You may cure yourself of a depression by forcing yourself to perform, in rapid order and with excruciating concentration, half a dozen or so unpleasant chores, especially if they have long been postponed. This is a kind of homeopathic purgative, a treatment of like with like.
Fast drivers can see no further than slow drivers, but they must look further down the road to time their reactions safely. Similarly, people with great projects afoot habitually look further and more clearly into the future than people who are mired in day-to-day concerns.
Chess, which exists predominantly in two dimensions, is one of the world's most difficult games. Three-dimensional chess is an invitation to insanity. But human relationships, even of the simplest order, are like a kind of four-dimensional chess, a game whose pieces and positions change subtly and inexorably between moves, whose players stare dumbly while their powerful positions deteriorate into hopeless predicaments and while improbable combinations suddenly become inevitable. To make matters worse, some games are open to any number of players, and all sides are expected to win.
What liberates the imagination is the sense that work in its theory and practice holds aesthetic possibilities, that jobs can be elegantly conceived and gracefully done. This sense of beauty unlocks feelings of pleasure and love and breaks down the barrier between worker and work and commit to work not merely the "thinking" consciousness but the full resources of mind.
If the estimated age of the cosmos were shortened to seventy-two years, a human life would take about ten seconds. But look at time the other way. Each day is a minor eternity of over 86,000 seconds. During each second, the number of distinct molecular functions going on within the human body is comparable to the number of seconds in the estimated age of the cosmos. A few seconds are long enough for a revolutionary idea, a startling communication, a baby's conception, a wounding insult, a sudden death. Depending on how we think of them, our lives can be infinitely... Read more »
Free men and women... can think across time, viewing their own lives, inclusive of past, present, and future, as architectural wholes, static in mental space. They can therefore see, as others cannot, the cracks and buttresses of repeated action, the points of stress, the established framework. They are not perfect; but they are less imperfect than we by a full dimension of being.
That morning I experienced vividly, if almost subliminally, the reality of change itself: how it fools our sentinels and undermines our defenses, how careful we are to look for it in the wrong places, how it does not reveal itself until it is beyond redress, how vainly we search for it around us and find too late that is has occurred within us.
To be open to inspiration, one must cultivate a leaning for the problematic, a chronic attraction to things that do not totally fit, agree, or make sense. Inspired ideas are less often solutions to old problems than newly discovered or totally reformulated problems - problems 'created' like brilliant works of art.
Great drama, like the energy implicit in every atom, is eternally around and within us, but liberated only by coincidence, ceremony, creativity, periods reaching completion, pressures reaching the bursting point, and the simple but painful cultivation of awareness.
The limitation in our ability to perceive broad distinctions in scope can be applied to our moral and temporal responses.... We agonize over a dinner menu, or have engine trouble on the way to work; and for seconds or minutes our cosmos shrinks to a miniscule volume of being, an epic of cheese sauces or tragedy of fanbelts.
True intimacy is a human constant. People of all types find it equally hard to achieve, equally precious to hold. Age, education, social status, make little difference here; even genius does not presuppose the talent to reveal one's self completely and completely absorb one's self in another personality. Intimacy is to love what concentration is to work: a simultaneous drawing together to attention and release of energy.