adamcrowe + awe   19

YouTube -- [Alain de Botton]: Taking It One Day at a Time
'We're often hugely ambitious about our plans for happiness, picturing the years of joy we want to set in motion. However, at points, we should realise the greater wisdom of learning to enjoy the day already in hand, and drawing satisfaction from that most precious and most neglected of units of time; the present moment.' -- Much will be gained if we succeed in transforming your hysterical misery into common unhappiness. ~ Sigmund Freud
philosophy  humility  awe 
14 days ago by adamcrowe
YouTube -- The School of Life: How To Get Over A Crush
'Part of the reason it's so hard to get over a crush is because we have no idea who our beloved really is: we idealise them because we have such a basic idea of who they really are. The best cure for love is therefore simple in structure: get to know them better…' -- Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. ~ Soren Kierkegaard
psychology  relationships  idealization  awe  Kierkegaard 
march 2019 by adamcrowe
The Book of Life -- Spirituality for People who Hate Spirituality
'...we’re used to thinking of love in a very particular context, that of the circumscribed affection that one person might have for a very accomplished and desirable other. But understood spiritually, love involves a care and concern for anything at all. We might find ourselves loving – that is, appreciating and delighting, understanding and sympathising – with a family of dung beetles or a moss covered tundra, someone else’s child or the birth of a faraway star. An intensity of enthusiasm that we usually restrict to only one other nearby ego is now distributed more erratically and generously across the entire universe and all its life forms. -- ... We cannot persist at a spiritually elevated plane at all times, there will inevitably be bills to be paid and children to be picked up. But the claims of the ordinary world do not invalidate or mock our occasional access to a more elevated and disinterested zone. Spirituality has perhaps for too long been abandoned to its more overzealous defenders who have done it a disservice. It deserves to be explored most particularly by those who are by instinct most suspicious of it. A spiritual experience is neither ineffable nor absurd; the term refers rather to a deeply sustaining interval of relief from the burdens and blindness of being us.'
philosophy  awe  dividedbrain 
february 2019 by adamcrowe
Quillette -- Feast and Drink For Our Community's Health by Claire Lehmann
'Our species is unique in that our social structures are highly varied and complex. Sometimes we can see remnants of our primate ancestors in how we organise ourselves: a military platoon might resemble a roaming band of male chimpanzees, or a hippie commune might resemble a bonobo social group, yet although we have many similarities with the other great apes, our ability to live in very large communities, such as cities, is vastly different. No other primate can do so. Our ability to engage in large scale cooperation is a miracle of evolution. The only other species that are capable of such social structures are specialised “eusocial” insects, i.e. bees, ants, and wasps, and even then, most of the insects are related to each other. -- ... Circling around a sacred object, early humans formed the bonds of trust that allowed them to trust each other, putting their welfare in the hands of one another, allowing for the development of the specialisation and division of labour that comes later to be known as civilisation. -- We too often equate religion with a set of propositions, with festivals and customs considered supplementary. The view that religion is about propositions generally stipulates that to be religious we must believe in the supernatural and suspend our belief in the laws of nature, evolution or the reality of a cold, indifferent universe. Religion is therefore rejected, often sensibly, on these grounds. -- Yet more and more of us are coming to realise that this view is overly simplistic and one-dimensional. And while belief in organised religion, and participation in shared rituals is declining, loneliness is increasing. -- What if we have both religion and loneliness wrong? What if, when it comes to religion, the rituals, symbolism and customary practice is, in fact, the main event, and what if the propositional beliefs associated with them are immaterial? And what if loneliness is not a symptom of a lack of health in an individual, but a symptom of a lack of health in a community?' -- Only a God can save us. ~ Martin Heidegger
cooperation  civilization  ritual  religion  awe 
december 2018 by adamcrowe
The Book of Life -- When Your Partner Tries to Stop You Growing
