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Nationalism vs. Patriotism

“I despise every form of nationalism, a provincial ideology (or rather, religion) that is shortsighted and exclusive, that cuts off the intellectual horizon and hides in its bosom ethnic and racist prejudices, for it transforms into a supreme value, a moral and ontological privilege, the fortuitous circumstance of one’s birthplace… We should not confuse a blinkered nationalism and its rejection of the Other, always the seed of violence, with patriotism, a salutary, generous feeling of love for the land where we were born, where our ancestors lived, where our first dreams were forged, a familiar landscape of geographies, loved ones, and events that are transformed into signposts of memory and defenses against solitude. Homeland is not flags, anthems, or apodictic speeches about emblematic heroes, but a handful of places and people that populate our memories and tinge them with melancholy, the warm sensation that no matter where we are, there is a home for us to return to.”

– Mario Vargas Llosa, In Praise of Reading and Fiction

 

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To Pick Up a Book

“To pick up a book—to decide to read something, almost anything—is to choose a particular form of attention. That choice creates simultaneously silence and receptiveness to a voice; the reader acts imaginatively, constructing meaning from the experience of finding words on a page, but also, ideally, strives to assume a posture of charity toward what he or she reads. This choosing reader is never merely passive, never simply a consumer, but constantly engages in critical judgment, sometimes withholding sympathy with a thoughtful wariness, and then, in the most blessed moments, when trust has been earned, giving that sympathy wholly and without stint.”

– Alan Jacobs, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

Photo via seriocomic.com

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A Love That Conquers

“The love that sweeps in to liberate a slave or a girl in a brothel, that is great and wonderful—but that’s not heroic enough. What the world needs is the rare and hidden glory of long and faithful love. A love backed up by inner strength. A love that conquers the most difficult obstacles of all—time, monotony, and tedium. Because here is the reality: if momentary, heroic love is all we’re willing to give, we will inevitably show up late and leave early in all the places the world needs us most.”

– Gary Haugen (via Ekklesia)

Photo by IJM