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____Day one (first day for this Wiki)
I feel so much anger towards my mother....
Below is Osho's reply to a similar question:
Every child would be angry if he understood what the poor parents have been doing to him unknowingly, unconsciously. All their efforts are for the good of the child. Their intentions are good but their consciousness is nil. And good intentions in the hands of unconscious people are dangerous; they cannot bring about the result they are intending. They may create just the opposite.
Every parent is trying to bring a beautiful child into the world, but looking at the world it seems it is an orphanage. There has been no parent at all. In fact if it were an orphanage, it would have been far better, because you would at least have been yourself -- no parents to interfere with you.
So the anger is natural, but useless. To be angry does not help your parents and it harms you.
Gautam Buddha is reported to have made a very strange statement: In your anger you punish yourself for somebody else's fault. It looks very strange the first time you come across the statement that in anger you punish yourself for somebody else's fault.
Your parents have done something twenty years back, thirty years back, and you are angry now. Your anger is not going to help anyone; it is simply going to create more wounds in you. And being near me, close to me.... I am trying to explain to you the whole mechanism of how children are being brought up, you should become more understanding that whatever has happened had to happen. Your parents were conditioned by their parents. You cannot find out who was really responsible to begin with. It has been passed from generation to generation.
You should feel fortunate that you have a master with you to explain what has been happening between parents and children -- the complex upbringing, good intentions, bad results, where everybody is trying to do the best and the world goes on becoming worse and worse.
Your parents were not so fortunate to have a master -- and you are being angry at them. You should feel kind, compassionate, loving. Whatever they did was unconscious. They could not have done otherwise. All that they knew they have tried on you. They were miserable, and they have created another miserable human being in the world.
They had no clarity about why they were miserable. You have the clarity to understand why one becomes miserable. And once you understand how misery is created, you can avoid causing the same in somebody else.
But feel for your parents. They worked hard; they did everything that they could, but they had no idea how psychology functions. Instead of being taught how to become a mother or how to become a father, they were being taught how to become a Christian, how to become a Marxist, how to become a tailor, how to become a plumber, how to become a philosopher -- all these things are good and needed, but the basic thing is missing. If they are going to produce children, then their most significant teaching should be how to become a mother, how to become a father.
It has been taken for granted that by giving birth you know how to become a mother and how to become a father. Yes, as far as giving birth to a child... it is a biological act, you don't have to be psychologically trained for it. Animals are doing perfectly well, birds are doing perfectly well, trees are doing perfectly well. But giving birth to a child biologically is one thing and to be a mother or to be a father is totally different. It needs great education because you are creating a human being.
Animals are not creating anything, they are simply producing carbon copies. And now science has come to a point where they have discovered that carbon copies can really be produced! It is a very dangerous idea. If we make banks -- and sooner or later we are going to make them; once an idea is there it is going to become a reality. And scientifically it is proved that it is one hundred percent possible...there is no problem.
We can have banks in the hospitals for both the male sperms and female eggs. And we can create exactly the same two sperms and exactly the same two eggs, so two children are born which are exactly the same. One child will be released into the world; the other will grow in a fridge, unconscious, but all his parts will be exactly the same as the other person. And if the first person is in an accident and loses a leg or loses a kidney, or has to be operated on, there is no problem: his carbon copy is waiting in the hospital. From the carbon copy a kidney can be taken out -- he is growing exactly at the same rate, he is just unconscious -- and it will be exactly the same as the kidney that has been lost. It can be replaced.
That carbon copy will always be available for replacing any parts -- even the brain. You can fall into a coma or you can even have a heart attack.... Your brain can remain alive even after a heart attack for at least four minutes -- but not more than that. If during these four minutes an identical brain is inserted, an identical heart is inserted, you will never feel that anything has changed or anything has happened to you. Perhaps you fell asleep and now you are awake. You will never know that your brain has been changed, that your heart has been changed.
This idea of having carbon copies seems to be a great advancement in medical science in a way, but it is dangerous -- dangerous in the sense that man becomes a machine with replaceable parts, just like any machine. When something goes wrong you replace the part. And if every part can be replaced then man will be falling farther and farther away from spiritual growth, because he will start thinking of himself as just a machine. That's what half of the world, the communist world, thinks -- that man is a machine.
You are fortunate that you can understand the situation your parents were in. They have not done anything specifically to you; they would have done the same to any child that was born to them. They were programmed for that. They were helpless. And to be angry against helpless people is simply not right. It is unjust, unfair, and moreover it is harmful to you.
If your parents cannot understand me, you should not be worried about it. The whole world cannot understand me. Your parents are normal people; they just follow the crowd, which is safer. You have fallen out of the crowd. You have chosen a risky and dangerous path. If they don't want to go into a dangerous lifestyle, it is their choice; that should not be a cause for your anger.
In fact you can help them by really becoming the individual that I am talking about: more conscious, more alert, more loving. Seeing you can only change them. Seeing you so radically changed can only make them think twice, that perhaps they are wrong. There is no other way. You cannot intellectually convince them. Intellectually they can argue, and argument never changes anybody. The only thing that changes people is the charisma, the magnetism, the magic, of your individuality. Then whatever you touch becomes golden.
So rather than wasting your time and energy in being angry and fighting against the past which no longer exists, put your whole energy into becoming the magic of your individuality. So when your parents see you they cannot remain untouched by the new qualities that you have grown, qualities which are automatically impressive: your freshness, your understanding, your unconditional lovingness, your kindness even in a situation where anger would have been more appropriate.
Only these things can be the real arguments. You need not say a word. Your eyes, your face, your actions, your behavior, your response, will make the change in them. They will start inquiring about what has happened to you, how it has happened to you -- because everybody wants these qualities. These are the real riches. Nobody is so rich that he can afford not to have the things that I am telling you.
It is just like you are sitting on the bank of a silent lake and you throw a small pebble into the lake. The pebble is so small that it creates a small circle at first, but circle after circle...and they go on spreading to the far ends, as far as the lake can take them. And it was only a small pebble.
Just create a small ripple of right individuality and it will reach to many people -- and certainly to those who are most closely related to you. They will see it first, and they will understand with great awe. They will not believe their eyes because all that they know of religion is the Sunday church, where nothing happens. They have been going every Sunday their whole lives, and they come back home just the same.
In the name of religion they know only the Bible or the Koran or the Gita and they have been reading it and nothing happens, because they don't know one thing -- that you are a living being and a book is dead. And the man in the church who is delivering a sermon is just a professional. He has prepared the sermon from the books, and he goes on repeating the same sermons. Nobody listens, so nobody catches him. He is repeating the same sermon that he delivered two months before. Nobody listened that time, and nobody is listening this time. And you know that that sermon cannot change you because that sermon has not changed the preacher himself. He is just as mundane as you are -- perhaps more. I used to know a Jaina monk who was a very simple man, almost a simpleton. He asked me, "How many lectures do you have?"
I said, "This is a very difficult question. Until I am finished with my life, I will not know."
He said, "I have only three: one is for ten minutes, one is for twenty minutes, one is for thirty minutes, depending on the occasion. Sometimes in a conference you have only ten minutes. I have a ready-made, ten minute lecture. If they give me twenty minutes, I have a twenty minute lecture. If they give me thirty minutes, I have a thirty minute one. More than that is not possible, because nobody is interested in listening too much. People want a short cut."
He said, "Nobody has said anything about it to me, and I have been using these three lectures my whole life. Wherever I go -- to the temples, colleges, and universities where I talk -- I ask, `How many minutes? Ten, twenty, thirty?' Whatever they want, my lecture is ready. And I have repeated the same lecture so many times that now I don't feel nervous. I can repeat the lecture without thinking at all!"
Now do you think listening to such a man is going to transform you? -- or anybody? But every Christian missionary is doing that.
One of the most famous, world-renowned Christian missionaries was Stanley Jones. He was very friendly with me but he became very angry and then the friendship was broken. He was an old man, a friend of Mahatma Gandhi, and Mahatma Gandhi respected him very much. He used to come to the city where I was living and he stayed in the house of one of my friends. He had printed cards -- ten cards or twenty cards for his whole lecture -- and he would put the cards on the table. He would start lecturing, and he would go on changing the cards.
He became very angry with me because I mixed up his cards! So he was saying something and it was not on the card. He almost had a nervous breakdown. He looked at all the cards and it was not there. That card I had taken out. And he said, "Today I am not feeling well. I am feeling sick, so I will not be speaking."
And he asked the host, "Who has done this?"
I said, "Once in a while you should speak from your heart, not from these cards. I have looked in your suitcase, and you have almost fifty sets of these cards, so you can go on repeating these speeches. And do you think this is going to help anybody? -- these dead cards that you have repeated your whole life? And today just because one card was missing and the numbers were mixed up, you lost your temper, you lost your integrity. You were almost in a state of madness. And what do you think people thought who had come to listen to you?"
He had written many books. I have gone through those books: he writes well, beautifully, but it is all stolen. Nothing is his own. Nothing is his own experience. Unless something is your own experience it is not going to impress anybody.
So feel blissful. Here you have a chance to get totally transformed. And help your poor parents, because they did not have such a chance; feel sorry for them.
The algebra of infinite justice
Here's the rub: America is at war against people it doesn't know, because they don't appear much on TV. Before it has properly identified or even begun to comprehend the nature of its enemy, the US government has, in a rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric, cobbled together an "international coalition against terror", mobilised its army, its air force, its navy and its media, and committed them to battle.
The trouble is that once Amer ica goes off to war, it can't very well return without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place.
What we're witnessing here is the spectacle of the world's most powerful country reaching reflexively, angrily, for an old instinct to fight a new kind of war. Suddenly, when it comes to defending itself, America's streamlined warships, cruise missiles and F-16 jets look like obsolete, lumbering things. As deterrence, its arsenal of nuclear bombs is no longer worth its weight in scrap. Box-cutters, penknives, and cold anger are the weapons with which the wars of the new century will be waged. Anger is the lock pick. It slips through customs unnoticed. Doesn't show up in baggage checks.
Who is America fighting? On September 20, the FBI said that it had doubts about the identities of some of the hijackers. On the same day President George Bush said, "We know exactly who these people are and which governments are supporting them." It sounds as though the president knows something that the FBI and the American public don't.
In his September 20 address to the US Congress, President Bush called the enemies of America "enemies of freedom". "Americans are asking, 'Why do they hate us?' " he said. "They hate our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." People are being asked to make two leaps of faith here. First, to assume that The Enemy is who the US government says it is, even though it has no substantial evidence to support that claim. And second, to assume that The Enemy's motives are what the US government says they are, and there's nothing to support that either.
For strategic, military and economic reasons, it is vital for the US government to persuade its public that their commitment to freedom and democracy and the American Way of Life is under attack. In the current atmosphere of grief, outrage and anger, it's an easy notion to peddle. However, if that were true, it's reasonable to wonder why the symbols of America's economic and military dominance - the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon - were chosen as the targets of the attacks. Why not the Statue of Liberty? Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)? It must be hard for ordinary Americans, so recently bereaved, to look up at the world with their eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them to be indifference. It isn't indifference. It's just augury. An absence of surprise. The tired wisdom of knowing that what goes around eventually comes around. American people ought to know that it is not them but their government's policies that are so hated. They can't possibly doubt that they themselves, their extraordinary musicians, their writers, their actors, their spectacular sportsmen and their cinema, are universally welcomed. All of us have been moved by the courage and grace shown by firefighters, rescue workers and ordinary office staff in the days since the attacks.
America's grief at what happened has been immense and immensely public. It would be grotesque to expect it to calibrate or modulate its anguish. However, it will be a pity if, instead of using this as an opportunity to try to understand why September 11 happened, Americans use it as an opportunity to usurp the whole world's sorrow to mourn and avenge only their own. Because then it falls to the rest of us to ask the hard questions and say the harsh things. And for our pains, for our bad timing, we will be disliked, ignored and perhaps eventually silenced.
The world will probably never know what motivated those particular hijackers who flew planes into those particular American buildings. They were not glory boys. They left no suicide notes, no political messages; no organisation has claimed credit for the attacks. All we know is that their belief in what they were doing outstripped the natural human instinct for survival, or any desire to be remembered. It's almost as though they could not scale down the enormity of their rage to anything smaller than their deeds. And what they did has blown a hole in the world as we knew it. In the absence of information, politicians, political commentators and writers (like myself) will invest the act with their own politics, with their own interpretations. This speculation, this analysis of the political climate in which the attacks took place, can only be a good thing.
But war is looming large. Whatever remains to be said must be said quickly. Before America places itself at the helm of the "international coalition against terror", before it invites (and coerces) countries to actively participate in its almost godlike mission - called Operation Infinite Justice until it was pointed out that this could be seen as an insult to Muslims, who believe that only Allah can mete out infinite justice, and was renamed Operation Enduring Freedom- it would help if some small clarifications are made. For example, Infinite Justice/Enduring Freedom for whom? Is this America's war against terror in America or against terror in general? What exactly is being avenged here? Is it the tragic loss of almost 7,000 lives, the gutting of five million square feet of office space in Manhattan, the destruction of a section of the Pentagon, the loss of several hundreds of thousands of jobs, the bankruptcy of some airline companies and the dip in the New York Stock Exchange? Or is it more than that? In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then the US secretary of state, was asked on national television what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of US economic sanctions. She replied that it was "a very hard choice", but that, all things considered, "we think the price is worth it". Albright never lost her job for saying this. She continued to travel the world representing the views and aspirations of the US government. More pertinently, the sanctions against Iraq remain in place. Children continue to die.
So here we have it. The equivocating distinction between civilisation and savagery, between the "massacre of innocent people" or, if you like, "a clash of civilisations" and "collateral damage". The sophistry and fastidious algebra of infinite justice. How many dead Iraqis will it take to make the world a better place? How many dead Afghans for every dead American? How many dead women and children for every dead man? How many dead mojahedin for each dead investment banker? As we watch mesmerised, Operation Enduring Freedom unfolds on TV monitors across the world. A coalition of the world's superpowers is closing in on Afghanistan, one of the poorest, most ravaged, war-torn countries in the world, whose ruling Taliban government is sheltering Osama bin Laden, the man being held responsible for the September 11 attacks.
The only thing in Afghanistan that could possibly count as collateral value is its citizenry. (Among them, half a million maimed orphans.There are accounts of hobbling stampedes that occur when artificial limbs are airdropped into remote, inaccessible villages.) Afghanistan's economy is in a shambles. In fact, the problem for an invading army is that Afghanistan has no conventional coordinates or signposts to plot on a military map - no big cities, no highways, no industrial complexes, no water treatment plants. Farms have been turned into mass graves. The countryside is littered with land mines - 10 million is the most recent estimate. The American army would first have to clear the mines and build roads in order to take its soldiers in.
Fearing an attack from America, one million citizens have fled from their homes and arrived at the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The UN estimates that there are eight million Afghan citizens who need emergency aid. As supplies run out - food and aid agencies have been asked to leave - the BBC reports that one of the worst humanitarian disasters of recent times has begun to unfold. Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death while they're waiting to be killed.
In America there has been rough talk of "bombing Afghanistan back to the stone age". Someone please break the news that Afghanistan is already there. And if it's any consolation, America played no small part in helping it on its way. The American people may be a little fuzzy about where exactly Afghanistan is (we hear reports that there's a run on maps of the country), but the US government and Afghanistan are old friends.
In 1979, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA and Pakistan's ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) launched the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA. Their purpose was to harness the energy of Afghan resistance to the Soviets and expand it into a holy war, an Islamic jihad, which would turn Muslim countries within the Soviet Union against the communist regime and eventually destabilise it. When it began, it was meant to be the Soviet Union's Vietnam. It turned out to be much more than that. Over the years, through the ISI, the CIA funded and recruited almost 100,000 radical mojahedin from 40 Islamic countries as soldiers for America's proxy war. The rank and file of the mojahedin were unaware that their jihad was actually being fought on behalf of Uncle Sam. (The irony is that America was equally unaware that it was financing a future war against itself.)
In 1989, after being bloodied by 10 years of relentless conflict, the Russians withdrew, leaving behind a civilisation reduced to rubble.
Civil war in Afghanistan raged on. The jihad spread to Chechnya, Kosovo and eventually to Kashmir. The CIA continued to pour in money and military equipment, but the overheads had become immense, and more money was needed. The mojahedin ordered farmers to plant opium as a "revolutionary tax". The ISI set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. Within two years of the CIA's arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland had become the biggest producer of heroin in the world, and the single biggest source of the heroin on American streets. The annual profits, said to be between $100bn and $200bn, were ploughed back into training and arming militants.
In 1995, the Taliban - then a marginal sect of dangerous, hardline fundamentalists - fought its way to power in Afghanistan. It was funded by the ISI, that old cohort of the CIA, and supported by many political parties in Pakistan. The Taliban unleashed a regime of terror. Its first victims were its own people, particularly women. It closed down girls' schools, dismissed women from government jobs, and enforced sharia laws under which women deemed to be "immoral" are stoned to death, and widows guilty of being adulterous are buried alive. Given the Taliban government's human rights track record, it seems unlikely that it will in any way be intimidated or swerved from its purpose by the prospect of war, or the threat to the lives of its civilians.
After all that has happened, can there be anything more ironic than Russia and America joining hands to re-destroy Afghanistan? The question is, can you destroy destruction? Dropping more bombs on Afghanistan will only shuffle the rubble, scramble some old graves and disturb the dead.
The desolate landscape of Afghanistan was the burial ground of Soviet communism and the springboard of a unipolar world dominated by America. It made the space for neocapitalism and corporate globalisation, again dominated by America. And now Afghanistan is poised to become the graveyard for the unlikely soldiers who fought and won this war for America.
And what of America's trusted ally? Pakistan too has suffered enormously. The US government has not been shy of supporting military dictators who have blocked the idea of democracy from taking root in the country. Before the CIA arrived, there was a small rural market for opium in Pakistan. Between 1979 and 1985, the number of heroin addicts grew from zero to one-and-a-half million. Even before September 11, there were three million Afghan refugees living in tented camps along the border. Pakistan's economy is crumbling. Sectarian violence, globalisation's structural adjustment programmes and drug lords are tearing the country to pieces. Set up to fight the Soviets, the terrorist training centres and madrasahs, sown like dragon's teeth across the country, produced fundamentalists with tremendous popular appeal within Pakistan itself. The Taliban, which the Pakistan government has sup ported, funded and propped up for years, has material and strategic alliances with Pakistan's own political parties.
Now the US government is asking (asking?) Pakistan to garotte the pet it has hand-reared in its backyard for so many years. President Musharraf, having pledged his support to the US, could well find he has something resembling civil war on his hands.
India, thanks in part to its geography, and in part to the vision of its former leaders, has so far been fortunate enough to be left out of this Great Game. Had it been drawn in, it's more than likely that our democracy, such as it is, would not have survived. Today, as some of us watch in horror, the Indian government is furiously gyrating its hips, begging the US to set up its base in India rather than Pakistan. Having had this ringside view of Pakistan's sordid fate, it isn't just odd, it's unthinkable, that India should want to do this. Any third world country with a fragile economy and a complex social base should know by now that to invite a superpower such as America in (whether it says it's staying or just passing through) would be like inviting a brick to drop through your windscreen.
Operation Enduring Freedom is ostensibly being fought to uphold the American Way of Life. It'll probably end up undermining it completely. It will spawn more anger and more terror across the world. For ordinary people in America, it will mean lives lived in a climate of sickening uncertainty: will my child be safe in school? Will there be nerve gas in the subway? A bomb in the cinema hall? Will my love come home tonight? There have been warnings about the possibility of biological warfare - smallpox, bubonic plague, anthrax - the deadly payload of innocuous crop-duster aircraft. Being picked off a few at a time may end up being worse than being annihilated all at once by a nuclear bomb.
The US government, and no doubt governments all over the world, will use the climate of war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, deny free speech, lay off workers, harass ethnic and religious minorities, cut back on public spending and divert huge amounts of money to the defence industry. To what purpose? President Bush can no more "rid the world of evil-doers" than he can stock it with saints. It's absurd for the US government to even toy with the notion that it can stamp out terrorism with more violence and oppression. Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease. Terrorism has no country. It's transnational, as global an enterprise as Coke or Pepsi or Nike. At the first sign of trouble, terrorists can pull up stakes and move their "factories" from country to country in search of a better deal. Just like the multi-nationals.
Terrorism as a phenomenon may never go away. But if it is to be contained, the first step is for America to at least acknowledge that it shares the planet with other nations, with other human beings who, even if they are not on TV, have loves and griefs and stories and songs and sorrows and, for heaven's sake, rights. Instead, when Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, was asked what he would call a victory in America's new war, he said that if he could convince the world that Americans must be allowed to continue with their way of life, he would consider it a victory.
The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card from a world gone horribly wrong. The message may have been written by Bin Laden (who knows?) and delivered by his couriers, but it could well have been signed by the ghosts of the victims of America's old wars. The millions killed in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 17,500 killed when Israel - backed by the US - invaded Lebanon in 1982, the 200,000 Iraqis killed in Operation Desert Storm, the thousands of Palestinians who have died fighting Israel's occupation of the West Bank. And the millions who died, in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Panama, at the hands of all the terrorists, dictators and genocidists whom the American government supported, trained, bankrolled and supplied with arms. And this is far from being a comprehensive list.
