Category Archives: Literature

All Teems with Symbol

All teems with symbol; the wise man is the man who in any one thing can read another, a process familiar to all of us in not a few examples of everyday experience.

Plotinus. The Six Enneads

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Umberto Eco on Racism

There is an expression that has become proverbial in English: “Some of my best friends.” People who start off by declaring, say, that some of their best friends are Jewish, usually come to a “but” or “however,” followed by an anti-Semitic tirade. In the 1970s there was even a play about anti-Semitism called Some of My Best Friends (running in New York). Those who begin with this expression are immediately labeled as anti-Semites—and in fact some time ago, paradoxically, I decided that the best way to begin any discourse against racism would be to start off with: “Some of my best friends are anti-Semites…”

Umberto Eco. Turning Back the Clock

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Courage

Give us grace, O God, to dare to do the deed which we well know cries to be done. Let us not hesitate because of ease, or the words of men’s mouths, or our own lives. Mighty causes are calling us—the freeing of women, the training of children, the putting down of hate and murder and poverty—all these and more. But they call with voices that mean work and sacrifice and death. Mercifully grant us, O God, the spirit of Esther, that we say: I will go unto the King and if I perish, I perish. Amen.

W.E.B. Du Bois. Every Eye Beholds You: A World Treasury of Prayer. Craughwell, Thomas J., ed.

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Actions Have Consequences

Sometimes our actions have consequences we can’t foresee. Tragedy strikes despite good intentions. A hard lesson I’ve had to learn myself. All we can do is endeavor to do our best with what we have. To learn from our past and make the most of our present.

Lady Mechanika: Vol. 4 – The Clockwork Assassin

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Humility

How does the sea become the king of all streams?
Because it lies lower than they!
Hence it is the king of all streams.

Therefore, the Sage reigns over the people by humbling himself in speech;
And leads the people by putting himself behind.

Lao Tzu. Tao Teh Ching

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Impermanence

Winter, after all, does not last forever. Nor does hardship, or injustice.

Marjorie Liu. Monstress: Issue 33

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Balance of Good and Evil

Archangel Michael

“Neither good nor evil can be destroyed, and both will always be here. It’s meant to be. ‘The Lord hath made all things for himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.’ Our role is to achieve equilibrium. And as we do that we must respect evil and we must make evil respect us. But, at times such as now, events indicate that we’re losing balance. And time is running out.”

Back to Frank Black, pp. 135 – 136

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Beware of Spiritual and Intellectual Pride

These metaphysics of magicians
And negromantic books are heavenly;
Lines, circles, letters, characters—
Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires.
O, what a world of profit and delight,
Of power, of honor, and omnipotence
Is promised to the studious artisan!
All things that move between the quiet poles
Shall be at my command: emperors and kings
Are but obeyed in their several provinces
But his dominion that exceeds in this
Stretcheth as far as doth the mind of man:
A sound magician is a demi-god!
Here tire my brains to get a diety!

Christopher Marlowe. Doctor Faustus: Act I, scene i.

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Change

“When a situation changes, the wise change too.”

Marjorie Liu. Monstress: Issue 33

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Place your mind before the mirror of eternity

Fresco painting by Simone Martini

Place your mind before the mirror of eternity!
Place your soul in the brilliance of glory!
Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance!
And transform your whole being into the image of the
Godhead Itself through contemplation!

Saint Clare of Assisi. Every Eye Beholds You: A World Treasury of Prayer. Craughwell, Thomas J., ed.

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