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Thursday, February 29, 2024

The great tragedy of life is not that men perish, but that they cease to love.

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William Somerset Maugham

William Somerset Maugham was an English playwright, novelist, and short-story writer whose works were popular throughout the English-speaking world. While he gained initial fame for his numerous plays — many of which were hits on London’s West End — he is best known today for his 19 novels, including “Of Human Bondage,” “The Razor’s Edge,” and “The Painted Veil.” Perhaps his most quotable work, however, was his 1938 literary memoir “The Summing Up.” In it, Maugham touches upon numerous subjects, including his childhood experiences, his career, and his thoughts on travel and philosophy. Toward the end of the book, he also discusses what he sees as the two types of love. The first is “love pure and simple, sexual love,” which he argues is transient — it can dwindle and be lost, and is something we humans “have as often cursed as praised.” The second type is what he refers to as “loving-kindness,” which is more enduring, filled with “warm and vitalizing energy.” “Loving-kindness,” he concludes, “is the better part of goodness.” It is this latter type of love we should endeavor never to lose sight of.

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Fill in the blank: "Ruins, for me, are the beginning. With the debris, you can construct ___." - Anselm Kiefer
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