without ambition

hogwarts houses: study edition

gryffindor:

  • creating study groups with your friends
  • studying to do good in the world
  • flashcards!!
  • coffee at 2 am
  • being obsessed with highlighters
  • finding a secret spot to study
  • the perfect study playlist


hufflepuff

  • sitting in the park, studying
  • texting your friends little motivational quotes
  • beautiful bullet journals
  • Camomile tea
  • scented candles
  • creating the perfect study environment
  • calming yourself before an exam
  • studying to help and create


ravenclaw

  • procrastinating. a. lot
  • “oh look I spent 2 hours on wikipedia again”
  • studying to finally understand everything
  • embellishing notes with cute little drawings
  • ancient libraries
  • helping friends on the night before the exam
  • pretty desktop backgrounds
  • the sound of turning a page in a book
  • finding the perfect word to use in your essay


slytherin

  • to-do lists and vision boards
  • knowing exactly what you have to do to achieve your goal
  • finishing your essay in the middle of the night
  • „intellect without ambition is like a bird without wings“
  • succulents on your desk
  • the feeling of getting that A
  • studying to achieve greatness
Quotes from celebrities with your moon sign

Aries: Salvador Dalí: “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”

Taurus: Mother Teresa: “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

Gemini: Sigmund Freud: "Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair; they can transfer knowledge from teacher to student; words enable the orator to sway his audience and dictate its decisions.”

Cancer: Isaac Newton: "To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.”

Leo: Mahatma Gandhi: "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”

Virgo: Stephen Hawking: "One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”

Libra: William Shakespeare: "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Scorpio: Nelson Mandela: "I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

Sagittarius: Albert Einstein: "The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Capricorn: Ernest Hemingway: "The first and final thing you have to do in this world is to last it and not be smashed by it.”

Aquarius: Voltaire: "The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.”

Pisces: Leonardo DaVinci: "Why does the eye see more clearly when asleep than the imagination when awake?”

Part four of my quotes collection is dedicated to the artists! This one is a little bit longer, but this is because there were so many good artists and quotes I couldn’t pick a select few. As always, I hope you enjoy these quotes!

Leonardo da Vinci

  • “You can have no dominion greater or less than that over yourself.”
  • “Learning never exhausts the mind.”
  • “Time abides long enough for those who make use of it.”
  • “It’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
  • “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”

Vincent van Gogh

  • “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
  • “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
  • “The way to know life is to love many things.”
  • “Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.”
  • “One must work and dare if one really wants to live.”
  • “It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent.”
  • “The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others.”
  • “Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.”
  • “Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.”
  • “As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed.”

Florence Scovel Shinn

  • “Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.”
  • “You will be a failure, until you impress the subconscious with the conviction you are a success. This is done by making an affirmation which 'clicks.'”

Camille Pissarro

  • “It is absurd to look for perfection.”
  • “Everything is beautiful, all that matters is to be able to interpret.”
  • “Don’t be afraid in nature: one must be bold, at the risk of having been deceived and making mistakes.”
  • “When you do a thing with your whole soul and everything that is noble within you, you always find your counterpart.”

Pablo Picasso

  • “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.”
  • “Action is the foundational key to all success.”
  • “Everything you can imagine is real.”
  • “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
  • “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
  • “He can who thinks he can, and he can’t who thinks he can’t. This is an inexorable, indisputable law.”
  • “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

Andy Warhol

  • “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
  • “People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly.”

Salvador Dali

  • “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”
  • “Have no fear of perfection - you’ll never reach it.”
  • “Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.”

Georgia O’Keeffe

  • “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”
  • “You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare.”

Artemisia Gentileschi

  • “As long as I live I will have control over my being.”

Henri Matisse

  • “Creativity takes courage.”
  • “You study, you learn, but you guard the original naïveté. It has to be within you, as desire for drink is within the drunkard or love is within the lover.”
  • “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
  • “He who loves, flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free and nothing holds him back.”
  • “Instinct must be thwarted just as one prunes the branches of a tree so that it will grow better.”

Corita Kent

  • “Flowers grow out of dark moments.”
  • “Life is a succession of moments, to live each one is to succeed.”
  • “Love the moment and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries.”

