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James Baldwin

Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return. ― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time. (Vintage; Reissue edition December 1, 1992)  Originally published 1963.

3 thoughts on “James Baldwin

  1. It seems to me often that death, along with life’s other losses and limitations, is given to us to make us more intensely appreciate life, to live it more fully, as at any moment it may run out. In the moments of my life when I have lived fully and intensely, risking everything for the sake of what I love above all, I have no longer been afraid of death. I think perhaps we have the capacity to fit an infinity of living into the space of our short years. If we dare.

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