Forgiveness is not the misguided act of condoning irresponsible, hurtful behavior. Nor is it a superficial turning of the other cheek that leaves us feeling victimized and martyred. Rather, it is the finishing of old business that allows us to experience the present, free of contamination from the past.
Joan Z. Borysenko
We ourselves were well conversant with war, murder and everything evil, but all of us throughout the whole wide earth have traded in our weapons of war. We have exchanged our swords for plowshares, our spears for farm tools...now we cultivate the fear of God, justice, kindness, faith, and the expectation of the future given us through the Crucified One....The more we are persecuted and martyred, the more do others in ever increasing numbers become believers.
Elizabeth disliked the tragic, martyred image of Virginia Woolf which grew up after her death. When she read the first volume of William Plomer's autobiography, At Home, in 1958, she told him that 'only you seem to bring back Virginia's laughter - I get so bored and irked by the tragic fiction which has been manufactured about her since 1941.
We are fighting so that insults may no longer rule our countries, martyred and scorned for centuries, so that our peoples may never more be exploited by imperialists not only by people with white skin, because we do not confuse exploitation or exploiters with the colour of men's skins; we do not want any exploitation in our countries, not even by black people.
Listen to yourself. Poor martyred Louisa. I predict that Fellows will solve this murder and then sweep you off your feet." Daniel shrugged. "Well, the sweeping-you-off-your-feet part might take a little nudge. But he wants to do it. It's a beautiful thing to watch the way he looks at you. Fellows glared at Gil tonight as though he wanted to find a claymore, learn how to use it, and finish him off. Or just pull out a pistol and shoot him.
October's bellowing anger breakes and cleavesThe bronzed battalions of the stricken woodIn whose lament I hear a voice that grievesFor battle's fruitless harvest, and the feudOf outrage men. Their lives are like the leavesScattered in flocks of ruin, tossed and blownAlong the westering furnace flaring red.O martyred youth and manhood overthrown,The burden of your wrongs is on my head.
As her sons have seen her: the mother in patriarchy: controlling, erotic, castrating, heart-suffering, guilt-ridden, and guilt-provoking; a marble brow, a huge breast, an avid cave; between her legs snakes, swamp-grass, or teeth; on her lap a helpless infant or a martyred son. She exists for one purpose: to bear and nourish the son.
I explain to you, exactly and truly, how we are circumstanced. A greater portion of our means is unavailable, consisting of a house in S. Springfield and some wild lands in Iowa. Notwithstanding my great and good husband's life was sacrificed for his country, we are left to struggle in a manner...of life undeserved. Roving Generals have elegant mansions showered upon them, and the American people leave the family of the Martyred President to struggle as best they may! Strange justice this.
Mary Todd Lincoln
It's in our nature to want to watch our human frailties played out on a huge, epic canvas. Ancient societies had anthropomorphic gods: a huge pantheon expanding into centuries of dynastic drama: fathers and sons, star-crossed lovers, warring brothers, martyred heroes. Tales that taught us the danger of hubris and the primacy of humility. It's the everyday stuff of everyman's life, but it's writ large, and we love it.
Sir Thomas More was a victim of injustice and irony. Generously and meekly, just as he was about to be martyred, he said: Paul . . . was present, and consented to the death of St. Stephen, and kept their clothes that stoned him to death, and yet be they [Stephen and Paul] now both twain Holy Saints in heaven, and shall continue there friends for ever, so I verily trust and . . . pray, that though your lordships have now here in earth been judges to my condemnation, we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together, to our everlasting salvation.
Neal A. Maxwell
Sir Thomas More was a victim of injustice and irony. Generously and meekly, just as he was about to be martyred, he said: Paul... was present, and consented to the death of St. Stephen, and kept their clothes that stoned him to death, and yet be they [Stephen and Paul] now both twain Holy Saints in heaven, and shall continue there friends for ever, so I verily trust and... pray, that though your lordships have now here in earth been judges to my condemnation, we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together, to our everlasting salvation.
Neal A. Maxwell
Think of the majesty of that moment in this dying world's history, when Jesus Christ declared that to the Christian death was only a sleep. Outside of that small dwelling in Capernaum, a great race of men rushed and toiled as they harassed continents and seas; mighty events marshaled themselves into annals and pageants. What was inside? In one inconspicuous chamber of a now forgotten house, man's Redeemer, unobserved, martyred man's final enemy. There Immanuel subdued death forever.
