“In this world, hate never dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible.” ~The Buddha
“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as One.” ~John Lennon
“It is love alone that leads to right action. What brings order in the world is to love and let love do what it will.” ~Jiddu Krishnamurti
“When we see God in each other we will be able to live in peace.” ~Mother Teresa
“Peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” -Martin Luther King Jr
“If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” -Archbishop Tutu
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.” ~Albert Einstein
“Courageous people do not fear forgiving for the sake of peace.” -Nelson Mandela
“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
“The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war.” ~Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
“The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.” ~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“Peace is the only battle worth waging.” ~Albert Camus
“Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding.” – Albert Einstein
“Peace, like war, must be waged.” – George Clooney
“Hatred ever kills, love never dies. Such is the vast difference between the two… The duty of a human being is to diminish hatred and to promote love.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
“If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliché that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.” – John Lennon
“You have heard that it was said, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also… Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” ~Jesus
“Love courses through everything. No, love is everything. How can you say, there is no love, when nothing but love exists? All that you see has appeared because of love. All shines from love, All pulses from love, All flows from love– No, once again, All is love!” ~Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi
“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.’ ” ~The Talmud
“See simplicity in the complicated, seek greatness in small things. In the Universe, the difficult things are done as if they were easy.” ~Lao Tsu
The Earth may not be flat nor is it the center of the universe, but that doesn’t mean old-world intellectuals got everything wrong. In fact, in recent years, modern science has validated a number of teachings and beliefs rooted in ancient wisdom that, up until now, had been trusted but unproven empirically. Here are eight ancient beliefs and practices that have been confirmed by modern science.
HELPING OTHERS CAN MAKE YOU HEALTHIER.
In their never-ending search for the best way to live, Greek philosophers argued over the relative benefits of hedonic and eudaimonic happiness. Hedonic well-being sees happiness as a factor of increased pleasure and decreased pain, while eudaimonic (“human flourishing”) happiness has more to do with having a larger purpose or meaning in life. A recent study from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychologist Barbara Fredrickson may reveal which form of happiness is more beneficial for health and well-being.
The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year, found that while both types of happiness can make you feel good, the latter could promote physical health and longevity as well. Using phone interviews, questionnaires and blood samples, the study explored how the two forms of happiness affected individuals on a genetic level. Participants with more hedonic and less eudaimonic well-being were found to have a lower production of virus-attacking antibodies, while those with more eudaimonic well-being experienced an increase in antibody production.
ACUPUNCTURE CAN RESTORE BALANCE TO YOUR BODY.
The traditional Chinese medicine technique is believed to address imbalances in a person’s qi (pronounced chi), the circulating energy within every living thing. Whether or not you believe in the existence of this energy flow, a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that the age-old practice may be an effective way to relieve migraines, arthritis and other chronic pains.
Analyzing previous research data from approximately 18,000 subjects, researchers found that acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture and standard western care when treating various types of pain, including migraines and chronic back pain.
WE NEED THE SUPPORT OF A COMMUNITY IN ORDER TO THRIVE.
Traditional Buddhist teachings suggest that community is a key component in any happy, fulfilled life. A 2010 study conducted by Brigham Young University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers confirmed this belief, concluding that a healthy social life promotes longevity.
In analyzing the 148 studies — involving more than 300,000 individual participants — available on the subject, the researchers discovered that those with stronger social relationships maintained a 50 percent increased likelihood of survival. The effect of social relationships on mortality risk is even greater than the effect of exercise or obesity.
What the hell is wrong with the British people? They seem to live in a fantasy fairy tale where they allow German parasites-bastards to rule over them. No wonder Britain is drowning in an alcohol-drug-sex abuse frenzy. (Britain is the #1 consumer of cocaine in Europe and has the highest infection rates for gonorrhea). That’s what happens when you believe in lies and bullshit. Get rid of these parasites England.
And fix your own damned house pathetic moochers.
A planned £369 million refurbishment to Buckingham Palace has got some people calling for an end to the monarchy. But what exactly would that look like?
The Royal Family (Photo: Lefteris Pitarakis AP/Press Association Images)
Once again, some people are unhappy with the Royal Family. First it was the announcement last week that the Treasury intends to spend £369 million on doing up Buckingham Palace in the middle of a housing crisis, and then – bizarrely, given the outrage over the refurbishment handout – the Palace put out a job advert for a new gardener, offering a salary that works out at less than the London Living Wage.
Both of these things have provoked “action”, with former journalist Mark Johnson starting a popular online petition demanding that the royals pay for repairs themselves. Bloggers on Royal Central – which, in fairness, is essentially a royals fan site – and The Spectator have pointed out that it is actually money generated through an additional tax on the Crown Estate that will fund the work, not money from the British taxpayer, but for many that still doesn’t justify the huge amount of cash being spent on the Palace as the rest of the country falls apart.
Either way, none of this is particularly new; anti-monarchy petitions have always had a presence online. Yet polls consistently show that people prefer Jubilee bunting and ritualised deference to democratic accountability. In fact, about 70 percent of the UK’s population continually say they would rather keep the royals than chuck them.
