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"Notes From a Pioneer on a Speck in Space" by Lew Welch
Few things that grow here poison us.
Most of the animals are small.
Those big enough to kill us do it in a way
Easy to understand, easy to defend against.
The air, here, is just what the blood needs.
We don’t use helmets or special suits.
The Star, here, doesn’t burn you if you
Stay outside as much as you should.
The worst of our winters is bearable.
Water, both salt and sweet, is everywhere.
The things that live in it are easily gathered.
Mostly, you eat them raw with safety and pleasure.
Yesterday my wife and I brought back
Shells, driftwood, stones, and other curiosities
Found on the beach of the immense
Fresh-water Sea we live by.
She was all excited by a slender white stone which:
"Exactly fits the hand!"
I couldn’t share her wonder;
Here, almost everything does.
"We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images and establishing mental connections."
"It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature."
"We depend on our words … Our task is to communicate experience and ideas to others. We must strive continually to extend the scope of our description, but in such a way that our messages do not thereby lose their objective or unambiguous character … We are suspended in language in such a way that we cannot say what is up and what is down. The word "reality" is also a word, a word which we must learn to use correctly."
"The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth."
"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field."
"Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it."
- Niels Bohr (Born October 7, 1885)
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) was a German philosopher of the late 19th century who challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality. He was interested in the enhancement of individual and cultural health, and believed in life, creativity, power, and the realities of the world we live in, rather than those situated in a world beyond. Central to his philosophy is the idea of “life-affirmation,” which involves an honest questioning of all doctrines that drain life’s expansive energies, however socially prevalent those views might be. Often referred to as one of the first existentialist philosophers along with Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), Nietzsche’s revitalizing philosophy has inspired leading figures in all walks of cultural life, including dancers, poets, novelists, painters, psychologists, philosophers, sociologists and social revolutionaries.
"It is the way of the superior man to prefer the concealment of his virtue, while it daily becomes more illustrious, and it is the way of the mean man to seek notoriety, while he daily goes more and more to ruin. It is characteristic of the superior man, appearing insipid, yet never to produce satiety; while showing a simple negligence, yet to have his accomplishments recognized; while seemingly plain, yet to be discriminating. He knows how what is distant lies in what is near. He knows where the wind proceeds from. He knows how what is minute becomes manifested. Such a one, we may be sure, will enter into virtue."
"I was still blind, but twinkling stars did dance
Throughout my being’s limitless expanse,
Nothing had yet drawn close, only at distant stages
I found myself, a mere suggestion sensed in past and future ages.”
- As quoted in Romantic Vision, Ethical Context: Novalis and Artistic Autonomy (1987) by Géza von Molnár, p. 2
"At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement.
And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.”
- T. S. Eliot in
The Four Quartets
"Love works magic. It is the final purpose of the world story, the Amen of the universe."
"For myself, and I was not alone, all the conscious and recollected years of my life have been lived to this day under the heavy threat of world catastrophe, and most of the energies of my mind and spirit have been spent in the effort to grasp the meaning of those threats, to trace them to their sources and to understand the logic of this majestic and terrible failure of the life of man in the Western world.
In the face of such shape and weight of present misfortune, the voice of the individual artist may seem perhaps of no more consequence than the whirring of a cricket in the grass, but the arts do live continuously, and they live literally by faith; their names and their shapes and their uses and their basic meanings survive unchanged in all that matters through times of interruption, diminishment, neglect; they outlive governments and creeds and the societies, even the very civilization that produced them. They cannot be destroyed altogether because they represent the substance of faith and the only reality. They are what we find again when the ruins are cleared away.”