September reflections

 

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Our societal problem is to discover a new, unifying principle of relationship and a new concept of organization powerful enough to hold inviolate the liberty and interdependence of infinitely diverse people.  It will not come from on high to the thunder of drums and sound of trumpets, but will arise silently in the consciousness of countless ordinary people until it finds the right voice. 

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"Science discovers, genius invents, industry applies, and man conforms"---so declares the guide book to the 1933 Chicago world's fair.  The promoters of the fair apparently thought the subjection of mankind to machines and commerce laudable.  Only fools worship their tools.  

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Science should be judged by whether it has diminished violence, eliminated war,  enhanced justice, insured freedom, improved happiness, equitably distributed power and wealth, and protected the environment.  By any such standard it has been an abysmal failure. 

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Each bacterium contains about a billion nucleotide pairs in its genetic code.  More complex creatures contain up to ten billion.  A change in a single pair can send life careening in a new direction.  And we have the arrogance to think we can control everything with our clumsy technology and archaic four-hundred-year-old concepts of societal organization.   

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The question is not whether corporate capitalism produces good or evil.  It obviously  produces both.  Nor is the question whether it is constructive or destructive.  It can be either.  The question is whether, in relationship with all people, all other creatures, and the living earth on which all depends, it is more beneficent than harmful.  The evidence is not in its favor.  

August reflections

 

Mankind has a ten-thousand year history of conceiving systems of control and trying to impose them on people and planet without once succeeding.  The grandest schemes have had a brief moment in the sun before they disintegrated and disappeared.  When will we ever learn that we are an infinitesimally insignificant part of the universe and learn to live in harmony with the earth and all it contains just as it lives in harmony with the universe and all it contains?

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The first circumnavigation of the earth took mankind three years.  Now it takes but three hours. Two centuries ago it took two years to send a message half way around the world.  Now it takes a small fraction of a second.  We have no idea what this means to the organization and function of society.  

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It is a mistake to think that because there is order in the universe there must be a creator and controller.  It is equally an error to think that such order is the accidental structuring of randomly wandering energy and matter.  Neither religion or reason can account for the infinite patterns of a single living creature, let alone those of the universe. 

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It is morally right to ensure that all individuals shall own the results of their talents and labor.  It is equally right that no one should own the results of the talent and labor of another. Corporate capitalism, spawned and protected by the nation state, ensures the exact opposite - - -that the fewest possible number of people shall own the results of the talent and labor of the maximum number of others.  The concepts of nation state and capitalism, as they now exist, are aberrations society cannot long endure.       

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The things that matter most and are essential to a decent society such as morality, ethics, empathy, generosity, love, truth, honesty, cost nothing, while such things as hate, war, destructive consumption, environmental devastation and deceit are not necessary and cost a great deal.  Why do we so often engage in the unnecessary and expensive in preference to the essential and free?

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Unless there is enormous change in our societal consciousness, our descendants will view our unrestrained, compulsive consumption, our insatiable pursuit of economic growth, and our indifference to environmental devastation as moral and ethical corruption, mental derangement and technological savagery.  The will curse us for the legacy of enormous reparations which we bequeath  to them, which they must endure.   

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In our insatiable quest to know, what has happened to our capacity to care?  In our lust to get and have, what has happened to our desire to give?  In our willingness to hate, what has happened to our ability to love?   The answers are too unpleasant to contemplate, but contemplate we must. 

July reflections

A wise mind has no difficulty seeing a primeval forest as a sacred place---a place of reverence with its own integrity and utility.  The rational, utilitarian mind sees only trees to buy, sell and harvest.  One mind cares and the other counts

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To believe that the earth and all other life therein can be brought to heel and made to serve our interest, and that mankind is not subordinate to nature and its inherent limits is to become delusional creatures on the path to destruction. 

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It is hard to understand the lust for travel when one realizes the earth takes us on a free, supremely comfortable, twenty-five-thousand mile daily trip to see the sun, moon, stars and planets, the while taking us on an annual three-hundred-million mile journey around the sun. 

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Law in any nation state will inevitably come to protect the rich from the poor, not the poor from the rich, just as it will come to protect the powerful from the weak, not the weak from the powerful; capitol from labor, not labor from capital; money from value, not value from money, all  in the name of justice and equity.  There will e exceptions from time to time, but not many or for long.   

