What’s a good life and how do you find it?
That’s the substance of what we’re digging into in The 95. Any clues which might light the way to a rewarding existence.
Clues that might be buried in the past or present, obscure sages from far away or soulful people just down your street. Sometimes illumination comes through the eyes of a total newcomer. What would a visitor from somewhere else make of this life? Somewhere utterly and completely else. An alien from some distant galaxy, adjusting to this strange humanoid reality.
In 'The Humans' by Matt Haig a visitor from Vonnadoria, where existence is all maths and logic, tries to fathom the heart of a good life on Earth. He distills his wisdom into a long and quirky list for his teenage friend Gulliver. He calls it 'Advice For A Human' and here’s some highlights.
'Don’t worry about your abilities. You have the ability to love. That is enough.'
'Be curious. Question everything. A present fact is just a future fiction.'
'You shouldn’t have been born. Your existence is as close to impossible as can be. To dismiss the impossible is to dismiss yourself.'
'If there is a sunset, stop and look at it. Knowledge is finite. Wonder is infinite.'
'Don’t always try and be cool. The whole universe is cool. It’s the warm bits that matter.'
'Don’t ever be afraid of telling someone you love them. There are things wrong with your world, but an excess of love is not one.'
'Politeness is often fear. Kindness is always courage. But caring is what makes you human. Care more, become more human.'
'Your mind is a galaxy. More dark than light. But the light makes it worthwhile. Which is to say: don’t kill yourself. Even when the darkness is total. Always know that life is not still. Time is space. You are moving through that galaxy. Wait for the stars.'
The Humans is published in the UK by Canongate. (And it's very fine.)
(Thanks to everyone who has pledged to The 95 since we launched our crowdfunding campaign with Unbound. We're now past the halfway mark. If you know anyone who might like to back the book, please spread the word.)
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