FREEDOM AND DESTINY
BY ROLLO MAY, PH.D.
It is a startling fact that freedom has been considered, throughout human history, so precious that hundreds of thousands of human beings have willingly died for it. This love of freedom is seen not only in venerated person like Giordano Bruno, who died at the stake for his freedom of belief, and Galileo, who whispered to himself in the face of the Inquisition that the earth does move around the sun, but it is also true for hosts of people whose names are forever unsung and unknown. Freedom must have some profound meaning, some basic relation to the "core" of being human, to be the object of such devotion.
BY DASHIELL HAMMETT
I first heard Personville called Poisonville by a red-haired mucker named Hickey Dewet in the Big Ship in Butte. He also called his shirt a shoit. I didn't think anything of what he had done to the city's name. Later I heard men who could manage their r's give it the same pronunciation. I still didn't see anything in it but the meaningless sort of humor that used to make richardsnary the thieves' word for dictionary. A few years later I went to Personville and learned better.
BY LAURENCE OLIVIER
Where do we start when we talk about the history of acting? Surely we have always acted; it is an instinct inherent in all of us. Some of us are better at it than others, but we all do it. The child plays games. The child cries when tears are the order of the day, endears himself to avoid criticism, smiles when necessary; he predicts what reactions we require. Look behind those eyes which are giving the beholder the laughter he expects, and you will see the veil of the actor. We have all, at one time or another, been performers, and many of us still are – politicians, playboys, cardinals and kings. We wear the robes that we have designed for ourselves, and then act out other people’s fantasies. This is singular; this is the monologue; this is the one-man show.
THE PROBLEMS OF PHILOSOPHY
BY BERTRAND RUSSELL
Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it? This question, which at first sight might not seem difficult, is really one of the most difficult that can be asked. When we have realized the obstacles in the way of a straightforward and confident answer, we shall be well launched on the study of philosophy—for philosophy is merely the attempt to answer such ultimate questions, not carelessly and dogmatically, as we do in ordinary life and even in the sciences, but critically, after exploring all that makes such questions puzzling, and after realizing all the vagueness and confusion that underlie our ordinary ideas.
THE CALL OF THE WILD
BY JACK LONDON
Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego. Because men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing into the Northland. These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost.
Last Exit To Brooklyn
By Hubert Selby Jr
They sprawled along the counter and on the chairs. Another night. Another drag of a night in the Greeks, a beatup all night diner near the Brooklyn Army base. Once in a while a doggie or seaman came in for a hamburger and played the jukebox. But they usually played some goddam hillbilly record. They tried to get the Greek to take those records off, but he'd tell them no. They come in and spend money. You sit all night and buy nothing. Are yakiddin me Alex? Ya could retire on the money we spend in here. Scatah. You don't pay my carfare. . .
BY CORMAC MCCARTHY
When they came south out of Grant County Boyd was not much more than a baby and the newly formed county they’d named Hidalgo was itself little older than the child. In the country they’d quit lay the bones of a sister and the bones of his maternal grandmother. The new country was rich and wild. You could ride clear to Mexico and not strike a crossfence. He carried Boyd before him in the bow of the saddle and named to him features of the landscape and birds and animals in both Spanish and English. In the new house they slept in the room off the kitchen and he would lie awake at night and listen to his brother’s breathing in the dark and he would whisper half aloud to him as he slept his plans for them and the life they would have.
Invitation to a Beheading
By Vladimir Nabokov
In accordance with the law the death sentence was announced to Cincinnatus C. in a whisper. All rose, exchanging smiles. The hoary judge put his mouth close to his ear, panted for a moment, made the announcement and slowly moved away, as though ungluing himself. Thereupon Cincinnatus was taken back to the fortress. The road wound around its rocky base and disappeared under the gate like a snake in a crevice. He was calm; however, he had to be supported during the journey through the long corridors, since he planted his feet unsteadily, like a child who has just learned to walk, or as if he were about to fall through like a man who has dreamt that he is walking on water only to have a sudden doubt: but is this possible? Rodion, the jailer, took a long time to unlock the door of Cincinnatus’ cell—it was the wrong key—and there was the usual fuss. At last the door yielded. Inside, the lawyer was already waiting. He sat on the cot, shoulder-deep in thought, without his dress coat (which had been forgotten on a chair in the courtroom—it was a hot day, a day that was blue all through); he jumped impatiently when the prisoner was brought in. But Cincinnatus was in no mood for talking. Even if the alternative was solitude in this cell, with its peephole like a leak in a boat—he did not care, and asked to be left alone; they all bowed to him and left.
Relativity: The Special and General Theory
By Albert Einstein
In your schooldays most of you who read this book made acquaintance with the noble building of Euclid’s geometry, and you remember—perhaps with more respect than love—the magnificent structure, on the lofty staircase of which you were chased about for uncounted hours by conscientious teachers. By reason of your past experience, you would certainly regard every one with disdain who should pronounce even the most out-of-the-way proposition of this science to be untrue. But perhaps this feeling of proud certainty would leave you immediately if someone were to ask you: “What, then, do you mean by the assertion that these propositions are true?” Let us proceed to give this question a little consideration.