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Archive for January, 2009

Hope

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

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Challenging Words

You can be the generation that makes this country energy independent; you can be the generation that wipes out malaria in the developing world; you can be the generation that summons global resources to halt genocide in Darfur and beyond; you can be the generation that deals with the scourge of terrorism and its causes; and you can be the generation that ends extreme poverty. My generation and our predecessors haven’t been responsible caretakers. But you can be. In John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address he observed that Americans were daunted by the mortal challenges of the Cold War and the nuclear age. But he declared, “I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. (Samantha Power)

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War and Peace

In talking with a friend tonight he made the comment that Martin Luther King, Jr. is much too domesticated in our modern world.  I couldn’t agree more.  

A genuine leader is not a sycophant of consensus but he is a molder of consensus.  On some positions, cowardice asks the question is it safe, expediency asks the question is it politic, vanity asks is it popular; but conscience asks the question, is it right?  There comes a time where one must take position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.  (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

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Indifference

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe… And action is the only remedy to indifference, the most insidious danger of all. (Elie Wiesel)

You and I are Disappearing (by poet Yusef Komunyakaa)

The cry I bring down from the hills
belongs to a girl still burning
inside my head. At daybreak
she burns like a piece of paper. She burns like foxfire
in a thigh-shaped valley.
A skirt of flames
dances around her
at dusk.
We stand with our hands hanging at our sides,
while she burns 
like a sack of dry ice. She burns like oil on water.
She burns like a cattail torch
dipped in gasoline.
She glows like the fat tip
of a banker’s cigar,
silent as quicksilver. A tiger under a rainbow
    at nightfall.
She burns like a shot glass of vodka.
She burns like a field of poppies
at the edge of a rain forest.
She rises like dragonsmoke
    to my nostrils.
She burns like a burning bush
driven by a godawful wind.

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Thoughts

I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence.  I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.  I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life.” (Leo Tolstoy in Family Happiness)

No man has ever followed his genius until it misled him…All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself.  The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated.  We easily come to doubt if they exist.  We soon forget them. They are the highest reality.  The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening.  It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched. (H.D. Thoreau in Walden)

I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt.  So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.  The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.  The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun…If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear tot you to be crazy.  But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.  (Alexander Supertramp, Into the Wild)

It may, after all, be the bad habit of creative talents to invest themselves in pathological extremes that yield remarkable insights but no durable way of life for those who cannot translate their psychic wounds into significant art or thought. (Theodore Roszak, In Search of the Miraculous)

As to when I shall visit civilization, ti will not be soon, I think.  I have not tired of the wilderness; rather I enjoy its beauty and the vagrant life I lead, more keenly all the time.  I prefer the saddle to the streetcar and star-sprinkled sky to a roof, the obscure and difficult trail, leading into the unknown, to any paved highway, and the deep peace of the wild to the discontent bred by cities…I could not bear the routine and humdrum of the life that you are forced to lead.  I don’t think I could ever settle down.  I have known too much of the depths of life already, and I would prefer anything to an anticlimax.  (Everett Ruess).

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