and perception, as in contemporary automobiles that insulate us from the sensorimotor contingencies by which an embodied being normally grasps reality. The case of machine gambling gave us a heightened example of this kind of abstraction, and made clear how such a design philosophy can be turned to especially disturbing purposes in the darker precincts of “affective capitalism,” where our experiences are manufactured for us. We saw that the point of these experiences is often to provide a quasi-autistic escape from the frustrations of life, and that they are especially attractive in a world that lacks a basic intelligibility because it seems to be ordered by “vast impersonal forces” that are difficult to bring within view on a first-person, human scale. I argued that all of this tends to sculpt a certain kind of contemporary self, a fragile one whose freedom and dignity depend on its being insulated from contingency, and who tends to view technology as magic for accomplishing this. For such a self, choosing from a menu of options replaces the kind of adult agency that grapples with things in an unfiltered way. ~ Matthew B Crawford
160:The present historical account of the origins of political institutions needs to be seen in proper perspective. No one should expect that a contemporary developing country has to replicate all of the violent steps taken by China or by societies in Europe to build a modern state, or that a modern rule of law needs to be based in religion. We have seen how institutions were the products of contingent historical circumstances and accidents that are unlikely to be duplicated by other differently situated societies. The very contingency of their origins, and the prolonged historical struggles that were required to put them in place, should imbue us with a certain degree of humility in approaching the task of institution building in the contemporary world. Modern institutions cannot simply be transferred to other societies without reference to existing rules and the political forces supporting them. Building an institution is not like building a hydroelectric dam or a road network. It requires a great deal of hard work to persuade people that institutional change is needed in the first place, build a coalition in favor of change that can overcome the resistance of existing stakeholders in the old system, and then condition people to accept the new set of behaviors as routine and expected. Oftentimes formal institutions need to be supplemented by cultural shifts; electoral democracy won’t work well, for example, if there isn’t an independent press and a self-organizing civil society to keep governments honest. ~ Francis Fukuyama
161:Does it occur to you that if he set his mind to it, Steve could be a truly excellent supervillain?” Clint said into the comm unit, not bothering with any sort of segue. He knew very well who it was.

“We have a contingency plan in place for that,” Coulson said without missing a beat.

In the background, Steve said, “Wait, what?”

“Oh, c'mon.” Stark sounded seriously insulted. “If anyone here is going to go the black leather and weather control ray route, it's gonna be me, let's not even kid ourselves.”

“Every active SHIELD employee has a wallet card instructing them what to do in the event you go supervillain, Stark. It's standard equipment.”

A beat of silence. “What?” Tony asked.

“I got one,” Bruce said. “Want to see it?”

“If you show it to him, it'll defeat the purpose of having a plan,” Natasha said. “And I like this plan, it's a good plan, I do not want to go through them trying to come up with something else.”

“Yes, I want to see it,” Tony said. “Thor, did you get a card?”

“Verily. Their plan is most sound. I believe we will be able to subdue you with great swiftness, before you have much chance to hurt yourself or others. The damage to property will, of course, be massive, but such things are to be expected.”

“What the hell? You will not be able to subdue me quickly. Screw you, I am wily and brilliant.”

“I didn't get one,” Steve said, and there was a loud sound of no one being surprised.

