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Joshua Oakley
Works at Self Employed
Attended University of Tennessee
Lives in Gatlinburg, TN
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  • Self Employed
    Book Seller, 2011 - present
    Selling Books, Records, Collectible Card Game Cards on Marketplace
  • University of Tennessee Information Sciences Department
    Graduate Assistant, 2008 - 2009
    Independent Research
  • University of Tennessee Libraries
    Archivist, 2004 - 2005
    Archival of Historical Documents and Pictures
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Gatlinburg, TN
Leiden, Netherlands - Memphis, Tennessee - Knoxville, Tennessee
Silver Star of Earth Water Fire Air Spirit Sky Wind Magic Vision Five Elements Alchemy of the Heart Astral Voyager Soul New Ancient Community Wisdom Windows in Time Through Space Crossroads Holy Mountain Space Ship Inn School Triple City Between Beyond Within All Worlds Guardians of the Multiversal Waystation Cosmic Key of the Ancients Temple House Library Inn Between Worlds Spiral City of Silver Gold Diamond Angels of Light Nature Spirits Faeries Elves Dwarves Templars Sky Gardens Holy Mountain Home Galaxy and Sea of Stars Beyond

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.

I have known uncertainty: a state unknown to the Greeks.

In the order of literature, as in others, there is no act that is not the coronation of an infinite series of causes and the source of an infinite series of effects.

Reading is an activity subsequent to writing: more resigned, more civil, more intellectual.

Reality is not always probable, or likely.

The truth is that we live out our lives putting off all that can be put off; perhaps we all know deep down that we are immortal and that sooner or later all men will do and know all things.

There is a concept that is the corrupter and destroyer of all others. I speak not of Evil, whose limited empire is that of ethics; I speak of the infinite.

Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.

To be immortal is commonplace; except for man, all creatures are immortal, for they are ignorant of death; what is divine, terrible, incomprehensible, is to know that one is immortal.

To die for a religion is easier than to live it absolutely.

To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible god.

Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.

— Jorge Luis Borges

You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.

— Stephen King

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.

— John Muir

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

— Kurt Vonnegut

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

— Pablo Picasso

Our earth is round, and, among other things, that means that you and I can hold completely different points of view and both be right. The difference of our positions will show stars in your window I cannot even imagine. Your sky may burn with light, while mine, at the same moment, spreads beautiful to darkness. Still we must choose how we separately corner the circling universe of our experience. Once chosen, our cornering will determine the message of any star and darkness we encounter.

— June Jordan

One can’t build little white picket fences to keep nightmares out.

— Anne Sexton

Do not interrupt the flight of your soul; do not distress what is best in you; do not enfeeble your spirit with half wishes and half thoughts. Ask yourself and keep on asking until you find the answer, for one may have known something many times, acknowledged it; one may have willed something many times, attempted it — and yet, only the deep inner motion, only the heart's indescribable emotion, only that will convince you that what you have acknowledged belongs to you, that no power can take it from you — for only the truth that builds up is truth for you.

— Søren Kierkegaard

He that loveth not, Knoweth not God; for God is Love. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. God is Love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God and God in him.

— Yeshua (Jesus Christ)

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.

— Vaclav Havel

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.

— John F. Kennedy

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree... Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving …

— Albert Einstein

The surface of the earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore we’ve learned most of what we know. Recently we’ve waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting.

For the first time, we have the power to decide the fate of our planet and ourselves. This is a time of great danger, but our species is young, and curious, and brave. It shows much promise.

Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can. Because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

We wish to pursue the truth no matter where it leads. But to find the truth, we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate, but we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact. The cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths; of exquisite interrelationships; of the awesome machinery of nature.

The cosmic calendar compresses the local history of the universe into a single year. If the universe began on January 1st it was not until May that the Milky Way formed. Other planetary systems may have appeared in June, July and August, but our Sun and Earth not until mid-September. Life arose soon after.

We humans appear on the cosmic calendar so recently that our recorded history occupies only the last few seconds of the last minute of December 31st.

We on Earth have just awakened to the great oceans of space and time from which we have emerged. We are the legacy of 15 billion years of cosmic evolution. We have a choice: We can enhance life and come to know the universe that made us, or we can squander our 15 billion-year heritage in meaningless self-destruction. What happens in the first second of the next cosmic year depends on what we do, here and now, with our intelligence and our knowledge of the cosmos.

Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group.

A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.

The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.

The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.

For the first time, we have the power to decide the fate of our planet and ourselves. This is a time of great danger, but our species is young, and curious, and brave. It shows much promise.

We wish to pursue the truth no matter where it leads. But to find the truth, we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate, but we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact. The cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths; of exquisite interrelationships; of the awesome machinery of nature.

