the three passions that have governed my life.

Three passions have governed my life:
The longings for love, the search for knowledge,
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].

Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.
In the union of love I have seen
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge.
I have wished to understand the hearts of [people].
I have wished to know why the stars shine.

Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens,
But always pity brought me back to earth;
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart
Of children in famine, of victims tortured
And of old people left helpless.
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot,
And I too suffer.

This has been my life; I found it worth living.
-Bertrand Russell

Comments

Michelle said…
maybe pity should be exchanged for compassion instead. :)

Mich
WMUM
nick pitts said…
The longings for love, the search for knowledge,
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].

its funny that im reading this now, i just had to write an essay about wisdom and what it means to me. Your writing inspires me in many ways, and i am fortunate i have stumbled onto this site. I love your music, but more importantly i think your an amazing person. I realy wanted to meet you at the delaware show you played this past year, but didnt get the chance to. I look forward to your brilliant music to come.

-an inspired fan.
micah said…
this describes me so much right now. i am yearning for true relationships with friends and possibly a significant other so i can just talk to someone or go see a movie or eat dinner with.
i want to know why things are the way they are. i want to understand others, but most of all i want to understand myself and why i do what i do.
and after going to mexico my heart aches so so much for everyone around me here in america or elsewhere in the world that are less fortunate than me. it pains me to see others dying of starvation and preventable diseases around the world. it also pains me that i can do so little to stop it...
-micah
Kimberly said…
Beautiful, and very relatable for me as well.
Meg-a-roni said…
Proverbs 1:7
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."

1 John 3:16
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."
Jessica said…
just what i needed.....
Anonymous said…
“I have wished to understand the hearts of people”

No one comes to understand the hearts of people by keeping to themselves. Next time you walk into the coffee shop, rather than just keeping your head straight towards the line, take a look around. Watch how the people sitting in groups are interacting with one another. Do they sit close together or as if they all have an invisible life bubble? See the man intently comprehending each word of his novel- what is he so enthralled with that he won’t blink an eye? Notice the young woman sitting in the corner. She’s beautiful, yet she still holds her head low with arms wrapped tightly around her waist. What is it that makes her feel so self conscious and undesirable? Why don’t we care to seek these answers? We say we want to know the hearts of people but we walk right past. Why don’t we acknowledge those around us? What makes one more deserving of our time than another? Why do we portray ourselves to be aloof? Or is it we’re so self absorbed we don’t care -to stop- to know the hearts of people?
i definately needed to read this.... i can relate in many ways.
sj. said…
where do u find the time to read so many books.. and more so.. remember where the quotes come from?
photographic memory?
or do you post as you read?
hehe.. i would love to know..
Anonymous said…
do you really wish no one would talk to you?
Anton said…
I love your blog.
thats good. really good.

love and knowledge led me upwards to the heavens, but always pity brought me back to earth.
thats true, we are in awe that there is more than us in this universe, searching out those mysteries. but then we do look around and see that our calling is to be here on this earth. to be helping others, building up others, bringing others to Christ.. our attention is transferred.
i long to alleviate the evil, but i cannot, and i too suffer.
i think this is more of a humling. obviously if there heart is for the suffering people of this world, if their passion is what drives them.. then they arent just sitting around talking about them. through our actions in situations, we learn. and theres deffinatly humility in that.
this has been my life; i found it worth living.
but has it been worth dying for?
if just his life has been these three passions.. imagine how he could have lived his life for Christ. imagine how he could have torn it up for Christ if just these three things is what drived him? just searching for knowlegde is not where it should stop.
i deffinatly had thought him a philosopher before i had done a search for him through yahoo.
are you passionate about these three things. you must be, you posted this. its great. but theres more that hes missing and you know this.
christina
mileniacat said…
Stephen I don't know how to put it cept in this way: your voice is like butta!! I'm listening to the acoustic version of one of my favorite tracks on NTFP. I always get Feclempt when you sing the lyrics, "...you mean all of what you say."
I love it.

Thank you and take care,
kristin
Anonymous said…
stephen youre so deep.
you have so many great things to say with so many people listening.
but your music is about being a day late and about how she should have written you a letter.
heres some friendly encouragement to use that voice and that intellect.
Brian Greenwald said…
Stephen, I first of all just want to thank you for all you have done in my life. Although I don't know you personally, its as if you were speaking to me through your writings. It is such a blessing and I thank God for you and all you have done. I also want to thank you for pointing me in the direction of the book Fire in the Belly. I am in the process of reading it right now and I just have to say it has moved me in ways I never thought possible. Please keep writing, because I will forever read. Thank you
Christopher B said…
Brian Greenwald - I read part of your journal and I dont think I can comment, but please know youre not the only one that wants to stand up for you believe in but not be seen as weird/crazy/uncool. Sure its a risk, but imagine what you could change with your powerful actions.
---
Sorry to use Stephen's blog for that, but I like the ending "I found it worth living."
Take care
Amber said…
I love that.
Shannon said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shannon said…
that quote has been on my myspace and my facebook for almost half a year.

i'm glad that somebody else has decided to share its beauty with others.
Anonymous said…
Thank you.

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