“It's not a good idea to warn the bait that-” Clint started... ~ Scifigrl47
162:These autonomous, self-regulating properties of holons within the growing embryo are a vital safeguard; they ensure that whatever accidental hazards arise during development, the end-product will be according to norm. In view of the millions and millions of cells which divide, differentiate, and move about in the constantly changing environment of fluids and neighbouring tissues-Waddington called it 'the epigenetic landscape'-it must be assumed that no two embryos, not even identical twins, are formed in exactly the same way. The self-regulating mechanisms which correct deviations from the norm and guarantee, so to speak, the end-result, have been compared to the homeostatic feedback devices in the adult organism-so biologists speak of 'developmental homeostasis'. The future individual is potentially predetermined in the chromosomes of the fertilised egg; but to translate this blueprint into the finished product, billions of specialized cells have to be fabricated and moulded into an integrated structure. The mind boggles at the idea that the genes of that one fertilised egg should contain built-in provisions for each and every particular contingency which every single one of its fifty-six generations of daughter cells might encounter in the process. However, the problem becomes a little less baffling if we replace the concept of the 'genetic blueprint', which implies a plan to be rigidly copied, by the concept of a genetic canon of rules which are fixed, but leave room for alternative choices, i.e., flexible strategies guided by feedbacks and pointers from the environment. But how can this formula be applied to the development of the embryo? ~ Arthur Koestler
163:In the face of an obstacle which it is impossible to overcome, stubbornness is stupid. If I persist in beating my fist against a stone wall, my freedom exhausts itself in this useless gesture without succeeding in giving itself a content. It debases itself in a vain contingency. Yet, there is hardly a sadder virtue than resignation. It transforms into phantoms and contingent reveries projects which had at the beginning been set up as will and freedom. A young man has hoped for a happy or useful or glorious life. If the man he has become looks upon these miscarried attempts of his adolescence with disillusioned indifference, there they are, forever frozen in the dead past. When an effort fails, one declares bitterly that he has lost time and wasted his powers. The failure condemns that whole part of ourselves which we had engaged in the effort. It was to escape this dilemma that the Stoics preached indifference. We could indeed assert our freedom against all constraint if we agreed to renounce the particularity of our projects. If a door refuses to open, let us accept not opening it and there we are free. But by doing that, one manages only to save an abstract notion of freedom. It is emptied of all content and all truth. The power of man ceases to be limited because it is annulled. It is the particularity of the project which determines the limitation of the power, but it is also what gives the project its content and permits it to be set up. There are people who are filled with such horror at the idea of a defeat that they keep themselves from ever doing anything. But no one would dream of considering this gloomy passivity as the triumph of freedom ~ Simone de Beauvoir
164:There can be no doubt that the chief fault we have developed, through the long course of human evolution, is a certain basic passivity. When provoked by challenges, human beings are magnificent. When life is quiet and even, we take the path of least resistance, and then wonder why we feel bored. A man who is determined and active doesn't pay much attention to 'luck'. If things go badly, he takes a deep breath and redoubles his effort. And he quickly discovers that his moments of deepest happiness often come after such efforts. The man who has become accustomed to a passive existence becomes preoccupied with 'luck'; it may become an obsession. When things go well, he is delighted and good humored; when they go badly, he becomes gloomy and petulant. He is unhappy—or dissatisfied—most of the time, for even when he has no cause for complaint, he feels that gratitude would be premature; things might go wrong at any moment; you can't really trust the world... Gambling is one basic response to this passivity, revealing the obsession with luck, the desire to make things happen.

