Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.

If many remidies are prescribed for an illness, you can be sure that the illness has no cure

Be patient with all that is unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions.

You have tampered with women, you have struck a rock.

Lincoln on the hypocrisy of America

“I now do more than oppose the extension of slavery. I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes”

“pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be take pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].”

To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcuseable.

“Between the dark of trouble and the light of disaster we pass our days. And if this is our condition, it cannot be taken away. Paradox results from artificial boundaries. Experience can’t be derailed.”

A lot of parents will do anything for their kids except let them be themselves.

What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?

The most astounding fact is the knowledge that the atoms that comprise life on Earth, the atoms that make up the human body, are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core under extreme temperatures and pressures. These stars, the high mass ones among them went unstable in their later years. They collapsed and then exploded scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy; guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and all the fundamental ingredients of life itself. These ingredients become part of gas clouds that condense, collapse, form the next generation of solar systems stars with orbiting planets, and those planets now have the ingredients for life itself.

So that when I look up at the night sky and I know that yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up – many people feel small because they’re small and the Universe is big – but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars. There’s a level of connectivity. That’s really what you want in life, you want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant; you want to feel like a participant in the goings on of activities and events around you.

And that’s precisely what we are, just by being alive.

I think most people thing (sic) programming is cold, precise, and mechanical. It’s actually creative, perplexing and deeply personal.

True peace is not merely the absence of war, it is the presence of justice.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

Where there is power, there is resistance

The impulse to help and the impulse to control are the dearest and most inseparable of siblings

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

“If you are wondering about Colin Kaepernick and his stand for equality and if he’s on the right side of history, there’s nothing more patriotic than resistance.”

we must find our voice precisely at the moment that our fear tries to snatch it from our throats. snatch back.

We will not cease from exploration, and the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the [very] first time.

“Thank you, whatever comes,” and then she turned And, as the ray of sun on hanging flowers Fades when the wind hath lifted them aside, Went swiftly from me. Nay, whatever comes One hour was sunlit, and the most high gods May not make boast of any better thing Than to have watched that hour as it passed.

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Love mercy now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work. But neither are you free to abandon it.

There is no wealth on a dead planet

The Earth Is Waiting For You

The Earth is always patient and open-hearted. She is waiting for you. She has been waiting for you for the last trillion lifetimes. She can wait for any length of time. She knows you will come back to her one day. Fresh and green, she will welcome you exactly like the first time, Because love never says:

“This is the last time”

Because Earth is a loving mother. She will never stop waiting for you.

The real violence, the violence that is unforgivable, is the violence we do to ourselves, when we are too afraid to be who we really are.


Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability.


I absolutely loathe adventures, and I particularly hate the old pseudo-adventurism where the mountain climb becomes something about confronting the extremes of humanity.

I believe the common denominator of the Universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility, and murder.


Happiness is a strange notion.


There is no harmony in the universe. We have to get acquainted to this idea that there is no real harmony as we have conceived it.

Human life is part of an endless chain of catastrophes, the demise of the dinosaurs being just one of these events. We seem to be next.

We ought to be grateful the Universe out there knows no smile.


I did not love him, nor did I hate him. We had a mutual respect for each other, even as we both planned each other’s murder.

The trees here are in misery, and the birds are in misery.


Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.

You look into the eyes of a chicken and you lose yourself in a completely flat, frightening stupidity.

Love so all can be liberated.

The moment is now.

We need you.

Let us plunge together down the dangerous path of surrender. It may be dangerous, but it is the only path worth following.

Let us forget all that we are taught about how it is noble to give and humiliating to receive. Because for most people, generosity consists only of giving, but receiving is also an act of love.

Allowing someone else to be happy will make them happy too.

When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

Art is a line

Art is a line around your thoughts.

Silence in the face of evil

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.

Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

First they came for the socialists

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Delusion of Control

Control is an illusion. Giving in to chaos is the only way through. You don’t surf by telling the waves what to do.

Criticizing Taste

I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.

We expect something better from the political left

Every nation-state tends towards the imperial – that is the point. Through banks, armies, secret police, propaganda, courts and jails, treaties, taxes, laws and orders, myths of civil obedience, assumptions of civic virtue at the top. Still it should be said of the political left, we expect something better. And correctly. We put more trust in those who show a measure of compassion, who denou­nce the hideous social arrangements that make war inevitable and human desire omnipresent; which fosters corporate selfishness, panders to appetites and disorder, waste the earth.

Have Heart

Everyone is fighting their own battles to be free from the past, live in their present, and to create a future for themselves.

So have heart.

The World is Rated R

The world is rated R, and no one is checking IDs. Do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. Do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not try to pretend there is no danger. Train them. Give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous. Make them yeast, and when they’ve grown, they will pollute the shadows.

A Real Soldier

A real soldier does not fight because he has something that he hates in front of him. He fights because he has something that he loves behind his back.

To get people to think for themselves, don't give them all the answers.

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friends or foes as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.

Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.

Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

A billion stars go spinning through the night, glittering above your head, but in you is the presence that will be when all the stars are dead.

Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.

“People like you and I, though mortal of course, like everyone else, do not grow old no matter how long we live. What I mean is that we never cease to stand like curious children before the great Mystery into which we were born.”

That’s libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.

Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but reinvent and reinvigorate it

I am not worried if scientists go and explain everything. This is for a very simple reason: an impala sprinting across the Savannah can be reduced to biomechanics, and Bach can be reduced to counterpoint, yet that does not decrease one iota our ability to shiver as we experience impalas leaping or Bach thundering. We can only gain and grow with each discovery that there is structure underlying the most accessible levels of things that fill us with awe.

