VARIOUS WRITINGS OF OTHERS' COLLECTED BY REZA GANJAVI A WHILE BACK (not updated actively)
TO THE STUDENT OF PHILOSOPHY
This is an extract from Dr. James Christians most excellent Philosophy text books: The Wisdom Seekers: Great Philosophers of the Western World.
The Greek Cynic Antisthenes once confessed "I needed wisdom, so I went to Socrates." In our Western tradition it is Socrates, more than any other, who has come to stand for wisdom and the search for wisdom. It is true that he once declared, with feeling, "Wisdom! What wisdom? I certainly have no knowledge of such wisdom!" But others kept returning to him because they sensed that what he did have, whatever its name, was rare and very precious. (1)
This book has been written from the perspective of a pearl diver. In the pages that follow, you will find that some philosophers like to argue, others like to analyze ideas or language, still others want to outline the universe as it exists or should exist; and some few dedicate themselves to saving the world or trying to move the masses. But a pearl diver seeks a special treasure in the form of a wisdom that comes from careful and honest thinking, well-founded facts, valid inferences, and clear understandings. Along the way he too may enjoy arguing, criticizing, and judging; but in the end what he seeks is a pearl of greater price. Under and behind and through a philosopher's ponderings one can always sense a questing spirit that, after the analyses and dialectics are over and clone with, would be happy to settle for a few pearls. As you read ahead and become acquainted with the lives and thoughts of some of the noblest thinkers ever, you might do well not to forget the simple prayer of Socrates:
Beloved Pan, and all ye other gods who haunt this place, make me beautiful within, and grant that what- ever happens outside of me will help my soul to grow. May I always be aware that true wealth lies in wisdom, and may my "gold" be so abundant that only a wise man can lift and carry it away. For me that is prayer enough. (2)
TO THE TEACHER
All textbooks have strengths and weaknesses of course, and we adopt them, don 't we, in terms of the first and despite the second? For some decades now teachers of philosophy and the history of philosophy have had not a few excellent textbooks to choose from, and it feels as though, during thirty-five years of teaching philosophy, l have used them all! During that tenure, four observations about the field and the textbooks we use to teach it have appeared increasingly clear to me:
(1) That the "classical" interpretation of Western philosophic thought (the "received tradition") is often biased and arbitrary, so that when one goes back to a philosopher's own writings (when possible) and interprets them in light of more recent scholarship and insight, his concepts re-emerge in a somewhat different light;
(2) That philosophic ideas are commonly couched in esoteric language that makes them unnecessarily difficult and renders many concepts virtually inaccessible to most readers or students of philosophy. Of course there is an obvious cause for this: the philosophers themselves often wrote in a turgid prose that even specialists have difficulty understanding;
(3) That many historical ideas and statements seem to modern eyes absurd-silly, ridiculous, stupid, choose your adjective-until seen in the context of the philosopher's life, at which time, for the first time, they begin to make good sense. The question, "How could he believe that?" is a reasonable question, and very often it gets answered only when we allow the philosopher to speak for himself out of the depths of his own existence;
(4) That dialectical criticism as traditionally practiced is commonly lacking in empathetic insight into the immediate living concerns of the thinker and therefore misses the most important fact of all: what his philosophy meant to him. These observations may imply only that teachers have different approaches to understanding and teaching the history of philosophy. In any case, the present text attempts to address these concerns.
Lastly, in these volumes the lives of the philosophers have been included along with their thought. The objective sciences can be severed from those who do them, but philosophy cannot. Of course, certain kinds of endeavors-in logic, mathematics, geometry, and physics-once they pass over from philosophy to science, can stand by themselves; but until they make that transition and are appropriately reclassified, they remain intimate representations of the man or woman who created them. For in truth our ideas are expressions of our deepest selves. Philosophy illuminates life, and life illuminates one's philosophy. This does not mean that, if a teacher or student so chooses, a thinker's creations cannot be studied in isolation from the creator; sometimes we must do this because of constraints of rime and strength. But to do so will always, to some extent, diminish our understanding and appreciation of the man and/or his thought. My fondest wish is that more thinkers of the other sex had chosen, or been allowed, to do philosophy. What few women philosophers did make contributions to Western thought and are known to us-Hipparchia, Arêtê, and Hypatia are perhaps most prominent-are here included. Someday, hopefully, a sensitive civilization will evolve that realizes what it has lost and set out to create a balance that recognizes its most valuable natural resource.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND APPRECIATION
Without special friends this book would not exist. Most are deceased: Diogenes, Aristode, Epicurus, Marcus, et al., through time and duration to Bergson, Camus, and Campbell. My deepest debt is to the living. Through eight years of joyous labor the following individuals have, in diverse ways, gifted me with their time, creativity, patience, and supportive silence. I am indebted to: ...
[He mentioned Reza Ganjavi in the acknowledgments of one of his editions of Art of Wondering Intro to Philosophy Textbook].
A young son of a great sage, himself an evolved soul, Shuka ignored all the rituals and oblations. He did not salute the rising sun nor worship the setting sun. He did not utter the sacred incantations.
The elders of the community decided to speak to him. "Oh Shuka, if a young sage like you does not perform all the rituals and disciplines, it will be difficult for us to speak to other young people. Should you not do the rituals at dawn and dusk as our anscestors have done for centuries?"
The young sage answered thus. "As everyone knows, when there is a death or birth in the family, one has to suspend all religious rituals. I have had both a birth and a death in my home. My mother, whose name was ignorance, has died and a son has been born, a son named awareness. How am I to perform any rituals in this situation?
I also have another difficulty. The sun of awareness neither rises nor sets. There is never a dawn or a dusk. How am I to perform rituals at dawn or dusk?"
Shuka continued his life deeply, free, basking under the sun that never set nor rose.
Text by G. Gautama from his book: Raja Yoga Pranayama - page 7
On Being the Right Size - by J. B. S. Haldane - 1928
The most obvious differences between different animals are differences of size, but for some reason the zoologists have paid singularly little attention to them. In a large textbook of zoology before me I find no indication that the eagle is larger than the sparrow, or the hippopotamus bigger than the hare, though some grudging admissions are made in the case of the mouse and the whale. But yet it is easy to show that a hare could not be as large as a hippopotamus, or a whale as small as a herring. For every type of animal there is a most convenient size, and a large change in size inevitably carries with it a change of form.
Let us take the most obvious of possible cases, and consider a giant man sixty feet high—about the height of Giant Pope and Giant Pagan in the illustrated Pilgrim’s Progress of my childhood. These monsters were not only ten times as high as Christian, but ten times as wide and ten times as thick, so that their total weight was a thousand times his, or about eighty to ninety tons. Unfortunately the cross sections of their bones were only a hundred times those of Christian, so that every square inch of giant bone had to support ten times the weight borne by a square inch of human bone. As the human thigh-bone breaks under about ten times the human weight, Pope and Pagan would have broken their thighs every time they took a step. This was doubtless why they were sitting down in the picture I remember. But it lessens one’s respect for Christian and Jack the Giant Killer.
To turn to zoology, suppose that a gazelle, a graceful little creature with long thin legs, is to become large, it will break its bones unless it does one of two things. It may make its legs short and thick, like the rhinoceros, so that every pound of weight has still about the same area of bone to support it. Or it can compress its body and stretch out its these two beasts because they happen to belong to the same order as the gazelle, and both are quite successful mechanically, being remarkably fast runners.
Gravity, a mere nuisance to Christian, was a terror to Pope, Pagan, and Despair. To the mouse and any smaller animal it presents practically no dangers. You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes. For the resistance presented to movement by the air is proportional to the surface of the moving object. Divide an animal’s length, breadth, and height each by ten; its weight is reduced to a thousandth, but its surface only to a hundredth. So the resistance to falling in the case of the small animal is relatively ten times greater than the driving force.
An insect, therefore, is not afraid of gravity; it can fall without danger, and can cling to the ceiling with remarkably little trouble. It can go in for elegant and fantastic forms of support like that of the daddy-longlegs. But there is a force which is as formidable to an insect as gravitation to a mammal. This is surface tension. A man coming out of a bath carries with him a film of water of about one-fiftieth of an inch in thickness. This weighs roughly a pound. A wet mouse has to carry about its own weight of water. A wet fly has to lift many times its own weight and, as everyone knows, a fly once wetted by water or any other liquid is in a very serious position indeed. An insect going for a drink is in as great danger as a man leaning out over a precipice in search of food. If it once falls into the grip of the surface tension of the water—that is to say, gets wet—it is likely to remain so until it drowns. A few insects, such as water-beetles, contrive to be unwettable; the majority keep well away from their drink by means of a long proboscis.
Of course tall land animals have other difficulties. They have to pump their blood to greater heights than a man, and, therefore, require a larger blood pressure and tougher blood-vessels. A great many men die from burst arteries, greater for an elephant or a giraffe. But animals of all kinds find difficulties in size for the following reason. A typical small animal, say a microscopic worm or rotifer, has a smooth skin through which all the oxygen it requires can soak in, a straight gut with sufficient surface to absorb its food, and a single kidney. Increase its dimensions tenfold in every direction, and its weight is increased a thousand times, so that if it is to use its muscles as efficiently as its miniature counterpart, it will need a thousand times as much food and oxygen per day and will excrete a thousand times as much of waste products.
Now if its shape is unaltered its surface will be increased only a hundredfold, and ten times as much oxygen must enter per minute through each square millimetre of skin, ten times as much food through each square millimetre of intestine. When a limit is reached to their absorptive powers their surface has to be increased by some special device. For example, a part of the skin may be drawn out into tufts to make gills or pushed in to make lungs, thus increasing the oxygen-absorbing surface in proportion to the animal’s bulk. A man, for example, has a hundred square yards of lung. Similarly, the gut, instead of being smooth and straight, becomes coiled and develops a velvety surface, and other organs increase in complication. The higher animals are not larger than the lower because they are more complicated. They are more complicated because they are larger. Just the same is true of plants. The simplest plants, such as the green algae growing in stagnant water or on the bark of trees, are mere round cells. The higher plants increase their surface by putting out leaves and roots. Comparative anatomy is largely the story of the struggle to increase surface in proportion to volume. Some of the methods of increasing the surface are useful up to a point, but not capable of a very wide adaptation. For example, while vertebrates carry the oxygen from the gills or lungs all over the body in the blood, insects take air directly to every part of their body by tiny blind tubes called tracheae which open to the surface at many different points. Now, although by their breathing movements they can renew the air in the outer part of the tracheal system, the oxygen has to penetrate the finer branches by means of diffusion. Gases can diffuse easily through very small distances, not many times larger than the average length traveled by a gas molecule between collisions with other molecules. But when such vast journeys—from the point of view of a molecule—as a quarter of an inch have to be made, the process becomes slow. So the portions of an insect’s body more than a quarter of an inch from the air would always be short of oxygen. In consequence hardly any insects are much more than half an inch thick. Land crabs are built on the same general plan as insects, but are much clumsier. Yet like ourselves they carry oxygen around in their blood, and are therefore able to grow far larger than any insects. If the insects had hit on a plan for driving air through their tissues instead of letting it soak in, they might well have become as large as lobsters, though other considerations would have prevented them from becoming as large as man.
Exactly the same difficulties attach to flying. It is an elementary principle of aeronautics that the minimum speed needed to keep an aeroplane of a given shape in the air varies as the square root of its length. If its linear dimensions are increased four times, it must fly twice as fast. Now the power needed for the minimum speed increases more rapidly than the weight of the machine. So the larger aeroplane, which weighs sixty-four times as much as the smaller, needs one hundred and twenty-eight times its horsepower to keep up. Applying the same principle to the birds, we find that the limit to their size is soon reached. An angel whose muscles developed no more power weight for weight than those of an eagle or a pigeon would require a breast projecting for about four feet to house the muscles engaged in working its wings, while to economize in weight, its legs would have to be reduced to mere stilts. Actually a large bird such as an eagle or kite does not keep in the air mainly by moving its wings. It is generally to be seen soaring, that is to say balanced on a rising column of air. And even soaring becomes more and more difficult with increasing size. Were this not the case eagles might be as large as tigers and as formidable to man as hostile aeroplanes.
But it is time that we pass to some of the advantages of size. One of the most obvious is that it enables one to keep warm. All warmblooded animals at rest lose the same amount of heat from a unit area of skin, for which purpose they need a food-supply proportional to their surface and not to their weight. Five thousand mice weigh as much as a man. Their combined surface and food or oxygen consumption are about seventeen times a man’s. In fact a mouse eats about one quarter its own weight of food every day, which is mainly used in keeping it warm. For the same reason small animals cannot live in cold countries. In the arctic regions there are no reptiles or amphibians, and no small mammals. The smallest mammal in Spitzbergen is the fox. The small birds fly away in winter, while the insects die, though their eggs can survive six months or more of frost. The most successful mammals are bears, seals, and walruses.
Similarly, the eye is a rather inefficient organ until it reaches a large size. The back of the human eye on which an image of the outside world is thrown, and which corresponds to the film of a camera, is composed of a mosaic of “rods and cones” whose diameter is little more than a length of an average light wave. Each eye has about a half a million, and for two objects to be distinguishable their images must fall on separate rods or cones. It is obvious that with fewer but larger rods and cones we should see less distinctly. If they were twice as broad two points would have to be twice as far apart before we could distinguish them at a given distance. But if their size were diminished and their number increased we should see no better. For it is impossible to form a definite image smaller than a wave-length of light. Hence a mouse’s eye is not a small-scale model of a human eye. Its rods and cones are not much smaller than ours, and therefore there are far fewer of them. A mouse could not distinguish one human face from another six feet away. In order that they should be of any use at all the eyes of small animals have to be much larger in proportion to their bodies than our own. Large animals on the other hand only require relatively small eyes, and those of the whale and elephant are little larger than our own. For rather more recondite reasons the same general principle holds true of the brain. If we compare the brain-weights of a set of very similar animals such as the cat, cheetah, leopard, and tiger, we find that as we quadruple the body-weight the brain-weight is only doubled. The larger animal with proportionately larger bones can economize on brain, eyes, and certain other organs.
Such are a very few of the considerations which show that for every type of animal there is an optimum size. Yet although Galileo demonstrated the contrary more than three hundred years ago, people still believe that if a flea were as large as a man it could jump a thousand feet into the air. As a matter of fact the height to which an animal can jump is more nearly independent of its size than proportional to it. A flea can jump about two feet, a man about five. To jump a given height, if we neglect the resistance of air, requires an expenditure of energy proportional to the jumper’s weight. But if the jumping muscles form a constant fraction of the animal’s body, the energy developed per ounce of muscle is independent of the size, provided it can be developed quickly enough in the small animal. As a matter of fact an insect’s muscles, although they can contract more quickly than our own, appear to be less efficient; as otherwise a flea or grasshopper could rise six feet into the air.
And just as there is a best size for every animal, so the same is true for every human institution. In the Greek type of democracy all the citizens could listen to a series of orators and vote directly on questions of legislation. Hence their philosophers held that a small city was the largest possible democratic state. The English invention of representative government made a democratic nation possible, and the possibility was first realized in the United States, and later elsewhere. With the development of broadcasting it has once more become possible for every citizen to listen to the political views of representative orators, and the future may perhaps see the return of the national state to the Greek form of democracy. Even the referendum has been made possible only by the institution of daily newspapers.
To the biologist the problem of socialism appears largely as a problem of size. The extreme socialists desire to run every nation as a single business concern. I do not suppose that Henry Ford would find much difficulty in running Andorra or Luxembourg on a socialistic basis. He has already more men on his pay-roll than their population. It is conceivable that a syndicate of Fords, if we could find them, would make Belgium Ltd or Denmark Inc. pay their way. But while nationalization of certain industries is an obvious possibility in the largest of states, I find it no easier to picture a completely socialized British Empire or United States than an elephant turning somersaults or a hippopotamus jumping a hedge.
First IBM PC launch
August 12 1981 first IBM PC was launched.
"Several popular home computers existed before the 1981 IBM PC launch. But the regimented business world considered Apple, Commodore, and Radio Shack's Tandy products "toys."
The IBM stamp of approval on a personal computer changed that mentality for good.
"Almost overnight, with IBM introducing the PC, it became OK to use it for real business applications,"
"In 1981 I had an IBM PC, two-floppy system," Howle said.
"To give young people these days a comparison: It would take 10 of those floppy disks to be able to hold the music that is on one MP3 song," he said."
Dr. James L. Christian's Eulogy by Professor Myron Yeager
James L. Christian
In her email report sharing the news of Jim’s death, Lori wrote, “Jim was a philosopher first and always, that was his destiny and he tried very hard to find his way early on, but eventually had to succumb to the true self which led him down the path of so many journeys and discoveries.” We are here today to celebrate and share those journeys and discoveries, at least as they relate to our knowledge, respect, and love of Jim . . . and Lori . . . and the family.
