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Don't Forget to Breathe

Ashim Shanker

Top 10 Best Quotes

“There will be times in which things appear hopeless. You will begin to doubt everything around you. You will even begin to doubt yourself. You will think things will never look up and you may be in the deepest, darkest, loneliest place in the world. Everything which had once been infused with wonder may appear disappointing and harsh. You may grow cynical and come to believe that this is simply the way the world is...that one must bear with the unforgiving realities of the world and only hope that it doesn’t get worse. You might grow suspicious of others, as adults tend to do, and close yourself off from the rest of the world. You might just look to the past and reminisce about better days...or you might just dwell in one place for a little too long and become nostalgic for the future. Just remember—regardless of where you are, what experiences you have, and who you have become—that there will always be those who have loved you. Those whom you may have taken for granted, but have nonetheless, always had you in their hearts and in their hopes and wishes. Lives that you have touched: whether you realize it or not. To separation you may venture, but indissolubly in union shall you will always be at the whims of forces, both great and small, and far beyond your capacity to control. That’s how all our stories go. Innumerable arcs intersect and scatter into a vast indefinite sea.”

“Light and Dark: each was unaware that the other existed.”

“At one moment, his eyes sparkled in the light and in the next they were enshrouded in shadow. What connected those bands of light and dark? Could they indeed have been distinct entities?”

“[He] seemed to possess, beneath it all, an immutable sense of self-assurance, but in addition to that, the look of a man ensnared by what he perceived to be his own Duty. A Duty that effervesced inside of him impatiently, dry at the mouth, shaking feverishly, and holding its breath in anticipation for—not his action, but in fact—the fruits of his actions, however distant these may have been. The goal was to satiate its thirst in as few moves as possible, instilling each action with an almost implied necessity for having a motive by which it must exist, which is to say that no action was to be wasted for anything, but only for that which was rooted in some definable and clear-cut purpose...Every action had to be a step in some direction and there could be no dillydallying, for Duty bubbling in the bloodstream for too long brought with it a kind of sickness...from which it was difficult to recover. Neither could there be any reconsideration, for the values to which one has sworn were unassailable and beyond the powers of one individual to reassess. And so, Duty, once instilled, must be allowed to carry on unabated, diverting sustenance away from other aspects of one’s character—driving them to a weakened state, brow-beaten by circumstances beyond their immediate control and relegated to their own downtrodden acquiescence to the bravado of the Parasitic Superego, and, as such, cognizant of their growing superfluity.”

“The...act of surrender—or devotion, as the case may be—was, to him, a kind of lifeline for those who sought a quick answer and didn’t want to stick around long enough to see their doubt through to its ultimate conclusion. A conclusion, which, of itself, was a bittersweet paradox—for how could doubt simply cease to exist by any stretch of the imagination? Doubt was, nonetheless—from his own perspective—the only inclusive insight into the nature of a Truth exclusive of conditions.”

“He may actually have been existing in the past and approximating a conceivable future, which brought even the assumption of his immediate perceptions as being in the present into doubt. And thus, he couldn’t—beyond a hint of skepticism—say that he truly existed right now and in this moment, but instead it seemed more rational to assume that he simply existed and nothing more.”

“All high mathematics serves to do is to beget higher mathematics.”

“Their quarry had been cornered in his defenses and their bloodlust was such that they were likely to pay top Julep to watch him escape, so that he might be brutalized and killed before their very eyes, as this was much more gratifying to them than simply watching justice be enacted. They, too, understood that societal constructs for justice were moderate gratification, at best, as they were empty and subject to contradictions and compromises steeped in moral relativism and an unconditional dependence upon overblown semantics that made the law a mockery of itself. As for the ideologies that these hollow systems of jurisprudence sought to define and uphold: these could easily be subjugated through a meticulous analysis of the trivial components of one statute or another. The rule of law had failed them. What the people wanted, in its stead, was rather simple: moral absolutes. Good versus evil. And evil was not to be simply prevailed over. Evil was to be dominated and effectively eliminated, because as long as it was able to while away the time somewhere—in some sweaty prison cell, far away, staring out the barred window with a wry smile, as it plotted its next offensive on the Common Good, a sense of wholeness could not be achieved.”

