October 29th, 2007

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Thomas Merton -



Thomas Merton:

[P]sychologists have had some pretty rough things to say about the immaturity and narcissism of love in our marketing society, in which it is reduced to a purely egotistical need that cries out for immediate satisfaction or manipulates others more or less cleverly in order to get what it wants. But the plain truth is this: love is not a matter of getting what you want. Quite the contrary. The insistence on always having what you want, on always being satisfied, on always being fulfilled, makes love impossible. To love you have to climb out of the cradle, where everything is "getting," and grow up to the maturity of giving, without concern for getting anything special in return. Love is not a deal, it is a sacrifice. It is not marketing, it is a form of worship.
            In reality, love is a positive force, a transcendent spiritual power. It is, in fact, the deepest creative power in human nature. Rooted in the biological riches of our inheritance, love flowers spiritually as freedom and as a creature response to life in a perfect encounter with another person. It is a living appreciation of live as value and as gift. It responds to the full richness, the variety, the fecundity of living experience itself: it "knows" the inner mystery of life. It enjoys life as an inexhaustible fortune. Love estimates this fortune in a way that knowledge could never do. Love has its own wisdom, its own science, its own way of exploring the inner depths of life in the mystery of the loved person. Love knows, understands and meets the demands of life insofar as it responds with warmth, abandon and surrender.

Thomas Merton. "Love and Need" in Love and Living. Naomi Burton Stone and Brother Patrick Hart, editors. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979: 30-31

Thought to Remember:

Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone-we find it with another. We do not discover the secret of our lives merely by study and calculation in our own isolated meditations. The meaning of our life is a secret that has to be revealed to us in love, by the one we love.

Love and Living: 25.

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Connection -



I love this interview with a nun who blogs.   Check it out:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2007/10/29/findrelig.DTL


The cover of The Economist this week is: Brains, not Bullets.  How to fight future wars.

I find it fascinating in light of a president who is trying to drum up another war because Iran might be thinking of something.   Wow, scary stuff, and surely we remember the lies that brought us into Iraq.  

The article in The Economist says, "Western armies are good at destroying things.  Can they be made better at building them?"

    "A new manual on counter-insurgency co-authored by the man now in charge of the war in Iraq, General David Petraeus, overturns the notion that America doesn't "do nation-building."  Counter-insurgency, it says, is "armed social work." It requires more brain than brawn, more patience than aggression.  The model soldier should be less science-fiction Terminator and more intellectual for "the graduate level of war", preferably a linguist, with a sense of history and anthropology."

    Imagine that.  Our troops have to be better trained and educated than our president.

   
The article also points out that, "If the West wants to build a smarter army of the future, it will have to pay for it."

    Bush's idea that we can fight wars and not raise taxes makes no sense,  as we, who pay our own bills,  all know.  Maybe sanity and rationality can return when we get our "regime change"  next November. 

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Paul Krugman on fear -



 Fearing Fear Itself
    By Paul Krugman
    The New York Times

    Monday 29 October 2007

    In America's darkest hour, Franklin Delano Roosevelt urged the nation not to succumb to "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror." But that was then.

    Today, many of the men who hope to be the next president - including all of the candidates with a significant chance of receiving the Republican nomination - have made unreasoning, unjustified terror the centerpiece of their campaigns.

    Consider, for a moment, the implications of the fact that Rudy Giuliani is taking foreign policy advice from Norman Podhoretz, who wants us to start bombing Iran "as soon as it is logistically possible."

    Mr. Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary and a founding neoconservative, tells us that Iran is the "main center of the Islamofascist ideology against which we have been fighting since 9/11." The Islamofascists, he tells us, are well on their way toward creating a world "shaped by their will and tailored to their wishes." Indeed, "Already, some observers are warning that by the end of the 21st century the whole of Europe will be transformed into a place to which they give the name Eurabia."

    Do I have to point out that none of this makes a bit of sense?

    For one thing, there isn't actually any such thing as Islamofascism - it's not an ideology; it's a figment of the neocon imagination. The term came into vogue only because it was a way for Iraq hawks to gloss over the awkward transition from pursuing Osama bin Laden, who attacked America, to Saddam Hussein, who didn't. And Iran had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11 - in fact, the Iranian regime was quite helpful to the United States when it went after Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan.

    Beyond that, the claim that Iran is on the path to global domination is beyond ludicrous. Yes, the Iranian regime is a nasty piece of work in many ways, and it would be a bad thing if that regime acquired nuclear weapons. But let's have some perspective, please: we're talking about a country with roughly the G.D.P. of Connecticut, and a government whose military budget is roughly the same as Sweden's.

    Meanwhile, the idea that bombing will bring the Iranian regime to its knees - and bombing is the only option, since we've run out of troops - is pure wishful thinking. Last year Israel tried to cripple Hezbollah with an air campaign, and ended up strengthening it instead. There's every reason to believe that an attack on Iran would produce the same result, with the added effects of endangering U.S. forces in Iraq and driving oil prices well into triple digits.

    Mr. Podhoretz, in short, is engaging in what my relatives call crazy talk. Yet he is being treated with respect by the front-runner for the G.O.P. nomination. And Mr. Podhoretz's rants are, if anything, saner than some of what we've been hearing from some of Mr. Giuliani's rivals.

    Thus, in a recent campaign ad Mitt Romney asserted that America is in a struggle with people who aim "to unite the world under a single jihadist Caliphate. To do that they must collapse freedom-loving nations. Like us." He doesn't say exactly who these jihadists are, but presumably he's referring to Al Qaeda - an organization that has certainly demonstrated its willingness and ability to kill innocent people, but has no chance of collapsing the United States, let alone taking over the world.

    And Mike Huckabee, whom reporters like to portray as a nice, reasonable guy, says that if Hillary Clinton is elected, "I'm not sure we'll have the courage and the will and the resolve to fight the greatest threat this country's ever faced in Islamofascism." Yep, a bunch of lightly armed terrorists and a fourth-rate military power - which aren't even allies - pose a greater danger than Hitler's panzers or the Soviet nuclear arsenal ever did.

    All of this would be funny if it weren't so serious.

    In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration adopted fear-mongering as a political strategy. Instead of treating the attack as what it was - an atrocity committed by a fundamentally weak, though ruthless adversary - the administration portrayed America as a nation under threat from every direction.

    Most Americans have now regained their balance. But the Republican base, which lapped up the administration's rhetoric about the axis of evil and the war on terror, remains infected by the fear the Bushies stirred up - perhaps because fear of terrorists maps so easily into the base's older fears, including fear of dark-skinned people in general.

    And the base is looking for a candidate who shares this fear.

    Just to be clear, Al Qaeda is a real threat, and so is the Iranian nuclear program. But neither of these threats frightens me as much as fear itself - the unreasoning fear that has taken over one of America's two great political parties.