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Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea first met the hands of readers in 1955. Yet, even reading it in 2014, it's abundantly clear that our discomfort with solitude and our eagerness to fill the void with the dull hum of gadgets has not changed one bit. Her gentle writing is a balm for all those lost in the white noise of the modern era, and an essential guide back home:

"You can't make anything authentic by asking people what they want because they don't know what they want. That's what they're looking at you for."
—Thom Mayne

In last week's newsletter, I asked our readers for advice on what they'd like to see us improve here at On Being. One reader, Howard Maple, shared this pithy quotation from the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne. I appreciate Mr. Maple's honesty and reminder to trust one's creative instincts while paying attention. The onus is on us.

"Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing. There are objects and people that disappear from your sight or knowledge or possession; you lose a bracelet, a friend, the key. You still know where you are. Everything is familiar except that there is one item less, one missing element. Or you get lost, in which case the world has become larger than your knowledge of it. Either way, there is a loss of control.

“In the deeps are the violence and terror of which psychology has warned us. But if you ride these monsters deeper down, if you drop with them farther over the world's rim, you find what our sciences cannot locate or name, the substrate, the ocean or matrix or ether which buoys the rest, which gives goodness its power for good, and evil its power for evil, the unified field: our complex and inexplicable caring for each other, and for our life together here. This is given. It is not learned.”

(10) Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.


~Bertrand Russell, from his "Ten Commandments" of the liberal outlook as it appears in his 1951 New York Times op-ed, "The Best Answer to Fanaticism—Liberalism."

“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear.

(9) Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.


~Bertrand Russell, from his "Ten Commandments" of the liberal outlook as it appears in his 1951 New York Times op-ed, "The Best Answer to Fanaticism—Liberalism."

(8) Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.


~Bertrand Russell, from his "Ten Commandments" of the liberal outlook as it appears in his 1951 New York Times op-ed, "The Best Answer to Fanaticism—Liberalism."

(7) Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.


~Bertrand Russell, from his "Ten Commandments" of the liberal outlook as it appears in his 1951 New York Times op-ed, "The Best Answer to Fanaticism—Liberalism."

See Russell's Sixth Commandment.

(6) Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.


~Bertrand Russell, from his "Ten Commandments" of the liberal outlook as it appears in his 1951 New York Times op-ed, "The Best Answer to Fanaticism—Liberalism."

See Russell's Fifth Commandment.

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