Sunday, June 30, 2013

Canada Day and my Canada days

Canada Day and my Canada days

"Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity." Marshall McLuhan 

By Alex P. Vidal 

I celebrated Canada Day (July 1) in British Columbia for two consecutive years in 2010 and 2011 and was impressed with the way Canadians commemorated the date when Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada were united into a single country with parades, fireworks, and festivals. The union, historians say, was a result of the Constitutional Act which granted Canada a great deal of independence from England. Over the course of a century, Canada gradually shed its dependence on the United Kingdom. It did not become fully independent until 1982, the same year that Canada Day became an official holiday.
In order to fully appreciate other cultures, I had a chance to also assimilate with the Chinese-Canadian, Indo-Canadian, and Polish-Canadian communities in particular. Because I stayed in a predominantly Indian community in Surrey, I became familiar with the Indian culture and was able to meet and interview some of their community leaders. 
In most of my visits in downtown Vancouver, I always had a chance to visit the Polish Community Center on Fraser St. My friend, dance expert Christian Cunanan, once brought me in the center which becomes a dance floor at night time during weekend. I also met so many brilliant Chinese-Canadians in Richmond where Chinese restaurants mushroom in every nook and cranny. 


The earliest organized Polish settlements is actually in Ontario, not in British Columbia. It dates back to the early 1860s. The pioneers and their descendants left an important imprint on the Ontarian landscape, with their beautiful religious landmarks, characteristic methods of land cultivation, and unique architectural style and artistry. We learned that much of this precious heritage is being lost through neglect or inadequate identification and documentation. Even in Canada’s oldest Polish settlement in Renfrew County, this continues to be a serious concern.
According to historians, Canada Day took decades to catch on due to the fact that many early Canadians identified themselves as British. It was not until Canada's "golden" anniversary in 1917 (50 years), that an official celebration was recorded. The next set of Canada Day festivities did not occur until ten years later, in 1927. The government's first recognition of the holiday occurred in 1958 with a trooping of the color on Parliament Hill. The first country-wide celebration was in 1967, Canada's 100th anniversary. From that point on, Canada Day grew and evolved to become the widespread commercial holiday it is today.
Canada Day today is celebrated with fireworks, concerts, cookouts, and sports games. Canada's capital, Ottawa, Ontario, hosts the most holiday activities. There are countless events, activities, and festivals to be found throughout the city in the city streets, parks,and museums. Fireworks are launched from Parliament Hill to conclude a day of patriotic festivities. 


Formerly known as "Dominion Day," Canada Day marks the anniversary of the Constitution Act of 1867, joining Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canada province (now Ontario and Quebec) into a single country. The Constitution Act granted Canada a substantial amount of independence from England, although complete independence was not given until 1982. Prior to 1900, there was little Canadian nationalism as many Canadians regarded themselves as British citizens. The first official celebration was held in 1917 to honor Canada's 50th birthday. It was not until 1946 that Phileas Cote, a member of the Quebec House of Commons, sent a private member's bill to rename Dominion Day as Canada Day. The Senate responded by recommending the holiday be named the "National Holiday of Canada." Since no one could agree on the name, the bill was defeated. The government first recognized Canada Day in 1958 by holding a trooping of the color on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Canada's centennial marked the first widespread celebration in 1967. The event promoted nationalism and Canadian pride. The holiday continued to grow in the late 1960's and many Canada Day events were televised and broadcast throughout the country. In the 1980's, the government began funding Canada Day activities in smaller communities. The holiday was finally made official by a unanimous vote on October 27, 1982; the same year that the Canada Act was passed, removing any remaining dependence of Canada on the United Kingdom. While the public had recognized the holiday for decades, this marked a significant change in the magnitude of the celebrations.
In addition to independence from the United Kingdom, Canada Day also marks a number of revolutionary breakthroughs and significant events. The first national radio hookup was initiated by the Canadian National Railway on July 1, 1927. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) held their first cross-country broadcast on Canada Day in 1958. The first color television transmission in Canada was held on July 1st of 1966. In 1967, the Order of Canada was inaugurated. "O Canada" was also named the official national anthem on Canada Day, 1980.
It's a man's job to respect women, but its a woman's job to give him something to respect.

