31 December 2006

Draw yourself a new map of the world.  Endure the disorientation and anxiety long enough to determine if it serves you better than the old one.  Learn what you can from the experience, and begin again...

~ Josh Mitteldorf

30 December 2006

“The truth is that we live out our lives putting off all that can be put off; perhaps we all know deep down that we are immortal and that sooner or later all men will do and know all things.”

~ Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), from Funes the Memorious (1964).

29 December 2006

Edwin Hubbell Chapin, (December 29, 1814-December 26, 1880), Universalist minister, author, lecturer, and social reformer, was one of the most popular speakers in America from the 1840s until his death. He was revered for his eloquent tongue and passionate pleas for tolerance and justice.

Although he had no college education or theological training, and only a year's exposure to Universalism, in 1838 Chapin was called to be pastor of the Independent Christian Church, in Richmond, Virginia, composed of both Universalists and Unitarians. Audiences flocked to hear the sermons and lectures of the young man with the powerful voice and magnetic personality.

U-U biography by June Edwards

Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.

28 December 2006

“When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.”

–  Ursula K. LeGuin

27 December 2006

Let the ascetics sing of the garden of Paradise –
We who dwell in the true ecstasy can forget their vase-tamed bouquet.

In our hall of mirrors, the map of the one Face appears
As the sun’s splendor would spangle a world made of dew.

Hidden in this image is also its end,
As peasants’ lives harbor revolt and unthreshed corn sparks with fire.

Hidden in my silence are a thousand abandoned longings:
My words the darkened oil lamp on a stranger’s unspeaking grave.

Ghalib, the road of change is before you always:
The only line stitching this world's scattered parts.

~ Urdu boy poet Mirza Asdullah Ghalib, born this day in 1797
   tr Jane Hirshfield

26 December 2006

Charles Babbage, born this day in 1792, invented the digital computer before the technology of his day was ready to implement it.  Viewed with hindsight, Babbage's analytic engine anticipated every aspect of the modern programmable computer.

“Charles Babbage (1792-1871) was an eminent figure in his day, elected Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge in 1828 (the same Chair held by Newton and, in our days, Stephen Hawking); he resigned this professorship in 1839 to devote his full attention to the Analytical Engine. Babbage was a Fellow of the Royal Society and co-founder of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Statistical Society of London. He was a close acquaintance of Charles Darwin, Sir John Herschel, Laplace, and Alexander Humboldt, and was author of more than eighty papers and books on a broad variety of topics.”

In 1991, a prototype was finally built, and it worked just as Babbage intended. 

Christmas 2006

“He comes to us One unknown without a name, as of old, by the lakeside. He came to those men who knew him not. He speaks to us the same word: Follow Thou me; and sets us the tasks which must be performed in our time. He commands. And to those who obey him, whether they be wise or simple, he will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they will pass through in his fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He Is.” 

–  Albert Schweitzer