{invicta animi, & rest in Earthsea, ursula k. leguin}

Dear Readers, today we lost a sage.

…Success is somebody else’s failure. Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the terrible reality of poverty. No, I do not wish you success. I don’t even want to talk about it. I want to talk about failure.

Because you are human beings you are going to meet failure. You are going to meet disappointment, injustice, betrayal, and irreparable loss. You will find you’re weak where you thought yourself strong. You’ll work for possessions and then find they possess you. You will find yourself — as I know you already have — in dark places, alone, and afraid.

What I hope for you, for all my sisters and daughters, brothers and sons, is that you will be able to live there, in the dark place. To live in the place that our rationalizing culture of success denies, calling it a place of exile, uninhabitable, foreign.

…And when you fail, and are defeated, and in pain, and in the dark, then I hope you will remember that darkness is your country, where you live, where no wars are fought and no wars are won, but where the future is. Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why did we look up for blessing — instead of around, and down? What hope we have lies there. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls.

~ from the 1983 Mills College, A Left-Handed Commencement Address,” by Ursula K. LeGuin.

Thank you for everything, especially the Hainish novels, which truly brought me truths from fiction. May we always see differences in the world with kinder eyes.

2 Replies to “{invicta animi, & rest in Earthsea, ursula k. leguin}”

    1. When one dies at 88, it’s only a loss in the minor scheme of things. To die at home in bed, after an ordinary day? Blessing and bliss, indeed. She died old and full of years, and she shared the wisdom that she had, which is what one is meant to do. I hope you someday have a chance to read some of her work, even though I know you’re not a science fiction person. It’s well worth the effort.

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