The Daily Owl 3-18-2014

Useful fictions are only useful if we don't know they're fictions.

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"Useful fictions are only useful if we don't know they're fictions."

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The Daily Owl 3-3-2014

A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight (Davies)

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"A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight." (Robertson Davies)

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The Daily Owl 2-5-2014

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

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As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

- Rudyard Kipling

Thanks to Stan Dokupil for pointing me to this moving poem

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The Daily Owl

All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why. (Thurber)

DailyOwl_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thumb_th[2]_thumb_thumb   The Daily Owl says, “All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why." (James Thurber)

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The Daily Owl 1-29-2014

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim. (Santayana)

DailyOwl_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thumb_th[2]_thumb_thumb   The Daily Owl says, “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim." (George Santayana)

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The Daily Owl 1-25-2014

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind. (Aristotle)

DailyOwl_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thumb_th[2]_thumb_thumb   The Daily Owl says, “All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind." (Aristotle)

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The Daily Owl 1-15-2014

The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness. (Malraux)

DailyOwl_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thumb_th[2]_thumb_thumb   The Daily Owl says, “The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness.” (Andre Malraux)

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The Daily Owl 12-30-2013

The threat of death is the most common symbol for anxiety, but most of us in our ‘civilized’ era do not find ourselves looking into the barrel of a gun or in other ways specifically threatened with death very often. The great bulk of our anxiety comes when some value we hold essential to our existence as selves is threatened. (May)

The Daily Owl says, “The threat of death is the most common symbol for anxiety, but most of us in our ‘civilized’ era do not find ourselves looking into the barrel of a gun or in other ways specifically threatened with death very often. The great bulk of our anxiety comes when some value we hold essential to our existence as selves is threatened.” (Rollo May)

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The Daily Owl 11-19-2013

DailyOwl_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thumb_th[2]_thumb_thumb   The Daily Owl says, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”  (C.S. Lewis)

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The Daily Owl 10-25-2013

Provided we have the right type of rigor, we need randomness, mess, adventures, uncertainty, self-discovery, near-traumatic episodes--all these things that make life worth living--compared to the structured, ineffective life of an empty-suit CEO with a pre-set schedule and an alarm clock. (Taleb )

DailyOwl_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thumb_th[2]_thumb_thumb   The Daily Owl says, “Provided we have the right type of rigor, we need randomness, mess, adventures, uncertainty, self-discovery, near-traumatic episodes--all these things that make life worth living--compared to the structured, ineffective life of an empty-suit CEO with a pre-set schedule and an alarm clock.” (Nassim Nicholas Taleb )

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