1. “The highest form of jihad is to speak the truth in the face of an unjust ruler” Saying of Prophet Muhammad
2. From the current issue of Adbusters—a sign of the times: “Roxxxy is the world’s first sex robot. Her hair style, skin color and personality are customizable. She has tactile and aural sensors that allow “her” to respond appropriately to conversation and stimulation. She can talk about football or moan orgasmically when the time is right. With her embedded wireless modem, she can access the internet and download personality updates and new knowledge. She weighs 27 kilograms, making her easy to store. She can grip your hand, move her head up and down and her hips back and forth. Roxxxy costs $7000. And yes, she has an off switch.” Comment: Walmart will eventually sell this robot a lot cheaper. Walmart’s Motto: Save Money. Live Better
3. Cost of keeping a no-fly zone over Libya: 2 million per week
Cost of arms that NATO SUPPLIED to Qadaffi over the last 3 decades: 10 billion
Money Qadaffi had in US banks before his assets were frozen: 29 billion.
Funny how Syria was destroying its own citizens just like Libya was doing, but nobody either here or in Europe seems to care. (A few other countries engaging in such activities also.) Oh, I forget, Syria has no oil. Hmm, Libya has oil. Iraq has oil. Iran has oil. Afghanistan has one of the richest mineral deposits in the world. Do I see a pattern here? Do we ever attack or invade any country that has nothing in the ground, even though it might be doing horrible things to people?
4. Maybe the only antidote to the madness of our world—a quote from one-time Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold:
“Understand through the stillness. Act out of the stillness. Conquer in the stillness.”
If one correctly understands this “stillness”, this is the essence of hesychasm. Understanding it wrongly or inadequately results in the ego wrapping its arms around a kind of stillness and enjoying it as a new kind of experience, albeit a kind of spiritual experience.
5. One of Merton’s favorite Sufi sayings:
“On the heart of Poverty three renouncements are inscribed:
Quit this world. Quit the next world, and quit quitting.”
6. Narcissism vitiates all spirituality and all relationships. Narcissism disguises itself as a kind of positive message: “You are at the center of the universe.” Indeed. Every person is at the center of reality, but not any ego self is anywhere near there. The ego self cannot enter through the Gate of Paradise–only the True Person can. Now one of the problems of modern spirituality is that it often does not understand how modern technology enhances the dynamics of the ego self. An essay in the NY Times is a remarkable reflection of the problems that modern technology presents to human relationality, how it tends to pull us toward the surface of reality and fix us there. Only a little further extrapolation would give us an idea of how that would affect spirituality. Here is the link.
Incidentally, Dostoyevsky would readily agree with this writer about the connection of suffering and real love.