“We can count on so few people to go that hard way with us,” Adrienne Rich wrote in framing her superb definition of honorable human relationships.
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“A friend,” wrote the poet and philosopher John O’Donohue in his beautiful meditation on the Ancient Celtic notion of anam cara, “awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.
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We move among surfaces. If we are lucky enough, if we are courageous enough, every once in a while we dive into the depths with another. It is not easy, because even through our best self-awareness, we remain largely unfathomable to ourselves.
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“The encounter between two differences is an event,” French philosopher Alain Badiou wrote in his tremendous treatise on why we fall and how we stay in love. “On the basis of this event, love can start and flourish. It is the first, absolutely essential point.
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This is the seventh of nine installments in the animated interlude season of The Universe in Verse in collaboration with On Being, celebrating the wonder of reality through stories of science winged with poetry. (The live season is back on.) See the previous installments here.
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To become precious — that is the work of love, the task of love, the great reward of love. The recompense of death. The human miracle that makes the transience of life not only bearable but beautiful.
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“My one reader, you reading this book, who are you?” Muriel Rukeyser (December 15, 1913–February 12, 1980) asks with the large forthright eyes of her words in one of the most beautiful and penetrating books ever written on any subject.
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