I suspect all of us can readily agree with Lori when she says that “Jim was a philosopher first and always.” His teaching, his publishing, his reading, his conversation, his habit of living all characterized the life of the philosopher, someone whom Jim himself defined as “one who learns to ask and to research questions until a meaningful answer appears” (“What Do You Mean Philosophy?”). Or as Jim explains in his “Invitation,” what less adventuresome writers might have dismissed as a preface, to The Wisdom Seekers: Great Philosophers of the Western World:
This book has been written from the perspective of a pearl diver. . . . Some philosophers like to argue, others like to analyze ideas or language, still others want to outline the universe as it exists or should exist; and some few dedicate themselves to saving the world or trying to move the masses. But a pearl diver seeks a special treasure in the form of a wisdom that comes from careful and honest thinking, well-founded facts, valid inferences, and clear understandings. Along the way he too may enjoy arguing criticizing, and judging; but in the end what he seeks is a pearl of greater price. Under and behind and through a philosopher’s ponderings one can always sense a questioning spirit that, after the analyses and dialectics are over and done with, would be happy to settle for a few pearls.
Jim’s life was philosophy; he was that pearl diver—always looking for that greater gem (and yes, the pun is intended).
In The Wisdom Seekers, Jim summarized philosophy as “critical thinking about thinking” (v). His teaching career that spanned some four decades gave him the opportunity to introduce and challenge his students to critical thinking about thinking. But his approach would not leave them fragmented and alienated; Jim led his students to consider a synoptic vision of the world in which questioning leads to a comprehensive view of human experience. Such an approach took him to the process of thought, the lives of those who have shaped thought, and the works that have immortalized that thought. That assimilation can be seen not just in the philosophy courses he taught, but in such other courses as the one built on great books he conceived and taught which brought such writers as Ray Bradbury to his classroom. His approach led him to write his own monumental two volume text Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering, a work that has gone through some eleven editions, the 2012 being the most recent, published by a leading college text publisher. Appropriately, it is used in philosophy classrooms across the United States and England. His Wisdom Seekers (2002), also in two volumes, uses the record of the lives of the great western thinkers to trace the process of thinking and belief and to consider where belief might lead us next. As a pearl diver, Jim shared the wealth of his discovery with his students and to other professors seeking to challenge their students to question thought and its consequences.
I met Jim through Lori; she was my student my first year teaching at Chapman University some 29 years ago. I recognized Lori as an unusual student from our first class together, a world literature survey in which she used as an illustration for her class presentation on Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” an organic visual aid: a dead cockroach (this was the age before PowerPoint or Prezi). In the years to follow she brought me into her life: Sara, her brothers, their families, and of course, Jim. I remember meeting Jim at his home then in Santa Ana. Before I was introduced to him, I was appropriately introduced to his library; I recall vividly thinking when I saw the book filled living room that this is a man whose mind must be rich and deep. Over the years at meals with the two of them, at events with them, and at surprise meetings (I am convinced everyone in central Orange County can be found at Benji’s Deli at some time or another), Jim’s mind has continued to fill me with awe and wonder. Not a philosopher (I’m a student of literature), I have perhaps curiously always struggled to understand a philosopher’s mind, and Jim fed that wonder. His mind traveled broadly, referring to works we had both read, reminding me of books I should have read, and alluding to works obscure to me to illustrate or to challenge thoughts in casual conversation. Ten minutes with him was to prove Francis Bacon’s dictum: “Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man; writing an exact man” (“Of Studies”). Jim and I loved to talk books; not just their merits but the richness they brought to our experience; their use as lenses through which we might see others and ourselves better. Our last conversation, when Jim was struggling with his cancer still at Town and Country, was a conversation on books. When I went into his room, he was reading; then he told me that not only did he read as he could but Lori continued to read to him daily, which brought tears to his eyes, perhaps because of the love behind the action, perhaps because of the opportunity to continue to read through his weakness, and perhaps because of the opportunity it gave him to continue to discover with her new pearls or revisit treasured ones with the one he loved. As I recall, he said that among the works they had been reading together had been some of the works of the Romantic poets. He seemed even to apologize to me for the novel most immediately on his bedside table, a current bestseller. In reality, I was struck by the stack of books left there and his passion to engage his mind in the process of discovery in his clearly weakened physical condition. Even then, he was diving for pearls.
Jim loved a quotation from Joseph Campbell: “Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived.” In the preface to An Introduction to the Art of Wondering, Jim writes: “While my wife Lori and I were lunching at a restaurant one day, she said to me, ‘How can you not feel alive if you are creating?’” In creation, Jim found the path to his exploration of the mystery of life, the means to find the questions to ask if not the answers. Beside him on that path, sharing the adventure, and sometimes triggering it, Lori was his partner, encouraging him to explore new pearl diving waters. Jim readily acknowledged the inspiration Lori offered him in his writing, thinking, and most importantly, living. Any conversation with Jim would include in that peaceful voice of his an expression of the joy and warmth Lori brought to his life on a daily basis. As he wrote in his dedication for volume I of The Wisdom Seekers, Lori “said to me each morning after breakfast, ‘Go and write us a big book.’ My everlasting thanks for the support and for love, intellect, and sparkling smiles.” In the margin he penned “not smiles, SIMILES, damn copy editors.” But I think in reality, Jim appreciated both: her smiles and her similes, he spirit and creative mind that could see Kafka in a dead cockroach. If knowledge, study, and wisdom were pearls, no doubt Lori was his diamond. And while I only know his family indirectly, I know that they offered for him stimulation, pride, and emotional fulfillment, the jewels of family.
Jim quotes Socrates in Plato’s Meno as saying, “I am not sure of everything I say. However, there is one thing I would fight for in both word and deed, right to the end if I could: The belief that it is possible to find out what we don’t know, and that we will be better human beings, braver and more fulfilled, if we try with all our might to do so.” Such is the legacy Jim Christian leaves to us; he found those pearls and has shared them selflessly with each of us as he sought to find out what he—and we—don’t know. Quoting his friend Ray Bradbury, Jim wrote, “Philosophy must try, as best it can, to turn the sparrows to flights of angels, which, Shakespeare wrote, sing us to our rest.”
(Copyright, Dr. Yeager)
uiet guy, young, in the London docklands in the early sixties, working on checking cargo and shipments and quantities and allowances and imports and exports. I imagine it was pretty rough. Somewhere in London he met my mother who was studying physiotherapy in South London.
My older brother and I were born in north London, but we moved to the countryside before I was 2, so I grew up in Wiltshire, where my Dad continued to work as a civil servant. Now more involved in checking the production levels of the brewing industry.
His involvement with alcohol unfortunately extended beyond work, and as long as I can remember, booze was around, be it long, frequent visits to the pub, hom
To a Lady, with a Guitar - by P. B. Shelley
ARIEL to Miranda: Take
This slave of music, for the sake
Of him, who is the slave of thee;
And teach it all the harmony
In which thou canst, and only thou,
Make the delighted spirit glow,
Till joy denies itself again
And, too intense, is turn'd to pain.
For by permission and command
Of thine own Prince Ferdinand,
Poor Ariel sends this silent token
Of more than ever can be spoken;
Your guardian spirit, Ariel, who
From life to life must still pursue
Your happiness, for thus alone
Can Ariel ever find his own.
From Prospero's enchanted cell,
As the mighty verses tell,
To the throne of Naples he
Lit you o'er the trackless sea,
Flitting on, your prow before,
Like a living meteor.
When you die, the silent Moon
In her interlunar swoon
Is not sadder in her cell
Than deserted Ariel:
When you live again on earth,
Like an unseen Star of birth
Ariel guides you o'er the sea
Of life from your nativity:
Many changes have been run
Since Ferdinand and you begun
Your course of love, and Ariel still
Has track'd your steps and served your will.
Now in humbler, happier lot,
This is all remember'd not;
And now, alas, the poor Sprite is
Imprison'd for some fault of his
In a body like a grave;
From you he only dares to crave,
For his service and his sorrow
A smile to-day, a song to-morrow.
The artist who this viol wrought
To echo all harmonious thought,
Fell'd a tree, while on the steep
The woods were in their winter sleep,
Rock'd in that repose divine
On the wind-swept Apennine;
And dreaming, some of autumn past,
And some of spring approaching fast,
And some of April buds and showers,
And some of songs in July bowers,
And all of love; and so this tree,
Oh that such our death may be!
Died in sleep, and felt no pain,
To live in happier form again:
From which, beneath heaven's fairest star,
The artist wrought this loved guitar;
And taught it justly to reply
To all who question skilfully
In language gentle as thine own;
Whispering in enamour'd tone
Sweet oracles of woods and dells,
And summer winds in sylvan cells.
For it had learnt all harmonies
Of the plains and of the skies,
Of the forests and the mountains,
And the many-voicd fountains;
The clearest echoes of the hills,
The softest notes of falling rills,
The melodies of birds and bees,
The murmuring of summer seas,
And pattering rain, and breathing dew,
And airs of evening; and it knew
That seldom-heard mysterious sound
Which, driven on its diurnal round,
As it floats through boundless day,
Our world enkindles on its way:
All this it knows, but will not tell
To those who cannot question well
The spirit that inhabits it:
It talks according to the wit
Of its companions; and no more
Is heard than has been felt before
By those who tempt it to betray
These secrets of an elder day.
But, sweetly as its answers will
Flatter hands of perfect skill,
It keeps its highest holiest tone
For one beloved Friend alone.
LINUS PAULING - A Biography
Linus Pauling was born with twin legacies. Although his parents could give him very little in the way of material wealth, they did give him the better gift of great intelligence. His brilliant mind eventually provided him with financial security as well as his greatest happiness. It can also be argued that this gift of intelligence was responsible for the controversy that seemed to surround everything he did and everything he wrote. He made great intuitive leaps and was frequently criticized for the conclusions he drew from what some felt was too little experimentation, often outside of Pauling's area of expertise.
His father was part pharmacist and part "medicine man" and wasn't especially successful at either. At the time when Linus was born in 1901 the family was living in what is now the wealthiest suburb of Portland, Oregon. However, they lived a very precarious existence at the edges of poverty. In fact, when Linus was four, the family moved to his mother's home town of Condon to get financial aid from her family. Condon is a small town in north central Oregon and in many ways then (and now) was a stereotypical 'Western' town with one main street and false fronts on many of the business buildings. In Condon his father took over the town drug store and Linus began exploring the physical world around him. A small creek flows on the south edge of town. There he and a friend explored the rocky creek bed and collected some of the minerals for which Pauling would eventually establish structures at the California Institute of Technology . It was likely during this time in Condon that Pauling developed his antipathy to snow and very cold weather. Condon's altitude is about 4000 feet and during the winter the temperature may not go above -20 Fahrenheit for days at a time. The wind roars through town because the town sits on top of the Columbia Basalt plateau and for miles around there is nothing to deflect the winds.
The Pauling family moved back to Portland just after Linus began school. When he was nine, his father died, leaving Linus, his two younger sisters and their mother to make their own way in the world. This began a stretch of more than 15 years when Pauling tried to pursue his education, while his mother tried to get him to quit school and become the support of the family. He did not quit school. However, he did find many ingenious ways to make money and most of it went to help support his mother and sisters. By the time he was twelve he was a freshman at Washington High School in Portland. After four years of learning, with or without the help of his teachers, and of odd jobs (delivering milk, running film projectors, and even working in a shipyard, for example) he left high school. He did not graduate because the high school required their students to take a class in civics and Pauling saw no reason why he should since he could absorb any of that from his own reading. Later, after his Nobel Prize for Peace in 1962, the administration agreed that he had learned civics on his own by granting him his high school diploma. In the fall of 1917 Pauling enrolled in Oregon Agricultural College-now Oregon State University-in Corvallis, Oregon. He sailed through the freshman courses required of a chemical engineering major in spite of the fact that he was also working one hundred hours a month. He was not only supporting himself, but also providing the bulk of his family¹s support. This became more and more arduous after his mother became ill. In fact, he did not return to the college after his sophomore year because of the need for money. However, at the first of November of what would have been his junior year, he received an offer to become an instructor of quantitative analysis at Oregon Agricultural College, a course he had just taken as a sophomore! The offer included a salary of $100 a month and he gladly took it. He himself did not take any courses that year. He met his future wife, Ava Helen Miller, when she was a student in his quantitative analysis class.
When he had graduated with his degree in chemical engineering, his mother again began pressuring him to stop his education and make money, perhaps become a secondary school teacher. Pauling, however, had applied to graduate schools at Harvard, Berkeley and the fairly new California Institute of Technology. His first choice was Berkeley because G.N. Lewis himself was the chair of the chemistry department, but Berkeley was too slow in replying to his application. Harvard didn't really interest him much, so his decision was made in favor of Cal. Tech. One year after begining work at Cal. Tech. he married Ava Helen Miller.
At the California Institute of Technology his advisor was Roscoe Dickinson, whose area of expertise was X-ray crystallography. At this time Dickinson was investigating the crystal structure of various minerals. In his work with Dickinson, Pauling displayed what was to become his standard method of attacking a problem. According to Dr. Edward Hughes, "He would guess what the structure might be like, and then he would arrange it to fit into the other data. . . he could then calculate the intensities he would get from that structure and then compare it with the observed ones." For the rest of his career Pauling was criticized for using too large an amount of intuition in his work and not always having complete data to back up what he wrote. As well as doing his research work, Pauling was taking courses and serving as a teaching assistant in the freshman chemistry course. He received his Ph. D. in chemistry with high honors in the June of 1925. His dissertation comprized the various papers he had already published on the crystal structure of different minerals.
A year later, when he was 25, he received a Guggenheim fellowship to study at the University of Munich under Arnold Sommerfeld, a theoretical physicist. Here he began work with quantum mechanics. In January of 1927 he published "The Theoretical Prediction of the Physical Properties of Many Electron Atoms and Ions; Mole Refraction, Diamagnetic Susceptibility, and Extension in Space" in which he applied the concept of quantum mechanics to chemical bonding. In March, a heated exchange took place between Pauling and W.L. Bragg in London over this paper. Bragg believed that Pauling had used some of his ideas without giving him credit for them. According to Pauling, the ideas originated in a paper by Gregor Wentzel on quantum mechanical calculations for electrons in complex atoms. "Wentzel reported poor agreement between the calculated and experimental values, but I found that his calculation was incomplete and that when it was carried out correctly, it led to values... in good agreement with the experimental values." In 1928 he published six principles to decide the structure of complicated crystals. This bothered Bragg even more since they did not all originate with Pauling. Actually, according to Horach Judson, "Pauling clarified them, codified them, demonstrated their generality and power." However, Bragg was spreading stories in England about Pauling's "thievery" and lack of professional ethics.
At this time Pauling took an assistant professorship in chemistry at Cal. Tech. There was a discrepancy, however, in what he thought he was being offered and what he was actually given. He had thought he was taking an appointment as Assistant Professor of Theoretical Chemistry and Mathematical Physics. This misunderstanding seems to have been a thorn in his side. However, thorn or no thorn, he began a period of intense and productive work. In 1928 he published a paper on orbital hybridization and resonance. In 1931 he published the first paper, "The Nature of the Chemical Bond". At this time he was also teaching classes. One of his responsibilities was the freshman chemistry course. Richard Noyes, now professor emeritus of physical chemistry at the University of Oregon, remembers that Pauling was an exciting lecturer and had an unbelievable ability as a demonstrator. He would be explaining something and "suddenly his mind would go off in a new direction, frequently into areas where the freshmen couldn't follow him." Dr. Noyes remembers one redox titration when Pauling turned on the buret then stepped to the chalkboard and began to write the equation for the reaction. He was glancing at the flask in which the reaction was taking place and suddenly moved back to the buret and turned it off, then swirled the mixture in the flask. The color was perfect, a perfect endpoint!
In 1931 Pauling was awarded the Langmuir Prize of the American Chemical Society for "the most noteworthy work in pure science done by a man under 30 years of age." In the same year he was offered a joint full professorship in both chemistry and physics at the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. He seriously considered the offer but he didn't want to have to brave the Massachusetts' winters. He ended up by accepting the position for one year only. In 1933 he was made a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He was 32, the youngest appointment to this body ever made.
Pauling was later to write, "By 1935, I had worked out most of the fundamental problems connected with the chemical bond." and "My serious interest in what is now called molecular biology began about 1935." He began with a look at hemoglobin. He discovered that the hemoglobin in arteries is repelled by a magnet while that in the veins is attracted to a magnet. His answer to this puzzle resulted in a paper on oxygen's binding to hemoglobin in 1936. The work on hemoglobin also lead to work on hydrogen-bonding between the polypeptide chains in proteins and another paper that same year on the denaturing of proteins. Also in 1936, he was made chairman of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Cal. Tech. In 1939 he published his most important book, The Nature of the Chemical Bond.
His work on hydrogen-bonding in proteins lead him to develop a theory of protein structure. It was generally accepted that proteins were made up of polypeptide chains which were, in turn, made up of long strings of amino acids, bonded end to end. He tried to demonstrate a way of coiling the polypeptide chain in the protein alpha keratin to match the x-rays that crystallographer W.T. Astbury had taken and interpreted, but was unable to fit a model to the data. Working with Corey, he did establish the structures of many small peptides and established that the peptide bond holding amino acids together is planar. In 1939 they formulated a small set of structural conditions for any model of a popypeptide chain.
Finally, in 1948, Pauling worked out the alpha helix structure of a polypeptide. He was in Oxford at this time, confined to bed with nephritis and bored with what he had to read. He says, "I took a sheet of paper and sketched the atoms with the bonds between them and then folded the paper to bend one bond at the right angle, what I thought it should be relative to the other, and kept doing this, making a helix, until I could form hydrogen bonds between one turn of the helix and the next turn of the helix, and it only took a few hours doing that to discover the alpha-helix." In 1954 Linus Pauling was given the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work on molecular structure, especially proteins.
