Flat outstretched upon a mound
Of earth I lie; I press my ear
Against its surface and I hear
Far off and deep, the measured sound
Of heart that beats within the ground.
And with it pounds in harmony
The swift, familiar heart in me.
They pulse as one, together swell,
Together fall; I cannot tell
My sound from earth’s, for I am part
Of rhythmic, universal heart.
A man becomes creative, whether he is an artist or a scientist, when he finds a new unity in the variety of nature. He does so by finding a likeness between things which were not thought alike before, and this gives him a sense at the same time of richness and of understanding. The creative mind is a mind that looks for unexpected likenesses.
To the Greeks, the word “character” first referred to the stamp upon a coin. By extension, man was the coin, and the character trait was the stamp imprinted upon him. To them, that trait, for example bravery, was a share of something all mankind had, rather than means of distinguishing one from the whole.
―Edith Hamilton, The Greek Way
Therefore, she hummed the provincial lullaby she had learned from the officers’ children in the English Quarter of Jerusalem, and watched in fascination while the savage radical’s eyes misted over with tears. For an instant, the prison bars melted away, and she felt God’s presence—for the first time since their imprisonment. She was not a captive, and this man was not her captor. Indeed, they were both merely God’s children.
He more than half suspected that one of the things which had kept their marriage together when it seemed as if each year brought the news that two or three of their friends’ marriages had collapsed was their respect of the mystery–the half-grasped but never spoken idea that maybe, when you got right down to the place where the cheese binds, there was no such thing as marriage, no such thing as a union, that each soul stood alone and ultimately defied rationality. That was the mystery. And no matter how well you thought you knew your partner, you occasionally ran into blank walls or fell into pits. And sometimes (rarely, thank God) you ran into a full-fledged pocket of alien strangeness, something like the clear-air turbulence that can buffet an airliner for no reason at all. An attitude or belief which you had never suspected, one so peculiar (at least to you) that it seemed nearly psychotic. And then you trod lightly, if you valued your marriage and your peace of mind; you tried to remember that anger at such a discovery was the province of fools who really believed it was possible for one mind to know another.
Cultural and religious traditions that forbid cross-cultural unions prevent peace on earth. Instead of rejoicing that our sons and daughters are heart-driven and love other humans outside of their familiar religious, social or cultural domains, we punish and insult them. This is wrong. Honor killings are not honorable by God. They are driven by ignorance and ego and nothing more. The Creator favors the man who loves over the man who hates.
–Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
The interplay of individuality and unity is not one of uniformity and unanimity imposed from above but rather of conflict among diverse groupings that reach a dynamic consensus subject to questioning and criticism. As with a soloist in a jazz quartet, quintet or band, individuality is promoted in order to sustain and increase the creative tension with the group–a tension that yields higher levels of performance to achieve the aim of the collective project.
―Cornel West, Race Matters
The extraordinary thing we now know, thanks to Crick and Watson’s discovery of DNA and the decoding of the human and other genomes, is that all life, everything, all the three million species of life and plant life-all have the same source. We all come from a single source. Everything that lives has its genetic code written in the same alphabet. Unity creates diversity. So don’t think of one God, one truth, one way. Think of one God creating this extraordinary number of ways, the 6,800 languages that are actually spoken. Don’t think there’s only one language within which we can speak to God.
—Jonathan Sacks, “Enriched by Difference”, from On Being with Krista Tippett
When water is being filled in a pot, the sound we hear is a function of the pot, not of the water. Same water makes different sounds in different pots. Each of us, described in Sanskrit as Ghata, meaning pot, responds in a unique way to the stimuli from the surrounding environment. Do not be surprised when the response of another appears entirely different from yours. The pot has created the illusion of a wall, of mine and other. Once you become aware of that illusion, otherness melts and the universe becomes a unified verse again, with apparently diverse responses becoming part of the same symphony.