Charles Seymour Robinson
Over and over we lose this sense of feeling we are wholly in our skins by means already named as well as through extended duress. Those who toil too long without respite are also at risk. The soulskin vanishes when we are not paying attention to what we are really doing and particularly the cost to us." "We lose the soulskin by becoming too involved with ego, by being too exacting, perfectionistic, or unnecessarily martyred, or driven by a blind ambition, or by being dissatisfied - about self, family, community, culture, world - and not saying or doing anything about it, or by pretending we are an ending source for others, or by not doing all we can to help ourselves. Oh, there are as many ways to lose the soul skin as there are women in the world." "The only way to hold on to this sensual soulskin is to retain an exquisitely pristine consciousness about its value and uses.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
The claim at the heart of this book has been carefully researched by several generations of scholars and is orthodox in academic circles, if not beyond. Christians under the Roman Empire were neither constantly persecuted nor martyred in huge numbers for their faith. They were prosecuted from time to time for alleged sedition, holding illegal meetings or refusing to sacrifice to the emperor. They were, like other convicts, sometimes tortured and executed in horrible ways. They seem to have been regarded by many Romans with distaste as a particularly silly superstition. But Christian stories of thousands of individual and mass martyrdoms over centuries have at best a limited basis in historical fact, and in many cases are sheer fiction.
Mary Queen of Scots had a little dog, a Skye terrier, that was devoted to her. Moments after Mary was beheaded, the people who were watching saw her skirts moving about and they thought her headless body was trying to get itself to its feet. But the movement turned out to be her dog, which she had carried to the block with her, hidden in her skirts. Mary Stuart is supposed to have faced her execution with grace and courage (she wore a scarlet chemise to suggest she was being martyred), but I don't think she could have been so brave if she had not secretly been holding tight to her Skye terrier, feeling his warm, silky fur against her trembling skin.
GET DRUNK Always be drunk. That's it! The great imperative! In order not to feel Time's horrid fardel bruise your shoulders, grinding you into the earth, Get drunk and stay that way. On what? On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever. But get drunk. And if you sometimes happen to wake up on the porches of a palace, in the green grass of a ditch, in the dismal loneliness of your own room, your drunkenness gone or disappearing, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, ask everything that flees, everything that groans or rolls or sings, everything that speaks, ask what time it is; and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock will answer you: 'Time to get drunk! Don't be martyred slaves of Time, Get drunk! Stay drunk! On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!
A Cathedral Fae§ade at Midnight Along the sculptures of the western wall I watched the moonlight creeping: It moved as if it hardly moved at all Inch by inch thinly peeping Round on the pious figures of freestone, brought And poised there when the Universe was wrought To serve its centre, Earth, in mankind's thought. The lunar look skimmed scantly toe, breast, arm, Then edged on slowly, slightly, To shoulder, hand, face; till each austere form Was blanched its whole length brightly Of prophet, king, queen, cardinal in state, That dead men's tools had striven to simulate; And the stiff images stood irradiate. A frail moan from the martyred saints there set Mid others of the erection Against the breeze, seemed sighings of regret At the ancient faith's rejection Under the sure, unhasting, steady stress Of Reason's movement, making meaningless.
He caught a glimpse of that extraordinary faculty in man, that strange, altruistic, rare, and obstinate decency which will make writers or scientists maintain their truths at the risk of death. Eppur si muove, Galileo was to say; it moves all the same. They were to be in a position to burn him if he would go on with it, with his preposterous nonsense about the earth moving round the sun, but he was to continue with the sublime assertion because there was something which he valued more than himself. The Truth. To recognize and to acknowledge What Is. That was the thing which man could do, which his English could do, his beloved, his sleeping, his now defenceless English. They might be stupid, ferocious, unpolitical, almost hopeless. But here and there, oh so seldome, oh so rare, oh so glorious, there were those all the same who would face the rack, the executioner, and even utter extinction, in the cause of something greater than themselves. Truth, that strange thing, the jest of Pilate's. Many stupid young men had thought they were dying for it, and many would continue to die for it, perhaps for a thousand years. They did not have to be right about their truth, as Galileo was to be. It was enough that they, the few and martyred, should establish a greatness, a thing above the sum of all they ignorantly had.
