The study of letters is the study of the operation of human force, of human freedom and activity; the study of nature is the study of the operation of non-human forces, of human limitation and passivity. The contemplation of human force and activity tends naturally to heighten our own force and activity; the contemplation of human limits and passivity tends rather to check it. Therefore the men who have had the humanistic training have played, and yet play, so prominent a part in human affairs, in spite of their prodigious ignorance of the universe.
There can be no doubt that the chief fault we have developed, through the long course of human evolution, is a certain basic passivity. When provoked by challenges, human beings are magnificent. When life is quiet and even, we take the path of least resistance, and then wonder why we feel bored. A man who is determined and active doesn't pay much attention to 'luck'. If things go badly, he takes a deep breath and redoubles his effort. And he quickly discovers that his moments of deepest happiness often come after such efforts. The man who has become accustomed to a passive existence becomes preoccupied with 'luck'; it may become an obsession. When things go well, he is delighted and good humored; when they go badly, he becomes gloomy and petulant. He is unhappy-or dissatisfied-most of the time, for even when he has no cause for complaint, he feels that gratitude would be premature; things might go wrong at any moment; you can't really trust the world... Gambling is one basic response to this passivity, revealing the obsession with luck, the desire to make things happen. The absurdity about this attitude is that we fail to recognize the active part we play in making life a pleasure. When my will is active, my whole mental and physical being works better, just as my digestion works better if I take exercise between meals. I gain an increasing feeling of control over my life, instead of the feeling of helplessness (what Sartre calls 'contingency') that comes from long periods of passivity. Yet even people who are intelligent enough to recognize this find the habit of passivity so deeply ingrained that they find themselves holding their breath when things go well, hoping fate will continue to be kind.
Are you as much of a criminal if you don't act when there's a crime taking place in front of you as you are one of the participants? That was something that I was thinking about a lot because there are many moments in 'Less Than Zero' where horrific things happen and Clay could do something about them, but his passivity stops him.
Bret Easton Ellis
There is an emotional promiscuity we've noticed among many good young men and women. The young man understands something of the journey of the heart. He wants to talk, to 'share the journey.' The woman is grateful to be pursued, she opens up. They share the intimacies of their lives - their wounds, their walks with God. But he never commits. He enjoys her... then leaves. And she wonders, What did I do wrong? She failed to see his passivity. He really did not ever commit or offer assurances that he would. Like Willoughby to Marianne in Sense and Sensibility. Be careful you do not offer too much of yourself to a man until you have good, solid evidence that he is a strong man willing to commit. Look at his track record with other women. Is there anything to be concerned about there? If so, bring it up. Also, does he have any close male friends - and what are they like as men? Can he hold down a job? Is he walking with God in a real and intimate way? Is he facing the wounds of his own life, and is he also demonstrating a desire to repent of Adam's passivity and/or violence? Is he headed somewhere with his life? A lot of questions, but your heart is a treasure, and we want you to offer it only to a man who is worthy and ready to handle it well.
We are not supposed to live just for others to make us happy- we are to figure out what we can do for and in the service of others- making their lives better. Most problems come from passivity- not maintaining what others (or we) have already gained! Everybody has the same opportunity- BUT you must be willing to do "the thing" to take advantage of the opportunity.
Rick And Susann Crawford
Think about every time you've seen someone being objectified, abused, enslaved. We see it constantly on the TV, in magazines, on the Internet. We've become numb, so we do nothing. The accumulation of passivity might make reading about that exploitation uncomfortable. And sometimes when I'm writing, I think of it like this: "People seem to like garbage, so here is what garbage smells like..."
The soul journey inward is when we are invited to cast aside beliefs and behaviors that no longer serve us and release all tendencies toward victimhood, stagnation, passivity, and self-destruction that keep us disempowered or cause frustration and suffering to ourselves and others. This is no easy task, and one in which we can use all the divine support possible to help us on our way. It is a time to pray.
