“Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now,” Jack Kerouac wrote in a beautiful 1957 letter to his first wife turned lifelong friend. “Kindness, kindness, kindness,” Susan Sontag resolved in her diary on New Year’s Day in 1972.
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“That is happiness,” Willa Cather wrote, “to be dissolved into something complete and great.
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“You are born alone. You die alone. The value of the space in between is trust and love,” the artist Louise Bourgeois wrote in her diary.
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There are seasons of being when a cloak of meaninglessness seems to slip over you, over everything, muffling the song of life. It is not depression exactly, though the two conditions make eager bedfellows.
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“Yours is a grave and sobering responsibility, but it is also a shining opportunity,” Rachel Carson told a class of young people in what became her bittersweet farewell to life, after catalyzing the modern environmental movement; she urged them: “You go out into a world where mankind is challe
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I spent large swaths of my childhood by my grandmother’s side in rural Bulgaria as she tended to her subsistence garden, tilling and planting, watering and weeding.
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Dougal Robertson (January 29, 1924–September 22, 1991) was still a teenager, the youngest of a Scottish music teacher’s eight children, when he joined the British Merchant Navy.
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We are accidents of biochemistry and chance, moving through the world waging wars and writing poems, spellbound by the seductive illusion of the self, every single one of our atoms traceable to some dead star.
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“To lose the appetite for meaning we call thinking and cease to ask unanswerable questions,” Hannah Arendt wrote in her exquisite reckoning with the life of the mind, would be to “lose not only the ability to produce those thought-things that we call works of art but also the capacity to ask a
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In the pre-scientific world, in the blind old world with its old language, we had a word for those people most awake to the sacred wonder of reality, most capable of awakening the native kindness of human beings — the kindness that flows naturally between us when we are stripped of our biases and
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