Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Readings: What Is Life?

Across the evening valley the old mule went with his heartbroken "Hee haw" broken like a yodel in the wind: like a horn blown by some terribly sad angel: like a reminder to people digesting dinners at home that all was not as well as they thought. Yet it was just a love cry for another mule.

--Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

After all, our wisdom, however irrefutable it may be, has provided us with no understanding of the meaning of life. Yet all those millions who make up humanity manage to live without ever doubting its meaning.

--Leo Tolstoy, A Confession

...I'm also interested...in observing if any demonstrable good's to be had from getting as old as Methuselah, other than that the organism keeps functioning like a refrigerator. We assume persistence to be a net gain, but it still needs to be proved.

--Richard Ford, The Lay of the Land

To say like Ivan Karamazov: nothing can possibly make up for a single tear from a single child. And yet to accept all tears, and the countless horrors which lie beyond tears. To accept these things not simply in so far as they may admit of compensations, but in themselves. To accept that they should exist, simply because they do exist. ...and by this acceptance to love God through and beyond it.

--Simone Weil, Notebooks, Volume One

There are two ways to look at life. One is that you never have enough closet space. The other is that you have too much stuff.