Friday, February 4, 2011

The Need For A World Vision

The Need For A World Vision

     The present world food crisis is the latest example that many of our problems are world problems and can only be solved on a world scale. What we see now are national governments, adapting national policies  to solve the problem, be it Australia, Asia or Africa.  We are living in a highly interdependent world where the problems in one  part of the world affect other parts of the world. Sadly, there is no world body taking a global view of things and adapting global policies. The only institution we have is the United Nations and it's many agencies, but they are still weak,  and they still do not receive the support they deserve from member nations.

     The need of the hour is to strengthen the United Nations, and Canada can play a leading role in this effort.

Is Mubarak like the Pharaoh?

Is Mubarak like the Pharaoh?

The stubbornness of Mubarak  reminds me of the stubbornness of the pharaoh who refused to  let the jewish people go free.  One plague after another afflicted Egypt but the pharaoh did not budge. Eventually his only son was killed and only then did the pharaoh melt. Mubarak has held power for 30 years and he does not want to give it away although the majority of Egyptians do not want him. 
Times have certainly changed, but the style of ruling has not changed .

Obama's Dilema 

     There is no doubt that president Obama had a vision for bringing peace to the Middle East. However noble his vision may be, he has settled with previous American policies. Successive presidents from Truman onwards, paid less importance to the interests of the majority Arab population and were preoccupied with the interests of Israel. This type of one sided policy is in the long run untenable.  

     When Mubarak falls,  Israel will then have lost it's only ally in the Middle East. How could Israel survive in the long run, surrounded by enemies? The important question for President Obama and the United States is for how long they could sustain the present policy of befriending Israel while not doing anything about the Palestinians, which is a thorn in side  the Arab world. 

     A lot of tension is likely to continue in the Middle East, unless there is  a shift in American policy. That is the challenge facing President Obama. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dazzling Mind

     Cultivating a sense of proportion (p. 39)

     For some people, a primary goal in life is to enjoy treasures such as beauty, goodness, harmony and wisdom. These qualities have balance and symmetry and show little or no trace of excess. If they are tainted by extremes or become disproportionate, they acquire opposite characteristics; for example, when distorted, beauty turns to ugliness goodness evil, harmony to disharmony and wisdom to folly. Cultivating a fine sense of proportion in our thoughts and deeds is key to attaining a dazzling mind.  

     I had the good fortune of appreciating one of the most marvelous sculptures ever designed,  Rodino's (1840-1917) sculpture called 'The Kiss' is an artistic marvel. It exemplifies in perfect form the principle of balance and proportion. An elegant symmetry is seen in the natural contours of the bodies of the lovers. The man's sexual passion is shown in the tension of his right hand. The loving embrace of the woman matches his passion. With amazing skill, rodin used light and shadwow to display the masculine and feminne features of the lovers. While the mans body appears rough, the woman's body is soft, crating an impression of realism. By sculpturing elegant balances in the muscles and sinews, Rodin wa able to make the lovers in stone appear "more real than real". the poet Ranier Mria Rilke (1875-1926) considered the sculpture such a masterpiece that the delight of the lovers' kiss is expressed all over their bodies. she said it is like "a sun that rises and its light is everywhere."

Marvel at the symmetry of the human body (p. 42-44)     

     Natural beauty exists in the human body. It has bilateral symmetry, with the two sides of the body being alike. These natural body contours and proportions have been a source for much artistic expression. They have also bee reduced to mathematical values often equated with the ratio Phi.

     The faces of men and women expressed in idealized sculptures show features that are well arranged. Though ordinary human bodies cannot  match the exquisite beauty of the Greek mythological figures Venus and Adonis we can still accept our own physical appearance. The use of symmetry and proportion illustrating beauty is a universal occurrence, found in all world cultures.

Treasure Wisdom (p. 45)

     The sayings of these sages gives us much food for thought. While this entire book pertains to wisdom in a general way, here we shall discuss the quality of wisdom specifically.

     To some degree we all seek wisdom. No one is born "wise", and no person is wise all the time. Wisdom is acquired, and it teaches us to take a balanced view of life. We often realize that some of our actions ay not bring us happiness, yet we do them anyway.

