Afterthought

Hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, economic instability, unemployment, chronic disease, drug addiction, and war, for example, persist in spite of the analytical ability and technical brilliance that have been directed toward eradicating them. No one deliberately creates those problems, no one wants them to persist, but they persist nonetheless. That is because they are intrinsically systems problems—undesirable behaviors characteristic of the system structures that produce them. They will yield only as we reclaim our intuition, stop casting blame, see the system as the source of its own problems, and find the courage and wisdom to restructure it.

Donella Meadows

A Truce of God

Rosa Luxemburg, “Breslau, Mid-November, 1917,” Letters from Prison: With a Portrait and a Facsimile, (Berlin: Publishing House of the Young International, 1923), pp. 49-50:

What I have just written reminds me of an incident I wish to tell you of, for it seems to me so poetical and touching. I was recently reading a scientific work upon the migration of birds, a phenomenon which has hitherto seemed enigmatic. From this I learnt that certain species, which at ordinary times live at enmity one with another (because some are birds of prey, whilst others are victims), will keep the peace during their great southward flight across the sea. Among the birds that come to winter in Egypt — come in such numbers that the sky is darkened by their flight — are besides hawks, eagles, falcons and owls, thousands of little song birds such as larks, golden-crested wrens, and nightingales mingling fearlessly with the great birds of prey. A “truce of God” seems to have been declared for the journey. All are striving towards the common goal, to drop, half dead from fatigue, in the land of the Nile, and subsequently to assort themselves by species and localities. Nay more, during the long flight the larger birds have been seen to carry smaller birds on their backs, for instance, cranes have passed in great numbers with a twittering freight of small birds of passage. Is that not charming

Playlist of the Week

James Last & Gheorghe Zamfir — The Lonely Shepherd
Ólafur Arnalds ft. Atli Örvarsson & SinfoniaNord — Öldurót
Shirley Nair & The Silver Strings — You’re the Boy
Ania Dąbrowska — Sounds of Silence
Susan Christie — Echo in Your Mind
George Harrison — All Things Must Pass
Amy Winehouse — Some Unholy War
Antony and the Johnsons — Bird Girl
Dream Theater — Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On
Moddi — Where Is My Vietnam

Seclusion by Eduard Mörike

Let, oh world, ah let me be!
  Tempt me not with gifts of pleasure.
  Leave alone this heart to treasure
  All its joy, its misery.

 What my grief I can not say,
  ‘Tis a strange, a wistful sorrow;
  Yet through tears at every morrow
  I behold the light of day.

  When my weary soul finds rest
  Oft a beam of rapture brightens
  All the gloom of cloud, and lightens
  This oppression in my breast.

  Let, oh world, all, let me be!
  Tempt me not with gifts of pleasure.
  Leave alone this heart to treasure
  All its joy, its misery.

Stand Unflinching

Homer, The Iliad. Trans. E. V. Rieu, (New York: Penguin Books, 1950), XI.394-:

Left to himself without a single Argive to support him, now that all were panic-stricken, even the renowned Odysseus was perturbed and took counsel with his indomitable soul. ‘What,’ he asked himself with a groan, ‘is coming to me next? It would be infamy to take to my heels, scared by the odds against me; but even more unpleasant to be caught alone, now that Zeus has set all the rest of the Danaans on the run. But why do I discuss the point? Do I not know that cowards leave their post, whereas the man who claims to lead is on duty bound to stand unflinching and to kill or die?’

Common Peril

John Galsworthy, “‘At Home’ at Old Jolyon’s,” The Man if Property, (London: William Heinemann Ltd, 1906), p.16:

Never had they been in so full an assembly, for, mysteriously united in spite of their differences, they had taken arms against a common peril. Like cattle when a dog comes into a field, they stood head to head and shoulder to shoulder, prepared to run upon and trample the invader to death.