Saturday, September 30, 2017

on dragons and princesses


We must assume our existence as broadly as we in any way can; everything, even the unheard-of, must be possible in it. That is at bottom the only courage which is demanded of us: to have courage for the most extraordinary, the most singular, and the most inexplicable that we may encounter.
Only he or she who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive and will wholly expand his or her being.
For if we think of this existence of the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and down.
Thus, they have a certain security.
And yet that dangerous insecurity is so much more human than that which drives the prisoners in Poe's stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their abode.
We, however, are not prisoners. We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us.
Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them.
And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful.
How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses;
perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.

–Rainer Maria Rilke

Letters to a Young Poet


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