An uplifting news item, poem, thought or quotation each day.
Archive of past entries
15 August 2004
Comfort in the face of uncertainty is essential to our wellbeing. This art comprises equal parts of contingency analysis and pure faith.
-Josh Mitteldorf

14 August 2004
Choose, then, whether you will be loved by those who formerly loved you, and be like your former self; or be better, and not meet with the same treatment.  For if this last is preferable, immediately incline altogether this way, and let no other kind of reasoning draw you aside; for no one can improve while he is wavering.
- Epictetus

The paradox inherent in this advice is the implicit recognition that your choice will frequently be wrong; yet following it through to the end results in the "improvement" of learning, while failure to follow through yields no clear lesson.

 

13 August 2004

"I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there."

- Richard Feynman

Humility in science is not just about preserving our sense of wonder in the face of the cosmos. It is also necessary to the possibility of progress in science and technology.

"It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesnít get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods."

- Richard Feynman

12 August 2004
The iron law of human progress:

"All ignorance toboggans into know."
  - e e cummings
(quoted out of context)

11 August 2004

Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.
Rainer Maria Rilke

10 August 2004

"When Koko the gorilla used the American Sign Language gesture for pain and pointed to her mouth, 12 specialists, including three dentists, sprang into action."
     -from the Associated Press

Just a few years ago, it was an article of faith among scientists that animal awareness existed at a much lower level than human consciousness. Now there are dogs that have vocabularies of hundreds of words, and trained chimps and gorillas who share their world with us, using a child-like speech.  The tongue seems to be more a limiting factor than the brain.

It may be that dolphins and even elephants communicate in a rich and complex syntax. Why havenít scientists yet decoded their language? Perhaps we are making the wrong assumptions about the kinds of things they are interested in transmitting.

Once we open to perspectives on the world so different from our own, how much can we expand our own range of perspective? 

9 August 2004

"Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and
done by unarmed nations in the face of odds."
- Mohandas Gandhi

also...

"Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty."

(brief bio)