No woman would want any man to disrespect her. Even if she will not give him something to respect, a real gentleman is morally obliged to respect her. That's a social and moral code that any society must adhere to.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. 

-- LAO TZU :

Let's think, feel, act, behave, and do things naturally. Only when we obey the laws of nature and observe the proper dynamics of life shall we achieve total liberation and attain enlightenment. 

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Simplicity is the supreme excellence of all things. It is the absence of complication in life.
The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.

An ideal life
Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. 

We actually intensify our feelings when we smile. This theory is known as the "feedback loop" or "facial feedback hypothesis" where smiling expression feeds back into how we experience mood, making us feel happier or a joke seem funnier.


An arrow can be shot only by dragging it back. So when life is dragging us back with difficulties, it means that it's going to launch us into victory!
When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you. 
-- LAO TZU :

We gain respect; neither can we buy it nor can we coerce others to give it to us on a silver platter. 
Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart.

We need a timeless mind and ageless heart in our daily life.
Great thoughts and a pure heart, that is what we should ask from God.

Lord, we beseech thee to grant us wisdom and humility. Amen
A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.

Some people will turn their backs on us when we have no more money and not anymore in power, but they will never forget our kindness.
All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.

Our mothers are the best teachers and the best precursors of our moral values.
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

I love God and all my friends and I harbor neither hatred nor hard feelings to anyone of my detractors. But I can't trust all of them, of course.


Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity.
-- Marshall McLuhan :

Happy Canada Day (July 1st)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pinoy TNTs may benefit from US immigration reform bill

"We should embrace our immigrant roots and recognize that newcomers to our land are not part of the problem, they are part of the solution." ROGER MAHONY 

By Alex P. Vidal

The word TNT (Tago Ng Tago) was coined by a Filipino who went to the United States without any intention of going back to the Philippines. 
Most common of all the reasons is economic. 
Like most people around the world, Filipinos think the United States is a land of milk and honey, a fulfillment of their dreams for a better life. 
Filipinos are not the only TNTs in America. 
In fact, of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, six million are Mexicans. 
Hundreds of thousands are Latinos, Chinese and Koreans. Most of these undocumented immigrants made it to the land of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck via "over the bakod" or over the fence (crossing the US-Mexican border illegally). Undocumented Immigrant is defined as a foreign-born person who lacks a right to be in the United States, having either entered without inspection (and not subsequently obtained any right to remain) or stayed beyond the expiration date of a visa or other status. (Nolo law for all).


These are the warm bodies that may benefit from the S.744, the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act," otherwise known as the comprehensive immigration reform law, which the Senate recently passed by a 68-32 margin.
The bill is not yet a law. It still needs the approval of the House of Representatives which will either modify it to reconcile with the senate version and approve it or kill it before it can reach the office of Pres. Barack Obama for his signature.
The bill is called "comprehensive" because it deals with border security, enforcement, immigrant visas, and nonimmigrant visas.
Title one of the bill and its preamble address issues of border security, the oversight of the border, and the security goals (“triggers”) that must be achieved before other provisions of the bill are implemented. This part of the bill establishes that the security of the border is a primary concern as part of a comprehensive strategy to ensure a functioning, fair, and effective immigration policy.


