selected-letters

Loneliness is the basic universal human condition, and it is also the basic universal human fear. Not able to escape, all human beings spend their lives trying to escape from or alleviate their loneliness. This is the true reason for marriage, procreation and very possibly even sex. But there is no such thing as constant complete communication between humans. If very simple, people believe that bodies, presence, noise, voices work as an antidote to loneliness. Perhaps, for the simple and for the exact time of presence etc., this is a recipe. I don’t find it so. I think you have to accept loneliness as the ground you stand on. For me, not to be responsible to or for any single human being is the definition of loneliness – each person must have a different definition. But I do accept that I have always been basically lonely; it is not only my nature but also my perception of life.
—  Martha Gellhorn, from Selected Letters 
Can you understand? Can I make you understand somehow? You have begun to mean the world; you have begun to mean poetry and heartbeats and inexplicable mood reactions and songs and scents and conflicting words which do not match yet somehow match. You are not only a series of question marks and abstract references: You are meaning itself. You are a bright inner composure of numerous elements. Now can you possibly understand — I am merely words. I used to believe I was merely words and I do not know whether I shall start hoping for something more. You planted that sense of hope in a secret deeply hidden place; it had walls made of bricks and huge abandoned gardens full of despair. It was covered in dusty waves and it was kept underground where no soul would ever walk. And you walked there - you planted hope. And now I cannot imagine myself without it.
—  Selected Letters (Katherine Mansfield)
As for doubting all your own ideas, that’s surely healthy isn’t it? It means they can change and grow, with each new piece of knowledge or insight or information. It means that, being doubted, they are not rigid nor ever will be. One must doubt and change and gasp and flounder; that too is the human condition. There are no answers; there’s only learning more, and never enough.
—  Martha Gellhorn, from Selected Letters

Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect. We were never really born, we will never really die. It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea of a personal self, other selves, many selves everywhere: Self is only an idea, a mortal idea. That which passes into everything is one thing. It’s a dream already ended.

JACK KEROUAC, The Portable Jack Kerouac
(Selected Letters 1957-1969) written for his first wife, Edie, in 1957