'...It is clear that alongside physical development, we are engaged in a life-long process of psychological evolution, which is far harder to spot, to discuss, and to give room for in others. Because we look more or less the same from the outside, those around us naturally assume that we must remain more or less the same on the inside too. Yet we are continually on the way to discovering new sides of ourselves, we’re shedding allegiances, stretching ourselves in unfamiliar directions and clearing out irrelevant positions and enthusiasms. Perhaps we’re gaining a new zone of confidence at work or we’re getting more cautious and circumspect where we were once rather reckless; we might be discovering the beginnings of a new kind of passion for the arts where we used to be quite judgmental or perhaps we’re firming up certain opinions around money or politics. We may be trying to relax more into our body or to outgrow an earlier prudish stance. -- These changes may not yet be very clear even to us. There are no birthdays to mark them or public occasions to lend them weight: we can’t easily explain them to our partner and may not be too sure how to make them sound plausible. We may also be slightly embarrassed because they seem to contradict previously well-defined attitudes which we know our partner was fond of or reassured by. -- And yet the changes matter to us hugely, they are – in a way – the most important things going on in our inner lives right now and we are therefore acutely sensitive to anyone who might sweep away, or with a mocking laugh destroy, the tentative foundations of our future selves. -- ... The partner isn’t being mean. Change is frightening, because the one evolution we are all terrified of is the kind that will take our beloveds away from us. The reason we get stubborn about a new love of pickles is that it stands as an awful harbinger of what might be a new love for another person. -- The ideal solution would be to develop a view of the essential normality and unthreatening nature of growth. We will all, over a long-term relationship, be growing in a range of ways which will undermine any settled claim by one person to ‘know’ another. What we grasp of our partner can only ever be partial and temporary – and we should not grow jealous or angry on that score alone. We are not like books, written once and shelved in a static library, we are like continuously updated, edited and expanded online texts, where a core set of themes is daily enriched and nuanced live before our eyes. -- True love requires us to allow our partner to become someone rather different than they were when we met them – and to welcome their evolutions rather than the use the portrait we painted of them at the start as the fixed reference point from which any deviation has to be considered a disloyalty. The creature who emerges from the chrysalis is as likely to love us more intelligently and deeply as they are to want to fly away to someone new. We should use the phrase ‘I don’t understand you anymore’ not as a despairing exclamation but as a hopeful call to renew our sources of intimate insight. -- It’s common to accuse long-term relationships of being boring but our tendency to evolve offers us a way out of the limitations of monogamy. We are – if we are correctly attuned to the phenomenon – only ever with the same person for a very short time. In truth, we cohabit with a constantly shifting array of people who just happen to have the same name and inhabit more or less the same body and lie next to us in similar ways in bed. Yet, beyond these common points, such are their differences, they may really just as well be wholly new people. We can, in one relationship, without drama, enjoy an array of new lovers, embracing all the different versions of the one person we are with.'
psychology  parts  loss  death  awe  Buber 
september 2018 by adamcrowe
YouTube -- [Alain de Botton]: The Appeal of Lonely Places
'Some of us feel most at home not in obviously beautiful or homely places, but in desolate, melancholy ones, places that are vast, barren, bleak or isolated. These places speak to our souls and deserve to be celebrated as our true homes.'
psychology  solitude  ownlife  awe 
august 2018 by adamcrowe
The Book of Life -- How to Lengthen Your Life
'...The aim should be to densify time rather than to try to extract one or two more years from the fickle grip of Death. -- Why then does time have such different speeds, moving at certain points bewilderingly fast, at others with intricate moderation? The clue is to be found childhood. The first ten years almost invariably feel longer than any other decade we have on earth. The teens are a little faster but still crawl. Yet by our 40s, time will have started to trot; and by our 60s, it will be unfolding at a bewildering gallop. -- The difference in pace is not mysterious: it has to do with novelty. The more our days are filled with new, unpredictable and challenging experiences, the longer they will feel. And, conversely, the more one day is exactly like another, the faster it will pass by in an evanescent blur. Childhood ends up feeling so long because it is the cauldron of novelty; because its most ordinary days are packed with extraordinary discoveries and sensations: these can be as apparently minor yet as significant as the first time we explore the zip on a cardigan or hold our nose under water, the first time we look at the sun through the cotton of a beach towel or dig our fingers into the putty holding a window in its frame. Dense as it is with stimuli, the first