Saturday, January 30, 2016

No Failure for the good and brave by Richard Chenevix Trench

Not all who seem to fail have failed indeed,
Not all who fail have therefor worked in vain.
There is no failure for the good and brave.
Richard Chenevix Trench

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Excerpt from "The Light Within Us" by Albert Schweitzer

As far back as I can remember I was saddened by the amount of misery I saw in the world around me. Youth's unqualified joie de vivre I never really knew, and I believe that to be the case with many children, even though they appear outwardly merry and quite free from care.

One thing that specially saddened me was that the unfortunate animals had to suffer so much pain and misery. The sight of an old limping horse, tugged forward by one man while another kept beating it with a stick to get it to the knacker's yard at Colmar, haunted me for weeks.

It was quite incomprehensible to me--this was before I began going to school--why in my evening prayers I should pray for human beings only. So when my mother had prayed with me and had kissed me goodnight, I used to add silently a prayer that I had composed myself for all living creatures.

It ran thus: 'O, heavenly Father, protect and bless all things that have breath; guard them from all evil, and let them sleep in peace.'"
Albert Schweitzer,"The Light Within Us"

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

This I Believe by Will Durant

Will Durant

I find in the Universe so many forms of order, organization, system, law and adjustment of means to ends, that I believe in a cosmic intelligence and I conceive God as the life, mind, order and law of the world.

I do not understand my God, and I find in nature and history many instances of apparent evil, disorder, cruelty and aimlessness. But I realize that I see these with a very limited vision and that they might appear quite otherwise from a cosmic point of view. How can an infinitesimal part of the universe understand the whole? We are drops of water trying to understand the sea.

I believe that I am the product of a natural evolution. The logic of evolution seems to compel determinism, but I cannot overcome my direct consciousness of a limited freedom of will. I believe that if I could see any form of matter from within as I can see myself through introspection, I should find in all forms of matter something akin to what in ourselves is mind and freedom. I define "virtue" as any quality that makes for survival, but as the survival of the group is more important than the survival of the average individual, the highest virtues are those that make for group survival: love, sympathy, kindliness, cooperation. If my life lived up to my ideals I would combine the ethics of Confucius and Christ; the virtues of a developing individual with those of a member of a group.

... I’m not so fanatical a worshipper of liberty as some of my radical or conservative friends; when liberty exceeds intelligence it begets chaos; which begets dictatorship. We had too much economic liberty in the later nineteenth century due to our free land and our relative exemption from external danger. We have too much moral liberty today, due to increasing wealth and diminishing religious belief. The age of liberty is ending under the pressure of external dangers; the freedom of the part varies with the security of the whole.

I do not resent the conflicts and difficulties of life. In my case, they have been far outweighed by good fortune, reasonable health, loyal friends and a happy family life. I have met so many good people that I have almost lost my faith in the wickedness of mankind.

I suspect that when I die I shall be dead. I would look upon endless existence as a curse as did the Flying Dutchman and the Wandering Jew. Death is life’s greatest invention; perpetually replacing the worn with the new. And after twenty volumes, it will be sweet to sleep.

Is philosophy useful ? by Cicero

Is philosophy useful?
From Cicero's Tusculan Disputations

A.If what you say is true, is there not fear that you may be decking philosophy with a glory that does not belong to it? For what stronger proof can there be of its uselessness than that some accomplished philosophers lead disgraceful lives ?

M. It is no proof at all; for as all cultivated fields are not harvest-yielding,so all cultivated minds do not bear fruit. To continue the figure: as a field, though fertile, cannot yield a harvest without cultivation, no more can the mind without learning; thus each is feeble without the other. But philosophy is the culture of the soul. It draws out vices by the root, prepares the mind to receive seed, and commits to it, and, so to speak, sows in it what, when grown, may bear the most abundant fruit.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Selection from the Rubaiyât & Odes of Hâfiz

Al Ishq Al Aswad

From the Rubaiyât & Odes of Hâfiz

O breeze, my story quietly share,
My heart’s secrets, to whoever you care.
Tell not to upset or bring sorrow,
Share them with a heart that’s aware.

