Archive for September, 2007

The man who would be Führer

“The possession of unlimited power will make a despot of almost any man. There is a possible Nero in the gentlest human creature that walks.”
Thomas Bailey Aldrich, “Leaves from a Notebook,” 1903
“We thought, because we had power, we had wisdom.”
Stephen Vincent Benet, “Litany for Dictatorships,” 1935
Since this blog is intentionally low tech, […]

“Zen wants absolute freedom, even from God.”
D.T. Suzuki
“Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and device that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation. Tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster […]

“O Jerusalem of gold, of brass and of light,
For all your songs
I will be your harp.”
Traditional Hebrew song
Dear Mahmoud:
You are causing much unnecessary grief with your calls for Israel’s elimination. Give it a rest. It’s not going to happen, and it should not.
To explain why, I need to give you a short course […]

Manager, in samurai gear, to employees: “The Protestant work ethic isn’t cutting it, so we’re switching to Shinto.”
“Justice, justice shall you pursue.”
Deuteronomy 16:20
I just read a Wall Street Journal review of the book How Starbucks Changed My Life. At first I thought that either the review or the book — or […]

“As to the book called the Bible, it is blasphemy to call it the word of God. It is a book of lies and contradictions, and a history of bad times and bad men. There are but a few good characters in the whole book.”
Thomas Paine
“The Bible, itself the ultimate curse, is an […]

“Albert Camus taught that every human being has responsibility for all humanity. We are our brother’s keeper, and we atone for his sins as if they were our own. The Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Hasidic movement, said: ‘If a man has beheld evil, you may know that it was shown […]

“THEOLOGY—An effort to explain the unknowable by putting it into terms not worth knowing.”
H.L. Mencken
Here is a message I received via e-mail from a valued friend and colleague –and fellow musician:
“Here’s something I wound up telling someone the other day. I’m an atheist, and I have no trouble with the presumed spiritual ‘loss’ that […]

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Abraham Lincoln
“War [is] like children’s fights — all meaningless, pitiless, and contemptible.”
Jallaludin Rumi
Two hundred and thirty-one years ago, a group of courageous British colonials put their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor” on the line. They risked everything to create a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to […]

Reply to Osama: No, YOU convert!

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.”
Gertrude Stein
I just heard that Osama bin Laden, that most reclusive of media stars, has made a new video, again […]

“Where you are wanted,
Go a little.
Where you are not wanted,
Don’t go at all.”
Jacob Perlman
I have in other writings discussed the deliberate or perhaps even inadvertent omission of the secular humanist viewpoint from the mass media. In every newspaper or TV story about religion, the beliefs are regarded as valid and taken seriously and no […]

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