Friday, August 09, 2013

Weekly Quotes

Even if the pain and suffering on Earth serve some divine purpose or cosmic good, it’s not a purpose or good that I wish to serve during my brief stay on this planet.  An all-knowing God would know better.  An all-powerful God would act better.  Contrary to the testimony of the Bible, the evidence abounds that God is neither all-knowing nor all-powerful.  (42)

We don’t yet know enough about the book of nature to know what we don’t know.  (53)

You and I each have before us a unique collection of materials—the circumstances of our birth, our talents, our past relationships, the skills we have developed, and the mistakes we have made.  Within the limits imposed by those materials, we are free to build the future in whatever way we choose.  We live at the intersection of prologue and possibility.  (60)

[R]eligious faith and practice at their best can help liberate us from the limitations of the past and help us construct a more promising future.  Religion is about transformation—about making good on our desire to become better people and make our world a better place.  (61)

The history of God is the history of the roles human beings needed a god to play in order to bring coherence to human history and human life.  (69)

The true system, the real system, is our present construction of a systematic thought itself, rationality itself and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory.  If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government.  There’s so much talk about the system.  And so little understanding.   (88)

Sometimes it’s a little better to travel than to arrive.  (103)

He felt that institutions such as schools, churches, governments and political organizations of every sort all tended to direct thought for ends other than truth, for the perpetuation of their own functions, and for the control of individuals in the service of these functions.  (106)

The range of human knowledge today is so great that we’re all specialists and the distance between specializations has become so great that anyone who seeks to wander freely among them almost has to forego closeness with the people around him.  (121)

He became aware that the doctrinal differences among Hinduism and Buddhism and Taoism are not anywhere near as important as doctrinal differences among Christianity and Islam and Judaism.  Holy wars are not fought over them because verbalized statements about reality are never presumed to be reality itself.  (126)

Resistance . . . told me I shouldn’t seek to instruct, or put myself forward as a purveyor of wisdom; that this was vain, egotistical, possibly even corrupt, and that it would work harm in the end.  That scared me.  It made a lot of sense.  (30)

The fundamentalist (or, more accurately, the beleaguered individual who comes to embrace fundamentalism) cannot stand freedom.  He cannot find his way into the future, so he retreats to the past.  He returns in imagination to the glory days of his race and seeks to reconstitute both them and himself in their purer, more virtuous light.  He gets back to basics.  To fundamentals.  (35)
Self-doubt can be an ally.  This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration.  It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it.  If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer?  Am I really an artist?” chances are you are.  
The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident.  The real one is scared to death.(39)
Remember our rule of thumb:  The more scared we are of  work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.  (40)

The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.  (42)

Gifts of Gratitude

Quoting Buckminster Fuller:  When I got myself out of the way, people started listening.”  (67)

What if this is heaven, and we can’t accept it?  (87)

Time slips by when you are not the one dying.  (101)

Occupying Wall Street won’t be effective unless we first occupy our own souls. (158)

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Death, Diagnosis of Cancer, Domicile Issues, and Dental Appointments

Bubbles with PopPop (aka Rob).
You can see him standing in the shade
of our fig tree.
Life happens and this is a week where life happened to some of the people we love. 

Of the least significance, Rob and I had a back-to-back dental appointment on Wednesday.  However, for whatever reason, when I made the appointment the woman who made it didn’t bother to check where we typically go for our dental appointments and I was not aware that they have more than one office.  So imagine our surprise when Rob and I sat there for an hour wondering when/if the office would open and . . .

Bibi spilled something on her dress
so I put her in a t-shirt her daddy
left here when he moved out.
We were fortunate enough to reschedule for Friday and went in for our teeth cleanings.  When did they become so painful?  I don’t remember teeth cleaning being painful.  Even Rob, who has had tattoos and piercings and never ever complained about the pain, said he wanted to hit the dental hygienist.  Both of us were experiencing pain the next day. 

And I have to get a tooth extraction.  If the least painful thing was so hurtful, I can only imagine what’s to come.  I hate going to see a dentist.

But that is truly the least significant experience of the week.

As the blog post title suggests there were other things.  My daughter’s friend’s mother died in a freak accident.  My daughter says that the mother was an awesome woman and, having met the daughter, I do not find this surprising. 

While Bibi was here,
a Cooper's Hawk lingered
on the corner of our shed.
I prefer not to write about the accident.  It reminded me of a television show I find morally offensive, even vulgar, called 1000 Ways to Die.  I suppose such things are entertaining to some but I cannot help but think about the family members of those people who are featured and it all makes me sick. 

Later in the week, Rob received a call from his brother.  Their dog, a family member for over a decade, has cancer.  It’s gone too far, inoperable, and now my in-laws have to make a decision, one that Rob and I were thankfully spared.  Of course, this knowledge stirred up a lot of emotions for both of us and we know how painfulsuch a loss can be.

The week ended with both of my sons announcing a need to relocate.  One said his rent would be increasing exponentially so he was looking for a new place to live.  The other found out the hard way—his rented home has been put up for sale. 

And apparently chipmunks can
climb fig trees.
Not the best way to find out that you need to move and the landlords still haven’t said anything to anyone that they are planning on selling the house so it can only be assumed that the plan is to blindside them all.

So life happens and the week was spent trying to be present for those we love.  Rob for his brother.  Me for my children.  We did have some fun with Bibi this week, with plans to have more soon.  In fact, we will see her tomorrow.  And I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but lately my life has been alliterative.  I’m not sure how long I can keep this up so please try not to be too disappointed if next week or sometime thereafter you find my not being clever with my blog post titles.  There’s only so much I can do.  

We hardly ever take Bibi out for fast food
but we took her to Burger King where their
ice cream maker was not working.
Bibi has been commenting on the empty fish tank
Rob has in the living room so, during her visit,
she helped him clean out the tank and, on Saturday,
he bought some fish for the tank.
Bibi is going to be so surprised!