Pain is physical, suffering is mental. Beyond the mind there is no suffering. Pain is essential for the survival of the body, but none compels you to suffer. Suffering is due entirely to clinging or resisting; it is a sign of our unwillingness to move on, to flow with life. As a sane life is free of pain, so is a saintly life free from suffering. A saint does not want things to be different from what they are; he knows that, considering all factors, they are unavoidable. He is friendly with the inevitable and, therefore, does not suffer. Pain he may know, but it does not shatter him. If he can, he does the needful to restore the lost balance, or he lets things take their course.
Believe me, I was just like you
Stifled and degraded, too
My wings were clipped; my tongue was snipped
My cage the smallest at the zoo
They kicked me down to shut me up
Poured cyanide into my cup
My haters want me gone for good
Wish me dead and knock on wood
But I got this new disco ball
And it sure does the trick
Tons of glitter and alcohol
It really makes them sick
the ego is fear
and control wrapped in lust
for power and approval
he grabs ahold of the heart
and cites its deep trust
as grounds for removal
atop his new throne
the ego will groan
grasping for affection
if only he’d known
not to bury his own
after forced dissection
You must pronounce my name Naomi, like what you call some of the females among you. I wouldn’t know how to convey the sound outside of my native language, but what have we lost? A label is no more than a shortcut. You should get to know me and call me what you will.
One is assigned a number at birth where I’m from. I understand it’s the same way here. If no record were kept, the threat of chaos would arrest us. And we all like to maintain order despite our vain demands for freedom. Anonymity is a romantic dream turned nightmare when realized.
I only know this because my own identity was a secret from all but the doctor and God for ten years. My mother and father got a clever tale and a free bundle of joy; I got a new life and a tough riddle to solve.
Our doctors back at home are above reproach, not obligated to the law of the land but trusted to make the right decision in every case. I’d like to change that condition, but no one ever asked me what I think before now.
So I’d like to thank all thirty-six of you for giving me this platform. You should know what a rare honor it is to be called upon by my peers. I have worked hard to finally arrive, and you’ve given me an even warmer welcome than expected. Your citizens have exceeded all my naive hopes.
Today we stand together on the brink of a new year ready to face the unknown. Ms. Brown is more a guide than a teacher, since our lessons will reveal themselves. Later, we will praise her for showing us the path. None of this should feel like a chore.
No matter what happens here, let’s all promise to be kind. I may struggle to catch up at times. Please forgive the ignorance that I will no doubt display. Just know that I never err without correction and I may on occasion seek your help in providing it.
You have my deepest gratitude, new friends, for agreeing to host me on Earth, for accepting the future with open hearts.
- Class speech, Cherokee High, 2026
If we were truly to work for something, we should work to have all guns banned in this country. Take the guns and the gas from the cops. Turn them out on foot with batons if necessary, but let them work in the community the way London bobbies work, sans firearms. Then they would have to deal with the kids vis-a-vis, face to face, and maybe, just maybe, they would have to start acting like human beings, not killing automatons.
—Harlan Ellison, May 22, 1970