„Brand a man as a thief and no one will ever hire him for honest labor - he will be a hardened robber within weeks. The brand does not reveal a person's nature, it shapes it.“

Frances Hardinge16
British children's writer 1973
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„No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return, weak or insistent according to his nature. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match.“

—  Wilfred Thesiger British explorer 1910 - 2003
Context: A cloud gathers, the rain falls, men live; the cloud disperses without rain, and men and animals die. In the deserts of southern Arabia there is no rhythm of the seasons, no rise and fall of sap, but empty wastes where only the changing temperature marks the passage of the years. It is a bitter, desiccated land which knows nothing of gentleness or ease….. No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return, weak or insistent according to his nature. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match. Prologue. p. 1.

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„The social, friendly, honest man,
Whate'er he be,
'Tis he fulfills great Nature's plan,
And none but he!“

—  Robert Burns Scottish poet and lyricist 1759 - 1796
Second Epistle to J. Lapraik, st. 15 (1786).

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„He is then led on a terribly wild path, very gloomy and forsaken. And on this path God takes back from him everything that he had ever given him. Then and there the person is left so completely to himself that he loses all notion of God and gets into such a distressful state that he cannot remember whether things had ever gone right for him, so as not to know any more if he were ever on the right path, whether he has a God or not, nor does he know if God does or does not exist, or if he is alive or dead and whether he is the same person; and he suffers such incredible pain that this whole wide world is too confining for him“

—  Johannes Tauler German theologian 1300 - 1361
Context: The second stage is like this: When God has drawn a person so far away from all things, and he is no longer a child and he has been strengthened with the comfort of sweetness. Then indeed one gives him coarse rye bread. He has become a man and has reached maturity. Solid, strong food is what is good and useful for a grown man. He Here a person becomes so divinized that everything he is and does, God does and is in him shouldn't be given milk and soft bread any longer, and such is withheld from him. He is then led on a terribly wild path, very gloomy and forsaken. And on this path God takes back from him everything that he had ever given him. Then and there the person is left so completely to himself that he loses all notion of God and gets into such a distressful state that he cannot remember whether things had ever gone right for him, so as not to know any more if he were ever on the right path, whether he has a God or not, nor does he know if God does or does not exist, or if he is alive or dead and whether he is the same person; and he suffers such incredible pain that this whole wide world is too confining for him. A very strange sorrow comes over him that makes him think that the whole world in its expanse oppresses him. He neither has any feeling for nor knowledge of God, and he has no liking for any other things and even all the rest seems repugnant to him, so that it seems that he is a prisoners between two walls. It seems to him that he is suspended between two walls with a sword in back of him and a sharp spear in front. What does he do then? He can go neither forward nor back. He can only sit down and say, "Hail, bitterer bitterness, full of grace!" If there could be hell in this life, this would seem to be more than hell - to be bereft of loving and the good thing loved. Anything that one might say to such a person would console him about as much as a stone. And he could stand even less hearing about He is lifted up so far above his natural state that he becomes through Grace what God in his essence is by nature. In this state a person feels and is aware that he has lost himself and does not at all feel himself or is he aware of himself. He is aware of nothing but one simple Being creatures. The more the sense of and feel for God stood formerly in the foreground, the greater and more unendurable are the bitterness and misery of this abandonment.

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„Labor is the only prayer that Nature answers; it is the only prayer that deserves an answer, — good, honest, noble work.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll Union United States Army officer 1833 - 1899
Context: I have given you my definition of blasphemy, and now the question arises, what is worship? Who is a worshiper? What is prayer? What is real religion? Let me answer these questions. Good, honest, faithful work, is worship. The man who ploughs the fields and fells the forests; the man who works in mines, the man who battles with the winds and waves out on the wide sea, controlling the commerce of the world; these men are worshipers. The man who goes into the forest, leading his wife by the hand, who builds him a cabin, who makes a home in the wilderness, who helps to people and civilize and cultivate a continent, is a worshiper. Labor is the only prayer that Nature answers; it is the only prayer that deserves an answer, — good, honest, noble work. A woman whose husband has gone down to the gutter, gone down to degradation and filth; the woman who follows him and lifts him out of the mire and presses him to her noble heart, until he becomes a man once more, this woman is a worshiper. Her act is worship. The poor man and the poor woman who work night and day, in order that they may give education to their children, so that they may have a better life than their father and mother had; the parents who deny themselves the comforts of life, that they may lay up something to help their children to a higher place -- they are worshipers; and the children who, after they reap the benefit of this worship, become ashamed of their parents, are blasphemers. The man who sits by the bed of his invalid wife, -- a wife prematurely old and gray, -- the husband who sits by her bed and holds her thin, wan hand in his as lovingly, and kisses it as rapturously, as passionately, as when it was dimpled, -- that is worship; that man is a worshiper; that is real religion.

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„We hope the "real" person behind the words will be revealed as ignominiously as a shapeless snail without its shapely shell.“

—  John Updike American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic 1932 - 2009
On “consumeristic appetite for interviews,” New York Times (17 August 1986)

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