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Long ago, out of arrogance and ignorance, we made a Faustian bargain with science. Divorcing wisdom and taking old barren reason to bed, we proceeded to systematically decimate the earth and all other forms of life.  If we do not live in harmony with and care for the earth, what in the universe do we think there is to care for?  If the earth is not in harmony with and care for us, what in the universe do we think there is that will? 

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Corporation, universities, government and other societal organizations cannot be expected to advance the wise, honest, able, independent individual.  Self interest and perpetuation demands they advance the most malleable, predictable, and corruptible - - -those most willing to serve the interests of the institution and those who command it.   

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Never expect to work and progress in one area and advance in another.  If If our time, ability and energy are dissipated in pursuit of money, acquisition of power, waging of war, science and technology then regression in beauty, wisdom, justice, morality a inevitable.    

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If mankind is the greatest proof of Darwin's "survival of the fittest" theory of evolution we are compelled to ask, fittest to survive for what?  Why "fittest to survive for survival," the Darwinist is compelled to reply.  If the highest and best that man can conceive and achieve is not mere survival.  And ghat is where Darwin and the Beagle ran aground.  

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Stock markets do not measure the value of companies, their prospective earnings, the growth of the economy are any other tangible reality.  They measure only the aggregate belief of people that someone else will pay more for the shares they purchase than they do.  They measure greed, not value.  They are vast gambling casinos for the addicted

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What a bore it is to live i the age of "mathefication" of man; the effort to reduce every mystery and marvel of life to the mechanics of measurement;  The endless march to specialization as one knows more and more about less and less; the steady regression as we try to reason our way to wisdom.  Where is the scientist who can write an equation for the mystery of a thought, or the feelings evoked by the birth of a child.  

June Reflections

 

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Every triumph or tribulation, every success or failure, every hope or fear, is an opportunity to draw upon the unfathomable resources of the universe with which we are each richly endowed. Humility in the face of fame, generosity in the face of riches, tolerance in the face of criticism, endurance in the face of adversity, love in the face of hate - - -  All are within us patiently waiting to be educed.  

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Man has turned his industrial age, mechanistic, command-and-control concepts of societal organization into a gigantic, mental cage with an internal wheel on which we run like captive squirrels, not realizing our own frantic efforts only make the wheel run faster, going nowhere.  We must escape the cage, and develop new concepts of societal organizations within which we can harmoniously co-evolve with one another, with our environment, and with all other living things.

More May reflections

We all know the enormity of the environment problems of the earth that threatens all life thereon.  
We all know the economic, political and social injustice rampant throughout the world.  We all know that an epidemic of organizational and institutional failure is raging everywhere.  We all  know our archaic, hierarchical concept of organization and leadership are taking us where no sane, caring person ought to go.  There can be no solution until new concepts of organization and leadership emerge.  That can never come about without a profound change in the consciousness of mankind. The change of consciousness must arise individual by individual.   Chaordic  the universe has always been!  Chaordic the earth will ever be! Chaordic by nature each of us is!  Chaordic our institutions and society must become. This is no time to wait for others.  Educe your inherent nature and insist society be organized in harmony with it.   

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In the garden of life

Sowing avarice, reaping poverty,

Sowing ego, reaping despair,

Sowing envy, reaping misery,

Sowing power, reaping slavery,

Sowing violence, reaping death,

Blind and deaf we blunder 

In the garden of life.

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It is not the poor and humble who are desecrating the earth, waging war, demeaning people, or decimating species;  it is the rich, the educated, the honored and acclaimed - - - the interchangeable, cognitive elite that now controls power in government, business, science and education. 

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Anger and greed always justify their abuse with claims of prior provocation.  Their every offense they profess to be a defense.  Any opposition is considered an attack.  Angry, greedy people should never be put into powerful positions.     

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Where the wealthy are content with moderate possessions and desire no more - - - where the educated are content with knowledge and expect no preference - - - where the powerful are content with persuasion and eschew force - - - where the poor and weak are not without sustenance, shelter, hope and opportunity - - -  Only there will we find social soil in which enduring peace, justice and prosperity may be grown.  Where the opposite prevails, tyranny, injustice and brutality will be the harvest.