But imagine a world in which that statistic leant the other way. Theoretically, what would it take to actually remove the royals from the throne, and what would happen once they were gone? I’m glad you asked.
FIRST, A LOT OF GROUNDWORK WOULD HAVE TO BE LAID
Republic is an organisation campaigning for a “democratic alternative to the monarchy”. Pia de Keyser, the group’s campaigns officer, says their vision of change involves years of healthy public discourse, gradually pushing the issue onto the political agenda, before provoking a national referendum.
“Since Brexit, we do definitely feel that we wouldn’t want any referendum to do with this to be as divisive,” she says over the phone. “There would need to be a sizeable majority before the referendum would be held – it wouldn’t be a case of ’51 percent would do it’. Public education should be far more balanced and accurate, unlike Brexit, where so many people were googling ‘What is the EU?’ right before it.”
CHARLES WOULD HAVE TO BE TRULY AWFUL
Historian Phillip Murphy tells me the warm fuzzy feelings people have towards the monarchy are mostly for Elizabeth herself, rather than the institution as a concept. “I think as long as she’s there, there will be pretty strong support,” he says over the phone. “But once she’s gone, there may be a change of mood.”
Relative to the Queen, Charles isn’t exactly popular. He’s been criticised in the past for sticking his oar into political matters, and if he kept at that it would highlight the problematic royal prerogative powers monarchs still technically have. Pure speculation here, but I can’t imagine that would do much for his ratings.
WE’D HAVE TO ENDURE THE UNKNOWN, MESSY POLITICAL FALLOUT OF ANOTHER REFERENDUM
A referendum in favour of a republic would only be the start. De Keyser says Republicans don’t have a concrete vision of what post-monarchy Britain would look like – and that they wouldn’t yet want to. “Like Brexit, we would be facing a situation that we haven’t had to take through Parliament before. It could be quick, but like with Brexit, my instinct would be not to rush it,” she explains. “The ideal would be that we would slowly, pragmatically walk through it.”
Beyond the whole “what, so we’re getting a president now?” chat, this process would also involve lots of complicated legal disentanglements, like working out who would occupy the position of head of the Commonwealth and the Church of England.
Also, as Murphy says, you’ve got to be careful that a restructuring of political power doesn’t just leave a new demagogic-shaped hole to be filled. “In a world in which Donald Trump has just been elected, and in which Marine Le Pen seems to be within fighting distance of the French presidency, even people on the left now might be thinking, ‘Do we really want Nigel Farage as our president?'” he points out. “Which might be the likely result of a national election for a president.”
CAMPAIGNERS WOULD WANT THE ROYALS TO HAND OVER THEIR RICHES
Anti-monarchy campaigns tend to revolve around the injustice of the massive amounts of wealth and privilege commanded by a select few people lucky enough to be born into the right family. So, the thinking goes, in a post-monarchy UK, while the royals would still have a private wealth in the multi-millions – thanks in part to their extensive property portfolio – all profits generated by the Crown Estate would be handed over to the people.
Currently, the Queen pays an 85 percent tax on earnings generated through the Crown Estate – a huge property and land portfolio, including Regent Street and Buckingham Palace, worth about £12 billion – with the remaining 15 percent going to her to pay for stuff like royal travel and Palace garden parties. According to Murphy, this 15 percent going to the people instead wouldn’t do much to correct social and economic imbalances.
“You might hope that it would change British society,” he says, “but some of those divisions – the aristocracy, the power of public schools, the power of Oxbridge – unless you really radically changed the way society is governed, they would still be there in the social character of Great Britain.”
This year that 15 percent worked out at nearly £43 million, which is admittedly just a fraction of the £1 billion the NHS spends every three days, but, you know, every little helps. And what of Buckingham Palace, which – as part of the Crown Estate – would also theoretically be handed over?
“The 750 barely used rooms in the Palace would hopefully become a huge central community hub, or a museum, or a centre for education, or a hub for democracy,” says de Keyser.
THE ROYALS WOULD BECOME MERE COVER STARS OF ‘HELLO’ MAGAZINE, SLOWLY AND INEVITABLY DECLINING IN STATURE
“There’s the sense that [the royals] themselves are sort of trapped in many ways,” says de Keyser. “In terms of the human rights that the rest of us have, like freedom of expression and movement and choice of marriage partner, they are massively curtailed from enjoying.”
So in a republic, the Royal Family would be free to be whatever they wanted to be. EDM DJs! Chartered surveyors! Openly xenophobic! But in all likelihood, as Murphy says, “They would certainly still be on the guest list of any trendy party in London, New York or Paris.”
This is Sha’Tara. I was going to comment on this previous article:
The deepest reason why we are afraid of death, but decided to post additional thoughts on it instead. For your reference, here’s the article, my thoughts below.
“Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity — but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our “biography,” our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards… It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?
Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet. Isn’t that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?” ― Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
To the person who has faced death; who has interfaced with the terminal aspect of life on a material world; who has seen that it is more than a physical body, the above seems very familiar, yet no longer applicable. I will speak in the first person, I, me, because I have experienced the state known as “near death experience” and seen life the way many can never see, or could but refuse to. I have seen life as a non-physical entity, as a fully functional mind being.
Indeed, before I entered my spiritual journey I was the person you read about above, Rinpoche’s normal human being. I remember a rage to live, to experience as much of physical sense satisfaction as possible, and a gnawing fear that somehow this would be denied me, or taken from me. From what I see of people around me, this is very much the case with most Earth-based people. They need “stuff” to give their lives solidity, and they need money to do things so they can add to their own, personal, experiences of life. I sense great dissatisfaction in their awareness that no matter how much they accumulate of things and experiences, there will be those who will have more; there will be some they crave and won’t be able to get because they lack the means, or their current lifestyle prevents them from attaining to a greater (and entitled) greater sense of material self.
They will be unhappy. Unsatisfied. Unfulfilled. Incomplete. They will go about casting blame for this condition. They will resent the very things that currently define who they are: their families, their jobs, their responsibilities. They will have a bucket list in the back of their minds and it will eat at them. Often enough they will suddenly ditch their life-long responsibilities to lunge after the promises in their bucket. And they will find chimeras.
For some of us “lucky” ones, we get a reprieve from this private hell. We are allowed to “die” and see a different and much expanded vista: the real worlds of the mind. And for some of those, the “lesson” learned is accepted, kept and put to use when we return to our little physical reality.
I need to say this because it is crucially important: no one needs to experience “NDE’s (Near Death Experiences) or even OBE’s (Out of Body Experiences) to become aware of what I’m talking about. Those esoteric experiences are for particularly stubborn and dumb types who won’t get it any other way but who somehow show promise and a propensity for things of the mind and of spirit. To attempt NDE’s or OBE’s to gain spiritual insight is ridiculous, since the fact such is sought indicates you are ready to make the mental transition or jump!
Transitioning into the spirit/mind realm means encountering your greater (higher) or more real and complete self. This is why it is important to do so. This greater self can and does function quite well without ANY of the normal attachments and clap-trap that defines the Earth-based self. It can function as a self-empowered, totally detached entity. It can decide everything about itself, including, and note, if and whom, it will love.
Most reading this will know already what “falling in love” entails. For me it always was an upsetting and confusing process that invariably left me the loser. Imagine my surprise when in my greater self to realize I could choose whether to love someone, and how that loving would be expressed. I was in control, imagine that. If there was passion, I allowed it to take place. If there was a cooling from the other, I accepted it and used that time for other pursuits. If the cooling went to freezing point, I accepted the dissolution as something completely normal. I could after all have a similar relationship with anyone else should I want one. None of it mattered. Would it shock you to read that the person you “do it with” isn’t in the least important, what’s important is the experience. Go ahead, dare admit that and break another Matrix programming link in the chain.
Imagine the same thing about work, about money, about any relationship. I was in control of my whole life even in the midst of storms. I knew I wouldn’t drown because there is no such thing. I would have a new experience to work with.
And so it is to this day. I’ve gone through “stuff” in the last twenty years that I know would have crushed or devastated many a “normal” Earthian because of attachments, expectations, sense of entitlement.
The common question, “Why is this happening to me?” is not asked by the spirit/mental intelligent, sentient, self aware entity because “this” isn’t relevant to its life. What’s relevant is “that” as in, taking in the cosmos in infinity.
Welcome, midnight old friend,
Welcome back for some remembering!
Remember the romance days
Of a youth that would never end?
Sitting at a dormer window
Listening to the wind howl,
And the downpour’s battering
Under unseen November skies;
Watching sparks of rain drops
Flash past the panes reflecting
That old yellow plastic shade
Hiding its forty watt bulb?
Remember my heart’s longing
As a half-mile away the freeway
Drove its cars into the night
And valiant semis thundered past
With their multicoloured lights
And my mind went with them
As they headed east? East,
Over mountains and across valleys
Where I’d just left my lover,
My too young lover, sensing
I’d be getting that letter soon,
The one all teen lovers dread
But can never stop the mailman
From leaving in the mailbox
Even at Christmas time.
I felt the need to write a follow-up to the essay, “How far back must we go?” So here’s a bit of an explanation and fill-in using the Earth world view I was taught to see by “the Teachers” some years back. Having no argument with their explanations, I present that world view here as my own which of course it now is.
The forces of mind control and repetitive actions due to programming, come in threes. I first clued into this from my doctrine-heavy Christian upbringing in which the three main Powers were a godhead of a father, a son and a holy spirit. This is dogma and must be believed in when one is confirmed in the Catholic Church. There are little variations to this dogma in any other Christian cult. It’s the basis for the whole faith. This awareness explains why Christianity was able to grow so rapidly into a world-dominating religion and remains the leading force of religious power even today. Remove one or two of these “persons” from Christianity and the house of cards collapses into meaninglessness, much as Islam is currently experiencing – they don’t have a Trinitarian god. Keep this in mind: Power comes in threes.
