Tag Archives: The Perennial Philosophy

LJ Interests Meme Results

Borrowed from Ed Book. After reading his results, I was intringued, but did not imagine that my own results would prove equally as insightful. I’m really quite surprised at how closely this set of ten selected interests REALLY sums up a good part of who I am.

  1. bukowski:
    Poetry, in a world that discounts art, that praises mediocrity, that devalues beauty by worshipping youth, is not pretty. That to me is the lesson of Bukowski. Combine that with his general philosophy that great writers are born, not made, and I’m hooked.
  2. dictionaries:
    Words, words and more words. For a time, I used to read the dictionary for relaxation. Words have power; to know the name of a thing is to control it. Likewise, to know the origin of a word is to understand your own history. I’ve always been fascinated with learning new words, new ideas, new facts.
  3. gil scott-heron:
    The power of the word to fuel a revolution. The tangible strength of the spoken voice to connect the earth to the sky and rumble the foundations of power. I remember the first time I listened to “Small Talk at 125th and Lenox” all the way through; it was not just the stuff of revolution, it was revelation. This was what poetry, when harnessed to will and a microphone, was capable of doing. This was slam without competition; this was performance.
  4. india:
    Apparently, my first word was “elephant”. I have always been drawn to India: her people, her languages, her diversity, her religions, her extremes, her history.

    Om namah shivaya

  5. lefty frizzell:
    Wow. So far, this interests grabber is right on the money. Lefty Frizzell represents the clarity, phrasing, intelligence, humor and lyricism of traditional country. He is one of my all-time country music idols, and paved the way for many others – Willie, Merle, George Jones, Roger Miller, and me.
  6. perennial philosophy:
    This phrase, used but probably not first coined by Aldous Huxley in his book, sums up my life’s spiritual quest: to find the common threads that run through all religious traditions; to seek the truth that does not fade although its names change from generation to generation; to learn to appreciate the journey spent along the shore communing with the ocean, rather than grasping for a single grain of sand to call the answer.
  7. revolution:
    To change the world by changing oneself; to call for a reinforcement of evolution; to participate in the world at the speed of now, moving with the spheres as they revolve. To constantly challenge the status quo; to resist the urge to stay self-satisfied; to never be satisfied with “because it’s always been that way” or “you can’t fight City Hall” or “no fish ever got caught, ‘cept it opened its mouth”.
  8. sonnets:
    So short, so simple, so compact, those fourteen little lines. Ah, you can take your Milton, Steven Vincent Benet, Longfellow, Poe, Pope and other such longwinded fellows; and give it to me sweet and intricate. To master the sonnet is to understand what it means to call poetry an art form. It is to appreciate the limitations of language, and at the same time, comprehend its infinity. That’s not an easy lesson to learn, absorb or accept.
  9. vedanta:
    Two of the most influential books in my life have been “The Gospel According to Sri Ramakrishna” and “The Complete Writings of Vivekananda”. It’s my understanding that these two sources form the basis for much of what is called “modern” Hinduism. Certainly, this was the form that reached the West, and has influenced so many of the writers and thinkers that I love and respect.
  10. zen:
    The first Eastern religion that I attempted to practice was Zen Buddhism. It represents, to me, cutting through illusion and simply living in each moment; applying the principle of Occam’s Razor to each and every act, each breath, each word.

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Today’s Potent Quote …

The difference between the mortified, but still proud and self-centered stoic and the unmortified hedonist consists in this: the latter, being flabby, shiftless and at heart rather ashamed of himself, lacks the energy and the motive to do much harm except to his own body, mind and spirit; the former, because he has all the secondary virtues and looks down on those who are not like himself, is morally equipped to wish and to be able to do harm on the very largest scale and with a perfectly untroubled conscience. These are obvious facts; and yet, in the current religious jargon of our day the word “immoral” is reserved almost exclusively for the carnally self-indulgent. The covetous and the ambitious, the respectable toughs and those who cloak their lust for power and place under the right sort of idealistic cant, are not merely unblamed; they are even held up as models of virtue and godliness. The representatives of the organized churches begin by putting haloes on the heads of the people who do most to make wars and revolutions, then go on, rather plaintively, to wonder why the world should be in such a mess.
— Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy

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More on the Artist Within …

The poet’s or the painter’s vision of the divine in nature, the worshipper’s awareness of a holy presence in the sacrament, symbol or image – these are not entirely subjective. True, such perceptions cannot be had by all perceivers, for knowledge is a function of being; but the thing known is independent of a mode and nature of the knower. What the poet and painter see, and try to record for us, is actually there, waiting to be apprehended by anyone who has the right kind of faculties.
— Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy

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Today’s Potent (Seed) Thought

The politics of those whose goal is beyond time are always pacific; it is the idolaters of past and future, of reactionary memory and Utopian dream, who do the persecuting and make wars…The philosophy that rationalizes war and military training is always (whatever the official religion of the politicians and war makers) some wildly unrealistic doctrine of national, racial or ideological idolatry, having, as its inevitable corollaries, the notions of Herrenvolk* and “the lesser breeds without the Law.”
Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy

* Translation from German: “Nation of the Masters”

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