May 30, 2012
May 30, 2012
May 24, 2012
May 24, 2012
Five Centuries Ahead of the West
In Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Dr. Peter Lu was astonished by the beauty and complex geometry in the tiling of Abdullah Khan Madrasa, and decided to further investigate.
Dr. Lu (Harvard) and Dr. Steinhardt (Princeton) state that Islamic designers had mastered techniques ‘to construct nearly perfect quasicrystalline Penrose patterns, five centuries before their discovery in the West.’
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) may have been the earliest European who explored non-repeating symmetries. But it was not until the 1970’s that Roger Penrose described the mathematics of interlocking polygons whose pattern never repeats: quasicrystal geometry. “It shows us a culture that we often don’t credit enough and was far more advanced than we ever thought,” said Dr. Peter Lu. “They made tilings that reflect mathematics that were so sophisticated that we didn’t figure out until the last 20 or 30 years.”
May 23, 2012
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
as a golden sword,
as lascivious velvet,
and full of wonder,
never has one goblet contained you,
one song, one man,
you are choral, gregarious,
at the least, you must be shared.
you feed on mortal
your wave carries us
from tomb to tomb,
stonecutter of icy sepulchers,
and we weep
blood rises through the shoots,
wind incites the day,
nothing is left
of your immutable soul.
stirs the spring, happiness
bursts through the earth like a plant,
and rocky cliffs,
as song is born.
A jug of wine, and thou beside me
in the wilderness,
sang the ancient poet.
Let the wine pitcher
add to the kiss of love its own.
My darling, suddenly
the line of your hip
becomes the brimming curve
of the wine goblet,
your breast is the grape cluster,
your nipples are the grapes,
the gleam of spirits lights your hair,
and your navel is a chaste seal
stamped on the vessel of your belly,
your love an inexhaustible
cascade of wine,
light that illuminates my senses,
the earthly splendor of life.
But you are more than love,
the fiery kiss,
the heat of fire,
more than the wine of life;
the community of man,
chorus of discipline,
abundance of flowers.
I like on the table,
when we’re speaking,
the light of a bottle
of intelligent wine.
and remember in every
drop of gold,
in every topaz glass,
in every purple ladle,
that autumn labored
to fill the vessel with wine;
and in the ritual of his office,
let the simple man remember
to think of the soil and of his duty,
to propagate the canticle of the wine.
May 23, 2012
“This is not to say that what has come to be called modern standard (ie modern classical) Arabic is exactly the same as that of the Quran, 14 centuries ago. It isn’t the same: although the Quran remains a much-studied text, its language (as in the example of the classical speaker I gave above) is an antique, even stilted and for daily life unusable, and compared to the modern prose used everywhere today resembles a very “high” sounding prose-poetry. The modern classical is the result mainly of a fascinating modernisation of the language that begins during the last decades of the 19th century — the period of the Nahda, or renaissance — carried out mainly by a group of men in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt (a striking number of them Christian) who set themselves the collective task of bringing Arabic as a language into the modern world by modifying and somewhat simplifying its syntax, through the process of Arabising (isti’rab) the 7th century original, that is introducing such words as “train” and “company” and “democracy” and “socialism” that couldn’t have existed during the classical period, and by excavating the language’s immense resources through the technical grammatical process of al-qiyas, or analogy (a subject brilliantly discussed by Stekevych who demonstrates in minute detail how Arabic’s grammatical laws of derivation were mobilised by the Nahda reformers to absorb new words and concepts into the system without in any way upsetting it); thereby, in a sense, these men forced on classical Arabic a whole new vocabulary, which is roughly 60 per cent of today’s classical standard language.”
May 20, 2012
All I ask is that you stay the same.
Dont change for anyone or anythinG.
Hold on and hold on tight..
For your soul is only most radiant when it shows its true depths and its own waves.
Dont drown it dont suffocate it dont let it be stamped upon by the harsh winds of the earth. The winds are meant only to whip you this way and that so every angle of your beauty shines in every form and color possible.
Be lenient to the waves but never let them break you.
May 15, 2012
BACK IN 1958, JOHN STEINBECK, AUTHOR OF EAST OF EDEN, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, AND OF MICE AND MEN, GOT A LETTER FROM HIS TEENAGE SON THOM, IN WHICH THOM CONFESSED THAT HE HAD FALLEN DESPERATELY IN LOVE WITH A GIRL NAMED SUSAN AT HIS BOARDING SCHOOL.
STEINBECK WROTE THIS WISE AND WONDERFUL LETTER BACK TO HIM THE SAME DAY…
NOVEMBER 10, 1958
WE HAD YOUR LETTER THIS MORNING. I WILL ANSWER IT FROM MY POINT OF VIEW AND OF COURSE ELAINE WILL FROM HERS.
FIRST — IF YOU ARE IN LOVE — THAT’S A GOOD THING — THAT’S ABOUT THE BEST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE. DON’T LET ANYONE MAKE IT SMALL OR LIGHT TO YOU.