The absurdity about this attitude is that we fail to recognize the active part we play in making life a pleasure. When my will is active, my whole mental and physical being works better, just as my digestion works better if I take exercise between meals. I gain an increasing feeling of control over my life, instead of the feeling of helplessness (what Sartre calls 'contingency') that comes from long periods of passivity. Yet even people who are intelligent enough to recognize this find the habit of passivity so deeply ingrained that they find themselves holding their breath when things go well, hoping fate will continue to be kind. ~ Colin Wilson
165:Barack and I took Malia’s and Sasha’s hands and made our way across the still-dewy grass of the South Lawn. The animals were larger than I expected, languid and sinewy, their tails flicking as they monitored our approach. I’d never seen anything like it, four cats in a companionable line. The lion stirred slightly as we drew close. I saw the panther’s eyes tracking us, the tiger’s ears flattening just a little. Then, without warning, the cheetah shot out from the shade with blinding speed, rocketing right at us.
I panicked, grabbing Sasha by the arm, sprinting with her back up the lawn toward the house, trusting that Barack and Malia were doing the same. Judging from the noise, I could tell that all the animals had leaped to their feet and were now coming after us.
Lloyd stood in the doorway, looking unfazed.
“I thought you said they were sedated!” I yelled.
“Don’t worry, ma’am,” he called back. “We’ve got a contingency plan for exactly this scenario!” He stepped to one side as Secret Service agents swarmed past him through the door, carrying what looked to be guns loaded with tranquilizer darts. Just then, I felt Sasha slip out of my grasp.
I turned back toward the lawn, horrified to see my family being chased by wild animals and the wild animals being chased by agents, who were firing their guns.
“This is your plan?” I screamed. “Are you kidding me?
Just then, the cheetah let out a snarl and launched itself at Sasha, its claws extended, its body seeming to fly. An agent took a shot, missing the animal though scaring it enough that it veered off course and retreated back down the hill. I was relieved for a split second, but then I saw it—a white-and-orange tranquilizer dart lodged in Sasha’s right arm.
I lurched upward in bed, heart hammering, my body soaked in sweat, only to find my husband curled in comfortable sleep beside me. I’d had a very bad dream. ~ Michelle Obama
166:PEACETIME CEO/WARTIME CEO Peacetime CEO knows that proper protocol leads to winning. Wartime CEO violates protocol in order to win. Peacetime CEO focuses on the big picture and empowers her people to make detailed decisions. Wartime CEO cares about a speck of dust on a gnat’s ass if it interferes with the prime directive. Peacetime CEO builds scalable, high-volume recruiting machines. Wartime CEO does that, but also builds HR organizations that can execute layoffs. Peacetime CEO spends time defining the culture. Wartime CEO lets the war define the culture. Peacetime CEO always has a contingency plan. Wartime CEO knows that sometimes you gotta roll a hard six. Peacetime CEO knows what to do with a big advantage. Wartime CEO is paranoid. Peacetime CEO strives not to use profanity. Wartime CEO sometimes uses profanity purposefully. Peacetime CEO thinks of the competition as other ships in a big ocean that may never engage. Wartime CEO thinks the competition is sneaking into her house and trying to kidnap her children. Peacetime CEO aims to expand the market. Wartime CEO aims to win the market. Peacetime CEO strives to tolerate deviations from the plan when coupled with effort and creativity. Wartime CEO is completely intolerant. Peacetime CEO does not raise her voice. Wartime CEO rarely speaks in a normal tone. Peacetime CEO works to minimize conflict. Wartime CEO heightens the contradictions. Peacetime CEO strives for broad-based buy-in. Wartime CEO neither indulges consensus building nor tolerates disagreements. Peacetime CEO sets big, hairy, audacious goals. Wartime CEO is too busy fighting the enemy to read management books written by consultants who have never managed a fruit stand. Peacetime CEO trains her employees to ensure satisfaction and career development. Wartime CEO trains her employees so they don’t get their asses shot off in the battle. Peacetime CEO has rules like “We’re going to exit all businesses where we’re not number one or two.” Wartime CEO often has no businesses that are number one or two and therefore does not have the luxury of following that rule. ~ Ben Horowitz
167:the intellectual left was handed the ultimate salvation: environmentalism. Now the experts will regulate your life not in the name of the proletariat or Fabian socialism but—even better—in the name of Earth itself. Environmentalists are Gaia’s priests, instructing us in her proper service and casting out those who refuse to genuflect. (See Newsweek above.) And having proclaimed the ultimate commandment—carbon chastity—they are preparing the supporting canonical legislation that will tell you how much you can travel, what kind of light you will read by and at what temperature you may set your bedroom thermostat. Only Monday, a British parliamentary committee proposed that every citizen be required to carry a carbon card that must be presented, under penalty of law, when buying gasoline, taking an airplane or using electricity. The card contains your yearly carbon ration to be drawn down with every purchase, every trip, every swipe. There’s no greater social power than the power to ration. And, other than rationing food, there is no greater instrument of social control than rationing energy, the currency of just about everything one does and uses in an advanced society. So what does the global warming agnostic propose as an alternative? First, more research—untainted and reliable—to determine (a) whether the carbon footprint of man is or is not lost among the massive natural forces (from sunspot activity to ocean currents) that affect climate and (b) if the human effect is indeed significant, whether the planetary climate system has the homeostatic mechanisms (like the feedback loops in the human body, for example) with which to compensate. Second, reduce our carbon footprint in the interim by doing the doable, rather than the economically ruinous and socially destructive. The most obvious step is a major move to nuclear power, which to the atmosphere is the cleanest of the clean. But your would-be masters have foreseen this contingency. The Church of the Environment promulgates secondary dogmas as well. One of these is a strict nuclear taboo. Rather convenient, is it not? Take this major coal-substituting fix off the table and we will be rationing all the more. Guess who does the rationing. ~ Charles Krauthammer
