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  • 2022-05-15 1:46 PM | Thomas
    What power has love but forgiveness?

      --William Carlos Williams, poet (1883-1963)

    (2:6.9) Facing the world of personality, God is discovered to be a loving person; facing the spiritual world, he is a personal love; in religious experience he is both. Love identifies the volitional will of God. The goodness of God rests at the bottom of the divine free-willness—the universal tendency to love, show mercy, manifest patience, and minister forgiveness.

    (138:8.2) Jesus taught them to preach the forgiveness of sin through faith in God without penance or sacrifice, and that the Father in heaven loves all his children with the same eternal love.

    (188:5.2)  Divine love does not merely forgive wrongs; it absorbs and actually destroys them. The forgiveness of love utterly transcends the forgiveness of mercy. Mercy sets the guilt of evil-doing to one side; but love destroys forever the sin and all weakness resulting therefrom. Jesus brought a new method of living to Urantia. He taught us not to resist evil but to find through him a goodness which effectually destroys evil. The forgiveness of Jesus is not condonation; it is salvation from condemnation. Salvation does not slight wrongs; it makes them right. True love does not compromise nor condone hate; it destroys it. The love of Jesus is never satisfied with mere forgiveness. The Master's love implies rehabilitation, eternal survival. It is altogether proper to speak of salvation as redemption if you mean this eternal rehabilitation.

        William Carlos Williams was an American poet, writer, and physician closely associated with modernism and imagism.
        In addition to his writing, Williams had a long career as a physician practicing both pediatrics and general medicine. He was affiliated with Passaic General Hospital, where he served as the hospital's chief of pediatrics from 1924 until his death. The hospital, which is now known as St. Mary's General Hospital, paid tribute to Williams with a memorial plaque that states "We walk the wards that Williams walked".

  • 2022-05-07 2:19 PM | Thomas

    In a perfect union the man and woman are like a strung bow. Who is to say whether the string bends the bow, or the bow tightens the string?
      --Cyril Connolly, critic and editor (1903-1974)

    (84:6.5-7)  The differences of nature, reaction, viewpoint, and thinking between men and women, far from occasioning concern, should be regarded as highly beneficial to mankind, both individually and collectively. Many orders of universe creatures are created in dual phases of personality manifestation. Among mortals, Material Sons, and midsoniters, this difference is described as male and female; among seraphim, cherubim, and Morontia Companions, it has been denominated positive or aggressive and negative or retiring. Such dual associations greatly multiply versatility and overcome inherent limitations, even as do certain triune associations in the Paradise-Havona system.
        Men and women need each other in their morontial and spiritual as well as in their mortal careers. The differences in viewpoint between male and female persist even beyond the first life and throughout the local and superuniverse ascensions. And even in Havona, the pilgrims who were once men and women will still be aiding each other in the Paradise ascent. Never, even in the Corps of the Finality, will the creature metamorphose so far as to obliterate the personality trends that humans call male and female; always will these two basic variations of humankind continue to intrigue, stimulate, encourage, and assist each other; always will they be mutually dependent on co-operation in the solution of perplexing universe problems and in the overcoming of manifold cosmic difficulties.
        While the sexes never can hope fully to understand each other, they are effectively complementary, and though co-operation is often more or less personally antagonistic, it is capable of maintaining and reproducing society. Marriage is an institution designed to compose sex differences, meanwhile effecting the continuation of civilization and insuring the reproduction of the race.

        Cyril Vernon Connolly (10 September 1903 – 26 November 1974) was an English literary critic and writer. He was the editor of the influential literary magazine Horizon (1940–49) and wrote Enemies of Promise (1938), which combined literary criticism with an autobiographical exploration of why he failed to become the successful author of fiction that he had aspired to be in his youth.
  • 2022-04-30 1:54 PM | Thomas
    Flattery won't hurt you if you don't swallow it.

      --Kin Hubbard, humorist (1868-1930)

    (75:3.9) Influenced by flattery, enthusiasm, and great personal persuasion, Eve then and there consented to embark upon the much-discussed enterprise, to add her own little scheme of world saving to the larger and more far-reaching divine plan. Before she quite realized what was transpiring, the fatal step had been taken. It was done.

    (161:2.3) Through all these years of our failure to comprehend his [Jesus] mission, he has been a faithful friend. While he makes no use of flattery, he does treat us all with equal kindness; he is invariably tender and compassionate.

