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You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

These words, I think, are among the most relevant and beautiful words ever written. Too often quoted, perhaps, but too often forgotten. Yet, these words are the essence of all that is meaningful to me vis-a-vis my sociopolitical views. It is the essence of anarchist theory. You have a right to be here.

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God [or the universe], whatever you conceive Him [or her, or it] to be [or not to be], and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."
Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata".

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Comment Preferences

  •  I’m at that awkward stage where I just exist. (12+ / 0-)

    I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

    by jbou on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:58:24 PM PDT

  •  Nice post. Namaste. (17+ / 0-)

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:58:26 PM PDT

  •  Your post is like the first Spring day (20+ / 0-)

    after a long, hard, Winter - balm for the soul and deeply appreciated.  

    Thank you so much, ZhenRen

    There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    by Onomastic on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:21:06 PM PDT

  •  This made my heart ache... (7+ / 0-)

    ...in good way. It is so beautiful that I could cry.

    It reminded of this song:

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:31:09 PM PDT

  •  I think using the word "shit" in the title (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen, JoanMar

    undermines your diary.  I get it; I know is tongue-in-cheek, but I think it cancels out the potential effect the content (which is good) could've had.

  •  Basically ... (9+ / 0-)

    amazing shit.

    How can you not feel whole when you read this and recognise this within yourself and others.

    'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

    by janis b on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:40:01 PM PDT

  •  We are all brothers and sisters, Z. n/t (11+ / 0-)

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:55:24 PM PDT

  •  Man (8+ / 0-)

    That poem just brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for posting it tonight.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 10:59:42 PM PDT

  •  I love this so much (8+ / 0-)

    I just wish "God" wasn't referred to as "Him."  That nearly ruined it for me, but I decided to cut an paste and then delete that sentence.  Thanks for the beautiful post.

    If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

    by nancyjones on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:09:30 PM PDT

  •  what I've always found amazing (4+ / 0-)

    about the Desiderata is, although it presumes a Supreme Being, excising that brief explicit reference takes nothing away from its fundamental message.

    •  Exactly right (3+ / 0-)

      I like daoism (the early, non-theistic philosophy, the dao is not a sentient being), and the first line resonates with me.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:37:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thanatokephaloides, ZhenRen

        the first line actually bothered me significantly because it seemed, as also in the entire text, to devalue the import or impact of malignancy and even accepts its existence passively. If the destructive and debilitating has it's place in the universal whole, where is it addressed in the text, other than by acquiescence?

        I offer this just as further thought for consideration ... and you are a one of our thoughtful ones, ZR.

        •  I understand your point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ancblu

          The first line has personal significance for me... goes way back.

          My personal sense of this goes to this:

          ziran, ( Chinese: “spontaneity,” or “naturalness”; literally, “self-so-ing,” or “so of itself”)  Wade-Giles romanization tzu-jan,  in Chinese philosophy, and particularly among the 4th- and 3rd-century bce philosophers of early Daoism (daojia), the natural state of the constantly unfolding universe and of all things within it when both are allowed to develop in accord with the Cosmic Way (Dao).

          Chinese cosmologies present a vision of a dynamic universe that is incessantly being generated. While the course it will take cannot be fully anticipated, it emerges and operates according to a continuous process. Human beings, however, impose their own order on reality, differentiating it by creating language and names for individual things, by developing rituals that order human life, and by creating government, which channels the energy of the people toward particular ends. Such actions distance people from the generative process of which they are a part. Instead, humans should attune themselves to the constant transformations of the Way. They may accomplish this by cultivating an openness toward spontaneity (ziran), which characterizes not only the constantly unfolding universe but the Dao itself. See also wuwei.

          So often in my life I've had to remind myself that I am an expression of the universe, that despite the constant negation, coercion, invalidation, from outside myself, that I have a right to be here.

          We all come into being by no act of our own, and pass into non-being the same way.

          Socially and politically, this translates into basic human rights to live, breath, exist in the natural world.

