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Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression;
in order that every man present his views without penalty
there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.
Albert Einstein

I’m not like you. We come from different places, we tell different stories, our humour is different, as is our spelling. We don’t look the same, smell the same, believe the same things or even eat the same meals. We’re different. Now what?

That question never goes away. The above litany is always true. It’s true, no matter who we are, where we live or who we work/play with. It’s true, regardless who we compare ourselves to. We’re different. So?

The differences in skin colour, looks, interests, wealth, intelligence, politics and religion, and so on and so on… ad nauseam, are easily used to build barriers. Anyone can do it. No education or skill required. The more ignorance, the better. Obstacles and barriers, chasms and canyons, created while we wait in growing fear.

To revel in diversity requires effort. The recipe is simple. Take one part education and mix thoroughly  with another part humour. Simmer slowly, don’t allow to boil… and tolerance rises.

When confronted face to face, if we blink… we lose, when we wink… we win.

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Most ignorance is vincible ignorance:
we don’t know because we don’t want to know.
Aldous Huxley

In all human endeavors there lie risks we don’t want to explore, flaws we’d rather ignore, and conflicts we’d rather avoid. We choose the comfort of deliberate ignorance over the insecurity of uncertain knowledge.

We are all incredibly good at stepping around the things we mustn’t discuss. Irrational actions rule supreme in the face of topics smeared with the taint of taboo.

The solution of course, is to take those lonely and invisible 800 lb gorilla problems and place them in the middle of the table. Shave them naked and paint them a glorious glowing neon pink. Make it so that we’d have to be blind to ignore their presence.

Problems grow stronger in the shade of solitary confinement. They shrivel to a fraction of their size when exposed to those dedicated to finding solutions.

Problems by definition ‘need fixing’… actions that result in conspiracies of deliberate avoidance are counter to intelligence.

From a reluctance to tell a friend they have bad breath, to the corporate wide ‘decision’ to ignore unethical policies… problems gain strength from silence.

The unacknowledged problem is forever unsolvable.

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It better befits a man
to laugh at life,
than to lament over it.
Seneca

Lamentation and grief soon come easy in a world offering ample opportunity for practice. They can, if we let them, become the pre-packaged response to a world that doesn’t seem to care.

The worst tragedies of today, become the rarely told stories of tomorrow… if they are remembered at all. The individual tears, once so painful, are lost in the flood of repetition. Only laughter, defiance and survival in the face of the worst, become the tales we find worth telling.

Once we shed those mandatory tears to cover a tragic loss, there’s a strength acquired by the very act of putting them aside and stepping back onto the path of life. The weight of a grief no longer there, is too heavy to carry for a lifetime.

Truth is, neither tears nor laughter can change what is… except that laughter lifts us higher up, and grief drags us further down.

Every setback, resets the game. Our opponent is blind fate and chance. Our strengths are tenacity and determination. Cut the cards, dry the tears… the game’s afoot.

The really irony is, if we weren’t here, there’d be no need for grief.

Tears are our proof of existence. Our tears are the evidence of their passing. We cry… therefore we are.

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He who has never hoped
can never despair.
George Bernard Shaw

To speak frankly of hope, to one who has never had the need of it, is to utter sounds devoid of meaning. Hope is an enigma, beyond understanding, until experienced.

To speak frankly of hope, to one currently clinging to it for life and sustenance, is to commit an act of profanity and sacrilege. Hope is our final defense against despair. If it is to be taken down, let the one who raised it, be the one to lower it.

To speak frankly of hope, to one who has passed through its grip, is to share compassion beyond the power of mere words. Hope is a thin thread we hold in common. At the darkest hour, it raises us up, until either it breaks, or by chance, we achieve our heart’s desire and require it no longer.

To speak frankly of hope, is to admit that when reason and rationality tell us there is no hope, that is when hope is strongest, and needed most. Hope doesn’t guarantee success, it merely gives us time for fate to run its course.

Hope marks time while fate catches up.

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What makes enemies of people,
if not the eagerness,
the passion for the same thing.
Bernard Berenson

We are drawn asunder and pulled together by the things we both hold dear. Peace and security, a land to live upon and to rest in peace beneath, these are our common hopes and dreams.

We’re divided by memories of injustices long past. In sacred remembrance we create new memorials to fuel the future feud of children aged before their time. A plague of amnesia would allow us to start afresh. A divine gift of tabula rasa for those as yet unborn.

Our justice is swift for we live in the land of the fair. We demand an eye for an eye, until we crawl on all fours in the land of the blind.

We rightfully give praise to those who fall in the clash of arms, yet the solutions must lie beyond the battle circle. When we no longer care who lives or dies, then death can no longer threaten the living.

Conflict can reach the point where the solution is either genocide or compromise. Civilized thought enables one and denies the other.

The lands we fight over are more pleasant if stood upon, than lain beneath.

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My father considered a walk
among the mountains
as the equivalent of churchgoing.
Aldous Huxley

Our concerns pale under the gaze of silent crags. It’s not the height of the towering stones, but their permanence that sits in silent judgment. Nature never makes us feel small, it can only make us aware of who we are.

Much of our life is based on the reflections others have of us. Alone in the mountains those reflections are stripped to the honesty of echoes.

Sans judgment or interpretations, we hear back only what we project. If we speak falsehoods, we hear them back and cringe.

Why walk wrapped in ego or pretense when even the issues of life and death fail to impress what was there before, and will remain long after?

When the peaks are unimpressed by the disguises we wear before others, we revert, in defense, to our inner truths.

The indifference of Nature sentences us to a peculiar form of solitary confinement. We realize then, the company we keep is of our own design and choosing.

It’s impossible to hide behind a mask in solitude.

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The goal for some is fat bank accounts, high status and fame – these ring false for me.
So how do I measure a successful walk of the path from cradle to the grave?

To finish the walk from entry to exit with no regrets.

To have those you leave behind think fondly of your passing.
(more…)

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