Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish, regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender, class, caste, or any other social markers of difference. Religion, ethnicity, language, social and cultural practices are elements which enrich human civilization, adding to the wealth of our diversity. Why should they be allowed to become a cause of division, and violence? We demean our common humanity by allowing that to happen.
―Nelson Mandela, Global Convention on Peace and Nonviolence, New Delhi, India, January 31, 2004
I was never afraid of the dark and I spent my youth walking through empty playgrounds at midnight, worried mothers telling girls to be careful and ”the world is an ugly place and not everyone wants you well”. But I was not afraid and I wished for adrenaline to make my veins pulsate in that way that puts them more on the outside of my skin than inside.
After the first night with you I never walked alone at night again because suddenly I had something to lose. Something to save.
I have diligently disciplined my life to search out life’s gifts in the very places where society mistakenly says life stores its scraps. And I am constantly amazed that in the treasure trove that surrounds me, I stand in the company of so few.
―Craig D. Lounsbrough
The value of the myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity.’ The child enjoys his cold meat, otherwise dull to him, by pretending it is buffalo, just killed with his own bow and arrow. And the child is wise. The real meat comes back to him more savory for having been dipped in a story…by putting bread, gold, horse, apple, or the very roads into a myth, we do not retreat from reality: we rediscover it.
―C.S. Lewis, “On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature”
“Well, let’s argue this out, Mr Blank. You, who represent Society, have the right to pay me four hundred francs a month. That’s my market value, for I am an inefficient member of Society, slow in the uptake, uncertain, slightly damaged in the fray, there’s no denying it. So you have the right to pay me four hundred francs a month, to lodge me in a small, dark room, to clothe me shabbily, to harass me with worry and monotony and unsatisfied longings till you get me to the point when I blush at a look, cry at a word. We can’t all be happy, we can’t all be rich, we can’t all be lucky – and it would be so much less fun if we were. Isn’t it so, Mr Blank? There must be the dark background to show up the bright colours. Some must cry so that the others may be able to laugh the more heartily.”
Soul has been demoted to a new-age spiritual fantasy or a missionary’s booty, and nature has been treated, at best, as a postcard or a vacation backdrop or, more commonly, as a hardware store or refuse heap. Too many of us lack intimacy with the natural world and with our souls, and consequently we are doing untold damage to both.