Thoughts in Rhyme

By Rahomme de Linde

Explanations and Notes


In the ancient world view diseases were caused by the devil or evil spirits which were invisible. Today we attribute diseases to bacteria and viruses which too are beyond direct perception.


The great physicist mathematician Pierre Simone de Laplace referred to God as a hypothesis he did not need to account for the motion of celestial bodies.


Music: difficult to conceive in the abstract, but very meaningful and satisfying in one of its countless expressions as songs and symphonies. The same is true of the mythological representations of the divine in some religions.


This would be the modern version of the Book of Genesis. Even if we accept the (current) scientific view that the world began with a Big Bang, one may attribute it to the Will of God


Before He could say "Let there be Light," God must have created sound. Also, light is only a narrow band of the more sweeping electro-magnetic spectrum.


Many wise men and women over the ages have spoken and preached. But not all of them have had enthusiastic, energetic, and capable followers and admirers. Only those who have been fortunate in this respect, are remembered by future generations.


The historical study of any religion reveals its contextual significance, and often tends to shake one's faith in the absoluteness of the religion.


The authors of the sacred texts of ancient times were undoubtedly among the most brilliant and awakened minds of the human family. Their insights and interpretations were based on current knowledge and understanding. If they were to come back to life, they will most likely want to offer re-editions of their works, based on more recent findings. Smaller minds of later generations, not recognizing this, and believing they are paying homage to ancient masters, repeats and embraces literally everything uttered by those extraordinary people.


The question is often asked, "Have religions done good or bad to the human family." When we examine the matter closely, we find that as long as the members of a religious community holding the same set of beliefs function together, they derive much spiritual enrichment and communal joy. However, when they encounter people of a different faith, their behavior tends to become less charitable, more arrogant, and often downright combative. One's level of spiritual enlightenment may be measured in terms of one's reaction upon encountering people of a different religious persuasion.


Karl Marx propagated the view that all religions are provoked by economic factors. Not necessarily. Often people have to war for religious reasons: to convert heathen to the "right religion," or to recover a piece of land from people of heretical beliefs.


There is no doubt that religions have a very important role to play in all societies. But much confusion and trouble can arise if religion transgresses its role and responsibility and encroaches into other domains, in particular, science and politics.


When a writing is considered sacred, it must not be critically analyzed if one does not wish to affect one's implicitly reverential attitude towards it. The effect of analysis will be to engender a
different (and not necessarily less respectful) feeling towards sacred writings, but it will no longer be one of deeply felt (non-rational) reverence. Yet, theologians do this all the time.


The principal teaching of the Jain religion is ahimsa: no injury (to any living creature).


The Buddha (Enlightened One) taught for spiritual advancement one must avoid the extremes of constant indulgence of physical pleasure and ascetic self-mortification for God realization.


The oft-repeated credo of Islam is: La ilaha il-Allah, Muhammad-un Rasulu-llah: There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his Prophet.


The word sikh connotes a disciple. Sikhism preaches implicit reverence for the ten Gurus (founding-masters of the religion), and frequent repetion (japa) of the Lord's name


Native-American religious spirit is expressed in respect and regard for the physical environment which enables us to survive on the planet


Ultimate wisdom, some Chinese philosophers have said, consists in being at peace with oneself and in harmony with the world, and this is achieved by being one with Nature.


What makes a play enjoyable and successful is good dialogue. The conversation of most people, even when interesting, is not often witty and clever. A good playwright accomplishes this with his/her humor and skill with words.


An important difference between an artistic creation and a scientific discovery is that the former can result from the efforts of a single individual, whereas the latter is invariably linked to the work of other scientists.


Take a single truth on any subject: Nature, the human condition, a flower, whatever, and there can be a thousand different artistic visions of it. On the other hand, science encapsulated the fundamental truth underlying a myriad phenomena that we see. In other words, art particularizes a general truth, and science generalizes particular facts.


Many saints and sages have decried the use of books and knowledge. But their names and thoughts would have been long forgotten if scholars did not write books about them.

III.2. 7.

Many well-meaning, but unoriginal, scholars simply repeat with great respect and reverence what other writers and thinkers have said. This is merely saluting those who are no more.


. People have tried to justify certain fundamental moral principles by reasoning and argumentation. This is a wasteful exercise because such logically derived systems can always be challenged. Morality springs from the inner core of evolved human beings. While professors of ethics may discuss it in courses and books, the practitioners does not need any more justification for being good and kind than a person of faith needs a scientific proof for the existence of God.


One of the myths entertained by non-scientists is that scientific understanding of nature deprives us of aesthetic and mystical experience. This is not quite true.


Some mystics have compared spiritual bliss to sexual delight magnified a hundred fold.


It is possible to communicate the findings of science through words and formulas. But it is impossible to communicate the intense joy that mystics claim to experience.


An important distinction between the statements of mystics and those of scientists is that mystical revelations are culture dependent: A Christian mystic will never report having a vision of Kali or Vishnu, nor a Buddhist have a vision of Virgin Mary.


Not impossible but not very common either, at least in the normally accepted sense of mystic experience.

III. 5.1.

Recall: The pen is mightier than the sword.


Many controversies may be avoided if people clearly define the terms they use.


The Latin word for six is sex. The Greek word for six is hex.


Speeches by inspiring orators, as illustrated in Mark Anthony's speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar; or pronouncements of spiritual leaders, like Sermon on the Mount, have indeed affected the course human history.


For example, throwing someone into prison for a year may be the punishment for a crime. But the impact will be different if the offender is a common criminal or a former governor of a state.


