Another profound quote from one of my favorite US writers worth rereading on a regular basis. This thought is a celebration of life. It is reminiscent of the Buddha’s Five Remembrances and this Thích Nhất Hạnh quote: When you deny the reality of life, you appreciate it less. Meditate on the Buddha’s Five Remembrances and rediscover the magic of life just as it is.
Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death—ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return. One must negotiate this passage as nobly as possible, for the sake of those who are coming after us.
—James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
Shalom (שלום), MAA
2 thoughts on “The Human Trouble”
Here’s a related quote:
Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal… To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable. ~Rebecca Solnit
(Book: Hope in the Dark https://amzn.to/3JiyQkI)
And another one! “What drivel it all is!… A string of words called religion. Another string of words called philosophy. Half a dozen other strings called political ideals. And all the words either ambiguous or meaningless. And people getting so excited about them they’ll murder their neighbors for using a word they don’t happen to like. A word that probably doesn’t mean as much as a good belch. Just a noise without even the excuse of gas on the stomach.”
~ Aldous Huxley