The Idiot. I have read it once, and find that I don't remember the events of the book very well-or even all the principal characters. But mostly the 'portrait of a truly beautiful person' that dostoevsky supposedly set out to write in that book. And I remember how Myshkin seemed so simple when I began the book, but by the end, I realized how I didn't understand him at all. the things he did. Maybe when I read it again it will be different. But the plot of these dostoevsky books can hold such twists and turns for the first-time reader- I guess that's b/c he was writing most of these books as serials that had to have cliffhangers and such. But I make marks in my books, mostly at parts where I see the author's philosophical points standing in the most stark relief. My copy of Moby Dick is positively full of these marks. The Idiot, I find has a few... Part 3, Section 5. The sickly Ippolit is reading from his 'Explanation' or whatever its called. He says his convictions are not tied to him being condemned to death. It's important for him to describe, of happiness: "you may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it." That it's the process of life-not the end or accomplished goals in it-that matter. Well. Easier said than lived! Part 3, Section 6. more of Ippolit talking-about a christian mindset. He references Jesus's parable of The Word as seeds that grow in men, couched in a description of how people are interrelated over time; its a picture of a multiplicity. Later in this section, he relates looking at a painting of Christ being taken down from the cross, at Rogozhin's house. The painting produced in him an intricate metaphor of despair over death "in the form of a huge machine of the most modern construction which, dull and insensible, has aimlessly clutched, crushed, and swallowed up a great priceless Being, a Being worth all nature and its laws, worth the whole earth, which was created perhaps solely for the sake of the advent of this Being." The way Ippolit's ideas are configured, here, reminds me of the writings of Gilles Deleuze. And the phrasing just sort of remidns me of the way everyone feels-many people feel crushed by the incomprehensible machine, in life. Many people feel martyred in their very minor ways. And it makes me think of the concept that a narrative religion like Christianity uniquely allows for a kind of socialized or externalized, shared experience of subjectivity. Like, we all know the story of this man-and it feels like our own stories at the same time. Part 4, Section 7. Myshkin's excitement (leading to a seizure) among the Epanchin's dignitary guests when he talks about what the nobility needs to become ("servants in order to be leaders"). I'm drawn to things like this because it's affirming, I guess, for me: "it really is true that we're absurd, that we're shallow, have bad habits, that we're bored, that we don't know how to look at things, that we can't understand; we're all like that." And of course he finds a way to make that into a good thing. which, it's pointed out by scholars, is very important to Dostoevsky philosophy-don't deny the earthly passions and problems in yourself, but accept them and incorporate them into your whole person. Me, I'm still working on that one.
Exoneration of Jesus Christ If Christ was in fact God, he knew all the future. Before Him like a panorama moved the history yet to be. He knew how his words would be interpreted. He knew what crimes, what horrors, what infamies, would be committed in his name. He knew that the hungry flames of persecution would climb around the limbs of countless martyrs. He knew that thousands and thousands of brave men and women would languish in dungeons in darkness, filled with pain. He knew that his church would invent and use instruments of torture; that his followers would appeal to whip and fagot, to chain and rack. He saw the horizon of the future lurid with the flames of the auto da fe. He knew what creeds would spring like poisonous fungi from every text. He saw the ignorant sects waging war against each other. He saw thousands of men, under the orders of priests, building prisons for their fellow-men. He saw thousands of scaffolds dripping with the best and bravest blood. He saw his followers using the instruments of pain. He heard the groans-saw the faces white with agony. He heard the shrieks and sobs and cries of all the moaning, martyred multitudes. He knew that commentaries would be written on his words with swords, to be read by the light of fagots. He knew that the Inquisition would be born of the teachings attributed to him. He saw the interpolations and falsehoods that hypocrisy would write and tell. He saw all wars that would be waged, and-he knew that above these fields of death, these dungeons, these rackings, these burnings, these executions, for a thousand years would float the dripping banner of the cross. He knew that hypocrisy would be robed and crowned-that cruelty and credulity would rule the world; knew that liberty would perish from the earth; knew that popes and kings in his name would enslave the souls and bodies of men; knew that they would persecute and destroy the discoverers, thinkers and inventors; knew that his church would extinguish reason's holy light and leave the world without a star. He saw his disciples extinguishing the eyes of men, flaying them alive, cutting out their tongues, searching for all the nerves of pain. He knew that in his name his followers would trade in human flesh; that cradles would be robbed and women's breasts unbabed for gold. And yet he died with voiceless lips. Why did he fail to speak? Why did he not tell his disciples, and through them the world: 'You shall not burn, imprison and torture in my name. You shall not persecute your fellow-men.' Why did he not plainly say: 'I am the Son of God, ' or, 'I am God'? Why did he not explain the Trinity? Why did he not tell the mode of baptism that was pleasing to him? Why did he not write a creed? Why did he not break the chains of slaves? Why did he not say that the Old Testament was or was not the inspired word of God? Why did he not write the New Testament himself? Why did he leave his words to ignorance, hypocrisy and chance? Why did he not say something positive, definite and satisfactory about another world? Why did he not turn the tear-stained hope of heaven into the glad knowledge of another life? Why did he not tell us something of the rights of man, of the liberty of hand and brain? Why did he go dumbly to his death, leaving the world to misery and to doubt? I will tell you why. He was a man, and did not know.
Robert G. Ingersoll