168:Athletes, by and large, are people who are happy to let their actions speak for them, happy to be what they do. As a result, when you talk to an athlete, as I do all the time in locker rooms, in hotel coffee shops and hallways, standing beside expensive automobiles—even if he’s paying no attention to you at all, which is very often the case—he’s never likely to feel the least bit divided, or alienated, or one ounce of existential dread. He may be thinking about a case of beer, or a barbecue, or some man-made lake in Oklahoma he wishes he was waterskiing on, or some girl or a new Chevy shortbed, or a discothèque he owns as a tax shelter, or just simply himself. But you can bet he isn’t worried one bit about you and what you’re thinking. His is a rare selfishness that means he isn’t looking around the sides of his emotions to wonder about alternatives for what he’s saying or thinking about. In fact, athletes at the height of their powers make literalness into a mystery all its own simply by becoming absorbed in what they’re doing. Years of athletic training teach this; the necessity of relinquishing doubt and ambiguity and self-inquiry in favor of a pleasant, self-championing one-dimensionality which has instant rewards in sports. You can even ruin everything with athletes simply by speaking to them in your own everyday voice, a voice possibly full of contingency and speculation. It will scare them to death by demonstrating that the world—where they often don’t do too well and sometimes fall into depressions and financial imbroglios and worse once their careers are over—is complexer than what their training has prepared them for. As a result, they much prefer their own voices and questions or the jabber of their teammates (even if it’s in Spanish). And if you are a sportswriter you have to tailor yourself to their voices and answers: “How are you going to beat this team, Stu?” Truth, of course, can still be the result—“We’re just going out and play our kind of game, Frank, since that’s what’s got us this far”—but it will be their simpler truth, not your complex one—unless, of course, you agree with them, which I often do. (Athletes, of course, are not always the dummies they’re sometimes portrayed as being, and will often talk intelligently about whatever interests them until your ears turn to cement.) ~ Richard Ford
169:"Throughout these infinite orbs of mingling light,
Of which yon earth is one, is wide diffus'd
A Spirit of activity and life,
That knows no term, cessation, or decay;
That fades not when the lamp of earthly life,
Extinguish'd in the dampness of the grave,
Awhile there slumbers, more than when the babe
In the dim newness of its being feels
The impulses of sublunary things,
And all is wonder to unpractis'd sense:
But, active, steadfast and eternal, still
Guides the fierce whirlwind, in the tempest roars,
Cheers in the day, breathes in the balmy groves,
Strengthens in health, and poisons in disease;
And in the storm of change, that ceaselessly
Rolls round the eternal universe and shakes
Its undecaying battlement, presides,
Apportioning with irresistible law
The place each spring of its machine shall fill;
So that when waves on waves tumultuous heap
Confusion to the clouds, and fiercely driven
Heaven's lightnings scorch the uprooted ocean-fords,
Whilst, to the eye of shipwreck'd mariner,
Lone sitting on the bare and shuddering rock,
All seems unlink'd contingency and chance,
No atom of this turbulence fulfils
A vague and unnecessitated task,
Or acts but as it must and ought to act.
Even the minutest molecule of light,
That in an April sunbeam's fleeting glow
Fulfils its destin'd, though invisible work,
The universal Spirit guides; nor less,
When merciless ambition, or mad zeal,
Has led two hosts of dupes to battlefield,
That, blind, they there may dig each other's graves,
And call the sad work glory, does it rule
All passions: not a thought, a will, an act,
No working of the tyrant's moody mind,
Nor one misgiving of the slaves who boast
Their servitude to hide the shame they feel,
Nor the events enchaining every will,
That from the depths of unrecorded time
Have drawn all-influencing virtue, pass
Unrecogniz'd or unforeseen by thee,
Soul of the Universe! eternal spring
Of life and death, of happiness and woe,
Of all that chequers the phantasmal scene
That floats before our eyes in wavering light,
Which gleams but on the darkness of our prison,
Whose chains and massy walls
We feel, but cannot see.
"Spirit of Nature! all-sufficing Power,
Necessity! thou mother of the world!
Unlike the God of human error, thou
Requir'st no prayers or praises; the caprice
Of man's weak will belongs no more to thee
Than do the changeful passions of his breast
To thy unvarying harmony: the slave,
Whose horrible lusts spread misery o'er the world,
And the good man, who lifts with virtuous pride
His being in the sight of happiness
That springs from his own works; the poison-tree,
Beneath whose shade all life is wither'd up,
And the fair oak, whose leafy dome affords
A temple where the vows of happy love
Are register'd, are equal in thy sight:
No love, no hate thou cherishest; revenge
And favouritism, and worst desire of fame
Thou know'st not: all that the wide world contains
Are but thy passive instruments, and thou
Regard'st them all with an impartial eye,
Whose joy or pain thy nature cannot feel,
Because thou hast not human sense,
Because thou art not human mind.
"Yes! when the sweeping storm of time
Has sung its death-dirge o'er the ruin'd fanes
And broken altars of the almighty Fiend
Whose name usurps thy honours, and the blood
Through centuries clotted there has floated down
The tainted flood of ages, shalt thou live
Unchangeable! A shrine is rais'd to thee,
Which, nor the tempest-breath of time,
Nor the interminable flood
Over earth's slight pageant rolling,
Availeth to destroy--
The sensitive extension of the world.
That wondrous and eternal fane,
Where pain and pleasure, good and evil join,
To do the will of strong necessity,
And life, in multitudinous shapes,
Still pressing forward where no term can be,
Like hungry and unresting flame
Curls round the eternal columns of its strength."