The title "Immigrant Visas" addresses permanent legal status in the United States. 
It creates a Registered Provisional Immigrant program for undocumented immigrants and incorporates versions of the DREAM Act and AgJOBS, for undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children and for agricultural workers, respectively. 
It provides sufficient visas to erase the current backlog of family and employment-based visa applicants in the next 7 years, eliminates or changes some family-based immigration programs, and creates a new merit system that is based on points accrued through education, employment, and family ties. 
The subtitle "Legal Immigration Reforms" lays out reforms and new components of the immigration system and addresses backlogs and immigration levels. 
In particular, it creates a new merit-based point system with two tracks that award points to immigrants with educational credentials, work experience, and other qualifications. 
It will function alongside the current family-based immigration and employment-based immigration programs, which allow U.S. companies, citizens, and legal permanent residents to file petitions for relatives or employees.
The title "Interior Enforcement" addresses DHS’s ability to enforce immigration laws while correcting many procedural problems with the immigration system. Central to Title III is a phased in, mandatory E-Verify employment eligibility verification program. 
The bill also addresses important refugee and asylum issues, enhances due-process protections in the immigration courts, increases the oversight of detention facilities, and toughens penalties for gang-related convictions and other offenses. (For more information, please see:
Men who love their mothers treat women wonderfully. And they have enormous respect for women.

Mothers wield tremendous influence in the psyche of their sons. Lucky are women who marry these men. They will never betray their wives. They will never treat women as mere sexual objects but as tender flowers to be prized and protected. 
If it's true that men are such beasts, this must account for the fact that most women are animal lovers.

God created us to act, think and live in human kingdom, but we sometimes behave and love like we belong in animal kingdom.
Women want love to be a novel, men a short story.

As long as love is not a horror film, it will work out. Novel is a fictitious prose and short story is a novelette. Horror film means the love affair will end up in, what else, horror!
All women are beautiful, regardless of their looks. You just need to touch their soul with respect and appreciation for their inner beauty and you will be rewarded with joy. The heart is way more important than the package. Women are the God's greatest gift to man and we should cherish and protect them, each and every one.

This is true.
Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.

In our spiritual existence, we need to exercise self-control to be effective at some random point in the infinite radiations. Our aesthetic, cognitive and intellectual satisfactions are guided by nature within our inner purlieu. 
A mother who is really a mother is never free.

Mothers enjoy absolute freedom only in their thinking--incorporeal emancipation. In a jungle called society, they are obliged to devote their precious time for their children's physical, educational, moral, and spiritual well-being. 
My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.

There is only one Father's Day in one year. Everyday or the rest of the year is a Mother's Day. Mothers are full-time parents. They think about the welfare of their children 99 percent. The remaining one percent is left to be shared to their husbands. 
There's really no point in having children if you're not going to be home enough to father them.

Children are not pets or security guards to be left at home so the parents can frolic with barkadas in parties and other unnecessary nighttime social orgies. If we are not ready to rear a family, let's refrain from producing babies like there is no tomorrow only to neglect their basic needs. 
It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.

A philandering husband can produce more than a dozen children from multiple inamoratas out of wedlock. An abandoned child can have foster parents, a surrogate father; but he can only have one real father in the truest sense of the word, in flesh and blood.
The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

This is non-negotiable. No father can match the intensity of love a mother can give to their children. To compensate for this deficit, fathers should match if not surpass the intensity of love the children give to their mother.


MAGIC OF SEX. The hormone oxytocin (a nine amino acid peptide that is synthesized in hypothalamic neurons and transported down axons of the posterior pituitary for secretion into blood) secretes within our body whenever we engage in sexualactivity. Because of this secretion, endorphins are released. When a person is aroused or excited, oxytocin levels not only begin to increase, they are the reason that orgasms come about. Studies have shown that a rise in exytocin levels can relieve pain: everything from headaches, cramps and overall body aches can be diminished with a simple roll in the hay.
Without the spiritual world the material world is a disheartening enigma.

Material world decays, oxidizes and vanishes. It is cruel and a smorgasbord of sinful animations. Spiritual world has depths and permanence. It is where we encapsulate the purpose of life; it is where we are united with our Creator.
Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.

To fill our stomach is a fundamental duty to our sacred self. God helps those who help themselves first. To fill the stomach of those who have less in life is both a moral and spiritual duty. Love thy neighbor.
We do not need more intellectual power, we need more spiritual power. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.

