Msgr. Albacete’s story leads me to reflect that maybe this is why we need suffering, and why we need love: because without one or the other of them to blow us apart, we will comply with the letter, rather than the spirit, of the law like sheep. We will suffer from a fatal reduction of desire. We will dumbly go along with the dictates of our culture.From "Boomerang" by Michael Lewis:
Love is the wild card that gives us the incandescent drive to subvert all power systems. Desire is the unpredictable x that throws off all bets.
Had I fallen through the cracks completely, as I’d secretly feared since birth I would?
I began to see that to ache for tenderness myself was to ache for the world. I began to see that in my loneliness, I entered into the loneliness of Christ. I began to see that to hold the tension of my longing, frustration, and fear was to help hold the tension of a husband who wanted to cheat on his wife; a college student who was contemplating making a quick buck by working at a strip club; a teenager, in despair over a crush gone wrong, who wanted to pull the trigger.
Given the chance to take something for nothing, the German people simply ignored the offer. “There was no credit boom in Germany,” says Asmussen. “Real estate prices were completely flat. There was no borrowing for consumption. Because this behavior is totally unacceptable in Germany. This is what the German people are. This is deeply in German genes. It is perhaps a leftover of the collective memory of the Great Depression and the hyperinflation of the 1920s.”From Kingsley Amis's "Everyday Drinking":
A German traffic jam is a peculiar sight: no one honks, no one switches lanes searching for some small, illusory advantage, all trucks remain in the right-hand lane, where they are required to be. The spectacle of sparkling BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes in the left lane and immaculate trucks in a neat row in the right lane is almost a pleasure to watch. Because everyone in the jam obeys the rules, and believes that everyone else will obey them, too, the cars and trucks move as fast as they can, given the circumstances.
A team of American investigators concluded recently that, without the underpinning provided by alcohol and the relaxation it affords, Western society would have collapsed irretrievably at about the time of the First World War.From "The Marriage Plot" by J. Eugenides:
I feel that there is very little we can safely add, in discussing our motives for drinking, to the verdict of the poet who said we do it because “we are dry, or lest we may be by and by, or any other reason why.”
“If I had a thousand sons, the first human principle I would teach them should be, to forswear thin potations.” —WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (Falstaff, Henry IV, Part 2)
All over College Hill, in the geometric gardens of the Georgian mansions, the magnolia-scented front yards of Victorians, along brick sidewalks running past black iron fences like those in a Charles Addams cartoon or a Lovecraft story;
That Alton and Phyllida had driven up from New Jersey to see her graduate, that what they were here to celebrate today wasn’t only her achievement but their own as parents, had nothing wrong or unexpected about it.