Sunday, May 28, 2017


The idea of going nowhere is, as mentioned, as universal as the law of gravity;  that's why wise souls from every tradition have spoken of it.  "All the unhappiness of men," the seventeenth-century French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal famously noted, "arises from one simple fact:  that they cannot sit quietly in their chamber."  After Admiral Richard E. Byrd spent nearly five months alone in a shack in the Antarctic, in temperatures that sank to 70 degrees below zero, he emerged convinced that "Half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need."  Or, as they sometimes say around Kyoto, "Don't just do something.  Sit there."

-Pico Ilyer,  The Art of Stillness:  Adventures in Going Nowhere

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