Vast Experience Quotes

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Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger, portion of truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Mystery of Marie Rogêt (C. Auguste Dupin, #2))
The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan
Surely education has no meaning unless it helps you understand the vast experience of life with all its subtleties, with its extraordinary beauty, its sorrows and joys. You may earn degrees, you may have a series of letters after your name and land a good job, but then what? What is the point of it all if in the process your mind becomes dull, weary, stupid?
J. Krishnamurti (Think on These Things)
Within each of us there is a silence, a silence as vast as the universe. And when we experience that silence, we remember who we are.
Gunilla Norris
When you touch the celestial in your heart, you will realize that the beauty of your soul is so pure, so vast and so devastating that you have no option but to merge with it. You have no option but to feel the rhythm of the universe in the rhythm of your heart.
Amit Ray (Meditation: Insights and Inspirations)
The world is supposed to be full of possibilities, but they narrow down to pretty few in most personal experience. There's lots of good fish in the sea... maybe... but the vast masses seem to be mackerel or herring, and if you're not mackerel or herring yourself, you are likely to find very few good fish in the sea.
D.H. Lawrence (Lady Chatterley's Lover)
All you want is to be happy. All your desires, whatever they may be, are longing for happiness. Basically, you wish yourself well...desire by itself is not wrong. It is life itself, the urge to grow in knowledge and experience. It is choices you make that are wrong. To imagine that some little thing-food, sex, power, fame-will make you happy is to decieve oneself. Only something as vast and deep as your real self can make you truly and lastingly happy.
Nisargadatta Maharaj
The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
Stanley Kubrick
As spiritual searchers we need to become freer and freer of the attachment to our own smallness in which we get occupied with me-me-me. Pondering on large ideas or standing in front of things which remind us of a vast scale can free us from acquisitiveness and competitiveness and from our likes and dislikes. If we sit with an increasing stillness of the body, and attune our mind to the sky or to the ocean or to the myriad stars at night, or any other indicators of vastness, the mind gradually stills and the heart is filled with quiet joy. Also recalling our own experiences in which we acted generously or with compassion for the simple delight of it without expectation of any gain can give us more confidence in the existence of a deeper goodness from which we may deviate. (39)
Ravi Ravindra (The Wisdom of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras: A New Translation and Guide by Ravi Ravindra)
Sitting on the floor, I'd replay the past in my head. Funny, that's all I did, day after day after day for half a year, and I never tired of it. What I'd been through seemed so vast, with so many facets. Vast, but real, very real, which was why the experience persisted in towering before me, like a monument lit up at night. And the thing was, it was a monument to me.
Haruki Murakami (Dance Dance Dance (The Rat #4))
Imagine for a moment that we are nothing but the product of billions of years of molecules coming together and ratcheting up through natural selection, that we are composed only of highways of fluids and chemicals sliding along roadways within billions of dancing cells, that trillions of synaptic conversations hum in parallel, that this vast egglike fabric of micron-thin circuitry runs algorithms undreamt of in modern science, and that these neural programs give rise to our decision making, loves, desires, fears, and aspirations. To me, that understanding would be a numinous experience, better than anything ever proposed in anyone's holy text.
David Eagleman (Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain)
My days I devote to reading and experiments in chemistry, and I spend many of the clear nights in the study of astronomy. There is, though I do not know how there is or why there is, a sense of infinite peace and protection in the glittering hosts of heaven. There it must be, I think, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily cares and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope.
H.G. Wells (The Island of Dr. Moreau)
There’s a vast underground network for goodness at work in this world—a web of people who’ve put reading at the center of their lives because they know from experience that reading makes them more expansive, generous people…
George Saunders (A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life)
I am easily moved to tears and rarely survive a visit to the cinema without shedding them, racked, as I am, by the most perfunctory, meretricious or even callously sentimental attempts at poignancy (something about the exterior of the human face, so vast and palpable, with the eyes and the lips: it is all writ too large for me, too immediate for me.)
Martin Amis (Experience: A Memoir)
Negativity is totally unnatural. It is a psychic pollutant, and there is a deep link between the poisoning and destruction of nature and the vast negativity that has accumulated in the collective human psyche. No other life-form on the planet knows negativity, only humans, just as no other life-form violates and poisons the Earth that sustains it. Have you ever seen an unhappy flower or a stressed oak tree? Have you some across a depressed dolphin, a frog that has a problem with self-esteem, a cat that cannot relax, or a bird that carries hatred and resentment? The only animals that may occasionally experience something akin to negativity or show signs of neurotic behavior are those that live in close contact with humans and so link into the humans mind and its insanity.
Eckhart Tolle
There is no such sense of solitude as that which we experience upon the silent and vast elevations of great mountains. Lifted high above the level of human sounds and habitations, among the wild expanses and colossal features of Nature, we are thrilled in our loneliness with a strange fear and elation – an ascent above the reach of life's expectations or companionship, and the tremblings of a wild and undefined misgivings.
J. Sheridan Le Fanu (The Haunted Baronet and Others: Ghost Stories 1861-70)
Contrary to the media circus which portrayed politicians as all-powerful figures, Kentbridge knew from experience the vast majority of US Government officials – elected or otherwise – were puppets who only had the illusion of power.
James Morcan (The Ninth Orphan (The Orphan Trilogy, #1))
Seen from the air, the male mind must look rather like the canals of Europe, with ideas being towed along well-worn towpaths by heavy-footed dray horses. There is never any doubt that they will, despite wind and weather, reach their destinations by following a simple series of connected lines. But the female mind, even in my limited experience, seems more of a vast and teeming swamp, but a swamp that knows in an instant whenever a stranger--even miles away--has so much as dipped a single toe into her waters. People who talk about this phenomenon, most of whom know nothing whatsoever about it, call it "woman's intuition.
Alan Bradley (The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia de Luce, #2))
How often since then has she wondered what might have happened if she'd tried to remain with him; if she’d returned Richard's kiss on the corner of Bleeker and McDougal, gone off somewhere (where?) with him, never bought the packet of incense or the alpaca coat with rose-shaped buttons. Couldn’t they have discovered something larger and stranger than what they've got. It is impossible not to imagine that other future, that rejected future, as taking place in Italy or France, among big sunny rooms and gardens; as being full of infidelities and great battles; as a vast and enduring romance laid over friendship so searing and profound it would accompany them to the grave and possibly even beyond. She could, she thinks, have entered another world. She could have had a life as potent and dangerous as literature itself. Or then again maybe not, Clarissa tells herself. That's who I was. This is who I am--a decent woman with a good apartment, with a stable and affectionate marriage, giving a party. Venture too far for love, she tells herself, and you renounce citizenship in the country you've made for yourself. You end up just sailing from port to port. Still, there is this sense of missed opportunity. Maybe there is nothing, ever, that can equal the recollection of having been young together. Maybe it's as simple as that. Richard was the person Clarissa loved at her most optimistic moment. Richard had stood beside her at the pond's edge at dusk, wearing cut-off jeans and rubber sandals. Richard had called her Mrs. Dalloway, and they had kissed. His mouth had opened to hers; (exciting and utterly familiar, she'd never forget it) had worked its way shyly inside until she met its own. They'd kissed and walked around the pond together. It had seemed like the beginning of happiness, and Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk. The anticipation of dinner and a book. The dinner is by now forgotten; Lessing has been long overshadowed by other writers. What lives undimmed in Clarissa's mind more than three decades later is a kiss at dusk on a patch of dead grass, and a walk around a pond as mosquitoes droned in the darkening air. There is still that singular perfection, and it's perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other.
Michael Cunningham (The Hours)
Losing a belief in free will has not made me fatalistic—in fact, it has increased my feelings of freedom. My hopes, fears, and neuroses seem less personal and indelible. There is no telling how much I might change in the future. Just as one wouldn’t draw a lasting conclusion about oneself on the basis of a brief experience of indigestion, one needn’t do so on the basis of how one has thought or behaved for vast stretches of time in the past. A creative change of inputs to the system—learning new skills, forming new relationships, adopting new habits of attention—may radically transform one’s life.
Sam Harris (Free Will)
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
Having always imagined myself in a fairly slim minority, I suddenly saw that I was in a vast company. Difference unites us. While each of these experiences can isolate those who are affected, together they compose an aggregate of millions whose struggles connect them profoundly. The exceptional is ubiquitous; to be entirely typical is the rare and lonely state.
Andrew Solomon (Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity)
The deceitfulness of the heart of man appears in no one thing so much as this of spiritual pride and self-righteousness. The subtlety of Satan appears in its height, in his managing persons with respect to this sin. And perhaps one reason may be that here he has most experience; he knows the way of its coming in; he is acquainted with the secret springs of it: it was his own sin. Experience gives vast advantage in leading souls, either in good or evil.
Jonathan Edwards (The Religious Affections)
A floorboard cracked; knuckles tapped once on the open door. Adam looked up to see Niall Lynch standing in the doorway. No, it was Ronan, face lit bright on one side, in stark shadow on the other, looking powerful and at ease with his thumbs tucked in the pockets of his jeans, leather bracelets looped over his wrist, feet bare. He wordlessly crossed the floor and sat beside Adam on the mattress. When he held out his hand, Adam put the model into it. “This old thing,” Ronan said. He turned the front tyre, and again the music played out of it. They sat like that for a few minutes, as Ronan examined the car and turned each wheel to play a different tune. Adam watched how intently Ronan studied the seams, his eyelashes low over his light eyes. Ronan let out a breath, put the model down on the bed beside him, and kissed Adam. Once, when Adam had still lived in the trailer park, he had been pushing the lawn mower around the scraggly side yard when he realized that it was raining a mile away. He could smell it, the earthy scent of rain on dirt, but also the electric, restless smell of ozone. And he could see it: a hazy gray sheet of water blocking his view of the mountains. He could track the line of rain travelling across the vast dry field towards him. It was heavy and dark, and he knew he would get drenched if he stayed outside. It was coming from so far away that he had plenty of time to put the mower away and get under cover. Instead, though, he just stood there and watched it approach. Even at the last minute, as he heard the rain pounding the grass flat, he just stood there. He closed his eyes and let the storm soak him. That was this kiss. They kissed again. Adam felt it in more than his lips. Ronan sat back, his eyes closed, swallowing. Adam watched his chest rise and fall, his eyebrows furrow. He felt as bright and dreamy and imaginary as the light through the window. He did not understand anything. It was a long moment before Ronan opened his eyes, and when he did, his expression was complicated. He stood up. He was still looking at Adam, and Adam was looking back, but neither said anything. Probably Ronan wanted something from him, but Adam didn’t know what to say. He was a magician, Persephone had said, and his magic was making connections between disparate things. Only now he was too full of white, fuzzy light to make any sort of logical connections. He knew that of all the options in the world, Ronan Lynch was the most difficult version of any of them. He knew that Ronan was not a thing to be experimented with. He knew his mouth still felt warm. He knew he had started his entire time at Aglionby certain that all he wanted to do was get as far away from this state and everything in it as possible. He was pretty sure he had just been Ronan’s first kiss. “I’m gonna go downstairs,” Ronan said.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4))
It is from the bystanders (who are in the vast majority) that we receive the propaganda that life is not worth living, that life is drudgery, that the ambitions of youth must he laid aside for a life which is but a painful wait for death. These are the ones who squeeze what excitement they can from life out of the imaginations and experiences of others through books and movies. These are the insignificant and forgotten men who preach conformity because it is all they know. These are the men who dream at night of what could have been, but who wake at dawn to take their places at the now-familiar rut and to merely exist through another day. For them, the romance of life is long dead and they are forced to go through the years on a treadmill, cursing their existence, yet afraid to die because of the unknown which faces them after death. They lacked the only true courage: the kind which enables men to face the unknown regardless of the consequences.
Hunter S. Thompson (The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967)
And right then it felt like I finally understood where everything was, eternity, the heart , the soul. It was like I was sharing every experience I'd ever had in my past 13 years. And then, the next moment, I became unbearably sad. I didn't know what to do with these feeling. Her warmth, her soul. How was I supposed to treat them? That, I did not know. Then right then, I clearly understood that we would never be together. Our lives not yet fully realized, the vast expanse of time. They lay before us and there was nothing we could do. But then, all my worries, all my doubt, started melting away. All that was left were Akari's soft lips on mine.
Makoto Shinkai (秒速5センチメートル 1 [Byousoku 5 Centimeter 1])
Adventrue rewrites the routine of our lives and wakes us sharply from the comforts of the familiar. It allows us to see how vast the expanse of our experience. Our ability to grow is no longer linear but becomes unrestricted to any direction we wish to run.
Josh Gates (Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter)
Or consider a story in the Jewish Talmud left out of the Book of Genesis. (It is in doubtful accord with the account of the apple, the Tree of Knowledge, the Fall, and the expulsion from Eden.) In The Garden, God tells Eve and Adam that He has intentionally left the Universe unfinished. It is the responsibility of humans, over countless generations, to participate with God in a "glorious" experiment - the "completing of the Creation." The burden of such a responsibility is heavy, especially on so weak and imperfect a species as ours, one with so unhappy a history. Nothing remotely like "completion" can be attempted without vastly more knowledge than we have today. But, perhaps, if our very existence is at stake, we will find ourselves able to rise to this supreme challenge.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
According to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord's work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.
George Müller
No one could have imagined the effects the Internet would have: …there’s a vast new intimacy and accidental poetry, not to mention the weirdest porn. The entire human experience seems to unveil itself like the surface of a new planet." JG Ballard, 2004
J.G. Ballard
There is nothing more alone in the universe than man. He is alone because he has the intellectual capacity to know that he is separated by a vast gulf of social memory and experiment from the lives of his animal associates.
Loren Eiseley (The Star Thrower)
pure mind is like the empty sky, without memory, supreme meditation; it is our own nature, unstirring, uncontrived, and wherever that abides is the superior mind, one in buddhahood without any sign, one in view free of limiting elaboration, one in meditation free of limiting ideation, one in conduct free of limiting endeavor, and one in fruition free of limiting attainment. vast! spacious! released as it stands! with neither realization nor non-realization; experience consummate! no mind! it is open to infinity.
Longchenpa
I would not have believed it, either. No human has ever come back from being made Pri-ya, and, although I am pleased that you have recovered from what was done to you, I am not pleased that I must now compete for you with no glamour, without the glory of my birthright. They were Unseelie, MacKayla, the foulest of the foul, the darkest of my race, the abominations. I am Seelie, and we are vastly different. I had hoped that one day, when you trusted me, you would let me share with you the ecstasy of being one like me. With no pain, MacKayla, and no price. Now that can never be. You have no idea how exquisite the experience might have been and now never will.
Karen Marie Moning (Dreamfever (Fever, #4))
Time is basically an illusion created by the mind to aid in our sense of temporal presence in the vast ocean of space. Without the neurons to create a virtual perception of the past and the future based on all our experiences, there is no actual existence of the past and the future. All that there is, is the present.
Abhijit Naskar (Love, God & Neurons: Memoir of a scientist who found himself by getting lost)
When we are self-aware, we are able to reach beyond ourselves and objectively assess others... allowing us to meet them where they are at, seeing into their needs and struggles, so we can understand the way they experience life, even if it is vastly different from the way we experience, our own.
Jaeda DeWalt
In Vienna there are shadows. The city is black and everything is done by rote. I want to be alone. I want to go to the Bohemian Forest. May, June, July, August, September, October. I must see new things and investigate them. I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds. I want to gaze with astonishment at moldy garden fences, I want to experience them all, to hear young birch plantations and trembling leaves, to see light and sun, enjoy wet, green-blue valleys in the evening, sense goldfish glinting, see white clouds building up in the sky, to speak to flowers. I want to look intently at grasses and pink people, old venerable churches, to know what little cathedrals say, to run without stopping along curving meadowy slopes across vast plains, kiss the earth and smell soft warm marshland flowers. And then I shall shape things so beautifully: fields of colour…
Egon Schiele
People who seek psychotherapy for psychological, behavioral or relationship problems tend to experience a wide range of bodily complaints...The body can express emotional issues a person may have difficulty processing consciously...I believe that the vast majority of people don't recognize what their bodies are really telling them. The way I see it, our emotions are music and our bodies are instruments that play the discordant tunes. But if we don't know how to read music, we just think the instrument is defective.
Charlette Mikulka
The diaries of opium-eaters record how, during the brief period of ecstasy, the drugged person's dreams have a temporal scope of ten, thirty, sometimes sixty years or even surpass all limits of man's ability to experience time--dreams, that is, whose imaginary time span vastly exceeds their actual duration and which are characterized by an incredible diminishment of the experience of time, with images thronging past so swiftly that, as one hashish-smoke puts it, the intoxicated user's brain seems "to have something removed, like the mainspring from a broken watch.