“The fundamental basis by which the court’s decision might be made is, in itself, imperfect and subject to contradictions. There is very little consideration given to a priori knowledge regarding the circumstances being presented and as a result, arguments must be made empirically, under the assumption that assumptions themselves are, in fact, likely to give way to specious reasoning...Decisions must be made meticulously and according to specific, yet immeasurable criteria that can only be further manipulated by any cunning lawyer with the ability to make emotional pleas based on a requisite amount of inconsequential evidence to affect a decision beneficial to his clients. And so, in this respect, the law is capable of proving nothing except that its absurd attention to detail is really a kind of a façade meant to cover up the fact that a truly logical and just way to deal with such matters has not yet been devised. And the absence of adequate definition to its principles has given way to a kind of apathy among the men employed by the courts, who want nothing more now than to make a living for themselves and their families and not work themselves into too much of a frenzy about how little can be changed through their own initiative. Thus things aren’t likely to.”

“The Coach’s head was oblong with tiny slits that served as eyes, which drifted in tides slowly inward, as though the face itself were the sea or, in fact, a soup of macromolecules through which objects might drift, leaving in their wake, ripples of nothingness. The eyes—they floated adrift like land masses before locking in symmetrically at seemingly prescribed positions off-center, while managing to be so closely drawn into the very middle of the face section that it might have seemed unnecessary for there to have been two eyes when, quite likely, one would easily have sufficed. These aimless, floating eyes were not the Coach’s only distinctive feature—for, in fact, connected to the interior of each eyelid by a web-like layer of rubbery pink tissue was a kind of snout which, unlike the eyes, remained fixed in its position among the tides of the face, arcing narrowly inward at the edges of its sharp extremities into a serrated beak-like projection that hooked downward at its tip, in a fashion similar to that of a falcon’s beak. This snout—or beak, rather—was, in fact, so long and came to such a fine point that as the eyes swirled through the soup of macromolecules that comprised the man’s face, it almost appeared—due to the seeming thinness of the pink tissue—that the eyes functioned as kinds of optical tether balls that moved synchronously across the face like mirror images of one another. 'I wore my lizard mask as I entered the tram, last evening, and people found me fearless,' the Coach remarked, enunciating each word carefully through the hollow clack-clacking sound of his beak, as its edges clapped together. 'I might have exchanged it for that of an ox and then thought better. A lizard goes best with scales, don’t you think?' Bunnu nodded as he quietly wondered how the Coach could manage to fit that phallic monstrosity of a beak into any kind of mask, unless, in fact, this disguise of which he spoke, had been specially designed for his face and divided into sections in such a way that they could be readily attached to different areas—as though one were assembling a new face—in overlapping layers, so as to veil, or perhaps even amplify certain distinguishable features. All the same, in doing so, one could only imagine this lizard mask to be enormous to the extent that it would be disproportionate with the rest of the Coach’s body. But then, there were ways to mask space, as well—to bend light, perhaps, to create the illusion that something was perceptibly larger or smaller, wider or narrower, rounder or more linear than it was in actuality. That is to say, any form of prosthesis designed for the purposes of affecting remedial space might, for example, have had the capability of creating the appearance of a gap of void in occupied space. An ornament hangs from the chin, let’s say, as an accessory meant to contour smoothly inward what might otherwise appear to be hanging jowls. This surely wouldn’t be the exact use that the Coach would have for such a device—as he had no jowls to speak of—though he could certainly see the benefit of the accessory’s ingenuity. This being said, the lizard mask might have appeared natural rather than disproportionate given the right set of circumstances. Whatever the case, there was no way of even knowing if the Coach wasn’t, in fact, already wearing a mask, at this very moment, rendering Bunnu’s initial appraisal of his character—as determined by a rudimentary physiognomic analysis of his features—a matter now subject to doubt. And thus, any conjecture that could be made with respect to the dimensions or components of a lizard mask—not to speak of the motives of its wearer—seemed not only impractical, but also irrelevant at this point in time.”

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Book Keywords:

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