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

14 August 2005

Meditation is not enough.

How many times have I resolved to live in the present moment, only to find myself formulating a personal growth plan, so that I may learn to experience the present moment – someday?

I wish to live in an ongoing awareness that my cup is full, that there is nothing more that I need, that this is all there is, and it is enough.

Meditation is a training, or preparation for this state of bliss. But training and preparing come from a yearning for something better. If my cup is full right here, right now, then what is this yen for self-improvement?

Does meditation move me toward this end, or is it a grand distraction?  At some point, I must let go of the idea that this moment is an investment in the future.  

At some point?  How about, Now!

- Josh Mitteldorf

13 August 2005

One of the most consistently positive long-term trends in our world is the progress of medicine over the last two centuries, and the steady increase in lifespan. As better treatments are available for diseases of old age, the healthy part of our lifespan is extended, and impairment is delayed.

This week, a new treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease has been announced, which appears to be remarkably effective in tests on mice, clearing the disease’s characteristic brain plaques. The treatment is scheduled to be tested in humans next year. Applied as a nasal spray, it induces the body’s immune system to attack the brain plaques which are symptomatic of Alzheimer’s.

The drug and its application were discovered by Howard Weiner, a neurobiologist at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital whose main research focuses on Multiple Sclerosis.

New Scientist article

12 August 2005

Curiously, there are a lot more people in the world who know how to make a billion dollars than who know what to do with it. George Soros is a billionaire with a vision. He has a sense of what the world needs, and how money can be leveraged to magnify its effect.

Soros has bet on changing cultures and attitudes as a way to promote democracy and justice worldwide. Some of the projects of the Open Society Institute include reforming criminal justice in targeted countries, promoting the status of women worldwide, and spreading information technologies in countries where the government tries to stifle the free flow of news and opinion.

George Soros is 75 years old today.

11 August 2005

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few."

-Shunryu Suzuki

10 August 2005

"The more faithfully you listen to the voices within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside."

In the 1950s and 60's, Dag Hammarskjold showed how the United Nations could be an arbiter of world conflict and a beacon of hope for future peace and tolerance.

9 August 2005

"You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way."

Marvin Minsky pioneered the study of how our minds work, and how computers might emulate true intelligence. His most influential book is Society of Mind.

"This book tries to explain how mind works. How can intelligence emerge from non-intelligence? To answer that, we’ll show that you can build a mind from little parts, each mindless by itself. I’ll call "Society of Mind" this scheme, in which mind is made up of many smaller processes. These we’ll call agents. Each mental agent by itself can do only some simple thing that needs no mind or thought at all. Yet when we join these agents in societies – in certain very special ways – this leads to true intelligence."

How well does this comport with our experience of consciousness?  Is individual thought a discussion in ourselves among many disparate voices with diverse perspectives?  Is there anyone playing referee?

"In general we are least aware of what our minds do best."

Marvin Minsky is 78 years old today.

8 August 2005


Peace flows into me
As the tide to the pool by the shore;
It is mine forevermore,
It will not ebb like the sea.


Joy is a flame in me
Too steady to destroy.
Lithe as a bending reed
Loving the storm that sways her.


My thoughts seek you as waves that seek the shore,
And when I think of you, I am at rest.


The rest may die -- but is there not
Some shining strange escape for me
Who sought in Beauty the bright wine
Of immortality?

Sara Teasdale, born this day in 1884