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Crossing out is an art that is, perhaps, even more difficult than writing. It requires the sharpest eye to decide what is superfluous and must be removed. And it requires ruthlessness toward yourself -- the greatest ruthlessness and self-sacrifice. You must know how to sacrifice parts in the name of the whole.
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One of the most terrible things about the English education System in Ireland is its ruthlessness...it is cold and mechanical, like the ruthlessness of an immensely powerful engine. A machine vast, complicated... It grinds night and day; it obeys immutable and predetermined laws; it is as devoid of understanding, of sympathy, of imagination, as is any other piece of machinery that performs an appointed task. Into it is fed all raw human material in Ireland; it seizes upon it inexorably and rends and compresses and remoulds...
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I can imagine nothing more wonderful than always wanting to keep a man...It's this NOT wanting to keep them, and yet not quite being able to disentangle one's self, never quite having the ruthlessness to stike at the hands on the gunwale with an oar until they let go -- that's the horrible thing.
Rose Wilder Lane
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We admire people who work hard, who are objective and thorough. We detest office politicians, toadies, bullies, and pompous asses. We abhor ruthlessness. The way up our ladder is open to everybody. In promoting people to top jobs, we are influenced as much by their character as anything else.
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But without Adolf Hitler, who was possessed of a demonic personality, a granite will, uncanny instincts, a cold ruthlessness, a remarkable intellect, a soaring imagination and - until the end, when, drunk with power and success, he overreached himself - an amazing capacity to size up people and situations, there almost certainly would never have been a Third Reich.
William L. Shirer
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I was shocked at the revelation of her vaulting ambition, her greed. I should have loathed her or, knowing what kind of a person she was, I should have realized the futility of any personal attachment, the impossibility of its maturing into something warm, human enduring. By then, I had known a bit of the prostitute's psychology, the ruthlessness which marked her relationship with men, but I ignored these.
F. Sionil Jose
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I had decided that it is the fate of my generation never to have known the noble law of the sea, and to live, instead, in an era when the captain leaves his ship not last, but first. Call it the new spirit of capitalism, ushered in with all the other forms of ruthlessness that mark contemporary times [Kushner, Rachel, Diary, London Review of Books, January 14, 2015].
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I'd much rather be hold up with a ball of yarn, tucked inside the safety of the house with my mother. Out there, you must come to grips with the rot and bone, bloom and disintegration. It's part of the world, this ruthlessness, this severed leg, this sun-bleached skull. I can't really stand it. All the signs point toward change, and all that means is death. - 140-141
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The World Trade Organization, The World Bank, The International Monetary Fund and other financial institutions virtually write economic policy and parliamentary legislation. With a deadly combination of arrogance and ruthlessness, they take their sledgehammers to fragile, interdependent, historically complex societies and devastate them, all under the fluttering banner of 'reform'.
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Clusters of distant lights was the view of Mankind that he liked the best. The lights had the archaic charm of little fires on a plain, and the frailty about them, if it did not excuse anything, at least explained a lot of Man's stubborn ruthlessness. Mankind had not started the mess that was life, after all. And on the whole, it had been an interesting species to be a part of, the girls especially, as long as you remembered to watch your back.
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In the alchemy of man's soul almost all noble attributes- courage, honor, love, hope, faith, duty, loyalty, and so on - can be transmuted into ruthlessness. Compassion alone stands apart from the continuous traffic between good and evil proceeding within us. Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion, even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.
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The public execution did not re-establish justice; it reactivated power. In the seventeenth century, and even in the early eighteenth century, it was not, therefore, with all its theatre of terror, a lingering hang-over from an earlier age. Its ruthlessness, its spectacle, its physical violence, its unbalanced play of forces, its meticulous ceremonial, its entire apparatus were inscribed in the political functioning of the penal system.
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But many people do not fully realize that there are terrible consequences when people becoming things. Self-image is deeply affected. The self-esteem of girls plummets as they reach adolescence partly because they cannot possibly escape the message that their bodies are objects, and imperfect objects at that. Boys learn that masculinity requires a kind of ruthlessness, even brutality. Violence becomes inevitable.
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The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses. No creature who began as a mathematical improbability, who was selected through millions of years of unprecedented environmental hardship and change for ruggedness, ruthlessness, cunning, and adaptability, and who in the short ten thousand years of what we may call civilization has achieved such wonders as we find about us, may be regarded as a creature without promise.
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The Great War differed from all ancient wars in the immense power of the combatants and their fearful agencies of destruction, and from all modern wars in the utter ruthlessness with which it was fought. ... Europe and large parts of Asia and Africa became one vast battlefield on which after years of struggle not armies but nations broke and ran. When all was over, Torture and Cannibalism were the only two expedients that the civilized, scientific, Christian States had been able to deny themselves: and they were of doubtful utility.
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Elizabeth was counting on Marco to keep cousin Mary occupied until after the board meeting was over. A piece of cheese might catch a mouse, but an afternoon alone with a muscular masseur would ensnare her cousin far more effectively. And afterwards, while Mary lay sated and sleeping upon a massage table, wiser heads could determine the company's future. There were times, Elizabeth thought, when success in business demanded utter ruthlessness.
