Sunday, August 3, 2008

Thoughts ... ... ... ...

• Just because you are in the drivers seat doesn’t mean you have to run people over

- from The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow

• Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity

- Seneca, Roman Philosopher

• I tried to imagine this scene: it is dawning and the father and small, sleepy Rabi [Rabindranath Tagore] stand facing the rising sun and singing the Upanishads.

The Upanishads are philosophical songs dating back 3000 years, but still vibrant, still present in India’s spiritual life. When I realized this, and thought about the small boy greeting the morning star with stanzas from the Upanishads, I doubted whether I could ever comprehend a country in which children start the day singing verses of philosophy

- Ryszard Kapuscinski in ‘Travels With Herodotus’

• Although the Hindi and the Chinese writing systems caused me equal difficulty, the behavior of people in the two countries could not have been more different. The Hindu is a relaxed being, while the Chinese is a tense and vigilant one. A crowd of Hindus is formless, fluid, slow; a crowd of Chinese is formed before you know it into disciplined marching lines. One senses that above a gathering of Chinese stands a commander, a higher authority, while above the multitude of Hindus hovers an Areopagus of innumerable and undemanding deities. If a throng of Hindus encounters something interesting, it stops, looks and begins discussing. In a similar situation, the Chinese will walk on, in close formation, obedient, their eyes fixed on a designated goal. The Hindus are significantly more ritualistic, mystical, religious. The realm of the spirit and its symbols is always close at hand in India, present, perceptible. Holy men wander along the roads; pilgrimages head for temples, the seats of the gods; masses gather at the feet of holy mountains, bathe in holy rivers, cremate the dead on holy pyres. The Chinese appear spiritually less ostentatious, significantly more discreet and closed. Instead of paying homage to gods, they concern themselves with observing proper etiquette; instead of holy men, works march along the roads.

Their faces too, I found are different. The face of a Hindu contains surprise; a red dot on the forehead, colorful patterns on cheeks, or a smile that reveals teeth stained dark brown. The face of a Chinese holds no such surprises. It is smooth and has unvarying features. It seems as if nothing could ruffle its surface. It is a face that communicates that it is hiding something about which we will know nothing and never will.

- Ryszard Kapuscinski in ‘Travels With Herodotus’

• After all, no one is stupid enough to prefer war to peace; in peace sons bury their fathers and in war fathers bury their sons

- Croesus to Cyrus

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