We’re pumping greenhouse gases into our atmosphere at a rate not seen on earth for a million years. And the scientific consensus that we’re destabilizing our climate. Yet our civilization seems to be in the grip of denial, a kind of paralysis. There’s a disconnect between what we know and what we do. Being able to adapt our behavior to challenges is as good a definition of intelligence as any I know.
If our greater intelligence is the hallmark of our species, then we should use it as all other beings use theur distinctive advantages—to help ensure that their offspring prosper and their heredity is passed on and that the fabric of nature that sustains us is protected."
— "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," S01E11
— Dr. Black, “Black Box” S01E11
- <b> One of four teenagers receiving a citation, presumably for skateboarding in a city park:</b> I guess William.<p><b>Bike-patrol park ranger, being the ultimate stickler:</b> You *guess*?<p><b>William:</b> No, yeah, that is my name. William.<p>
— "Wish I Was Here"
- Aidan: What do we do?
- Gabe: What do you mean, 'what do we do?' We move forward. It's the only direction God gave us.
- Aidan: But what about my dream? I mean, doesn't God believe in my pursuit of happiness?
- Rabbi Twersky: No, that's the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson cared about your happiness. God wants you to provide for your family, Mr. Bloom.
- Sarah: I was terrified that I'd never ever find that kind of passion in my life. And the truth is, I haven't. I input data into a spreadsheet. Literally, a scanner should be doing my job, and there's just too much bureaucracy for anyone to even notice.
- Aidan: You need to wake up, because life is happening all around you.
- Rabbi Rosenberg: Do you feel any spiritual connection at all, to anything?
- Aidan: Infinity. Looking up at the sky with my kids and trying to explain to them that it goes on forever. I do feel a spirituality in that. Could that be God?
- Rabbi Rosenberg: God can be whatever you want Him to be. You're getting tangled in semantics. Try not to get caught up in the God who wants you to be kosher or the God who wants you to study the Torah. Start with God as the infinite universe and imagine that that force may be trying desperately to guide you through the most challenging part of your life.
- --"Wish I Was Here"
Achieving happiness is like finding a micro in the woods. I stopped looking for a long time because I’m terrible at the search, but once in a while I practically trip over it. And there are still some aspects of the journey I enjoy, even if I’m not in it for the ultimate payoff.
"Schizophrenia rolls in like a slow fog, becoming imperceptibly thicker as time goes on. At first, the day is bright enough, the sky is clear; the sunlight warms your shoulders. But soon, you notice a haze beginning to gather around you, and the air feels not quite so warm. After a while, the sun is a dim lightbulb behind a heavy cloth. The horizon has vanished into a gray mist, and you feel a thick dampness in your lungs as you stand, cold and wet, in the afternoon dark."
"Oddly, philosophy and psychosis have more in common than many people (philosophers especially) might care to admit. The similarity is not what you might assume—that philosophy and psychosis don‟t have rules, and you’re tossed around the universe willy-nilly. On the contrary, each is governed by very strict rules. The trick is to discover what those rules are, and in both cases, that inquiry takes place almost solely inside one’s head. And, while the line between creativity and madness can be razor-thin (a fact that has been widely romanticized, unfortunately), examining and experiencing the world in a different way can lead to sharp and fruitful insights. "
"Besides, nothing I had to say was worth hearing, or so said my mind. It’s wrong to talk. Talking means you have something to say. I have nothing to say. I am nobody, a nothing. Talking takes up space and time. You don’t deserve to talk. Keep quiet."
"I held my own life in my hands, and it was suddenly too heavy to be left there."
"Once, there’d been a time in my life when thoughts were something to be welcomed, and pored over, like pages in a favorite book. Just to idly think about things—the weather, the future, the subject of a paper I needed to write for a class, the friend I was going to meet for a cup of coffee—these things felt so simple, so taken-for-granted. But now thoughts crashed into my mind like a fusillade of rocks someone (or something) was hurtling at me—fierce, angry, jagged around the edges, and uncontrollable. I could not bear them. I did not know how to defend myself against them. And I could not bear to be near anyone when I was experiencing them."
