Phobophila (abstract noun) Def. 1. A fatal attraction into dangerous situations; unhealthy tendency to take unnecessary risk; a deathwish. 2. A predilection for personal courage, confronting one’s personal fears and removing barriers to growth. The healthy phobophilic seeks out his personal hell, situations which are not objectively dangerous but which nevertheless invoke an idiosyncratic response of terror. Growth comes from confronting fear.
There was a time not so long ago when you could talk about freedom from want and freedom from fear as part of everyone’s birthright, and of a government’s obligation to guarantee those freedoms by strong action and active management.
Henry Wallace was FDR’s rightful successor, but for the fact that a mob of party bosses denied the people’s will and Roosevelt’s choice to manipulate the Democratic Convention of 1944.
Listen to Wallace eliding gracefully between defeat of the Nazis and independence for American farmers, between freedom of speech and the right of minorities to a share of America’s prosperity.
Great things can happen if only we allow democracy to prevail. That’s why America’s ruling class has pulled out all the stops to assure that the will of the people is strangled in the cradle.
Our culture is engineered to avoid and defer pain into the future, but also to avoid and defer pleasure. Our capacity to feel pleasure has atrophied. I’m talking about really, really deep joy, an experience of the richness of life; the experience of relationship that’s almost too much to take, it feels so good. “I can’t believe that life can be this beautiful!” It challenges normalcy, and it Invites us into a release of control, the control that has enabled us to maintain life as it has been. It’s safer to avoid these intense feelings of pain or pleasure, because they challenge the whole setup of modern society.
We have been living attenuated lives, half-lives really. On some level, everyone knows that life is supposed to be more than what has been handed to us as “normal”. Experiences of really deep pleasure and joy remind us of that. They awaken a knowing and make normal life seem a little less normal and a little less tolerable, because you’ve experienced something else, and it calls you forever toward that possibility. The experience lives inside you and will never let you be fully satisfied again with the old normal.
In solidarity with the people of Gaza, whose electricity has been cut off by the occupying government of Israel, these brave and compassionate Jewish Israelis launched thousands of candles into the sky, symbolically illuminating the plight of the people that their government is oppressing.
If indeed love is the magical trigger that sets off the explosion of life as the cosmos, it remains the mysterious imperative spurring our human endeavors, evidenced by the scruple of creative minds for perfectionism, and points to our ponderings concerning the meaningfulness of our lives, our strivings, our frustrations, our disappointments, our disenchantment, and perhaps our reenchantment.
Vilayat Inayat Khan, born 101 years ago today
The astrophysicists engaged in the search for extraterrestrial life generally suppose that this search is limited to our xenobiological counterparts, and does not concern disembodied or ethereal beings, but only beings of flesh and blood, or whatever the materials are on the extraterrestrial’s planet that come together to constitute something we would be in a position to recognize as a living body. But the search itself is the practical culmination of the speculation that we see in Leibniz and Kant, and this speculation is plainly the descendant of angelology.
— Justin E. H. Smith
Maybe the dead know, their eyes widening at last,
Seeing the high beams of a million galaxies flick on
At twilight. Hearing the engines flare, the horns
Not letting up, the frenzy of being. I want to be
One notch below bedlam, like a radio without a dial.
Wide open, so everything floods in at once.
And sealed tight, so nothing escapes. Not even time,
Which should curl in on itself and loop around like smoke.
So that I might be sitting now beside my father
As he raises a lit match to the bowl of his pipe
For the first time in the winter of 1959.
— Tracy K. Smith
[P]owerful imagination is not false outward vision, but intense inward representation, and a creative energy constantly fed by susceptibility to the veriest minutiae of experience, which it reproduces and constructs in fresh and fresh wholes; not the habitual confusion of provable fact with the fictions of fancy and transient inclination, but a breadth of ideal association which informs every material object, every incidental fact with far-reaching memories and stored residues of passion, bringing into new light the less obvious relations of human existence.
— George Eliot [Theophrastus Such, Ch 13]