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The Sun Magazine

The Dog-Eared Page

A Politics Of Hope

It is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, and yet still come together as one American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.

excerpted from
Hope In The Dark

A lot of activists seem to have a mechanistic view of change, or perhaps they expect what quack diet pills offer, “Quick and easy results guaranteed.” They expect finality, definitiveness, straightforward cause-and-effect relationships, instant returns, and as a result they specialize in disappointment, which sinks in as bitterness, cynicism, defeatism, knowingness.

Transforming The Heart Of Suffering

In fact, one’s whole attitude toward pain can change. Instead of fending it off and hiding from it, one could open one’s heart and allow oneself to feel that pain, feel it as something that will soften and purify us and make us far more loving and kind.

The Optimism Of Uncertainty

There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.

A Marriage

You are holding up a ceiling / with both arms. It is very heavy, / but you must hold it up, or else / it will fall down on you. Your arms / are tired, terribly tired, / and, as the day goes on, it feels / as if either your arms or the ceiling / will soon collapse.

excerpted from
A Cat Named Darwin

The need for companionship of any sort is a human-species trait, and in the absence of a human companion, the mind grows like a vine around any living thing. The first time your mind grows around a cat, you do not realize you have fallen in love.

excerpted from
Slaughterhouse-Five

Billy Pilgrim padded downstairs on his blue and ivory feet. He went into the kitchen, where the moonlight called his attention to a half bottle of champagne on the kitchen table, all that was left from the reception in the tent. Somebody had stoppered it again. “Drink me,” it seemed to say.

excerpted from
The Round Walls Of Home

We need to send into space a flurry of artists and naturalists, photographers and painters, who will turn the mirror upon ourselves and show us Earth as a single planet, a single organism that’s buoyant, fragile, blooming, buzzing, full of spectacles, full of fascinating human beings, something to cherish. Learning our full address may not end all wars, but it will enrich our sense of wonder and pride.