Truth Code: philosophy
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Τρίτη, 10 Ιανουαρίου 2017





Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist and among the most profound thinkers of the 20th century.

He engineered the theory of general relativity and special relativity, and after winning the Nobel prize in 1921, Einstein was clearly solidified as one of the most influential people ever.

He isn't known only for his great mind or scientific accomplishments, but the man was also wise beyond his years, even in older age, and was insightful, philosophical, and witty at the same time.

He was remarkably well rounded and his brilliance has left its mark. These are some of our favorite quotes of his that demonstrate that brilliance quite well.

1. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."

2. “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly."

3. “Human knowledge and skills alone cannot lead humanity to a happy and dignified life. Humanity has every reason to place the proclaimers of high moral standards and values above the discoverers of objective truth."

4. “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions."

5. “I, at any rate, am convinced that He (God) does not throw dice."

6. “The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing."

7. “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
8. “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

9. “Falling in love is not at all the most stupid thing that people do— but gravitation cannot be held responsible for it."

10. “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science."
11. “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

12. “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."

13. “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."

14. “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

15. “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character."

16. “Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas."

17. “Nature shows us only the tail of the lion. But I do not doubt that the lion belongs to it even though he cannot at once reveal himself because of his enormous size."

18. “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."

19. “It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

20. “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in

Source: higherperspectives.com
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Κυριακή, 8 Ιανουαρίου 2017





Today I would like to share with you 25 beautiful life changing lessons to learn from Khalil Gibran. Author of one of my favorite books of all time, The Prophet. Enjoy.

1. Be thankful for the difficult times. They have showed you how strong you can be.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

2. Kindness is a quality of the strong.

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.”

3. There's no such thing as absolute truth.

“Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.’ 

“I AM IGNORANT of absolute truth. But I am humble before my ignorance and therein lies my honor and my reward.”

4. It's the small people who try to belittle and humiliate others.

“To belittle, you have to be little.”

5. The harm others do to you is easier to forget than the harm you do to others.

“If the other person injures you, you may forget the injury; but if you injure him you will always remember.”

6. You might forget those who made you laugh, but you will never forget those who were by your side in your darkest hours.

“You may forget with whom you laughed, but you will never forget with whom you wept.” 
“Hearts united in pain and sorrow will not be separated by joy and happiness. Bonds that are woven in sadness are stronger than the ties of joy and pleasure. Love that is washed by tears will remain eternally pure and faithful.”

7. It's the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.

“In the sweetness of friendship; let there be laughter and the sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

8. Love is life. And life is love.

“When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.” 

“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”

9. Put love into your work.

“Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger. And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distills a poison in the wine. And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man's ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.”

“They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price.”

10. To understand the heart and mind of a person, look at what he aspires to be.

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.” 

“Trust in dreams, for in them is the hidden gate to eternity.”

11. True love can't be possessed.

“Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.”

12. Seek to put up with bad manners pleasantly.

“The real test of good manners is to be able to put up with bad manners pleasantly.”

13. Love binds everything together in perfect harmony.

“They say: ‘If a man knew himself, he would know all mankind.’ I say: ‘If a man loved mankind, he would know something of himself.”

14. Always look on the bright side of life.

“The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose.”

15. We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are.

“The appearance of things changes according to the emotions; and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.”

16. True love is the offspring of spiritual affinity.

“It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations.”

17. Let there be space in your relationship.

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.”

18. If you pray when it rains, make sure you also pray when the sun shines.

“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.”

19. When you give of yourself, that’s when you truly give.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

20. Real beauty comes from within.

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”

21. Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

“Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.”

22. Every relationship should be free from bondage.

“No human relation gives one possession in another—every two souls are absolutely different. In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.” 

“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don't, they never were.”

23. Be thankful for both the good and the bad in your life. It's all meant to teach you something.

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.”

“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

24. Your attitude towards life will determine life’s attitude towards you.

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

25. A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand.

“A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?”

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Κυριακή, 1 Ιανουαρίου 2017





Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism come from schools of Buddhism. Zen Buddhism tends to emphasize regirious meditation practice and insight into daily life. Tibetan Buddhism comprises the teachings of the three vehicles of Buddhism, the Foundational Vehicle, Mahayana and Vajrayana. The best known face of Tibetan Buddhism is the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since he fled Chinese occupation of his country in 1959. Tibetan Buddhism combines the essential teachings of Mahayana Buddhism with Tantric and Shamanic, and material from an ancient Tibetan religion called Bon.