Our direction is forward -- from life to death. Therefore we must evolve from material intelligence to spiritual intelligence. What we experience is the past and present. Where we are heading to is the prototype of our total--both material and spiritual-- existence. 
What counts is what you do with your money, not where it came from.

We starve our children nonetheless and expose them to moral famine if the money we use to buy foods that saved them from temporary hunger came from evil sources. The end does not justify the means.
A man is usually more careful of his money than of his principles.

Principles can't be used to buy artificial happiness, acquire temporary power, and attract bogus friends. Money can have them all in one fell swoop!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Pork-laced bullets 
and Islamaphobia

"Do not look down upon any Muslim, for even the most inferior believer is great in the eyes of God." ABU BAKR 

By Alex P. Vidal

Will you patronize a pork-laced bullet aimed at insulting a gunshot victim on his way to heaven or hell? 
Islam continued to be misunderstood even in the West--despite being the only non-Western religion that stands closest to the West geographically and ideologically.
Despite Islam's mental and spatial proximity, it is still the most difficult religion for the West to understand even if religiously it stands in the Abrahamic family of religions; and builds on the Greeks philosophically. 
An American columnist once wrote: "No part of the world is more hopelessly and systematically and stubbornly misunderstood by us than that complex of religion, culture and geography known as Islam."
Huston Smith, a leading figure in the comparative philosophy of religion, believes that "proximity is no guarantee of concord--tragically, more homicides occur within families than anywhere else. Islam and the West are neighbors. Common borders have given rise to border disputes, which, beginning with raids and counterraids, have escalated into vendettas, blood feuds, and all-out war."
Muslims report that the standard Western stereotype that they encounter is that of a man marching with sword outstretched, followed by a long train of wives, Smith said. "Not surprisingly, inasmuch as from the beginning Christians have believed that 'the two most important aspects of Muhammad's life...are his sexual license and his use of force to establish religion.' Muslims feel that both Muhammad and the Koran have been maligned on these accounts."


The furor recently created by the announcement that a new, pork-laced ammunition designed to "serve as a warning shot to would-be Islamic terrorists with plans to attack Americans" is now available for sale, has confirmed once again that some educated Muslims will never take any attempt to trivialize their religion sitting down.
Muslims believe the frenzy whipped up by the public announcement by Jihawg Ammo, the company started by Brendon and Julie Hill of Coer D'Alene, Idaho, USA, that it has started selling boxes of gun cartridges made with pork products and advertised as being "a deterrent to potential terrorists who may not eat pork because of their religious beliefs," was meant to humiliate the entire Islam religion. 
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Hills were trying to exploit Muslims for their own profit.
"This is just one of many individuals and companies who seek to make a quick buck exploiting the growing Islamaphobia in our society," Hooper said. "We're not motivated by giving them free publicity they so desperately seek. That's their intention -- to get people upset so that they talk about it and they make money. If somebody did actually use one of these bullets to target a Muslim," he added, "I am sure that a hate crime enhancement would fit."


The company announced in a press release: "With Jihawg Ammo, you don't just kill an Islamist terrorist, you also send him to hell. That should give would-be martyrs something to think about before they launch an attack. If it ever becomes necessary to defend yourself and those around you our ammo works on two levels."
Reports quoted Brendon Hill, who developed the technology for the cartridges with his wife, as saying that the idea behind the ammunition was that "if a devout Muslim were thinking of carrying out a terrorist attack, they might be deterred by knowing they could be shot with bullets covered in pork, a religiously forbidden food."
The report added: "He is not promoting violence toward Muslims, he insisted. In fact, the company also makes apparel promoting 'Peace Through Pork.'" Brendon said that he and his wife started the company as "a tongue-in-cheek way to stand up to radical Islamic terrorists." "We're having some fun with it," Hill said quoted by report. "There's something to be said about using sarcasm to reveal truth about something that is false or a lie, and we're focusing on the absolute lie they tell that murdering people is good."
"We realize we've hit an emotional thread, and I'd loosely define this as a red-state/blue-state issue," Hill added in the report. "That's where our customers are coming from and in that demographic, our product is a way to push back against political correctness. It's the proverbial middle finger back to political correctness."


