The Proposal (Anne Fletcher, 2009)
Margaret Tate: What am I allergic to?
Andrew Paxton: Pine nuts, and the full spectrum of human emotion.
For three years, Andrew Paxton has slaved as the assistant to Margaret Tate, the hard-driving editor at a New York publisher. When Margaret faces deportation for a visa issue (she is an immigrant from Canada), she [Ms. Tate] hatches a scheme to marry Andrew.
Originalmente publicado en Jenny's Library:
I’m not a nice person.
I’m not a good person.
I’m not a kind person.
This isn’t to say that I don’t ever try to be any of these three things. I do, especially the last two.
It’s more to say that, for me, surviving in this cissexist, racist, ableist, heteronormative, classist, often fucked up world of ours has involved rejecting the idea that “good” and “bad” are static states of being. I will never be a “good person” because, to me, “good” is not something that you achieve. It’s an ongoing process that never ends.
It is, in fact, almost impossible not to be doing bad things as well as good when you are human and therefore flawed. Especially when you are part of a messed up system, as we all are.
This, to me, is why it’s important to call out bad behavior, or hurtful language, or even…
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The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
I have no idea the contents of this remarkable potion. What’s in it?
Whereas other tribes believe in gods or complicated mythologies, the members of this tribe [scientists] insist that their activity is in no way to be associated with beliefs, a culture, or a mythology. Instead they claim to be concerned only with ‘hard facts’. The observer is puzzled precisely because his informants insist that everything is straightforward. Moreover, they argue that if he were a scientist himself, he would understand this. Our anthropologist is sorely tempted by this argument. He has begun to learn about the laboratory, he has read lots of papers and can recognize different substances. Furthermore, he begins to understand fragments of conversation between members. His informants begin to sway him. He begins to admit that there is nothing strange about this setting and nothing which requires explanation in terms other than those of informants’ own accounts. However, in the back of his mind there remains a nagging question. How can we account for the fact that in any one year, approximately one and a half million dollars is spent to enable twenty-five people to produce forty papers?
Bruno Latour & Steve Woolgar (1979), Laboratory Life, The Construction of Scientific Facts, p. 69
There are no [hard] facts, only interpretations. “The best way to criticize a movie” Jean-Luc Godard once said, “is to make another movie”… Let’s make more movies! (Feyerabend)
A Most Violent Year (J.C. Chandor, 2015)
Abel Morales: When it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you jump, otherwise you end up staying in the same place your whole life, and that I can’t do.
Semmelweis discovered the cause of puerperal (childbed) fever before the discovery of bacteria as causative agents of diseases. AS he accurately but impolitely put it, the cause was the doctors’ dirty hands [iatrogenic effect]. Semmelweis also developed a method for preventing the terrifying epidemics of puerperal fever, endemic to mid-nineteenth-century hospital maternity wards: hand-washing with chlorinated water.
I was deeply moved by the story of Semmelweis’s life, the rejection of his discovery and remedy by the medical profession inconvenienced by it, and his incarceration and death in an insane asylum. It taught me, at an early age, that being wrong can be dangerous, but being right, when society regards the majority’s falsehood as truth, could be fatal.
Diseases of the body have causes, such as infectious gents or nutritional deficiencies, and often can be prevented or cured by dealing with these causes. Persons said to have mental diseases, on the other hand, have reasons for their actions that must be understood; they cannot be treated or cured by drugs or other medical interventions, but may be helped to help themselves overcome the obstacles they face.
Consistent with those conclusions, I rejected the mendacious rhetoric of diagnoses-diseases-treatments, eschewed the massive coercive-excusing apparatus of the institution called “psychiatry”.
Thomas S. Szasz (1960), The Myth of Mental Illness
- The True Story of Renee, Autobiography of a schizophrenic girl (1994)
How could I possibly find Him, sir? I asked every kind of person: sages, saints, madmen, prelates, troubadours, centenarians. Each gave me advice: showed me a path, saying ‘Take it and you’ll find Him!’ But each showed me a different path. Which was I to choose? I was going out of my wits. A sage from Bologna said to me, ‘The road which leads to God is that of wife and children. Get married.’ Someone else, a madman and saint from Gubbio, said, ‘If you want to find God, don’t look for Him. If you want to see Him, close your eyes; to hear Him, stop up your ears. That’s what I do.’ Having said this, he shut his eyes, stopped up his ears, crossed his hands, and began to weep…. And a woman who lived as a hermit in the forest ran stark naked under the pine trees striking her body and shouting, ‘Love! Love! Love!’ That was the only answer she was able to give.