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Expecting those who control massive commercial corporations to work for long term societal and environmental good rather than short term profit, or measure their success in moral and ethical terms, rather than monetary terms, is like expecting a dung beetle to leave a pile of manure, climb a flower and sip nectar.  It's ag'in the natur o' the beast.   

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Minds honed to razor sharpness on the cold stones of logic, reason and mathematics easily dispose of god as myth, morality as subjective, humility as weak, generosity as foolish, love as ephemeral, and empathy as irrelevant.

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A lamb is not bound to the logic of a lion, a lark to the habits of a hawk, or a rose to the conduct of a cucumber.  Each is bound only to the nature of its species.  What bounds mankind to anything?  Are we the first unspeciated species?  Can such a species long endure.  

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If you would avoid having your authority and decisions resented and circumvented, include others in your deliberations when they do not expect it, and exclude no one when they do. 

 

May reflections

Cunning intellect, warped character, excessive greed and extraordinary ego concealed in calculated charm have carried many to the pinnacle of power and wealth.

 

A poorly lived life fears death.  A richly lived life views death as another part of the adventure.

 

War is innocent people with shredded brains, mangled bodies, splintered bones and spilled entrails covered with flies and maggots.  No amount of patriotic jargon and propaganda can change that.

 

We have innate trust in technology regardless of the uses to which it is put and innate trust is science regardless of whether or not it has moral or ethical foundation.  Thus society proceeds from one disaster to another confusing symptoms with disease, and cause with cure. 

 

The philosophy of commerce and capitalism is simple;  As few as possible should take as much as possible, from as many as possible  as often as possible.  

 

All sovereign governments attempt to persuade us that bravery and honor are best exemplified by awarding medals and erecting monuments to those most skilled military homicide. 

 

We have created societal organizations and laws which result in decimation of the earth, and countless millions of people struggling in abject poverty and dying from starvation and preventable disease so that a favored few can rise to obscene wealth, luxury and power.  Thus, we call that which is truly collective insanity, by names such as civilization and democracy.

 

Science asks, "What can we know?''  Practicality asks, "What can we do?"  Morality asks, "How shall we behave?"  Religion asks, "What should we believe?"  Wisdom alone is silent.

 

One of the principal functions of government during the past century has been to make economic crimes against people and planet legal.

 

Everyone knows that children make more messes than they clean up.  Everyone knows that present societal concepts of organization, particularly government and business, make more messes than they clean up.  Are we in a societal state of arrested childishness.   

 

If economic growth in the past century has led to such inequities as widespread poverty, homelessness, unemployment, war, violence, crime, environmental decimation, how can we believe that greater economic growth will alleviate them?

 

Surely there is more to life than greed efficiently practiced, ambition effectively pursued, and ego continually gratified, but one would not think so based upon the conduct of our empires of commerce and palaces of higher education.

 

The most persistent, pernicious propaganda is that which the rich and powerful use to persuade the poor and weak that the fault is theirs, and that riches and power are the just reward for superior intelligence, character and ability.     

Reflections

All mankind exists at the sufferance of the biosphere, the biosphere at the sufferance of the sun, the sun at the sufferance of the galaxy, the galaxy at the sufferance of the cosmos.  All do as they please and take no note of mankind.  Whence, then, our insufferable arrogance?    

 

Ideas that profoundly change society take time.  It often requires a century to prepare the soil of minds and plant the seed.  It takes another for the seed to germinate, and emerge.  It takes a third for maturity and propagation, With luck we can expect to harvest in the fourth, and realize abundance in the fifth.  

 

How can we value truth if we have never known it, compassion if we have never received it, respect if we have never had it, and generosity if we have never experienced it? 

 

It is reason enough to belong to, believe in and practice a religion if it is comfortable and constructive to ones nature, but that is no reason at all to dogmatically proclaim it divine, assert it as truth, attempt to impose it on others, or decry other beliefs as false, mistaken or inferior.

 

First comes the dream, then the commitment, then the work, then the failure, then the learning, then the growth, then the persistence, and only then, the achievement,

 

Democracy is not liberty, justice or equity, though it may lead to such things if the minds and hearts of the people are so inclined. It can as easily lead to the exact opposite if the people are indifferent of have other values.