Report said the Hills came up with the idea while camping with friends and talking about the "Ground Zero Mosque," the name given by opponents to an Islamic cultural center in New York City that was going to open near the World Trade Center site. They were angry over the center and what Hill called "a wave of radical Islam perpetuating from the Middle East to Europe to here."
Here's the rest of the report from ABC News: "Brendon Hill said his wife, stay-at-home mom Julie, came up with the idea and the name. Brendon, who used to work for the NRA as a fundraiser, said he drew on his undergraduate science degree and tinkered with the formula for making the ammunition, figuring out how to add pork products to the paint on gun cartridges while ensuring that the paint still works.
They started selling their product earlier this spring. "What we do is take industry base paint, a type of ballistic paint, and it took us a year to formulate how pork product that goes into it is still viable," Hill said. "The paint still has to function and stick to metal, but also be haraam or unclean."


Meanwhile, Muslims admit that their own record respecting force is not exemplary, wrote Smith. "Every religion at some stages in its career has been used by its professed adherents to mask aggression, and Islam is no exception. Time and again it has provided designing chieftains, caliphs, and now heads of state with pretext for gratifying their ambitions."
They deny the following: First, they deny that Islam's record of intolerance and aggression is greater than that of the other major religions (Buddhism may be an exception here -- Smith). Second, they deny that Western historians are fair to Islam in their accounts of its use of force. Jihad, they say, is a case in point. To Westerners it conjures scenes of screaming fanatics being egged into war by promises that they will be instantly transported to heaven if they are slain.
Third, Muslims deny that the blots in their record should be charged against their religion whose presiding ideal they affirm in their standard greeting, as-salamu alaykum ("Peace be upon you").

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Beer survives World War II

“Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder." -- KINKY FRIEDMAN

By Alex P. Vidal

A bottle of beer taken by a mother while fleeing from Japanese invaders in World War II,  survived after 73 years, and is now being kept for souvenir by the son, who is 80 years old.
The bottle, with the brand name still slightly attached, was carried to evacuation site by Leonardia Justiniani-Dayot when she and her family fled to Pavia town, 9.6 kilometers north of Iloilo City, Philippines as the Japanese started bombing Iloilo in 1941.
"My mother, who never drink in her life, took one bottle of beer from a party saying that when the Japanese would come, she would drink it to banish her fear," narrated Dayot's son, Ernesto, in an exclusive interview. "Fortunately, she never met any Japanese soldier as we moved to evacuation."


Ernesto said they were joined by friends and their families when they fled to Pavia, the smallest municipality in area in Iloilo, covering only 2,715 hectares (6,710 acres). 
"We had no familiy in Pavia and the ones who provided us with rice, fruits, chickens and eggs were the loyal tenants of our farm," Ernesto recalled.
Ernesto said his mother kept the beer bottle "intact and untouched" and gave it to him "as a souvenir from the war." He displayed it in their family bar "for safekeeping and everlasting legacy of history."
The bottle has the same size of the company's flagship bottle today that carries eight beer brands from five breweries spread across the country.
"Everything in the bottle is original, including the cap, the design and the liquid content," Ernesto said.


Before World War II erupted, Ernesto said his parents lived in Iloilo City. 
His father, Luis Roces Dayot, was assistant of then Iloilo Governor Tomas Confesor. They moved temporarily to Pavia when Japanese soldiers started massing their forces in Panay Island. 
Pavia was officially established in 1848, during the Spanish Colonial Era, by 13 landowners in what used to be a “camping place”, a “settlement place” or an “abandoned place”.
The original company that produced the beer bottle was founded in 1890 in Spain. It has grown into one of the Philippines' largest business conglomerates with interests in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, food, packaging, power, oil and telecommunications.


