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

11 September 2005

The transition points in our lives can arise from the depths of misfortune and despair, when we feel we have no options remaining; but it neednít be always thus.

The alternative requires for us to live with our doors left ajar. We must meander from our daily routine, permitting serendipity into our familiar. It is inefficient; it is inconvenient; it is essential.

More difficult yet is to recognize opportunity while it is yet a glimmer on the horizon, and, far from beckoning, it is strange and fascinating and terrifying to us.

~ Josh Mitteldorf

10 September 2005

"There is no such thing as chance; and what seem to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny."

Of course, we have know way of knowing if this is literally true, but many of us have deep, intuitive convictions on the subject.  We comfort ourselves when things go wrong, with the knowledge that a higher purpose is being served.  We excuse our own faults, and forgive others their shortcomings. We hold out hope, and remember a humble appreciation of mystery in contemplating larger purposes unknown. 

Paradox arises when we consider this principle applied to ourselves.  If we think that "destiny is being served, in any case" we may be tempted not to act, or even to act irresponsibly.  If there is a destiny, we are part of it, and so are our deliberations.  Fate is not an excuse. 

The quote is from Johann Friedrich von Schiller, born this day in 1759.

9 September 2005

"Sometimes snakes canít slough. They canít burst their old skin. Then they get sick and die inside the old skin, and nobody sees the new pattern. It needs a real desperate recklessness to burst your old skin at last. You simply donít care what happens to you if you rip yourself in two, so long as you do get out."

- D. H. LawrenceFenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Novels

8 September 2005

Researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine have been working for 15 years at growing human tissues outside the body. They aim to replace pancreas cells in diabetics, livers in hepatitis patients, kidneys and bladders and trachea and blood vessels in patients where these organs have failed. They start with a few of the patientís own cells, so that there are no issues of rejection, and no immune suppression is needed. Amazingly, the cells organize themselves into tissues, and blood vessels grow to feed them once they are implanted in the body. 

The Institute is already doing these operations on an experimental basis in people, and hope to have procedures ready for full clinical trials in coming years.

7 September 2005

When yesterday can say goodbye
And carry away her worn-out bags
Filled with broken promises
Broken dreams
And broken hearts

When tomorrow can wait outside the door
And keep her gifts ready
But politely wrapped
So as not to spoil the surprise

Then today can come
And sit
And hold you in her strong embrace
While she opens her own box of blessings
Unseen before
Lying buried in the shadows
Beneath yesterday's clutter

~ Tim Wright

6 September 2005

"When the government violates the people's rights, insurrection is, for the people and for each portion of the people, the most sacred of the rights and the most indispensable of duties."

~Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, born this day in 1757.
The man who led the French support for the American Revolution was also a forthright and idealistic critic:

"I would never have drawn my sword in the cause of America if I could have conceived thereby that I was founding a land of slavery,"

"If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy"

5 September 2005

"Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy."
- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Quaint when written, today it can be taken as a Marxist call to arms rather than a spiritual call to personal revival. For work has become so alienating and the worker so disdained that Gibranís imperative is inconceivable for most of us, while coercion permeates our lives, and the opportunities to live on alms dispensed at the temple gate has disappeared.

"Why do we work ? From necessity or love ? If the former, then our world is failing us, we are being exploited, being made slaves for the benefit of others. The ethic that work is a 'good thing' is a throwback to a Victorian mentality of puritanical pain and denial of our humanity, an ethic that is so far removed from the reality of our human nature as to be pathological."
 
- Chris Lucas, Freeing Us From Labor