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So kommt es, daß die meisten Menschen gar nicht wissen, wie schön die Welt ist und wieviel Pracht in den kleinsten Dingen, in irgendeiner Blume, einem Stein, einer Baumrinde oder einem Birkenblatt sich offenbart. Die erwachsenen Menschen, die Geschäfte und Sorgen haben, und sich mit lauter Kleinigkeiten quälen, verlieren allmählich ganz den Blick für diese Reichtümer, welche die Kinder, wenn sie aufmerksam und gut sind, bald bemerken und mit dem ganzen Herzen lieben. Und doch wäre es das schönste, wenn alle Menschen in dieser Beziehung immer wie aufmerksame und gute Kinder bleiben wollten, einfältig und fromm im Gefühl, und wenn sie die Fähigkeit nicht verlieren würden, sich an einem Birkenblatt oder an der Feder eines Pfauen oder an der Schwinge einer Nebelkrähe so innig zu freuen wie an einem großen Gebirge oder einem prächtigen Palast. Das Kleine ist ebensowenig klein, als das Große—groß ist. Es geht eine große und ewige Schönheit durch die ganze Welt, und diese ist gerecht über den kleinen und großen Dingen verstreut; denn es gibt im Wichtigen und Wesentlichen keine Ungerechtigkeit auf der ganzen Erde.
And so it is that most people have no idea how beautiful the world is and how much magnificence is reveal in the tiniest things, in some flower, in a stone, in tree bark, or in a birch leaf. The grown-ups, going about their business and worries, and tormenting themselves with all kinds of details, gradually lose the perspective for these riches that children, when they are attentive and good, soon notice and love with their whole heart. And yet the greatest beauty would be achieved if everyone remained in this regard always like attentive and good children, simple and pious in sensitivities, and if people did not lose the capacity for taking pleasure as intensely in a birch leaf or a peacock’s feather or the wing of a hooded crow as in a mighty mountain or a splendid palace. What is small is not small in itself, just as that which is great is not—great. A great and eternal beauty passes through the whole world, and it is distributed fairly over that which is small and that which is large; for in such important and essential matters, no injustice is to be found on earth.
–Rainer Maria Rilke, letter to Helmut Westhoff, Nov. 12, 1901 in: Briefe, p. 31 (R. Sieber-Rilke ed. 1950) (transl. S.H.)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average amount the company paid each of its 140 top executives last year:
Between one fifth and one half of England’s leisure horses are obese.
Scientists in the Galápagos Islands credited an endangered giant tortoise named Diego with saving his species by fathering more than 800 offspring.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”