Spiritual literacy: kaleidoscopic view 

"Most importantly, the meaning of spirituality lays the seeds for our destiny and the path we must follow." DENNIS BANKS 

By Alex P. Vidal

It has been my habit to hand carry reading materials while moving around; books and newspapers accompany me whenever I travel, when I crisscross the United States and Canada every now and then. The best weapon to trounce boredom during a long wait in the pre-departure area is to browse the internet and read books or newspapers. 
In a recent trip to Montreal, Quebec, I got fascinated by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat's "Spiritual Literacy" which is about reading the sacred in everyday life. I was attracted by the invitation to read the book by Nancy Burke of Body and Spirit, who exhorts readers to "drink long and slowly from the soulful well that is spiritual literacy --it will sustain you for years to come."
The authors have given us their kaleidoscopic view, full of color and fun, of the wisdom of the ages, including our own. Thomas Moore, in a foreword, said we need this wisdom desperately in a time when information and data have taken the place of insight. We need opportunities such as the one presented in the book to mediate and reflect, not just to learn and act. And it doesn't hurt to discover how many different people of our own time are hard at work sorting through the obstacles so often associated with spiritual endeavors.

The authors consider as "spiritual practices from all traditions . . . the letters to know to read the world spiritually and to spell meaning in daily life." Below are the alphabets of Spiritual Literacy:
ATTENTION: Pay attention. Stay awake and totally alert. See with receptive eyes and discover a world of ceaseless wonders. 
BEAUTY: Walk the path of beauty. Relish and encourage its inward and outward expressions. Acknowledge the radiance of the creation. 
BEING PRESENT: Live in the present moment. Don't obsess about the past or worry about the future. All you need is right here now.
COMPASSION: Open your heart, mind, and soul to the pain and suffering in the world. Reach out to others and discover the rewards and obligations of deep feeling.
CONNECTIONS: Cultivate the art of making connections. See how your life is intimately related to all life on the planet. 
DEVOTION: Express your feelings of praise and adoration through devotional practices. Pray with words and pray through your actions.
ENTHUSIASM: Celebrate life with this intoxicating passion. It adds zest to everything and helps build community. Hold nothing back.


FAITH: Recognize and accept that there is another dimension to life than what is obvious to us. Live with obstacles, doubt, and paradox, knowing that God is always present in the world.
FORGIVENESS: In both your private and public lives, discover the sweet release that comes from forgiving others. Feel the healing balm of being forgiven and of forgiving yourself.
GRACE: Accept grace and your world will be larger, deeper, richer, and fuller. Look for its intimations everywhere. Let this seed of the Giver of Life bloom in your words and deeds.
GRATITUDE: Spell out your days with a grammar of gratitude. Be thankful for all the blessings in your life.
HOPE: Let this positive and potent emotion fuel your dreams and support your service of others. Through your attitudes and actions, encourage others never to lose hope.
HOSPITALITY: Practice hospitality in a world where too often strangers are feared, enemies are hated, and the "other" is shunned. Welcome guests and alien ideas with graciousness.
IMAGINATION: Give imagination free rein in your life. Explore its images and ponder its meaning-making moments, and it will always present you with something new to be seen, felt, or made known.
JOY: Rejoice and be exceedingly glad. Find t his divine energy in your daily life and share it with others.


JUSTICE: Seek liberty and justice for all. Work for a free and fair world where oppression and inequality no longer exist.
KINDNESS: Let Spirit flow through you in little acts of kindness, brief words of encouragement, and manifold expressions of courtesy. These deeds will add to the planet's fund of good will.
LISTENING: Cultivate the art of deep listening in which you lean toward the world in love. All things in the universe want to be heard, as do the many voices inside us.
LOVE: Fall in love over and over again every day. Love your family, your neighbors, your enemies, and yourself. And don't stop with humans. Love animals, plants, stones, even the galaxies.
MEANING: Constantly try to discover the significance of your experiences. Seek further understandings from sacred texts and spiritual teachers.
NURTURING: Take good care of the best that is within you. Self-exploration and personal growth continue throughout our lifetimes and equip us to tend to the needs of others.
OPENNESS: Hold an open house in your heart for all people and all things. Practice empathy with others and receptiveness toward the universe.