Another day I came across a saint (…) I bowed down, prostrated my self before him, and said: “Show me the road.”
‘There isn’t any road’, he answered me, beating his staff on the ground. ‘Jump!’
Nikos Kazantzakis, Saint Francis (Simon and Schuster, 1962). [dedicated to the Sain Francis of our era, Dr. Albert Schweitzer]
Nunca persequí la gloria,
ni dejar en la memoria
de los hombres mi canción;
yo amo los mundos sutiles,
ingrávidos y gentiles,
como pompas de jabón.
Me gusta verlos pintarse
de sol y grana, volar
bajo el cielo azul, temblar
súbitamente y quebrarse…
Nunca perseguí la gloria.
Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar…
The Shop on Main Street (Ján Kadár & Elmar Klos, 1965)
Antonin ‘Tono‘ Brtko (Tony for Mrs. Lautman): What can I do? What? I’m nobody. A zero.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost (1874 – 1963), The Road Not Taken
Both my wife and I liked the long, quiet, sustained adventure of it all. Mrs. Frost went with me in the same spirit. I never allowed the spirit of I-must-get-a-reputation-or-die to take hole of me. The reward lies really in the end when people like what you write.
Interviewed by Paul Waitt, The Boston Traveler, April 11, 1921
That has made all the difference on the world that has been.
The way of the miracle-worker is to see all human behavior as one two things: either love, or a call for love
The Story of my Life (Helen Keller, 1903)
The Miracle Worker (William Gibson, 1962)
James Keller: She doesn’t seem to like that alphabet very much, Miss Sullivan. Did you invent it yourself?
Annie Sullivan: Spanish monks under a vow of silence, which I wish you’d take!
Here in Spain, it is impossible to dislike a man, no matter what he says, no matter what he does. The Spaniards have such a violent, unquenchable fire in their eyes that, in their presence, all differences and ideologies vanish. What an insignificant thing: the “Idea,” in the presence of the black, mad Spanish eyes.
They are not cold-hearted or cowardly. They are all warm-blooded Africans –a rich, complex, fierce race: Spaniards. Behind their temporary masks, whether red or black, the naked face of the Spaniard is always there, full of passion and fire.
Nikos Kazantzakis, Spain (New York, 1963)
(…) Pay close attention to what I ́m going to say to you: All these things are happening because the Spaniards don ́t believe in anything! Nothing. . . . Nothing! They are desperados. No other language in the world has this word. Because no other nation except Spain has what it stands for. Desperado means the man who knows perfectly well that he has nothing to hold on to; who believes in nothing; and since he does not believe, is governed by a wild rage.”
Unamuno: The Spanish people have gone mad! Not only the Spanish people; the whole world today. And why? Because the standard of young people all over the world has suffered a spiritual collapse. They not only scorn the Spirit. They hate it. They hate the Spirit.
Nikos Kazantzakis, Spain (New York, 1963)
Kazantzakis: Well, what are the people who still love the Spirit supposed to do?
Unamuno did a rare thing: he listened. He remained silent awhile, and then suddenly burst out again:
Unamuno: Nothing! The face of the truth is terrifying. What is our duty? To hide the truth from the people! (…) The people need myth, illusion, deception. These are what support their lives. [And they must live!] Here, I ́ve written a book on this awful theme –my last book. Take it.
“I am alone!” he roared once more, and got up. “Alone, like Croce in Italy!”
When I left, night had fallen, and I was softly murmuring the verses of Antonio Machado on this violent, anarchic desperado of a fighter.
don Miguel de Unamuno, a rugged Basque,
wears the grotesque armor
and absurd helmet
of a good Manchegan. Don Miguel goes about
as a rider on a monstrous steed
jabbing gold spurs wildly;
wholly deaf to gossiping tongues.
To the drovers of his country
the bill collectors, gamblers, profiteers,
he preaches lessons of chivalry,
and some day he may wake the vapid
soul of his people that is still asleep,
despite the clamor of his iron mace.
He wants to show the knight a frown
of doubt before he gallops off,
and like a new Hamlet he would stare
at the naked blade near his heart.
And there is another virtue of the Spaniard –his stoicism- rooted in his divination that all reality, warp and woof, is but a dream. The spectacle of the vanity of life, the suspicion that everything ́s a dream, give him heroic powers of resistance, a calm smile, a proud, mute patience. The Spaniard is not melodramatic. He does not lament. He does not shout. He does not lower himself by giving way to useless complaining.
Nikos Kazantzakis, Spain (New York, 1963)
Helen Keller & Anne Sullivan