Tuesday, January 25, 2005
"Good sense is the ability to judge well, even without any training and on an order of truth that is a little 'down to earth.' This ability is highly useful for men who have to deal only with the most immediate realities, the imminent ones. It is indispensable to those who make art; therefore, its absence can sterilize the most precious gifts of the best spirits.

Nevertheless one can totally and ridiculously lack common sense and have genius. So be it!

But the painter always has an eye, an eye that sees."

-Odilon Redon

- posted by Allie @ 9:35 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Saturday, January 15, 2005
The perfect victory is to triumph over yourself. If you overcome yourself, you will very easily overcome all other things.

If you desire to climb to this height, you must set out courageously and lay the axe to the root, that you may pluck up and destroy both the hidden inordinate inclination of the self, and the love of private and earthly things. Whatever else is to be done, almost all depends upon the problem of inordinately loving ourselves. Once this evil is vanquished and subdued, peace and tranquility will soon follow.

But because few endeavor to perfectly die to themselves and altogether to come out of themselves, they remain entangled in themselves and cannot be elevated in spirit above themselves. But he that desires to walk freely with Jesus Christ must motify all perverse and inordinate affections, and should not love anything else more than Christ. For he that keeps his sensual affections obedient to reason, and his reason in all things obedient to Jesus Christ is a person who is truly conquerer of himself, and lord of the world.

Thomas a Kempis, circa 1400, paraphrased

- posted by Bruce @ 5:18 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Thursday, January 13, 2005
Thoughts From Aaron


Still no right way to live. No universal one at least. Everything is in context. Politics and government create a box for people so that the world can be run "properly". Although this "Properly" run lifestyle is necessary for a large amount of unthinking masses, it a curse to a free spirit. Therefore I will end my discussion of politics at this point in my life and try to think about the more spiritual aspect of my being. For I am not going to follow the rules of society if I wish not to, of course in many cases the agreed lifestyle of society is, in my opinion, the "Correct" way. I will not go out of my way to disobey this thing that has worked for so long to run an impossible world of contradictions created by people of large difference. I have found that "there is no right way to live" is just one of many absolutes that define the statement that there are no absolutes. Thus my quote is this: "There are no absolutes, only paradoxes." This belief is a tough one to cope with but I feel that it is a necessary for one to be able to look at things in an unbiased way. Which is actually almost impossible, for we are constantly surrounded by things that affect how we think. In any case though, after we realize that there are no absolutes and that there is no right way to live it leaves us with nothing. It leaves you with a feeling that this life is meaningless and that you can never believe in anything again because it isn't correct/absolute.

This is where I am stuck, in this place of meaninglessness. From now on I can have thoughts, opinions, and decide how to live my life, find my meaning and they will be mine. They will not be forced upon others and I will have realized that others aren't wrong or right, just different. Difference needs to be respected. I despise money. I despise the chains that a world with money represents. And I'm still deciding whether or not to join society in this way, jobs, housing, etc. I want to paint and lend my love and assistance when I feel it necessary. I want to take troubled people under my wing and lend them my thoughts and learn from theirs. I feel an importance in passionate arguments about beliefs. For humans have many diverse thoughts, all of which cannot be explored by one person and arguing allows learning of others thus a learning of the world around you and a compassion, or even hatred, for the others that walk this earth. I also find it important that I find a core meaning to my life, something to hold onto in my ever-changing thoughts. An island on which to stand while this crazy world spins around me. I still retain my belief that that there is a difference to learning and to being taught.

I find it extremely satisfying to throw away all supports and struggle through life, finding your own thoughts and living your own way. For then you can come back from your journey with experience to back up your Philosophies. And you can sit, isolated while you reflect upon that experience. Waiting to throw yourself back into that maelstrom. To test yourself. I feel that we can do anything we wish with our lives, and that at a young age we are born into a box made by society's rules. And we are taught that this is how it is supposed to be done. If kids could only learn to teach themselves they would find that they could venture outside of the box. This doesn't mean that they have to, just that they must recognize the possibility. And if they don't they are what I call ignorant or stupid. And it is because of this ignorance that they feel a necessity to fight, to strive to be rich, to hate gay people, to try to be "cool", to laugh at losers, to get a job. If they could realize that "Their Way" isn't necessarily the "Right Way" they could have respect for people who break the mold. All situations can be seen in any light you wish and although everything effects your thoughts and actions nothing controls them. I have decided that self-control is the most admirable quality of a person. And it is one which I strive to have. To be able to have a "hard" life and not care and still be satisfied/happy is amazing. To take criticism without rebuttal. And thus worrying is futile, as well as anger. The only that matters in the long run is action, and even that cannot stop the cycle of human stupidity. But that mean you don't try, because without believing in a "better" tomorrow what is the point?

