"everything is in flux and nothing abides; everything flows and nothing stays fixed; everything is constantly changing and nothing stays the same"
A Greek philosopher of Ephesus (near modern Kuşadası, Turkey) who was active around 500 BCE, Heraclitus propounded a distinctive theory which he expressed in oracular language. He is best known for his doctrines that things are constantly changing (universal flux), that opposites coincide (unity of opposites), and that fire is the basic material of the world. (Standord Encyclopedia)
"Nothing endures but change"
"All things are in flux...All are one."
"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man."
"Thinking is a sacred disease ."
"History is a child building a sand-castle by the sea, and that child is the whole majesty of man’s power in the world. "
"Logos is day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, surfeit and hunger. "
"That which always was, and is, and will be everlasting fire, the same for all, the cosmos, made neither by god nor man, replenishes in measure as it burns away. "
James Madison said of him: "George Mason possessed the greatest talents for debate of any man I have ever seen or heard speak."
Patrick Henry pronounced him and one other “the greatest statesmen I ever knew."
Thomas Jefferson on George Mason - "one, most steadfast, able and zealous; who was himself a host. This was George Mason, a man of the first order of wisdom among those who acted on the theatre of the revolution, of expansive mind, profound judgment, cogent in argument, learned in the lore of our former constitution, and earnest for the republican change on democratic principles."
Mason’s Declaration of Rights was as follows:
I. That all Men are by Nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent Rights, of which, when they enter into a State of Society, they cannot, by any Compact, deprive or divest their Posterity; namely, the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursuing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.
II. That all Power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the People; that Magistrates are their Trustees and Servants, and at all Times amenable to them.
III. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common Benefit, Protection, and Security, of the People, Nation, or Community; of all the various Modes and Forms of Government that is best, which is capable of producing the greatest Degree of Happiness and Safety, and is most effectually secured against the Danger of Maladministration; and that, whenever any Government shall be found inadequate or contrary to those Purposes, a Majority of the Community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible Right, to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such Manner as shall be judged conducive to the public weal.
IV. That no Man, or Set of Men, are entitled to exclusive or separate Emoluments or Privileges from the Community, but in Consideration of public Services; which, not being descendible, neither ought the Offices of Magistrate, Legislator, or Judge, to be hereditary.
V. That the legislative and executive Powers of the State should be separate and distinct from the Judicative; and, that the Members of the two first may be restrained from Oppression, by feeling and participating the Burthens of the People, they should at fixed Periods, be reduced to a private Station, return into that Body from which they were originally taken, and the Vacancies be supplied by frequent, certain, and regular Elections, in which all, or any Part of the former Members, to be again eligible, or ineligible, as the Laws shall direct.
VI. That Elections of Members to serve as Representatives of the People, in Assembly, ought to be free; and that all Men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common Interest with, and Attachment to, the Community, have the Right of Suffrage, and cannot be taxed or deprived of their Property for public uses without their own Consent or that of their Representatives so elected, nor bound by any Law to which they have not, in like Manner, assented, for the public Good.
VII. That all Power of Suspending Laws, or the Execution of Laws, by any Authority without Consent of the Representatives of the People, is injurious to their Rights, and ought not to be exercised.
VIII. That in all capital or criminal Prosecutions a Man hath a Right to demand the Cause and Nature of his Accusation, to be confronted with the Accusers and Witnesses, to call for Evidence in his Favour, and to a speedy Trial by an impartial Jury of his Vicinage, without whose unanimous Consent he cannot be found guilty, nor can he be compelled to give Evidence against himself; that no Man be deprived of his Liberty except by the Law of the Land, or the Judgment of his Peers.
IX. That excessive Bail ought not to be required, nor excessive Fines imposed; nor cruel and unusual Punishments inflicted.
X. That general Warrants, whereby any Officer or Messenger may be commanded to search suspected Places without evidence of a Fact committed, or to seize any Person or Persons not named, or whose Offense is not particularly described and supported by Evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.
XI. That in Controversies respecting Property, and in Suits between Man and Man, the ancient Trial by Jury is preferable to any other, and ought to be held sacred.
XII. That the Freedom of the Press is one of the greatest Bulwarks of Liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments.
XIII. That a well regulated Militia, composed of the Body of the People, trained to Arms, is the proper, natural, and safe Defence of a free State; that standing Armies, in Time of Peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to Liberty; and that, in all Cases, the Military should be under strict Subordination to, and governed by, the civil Power.