Michaelangelo

  • “Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.”
  • “A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.”
  • “There is no greater harm than that of time wasted.”
  • “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
  • “Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come.”

littyr  asked:

what do you think drives lady macbeth's cruelty and do you sympathise with her at all?

This post and this post might be of interest. But I think ‘cruelty’ is the wrong word. Cruelty implies violence for the sake of violence and enjoyment of violence. (See here.) Lady M doesn’t revel in the violence. She doesn’t delight in it the way some of the characters in, say, Titus Andronicus do, or even Margaret in Henry VI does after the murder of Rutland/during the murder of York. For Lady M violence is always a means to an end. “Infirm of purpose” is what she calls her husband when he starts to get faint-hearted. He’s too full of the milk of human kindness “to catch the nearest way.” For her, it’s all about the outcome. The ends justify the means. Like I said in one of those posts, I think her driving force is ambition. She wants more than what she has. 

Interestingly, she never expresses any personal desire to be queen. She does, however, use the singular possessive pronoun ‘my’ when she says “The raven himself is hoarse / That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan / Under my battlements.” She claims the crime as her own, and even though the idea of murder occurs to her and her husband independently, she is the criminal mastermind. She says,you shall put / This night’s great business into my dispatch; / Which shall to all our nights and days to come / Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.” And at the end of the scene: “Leave all the rest to me.” This regicide is her baby–and I use that word very deliberately. There are a million possible explanations for why Lady Macbeth is so desperate to seize this power for her husband. My guess is it has something to do with that baby she mentions in 1.7 which doesn’t appear in the play. A woman’s function at this point in history was basically to be a baby-making machine and ensure the survival of her husband’s line. She hasn’t been able to do that (for whatever reason) and her husband, at least, is already middle-aged, so that procreation window is rapidly closing, if it’s not closed already. By early modern standards, that’s a huge dynastic failure. My guess is that her power-grabbing is about agency and compensation. Maybe she can’t continue Macbeth’s line, but she can make him king. And she does

But here’s the other part of it which I think is really important and often gets overlooked, and it goes back to the fact that Lady M never expresses a personal desire to be queen. She wants her husband to be king, and she thinks he is fully deserving of that office. “Thou wouldst be great;” she says, “Art not without ambition, but without / The illness should attend it.” AND THIS IS SO KEY. Because Lady M is nothing if not full of ambition. What she’s saying here is “You don’t have enough darkness in your soul to do this, so I’m going to do it for you.” Now. Is that somewhat fucked up? Absolutely. However, that is an enormous sacrifice to make. I’m not going to get into this in depth, but there’s a lot of natural law theory floating around in this play. What’s important to know is this: In the protestant ethos of this play, if you commit regicide, you are 100% going to be damned for eternity. There’s no doubt about that. So, in an insane backwards way, this is actually an incredibly loving, selfless thing to do on Lady M’s part. She is willing to sacrifice her own salvation to make her husband king. Let that sink in. That is so much more hardcore than just saying, “I’d take a bullet for you, babe.” She is willing to burn for all time to put him on the throne, and not only is she willing, but it’s her idea, not just something she does with her back against the wall. That is a crazy kind of love. And that’s one of my favorite things about this play. This is not a unanimous opinion by any means, but I firmly believe that even though the Macbeths are terrible tyrannical people, they are desperately, devotedly in love with one another. Their language is incredibly intimate. In his first letter Macbeth addresses his wife as “My dearest partner of greatness,” and throughout the play they are constantly struggling to help and heal one another. Theirs is a relationship built on love and equality, whatever else they do (and however their relationship is also sometimes toxic and fractures through the play). Look at Macbeth’s conversation with the doctor in 5.3 when his wife’s health begins to fail: “ If thou couldst, doctor, cast / The water of my land, find her disease, / And purge it to a sound and pristine health, / I would applaud thee to the very echo, / That should applaud again.” That. Is. Love.

So. Why does Lady Macbeth do the terrible things she does? There’s no certain answer. Ambition has a lot to do with it. But I think that ambition is rooted in guilt about what she hasn’t been able to provide her husband with, and a passionate yearning to make up for that, somehow. Leo’s character says in Inception that positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time, and I think that’s true here. Lady M doesn’t orchestrate Duncan’s murder because she’s inherently cruel. She does it for love.

