“Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans… . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn’t we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe it’s as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can’t explain his to us, and we can’t explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication … and there is the real illness.”—Philip K. Dick (via sunrec)
The blue sky’s engine-drone is deafening. We’re living here on a shuddering work-site where the ocean depths can suddenly open up shells and telephones hiss. You can see beauty only from the side, hastily. The dense grain on the field, many colours in a yellow stream. The restless…
“I don’t care how much sex anyone has, how often they do it, or who they do it with. I’m much more interested in the consent, pleasure, and well-being of the participants and the people affected by it. I respect women who are asexual, celibate, monogamous, multi-partnered, or have had more partners than they can recall. I respect women who only have sex after a commitment to monogamy and those who have sex with someone within minutes of meeting them. I respect women who have transactional sex, women who have sex for love, or for any other reason. I know that all of these categories are permeable and that many women move from one to another. And I know that any of these decisions can be made from a place of personal power, choice, and authenticity, as well as from a place of coercion, shame, and disempowerment.”—
“I know not how I may seem to others, but to myself I am but a small child wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge, every now and then finding a small bright pebble to content myself with.”—Plato (via larmoyante)
No one’s fated or doomed to love anyone.
The accidents happen, we’re not heroines,
they happen in our lives like car crashes,
books that change us, neighborhoods
we move into and come to love.
Tristan und Isolde is scarcely the story,
women at least should know the difference
between love and death. No poison cup,
no penance. Merely a notion that the tape-recorder
should have caught some ghost of us: that tape-recorder
not merely played but should have listened to us,
and could instruct those after us:
this we were, this is how we tried to love,
and these are the forces they had ranged against us,
and theses are the forces we had ranged within us,
within us and against us, against us and within us.”—Twenty-One Love Poems by Adrienne Rich (via fuckyeahexistentialism)
I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed
the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and away into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.
This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he
whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass
We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
our names do not appear.
“A stranger can see in an instant something in you that you might spend years learning about yourself. How awful we all are when we look at ourselves under a light, finally seeing our reflections. How little we know about ourselves. How much forgiveness it must take to love a person, to choose not to see their flaws, or to see those flaws and love the person anyway. If you never forgive you’ll always be alone.”—Stephen Elliott, The Adderall Diaries (via larmoyante)
Strategies to improve how you feel by changing how you think:
Don’t approach interactions with the goal of explaining or convincing someone of your point of view. When you disagree with someone, instead of attempting to prove your viewpoint as “right,” attempt to see how both viewpoints may exist and hold truth.
Try to find commonalities inseeming opposites. Although some things may appear to be mutually exclusive, search for how they are in fact a part of a whole. This might mean that you are both materialistic (interested in having new things) and at the same time concerned for the environment. It could mean that you are ligh- hearted and serious, forgiving and angry, doing your best and needing to do better. On the surface these may appear to contradictory, but they are all part of a whole.
Give up on a search for one final indisputable truth. Think of all the times in history when we believed we knew the truth—that the world was flat, that Vikings wore horns on their helmets, that Crisco was a healthy alternative to butter, that women don’t have the intellectual capacity to vote, that the earth was the center of the universe. Acknowledge that our sense of “truth” evolves over time. Allow yourself to loosen your hold on any “truths” that may change with time and circumstances.
Let go of extreme language. The words that we use have an impact on how we feel. Using words such as never, always, must, should, shouldn’t, fair, unfair, ideal –increases the emotional intensity of your thoughts and narrows your attention, making it more likely that you will have faulty or exaggerated views. Think, instead in terms of sometimes, often, helpful, unhelpful, effective, mistake, and interest. Allow yourself to think about what works, rather than how things “should be.”
Remember that all interactions occur in a social world. We have personal control over what we do, but we are influenced by our past experiences and our current life circumstances. Someone who grew up in poverty might have very different views of money, for example, than someone who grew up with great wealth. Each person’s view developed based on these very different experiences are neither right nor wrong. Rather they are different based on each person’s history. When you interact with others, don’t assume that their social context and therefore their beliefs developed in the same way that yours did. Focus on accepting that despite our ability to think and act rationally, we are all influenced by our environments. When you interpret someone’s behavior remember that it occurs in a context and that you can never fully know that context. Although it’s different from yours, other viewpoints can hold personal truth.
If you feel stuck in a narrow set of beliefs or expectations, find yourself in repetitive patterns of conflict with others or find that you are stressed, anxious or fearful much of the time, changing your thoughts might have a big impact on changing how you feel.
