A Deeply Mysterious Place


One of life’s best lessons is to take note of wisdom and insight when you stumble across it. Both are rare in this life.

And I consistently find both – and beauty, as well – in Maria Popova’s weekly musings in The Marginalian.

The brilliant and flawed James Baldwin observed that “it is said that (Shakespeare’s) time was easier than ours but no time can be easy if one is living through it.”

That doesn’t erase anxiety about the state of our world today, but offers a hopeful perspective.

Nick Cave noted “The world… is indeed a strange and deeply mysterious place, forever changing and remaking itself anew. But this is not a novel condition, our world hasn’t only recently become bizarre and temporary, it has been so ever since its inception, and it will continue to be such until its end — mystifying and forever in a state of flux.”

But Cave then offers two pillars of a fulfilling life in this troubled time:

“The first is humility. Humility amounts to an understanding that the world is not divided into good and bad people, but rather it is made up of all manner of individuals, each broken in their own way, each caught up in the common human struggle and each having the capacity to do both terrible and beautiful things.”

“If we truly comprehend and acknowledge that we are all imperfect creatures, we find that we become more tolerant and accepting of others’ shortcomings and the world appears less dissonant, less isolating, less threatening.”

“The other quality is curiosity. If we look with curiosity at people who do not share our values, they become interesting rather than threatening. “

“Cultivating a questioning mind, of which conversation is the chief instrument, enriches our relationship with the world. Having a conversation with someone I may disagree with is, I have come to find, a great, life embracing pleasure.”

Ahh, openness, listening and humility.

Truly listening, without needing to challenge or disapprove.

We can do that. I can do that!

There is hope.