[T]he problem was too much information. The population was being inundated with conflicting versions of increasingly complex events. People were giving up on understanding anything. The glut of information was dulling awareness, not aiding it. Overload. It encouraged passivity, not involvement.
People don't become inured to what they are shown - if that's the right way to describe what happens - because of the quantity of images dumped on them. It is passivity that dulls feeling. The states described as apathy, moral or emotional anesthesia, are full of feelings; the feelings are rage and frustration.
In the days before machinery men and women who wanted to amuse themselves were compelled, in their humble way, to be artists. Now they sit still and permit professionals to entertain them by the aid of machinery. It is difficult to believe that general artistic culture can flourish in this atmosphere of passivity.
Some observers compare elections in some countries with sports events, where people are but spectators. Moreover, elections must not be mere interludes for pushing a lever and then retreating to passivity, for democracy demands committed participation in the daily workings of society.
Alfred-Maurice de Zayas
I lean over you, your equal, offering you a mirror for your perfect nothingness, for your shadows which are neither light nor absence of light, for this void which contemplates. To all that which you are, and, for our language, are not, I add a consciousness. I make you experience your supreme identity as a relationship, I name you and define you. You become a delicious passivity.
Lacan , Derrida and Foucault are the perfect prophets for the weak, anxious academic personality, trapped in verbal formulas and perennially defeated by circumstances. They offer a self-exculpating cosmic explanation for the normal professorial state of resentment, alienation, dithering passivity and inaction.
Declare war on passivity. Hush the inner voice that insists you're over the hill, past your prime, unworthy of attaining those dreams. Disbelief is now the enemy, as is the notion of settling. Get hungry- hyena hungry. Get fired up. Find your backbone, and your wings. Flap 'em. It's the only way you'll be able to fly.
J. C. Hutchins
And the Great Adventure - the real life equivalent of all the adventure stories they'd devoured as boys - consisted of crouching in a dugout, waiting to be killed. The war that had promised so much in the way of 'manly' activity had actually delivered 'feminine' passivity, and on a scale that their mothers and sisters had hardly known. No wonder they broke down.
(From the story The Last Days of a Famous Mime) He said nothing. He was mildly annoyed at her presumption: that he had not thought this many, many times before. With perfect misunderstanding she interpreted his passivity as disdain. Wishing to hurt him, she slapped his face. Wishing to hurt her, he smiled brilliantly.
Every public space is like a billboard, with messages from the collective subconscious of the nation. There one can read passivity, rage indifference, fear, double standards, subversion, bad economy, a twisted definition of 'public' itself, the whole Weltanschauung - an entire range of emotions and attitudes is exposed.
A natural response when people feel overwhelmed is to retreat into various forms of passivity. If we don't try too much in life, if we limit our circle of action, we can give ourselves the illusion of control. The less we attempt, the less chances of failure. If we can make it look like we are not really responsible for our fate, for what happens to us in life, then our apparent powerlessness is more palatable.
New pressures are causing ever more people to find their main satisfaction in their consumptive role rather than in their productive role. And these pressures are bringing forward such traits as pleasure-mindedness, self-indulgence, materialism, and passivity as conspicuous elements of the American character.
In the voyeurism of Reality TV, the viewer's passivity is kept intact, pampered and massaged and force-fed Chicken McNuggets of carefully edited snippets that permit him or her to sit in easy judgment and feel superior at watching familiar strangers make fools of themselves. Reality TV looks in only one direction: down.
Across all Cinderella versions it was clear that the 21st century was not very much in evidence, particularly in the character of Cinderella so it seemed, it felt actually as though it hadn't been done for quite some time, not with the kind of lushness that we could do it with, with an absolute removal of the passivity of Cinderella and finding an amusing way, a lighthearted but significant way of making her proactive and not a girl who's life is about waiting for a bloke.
Today's banalities apparently gain in profundity if one states that the wisdom of the past, for all its virtues, belongs to the past. The arrogance of those who come later preens itself with the notion that the past is dead and gone. ... The modern mind can no longer think thought, only can locate it in time and space. The activity of thinking decays to the passivity of classifying.