decade might as well be a thousand years long. -- By middle age, things can be counted upon to have grown a lot more familiar. We may have flown around the world a few times. We no longer get excited by the idea of eating a pineapple, owning a car or flipping a lightswitch. We know about relationships, earning money and telling others what do. And as a result, time runs away from us without mercy. -- ... We may by middle age certainly have seen a great many things in our neighborhoods, but we are – fortunately for us – unlikely to have properly noticed most of them. We have probably taken a few cursory glances at the miracles of existence that lie to hand and assumed, quite unjustly, that we know all there is to know about them. We’ve imagined we understand the city we live in, the people we interact with and, more or less, the point of it all. -- But of course we have barely scratched the surface. We have grown bored of a world we haven’t begun to study properly. And that, among other things, is why time is racing by. -- The pioneers at making life feel longer in the way that counts are not dieticians, but artists. At its best, art is a tool that reminds us of how little we have fathomed and noticed. It re-introduces us to ordinary things and reopens our eyes to a latent beauty and interest in precisely those areas we had ceased to bother with. It helps us to recover some of the manic sensitivity we had as newborns. -- ... We don’t need to make art in order to learn the most valuable lesson of artists, which is about noticing properly, living with our eyes open – and thereby, along the way, savouring time. Without any intention to create something that could be put in a gallery, we could – as part of a goal of living more deliberately – take a walk in an unfamiliar part of town, ask an old friend about a side of their life we’d never dared to probe at, lie on our back in the garden and look up at the stars or hold our partner in a way we never tried before. It takes a rabid lack of imagination to think we have to go to Machu Picchu to find something new. -- In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot, a prisoner has suddenly been condemned to death and been told he has only a few minutes left to live. ‘What if I were not to die!,’ he exclaims. ‘What if life were given back to me – what infinity!… I’d turn a whole minute into an age…’ Faced with losing his life, the poor wretch recognises that every minute could be turned into aeons of time, with sufficient imagination and appreciation. -- ... We don’t need to add years; we need to densify the time we have left by ensuring that every day is lived consciously – and we can do this via a manoeuvre as simple as it is momentous: by starting to notice all that we have as yet only seen.'
philosophy  time  awe  * 
may 2018 by adamcrowe
The Book of Life -- On Bittersweet Memories
'Surveying bits of our past – perhaps while in the bath, on a walk, or a flight – we may come across a particular type of memory colloquially known as ‘bittersweet’. -- We might remember afternoons we used to spend, when we were little, with our grandmother. Together we’d do a bit of weeding in her tiny garden, then we’d make lunch and play cards. Sometimes she showed us her old photographs of her own distant childhood. We enjoyed those times very much – but the memory of them is mixed up with the knowledge of what happened later. In adolescence, we pushed away from her, we almost never visited – and she died before we’d found our adult selves. She never got to know about the love we now feel for her. We wince at our recollections. -- ... In themselves, bittersweet memories can seem small and not very important. We perhaps don’t think about them very often; it can feel ticklishly uncomfortable to do so. But they’re quietly pointing us to something major about the human condition. Bittersweet memories force us to acknowledge that the positive in our lives is never far from being devilishly entwined with something more difficult. We feel, in the presence of bittersweet memories, the pain of being flawed, error-prone, time-short and regretful humans. -- It would, in a sense, be easier if things were more clear cut; white is simple enough to take and black, too, can be coped with when we know it has to be borne. It’s the grey – with its mercurial admixture of hope and regret – that is so hard for our minds. We long to call some people pure and dismiss others as monstrous, and we do the same with sections of our lives. But to be open to bittersweet memories is to accept ambivalence: a capacity to have two contrasting, opposed emotions about the same thing without disowning either. Both are important, neither can be denied. We’re recognising, rather than denying, the fiendishly mixed character of experience. -- We speak of bittersweet memories, but the territory they cover extends over far more than select bits of the past. We should, more rightly, also be ready to speak of, and reconcile ourselves gracefully to, bittersweet marriages, careers, holidays, weekends… Indeed, to the grandest and most necessary concept of all: that we are fated to have bittersweet lives.'
