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Reader: Will you not admit that you are arguing against yourself? You know that what the English obtained in their own country they obtained by using brute force. I know you have argued that what they have obtained is useless, but that does not affect my argument. They wanted useless things and they got them. My point is that their desire was fulfilled. What does it matter what means they adopted? Why should we not obtain our goal, which is good, by any means whatsoever, even by using violence? Shall I think of the means when I have to deal with a thief in the house? My duty is to drive him out anyhow. You seem to admit that we have received nothing, and that we shall receive nothing by petitioning. Why, then, may we do not so by using brute force? And, to retain what we may receive we shall keep up the fear by using the same force to the extent that it may be necessary. You will not find fault with a continuance of force to prevent a child from thrusting its foot into fire. Somehow or other we have to gain our end. Editor: Your reasoning is plausible. It has deluded many. I have used similar arguments before now. But I think I know better now, and I shall endeavour to undeceive you. Let us first take the argument that we are justified in gaining our end by using brute force because the English gained theirs by using similar means. It is perfectly true that they used brute force and that it is possible for us to do likewise, but by using similar means we can get only the same thing that they got. You will admit that we do not want that. Your belief that there is no connection between the means and the end is a great mistake. Through that mistake even men who have been considered religious have committed grievous crimes. Your reasoning is the same as saying that we can get a rose through planting a noxious weed. If I want to cross the ocean, I can do so only by means of a vessel; if I were to use a cart for that purpose, both the cart and I would soon find the bottom. "As is the God, so is the votary", is a maxim worth considering. Its meaning has been distorted and men have gone astray. The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree; and there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree. I am not likely to obtain the result flowing from the worship of God by laying myself prostrate before Satan. If, therefore, anyone were to say : "I want to worship God; it does not matter that I do so by means of Satan," it would be set down as ignorant folly. We reap exactly as we sow. The English in 1833 obtained greater voting power by violence. Did they by using brute force better appreciate their duty? They wanted the right of voting, which they obtained by using physical force. But real rights are a result of performance of duty; these rights they have not obtained. We, therefore, have before us in English the force of everybody wanting and insisting on his rights, nobody thinking of his duty. And, where everybody wants rights, who shall give them to whom? I do not wish to imply that they do no duties. They don't perform the duties corresponding to those rights; and as they do not perform that particular duty, namely, acquire fitness, their rights have proved a burden to them. In other words, what they have obtained is an exact result of the means they adapted. They used the means corresponding to the end. If I want to deprive you of your watch, I shall certainly have to fight for it; if I want to buy your watch, I shall have to pay you for it; and if I want a gift, I shall have to plead for it; and, according to the means I employ, the watch is stolen property, my own property, or a donation. Thus we see three different results from three different means. Will you still say that means do not matter?
But in what way shall we attain to this settled happiness of soul? How shall we learn to enjoy God? How obtain such an all-sufficient soul-satisfying portion in him as shall enable us to let go the things of this world as vain and worthless in comparison? I answer, This happiness is to be obtained through the study of the Holy Scriptures. God has therein revealed Himself unto us in the face of Jesus Christ.
Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch-or build a cyclotron-without a knowledge of his aim and of the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think
"Intellect is the knowledge obtained by experience of names and forms; wisdom is the knowledge which manifests only from the inner being; to acquire intellect one must delve into studies, but to obtain wisdom, nothing but the flow of divine mercy is needed; it is as natural as the instinct of swimming to the fish, or of flying to the bird. Intellect is the sight which enables one to see through the external world, but the light of wisdom enables one to see through the external into the internal world.
I believe in Free Will, the Force Almighty by which we conduct ourselves as if we were the sons and daughters of a just and wise God, even if there is no such Supreme Being. And by free will, we can choose to do good on this earth, no matter that we all die, and do not know where we go when we die, or if a justice or explanation awaits us. I believe that we can, through our reason, know what good is, and in the communion of men and women, in which the forgiveness of wrongs will always be more significant than the avenging of them, and that in the beautiful natural world that surrounds us, we represent the best and the finest of beings, for we alone can see that natural beauty, appreciate it, learn from it, weep for it, and seek to conserve it and protect it. I believe finally that we are the only true moral force in the physical world, the makers of, ethics and moral ideas, and that we must be as good as the gods we created in the past to guide us. I believe that through our finest efforts, we will succeed finally in creating heaven on earth, and we do it every time that we love, every time that we embrace, every time that we commit to create rather than destroy, every time that we place life over death, and the natural over what is unnatural, insofar as we are able to define it. And I suppose I do believe in the final analysis that a peace of mind can be obtained in the face of the worst horrors and the worst losses. It can be obtained by faith in change and in will and in accident and by faith in ourselves, that we will do the right thing, more often than not, in the face of adversity. For ours is the power and the glory, because we are capable of visions and ideas which are ultimately stronger and more enduring than we are. That is my credo. That is my belief, for what it's worth, and it sustains me. And if I were to die right now, I wouldn't be afraid. Because I can't believe that horror or chaos awaits us. If any revelation awaits us at all, it must be as good as our ideals and our philosophy. For surely nature must embrace the visible and the invisible, and it couldn't fall short of us. The thing that makes the flowers open and the snowflakes fall must contain a wisdom and a final secret as intricate and beautiful as the blooming camellia or the clouds gathering above, so white and so pure in the blackness. If that isn't so, then we are in the grip of a staggering irony. And all the spooks of hell might as well dance. There could be a devil. People who burn other people to death are fine. There could be anything. But the world is simply to beautiful for that. At least it seems that way to me.
