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"Fairy tales… are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.

Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear.”

— G. K. Chesterton, “The Red Angel,” Tremendous Trifles (via michaelfunderburk)

(Source: sheddenm, via michaelfunderburk-deactivated20)

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"In 1969, after working with terminally ill patients, the Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross brought the trauma of death out of the closet with the publication of her groundbreaking work, ‘On Death and Dying.’ She outlined a five-stage model of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Her work was radical at the time. It made death a normal topic of conversation, but had the inadvertent effect of making people feel, as my mother did, that grief was something to do right.

Mourning, however, has no timetable. Grief is not the same for everyone. And it does not always go away. The closest one can find to a consensus about it among today’s therapists is the conviction that the healthiest way to deal with trauma is to lean into it, rather than try to keep it at bay. The reflexive rush to normal is counterproductive. In the attempt to fit in, to be normal, the traumatized person (and this is most of us) feels estranged.”

— Mark Epstein, The Trauma of Being Alive

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"There is one thing I can say for certain: the older a person gets, the lonelier he becomes. It’s true for everyone. But maybe that isn’t wrong. What I mean is, in a sense our lives are nothing more than a series of stages to help us get used to loneliness. That being the case, there’s no reason to complain. And besides, who would we complain to, anyway?"

— Haruki Murakami, A Walk to Kobe (via unutterablyalone)

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"My friend Alice Sebold likes to talk about ‘getting down in the pit and loving somebody.’ She has in mind the dirt that love inevitably splatters on the mirror of our self-regard."

— Jonathan Franzen, Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts. (via discourseoflove)

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"Aomame pressed an ear against [Tengo’s] chest. ‘I’ve been lonely for so long. And I’ve been hurt so deeply. If only I could have met you again a long time ago, then I wouldn’t have had to take all these detours to get here.’

Tengo shook his head. ‘I don’t think so. This way is just fine. This is exactly the right time. For both of us.’

Aomame started to cry. The tears she had been holding back spilled down her cheeks and there was nothing she could do to stop them. Large teardrops fell audibly onto the sheets like rain. With Tengo buried deep inside her, she trembled slightly as she went on crying. Tengo put his arms around her and held her. He would be holding her close from now on, a thought that made him happier than he could imagine.

‘We needed that much time,’ Tengo said, ‘to understand how lonely we really were.’”

— Haruki Murakami, 1Q84 (translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin and Philip ­Gabriel) (via liveandlovethequestions)

(Source: almadehembra)

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“‘It took a little time, you know,’ said Paul, ‘but I got over it. I let go. It’s like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go, and the river brings you home.’”

— Joanne Harris, Five Quarters of the Orange (via prayingbuddha)

(Source: murmurrs, via liveandlovethequestions)

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SARAH: Why can’t you say anything, one thing, to make this feel better?

DR. JUDE BAR-SHALOM: There are no shortcuts, Sarah, in life or in love. This pain must be felt. The alternative is much worse. It’s what makes us special, what makes us beautiful, what… what makes us worthy—the pain of how we love. But that pain is accompanied by something else, isn’t it? Hope. With your pain, there is hope. And that is where you are. Somewhere between agony, and optimism and prayer. So, you’re human. You’re alive. And that is what we have.

— Jon Robin Baitz and Molly Newman, “Love Is Difficult” (Season 1, Episode 15), Brothers & Sisters (via liveandlovethequestions)

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"Science, I mean what practicing scientists actually do, is acutely and admirably aware of its limits, and humbly admits to the provisional character of its conclusions."

— Leon Wieseltier, "Perhaps Culture is Now the Counterculture" (a commencement speech addressed to the graduates of Brandeis University, May 19, 2013) (via liveandlovethequestions)

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"It is… a false choice to tell women—or men, for that matter—that we must choose between caring for ourselves and our own families or caring for the larger family of humanity."

— Hillary Rodham Clinton, Commencement Address to the 1992 graduating class of Wellesley College, May 29, 1992

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"Because my concern is making children count, I hope you will indulge me while I tell you why. The American Dream is an inter-generational compact. Or, as someone once said, one generation is supposed to leave the key under the mat for the next. We repay our parents for their love in the love we give children—and we repay our society for the opportunities we are given by expanding the opportunities given to others. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. You know too well that it is not. Too many of our children are being impoverished financially, socially, and spiritually. The shrinking of their futures diminishes us all. Whether you end up having children of your own or not, I hope each of you will recognize the need for a sensible national family policy that reverses the absolutely unforgivable neglect of our children in this country in this year."

— Hillary Rodham Clinton, Commencement Address to the 1992 graduating class of Wellesley College, May 29, 1992

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"If you remain centered, your calm presence helps to free all those around you."

— Ram Dass, Redefining the Metaphor for Dying

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"Where you come from now is much less important than where you’re going. More and more of us are rooted in the future or the present tense as much as in the past. And home, we know, is not just the place where you happen to be born. It’s the place where you become yourself."

— Pico Iyer, Where is home?

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"[F]or more and more of us, home has really less to do with a piece of soil than, you could say, with a piece of soul."

— Pico Iyer, Where is home?

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"Many of the Chukiren have died since I last spoke with them. The others are failing rapidly. I’m not sure I ever really came to understand them. But that is not because what they did is beyond understanding, not because evil is some kind of mystery. In some ways, it is all quite simple. If I had been a 19-year-old when my country entered into a genocidal war, I would have done the same thing everybody else did. That’s true for most of us. Making monsters is a straightforward process, and ­nation-states are expert at it."

— James Dawes, Understanding Evil

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"Many of the Chukiren have died since I last spoke with them. The others are failing rapidly. I’m not sure I ever really came to understand them. But that is not because what they did is beyond understanding, not because evil is some kind of mystery. In some ways, it is all quite simple. If I had been a 19-year-old when my country entered into a genocidal war, I would have done the same thing everybody else did. That’s true for most of us. Making monsters is a straightforward process, and ­nation-states are expert at it.

Why the war criminals did what they did—in the end, that is not what I find hard to understand. What I find hard to understand is what must it be like to be the person who did those things. When we imagine getting perpetrators into our hands, the first thing we think about is punishment, what we as a society are going to do to them. But I think the real and final punishment is having to be the person you are.”

— James Dawes, Understanding Evil