Here are some of the top quotes from these schools of thought that will inspire you:

On interbeing

“The light of the sun is the manifestation of the clarity of the sky; and the sky is the basic condition necessary for the manifestation of the sun’s light. So, too, in the sky two, three, four, or any number of suns could arise; but the sky always remains indivisibly one sky. Similarly, every individual’s state of presence is unique and distinct, but the void nature of the individual is universal, and common to all beings.”
― Namkhai Norbu

“Nothing ever exists entirely alone. Everything is in relation to everything else.” – Buddha

On the present moment

“If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.” – Shunryu Suzuki

“Where you are right now is where you are.” – Zen Proverb

On impermanence

“One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.” – Dogen

On your true self

“The self divides into ten billion distinct illuminating spirits. Distinguish these without falling into names and classifications.” – Hongzhi

“To study Buddhism is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be awakened by all things.” – Dogen

Direct Experience

“My finger can point to the moon, but my finger is not the moon. You don’t have to become my finger, nor do you have to worship my finger. You have to forget my finger, and look at where it is pointing.” – Osho

“What is important is not the right doctrine but the attainment of the true experience. It is giving up believing in belief.” – Alan Keightley

“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

On Awakening

“When an ordinary man attains knowledge, he is a sage; when a sage attains understanding, he is an ordinary man.” – Zen Proverb

“Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” – Chuang

“Let go over a cliff, die completely, and then come back to life — after that you cannot be deceived.” – Zen Proverb

“Each step along the Buddha’s path to happiness requires practising mindfulness until it becomes part of your daily life.” – Henepola Gunaratana

“Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong.” – Zen Proverb

“Self-realization is effortless. What you are trying to find is what you already are.” – Ramesh Balsekar

On reality

“Still water has no mind to receive the image of the migrating geese.” – Zen Proverb

“In the scenery of spring, nothing is better, nothing worse; the flowering branches are; some long, some short.” – Eicho

“There is no mistake in nature.” – Byron Katie

“No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.” – Zen Proverb

“As a bee gathering nectar does not harm or disturb the color & fragrance of the flower; so do the wise move through the world.” – Buddha

On suffering and letting go

“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.” – Ram Dass

“A follower of the way has neither form nor shape, neither root nor trunk; nor dwelling place; like a fish leaping in the water.” – Rinzai Zen proverb

On sharing happiness

“Thousand of candles can be lighted from a single candle.
Happiness never ceases by being shared.” – Buddhist Proverb

Source: thepowerofideas.ideapod.com
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Πέμπτη, 8 Δεκεμβρίου 2016





Plato (Greek: Πλάτων, 427. BC. – 347. BC.) was a Greek philosopher from Athens who is considered as one of the most influential people in the history of western civilization. He was Socrates’ student. Thanks to Plato, we have a significant source of information about Socrates. Plato founded the first institution of its kind – the Academy. Aristotle was a student of that academy. Plato’s best-known work is “The Republic” – a book in which he wrote about a utopian image of an ideal society that would be ideally run by philosophers. Plato left a lasting mark on the development of many minds that came after him. He is one of the most influential figures of the course of development of modern western society.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

Plato once demonstrated his knowledge with his so-called allegory of the cave. It is found in the seventh book of dialogue in “The Republic”. It is quite vivid and serves as an important example.

He invites us to imagine a cave. In it, there are people who have been chained and are unable to turn to any other direction except for the inner wall they are facing. Because of the chains they cannot see anyone besides themselves nor can they see the cave’s exit, which is directly behind their back. The only source of light in the cave is a camp fire. Between people and the fire, there is a cover behind which there are other people that go about on their own business. They are walking past, carrying statues of men and animals made of stone and wood, etc. Those that are chained and observing a blank wall can see, because of the fire, the shadows of themselves and of that which is happening behind them. As they are walking by, some of the people behind the cover are talking among each other while others are silent. The voices echo in the cave while the shadows dance on the wall thus making it appear to the chained ones as if the shadows are real and talking. Since they have no other things to do except for talking about the shadows – those in chains try to guess which shadows shall past next and in what order. Those that are the best at guessing are granted with honors and get more acclaim than the others.

Plato compares us to those who are chained to the cave wall in his metaphor. He points out that we believe and think we see reality by watching the shadows on the wall. He states that we should consider the possibility of releasing one of those in chains to stand up and turn to face the light from the exit of the cave. The sunlight would cause great pain to this person as he or she would be used only to darkness. Thus, no clear vision would be possible. If he or she got used to the light and saw what was really happening behind the cover in the cave, a revelation of the delusion would occur. An enlightenment.

