Sunday, June 30, 2013

Staring at the Sun - Irvin Yalom

“Some day soon, perhaps in forty years, there will be no one alive who has ever known me. That's when I will be truly dead - when I exist in no one's memory. I thought a lot about how someone very old is the last living individual to have known some person or cluster of people. When that person dies, the whole cluster dies,too, vanishes from the living memory. I wonder who that person will be for me. Whose death will make me truly dead?” ― Irvin D. Yalom, Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy
“Life is a spark between two identical voids, the darkness before birth and the one after death.” ― Irvin D. Yalom, When Nietzsche Wept
“Religion has everything on its side: revelation, prophecies, government protection, the highest dignity and eminence. . . and more than this, the invaluable prerogative of being allowed to imprint its doctrines on the mind at a tender age of childhood, whereby they become almost innate ideas.” ― Irvin D. Yalom, The Schopenhauer Cure
“I think my quarry is illusion. I war against magic. I believe that, though illusion often cheers and comforts, it ultimately and invariably weakens and constricts the spirit.” ― Irvin D. Yalom, Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy
“Death anxiety is the mother of all religions, which, in one way or another, attempt to temper the anguish of our finitude.” ― Irvin D. Yalom
“If we look at life in its small details, how ridiculous it all seems. It is like a drop of water seen through a microscope, a single drop teeming with protozoa. How we laugh as they bustle about so eagerly and struggle with one another. Whether here, or in the little span of human life, this terrible activity produces a comic effect” ― Irvin D. Yalom, The Schopenhauer Cure
“... sooner or later she had to give up the hope for a better past.” ― Irvin D. Yalom, Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death
"To live life fully, one must accept that it ends" - Yalom
“[There is] a juncture to which full awareness inevitably leads. One stands before the abyss and decides how to face the pitiless existential facts of life. Of course, there are no solutions. One has a choice only to be ‘resolute,’ ‘engaged,’ courageously defiant, stoically accepting or to, in awe of mystery, place one’s trust in the providence of the divine.”— “Love’s Executioner”
“Of all the world’s wonders, which is the most wonderful? That no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believes that he himself will die.” — Yudhishtara answers Dharma, from “The Mahabharata”

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hope after Faith

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"Faith hath need of the whole truth"
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“Life is doubt,And faith without doubt is nothing but death.”
Miguel de Unamuno

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Carl Sagan interview - Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quote Archive

"Neoplatonism is a progressive philosophy, and does not expect to state final conditions to men whose minds are finite. Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond."
Hypatia of Alexandria (Elbert Hubbard, Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mozart - Requiem

Ecrasez l'infame

Ecrasez l'infame -Crush the Infamous thing. The infamy being superstition and credulity. Voltaire was brought to this proclamation after the earthquake in Lisbon (1755) when the clergy responded with blaming the tragedy on the "sin" of the people. Hundreds of years later our species still wallows in this type of superstition of blaming the victims of cruel fate and natural processes.
PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: "You know, Christy, something happened a long time ago in Haiti and the people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, "We will serve you if you`ll get us free from the French." True story. And so, the devil said, OK, it`s a deal. And they kicked the French -- the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other."
REV. JOE ELLISON, JR: "I know his comments angered a lot of the so- called, in my opinion, liberals. What he said about the comments about Haitians. And from a spiritual standpoint, we believe Dr. Robertson was on target about Haiti, Haiti in the past with voodoo. And we believe in the Bible that the practice of voodoo is a sin and what caused the nation to suffer. Those who read the Bible and study history know that Dr. Robertson said was a biblical truth."
When it comes to this sort of superstition I can only nod in agreement with Voltaire. "Whatever you do, crush the infamy." - Voltaire

Friday, June 7, 2013