Reading Walden through Anthropocene eyes, insight and appreciation of nature seem to emerge from, even require, rupture and profanation. Maybe these are unavoidable parts of an appreciative relation to the world. Maybe the imperfect has always been our only paradise.
"Returning to Reality" demonstrates how the wisdom of a contemplative master from the past can remain surprisingly relevant to the concerns of the present. Merton's perspective on technology echoes not only Thoreau, but even Christ's assessment of the religious customs of his day.
In modern times, as our populations grew and our reliance on agriculture became greater, so grew our consciousness of the fact that the sustenance of the global population was dependent on stewardship of the seed resources we had developed.
Have you found yourself in a valley pursuing another elusive dream? It overwhelms me to consider how deep one man can go, when the world around us says, "Give up, quit, stop digging; there is no way this will ever come true."
I didn't realize what I was missing until I recently stumbled on the work of journalist Stefanie Syman. A New York yogi and writer, Syman spent seven years researching how yoga, this somewhat minor part of Hinduism, became something millions of us adore.
Berkeley, like Wesleyan, has a long and proud tradition of protest. The peaceful efforts of students, staff and faculty protesting the dismantling of a once great university deserve our respect. The violent response to these efforts deserves our condemnation.
Less categorizing, parsing, and debating will do me good. Living in the possible, not because of what has been or what should be, but because it's simply a place where incredible things can happen with and through a permeable mind.
President Obama predicts the American-India relationship would be "one of the defining partnerships of the twenty-first century." No doubt. But our two nations have already been trading ideas for over two centuries.