Thursday, August 07, 2008

in search of

The previous quotations were meant to build up to today's post, which is something that occurred recently to me while driving. I usually think up weird shit in the shower, like writing a letter to my parents and sister that reads,
Dear family-
   I still love you, but I think we should see other families. It's not you, it's me. You'll always have a special place in my heart.
-your son/brother
I don't know what's so special about the shower, maybe it's my shampoo. (It's a clarifying formula)

On the other hand, I tend to have deep thoughts (deepER anyway, it's all relative) in the car. For example, last week I was headed to dinner, by myself, at a little Spanish place in Bellaire when the thought of searching entered my head. Specifically, it occurred to me that there has traditionally been a certain nobility associated with those who search. Seekers of knowledge, wisdom, truth. Once upon a time, these were the philosophers and alchemists. Eventually they became scientists or poets and artists. On the whole, these people are still regarded highly (much higher than accountants, if you ask around) perhaps because they're in search of answers, rather than claiming to already know them. I just finished reading God is not Great, by Christopher Hitchens. I won't spoil the surprise ending, but I can tell you that he doesn't think much of people who claim to know the answers.

A day or so later, digging in my garden, I began to think about trees. Trees send out roots in search of water, soil, nutrients. They send up branches and unfurl leaves in search of sunlight. Trees don't know whether rocks abound or whether another tree's growth will outpace its own and keep it in perpetual shade. Trees do this knowing nothing of drought and jumberjacks. Remarkably, trees don't care.

Assuming reincarnation exists, in my next life I'd like to be a tree.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

in search of knowledge

If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us.
Adlai Stevenson

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

in search of truth

The true value of a man is not determined by his possession, supposed or real, of Truth, but rather by his sincere exertion to get to the Truth. It is not possesion of the Truth, but rather the pursuit of Truth by which he extends his powers and in which his ever-growing perfectibility is to be found. Possession makes one passive, indolent, and proud.
-Gotthold Lessing

Monday, August 04, 2008

in search of happiness

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
-Eric Hoffer

Sunday, August 03, 2008

in search of excellence

The tourist who moves about to see and hear and open himself to all the influences of the places which condense centuries of human greatness is only a man in search of excellence.
-Max Lerner