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The assurance that we have no means of answering [final] questions is no valid excuse for callousness towards them. The more deeply should we feel, down to the roots of our being, their pressure and their sting. Whose hunger has ever been [sated] with the knowledge that he could not eat?
Jose Ortega y Gasset
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It is hard for me to imagine that I felt good about behaving like that. I also remember that the smallest gesture of affection would bring a lump to my throat, whether it was directed at me or at someone else. Sometimes all it took was a scene in a movie. This juxtaposition of callousness and extreme sensitivity seemed suspicious even to me.
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Perhaps the greatest rudenesses of our time come not from the callousness of strangers, but from the solicitousness of intimates who believe that their frank criticisms are always welcome, and who feel free to "be themselves" with those they love, which turns out to mean being their worst selves, while saving their best behavior for strangers.
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I was unfair to him, of course, but where would I have been without unfairness? In thrall, in harness. Young women need unfairness, it's one of their few defenses. They need their callousness, they need their ignorance. They walk in the dark, along the edges of high cliffs, humming to themselves, thinking themselves invulnerable.
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I have no other pictures of the world apart from those which express evanescence, and callousness, vanity and anger, emptiness, orhideous useless hate. Everything has merely confirmed what I had seen and understood in my childhood: futile and sordid fits of rage, cries suddenly blanketed by the silence, shadows swallowed up for ever by the night.
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Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism, falsehoods. The liturgical movement must become a revolutionary movement seeking to overthrow the forces that continue to destroy the promise, the hope, the vision.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
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Rabbits (says Mr. Lockley) are like human beings in many ways. One of these is certainly their staunch ability to withstand disaster and to let the stream of their life carry them along, past reaches of terror and loss. They have a certain quality which it would not be accurate to describe as callousness or indifference. It is, rather, a blessedly circumscribed imagination and an intuitive feeling that Life is Now.
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It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life. Towards this end, experiments on living animals in classrooms should be stopped. To encourage cruelty in the name of science can only destroy the finer emotions of affection and sympathy, and breed an unfeeling callousness in the young towards suffering in all living creatures.
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It's despair at the lack of (I'm cheating, I didn't say all these things - but I'm going to write what I want to say as well as what I did) feeling, of love, of reason in the world. It's despair that anyone can even contemplate the idea of dropping a bomb or ordering that it should be dropped. It's despair that so few of us care. It's despair that there's so much brutality and callousness in the world.
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War paralyzes your courage and deadens the spirit of true manhood. It degrades and stupefies with the sense that you are not responsible, that 'tis not yours to think and reason why, but to do and die,' like the hundred thousand others doomed like yourself. War means blind obedience, unthinking stupidity, brutish callousness, wanton destruction, and irresponsible murder.
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The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in great suffering in animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit. All education should be directed toward the refinement of the individual's sensibilities in relation not only to one's fellow humans everywhere, but to all things whatsoever.
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Ebola haunted Zaire because of corruption and political repression. The virus had no secret powers, nor was it unusually contagious. For centuries Ebola had lurked in the jungles of central Africa. Its emergence into human populations required the special assistance of humanity's greatest vices : greed, corruption, arrogance, tyranny, and callousness.
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It's despair at the lack of feeling, of love, of reason in the world. It's despair that anyone can even contemplate the idea of dropping a bomb or ordering that it should be dropped. It's despair that so few of us care. It's despair that there's so much brutality and callousness in the world. It's despair that perfectly normal young men can be made vicious and evil because they've won a lot of money. And then do what you've done to me.
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Rabbits (says Mr. Lockley) are like human beings in many ways. One of these is certainly their staunch ability to withstand disaster and to let the stream of their life carry them along, past reaches of terror and loss. They have a certain quality which it would not be accurate to describe as callousness or indifference. It is, rather, a blessedly circumscribed imagination and an intuitive feeling that Life is Now. A foraging wild creature, intent above all upon survival, is as strong as the grass.
