Where faith sees best in the dark

Kierkegaard

 

The believer humanly comprehends how heavy the suffering is, but in faith’s wonder that it is beneficial to him, he devoutly says: It is light. Humanly he says: It is impossible, but he says it again in faith’s wonder that what he humanly cannot understand is beneficial to him. In other words, when sagacity is able to perceive the beneficialness, then faith cannot see God; but when in the dark night of suffering sagacity cannot see a handbreadth ahead of it, then faith can see God, since faith sees best in the dark. 

Søren Kierkegaard

 

This quote is for a close friend of mine whose mother has recently passed away.

 

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Fairy tales according to J.R.R. Tolkien

jrr tolkien world

 

Tolkien’s both ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ stories have ceaselessly inspired imagination and creativity for decades, of dragons and semi-humans, of tales of conquest and victory, and those of intensity and fear. Entirely visualizing a fantasy world of his own, Tolkien has added a new perspective towards world literati.

Here is one of his quotes when he’s responding to an opinion that mythology, much of which inspires Tolkien’s universe, is ‘a disease of language’:

 

Mythology is not a disease at all, though it may like all human things become diseased. You might as well say that thinking is a disease of the mind. It would be more near the truth to say that languages, especially modern European languages, are a disease of mythology. But Language cannot, all the same, be dismissed. The incarnate mind, the tongue, and the tale are in our world coeval. The human mind, endowed with the powers of generalization and abstraction, sees not only green-grass, discriminating it from other things (and finding it fair to look upon), but sees that it is green as well as being grass. But how powerful, how stimulating to the very faculty that produced it, was the invention of the adjective: no spell or incantation in Faerie is more potent. And that is not surprising: such incantations might indeed be said to be only another view of adjectives, a part of speech in a mythical grammar. The mind that thought of light, heavy, grey, yellow, still, swift, also conceived of magic that would make heavy things light and able to fly, turn grey lead into yellow gold, and the still rock into a swift water. If it could do the one, it could do the other; it inevitably did both. When we can take green from grass, blue from heaven, and red from blood, we have already an enchanter’s power — upon one plane; and the desire to wield that power in the world external to our minds awakes. It does not follow that we shall use that power well upon any plane. We may put a deadly green upon a man’s face and produce a horror; we may make the rare and terrible blue moon to shine; or we may cause woods to spring with silver leaves and rams to wear fleeces of gold, and put hot fire into the belly of the cold worm. But in such “fantasy,” as it is called, new form is made; Faerie begins; Man becomes a sub-creator.

 

Read the full article in Brain Pickings to further understand his perspective.

Neil Gaiman reimagines Hansel and Gretel, and it’s stunning

hansel and gretel

 

 

Neil Gaiman doesn’t believe in ‘happy-go-merry’ children stories. Particularly after visiting a refugee camp in war-torn Syria, Gaiman got his inspiration to create a darker version of one of the world’s most favorite tales, Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’. With a stygian touch by Italian graphic artist Lorenzo Mattotti, Gaiman wants to introduce his horror-induced tales to children, but with an obvious message: fear of ghosts will not match fear towards far greater things in life when people grow up, especially when it comes to facing the authority.

His personal thought about why some elements of cynicism should be included in children’s stories:

 

I think if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids — and, in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power. Tell them you can fight back, tell them you can win. Because you can — but you have to know that.

And for me, the thing that is so big and so important about the darkness is [that] it’s like in an inoculation… You are giving somebody darkness in a form that is not overwhelming — it’s understandable, they can envelop it, they can take it into themselves, they can cope with it.

And, it’s okay, it’s safe to tell you that story — as long as you tell them that you can be smart, and you can be brave, and you can be tricky, and you can be plucky, and you can keep going.

 

Read the full article in Brain Pickings.

A 2,000-year-old treatise about living a wonderful life

herman and rosie

 

This quote was taken by a 2,000-year-old philosophical work by Seneca, ‘On The Shortness of Life’. Long before there were Napoleon Hill, Anthony Robbins, or any other speakers alike, and so long before human life expectancy was dramatically improving like now this century (which could also be one defining factor), the Roman philosopher had offered us timeless advice (and also a cautious warning) on how to make the best use of our time as long as we are still alive in this world:

 

You are living as if destined to live for ever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply — though all the while that very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last. You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire… How late it is to begin really to live just when life must end! How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our fiftieth and sixtieth years, aiming to begin life from a point at which few have arrived!

 

Read more about his work in Brain Pickings.

Pablo Neruda, about a glimpse of humanity

pabloneruda

 

From the Nobel Prize winner’s essay, ‘Childhood and Poetry’:

 

To feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvelous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses — that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things.

That exchange brought home to me for the first time a precious idea: that all of humanity is somehow together…

It won’t surprise you then that I attempted to give something resiny, earthlike, and fragrant in exchange for human brotherhood. Just as I once left the pinecone by the fence, I have since left my words on the door of so many people who were unknown to me, people in prison, or hunted, or alone.

 

Read more about his essay on Brain Pickings.

About words and symbols

jodorowsky

 

When I was a young person I went to the university and I learned a rational language, to think with the left side of the brain. But in the right side of the brain you have intuition and imagination. Words are not the truth; they indicate the way to go, but you need to go alone, in silence. Symbols have a language that kills the words.

 

Alejandro Jodorowsky (1929-present), Chilean film director