    (174:0.2) And to Judas Iscariot he said: "Judas, I have loved you and have prayed that you would love your brethren. Be not weary in well doing; and I would warn you to beware the slippery paths of flattery and the poison darts of ridicule."

        Frank McKinney Hubbard, better known as Kin Hubbard, was an American cartoonist, humorist, and journalist. His most famous work was for "Abe Martin". Introduced in The Indianapolis News in December 1904, the cartoon appeared six days a week on the back page of the News for twenty-six years. The Abe Martin cartoons went into national print syndication in 1910, eventually appearing in some two hundred U.S. newspapers. Hubbard also originated and illustrated a once-a-week humor essay for the "Short Furrows" column in the Sunday edition of the News that went into syndication in 1911. The self-taught artist and writer made more than eight thousand drawings for the Indianapolis News and wrote and illustrated about a thousand essays for the "Short Furrows" column. His first published book was Collection of Indiana Lawmaker and Lobbyists (1903), followed by an annual series of Abe Martin-related books between 1906 and 1930, as well as other works such as Short Furrows (1912) and Book of Indiana (1929). Humorist Will Rogers once declared that Hubbard was "America's greatest humorist".
        A few months after introducing his Abe Martin cartoon in 1904, Hubbard moved the setting of his most famous character to the fictional town of Bloom Center in rural Brown County, Indiana. He also added more characters to the cartoon series over the years, typically communicated his many quips and sharp-eyed observations of everyday life by pairing two sentences of humorous, but unrelated observations, in each cartoon. For years after Hubbard's death in 1930, the Indianapolis News and other newspapers continued to print his Abe Martin cartoon series. In 1932, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources dedicated Brown County State Park to Hubbard and named the park's guest accommodations the Abe Martin Lodge. Hubbard was inducted into the Ohio Journalism Hall of Fame in 1939 and the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1967. His humor and quips remain in use and continue to entertain readers through the Abe Martin books, as well as Hubbard's longer essays, cartoons, and other published works.

  • 2022-04-23 6:03 PM | Thomas
    What is the opposite of two?
    A lonely me, a lonely you.

      --Richard Wilbur, poet and translator (1921-2017)

    (160:2.7) I call your attention to the fact that the Master never sends you out alone to labor for the extension of the kingdom; he always sends you out two and two.

    (193:3.2) Have you not read in the Scripture where it is written: 'It is not good for man to be alone. No man lives to himself'? And also where it says: 'He who would have friends must show himself friendly'? And did I not even send you out to teach, two and two, that you might not become lonely and fall into the mischief and miseries of isolation? You also well know that, when I was in the flesh, I did not permit myself to be alone for long periods. From the very beginning of our associations I always had two or three of you constantly by my side or else very near at hand even when I communed with the Father. Trust, therefore, and confide in one another.

        Richard Purdy Wilbur was an American poet and literary translator. One of the foremost poets of his generation, Wilbur's work, composed primarily in traditional forms, was marked by its wit, charm, and gentlemanly elegance. He was appointed the second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1987 and received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry twice, in 1957 and 1989.

  • 2022-03-27 3:27 PM | Thomas
    Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, "the greatest", but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.

      --Sydney J. Harris, journalist and author (1917-1986)

    (81:6.35) No national civilization long endures unless its educational methods and religious ideals inspire a high type of intelligent patriotism and national devotion. Without this sort of intelligent patriotism and cultural solidarity, all nations tend to disintegrate as a result of provincial jealousies and local self-interests.

    (97:7.14) This prophet of the captivity preached to his people and to those of many nations as they listened by the river in Babylon. And this second Isaiah did much to counteract the many wrong and racially egoistic concepts of the mission of the promised Messiah. But in this effort he was not wholly successful. Had the priests not dedicated themselves to the work of building up a misconceived nationalism, the teachings of the two Isaiahs would have prepared the way for the recognition and reception of the promised Messiah.

    (134:6.9) World peace cannot be maintained by treaties, diplomacy, foreign policies, alliances, balances of power, or any other type of makeshift juggling with the sovereignties of nationalism. World law must come into being and must be enforced by world government—the sovereignty of all mankind.

