No Comment, Quotation — March 23, 2012, 2:17 pm

Merton: The Distortion of Dogma

It seems a little strange that we [Catholics] are so wildly exercised about the “murder” (and the word is of course correct) of an unborn infant by abortion, or even the prevention of conception which is hardly murder, and yet accept without a qualm the extermination of millions of helpless and innocent adults, some of whom may be Christians and even our friends rather than our enemies. I submit that we ought to fulfill the one without omitting the other. —Thomas Merton, Cold War Letters, p. 38 (letter to Dorothy Day, Dec. 20, 1961). The U.S. Department of Health and …

No Comment, Quotation — February 13, 2012, 10:18 am

Schopenhauer: Causality and Synchronicity

Alle Ereignisse im Leben eines Menschen standen demnach in zwei grundverschiedenen Arten des Zusammenhangs: erstlich, im objektiven, kausalen Zusammenhange des Naturlaufs; zweitens, in einem subjektiven Zusammenhange, der nur in Beziehung auf das sie erlebende Individuum vorhanden und so subjektiv wie dessen eigene Träume ist, in welchem jedoch ihre Succession und Inhalt ebenfalls nothwendig bestimmt ist, aber in der Art, wie die Succession der Scenen eines Drama‘s, durch den Plan des Dichters. Daß nun jene beiden Arten des Zusammenhangs zugleich bestehn und die nämliche Begebenheit, als ein Glied zweier ganz verschiedener Ketten, doch beiden sich genau einfügt, in Folge wovon jedes …

No Comment, Quotation — January 23, 2012, 10:41 am

Lessing: In Praise of Laziness

Faulheit, jetzo will ich dir Auch ein kleines Loblied bringen.— O—wie—sau—er—wird es mir,— Dich—nach Würden—zu besingen! Doch, ich will mein Bestes tun, Nach der Arbeit ist gut ruhn.   Höchstes Gut! wer dich nur hat, Dessen ungestörtes Leben— Ach!—ich—gähn’—ich—werde matt— Nun—so—magst du—mir’s vergeben, Daß ich dich nicht singen kann; Du verhinderst mich ja dran.   Laziness, now I’ll sing you A little song of praise, Oh what a challenge it will be To craft a song worthy of you But I’ll do my best For after work comes the soundest rest.   The highest good! He who possesses you Will …

No Comment, Quotation — January 16, 2012, 11:07 am

Martin Luther King Jr.: Nonviolence and the Struggle Between Rich and Poor

The emergency we now face is economic, and it is a desperate and worsening situation. For the 35 million poor people in America—not even to mention, just yet, the poor in other nations—there is a kind of strangulation in the air. In our society it is murder, psychologically, to deprive a man of a job or an income. You are in substance saying to that man that he has no right to exist. You are in a real way depriving him of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, denying in his case the very creed of his society. Now, …

No Comment, Quotation — January 13, 2012, 11:38 am

Donne: An Anatomy of the World

And new philosophy calls all in doubt, The element of fire is quite put out, The sun is lost, and th’ earth, and no man’s wit Can well direct him where to look for it. And freely men confess that this world’s spent, When in the planets and the firmament They seek so many new; they see that this Is crumbled out again to his atomies. ‘Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone, All just supply, and all relation; Prince, subject, father, son, are things forgot, For every man alone thinks he hath got To be a phoenix, and that …

No Comment, Quotation — December 28, 2011, 7:26 pm

Tolstoy: The Chain of Ideas that Constitutes Art

??? ??? ?????? ????? ????? ??????, ??? ?????????, ???? ????????? ??? ????. ??????, ??? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ???????, ?? ????? ?? ????????? ? ??, ?????????? ?????????, ???? ?? ???????. ?????? ??, ??????, ??? ????? 9/10 ????? ????????? ???? ???????, ?? ??? ??????? ????????? ????? ????, ??????? ?? ?????????? ??????????? ??????????? ?????? ? ?????????????? ???????????? ? ????????? ?????????? ?? ????????? ? ??? ??????????? ????????? ?????????, ? ??????? ? ??????? ???????? ?????????, ? ? ??? ???????, ??????? ?????? ?????????? ???? ?????????. ? ???? ??????? ?????? ??? ???????? ? ? ????????? ????? ???????? ??, ??? ? ???? ???????, ?? ? ?? …