          Daoism (Taoism, if you prefer) is thought to be the first written expression of anarchist theory. In my view, this basic right to exist, to be, to live without coercion, without hierarchy, is expressed in that first sentence.

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:05:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you, again, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZhenRen

            for your thoughtful reply.

            I agree that we are here because of a particularly unique path of history and genetics.  It is a truly marvel.

            Does our uniqueness of being translate to any particular "Right" -- moral, political or otherwise?  I don't know, myself, but suspect not.  In western society we rather worship the concept of individuality, but elsewhere one's socio-politico-religious role is certainly subordinate to a collective concept.

            So ... do we have a "right" to exist? ... or alternatively do we simply exist by fact of randomness without moral, religious, political implication.  In this conception, we have no power, other than what we each can assert -- individually or collectively.  

            I will grant my inclination is much more stark and dis-empowering (in reality) than yours.  These are deep questions that simply cannot be resolved betwixt us in blog format.  The exchange though is meaningful.

            •  But there is no true collectivity (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ancblu

              unless we do so freely as individuals. Hence the concept of free association. If we aren't interrelating as free individuals, then one is above, the other below.

              The only way to proceed is without coercion, associating because we want to, not because we are forced to. Thus, there is no true socialism with hierarchy, and without respect for individuality.

              "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

              by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:42:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What a critical point ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ZhenRen

                coercion.

                It is as fundamental to life as anything else, I submit.  We are all subject to it ... in each our own jungle.  There exists no universe without some form of coercion -- even such universally accepted physical properties as gravity.

                If coercion is truly a ubiquitous and unavoidable reality in multi-variant forms... what does that speak of our unique power through beingness?  I try not to be overly cynical about this, but only posit the question as honestly as I can ... and as you clearly accept on its own terms for consideration.

            •  If we don't embrace the right to exist (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ancblu, Onomastic

              ...to live as beings interconnected with the biosphere, as a social agreement, we are in big trouble... that is the entire problem in a nutshell. Because without this basic agreement, then we all end up subject to the worst forms of authoritarianism and brutality. By agreeing to egalitarianism, we create a reciprocal relationship which is mutually beneficial. It is an ethic which serves everyone. Everyone wins.

              "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

              by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:49:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Agreed, fully in principle ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ZhenRen

                in practice, how though do you obtain sufficient buy-in?  Self-interest would seem, in my experience, to most always trump a unified concern for the collective -- even if all of us individually could even agree what is in the best interest of the collective.

                Within the somewhat historically ordered randomness of our current times ... we have the example of semi-dominant western concepts of individual liberty in which your precept of egalitarianism might work with a sufficient majority of empowered and informed individuals ... but historically this has never worked because of the natural order of hierarchical power. We are all unequal -- in fact, though agreed not in right by reason alone.

                If my view is correct, we still might survive without extreme authoritarianism -- which I see as too brittle and inflexible to survive basic social demands.  Durable political systems incorporate the means to adjust policy based on changing needs -- however slowly.

                •  We are not equal (0+ / 0-)

                  in ability, and each are unique individuals. But we must be considered to be equal socially as human beings, if we are to have freedom from unequal power relationships. Once we begin to assign unequal power according to inequality, then some special few (how are these selected?) must decide who is superior to others. We all know where such concepts lead. Just look at some of the horrors of history.

                  Our abilities compliment each other. It is because of our differences that equality is necessary. It is the only context in which individual differences and liberty can reach full expression.

                  Here's how anarcho-socialist theorists put it in the Anarchist FAQ:

                  http://en.wikibooks.org/...

                  For anarchists, the "concepts" of "equality" as "equality of outcome" or "equality of endowment" are meaningless. However, in a hierarchical society, "equality of opportunity" and "equality of outcome" are related. Under capitalism, for example, the opportunities each generation face are dependent on the outcomes of the previous ones. This means that under capitalism "equality of opportunity" without a rough "equality of outcome" (in the sense of income and resources) becomes meaningless, as there is no real equality of opportunity for the off-spring of a millionaire and that of a road sweeper. Those who argue for "equality of opportunity" while ignoring the barriers created by previous outcomes indicate that they do not know what they are talking about -- opportunity in a hierarchical society depends not only on an open road but also upon an equal start. >From this obvious fact springs the misconception that anarchists desire "equality of outcome" -- but this applies to a hierarchical system, in a free society this would not the case (as we will see).

