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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Child of the Universe

I enjoy nuggets of wisdom and love a good quote -- contemporary, ancient, witty, joyful, solemn etc.  I especially love philosophical thought. Combine the two, mmm mmm mmm. It's like chocolate to me... smooth... creamy... delectable...and I want more.

I collect quotes as I collect other words. Every so often someone says something that is so precise and germane to the moment in which it was uttered that it makes me stop in my tracks and absorb it like sunshine. 

I've been keeping favorites for years -  a habit begun in 6th grade, of all places, and it all started with this one by Max Ehrmann. I found it on the sidewalk as I walked home from school, and thinking on it now, I'm able to recall the paper was blue. Imagine the power this little declaration held to a twelve year old  standing on the cusp of womanhood and whose childhood just wasn't making sense anymore. Powerful enough for the woman she became to remember it was blue all these decades later.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

~Max Ehrmann's Desiderata
Max pointed out the fact I was indeed a part of something larger than I realized. When we're young, children tend to believe they're the center of the universe but we're not. We're something far more wondrous. Typed on a typewriter with such firm keystrokes they made braille of several letters on the blue paper, Max Ehrmann's words spoke to me. They said, you have a right to be here, and made me believe.
For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe, no proof is possible.
~ The Talmud

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
~ Lao Tzu

We are constantly invited to be who we are.
These quotes come from my wanderings, my travels, education, and my assorted experiences. They appear when I need them. Need them? Yes, there are times when we need someone else to paraphrase for us. Sometimes the thoughts are too fragmented, the emotion to vague, the words too few.  Sometimes another's words just do your own thoughts justice. And sometimes they inspire new thought. Occasionally I'll discard one, its meaning no longer pertinent or evocative. They come and go and change as my mind matures.  Some I keep because they create the craziest images in my active imagination.
And thus I clothe my naked villainy with old odd ends stolen forth of holy writ.  And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
~ William Shakespeare's King Richard III
By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.
~ William Shakespeare's Macbeth
I love Shakespeare. I had the privilege of having an honors English class my freshman year in high school. The teacher, compelled by the spelling of my last name, sat me right next to the model of Shakespeare's Globe Theater and the stack of corresponding books I could read if I finished my work before the bell rang. Good times.  Out damned spot!

If a few words can have such great impact as to be remembered and referenced, then how cool is that? Cooler still, the words penned ages ago carry just as much power, just as much emotion, today as they did when they were crafted. The well-phrased quotable comment has staying power. Time's most memorable words have a way of seeping into your marrow.
There's nothing to fear but fear itself.
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
~ Neil Armstrong
Oh yes, our modes of transport, our advances in medicine, and our machines of war may change, but the human condition remains the same. It dates back to the first attempts by humans to understand themselves and their place in the universe.
Wisdom is knowing how little we know.
~ Socrates

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.
~ Leonardo da Vinci

I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time.
~ Walt Whitman
Funny thing about Walt Whitman, his writings were notable for their delight in, and praise of, the senses. You get a better feel for what what I mean by reading Leaves of Grass. I Sing the Body Electric was especially juicy for the time period it was written, and just so happened to come during a time when such candid thought was considered immoral. He'd get a kick out of my books. :)

These snippets of philosophical thought are  essentially hours of condensed reflection and observation. How wonderful these wordsmiths shared the insights they've been granted. We don't need to sit on the steps of higher learning with Socrates and Plato. There's no need to check out a scroll at the Library of Alexandria. Nor do we need to sit under a tree and have enlightenment come to us as we hunger and thirst. These minds, from fishmonger to philosopher have encapsulated their great thoughts for us with a few well chosen words.
Since everything is a reflection of our minds, everything can be changed by our minds.
~ Buddha

Souls are poured from one into another of different kinds of bodies of the world.
~ Gnostic Gospels, the Pistis Sophia

The virtues we acquire, which develop slowly within us, are the invisible links that bind each one of our existences to the others - existences which the spirit alone remembers, for Matter has no memory for spiritual things.
~ Honore Balzac
And so the Mind created harmony and life existed in the shimmering concerto of the Cosmos. But it was not enough for the Mind, for a mind once expanded never returns to its previous state. So the Mind allowed life to see and self- awareness rose and life walked the many earths and flew the many skies of the Cosmos.
~ Collins
I don't know if any bit of brilliance out of my brain will ever hit an emotional chord, but who knows. I get an occasional flash every now and again that I'm sure has nothing to do with hormones. I'll end with these two:
The future is so bright it burns my eyes.
~Oprah Winfrey

Beware of the man of one book.
~ St. Thomas Aquinas

Do you have a favorite? Share in comments 

If you enjoy quotes and kisses, read my Quotable Kisses article in the next FREE issue of   Hidden Desires Magazine e-Zine. Subscribe here:


And there are more quotes to come. I'm taking part in the 100 Things Blogging Challenge. For 100 days, I'll post a little something from my chosen topic of Words & Quotes of Love. Follow my link below.

is multi-published author and dilettante who loves great conversation and learning interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper mid-west.  
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woolfcindy said...

Lots of fabulous quotes there, Rose. Thanks for sharing.

Rose Anderson said...

Glad you liked them Cindy. Sometimes they just say it all.

Cara Marsi said...

How cool that you've been collecting quotes since you were a child. I love the FDR quote about fear. I have many favorite quotes, but my all-time fave is "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

jean hart stewart said...

Loved the quotes...I've built many a blog about quotes I love. Which one appeals to which reader fascinates me.

Rose Anderson said...

I look at quotes from the viewpoint of "when the student is ready, the teacher will come." Occasionally I'll reread my favorites and their meanings have changed. I suppose that could be me who's changed. lol Thanks for stopping Cara and Jean.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I also love and collect quotes, Rose! Lots of great ones here, thank you. One of my favourites is this anonymous one: 'We have the power to shrink our dreams to fit reality, or the power to stretch our reality to fit our dreams.'

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I love interesting and wise quotations and use them at the beginning of each of my novels.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

When I worked, I had some quotes up at my desk. My first and favorite was "One of the great joys of writing fiction is that you are FREE." Saul Bellow said, "I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, 'To Hell With You.'"

I, too, have bunches of them.

Melissa Keir said...

How amazing that the paper showed up just when you needed it. One would say it was the universe in action. :)

Rose Anderson said...

Ooh I love getting new quotes. Thanks! And thank you everyone for stopping by today. Have a nice evening.


Marianne Stephens said...

I'm a Shakespeare nut. Took electives in as many Shakespeare classes as I could.
Even went to Shakespeare festivals with High School groups.
Thanks for an interesting post!

Sandy said...

I love your quotes, Rose. I have a favorite quote by Hemingway, but I can't remember the exact words.

Gemma Juliana said...

Great blog theme, Rose. I'm late as usual...

I've always loved The Old Astronomer by Sarah Williams:

Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light.

I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

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