Prayer before BirthI am not yet born; O hear me.Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the club-footed ghoul come near me.I am not yet born, console me.I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me, with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me, on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.I am not yet born; provide meWith water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light in the back of my mind to guide me.I am not yet born; forgive meFor the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me, my treason engendered by traitors beyond me, my life when they murder by means of my hands, my death when they live me.I am not yet born; rehearse meIn the parts I must play and the cues I must take when old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white waves call me to folly and the desert calls me to doom and the beggar refuses my gift and my children curse me.I am not yet born; O hear me,Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God come near me.I am not yet born; O fill meWith strength against those who would freeze my humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton, would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with one face, a thing and against all those who would dissipate my entirety, would blow me like thistledown hither and thither or hither and thither like water held in the hands would spill me.Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.Otherwise kill me.
Louis MacNeice
I’m not sure what to say about struggle except that it feels like a long, dark tunnel with no light at the end. You never notice until it’s over the ways it has changed you and there is no going back. We struggled a lot this year. For everyone who picked a fight with life and got the shit kicked out of them: I’m proud of you for surviving. This year I learned that cities are beautiful from rooftops even when you’re sad and that swimming in rivers while the sun sets in July will make you feel hopeful, no matter what’s going on at home. I found out my best friend is strong enough to swing me over his shoulder like I’m weightless and run down the street while I’m squealing and kicking against his chest. I found out vegan rice milk whipped cream is delicious, especially when it’s licked off the stomach of a boy you love. This year I kissed too many people with broken hearts and hands like mousetraps. If I could go back and unhurt them I would. If I could go back even farther and never meet them I would do that too. I turned 21. There’s no getting around it. I’m an adult now. Navigating the world has proved harder than I expected. There were times I was reckless. In my struggle to survive I hurt others. Apologies do not make good bandages. I’m not sure what to say about change except that it reminds me of the Bible story with the lions’ den. But you are not named Daniel and you have not been praying, so God lets the beasts get a few deep, painful swipes at you before the morning comes and you’re pulled into the light, exhausted and cut to shit. The good news is you survived. The bad news is you’re hurt and no one can heal you but yourself. You just have to find a stiff drink and a clean needle before you bleed out. And then you get up. And start over.
Clementine von Radics
One of the many signs of verbal virtuosity among intellectuals is the repackaging of words to mean things that are not only different from, but sometimes the direct opposite of, their original meanings. 'Freedom' and 'power' are among the most common of these repackaged words. The basic concept of freedom as not being subjected to other people's restrictions and of power as the ability to restrict other people's options have both been stood on their heads in some of the repackaging of these words by intellectuals discussing economic issues. Thus business enterprises who expand the public's options, either quantitatively (through lower prices) or qualitatively (through better products) are often spoken of as 'controlling' the market, whenever this results in a high percentage of consumers choosing to purchase their particular products rather than the competing products of other enterprises.In other words, when consumers decide that particular brands of products are either cheaper or better than competing brands of those products, third parties take it upon themselves to depict those who produced these particular brands as having exercised 'power' or 'control.' If, at a given time, three-quarters of the consumers prefer to buy the Acme brand of widgets to any other brand, then Acme Inc. will be said to 'control' three-quarters of the market, even though consumers control 100 percent of the market, since they can switch to another brand of widgets tomorrow if someone else comes up with a better widget, or stop buying widgets altogether if a new product comes along that makes widgets obsolete. ....by saying that businesses have 'power' because they have 'control' of their markets, this verbal virtuosity opens the way to saying that government needs to exercise its 'countervailing power' (John Kenneth Galbraith's phrase) in order to protect the public. Despite the verbal parallels, government power is in fact power, since individuals do not have a free choice as to whether or not to obey government laws and regulations, while consumers are free to ignore the products marketed by even the biggest and supposedly most 'powerful' corporations in the world.
Thomas Sowell