“She felt that she wanted to enclose the present moment; to make it stay; to fill it fuller and fuller, with the past, the present and the future, until it shone, whole, bright, deep with understanding.”—The Years, Virginia Woolf (via afortressaroundmyheart)
“Nonviolence is perhaps the most exacting of all forms of struggle, not only because it demands first of all that one be ready to suffer evil and even face the threat of death without violent retaliation, but because it excludes mere transient self-interest, even political, from its consideration. In a very really sense, he [or she] who practices nonviolent resistance must commit himself [or herself] not to the defense of his [or her] own interests or even those of a particular group: he [or she] must commit himself [or herself] to the defense of objective truth and right and above all of [humanity]. His [or her] aims then not simply to “prevail” or to prove that he [or she] is right and the adversary wrong, or to make the adversary give in and yield what is demanded.”—Thomas Merton (via azspot)
“There must be another life, she thought, sinking back into her chair, exasperated. Not in dreams; but here and now, in this room, with living people. She felt as if she were standing on the edge of a precipice with her hair blown back; she was about to grasp something that just evaded her. There must be another life, here and now, she repeated. This is too short, too broken. We know nothing, even about ourselves.”—Virginia Woolf, The Years (via afortressaroundmyheart)
“One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.”—Eckhart Tolle (via ninefoldgoddess)
“The way the brain handles metaphors has also received extensive study; some scientists have contended that figures of speech like “a rough day” are so familiar that they are treated simply as words and no more. Last month, however, a team of researchers from Emory University reported in Brain & Language that when subjects in their laboratory read a metaphor involving texture, the sensory cortex, responsible for perceiving texture through touch, became active. Metaphors like “The singer had a velvet voice” and “He had leathery hands” roused the sensory cortex, while phrases matched for meaning, like “The singer had a pleasing voice” and “He had strong hands,” did not.”—
(From the same article as the precious quote, probably more relevant for English teachers)
“But tomorrow, dawn will come the way I picture her, barefoot and disheveled, standing outside my window in one of the fragile cotton dresses of the poor. She will look in at me with her thin arms extended, offering a handful of birdsong and a small cup of light.”—Billy Collins (Thank you, libraryland)
“In Arab popular traditions, there’s a belief that if a manuscript were to be submerged in water and its ink were to dissolve, drinking the water would transform the knowledge contained in that manuscript into the body of the drinker and become part of the body’s system.”—Anton Shammas, “The Drowned Library” (via nelmezzodelcammin)
How much of ourselves do we possess? What does it mean to think, and in doing so—or not doing so—am I ceasing to be or creating myself? What does a thought arisen from the mind reveal of the mind? Thinking is a form of voyeurism.
“For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.”—John Milton, Areopagitica (via libraryland)
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”—Albert Einstein (via myheadisweak)
But the real game-changer embedded in the law is the opening of U.S. airspace to unmanned drones. Although Predator drones already patrol our border with Mexico, and some police forces have obtained smaller drones of their own, the legal ability of federal agencies to fly unmanned missions over civil space was unclear, unwritten. Now they’ve got a big green light, and “the only barrier to the routine use of drones for persistent surveillance are the procedural requirements imposed by the FAA for the issuance of certificates,” says Amie Stepanovich of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Eerily, the law also makes way for the use of commercial drones: it’s not clear what Google, GE, or General Motors would do with a drone, but it’s hard to imagine something benevolent. The FAA projects that there could be 30,000 drones in American skies by 2020.
Which dystopian novel is it where thousands of surveillance robots constantly monitor us from the stratosphere? The chilling effects this could have on protest, not to mention acts of more militant resistance, should be obvious. And it’s hard to imagine that, in terms of day-to-day policing, this will mean less police violence and fewer arrests. Add the Department of Justice’s secret memoranda giving the president power to declare U.S. citizens enemies of the state and have them assassinated, and the legal framework now exists to make all U.S. citizens Awlakis, which is to say, blown up by missiles fired from an invisible robot by executive fiat. Is there a moment when the transition to police state actually occurs, or if you’re asking that question has it already happened?
Tap into life’s immense abundance by gracefully and
gratefully accepting what is. Give richness and meaning to
that abundance by putting it to good use with focused effort
Nothing is achieved by getting uptight about things that
don’t really matter anyway. Let it all be, take it all in,
and put all your focus and energy into making a positive
difference going forward.
Make life good in every moment by allowing life’s goodness
to be and to grow. Instead of fighting against what has
already come to be, make a point of finding the value in it
all, and in making that value grow.
From here, you can go anywhere. Let this moment be, and rise
from it into the reality of the very best life you can
“We see, often, too often, what we want to see. Even the bellowing specter of self-made hell must be fussed over like a fetish, as precious and potent as any great work of art. We choose to commit ourselves to it, if only because, like the Big Dipper, it is what we revisit each night, the habit by which we familiarize the dark. The Promethean gift of our imagination is found at the heart of most tragedy, the real weapon discovered at the crime scene. Why would we fashion such horrors?
How did this happen that the very organ of our humanness — as nostril is to dog, as sonar is to bat, as pupil is to owl — would dead-end us with confusion, false information, self obsession? Would an elephant hang itself with its trunk?
We project — at the very least — to anticipate and taste what we can not touch, molecule to molecule, and — at the very best — to live out the Golden Rule, heart to heart. We each spend a lifetime struggling to bridge our detachment, to belong, at last — to know the Other.
So what gives? Why do we do such a dismal job of it?