XIV. That the People have a Right to uniform Government; and therefore, that no Government separate from, or independent of, the Government of Virginia, ought to erected or established within the Limits thereof.
XV. That no free Government, or the Blessing of Liberty, can be preserved to any People but by a firm Adherence to Justice, Moderation, Temperance, Frugality, and Virtue, and by frequent Recurrence to fundamental Principles.
XVI. That Religion, or the Duty which we owe to our Creator and the Manner of discharging it, can be directed by Reason and Conviction, not by Force or Violence; and therefore, all Men are equally entitled to the free Exercise of Religion, according to the Dictates of Conscience; and that it is the mutual Duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love, and Charity towards each other.
Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and Dogmatism cannot confine it. (John Adams, letter to John Quincy Adams, November 13, 1816)
In his youth John Adams (1735-1826) thought to become a minister, but soon realized that his independent opinions would create much difficulty. At the age of twenty-one, therefore, he resolved to become a lawyer, noting that in following law rather than divinity, "I shall have liberty to think for myself without molesting others or being molested myself."
"God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in the world."
"The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those, calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come, when the mystical generation [birth] of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation [birth] of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." - to John Adams, Apr. 11, 1823
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot.... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind" - March 17, 1814
The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most dishonorable belief against the character of the Divinity, the most destructive to morality and the peace and happiness of man, that ever was propagated since man began to exist. (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason)
"What is it the New Testament teaches us? To believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married; and the belief of this debauchery is called faith."
"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not." (A Memorial and Remonstrance,1785)
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." -letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774
"In the affairs of the world, men are saved, not by faith, but by the lack of it."
". . . Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist."
"I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. The scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined on what we thought but what we did." - letter to his father, 1738
Historian Barry Schwartz writes: "George Washington's practice of Christianity was limited and superficial because he was not himself a Christian... He repeatedly declined the church's sacraments. Never did he take communion, and when his wife, Martha, did, he waited for her outside the sanctuary... Even on his deathbed, Washington asked for no ritual, uttered no prayer to Christ, and expressed no wish to be attended by His representative." [New York Press, 1987, pp. 174-175]
"Gouverneur Morris had often told me that General Washington believed no more of that system (Christianity) than did he himself." -Thomas Jefferson, in his private journal, Feb. 1800
Interviewer Opie Read once asked Lincoln about his conception of God, to which he replied: "The same as my conception of nature." When he was asked what he meant by that, he said: "That it is impossible for either to be personal."
"I never tire of reading Paine." - Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)
"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma."
In the birth of the American experiment there grew different roots. One root is the secular enlightment that was nurtured by Paine, Jefferson, and Franklin types and the other root is the puritan instinct that the Christian fundamentalists nurtured. One root is based on a secular Constitution influenced by the Enlightenment and the other is based on the Bible influenced by thousands of years of religious thought in pre-enlightenment society. These two roots have battled for the soil and the ability to grow to fruition in the same pot. They have been bumping clumsly into one another and making entwining compromises along the way.
Modern conservatism with its relatively recent success in politics has grown a taste for power and this power is easily corrupting the movement. It has become a form concerned with power rather than with the actual individual lives of its members. It is more interested in the spoils of power than the purity and principle of its own people.
History seems to indicate that religion is corrupted by state and government power and vice versa. Christianity seemed to be at its highest point in purity when it was persecuted and alienated. When the Emperor Constantine infused the church with money and power it is plain to see the corrupting impact it had on the church and its hierarchy. Once the church lost its vision to change and reach people on the inside through persuasion and integrity and switched its emphasis to political power and influence to change people on the outside through force and bullying it became a decadent form and a bastard child of its actual foundation.
Dante's Lamentation - "Ah, Constantine, how much evil you gave birth to, not in your conversion, but in that Donation that the first wealthy Pope, Sylvester, received from you!"
The New Testament Jesus seemed more concerned with judging those inside his flock than those outside. His target was not Pilate or Roman politicians but rather the spiritual leaders of his day. If Jesus of Nazareth entered the American scene it seems rather obvious that his targets would be greedy television preachers and sexually abusive priests than the likes of Obama or the Democratic party. His mission seemed more keen on changing peoples hearts than a political grab for power in Rome. To get really technical the historical Jesus, a bearded man who originated from Palestine, spoke Aramaic, and whose appearance would resemble very few people in the American South would ironically be a liability to the modern conservative politician on image alone. The irony itself is proof of its shallowness and decadence. It has lost its claim to universal truth when it has limited itself to only a specific time and a specific place in America.