"Although the nameless, faceless creatures from the sky had no less power over my fears and thoughts, the actual human people in my daily comings and goings seemed less scary and more approachable. No longer a faceless, threatening mass, existing only to judge or possibly harm me (or be targets for me to harm), they were becoming individual persons—human beings, as I was, vulnerable and interesting, perhaps with something in common with me, possibly even friendship. …
Blinking and shaky, as though I’d been in a cave and the light, as welcome as it was, was something I’d have to get used to, I began to move back into the world again.”
"If they couldn’t tolerate what was in my head, why were any of them in this business? When my scrambled thinking revealed itself, they put me in the hospital version of ‘time out.’ Where was the ‘treatment’ in this? Were they wanting to help me get better, or did they just want me to be socially appropriate? Overall, the sole message they seemed to want me to get was ‘behave yourself!’ This is a classic bind for psychiatric patients. They’re struggling with thoughts of wanting to hurt themselves or others. And at the same time they desperately need the help of those they’re threatening to harm. The conundrum: Say what’s on your mind and there’ll be consequences; struggle to keep the delusions to yourself, and it’s likely you won’t get the help you need."
"…it reflected what I’d been taught all my life: Intelligence, combined with discipline, could overcome any challenge. And mostly, that belief had served me well. The problem was it assumed the intelligence at hand was fully functional, fully capable."
"I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of dates I’d had since freshman year at Venderbilt. I had no clue about getting someone’s attention. I didn’t know how to flirt. I didn’t know how to show someone that I was interested. I didn’t know how to figure out if he was interested in me. It was as though I’d been absent from class then they were teaching how to be a girl."
"That said, I don’t wish to be seen as regretting the life I could have had if I’d not been ill. Nor am I asking anyone for their pity. What I rather wish to say is that the humanity we all share is more important than the mental illness we may not. With proper treatment, someone who is mentally ill can lead a full and rich life. What makes life wonderful—good friends, a satisfying job, loving relationships—is just as valuable for those of us who struggle with schizophrenia as for anyone else. If you are a person with mental illness, the challenge is to find the life that’s right for you. But in truth, isn’t that the challenge for all of us, mentally ill or not?"
"On some nights, he’d drag his bedding into the yard to sleep alone. On others, he’d lie awake in bed, beneath pinups of movie cowboy Tom Mix and his wonder horse, Tony, feeling snared on something from which he couldn’t kick free.
In the back bedroom he could hear trains passing. Lying beside his sleeping brother, he’d listen to the broad, low sound: faint, then rising, faint again, then a high, beckoning whistle, then gone. The sound of it brought goose bumps. Lost in longing, Louie imagined himself on a train, rolling into country he couldn’t see, growing smaller and more distant until he disappeared.”
"Each evening, he climbed atop the cabin and lay back, reading Zane Grey novels. When the sun sank and the words faded, he gazed over the landscape, moved by its beauty, watching it slip from gray to purple before darkness blended land and sky."
"It remains a mystery why these three young men, veterans of the same training and the same crash, differed so radically in their perceptions of their plight. Maybe the difference was biological; some men may be wired for optimism, others for doubt."
"One morning, they woke to a strange stillness. The rise and fall of the raft had ceased, and it sat virtually motionless. There was no wind. The ocean stretched out in all directions in glossy smoothness, regarding the sky and reflecting its image in crystalline perfection. Like the ancient mariner, Louie and Phil had found the doldrums, the eerie pause of wind and water that lingers around the equator. They were, as Coleridge wrote, ‘as idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean.’
It was an experience of transcendence. Phil watched the sky, whispering that it looked like a pearl. The water looked so solid that it seemed they could walk across it. When a fish broke the surface far away, the sound carried to the men with absolute clarity. They watched as pristine ringlets of water circled outward around the place where the fish had passed, then faded to stillness.”
"Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man’s soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it. The loss of it can carry a man off as surely as thirst, hunger, exposure, and asphyxiation, and with greater cruelty."
"He had fallen into unbearably cruel worlds, and yet he had borne them. When he turned these memories in his mind, the only explanation he could find was one in which the impossible was possible. What God asks of men, said Graham, is faith. His invisibility is the truest test of that faith. To know who sees him, God makes himself unseen."
"His conviction that everything happened for a reason, and would come to good, gave him a laughing equanimity even in hard times."