Love with someone else, an actual person, was another matter. People got hurt doing that. People cried and wrapped their arms around themselves and rocked with loss. Loving words got turned to fierce, sharp, whip-cracks of anger that lefft permanent marks. At the least, it disappointed you. At most, it damaged you.
The most important thing for any con artist is never to think like a mark. Marks think they can get something for nothing. Marks think they can get what they don’t deserve and could never deserve. Marks are stupid and pathetic and sad. Marks think they’re going to go home one night and have the girl they’ve loved since they were a kid suddenly love them back. Marks forget that whenever something’s too good to be true, that’s because it’s a con.
Do you doubt that the least effects of nature were not used as marks of the wrath of heaven? It was to the interest of pontiffs, priests, and augurs, as much as it is to the interest of lawyers and doctors that there should be lawsuits and sickness. No wonder they took care that the people should not grow slack in their religion.
In the founders of great families, titles or attributes of honor are generally correspondent with the virtues of the person to whom they are applied; but in their descendants they are too often the marks rather of grandeur than of merit. The stamp and denomination still continue, but the intrinsic value is frequently lost.
An argument is made that there are just too many question marks about the near future; wouldn't it be better to wait until things clear up a bit? You know the prose: "Maintain buying reserves until current uncertainties are resolved," etc. Before reaching for that crutch, face up to two unpleasant facts: The future is never clear and you pay a very high price for a cheery consensus. Uncertainty actually is the friend of the buyer of long-term values.
What I got was not so much gifts and whishes come trues but a feeling of peace. I got peace itself, actually. And when you have peace, you can be strong; and when you are strong, you can get through what you have to get through, and not with exhaustion and frown marks and slumped shoulders but with relative happiness, and humor, and sometimes even gaiety.
Historical chronology, human or geological, depends. . . upon comparable impersonal principles. If one scribes with a stylus on a plate of wet clay two marks, the second crossing the first, another person on examining these marks can tell unambiguously which was made first and which second, because the latter event irreversibly disturbs its predecessor. In virtue of the fact that most of the rocks of the earth contain imprints of a succession of such irreversible events, an unambiguous working out of the chronological sequence of these events becomes possible.
As the work progresses the careful reader will insert mental interrogation points here and there. He will find that his interest increases as the interrogation points become more frequent, and that it culminates where they are changed to marks of positive dissent. I venture to record the opinion that the value of the work reaches a maximum in a passage that is demonstrably incorrect.
There are no accidents in Nature. Every motion of the constantly shifting bodies in the world is timed to the occasion for some definite, fore-ordered end. The flowers blossom in obedience to the same law that marks the course of constellations, and the song of a bird is the echo of a universal symphony. Nature is one, and to me the greatest delight of observation and study is to discover new unities in this all-embracing and eternal harmony.