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Compare 08/19/2015

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
  -
-Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 BCE)

(136:6.4)  Before his baptismal illumination he had lived in perfect submission to the will and guidance of his heavenly Father. He emphatically decided to continue on in just such implicit mortal dependence on the Father's will. He purposed to follow the unnatural course—he decided not to seek self-preservation. He chose to go on pursuing the policy of refusing to defend himself. He formulated his conclusions in the words of Scripture familiar to his human mind: "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." In reaching this conclusion in regard to the appetite of the physical nature as expressed in hunger for food, the Son of Man made his final declaration concerning all other urges of the flesh and the natural impulses of human nature.

    Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist born in the Macedonian city of Stagira, Chalkidice, on the northern periphery of Classical Greece. His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, whereafter Proxenus of Atarneus became his guardian. At eighteen, he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (c. 347 BC). His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government – and constitute the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great starting from 343 BC.According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "Aristotle was the first genuine scientist in history ... [and] every scientist is in his debt."
    Teaching Alexander the Great gave Aristotle many opportunities and an abundance of supplies. He established a library in the Lyceum which aided in the production of many of his hundreds of books. The fact that Aristotle was a pupil of Plato contributed to his former views of Platonism, but, following Plato's death, Aristotle immersed himself in empirical studies and shifted from Platonism to empiricism. He believed all peoples' concepts and all of their knowledge was ultimately based on perception. Aristotle's views on natural sciences represent the groundwork underlying many of his works.
    Aristotle's views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship. Their influence extended into the Renaissance and were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics. Some of Aristotle's zoological observations, such as on the hectocotyl (reproductive) arm of the octopus, were not confirmed or refuted until the 19th century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into modern formal logic.
    In metaphysics, Aristotelianism profoundly influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as "The First Teacher".
    His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle's philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues – Cicero described his literary style as "a river of gold" – it is thought that only around a third of his original output has survived.
    The sum of his work's influence often ranks him among the world's top personalities of all time with the greatest influence, along with his teacher Plato, and his pupil Alexander the Great.

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Compare 08/18/2015

Solitude is a good place to visit, but a poor place to stay.
  --Josh Billings (1818-1885)

(100:5.8) There is great danger associated with the habitual practice of religious daydreaming; mysticism may become a technique of reality avoidance, albeit it has sometimes been a means of genuine spiritual communion. Short seasons of retreat from the busy scenes of life may not be seriously dangerous, but prolonged isolation of personality is most undesirable. Under no circumstances should the trancelike state of visionary consciousness be cultivated as a religious experience.

     Josh Billings, pseudonym of Henry Wheeler Shaw, American humorist whose philosophical comments in plain language were widely popular after the American Civil War through his newspaper pieces, books, and comic lectures. He employed the misspellings, fractured grammar, and hopeless logic then current among comic writers who assumed the role of cracker-barrel philosophers. His special contributions were his rustic aphorisms (“The biggest phool in this world haint bin born yet; thare iz plenty ov time yet”) and his droll delineations of animal life.
    Expelled from Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y., in his second year for removing the clapper from the chapel bell, he drifted about for some years in the West and Midwest before settling in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1858 as an auctioneer and land dealer. He began writing when he was 45, but he became successful only when he adopted the misspelling vogue. His “Essa on the Muel” made him suddenly famous, and after joining the New York Weekly in 1867 he became a national idol. Some of his best work is in a 10-year series of Josh Billings’ Farmer’s Allminax he started in 1869 as a burlesque of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. His other books were hasty collections of his newspaper writings, the most comprehensive being Everybody’s Friend (1874).
 

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Compare 08/17/2015

I like the pluralism of modernity; it doesn't threaten me or my faith. And if one's faith is dependent on being reinforced in every aspect of other people's lives, then it is a rather insecure faith, don't you think?
  -Andrew Sullivan, author and editor (b.1963)

(99:5.7)  Since true religion is a matter of personal spiritual experience, it is inevitable that each individual religionist must have his own and personal interpretation of the realization of that spiritual experience. Let the term "faith" stand for the individual's relation to God rather than for the creedal formulation of what some group of mortals have been able to agree upon as a common religious attitude. "Have you faith? Then have it to yourself."

    Andrew Michael Sullivan is a British-born author, editor and blogger, who has long resided in the United States and has since become a naturalized citizen. A former editor of The New Republic and the author or editor of six books, Sullivan is an influential blogger and commentator. He was a pioneer of the political blog, starting his in 2000. He eventually moved the blog to various publishing platforms, including Time, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast and finally an independent subscription based format. He announced his retirement from blogging in 2015.
    Sullivan's Burkean conservativism is rooted in his British Catholic background and in the political philosophy of his mentor, Michael Oakeshott.
    Born and raised in England, he has lived in the United States since 1984 and currently resides in Washington and Provincetown, Massachusetts. He is openly gay and a practicing Roman Catholic.

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Compare 08/12/2015

Trust is the first step to love.
  --
Munshi Premchand, (1880-1936)

(103:9.5) The ideal of religious philosophy is such a faith-trust as would lead man unqualifiedly to depend upon the absolute love of the infinite Father of the universe of universes.

(111:7.1) Uncertainty with security is the essence of the Paradise adventure—uncertainty in time and in mind, uncertainty as to the events of the unfolding Paradise ascent; security in spirit and in eternity, security in the unqualified trust of the creature son in the divine compassion and infinite love of the Universal Father; uncertainty as an inexperienced citizen of the universe; security as an ascending son in the universe mansions of an all-powerful, all-wise, and all-loving Father.

(137:6.5) You are now my friends; I trust you and I love you; you are soon to become my personal associates.

 (143:2.7) Your joy is born of trust in the divine word, and you shall not therefore be led to doubt the reality of the Father's love and mercy.

(177:4.10) Jesus loved and trusted Judas even as he loved and trusted the other apostles, but Judas failed to develop loyal trust and to experience wholehearted love in return.

    Premchand better known as Munshi Premchand, Munshi being an honorary prefix, was an Indian writer famous for his modern Hindustani literature. He is one of the most celebrated writers of the Indian subcontinent, and is regarded as one of the foremost Hindustani writers of the early twentieth century. Born Dhanpat Rai Srivastav, he began writing under the pen name "Nawab Rai", but subsequently switched to "Premchand". A novel writer, story writer and dramatist, he has been referred to as the "Upanyas Samrat" ("Emperor among Novelists") by some Hindi writers. His works include more than a dozen novels, around 250 short stories, several essays and translations of a number of foreign literary works into Hindi.

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Compare 08/11/2015

I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.
  --Marcel Duchamp, (1887-1968)

(5:5.12) God-knowingness, religious consciousness, is a universe reality, but no matter how valid (real) religious experience is, it must be willing to subject itself to intelligent criticism and reasonable philosophic interpretation; it must not seek to be a thing apart in the totality of human experience.

(99:3.7)  It is a fact that religion does not grow unless it is disciplined by constructive criticism, amplified by philosophy, purified by science, and nourished by loyal fellowship.

(100:1.5)  Growth is also predicated on the discovery of selfhood accompanied by self-criticism—conscience, for conscience is really the criticism of oneself by one's own value-habits, personal ideals.

(132:3.5)  And all such true faith is predicated on profound reflection, sincere self-criticism, and uncompromising moral consciousness.

    Marcel Duchamp was a French, naturalized American painter, sculptor, chess player and writer whose work is associated with Dadaism and conceptual art, although careful about his use of the term Dada and direct association with Dada groups. Duchamp is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the twentieth century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture.  Duchamp has had an immense impact on twentieth-century and twenty first-century art. By World War I, he had rejected the work of many of his fellow artists (like Henri Matisse) as "retinal" art, intended only to please the eye. Instead, Duchamp wanted to put art back in the service of the mind.

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Compare 08/10/2015

Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination.
  --Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

(66:4.2) The serious obstacle to the good influence of such extraplanetary teachers is the tendency of mortals to regard them as gods, but aside from the technique of their appearance on earth the Caligastia one hundred—fifty men and fifty women—did not resort to supernatural methods nor superhuman manipulations.

(68:3.3) Except for this ghost factor, all society was founded on fundamental needs and basic biologic urges. But ghost fear introduced a new factor in civilization, a fear which reaches out and away from the elemental needs of the individual, and which rises far above even the struggles to maintain the group. The dread of the departed spirits of the dead brought to light a new and amazing form of fear, an appalling and powerful terror, which contributed to whipping the loose social orders of early ages into the more thoroughly disciplined and better controlled primitive groups of ancient times. This senseless superstition, some of which still persists, prepared the minds of men, through superstitious fear of the unreal and the supernatural, for the later discovery of "the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom." The baseless fears of evolution are designed to be supplanted by the awe for Deity inspired by revelation.

(81:2.9) When asked where fire came from, the simple story of Andon and the flint was soon replaced by the legend of how some Prometheus stole it from heaven. The ancients sought a supernatural explanation for all natural phenomena not within the range of their personal comprehension; and many moderns continue to do this.

(86:2.5) But to continue to ascribe things difficult of comprehension to supernatural causes is nothing less than a lazy and convenient way of avoiding all forms of intellectual hard work.

    Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views. His best-known works include the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by radical environmental groups, and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire.

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Compare 08/06/2015

I believe the greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen, heard, understood, and touched by them. The greatest gift I can give is to see, hear, understand, and touch another person.
  -Virginia Satir, psychotherapist and author (26 Jun 1916-1988)

(132:4.2) Jesus' usual technique of social contact was to draw people out and into talking with him by asking them questions. The interview would usually begin by his asking them questions and end by their asking him questions. He was equally adept in teaching by either asking or answering questions. As a rule, to those he taught the most, he said the least. Those who derived most benefit from his personal ministry were overburdened, anxious, and dejected mortals who gained much relief because of the opportunity to unburden their souls to a sympathetic and understanding listener, and he was all that and more. And when these maladjusted human beings had told Jesus about their troubles, always was he able to offer practical and immediately helpful suggestions looking toward the correction of their real difficulties, albeit he did not neglect to speak words of present comfort and immediate consolation. And invariably would he tell these distressed mortals about the love of God and impart the information, by various and sundry methods, that they were the children of this loving Father in heaven.

(138:8.9) The disciples early learned that the Master had a profound respect and sympathetic regard for every human being he met, and they were tremendously impressed by this uniform and unvarying consideration which he so consistently gave to all sorts of men, women, and children. He would pause in the midst of a profound discourse that he might go out in the road to speak good cheer to a passing woman laden with her burden of body and soul. He would interrupt a serious conference with his apostles to fraternize with an intruding child. Nothing ever seemed so important to Jesus as the individual human who chanced to be in his immediate presence. He was master and teacher, but he was more—he was also a friend and neighbor, an understanding comrade.

    Virginia Satir (26 June 1916 – 10 September 1988) was an American author and social worker, known especially for her approach to family therapy and her work with family reconstruction. She is widely regarded as the "Mother of Family Therapy" Her most well-known books are Conjoint Family Therapy, 1964, Peoplemaking, 1972, and The New Peoplemaking, 1988.
    She is also known for creating the Virginia Satir Change Process Model, a psychological model developed through clinical studies. Change management and organizational gurus of the 1990s and 2000s embrace this model to define how change impacts organizations.
 

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Compare 08/05/2015

To a father growing old, nothing is dearer than a daughter.
  --Euripides, playwright (480-406 BC)

(89:6.3) There is no more tragic and pathetic experience on record, illustrative of the heart-tearing contentions between ancient and time-honored religious customs and the contrary demands of advancing civilization, than the Hebrew narrative of Jephthah and his only daughter. As was common custom, this well-meaning man had made a foolish vow, had bargained with the "god of battles," agreeing to pay a certain price for victory over his enemies. And this price was to make a sacrifice of that which first came out of his house to meet him when he returned to his home. Jephthah thought that one of his trusty slaves would thus be on hand to greet him, but it turned out that his daughter and only child came out to welcome him home. And so, even at that late date and among a supposedly civilized people, this beautiful maiden, after two months to mourn her fate, was actually offered as a human sacrifice by her father, and with the approval of his fellow tribesmen. And all this was done in the face of Moses' stringent rulings against the offering of human sacrifice. But men and women are addicted to making foolish and needless vows, and the men of old held all such pledges to be highly sacred.

On Wednesday evening, April 17, A.D. 9, Ruth, the baby of the family, was born, and to the best of his ability Jesus endeavored to take the place of his father in comforting and ministering to his mother during this trying and peculiarly sad ordeal. For almost a score of years (until he began his public ministry) no father could have loved and nurtured his daughter any more affectionately and faithfully than Jesus cared for little Ruth. And he was an equally good father to all the other members of his family.

(139:4.12) Several years after the martyrdom of James, John married his brother's widow. The last twenty years of his life he was cared for by a loving granddaughter.

    Euripides was a tragedian of classical Athens. He is one of the three whose plays have survived, with the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most. Of these, eighteen or nineteen have survived more or less complete (there has been debate about his authorship of Rhesus, largely on stylistic grounds) and there are also fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays. More of his plays have survived intact than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together, partly due to mere chance and partly because his popularity grew as theirs declined—he became, in the Hellenistic Age, a cornerstone of ancient literary education, along with Homer, Demosthenes and Menander.
    Euripides is identified with theatrical innovations that have profoundly influenced drama down to modern times, especially in the representation of traditional, mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. This new approach led him to pioneer developments that later writers adapted to comedy, some of which are characteristic of romance. Yet he also became "the most tragic of poets", focusing on the inner lives and motives of his characters in a way previously unknown. He was "the creator of...that cage which is the theatre of Shakespeare's Othello, Racine's Phèdre, of Ibsen and Strindberg," in which "...imprisoned men and women destroy each other by the intensity of their loves and hates", and yet he was also the literary ancestor of comic dramatists as diverse as Menander and George Bernard Shaw.
    He was also unique among the writers of ancient Athens for the sympathy he demonstrated towards all victims of society, including women. His conservative male audiences were frequently shocked by the 'heresies' he put into the mouths of characters, such as these words of his heroine Medea:

    Sooner would I stand
    Three times to face their battles, shield in hand,
    Than bear one child!

    His contemporaries associated him with Socrates as a leader of a decadent intellectualism, both of them being frequently lampooned by comic poets such as Aristophanes. Whereas Socrates was eventually put on trial and executed as a corrupting influence, Euripides chose a voluntary exile in old age, dying in Macedonia. Recent scholarship casts doubt on ancient biographies of Euripides. For example, it is possible that he never visited Macedonia at all, or, if he did, he might have been drawn there by King Archelaus with incentives that were also offered to other artists.

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Compare 08/04/2015

There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art. Neither is independent of the other or more important than the other. Without art, science would be as useless as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber. Without science, art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery. The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous.
  --Raymond Thornton Chandler, writer (1888-1959)

(2:7.9) The great mistake of the Hebrew religion was its failure to associate the goodness of God with the factual truths of science and the appealing beauty of art. As civilization progressed, and since religion continued to pursue the same unwise course of overemphasizing the goodness of God to the relative exclusion of truth and neglect of beauty, there developed an increasing tendency for certain types of men to turn away from the abstract and dissociated concept of isolated goodness. The overstressed and isolated morality of modern religion, which fails to hold the devotion and loyalty of many twentieth-century men, would rehabilitate itself if, in addition to its moral mandates, it would give equal consideration to the truths of science, philosophy, and spiritual experience, and to the beauties of the physical creation, the charm of intellectual art, and the grandeur of genuine character achievement.

(195:5.2) Truth often becomes confusing and even misleading when it is dismembered, segregated, isolated, and too much analyzed. Living truth teaches the truth seeker aright only when it is embraced in wholeness and as a living spiritual reality, not as a fact of material science or an inspiration of intervening art.

(195:7.16) In a high civilization, art humanizes science, while in turn it is spiritualized by true religion—insight into spiritual and eternal values.

(196:3.30) Art results from man's attempt to escape from the lack of beauty in his material environment; it is a gesture toward the morontia level. Science is man's effort to solve the apparent riddles of the material universe.

    Raymond Thornton Chandler was an American novelist and screenwriter. In 1932, at age forty-four, Chandler decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Great Depression. His first short story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot", was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. In addition to his short stories, Chandler published seven novels during his lifetime (an eighth in progress at his death was completed by Robert B. Parker). All but Playback have been made into motion pictures, some several times. In the year before he died, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died on March 26, 1959, in La Jolla, California.
    Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature, and is considered by many to be a founder, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers, of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction. His protagonist, Philip Marlowe, along with Hammett's Sam Spade, is considered by some to be synonymous with "private detective," both having been played on screen by Humphrey Bogart, whom many considered to be the quintessential Marlowe.
    Some of Chandler's novels are considered important literary works, and three are often considered masterpieces: Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Little Sister (1949), and The Long Goodbye (1953). The Long Goodbye is praised within an anthology of American crime stories as "arguably the first book since Hammett's The Glass Key, published more than twenty years earlier, to qualify as a serious and significant mainstream novel that just happened to possess elements of mystery".
 

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Compare 08/03/2015

Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace. The soul that knows it not, knows no release from little things.
  -Amelia Earhart, aviator (1897-1937)

(3:5.6) 1. Is courage—strength of character—desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments.

(91:4.5) Prayer has been the ancestor of much peace of mind, cheerfulness, calmness, courage, self-mastery, and fair-mindedness in the men and women of the evolving races.

(146:3.2) Courage is the confidence of thoroughgoing honesty about those things which one professes to believe. Sincere men are unafraid of the critical examination of their true convictions and noble ideals.

(160:2.8) Association with one's fellows is essential to the renewal of the zest for life and is indispensable to the maintenance of the courage to fight those battles consequent upon the ascent to the higher levels of human living.

    Amelia Mary Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for this record. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. Earhart joined the faculty of the Purdue University aviation department in 1935 as a visiting faculty member to counsel women on careers and help inspire others with her love for aviation. She was also a member of the National Woman's Party, and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.
    During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10 Electra, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day.

 

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