Where there is a confluence of interests among nations, as, for example the swine flu or polio, you can get well functioning international institutions like the World Health Organization. And you can act. Climate change is different, because the science remains hypothetical and the potential costs staggering.
If men do their best endeavours to free themselves from all errors, and yet fail of it through human frailty, so well I am persuaded of the goodness of God, that if in me alone should meet a confluence of all such errors of all the Protestants in the world that were thus qualified, I should not be so much afraid of them all, as I should be to ask pardon for them.
I grew up as a fifth-generation Jew in the American South, at the confluence of two great storytelling traditions. After graduating from Yale in the 1980s, I moved to Japan. For young adventure seekers like myself, the white-hot Japanese miracle held a similar appeal as Russia in 1920s or Paris in the 1950s.
You look at Superman, the story of an orphan coming to America, keeping his identity secret and even the names, Kal-El and Jor-El, you can trace lines to the background of the creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, both Jewish. Overall, there was a remarkable confluence of events that led to the medium and the Jewish participation.
Proust is interested in minutiae because life, as he sees it, is seldom ever about things but about our impression of things, not about facts but about the interpretation of facts, not about one particular feeling but about a confluence of conflicting feelings. Everything is elusive in Proust because nothing is ever certain.
From the 9th to the 15th centuries, the area which is now modern Spain was home to the greatest peaceful agglomeration of cultures ever known in the post-literate worldEven more remarkable than the flowering of art itself was the confluence of cultures that produced it: under the rule of Islam, Muslims, Jews and Christians lived and worked together in relative harmony.
Somewhere within all of us is a wordless center, a part of us that hopes to be immortal in some way, a part that has remained unchanged since we were children, the source of our strength and compassion. This faint confluence of the tangible and the spiritual is where Art comes from. It has no known limits, and once you tap into it you will realize what truly rich choices you have. May each painting you do from that sacred place include an expression of gratitude for the extraordinary privilege of being an artist.
I grew up in Mobile, Alabama - somebody's got to be from Mobile, right? - and Mobile sits at the confluence of five rivers, forming this beautiful delta. And the delta has alligators crawling in and out of rivers filled with fish and cypress trees dripping with snakes, birds of every flavor.
Something special can happen late at night in a jazz club. As the crowd thins, the musicians intuitively sense that those few who have stayed, have stayed for a reason. A reciprocity of need and desire inspires the musicians to dig as deeply into their talent and souls as they are able. This mysterious and transformative confluence of events rarely happens in concert. It is the province of the nightclub.
You really do have to wonder whether a few years from now we'll look back at the first decade of the 21st century when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornados plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we'd crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?
A valise without straps. A hole without a key. She had a German mouth, French ears, Russian ass. Cunt international. When the flag waved it was red all the way back to the throat. You entered on the Boulevard Jules-Ferry and came out at the Porte de la Villette. You dropped your sweetbreads into the tumbrils - red tumbrils with two wheels, naturally. At the confluence of the Ourcq and Marne, where the water sluices through the dikes and lies like glass under the bridges.
Thus I began my systematic though half-bewildered tour of Innsmouth's narrow, shadow-blighted ways. Crossing the bridge and turning toward the roar of the lower falls, I passed close to the Marsh refinery, which seemed to be oddly free from the noise of industry. The building stood on the steep river bluff near a bridge and an open confluence of streets which I took to be the earliest civic center, displaced after the Revolution by the present Town Square.
H. P. Lovecraft
What business needs now is exactly what women are able to provide, and at the very time when women are surging into the work force. But perhaps even more important than work force numbers is the fact that women -- who began this sweeping entry in the mid-seventies -- are just now beginning to assume positions of leadership, which give them the scope to create and reinforce the trends toward change. The confluence is fortunate, an alignment that gives women unique opportunities to assist in the continuing transformation of the workplace ...
