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Sunday Night Class 05/14/2017

Friends,

There were 8 of us tonight, and we welcomed Bart Gibbons by getting him to sign the membership book to make his joining our Society official. 

We studied Paper 12 and tried to understand how our universe is organized. Fascinating discussions followed.

Remember the cookout and bonfire party at Don Muir's this coming Saturday.

Tom

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Compare 05/12/2017

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.
  --Rene Descartes, philosopher and mathematician (1596-1650)

(102:6.7) Belief may not be able to resist doubt and withstand fear, but faith is always triumphant over doubting, for faith is both positive and living. The positive always has the advantage over the negative, truth over error, experience over theory, spiritual realities over the isolated facts of time and space.

(142:5.2)  Neither does your Father in heaven leave his faith children of the spirit in doubtful uncertainty as to their position in the kingdom. If you receive God as your Father, then indeed and in truth are you the sons of God.

(155:5.10) And for a long time there will live on earth those timid, fearful, and hesitant individuals who will prefer thus to secure their religious consolations, even though, in so casting their lot with the religions of authority, they compromise the sovereignty of personality, debase the dignity of self-respect, and utterly surrender the right to participate in that most thrilling and inspiring of all possible human experiences: the personal quest for truth, the exhilaration of facing the perils of intellectual discovery, the determination to explore the realities of personal religious experience, the supreme satisfaction of experiencing the personal triumph of the actual realization of the victory of spiritual faith over intellectual doubt as it is honestly won in the supreme adventure of all human existence—man seeking God, for himself and as himself, and finding him.

(181:2.26)  Dedicate your life to the great work of showing how the critical material mind of man can triumph over the inertia of intellectual doubting when faced by the demonstration of the manifestation of living truth as it operates in the experience of spirit-born men and women who yield the fruits of the spirit in their lives, and who love one another, even as I have loved you.

    René Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. Dubbed the father of modern western philosophy, much of subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. A native of the Kingdom of France, he spent about 20 years of his life in the Dutch Republic.
    Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Descartes's influence in mathematics is equally apparent; the Cartesian coordinate system—allowing reference to a point in space as a set of numbers, and allowing algebraic equations to be expressed as geometric shapes in a two- or three-dimensional coordinate system (and conversely, shapes to be described as equations)—was named after him. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, used in the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the scientific revolution.
    Descartes refused to accept the authority of previous philosophers. He frequently set his views apart from those of his predecessors. In the opening section of the Passions of the Soul, a treatise on the early modern version of what are now commonly called emotions, Descartes goes so far as to assert that he will write on this topic "as if no one had written on these matters before". His best known philosophical statement is "Cogito ergo sum" (French: Je pense, donc je suis; I think, therefore I am), found in part IV of Discourse on the Method (1637; written in French but with inclusion of "Cogito ergo sum") and §7 of part I of Principles of Philosophy (1644; written in Latin).
    Many elements of his philosophy have precedents in late Aristotelianism, the revived Stoicism of the 16th century, or in earlier philosophers like Augustine. In his natural philosophy, he differed from the schools on two major points: first, he rejected the splitting of corporeal substance into matter and form; second, he rejected any appeal to final ends—divine or natural—in explaining natural phenomena. In his theology, he insists on the absolute freedom of God's act of creation.
    Descartes laid the foundation for 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz, and opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. Leibniz, Spinoza and Descartes were all well-versed in mathematics as well as philosophy, and Descartes and Leibniz contributed greatly to science as well.

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Compare 05/08/2017

One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.
  --Erich Fromm, psychoanalyst and author (1900-1980)

(3:3.2)  "I have surely seen the affliction of my people, I have heard their cry, and I know their sorrows."

(23:2.12)  Your anxieties and sorrows, your trials and disappointments, are just as much a part of the divine plan on your sphere as are the exquisite perfection and infinite adaptation of all things to their supreme purpose on the worlds of the central and perfect universe.

(129:4.4) The Son of Man experienced those wide ranges of human emotion which reach from superb joy to profound sorrow. He was a child of joy and a being of rare good humor; likewise was he a "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

    Erich Fromm was a 20th century sociologist, psychoanalyst, and something of a polymath who studied and published work in a diverse array of fields, including psychology, anthropology, religion, ethics, psychoanalysis, sociology, and philosophy. His psychological writings intersperse politics with philosophy, and Fromm is viewed by many as the founder of political psychology.

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Compare 05/05/2017

Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.
  -Benito Juárez, President of Mexico (1806-1872)

(54:1.9) How dare the self-willed creature encroach upon the rights of his fellows in the name of personal liberty when the Supreme Rulers of the universe stand back in merciful respect for these prerogatives of will and potentials of personality! No being, in the exercise of his supposed personal liberty, has a right to deprive any other being of those privileges of existence conferred by the Creators and duly respected by all their loyal associates, subordinates, and subjects.