                  Equality, in anarchist theory, does not mean denying individual diversity or uniqueness. As Bakunin observes:

                     

                  "once equality has triumphed and is well established, will various individuals' abilities and their levels of energy cease to differ? Some will exist, perhaps not so many as now, but certainly some will always exist. It is proverbial that the same tree never bears two identical leaves, and this will probably be always be true. And it is even more truer with regard to human beings, who are much more complex than leaves. But this diversity is hardly an evil. On the contrary. . . it is a resource of the human race. Thanks to this diversity, humanity is a collective whole in which the one individual complements all the others and needs them. As a result, this infinite diversity of human individuals is the fundamental cause and the very basis of their solidarity. It is all-powerful argument for equality." [4]
                  Equality for anarchists means social equality, or, to use Murray Bookchin's term, the "equality of unequals" (some like Malatesta used the term "equality of conditions" to express the same idea). By this he means that an anarchist society recognises the differences in ability and need of individuals but does not allow these differences to be turned into power. Individual differences, in other words, "would be of no consequence, because inequality in fact is lost in the collectivity when it cannot cling to some legal fiction or institution." [5]

                  If hierarchical social relationships, and the forces that create them, are abolished in favour of ones that encourage participation and are based on the principle of "one person, one vote" then natural differences would not be able to be turned into hierarchical power. For example, without capitalist property rights there would not be means by which a minority could monopolise the means of life (machinery and land) and enrich themselves by the work of others via the wages system and usury (profits, rent and interest). Similarly, if workers manage their own work, there is no class of capitalists to grow rich off their labour.

                  As to what our biological natures are, in terms of self-interest, there is evidence that we are social animals who have evolved with traits of cooperation and mutual aid. Humans seek to be with other humans, and work with a joint effort to survive. There are countless examples of how social species use cooperation to be more efficient.

                  "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                  by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 12:30:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Okay, I may have inadvertently confused this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ancblu, Onomastic

          I don't mean the first sentence of the Desiderata, I meant the first sentence of the diary. Not sure if that was clear.

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:19:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  the dao: sentient being? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZhenRen, ancblu, Onomastic
        I like daoism (the early, non-theistic philosophy, the dao is not a sentient being), and the first line resonates with me.
        Yet there are also parts of daoist philosophy which state that the dao is the source of all sentience.

        Two philosophical statements resolve this, at least for me personally:

        "The One Mind and the One Thing are One"

        and

        "The dao which can be described is not the true dao."

        ===========

        ZhenRen, you've managed to create a huge elevation of the discussion level hereabouts.

        And in a diary whose title contains a morph of the word "shit", at that!!  

        :-)

        "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

        by thanatokephaloides on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 01:42:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My and others' professional (3+ / 0-)

          worlds can be quite impenetrable because of our own unique jargon.  I was taught in a somewhat recent era, though, to communicate in plain English vernacular -- and I do find that helps in communication, even with fairly specialized concepts -- with no disrespect intended.

          I do wish I could understand what exactly you mean by your comment and quotations -- as a member of the uninformed laity.  The significance does escape me ... and I think only for want of understanding of language.

          •  my quotes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZhenRen
            I do wish I could understand what exactly you mean by your comment and quotations -- as a member of the uninformed laity.  The significance does escape me ... and I think only for want of understanding of language.
            Please do not assume that you are uninformed. The philosophical concepts we've broached in recent comments can be hard to understand in any language.

            We are discussing Daoist philosophy and related Alchemical/Hermetic concepts. Particularly, the concept of the ultimate reality underlying all else.

            The Daoists call this dao, sometimes translated as "the Way", although most modern translations of Daoist texts deliberately leave the term "dao" untranslated as the concept of "dao" is extremely complex in any language, and difficult to understand. Thus, my quoting the proverb

            "The dao which can be described is not the true dao."

            is essentially a Daoist admission that the whole concept of "the dao" is difficult to grasp.

