Tag Archives: humanity

Time-machine powers

“Books have always been time machines, in a sense. Today, their time-machine powers are even more obvious – and even more inspiring. They can transport us to a pre-internet frame of mind.” – Michael Harris It’s really a bit frightening how quickly the widespread use of the internet, for everything from business to education to …

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Practices that sustain life

“After a day of too much information about almost everything, there is such a blessed relief in the weight of wet clothes, causing the wicker basket to creak as I carry it out to the clothesline.  Every time I bend down to shake loose a piece of laundry, I smell the grass. I smell the …

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To see inside

“Writers aren’t alchemists who transmute words into the aurous essence of the human experience. No, they are glassmakers. They create a work of art that enables us to see inside to help us understand. And if they are really good, we can see our own reflections staring back at us.” ― Kamand Kojouri Whether virtues, faults …

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Too important

“Human beings are too important to be treated as mere symptoms of the past. They have a value which is independent of any temporal process──which is eternal, and must be felt for its own sake.” ― Lytton Strachey I had a rough week, interacting with robotic systems that were creating errors related to banking, finance …

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A tree in a story

“Victor Frankl whispered in my ear all the same. He said to me I was a tree in a story about a forest, and that it was arrogant of me to believe any differently. And he told me the story of the forest is better than the story of the tree…I asked God to help …

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When we fully understand

“When we fully understand the brevity of life, its fleeting joys and unavoidable pains…it should make us more kindly and considerate of each other.” — Clarence Darrow The photo above was made at Drew and Megan’s Atlanta home, just ten days before Jeff checked into Walter Reed Bethesda with breathing problems, never to return home …

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A bridge with people

“When I stopped trying to block my sadness and let it move me instead, it led me to a bridge with people on the other side. Every one of them knew sorrow. Some of them even knew how to bear it as an ordinary feature of being human instead of some avoidable curse. Watching them …

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Try to love

Some may come and some may go We will surely pass When the one that left us here Returns for us at last We are but a moment’s sunlight Fading in the grass Come on people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another Right now — lyrics from the …

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Between intention and habit

“With all the advantages being online gives us, we’re also offered a set of potential dangers we have to understand.  What we know about how humans react to virtual environments is still in its infancy…In the battle between intention and habit, we need to be able to work out who is winning; who is master, …

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Music, laughter, grief and imagination

“It wouldn’t surprise me to know that there are science professors who mock all other types of knowledge as though they’re simply the fluffy, pretty, inconsequential bits around the edge, while (they say) the physical sciences are the solid, hard, no-nonsense things in the middle.  Of course, nobody really lives like that for a single …

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The duty to try

“I suspect that most of the individuals who have religious faith are content with blind faith. They feel no obligation to understand what they believe. They may even wish not to have their beliefs disturbed by thought. But if God in whom they believe created them with intellectual and rational powers, that imposes upon them …

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The history of liberty

“Liberty has never come from the government.  Liberty has always come from the subjects of it.  The history of liberty is a history of resistance.”  — Woodrow Wilson “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; That whenever any Form of Government becomes …

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No ordinary people

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” — C. S. Lewis My favorite author C. S. Lewis wrote many passages that touch my heart and open my mind, but none is more sobering and remarkable to me than the text that includes the quote above.  Think about it: every …

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History that teaches

“The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It …

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Mind and soul

“Let knowledge grow from more to more, But more of reverence in us dwell; That mind and soul, according well, May make one music as before, But vaster.” —  Alfred, Lord Tennyson Several miles from the palaces of knowledge found at the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington National Cathedral stands in a quiet residential area seldom congested with the …

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The day of liberation

“So now, muster your strength, and don’t lose heart. We shall all see the day of liberation. Have faith in life. Above all else, have faith. Drive out despair, and you will keep death away from yourselves…The same smoke floats over all our heads. Help one another. It is the only way to survive.” — …

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Almost like talking

“Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries.” — source unknown; widely attributed to René Descartes Whether the area features a landscape that goes back one century or many, whether the ruins are real or reconstructed, I always feel a keen sense of connection to what came before.  All places new to me have in common …

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Endlessly fascinated

“If you approach each new person you meet in a spirit of adventure, you will find yourself endlessly fascinated by the new channels of thought and experience and personality that you encounter.” — Eleanor Roosevelt Even within a single culture or location, there are no two people alike.  In fact, I’ve never known any two …

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