For Tuesday, January 16, 2018:
To be a thinking, feeling, creative individual in a mass society too often unthinking and unfeeling in its conformity is to find oneself again and again at odds with the system yet impelled to make out of those odds alternative ends — to envision other landscapes of possibility, other answers, other questions yet unasked. Because that is what artists do, a certain political undertone inheres in all art.
Maria Popova, brainpickings.org weekly digest, January 14, 2018
For Friday, January 12, 2018:
Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?
For Tuesday, January 9, 2018:
One of the most exciting and energetic forms of thought is the question. I always think that the question is like a lantern. It illuminates new landscapes and new areas as it moves. Therefore, the question always assumes that there are many different dimensions to a thought that you are either blind to or that are not available to you. So a question is really one of the forms in which wonder expresses itself. One of the reasons that we wonder is because we are limited, and that limitation is one of the great gateways to wonder.
John O’Donohue, WALKING ON THE PASTURES OF WONDER: JOHN O’DONOHUE IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN QUINN
For Friday, January 5, 2018:
When I use the word ‘aging,’ I mean becoming more of a person and more you over time. If you let life shape you, then as time goes by you will become a richer, more interesting person. That is aging in the style of cheese and wine. In that sense, your very purpose in life is to age, to become what you are; essentially to unfold and let your inborn nature be revealed.
Thomas Moore, AGELESS SOUL: THE LIFELONG JOURNEY TOWARD MEANING AND JOY
For January 2, 2018:
Poetry is a constructed conversation on the frontier of dreaming. It is a mechanism by which the essential state of reverie can be made available to our conscious minds. By means of the poem, we can enter this state of reverie with all our faculties alert and intact. Poems make possible a conscious entry into the preconscious mind, a lucid dreaming.
Poems are there, waiting, whenever we feel we need our minds to think in a different way. We can go into the poem whenever we like, as many times as we want, with full alertness. We can be aware of reverie while it is happening, and can hold on to that experience in the poem. Reading the poem allows us to achieve, consciously, a particular kind of very precious awareness.
Matthew Zapruder, WHY POETRY, excerpted in the essay ‘Unlocking the Unconscious Through Poetry’ in The Paris Review, August 14, 2017
For Friday, December 29, 2017:
A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(h/t to Phibby for the source)
For Tuesday, December 26, 2017:
Dare to dream! If you did not have the capability to make your wildest wishes come true, your mind would not have the capacity to conjure such ideas in the first place. There is no limitation on what you can potentially achieve, except for the limitation you choose to impose on your own imagination. What you believe to be possible will always come to pass – to the extent that you deem it possible. It really is as simple as that.
Anthon St. Maarten, found on Goodreads
For Friday, December 22, 2017:
“‘If you take a book with you on a journey,’ [her father] Mo had said … ‘an odd thing happens: the book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice-cream you ate while you were reading it … yes, books are like flypapers. Memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.'”
Cornelia Funke, from her children’s novel INKHEART (2004)
For Tuesday, December 19, 2017:
… As human beings, all of us have a wound, a point of deep pain, and whether we are aware of this point or not, many of the decisions we make in life arise from this wound. What we think of as choices are, many a time, reactions. And if it is true in life, it is perhaps even truer in fiction. What is destiny if not a long string of choices, a reaction to the things that have happened to us? Destiny in life becomes plot in fiction. …
Anosh Irani, ‘Notes on Craft,’ Granta: Canada 12/5/17
For Friday, December 15, 2017:
We’re all — trees, humans, insects, birds, bacteria — pluralities. Life is embodied network. These living networks are not places of omnibenevolent Oneness. Instead, they are where ecological and evolutionary tensions between cooperation and conflict are negotiated and resolved. These struggles often result not in the evolution of stronger, more disconnected selves but in the dissolution of the self into relationship.
Because life is network, there is no “nature” or “environment,” separate and apart from humans. We are part of the community of life, composed of relationships with “others,” so the human/nature duality that lives near the heart of many philosophies is, from a biological perspective, illusory. We are not, in the words of the folk hymn, wayfaring strangers traveling through this world. Nor are we the estranged creatures of Wordsworth’s lyrical ballads, fallen out of Nature into a “stagnant pool” of artifice where we misshape “the beauteous forms of things.” Our bodies and minds, our “Science and Art,” are as natural and wild as they ever were.
We cannot step outside life’s songs. This music made us; it is our nature.
Our ethic must therefore be one of belonging, an imperative made all the more urgent by the many ways that human actions are fraying, rewiring, and severing biological networks worldwide. To listen to trees, nature’s great connectors, is therefore to learn how to inhabit the relationships that give life its source, substance, and beauty.
David George Haskell, THE SONGS OF TREES: STORIES FROM NATURE’S GREAT CONNECTORS