Some quotes relevant to Learning, Discovery and Travel – food for thought
“All joy, as distinct from mere pleasure, still more [from] amusement, emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings.” C.S. Lewis, letter dated November 5, 1959
“The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out of an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer journey. One can have one without the other. It is better to have both.” Thomas Merton, Mystics and Zen Masters
“The search is what anyone would undertake if her were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life… To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be on to something. Not to be on to something is to be in despair.” Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
“A pilgrim is anyone who is out of his own country.” Dante, La Vita Nuova
FACING WEST FROM CALIFORNIA’S SHORES
by: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
FACING west from California’s shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost circled;
For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere,
From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and the hero,
From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and the spice islands,
Long having wander’d since, round the earth having wander’d,
Now I face home again, very pleas’d and joyous,
(But where is what I started for so long ago? And why is it yet unfound?)
“…We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.”
Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Anabasis (ἀνάβᾰσις, from Greek ana = “upward”, bainein = “to step or march”) is an expedition from a coastline up into the interior of a country. Anabasis, by the Greek writer Xenophon (431–355 BC), is an account of the expedition of Cyrus the Younger, a Persian prince, against his brother, King Artaxerxes II.
“Cyrus now advanced through Arabia, having the Euphrates on his right, five days’ march through the forest. In this region the ground was broken and dark, heaving as the sea. It was covered with pines, and whatever other kinds of shrub or reed grew on it were all odoriferous as perfumes. On the third day Cheirisophus said, “Cast your eyes upon these mountains, and observe how impassable they all are. The only road which you see is steep; and close upon it you may perceive a great multitude of men. The guides whom we have say that there is no other road…”
“Lost in the Forest” Pablo Neruda
Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.
Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.
Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind
as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood—
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” Anais Nin
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” Martin Buber
“If you do not change direction… You may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T.S. Eliot — “Little Gidding” (the last of his Four Quartets)
“Not all who wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkein, Lord of the Rings
“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes
“This capacity to always begin anew, to make, to reconstruct, and to not spoil, to refuse to bureaucratize the mind, to live life as a process – live to become – is something that always accompanied me throughout life. This is an indispensable quality of a good teacher.” Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Heart New York: Continuum 1997:98 (original title, Under the Shade of the Mango Tree 1993)
“…education makes sense because women and men learn that through learning they can make and remake themselves, because women and men are able to take responsibility for themselves as beings capable of knowing — of knowing that they know and knowing that they don’t” (Freire, Pedagogy of Indignation. Boulder: Colorado, Paradigm 2004, p. 15. Paulo Reglus Neves Freire (1921–1997) was a Brazilian educator and influential theorist of critical pedagogy (theories of the education process).
“The opposite of a correct statement is an incorrect statement, but the opposite of a profound truth is another profound truth.” Niels Bohr
“But he found that a traveller’s life is one that includes much pain amidst its enjoyments. His feelings are for ever on the stretch; and when he begins to sink into repose, he finds himself obliged to quit that on which he rests in pleasure for something new, which again engages his attention, and which also he forsakes for other novelties.” — Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
“Humanities research does not, generally produce quantifiable results. What it does produce is explanatory models and rich and nuanced interpretations of complex questions. Unlike the experimental scientist in the laboratory, the humanist cannot isolate a single independent variable: he or she must take into account and endeavor to make sense of the awesomely complex and splendidly messy facts of human existence.” “Alternative Wor[l]ds: Humanities 2000” academic conference.
“Indeed, naturally I think that a film should have a beginning, middle, and an end—but not necessarily in that order.” Jean-Luc Goddard
- When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
- Whence come I and whither go I? That is the great unfathomable question, the same for every one of us. Science has no answer to it.
Max Planck, German theoretical physicist (1858 – 1947)
“Synthesis – the overcoming of dualism – is the key to the new kind of thinking which characterizes the new era that we are entering. “Either-or” gives way to “both-and.” Not subject versus object but subject and object interacting. Not consciousness versus being but consciousness and being together. Not intellect versus emotion, or reason versus passion, but the whole [person] thinking and feeling. Religion with law, faith and works. Person and act: the law should judge the act, but in order to know what kind of act it really was the judge should put him-[or her]self in the place of the person who committed it.” Harold J. Berman. The Interaction of Law and Religion. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1974, p. 114.
“Nothing is ever the same as they said it was. It’s what I’ve never seen before that I recognize.” Diane Arbus, 20th century photographer (from a 1972 catalogue for a MOMA exhibit of her work).
“The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can clarify in paint. Nothing is less real than realism…details are confusing…it is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things.” Georgia O’Keefe, an American painter who specialized in abstract/focused paintings of flowers and cattle skulls.
“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” Anaïs Nin, Seduction of the Minotaur 1961
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.” Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
“Call me Ishmael. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.” Herman Melville, Moby Dick
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” E. F. Schumacher, Small is beautiful: economics as if people mattered
“… there is nothing to express, nothing with which to express, nothing from which to express, no power to express, no desire to express, together with the obligation to express.” Samuel Beckett, Proust and the Three Dialogues with Georges Duthuit, 103
- Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
- Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.
- The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
- Dig within. Within is the wellspring of Good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig.
From the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE.), Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher
“We must never be afraid to go too far, for truth lies beyond.” Marcel Proust
“Conceptually stuck systems cannot become unstuck simply by trying harder. For a fundamental reorientation to occur, that spirit of adventure which optimizes serendipity and which enables new perceptions beyond the control of our thinking processes must happen first. This is equally true regarding families, institutions, whole nations, and entire civilizations.” Edwin H. Friedman, A Failure of Nerve, 2007
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn. You can use all the quantitative data you can get, but you still have to distrust it and use your own intelligence and judgment.” Alvin Toffler
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates