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Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller
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Why Fish Don't Exist Quotes Showing 1-30 of 40
“When I give up the fish, I get, at long last, that thing I had been searching for: a mantra, a trick, a prescription for hope. I get the promise that there are good things in store. Not because I deserve them. Not because I worked for them. But because they are as much a part of Chaos as destruction and loss. Life, the flip side of death. Growth, of rot.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“Nowhere is the sky so blue, the grass so green, the sunshine so bright, the shade so welcome, as right here, now, today.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“Perhaps the greatest gift ever bestowed upon us by evolution is the ability to believe we are more powerful than we are . . . You walk around with the fundamental belief that the world is uncaring, that no matter how hard you work there is no promise of success, that you are competing against billions, that you are vulnerable to the elements, and that everything you ever love will eventually be destroyed. A little lie can take the edge off, can help you keep charging forward into the gauntlet of life, where you sometimes, accidentally, prevail.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“I have come to believe that it is our life's work to tear down this order, to keep tugging at it, trying to unravel it, to set free the organisms trapped underneath. That it is our life's work work to mistrust our measures. Especially those about moral and mental standing. To remember that behind every ruler there is a Ruler. To remember that a category is at best a proxy; at worst, a shackle.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“This was what Darwin was trying so hard to get his readers to see: that there is never just one way of ranking nature's organisms. To get stuck on a single hierarchy is to miss the bigger picture, the messy truth of nature, the "whole machinery of life." The work of good science is to try and peer beyond the "convenient" lines we draw over nature. To peer beyond intuition where something wilder lives. To know that in every organism at which you gaze, there is complexity you will never comprehend.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“Ignorance is the most delightful science in the world because it is acquired without labor or pains and keeps the mind from melancholy.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“There is grandeur in this view of life.
....if you can’t see, shame on you.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“Scientists have discovered, it's true, that employing positive illusions will help you achieve your goals. But I have slowly come to believe that far better things await outside of the tunnel vision of your goals.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“Growing up," she told me, "is learning to stop believing people's words about you.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“But perhaps the most damning argument came from nature herself. Had David followed his own advice to look to nature for truth, he would have seen it. This dazzling, feathery, squawking, gurgling mound of counterevidence. Animals can outperform humans on nearly every measure supposedly associated with our superiority. There are crows that have better memories than us, chimps with better pattern-recognition skills, ants that rescue their wounded, and blood flukes with higher rates of monogamy. When you actually examine the range of life on Earth, it takes a lot of acrobatics to sort it into a single hierarchy with humans at the top. We don’t have the biggest brain or the best memory. We’re not the fastest or the strongest or the most prolific. We’re not the only ones that mate for life, that show altruism, use tools, language. We don’t have the most copies of genes in circulation. We aren’t even the newest creation on the block.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“...people will never exchange comfort for truth.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“...we barely know the world around us, even the simplest things under our feet..we have been wrong before and we will be wrong again...the true path to progress is paved not with certainty but doubt, with being "open to revision.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“The best way of ensuring you don't miss them(the good things in store), these gifts, the trick that has helped me squint at the bleakness and see them more clearly, is to admit, with every breath, that you have no idea what you are looking at. To examine each object in the avalanche of Chaos with curiosity, with doubt.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“I am reminded to do as Darwin did: to wonder about the reality waiting behind our assumption.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“[I]t is our life’s work to mistrust our measures. Especially those about moral and mental standing. To remember that behind every ruler there is a ruler. To remember that a category is at best a proxy; at worst, a shackle.”
•”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“The longer we examine our world, the stranger it proves to be.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“When people have this feeling of personal inefficiency, compulsive collecting helps them in feeling better.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“How lonely it can feel inside a head with ideas you can’t figure out how to spit out.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“While other people don’t matter, either, treat them like they do.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“In plainer terms", Baumeister and Bushman write, "it is not so much the people who regard themselves as superior beings who are the most dangerous but, rather those who have a strong desire to regard themselves as superior beings....People who are preoccupied with validating a grandiose self-image apparently find criticism highly upsetting and lash out against the source of it.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“Slowly, it came into focus. This small web of people keeping one another afloat. All these minuscule interactions- a friendly wave, a pencil sketch, some plastic beads strung up a nylon cord- they might not look like much from the outside, but for the people caught inside that web? They might be everything, the very tethers that keep one bound to this planet.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“I liked Chicago. The cold of it. The anonymity of it. I could be anyone. I put on Converse sneakers and walked along the gritty sidewalks, which seemed to contain just a dash of carbonation. I bounced. I felt like I could become the person I wanted to be. Not a cheater, not a depressive, not a recipient of cosmic justice. But a person with a happy home at home.

But on nights when Heather was gone, gone with her boyfriend across town, when the city light poured in purple through the window, I'd realize I could not ignore the reality of it all. The emptiness of my life. An emptiness that was only growing wider and colder as I warmed by the light of my hope.

And so. I was desperate. Simply put. I was desperate to come up with some way of continuing forward on what looked like a doomed mission.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“You don't matter seems to fuel his every step, his every bite. So live as you please. He spent years riding a motorbike, drinks copious amounts of beer, and enters the water, whenever possible, with the belliest of flops. He seems to permit himself just one lie to constrain his otherwise voracious hedonism, to form a kind of moral code. While other people don't matter, either, treat them like they do.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“the problem with spending one’s time pondering the futility of it all is that you divert that precious electricity gifted to you by evolution—those sacred ions that could make you feel so many wonderful sensations and think so many wonderful ideas—and you flush it all down the drain of existential inquiry, causing you to literally “die while the body is still alive.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“Kafka calls it the Indestructible—the thing at the bottom of each individual that keeps going whether they feel like going or not.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“to wonder about the reality waiting behind our assumptions.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“There is grandeur in this view,” scolds a quote from Darwin hanging over my dad’s desk at his lab. The words are written in looping brown calligraphy, enclosed in a varnished wooden frame. The quote comes from the last sentence of *On the Origin of Species*. It is Darwin’s sweet nothing, his apology for deflating the world of its God, his promise that there is grandeur—if you look hard enough, you’ll find it. But sometimes it felt like an accusation. If you can’t see it, shame on you.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“Darwin had observed so much variety in creatures traditionally assumed to be one species that his sense of a hard line between species had slowly begun to dissolve. Even that most sacred line, the supposed inability of different species to create fertile offspring, he realized was bunk. “It cannot be maintained that species when intercrossed are invariably sterile,” Darwin writes, “or that sterility is a special endowment and sign of creation.” Leading him finally to declare that species—and indeed all those fussy ranks taxonomists believe to be immutable in nature (genus, family, order, class, etc.)—were human inventions. Useful but arbitrary lines we draw around an ever-evolving flow of life for our “convenience.” “Natura non facet salute,” he writes. Nature doesn’t jump. Nature has no edges, no hard lines.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“there are good things in store. Not because I deserve them. Not because I worked for them. But because they are as much a part of Chaos as destruction and loss.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life
“[David Starr Jordan] claims that salvation lies in the electricity of our bodies. “Happiness comes from doing, helping, working, loving, fighting, conquering,” he writes in a syllabus from around the same time, “from the exercise of functions; from self-activity.” Don’t overthink it, I think, is his point. Enjoy the journey. Savor the small things. The “luscious” taste of a peach, the “lavish” colors of tropical fish, the rush from exercise that allows one to experience “the stern joy which warriors feel.”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life

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