Doubt as sin. — Christianity has done its utmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast into belief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in it as in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glance towards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists for something else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse of our amphibious nature — is sin! And notice that all this means that the foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin is likewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness and intoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason has drowned.
The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him? No, thank you,' he will think. 'Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.
That’s sad. How plastic and artificial life has become. It gets harder and harder to find something…real. Nin interlocked his fingers, and stretched out his arms. Real love, real friends, real body parts…
The Waking I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go. We think by feeling. What is there to know? I hear my being dance from ear to ear. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. Of those so close beside me, which are you? God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there, And learn by going where I have to go. Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how? The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair; I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. Great Nature has another thing to do To you and me, so take the lively air, And, lovely, learn by going where to go. This shaking keeps me steady. I should know. What falls away is always. And is near. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I learn by going where I have to go.
Just as one spoils the stomach by overfeeding and thereby impairs the whole body, so can one overload and choke the mind by giving it too much nourishment. For the more one reads the fewer are the traces left of what one has read; the mind is like a tablet that has been written over and over. Hence it is impossible to reflect; and it is only by reflection that one can assimilate what one has read. If one reads straight ahead without pondering over it later, what has been read does not take root, but is for the most part lost.
I had an uneventful few days," it told her. "The most exciting thing was an hour-long lecture from the headmaster on taking our studies seriously. He said next year's exam will arrive sooner than we think." "No, they won't," Valkyrie said, frowning. "They'll arrive next year, exactly when we expect them." "That's what I told him," the reflection nodded. "I don't think he's comfortable with logic, because he didn't look happy. He sent me to the Career Guidance counsellor, who asked me what I wanted to do after college." Valkyrie stowed her black clothes. "What did you say?" "I told her I wanted to be a Career Guidance counsellor. She started crying, then accused me of mocking her. I told her if she wasn't happy in her job then she should look at other options, then pointed out that I was already doing her job better than she was. She gave me detention.
Nico was devastatingly alone. He’d lost his big sister Bianca. He’d pushed away all other demigods who’d tried to get close to him. His experiences at Camp Half-Blood, in the Labyrinth and in Tartarus had left him scarred, afraid to trust anyone.
Given enough time, you could convince yourself that loneliness was something better, that it was solitude, the ideal condition for reflection, even a kind of freedom. Once you were thus convinced, you were foolish to open the door and let anyone in, not all the way in. You risked the hard-won equilibrium, that tranquility that you called peace
That's why Twinkle likes the place so much, Scott thought, looking around at the faded wood veneer tables, and the faded souls drinking at them. Misery was soaked through the place like the old beer soaked through its carpets.
Deciding to wait, Scott sat down with a pint away from the bar at a corner table and lit a cigarette. The clientele in there on Sunday afternoon were the same as most other afternoons. From middle-aged to old men, drinking and cursing at the world like it was the last bus which had just left the stop without them.
He had done nothing on Christmas day, just wandered around outside in the frozen woods. Hard ground, chill winds and bare branches that looked like they'd been dipped in sugar. None of it seemed real, like walking around in a desolate dream, but one he didn't want to wake up from.
Religion is, in reality, living. Our religion is not what we profess, or what we say, or what we proclaim; our religion is what we do, what we desire, what we seek, what we dream about, what we fantasize, what we think - all these things - twenty-four hours a day. One's religion, then, is ones life, not merely the ideal life but the life as it is actually lived. Religion is not prayer, it is not a church, it is not theistic, it is not atheistic, it has little to do with what white people call "religion." It is our every act. If we tromp on a bug, that is our religion; if we experiment on living animals, that is our religion; if we cheat at cards, that is our religion; if we dream of being famous, that is our religion; if we gossip maliciously, that is our religion; if we are rude and aggressive, that is our religion. All that we do, and are, is our religion.
Reflection must be reserved for solitary hours; whenever she was alone, she gave way to it as the greatest relief; and not a day went by without a solitary walk, in which she might indulge in all the delight of unpleasant recollections.