I was able to pitch a tent and carry a backpack twenty-five miles a day through mountains-I'd mastered a thousand amazing physical feats-physically I'd become undeniably confident and capable-but physical weakness had never been the problem that I had. My true problem had been passivity, the lifelong-conditioned submission that became my nature.
So generation after generation of men in love with pain and passivity serve out their time in the Zone, silent, redolent of faded sperm, terrified of dying, desperately addicted to the comforts others sell them, however useless, ugly or shallow, willing to have life defined for them by men whose only talent is for death.
Often, though, the passivity of the woman's role weighs on me, suffocates me. Rather than wait for his pleasure, I would like to take it, to run wild. Is it that which pushes me into lesbianism? It terrifies me. Do women act thus? Does June go to Henry when she wants him? Does she mount him? Does she wait for him? He guides my inexperienced hands. It is like a forest fire, to be with him. New places of my body are aroused and burnt. He is incendiary. I leave him in an unquenchable fever.
Since the social victim has been oppressed by society, he comes to feel that his individual life will be improved more by changes in society than by his own initiative. Without realizing it, he makes society rather than himself the agent of change. The power he finds in his victimization may lead him to collective action against society, but it also encourages passivity within the sphere of his personal life.
Unrequited love may be painful, but it is safely painful, because it does not involve inflicting damage on anyone but oneself, a private pain that is as bittersweet as it is self-induced. But as soon as love is reciprocated, one must be prepared to give up the passivity of simply being hurt and take on the responsibility of perpetrating hurt oneself.
Alain de Botton
So go marry someone, provided you're equally yoked and you actually like being with each other. Go get a job, provided it's not wicked. Go live somewhere in something with somebody or nobody. But put aside the passivity and the quest for complete fulfillment and the perfectionism and the preoccupation with the future, and for God's sake start making some decisions in your life. Don't wait for the liver-shiver. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will be in God's will, so just go out and do something.
You will have to learn ways of relaxing in the present. Enlightenment is not an effort to achieve something. It is a state of effortlessness. It is a state of no-action. It is a state of tremendous passivity, receptivity. You are not doing anything, you are not thinking anything, you are not planning for anything, you are not doing yoga exercises, and you are not doing any technique, any method - you are simply existing, just existing. And in that very moment... the sudden realization that all is as it should be. That's what enlightenment is!
The genuflection toward 'fairness' is a familiar newsroom piety, in practice the excuse for a good deal of autopilot reporting and lazy thinking but in theory a benign ideal. In Washington, however, a community in which the management of news has become the single overriding preoccupation of the core industry, what 'fairness' has often come to mean is a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured.
Be passive. In your passivity, God comes. Be feminine. In your femininity, God comes. Have you not watched it? Buddha looks very feminine, Krishna looks very feminine. Why? - because it is simply a metaphor. They have been depicted as feminine, graceful, to show that that is their inner quality - receptivity. When you are doing something you are being aggressive. When you are not doing anything you are non-aggressive. And God cannot be conquered; you can only allow him to conquer you.
Our civilization is locked in the grip of an ideology - corporatism. An ideology that denies and undermines the legitimacy of individuals as the citizen in a democracy. The particular imbalance of this ideology leads to a worship of self-interest and a denial of the public good. The practical effects on the individual are passivity and conformism in the areas that matter, and non-conformism in the areas that don't
John Ralston Saul
All of the evidence highlights the implicit bargain that is offered to citizens: pose no challenge and you have nothing to worry about. Mind your own business, and support or at least tolerate what we do, and you'll be fine. Put differently, you must refrain from provoking the authority that wields surveillance powers if you wish to be deemed free of wrongdoing. This is a deal that invites passivity, obedience, and conformity. The safest course, the way to ensure being "left alone," is to remain quiet, unthreatening, and compliant.