Thursday, January 27, 2022

The key to the future

The key to the future of the world,
        is finding the optimistic stories
                and letting them be known.

         Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94,
         The New York Times, 28 January 2014

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The whole trick

Because here's something else that's weird but true:
in the day-to day trenches of adult life,
there is actually no such thing as atheism.
There is no such thing as not worshiping.
Everybody worships.
The only choice we get is what to worship.
And the compelling reason for maybe choosing
some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship—
be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess,
or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles—
is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.
If you worship money and things,
if they are where you tap real meaning in life,
then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough.
It's the truth.
Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly.
And when time and age start showing,
you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you.
On one level, we all know this stuff already.
It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables;
the skeleton of every great story.
The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts,
Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

For Robert Burns Day

The social, friendly, honest man,
Whate'er he be,
'Tis he fulfills great Nature's plan,
And none but he!

Robert Burns, from Second Epistle to J. Lapraik









Monday, January 24, 2022

In difficult times like these

It's difficult in times like these:
    ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us,
        only to be crushed by grim reality.

It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals,
    they seem so absurd and impractical.
        Yet I cling to them because I still believe,
            in spite of everything,
                that people are truly good at heart.

It's utterly impossible for me to build my life
    on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death.
        I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness,
            I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too,
                I feel the suffering of millions.

And yet, when I look up at the sky,
    I somehow feel that everything will change for the better,
        that this cruelty too shall end,
            that peace and tranquility will return once more.

In the meantime, I must hold on to my ideals.
    Perhaps the day will come when I'll be able to realize them!

                                    Anne Frank, diary entry 15 July 1944





Sunday, January 23, 2022

The only moment to be alive

We tend to be alive in the future, not now.
We say, "Wait until I finish school and get my Ph.D. degree,
and then I will be really alive."

When we have it, and it wasn't easy to get, we say to ourselves,
"I have to wait until I have a job in order to be really alive."
And then after the job, a car. After the car, a house.

We are not capable of being alive in the present moment.
We tend to postpone being alive to the future,
the distant future, we don't know when.

Now is not the moment to be alive.
We may never be alive at all in our entire life.
Therefore, the technique, if we have to speak of a technique,
is to be in the present moment,
    to be aware that we are here and now,
        and the only moment to be alive is the present moment.

                                    Thích Nhất Hạnh, Being Peace

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Involved in mankind

Perchance he for whom this bell tolls
may be so ill as that he knows not it tolls for him.
And perchance I may think myself
so much better than I am. . .

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

            John Donne, born 22 January 1572
            Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions; Meditation 27 





Friday, January 21, 2022

Advice to live by

Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming.

Slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be.

The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing.

        André De Shields, accepting 2019 Tony Award for his role in Hadestown