"Miracles do happen. You must believe this. No matter what else you believe about life, you must believe in miracles. Because we are all, every one of us, living on a round rock that spins around and around at almost a quarter of a million miles per hour in an unthinkably vast blackness called space. There is nothing else like us for as far as our telescopic eyes can see. In a universe filled with spinning, barren rocks, frozen gas, ice, dust, and radiation, we live on a planet filled with soft, green leaves and salty oceans and honey made from bees, which themselves live within geometrically complex and perfect structures of their own architecture and creation. In our trees are birds whose songs are as complex and nuanced as Beethoven's greatest sonatas. And despite the wild, endless spinning of our planet and its never-ending orbit around the sun - itself a star on fire - when we pour water into a glass, the water stays in the glass. All of these are miracles."
- Augusten Burroughs
Why, if it's possible to spend this span
of existence as laurel, a little darker than all
other greens, with little waves on every
leaf-edge (like the smile of a breeze), why, then,
must we be human and, shunning destiny,
long for it? . . .
Oh, not because happiness,
that over-hasty profit of loss impending, exists.
Not from curiosity, or to practice the heart,
that would also be in the laurel . . .
but because to be here is much, and the transient Here
seems to need and concern us strangely. Us, the most transient.
Everyone once, once only. Just once and no more.
And we also once, Never again. But this having been
once, although only once, to have been of the earth,
- Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by C. F. MacIntyre
from The Ninth Elegy
"Stop thinking this is all there is.
Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation and bogus Iraqi attack plan, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral . . . Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel . . . Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious . . . there's your opening. Remember magic. And, finally, believe you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending karmic overhaul, a great shift, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable."
- Mark Morford
"How is it that one day life is orderly and you are content, a little cynical perhaps, but on the whole just so, and then without warning you find the solid floor is a trapdoor and you are now in another place whose geography is uncertain and whose customs are strange?
Travelers at least have a choice. Those who set sail know that things will not be the same as at home. Explorers are prepared. But for us, who travel along the blood vessels, who come to the cities of the interior by chance, there is no preparation. We who were fluent find life is a foreign language. Somewhere between the swamp and the mountains. Somewhere between fear and sex. Somewhere between God and the Devil passion is and the way there is sudden and the way back is worse."
- Jeanette Winterson
"No government has the right to decide on the truth of scientific principles, nor to prescribe in any way the character of the questions investigated. Neither may a government determine the aesthetic value of artistic creations, nor limit the forms of literacy or artistic expression. Nor should it pronounce on the validity of economic, historic, religious, or philosophical doctrines. Instead it has a duty to its citizens to maintain their freedom, to let those citizens contribute to the further adventure and the development of the human race."
- Richard Feynman
"I don't quite know what we're doing on this insignificant cinder spinning away in a dark corner of the universe. That is a secret which the high gods have not confided in me. Yet one thing I believe and I believe it with every fiber of my being. A man must live by his lights and do what little he can and do it as best as he can."
- Walker Percy
"It is important to remember that life is not always linear, or that the lines we follow do not always lead us to the same place. It is not incidental that the drama of life, moments of crisis that require a decision, is represented by the following scene: you face a fork in the road, and you have to decide which path to take. This way or that one, you must decide. And then you go one way. Maybe you go that way without being sure that's the right way to go. Maybe you go that way because the path seems clearer. The longer you proceed on this path, the harder it is to turn back. You keep going in hope that you are getting somewhere. Hope is an investment that the paths we follow will get us somewhere. Turning back risks the wasting of time, as a time that has already been expended or given up.
Sometimes what happens is not simply a matter of a conscious decision. Something unexpected happens that throws you. You feel thrown when you are thrown off course. You might be redirected by an unexpected encounter; a little sideways movement can open up new worlds. Sometimes encounters might come as the gift of a lifetime; other times they might not; they might be experienced purely as loss. What happens when we are knocked off course depends on the psychic and social resources we have behind us. Such moments of being thrown off course can be experienced as a gift, as opening up a possibility; or they can be traumatic, registered as the loss of a desired future, one that you are grasping for, leaning toward.
Maybe we realize: it would have been possible to live one's life in another way. We can mourn because we didn't even realize that we gave something up. The shape of a life can feel like a past tense; something we sense only after it has been acquired."
- Sara Ahmed