Philosophical Meandering

Literary and philosophical quotes

The world’s spiritual geniuses seem to discover universally that the mind’s muddy river, this ceaseless flow of trivia and trash, cannot be dammed, and that trying to dam it is a waste of effort that might lead to madness. Instead you must allow the muddy river to flow unheeded in the dim channels of consciousness; you raise your sights; you look along it, mildly, acknowledging its presence without interest and gazing beyond it into the realm of the real where subjects and objects act and rest purely, without utterance.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

When I walk without a camera, my own shutter opens, and the moment’s light prints on my own silver gut.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

I’m told I reached for the moon; many babies do. But the color-patches of infancy swelled as meaning filled them; they arrayed themselves in solemn ranks down distance which unrolled and stretched before me like a plain. The moon rocketed away . I live now in a world of shadows that shape and distance color, a world where space makes a kind of terrible sense. What gnosticism is this, and what physics?

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

But it could be that we are not seeing something. Galileo thought comets were an optical illusion. This is fertile ground: since we are certain that they’re not, we can look at what our scientists have been saying with fresh hope. What if there are really gleaming, castellated cities hung upside-down over the desert sand? What limpid lakes and cool date palms have our caravans always passed untried? Until , one by one, by the blindest of leaps, we light on the road to these places, we must stumble in darkness and hunger.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

It’s one of those nights when I wander from window to window, looking for a sign. But I can’t see. Terror and a beauty insoluble are a ribband of blue woven into the fringes of garments of things both great and small. No culture explains, no bivouac offers real haven or rest.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard