I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions.
I don’t for a moment think I am any braver or better than anybody else. This is how I attempt to explain what gives me the strength to do what I do; when that thunderbolt of an idea first hit me and inspired me to row across oceans, it filled me with a sense of purpose so strong that it overcame my fears. Even when boredom, frustration, fatigue or despair threatened to overwhelm me, it was that powerful sense of purpose that kept me going.
How quickly we grow accustomed to wonders. I am reminded of the Isaac Asimov story "Nightfall," about the planet where the stars were visible only once in a thousand years. So awesome was the sight that it drove people mad. We who can see the stars every night glance up casually at the cosmos and then quickly down again, searching for a Dairy Queen.
How often do we think "I am but one person, what can I do to make a difference", but we are all in this journey together. Each act of kindness, compassion, courtesy and Love is but a stone dropped into the lake of life causing a ripple; yet when we combine them all, they meet and create a Tsunami of Love that makes lasting changes in the world...changes that touch lives, give light to the darkness and healing to those in distress.
I think it's perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it, but I don't know everything, and there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away. Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it's because he's ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they're responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I'd want nothing to do with them.
On my saying, What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within? my friend suggested,--"But these impulses may be from below, not from above." I replied, "They do not seem to me to be such; but if I am the Devil's child, I will live then from the Devil." No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition as if everything were titular and ephemeral but he. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions. Every decent and well-spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right. I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways.
I nod, thinking of how difficult marriage can be, how much effort is required to sustain a feeling between two people - a feeling that you can't imagine will ever fade in the beginning when everything comes so easily. I think of how each person in a marriage owes it to the other to find individual happiness, even in a shared life. That is the only real way to grow together, instead of apart.
I think that when we are dead, we are worm food, I don't believe there is a greater place. I don't believe there is a greater purpose or a greater being. I have none of that. I wish I did to some degree, because the older I'm getting, the more I am aware of death and the inevitability of it, and it frightens me now, in a way that it didn't when I was younger.