morninglite

Everything you need to have a beautiful morning, sleepyhead.

Daily Lit: Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

PATRIOTISM: A MENACE TO LIBERTY

WHAT is patriotism? Is it love of one’s birthplace, the place of childhood’s recollections and hopes, dreams and aspirations? Is it the place where, in childlike naivety, we would watch the fleeting clouds, and wonder why we, too, could not run so swiftly? The place where we would count the milliard glittering stars, terror-stricken lest each one “an eye should be,” piercing the very depths of our little souls? Is it the place where we would listen to the music of the birds, and long to have wings to fly, even as they, to distant lands? Or the place where we would sit at mother’s knee, enraptured by wonderful tales of great deeds and conquests? In short, is it love for the spot, every inch representing dear and precious recollections of a happy, joyous, and playful childhood?

If that were patriotism, few American men of today could be called upon to be patriotic, since the place of play has been turned into factory, mill, and mine, while deafening sounds of machinery have replaced the music of the birds. Nor can we longer hear the tales of great deeds, for the stories our mothers tell today are but those of sorrow, tears, and grief.

 

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Daily Lit: Edgar Allan Poe

The Tell-Tale Heart.

TRUE ! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses — not destroyed — not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily — how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture — a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees — very gradually [column 2:] — I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

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Daily Lit: I Died For Beauty, but was Scarce

I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
“For beauty,” I replied.
“And I for truth, -the two are one;
We brethren are,” he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.

 

Emily Dickinson

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Daily Lit: Just Let Go (Practice Detachment)

Just Let Go (Practice Detachment)

Sometimes the simplest advice can be the hardest to take. Here’s how to practicedetachment without giving up on life.
By Sally Kempton
I’ll never forget the first time I seriously considered the relationship between detachment and freedom. I was in my 20s, staying with a friend in Vermont, trying to recover some equilibrium in the midst of a difficult breakup. One evening, bored with my moping, my friend tuned in the local alternative radio station, which happened to be broadcasting Ram Dass. He was telling a famous anecdote about the way you catch a monkey in India. You drop a handful of nuts into a jar with a small opening, he explained. The monkey puts his hand into the jar, grabs the nuts, and then finds that he can’t get his fist out through the opening. If the monkey would just let go of the nuts, he could escape. But he won’t.Attachment leads to suffering, Ram Dass concluded. It’s as simple as that: Detachment leads to freedom.I knew he was talking directly to me. Between my two-pack-a-day cigarette habit and my painful relationship, I was definitely attached—and definitely suffering. But letting go of my fistful of nuts seemed unthinkable. I couldn’t imagine what life would be like without the drama of a love affair, without cigarettes and coffee—not to mention other, subtler addictions,like worry, resentment, and judgment. Still, the story of the monkey and the jar stayed with me, a depth charge waiting to go off.A year later, I had become a fledgling yogi. I no longer hung around with girlfriends who would listen to my latest troubles. Instead, my time was spent with people whose answer to any expression of discontentment was, “Let it go.” Pursuing simplicity, I had blithely flung away my career, my apartment, and my boyfriend. What I hadn’t managed to get rid of were the worry,the resentment, and the tendency to criticize. In short, I had simply moved from one behavioral pole to the other, and as a result, I was still suffering
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Daily Lit: The Fisherman and His Soul

The Fisherman and His Soul

A Fairy Tale by Oscar Wilde

Every evening the young Fisherman went out upon the sea, and threw his nets into the water.

When the wind blew from the land he caught nothing, or but little at best, for it was a bitter and black-winged wind, and rough waves rose up to meet it. But when the wind blew to the shore, the fish came in from the deep, and swam into the meshes of his nets, and he took them to the market-place and sold them.

Every evening he went out upon the sea, and one evening the net was so heavy that hardly could he draw it into the boat. And he laughed, and said to himself, ‘Surely I have caught all the fish that swim, or snared some dull monster that will be a marvel to men, or some thing of horror that the great Queen will desire,’ and putting forth all his strength, he tugged at the coarse ropes till, like lines of blue enamel round a vase of bronze, the long veins rose up on his arms. He tugged at the thin ropes, and nearer and nearer came the circle of flat corks, and the net rose at last to the top of the water.

But no fish at all was in it, nor any monster or thing of horror, but only a little Mermaid lying fast asleep.

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