Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today but for tomorrow.”
September 18. Tear everything up.”
— Franz Kafka, The Diaries Of Franz Kafka 1914-1923
An honorable human relationship—that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love”—is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.
It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation.
It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity.
It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.
It isn’t that to have an honorable relationship with you, I have to understand everything, or tell you everything at once, or that I can know, beforehand, everything I need to tell you.
It means that most of the time I am eager, longing for the possibility of telling you. That these possibilities may seem frightening, but not destructive, to me. That I feel strong enough to hear your tentative and groping words. That we both know we are trying, all the time, to extend the possibilities of truth between us.
The possibility of life between us.”
— Adrienne Rich, Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying
Ask yourself honestly: are you looking for a steady, predictable life? Is this what you want? If so, you must realize that the world cannot offer you this. Everything in the world is in the process of change. Nothing is steady. Nothing is predictable. Nothing will give you anything other than temporary security. Thoughts come and go. Relationships begin and end. Bodies are born and pass away. This is all the world can offer you: impermanence, growth, change.”
— Paul Ferrini (via swissmiss)
You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently.
Why hold onto all that? And I said,
Where can I put it down?”
— Anne Carson, Glass, Irony and God
“She wept for herself and the changes that had been wrought in her, because sometimes even change for the better felt like a little death.”
— Cassandra Clare, City of Heavenly Fire
It’s easy to grow content—happy even—with a life that, though we know isn’t all we deserve or are capable of, is at least predictable and safe. We know things could be better, but things could always be worse too, and any step outside of our comfort zone risks the latter as much as the former.
We imagine we can stand still instead. We think we can keep things exactly as they are forever, but the reality is change can’t be warded off or defended against. It will always come for you and if it must come it’s better it comes on your terms, by your design, and with your true happiness in mind—as much as is possible anyway.
It’s time to grow again, to challenge yourself again, to start planning, building, and living the life you really want. It’s time you get comfortable with being uncomfortable about life getting better and better and better.
Still, it rarely happens that men live according to the guidance of reason. Instead, their lives are so constituted that they are usually envious and burdensome to one another. They can hardly, however, live a solitary life; hence, that definition which makes man a social animal has been quite pleasing to most. And surely we do derive, from society of our fellow men, many more advantages than disadvantages.”
— Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics
Stop measuring days by degree of productivity, and start experiencing them by degree of presence.”
— Alan Watts (swissmiss)
Food-hunger. Love-hunger. Faith-hunger. Soul-hunger.
Who among us has not been hungry? Who among us has not been vulnerable? Who among us has not been a starving lion? Who among us has not been a prey animal? Who among us has not been a predator?”
— Sherman Alexie, from Sonnet, with Pride