During World War II Pauling worked on various "war" projects as did everyone at Cal. Tech. He chose not to work on the Manhattan Project, however. At the same time his wife was becoming more and more involved in socialist politics. They fought the internment of their Japanese-American gardener and, with the American Civil Liberties Union, the internment of all the Japanese-Americans. He was also becoming more and more worried about the atomic bomb and the radiation it produced. He became involved in the Scientists Movement, a more-or-less nation-wide group of scientists working for safe control of nuclear power. The Movement believed in ³the necessity for all nations to make every effort to cooperate now in setting up an international administration with police powers which can effectively control at least the means of nuclear warfare.² His wife was a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. In fact, at this time, she was probably more outspoken on the issues of human rights, peace and the banning of nuclear testing than Pauling was. In 1947 President Truman awarded him the presidential Medal of Merit for his work on crystal structure, the nature of the chemical bond, and his efforts to bring about world peace.
In November of 1950, he was subpoenaed to appear before the Senate Investigating Committee on Education of the State of California. He testified for over two hours, "mainly about my reasons for objecting to special loyalty oaths involving inquiry into political beliefs." He wrote the next day, "My own political beliefs are well known. I am not a Communist. I have never been a Communist. I have never been involved with the Communist Party. I am a Rooseveltian Democrat." However, he also believed that no governmental body had the right to ask him to answer those same questions under oath. This was during the early days of the McCarthy "witch hunts", which were stronger at the time in California than at most other places. His position upset some of the trustees and some professors at Cal .Tech., who tried to oust him.
This was just after Pauling, working with Corey, had used the idea gained from his paper model to work out the structure of many different protein molecules, all of which contained his alpha-helix. His proposed structure was not immediately accepted by the scientific world, however, especially by scientists in England. Therefore, in January of 1952, Pauling requested a passport to attend a meeting in England, specifically to defend his ideas. The passport was denied because granting it "would not be in the best interest of the United States." He applied again and wrote President Eisenhower, asking him to arrange the issuance of the passport since, "I am a loyal citizen of the United States. I have never been guilty of any unpatriotic or criminal act." The answer came back asking him to provide the State Department with some evidence supporting his claims. He sent a statement, made under oath, stating that he was not a communist, never had been a communist, and had never been involved with the Communist Party. The state department replied that his "anti-communist statements were not sufficiently strong" and again denied the passport on the very day he was supposed to leave for the conference. This pattern of Pauling requesting a passport to attend various conferences and the state department denying the application continued for a little over two years. During this time Einstein wrote a letter to the state department supporting Pauling's right to have a passport. He also wrote Pauling telling him, "It is very meritorious of you to fight for the right to travel."
In 1953 Pauling published his book, No More War. Again in April of 1954, when he requested a passport, he was denied it. On November 3 of that year, while he was giving a "routine lecture" on hemoglobin at Cornell University, he was called to the telephone to learn that he had just been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His first worry was, would he be able to get a passport so he could accept the prize in person? He applied immediately and for weeks he heard nothing. In Washington there were strong voices opposing the granting of the passport. One senator asked, "Are you in the State Department allowing some group of people in some foreign country to determine which Americans get passports?" On November 27, however, barely two weeks before the ceremony in Sweden, his passport did arrive.
His years of being unable to get a passport did more than inconvenience him. In 1948 he was already working toward a description of the structure of DNA. By the early 1950's, Rosalind Franklin and others working at Kings College in London had taken some of the sharpest, most detailed photographs of DNA ever. These are what Watson and Crick used in their successful discovery of the DNA double helix. Had Pauling been able to attend the spring 1952 conference he would likely have seen these photographs and might have come to the same conclusion, before Watson and Crick. It is sure that his not seeing them contributed to his proposed structure which had the phosphate groups closely packed inside a single helix with the bases sticking out around the outside.
Pauling continued his political activism, particularly his protesting of atomic bomb testing. This culminated in a petition to the United Nations--signed by 11,021 scientists from around the world--calling for an immediate world-wide ban on nuclear testing. Because of this petition he was subpoenaed to appear before the U.S. Senate Internal Security Committee. The committee wanted him to give the names of the petitioning scientists. Under oath, he admitted that he, Barry Commoner, and Edward Condon had initiated the petition, but refused to give any more names. There was much applause from the gallery and, after a while, the committee backed down. Later, during the Kennedy Administration, after Kennedy had decided to go ahead with atmospheric nuclear testing, Pauling sent President Kennedy a telegram asking, ³Are you to give the orders that will cause you to go down in history as one of the most immoral men of all times and one of the greatest enemies of the human race?² Of course, this telegram raised quite a furor. However, the Kennedys still invited him to a White House dinner honoring Nobel Prize winners of the western hemisphere. On the day of the dinner, both Dr. and Mrs. Pauling took part in a demonstration in front of the White House, then left the picket line to go in to dinner. Later that evening, Pauling even danced with Mrs. Kennedy.
On October 10, 1962, it was announced that Linus Pauling had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts on behalf of a nuclear test ban treaty. This award was not universally popular. Many newspapers and magazines printed editorials denouncing him, his activism,and his having been given the prize.
Since his second Nobel Prize, Dr. Pauling has researched the chemistry of the brain and its effect on mental illness, the cause of sickle-cell anemia and what is happening to the hemoglobin in the red blood cells of people with this disease, and the effects of large doses of vitamin C on both the common cold and some kinds of cancer. He recently published papers on high temperature super conductivity. He has worked at the University of California at San Diego, at Stanford and at the Linus Pauling Institute for Medical Research. He has won many awards in chemistry, including all the major ones. He remains, as he has been all his life, a brilliant man with brilliant ideas. He was once asked by a high school student , "How can I have great ideas?" Pauling's answer was, "The important thing is to have many ideas." He has certainly followed his own advice.
Something about my father -- by Duncan Toms
Dad grew up in a fishing town in south Cornwall. His family were butchers, with their own small abattoir and butchers shop. For sure my dad, Alfred Clive Toms was an artist and yet somehow he was encouraged to join HM Customs and Excise and head to London to work, rather than go to university. He had two brothers, one who was a prison officer and the other a woodwork teacher.
So there he was, a quiet guy, young, in the London docklands in the early sixties, working on checking cargo and shipments and quantities and allowances and imports and exports. I imagine it was pretty rough. Somewhere in London he met my mother who was studying physiotherapy in South London.
My older brother and I were born in north London, but we moved to the countryside before I was 2, so I grew up in Wiltshire, where my Dad continued to work as a civil servant. Now more involved in checking the production levels of the brewing industry.
His involvement with alcohol unfortunately extended beyond work, and as long as I can remember, booze was around, be it long, frequent visits to the pub, home brewing, or drinking with friends. And later, alone.
I remember his philosophical mind. Things were never straight forward. He said that he didn't get along with that many people. Things continued fairly normally into my teens. It was then I started feeling awkward around him and his convoluted explanations with touches on true wisdom, his launching into seemingly irrelevant descriptions of historical events. But also great humour at times. I didn't really understand him much. Once when mum was in hospital I wanted to cry. He told me not to because he would too.
The heavy drinking got more frequent and I would avoid him more and more, often hiding up in my room. Dinner at home became food in front of the tv instead of together at the table. Weird jealous notes written to my mum. And later bottles of spirits found around the house. He never got physically violent, at least not with me.
I left home when I was 18 for university. By then my mum had had enough and had moved out, and a divorce followed. When I got married at 22, I was too embarrassed of him to invite him to the wedding. I can't imagine how bad this must have made him feel, increasing his alienation from his family.
Jumping back a while... A keen amateur magician, a puppeteer, a choir member, a parish councilor, a nature lover, a film buff, highly intelligent. And jumping back some more, a loving father, reading bedtime stories, carrying us on shoulders, a keen walker, encouraging in us a love of the outdoors.
Away at university and beyond I had less and less to do with him. I felt estranged at a visit to our old family home before it was sold, him living alone, a stale smell in there, me and my two brothers sitting about, all awkward, him saying it felt like a forced visit to an aunt. It did to me too. I went out to take the dog, now so sad-looking, for a walk.
The house sold and I heard he was living with a drinking friend, in the nearby town. We would write sometimes and he'd often guiltily defend his drinking. 'What's wrong with the odd Guinness at lunchtime?' But it was way more than that, and had been for years.
Then I heard he'd been taken ill. Liver trouble. Big trouble. Released from hospital but unable really to look after himself he was in a low grade psychiatric hospital when I went to visit. Looking around 70, he was yellow from the liver damage. He didn't really know which of his sons I was, some amalgamation of us all. He wanted cigarettes from town and it was a relief to go get them. This was typical, me avoiding the issue by leaving. A sad scene in there, lost people looking up at the tv high on the wall; horse racing.
When he got better, a little bit better, he was out again but his weak body couldn't take any more. He died of complications from a stomach ulcer due to alcoholism soon after. Drinking on an empty stomach. He was under 50 years old.
A man who never found his place, who didn't fit in easily and used drink to help. A heavy drinking London culture started it off. When he quit his profession there were sorry attempts of self employment but he never worked again and he never found an outlet for his creativity and intelligence.
I didn't really know him in adult life. He's taught me the dangers of alcohol, a route all three of us have been in danger of in our time. He said that you can tell more about a person in their eyes rather than their words. Time and time again while watching tv he would tell us: this isn't real, you know. Kind of obvious but very true. Real life isn't mediated and if it is it isn't real life.
Many times I remember his illnesses, days in bed, shaking, sweating, that strange smell. Trying to quit. And when he was well, I remember, seems strange now, him doing yoga asanas on the bedroom floor.
About Raj Rathor -- a good friend and great musician
Raj was a master of jazz guitar -- he ate and breathed modes and everything Jazz which is so difficult. He always had a nice smile. He lived in Vegas with wife Diana. His mom was in Ojai - Gabriela - very lovely lady. Always signed her emails "In Love & Light". His dad was Indian.
Brandon Silverman...NOTES OF PASSION
Never before had I touched a musical instrument. I had never known my own creativity, never been in touch with it. In retrospect I had known little about myself before I met Raj Rathor. By sharing with me his genuine character, Raj transcended the position of guitar teacher. He instilled in me the most valuable lessons, applicable universally not only in music, but also in life itself. His inspiration aided the maturation of my character and led me to achieve greater success than I ever previously imagined. In the haze of great people I have met throughout my life, Raj undoubtedly shines through as the most scintillating and venerable gem.
Raj has an ardor, a faithful zeal in all he does. It is precisely this undying passion for life that distinguishes him from everyone else. From the very first moment he spoke to me regarding musical theory, I could sense his authentic love for the subject. His profound knowledge and mastery of music were astounding. I remember the first time he played for me; never before had I witnessed firsthand such a unique virtuoso in action. From then on, I had a new found respect for jazz music, his forte. He taught me to embrace a culture and a tradition to which I forever would have been shut off.
As my relationship with Raj grew, I began to recognize his dedication in all areas of life. In music, in his political views, in his spiritual beliefs, Raj knows what he believes and stands by it. Raj is a dedicated pacifist, exalting in life above all else. He believes music and peace work together to foster spiritual connectedness. Through his lessons, he truly demonstrated to me the virtue still present, yet oftentimes obscured in human nature.
My character further developed as a result of my growing closeness with Raj. I became more optimistic and found much greater personal connection with many aspects of life, such as abstract expression and individual spirituality. With music becoming a growing force in my life, I felt more complete; more successful. My life seemed tremendously balanced and much more significant as a result. I began to find peace and happiness in the creation of music and the performance thereof. Now, nothing is more meaningful to me than expressing myself musically and pleasing those around me.
Thereafter, my guitar teacher became my role model. I know that Raj, my mentor and guide, will forever be there for me, offering his blessed services without recompense. His passion awakened my own; my love for music and for life grew stronger with each passing day. Raj revealed to me an ideal world devoid of hatred and war – a world whose scales rise mightily as peaks, whose modes prove as diverse as Earth’s landscapes, whose arpeggios reign softly as clouds – a dynamic world pervaded by loving, passionate placidity.
"Look up Hanna"
Final Speech of "The Great Dictator" by Charlie Chaplin - Compiled by Reza Ganjavi
Written and delivered by Sir Charles ChapliN
General Schulz: Speak - it is our only hope.
The Jewish Barber (Charlie Chaplin): I'm sorry but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black men, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others' happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men's souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.
Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say "Do not despair." The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.
Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men---machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don't hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.
Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.
Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.
Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
[Huge hurray from the huge crowd – scene changes to Hanna (Paulette Goddard) a refugee on the floor with eyes still in tears from having been beaten down by the Dictator’s soldiers. Romantic string music in the background. Hanna’s beautiful face and eyes are in awe as to how her Jewish barber friend who was imprisoned by the Dictator’s troops is not speaking as the Great Dictator!]
Hanna, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up Hanna! The clouds are lifting! The sun is breaking through! We are coming out of the darkness into the light! We are coming into a new world; a kind new world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed, and brutality. Look up, Hanna! The soul of man has been given wings and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow. Into the light of hope! Into the future! The glorious future! That belongs to you, to me, and to all of us. Look up, Hanna! Look up!
Hanna's Father: Hanna! Did you hear that?
Hanna: Listen! [as her great acting and incredible cinematography turns her face into a goddess as the music takes the movie to conclusion.]
With appetite and search
With appetite and search
For other men to prey upon and such their childhood dry.
There are men to gentle for an accountant's world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And search for beauty in the mystery of the sky.
There are men to gentle too live among wolves
Who toss them like a lost and wounded dove
Such gentle men are lonely in a merchant's world
Unless they have a gentle one to love.
There are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
by James Kavanaugh
There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who prey upon them with IBM eyes
And sell their hearts and guts for martinis at noon.
There are men to gentle for a savage world
Who dream instead of snow and children and Halloween
And wonder if the leaves will change their color soon.
There are men to gentle to live among wolves
Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws
And murder them for a merchant's profit and gain.
There are men to gentle for a corporate world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train.
There are men to gentle too live amount wolves
Who devour them
UNAFRAID TO BE FREE
by James Kavanaugh
Finally unafraid to be free,
Ready to surrender all the illusions of
recognition and external securities,
Living off the sky and earth like soaring
eagles and braying burros,
Trusting in a Power even beyond Dow Jones
and hoarded retirement.
Finally ready to live like the noble animal that I am-
Without masters or servants, with dignity dependent on no one,
Content to know that I am God's child, and
only good has been prepared for me.
When I am not afraid to release all that my life
and culture taught me to prize.
To abandon fears once and for all, to discard the
anxieties of a lifetime like a suit that no longer fits,
To be afraid of no one, beholden to no one,
dependent on no one
Save the few who know and love me as I am,
and the God Who alone gives meaning and joy
to the madness of my life.
Even if I die
Even if I die
I will be there for you,
make a table
Out of me.
Perhaps a door
or maybe a bed,
do what you feel
you can even carve a diety.
But, for now___
just listen to me,
I still breathe,
(by an ex-student of a K school)
This is a paragraph which expresses how i see relationship and friendship,
thought i will share it with you. I don't know where it's originally from,
heard it while traveling, this is my own version of it:
the world is full of butterflies, beautiful, colourful butterflies, they
fly around you and once in a while a really pretty one lands on your arm.
If you try to touch it, to hold it, to keep it with you, it will soon lose
it's ability to fly, it will lose it's colour, it's beauty will fade and
finally it will die.
But if you hold your arm very quiet(or still?), it might stay for a while,
and you can take a closer look at it, be happy that it's there, so close
to you, see it in all it's beauty. And then, one day, when it takes off and
flies away, you don't have to be sad or unhappy, it's just beautiful to see
it fly around freely again.
hope i got it right, it's not so easy for me in english.
Love is Dear Only to the Heart of the Lover - Nezami Ganjavi
Once there was a king who heard about the story of Leili and Majnun and knew that Majnun left his life in the city and strayed in the desert and field. He called his ministers and soldiers to bring Majnun to his palace. Soldiers went to the field and found Majnun and brought him to the palace of the king. The king asked Majnun, "Why did you leave the human society, leave your home and stay in the caves and deserts: Why did you not find social life pleasing?" Majnun replied, "I left my family and my friends because they were blaming me for my love for Laili. Oh, how I wish the day will come when they see that beauty and they will all fall in love with her and regret the blame they put on me." Majnun talked and talked about Leili's beauty so much that the king became eager to see Laili. So he asked his soldiers to bring her to his court.
Soldiers went to Laili's tribe and brought her to the presence of the king. To the king's astonishment, Laili was weak, dark skinned, and not pretty. "She is plain, so very plain and common. My servants are prettier than she is. She has no grace, she has no beauty," the king thought. Majnun sensing the king's thought said, "Oh, King, You should see the beauty and the grace of Leaili through my eyes. You have to have Majnun's eye for the mystery of her beauty to be revealed to you."
Two lovers sailed into the sea
A sudden storm wrecked their ship.
A fisherman came along to save the boy.
"My love is there, save her first,
Save her," he cried.
Before he drowned and died, he whispered:
Love is not what you hear
Love is to forget not the beloved
Even when the storm is to take your soul."
These selections were translated by Seyedeh Nahid Angha, Ph.D.
As usual, Sebastian created a remarkable fugue using the King's tune. It starts out as one voice coming in like a little stream. Then another voice joins in making harmony, yet carrying its own story. Then a third voice like a brook enters the sea of notes to carry its message. And miraculously the trinity of tones harmonize, yet each is a melody on its own, united in perfect form, creating poetry in music, to the end that the soul of man may be at peace and experience tranquility. As the notes fade into the air, none disappears, but together they ascend to the very throne of God in Heaven as praises too deep for utterance.
Anna Magdalena Bach
Guru Nanak's song
O God beautiful! O God beautiful!
In the forest, Thou art green,
In the mountain, Thou art high,
In the river, Thou art restless,
In the ocean, Thou art grave!
To the serviceful, Thou art service,
To the lover, Thou art love,
To the sorrowful, Thou art sympathy,
To the yogi, Thou art bliss!
O God beautiful! O God beautiful!
At Thy feet, O I do bow!
By Guru Nanak, Translated by Yogananda
It can buy a house
But not a home
It can buy a bed
But not the sleep
It can buy a clock
But not the time
It can buy a book
But not the knowledge
It can buy a position
But not the respect
It can pay the physician
But not health.
It can buy blood
But not life
It can buy the sex
But not of the love
(A Chinese [not verified] poem about money)
[translated by software from French]
[thanks to Gianna Mestermann]
From Reza Ganjavi's College Communication Great Teacher
May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your window pane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May god fill your heart with glaness to cheer you.
(An Irish Poem)
Keep well - and happy.
As for the poem, this is my award winning number. Though I forewarn: according to me, my
poems are more closely related to rubbish than to contest winners. I am
never happy with anything that I've written for longer than ten minutes.
That said, here it is...
(for it has become an
it, you know
an idea taking
life on its own
apart from me
or our vocalized chording)
is looking so
now that there's day
of its white
face turning blue
and I'm thinking we
should have left
it at flowers.
Randi Caryn Shapiro
In surrendering oneself
to the impermanence and uncertainty of this life
there will be a stillness where knowing resides
beyond the answers of the mind.
No future, no past.
Just this moment, living what is here now
in total unison with the universe
and its beautifully ordered chaos.
From Anu to Reza Ganjavi
twinkle twinkle mr.great smile
tell me now r u fine?
feeling better? do u feel to sit
tell me till now what u did???????
tell me did u take some medicine yet
or r u feeding the tablets to your pet????
tell me all this nd tell me soon
else i'll watch u from the moon !!!!!!!!!!!
Give It Up by Franz Kafka
It was very early in the morning, the streets clean and deserted, I was on my way to the railroad station. As I compared the tower clock with my watch I realized it was already much later than I had thought, I had to hurry, the shock of this discovery made me feel uncertain of the way, I was not very well acquainted with the town yet, fortunately there was a policeman nearby, I ran to him and breathlessly asked him the way. He smiled and said: 'from me you want to learn the way?' 'Yes,' I said, 'since I cannot find it myself.' 'Give it up, give it up,' said he, and turned away with a great sweep, like someone who wants to be alone with his laughter.
"Cho fardaah bar aayad boland aaftaab, man'o gorz'o meydaaneh Afraasiaab."
He draws the parallel from the "gorz" to the intellect, or the power of
the pen that helps one lay down/share what needs to be communicated. the
"meydaan" is what ever context you're in and the "afraasiab" -well- that's
anyone who's on the otherside. it's heavy on war analogy, but from my
dad's mouth, it sure has sounded good to me over the years.
zendegi aatashgahi dirine-pa barjaast
gar biafroozish raghse sholehayash az har karan peidast
var na khamooshast va khamooshi gonahe mast.
taa-at aan nist ke bar khaat nahi pishani
sedgh pish aar ke ekhlaas be pishani nist
eshgh aamadani bood na aamookhtani
I must confess, I don't have very often a look at my mailbox. Computers may
be very useful, but they don't always do what I want them to do. The
conversation with these machines is full of misunderstandings.
Sun and moon are part of the same universe. From different perspectives they
look at Earth, watching her, perhaps guarding her.
The sun is all burning. The moon has as well a warm and bright side as a
cold and dark one.
There's a bright and a dark side in all of us. As long as we follow the path
of light, we won't freeze.
Heaven begins just above Earth
Finally, Spring arrived, the beauty of the trees full of flowers seem origin of some
fairyland. The smell of life and growth has returned and chased Winters last
messangers away. I enjoy the eternal circle of life and to be a part of it.
The days are nice, the moonlit nights even more beautyful. In the silence
you understand the whispering of the trees, the silent sound of the wind and
nature sings softly her old, eternal melodies.
The Farewell of the Arab Hostess
Since nothing will keep you in this happy land,
neither the shade of the palm tree, nor the yello corn,
neither rest, nor abundance,
nor the sight, at your voice, ofthe young
beating hearts of our sisters who, at night,
in a whirling swarm
crown the hillside with therir dance,
farewell, handsome traveller! Alas, farewell!
Oh!if only you were one of those
whose lazy feet are bounded by
their roof of branches or canvas!
Who, idly dreaming, listen unmoved to tales,
and at eventide, sitting before their door,
wish to be off and away among the stars!
Alas! Farewell! Farewell, handsome traveller!
Had you wished it, one of us perhaps
o young man, would have liked to serve you
on bended knee
in our ever open huts;
while lulling your sleep with her song
she would have made,
to drive the tiresome gnats from your brow,
a fan of green leaves.
If you do not come back, dream a little
from time to time
of the daughters of the desert, sweet-voiced
who dance barefoot on the sandhills,
o handsome white man, fine bird
remember, remember, for perhaps,
o quickly passing stranger,
your memory remains with more tham one!
Alas! Farewell! Farewell, handsome stranger!
Alas! Farewell! Remember!
William Blake - Auguries of Innocence
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.
A dove-house fill'd with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell thro' all its regions.
A dog starv'd at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipt and arm'd for fight
Does the rising sun affright.
Every wolf's and lion's howl
Raises from hell a human soul.
The wild deer, wand'ring here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misus'd breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher's knife.
The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won't believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever's fright.
He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be belov'd by men.
He who the ox to wrath has mov'd
Shall never be by woman lov'd.
The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider's enmity.
He who torments the chafer's sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.
The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the last judgement draweth nigh.
He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar's dog and widow's cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.
The gnat that sings his summer's song
Poison gets from slander's tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of envy's foot.
The poison of the honey bee
Is the artist's jealousy.
The prince's robes and beggar's rags
Are toadstools on the miser's bags.
A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The babe is more than swaddling bands;
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;
This is caught by females bright,
And return'd to its own delight.
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar,
Are waves that beat on heaven's shore.
The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes revenge in realms of death.
The beggar's rags, fluttering in air,
Does to rags the heavens tear.
The soldier, arm'd with sword and gun,
Palsied strikes the summer's sun.
The poor man's farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric's shore.
One mite wrung from the lab'rer's hands
Shall buy and sell the miser's lands;
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole nation sell and buy.
He who mocks the infant's faith
Shall be mock'd in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.
He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child's toys and the old man's reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.
The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.
The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar's laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour's iron brace.
When gold and gems adorn the plow,
To peaceful arts shall envy bow.
A riddle, or the cricket's cry,
Is to doubt a fit reply.
The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation's fate.
The harlot's cry from street to street
Shall weave old England's winding-sheet.
The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
Dance before dead England's hearse.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro' the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day
Young women are at high risk of depression...
Depression was also closely linked to academic pressures or troubled romantic relationships. ``Many of the depressed women
appeared to struggle to perform well in school,'' the investigators point out, ``or to manage work and school demands.''
Compared with nondepressed women, depressed women were also more likely to be in conflict with their romantic partner or
to have partners who ``used psychological or even physical means of coercion in dealing with relationship conflict.''
What I've Learned
I've learned - That you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.
I've learned - that no matter how much I care, some people just don't care back.
I've learned - that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.
I've learned - that it's not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.
I've learned - that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you'd better know something.
I've learned - that it's not what happens to people that's important. It's what they do about it.
I've learned - that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
I've learned - that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
I've learned - that either you control your attitude or it controls you.
I've learned - that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.
I've learned - that learning to forgive takes practice.
I've learned - that money is a lousy way of keeping score.
I've learned - that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.
I've learned - that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
I've learned - that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many years you've lived.
I've learned - that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed you.
I've learned - that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.
I've learned - that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
I've learned - that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.
l've learned - that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other and just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.
I've learned - that sometimes you have to put the individual ahead of their actions.
I've learned - that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.
I've learned - that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.
I've learned - that there are many ways of falling and staying in love.
I've learned - that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.
I've learned - that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.
I've learned - that writing, as well as talking, can ease emotional pains.
I've learned - that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.
I've learned - that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon.
Fear: Its Political Uses and Abuses
As Prepared for Delivery
Remarks By Al Gore February 5, 2004
Thank you for inviting me to speak at this timely conference on the Uses and Misuses of Fear in our political system in America.
It is an honor to be part of a program that includes so many distinguished scholars who, unlike me, have genuine expertise in these matters.
And I want to acknowledge that I have already learned a lot from them by reading some of what they have written and by calling some of them on the telephone before trying to organize my own thoughts on this topic.
It's also a personal pleasure to share a dais with my friend and former Senate colleague Bob Kerrey, who brings to this discussion not only his experience in political and academic leadership but also - it bears noting because of the subject of our discussions here - his extraordinary personal example of how to stare down the fear of death and lead with raw courage in circumstances that are hard for the rest of us to imagine.
We are meeting, moreover, in a city that has itself been forced to learn how to conquer terror. And because we are gathered very close to Ground Zero, we should of course begin our deliberations with a moment of respect and remembrance for those who died on September 11th and for those who have been bereaved.
Terrorism, after all, is the ultimate misuse of fear for political ends.
Indeed, its specific goal is to distort the political reality of a nation by creating fear in the general population that is hugely disproportionate to the actual danger the terrorists are capable of posing.
That is one of the reasons it was so troubling last week when the widely respected arms expert David Kay concluded a lengthy and extensive investigation in Iraq for the Bush Administration with these words:
"We were all wrong."
The real meaning of Kay's devastating verdict is that for more than two years, President Bush and his administration have been distorting America's political reality by force-feeding the American people a grossly exaggerated fear of Iraq that was hugely dis-proportionate to the actual danger posed by Iraq.
How could that happen?
Could it possibly have been intentional?
Well, there are some clues... the fear campaign aimed at Iraq was timed for the kickoff of the midterm election campaign of 2002 - you know, the one where Max Cleland, who lost three limbs fighting for America in Vietnam, was accused of being unpatriotic.
The curious timing was explained by the President's chief of staff as a marketing decision - timed for the post-labor day advertising period.
For everything there is a season - particularly the politics of fear.
And it did serve to distract attention from pesky domestic issues like the economy, which were, after all, beginning to worry the White House in the summer of 2002
And of course there is now voluminous evidence that the powerful clique inside the administration that had been agitating for war against Iraq since before the inauguration immediately seized upon the tragedy of 9-11 as a terrific opportunity to accomplish what they had not been able to do beforehand: invade a country that had not attacked us and didn't threaten us.
They were clever and they managed to get the job done.
But some deceitfulness took place somehow.
The so-called intelligence was stretched beyond recognition, distorted and mis-represented.
Some of it that the President personally presented to the American people on national television in his State of the Union address turned out to have been actually forged by someone - though we still don't know who, (and amazingly enough, the White House still doesn't seem to really care who forged the document.)
The CIA had warned his staff not to let him use that particular document, but there was some kind of regrettable communications foulup inside the National Security Council.
But now the President has expressed his determination to find out who is actually responsible for the intelligence being "all wrong".
Over the past 18 months, I have delivered a series of speeches addressing different aspects of President Bush's agenda, including his decision to go to war in Iraq under patently false pretenses, his dangerous assault on Civil Liberties here at home, his outrageously fraudulent economic policy, and his complete failure to protect the global environment.
Initially, my purposes were limited in each case to the subject matter of the speech.
However, as I tried to interpret what was driving these various policies, certain common features became obvious and a clear pattern emerged: in every case there was a determined disinterest in the facts; an inflexible insistence on carrying out preconceived policies regardless of the evidence concerning what might work and what clearly would not; a consistent bias favoring the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the broader public interest; and a marked tendency to develop policies in secret, avoid accountability to the public, the Congress or the Press; and a disturbing willingness to misrepresent the true nature of the policy involved.
And no matter what the issue, it is now clear that in every instance they have resorted to the language and politics of fear in order to short-circuit debate and drive the public agenda.
The Administration did not hesitate to heighten and distort public fear of terrorism after September 11th, to create a political case for attacking Iraq.
Iraq was said to be working hand in hand with Al Queda.
Iraq was said to be on the verge of a nuclear weapons capability.
Defeating Saddam Hussein was conflated into bringing war to the terrorists, even though what it really meant was diverting resources away from the pursuit of the people who attacked us, and causing us to lose focus on that task.
The administration also did not hesitate to use fear of terrorism to launch a broadside attack on measures that have been in place for a generation to prevent a repetition of gross abuses of authority by the FBI and by the intelligence community at the height of the Cold War.
I served on the House Select Committee on Intelligence immediately after the period when the revelations of these abuses led to major reforms.
Conservatives on that panel resisted those changes tooth and nail.
They have long memories, and now these same constraints have been targeted in the Patriot Act and have been sharply diminished or removed.
And the President wants the Patriot Act extended and made permanent.
Neither did the administration have any scruples about using fear of terrorists as a means to punch holes in the basic protections of the Constitution: to create a class of permanent prisoners; to make it possible to imprison Americans without due process; to totally sequester information not just from the people, but from the congress and the courts - all justified by recourse to fear.
Our nation has gone through other periods in our history when the misuse of fear resulted in abuses of civil liberties:
The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, the Palmer Raids and the Red Scare after World War I, the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II, and the McCarthy abuses of the Cold War.
After each of these periods of excess we have felt ashamed and have tried to make up for the abuses.
And although we have not yet entered the period of regret and atonement this time around, it is already obvious that we are now in a period of regrettable excess.
The administration did not hesitate to use economic fear of recession as a means to put in place its tax cuts, massively benefiting the wealthiest while loading debt on the rest of the country for generations to come.
It used fear of energy shortage to build an energy policy made to order for the oil industry at the expense of the rest of us.
It used the fear that we would lose competitive-ness to block responsible action to deal with global warming, and has by that action mortgaged not only us but our children and their children to consequences unmitigated by any acts of foresight in this generation.
Meanwhile, even the Chinese have passed us in fuel economy standards for new automobiles.
It uses fear of the problems of old age to contrive an illusory drug bill that essential transfers billions from the people to the pockets of vast pharmaceutical interests.
It does not hesitate to use fear even of God not only to pronounce its views on marriage but to impose them on the nation as a constitutional amendment.
At the level of our relations with the rest of the world, the Administration has willingly traded in respect for the United States in favor of fear: that is the real meaning of "shock and awe."
It is this administration's theory that American "dominance" -- coupled with a doctrine of pre-emptive strikes (regardless of whether the threat is imminent or not; today George Tenet made it clear that the CIA never said Iraq was an imminent threat) will be sufficient to persuade our rivals and enemies to leave the field.
But there is another querstion that I believe urgently needs attention: how could our nation have become so vulnerable to such an effective use of fear to manipulate our politics?
After all, it is a serious indictment of our political discourse that almost three-quarters of all Americans were so easily led to believe that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the attacks of September 11th-that nearly half of all Americans still believe that most of the hijackers were Iraqis - and that more than 40 percent were so easily convinced that Iraq did in fact have nuclear weapons.
A free press is supposed to function as our Democracy's immune system against such gross errors of fact and understanding.
Well, for one thing, there has been a dramatic change in what the philosopher Jurgen Habermas describes as the structure of the public forum.
It is simply no longer as accessible to the free exchange of ideas, which flowed during the Enlightenment.
The Age of Print effectively ended in the 1960's when television overtook newspapers - and the gap has grown dramatically since then.
The ownership of the media companies has also changed.
The leadership of the Republican party is augmented by its links to the corporate ownership of the conglomerates that control most of our media: a process already so far advanced that it alarmed even conservative members of Congress and caused them to join to oppose the FCC's efforts to make the world of information safe for monopoly.
Though the President is still out-maneuvering them.
And this after all, includes a growing part of the media characterized by paranoia presented as entertainment - the part that allows drug-addled hypocrites, compulsive gamblers, and assorted religious bigots to mascarade as moral guides for the nation.
What are the consequences?
Fear drives out reason.
It suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction.
It also requires us to pay more attention to the new discoveries about the way fear affects our brains...
The root word for democracy - "demos" - meant the masses of common people, who were an object of fear in the minds of many of our country's founders.
What they wanted was an orderly society in which property would be safe from arbitrary confiscation (remember the Revolutionary War was in significant measure about taxation).
What they believed was that a too pure democracy would expose that society to the ungoverned passions of what today we call "the street:" of people with little to lose, whose angers could be all too easily aroused by demagogues (note the root, again) and turned against those with wealth.
So the Constitution of which we are so proud is really an effort - based at least as much on fear as on hope -- to compromise and balance out the conflicting agendas of two kinds of Americans:
those who already have achieved material success, and those who aspire to it: those who are happy with the status quo, and those who can only accept the status quo if it is the jumping off place to something better for themselves.
