For The Love Of Wisdom – Winston Churchill – The Unconventional Human

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill (November 30, 1874 – January 24, 1965) The world looks with some awe upon a man who appears unconcernedly indifferent to home, money, comfort, rank, or even power and fame… The world feels not without a certain apprehension, that here is some one outside its jurisdiction; someone before whom its allurements may be …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Thich Nhat Hanh – The Self And Our Surroundings

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh (October 11, 1926 - January 22, 2022) It’s funny how much our surroundings influence our emotions. Our joys and sorrows, likes and dislikes are colored by our environment so much that often we just let our surroundings dictate our course. We go along with “public” feelings until we no longer even know our …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Mario Vargas Llosa – Caudillo

Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa (March 28, 1936 -) A cross between a superhuman and a jester, the caudillo makes and unmakes things at his will, inspired by God or by an ideology in which socialism and fascism — two forms of statism and collectivism — are nearly always confused, and communicates directly with his people through …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Robert Burton – Learning

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Robert Burton (February 8, 1577–January 25, 1640) Whosoever he is therefore that is overrun with solitariness, or carried away with pleasing melancholy and vain conceits, and for want of employment knows not how to spend his time, or crucified with worldly care, I can prescribe him no better remedy than this of study, to compose …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Justice Harry Blackmun – When Life Begins

Harry Blackmun

From The Archives - Originally Published January 24, 2020 Justice Harry Blackmun (November 12, 1908 – March 4, 1999) We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Brent Staples – Blacks In The Newspapers

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Brent Staples (1951 -) Newspapers that championed white supremacy throughout the pre-civil rights South paved the way for lynching by declaring African Americans nonpersons. They embraced the language once used at slave auctions by denying Black citizens the courtesy titles Mr. and Mrs. and referring to them in news stories as “the negro,” “the negress” …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Cass Robert Sunstein – Choices

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Cass Robert Sunstein (September 21, 1954 -) People often make poor choices – and look back at them with bafflement! We do this because as human beings, we all are susceptible to a wide array of routine biases that can lead to an equally wide array of embarrassing blunders in education, personal finance, health care, …

For The Love Of Wisdom – George Dyson – Universal Mind

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George Dyson (March 26, 1953 -) Living without telephone, computer, internet, or even electric light, I had time beyond measure to think. I found myself thinking about what, if anything, a tree might think. Not thinking the way we think, but the way a single neuron thinks, integrating information over time. It might take years …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Joseph Campbell – Fate

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Joseph Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) Whatever my fate is, is what I need. If you bring love to that moment, not discouragement, you will find the strength. Any detour or disarray you can learn from is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!

For The Love Of Wisdom – Karel Čapek – Communism

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Karel Čapek (January 09, 1890 – December 25, 1938) All of us have begun to feel that there is something odd and insoluble about the conflicts between world-views, generations, political principles, and whatever else divides us… Hatred, lack of knowledge, fundamental distrust, these are the psychic world of communism… I count myself among the idiots …

For The Love Of Wisdom – William Sidney Porter (O’Henry) – Writing

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William Sidney Porter (O’Henry) (September 11, 1862 – June 5, 1910) I'll give you the sole secret of short-story writing, and here it is: Rule 1. Write stories that please yourself. There is no rule 2. The technical points you can get from Bliss Perry. If you can't write a story that pleases yourself, you …

For The Love Of Wisdom – John Coltrane – Creativity And Jazz

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John William Coltrane (September 23, 1926–July 17, 1967) It is really easy for us [jazz musicians] to create. We are born with this feeling that just comes out no matter what conditions exist. Otherwise, how could our founding fathers have produced this music in the first place when they surely found themselves (as many of …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Hannah Arendt – Forgiveness

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Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 04, 1975) Forgiving, in other words, is the only reaction which does not merely re-act but acts anew and unexpectedly, unconditioned by the act which provoked it and therefore freeing from its consequences both the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven. The freedom contained in …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Aldous Huxley – Being Human