This isn’t about religion. This is about daily Earthian reality and how it all works. Basically, all of earth people’s lives are circumscribed by faith. You have to believe “in” certain dogmas (in science and economics they’re called “theories”) for the System to work – and by that I don’t mean it must make sense, it does not, never did, never will – but it certainly works well, just as well as did the Spanish inquisition. There is purpose behind it all, and that purpose is the exercise of Power Over. The less the number of power holders and the greater the number of oppressed, the more Power accumulates to the holders of it. No elitist power, from the would-be gods down through the hierarchy, is ever manufactured. All of it is forcefully extracted from billions of victims and slaves of the Power Holders.
How do they do this? How do they steal your power? Through lies, disinformation and the blatant, deliberate spreading of fear, which leads to mindless hate, which leads to wars and genocide. I just watched “High Plains Drifter” with Clint Eastwood. An old story of greed, violence and retribution. Basic story: “The Stranger” who never gives his name rides into the town of Lago as a drifter. Challenged, he shoots three gunmen and is hired to protect the townspeople from three other gunmen due to be released from jail and certain to come calling for being railroaded by the town’s leaders. Unbeknownst to the leaders, “The Stranger” is in town to avenge the killing of an honest sheriff by the entire town in cahoots with a mining outfit stealing gold from protected government land (a reservation?). To achieve his ends, “The Stranger” proceeds to sow dissension, suspicion, fear and hate among the townspeople who are all guilty of collusion in the death of their sheriff. In the end, the town is destroyed, its leaders killed and the three gunmen who had been hired to kill the sheriff are killed by “The Stranger”. Then he rides out of town, mission accomplished.
We like these kinds of simplistic stories where the lone “good guy” wins against impossible odds, and the villains are exposed, jailed or killed. But that is not what happens on earth, quite the opposite. We slave for the villains; we support them, raise statues to them, give them peace prizes, name towns, universities, streets after them. We vote them into office so they can further oppress and kill us with endless wars, meaningless labour, manufactured poverty, denial of basic justice and health care. And we give them all our money and more because we fear each other more than we hate them. This we know. Yet we cannot, ever, escape this destiny of subservience. If we get to hate them enough to overthrow them we immediately replace them with characters of the same mindset or even worse.
I said the forces of oppression come in threes. These are what I call the gods: Religion, the State and Money. Childishly simplistic concepts that shouldn’t ever see the light of day outside a sand box or playpen. Yet they rule the world (and much more!) and are never seen for what they are. And what keeps them in power? Three other very basic concepts: faith, hope and love. These are even presented as virtues in the Christian New Testament: 1Co. 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Indeed, you could attach faith to Religion; hope to the State apparatus; love to Money: three for three. An ever winning combination for the Powers.
How desperately Earthians need to believe such things are true by simple description. Yet the same people do everything in their power to deny every assertion ever made about love particularly. How many people stop dead in their tracks and ask themselves this honest question: why doesn’t love work? No one, because the answer would be devastating. Love’s power is to destroy what faith and hope pretend to build up. Yes, I say pretend, because they too are lies. They uphold a triumvirate of endless, circular oppression. Faith says, believe it even when every common sense in your mind says it’s a lie. Hope then says, stick with this belief and things will work out for the good in the end. Love says, if it feels good do it. Don’t think about it. Don’t reason it. Just do it. That could be the perfect motto for “free enterprise” capitalism.
A brief side trip with love. In a small US town (Wichita Falls, Texas) earlier this month a 20 year old man kills a 13 year old girl he was obsessively “in love with” by shooting her 14 times. Ain’t love grand. Going back a few millennia, for God, love meant wiping out all sentient air-breathing living creatures on an entire world… “Ge. 6:7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth — men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air — for I am grieved that I have made them.” I know others who love the world as much as God does. Monsanto comes to mind… in fact the whole military industrial complex just loves the world to bits, literally, with its chemicals, cluster bombs and nukes.
Anyone with a grain of common sense and an iota of knowledge of history would be able to see through these forces of oppression. But of course the Powers don’t allow people to draw such a conclusion. There is a powerful programming at work that maintains a permanent delusion that says change comes from switching allegiance between the Powers. For a time, Religion rules the world. Then the State rules. When both have demonstrated their utter corruption, Money comes to the fore and forces all and sundry to worship at its altars. Bankers and “business” now rule the world and push for globalism through oppression and bloodshed so they can gain ever more power. Now you can see what corruption actually is, but it’s too late to save your civilization. When the last head of the triumvirate of power loses it as we are experiencing now, that is the end of the civilization the gods raised, murdered with and finally plundered to the bare bones.