Off Limits part 3 (M)

→ Reader x Blind!Chanyeol

 “I almost feel sorry for playing him.”

→ Warnings: Curse words. Smut.

Word count: 2,6K


As the thin back of the boy she was meeting up with came into view, Rose thought back to your sad eyes, your quiet demeanor and the tears she knew were pressing on the back of your eyes. She thought back to the sole reason she was doing this, your happiness and the sticky affection you had for your blind boy, with a short sigh just as the owner of the thin back turned, his dark hooded eyes finding her’s after a single second.

“Baekhyun.”

He nodded, saying nothing more than her; “Rose.”

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(this is my first masterpost sorry if it’s bad) A bullet journal has a lot of uses. A planner, homework reminders, to-do lists- but understandably, some pages could use a little of inspiration. And what better inspiration than from artists? Even without a bullet journal, quotes can be a great thing to decorate journals, your room, etcetera. So, I’ve compiled a list of quotes (some aren’t very motivational) by some of your favorite artists!

VINCENT VAN GOGH

“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.”

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

“I wish they would only take me as I am.”

“In spite of everything I shall rise again; I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.”

“I see drawings and pictures in the poorest of huts and the dirtiest of corners.”

“One must work and dare if one really wants to live.”

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.“

“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

“Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.“

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”

“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”

PABLO PICASSO

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.“

“Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.”

“Everything you can imagine is real.“

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

“Action is the foundational key to all success.“

"It takes a long time to become young.”

“Youth has no age.”

“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.”

“Sculpture is the art of the intelligence.”

“Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?”

“Give me a museum and I’ll fill it.”

“To copy others is necessary, but to copy oneself is pathetic.”

SALVADOR DALI

“Have no fear of perfection - you’ll never reach it.“

"Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.”

“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”

“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.”

“What is important is to spread confusion, not eliminate it.”

“I am not strange. I am just not normal.”

“It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself.”

“Everything alters me, but nothing changes me.”

“So little of what could happen does happen.”

“Give me two hours a day of activity, and I’ll take the other twenty-two in dreams.”

“The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret.”

JACKSON POLLOCK

“The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through.”

“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.”

“My painting does not come from the easel.”

“When I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing.”

“Love is friendship set to music.”

“The painter locks himself out of his own studio. And then has to break in like a thief.”

“The modern artist is working with space and time, and expressing his feelings rather than illustrating.”

“Energy and motion made visible- memories arrested in space.”

“Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote my pictures didn’t have any beginning or any end. He didn’t mean it as a compliment, but it was.”

“I’m very representational some of the time, and a little all of the time. But when you’re painting out of your unconscious, figures are bound to emerge.”

“Abstract art should be enjoyed just as music is enjoyed- ater awhile you may like it or you may not.”

“Each age finds its own technique… I mean, the strangeness will wear off and I think we will discover the deeper meanings in modern art.“

CLAUDE MONET

“I must have flowers always and always.”

“Color is my daylong obsession, joy and torment.“

“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.”

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.“

“I would like to paint the way a bird sings.”

“The more I live, the more I regret how little I know.“

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”

“I can only draw what I see.“

“What keeps my heart awake is colorful silence.”

“The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.“

“I don’t think I’m made for any earthly kind of pleasure.”

“The light constantly changes, and that alters the atmosphere and beauty of things every minute.“

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE

“Nobody sees a flower- really- it is so small it takes time- we haven’t time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.”

“I wish people were all trees and I think I could enjoy them then.”

“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”

“I decided to accept as true my own thinking.”

“You are one of my nicest thoughts.”

“It’s not enough to be nice in life. You’ve got to have nerve.”

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way… things I had no words for.”

“I think it’s so foolish for people to want to be happy. Happy is so momentary–you’re happy for an instant and then you start thinking again. Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.”

“Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.”

“I can’t live where I want to, I can’t go where I want to go, I can’t do what I want to, I can’t even say what I want to. I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to.”

“I’m frightened all the time. But I never let it stop me. Never!”

LEONARDO DA VINCI

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.”

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

“Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?”

“Tears come from the heart and not from the brain.”