For a country involved in so much warfare and conflict, the American people have been extremely fortunate. The strikes on September 11 were only the second on American soil in over a century. The first was Pearl Harbour. The reprisal for this took a long route, but ended with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This time the world waits with bated breath for the horrors to come.
Someone recently said that if Osama bin Laden didn't exist, America would have had to invent him. But, in a way, America did invent him. He was among the jihadis who moved to Afghanistan in 1979 when the CIA commenced its operations there. Bin Laden has the distinction of being created by the CIA and wanted by the FBI. In the course of a fortnight he has been promoted from suspect to prime suspect and then, despite the lack of any real evidence, straight up the charts to being "wanted dead or alive".
From all accounts, it will be impossible to produce evidence (of the sort that would stand scrutiny in a court of law) to link Bin Laden to the September 11 attacks. So far, it appears that the most incriminating piece of evidence against him is the fact that he has not condemned them.
From what is known about the location of Bin Laden and the living conditions in which he operates, it's entirely possible that he did not personally plan and carry out the attacks - that he is the inspirational figure, "the CEO of the holding company". The Taliban's response to US demands for the extradition of Bin Laden has been uncharacteristically reasonable: produce the evidence, then we'll hand him over. President Bush's response is that the demand is "non-negotiable".
But who is Osama bin Laden really? Let me rephrase that. What is Osama bin Laden? He's America's family secret. He is the American president's dark doppelgänger. The savage twin of all that purports to be beautiful and civilised. He has been sculpted from the spare rib of a world laid to waste by America's foreign policy: its gunboat diplomacy, its nuclear arsenal, its vulgarly stated policy of "full-spectrum dominance", its chilling disregard for non-American lives, its barbarous military interventions, its support for despotic and dictatorial regimes, its merciless economic agenda that has munched through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of locusts. Its marauding multinationals who are taking over the air we breathe, the ground we stand on, the water we drink, the thoughts we think. Now that the family secret has been spilled, the twins are blurring into one another and gradually becoming interchangeable. Their guns, bombs, money and drugs have been going around in the loop for a while. (The Stinger missiles that will greet US helicopters were supplied by the CIA. The heroin used by America's drug addicts comes from Afghanistan. The Bush administration recently gave Afghanistan a $43m subsidy for a "war on drugs"....)
Now Bush and Bin Laden have even begun to borrow each other's rhetoric. Each refers to the other as "the head of the snake". Both invoke God and use the loose millenarian currency of good and evil as their terms of reference. Both are engaged in unequivocal political crimes. Both are dangerously armed - one with the nuclear arsenal of the obscenely powerful, the other with the incandescent, destructive power of the utterly hopeless. The fireball and the ice pick. The bludgeon and the axe. The important thing to keep in mind is that neither is an acceptable alternative to the other.
President Bush's ultimatum to the people of the world - "If you're not with us, you're against us" - is a piece of presumptuous arrogance. It's not a choice that people want to, need to, or should have to make.
procrastination
We've all been plagued by procrastination at one time or another. For some, it's a chronic problem. Others find that it hits only some areas of their lives. The net results, though, are usually the same - wasted time, missed opportunities, poor performance, self-deprecation, or increased stress.
Procrastination is letting the low-priority tasks get in the way of high-priority ones. It's socializing with colleagues when you know that important work project is due soon, watching TV instead of doing your household chores, or talking about superficial things with your partner rather than discussing your relationship concerns.
My health problem isn't that bad. Time will heal this pain.
I work better under pressure so I don't need to do it right now.
Procrastination is a bad habit. Like other habits, there are two general causes. The first is the "crooked thinking" we employ to justify our behavior. The second source is our behavioral patterns.
A closer look at our crooked thinking reveals three major issues in delaying tactics - perfectionism, inadequacy, and discomfort. Those who believe they must turn in the most exemplary report may wait until all available resources have been reviewed or endlessly rewrite draft after draft. Worry over producing the perfect project prevents them from finishing on time. Feelings of inadequacy can also cause delays. Those who "know for a fact" that they are incompetent often believe they will fail and will avoid the unpleasantness of having their skills put to the test. Fear of discomfort is another way of putting a stop to what needs to be done. Yet, the more we delay, the worse the discomforting problem (like a toothache) becomes.
Our behavioral patterns are the second cause. Getting started on an unpleasant or difficult task may seem impossible. Procrastination is likened to the physics concept of inertia - a mass at rest tends to stay at rest. Greater forces are required to start change than to sustain change. Another way of viewing it is that avoiding tasks reinforces procrastination which makes it harder to get things going. A person may be stuck, too, not by the lack of desire, but by not knowing what to do. Here are some things to break the habit. Remember, don't just read them, do them!
1. Rational Self-Talk. Those old excuses really don't hold up to rational inspection. The "two-column technique" will help. Write down all your excuses on one side of a piece of paper. Start challenging the faulty reasoning behind each of the excuses. Write down your realistic thoughts on the opposite side of each excuse. Here are two examples of excuses and realistic thoughts.
EXCUSE: I'm not in the mood right now. REALISTIC THOUGHT: Mood doesn't do my work, actions do. If I wait for the right mood, I may never get it done. EXCUSE::I'm just lazy. REALISTIC THOUGHT: Labeling myself as lazy only brings me down. My work is really separate from who I am as a person. Getting started is the key to finishing.
2. Positive Self-Statements. Incorporate a list of self-motivating statements into your repertoire of thoughts. Consider ...
"There's no such thing as perfectionism. It's an illusion that keeps me from
"It's cheaper and less painful if I do it now rather than wait until it gets worse."
4. Design Clear Goals. Think about what you want and what needs to be done. Be specific. If it's getting that work project completed by the deadline, figure out a time table with realistic goals at each step. Keep your sights within reason. Having goals too big can scare you away from starting.
5. Set Priorities. Write down all the things that need to be done in order of their importance. The greater the importance or urgency, the higher their priority. Put "messing around" (distractions) in its proper place - last! Start at the top of the list and work your way down.
6. Partialize the Tasks. Big projects feel overwhelming. Break them down into the smallest and most manageable subparts. You'll get more done if you can do it piece by piece. For example, make an outline for a written report before you start composing or do a small portion of the chores rather than all at once. Partializing works especially well with the unpleasant jobs. Most of us can handle duties we dislike as long as they're for a short time and in small increments.
7. Get Organized. Have all your materials ready before you begin a task. Use a daily schedule and have it with you all the time. List the tasks of the day or week realistically. Check off the tasks when you have completed them.
8. Take a Stand. Commit yourself to doing the task. Write yourself a "contract" and sign it. Better still, tell a friend, partner, or supervisor about your plans.
10. Reward Yourself. Self-reinforcement has a powerful effect on developing a "do it now" attitude. Celebrate, pat yourself on the back, smile, and let yourself enjoy the completion of even the smallest of tasks. Don't minimize your accomplishments. Remember, you're already that much closer to finishing those things that need to be done. Go ahead, get started ... NOW!
This information was written by Kent T. Yamauchi, Ph.D.
The Ten Marks of a Happy Marriage
'Marriage is nature's way of preventing us fighting with strangers.'
Marriage is beautiful, fulfilling and difficult. After 35 years and three months of marriage, and 11,000 hours of pastoral counseling, I have learned twenty things about good and bad marriages. (Ten myths about marriage will follow in another post).
But first my definition of marriage: it is a covenantal relationship between a man and a woman in an emotional, physical, moral, and spiritual union, exclusively and for life. The husband and wife take each other and forsake all others.
You've heard about some marriages being 'made in heaven'? Marriage is not just an arrangement to clarify inheritance. It has been called a dramatic act in which two strangers come together to redefine themselves.
1. COMMITMENT: Some couples like their wedding service to be traditional, others 'freer'. But three solemn declarations must be there somewhere: I am not married to anyone else; I take you ... to be my lawful wedded wife/husband; forsaking all others I will be lovingly committed to you for life. When I counsel a couple before marriage, we talk about their vows (they usually compose their own). Some young people are wary of commitment, and view marriage as a trap. But you can't have a satisfying marriage relationship without commitment - a commitment of one imperfect person to another imperfect person. Marriage is not simply a 50-50 affair: it's 100 per cent give, both ways!
Commitment is more than to permanence or sexual fidelity. For Christians commitment is not just 'being there year after year in the easy chair'. It is more than a promise not to go away. It ought to include, above all, a commitment to grow, to become the persons God intended us to be. 'Growing' couples set growth goals - to read a good book and discuss it; to go away every year on a retreat; to pray together; do a course together. One couple said in their wedding vows: 'In this marriage I want to grow as a person, I want to help you grow as a person, and I want to see our relationship of love, companionship and support grow deeper, larger and stronger. With the help of God, I commit myself to that.'
2. LOVING ACCEPTANCE: The most fundamental idea in Christianity is about 'grace' - I am loved before I change. God loves me as I am. He doesn't love anyone else more than he loves me, and nothing I can do can increase his love for me. Our society, on the other hand, teaches us that worth is something you earn. At school those with higher grades are more highly esteemed than 'dunces'. In the army those with fewer stripes take orders from those with more. But in God's family the prodigal is valued as highly as the loyal son. So too in marriage. I love my wife before she changes, or whether she changes or not. Nothing is unforgivable. Nothing will stop me loving her: she can count utterly on that. So a good marriage is the union of two good forgivers: it is 'three parts love and seven parts forgiveness'.
3. RESPECT: If acceptance and love are reactions to a 'sinning other' respect is our response to another's God-likeness. The person we are relating to is made in God's image, he or she is like God. So I should treat my spouse with courtesy and dignity even when I don't feel like it. Little habits of helpfulness actually feed respect. It is an honour to serve one who is like God. In Grace Awakening Chuck Swindoll writes: 'When I speak to those who are still single, I frequently address the issue of selfishness. I'll often say, "If you tend toward being selfish; if you're the type who clings to your own rights and has no interest sharing with others, please do the world (and certainly your potential mate) a favour and don't marry!"'[56] ('How good of God to let the Carlyles marry each other, and so make only two people miserable instead of four' wrote Samuel Butler of Thomas and Jane Carlyle.) Our fundamental human need is 'a true deep love of self, a genuine and joyful self-acceptance,' but marriage calls upon us to transcend that need: the partner's needs and pleasures must take equal if not superior status to our own.
4. MATURITY AND RESPONSIBILITY: are necessary for resolving differences, carrying through promises, sharing finances, and for modeling a Christian lifestyle for our children. I take responsibility for resolving personal issues, not 'dumping' them on my partner. I take responsibility for my own 'happiness'. If the motivation for marriage is to 'live happily ever after' we are setting ourselves up for trouble. If you came into the marriage unhappy chances are you'll stay that way. Happiness is a by-product of self-respect, solving problems responsibly, and doing worthwhile, interesting and useful things.
5. INTIMACY: Marriage is 'incarnation'. When God wanted to communicate his love for us he sent Jesus to embody that love. Jesus loved people like God loves us. This truth will appear and re-appear like a refrain throughout this book: God loves us before we deserve to be loved. He loves us even though he knows us intimately. So it is in a good marriage. As we are utterly transparent with one another - we have already promised to love 'for better or for worse' - we learn to 'know' and love the other with their imperfections and faults, not after their removal! But if unsure of your parent's love, you may marry to find a kind of paternal/maternal love from your partner, which complicates the relationship. Here we must be very honest. Most women, I believe, are engaged in a life-long search for a strong nurturing father-figure; most men marry a wife to find a responsive nurturing mother-figure. Now you are allowed to have your own feelings about all this, and to express them: 'feelings are neither right nor wrong'. Figure out which feelings, wishes and thoughts come from within yourself, and which from your partner. Marriage fights are usually more about the past than the present! For example if one's parents were tidy/perfectionistic we'll have to figure out why we are the same or the opposite!
6. CONFLICT RESOLUTION: A survey among 700 marriage counselors found that 'communication breakdown' headed the list of marital problems (followed by loss of shared goals/interests; sexual incompatibility, infidelity, excitement and fun leaving the marriage, money, conflicts about children, alcohol/drug abuse, women's equality issues and the in-laws). Conflict arises because we bring different biographies, needs, interests, values, and lifestyles to our marriage. The trigger for a 'conflictual explosion' may include loss of a job, arrival of a new baby, an illness, moving to a new house, taking an aged parent into the home etc. Marriage breakdowns do not happen because of 'differences'; they happen because a couple can't handle those differences. Relationships do not cause conflict: they bring out whatever incompleteness we have within us anyway. Conflict is a contest of wills, but it ought not to be viewed as a power struggle or as a question of who is right or wrong. Gentle assertiveness is called for: 'speaking the truth in love' and asking about feelings that underlie the difficulty. Discuss with dignity, and sensitivity to the other's needs. 'If pride and prejudice were set aside, most difficulties could be resolved in five minutes.' Resolution may allow one partner or the other to have a 'veto' in certain areas: in our marriage, Jan has veto power in the kitchen, I do with the cars (except for their colour!). But re the issue of my ministry-time away from home, this was resolved in a family conference: I would not be away more than a third of the time; and would forego preaching engagements at least once a month to attend our local church with my wife and family. Some things important to you you'll have to concede - that is, compromise. Jan and I compromise on our leisure: I like competitive sports and swimming but she prefers walking so we walk more than we swim (and we rarely play tennis together!). And don't complain too much: your 'fussing' can be viewed as trivial by the other.
7. MONEY: 'The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Hosts' (Haggai 2:8). Here Jan and I began our thinking by agreeing that all we own belongs to God anyway. We are 'joint stewards' with him of our home, our savings, our possessions. We happen to believe that a joint bank account is an appropriate token of our togetherness, so we've always had one.
'When money is tight, couples fight'. As an ex-wives' tale put it: 'They won't have incompatibility as long as he has income and she has pattability.' Sometimes one is more of a 'spendthrift' than the other; sometimes the 'bread-winner' is tightfisted about offering money for housekeeping. I believe it is demeaning for one partner to control the finances against the wishes of the other: this is a result of immaturity or insecurity. Some couples may need financial counseling: in your church an accountant or bank manager will be delighted to help. Draw up a plan together. Be willing occasionally to touch up the plan as circumstances change. And decide mutually to live more simply!
8. GENDER ROLES AND SEX: You've heard the song 'Let's Talk About Sex Baby!' Do that (although the subject of commitment should come first). Think with your brains, not just your hormones! Sex is part of God's creation, which he pronounced 'very good' (Genesis 1:31). Sexual relations are more than physical: they are also emotional, spiritual, and moral. In 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Paul talks about the willing surrender of husband and wife to each other to create coupleness. There's a lot of help around about a wholesome Christian approach to sex, to guard us against either a lustful hedonism or prudish asceticism. Sex is more than the union of bodies; it is also about roles, so sort them out. With women freer to pursue careers, role-expectations by men of women and women of men are dramatically changing. (Our son Paul, for example, is a 'househusband': our daughter-in-law has a full time remunerated vocation.) What household chores should be done by whom? Expectations are usually connected back to what our parents did - who fixed what, who put out garbage, vacuumed floors, did the cooking, washed the dishes, got up to the sick kids at night, etc. Everything ought to be negotiable on these issues.
9. SPIRITUALITY: God was the first marriage celebrant. He invented marriage. The engagement ring I bought Jan thirty-five years ago had two small diamonds and one larger one to depict the 'Eternal triangle' - one man, one woman, one God. Try to worship together regularly; pray with and for each other. (Yes, those who pray together are much more likely to stay together.) Having a Christian commitment that is both real and similar to each other's is a healthy indicator of future marital harmony. That ought not to preclude each partner relating to God uniquely. However, when one is a committed church-going Christian and the other isn't, there's usually (though not invariably) trouble: talk that out very very carefully before you marry. Some couples have reluctantly called their wedding off when the Christian partner takes seriously the biblical injunction about not being joined with an unbeliever: in my experience only one in eight or nine men will become a Christian after marriage if they weren't before. In a truly Christian marriage the order of priority, always is: God first, spouse second, children third, church/job next. But in a well-ordered and committed life, all these 'loves' enrich one another.
10. HAVE REGULAR MARRIAGE CHECK-UPS: at a marriage enrichment/encounter weekend, or with a counselor. Jan and I are currently talking about our relationship to an experienced counseling couple. The issues include: What are our feelings about each other at the moment - and those close to us? How can we accommodate to each other's differing sexual drives? How much 'quality time' should we have with our grandchildren? With Jan's part-time and my full-time ministries, how do we apportion chores, or share each other's vocations?
And remember: a good marriage is both a mystery and a miracle. It depends less on finding the right partner than being the right partner.
Newsgroups: alt.christnet.christianlife,aus.religion
Weblog2001December
by [Kishore Balakrishnan]
[Albert Einstein] : There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
* [Philip Greenspun] : [Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing|http://www.arsdigita.com/books/panda/]
* [Aaron Swartz] : who said 'I did it... you can do it too...' and made me realise my dream >>> [World Wide Wisdom|http://www.carnatic.com/www/]
* [Mira Art] : [Surprise|http://surprise.editthispage.com]
* I list many more people at [Portal] whom I visit virtually and also contribute to who i am...
If you want to lose weight, [goto India|http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1668000/1668872.stm] :-)
[Manish Vaidya] : [Layoff] Lessons
[Christopher Ryan] [turns two|http://shanson.editthispage.com/2001/12/27]. We have met him in Amsterdam and have a few pictures. He was cute!
[Peter Koestenbaum] in [After Shock|http://www.fastcompany.com/online/54/aftershock.html] : ...We must resolve to work with greatness and never forget to do so again. Every workday is a concert, a Nobel-prize ceremony, or an Olympic victory...
[Anton Skorucak]'s [Holiday Wish]
[Jeremiah Rogers] [:|http://radio.weblogs.com/0001189/2001/12/21.html#a35] ...I'm only 16, so I still have (estimate here) 70-75 years ideally left until I'm outta commission. Think of how much more knowledge I can gain in that time...
It has been a while since realised that I am not in this world _only_ to gain more knowledge, wealth etc. :-)
The Rhine ferry " Drusus " connects Germany with France. We were on this today
It is the no. 1 movie at http://us.imdb.com/top_250_films
I have an idea: When users rate anything... show them a list of similar objects (with the ratings by them) they have rated already and this will hopefully give them the correct perspective
For eg., I would not rate this movie more than [Blast from the past] overall !
Ofcourse, I liked the scenic shots in [Lord of the Rings]. But It is not the no. 1 movie I have seen from the imdb list !
[Jason Levine] [:|http://q.queso.com/2001/12/21] ...I have to say that there's a lot more hype than there is movie....
The song [Christmas Time] is on the radio often...
[Buckminster Fuller] : "For the first time in history it is now possible to take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. Only ten years ago the ‘more with less’ technology reached the point where this could be done. All humanity now has the option to become enduringly successful."
It is very cold outside !
I have downloaded [GraphicConverter], [OmniWeb] after reading [Wesley Felter]'s [Colophon|http://wmf.editthispage.com/meta/colophon]
[Mira Art] [:|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/12/22] : ...highways with traffic jams as long as 150 km...
Visit our [portfolio|http://www.photo.net/shared/community-member?user_id=119381] at http://www.photo.net
We are connecting to the net from today with [dsl flat|http://www.billiger-surfen.de/tarifmodelle.php3?name=T-Online&verbindungsnbz=dsl+flat&gueltigab=2001-08-01&gueltigbis=0000-00-00] :-)
I received [Drive10] today. The interface could be better... It could tell us more about what is doing behind the scenes...
[Year-End Google Zeitgeist|http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html] : Search patterns, trends, and surprises
[World Bank praises India's highway upgrade|http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/business/newsid_1719000/1719628.stm]
[Extreme Programming] and [Feature Driven Development] : [a short comparison|http://www.togethercommunity.com/coad-letter/Coad-Letter-0070.html] : The Bottom Line in the article is the essence : ...It is important to discover what works for you and your organization. The name of the process you use is not important. What is important is the ability to repeatedly deliver frequent, tangible, working results on time, within budget and with agreed function...
[LinkBaton] is interesting...
[IBM's Test-Tube Quantum Computer Makes History|http://www.research.ibm.com/resources/news/20011219_quantum.shtml] : ...Scientists at IBM's Almaden Research Center have performed the world's most complicated quantum-computer calculation to date. They caused a billion-billion custom-designed molecules in a test tube to become a seven-qubit quantum computer that solved a simple version of the mathematical problem at the heart of many of today's data-security cryptographic systems...
[An interview|http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1756/leelozo.htm] with Mr. [Lee Lozowick]
I started eating vegetarisch [Flammkuchen|http://www.cantate86.de/flammkuchen.htm] at 12:05 today morning !!!
[Russell H. Conwell]'s speech [Acres of Diamonds] concludes ...If you forget everything I have said to you, do not forget this, because it contains more in two lines than all I have said. Bailey says: "He most lives who thinks most, who feels the noblest, and who acts the best."...
The mission of the [North Carolina Christmas Tree Association|http://www.ncchristmastrees.com/] (NCCTA) is to promote "real" Christmas Trees through marketing and education.
(image source : [Why they make Scents|http://www.ncchristmastrees.com/sents.htm]]
..image_ChristmasTree.gif..
[James Allen]'s [As A Man Thinketh] is partly responsible for the creation of the entire personal development industry. Most contemporary PD authors and teachers credit this little book for providing foundation to their principles.
