“Aurorae were seen around the world, even over the Caribbean; those over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning.”—
The Carrington Event, or Solar Superstorm of 1859. You know, that time when you could see the aurora in Cuba.
The light appeared to cover the whole firmament, apparently like a luminous cloud, through which the stars of the larger magnitude indistinctly shone. The light was greater than that of the moon at its full, but had an indescribable softness and delicacy that seemed to envelop everything upon which it rested.
“In the beginning there were only probabilities. The universe could only come into existence if someone observed it. It does not matter that the observers turned up several billion years later. The universe exists because we are aware of it.”—Martin Rees
“The more important point here, though, is that the whole animal-cruelty-and-eating issue is not just complex, it’s also uncomfortable. It is, at any rate, uncomfortable for me, and for just about everyone I know who enjoys a variety of foods and yet does not want to see herself as cruel or unfeeling. As far as I can tell, my own main way of dealing with this conflict has been to avoid thinking about the whole unpleasant thing.”—David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster. (via superkingdom)
“To set one’s name to work gives no one a title to be remembered, for who knows how many of the best men have gone without a trace? The iniquity of oblivion blindly scatters her poppyseed and when wretchedness falls upon us one summer’s day like snow, all we wish for is to be forgotten.”—W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn.
“He was coming to see me one afternoon—I was still living with my parents then—and his coming in woke up my father. Instead of apologizing, he said, in an indescribably gentle way, raising a hand as if to calm him and walking softly on tiptoe through the room, ‘Please look on me as a dream.’”—Biographer Max Brod remembering Franz Kafka.
“Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”—
After learning of the death of lifelong friend Michele Besso, Albert Einstein wrote that in a letter to Besso’s family.
Happy birthday, Albert. Here’s to rising above the illusion.