Sit still with me in the shade of these green trees, which have no weightier thought than the withering of their leaves when autumn arrives, or the stretching of their many stiff fingers into the cold sky of the passing winter. Sit still with me and meditate on how useless effort is, how alien the will, and on how our very meditation is no more useful than effort, and no more our own than the will. Meditate too on how a life that wants nothing can have no weight in the flux of things, but a life the wants everything can likewise have no weight in the flux of things, since it cannot obtain everything, and to obtain less than everything is not worthy of souls that seek the truth.
You are told to love your neighbour as yourself. How do you love yourself? When I look into my own mind, I find that I do not love myself by thinking myself a dear old chap or having affectionate feelings. I do not think that I love myself because I am particularly good, but just because I am myself and quite apart from my character. I might detest something which I have done. Nevertheless, I do not cease to love myself. In other words, that definite distinction that Christians make between hating sin and loving the sinner is one that you have been making in your own case since you were born. You dislike what you have done, but you don't cease to love yourself. You may even think that you ought to be hanged. You may even think that you ought to go to the Police and own up and be hanged. Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.' These men without possessions or power, these strangers on Earth, these sinners, these followers of Jesus, have in their life with him renounced their own dignity, for they are merciful. As if their own needs and their own distress were not enough, they take upon themselves the distress and humiliation of others. They have an irresistible love for the down-trodden, the sick, the wretched, the wronged, the outcast and all who are tortured with anxiety. They go out and seek all who are enmeshed in the toils of sin and guilt. No distress is too great, no sin too appalling for their pity. If any man falls into disgrace, the merciful will sacrifice their own honour to shield him, and take his shame upon themselves.
Thirsty for being, the poet ceaselessly reaches out to reality, seeking with the indefatigable harpoon of the poem a reality that is always better hidden, more re(g)al. The poem’s power is as an instrument of possession but at the same time, ineffably, it expresses the desire for possession, like a net that fishes by itself, a hook that is also the desire of the fish. To be a poet is to desire and, at the same time, to obtain, in the exact shape of the desire.
I remember an hypothesis argued upon by the young students, when I was at St. Omer's, and maintained with much learning and pleasantry on both sides, 'Whether supposing that the flavour of a big who obtained his death by whipping (per flagellationem extremem) superadded a pleasure upon the palate of a man more intense than any possible suffering we can conceive in the animal, is man justified in using that method of putting an animal to death?' I forget the decision.
The poets made all the words and therefore language is the archives of history, and, if we must say it, a sort of tomb of the muses. For though the origin of most of our words is forgotten, each word was at first a stroke of genius, and obtained currency because for the moment it symbolized the world to the first speaker and to the hearer. The etymologist finds the deadest word to have been once a brilliant picture. Language is fossil poetry.
The chaplain glanced at the bridge table that served as his desk and saw only the abominable orange-red, pear-shaped, plum tomato he had obtained that same morning from Colonel Cathcart, still lying on its side where he had forgotten it like an indestructible and incarnadine symbol of his own ineptitude.
how wearisom. Eternity so spent in worship paid. To whom we hate. Let us not then pursue. By force impossible, by leave obtain'd Unacceptable, though in Heav'n, our state. Of splendid vassalage, but rather seek. Our own good from our selves, and from our own. Live to our selves, though in this vast recess, Free, and to none accountable, preferring Hard liberty before the easie yoke. Of servile Pomp
Friendship is less simple. It is long and hard to obtain but when one has it there's no getting rid of it; one simply has to cope with it. Don't think for a minute that your friends will telephone you every evening, as they ought to, in order to find out if this doesn't happen to be the evening when you are deciding to commit suicide, or simply whether you don't need company, whether you are not in the mood to go out. No, don't worry, they'll ring up the evening you are not alone, when life is beautiful. As for suicide, they would be more likely to push you to it, by virtue of what you owe to yourself, according to them. May heaven protect us, cher Monsieur, from being set upon a pedestal by our friends!