That tension can never be fully resolved, and it is perfectly clear at the present moment in the profoundly differing agendas of our two major parties.
Neither has the fear that underlies these differences gone away, however well it may be camouflaged.
Somewhere along the line, the Republican Party became merely the name plate for the radical right in this country.
The radical right is, in fact,
a coalition of those who fear other Americans:
as agents of treason;
as agents of confiscatory government;
as agents of immorality.
This fear gives the modern Republican Party its well-noted cohesiveness and its equally well-noted practice of jugular politics.
Even in power, the modern Republican Party feels itself to be surrounded by hostility: beginning with government itself, which they present as an enemy; extending to those in the opposition party; and ultimately, on to that portion of the country whose views and hopes are represented by it - that is to say, to virtually, half the nation.
Under these circumstances, it is natural - perhaps tragic in the classical sense - but nonetheless natural - for the modern Republican Party to be especially proficient in the use of fear as a technique for obtaining and holding power.
This phenomenon was clear under both President's Reagan and Bush Sr., except softened to an extent by the personalities of both men.
Under our current President Bush, however, the machinery of fear is right out in the open, operating at full throttle.
Fear and anxiety have always been a part of life and always will be.
Fear is ubiquitous and universal, in every human society, a normal part of the human condition.
But we have always defined progress by our success in managing through our fears.
Christopher Columbus... Lewis and Clark... the Wright Brothers... and Neil Amstrong - all found success by challenging the unknown and overcoming fear with courage and a keen sense of proportion that helped them overcome real fears without being distracted by distorted and illusory fears.
As with individuals, nations succeed or fail - and define their essential character - by the way they challenge the unknown and cope with fear.
And much depends upon the quality of their leadership.
If their leaders exploit their fears and use them to herd people in directions they might not otherwise choose, then fear itself can quickly become a self- perpetuating and free-wheeling force that drains national will and weakens national character, diverting attention from real threats deserving of healthy and appropriate concern, and sowing confusion about the essential choices that every nation must constantly make about its future.
Leadership means inspiring us to manage through our fears.
Demagoguery means exploiting our fears for political gain.
50 years ago, when the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union was raising tensions in the world and McCarthyism was threatening freedom at home, President Eisenhower said, "Any who act as if freedom's defenses are to be found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America."
But only 15 years later, when Ike's V-P, Richard Nixon, finally became President, it marked the beginning of a big change in America's politics.
Nixon embodied the spirit of "suppression and suspicion and fear" that Eisenhower denounced.
And it first bcame apparent in the despicable midterm election campaign of 1970 waged by Nixon and Vice President Agnew.
I saw that campaign first hand: my father, the bravest politician I have ever known, was slandered as unpatriotic because he opposed the Vietnam War and accused of being an atheist because he opposed a Constitutional Amendment to allow government-sponsored prayer in the public schools.
I was in the Army at the time - on my way to Vietnam.
I had a leave the week of the election.
"Law and Order," and court-ordered "busing" for racial integration of the schools were the other big issues.
It was a sleazy campaign by Nixon - one that is now regarded as a watershed marking a sharp decline in the tone of our national discourse.
In many ways, George W. Bush reminds me more of Nixon than any other previous president.
Like Bush, Nixon subordinated virtually every principal to his hunger for reelection.
He instituted wage and price controls with as little regard for his "conservative" principals as Bush has shown in piling up trillions of dollars of debt.
After the oil embargo of 1973, Nixon threatened a military invasion of the oil fields of the Middle East. Now Bush has actually done it.
Both kept their true intentions secret.
Like Bush, Nixon understood the political uses and misuses of fear.
After he was driven from office in disgrace, one of Nixon's confidants quoted Nixon as having told him this:
"People react to fear, not love.
They don't teach that in Sunday School, but it's true."
The night before that election, 33 years and 3 months ago, Senator Ed Muskie of Maine spoke on national television for the Democrats and said,
"There are only two kinds of politics. They are not radical and reactionary, or conservative and liberal. Or even Democrat and Republican. There are only the politics of fear and the politics of trust.
"One says: You are encircled by monstrous dangers.
Give us power over your freedom so we may protect you.
"The other says: The world is a baffling and hazardous place, but it can be shaped to the will of men. ...(C)ast your vote for trust ...in the ancient traditions of this home for freedom...."
The next day my father was defeated. Defeated by the politics of fear.
But his courage in standing for principle made me so proud that I really felt he had won something more important than an election.
In his speech that night, he stood the old segregationist slogan on its head and defiantly promised:
"The truth shall rise again!"
I wasn't the only person who heard that promise. Nor the only one for whom that hope still rings loudly and true.
I hope and believe that this year the politics of fear will be defeated and the truth shall rise again.
Almost 3,000 years ago, Solomon warned that where there is no vision, the people perish.
But the converse is also surely true: where there is leadership with vision and moral courage, the people will flourish and redeem Lincoln's prophesy at Gettysberg: that government of the people: by the people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth.
The First Declaration of Human Rights
Source: Zoroastrianism and Biblical Connections
Author: Dr. Darius Jahanian
One of the significant events in ancient history is the conquest of Babylon by the Persian king, Cyrus the Great.
On October 4th, 539 BC, the Persian Army entered the city of Babylon, which was then the capital of the Babylonian state (in central Iraq). This was a bloodless campaign and no prisoners were taken. Later, on November 9th, King Cyrus of Persia visited the city. Babylonian history tells us that Cyrus was greeted by the people, who spread a pathway of green twigs before him as a sign of honor and peace (sulmu). Cyrus greeted all Babylonians in peace and brought peace to their city.
On this great event, Cyrus issued a declaration, inscribed on a clay barrel known as Cyrus's inscription cylinder. It was discovered in 1879 by Hormoz Rassam in Babylon and today is kept in the British Museum. Many historians have reviewed it as the first declaration of human rights.
The Babylonian annals, as well as the first section of the Cyrus' inscription, shed light on the religiopolitical plight that had angered the people of Babylon and why they invited Cyrus's military campaign. Evidently, the Babyloninan king, Nabonidus, eliminated the festival of the new year and Nebo (one of the gods) was not brought into the city, and Bel (another god) was not taken in the procession of the festival. Also, the worship of Marduk, the king of the gods, was changed to an abomination and Nabonidus tormented the inhabitants with unbelievable oppression and forced labor. The sanctuaries of all their settlements were in ruins and the inhabitants of Sumer and Akkad had become like the living dead. Marduk, the king of the gods, scanned and searched for a righteous ruler, finally coming upon Cyrus's good deeds and his upright mind and ordered him to march against the City of Babylon. The angry inhabitants of Akkad had revolted but were massacred by Nabonidus, who, upon his return to Babylon, was arrested, but nevertheless was treated with respect. When Nabonidus died in the year following, Cyrus participated in the national mourning time that was proclaimed for him. The gods of Akkad were then returned to their sacred cities. All the inhabitants of Sumer and Akkad, including princes and governors, greeted Cyrus as a master who brought them back from a living death. All who had been spared damage and disaster revered his very name.
I am Cyrus, the king of the world, great king, legitimate king (son of Cambyses) whose rule Bel and Nebo loved and whom they wanted as king to please their hearts.
When I entered Babylon as a friend and established the seat of government in the place of the ruler under jubilation and rejoicing, Marduk, the great lord (induced) the magnanimous inhabitants of Babylon (Din Tir) (to love me) and I daily endeavored to praise him. My numerous troops walked around in Babylon in peace, I did not allow anybody to terrorize (any of the people) of the country of Sumer and Akkad. I strove for peace in Babylon (Ka Dingir ra) and in all his (other) sacred cities. As to the inhabitants of Babylon (who) against the will of the gods (had/were I abolished) the corvee (yoke) which was against their (social standing). I brought relief to their dilapidated housing, putting an end to their main complaints. Marduk, the great lord, was well pleased with my deeds and sent friendly blessing to myself, Cyrus, the King, who reveres him, to Cambyses, my son, as well as to all my troops, and we all (praised) his great (name) joyously, standing before him in peace I returned to (these) sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time, the images which (used) to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I (also) gathered all their (former) inhabitants and returned (to them) their habitations. Furthermore, I resettled upon the command of Marduk, the great lord, all the gods of Sumer and Akkad who Nabonidus has brought to Babylon (su sa na) to the anger of the lord of the gods unharmed in their chapels, the places which make them happy.
May all the gods whom I have resettled in their sacred cities ask Bel and Nebo daily for a long life (six lines destroyed) and always with good words remember my good deeds that Babylonians incessantly cherished me because I resettled them in comfortable habitations I endeavored to strengthen the fortification of Imgur-Enlil and the great fortification of the City of Babylon the side brick wall by the city's trench which the former king (had built and had not finished). This was finished around (the city), that none of the former kings, despite the labor of their yoked people, had not accomplished. I rebuilt and completed with tar and brick and installed large gates entrances were built by cedar wood covered with brass and copper pivot I strengthened all the gates I saw inscribed the name of my predecessor, King Ashurbanipal.
On this historical turning point, by order of Cyrus, all the captive nationalities held as slaves for generations in Babylon were freed and the return to their homeland was financed. Among the liberated captives were 50,000 Jews held in Babylon for three generations whose return toward the rebuilding of their temple in Palestine, a policy that was followed by Darius and his successors. Some of the liberated Jews were invited to and did settle in Persia. Because of such a generous act, Cyrus has been anointed in the Bible. He is the only gentile in the Bible, who has been titled Messiah, an is mentioned explicitly as the Lord's shepherd and his anointed (Messiah). Other references to Cyrus are attested in Isaiah 45:4 where Cyrus is called by name and given a title of honor; he is also called to rebuild the God's city and free His people (Is. 45:13) and is chosen, called and brought successful by God (Is. 48:14-15).
What took place after the victory in Babylon was contrary to the standard of the time. Based on the inscriptions of the neighboring countries (Assyrians, Babylonians), it was customary to destroy the vanquished cities, level houses and temples, massacre the people or enslave the population, replace them with snakes, wolves and even carry away the soil to make the land barren. But here, peace and liberty replaced the massacre and slavery, and construction substituted for destruction. After Cyrus, his son Cambyses ruled for eight years (530BC to 522 BC) and captured Egypt, and as a sign of respect toward their culture and religion, he prostrated himself before the goddess, Meith and paid homage to Apis, the Egyptian totem (Bull).
After Cambyses, Darius took over the throne and ruled form 522BC to 486BC. From 518BC to 515BC he established peace and tranquility in Egypt and also paid homage to their totem, Apis. Darius, in his inscriptions, expresses faith in the commands of Ahuramazda. He declares "Whoever worships Ahuramazda, shall receive happiness in life and after death." He calls Elamites faithless, and because they did not worship Ahuramazda, yet he does not pressure them to change faith. Darius exhorts his successors "thou shalt be king thereafter, protect yourself from the lies and punish the liar and deceitful."
He entreats God's grace for the protection of Persia against rancor, enemy, famine and the lie. At times he alludes to other gods that may either indicate the old Aryan gods who still had strong followings or the gods of other nations under his rule, for the display of reverence toward their religions.
* A. Arfaee, The command of Cyrus the Great (in Persian), quoted the opinion of Sydney Smith.
* Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian chronicles, p110, dates the fall of Babylon on Oct. 12th and Cyrus's entry on Oct 29th.
* J. B. Pritchard, The ancient Near East, Vol. 1, 1958, p203.
* A fragment in the Yale's Babylon collection was identified in 1970 by P.R.Berger, the professor of Munster, Germany, as part of Cyrus's cylinder that was transferred to the British Museum and added to the cylinder, who wrote in the journal of Assyrology (Zeiserrift fir Assiriologie), July 25, Vol. 64. The remainder of the text is quoted from A. Arafaee, which was the missing portion kept in Yale University. Bible, 2 Chronicles 36:15-23
* Bible, Ezra 1:1-11, Ezra 2:12-70
* Bible, Ezra 7:8
* Bible, Ezra 6:3-4-5
* Bible, Ezra 7:15-25
* Bible, Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1
Here's her "un-official" biography
Kim Palmer is a singer/songwriter/keyboardist originally hailing from Toronto, Canada. She is a
classically trained pianist and degreed piano teacher with an Honor's Diploma and Music
Kim has been performing professionally since age 18, receiving her high-school diploma and Ontario
Sholarship by mail while already on the road with a well known Canadian recording act, Tranquillity
Bass. She has performed as a solo artist as well as in everything from duos and rock bands to sixteen
piece big bands.
Some of her notable private performances include playing for Vice President Bush's
inauguration and at many prestigious Hollywood gatherings.
Some of her notable public performances include opening for Emmylou Harris and
The Guess Who and appearing with recording artists Dan Hill and Tony Kosinec.
You can hear Kim on various commercials and on albums by The String Band,
Dave Essig, Tony Kosinec (with Paul Schaffer), Dan Hill and her own band Lila.
Kim has been first place winner of The Goldenwest Songwriting Competion in
California three times, second place winner of The International Music City Song
Festival in Nashville, first place winner of Pop in the Barebones Songwriting
Competition in Austin, won The Future Charters Contest in Philadelphia, and is
featured in the 4/99 issue of "Songwriter's Monthly".
Richard Carpenter has recorded one of Kim's songs, "What Kind Of Love?". Her
songs have been picked up many times by music industry people at The Los
Angeles Songwriter's Showcase, earning her Professional Membership there.
She has written with hit songwriters for The Doobie Brothers, Paula Abdul, Sheena
Easton and Natalie Cole as well as musicians for Peter Gabriel, Celine Dion, Sara
McLachlan, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, John Hiatt, Daniel Lanois, Robbie
Robertson, Toni Childs, Crowded House, Sam Phillips, Laura Brannigan, Sister
Sledge, Rick Springfield, and Tina Turner.
Kim has several albums worth of material and is a one woman band, producing
music from her specially made porcelain environment due to her chemical
She wrote, sang, played the instruments on, programmed, arranged, recorded and
produced the songs you will hear.
Anyhow, I think you can put our address (Künstler mit MCS, P.O. Box 5063, 24062 Kiel) and e-mail-address
(firstname.lastname@example.org ) on your page cause we burn Kim's CD's in germany and I do
promotion for her and am the president if her official german fanclub.
Today is the spring equinox and also a day of
celebration for Iranians. In the Shahnameh (Book of
Kings), a book of persian mythology, this day is
treated as a wholesomely exciting day, wherein
everything is fully thawed and devoutly engaged in a
bright blooming launch: hence the spontaneity of
festive activities by hopefully all Iranians around
the world. Back in the pre-Aladdin times, the Noruz
was also the day when Jamshid, the great peaceful King
of Persia, announces the subjugation of the demons,
the subsequent inclusion of the demons in the
festivities of Noruz (literally New day), and heralds
the intoxicating arrival of Spring. The sagas of
internal strife are forfeited into moments of play and
Noruz has also long been perceived as a perfect time
for reassessing ones direction in life and
establishing goals for the year, as the night and the
day are perfectly equal in length, and the generous
assaults of winter have subsided.
My blessings and great fortitude to you in the new
days to come.
Courtesy, Babak Cyrus Bakhtiari
I lost my wallet Friday night. My wallet had everything in it. Credit
Cards, ATM cards, undeposited checks and $121 in cash (yes, I shouldn't
have been carrying that much cash, but I had to pay for a Ski Trip).
Naturally, I was as freaked out as I can get, but since nothing was open
over President's Day weekend, I had to wait to get everything replaced.
This morning at about 11am, a person returned my wallet to Kevin
Wheeler, but my wallet was empty of cash.
At 11:45am, the person came back to our house as Dementhon was leaving
for class. He said that 'his conscience was bothering him' and gave
The punchline of the story is that the man who returned my wallet is
homeless. A man with nothing returned everything to me -- me the
obviously spoiled stranger whom he'd never met.
Some may say that this proves there is a god, or shows all people are
good, or it was dumb luck. Draw your own lessons from this. This only
reminds me of something my mom told me a long time ago: "that a measure
of a man is by his generosity." Bill Gates has donated billions, taxi
drivers have returned boxes of diamond rings left by patrons, but I've
never heard of anything like this.
If you see a homeless guy with a PartyPoker hat, please give him $20 and
I will pay you back. It's the least I can do.
I Love You in 100 Languages !!!
