October 2005 Archives

5 books significant in shaping my worldview

October 26, 2005

Responding to a reading list request at World Changing, here are 5 books that have been significant in shaping my worldview ("and how we can change it to be more sustainably prosperous, fair and free"), in no order:

  • Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (facing up to life's challenges stoically, bravely, without regard for one's size, power, cunning, etc.)
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel, J. Diamond (for the strength of his analysis as well as his conclusions)
  • Web of Life, F. Capra (understanding the non-linearity / connectedness of the world)
  • Hidden Words, Bahá'u'lláh (aphorisms that teach us how to be in relation to the Divine, to ourselves, and to the external world
  • Sand County Almanac, A. Leopold (recognizing the simple beauty, diversity, and relationships suffusing all aspects of life).

The last was a tossup between Sand County Almanac and a book called Laboratory Earth, but I decided that Sand County is more important for others to read than Laboratory, so Leopold wins — even though I'm only half way through the book. Also nearly making my list, but not quite fitting the specific request ("sustainably prosperous" part), was Bahá'u'llá's Kitáb'i'Aqdas.

What books would you choose? Post them in a comment below! And don't worry about the "sustainable" part, just focus on the books significant in shaping your worldview...

Winter's Coming...

October 23, 2005

... and we've been preparing, or preparing to prepare as the case may be. Cleaning up and winterizing are two of the fresh new chores that come along with a house, and take up time. But I don't really mind them (except for the sore shoulder/neck I have right now). Today I re-cleaned the gutters and installed wire mesh to keep leaves out (most of which are already down on the tree most relevant to our roof), mowed the grass, and planted some fresh seeds. You're supposed to plant grass in the fall and spring; I just hope this isn't too late in the fall. This week we'll work on "shrink-wrapping" the windows and installing insulation on all the water pipes in the basement. As soon as the hardware store has them back in stock, I'll be buying an H2O heater blanket. Doh! And I forgot to wrap the AC in a tarp today. Must do so soon.

Kashmir

October 11, 2005

I had an e-mail just two weeks ago from an interfaith activist in Muzzafarabad, Pakistan (probably spelled wrong). Not a personal message mind you, but a message to the United Religions Initiative global community. And we won't know for weeks or months if that person is alive. Such is the case for so many thousands of people in the rural areas of Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan.

After so many huge disasters, and with so much fear about the economy and winter heating and petrol bills, the need for humanitarian aid is even greater than ever, but with less "disposable" income to go around. But I hope that we can all find ways to pitch in, even if only by foregoing a couple of mochas or dinner out one evening. As a friend suggested, even $5 helps UNICEF. Please pitch in. Again.

Perhaps a silver lining to this tragedy will be a renewed urgency in resolving the Kashmir dispute, from whence came reports of fresh fighting between militants and the Indian army just last week.

Measuring Happiness

October 6, 2005

I've been without my iMac for almost a week now, which does not make me happy. The pleasure I derive from owning an Apple iMac has nothing to do with the money spent and everything to do with the quality of experience I receive. Similarly, I am far happier in my job now than I was at my last job in Austin — and this has everything to do with the kind and quality of work I do and the atmosphere it is in. The fact that moving from non-profit to for-profit raised my salary has little to no influence on my job satisfaction. And yet the government measures my "well-being" in purely economic terms — purely financial terms. What gives? Thankfully, some folks are working to measure the "softer" side of life.

White People's Burden

October 1, 2005

University of Texas professor Robert Jensen offers his analysis of the "white people's burden, saying in part, "That is the new White People's Burden, to understand that we are the problem, come to terms with what that really means, and act based on that understanding." He makes an interesting case, one that is completely lost on most of the commenters at this site. I suspect that many of the people responding so strongly against Jensen haven't had a good heart-to-heart with someone who has experienced racism and prejudice first-hand.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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