True poverty, the poverty of the spirit, is the realization that there is no intrinsic reason for one’s being at all. In this fundamental poverty of creatureliness, there is equality. The human person has no more claim to intrinsic being than a plant or animal, a star or a stone.

Rev. Michael J. Himes & Kenneth R. Himes
“The Sacrament of Creation: Toward an Environmental Theology”
Commonweal, January 26, 1990

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I have already had the thought that we might be able to live from renunciation, as if it might perhaps give us strength if once and for all we said goodbye to hope.

Hölderlin
(from a letter to Susette Gontard, Nov. 1799)

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Someday, we’ll fall down and weep, and we’ll understand it all. All things.

from Terence Malik’s Tree of Life

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“[L]ife” is not the fascist life-force, vitalism, or physics-based analyses of “life” as events in the world. “Life,” as precisely what cannot be made present in perceptions or concepts, is an individual’s non-reflective self-awareness. As Henry often says, biology knows nothing of “life”.

 [E]ach I’s self-givenness, its intimacy, to itself is not a “personal achievement”; rather one’s very self-consciousness and intimacy derives from the self-givenness, self-manifestation and self-generation of Life itself.

[I]n as much as life pursues what is non-living as the measure of itself life is a form of suicide.

James G. Hart, review of Michel Henry

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Myth takes the place of mystery. The world to be built is replaced by the essential completion of its shadow. This is not the disinterestedness of contemplation but of irresponsibility. The poet exiles himself from the city. From this point of view, the value of the beautiful is relative. There is something wicked and egoist and cowardly in artistic enjoyment. There are times when one can be ashamed of it, as of feasting during a plague.

Emmanuel Levinas, Reality and Its Shadow

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