English - I love you
Afrikaans - Ek het jou lief
Albanian - Te dua
Arabic - Ana behibak (to male)
Arabic - Ana behibek (to female)
Armenian - Yes kez sirumen
Bambara - M'bi fe
Bangla - Aamee tuma ke bhalo aashi
Belarusian - Ya tabe kahayu
Bisaya - Nahigugma ako kanimo
Bulgarian - Obicham te
Cambodian - Soro lahn nhee ah
Cantonese Chinese - Ngo oiy ney a
Catalan - T'estimo
Cheyenne - Ne mohotatse
Chichewa - Ndimakukonda
Corsican - Ti tengu caru (to male)
Creol - Mi aime jou
Croatian - Volim te
Czech - Miluji te
Danish - Jeg Elsker Dig
Dutch - Ik hou van jou
Esperanto - Mi amas vin
Estonian - Ma armastan sind
Ethiopian - Afgreki'
Faroese - Eg elski teg
Farsi - Doset daram
Filipino - Mahal kita
Finnish - Mina rakastan sinua
French - Je t'aime, Je t'adore
Gaelic - Ta gra agam ort
Georgian - Mikvarhar
German - Ich liebe dich
Greek - S'agapo
Gujarati - Hoo thunay prem karoo choo
Hiligaynon - Palangga ko ikaw
Hawaiian - Aloha wau ia oi
Hebrew - Ani ohev otah (to female)
Hebrew - Ani ohev et otha (to male)
Hiligaynon - Guina higugma ko ikaw
Hindi - Hum Tumhe Pyar Karte hae
Hmong - Kuv hlub koj
Hopi - Nu' umi unangwa'ta
Hungarian - Szeretlek
Icelandic - Eg elska tig
Ilonggo - Palangga ko ikaw
Indonesian - Saya cinta padamu
Inuit - Negligevapse
Irish - Taim i' ngra leat
Italian - Ti amo
Japanese - Aishiteru
Kannada - Naanu ninna preetisuttene
Kapampangan - Kaluguran daka
Kiswahili - Nakupenda
Konkani - Tu magel moga cho
Korean - Sarang Heyo
Latin - Te amo
Latvian - Es tevi miilu
Lebanese - Bahibak
Lithuanian - Tave myliu
Malay - Saya cintakan mu / Aku cinta padamu
Malayalam - Njan Ninne Premikunnu
Mandarin Chinese - Wo ai ni
Marathi - Me tula prem karto
Mohawk - Kanbhik
Moroccan - Ana moajaba bik
Nahuatl - Ni mits neki
Navaho - Ayor anosh'ni
Norwegian - Jeg Elsker Deg
Pandacan - Syota na kita!!
Pangasinan - Inaru Taka
Papiamento - Mi ta stimabo
Persian - Asheghetam
Pig Latin - Iay ovlay ouyay
Polish - Kocham Ciebie
Portuguese - Eu te amo
Romanian - Te ubesk
Russian - Ya tebya liubliu
Scot Gaelic - Tha gra\dh agam ort
Serbian - Volim te
Setswana - Ke a go rata
Sign Language - ,\,,/ (represents position of fingers when signing'I Love You')
Sindhi - Maa tokhe pyar kendo ahyan
Sioux - Techihhila
Slovak - Lu'bim ta
Slovenian - Ljubim te
Spanish - Te quiero / Te amo
Swahili - Ninapenda wewe
Swedish - Jag alskar dig
Swiss-German - Ich lieb Di
Tagalog - Mahal kita
Taiwanese - Wa ga ei li
Tahitian - Ua Here Vau Ia Oe
Tamil - Nan unnai kathalikaraen
Telugu - Nenu ninnu premistunnanu
Thai - Chan rak khun (to male)
Thai - Phom rak khun (to female)
Turkish - Seni Seviyorum
Ukrainian - Ya tebe kahayu
Urdu - mai aap say pyaar karta hoo
Vietnamese - Anh ye^u em (to female)
Vietnamese - Em ye^u anh (to male)
Welsh - 'Rwy'n dy garu
Yiddish - Ikh hob dikh
Yoruba - Mo ni fe
"Craving the High That Risky Trading Can Bring . A small group of scientists, including some psychologists, say they are starting to discover what many Wall Street professionals have long suspected — that people are hard-wired for money. The human brain, these researchers say, responds to high-stakes trading just as it does to the lure of sex. And the riskier the trades get, the more the brain craves them... “The more you think you can gain from the risk, the more you take the risk and the more activation in the circuitry,” Mr. Knutson said.... When faced with losses, individuals may seek to take more risk rather than less, contrary to what traditional economic thought might suggest.“When you are threatened with extinction, you act like nothing matters,” said Andrew Lo, a professor at M.I.T. who has studied the role of emotions in trading. “The best traders are the ones who have controlled emotional responses,” Mr. Lo said. “Professional athletes have the same reaction — they use emotion to psych them up, but they don’t let those emotions take them over.” “It is more common for people to hold onto losers and see their investment go to zero, or shorts go to the sky, than it is for them to practice good risk management and get out,” Dr. Kiev said"
"It’s the Oil"
- by Jim Holt
Iraq is ‘unwinnable’, a ‘quagmire’, a ‘fiasco’: so goes the received opinion. But there is good reason to think that, from the Bush-Cheney perspective, it is none of these things. Indeed, the US may be ‘stuck’ precisely where Bush et al want it to be, which is why there is no ‘exit strategy’
Iraq has 115 billion barrels of known oil reserves. That is more than five times the total in the United States. And, because of its long isolation, it is the least explored of the world’s oil-rich nations. A mere two thousand wells have been drilled across the entire country; in Texas alone there are a million. It has been estimated, by the Council on Foreign Relations, that Iraq may have a further 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil; another study puts the figure at 300 billion. If these estimates are anywhere close to the mark, US forces are now sitting on one quarter of the world’s oil resources. The value of Iraqi oil, largely light crude with low production costs, would be of the order of $30 trillion at today’s prices. For purposes of comparison, the projected total cost of the US invasion/occupation is around $1 trillion
Who will get Iraq’s oil? One of the Bush administration’s ‘benchmarks’ for the Iraqi government is the passage of a law to distribute oil revenues. The draft law that the US has written for the Iraqi congress would cede nearly all the oil to Western companies. The Iraq National Oil Company would retain control of 17 of Iraq’s 80 existing oilfields, leaving the rest – including all yet to be discovered oil – under foreign corporate control for 30 years. ‘The foreign companies would not have to invest their earnings in the Iraqi economy,’ the analyst Antonia Juhasz wrote in the New York Times in March, after the draft law was leaked. ‘They could even ride out Iraq’s current “instability” by signing contracts now, while the Iraqi government is at its weakest, and then wait at least two years before even setting foot in the country.’ As negotiations over the oil law stalled in September, the provincial government in Kurdistan simply signed a separate deal with the Dallas-based Hunt Oil Company, headed by a close political ally of President Bush.
How will the US maintain hegemony over Iraqi oil? By establishing permanent military bases in Iraq. Five self-sufficient ‘super-bases’ are in various stages of completion. All are well away from the urban areas where most casualties have occurred. There has been precious little reporting on these bases in the American press, whose dwindling corps of correspondents in Iraq cannot move around freely because of the dangerous conditions. (It takes a brave reporter to leave the Green Zone without a military escort.) In February last year, the Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks described one such facility, the Balad Air Base, forty miles north of Baghdad. A piece of (well-fortified) American suburbia in the middle of the Iraqi desert, Balad has fast-food joints, a miniature golf course, a football field, a cinema and distinct neighbourhoods – among them, ‘KBR-land’, named after the Halliburton subsidiary that has done most of the construction work at the base. Although few of the 20,000 American troops stationed there have ever had any contact with an Iraqi, the runway at the base is one of the world’s busiest. ‘We are behind only Heathrow right now,’ an air force commander told Ricks.
The Defense Department was initially coy about these bases. In 2003, Donald Rumsfeld said: ‘I have never, that I can recall, heard the subject of a permanent base in Iraq discussed in any meeting.’ But this summer the Bush administration began to talk openly about stationing American troops in Iraq for years, even decades, to come. Several visitors to the White House have told the New York Times that the president himself has become fond of referring to the ‘Korea model’. When the House of Representatives voted to bar funding for ‘permanent bases’ in Iraq, the new term of choice became ‘enduring bases’, as if three or four decades wasn’t effectively an eternity.
But will the US be able to maintain an indefinite military presence in Iraq? It will plausibly claim a rationale to stay there for as long as civil conflict simmers, or until every groupuscule that conveniently brands itself as ‘al-Qaida’ is exterminated. The civil war may gradually lose intensity as Shias, Sunnis and Kurds withdraw into separate enclaves, reducing the surface area for sectarian friction, and as warlords consolidate local authority. De facto partition will be the result. But this partition can never become de jure. (An independent Kurdistan in the north might upset Turkey, an independent Shia region in the east might become a satellite of Iran, and an independent Sunni region in the west might harbour al-Qaida.) Presiding over this Balkanised Iraq will be a weak federal government in Baghdad, propped up and overseen by the Pentagon-scale US embassy that has just been constructed – a green zone within the Green Zone. As for the number of US troops permanently stationed in Iraq, the defence secretary, Robert Gates, told Congress at the end of September that ‘in his head’ he saw the long-term force as consisting of five combat brigades, a quarter of the current number, which, with support personnel, would mean 35,000 troops at the very minimum, probably accompanied by an equal number of mercenary contractors. (He may have been erring on the side of modesty, since the five super-bases can accommodate between ten and twenty thousand troops each.) These forces will occasionally leave their bases to tamp down civil skirmishes, at a declining cost in casualties. As a senior Bush administration official told the New York Times in June, the long-term bases ‘are all places we could fly in and out of without putting Americans on every street corner’. But their main day-to-day function will be to protect the oil infrastructure.
This is the ‘mess’ that Bush-Cheney is going to hand on to the next administration. What if that administration is a Democratic one? Will it dismantle the bases and withdraw US forces entirely? That seems unlikely, considering the many beneficiaries of the continued occupation of Iraq and the exploitation of its oil resources. The three principal Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards – have already hedged their bets, refusing to promise that, if elected, they would remove American forces from Iraq before 2013, the end of their first term.
Among the winners: oil-services companies like Halliburton; the oil companies themselves (the profits will be unimaginable, and even Democrats can be bought); US voters, who will be guaranteed price stability at the gas pump (which sometimes seems to be all they care about); Europe and Japan, which will both benefit from Western control of such a large part of the world’s oil reserves, and whose leaders will therefore wink at the permanent occupation; and, oddly enough, Osama bin Laden, who will never again have to worry about US troops profaning the holy places of Mecca and Medina, since the stability of the House of Saud will no longer be paramount among American concerns. Among the losers is Russia, which will no longer be able to lord its own energy resources over Europe. Another big loser is Opec, and especially Saudi Arabia, whose power to keep oil prices high by enforcing production quotas will be seriously compromised.
Then there is the case of Iran, which is more complicated. In the short term, Iran has done quite well out of the Iraq war. Iraq’s ruling Shia coalition is now dominated by a faction friendly to Tehran, and the US has willy-nilly armed and trained the most pro-Iranian elements in the Iraqi military. As for Iran’s nuclear programme, neither air strikes nor negotiations seem likely to derail it at the moment. But the Iranian regime is precarious. Unpopular mullahs hold onto power by financing internal security services and buying off elites with oil money, which accounts for 70 per cent of government revenues. If the price of oil were suddenly to drop to, say, $40 a barrel (from a current price just north of $80), the repressive regime in Tehran would lose its steady income. And that is an outcome the US could easily achieve by opening the Iraqi oil spigot for as long as necessary (perhaps taking down Venezuela’s oil-cocky Hugo Chávez into the bargain).
And think of the United States vis-à-vis China. As a consequence of our trade deficit, around a trillion dollars’ worth of US denominated debt (including $400 billion in US Treasury bonds) is held by China. This gives Beijing enormous leverage over Washington: by offloading big chunks of US debt, China could bring the American economy to its knees. China’s own economy is, according to official figures, expanding at something like 10 per cent a year. Even if the actual figure is closer to 4 or 5 per cent, as some believe, China’s increasing heft poses a threat to US interests. (One fact: China is acquiring new submarines five times faster than the US.) And the main constraint on China’s growth is its access to energy – which, with the US in control of the biggest share of world oil, would largely be at Washington’s sufferance. Thus is the Chinese threat neutralised.
Many people are still perplexed by exactly what moved Bush-Cheney to invade and occupy Iraq. In the 27 September issue of the New York Review of Books, Thomas Powers, one of the most astute watchers of the intelligence world, admitted to a degree of bafflement. ‘What’s particularly odd,’ he wrote, ‘is that there seems to be no sophisticated, professional, insiders’ version of the thinking that drove events.’ Alan Greenspan, in his just published memoir, is clearer on the matter. ‘I am saddened,’ he writes, ‘that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.’
Was the strategy of invading Iraq to take control of its oil resources actually hammered out by Cheney’s 2001 energy task force? One can’t know for sure, since the deliberations of that task force, made up largely of oil and energy company executives, have been kept secret by the administration on the grounds of ‘executive privilege’. One can’t say for certain that oil supplied the prime motive. But the hypothesis is quite powerful when it comes to explaining what has actually happened in Iraq. The occupation may seem horribly botched on the face of it, but the Bush administration’s cavalier attitude towards ‘nation-building’ has all but ensured that Iraq will end up as an American protectorate for the next few decades – a necessary condition for the extraction of its oil wealth. If the US had managed to create a strong, democratic government in an Iraq effectively secured by its own army and police force, and had then departed, what would have stopped that government from taking control of its own oil, like every other regime in the Middle East? On the assumption that the Bush-Cheney strategy is oil-centred, the tactics – dissolving the army, de-Baathification, a final ‘surge’ that has hastened internal migration – could scarcely have been more effective. The costs – a few billion dollars a month plus a few dozen American fatalities (a figure which will probably diminish, and which is in any case comparable to the number of US motorcyclists killed because of repealed helmet laws) – are negligible compared to $30 trillion in oil wealth, assured American geopolitical supremacy and cheap gas for voters. In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a fiasco; it is a resounding success.
Still, there is reason to be sceptical of the picture I have drawn: it implies that a secret and highly ambitious plan turned out just the way its devisers foresaw, and that almost never happens.
Judges Are for Sale -- and Special Interests Are Buying
"A blistering new report details how big business and corporate lobbyists are pouring money into state judicial elections across the country and packing the courts with judges who put special interests ahead of the public interest…
Why does all this matter? Because as money floods into judicial elections, we are getting courts that are filled with judges whose first loyalty is not to justice — or to the general public — but to insurance companies, big business and other special interests. It's not hard to guess what insurance companies want their judges to do. They want them to rule against people who have been injured — even when they deserve compensation, and they want damage awards to be slashed. Big business wants weak enforcement of laws against discrimination and pollution. On the other side of the political spectrum, trial lawyers want verdicts for plaintiffs — and large damage awards."
A Snippet of Central America
by Serra Benson
This fall semester I participated in a study abroad program to Central America with the Center for Global Education. Along with thirteen other students from all over the country, I traveled through Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua studying sustainable development and social change. I met many people who have suffered greatly from war, poverty, and discrimination. Getting to know and love these people who have built strong communities that work to change the systems that oppress them, was an experience that touched me deeply. It has given me an overwhelming feeling of responsibility to pass on their stories of triumph and defeat. Though I cannot share everything with you in this article, many of the communities I visited have a similar pattern so I will focus on just one, that of Nuevo San Jose.
In Guatemala we spent a week at the rural language school just outside a tiny community called Nuevo San Jose. The twenty-two families who live there used to work on a large coffee finca, or plantation. Nine years ago, the finca owner stopped paying his workers and they struggled for months to collect their back wages. When they finally got paid, they all left the finca and with their pooled wages bought the piece of land where they live now. This community traditionally grew coffee but with the current crisis in the coffee market, prices have fallen so low that many coffee fincas have gone out of business, creating a wave of layoffs and unemployment for campesino families.
The price of coffee in its crude form has plummeted to an all-time low, half of what it sold for last year. This sudden drop is due to the excess of coffee in the world market, in large part because of an IMF and World Bank loan to Vietnam to start producing coffee there. For the families of Nuevo San Jose, this economic situation makes it difficult to put food on the table. The father of the family I stayed with would leave each morning at five o’clock looking for work. Some days he would find a day job harvesting potatoes or corn on other people’s land and earn thirty-five quetzales for the day. After paying six quetzales for transportation too and from the fields, he was left with twenty-nine quetzales, approximately four dollars, to support his wife, parents, and four kids.
Their one year-old baby, Maria Roxana is severely malnourished and couldn’t even sit up yet. Her mother got an infection just after giving birth and couldn’t breast feed the baby while she was in hospital so they have to bottle-feel her with expensive powdered milk. What they can afford to buy weekly in milk for the baby is supposed to last only two or three days, so what they give her has to be overly watered down.
Despite their current economic reality, the people of Nuevo San Jose were incredibly inspiring. Even though they appear to have nothing, they are some of the most generous people I have met. Recently they allowed another tiny community, Nueva Vida, with a similar story to their own, to move onto the land right next to them. The original community realizes that these new people are even worse off than they are and have been very giving of what little they have.
While I was in Nuevo San Jose, I spent a lot of time in the two-classroom elementary school helping the kids read, teaching them songs and now to fold paper cranes. I think a lot about the future of those children. Will they have a chance to study passed the sixth grade? Will they stay in their community of leave to find work in the bigger towns and cities? What I really wish for Nuevo San Jose is some way to sustain them economically. Unfortunately, their government, like most, tends to support large corporate interests over small and medium producers. It is difficult for poor people to get access to land, credit and fair markets. I think that social change globally will have to come from the people ourselves, as we change our societal and consumer values.
One way that we can directly support sustainable development and social change in developing countries is by choosing fair trade alternatives over mainstream brands. Take coffee as an example: buying fair trade coffee means that you are supporting coffee cooperatives that are collectively owned and run by the workers instead of by a large landowner. These workers receive a much better wage for their labor one that they can actually live on – such as $1.25 per pound instead of 50 cents. Fair Trade often means that it is grown organically. This is not only better for the workers and the consumer but is also more sustainable environmentally. Organic shade grown coffee often means that forest is not destroyed in the process, as the natural canopy provides shade for the coffee plants and predator insects to control pests.
