The Wisdom of Earthsea

index

There’s a lot of wisdom in these books, and though much of it is dropped on the reader like an anvil labeled WISDOM in big flashing neon letters, that doesn’t mean it ain’t true.

A Wizard of Earthsea:

Ged reached out his hands, dropping his staff, and took hold of his shad-  ow, of the black self that reached out to him. Light and darkness met, and  joined, and were one. 

“To hear, one must be silent.” 

The Tombs of Atuan:

What she had begun to learn was the weight of liberty. Freedom is a  heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not  easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard  one. The road goes upward toward the light; but the laden traveler may never  reach the end of it. 

The Farthest Shore:

An act is not, as young men think, like a rock that  one picks up and throws, and it hits or misses, and that’s the end of it.  When that rock is lifted, the earth is lighter; the hand that bears it heavier.  When it is thrown, the circuits of the stars respond, and where it strikes or  falls the universe is changed.

Only one thing in the world can  resist an evil-hearted man. And that is another man.

The word must be heard in silence; there must  be darkness to see the stars. The dance is always danced above the hollow  place, above the terrible abyss

To refuse death is to refuse life.

Only to us is it given to know that we must die. And  that is a great gift: the gift of selfhood. For we have only what we know we  must lose, what we are willing to lose. . . . That selfhood which is our tor-  ment, and our treasure, and our humanity, does not endure. It changes; it is  gone, a wave on the sea.

There are two, Arren, two that make one: the world and the shadow, the light and the dark. The two poles of the Balance. Life rises  out of death, death rises out of life; in being opposite they yearn to each oth-  er, they give birth to each other and are forever reborn. And with them all is  reborn, the flower of the apple tree, the light of the stars. In life is death. In  death is rebirth. What then is life without death? Life unchanging, ever-  lasting, eternal? What is it but death—death without rebirth.
There is only one  power that is real and worth the having. And that is the power, not to take,  but to accept. 

Tehanu:

“Is it different then, for men and for women?” “What isn’t, dearie?” “I don’t know, it seems to me we make up most of the differences, and then complain about ’em.”

“Women seem to fear their own strength, to be afraid of themselves.” “Are they every taught to trust themselves?”

Tales From Earthsea:

Injustice makes the rules, and courage breaks them.

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