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab - Part Vi (Excerpts)

170:All touch, all eye, all ear,
The Spirit felt the Fairy's burning speech.
   O'er the thin texture of its frame
The varying periods painted changing glows,
     As on a summer even,
When soul-enfolding music floats around,
   The stainless mirror of the lake
   Re-images the eastern gloom,
Mingling convulsively its purple hues
     With sunset's burnished gold.
     Then thus the Spirit spoke:
'It is a wild and miserable world!
     Thorny, and full of care,
Which every fiend can make his prey at will!
   O Fairy! in the lapse of years,
     Is there no hope in store?
     Will yon vast suns roll on
   Interminably, still illuming
   The night of so many wretched souls,
     And see no hope for them?
Will not the universal Spirit e'er
Revivify this withered limb of Heaven?'

     The Fairy calmly smiled
In comfort, and a kindling gleam of hope
Suffused the Spirit's lineaments.
'Oh! rest thee tranquil; chase those fearful doubts
Which ne'er could rack an everlasting soul
That sees the chains which bind it to its doom.
Yes! crime and misery are in yonder earth,
     Falsehood, mistake and lust;
     But the eternal world
Contains at once the evil and the cure.
Some eminent in virtue shall start up,
     Even in perversest time;
The truths of their pure lips, that never die,
Shall bind the scorpion falsehood with a wreath
     Of ever-living flame,
Until the monster sting itself to death.

  'How sweet a scene will earth become!
Of purest spirits a pure dwelling-place,
Symphonious with the planetary spheres;
When man, with changeless Nature coalescing,
Will undertake regeneration's work,
When its ungenial poles no longer point
     To the red and baleful sun
     That faintly twinkles there!

     'Spirit, on yonder earth,
  Falsehood now triumphs; deadly power
Has fixed its seal upon the lip of truth!
   Madness and misery are there!
The happiest is most wretched! Yet confide
Until pure health-drops from the cup of joy
Fall like a dew of balm upon the world.
Now, to the scene I show, in silence turn,
And read the blood-stained charter of all woe,
Which Nature soon with recreating hand
Will blot in mercy from the book of earth.
How bold the flight of passion's wandering wing,
How swift the step of reason's firmer tread,
How calm and sweet the victories of life,
How terrorless the triumph of the grave!
How powerless were the mightiest monarch's arm,
Vain his loud threat, and impotent his frown!
How ludicrous the priest's dogmatic roar!
The weight of his exterminating curse
How light! and his affected charity,
To suit the pressure of the changing times,
What palpable deceit!but for thy aid,
Religion! but for thee, prolific fiend,
Who peoplest earth with demons, hell with men,
And heaven with slaves!