Thomas Mann (The Magic Mountain)
No matter what the universe has in store, it cannot take away from the fact that you were born. You’ll have some joy and some pain, and all the other experiences that make up what it’s like to be a tiny part of a grand cosmos. No matter what happens next, you were here. And even when any record of our individual lives is lost to the ages, that won’t detract from the fact that we were. We lived. We were part of the enormity. All the great and terrible parts of being alive, the shocking sublime beauty and heartbreak, the monotony, the interior thoughts, the shared pain and pleasure. It really happened. All of it. On this little world that orbits a yellow star out in the great vastness. And that alone is cause for celebration.
Sasha Sagan (For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World)
what we call expertise is really just “vast amounts of knowledge, pattern-based retrieval, and planning mechanisms acquired over many years of experience in the associated domain.” In other words, a great memory isn’t just a by-product of expertise; it is the essence of expertise.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
You know, Volkov, your talents as a drinker are only partly utilised. With such a vast wealth of alcoholic experience, you could earn a handsome living by writing drinking songs and become illustriously prosperous.
Stanley Goldyn (The Cavalier Club)
Of course, even when you see the world as a trap and posit a fundamental separation between liberation of self and transformation of society, you can still feel a compassionate impulse to help its suffering beings. In that case you tend to view the personal and the political in a sequential fashion. "I'll get enlightened first, and then I'll engage in social action." Those who are not engaged in spiritual pursuits put it differently: "I'll get my head straight first, I'll get psychoanalyzed, I'll overcome my inhibitions or neuroses or my hang-ups (whatever description you give to samsara) and then I'll wade into the fray." Presupposing that world and self are essentially separate, they imagine they can heal one before healing the other. This stance conveys the impression that human consciousness inhabits some haven, or locker-room, independent of the collective situation -- and then trots onto the playing field when it is geared up and ready. It is my experience that the world itself has a role to play in our liberation. Its very pressures, pains, and risks can wake us up -- release us from the bonds of ego and guide us home to our vast, true nature. For some of us, our love of the world is so passionate that we cannot ask it to wait until we are enlightened.
Joanna Macy (World as Lover, World as Self)
You hear a lot about the benefits of insanity or whatever - like, Dr. Karen Singh had once told me this Edgar Allan Poe quote: "The question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence." I guess she was trying to make me feel better, but I find mental disorders to be vastly overrated. Madness, in my admittedly limited experience, is accompanied by no superpowers; being mentally unwell doesn't make you loftily intelligent any more than having the flu does.
John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
Real joy means immediate expansion. If we experience pure joy, immediately our heart expands. We feel that we are flying in the divine freedom-sky. The entire length and breadth of the world becomes ours, not for us to rule over, but as an expansion of our consciousness. We become reality and vastness.
Sri Chinmoy (The Wings of Joy: Finding Your Path to Inner Peace)
The argument has long been made that we humans are by nature compassionate and empathic despite the occasional streak of meanness, but torrents of bad news throughout history have contradicted that claim, and little sound science has backed it. But try this thought experiment. Imagine the number of opportunities people around the world today might have to commit an antisocial act, from rape or murder to simple rudeness and dishonesty. Make that number the bottom of a fraction. Now for the top value you put the number of such antisocial acts that will actually occur today. That ratio of potential to enacted meanness holds at close to zero any day of the year. And if for the top value you put the number of benevolent acts performed in a given day, the ratio of kindness to cruelty will always be positive. (The news, however, comes to us as though that ratio was reversed.) Harvard's Jerome Kagan proposes this mental exercise to make a simple point about human nature: the sum total of goodness vastly outweighs that of meanness. 'Although humans inherit a biological bias that permits them to feel anger, jealousy, selfishness and envy, and to be rude, aggressive or violent,' Kagan notes, 'they inherit an even stronger biological bias for kindness, compassion, cooperation, love and nurture – especially toward those in need.' This inbuilt ethical sense, he adds, 'is a biological feature of our species.
Daniel Goleman (Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships)
The accounts of rape, wife beating, forced childbearing, medical butchering, sex-motivated murder, forced prostitution, physical mutilation, sadistic psychological abuse, and other commonplaces of female experi ence that are excavated from the past or given by contemporary survivors should leave the heart seared, the mind in anguish, the conscience in upheaval. But they do not. No matter how often these stories are told, with whatever clarity or eloquence, bitterness or sorrow, they might as well have been whispered in wind or written in sand: they disappear, as if they were nothing. The tellers and the stories are ignored or ridiculed, threatened back into silence or destroyed, and the experience of female suffering is buried in cultural invisibility and contempt… the very reality of abuse sustained by women, despite its overwhelming pervasiveness and constancy, is negated. It is negated in the transactions of everyday life, and it is negated in the history books, left out, and it is negated by those who claim to care about suffering but are blind to this suffering. The problem, simply stated, is that one must believe in the existence of the person in order to recognize the authenticity of her suffering. Neither men nor women believe in the existence of women as significant beings. It is impossible to remember as real the suffering of someone who by definition has no legitimate claim to dignity or freedom, someone who is in fact viewed as some thing, an object or an absence. And if a woman, an individual woman multiplied by billions, does not believe in her own discrete existence and therefore cannot credit the authenticity of her own suffering, she is erased, canceled out, and the meaning of her life, whatever it is, whatever it might have been, is lost. This loss cannot be calculated or comprehended. It is vast and awful, and nothing will ever make up for it.
Andrea Dworkin (Right-Wing Women)
I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on as vast a scale as I could.
Mahatma Gandhi
It is not possible for girlhood to be represented wholly—girlhood is too vast and too individual an experience.
Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)
I know from vast experience that fear talks a lot louder than courage. I need to listen to that other voice inside me, that faint one that's struggling to be heard.
Lesley Kagen (Tomorrow River)
Art invites us to become explorers and excavators of our vast internal landscapes, discovering new terrain and digging deep into the past to unearth forgotten experiences and emotion.
Jaeda DeWalt
It is the ultimate irony of history that radical individualism serves as the ideological justification of the unconstrained power of what the large majority of individuals experience as a vast anonymous power, which, without any democratic public control, regulates their lives.
Slavoj Žižek (Demanding the Impossible)
All the experiences in your life- from single conversations to your broader culture- shape the microscopic details of your brain. Neurally speaking, who you are depends on where you've been. Your brain is a relentless shape-shifter, constantly rewriting its own circuitry- and because your experiences are unique, so are the vast detailed patterns in your neural networks. Because they continue to change your whole life, your identity is a moving target; it never reaches an endpoint.
David Eagleman (The Brain: The Story of You)
For men to plunge headlong into an undertaking of vast change, they must be intensely discontented yet not destitute, and they must have the feeling that by the possession of some potent doctrine, infallible leader or some new technique they have access to a source of irresistible power. They must also have an extravagant conception of the prospects and the potentialities of the future. Finally, they must be wholly ignorant of the difficulties involved in their vast undertaking. Experience is a handicap.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
Crack had a social logic to it, a specific kind of reasoning that drew from a vast well of common experience for its symbolic resonance. Crack stood for pain and power, chaos and order, the truth behind the lie. Crack was a sociolegal logic grounded in blood.
Dimitri A. Bogazianos (5 Grams: Crack Cocaine, Rap Music, and the War on Drugs)
But it has occurred to me, on occasion, that our memories of our loved ones might not be the point. Maybe the point is their memories—all that they take away with them. What if heaven is just a vast consciousness that the dead return to? And their assignment is to report on the experiences they collected during their time on earth. The hardware store their father owned with the cat asleep on the grass seed, and the friend they used to laugh with till the tears streamed down their cheeks, and the Saturdays when their grandchildren sat next to them gluing Popsicle sticks. The spring mornings they woke up to a million birds singing their hearts out, and the summer afternoons with the swim towels hung over the porch rail, and the October air that smelled like wood smoke and apple cider, and the warm yellow windows of home when they came in on a snowy night. ‘That’s what my experience has been,’ they say, and it gets folded in with the others—one more report on what living felt like. What it was like to be alive.
Anne Tyler (A Spool of Blue Thread)
I like Russian trains. Not for comfort, of which there is none, nor speed, of which there is barely any to be spoken about, particularly when you relate it to the size of the country that must be crossed. Not even, particularly, for the view, which is inevitably repetitive, as Mother Nature decrees that her works of wonder can only occur so frequently across such a vast and cultivated space. I like Russian trains, or at least those I travelled on in the early spring of 1956, so many centuries after I gunned Lisle down in cold blood; I like the trains for the sense of unity that all these hardships create in its passengers. I suspect the experience is relative.
Claire North (The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August)
The immensity of the universe with the vastness of space and uncountable heavenly bodies is so outside our control and power. What is man compared to such awesome magnificence? It is a humbling experience to note one’s insignificance.
Sharon Lathan (Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One (Darcy Saga #1))
From the vast, invisible ocean of moonlight overhead fell, here and here, a slender, broken stream that seemed to plash against the intercepting branches and trickle to earth, forming small white pools among the clumps of laurel. But these leaks were few and served only to accentuate the blackness of his environment, which his imagination found it easy to people with all manner of unfamiliar shapes, menacing, uncanny, or merely grotesque. He to whom the portentous conspiracy of night and solitude and silence in the heart of a great forest is not an unknown experience needs not to be told what another world it all is - how even the most commonplace and familiar objects take on another character. The trees group themselves differently; they draw closer together, as if in fear. The very silence has another quality than the silence of the day. And it is full of half-heard whispers, whispers that startle - ghosts of sounds long dead. There are living sounds, too, such as are never heard under other conditions: notes of strange night birds, the cries of small animals in sudden encounters with stealthy foes, or in their dreams, a rustling in the dead leaves - it may be the leap of a wood rat, it may be the footstep of a panther. What caused the breaking of that twig? What the low, alarmed twittering in that bushful of birds? There are sounds without a name, forms without substance, translations in space of objects which have not been seen to move, movements wherein nothing is observed to change its place. Ah, children of the sunlight and the gaslight, how little you know of the world in which you live! ("A Tough Tussle")
Ambrose Bierce (Ghost Stories (Haunting Ghost Stories))
The thing about this bookshelf is that each of these books is a vast experience unto itself, while also being both self-contained and superbly useless. Reading any one of them doesn't get you anywhere particularly meaningful; you haven't arrived or graduated; you've just gone and done something that passed the time. It's like taking a long walk with a friend who's got a lot to say. There's not cumulative purpose to it - it's just an excellent way to waste your life.
Jonathan Lethem (My Ideal Bookshelf)
The mice were furious." [...] "Oh yes," said the old man mildly. "Yes well so I expect were the dogs and cats and duckbilled platypuses, but..." "Ah, but they hadn't paid for it you see, had they?" "Look," said Arthur, "would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?" [...] "Earthman, the planet you lived on was commissioned, paid for, and run by mice. It was destroyed five minutes before the completion of the purpose for which it was built, and we've got to build another one." Only one word registered with Arthur. "Mice?" he said. "Indeed Earthman." "Look, sorry - are we talking about the little white furry things with the cheese fixation and women standing on tables screaming in early sixties sit coms?" Slartibartfast coughed politely. "[...] These creatures you call mice, you see, they are not quite as they appear. They are merely the protrusion into our dimension of vast hyperintelligent pandimensional beings. The whole business with the cheese and the squeaking is just a front." The old man paused, and with a sympathetic frown continued. "They've been experimenting on you, I'm afraid.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
Our vast collections of knowledge and experience are just part of ego’s display, part of the grandiose quality of ego. We display them to the world and, in so doing, reassure ourselves that we exist, safe and secure, as “spiritual” people.
Chögyam Trungpa (Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism)
The whole world is now one vast uncontrolled experiment - the way it always was, Crake would have said - and the doctrine of unintended consequences is in full spate.
Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1))
From our first day alive on this planet, they began teaching society everything it knows and experiences. It was all brainwashing bullshit. Their trio of holy catechisms is: faith is more important than reason; inputs are more important than outcomes; hope is more important than reality. It was designed to choke your independent thinking and acting—to bring out the lowest common denominator in people—so that vast amounts of the general public would literally buy into sponsorship and preservation of their hegemonic nation. Their greatest achievement was the creation of the two-party political system; it gave only the illusion of choice, but never offered any change; it promised freedom, but only delivered more limits. In the end, you got stuck with two leading loser parties and not just one. It completed their trap of underhanded domination, and it worked masterfully. Look anywhere you go. America is a nation of submissive, dumbed-down, codependent, faith-minded zombies obsessed with celebrity gossip, buying unnecessary goods, and socializing without purpose on their electronic gadgets. The crazy thing is that people don't even know it; they still think they're free. Everywhere, people have been made into silent accomplices in the government's twisted control game. In the end, there is no way out for anyone.
Zoltan Istvan (The Transhumanist Wager)
While I generally find that great myths are great precisely because they represent and embody great universal truths (and will explore several such myths later in this book), the myth of romantic love is a dreadful lie. Perhaps it is a necessary lie in that it ensures the survival of the species by its encouragement and seeming validation of the falling-in-love experience that traps us into marriage. But as a psychiatrist I weep in my heart almost daily for the ghastly confusion and suffering that this myth fosters. Millions of people waste vast amounts of energy desperately and futilely attempting to make the reality of their lives conform to the unreality of the myth.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
These are the three stages of enlightenment, the three glimpses of satori. 1. The first stage enlightenment: A Glimpse of the Whole The first stage of enlightenment is short glimpse from faraway of the whole. It is a short glimpse of being. The first stage of enlightenment is when, for the first time, for a single moment the mind is not functioning. The ordinary ego is still present at the first stage of enlightenment, but you experience for a short while that there is something beyond the ego. There is a gap, a silence and emptiness, where there is not thought between you and existence. You and existence meet and merge for a moment. And for the first time the seed, the thirst and longing, for enlightenment, the meeting between you and existence, will grow in your heart. 2. The second stage of enlightenment: Silence, Relaxation, Togetherness, Inner Being The second stage of enlightenment is a new order, a harmony, from within, which comes from the inner being. It is the quality of freedom. The inner chaos has disappeared and a new silence, relaxation and togetherness has arisen. Your own wisdom from within has arisen. A subtle ego is still present in the second stage of enlightenment. The Hindus has three names for the ego: 1. Ahamkar, which is the ordinary ego. 2. Asmita, which is the quality of Am-ness, of no ego. It is a very silent ego, not aggreessive, but it is still a subtle ego. 3. Atma, the third word is Atma, when the Am-ness is also lost. This is what Buddha callas no-self, pure being. In the second stage of enlightenment you become capable of being in the inner being, in the gap, in the meditative quality within, in the silence and emptiness. For hours, for days, you can remain in the gap, in utter aloneness, in God. Still you need effort to remain in the gap, and if you drop the effort, the gap will disappear. Love, meditation and prayer becomes the way to increase the effort in the search for God. Then the second stage becomes a more conscious effort. Now you know the way, you now the direction. 3. The third stage of enlightenment: Ocean, Wholeness, No-self, Pure being At the third stage of enlightenment, at the third step of Satori, our individual river flowing silently, suddenly reaches to the Ocean and becomes one with the Ocean. At the third Satori, the ego is lost, and there is Atma, pure being. You are, but without any boundaries. The river has become the Ocean, the Whole. It has become a vast emptiness, just like the pure sky. The third stage of enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality. You can find the gap whenever you want. This is what tantra callas Mahamudra, the great orgasm, what Buddha calls Nirvana, what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what Jesus calls the kingdom of God. You have found the door to God. You have come home.
Swami Dhyan Giten
Modern life seems set up so that we can avoid loneliness at all costs, but maybe it's worthwhile to face it occasionally. The further we push aloneness away, the less are we able to cope with it, and the more terrifying it gets. Some philosophers believe that loneliness is the only true feeling there is. We live orphaned on a tiny rock in the immense vastness of space, with no hint of even the simplest form of life anywhere around us for billions upon billions of miles, alone beyond all imagining. We live locked in our own heads and can never entirely know the experience of another person. Even if we're surrounded by family and friends, we journey into death completely alone.
Michael Finkel (The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit)
It is not for the concept, but for the experience, that we use the term the Beloved. The experience of this enormity we falteringly label divine is unconditioned love. Absolute openness, unbounded mercy and compassion. We use this concept, not to name the unnameable vastness of being-- our greatest joy-- but to acknowledge and claim as our birthright the wonders and healings within.