[Jeff Keller] is President of [Attitude is Everything], Inc.
[Ben Brown] and [Ani Moller] are on a three week road trip and will send [super brief updates|http://benbrown.com/is/driving/] using his Nokia's e-mail capabilities.
[Albert Einstein] : A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
[Oliver Breidenbach] [:|http://www.fsomm.com/discuss/msgReader$902] The Spiegel figured out how to use numerology to better remember the Euro to DM exchange rate: 1.9 55 83 If you take the sum of the last two pairs it is 10 and 11, respectively. So, the exchange rate is one point nine, ten, eleven...
[Mira Art] [quotes|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/12/16] [Buckminster Fuller] : When I am Working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
[Why we have a terrorism problem with our airlines|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200112/msg00227.html] : ...the FAA had come down hard on the airport only because 1,000 badges was too many, in that regulations permit that airport to have only 500 unaccounted-for access badges....
I have read somewhere that the Western World follow a 'parts per million' culture while the Japanese follow the 'zero defect' culture... and that this is the fundamental difference !
[Pegasos|http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/] is a literature related resource site
[Sjoerd Visscher] [:|http://w3future.com/weblog/2001/12/12.html] "I got ADSL!" . I hope to say that soon too :-)
[Socrates] : The unexamined life is not worth living
[Aristotle] in [Nicomachean Ethics] : The man who gets angry at the right things and with the right people, and in the right way and at the right time and for the right length of time, is commended.
[Jason Levine] : [Stanford University Interview|http://www.broaderminds.com/Profiles/Stanford_university/reviews/987553538431.html] : "More important than the workload at Stanford, I find, is the ‘humbling factor’. Basically, if you can gain admission to a school like Stanford, I have no doubt that you can work at the level set by the professors. The problem is more egotistical: can you handle meeting people just as and possibly more intelligent than yourself?"
[Sharon Holdstock] (is a generic love spreader among others) : [Yoga by Shazzie|http://www.stretchmagazine.com/page.php?content=shazzie&pagetitle=Yoga%20by%20Shazzie] - WOW - see the pictures !
(via [PaperQuote]) [Buddha] : A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden.
I requested [Brent Simmons] to list all the [Mac OS X applications] used by him. [The answer|http://inessential.com/osxapps.html]. Thanks, Brent.
A visit to their [Garden|http://sheila.inessential.com/garden/] maintained by his wife [Sheila Simmons] is refreshing.
[Saravanan Natarajan] has sent me some (10 !) CDs with Osho's speeches and I have started listening to "Osho about Creativity" and most of the speech is available on the web too...
[Osho] : [CREATIVITY: Unleashing the Forces Within] : ...Creativity means loving whatsoever you do -- enjoying, celebrating it! Maybe nobody comes to know about it -- who is going to praise you for cleaning the floor? History will not take any account of it; newspapers will not publish your name and picture -- but that is irrelevant. You enjoyed it. The value is intrinsic...
[First mention|http://www.google.com/googlegroups/archive_announce_20.html] of [Google] is by [Chris Mitchell]. He doesnot actively maintain [The Searcher's Road Less Travelled|http://home.teleport.com/~lensman/roadless.htm]
But, [Chris Mitchell] has a powerful message on his home page for all of mankind - WOW !
It is all the more an important message when I see news like [U.S. Nearing ABM Treaty Withdrawal|http://dailynews.yahoo.com/htx/nm/20011211/ts/arms_missile_usa_dc_1.html]
[Soul Boosters] is inspiring
[Mortimer Jerome Adler] : The purpose of a liberal education is not to learn how to earn a living, but to learn how to live and enjoy life, especially when not working
[Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan]
[Siva Vaidhyanathan] : [Software Is Free Speech|http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/09/magazine/09SOFTWARE.html] vs [Software] Is [Free Speech]
[Isaiah Berlin] (in [The Hedgehog and the Fox]): There exists a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to a single central vision...and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory...The first kind of intellectual and artistic personality belongs to the hedgehogs, the second to the foxes.
[Derk Richardson] : [Eight Things I Learned|http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2001/12/06/derk.DTL] from [George Harrison]
[Albert Einstein] : If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
[William James] : As the brain changes are continuous, so do all these consciousnesses melt into each other like dissolving views. Properly they are but one protracted consciousness, one unbroken stream.
I received an email response from [Richard P. Gabriel] regarding a spelling mistake on his site and another from [John Patrick] for a similar issue. Nice!
I want the following feature in MS Outlook or any email client for that matter: When I send an email, the tool should prompt me... you have sent a similar email to this person and didnot get a reply ! dont bother !!!
Better yet, my browser should have a similar feature :-)
I did something at work which makes me think of the [Elegant Hack] which is being powered by [movabletype] since some days...
I was looking for a [Digital Camera] and the winner is [Digital IXUS]. We bought it at [New York Camera] yesterday in person. [Christian Kwyas] is a great sales man. It was (will be) a memorable shopping experience. However Christian should be thankful to [Jeff Keller]'s very useful reviews at [Digital Camera Resource Page]
Visit [1000 words]
Probably [Christian Kwyas] has accumulated lots of [good karma] like [Mark Pilgrim] :-)
Coming from India, I am thinking of tasty [Korma] and Lord Vishnu's [Kurma] Avatar
[Dave Winer] [:|http://scriptingnews.userland.com/backissues/2001/12/06#l86b0989154cbfbef88f0a30f41b96187] Bug reports should have three parts. 1. Here's what I did. 2. This is what I expected to happen. 3. This is what actually happened. For extra credit, if it's a public Web app, provide a URL. It also couldn't hurt to say what version of the software you're using, what OS, and other things that might make your installation different from others.
[Peter Longo] is [Pratt & Whitney|http://www.pratt-whitney.com/]'s CIO. Pratt & Whitney is a leader in the design, manufacture and support of engines for commercial, military and general aviation aircraft, and space propulsion systems
[Benjamin Kuipers] has [a possible solution|http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200112/msg00061.html] to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Found [The End of the World] at his page... which made me goto [RAQ] and found [The Meaning of Life] :-)
[LimeWire] is interesting
[Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict - A Primer|http://www.merip.org/palestine-israel_primer/intro-pal-isr-primer.html]
I want to buy a [Digital Camera]. [Canon PowerShot A20|http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/a20-review/index.html] is on the top of my list... [Jeff Keller] states ...As always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out the /camera/ and its competitors before you buy!... Do you have any recommendations ?
I am in [The Search for Beauty] in [An English Country Garden|http://www.alfresco.demon.co.uk/]
"For his([Christopher Alexander]) Ph. D. Thesis, later published as the book [Notes on the Synthesis of Form], he was awarded the first Gold Medal for Research by the American Institute of Architects."
[John Patrick] is IBM's Internet Guru and his new book is [Net Attitude]
via [PaperQuote] [Andre Gide] : It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.
[CoolCam] is coolware as well as shareware :-)
[Christopher Alexander]'s [ideas on office furniture and interiors]
[Richard P. Gabriel] : [Worse Is Better]
[George Harrison] [dies|http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/music/newsid_1492000/1492446.stm]. [Craig Jensen] is [Sad and heart broken|http://booknotes.weblogs.com/2001/11/30]. [All Things Must Pass]
[Weihnachtsmarkt] lists all !
[Andrea Frick] has great pictures from her local [Christmas Market|http://andrea.editthispage.com/weihnachtsmarkt2001]
Worse Is Better
[Articles] > Worse Is Better
http://www.dreamsongs.com/WorseIsBetter.html
http://www.jwz.org/doc/worse-is-better.html
Richard P. Gabriel
# [Worse is Better]
Weblog2002January
>>> http://www.carnatic.com/kishore/neti-neti/ <<<
[Dave Winer] [:|http://scriptingnews.userland.com/backissues/2002/01/14#philosophy] "No locked trunks. Use Radio 8 because it's the best choice. Your choice."
Over the weekend, I spent lot of time learning Radio UserLand 8.0 >>> 0100563 >>> http://www.carnatic.com/kishore/ru/
[What Is a Human Being?]
[Pongal] festival is celebrated on 14th this year. This is the day on which the sun begins to move northwards (also called Makara Shankranti). For Tamilians, Makara Shankranti ushers in the New Year. The corn that is newly-harvested is cooked for the first time on that day. Joyous festivities mark the celebration in every home.
[Mattu Pongal] : "...According to a legend, once Shiva asked his bull, Basava, to go to the earth and ask the mortals to have an oil massage and bath every day and to eat once a month. Inadvertently, Basava announced that everyone should eat daily and have an oil bath once a month. - - - This mistake enraged Shiva who then cursed Basava, banishing him to live on the earth forever. He would have to plough the fields and help people produce more food. Thus the association of this day with cattle. - - - A festival called [Jallikattu] is held in [Madurai], Tiruchirapalli and Tanjavur on this day..."
[Great Virtues of the Dhamma] : "...Amongst the many virtues of the Dhamma, there are six salient characteristics mentioned in the most authoritative texts. Svakkhato Bhagavata Dhammo, Sanditthiko, Akaliko, Ehipassiko, Opanayiko and Paccattam Veditabbo Vinnuhi..."
[Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn] : "If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere [insidious]ly committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart."
From an story by [Anthony de Mello] : "[Holiness] today is a [name] without a
[reality]. It is only [genuine] when it is a reality without a name"
[Lawrence Lee] [:|http://radio.weblogs.com/0001013/2002/01/03.html] "The [Digital Identity Weblog|http://weblog.digital-identity.info/] is a [must-read]."
I think that code generated by radiobadge is not valid HTML... [Lawrence Lee] is analysing the issue...
[Rebecca Blood] [:|http://www.rebeccablood.net/archive/2002/01.html#07e] "I think you may be interested in [viviculture]: it is weblog as an exercise in mindfulness. Kurt's statement of principles especially resonates with me."
[Field Observations] : ...The [Amish], for instance, have succeeded simply by asking one question of any proposed innovation, namely: "What will this do to our community?"...
[Wendell Berry] : [The joy of sales resistance] : ...We live in a time when technologies and ideas (often the same thing) are adopted in response not to need but to advertising, salesmanship, and fashion...
[Derek Powazek] is [looking for work|http://www.powazek.com/resume/]
[Greg Franklin] : [A Fast Food Era Ends|http://flyingchihuahuas.editthispage.com/2002/01/09]
[John Dingell] (after he was [forced to strip!|http://www.newsday.com/news/politics/wire/sns-ap-congressman-searched0108jan08.story]) "I asked Norman to check to see if they treated me like they do everybody else," Dingell said. "I just wanted to be sure that what they did was necessary, that I got the same treatment, no better or no worse, than anyone else."
In [Wendell Berry]'s [Community|http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Crisis/Jan2000/Community.html] : "...[Gary Snyder] said the right thing: Stop somewhere, just stop. Finally, this thing we are calling mobility keeps people from learning their lessons. They keep moving away from the problems they’ve caused. Their idea is that you can completely mess up somewhere and then go somewhere else, or you can completely succeed somewhere and go somewhere else. In either case you don’t know what the effects are. Sometimes people cause worse effects by their success than they do by their failure. To go back to the metaphor of marriage. What marriage does is say to you to stay and find out. It doesn’t say what you are going to find out. When you think this is it, we are at a complete dead end here, the marriage says to you: Wait, stay, and find out. Always you find out more..."
[Umberto Eco] : I don't even have an email address. I have reached an age where my main purpose is not to receive messages.
[Joel Spolsky] [:|http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000339.html] "Sometimes I just can't get anything done......Many of my days go like this: (1) get into work (2) check email, read the web, etc. (3) decide that I might as well have lunch
[Life is Beautiful]
[John VanDyk] [:|http://iowa.weblogger.com/2002/01/04] "The writings of [Wendell Berry] seem to be popping up with astonishing frequency of late."
[Ed Iglehart]'s [Reading List and Inspirations|http://www.tipiglen.dircon.co.uk/readinglist.html]
[Voltaire] in [Freedom of Thought] : It rests entirely with you to learn to think. You're born with a mind. You are a bird in the cage of the Inquisition: the Holy Office has clipped your wings, but they can grow back. Whoever doesn't know geometry can learn it; every man can tutor himself: it's shameful to put your soul in the hands of those to whom you'd never trust your money. _Dare to think for yourself._
[Karl-Erik Sveiby] [:|http://www.businessworldindia.com/archive/200306/Strategy2.htm] "You don't need to interview me. Simply read the [Upanishads]. They knew all about it long before I did"
[Russell Lipton] [:|http://static.userland.com/userLandDiscussArchive/msg018410.html] "...There is an inherent degree of [serendipity] in Web-learning that routes around this kind of thing..."
I found something better for students...
[Cyber Essays] is "your one-stop source for free, high-quality term papers, essays, and reports on all subjects."
[Craig Jensen] [:|http://booknotes.weblogs.com/2001/12/22] "With the tumultous state the world is in I feel uncomfortable, even guilty, being in any kind of festive or celebratory mood. And, in fact, I'm not festive. Nor am I filled with hope from any kind of religious faith. I'm mostly depressed. - - - But I realize that the sphere within which I have the most influence is my family. The most important people to me are my wife, son and daughter and then my extended family. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews. All the quirks and dysfunctionalty set aside, this is the circle where I can find unbounded love and acceptance. It is the place where I can return that love, equally unbounded, without fear of reprisal or rejection. I am lucky. Truly so. I intend to immerse myself in my good fortune. In my own little circle I will enjoy peace and love and joy. - - - My hope and wish is that you will find yourselves enjoying the same. Be safe and well."
The [Literature, Arts, & Medicine Database] is an annotated bibliography of prose, poetry, film, video and art which is being developed as a dynamic, accessible, comprehensive resource in MEDICAL HUMANITIES, for use in health/pre-health and liberal arts settings.
[Mira Art] [:|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2002/01/04] "winter morning - out of bed - it's impossible!"
[Henry Miller] : Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heart-ache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, to discover what is already there.
[Esther Dyson] : Always make new mistakes!
People are searching for interesting phrases at [Google] like [a way of life that does not consist of taking away from someone else|http://www.google.com/search?q=a+way+of+life+that+does+not+consist+of+taking+away+from+someone+else] and the first hit is [Quotations|http://kishore.editthispage.com/stories/storyReader$5] at my ex-weblog :-)
[Ahimsa] is word of the day
[Mark Kraft] is a [geeth|http://www.livejournal.com/userinfo.bml?user=insomnia] and states "I left a $125,000 a year job to become the "All things business" manager of LiveJournal, which means I oversee a ton of things regarding the strategy, design, and viability of the LiveJournal community / open source project. It's more than just business, especially to me. [Dulce et decorum est]..."
[Brent Simmons] has [many ideas|http://inessential.com/2002/01/02.html] for [Apple]. One of them "[Mac OS X] for x86" is something I would like too :-)
[Howard Rheingold]'s [Tools for Thought] is an exercise in retrospective futurism
[Alan Kay] is enraptured by the potential impact that computing technology can have on the world. He is especially interested in education and hopes that this new technology will create, what he calls, a "skeptical man." He likens the personal computer to the present day book and believes that if everyone had access to a computer, people would be more prone to play "what-if" games with information. He says that "the [information] retrieval systems of the future are not going to retrieve facts but points of view. The weakness of databases is that they let you retrieve facts, while the strength of our culture over the past several hundred years has been our ability to take on multiple points of view. It should be possible for every kid everywhere to test what he or she is being told either against arguments of others or by appeal to computer simulation. The question is: will society nurture that potential or suppress it?"
[Paul Graham] is working on [Arc]
[Novell] in [Why They Lie] : ...Every time we raise the bar, you-know-who stoops to a new level....
To [Dave Winer]: Wishing you lot more [flow|http://radio.weblogs.com/0001184/2002/01/01.html] in the years to come. Where are the list of all your articles like [When to give away the technology] :-)
In the movie [Blast from the Past], Dad advises son to stay away from adult book stores by stating 'It is full of poisonous Gas' - Why do I recall this after the reading Cameron's words ?
To [People] I have come across on the web: I would love to spend my days reading all that you write... But there is not enough time in my days to do that after time invested in occupations to make [Money] flow to my bank account! So I setup a [Portal]
[Dave Winer] : [The Web is generous]
[Stan Krute] [:|http://radio.weblogs.com/0001184/2002/01/01.html] "Dave knows Flow. The Power of Flow. The Beauty of Flow. The Goodness of Flow. The Win-Win-Win-Win-Win of Flow. You flow my way, I flow your way, ya give flow, ya get flow, others see this and join in on the fun, pretty soon, we're all surfing a happy big flowin' wave of our own communitarian making."
[Mira Art] [:|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2002/01/01] ...I rather wish all of us the energy and the desire to create luck, to make it happen.....by understanding one's role in this life...
My ex-weblog [Kishore Balakrishnan's Psychic RAM|http://kishore.editthispage.com/] has attracted [Synergy]'s [favorable attention|http://synergy.editthispage.com/stories/storyReader$11]. Nice :-)
[Áilleacht] is beauty in Irish
[Veronica Lynne]'s [WannaWrite?|http://wannawrite.editthispage.com/] is "A Place for Poetry, Prose and Ponderings"
[Ponderings|http://wannawrite.editthispage.com/questions] : ...Why is it when you are driving at night looking for an address, you instinctively (at least I have) turn down the radio?...
[Tourist Guy|http://www.touristguy.com/] :-)
[The Secret Subversive Purpose|http://www.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/aboutclwg.html] of [Children's Literature Web Guide]: ...If my cunning plan works, you will find yourself tempted away from the Internet, and back to the books themselves! Please remember that the Internet is not the most comprehensive source of information about children's books. Books and Libraries cover the field far better than I can ever hope to. - - - The Internet is a tremendous resource, but it will never compete with a Children's Librarian with a purposeful gleam in the eye!
[Mira Art] : [Water=Life=Alive=Divine|http://surprise.editthispage.com/2001/12/30]
[Six Ways to Reduce Advertising in Your Life]
Sushma is preparing [Sago Payasam|http://www.indiatastes.com/categories/316.html] for lunch.
[Vikas Kamat] explains [Feedback], [quotes|http://www.kamat.com/vikas/blog.php?date=12/27/2001] [Mahatma Gandhi] : "To make peace with evil in order to avoid conflict, is cowardice."
[Cameron Barrett] : Do yourself a favor and telnet to this address: towel.blinkenlights.nl
mmm... Is anyone researching "What is the average number of days before everyone writes 2002 instead of 2001" !
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World
An Inspired Talk delivered by [Gurudeva] Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami on his 54th Jayanti, on January 5, 1980, at the Kadavul Hindu Temple in Hawaii, enjoining the modern Hindu woman to not forsake her dharma but protect the home and nurture the family as her gift of love to the next generation. Hmmm! It seems not to have gone out of date much.
Anbe Sivamayam Satyame Parasivam! Tonight we are going to talk about a vast subject, one that is important to every Hindu family: stri dharma, the dharma of the Hindu wife and mother. In Sanskrit stri means "woman." Dharma is a rich word which encompasses many meanings: the path to God Siva, piety, goodness, duty, obligation and more. Stri dharma is the woman's natural path, while purusha dharma, we can say, is the man's.
There is much controversy about the role of the woman in society these days. In the West, a strong women's liberation movement has been at work for many years, and now there has arisen an equally vigorous opposition which defends traditional values. The so-called struggle for women's liberation has affected women the world over--in India, Iran, Europe, Japan and elsewhere. In North America, I began a campaign informally called the Hindu women's liberation movement. It is not what you might expect. Its purpose is to liberate our Hindu women from the liberators, to save them from worldliness and to allow them to fulfill their natural dharma as mother and wife. For a religious woman, being liberated starts with resigning from her job and coming home. Once she is home, she is liberated and liberated and liberated. Working in the world keeps her in the outer dimensions of consciousness, while being at home allows her to live in the depth of her being. I have seen this work many times. There are so many distractions and influences in the world today that divert women away from being a wife and mother. In the West a woman is a wife first and a mother second, but in the East her duties as a mother are foremost. She is trained from early childhood in the arts of homemaking, trained by her mother who was trained in exactly the same way by her mother, and so on right down through history. It's an old pattern.
The Hindu woman is looked upon as most precious. Two thousand years ago Saint Tiruvalluvar observed: "What does a man lack if his wife is worthy? And what does he possess if she is lacking worth?" There is more respect in the East for women and for their role in society. Here in the West, the woman is not fully appreciated. Her contribution is underrated and misunderstood. In fact, this is one of the reasons she seeks fulfillment and recognition in other spheres, because Western society has become oblivious of her unique and vital role. Abused by neglect and disregard, she seeks other avenues where she may be appreciated, recognized and rewarded.
Don't forget that in the East the ties of the extended family are very close. Women live in a community, surrounded by younger and older women, often living in the same house. They enjoy a rewarding life which includes helping the younger ones and being helped by those who are more mature. Several generations work together in sharing the joys as well as the burdens of household culture. It is different in the West. Women here usually do not have the advantages of close association with other family members. Naturally, they become a little lonely, especially if they do not have a religious community of friends. They get lonely and want to get out in the world and enjoy life a little. This is another reason women leave the home. It is very unfortunate.