            Hermetic Alchemical philosophy maintains that everything eventually came from "One Thing", and that "One Thing", if reproduced, could be applied to perform any manner of miraculous deeds. This is the concept of the Philosophers' Stone in Alchemy. The Philosophers' Stone is the One Thing.

            The Emerald Tablet is the foundational document of Alchemy. An alleged Chinese version of the Emerald Tablet says:

            "See, the highest comes from the lowest, and the lowest from the highest; indeed a marvelous work of the dao." Thus the One Thing and the dao are related to one another.

            I hope I've helped you here, ancblu, and not just made more of a mess.......

            "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

            by thanatokephaloides on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:40:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I simply mean (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Onomastic, thanatokephaloides

          that Dao (means road, path or way in Chinese) is not the equivalent of God, as many assume.

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:08:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is something often debated (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Onomastic, thanatokephaloides
            Yet there are also parts of daoist philosophy which state that the dao is the source of all sentience.
            A great line from the daodejing: "The dao does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone." The dao isn't considered to be a sentient actor, or a being, or an entity. It isn't a theology.

            "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

            by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:32:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  First line of the diary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic
        You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

        by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:26:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That is a pretty compelling observation ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZhenRen, Onomastic

      and has more import on the message than I think you credit.

      This seems to me a message of submission ... a quite ubiquitous concept in both christian and eastern religious beliefs as I understand -- humility encompassed therein.

      My edited version provided somewhere here, rather rejects the notion of  acceptance and submission as quite antithetical notions -- but, of course, I am a child of western civilization in the tradition of the Enlightenment so I'm certainly guilty of that bias.

      Good point though -- again, truly thought provoking.

  •  Fucking Omahabot! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nickrud, ZhenRen, thanatokephaloides

    Erm.

  •  Yet, how prescient was the parody... (8+ / 0-)

    Deteriorata

    Lyrics by Tony Hendra for National Lampoon.

    (You are a fluke of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.
    Deteriorata, Deteriorata)

    Go placidly amidst the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof. Avoid quiet and passive persons, unless you are in need of sleep. Rotate your tires. Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself; and heed well their advice, even though they be turkeys. Know what to kiss - and when. Consider that two wrongs never make a right, but that three do. Wherever possible, put people on hold. Be comforted, that in the face of all irridity and disillusionment, and despite the changing fortunes of time, there is always a big future in computer maintenance.

    (You are a fluke of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.
    Whether you can hear it or not,
    The universe is laughing behind your back.)

    Remember the Pueblo. Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle, and mutilate. Know yourself. If you need help, call the FBI. Exercise caution in your daily affairs, especially with those persons closest to you... That lemon on your left, for instance. Be assured that a walk through the seas of most souls would scarcely get your feet wet. Fall not in love, therefore, it will stick to your face. Gracefully surrender the things of youth: the birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan - and let not the sands of time get in your lunch. Hire people with hooks. For a good time, call 606-4311, ask for Ken. Take heart in the deepening gloom that your dog is finally getting enough cheese. And reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot, it could only be worse in Milwaukee.

    (You are a fluke of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.
    Whether you can hear it or not,
    The universe is laughing behind your back.)

    Therefore, make peace with your god, whatever you perceive him to be: hairy thunderer or cosmic muffin. With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal, the world continues to deteriorate. GIVE UP!

    (You are a fluke of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.
    Whether you can hear it or not,
    The universe is laughing behind your back.)"

  •  What a breath of fresh air (4+ / 0-)

    and I never read the Desiderata in its entirely until now.  Thank you.

