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Tom Allen

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  • 2022-08-12 8:52 AM | Thomas
    Conscience is a man's compass, and though the needle sometimes deviates, though one often perceives irregularities when directing one's course by it, one must still try to follow its direction.

      --Vincent van Gogh, painter (1853-1890)

    (92:2.6) Religion has at one time or another sanctioned all sorts of contrary and inconsistent behavior, has at some time approved of practically all that is now regarded as immoral or sinful. Conscience, untaught by experience and unaided by reason, never has been, and never can be, a safe and unerring guide to human conduct. Conscience is not a divine voice speaking to the human soul. It is merely the sum total of the moral and ethical content of the mores of any current stage of existence; it simply represents the humanly conceived ideal of reaction in any given set of circumstances.

    (100:1.5) The soil essential for religious growth presupposes a progressive life of self-realization, the co-ordination of natural propensities, the exercise of curiosity and the enjoyment of reasonable adventure, the experiencing of feelings of satisfaction, the functioning of the fear stimulus of attention and awareness, the wonder-lure, and a normal consciousness of smallness, humility. Growth is also predicated on the discovery of selfhood accompanied by self-criticism—conscience, for conscience is really the criticism of oneself by one's own value-habits, personal ideals.

    (101:0.3) Religion, the conviction-faith of the personality, can always triumph over the superficially contradictory logic of despair born in the unbelieving material mind. There really is a true and genuine inner voice, that "true light which lights every man who comes into the world." And this spirit leading is distinct from the ethical prompting of human conscience. The feeling of religious assurance is more than an emotional feeling. The assurance of religion transcends the reason of the mind, even the logic of philosophy. Religion is faith, trust, and assurance.

    (110:5.1) Do not confuse and confound the mission and influence of the Adjuster with what is commonly called conscience; they are not directly related. Conscience is a human and purely psychic reaction. It is not to be despised, but it is hardly the voice of God to the soul, which indeed the Adjuster's would be if such a voice could be heard. Conscience, rightly, admonishes you to do right; but the Adjuster, in addition, endeavors to tell you what truly is right; that is, when and as you are able to perceive the Monitor's leading.

        Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who posthumously became one of the most famous and influential figures in Western art history. In a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and self-portraits, and are characterised by bold colours and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. He was not commercially successful and, struggling with severe depression and poverty, committed suicide at the age of 37.
        Van Gogh was born into an upper-middle-class family. As a child he was serious, quiet and thoughtful. He began drawing at an early age and as a young man worked as an art dealer, often traveling, but became depressed after he was transferred to London. He turned to religion and spent time as a Protestant missionary in southern Belgium. He drifted in ill health and solitude before taking up painting in 1881, having returned home to his parents. His younger brother Theo supported him financially; the two kept a long correspondence by letter.
        His early works, mostly still lifes and depictions of peasant labourers, contain few signs of the vivid colour that distinguished his later work. In 1886, he moved to Paris where he met members of the avant-garde, including Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, who were reacting against the Impressionist sensibility. As his work developed he created a new approach to still life and landscape. His paintings grew brighter as he developed a style that became fully realised during his stay in Arles in the South of France in 1888. During this period he broadened his subject matter to include series of olive trees, wheat fields and sunflowers.
        Van Gogh suffered from psychotic episodes and delusions and though he worried about his mental stability, he often neglected his physical health, did not eat properly and drank heavily. His friendship with Gauguin ended after a confrontation between the two when, in a rage, Van Gogh severed a part of his own left ear with a razor. After, he spent time in psychiatric hospitals, including a period at Saint-Rémy. After he discharged himself and moved to the Auberge Ravoux in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris, he came under the care of the homeopathic doctor Paul Gachet. His depression persisted and on 27 July 1890, Van Gogh is believed to have shot himself in the chest with a revolver, dying from his injuries two days later.
        Van Gogh's paintings did not sell during his lifetime, during which he was generally considered a madman and a failure, although some collectors recognised the value of his work and his work became more appreciated during the last two years of his life. His fame came mostly after his death, when he evolved in the public imagination into a misunderstood genius. His reputation grew in the early 20th century as elements of his style came to be incorporated by the Fauves and German Expressionists. He attained widespread critical and commercial success over the ensuing decades, and is remembered as an important but tragic painter whose troubled personality typifies the romantic ideal of the tortured artist.
        Today, Van Gogh's works are among the world's most expensive paintings to have ever sold, and his legacy is honoured by a museum in his name, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which holds the world's largest collection of his paintings and drawings.

