Tag Archives: participation

Give and Take

From Swami Satchidananda’s translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita:

Cherished by your spirit of sacrifice, the gods give you everything you want. (But remember) whoever receives gifts from the gods without offering anything back is a thief.

To take one hundred percent and give nothing in return is to be a thief.
To take one hundred percent and give only fifty percent is to be a debtor.
To take one hundred percent and give one hundred percent is to be a good business person.
To give one hundred percent and take only fifty percent is to be a righteous person.
To give one hundred percent and take nothing in return is to be a saint or a yogi.

We should always examine our transactions and discover in which category we put ourselves.

— Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Three, Verse Twelve

Share This:

Upon Being Invited to Study the Great Books Online

Thanks for the invitation. I must say, having looked into facilitating my own Great Books curriculum at several times in the past, that the concept is neither unfamiliar to me, nor uninviting. However, my reason for declining at present has little to do with the scope of the program, but more with the medium. I have participated in a number of online study groups, interest groups, etc., over the past ten years, and have found that while they do promote a degree of intellectual stimulation, and do foster a sense of camaraderie among participants, they by their very nature limit the exchange of ideas because they have as their foundation a sense of anonymity. It is very easy to expound one’s ideas, and wax philosophic, in the vacuum of not having to look another person in the eye. It is gratifying, particularly to one’s ego, to have the group linger on a thread of your own creation for endless iterations. However, too often it seems that is where it ends. Having a cluster of pen-pals, so to speak, does not improve my opportunity to have intellectual (or otherwise stimulating) conversations in real life, with people that I encounter in the flesh on a daily basis. Without that level of personal contact, having an exchange of ideas to me is stale and flat.

I don’t say that this particular curriculum or this forum will lead to that end. For me, however, particularly since my own meaning of an educated liberal extends FAR beyond the narrow, and one might even say, self-destructive, confines of Western culture, that at this point in my life, your group is not for me. It smacks too much of knowledge for the sake of knowledge alone, as some kind of barometer by which one can compare one’s education to others and somehow feel more justified in holding opinions, and grasping the illusory reins of control over a life that to be understood must be tasted in the flesh, rather than by sucking the aged marrow from its volumes of bones.

That’s a long way of saying, thanks, but no thanks.

However, I wish you success in this venture, and again, appreciate the invitation.

Share This:

My Generation Waits

They do not call us Boomers,
born too late to wear that name,
and Generation X we’re not
having slipped into life a bit too soon

Each generation bides its time
Seeking its voice and words to say
But in the waiting we seem stuck
Adrift in some self-wrought malaise

The roll of my peers, so much caught up
in decades outside our recall —

the sixties, that we barely saw

the seventies, our childhood strife

the eighties, when we came of age,
barely surviving the complaisance of greed

the nineties, that we’d lief forget

And in the absence of great cause,
we manufacture strife and angst
to disenfranchise our own selves,
disown our own, and silent, sleep

While other generations’ seers
and sages, poets, pens now silent, lost
await rebirth among our ranks

I call them out and wonder why
they do not answer, are not found:

Faulkner, Cummings, Hesse, Frost
Williams, Roethke, Breton, Plath
Lewis, Huxley, Sanburg, Hughes
Cassady, Steinbeck, Fleming, White
Eliot, Cocteau, O’Connor, Maugham

must you all wait, in restless graves,
denied rebirth this time around?

01 MAY 2004

Share This: