You know the theory of cell irritability?. If you take an amoeba cell and poke it a thousand times, it will change and then re-form into its original shape. And then, the thousandth time you poke this amoeba, the cell will completely collapse and become nothing. That's kind of what it's like being famous. People say hi, how are you doing, and after the thousandth time, you just get angry; you really pop.
The nurses, I have already learned, are the ones who give us the answers we're desperate for. Unlike the doctors, who fidget like they need to be somewhere else, the nurses patiently answer us as if we are the first set of parents to ever have this kind of meeting with them, instead of the thousandth.
The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal. Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner.
How paltry are the traces left behind by a life, even one concentrated around those supposed things of permanence called words. We spend our time upon the earth and then disappear, and only one one-thousandth of what we were lasts. We send all those bottles out into the ocean and so few wash up on shore.
It's extremely hard for athletes to accept what's happened to them sometimes. It's hard to be beaten by a small margin, and I've spoken with athletes who, for years afterward, have been tormented by the knowledge that, had they done something ever so slightly different, they could have been one-ten-thousandth of a second quicker.
How could people, I wondered for the ten thousandth useless time, how could people who had loved so dearly come to such a wilderness; and yet the change in us was irreversible, and neither of us would even search for a way back. It was impossible. The fire was out. Only a few live coals lurked in the ashes, searing unexpectedly at the incautious touch.
They [photographs] teach you about your own unraveling past, or about the immediacy of yesterday. They show you what you look at. If you take a photograph, you've been responsive to something, and you looked hard at it. Hard for a thousandth of a second, hard for ten minutes. But hard, nonetheless. And it's the quality of that bite that teaches you how connected you were to that thing, and where you stood in relation to it, then and now.
Shipping is the greenest method of transport. In terms of carbon emissions per ton per mile, it emits about a thousandth of aviation and about a tenth of trucking. But it's not benign, because there's so much of it. So shipping emissions are about three to four percent, almost the same as aviation's.
I tried. But I feel that I haven't given utterance to the thousandth part of what lies within me. When I go to the grave I can say as others have said, "I have finished my day's work." But I cannot say, "I have finished my life." My day's work will begin again the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley; it is a thoroughfare. It closes on the twilight, but opens on the dawn.
Society does not need more children; but it does need more loved children. Quite literally, we cannot afford unloved children - but we pay heavily for them every day. There should not be the slightest communal concern when a woman elects to destroy the life of her thousandth-of-an-ounce embryo. But all society should rise up in alarm when it hears that a baby that is not wanted is about to be born.
Every concert pianist knows that the surest way to ruin a performance is to be aware of what the fingers are doing. Every dancer and acrobat knows enough to let the mind go, let the body run itself. Every driver of a manual vehicle arrives at destinations with no recollection of the stops and turns and roads traveled in getting there. You are all sleepwalkers, whether climbing creative peaks or slogging through some mundane routine for the thousandth time. You are all sleepwalkers.
The torments of hell abide for ever.... If all the earth and sea were sand, and every thousandth year a bird should come, and take away one grain of this sand, it would be a long time ere that vast heap of sand were emptied; yet, if after all that time the damned may come out of hell, there were some hope; but this word EVER breaks the heart.
In America, it was decided to attempt the production of atomic bombs with an effort that would constitute a large part of the collective American war effort. In Germany, an effort one thousandth the scale of the American was applied to the problem of producing atomic energy that would drive engines.
When the planes still swoop down and aerial spray a field in order to kill a predator insect with pesticides, we are in the Dark Ages of commerce. Maybe one thousandth of this aerial insecticide actually prevents the infestation. The balance goes to the leaves, into the soil, into the water, into all forms of wildlife, into ourselves. What is good for the balance sheet is wasteful of resources and harmful to life.
In this model, the sun is a very tiny speck of dust indeed-a speck less than a three-thousandth of an inch in diameter ... Think of the sun as something less than a speck of dust in a vast city, of the earth as less than a millionth part of such a speck of dust, and we have perhaps as vivid a picture as the mind can really grasp of the relation of our home in space to the rest of the universe.
Finally, I decided that the proper strategy was to stare back. Boys do not have a monopoly on the Staring Business, after all. So I looked him over as Patrick acknowledged for the thousandth time his ball-lessness etc. and soon it was a staring contest. After a while the boy smiled, and then finally his blue eyes glanced away. When he looked back at me, I flicked my eyebrows up to say, I win.
And, for one- ten thousandth of a second, all of it fell away, the despair and grief and anger and pain and hunger, and the old Ben Parish rose from the dead. The eyes that impaled. The smile that slayed. In another moment, he would fade, slide back into the new Ben, the one called Zombie, and I understood something I hadn't before: He was dead, the object of my schoolgirl desires, just as the schoolgirl who desired him was dead.
Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. The nearer I approach the end, the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me. . . . For half a century I have been writing thoughts in prose, verse, history, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode, and song. I have tried them all, but I feel I have not said a thousandth part of that which is within me. When I go down to the grave, I can say "I have finished my day's work," but I cannot say "I have finished my life's work."
When Vanity kissed Vanity, a hundred happy Junes ago, he pondered o'er her breathlessly, and, that all men might ever know, he rhymed her eyes with life and death: "Thru Time I'll save my love!" he said. . . yet Beauty vanished with his breath, and, with her lovers, she was dead. . . -Ever his wit and not her eyes, ever his art and not her hair: "Who'd learn a trick in rhyme, be wise and pause before his sonnet there". . . So all my words, however true, might sing you to a thousandth June, and no one ever know that you were Beauty for an afternoon.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Think how nature makes things compared to how we humans make things." We talked about how animals don't just preserve the next generation; they typically preserve the environment for the ten-thousandth generation. While human industrial processes can produce Kevlar, it takes a temperature of thousands of degrees to do it, and the fiber is pulled through sulfuric acid. In contrast, a spider makes its silk - which per gram is several times stronger than steel - at room temperature in water.
Remember, that money is of the prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is six, turned again it is seven and threepence, and so on, till it becomes a hundred pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces every turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker. He that kills a breeding sow, destroys all her offspring to the thousandth generation. He that murders a crown, destroys all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds.
I was in no tent under leaves, sleepless and glad. There was no moon at all; along the world's coasts the sea tides would be springing strong. The air itself also has lunar tides; I lay still. Could I feel in the air an invisible sweep and surge, and an answering knock in the lungs? Or could I feel the starlight? Every minute on a square mile of this land one ten thousandth of an ounce of starlight spatters to earth. What percentage of an ounce did that make on my eyes and cheeks and arms, tapping and nudging as particles, pulsing and stroking as waves?
[T]hro ' this Air, this Ocean, and this Earth, All Nature quick, and bursting into birth. Above, how high progressive life may go? Around how wide? how deep extend below? Vast Chain of Being! which from God began, Ethereal Essence, Spirit, Substance, Man, Beast, Bird, Fish, Insect! what no Eye can see, No Glass can reach! from Infinite to Thee! From Thee to Nothing.... From Nature 's Chain whatever Link you strike, Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.... All are but parts of one stupendous Whole: Whose Body Nature is, and God the Soul.
They made a major mistake, " he blurted out, "the dumb bastards, when they didn't start by killing you first." "Benjamin Thomas Parish, that was the sweetest and most bizarre compliment anyone's ever given me." I kissed him on the cheek. He kissed me on the mouth. "You know, " I whispered, "a year ago, I would have sold my soul for that." He shook his head. "Not worth it." And, for one-ten thousandth of a second, all of it fell away, the despair and grief and anger and pain and hunger, and the old Ben Parish rose from the dead. The eyes that impaled. The smile that slayed. In another moment, he would fade, slide back into the new Ben, the one called Zombie, and I understood something I hadn't before: He was dead, the object of my schoolgirl desires, just as the schoolgirl who desired him was dead.
Not in order to justify, but simply in order to explain my lack of consistency, I say: Look at my present life and then at my former life, and you will see that I do attempt to carry them out. It is true that I have not fulfilled one thousandth part of them [Christian precepts], and I am ashamed of this, but I have failed to fulfill them not because I did not wish to, but because I was unable to. Teach me how to escape from the net of temptations that surrounds me, help me and I will fulfill them; even without help I wish and hope to fulfill them. Attack me, I do this myself, but attack me rather than the path I follow and which I point out to anyone who asks me where I think it lies. If I know the way home and am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way because I am staggering from side to side! If it is not the right way, then show me another way; but if I stagger and lose the way, you must help me, you must keep me on the true path, just as I am ready to support you. Do not mislead me, do not be glad that I have got lost, do not shout out joyfully: 'Look at him! He said he was going home, but there he is crawling into a bog!' No, do not gloat, but give me your help and support.
Having learnt from experiment and argument that a stone falls downwards, a man indubitably believes this, and always expects the law he has learnt to be fulfilled. But learning just as certainly that his will is subject to laws, he does not and cannot believe it. However often experiment and reasoning may show a man that under the same conditions and with the same character he will do the same thing as before, yet when, under the same conditions and with the same character, he approaches for the thousandth time the action that always ends in the same way, he feels as certainly convinced as before the experiment that he can act as he pleases. Every man, savage or sage, however incontestably reason and experiment may prove to him that it is impossible to imagine two different courses of action in precisely the same conditions, feels that without this irrational conception (which constitutes the essence of freedom) he cannot imagine life. He feels that, however impossible it may be, it is so, for without this conceptions of freedom not only would he be unable to understand life, but he would be unable to live for a single moment. He could not live, because all man's efforts, all his impulses to life, are only efforts to increase freedom. Wealth and poverty, fame and obscurity, power and subordination, strength and weakness, health and disease, culture and ignorance, work and leisure, repletion and hunger, virtue and vice, are only greater or lesser degrees of freedom. A man having no freedom cannot be conceived of except as deprived of life. If the conception of freedom appears to reason a senseless contradiction, like the possibility of performing two actions at one and the same instant of time, or of an effect without a cause, that only proves that consciousness is not subject to reason.
A Wish on the Sun" "I see the world beyond a tiny window that allows a glimpse of Heaven into my life. Those who dwell in that enviable light cannot hear me through the glass that muffles my cries. They do not appear to see my face pressed against this barrier. I watch them live, carefree and smiling. Even when our eyes lock-mine wide and weary-theirs squint beyond notice of me. They can't peer past the glass, the sunlight glaring off its surface. They don't see me. They won't see me. I make a wish on the sun, staring into its fiery brightness, imagining it blinding me to the beauty beyond my reach. Would my hell feel so awful then? The sun, this nearest star, absorbs my deepest wish for the thousandth time. 'Save me! Hold my hand! Pretend to care!' The light is blocked by a figure stepping past my window, and I feel the universe turn its cold shoulder on me. Despair smothers the hope that made my lips move in utterance of a desperate wish. It ebbs and weakens, but it does not die. The flicker of an ember remains, enough to ignite hope again-another time. All storms eventually cease, do they not? Once more, I press my face against the glass to view a glimpse of Heaven lived by the undeserving. I savor the sunlight, the only thing powerful enough to penetrate the window that bars me in hell. The warm rays touch me. I imagine God's fingers caressing my face-and the dying ember of hope suddenly inflames.
Richelle E. Goodrich
And under the cicadas, deeper down that the longest taproot, between and beneath the rounded black rocks and slanting slabs of sandstone in the earth, ground water is creeping. Ground water seeps and slides, across and down, across and down, leaking from here to there, minutely at a rate of a mile a year. What a tug of waters goes on! There are flings and pulls in every direction at every moment. The world is a wild wrestle under the grass; earth shall be moved. What else is going on right this minute while ground water creeps under my feet? The galaxy is careening in a slow, muffled widening. If a million solar systems are born every hour, then surely hundreds burst into being as I shift my weight to the other elbow. The sun's surface is now exploding; other stars implode and vanish, heavy and black, out of sight. Meteorites are arcing to earth invisibly all day long. On the planet, the winds are blowing: the polar easterlies, the westerlies, the northeast and southeast trades. Somewhere, someone under full sail is becalmed, in the horse latitudes, in the doldrums; in the northland, a trapper is maddened, crazed, by the eerie scent of the chinook, the sweater, a wind that can melt two feet of snow in a day. The pampero blows, and the tramontane, and the Boro, sirocco, levanter, mistral. Lick a finger; feel the now. Spring is seeping north, towards me and away from me, at sixteen miles a day. Along estuary banks of tidal rivers all over the world, snails in black clusters like currants are gliding up and down the stems of reed and sedge, migrating every moment with the dip and swing of tides. Behind me, Tinker Mountain is eroding one thousandth of an inch a year. The sharks I saw are roving up and down the coast. If the sharks cease roving, if they still their twist and rest for a moment, they die. They need new water pushed into their gills; they need dance. Somewhere east of me, on another continent, it is sunset, and starlings in breathtaking bands are winding high in the sky to their evening roost. The mantis egg cases are tied to the mock-orange hedge; within each case, within each egg, cells elongate, narrow, and split; cells bubble and curve inward, align, harden or hollow or stretch. And where are you now?