Monthly Archives: May 2015

Seneca – On the Shortness of Life

They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn.

XVI

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I dream of you –

At night, while gazing at the cobwebbed ceiling

and discolored patches of wall that suffocate my sanity;

As the petals unfurl in anticipation of Spring

and April showers replace the snow;

As my skin expands under the vivid sun

and I wait impatiently for Summer.

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Shapes

I live in a bubble, he lives in a square

Why am I placed here, why is he over there?

Why are you who you are, and why am I like me?

And is there something outside of us that neither of us can see?

Do more shapes abound, that neither circle nor square be?

Do other shapes exist which only others can see?

Oh, what a plethora of problems might be avoided if we

Saw with other eyes the different shapes there be.

Triangles and cylinders and rectangles galore

A thousand other shapes besides, it’s hard to keep score.

Some are more angular, while others like to twist

Some are a bit edgy, even tubulars make the list.

Some are flat, while others are quite round,

Some beat like drums, yet others make no sound.

Some are beyond description, some have too many words,

Some are very few, while of others there are hordes.

Oh, the many shapes, the sizes, and colors!

So many there are, yet so unlike one another!

As many shapes are there, so many are we

Whether cube or oval, whatever our names be,

But underneath we are all still shapes, as I’m sure you’d agree.

Only instead of shapes our title is, Humanity.

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Carlyle – Sartor Resartus

Yes, to me also was given, if not Victory, yet the consciousness of Battle, and the resolve to persevere therein while life or faculty is left. To me also, entangled in the enchanted forests, demon-peopled, doleful of sight and of sound, it was given, after weariest wanderings, to work out my way into the higher sunlit slopes — of that Mountain which has no summit, or whose summit is in Heaven only!”

“But indeed Conviction, were it never so excellent, is worthless till it convert itself into Conduct. Nay properly Conviction is not possible till then; inasmuch as all Speculation is by nature endless, formless, a vortex amid vortices, only by a felt indubitable certainty of Experience does it find any centre to revolve round, and so fashion itself into a system. Most true is it, as a wise man teaches us, that ‘Doubt of any sort cannot be removed except by Action.’ On which ground, too, let him who gropes painfully in darkness or uncertain light, and prays vehemently that the dawn may ripen into day, lay this other precept well to heart, which to me was of invaluable service: ‘Do the Duty which lies nearest thee,’ which thou knowest to be a Duty! Thy second Duty will already have become clearer.

“I too could now say to myself: Be no longer a Chaos, but a World, or even Worldkin. Produce! Produce! Were it but the pitifullest infinitesimal fraction of a Product, produce it, in God’s name! ’Tis the utmost thou hast in thee: out with it, then. Up, up! Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy whole might. Work while it is called To-day; for the Night cometh, wherein no man can work.”

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Yeats – The Second Coming

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
ll. 3-8

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Tolstoy – Resurrection

Book 1 – Ch. 59 – Prison

One of the most widespread superstitions is that every man has his own special, definite qualities; that a man is kind, cruel, wise, stupid, energetic, apathetic, etc. Men are not like that. We may say of a man that he is more often kind than cruel, oftener wise than stupid, oftener energetic than apathetic, or the reverse; but it would be false to say of one man that he is kind and wise, of another that he is wicked and foolish. And yet we always classify mankind in this way. And this is untrue. Men are like rivers: the water is the same in each, and alike in all; but every river is narrow here, is more rapid there, here slower, there broader, now clear, now cold, now dull, now warm. It is the same with men. Every man carries in himself the germs of every human quality, and sometimes one manifests itself, sometimes another, and the man often becomes unlike himself, while still remaining the same man

Book 3, Ch. 1

If a bacteria watched and examined a human nail, it would pronounce it inorganic matter, and thus we, examining our globe and watching its crust, pronounce it to be inorganic. This is incorrect.

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