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On the Brink of Everything by Parker J. Palmer

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I. The View from the Brink

What I Can See from Here

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Introduction

Check the Cambridge Dictionary online, and you’ll find the phrase on the brink defined as “the edge of a cliff or other high area, or the point at which something good or bad will happen,” followed by this example: “The company was on the brink of collapse.”1

I’m not sure why most uses of the phrase are negative—as in on the brink of giving up, or losing my mind, or going to war—even though it can be used positively. Perhaps it’s because, deep in the reptilian brain, we’re afraid of falling from heights or crossing boundaries into the unknown. But isn’t it possible that we’re on ...

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