“To be able to die of old age and be put to rest with a lavish funeral required exceptional talent.” – Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain (trans. Mabel Lee)
“There’s a reason people in foodwork stay up late, drinking and drugging. Your shift ends and hours later you’re still sweating from those burners, amped up and pissed at whichever customer or coworker screwed you the hardest.” – Kimberly King Parsons, “Wisdom to Know the Difference”
“I went on through the post town of Sekimoto, where the citizens in their rows of houses offer lodgings and wait upon the traveler as their master for a night, while the girls singing in the windows entice him in to treat him as a husband. How sad, to pin such vows of eternal love on a night’s transient dream, a long life’s faithful bond on the desires of a passing traveler. Though so different from all the rich trappings of bridal jade-green curtains and scarlet boudoir, life together in a humble hut with rustic brushwood door is the same, for both are no more than brief pleasures of a passing lifetime.” – Anonymous Monk, “Journey Along the Sea Road” (trans. Meredith McKinney)
“The fisherman hauls his nets, tiring his body in the very act of shielding it from starvation; the starving fish takes the bait, its very need for life condemning it to death. Just how much can a man profit in this world; how much can a little fish consume? Each feels the same about existence, each treasures life. Further, the woodsman sweating on the hillside, who returns at evening bearing the north wind at his back, the limping seller plying his trade through the fields, who sets out at dawn through the thick white dew—their work may differ but for all, the sufferings of this life are one.” – Anonymous Monk, “Journey Along the Sea Road” (trans. Meredith McKinney)
“Plop a baby human into a group of chimps and ask them to raise him, Tarzan style, and the human as an adult will know how to run around the forest, climb trees, find food, and masturbate. That’s who each of us actually is.” – Tim Urban, “Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future”
“There is no such thing as a pure fact, innocent of interpretation. Behind every fact presented to the world—by a teacher, a writer, anyone—is a judgment. The judgement that has been made is that this fact is important, and that other facts, omitted, are not important.” – Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States
“The struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” – Frederick Douglass (quoted by Howard Zinn in A People’s History of the United States)
“Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles or gives me any best place. And a’nt I a woman? Look at my arm! I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And a’nt I a woman? I would work as much and eat as much as a man, when I could get it, and bear the lash as well. And a’nt I a woman? I have borne thirteen children and seen em most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And a’nt I a woman?” – Sojourner Truth (quoted by Howard Zinn in A People’s History of the United States)
“To say that the Declaration of Independence, even by its own language, was limited to life, liberty, and happiness for white males is not to denounce the makers and signers of the Declaration for holding the ideas expected of privileged males of the eighteenth century. Reformers and radicals, looking discontentedly at history, are often accused of expecting too much from a past political epoch—and sometimes they do. But the point of noting those outside the arc of human rights in the Declaration is not, centuries late and pointlessly, to lay impossible moral burdens on that time. It is to try to understand the way in which the Declaration functioned to mobilize certain groups of Americans, ignoring others. Surely, inspirational language to create a secure consensus is still used, in our time, to cover up serious conflicts of interest in that consensus, and to cover up, also, the omission of large parts of the human race.” – Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States
“If you’ve ever been in a fight with someone you love,
each of you holding the pistol of your dignity
to the other’s temple, despite, or maybe
because of, the width and breadth of that love,
which has you pretty sure you’ve been mistaken
for her father, while she’s fairly certain
she’s again found someone like her mother,
so she’s haunted by her blindness, and you’re
sick of her projections, and just as someone’s
about to say the next perfect thing—perfect
for deepening this unfathomable trench—
it might be a good time to get up and leave
saying, ‘I need to check on the cornbread.’ “
– Diana Goetsch, “Whole Lotta Love”
“Seamen are a class of persons remarkable for their rashness, thoughtlessness, and improvidence. They are generally necessitous, ignorant of the nature and extent of their own rights and privileges, and for the most part incapable of duly appreciating their value. They combine, in a singular manner, the apparent anomalies of gallantry, extravagance, profusion in expenditure, indifference to the future, credulity, which is easily won, and confidence, which is readily surprised. Hence it is, that bargains between them and ship-owners, the latter being persons of great intelligence and shrewdness in business, are deemed open to much observation and scrutiny; for they involve great inequality of knowledge, of forecast, of power, and of condition. Courts of Admiralty on this account are accustomed to consider seamen as peculiarly entitled to their protection; so that they have been, by a somewhat bold figure, often said to be favorites of Courts of Admiralty. In a just sense they are so, so far as the maintenance of their rights, and the protection of their interests against the effects of the superior skill and shrewdness of masters and owners of ships are concerned.” – Justice Joseph Story, Brown v. Lull
The crews of large ships are distributed into classes, according to their different capacities; and thus the grade of one’s seamanship may be ascertained by the station he may have held. The classification is stated in Van Heytbuysen’s Marine Evidence, p. 9, as follows:
Quarter-masters, Boatswain’s mates, Gunners and Gunners’ mates, Forecastle-men — Best seamen in the ship.
Foretop-men, Maintop-men — Active young seamen.
Mizentop-men — Young lads, and indifferent seamen.
After-guards-men, Waisters — Landsmen, &c.
– Simon Greenleaf, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence
“Intelligence is the ability to solve a problem, to decipher a riddle, to master a set of facts. Judgment is the ability to orbit a problem or a set of facts and see it as it might be seen through other eyes, by observers with different biases, motives, and backgrounds.” – James Comey, A Higher Loyalty