  • 2022-07-27 4:44 PM | Thomas
    In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.

      --Mortimer J. Adler, philosopher, educator, and author (1902-2001)

    (0:12.13) We are fully cognizant of the difficulties of our assignment; we recognize the impossibility of fully translating the language of the concepts of divinity and eternity into the symbols of the language of the finite concepts of the mortal mind. But we know that there dwells within the human mind a fragment of God, and that there sojourns with the human soul the Spirit of Truth; and we further know that these spirit forces conspire to enable material man to grasp the reality of spiritual values and to comprehend the philosophy of universe meanings. But even more certainly we know that these spirits of the Divine Presence are able to assist man in the spiritual appropriation of all truth contributory to the enhancement of the ever-progressing reality of personal religious experience—God-consciousness.

        Mortimer Jerome Adler was an American philosopher, educator, encyclopedist, and popular author. As a philosopher he worked within the Aristotelian and Thomistic traditions. He lived for long stretches in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Mateo, California. He taught at Columbia University and the University of Chicago, served as chairman of the Encyclopædia Britannica Board of Editors, and founded his own Institute for Philosophical Research.

  • 2022-06-29 9:05 AM | Thomas
    Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.

      --Claude Monet, painter (1840-1926)

    (195:7.18)  No appreciation of art is genuine unless it accords recognition to the artist. No evaluation of morals is worth while unless it includes the moralist. No recognition of philosophy is edifying if it ignores the philosopher, and religion cannot exist without the real experience of the religionist who, in and through this very experience, is seeking to find God and to know him. Likewise is the universe of universes without significance apart from the I AM, the infinite God who made it and unceasingly manages it.

    (195:7.22)  Neither is the universe like the art of the artist, but rather like the striving, dreaming, aspiring, and advancing artist who seeks to transcend the world of material things in an effort to achieve a spiritual goal.

    (195:7.23) The artist, not art, demonstrates the existence of the transient morontia world intervening between material existence and spiritual liberty. The religionist, not religion, proves the existence of the spirit realities and divine values which are to be encountered in the progress of eternity.

        Oscar-Claude Monet was a French painter and founder of impressionist painting who is seen as a key precursor to modernism, especially in his attempts to paint nature as he perceived it. During his long career, he was the most consistent and prolific practitioner of impressionism's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air (outdoor) landscape painting. The term "Impressionism" is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant, exhibited in the 1874 ("exhibition of rejects") initiated by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon.
        Monet was raised in Le Havre, Normandy, and became interested in the outdoors and drawing from an early age. Although his mother, Louise-Justine Aubrée Monet, supported his ambitions to be a painter, his father, Claude-Adolphe, disapproved and wanted him to pursue a career in business. He was very close to his mother, but she died in January 1857 when he was sixteen years old, and he was sent to live with his childless, widowed but wealthy aunt, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre. He went on to study at the Académie Suisse, and under the academic history painter Charles Gleyre, where he was a classmate of Auguste Renoir. His early works include landscapes, seascapes, and portraits, but attracted little attention. A key early influence was Eugène Boudin who introduced him to the concept of plein air painting. From 1883, Monet lived in Giverny, also in northern France, where he purchased a house and property and began a vast landscaping project, including a water-lily pond.
        Monet's ambition to document the French countryside led to a method of painting the same scene many times so as to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. Among the best-known examples are his series of haystacks (1890–91), paintings of the Rouen Cathedral (1894), and the paintings of water lilies in his garden in Giverny that occupied him continuously for the last 20 years of his life.
        Frequently exhibited and successful during his lifetime, Monet's fame and popularity soared in the second half of the 20th century when he became one of the world's most famous painters and a source of inspiration for burgeoning groups of artists.

