The Flower and the Meaning of Life - Deepstash

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Being A Flower

Being A Flower

To be a flower,” Emily Dickinson wrote in her pre-ecological poem about ecology, “is profound Responsibility.”

A century later, in one of the most poetic and existentially ravishing children’s* books of all time, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry made his hero’s central preoccupation the responsibility for a single flower — the Little Prince’s beloved rose: fragile and self-concerned, ferociously hungry for love, capable of such tenderness and such cruelty, so ephemeral and so stubborn, so much a miniature of the contradictory animating forces that make us human.

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Flowers Show Us The Fragility And Beauty Of Life

Flowers Show Us The Fragility And Beauty Of Life

For as long as humans have been alive and awake to our bittersweet cosmic inheritance as transient constellations of atoms capable of transcendent beauty, we have found in flowers models of moral wisdomemblems of freedomnonbinary pioneersportals to paying attention. Over the epochs of time and thought, flowers have rivaled trees as mirrors for the meaning of our human lives.

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Flowers Are Fleeting Beauty

Flowers Are Fleeting Beauty

Our experience of flowers is so deeply drenched in our sense of time. Maybe there’s a good reason we find their fleetingness so piercing, can scarcely look at a flower in bloom without thinking ahead, whether in hope or regret. We might share with certain insects a tropism inclining us toward flowers, but presumably, insects can look at a blossom without entertaining thoughts of the past and future — complicated human thoughts that may once have been anything but idle. Flowers have always had important things to teach us about time.

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The Sense Of Time

The Sense Of Time

Time, of course, is itself a creature of paradoxes — at once the relentless forward momentum of our mortality and the greatest antidote to the anxiety of aliveness. When you realize you are mortal you also realize the tremendousness of the future. You fall in love with a Time you will never perceive.

It may be that flowers betoken precisely this elemental duality and through it cast their enchantment upon us. After contouring their astonishing evolutionary history — so astonishing that the baffled Darwin called it “an abominable mystery”

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Flowers Are The Shades Of Life

Flowers Are The Shades Of Life

Look into a flower, and what do you see? Into the very heart of nature’s double nature — that is, the contending energies of creation and dissolution, the spiring toward complex form and the tidal pull away from it. There, the achievement of order against all odds and its blithe abandonment. There, the perfection of art and the blind flux of nature. There, somehow, both transcendence and necessity. Could that be it — right there, in a flower — the meaning of life?

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The Meaning Of Life

The Meaning Of Life

Meaning, of course, is just what we make of life — what we make of our mortality as an inevitability of the universe that made us. “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important,” the fox says to the Little Price. “All the stars are a-bloom with flowers,” the Little Prince says to the pilot before he returns to that fathomless region of spacetime from which he had visited.

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chelseag

Everyday Magic for the modern human

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