SECOND — THERE ARE SEVERAL KINDS OF LOVE. ONE IS A SELFISH, MEAN, GRASPING, EGOTISTICAL THING WHICH USES LOVE FOR SELF-IMPORTANCE. THIS IS THE UGLY AND CRIPPLING KIND. THE OTHER IS AN OUTPOURING OF EVERYTHING GOOD IN YOU — OF KINDNESS AND CONSIDERATION AND RESPECT — NOT ONLY THE SOCIAL RESPECT OF MANNERS BUT THE GREATER RESPECT WHICH IS RECOGNITION OF ANOTHER PERSON AS UNIQUE AND VALUABLE. THE FIRST KIND CAN MAKE YOU SICK AND SMALL AND WEAK BUT THE SECOND CAN RELEASE IN YOU STRENGTH, AND COURAGE AND GOODNESS AND EVEN WISDOM YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU HAD.
YOU SAY THIS IS NOT PUPPY LOVE. IF YOU FEEL SO DEEPLY — OF COURSE IT ISN’T PUPPY LOVE.
BUT I DON’T THINK YOU WERE ASKING ME WHAT YOU FEEL. YOU KNOW BETTER THAN ANYONE. WHAT YOU WANTED ME TO HELP YOU WITH IS WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT — AND THAT I CAN TELL YOU.
GLORY IN IT FOR ONE THING AND BE VERY GLAD AND GRATEFUL FOR IT.
THE OBJECT OF LOVE IS THE BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL. TRY TO LIVE UP TO IT.
IF YOU LOVE SOMEONE — THERE IS NO POSSIBLE HARM IN SAYING SO — ONLY YOU MUST REMEMBER THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE VERY SHY AND SOMETIMES THE SAYING MUST TAKE THAT SHYNESS INTO CONSIDERATION.
GIRLS HAVE A WAY OF KNOWING OR FEELING WHAT YOU FEEL, BUT THEY USUALLY LIKE TO HEAR IT ALSO.
IT SOMETIMES HAPPENS THAT WHAT YOU FEEL IS NOT RETURNED FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER — BUT THAT DOES NOT MAKE YOUR FEELING LESS VALUABLE AND GOOD.
LASTLY, I KNOW YOUR FEELING BECAUSE I HAVE IT AND I’M GLAD YOU HAVE IT.
WE WILL BE GLAD TO MEET SUSAN. SHE WILL BE VERY WELCOME. BUT ELAINE WILL MAKE ALL SUCH ARRANGEMENTS BECAUSE THAT IS HER PROVINCE AND SHE WILL BE VERY GLAD TO. SHE KNOWS ABOUT LOVE TOO AND MAYBE SHE CAN GIVE YOU MORE HELP THAN I CAN.
AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT LOSING. IF IT IS RIGHT, IT HAPPENS — THE MAIN THING IS NOT TO HURRY. NOTHING GOOD GETS AWAY.
May 10, 2012
“Jesus on the lean donkey”
Jesus on the lean donkey,
this is an emblem of how the rational intellect
should control the animal-soul.
Let your spirit
be strong like Jesus.
If that part becomes weak,
then the worn-our donkey grows to a dragon
Be grateful when what seems unkind
comes from a wise person.
Once, a holy man,
riding his donkey, saw a snake crawling into
a sleeping man’s mouth! He hurried, but he couldn’t
prevent it. He hit the man several blows with his club.
The man woke terrified and ran beneath an apple tree
With many rotten apples on the ground.
You miserable wretch! Eat.”
“Why are you doing this to me?”
“Eat more, you fool.”
“I’ve never seen you before!
Who are you? Do you have some inner quarrel with my soul?”
The wise man kept forcing him to eat, and then he ran him.
For hours he whipped the poor man and made him run.
Finally, at nightfall, full of rotten apples,
fatigued, bleeding, he fell
and vomited everything,
the good and the bad, the apples and the snake.
When he saw that ugly snake
Come out of himself, he fell on his knees
before his assailant.
“Are you Gabriel? Are you God?
I bless the moment you first noticed me. I was dead
and didn’t know it. You’ve given me a new life.
Everything I’ve said to you was stupid!
I didn’t know”
“If I had explained what I was doing,
you might have panicked and died of fear.
‘If I described the enemy that lives
Inside men, even the most courageous would be paralyzed. No one
would go out, or do any work. No one would pray or fast,
and all power to change would fade
from human beings’
so I kept quiet
while I was beating you, that like David
I might shape iron, so that, impossibly,
I might put feathers back into a bird’s wing.
God’s silence is necessary, because of humankind’s
faintheartedness. If I had told you about the snake,
you wouldn’t have been able to eat, and if
you hadn’t eaten, you wouldn’t have vomited.
I saw your condition and drove my donkey hard
into the middle of it, saying always under my breath,
‘Lord, make it easy on him.’ I wasn’t permitted
to tell you, and I wasn’t permitted to stop beating you!”
The healed man, still kneeling,
“I have no way to thank you for the quickness
of your wisdom and the strength of your guidance.
God will thank you.”
The Essential Rumi – translated by Coleman Barks – Page 202-203.