Jorge Luis Borges (August 24, 1899 – June 14, 1986)
Ts’ui Pen did not think of time as absolute and uniform. He believed in an infinite series of times, in a dizzily growing ever spreading network of diverging, converging and parallel times. This web of time — the strands of which approach one another, bifurcate, intersect, or ignore each other through centuries — embraces every possibility. We do not exist in most of them. In some you exist and not I, while in others I do and you do not, and in yet others both of us exist. In this one, in which chance has favored me, you have come to my gate. In another you, crossing the garden have found me dead. In yet another, I say these very same words, but am an error, a phantom.
Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996)
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
William Rose Benét (February 2, 1886 – May 4, 1950)
The poet (artist) must write as it pleases him to write. If he writes what other people tell him to write, he may get some good verse, but he won’t get poetry. When I write to please myself, I may write some very bad verse, but that is the only way in which I can ever hope to write poetry.
Rex Wayne Tillerson (March 23, 1952 —)
If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom…When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth even on what may seem the most trivial matters, we go wobbly on America…A responsibility of every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not, what a fact is and is not and begin by holding ourselves accountable to truthfulness and demand our pursuit of America’s future be fact-based — not based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises, but with a clear-eyed view of the facts as they are, and guided by the truth that will set us free to seek solutions to our most daunting challenges.
Note: President Trump said more than 3,000 things that were either misleading or totally false during his first year in office — a rate of more than six mistruths a day, according to the Washington Post..
Jon Franklin (January 13, 1943 -)
And curious creatures that we are, in every sense of the word. Not only are we the sole animal in all of nature capable of believing in Santa Claus, we are also the only one that can come to grips with the unpleasant truth that he doesn’t exist.
An Oriental wise man always used to ask the divinity in his prayers to be so kind as to spare him from living in an interesting era. As we are not wise, the divinity has not spared us and we are living in an interesting era. In any case, our era forces us to take an interest in it. The writers of today know this. If they speak up, they are criticized and attacked. If they become modest and keep silent, they are vociferously blamed for their silence. In the midst of such din the writer cannot hope to remain aloof in order to pursue the reflections and images that are dear to him. Until the present moment, remaining aloof has always been possible in history. When someone did not approve, he could always keep silent or talk of something else. Today everything is changed and even silence has dangerous implications. The moment that abstaining from choice is itself looked upon as a choice and punished or praised as such, the artist is willy-nilly impressed into service. “Impressed” seems to me a more accurate term in this connection than “committed.” Instead of signing up, indeed, for voluntary service, the artist does his compulsory service.
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein (February 23, 1950 -)
Personal identity: What is it that makes a person the very person that she is, herself alone and not another, an integrity of identity that persists over time, undergoing changes and yet still continuing to be — until she does not continue any longer, at least not unproblematically?