psychology  ambivalence  regret  awe  absurd 
april 2018 by adamcrowe
Aeon Essays -- ‘All real living is meeting’: The sacred love of Martin Buber by M M Owen
'When we encounter another individual truly as a person, not as an object for use, we become fully human: Martin Buber -- ...I and Thou argues that within this elementally networked reality there are two basic modes of existence: the I-It, and the I-Thou. These two stances make up our basic ‘twofold attitude’. In the I-It mode, an ‘Ego’ approaches another as an object separate from itself. This type of engagement is driven by a sort of instrumentalism; the object is engaged primarily as something to be known or used, and its nature is always mediated through the subject’s own self-regard. From the I-It stance, we don’t engage with things in their entirety. Instead, we engage with a web of distinct and isolated qualities notable for how they are useful to us. Buber regarded this kind of self-centred outlook – typified, in his view, by proto-existentialists such as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche – as a grave error. -- By contrast, in the I-Thou relationship, rather than simply experiencing another, we encounter them. A subject encounters a fellow subject’s whole being, and that being is not filtered through our mediated consciousness, with its litter of preconceptions and projections. ‘No purpose intervenes,’ as Buber put it. The I-Thou stance has a purity and an intimacy, and is inherently reciprocal. In relation to others, he argued, we can step into an intersubjective space where two people coexist in (and co-contribute to) what he called the Between. In this Between lurks the vital, nourishing experience of human life, the real sacred stuff of existence. As he put it: ‘All real living is meeting.’ -- At the highest level, in Buber’s thinking, At the highest level, in Buber’s thinking, God represents the ‘eternal Thou’, the only entity with which we can maintain a permanent Between. In any other meeting, there is constant vacillation; even our most treasured Thou occasionally regresses to an It, even if for only a few moments. The quiet tragedy of this, of the impermanence of all true relation, is offset for Buber by the eternal Thou, a sort of Platonic form of encounter. God always escapes the objectifying impulse of the I-It stance, says Buber. He always exists as a unity of being in our minds. And every time we access the I-Thou at the human level, we chip a tiny shard off the shoulder of the towering marble statue of divine encounter. -- ... ‘Whoever truly goes out to the world,’ wrote Buber, ‘goes out to God.’'
existentialism  philosophy  psychology  dividedbrain  probabilityspace  possibilityspace  awe  disclosure  Buber  Heidegger 
march 2018 by adamcrowe
Aeon Videos -- Being Hear
"Instead of listening for a sound, I simply listen to the place." -- "Yes, I record sound and I record nature, but that's just what I need to do in order to become a better listener." -- "I find places that are completely free of noise pollution." -- "There is an epidemic of extinction of quiet places on the planet." -- 'Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything.' -- http://www.soundtracker.com
Heidegger  dwelling  silence  sound  nature  awe  * 
june 2017 by adamcrowe
The Book of Life -- On Seduction
'...in 18th-century Bavaria, moralist preachers wanted to promote compassion for the suffering of strangers, sorrow for our own selfishness and the spiritual significance of Jesus’s view of existence. But they were deeply conscious of how easily we might ignore such ideas in already busy and tricky lives. So, very deliberately, they set out to seduce. -- With the help of the finest of what we nowadays term Baroque architects, they constructed ornate and richly carved churches that provoked admiration, awe and love. It became a little easier to believe in the ideas that had sponsored these architectural masterpieces after a few hours under their magnificent domes.'
rhetoric  art  awe 
april 2017 by adamcrowe
The Art of Manliness -- How to REALLY Avoid Living a Life of Quiet Desperation
'...while Thoreau wasn’t ambitious for the traditional status markers held up by society, he was ambitious for something else: life. Life at its very essence. Life in its fullest form. -- Approaching the world with imaginative openness, Thoreau lived for intense insight and for direct experience; life was not to be experienced second hand. He was ever on the hunt for the sublime and transcendent, and the wild that hid not only beneath civilization, but in a man’s own spirit. His aim was to know himself, and to preserve this self sovereign in the face of the pressure to conform to deadening conventionalities. -- This was essentially an inward journey, rather than an outward one, and in fact, externals could often get in the way of the quest. -- Desperation, Thoreau thought, came from having too many wants. The problem with the desire for externalities is that they ever multiply and never reach an end; the fulfillment of one merely begets the itch for another. This puts men on what modern scientists call the “hedonic treadmill”; once you make more money, or get a new possession, or reach a goal, it at first makes you happier, but then you adapt to the new circumstances. You’ve risen a level, but so have your expectations, so that your happiness falls right back to where it was in the first place... -- Compounding this cycle of dissatisfaction — and the desperation it produces — is the fact that attaining external desires often costs money. Money that can only be procured in trade for one’s time and labor. And this frequently isn’t the only payment required: the work one must perform frequently demands compromises to one’s individual values, principles, and dreams. It demands a loss of independence; even the entrepreneur must defer to the whims of the marketplace. -- Thus, the more you want, the more you have to work to pay for it, the less autonomous you become, and the further removed you get from the beating heart of life. -- Thoreau thus rightly argued that “the cost of a thing” was not simply a matter of its price tag, but “the amount of what I will call life, which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” -- The solution to the endless, fruitless striving after that which doesn’t satisfy, Thoreau postulated, is to simplify your wants — to separate conveniences and comforts from necessities, and pare down to the fundamentals. This project was, of course, the very purpose of the philosopher’s experiment at Walden pond: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ... “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” -- The above is another of Thoreau’s most famous quotes. And another where the kernel of its meaning is often missed. -- To suck the marrow out of life often conjures up an image of outwardly epic strivings — far-flung adventures and extravagant endeavors of great daring-do. -- Yet the marrow of a bone is what is within it — the life inside the external structure of things. -- The marrow is the sustenance that is left after the bone has been picked clean of its obvious meat, and tossed aside by those unwilling to put in the effort to extract what still remains. -- A commitment to getting at the marrow of life was Thoreau’s secret to being content with simplicity; he dug deeper into what was already there, but typically overlooked. He found treasures in that which costs nothing at all, declaring that “All good things are wild and free.” -- While others looked for the extraordinary outside the ordinary, Thoreau found it in the ordinary. He had the ability to make the everyday epic. -- Or as he told a friend, it is the art of genius to raise the little into the large.'
