An uplifting news item, poem, thought or quotation each day. Archive of past entries
5 September 2004

The decisions which you ponder, the contingencies that you anticipate with agitation these will not fix your destiny.

Fate arrives without heralds, and when the bell sounds, you respond in an instant, yea or nay. Years of small choices and habits, all your daily disciplines have prepared you for this moment, and you cannot help but choose as you do.

  -Josh Mitteldorf

4 September 2004

Lest we take it for granted...
  
The World Wide Web is a tribute to the generous and cooperative characters of a billion human beings. In 1992, there were a few people like Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andreessen who had a sense that a large number of people would benefit from global information sharing.  But no one could have predicted the cornucopia of facts, opinions, art and entertainment that would shortly be at the fingertips of us all.

    Why did a genius like Richard Stallman work for years in an MIT basement to create software to give away, when he could have hired himself out for millions?  Why was Linus Torvalds able to recruit thousands of programmers worldwide to work without compensation on an all-encompassing project, results to be distributed free?  What motivates people to share freely the best gestures of their brains with others whom they've never met? 

From teen bloggers to university scholars, from rock stars to the New York Review of Books, a lot of us have been doing it, and after our first ten years, we have 4 billion web pages to share with each other.

3 September 2004

"What then is the creative state of mind, which so few have been able to be in? It is first of all, one whose interest in what is being done is wholehearted and total, like that of a young child. With this spirit, it is always open to learning what is new, to perceiving new differences and new similarities, leading to new orders and structures rather than always tending to impose familiar orders and structure in the field of what is seen."

David Bohm was a physics teacher, author of a textbook on quantum mechanics.  Early in life, he wrote a journal article that showed one way of looking at the Uncertainty Principle was not as randomness but connection that is so widespread (and instantaneous) that it appears random to us.  Late in life, he developed the idea of the hologram as a model for the workings of the universe, and became a disciple of Krishnamurti

 

2 September 2004

Remember, in times like these, that the broad sweep of history is in the direction of democracy and human rights.  War and slavery may still be worldwide scourges in 2004, but they were more so in the past.

One of the brightest beacons of hope this year shines from the progress toward acceptance of gay marriages.  This breaks through thousands of years of bigotry, and would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

Biblical authority: (Lev xviii) 

"Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
  And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her"

  In the Holy Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian imposed severe penalties because, "as everyone knows, sodomy is a principal cause of earthquake."

Sodomy laws have been repealed or struck down in 35 states, and remain on the books in 13, (as tracked by ACLU).

1 September 2004

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
- Albert Einstein

31 August 2004

Is it defeatist for us to accept pain and suffering?  It's certainly un-American.  But, in addition to JS Mill, there is wisdom of the Orient to suggest that suffering is only temporary, but we only extend it if we fear to feel it, or stray into the illusion of unrealistic expectations.

"You know quite well, deep within you, that there is only a single magic, a single power, a single salvation...and that is called loving.

Well then, love your suffering.

Do not resist it, do not flee from it.

It is only your aversion to it that hurts, nothing else."

-Hermann Hesse

 

"One may not reach the dawn save by the path of the night."

- Kahlil Gibran

How does one know when to acceppt suffering and when to fight like a revolutionary?  This is an essential wisdom; by its nature, one that must be asserted when one's intellect is compromised by depression. 

30 August 2004

"A state of exalted pleasure lasts only moments, or in some cases, and with some intermissions, hours or days, and is the occasional brilliant flash of enjoyment, not its permanent and steady flame. Of this the philosophers who have taught that happiness is the end of life were as fully aware as those who taunt them. The happiness which they meant was not a life of rapture; but moments of such, in an existence made up of few and transitory pains, many and various pleasures, with a decided predominance of the active over the passive, and having as the foundation of the whole, not to expect more from life than it is capable of bestowing."

- John Stuart Mill,
Utilitarianism