Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Unaccountable Truth

" 'listen' is to be in a position where hearing is impossible--or deceptive. It is the wrong kind of listening: listening for a limited message, an objective sound, a sensible meaning. Actually one decides one's life by responding to a word that is not well defined, easily explicable, safely accounted for. One decides to love in the face of an unaccountable void, and from the void comes an unaccountable truth. By this truth one's existence is sustained in peace--until the truth is too firmly grasped and too clearly accounted for. Then one is relying on words, i.e., on one's own understanding and one's own ingenuity in interpreting existence and its "signs." Then one is lost and has to be found once again in the patient Void."

- Thomas Merton (1915 - 1968)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Existence Itself

"If you awaken from this illusion,
and you understand that
black implies white,
self implies other,
life implies death.
You can feel yourself,
not as a stranger in the world,
not as something here on probation,
not as something that has
arrived here by fluke,
but you can begin to feel
your own existence as
absolutely fundamental.
What you are basically,
deep, deep down,
far, far in,
is simply the fabric
and structure of
existence itself."

- Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)

Monday, March 11, 2019

What You See

"The question is not what you look at, but what you see. It is only necessary to behold the least fact or phenomenon, however familiar, from a point a hair's breadth aside from our habitual path or routine, to be overcome, enchanted by its beauty and significance."

- Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Limits of Perception

"Phenomena unfold on their own appropriate scales of space and time and may be invisible in our myopic world of dimensions assessed by comparison with human height and times metered by human lifespans. So much of accumulating importance at earthly scales ... is invisible by the measuring rod of a human life. So much that matters to particles in the microscopic world of molecules ... either averages out to stability at our scale or simply stands below our limits of perception. "

-  Stephen Jay Gould (1941 - 2002)

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Unexpected Meeting of Objects

"Mathematicians attach great importance to the elegance of their methods and their results. This is not pure dilettantism. What is it indeed that gives us the feeling of elegance in a solution, in a demonstration? It is the harmony of the diverse parts, their symmetry, their happy balance; in a word it is all that introduces order, all that gives unity, that permits us to see clearly and to comprehend at once both the ensemble and the details. But this is exactly what yields great results, in fact the more we see this aggregate clearly and at a single glance, the better we perceive its analogies with other neighboring objects, consequently the more chances we have of divining the possible generalizations. Elegance may produce the feeling of the unforeseen by the unexpected meeting of objects we are not accustomed to bring together; there again it is fruitful, since it thus unveils for us kinships before unrecognized. It is fruitful even when it results only from the contrast between the simplicity of the means and the complexity of the problem set; it makes us then think of the reason for this contrast and very often makes us see that chance is not the reason; that it is to be found in some unexpected law. In a word, the feeling of mathematical elegance is only the satisfaction due to any adaptation of the solution to the needs of our mind, and it is because of this very adaptation that this solution can be for us an instrument. Consequently this esthetic satisfaction is bound up with the economy of thought."

- Henri Poincare (1854 - 1912)

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


"The rules of the universe that we think
we know are buried deep
in our processes of perception.
It is as if the stuff of which
we are made were totally transparent
and therefore imperceptible and
as if the only appearances of which
we can be aware are cracks and planes
of fracture in that transparent matrix.
Dreams and percepts and stories
are perhaps cracks and irregularities
in the uniform and timeless matrix.
Was this what Plotinus meant
by an 'invisible and unchanging
beauty which pervades all things'?"

- Gregory Bateson (1904 - 1980)

Sunday, February 24, 2019


"There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious unity and integrity is wisdom, the mother of us all, "natura naturans." There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fountain of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness, and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being."

- Thomas Merton (1915 - 1968)