But there is an even stronger reason why I am not afraid that scientists will inadvertently go and explain everything–it will never happen. While in certain realms, it may prove to be the case that science can explain anything, it will never explain everything. As should be obvious after all these pages, as part of the scientific process, for every question answered, a dozen newer ones are generated. And they are usually far more puzzling, more challenging than than the prior problems. This was stated wonderfully in a quote by a geneticist named Haldane earlier in the century: “Life is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.” We will never have our flames extinguished by knowledge. The purpose of science is not to cure us of our sense of mystery and wonder, but to constantly reinvent and reinvigorate it.

It is a characteristic of human nature to be inclined to regard anything which is disagreeable as untrue, and then without much difficulty to find arguments against it. So society pronounces the unacceptable as untrue, disputes the result… with logical and concrete arguments, arising, however, in emotional sources, and clings to them with all the strength of prejudice against every attempt at refutation.

Vandana Shiva: Corporations are Fictions

Corporations are fictions. They have been assigned a human and a legal personality, and now they’re trying to disposses people of their democratic rights, and they’re trying to dispossess nature of her rights. We are at a watershed for human evolution.

We will either defend the rights of people and the earth, and for that we have to dismantle the rights that corporations have assigned to themselves, or corporations will in the next three decades destroy this planet, in terms of human possibilities.

In the old days, I would have cut off any area that was ‘wrong.’ But, in fact, lots of so-called errors are easily removed. After all, what’s a mistake? These days, if I think I’ve done something wrong, I put the painting away and go back to it later rather than binning it. It can be a case of coming to terms with something that may not be quite what was intended, but is perfectly OK.

First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate.

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season”. Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I think most programmers spend the first 5 years of their career mastering complexity, and the rest of their lives learning simplicity.

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In all our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

It is up to us.

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

Your children are not your children

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls.

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, even in your dreams.

You are the bows from which your children, as living arrows, are sent forth.

A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless.

Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness.

We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.

A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.

People who dismiss the unemployed and dependent as ‘parasites’ fail to understand economics and parasitism.

A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalist society.

Because, ultimately, what life is all about is not waiting for the storm to pass.

It is about learning to kiss in the rain.

Never waste your time tyring to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.

To be yourself, in a world constantly trying make you something else, is the greatest accomplishment.

Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

One of the most courageous decisions you will ever make is to finally let go of that which is hurting your heart and soul.

May you Awaken to the Mystery of Being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have Joy and Peace in the Temple of your Senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the Call of your Gift and find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of Heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of Soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your Soul.

May you experience each day as a Sacred Gift woven around the Heart of wonder

Many adults are put off when youngsters pose scientific questions. Children ask why the sun is yellow, or what a dream is, or how deep you can dig a hole, or when is the world’s birthday, or why we have toes.

Too many teachers and parents answer with irritation or ridicule, or quickly move on to something else. Why adults should pretend to omniscience before a five-year-old, I can’t for the life of me understand. What’s wrong with admitting that you don’t know? Children soon recognize that somehow this kind of question annoys many adults. A few more experiences like this, and another child has been lost to science.

There are many better responses. If we have an idea of the answer, we could try to explain. If we don’t, we could go to the encyclopedia or the library. Or we might say to the child: “I don’t know the answer. Maybe no one knows. Maybe when you grow up, you’ll be the first to find out.”

Whenever you hear or read something of a spiritual nature that moves you, that touches your soul,

You are not learning something new, You are remembering something you have always known.

It is a gentle awakening.

I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.

My life has been immensely enriched by gay mentors, colleagues and friends and any discrimination and persecution of gay people is unacceptable.

Equal treatment of people is a basic right and it is sad that we still have to even speak about this in [the] 21st century. I salute NO MORE FEAR foundation for stepping in so quickly to provide the much necessary assistance to gay and lesbian people who are fleeing prosecution and help them lead a proud life in their new country.

What an astonishing thing a book is.

It is a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you are inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackle of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

Out beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field.

I’ll meet you there

Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars— mere globs of gas atoms. Nothing is ‘mere’. I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination— stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern— of which I am a part… What is the pattern or the meaning or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little more about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent.

I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.

Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.

Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg before it is broken.

The right to free expression is something one seizes, not something one is given.

There is a famous story told in Chassidic literature that addresses this very question.

The Master teaches the student that God created everything in the world to be appreciated, since everything is here to teach us a lesson.

One clever student asks “What lesson can we learn from atheists? Why did God create them?”

The Master responds, “God created atheists to teach us the most important lesson of them all – the lesson of true compassion. You see, when an ahteist performs an act of charity, visits someone who is sick, helps someone in need, and cares for the world, he is not doing so because of some religious teaching. He does not believe that God commanded him to perform this act. In fact, he does not believe in God at all, so his acts are based on an inner sense of morality. And look at the kindness he can bestow upon others simply because he feels it to be right.”

“This means,” the Master continued, “That when someone reaches out to you for help, you should never say ‘I pray that God will help you.’ Instead for the moment, you should become an atheist, imagine that there is no God who can help and say ‘I will help you.’”

99 percent of organizational problems is managerial.

Experience by itself teaches nothing… Without theory, experience has no meaning. Without theory, one has no questions to ask. Hence without theory there is no learning.

“… where there is fear, there will be wrong figures …”