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”

“Learning never exhausts the mind.”

“While I thought I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.”

“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.”

“I love those who can smile in trouble…”

“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”

FRIDA KAHLO

“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”

“I paint flowers so they will not die.”

“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because the subject I know best.”

“I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.”

“Nothing is absolute.”

“Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”

“My painting carries with it the message of pain.”

“There is nothing more precious than laughter.”

“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”

“I paint flowers so they will not die.”

“The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”

“I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.”

HENRI MATISSE

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

“I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things.”

“Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working.”

“Creativity takes courage.”

“An artist must not feel under any constraint.”

“We ought to view ourselves with the same curiosity and openness with which we study a tree, the sky or a thought, because we too are linked to the entire universe.”

“A certain blue enters your soul. A certain red has an effect on your blood-pressure.”

“Art should be something like a good armchair in which to rest from physical fatigue.”

“To look at something as though we had never seen it before requires great courage.”

“Impressionism is the newspaper of the soul.”

“In love, the one who runs away is the winner.”

“Cutting into color reminds me of the sculptor’s direct carving.”

MICHELANGELO

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”

“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.”

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

“Genius is eternal patience.”

“The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.”

“A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.”

“Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.”

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

“There is no greater harm than that of time wasted.”

“I am still learning.”

Sorting Hat Idea

What if instead of having the students being sorted in one house for life and having to stay in that house, there was a sorting ceremony each year? Like a Gryffindor could turn into a Hufflepuff because in the last year they’ve leart how to be kinder and value that more. And a Ravenclaw could be sorted in Slytherin, because they have understood that intelligence without ambition is pointless. And what if, once they finish Hogwarts, they can choose which house they wanna belong to. But they choose based on their experience on every house, they don’t cage themselves in one house and only one. Because no one is only one house.

Quotes From Celebrities With Your Moon Sign

Aries: Salvador Dalí: “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”

Taurus: Mother Teresa: “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

Gemini: Sigmund Freud: “Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair; they can transfer knowledge from teacher to student; words enable the orator to sway his audience and dictate its decisions.”

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4

endless list of favorite characters → penny (stardew valley)

↳ “penny quietly tends to her chores in the dim, stuffy room she is forced to call home. she is shy and modest, without any grand ambitions for life other than settling in and starting a family. she likes to cook (although her skills are questionable) and read books from the local library.”

[ @studymei‘s Inspirational quotes for bullet journals and whatever else your heart desires! ]

I have had a rather long collection of motivational and inspirational quotes on my computer for a while which I use for my white boards, exercise books and bullet journals. I thought it time I share them, because I know how difficult it can be to find any that strike a chord. 

I hope you find these useful! 

  • “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” ―Aristotle
  • “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
  • “Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections
  • “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ― Maya Angelou
  • “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” ― Lance Armstrong, Every Second Counts
  • “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” ― Vincent van Gogh
  • “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” ― Thomas Jefferson
  • “You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ― Jack London
  • “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” ― Babe Ruth
  • “There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.” ― Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain
  • “A single day is enough to make us a little larger or, another time, a little smaller.” ― Paul Klee
  • “The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it’s the small things that count.” ― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places
  • “Life gives us choices. You either grab on with both hands and just go for it, or you sit on the sidelines.” ― Christine Feehan, Night Game
  • “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.” ― Suzanne Weyn, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
  • “Dreams are only dreams until you wake up and make them real.” ― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story
  • “Take it easy, but take it.” ― Woody Guthrie
  • “A bruise is a lesson… and each lesson makes us better.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
  • “Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” ― George Lucas
  • “Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” ― Andy Rooney
  • “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” ― Paul Brandt
  • “All knowledge is worth having.” ― Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Dart
  • “Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” ― Rabindranath Tagore
  • “Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” ― Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

[There are more quotes under the tab!]

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kemmlerthekitschmaster  asked:

May I as why Catelyn clings so tightly to anti-bastard prejudices and other typical westerosi conceptions, but decides to sort of accept Brienne as being a woman-warrior?

Catelyn takes Brienne on as a sworn sword because the former finds a way to fit the latter into her “typical Westerosi conceptions” of how society works:

“And who would keep you safe, my lady?”