In the East there is a better balance of the masculine and feminine forces. In the West the masculine is too strong, too dominant. The feminine energies need to be allowed greater expression. But that does not mean women should start doing what men do. No. That only confuses the forces more. A better balance must be found. In the East the woman is protected. She is like a precious gem. You don't leave it unattended. You protect it. You guard it well because you don't wish to lose it. Hindu women are guarded well. They are not allowed to become worldly. They are not exposed to the looks and thoughts of a base public, nor must they surrender their modesty to contend with business affairs. She can be perfectly feminine, expressing her natural qualities of gentleness, intuitiveness, love and modesty. The home and family are the entire focus of a Hindu woman's life.
Many of you here tonight are too young to know that this was also the pattern in the West until about seventy-five years ago. Before World War I, women were very strict in the West. It was that war and the one that followed that broke down the ancient roles of men and women. The men were taken away from industry by the army, and women were forced out of the home into the factories and businesses so that production could continue. Earlier they had been protected, seldom seen unaccompanied in public. Throughout history, women had been the caretakers of the home and the defenders of virtue. They valued their purity, their chastity, and were virgins when they married. Many people don't know that the old values were followed most strictly up until 1915 or so. Then the two world wars broke up the family and disturbed the balance between men and women. For the first time, women were seen alone in public. For the first time, they left the home and competed with men for their jobs.
I speak often of the change humanity is going through in moving out of the agricultural era and into the technological age. This change has affected the dharma of the woman and the dharma of the man in an interesting way. During the tens of thousands of years of the agricultural age, families lived and labored mostly on farms or in craft guilds. The entire family worked on the farm. The men all worked in the fields; the women and children worked in the home. Children were a great asset. More children meant more help, a bigger farm. There were many chores that a young boy or girl could do. When harvest time came, everyone joined in. It was a one team, and everyone contributed. When the crop was sold, that was the income for a combined effort from all members--men, women and even children. In a very real sense, everyone was earning the money, everyone was economically important.
In the technological era, only the man of the house earns the family income. Everyone else spends it. The husband goes to work in a factory or large company office while his wife and children stay at home. There is not much they can do to help him during the day with his work. His work and his wife's are not as closely related as in the old days. He is the provider, the producer now; she and the children are consumers. Because the children cannot help much, they have become more of an economic liability than an asset. This, coupled with the population problems on the Earth, devalues the economic importance of the woman's traditional role as wife and mother. Whereas raising children and taking care of the farmhouse used to be a woman's direct and vital contribution toward the family's livelihood and even the survival of the human race, today it is not. Whereas they used to be partners in a family farm business, today he does all the earning and she feels like a dependent. The answer is not to have women join their men in the factories and corporations. The answer is to bring traditional religious values into the technological era, to find a new balance of karma that allows for the fulfillment of both the man's and the woman's dharma.
When young couples marry, I help them write down their vows to one another. He must promise to support her, to protect her, to give her a full and rewarding life. She must promise to care for him, to manage the home, to maintain the home shrine and to raise fine children. I ask them each to respect the other's realm, to never mentally criticize the other and to make religion the central focus of their life together. I ask the young bride to stay in the home, to be a little shy of involvement in the world.
A mother's place is within the home and not out in the world working. When she is in the home all day, she brings love and security to the children, sensitivity and stability to the husband. By raising her children, she changes the course of history. How does she do that? She raises strong children, good and intelligent children. They will grow up to be the great men and women in the community, the leaders of the nation. They will be the farmers, artists, businessmen, the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers, the architects, the presidents and, most importantly, the spiritual leaders. They will be the mothers, the homemakers and child-raisers, scientists and inventors, pioneers and poets, artists and sculptors and creators in all dimensions of life. It is such men and women who change the course of human history. This is the great power held by the mother and by no one else: to properly mold the mind and character of her children. And she trains her daughters to do the same by example and gentle guidance.
Of course, she also holds the opposite power, expressed through neglect, to allow her children to grow up on their own, on the streets where they will learn a base life. Such children will as surely change society and human history, but negatively. They will be the common men and women, or fall into mental and emotional abysses, there to express man's instinctive nature and become the exemplars of violence and lust, of dependence and crime. The very direction of humankind is right there in the early years, to be turned toward a great potential through love and attentiveness or allowed to decay through neglect. The mother is the child's first guru, and she alone can shape the mind in those impressionable years. So, you can all see the truth in the old saying: "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."
Take the case of a mother who is at home every day, morning and night, attending to her children. As she rocks the cradle, her love and energy radiate out to the infant who then feels a natural peacefulness and security. She has time for the child, time to sing sweet lullabies and console when the tears come, time to teach about people, about the world, about the little things in growing up, time to cuddle for no reason except to express her love. On the other hand, the working mother has no time to do extra things. When the infant cries, she may, out of her own frustrations of the day, become impatient and scold him, demanding that he keep quiet. "I told you to be quiet!" she shouts. The infant doesn't even understand English yet. You can imagine this helpless child's feelings as he receives an emotional blast of anger and frustration directed toward his gentle form. Where is he to turn? He cannot find refuge even in his mother's arms. What will the next generation be like if all the children are raised under such circumstances? Will it be strong and self-assured? Will it radiate kindness to others, never having had kindness given to it? Will it be patient and understanding? No. It is a proven fact that most of the people in prison were neglected or beaten as children. It is also a proven fact that nearly all parents who mistreat their children were themselves mistreated by their parents. Unless mothers care for and love their children, society will inherit an entire generation of frustrated adults who were once frustrated children. These will later be the people who rule the world. Then what happens? They in turn raise their children in the same manner, for that is the only example of parenthood they have. They will think that neglect is natural, that children can get along on their own from an early age or be raised by a governess or nurse or at a day-care center. It's a circle: a childhood of neglect produces a bitter adult life; a childhood of love and trust produces a loving and happy adult life.
We learn so many important things from the mother. This learning is not just from the things she explains to us, but from the way she lives her life. If she is patient, we learn patience. If she is angry and unhappy, then we learn to be angry and unhappy. How wonderful it is for a mother to be in the home and give her children the great gifts of life by her example. She can teach them so many things, bring them into profound understandings about the world around them and offer them basic values and points of view that will sustain them throughout their life. Her gift of love is directly to the child, but indirectly it is a gift to all of humanity, isn't it? A child does not learn much from the father until he is older, perhaps eight or nine, or ten years of age.
Let me tell you a sad story. We have a book in our library which describes a plan, made by the Christians, to destroy Hinduism in Sri Lanka and India. One of their major tactics is to get the Hindu women out of the homes and working in the world. They knew that the spiritual force within the home is created by the unworldly woman. They knew that a secure woman makes for a secure home and family, a secure husband and a secure religion. They knew that the Hindu woman is the key to the perpetuation of Hinduism as long as she is in the home. If the woman is in the home, if she is happy and content and the children are nurtured and raised properly, then the astral beings around the home will be devonic, friendly and beneficial. But if she is out of the home and the husband is out of the home, the protective force-field around the home disintegrates, allowing all kinds of astral asuric beings to enter. Such a neglected home becomes inhabited by base, asuric beings on the lower astral plane. You cannot see these beings, but they are there, and you can sense their presence. Things just don't feel right in a home inhabited by negative forces. You have the desire to leave such a home as soon as you enter it. The children absorb these vibrations, these feelings. Children are open and psychically sensitive to such influences, with little means of self-protection. They will become disturbed, and no one will know the reason why. They will be crying and even screaming. They will be constantly disobedient. Why should they become disobedient? There is no positive, protective force field of religion established by the mother. This leaves the inner force field vulnerable to negative and confusing forces of all kinds, especially in modern, overpopulated cities where destructive psychic influences are so strong. These negative vibrations are penetrating the inner atmosphere of the home, and the children are psychic enough to pick them up and suffer.
Religion begins in the home under the mother's influence and instruction. The mother goes to the temple to get strong. That is the reason Hindus live near a temple. They go to the temple to gain the strength from the shakti of the Deity, and they return to the home where they maintain a similar vibration in which to raise the next generation to be staunch and wonderful citizens of the world, to bring peace on Earth, to keep peace on Earth. There is an ancient Tamil proverb which says one should not live in a city which has no temple.
If a child is screaming in its cradle, and the baby sitter is yelling at him and couldn't care less about his feelings, and the mother is out working, that child is not a candidate for peace on Earth. That child is going to keep things confused, as they are today. So, it's all in the hands of the mother; it's not in the hands of the father. Religion and the future of society lie solely in the hands of the mother. It is in the hands of the father to allow or not to allow the mother to be under another man's mind out in the world.
Just as the two world wars took women out of the home, so did another recent change affect mankind. When the automobile came, people forgot about breeding. The automobile did one terrible thing: it made people forget how to breed and how to take care of one another. When people had horses, horses were a part of the family. People had to care for their horses and in the process learned to care for one another. People also had to breed their horses, and in that process learned about the value of intelligent breeding. In those days, you often heard of the "well-bred" person. You don't hear of the well-bred person anymore. People no longer consider that humans, too, are involved in the natural process of breeding. They have become forgetful of these important laws, and this has led to lack of discipline, to bodies indiscriminately creating more bodies. Who is living in them nobody quite knows. That's what we, as a society, forgot when the automobile replaced the horse. When you had a horse, you had to feed it, you had to train it, curry it, stable it and breed it. In breeding it, you had to choose a stud for your mare or find a suitable mare for your stallion. The qualities on both sides were closely observed, and the combination of genetics consciously planned. It was, therefore, natural for people in those days to seek proper mates for their children, and the results were the vital, creative and industrious children of the children. As a civilization, we are slowly forgetting such things, being more careless about our children's future, about their lives and minds.
Television has not helped the matter. In fact, it has virtually stopped the proper education of the child in those communities where it is watched for hours each day. Instead of developing a curiosity by adventuring for hours through a forest or climbing a tree, instead of discovering the wonders of nature and art and music, instead of becoming involved in sports and hobbies, children are mentally carried along by television stories through positive and negative states of mind. They become uncreative, inactive, never learning to use their own minds. Not all television is negative. Some of it can be quite educational; but hours and hours each day of passive absorption are not good for the child's mental and emotional development. Children need to be active, to involve themselves in a wide variety of experiences. If the mother is there, she can intelligently guide their television, being careful that they do not get in the habit of watching it for hours on end, and watching that bold sex, violence and other bad influences are not a daily experience. When the program is over, she can send them out to play. Of course, if she is gone, they will watch anything and everything. For the young, television is one of the most senseless pastimes there is, carrying the mind further and further away from the true Self. I think you will all agree that our values, the values found in the holy Vedas, Tirukural and other sacred scriptures are not found on television. Instead, TV gives our children a brutal and unbalanced view of life which distorts in their minds how life really is. These are very serious questions. It is the mother who protects her children from negative influences, guiding their young minds into positive channels of expression.
Take the case of a farmer who raises livestock, who milks cows and goats. He works hard. He gets up early and takes care of his animals. He cannot succeed if he is also working part-time in the grocery store downtown. He just can't do it. Those animals need attention. There is no sensible man who would run a farm, with cows and goats and chickens, and not be there to take care of them, because those animals need a lot of help. He stays there and takes care of his business. He is a farmer and that is his duty, and he knows it.
Well, what's more important than the child? He needs 24-hour-a-day care. He is learning to walk, to speak, to think. He falls down and needs consoling. He catches the flu and needs to be nursed back to health. It is the mother's duty to provide that care. No one else is going to do it for her. No one else can do it for her. She brought that child into the world, and she must prepare that child for a positive and rewarding life. If the farmer neglects his animals, he creates a karma. The animals suffer. The farm suffers. The community suffers when the farm fails, and the man himself suffers. There is a grave karma, too, for the woman who neglects her stri dharma, who goes out into the world and does not nurture the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of her children. She knows this within herself, but she may be influenced by ill-advised people, or by a mass movement that tells her that she has only one life to live and that she cannot find fulfillment in the home but must express herself, venture out, seek her own path, her own fortune. You have all heard these ideas. I tell you that they are wrong. They spell the disillusionment of the mother who heeds them, then the disintegration of the family that is sacrificed by her absence. Finally, they result in her own unhappiness as she despairs at the loss suffered by her family and herself.
From the point of view of the Second World, or astral plane, the home is the family temple, and the wife and mother is in charge of that spiritual environment. Man can come into that sanctum sanctorum but should not bring the world into it. He will naturally find a refuge in the home if she is doing her duty. He will be able to regain his peace of mind there, renew himself for the next day in the stressful situations that the world is full of. In this technological age a man needs this refuge. He needs that inner balance in his life. When he enters that sanctuary and she is in her soul body and the child is in its soul body, then he becomes consciously conscious in his soul body. He leaves the conscious mind, which is a limited, external state of mind and not a balanced state of mind. He enters the intuitive mind. He gets immediate and intuitive answers to his worldly problems. How can he not be successful in his purusha dharma in the outside world when he has the backing of a good wife? She is naturally perceptive, naturally intuitive. She balances out his intellect, softens the impact of the forces which dash against his nervous system from morning to night. Encouragement and love naturally radiate out from her as she fulfills stri dharma. Without these balancing elements in his life, a man becomes too externalized, too instinctive and sometimes brutal.
If a woman is working, she cannot provide this balance. She has to start thinking and acting like a man. She has to become a little harder, create a protective shell around her emotions. Then the home loses its balance of the masculine and the feminine forces. Take for example the situation in which the wife rushes home from work fifteen minutes before the husband. She's upset. The children come over from grandmother's house or she tells the baby sitter to go home. She scurries to prepare something before he comes home, then rushes to get herself looking halfway decent. Emotionally upset, she tries to calm herself, tries to relax and regain her composure. Her astral body is upset. The children's astral bodies are upset. The husband enters this agitated environment--upset by being in the world anyway--and he becomes more disturbed. He was looking forward to a quiet evening. He feels neglected, disappointed, and that leads him to become distraught, even angry. No wonder he beats his wife and abuses his child. He's mad. He gets more and more disturbed until there is nothing left to do but walk out. It's a totally impossible situation. Furthermore, it's not going to get better but exceedingly worse.
The situation I have just described is one of the main reasons that marriages today have become less stable, that so many married couples--sixty to seventy percent, I'm told--are experiencing difficulties and breaking up. People never get married with the intent of breaking up. Never. The forces do it. You put two magnets together one way and they attract one another. Turn one around, and they repel each other. The same force that brought the people together, when it is not handled right, makes them pull apart and hate each other. They can't see eye to eye. Then to make up, they go out to dinner to talk it over--in another frustrating asuric situation, as far out in the world as they can get--to try to make up. When that doesn't help, they come home, still frustrated. If they went to the nearby temple and worshiped the Deity together, that would help. They would return home in a different state of mind, and discover that their vibration had changed. Why does it help to go to the temple? Because the Deity is in the temple. The Deity is there to adjust the forces of the inner nerve system, to actually change the forces of mind and emotion.
In the home the mother is likened to the Shakti Deity. She is the power of the home. None other. So she has to be there. She has to be treated right. She has to be given the things she needs. It is the man's duty to provide for her and for the children. The husband should provide her with all the fine things, with a good house which she then makes into a home, with gold and jewels and clothes, gold hanging down until her ears hurt, more bracelets, more things to keep her in the home so she is feeling secure and happy. In return she provides a refuge, a serene corner of the world where he can escape from the pressures of daily life, where he can regain his inner perspective, perform his spiritual sadhana and meditations then enjoy his family. Thus, she brings happiness and peace of mind to the family, to the community and to the world.
This working together of the home and the temple brings up the culture and the religion within the family. The family goes to the temple; the temple blesses the family's next project. The mother returns home. She keeps an oil lamp burning in the shrine room on the altar. It's a beautiful thing. All this happens because her astral body is not fretted by the stresses and strains of a worldly life, not polluted by the lustful thoughts of other men directed to her. She is not living in the emotional astral body. She is living in her peaceful soul body of love, fulfilling her dharma and radiating the soulful presence called sannidhya. She was born to be a woman, and that's how a woman should behave.
If she does not do her dharmic duty--this means the duty of birth--then she accrues bad karma. Every time she leaves the home to go out to work, she is making kukarma. Yes, she is. That negative karma will reflect on her astral body and on her husband's astral body and on the astral bodies of their children, causing them to become insecure.
The Christian-Judaic-Islamic idea of a one life, that "you have to get everything out of this life because when you're gone, you're gone, so grab all the gusto that you can out of life" has given the modern Western woman the idea that she is not getting what she should, by being a woman, and therefore the world looks doubly attractive because she is just passing through and will never come back and doesn't want to miss anything. So, living a man's life is very, very attractive. She doesn't want to stay home all the time and not see anything, not meet anybody, go through the boredom of raising a family, taking care of the children. She wants to be out with life, functioning in a man's world because she is told that she is missing something. Therefore, you can understand her desire to get out and work, start seeing and experiencing life and mixing with people, meeting new people. The Hindu woman does not look at life like that. The Hindu woman knows that she was born in a woman's body--this soul has taken an incarnation for a time in a woman's body--to perform a dharma, to perform a duty for the evolution of the soul. The duty is to be a mother to her children, wife to her husband, to strengthen the home and the family, which are the linchpin of society. She knows that the rewards are greater for her in the home. She knows that all she is missing is a man's strenuous work and responsibility, that her stri dharma is equally as great as a man's purusha dharma, even though they are quite different by nature. Because she knows these things, she fulfills her dharma joyously.
Now, a woman may wonder, "If I don't work, how are we going to pay the bills?" The real reason that most women work is economic. The economy of the world is becoming more and more difficult, and the first answer to money problems, especially in the West, where the family unit is not too strong these days, is to have the woman go to work. This is an unhappy solution. The sacrifices are greater than the rewards. It is a false economy. Many times I have told young wives to stay home with their children. They worry. Their husbands worry. But with the wife at home, working to strengthen her husband, he soon becomes confident, creative, energetic. He is reinspired and always finds a way to make things work.
As long as the mother is home, everything is fine. There is security. Without this security, a family begins to disintegrate. Just think how insecure a child is without its mother. When the mother is there, security reigns in the home. As long as the mother is home doing whatever she naturally does as a mother--she doesn't even have to read a book about how to do it--the husband has to support the home. He feels bound to support the home.
Of course, religion must be the basis of the home to make it all work. When women leave the home to work in the world, they sacrifice the depth of their religion; their religious life then simply becomes a social affair. This is true of both Eastern and Western religions. As long as the mother is home, the celestial devas are there, hovering in and around the home. How many of you were raised with your mother staying at home? Well, then you know what I mean. Now, what if she wasn't at home when you were a child? You came home and mother wasn't there. You had to fix your own snack in an empty house. You didn't feel much cared for. You were alone in an empty house, perhaps frightened, and you went around seeing if someone was hiding in the closet. You didn't feel that motherly, protective feeling. When mother finally does come home, she has other things on her mind. She is tired. She has worked hard, and now she has to work even more. She is not thinking about the little helpless kid who can't take care of himself or herself. She may get home and think to herself, "I just can't forget about that good-looking man I met at the office. I even see him in my dreams. I have a husband and I shouldn't be thinking about such things, but" And on and on and on. Arguments begin to happen for the first time in the home. What do you do? You worry for awhile. You cry a little. As soon as you can, you start fending for yourself. You work out ways to take care of yourself or even to get away from the unhappy situation as soon as you can. You end up out on your own in the world at a young age, before you are mature enough to cope with it.
The Hindu woman knows that she is born in a woman's body to perform a woman's dharma, to perform her duty and not to emulate the men. The duty is to be a mother to her children and a wife to her husband, whom she looks to as her lord. She performs that duty willingly as does the man perform his duty which arises out of being born in a man's body. The Hindu woman is trained to perform her stri dharma from the time she is a little girl. She finds ways to express her natural creativity within the home itself. She may write poetry or become an artist. Perhaps she has a special talent for sewing or embroidery or gardening or music. She can learn to loom cloth and make the family's clothing. If needed, she can use her skills to supplement the family income without leaving the home. There are so many ways for a Hindu wife and mother to fully use her creative energies, including being creative enough to never let her life become boring. It is her special blessing that she is free to pursue her religion fully, to study the scriptures, to sing bhajana and keep her own spiritual life strong inside.
Then there is the situation in which the wife is working for her husband in the home. This is not ideal, but it is far better than having her out, away from her husband, under another man's mind. At least the family is working together toward a single goal, and the mother is there to care for the child and answer questions. Of course, if working in the home does not allow for closeness of mother and children, then it is to be avoided--if, for instance, the work is so demanding that the mother is never free to play with the young ones or is so pressured by her other duties that she becomes tense and upset. Otherwise, it is a positive situation. From the child's point of view, mother is home. She is there to answer questions, to make a dosai or say "Go make yourself a nice dosai."