  •  Though provoking ... thanks (4+ / 0-)

    But there is yin to yang.  Your quotation does not particularly resonate with me, and I offer my edited version for consideration (though unfortunately I can't seem to cut paste my redline version for ease of comparison):

    Go purposefully amid the noise and haste, and remember what might be achieved by only a single voice.  Be on good terms with all persons, but listen and do not be afraid to agree or disagree in any degree of passion. Speak your truth firmly and with conviction; and challenge others to employ the powers of their reason, and especially the dull and the ignorant to think beyond their own story or prejudice. Sometimes you must be the loud and aggressive person, even if it might be vexatious to your spirit. Do compare yourself with others, so you may become wiser; because you will see there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself – learn from both examples.  Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans, but remain open to changing your career or interests as you and your needs change over time, however humble either might become, whether by choice or necessity; this is a reality in the changing fortunes of every time in profession or life’s experience . Exercise caution in your business affairs; as the world is full of both trickery and caprice. But let this not blind you to either the virtue there is or risks and setbacks over which you have no personal control; many persons strive for high ideals and anticipate good fortune; and everywhere life is full of heroism and also villainy – prepare yourself for both. Be yourself, but learn to be adaptable to circumstances. Do not feign affection nor especially undue personal sanctimony or carry impenetrable bitterness. Neither be cynical nor naive about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass and it will surely live and die in its own season. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the naiveté of youth ... but always treasure, respect and encourage the life affirming enthusiasm and creativity of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to embrace good fortune and to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not suffer yourself alone with dark imaginings, though many fears are born of fatigue, loneliness but also appreciate our own unique biochemistry, and there is now better medical understanding that our response to travails in all degrees encompasses the mental world as much as the physical. Beyond a wholesome discipline, always be gentle with yourself when warranted.  If you have erred, account for it and correct it as best you can, but keep the capacity to forgive, others and especially yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here, but recognize that our universe is filled with both forces of creation and awe as much as  destruction and malignancy. And whether or not it is clear to you, the universe simply is, and it is incomprehensibly greater than our individual self – be both humbled and inspired. Therefore do best to challenge yourself, question your belief whatever it might be, persist in your labors and aspirations and in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. Even with all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, there is always beauty as well. Do not feel compelled to be cheerful or happy – simply strive for balance and what tranquility in life that might provide
    •  Excellent (5+ / 0-)

      Not quite as poetic, but well done, just the same.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:34:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you ... (4+ / 0-)

        I actually thought very much of you, as well as my own perspective, as I was motivated to make my redline edits.

        I've seen you fight here for what you firmly believe and in defense of it (frankly, without any comment from me).  You have been at times loud, proud and emphatically vigorous and even aggressive ... as I've tried to capture that proper sense of purpose and legitimate justification that I share as well -- from experience.  With thoughtful folks like you, sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't, and then maybe kind of sort of with my own qualification.  But that's exactly life ... isn't it.

        Whether I am as poetic or not, I am perfectly content with offering the lesser of well written and introspective prose by those more talented than me, so long as my reaction continues to inspire me ... and hopefully you or others.

        Muchas gracias again for putting forward something meaningful for us all to reflect upon.  This is the "community" here that I respect. The loathsome HR brigade, not so much.  Let us censor naught, because there is always truth in light ... Lux et Veritas (sorry Harvard).

  •  The Prophet (4+ / 0-)

    “The timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.”
    ― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

  •  As I sit here in an airport terminal (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen, jbsoul, Onomastic, churchylafemme

    in what was just 4:49 AM 3 days ago, your post washed over me like a breeze kissed by jasmine.

    I'm sure my BP just dropped a few points. Thanks.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

    by pajoly on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 02:55:22 AM PDT

  •  Just what I needed to see, when I needed to see (5+ / 0-)

    it. Thanks.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 02:57:39 AM PDT

  •  More Zen (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen, Cedwyn, Onomastic
    "We live in the eternal Now, and it is Now that we create our destiny. It follows, that to grieve over the past is useless and to make plans for the future is a waste of time. There is only one ambition that is good, and that is: so to live Now that none may weary of life's emptiness and none have to do the task we leave undone."

    The Book of the Sayings of Tsiang Samdup

    "The universe is fundamentally a system which creeps up on itself and then says BOO! and then it laughs at itself for jumping and you see everytime it does it it forgets that it did it before so it never becomes a bore."

