The idea that scientific method is the only method of discovering the truth has a lot to be said for it, if you mean by truth how the world ultimately is as a system of organized matter, but I defend cognitive dualism: that world can be understood completely in another way which also has its truths which are not translatable into the truths of science. So we have to look at the different ways we organize this material that science explains for us.
The assault on the human world in the name of science is more pseudo-science than science, and rejoices in its bald, unmoralized image of "what we really are". What we really are from the scientific point of view is precisely what we really aren't. The identification of any object in the first-person case is ruled out by the enterprise of scientific explanation. So science cannot tell me who I am, let alone where, when, or how.
Patience is not learned in safety. It is not learned when everything is harmonious and going well. When everything is smooth sailing, who needs patience? If you stay in your room with the door locked and the curtains drawn, everything may seem harmonious, but the minute anything doesn’t go your way, you blow up. There is no cultivation of patience when your pattern is to just try to seek harmony and smooth everything out.
Cosmos Borealis: Light skin of sky and cloud and mountain on the still pond. Water body beneath teeming with reeds and silt and trout (sealed in day skin and night skin and ice lids), which we draw out with silk threads, fitted with snags of fur or bright feathers. Skin like glass like liquid like skin; our words scrieved the slick surface (reflecting risen moon, spinning stars, flitting bats), so that we had only to whisper across the wide plate. Green drakes blossomed powder dry among the stars, glowing white, out of pods, which rose from the muck at the bottom of the pond and broke open on the skin of the water. We whispered across the galaxies, who needs Mars?
We have different rights from normal people, for we have different needs which place us above – this must be said and believed – their morality. It is our duty never to be consumed by the sacrificial fire. Your real duty is to save your dream. Beauty too has some painful duties: these produce, however, the noblest achievements of the soul.
Nothing can be as peaceful and endless as a long winter darkness, going on and on, like living in a tunnel where the dark sometimes deepens into night and sometimes eases to twilight, you're screened from everything, protected, even more alone than usual.
When I was a kid growing up I wanted to do drawings, and particularly painting that exhibited the draftsmanship of the Renaissance through the 19th century that had a fidelity of representation. I wanted to be an old-fashioned artist. If I were to think about what I'm after, it's to try to figure out some way to come back around to that world.
How do you make very beautiful things? How do you represent the world and the beauty of the world and at the same time participate in this beautiful form?
How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.
I feel that a real living form is the result of the individual’s effort to create the living thing out of the adventure of his spirit into the unknown—where it has experienced something—felt something—it has not understood—and from that experience comes the desire to make the unknown—known. By unknown—I mean the thing that means so much to the person that wants to put it down—clarify something he feels but does not clearly understand—sometimes he partially knows why—sometimes he doesn’t—sometimes it is all working in the dark—but a working that must be done—Making the unknown—known—in terms of one’s medium is all-absorbing—if you stop to think of the form—as form you are lost—The artist’s form must be inevitable—You mustn’t even think you won’t succeed—Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant—there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing—and keeping the unknown always beyond you—catching crystallizing your simpler clearer version of life—only to see it turn stale compared to what you vaguely feel ahead—that you must always keep working to grasp—the form must take care of its self if you can keep your vision clear.
Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly, than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank among the Nations. The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind, after social happiness, have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labours of Philosophers, Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government; the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce, the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality of sentiment have had a meliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of Society. At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.”
The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.
In January, Lake Erie froze nearly to Canada. One evening, standing before its ominous expanse in my ice skates, with a wool cap pulled over my ears and a long scarf wound around my neck and crisscrossed over my chest beneath my blue Navy-surplus pea jacket, I left the shore. I planned to face down the spectre of my fear by going as far as I dared toward Canada, or the Livingston ship channel if the icebreaker had been through. I hoped that my love of skating would propel me through the worst of my worries ...
"The strength of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special exertions but by his habitual acts.” Blaise Pascal
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
REMEMBER EVERYONE DEPLOYED
"Barring love I'll take my life in large doses alone--rivers, forests, fish, grouse, mountains. Dogs."
TAO TE CHING, Lao Tzu
The Lone Boat, North Woods Club, Adirondacks, 1892
"There are those who love to get dirty and fix things. They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work. And those who stay clean, just appreciate things. At breakfast they have milk and juice at night. There are those who do both, they drink tea.”
"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one's own mind without another's guidance. Dare to know! Sapere aude. 'Have the courage to use your own understanding,' is therefore the motto of the enlightenment."
"Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing."
"Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained."
"Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours."
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
"You see George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"
Spitzweg, The Bookworm, 1850
"Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” Fernando Pessoa
"Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes)."
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. But this business, alas, is fatal to the placid moods and fine other-worldliness of the poet."
"I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea."
"We all come from our own little planets. That's why we're all different. That's what makes life interesting."
"We're just dancing in the rain ..."
"If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you."
"It is hard to go on living without some hope of encountering the extraordinary."
I'm reading ...
Unlikely General: "Mad" Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America
"I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; Garlands from window to window; Golden chains from star to star ... And I dance."
"When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”