tradition

If a man has a *right* to marry, some woman must have the duty of marrying him; if a man has a *right* to rest, some other person must have the duty of supporting him. If rights are confused thus with desires, the mass of men must feel always that some vast, intangible conspiracy thwarts their attainment of what they are told is their inalienable birthright.

What kind of God is it who's upset by a cartoon in Danish?

When you live with the Devil you learn there's a God very quickly.

I want to argue that the ‘sudden’ appearance of species in the fossil record and our failure to note subsequent evolutionary change within them is the proper prediction of evolutionary theory as we understand it. Evolution usually proceeds by ‘speciation’—the splitting of one lineage from a parental stock—not by the slow and steady transformation of these large parental stocks. Repeated episodes of speciation produce a bush. Evolutionary ‘sequences’ are not rungs on a ladder, but our retrospective reconstruction of a circuitous path running like a labyrinth, branch to branch, from the base of the bush to a lineage now surviving at its top. How does speciation occur? This is a perennial hot topic in evolutionary theory, but most biologist would subscribe to the ‘allopatric theory’ (the debate centers on the admissibility of other modes; nearly everyone agrees that allopatric speciation is the most common mode). Allopatric means ‘in another place.’ In the allopatric theory, popularized by Ernst Mayr, new species arise in in very small populations that become isolated from their parental group at the periphery of the ancestral range. Speciation in these small isolates is very rapid by evolutionary standards—hundreds or thousands of years (a geological microsecond). Major evolutionary change may occur in these small isolated populations. Favorable genetic variation can quickly spread through them. Moreover, natural selection tends to be intense in geographically marginal areas where the species barely maintains a foothold. In large central populations, on the other hand, favorable variations spread very slowly, and most change is steadfastly resisted by the well-adapted population. Small changes occur to meet the requirements of slowly altering climates, but major genetic reorganizations almost always take place in the small, peripherally isolated populations that form new species.

In the history of science we have discovered a sequence of better and better theories or models, from Plato to the classical theory of Newton to modern quantum theories. It is natural to ask: Will this sequence eventually reach an end point, an ultimate theory of the universe, that will include all forces and predict every observation we can make, or will we continue forever finding better theories, but never one that cannot be improved upon?

Only a humanity to whom death has become as indifferent as its members, that has itself died, can inflict it administratively on innumerable people.

I am breathing in and liberating my mind. I am breathing out and liberating my mind. One practices like this.

The elective franchise, if guarded as the ark of our safety, will peaceably dissipate all combinations to subvert a Constitution, dictated by the wisdom, and resting on the will of the people.

In all His acts God orders all things, whether good or evil, for the good of those who know Him and seek Him and who strive to bring their own freedom under obedience to His divine purpose. All that is done by the will of God in secret is done for His glory and for the good of those whom He has chosen to share in His glory.

True sanctity does not consist in trying to live without creatures. It consists in using the goods of life in order to do the will of God. It consists in using God’s creation in such a way that everything we touch and see and use and love gives new glory to God. To be a saint means to pass through the world gathering fruits for heaven from every tree and reaping God’s glory in every field. The saint is one who is in contact with God in every possible way, in every possible direction. He is united to God by the depths of his own being. He sees and touches God in everything and everyone around him. Everywhere he goes, the world rings and resounds (though silently) with the deep harmonies of God’s glory.

Muslims will allow attacks on Allah: there are atheists and atheistic publications and rationalistic societies, but to disparage Muhammad will provoke from even the most liberal sections of the community a fanaticism of blazing vehemence.

Song of the Sinless Soul -

‘Come forth, O Vala! from the grass and from the silent dew;
Rise from the dews of death, for the Eternal Man is risen!’

She rises among flowers and looks toward the eastern clearness;
She walks, yea runs—her feet are wing’d—on the tops of the bending grass;
Her garments rejoice in the vocal wind, and her hair glistens with dew.

She answer’d thus: ‘Whose voice is this in the voice of the nourishing air,
In the spirit of the morning, awaking the Soul from its grassy bed?
Where dost thou dwell? for it is thee I seek, and but for thee
I must have slept eternally, nor have felt the dew of thy morning.
Look how the opening dawn advances with vocal harmony!
Look how the beams foreshow the rising of some glorious power!
The Sun is thine; he goeth forth in his majestic brightness.
O thou creating voice that callest! and who shall answer thee?

‘Where dost thou flee, O Fair One! where dost thou seek thy happy place?
To yonder brightness? There I haste, for sure I came from thence;
Or I must have slept eternally, nor have felt the dew of morning.’

