Its “It’s been a while since i’ve done an excerpt from brainpickings , a few picks from the interesting website
“The unknown was my encyclopedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.”
“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves,” Rilke famously urged. “It is possible to live and NOT know,” Richard Feynman dissented in his memorable meditation on the responsibility of scientists. John Keats called for “negative capability” — that peculiar art of remaining in doubt “without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” Debbie Millman advised to look both ways when lingering at the intersection of the known and the unknown. And yet we continue to grasp for the security of our comfort zones, the affirmation of our areas of expertise, the assurance of our familiar patterns — however badly they may need rewiring.
The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947 (public library) — It is possible I never learned the names of birds in order to discover the bird of peace, the bird of paradise, the bird of the soul, the bird of desire. It is possible I avoided learning the names of composers and their music the better to close my eyes and listen to the mystery of all music as an ocean. It may be I have not learned dates in history in order to reach the essence of timelessness. It may be I never learned geography the better to map my own routes and discover my own lands. The unknown was my compass. The unknown was my encyclopedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.
It is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar.
by Maria Popova
“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.”
Well, one works at it, certainly. Being free is as difficult and as perpetual — or rather fighting for one’s freedom, struggling towards being free, is like struggling to be a poet or a good Christian or a good jew or a good Moslem or a good Zen Buddhist. You work all day long and achieve some kind of level of success by nightfall, go to sleep and wake up in the next morning with the job still to be done. So you start all over again.
She addresses the laziness of stereotypes:All you have to do is put a label on somebody. And then you don’t have to deal with the physical fact. You don’t have to wonder if they are waiting for the Easter bunny or love Christmas, or, you know, love their parents and hate small kids and are fearful of dogs. If you say, oh, that’s a junkie, that’s a nigger, that’s a kike, that’s a Jew, that’s a honkie, that’s a — you just — that’s the end of it.
When Moyers asks Angelou what wisdom she’d share with a hypothetical young daughter — a question that would sprout the wonderful Letter to My Daughter more than three decades later — she offers:
I would say you might encounter many defeats but you must never be defeated, ever. In fact, it might even be necessary to confront defeat. It might be necessary, to get over it, all the way through it, and go on. I would teach her to laugh a lot. Laugh a lot at the — and the silliest things and be very, very serious. I’d teach her to love life, I can bet you that.
Moyers asks Angelou how, despite the devastating events of her life, she managed to “stay open to the world, open to hope,” and she reflects:
Well, I think you get to a place where you realize you have nothing to lose. Nothing at all. Then you have no reason to bind yourself. I had no reason to hold on. I found it stupid to hold on, to close myself up and hold within me nothing. So I decided to try everything, to keep myself wide open to human beings, all human beings — seeing them as I understand them to be, not as they wish they were, but as I understand them to be. Very truthfully — not idealistically, but realistically. And seeing that if this person knew better he would do better. That doesn’t mean that I don’t protect myself from his actions, you know.
- Website of the Week: Brain Pickings (cabraseniorlibrary.wordpress.com)
- Why Emotional Excess is Essential to Writing and Creativity | Brain Pickings (wabay.wordpress.com)
- Maya Angelou: Parents Are Powerful (blackamericaweb.com)
- Ideal treadmill reading (readssolelyforpleasure.wordpress.com)
- Brainpickings Literary Jukebox: Sylvia Plath – inspired! (clodsong.wordpress.com)
- Maria Popova, @brainpicker: Why she won’t give advertisers access to her 1.2m online readers, by Kathy Sweeney (nextlevelofnews.com)