This belongs to Hallgrímur from Iceland.
The concept of an afterlife has always struck me as wishful thinking that dumbs down the astonishing thing that life really is. This quote by Ayaan Hirsi Ali greatly summarises my feelings on the subject and serves to remind me that we are the authors of our own meaning and purpose. This is the one chance we've got, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
(The font is GeosansLight.)
"The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more, but I want nothing more."
- Excerpt from How (and Why) I Became an Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, in Christopher Hitchens' book The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever
This tattoo belongs to Steve in Oakland.
"And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'"
- Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
This is Melanie's tattoo:
The quote represents the period of transcendence when one is truly in tune with themselves and their surroundings without being consciously aware of it. For example, I am an artist, so I recognize this as occurring when I zone in so completely to the process of the piece. However, once I realize that this is occurring, the moment is gone. I no longer see the tree with the lights in it.
When the doctor took her bandages off and led her into the garden, the girl who was no longer blind saw "the tree with the lights in it." It was for this tree I searched through the peach orchards of summer, in the forests of fall and down winter and spring for years. Then one day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance. The lights of the fire abated, but I'm still spending the power. Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells unflamed and disappeared. I was still ringing. I had my whole life been a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck. I have since only rarely seen the tree with the lights in it. The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment when the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam.
- Excerpt from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
"Only the shallow know themselves."
- From Oscar Wilde's essay "Phrases And Philosophies For The Use Of The Young".
This tattoo was submitted by Marlene, who says that the quotation "can be interpreted in many different ways, to accompany mood swings".
Submitted by Michele Polak:
“In women’s speech, as in their writing, that element which never stops resonating, which, once we’ve been permeated by it, profoundly and imperceptibly touched but it, retains the power of moving us—that element is the song: the first music from the first voice of love which is alive in every woman. Why this privileged relationship with the voice? Because no woman stockpiles as many defenses for countering the drives as does a man. You don’t build walls around yourself, you don’t forego pleasure as “wisely” as he. Even if phallic mystification has generally contaminated good relationships, a woman is never far from “mother” (I mean outside her role functions: the “mother as noname and as source of goods). There is always within her at least a little of that good mother’s milk. She writes in white ink.”
- Hélène Cixous, “The Laugh of the Medusa”