4 February 2007

Nourish the body with massage, caress, and touch that communicates caring.

Nourish the mind, consciously dwelling on thoughts that are uplifting and expanding.

Nourish the spirit with activities that express faith and offer your gifts to others.

Elevate your expectations for development of body, mind, and spirit.

– Josh Mitteldorf

3 February 2007

“Mathematics alone makes us feel the limits of our intelligence.  For we can always suppose in the case of an experiment that it is inexplicable because we don't happen to have all the data.  In mathematics, we have all the data and yet we don't understand.  We always come back to the contemplation of our human limits.  What force is in relation to our will, the impenetrable opacity of mathematics is in relation to our intelligence.”

Simone Weil, born this day in 1909, was a fiercely independent political thinker during the turmoil of Europe between the wars.  (Her brother was a prominent mathematician.)  Above all, she held herself to a lofty standard, challenged her own limits in every way she could imagine.   She worked in factories, defying the limits of her health and of her physical strength; she volunteered in the Spanish Civil War and learned Sanskrit in order to read the Bhagavad Gita.  Impatience with her own limits was both her engine of growth and her constant torment.

“After months of inward darkness, I suddenly had the everlasting conviction that any human being, even though practically devoid of natural faculties, can penetrate to the kingdom of truth reserved for genius, if only he longs for truth and perpetually concentrates all his attention upon its attainment. He thus becomes a genius too, even though for lack of talent his genius cannot be visible from outside.”

2 February 2007

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”

Havelock Ellis, born this day in 1869, authored the six-volume Studies in the Psychology of Sex at a time when British society would just as soon have put the subject aside.  He married a lesbian, lived as a celibate into middle age, while advocating the rights of others to free and open sexual relationships of their own choosing.

Then, at age 60, he discovered his own sexuality. 

The play-function of sex is at once in an inseparable way both physical and psychic. It stimulates to wholesome activity all the complex and inter-related systems of the organism. At the same time it satisfies the most profound emotional impulses, controlling in harmonious poise the various mental instincts. Along these lines it necessarily tends in the end to go beyond its own sphere and to embrace and introduce into the sphere of sex the other two more objective fields of play, that of play as education, and that of play as artistic creation. It may not be true, as was said of old time, most of our arts and sciences were invented for love's sake’; but it is certainly true that, in proportion as we truly and wisely exercise the play-function of sex, we are at the same time training our personality on the erotic side and acquiring a mastery of the art of love.

The longer I live the more I realise the immense importance for the individual of the development through the play-function of erotic personality, and for human society of the acquirement of the art of love.

1 February 2007

“The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.”

Molly Ivins

31 January 2007

“How tall your parents are compared to the average height explains 80 to 90 percent of how tall you are compared to the average person, but only 3 percent of how long you live compared to the average person can be explained by how long your parents lived.”

– German demographer James Vaupel
NYTimes Magazine article

30 January 2007

The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest –
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With newfledged hope still fluttering in his breast :–
        Not for these I raise
        The song of thanks and praise;
    But for those obstinate questionings
    Of sense and outward things,
    Fallings from us, vanishings; 
    Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
        But for those first affections,
        Those shadowy recollections,
    Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day, 

Are yet a master light of all our seeing;
    Uphold us, cherish, and have the power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal silence: truths that wake,
        To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavor,
        Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
        Hence in a season of calm weather,
        Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
        Which brought us hither,
        Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

~ William Wordsworth, from Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

29 January 2007

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”

“Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.”

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit”

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

Edward Abbey, anarchist extraordinaire, was born this day in 1927.

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets' towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you --- beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”