Marginalia on our search for meaning.
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The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: Uncommonly Lovely Invented Words for What We Feel but Cannot Name

“Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in her exquisite manifesto for the magic of real human conversation. Each word is a portable cathedral in which we clarify...

Sat Apr 13, 2024 06:27
Home: An Illustrated Celebration of the Genius and Wonder of Animal Dwellings

“There’s no place like home,” Dorothy sighs in The Wizard of Oz. But home is not a place — it is a locus of longing, always haunted by our existential homelessness. “Welcome home!” a cheaply suited broker once exclaimed at me, swinging open the door to a tiny studio as my foot fell on the beige wall-to-wall carpet and my eyes on the two dead roaches...

Fri Apr 12, 2024 04:55
The Parts We Live With: D.H. Lawrence and the Yearning for Living Unison

“We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos.” The great paradox of personhood is that the sum is simpler than its parts. We move through the world as a totality, fragmentary but indivisible, clothed in a costume of personality beneath which roil parts perpetually fighting for...

Wed Apr 10, 2024 19:18
But We Had Music: Nick Cave Reads an Animated Poem about Black Holes, Eternity, and How to Bear Our Lives

How, knowing that even the universe is dying, do we bear our lives? Most readily, through friendship, through connection, through co-creating the world we want to live in for the brief time we have together on this lonely, perfect planet. The seventh annual Universe in Verse — a many-hearted labor of love, celebrating the wonder of reality through...

Sat Apr 6, 2024 16:42
Marie Howe’s Stunning Hymn of Humanity, Animated

“It began as an almost inaudible hum…” I remember singing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” in the choir of the Bulgarian Math Academy as a child. I remember my awe at learning that across centuries of warring nationalisms, this piece of music, based on an old Schiller poem and born of Beethoven’s unimaginable trials, had become the official Hymn of Europe...

Thu Apr 4, 2024 22:01
William James on Love

“If it comes, it comes; if it does not come, no process of reasoning can force it. Yet it transforms the value of the creature loved.” Love is a giver and a plunderer, the way it both anneals the self and alters it, the way it moors our wholeness and maps our incompleteness. At its heart is the ecstatic, disorienting recognition that our world is...

Wed Apr 3, 2024 18:57

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