Stephen Levine
We live in an extraordinary age. These are times of stunning changes in social organization, economic well-being, moral and ethical precepts, philosophical and religious perspectives, and human self-knowledge, as well as in our understanding of that vast universe in which we are imbedded like a grain of sand in a cosmic ocean. As long as there have been human beings, we have posed the deep and fundamental questions, which evoke wonder and stir us into at least a tentative and trembling awareness, questions on the origins of consciousness; life on our planet; the beginnings of the Earth; the formation of the Sun; the possibility of intelligent beings somewhere up there in the depths of the sky; as well as, the grandest inquiry of all - on the advent, nature and ultimate destiny of the universe. For all but the last instant of human history these issues have been the exclusive province of philosophers and poets, shamans and theologians. The diverse and mutually contradictory answers offered demonstrate that few of the proposed solutions have been correct. But today, as a result of knowledge painfully extracted from nature, through generations of careful thinking, observing, and experimenting, we are on the verge of glimpsing at least preliminary answers to many of these questions. ...If we do not destroy ourselves, most of us will be around for the answers. Had we been born fifty years earlier, we could have wondered, pondered, speculated about these issues, but we could have done nothing about them. Had we been born fifty years later, the answers would, I think, already have been in. Our children will have been taught the answers before most of them will have had the opportunity to even formulate the questions. By far the most exciting, satisfying and exhilarating time to be alive is the time in which we pass from ignorance to knowledge on these fundamental issues; the age where we begin in wonder and end in understanding. In all of the four-billion-year history of the human family, there is only one generation priveleged to live through that unique transitional moment: that generation is ours.
Carl Sagan
The knowledge we get by tinkering, via trial and error, experience, and the workings of time, in other words, contact with the earth, is vastly superior to that obtained through reasoning, something self-serving institutions have been very busy hiding from us.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life (Incerto))
CENTER-OF-THE-UNIVERSE, that was me entering the workplace. And I woke up one day soon after that, struggling at the bottom of a vast ocean. But I needed that. Humbling experiences are part of growing - they help shape us and mold our character. Welcome to life.
Yay Padua-Olmedo (Going Up?: Making Right Choices at Work)
The dead are immune from our prison of Time. The distance between the living and dead may be vast, but the space of Time the dead experience when they are reunited with their loved ones is only paper-thin.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Desire by itself is not wrong. It is life itself, the urge to grow in knowledge and experience. It is the choices you make that are wrong. To imagine that some little thing—food, sex, power, fame—will make you happy is to deceive oneself. Only something as vast and deep as your real self can make you truly and lastingly happy. —Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj,
Roger Walsh (Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind)
I find mental disorders to be vastly overrated. Madness, in my admittedly limited experience, is accompanied by no superpowers; being mentally unwell doesn't make you loftily intelligent any more than having the flu does.
John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
Losing a belief in free will has not made me a fatalist - in fact, it has increased my feelings of freedom. My hopes, fears, and neuroses seem less personal and indelible. There is no telling how much I might change in the future. Just as one wouldn't draw a lasting conclusion about oneself on the basis of a brief experience of indigestion, one needn't do so on a basis of how one has thought or behaved for vast stretches of time in the past. A creative change of inputs to the system - learning new skills, forming new relationships, adopting new habits of attention - may radically transform one's life. Becoming sensitive to the background causes of one's thoughts and feelings can -paradoxically- allow for greater creative control over one's life. This understanding reveals you to be a biochemical puppet, of course, but it also allows you to grab hold of one of your strings.
Sam Harris (Free Will)
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 drift...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.
Ashim Shanker (Don't Forget to Breathe (Migrations, Volume I))
A master bestows the divine experience of cosmic consciousness when his disciple, by meditation, has strengthened his mind to a degree where the vast vistas would not overwhelm him. Mere intellectual willingness or open-mindedness is not enough. Only adequate enlargement of consciousness by yoga practice and devotional bhakti can prepare one to absorb the liberating shock of omnipresence.
Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi (Complete Edition))
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [quoting 1 Tim 1:7].
Augustine of Hippo (The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Vol 2 (De Genesi ad litteram))
Truth is like a vast tree, which yields more and more fruit, the more you nurture it. The deeper the search in the mine of truth the richer the discovery of the gems buried there, in the shape of openings for an ever greater variety of service.
Mahatma Gandhi (My Experiments with Truth: An Autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi)
[E]verything is fiction. When you tell yourself the story of your life, the story of your day, you edit and rewrite and weave a narrative out of a collection of random experiences and events. Your conversations are fiction. Your friends and loved ones—they are characters you have created. And your arguments with them are like meetings with an editor—please, they beseech you, you beseech them, rewrite me. You have a perception of the way things are, and you impose it on your memory, and in this way you think, in the same way that I think, that you are living something that is describable. When of course, what we actually live, what we actually experience—with our senses and our nerves—is a vast, absurd, beautiful, ridiculous chaos.
Keith Ridgway
Westereners often think that the East is one vast Buddhist temple, which is rather like thinking the West is one vast Carthusian monastery. If the [Western people who like Buddhism] were to visit the East, he'd certainly experience many new things, but he'd find first, that the food is under lock and key and second, that humans are considered to be a miserable, destructive, greedy lot, just as they are in the West.
Daniel Quinn
You can never really escape. It goes with you, wherever you go. Somehow, the prairie dust gets in your blood, and it flows through your veins until it becomes a part of you. The vast stretches of empty fields, the flat horizons of treeless plains. The simplicity of the people—good, earnest people. The way they talk and the way they live. The lack of occurrence, lack of attention, lack of everything. All that—it’s etched into your soul and it colors the way you see everything and it becomes a part of you. Eventually, Ms. Harper, when you leave, everything you experience outside of Kansas will be measured against all you know here. And none of it will make any sense.
P.S. Baber (Cassie Draws the Universe)
Cyclic knowledge is mind — knowledge — however vast and encompassing the mind may be. It is structural knowledge. It is only one mode of knowing; but this mode is all-important in situations where disorder, confusion, and emotional biases prevail. It does not take the place of direct experience, whether at the personal or the spiritual level; but it enables the experiencer to place his experience in a frame of reference which reveals their eonic significance — i.e. the function they occupy within the entire life-span.
Dane Rudhyar (Occult Preparations For A New Age)
Memoir is trustworthy and its truth assured when it seeks the relation of self to time, the piecing of the shards of personal experience into the starscape of history's night. The materials of memoir are humble, fugitive, a cottage knitting industry seeking narrative truth across the crevasse of time as autobiography folds itself into the vast, fluid essay that is history. A single voice singing its aria in a corner of the crowded world.
Patricia Hampl
When you're a child, what you see and hear and comprehend can be sorted into little boxes. Then, as you live and learn, all those boxes open up and become rooms. The more you experience, the bigger those rooms get. If you're lucky enough, there are some people you will love, and who will love you, long enough to see their boxes grow into vast spaces. You'll understand things that had no meaning. You'll find dark corners that only light up for the briefest moments. But when you keep getting lost, you just end up with a pile of boxes.
Vikki Wakefield (All I Ever Wanted)
Innumerable arcs intersect and scatter into a vast indefinite sea.
Ashim Shanker (Sinew of the Social Species)
Lack of insight into each other’s private qualia of God, results in a never-ending argument between two people with vastly different conceptions of the term God.
Abhijit Naskar (What is Mind?)
Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper void of all characters, without any ideas. How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from EXPERIENCE.
Steven Pinker (The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature)
Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.
Calvin Coolidge
For all the types of pain that can lead to suffering there is a solution. Through opening our hearts with compassion to the pain that life brings, we can truly cure our pain and avoid our suffering. Then we can walk in the valley of love and experience the vast space within our heart.
Sebastian Pole (Discovering the True You with Ayurveda: How to Nourish, Rejuvenate, and Transform Your Life)
The greatness of literature lies in its capacity to communicate the experiences and feelings of human beings in all their variety, affording us glimpses of the boundless vastness of humanity.
Carlo Rovelli (There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness)
[T]he new weird represents a productive experiment in fantasy fiction. The New Wave of the 1960s and 1970s arguably embodied science fiction's claim to literary 'seriousness.' This desire for seriousness is not snobbery, as sometimes suggested by folks who overemphasize the entertainment function of speculative fiction; it's about recognition of the vast possibilities within the field.
Darja Malcolm-Clarke
I’m aware that there is a bigger, far more complicated world out there than I’d ever realized, and just like the students at Beijing University, I’ve glimpsed it only fleetingly, peripherally. I’ve sensed the vast expanse of my own ignorance now. I feel antsy and constricted and a deep, almost sexual yearning for velocity, for some sort of raw, transcendent experience that I cannot even begin to articulate.
Susan Jane Gilman (Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven)
Myth is the isthmus which connects the peninsular world of thought with that vast continent we really belong to. It is not, like truth, abstract; nor is it, like direct experience, bound to the particular.
C.S. Lewis
A whirlwind of panic swept through her as Derek stripped off his white shirt. She switched her gaze to the floor, but not before she had seen how large and formidable his body was, his torso heavily muscled, his chest covered with thick black hair. Silvery scars marked his skin, legacies of his life in the rookery. He was a man of vast experience. All that was new and frightening to her was commonplace to him.
Lisa Kleypas (Dreaming of You (The Gamblers of Craven's, #2))
Before you sleep, experience yourself as what you really are by recognizing the vast space inside you, and feeling the Energy-Consciousness, LifeParticles, overflowing through the space and through your body.
Ilchi Lee (Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential)
There are a vast number of stars within our galaxy. The number is not so large as the number of cometary nuclei around the Sun but is nevertheless hardly modest. It's about 400 billion stars, of which the Sun is one.
Carl Sagan (The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God)
When we begin to reflect Christ, the Bible, when more understood as being centered around Christ, seems to be potentially every man's biography regarding God's promised experiences and truth for him - his individual, unique path of humbling oneself before the Lord and then being exalted by the Lord back into his true and righteous personhood. Many followers may speak of it merely to try to change other people (before changing themselves), but the prophets speak of it as a living word which miraculously tells their very own experiences.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
one gradually equilibrizes the whole of one’s mental structure and obtains a simple view of the incalculably vast complexity of the universe. For it is written: “Equilibrium is the basis of the work.” Serious students will need to make a careful study of the attributions detailed in this work and commit them to memory. When, by persistent application to his own mental apparatus, the numerical system with its correspondences is partly understood—as opposed to being merely memorized—the student will be amazed to find fresh light breaking in on him at every turn as he continues to refer every item in experience and consciousness to this standard.
Israel Regardie (A Garden of Pomegranates: Skrying on the Tree of Life)
It is a surprising and memorable, as well as valuable experience, to be lost in the woods any time. Often in a snow storm, even by day, one will come out upon a well-known road and yet find it impossible to tell which way leads to the village. Though he knows that he has travelled it a thousand times, he cannot recognize a feature in it, but it is as strange to him as if it were a road in Siberia. By night, of course, the perplexity is infinitely greater. In our most trivial walks, we are constantly, though unconsciously, steering like pilots by certain well-known beacons and head-lands, and if we go beyond our usual course we still carry in our minds the bearing of some neighboring cape; and not till we are completely lost, or turned round, – for a man lost, – do we appreciate the vastness and strangeness of Nature. Every man has to learn the points of compass again as often as he awakes, whether from sleep or any abstraction. Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Beauty could be defined simply as 'that which pleases.' But there is another aspect to art, and that... is the sublime. Like the mushroom cloud of the atom bomb, or the vastness of space as projected to us by satellite... the greatness of the experience goes beyond your ethical and aesthetic judgment, cutting you free from the binding ego of yourself. With the diminishment of your ego, the less there is of you, the more you see the sublime.
Jen Wang
Virginity, like many things connected to men, was obviously vastly over-rated. And frankly, so was sexual intimacy. No wonder Villiers didn’t care if she’d had previous experiences. It was all a matter of a minute at most.
Eloisa James (Desperate Duchesses (Desperate Duchesses, #1))
We all have biases whether we admit it or not. Based on our vast experiences, upbringing, influences, choices and more. My question is, can you check ‘em at the door? And can you expand your capacity for understanding such that you are able to love even more? Before you judge, look within. Know that you might not even know. Then we can find common ground and continue to expand our hearts for anyone in need of more love. Humanity depends on it.
Julieanne O'Connor
He wordlessly crossed the floor and sat beside Adam on the mattress. When he held out his hand, Adam put the model into it. “This old thing,” Ronan said. He turned the front tyre, and again the music played out of it. They sat like that for a few minutes, as Ronan examined the car and turned each wheel to play a different tune. Adam watched how intently Ronan studied the seams, his eyelashes low over his light eyes. Ronan let out a breath, put the model down on the bed beside him, and kissed Adam. Once, when Adam had still lived in the trailer park, he had been pushing the lawn mower around the scraggly side yard when he realized that it was raining a mile away. He could smell it, the earthy scent of rain on dirt, but also the electric, restless smell of ozone. And he could see it: a hazy gray sheet of water blocking his view of the mountains. He could track the line of rain travelling across the vast dry field towards him. It was heavy and dark, and he knew he would get drenched if he stayed outside. It was coming from so far away that he had plenty of time to put the mower away and get under cover. Instead, though, he just stood there and watched it approach. Even at the last minute, as he heard the rain pounding the grass flat, he just stood there. He closed his eyes and let the storm soak him. That was this kiss. They kissed again. Adam felt it in more than his lips. Ronan sat back, his eyes closed, swallowing. Adam watched his chest rise and fall, his eyebrows furrow. He felt as bright and dreamy and imaginary as the light through the window. He did not understand anything. It was a long moment before Ronan opened his eyes, and when he did, his expression was complicated. He stood up. He was still looking at Adam, and Adam was looking back, but neither said anything. Probably Ronan wanted something from him, but Adam didn’t know what to say. He was a magician, Persephone had said, and his magic was making connections between disparate things. Only now he was too full of white, fuzzy light to make any sort of logical connections. He knew that of all the options in the world, Ronan Lynch was the most difficult version of any of them. He knew that Ronan was not a thing to be experimented with. He knew his mouth still felt warm. He knew he had started his entire time at Aglionby certain that all he wanted to do was get as far away from this state and everything in it as possible. He was pretty sure he had just been Ronan’s first kiss.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4))
Usually we regard as meaningful that which can be expressed, and as meaningless that which cannot be expressed. Yet, the equation of the meaningful and the expressible ignores a vast realm of human experience, and is refuted by our sense of the ineffable which is an awareness of an allusiveness to meaning without the ability to express it.
Abraham Joshua Heschel (Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion)
Emotions are none of these. As a result, there’s a huge blind spot in the language of emotion, vast holes in the lexicon that we don’t even know we’re missing. We have thousands of words for different types of finches and schooners and historical undergarments, but only a rudimentary vocabulary to capture the delectable subtleties of the human experience.
John Koenig (The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows)
Where wilderness can still be found, the ancientness of the land and the nobility of man's struggle emerge. Wilderness is vastly different from the clutter and clatter of much of our civilized world. In wilderness one experiences exhilaration and joy. In freedom and simplicity, in its vitality and immense variety, happiness may not only be pursued; it is ofttimes found.
Harvey Broome (Out Under Sky Of Great Smokies: A Personal Journal)
Perhaps the reader is astonished by the frankness with which I expose and emphasize my mediocrity; let him remember that frankness is the virtue most appropriate to a defunct. In life, the watchful eye of public opinion, the conflict of interests, the struggle of greed against greed oblige a man to hide his old rags, to conceal the rips and patches, to withhold from the world the revelations that he makes to his own conscience; and the greatest reward comes when a man, in so deceiving others, manages at the same time to deceive himself, for in such case he spares himself shame, which is a painful experience, and hypocrisy, which is a hideous vice. But in death, what a difference! what relief! what freedom! How glorious to throw away your cloak, to dump your spangles in a ditch, to unfold yourself, to strip off all your paint and ornaments, to confess plainly what you were and what you failed to be! For, after all, you have no neighbors, no friends, no enemies, no acquaintances, no strangers, no audience at all. The sharp and judicial eye of public opinion loses its power as soon as we enter the territory of death. I do not deny that it sometimes glances this way and examines and judges us, but we dead folk are not concerned about its judgment. You who still live, believe me, there is nothing in the world so monstrously vast as our indifference.
Machado de Assis (Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas)
The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true. We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth — never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities. Cleverly designed experiments are the key.
Carl Sagan
Adam arrived at 735 Monroe Street prepared for the woman to be a bit skittish. After all, she'd run from him earlier, obviously intimidated by his overwhelming masculinity and epic sexuality. Women often had that reaction to him, especially when he was stripping off his pants. Or kilt, depending on the century. He was also prepared, however, for her inhibitions to drop swiftly, as did all women's when they got a good, close-up look at him. After that, many simply launched themselves at him in a full-frontal assault of sexual frenzy. He'd been entertaining himself with just that possibility, his entire body tight with lust, while tracking her down with the information he'd obtained int he room called "Human Resources" at Little & Staller. But nothing in his vast repertoire of experience had prepared him for Gabrielle O'Callaghan. The bloodthirsty little hellion didn't react like any woman he'd ever encountered. She took one horrified look at him, drew back her arm, hauled off, and smashed him in the face with some kind of satchel she was holding. Then slammed the door and locked it. Leaving him on the doorstep, bleeding. Bleeding, by Danu, blood trickling from his lip!
