Saturday, March 26, 2005

Jacques Attali: Four kinds of utopias

Wired 8.04: Why the future doesn't need us. by Bill Joy:

"In his new book Fraternity, Jacques Attali describes how our dreams of utopia have changed over time:

'At the dawn of societies, men saw their passage on Earth as nothing more than a labyrinth of pain, at the end of which stood a door leading, via their death, to the company of gods and to Eternity. With the Hebrews and then the Greeks, some men dared free themselves from theological demands and dream of an ideal City where Liberty would flourish. Others, noting the evolution of the market society, understood that the liberty of some would entail the alienation of others, and they sought Equality.'

Jacques helped me understand how these three different utopian goals exist in tension in our society today. He goes on to describe a fourth utopia, Fraternity, whose foundation is altruism. Fraternity alone associates individual happiness with the happiness of others, affording the promise of self-sustainment."

Think about whether any Utopia based on a single theme can be created or sustained? - Sri

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Kabir: Like fish thirsty for water

When I hear that the fish is thirsty in the water, it makes me laugh!
You have a thing in the house but you don't see it; you go to look for
it outdoors.
The musk is in the deer's navel, but it's searching from forest to
forest, all over for it.
Without gnosis of the Self, all is false!
What good then is the Ka`bah ? What good is Kashi (Benares)?
You can go (on pilgrimage) to the Ganges or to the Godavari,
but without It, all will become ruined.
It dwells all throughout water, land, and sea.
If you expect misery you'll lose the way.
Kabir says: Listen, brother sadhu, the sincere will attain immortality.

another version:

I laugh
when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty.
Man wanders about without purpose
to Mathura or Kashi
Without the knowledge of the inner spirit,
Like a deer that runs listlessly from forest to forest
In search of the musk which lies within its own navel
All men of the three worlds,
even sanyasis, munis and yogis
Are infatuated by desire and a slave to the mind
Just as a large bee is infatuated
by the buds of a lotus in the water,
The immanent and unmanifested 'Hans' is in my heart,
Which is worshipped by
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and 88,000 munis.
God is within
but people think that he is somewhere outside.
O! Irony of ironies!

Kabir says:
Listen, O Sadhu,
this confusion cannot be removed without the help of a Guru.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Sri Aurobindo on Sangha: Spiritual Union

"An external unity with others must always be an outward joining and association of external lives with a minor inner result; the mind and heart attach their movements to this common life and the beings whom we meet there; but the common external life remains the foundation, - the inward constructed unity, or so much of it as can persist in spite of mutual ignorance and discordant egoisms, conflict of minds, conflict of hearts, conflict of vital temperaments, conflict of interests, is a partial and insecure superstructure. The spiritual consciousness, the spiritual life reverses this principle of building; it bases its action in the collective life upon an inner experience and inclusion of others in our own being, an inner sense and reality of oneness. The spiritual individual acts out of that sense of oneness which gives him immediate and direct perception of the demand of self on other self, the need of the life, the good, the work of love and sympathy that can truly be done. A realization of spiritual unity, a dynamization of the intimate consciousness of one-being, of one self in all beings, can alone found and govern by its truth the action of the divine life."

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Inventor of laser wins $1.5M spiritual prize - 2005-03-10

Inventor of laser wins $1.5M spiritual prize - 2005-03-10

"Inventor of laser wins $1.5M spiritual prize

Daniel S. Levine

A University of California at Berkeley Nobel Laureate won the 2005 Templeton Prize, a $1.5 million award to honor those who advance knowledge in spiritual matters.

Physicist Charles Townes won the prize created by global investor and philanthropist John Templeton. Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities is considered the world's best-known religion prize and is among the largest monetary prizes awarded to an individual.

The announcement was made at a press conference at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York Wednesday.

Townes, 89, is a physicist and Professor of the Graduate School at UC Berkeley. In 1964, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of the maser, a device that amplifies and produces an intense collimated beam of microwaves, and for showing how similar amplification could be achieved with visible light to yield a laser, a term he coined.

His research opened the door for a wide array of inventions and discoveries now in common use throughout the world in medicine, telecommunications, electronics, computers and other areas.

As he pursued research in microwave physics and, in recent years, astrophysics, Townes also maintained a continuing interest in the intersection of science and religion. A 1966 article he wrote called 'The Convergence of Science and Religion,' established him as a unique voice seeking commonality between the two disciplines.

'My own view it that, while science and religion may seem different, they have many similarities, and should interact and enlighten each other,' Townes wrote. 'Science tries to understand what our universe is like and how it works, including us humans. Religion is aimed at understanding the purpose and meaning of our universe, including our own lives. If the universe has a purpose or meaning, this must be reflected in its structure and functioning, and hence in science.'

The Duke of Edinburgh will award the prize to Townes in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on May 4. Townes said that he intends to give a major portion of the prize money to his alma mater, Furman University, a Baptist college in his home town of Greenville, S.C., with substantial amounts going also to the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, the Berkeley-based Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, the Berkeley Ecumenical Chaplaincy to the Homeless, and the First Congregational Church of Berkeley."