    Alan Watts

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:26:50 AM PDT

    •  I have a lot of books by Alan Watts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BOHICA

      going all the way back to my early teens. Wonderful writer.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:54:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I needed that today. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen, jbsoul, Onomastic

    Thank you.

  •  Thank you ZhenRen! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen, Onomastic

    What a beautiful and inclusive gift to give us. Just when we needed it.

    Hope it gets the attention and reflection it deserves.

  •  I like your addendum, ZR. Makes me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen, jbsoul, Onomastic

    far more comfortable with the last few lines.

    It's funny how cliche this felt to me by the time I reached high school -- but I haven't seen it (nor hardly thought of it) since, and seeing it again reminds me how healthy and wise it is.  How like an oasis in the desert.

    Thank you so much.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. -- Albert Einstein

    by Yasuragi on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:07:20 AM PDT

  •  Love the piece, but one complaint... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen
    Therefore be at peace with God [or the universe], whatever you conceive Him [or her, or it] to be [or not to be], and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
    If you're going to quote someone else's work, please don't edit it while presenting it as the original.

    Let the reader make their own interpretation. You're putting words in both the author's mouth and the reader's mind.

    This is one of my favorite pieces, and it was rather jarring to mentally stumble through all those additions. If you're going to change it, I think you should say so; people who aren't familiar with the piece won't know that those edits are yours.

    (For what it's worth, I thought that Ehrmann's "whatever you conceive Him to be" covered all the possibilities you added...)

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:32:20 AM PDT

    •  While you object (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme

      others objected so much to that one phrase, it ruined the entire piece for them, especially women, or atheists (see comments). I didn't change the words, since I put my own in brackets. I reject the authority of religion, and I reject patriarchy. If I had to take these poetic pieces without any ability to adapt them to social advancements, then I simply would NOT use them at all.

      The purpose of the diary was to uplift, not to impose authority, or for the narrower, restricted purpose of appreciating literature.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:41:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  lovely (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic, ZhenRen

    Shame cannot survive being spoken. It cannot survive empathy. -Dr. Brene Brown

    by thankgodforairamerica on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:04:00 AM PDT

  •  This advice only works well if your brain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen

    functions in a way that allows you to understand it, identify with it,  and act on it. People who have neural disfunctions or whose brains are wired differently than the author of this saying simply can't take this in. Our world is made up of all kinds of brains functioning at all kinds of different levels and abilities. So while these ideas make some brains go "ahhh", it it meaningless to others. We can't avoid people who are loud and aggressive as they are part of the mix too.

    Plus, I take issue with the thought that anyone has a "right" to be here. Fortunately or unfortunately (there is a children's book with that theme) our "rights" as human beings are conferred upon us by other human beings. There are no cosmic "rights".  Maybe watching Cosmos would make that clearer.  I know the Founders of our country used that concept (that there is a cosmic or god given set of rights) to argue for independence, but they really had absolutely no proof for what they were claiming.  When our planet and the stars around us blow up, does that mean the universe violated our rights?

    •  You misunderstand rights (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Onomastic

      It is an ethical, reciprocal agreement made between each other. It is respect for life. Without this, we might as well just blow each other away at random. Mutual aid and reciprocity make social co-habitation possible, and our biology has evolved as social animals. We want to be around people, work with them, as a reciprocal arrangement. It is biologically more efficient.  Modern neurology recognizes this as the ability to have empathy that is wired into our brains.

      Rights are recognized as a basic humane way to treat each other, without which the world would be a terrible environment. Of course entire planets appear and disappear with no recourse to stop this process. Rights are about how humans treat each other, and how they treat our common habitat and environment. It is a form of logic in terms of how we define ourselves, and define limits of authority.

      Live in your cold universe without these reciprocal ideas if you want...

      I choose to live in a far different world.

      As to people with neural dysfunctions, I don't think we need to read this poetic piece as forcing on people a standard of behavior. It is simply uplifting, something to read for inspiration. I don't see it as a code of behavior.

