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Nov
2nd
Sat
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Aug
28th
Wed
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… all experience delivered in such detail that the fictions seemed facts, and the facts? The facts insisted on themselves.
Christine Schutt, American novelist and short story writer, Prosperous Friends, Grove Press, 2012.
Aug
21st
Wed
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The Pace of Modern Life

                                                                                      — xkcd, 2013.

Jun
1st
Sat
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Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

— Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.
Horace, Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus (65BC-8BC), Odes 1.11
May
26th
Sun
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To seek for yesterday

Claus Narr (d.1515), the court jester, in reply to the Elector of Saxony Johann Friedrich I, who was lamenting that he had “lost the day”:

Morgen wollen wir alle fleissig suchcn, und den Tag, den du verloren hast, wohl wieder finden.

(Tomorrow we will all diligently seek for the day you have lost, and no doubt we shall find it again).
cited in Wolfgang Bütner in: 627 Historien von Claus Narren, 21, 51 (1572). (Image)
May
2nd
Thu
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There are some oddities in the perspective with which we see the world. The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.
Douglas Adams, English writer and dramatist (1952-2001), in a Speech at Digital Biota 2, Cambridge, UK, (1998)
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Silence

"Does not everything depend on our interpretation of the silence around us?"
— Lawrence Durrell, Justine (The Alexandria Quartet)
image

“Through past experience I had become familiar with many different types and levels of silence.

There is a silence within, a silence that descends from without; a silence that stills existence and a silence that engulfs the entire universe. There is a silence of the self and its faculties of will, thought, memory, and emotions. There is a silence in which there is nothing, a silence in which there is something; and finally, there is the silence of no-self (…).

If there was any path on which I could chart my contemplative experiences, it would be this ever-expanding and deepening path of silence.”

— Bernadette Roberts, from The Experience of No-Self posted in the TAT Forum Newsletter, May 2013 (via Markings) Photo source

John Cage about silence



John Cage was an American composer, music theorist and artist (1912-1992)
Apr
7th
Sun
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“A certain man once lost a diamond cuff-link in the wide blue sea, and twenty years later, on the exact day, a Friday apparently, he was eating a large fish - but there was no diamond inside. That’s what I like about coincidence.” “
Vladimir Nabokov was a Russian-American novelist (1899-1977), Laughter in the Dark, Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1932 
Photo: Vladimir Nabokov looking out of car window. He likes to work in the car, writing on index cards. - LIFE (Ithaca State, NY, 1958)
Apr
6th
Sat
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We say release, and radiance, and roses,
and echo upon everything that’s known;
and yet, behind the world our names enclose is
the nameless: our true archetype and home.
(…)

We grow up; but the world remains a child.
Star and flower, in silence, watch us go.

And sometimes we appear to be the final
exam they must succeed on. And they do.
Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist. Rilke is “widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets,” (1875-1926), Selected Poems, translation by Stephen Mitchell
Apr
5th
Fri
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image

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” “
Buckminster Fuller, an American engineer, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist (1895-1983)
Apr
4th
Thu
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That’s what the world is, after all: an endless battle of contrasting memories.
Haruki Murakami, Japanese writer and translator, 1Q84, Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
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David Macaulay, British-born American illustrator and writer, Baaa, Sandpiper, 1985.

Mar
28th
Thu
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Wrong solitude vinegars the soul,
right solitude oils it.

How fragile we are, between the few good moments.
Jane Hirshfield is an American poet, Vinegar and Oil
Mar
27th
Wed
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And differences
among various natures of human beings
and in the habits which arise from them
must exist in many other matters.
(…)

I can affirm—the remaining traces
of those natures which reasoning cannot
remove from us are so slight, that nothing
stops us living a life worthy of gods.
Titus Lucretius Carus, a Roman poet and philosopher (ca. 99 BC – ca. 55 BC), De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), translation: Ian Johnston, Richer Resources Publications, Arlington, Virginia, 2010. III [315-318], III [320-323] p. 105. 
See also: ☞ How Epicurus’ ideas survived through Lucretius’ poetry, and led to toleration, Lapidarium notes
Feb
3rd
Sun
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Marcelo Gleiser: Life is fundamentally asymmetric


“Look into a mirror and you’ll simultaneously see the familiar and the alien: an image of you, but with left and right reversed. Left-right inequality has significance far beyond that of mirror images, touching on the heart of existence itself. From subatomic physics to life, nature prefers asymmetry to symmetry. (…) Life is fundamentally asymmetric. (…)

Somehow, during its infancy, the cosmos selected matter over antimatter. This imperfection is the single most important factor dictating our existence. (…) It is not symmetry and perfection that should be our guiding principle, as it has been for millennia. (…)

The science we create is just that, our creation. Wonderful as it is, it is always limited, it is always constrained by what we know of the world. […] The notion that there is a well-defined hypermathematical structure that determines all there is in the cosmos is a Platonic delusion with no relationship to physical reality. (…)

The critics of this idea miss the fact that a meaningless cosmos that produced humans (and possibly other intelligences) will never be meaningless to them (or to the other intelligences). To exist in a purposeless Universe is even more meaningful than to exist as the result of some kind of mysterious cosmic plan. Why? Because it elevates the emergence of life and mind to a rare event, as opposed to a ubiquitous and premeditated one. (…)

Unified theories, life principles, and self-aware universes are all expressions of our need to find a connection between who we are and the world we live in. I do not question the extreme importance of understanding the connection between man and the cosmos. But I do question that it has to derive from unifying principles. (…)

For a clever fish, water is “just right“ for it to swim in. Had it been too cold, it would freeze; too hot, it would boil. Surely the water temperature had to be just right for the fish to exist. “I’m very important. My existence cannot be an accident,” the proud fish would conclude. Well, he is not very important. He is just a clever fish. The ocean temperature is not being controlled with the purpose of making it possible for it to exist. Quite the opposite: the fish is fragile. A sudden or gradual temperature swing would kill it, as any trout fisherman knows. We so crave for meaningful connections that we see them even when they are not there. (…) The gravest mistake we can make is to think that the cosmos has plans for us, that we are somehow special from a cosmic perspective.”
Marcelo Gleiser is the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy at Dartmouth College, ☞ ‘Elegance,’ ‘Symmetry,’ and ‘Unity’: Is Scientific Truth Always Beautiful?, Lapidarium notes (Image courtesy of Ben Lansky)