I visited textile, agricultural, and many other cooperatives in Central America. Cooperative provides a local support network economic, physical, and emotional well being. Poor people pool their resources to provide emergency health funds, create educational workshops to combat domestic violence, and meet together regularly to talk about how they want to develop. What I loved most about these cooperatives is that they are building strong communities that challenge hegemonic models of development as well as traditional class and gender relationships. With all odds against them, through natural disasters, neo-liberal economic policies, a history of US supported war and military intervention, they and living our ideals of democracy equality, and justice.
I feel lucky to have learned so much from the people of Central America. They have given me the great gift of friendship and the inspiration to maintain international solidarity with them. Though I miss being with there in the campo, sharing stories and making fresh tortillas, I am excited to share what I learned from about the importance of community, sustainable development, and social change.
DR. KING'S I HAVE A DREAM SPEECH
[added to rezamusic.com on 21 January 2007, on Dr. King's birthday holiday. Dr. King was born January 15, 1929, died on April 4, 1968]
This speech given in Washington, DC, on August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act.Dr. King was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Famous Speech "I have a dream"
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
France's irresponsible nuclear tests should not be tolerated
by Gerald Falchook
Oh, and also, France conducted a nuclear bomb test in the South Pacific.
That Saturday's nuclear blast was France's sixth, last and most powerful nuclear test since President Jacques Chirac told the international community to bug off back in September.
A statement by the French Defense Ministry claimed that these tests were being carried out "in order to guarantee the safety and reliability of weapons in the future." I don't understand.
Do they dare use the word "safety" in the same sentence as "nuclear weapons?" The French Defense Ministry certainly doesn't make me feel very safe.
And now Chirac has the gall (pun intended) to transform himself overnight into a leading opponent of nuclear testing.
I wonder if the word "hypocrite" exists in Mr. Chirac's vocabulary.
Never mind that the Fangatoufa atoll is already so contaminated with radiation that spending even a small amount of time there will greatly increase your chances of producing offspring with two heads, five arms or multiple sexual appendages.
Never mind the fact that these tests have caused widespread contamination of fish and plankton in the region and are endangering a vital food source for the inhabitants of this region.
Never mind that strong ocean currents have the potential to bring radiation contamination to every shore that touches the Pacific Ocean.
Nah, never mind any of that stuff. You live in the United States. You don't care.
You are safe. Just don't make any plans to spend your vacations in New Zealand or Tahiti or anywhere in-between.
And don't forget to bring along a full-body, lead-plated, radiation-safe swimsuit next time you do a little swimming off the beaches of Hawaii or southern California.
Haven't we learned that nuclear weapons don't prevent conventional wars or enhance national security?
Or maybe good old-fashioned, thick-headed, irrational belligerence is coming back in style.
But who will stop the bad guys from destroying our planet? Our national leaders? Guess again....
Some embarrassing quotes of the past from people who now know better:
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
"But what ... is it good for?" Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." Western Union internal memo, 1876.
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)
"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.
"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind."
"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies.
"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.
"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this." Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.
"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we' ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'" Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.
"Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work.
"You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can't be done. It's just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training." Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the "unsolvable" problem by inventing Nautilus.
"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.
"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.
"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction". Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon". Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.
"640K ought to be enough for anybody." Bill Gates, 1981
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle -- by Dr. C. George Boeree
"The unexamined life is not worth living." -- Socrates
When we think of ancient Greece, we think right away of Athens. Several of the philosophers we have already discussed considered it the pinnacle of their careers to come and teach in this great city.
But Athens wasn’t always great. It began as a collection of villages in some of the poorest agricultural land in Greece. Only carefully tended grapes and olives provided early Athens with a livelihood, that and trade.
The distance between the haves -- the ruling aristocratic trading families -- and the have nots -- peasants working the land -- and the accompanying feudal oppression, grew so great that it looked like the city and its surrounding area would collapse under the weight.
In 594 bc, the leaders of the middle class recruited a merchant named Solon to accept leadership of the city and restore some peace and prosperity. He began by canceling all debts and freeing all who had been enslaved on account of debt. Then he proceeded to draft a constitution in which the population was divided into four classes based entirely on economic worth, with the highest retaining the greatest power, but the lowest being exempt from taxes.
After a difficult transition, the world’s first democracy was established under the leadership of Cleisthenes in 507 bc, when he decried that all free men would be permitted to vote. This, of course, falls short of a complete democracy, but don't judge them too harshly: Slavery would not outlawed until 1814, when Mexico would become the very first sovereign nation to permanently ban slavery. The US wouldn't free its slaves until 1865 with the 13th amendment. And women didn't get to vote until New Zealand gave them the vote in 1893. It would take the US until 1919 and the 19th amendment.
Unfortunately, at about the same time the democratic experiment began, the great Persian empire to the east decided to expand into, first, Ionia, and then Greece itself. But in 490, 20,000 Greeks defeated 100,000 Persian troops at Marathon, north of Athens. (A messenger named Pheidippides ran the 26 miles -- 42.195 km -- to Athens to give them the good news, hence the sport of marathon running!)
In 481, the Persian emperor Xerxes sent an army of over two million men, assisted by a fleet of 1200 ships, to attack Greece again. The army ravaged the north of Greece and prepared to attack Athens. They found the city deserted. The Persian navy, however, found the Greek fleet waiting for it in the Bay of Salamis. The Greeks won the day against enormous odds. By 479, the Persians were forced back into Asia Minor.
If this seems like just a little piece of history, consider: This victory allowed the Greek adventure to continue to produce the kind of thinking that would set the tone for the next two millennia in Europe and the Mediterranean.
During the time period we are looking at in this chapter, Athens had as many as 300,000 people, making it one of the largest cities in the world. About half were free, one third were slaves, and one sixth were foreigners (metics). The free adult males who could vote numbered about 50,000.
Socrates (470-399) was the son of a sculptor and a midwife, and served with distinction in the Athenian army during Athens’ clash with Sparta. He married, but had a tendency to fall in love with handsome young men, in particular a young soldier named Alcibiades. He was, by all accounts, short and stout, not given to good grooming, and a lover of wine and conversation. His famous student, Plato, called him “the wisest, and justest, and best of all men whom I have ever known” (Phaedo).
He was irritated by the Sophists and their tendency to teach logic as a means of achieving self-centered ends, and even more their promotion of the idea that all things are relative. It was the truth that he loved, desired, and believed in.
Philosophy, the love of wisdom, was for Socrates itself a sacred path, a holy quest -- not a game to be taken lightly. He believed -- or at least said he did in the dialog Meno -- in the reincarnation of an eternal soul which contained all knowledge. We unfortunately lose touch with that knowledge at every birth, and so we need to be reminded of what we already know (rather than learning something new).
He said that he did not teach, but rather served, like his mother, as a midwife to truth that is already in us! Making use of questions and answers to remind his students of knowledge is called maieutics (midwifery), or the Socratic method.
One example of his effect on philosophy is found in the dialog Euthyphro. He suggests that what is to be considered a good act is not good because gods say it is, but is good because it is useful to us in our efforts to be better and happier people. This means that ethics is no longer a matter of surveying the gods or scripture for what is good or bad, but rather thinking about life. He even placed individual conscience above the law -- quite a dangerous position to take!
Socrates himself never wrote any of his ideas down, but rather engaged his students -- wealthy young men of Athens -- in endless conversations. In exchange for his teaching, they in turn made sure that he was taken care of. Since he claimed to have few needs, he took very little, much to his wife Xanthippe’s distress.
Plato reconstructed these discussions in a great set of writings known as the Dialogs. It is difficult to distinguish what is Socrates and what is Plato in these dialogs, so we will simply discuss them together.
Socrates wasn’t loved by everyone by any means. His unorthodox religious views (that there was only one god behind the variety of Greek gods) gave the leading citizens of Athens the excuse they needed to sentence him to death for corrupting the morals of the youth of the city. In 399, he was ordered to drink hemlock, which he did in the company of his students.
Plato (437-347) was Socrates’ prized student. From a wealthy and powerful family, his actual name was
Aristocles -- Plato was a nickname, referring to his broad physique. When he was about twenty, he came under Socrates’ spell and decided to devote himself to philosophy. Devastated by Socrates’ death, he wandered around Greece and the Mediterranean and was taken by pirates. His friends raised money to ransom him from slavery, but when he was released without it, they bought him a small property called Academus to start a school -- the Academy, founded in 386.
The Academy was more like Pythagorus’ community -- a sort of quasi-religious fraternity, where rich young men studied mathematics, astronomy, law, and, of course, philosophy. It was free, depending entirely on donations. True to his ideals, Plato also permitted women to attend! The Academy would become the center of Greek learning for almost a millennium
Plato can be understood as idealistic and rationalistic, much like Pythagorus but much less mystical. He divides reality into two: On the one hand we have ontos, idea or ideal. This is ultimate reality, permanent, eternal, spiritual. On the other hand, there’s phenomena, which is a manifestation of the ideal. Phenomena are appearances -- things as they seem to us -- and are associated with matter, time, and space.
Phenomena are illusions which decay and die. Ideals are unchanging, perfect. Phenomena are definitely inferior to Ideals! The idea of a triangle -- the defining mathematics of it, the form or essence of it -- is eternal. Any individual triangle, the triangles of the day-to-day experiential world, are never quite perfect: They may be a little crooked, or the lines a little thick, or the angles not quite right.... They only approximate that perfect triangle, the ideal triangle.
If it seems strange to talk about ideas or ideals as somehow more real than the world of our experiences, consider science. The law of gravity, 1+1=2, “magnets attract iron,” E=mc2, and so on -- these are universals, not true for one day in one small location, but true forever and everywhere! If you believe that there is order in the universe, that nature has laws, you believe in ideas!
Ideas are available to us through thought, while phenomena are available to us through our senses. So, naturally, thought is a vastly superior means to get to the truth. This is what makes Plato a rationalist, as opposed to an empiricist, in epistemology.
Senses can only give you information about the ever-changing and imperfect world of phenomena, and so can only provide you with implications about ultimate reality, not reality itself. Reason goes straight to the idea. You “remember,” or intuitively recognize the truth, as Socrates suggested in the dialog Meno.
According to Plato, the phenomenal world strives to become ideal, perfect, complete. Ideals are, in that sense, a motivating force. In fact, he identifies the ideal with God and perfect goodness. God creates the world out of materia (raw material, matter) and shapes it according to his “plan” or “blueprint” -- ideas or the ideal. If the world is not perfect, it is not because of God or the ideals, but because the raw materials were not perfect. I think you can see why the early Christian church made Plato an honorary Christian, even though he died three and a half centuries before Christ!
Plato applies the same dichotomy to human beings: There’s the body, which is material, mortal, and “moved” (a victim of causation). Then there’s the soul, which is ideal, immortal, and “unmoved” (enjoying free will).
The soul includes reason, of course, as well as self-awareness and moral sense. Plato says the soul will always choose to do good, if it recognizes what is good. This is a similar conception of good and bad as the Buddhists have: Rather than bad being sin, it is considered a matter of ignorance. So, someone who does something bad requires education, not punishment.
The soul is drawn to the good, the ideal, and so is drawn to God. We gradually move closer and closer to God through reincarnation as well as in our individual lives. Our ethical goal in life is resemblance to God, to come closer to the pure world of ideas and ideal, to liberate ourselves from matter, time, and space, and to become more real in this deeper sense. Our goal is, in other words, self-realization.
Plato talks about three levels of pleasure. First is sensual or physical pleasure, of which sex is a great example. A second level is sensuous or esthetic pleasure, such as admiring someone’s beauty, or enjoying one’s relationship in marriage. But the highest level is ideal pleasure, the pleasures of the mind. Here the example would be Platonic love, intellectual love for another person unsullied by physical involvement.
Paralleling these three levels of pleasure are three souls. We have one soul called appetite, which is mortal and comes from the gut. The second soul is called spirit or courage. It is also mortal, and lives in the heart. The third soul is reason. It is immortal and resides in the brain. The three are strung together by the cerebrospinal canal.
Plato is fond of analogies. Appetite, he says, is like a wild horse, very powerful, but likes to go its own way. Spirit is like a thoroughbred, refined, well trained, directed power. And reason is the charioteer, goal-directed, steering both horses according to his will.
Other analogies abound, especially in Plato’s greatest work, The Republic. In The Republic, he designs (through Socrates) a society in order to discover the meaning of justice. Along the way, he compares elements of his society (a utopia, Greek for “no place”) to the three souls: The peasants are the foundation of the society. They till the soil and produce goods, i.e. take care of society’s basic appetites. The warriors represent the spirit and courage of the society. And the philosopher kings guide the society, as reason guides our lives.
Before you assume that we are just looking at a Greek version of the Indian caste system, please note: Everyone’s children are raised together and membership in one of the three levels of society is based on talents, not on one’s birth parents! And Plato includes women as men’s equals in this system. I leave you with a few quotes:
"Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder."
"...(I)f you ask what is the good of education in general, the answer is easy; that education makes good men, and that good men act nobly."
"(I) do to others as I would they should do to me."
"Our object in the construction of the State is the greatest happiness of the whole, and not that of any one class."
Aristotle (384-322) was born in a small Greek colony in Thrace called Stagira. His father was a physician and served the grandfather of Alexander the Great. Presumably, it was his father who taught him to take an interest in the details of natural life.
He was Plato’s prize student, even though he disagreed with him on many points. When Plato died, Aristotle stayed for a while with another student of Plato, who had made himself a dictator in northern Asia Minor. He married the dictator’s daughter, Pythias. They moved to Lesbos, where Pythias died giving birth to their only child, a daughter. Although he married again, his love for Pythias never died, and he requested that they be buried side by side.
For four years, Aristotle served as the teacher of a thirteen year old Alexander, son of Philip of Macedon. In 334, he returned to Athens and established his school of philosophy in a set of buildings called the Lyceum (from a name for Apollo, “the shepherd”). The beautiful grounds and covered walkways were conducive to leisurely walking discussions, so the students were known as peripatoi (“covered walkways”).
First, we must point out that Aristotle was as much a scientist as a philosopher. He was endlessly fascinated with nature, and went a long way towards classifying the plants and animals of Greece. He was equally interested in studying the anatomies of animals and their behavior in the wild.
Aristotle also pretty much invented modern logic. Except for its symbolic form, it is essentially the same today.
Let’s begin with metaphysics: While Plato separates the ever-changing phenomenal world from the true and eternal ideal reality, Aristotle suggests that the ideal is found “inside” the phenomena, the universals “inside” the particulars.
What Plato called idea or ideal, Aristotle called essence, and its opposite, he referred to as matter. Matter is without shape or form or purpose. It is just “stuff.” pure potential, no actuality. Essence is what provides the shape or form or purpose to matter. Essence is “perfect,” “complete,” but it has no substance, no solidity. Essence and matter need each other!
Essence realizes (“makes real”) matter. This process, the movement from formless stuff to complete being, is called entelechy, which some translate as actualization.
There are four causes that contribute to the movement of entelechy. They are answers to the question “why?” or “what is the explanation of this?”
The material cause: what something is made of.
The efficient cause: the motion or energy that changes matter.
The formal cause: the thing’s shape, form, or essence; its definition.
The final cause: its reason, its purpose, the intention behind it.
The material cause: The thing’s matter or substance. Why a bronze statue? The metal it is made of. Today, we find an emphasis on material causation in reductionism, explaining, for example, thoughts in terms of neural activity, feelings in terms of hormones, etc. We often go down a “level” because we can’t explain something at the level it’s at.
The efficient cause: The motion or energy that changes matter. Why the statue? The forces necessary to work the bronze, the hammer, the heat, the energy.... This is what modern science focuses on, to the point where this is what cause now tends to mean, exclusively. Note that modern psychology usually relies on reductionism in order to find efficient causes. But it isn’t always so: Freud, for example, talked about psychosexual energy and Skinner talked about stimulus and response.
The formal cause: The thing’s shape, form, definition, or essence. Why the statue? Because of the plan the sculptor had for the bronze, it’s shape or form, the non-random ordering of it’s matter. In psychology, we see some theorists focus on structure -- Piaget and his schema, for example. Others talk about the structure inherent in the genetic code, or about cognitive scripts.
The final cause: The end, the purpose, the teleology of the thing. Why the statue? The purpose of it, the intention behind making it. This was popular with medieval scholars: They searched for the ultimate final cause, the ultimate purpose of all existence, which they of course labeled God! Note that, outside of the hard sciences, this is often the kind of cause we are most interested in: Why did he do it, what was his purpose or intention? E.g. in law, the bullet may have been the “efficient” cause of death, but the intent of the person pulling the trigger is what we are concerned with. When we talk about intentions, goals, values, and so on, we are talking about final causes.
Aristotle wrote the first book on psychology (as a separate topic from the rest of philosophy). It was called, appropriately, Para Psyche, Greek for “about the mind or soul.” It is better known in the Latin form, De Anima. In this book, we find the first mentions of many ideas that are basic to psychology today, such as the laws of association.
In it, he says the mind or soul is the “first entelechy” of the body, the “cause and principle” of the body, the realization of the body. We might put it like this: The mind is the purposeful functioning of the nervous system.