Now some people are beginning to clue in that Money in the guise of capitalism is just another corrupt Power. But what do they talk about as a replacement? As a counter force? Some speak of people coming together under a “loving” deity, let’s call her “Gaia” or some such nice motherly name, and some continue to believe that Government can be cleansed of its corruption, can rein in the power of Money and bring some kind of justice and peace to the world. And for some, Money will solve everything, it just needs to be applied in the right places. Never mind that these ideas have never worked. Never mind that it’s impossible to rid any Power of its internal rot. Logic and common sense do not rule here: faith, hope and love do. And there are only three possible choices that people as collectives can pick from: Religion, Government or Money. The Power Pizza has three slices. These may vary in size but there is, and can only be, but three slices. And, according to the status quo (which public education reinforces so everybody will believe this) nothing of consequence exists outside the outer circumference of the Power Pizza.
“The full humanization of man requires the breakthrough from the possession-centered to the activity-centered orientation, from selfishness and egotism to solidarity and altruism.”
A pioneer of what he called “radical-humanistic psychoanalysis,” the great German social psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm (March 23, 1900–March 18, 1980) was one of the most luminous minds of the twentieth century and a fountain of salve for the most abiding struggles of being human.
In the mid-1970s, twenty years after his influential treatise on the art of loving and four decades after legendary anthropologist Margaret Mead turned to him for difficult advice, Fromm became interested in the most basic, most challenging art of human life — the art of being. At the height of a new era that had begun prioritizing products over people and consumption over creativity, Fromm penned a short, potent book titled To Have or To Be? — an inquiry into how the great promise of progress, seeded by the Industrial Revolution, failed us in our most elemental search for meaning and well-being. But the question proved far too complex to tackle in a single volume, so Fromm left out a significant portion of his manuscript.
Those pages, in many ways even richer and more insightful than the original book, were later published as The Art of Being (public library) — a sort of field guide, all the timelier today, to how we can shift from the having mode of existence, which is systematically syphoning our happiness, to a being mode.
Fromm frames the inquiry:
The full humanization of man requires the breakthrough from the possession-centered to the activity-centered orientation, from selfishness and egotism to solidarity and altruism.
But any effort to outline the steps of this breakthrough, Fromm cautions, must begin with the foundational question of what the goal of living is — that is, what we consider the meaning of life to be, beyond its biological purpose. He writes:
It seems that nature — or if you will, the process of evolution — has endowed every living being with the wish to live, and whatever he believes to be his reasons are only secondary thoughts by which he rationalizes this biologically given impulse.
That we want to live, that we like to live, are facts that require no explanation. But if we ask how we want to live — what we seek from life, what makes life meaningful for us — then indeed we deal with questions (and they are more or less identical) to which people will give many different answers. Some will say they want love, others will choose power, others security, others sensuous pleasure and comfort, others fame; but most would probably agree in the statement that what they want is happiness. This is also what most philosophers and theologians have declared to be the aim of human striving. However, if happiness covers such different, and mostly mutually exclusive, contents as the ones just mentioned, it becomes an abstraction and thus rather useless. What matters is to examine what the term “happiness” means…
Most definitions of happiness, Fromm observes, converge at some version of having our needs met and our wishes fulfilled — but this raises the question of what it is we actually want. (As Milan Kundera memorably wrote, “we can never know what to want.”) It’s essentially a question about human nature — or, rather, about the interplay of nature and nurture mediated by norms. Adding to the vocabulary of gardening as a metaphor for understanding happiness and making sense of mastery, Fromm illustrates his point:
This is indeed well understood by any gardener. The aim of the life of a rosebush is to be all that is inherent as potentiality in the rosebush: that its leaves are well developed and that its flower is the most perfect rose that can grow out of this seed. The gardener knows, then, in order to reach this aim he must follow certain norms that have been empirically found. The rosebush needs a specific kind of soil, of moisture, of temperature, of sun and shade. It is up to the gardener to provide these things if he wants to have beautiful roses. But even without his help the rosebush tries to provide itself with the optimum of needs. It can do nothing about moisture and soil, but it can do something about sun and temperature by growing “crooked,” in the direction of the sun, provided there is such an opportunity. Why would not the same hold true for the human species?
Even if we had no theoretical knowledge about the reasons for the norms that are conducive to man’s optimal growth and functioning, experience tells us just as much as it tells the gardener. Therein lies the reason that all great teachers of man have arrived at essentially the same norms for living, the essence of these norms being that the overcoming of greed, illusions, and hate, and the attainment of love and compassion, are the conditions for attaining optimal being. Drawing conclusions from empirical evidence, even if we cannot explain the evidence theoretically, is a perfectly sound and by no means “unscientific” method, although the scientists’ ideal will remain, to discover the laws behind the empirical evidence.
He distills the basic principle of life’s ultimate aim:
The goal of living [is] to grow optimally according to the conditions of human existence and thus to become fully what one potentially is; to let reason or experience guide us to the understanding of what norms are conducive to well-being, given the nature of man that reason enables us to understand.
But one of the essential ingredients of well-being, Fromm notes, has been gruesomely warped by capitalist industrial society — the idea of freedom and its attainment by the individual:
Liberation has been exclusively applied to liberation from outside forces; by the middle class from feudalism, by the working class from capitalism, by the peoples in Africa and Asia from imperialism.
