Wisdom speaks with a silent tongue.
Skelton, M. (2006) Endymion Spring
to see is to enter a universe of beings which display themselves, and they would not do this if they could not be hidden behind each other or behind me. in other words: to look at an object is to inhabit it, and from this habitation to grasp all things in terms of the aspect which they present to it. but in so far as i see those things too, they remain abodes open to my gaze, and being potentially lodged in them, i already perceive from various angles the central object of my present vision. thus every object is the mirror of all others.
merleau-ponty, m. (1945) the phenomenology of perception
'i'll make you one, ' he said, 'and balance it
perfectly on you.' so i could almost feel
the plumb line of the creased tweed hit my heel,
my shoulders like a spar or arms of a scale
under the jacket, my whole shape realigned
in ways that suited me down to the ground.
so although a suit was the last thing that i needed
i weighed his words and wore them and decided
there and then it was going for a song.
heaney, s. (1939-2013)
Be who you are, and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.
you have a good many little gifts and virtues, but there is no need of parading them, for conceit spoils the finest genius. there is not much danger that real talent or goodness will be overlooked long; even if it is, the consciousness of possessing and using it well should satisfy one, and the great charm of all power is modesty.
alcott, l.m. (1868) little women
"i don't feel very much like pooh today," said pooh.
"there there," said piglet. "i'll bring you tea and honey until you do."
milne, a.a. (1926) winnie-the-pooh
a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;
being vexed, a sea nourished with loving tears.
what is it else? a madness most discreet,
a choking gall, and a preserving sweet.
shakespeare, w. (1595) romeo and juliet
Before you criticise a man, walk a mile in his shoes.
That way, when you do criticise him, you'll be a mile away and have his shoes.
I wonder if technology has changed the meaning of friendship. My daughter is 12 and most things that happen to her are photographed. She and her friends get together and spend hours trying out poses, making videos, retouching them, setting them to music and posting them on this or that social media network. I’m sure the girls are bonded in many of the traditional ways, but I also wonder if they’ll ever lose sight of each other, which was always one of the possibilities of friendship, an aspect of its mystery. I think we always knew we would move on in life and that our great friendships would be a matter of memory.
Social media is a vehicle of self-promotion, a means of fixing an idea of yourself in the social sphere, without people actually knowing you at all. And that’s a change: The thing about friendship used to be that the ideal was shared entirely by the pair of you, or sometimes by a group, yet it remained local, and that was part of its power.
It’s the mindfulness I miss. A pair of excellent youngsters in my wider family have over 1,000 Facebook “friends” between them. They say they don’t know half of them, and that some of them are “frenemies.” The social network gives them the option of corralling people into “close friends” or “acquaintances,” and, naturally, they always have the option of clicking “unfriend.” But are the majority of these people friends or are they just names? You can know everything that’s going on in people’s lives without knowing a single thing going on in their hearts. But is that friendship? I’m told that empathy still flowers in the usual way, but I have my doubts. People now in their 20s have a lot of self-advertising talent, but are they, I wonder, close to the point where a bad breakup, say, or a death in the family, isn’t a moment of opportunity for the protective and dignifying balms of old friendship, but simply a quiet day on social media?
The times we live in are big on loyalty. Technology has driven us wild with questions of loyalty to flags, to nations, to a “way of life” or to brands who give out “loyalty points” to those who stay tight. But the only kind of loyalty that matters is to know your friends and stick with them. The relationship has nothing really to do with outside people, or with your self-image or with status updates, and perhaps our vision of friendship has been degraded by the instantaneous, relentless nature of our communications technology. Replace “watch and click” with “listen and feel,” close the curtains and mix two drinks, download nothing, “share” nothing, but lose yourself in the sort of communication that has nothing to sell.
Love gets all the big headlines, but friendship is where the action is, especially if you consider that it is really a lack of friendship that makes an unhappy marriage. Fundamentally, it’s the art of friendship that warms you in the various winters of your discontent, and when you’re in trouble you don’t want 1,000 people, but just one. “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain,” the late Muhammad Ali is thought to have said. “It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
o'hagan, a. (2016) reflections on true friendship
"it was a star," mrs. whatsit said sadly.
"a star giving up its life in battle with the thing. it won, oh, yes, my children, it won. but it lost its life in the winning."
"itt iss eevill..."
"what is going to happen?"
"wee wwill cconnttinnue tto ffightt!"...
"and we're not alone, you know, children," came mrs. whatsit, the comforter. "...some of the best fighters have come from your own planet..."
"who have our fighters been?" calvin asked.
"oh, you must know them, dear," mrs. whatsit said. mrs. who's spectacles shone out at them triumphantly.
"and the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
suddenly there was a great burst of light through the darkness. the light spread out and where it touched the darkness the darkness disappeared. the light spread until the patch of dark thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure.
l'engle, m. (1962) a wrinkle in time
as i am. all or not at all.
joyce, j. (1922) ulysses
with what you've got, where you are.
widener, s.b. (1913) theodore roosevelt: an autobiography
and grey and full of sleep,
and nodding by the fire, take down this book,
and slowly read, and dream of the soft look
your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
how many loved your moments of glad grace,
and loved your beauty with love false or true,
but one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
and loved the sorrows of your changing face;
and bending down beside glowing bars,
murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
and paced upon the mountains overhead
and hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
yeats, w.b. (1891)
heard me talking out loud they would think that i am crazy. but since i am not, i do not care.
hemingway, e. (1996) the old man and the sea.
when a man sleeps, he is steeped and lost in a limp toneless happiness: awake he is restless, tortured by his body and the illusion of existence. why have men spent the centuries seeking to overcome the awakened body? put it to sleep, that is a better way. let it serve only to turn the sleeping soul over, to change the blood-stream and thus make possible a deeper and more refined sleep. we must invert our conception of repose and activity... we should not sleep to recover the energy expended when awake but rather wake occasionally to defecate the unwanted energy that sleep engenders. this might be done quickly - a five-mile race at full tilt around the town and then back to bed and the kingdom of the shadows.
o'brien, f. (1939) at swim two birds.
why do you always leave?
won't you will always be there with your hands outstretched, waiting for me to come home?
but what if i must leave too?
but i love you.
but what if i must leave, first?
but i will starve.
but what if i find another bird?
the loneliness would kill me.
then why don't you stay?
because i have only ever known the sky, and you are so beautiful that touching you hurts, knowing that one day - you may die and leave me here, with only this blue: with only this endless, endless blue.
moon, s. (2013) the anatomy of being.
one of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is "super busy," "crazy busy" or "insanely busy". nobody is just "fine" anymore.
and if there is ever a still moment for reflective thought - say, while waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic - out comes the mobile device...
it could be because human beings, when left alone, tend to dwell on what's wrong in their lives. we have evolved to become problem solvers and meaning makers. what preys on our minds, when we aren't updating our facebook page or in spinning class, are the things we haven't figured out... and until there is resolution, or at least some kind of understanding or acceptance, these thoughts reverberate in our heads. hello rumination. hello insomnia.
"it's like we're all in this addicted family where all this busyness seems normal when it's really harmful." said stephanie brown, a psychologist in silicon valley.
studies further suggest that not giving yourself time to reflect impairs your ability to empathize with others.
...hard as they sometimes are, negative feelings are a part of everyone's life, arguable more so if you are crazy busy. but it's those same deep and troubling feelings, and how you deal with them, that make you the person you are. while busyness may stanch welling sadness, it may also limit your ability to be overcome with joy.
murphy, k. (2014) "no time to think", new york times, july 25