Tag Archives: philosophy

A World in a….Drop of Water

 

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

William Blake

Or, the visionary poet might have said, in a drop of water, suspended in time on its course  between underground springs and the great river which is its destiny.

for more Blake

Au Sable River

Iargo Springs, Michigan

Au Sable River, Michigan

Au Sable River, Michigan

 

Even Unpleasant Truths

When we really love truth we love even the unpleasant truths.

G.K. Chesterton

Winter reluctantly relaxes its grip on Michigan in mid March, and then we experience an interlude while waiting expectantly for the renewal of Spring.  This stream west of suburban Detroit was swelling with winter’s melt when we were beginning to learn some unpleasant truths.  A plague that had been lurking was then just beginning to surface.

Our First and Our Last Love

In the light, the earth remains our first and our last love. Our brothers and sisters are breathing under the same sky as we; justice is a living thing. Now is born that strange joy which helps one live and die, and which we shall never again postpone to a later time.

Albert Camus, The Rebel

Kensington Park

Kensington Park, Michigan

Rouge River, Michigan

 

Robert Kennedy: Leadership of Humane Purpose

Robert Kennedy’s words  touched the American spirit, transcending his death 50 years ago, with a truth that speaks to our time, too.

Robert Kennedy, campaigning in 1968

Robert Kennedy, campaigning in 1968

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of all. We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.

Not a Piano Key to be Played, but a Human

For the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key to be played!  And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don’t know?

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground

An 1864 Russian novel I read and discussed in a book club in nearby Ann Arbor yesterday.  The Underground Man asserts a person’s right to be human, with all the “unreasonable” emotions that involves, in the face of reformers’ efforts to conform human behavior to their idea of rationality and “the good.”  Also, a revolution in the novel, with the first anti-hero and the emergence of the unreliable narrator.  Really quite an amazing achievement in the art of writing.  I’m still marveling and will be re-reading after picking up many great insights from the book club members’ discussion.

Warren Dunes state park

Warren Dunes, Michigan