(54:4.4) Most of the liberties which Lucifer sought he already had; others he was to receive in the future. All these precious endowments were lost by giving way to impatience and yielding to a desire to possess what one craves now and to possess it in defiance of all obligation to respect the rights and liberties of all other beings composing the universe of universes. Ethical obligations are innate, divine, and universal.

    Benito Pablo Juárez García was a Mexican lawyer and liberal politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca.
    He was of poor, rural, indigenous origins, but he became a well-educated, urban professional and politician, who married a socially prominent white woman of Oaxaca City. He identified primarily as a Liberal and he wrote only briefly about his indigenous heritage. He was a key figure in the group of professional men in Mexico's indigenous south, and his rise to national power had its roots in that power base. He was not an intellectual star of Mexican liberalism or strict ideologue, but he was a brilliant, pragmatic, and ruthless politician.
    He held power during the tumultuous decade of the Liberal Reform and French invasion. In 1858 as head of the Supreme Court, he became president of Mexico by the succession mandated by the Constitution of 1857 when moderate liberal President Ignacio Comonfort was forced to resign by Mexican conservatives. Juárez remained in the presidential office until his death by natural causes in 1872. He weathered the War of the Reform (1858–60), a civil war between Liberals and Conservatives, and then the French invasion (1862–67), which was supported by Mexican Conservatives. Never relinquishing office although forced into exile in areas of Mexico not controlled by the French, Juárez tied Liberalism to Mexican nationalism and maintained that he was the legitimate head of the Mexican state, rather than Emperor Maximilian. When the French-backed Second Mexican Empire fell in 1867, the Mexican Republic with Juárez as president was restored to full power. In his success in ousting the European incursion, Latin Americans considered his a "second struggle for independence, a second defeat for the European powers, and a second reversal of the Conquest."
    He is now "a preeminent symbol of Mexican nationalism and resistance to foreign intervention." Juárez was a practical and skilled politician, controversial in his lifetime and beyond. He had an understanding of the importance of a working relationship with the United States, and secured its recognition for his liberal government during the War of the Reform. Although many of his positions shifted during his political life, he held fast to particular principles including the supremacy of civil power over the Catholic Church and the military; respect for law; and the de-personalization of political life. In his lifetime he sought to strengthen the national government and asserted the supremacy of central power over states, a position that both radical and provincial liberals opposed. He was the subject of polemical attacks both in his lifetime and beyond. However, the place of Juárez in Mexican historical memory has enshrined him as a major Mexican hero, beginning in his own lifetime.
    His birthday (March 21) is a national public and patriotic holiday in Mexico, the only individual Mexican so honored. In the assessment of Mexican historian Enrique Krauze, "Without taking [Juárez's] biography into account, we cannot hope to understand either the triumph of the Liberals in the War of the Reform or the course of Mexican history in the nineteenth century."

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Compare 05/03/2017

What didn't you do to bury me
But you forgot that I was a seed.
  --Dinos Christianopoulos, poet (b.1931)

(190:3.3) As a result of sending out the messengers during the midforenoon and from the unconscious leakage of intimations concerning this appearance of Jesus at Joseph's house, word began to come to the rulers of the Jews during the early evening that it was being reported about the city that Jesus had risen, and that many persons were claiming to have seen him. The Sanhedrists were thoroughly aroused by these rumors. After a hasty consultation with Annas, Caiaphas called a meeting of the Sanhedrin to convene at eight o'clock that evening. It was at this meeting that action was taken to throw out of the synagogues any person who made mention of Jesus' resurrection. It was even suggested that anyone claiming to have seen him should be put to death; this proposal, however, did not come to a vote since the meeting broke up in confusion bordering on actual panic. They had dared to think they were through with Jesus. They were about to discover that their real trouble with the man of Nazareth had just begun.

    Dinos Christianopoulos (Konstantinos Dimitriadis; b. Thessaloniki, 1931) is a poet, scholar and literary critic. In 1958 he founded the literary journal "Diagonal", which he continued to publish until 1983. The journal acted as a greenhouse for contemporary poets and writers. In 1962 he started Diagonal Publications.
    His made his first appearance on the literary scene in 1949 with the poem "Biography". In 1950 he published a collection of poems, "Season of the Lean Cows", which reflects the conscious influence of Cavafy as well as the Hellenistic poets on his work, but also projects his own personal preoccupations.
    In the collection "Strangers' Knees" (1954), dramatic intensity is emphasized, either as the result of loneliness or as a confirmation of the fateful conclusion of erotic relationships. The experience of love, at the core of his work, exists alongside a folk sense of daily life.

