Everything We Don’t See

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From Wayne Sumstine

Seedlings being protected from a hostile growing environment by orbs? Is this just a photographic phenomena with a scientific explanation of refracted light that the camera records but the human eye does not? Or is it a trippy metaphysical manifestation from an additional dimension? How many dimensions are there?
A fifth dimension, posited by Swedish physicist Oskar Klein, is that it is a dimension unseen by humans where the forces of gravity and electromagnetism unite to create a simple but graceful theory of the fundamental force. — Wayne Sumstine


Oh God,

help me to believe

the truth

about myself,

no matter

how beautiful it is.

— Galway Kinnell


“Many scholars, such as the psychologist Barbara Killinger, have shown that people willingly sacrifice their own well-being through overwork to keep getting hits of success. I know a thing or two about this: As I once found myself confessing to a close friend, “I would prefer to be special than happy.” He asked why. “Anyone can do the things it takes to be happy — going on vacation with family, relaxing with friends … but not everyone can accomplish great things.” My friend scoffed at this, but I started asking other people in my circles and found that I wasn’t unusual. Many of them had made the success addict’s choice of specialness over happiness. They (and sometimes I) would put off ordinary delights of relaxation and time with loved ones until after this project, or that promotion, when finally it would be time to rest.

But, of course, that day never seemed to arrive.

I suggested better metrics in the inaugural “How to Build a Life” column, among them faith, family, and friendship. I also included work — but not work for the sake of outward achievement. Rather, it should be work that serves others and gives you a sense of personal meaning. — Arthur C Brooks

We are surrounded by forces we don’t see. We are ignorant of our own drives. We don’t know much about our own beauty or beastliness. Living on the surface as we do, our fate seems to be in the hands of mischievous gods.

In America, we hanker after renown. We want to make our mark, be noticed. Is this the result of being lonely and ignored as children? Why would we sacrifice the simple pleasures of a life well lived in exchange for ten minutes of fame?

What is the purpose of life, after all? Is it just an ego project?

Can we substitute fame for love? It seems to me that a life well lived is founded in connection, in love for something of depth and meaning and in developing everything that involves. Do we need to get an A+ from society in this endeavor for it to have any personal meaning?

All the measuring sticks we must get used to in life direct us away from our inner being, so that we hardly know ourselves as we enter the fray. Lucky is the child whose parents notice and encourage their true tendencies and talents. Most of us are fed into a relentless system of competition and comparison that leads us far from who we really are.

As children, we naturally give credence to the adults who guide us. Unfortunately, they themselves live at a distance from their true selves. They perpetuate the lies and tricks of our superficial culture. Growing up, if it is to bestow any maturity at all, will involve a lot of questioning and not a little resistance. Passively accepting what’s on offer will consign you to an uncreative life because you’ll overlook the seed of originality in yourself.

Preserving and cultivating that seed is the first step in creating a life worth living.

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