Or, Why Individualism, Materialism, and Competition Won’t Create the Future
By Maria Popova (brainpickings.org)
In 1962, after pioneering a new aesthetic of poetic writing about science and the natural world, the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907–April 14, 1964) catalyzed the modern environmental movement with her epoch-making book Silent Spring — a courageous exposé of the pesticide industry, illuminating the profound interconnectedness of nature. It stunned and sobered humanity’s moral imagination, effecting a tidal wave of unprecedented citizen concern, with consequences reaching across popular culture and policy, leading to the creation of Earth Day and the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Carson had been following the science of pesticides and their grim effects on nature, meticulously glossed over by the agricultural and chemical industries, for more than a decade. Already the most esteemed science writer in the country, she used her voice and credibility to hold the government accountable for its abuses of power in the assault on nature. “Knowing what I do, there would be no future peace for me if I kept silent,” she wrote to her beloved. Fully aware that speaking out against the pesticide industry would subject her — as it invariably did — to ruthless attacks by corporate and government interests, she saw no moral choice but to defend what she held dearest by catalyzing a new kind of conscience.
Carson’s aim with Silent Spring was threefold — to transmute hard facts into literature that stands the test of time, to awaken a public hypnotized into docility to the perils of substances so mercilessly marketed as panaceas by chemical companies, and to challenge the government to rise to its neglected responsibility in regulating these perils. She admonished against the fragmentation, commodification, and downright erasure of truth in an era when narrow silos blind specialists to the interconnected whole and market forces sacrifice truth on the altar of revenue. When citizens protest and try to challenge those forces with incontestable evidence, they are “fed little tranquilizing pills of half truth.” In a sentiment of striking resonance half a century later, Carson exhorted: “We urgently need an end to these false assurances, to the sugar coating of unpalatable facts.” Above all, she countered the pathological short-termism of commercial interests with a sobering look at “consequences remote in time and place” as poisons permeate a delicate ecosystem in which no organism is separate from any other and no moment islanded in the river of time.
In June 1962, five days before the first installment of Silent Spring made its debut in The New Yorker, the terminally ill Carson summoned the remnants of her strength to take her very first cross-country jetliner flight and deliver a long-awaited commencement address at Scripps College in California, excerpted in Figuring(public library), from which this piece is adapted. She titled it “Of Man and the Stream of Time” — hers, after all, was an era when every woman, too, was “man.” It was a crystallization of Carson’s moral philosophy, a farewell to the world she so cherished, and her baton-passing of that cherishment to the next generation.
She told graduates:
Today our whole earth has become only another shore from which we look out across the dark ocean of space, uncertain what we shall find when we sail out among the stars.
The stream of time moves forward and mankind moves with it. Your generation must come to terms with the environment. You must face realities instead of taking refuge in ignorance and evasion of truth. Yours is a grave and sobering responsibility, but it is also a shining opportunity. You go out into a world where mankind is challenged, as it has never been challenged before, to prove its maturity and its mastery — not of nature, but of itself.
Therein lies our hope and our destiny.
Couple with Carson’s contemporary and admirer Lewis Thomas on our human potential and our responsibility to the planet and to ourselves, then revisit Carson on writing and the loneliness of creative work, Neil Gaiman’s stunning tribute to her legacy, and the story of the writing of Silent Spring.
For more tastes of Figuring, savor Emily Dickinson’s love letters, Nobel-winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli on science, spirituality, and our search for meaning, trailblazing feminist Margaret Fuller on what makes a great leader, the story of how the forgotten pioneer Harriet Hosmer paved the way for women in art, Herman Melville’s passionate and heartbreaking love letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Virginia Woolf and the fate of technology, and astrophysicist Janna Levin’s beautiful reading of the Auden poem that became the book’s epigraph.
April 22, 2019 (theonion.com)
PARIS—Following an outpouring of financial support from the nation’s wealthiest residents, French president Emmanuel Macron admitted Monday he was not sure how to tell the billionaire donors that repairs to the damaged Notre Dame cathedral would only cost the equivalent of about $200. “The generosity has been truly overwhelming, but we’re really just talking about replacing some wood here,” said Macron, who explained how damage to the iconic Paris landmark looked worse than it really was, and that even though the contractor’s quote came in at 500 euros, he had been able to save money by doing some of the work himself. “Things started looking a lot better after we vacuumed, and it turns out a lot of this soot will just buff right out. I guess we could use the rest of the billion or so euros to put in an underground parking garage or a nice upscale lounge with some sofas. But even then we’d have a couple hundred million left over.” At press time, Macron announced the repairs would be even cheaper than he had estimated after discovering an extra spire stored in the basement.
April 23, 2019 (theonion.com)
Taurus | April 20 to May 20
The inexorable power of destiny would render you powerless to stop the fateful events of next week, were anything ever to actually happen to you.
Gemini | May 21 to June 20
Trouble rears its ugly head in the workplace when, simply put, they just up and fire everybody.
Cancer | June 21 to July 22
You’ve always believed you should go with your gut in important matters, which is why every major decision in your life has been accompanied by chili-cheese fries.
Leo | July 23 to Aug. 22
After all you’ve been through, it’s nice to know that lightning doesn’t strike twice. Strangely, it turns out that’s not true for falling safes or pianos.
Virgo | Aug. 23 to Sept. 22
There will be no changes of note in your life this week, which is surprising considering how easy it should be to get a bear trap off your head these days.
Libra | Sept. 23 to Oct. 22
You’ve always had a strong fight-or-flight reflex, which turns out to be completely useless when negotiating for the best price on a bedroom set.
Scorpio | Oct. 23 to Nov. 21
You’ll try to play both sides against each other for personal gain, proving again why you are the worst chess player ever.