 

We are conditioned to believe that science is a precisely designed, incontrovertible means of knowing truth and reality, when it is no more than a useful way of looking at things.

 

Shareholder in any publicly traded corporations are not owners in any meaningful sense of the word.   They are speculators whose primary concern is whether others will pay more for their shares than they did.

 

Listening to Trump talk of draining the swamp in Washington is like listening to a rat talking about driving the mice out of the pantry.

 

 

March reflections

3/6/17     Our heart does not exist to serve only our brain.  Our brain does not exist to serve our heart.  No organ or system of organs is superior or subordinate to any other.  All harmoniously serve and are served by all others.  All evolution and nature is so organized.  Why then is it so difficult for us to so organize society.  Why do we so zealously defend and perpetuate hierarchical, command, control, and compete, mechanistic, societal organizations that are tearing the world apart and threatening our very existence?  Are we mad?     

 

3/6/17     For the last thousand years, societal movement from the simple and unitary to the complex and contentious has been unremitting and accelerating.  It is now exploding.  We desperately need new individual and social consciousness, new internal models of reality, new perspectives and new, chaordic concepts of organization and leadership.

 

3/6/17     The privileged few look upon their wealth and power as a just reward for innate superiority no matter how tawdry and corrupt the means of attainment.  They consider enactment and enforcement of laws to protect and enhance their possessions and privilege to be the proper role of government.  Prominent among them is the 45th president of the United States.      

 

3/6/17     A government that attempts to assure the prosperity, health and well being of its citizens by serving the interests of giant, capitalist corporations will eventually have trouble distinguishing between it reason for being and a ham sandwich.

 

3/6/17     Most people do not want an equitable society that provides everyone a secure sufficiency.  They have been conditioned to prefer organizations and policies that allow a few hundred to wallow in obscene riches while millions suffer intense poverty in the extremely remote possibility they will be among the few.

 

3/6/17     The physical sciences have been a powerful force in society for less than four hundred years.  They, along with industrial production have been dominant for two hundred years.  In evolutionary time, they are but mewling kittens with unopened eyes.

 

3/6/17     In a capitalist economy, a few enter the contest heavily armed with inherited wealth, superior education and preferred position, while the many enter defenseless with inherited poverty, inferior education, and no position.  We call it "free enterprise."  

 

3/6/17     To make language precise and communication exact, would require every person to have identical consciousness and experience.   Without such  unvarying sameness, language will always be pattern without precision---in other words, approximation.

More Reflections

 

 

NOTE:  IF YOU ENJOY THESE REFLECTIONS MORE THAN 1,000 CAN BE FOUND IN MY BOOK, ''AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A RESTLESS MIND--VOLUME ONE," AND AN EQUAL NUMBER IN "VOLUME TWO."

 

 

2/24/17     It is a great mistake to think that small acts of compassion and generosity cannot change the world for the better, since they are the only things that ever have.  

 

2/24/17    I know nothing about those who claim the universe and all therein is nothing but random meaningless chance.  Perhaps their lives are truly so.  Perhaps that is how they choose it to be.  I only know only that my life has meaning.  I cannot will it to be otherwise.  I may never know the fullness of its meaning, but I do know that life is eternal becoming.  That alone is more than enough meaning.

 

2/24/17    Surely there was love, beauty, grace, emotion, and spirit before reason and logic.  Perhaps our higher faculties are not higher at all, but newer, less highly evolved, less finished.  When Descartes, Newton and their kind elevated reason, logic and mathematics above all other capacities, and science above all other methods, did they merely free immature faculties from essential restraint?  There is an ominous feeling throughout the land that we are moving blindly where no loving, caring person ought to go.

 

2/24/17     Religion claims we must obey the mandates of  god, and clergy can tell us what they are.  Science claims we must obey the laws of nature, and scientists can tell us what they are.  Both claims are absurdly pretentious.

 

2/24/17     Constructive, humane behavior cannot be achieved by external force. It arises from within.  It can be educed but cannot be compelled.  It is a rare leader who understands this, let alone practices it. 