Blame not my tears for the secret they confessed ;
Deal gently with a heart that cannot rest !
O Sufi ! since thou knowest his desire,
Scorn not the wanderer for the lifelong quest !

Around Life's keep the rodent waters roar ;
The measure of our years is brimming o'er.
Soon, soon, O friend, the janitor of Time
Shall cast Life's chattels through the broken door.

A new challenge everyday
You keep away and delay;
When I act to close the gap
Fate says there is a bigger play.

O thou great Almoner of human need,
Who solvest all, dispensing blame and meed,
Why should I bare my secret heart to thee,
Since all my hidden secrets thou canst read ?

We hope for all things from the sky's caress,
Yet tremble as the leaf when days grow less.
You said no colour beyond black abides ;
Then why the snows upon the raven tress ?

My beloved is brighter than the sun,
Put in the heavens, my only one.
Placed the hearts upon the earth
To watch the sun’s daily run.

Methinks I hear joy beating with his wings ;
The perfume of passionate roses round me clings.
The wind has caught a story from her mouth,
Oh rare and wondrous is the tale he brings !

Great of soul ! How gladly would I give
All that I am to thee by whom I live !
If thou wouldst know the bitterness of hell,
Pour friendship's water through an empty sieve.

The rosebud hides herself for shame of Thee !
Nor drowsed Narcissus dare to look on Thee :
How can the rose her sovereignty proclaim ?
Her light is of the moon, the moon 's from Thee.

I wish that fate would cease this carnage,
And to the lovers give their due wage.
In times of youth the rein in my hands,
Now on the saddle, I ride in old age.

Till the desire of love be gratified,
Till the body's kingdom without king abide,
My hope is ever of the Court of God,
That all the gates of joy be open wide.

Monday, January 18, 2016

When you Love with warmth and purity by Jean Paul Richter

Love one human being with warmth and purity, and thou wilt love the world. The heart, in that celestial sphere of love, is like the sun in its course. From the drop on the rose to the ocean, all is for him a mirror, which he fills and brightens.
Jean Paul Richter

Don Quixote & Sancho Panza

Vincent Van Gogh Art

"For all that let me tell thee, brother Panza,” said Don Quixote, “that there is no recollection which time does not put an end to, and no pain which death does not remove.”
“And what greater misfortune can there be,” replied Panza, “than the one that waits for time to put an end to it and death to remove it?”
Cervantes—Don Quixote

Within every one of us there lives both a Don Quixote and a Sancho Panza to whom we hearken by turns; and though Sancho most persuades us, it is Don Quixote that we find ourselves obliged to admire.
Anatole France

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Certainty & skepticism by Bertrand Russell

When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others. It is much more nearly certain that we are assembled here tonight than it is that this or that political party is in the right. Certainly there are degrees of certainty, and one should be very careful to emphasize that fact, because otherwise one is landed in an utter skepticism, and complete skepticism would, of course, be totally barren and completely useless.

Awaken Thyself by Henry David Thoreau

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep.

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do.
To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Thursday, January 14, 2016

SONG by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Return to love - KEVIN KERN

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Rarely, rarely comest thou,
Spirit of Delight!
Wherefore hast thou left me now
Many a day and night?
Many a weary night and day
‘Tis since thou art fled away.

How shall ever one like me
Win thee back again?
With the joyous and the free
Thou wilt scoff at pain.
Spirit false! thou hast forgot
All but those who need thee not.

As a lizard with the shade
Of a trembling leaf,
Thou with sorrow art dismayed;
Even the sighs of grief
Reproach thee, that thou art not near,
And reproach thou wilt not her.

Let me set my mournful ditty
To a merry measure;–
Thou wilt never come for pity,
Thou wilt come for pleasure;
Pity then will cut away
Those cruel wings, and thou wilt stay.

