Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Somewhere near the top of my list...................

...............of amazing things is that science tells us there are a billion trillion stars in the observable Universe.  That is a really big number.  What is just ahead of that fact on my list of amazing things is the Universe is mostly empty space.  Obviously this is apropos of nothing, just felt like sharing.

Of course this discussion may remind you of this remarkable scene from Animal House.  If you are in a hurry, skip to the 1:50 mark:

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Life in the balance....................

The Taoists revered water because they saw it as a symbol of humility and service.  Water nurtures and sustains all living things, and yet it seeks nothing for itself—it always flows to the lowest place.
     So, be like water, be humble, nurture yourself and others.  And stay at the back, where you are free to slip in and out of life's situations unnoticed and unencumbered.  That is the watercourse way.
     You don't need razzmatazz and glamour.  That only serves to create emotional weight in your life, pumping the ego into a false sense of importance.  Too much hype and attention, and the ego becomes a spoiled brat, and impossible to control.  It will soon drag you away from the Tao, from what is natural and good.  Trash that nonsense before it makes you sick.  You don't need it.  All you need is balance—and the contentment, creativity, love, and comprehension that flows from that.

-Stuart Wilde, Infinite Self:  33 Steps to Reclaiming Your Inner Power

On trade..........................

The philosopher and lover of man have much harm to say of trade; but the historian will see that trade was the principle of Liberty; that trade planted America and destroyed Feudalism;  that it makes peace and keeps peace, and it will abolish slavery.  We complain of its oppression of the poor, and of its building up a new aristocracy on the ruins of the aristocracy it destroyed.  But the aristocracy of trade has no permanence, is not entailed, was the result of toil and talent, the result of merit of some kind, and is continually falling, like the waves of the sea, before new claims of the sort.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, from his 1844 lecture, The Young American

On plans..........................

It is essential to get lost and jam up your plans every now and then.  It's a source of creativity and perspective.  The danger of maps, capable assistants, and planning is that you may end up living your life as planned.  If you do, your potential cannot possibly exceed your expectations.

-Scott Belsky, as lifted from here

A brief word about risk....................

Life is inherently risky.  There is only one risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.  Get out there and make something happen, even if it's just a small step in the right direction.

-Marc & Angel Chernoff,  1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently

Monday, May 4, 2020

If you are ever tempted............... think that 2020 has been an especially crazy year, you may have not paid enough attention to human history.   For example, fifty years ago the Ohio National Guard was called out to quell student disturbances at Kent State University.  It was a bad time.

Mary Ann Vecchio kneels over the body of the student Jeffrey Miller, who was killed by Ohio National Guard troops during an antiwar demonstration at Kent State University on May 4, 1970.
Credit...John Paul Filo/Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Fifty years ago.....................

Neil Young, with help from Crosby, Stills, & Nash...............Ohio

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Doesn't seem like much has changed.....

Human  reason, in one sphere of its cognition, is called upon to consider questions, which it cannot decline, as they are presented by its own nature, but which it cannot answer, as they transcend every faculty of the mind.
     It falls into this difficulty without any fault of its own.  It begins with principles, which cannot be dispensed with in the field of experience, and the truth and sufficiency of which are, at the same time, insured by experience.  With these principles it rises, in obedience to the laws of its own nature, to ever higher and more remote conditions.  But it quickly discovers that, in this way, its labors must remain ever incomplete, because new questions never cease to present themselves; and thus it finds itself compelled to have recourse to principles which transcend the region of experience, while they are regarded by common sense without distrust.  It thus falls into endless confusion and contradictions, from which it conjectures the presence of latent errors, which, however, it is unable to discover, because the principles it employs, transcending the limits of experience, cannot be tested by that criterion. 

-Immanuel Kant, from the Introduction to his 1781 first edition of Critique Of Pure Reason

Catching up with Chesterton............

...................................and his fence:

There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

-Gilbert Keith Chesterton, The Thing, circa 1929, from the chapter The Drift From Domesticity, which may be read in its entirety here

Catching up with Frost..............

...................................................and his wall:

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

-Robert Frost, Mending Wall, circa 1914

The Sphinx and her riddle.............

     This human mind wrote history, and this must read it.  The Sphinx must solve her own riddle.  If the whole of history is in one man, it is all to be explained by individual experience.  There is a relation between the hours of our life and the centuries of time.  As the air I breathe is drawn from the great repositories of nature, as the light on my book is yielded by a star a hundred millions of miles distant, as the poise of my body depends on the equilibrium of centrifugal and centripetal forces, so the hours should be instructed by the ages, and the ages explained by the hours.  Of the universal mind each individual is one more incarnation.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, from his essay History

An anniversary..........................

......................................................................worth celebrating!