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Aldous Huxley (July 26, 1894 – November 22, 1963) Human beings are immensely complicated creatures, living simultaneously in a half dozen different worlds. Each individual is unique and, in a number of respects, unlike all the other members of the species. None of our motives is unmixed, none of our actions can be traced back …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Eckhart Tolle – Spiritual Awakening

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Eckhart Tolle (February 16, 1948 -) Most humans are still, almost literally, possessed by thought. They don’t think, but thinking happens to them. The beginning of spiritual awakening is the realization that you are not the voice in your head but the one who is aware of the voice. You are the awareness behind your …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Maria Popova – Reading And Love

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Maria Popova (July 28, 1984 -) We read for countless reasons and books transform us in countless ways, reckoned and unreckoned. We read the way we love — with our whole selves, with the flickering constellation of values, longings, traumas, joys, hopes, despairs, formative experiences, and half-remembered impressions composing the self. We read with our …

For The Love Of Wisdom – New York Times Editorial Board December 31, 1999 – Existence

Even those of us who have not filled the bathtub with emergency water, withdrawn extra cash from the bank and stocked up on food will be entering the new millennium sobered by the awareness that unknown problems of our own making are an enduring part of existence.  New York Times Señor Tao (April 17,  1948 -) This …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Peter Russell – Letting Go

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Peter Russell The call to let go lies at the heart of the world’s spiritual traditions. Not being attached to outcomes, surrendering desires, accepting the present, opening to a higher power, relinquishing the ego, practicing forgiveness — all entail letting go. Why is letting go deemed so important? Holding on, these teachings repeatedly affirm, limits …

For the Love Of Wisdom – Michael Talbot – Electrons

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Michael Coleman Talbot (September 29, 1953 – May 27, 1992) Time and again the limits of our language define the limits of our understanding of the universe. The indistinguishability of subatomic particles points out still another weakness of our linguistic approach to understanding reality. For instance, all electrons are exactly alike. It is as if …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Ezra Klein – Mandates

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Ezra Klein (May 09, 1984 -) The conventional wisdom is that there is some argument, yet unmade and perhaps undiscovered, that will change the minds of the roughly 30 percent of American adults who haven’t gotten at least one dose. There probably isn’t … Polio and measles were murderous, but their near elimination required vaccine …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – Night

Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (June 29, 1900–July 31, 1944) Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of the trees… I longed for night and for …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Rebecca Solnit – Climate Change

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Rebecca Solnit (June 24, 1961 -) People are dying. Aquatic animals are baking in their shells. Fruit is being cooked on the tree. It’s time to act… Human beings crave clarity, immediacy, landmark events. We seek turning points, because our minds are good at recognizing the specific – this time, this place, this sudden event, …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Jean-Luc Picard – The Prime Directive

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Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart - Star Trek: The Next Generation) The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History has proved again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less-developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Audre Lorde – Fear

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Audre Lorde (February 18, 1934–November 17, 1992) As we learn to bear the intimacy of scrutiny and to flourish within it, as we learn to use the products of that scrutiny for power within our living, those fears which rule our lives and form our silences begin to lose their control over us.

For The Love Of Wisdom – Alain de Botton – Charity

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Alain de Botton (December 20, 1969 -) At its most basic, charity means offering someone something they need but can’t get for themselves. This is normally and logically understood to mean something material. We overwhelmingly associate charity with giving money. But, in its widest sense, charity stretches far beyond financial donations. Charity involves offering someone …

For The Love Of Wisdom – John William Coltrane – Creativity

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John William Coltrane (September 23, 1926–July 17, 1967) History shows that the innovator is more often than not met with some degree of condemnation; usually according to the degree of his departure from the prevailing modes of expression or what have you. Change is always so hard to accept… Innovators always seek to revitalize, extend …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Barbara Jean Lee – Militarism

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Barbara Jean Lee (July 16, 1946 -) I was the sole member of Congress to vote against the war in Afghanistan. Congress has yet to stand up against endless militarism On 11 September 2001, the world witnessed a terrible attack against our nation that took thousands of lives and changed millions more lives forever. The …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Clive Staples Lewis – Tyranny

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Clive Staples Lewis (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963) Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Lucy Schildkret Dawidowicz – Historical Writing

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Lucy Schildkret Dawidowicz (June 16, 1915 – December 5, 1990) Some people think that the professional historian's personal commitments — to his people, his country, his religion, his language — undermine his professional objectivity. Not so. Not so, as long as historians respect the integrity of their sources and adhere strictly to the principles of …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Diane Ackerman – All Life

Diane Ackerman

Diane Ackerman (October 07, 1948 -) People often use religious terminology when they speak of the spiritual or transcendent. Our yearning to find whole-ness as holiness, and at-one-ment as atonement, fills a need ancient and essential as air. Because English vocabulary offers few ways to describe religious events, except in churchly terms, I often resort …

For The Love Of Wisdom – José Ortega y Gasset – Love

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José Ortega y Gasset (May 9, 1883–October 18, 1955) “Falling in love” is a phenomenon of attention… Our spiritual and mental life is merely that which takes place in the zone of maximum illumination. The rest — the zone of conscious inattention and, beyond that, the subconscious — is only potential life, a preparation, an …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Barbara Lee – Staying Woke

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Barbara Lee (July 16, 1946 -) But we will only succeed if we reject the growing pressure to retreat into cynicism and hopelessness. … We have a moral obligation to "stay woke," take a stand and be active; challenging injustices and racism in our communities and fighting hatred and discrimination wherever it rises.

For The Love Of Wisdom – Viktor Frankl – Fulfillment

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Viktor Frankl (March 26, 1905–September 2, 1997) So, life is somehow duty, a single, huge obligation. And there is certainly joy in life too, but it cannot be pursued, cannot be “willed into being” as joy; rather, it must arise spontaneously, and in fact, it does arise spontaneously, just as an outcome may arise: Happiness …

For The Love Of Wisdom – William Vogt – Interconnectedness

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William Vogt (May 15, 1902–July 11, 1968) Drastic measures are inescapable. Above everything else, we must reorganize our thinking. If we are to escape the crash we must abandon all thought of living unto ourselves. We form an earth-company, and the lot of the Indiana farmer can no longer be isolated from that of the …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Alfred Russel Wallace – Wealth

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Alfred Russel Wallace (January 08, 1823‐November 07, 1913) One of the most prominent features of our century has been the enormous and continuous growth of wealth, without any corresponding increase in the well-being of the whole people; while there is ample evidence to show that the number of the very poor — of those existing …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Maria Konnikova – Control And Chance

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Maria Konnikova Over and over, people would overestimate the degree of control they had over events — smart people, people who excelled at many things, people who should have known better… The more they overestimated their own skill relative to luck, the less they learned from what the environment was trying to tell them, and …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Lou Andreas-Salomé – Despair

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Lou Andreas-Salomé (February 12, 1861 – February 5, 1937) To Rilke: A great deal of poetic work has arisen from various despairs, certainly; but if it arose out of that despair, the despair of not being capable of just such poetic syntheses, there’d be a contradiction, don’t you think? To your consciousness of yourself it …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Ludwig van Beethoven – Defective Hearing And Solitude

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Ludwig van Beethoven (December 16, 1770 – March 26, 1827) Born with a passionate and excitable temperament, keenly susceptible to the pleasures of society, I was yet obliged early in life to isolate myself, and to pass my existence in solitude. If I at any time resolved to surmount all this, oh! how cruelly was …