Modern American conservatism has become so superficial and xenophobic that they would judge the historical Jesus as an outsider, "not like us", other, different, and perhaps a secret terrorist. The obvious truth is that the Palin rallies in Columbus Ohio in 2008 are very far away from Palestine 2,000 years ago. A modern American Chrisitan is altogether a different creature than the original faithful in ancient Palestine. This is a rather straight point but the fact that these people who claim to know and represent this Jesus cannot even think on this is a sign of the bankruptcy and intellectual dishonesty of this unexamined movement. It lacks "metacognition" the ability to think about itself in context and instead relies on the narrow limitations of its immediate surrouding. The decadence of American conservatism is that it has traded away its internal integrity for a play at power to force a standard of living on others that it fails to uphold in its own homes and congregations. It resembles not the historical Jesus or the New Testament version but a Jesus that is somehow an english speaking American that revels in power politics and money making schemes. Charlatans and political power lead the way to the frugal and passive Nazarene?
The hypocrisy is there to see but there is also another injustice. The murder of wisdom for the sake of the appearance of morality. So much wisdom is censored in the cause of this puritan instinct that aims to hide from human reality and break the mirrors that reflect ugly truths. To the christianist the mirrors are the enemy not the actual moral failings in the dark. Tupac Shakur was attacked for his raw music and language and he stated, "You censor me you censor the lessons I learned." He once told a person who confronted him about his harsh lyrics that when the community starts to clean up the ghetto he will start to clean up his language. Until then he was going to hold up the mirror and not suppress the injustice and ugliness that went on in the daily lives of people. Tupac despised Victorian polite society that had no problem doing the deed but dare not say it in public.
Hiding human frailty in the dark is corrupting because it censors lessons and wisdom and opens the door to more hypocrisy and ignorance in the day light. If American conservatism has the courage to expose itself in the light and risk political power for doing so it might be able to make its way back to the road of credibility. Until then the politics and the money reign supreme in the movement and the pursuit of bigger church memberships and the political will to power will override personal and private integrity as the priority.
Miss California Carrie Prejean is given an ovation by Pastor Miles McPherson, right, as she comes on stage at the Rock Church
A Victorian would be offended if one spoke of adultery openly but would be comfortable with performing the act in secret. Carrie Prejean is a good example of this. She speaks publicly about political and public morality but when lawyers showed her a tape of a woman masturbating on camera her response was that this was disgusting but then the lawyers let her know that the woman on the tape was her. I suppose it became less disgusting to Miss Prejean. This Neo-Victorianism is hyper compartmentalization. It cannot see beyond its bubbles of illusion and is so bent on hiding from its own humanity.
The Values? The main value is to deny the reality of the human being and body. It is the denial of human reality. They are hiding from the fragility and reality of humanity through the will to religious and political power. They hate the mirror of reality that exposes their compartmentalization and hypocrisy. They want to silence the artist, the scientist, and the intellectually honest who are facing the fragility and reality of what it means to be human. There is a glorification of humanity with no reflection or contemplation of the real limits of humanity. There is a rush to judgment and a lack of curiosity. There is a phobia of sex education but plenty of sex in the lives of their community and children. There is skepticism not of Religious Dogma but of Scientific Inquiry. There is morality but it is political not personal morality. There is a push for education as a means to job production not as a means to pursue the knowledge of reality and truth. There is a love of religion for making humans fallen angels who are the center of Gods attention but a hatred for Evolution which shows the reality of risen apes who are not the center of the Universe.
To be an intellectual and cosmopolitan is somehow anti-American but to celebrate ignorance and tribal identity is somehow patriotic. It is the corruption of Neo-Victorianism in American Culture and it is the enemy of those who love truth and the march of progress.
"Few people have the imagination for reality." -Goethe
"Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination." - Edward Abbey
"I always have to think too of a little boy sitting on the banks of a river in west Africa who has a worm boring through his eyeball, turning him blind before he's five years old. And I reply and say, "Well, presumably the God you speak about created the worm as well," and now, I find that baffling to credit a merciful God with that action." David Attenborough
The immense time of the evolution of life and the Cosmos is overwhelming to our evolved brains on Planet Earth. If we can combine imagination and science that is Einsteinian nobility. Religious stories are easier for the human mind to process because the stories revolve around the human and its limited history. The Scientific story is overwhelming because it challenges human solipsism and demands a more expansive perspective on the long and diverse history of natural and cosmic evolution.
