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

21 November 2005

If you don't find God in the next person you meet, 
it is a waste of time looking for him further. 

~ Mahatma Gandhi

20 November 2005

There is a source within, speaking with intuition, insight and wisdom. It is a soft and subtle voice, generally drowned out by the din of our worldly activities. How can we become better listeners? One essential step is to stem the flow of words. The translation of thought into word, and the habit of reasoning verbally are essentially useful, but cut us off from our source.

Buddhist monks will take a vow of silence for a time. Rest and solitude have restorative value that most of us recognize. Music, vigorous exercise, or repetition of a mantra can crowd out the verbalizations that have become our brain’s dominant mode.

Looking at a bonobo or an elephant or dolphin, I sometimes try to imagine the immediacy of their intuitions, in a constant state of preverbal consciousness.

~Josh Mitteldorf

bright-eyed bonobo

19 November 2005

"It seems to me now that mathematics is capable of an artistic excellence as great as that of any music, perhaps greater; not because the pleasure it gives (although very pure) is comparable, either in intensity or in the number of people who feel it, to that of music, but because it gives in absolute perfection that combination, characteristic of great art, of godlike freedom, with the sense of inevitable destiny; because, in fact, it constructs an ideal world where everything is perfect but true."

~ Bertrand Russell, Autobiography

Other quotes on mathematics as art

18 November 2005

"Knowing you are fulfilling your destiny because you want to, rather than because you have to, can make a difference. When you are freed from obligation, obstacles in your way become challenges to be overcome, and the journey becomes an adventure rather than the obligatory steps you are being forced to take."

- from the Daily Om

17 November 2005

"...The first point is that the enormous usefulness of mathematics in the natural sciences is something bordering on the mysterious and that there is no rational explanation for it. Second, it is just this uncanny usefulness of mathematical concepts that raises the question of the uniqueness of our physical theories...The great mathematician fully, almost ruthlessly, exploits the domain of permissible reasoning and skirts the impermissible. That his recklessness does not lead him into a morass of contradictions is a miracle in itself... quite comparable in its striking nature to...the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind's capacity to divine them."

~from The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences, by Eugene Wigner, born this day in 1902

(Wigner made many contributions to physics and the philosophy of science.  He is perhaps best known for combining the algebra of symmetries with quantum mechanics, in order to create a framework for understanding the physics of crystals.)

In Wigner's day, physicists were way out on a limb of abstraction, bolstered and encouraged by the fact that quantum mechanics makes striking predictions that are confirmed in atomic physics, in physical chemistry, and in particle experiments.  Encouraged by that success, physicists of today are much further out on a limb, with theories of 11-dimensional space and unseen forms of matter and energy – theories that may never be testable in any experiment.  I wonder what Wigner would say?

16 November 2005

"People will take responsibility for authority over their own minds, worshipping by wondering about the natural laws to which we are all subject. Nurtured by this progressive spirituality, we will look upon the natural world as a house of worship, the book of nature as sacred scripture, the laws of nature as God’s commandments, the resonant effects of thoughts on the human organism as the voice of God...and our lives will be our prayers." 

from God without Religion, by Sankara Saranam

15 November 2005

Resolve to Be Impeccable With Your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Number One from The Four Agreements, by Miguel Ruiz

14 November 2005

"Liberals say we should end employment discrimination. I say we should end employment. Conservatives support right-to-work laws. Following Karl Marx's wayward son-in-law Paul Lafargue, I support the right to be lazy. Leftists favor full employment. Like the surrealists – except that I'm not kidding – I favor full unemployment. Trotskyists agitate for permanent revolution. I agitate for permanent revelry."

~ Bob Black