5 November 2006

Live beneath your means.  Share a large house instead of renting a small apartment.  Food coops, babysitting coops, car pools, co-op schools.  Share major purchases with friends.  Live within walking or bicycling distance of the places you need to be.  

Budget only a fraction of your income for basic necessities.  Plan to donate a major portion and save the rest.  Live generously – you need less than you may think. 

– Josh Mitteldorf

4 November 2006

Reserving judgment

Then gently scan your brother man,
   Still gentler sister woman;
Though they may gang a kennin wrang,
   To step aside is human.
One point must still be greatly dark,
   The moving Why they do it;
And just as lamely can ye mark
   How far perhaps they rue it.

Who made the heart, tis he alone
   Decidedly can try us;
He knows each chord, its various tone,
   Each spring its various bias.
Then at the balance let
s be mute,
   We never can adjust it;
s done we partly may compute,
   But know not whats resisted.

 ~ Robert Burns, Address to the Unco Guid

3 November 2006

« Le plus grand mystère n'est pas que nous soyons jetés au hasard entre la profusion de la matière et celle des astres ; c'est que, dans cette prison, nous tirions de nous-mêmes des images assez puissantes pour nier notre néant. »

~ André Malraux, né ce jour en 1901 Onirophyse - Citations

“The greatest mystery is not that we should have been cast randomly into this universe, somewhere between the atoms and the stars; it is rather that from this prison we can yet draw images sufficiently powerful to defy our insignificance.”

~ André Malraux, born this day in 1901

“When we think of André Malraux we are tempted, more often than not, to remember his passionate involvement in all the great causes of our century, his high-soaring lyricism as the flamboyant Minister of Culture alongside General de Gaulle, between 1958 and 1969, and also the final epic, towards the end of his life, when he traveled to Bangladesh devastated by war, as the messenger and precursor of a kindred spirit that did not yet bear the name of humanitarian aid.

“In doing so we forget a little too quickly the marvelous novelist and the genuine, simple and immediate pleasure to be gained today from reading his stories, stories where adventure does not exclude reflection, where the romanticism of lonely struggles blends with the exaltation, seemingly paradoxical at first, of group solidarity, all couched in a breathless, staccato style interspersed with quick-fire dialogue.”
André Malraux adventurer, novelist and aesthete

“When man faces destiny, destiny ends and man comes into his own.”

2 November 2006

“I was thinking of going back to medical school. Then I thought, if I’m an oncologist I can treat hundreds of people but if I discover a new drug maybe I can help millions of people. I decided that if I had even a 1 per cent chance of success, that was enough to make it worth my while. So I took my family and we lived in this little village we picked off the map that had no running water or electricity...”

There is a vast reservoir of information and superstition about healing in the shamanic traditions of ‘primitive’ cultures.  The potential benefit for modern medicine is incalculable, if the sound remedies can be separated from the useless.  In some cases, active ingredients can be refined from herbs, and chemical variants can be found that work even better.   

For all the potential in this program, it is being pursued less than vigorously, because of the ideological constraints of capitalism.  Medicines that are discovered in the laboratory are patentable, and may yield enormous profits; medicines that are discovered in traditional cultures are in the public domain, and cannot legally be monopolized.  There is no incentive for the pharmaceutical corporations that control research dollars to invest in traditional medicines.

...and yet there are  individuals and organizations who see the opportunity inherent in this situation, and are searching for powerful drugs in ethnic backwaters.  Paul Alan Cox, author of the above quote, is founder and director of the Institute for Ethnomedicine in Hawaii. Working in Samoa, he has discovered a traditional remedy with powerful antiviral action.  It is used locally to cure hepatitis, and Cox thinks it has potential against HIV.  

Cox is incidentally committed to returning profits from these pharmaceutical products to the tribal communities where they were originally discovered. 

1 November 2006


No habrá nunca una puerta.Estás adentro
y el alcázar abarca el universo
y no tiene ni anverso ni reverso
ni externo muro ni secreto centro.
No esperes que el rigor de tu camino
que tercamente se bifurca en otro,
que tercamente se bifurca en otro,
tendrá fin. Es de hierro tu destino
como tu juez. No aguardes la embestida
del toro que es un hombre y cuya extraña
forma plural da horror a la maraña
de interminable piedra entretejida.
No existe. Nada esperes. Ni siquiera
en el negro crepúsculo la fiera.

~ Jorge Luis Borges


There'll never be a door. You're inside
and the keep encompasses the world
and has neither obverse nor reverse
nor circling wall nor secret center.
Hope not that the straightness of your path
that stubbornly branches off in two,
that stubbornly branches off in two,
will have an end. Your fate is ironbound,
as is your judge. Forget the onslaught
of the bull that is a man and whose
strange and plural form haunts the tangle
of unending interwoven stone.
He does not exist. In the black dusk,
hope not even for the savage beast.

~ Jorge Luis Borges

31 October 2006

Terror is a passion which always produces delight when it does not press too closely.

Edmund Burke, Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful


30 October 2006

For beauty being the best of all we know 
Sums up the unsearchable and secret aims 
Of nature, and on joys whose earthly names 
Were never told can form and sense bestow; 
And man has sped his instinct to outgo 
The step of science; and against her shames
Imagination stakes out heavenly claims, 
Building a tower above the head of woe. 
Nor is there fairer work for beauty found 
Than that she win in nature her release 
From all the woes that in the world abound; 
Nay with his sorrow may his love increase, 
If from man's greater need beauty redound, 
And claim his tears for homage of his peace. 

~ Robert Seymour Bridges, 1844-1930