On the Meaning of Christmas

Seeing clearly the true meaning of Christmas - Mark Twain's words in letter to a friend“The xmas holidays have this high value: that they remind Forgetters of the Forgotten, & repair damaged relationships.”
-Mark Twain, letter to Carlotte Welles, 30 December 1907

Christmas is love. All else obscures its essential meaning.

Image credit: caruba, courtesy Flickr


On Learning to See

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
-Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

It is with our eyes that we look, but only with our imagination that we see.

On Textbooks in Texas

“The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.”
-Mark Twain, Following the Equator

For the Texas Board of Education, America wasn’t founded on the principal of the separation of church and state, every good capitalist is actually a free-market conservative, McCarthy wasn’t really that bad, and Thomas Jefferson had nothing to do with inspiring revolution in 18th-century America.

And the ink dries on prejudice in Texas.

On Empathy and the Law of Proportion

“Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.”
-Mark Twain, “Which Was the Dream

All loss is profound. Comfort is found by seeing equally in other’s sorrow – and joy – a measure of our own.

On How a Little Certain Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”
-Mark Twain

The more tenaciously a thought is held, the more irrational it becomes. But it ain’t necessarily  so.

On Conspiracy Theories

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, most of them never happened.”
– Mark Twain

Beware the boogie man in the dark corner, for he just may not exist.

On Learning to Live With Yourself – and Others

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
-Mark Twain

A man that can walk through life unburdened by the vicissitudes of others, accept his own shortcomings, and strive always to improve himself, warts and all, is an easy person to be around – for himself and others.

On Telling the Truth

“A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.”
-Mark Twain

We are all sinners, liars, and cheats. Admitting it is the only hope we have that we’ll not always be sinners, liars, and cheats.

On Finding a True Wealth of Knowledge

“I would rather have my ignorance than another man’s knowledge, because I have got so much more of it.”
-Mark Twain

All we can be sure of is our own ignorance – knowing that we don’t know. An abundance of known ignorance is better than a paucity of knowledge.

On Reality and Having an Active Inner Life

“Life does not consist mainly – or even largely – of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one’s head”
-Mark Twain

Still waters run deep. The life of the mind is life itself.