I love all that thou lovest,
Spirit of Delight!
The fresh Earth in new leaves dressed,
And the starry night;
Autumn evening, and the morn
When the golden mists are born.

I love snow and all the forms
Of the radiant frost;
I love waves, and winds, and storms,
Everything almost
Which is Nature’s, and may be
Untainted by man’s misery.

I love tranquil solitude,
And such society
As is quiet, wise, and good;
Between thee and me
What difference? but thou dost possess
The things I seek, not love them less.

I love Love–though he has wings,
And like light can flee,
But above all other things,
Spirit, I love thee–
Thou art love and life! O come!
Make once more my heart thy home!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

On Joy & Sorrow. Excerpt from Songs of Innocence and of experience by William blake

It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
William Blake

How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?
How can a child, when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring?”
William Blake

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
William Blake

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Human being when you know him as spirit by Rabindranath Tagore

Of course man is useful to man, because his body is a marvellous machine and his mind an organ of wonderful efficiency. But he is a spirit as well, and this spirit is truly known only by love. When we define a man by the market value of the service we can expect of him, we know him imperfectly. With this limited knowledge of him it becomes easy for us to be unjust to him and to entertain feelings of triumphant self-congratulation when, on account of some cruel advantage on our side, we can get out of him much more than we have paid for. But when we know him as a spirit we know him as our own. We at once feel that cruelty to him is cruelty to ourselves, to make him small is stealing from our own humanity...
Rabindranath Tagore

Traveling: seeing and touching the unknown by Nikos Kazantzakis

All my life one of my greatest desires has been to travel-to see and touch unknown countries, to swim in unknown seas, to circle the globe, observing new lands, seas, people, and ideas with insatiable appetite, to see everything for the first time and for the last time, casting a slow, prolonged glance, then to close my eyes and feel the riches deposit themselves inside me calmly or stormily according to their pleasure, until time passes them at last through its fine sieve, straining the quintessence out of all the joys and sorrows.
Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The song of love by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

That was the first sound in the song of love!
Scarce more than silence is, and yet a sound
Hands of invisible spirits touch the strings
Of that mysterious instrument, the soul,
And play the prelude of our fate. We hear
The voice prophetic, and are not alone.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Reflections by Friedrich von Schiller

Let us think clearly, we shall love ardently.
In German:Lasst uns hell denken, so werden wir feurig lieben—

Heaven has not only its roses, but also its thorns.
In German:Nicht Rosen bloss, auch Dornen hat der Himmel.

The illusion is brief, the remorse is long.
Der Wahn ist kurz, die Reu’ ist lang—

When the gods were more human, men were more divine.
Da die Götter menschlicher noch waren,waren Menschen göttlicher.

Passion takes flight, love must abide;
the flower fades, the fruit must ripen.
Die Leidenschaft flieht,die Liebe muss bleiben;
Die Blume verblüht,die Frucht muss treiben.

Honour to the women! they plait and weave roses of heaven for the life of earth.
Ehret die Frauen! Sie flechten und weben himmlische Rosen ins irdische Leben.

Let not thy heart cling to the things which for so short a time deck out thy life. Let him who has, learn to lose, and him who is happy,familiarise himself with what may give pain.

Nicht an die Güter hänge dein Herz,
Die das Leben vergänglich zieren!
Wer besitzt, der lerne verlieren;
Wer im Glück ist, der lerne den Schmerz!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Science & conscience(From the novel: Les Misérables)by Victor Hugo

...I mean that man is ruled by a tyrant whose name is Ignorance, and that is the tyrant I sought to overthrow. That is the tyrant which gave birth to monarchy, and monarchy is authority based on falsehood, whereas knowledge is authority based on truth. Man should be ruled by knowledge alone."
"And conscience," added the bishop."It's the same thing. Conscience is the quota of innate science we each have inside us."
Victor Hugo,Les Misérables

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Within me by Albert Camus

In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there's something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
Albert Camus

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