The soul, in its loneliness, hopes only for "salvation." And yet what is the burden of the Bible if not a sense of the mutuality of influence, rising out of an essential unity, among soul and body and community and world? These are all the works of God, and it is therefore the work of virtue to make or restore harmony among them. The world is certainly thought of as a place of spiritual trial, but it is also the confluence of soul and body, word and flesh, where thoughts must become deeds, where goodness must be enacted. This is the great meeting place, the narrow passage where spirit and flesh, word and world, pass into each other. The Bible's aim, as I read it, is not the freeing of the spirit from the world. It is the handbook of their interaction. It says that they cannot be divided; that their mutuality, their unity, is inescapable; that they are not reconciled in division, but in harmony. What else can be meant by the resurrection of the body? The body should be "filled with light, " perfected in understanding. And so everywhere there is the sense of consequence, fear and desire, grief and joy. What is desirable is repeatedly defined in the tensions of the sense of consequence.
I quit eating meat in 1976, the same year I turned fifteen, came out, and went to my first gay rights rally (not in that order). When I say that I 'came out, ' I mean that I resolved to never lie about my love for women, never deliberately pass for straight, and never deny a lover by calling her 'him.' To do so, I felt, would be to betray not only the women I desired, but my deepest self. My decision to quit meat was equally simple. Somehow, through the confluence of midseventies influences, I knew that vegetarianism was a particularly healthy way to eat. One day, quite suddenly, I realized: If I didn't need to eat meat to stay alive, then eating meat was killing for pleasure. I couldn't live with myself, wouldn't be the nonviolent person I believed myself to be, if I killed other beings-beings who had their own desires-merely to satisfy my desire for the taste of their flesh. Looking back, I see that both decisions, coming out and quitting meat, are about the interplay of desire and integrity. Sometimes integrity means being true to your desires, and sometimes integrity requires you to refuse your desires. I also notice that both decisions were about bodies and consent. A primary tenet of gay liberation is that what consenting people do with each other's bodies is nobody else's business. And, of course, eating meat is something you do to somebody else's body without their consent.
It was one of those rare moments where one has a vision of the scope of the wild ocean. Not just small cylinders firing to keep a tiny engine running, but rather the giant, massive gears of nature, each one with its own reasoning, its own meta-logic, spinning in its particular circle in competition or in confluence with the gear below it. We zeroed in on the school, but our progress was painfully slow, It would have been foolish to speed into the tumult-we would have ruined our baits in the process and doomed our chances of hooking a tuna. But luckily, the commotion did not subside. If anything it only grew more frantic and exhuberant on our approach. Beneath the birds, beneath the dolphins, beneath the menhaden, there should have been an equally vast school of giant bluefin tuna, collaborating with vertebrates of the so-called higher orders of life to form the floor of the prey trap, sealing the baitfish in from below, while the dolphins and birds made up the trap's walls and ceiling. A strike from a giant tuna seemed inevitable...as the boat moved forward, I saw seabirds gathering up ahead into a cloud, the size and violence of which I had never seen before. Gannets - big, albatross-like pelagic birds - flew hundreds of feet above the churning surface of the water. In a flock of many thousands, they whirled in unison and then, as if on command from some brigadier general of bird life, dropped in an arc, bird after bird, into the water beneath. The gyre of gannets turned in a clockwise direction, and down below, spinning counterclockwise, was the largest school of dolphins I'd ever seen. There in the angry blue-green sea, the dolphins had corralled a vast school of menhaden-small herringlike creatures that, when bitten, release globules of oil that float on the surface. Oil slicks flattened the water everywhere as the dolphins swirled around, using their exceptional intelligence and wolf-pack cooperation to befuddle and surround the fish, which in turn whirled in a clockwise direction.
