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.