philosophy  freedom  curiosity  learning  awe  Thoreau  quotes 
march 2017 by adamcrowe
YouTube -- [Alain de Botton]: Why Small Pleasures Are a Big Deal
'Knowing how to derive satisfaction from small pleasures is key to a good life.'
philosophy  life  awe 
december 2016 by adamcrowe
What Do You Want to Want?
'“As Michael Foley writes in his book Embracing The Ordinary, citing the French philosopher Henry Lefebvre: “Everyday life has been vilified as the worthless residue left behind…the coffee grounds that must be thrown out when the stimulating potion has been brewed. But if the everyday is everything that is ignored by official forms of knowledge and authority, this very invisibility gives it the potential for strangeness, freedom and even subversion.” Perhaps the most profoundly extraordinary thing any of us can do is to be willing, in the ways that truly matter, to be ordinary.” – From New Philosopher’s 10th issue, Famous for $15'
philosophy  humility  awe  Heidegger 
august 2016 by adamcrowe
Aeon Videos -- What else do we lose when we lose sight of the stars?
'Travelling across eight different locations, from urban San Jose in California to a desolate stretch of Death Valley, Lost in Light explores the ubiquitous but often overlooked phenomenon of light pollution. As artificial light brightens the night sky, we increasingly lose our view of the stars, planets and constellations, as well as the sense that we’re part of a larger galaxy. Showing eight different ‘levels’ of light pollution throughout California and Oregon, Sriram Murali uses timelapse to dramatic effect, asking what else we lose when we can’t see the stars.'
universe  awe 
august 2016 by adamcrowe
Aeon Ideas -- Everyone fails, but only the wise find humility by Costica Bradatan
'...when we experience failure, we start seeing the cracks in the fabric of existence, and the nothingness that stares at us from the other side. Yet even as failure pushes us towards the margins of existence it gives us the chance to look at everything – at the world, at ourselves, at what we value most – with fresh eyes. The failure of things, coming as it does with a certain measure of existential threat, exposes us for what we are. And what a sight! -- From that unique location – the site of devastation that we’ve become – we understand that we are no grander than the rest of the world. Indeed, we are less than most things. The smallest stone we pick up randomly from a riverbed has long preceded us, and will outlive us. Humans are barely existing entities: how can we claim privileges? Fundamentally, we are vulnerable, fragile creatures. And if, unlike the rest of existence, people are endowed with reason, it is this gift of reason that should lead us to understand how modest our place in the cosmos actually is. -- The experience of failure, then, ought to inculcate humility. Rather than a virtue in the narrow sense, humility should be seen, more broadly, as a certain type of insertion into the world, as a way of life. In The Sovereignty of Good (1970), Iris Murdoch came up with one of the best, most economical definitions of humility, which is simply ‘selfless respect for reality’. She thinks that ordinarily people suffer from a poor adjustment to reality (‘our picture of ourselves has become too grand’, we have lost ‘the vision of a reality separate from ourselves’), and it’s one that harms us, above anything else. To reverse the process, to heal, it helps to learn humility, ‘the most difficult and central of all virtues’. -- I see three major phases here. In a first movement, humility presupposes an acknowledgment of our cosmic insignificance. This is something as old as philosophising itself; it is what Yahweh wanted to instill in Job when he asked him: ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?’ and what the Stoics meant when they recommended ‘the view from above’; what Lady Philosophy sought to teach a terrified-to-death Boethius in his prison cell; or what, more recently, Carl Sagan popularised so well. Embracing our cosmic insignificance is the zero-degree of the human existence – lower than this we cannot go. At this stage, shattered by failure and overwhelmed by the realisation of our fundamental precariousness, we rightly feel ‘crushed’, ‘flattened’, ‘reduced to dust’. Humility, thus, places us where we belong; we are brought back to our naked condition. But this is no small feat: for along with the sense of our own self-importance, we also manage to get rid of that mix of self-deceiving habits and self-flattery, which usually keep us hidden from ourselves. -- In a second movement, we realise that, thanks precisely to our being brought ‘to earth’, we are in fact in a better position because we are finally on firm ground. We can now stand on our own feet – we’ve undergone a rebirth of sorts. Importantly, we also realise that there is no degradation at this stage because, by embracing our cosmic insignificance, we’ve come to be true to ourselves. We may be poor, but we are frightfully honest – especially with ourselves. And that’s always the best place to start; wherever we will go from here, it will be progress and a worthwhile journey. Not to say that there is nothing healthier and more refreshing, especially for minds all too frequently pulled up in the air by the force of their own fantasies, than to be drawn back down to earth once in a while. Hardened dreamers undertaking the mud cure are in for a feast. -- The third movement is expansive: thanks to having lowered an anchor into the world and regained an existential equilibrium, we can move on to other, bigger things. The dreams now have the necessary ballast to be dreamt properly. At this stage, humility is no longer an impediment, but an enhancement to action; sometimes there is nothing more daring than the act of the humble. In an important sense, then, humility is the opposite of humiliation: there is nothing demeaning or inglorious about it; on the contrary, humility is rejuvenating, enriching, emboldening. If humiliation leaves us paralysed and powerless, humility empowers us greatly. True humility, wrote the rabbi Jonathan Sacks, ‘is one of the most expansive and life-enhancing of all virtues’. What it presupposes is not ‘undervaluing yourself’ but an ‘openness to life’s grandeur’.'
philosophy  psychology  existentialism  failure  loss  humility  awe 
august 2016 by adamcrowe
Aeon Essays -- How loneliness generates empathy and shapes identity by Cody Delistraty
'....There are many ways in which humans maintain – intentionally and unintentionally – states of loneliness: giving up a sense of home, creating only temporary friendships, having meaningless sex. While these actions might seem negative on the surface, they are decisions that are unconsciously related to self-preservation. The self dissolves when it is spread too thin, when it is obliged to deal with the glut of acquaintances and jobs, and all the places where one might not be alone but in which one might still feel lonely. -- Seeking isolation, searching out the existential pain of loneliness, writes Mijuskovic, is ‘a defensive device to thwart the threat of diffusion, of the self’s evaporation before the overwhelming presence of the “others” as it is assaulted by an impersonal, bureaucratic, industrialised, mechanised society or by violent and traumatic interpersonal relations’. -- Although it is distressing to ponder, what happens if everything that comprises a personage – all that one loves, hates, desires, hopes for – becomes only the distillation of other people’s feelings? What if one becomes only a weak prism, reflecting the light of those who have risked diving deeper into themselves? What happens if we do not risk loneliness ourselves? The loss of identity, surely, is a more troubling prospect than loneliness with its risks and pain and drawbacks. For who are we if we cease to be ourselves? -- I often think about loneliness, how it can be devastating, but also how it can be a space of reflection that is hard-won; a form of wisdom, a master emotion that colours all other emotions. Importantly, I now feel that without a willingness to face loneliness we forfeit our freedom. -- At my loneliest, I have strolled late at night through the less august parts of town, near Belleville and the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, turning every fibre of my being inwards so that I can feel everything, and I’ve discovered an almost infinite hope for the life outside myself. The more I shrink into myself, the larger and more possible the universe becomes.'
psychology  loneliness  aloneness  solitude  authenticity  freedom  individuation  ownlife  world  awe  OttoRank  Heidegger 
july 2016 by adamcrowe
The Book of Life -- The Difficulty of Being in the Present
'...Much of what ruins the present is sheer anxiety. The present always contains an enormous number of possibilities, some hugely gruesome, which we are constantly aware of in the background. Anything could theoretically happen, an earthquake, an aneurysm, a rejection – which gives rise to the non-specific anxiety that trails most of us around all the time; the simple dread at the unknownness of what is to come.'
psychology  existentialism  anxiety  possibilityspace  awe 
july 2016 by adamcrowe

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