Plato’s allegory of the cave serves its purpose to represent the life of an individual. A life of learning and knowing by using our senses and entrapment and obsessiveness with the body and all things material. Exiting the cave means the soul’s rising into a world of ideas. This is accomplished by learning with reason and a mind clear of delusions.

He concludes the allegory of the cave by asking the question of what would happen to the one who got out of the cave and had observed the Sun. What would ensue if he or she tried to explain to the chained ones to what was really happening – of what was the real truth? The revelation would seem impossible to the others and they would declare the “enlightened one” to be mad. Even if an attempt was made to release them and take them out of the cave, it would only lead to the demise of the “enlightened one”. Plato used this metaphor to allude to the fate of his mentor Socrates who was charged and executed by the Athenians.

Now, let us approach this topic from another point of view – a 21th century one at that.

Does the Allegory of the Cave Remain Relevant in Our Times?

Yes, of course, it does. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” – Solomon

The question you should be asking is whether you are the one in chains or the one who “sees” matters for what they truly are. Or even still, if you are chained to the wall in front of you to revel in the glorious shadows for an entire lifetime – would you know it? There is another question – would you want to change it? Would you have the courage to make that audacious step to come out of your comfort zone?

For the brave and the bold, there is always a way out of the cave. It isn’t as simple as taking the red pill, as Neo did in the movie Matrix, unfortunately. It is a challenging process of change and self-improvement for every individual. Through hours spent on finding, learning, validating and putting the newfound knowledge into practical use. All knowledge is useless if it is not being used for a persistent and purposeful practice.

The first step is self-assessment. Seeing and accepting all the faults and issues of one’s character. Detachment and the perseverance to abstain from the creed for the material things is the second step. Third is a humble and a gentle perspective towards all the life’s creatures and occurrences. Nobility appears as a consequence. The fourth step is to love each and every moment of existence and all that makes that moment unique. The fifth step – I’ll leave it for you to find it out for yourself…

Step out of the “cave” into the light and do not stop trying to tell the others what you’ve experienced on the outside. Be the change and you will change the world around you!

To get more food for thought, watch this curious video which compares Plato’s Allegory of the Cave with the concept of “Matrix”:

Via: learning-mind.com

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave
http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.8.vii.html
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Παρασκευή, 4 Νοεμβρίου 2016





Take a look at the following words. It's a collection of some English know you probably didn't know but you will certainly find really useful!

balter (v.): to dance artlessly, without particular grace or skill but usually with enjoyment. 

Example: “Never underestimate the healing power of listening to your favorite music on full blast while baltering” 

chork (v.): to make the noise that feet do when one’s shoes are full of water. 

Example: “Caught in the rainstorm with no shelter, he was soon chorking his way toward a terrible cold.”

duffifie (v.): to lay a bottle on its side for some time so that it may be completely drained of the few drops remaining. 

Example: “The relationship started to fall apart when Dennis uprighted a bottle of ketchup that Sarah had been duffifying for days.” 

egrote (v.): to feign sickness in order to avoid work. 

Example: “Among lazy men, egroting is a pursuit of perfection.” 

feague (v.): to put a live eel up a horse’s bottom; used figuratively to describe encouraging someone or getting their spirits up. 

Example: “I’ve heard Ann Romney’s secret to winning dressage is feaguing Rafalca right before the competition.” This word, used in the 1700s by what were apparently kinky horse-traders, came from a reference called Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. 

jehu (n.): a fast or furious driver. 

Example: “So I’ve got an idea for a movie. We get a bunch of jehus—well, that’s about it..” A jehu is named for Jehu, a Biblical figure who “driveth furiously” as he went to murder King Ahab by the Lord’s decree. 

metanoia(n.): the journey of changing one’s mind, spirit, heart, self or way of life; fundamental change of mind; spiritual conversion. 

Example: Metanoia in the psychological theory of Carl Jung denotes a process of reforming the psyche as a form of self healing, a proposed explanation for the phenomenon of psychotic breakdown . This one actually has its origins in Greek. 

pedeconference (n.): to hold a meeting while walking. 

Example: “Roughly 40% of the West Wing is footage of people pedeconferencing.” 

redamancy (n.): the act of loving the one who loves you; loving in return 

Example: “Despite his lack of redamancy her passion for him was unabated for several years.” 

scuddle (v.): to run with an affected haste. 

