Outward Bound Ideas

Ideas from Bookgleaner@gmail.com - Also: http://Inwardboundpoetry.blogspot.com - http://Onwardboundhumor.blogspot.com - http://Homewardboundphotos.blogspot.com - And http://davidthemaker.blogspot.com/

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Location: The City, On the edge

Friday, July 28, 2006

71. Margaret Truman Recital Reviewed by Virgil Thomson

Personal Distinction - Virgil Thomson, December 21, 1949
Margaret Truman, soprano, in American Broadcasting Company's
"Carnegie Hall" program last night.

Margaret Truman made her first appearance as a concert artist in New York at a short broadcast of semipopular music that took place last night before an invited public in Carnegie Hall. She sang one brief aria from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and two familiar Christmas carols. The rest of the program was of negligible interest to a reviewer.

Miss Truman herself presents surely a greater personal than musical distinction. One was prepared for the grace, warmth, and refinement of her presence; but this reporter, having seen only the grinning photographs that present-day publicity sanctions, was not at all prepared for the beauty of her face in repose. Few artists now appearing before the public have Miss Truman's physical advantages, and almost none of her dignity.
Her vocal advantages are far less impressive. The voice is small in size and range and not at all beautiful. The lower notes of it do not project, and the upper ones are hollow. Nowhere is there any vibrancy or richness. She seems to sing carefully, is obliged to, indeed, by the poverty of her resources. Her English enunciation in one of the carols was remarkably clear. Of temperament, of the quality that enables a musician to bring music to life, she seems to have none at all. Her singing did not communicate last night as powerfully as her personality did. Only at the end of each piece, when she stopped singing and smiled and became the lovely Miss Truman again, did she make real contact with the guests of the evening.

Friday, July 21, 2006

70. Rules For Life

Rules for Life

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.

2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time, informal school called life. Each day in this school, you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works."

4. A lesson is repeated until it is learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. Then you can go on to the next lesson.

5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

6. "There" is no better than "here," When your "there" has become a "here," you will simply obtain another "there" that again, looks better than "here."

7. Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need; what you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

9. The answers lie inside you. The answers to life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

10. Rules 1-9 will be forgotten five minutes after you have read this.

Monday, July 17, 2006

69. Loneliness - Rev. Judith Walker-Riggs

Sermon: "Loneliness" (Delivered 12/4/05)
First Reading by Rev. Judith Walker-Riggs

“For every person stuck at home on Christmas Day, with nothing but a box of Kleenex and a good book, an orange and a mug of Cocoa, weeping in their isolation, there is another person stuck in a mélange of mismatched family members, bombarded by Uncle Thorvald’s political opinions, and Aunt Mildred’s religious rantings, and sister-in-law Sylvia’s greasy corn dressing, not to mention a group of high-pitched, excited children, carelessly breaking whatever they can before bedtime, who would give anything in the world to be alone, with a good book, an orange, and a mug of Cocoa.

“I learned this the hard way, when I accepted an invitation from a man to have Christmas with his family. And I’ve also learned this: that a lot of loneliness is the story you tell yourself about it. Not all, but a lot. Changing the story we tell ourselves is often the key to moving from losing ourselves in loneliness, to being able to use it, even to enjoy it.”

Friday, July 14, 2006

68. Horace - The Art Of Poetry

Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)
(65 - 8 BC)

[from Book Two, Epistle III, To the Pisos]

The Art of Poetry:
Notes for Aspiring Poets and Playwrights

. . . "Poets and painters," you say,
"Have the right to do whatever they dare to do."
Well, yes.
. . . whatever the work is supposed to be,
Let it be true to itself, essentially simple.
. . . Aspiring writer, be sure to be careful to pick
Material that you're strong enough to handle . . .
The man who does this will find he doesn't have trouble
Thinking of what to say and in what order.
Order's important: the virtue and beauty
. . . often
Depends on the author having judiciously chosen
To say the thing that ought to be said right now,
And keeping other things back for later on,
Favoring one thing over against another.

