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The Prologue to Bertrand Russell’s Autobiography

What I Have Lived For

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness–that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what–at last–I have found.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.


Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) won the Nobel prize for literature for his History of Western Philosophy and was the co-author of Principia Mathematica.

 


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the sun is killing me

shining right into the wound

spilling the pain for all to see

its glare merciless

soulless

indifferent

the rays like daggers

and sweet all the same

loving and hating

while dying

together

contorted by silence

pummelled and spent

he writhes against

the beast

unseen and unheard

surrounded by thorns

he bleeds away

all hope

 

Art: Francis Bacon

 

 

Bells ring

Snow falls

Dogs on walks

Life goes on

Christmas here

And gone

Loneliness forever

 

mika-suutari

Art: Mika Suutari

139_305_800_517

 

there is a magical belt

wrapped around the Earth

that only few have access to

it is the escape route

and the signpost

it is the place for lost souls

and for those who know

why they are here

What horrors will our off-spring see

in the miasma of futurity?

Their prospects go from bad to worse

as degradation runs its course.

When hope looks like self deception

and positives like mad delusion,

how to stem the lemming crush,

resist the tides of mass confusion?

What chances do our children have

to right the wrongs of history,

to find an unobstructed path

from the charnel house of destiny?

What wonders of the great wide world

will be denied our progeny,

the English Elm, the western Pine,

the elephant, the honey bee?

What poisoned remnants will remain,

what maladjusted misery?

What might they blame for what they see,

where lies responsibility?

We’re un-accepting of the truth

of how it starts with you and me.

How else might we stagger on

in the stench of such perversity?

We’re satisfied with leaders who

confess they don’t know what to do,

that wouldn’t dock our bank accounts

of un-acceptable amounts.

And thus tomorrows loom ahead

with promise overwhelmed by dread;

with life and beauty sacrificed,

our children’s futures overpriced.

 

Poem by Michael G. Hawkes

English elm

honey bee

Elephant-and-calf

western pine

 

quantum-physics

 

(…) and it was at that very moment that all the worlds collapsed into one. He was, and then he wasn’t, and the two states existed simultaneously. With here and now no longer valid, he stopped thinking. Forever. He was one.

The end

©aother

crystal_bowls-300x287

Art: Alex Grey

 

The fallen gods have spoken

their words drowned

in an endless howl

blood pouring from

gaping mouths of murderers

of their mothers and fathers

screeching with hatred

blinded by death

they spin the karmic wheel

one more time

Goya-Saturn-Devouring-His-Son

Art: Francisco Goya: Saturn Devouring His Son

 

extinction-is-forever

They are all dead. All. One by one, and en masse. Dead. The whole lot. Only one left. The human. Now all alone and quite insane, it still survives. Not for long. It roams the barren landscape, breathing acrid air as its lungs slowly shut down. Once standing, it is crawling now, retracing the path of the other animals, oblivious to its own murderous instincts. It still believes it can win. Win what? Soulless and heartless, it continues to think but there is nothing left to think about. And once its mind is completely gone, the human, too, will die. Any moment now. And no maggots left to dispose of its corpse…

Handout picture released by the town council of Chalchicomula showing one of the two mummified corpses found near the peak of the 5,636-metre Pico de Orizaba, also known as the Citlaltepetl volcano, on the border between the states of Veracruz and Puebla, on March 5, 2015. A team of Mexican climbers searching for a frozen body on the country's highest mountain -- and North America's third -- stumbled onto a second mummified cadaver during their expedition on March 5. The 12 local civil protection mountaineers had embarked on their mission after climbers reported seeing a frozen skull 310 metres (1,000 feet) from the peak of the Pico de Orizaba on Monday. The second body was found 150 metres away, and it was also frozen and mummified, said Juan Navarro, mayor of the town of Chalchicomula de Sesma, near the mountain.  AFP PHOTO / CHALCHICOMULA TOWN COUNCIL / HILARIO AGUILAR   ---   RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / CHALCHICOMULA TOWN COUNCIL / HILARIO AGUILAR" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSHILARIO AGUILAR/AFP/Getty Images

Handout picture released by the town council of Chalchicomula showing one of the two mummified corpses found near the peak of the 5,636-metre Pico de Orizaba, also known as the Citlaltepetl volcano, on the border between the states of Veracruz and Puebla, on March 5, 2015. A team of Mexican climbers searching for a frozen body on the country’s highest mountain — and North America’s third — stumbled onto a second mummified cadaver during their expedition on March 5. The 12 local civil protection mountaineers had embarked on their mission after climbers reported seeing a frozen skull 310 metres (1,000 feet) from the peak of the Pico de Orizaba on Monday. The second body was found 150 metres away, and it was also frozen and mummified, said Juan Navarro, mayor of the town of Chalchicomula de Sesma, near the mountain. AFP PHOTO / CHALCHICOMULA TOWN COUNCIL / HILARIO AGUILAR — RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / CHALCHICOMULA TOWN COUNCIL / HILARIO AGUILAR” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSHILARIO AGUILAR/AFP/Getty Images

(…)

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you

Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,

The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed

With a hollow rumbling of wings, with a movement of dark-

ness on darkness, (…)

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without

love

For love would be love of the wrong thing; (…)

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thoughts;

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the

dancing.

 

Excerpt from Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot

0105-4x5color.ai

In the lonely depth

In the sinking sun

With a silent movement

Moth wings against the night

A shadow falls like a dry leaf

And the earth sighs

A kiss of death on her lips

Shrouded mirrors beg for light

Lost images scratched on silver

With a silent movement

The end announces a new beginning.

 

©aother