Example: “Desperate to look important and with nothing to do, she scuddled around the office like a pinball.” 

serendipity (n.): the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident; finding something good without looking for it. 

Example: “Sarah had known Josh for years and had a crush on him. She never knew that Josh liked her too. It must have been serendipity that their mutual friend Alice set them up on a blind date.” 

snollygoster. (n.): One, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles. 

Example : “Even though he professed to not be a crook, our president was still a bit of a snollygoster, wasn’t he?” 

throttlebottom (n.): a dishonest man who holds public office. 

Example: “’That Barack Obama is a downright throttlebottom!’ said the Tea Party supporter who feigned political opinions so he could wear colonial garb.” Other great political insults include flapdoodler, lollie boy, pollywog and quockerwodger. 

uhtceare (n.): lying awake before dawn and worrying

Example: “Knowing that some object he owned had been secretly put in the toilet bowl, Jerry lay awake, plagued by uhtceare.” Pronounced oot-key-are-a, the word breaks down into two parts: uht, a word for the restless hour before dawn and ceare, an Old English term for care and sorrow. 

zarf (n.): the cup-shaped holder for a hot coffee cup that keeps you from burning your fingers. 

Example: “Forgetting a zarf often leads to a dangerous game of hot potato.” In the olden days, zarfs were typically metal or ornamental. These days they’re referred to as ‘one of those little cardboard thingys.’” 

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Κυριακή, 31 Ιουλίου 2016





People are more health conscious these days than they have ever been. It seems everywhere you look there is some miracle treatment for anything that might ail you in life. In reality, one of the best things you can do to boost your health is simply reading a book. 

In 2009, Mindlab International, a consultancy based at the University of Sussex, determined that reading was the most effective form of stress relief when compared to typical stress relief methods. The study was done by putting participants through a range of tests and exercises to increase stress levels and heart rate. Then the participants engaged in typical stress relief activities like listening to music, walking, playing video games, and reading. 

The results showed that reading for just 6 minutes reduced stress levels by an average of 68%. In fact, in most cases, stress levels were lower than what they were before the test began. By comparison, listening to music reduced stress levels by 61% taking a walk reduced stress by 42%, and playing video games reduced stress by 21%. 

Dr. David Lewis, who conducted the study, concluded: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism.It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.This is more than merely a distraction, but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.” 

One major thing to keep in mind when it comes to reading is not just THAT you read, but HOW you read. Research has shown that reading a tablet before bed can actually lead to an increase in the symptoms of insomnia. Reading an actual, printed, physical book is the key. A recent study in Norway showed that people who read on a Kindle were significantly worse at remembering what they read over people who read printed text. Anne Mangen of Stavanger University, concluded that “the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does.” 

Mangen thinks that the difference for Kindle readers “might have something to do with the fact that the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a story is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you’re reading.” Her theory is based on the fact that our brains weren’t really designed for reading, but have adapted to understand letters and text

Source: I Heart Intelligence - Via: thinkinghumanity.com
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Πέμπτη, 21 Ιουλίου 2016

A sad, harsh truth regarding the world we live in today is that there is pain and suffering all around us. Wanting to live in a world without pain and suffering is natural; it’s something that almost everyone desires. Yet, there are individuals who, time and time again, show the rest of the world that evil is out there. 

Recently, the worst mass shooting in United States history unfolded at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, leaving behind in its wake an angry, confused, and heartbroken nation. 

While many people were affected by this tragedy directly, an entire community and way of life was targeted with hatred. If you find yourself overwhelmed with negative thoughts and energies, try shifting that focus onto love. 

Be grateful for all of the different types of love you have in your life, and focus on how much love you bring into the worlds of others. 

Remember these ten uplifting quotes when your mind is wading through darkness: 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.” –Elie Weisel 

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” ―Jimi Hendrix 

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” ―John Lennon 

“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul. Wisdom is better than silver or gold.” ―Bob Marley 

‘Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.’ -Ralph Waldo Emerson 

“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” ―Albert Schweitzer 

“It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organize the peace.” ―Aristotle 

“There is peace even in the storm.” ―Vincent van Gogh 

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not the absence of violence. Peace is the manifestation of human compassion” –Dalai Lama 

If you want even more inspiration for peace during times of chaos, check out the video below: 

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Κυριακή, 17 Ιουλίου 2016

Photo credits: theunboundedspirit.com
Luther Standing Bear was a respected Oglala Lakota Chief who was one of the very few who occupied the rift between the Native’s way of life, and that of the European pioneers. Brought up in the traditions of his people until the age of 11, he was then given an education at the Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School of Pennsylvania, where he learned about the new settler’s way of life, and how to speak the English language.

