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Brain Pickings

King of the Sky: A Lyrical Illustrated Fable of Belonging and the Meaning of Home

King of the Sky: A Lyrical Illustrated Fable of Belonging and the Meaning of Home

A soulful sidewise gleam at the loneliness of the immigrant experience.
Polish Poet and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska on Great Love

Polish Poet and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska on Great Love

"Great love is never justified. It’s like the little tree that springs up in some inexplicable fashion on the side of a cliff: where are its roots, what does it feed on, what miracle produces those
Voltaire on the Art of Being Undefeated by Hardship

Voltaire on the Art of Being Undefeated by Hardship

"All comes out even at the end of the day, and all comes out still more even when all the days are over."
Bluets: Maggie Nelson on the Color Blue as a Lens on Memory, Loneliness, and the Paradoxes of Love

Bluets: Maggie Nelson on the Color Blue as a Lens on Memory, Loneliness, and the Paradoxes of Love

"To wish to forget how much you loved someone — and then, to actually forget — can feel, at times, like the slaughter of a beautiful bird who chose, by nothing short of grace, to make a habitat of
James Baldwin on Resisting the Mindless Majority, Not Running from Uncomfortable Realities, and What It Really Means to Grow Up

James Baldwin on Resisting the Mindless Majority, Not Running from Uncomfortable Realities, and What It Really Means to Grow Up

"We ought to try, by the example of our own lives, to prove that life is love and wonder and that that nation is doomed which penalizes those of its citizens who recognize and rejoice in this fact."
Tiny, Perfect Things: A Lyrical Illustrated Invitation to Presence

Tiny, Perfect Things: A Lyrical Illustrated Invitation to Presence

A serenade to the small wonders that fill life with aliveness.
George Eliot on Form, Poetry, and How Art Reveals the Interrelated Parts of the Whole

George Eliot on Form, Poetry, and How Art Reveals the Interrelated Parts of the Whole

"Form, as an element of human experience, must begin with the perception of separateness."
Tennessee Williams on Love and How the Very Thing Worth Saving Is the Thing That Will Save Us

Tennessee Williams on Love and How the Very Thing Worth Saving Is the Thing That Will Save Us

"We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love."
Walt Whitman on Democracy and Optimism as a Mighty Form of Resistance

Walt Whitman on Democracy and Optimism as a Mighty Form of Resistance

"I can conceive of no better service... than boldly exposing the weakness, liabilities and infinite corruptions of democracy."
An Animated Field Guide to Black Holes and the Key Conundrum of Time

An Animated Field Guide to Black Holes and the Key Conundrum of Time

A dive into some of the most thrilling unsolved questions of science.
Philosopher Martin Buber on Love and What It Means to Live in the Present

Philosopher Martin Buber on Love and What It Means to Live in the Present

"We live our lives inscrutably included within the streaming mutual life of the universe."
Stephen Hawking’s Mother on Her Son’s Singular Genius and How We Expand the Boundaries of Human Knowledge

Stephen Hawking’s Mother on Her Son’s Singular Genius and How We Expand the Boundaries of Human Knowledge

"People must think, they must go on thinking, they must try to extend the boundaries of knowledge; yet they don’t sometimes even know where to start. You don’t know where the boundaries are, do you?"
Iris Murdoch on Storytelling, Why Art Is Essential for Democracy, and the Key to Good Writing

Iris Murdoch on Storytelling, Why Art Is Essential for Democracy, and the Key to Good Writing

"A good society contains many different artists doing many different things. A bad society coerces artists because it knows that they can reveal all kinds of truths."
Oliver Sacks on Nature’s Beauty as a Gateway into Deep Time and a Lens on the Interconnectedness of the Universe

Oliver Sacks on Nature’s Beauty as a Gateway into Deep Time and a Lens on the Interconnectedness of the Universe

"The sense of deep time brings a deep peace with it, a detachment from the timescale, the urgencies, of daily life... a profound sense of being at home, a sort of companionship with the earth."
Kahlil Gibran on the Courage to Weather the Uncertainties of Love

Kahlil Gibran on the Courage to Weather the Uncertainties of Love

"Think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course."
The Mystery and Might of Water

The Mystery and Might of Water

"The most appalling quality of water is its strength. I love its flash and gleam, its music, its pliancy and grace, its slap against my body; but I fear its strength."