"You know, what happens when your thoughts get all trapped up -- like in a bottle."
We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke and a presumption that once our eyes watered.
I can’t stand moral absolutism. You know, there’s always that guy who wants to point out that Martin Luther King cheated on his wife— as if he obviously couldn’t have been a great person if he did something like that. Or someone will bring out an inspirational quote, and get you to agree, and then inform you that Hitler said it. As if a good thought couldn’t come from Hitler. Moral absolutism keeps us from learning from the past. It’s easy to say: ‘Hitler was a demon. Nazis were all bad seeds.’ That’s simple. It’s much harder to say: ‘Is that humanity? Is that me?’
My novels are epic fantasy, but they are inspired by and grounded in history. Rape and sexual violence have been a part of every war ever fought. To omit them from a narrative centered on war and power would have been fundamentally false and dishonest, and would have undermined one of the themes of the books: that the true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves. We are the monsters. (And the heroes too). Each of us has within himself the capacity for great good, and great evil.
You’re blessed with abilities that few men possess. You’re blessed to belong to the most powerful family in the Kingdoms, and you’re still blessed with youth. And what have you done with these blessings? You’ve served as a glorified bodyguard for two kings, one a madman, the other a drunk. The future of our family will be determined in these next few months. We could establish a dynasty that will last a thousand years…or we could collapse into nothing, as the Targaryens did. I need you to become the man you were always meant to be. Not next year, not tomorrow…now.
Watch your thoughts;
They become words.
Watch your words;
They become actions.
Watch your actions;
They become habits.
Watch your habits;
They become your character.
Watch your character;
It becomes your destiny.
By… our readiness to allow arms to be purchased at will and fired at whim; by allowing our movie and television screens to teach our children that the hero is one who masters the art of shooting and the technique of killing; by allowing all of these developments, we have created an atmosphere in which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (November 1963, as quoted in “I Have a Dream: The Life and Times of Martin Luther King, Jr.”)
Ego is a structure that is erected by a neurotic individual who is a member of a neurotic culture against the facts of the matter. And culture, which we put on like an overcoat, is the collectivized consensus about what sort of neurotic behaviors are acceptable.