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Archive for March 11th, 2009

A recent story on the Herald Tribune: (bold emphasis added)

Ukraine, once considered a worldwide symbol of an emerging, free-market democracy that had cast off authoritarianism, is teetering. And its predicament poses a real threat for other European economies and former Soviet republics.

It is not hard to understand why world leaders are increasingly worried about the discontent and the financial crisis in Ukraine, which has 46 million people and a highly strategic location. A small country like Latvia or Iceland is one thing, but a collapse in Ukraine could wreck what little investor confidence is left in Eastern Europe, whose formerly robust economies are being badly strained.

It could also cause neighboring Russia, which has close ethnic and linguistic ties to eastern and southern Ukraine, to try to inject itself into the country’s affairs. What is more, the Kremlin would be able to hold up Ukraine as an example of what happens when former Soviet republics follow a Western model of free-market democracy.

Ukraine’s economy has stumbled due to falling prices of its top exports: steel and chemicals.

One danger of the current financial crisis is that it has given a wide floor for critics of capitalism. The fears highlighted above are precisely the manifestation of how history usually becomes a naive judge of moral and political ideals.

From Russia Today, a lowdown on how the economic crisis has manifested in the politics of Ukraine:

Not only is the economic crisis influencing judgement of political ideals, but it has also stirred a new wave of politics on its own.

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On the BBC recently: Brazil’s President chides a Catholic Bishop for excommunicating the mother of a young girl as well as her doctors: all for contributing to the girl’s abortion of her twin fetuses.

Seem very straightforward? Before you answer, consider that:

  • The young girl’s conception was due to sexual abuse by her stepfather; and
  • The young girl is 9 years old.

Not so straightforward anymore? Under Brazil law, abortions are legal if done in the context of rape or potential health risks to the mother-to-be. In this case, both criteria were met for the young girl.

However, Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho was undeterred and said that the excommunication would apply to the doctors who performed the operation as well as the girl’s mother. The girl would not be included because she was underage.

Meanwhile the girl’s stepfather is in police custody–also suspected to have abused the young girl’s older sister.

The Church’s stand against abortion is very clear, however the context of this situation has given a lot of Catholics mixed feelings. Many feel for the doctors especially, as they were fulfilling their professional duty to safeguard the life of the young girl.

Also a nagging moral question: the excommunication spares the step-father abuser, since he did not have anything to do with the abortion, although it was his sexual abuse of his step-daughter that led to the situation.

Brazil’s President Lula could not contain his disappointment at the whole affair, and was quoted saying:

In this case, the medical profession was more right than the Church.

Does this whole situation seem so irrational, and yet consistent with the dictates of religion?

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Controversial philosopher and lover of life, Rajneesh Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Osho and his thoughts:

On Truth:

If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinion for or against.

Let this truth go as deep in you as possible: that life is already here, arrived. You are standing on the goal. Don’t ask about the path.

The ‘truth’ is only a way of speaking; there is not something labeled ‘Truth,’ that one day you will find and open the box and see the contents and say, ‘Great! I have found the truth.’ There is no such box. Your existence is the truth, and when you are silent you are in truth. And if the silence is absolute then you are the ultimate truth. But don’t think of the truth as an object -it is not an object. It is not there, it is here.

On Courage:

You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot enter into reality if you are not courageous. Hence courage comes first… and everything else follows.

On Dreams:

Nobody is here to fulfill your dream. Everybody is here to fulfill his own destiny, his own reality.

On Ecstasy:

Ecstasy is our very nature; not to be ecstatic is simply unnecessary. To be ecstatic is natural, spontaneous. It needs no effort to be ecstatic, it needs great effort to be miserable. That’s why you look to tired, because misery is really hard work; to maintain it is really difficult, because you are doing something against nature.

On Love:

Only those who are ready to become nobodies are able to love.

When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised.

Falling in love you remain a child; rising in love you mature. By and by love becomes not a relationship, it becomes a state of your being. Not that you are in love – now you are love.

You can love as many people as you want – that does not mean one day you will go bankrupt, and you will have to declare, ‘Now I have no love.’ You cannot go bankrupt as far as love is concerned.

Millions of people are suffering: they want to be loved but they don’t know how to love. And love cannot exist as a monologue; it is a dialogue, a very harmonious dialogue.

On Fun, Joy, and Laughs:

Become more and more innocent, less knowledgeable and more childlike. Take life as fun – because that’s precisely what it is!

Fools laugh at others. Wisdom laughs at itself.

Take hold of your own life. See that the whole existence is celebrating. These trees are not serious, these birds are not serious. The rivers and the oceans are wild, and everywhere there is fun, everywhere there is joy and delight. Watch existence, listen to the existence and become part of it.

Seriousness is a sickness; your sense of humor makes you more human, more humble. The sense of humor — according to me — is one of the most essential parts of religiousness.

A little foolishness, enough to enjoy life, and a little wisdom to avoid the errors, that will do.

On Variety:

Life is a balance between rest and movement.

Experience life in all possible ways — good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Experience all the dualities. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become.

On Independent Thought:

To be alone in the only real revolution. To accept that you are alone is the greatest transformation that can happen to you.

Only people who carry the opinions of others need the support of others.

On Wonder:

Remain in wonder if you want the mysteries to open up for you. Mysteries never open up for those who go on questioning. Questioners sooner or later end up in a library. Questioners sooner or later end up with scriptures, because scriptures are full of answers. And answers are dangerous, they kill your wonder.

On Risk:

Do you think the people who were trying to reach to the Everest were not full of doubts? For a hundred years, how many people tried and how many people lost their lives? Do you know how many people never came back? But, still, people come from all over the world, risking, knowing they may never return. For them it is worth it – because in the very risk something is born inside of them: the center. It is born only in the risk. That’s the beauty of risk, the gift of risk.

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