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"Everything has already been said and done. But, then, if this is so, why do we need more poems in the world? I once read a Jane Hirshfield interview where she said something quite wonderful. She essentially said we have to keep writing because it’s every generation’s job to put in the present vernacular poems that are called upon for rites of passage, such as poems read at weddings or funerals. I hadn’t thought of this before. Your ordinary citizen should be able to go to the library and find a poem written in the current vernacular, and the responsibility for every generation of writers is to make this possible. We must, then, rewrite everything that has ever been written in the current vernacular, which is really what the evolution of literature is all about. Nothing new gets said but the vernacular keeps changing."

Mary Ruefle (via austinkleon)

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"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."

— C S Lewis (via itsquoted)

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Like most television shows about young urbanites making their way in the world, “Girls” is a depiction of a culture whose controlling philosophy is what the late Robert Bellah called “expressive individualism” — the view that the key to the good life lies almost exclusively in self-discovery, self-actualization, the cultivation of the unique and holy You.

This is a perspective with religious and political corollaries: It implies a God-as-life-coach theology, the kind that pulses through Oprah Winfrey’s current revival tour, and a politics in which the state is effectively a therapeutic agent, protecting the questing self from shocks and deprivation.

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— Ross Douthat on why he loves Lena

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"I mentioned that I don’t feel any particular social pressure to take on the trappings of “grown-uppiness.” I’ll draw a line between being a “grown-up”—which comes with all the expected obligations like marriage, children, home-ownership, etc—and being an adult—living well within a dignified role in society, educating yourself so you can contribute, honoring responsibilities, having empathy, being a citizen, defining and living the life you want, and the other good stuff that makes the world get along a little better than it would otherwise. I am an adult, but I am not a grown-up. There are many, many more like me."

— Frank Chimero on grown ups

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"Closely related is the sheer exhaustion of being constantly tapped into in the network. Every tweet I read or write elicits some small (or not so small) emotional reaction: anger, mirth, puzzlement, guilt, anxiety, frustration. I’ve tried to prune my following list so that when I do find myself engaging in a genuine way, it’s with a person I genuinely want to engage with. But there’s a limit to how much pruning can be done, when unfollowing a real-life friend is the online equivalent of punting his puppy across the room. So all day long, I’m in and out of the stream, always reacting to whatever’s coming next. Setting aside the question of how distracting this is when I’m trying to get work done, the fact is that I have a limited capacity for emotional engagement, and the code-switching that’s required when the character of my response is supposed to change every 140 characters only increases this overhead. A life spent on Twitter is a death by a thousand emotional microtransactions. I want to be pouring these energies into my family and my friends and my work."

Boone Gorges (via ayjay)

(via ayjay)

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Saying truth is relative is a truth statement

I read the following today on a blog: “You don’t get to decide the truth. Other people have their own experiences, just as valid.”

This is the predominant mindset in our culture today. And I understand why. How can one person say their truth, their experience, is any more meaningful than any other persons? Isn’t to say that simply immoral?

The problem with that line of thinking is revealed in the quote. The first sentence pronounces the view that you don’t get to decide the truth. Translation: there is no truth (if no one can decide it, it must not exist). 

The second statement reveals the breakdown: “Other people have their own experiences, just as valid.” What’s being said here is that everyone’s truth claims and their experiences are valid. They are all just option on the buffet menu of truth. But the issue is that to say there is no truth or that all truths are valid is to make a truth claim. It is saying that I have the truth (even if that is seen as a non-truth), and if you disagree with me then you’re wrong, or you’re outside the truth. 

You really don’t get to decide the truth, but that isn’t because everyone has it. It’s because it comes from outside of any of us. 

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"We hear “do what you love” so often from those few people who it did work for, for whom the stars aligned, and from them it sounds like good advice. They’re successful, aren’t they? If we follow their advice, we’ll be successful, too! […] We rarely hear the advice of the person who did what they loved and stayed poor or was horribly injured for it. Professional gamblers, stuntmen, washed up cartoonists like myself: we don’t give speeches at corporate events. We aren’t paid to go to the World Domination Summit and make people feel bad. We don’t land book deals or speak on Good Morning America."

Rachel Nabors, “DON’T do what you love” (via austinkleon)

(via austinkleon)