Montaigne believed animals had something to teach humans and along that line I too think that animals past and present have something to teach in terms of theology. Sir Francis Bacon stated, "A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth man's minds about to religion." But in the light of modern science( the size and age of the Universe, and the age and evolutionary drama of planet earth) I would like to counter that quote. Now it is a problem of coping with what we have found out in the scope of geological time. A little imagination leads one to religion but when one really thinks and imagines with depth the Universe and Earth's evolutionary drama surely any typical religious concept of god becomes exposed as petty, provincial and limited.
One of the most resourceful and lasting species has been crocodiles and sharks and one thinks of the millions of years of their survival and how much depends on a vicious cycle of consumption. I knew a boy years ago who was taken down by a crocodile in front of his father. In a world such as this that existed before the evolution of modern humans one wonders what pleasure the christian god got out of the elemental evolutionary drama. A God who watches the sparrow fall has no problem overseeing this blood sport. His eye is on T-Rex and I know he is watching me? Not so comforting a thought is it. In the light of geological time the christian god makes no sense. It did not make sense even in the blink of an eye of human written history much less in evolutionary time. The created gods of the human mind are too small and petty for the grandeur of the stars and universe. Human gods do not even cover the scale of the earth and its history much less the universe. It used to be said that a little philosophy would lead to atheism but much philosophy would lead to religion. Again in the the light of modern science and natural history I would counter by saying a little knowledge and imagination leads to religion but greater knowledge and greater imagination leads to wonder and skepticism.
"A general problem with much of Western theology in my view is that the god portrayed is too small. It is a god of a tiny world and not a god of a galaxy much less of a universe." - Carl Sagan
"That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes. Which is more likely, that pain and evil are the result of an all-powerful and good God, or the product of uncaring natural forces? The presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection." Charles Darwin
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.
Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.
Camerado, this is no book. Who touches this, touches a man.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
The poet judges not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a helpless thing.
To the real artist in humanity, what are called bad manners are often the most picturesque and significant of all.
What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the words I have read in my life.
Be curious, not judgmental.
Come lovely and soothing death, Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving, In the day, in the night, to all, to each, Sooner or later, delicate death.
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done! The ship has weathered every wrack, the prize we sought is won
Praised be the fathomless universe, For life and joy and for objects and knowledge curious; And for love, sweet love — But praise! O praise and praise, For the sure-enwinding arms of cool-enfolding Death.
I see Hermes, unsuspected, dying, well-beloved, saying to the people, “Do not weep for me, This is not my true country, I have lived banished from my true country — I now go back there, I return to the celestial sphere where every one goes in his turn.”
Oh Me! Oh Life! of the questions recurring,
Answer That you are here - that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
Whispers of Heavenly Death by Walt Whitman
Whispers of heavenly death murmur'd I hear, Labial gossip of night, sibilant chorals, Footsteps gently ascending, mystical breezes wafted soft and low, Ripples of unseen rivers, tides of a current flowing, forever flowing, (Or is it the plashing of tears? the measureless waters of human tears?) I see, just see skyward, great cloud-masses, Mournfully slowly they roll, silently swelling and mixing, With at times a half-dimm'd sadden'd far-off star, Appearing and disappearing. (Some parturition rather, some solemn immortal birth; On the frontiers to eyes impenetrable, Some soul is passing over.)
Darest thou now O soul
Darest thou now O soul, Walk out with me toward the unknown region, Where neither ground is for the feet nor any path to follow?
No map there, nor guide, Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand, Nor face with blooming flesh, nor lips, nor eyes, are in that land.
I know it not O soul, Nor dost thou, all is a blank before us, All waits undream'd of in that region, that inaccessible land.
Till when the ties loosen, All but the ties eternal, Time and Space, Nor darkness, gravitation, sense, nor any bounds bounding us.
Then we burst forth, we float, In Time and Space O soul, prepared for them, Equal, equipt at last, (O joy! O fruit of all!) them to fulfil O soul.
The Importance of Connecting the Scientific Dots & Telling the Greatest Story Ever Discovered. The evolution of the Cosmos and the evolution of life on Earth deserve attention early and often in education.
