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Birth’s Required Reading

Someone recently told me that their daughter had just had a baby. “So sorry to hear that,” I said. “Don’t they have any compassion?” They looked at me like I had two heads. Well, what can you do?

One of Zen Master Seung Sahn’s most oft-quoted phrases was: “Being born is already a big mistake.” People hear that, and think it’s strange. Worse yet, is when serious spiritual practitioners hear that and ignore it. Or think it merely the absolutist raving of some old Asian monk, utterly not respecting our social lives here in the practical world.

Of all the reasons why I respect the existentialist philosopher, Emil Cioran, it might be boiled down to his telling aphorism: “I have committed every sin except that of being a father.”

And of course, the only page in that book — in addition to a live-screen shot from a helmet cam dodging bullets and artillery incoming in Bakhmut — would be this jewel-gem from the eternally clear Romanian exile in Paris:


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