No Comment, Quotation — November 23, 2011, 11:42 am

Quesnay: The Despotism of Natural Law

Les loix naturelles et fondamentales des sociétés sont la règle souveraine et decisive du juste et de l’injuste absolu, du bien et du mal moral, elles s’impriment dans le cœur des hommes, elles sont la lumière qui les éclaire et maîtrise leur conscience: cette lumière n’est affaiblie ou obscurcie que par leurs passions déréglées. Le principal objet des loix positives est ce dérèglement même auquel elles oposent une sanction redoubtable aux hommes pervers: car en gros de quoi s’agit-it pour la prospérité d’une nation? De cultiver la terre avec le plus grand succès possible et de preserver la société des …

No Comment, Quotation — November 18, 2011, 4:43 pm

Leopardi: The Eve of the Feast Day

Ecco è fuggito Il dì festivo, ed al festivo il giorno Volgar succede, e si travolge il tempo Ogni umano accidente. Or dov’è ’l suono Di que’ popoli antichi? or dov’è ’l grido De’ nostri avi famosi, e ’l grande impero Di quella Roma, e l’armi, e ’l fragorio Che n’andò per la terra e l’oceano? Tutto è silenzio e pace, e tutto cheto È ’l mondo, e più di lor non si favella. Ne la mia prima età, quando s’aspetta Bramosamente il dì festivo, or poscia Ch’egli era spento, io doloroso e desto Premea le piume; e per la …

No Comment, Quotation — October 21, 2011, 1:13 pm

Plato — The Origins of Democracy

?????? ?? ? ???????? ????? ??????? ??????, ?????? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?????????? ???? ????? ????? ????????, ??? ????????? ?????? ?? ????????? ??? ???????? ????: ?????? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ??????????? ?? ?????, ??? ???????? ??? ??????? ??? ????????? ??? ???????? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ??????. ???? ?? ??????????????? ???? ????? ???????? ????? ????????, ?????? ?? ??? ????: ????????? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ?? ??????? ????? ???????????? ?????, ??? ? ??????????? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ?????? ????? ?????? ??, ???? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ??????? ?????? — ????????? ??? ?????? ???? ?????, ?? ????? ???????? — ??????? …

No Comment, Quotation — September 2, 2011, 12:39 pm

Shakespeare/Morley — “O Mistress Mine”

O Mistress mine, where are you roaming? O, stay and hear; your true love’s coming, That can sing both high and low: Trip no further, pretty sweeting; Journeys end in lovers meeting, Every wise man’s son doth know. What is love? ’Tis not hereafter; Present mirth hath present laughter; What’s to come is still unsure: In delay there lies not plenty; Then, come kiss me, sweet and twenty, Youth’s a stuff will not endure. —William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, II, iii (1602) These lines are sung by Feste, one of the more complex comic foils to appear in a Shakespearean work. …

No Comment, Quotation — August 18, 2011, 2:32 pm

Solov'ëv and the Eternal Struggle with Evil

Ka?e?c?, o? ?????. ??o ?e?c????e???o cy?ec??ye?, ? o?o ??pa?ae?c? ?e ? o??o? o?cy?c???? ?o?pa, a ? ?o?o???e???o? c??po????e??? ? ?epe?ece ?????x ?a?ec?? ?a? ??c???? ?o ?cex o??ac??x ?????. Ec?? ??o ???????ya???oe — o?o ??pa?ae?c? ? ?o?, ??o ????a? c??po?a ?e?o?e?a, c?o?c??e ? ??epc??e c?pac?? ?po?????c? ?y???? c?pe??e???? ?y?? u ocu?u?a?m ux ? o?po??o? ?o?????c??e ???e?. Ec?? ??o o??ec??e??oe — o?o ? ?o?, ??o ???c?a? ?o??a, ???????ya???o ?opa?o?e??a? ??y, ?po?????c? c?ac??e????? yc????? ?e??o??x ?y???x ???e? ? o?o?e?ae? ?x; ec??, ?a?o?e?, ??o ?????ec?oe ? ?e?o?e?e — ? ?o?, ??? ?????e ?a?ep?a????e ??e?e??? e?o ?e?a co?po???????c? ???o? ? c?e??o? c??e, c?????a??e? ?x ? …

