Love Your Enemy


We love our families.  

Our friends.

Our neighbours.

Our towns.

Our countries.

But our enemies?

We’ve heard it lots of times but somehow it still doesn’t seem like a good idea – or at least not in practice.

Why should they get our love as well as everything else they’ve taken from us?

I don’t know the answer to that but I wonder what happens to us if  we do manage to love our enemies?

Is it possible that we get something bigger and better than whatever it was that was taken from us in the first place?

I don’t know.

Maybe.

What do you think?

Whispering, Murmuring, Swarming, Pulsating Wonder


English: The flock of starlings acting as a sw...

a murmuration of starlings

At the heart of the universe is a steady, insistent beat: the sound of cycles in sync. It pervades nature at every scale from the nucleus to the cosmos…thousands of fireflies congregate in the mangroves and flash in unison, without any leader or cue from the environment. Trillions of electrons march in lockstep in a superconductor, enabling electricity to flow…In the solar system, gravitational synchrony can eject huge boulders out of the asteroid belt and towards Earth…Even our bodies are symphonies of rhythm, kept alive by the relentless, coordinated firing of thousands of pacemaker cells in our hearts.  In every case, these feats of synchrony occur spontaneously, almost as if nature had an eerie yearning for order. (1)

Synchrony is a spontaneous tendency towards united order and it is the most pervasive drive in all of nature.  As a phenomenon, it occurs right across the board – from inanimate objects to complex organisms like human beings.

We wring our hands in despair when we see the difficulties around us in the world, positive that we can never learn to work – or even live – together in unity.

And yet metronomes, starlings, pacemaker cells and schools of fish can spontaneously work together with ease.

Why?

If this is a natural condition, then why do we, sophisticated as we are, have such huge difficulty accessing it?

If we increased our powers of empathy and extended our understanding of love would that increase the ‘harmony’ between us?

Are we somehow getting in our own way?

And if so, how exactly are we doing this?


This is an amazing – and totally beautiful – video.  Enjoy.

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(1) Steven Strogatz, Sync.

Problem Solved. Path Revealed.


Beauty.  Brilliance.  Marvelling at life.  Positivity.  Being oneself. Cherishing small things.  Calmness.  Inner Peace.  Merriment.  Kind smiles.  Loving kindness.  Compassion.  Courage to listen to inner truth.  Cannot be embarrassed.  Intelligent bravery.  Useful service.  Affirming love.  Inspirational creativity.  Unrelenting faithfulness. Mirth. Work.  Thoughtfulness.

This is a list complied from your comments on the qualities you admire.

Thanks.

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Photograph – The trail of NASA’s space shuttle Discovery creates a bright arc in the sky over Florida following a successful night launch on August 28, 2009.

The Story of the Long Spoons


There is a Jewish folk tale that tells the story of a man who wanted to understand Heaven and Hell.

First, he travelled to Hell.

Here, row after row of table was piled high with platters of food yet the people seated around the tables were starving to death. Each person held a full spoon but both arms were splinted with wooden slats so they couldn’t bend either elbow to bring the food to their mouths.

Next he went to Heaven.

The setting was the same here as in Hell – row after row of long tables laden with food and all the people had their arms splinted so that they couldn’t bend their elbows. But the people in Heaven were happy and well fed.

He couldn’t work out why things were so different so he watched for a while.

As he watched, a man picked up his spoon and dug it into the dish before him. Then he stretched across the table and fed the person across from him. The recipient   thanked him and returned the favor by leaning across the table to feed his benefactor.

The man ran back to Hell to tell the poor souls trapped there what he had discovered.  He whispered the solution in the ear of a starving man – “You don’t have to be hungry,” he said. “Use your spoon to feed your neighbour and then he will return the favour and feed you.”

But instead of being grateful, the starving man became angry.

“What are you talking about?” he shouted.  “You expect me to feed that man?  I hate him!  I would rather starve than give him the pleasure of eating.”

Then the man understood – both Heaven and Hell offer the same circumstances and conditions. The critical difference was in the way they  treated each other.

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Rescue Work – Dayton, March, 1913

Persistent URL: hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.12020

Call Number: LC-B2- 2576-2

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The Shadow of the Future


Even computers know that the best strategy for winning is to cooperate.  (1)

Birds, animals, cells in our body – all know to work together. And yet human beings – the owners of much lauded brain power – seem to be still struggling with the concept.

Robert Axlerod, who conducted the studies on cooperation that proved even a computer would cooperate, suggests that one of the key factors influencing the decision to cooperate, is what he calls, ‘the shadow of the future.’

Axlerod discovered that players in the study were careful not to burn their boats if there was a chance that they would meet again.

Most of us would agree that not alienating people with whom we have on-going relationships is simple commonsense. So, perhaps we might be more willing to trade short-term gain for long term results when we are interacting with others, if we teach ourselves to lift up our heads and look past the moment.

If we all did that, just think how much cooperation would be going on – I wonder how that might change the world?

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Photograph – Physical Culture Class, April 27,1909 – Poole Collection – National Library, Ireland

(1) Axelrod, Robert (1984), The Evolution of Cooperation, Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-02122-2