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Pale Blue Dot

Look again at that dot. That’s home. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

Carl Sagan

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Rivers of Blood

pale-blue-dot

Look again at that dot. That’s here, that’s us, that’s home. On it is everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you have ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there, on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

Carl Sagan
PALE BLUE DOT

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Achieving Greatness

Greatness

People will always criticize. The difference between a successful person and an average person is how much criticism they can take. Average people cannot take much criticism, so they remain average all their lives. They fail to be leaders. Average people live in fear of what someone else might say or think of them, so they live their lives going along and getting along with all of the other average people.

People are always critical of other people. If people are criticizing you, at least they’ve noticed you. Be worried if no one is criticizing you. You’ve given them something to talk about. You’ve given them something to break the boring monotony of their lives. The only thing worse than being criticized is not being criticized.

Most people feel safer in the herd of the average, living in fear of being criticized or being different. Most people find it easier to be average, to be normal, to hide, doing exactly what the herd does, just going along just to get along. The fear of being criticized is the biggest fear of most people. It is the fear of ostracism, the fear of being different, of standing outside of the herd. Many people just join the herd and hide inside it because of fear. That is the reason so few people ever achieve greatness.

If you can learn to handle criticism, you learn something valuable for your life. Some people will love you no matter what you do, some people will dislike you regardless of your efforts, and some people don’t care either way. Your job is to ignore the people who will never like you and do your best with the rest. That’s it.

Robert T. Kiyosaki
RICH DAD POOR DAD

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Something Strange Happens

 

GG3

“The airplane is faster than the heart. You arrive quickly and you leave quickly. You don’t grieve too much. And there is something else about the airplane. You can go back many times to the same place. And something strange happens if you go back often enough. You stop grieving for the past. You see that the past is something in your mind alone, that it doesn’t exist in real life. You trample on the past, you crush it. In the beginning it is like trampling on a garden. In the end you are just walking on ground. That is the way we have to learn to live now. The past is here.” He touched his heart. “It isn’t there.” And he pointed at the dusty road. I felt he had spoken the words before, or had gone over them in his mind. I thought: He fights to keep his style. He’s probably suffered more than the rest of us. We sat, the three of us, drinking Nescafé. And I thought the moment beautiful.

V.S. Naipaul
A BEND IN THE RIVER

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The Madness of Remembering

James baldwin

It takes strength to remember, it takes another kind of strength to forget, it takes a hero to do both. People who remember court madness through pain, the pain of the perpetually recurring death of their innocence. People who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence. The world is mostly divided between madmen who remember and madmen who forget. Heroes are rare.

James Baldwin
GIOVANNI’S ROOM

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A Tighter Hold

Memory

It never occurred to me that our lives, until then so closely interwoven, could unravel and separate over a thing like that. But the fact was, I suppose, there were powerful tides tugging us apart by then, and it only needed something small to finish the task. If we’d understood that back then, who knows? Maybe we’d have kept a tighter hold.

Kazuo Ishiguro
NEVER LET ME GO

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All Through the Darkness

All through the darkness

Jeff Vandermeer
SHRIEK: AN AFTERWORD

Every human being is a puppet on strings. The strings do not ascend to some anonymous Maker but are glistening golden strands that connect one puppet to another. Each strand is sensitive to the vibrations of every other strand. Every vibration sings in not only one heart but in the hearts of many so that if you listen carefully, you can hear a low hum as of many hearts singing together. When a strand snaps, when it breaks for love, or lack of love, or from hatred, or from pain, every other connected strand feels it and every other connected heart feels it. Since every strand and every heart are connected, even if at their most distant limits, the effect is universal. All through the darkness, where shining strands are the only light, a woundedness occurs. This hurt affects each strand, each heart, each of us, because we all hurt and are hurt. And all the strings shimmer on regardless, and all of our actions, no matter how small, have consequences to others.

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The Hand That Holds the Curtain Aside

The Hand That Holds

Oh the world over there it’s
So hard to explain
Just like a dream’s got lost in your brain
Dancing like a fool through that forbidden wing
Waiting for the light to start shivering well
Whoever said you couldn’t move that way
Whoever said you couldn’t try
If you find there’s a little pain
You can always go back again because
You don’t ever really say goodbye

Thomas Pynchon
GRAVITY’S RAINBOW

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Playing Dice

Playing Dice

Neil Turok
THE UNIVERSE WITHIN

Bohr had a background in philosophy as well as mathematics and an exceptionally agile and open mind. His writings are a bit mystical and also somewhat impenetrable. His main role at the Solvay Conference seems to have been to calm everyone down and reassure them that despite all the craziness, everything was going to work out fine. Somehow Bohr had a very deep insight that quantum theory was consistent. It’s clear he couldn’t prove it. Nor could he convince Einstein.