Giving
give and give until it hurts? Because that hurt is your block. Many
have devotion unless giving unfolds as his light. Now, the man who has
unfolded into giving doesn't qualify his giving, he doesn't even think
about it. If he doesn't have a lot of material things to give, if he is
something is given him, that gives him the power to give again. That is
the great law. That is the great unfoldment.
about himself so much, because he is spontaneous. He is always looking
and he calculates his giving, because he has to give in proportion to
something else. And by giving in proportion to something else, he is
creating his future limitation. He is saying "I am just this big, and I
will always be just this big because that is as far as my consciousness
can go, just that much. So, I will hold my consciousness within this
grave." But it doesn't work that way. The consciousness is not like
and shrink. And that is one of the things your friends won't tell you,
This works in reverse, too. The person who has a heart full of joy,
something to give; he gives what he has. He knows that he is not the
gift, that he is not the giver at all, and when something comes his way,
he gives of it freely. He is a vehicle for giving, and finally he is so
full of abundance in consciousness that he knows he is not the giver,
and he fulfills bhakti yoga in his life. If you give and give freely
you feel even better about it. But if you give and give selfishly, you
feel bad about it, and if you continue to do so, you'll feel worse. If
within you. But if you give, and give selfishly, by hanging onto your
is in many, many forms. The best way is to rely on the incomparable law
soon after the gift is given. Then this opens the door for another gift
The University of Hard Knocks
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"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
Why It Is Printed
the United States and have listened to "The University of Hard
kinds of audiences. Ralph Parlette is kept busy year after year
lecturing, because his lectures deal with universal human
audiences brought out this book in response. Here is the overflow
"What is written here is not the way I would write it, were I
writing a book," says Ralph Parlette. "It is the way I say it. The
lecture took this unconscious colloquial form before audiences. An
audience makes a lecture, if the lecture survives. I wish I could
wish I could tell the lecture committees of America how I
appreciate the vast amount of altruistic work they have done in
public, has encouraged the publishers to put more of Mr. Parlette's
lectures into book form, "Big Business" and "Pockets and Paradises"
are now in preparation as this, the third edition of "The
us "stop, look, listen"--Blind man learns with one bump--Going up
us--Our sorrows and disappointments--How the piano was made--How
There is no top--We make ourselves great by service--the
life--Most "advantages" are disadvantages--Buying education for
books only give better tools for service--"Hard knocks" graduates--
IX. GO ON SOUTH!--The book in the running brook--The Mississippi
best day, tomorrow to be better--Birthdays are promotions--I am
just beginning--Bernhardt, Davis, Edison--Moses begins at
worst days, not best--Waiting for the second table--Better days on
principle, not praise--Doing duty for the joy of it--Becoming the
Each day we rise to larger vision--Getting above the night into
the eternal day--Going south is going upward
I do not want to be seen in this lecture. I want to be heard. I am
So in this lecture, please do not pay any attention to the delivery
audience is just as important as the kind of a lecture. A cold
I discovered it was the temperature.
I have brought a barrel of sorghum to this audience. The name of
the sorghum is "The University of Hard Knocks." I can only pull the
of this audience. You can have all you want of it, but to get it to
That often explains why one person says a lecture is great, while
Here is a great mass of words and sentences and pictures to express
two or three simple little ideas of life, that our education is our
growing up from the Finite to the Infinite, and that it is done by
our own personal overcoming, and that we never finish it.
and struggle up to a higher vision.
discussions of these truths. Here is bulk as well as nutriment.
If you get the feeling that the first personal pronoun is being
overworked, I remind you that this is more a confession than a
I believe all this pride, vanity, selfishness, self-righteousness,
hypocrisy and human frailty are the Outside that must be chipped
about your present. I care much about your future for that is to
THE greatest school is the University of Hard Knocks. Its books are
Every bump is a lesson. If we learn the lesson with one bump, we do
But if we are "naturally bright," or there is something else the
The tuition in the University of Hard Knocks is not free.
Experience is the dearest teacher in the world. Most of us spend
There are two kinds of people--wise people and fools. The fools are
The playground is all of God's universe.
The yell is "ouch" repeated ad lib.
was a sentence in my grammar that disgusted me. It was by some
foreigner I had never met. His name was Shakespeare. It was this:
"Tongues in trees," I thought. "Trees can't talk! That man is
University of Adversity. I am happy that I am beginning to listen.
For as I learn to listen, I hear every tree speaking, every stone
Children, I fear you will not be greatly interested in what is to follow.
It is so hard to tell young people anything. They know better. So
As we get bumped and battered on life's pathway, we discover we get
We discover, in other words, that The University of Hard Knocks has
That day they had the little joy and sunshine of the family in his
was within grabbing distance.
Then I discovered a woman beside me, my mother. She was the most
this petticoat tyranny three years, and it is time to stop it!
that this is the way to raise children, but I insist that this was
kind of an insect mother was trying to raise. Mother did know. She
coffee-pot would spill upon me. I cannot remember when I disobeyed
got my blisters. Mother did not inflict them. Mother was not much of an
"Stop, Look, Listen"
runs on the same plan. The Voice of Wisdom says to each of us,
wiser and happier." The tongues in the trees, the books in the
easier and more attractive. It is so easy to go downward. We slide
until we listen.
When we are bumped, we should "stop, look, listen." "Safety first!"
How I had to be bumped to learn better! Now when I get bumped I try
The seeress is the soothing syrup for mental infants.
The other day I watched a blind man go down the aisle of the car to
"pussyfooted" it along so carefully. He bumped his hand against a
seat. Then he did what every blind man does, he lifted his hand
his lesson with one bump, and you have to go bumping into the same
that go upward have to be pushed. Going upward is overcoming.
And so with our own lives. Real living is conscious effort to go
line of least resistance, depend upon it you are going downward.
unselfish souls who are carrying the community burdens and pushing
Majorities do not rule. Majorities never have ruled. It is the
drift and be amused and follow false gods that promise something
Human life is the story of the Prodigal Son. We look over the fence
in that unknown realm we fondly imagine is happiness.
fill up with disappointment, their vision becomes dulled. They
bump on the conscience is worse than a bump on the "noodle."
bumped your conscience numb. That is why you have no feelings on
Did you ever watch a fly get his Needless Knocks on the sticky
"Remember, son, to stay away from the sticky flypaper. That is
several minutes. But when he sees all the smart young flies of his
his face in the stickiness. "Ah! how pretty I am! This sticky
flypaper shows me up better than anything at home. What a fine
stuck a bit. Mother is such a silly old worryer. She means all
right, of course, but she isn't up-to-date. We young set of modern
You see Johnny fly back and forth and have the time of his
naturally bright young life. Afterwhile, tho, he stubs his toe and
lands in the stickiness. "Well, well, how nice this is on the feet,
First he puts one foot down and pulls it out. That is a lot of fun.
It shows he is not a prisoner. He is a strong-minded fly. He can
feet down in the stickiness. It is harder to pull them out. Then he
"Really," says Johnny Fly bowing to his comrades also stuck around
flypaper. It is a fine place to stick around. All his young set of
The tuition in The College of Needless Knocks is very high indeed!
The man who goes to jail ought to congratulate himself if he is
guilty. It is the man who does not get discovered who is to be
write, "Whereas, it has pleased an all-wise Providence to remove,"
There is a good deal of suicide charged up to Providence.
were bumped. Some of you in this audience are just now wondering
But I am discovering that life only gets good after we have been
killed a few times. Each death is a larger birth.
is--material that needs more Needful Knocks to make it more useful
I should like to know every person in this audience. But the ones
most of these knocks--who have faced the great crises of life and
See the piano on this stage? Good evening, Mr. Piano. I am glad to
Do you know how you got upon this stage, Mr. Piano? You were bumped
here. This is no reflection upon the janitor. You became a piano by
That is why you were bumped--because you were good! There came a
It is a very sad story. They took you all bumped and bleeding to
They did not bump the little, crooked, dissipated, cigaret-stunted
But shake, Mr. Piano. That is why you are on this stage. You were
One day I was up the Missabe road about a hundred miles north of
"What is it worth?"
Not very long after this, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I saw some
of this same red mud. It had been moved over the Great Lakes and
I watched this red mud matriculate into a great hopper with
school began. They roasted it. It is a great thing to be roasted.
always stop when anything is done roasting? If we are yet getting
promotion exercises. The red mud squirted out into the sand. It was
why do they roast me? O, I'll never get over this!"
it in glass cases. Many people admired it and said, "Isn't that
Every bump is raising our price. Every bump is disclosing a path to
same material, say the chemists. But the diamond has gone to The College
of Needful Knocks more than has her crude sister of the coal-scuttle.
There is no human diamond that has not been crystallized in the
crucibles of affliction. There is no gold that has not been refined
Illinois, a crippled woman was wheeled into the tent and brought
that I know sitting in this chair. I have learned to be patient and
They told me this crippled woman was the sweetest-spirited,
"Mr. Lecture Man," she said, "why is everybody interested in my
daughter and nobody interested in me? Why is my daughter happy and
why am I not happy? My daughter is always happy and she hasn't a
you are not happy is that you haven't been bumped enough."
I discover when I am unhappy and selfish and people don't use me
selfishness cripples us more than paralysis.
There is no backward step in life. Whatever experiences come to us
We think this is true of the good things that come to us, but we do
materially very prosperous, so many of us begin to say, "Is not
this Babylon that I have builded?" And about that time there comes
don't want your home to burn, but somebody's home is burning just
name might be tarnished. Bereavement might take from you the one
for it is not true. The old enemy of humanity wants you to believe
The truth is, another chapter of your real education has been
other public disaster brings sympathy, bravery, brotherhood and
There is a silver lining to every hard knocks cloud.
we get wisdom, understanding, happiness, strength, success and
way, I looked in the sack and discovered there was not a big, red,
to spoil his sign, had reached down under the top layer. He must
Do you? Is there a groceryman in the audience?
need to do it. It does itself. It is the shaking of the barrel that
At this place the lecturer exhibits a glass jar more than
Let us try that right on the platform. Here is a glass jar and
forbearance. I am discovering that we can hear faster thru the eye
than thru the ear. I want to make this so vivid that you will never
This is a canned lecture. Let the can talk to you awhile.
is too small to stay up. He cannot stand prosperity.
There is only one way for those objects to change their place in
way to the market place of the future. It is a corduroy road and
of life. That barrel is shaking all the time. Every community is
shaking, every place is shaking. The offices, the shops, the
live or work is shaking. Life is a constant survival of the
in that can is shaking every person to the place he fits in the
barrel of life. It is sending small people down and great people
And do you not see that we are very foolish when we want to be
put down to some little place? We are foolishly trying to overturn
The very worst thing that can happen to anybody is to be
is something like a train and if we do not get to the depot in time
destiny. There is destiny--that jar.
If we wish to change our place, we must first change our size. If
we wish to go down, we must grow smaller and we shall shake down.
If we wish to go up, we must grow greater, and we shall shake up.
Each person is doing one of three things consciously or
1. He is holding his place.
2. He is going down.
3. He is going up.
In order to hold his place he must hold his size. He must fill the
the loss by evaporation. Evaporation is going steadily on in lives
office and say, "Isn't it about time I was getting a raise?" I
would say, "Go shake the jar, Charlie. That is the way you get
raised. As you grow greater you won't need to ask to be promoted.
This jar tells me so much about luck. I have noted that the lucky
people shake up and the unlucky people shake down. That is, the
Notice as I bump this jar. Two things happened. The little ones
"Is not she the limit?" they oft spake one to another. She was. She
made many blunders. But it is now recalled that she never made the
And she never "got done." When she had finished her work, the work
she had been put at, she would discover something else that ought
faculty the world is bidding for--initiative.
The other girls "got done." When they had finished the work they
The barrel did the rest. Today she is giving orders to all of them,
for she is the office superintendent.
confidence that it was the rankest favoritism ever known. "There
who didn't know. "Is he a human being?"
He is one of the kindest-hearted men we ever had in the works, but
isn't interested, does not learn, doesn't try to learn."
So he had begun to rattle. Nobody can stay where he rattles. It is
same chance, and presently notice that one is going up and the
other is going down.
do not even get invited. We often become discouraged as we look at
the top-branchers, and we say, "O, if I only had his chance! If I
enough to fill this place?"
Now life is mainly routine. You and I and everybody must go on
be learning new things and discovering new joys in our daily
forward and upward. That is the only way to hold our place.
The farmer must be learning new things about farming to hold his
place this progressive age as a farmer. The merchant must be
growing into a greater, wiser merchant to hold his place among his
competitors. The minister must be getting larger visions of the
ministry as he goes back into the same old pulpit to keep on
Unless the place is a grave!
I shiver as I see the pages of school advertisements in the
journals labeled "Finishing Schools," and "A Place to Finish Your
students will get the idea they are being finished, which finishes
them. We never finish while we live. A school finishing is a
I am sorry for the one who says, "I know all there is to know about
that. You can't tell me anything about that." He is generally
The greater and wiser the man, the more anxious he is to be told.
ready to get along without him. That noise you hear is the
death-rattle in his throat.
For it is mostly rattle. The live one's "my day" is today and
tomorrow. The dead one's is yesterday.
look forward to greater and better things tomorrow.
We often think the way to get a great place is just to go after it
a boy becomes a man by getting into his father's boots. He is in
All life is preparation for greater things.
The world is not greatly impressed by testimonials. The man who has
hands." I heard a Chicago superintendent say to his foreman, "Give
It is dangerous to overboost people, for the higher you boost them
to introduce a stranger. A letter of introduction is useful. A
The danger is that the hero of them may get to leaning upon them.
Then they become a mirror for his vanity instead of a monitor
for his vitality.
progress by reading my press-notices instead of listening to the
verdict of my audiences. I avoided frank criticism. It would hurt
me. Whenever I heard an adverse criticism, I would go and read a
few press-notices. "There, I am all right, for this clipping says
And my vanity bump would again rise.
a home enterprise--not for the sake of the imported attraction but
and your work mercilessly dissected, shake hands with yourself and
rejoice, for the kingdom of success is yours.
There are so many loving, sincere, foolish, cruel uplift movements
in the land. They spring up, fail, wail, disappear, only to be
rattle back, and "the last estate of that man is worse than the
derrick. We must feed the hungry and clothe the naked, but that is
not helping them, that is propping them. The beggar who asks you to
they would reply, "you are in a bad fix. Here is help," and they
"helping" to the Jerusalem Beggars' Union and carried his card.
Maybe he paid a commission for such a choice beggars' beat.
as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise
times a day. We need oculists, not opportunities.
Artful Dodger of Section Sixteen. When the whistle would blow--O,
from somebody who rattles where he is.
the hand-car job is just as honorable as the bank job, but as I was
the clodhopper is enchanted into readiness for kingship before he
The only way to rule others is to learn to rule ourself.
Have you ever noticed that the man who is not willing to fix
himself, is the one who wants to get the most laws passed to fix
naturally today, and we see it is because we have grown ready for
Do you not see that "cruel fate" is our own smallness and
Getting up is growing up.
And this blessed old barrel of life is just waiting and anxious to
WE go up as we grow great. That is, we go up as we grow up. But so
There is only one greatness--inside greatness. All outside
greatness is merely an incidental reflection of the inside.
Greatness is not measured in any material terms. It is not measured
Greatness is measured in spiritual terms. It is education. It is
We go up from selfishness to unselfishness.
We go up from little vision to greater vision.
We go up from foolishness to wisdom.
rise above our own obstacles. We learn to see, hear, hold and
We may become very great, very educated, rise very high, and yet
Come, let us grow greater. There is a throne for each of us.
"Getting to the top" is the world's pet delusion. There is no top.
No matter how high we rise, we discover infinite distances above.
The higher we rise, the better we see that life on this planet is
the world is in the business of getting--getting great fortunes,
the inside, and wails, "All is vanity. I find no pleasure in them.
Life is a failure." All outside life is a failure. Real life is in
Christ Jesus was a great Teacher. His mission was to educate
There came to him those two disciples who wanted to "get to the
in the new kingdom they imagined he would establish on earth.
you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among
That is we cannot be "born great," nor "have greatness thrust upon"
inside--developing ability to minister and to serve.
We cannot buy a great character. It is earned in great moral
This is the Big Business of life--going up, getting educated,
is little business. Much of it mighty little.
Everybody's privilege and duty is to become great. And the joy of
it is that the first step is always nearest at hand. We do not have
become great. It is a great stairway that leads from where our feet
spectacular stride of a thousand steps at one leap. That is why we
fall so hard when we miss our step.
solve and dissolve the difficulties and turn our burdens into
upward currents. And so as our problems disappear and our life
currents set upward, the world is drawn toward us with its
of power. We find the world around us rising up to call us blessed.
greater eyes. We rise above them.
As we grow greater our opportunities grow greater. That is, we
Generally speaking, the smaller our vision of our work, the more we
admire what we have accomplished and "point with pride." The
greater our vision, the more we see what is yet to be accomplished.
ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." That great ocean is
"This poor widow hath cast in more than they all. For all these
treasury. That is not why we give. We give to become great. The
widow had given all--had completely overcome her selfishness and
Becoming great is overcoming our selfishness and fear. He that
saveth his life shall lose it, but he that loseth his life for the
service, there is an alchemy that transmutes every gift into gold.
Every work is drudgery when done selfishly. Every work becomes
do not know all the great people who may come and stand upon this
who sweeps it--is just as great as anybody in the world who may
come and stand upon it, if each be doing his work with the same
service of God is the service of man.
The great people of the community serve and sacrifice for a better
the happy ones, happy for the larger vision that comes as they go
higher by unselfish service. They are discovering that their
I had to go to the mouth of a coal-mine in a little Illinois town,
miner's lamp in his cap, could possibly have to do with the lyceum
the Sunday school. He was the storm-center of every altruistic
serviceable, tho he worked every day full time with his pick at his
he founded by his own preaching. He is the mainspring of so many
uplift movements that his name gets into the papers about every day,
under trees or letting the mind become a blank. But this Chicago
preacher went from one chautauqua town to another, and took his
history of each place, and before dinner he knew more about the
"There is a sermon for me," he would exclaim every half-hour. He
were doing nothing. In every town he would discover somebody of
praised enterprising ones. He stopped young fellows on the streets.
chance," the man on his vacation would reply.
So this Chicago preacher was busy every day, working overtime on
his vacation. He was busy about other people's business. He did not
His friends would sometimes worry about him. They would say, "Why
hasn't strength enough left to lecture and do his own work."
But he that saveth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his
glorious. This man's preaching did not make him great. His college
did not make him great. His books did not make him great. These are
the by-products. His life of service for others makes him
great--makes his preaching, his college and his books great.
This Chicago man gives his life into the service of humanity, and
it becomes the fuel to make the steam to accomplish the wonderful
things he does. Let him stop and "take care of himself," and his
Gunsaulus would have remained a struggling, discouraged preacher in
THE problem of "preparedness" is the problem of preparing children
insignificance before this. The history of nations shows that their
saying, "Our children shall have better chances than we had. We are
Most "advantages" are disadvantages. Giving a child a chance
generally means getting out of his way. Many an orphan can be
grateful that he was jolted from his life-preserver and cruelly
They think they can buy an education--buy wisdom, strength and
else send off to New York or Paris or to "Sears Roebuck," and get
home. They are going to force this education into them regularly
do is to buy them some tools, perhaps, and open the gate and say,
the strength we have earned in our arms and the wisdom we have
them his physical development he has earned in years of exercise.
well expect Moses to give them his spiritual understanding acquired
Here is a typical case.
man who owned the mill. He had made it with his own genius out of
He began to buy it. He began to polish and sandpaper Gussie from
The fault was with the little old man, who was so wise and great
about everything else, and so foolish about his own boy. In the
blindness of his love he robbed his boy of his birthright.
The birthright of every child is the opportunity of becoming
receive his education?
grand bump, said steer does not have to do another thing. His
education is all arranged for in advance and he merely rides thru
and receives it. There is a row of professors with their sleeves
goes riding thru on that endless cable from his A-B-C's to his
from department to department until he is canned.
Gussie and Bill Whackem Gussie came back home with his education in
the first time in its history. The hands marched down to the depot,
But now I see that Bill went up in spite of his handicaps. If he
had had Gussie's fine equipment he might have accomplished vastly more.
furnish you finer working tools. But the real education is the
poor, homemade, crude tools, but with the energy, vision and
For education is getting wisdom, understanding, strength,
That is why they say, "All my life I have been handicapped by lack of
proper preparation. Don't make my mistake, children, go to school."
end-ment. You will discover with the passing years that life is
That is what you know--what the courts will take as evidence when
The story of Gussie and Bill Whackem is being written in every
community in tears, failure and heartache. It is peculiarly a
They do all this and the children rattle. They have had no chance
making the wreck, even as Gussie was blamed for wrecking his
father's plant, when the child is the victim.
his boy was not there to hear it. But that good, deluded father now
has his head bowed in shame over the career of his spoiled son.
a man. He seems to have been robbed of his birthright from the
cradle. Yet the father of this boy who has cost America millions in
It is the educated, the rich and the worldly wise who blunder most in
the training of their children. Poverty is a better trainer for the rest.
But Nature's eliminating process is kind to the race in the barrel
shaking down the rattlers. Somebody said it is only three
How long this nation will endure depends upon how many Gussie boys
this nation produces. Steam heat is a fine thing, but do you notice
Children, Learn This Early
earn for yourself, is robbing you of your birthright.
his house where he could watch it develop. One day he saw a little
struggle. For it was this struggle of breaking its own way out of
But remember there is little virtue in work unless it is getting us
of it and years following until our machine is worn out and on the
Such a worker is like the packhorse who goes forward to keep ahead
of the whip. Such a worker is the horse we used to have hitched to
hearing nothing, his head down, without ambition enough to prick up
his ears. Such work deadens and stupefies. The masses work about
right--such work is a necessary evil, and they make it such. They
But getting a vision of life, and working to grow upward to it,
that is the work that brings the joy and the greatness.
even the packhorse job, because it is our "meal ticket" that
is coming. Shell out!"
