|4 Jan 2009 @ 11:04|
One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
The philosopher asks himself, "What is your aim in philosophy?" and he answers, "To show the fly the way out of the bottle." And where is he when he has made his escape? He is, it appears, exactly where he started; for philosophy "leaves everything as it is."
With no bird singing, the mountain is yet more still.
I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job.
---Statement made George Bush during campaign visit to Amish community, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Jul. 9, 2004
Some people don't pray of course. When called upon to do so one may screw up one's face into a frown of feigned concentration and just sit there until it's over. One may "pray" the wait's not too long.
Others have ritual words to say to fill the silence. When in doubt there's always the "Lord's Prayer" or a mantra, some chant or holy script. You can try meditation, which many distinguish from "talking to God" as listening to God. One can sit on one's chair, one's pillow, a mat...and train yourself to wait patiently through the silence. Maybe God will say something.
The silence is tough. Everyone says the brain chatters away anyway, whether it's prayer or meditation. Mostly it's Let's stop doing this and get on to something fun. If the mind can be quieted, then there's the leg problem or the ache in the knees. Maybe a mosquito whines in your ear and disrupts the Enlightenment.
So even if you can forgive George Bush or the American people, in the event you somehow believe we elected him---twice---the invitation to pray for him may not fit into your schedule. He has a "legacy project" going on now, possibly to spin a few pictures into the minds of columnists and historians who are attempting to collect ALL of the events of the past 8 years into some coherent narrative.
I thought it would be impossible. It's like coming home to an apartment that's been burglarized. Did that ever happen to you? The worst part of it is the sense of invasion and helplessness...because what cop really is going to doing anything about it? To really scare you into paralysis may be part of the strategy. Otherwise the mess everywhere could be from the furtive hurry a thief always must be in. The place is so ransacked it may take hours even to find out what's missing. Did you write down all those appliance serial numbers? Or maybe your house is just empty: they took everything.
I thought no one could sum up what's happened to my country. The review's too complex. They've put us through too much. Their carelessness has been thorough. I remember everything but I don't want to retrieve it, don't want to think about it. But slowly our major writers, right and left, are coming up with our summaries. The righties are saying it hasn't been that bad and maybe Obama will do OK. (Oh jeez, pray for Obama!) Lefties are pouring it on. Vengeance is sweet and they feel the proof of the Bush pudding is everywhere.
Yet no one is going to jail. Indictments are not on the table. Bush hasn't confessed yet...or even tried to put into words what he thinks the plunge in popularity might be about. The one thing the man is skilled at is denial. If he's going to pardon himself, doesn't he first have to admit to something? Cheney did...and he awaits that presidential pardon before leaving for Dubai. The rest of the neocon men and women are lined up for their pardons too. I hate this presidential pardon business. Why do we allow it?
OK, back to my prayers. We must forgive and all work together, and start to pick up the mess. Some stuff is broken and we'll have to get new. The inventories must be done, as surely as the new president and his family will begin unpacking some things today. The girls start in a new school tomorrow. We'll be spiritual today. Have a cup of coffee, read the Sunday paper, and then say a prayer. Or meditate. What's this? A new review is in, and it's Frank Rich. More >
|5 Aug 2008 @ 19:24|
Anything more than the truth would be too much.
River whispering over the stones,
Sunlight streaming through frozen pines.
In this still pool, in this falling light,
Zen conquers the dragon of delusion.
The merit of (the rooster's call) is in its freedom from all plaintiveness. The singer can easily move us to tears or laughter, but where is he who can excite in us a pure morning joy? When, in doleful dumps, breaking the awful stillness of our wooden sidewalk on a Sunday, or, perchance, a watcher in the house of mourning, I hear a cockerel crow far or near, I think to myself, "There is one of us well, at any rate"---and with a sudden rush return to my senses.
---Henry David Thoreau
This is Naomi Wolf, born in San Francisco in 1962. She was an undergraduate at Yale, then did graduate work at New College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. The Beauty Myth, her first book, was an international bestseller. She followed that with Fire With Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change The 21st Century, published by Random House in 1993, and Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood, published in 1997. Misconceptions, released in 2001, is a powerful and passionate critique of pregnancy and birth in America. In 2002, Harper Collins published a 10th anniversary commemorative edition of The Beauty Myth. She is the author, most recently of The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot and the forthcoming Give me Liberty: How to Become an American Revolutionary. Her essays have appeared in various publications including: The New Republic, Wall Street Journal, Glamour, Ms., Esquire, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. She also speaks widely to groups across the country. She's on the hit list of the usual suspects among the right wing.
