TGIF: No Truth!

A few days ago I was at a conference in Montreal, and a Canadian gentleman, trying to grasp what’s happening to America, asked me a simple question: “What do you fear most these days?”

I paused for a second, like a spectator waiting to see what would come out of my own mouth. Two things came out: “I fear we’re seeing the end of ‘truth’ — that we simply can’t agree any more on basic facts. And I fear that we’re becoming Sunnis and Shiites…but the sectarianism that has destroyed nation-states in the Middle East is now infecting us.”…

So when I got home, I called my teacher and friend Dov Seidman…and asked him what he thought was happening to us.

“What we’re experiencing is an assault on the very foundations of our society and democracy — the twin pillars of truth and trust,” Seidman responded. “What makes us Americans is that we signed up to have a relationship with ideals that are greater than us and with truths that we agreed were so self-evident they would be the foundation of our shared journey toward a more perfect union — and of respectful disagreement along the way…

But when there is no “we” anymore, because “we” no longer share basic truths, Seidman argued, “then there is no legitimate authority and no unifying basis for our continued association.”…

While our system can’t function without leaders with formal authority, what makes it really work, he added, is “when leaders occupying those formal positions — from business to politics to schools to sports — have moral authority. Leaders with moral authority understand what they can demand of others and what they must inspire in them. They also understand that formal authority can be won or seized, but moral authority has to be earned every day by how they lead. And we don’t have enough of these leaders.”

In fact, we have so few we’ve forgotten what they look like. Leaders with moral authority have several things in common, said Seidman: “They trust people with the truth — however bright or dark. They’re animated by values — especially humility — and principles of probity, so they do the right things, especially when they’re difficult or unpopular. And they enlist people in noble purposes and onto journeys worthy of their dedication.”

~ Thomas L. Friedman, excerpts from Where Did the People Go (NY Times, June 21, 2017)


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: “We are living in a time when lies are sanctioned. We have always lived in that time, but now the lies are publicly, rhetorically sanctioned. And something tribal has happened, which means that nobody gives a shit whether ­somebody’s lying or not because he’s on my side or she’s on my side. In the end, will truth matter? Of course truth will matter. Truth isn’t relative. But there’s going to be a great sacrifice on the way to getting truth to matter to us again, to finding out why it does, and God knows what shape that sacrifice will take.” By Ali Smith, from the Art of Fiction No. 236 (The Paris Review, Summer 2017)
  • Portrait: (via mennyfox55)

Have I?

This coming Sunday, in homes across the nation, millions of American men will awake to the arrival of breakfast in bed. Prepared and served by their children, these Father’s Day repasts convey appreciation as well as contributing to the general bonhomie of the day to come. But as he sips his coffee from his “World’s Greatest Dad” mug, even the most obtuse father has to ask himself: Have I been the man my children deserve?

~ William McGurn, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Father’s Day, wsj.com, June 12, 2017


Photo by Julien Stenger

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (Up, Up, Up, all together now)

“A photographer in Australia captured stunning images of something one might only see once or twice during the migrating season: two whales breaching in perfect synchronization. So you might say photographer Jonas Liebschner of Whale Watching Sydney hit the daily double as he saw and snapped photos of two pairs of humpback whales breaching simultaneously only seven days apart. On the second day of whale-watching season off Manley Beach north of Sydney, Australia, Liebschner took a photograph showing two humpback whales breaching in perfect tandem with flippers in identical positions before splashing down.


Grindtv.com Pairs of whales breach in perfect tandem; photographer captures the moments (June 6, 2017)

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


Notes: (via NewThom)

14 Years Old

manchester, Barra,scotland,terrorist,hearse,

The hearse carrying the coffin of Eilidh MacLeod is driven across Traigh Mhor beach at Barra, Scotland, airport after it arrived by chartered plane. Ms. MacLeod, 14 years old, was among the 22 people who died in the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on May 22, which also left more than 100 injured. (Andrew Milligan / Photos of the Day, June 3-4, 2017, wsj.com)

Silence and peace have one and the same heartbeat.

Silence and peace have one and the same heartbeat. In the noise of everyday life there is always a certain agitation that is stirred up in man. Noise is never serene…How right Pascal was when he wrote in his Pensées: “All the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber.” On the merely physical level, man can find rest only in silence.