      I am actually quite loud and aggressive with my point of view (not physically) on occasion.  But this simply means avoid those who would force their will on others, those who negate other people, those who would invalidate unnecessarily, or intimidate, or diminish others. Neurology aside, it is simply establishing space for each other to breath, and this is necessary when people live in proximity to each other.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:32:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Beautifully, wisely said, Zhen (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZhenRen

        Thank you.

        There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

        by Onomastic on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:57:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why would you characterize my observations (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZhenRen

        as representing a "cold world" when we both said much of the same thing? Rights are conferred upon people by a mutual agreement of those people.  They are not floating around in the cosmos.. they are between people. And most people fortunately are able to identify with and act on mutual respect and providing "breathing space" for others.

        Now if you meet a person who does not choose to have that nice reciprocal agreement as to rights (like someone who murders you or robs you) then the concept disappears between the two parties.  And most of the time, the person who would commit these acts has a brain that is wired so differently (either by heredity, chemical imbalances or as a result of injury)they would not be able to understand, much less accept this "poetic piece". I don't think it is a physiological fact that all people have empathy hard wired into their brains.

        I certainly find it interesting that you reacted so defensively about my observations.

        •  I'm defending my point of view from your (0+ / 0-)

          criticism. That is debate. I just disagree.

          I don't think that all attempts of individuals to violate, dominate, control, or assert authority over other people are due to neurology. Most are not.

          I think certain freedoms and needs are so obvious and common to human experience that they can be viewed as rights. And if someone wants to violate them for any reason, due to any cause, I don't see any reason to endure that. If someone wants to deprive another of the right to live, breath, eat, and have human existence, I won't support that effort, regardless of their neurology, or upbringing, or their psychological/social development due to exposure to environment.

          Much of this involves authority. Attempts of impose authority need to be justified, and if they can't be justified, they don't deserve to be heeded. Most forms of authority are imposed by force and threat of violence, rather than due to an inherent right. So in some cases, deciding the basis of rights is more a matter of proving authority than proving rights. For example, the right to speech. Must that be proven as a right, or is it, conversely, a matter of proving the right or need to censure the speech of another? Would anyone need to justify the right to breath air, or does the burden of proof fall on one who would deprive another of breathing?

          So, if someone's neurology compels them to suffocate me, I see no reason to allow them to, since they lack the justification of authority.

          Thus, I really don't see a basis to your point. Most people agree that we are born by default with certain basic needs and freedoms that should not be deprived, and these have come to be known as rights. Imposition against this must be justified.

          So, the statement "you have a right to be here" derives from that common understanding of rights. Under what authority would a person not have a right to be here? Upon what basis is that justified? Violent enforcement? When people live in proximity, these issues are inevitably important to decide. You basically have a right to be here unless someone can justify why you don't.

          People don't enter the world needing to prove their right to exist. They simply exist as an expression of the cosmos. It simply is. The universe doesn't create law, or rules, or authority over others. While the existence of a person is a natural occurrence, these elements of law or authority or aggression from other humans do not occur as a natural phenomena. These are choices people make. Thus when they are made, the basis needs to be justified if we are to respect them.

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:30:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am saying that your assertion that this... (0+ / 0-)

            "So, the statement "you have a right to be here" derives from that common understanding of rights." is not so. There is no "common understanding of rights".  If there was, there would be total world peace. After reading your responses and the comments here, I am seeing that the purpose of this diary is to promote Zen Buddhism.

            Just like every other religion, Zen Buddhism has a hiccup between its lovely sayings and how it is practiced in the real world.   The idea that life is recycled and that a child can be born with the "soul" of an old leader is just as delusional as the Christian claims for the system of salvation. And then there is the reality of this..

            http://www.wisdombuddhadorjeshugden.org/  vs. this...

            "I think certain freedoms and needs are so obvious and common to human experience that they can be viewed as rights. And if someone wants to violate them for any reason, due to any cause, I don't see any reason to endure that."

            Much of the discussion here is based on a very rosy view of the philosophies of Zen Buddhism.  And while they can inspire higher levels of thinking about the human condition, ignoring the fact that young children are coerced into monasteries and fed this thinking without a chance to approach it by choice as adults is highly questionable, especially in the light of your claim that imposing authority can not be justified.

