Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Sometimes I look at you and I feel as if I see your soul. And it is that which I love, things that cannot be seen by the eyes. I love the way you tear when you read a particularly moving passage in a book. I love the way you stand up for any injustice you see. I love the peaceful look on your face, when you are strolling in the woods. I love how you seem to be able to feel the caress of the wind. I love how your entire being lights up when you hear your favorite piece of music and when someone talks about your favorite books. I love the enchanted look on your face when you learn a new skill, a new subject, a novel idea. I love the sound of your voice when you read poetries aloud to yourself (you didnt know I was eavesdropping, did you?). most of all, Elenanor, I love you for you, nothing more and nothing less."
And it is in sorrow
Where I meet You. 
And it is in the dark 
Where I grope for You.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Watching by the side

We stood there watching
The cruel deeds of men
The blood spilt over the chests
Of the perpetrators.
And yet, and yet,
We watched silently,
Without a sound,
Without a flinch.
Aren't our hands equally tainted?
Aren't we equally of sin,
To watch 
And only to watch.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The faculties of her mind

"There will come a time when I'll forget you, and maybe even myself. Because what am I made of, but memories? Memories, they are what define us. Callous words, words of love, angry words, hurtful words, conversations held deep into the night, they will all be gone, carried away by the wind. And no one will remember who has spoken what. But these letters, they remain and will remain forever, if you guard them with care. Each word carefully crafted, each word laden with my entire being. There will be no need to fight over who had said what to whom, those first words of love to you, you will know even when you grow very old, that it was me who loved you first. And when I lose all my faculties, show these letters to me, so that I can remember once again that I had loved someone (you, of course) with such ferocity and with all the wild abandonment of youth."

Eleanor wrote furiously, tears threatening to spill and ruin the letter. She inhaled sharply and rested the quill on her desk. She needed to get out of the house, out into the sun, and into the woods. The woods always calmed her and put her in a pensive (not in a bad moody sort of way) mood. 
She knew it would not be long before she forgot where the woods were. It would not be long before she would forget who George was, who she was, and all that they had shared together. 
She was losing her memory piece by piece. It started six months ago, when she was taking her usual leisurely stroll in the woods and when she had decided to return home, she could not for the life of her, recalled which path to take. She was not lost, mind you. In fact she had taken the very same path for the last decade of her life. She fumbled in the woods for more than an hour before finally finding her way home. No one knew about this incident. 
A month later, she had forgotten the home address of Elizabeth. And then she had forgotten her own address. She would forget the name of the chambermaid who had been living in her house for the last two years. 
Hence now here she was, writing a letter to George. He was the one person she could not afford to forget. She did not want to forget that there once was someone she loved with all her heart. She folded the letter carefully and hid it under her pillow. She would give him the letter soon. She hoped she would remember to do so. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Justice vs grace

I almost teared at the end of the video as I couldn't imagine having to suffer such indignity, when one is just trying to make a living. Having to eat the humble pie and apologize to an unreasonable, irate young punk at his age, I truly applaud the taxi driver for having such tolerance. 

My first reaction was to re-post the video because like everyone else, I wanted to see justice served. I wanted this man to learn his lesson. And then I saw that justice was already served. All his personal details were laid out in the open for all to see, including his photos. I realized there's no point in adding fuel to the already roaring fire. The guy should have learnt his lesson already. 
Is justice so much easier to serve than grace? I didn't have to think twice when it came to serving justice; withholding justice and allowing grace in was so much harder. I agree with the writer of the article that by not going with the mob, we risk getting shot down too. I wish I could say something/ make a statement/ speak out against the crowd to withdraw their talons because there is such a thing as too much justice, because there is such a thing as grace and mercy. Yet I am doubtful that I can remain this objective/ level-headed when injustice is done to a loved one or someone I know. But one thing I am sure of is that one day all of us will be in need of grace, whether it is from just one person we have wronged or a mob, or maybe even ourselves. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Albert Einstein in Living Philosophies

Einstein, Albert in Living Philosophies Simon and Schuster, New York 1931 [1000 words]

"Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose.

