“We are a population that is satisfied with sound-bite news, instant and opinionated political analysis, manipulative popular psychology, and insubstantial novels and magazines. At the same time, and understandably, we feel the absence of meaning and are speechless when we learn of atrocities in our society. We don’t know how to think about them because we don’t know how to think, and we don’t know how to think because we don’t believe that thinking for its own sake is worthy of our attention. We educate our children to make a good living rather than to become thinking persons, and often we honor as celebrities those who have not made a genuine contribution to society but who mirror our own madness.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“Long life is indeed a blessing, but maybe we overdo our concern for the length of our lives and give insufficient attention to the passion we bring to whatever time we have. The meaning and purpose of life are great mysteries, and in that light a very brief life, of only minutes, can be full and rounded. The soul has appeared in the flesh; then it returns to its home of origin.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“We may come to know our friends and lovers over years of conversation and experience, but we may eventually realize that it is enough to love them without knowing what they are all about. We may not approve of everything they do, and we may not appreciate their eccentric ways, but still we know and appreciate them. We have faith that in the dimness of our ignorance we have the opportunity to give ourselves more fully to their reality. Unconditional love means that we don’t love on the condition that we understand.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“Almost every day we are asked to extend the range of our acquaintance with life. It is one of several ways to live intensely, and it is also a way to prepare for death. For death is the ultimate stranger. This is not necessarily a morbid thought, because only by allowing death to play a role in daily life do we really live. Opening to another society or another individual – they are two levels of culture – we die a little death in relation to what has become familiar. But those little deaths create openings to new life.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“When we are living only a portion of what a human being is capable of, our lives are incomplete. I don’t mean that we each have to do everything possible in life, but that the more possibilities we can imagine, the richer our lives will be. Defending ourselves against the stranger is a way of keeping out our own potentiality. The diminishment of our acquaintances is a diminishment of ourselves. The most challenging stranger is life itself, or the soul, the face and source of vitality. Life is always presenting new possibilities ,and we may fear that bountifulness. It may seem safer to be content with what we have and what we are, and so we cling to the status quo. But in these matters there is no convenient plateau. When we refuse a new offering of life, we develop emotional calluses. The habit of acting from fear sets in quickly and becomes steadily more rigid. Refusing life, we become attendants of death.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“Memory is potent. It does something to us. It makes us who we are. It gives us depth. It ties our past to our present to overcome the disjunction of a too literal life. It focuses our attention on the imagination of events rather than on events taken literally. Memory is a kind of poetry.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“Anxiety is nothing but fear inspired by an imagined future collapse. It is the failure of trust.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“However bright or dim we are, we will still make mistakes. If I kept a diary of all the bad decisions I have made in my life, it would be too thick to carry. But as in most things, it may take a bundle of mistakes to arrive at something sublime, just as it takes thousands of flowers to produce a few drops of perfume.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“Living closer to nature helps simplify because nature itself, though complex, keeps us in tune with basic rhythms and pleasures that never change and that provide grounding. When our family moved next to a farm, we found simplicity in the food we ate and in new sources for our entertainment and pleasure. Learning how to ride a horse is a complicated process, but riding is a simple pleasure that offers lasting satisfaction.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“Simplifying the externals allows us to cultivate a rich inner and outer life. A cluttered existence may keep us busy, but busyness doesn’t mean that we are fully engaged in what we are going. Usually, just the opposite, we feel busy because we are neurotically active at things that don’t matter much in the long run. It does little good to be successful in a business that requires sixty hours of work a week, while the simple pleasures of home life are neglected. A complicated person can simplify life and in that simplicity find a sharp articulation of values. Complicated lives often do the opposite: they show to what extent the person is lost in the busyness of the world.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“Living in the moment can become a moralistic principle, a burden rather than a way to intensify life. The difference might depend on who takes the lead in the dance and who chooses the music. The soul is a community of many interior persons, many of them capable leaders. The ego is only one among them and probably should not always run the show. A good dancer or musician allows the music to take over, becomes absorbed in the complex harmonies and tempos, and is the servant of the materials at hand. The secret of a soul-based life is to allow someone or something other than the usual self to be in charge.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“Today many people live the external life exclusively, and when the inner world erupts or stirs, they rush to a therapist or druggist for help. They try to explain profound mythic developments in the language of behavior and experience. Often they have no idea what is happening to them, because they have been so cut off from the deep self. Their own soul is so alien to them that they are unaware of what is going on outside the known realm of fact. Former methods of keeping in touch with the inner life have gone out of mode. Diaries, letters, and deep conversations help focus attention on developments and materials that lie beneath the surface. Only one hundred years ago, without benefit of typewriters and word processors, people kept elaborate, long and detailed diaries and notebooks. We seem to have left behind these methods of reflection in favor of technologies for action.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“In my own experience, it is often the brief, simple, original books that turn out to be the most useful. The books I have on my special shelf – books for personal, lifelong use – are all brief and untraditionally structured. They are almost all illustrated, and they have considerable blank space on a page. These are not sources of information but books for meditation. A book is virtual space that invites contemplation and perusal. In this space one tarries and looks around, absorbing the atmosphere, and then leaves, the author hopes, happy to have visited.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self
“When we teach a child to make good decisions, we benefit from a lifetime of good decisions. When we teach a child to love to learn, the amount of learning will become limitless. When we teach a child to deal with a changing world, she will never become obsolete. When we are brave enough to teach a child to question authority, even ours, we insulate ourselves from those who would use their authority to work against each of us. And when we give students the desire to make things, even choices, we create a world filled with makers.” ~ Seth Godin, Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?
“Let’s define dumb as being different from stupid. Dumb means you don’t know what you’re supposed to know. Stupid means you know it but make bad choices. […] Dumb used to be a by-product of lack of access, bad teachers, or poor parenting. Today, dumb is a choice, one that’s made by individuals who choose not to learn. If you don’t know what you need to know, that’s fixable. But first you have to want to fix it.” ~ Seth Godin, Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?
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