Tuesday, October 23, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Richard Carlson

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Our way through life should not be difficult but it is. The fact is that our lives are filled mostly with picking and choosing. "I want this, but not that." And because things are not anything other than the way they really are, we suffer. Nowhere is this more apparent and painful than when we are trying to find life after death. We so desperately want things to be the way they were. But they are not. So the longing itself becomes an additional source of suffering.
Finding Life after Death

Richard Carlson

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A normal human being does not want the Kingdom of Heaven: he wants life on earth to continue. This is not solely because he is "weak," "sinful" and anxious for a "good time." Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise. Ultimately it is the Christian attitude which is self-interested and hedonistic, since the aim is always to get away from the painful struggle of earthly life and find eternal peace in some kind of Heaven or Nirvana. The humanist attitude is that the struggle must continue and that death is the price of life.

George Orwell

What decent person would want to spend a life picking and cavilling? Picture this scene. A critic arrives at the gates of heaven. 'And what did you do?' asks Saint Peter. 'Well', says the dead soul. 'I criticised things'. 'I beg your pardon?' 'You know, other people wrote things, performed things, painted things and I said stuff like, "thin and unconvincing", "turgid and uninspired", "competent and serviceable,"...you know'.

Stephen Fry

Sei Shonagon feels modern, almost a proto-feminist in such a paternalistic age that women at court stayed, for the most part, silent and still and available indoors all their lives. She said much, and she said two electrifying things from the still darkness of her domestic prisons. She said them of course very much in her own way, but she said there were two things in life that were absolutely essential, and life would be unbearable without them: the sensuous body and literature. My crude summation would be sex and text. Both have the X factor. She said them with longing and her longing stayed with me.

Sei Shonagon

I do not want to suffer, I do not have a christian concept of suffering. They tell us that suffering elevates the spirit; no suffering is something that hurts and that's all, it elevates nothing. And therefore I fear suffering. Because with regards to death, I, who in everything believe to be moderate, am absolutely radical. If we have a right to life, we have also a right to death. It rests on us, and it must be regognized the right to choose the when and the how of our own death.

Indro Montanelli

Indeed, the truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers the most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all. It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once the subject and the source of his pain, and his very existence and consciousness is his greatest torture.

Thomas Merton
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