Born Again

20170120_224950

Painting from Portland, Oregon

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Small Wonders

Sunlight revealed small wonders this morning.  A heart warming countenance in a pair of beautiful hazel eyes.  Over 100 pure white geese aglow in flight, contrasting against a dark, cloudy backdrop.  A rare purple agate sparkling on the river bank.  A kind gesture from a fellow traveler on planet earth.  Alright!

The Same Golden Force by Tom Atlee

The Same Golden Force

The same golden force 
    that drives the stars 
    drives my life.

The same course of story 
    beginning with 
    a universe-burgeoning Bang 
blesses every cell, every 
    moment, every encounter, 
    rich, poor, bliss, catastrophe. 

Every where is the Creator 
    of, by, and for all beings, 
    hidden in every crevice and peak. 

And today it calls me 
    from inside and out 
    to cease me-ing for a moment 
    and see. 

For alive currents divide 
    along the topology of time 
    and the riverflow story 
is finding a line 
    where we become greater than we are 
    or vanish in a swansong of stardust. 

For the story isn't about us. 
    It is about itself­ 
    the wholeness of riverflow voices 
of every world unfolding. 
    Our choice, whatever it is, 
    is part of this great story. 

The Golden Explosion 
    within which it all began 
    is here with me now­ 
with in us all longing 
    with every tomorrows' child­ 
    holy, rising, longing to see 
if we will see 
    enough to be 
    the next page turning 
awake and golden.

From Reflections On Evolutionary Activism by Tom Atlee.

Go East,Young Man by William O. Douglas

In his autobiography, William O. Douglas wrote about having polio as a kid.  His doctors predicted he would never walk again.  Through the faith and love of his mother, her daily massages, his own determination, and his love of the great outdoors, he regained the full use of his legs.  He is known for the argument that a tree can be a plaintiff in court [1].  Below is a relevant paragraph from The Oregonian [2]:

“Imagine a current member of the U.S. Supreme Court proposing that an old tree should have the right to sue to block a timber sale. … Once, such a justice existed, and his name was William O. Douglas. He served on the Supreme Court from 1939 to 1975 and easily earned the distinction as the greenest justice in American history. He also hailed from the Pacific Northwest.”

My 2008 book review follows:

“On one leg of this junket, Moore and I were somewhere in Maine riding a caboose, the only way to reach a remote cement plant.  It was a warm spring day and Moore sat by an open window.  The benches in the caboose, as usual, ran along each side of the car.  Moore sat with one leg under him and The New York Times held by his two hands in front of him.  He was absorbed in reading when the brakeman, sitting opposite, let go a wad of tobacco juice that passed between Moore’s face and the newspaper and went smack out the window.  Moore ruffled his paper and muttered something inaudible and returned to his reading.  In a few moments the brakeman let go another wad of tobacco juice, and it also passed between Moore’s face and the paper, neatly clearing the open window.  Moore, flushed with anger, turned to the brakeman and shouted, “What goes on here?”  The brakeman rose to his feet, cleared his throat, and said, “I’m sorry, sir, if I upset you.  But I think you must admit it was some spitting.”  I could no longer contain myself and broke into loud laughter, to which first the brakeman and then Moore succumbed.”

The author describes how his bout with polio left him with weak legs.  As a form of therapy he spent much time hiking.  The best parts of this book come in the first half where he describes the outdoors in Washington.

Through his agricultural work and hopping freight trains, he met hobos and wobblies.  He was sympathetic toward them because they were comparatively generous and decent human beings.

He worked while putting himself through college and law school and sent money home.

What I found most interesting about his history with the SEC was his transformation from cynicism to optimism about government.  He did not like Washington but he went there to fix some of the problems he experienced in his youth.  In the beginning of chapter 26 he states that it was during his work at the SEC that he grew to regard the majority of representatives and senators as worthy public servants.  In several parts of the book he references regressions in the political scene, yet he became increasingly hopeful.

The theme of automation also fascinated me: the potential for machines to eliminate labor.  I’ve seen its like before in the Jetson’s: a utopian future where robots do all the work and people have 100% leisure.  He seemed to view labor as some sort of day care for adults. In chapter 21 he states “An automated society could give to those who had hobbies endless hours of joy. … But how about the men and boys I knew who frequented the pool halls and beer joints in Yakima?”  And in chapter 25, “The computer world would have depressed Brandeis. … Man becomes transformed when a machine separates him from his fellow-man.”

As a side note, I noticed that FDR made an analogy in his Quarantine Speech delivered in Chicago on October 5, 1937, that compared human beings to disease organisms [3].  This speech was given to rebut isolationism.  I found it ironic, considering that our enemies of that day also gave speeches that used analogies to disease.  Though to be fair, FDR was advocating a quarantine, not an amputation.

[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_O._Douglas#.22Trees_have_standing.22

[2]

http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2009/11/post_8.html

[3]

http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/7-2-188/188-07.html

  • title: Go East,Young Man
  • author: Douglas, William O. (William Orville), 1898-1980
  • isbn: 0394488342