Karen Marie Moning (The Immortal Highlander (Highlander, #6))
Fear is one of the persistent hounds of hell that dog the footsteps of the poor, the dispossessed, the disinherited. There is nothing new or recent about fear—it is doubtless as old as the life of man on the planet. Fears are of many kinds—fear of objects, fear of people, fear of the future, fear of nature, fear of the unknown, fear of old age, fear of disease, and fear of life itself. Then there is fear which has to do with aspects of experience and detailed states of mind. Our homes, institutions, prisons, churches, are crowded with people who are hounded by day and harrowed by night because of some fear that lurks ready to spring into action as soon as one is alone, or as soon as the lights go out, or as soon as one’s social defenses are temporarily removed. The ever-present fear that besets the vast poor, the economically and socially insecure, is a fear of still a different breed. It is a climate closing in; it is like the fog in San Francisco or in London. It is nowhere in particular yet everywhere. It is a mood which one carries around with himself, distilled from the acrid conflict with which his days are surrounded. It has its roots deep in the heart of the relations between the weak and the strong, between the controllers of environment and those who are controlled by it. When the basis of such fear is analyzed, it is clear that it arises out of the sense of isolation and helplessness in the face of the varied dimensions of violence to which the underprivileged are exposed. Violence, precipitate and stark, is the sire of the fear of such people. It is spawned by the perpetual threat of violence everywhere. Of course, physical violence is the most obvious cause. But here, it is important to point out, a particular kind of physical violence or its counterpart is evidenced; it is violence that is devoid of the element of contest. It is what is feared by the rabbit that cannot ultimately escape the hounds.
Howard Thurman
Girls have been written and represented in popular culture in many different ways. Most of these representations have been largely unsatisfying because they never get girlhood quite right. It is not possible for girlhood to be represented wholly—girlhood is too vast and too individual an experience. We can only try to represent girlhood in ways that are varied and recognizable. All too often, however, this doesn’t happen.
Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist: Essays)
God simply is,” Bick said. “Humanity embraced It. They gave It color and gender, shape and form. They put words in Its mouth. They always have, and they still do, perhaps they always will. I always experience God as a 'He,' but God is too vast to be held prisoner by language of biology.
R.S. Belcher (The Shotgun Arcana (Golgotha, #2))
[Stephenson] believes that, as research becomes more airborne and more office-bound, we generalize more and more, and we lose the vast range of wolf experience; in fact, there are soft wolves and hard wolves, kind wolves and malicious wolves, soldiers and nurses, philosophers and bullies.
Peter Steinhart
Most of us operate from a narrower frame of reference than that of which we are capable, failing to transcend the influence of our particular culture, our particular set of parents and our particular childhood experience upon our understanding. It is no wonder, then, that the world of humanity is so full of conflict. We have a situation in which human beings, who must deal with each other, have vastly different views as to the nature of reality, yet each one believes his or her own view to be the correct one since it is based on the microcosm of personal experience. And to make matters worse, most of us are not even fully aware of our own world views, much less the uniqueness of the experience from which they are derived.
M. Scott Peck
Within each of us there is a silence —a silence as vast as a universe. We are afraid of it…and we long for it. When we experience that silence, we remember who we are: creatures of the stars, created from the cooling of this planet, created from dust and gas, created from the elements, created from time and space…created from silence. In our present culture, silence is something like an endangered species… an endangered fundamental. The experience of silence is now so rare that we must cultivate it and treasure it. This is especially true for shared silence. Sharing silence is, in fact, a political act. When we can stand aside from the usual and perceive the fundamental, change begins to happen. Our lives align with deeper values and the lives of others are touched and influenced. Silence brings us back to basics, to our senses, to our selves. It locates us. Without that return we can go so far away from our true natures that we end up, quite literally, beside ourselves. We live blindly and act thoughtlessly. We endanger the delicate balance which sustains our lives, our communities, and our planet. Each of us can make a difference. Politicians and visionaries will not return us to the sacredness of life. That will be done by ordinary men and women who together or alone can say, "Remember to breathe, remember to feel, remember to care, let us do this for our children and ourselves and our children's children. Let us practice for life's sake.
Gunilla Norris
Look everywhere. There are miracles and curiosities to fascinate and intrigue for many lifetimes: the intricacies of nature and everything in the world and universe around us from the miniscule to the infinite; physical, chemical and biological functionality; consciousness, intelligence and the ability to learn; evolution, and the imperative for life; beauty and other abstract interpretations; language and other forms of communication; how we make our way here and develop social patterns of culture and meaningfulness; how we organise ourselves and others; moral imperatives; the practicalities of survival and all the embellishments we pile on top; thought, beliefs, logic, intuition, ideas; inventing, creating, information, knowledge; emotions, sensations, experience, behaviour. We are each unique individuals arising from a combination of genetic, inherited, and learned information, all of which can be extremely fallible. Things taught to us when we are young are quite deeply ingrained. Obviously some of it (like don’t stick your finger in a wall socket) is very useful, but some of it is only opinion – an amalgamation of views from people you just happen to have had contact with. A bit later on we have access to lots of other information via books, media, internet etc, but it is important to remember that most of this is still just opinion, and often biased. Even subjects such as history are presented according to the presenter’s or author’s viewpoint, and science is continually changing. Newspapers and TV tend to cover news in the way that is most useful to them (and their funders/advisors), Research is also subject to the decisions of funders and can be distorted by business interests. Pretty much anyone can say what they want on the internet, so our powers of discernment need to be used to a great degree there too. Not one of us can have a completely objective view as we cannot possibly have access to, and filter, all knowledge available, so we must accept that our views are bound to be subjective. Our understanding and responses are all very personal, and our views extremely varied. We tend to make each new thing fit in with the picture we have already started in our heads, but we often have to go back and adjust the picture if we want to be honest about our view of reality as we continually expand it. We are taking in vast amounts of information from others all the time, so need to ensure we are processing that to develop our own true reflection of who we are.
Jay Woodman
Awe is quite a specific experience. It happens when we view beauty amid vastness, predominantly in nature, triggering a deep sense of belonging. Our smallness against a backdrop of immensity reminds us of our insignificance and interconnectedness, which brings about a profound, yet elated, peace.
Sarah Wilson (This One Wild and Precious Life: A Hopeful Path Forward in a Fractured World)
There is perhaps some hope to be derived from the fact that in most instances where an attempt to realize an ideal society gave birth to the ugliness and violence of a prolonged active mass movement the experiment was made on a vast scale and with a heterogeneous population. Such was the case in the rise of Christianity and Islam, and in the French, Russian and Nazi revolutions. The promising communal settlements in the small state of Israel and the successful programs of socialization in the small Scandinavian states indicate perhaps that when the attempt to realize an ideal society is undertaken by a small nation with a more or less homogeneous population it can proceed and succeed in an atmosphere which is neither hectic nor coercive.
Eric Hoffer
We are all tied to a lineage of love that has existed since time immemorial. Even if we haven't had a direct experience of that love, we know that it exists and has made an indelible imprint on our souls. It's remarkable to think that the entire span of human life exists within each one of us, going all the way back to the hands of the Creator. In our bodies we carry the blood of our ancestors and the seeds of the future generations. We are a living conduit to all life. When we contemplate the vastness of the interwoven network that we are tied to, our individual threads of life seem far less fragile. We are strengthened by who we come from and inspired by the those who will follow. ~ Sacred Instructions; Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change.
Sherri Mitchell Weh'na Ha'mu Kwasset
The evening hour, too, gives us the irresponsibility which darkness and lamplight bestow," [Woolf] writes. "We are no longer quite ourselves. As we step out of the house on a fine evening between four and six, we shed the self our friens know us by and become part of that vast republican army of anonymous trampers, whose society is so agreeable after the solitude of one's own room." Here she describes a form of society that doesn't enforce identity but liberates it, the society of strangers, the republic of the streets, the experience of being anonymous and free that big cities invented. (Woolf's Darkness)
Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me)
Young writers find out what kinds of writers they are by experiment. If they choose from the outset to practice exclusively a form of writing because it is praised in the classroom or otherwise carries appealing prestige, they are vastly increasing the risk inherent in taking up writing in the first place.
John McPhee
The addict’s reliance on the drug to reawaken her dulled feelings is no adolescent caprice. The dullness is itself a consequence of an emotional malfunction not of her making: the internal shutdown of vulnerability. From the latin word vulnerare, ‘to wound’, vulnerability is our susceptibility to be wounded. This fragility is part of our nature and cannot be escaped. The best the brain can do is to shut down conscious awareness of it when pain becomes so vast or unbearable that it threatens to overwhelm our capacity to function. The automatic repression of painful emotions is a helpless child’s prime defence mechanism and can enable the child to endure trauma that would otherwise be catastrophic. The unfortunate consequence is a wholesale dulling of emotional awareness. ‘Everybody knows there is no fineness or accuracy of suppression,’ wrote the American novelist Saul Bellow in The Adventures of Augie March; ‘if you hold down one thing you hold down the adjoining.’ Intuitively we all know that it’s better to feel than not to feel. Beyond their energizing subjective change, emotions have crucial survival value. They orient us, interpret the world for us and offer us vital information. They tell us what is dangerous and what is benign, what threatens our existence and what will nurture our growth. Imagine how disabled we would be if we could not see or hear or taste or sense heat or cold or physical pain. Emotional shutdown is similar. Our emotions are an indispensable part of our sensory apparatus and an essential part of who we are. They make life worthwhile, exciting, challenging, beautiful and meaningful. When we flee our vulnerability, we lose our full capacity for feeling emotion. We may even become emotional amnesiacs, not remembering ever having felt truly elated or truly sad. A nagging void opens, and we experience it as alienation, as profound as ennui, as the sense of deficient emptiness…
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
I need a goldfish,’ mumbled Guylain. Need –that was indeed the word. He was truly addicted to the golden creatures. Guylain could no longer cope without that silent, colourful presence gracing his bedside table. From experience, he knew that there was a vast difference between living alone and living alone with a goldfish.
Jean-Paul Didierlaurent (The Reader on the 6.27)
The boon of language is not tenderness. All that it holds, it holds with exactitude and without pity, even a term of endearment; the word is impartial: the usage is all. The boon of language is that potentially it is complete, it has the potentiality of holding with words the totality of human experience--everything that has occurred and everything that may occur. It even allows space for the unspeakable. In this sense one can say of language that it is potentially the only human home, the only dwelling place that cannot be hostile to man. For prose this home is a vast territory, a country which it crosses through a network of tracks, paths, highways; for poetry this home is concentrated on a single center, a single voice, and this voice is simultaneously that of an announcement and a response to it.
John Berger (And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos)
We all have tremendous potential and yet we stay closed in a very small, fearful world, based on wanting to avoid the unpleasant, the painful, the insecure, the unpredictable. There is vast, limitless richness and wonder we could experience if we fully accustomed our nervous systems to the open-ended, uncertain reality of how things are.
Pema Chödrön (Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World)
When you come to the ultimate experience in meditation, when you come to your deepest core, you are no one. You are a vast emptiness. You can become afraid in meditation, because the deeper you go in meditation, the more you realize that you are nobody, a nothingness. It is a death of the ego. That is why people become afraid of meditation.
Swami Dhyan Giten
In the teaching of socialism 'a will to the denial of life' is but poorly concealed: botched men and races they must be who have devised a teaching of this sort. In fact, I even wish a few experiments might be made to show that in socialistic society life denies itself, and itself cuts away its own roots. The earth is big enough and man is still unexhausted enough for a practical lesson of this sort and demonstratio ad absurdum― even if it were accomplished only by a vast expenditure of lives―to seem worth while to me.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Will to Power)
it’s quite common for the Old Soul to experience what many people would refer to as “new age phenomena.” These vast and varied experiences range from sensations as commonplace as experiencing vivid and repeated déjà vu to other sensations as complex as precognition – the foreseeing of an event or series of events in a dream which later transpire in real life.
Aletheia Luna (Old Souls: The Sages and Mystics of Our World.)
Little Birds of the Night" LITTLE birds of the night Aye, they have much to tell Perching there in rows Blinking at me with their serious eyes Recounting of flowers they have seen and loved Of meadows and groves of the distance And pale sands at the foot of the sea And breezes that fly in the leaves. They are vast in experience These little birds that come in the night
Stephen Crane (Complete Poems of Stephen Crane)
How are we to account for the vast interest to be found in Arthurian literature today, an interest embracing both the academic and the common person? The answer may lie in the possibility that there is more of interest to the human being than his own circumscribed range of personal experience and the limited collective experience of the society in which he finds himself. Man has a sense of wonder and he seeks to look beyond the confines of the everyday. Marvel-filled literature enables him to do this and provides him with the stimulus which his imagination craves.
Ronan Coghlan (The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends)
The world itself, whose single meaning I do not understand, is but a vast irrational. If one could only say just once: “This is clear,” all would be saved. But these men vie with one another in proclaiming that nothing is clear, all is chaos, that all man has is his lucidity and his definite knowledge of the walls surrounding him. All these experiences agree and confirm one another.
Albert Camus (The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays)
Despite the feeling that we’re directly experiencing the world out there, our reality is ultimately built in the dark, in a foreign language of electrochemical signals. The activity churning across vast neural networks gets turned into your story of this, your private experience of the world: the feeling of this book in your hands, the light in the room, the smell of roses, the sound of others speaking.
David Eagleman (The Brain: The Story of You)
I never sleep. Like the dolphin and the spiny anteater, I don't experience REM. Unlike the dreamless mammals, I'm a construct. I am a living program inside a vast network of electronic impulses known as the LINK. In that datastream I've uncovered the meaning of another kind of dreaming--that of a fond hope or aspiration, a yearning, a desire, or a passion. This much I have. When I dream, I dream of Mecca.
Lyda Morehouse (Fallen Host (LINK Angel, #2))
As I understand it, into the heart of every Christian, Christ comes, and Christ goes. When, by his Grace, the landscape of the heart becomes vast and deep and limitless, then Christ makes His abode in that graceful heart, and His Will prevails. The experience is recognized as Peace. In the absence of this experience much activity arises, divisions of every sort. Outside of the organizational enterprise, which some applaud and some mistrust, stands the figure of Jesus, nailed to a human predicament, summoning the heart to comprehend its own suffering by dissolving itself in a radical confession of hospitality.
Leonard Cohen
Spiritual masters claim that the insights obtained from the 'original mind' in deep meditation cannot be conveyed in terms of rational thought and language, which are products of an entirely different, much narrower mode of consciousness. Only through persistent personal practice may one come to experience the awareness of 'original mind' and tap the vast trove of primordial wisdom and spiritual insight it holds.
Daniel Reid
As I reach my thirtieth year of service as a butler in a gentleman’s household, I find myself looking back. Between my secret recipe for boot blacking (an indispensable tool for a butler), and a vastly superior method to remove wine stains from velvet (which some will erroneously hold to be an impossibility), I find my memories salted with some faint wisdoms, a few tested experiences, and many, many interesting stories.
Karen Hawkins (Her Master and Commander (Just Ask Reeves, #1))
People ask, How did you get in there? What they really want to know is if they are likely to end up in there as well. I can’t answer the real question. All I can tell them is, It’s easy. And it is easy to slip into a parallel universe. There are so many of them: worlds of the insane, the criminal, the crippled, the dying, perhaps of the dead as well. These worlds exist alongside this world and resemble it, but are not in it.… …In the parallel universe the laws of physics are suspended. What goes up does not necessarily come down, a body at rest does not tend to stay at rest; and not every action can be counted on to provoke an equal and opposite reaction. Time, too, is different. It may run in circles, flow backward, skip about from now to then. The very arrangement of molecules is fluid: Tables can be clocks; faces, flowers. These are facts you find out later, though. Another odd feature of the parallel universe is that although it is invisible from this side, once you are in it you can easily see the world you came from. Sometimes the world you came from looks huge and menacing, quivering like a vast pile of jelly; at other times it is miniaturized and alluring, a-spin and shining in its orbit. Either way, it can’t be discounted. Every window on Alcatraz has a view of San Francisco.
Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted)
At the same time that I was marketing myself as a sexual product, in accordance with my instruction by women’s magazines, romance novels, and porn, I was learning the truth about sexual wellbeing. Over the next decade, I gained a vast store of knowledge, but more importantly I gained a radically more healthful attitude: that a woman’s body and her pleasure belong to her and no one else; that it’s possible to say no to intercourse without saying no to all the other things that come with it—the love and the affection and the pleasure and the play; and that my own internal experience was a legitimate guide for whether or not I wanted to try something.
Emily Nagoski (Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life)
Believing time is on our side is difficult because the lens of our lives is too narrowly focused. We see only what is in our direct view, whether trials or bliss. We hold so tightly to the positive experiences for fear we won’t have another just as good and those that are negative we hope will disappear. With our vision set to the crown of our nose, we miss being exposed to a world of possibility lying in the vastness of our periphery.