    (195:8.10) Without God, without religion, scientific secularism can never co-ordinate its forces, harmonize its divergent and rivalrous interests, races, and nationalisms. This secularistic human society, notwithstanding its unparalleled materialistic achievement, is slowly disintegrating. The chief cohesive force resisting this disintegration of antagonism is nationalism. And nationalism is the chief barrier to world peace.

        Sydney J. Harris was an American journalist for the Chicago Daily News and, later, the Chicago Sun-Times. He wrote 11 books and his weekday column, “Strictly Personal,” was syndicated in approximately 200 newspapers throughout the United States and Canada.
        Sydney Justin Harris was born in London, but his family moved to the United States when he was five years old. Harris grew up in Chicago, where he spent the rest of his life. He attended high school with Saul Bellow, who was his lifelong friend. In 1934, at age 17, Harris began his newspaper career with the Chicago Herald and Examiner and studied Philosophy at the University of Chicago. After university, he became a drama critic (1941) and a columnist for the Chicago Daily News (1944). He held those positions until the paper's demise in 1978 and continued to write his column for its sister paper, the Chicago Sun-Times, until his death in 1986.
        Harris's politics were considered liberal and his work landed him on the master list of Nixon political opponents. He spoke in favor of women's rights and civil rights. His last column was an essay against capital punishment.
        Harris often used aphorisms in his writings, such as this excerpt from Pieces of Eight (1982): "Superior people are only those who let it be discovered by others; the need to make it evident forfeits the very virtue they aspire to." And this from Clearing the Ground (1986): "Terrorism is what we call the violence of the weak, and we condemn it; war is what we call the violence of the strong, and we glorify it."
        He was also a drama critic, teacher, and lecturer, and he received numerous honorary doctorates during his career, including from Villa Maria College, Shimer College, and Lenoir Rhyne College. In 1980–1982 he was the visiting scholar at Lenoir-Rhyne College in North Carolina. For many years he was a member of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary. He was recognized with awards from organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In later years, he divided his time between Chicago and Door County, Wisconsin. Harris was married twice, and fathered five children. He died at age 69 of complications following heart bypass surgery.

  • 2022-03-18 4:08 PM | Thomas

    A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.
      --John Neal, author and critic (1793-1876)

    (3:5.6) Is courage—strength of character—desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments.

    (26:5.3) But long before reaching Havona, these ascendant children of time have learned to feast upon uncertainty, to fatten upon disappointment, to enthuse over apparent defeat, to invigorate in the presence of difficulties, to exhibit indomitable courage in the face of immensity, and to exercise unconquerable faith when confronted with the challenge of the inexplicable. Long since, the battle cry of these pilgrims became: "In liaison with God, nothing—absolutely nothing—is impossible."

    (48:7.7) Difficulties may challenge mediocrity and defeat the fearful, but they only stimulate the true children of the Most Highs.

        John Neal was an American writer, critic, editor, lecturer, and activist. Considered both eccentric and influential, he delivered speeches and published essays, novels, poems, and short stories between the 1810s and 1870s in the United States and Great Britain, championing American literary nationalism and regionalism in their earliest stages. Neal advanced the development of American art, fought for women's rights, advocated the end of slavery and racial prejudice, and helped establish the American gymnastics movement.
        The first American author to use natural diction and a pioneer of colloquialism, John Neal is the first to use the phrase son-of-a-bitch in a work of fiction. He attained his greatest literary achievements between 1817 and 1835, during which time he was the first American published in British literary journals, author of the first history of American literature, America's first art critic, a children's literature pioneer, and a forerunner of the American Renaissance. As one of the first men to advocate women's rights in the US and the first American lecturer on the issue, for over fifty years he supported female writers and organizers, affirmed intellectual equality between men and women, fought coverture laws against women's economic rights, and demanded suffrage, equal pay, and better education for women. He was the first American to establish a public gymnasium in the US and championed athletics to regulate violent tendencies with which he himself had struggled throughout his life.
        A largely self-educated man who attended no schools after the age of twelve, Neal was a child laborer who left self-employment in dry goods at twenty-two to pursue dual careers in law and literature. By middle age Neal had attained comfortable wealth and community standing in his native Portland, Maine, through varied business investments, arts patronage, and civic leadership.
        Neal is considered an author without a masterpiece, though his short stories are his highest literary achievements and ranked with the best of his age. Rachel Dyer is considered his best novel, "Otter-Bag, the Oneida Chief" and "David Whicher" his best tales, and The Yankee his most influential periodical. His "Rights of Women" speech (1843) at the peak of his influence as a feminist had a considerable impact on the future of the movement.

  • 2022-03-13 2:05 PM | Thomas
    It is often forgotten that (dictionaries) are artificial repositories, put together well after the languages they define. The roots of language are irrational and of a magical nature.

      --Jorge Luis Borges, writer (1899-1986)

    (0:0.2) It is exceedingly difficult to present enlarged concepts and advanced truth, in our endeavor to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception, when we are restricted to the use of a circumscribed language of the realm. But our mandate admonishes us to make every effort to convey our meanings by using the word symbols of the English tongue. We have been instructed to introduce new terms only when the concept to be portrayed finds no terminology in English which can be employed to convey such a new concept partially or even with more or less distortion of meaning.

    (0:6.2)  We cannot follow your generally accepted definitions of force, energy, and power. There is such paucity of language that we must assign multiple meanings to these terms.

    (42:2.1) It is indeed difficult to find suitable words in the English language whereby to designate and wherewith to describe the various levels of force and energy—physical, mindal, or spiritual. These narratives cannot altogether follow your accepted definitions of force, energy, and power. There is such paucity of language that we must use these terms in multiple meanings. In this paper, for example, the word energy is used to denote all phases and forms of phenomenal motion, action, and potential, while force is applied to the pregravity, and power to the postgravity, stages of energy.

    (56:10.23) This paper on Universal Unity is the twenty-fifth of a series of presentations by various authors, having been sponsored as a group by a commission of Nebadon personalities numbering twelve and acting under the direction of Mantutia Melchizedek. We indited these narratives and put them in the English language, by a technique authorized by our superiors, in the year 1934 of Urantia time.

    (94:12.1)  Paucity of terminology, together with the sentimental retention of olden nomenclature, is often provocative of the failure to understand the true significance of the evolution of religious concepts.

    (114:7.9) On many worlds the better adapted secondary midway creatures are able to attain varying degrees of contact with the Thought Adjusters of certain favorably constituted mortals through the skillful penetration of the minds of the latters' indwelling. (And it was by just such a fortuitous combination of cosmic adjustments that these revelations were materialized in the English language on Urantia.)

    (119:8.9) [This paper, depicting the seven bestowals of Christ Michael, is the sixty-third of a series of presentations, sponsored by numerous personalities, narrating the history of Urantia down to the time of Michael's appearance on earth in the likeness of mortal flesh. These papers were authorized by a Nebadon commission of twelve acting under the direction of Mantutia Melchizedek. We indited these narratives and put them in the English language, by a technique authorized by our superiors, in the year A.D. 1935 of Urantia time.]

        Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedowas an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Spanish-language and international literature. His best-known books, Ficciones (Fictions) and El Aleph (The Aleph), published in the 1940s, are compilations of short stories interconnected by common themes, including dreams, labyrinths, philosophers, libraries, mirrors, fictional writers, and mythology. Borges's works have contributed to philosophical literature and the fantasy genre, and influenced the magic realist movement in 20th century Latin American literature. His late poems converse with such cultural figures as Spinoza, Camões, and Virgil.
        Born in Buenos Aires, Borges later moved with his family to Switzerland in 1914, where he studied at the Collège de Genève. The family travelled widely in Europe, including Spain. On his return to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in surrealist literary journals. He also worked as a librarian and public lecturer. In 1955, he was appointed director of the National Public Library and professor of English Literature at the University of Buenos Aires. He became completely blind by the age of 55. Scholars have suggested that his progressive blindness helped him to create innovative literary symbols through imagination. By the 1960s, his work was translated and published widely in the United States and Europe. Borges himself was fluent in several languages.
        In 1961, he came to international attention when he received the first Formentor Prize, which he shared with Samuel Beckett. In 1971, he won the Jerusalem Prize. His international reputation was consolidated in the 1960s, aided by his works being available in English, by the Latin American Boom and by the success of García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. He dedicated his final work, The Conspirators, to the city of Geneva, Switzerland. Writer and essayist J. M. Coetzee said of him: "He, more than anyone, renovated the language of fiction and thus opened the way to a remarkable generation of Spanish-American novelists."

  • 2022-03-10 3:50 PM | Thomas
    I'm not at all contemptuous of comforts, but they have their place and it is not first.

      --E.F. Schumacher, economist and author (1911-1977)

    (3:5.14) Is pleasure—the satisfaction of happiness—desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present experiential possibilities.

    (84:8.6) Let man enjoy himself; let the human race find pleasure in a thousand and one ways; let evolutionary mankind explore all forms of legitimate self-gratification, the fruits of the long upward biologic struggle. Man has well earned some of his present-day joys and pleasures. But look you well to the goal of destiny! Pleasures are indeed suicidal if they succeed in destroying property, which has become the institution of self-maintenance; and self-gratifications have indeed cost a fatal price if they bring about the collapse of marriage, the decadence of family life, and the destruction of the home—man's supreme evolutionary acquirement and civilization's only hope of survival.

        Ernst Friedrich Schumacher was a German-British statistician and economist who is best known for his proposals for human-scale, decentralised and appropriate technologies. He served as Chief Economic Advisor to the British National Coal Board from 1950 to 1970, and founded the Intermediate Technology Development Group (now known as Practical Action) in 1966.
        In 1995, his 1973 book Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered was ranked by The Times Literary Supplement as one of the 100 most influential books published since World War II. In 1977 he published A Guide for the Perplexed as a critique of materialistic scientism and as an exploration of the nature and organisation of knowledge.

  • 2022-02-25 9:53 AM | Thomas
    People share a common nature but are trained in gender roles.

      --Lillie Devereux Blake, novelist, essayist, and reformer (1833-1913)

    (84:6.3-7) Male and female are, practically regarded, two distinct varieties of the same species living in close and intimate association. Their viewpoints and entire life reactions are essentially different; they are wholly incapable of full and real comprehension of each other. Complete understanding between the sexes is not attainable.

        Women seem to have more intuition than men, but they also appear to be somewhat less logical. Woman, however, has always been the moral standard-bearer and the spiritual leader of mankind. The hand that rocks the cradle still fraternizes with destiny.
        The differences of nature, reaction, viewpoint, and thinking between men and women, far from occasioning concern, should be regarded as highly beneficial to mankind, both individually and collectively. Many orders of universe creatures are created in dual phases of personality manifestation. Among mortals, Material Sons, and midsoniters, this difference is described as male and female; among seraphim, cherubim, and Morontia Companions, it has been denominated positive or aggressive and negative or retiring. Such dual associations greatly multiply versatility and overcome inherent limitations, even as do certain triune associations in the Paradise-Havona system.
        Men and women need each other in their morontial and spiritual as well as in their mortal careers. The differences in viewpoint between male and female persist even beyond the first life and throughout the local and superuniverse ascensions. And even in Havona, the pilgrims who were once men and women will still be aiding each other in the Paradise ascent. Never, even in the Corps of the Finality, will the creature metamorphose so far as to obliterate the personality trends that humans call male and female; always will these two basic variations of humankind continue to intrigue, stimulate, encourage, and assist each other; always will they be mutually dependent on co-operation in the solution of perplexing universe problems and in the overcoming of manifold cosmic difficulties.

        While the sexes never can hope fully to understand each other, they are effectively complementary, and though co-operation is often more or less personally antagonistic, it is capable of maintaining and reproducing society. Marriage is an institution designed to compose sex differences, meanwhile effecting the continuation of civilization and insuring the reproduction of the race.

        Lillie Devereux Blake was an American woman suffragist, reformer, and writer, born in Raleigh, North Carolina, and educated in New Haven, Connecticut. In her early years, Blake wrote several novels and for the press. In 1869, she became actively interested in the woman suffrage movement and devoted herself to pushing the reform, arranging conventions, getting up public meetings, writing articles and occasionally making lecture tours. A woman of strong affections and marked domestic tastes, she did not allow her public work to interfere with her home duties, and her speaking outside of New York City was almost wholly done in the summer, when her family was naturally scattered. In 1872, she published a novel called Fettered for Life, designed to show the many disadvantages under which women labor. In 1873, she made an application for the opening of Columbia College to young women as well as young men, presenting a class of girl students qualified to enter the university. The agitation then begun led to the establishment of Barnard College.
        In 1879, she was unanimously elected president of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association, an office which she held for eleven years. During that period, she made a tour of the State every summer, arranged conventions, and each year conducted a legislative campaign, many times addressing committees of the senate and assembly. In 1880, the school suffrage law was passed, largely through her efforts, and in each year woman suffrage bills were introduced and pushed to a vote in one or both of the branches of the legislature. In 1883, the Rev. Morgan Dix, D. D., delivered a series of Lenten discourses on " Woman," presenting a most conservative view of her duties. Blake replied to each lecture in an able address, advocating more advanced ideas. Her lectures were printed under the title of "Woman's Place To-day" (New York), and had a large sale. Among the reforms in which she was actively interested were that of securing matrons to take charge of women detained in police stations. As early as 1871, she spoke and wrote on the subject, and through her labors, in 1881 and 1882, bills were passed by the assembly, failing to become laws, however, because of the opposition of the New York City Police Department. She continued to agitate the subject, public sentiment was finally aroused, and in 1891 a law was passed enforcing this reform.
        The employment of women as census takers was first urged in 1880 by Blake. The bills giving seats to saleswomen, ordering the presence of a woman physician in every insane asylum where women were detained, and many other beneficent measures were presented or aided by her. In 1886, Blake was elected president of the New York City Woman Suffrage League. She attended conventions and made speeches in most of the U.S. state and Territories and addressed committees of both houses of Congress and of the New York and Connecticut legislatures. At the same time, she continued her literary labors. She was remembered as a graceful and logical writer, a witty and eloquent speaker and a charming hostess, her weekly receptions through the season in New York having been for many years among the attractions of literary and reform circles.

  • 2022-02-07 1:36 PM | Thomas
    Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.

      --George Bernard Shaw, (1856-1950)

    (110:6.4) When the development of the intellectual nature proceeds faster than that of the spiritual, such a situation renders communication with the Thought Adjuster both difficult and dangerous. Likewise, overspiritual development tends to produce a fanatical and perverted interpretation of the spirit leadings of the divine indweller. Lack of spiritual capacity makes it very difficult to transmit to such a material intellect the spiritual truths resident in the higher superconsciousness. It is to the mind of perfect poise, housed in a body of clean habits, stabilized neural energies, and balanced chemical function—when the physical, mental, and spiritual powers are in triune harmony of development—that a maximum of light and truth can be imparted with a minimum of temporal danger or risk to the real welfare of such a being. By such a balanced growth does man ascend the circles of planetary progression one by one, from the seventh to the first.

        George Bernard Shaw known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist. His influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. He wrote more than sixty plays, including major works such as Man and Superman (1902), Pygmalion (1912) and Saint Joan (1923). With a range incorporating both contemporary satire and historical allegory, Shaw became the leading dramatist of his generation, and in 1925 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
        Born in Dublin, Shaw moved to London in 1876, where he struggled to establish himself as a writer and novelist, and embarked on a rigorous process of self-education. By the mid-1880s he had become a respected theatre and music critic. Following a political awakening, he joined the gradualist Fabian Society and became its most prominent pamphleteer. Shaw had been writing plays for years before his first public success, Arms and the Man in 1894. Influenced by Henrik Ibsen, he sought to introduce a new realism into English-language drama, using his plays as vehicles to disseminate his political, social and religious ideas. By the early twentieth century his reputation as a dramatist was secured with a series of critical and popular successes that included Major Barbara, The Doctor's Dilemma and Caesar and Cleopatra.
        Shaw's expressed views were often contentious; he promoted eugenics and alphabet reform, and opposed vaccination and organised religion. He courted unpopularity by denouncing both sides in the First World War as equally culpable, and although not a republican, castigated British policy on Ireland in the postwar period. These stances had no lasting effect on his standing or productivity as a dramatist; the inter-war years saw a series of often ambitious plays, which achieved varying degrees of popular success. In 1938 he provided the screenplay for a filmed version of Pygmalion for which he received an Academy Award. His appetite for politics and controversy remained undiminished; by the late 1920s he had largely renounced Fabian Society gradualism and often wrote and spoke favourably of dictatorships of the right and left—he expressed admiration for both Mussolini and Stalin. In the final decade of his life he made fewer public statements, but continued to write prolifically until shortly before his death, aged ninety-four, having refused all state honours, including the Order of Merit in 1946.
        Since Shaw's death scholarly and critical opinion about his works has varied, but he has regularly been rated among British dramatists as second only to Shakespeare; analysts recognise his extensive influence on generations of English-language playwrights. The word Shavian has entered the language as encapsulating Shaw's ideas and his means of expressing them.

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