“He’d learned, over time, to read the wood and find there the answer to his questions, not in the way of the sooth-sayers, seers and magicians who lined the market square, but in the same way that every skilled craftsman knows that all things material speak also of the eternal if one is able, willing, to listen. ”
This is a profound insight that I want to preserve and reflect on. It rings true to my own experience: that as we engage the material world with care, we shape and nourish our soul. We come to know reality more intimately, and by coming to know reality more intimately, we become more in touch with the eternal.
I’ve long believed that gaining skill is one of a few simple ingredients to human happiness, and this may very well be part of the “why” – in gaining skill we must learn to coordinate our own will with the nature of reality (rather than fighting reality) and in the process gain great wisdom and peace.
“Anyone too undisciplined, too self-righteous or too self-centered to live in the world as it is has a tendency to ‘idealize’ a world which ought to be. But no matter what political or religious directions such ‘idealists’ choose, their visions always share one telling characteristic: in their utopias, heavens or brave new worlds, their greatest personal weakness suddenly appears to be a strength.”
- Professor Gurtzner, Brothers K
Some people get angry at the world, others enjoy it for what it is.
“The richest lives are led by those who are able to build relationships in small communities with a small group of friends.”
- David Haskell, biologist
Someday I will write a book (by the time I’m 50, I swear!) and the main thesis will be this: there are better ways to live than others and these ways are discoverable. In fact, most modern physical and mental problems are caused by displacement from a more natural environment. One such displacement is the anonymity (and subsequent shallowness and loneliness) of mass culture.
“To laugh is to risk appearing the fool;
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental;
To reach out for another is to risk involvement;
To expose feelings is to risk exposing true self;
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss;
To love is to risk not being loved in return;
To live is to risk dying;
To hope is to risk despair;
To try is to risk failure;
But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing;
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing;
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love and live;
Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave and has forfeited freedom’
Only a person who risks is free.”
“When you get older you find that people are actually drawn towards individuals with different points of view who are proud of who they are and who make interesting and different and unique choices… Stand tall. Be proud of who you are.”
- Neil Patrick Harris