 

2/24/17     The universe does not exert force in any meaningful sense.  It does not "force" the planets into orbit, or "command" them to do anything.  It merely  places an attraction in their path to which they  respond in accordance with their nature.  It would be a blessing if people who aspire to be great could understand this principle and behave in accordance with it.  

 

2/24/17     Language is the ghost of living.  It cannot reckon reality.  Words only hint at such things as the heave and thunder of storming, ocean surf, or the silence and mystery of primeval forest - - - such things as love, hate, empathy and generosity.  Language can do no more than dredge up skeletal memories of the past and cast up spectral shadows of the future.    

 

2/1/17     At its beginning, the single fertilized cell has capacity to be any kind of cell.  As division occurs and growth commences, commitment emerges and each cell's nature becomes fixed for the remainder of its life.  It is no different for the newly born individual.  Society and civilization are the aggregate of those individual commitments.   

 

2/1/17     Mankind is not charged with determining whether the universe has purpose or is a matter of blind chance, whether energy is finite or infinite, whether intelligence is innate or divine, whether consciousness is universal or unique, whether life has meaning or "is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing", or a whole host of other things that are the source of so much mental agitation, concern, and controversy.  

 

2-1-17     Perhaps the greatest mental disease of all is belief that science and technology can create an artificial environment that will free mankind forever from the "tyranny of nature": that the promised land is to be a construct of man, rather than a beneficence of nature.  

 

2/1/17     The constitution of the United States first and foremost a codification of doubt and skepticism regarding the  perfectibility of people and the beneficence of government.   

 

2/1/17     Society has tried them all - - - a genetic aristocracy, a landed aristocracy, a political aristocracy, a scientific aristocracy, a moneyed aristocracy, an intellectual aristocracy.  Might it be wise to try an ethical aristocracy, or better yet, no aristocracy at all?

 

2/1/17     Government of the people, by the people and for the people sounds grand;  but what if the people are ignorant, vain, greedy, and immoral?  Does that mean they should create an ignorant, vain, greedy, immoral government, and if they did, whether they would be well served by it?

 

2/1/17     Present concepts of societal organization, political, economic and social, to which we entrust the future, have become giant casinos in which we gamble wildly using the lives of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren as chips.

 

2/1/17     Banks have no need to turn straw into gold.  They have a better racket.  They collect vast amounts of interest from the loan of money that the law permits them to create out of thin air.  

 

2/1/17     To assert that one has great capacity, but has the misfortune of never having had a great cause to set it in motion is absurd.  Great capacity finds great causes everywhere.  It is capacity that ignites cause, not cause that ignites capacity. 

 

2/1/17     Natures methods are prodigal, but the results are singularly unique.  A billion spores and one mushroom.  A million nuts and one tree.  A thousand blossoms and one fruit.  Just so the mind.  A billion thoughts and one idea.  A million ideas and one trifle of understanding.  A thousand trifles of understanding and one modicum of wisdom. 

 

Reflections

 

1-16-17 ----- What would become of the rich and powerful without the poor and weak?  They would cease to be rich and powerful, of course.  What would become of the poor and weak without the rich and powerful?  They would cease to be poor and weak, of course.  This should be obvious to any one with a modicum of common sense, all propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding.

 

1-16-17 ----- It takes a thousand year for a redwood tree to reach maturity, thirty minutes to cut it down, a few days to reduce it to lumber, a few weeks to shape it into a house and only a few decades before it is bulldozed into rubble to make way for some larger construct.  Are we mad!  What in the name of common sense is the rush?  Were in the name of wisdom are we going?  

1-16-17 ----- In the stew of societal turmoil, nothing less than a crisis in evolution is brewing.  Gathering and synthesizing quality, wisdom and spirituality into a force greater than science, technology and commerce is the great, human odyssey we must undertake in the first century of this new millennium.   

 

1-16-17 ----- In the ultimate macro view, everything in the universe is in harmony.  In the ultimate, micro view, everything is in conflict.  Those who see nothing but a world of commerce,  competition, conflict, and combat have tiny, pinched, impoverished perception and perspective.

 

1-16-17 ----- The moment a leader is elevated above a follower by income, authority, prestige or anything else, you have neither leader or follower.  You may have manager and subordinate, master and servant, owner and slave, tyrant and tyrannized, executive and human resource, but not leader and follower.  The latter is a mutual, voluntary, relationship in pursuit of common purpose in accordance with shared principles, hot a hierarchy of authority.

