"Art loves chance and chance loves art."
-Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics, VI) --see Classical Wisdom Weekly
|ILLUSTRATION BY RON KURNIAWAN|
"For the most part...we pass our lives amid shadows and light, illusions and revelations, uncertain of what to believe or where to turn our gaze. Those who have entirely lost the ability to see the transcendent reality that shows itself in all things, and who refuse to seek it out or even to believe the search a meaningful one, have confined themselves for now within an illusory world, and wander in a labyrinth of dreams. Those others, however, who are still able to see the truth that shines in and through and beyond the world of ordinary experience, and who know that nature is in its every aspect the gift of the supernatural, and who understand that God is that absolute reality in whom, in every moment, they live and move and have their being--they are awake."
Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid by Johannes Vermeer
~from THE EXPERIENCE OF GOD - Being, Consciousness, Bliss by Eastern Orthodox theologian/philosopher David Bentley Hart
“Although we read with our minds, the seat of artistic delight is between the shoulder blades. That little shiver behind is quite certainly the highest form of emotion that humanity has attained when evolving pure art and pure science. Let us worship the spine and its tingle.”
"What moves the Greek warrior to deeds of heroism...is not a sense of duty as we understand it--duty towards others: it is rather duty towards himself. He strives after that which we translate 'virtue' but is in Greek arete, 'excellence.'"Excellence. To excel. To surpass. To reach beyond one's uttermost limits. Pirsig continues:
"Phaedrus is fascinated...by the description of the motive of "duty toward self" which is an almost exact translation of the Sanskrit word, dharma... Can the dharma of the Hindus and the "virtue" of the ancient Greeks be identical?"This mirrors exactly what's in play for Jack Duran in a crucial chapter late in The Assassin Lotus ("What You Have To Do"). Jack is alone in the desert, heading toward a confrontation with a killer, wondering what is driving him to put his life at risk.
"Do what you have to do, resolutely... The path seemed to tug me like the current of a river. Before I was even aware of it I was trudging ahead on the trail. Why did it seem I had no choice? What was it kept me going? Honor? Pride? Ego? Or dharma, duty, selflessness. Submitting to the will of God. Acceptance of my fate. I was on that dharma road connecting East and West. Assert the self? Surrender the self? It seemed I must do both. My heart insisted on it."Dharma. Arete. Duty toward self. Is this not the best answer to the question, What is courage? Is this not why we find acts of bravery so inspiring? Think of those three young Americans who stopped the train attack in France. Why did their action lift our hearts and bring a tear to our eyes?
“If there were only one religion in England, one would have to fear despotism; if there were two, they would cut each other’s throats; but they have thirty, and they live happy and in peace.”
Voltaire (1694-1778), Philosophical Letters
“Soma was conceived to be a divine presence dwelling within a psychoactive substance of the same name, which was consumed by humans and deities before battle and at the end of ritual celebrations. Perhaps it was soma that inspired the early Hindu seers to probe deeper into the nature of reality.” ~Todd T. Lewis, Buddhism
|ILLUSTRATION BY AGATA MARSZAŁEK|
"The true drama, and especially the tragedy, calls for the hero to exercise will, to create, in front of us, on the stage, his or her own character, the strength to continue. It is her striving to understand, to correctly assess, to face her own character (in her choice of battles) that inspires us–and gives the drama power to cleanse and enrich our own character."
~ David Mamet
"In the strict use of the mandala, there is a central point or focus within the symbol from which radiates a symmetrical design. This suggests there is a center within each one of us to which everything is related, by which everything is ordered, and which is itself a source of energy and power. Virtually every spiritual and religious system known to man asserts the reality of such an inner center. The Romans worshiped it as the genius within. The Greeks called it the inner daemon. Christian religions speak about the soul and the Christ within. In psychology we speak of the Higher Self." ~MIchael H. Brown (michaelbrown.org)
Read the whole story HERE.
"It is sometimes impossible to tell where the healthy spirituality of the sage ends and spiritual psychosis begins. [...] We are all too aware today of the power of spiritual experience to do harm, as we watch people blow themselves--and others--up in the name of God. [...] The spiritual can be urgent and propulsive--spiritual truth has often come to be a matter of life and death. When we feel we connect with something larger than ourselves, we are willing to sacrifice our small selves to that something that we feel, that we know, is greater. This impulse can drive us to reach out to our fellow man in ways that are noble, inspiring, and even heroic. But it can also lead to intolerance and folly. In short, spiritual experiences bring out the best and worst in us."
"Soma (Sanskrit: सोम sóma), or Haoma (Avestan), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a Vedic ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent greater Indian and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities. In the [Persian] Avesta, Haoma has the entire Yašt 20 and Yasna 9-11 dedicated to it.
"It is described as being prepared by extracting juice from the stalks of a certain plant. In both Hindu and Zoroastrian tradition, the name of the drink and the plant are the same, and also personified as a divinity, the three forming a religious or mythological unity.
"There has been much speculation concerning what is most likely to have been the identity of the original plant. Soma is associated with the warrior-god Indra and appears to have been drunk before battle. For these reasons, there are stimulant (amphetamine-like) plants as well as entheogenic plants among the candidates that have been suggested. [However,] there is no consensus on the question..."
Indra, god of war
“Fear is a kind of pain, an anticipative pain, like the ‘ache’ of desire. It brings energy, intensity, strength. In a way, you might say it’s the source of courage.” ~Anand Pandava, the Indian intelligence agent in THE ASSASSIN LOTUS"When we find ourselves under intense pressure, fear unleashes reserves of energy that normally remain inaccessible. With the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis fully activated, our bodies and brains can utilize their resources so fully that we become, in effect, superhuman."