From “The Journal Of American Despair” – Alex Balk

It makes you wonder: Why are we even here? What is our purpose? What does the future hold? Why bother?

These are questions which have troubled our greatest thinkers and dimmest wits alike since the first cave person looked at a cave painting and wondered whether or not he should say something about how it didn’t look very different from the drawings he had seen in some of the other caves on the mountain range and if you were going to take the time and use up the precious fire to draw the running meat on the wall why wouldn’t you want to do something that at least brought a little bit of your own—and then BAM a bear jumped out and ate him. It took a long time before we as a species figured out you needed to go all the way into the back of the cave and take a good look around before you decided to settle in and start doing your derivative hunt sketches there. Anyway, these questions, which have been with us for so long, have simple answers. It helps to reframe what we’re wondering about. Why are we here? Luck and chemicals, mostly. The more interesting, and resolvable, question is when are we here?

Allow me to enlighten you.

“The message is simple: Love everyone.” – Ram Dass

The message is simple: Love everyone. “I have to work hard to be able to keep my heart open to people whose policies I disagree with,” Ram Dass once said, in a lecture from the ‘90s. “I have a holy table with pictures on it of Buddha and Christ and Maharajji, my guru.… And I used to have Caspar Weinberger”—the secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan—“on the table, but I now have replaced him with Bob Dole. So in the morning, I say, ‘Good morning, Christ! Hello, Buddha! Good morning, Maharajji! Hello, Bob.’ And I see how far I have to go yet. Because after all, [Bob Dole] is merely God in drag, saying, I bet you won’t recognize me this way, will you? They’re all faces of the beloved.”

https://www.gq.com/story/the-unified-theory-of-ram-dass

Do you ever fear becoming Irrelevant and Forgotten as a Writer? – Neil Gaiman

Not even a little. Most of my favourite writers are now forgotten. A couple of them I’ve helped to be remembered once again. But they are loved by people who ran across them in old bookshops or on dusty shelves.

I figure I’ll probably be forgotten too, and hope that every now and again someone would find something I made and like it. I’ve never yet worried about being relevant – if I did I’d not know what to write. I’d rather write about what I care about, and let other people decide how relevant to their lives it is.”

Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett

historical-nonfiction:

Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett, the first African American instructor at Harvard. He was the instructor and superintendent of physical education from the college’s gymnasium’s construction in 1859 until his death in 1871. Hewlett got the post because he was a boxing and wrestling instructor, first while he worked as a porter, then in “Molyneaux House” his own sparring academy. The New York Clipper, at the time the leading New York sports paper, considered him “one of the best boxers in Brooklyn.”

The 1866 portrait above was taken after Harvard recruited him. It is the first known photograph of a medicine ball in the United States.