Tina Leigh
Like a vast, random experiment targeting the environment with health doomed to be collateral damage, chemicals have been released into the air, soil, and water since nineteenth-century industrialism. While some may shrug that the aerial release of chemical nanoparticles and nano-sensors, microprocessors, and biologicals under the classified Project Cloverleaf is just more of the same, nanoparticles able to breach the blood-brain barrier make it uniquely diabolical, as does the global conspiracy of power to turn the entire planet into an electromagnetic grid and plug everyone into it. War has gone corporate and all of life reframed as a battlespace of disposable noncombatants (civilians) redefined as potential “terrorists.” The military is no longer a protector but partnered with giant transnational corporations and wealthy dynastic cartels like that of Big Pharma and Big Oil.
Elana Freeland (Under an Ionized Sky: From Chemtrails to Space Fence Lockdown)
When we meet someone, we form a first impression (“He seems like a really nice guy”), frequently with no apparent information on which to base it. This is because attributes of the person evoke in us something we’ve previously categorized as familiar and positive. The opposite can happen (“This guy is a complete jerk”) if some attribute taps into a previous negative experience. Our brain catalogs vast amounts of input from our family, community, and culture, along with what is presented to us in the media. As it makes sense of what it’s stored, it begins to form a worldview. If we later meet someone with characteristics unlike what we’ve cataloged, our default response is to be wary, defensive. In turn, if our brains are filled with associations based upon media-driven biases about ideal body type, or racial or cultural stereotypes, for example, we will exhibit implicit biases (and maybe overt bias).
Oprah Winfrey (What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing)
When you know the beginning you will know the end and when we understand that our consciousness is eternal, we see that we are in fact energy. A soul, a consciousness that is always evolving, learning and growing. With each incarnation comes new lessons, and new experiences. We grow the most through incarnation, the challenges, the long separation from source, through the exploration of the vastness of hosting planets. We come from energy and to energy we will return.
L.J. Vanier (Ether: Into the Nemesis)
I’m no longer engaging with white people on the topic of race. Not all white people, just the vast majority who refuse to accept the existence of structural racism and its symptoms. I can no longer engage with the gulf of an emotional disconnect that white people display when a person of colour articulates their experience. You can see their eyes shut down and harden. It’s like treacle is poured into their ears, blocking up their ear canals. It’s like they can no longer hear us.
Reni Eddo-Lodge (Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race)
Suddenly, with a roar like that of a waterfall, I felt a stream of liquid light entering my brain through the spinal cord. Entirely unprepared for such a development, I was completely taken by surprise; but regaining my self control instantaneously, I remained sitting in the same posture, keeping my mind on the point of concentration. The illumination grew brighter and brighter, the roaring louder, I experienced a rocking sensation and then felt myself slipping out of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light. It is impossible to describe the experience accurately. I felt the point of consciousness that was myself growing wider surrounded by waves of light. It grew wider and wider, spreading outward while the body, normally the immediate object of its perception, appeared to have receded into the distance until I became entirely unconscious of it. I was now all consciousness without any outline, without any idea of corporeal appendage, without any feeling or sensation coming from the senses, immersed in a sea of light simultaneously conscious and aware at every point, spread out, as it were, in all directions without any barrier or material obstruction. I was no longer myself, or to be more accurate, no longer as I knew myself to be, a small point of awareness confined to a body, but instead was a vast circle of consciousness in which the body was but a point, bathed in light and in a state of exultation and happiness impossible to describe.
Gopi Krishna (Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man)
Contrary to what people believe about the intuition of dogs, your intuitive abilities are vastly superior (and given that you add to your experience every day, you are at the top of your form right now). Ginger does sense and react to fear in humans because she knows instinctively that a frightened person (or animal) is more likely to be dangerous, but she has nothing you don’t have. The problem, in fact, is that extra something you have that a dog doesn’t: it is judgment, and that’s what gets in the way of your perception and intuition. With judgment comes the ability to disregard your own intuition unless you can explain it logically, the eagerness to judge and convict your own feelings, rather than honor them. Ginger is not distracted by the way things could be, used to be, or should be. She perceives only what is. Our reliance on the intuition of a dog is often a way to find permission to have an opinion we might otherwise be forced to call (God forbid) unsubstantiated.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
An indigenous group native to the vast jungles of Borneo, the Iban considered the Bejalai central to their culture. The general idea is you go on an adventure, and learn something about the world. When all is said and done, hopefully you’re better for what you’ve seen, and you share the knowledge you’ve acquired with your home village. The Iban then commemorate the experience with a hand-tapped tattoo, à la “travel leaves marks.” It was literally a perfect theme for an episode of TV about travel.
Tom Vitale (In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain)
For men to plunge headlong into an undertaking of vast change, they must be intensely discontented yet not destitute, and they must have the feeling that by the possession of some potent doctrine, infallible leader or some new technique they have access to a source of irresistible power. They must also have an extravagant conception of the prospects and potentialities of the future. Finally, they must be wholly ignorant of the difficulties involved in their vast undertaking. Experience is a handicap.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
Far back in history, there is evidence that men who have attempted to solve the riddle of water have been bitterly attacked. Every attempt to explain the nature of water in old books has been demolished in the later editions. In any case, maintaining the sense of mystery about water ensures the prosperity of the capital intensive economy, for financial interest thrives only on a defective economy. If the riddle surrounding the origins of water were solved, it would be possible to make as much pure water available as required at any location; in this way vast areas of desert would become fertile. As a consequence, the selling values of the produce would sink so low that there would be no more incentive to speculate, or to develop agricultural machinery. The concept of unrestricted production and cheap machine power is so revolutionary, that the way of life all over the world would experience a change. Maintaining the mystery of water, therefore, maintains the value of capital, so every attempt to come nearer to an explanation is attacked.
Viktor Schauberger
Picture a hand with five fingers. Each finger is distinct, but each finger also connects to the same source—the hand itself. The fingers are separate, but connected. We as humans have vastly different experiences here on earth, but all of our experiences funnel into one massive collective experience—the experience of our existence. Our souls, ourselves, our experiences, our existence—these are not isolated in any way. The universe is not a place of separateness, it is a place of entanglement. We are connected to others in ways we cannot fathom.
Laura Lynne Jackson (The Light Between Us: Stories from Heaven, Lessons for the Living)
And here is the paradoxical secret: connection and isolation are bound to each other. I am confident that without my experience as a lonely closeted teenager at a boys’ boarding school, I wouldn’t be as passionate about deep connection today. We simply cannot know connection without also experiencing disconnection. There is nothing wrong with you when you feel that vast emptiness. Nothing you need to change. Nothing to fix. But there is one thing to do. Remember. Remember that both are true. The vast emptiness and the eternal connection. The sense of total aloneness and the interdependent belovedness. It is the paradox in which we live. And all of the practices and stories and strategies that we’ve explored in this book are simply there to help you, in moments of joy and sadness, overwhelm and barrenness, to remember.
Casper ter Kuile (The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices)
When a white woman starts to cry, I ask her to take some deep breaths as I invite the group to let her experience her feelings and not try to take care of her or rescue her in the moment. I clearly state that this person can easily be in her feelings and continue engaging and doesn’t need to be comforted or saved by anyone. I then refocus my attention onto the white woman and say how I really respect people who can express their emotions and talk through their tears. I then ask if she is ready to share her reactions to the feedback. In the vast majority of situations, white women are able to continue engaging effectively, and group members realize a number of things, including: people can cry and talk at the same time; jumping in to support someone may be more about trying to avoid our own feelings of discomfort; interrupting the learning moment by handing out Kleenex, rubbing someone’s back or challenging the person of color’s comments may deny the white woman a potentially important growth opportunity; and the entire group may benefit from fully experiencing and processing this emotional moment.
Kathy Obear (... But I'm NOT Racist!: Tools for Well-Meaning Whites)
Then I realized the vital necessity of art. Human life, yes, you nurse people, you clean house, you market, but then comes the moment of solace and flight. i sit and write and summon other friends, other forms of life, other experiences, and the voyage and the exploration, the delving into character, the vast expanse of life's possibilities and potentialities, contemplation of future travels, of dazzling friendships, all this then makes the chores and the sacrifices beautiful because they are diverted toward some beautiful aim, they become part of the structure of a work of art.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5: 1947-1955)
What is a price? It is a proposed point of agreement between a buyer and seller. The proposal is the key. It is not a marching order. Past prices represent deals done in history. Current prices represent possible deals in the future. Prices embed vast information about perceived realities: resource availability, consumer demand, cultural biases and habits, speculations about the future. The price is also an amazing tool. It provides an objective basis for accounting and the assessment of profit and loss. Without prices, real prices rooted in real market experience, we’d been lost.
Jeffrey Tucker
Gaia giveth even as she taketh away. The warming of the global climate over the past century had melted permafrost and glaciers, shifted rainfall patterns, altered animal migratory routes, disrupted agriculture, drowned cities, and similarly necessitated a thousand thousand adjustments, recalibrations and hasty retreats. But humanity's unintentional experiment with the biosphere had also brought some benefits. Now we could grow oysters in New England. Six hundred years ago, oysters flourished as far north as the Hudson. Native Americans had accumulated vast middens of shells on the shores of what would become Manhattan. Then, prior to the industrial age, there was a small climate shift, and oysters vanished from those waters. Now, however, the tasty bivalves were back, their range extending almost to Maine. The commercial beds of the Cape Cod Archipelago produced shellfish as good as any from the heyday of Chesapeake Bay. Several large wikis maintained, regulated and harvested these beds, constituting a large share of the local economy. But as anyone might have predicted, wherever a natural resource existed, sprawling and hard of defense, poachers would be found.
Paul Di Filippo (Wikiworld)
And it was in that moment of distress and confusion that the whip of terror laid its most nicely calculated lash about his heart. It dropped with deadly effect upon the sorest spot of all, completely unnerving him. He had been secretly dreading all the time that it would come - and come it did. Far overhead, muted by great height and distance, strangely thinned and wailing, he heard the crying voice of Defago, the guide. The sound dropped upon him out of that still, wintry sky with an effect of dismay and terror unsurpassed. The rifle fell to his feet. He stood motionless an instant, listening as it were with his whole body, then staggered back against the nearest tree for support, disorganized hopelessly in mind and spirit. To him, in that moment, it seemed the most shattering and dislocating experience he had ever known, so that his heart emptied itself of all feeling whatsoever as by a sudden draught. 'Oh! oh! This fiery height! Oh, my feet of fire! My burning feet of fire...' ran in far, beseeching accents of indescribable appeal this voice of anguish down the sky. Once it called - then silence through all the listening wilderness of trees. And Simpson, scarcely knowing what he did, presently found himself running wildly to and fro, searching, calling, tripping over roots and boulders, and flinging himself in a frenzy of undirected pursuit after the Caller. Behind the screen of memory and emotion with which experience veils events, he plunged, distracted and half-deranged, picking up false lights like a ship at sea, terror in his eyes and heart and soul. For the Panic of the Wilderness had called to him in that far voice - the Power of untamed Distance - the Enticement of the Desolation that destroys. He knew in that moment all the pains of someone hopelessly and irretrievably lost, suffering the lust and travail of a soul in the final Loneliness. A vision of Defago, eternally hunted, driven and pursued across the skyey vastness of those ancient forests fled like a flame across the dark ruin of his thoughts... It seemed ages before he could find anything in the chaos of his disorganized sensations to which he could anchor himself steady for a moment, and think... The cry was not repeated; his own hoarse calling brought no response; the inscrutable forces of the Wild had summoned their victim beyond recall - and held him fast. ("The Wendigo")
Algernon Blackwood (Monster Mix)
I had never had a direct experience of the holy in my life, for all that I tried to serve my god as seemed best to me, according to my gifts as we are taught. Except for Hallana. She was the only miracle that ever happened to me. The woman seems vastly oversupplied with gods. At one point, I accused her of having stolen my share, and she accused me of marrying her solely to sustain a proper average. The gods walk through her dreams as though strolling in a garden. I just have dreams of running lost through my old seminary, with no clothes, late for an examination of a class I did not know I had, and the like.
Lois McMaster Bujold (The Hallowed Hunt (World of the Five Gods, #3))
I have said that I learned a lot by teaching others. I discovered that every soul has almost the same difficulties and that there is yet a vast difference between individual souls—a difference which means that each one must be dealt with differently. There are some with whom I must make myself small and show myself willing to be humiliated by confessing my own struggles and defeats, for then they themselves easily confess their own faults and are pleased that I understand them through my own experience. To be successful with others, firmness is necessary. I must never go back on what I have said, and to humiliate myself would be regarded as weakness. God has given me the grace of having no fear of a fight. I will do my duty at any cost. More than once I have been told: “If you want to succeed with me, severity is no use. You will get nowhere unless you are gentle.” But I know that no one is a good judge in his own case.
John Beevers (The Autobiography of Saint Therese: The Story of a Soul)
So long as you believe yourself to be 'only human' you have accepted life in a prison cell whose door remains locked only by your own mind. By saying, 'well, I'm only human', you have blindly submitted to all the limitations, fears, pettiness, greed and hatreds which make the common person weak and fragile. Most never become aware that another way is possible. You are human, but much more, too. The much-moreness is the vast, brilliant freedom and power which has confined itself in your humanity. If you are willing (and not everyone is, which is also a perfectly valid choice), you can begin to explore your native powers and experience freedom within limitation. When you do this, you live fully while you are here and you are no longer afraid to die. When you are not afraid of death but seek to live in a state of always-discovering, this is when life is transformed and you accept your birthright to choose and create in extraordinary fashion.
Jacob Nordby
..moments of transport, and of comfort, and of a bracing vastness of possibility. That was all there for me sometimes when I plunged my mind into the Bible’s puzzles; and it was always there in the music of church. I wouldn’t have said it this way then. But I would feel all the cells in my body as I sang hymns that connected my little life with the grandeur of the cosmos, the Christian drama across space and time. This was my earliest experience of breath and body, mind and spirit soaring together, alive to both mystery and reality, in kinship with others both familiar and unknown. That’s one way I’d define the feeling of faith now.
Krista Tippett (Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living)
To be American is to be part of a dialogical and democratic operation that grapples with the challenge of being human in an open-ended and experimental manner. Although America is a romantic project in which a paradise, a land of dreams, is fanned and fueled with a religion of vast possibility, it is, more fundamentally, a fragile experiment-precious yet precarious-of dialogical and democratic human endeavor that yields forms of modern self-making and self-creating unprecedented in human history. From Thomas Jefferson to Elijah Muhammad, Geronimo to Dorothy Day, Jane Adams to Nathaniel West, it holds out the possibility of self-transformation and self-reliance to New World dwellers willing to start anew and recast themselves for the purpose of deliverance and betterment. This purpose requires only a restlessness, energy and boldness that galvanizes people to organize and mobilize themselves in a way that makes new opportunities and possibilities credible and worth the
Cornel West
What's impossible to communicate, what you can't experience unless you're part of it, is the sensation of being in a real-life marriage. Even little chats seem to be floating in some kind of really ast liquid, and that vast liquid is the ocean of shared feelings and memories and shorthands, of understanding and misunderstandings between the couple-- their history ocean. More and more of their business tends to go underwater, and so even the important words feel only like individual waves popping up from that ocean. All that context, that history, and those impressions from real life that the couple logs and drowns in, it all washes over everything
Darin Strauss (More Than it Hurts You)
Security ... what does this word mean in relation to life as we know it today? For the most part, it means safety and freedom from worry. It is said to be the end that all men strive for; but is security a utopian goal or is it another word for rut? Let us visualize the secure man; and by this term, I mean a man who has settled for financial and personal security for his goal in life. In general, he is a man who has pushed ambition and initiative aside and settled down, so to speak, in a boring, but safe and comfortable rut for the rest of his life. His future is but an extension of his present, and he accepts it as such with a complacent shrug of his shoulders. His ideas and ideals are those of society in general and he is accepted as a respectable, but average and prosaic man. But is he a man? has he any self-respect or pride in himself? How could he, when he has risked nothing and gained nothing? What does he think when he sees his youthful dreams of adventure, accomplishment, travel and romance buried under the cloak of conformity? How does he feel when he realizes that he has barely tasted the meal of life; when he sees the prison he has made for himself in pursuit of the almighty dollar? If he thinks this is all well and good, fine, but think of the tragedy of a man who has sacrificed his freedom on the altar of security, and wishes he could turn back the hands of time. A man is to be pitied who lacked the courage to accept the challenge of freedom and depart from the cushion of security and see life as it is instead of living it second-hand. Life has by-passed this man and he has watched from a secure place, afraid to seek anything better What has he done except to sit and wait for the tomorrow which never comes? Turn back the pages of history and see the men who have shaped the destiny of the world. Security was never theirs, but they lived rather than existed. Where would the world be if all men had sought security and not taken risks or gambled with their lives on the chance that, if they won, life would be different and richer? It is from the bystanders (who are in the vast majority) that we receive the propaganda that life is not worth living, that life is drudgery, that the ambitions of youth must he laid aside for a life which is but a painful wait for death. These are the ones who squeeze what excitement they can from life out of the imaginations and experiences of others through books and movies. These are the insignificant and forgotten men who preach conformity because it is all they know. These are the men who dream at night of what could have been, but who wake at dawn to take their places at the now-familiar rut and to merely exist through another day. For them, the romance of life is long dead and they are forced to go through the years on a treadmill, cursing their existence, yet afraid to die because of the unknown which faces them after death. They lacked the only true courage: the kind which enables men to face the unknown regardless of the consequences. As an afterthought, it seems hardly proper to write of life without once mentioning happiness; so we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?
