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On not knowing how to live

by Allen Wheelis

Pagina 17
We are carriers of spirit.

Pagina 22
All history is the history of man.

Pagina 29
We find in each other such intensity, such deppening fulfillment, that the relationship becomes the greatest possible good. I stop seeking how to live, I /know/.

Pagina 30
When I ask myself if I love her I feel sure I do, but I never had to ask before.

Pagina 31
Our exaltation had been the meaning of life; and the sad thing is that, having lost it, we are willing to deem it madness.

Pagina 32
I saw a tragic beauty in her face

Pagina 32
But she had looked, not into my heart, but into the mirror of my eyes and had seen there an embellishment image of herself.

Pagina 34
Not to kneel at all is madness, is to look only down, to be alone in the universe, to have no place in anything larger than one's self.

Pagina 37
We want to be, not the medium through which the wave passes, but the wave itself which rushes on.

Pagina 37
What eventually becomes reality appears first as illusion.

Pagina 38
All my life I have been in search of God. That's why I've never been able to enjoy anything.

Pagina 38
[one] becomes one's self God and then is responsible for everything.

Pagina 59
"Spirit is the voyager who, passing through the land of man, bid the human soul to follow it to the Spirit's purely spiritual destination." (Erich Heller)

Pagina 59
The horizon is millions of years behind us.

Pagina 60
We did not create spirit, do not possess it, cannot define it, are but the bearers.

Pagina 60
Spirit is the voyager, man is the vessel.
Spirit creates and spirit destroys.

Pagina 60
The general course is the growth of form, increasing awareness, matter to mind to consciousness. The harmony of man and nature is to be found in continuing this journey along its ancient course toward greater freedom and awareness.

Pagina 70
We have no rivals, the struggle is over. We are lords and possessors of the earth. But we did not get here by being gentle. We are extremely dangerous. We have nothing to fear but ourselves. We have much to fear.

Pagina 71
Man holds a mirror and spirit sees itself.

Pagina 72
But scientific method does not enable us to stand outside evolution. The mutations which led to brain capable of divining the structure of the atom are tested in the same way as are all the other accidents in the hereditary material.

Pagina 73
It is our survival that vindicates the way we think, not the other way around.

Pagina 73
We opt for nitrates over sacrifices because nitrates yield better crops. And for no other reason.

Pagina 75
We accomplish more than we intend.

Pagina 75
It is the theory, said Einstein, which determines what we can observe.

Pagina 77
If we find grandeur or holiness or beauty in a Parthenon, a Sermon on the Mount, a Mahler symphony, how can we disavow Pericles or Caesar or Napoleon? Can we believe that what we worship would have floated down to us on anything other than that river of blood?

Pagina 78
No longer can we see man as a puppet juggles by a beneficent God. Freedom is concentrated in man; God stands in awe of what we shall do.

Pagina 79
Spirit does not contend with freedom. We are as free as we are able to be, are dangerously free, and may in our arrogance destroy more than we can afford to lose.

Pagina 79
Spirit does not require mankind.

Pagina 80
Morality is born of that moment in which spirit becomes aware of itself and aspires to direct its own future progress.

Pagina 80
Jungle and civilization are indeed opposed, but it is civilization that is lawless. Animals do not make rules, know not that they obey them, yet behave within the limits of what is permitted by norms inscribed in their nature. Only man denies the authority of such norms, declares that everything is permitted. Morality stands against this license but not, thus far, with great success.

Pagina 82
what justifies violence is the certainty of being right.

Pagina 86
At a billion years in a warm ocean we come upon life without death.

Pagina 88
A life so withdrawn seemed hardly possible to me, eternal winters long in such excessive intimacy with silence, so much space for dreams, so much freedom for the quintessential, the all too concentrated spirits which inhabit books, for the writer's fluctuating powers, for the forces of memory. Dear Rilke, you seemed to me locked up in pure time

Pagina 89
Friends die more frequently as we get older, and each death brings back the mystery, reminds us there is something here to be contemplated, some wisdom to be sifted from fear. But the empty heavens are too much, we turn away. There is so much to be done. We rush back to our problems, for the existence of problems affirms our existence. Unfinished business means that we, too, are unfinished. We lose ourselves in the daily round.

Pagina 91
Horace: "There were brave men before Agamemnon, many; but all alike, unwept and unknown, lie pressed by eternal darkness for lack of a sacred poet."

Pagina 93
I should draw some comfort from conflict

Pagina 95
Everything was unfinished, nothing had come to conclusion. She had simply stopped like a clock at twenty past three.

Pagina 96
How live so that the symphonic complexity of life end on a resolving chord?

Pagina 98
On my way to the grave, serving purposes not my own.

Pagina 101
I don't want to be pushed out of life, kicking, like a child in a tantrum, or dragged by the heels to the firing squad. I want to walk out, detached and unafraid.

Pagina 101
The only thing in life worth having is not a thing, not even a category of things, but a feeling

Pagina 105
For a rational man there is no other way than the way of intelligence to learn anything. But in learning how to live, intellect is treacherous, for life is a matter of rhythms while intellect reduces rhythms to law.

Pagina 107
My whole life has been given over to this search and I have found nothing. I'm growing old and still know not how to live.

Pagina 108
I am humiliated by the triviality of what I accomplish, feel exposed in a foolish grandiosity

Pagina 109
I want simply to live. I yearn for the unexamined life.

Pagina 110
What can I do with what I know? What is my task?

Pagina 111
The unexamined life is strangling me. Can't write, can't read, soon perhaps will be unable to listen to music. Behold the man of reason.

Pagina 112
We are defeated in work and in love, but keep going.

Pagina 113
I smell my death on the wind, want to see something of beauty and nobility in the time that is left, to enlarge consciousness.