'Thou taintest all thou lookest upon!the stars,
Which on thy cradle beamed so brightly sweet,
Were gods to the distempered playfulness
Of thy untutored infancy; the trees,
The grass, the clouds, the mountains and the sea,
All living things that walk, swim, creep or fly,
Were gods; the sun had homage, and the moon
Her worshipper. Then thou becamest, a boy,
More daring in thy frenzies; every shape,
Monstrous or vast, or beautifully wild,
Which from sensation's relics fancy culls;
The spirits of the air, the shuddering ghost,
The genii of the elements, the powers
That give a shape to Nature's varied works,
Had life and place in the corrupt belief
Of thy blind heart; yet still thy youthful hands
Were pure of human blood. Then manhood gave
Its strength and ardor to thy frenzied brain;
Thine eager gaze scanned the stupendous scene,
Whose wonders mocked the knowledge of thy pride;
Their everlasting and unchanging laws
Reproached thine ignorance. Awhile thou stood'st
Baffled and gloomy; then thou didst sum up
The elements of all that thou didst know;
The changing seasons, winter's leafless reign,
The budding of the heaven-breathing trees,
The eternal orbs that beautify the night,
The sunrise, and the setting of the moon,
Earthquakes and wars, and poisons and disease,
And all their causes, to an abstract point
Converging thou didst bend, and called it God!
The self-sufficing, the omnipotent,
The merciful, and the avenging God!
Who, prototype of human misrule, sits
High in heaven's realm, upon a golden throne,
Even like an earthly king; and whose dread work,
Hell, gapes forever for the unhappy slaves
Of fate, whom he created in his sport
To triumph in their torments when they fell!
Earth heard the name; earth trembled as the smoke
Of his revenge ascended up to heaven,
Blotting the constellations; and the cries
Of millions butchered in sweet confidence
And unsuspecting peace, even when the bonds
Of safety were confirmed by wordy oaths
Sworn in his dreadful name, rung through the land;
Whilst innocent babes writhed on thy stubborn spear,
And thou didst laugh to hear the mother's shriek
Of maniac gladness, as the sacred steel
Felt cold in her torn entrails!

'Religion! thou wert then in manhood's prime;
But age crept on; one God would not suffice
For senile puerility; thou framedst
A tale to suit thy dotage and to glut
Thy misery-thirsting soul, that the mad fiend
Thy wickedness had pictured might afford
A plea for sating the unnatural thirst
For murder, rapine, violence and crime,
That still consumed thy being, even when
Thou heard'st the step of fate; that flames might light
Thy funeral scene; and the shrill horrent shrieks
Of parents dying on the pile that burned
To light their children to thy paths, the roar
Of the encircling flames, the exulting cries
Of thine apostles loud commingling there,
    Might sate thine hungry ear
    Even on the bed of death!

'But now contempt is mocking thy gray hairs;
Thou art descending to the darksome grave,
Unhonored and unpitied but by those
Whose pride is passing by like thine, and sheds,
Like thine, a glare that fades before the sun
Of truth, and shines but in the dreadful night
That long has lowered above the ruined world.

'Throughout these infinite orbs of mingling light
Of which yon earth is one, is wide diffused
A Spirit of activity and life,
That knows no term, cessation or decay;
That fades not when the lamp of earthly life,
Extinguished in the dampness of the grave,
Awhile there slumbers, more than when the babe
In the dim newness of its being feels
The impulses of sublunary things,
And all is wonder to unpractised sense;
But, active, steadfast and eternal, still
Guides the fierce whirlwind, in the tempest roars,
Cheers in the day, breathes in the balmy groves,
Strengthens in health, and poisons in disease;
And in the storm of change, that ceaselessly
Rolls round the eternal universe and shakes
Its undecaying battlement, presides,
Apportioning with irresistible law
The place each spring of its machine shall fill;
So that, when waves on waves tumultuous heap
Confusion to the clouds, and fiercely driven
Heaven's lightnings scorch the uprooted ocean-fords
Whilst, to the eye of shipwrecked mariner,
Lone sitting on the bare and shuddering rock,
All seems unlinked contingency and chance
No atom of this turbulence fulfils
A vague and unnecessitated task
Or acts but as it must and ought to act.
Even the minutest molecule of light,
That in an April sunbeam's fleeting glow
Fulfils its destined though invisible work,
The universal Spirit guides; nor less
When merciless ambition, or mad zeal,
Has led two hosts of dupes to battle-field,
That, blind, they there may dig each other's graves
And call the sad work glory, does it rule
All passions; not a thought, a will, an act,
No working of the tyrant's moody mind,
Nor one misgiving of the slaves who boast
Their servitude to hide the shame they feel,
Nor the events enchaining every will,
That from the depths of unrecorded time
Have drawn all-influencing virtue, pass
Unrecognized or unforeseen by thee,
Soul of the Universe! eternal spring
Of life and death, of happiness and woe,
Of all that chequers the phantasmal scene
That floats before our eyes in wavering light,
Which gleams but on the darkness of our prison
   Whose chains and massy walls
   We feel but cannot see.