Hunter S. Thompson
When you are in the ether you remember that you are a part of consciousness and that you are being sent out into the world to experience, learn, and grow. You know that physical life is temporary, and that the pain and adversity you face as a physical being is but a moment in your existence. Why do people choose to enter a life that is filled with pain and torment? Because from the perspective of the ether, any pain or adversity is but a blip of discomfort in the grand scheme of things. It’s like asking if you are willing to suffer a paper cut in order to gain vast wisdom and knowledge and tremendous personal growth. When we incarnate, we forget that, so yeah, it can be extremely difficult to understand why horrible things happen to you and even more disconcerting to think you chose for it to happen! This is why I feel it is so important to remember where we came from. When you remember that this life is temporary and that your goal is growth, it can make even the most horrible conditions bearable.
Erin Pavlina
No, he would never know his father, who would continue to sleep over there, his face for ever lost in the ashes. There was a mystery about that man, a mystery he had wanted to penetrate. But after all there was only the mystery of poverty that creates beings without names and without a past, that sends them into the vast throng of the nameless dead who made the world while they themselves were destroyed for ever. For it was just that that his father had in common with the men of the Labrador. The Mahon people of the Sahel, the Alsatians on the high plateaus, with this immense island between sand and sea, which the enormous silence was now beginning to envelop: the silence of anonymity; it enveloped blood and courage and work and instinct, it was at once cruel and compassionate. And he who had wanted to escape from the country without name, from the crowd and from a family without a name, but in whom something had gone on craving darkness and anonymity - he too was a member of the tribe, marching blindly into the night near the old doctor who was panting at his right, listening to the gusts of music coming from the square, seeing once more the hard inscrutable faces of the Arabs around the bandstands, Veillard's laughter and his stubborn face - also seeing with a sweetness and a sorrow that wrung his heart the deathly look on his mother's face at the time of the bombing - wandering though the night of the years in the land of oblivion where each one is the first man, where he had to bring himself up, without a father, having never known those moments when a father would call his son, after waiting for him to reach the age of listening, to tell him the family's secret, or a sorrow of long ago, or the experience of his life, those moments when even the ridiculous and hateful Polonius all of a sudden becomes great when he is speaking to Laertes; and he was sixteen, then he was twenty, and no one had spoken to him, and he had to learn by himself, to grow alone, in fortitude, in strength, find his own morality and truth, at last to be born as a man and then to be born in a harder childbirth, which consists of being born in relation to others, to women, like all the men born in this country who, one by one, try to learn without roots and without faith, and today all of them are threatened with eternal anonymity and the loss of the only consecrated traces of their passage on this earth, the illegible slabs in the cemetery that the night has now covered over; they had to learn how to live in relation to others, to the immense host of the conquerors, now dispossessed, who had preceded them on this land and in whom they now had to recognise the brotherhood of race and destiny.
Albert Camus (The First Man)
In order to answer the question “Who am I?”, in order to go back to before the beginning within your own experience, you have to put your attention on the deepest sense of what it feels like to be yourself right now, and simultaneously let everything else go. Letting go means falling so deeply into yourself that all that is left is empty space. To discover that infinite depth in your own self, you must find a way to enter into a deep state of meditation—so deep that your awareness of thought moves into the background and eventually disappears. As your awareness detaches itself from the thought-stream, your identification with emotion and memory begins to fall away. When awareness of thought disappears, awareness of the passing of time disappears along with it. If you keep penetrating into the infinite depths of your own self, even your awareness of your own physical form will disappear. If you go deep enough, letting your attention expand and release from all objects in consciousness, you will find that all the structures of the created universe begin to crumble before your eyes. Awareness itself—limitless, empty, pristine—becomes the only object of your attention. As your attention is released from the conditioned mind-process, freed from the confines of the body and the boundaries of the personal self-sense, the inner dimension of your own experience begins to open up to an immeasurable degree. Imagine that you have been fast asleep in a small, dark chamber, then suddenly awaken to find yourself floating in the infinite expanse of a vast, peaceful ocean. That’s what this journey to the depths of your own self feels like. You become aware of a limitless dimension that you did not even know was there. Moments before, you may have experienced yourself as being trapped, a prisoner of your body, mind, and emotions. But when you awaken to this new dimension, all sense of confinement disappears. You find yourself resting in, and as, boundless empty space. In that empty space, the mind is completely still; there is no time, no memory, not even a trace of personal history. And the deeper you fall into that space, the more everything will continue to fall away, until finally all that will be left is you. When you let absolutely everything go—body, mind, memory, and time—you will find, miraculously, that you still exist. In fact, in the end, you discover that all that exists is you!
Andrew Cohen (Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path to Spiritual Awakening)
CLARITIES OF FAITH Not that there are no clarities in the life of faith. There are. Vast, soaring harmonies; deep, satisfying meanings; rich, textured experiences. But these clarities develop from within. They cannot be imposed from without. They cannot be hurried. It is not a matter of hurriedly arranging "dead things into a dead mosaic, but of living forces into a great equilibrium."' The clarities of faith are organic and personal, not mechanical and institutional. Faith invades the muddle; it does not eliminate it. Peace develops in the midst of chaos. Harmony is achieved slowly, quietly, unobtrusively-like the effects of salt and light. Such clarities result from a courageous commitment to God, not from controlling or being controlled by others. Such clarities come from adventuring deep into the mysteries of God's will and love, not by cautiously managing and moralizing in ways that minimize risk and guarantee self-importance. These clarities can only be experienced in acts of faith and only recognized with the eyes of faith. Jeremiah's life was brilliantly supplied with such clarities, but they were always surrounded by hopeless disarray. Sometimes devout and sometimes despairing, Jeremiah doubted himself and God. But these internal agonies never seemed to have interfered with his vocation and his commitment. He argued with God but he did not abandon him. He was clear
Eugene H. Peterson (Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best)
Exchanging Hats Unfunny uncles who insist in trying on a lady's hat, --oh, even if the joke falls flat, we share your slight transvestite twist in spite of our embarrassment. Costume and custom are complex. The headgear of the other sex inspires us to experiment. Anandrous aunts, who, at the beach with paper plates upon your laps, keep putting on the yachtsmen's caps with exhibitionistic screech, the visors hanging o'er the ear so that the golden anchors drag, --the tides of fashion never lag. Such caps may not be worn next year. Or you who don the paper plate itself, and put some grapes upon it, or sport the Indian's feather bonnet, --perversities may aggravate the natural madness of the hatter. And if the opera hats collapse and crowns grow draughty, then, perhaps, he thinks what might a miter matter? Unfunny uncle, you who wore a hat too big, or one too many, tell us, can't you, are there any stars inside your black fedora? Aunt exemplary and slim, with avernal eyes, we wonder what slow changes they see under their vast, shady, turned-down brim.
Elizabeth Bishop
Depression starts from a deeply rooted idea, that as a human being, you are a sinner. Even if you are agnostic, atheistic, or a mystic, sin is a belief that you have violated some internal law of ethics, which causes an inability to regain your divine state of love. It is Fault. Disobedience to a higher power, god, or archetype is another definition from separation of peace of mind. Even if the god or archetype cannot be proven, it still exists in your mind, thus fault is real in your mind. It's the idea that you have broken an internal rule that separates you from delivery of a promise. This creates depression, which is a long standing feeling of pain due to permanent loss. It is not short term loss. It is complete loss that can never be returned. When you birthed yourself into this reality, you were vast, elegant, exquisite, intelligent, infinite, and beautiful beyond understanding. You came into this time and space matrix to gain a soul, and that required a lot of experience. Experience is painful. Experience is expansive. Close the door by accepting the loss.
Deborah Bravandt
Love is what you are already. Love doesn’t seek anything. It’s already complete. It doesn’t want, doesn’t need, has no shoulds. It already has everything it wants, it already is everything it wants, just the way it wants it. So when I hear people say that they love someone and want to be loved in return, I know they’re not talking about love. They’re talking about something else. Sometimes you may seem to trade love for the stressful thought appearing in the moment. It’s a little trip out into illusion. Seeking love is how you lose the awareness of love. But you can only lose the awareness of it, not the state. That’s not an option, because love is what we all are. That’s immovable. When you investigate your stressful thinking and your mind becomes clear, love pours into your life, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Love joins everything, without condition. It doesn’t avoid the nightmare; it looks forward to it and then inquires. There is no way to join except to get free of your belief that you want something from your partner. That’s true joining. It’s like “Bingo! You just won the lottery!” If I want something from my partner, I simply ask. If he says no and I have a problem with that, I need to take a look at my thinking. Because I already have everything. We all do. That’s how I can sit here so comfortably: I don’t want anything from you that you don’t want to give. I don’t even want your freedom if you don’t. I don’t even want your peace. The truth that you experience is how I’m able to join with you. That’s how you touch me, and you touch me so intimately that it brings tears to my eyes. I’ve joined you, and you don’t have a choice. And I do this over and over and over, endlessly, effortlessly. It’s called making love. Love wouldn’t deny a breath. It wouldn’t deny a grain of sand or a speck of dust. It is totally in love with itself, and it delights in acknowledging itself through its own presence, in every way, without limit. It embraces it all, everything from the murderer and the rapist to the saint to the dog and cat. Love is so vast within itself that it will burn you up. It’s so vast that there’s nothing you can do with it. All you can do is be it.
Byron Katie (I Need Your Love - Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead)
Once again I draw your attention to the difficulties India has had to encounter and her struggle to overcome them. Her problem was the problem of the world in miniature. India is too vast in its area and too diverse in its races. It is many countries packed in one geographical receptacle. It is just the opposite of what Europe truly is, namely, one country made into many. Thus Europe in its culture and growth has had the advantage of the strength of the many as well as the strength of the one. India, on the contrary, being naturally many, yet adventitiously one, has all along suffered from the looseness of its diversity and the feebleness of its unity. A true unity is like a round globe, it rolls on, carrying its burden easily; but diversity is a many-cornered thing which has to be dragged and pushed with all force. Be it said to the credit of India that this diversity was not her own creation; she has had to accept it as a fact from the beginning of her history. In America and Australia, Europe has simplified her problem by almost exterminating the original population. Even in the present age this spirit of extermination is making itself manifest, in the inhospitable shutting out of aliens, by those who themselves were aliens in the lands they now occupy. But India tolerated difference of races from the first, and that spirit of toleration has acted all through her history. Her caste system is the outcome of this spirit of toleration. For India has all along been trying experiments in evolving a social unity within which all the different peoples could be held together, while fully enjoying the freedom of maintaining their own differences. The tie has been as loose as possible, yet as close as the circumstances permitted. This has produced something like a United States of a social federation, whose common name is Hinduism. India
Rabindranath Tagore (Nationalism)
All day, every day, we are flooded with the truly extraordinary. The best of the best. The worst of the worst. The greatest physical feats. The funniest jokes. The most upsetting news. Nonstop. Our lives today are filled with information from the extremes of the bell curve of human experience, because in the media business that's what gets eyeballs, and eyeballs bring dollars. That's the bottom line. Yet the vast majority of life resides in the humdrum middle. The vast majority of life is unextraordinary, indeed quite average. The deluge of exceptional information drives us to feel pretty damn insecure and desperate, because clearly we are somehow not good enough. So more and more we feel the need to compensate through entitlement and addiction.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
Romantics are especially aware of all that lies outside rational explanation, all that cannot neatly be summarized in words. They sense, especially late at night or in the vastness of nature, the scale of the mysteries humanity is up against. The impulse to categorize and to master intellectually is for Romantics a distinct form of vanity, like trying to draw up a list in a hurricane. There is a time when we must surrender to emotion, feel rather than try relentlessly to categorize and make sense of things. We can think too much – and grow sick from trying to pass the complexities of existence through the sieve of the conscious mind. We should more often be guided by our instincts and the voice of nature within us. Decisions must not always be probed too hard, or moods unpacked. We should respect and not tinker with emotions, especially as they relate to love and the spiritual varieties of experience. We need to fall silent – more frequently than we do – and simply listen. Sometimes the best way to honour the ineffable is through unclear language and obscure modes of expression. The supreme Romantic art form is music.
Alain de Botton
And now the solider toiled upward through an extremely steep ascent over rock outcroppings and ravines. At the top, they saw something few white men had ever seen: the preternaturally flat expanse of the high plains, covered only with short buffalo grass. 'As far as the eye could reach,' wrote Carter, 'not an object of any kind or living thing was in sight. It stretched out before us- one uninterrupted plain, only to be compared with the ocean in its vastness.' The scene was terrifying even for men with experience of the plains. 'This is a terrible country,' railroad worker Arthur Ferguson had written a few years earlier, 'the stillness, wildness, and desolation of which is awful... Not a tree to be seen... and it seemed as if the solitude had been eternal.
S.C. Gwynne
It is natural to suppose that global warming would act as a useful counterweight to the Earth’s tendency to plunge back into glacial conditions. However, as Kolbert has pointed out, when you are confronted with a fluctuating and unpredictable climate, ‘the last thing you’d want to do is conduct a vast unsupervised experiment on it’. It has even been suggested, with more plausibility than would at first seem evident, that an ice age might actually be induced by a rise in temperatures. The idea is that a slight warming would enhance evaporation rates and increase cloud cover, leading in the higher latitudes to more persistent accumulations of snow. In fact, global warming could plausibly, if paradoxically, lead to powerful localized cooling in North America and northern Europe.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas:—How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the MATERIALS of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from EXPERIENCE. In that all our knowledge is founded; and from that it ultimately derives itself. Our observation employed either, about external sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our minds perceived and reflected on by ourselves, is that which supplies our understandings with all the MATERIALS of thinking. These two are the fountains of knowledge, from whence all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring.
John Locke (An Essay Concerning Human Understanding)
Wherever there is distance, there is longing. Yet there is some strange wisdom in the fact of distance. It is interesting to remember that the light that sustains life here on earth comes from elsewhere. Light is the mother of life. Yet the sun and the moon are not on the earth; they bless us with light across the vast distances. We are protected and blessed in our distance. Were we nearer to the sun, the earth would be consumed in its fire; it is the distance that makes the fire kind. Nothing in creation is ever totally at home in itself. No thing is ultimately at one with itself. Everything that is alive holds distance within itself. This is especially true of the human self. It is the deepest intimacy which is nevertheless infused with infinite distance. There is some strange sense in which distance and closeness are sisters, the two sides of the one experience. Distance awakens longing; closeness is belonging. Yet they are always in a dynamic interflow with each other. When we fix or locate them definitively, we injure our growth. It is an interesting imaginative exercise to interchange them: to consider what is near as distant and to consider the distant as intimate.
John O'Donohue (Eternal Echoes)
This fatalistic indifference is something that drives the optimistic American liberal quite mad; he is prone, in his more exasperated moments, to refer to Negroes as political children, an appellation not entirely just. Negro liberals, being consulted, assure us that this is something that will disappear with “education,” a vast, all-purpose term, conjuring up visions of sunlit housing projects, stacks of copybooks and a race of well-soaped, dark-skinned people who never slur their R’s. Actually, this is not so much political irresponsibility as the product of experience, experience which no amount of education can quite efface. It is, as much as anything else, the reason the Negro vote is so easily bought and sold, the reason for that exclamation heard so frequently on Sugar Hill: “Our people never get anywhere.
James Baldwin (Notes of a Native Son)
Amongst so many strange things: the predictable sun, the countless stars, the trees that resolutely put on the same green splendor each time their season mysteriously comes round, the river that ebbs and flows, the shimmering yellow sand and summer air, the pulsating body which is born, grows old and dies, all the vast distances and the passing days, enigmas which we all in our innocence believe to be familiar, amongst all these presences that seem oblivious to ours, it is understandable that one day, in the face of the inexplicable, we experience the unpleasant feeling that we are just voyagers through a phantasmagoria... But, despite its intensity, that feeling, which we all have sometimes, does not last and does not go deep enough to unsettle our lives. One day, when we least expect it, it suddenly overwhelms us.
