5 December 2004
This is the doctrine of no doctrine, the dogma that renounces dogma. As
we commit ourselves to consideration anew in every moment, to fresh
reevaluation of every precept, every idea in our conception
of the world, we recognize that to adhere to this rule is to break it. For
now, we are content with the ongoing expansion of our thought, the
continuous broadening of our perspective; but someday the paradox must lead
to the transcendence of thought that is our enlightenment.
This day will
4 December 2004
~Bertrand Russell, What I Believe, 1925
"Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue."
Merton, Social Theory, 1957
"Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cozy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of their own."
3 December 2004
"Hope is a moral obligation, a human obligation, an obligation to the
cells in your body. Hope is not naive, hope grapples endlessly with despair.
Real, vivid, powerful, thunderclap hope, like the soul, is at home in
darkness, is divided; but is inseparable from your own soul."
May 26, 2002 commencement speech at Vassar College
2 December 2004
"My master, Sri
Yukteswar, spoke caressingly, comfortingly. His calm gaze was unfathomable.
"Your heart's desire shall be fulfilled." He seldom indulged in
riddles; I was bewildered. He struck gently on my chest above the heart.
body became immovably rooted; breath was drawn out of my lungs as if by some
huge magnet. Soul and mind instantly lost their physical bondage and
streamed out like a fluid piercing light from my every pore. The flesh was
as though dead, yet in my intense awareness I knew that never before had I
been fully alive. My sense of identity was no longer narrowly confined to a
body but embraced the circumambient atoms. People on distant streets seemed
to be moving gently over my own remote periphery. The roots of plants and
trees appeared through a dim transparency of the soil; I discerned the
inward flow of their sap."
1 December 2004
Korea continues to be a source of amazing developments in the field of
A South Korean woman paralyzed for 20 years is walking again after
scientists say they repaired her damaged spine using stem cells derived from
umbilical cord blood. Hwang Mi-soon was paralyzed after a spinal
injury. While human muscle and bone tissues are able to re-grow
reliably after injury, injury to nerves is often permanent. This is
why recovery from spinal injuries and strokes is so tentative. It is
hoped that stem cells offer a path for previously untreatable damage.
Stem cells are immature, undifferentiated human cells that still have the
ability to grow into any kind of tissue. Stem cell research has been
slow in America because religious objections have limited funding. But
the stem cells used in the Korean experiment were of a kind to which
religious groups have never taken exception, because they are derived from
umbilical blood in normal human births.
30 November 2004
My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
With no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.
Rich, Natural Resources
29 November 2004