Today, in a highly technological, busy world, how can we find silence? Noise wearies us, and we get the feeling that silence has become an unreachable oasis. How many people are obliged to work in a chaos that distresses and dehumanizes them? Cities have become noisy furnaces in which even nights are not spared the assault of noise. Without noise, postmodern man falls into a dull, insistent uneasiness. He is accustomed to permanent background noise, which sickens yet reassures him. Without noise, man is feverish, lost. Noise gives him security, like a drug on which he has become dependent. With its festive appearance, noise is a whirlwind that avoids facing itself. Agitation becomes a tranquilizer, a sedative, a morphine pump, a sort of reverie, an incoherent dream-world. But this noise is a dangerous, deceptive medicine, a diabolic lie that helps man avoid confronting himself in his interior emptiness. The awakening will necessarily be brutal. [Read more…]

I find comfort on my own thought

Rayman is a walking juxtaposition — his raspy voice and eerily enticing lyrics demand a listener’s attention, while he himself prefers to keep his head down and let the music speak for itself. Little is known of the rising genre-melting artist, who fuses R&B swagger with hip-hop grit all while spinning compelling stories much like a country artist can — and the mystique is intentional…

Ben Lovett/Keyboardist/Vocalist from Mumford & Sons:  “I came back from a tour a year or so ago and… there was music blaring out and the whole office was vibing. They were dancing around, singing along, and I felt like I had just been completely left out of the party and that was quite rare. If that’s happening normally it’s some classic hit, but it was something I had never heard before. It was Allan Rayman, obviously. I immediately got infected with the bug, went into my office, sat down and listened to what was Hotel Allan front and back and was completely blown away.”

~ Lindsey Havens, Billboard.com: Rising Artist Allan Rayman Discusses His Rule-Breaking Artistic Vision & More in First-Ever Interview

Lyrics from Tennessee:

…Well, this boy, he needs no company
This life is sharp like Pittsburgh steel…
It may be tough, don’t follow me
This boy, he needs no company
No company needed (Don’t need it)
I find comfort on my own thought…


Notes: OnestoWatch.com – 10 Reasons Why Allan Rayman Is The Most Mysterious Man in Music

Saturday Morning

Morning was calm and early afternoon beautiful, with temps near sixty degrees. Then the wind rose out of the canyons and the trees on the mountaintop bowed to some unseen god in the east…The greatest gift of life on the mountain is time. Time to think or not think, read or not read, scribble or not scribble – to sleep and cook and walk in the woods, to sit and stare at the shapes of the hills. I produce nothing but words; I consume nothing but food, a little propane, a little firewood. By being utterly useless in the calculations of the culture at large I become useful, at last, to myself.

~ Philip Connors, from “Diary of a Fire Lookout” in Paris Review


Notes: Quote – Thank you Beth at Alive on All Channels. Photo: FOTO:MOG

with each breath I’ll meet you there

There was a beautiful forest close…a place I would go to periodically for a hike. I tended to go there when it felt like the world was crashing down around me, when I felt overwhelmed. The woods were my escape, my get-away place of sanity. Walking under the shade of tall trees and listening to the sound of running water from rivers and waterfalls, I always had the same thought: I feel so whole when I am here. Why don’t I do this more often?

I know what makes me feel more. Why isn’t this an everyday practice for me?

In these days, it seems like we are living on the brink. Pomp and bluster seem to rule the day. There is conflict here, at home and around the world. Our very home, this tiny third rock from the sun, is in real danger.

One of the truths we know is that we live in an enchanted universe. The up-there and down-here mingle, the earthly and the heavenly mirror each other. We have no choice but to continue to redeem the world, to save the world from our own selves. We are, ironically, the cause of the breaking and just might be the channel of healing. To make the world whole, we ourselves have to become healed, become whole. Our well-being and the world being well are linked together.

To tend to our own inner lives is not selfishness; it is wisdom, it is essential, and it is unavoidable. […]

We are so attentive to our devices, making sure they are charged. Do we show the same care and concern for our hearts? Do we wait until we are running on fumes? How lovely and wise to make sure that the recharging is not through being a “weekend warrior” or even once-every-few-years vacations (both are lovely), but rather a matter of daily practice. […]

Let us, you and I, friends, find what sustains our soul. Let us find what nurtures our heart, who nurtures our heart, where our heart is nurtured.

Let us go there
daily
And make a habit of it.

If we may paraphrase the great Rumi:

Out beyond the realms of this faith
and that faith

     of no-faith
There is a field of goodness and beauty

where hearts our nourished

     With each breath
I’ll meet you there

~ Omid Safi, excerpts from Tending Our Inner Life to Make the World Whole (onbeing.org, May 18, 2017)


Notes:

  • Inspired by: “The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” — Aldous Huxley, Proper Studies. (1927)
  • Photo: Newthom

Grand Central Terminal. You choose: 1954 or Today?

Sunlight streams through the windows in the concourse at Grand Central Terminal in New York City in 1954. [Read more…]

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