The Essence Behind Things


“A new culture can only grow up in the soil of a purged humanity.”

“The modern city hardly knows a pure darkness or true silence anymore, nor does it know the effect of a single small light or that of a lonely distant shout.”

“You can deny, if you like, nearly all abstractions: justice, beauty, truth, goodness, mind, God. You can deny seriousness, but not play.”

“Play is a uniquely adaptive act, not subordinate to some other adaptive act, but with a special function of its own in human experience.”

“If a serious statement is defined as one that may be made in terms of waking life, poetry will never rise to the level of seriousness. It lies beyond seriousness, on that more primitive and original level where the child, the animal, the savage, and the seer belong, in the region of dream, enchantment, ecstasy, laughter. To understand poetry we must be capable of donning the child’s soul like a magic cloak and of forsaking man’s wisdom for the child’s.”

“Every age yearns for a more beautiful world. The deeper the desperation and the depression about the confusing present, the more intense that yearning.”

“History is the interpretation of the significance that the past has for us.”

“Educators are aware that they can reach the youth only by making use of gang spirit and guiding it, not by working against it.”

“Culture must have its ultimate aim in the metaphysical or it will cease to be culture.”

“The second fundamental feature of culture is that all culture has an element of striving.”

“Revolution as an ideal concept always preserves the essential content of the original thought: sudden and lasting betterment.”

“Most thoughtful Americans of today seem to have forgotten how strongly their own and immediate predecessors, Emerson, Hawthorne and Whitman, were still preoccupied with the essence behind things.”

All quotes by Johan Huizinga

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Always Alive Inside


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It is Born


Here I came to the very edge
where nothing at all needs saying,
everything is absorbed through water and the sea,
and the moon swam back,
its rays all silvered,
and time and again the darkness would be broken
by the crash of a wave,
and every day on the balcony of the sea
wings open, fire is born,
and everything is blue again like morning…

Let us look for secret things
somewhere in the world,
on the blue shore of silence
or where the storm has passed,
rampaging like a train.
There the faint signs are left,
coins of time and water,
debris, celestial ash
and the irreplaceable rapture
of sharing in the labour
of solitude and the sand.

Poem by Pablo Neruda

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Save Oak Flat!



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1 oak flat

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Being Peaceful = True Happiness

Thích Nhất Hạnh

“Many people think excitement is happiness… But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”

Quote by Thích Nhất Hạnh

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I went to Poland last week


…that’s the subject line I saw, as I opened a newsletter email from Emily McDowell.

Here’s a handy link to what she wrote:

I thought the newsletter was so timely and well written. It’s worth your attention. The quote below is a small piece of it.

“I took this photo last Thursday night, in the lobby of the Warsaw airport hotel. When I posted it on Instagram, it got one-tenth of the engagement of my previous post, which was a selfie I took at the border. In hindsight, I should have posted this picture with a hand-lettered inspirational quote about failure or burnout or spiritual growth as the first slide, because then more people would have seen it or maybe engaged with it. In case you’ve been living on Mars: the algorithm is actively invested in making this world a worse place.

[aside: what does it do to our brains, to our nervous systems, to open our phones day after day, hour after hour, and scroll through this: Jeans haul / buy this coaching program / Black man murdered by police / French bulldog on a skateboard / school hit by bombs / this dance is trending — I have observed that it both numbs and overwhelms me, and it flattens the meaning of everything into a low hum of consumption. It is almost impossible to pay attention in a medium that has been carefully designed to train us to do the opposite.]”

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The Guest House

rumi guest house

​”This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.”

Poem by Rumi

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Mirror of the Universe


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