For The Love Of Wisdom – James Maxwell Anderson – Biography

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James Maxwell Anderson (December 15, 1888 – February 28, 1959) This modern craze for biographical information leaves me cold for many reasons. For one thing, it's always inaccurate; for another, it's so bound up with publicity and other varieties of idiocy that it gags a person of any sensibility. For another, to be heralded is …

For The Love of Wisdom – Octavia Butler – Leadership And Fear

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Octavia Butler (June 22, 1947–February 24, 2006) When apparent stability disintegrates, As it must — God is Change — People tend to give in To fear and depression, To need and greed. When no influence is strong enough To unify people They divide. They struggle, One against one, Group against group, For survival, position, power. …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Robin Wall Kimmerer – Stories

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Robin Wall Kimmerer Between takeoff and landing, we are each in suspended animation, a pause between chapters of our lives. When we stare out the window into the sun’s glare, the landscape is only a flat projection with mountain ranges reduced to wrinkles in the continental skin. Oblivious to our passage overhead, other stories are …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Alejandra Pizarnik – Melancholia

Alejandra Pizarnik

Alejandra Pizarnik (April 29, 1936 – September 25, 1972) Melancholia is, I believe, a musical problem: a dissonance, a change in rhythm. While on the outside everything happens with the vertiginous rhythm of a cataract, on the inside is the exhausted adagio of drops of water falling from time to tired time. For this reason …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Pearl S Buck – Living In A Double World

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Pearl Sydenstricker Buck (June 26, 1892 – March 6, 1973) I grew up in a double world, the small white clean Presbyterian American world of my parents and the big, loving, merry, not too clean Chinese world, and there was no communication between them. When I was in the Chinese world, I was Chinese. I …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Martha Nussbaum – Love And Suffering

Martha Nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum (May 06, 1047 -) The alternations between love and its denial, suffering and denial of suffering … constitute the most essential and ubiquitous structural feature of the human heart. In suffering we know only suffering. We call our rationalizations false and delusive, and we do not see to what extent they express a …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Kahlil Gibran – Solitude And Silence

Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran (January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931) There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone. The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their naked selves and they would escape. And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Simone de Beauvoir- The Past And The Present

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Simone de Beauvoir (January 9, 1908 – April 14, 1986) We must not confuse the present with the past. With regard to the past, no further action is possible. There have been war, plague, scandal, and treason, and there is no way of our preventing their having taken place; the executioner became an executioner and …

For The Love Of Wisdom – William Vogt – Environmental Destiny

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William Vogt (May 15, 1902–July 11, 1968) If we ourselves do not govern our destiny, firmly and courageously, no one is going to do it for us. To regain ecological freedom for our civilization will be a heavy task. It will frequently require arduous and uncomfortable measures. It will cost considerable sums of money. Democratic …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Bertrand Russell – Critical Thinking

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Bertrand Russell (May 18, 1872–February 2, 1970) When you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think would have beneficent social …

For The Love of Wisdom – Maria Popova – Shoreless Seeds And Stardust

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Maria Popova (July 28, 1984 -) Meanwhile, someplace in the world, somebody is making love and another a poem. Elsewhere in the universe, a star manyfold the mass of our third-rate sun is living out its final moments in a wild spin before collapsing into a black hole, its exhale bending spacetime itself into a …

For The Love Of Wisdom – MC Richards – The Creative Spirit

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M.C. Richards (July 13, 1916–September 10, 1999) The creative spirit creates with whatever materials are present. With food, with children, with building blocks, with speech, with thoughts, with pigment, with an umbrella, or a wineglass, or a torch. We are not craftsmen only during studio hours. Any more than a man is wise only in …

For The Love Of Wisdom – Stephen Edward Ambrose – Patriotism

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Stephen Edward Ambrose (January 10, 1936 – October 13, 2002) Today, Cajuns from the Gulf Coast have never met a black person from Chicago. Kids from the ghetto don't know a middle-class white. Mexican-Americans have no contact with Jews. Muslim Americans have few Christian acquaintances … But during World War II and the Cold War, …