Standing Bear’s native roots were deep, giving him in the unique position to be a conduit between both  cultures. Even though he was seen as “accepting the white man’s way of life” by some, his enduring legacy was the protection of the way of life of his people.

These things included: publishing 4 Books,  becoming a leader at the forefront of the powerful movement geared towards preserving Native American heritage and sovereignty, and being known as a prominent voice in educating the new American to the Native American way of living.

These 10 quotes from the great Chief known as Standing Bear will be sure to disturb much of what you think you know about “modern” culture, and open your eyes to a new, yet old, way of living. Everything goes in circles…

1. Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.

2. Children were taught that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words. They were never allowed to pass between the fire and the older person or a visitor, to speak while others were speaking, or to make fun of a crippled or disfigured person. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice, immediately set him right.

3. Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that ‘thought comes before speech.’…and in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect… strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by the white man of being a stoic. He has been judged to be dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling.

4. We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was it ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.

5. With all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.

6. This concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.

7. It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.

8. Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.

9. …the old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.

10. Civilization has been thrust upon me… and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity.

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Παρασκευή, 1 Ιουλίου 2016


In the year 2000, Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal decided that it was time to clean up a sacred part of the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab, the Kali Bein river.

For centuries, city governments along the river had been dumping their human waste and garbage into this sacred Sikh waterway. After unsuccessfully attempting to convince the governments to stop dumping waste into the river, Seechewal drew on the Sikh tradition of kar sewa (free voluntary service).

That’s when Sant Sichewal (also spelled Sancherwal, Sabarwahl, and Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal) jumped in for a cleansing bath of a different kind: one designed to awaken the people. He began cleaning the river single-handedly until his example, and his many narrations on the history and value of the Bein to Sikh history drew hundreds of followers to the task.

Seechewal built a small team of recruits who would, in turn, teach the local people along the Kali Bein why they should clean their river. Their successful campaign raised funds for equipment, enlisted countless volunteers to provide physical work, and more than two dozen villages began helping in the efforts.

Through kar seva, he and thousands have, in a labor of love of untold hours, cleaned the river.

According to the SikhiWiki, the scale of the task was gigantic — volunteers cleared the entire riverbed of water hyacinth and silt, and built riverbanks and roads alongside the river. When appeals to government and municipal bodies failed to stop dirty water flowing into the river, Seechewal launched a public-awareness campaign to encourage villagers to dispose of their sewage elsewhere.

Some villages revived traditional methods of waste disposal and treatment, and farmers lined up for a share of the treated water. After they could no longer deny the astonishing effects of Seechewal’s efforts, a government order to divert water from a nearby canal was finally obtained. As the riverbed was cleared, natural springs revived and the river began to fill up.

According to the India Times, not only did they clean it up and rejuvenate some parts of the river which had been dry for many years, but the team also worked hard to beautify the banks by planting trees.

With the restoration of its water flow, thousands of hectares of land have been reclaimed from water-logging in Tehsil Dasuya of Hoshiarpur District, from desertification in the Kapurthala district, and from floods in the Mand area of confluence of Beas and Satluj rivers.

After a 400-year long period of neglect and pollution, today, this once revolting river now teems with life and is a beautiful sight for all who live near it.

Seechewal’s mission teaches humanity a lesson of how to incite meaningful change — without the use of government force. For decades, people attempted to petition the government to halt the pollution of the Bein, but this was pointless. No action was ever taken.

Even if the government had “mandated” through the threat of force that the river not be polluted, many people would have ignored this as they had no other means or knowledge to act otherwise.

The only thing that saved this sacred river from becoming a flowing pit of toxic death was one man’s ability to lead by example, and the seeking of a lesser ignorance.

Instead of using force to make the residents along the Bein stop polluting, Seechewal and his team spread knowledge.

According to the India Times, Sant Seechewal’s works don’t stop there. He has also been involved in setting up schools, technical centers and degree colleges, and also works toward eradicating poverty, ignorance, superstition, and atrocities against women.

A crusader for the environment, Sant Seechewal has established plant nurseries at Seechewal and Sultanpur Lodhi where one lakh plants are distributed annually, free of cost.

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