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Compare 04/24/2017

It’s best to give while your hand is still warm.
  --Philip Roth, novelist (b.1933)

(157:2.2) And when the feelings of service for your fellow men arise within your soul, do not stifle them; when the emotions of love for your neighbor well up within your heart, give expression to such urges of affection in intelligent ministry to the real needs of your fellows."

(163:6.7) I have shown you the way; go forth to do your duty and be not weary in well doing. To you and to all who shall follow in your steps down through the ages, let me say: I always stand near, and my invitation-call is, and ever shall be, Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am true and loyal, and you shall find spiritual rest for your souls."

(192:2.9) And be not weary in this well-doing but persevere as one who has been ordained by God for this service of love.

    Philip Milton Roth (born March 19, 1933) is an American novelist.
    He first gained attention with the 1959 novella Goodbye, Columbus, an irreverent and humorous portrait of American Jewish life for which he received the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. Roth's fiction, regularly set in Newark, New Jersey, is known for its intensely autobiographical character, for philosophically and formally blurring the distinction between reality and fiction, for its "supple, ingenious style" and for its provocative explorations of Jewish and American identity. His profile rose significantly in 1969 after the publication of Portnoy's Complaint, the humorous and sexually explicit psychoanalytical monologue of "a lust-ridden, mother-addicted young Jewish bachelor," filled with "intimate, shameful detail, and coarse, abusive language."
    Roth is one of the most awarded American writers of his generation. His books have twice received the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award, and three times the PEN/Faulkner Award. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel American Pastoral, which featured one of his best-known characters, Nathan Zuckerman, the subject of many of Roth's novels. The Human Stain (2000), another Zuckerman novel, was awarded the United Kingdom's WH Smith Literary Award for the best book of the year. In 2001, in Prague, Roth received the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize.

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Compare 04/20/2017

The fetters imposed on liberty at home have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defence against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers from abroad.
  --James Madison, 4th US president (1751-1836)

(71:4.16) The appearance of genuine brotherhood signifies that a social order has arrived in which all men delight in bearing one another's burdens; they actually desire to practice the golden rule. But such an ideal society cannot be realized when either the weak or the wicked lie in wait to take unfair and unholy advantage of those who are chiefly actuated by devotion to the service of truth, beauty, and goodness. In such a situation only one course is practical: The "golden rulers" may establish a progressive society in which they live according to their ideals while maintaining an adequate defense against their benighted fellows who might seek either to exploit their pacific predilections or to destroy their advancing civilization.

    James Madison, Jr., was an American statesman and Founding Father who served as the fourth President of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
    Madison inherited his plantation Montpelier in Virginia and therewith owned hundreds of slaves during his lifetime. He served as both a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and as a member of the Continental Congress prior to the Constitutional Convention. After the Convention, he became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify the Constitution, both in Virginia and nationally. His collaboration with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay produced The Federalist Papers, among the most important treatises in support of the Constitution. Madison's political views changed throughout his life. During deliberations on the Constitution, he favored a strong national government, but later preferred stronger state governments, before settling between the two extremes later in his life.
    In 1789, Madison became a leader in the new House of Representatives, drafting many general laws. He is noted for drafting the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and thus is known also as the "Father of the Bill of Rights." He worked closely with President George Washington to organize the new federal government. Breaking with Hamilton and the Federalist Party in 1791, he and Thomas Jefferson organized the Democratic-Republican Party. In response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Jefferson and Madison drafted the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, arguing that states can nullify unconstitutional laws.
    As Jefferson's Secretary of State (1801–1809), Madison supervised the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the nation's size. Madison succeeded Jefferson as president in 1809, was re-elected in 1813, and presided over renewed prosperity for several years. After the failure of diplomatic protests and a trade embargo against the United Kingdom, he led the U.S. into the War of 1812. The war was an administrative morass, as the United States had neither a strong army nor financial system. As a result, Madison afterward supported a stronger national government and military, as well as the national bank, which he had long opposed. Madison has been ranked in the aggregate by historians as the ninth most successful president.

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Compare 04/17/2017

The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.
  --Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)

(2:4.2) God is inherently kind, naturally compassionate, and everlastingly merciful. And never is it necessary that any influence be brought to bear upon the Father to call forth his loving-kindness.

(2:7.4) Truth is beautiful because it is both replete and symmetrical. When man searches for truth, he pursues the divinely real.

(2:7.8) The discernment of supreme beauty is the discovery and integration of reality: The discernment of the divine goodness in the eternal truth, that is ultimate beauty.

