“What is a woman’s place in this modern world?” Jasnah Kholin’s words read. “I rebel against this question, though so many of my peers ask it. The inherent bias in the inquiry seems invisible to so many of them. They consider themselves progressive because they are willing to challenge many of the assumptions of the past.
They ignore the greater assumption–that a ‘place’ for women must be defined and set forth to begin with. Half of the population must somehow be reduced to the role arrived at by a single conversation. No matter how broad that role is, it will be–by-nature–a reduction from the infinite variety that is womanhood.
I say that there is no role for women–there is, instead, a role for each woman, and she must make it for herself. For some, it will be the role of scholar; for others, it will be the role of wife. For others, it will be both. For yet others, it will be neither.”
― Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance
I am never alone wherever I am. The air itself supplies me with a century of love. When I breathe in, I am breathing in the laughter, tears, victories, passions, thoughts, memories, existence, joys, moments, and the hues of the sunlight on many tones of skin; I am breathing in the same air that was exhaled by many before me. The air that bore them life. And so how can I ever say that I am alone?
What if a man could write everything that came into his mind. You could find there gems of wisdom, depth of utter despair, heights of the most cherished hopes, killing fields where we slaughter our enemies, moments of faith and moments of doubts, dark chambers where we commit infidelity against our partners, counting the goods we have stolen, hell nightmares, heaven blessedness, cursing of our enemies and blessing of our friends, and many other things. If one could write his mind, it would be a mirror to other minds where they could find themselves and not feel as the only wretched souls in existence. Go on then, write your mind in a book and publish it.
―Bangambiki Habyarimana, Pearls Of Eternity
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
We’d never seen anything as green as these rice paddies. It was not just the paddies themselves: the surrounding vegetation – foliage so dense the trees lost track of whose leaves were whose – was a rainbow coalition of one colour: green. There was an infinity of greens, rendered all the greener by splashes of red hibiscus and the herons floating past, so white and big it seemed as if sheets hung out to dry had suddenly taken wing. All other colours – even purple and black – were shades of green. Light and shade were degrees of green. Greenness, here, was less a colour than a colonising impulse. Everything was either already green – like a snake, bright as a blade of grass, sidling across the footpath – or in the process of becoming so. Statues of the Buddha were mossy, furred with green.
―Geoff Dyer, Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It
Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.
Finally, I’d say to anyone who wants to tell these tales, don’t be afraid to be superstitious. If you have a lucky pen, use it. If you speak with more force and wit when wearing one red sock and one blue one, dress like that. When I’m at work I’m highly superstitious. My own superstition has to do with the voice in which the story comes out. I believe that every story is attended by its own sprite, whose voice we embody when we tell the tale, and that we tell it more successfully if we approach the sprite with a certain degree of respect and courtesy. These sprites are both old and young, male and female, sentimental and cynical, skeptical and credulous, and so on, and what’s more, they’re completely amoral: like the air-spirits who helped Strong Hans escape from the cave, the story-sprites are willing to serve whoever has the ring, whoever is telling the tale. To the accusation that this is nonsense, that all you need to tell a story is a human imagination, I reply, “Of course, and this is the way my imagination works.”
―Philip Pullman, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version