PEACE: Protect the earth's future by promoting peace every day. Your small steps will link you with others who are combating violence in the world.
PLAY: Be playful. Express your creative spirit in spontaneity. Hurrah the pleasures of being, and let loose your laughter.
QUESTING: Savor questions and thrill to the quest. See your life as a journey that quickens your faith and deepens your soul.
REVERENCE: Practice reverence for life. The sacred is in, with, and under all the things of the world. Respond with appropriate respect and awe.
SHADOW: Give up trying to hide, deny, or escape from your imperfections. Listen to what your demons have to say to you.
SILENCE: Slow down. Be calm. Find a place where you can regularly practice silence. There you will find the resources to revitalize your body, mind, and soul.
TEACHERS: Be willing to learn from the spiritual teachers all around you, however unlikely or unlike you they may be. Always be a sensitive student.
TRANSFORMATION: Welcome the positive changes that are taking place in your life. Open up the windows and let in some fresh air. Wholeness and healing are waiting in the wings.
UNITY: In this age of global spirituality, respect differences but affirm commonalities. Work together with those who are trying to make the world a better place.
VISION: Practice the art of seeing the invisible. Use the wisdom of your personal visions to renew yourself and your community.
WONDER: Cultivate a vibrant curiosity and welcome the reports of your senses. The world is alive and moving toward you with rare epiphanies and wonderful surprises. Remember you are standing on holy ground.
THE MYSTERY: Accept the unknown as part of life. Don't try to unravel the profound mysteries of God, human nature, and the natural world. Love the ineffable.
YEARNING: Follow your heart's boundless desire. It takes you out of yourself and fosters an appreciation for the multidimensional pleasures of life.
YOU: Accept that you are a child of God. Sing your own song with gusto. Fulfill your mission as a copartner with the Holy One in the unfolding drama of the universe.
ZEAL: Be passionately aroused by life. Cherish every moment, honor your commitments, and treasure your kinship with all.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


God's 'death' 

"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him."   FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

By Alex P. Vidal

Now that the most important person in his life is gone, lawyer-philosopher Ernie Dayot, 80, has reiterated that "death doesn't scare me, at all!"
"When we have accepted that there is a higher God, nothing can scare us--not even death; we will soon realize nothing is permanent here on earth," Dayot waxes poetic during a recent luncheon philosophical binge.
He, too, believes that what makes us all human is not entirely our intellect or our brain. Although he is an avid objectivist, he agrees that there are things that have no relation with the physical brain or man's intelligence. They are an expression of the spirit inside us. Humanity lies in our power to experience many different facets of life, for example our sense of justice, our ability to love, our ability to understand free will and the responsibility that comes with it, to appreciate beauty, and to develop art and culture. 
Dayot believes that If we are convinced we will live beyond death, we will be much more aware of the responsibility that we bear both for ourselves and towards others within creation. We understand that our present life and the way we live it is closely connected with our continued existence after passing over. Then we will have reason to fear the consequences of every single wrong and harmful deed we had committed. We are still likely to suffer the consequences even if we no longer live on earth.


What Friedrich Nietzsche meant when he wrote that "God is dead" was not literally the physical death of God, Dayot reiterated. 
Shakespeare did not say "To be, or not to be." He wrote it, but Hamlet says it. Neither did Nietzsche say "God is dead"; a "madman" does. While it is true that Nietzsche himself went mad at 45, there is still a difference between life and literature, even when the latter is called philosophy, according to biographer Mike Macrone.
Not that there are "unbelievers" in the world, for that was always true; nor simply that God does not exist. For if "God is dead," then He must have once been alive; but this is paradoxical, since if God were ever alive, He, being eternal, could never die.
The madman speaks not of the believer's God, who always was and always will be, but rather of what God represented and meant to his culture.This God was a "shared belief" in God, and it is such belief that was expiring in 19th century Europe.


