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Showing posts from March, 2016

The angle at which I see the office...from these shoes

This pair of office shoes isn't too shabby, considering I've worn them about 10 years. At least, I thought they still looked OK when I looked down at my feet every day. Recently I began running and my knees demand a little more special attention. For some reason, I picked up my old pair of shoes and viewed them from an angle I'd never seen before. The heels surprised me. The inside of each heel had a sole 1 and 1/4" high. This contrasted with the way the sole had worn down on the outsides. The outside of the left heel was only 5/8" high, and the outside of the right heel was only 3/8" high. My feet must roll out to the side when I walk. Lessons: Walk in a pair of shoes for ten years. Change the pace at which I walk. Go barefoot for a moment. Look at the shoes from a new angle. My right leg carries more weight than my left leg. I already knew this. But did I ever think about how it affects my shoes, and how my shoes might affect my knees? I pr

A receptive mind

We all carry preexisting beliefs, preferences, judgments. "An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head," Eric Hoffer said. We must be careful about the thoughts we cultivate. As Upton Sinclair put it: "And here is the crucial fact, never to be forgotten; what we believe about this spring [the wellspring of the soul] helps to determine what flows out of it!
" One pitfall to avoid is obsessive thought or unrelenting inquiry. All thought is a kind of illusion, and to be unable to loosen one's grip is to drown what merit the thought might have had if it had been kept in its proper context. "To the mind which pursues every road to its end, every road leads nowhere," said Alan Watts. One rule of thumb is K.I.S.S., "Keep it simple, stupid." Albert Einstein said, "If you can't explain it to a 6-year-old, you don't understand it yourself." It's a

Thought requires language

The finger that points to the moon should not be confused with the moon itself, as the proverb has it. Osho wrote, “You become so obsessed with the word God that you forget that God is an experience, not a word. The word God is not God, and the word fire is not fire, and the word love is not love either.”
 And yet we do not, cannot, experience things exactly as they are. We experience them mediated through thought, and that seems to require words. Lance Morrow: ”We know what we think when we find words. Language is the vessel that carries us, our home and spaceship, and outside its protection, there is no oxygen for us. Outside the dimension of language lies a void in which the human conscience cannot breathe. To abandon language is suicide.” 
 Mark Haddon wrote in a novel: "The word metaphor means carrying something from one place to another, and it comes from the Greek words meta (which means from one place to another ) and pherein (which means to carry ), and it is

Quotes on uncertainty in philosophy

Mark Corner: "It is the beliefs of which we can be most certain, [John Henry] Newman [author of University Sermons] argues, that play the least significant part in our lives. We can possess a mathematical certainty that two and two make four, but this rarely matters to us. On the other hand, we can never possess such a certainty that someone loves us. There is always a possibility of deceit or self-deception. But it is precisely the possibility of being wrong in believing that someone loves us that makes it appropriate to talk in this context of trust." R. I. Page: "According to Snorri (not in Voluspa but in Vagprudnismal ), two humans will survive the holocaust [in Norse mythology at the end of the world], nourished by the morning dews. From them the new race of men will be born. So the whole sad business starts again. Gangleri would doubtless have wanted to know more, but High shuts him up firmly. ‘If you want to know anything after this, I’ve no idea where you ar

Atto Melani in 'Imprimatur'

Imprimatur by Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti (2002) and translated from Italian into English by Peter Burnett (2008) features Atto Melani, a castrato singer and abbot who is a friend of the narrator's on a 17th-century Da Vinci Code -esque adventure. He was a real person – "a castrato opera singer, also employed as a diplomat and a spy," according to his Wikipedia entry – who appears in this novel as a fictional character. The narrator knows early on that Atto is a eunuch. “I realized at that point that I had not asked the abbot whether he was a composer, an organist or a choirmaster. Fortunately, I withheld that question. His almost hairless face, unusually gentle and womanish movements, and above all his very clear voice, almost like that of a small boy who had unexpectedly attained maturity, revealed that I was in the presence of an emasculated singer.” (pp. 22-23) At one juncture, Atto sings “non ti chiedo mercĂ©” [I ask you no mercy] and “Lascia ch’io mi disperi”