The fount of happiness

When people who have grown old try to remember when, how often, and how strongly they have felt happiness, then they look first of all to their childhood, and properly so, for in order to experience happiness the first requisite is independence from time and therewith from fear and hope as well, and this ability in most people is lost with the years.

— Hermann Hesse in My belief: Essays on life and art

The mind of the writer

Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.

— Alan Watts

Out of the mind

In Socrates’ view the effect of the god’s entry into the poet is to drive out the poet’s mind: when the god is in him the poet is ‘out of his mind’, ekphron, or ‘intelligence is no longer present in him’; so he may find himself saying many things which are admirable (polla kai kala) and true without knowing what he is saying… it is because he is like the diviner that the inspired poet is ‘out of his mind’… For Socrates, diviners, seers, oracle-givers and poet are all in the same boat. All of them in his view are know-nothing, or rather, worse: unaware of their sorry epistemic state, they set themselves up as repositories of wisdom emanating from a divine, all-wise source. What they say may be true; but even when it is true, they are in no position to discern what there is in it that is true.

— Gregory Vlastos, Socratic Piety

Brief considerations on the civilized and the primitive

There are still in the remote areas of Earth a few preindustrial tribal societies who remain stuck in the stone age. What is remarkable is that those people, when in the sufficient proximity of civilization to scrutinize us, manifest neither desire nor intent to possess what we have or live like we live. They prefer to pursue the ways they maintained for millennia. History shows it is only when we force our goods, our poisons (or medicines), our god and our science on them, or when we appropriate the land where they dwell, that they are forced to assimilate, usually with disastrous consequences. What does that tell us about the miracle of industry and the wonders of progress?


Do you want to know
what goes on in the core of the Trinity?
I will tell you.
In the core of the Trinity
the Father laughs
and gives birth to the Son.
The Son laughs back at the Father
and gives birth to the Spirit.
The whole Trinity laughs
and gives birth to us.

— Meister Eckhart (trans. Matthew Fox)