Bertrand Russell: Why I Am Not a Christian
Once in a house… but better not name the house—not because there was anything noticeable about it; I mean, it’s quite a bland-looking house done in that monotonous style that characterizes the rows upon rows of houses that cover the flat lands of the Southwest—but because of the unpleasantries involved in handling a touchy case such as this. So where were we? Ah, yes. Once in a house, atop one of the various counters in its kitchen sat a Mr. Coffee coffee brewer—big, black, and bulky— so mundane that no one in their right minds would think that this was a murder weapon.
A gentle breeze blew across the flat landscape covered in row upon row of monotonous-looking houses. Seated on a flimsy plastic fold-up chair was an old black man dressed in a plain white shirt and gray jogging pants. His eyes darted from knick-knack to knick-knack, which were all neatly arranged atop green towels set up on the driveway of one of the houses, ready to sell…
You wouldn’t understand,
says the moon, unless you were a chunk of highly-reflective rock
in fixed orbit around a habitated planet.
The moon has no one else to talk to.
Sometimes the moon hums atonally to itself
in pain and boredom and this is what we call the tide.
Sometimes the moon
This reminds me of “The Giving Tree,” a great children’s book about an apple tree who gives its fruit, branches, and finally itself until reduced to a measly stump, to a boy who doesn’t appreciate it until the end when he is an old man.
Sometimes I want to scream—Kierkegaard once said: “The sickness unto death is despair,”—to me, however, the sickness unto death is loneliness. True, loneliness is the source of many a great artistic masterpiece, bringing to mind the poetry of Rainer Maria von Rilke and true, I indulge in a little of it myself, but while some people, Rilke being included among them, enjoy excessive solitude, I loathe it.
In describing the human condition, the great theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar once exclaimed: “Prisons of finitude! Like every other being, man is born in many prisons,” bringing to mind Rousseau’s famous exclamation: ” Man is free, but everywhere I see him in chains. The worst of these prisons is not place, whether it be situated in time-space or the sub-conscious. Rather, it is a state of mind—referred to here as solitary despair—a despair where one feels totally alone in his or her own sufferings. But based on experience, I can say that no one is truly alone… there is always someone, whether known or unknown who is willing to open their arms and reach out to you… all you have to do is let them in…