No Comment, Quotation — April 24, 2011, 5:39 am

Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes

Let Observation with extensive View, Survey Mankind, from China to Peru; Remark each anxious Toil, each eager Strife, And watch the busy Scenes of crouded Life; Then say how Hope and Fear, Desire and Hate, O’er spread with Snares the clouded Maze of Fate, Where wav’ring Man, betray’d by vent’rous Pride, To tread the dreary Paths without a Guide; As treach’rous Phantoms in the Mist delude, Shuns fancied Ills, or chases airy Good. How rarely Reason guides the stubborn Choice, Rules the bold Hand, or prompts the suppliant Voice, How Nations sink, by darling Schemes oppres’d, When Vengeance listens to …

No Comment, Quotation — April 23, 2011, 9:23 am

Barth – Standing with the Downtrodden

In diesem Zusammenhang wird es nun wichtig, daß als das Volk, dem Gott sich in seiner Gerechtigkeit als Helfer und Retter zuwendet, im Alten Testament durchweg das bedrängte, unterdrückte, recht- und hilfslose, das ohne ihn der Übergewalt seiner Feinde preisgegebene, das aus eigener Kraft ohnmächtige Israel sichtbar wird und innerhalb Israels im Besonderen: die Armen, die Witwen und Waisen, die Schwachen und Rechtlosen. Der Sproß aus der Wurzel Isai «wird Wohlgefallen haben an der Furcht des Herrn. Er wird nicht richten nach dem, was seine Augen sehen, noch Recht sprechen nach dem, was seine Ohren hören», d. h. offenbar: er …

No Comment, Quotation — April 3, 2011, 7:15 am

Al-Shabi – To the Tyrants of the World

??? ???? ?????? ??????? ???? ?????? ??? ?????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ? ???? ??? ????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ?????? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ????? ??? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ?????? ? ?? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ???? ????? ? ???? ????? ? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ?????? ? ????? ?????? ??????? Hey you, the unfair tyrants… You the lovers of the darkness… You the enemies of life… …

No Comment, Quotation — April 2, 2011, 9:18 am

Constant – The Faulty Judgment of the Powerful

Il y a dans le pouvoir quelque chose qui fausse plus ou moins le jugement. Les chances d’erreur de la force sont multipliées que celles de la faiblesse. La force trouve ses ressources en elle-même. La faiblesse a besoin de raison. Toutes choses égales, il est toujours vraisemblable que les gouvernants auront des opinions moins justes, moins saines, moines impartiales que les gouvernés. There is something about power that distorts judgments more or less. The chances that a powerful person will make an error are much greater than those of a weak person. Power has recourse to its own resources. …

No Comment, Quotation — February 13, 2011, 6:48 am

The Life of Wolkenstein

Es fügt sich, do ich was von zehen jaren alt ich wolt besehen, wie die werlt wer gestalt. mit ellend, armüt mangen winkel, haiss und kalt hab ich gebawt bei cristen, Kriechen, haiden. Drei pfenning in dem peutel und ain stücklin brot, das was von haim mein zerung, do ich loff in not. von fremden freunden so hab ich manchen tropfen rot gelassen seider, das ich wand verschaiden. Ich loff ze füss mit swerer büss, bis das mir starb mein vatter, zwar wol vierzen jar nie ross erwarb, wann aines roupt, stal ich halbs zu mal mit valber varb und …

No Comment, Quotation — February 12, 2011, 11:44 am

Planck on Science’s Commitment to Truth

Sollte aber Ihr ehrliches, durch mehrfache Proben bewährtes Streben Ihnen mit Entschiedenheit besondere, von den bisherigen abweichende Wege weisen, dann—folgen Sie Ihrer eigenen Überzeugung mehr als jeder anderen. Denn diese ist und bleibt Ihr höchstes, köstlichstes Gut, so gewiß als die Heranbildung zur wissenschaftlichen Selbständigkeit das schönste Ziel des akademischen Unterrichts bildet, und so gewiß eine in redlicher Arbeit erworbene eigene wissenschaftliche Überzeugung einen festen Ankergrund angibt, um auch der sittlichen Weltanschauung allen den möglichen Wechselfällen des Lebens gegenüber den nötigen Halt zu gewähren. Die edelste unter den sittlichen Blüten der Wissenschaft und zugleich auch ihre eigentümlichste ist ohne Zweifel …