I'm sure there is nothing new about women maintaining the conscience, as well as sometimes the home fires, of this nation. What is new and welcome to me, at least in the last quarter century, and particularly on the Internet, is the frequency and brilliant integrity of their verbal artistry. Is it my imagination or are female writers speaking truth to power, at least on the left, better than ever...and just where and when we need it? Thus was I stopped in my tracks this morning by a reference to an article Ms. Wolf published on Friday, in the Daily News Egypt. Where?
I had not heard of the paper, but I have neglected to become more expert in the journalism of the Middle East. First published in Cairo in 2005, The Daily (Star) News Egypt claims to be an independent, privately-owned publication, intent upon unbiased reporting. It's in English. Ms. Wolf's article is entitled "Dear World, Please Confront America," and I suspect we'll hear more about it during the remainder of the week. Naomi Wolf's endorsement of Barack Obama can be found at the website www.jews4barack.com . Let me tell you, even I was a bit shocked by the appearance of this piece. More >
|18 Apr 2008 @ 10:02|
The puzzled ones, the Americans, go through their lives
Buying what they are told to buy,
Pursuing their love affairs with the automobile,
Baseball and football, romance and beauty,
Enthusiastic as trained seals, going into debt, struggling —
True believers in liberty, and also security,
And of course sex — cheating on each other
For the most part only a little, mostly avoiding violence
Except at a vast blue distance, as between bombsight and earth,
Or on the violent screen, which they adore.
Those who are not Americans think Americans are happy
Because they are so filthy rich, but not so.
They are mostly puzzled and at a loss
As if someone pulled the floor out from under them,
They'd like to believe in God, or something, and they do try.
You can see it in their white faces at the supermarket and the gas station
— Not the immigrant faces, they know what they want,
Not the blacks, whose faces are hurt and proud —
The white faces, lipsticked, shaven, we do try
To keep smiling, for when we're smiling, the whole world
Smiles with us, but we feel we've lost
That loving feeling. Clouds ride by above us,
Rivers flow, toilets work, traffic lights work, barring floods, fires
And earthquakes, houses and streets appear stable
So what is it, this moon-shaped blankness?
What the hell is it? America is perplexed.
We would fix it if we knew what was broken.
---"Fix" by Alicia Suskin Ostriker, from No Heaven. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005.
America is so concerned about Big Oil! The owners at Big Coal like it that way. They do their mining in the light of day now, but still they're most comfortable working in the dark. Underground movements...where no one can see. Why be concerned about coal? Isn't that some old issue from the 19th century...that just kind of went away? Like the locomotive? Like that big old pile in everybody's basement, dumped loudly through a little window from the coal truck, well into the 1940s? Gone away...like the coal companies abandoning the little towns, full of worker families, all across the hills of Appalachia? Take a look at this~~~
Yeah so? Electricity? The fossil fuel burned for electricity generation is coal. "Electricity Generation." I like that. We're the Electricity Generation, but how many of us think of coal as our plug-in connector? Jeff Goodell didn't. He grew up in Silicon Valley, he told us in Athens Wednesday night, and never saw a lump of coal until he was 30 years old. Nobody in Silicon Valley thought coal was behind the screens of these computers. He lives in New York now and tells us no one in New York thinks of West Virginia mountains when they flip a switch. The trouble is, as we've learned at Ohio University during its tremendous presentations this Earth Week, coal releases twice as much carbon into the atmosphere when it's burned than anything else. But I thought everything everybody's heard lately is about Clean Coal. What's going on here? More >
|2 Feb 2008 @ 12:59|
"This series of maps shows how much the landscape of the eastern United States changed between 1650 and 1992. The maps depict canopy height, the height of the tallest continuous layer of vegetation. In 1650, before colonization, most of the eastern United States was covered in tall forest, shown in dark blue-green. During the next 200 years, the forest disappeared, particularly in New England, the mid-Atlantic, and parts of the Midwest. By 1920, the tall forest was entirely gone, replaced by cities and farms. During the latter half of the twentieth century, the forest began to regrow, but the overall canopy remained much shorter than it had been before 1650. The images are based on a reconstruction of land cover made from records ranging from 1850 census data to modern satellite measurements." [link]
If one could understand a flower as it has its being in God---this would be a higher thing than the whole world!
A root is a flower that disdains fame.
The sound of water says what I think.