Old Hubert must have had a premonition of his squalid demise. In October he said to me, 'Forty-two years I've had this place. I'd really like to go back home, but I ain't got the energy since my old girl died. And I can't sell it the way it is now. But anyway before I hang my hat up I'd be curious to know what's in that third cellar of mine.' The third cellar has been walled up by order of the civil defence authorities after the floods of 1910. A double barrier of cemented bricks prevents the rising waters from invading the upper floors when flooding occurs. In the event of storms or blocked drains, the cellar acts as a regulatory overflow. The weather was fine: no risk of drowning or any sudden emergency. There were five of us: Hubert, Gerard the painter, two regulars and myself. Old Marteau, the local builder, was upstairs with his gear, ready to repair the damage. We made a hole. Our exploration took us sixty metres down a laboriously-faced vaulted corridor (it must have been an old thoroughfare). We were wading through a disgusting sludge. At the far end, an impassable barrier of iron bars. The corridor continued beyond it, plunging downwards. In short, it was a kind of drain-trap. That's all. Nothing else. Disappointed, we retraced our steps. Old Hubert scanned the walls with his electric torch. Look! An opening. No, an alcove, with some wooden object that looks like a black statuette. I pick the thing up: it's easily removable. I stick it under my arm. I told Hubert, 'It's of no interest... ' and kept this treasure for myself. I gazed at it for hours on end, in private. So my deductions, my hunches were not mistaken: the Bie¨vre-Seine confluence was once the site where sorcerers and satanists must surely have gathered. And this kind of primitive magic, which the blacks of Central Africa practise today, was known here several centuries ago. The statuette had miraculously survived the onslaught of time: the well-known virtues of the waters of the Bie¨vre, so rich in tannin, had protected the wood from rotting, actually hardened, almost fossilized it. The object answered a purpose that was anything but aesthetic. Crudely carved, probably from heart of oak. The legs were slightly set apart, the arms detached from the body. No indication of gender. Four nails set in a triangle were planted in its chest. Two of them, corroded with rust, broke off at the wood's surface all on their own. There was a spike sunk in each eye. The skull, like a salt cellar, had twenty-four holes in which little tufts of brown hair had been planted, fixed in place with wax, of which there were still some vestiges. I've kept quiet about my find. I'm biding my time.
Almost immediately after jazz musicians arrived in Paris, they began to gather in two of the city's most important creative neighborhoods: Montmartre and Montparnasse, respectively the Right and Left Bank haunts of artists, intellectuals, poets, and musicians since the late nineteenth century. Performing in these high-profile and popular entertainment districts could give an advantage to jazz musicians because Parisians and tourists already knew to go there when they wanted to spend a night out on the town. As hubs of artistic imagination and experimentation, Montmartre and Montparnasse therefore attracted the kinds of audiences that might appreciate the new and thrilling sounds of jazz. For many listeners, these locations leant the music something of their own exciting aura, and the early success of jazz in Paris probably had at least as much to do with musicians playing there as did other factors. In spite of their similarities, however, by the 1920s these neighborhoods were on two very different paths, each representing competing visions of what France could become after the war. And the reactions to jazz in each place became important markers of the difference between the two areas and visions. Montmartre was legendary as the late-nineteenth-century capital of 'bohemian Paris, ' where French artists had gathered and cabaret songs had filled the air. In its heyday, Montmartre was one of the centers of popular entertainment, and its artists prided themselves on flying in the face of respectable middle-class values. But by the 1920s, Montmartre represented an established artistic tradition, not the challenge to bourgeois life that it had been at the fin de sie¨cle. Entertainment culture was rapidly changing both in substance and style in the postwar era, and a desire for new sounds, including foreign music and exotic art, was quickly replacing the love for the cabarets' French chansons. Jazz was not entirely to blame for such changes, of course. Commercial pressures, especially the rapidly growing tourist trade, eroded the popularity of old Montmartre cabarets, which were not always able to compete with the newer music halls and dance halls. Yet jazz bore much of the criticism from those who saw the changes in Montmartre as the death of French popular entertainment. Montparnasse, on the other hand, was the face of a modern Paris. It was the international crossroads where an ever changing mixture of people celebrated, rather than lamented, cosmopolitanism and exoticism in all its forms, especially in jazz bands. These different attitudes within the entertainment districts and their institutions reflected the impact of the broader trends at work in Paris-the influx of foreign populations, for example, or the advent of cars and electricity on city streets as indicators of modern technology-and the possible consequences for French culture. Jazz was at the confluence of these trends, and it became a convenient symbol for the struggle they represented.
Jeffrey H. Jackson