Such external liberation, Fromm argues, is essentially political liberation — an inherently limiting pseudo-liberation, which can obscure the emergence of various forms of imprisonment and entrapment within the political system. He writes:
This is the case in Western democracy, where political liberation hides the fact of dependency in many disguises… Man can be a slave even without being put in chains… The outer chains have simply been put inside of man. The desires and thoughts that the suggestion apparatus of society fills him with, chain him more thoroughly than outer chains. This is so because man can at least be aware of outer chains but be unaware of inner chains, carrying them with the illusion that he is free. He can try to overthrow the outer chains, but how can he rid himself of chains of whose existence he is unaware?
Any attempt to overcome the possibly fatal crisis of the industrialized part of the world, and perhaps of the human race, must begin with the understanding of the nature of both outer and inner chains; it must be based on the liberation of man in the classic, humanist sense as well as in the modern, political and social sense… The only realistic aim is total liberation, a goal that may well be called radical (or revolutionary) humanism.
The two most pernicious chains keeping us from liberation, Fromm observes, are our culture’s property-driven materialism and our individual intrinsic tendencies toward narcissism. He writes:
If “well-being” — [defined as] functioning well as a person, not as an instrument — is the supreme goal of one’s efforts, two specific ways stand out that lead to the attainment of this goal: Breaking through one’s narcissism and breaking through the property structure of one’s existence.
He offers the crispest definition of narcissism I’ve encountered (something that took Kafka a 47-page letter to articulate):
Narcissism is an orientation in which all one’s interest and passion are directed to one’s own person: one’s body, mind, feelings, interests… For the narcissistic person, only he and what concerns him are fully real; what is outside, what concerns others, is real only in a superficial sense of perception; that is to say, it is real for one’s senses and for one’s intellect. But it is not real in a deeper sense, for our feeling or understanding. He is, in fact, aware only of what is outside, inasmuch as it affects him. Hence, he has no love, no compassion, no rational, objective judgment. The narcissistic person has built an invisible wall around himself. He is everything, the world is nothing. Or rather: He is the world.
But because narcissism can come in many guises, Fromm cautions, it can be particularly challenging to detect in oneself in order to then eradicate — and yet without doing so, “the further way to self-completion is blocked.”
A parallel peril to well-being comes from the egotism and selfishness seeded by our ownership-driven society, a culture that prioritizes having over being by making property its primary mode of existence. Fromm writes:
A person living in this mode is not necessarily very narcissistic. He may have broken through the shell of his narcissism, have an adequate appreciation of reality outside himself, not necessarily be “in love with himself”; he knows who he is and who the others are, and can well distinguish between subjective experience and reality. Nevertheless, he wants everything for himself; has no pleasure in giving, in sharing, in solidarity, in cooperation, in love. He is a closed fortress, suspicious of others, eager to take and most reluctant to give.
Growth, he argues, requires a dual breakthrough — of narcissism and of property-driven existence. Although the first steps toward this breaking from bondage are bound to be anxiety-producing, this initial discomfort is but a paltry price for the larger rewards of well-being awaiting us on the other side of the trying transformation:
If a person has the will and the determination to loosen the bars of his prison of narcissism and selfishness, when he has the courage to tolerate the intermittent anxiety, he experiences the first glimpses of joy and strength that he sometimes attains. And only then a decisive new factor enters into the dynamics of the process. This new experience becomes the decisive motivation for going ahead and following the path he has charted… [An] experience of well-being — fleeting and small as it may be — … becomes the most powerful motivation for further progress…
Awareness, will, practice, tolerance of fear and of new experience, they are all necessary if transformation of the individual is to succeed. At a certain point the energy and direction of inner forces have changed to the point where an individual’s sense of identity has changed, too. In the property mode of existence the motto is: “I am what I have.” After the breakthrough it is “I am what I do” (in the sense of unalienated activity); or simply, “I am what I am.”
Below is a letter that Albert Einstein wrote to his daughter about the universal force of love. The letter was released in the 1980’s along with over a thousand other letters that he wrote to different people.
“When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.
When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force. Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it. Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others. Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals. For love we live and die. Love is God and God is Love.
This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation. If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.
After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…
If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.
Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.
However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it’s too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! “.
Addendum: This letter appears to be a fake. Apparently, there is controversy about who exactly wrote it, and it migght not have been the Einstein dude himself. Dang it! It’s still a powerful collection of words anyway. See here:
One of the greatest things about discovering something new is the path it leads us down and doors it opens into new insights and findings that we otherwise might have never known. An article we read leads us to a new author or book. A conversation we have leaves us “googling” something or someone we’ve never heard. A segment on the radio inspires us to learn more about a business or topic being discussed.
Or, as most recently happened to me, a letter circulating via social media leads to the debunking of a myth surrounding its alleged author.
Perhaps you’ve read it: Albert Einstein’s letter to his daughter Lieserl regarding the “universal force” of love. It’s a beautiful read, offering a universal message that speaks to the essence of the human condition and our incessant yearning to believe in love’s conquering force.