Are there too many of us? If the world's population of humans has doubled within just a portion of my lifetime, is it cause for alarm? Will God provide? Will Nature take its toll? If great masses die---and continue to die...and are predicted to die, do I shrug in hiding or subconsciously with the thought "There are too many anyway"? Do rich men plot war, famine and drought to eliminate dangerous overpopulation? Who dies? Who lives? Who decides? Does money decide?
Surely I'm not alone in finding discussion of every major problem we face in this country and in this world eventually boils to how many of us there are. George Monbiot wondered in The Guardian on Tuesday why we don't talk about this, and a great flurry of comments has followed. "I cannot avoid the subject any longer. Almost every day I receive a clutch of emails about it, asking the same question. A frightening new report has just pushed it up the political agenda: for the first time the World Food Programme is struggling to find the supplies it needs for emergency famine relief. So why, like most environmentalists, won't I mention the p-word? According to its most vociferous proponents (Paul and Anne Ehrlich), population is 'our number one environmental problem'. But most greens will not discuss it." [link]
In my opinion, we're silent because it's a moral question. And there's been silence for 50 years...except for occasional explosions about abortion and birth control. Laws are passed and opposed with vigor, but no resolution in the mind of the world. Take it from me, who works in public schools, a great war has been waged in the US over what to teach kids about sex and how. Without much opposition the people who teach sex in the classrooms, and during Bush with federal threats of funding cuts to enforce the morality, have frightened students with huge slides of sexually transmitted diseases. They've referred to a few fertilized cells in a woman's body as a "baby," and they refer to that woman as Mother. They've shown figures from textbooks on an overhead projector that could grow into anything from a stringbean to a gorilla, and they've said, "I know it doesn't look like a person, but that's a baby just like you and me."
Young American adults in their 20s were taught since grade school that if you're pregnant but not ready to parent for the rest of your life, you have it anyway and put it up for adoption. No mention has been made of terminating the pregnancy...and under Bush, again, with threats about funding. My daughter, who is 16, was taught "sex education," and one year in middle school in 3 different classes in a single semester, and not once was she told about birth control...except wait until you're married. How many movies came out this year, and very good ones, about pregnancy and having the baby anyway? And that's in the United States. What do young people learn in Kenya, in Iran? More >
|20 Nov 2007 @ 02:23|
The timpanist plays upon a living being. The stars are bursting with their messages: Turn to a child for the star's announcement.
Greed is the basic cause of misery. Free yourself of greed, and the mountains, rivers, and earth do not block the light of your eyes.
To enter one's own self, it is necessary to go armed to the teeth.
Why 2015? That is the year, dictated by consensus of the 2500 scientists whose work created the UN report on global warming, when further growth of carbon emissions on this planet must cease. Within 35 years from that date, carbon dioxide and other atmospheric polluting gases must be reduced by 50 to 85 percent to avoid killing as many as a quarter of the species on Earth. [link] This was the announcement on Saturday, when the final portion of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) study was released to the public by this group that already has won the Nobel Prize.
I try to be a patient man. I waited Sunday and I waited today. I expected lead items in newspapers and broadcasts in this country. Well...let's say I hoped for them. Certainly it is the case elsewhere in the world, where concern is at the forefront. One of the good things about Google News is you can see what makes news in the various nations of the world...and what that news is. At the moment you have to type "global warming" into Search to find anything about these stark pronouncements.
We have people campaigning for President right now. The New York Times reported today that in Iowa, a sixth-grader asked Mrs. Clinton if she had any views on global warming. The paper went on to consider whether the question had been planted in the student's mind. There was no mention of what the candidate replied. [link] Have we all gone mad?
Recently it has been the pattern in this country for a person elected (or otherwise achieving the office of) President to serve 2 terms or 8 years. If that continues, whoever ends up President in 2008 still may be there in 2015. Do any of these candidates have a plan for such an incredible challenge? Next month---that's NEXT month---President Bush will lead the United States delegation to the United Nations Conference on climate change in Bali. Last year around this time that man announced he was pretty sure global warming wasn't caused by anything consumers in the free market might be doing...like burning coal or oil. US News & World Report asked this morning Do we HAVE to have this guy representing us? [link]
I listened pretty hard to my world today to see or hear if anyone seemed concerned about the IPCC report or global warming. It's going to be in the mid to upper 60s tomorrow and probably for Thanksgiving. People did remark on that...and sorta smile and shake heads. Ten years ago Dana and I were proud to go out to the garden and kick some snow off a little kale that was left to serve our smoked oysters on for Thanksgiving dinner. The other day people were telling me the crocuses and daffodils they planted in September are coming up already. What will it take to crash through all this denial? More >
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