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Trust, trust in the world, because this human being exists - that is the most inward achievement of the relation in education. Because this human being exists, meaninglessness, however hard pressed you are by it, cannot be the real truth. Because this human being exists, in the darkness the light lies hidden, in fear salvation, and in the callousness of one's fellow-men the great Love.
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when someone speaks he looks at a mouth, not eyes and their colors, which, it seems to him, will always alter depending on the light of a room, the minute of the day. Mouths reveal insecurity or smugness or any other point on the spectrum of character. For him they are the most intricate aspect of faces. He's never sure what an eye reveals. but he can read how mouths darken into callousness, suggest tenderness. One can often misjudge an eye from its reaction to a simple beam of sunlight.
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I wondered why it had to be so poisonous. Oleanders could live through anything, they could stand heat, drought, neglect, and put out thousands of waxy blooms. So what did they need poison for? Couldn't they just be bitter? They weren't like rattlesnakes, they didn't even eat what they killed. The way she boiled it down, distilled it, like her hatred. Maybe it was a poison in the soil, something about L.A., the hatred, the callousness, something we didn't want to think about, that the plant concentrated in its tissues. Maybe it wasn't a source of poison, but just another victim.
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The Dutch at close proximity looked much like Americans, apart from their peculiar uniforms, and so it was their uniforms I fired at, half convinced that I was killing, not human beings, but enemy costumes, which had borne their contents here from a distant land; and if some living man suffered for his enslavement to the uniform, or was penetrated by the bullets aimed at it well, that was unavoidable, and the fault couldn't be placed at my feet. The private charade was not equivalent to Courage, but it enabled a Callousness that served a similar purpose.
Robert Charles Wilson
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The willingness to undertake such action cannot be based on certainties, but on those possibilities glimpsed in a reading of history different from the customary painful recounting of human cruelties. In such a reading we can find not only war but resistance to war, not only injustice but rebellion against injustice, not only selfishness but self-sacrifice, not only silence in the fact of tyranny but defiance, not only callousness but compassion. Human beings show a broad spectrum of qualities, but it is the worst of these that are usually emphasized, and the result, too often, is to dishearten us, diminish our spirit. And yet, historically, that spirit refuses to surrender.
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The death of American liberalism as a significant moral force can be traced to the point in when President Bill Clinton signed legislation that effectively ended the main federal anti-poverty program and turned the fate of welfare recipients, 70 percent of whom were children, over to the tender mercies of the states. With a stroke of the pen, Clinton eliminated what remained of New Deal-era compassion for the poor and codified into law the "tough love" callousness that his Republican allies in the Congress, led by Newt Gingrich, had long embraced.
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The scientific study of suffering inevitably raises questions of causation, and with these, issues of blame and responsibility. Historically, doctors have highlighted predisposing vulnerability factors for developing PTSD, at the expense of recognizing the reality of their patients' experiences... This search for predisposing factors probably had its origins in the need to deny that all people can be stressed beyond endurance, rather than in solid scientific data; until recently such data were simply not available... When the issue of causation becomes a legitimate area of investigation, one is inevitably confronted with issues of man's inhumanity to man, with carelessness and callousness, with abrogation of responsibility, with manipulation and with failures to protect.
Bessel A. van der Kolk
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The ultimate goal of the political elite is to privatize the air. So as not to destroy their own edifice of democratic compassion they will make provisions for the sick and the poor. Air will be rationed by a privatized bureaucracy and only those who complete a series of stringent means tests will be allowed to breath freely. If this sounds like untenable dystopian sci-fi, you haven't been paying attention. In the 17th century Dean Jonathon Swift satirically proposed that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. Many Lords in Westminster at the time took this as a sign that an Irish voice was finally speaking sense. The descendants of these Lords still stalk the corridors of power today. Never underestimate the callousness or the hereditary madness of the ruling class.
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