From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men —above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellowmen, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. My peace of mind is often troubled by the depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the work of other men.

I do not believe we can have any freedom at all in the philosophical sense, for we act not only under external compulsion but also by inner necessity. Schopenhauer’s saying— “A man can surely do what he wills to do, but he cannot determine what he wills”—impressed itself upon me in youth and has always consoled me when I have witnessed or suffered life’s hardships. This conviction is a perpetual breeder of tolerance, for it does not allow us to take ourselves or others too seriously; it makes rather for a sense of humor.

To ponder interminably over the reason for one’s own existence or the meaning of life in general seems to me, from an objective point of view, to be sheer folly. And yet everyone holds certain ideals by which he guides his aspiration and his judgment. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.

Without the sense of collaborating with like-minded beings in the pursuit of the ever unattainable in art and scientific research, my life would have been empty. Ever since childhood I have scorned the commonplace limits so often set upon human ambition. Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury—to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.

My passionate interest in social justice and social responsibility has always stood in curious contrast to a marked lack of desire for direct association with men and women. I am a horse for single harness, not cut out for tandem or team work. I have never belonged wholeheartedly to country or state, to my circle of friends, or even to my own family. These ties have always been accompanied by a vague aloofness, and the wish to withdraw into myself increases with the years.

Such isolation is sometimes bitter, but I do not regret being cut off from the understanding and sympathy of other men. I lose something by it, to be sure, but I am compensated for it in being rendered independent of the customs, opinions, and prejudices of others, and am not tempted to rest my peace of mind upon such shifting foundations.

My political ideal is democracy. Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized. It is an irony of fate that I should have been showered with so much uncalled for and unmerited admiration and esteem. Perhaps this adulation springs from the unfulfilled wish of the multitude to comprehend the few ideas which I, with my weak powers, have advanced.

Full well do I know that in order to attain any definite goal it is imperative that one person should do the thinking and commanding and carry most of the responsibility. But those who are led should not be driven, and they should be allowed to choose their leader. 

It seems to me that the distinctions separating the social classes are false; in the last analysis they rest on force. I am convinced that degeneracy follows every autocratic system of violence, for violence inevitably attracts moral inferiors. Time has proved that illustrious tyrants are succeeded by scoundrels.

For this reason I have always been passionately opposed to such regimes as exist in Russia and Italy today. The thing which has discredited the European forms of democracy is not the basic theory of democracy itself, which some say is at fault, but the instability of our political leadership, as well as the impersonal character of party alignments.

I believe that those in the United States have hit upon the right idea. A President is chosen for a reasonable length of time and enough power is given him to acquit himself properly of his responsibilities. In the German Government, on the other hand, I like the state’s more extensive care of the individual when he is ill or unemployed. What is truly valuable in our bustle of life is not the nation, I should say, but the creative and impressionable individuality, the personality —he who produces the noble and sublime while the common herd remains dull in thought and insensible in feeling.

This subject brings me to that vilest offspring of the herd mind—the odious militia. The man who enjoys marching in line and file to the strains of music falls below my contempt; he received his great brain by mistake—the spinal cord would have been amply sufficient. This heroism at command, this senseless violence, this accursed bombast of patriotism—how intensely I despise them! War is low and despicable, and I had rather be smitten to shreds than participate in such doings.

Such a stain on humanity should be erased without delay. I think well enough of human nature to believe that it would have been wiped out long ago had not the common sense of nations been systematically corrupted through school and press for business and political reasons.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. This insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms— this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own—a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism. 

It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life perpetuating itself through all eternity, to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe which we can dimly perceive, and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in nature."

"that man is here for the sake of other men..."

I think I am compiling a list of all the people who had said this. 

I agree with most things that Einstein said except for the fact that he thought there is no afterlife. Is after life really for the feeble minded?