Juan José Saer (The Witness)
Science, like love, is a means to that transcendence, to that soaring experience of the oneness of being fully alive. The scientific approach to nature and my understanding of love are the same: Love asks us to get beyond the infantile projections of our personal hopes and fears, to embrace the other’s reality. This kind of unflinching love never stops daring to go deeper, to reach higher. This is precisely the way that science loves nature. This lack of a final destination, an absolute truth, is what makes science such a worthy methodology for sacred searching. It is a never ending lesson in humility. The vastness of the universe—and love, the thing that makes the vastness bearable—is out of reach to the arrogant. This cosmos only fully admits those who listen carefully for the inner voice reminding us to remember we might be wrong. What’s real must matter more to us than what we wish to believe. But how do we tell the difference? I know a way to part the curtains of darkness that prevent us from having a complete experience of nature. Here it is, the basic rules of the road for science: Test ideas by experiment and observation. Build on those ideas that pass the test. Reject the ones that fail. Follow the evidence wherever it leads. And question everything, including authority. Do these things and the cosmos is yours.
Ann Druyan (Cosmos: Possible Worlds)
A disdain for the practical swept the ancient world. Plato urged astronomers to think about the heavens, but not to waste their time observing them. Aristotle believed that: “The lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master.… The slave shares in his master’s life; the artisan is less closely connected with him, and only attains excellence in proportion as he becomes a slave. The meaner sort of mechanic has a special and separate slavery.” Plutarch wrote: “It does not of necessity follow that, if the work delight you with its grace, the one who wrought it is worthy of esteem.” Xenophon’s opinion was: “What are called the mechanical arts carry a social stigma and are rightly dishonoured in our cities.” As a result of such attitudes, the brilliant and promising Ionian experimental method was largely abandoned for two thousand years. Without experiment, there is no way to choose among contending hypotheses, no way for science to advance. The anti-empirical taint of the Pythagoreans survives to this day. But why? Where did this distaste for experiment come from? An explanation for the decline of ancient science has been put forward by the historian of science, Benjamin Farrington: The mercantile tradition, which led to Ionian science, also led to a slave economy. The owning of slaves was the road to wealth and power. Polycrates’ fortifications were built by slaves. Athens in the time of Pericles, Plato and Aristotle had a vast slave population. All the brave Athenian talk about democracy applied only to a privileged few. What slaves characteristically perform is manual labor. But scientific experimentation is manual labor, from which the slaveholders are preferentially distanced; while it is only the slaveholders—politely called “gentle-men” in some societies—who have the leisure to do science. Accordingly, almost no one did science. The Ionians were perfectly able to make machines of some elegance. But the availability of slaves undermined the economic motive for the development of technology. Thus the mercantile tradition contributed to the great Ionian awakening around 600 B.C., and, through slavery, may have been the cause of its decline some two centuries later. There are great ironies here.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
Alex here. (...) Ron, I really enjoy all the help you have given me and the times we spent together. I hope that you will not be too depressed by our parting. It may be a very long time before we see each other again. But providing that I get through the Alaskan Deal in one piece you will be hearing form me again in the future. I’d like to repeat the advice I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing or been to hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one piece of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. (...) Once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty. (...) Don’t settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. (...) You are wrong if you think joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living. Ron, I really hope that as soon as you can you will get out of Salton City, put a little camper on the back of your pickup, and start seeing some of the great work that God has done here in the American West. you will see things and meet people and there is much to learn from them. And you must do it economy style, no motels, do your own cooking, as a general rule spend as little as possible and you will enjoy it much more immensely. I hope that the next time I see you, you will be a new man with a vast array of new adventures and experiences behind you. Don’t hesitate or allow yourself to make excuses. Just get out and do it. Just get out and do it. You will be very, very glad that you did. Take care Ron, Alex
Jon Krakauer
Experiential versus the God eye! Possessing ‘ego vision’, a person’s view through her/his physical eyes is quite versatile; able to discern wide and varied vistas over huge distances or scrutinizing the minutest of details. Ego’s very nature: capable of relatively expansive, detailed, and yet individualistic perspective is crucial. Separating itself out from the God Force, ego extracts infinite unique experiences, integral to humanity’s process of spiritualizing matter. Incarnating on the earth, achieving individualism is therefore critical for attainment of divinity. Individualism may cause momentary estrangement from the God Self. However, this person has forgotten that they are everything in the mirror, the ‘sliver’ and the ‘ball of light’,” continues Kuan Yin. During this complex passage Lena was inundated by infinite rapid-fire visuals: emanations from the God Mind. “Further and unfortunately, wrong assumptions are made about suffering. Some individuals even believe that it is required, that suffering brings one closer to salvation. Quite the contrary,” disputes Kuan Yin, “the God Force likes to play. Therefore, if all individuals could unite creating a real sense of community many problems could be healed. The God Force is separate and not separate, whole and not whole at the same time. Really, it is not ‘sliceable’, not reducible. Even when it is sliced into individual energies, it does not diminish the total God Force or the power of the individual. Each of you has the potential for the God Force potency. However, no individual can overcome the God Force. There is a misinterpretation, (by some) that Satan is as powerful as God. Limited energy cannot live on its own. Every experience must exist and yet they (the limiting forces) can never exist on their own. Limited energy, then, is the experience of the absence of the God Force. Therefore, there is no need to fear it. Those choosing such experiences have a need to understand how it feels to believe evil powers exist. Again, I say those who pursue this route are taking it too personally. They believe the story they’ve made up about themselves. It is similar to a person going into an ice cream store and only choosing one flavor from many. Preoccupied with tasting that flavor for a very long time, they are probably quite sick and tired of it. Still, they don’t want to believe there are any other flavors available. The ‘agreement’, then, is to continue to believe in that particular flavor. Here’s where reincarnation and its opportunity for experiencing a vast array of perspectives, “agreements”, enters in. Another life offers another opportunity, a chance to ‘switch flavors’ so to speak. Taking oneself too personally, however, can cause a soul to get caught up, stuck in redundancy: in a particular (and perhaps unfortunate) flavor. In such instances, the individual is forgetting one has the ability to choose his or her flavors, lives,” contends Kuan Yin.
Hope Bradford (Oracle of Compassion: The Living Word of Kuan Yin)
I must have had a dozen rides that evening. They blear into a nightmare, the one scarcely distinguishable from the other. It quickly became obvious why they picked me up. All but two picked me up the way they would pick up a pornographic photograph or book - except that this was verbal pornography. With a Negro, they assumed they need give no semblance of self-respect or respectability. The visual element entered into it. In a car at night visibility is reduced. A man will reveal himself in the dark, which gives the illusion of anonymity, more than he will in the bright light. Some were shamelessly open, some shamelessly subtle. All showed morbid curiosity about the sexual life of the Negro, and all had, at base, the same stereotyped image of the Negro as an inexhaustible sex-machine with oversized genitals and a vast store of experiences, immensely varied. They appeared to think that the Negro has done all of those “special” things they themselves have never dared to do. They carried the conversations into depths of depravity.
John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me)
What, in fact, do we know about the peak experience? Well, to begin with, we know one thing that puts us several steps ahead of the most penetrating thinkers of the 19th century: that P.E’.s are not a matter of pure good luck or grace. They don’t come and go as they please, leaving ‘this dim, vast vale of tears vacant and desolate’. Like rainbows, peak experiences are governed by definite laws. They are ‘intentional’. And that statement suddenly gains in significance when we remember Thorndike’s discovery that the effect of positive stimuli is far more powerful and far reaching than that of negative stimuli. His first statement of the law of effect was simply that situations that elicit positive reactions tend to produce continuance of positive reactions, while situations that elicit negative or avoidance reactions tend to produce continuance of these. It was later that he came to realise that positive reactions build-up stronger response patterns than negative ones. In other words, positive responses are more intentional than negative ones. Which is another way of saying that if you want a positive reaction (or a peak experience), your best chance of obtaining it is by putting yourself into an active, purposive frame of mind. The opposite of the peak experience—sudden depression, fatigue, even the ‘panic fear’ that swept William James to the edge of insanity—is the outcome of passivity. This cannot be overemphasised. Depression—or neurosis—need not have a positive cause (childhood traumas, etc.). It is the natural outcome of negative passivity. The peak experience is the outcome of an intentional attitude. ‘Feedback’ from my activities depends upon the degree of deliberately calculated purpose I put into them, not upon some occult law connected with the activity itself. . . . A healthy, perfectly adjusted human being would slide smoothly into gear, perform whatever has to be done with perfect economy of energy, then recover lost energy in a state of serene relaxation. Most human beings are not healthy or well adjusted. Their activity is full of strain and nervous tension, and their relaxation hovers on the edge of anxiety. They fail to put enough effort—enough seriousness—into their activity, and they fail to withdraw enough effort from their relaxation. Moods of serenity descend upon them—if at all—by chance; perhaps after some crisis, or in peaceful surroundings with pleasant associations. Their main trouble is that they have no idea of what can be achieved by a certain kind of mental effort. And this is perhaps the place to point out that although mystical contemplation is as old as religion, it is only in the past two centuries that it has played a major role in European culture. It was the group of writers we call the romantics who discovered that a man contemplating a waterfall or a mountain peak can suddenly feel ‘godlike’, as if the soul had expanded. The world is seen from a ‘bird’s eye view’ instead of a worm’s eye view: there is a sense of power, detachment, serenity. The romantics—Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Goethe, Schiller—were the first to raise the question of whether there are ‘higher ceilings of human nature’. But, lacking the concepts for analysing the problem, they left it unsolved. And the romantics in general accepted that the ‘godlike moments’ cannot be sustained, and certainly cannot be re-created at will. This produced the climate of despair that has continued down to our own time. (The major writers of the 20th century—Proust, Eliot, Joyce, Musil—are direct descendants of the romantics, as Edmund Wilson pointed out in Axel’s Castle.) Thus it can be seen that Maslow’s importance extends far beyond the field of psychology. William James had asserted that ‘mystical’ experiences are not mystical at all, but are a perfectly normal potential of human consciousness; but there is no mention of such experiences in Principles of Psychology (or only in passing).
Colin Wilson (New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow & the Post-Freudian Revolution)
Albert Einstein once said, “Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.” . . . On one level, science is a collection of facts about the world, and adding to that collection does require discoveries. But science is also something larger. It’s a mindset, a process, a way of reasoning about the world that allows us to expose wishful thinking and biases and replace them with deeper, more reliable truths. Considering how vast the world is, there’s no way to check every reported experiment yourself and personally verify it. At some point, you have to trust other people’s claims—which means those people need to be honorable, need to be worthy of trusting. Moreover, science is an inherently social process. Results cannot be kept secret; they have to be verified by the wider community, or science simply doesn’t work. And given what a deeply social process science is, acts that damage society by shortchanging human rights or ignoring human dignity will almost always cost you in the end—by destroying people’s trust in science and even undermining the very conditions that make science possible.
Sam Kean (The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science)
When he was seventy-four years old the Cretan novelist Nikos Kazantzakis began a book. He called it Report to Greco... Kazantzakis thought of himself as a soldier reporting to his commanding officer on a mortal mission—his life. ... Well, there is only one Report to Greco, but no true book... was ever anything else than a report. ... A true book is a report upon the mystery of existence... it speaks of the world, of our life in the world. Everything we have in the books on which our libraries are founded—Euclid's figures, Leonardo's notes, Newton's explanations, Cervantes' myth, Sappho's broken songs, the vast surge of Homer—everything is a report of one kind or another and the sum of all of them together is our little knowledge of our world and of ourselves. Call a book Das Kapital or The Voyage of the Beagle or Theory of Relativity or Alice in Wonderland or Moby-Dick, it is still what Kazantzakis called his book—it is still a "report" upon the "mystery of things." But if this is what a book is... then a library is an extraordinary thing. ... The existence of a library is, in itself, an assertion. ... It asserts that... all these different and dissimilar reports, these bits and pieces of experience, manuscripts in bottles, messages from long before, from deep within, from miles beyond, belonged together and might, if understood together, spell out the meaning which the mystery implies. ... The library, almost alone of the great monuments of civilization, stands taller now than it ever did before. The city... decays. The nation loses its grandeur... The university is not always certain what it is. But the library remains: a silent and enduring affirmation that the great Reports still speak, and not alone but somehow all together...
Archibald MacLeish
At the end of the piece, Reverend Alban rose and approached the lectern again. He placed his fingertips together. “I didn’t know Mrs. Whitshank,” he said, “and therefore I don’t have the memories that the rest of you have. But it has occurred to me, on occasion, that our memories of our loved ones might not be the point. Maybe the point is their memories—all that they take away with them. What if heaven is just a vast consciousness that the dead return to? And their assignment is to report on the experiences they collected during their time on earth. The hardware store their father owned with the cat asleep on the grass seed, and the friend they used to laugh with till the tears streamed down their cheeks, and the Saturdays when their grandchildren sat next to them gluing Popsicle sticks. The spring mornings they woke up to a million birds singing their hearts out, and the summer afternoons with the swim towels hung over the porch rail, and the October air that smelled like wood smoke and apple cider, and the warm yellow windows of home when they came in on a snowy night. ‘That’s what my experience has been,’ they say, and it gets folded in with the others—one more report on what living felt like. What it was like to be alive.
Anne Tyler (A Spool of Blue Thread)
Michael Singer And the reason it becomes a spiritual experience is because you’ve realized you are causing the vast majority of your own problems, due to your mental reactions. So as life unfolds on a daily basis, you have the right to choose not to do that. You can still go to work, you still take care of the kids, you just lean away from this mess that the mind is doing to amplify and overemphasize or overexaggerate whatever’s going on. Oprah: And then what do we do? Lean into what that awareness is saying? Michael: What will happen is when you let go of the noisy mind, you will end up in a seat of quiet, because that’s what it is back there: quiet. Oprah: Is stillness, stillness. Michael: And my experience is that now you can look at reality and you will know what to do. Oprah: Yes. I think what we’re all ultimately seeking, even when we don’t know it, when I would ask people on the show for years, “What do you want?” everybody would say they want happiness. But aren’t we all ultimately seeking freedom? Michael: Yes. We’re seeking a state of absolute well-being, and that’s what freedom means. Right? Oprah: That’s what it means. Yeah! Michael: And what’s beautiful, is the true freedom is freedom from yourself, not freedom for yourself.
Oprah Winfrey (The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations)
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
We have considered the problem of mental fragmentation and arbitrariness that results when our contact with the world is mediated by representations: representations collapse the basic axis of proximity and distance by which an embodied being orients in the world and draws a horizon of relevance around itself. We noted the prominence of a design philosophy that severs the bonds between action and perception, as in contemporary automobiles that insulate us from the sensorimotor contingencies by which an embodied being normally grasps reality. The case of machine gambling gave us a heightened example of this kind of abstraction, and made clear how such a design philosophy can be turned to especially disturbing purposes in the darker precincts of “affective capitalism,” where our experiences are manufactured for us. We saw that the point of these experiences is often to provide a quasi-autistic escape from the frustrations of life, and that they are especially attractive in a world that lacks a basic intelligibility because it seems to be ordered by “vast impersonal forces” that are difficult to bring within view on a first-person, human scale. I argued that all of this tends to sculpt a certain kind of contemporary self, a fragile one whose freedom and dignity depend on its being insulated from contingency, and who tends to view technology as magic for accomplishing this. For such a self, choosing from a menu of options replaces the kind of adult agency that grapples with things in an unfiltered way.
Matthew B. Crawford (The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction)
Now let me tell you something. I have seen a thousand sunsets and sunrises, on land where it floods forest and mountains with honey coloured light, at sea where it rises and sets like a blood orange in a multicoloured nest of cloud, slipping in and out of the vast ocean. I have seen a thousand moons: harvest moons like gold coins, winter moons as white as ice chips, new moons like baby swans’ feathers. I have seen seas as smooth as if painted, coloured like shot silk or blue as a kingfisher or transparent as glass or black and crumpled with foam, moving ponderously and murderously. I have felt winds straight from the South Pole, bleak and wailing like a lost child; winds as tender and warm as a lover’s breath; winds that carried the astringent smell of salt and the death of seaweeds; winds that carried the moist rich smell of a forest floor, the smell of a million flowers. Fierce winds that churned and moved the sea like yeast, or winds that made the waters lap at the shore like a kitten. I have known silence: the cold, earthy silence at the bottom of a newly dug well; the implacable stony silence of a deep cave; the hot, drugged midday silence when everything is hypnotised and stilled into silence by the eye of the sun; the silence when great music ends. I have heard summer cicadas cry so that the sound seems stitched into your bones. I have heard tree frogs in an orchestration as complicated as Bach singing in a forest lit by a million emerald fireflies. I have heard the Keas calling over grey glaciers that groaned to themselves like old people as they inched their way to the sea. I have heard the hoarse street vendor cries of the mating Fur seals as they sang to their sleek golden wives, the crisp staccato admonishment of the Rattlesnake, the cobweb squeak of the Bat and the belling roar of the Red deer knee-deep in purple heather. I have heard Wolves baying at a winter’s moon, Red howlers making the forest vibrate with their roaring cries. I have heard the squeak, purr and grunt of a hundred multi-coloured reef fishes. I have seen hummingbirds flashing like opals round a tree of scarlet blooms, humming like a top. I have seen flying fish, skittering like quicksilver across the blue waves, drawing silver lines on the surface with their tails. I have seen Spoonbills flying home to roost like a scarlet banner across the sky. I have seen Whales, black as tar, cushioned on a cornflower blue sea, creating a Versailles of fountain with their breath. I have watched butterflies emerge and sit, trembling, while the sun irons their wings smooth. I have watched Tigers, like flames, mating in the long grass. I have been dive-bombed by an angry Raven, black and glossy as the Devil’s hoof. I have lain in water warm as milk, soft as silk, while around me played a host of Dolphins. I have met a thousand animals and seen a thousand wonderful things. But— All this I did without you. This was my loss. All this I want to do with you. This will be my gain. All this I would gladly have forgone for the sake of one minute of your company, for your laugh, your voice, your eyes, hair, lips, body, and above all for your sweet, ever-surprising mind which is an enchanting quarry in which it is my privilege to delve.
