17 September 2005
Hail to you, great God, Lord
of Justice! I have come to you, my lord, so that I may see your beauty, for
I know you and I know your name, and I know the names of the forty-two gods
of those who are with you in this Hall of Justice...
Truth is your name. Behold I
have come to you, I have brought you truth, I have repelled falsehood for
I have not done falsehood
against men, I have not impoverished my associates, I have done no wrong in
the Place of Truth, I have not learnt that which is not, I have done no
evil, I have not daily made labor in excess of what was to be done for me,
my name has not reached the offices of those who control slaves, I have not
deprived the orphan of his property, I have not done what the gods detest, I
have not slandered a servant to his master, I have not caused pain, I have
not made hungry, I have not made to weep, I have not killed, I have not
turned anyone over to a killer, I have not caused anyone’s suffering...
I have not been unchaste, I
have not increased nor diminished the measure...I have not added to the
balance weights, I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance. I
have not taken milk from a child’s mouth...
I have not encroached upon
fields, I have not driven small cattle from their herbage, I have not
stopped the flow of water in its seasons, not built a dam against flowing
water, I have not quenched a fire in its time.
I am pure. I am pure. I am
pure...and nothing evil shall come into being against me in this Hall of
of innocence, from the Egyptian
Book of the Dead (1240 BC)
16 September 2005
warming seems one of the most intractable problems of our time, because
it would appear to require people to subjugate their own individual
interests and cooperate at an unprecedented level. Everything we in the
civilized world do requires energy, and current technologies for creating
usable energy are concentrated on burning coal, oil, gas and wood - all of
which add CO2 to the atmosphere.
solution is energy
conservation. This will certainly play a role. Another is not so obvious
or so well known: marine biologists say that there is enormous potential for
plankton growth in the
world’s southern oceans. They say the oceans are fertile with most
minerals and get lots of unused sunlight, but they lack one element: iron.
plan is to convert scrap iron into filings and seed the oceans on a
large scale. If it works, the oceans will become more productive, pulling
enough CO2 out of the atmosphere to counteract global warming,
de-acidifying the oceans. Since plankton is at the base of the ocean’s
food chain, it may become a more richly sustainable source of seafood as
Will it work? We
don’t know yet. But I am full of admiration for those who think about
grand solutions, and projects that will benefit the earth’s creatures on a
Magazine articles last year.
15 September 2005
Sometimes great people
produce great quotes, but sometimes people of no special achievement have a
knack for capturing truth in a phrase. The legacy of François de la Rochefoucauld,
born this day in 1613, is a body of aphorisms:
«Les querelles ne
dureraient pas longtemps, si le tort n’était que d’un côté.»
"Fights would not
last, if one side only were wrong"
«Il est plus honteux de se défier de ses amis que d'en être trompé»
"It is more shameful to mistrust one's friends than to be
deceived by them"
«Nous sommes plus près d’aimer
ceux qui nous haïssent que ceux qui nous aiment.»
"It is easier to love
those who hate us than those who love us excessively."
«Nous promettons selon
nos espérances, et nous tenons selon nos craintes.»
"We promise according
to our hopes and perform according to our fears."
«On parle peu quand la
vanité ne fait pas parler.»
"We are quiet when not
moved by vanity."
Sources in French: Bibliothèque
Sources in English: Quote Mountain
14 September 2005
Daily Inspiration is a paradox.'
We are comfortable working
with statements that are either true or false. But self-referential
statements can be neither or both.
'This statement is true.'
can be both true and false, since it's true if it's true, and false if it's
'This statement is false.'
can be neither true nor false, since it's true if it's false, and vice
versa. Hence it is a paradox.
'Today's Daily Inspiration is a paradox.' - true? false? or a
13 September 2005
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.
12 September 2005
"One who rows a boat
turns his back to the goal toward which he labours. So it is with the next
day. When by the help of the eternity a man lives absorbed in today, he
turns his back to the next day. The more he is eternally absorbed in today,
the more decisively does he turn his back upon the next day, so that he does
not see it at all. If he turns around, eternity is confused before his eyes,
it becomes the next day. But if for the sake of labouring more effectively
towards the goal (eternity) he turns his back, he does not see the next day
at all, whereas by the help of eternity he sees quite clearly today and its
Soren Kierkegaard, The Anxiety of Self-Torment
Kierkegaard was a Christian,
and intended "eternity" as a reference to heaven. But the wisdom
of his observation transcends this context. His advice is sound if we
interpret the word as our broadest vision, whether physical or metaphysical or
religious or mystical. Perhaps another metaphor is the sea captain
with his eyes on the distant shore, not on the next wave.