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For the one who strives for greater consciousness:
Everything That Rises Must Converge - Flannery O’ Connor
“True culture is in the mind, the mind,” he said, and tapped his head, “the mind.” “It’s in the heart,” she said, “and in how you do things and how you do things is because of who you are.”
O’Connor was inspired by French philosopher and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who wrote, "Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge."
For the one who thinks and feels deeply:
À la Recherche du Temps Perdu / In Search of Lost Time (7 volumes) - Marcel Proust
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.” “Happiness is salutary for the body but sorrow develops the powers of the spirit.”
For the modern philovesopher:
The Course of Love - Alain de Botton
“The partner truly best suited to us is not the one who miraculously happens to share every taste, but the one who can negotiate differences in taste with intelligence and grace.”
For the existentialist:
The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
“Why don't you ever use your strength on me?" she said.
Because love means renouncing strength," said Franz softly.”
“The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”
For the intellectual artist:
Ways of Seeing - John Berger
“To be naked is to be oneself.
To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognised for oneself...Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display.”
“History always constitutes the relation between a present and its past. Consequently fear of the present leads to mystification of the past”
“All publicity works upon anxiety.”
For the one interested in self-discovery:
Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth - Hermann Hesse
“And she told me about a youth who had fallen in love with a planet. He stood by the sea, stretched out his arms and prayed to the planet, dreamed of it, and directed all his thoughts to it. But he knew, or felt he knew, that a star cannot be embraced by a human being. He considered it his fate to love a heavenly body without any hope of fulfillment and out of this insight he constructed an entire philosophy of renunciation and silent, faithful suffering that would improve and purify him. Yet all his dreams reached the planet. Once he stood again on the high cliff at night by the sea and gazed at the planet and burned with love for it. And at the height of his longing he leaped into the emptiness toward the planet, but at the instant of leaping “it’s impossible” flashed once more through his mind. There he lay on the shore, shattered. He has not understood how to love. If at the instant of leaping he had had the strength of faith in the fulfillment of his love he would have soared into the heights and been united with the star.”
For the one who likes to find treasures in simplicity:
Le Petit Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? “ Instead they demand ‘How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?’ Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.
“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”
“‘What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…’”
For the one who is as dark as he/she is bright:
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
“My mother said the cure for thinking too much about yourself was helping somebody who was worse off than you.”
For the one who appreciates a strong sense of self:
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
“They learned no compassion from their own anguish. thus their suffering was wasted.”
“It doesn't take long to write things of which you know nothing. When you write of actual things, it takes longer, because you have to live them first.”
For the critical romantic:
A Room with a View - E.M. Forster
“It isn't possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”
For the one who likes people that think outside of the box:
I Moved Your Cheese - Deepak Malhotra
“In the face of established practices, traditional ideas, scarce resources and the powerful demands or expectations of others, we often underestimate our ability to control our own destiny and overcome the constraints we face–or think we face. I Moved Your Cheese reminds us that we can create the new circumstances and realities we want, but first we must discard the often deeply ingrained notion that we are nothing more than mice in someone else’s maze. As Zed explains, “You see, Max, the problem is not that the mouse is in the maze, but that the maze is in the mouse.”
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