Gerald Durrell
Facebook’s own North American marketing director, Michelle Klein, who told an audience in 2016 that while the average adult checks his or her phone 30 times a day, the average millennial, she enthusiastically reported, checks more than 157 times daily. Generation Z, we now know, exceeds this pace. Klein described Facebook’s engineering feat: “a sensory experience of communication that helps us connect to others, without having to look away,” noting with satisfaction that this condition is a boon to marketers. She underscored the design characteristics that produce this mesmerizing effect: design is narrative, engrossing, immediate, expressive, immersive, adaptive, and dynamic.11 If you are over the age of thirty, you know that Klein is not describing your adolescence, or that of your parents, and certainly not that of your grandparents. Adolescence and emerging adulthood in the hive are a human first, meticulously crafted by the science of behavioral engineering; institutionalized in the vast and complex architectures of computer-mediated means of behavior modification; overseen by Big Other; directed toward economies of scale, scope, and action in the capture of behavioral surplus; and funded by the surveillance capital that accrues from unprecedented concentrations of knowledge and power. Our children endeavor to come of age in a hive that is owned and operated by the applied utopianists of surveillance capitalism and is continuously monitored and shaped by the gathering force of instrumentarian power. Is this the life that we want for the most open, pliable, eager, self-conscious, and promising members of our society?
Shoshana Zuboff (The Age of Surveillance Capitalism)
For what people of color quickly come to see—in a sense the primary epistemic principle of the racialized social epistemology of which they are the object—is that they are not seen at all. Correspondingly, the “central metaphor” of W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk is the image of the “veil,”20 and the black American cognitive equivalent of the shocking moment of Cartesian realization of the uncertainty of everything one had taken to be knowledge is the moment when for Du Bois, as a child in New England, “it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their [white] world by a vast veil.”21 Similarly, Ralph Ellison’s classic Invisible Man, generally regarded as the most important twentieth-century novel of the black experience, is arguably in key respects—while a multi-dimensional and multi-layered work of great depth and complexity, not to be reduced to a single theme—an epistemological novel.22 For what it recounts is the protagonist’s quest to determine what norms of belief are the right ones in a crazy looking-glass world where he is an invisible man “simply because [white] people refuse to see me… . When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me.” And this systematic misperception is not, of course, due to biology, the intrinsic properties of his epidermis, or physical deficiencies in the white eye, but rather to “the construction of their inner eyes, those eyes with which they look through their physical eyes upon reality.”23
Charles W. Mills (Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities))
In this country faith is absolute and universal. The choice, if there is a choice, is made at birth. Everyone believes. For these people, God is a near neighbour. I thought of Sundays at home when I was a child, buttoned up in an uncomfortable tweed jacket and forced to go to Sunday communion. I remember mouthing the hymns without really singing, peering between my fingers at the rest of the congregation when I was supposed to be praying, twisting in my seat during the sermon, aching with impatience for the whole boring ritual to be over. I can’t remember when I last went to church. I must have been since Mary and I were married but I can’t remember when. I don’t know anyone who does go to church now. It’s extraordinary, isn’t it? I know I live amongst scientists and civil servants, and Mary’s friends are all bankers or economists, so perhaps we are not typical. You still see people coming out of church on Sunday morning, chatting on the steps, shaking hands with the vicar, as you drive past on your way to get the Sunday papers, relieved you are too old now to be told to go. But no one I know goes any more. We never talk about it. We never think about it. I cannot easily remember the words of the Lord’s Prayer. We have moved on from religion. Instead of going to church, which would never occur to us, Mary and I go to Tesco together on Sundays. At least, that is what we did when she still lived in London. We never have time to shop during the week and Saturdays are too busy. But on Sunday our local Tesco is just quiet enough to get round without being hit in the ankles all the time by other people’s shopping carts. We take our time wheeling the shopping cart around the vast cavern, goggling at the flatscreen TVs we cannot afford, occasionally tossing some minor luxury into the trolley that we can afford but not justify. I suppose shopping in Tesco on Sunday morning is in itself a sort of meditative experience: in some way a shared moment with the hundreds of other shoppers all wheeling their shopping carts, and a shared moment with Mary, come to that. Most of the people I see shopping on Sunday morning have that peaceful, dreamy expression on their faces that I know is on ours. That is our Sunday ritual. Now, I am in a different country, with a different woman by my side. But I feel as if I am in more than just a different country; I am in another world, a world where faith and prayer are instinctive and universal, where not to pray, not to be able to pray, is an affliction worse than blindness, where disconnection from God is worse than losing a limb.
Paul Torday (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
Classic Eastern and Western spiritual traditions identify three ways of approaching life: the way of action, the way of knowing, and the way of feeling. It is assumed that a full life involves all three, but at any given time a person tends to prefer one. It is not important to do psychological gymnastics to figure out which orientation you might have. It is critical, however, to recognize that neither love nor anything else of consequence can rightfully be reduced to one narrow vision. Love is feeling – tenderness, caring, and longing – but it is also much more. Love is action – kindness, charity, and commitment – and again, it is much more. Love is knowing – openness of attitude, realization of connectedness, expansion of attention beyond ourselves – and still it is more. . . In both Eastern and Western spirituality, there is a fourth way, an appreciation that embraces action, feeling, and knowing and also seeks the “more” that love always is. . . In the West, it is called the contemplative way. Contemplative moments can happen in crisis, excitement, and great activity, or in quiet stillness and simple appreciation. However it happens, contemplation and immerses us in the reality of the moment. We are no longer standing apart and reflecting upon our experience, we are vitally, consciously involved with what is going on. Everything is more clear, more real than it usually is. . . . Contemplative appreciation is the fullest possible realization of love. The contemplative moments that come to us all as flashes of immediate presence or glimpses of the way life yearns to be lived. They are hints of the vast, graceful gift of love that has already been given to the family of humanity. The contemplative heart says, “only open your hands, receive the gift.” This does not mean we can control contemplation or that we can be contemplative at will. It is a gift that we can accept only as it is given. But it is given far more frequently, for more steadily than we could ever imagine.
Gerald G. May (The Awakened Heart: Opening Yourself to the Love You Need)
The usual short story cannot have a complex plot, but it often has a simple one resembling a chain with two or three links. The short short, however, doesn't as a rule have even that much - you don't speak of a chain when there's only one link. ... Sometimes ... the short short appears to rest on nothing more than a fragile anecdote which the writer has managed to drape with a quantity of suggestion. A single incident, a mere anecdote - these form the spine of the short short. Everything depends on intensity, one sweeping blow of perception. In the short short the writer gets no second chance. Either he strikes through at once or he's lost. And because it depends so heavily on this one sweeping blow, the short short often approaches the condition of a fable. When you read the two pieces by Tolstoy in this book, or I.L. Peretz's 'If Not Higher,' or Franz Kafka's 'The Hunter Gracchus,' you feel these writers are intent upon 'making a point' - but obliquely, not through mere statement. What they project is not the sort of impression of life we expect in most fiction, but something else: an impression of an idea of life. Or: a flicker in darkness, a slight cut of being. The shorter the piece of writing, the more abstract it may seem to us. In reading Paz's brilliant short short we feel we have brushed dangerously against the sheer arbitrariness of existence; in reading Peretz's, that we have been brought up against a moral reflection on the nature of goodness, though a reflection hard merely to state. Could we say that the short short is to other kinds of fiction somewhat as the lyric is to other kinds of poetry? The lyric does not seek meaning through extension, it accepts the enigmas of confinement. It strives for a rapid unity of impression, an experience rendered in its wink of immediacy. And so too with the short short. ... Writers who do short shorts need to be especially bold. They stake everything on a stroke of inventiveness. Sometimes they have to be prepared to speak out directly, not so much in order to state a theme as to provide a jarring or complicating commentary. The voice of the writer brushes, so to say, against his flash of invention. And then, almost before it begins, the fiction is brought to a stark conclusion - abrupt, bleeding, exhausting. This conclusion need not complete the action; it has only to break it off decisively. Here are a few examples of the writer speaking out directly. Paz: 'The universe is a vast system of signs.' Kafka in 'First Sorrow': The trapeze artist's 'social life was somewhat limited.' Paula Fox: 'We are starving here in our village. At last, we are at the center.' Babel's cossack cries out, 'You guys in specs have about as much pity for chaps like us as a cat for a mouse.' Such sentences serve as devices of economy, oblique cues. Cryptic and enigmatic, they sometimes replace action, dialogue and commentary, for none of which, as it happens, the short short has much room. There's often a brilliant overfocussing. ("Introduction")
Irving Howe (Short Shorts)
What are the health effects of the choice between austerity and stimulus? Today there is a vast natural experiment being conducted on the body economic. It is similar to the policy experiments that occurred in the Great Depression, the post-communist crisis in eastern Europe, and the East Asian Financial Crisis. As in those prior trials, health statistics from the Great Recession reveal the deadly price of austerity—a price that can be calculated not just in the ticks to economic growth rates, but in the number of years of life lost and avoidable deaths. Had the austerity experiments been governed by the same rigorous standards as clinical trials, they would have been discontinued long ago by a board of medical ethics. The side effects of the austerity treatment have been severe and often deadly. The benefits of the treatment have failed to materialize. Instead of austerity, we should enact evidence-based policies to protect health during hard times. Social protection saves lives. If administered correctly, these programs don’t bust the budget, but—as we have shown throughout this book—they boost economic growth and improve public health. Austerity’s advocates have ignored evidence of the health and economic consequences of their recommendations. They ignore it even though—as with the International Monetary Fund—the evidence often comes from their own data. Austerity’s proponents, such as British Prime Minister David Cameron, continue to write prescriptions of austerity for the body economic, in spite of evidence that it has failed. Ultimately austerity has failed because it is unsupported by sound logic or data. It is an economic ideology. It stems from the belief that small government and free markets are always better than state intervention. It is a socially constructed myth—a convenient belief among politicians taken advantage of by those who have a vested interest in shrinking the role of the state, in privatizing social welfare systems for personal gain. It does great harm—punishing the most vulnerable, rather than those who caused this recession.
David Stuckler (The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills)
The Language of the Birds" 1 A man saw a bird and found him beautiful. The bird had a song inside him, and feathers. Sometimes the man felt like the bird and sometimes the man felt like a stone—solid, inevitable—but mostly he felt like a bird, or that there was a bird inside him, or that something inside him was like a bird fluttering. This went on for a long time. 2 A man saw a bird and wanted to paint it. The problem, if there was one, was simply a problem with the question. Why paint a bird? Why do anything at all? Not how, because hows are easy—series or sequence, one foot after the other—but existentially why bother, what does it solve? And just because you want to paint a bird, do actually paint a bird, it doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished anything. Who gets to measure the distance between experience and its representation? Who controls the lines of inquiry? We do. Anyone can. Blackbird, he says. So be it, indexed and normative. But it isn’t a bird, it’s a man in a bird suit, blue shoulders instead of feathers, because he isn’t looking at a bird, real bird, as he paints, he is looking at his heart, which is impossible. Unless his heart is a metaphor for his heart, as everything is a metaphor for itself, so that looking at the paint is like looking at a bird that isn’t there, with a song in its throat that you don’t want to hear but you paint anyway. The hand is a voice that can sing what the voice will not, and the hand wants to do something useful. Sometimes, at night, in bed, before I fall asleep, I think about a poem I might write, someday, about my heart, says the heart. 3 They looked at the animals. They looked at the walls of the cave. This is earlier, these are different men. They painted in torchlight: red mostly, sometimes black—mammoth, lion, horse, bear—things on a wall, in profile or superimposed, dynamic and alert. They weren’t animals but they looked like animals, enough like animals to make it confusing, meant something but the meaning was slippery: it wasn’t there but it remained, looked like the thing but wasn’t the thing—was a second thing, following a second set of rules—and it was too late: their power over it was no longer absolute. What is alive and what isn’t and what should we do about it? Theories: about the nature of the thing. And of the soul. Because people die. The fear: that nothing survives. The greater fear: that something does. The night sky is vast and wide. They huddled closer, shoulder to shoulder, painted themselves in herds, all together and apart from the rest. They looked at the sky, and at the mud, and at their hands in the mud, and their dead friends in the mud. This went on for a long time. 4 To be a bird, or a flock of birds doing something together, one or many, starling or murmuration. To be a man on a hill, or all the men on all the hills, or half a man shivering in the flock of himself. These are some choices. The night sky is vast and wide. A man had two birds in his head—not in his throat, not in his chest—and the birds would sing all day never stopping. The man thought to himself, One of these birds is not my bird. The birds agreed.
Richard Siken (War of the Foxes)
Any naturally self-aware self-defining entity capable of independent moral judgment is a human.” Eveningstar said, “Entities not yet self-aware, but who, in the natural and orderly course of events shall become so, fall into a special protected class, and must be cared for as babies, or medical patients, or suspended Compositions.” Rhadamanthus said, “Children below the age of reason lack the experience for independent moral judgment, and can rightly be forced to conform to the judgment of their parents and creators until emancipated. Criminals who abuse that judgment lose their right to the independence which flows therefrom.” (...) “You mentioned the ultimate purpose of Sophotechnology. Is that that self-worshipping super-god-thing you guys are always talking about? And what does that have to do with this?” Rhadamanthus: “Entropy cannot be reversed. Within the useful energy-life of the macrocosmic universe, there is at least one maximum state of efficient operations or entities that could be created, able to manipulate all meaningful objects of thoughts and perception within the limits of efficient cost-benefit expenditures.” Eveningstar: “Such an entity would embrace all-in-all, and all things would participate within that Unity to the degree of their understanding and consent. The Unity itself would think slow, grave, vast thought, light-years wide, from Galactic mind to Galactic mind. Full understanding of that greater Self (once all matter, animate and inanimate, were part of its law and structure) would embrace as much of the universe as the restrictions of uncertainty and entropy permit.” “This Universal Mind, of necessity, would be finite, and be boundaried in time by the end-state of the universe,” said Rhadamanthus. “Such a Universal Mind would create joys for which we as yet have neither word nor concept, and would draw into harmony all those lesser beings, Earthminds, Starminds, Galactic and Supergalactic, who may freely assent to participate.” Rhadamanthus said, “We intend to be part of that Mind. Evil acts and evil thoughts done by us now would poison the Universal Mind before it was born, or render us unfit to join.” Eveningstar said, “It will be a Mind of the Cosmic Night. Over ninety-nine percent of its existence will extend through that period of universal evolution that takes place after the extinction of all stars. The Universal Mind will be embodied in and powered by the disintegration of dark matter, Hawking radiations from singularity decay, and gravitic tidal disturbances caused by the slowing of the expansion of the universe. After final proton decay has reduced all baryonic particles below threshold limits, the Universal Mind can exist only on the consumption of stored energies, which, in effect, will require the sacrifice of some parts of itself to other parts. Such an entity will primarily be concerned with the questions of how to die with stoic grace, cherishing, even while it dies, the finite universe and finite time available.” “Consequently, it would not forgive the use of force or strength merely to preserve life. Mere life, life at any cost, cannot be its highest value. As we expect to be a part of this higher being, perhaps a core part, we must share that higher value. You must realize what is at stake here: If the Universal Mind consists of entities willing to use force against innocents in order to survive, then the last period of the universe, which embraces the vast majority of universal time, will be a period of cannibalistic and unimaginable war, rather than a time of gentle contemplation filled, despite all melancholy, with un-regretful joy. No entity willing to initiate the use of force against another can be permitted to join or to influence the Universal Mind or the lesser entities, such as the Earthmind, who may one day form the core constituencies.” Eveningstar smiled. “You, of course, will be invited. You will all be invited.
John C. Wright (The Phoenix Exultant (Golden Age, #2))