We on Earth have just awakened to the great oceans of space and time from which we have emerged. We are the legacy of 15 billion years of cosmic evolution. We have a choice: We can enhance life and come to know the universe that made us, or we can squander our 15 billion-year heritage in meaningless self-destruction. What happens in the first second of the next cosmic year depends on what we do, here and now, with our intelligence and our knowledge of the cosmos.

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

Those worlds in space are as countless as all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth. Each of those worlds is as real as ours and every one of them is a succession of incidents, events, occurrences which influence its future. Countless worlds, numberless moments, an immensity of space and time. And our small planet at this moment, here we face a critical branch point in history, what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants, it is well within our power to destroy our civilization and perhaps our species as well. If we capitulate to superstition or greed or stupidity we could plunge our world into a time of darkness deeper than the time between the collapse of classical civilisation and the Italian Renaissance. But we are also capable of using our compassion and our intelligence, our technology and our wealth to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet.

— Carl Sagan

Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.

— Henry David Thoreau

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

I have decided to stick to love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.

— William Butler Yeats

By Being, It Is.

— Parmenides

Without music, life would be a mistake.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

— George Santayana

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart ... Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.

The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.

Consciousness is a precondition of being.

The judgment of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy.

No language exists that cannot be misused... Every Interpretation is hypothetical, for it is a mere attempt to read an unfamiliar text.

The great decisions of human life have as a rule far more to do with the instincts and other mysterious unconscious factors than with conscious will and well-meaning reasonableness.

I have chosen the term collective because this part of the unconscious is not individual but universal; in contrast to the personal psyche, it has contents and modes of behaviour that are more or less the same everywhere and in all individuals.

Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.

We cannot imagine events that are connected non-causally and are capable of a non-causal explanation. But that does not mean that such events do not exist.

— Carl Jung

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.

— Rene Descartes

We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.

— Richard Feynman

Then he said 'Remember Bob: no fear, no envy, no meanness,' and I said 'hmmm, right.'

— Bob Dylan

The reverse side also has a reverse side.

— Japanese Proverb

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.

The war against war is going to be no holiday excursion or camping party.

— William James

If success or failure of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do... How would I be? What would I do?

— Buckminster Fuller

The most vital issue of the age is whether the future progress of humanity is to be governed by the modern economic and materialistic mind of the West or by a nobler pragmatism guided, uplifted and enlightened by spiritual culture and knowledge....

— Sri Aurobindo

The Self alone exists; and the Self alone is real. Verily the Self alone is the world, the I-I and God. All that exists is but the manifestation of the Supreme Being.

— Ramana Maharshi

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

— Jiddu Krishnamurti

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.

— John F. Kennedy

Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.

— Baruch Spinoza

You are the universe experiencing itself.

— Alan Watts

The unfolding of the bare human soul … that is what interests me.

— Bruce Lee

It's wonderful to be alive and to walk on earth.

Peace is every step.

You are a miracle, and everything you touch could be a miracle.

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

— Laozi (Lao Tzu)

Peace is the only battle worth waging.

— Albert Camus

Peace is the one condition of survival in this nuclear age.

— Adlai E. Stevenson

I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I'm with you.

— Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Human feeling is like the mighty rivers that bless the earth: it does not wait for beauty — it flows with resistless force and brings beauty with it.

— George Eliot

This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

― Walt Whitman

When the mind is still, we can become an instrument of peace.

― Eknath Easwaran, Strength in the Storm

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

— Confucius

We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

— Plato

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In the process of writing and illustrating a series of fantasy and science fiction prose poetry art books...
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Leiden
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The Libertarian Delusion |

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Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll: How the Beloved Author’s Rules of Letter-...

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The Seven Most Important Things I Learned in Seven Years of Reading, Wri...

Reflections on how to keep the center solid as we continue to evolve. In the fall of 2013, when Brain Pickings turned seven, I looked bac

Van Gogh on Principles, Talking vs. Doing, and the Human Pursuit of Grea...

"Principles are good and worth the effort only when they develop into deeds... The great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, and is a su

E.B. White’s Beautiful Letter to a Man Who Had Lost Faith in Humanity

What sailors teach us about hope and the resilience of the human spirit. In 1973, more than two decades after a young woman wrote to Albe

The Hidden Brain: How Ocean Currents Explain Our Unconscious Social Biases

"Those who travel with the current will always feel they are good swimmers; those who swim against the current may never realize they are be

The Oppressed Majority: A Poignant French Short Film about a World in Wh...

A tragicomic day in the life of a man who struggles for equality in a mirror-image society dominated by women. "Those who travel with the

Sir David Attenborough Narrates Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful Worl...

"The colors of a rainbow, so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of people going by…" For nearly half a century, Sir David Attenbo

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The former vice president defends everything, apologizes for nothing, in shockingly awful interview even for him

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Johnny Cash's Short and Personal To-Do List | Open Culture

Johnny Cash wrote down at least two lists in his lifetime. Let's start with the big one. In 1973, when his daughter Roseanne turned 18, the