In his 1946 essay, Why I Write, George Orwell set out what he saw as the main motivators for writing: they were, sheer egotism, esthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse and political purpose. He recounts how, under different circumstances, the fourth reason might not have been so compelling to him, but the way that his life unfolded… Continue reading Every Book is a Failure – George Orwell on Truth in Writing
The most effective religious or philosophical texts are the ones that transcend time and culture and get to the core of the human situation which is timeless, no matter where and when in the world we live. Daikaku Zenji (Chinese name – Lanxi Daolong) was a monk and master who traveled from his birthplace in Western China… Continue reading When One Can Know What is the Truth of the Heart
The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta recounts the very first talk the Buddha gave to a small group of his friends after he became enlightened. The story goes that he initially wanted to refrain from trying to articulate his experience that started under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, but that upon meeting his former spiritual companions at the… Continue reading What is the Middle Way that Leads to Self-Awakening?
“The truth, in our day, finds few defenders” writes André Gide in this short essay on the importance of a thoroughgoing attitude towards accuracy and factuality. The scientific methods of research and observation, he laments, are frequently scuppered by the relative, mythical, dogmatic and equivalent truths of religions and political movements. As relevant today as… Continue reading Falsehood Triumphs Everywhere – André Gide
Simone Weil lauds ‘unmixed attention’, which she likens to prayer, and reflects on the quality of attention, expressed as ‘patience, effort and method’ to ‘understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.’
Friendship transcends mere companionship to reach a more elevated goal – that of a shared vision or a common question.
Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that evil is not something manifested by wicked people, rather it perpetuates with the conventions that we absorb from childhood.
For the former Unitarian minister, relations with other people evoke in us the call towards both truth and tenderness, asking at their highest level not for daintiness, but for the ‘roughest courage.
Osip Mandelstam spent many years of his life being persecuted for the views he held and the work he made. ‘And I Was Once Alive’ was one of the last poems he wrote before his death from heart failure in a transfer camp.
Ada Limón’s poem, Wife, examines the secret pitfalls of marriage from a woman’s perspective; poignantly, from the point of view of a newlywed, of someone entering unchartered territory that has been laid out and defined for her by the generations that preceded her.