Readwise gems

I began several years ago using Readwise to capture my book highlights and then feed me ten of my highlights daily. Sunday, it feeds me ten of my favorite highlights, which today includes some worth sharing.

How do we become uncomplicated and unsophisticated? Can we simply unlearn all that we have learned?

No, we cannot, but what we can do is to separate ourselves from it in order to look at it with new eyes. For us Westerners to truly enter into the ancient Christian transmission and catch the essence of Christ’s teaching, it is necessary for us to crucify our rationalizing minds and arise above the level of thought and emo for a society founded on Descartes’ proposition “I think, therefore I am,” this of course means a kind of suicide; and it is to precisely such an ego-death that Christ calls us. Contemporary western Christianity trained us how to think and what to think; whereas Christ himself, as did Lao Tzu before Him, taught us how not to need to think.

Hieromonk Damascene, Christ the Eternal Tao

We did not downsize as a gesture of protest against consumer society. We simply found ourselves with a reduced income and set about discovering the things we could do without. We were helped by situating ourselves in a place where it is quite difficult to spend money in the ways we spent it before. Patmos did not have available the range of goods that eat up income at an expanding rate so that you never feel you have quite enough. And doing without them has the therapeutic effect of slowing you down. It takes time to hand-wash clothes or to jump up and down on sheets, rinse them, wring them out and hang them on a line between trees in the garden; to top and tail the beans; to mix, whip and grate by hand; to haul up buckets from a well. A life without gadgets develops a different, slower rhythm. And, oddly, more time seems to be available in a life without labor-saving devices.

Peter France, Patmos: A Place of Healing for the Soul

To call the unknown “random” is to plant the flag by which to colonize and exploit the known… . To call the unknown by its right name, “mystery,” is to suggest that we had better respect the possibility of a larger, unseen pattern that can be damaged or destroyed and, with it, the smaller patterns… . But if we are up against mystery, then knowledge is relatively small, and the ancient program is the right one: Act on the basis of ignorance.

Mark Mitchell and Nathan Schlueter, The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry

My main blog is the Tipsy Teetotaler,