"Where once God stood--at the center of knowledge and meaning--there is now a void. Science and philosophy alike treat God as irrelevant, and once again man has become the measure of all things,"according to Macrone. 
Westerners have "killed" the God of their ancestors in turning over more toward nature and away from the supernatural. The believers in Nietzsche's tale think seeking God is rather funny; only the madman realizes the terrible gravity of God's death.
"Not that he laments it; in fact, he calls it a 'great deed,' but a deed likely too great for us, the murderers, to bear," added Macrone.
A religion such as Christianity, despite the teachings of Jesus, perpetuates intolerance and conformity, which Nietzsche found especially repugnant. Whatever is old, habitual, normative, or dogmatic, he thought, is contrary to life and to dignity; it manifests what he called a "slave mentality." In a sense, for a man and a woman to live, he or she must "kill" God--must overcome dogma, conformity, superstition, and fear.


General education better 
than vocational training?

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."  Nelson Mandela 

By Alex P. Vidal

This school opening there is still a nagging argument about which is the best type of education-- a "general" education in cultural subjects or a "specialized" education in one particular field or occupation. Both types of education are actually necessary if based on standards and demands of society today.
Education is the process of developing or perfecting human beings. It tries to cultivate the humanity of man by developing his specifically human excellence--both intellectual and moral. The ultimate goals of education are human happiness and the welfare of society. Its produce are good men and good citizens.
If the ancients were asked whether education should be specialized, Dr. Mortimer J. Adler, director of the Institute for Philosophical Research,  said they would answer that it should be conceived in terms of man's specially human nature. "If they were asked whether it should be vocational, they would say that the only vocation with which it should be concerned is the common human calling--the pursuit of happiness," explained Adler. "What we call specialized and vocational training--training in particular jobs--they would regard as the training of slaves, not the education of the free man."


The classical view of education has prevailed right down to our own century, added Adler. It is reportedly reaffirmed as late as 1916 by none other than John Dewey. In Democracy and Education, Dewey declares that merely vocational training is the training of animals or slaves. It fits them to become cogs in the industrial machine. Free men need liberal education to prepare them to make a good use of their freedom.
"While the ancients had the correct view of education as essentially liberal, they did not think that all men should be liberally educated, because they did not think that all men are fitted by nature for the pursuit of happiness or citizenship or the liberal pursuits of leisure," stressed Adler. "But we today, at least those of us who are devoted to the principles of democracy, think otherwise. We maintain  that all men should be citizens, that all have an equal  right to the pursuit of happiness, and that all should be able to enjoy goods of civilization. Hence we think that a democratic society must provide liberal schooling for all."
Vocational training for particular tasks in the industrial process should be done by industry itself and on the job, not by the schools or in classrooms. The curriculum of basic schooling from the first grade through college, should b wholly liberal and essentially the same for all. 


In view of the wide range of abilities and aptitudes with which the schools have to deal, the curriculum must be adapted to different children in different ways. We must solve the problem of how to give children--the least gifted as well as the most gifted--the same kind of liberal education that was given in the past only to the few. Upon our success in solving that problem the future of democracy depends.
Three experts -- Eric Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University; Ludger Woessmann, professor of Economics, University of Munich; head, Human Capital and Innovation Department, Institute for Economic Research; and Lei Zhang, senior Fellow and Assistant Director of the National Institute for Fiscal Studies of Tsinghua University -- recently posted a "new international evidence"  about education type and life-cycle employment opportunities in rapidly changing conditions: 
First, in most countries there are noticeable differences between those entering into vocational education and those pursuing general education. Second, since many countries place vocational education within a general, country-wide arrangement, understanding its overall effect requires looking across countries. Third, there are huge measurement problems, because what is vocational education in one country might not look much like that in another.