     Samuel Taylor Coleridge asserted that wisdom lies in possessing "common sense to an uncommon degree." Francis Bacon wrote that wisdom lies "in making more opportunities than one finds." Thomas Kempis claimed "Wisdom comes through suffering."  Henry David Thoreau wrote that the chief characteristics of wisdom is not to do desperate things, and William James asserted that the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cultivating a Sense of Proportion

For some people, a primary goal in life is to enjoy its treasures, such as beauty, goodness, harmony, and wisdom. These qualities have balance and symmetry and show little or no trace of excess.  If they are tainted by extremes or become disproportionate, they acquire opposite characteristics; for example, when distorted, beauty turns to ugliness, goodness to evil, harmony to disharmony, and wisdom to folly. Cultivating a fine sense of proportion in our thoughts and deeds is key to attaining a dazzling mind. This way of thinking provides us rich insights and perfects our judgement.

Balance and proportion are found abundantly in nature. Notice the beautiful geometrical patterns of snowflakes or the majestic display of colors in a rainbow. The multi cellular pattern of a honeycomb and the intricate design of a maple leaf also show symmetry in nature. Over the centuries, artists have embodied this symmetry into their works by freely imitating patterns found in nature.

Paradoxes to Ponder

I believe that contradictory statements are fascinating. They challenge our minds to think deeper about what exactly is the truth.

Here is a paradox for you to ponder:

What is hard than rock or softer than water? Yet soft water hollows out hard rock. Persevere.  -Ovid

How did you figure that out? Do not give up easy. 

Here is a statement for you to be a little humble in order to realize why some people are so confused. The nature of truth is such that it is ambiguous. Consider this statement:

The only certainty is that nothing is certain

This statement makes me more humble, and more tolerant about the opinions of others. People who are 100% sure about a societal issue are putting themselves out on a limb. 

         You have to study a lot to know a little.

It has been my good fortune to interact with some of the worlds greatest minds, all of whom were nobel prize winners. What distinguished them was their learning, but they were very humble people. They showed their greatness by making a little guy like me feel great. 

            People have one thing in common: they are all different. - Robert Zend

The author of this brief statement was indeed a genius. What a remarkable insight it contains that opposite features can be true.  It helps us to appreciate how all of us are more different and the same at the same time. 

              When people are least sure they are most dogmatic. - John Kenneth

We do not know for sure what will happen to us after death. Heaven and Hell could be a state of mind and weather they really exist we do not know for sure. However, we can accept them on faith. Sometimes it troubles me that some people are 100% sure about the existence of Heaven and Hell, they are to my mind, being dogmatic.

                We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.  -  George Bernard Shaw

Did you get a chuckle from that statement? I surely did! 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Give Yourself a Dazzling Mind

The human  mind is infinitely richer than any gold mine. The mind embraces the vast universe, peers into an atom, composes melodious music, and designs a plane that can fly faster than the speed of sound.

While it is true that animals are able to think to some degree, the power of the human mind is infinitely superior, our brain stores knowledge and uses the information whenever it is needed. In a sense, we are walking libraries.

Nimbleness is an extraordinary feature of our mind. Within seconds, it can shift its focus from one phenomenon to another: from answering a simple question to the working of a complex crossword puzzle, playing an easy game of cards to a challenging game of chess. The mind is indeed very nimble.

In this chapter we shall discuss many ways to give ourselves a dazzling mind and explore how to achieve our real potential. Because the mind is a single entity, the following points are interrelated and reinforce one another. I hope this discussion will enable you to acquire flashes of wisdom and moments of delight.

A diamond with many facets will shine brilliantly.  Similarly, the mind will shine best when its many facets can radiate with the light of reason. It its objective and subjective, or scientific and artistic. It is able to glow with its latent power and be luminous about reality in a dark world of doubt and error. In a word, the mind is a gift endowing us with a divine quality.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Wisdom and Delight of the Desiderata

A Book of Wisdom and Delight can be summed up in the following edited version of Desiderata
Go placidly, amid the noise and haste and discover your peace in silence. Without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Be not cynical about love, for in the face of all apathy and harshness it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the thinks of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. Do not distress yourself with worries. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Control yourself, but also be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
Whatever the labor and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul – with all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, wee still live in a beautiful world.

I hope you have enjoyed this excerpt from my book.  I will be posting more excerpts in future posts, so please come back.  Click here to buy your copy of A Book of Wisdom and Delight from Amazon today.