The cards are against him. He must succeed in spite of his "advantages."
minister to you.
is seeking happiness, but so many are seeking it by rattling down
The happiness is in going up--in developing a greater arm, a
Happiness is the joy of overcoming. It is the delight of an
expanding consciousness. It is the cry of the eagle mounting
upward. It is the proof that we are progressing.
a skinny, fretful, nervous wreck into a hearty, happy man. This has
been a great surprise to my friends and a great disappointment to
day is jam full of play and vacation and good times. The year is
to be "absent from the body and present with the Lord." Thus this
This is one species of selfishness.
To worry is to doubt God.
To work at the things you love, or for those you love, is to turn
When we love our work, it is not work, it is life.
The world is trying to find happiness in being amused. The world is
The speaker is perfectly honest. He has no place to put a lecture.
at what underlies his remark. He does not want to think. He wants
to follow his nose around. Other people generally lead his nose.
The man who will not make the effort to think is the great menace
to the nation. The crowd that drifts and lives for amusement is the
The Prodigal Son came to himself afterwhile and thought upon his
ways. Then he arose and went to his father's house. Whenever one
will stop chasing amusements long enough to think upon his ways, he
will arise and go to his father's house of wisdom. But there is no
That is why the crowd is not furnishing the strong men and women.
continually relaxing is degenerating. And the individual, the
contracting--without struggling and overcoming--is degenerating.
muscle is relaxing another is contracting. So you must learn that
the place, "Were you born in this city?"
The reply is almost a monotony. "I born in this city? No, I was
born in Poseyville, Indiana, and I came to this city forty years
farmside where he struggled as a boy. Personally, I think this
Give us steam heat and push-buttons. There is no virtue in a
strength is most in evidence. There the young person gets the
the weaklings of the artificial life, he rises above them like the
If it were not for Poseyville, Indiana, Chicago would disappear.
If it were not for Poseyville, New York would disintegrate
It is the lure of the city--and the lure-lessness of the country.
The town the young people leave is the town the young people ought
hell is because they have no other place to go."
What is the matter with the small town? Do not blame it all upon
people in this institution and only a score of guards to keep them
in. Aren't you in danger? What is to hinder these insane people
could get together they wouldn't be in this asylum. They are
It would be almost unkind to carry this further, but I have been
up into little antagonistic social, business and even religious
stays neutral and furnishes the munitions for both sides.
So the home towns stagnate and the young people with visions go
promising place for the young people. No home town can afford to
spend its years raising crops of young people for the cities. That
is the worst kind of soil impoverishment--all going out and nothing
coming back. That is the drain that devitalizes the home towns more
America is to be great, not in the greatness of a few crowded
He encouraged his students to be self-supporting, and most of them
the school of books with the school of struggle. He organized his
struggle in his life would at least have to struggle with the
others during his schooling.
for the military department. His school was one surging mass of
old student pledged new students in his home country. The military
not believe there is a school in America with a greater alumni roll
The old "deestrick" school is passing, and with it the small
equipment and maintenance. Today we scour the earth for specialists
this day! Many of them never saw a germ!
veneered but inspired, not denatured but discovered.
All this school machinery is only machinery. Back of it must be
A school is vastly more than machinery, methods, microscopes and millions.
Many a small school struggling to live thinks that all it needs is
endowment, when the fact is that its struggle for existence and the
fatty degeneration. Some schools seem to have been visited by
foundations? That is the question the age is asking.
What is knowing?
One day a manufacturer took me thru his factory where he makes
A violin is only a fiddle with a college education.
I have had the feeling ever since that you and I come into this
neck. That is about all there is either to us or to the fiddle. We
string--the little E string. The trouble is so many of these human
school and go fiddling thru life on this one string!
After all this there comes the commencement, and the violin comes
Why is a violin? To wear strings? Gussie got that far and gave a
lot of discord. The violin is to give music.
So there is much yet to do after getting the strings. All the book
and college can do is to give the strings--the tools. After that
pegs are turned and the strings are put in tune. The music is the
knowing. Learning is tuning.
All of us are Christopher Columbuses, discovering the same new-old
continents of Truth. That is the true happiness of
life--discovering Truth. We read things in a book and have a hazy
little feeling, "Yes, that is so." We hear the great truths of life
over and over and we are not excited. Truth never excites--it is
falsehood that excites--until we discover it in our lives. Until we
see it with our own eyes. Then there is a thrill. Then the old
consciousness. This joy of discovery is the joy of living.
There is such a difference between reading a thing and knowing a
I did not learn it. I wish I had learned by reading it that if I
blisters in order to learn it.
Then I had to go around showing the blisters, boring my friends and
This is not a lecture. It is a confession! It seems to me if you in
get something for nothing." That is, getting it in partial tune. It
me here on this platform in my graceful and cultured manner, and
drink from a copper kettle. But I have fed him the fingers of this
swine department. Everybody goes to his own department. Even the
"suckers"! Did you ever notice where they go? That is where I
You see, this was not gambling, this was a sure thing. (It was!)
When anybody says that he is due for a return date.
and stood up in his buggy. "Let the prominent citizens gather
"Gentlemen, I am introducing this new medicinal soap that cures all
diseases humanity is heir to. Now just to introduce and advertise,
a cake of this wonderful soap from my hat--any cake you want, gentlemen!"
work) in his hands and grab that bill cake. But the bill
disappeared. I never knew where it went. The man whipped up his
horse and also disappeared. I never knew where he went.
doubled. They still exist on the blueprint and the Oklahoma
metropolis on paper is yet a wide place in the road.
"Everglades"? I have an alligator ranch there. It is below the
retired ministers would come periodically and sell me stock in some
new enterprise that had millions in it--in its prospectus. I would
buy because I knew the minister was honest and believed in it. He
was selling it on his reputation. Favorite dodge of the promoter to
get the ministers to sell his shares.
I pitied his lack of vision. Bankers were such "tightwads." They
It would have been better for me if I had thrown about all my
never met. His name was Thomas A. Cleage, and he was in the Rialto
Building, St. Louis, Missouri. He wrote me in extreme confidence,
rent my manly bosom as I read that letter from this man who said he
train for St. Louis. I was afraid somebody might beat me there if
sheep-shears ready. Lambie, lambie, lambie, come to St. Louis!
I don't get any sympathy from this crowd. You laugh at me. You
happened in St. Louis. It is none of your business!
O, I am so glad I went to St. Louis. Being naturally bright, I
St. Louis to Tom Cleage's bucket-shop and pay him eleven hundred
dollars to corner the wheat market of the world. That is all I paid
cannot tell him anything, because he is naturally bright and knows
better. You simply have to trim him till he bleeds.
It is worth eleven hundred dollars every day to know that one
fortune right up on this platform and put it down there on the
floor. I will not grasp it. Come away, it is a coffee-pot!
interest I know he is no friend of our family.
Meeting is adjourned. I select the waste-basket. Here, get in there
law of compensation is never suspended. You only own what you earn.
will have to be "selected." There is no other way for you, because
have been selected to receive this bunch of blisters because you
took me up into his office after the lecture in which I had related
pathetic. It was a picture of what is going on in our own little
community year after year. I wish you could see what I have to see.
I wish you could see the thousands of hard-earned dollars that go
out of our community every year into just such wildcat enterprises
as you described. The saddest part of it is that the money nearly
Absalom, wake up! This is bargain night for you. I paid eleven
hundred dollars to tell you this one thing, and you get it for a
dollar or two. This is no cheap lecture. It cost blood.
Learn that the gambler never owns his winnings. The man who
The owning is in the understanding of values.
This is true physically, mentally, morally. You only own what you
To me that is one of the great arguments for eternal life--how slowly
I learn, and how much there is to learn. It will take an eternity!
The young person says, "By next June I shall have finished my
After they "finish" they have a commencement, not an end-ment, as
they think. This is not to sneer, but to cheer. Isn't it glorious
that life is one infinite succession of commencements and
I love to attend commencements. The stage is so beautifully
decorated and the joy of youth is everywhere. There is a row of
side. There is a long-whiskered rug in the middle. The graduates
know how it hurts. It is the first time they have worn it.
like them better, because every year I am getting younger. Damsel
lieth Italy!" (Bring arms down, letting fingers follow the wrist.
the wrist! It is always a shock to the audience when the wrist
means, let the fingers follow the wrist, just as the elocution
that is not knowing them. You cannot know them until you have lived
them. It is a grand thing to say, "Beyond the Alps lieth Italy,"
up over Alps of difficulty and seeing the Italy of promise and
victory beyond. It is fine to say, "We are rowing and not
Did you ever hear him preach his "maiden sermon"? I wish you had heard
been "selected": Maybe this was a local call, not long distance.
But I made the mistake I am trying to warn you against. Instead of
chunk of Shakespeare and nailed it on page five of my sermon. "List
"cry here." This was the spilling-point of the wet climax. I was to
I am not sneering at expression. Expression is a noble art. All
life is expression. But you have to get something to express. Here
I made my mistake. I got a lot of fine gestures. I got an
Then came the grand day. The boy wonder stood forth and before his
Then I did another fine thing, I sat down. I wish now I had done
that earlier. I wish now I had sat down before I got up. I was the
bad, bub, I've heerd worse than that. You're all right, bub, but
Out of every thousand books published, perhaps nine hundred of them
in them and they may even be better written, yet they lack the
live must come out of his heart. They are his own life. They come
surging and pulsating from the book of his experience.
agriculturist. We must take a hoe and go out and agricult. That is
But the soul of the artist fainted,
cultivated it, they are singers. All this cultivation and irritation
a singer--merely neckties. Singers look better with neckties.
All this was gall and wormwood to Jessie. "Child," I said to her,
"this is the best singing lesson you have ever had. Your study is
all right and you have a better voice than that woman, but you
never know the ache and disappointment you must know before you can
sing that song, for it is the sob of a broken-hearted woman. Learn
lives? That is why they "execute" them.
The guest of honor at a dinner in a Chicago club was a woman who is
one of the widely known song-writers of this land. As I had the
found the answer to every question. "Isn't it good to be here?
Isn't it great to have friends and a fine home and money?" she
know what it is to be left alone in the world upon my own
discouraged and down and out. It was in my little back-room, the
heart and what the struggles were teaching me. No one is more
surprised and grateful that the world seems to love my songs and
"Just a Wearyin' for You," "His Lullaby" and many more of those
that they tug at your heart and moisten your eyes.
she is today. Her defeats were her victories. If Carrie Jacobs-Bond
had never struggled with discouragement, sickness, poverty and
The popular song is the song that best voices what is in the
it is a tribute to the good elements in humanity that the
become wrecks. But I am insisting upon what I see written all
The world is full of theorists, dreamers, uplifters, reformers, who
have worthy visions but are not able to translate them into
ideas must be forged into usefulness available for this day upon
Many of the most brilliant theorists have been the greatest
There are a thousand who can tell you what is the matter with
anything you could think of was discussed, and perhaps the page. He
He could give you almost any date. He could finish almost any quotation.
His conversation was largely made up of classical quotations.
a misfit on earth. He was liable to put the gravy in his coffee
of the things in his memory. Since I have grown up I always think
The greatest book is the textbook of the University of Hard Knocks,
in running brooks." Most fortunate is he who has learned to read
long in this world.
Our education is our progress from the sweeping, positive,
Many audiences are gathered into this one audience. Each person
here is a different audience, reading a different page in the Book
I know there are chapters of heroism in the lives of you older
for a little while. I know there are people in this audience in pain.
Never do this many gather but what there are some with aching hearts.
much interested in this lecture. You are polite and attentive
because this is a polite and attentive neighborhood. But down in
your hearts you are asking, "What is this all about? What is that
trust most betray you. Maybe, betray you with a kiss. You will go
For all lives have about the same elements. Your life is going to
pitch, where the discords fade from our lives and where the music
had been sending forth the noise and discord.
Thus we know that our education is progressing, as the evil and
That is getting in tune.
That is growing up.
I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, altho it is quite
Nobody ever traded with us by mistake.
cheerful old miser put a nickel in my blistered hand. That nickel
Yet I was years learning it is much easier to make money than to
There is hope for green things. I was so tall and awkward then--I
can teach kids." That is why I was a teacher.
My second, Make, em recite. That is, fill 'em up and then empty 'em.
literature that day. Execute is the word that tells what happened
to literature in District No. 1, Jackson Township, that day. I can
never got home with the money. Talk about the fool and his money
tho, why he didn't take a pillow to church. I took his note for $240,
Deacon K has gone from earth. He has gone to his eternal reward. I
from the books, that it takes less wisdom to make money, than it
Which is no slap at the church, but at its worst enemies, the foes
Perhaps the girl who gave him the "mitten" is there.
And he has gotten his lecture out of that home town. The heroes and
villains live there within striking distance. Perhaps they have
come to hear him. "Is not this the carpenter's son?" Perhaps this
is why some lecturers and authors are not so popular in the home
"Greece is gone and Rome is no more, but fe-e-e-e-ear not,
I held thanksgiving services that night. I could see better. I had
before? It is a memorable experience.
authoresses and scientists and scientist-esses and geniuses and
home telephone exchange, and had become absolutely indispensable to
going to Confess was raising the best corn in the county, and his
it, or where Mammon had entered to pull it down. And I saw better
that the foolish dreams of success faded before the natural
unfolding of talents, which is the real success. I saw better that
"the boy is father to the man."
The boy who skimmed over his work in school was skimming over his
domineering egotist boy became the domineering egotist man.
him! Why was it he could always get the better of me? Well, he went
on trading knives and getting the better of people. Now, twenty-one
didn't whisper, who never got into trouble, who always had his hair
jail." But Model Harry sat around all his life being a model. I
seemed like she was all out-shine and no in-shine. She mistook
irish lass who became an "old maid." She had worked day by day all
Everybody said Frank would make his mark in the world and make
How easy it is to see as you look backward. But how hard it is to
I asked, "Where is he?" We went out to the cemetery, where I stood
all the struggle taken out of his life. He never followed his
career, never developed any strength. He disappointed hopes, spent
a fortune, broke his father's heart, shocked the community, and
finally ended his wasted life with a bullet fired by his own hand.
Do you remember it? The Jewish boy is torn from his home in
disgrace. He is haled into court and tried for a crime he never
trial at the hands of this world. That is why the great Judge has
the lash. Years of the cruel injustice pass. Ben Hur is the
That one is chained to no oar. See what a fine time they all have.
will win?" "The man with the stronger forearms," they whisper.
mistakes in the bookkeeping. As we pull on the oar, so often lashed
by grim necessity, every honest effort is laid up at compound
comes when we need every ounce. Sooner or later our chariot race is
those around us fall--and it is won with the forearms earned in the
That is why I thanked God as I stood at the grave of my classmate.
THERE is a little silvery sheet of water in Minnesota called Lake Itasca.
There is a place where a little stream leaps out from the lake.
"Ole!" you will exclaim, "the lake is leaking. What is the name of
this little creek?"
"Creek! It bane no creek. It bane Mississippi river."
where it is going, but it is "on the way."
Paul came on the road to Damascus. The place of the "heavenly vision."
It is the place where gravity says, "Little Mississippi, do you
The little Mississippi starts south. He says to the people,
"Why, Mississippi, you are foolish. You hain't got water enough to
get out of the county." That is a fact, but he is not trying to get
out of the county. The Mississippi is only trying to go south.
The Mississippi knows nothing about the Gulf of Mexico. He does not
know that he has to go hundreds of miles south. He is only trying
relative to die and bequeath him some water. That is a beautiful
by day he picks up streamlets, brooklets, rivulets. Business is
My friends, here is one of the best pictures I can find in nature
Value of a Goal in Life." But the direction is vastly more
supplies we will need along the way. All we have to do is to start
Success is not tomorrow or next year. Success is now. Success is
not at the end of the journey, for there is no end. Success is
every day in flowing and growing. The Mississippi is a success in
It is a divine call--the call of our unfolding talents to be used.
Remember, the Mississippi goes south. If he had gone any other
Three wonderful things develop as the Mississippi goes on south.
2. He overcomes his obstacles and develops his power.
You never meet the Mississippi after he starts south, but what he
is going on south and growing greater. You never meet him but what
The Mississippi gets to St. Paul and Minneapolis. He is a great
retire upon his laurels. He goes on south and grows greater. He
goes on south to St. Louis. He is a wonderful river now. But he
Everywhere you meet him he is going on south and growing greater.
Do you know why the Mississippi goes on south? To continue to be
the Mississippi. If he should stop and stagnate, he would not be
the Mississippi, river. he would become a stagnant, poisonous pond.
That is why I am making it the slogan of my life--GO ON SOUTH AND
each day. I wish I could write it over the pulpits, over the
GROW GREATER. For this is life, and there is no other. This is
Success is so hard to endure. We can endure ten defeats better than
Civilization is mostly a conspiracy to keep us from going very far south.
But contentment with present achievement is the damnation of the race.
become good servants, workmen or artists. The young people get a
south to efficiency and promotion. They wonder why their genius is
not recognized. They do not make it visible.
think that is being a stenographer, when it is merely a symptom of
Nine out of ten workmen cannot be trusted to do what they advertise
efficient. Many a professional man is in the same class.
Half of our life is spent in getting competents to repair the
I used to know a violinist who would say, "If I were not a genius,
Strickland Gillilan, America's great poet-humorist, say, "Egotism
is the opiate that Nature administers to deaden the pains of mediocrity.
This Is Our Best Day
are so prone to say, "I am aging rapidly." It pays to advertise. We
front-paging his age. Age is not years; age is grunts.
greases his buggy. He believes in "preparedness."
Go on south! We have not seen our best days. This is the best day
so far, and tomorrow is going to be better on south.
eternal youth. It is the one who stops who "ages rapidly." Each day
brings us a larger vision. Infinity, Eternity, Omnipotence,
Omniscience are all on south.
We have left nothing behind but the husks. I would not trade this
compound interest! They are dead. This is life.
are the most valuable, for they have the vision and wisdom of many
list, retires himself. He quits going on south.
The most wonderful person in the world is the one who has lived
whole world going to that person for direction, advice, vision,
I ought to know more about it by this time. But when anybody says,
you are. I am trying to do better now."
do. Tell me how to give a better lecture.
were good enough. I told him I wanted to get better lectures, for
I was so dissatisfied with what little I knew. He told me I could
never get any better. I had reached my limit. Those lectures were
have a new birth. The days when we go on south to larger visions.
I wish I could have a birthday every minute!
Bernhardt, Davis and Edison
gripping audiences with the fire and brilliancy of youth, is
Senator Henry Gassaway Davis, West Virginia's Grand Old Man, at
multitudes in his employ. He was an ardent Odd Fellow, and one day
at ninety-two--just a short time before his passing--he went out to
these men and one by one they rose from the bench to return his
The last man on the bench did not rise. He helplessly looked up at
"My boy," laughed Senator Davis, "I was an Odd Fellow before
Mr. Edison invented into the meeting at Lakeside, Ohio. The people
But the people said, "Mr. Edison has succeeded." There was one man
who did not believe that Mr. Edison had succeeded. His name was
Thomas Alva Edison. He had gotten to St. Paul, and he went on
Mr. Edison has said that his genius is mainly his ability to keep
on south. A young lady succeeded in getting into his laboratory the
diamond-pointed phonograph. I am sure if we could bring Mr. Edison
to this platform and ask him, "Have you succeeded?" he would say
me how much there is yet to do."
That is success supreme. Not "succeeded" but "succeeding."
time" when he becomes the leader of the Israelite host.
I would see his scandalized friends gather around him. "Moses! Moses!
what is this we hear? You going to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land?
You are liable to drop off any minute. Here is a pair of slippers.
And keep out of the night air. It is so hard on old folks."
Israel, forward, march!"
can hardly keep up. Moses is eighty-five and busier and more
enthusiastic than ever. The people say, "Isn't Moses dead?" "No."
"Well, he ought to be dead, for he is old enough."
Then I see the committee waiting on Moses. That is what a committee
does--it "waits" on something or other. And this committee goes up
to General Moses' private office. It is his busy day. They have to
the great prophet says, "Boys, what is it? Cut it short, I'm busy."
is to be next Thursday. Kindly die."
I see Moses look over his appointments. "Next Thursday?
Why, boys, every hour is taken next Thursday. I simply cannot
who is too busy to attend his own funeral! You cannot bury anybody
until he consents. It is bad manners! The committee is so
Moses is eighty-six and the committee 'phones over, "Moses, can you
to hold that funeral until I get this work pushed off so I can
The committee waits. Moses is ninety and rushed more than ever.
He is doing ten men's work and his friends all say he is killing
Moses is ninety-five and burning the candle at both ends.
He is a hundred. And the committee dies!
Moses goes right on shouting, "Onward!" He is a hundred and ten. He
is a hundred and twenty. Even then I read, "His eye was not dim,
nor his natural force abated." He had not time to stop and abate.
So God buried him. The committee was dead. O, friends, this is not
irreverence. It is joyful reverence. It is the message to all of
All the multitudes of the Children of Israel died in the Wilderness.
They generally discover the world is "going to the dogs." They cry
They say nobody loves them. Which is often a fact. Nobody loves the
They say, "I wish I were a child again. I was happy when I was a
again is confessing he has lost his memory. Anybody who can remember
If there is anybody who does not have a good time, if there is
anybody who gets shortchanged regularly, it is a child. I am so
sorry for a child. Hurry up and go on south. It is better on south.
