disciplines

In the past few decades American institutions have struggled with the temptations of politics. Professions and academic disciplines that once possessed a life and structure of their own have steadily succumbed, in some cases almost entirely, to the belief that nothing matters beyond politically desirable results, however achieved.

The principle of self-interest rightly understood produces no great acts of self-sacrificed, but it suggest daily small acts of self-denial. By itself it cannot suffice to make a man virtuous; but it disciplines a number of person sin habits of regularity, temperance, moderation, foresight, self-command; and if it does not lead men straight to virtue by the will, it gradually draws them in that direction by their habits. If the principle of interest rightly understood were to sway the whole moral world, extraordinary virtues would doubtless be more rare; but I think that gross depravity would then also be less common. The principle of interest rightly understood perhaps prevents men from rising far above the level of mankind, but a great number of other men, who were falling far below it, are caught and restrained by it.

The principle of self-interest rightly understood produces no great acts of self-sacrifice, but it suggests daily small acts of self-denial. By itself it cannot suffice to make a an virtuous; but it disciplines a number of persons in habits of regularity, temperance, moderation, foresight, self-command; and, if it does not lead men straight to virtue by the will, it gradually draws them in that direction by their habits. Observe some few individuals, they are lowered by it; survey mankind, it is raised.

When you lead your sons and daughters in the good way, let your words be tender and caressing, in terms of disciplines that win the heart's assent.

Scientists look for four qualities in theory generally… parsimony: the fewer the units and process used to account for the phenomenon, the better… second, generality: the greater the range of phenomena covered by the model, the more likely it is to be true… Consilence: units and process of a discipline that conform with solidly verified knowledge in other disciplines have proven consistently superior in theory and practice to units and processes that do not conform… Predictiveness: those theories endure that are precise in the predictions they make across phenomena and whose predictions are easiest to test by observation and experiment.

If our freedom means ease alone, if it means shirking the hard disciplines of learning, if it means evading the rigors and rewards of creative activity, if it means more expenditure on advertising than education, if it means in the schools the steady cult of the trivial and the mediocre, if it means - worst of all - indifference, or even contempt for all but athletic excellence, we may keep for a time the forms of free society, but its spirit will be dead.

If our freedom means ease alone, if it means shirking the hard disciplines of learning, if it means evading the rigors and rewards of creative activity, if it means more expenditure on advertising than education, if it means in the schools the steady cult of the trivial and the mediocre, if it means - worst of all - indifference, or even contempt for all but athletic excellence, we may keep for a time the forms of free society, but its spirit will be dead.

If our freedom means ease alone, if it means shirking the hard disciplines of learning, if it means evading the rigors and rewards of creative activity, if it means more expenditure on advertising than education, if it means in the schools the steady cult of the trivial and the mediocre, if it means - worst of all - indifference, or even contempt for all but athletic excellence, we may keep for a time the forms of free society, but its spirit will be dead.

The essential aim of all disciplines is to free us from the bonds of egoism so that Infinite Life may be unimpeded as it flows through us.

Only when his heart becomes purified through the practice of spiritual disciplines does man attain to wisdom. He then becomes convinced of the existence of God through realizing Him in his own soul. There is, however, something greater than this attainment. To become convinced that fire hides hidden in the wood is one thing, but greater is it to light the fire, cook food, and satisfy one’s hunger.

Wants awaken intellect. To gratify them disciplines intellect. The keener the want the lustier the growth.

The principle of self-interest rightly understood produces no great acts of self-sacrificed, but it suggest daily small acts of self-denial. By itself it cannot suffice to make a man virtuous; but it disciplines a number of person sin habits of regularity, temperance, moderation, foresight, self-command; and if it does not lead men straight to virtue by the will, it gradually draws them in that direction by their habits. If the principle of interest rightly understood were to sway the whole moral world, extraordinary virtues would doubtless be more rare; but I think that gross depravity would then also be less common. The principle of interest rightly understood perhaps prevents men from rising far above the level of mankind, but a great number of other men, who were falling far below it, are caught and restrained by it.

Biology occupies a position among the sciences both marginal and central. Marginal because, the living world, constituting only a tiny and very 'special' part of the universe, it does not seem likely that the study of living beings will ever uncover general laws applicable outside the biosphere. But if the ultimate aim of the whole of science is indeed, as I believe, to clarify man's relationship to the universe, then biology must be accorded a central position, since of all the disciplines it is the one that endeavours to go most directly to the heart of the problems that must be resolved before that of 'human nature' can even be framed in other than metaphysical terms.

I see great hope as a step along the road to truth and at the same time as confirmation that even a minimal loosening up of child-rearing principles by enabling at least our writers to become aware. That the academic disciplines must lag behind is an unfortunate but well-known fact.

Just as you practice much in order to sing, dance, and play on instruments, so one should practice the art of fixing the mind on God. One should practice regularly such disciplines as worship, japa, and meditation.

Only when his heart becomes purified through the practice of spiritual disciplines does man attain to wisdom. He then becomes convinced of the existence of God through realizing Him in his own soul. There is, however, something greater than this attainment. To become convinced that fire hides hidden in the wood is one thing, but greater is it to light the fire, cook food, and satisfy one’s hunger.

What are the spiritual disciplines that give the mind its upward direction? One learns all this by constantly living in holy company. The rishis of olden times lived either in solitude or in the company of holy persons; therefore they could easily renounce 'woman and gold' and 'fix their minds on God. They had no fear nor did they mind the criticism of others.

The disciplines of prayer, silence, and contemplation as practiced by the monastics and mystics are precisely that

The evocation of an alternative reality consists at least in part in the battle for language and the legitimization of a new rhetoric. The language of empire is surely the language of managed reality, of production and schedule and market. But that language will never permit or cause freedom because there is no newness in it. Doxology is the ultimate challenge to the language of managed reality and it alone is the universe of discourse in which energy is possible.

The seeing of Truth cannot be dualistic (a ‘thing’ seen). It cannot be seen by a see-er, or via a see-er. There can only be a seeing which itself is Truth.