            The question here is ... if practictioners of the Zen Buddhism philosophies can participate in acting in opposition to those philosophies, how can this religion make claims of purity of thought and intent? Or even claim that it is any different than the western religions?

            Thus we are back to square one and my original assertion... writings such as the Desiderata only mean something to those whose minds/brains are prediscposed to accepting that type of thinking. And, as it appears when you research Zen Buddhism in practice, it doesn't even mean anything to many of those within the practice itself.  I think there has been a hard sell for this in the US, and many fall into it without really understanding the whole picture.  Plus, as the Deteriorata points out, it is easily disassembled by reality.

            •  dude (0+ / 0-)

              You're way off the mark in your sweeping assumptions. It seems you just have a bone to pick. I'm not a Zen Buddhist. I've never been a Zen Buddhist.  This thing I posted is not from Zen. It is something written by an individual, I'm guessing a christian, and people find it uplifting, regardless of religious background.

              I don't support any form of religious authority. I don't follow the Dai Lai Lama, or support the patriarchy of his practice. I have nothing to do with anything you asserted in your comment. Most of what I've said comes from anarchist sociopolitical theory. Taoism comes closest to that of all that has been discussed.

              I like what is known as Taoism (the early non-theistic philosophical form, before it became for some a religion), and I'm atheistic in my overall approach. Notice I didn't call myself a Taoist, simply that I enjoy the philosophy, and if I were to be called anything, I would identify with much found within that philosophy. It really isn't even a teaching, since adherents don't think it can be taught.

              I doubt most commenting here have a good understanding of this illusive philosophy. It did influence Buddhism, and helped to create what is known as Zen in Japanese, but that is heavily Buddhist, while Taoism is not Buddhism at all. And before you rush off to research Taoism, I don't  follow any religious form of Taoism. I don't even follow Taoism (the early form). I simply enjoy it as a philosophy. Not all developments in later Taoism were part of the original form. This takes study, beyond a few internet links. Most people have no clue what it is all about.

              That you thought I was Buddhist underscores the problem here: you're not reading closely, but responding in some kneejerk fashion.

              I have no further interest in having a discussion with you. This is pointless. Literally pointless.

              "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

              by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 12:35:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  As to common understandings of rights (0+ / 0-)

                see the United Nations international treaties which most nations have signed and ratified.

                But I don't care if these are common. They should be, and I am definitely part of a movement that will assert those rights and freedoms, and I will oppose anyone who would deny them. If you want to accuse me of something, accuse me of that, because that would be the first thing you would have said that would have been true.

                "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 12:40:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  My apologies if I erred in my assumptions, (0+ / 0-)

                I was lumping in your diary with all the comments below that definitely were quotes etc. from Buddhism. Plus your name... ZhenRen... well, you see where I could have gotten the impressions I did.  I'm not crazy about the Desiderata and see it as a sort of unrealistic feel good piece that says some pretty silly things (like the universe is unfolding as it should...what does that mean, as it SHOULD?)  And I still say the application of the term "right" as in 'you have the right to be here' is either wrong or quite confused.  The universe operates in terms of physics, not in terms of human systems or ideas, like rights.

                And to also answer your second comment to me, you and I agree. As I said in the very beginning, our rights do not come from "the universe", they come from the mutual agreement of human beings and systems... like the UN.

                You certainly don't have to answer this probably "pointless reply".  That is your choice. I just wanted to apologize a bit and try to clarify my views.

                •  Zhenren (0+ / 0-)

                  is Chinese, comes from Taoist literature, means literally "true person." I wish I'd never used it as an account name here, since many have misunderstood my reasons for choosing it (I never thought I'd be participating here much at the time). Unfortunately, I can't change it.

                  "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

                  by ZhenRen on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 03:54:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  National Lampoon's parody (around 1973) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen

    You are a fluke of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.
    And whether you can hear it or not,
    The universe is laughing behind your back.

    You can read the whole thing here.

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