In his poetic ode to the wonder of life, the physicist Richard Feynman gasped at our improbable inheritance as “atoms with consciousness” — a lovely phrase that in so few words intimates the immense superstructure of matter and meaning, the way in which the austere realities of the physical un
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“Oh, there must be a little bit of air, a little bit of happiness… to let the form be felt… but let the whole be sombre,” Van Gogh wrote to his brother as he exulted in the beauty of sorrow — not in that wallowing way some have of making an identity of their suffering, not in the way our c
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“Lights and shadows are continually flitting across my inward sky, and I know neither whence they come nor whither they go; nor do I inquire too closely into them,” Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote in his notebook one spring day in 1840. “It is dangerous to look too minutely into such phenomena.
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