22 July 2007

We are all students of John Locke and J. S. Mill.  We think that happiness resides within the individual, and that the good of society is the sum of the contentment and joy experienced by human individuals.  We seek fulfillment via conquest and acquisition, or, transcending this, via personal growth.

The new thinking will be that we are a community. There is no meaning to individual happiness outside a social context. We are happy when we are part of a loving family, supported by a just and prosperous commonwealth, built on the foundation of a healthy Gaia. 

– Josh Mitteldorf

21 July 2007

“The active self must be fed by the spiritual resource of the deeper self.  We must balance up by poising activity with our contemplation.  The critical intellect must meet the visionary intuition as a friend, not as a foe; the commercial capacities must collaborate with the spiritual imaginations... In this way, each of us can become the exponent of a deep viewpoint in our shallower life.”

– from The Secret Path, by Paul Brunton

20 July 2007

“Modern society knows that it desperately needs to learn how to live in harmony with the biosphere. Today more than ever we are in need of a science of biology that helps us to do this, shows the way...

“Biology today is at a crossroads. The molecular paradigm, which so successfully guided the discipline throughout most of the 20th century, is no longer a reliable guide. Its vision of biology now realized, the molecular paradigm has run its course. Biology, therefore, has a choice to make, between the comfortable path of continuing to follow molecular biology's lead or the more invigorating one of seeking a new and inspiring vision of the living world, one that addresses the major problems in biology that 20th century biology, molecular biology, could not handle and, so, avoided. The former course, though highly productive, is certain to turn biology into an engineering discipline. The latter holds the promise of making biology an even more fundamental science, one that, along with physics, probes and defines the nature of reality. This is a choice between a biology that solely does society’s bidding and a biology that is society’s teacher.”

from A New Biology for a New Century

Carl Woese is famous for having established, through genetic analysis, that the branch of life called archaea is ancient, and developed independently of bacteria.

19 July 2007

“If people knew how hard I work, they wouldn’t call me a master, but a madman.”


18 July 2007

Where the mind is without fear 
     and the head is held high
          Where knowledge is free;
     Where the world has not been broken 
up into fragments by narrow domestic 
     Where words come out from the 
          depth of truth;
     Where tireless striving 
          stretches its arms towards 
     Where the clear stream of reason 
          has not lost its way into the
     dreary desert sand of dead habit;
          Where the mind is led forward 
     by thee into ever-widening 
          thought and action –
     into that heaven of freedom, 
          my Father, 
               let my country awake.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

17 July 2007

Paris has set up a communal bicycle system, with tens of thousands of shared bikes. For a nominal rental, anyone can pick up a bike at a convenient location, ride it where he needs to go, and drop it for someone else to use.

NYTimes article

Meanwhile, similar systems for sharing cars are thriving in more and more European and US cities, and now China, too.

Research article

16 July 2007

A Taiwanese woman’s pilgrimage to Tibet (patience...)