‘Eternally thou must have slept, nor have felt the morning dew,
But for yon nourishing Sun: ’tis that by which thou art arisen.
The birds adore the Sun; the beasts rise up and play in his beams,
And every flower and every leaf rejoices in his light.
Then, O thou Fair One, sit thee down, for thou art as the grass,
Thou risest in the dew of morning, and at night art folded up.’

‘Alas! am I but as a flower? Then will I sit me down;
Then will I weep; then I’ll complain, and sigh for immortality,
And chide my maker, thee O Sun, that raisedst me to fall.’

So saying she sat down and wept beneath the apple-trees.

‘O! be thou blotted out, thou Sun, that raisedst me to trouble,
That gavest me a heart to crave, and raisedst me, thy phantom,
To feel thy heart, and see thy light, and wander here alone,
Hopeless, if I am like the grass, and so shall pass away.’

‘Rise, sluggish Soul! Why sitt’st thou here? why dost thou sit and weep?
Yon Sun shall wax old and decay, but thou shalt ever flourish.
The fruit shall ripen and fall down, and the flowers consume away,
But thou shalt still survive. Arise! O dry thy dewy tears!’

‘Ha! shall I still survive? Whence came that sweet and comforting voice,
And whence that voice of sorrow? O Sun! thou art nothing now to me:
Go on thy course rejoicing, and let us both rejoice together!
I walk among His flocks and hear the bleating of His lambs.
O! that I could behold His face and follow His pure feet!
I walk by the footsteps of His flocks. Come hither, tender flocks!
Can you converse with a pure Soul that seeketh for her Maker?
You answer not: then am I set your mistress in this garden.
I’ll watch you and attend your footsteps. You are not like the birds
That sing and fly in the bright air; but you do lick my feet,
And let me touch your woolly backs: follow me as I sing;
For in my bosom a new Song arises to my Lord:
‘Rise up, O Sun! most glorious minister and light of day!
Flow on, ye gentle airs, and bear the voice of my rejoicing!
Wave freshly, clear waters, flowing around the tender grass;
And thou, sweet-smelling ground, put forth thy life in fruit and flowers!
Follow me, O my flocks, and hear me sing my rapturous song!
I will cause my voice to be heard on the clouds that glitter in the sun.
I will call, and who shall answer me? I shall sing; who shall reply?
For, from my pleasant hills, behold the living, living springs,
Running among my green pastures, delighting among my trees!
I am not here alone: my flocks, you are my brethren;
And you birds, that sing and adorn the sky, you are my sisters.
I sing, and you reply to my song; I rejoice, and you are glad.
Follow me, O my flocks! we will now descend into the valley.
O, how delicious are the grapes, flourishing in the sun!
How clear the spring of the rock, running among the golden sand!
How cool the breezes of the valley! And the arms of the branching trees
Cover us from the sun: come and let us sit in the shade.
My Luvah here hath plac’d me in a sweet and pleasant land,
And given me fruits and pleasant waters, and warm hills and cool valleys.
Here will I build myself a house, and here I’ll call on His name;
Here I’ll return, when I am weary, and take my pleasant rest.’

The angel that presided o'er my birth said `little creature, formed of joy and mirth, go, love without the help of anything on earth.'

Though taste, though genius be to some divine excess, faint's the cold work till thou inspire the whole; what each, what all supply, may court, may charm our eye, thou, only thou, canst raise the meeting soul!

As we search for a less extractive and polluting economic order, so that we may fit agriculture into the economy of a sustainable culture, community becomes the locus and metaphor for both agriculture and culture.

Observing this years ago I formulated a question? Is it possible to build an agriculture based on the prairie as standard or model? I saw a sharp contrast between the major features of the wheat field and the major features of the prairie. The wheat field features annuals in monoculture; the prairie features perennials in polyculture, or mixtures. Because all of our high-yielding crops are annuals or are treated as such, crucial questions must be answered. Can perennialism and high yield go together? If so, can a polyculture of perennials outyield a monoculture of perennials? Can such an ecosystem sponsor its own fertility? Is it realistic to think we can manage such complexity adequately to avoid the problem of pests outcompeting us?

The capacity to utilize religious claims for the sake of political expansionism is a hallmark of empire.

The move from economic exploitation to policies that are grounded in fear seems deliberately designed to produce suffering. Finally, as every exploitative system eventually learns, the exploitation rooted in fear reaches its limit of unbearable suffering.

The prophet speaks these words in direct contradiction to the facts on the ground. It is the work of poets to contradict the facts on the ground and to invite the listeners to embrace an alternative future.

Those who are living in anxiety and fear, most especially fear of scarcity, have no time or energy for the common good. Anxiety is no adequate basis for the common good; anxiety will cause the formulation of policy and of exploitative practices that are inimical to the common good, a systemic greediness that precludes the common good.