People who live through life without doing a spot of work are indeed parasites on society.


One of the ironies of human civilization is that although we grow and waste vast quantities of food, there are still hungry people in our world. It is amazing, and certainly deplorable, that we as a species have not been able to come up with a global economic system under which no human being will b hungry.


The Babylonians recognized only seven bodies in the sky that seemed to move differently than the stars: the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. To each of these, they consecrated a day. This is the origin of our seven-day week. If they already had powerful telescopes, they would have noticed Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto too, and we would have ended up with a ten day week!


Practically all cultures in human history have committed acts of which they ought to be ashamed.


No matter what, no national history is without names and deeds of which a people are proud. Indeed, this is a necessary condition for any history. If there are no obvious records of great personages in the history of a people, one ought to invent some. This may have been the motivating force for mythology and pseudo-history wherein great achievements are attributed to legendary figures.


In our times news is much more than what happened: it also includes for what reason it happened.


The major crime of apartheid in South Africa was not, as was generally believed, the unjust and inhuman treatment of a section of its population, because this (criminal though it was) has been practiced in many other nations of the world, including the ones that were (rightly) condemning the South African government. The major crime was that even after most other nations had rejected such a policy from their laws, as being immoral and unbecoming of our times, South Africa continued.


There is so much communication, cross-fertilization, and intermingling going on in our times that during the impending century, all the unpleasant barriers of East and West may crumble down, and some of the best human potentials may come to full expression.


For example, if you see the Pope in a swimming costume relaxing near you at the beach, you are likely to show him far less formal respect than when you see him in the balcony of the Vatican.


Proving the validity of logic assumes its validity; hence it is begging the question.


The validity of this statement is seen frequently in courts of law.


Faith in God is not established by logical proofs, but by inner convictions which transcend rationality.


Human brains are capable of functioning "illogically" and "irrationally." It is this capacity that enables them to imagine, fantasize, and create, because in all these instances the mind goes beyond or away from what pure rational thinking would allow.


Alternative medicine is not all based on ancient medical systems. Ancient medical treatises seriously wrong concepts and medications. Alternative medicine includes much of modern medicine in terms of understanding the nature and functions of the human body, let alone the pharmaceutical components.


Everything that occurs in the physical involves a transformation or transfer of energy.


One of the gross misconceptions of ancient science which persists to this day is that force is responsible for motion. The break from ancient physics occurred when it was realized that force causes acceleration (change in motion), not velocity (motion).


When light travels from one body to another, we cannot "see" that light. At night, for example, space is flooded sun light. Only that portion of it which is reflected back to our eyes from the moon and some planets affect us.


The so-called Second Law of Thermodynamics (SLT) states that a one hundred per cent efficient engine is impossible even in principle.


There are four fundamental forces in the physical world of considerably varying strengths. The weakest of these is gravitation. The solar system, our own galaxy, and all the galaxies, are held to one another because of gravitation. If gravitation weren't there, the various components of the universe would disperse away.


According to current physical theories, the four fundamental forces in the universe, and hence all matter as we know it, came into existence because of something called symmetry breaking.


Astrophysics informs us that eventually (a few billion years from now) out sun would have died, the earth would be orbiting in darkness, and, of course, there would be no life on any planet in the solar system.And the same would happen to every star and in every planetary system.


It is na´ve to think (as some cock-sure physicists do) that once all the fundamental fields are brought under a Grand Unified Theory, that would be the Theory of Everything, and then there will be nothing more left in the world to be explained!


According the famous Theory of Relativity (of Einstein), space and time are not (as used to be thought) separate and independent categories, but are intrinsically intertwined into the space-time continuum.


A common misconception is that science is the exploitation of nature for practical purposes. Science is merely an effort to understand and explain every aspect of the world around us.


In historical terms, few scientific theories last for ever. At the very least, they get modified and improved upon. At worst, they are rejected on the basis of later findings and insights.


Even the virulent critics of science, and philosophers who claim science does not reveal the Truth, continue to benefit from the fruits of science. No alternate mode of understanding the world has as yet produced anything whose practical value is greater than that based on science.


Ultimately our bodies are of made up of atoms. These enter the body through the food we eat and the air we breathe. They were once elsewhere on the planet. When we die, these atoms go back to the environment.


The difference between scientific and non-scientific explanations of phenomena lies in the coherence and consistency between theory and observation.


See V.1.10.


It is sometimes stated that we get our energy from oil, gas, coal, etc. This is only partially true. We cannot get eany energy from them if there is no oxygen.


When the nuclei of atoms merge with one another (fuse together), some matter disappears and vast amounts of energy are liberated. This process is continuously occurring in the core of our sun and other stars and is responsible for their light and heat.


For example, today it is impossible to be without the telephone system in New York, or computers in the country. These have become necessities. Yet, for long centuries we have lived without these.


Some people refuse to have children because they are bothersome, and impose a responsibility. They think they can live without children. However, when such people grow old the need the help of much younger people who have been brought up by other parents.


Nature creates many illusions, of which the size of stars and the rising and setting of the sun are but two examples.


This could well be a reason why very creature has to die.


The planet Pluto is some two billion miles from the sun. Yet it moves in its orbit in perfect accordance with the force of gravitation exerted on it by the sun.


Electromagnetic waves are known to pervade every nook and corner of physical space.


All impressions of time flow result from changes occurring in the physical world. In effect, there will be no flow of time if things never changed.


Changes are of two kinds: reversible and irreversible. The latter kinds result in the arrow of time, because such changes occur only along a single direction. The motion of a pendulum in a vacuum is an example of reversible changes. There is no arrow of time in..

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