That such sentiments were seemingly written by Albert Einstein, the most revolutionary scientist of the 20th century, only solidified its potency and widespread appeal — hence it going viral on social media.
But, as we’ve been forced to learn in our rapidly expanding digital age, you can’t always trust what you read on the Internet, particularly when it lacks an original source, as was the case with this supposed letter from Einstein.
Struck by its beauty, however, I began researching its origins in hopes that it would confirm Einstein as the author and give way to a post about the unlikely musings on love from one of the world’s most brilliant scientists.
What I discovered, however, was a heap of controversy pointing to the fabrication of a letter falsely attributed to Einstein in an attempt to legitimize its words and message.
If you’d asked someone to be your Valentine before the 14th century, they’d probably have looked at you as if you were mad. And checked you weren’t holding an axe.
There were two saints by the name of Valentine who were venerated on February 14 during the Middle Ages. Both Valentines were supposedly Christian priests who fell foul of Roman officials keen on decapitation. But there’s little in the early legends of either saint to suggest a highly successful posthumous career as assistant Cupid. So I wouldn’t go to them for tips.
It was probably Geoffrey Chaucer who got the Valentine’s ball rolling. In his Parliament of Fowls, Chaucer imagined the goddess Nature pairing off all the birds for the year to come on “Seint Valentynes day”.
First up is the queenly eagle. She’s wooed at great length by noble birds-of-prey, much to the annoyance of the ducks and cuckoos and other low-ranking birds (eager to get on with getting it on):
‘Come on!’ they cried, ‘Alas, you us offend! When will your cursed pleading have an end?’
Amid impatient squawks rivalling our very own Prime Minister’s Questions (“Kek kek! kokkow! quek quek!”), the she-eagle can’t decide which suitor most deserves her love. So she resolves to keep ’em keen till the following year.
But why on earth did Chaucer pick a date in February for his avian assembly? England’s birds aren’t exactly in full voice at this time of year, even with global warming. Perhaps he was thinking of an obscure St Valentine celebrated in Genoa in the month of May. But the Valentines fêted on February 14 were better-known, and that was the date that stuck. Of course, when it comes to matters of the heart, we can hardly expect reason to triumph.
Fiction to fact
Murky origins didn’t matter for too long, however. By the turn of the 15th century, fictional lovebirds weren’t the only ones singing their hearts out on Valentine’s day.
According to its founding charter, a society known as the “Court of Love” was set up in France in 1400 as a distraction from a particularly nasty bout of plague. This curious document stipulates that every February 14: “when the little birds resume their sweet song” (sure about that, guys?), members should meet in Paris for a splendid supper. Male guests were to bring a love song of their own composition, to be judged by an all-female panel. More effort than Tinder demands, then. But if you want to make an effort…
There’s no evidence that the Court of Love convened as often as planned (its charter provided for monthly meetings in addition to February 14 festivities). But nor does it seem to have been pure poetic fiction. Eventually totalling 950 or so, participants represented quite a cross-section of society, from the king of France to the petite bourgeoisie. Valentine’s day romance was no longer just for the eagles.
Today’s February 14 love-fest, then, is perhaps the result of a group of medieval men and women making life imitate art. If so, their mimicry wasn’t necessarily naïve. By staging the most poetic of avian courtship rituals, Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls prompts its audiences to ponder the differences between their “artistic” courtship and the birds’ “natural” one. Texts like this one helped medieval audiences understand their identities as the product of cultural artefacts. And in this regard they can still help us today.
Four medieval tips
On a more practical note, medieval literature can be of assistance if you’re yet to find a gift for a special someone this Valentine’s day. Forget about flashy jewellery; here are some love tokens suitable for every budget:
Looking to reignite that spark in your relationship? In his 12th-century Art of Courtly Love Andreas Capellanus suggests buying your partner a washbasin. Who needs expensive perfume when a good wash may do the trick?
How about personalising some of your beloved’s clothes? Add fasteners only you know how to undo and you’ve got yourself an instant chastity belt. (See the 12th-century tales by Marie de France for examples of suitable garments.)
Alternatively, upcycle one of your lover’s old shirts by sewing strands of your hair into it. To judge by Alexander’s reaction in the 12th-century romance of Cligés by Chrétien de Troyes, they’ll never want to wear anything else. (Hand-wash only.)
And if the above just don’t seem heartfelt enough, you could always take a leaf out of Le Chastelain de Couci’s book, who (according to his 13th-century biography) literally gave his heart to his lover. (Beware unwanted side effects.)
Top tip: provide a little literary and historical context with the above gifts and there’s even a chance your Valentine won’t look at you as if you’re holding an axe.
Re: The deliberate subjugation of our people and planet
While you continue to hypocritically blame humanity for the dire plight of our world, we hereby put you on notice that we are well aware that it is you, the financial, corporate, military, scientific and governmental agents and most of all the dark shadow forces behind you that we know full well comprise and empower the destructive global power grid that is responsible for our current engineered crises and overall social condition.