. . . And do it very carefully, you can work it
So that the context makes a word that's worn
From being too familiar seem brand-new

. . . don't attempt to overdo it
. . . He does much better who doesn't
Try so hard . . .
His aim is light from smoke, not smoke from fire
. . . He goes right to the point and carries the reader
Into the midst of things, as if known already;
And if there's material that he despairs of presenting
So as to shine for us, he leaves it out . . .
Beginning, middle, and end, all fit together.

. . . As for instruction, make it succinct, so the mind
Can quickly seize on what's being taught and hold it;
Every superfluous word spills out of a full mind
. . . in what you invent stay close
To actuality . . .

Produce no human babies from monsters' bellies

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

67. Niels Bohr and the Barometer

The following was a question in a physics degree exam at
the University of Copenhagen: "Describe how to determine the
height of a skyscraper with a barometer."

One student replied: "You tie a long piece of string to the neck of
the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the
skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length
of the barometer will equal the height of the building."
This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the
student was failed immediately. He appealed on the grounds that
his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed
an independent arbiter to decide the case. The arbiter judged
that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any
noticeable knowledge of physics. To resolve the problem it was
decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which
to provide a verbal answer which showed at least a minimal
familiarity with the basic principles of physics. For five minutes
the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The
arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the
student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers,
but couldn't make up his mind which to use. On being advised
to hurry up the student replied as follows:

"Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the
skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it
takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then
be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g x t squared. But bad
luck on the barometer.

"Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the
barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its
shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's
shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional
arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper.

But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a
short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a
pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the
skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the
gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi sqrroot (l / g).

"Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it
would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the
skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up. "If you
merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course,
you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on
the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the
difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building.

But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise
independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly
the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say
to him 'If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you
this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper'."

The student was Niels Bohr, the only Dane to win the Nobel
Prize for Physics.
(I don't think this is a true Bohr quote but it sounds good)

Here are some true or almost true quotes:
Neils Bohr Quotations

* There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.

"And anyone who thinks they can talk about quantum theory without feeling dizzy hasn't yet understood the first word about it."

"Nothing exists until it is measured." (Note: In truth, things exist but exist as a probability, which does not settle into one state until measured)

"The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth."

"We all agree that your theory is crazy, but is it crazy enough?"

"How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress!"

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

66. Mind And Cosmos

Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people.
Theodore Roszak

MIND AND COSMOS - Norbert Wiener
Consciousness is as fundamental as matter—in some ways, more fundamental.

Kant argued that space and time are characteristics not of the noumenon, the underlying reality, but of the mind. Quantum theory reveals that the same is true of matter. Matter is not to be found in the underlying reality; atoms turn out to be 99.99999999% empty space, and sub-atomic "particles" dissolve into fuzzy waves. Matter and substance seem, like space and time, to be characteristics of the phenomenon of experience. They are the way in which the mind makes sense of the no-thing-ness of the noumenon.

When we speak of "the material world", we think we are referring to the underlying reality, the object of our perception. In fact we are only describing our image of reality. The materiality we observe, the solidness we feel, the whole of the "real world" that we know, are, like color, sound, smell, and all the other qualities we experience, qualities manifesting in the mind. This is the startling conclusion we are forced to acknowledge; the "stuff" of our world—the world we know and appear to live within—is not matter, but mind.

The old super-paradigm assumed that space, time and matter constituted the basic framework of reality, and consciousness somehow arose from this reality. The truth, it now appears, is the very opposite. As far as the reality we experience is concerned—and this, remember is the only reality we ever know—consciousness is primary. Time, space and matter are secondary; they are aspects of the image of reality manifesting in the mind. They exist within consciousness; not the other way around.

Consciousness is the essence of everything—everything in the known universe. It is the medium from which every aspect of our experience manifests. Every form and quality we ever experience in the world is an appearance within consciousness. (Peter Russell - physicist/psychologist/author)

The process by which we living beings resist the general stream of corruption and decay (entropy) – both physically and psychologically – is known as homeostasis. It is the pattern maintained by this homeostasis which is the touchstone of our personal identity. Our tissues change as we live: the food we eat and the air we breathe become flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone, and the momentary elements of our flesh and bone pass out of our body every day with our excreta. We are but whirlpools in a river of ever-flowing water. We are not stuff that abides, but patterns that perpetuate themselves.