Monday, February 26, 2007

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless,whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?
--Mahatma Gandhi , "Non-Violence in Peace and War"

Saturday, February 17, 2007

An invasion of armies can be resisted. But not an idea whose time has come.
-- Victor Hugo

Friday, February 16, 2007

Being on the tightrope is living; everything else is waiting.
-- Karl Wallenda

Thursday, February 15, 2007

We must finally be permitted to leave all questions about morality and utility out of sight. The chief and indeed the sole object which concerned us in these researches is truth. Nature exists neither for religion, for morality, nor for human beings; but it exists for itself. What else can we do but take it as it is? Would it not be ridiculous in us to cry like little children because our bread is not sufficiently buttered?

- Ludwig Büchner, Force and Matter: Empirico-Philosophical Studies Intelligibly Rendered, trans. J. F. Collingwood, (London, 1870), passim.

Science has gradually taken all the positions of the childish belief of the peoples; it has snatched thunder and lightning from the hands of the gods; the eclipse of the stars, and the stupendous powers of the Titans of the olden time, have been grasped by the fingers of man. That which appeared inexplicable, miraculous, and the work of a supernatural power, has, by the torch of science, proved to be the effect of hitherto unknown natural forces. The power of spirits and gods dissolved in the hands of science. Superstition declined among cultivated nations, and knowledge took its place. We have the fullest right, and are scientifically correct, in asserting there is no such thing as a miracle; everything that happens does so in a natural way---i.e., in a mode determined only by accidental or necessary coalition of existing materials and their immanent natural forces. No revolution on earth or in heaven, however stupendous, could occur in any other manner.


A man and his wife are having a Valentine's dinner at a table in a plush restaurant and the husband keeps staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sits alone at a nearby table. The wife asks, "Do you know her?" "Yes," sighs the husband. "She's my ex-girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up seven years ago and I hear she hasn't been sober since." "My God!" says the wife. "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long"?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

"Do we not therefore perceive that by the action of the laws of organization . . . nature has in favorable times, places, and climates multiplied her first germs of animality, given place to developments of their organizations, . . . and increased and diversified their organs? Then. . . aided by much time and by a slow but constant diversity of circumstances, she has gradually brought about in this respect the state of things which we now observe. How grand is this consideration, and especially how remote is it from all that is generally thought on this subject!"

Text of a lecture given by Lamarck at the Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, May 1803

Buffon, observed, "We have monuments taken from the bosom of the Earth, especially from the bottom of coal and slate mines, that demonstrate to us that some of the fish and plants that these materials contain do not belong to species currently existing."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Voltaire said, "Newton taught men to examine, weigh, calculate and measure, but never to conjecture ... He saw, and made people see; but he didn't put his fancies in place of truth."


Monday, February 05, 2007

Singing the Living Tradition, #658:
"To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.To reach out for another is to risk exposing our true self.To place our ideas -- our dreams -- before the crowd is to risk loss.To love is to risk not being loved in return.To hope is to risk despair.To try is to risk failure.To live is to risk dying."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

"I think I could turn and live awhile with the animals....
they are so placid and self -contained,
I stand and look at them sometimes half the day long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied ....not one is demented with the
mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another nor to his kind that lived
thousands of years ago,
Not one of them is respectable or industrious over the whole earth."

- Walt Whitman- Leaves of Grass -32- 1855

Thursday, February 01, 2007

And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

-- Abraham Lincoln

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