'Spirit of Nature! all-sufficing Power,
Necessity! thou mother of the world!
Unlike the God of human error, thou
Requirest no prayers or praises; the caprice
Of man's weak will belongs no more to thee
Than do the changeful passions of his breast
To thy unvarying harmony; the slave,
Whose horrible lusts spread misery o'er the world,
And the good man, who lifts with virtuous pride
His being in the sight of happiness
That springs from his own works; the poison-tree,
Beneath whose shade all life is withered up,
And the fair oak, whose leafy dome affords
A temple where the vows of happy love
Are registered, are equal in thy sight;
No love, no hate thou cherishest; revenge
And favoritism, and worst desire of fame
Thou knowest not; all that the wide world contains
Are but thy passive instruments, and thou
Regard'st them all with an impartial eye,
Whose joy or pain thy nature cannot feel,
  Because thou hast not human sense,
  Because thou art not human mind.

'Yes! when the sweeping storm of time
Has sung its death-dirge o'er the ruined fanes
And broken altars of the almighty fiend,
Whose name usurps thy honors, and the blood
Through centuries clotted there has floated down
The tainted flood of ages, shalt thou live
Unchangeable! A shrine is raised to thee,
  Which nor the tempest breath of time,
  Nor the interminable flood
  Over earth's slight pageant rolling,
    Availeth to destroy,
The sensitive extension of the world;
  That wondrous and eternal fane,
Where pain and pleasure, good and evil join,
To do the will of strong necessity,
  And life, in multitudinous shapes,
Still pressing forward where no term can be,
  Like hungry and unresting flame
Curls round the eternal columns of its strength.'
198.
Necessity! thou mother of the world! Shelley annotates this line (in part)
as follows: "He who asserts the doctrine of Necessity means that, contemplating the events which compose the moral and material universe, he beholds only an immense and uninterrupted chain of causes and effects, no one of which could occupy any other place than it does occupy, or act in any other place than it does act. The idea of necessity is obtained by our experience of the connection between objects, the uniformity of the operations of nature, the constant conjunction of similar events, and the consequent inference of one from the other. Mankind are therefore agreed in the admission of necessity, if they admit that these two circumstances take place in voluntary action. Motive is to voluntary action in the human mind what cause is to effect in the material universe. The word liberty, as applied to mind, is analogous to the word chance as applied to matter: they spring from an ignorance of the certainty of the conjunction of antecedents and consequents. ... Religion is the perception of the relation in which we stand to the principle of the universe. But if the principle of the universe be not an organic being, the model and prototype of man, the relation between it and human beings is absolutely none. Without some insight into its will respecting our actions religion is nugatory and vain. But will is only a mode of animal mind; moral qualities are also such as only a human being can possess; to attribute them to the principle of the universe is to annex to it properties incompatible with any possible definition of its nature. It is probable
that the word God was originally only an expression denoting the unknown
cause of the known events which men perceived in the universe. By the vulgar
mistake of a metaphor for a real being, of a word for a thing, it became a man, endowed with human qualities and governing the universe as an earthly
monarch governs his kingdom. Their addresses to this imaginary being, indeed,
are much in the same style as those of subjects to a king. They acknowledge
his benevolence, deprecate his anger and supplicate his favour."
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab - Part VI.


--- IN CHAPTERS (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



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   6 Philosophy
   6 Integral Yoga
   5 Christianity
   4 Poetry
   2 Fiction
   1 Science
   1 Psychology
   1 Occultism
   1 Alchemy


   7 Nolini Kanta Gupta
   4 Plotinus
   2 Percy Bysshe Shelley


   4 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01
   2 Shelley - Poems
   2 Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 03


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