Like Plato, he postulates three kinds of souls, although slightly differently defined. There is a plant soul, the essence of which is nutrition. Then there is an animal soul, which contains the basic sensations, desire, pain and pleasure, and the ability to cause motion. Last, but not least, is the human soul. The essence of the human soul is, of course, reason. He suggests that, perhaps, this last soul is capable of existence apart from the body.
He foreshadowed many of the concepts that would become popular only two thousand years later. Libido, for example: “In all animals... it is the most natural function to beget another being similar to itself... in order that they attain as far as possible, the immortal and divine.... This is the final cause of every creatures natural life.”
And the struggle of the id and ego: “There are two powers in the soul which appear to be moving forces -- desire and reason. But desire prompts actions in violation of reason... desire... may be wrong.”
And the pleasure principle and reality principle: “Although desires arise which are opposed to each other, as is the case when reason and appetite are opposed, it happens only in creatures endowed with a sense of time. For reason, on account of the future, bids us resist, while desire regards the present; the momentarily pleasant appears to it as the absolutely pleasant and the absolutely good, because it does not see the future.”
And finally, self-actualization: We begin as unformed matter in the womb, and through years of development and learning, we become mature adults, always reaching for perfection. "So the good has been well explained as that at which all things aim.
Retirement Plan (Mexican Fisherman & Harvard MBA)
The American businessman (Harvard MBA) was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied "only a little while". The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs. The American then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time?
The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor." The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."
The Mexican fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?" To which the American replied, "15-20 years." But what then, senor? The American laughed and said that's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions. Millions, senor? Then what? The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."
DR. FLENER TRIP TO IRAN
BY Dr. Pierre Flener
I have often ranted about traffic in Turkey (which is where I live),
but now that I have been to Iran, I have enormous respect for the
"discipline" of Turkish drivers. They are choirboys compared to their
Iranian brothers! I completely lack the words to describe the chaos
of an Iranian city, especially Tehran, where cars shoot around in gay
abandon, filling literally every millimeter of the road, disrespecting
every sign and light (many traffic lights are actually switched to a
permanently blinking yellow, and often lack the red and green lenses
altogether), honking ferociously, and committing many other horrors.
And there are bicycles and motorbikes on this battlefield, often even
driving up roads on opposing lanes, or invading the sidewalks and
covered bazaars, thus extending the jurisdiction of the Jungle Law.
Now, do you really want to know where and how pedestrians fit into all
this?! When I left the bus terminal and crossed a wide boulevard with
the Akbars, weaving lane by lane through dense traffic, and somehow
making it to the other side unscathed, I turned around with a proud
look on my face, fully expecting the pedestrian crowds to cheer "ole,
ole, ole" and make Mexican waves on the sidewalks! But no, there was
no reaction: I had just learned the first survival skill that every
infant in Iran seems to acquire (or not, judging from the limping
masses). Watching Latino toreros doesn't give me any thrills anymore,
as they only face _one_ bull. Crossing a Tehran street is the real
thing, for real men! Forget the traffic in Athens, Rome, Cairo, and
Istanbul, forget Russian roulette and bungee jumping: Tehran traffic
gives you the ultimate adrenaline rushes!
The bus south to the Silk Road city of Esfahan is a superfast brandnew
Volvo, rather than the usual slow old Mercedes, so we arrive at 3am,
instead of the 6am or so I was told. While everybody bustles away, I
open my guidebook for orientation, still rubbing my eyes from sleep.
Just as I am about to despair and settle in the park until sunrise,
help pops up in the friendly person of Hassan, a graduate student at a
local university. A taxi-ride to downtown soon confirms his suspicion
that hotels have no reception service at this time of the night; this
being Iran, Hassan simply invites me to his parents' home, somewhere
in the Armenian quarter! This nightly taxi ride through empty streets
raises my spirits, as Esfahan turns out to be at least as beautiful as
in all the travelers' reports I had read so far: I immediately feel
that I will resonate with this splendid city, so I fall asleep
Fruits and vegetables are very tasty, definitely some of the best I
ever had! And, as all over the Middle East, deserts give you a taste
of what angels eat in paradise.
While on the bus south to Shiraz, a man and his family in the front
row keep gesturing at me to join them there. So I eventually take a
seat vacated by a son, and the father starts the conversation in
- We are very honored to have you aboard this bus, Sir. [...]
During the usual smalltalk enquiries about my opinions of Iran and the
Iranians, the other passengers stir in their seats and stare at us,
maybe eager to find out about me. Then:
- What is your name?
Somebody tips on his shoulder and asks, in Farsi, what my name is.
After his reply, the word "Pierre" goes like a bushfire to the end of
the bus, so I turn around and gently bow forward, with a friendly
smile, now that I am officially introduced.
- What is your surname?
And a "Flener" sound soon ripples through the entire bus.
- Where are you from?
- I am from Luxemborg. (sic, Farsi pronunciation)
Now, the words "Luxemborg!", "Luxemborg?", and "Istanbul!" (sic)
- What is your job?
- I am a teacher.
- Are you an English language teacher?
- No, I teach Computer Science.
- Wow! At what level, high school perhaps?
- No, at a university.
- But you are very young... Are you a teaching assistant?
- No, I have a Ph.D. degree and am an assistant professor.
The eager man behind us tips on my neighbor's shoulder again to get
the summary of my latest answers. And the word "doktora" echoes
manifold through the bus, to be instantly followed by an almost
- Mashallah! (a common Islamic phrase, used to avert the evil eye
when expressing admiration)
Their admiration seems limitless. (Later I found out that, with the
level of the economy, obtaining a Ph.D. in Iran is something very
difficult, and thus quite rare and noteworthy, especially for people
of my age.) Passengers send their children to bring me cakes, fruit,
vegetables, and tea. How natural Iranians thus are, in the sense that
they simply "adopt" me, making me one of theirs, with no regard to my
race, creed, or title! I like this!
The ruins are awesome, with their giant walls, columns, temples, statues, and so
on, especially the incredibly well-preserved 2,500-year-old reliefs,
such as the "Parade of Nations".
Once they have touched and kissed the tomb of Reza, some pilgrims become hysteric: adult men roll on
the floor, big tears flow down their cheeks, foam builds up on their mouths, they beat themselves senseless, and are dragged away by their
more sober friends, while still wailing "ya Reza, ya Ali"... Unforgettable sights, observed from within, not through long lenses or
on some documentary channel.
I spent a lot of time explaining to them that the mention of my salary is
meaningless unless they also know how much a loaf of bread costs back
home, that the "West" has huge unemployment rates so that they would
only be employed if they have quite unique qualifications, that the
"West" has huge crime rates (unlike Iran), that friendship and family
have decreasing roles in the "West" so that they most probably would
hate it there every minute, etc, but they were all oblivious to such
rhetoric: they just wanted to get out...
A few weeks later, once cozy at home, pouring over my photos,
telling my stories to my friends, receiving the first letters from
Iran, etc, I slowly fully realized what a fabulous trip it was, that I
already started missing Iran, that I actually wanted to go back!
Quietness - By Rumi
Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky,
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You're covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side.
and be quiet.
Quietness is the surest sign that you've died.
Your old life was a frantic running
The speechless full moon
comes out now.
I hold her hands and press her to my breast.
I try to fill my arms with her loveliness,
to plunder her sweet smile with kisses,
to drink her dark glances with my eyes.
Ah, but where is it?
Who can strain the blue from the sky?
I try to grasp the beauty;
it eludes me, leaving only the body in my hands.
Baffled and weary I come back.
How can the body touch the flower which only the spirit may touch?
THE TOP 10 Miraculous BENEFITS of KEEPING a PERSONAL JOURNAL
by Dr Philip Humbert
In earlier generations it was common to keep a diary or personal journal. Today few people do it, and very few recognize the
value and astonishing power of keeping a journal. If you can read and write, you have access to the most amazing source of
personal power and magic! Try it for 30 days and watch it transform your life! Clients periodically tell me they couldn't possibly
find the time. I ask them to try it for 30 days. Then clients often tell me they couldn't possibly live without the power of their
journals. The following are my top ten reasons to keep a journal.
A journal will clarify your goals. As you write a few thoughts each day, your ideas about what is important, what is worthy of your life and your time will become much clearer. You'll automatically discover what you really want in life.
A journal will simplify your life. Spending as little as 10 minutes with pen and paper describing your values, noting your achievements and giving thanks for the joys of life, will make you less tolerant of life's distractions. Things become much simpler when you write them down.
A journal will strengthen your relationships. It will give you time and the words to express your feelings, it will help you understand and be patient with your loved one's peccadilloes, and it will teach you to love more powerfully.
A journal will make you more attractive. Socrates said, "Know thyself." Keeping a journal will help you know yourself and express yourself more clearly, and that is amazingly attractive!
A journal will empower you. Thinking with pen and paper forces you to eliminate fuzzy or confusing images and "laser" in on precisely the right word, the most powerful image to express yourself. Keeping a journal will make you a better communicator, and that can make you rich!
A journal will eliminate temptation. Some ideas sound great in our imagination, but when written on paper they just aren't the same! It's easy to blurt out "I hate my job!", but writing about what it means to quit, change careers and start over will quickly result in one of two things: The temptation will go away, or you'll start generating actual plans to make your life better. Either way, you win!
A journal affirms the reality of your life. Writing about life adds meaning and power. Journal your child's first steps or first tooth, starting school, her first date and high school graduation adds substance to these things. A friend of mine just became a grandfather for the first time and gave his son, the proud father, a fat 3-ring binder of notes he'd written as he'd watched his baby boy grow 25 years ago. Together they cried and laughed at the reality that life is a sacred, wonderful thing.
A journal helps you be quiet. Journaling has been called a form of meditation. It has a similar power to quiet the mind and focus your thoughts. It even has the power to turn off the TV! It can heal anxiety, change your breathing and make you smile. What more could you ask?
A journal helps you speak out. Many of my articles, letters to the local paper, and letters to friends began as notes in my journal. A journal helps ideas become words, and it provides a nursery for words to grow into sentences and paragraphs, until finally they need a stage on which to express themselves. Sometimes that "stage" is a candle-lit dinner, other times it's a protest sign or a letter to an old friend. Whatever form it takes, many of those messages would never have been born without the safety of a journal in which to grow.
Finally, a journal just feels good! Using quality paper and a fountain pen or other a beautiful instrument with just the right "heft" and feel is a wonderfully sensuous, delightful experience. It will cheer you up, reduce your stress, make you smile and add to your life. Who knows, itll, it could!)
About the Submitter:
Dr Philip Humbert is a writer and personal coach who can be reached at Coach@PhilipHumbert.com He writes a popular
FREE newsletter and you can subscribe to it and get lots of other FREE stuff (including a great motivational screensaver!) by
visiting his website at: http://www.philiphumbert.com
Keeping Diary May Help Breast Cancer Patients
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Keeping a diary of thoughts and feelings may not only help breast cancer (news - web sites) patients' emotional health, it could have an impact on physical health as well, according to recent study findings.
In a study in which patients were randomly assigned to write down their feelings or a simple list of facts, diary keepers were less likely to report treatment symptoms or have doctor's visits related to such symptoms than patients who simply documented their breast cancer experience.
It's not clear why the type of writing a patient does would effect her use of medical care. However, those engaged in "expressive writing" may make better use of their scheduled appointments or taken more actions to address medical concerns, according to Dr. Annette L. Stanton of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas and her colleagues.
Reza Ganjavi: Lot of things that are big in your head seem like nothing once emptied
The 10 Commandments of Logic
Thou shall not attack the person’s character, but the argument. (Ad hominem)
Thou shall not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack. (Straw man fallacy)
Thou shall not use small numbers to represent the whole. (Hasty generalization)
Thou shall not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true. (Begging the question)
Thou shall not claim that because something occurred before, it must be the cause. (Post Hoc/False cause)
Thou shall not reduce the argument down to two possibilities. (False dichotomy)
Thou shall not argue that because of our ignorance, claim must be true or false. (Ad ignorantum)
Thou shall not lay the burden of proof onto him that is questioning the claim. (Burden of proof reversal)
Thou shall not assume “this” follows “that” when it has no logical connection. (Non sequitur)
Thou shall not claim that because a premise is popular, therefore it must be true. (Bandwagon fallacy)
10 Commandments of Rational Debate (with examples)
Though shall not attack the person’s character, but the argument itself. (“Ad hominem”)
Example: Dave listens to Marilyn Manson, therefore his arguments against certain parts of religion are worthless. After all, would you trust someone who listens to that devil worshiper?
2. Though shall not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack. (“Straw Man Fallacy”)
Example: After Jimmy said that we should put more money into health and education, Steve responded by saying that he was surprised that Jimmy hates our country so much that he wants to leave it defenceless by cutting military spending.
3. Though shall not use small numbers to represent the whole. (“Hasty Generalization”)
Example: Climate Change Deniers take a small sample set of data to demonstrate that the Earth is cooling, not warming. They do this by zooming in on 10 years of data, ignoring the trend that is present in the entire data set which spans a century.
4. Though shall not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true. (“Begging the Question”)
Sheldon: “God must exist.”
Wilbert: “How do you know?”
Sheldon: “Because the Bible says so.”
Wilbert: “Why should I believe the Bible?”
Sheldon: “Because the Bible was written by God.”
Here, Sheldon is making the assumption that the Bible is true, therefore his premise – that God exists – is also true.
5. Though shall not claim that because something occurred before, but must be the cause. (“Post Hoc/False Cause”).
This can also be read as “correlation does not imply causation”.
Example: There were 3 murders in Dallas this week and on each day, it was raining. Therefore, murders occur on rainy days.
6. Though shall not reduce the argument down to only two possibilities when there is a clear middle ground. (“False Dichotomy”).
Example: You’re either with me, or against me. Being neutral is not an option.
7. Though shall not argue that because of our ignorance, the claim must be true or false. (“Ad Ignorantiam”).
Example: 95% of unidentified flying objects have been explained. 5% have not. Therefore, the 5% that are unexplained prove that aliens exist.
8. Though shall not lay the burn of proof onto him that is questioning the claim. (“Burden of Proof Reversal”).
Example: Marcy claims she sees the ghosts of dead people, then challenges you to prove her wrong. The burden of proof is on Marcy, not you, since Marcy made the extraordinary claim.
9. Though shall not assume that “this” follows “that”, when “it” has no logical connection. (“Non Sequitur”).
Similar, but the difference between the post hoc and non sequitur fallacies is that, whereas the post hoc fallacy is due to lack of a causal connection, in the non sequitur fallacy, the error is due to lack of a logical connection.
Example: If you do not buy this Vitamin X supplements for your infant, you are neglecting your her.
10. Though shall not claim that because a premise is popular, therefore, it must be true. (“Bandwagon Fallacy”).
Example: Just because a celebrity like Dr. Oz endorses a product, it doesn’t make it any more legitimate.
[This was emailed to me by a friend]
This is what The Dalai Lama has to say on the millennium...
INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE
1.Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs:
- Respect for self
- Respect for others and
- Responsibility for all your actions
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realise you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
Subj: Message from the Dalai Lama [emailed by J.E.S.] - September 2001 - after World Trade Center tragedies
From the Dalai Lama
Dear friends around the world: The events of this day cause every
thinking person to stop their daily lives, whatever is going on in them,
and to ponder deeply the larger questions of life. We search again for
not only the meaning of life, but the purpose of our individual and
collective experience as we have created it--and we look earnestly for
ways in which we might recreate ourselves as a human species, so that we
will never treat each other this way again. The hour has come for us to
demonstrate at the highest level our most extraordinary thought about Who
We Really Are. There are two possible responses to what has occurred
today. The first comes from love, the second from fear.
If we come from fear we may panic and do things--as individuals and as
nations--that could only cause further damage. If we come from love we
will find refuge and strength, even as we provide it to others.This is
the moment of your ministry. This is the time of teaching. What you teach
at this time, through your every word and action right now, will remain
as indelible lessons in the hearts and minds of those whose lives you
touch, both now, and for years to come. We will set the course for
tomorrow, today. At this hour. In this moment. Let us seek not to
pinpoint blame, but to pinpoint cause. Unless we take this time to look
at the cause of our experience, we will never remove ourselves from the
experiences it creates. Instead, we will forever live in fear of
retribution from those within the human family who feel aggrieved, and,
likewise, seek retribution from them. To us [Buddhist thinkers] the
reasons are clear. We have not learned the most basic human lessons. We
have not remembered the most basic human truths. We have not understood
the most basic spiritual wisdom. In short, we have not been listening to
God, and because we have not, we watch ourselves do ungodly things. The
message we hear from all sources of truth is clear: We are all one. That
is a message the human race has largely ignored. Forgetting this truth is
the only cause
of hatred and war, and the way to remember is simple: Love, [in] this
and every moment.
If we could love even those who have attacked us, and seek to understand
why they have done so, what then would be our response? Yet if we meet
negativity with negativity, rage with rage, attack with attack, what then
will be the outcome?
These are the questions that are placed before the human race today. They
are questions that we have failed to answer for thousands of years.
Failure to answer them now could eliminate the need to answer them at
all. If we want the beauty of the world that we have co-created to be
experienced by our children and our children's children, we will have to
become spiritual activists right here, right now, and cause that to