(100:7.2) The unfailing kindness of Jesus touched the hearts of men, but his stalwart strength of character amazed his followers. He was truly sincere; there was nothing of the hypocrite in him. He was free from affectation; he was always so refreshingly genuine. He never stooped to pretense, and he never resorted to shamming. He lived the truth, even as he taught it. He was the truth. He was constrained to proclaim saving truth to his generation, even though such sincerity sometimes caused pain. He was unquestioningly loyal to all truth.

    Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. He developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics)  Einstein's work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. Einstein is best known in popular culture for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation"). He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", a pivotal step in the evolution of quantum theory.
    Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led him to develop his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on general relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the large-scale structure of the universe.
    He was visiting the United States when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 and, being Jewish, did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He settled in the United States, becoming an American citizen in 1940. On the eve of World War II, he endorsed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt alerting him to the potential development of "extremely powerful bombs of a new type" and recommending that the U.S. begin similar research. This eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project. Einstein supported defending the Allied forces, but generally denounced the idea of using the newly discovered nuclear fission as a weapon. Later, with the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.
    Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over 150 non-scientific works. On 5 December 2014, universities and archives announced the release of Einstein's papers, comprising more than 30,000 unique documents. Einstein's intellectual achievements and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with "genius".

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Compare 04/10/2017

I was not an atheist. Few people really are, for that means blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere. My intellectual heroes, the chemists, the astronomers, even the evolutionists, suggested vast laws and forces at work. Despite contrary indications, I had little doubt that a mighty purpose and rhythm underlay all. How could there be so much precise and immutable law, and no intelligence? I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew neither time nor limitation.
  --Bill Wilson (1895 –1971)
Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Bill's Story, page 10

(102:0.1-2) To the unbelieving materialist, man is simply an evolutionary accident. His hopes of survival are strung on a figment of mortal imagination; his fears, loves, longings, and beliefs are but the reaction of the incidental juxtaposition of certain lifeless atoms of matter. No display of energy nor expression of trust can carry him beyond the grave. The devotional labors and inspirational genius of the best of men are doomed to be extinguished by death, the long and lonely night of eternal oblivion and soul extinction. Nameless despair is man's only reward for living and toiling under the temporal sun of mortal existence. Each day of life slowly and surely tightens the grasp of a pitiless doom which a hostile and relentless universe of matter has decreed shall be the crowning insult to everything in human desire which is beautiful, noble, lofty, and good.
    But such is not man's end and eternal destiny; such a vision is but the cry of despair uttered by some wandering soul who has become lost in spiritual darkness, and who bravely struggles on in the face of the mechanistic sophistries of a material philosophy, blinded by the confusion and distortion of a complex learning. And all this doom of darkness and all this destiny of despair are forever dispelled by one brave stretch of faith on the part of the most humble and unlearned of God's children on earth.

    William Griffith Wilson, also known as Bill Wilson or Bill W., was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), an international mutual aid fellowship with over two million members belonging to 100,800 groups of alcoholics helping other alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety. Following AA's Twelfth Tradition of anonymity, Wilson is commonly known as "Bill W." or "Bill." After Wilson's death in 1971, his full name was included in obituaries.
    Wilson's permanent sobriety began December 11, 1934. In 1955 Wilson turned over control of AA to a board of trustees. Wilson died of emphysema complicated by pneumonia in 1971. In 1999 Time listed him as "Bill W.: The Healer" in the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.

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Compare 04/03/2017

If you've got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs -- rethinking the world isn't an option.
  --PZ Myers, biology professor (b.1957)

(58:2.3) And yet some of the less imaginative of your mortal mechanists insist on viewing material creation and human evolution as an accident. The Urantia midwayers have assembled over fifty thousand facts of physics and chemistry which they deem to be incompatible with the laws of accidental chance, and which they contend unmistakably demonstrate the presence of intelligent purpose in the material creation. And all of this takes no account of their catalogue of more than one hundred thousand findings outside the domain of physics and chemistry which they maintain prove the presence of mind in the planning, creation, and maintenance of the material cosmos.

    Paul Zachary "PZ" Myers (born March 9, 1957) is an American associate-professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM). He founded and writes the Pharyngula science-blog, and as of 2016 works with zebrafish in the field of evolutionary developmental biology.
    He is an outspoken critic of intelligent design (ID) and of the creationist movement, where he is widely regarded as a confrontationalist.
    In 2006 the journal Nature listed Myers's Pharyngula as the top-ranked blog by a scientist based on popularity.
    Myers received the American Humanist Association's 2009 Humanist of the Year award and the International Humanist Award in 2011. Asteroid 153298 Paulmyers is named in his honor.

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