Friday, October 31, 2003

The Blind Men and the Elephant

The most common translation found is by American poet John Godfrey
Saxe (1816-1887) - he based the following poem on a fable which was
told in India many many years ago.....

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, "Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
" `Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the
rest of the world.
-John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)

Monday, October 27, 2003

Many people reach their conclusions about life like lazy school children. They copy the answers from the back of the book without troubling to work out the sum for themselves.
-- Soren Kierkegaard

Sunday, October 26, 2003

"The young dead soldiers do not speak.

Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses: who has not heard

They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock

They say: We were young. We have died. Remember us.

They say: We have done what we could but until it is finished it is
not done.

They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can
know what our lives gave.

They say: Our deaths are not ours; they are yours; they will mean
what you make them.

They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new
hope or for nothing we cannot say; it is you who must say this.

They say: We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.

We were young, they say. We have died. Remember us."

Archibald Macleish...

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Albert C. Niles, a UU minister has written,
"Worship is the human mind comtemplating the wonders of the universe,
and being not afraid. Standing somewhere within a galaxy of stars we
ask questions, some to be answered, some only to be asked. Those which
lead to truth meld into knowledge, and through our knowing worship
becomes enlightened.
Yet always, and always, there remains more mystery to explore, more to
be discovered than understood. All this gives substance for worship,
and in our outpouring of adoration we hold in reverence even that which
may never be part of our understanding."

Thursday, October 23, 2003

When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
`Beauty is truth, truth beauty, -- that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

We stop. We pause. We pay attention. We center ourselves.
We free ourselves from the compulsion of projects to finish, work to be
done, things to accomplish.
We leave ourselves alone for a time.
We journey deep down into that quiet center where no voice is heard.
We live for a brief time on an island of peace.
We apprehend the world from a quiet center.
Here is the center of the world.
In this instant are centered the whirling orbs, the movements of earth
In this fragile moment of time is he culmination of all that has been
the promise of all that shall be.
Here in our grasp, in this moment is the center of the world.

From the Rev. Richard S. Gilbert

Monday, October 13, 2003

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.
-- D. Elton Trueblood

Sunday, October 12, 2003

The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.
-- Mark Twain

As a starting point let us take the idea that this life
should be experienced deeply, lived fully, with sensitive
awareness and appreciation of that which is around us.
Lloyd and Mary Morain

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Look wise, say nothing, and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought.
-- Sir William Osler

Monday, October 06, 2003

"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked
The same well from which your laughter rises
was often times filled with your tears.
And how else could it be ?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,
the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup
that was burned in the potters oven ?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit,
the very wood that was hallowed with knives ?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find
it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart and you shall see
that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your

-Kahil Gibran

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Joseph Campbell said: That if
you get stuck on the local inflection of a religious idea (like Yehweh, the
Christian god with white beard, the Dancing Shiva, fat Buddha, etc),
that you have missed the whole point......that the idea of god is ineffable and
transcendent of anything you can name or describe. To "worship" the
local inflection is idolatrous.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

"What a stupendous, what an incomprensible machine is man!
Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment & death itself in
vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment....inflict on his
fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery
than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose"

Thomas Jefferson to Jean Nicholas Demeunier , Jan 24th. 1786.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has
merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.
-- Albert Einstein

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