My life is good. I paint. I write. I think. I have my ***** and I have my models. I love my music. And I love *****. I cherish every minute of sanctuary under my parents' wing. While I collect my thoughts I prepare myself for the chaotic world. Although I know that I must venture into the rain someday and I hate the idea of a perfectly "happy" life, I somehow know
that I will miss this.

I hope you do not mind that I posted this. I think it will generate good thought and I think that seeing it here will allow you to re-think some of it. I am constantly reminded that love is stronger than knowledge. Love that is pure. What standards do you use to tell you how things are? You have spoken well, but you have contradicted yourself. Can you see it?

Peace Aaron.

Peace Children.

- posted by -g @ 9:22 AM | | 0 rocks in pond

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
A response.

Emily - I miss you tons.

Graf - Hi.

Eva - Keep thinking.

Tagore - Here's something to think about:

Orchid collecting was a craze among naturalists. In The Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids Are Fertilised by Insects(1862), Darwin set out to disprove the popular notion that the delicate flowers were designed by God to please humans. He showed how orchids had instead evolved to attract pollinating insects.

- posted by Julia @ 9:20 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Saturday, January 08, 2005
Knowledge puffs up, love builds up.

Emily - The Green Line will soon be posted

Asians - Hi.

Eva - I do not know, but I will submit this for thought:

The Nature of Reality
(A transcript of the conversation between Rabindranath Tagore and Professor Albert Einstein on 14th July, 1930, at the latter's residence in Kaputh)

Einstein : Do you believe in the Divine as isolated from the world?

Tagore : Not isolated. The infinite personality of Man comprehends the Universe. There cannot be anything that cannot be subsumed by the human personality, and this proves that the truth of the Universe is human truth. I have taken a scientific fact to explain this. Matter is composed of protons and electrons, with gaps between them, but matter may seem to be solid without the links in spaces which unify the individual electrons and protons. Similarly humanity is composed of individuals, yet they have their interconnection of human relationship, which gives living unity to man's world. The entire universe is linked up with us, as individuals, in a similar manner - it is a human universe. I have pursued this thought through art, literature and the religious consciousness of man.

Einstein : There are two different conceptions about the nature of the universe -the world as a unity dependent on humanity, and the world as a reality independent of the human factor.

Tagore : When our universe is in harmony with man, the eternal, we know it as truth, we feel it as beauty.

Einstein : This is the purely human conception of the universe.

Tagore : There can be no other conception. This world is a human world - the scientific view of it is also that of the scientific man. Therefore, the world apart from us does not exist; it is a relative world, depending for its reality upon our consciousness. There is some standard of reason and enjoyment which gives it truth, the standard of the Eternal Man whose experiences are through our experiences.

Einstein : This is a realization of the human entity.

Tagore : Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize it through our emotions and activities. We realized the Supreme Man who has no individual limitations through our limitations. Science is concerned with that which is not confined to individuals, it is the impersonal human world of truths. Religion realizes these truths and links them up with our deeper needs; our individual consciousness of truth gains universal significance. Religion applies values to truth, and we know this truth as good through our own harmony with it.

Einstein : Truth, then, or beauty is not independent of man?

Tagore : No.

Einstein : If there would be no human beings any more, the Apollo of Belvedere would no longer be beautiful.

Tagore : No!

Einstein : I agree with regard to this conception of Beauty, but not with regard to Truth.

Tagore : Why not? Truth is realized through man.

Einstein : I cannot prove that my conception is right, but that is my religion.

Tagore : Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony which is in the Universal Being, Truth the perfect comprehension of the Universal mind. We individuals approach it through our own mistakes and blunders, through our accumulated experiences, - through our illumined consciousness - how, otherwise, can we know Truth?

Einstein : I cannot prove that scientific truth must be conceived as a truth that is valid independent of humanity; but I believe it firmly. I believe, for instance, that the Pythagorean theorem in geometry states something that is approximately true, independent of the existence of man. Anyway, if there is a reality independent of man, there is also a truth relative to this reality; and in the same way the negation of the first engenders a negation of the existence of the latter.

Tagore : Truth, which is one with the Universal Being, must essentially be human; otherwise whatever we individuals realize as true can never be called truth, at least the truth which is described as scientific and which only can be reached through the process of logic, in other words, by an organ of thoughts which is human. According to Indian philosophy there is Brahman, the absolute Truth which cannot be conceived by the isolation of the individual mind or described by words but can only be realized by completely merging the individual in its infinity. But such a truth cannot belong to science. The nature of truth which we are discussing is an appearance, that is to say, what appears to be true to the human mind and therefore is human, and may be called Maya or illusion.

Einstein : So according to your conception, which may be the Indian conception, it is not the illusion of the individual but of humanity as a whole.

Tagore : In science we go through the discipline of eliminating the personal limitations of our individual minds and thus reach that comprehension of truth which is in the mind of the Universal Man.

Einstein : The problem begins whether truth is independent of our consciousness.

Tagore : What we call truth lies in the rational harmony between the subjective and objective aspects of reality, both of which belong to the super-personal man.

Einstein : Even in our everyday life, we feel compelled to ascribe a reality independent of man to the objects we use. We do this to connect the experiences of our senses in a reasonable way. For instance, if nobody is in this house, yet that table remains where it is.

Tagore : Yes, it remains outside the individual mind but not the universal mind. The table which I perceive is perceptible by the same kind of consciousness which I possess.

Einstein : Our natural point of view in regard to the existence of truth apart from humanity cannot be explained or proved, but it is a belief which nobody can lack - no primitive beings even. We attribute to truth a superhuman objectivity, it is indispensable for us, this reality which is independent of our existence and our experience and our mind - though we cannot say what it means.

Tagore : Science has proved that the table as a solid object is an appearance and therefore that which the human mind perceives as a table would not exist if that mind were naught. At the same time it must be admitted that the fact that the ultimate physical reality is nothing but a multitude of separate revolving centres of electric force, also belongs to the human mind. In the apprehension of truth there is an eternal conflict between the universal human mind and the same mind confined in the individual. The perpetual process of reconciliation is being carried on in our science, philosophy, in our ethics. In any case, if there be any truth absolutely unrelated to humanity, then for us it is absolutely non-existing. It is not difficult to imagine a mind to which sequence of things happens not in space but only in time like the sequence of notes in music. For such a mind such conception of reality is akin to the musical reality in which Pythagorean geometry can have no meaning. There is the reality of paper, infinitely different from the reality of literature. For the kind of mind possessed by the moth which eats that paper literature is absolutely non-existent, yet for man's mind literature has a greater value of truth than the paper itself. In a similar manner if there be some truth which has no sensuous or rational relation to human mind, it will ever remain as nothing so long as we remain human beings.

Einstein : Then I am more religious than you are!

Tagore : My religion is in the reconciliation of the Super-personal Man, the universal human spirit, in my own individual being. This has been the subject of my Hibbert Lectures, which I have called "The Religion of Man."

Source: (Published in the January, 1931, issue of Modern Review)

- posted by -g @ 9:16 AM | | 0 rocks in pond

Tuesday, January 04, 2005
The Most Traumatic Thing That Ever Happened To Me Ever
By Eva Lam
Age 17

...okay, that's not how this is going to go.

There are a few candidates for this. Dean already disqualified the heart surgery bit, and I have no memories of it anyways. A couple of funny stories, maybe, but no pain.

The most recent traumatic event, I think, was coming out... mine one day and Stina's the next. Mine was just an issue of nerves since everyone was okay with it... Stina's was much more worth the stress. Everything happened pretty fast and there was some anger and a lot of pain... but at the same time it wasn't my trauma, it was hers and I was just the cushion, which is by far an easier role to play.

There was, of course, the election in 2004... I froze my ass off exit canvassing for three hours with the Milwaukee LGBT Center on the night of the election, as did Stina, and I'd worked for the Kerry campaign at times before that, and I'd put a great deal of hope on this election. And it didn't happen. The melting point came around 2:30 in the morning on 3 November. I'd been up all night watching the election results, frantically hoping for a miracle somewhere, somehow, and I had finally given up and turned off the TV and headed to bed, to find news in the morning. But as I crawled under the covers I turned on NPR, hoping for something to come up. I lay there listening for a while and then they announced that twelve states had passed referenda amending their respective constitutions to ban gay marriage. And then I lost it. I cried. I subjected my poor rabbit AB to about all the squeezing he could take, and I cried until it occurred to me that I was just wallowing in self-pity. And then I thought about it, and I found that it wasn't just self-pity; it was a huge sense of shame that so many people could possibly be so stupid. I think that's the most pain I've felt in recent memory.

But I guess I've found more pain in life with my father... stories I've already told.

- posted by Eva @ 9:18 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

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