The Interactive Newsletter You Never Asked For
Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Psychotic
It’s so easy to look out at the world and become overwhelmed. It’s so easy to resort to “realistic” thinking. “After all,” as almost any well-meaning authority figure will assure you, “Out there, it’s the real world.”
A doctor says (to a patient whose unorthodox remedy led to recovery): Sir, it would be better to die according to the rules than to live in contradiction to the faculty of medicine.
In this “dog-eat-dog world,” does it always seem like you’re the one out of mustard?
I tried to be the perfect soldier
I tried to be what everyone said was expected
Somehow I was selected
Well, my hands were steady / My aim was true
But deep inside of my heart I knew
That I lacked the will
I just couldn’t shoot to kill
—Styx / She Cares
So, what’s a hungry dog to do?
He stripped off the armor of institutional friendships
To dedicate his soul / To the terrible deities of Truth and Beauty
—Edgar Lee Masters / Poem for R.G. Ingersoll
Of course, that’s more easily said than done…
Caught between the longing for love / And the struggle for the legal tender
He knows that all his hopes and dreams / Begin and end there
—Jackson Browne / The Pretender
Or is it?
The hour of that choice is the crisis of your history… Be content with a little light, so it be your own. Explore and explore… Make yourself necessary to the world, and mankind will give you bread.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson / Literary Ethics
Is it worth the effort? San Francisco Chronicle sportswriter Joan Ryan thinks so:
Isn’t there some metaphysical law about endings? You know before you reach the last page that Cinderella will find her prince. You know that Rocky Balboa will raise his fists in triumph before the closing credits. That’s the deal: You work hard, you don’t give up, and, in the end, you walk into the sunset with hearty cheers ringing in your ears.
David Brin, in Startide Rising, reflects on the noble effort:
Of what else / Are heroes made
Than men and women / Who, like us / Try—
I’ve even written about these so-called quixotic endeavors:
Reach for Truth and grasp it—even if it is impossible to grasp.
—Journal Entry / September 26, 1981
quix•ot•ic Caught up in the romance of noble deeds or unreachable ideals; romantic without regard to practicality.
What do you do when your dreams clash with realistic goals?
Faith is believing in things when your common sense tells you not to.
—from the movie, Miracle on 34th Street
So, what’s realistic? What is real?
I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections, the truth of Imagination. What the Imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth—whether it existed before or not—for I have the same idea of all our passions as of Love: they are all, in their sublime, creative of essential Beauty.
—John Keats / Letter to Benjamin Bailey
The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time and time again given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
—Albert Einstein / The World as I See It
Thank God for dreamers—whenever, wherever, and however they may dream…
Hang onto your dreams / For if dreams die
Life’s a broken-winged bird / That will not fly
And in the end / On dreams we will depend
‘Cause that’s what Love is made of
—Van Halen / Dreams