Left-Handed Commencement

02023-02-28 | Philosophy, World | 2 comments

I hope you live without the need to dominate, and without the need to be dominated. I hope you are never victims, but I hope you have no power over other people. And when you fail, and are defeated, and in pain, and in the dark, then I hope you will remember that darkness is your country, where you live, where no wars are fought and no wars are won, but where the future is. Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why did we look up for blessing — instead of around, and down? What hope we have lies there. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls.
Ursula K. Le Guin — A Left-Handed Commencement Address

I came across this 1983 Mills College Commencement address by the great Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s a lovely address that is earthy and timeless and sounds just as relevant forty years later. I have read a number of books by Le Guin and her translation of the Tao Te Ching is a cherished part of my library.


  1. anne

    “everybody wants to change the world, but nobody wants to die”

  2. JaneParham

    Brilliant, a sudden switch from worldly-ambition thinking, seeking answers and comfort “out there”, to humbly accepting the lessons at hand in one’s life, and then transforming from within. Thus, solutions are discovered. This fits a particular situation going on in my life right now!

    I saw a documentary on Ursula Le Guin. Just love her!


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