Her smile was wan and tired. “Why, the men of my House. Or so my lady mother taught me. My lord father, my brother, my uncle, my husband, they will keep me safe…but while they are away from me, I suppose you must fill their place, Brienne.”

It’s basically the equivalent of Pod not knowing whether to call Brienne “ser” or “m’lady.” Both he and Cat recognize Brienne’s skills and dedication, admire her personally, and are trying to honor her self-conception as a knight, but they feel the need to couch this fairly radical step in the language with which they’re familiar and comfortable. They both think of her as stepping into the man’s role, rather than considering whether or not it should be thought of as “the man’s role” in the first place. (And honestly, I think this works better than if they both instantly embraced her knightly ambitions without any complication, which would feel forced and implausible.) 

As for “anti-bastard prejudices,” while I’m not remotely justifying how Cat treated Jon personally, we need to remember that what she’s angry about isn’t that Ned had a bastard. She makes it clear that she’s (again) familiar and comfortable with the concept. What angers her is that Ned brought Jon home and installed him in Winterfell before Cat and Robb got there; it’s a political slight more than a personal one, especially given that Cat is an outsider in the North. Again, there’s no justification for treating Jon himself poorly, but there is sound political logic in Catelyn not wanting Jon at Winterfell, and Ned definitely should’ve sent him to White Harbor instead. 

anonymous asked:

What are thoughts when Americans say the US will lose it's important role as a superpower to China or whoever?

I have a lot of thoughts on this. I think it’s possible that China will overtake the US as the predominant world power at some point over the next century, but it’s far from guaranteed. It’s useful to imagine three scenarios to illustrate a range of possibilities: 

  1. China-pessimistic: China stagnates. The CPC fails to continue development at current rates or experiences a severe crash it can’t manage. The failure of the CPC to continue delivering economic gains to Chinese citizens opens the door for demands for significant democratization, likely leading to state repression and a reversal of any gains made in political liberalization.
  2. Middle-way: China meets the US in strength. China continues to develop, albeit at a slower rate than before, and fully meets the United States in global power at some point over the century, establishing a new bipolar international system.
  3. China-optimistic: China overtakes the US. The CPC overcomes structural problems in the Chinese economy and keeps China on a path of strong growth, allowing for an expansion of international influence. The Party allows for greater cultural freedom, giving them cultural exports to compliment their new international roles. This leads to China overcoming the US at some point over the next century.

The actual reality, as I imagine, could be any shade of gray in between those options. I tend to gravitate towards the middle way. There’s a number of factors that make me skeptical of the idea China will be able to blow past the United States in global power. I’ll break this up into two parts: economic and military.

  • Chinese GDP growth, even after accounting for their inflated numbers, is almost certainly higher than American GDP growth. However, growth rates have been trending downwards for years. For 2016, China published its annual lowest growth rate since 1990- the year following the turbulence of the Tiananmen Square protests- and it was only even that high because of a significant government stimulus. There’s a number of reasons for China’s economic slowdown:
    • Like the US, the country is in the early stages of a pretty significant demographic crisis, but unlike the US, their’s is due primarily to the one-child policy. The portion of the population in the workforce is on the decline, while the portion of the population needing support in old age is on the rise. This demographic transition will much harder for China to handle than the US due to their lower state of development.
    • The Chinese economy is worryingly over-leveraged. Indeed, some critics go as far as to say that the Chinese economic model is based around inefficient debt-based overinvestment. Here are two good articles on the topic: one arguing we should worry about Chinese debt causing a financial crisis, and one arguing we shouldn’t.
    • Tyler Cowen gives a good, simple argument in the video below about a structural problem that the Chinese economy has hit which partially explains their over-reliance on debt-based investment. China could achieve massive gains in growth in earlier decades by grabbing all of the “low-hanging fruit,” all of the reforms that a dictatorship can accomplish quite easily which are necessary to create a sound economy- liberalizing trade; investing in the basics like infrastructure, transportation, housing, etc.; and so on. High levels of investment were enabled by its high levels of pre-reform savings, allowing for an explosion in growth once liberalization occurred. However, as they’ve reached a higher level of economic development, they’re now faced with much more complex problems that a dictatorship is less well-equipped to deal with: creating systems like education and healthcare which are hard to design and which require a lot of feedback from those most closely involved in them, creating an environment for market-based entrepreneurship, etc. Instead of going after those hard tasks, the Chinese government has continued to poor investment into enterprises with lower and lower returns, leading to overcapacity in a number of sectors in the economy. They waste all this money on inefficient investments to keep the economy propped up and make it look like it’s growing at a fast pace so as to keep the loyalty of Chinese citizens, attract foreign investors, and so on. I strongly recommend the video.

