Friday, April 28, 2006
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
As an atheist and scientist-of-sorts, I don't suffer qualms that this will be my fate. But I do understand that there is a bit of me that "does God" whether I like it or not. I'm not alone in that. There are many thinkers who hold - and some good scientific evidence to back them up - that spirituality is hard-wired in humans to a variable extent, and that it is beneficial to health - physical and mental. What really causes the confusion is that while something of this sort can be good for us, can even be essential and has probably contributed enormously to our evolutionary survival - it is not necessarily true. I would say, it is manifestly not true. We subsist on a diet of delusions." -- Margaret Cook, "Even atheists believe in a lot more than the selfish gene" (Sun 23 Apr 2006)
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
"Though garbology remains a relatively unplumbed subject, several colleges and universities offer courses that look at what people throw away and how it reflects who they are." -- Tina Kelley; Class at N.Y.U. Looks for Deeper Meaning at Fresh Kills; The New York Times; Mar 23, 2000.Garbage isn't simple refuse anymore. It's a cultural record. If you check over in the right column, you'll see (after scrolling down a bit) that I have a link for A.Word.A.Day. Today's word, garbology, is rather interesting. I had no idea there was actually a word -- let alone a course of study -- for such a phenomenon. Usually, the picture I have for someone engaged in rooting through trash is either one of the "dumpster diver" or the identity thief. Garbologists may change that presupposition. There is an Official Garbology Webpage, a page dedicated to adventures in garbology, and even some suggestions for professional development. As we are living in the first society that is threatened to be buried by its own refuse, garbology is certainly a timely branch of study.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Disclaimer: Wait! Do not go and look at the clip if you are easily offended by any one or a combination of the following:
Remember, you have been warned, so don't come crying to me.
- Images of war,
- Images of politicians (with soundbites!), or
- Images of Yoko Ono (particularly a singing Yoko).
"Most people I know, even avid readers of other literary genres, confess to not understanding much of the poetry being written today. It's too obtuse, the language too rarefied, and the metaphors too far out, they complain."And then, after extolling the virtues of poetry and giving a nod to its current popular resurgance, she asks the hard question:
"Still, do we need an entire month devoted to the promotion of a literary form that many people haven't been acquainted with since high school English classes? Why not Essay Month, or Unauthorized Biography Week, or Take a Novel to Work Day?"Now, I've been known to tuck a novel (or two) and more than one non-fiction work in my laptop bag. But I can't tell you the last time I purchased, or even borrowed, a book of poems. But Kathy finishes her piece with some darn good comments on poetry. And she's right: It's important. For example, what does all the wisdom literature and scriptures of the world's religions amount to ultimately? It is (divinely?) inspired poetry and verse. Particularly when read in their original tongues. Then the words flow, rhyme, and sing like otherworldly creatures. The Eddas, the Upanishads, the (biblical) book of Jeremiah, the Tao Teh Ching, and on and on ... Poetry cuts straight to the heart of a feeling or experience, trying to distill it down to it's absolute -- albeit textual -- essense. Poetry is a hybrid language of heart and words. And even when you feel forced to wade through a hundred boring, insipid poems, finding that one that truly speaks to you ... that resonates with you ... feels like finding a fabulous treasure. Kathy doesn't say that exactly. But I think her whole piece is worth a read. And I'd love to hear your comments on poetry.
Monday, April 17, 2006
A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare. -- William H. Davies (1871 - 1940), poet and writerHow perfectly suited to a Monday! As we all know -- or at least I would dare say a majority of Internet-savvy folks have experienced -- Monday is a day of racing around. It's the beginning of a new work week, and all the incomplete tasks from the previous week come hurtling at you, competing with all the new crap you have to deal with. And this is right after an all-too-brief weekend in which you probably rushed about trying to complete hundreds of personal tasks, all the while trying to find the time for some much needed relaxation. Phew! By the way, today's quotable is the final two lines from W.H. Davies' poem, Leisure -- and they are probably what he is best known for. Did you know there was a whole (albeit brief) poem attached to these sage words? Take a little time today and go check out the full version.
Friday, April 14, 2006
This symposium represents the first overall public presentation of the results of 22 rigorous investigations into the nature of the biological, psychosocial, and cultural conditions and factors that underlie spiritual transformations of individuals and groups. All of these projects are using today's cutting edge methodologies and sophisticated experimental designs to provide fresh insight into these phenomena under investigation. We anticipate that the many presentations from this unique symposium will help to create an innovative interdisciplinary field in the human sciences for the study of spiritual transformation.Abstracts for the conference are available here. According to The Daily Dose reports, conference highlights included:
1. Day One: a. Plenary Session "Science, Society and Religion: From Dialog to Research" b. First National Survey of Spiritual Transformation c. Major Illness, Resilience and Spiritual Transformation
2. Day Two: a. Youth and Spiritual Transformation b. Spiritual Transformation Over the Life Course
3. Day Three: a. Descriptive and Ethnographic Studies of Spiritual Transformation b. Key Advances, Accomplishments and Challenges for the Future of the Spiritual Transformation ProgramI have not finished The Daily Dose's commentaries, so I cannot *ahem* comment on them at this time. But here are links if you want to read them yourself:
- The Daily Dose: Spiritual Transformation Public Symposium - Day One A report from Day One of the Spiritual Transformation Public Symposium at the University of California-Berkeley (April 6, 2006) http://www.stnews.org/Commentary-2771.htm
- The Daily Dose: Spiritual Transformation Public Symposium - Day Two A report from Day Two of the Spiritual Transformation Public Symposium at the University of California, Berkeley (April 7, 2006) http://www.stnews.org/Commentary-2777.htm
- The Daily Dose: Spiritual Transformation Public Symposium - Day Three A report from Day Three of the Spiritual Transformation Public Symposium at the University of California, Berkeley (April 10, 2006) http://www.stnews.org/Commentary-2779.htm
Otis attempts to hide.