“I’m going to enjoy every second, and I’m going to know I’m enjoying it while I’m enjoying it. Most people don’t live; they just race. They are trying to reach some goal far away on the horizon, and in the heat of the going they get so breathless and panting that they lose sight of the beautiful, tranquil country they are passing through; and then the first thing they know, they are old and worn out, and it doesn’t make any difference whether they’ve reached the goal or not.”—Jean Webster (via aeloquence)
Social conformity is one of the scariest and most disappointing features of today’s society. We let others influence our thoughts, and ignore our own instincts in fear of standing out and having our own opinions. A psychological experiment conducted in 1953 by Solomon Ash made clear that when in a crowd, most of us just want to blend in.
Subjects were told that they had to take a vision test, which they would have to answer individually. There would therefore be a group of people in the room, and each person was in turn asked the answer of the question: the catch was that everyone else was in on it except the chosen subject, and so all others in the room would intentionally give a wrong answer, leaving the subject to decide to either go with his gut or follow the crowd.
These were the type of questions asked: all they had to do was say which line on the right matched the one on the left. It was fairly clear cut. Surprisingly, and scarily, one in every three participants would willingly alter their answer according to the others’.
It reminds me of the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes: everyone could plainly see that the foolish emperor was buck naked, but none of them were willing to admit it in fear of looking stupid or becoming a pariah. I just can’t imagine the need for social acceptance trumping that of being honest to oneself, but clearly, there are those who find it more important.
“I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can’t really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, ‘If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we’ll talk.’ All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don’t want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.”—Ray Bradbury, from raybradbury.com article (via bookoasis)
“And I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means I survived.”—Chris Cleave (via aeloquence)
“Who has never killed an hour? Not casually or without thought, but carefully: a premeditated murder of minutes. The violence comes from a combination of giving up, not caring, and a resignation that getting past it is all you can hope to accomplish. So you kill the hour. You do not work, you do not read, you do not daydream. If you sleep it is not because you need to sleep. And when at last it is over, there is no evidence: no weapon, no blood, and no body. The only clue might be the shadows beneath your eyes or a terribly thin line near the corner of your mouth indicating something has been suffered, that in the privacy of your life you have lost something and the loss is too empty to share.”—Mark Z. (via slekes)
“'Give me another cup of tea, dearie, and pass me those little cakes with pink sugar on top.'
‘Everything in life that’s any fun, as somebody wisely observed, is either immoral, illegal or fattening.’”—Dame Flora Faye in The Girl in Blue by P.G.Wodehouse
“I begin to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good, either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”—My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl (via teeaah)
“For crying out loud, stop comparing and start living! And you’ll be happier with your life, I guarantee. This is crucial: the most difficult thing in the world is to be who you are not. Pretending and trying to be someone else is the official pastime of the human race. And the easiest thing in the world is to be yourself. Be happy. Live. There must be a reason why God made you tall or short or fat or thin or bumpy all over. Love who you are.”—Bo Sanchez (via atomos)
“He stared up at the stars: and it seemed to him then that they were dancers, stately and graceful, performing a dance almost infinite in its complexity. He imagined he could see the very faces of the stars; pale, they were, and smiling gently, as if they had spent so much time above the world, watching the scrambling and the joy and the pain of the people below them, that they could not help being amused every time another little human believed itself the center of its world, as each of us does.”— Neil Gaiman (via slekes)