    • All of this complicates the CPC’s ultimate goal of moving China from an export-based economy to a domestic consumption-based economy. Accomplishing this goal would make the Chinese economy significantly more stable, and is probably a smart move for long-term prosperity. Doing that requires a number of things: raising wages, establishing a stronger social safety net, improving education in both quality and reach, and liberalizing markets. That’s a transition that will be difficult to accomplish for the CPC, especially as they’re trying to simultaneously balance their debt burden and their oncoming demographic crisis.
    • Add to that balancing act one final problem: enormous levels of pollution in Chinese cities that do significant damage to their economy. Part of the reason for this is not only China’s massive population, but also the inefficient nature of their economy. In a quote I linked to earlier, Chinese economist Gao Shangquan points out that, from 1949-2009, China’s GDP increased 14-fold, but its consumption of natural resources increased 40-fold. But, even with this fact aside, keeping Chinese growth high over several more decades to come will only bring greater environmental challenges, which need to be dealt far sooner than later.
    • All of this is greatly complicated by the fact that the Chinese government can’t necessarily sacrifice short-term growth for long-term gains, because, to quote Evan Osnos (in his book, “Age of Ambition”): “without ideology, the legitimacy of the Chinese government rest[s] ever more on its satisfying and pleasing the public.” A failure to deliver material goods to Chinese citizens would allow for the emergence of the popular pressures for democratization that the CPC is trying to repress.
  • China’s military is strong and growing, but they’re still far behind the US in their ability to project power internationally. 
    • The United States has a military presence all over the world, while China has only just announced the creation of its first overseas military base (this, as part of an overarching trend of China breaking with it’s anti-colonial past).
    • The Chinese Navy is at a natural geographical disadvantage compared to the United States, being surrounded by the Korean Peninsula, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia; while the US has unimpeded access to both the Pacific and Atlantic. This natural disadvantage is likely part of the reason they’re pursuing claims of territorial control over the East and South China Seas so aggressively. And, as I’ve briefly mentioned elsewhere, it seems like China is currently more focused on the development of a regional, “green-water” Navy than the type of sea force capable of projecting power globally. This may be a temporary orientation on their part, attempting to appear humble and, to use Deng Xiaoping’s phrase, “lie low” until they have the ability to construct a larger navy.
    • The Chinese military suffers from problems of corruption and is in some ways less powerful than it portrays itself.
      • As a counterpoint: as is discussed in that second link, China has responded to its comparative military weaknesses by placing focus on high-tech “asymmetric” military capabilities meant to interfere with America’s command of the commons: anti-satellite technology, drones, cyberattack capabilities, etc.
    • As for soft power, China is doing very well on the institutional end and very poorly on the cultural end. Investment in Africa, getting the Renminbi elevated to the status of a key global currency, and the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as an alternative to the World Bank are all very smart moves on the part of Beijing to claim a larger role in the international system. The last, in particular, is important considering the dominance of the US and Europe over the current international finance system. However, China’s restrictions on artistic expression and risk-taking prevent them from developing cultural exports that can be used to further spread China’s influence (See: the “Kung Fu Panda” problem).

In sum, though China’s rise may sometimes seem inevitable, it has a number of obstacles preventing it from matching the US in global power. First, further economic development requires an extremely precarious balance between sometimes conflicting goals (management of demographic problems, deleveraging, shifting to a consumption-based economy, anti-pollution measures), and the stakes are high due to the importance of maintaining economic growth. Second, China is significantly behind the US in its ability to project global military power, though it has shown signs of starting to compete for international political influence. I imagine China will continue to grow in power both absolutely and relatively, but I’m skeptical of the idea that it will easily overpower the United States at any point in the near future.

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson