A. J. Jacobs Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 73 quotes)
I'm still agnostic. But in the words of Elton Richards, I'm now a reverant agnostic. Which isn't an oxymoron, I swear. I now believe that whether or not there's a God, there is such a thing as sacredness. Life is sacred. The Sabbath can be a sacred day. Prayer can be a sacred ritual. There is something transcendent, beyond the everyday. It's possible that humans created this sacredness ourselves, but that doesn't take away from its power or importance.
Incidentally, I spent some time on the Purell website, where you can find a list of ninety-nine places germs lurk (in-flight magazines, movie tickets, gas-pump keypads, hotel room a/c controls, and on and on). It's hilarious and terrifying. The only place they don't mention is the Purell dispensers themselves. You know they're coated with germs. It's one of health's cruelest catch-22s.
. . . my obsession with gratefulness. I can't stop. Just now, I press the elevator button and am thankful that it arrives quickly. I get onto the elevator and am thankful that the elevator cable didn't snap and plummet me to the basement. I go to the fifth floor and am thankful that I didn't have to stop on the second or third or fourth floor. I get out and am thankful that Julie left the door unlocked so I don't have to rummage for my King Kong key ring. I walk in, and am thnkful that Jasper is home and healthy and stuffing his face with pineapple wedges. And on and on. I'm actually muttering to myself, 'Thank you. . .thank you. . . thank you.' It's an odd way to live. But also kind of great and powerful. I've never before been so aware of the thousands of little good things, the thousands of things that go right every day.
I've taped a list to my bathroom mirror. It's my Most Violated List. . . Anger. I gave the finger to an ATM. You see, the ATM charged me a $1.75 fee for withdrawl. A dollar seventy-five? That's bananas. So I flipped off the screen. As Julie tells me, when you start making rude gestures to inanimate objects, it's time to work on your anger issues. Mine is not the shouting, pulsing-vein-in-the forehead rage. Like my dad, I rarely raise my voice. My anger problem is more one of long-lasting resentment. It's a heap of real or perceived slights that eventually build up into a mountain of bitterness. . . get some perspective. . . I ask myself the question God asked Jonah. 'Do you do well to be angry?'. . .The world will not end. . . Mute your petty resentment.
philosophyI studied philosophy for four years. But I'd trade everything I learned for this passage... quoted in the Britannica:'But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses.'Amen.
If the Britannica has taught me anything, it's to be more careful. I don't want to turn into an unseemly noun or verb or adjective someday. I don't want to be like Charles Boycott, the landlord in Ireland who refused to lower rents during a famine, leading to the original boycott. I don't want to be like Charles Lynch, who headed an irregular court that hung loyalists during the Revolutionary War. I can't have "Jacobs" be a verb that means staying home all the time or washing your hands too frequently.