The candour of this statement struck me, and also reassured me that my own paltry attempts at living a ‘moral and compassionate existence’ are no worse than can be expected of an average human in a human world.  I accepted very young that questioning is part of being human, particularly with questions for which there are no simple answers.  You just keep asking them anyway, and perhaps moments or snippets of insight can illuminate the way here and there. 

Perhaps a life well lived can be summed up as a ‘worthy expression of a leaning into the light’?   

No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of a conscious mind: how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in all life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s own culture but within oneself.  If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox.  One must live in the middle of contradiction because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse.  There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions.  You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of a leaning into the light. 

See also our celebration of this marvelous book, complete with a richly illustrated quote mosaic.


Source: Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams (London: Picador, 1987), p. 413

Photo credit: 12019 at pixabay


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