Let's face it. Those dudes on the Nobel committee in Oslo fired up their bong the other day with some really radical stuff, carefully grown in a quiet valley just north of San Francisco. Then they got down to work.
And they realized, correctly yet amusingly, that the one thing they could do to awaken and wickedly cajole a wide range of polities throughout the world would be to play a little trick on everyone. A little trick in awarding the 2009 Peace Prize to the one man on the face of the earth whom everyone -- literally everone -- has been paying attention to.
They knew they'd be virtually assured of success in stirring up the world's fetid waters (so richly in need of stirring) by bestowing the one Prize in the world that's freighted with dense, complex meaning and significance to the one human being in any nation who now embodies and provokes a wide range of meanings, reactions, questions, emotions, attachments. The one person of great import who is genuinely talking about peace, and how to get it.
Way, way beyond all others, this one will get attention. And fundamentally, that's what it's all about. Forget all the hifalutin sesquipedalianism. The true purpose of this Prize is to call attention to the fundamentals we face on this planet, now and quickly.
I'd like to get my hands on whatever they were toking, because that has got to be damn good stuff. Really opens up the mind and brings you right down to the most troubling fundamentals about life, society, human behavior, human consciousness. Forces you to confront what works and what doesn't. Even the Prize recipient himself will have to figure out this one somehow.
More to the point, those mild-mannered white guys, who sit uncomfortably on the ill-gotten riches spawned by Alfred Nobel's deadly explosives, are remarkably clever. Fantastically smart guys. They gambled on raising the stakes for themselves -- and for everyone else. That's the whole idea. Let's shake this place up. Damn complacency. Let's rile up everybody but good. And if a lot of people, shooting from the hip, declare that this year's Prize decision is bizarre or crazy or ill-advised or worse, then we will know beyond a doubt that we made the right decision. That we did the right thing.
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If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.
~ Mother Theresa
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. A conservative is a man who is too cowardly to fight and too fat to run. -- Elbert Hubbard .
.My call for a spiritual revolution is thus not a call for a religious revolution. Nor is it a reference to a way of life that is somehow other-worldly, still less to something magical or mysterious. Rather, it is a call for a radical re-orientation away from our habitual preoccupation with self towards concern for the wider community of beings with whom we are connected, and for conduct which recognizes others' interests alongside our own.
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Great men are they who see that the spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
. . . Some people spend their entire lives reading but never get beyond reading the words on the page, they don't understand that the words are merely stepping stones placed across a fast-flowing river, and the reason they're there is so that we can reach the farther shore, it's the other side that matters. -- José de Sousa Saramago
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Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold. -- William Shakespeare
Fighting Against Neglect
Our problems, both those we experience externally such as wars, crime and violence and those we experience internally as emotional and psychological suffering will not be solved until we address this underlying neglect of our inner dimension. That is why the great movements of the last hundred years and more--democracy, liberalism, socialism, and Communism--have all failed to deliver the universal benefits they were supposed to provide, despite many wonderful ideas. A revolution is called for, certainly, but not a political, an economic, or a technical revolution. We have had enough experience of these during the past century to know that a purely external approach will not suffice. What I propose is a spiritual revolution.
In a dying civilization, political prestige is the reward not of the shrewdest diagnostician but of the man with the best bedside manner. It is the decoration conferred on mediocrity by ignorance.
~ Eric Ambler, "A Coffin for Dimitrios" .
"Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop." ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail. ~ William Faulkner, speech at the Nobel Banquet, City Hall, Stockholm, December 10, 1950
. . . . A solemn, unsmiling, sanctimonious old iceberg who looked like he was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity. ~Mark Twain . . . .