Monthly Archives: March 2017

Quote for the Week

I think that with all the emphasis on achievement, careers and competitiveness, science education has become — with notable bright spots to be sure — a joyless, alienating and frustrating experience for millions and millions of kids.  There are those science-fair-winner types and then there’s the rest of the class, not grooving on the material and hence, they find out, doomed to mediocre futures. Seems like ambivalence and hostility aren’t such surprising responses to such a message. … I think things might go better if the narrative of our scientific understandings of nature — what some are calling “Big History” — were told early and often, capturing the interest and imagination of students from a young age. They might then be eager to learn the problem-solving, evidence-based process of scientific inquiry that has led to these understandings.

–Ursula Goodenough, “It’s Time For A New Narrative; It’s Time For ‘Big History'”, in 13.7: Cosmos & Culture (10 February 2011); courtesy of Wikiquote

Varèse for the Weekend

Quote for the Week

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The religion of the Sufi is not separate from the religions of the world. People have fought in vain about the names and lives of their saviors, and have named their religions after the name of their savior, instead of uniting with each other in the truth that is taught. This truth can be traced in all religions, whether one community calls another pagan or infidel or heathen. Such persons claim that theirs is the only scripture, and their place of worship the only abode of God. Sufism is a name applied to a certain philosophy by those who do not accept the philosophy; hence it cannot really be described as a religion; it contains a religion but is not itself a religion. Sufism is a religion if one wishes to learn religion from it. But it is beyond religion, for it is the light, the sustenance of every soul, raising the mortal being to immortality.

–Inayat Khan, in The Spiritual Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Vol. I, The Way of Illumination, Section I – The Way of Illumination, Part III : The Sufi; courtesy of Wikiquote

Quartet for the End of Time, by Messiaen

One Final Piece on Whitman

The above may–may–be the only existing sound recording of Walt Whitman himself.  The case is complicated, and you can read about it here.  Whether or not it is Walt himself, enjoy!

Farewell, My Fancy

Yesterday I completed publishing the entire Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.  It was a follow-up to my series publishing two different translations of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.  Back in November of last year I bogged down on blogging and temporarily abandoned daily updates of the blog.  I let the Daily Whitman series lapse, as well as the Friday music and the Sunday “Quote for the Week”.  Finally, a few weeks ago, I restarted everything.  I was closer to the end than I realized, and it seems like saying goodbye to an old friend to have Daily Whitman finally come to an end.

I will keep posting music on Fridays and quotes on Sundays.  I have a couple of possible contenders for daily poetry to post, but I haven’t made a decision yet.  I think it salutary to take a few days off and decide what I want to do, and then go from there.  In the meantime, I hope all of you who may be regular, semi-regular, or sporadic readers have enjoyed the Daily Whitman, and before it, the Rubá’í of the Day series.  Keep checking this space for poetry to come!

Daily Whitman

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Good-Bye My Fancy

  Good-bye my Fancy!
  Farewell dear mate, dear love!
  I'm going away, I know not where,
  Or to what fortune, or whether I may ever see you again,
  So Good-bye my Fancy.

  Now for my last—let me look back a moment;
  The slower fainter ticking of the clock is in me,
  Exit, nightfall, and soon the heart-thud stopping.

  Long have we lived, joy'd, caress'd together;
  Delightful!—now separation—Good-bye my Fancy.

  Yet let me not be too hasty,
  Long indeed have we lived, slept, filter'd, become really blended
      into one;
  Then if we die we die together, (yes, we'll remain one,)
  If we go anywhere we'll go together to meet what happens,
  May-be we'll be better off and blither, and learn something,
  May-be it is yourself now really ushering me to the true songs, (who
      knows?)
  May-be it is you the mortal knob really undoing, turning—so now finally,
  Good-bye—and hail! my Fancy.


The End

Daily Whitman

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Unseen Buds

  Unseen buds, infinite, hidden well,
  Under the snow and ice, under the darkness, in every square or cubic inch,
  Germinal, exquisite, in delicate lace, microscopic, unborn,
  Like babes in wombs, latent, folded, compact, sleeping;
  Billions of billions, and trillions of trillions of them waiting,
  (On earth and in the sea—the universe—the stars there in the
      heavens,)
  Urging slowly, surely forward, forming endless,
  And waiting ever more, forever more behind.

Quote for the Week

Math background

Pure mathematics consists entirely of assertions to the effect that, if such and such a proposition is true of anything, then such and such another proposition is true of that thing. It is essential not to discuss whether the first proposition is really true, and not to mention what the anything is, of which it is supposed to be true. Both these points would belong to applied mathematics. We start, in pure mathematics, from certain rules of inference, by which we can infer that if one proposition is true, then so is some other proposition. These rules of inference constitute the major part of the principles of formal logic. We then take any hypothesis that seems amusing, and deduce its consequences. If our hypothesis is about anything, and not about some one or more particular things, then our deductions constitute mathematics. Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. People who have been puzzled by the beginnings of mathematics will, I hope, find comfort in this definition, and will probably agree that it is accurate.

–Bertrand Russell, Recent Work on the Principles of Mathematics, published in International Monthly, Vol. 4 (1901), courtesy of Wikiquote

Daily Whitman

A beautiful forest at dusk.

Grand is the Seen

Grand is the seen, the light, to me—grand are the sky and stars,
  Grand is the earth, and grand are lasting time and space,
  And grand their laws, so multiform, puzzling, evolutionary;
  But grander far the unseen soul of me, comprehending, endowing all those,
  Lighting the light, the sky and stars, delving the earth, sailing
      the sea,
  (What were all those, indeed, without thee, unseen soul? of what
      amount without thee?)
  More evolutionary, vast, puzzling, O my soul!
  More multiform far—more lasting thou than they.