Barbara Taylor Bradford
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There is no telling to what extremes of cruelty and ruthlessness a man will go when he is freed from the fears, hesitations, doubts and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgement. When we lose our individual independence in the corporateness of a mass movement, we find a new freedom- freedom to hate, bully, lie, torture, murder and betray without shame and remorse. Herein undoubtedly lies part of the attractiveness of a mass movement
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The man who did the shooting was a civilian, Peter Kakhovsky, a gifted intellectual of extreme purity of motive in whom the conviction of the necessity of regicide burned with a gem-like flame. Determined to kill, expecting to die, this brilliant and terrible apparition, his slender form bundled up in a sheepskin coat, his delicate features surmounted by a shabby top hat, shot to kill with that indiscriminate ruthlessness which was later to characterise a whole generation of revolutionary terrorists. If he could not yet murder the Tsar, he would do the next best thing.
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There is an efficiency inspired by love which goes far beyond and is much greater than the efficiency of ambition; and without love, which brings an integrated understanding of life, efficiency breeds ruthlessness. Is this not what is actually taking place all over the world? Our present education is geared to industrialization and war, its principal aim being to develop efficiency; and we are caught in this machine of ruthless competition and mutual destruction. If education leads to war, if it teaches us to destroy or be destroyed, has it not utterly failed?
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People who think of themselves as tough-minded and realistic, among them influential political leaders and businessmen as well as go-getters and hustlers of smaller caliber, tend to take it for granted that human nature is selfish and that life is a struggle in which only the fittest may survive. According to this philosophy, the basic law by which man must live, in spite of his surface veneer of civilization, is the law of the jungle. The "fittest" are those who can bring to the struggle superior force, superior cunning, and superior ruthlessness.
S. I. Hayakawa
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The vigor of a mass movement stems from the propensity of its followers for united action and self-sacrifice. When we ascribe the success of a movement to its faith, doctrine, propaganda, leadership, ruthlessness and so on, we are but referring to instruments of unification and to means used to inculcate a readiness for self-sacrifice. It is perhaps impossible to understand the nature of a mass movement unless it is recognized that their chief preoccupation is to foster, perfect and perpetuate a facility for united action and self-sacrifice.
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Henri-Georges Clouzot's cool, clammy, twisty 1955 thriller Diabolique is an almost perfect movie about a very nearly perfect murder, a film in which the artist's methods and the killers' are ideally matched, equal in cunning and in ruthlessness. The screenplay, adapted by Clouzot and three other writers from a novel by the crack French crime-fiction team of Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, is a fantastically elaborate piece of contrivance, but the scrupulous realism of the direction makes the unnatural tale somehow feel entirely likely.
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In the alchemy of man's soul almost all noble attributes-courage, honor, love, hope, faith, duty, loyalty, etc.-can be transmuted into ruthlessness. Compassion alone stands apart from the continuous traffic between good and evil proceeding within us. Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless. Nature has no compassion. It is, in the words of William Blake, "a creation that groans, living on the death; where fish and bird and beast and tree and metal and stone live by devouring." Nature accepts no excuses and the only punishment it knows is death.
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It was strange to us that none of these three victims made any attempt to resist the attack. Indeed, not one inhabitant in any of these worlds considered for a moment the possibility of resistance. In every case the attitude to disaster seemed to express itself in such terms as these: "To retaliate would be to wound our communal spirit beyond cure. We choose rather to die. The theme of spirit that we have created must inevitably be broken short, whether by the ruthlessness of the invader or by our own resort to arms. It is better to be destroyed than to triumph in slaying the spirit. Such as it is, the spirit that we have achieved is fair; and it is indestructibly woven into the tissue of the cosmos. We die praising the universe in which at least such an achievement as ours can be. We die knowing that the promise of further glory outlives us in other galaxies. We die praising the Star Maker, the Star Destroyer.
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The worst continued to worsen. What looked one day like the end proved on the next day to have been only the beginning. Nothing could have been more ingeniously designed to maximize the suffering, and also to insure that as few people as possible escape the common misfortune. The fortunate speculator who had funds to answer the first margin call presently got another and equally urgent one, and if he met that there would still be another. In the end all the money he had was extracted from him and lost. The man with the smart money, who was safely out of the market when the first crash came, naturally went back in to pick up bargains. The bargains then suffered a ruinous fall. Even the man who waited for volume of trading to return to normal and saw Wall Street become as placid as a produce market, and who then bought common stocks would see their value drop to a third or a fourth of the purchase price in the next 24 months. The Coolidge bull market was a remarkable phenomenon. The ruthlessness of its liquidation was, in its own way, equally remarkable.
John Kenneth Galbraith
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The neo-cons, or some of them, decided that they would back Clinton when he belatedly decided for Bosnia and Kosovo against Milosevic, and this even though they loathed Clinton, because the battle against religious and ethnic dictatorship in the Balkans took precedence. This, by the way, was partly a battle to save Muslims from Catholic and Christian Orthodox killers. That impressed me. The neo-cons also took the view, quite early on, that coexistence with Saddam Hussein was impossible as well as undesirable. They were dead right about that. They had furthermore been thinking about the menace of jihadism when most people were half-asleep. And then I have to say that I was rather struck by the way that the Weekly Standard and its associated voices took the decision to get rid of Trent Lott earlier this year, thus removing an embarrassment as well as a disgrace from the political scene. And their arguments were on points of principle, not 'perception.' I liked their ruthlessness here, and their seriousness, at a time when much of the liberal Left is not even seriously wrong, but frivolously wrong, and babbles without any sense of responsibility. (I mean, have you read their sub-Brechtian stuff on Halliburton... ?) And revolution from above, in some states and cases, is-as I wrote in my book A Long Short War-often preferable to the status quo, or to no revolution at all.
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