We are like a ship fastened to the shore. It floats on the water of the sea, but it does not leave its moorings; it merely bobs up and down. We are like a swimmer who prefers to walk rather than take to the water. O my God, sever these moorings, loosen the thread from the wings of my soul, plunge me into the sea.
It is known that there is an infinite number of worlds, but that not every one is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite nuber of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so if every planet in the Universe has a populations of zero then the entire population of the Universe must also be zero, and any people you may actually meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
The leaves did not stir on the trees, grasshoppers chirruped, and the monotonous hollow sound of the sea rising up from below, spoke of the peace, of the eternal sleep awaiting us. So it must have sounded when there was no Yalta, no Oreanda here; so it sounds now, and it will sound as indifferently and monotonously when we are all no more. And in this constancy, in this complete indifference to the life and death of each of us, there lies hid, perhaps, a pledge of our eternal salvation, of the unceasing movement of life upon earth, of unceasing progress towards perfection.
I watched him strap on his harness and helmet, climb into the cockpit and, minutes later, a black dot falls off the wing two thousand feet above our field. At almost the same instant, a white streak behind him flowered out into the delicate wavering muslin of a parachute -- a few gossamer yards grasping onto air and suspending below them, with invisible threads, a human life, and man who by stitches, cloth, and cord, had made himself a god of the sky for those immortal moments.
Bowed by the weight of centuries he leansUpon his hoe and gazes on the ground,The emptiness of ages in his face,And on his back the burden of the world.Who made him dead to rapture and despair,A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?
Teach me, Father, how to goSoftly as the grasses grow;Hush my soul to meet the shockOf the wild world as a rock;But my spirit, propt with power,Make as simple as a flower.Let the dry heart fill its cup,Like a poppy looking up;Let life lightly wear her crown,Like a poppy looking down,When its heart is filled with dew,And its life begins anew.
I have observed that the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge. It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever.
It's fairly obvious that American education is a cultural flop. Americans are not a well-educated people culturally, and their vocational education often has to be learned all over again after they leave school and college. On the other hand, they have open quick minds and if their education has little sharp positive value, it has not the stultifying effects of a more rigid training.
The confusion is not my invention. We cannot listen to a conversation for five minutes without being aware of the confusion. It is all around us and our only chance now is to let it in. The only chance of renovation is to open our eyes and see the mess. It is not a mess you can make sense of.