No Comment, Quotation — January 16, 2011, 11:07 am

Fet/Rachmaninoff – In the Mysterious Silence of the Night

?, ????? ???? ?, ? ???????? ???? ??????, ???????? ????? ????, ??????, ???? ?????????, ??????? ????????? ????? ?????? ????? ?? ?????? ???????? ? ????? ?????????; ???? ?????????, ????, ????? ?? ??????, ?????? ? ????? ???????? ???????, ?????? ???? ????? ?????????? ????? ? ??????, ??????? ??????????? ??; ??????? ? ?????????? ????? ????????? ????? ???? ? ?????, ??????????? ????????, ? ? ?????????, ????????? ???, ???????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ????. Oh, I will spend long moments, in the mysterious silence of the night, driving from my mind thoughts of your insidious chatter, your smile, your gaze, a casual look, the hair that obeyed …

No Comment, Quotation — January 15, 2011, 3:20 pm

Burke on Sharia Law

On one side, your lordships have the prisoner declaring that the people have no laws, no rights, no usages, no distinctions of rank, no sense of honor, no property; in short that they are nothing but a herd of slaves to be governed by the arbitrary will of a master. On the other side, we assert that the direct contrary of this is true. And to prove out assertion we have referred you to the institutes of Ghinges Khân and of Tamerlane: we have referred you to the Mahomedan law, which is binding upon all, from the crowned head to …

No Comment, Quotation — December 26, 2010, 2:21 pm

Monteverdi – Beatus vir

Beatus vir qui timet Dominum: In mandates ejus volet nimis. Potens in terra erit semen ejus Benedicetur generatio rectorum, Gloria et divitiae in domo ejus: et justitia ejus manet in saeculum saeculi. Exortum est in tenebris lumen rectis misericors, miserator et justus. Jucundus homo qui miseretur et commodat, disponet sermones suos in judicio: quia in aeternum non commovebitur. In memoria aeterna, ab auditione mala non timebit. Paratum cor ejus confirmatum est, non commovebitur donec despiciat inimicos suos Dispersit dedit pauperibus, justitia ejus manet in saeculum saeculi cornu ejus exaltabitur in gloria. Peccator videbit, et irascetur dentibus suis, fremet et tabescet: …

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Secrets and Lies·

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

“He played it as a joke, but I was completely at his mercy,” Singer recalled. For the rest of his time at Yeshiva, Singer would often wear his tzitzit on the outside of his shirt—though this was regarded as rebellious—for fear that Finkelstein might find an excuse to assault him again.

Good Bad Bad Good·

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About fifteen years ago, my roommate and I developed a classification system for TV and movies. Each title was slotted into one of four categories: Good-Good; Bad-Good; Good-Bad; Bad-Bad. The first qualifier was qualitative, while the second represented a high-low binary, the title’s aspiration toward capital-A Art or lack thereof.

Some taxonomies were inarguable. The O.C., a Fox series about California rich kids and their beautiful swimming pools, was delightfully Good-Bad. Paul Haggis’s heavy-handed morality play, Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture, was gallingly Bad-Good. The films of Francois Truffaut, Good-Good; the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, Bad-Bad.

Poem for Harm·

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Reflections on harm in language and the trouble with Whitman

Constitution in Crisis·

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America’s Constitution was once celebrated as a radical and successful blueprint for democratic governance, a model for fledgling republics across the world. But decades of political gridlock, electoral corruption, and dysfunction in our system of government have forced scholars, activists, and citizens to question the document’s ability to address the thorniest issues of modern ­political life.

Does the path out of our current era of stalemate, minority rule, and executive abuse require amending the Constitution? Do we need a new constitutional convention to rewrite the document and update it for the twenty-­first century? Should we abolish it entirely?

This spring, Harper’s Magazine invited five lawmakers and scholars to New York University’s law school to consider the constitutional crisis of the twenty-­first century. The event was moderated by Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown and the author of How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon.

Life after Life·

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For time ylost, this know ye,
By no way may recovered be.

I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:


A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A solid-gold toilet named “America” was stolen from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in Oxfordshire, England.

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Happiness Is a Worn Gun


“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

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