Sagittarius | Nov. 22 to Dec. 21
Your love for The Wizard Of Oz will actually come in handy when you’re involved in a multiple-tractor-trailer pileup, but not for the reasons you’d think.
Capricorn | Dec. 22 to Jan. 19
Strange, it seemed like having a harpoon gun around would be kind of cool, but every time you’ve used the damn thing it just leads to a lot of flensing work.
Aquarius | Jan. 20 to Feb. 18
Usually, compromise means no one is happy. The Missouri Compromise, however, is a great name for the mullet, a hairstyle that makes everyone happy.
Pisces | Feb. 19 to March 20
It’s never too late to change your life for the better, except of course in your case, where it’s almost too late to finish your poisoned coffee.
Aries | March 21 to April 19
This week, you’ll prove that one man can make a difference when you smear bacon grease all over the stairs and escalators at the malls closest to the retirement home.
“In my life, I have watched John Kennedy talk on television about missiles in Cuba. I saw Lyndon Johnson look Richard Russell squarely in the eye and say, “And we shall overcome.” I saw Richard Nixon resign and Gerald Ford tell the Congress that our long national nightmare was over. I saw Jimmy Carter talk about malaise and Ronald Reagan talk about a shining city on a hill. I saw George H.W. Bush deliver the eulogy for the Soviet bloc, and Bill Clinton comfort the survivors of Timothy McVeigh’s madness in Oklahoma City. I saw George W. Bush struggle to make sense of it all on September 11, 2001, and I saw Barack Obama sing ‘Amazing Grace’ in the wounded sanctuary of Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
“These were the presidents of my lifetime. These were not perfect men. They were not perfect presidents, god knows. Not one of them was that. But they approached the job, and they took to the podium, with all the gravitas they could muster as appropriate to the job. They tried, at least, to reach for something in the presidency that was beyond their grasp as ordinary human beings. They were not all ennobled by the attempt, but they tried nonetheless.
“And comes now this hopeless, vicious buffoon, and the audience of equally hopeless and vicious buffoons who laughed and cheered when he made sport of a woman whose lasting memory of the trauma she suffered is the laughter of the perpetrators. Now he comes, a man swathed in scandal, with no interest beyond what he can put in his pocket and what he can put over on a universe of suckers, and he does something like this while occupying an office that we gave him, and while endowed with a public trust that he dishonors every day he wakes up in the White House.
“The scion of a multigenerational criminal enterprise, the parameters of which we are only now beginning to comprehend. A vessel for all the worst elements of the American condition. And a cheap, soulless bully besides. We never have had such a cheap counterfeit of a president* as currently occupies the office. We never have had a president* so completely deserving of scorn and yet so small in the office that it almost seems a waste of time and energy to summon up the requisite contempt.
“Watch how a republic dies in the empty eyes of an empty man who feels nothing but his own imaginary greatness, and who cannot find in himself the decency simply to shut up even when it is in his best interest to do so. Presidents don’t have to be heroes to be good presidents. They just have to realize that their humanity is our common humanity, and that their political commonwealth is our political commonwealth, too.
Watch him behind the seal of the President of the United States. Isn’t he a funny man? Isn’t what happened to that lady hilarious? Watch the assembled morons cheer. This is the only story now.”
– Charles P. Pierce, Esquire magazine
Published on Mar 10, 2019
Based on the worldwide best-selling novel by Simon Winchester, THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN is an extraordinary true tale of madness, genius, and obsession about two remarkable men who created history with the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary.
The compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary began in 1857 and was one of the most ambitious, and revolutionary projects ever undertaken. Professor James Murray (Mel Gibson) took on the challenge of creating the most comprehensive dictionary ever compiled, but knew that it would take him and his team over a century to compile all known definitions. However, by “crowd sourcing” the work, that is, by enlisting definitions from people all over the world, the dictionary could be compiled in mere decades.
As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W.C. Minor (Sean Penn), had submitted more than ten thousand words. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was a convicted murderer and being held at an asylum for the criminally insane.
(Suggested by Richard Branam.)
Published on Apr 21, 2019
Rick covers a brief history of Easter and then drills down to a more esoteric meaning of life, death, rebirth, and a different take on the story of Jesus and his resurrection, and details on resurrecting yourself on a spiritual level.
Published on Apr 14, 2019
Heather weaves together a poem, a painting, a story, a song – and a little drawing exercise that we all do (with my gentle guidance) for 3-5 minutes for personal discovery.
Creativity is what connects us with LIFE. It empowers us to see things in NEW WAYS. It opens our HEART and guides us to deeper truths.
Translators: Melissa Goodnight, Richard Branam, Mike Zonta, Hanz Bolen, Alex Gambeau
SENSE TESTIMONY: Violations of rule of law threaten intellectual property and value of the individual.
5th Step Conclusions:
1) Truth is the only arbiter of the rule of law, inviolate, untouchable, urgent, inducing intellectual property of inestimable worth.
2) One Infinite Consciousness is the absolutely sovereign authoritative legitimacy, that ensures perfectly equitable and righteous justice, for every individuated manifestation, of the limitless creations of thought.
3) The security and sustenance of All One Mind Truth clearly expresses the worth of all use of Being, individuated as applied Ideas, workable agreements and individuations with Self Evident Powerful Knowing Presence Instantaneously everywhere always, besides which there is none else.
4) The I AM I is Wisdom, Love, and Power in All, a Principle of Law and Order, is Creative Intelligence in the Conscious-Being of individuals.
5) Truth Being the Only Indivisible, Inseparable Synchronic Necessity, this Innate Inheritance, Being the Omniscient Comic Spirit of the Exponentially Collective Intelligence, This Sophisticated Elegance is the Authoritative Privilege in the Universally Principled Logos: I Am Thou, Continually Gathering the Fruits of it’s Property.