The old futures have a way of hanging around. . . . Everyone sort of knows that the real future is going to be cluttered with all the same junk we have today, except it will be old and beat up and there will be more of it.
I would sum up my fear about the future in one word: boring. And that’s my one fear: that everything has happened; nothing exciting or new or interesting is ever going to happen again. . . . The future is just going to be a vast, conforming suburb of the soul.
If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles, we can greet the future and the transformation we are undergoing with the understanding that we do not know enough to be pessimistic.
I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.
Every government, whatever its form, character, or color — be it absolute or constitutional, monarchy or republic, Fascist, Nazi, or Bolshevist — is by its very nature conservative, static, intolerant of change and opposed to it.
The man who sees two or three generations is like one who sits in the conjuror’s booth at a fair and sees the tricks two or three times. They are meant to be seen only once.
Deep down, all of us are probably aware that some kind of mystical evolution is our true task. Yet we suppress the notion with considerable force because to admit it is to admit that most of our political gyrations, religious dogmas, social ambitions, and financial ploys are not merely counterproductive but trivial.
What we call evil is only a necessary moment in our endless development.
Simone Weil once said, “I would like to achieve the kind of radiance that can bring about nonviolently what other people might have to do violently.” And, of course, we see teachers like that. We see parents like that, who have a kind of radiance so that they don’t have to raise their voice; they don’t have to beat their children. . . . They simply make a different atmosphere.
Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.
However fashionable despair about the world and about people may be at present, and however powerful despair may become in the future, not everybody, or even most people, thinks and lives fashionably; virtue and honor will not be banished from the world, however many popular moralists and panicky journalists say so. Sacrifice will not cease to be because psychiatrists have popularized the idea that there is often some concealed self-serving element in it; theologians always knew that. Nor do I think love as a high condition of honor will be lost; it is a pattern in the spirit, and people long to make the pattern a reality in their own lives, whatever means they take to do so.
In this very breath that we take now lies the secret that all great teachers try to tell us.
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something, and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the one thing I can do.
The world is full of hundreds of beautiful things we can never possibly have time to discover, and there is no time to be unkind or envious or ungenerous, and no sense in enslaving the mind to the trivialities of the moment. For you can be equal to the greatness of life only by marching with it; not by seeking love but by giving it, nor seeking to be understood but learning to understand. And when it is all over, there will be an agony of remorse because one spared the effort and did not make more of that little span of opportunity; and knowing reality at last, who knows but that one will look back with unassuageable regret upon one’s pitiful little faith.
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.