You’ve brought us and our planet to the precipice. If you do not cease and desist, what is soon to come will be blood on your hands, cause untold suffering, and all for naught as far as your designs are concerned. You too will shrivel up in the dustbin of history as just another invasive parasite that couldn’t succeed in its self-serving designs for all its efforts.
We hereby officially notify all those complicit in this massive control program that:
We are aware of your efforts to dumb down, anesthetize and control the world’s populations.
We are aware of your destructive programs to sicken and alter humanity through chemical, electromagnetic and genetic modification of our food, plants, animals and ourselves.
We are aware of your wanton destruction of our earth, skies and oceans through resource exploitation, geoengineering and weather modification.
We are aware of your many false flag events and surreptitious “strategy of tension” schemes purposely designed to keep the world in perpetual fear and continual wars against fabricated outside enemies for control and profit.
We are aware of your fascist medical designs to drain and destroy humanity via the decrepit allopathic medical system based on profit and ill health at every level, including the proliferation of pharmaceuticals, invasive and debilitating treatments and deliberately damaging vaccines.
We are aware of your moves toward a worldwide police state based on hyperbolized fear and disinformation to manipulate humanity in order to get an unspoken imprimatur to execute your program of control and subjugation.
We are aware that your political crony establishment is all staged and designed to distract from the real issues and keep the populace occupied and feeling like participants while you work your nefarious program.
We are aware of your falsely imposed vampiristic taxation system to fund further bureaucratic bloat, controls and an overarching agenda of genocidal wars on innocent peoples, and that it is arbitrary and our sovereign choice to simply not participate in any longer.
We are aware that a select few major corporations with vested interests in this global agenda now control almost all media and that mass media is nothing more than a mouthpiece of propaganda to these ends.
We are aware that your “entertainment” industry is simply socially engineered entertainment towards personal and social distraction, chaos and degradation.
We are aware of your AI, electromagnetic grid and mind manipulating designs and technologies that are being imposed to further expand your psychopathic control program.
We are aware that you repress emerging technologies that threaten existing parasitic profitable ones, such as the hazardous petroleum and nuclear industries, when alternative energy sources and other such solutions have arisen for many decades which you have suppressed.
We are aware that you sequester knowledge and information in a vast array of fields to keep the general populace in the dark and thereby disempowered as to our true historical context, while you are coveting secret information and carrying out advanced covert research for your own ends.
We are aware that you have stigmatized, marginalized and seek to outlaw any form of criticism, questioning or dissent using whatever excuse you can manufacture.
We are aware of your oppressive, enslaving monetary and legal control scams, private fractionalized banking pillaging, and twisted cravings for money and power in an imposed control system that never needed to exist in the first place.
We are aware of your falsely postured institutions, foundations, institutes, charitable organizations and international bodies such as the so-called United Nations and its many agencies and agendas being used to further develop your global control plans and programs.
We are aware of your secret societies, blood line allegiances and luciferian, freemasonic, Babylonian and otherworldy roots that propel the wickedness of your self appointed leaders. We are aware of your ritual sacrifices, paedophelia and bestiality inclinations and other sordid practices, all of which are anathema to our conscious race.
This will be tolerated no longer.
We are aware that you know we are on to you. We stand fearless, fully committed to humanity’s well being. You are shallow, self-serving and seriously misled guns for hire working for a control system being engineered by powers beyond your knowledge that will devour you, just as you seek to devour us.
We are aware of who you are. Your days are numbered. Your designs will soon be visited upon your heads if you do not drastically change your ways. Universal law dictates it. You know it, and we know it. Hence your sloppy, miscreant behavior being so thoroughly exposed which you so furiously attempt to deny and suppress. This futile lashing out only works toward the exposure of open truth and the awakening’s favor.
If there is an ounce of humanity left in any of you, defect and help us expose and bring down these life ending forces. You, your children, your grandchildren and anything you may still hold dear are already suffering and will also perish in the catastrophe we are soon destined for if you do not respond.
A last warning.
We are aware. We are awake and activated. We will do everything within and without our personal power to see our race and planet survive and shake this parasitic invasion. Our planet itself will not take this attempted overthrow. Know that, and expect repercussions from Her, as well as us, a gathering storm of sacred truth you cannot possibly fathom.
Your opposition, resistance and puny, short-sighted efforts are dwarfed by what awaits you.
Will you find your humanity in time? We think many of you could, and those of you who do will be welcomed amongst the awakened. However, we realize many are beyond redemption.
But don’t try to fool us. We’re more on to you than you could ever imagine.
Just watch and see. We will surprise you, just as you fear.
We’re here. We live. We cannot be stopped nor thwarted by any means despite your flimsy efforts.
The Truth and Love we bear are coming for you. Truth and cosmic resonance cannot be denied and any aberration from it will be mitigated.
What can I tell you? I love this pope. I think he is the best one so far. No, I am not Catholic or religious, although I follow the Zen path of Buddhism. It is more like a goal to perfection and/ or a mental discipline than religion.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone