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February 25, 2008

wisdom backed by courage

Wisdom, backed by courage make great: because immortal, they immortalize: each is as great as his mind, and to him who knows, everything is possible. A man without knowledge, a world in darkness. Understanding, and will, they are the eyes and the hands; without courage the mind is dead.

A man at his best. You are not so born: strive daily to develop yourself in your person, in your calling, until perfection is attained: the fullness of your every gift, of your every faculty. You will know it in the improvement of your test, in the clarification of your thinking, in the maturity of your judgment, in the control of your will. Some never attain the perfect, something always lacking, and others are late in coming to themselves. The man complete, wise in speech, wise in action, is admitted, yea, he is welcomed into that rare fellowship of those who understand.

Knowledge with good intent. They assure the happy issue of every undertaking. Good endowment joined to bad purpose has always yielded a monster. Evil intent is the venom in every capacity and, supported by knowledge, a poison more subtle; an unholy sovereignty, that which devotes itself to destruction! Science without conscience, compounded madness!

Baltasar Gracian - The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Posted by amin at 11:48 PM

February 23, 2008

where death is afraid to go

Let us go to a realm beyond going,
Where death is afraid to go,
Where the high-flying birds alight and play,
Afloat in the full lake of love.
There they gather-the good, the true-
To strengthen an inner regimen,
To focus on the dark form of the Lord
And refine their minds like fire.

Mirambaiki Padavali

Posted by amin at 6:09 PM

February 21, 2008

right and might

Equality of possessions is no doubt right, but, as men could not make might obey right, they have made right obey might. As they could not fortify justice they have justified force, so that right and might live together and peace reigns, the sovereign good.

If it had been possible, men would have put might into the hands of right, but we cannot handle might as we like, since it is a palpable quality, whereas right is a spiritual quality which we manipulate at will, and so right has been put into the hands of might.
Thus the name of right goes to the dictates of might.
Hence the right of sword, because the sword confers a genuine right.

It is right to follow the right, it is necessary to follow the mighty.
Right without might is helpless, might without right is tyrannical.
Right without might is challenged, because there are always evil men about. Might without right is denounced. We must therefore combine right and might, and to that end make right into might or might into right.
Right is open to dispute, might is easily recognized and beyond dispute. Therefore right could not be made mighty because might challenged right, calling it unjust and itself claiming to be just.
Being thus unable to make right into might, we have made might into right.

Pascal - Pensees

Posted by amin at 8:33 PM

February 17, 2008

the most urgent of questions

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundemental question of philosophy. All the rest-whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twele catagories-comes afterwards.

I have never seen anyone die for the ontological argument. Galileo, who held a scientific truth of great importance, adjured it with the greatest ease as soon as it endangered his life. In a certain sense, he did right. The truth was not worth the risk. Whether the earth or the sun revolves around the other is a matter of profound inddiference. To tell the truth, it is a futile question. On the other hand, I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting killed for the ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying). I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.

Camus - The Myth of Sisyphus

Posted by amin at 6:23 PM

February 13, 2008

what shall i do?

As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place, where was a den; and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and as I slept I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, ‘What shall I do?’

John Bunyan - The Pilgrim's Progress

Posted by amin at 10:37 PM

February 10, 2008


We always knew that hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.

Barack Obama

Posted by amin at 1:36 PM

February 8, 2008

the wanderer

I come down from the mountains
The valley dims, the sea roars.
I wander silently and am somewhat unhappy.
And my sighs always ask "where?"

The sun seems so cold to me here,
The flowers faded, the life old,
And what they say has an empty sound;
I am a stranger everywhere.

Where are you, my dear land?
Sought and brought to mind, yet never known,
That land, so hopefully green,
That land where my roses bloom.

Where my friends wander
Where my dead ones rise from the dead.
That land where they speak my language,
Oh land, where are you?

I wander silently and am somewhat unhappy,
And my sighs always ask "where?"
In a ghostly breath it calls back to me,
"There, where you are not, there is your happiness."

George Philip Schmidt

Posted by amin at 9:44 PM