"Telling a story is one of the most persuasive means of communication...How we persuade is how we deliver and tell our story to the jury. Storytelling is the most basic means of communication." -Gerry Spence, renowned Trial Attorney
Society needs Scientific Storytellers who can inspire young minds to greatness in thought and discovery. Science Education suffers in America because there lacks an early and interesting interdisciplinary approach to explain the origins and evolution of the Universe. Science education in public schools is failing to connect the dots and lacks the grand Cosmic story that fuels the flames of genius. We need more classes and more teachers who are able to present the greatest story in the Universe. From the big bang to big brains. Cosmic evolution and Earth life evolution need to be explained in a way that gives young minds a more expansive perspective in this life.
Unfortunately in parts of America it is taboo to even talk of Charles Darwin and evolution. With this cultural barrier young minds are being robbed of the amazing and inspiring true story of our place in the Cosmos. The Grand Story if told often and correctly to young minds has the potential to have a greater unifying impact on the way humans relate to each other than any other made up ideologies. Science at an early age can open one up to the wonder of the Universe but dogma at an early age can limit and close the mind to puddles of ideology when there is an ocean of knowledge waiting for someone to dare to know. Carl Sagan stated, "we make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers" and "We live on a hunk of rock and metal that circles a humdrum star that is one of 400 billion other stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy which is one of billions of other galaxies which make up a universe which may be one of a very large number, perhaps an infinite number, of other universes. That is a perspective on human life and our culture that is well worth pondering."
It is important to connect the A B C’s of science because it is possible to create more interest in science and give more humans a greater perspective of life on Earth and how our connections to life and each other are both deep and consequential. The Grand story of life in the Universe is a story that unites us and is greater than any smaller story of religion, culture or nation that divides the human species. As Sir Martin Rees stated Science is the truly Global Culture. It is compartmentalization and not connecting the dots that keeps even educated adults ignorant of the evolutionary history of life.
Education in America is only a means to a job and lacks vitality and innovation to be a force for wisdom and understanding. The possible benefits early interdisciplinary Science:
More scientific interest and innovation and greater awareness of what unites humans is an important meme for human society.
Religion has had its free reign to limit and divide the young minds at an early age. Religious stories do not compare with the Cosmic evolution story that science has to offer. The problem is that the religions have taken advantage of telling stories to the youth and connecting their religious dots. Religion has been telling a story early and often. Science is coming too late and in puzzling pieces for our youth. We are story telling primates and stories are what stay with us. Science needs more story tellers of the Cosmos on the origins and evolution of life in the Universe. We need them in our classrooms in elementary school. We are story telling apes and our stories have the power to influence our brains and our ideas.
Society is hiding the wonder and reality of the Universe from the children in America because our education system fails to connect the scientific dots and allows religion and cultural anti-intellectualism to bully our schools into silence.
Society is failing children by hiding the reality of the world from them and by not sharing the wonder of the story of Cosmic and Earth evolutionary history.
Sir Martin Rees - "I think it would be a real cultural deprivation if everyone could not share the mystery and wonder of the cosmos that modern science reveals to us the emergence, from simple beginnings, of stars and planets, and the intricate evolution on Earth of life and intelligence."
"After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn't it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it?" Richard Dawkins
"Humans are not the end result of predictable evolutionary progress, but rather a fortuitous cosmic afterthought, a tiny little twig on the enormously arborescent bush of life, which if replanted from seed, would almost surely not grow this twig again...But, you see, you don't see that unless you're willing to look at the history of life as the full range of its variation through time. I mean, it is true the most complex thing has gotten more complex. Once there were only bacteria. Now there are humans, but that's not the result of an intrinsic defining central drive. It's just a kind of random movement away from a necessary beginning at maximal bacterial simplicity. That's all it is.
The human mind delights in finding pattern—so much so that we often mistake coincidence or forced analogy for profound meaning. No other habit of thought lies so deeply within the soul of a small creature trying to make sense of a complex world not constructed for it... We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a 'higher' answer---but none exists."
"Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter" Dr. Martin Luther King
Author of Blog
Born in the United States of America. Spent my Childhood in Kenya, East Africa. Graduate of George Mason University in Global Affairs with a concentration in Africa and the Middle East. What I desire is not total agreement but thoughtful people. To share ideas and expand knowledge in the era of globalization.