Monthly Archives: December 2010

De Tocqueville: A middle-class passion for comfort

Are middle-class people obsessed with comfort? Below are observations from Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat who visited the U.S. in the 1830s.  He said: In America… carefully to satisfy even the least wants of the body, and to … Continue reading

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Desmond Morris on external threats (true & false)

How do baboons deal with an external threat?  Is it similar to how human politicians do it? Here’s what primate researcher  Desmond Morris once said about this: It is always the dominant baboon that is in the forefront of the … Continue reading

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Swami Vivekananda on “work”

If you’ve ever admired someone who was hard-working, unselfish, full of energy– someone reliable, trustworthy, inspiring to be around– then you might enjoy this quotation: “Man works with various motives; there cannot be work without motive.  Some people want to … Continue reading

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Chögyam Trungpa on honoring one’s roots

I used to hear stories about my teacher encouraging Fijians and Native Australians to honor their cultural heritages.  And doing the same with his students of Japanese, African, Jewish or other ethnic origin.  I used to wonder about that — … Continue reading

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Systemantics – how systems work… and fail

Have you ever joined an organization or setup a system of some kind, got very busy working for it, and one day — perhaps after many years — realized something was just not right? Below are some rules about systems … Continue reading

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“Mana” in Fiji (& other native cultures)

In 1977, an American researcher visited Fiji to study traditional healing.  He encountered a vast array of charlatans before finding an elder who was both a chief and seemed to be a real healer.  For a long time the elder … Continue reading

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Jamgön Kongtrül: intensifying devotion in one’s heart

Are we making good use of our lives, and being genuine?  What follows is part of a Buddhist supplication, written in the 1800s, that touches on these issues: “There is no one on earth who will not die. Even now, … Continue reading

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