My Thoughts and Musings

I just finished reading the book "The Case for Democracy" by Natan Sharansky. It reminded me of something I am coming to realize more and more. That a life is more valuable if it is lived for a purpose. As I mature, I realize that I must express my ideals in my life, and not keep them to myself. I must not be afraid to speak out publicly for what I believe.

As a young adult, I had lived in fear that expressing my thoughts would cause people to not like me. Quite the contrary, I am finding! As I express my beliefs today, allowing room for others to do the same, I am finding that people actually like me MORE! What a surprise. This knowledge is so empowering!

Iraq

I believe that America is doing the right thing in Iraq. I believe that giving a people the idea that they can have freedom is the right thing to do. Putting down a tyrant such as Saddam Hussein and his ilk serves the cause of humanity.

Forgiveness

For me, forgiveness is the hardest thing to do. They say you need to forgive yourself first, and I never can seem to do that. So it follows that I find it hard to forgive others. I haven't stopped working on it, but it is so hard.

Friends

After a while, friends feel exactly the same as family, except that you like them all!

Family

Family are what keeps you whole. They are the ones who make you feel that you belong somewhere. They are the ones that you shouldn't--but do--take for granted.

Weight

When I am overweight, I feel like my worth is zero, and when I am at a healthy weight, I feel that I am more valuable. This really makes it hard when I'm trying to lose weight. How can I be good to myself by working hard to maintain proper weight when I think I have no value!

Beauty

Every person on earth is beautiful. And so is every animal, every tree, rock and everything! The beauty in this universe is unending and becomes more incredible, the more we are able to see of it.

Retirement

When should we retire? When we arbitrarily force men and women to "retire" at 65 - as we do more and more in our closely geared society - we are offering some of them a blessing, and others a curse.

It seems to me that, just as we require candidates for serious jobs to take application tests, we ought to provide the same individual scale for candidates for retirement, and not banish so many people by some generalized ruling that is grossly unfair.

In the arts and sciences, for instance, where activity can flourish without the heavy hand of the payroll depatment on its windpipe, the history of achievement includes some of the greatest masterpieces of all time.

If Kant had been forced to "retire" even at 70, his "Anthropology," "Metaphysics and Ethics," and "Strife of the Faculties" would have remained unwritten.

If Tintoretto had been put on the shelf at 70, he never would have painted his magnificent and tremendous "Paradise," a canvas extending 75 feet by 30, which he completed at age 74.

And Verdi at the same ripe age, composed his most profound opera, "Othello" - and 11 years later, at 85, he gave us his "Ave Maria."

If Lamarck had been swept into the dust-bin even as late as 75, he would not have completed his classic work in zoology, "The Natural History of Invertebrates," which came out when he was 78.

Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote his most charming and pungent book, "Over the Teacups," when he was 79. And, most remarkably of all, Titian painted his priceless "Battle of Lepanto" at the age of 98!

NOW, THERE

is no reason to believe that men and women in the arts and sciences retain (or even augment) their talents more than persons in other fields. The distributional curve of abilities must be pretty much the same along the age-scale in any occupation not calling for intense physical exertion.

Some people, it is true, may become senile in their 70s; others may already have been senile in their 40s, but nobody knew it; while still others may retain their keenness, and improve their judgment, as Goethe did, whose final book, "Dichtung under Wahreit," the supreme distillation of his thought, was finished a year before he died at the age of 83.

A person who wants to retire should certainly be given the opportunity; but the one who wants to carry on deserves the same consideration, if in the opinion of peers and colleagues, he or she is capable of doing so. We rob ourselves of much talent by any compulsory rejection by age.

Reprinted with thanks to Sydney J. Harris from a column of his which appeared in the 1960s, and apologies for slight alteration in pronouns relating to gender.

Puzzle

In what language is the following written?

What does it say?

HERESTO PANDS PEN DASOCI ALHOU RINHAR MLES SMIRT HAND FUNL ETFRI ENDS HIPRE IGN BEJUS TAND KINDAN DEVILS PEAK OF NO NE.