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" Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, sea-shores, and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very much. But this is altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility; and I affirm that tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind. Constantly then give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself; and let thy principles be brief and fundamental, which, as soon as thou shalt recur to them, will be sufficient to cleanse the soul completely, and to send thee back free from all discontent with the things to which thou returnest. For with what art thou discontented? With the badness of men? Recall to thy mind this conclusion, that rational animals exist for one another, and that to endure is a part of justice, and that men do wrong involuntarily; and consider how many already, after mutual enmity, suspicion, hatred, and fighting, have been stretched dead, reduced to ashes; and be quiet at last.- But perhaps thou art dissatisfied with that which is assigned to thee out of the universe.- Recall to thy recollection this alternative; either there is providence or atoms, fortuitous concurrence of things; or remember the arguments by which it has been proved that the world is a kind of political community, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps corporeal things will still fasten upon thee.- Consider then further that the mind mingles not with the breath, whether moving gently or violently, when it has once drawn itself apart and discovered its own power, and think also of all that thou hast heard and assented to about pain and pleasure, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps the desire of the thing called fame will torment thee.- See how soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present, and the emptiness of applause, and the changeableness and want of judgement in those who pretend to give praise, and the narrowness of the space within which it is circumscribed, and be quiet at last. For the whole earth is a point, and how small a nook in it is this thy dwelling, and how few are there in it, and what kind of people are they who will praise thee. "

Marcus Aurelius , The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

" Here's the thing, say Shug. The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don't know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorrow, lord. Feeling like shit.It? I ast.Yeah, It. God ain't a he or a she, but a It.But what do it look like? I ast.Don't look like nothing, she say. It ain't a picture show. It ain't something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you've found It.Shug a beautiful something, let me tell you. She frown a little, look out cross the yard, lean back in her chair, look like a big rose. She say, My first step from the old white man was trees. Then air. Then birds. Then other people. But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separateat all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried and I run all around the house. I knew just what it was. In fact, when it happen, you can't miss it. It sort of like you know what, she say, grinning and rubbing high up on my thigh.Shug! I say.Oh, she say. God love all them feelings. That's some of the best stuff God did. And when you know God loves 'em you enjoys 'em a lot more. You can just relax, go with everything that's going, and praise God by liking what you like.God don't think it dirty? I ast.Naw, she say. God made it. Listen, God love everything you love? and a mess of stuff you don't. But more than anything else, God love admiration.You saying God vain? I ast.Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.What it do when it pissed off? I ast.Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.Yeah? I say.Yeah, she say. It always making little surprises and springing them on us when us least expect.You mean it want to be loved, just like the bible say.Yes, Celie, she say. Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?Well, us talk and talk bout God, but I'm still adrift. Trying to chase that old white man out of my head. I been so busy thinking bout him I never truly notice nothing God make. Not a blade of corn (how it do that?) not the color purple (where it come from?). Not the little wildflowers. Nothing. Now that my eyes opening, I feels like a fool. Next to any little scrub of a bush in my yard, Mr. ____s evil sort of shrink. But not altogether. Still, it is like Shug say, You have to git man off your eyeball, before you can see anything a'tall.Man corrupt everything, say Shug. He on your box of grits, in your head, and all over the radio. He try to make you think he everywhere.Soon as you think he everywhere, you think he God. But he ain't. Whenever you trying to pray, and man plop himself on the other end of it, tell him to git lost, say Shug. Conjure up flowers, wind,water, a big rock.But this hard work, let me tell you. He been there so long, he don't want to budge. He threaten lightening, floods and earthquakes. Us fight. I hardly pray at all. Every time I conjure up a rock, I throw it.Amen "

Alice Walker , The Color Purple

" . . . waves of desert heat . . . I must’ve passed out, because when I woke up I was shivering and stars wheeled above a purple horizon. . . . Then the sun came up, casting long shadows. . . . I heard a vehicle coming. Something coming from far away, gradually growing louder. There was the sound of an engine, rocks under tires. . . . Finally it reached me, the door opened, and Dirk Bickle stepped out. . . .But anyway so Bickle said, “Miracles, Luke. Miracles were once the means to convince people to abandon reason for faith. But the miracles stopped during the rise of the neocortex and its industrial revolution. Tell me, if I could show you one miracle, would you come with me and join Mr. Kirkpatrick?”I passed out again, and came to. He was still crouching beside me. He stood up, walked over to the battered refrigerator, and opened the door. Vapor poured out and I saw it was stocked with food. Bickle hunted around a bit, found something wrapped in paper, and took a bottle of beer from the door. Then he closed the fridge, sat down on the old tire, and unwrapped what looked like a turkey sandwich.He said, “You could explain the fridge a few ways. One, there’s some hidden outlet, probably buried in the sand, that leads to a power source far away. I figure there’d have to be at least twenty miles of cable involved before it connected to the grid. That’s a lot of extension cord. Or, this fridge has some kind of secret battery system. If the empirical details didn’t bear this out, if you thoroughly studied the refrigerator and found neither a connection to a distant power source nor a battery, you might still argue that the fridge had some super-insulation capabilities and that the food inside had been able to stay cold since it was dragged out here. But say this explanation didn’t pan out either, and you observed the fridge staying the same temperature week after week while you opened and closed it. Then you’d start to wonder if it was powered by some technology beyond your comprehension. But pretty soon you’d notice something else about this refrigerator. The fact that it never runs out of food. Then you’d start to wonder if somehow it didn’t get restocked while you slept. But you’d realize that it replenished itself all the time, not just while you were sleeping. All this time, you’d keep eating from it. It would keep you alive out here in the middle of nowhere. And because of its mystery you’d begin to hate and fear it, and yet still it would feed you. Even though you couldn’t explain it, you’d still need it. And you’d assume that you simply didn’t understand the technology, rather than ascribe to it some kind of metaphysical power. You wouldn’t place your faith in the hands of some unknowable god. You’d place it in the technology itself. Finally, in frustration, you’d come to realize you’d exhausted your rationality and the only sensible thing to do would be to praise the mystery. You’d worship its bottles of Corona and jars of pickled beets. You’d make up prayers to the meats drawer and sing about its light bulb. And you’d start to accept the mystery as the one undeniable thing about it. That, or you’d grow so frustrated you’d push it off this cliff.”“Is Mr. Kirkpatrick real?” I asked.After a long gulp of beer, Bickle said, “That’s the neocortex talking again. "

Ryan Boudinot , Blueprints of the Afterlife