Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
Now, you're either on the bus or off the bus. If you're on the bus, and you get left behind, then you'll find it again. If you're off the bus in the first place — then it won't make a damn.
When someone tosses you a tea bowl
Catch it nimbly with soft cotton
With the cotton of your skillful mind!
SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.
Society in every state is a blessing, but government even its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamities is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever form therof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.
I read the other day some verses written by an eminent painter which were original and not conventional. The soul always hears an admonition in such lines, let the subject be what it may. The sentiment they instill is of more value than any thought they may contain. To believe your own thought, to believe what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men - that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost, and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato and Milton is that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men, but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.
Shuzan held out his short staff and said, "If you call this a short staff, you oppose its reality. If you do not call it a short staff, you ignore the fact. Now what do you wish to call this?" Eating his rice, one monk said to the other, "He's always saying stuff like that."
35 // Up until that lightning storm which was a dry one, the bolts hitting dry timber, followed only afterward by rain that banked the fires awhile, fires start popping up all over the wilderness – One on Baker River sends a big cloud of hazy smoke down Little Beaver Creek just below me making me mistakenly assume a fire there but they calculate the way the valleys run and how the smoke drifted – Then, when during the lightning storm I’d seen a red glow behind Skagit Peak on my east, then no more, four days later the airplane spots a burned-out acre but it is mostly dead making a haze in Three Fools Creek – But then comes the big fire on Thunder Creek which I can see 22 miles south of me billowing smoke out of Ruby Ridge – A high southwest wind makes it rage from a two-acre fire at 3 to an eighteen-acre fire at 5, the radio is wild, my own gentle district ranger Gene O’Hara keeps sighing over the radio at every new report – In Bellingham they assemble eight smokejumpers to fly in and drop on the steep ridge – Our own Skagit crews are shifted from Big Beaver to the lake, a boat, and the long high trail to the big smoke – It’s a sunny day with a high wind and lowest humidity of the year – This fire was at first mistakenly assumed by excitable Pat Garton on Crater to be closer to him than where it is, near Hoot Owl pass, but sneering Jesuit Ned Gowdy on Sourdough verifies with the airplane the exact location and so it is "his" fire – these guys being forestry careerists they are very religiously jealous of "his" and "my" fire, as tho – "Gene are you there?" says Howard on Lookout Mountain, relaying a message from the Skagit crew foreman who is standing under the fire with a walkie-talkie and the men staring at the steep inaccessible slide it’s on – "almost perpendicular – Ah How 4, he says that you might get down from the top, it would probably be a rope job and couldn’t pack in what you needed – " – "Okay," sighs O’Hara, "tell him to stand by – How 33 from 4" – "33" – "Has McCarthy got out the airport yet?" (McCarthy and the bigwig Forest Supervisor are flying over the fire), 33 has to call the airport to see – "How one from 33" – repeats four times – "Back to How four, I can’t seem to get a hold of the airport" – "Okay, thank you" – But turns out McCarthy is in the Bellingham office or at home, apparently not much concerned yet because it isn’t his fire – Sighing O’Hara, a sweet man, never a harsh word (unlike boss cold-eyed Gehrke), I think if I should find a fire in this crucial hour I should have to preamble my announcement with "Hate to pile sorrows on you – " Meanwhile nature innocently burns, it’s only nature burning nature – Myself I sit eating my Kraft Cheese Noodle dinner and drinking strong black coffee and watching the smoke 22 miles away and listening to the radio – Only got three weeks to go and I’m off to Mexico – At six o’clock in the still hot sun but high wind the plane sneaks up on me, calling me, "We’re about to drop your batteries," I go out and wave, they wave back like Lindbergh in their monoplane and turn around and make a run over my ridge dropping a miraculous bundle from heaven which whips out in a burlap parachute and goes sailing sailing far over the target (high wind) and as I watch it gulping I see it’s going to go clear over the ridge and down the 1500-foot Lightning Gorge but a lordly fir captures the shrouds and the heavy bundle hangs on the cliff side – I put on my empty rucksack after finishing the dishes and hike down, find the stuff, very heavy, put it in my rucksack, cutting shrouds and tapes and sweating and slipping in the pebbles, and with the rolled-up parachute under my arm lugubriously I labor on back up the ridge to my lovely little shack – in two minutes my sweat’s gone and it’s done – I look at the distant fires in distant mountains and see the little imaginary blossoms of sight discussed in the Surangama Sutra whereby I know it’s all an ephemeral dream of sensation – What earthly use to know this? What earthly use is anything?