Einstein was very quiet at the Fifth Solvay meeting and there are few comments from him in the recorded proceedings. He was deeply bothered by the random probabilistic nature of quantum theory as well as the abstract nature of the mathematical formalism. He famously remarked (on a number of occasions), “God does not play dice!” to which Bohr finally replied, “Einstein, stop telling God how to run the world.”

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But to Dream Thus

But to dream thus

We must habituate the senses
To a fresh impression

Nature is not made for joy but clings to pain
Nature subdued must yield in the combat
The dream must succeed to reality

Then the dream reigns supreme and
Then the dream becomes life and
Life becomes the dream

But what changes occur

It is only by comparing
The pains of actual being to
The joys of the assumed existence
That you would desire
To live no longer

But to dream thus
forever.

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I Want to Die Completely

I Want to Die Completely
I want to attempt a prayer that is personal, not inherited. I know that such an undertaking demands a sincerity that is more than human. First of all obviously I am barred from asking for anything. Asking that my eyes not be filled with night would be madness; I know of thousands of people who can see, yet who are not particularly happy, just, or wise. Time’s march is a web of causes and effects and asking for any gift of mercy however small it might be is to ask that a link be broken in that web of iron, ask that it be already broken. No one deserves such a miracle. Nor can I plead that my trespasses be forgiven. Forgiveness is the act of another and only I myself can save me. Forgiveness purifies the offended party, not the offender who is virtually untouched by it. The freeness of my free will is perhaps illusory but I am able to give or to dream that I give. I can give courage which I do not possess, I can give hope which does not lie within me, I can teach a willingness to learn that which I hardly know myself or merely glimpse. I want to be remembered less as poet than as friend… I hope that oblivion will not long delay. The designs of the universe are unknown to us but we do know that to think with lucidity and to act with fairness is to aid those designs which shall never be revealed. I want to die completely.

Jorge Luis Borges
CONVERSATIONS

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The Museum of Torture

Wish

I had a a friend once who was dumped by her boyfriend because he didn’t like a coat she had bought. It was a very nice cashmere coat, but for some reason it disgusted him to see her wearing it. At least that’s what he told her. She cut it up, doused it in lighter fluid, and burned it, but her boyfriend never came back. Another girl I know lost her boyfriend for using eyedrops in bed. They were just normal drops, but he said he couldn’t stand seeing her put them in. Strange that a little thing like a coat or an eyedrop can ruin everything.

YOKO OGAWA

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The Future of Happiness

Sam Harris
THE MORAL LANDSCAPE

The vast majority of our experience of life never gets recalled and the time we actually spend remembering the past is comparably brief. Thus the quality of most of our lives can be assessed only in terms of whatever fleeting character it has as it occurs. But this includes the time we spend recalling the past. Amid this flux, the moments in which we construct a larger story about our lives appear like glints of sunlight on a dark river. They may seem special but they are part of the current all the same.

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God Made Mud

God made mud. God got lonesome. So God said to some of the mud, “Sit up!” ”See all I’ve made,” said God, “the hills, the sea, the sky, the stars.” And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around. Lucky me, lucky mud. I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done. Nice going, God. Nobody but you could have done it, God! I certainly couldn’t have. I feel very unimportant compared to You. The only way I can feel the least bit important is to think of all the mud that didn’t even get to sit up and look around. I got so much and most mud got so little. Thank you for the honour. Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep. What memories for mud to have! What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met! I loved everything I saw. Goodnight. I will go to heaven now. I can hardly wait. To find out for certain what my wampeter was. And who was in my karass. And all the good things our karass did for you. Amen.

Kurt Vonnegut
CAT’S CRADLE

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And It’s So Beautiful

Matthew Whitaker was born twenty-three weeks premature, weighing just under two pounds. He has never been able to see. Every Saturday, he travels to New York from his home in Hackensack, New Jersey for a full day of music lessons. He plays seven instruments. “He hears everything as music,” said his father, Moses Whitaker. “The fax machine sounds like an A. The copy machine is a B flat. The jackhammers are making the drum beats that he likes.” When the subway rumbles, Matthew taps his cane on the ground to recreate the noise. He hums along with the city, the fast cars and fast talkers. When asked to describe New York, Matthew stands and pivots a full 360°, pointing his fingers in front of him. “New York City is a circle of sounds,” he says, “There is music everywhere. Everybody has a smile on their face. It’s musical, it’s dark and it’s so beautiful.”

David Byrne
HOW MUSIC WORKS

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