I wish I could forget many of my childhood memories. I remember the
meeting day." Elder Berry would stay for dinner. His name was
long table and view the "promised land." I would see her set on the
would say, "Hurry, mother, it is going to spill!" O, how I wanted
I was starving. He would say, "Brother Parlette, is this your
He would often put his hand in benediction upon my head.
is anybody shortchanged--if there is anybody who doesn't have a
good time, it's a child. Life has been getting better ever since,
and today is the best day of all. Go on south!
It's Better on South
with fuzz on his upper lip, but he'll be happier when his lip feels
happiness undreamed of in his philosophy.
for joy. Our life is one continual unfolding as we go south.
Afterwhile this old world gets too small for us and we go on south
Material things will grow old. This stage will grow old and stop.
This hall will grow old and stop. This house we live in will grow
old and stop. This flesh and blood house we live in will grow old
and stop. This lecture even will grow old--and stop! But you and I
today it is such a relief to look people in the face and say,
As the Mississippi River goes on south he finds obstacles along the
the river. It is many feet high, and many, many feet long. The
river cannot go on south. Watch him. He rises higher than the
Over the great power dam at Keokuk sweeps the Mississippi. And then
the light and power from the struggle. The great city of St. Louis,
So that is why they spent the millions to build the obstacle--to
That is exactly what happens when you and I overcome our obstacles.
but it is all latent and does no good until we overcome obstacles
obstacles. The presence of the obstacles means that there is a lot
Life is going on south, and overcoming the obstacles. Death is
The fact that we are not buried is no proof that we are alive. Go
Usually the deadest loafer is married to the livest woman. Nature
I do not smile as I refer to the dead. I weep. I wish I could
But all this lecture has been discussing this, so I hurry on to the
is the supreme test of character. That is, Why go on south? Not for
blessing nor cursing, not for popularity nor for selfish ends, not
The Mississippi blesses the valley every day as he goes on south
its foul, muddy, poisonous streams back upon the Mississippi to
defile him. The Mississippi makes St. Paul and Minneapolis about
The Mississippi does not resign. He does not tell a tale of woe. He
does not say, "I am not appreciated. My genius is not understood.
Itasca." No, he does not even go to live with his father-in-law.
alchemy of Nature, the Mississippi has taken over all the poison
made it a part of himself. And he is greater and farther south!
Civilization conspires to defeat the Mississippi. Chicago's
wide and three inches deep; the peevish, destructive Kaw, and all
irresponsible lower Missouri; the big, muddy Ohio, the Arkansas,
Mississippi.
discourage, divert nor defile him. No matter how poisonous he
becomes, he goes a few miles on south and he is all pure again.
become poisoned by bitter memories and bitter regrets. We carry
us, that sometimes we are bank to bank full of poison and a menace
others because that is the way to be happy, but do not wait for a
We get so discouraged. We say, "I have gone far enough south."
There is nobody who does not have that to meet. The preacher, the
for a better community, gets discouraged at times.
we sit down completely discouraged and say, "I'm done. I'm going to
Stop! You are not saying that. The evil one is whispering that into
your heart. His business is to stop you from going south. His most
successful tool is discouragement, which is a wedge, and if he can
get the sharp edge started into your thought, he is going to drive
valley for praise or blame, for appreciation or lack of it. You do
Almost everybody is deceived. We work from mixed motives. We fool
if we are not praised or thanked for it, if people do not present
us a medal or resolutions, we want to quit. That is why there are
so many disappointed and disgruntled people in the world. They worked
be personal saviours. They say this is an ungrateful world.
O, how easy it is to say these things, and how hard it is to do them!
But because the Mississippi does these things, one day the train I
was riding stopped in Louisiana. We had come to a river so great
writing the first chapter of this wonderful book in the running brook.
And may we read it into our own lives. May we get the vision of
The Mississippi knows nothing about the gulf. He goes on south
tho nothing had happened. So he pushes his physical banks on south
And when he comes to the end of his physical banks, he pushes on
And when physical banks fail, we go on south beyond this mere husk,
HOW often we say, "I wish I had a million!" Perhaps it is a
lazy, selfish and unhappy. Perhaps we would go around giving it to
other people to make them lazy, selfish and unhappy.
O, the problem is not how to get money, but how to get rid of
be doctored by specialists.
Necessity is the ballast in our life voyage.
his work, do you think of the years of struggle he spent in
speak when he failed and went back to his room in disgrace,
discipline, experience and grim resolve that made him succeed.
necessary to produce that finish and grace? That is the story of
blessings in disguise. People go to the devil with full pockets;
they turn to God when hunger hits them. "Is not this Babylon that
drinks to his gods. Then must come the Needful and Needless Knocks
before he would write his immortal "Pilgrim's Progress"? It may be
blind before writing "Paradise Lost" the world will always read?
He, too, had to be sent to prison to write his immortal messages to
humanity. What throne-rooms are some prisons! And what prisons are
Do you not see all around you that success is ever the phoenix
rising from the ashes of defeat?
For that is the only way to say, "Success to you!"
be bumped to see this!
I know no better way to close this lecture than to tell you of a
dog is wounded he crawls away alone to lick his wounds. I felt like
That is why I climbed Mount Lowe that day. I wanted to get alone.
It is a wonderful experience to climb Mount Lowe. The tourists go
triangular car that hoists them out of the hungry chasm thirty-five
Here they find that Echo Mountain is but a shelf on the side of
towards the sky. There is hardly a straight rail in the track.
winding and squirming, twisting and ducking, dodging and summersaulting.
There are places where the tourist wants to grasp his seat and
lift. There is a wooden shelf nailed to the side of the perpendicular
rockwall where his life depends upon the honesty of the man who drove
side to look at the face of the cliff they are hugging, and discovers
there is no place to resign!
The car is five thousand feet high where it stops on that last shelf,
Alpine Tavern. One cannot ride farther upward. This is not the summit,
but just where science surrenders. There is a little trail that winds
upward from Alpine Tavern to the summit. It is three miles long
and rises eleven hundred feet.
at the summit of Mount Lowe is to get a picture so wonderful it
cannot be described with this poor human vocabulary. It must be
lived. On a pure, clear day one looks down this sixty-one hundred
It spreads out below in one great mosaic of turquoise and amber
and emerald, where the miles seem like inches, and where his
Just below is Pasadena and Los Angeles. To the westward perhaps
forty miles is the blue stretch of the Pacific Ocean, on westward
the faint outlines of Catalina Islands. The ocean seems so close
distances. You throw the pebble and it falls upon your toes!
And Mount Lowe is but a shelf on the side of the higher Sierras.
The granite mountains rise higher to the northward, and to the east
rises "Old Baldy," twelve thousand feet high and snow eternally
on his head.
This is one of the workshops of the infinite!
the swimming distances. I did not know why I had struggled up into
doesn't shine. The sky is all gone." But I saw the truth--the sun
could see all this because I had gone above the valley. I could see
the clouds of trouble today, BUT THE SUN IS SHINING!
forever shining and God forever in His heavens.
Each day as I go up the mountain I get a larger vision. The miles
gate, but it opened another gate to a better pathway up the mountain.
lower and lower until his red lips kissed the cheek of the Pacific.
fountains of rainbows. Such a sunset from the mountain-side is a
promise of heaven.
Some day my night will come. It will spread over all this valley of
I shall find this mountain-top just another shelf on the side of
the Mountain of Infinite Unfolding. I shall have risen perhaps only
the first mile. I shall have millions of miles yet to rise.
This will be another Commencement Day and Master's Degree. Infinite
This book proves that the real big business is that of getting our
"It is a great big boost for everybody who will read it. People
"The Big Business of Life is a real joy to read. It is big and
where. It is truly `A Book of Rejoicing'."
that it is everyone's business to abolish work and turn this
mortals take their work too seriously, and that to them it is a
find it when we are bending to our duties is to possess the
secret of living to the full. And happiness is to be sought
book before us is wholesome and vivacious. It provokes many
a smile, and beneath each one is a bit of wisdom it would do us
a world of good to learn. It recalls the saying of the wise man
write us that they think it is even better than "The
University of Hard Knocks," which, they add, is
The Best is Yet to Come
says. "Parlette's Beans and Nuts is just as good as the Message to
William Jennings Bryan says of the booklet "Go On South": "It is
Mississippi River story together and we were thoroly delighted."
20180419
Progress, Precision and Profit
This is more than double Tesla’s weekly production rate last year and an amazing feat in the face of many challenges! It is extremely rare for an automotive company to grow the production rate by over 100% from one year to the next. Moreover, there has simultaneously been a significant improvement in quality and build accuracy, which is reflected in positive owner feedback.
Starting today at Giga and tomorrow at Fremont, we will be stopping for three to five days to do a comprehensive set of upgrades. This should set us up for Model 3 production of 3000 to 4000 per week next month.
Any Tesla department or supplier that is unable to do this will need to have a very good explanation why not, along with a plan for fixing the problem and present that to me directly. If anyone needs help achieving this, please let me know as soon as possible. We are going to find a way or make a way to get there.
The reason that the burst-build target rate is 6000 and not 5000 per week in June is that we cannot have a number with no margin for error across thousands of internally and externally produced parts and processes, amplified by a complex global logistics chain. Actual production will move as fast as the least lucky and least well-executed part of the entire Tesla production/supply chain system.
As part of the drive towards 6k, all Model 3 production at Fremont will move to 24/7operations. This means that we will be adding another shift to general assembly, body and paint. Please refer anyone you know who you think meets the Tesla bar for talent, drive and trust. Between Fremont and Giga, Tesla will be adding about 400 people per week for several weeks.
Precision
Most of the design tolerances of the Model 3 are already better than any other car in the world. Soon, they will all be better. This is not enough. We will keep going until the Model 3 build precision is a factor of ten better than any other car in the world. I am not kidding.
Our car needs to be designed and built with such accuracy and precision that, if an owner measures dimensions, panel gaps and flushness, and their measurements don’t match the Model 3 specs, it just means that their measuring tape is wrong.
Some parts suppliers will be unwilling or unable to achieve this level of precision. I understand that this will be considered an unreasonable request by some. That’s ok, there are lots of other car companies with much lower standards. They just can’t work with Tesla.
A fair criticism leveled at Tesla by outside critics is that you’re not a real company unless you generate a profit, meaning simply that revenue exceeds costs. It didn’t make sense to do that until reaching economies of scale, but now we are there.
I have been disappointed to discover how many contractor companies are interwoven throughout Tesla. Often, it is like a Russian nesting doll of contractor, subcontractor, sub-subcontractor, etc. before you finally find someone doing actual work. This means a lot of middle-managers adding cost but not doing anything obviously useful. Also, many contracts are essentially open time & materials, not fixed price and duration, which creates an incentive to turn molehills into mountains, as they never want to end the money train.
There is a very wide range of contractor performance, from excellent to worse than a drunken sloth. All contracting companies should consider the coming week to be a final opportunity to demonstrate excellence. Any that fail to meet the Tesla standard of excellence will have their contracts ended on Monday.
– Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get of all large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short.
– Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved.
– Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.
– A major source of issues is poor communication between depts. The way to solve this is allow free flow of information between all levels. If, in order to get something done between depts, an individual contributor has to talk to their manager, who talks to a director, who talks to a VP, who talks to another VP, who talks to a director, who talks to a manager, who talks to someone doing the actual work, then super dumb things will happen. It must be ok for people to talk directly and just make the right thing happen.
– In general, always pick common sense as your guide. If following a “company rule” is obviously ridiculous in a particular situation, such that it would make for a great Dilbert cartoon, then the rule should change.
If there is something you think should be done to make Tesla execute better or allow you to look forward to coming to work more (same thing in the long term), please send a note to [redacted]
Thanks for being such a kickass team and accomplishing miracles every day. It matters. We are burning the midnight oil to burn the midnight oil.
LifeWithoutPrinciple
AT A LYCEUM, not long since, I felt that the lecturer had chosen a theme too foreign to himself, and so failed to interest me as much as he might have done. He described things not in or near to his heart, but toward his extremities and superficies. There was, in this sense, no truly central or centralizing thought in the lecture. I would have had him deal with his privatest experience, as the poet does. The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. I am surprised, as well as delighted, when this happens, it is such a rare use he would make of me, as if he were acquainted with the tool. Commonly, if men want anything of me, it is only to know how many acres I make of their land- since I am a surveyor- or, at most, what trivial news I have burdened myself with. They never will go to law for my meat; they prefer the shell. A man once came a considerable distance to ask me to lecture on Slavery; but on conversing with him, I found that he and his clique expected seven eighths of the lecture to be theirs, and only one eighth mine; so I declined. I take it for granted, when I am invited to lecture anywhere- for I have had a little experience in that business- that there is a desire to hear what I think on some subject, though I may be the greatest fool in the country- and not that I should say pleasant things merely, or such as the audience will assent to; and I resolve, accordingly, that I will give them a strong dose of myself. They have sent for me, and engaged to pay for me, and I am determined that they shall have me, though I bore them beyond all precedent.
So now I would say something similar to you, my readers. Since you are my readers, and I have not been much of a traveller, I will not talk about people a thousand miles off, but come as near home as I can. As the time is short, I will leave out all the flattery, and retain all the criticism.
This world is a place of business. What an infinite bustle! I am awaked almost every night by the panting of the locomotive. It interrupts my dreams. There is no sabbath. It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work. I cannot easily buy a blank-book to write thoughts in; they are commonly ruled for dollars and cents. An Irishman, seeing me making a minute in the fields, took it for granted that I was calculating my wages. If a man was tossed out of a window when an infant, and so made a cripple for life, or seared out of his wits by the Indians, it is regretted chiefly because he was thus incapacitated for business! I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than this incessant business.
There is a coarse and boisterous money-making fellow in the outskirts of our town, who is going to build a bank-wall under the hill along the edge of his meadow. The powers have put this into his head to keep him out of mischief, and he wishes me to spend three weeks digging there with him. The result will be that he will perhaps get some more money to board, and leave for his heirs to spend foolishly. If I do this, most will commend me as an industrious and hard-working man; but if I choose to devote myself to certain labors which yield more real profit, though but little money, they may be inclined to look on me as an idler. Nevertheless, as I do not need the police of meaningless labor to regulate me, and do not see anything absolutely praiseworthy in this fellow's undertaking any more than in many an enterprise of our own or foreign governments, however amusing it may be to him or them, I prefer to finish my education at a different school.
If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!
Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now. For instance: just after sunrise, one summer morning, I noticed one of my neighbors walking beside his team, which was slowly drawing a heavy hewn stone swung under the axle, surrounded by an atmosphere of industry- his day's work begun- his brow commenced to sweat- a reproach to all sluggards and idlers- pausing abreast the shoulders of his oxen, and half turning round with a flourish of his merciful whip, while they gained their length on him. And I thought, Such is the labor which the American Congress exists to protect- honest, manly toil- honest as the day is long- that makes his bread taste sweet, and keeps society sweet- which all men respect and have consecrated; one of the sacred band, doing the needful but irksome drudgery. Indeed, I felt a slight reproach, because I observed this from a window, and was not abroad and stirring about a similar business. The day went by, and at evening I passed the yard of another neighbor, who keeps many servants, and spends much money foolishly, while he adds nothing to the common stock, and there I saw the stone of the morning lying beside a whimsical structure intended to adorn this Lord Timothy Dexter's premises, and the dignity forthwith departed from the teamster's labor, in my eyes. In my opinion, the sun was made to light worthier toil than this. I may add that his employer has since run off, in debt to a good part of the town, and, after passing through Chancery, has settled somewhere else, there to become once more a patron of the arts.
The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle or worse. If the laborer gets no more than the wages which his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself. If you would get money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go down perpendicularly. Those services which the community will most readily pay for, it is most disagreeable to render. You are paid for being something less than a man. The State does not commonly reward a genius any more wisely. Even the poet laureate would rather not have to celebrate the accidents of royalty. He must be bribed with a pipe of wine; and perhaps another poet is called away from his muse to gauge that very pipe. As for my own business, even that kind of surveying which I could do with most satisfaction my employers do not want. They would prefer that I should do my work coarsely and not too well, ay, not well enough. When I observe that there are different ways of surveying, my employer commonly asks which will give him the most land, not which is most correct. I once invented a rule for measuring cord-wood, and tried to introduce it in Boston; but the measurer there told me that the sellers did not wish to have their wood measured correctly- that he was already too accurate for them, and therefore they commonly got their wood measured in Charlestown before crossing the bridge.
The aim of the laborer should be, not to get his living, to get "a good job," but to perform well a certain work; and, even in a pecuniary sense, it would be economy for a town to pay its laborers so well that they would not feel that they were working for low ends, as for a livelihood merely, but for scientific, or even moral ends. Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
It is remarkable that there are few men so well employed, so much to their minds, but that a little money or fame would commonly buy them off from their present pursuit. I see advertisements for active young men, as if activity were the whole of a young man's capital. Yet I have been surprised when one has with confidence proposed to me, a grown man, to embark in some enterprise of his, as if I had absolutely nothing to do, my life having been a complete failure hitherto. What a doubtful compliment this to pay me! As if he had met me half-way across the ocean beating up against the wind, but bound nowhere, and proposed to me to go along with him! If I did, what do you think the underwriters would say? No, no! I am not without employment at this stage of the voyage. To tell the truth, I saw an advertisement for able-bodied seamen, when I was a boy, sauntering in my native port, and as soon as I came of age I embarked.
The community has no bribe that will tempt a wise man. You may raise money enough to tunnel a mountain, but you cannot raise money enough to hire a man who is minding his own business. An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not. The inefficient offer their inefficiency to the highest bidder, and are forever expecting to be put into office. One would suppose that they were rarely disappointed.
Perhaps I am more than usually jealous with respect to my freedom. I feel that my connection with and obligation to society are still very slight and transient. Those slight labors which afford me a livelihood, and by which it is allowed that I am to some extent serviceable to my contemporaries, are as yet commonly a pleasure to me, and I am not often reminded that they are a necessity. So far I am successful. But I foresee that if my wants should be much increased, the labor required to supply them would become a drudgery. If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birthright for a mess of pottage. I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living. All great enterprises are self-supporting. The poet, for instance, must sustain his body by his poetry, as a steam planing-mill feeds its boilers with the shavings it makes. You must get your living by loving. But as it is said of the merchants that ninety-seven in a hundred fail, so the life of men generally, tried by this standard, is a failure, and bankruptcy may be surely prophesied.
Merely to come into the world the heir of a fortune is not to be born, but to be still-born, rather. To be supported by the charity of friends, or a government pension- provided you continue to breathe- by whatever fine synonyms you describe these relations, is to go into the almshouse. On Sundays the poor debtor goes to church to take an account of stock, and finds, of course, that his outgoes have been greater than his income. In the Catholic Church, especially, they go into chancery, make a clean confession, give up all, and think to start again. Thus men will lie on their backs, talking about the fall of man, and never make an effort to get up.
As for the comparative demand which men make on life, it is an important difference between two, that the one is satisfied with a level success, that his marks can all be hit by point-blank shots, but the other, however low and unsuccessful his life may be, constantly elevates his aim, though at a very slight angle to the horizon. I should much rather be the last man- though, as the Orientals say, "Greatness doth not approach him who is forever looking down; and all those who are looking high are growing poor."
It is remarkable that there is little or nothing to be remembered written on the subject of getting a living; how to make getting a living not merely holiest and honorable, but altogether inviting and glorious; for if getting a living is not so, then living is not. One would think, from looking at literature, that this question had never disturbed a solitary individual's musings. Is it that men are too much disgusted with their experience to speak of it? The lesson of value which money teaches, which the Author of the Universe has taken so much pains to teach us, we are inclined to skip altogether. As for the means of living, it is wonderful how indifferent men of all classes are about it, even reformers, so called- whether they inherit, or earn, or steal it. I think that Society has done nothing for us in this respect, or at least has undone what she has done. Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off.
The title wise is, for the most part, falsely applied. How can one be a wise man, if he does not know any better how to live than other men?- if he is only more cunning and intellectually subtle? Does Wisdom work in a tread-mill? or does she teach how to succeed by her example? Is there any such thing as wisdom not applied to life? Is she merely the miller who grinds the finest logic? It is pertinent to ask if Plato got his living in a better way or more successfully than his contemporaries- or did he succumb to the difficulties of life like other men? Did he seem to prevail over some of them merely by indifference, or by assuming grand airs? or find it easier to live, because his aunt remembered him in her will? The ways in which most men get their living, that is, live, are mere makeshifts, and a shirking of the real business of life- chiefly because they do not know, but partly because they do not mean, any better.
The rush to California, for instance, and the attitude, not merely of merchants, but of philosophers and prophets, so called, in relation to it, reflect the greatest disgrace on mankind. That so many are ready to live by luck, and so get the means of commanding the labor of others less lucky, without contributing any value to society! And that is called enterprise! I know of no more startling development of the immorality of trade, and all the common modes of getting a living. The philosophy and poetry and religion of such a mankind are not worth the dust of a puffball. The hog that gets his living by rooting, stirring up the soil so, would be ashamed of such company. If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it. Even Mahomet knew that God did not make this world in jest. It makes God to be a moneyed gentleman who scatters a handful of pennies in order to see mankind scramble for them. The world's raffle! A subsistence in the domains of Nature a thing to be raffled for! What a comment, what a satire, on our institutions! The conclusion will be, that mankind will hang itself upon a tree. And have all the precepts in all the Bibles taught men only this? and is the last and most admirable invention of the human race only an improved muck-rake? Is this the ground on which Orientals and Occidentals meet? Did God direct us so to get our living, digging where we never planted- and He would, perchance, reward us with lumps of gold?
