An uplifting news item, poem, thought or quotation each day.
Archive of past entries
17 October 2004
We come into the world with our senses wide open, our minds unformed and without expectation.  As we grow and learn, we trade our flexible potential for competence and the comfort that comes with familiarity.
Each time we conquer a new skill, a door closes in the mind.  If we rest on our laurels, we stop seeing, stop imagining, stop receiving anything that is new, though 99% of our world may remain unexplored.  Occluded are our vulnerability, our willingness to inhabit a world that is profoundly unexpected.
What will it take to blast us open once more, to seize us and drag us screaming and protesting from our comfortable lair?  How will our infant's eyes and ears be restored?
For some, it will be a brush with death, or a desperate change of circumstances.  But others will not wait for the face of destiny to appear in our garden window.  We go forth restless, in search of adventure at every stage of life, shaking our senses, prying open our own minds.
  - Josh Mitteldorf
16 October 2004
"To the ordinary being, others often require tolerance. To the highly evolved being, there is no such thing as tolerance, because there is no such thing as other."
  -Lao Tzu
Hua Hu Jing, tr Brian Walker
15 October 2004

God does not send us despair in order to kill us; he sends it in order to awaken us to new life.

  -Herman Hesse

14 October 2004

The Ants toil for no Master
Sufficient to their Need
The daily commerce of the Nest
The storage of their Seed
They meet - and exchange Message -
But none to none - bows down
They - like God's thoughts - speak each to each -
Without - external - crown.
  - Christabel LaMotte

Christabel LaMotte was a nineteenth century British poet who existed in the fertile imagination of novelist A S Byatt. Nonetheless, she managed to write some vivid and thought-provoking works.
(The breaks in awkward places were an affectation which Byatt introduced to these
lines, symbolic of her fictional creation's broken life.)

13 October 2004

"A few years ago, I heard Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak at a Los Angeles benefit for a South African project. He’d been fighting prostate cancer, was tired that evening, and had taken a nap before his talk. But when Tutu addressed the audience he became animated, expressing amazement that God chose his native country, given its shameful history of racial oppression, to provide the world with an unforgettable lesson in reconciliation and hope. Afterward a few other people spoke, then a band from East L.A. took the stage and launched into an irresistibly rhythmic tune. People started dancing. Suddenly I noticed Tutu, boogying away in the middle of the crowd. I’d never seen a Nobel Peace Prize winner, still less one with a potentially fatal disease, move like that—with such joy and abandonment. Tutu, I realized, knows how to have a good time. Indeed, it dawned on me that his ability to recognize and embrace life’s pleasures helps him face its cruelties and disappointments, be they personal or political."

-Paul Loeb, "The Impossible Will Take a Little While"

12 October 2004
"I refuse to allow a disability to determine how I live my life. I don't mean to be reckless, but setting a goal that seems a bit daunting actually is very helpful toward recovery."
  - Christopher Reeve
 PBS Interview
Being a superhero isn't about pushing bad guys around.   It's about overcoming personal limitations with a powerful will to contribute to the world.

"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a Heaven for?"
  - Robert Browning

11 October 2004
"Whosoever delighteth in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.."


  (ed note: maybe both)


Francis Bacon (1561-1626) gave us the radical idea that knowledge of the world comes not so much from thinking deeply but from observing clearly.  For 2000 years before him, the Aristotelian idea had ruled: theories were judged by aesthetic criteria, within an abstract universe of pure thought.  Bacon promoted the methodology of Copernicus and Galileo.

How many areas of politics, psychology - even science are still absorbing his lesson today?

"Who are you going to believe - me or your own eyes?"

    - Groucho Marx, (born on this day in 1890)