25 March 2007

Institutions which have been the engine of progress since the nineteenth century are constructed on the principles of a machine.  They functions best when we, the units of production and consumption, behave predictably and perform consistently.  These have become the social virtues of a capitalist economy.

But we are not machines.  We are poets and madmen, streams of consciousness, founts of inspiration and agents of change.  It is appropriate not merely that we forgive each other our lapses, but that we fundamentally change the expectations of our social compact.

Even more essential than the standards to which we hold others are our expectations for ourselves.  We must renounce the judgment of performance, and manage ourselves not as taskmasters but as mentors.  

We must focus on the human virtues:  good faith, integrity of purpose, honesty and openness, health and wholeness, an unflinching willingness to embrace experience.  Culturing these qualities as habits, we promote our own spiritual growth and support our relationships to others.

– Josh Mitteldorf

Isn’t that a bit high-handed, Josh?  Must you write with such pomposity?
– Josh’s inner critic

Time for morning yoga practice!
– Josh’s inner mentor

24 March 2007

“It is right and necessary that all men should have work to do which shall be worth doing, and be of itself pleasant to do; and which should he done under such conditions as would make it neither over-wearisome nor over-anxious.”

–  Poet, social philosopher and craftsman, William Morris, born this day in 1834

23 March 2007

There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a
dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden whole-
ness. This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom,
the Mother of all, Natura naturans. There is in all
things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence
that is a fount of action and joy. It rises up in word-
less gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen
roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly,
saluting me with indescribable humility. This is at
once my own being, my own nature, and the Gift of
my Creator's Thought and Art within me, speaking
as Hagia Sophia, speaking as my sister, Wisdom.

~ Thomas Merton, from Hagia Sophia

22 March 2007

I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as fraud.
~ Carl Jung

“There is much said about the lofty ideals of academic freedom, the freedom to explore any topic with impunity. But the ideal is a myth. It is not possible to study any topic one wishes without risk. Scientists who attempt to study controversial topics will find that they do not get tenure, or if they already have tenure they will not get promotions, and if that fails the administrator will attempt to avoid embarrassment and try (usually unsuccessfully) to fire the violator.”

Dean Radin is talking about the PEAR lab at Princeton, where Dr Robert Jahn, aerospace engineer, Dean Emeritus of the Engineering School, put his reputation on the line to investigate effects of the mind on physical reality and of physical reality on the mind that are not mediated by any known physical interaction.

“I recently had a conversation with an intelligent, highly skeptical scientist who vehemently insisted with unshakable confidence that there is no reason to accept any claims of psychic phenomena because there are no peer-reviewed publications supporting their existence. Thus, any claims to the contrary, even by places like the PEAR Lab, are necessarily flawed or fraud. And further, if there were such evidence, then it would have won the ‘million dollar prize’ by now. Ipso facto, there is no evidence. It’s all fraud run by scam artists.”

Most people in the world continue to regard telepathy and premonitions of the future as strange but real phenomena.  How will science be transformed when we begin to study these phenomena openly, with the resources they deserve and the focused creative power of the scientific community?

21 March 2007

“Nothing is so wonderful as elemental feeling; nothing is more wonderful in art than elemental feeling expressed intensely.”
Frederick Delius

listen to On Hearing the First Cuckoo of Spring

20 March 2007

The Enkindled Spring

THIS spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green, 
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes, 
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between 
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes. 

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration 
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze 
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration, 
Faces of people streaming across my gaze. 

And I, what fountain of fire am I among 
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed 
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng 
Of flames, a shadow that’s gone astray, and is lost. 

~ D H Lawrence 

19 March 2007

William Jennings Bryan, born this day in 1860, was a candidate for President in 1896 carrying endorsements from Democrats, ‘Silver Republicans’ and Populists.  He was a moving whistle-stop orator, and tireless advocate for ordinary people.

At a time in US history when working conditions were dangerous and arduous, when pro-development policies were helping robber-barons to amass huge fortunes in energy, steel and railroads, when fiscal ‘restraint’ made it impossible for breadwinners to keep their families out of debt – Bryan advocated protections for the working man and taxes on windfall profits.

Harvey Wasserman writes that the election of 1896 was stolen by ballot-box stuffers for William McKinley, initiating a 36-year era of Republican domination, bringing the US to the brink of economic ruin in 1929.

No one can earn a million dollars honestly.