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How wonderful it would be

to stop counting time

forget one’s age

one’s height

one’s past

no hours or minutes

just moon and sun

and endless freedom

to discover

one’s age

one’s wisdom

the world

Art: Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory (1931)

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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.

 


Return to the Bertrand Russell Society Home Page

 

rip

 

Now or later

While I am here

Or when I am gone

I’d like to see it

The other space

That is just behind it

I can sense it

I don’t believe it

But it’s there

And the time is approaching

I can feel it fraying

I have started picking up loose threads

Soon I will see the gap

And I will be free

 

space

 

 

 

 

Bells ring

Snow falls

Dogs on walks

Life goes on

Christmas here

And gone

Loneliness forever

 

mika-suutari

Art: Mika Suutari

 

MOMENTOUS THINGS

MOMENTOUS

NOT TO EVER

BE FORGOTTEN

MOMENTOUS THINGS ARE UPON ME

CRUSHED

I LIVE

MOMENT BY MOMENT

om

Art: Sleeping Buddha

 

dsc00719

Bent

Unbroken

Folded into space

Captured by mortar

Death immortalized

Suspended

In time

Nature

Mummified

dsc00723

 

 

the whisper of moments

the murmur of thoughts

the song of the heart

the wail of the soul

the life in between

the paean within

to nothing but death

and all that survives

the longing of one

the fate of the lot

not heaven

nor hell

amen

 

Bosch_Jardin_des_delices_detail

Art: Hieronymus Bosch

 

bosch

 

E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.

And so we came forth, and once again beheld the stars

-Dante

 

Art: Ascent of the Blessed (fragment) by Hieronymus Bosch

 

redon

 

It was quiet on the day the door closed.

The morning rose grey and still. There was no sound, as if the wind lost its voice. The sky was gone, replaced by clouds that obliterated shapes and stifled all sound.There was no need to get up. Suddenly there was no need to struggle, no need to live.

Yet life was all there was.

Even the silence breathed.

But you had to be dead to hear it.

Or alive enough.

 

black and white

white and black

a kiss of grey

in mounds of snow

red street light

bleeds a drop

the flashing green

a fleeing gecko

blue bus

streaks against the…

black and white

white and black

a kiss of grey…

4_Ewa_Scheer_Behind_Whats_Visible_mgb4pa

Art: Ewa Scheer, ice paintings