God gave the righteous man a certificate entitling him to food and raiment, but the unrighteous man found a facsimile of the same in God's coffers, and appropriated it, and obtained food and raiment like the former. It is one of the most extensive systems of counterfeiting that the world has seen. I did not know that mankind was suffering for want of old. I have seen a little of it. I know that it is very malleable, but not so malleable as wit. A grain of gold gild a great surface, but not so much as a grain of wisdom.
The gold-digger in the ravines of the mountains is as much a gambler as his fellow in the saloons of San Francisco. What difference does it make whether you shake dirt or shake dice? If you win, society is the loser. The gold-digger is the enemy of the honest laborer, whatever checks and compensations there may be. It is not enough to tell me that you worked hard to get your gold. So does the Devil work hard. The way of transgressors may be hard in many respects. The humblest observer who goes to the mines sees and says that gold-digging is of the character of a lottery; the gold thus obtained is not the same same thing with the wages of honest toil. But, practically, he forgets what he has seen, for he has seen only the fact, not the principle, and goes into trade there, that is, buys a ticket in what commonly proves another lottery, where the fact is not so obvious.
After reading Howitt's account of the Australian gold-diggings one evening, I had in my mind's eye, all night, the numerous valleys, with their streams, all cut up with foul pits, from ten to one hundred feet deep, and half a dozen feet across, as close as they can be dug, and partly filled with water- the locality to which men furiously rush to probe for their fortunes- uncertain where they shall break ground- not knowing but the gold is under their camp itself- sometimes digging one hundred and sixty feet before they strike the vein, or then missing it by a foot- turned into demons, and regardless of each others' rights, in their thirst for riches- whole valleys, for thirty miles, suddenly honeycombed by the pits of the miners, so that even hundreds are drowned in them- standing in water, and covered with mud and clay, they work night and day, dying of exposure and disease. Having read this, and partly forgotten it, I was thinking, accidentally, of my own unsatisfactory life, doing as others do; and with that vision of the diggings still before me, I asked myself why I might not be washing some gold daily, though it were only the finest particles- why I might not sink a shaft down to the gold within me, and work that mine. There is a Ballarat, a Bendigo for you- what though it were a sulky-gully? At any rate, I might pursue some path, however solitary and narrow and crooked, in which I could walk with love and reverence. Wherever a man separates from the multitude, and goes his own way in this mood, there indeed is a fork in the road, though ordinary travellers may see only a gap in the paling. His solitary path across lots will turn out the higher way of the two.
Men rush to California and Australia as if the true gold were to be found in that direction; but that is to go to the very opposite extreme to where it lies. They go prospecting farther and farther away from the true lead, and are most unfortunate when they think themselves most successful. Is not our native soil auriferous? Does not a stream from the golden mountains flow through our native valley? and has not this for more than geologic ages been bringing down the shining particles and forming the nuggets for us? Yet, strange to tell, if a digger steal away, prospecting for this true gold, into the unexplored solitudes around us, there is no danger that any will dog his steps, and endeavor to supplant him. He may claim and undermine the whole valley even, both the cultivated and the uncultivated portions, his whole life long in peace, for no one will ever dispute his claim. They will not mind his cradles or his toms. He is not confined to a claim twelve feet square, as at Ballarat, but may mine anywhere, and wash the whole wide world in his tom.
Howitt says of the man who found the great nugget which weighed twenty-eight pounds, at the Bendigo diggings in Australia: "He soon began to drink; got a horse, and rode all about, generally at full gallop, and, when he met people, called out to inquire if they knew who he was, and then kindly informed them that he was 'the bloody wretch that had found the nugget.' At last he rode full speed against a tree, and nearly knocked his brains out." I think, however, there was no danger of that, for he had already knocked his brains out against the nugget. Howitt adds, "He is a hopelessly ruined man." But he is a type of the class. They are all fast men. Hear some of the names of the places where they dig: "Jackass Flat"- "Sheep's-Head Gully"- "Murderer's Bar," etc. Is there no satire in these names? Let them carry their ill-gotten wealth where they will, I am thinking it will still be "Jackass Flat," if not "Murderer's Bar," where they live.
The last resource of our energy has been the robbing of graveyards on the Isthmus of Darien, an enterprise which appears to be but in its infancy; for, according to late accounts, an act has passed its second reading in the legislature of New Granada, regulating this kind of mining; and a correspondent of the "Tribune" writes: "In the dry season, when the weather will permit of the country being properly prospected, no doubt other rich guacas [that is, graveyards] will be found." To emigrants he says: "do not come before December; take the Isthmus route in preference to the Boca del Toro one; bring no useless baggage, and do not cumber yourself with a tent; but a good pair of blankets will be necessary; a pick, shovel, and axe of good material will be almost all that is required": advice which might have been taken from the "Burker's Guide." And he concludes with this line in Italics and small capitals: "If you are doing well at home, STAY THERE," which may fairly be interpreted to mean, "If you are getting a good living by robbing graveyards at home, stay there."
But why go to California for a text? She is the child of New England, bred at her own school and church.
It is remarkable that among all the preachers there are so few moral teachers. The prophets are employed in excusing the ways of men. Most reverend seniors, the illuminati of the age, tell me, with a gracious, reminiscent smile, betwixt an aspiration and a shudder, not to be too tender about these things- to lump all that, that is, make a lump of gold of it. The highest advice I have heard on these subjects was grovelling. The burden of it was- It is not worth your while to undertake to reform the world in this particular. Do not ask how your bread is buttered; it will make you sick, if you do- and the like. A man had better starve at once than lose his innocence in the process of getting his bread. If within the sophisticated man there is not an unsophisticated one, then he is but one of the devil's angels. As we grow old, we live more coarsely, we relax a little in our disciplines, and, to some extent, cease to obey our finest instincts. But we should be fastidious to the extreme of sanity, disregarding the gibes of those who are more unfortunate than ourselves.
In our science and philosophy, even, there is commonly no true and absolute account of things. The spirit of sect and bigotry has planted its hoof amid the stars. You have only to discuss the problem, whether the stars are inhabited or not, in order to discover it. Why must we daub the heavens as well as the earth? It was an unfortunate discovery that Dr. Kane was a Mason, and that Sir John Franklin was another. But it was a more cruel suggestion that possibly that was the reason why the former went in search of the latter. There is not a popular magazine in this country that would dare to print a child's thought on important subjects without comment. It must be submitted to the D.D.'s. I would it were the chickadee-dees.
You come from attending the funeral of mankind to attend to a natural phenomenon. A little thought is sexton to all the world.
I hardly know an intellectual man, even, who is so broad and truly liberal that you can think aloud in his society. Most with whom you endeavor to talk soon come to a stand against some institution in which they appear to hold stock- that is, some particular, not universal, way of viewing things. They will continually thrust their own low roof, with its narrow skylight, between you and the sky, when it is the unobstructed heavens you would view. Get out of the way with your cobwebs; wash your windows, I say! In some lyceums they tell me that they have voted to exclude the subject of religion. But how do I know what their religion is, and when I am near to or far from it? I have walked into such an arena and done my best to make a clean breast of what religion I have experienced, and the audience never suspected what I was about. The lecture was as harmless as moonshine to them. Whereas, if I had read to them the biography of the greatest scamps in history, they might have thought that I had written the lives of the deacons of their church. Ordinarily, the inquiry is, Where did you come from? or, Where are you going? That was a more pertinent question which I overheard one of my auditors put to another one- "What does he lecture for?" It made me quake in my shoes.
To speak impartially, the best men that I know are not serene, a world in themselves. For the most part, they dwell in forms, and flatter and study effect only more finely than the rest. We select granite for the underpinning of our houses and barns; we build fences of stone; but we do not ourselves rest on an underpinning of granitic truth, the lowest primitive rock. Our sills are rotten. What stuff is the man made of who is not coexistent in our thought with the purest and subtilest truth? I often accuse my finest acquaintances of an immense frivolity; for, while there are manners and compliments we do not meet, we do not teach one another the lessons of honesty and sincerity that the brutes do, or of steadiness and solidity that the rocks do. The fault is commonly mutual, however; for we do not habitually demand any more of each other.
That excitement about Kossuth, consider how characteristic, but superficial, it was!- only another kind of politics or dancing. Men were making speeches to him all over the country, but each expressed only the thought, or the want of thought, of the multitude. No man stood on truth. They were merely banded together, as usual one leaning on another, and all together on nothing; as the Hindoos made the world rest on an elephant, the elephant on a tortoise, and the tortoise on a serpent, and had nothing to put under the serpent. For all fruit of that stir we have the Kossuth hat.
Just so hollow and ineffectual, for the most part, is our ordinary conversation. Surface meets surface. When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip. We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not. In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post-office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while.
I do not know but it is too much to read one newspaper a week. I have tried it recently, and for so long it seems to me that I have not dwelt in my native region. The sun, the clouds, the snow, the trees say not so much to me. You cannot serve two masters. It requires more than a day's devotion to know and to possess the wealth of a day.
We may well be ashamed to tell what things we have read or heard in our day. I did not know why my news should be so trivial- considering what one's dreams and expectations are, why the developments should be so paltry. The news we hear, for the most part, is not news to our genius. It is the stalest repetition. You are often tempted to ask why such stress is laid on a particular experience which you have had- that, after twenty-five years, you should meet Hobbins, Registrar of Deeds, again on the sidewalk. Have you not budged an inch, then? Such is the daily news. Its facts appear to float in the atmosphere, insignificant as the sporules of fungi, and impinge on some neglected thallus, or surface of our minds, which affords a basis for them, and hence a parasitic growth. We should wash ourselves clean of such news. Of what consequence, though our planet explode, if there is no character involved in the explosion? In health we have not the least curiosity about such events. We do not live for idle amusement. I would not run round a corner to see the world blow up.
All summer, and far into the autumn, perchance, you unconsciously went by the newspapers and the news, and now you find it was because the morning and the evening were full of news to you. Your walks were full of incidents. You attended, not to the affairs of Europe, but to your own affairs in Massachusetts fields. If you chance to live and move and have your being in that thin stratum in which the events that make the news transpire- thinner than the paper on which it is printed- then these things will fill the world for you; but if you soar above or dive below that plane, you cannot remember nor be reminded of them. Really to see the sun rise or go down every day, so to relate ourselves to a universal fact, would preserve us sane forever. Nations! What are nations? Tartars, and Huns, and Chinamen! Like insects, they swarm. The historian strives in vain to make them memorable. It is for want of a man that there are so many men. It is individuals that populate the world. Any man thinking may say with the Spirit of Lodin-
Calm is my dwelling in the clouds;
Not without a slight shudder at the danger, I often perceive how near I had come to admitting into my mind the details of some trivial affair- the news of the street; and I am astonished to observe how willing men are to lumber their minds with such rubbish- to permit idle rumors and incidents of the most insignificant kind to intrude on ground which should be sacred to thought. Shall the mind be a public arena, where the affairs of the street and the gossip of the tea-table chiefly are discussed? Or shall it be a quarter of heaven itself- an hypaethral temple, consecrated to the service of the gods? I find it so difficult to dispose of the few facts which to me are significant, that I hesitate to burden my attention with those which are insignificant, which only a divine mind could illustrate. Such is, for the most part, the news in newspapers and conversation. It is important to preserve the mind's chastity in this respect. Think of admitting the details of a single case of the criminal court into our thoughts, to stalk profanely through their very sanctum sanctorum for an hour, ay, for many hours! to make a very bar-room of the mind's inmost apartment, as if for so long the dust of the street had occupied us- the very street itself, with all its travel, its bustle, and filth, had passed through our thoughts' shrine! Would it not be an intellectual and moral suicide? When I have been compelled to sit spectator and auditor in a court-room for some hours, and have seen my neighbors, who were not compelled, stealing in from time to time, and tiptoeing about with washed hands and faces, it has appeared to my mind's eye, that, when they took off their hats, their ears suddenly expanded into vast hoppers for sound, between which even their narrow heads were crowded. Like the vanes of windmills, they caught the broad but shallow stream of sound, which, after a few titillating gyrations in their coggy brains, passed out the other side. I wondered if, when they got home, they were as careful to wash their ears as before their hands and faces. It has seemed to me, at such a time, that the auditors and the witnesses, the jury and the counsel, the judge and the criminal at the bar- if I may presume him guilty before he is convicted- were all equally criminal, and a thunderbolt might be expected to descend and consume them all together.
By all kinds of traps and signboards, threatening the extreme penalty of the divine law, exclude such trespassers from the only ground which can be sacred to you. It is so hard to forget what it is worse than useless to remember! If I am to be a thoroughfare, I prefer that it be of the mountain brooks, the Parnassian streams, and not the town sewers. There is inspiration, that gossip which comes to the ear of the attentive mind from the courts of heaven. There is the profane and stale revelation of the bar-room and the police court. The same ear is fitted to receive both communications. Only the character of the hearer determines to which it shall be open, and to which closed. I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality. Our very intellect shall be macadamized, as it were- its foundation broken into fragments for the wheels of travel to roll over; and if you would know what will make the most durable pavement, surpassing rolled stones, spruce blocks, and asphaltum, you have only to look into some of our minds which have been subjected to this treatment so long.
If we have thus desecrated ourselves- as who has not?- the remedy will be by wariness and devotion to reconsecrate ourselves, and make once more a fane of the mind. We should treat our minds, that is, ourselves, as innocent and ingenuous children, whose guardians we are, and be careful what objects and what subjects we thrust on their attention. Read not the Times. Read the Eternities. Conventionalities are at length as had as impurities. Even the facts of science may dust the mind by their dryness, unless they are in a sense effaced each morning, or rather rendered fertile by the dews of fresh and living truth. Knowledge does not come to us by details, but in flashes of light from heaven. Yes, every thought that passes through the mind helps to wear and tear it, and to deepen the ruts, which, as in the streets of Pompeii, evince how much it has been used. How many things there are concerning which we might well deliberate whether we had better know them- had better let their peddling-carts be driven, even at the slowest trot or walk, over that bride of glorious span by which we trust to pass at last from the farthest brink of time to the nearest shore of eternity! Have we no culture, no refinement- but skill only to live coarsely and serve the Devil?- to acquire a little worldly wealth, or fame, or liberty, and make a false show with it, as if we were all husk and shell, with no tender and living kernel to us? Shall our institutions be like those chestnut burs which contain abortive nuts, perfect only to prick the fingers?
America is said to be the arena on which the battle of freedom is to be fought; but surely it cannot be freedom in a merely political sense that is meant. Even if we grant that the American has freed himself from a political tyrant, he is still the slave of an economical and moral tyrant. Now that the republic- the respublica- has been settled, it is time to look after the res-privata- the private state- to see, as the Roman senate charged its consuls, "ne quid res-PRIVATA detrimenti caperet," that the private state receive no detriment.
Do we call this the land of the free? What is it to be free from King George and continue the slaves of King Prejudice? What is it to be born free and not to live free? What is the value of any political freedom, but as a means to moral freedom? Is it a freedom to be slaves, or a freedom to be free, of which we boast? We are a nation of politicians, concerned about the outmost defences only of freedom. It is our children's children who may perchance be really free. We tax ourselves unjustly. There is a part of us which is not represented. It is taxation without representation. We quarter troops, we quarter fools and cattle of all sorts upon ourselves. We quarter our gross bodies on our poor souls, till the former eat up all the latter's substance.
So is the English Parliament provincial. Mere country bumpkins, they betray themselves, when any more important question arises for them to settle, the Irish question, for instance- the English question why did I not say? Their natures are subdued to what they work in. Their "good breeding" respects only secondary objects. The finest manners in the world are awkwardness and fatuity when contrasted with a finer intelligence. They appear but as the fashions of past days- mere courtliness, knee-buckles and small-clothes, out of date. It is the vice, but not the excellence of manners, that they are continually being deserted by the character; they are cast-off-clothes or shells, claiming the respect which belonged to the living creature. You are presented with the shells instead of the meat, and it is no excuse generally, that, in the case of some fishes, the shells are of more worth than the meat. The man who thrusts his manners upon me does as if he were to insist on introducing me to his cabinet of curiosities, when I wished to see himself. It was not in this sense that the poet Decker called Christ "the first true gentleman that ever breathed." I repeat that in this sense the most splendid court in Christendom is provincial, having authority to consult about Transalpine interests only, and not the affairs of Rome. A praetor or proconsul would suffice to settle the questions which absorb the attention of the English Parliament and the American Congress.
Government and legislation! these I thought were respectable professions. We have heard of heaven-born Numas, Lycurguses, and Solons, in the history of the world, whose names at least may stand for ideal legislators; but think of legislating to regulate the breeding of slaves, or the exportation of tobacco! What have divine legislators to do with the exportation or the importation of tobacco? what humane ones with the breeding of slaves? Suppose you were to submit the question to any son of God- and has He no children in the Nineteenth Century? is it a family which is extinct?- in what condition would you get it again? What shall a State like Virginia say for itself at the last day, in which these have been the principal, the staple productions? What ground is there for patriotism in such a State? I derive my facts from statistical tables which the States themselves have published.
A commerce that whitens every sea in quest of nuts and raisins, and makes slaves of its sailors for this purpose! I saw, the other day, a vessel which had been wrecked, and many lives lost, and her cargo of rags, juniper berries, and bitter almonds were strewn along the shore. It seemed hardly worth the while to tempt the dangers of the sea between Leghorn and New York for the sake of a cargo of juniper berries and bitter almonds. America sending to the Old World for her bitters! Is not the sea-brine, is not shipwreck, bitter enough to make the cup of life go down here? Yet such, to a great extent, is our boasted commerce; and there are those who style themselves statesmen and philosophers who are so blind as to think that progress and civilization depend on precisely this kind of interchange and activity- the activity of flies about a molasses- hogshead. Very well, observes one, if men were oysters. And very well, answer I, if men were mosquitoes.
Lieutenant Herndon, whom our government sent to explore the Amazon, and, it is said, to extend the area of slavery, observed that there was wanting there "an industrious and active population, who know what the comforts of life are, and who have artificial wants to draw out the great resources of the country." But what are the "artificial wants" to be encouraged? Not the love of luxuries, like the tobacco and slaves of, I believe, his native Virginia, nor the ice and granite and other material wealth of our native New England; nor are "the great resources of a country" that fertility or barrenness of soil which produces these. The chief want, in every State that I have been into, was a high and earnest purpose in its inhabitants. This alone draws out "the great resources" of Nature, and at last taxes her beyond her resources; for man naturally dies out of her. When we want culture more than potatoes, and illumination more than sugar-plums, then the great resources of a world are taxed and drawn out, and the result, or staple production, is, not slaves, nor operatives, but men- those rare fruits called heroes, saints, poets, philosophers, and redeemers.
In short, as a snow-drift is formed where there is a lull in the wind, so, one would say, where there is a lull of truth, an institution springs up. But the truth blows right on over it, nevertheless, and at length blows it down.
What is called politics is comparatively something so superficial and inhuman, that practically I have never fairly recognized that it concerns me at all. The newspapers, I perceive, devote some of their columns specially to politics or government without charge; and this, one would say, is all that saves it; but as I love literature and to some extent the truth also, I never read those columns at any rate. I do not wish to blunt my sense of right so much. I have not got to answer for having read a single President's Message. A strange age of the world this, when empires, kingdoms, and republics come a-begging to a private man's door, and utter their complaints at his elbow! I cannot take up a newspaper but I find that some wretched government or other, hard pushed and on its last legs, is interceding with me, the reader, to vote for it- more importunate than an Italian beggar; and if I have a mind to look at its certificate, made, perchance, by some benevolent merchant's clerk, or the skipper that brought it over, for it cannot speak a word of English itself, I shall probably read of the eruption of some Vesuvius, or the overflowing of some Po, true or forged, which brought it into this condition. I do not hesitate, in such a case, to suggest work, or the almshouse; or why not keep its castle in silence, as I do commonly? The poor President, what with preserving his popularity and doing his duty, is completely bewildered. The newspapers are the ruling power. Any other government is reduced to a few marines at Fort Independence. If a man neglects to read the Daily Times, government will go down on its knees to him, for this is the only treason in these days.
Those things which now most engage the attention of men, as politics and the daily routine, are, it is true, vital functions of human society, but should be unconsciously performed, like the corresponding functions of the physical body. They are infrahuman, a kind of vegetation. I sometimes awake to a half-consciousness of them going on about me, as a man may become conscious of some of the processes of digestion in a morbid state, and so have the dyspepsia, as it is called. It is as if a thinker submitted himself to be rasped by the great gizzard of creation. Politics is, as it were, the gizzard of society, full of grit and gravel, and the two political parties are its two opposite halves- sometimes split into quarters, it may be, which grind on each other. Not only individuals, but states, have thus a confirmed dyspepsia, which expresses itself, you can imagine by what sort of eloquence. Thus our life is not altogether a forgetting, but also, alas! to a great extent, a remembering, of that which we should never have been conscious of, certainly not in our waking hours. Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our had dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? I do not make an exorbitant demand, surely.

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