Losing Control

Sunday, June 7, 2020 – Losing Control

Immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control affairs. ~ Andrew Carnegie

In framing a government, which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty is this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. ~ James Madison

All forms of tampering with human beings, getting at them, shaping them against their will to your own pattern, all thought control and conditioning is, therefore, a denial of that in men which makes them men and their values ultimate. ~ Isaiah Berlin

Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one. ~ Mark Twain

The salient fact about Donald Trump isn’t his cruelty or penchant for aggression and violence. It’s his inability to control urges and drives most people gain control over very early in life. There are plenty of sadists and sociopaths in the world. They’re not remarkable. The scariest have a high degree of impulse control (iciness) which allows them to inflict pain on others when no one is looking or when they will pay no price for doing so. What is true with Trump is what every critic has been saying for a year: the most obvious and contrived provocation can goad this thin-skinned charlatan into a wild outburst. He’s a seventy year old man with children and grandchildren and he has no self-control. ~ Josh Marshall

Youth is impulsive. When our young men grow angry at some real or imaginary wrong, and disfigure their faces with black paint, it denotes that their hearts are black, and that they are often cruel and relentless, and our old men and old women are unable to restrain them. Thus it has ever been. ~ Chief Seattle

The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell. ~ Bertrand Russell

The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don’t ask for their love, only for their fear. ~ Heinrich Himmler

In a democracy, the majority of the citizens are capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority. ~ Edmund Burke

Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and cruelties; it accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap. ~ Hermann Hesse

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

The greater the state, the more wrong and cruel its patriotism, and the greater is the sum of suffering upon which its power is founded. ~ Leo Tolstoy

The truth doesn’t have to do with cruelty. The truth has to do with mercy. ~ Ken Kesey

People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be as cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness. ~ Tennessee Williams

The truth is that every intelligent man, as you know, dreams of being a gangster and of ruling over society by force alone. As it is not as easy as the detective novels might lead one to believe, one generally relies on politics and joins the cruelest party. What does it matter, after all, if by humiliating one’s mind one succeeds in dominating every one? I discovered in myself sweet dreams of oppression. ~ Albert Camus, The Fall

Stupidity, outrage, vanity, cruelty, iniquity, bad faith, falsehood – we fail to see the whole array when it is facing in the same direction as we. ~ Jean Rostand

Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity. ~ George Eliot

There is no document of civilization that is not also a document of barbarism. ~ Walter Benjamin, On the Concept of History

Cruelty is a mystery and a waste of pain. ~ Annie Dillard

Cruelty would be delicious if one could only find some sort of cruelty that didn’t really hurt. ~ George Bernard Shaw

The impulse to cruelty is, in many people, almost as violent as the impulse to sexual love, almost as violent and much more mischievous. ~ Aldous Huxley

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel. ~ Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man. ~ Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

I think it’s perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it, but I don’t know everything, and there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away. Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it’s because he’s ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they’re responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I’d want nothing to do with them. ~ Philip Pullman

Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. But it cannot achieve its end. Its doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they originated, the ignorant childhood days of the human race. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is not a nursery. The ethical commands, to which religion seeks to lend its weight, require some other foundations instead, for human society cannot do without them, and it is dangerous to link up obedience to them with religious belief. If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man’s evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity. ~ Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism

Christ and The Church: If he were to apply for a divorce on the grounds of cruelty, adultery and desertion, he would probably get one. ~ Samuel Butler

Courtesy is a silver lining around the dark clouds of civilization; it is the best part of refinement and in many ways, an art of heroic beauty in the vast gallery of man’s cruelty and baseness. ~ Bryant H. McGill

It is possible that the contemplation of cruelty will not make us humane but cruel; that the reiteration of the badness of our spiritual condition will make us consent to it. ~ Lionel Trilling

Idle people are often bored, and bored people, unless they sleep a lot, are cruel. It is not accident that boredom and cruelty are great preoccupations in our time. ~ Renata Adler

There is nothing so desperately monotonous as the sea, and I no longer wonder at the cruelty of pirates. ~ James Russell Lowell

Where does discipline end? Where does cruelty begin? Somewhere between these, thousands of children inhabit a voiceless hell. ~ Francois Mauriac

But the hearts of small children are delicate organs. A cruel beginning in this world can twist them into curious shapes. The heart of a hurt child can shrink so that forever afterward it is hard and pitted as the seed of a peach. Or again, the heart of such a child may fester and swell until it is a misery to carry within the body, easily chafed and hurt by the most ordinary things. ~ Carson McCullers

It is impossible for me to be an Anarchist, for I do not believe in the essential goodness of man. The world, the physical world that was once all-in-all to me has at moments such as these, but no road through a wood, no stretch of shore, can bring me comfort. The beauty of these things can no longer at such moments make up to me at all for the ugliness of man, his cruelty, his greed, his lying face. ~ Edna St Vincent Millay

The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else. ~ H. L. Mencken

Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know, and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance. ~ Isaac Asimov

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts. ~ Charles Darwin

We have two American flags always: one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it means danger, revolution, and anarchy. ~ Henry Miller

The strongest and most effective force in guaranteeing the long-term maintenance of power is not violence in all the forms deployed by the dominant to control the dominated, but consent in all the forms in which the dominated acquiesce in their own domination. ~ Robert Frost

Even though worker capacity and motivation are destroyed when leaders choose power over productivity, it appears that bosses would rather be in control than have the organization work well. ~ Margaret J. Wheatley

Control and surrender have to be kept in balance. That’s what surfers do – take control of the situation, then be carried, then take control. In the last few thousand years, we’ve become incredibly adept technically. We’ve treasured the controlling part of ourselves and neglected the surrendering part. ~ Brian Eno

Risk is trying to control something you are powerless over. ~ Eric Clapton

There is that in the glance of a flower which may at times control the greatest of creation’s braggart lords. ~ John Muir

But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest. Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it isn’t really about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death. Maybe it isn’t about who can sit and who has to kneel or stand or lie down, legs spread open. Maybe it’s about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing. ~ Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

So the pie isn’t perfect? Cut it into wedges. Stay in control, and never panic. ~ Martha Stewart

I’m from Texas, and one of the reasons I like Texas is because there’s no one in control. ~ Willie Nelson

If you can’t control your peanut butter, you can’t expect to control your life. ~ Bill Watterson

As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension and man began to lose control of it. ~ Vaclav Havel

Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat. ~ Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. ~ Lao Tzu