 

1-16-17 ----- Only those blinded by ego, envy, avarice or ambition would argue that holders of surplus money, through fictions called capital and corporation, should own in perpetuity the benefits derived from the intelligence and labor of others, or be entitled to the benefits derived from the earth itself, to which all living things should be entitled by right of birth.  To call that liberty, equity, or democracy is a cruel charade.      

 

1-16-17 ----- The ocean moves as the pebble is cast.  The weather changes with every breath. The intelligence of the universe alters with every thought.  We are at one and the same time, creator and created.    

 

1-16-17 ----- Wherever and however people are confined against their will they are imprisoned.  A prison need not be made of steel or concrete.  People can be confined against their will by the bigotry of a community, by the dominance of a religion, by economic conditions imposed by government, by constraints of employment, by lack of education, or of income.  Far more people are confined today by the global financial system and global corporatism by than have ever been confined by tyrants, or by police judge and jury.  

 

1-2-17 ----- Homo sapiens scientificus, has had a good, long run at presenting the earth with non-negotiable demands, at least in man-time.  But man-time and earth-time are not the same.  Nature, in accordance with its own time, is steadily presenting mankind with non-negotiable demands of its own.  We like to believe that science can circumvent those demands, but there is no evidence to support that belief, and no indication there ever will be.  

 

1-2-17 ----- Rufus, the great horned owl, floats silently in the fading light to his favorite evening perch on the tip of a small dead tree outside my study window.  Silhouetted against the dying light, he scans the grassy hilltop looking for a careless rodent on which to dine.  Here I sit, day after day, cooped up, getting a numb butt, fretting over money to be made, a book to be written, speeches to be composed, property to be maintained, while Rufus lives free, goes where and when he likes, free of ego envy, avarice and ambition, trusting nature to provide sustenance, taking no more than his daily needs when there is plenty, calmly enduring when there is not.  Which is the wiser creature?  I really don't want to know the answer.

   

1-2-17 ----- Intent is in the composer.  Interpretation is in the conductor.  Rendering is in the instrumentalist.  Perception is in the listener.  Sound is in the notes.  Rhythm is in the intervals.  Music is in the relationship between them all.  Truth, beauty, even life itself, are not this or that; everything is harmonious relationship.

 

1-2-17 ----- Age that mourns the passing of youth and attempts to emulate it is a sad thing.  Would a luscious ripe fruit whine because it is no longer a blossom, or a blossom try to contort itself back into a bud? 

 

1-2-17

It is not right,

It is not right,

that slow and slow the slight

moon moves the night,

and slow and slow the night

drags dawn's dim light, 

and slow and slow the bright

day pales at sight

of my pathetic plight.

It is not right,

it is not right!

 

1/2/17 ----- The propositions of mathematics are all synthetic. The discoveries of science are all approximations. The properties of machines are all inexact.  All are constructs of man. Useful as they may be, there is nothing of certitude in them.  Why then, do we assiduously create societal organizations in their image?  Are we fools worshiping our tools?

 

1/2/17 ----- Several minds are better than one, and many often better than several, not because they are less fallible, but because they are less likely to go wrong in the same way at the same time for the same reason.

 

12/29/16 ----- Every morning I rise thinking "I've won again!'  At my age, every morning is a victory.

 

12/29/16 ----- Remove the rhetoric and hyperbole from Trump's plan to make America great again and it amounts to this:  Greater wealth for the wealthy, greater power for the powerful, greater privilege for the privileged, greater all three for the Trumps, greater wars for the warriors, greater diminishment for the middle class, greater poverty for the poor, greater devastation for the envIronment, and greater incarceration for those who rebel. 

 

12/29/16 ----- There is no evil that a well organized, energized minority cannot impose on a disorganized, apathetic majority.

Trump is the proof of it.

 

12/29/16 ----- Eighty eight years searching for the meaning of life, and all that while, it has been searching for the meaning of me.  I suspect it has been on the right track.

 

12/29/16 ----- We spend our lives admiring that which is respected while ignoring that which is respectable.