“The human race … sits up nine nights in the week to admire its own originality.”
Mark Twain on religion and our human egotism:
How the word “meme” was born – legendary atheist Richard Dawkins’s surprising religious inspiration
“The soft bonds of love are indifferent to life and death.”
Religion vs. Humanism – Isaac Asimov on science and spirituality
“To me a heaven would be a big bull ring with me holding two barrera seats and a trout stream outside that no one else was allowed to fish in and two lovely houses in the town.”
Hemingway’s ideas of heaven and hell – the 26-year-old author’s letter to young F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive."
Einstein’s beautiful letter to a little girl who asked him whether scientists pray. Read the full correspondence at the link:
"Love is metaphysical gravity."
Bucky Fuller’s scientific revision of The Lord’s Prayer – a secular definition of divinity as a curiosity-driven love of truth bent through the prism of our subjective experience
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. … The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”
Carl Sagan on science and spirituality, a timelessly fantastic read:
"To the dumb question ‘Why me?’ the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?"
“What can be analyzed in my work, or criticized, are the questions.” ~ John Cage
A remarkable new intellectual, creative, and spiritual biography of Cage — one of the most influential composers in modern history, whose impact reaches beyond the realm of music and into art, literature, cinema, and just about every other aesthetic and conceptual expression of curiosity about the world, yet also one of history’s most misunderstood artists — fifteen years in the making.
“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”
Originally published in 1993, this gem explores what’s arguably the most important dimension of what it means to be human — our inherent imperfection — and the many ways in which we violate it daily, delivering a constellation of wisdom and practical insight on how to live in a way that enables, rather than disempowers, our humanity.
“Western civilization’s science and technology bring society tremendous benefit. Yet, due to highly developed technology, we also have more anxiety and more fear. I always feel that mental development and material development must be well-balanced, so that together they may make a more human world. If we lose human values and human beings become part of a machine, there is no freedom from pain and pleasure. Without freedom from pain and pleasure, it is very difficult to demarcate between right and wrong. The subjects of pain and pleasure naturally involve feeling, mind, and consciousness.”
The Dalai Lama and leading Western scientists explore the essence of mind.
The definitive collection of the great thinker’s essays on everything from science and religion to government to human nature, gathered under the supervision of Einstein himself.
Writer and philosopher Alain de Botton on what education and the arts can learn from faith and how to glean secular models for engagement and inspiration from religious rituals.
His excellent TED talk at the link.
Pixar animator Sanjay Patel’s The Big Poster Book of Hindu Deities is not so much a “book” per se as a stunning large-format portfolio of 12 removable full-color posters, each bringing a revered ancient deity into the modern Technicolor world in Sanjay’s signature anime-inspired vibrant graphic style. Equal parts playful, iconic, and irreverently subversive, the prints are less about reinforcing religious ideology — okay, they’re actually not about that at all — than they are about exploring cultural storytelling and tradition from a fresh, unusual angel meant to delight and inspire.