Good girls like myself need subversion. Being solemn, I aspire to comedy. Being a novelist, I aspire to the musical. Being organized, I aspire to luminous chaos. Loving the power of grammar and the fine distinctions of language, I seek the part of the mind I didn't know was there, the part 'sheer, ' 'no-manfathomed, ' 'cliffs of fall.
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Convince a man that he is an animal, that his own dignity and selfrespect are delusions, that there is no 'beyond' to aspire to, no higher potential self to achieve, and you have a slave. Let a man know he is himself, a spiritual being, that he is capable of the power of choice and has the right to aspire to greater wisdom and you have started him up a higher road.
L. Ron Hubbard
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'Black Messiah' is a hell of a name for an album. It can easily be misunderstood. Many will think it's about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I'm calling myself a Black Messiah. For me, the title is about all of us. It's about the world. It's about an idea we can all aspire to. We should all aspire to be a Black Messiah.
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Ever since, New York has existed for me simultaneously as a map to be learned and a place to aspire too-a city of things and a city of signs, the place I actually am and the place I would like to be even when I am here. As a kid, I grasped that the skyline was a sign that could be, so to speak, relocated to New Jersey-a kind of abstract, receding Vision whose meaning would always be "out of reach, " not a concrete thing signifying "here you are." Even when we are established here, New York still seems a place we aspire to. Its life is one thing-streets and hot dogs and brusqueness-and its symbols, the lights across the way, the beckoning skyline, are another. We go on being inspired even when we're most exasperated.
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We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls: 'You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you will threaten the man.' Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices, always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support, but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don't teach boys the same?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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