Books and drafts mean something quite different for different thinkers. One collects in a book the lights he was able to steal and carry home swiftly out of the rays of some insight that suddenly dawned on him, while another thinker offers us nothing but shadows - images in black and grey of what had built up in his soul the day before.
Strange combination, isn't it--gratitude and resentment? But this is the way I think. Actually, I think everybody thinks that way. Even the children of the humans who died long ago, I think they lived their lives holding similar contradictory thoughts about their parents. They were raised to learn about love and death, and they lived out their lives passing from the sunny spots to the shady spots of this world.
When we're the story, when we're part of it, we can't know the outcome. It's only later that we think we can see what the story was. But do we ever really know? And does anybody else, perhaps, coming along a little later, does anybody else really care? ... History is written by the survivors, but what is that history? That's the point I was trying to make just now. We don't know what the story is when we're in it, and even after we tell it we're not sure. Because the story doesn't end.
The sinister, the terrible never deceive: the state in which they leave us is always one of enlightenment. And only this condition of vicious insight allows us a full grasp of the world, all things considered, just as a frigid melancholy grants us full possession of ourselves. We may hide from horror only in the heart of horror. (The Medusa)
Sounds travel through space long after their wave patterns have ceased to be detectable by the human ear: some cut right through the ionosphere and barrel on out into the cosmic heartland, while others bounce around, eventually being absorbed into the vibratory fields of earthly barriers, but in neither case does the energy succumb; it goes on forever - which is why we, each of us, should take pains to make sweet notes.
The movie Koyaanisqatsi shows non-commented time-lapse footage and focuses our attention on the very rhythm of our civilized modern life and nature. A marijuana high can do something for a user similar to what this time-lapse footage does. The enhancement of episodic memory and the acceleration of associative streams of memories can alter and enhance our recognition of patterns in our lives in various ways. If we are presented with quick associative chains of past experiences, we can see a pattern in a body of information that is usually not at once presented to our inner eye as such.
You don't read Gatsby, I said, to learn whether adultery is good or bad but to learn about how complicated issues such as adultery and fidelity and marriage are. A great novel heightens your senses and sensitivity to the complexities of life and of individuals, and prevents you from the self-righteousness that sees morality in fixed formulas about good and evil.
There are no shortcuts to moral insight. Nature is not intrinsically anything that can offer comfort or solace in human terms -- if only because our species is such an insignificant latecomer in a world not constructed for us. So much the better. The answers to moral dilemmas are not lying out there, waiting to be discovered. They reside, like the kingdom of God, within us -- the most difficult and inaccessible spot for any discovery or consensus.