“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think, the way they see themselves, the way they see the world—you can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.”—Chuck Palahniuk, from Choke
“Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”—Gabriel García Márquez, from One Hundred Years of Solitude (via the-final-sentence)
“… And that wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end.”—Gabriel García Márquez, from One Hundred Years of Solitude
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.
For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson, during his Reddit AMA (March 01, 2012)
Old age (the name that others give it) can be the time of our greatest bliss. The animal has died or almost died. The man and his spirit remain. I live among vague, luminous shapes that are not darkness yet. Buenos Aires, whose edges disintegrated into the endless plain, has gone back to being the Recoleta, the Retiro, the nondescript streets of the Once, and the rickety old houses we still call the South. In my life there were always too many things. Democritus of Abdera plucked out his eyes in order to think: Time has been my Democritus. This penumbra is slow and does not pain me; it flows down a gentle slope, resembling eternity. My friends have no faces, women are what they were so many years ago, these corners could be other corners, there are no letters on the pages of books. All this should frighten me, but it is a sweetness, a return. Of the generations of texts on earth I will have read only a few– the ones that I keep reading in my memory, reading and transforming. From South, East, West, and North the paths converge that have led me to my secret center. Those paths were echoes and footsteps, women, men, death-throes, resurrections, days and nights, dreams and half-wakeful dreams, every inmost moment of yesterday and all the yesterdays of the world, the Dane’s staunch sword and the Persian’s moon, the acts of the dead, shared love, and words, Emerson and snow, so many things. Now I can forget them. I reach my center, my algebra and my key, my mirror. Soon I will know who I am.
“Idleness is not just a psychological necessity, requisite to the construction of a complete human being; it constitutes as well a kind of political space, a space as necessary to the workings of an actual democracy as, say, a free press. How does it do this? By allowing us time to figure out who we are, and what we believe; by allowing us time to consider what is unjust, and what we might do about it. By giving the inner life (in whose precincts we are most ourselves) its due.”—
“Every photograph, every novel, every poem and painting carries an aura of mystery, a graceful reminder of our own mortality. And we do what we can to resolve that mystery. It is this dialogue—between things known and unknowable, between memory and death (for what is death but forgetting, writ large?)—that we chiefly love, that makes us human.”—
“I am not good. I am not virtuous. I am not sympathetic. I am not generous. I am merely and above all a creature of intense passionate feeling. I feel — everything. It is my genius. It burns me like fire.”—Mary MacLane, from "I Await the Devil’s Coming" (via weissewiese)
I often wonder what it must be like to be a bona fide grown-up. Responsible, organised, and confident that the mantle of adulthood is a proper fit. My life is still all fits and starts; a giddy, capricious loop of play and counterplay between sense and nonsense.
“Spring is a happiness so beautiful, so unique, so unexpected, that I don’t know what to do with my heart. I dare not take it, I dare not leave it – what do you advise?”—Emily Dickinson, from a letter to Louise and Frances Norcross, late April 1873 (via litverve)
“Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us — a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain — it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. The act of choosing simply means we’ve committed ourselves to a set of behaviors greater than the sum of our individual inclinations: I will listen to his sadness, even when I’m deep in my own. To say ‘going through the motions’ — this isn’t reduction so much as acknowledgment of the effort — the labor, the motions, the dance — of getting inside another person’s state of heart or mind.
This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always arise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled, that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.”—Leslie Jamison, from “The Empathy Exams” (via weissewiese)
We will never remember dying. We were so patient about being, noting down the numbers, the days, the years and the months, the hair, the mouths we kissed, but that moment of dying: we surrender it without a note, we give it to others as remembrance or we give it simply to water, to water, to air, to time. Nor do we keep the memory of our birth, though being born was important and fresh: and now you don’t even remember one detail, you haven’t kept even a branch of the first light. It’s well known that we are born. It’s well known that in the room or in the woods or in the hut in the fisherman’s district or in the crackling canefields there is a very unusual silence, a moment solemn as wood, and a woman gets ready to give birth. It’s well known that we were born. But of the profound jolt from not being to existing, to having hands, to seeing, to having eyes, to eating and crying and overflowing and loving and loving and suffering and suffering, of that transition or shudder of the electric essence that takes on one more body like a living cup, and of that disinhabited woman, the mother who is left there with her blood and her torn fullness and her end and beginning, and the disorder that troubles the pulse, the floor, the blankets, until everything gathers and adds one more knot to the thread of life: nothing, there is nothing left in your memory of the fierce sea that lifted like a wave and knocked down a dark apple from the tree. The only thing you remember is your life.
“…but then I was very disappointed at my profession as an architect, because we are not helping, we are not working for society, but we are working for privileged people, rich people, government, developers. They have money and power. Those are invisible. So they hire us to visualize their power and money by making monumental architecture. That is our profession, even historically it’s the same, even now we are doing the same… people need temporary housing, but there are no architects working there because we are too busy working for privileged people. So I thought, even as architects, we can be involved in the reconstruction of temporary housing. We can make it better. So that is why I started working in disaster areas.”—Shigeru Ban in his 2013 Ted Talk. (via subtilitas)
We are not meant, in most cases, to lead separated lives…
We require, natural solitaries or not, the opportunity at times to take a companionable stroll through the deserts of our lives with others who walk the same path, in the hope that they can see the terrain for us with fresh eyes.
We need to reflect with others on the questions that plague us. We seek to discern with others who may be more wise than ourselves. We crave to know the opinions of those less involved than ourselves in the issues that face us, for fear our very proximity to them blinds us as much as it commits us…
Where we come from is a large part of who we are. It is the root of our identity, the place of our growing. It cannot simply be put down because it is not outside of us; it is inside of us — and always will be. Wrestling with the roots of us is part of human spiritual growth
”—~Sister Joan Chittister (from Welcome to the Wisdom of the World)
“Everybody has that thing where they need to look one way but they come out looking another way and that’s what people observe. You see someone on the street and essentially what you notice about them is the flaw. Our whole guise is like giving a sign to the world to think of us in a certain way but there’s a point between what you want people to know about you and what you can’t help people knowing about you.”—Diane Arbus, Relations: A Question Of Belief (via violentwavesofemotion)