  • 2022-06-23 8:19 AM | Thomas
    As freely as the firmament embraces the world,
    or the sun pours forth impartially his beams,
    so mercy must encircle both friend and foe.

      --Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, poet and dramatist (1759-1805)

    (2:4.1) Mercy is simply justice tempered by that wisdom which grows out of perfection of knowledge and the full recognition of the natural weaknesses and environmental handicaps of finite creatures.

    (2:4.4) Mercy is the natural and inevitable offspring of goodness and love. The good nature of a loving Father could not possibly withhold the wise ministry of mercy to each member of every group of his universe children. Eternal justice and divine mercy together constitute what in human experience would be called fairness.

    (54:6.2) In all their dealings with intelligent beings, both the Creator Son and his Paradise Father are love dominated. It is impossible to comprehend many phases of the attitude of the universe rulers toward rebels and rebellion—sin and sinners—unless it be remembered that God as a Father takes precedence over all other phases of Deity manifestation in all the dealings of divinity with humanity. It should also be recalled that the Paradise Creator Sons are all mercy motivated.

    (188:5.2) The cross forever shows that the attitude of Jesus toward sinners was neither condemnation nor condonation, but rather eternal and loving salvation. Jesus is truly a savior in the sense that his life and death do win men over to goodness and righteous survival. Jesus loves men so much that his love awakens the response of love in the human heart. Love is truly contagious and eternally creative. Jesus' death on the cross exemplifies a love which is sufficiently strong and divine to forgive sin and swallow up all evil-doing. Jesus disclosed to this world a higher quality of righteousness than justice—mere technical right and wrong. Divine love does not merely forgive wrongs; it absorbs and actually destroys them. The forgiveness of love utterly transcends the forgiveness of mercy. Mercy sets the guilt of evil-doing to one side; but love destroys forever the sin and all weakness resulting therefrom.

        Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German playwright, poet, and philosopher. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller developed a productive, if complicated, friendship with the already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works that he had left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien, a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents of their philosophical vision.

  • 2022-06-13 7:35 AM | Thomas
    Do you wish the world were happy?
    Then remember day by day,
    Just to scatter seeds of kindness
    As you pass along the way.

      --Ella Wheeler Wilcox, poet (1850-1919)

    (100:4.6) You cannot truly love your fellows by a mere act of the will. Love is only born of thoroughgoing understanding of your neighbor's motives and sentiments. It is not so important to love all men today as it is that each day you learn to love one more human being. If each day or each week you achieve an understanding of one more of your fellows, and if this is the limit of your ability, then you are certainly socializing and truly spiritualizing your personality. Love is infectious, and when human devotion is intelligent and wise, love is more catching than hate. But only genuine and unselfish love is truly contagious. If each mortal could only become a focus of dynamic affection, this benign virus of love would soon pervade the sentimental emotion-stream of humanity to such an extent that all civilization would be encompassed by love, and that would be the realization of the brotherhood of man.

    (140:8.11) The Jewish rabbis had long debated the question: Who is my neighbor? Jesus came presenting the idea of active and spontaneous kindness, a love of one's fellow men so genuine that it expanded the neighborhood to include the whole world, thereby making all men one's neighbors.

        Ella Wheeler Wilcox was an American author and poet. Her works include Poems of Passion and Solitude, which contains the lines "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone." Her autobiography, The Worlds and I, was published in 1918, a year before her death.

    Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
    Weep, and you weep alone.
    For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth
    But has trouble enough of its own

  • 2022-06-01 9:05 AM | Thomas
    Traditionalists are pessimists about the future and optimists about the past.

      --Lewis Mumford, writer and philosopher (1895-1990)

    (66:6.2) Slavery to tradition produces stability and co-operation by sentimentally linking the past with the present, but it likewise stifles initiative and enslaves the creative powers of the personality. The whole world was caught in the stalemate of tradition-bound mores when the Caligastia one hundred arrived and began the proclamation of the new gospel of individual initiative within the social groups of that day. But this beneficent rule was so soon interrupted that the races never have been wholly liberated from the slavery of custom; fashion still unduly dominates Urantia.

    (84:8.4) Vanity and fashion cannot minister to home building and child culture; pride and rivalry are powerless to enhance the survival qualities of succeeding generations.

    (195:10.13) And the genuine lovers of truth will be slow to forget that this powerful institutionalized church has often dared to smother newborn faith and persecute truth bearers who chanced to appear in unorthodox raiment.

        Lewis Mumford was an American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic. Particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture, he had a broad career as a writer. Mumford made signal contributions to social philosophy, American literary and cultural history and the history of technology. He was influenced by the work of Scottish theorist Sir Patrick Geddes and worked closely with his associate the British sociologist Victor Branford. Mumford was also a contemporary and friend of Frank Lloyd Wright, Clarence Stein, Frederic Osborn, Edmund N. Bacon, and Vannevar Bush.

  • 2022-05-23 1:02 PM | Thomas
     The characteristic of a well-bred man is, to converse with his inferiors without insolence, and with his superiors with respect and with ease.

      --Lord Chesterfield, statesman and writer (1694-1773)

    (107:3.3-6) Although we know something of all the seven secret spheres of Paradise, we know less of Divinington than of the others. Beings of high spiritual orders receive only three divine injunctions, and they are:
        1. Always to show adequate respect for the experience and endowments of their seniors and superiors.
        2. Always to be considerate of the limitations and inexperience of their juniors and subordinates.
        3. Never to attempt a landing on the shores of Divinington.

        Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, KG, PC (22 September 1694 – 24 March 1773) was a British statesman, diplomat, and man of letters, and an acclaimed wit of his time.

  • 2022-05-15 1:46 PM | Thomas
    What power has love but forgiveness?

      --William Carlos Williams, poet (1883-1963)

    (2:6.9) Facing the world of personality, God is discovered to be a loving person; facing the spiritual world, he is a personal love; in religious experience he is both. Love identifies the volitional will of God. The goodness of God rests at the bottom of the divine free-willness—the universal tendency to love, show mercy, manifest patience, and minister forgiveness.

    (138:8.2) Jesus taught them to preach the forgiveness of sin through faith in God without penance or sacrifice, and that the Father in heaven loves all his children with the same eternal love.

    (188:5.2)  Divine love does not merely forgive wrongs; it absorbs and actually destroys them. The forgiveness of love utterly transcends the forgiveness of mercy. Mercy sets the guilt of evil-doing to one side; but love destroys forever the sin and all weakness resulting therefrom. Jesus brought a new method of living to Urantia. He taught us not to resist evil but to find through him a goodness which effectually destroys evil. The forgiveness of Jesus is not condonation; it is salvation from condemnation. Salvation does not slight wrongs; it makes them right. True love does not compromise nor condone hate; it destroys it. The love of Jesus is never satisfied with mere forgiveness. The Master's love implies rehabilitation, eternal survival. It is altogether proper to speak of salvation as redemption if you mean this eternal rehabilitation.

        William Carlos Williams was an American poet, writer, and physician closely associated with modernism and imagism.
        In addition to his writing, Williams had a long career as a physician practicing both pediatrics and general medicine. He was affiliated with Passaic General Hospital, where he served as the hospital's chief of pediatrics from 1924 until his death. The hospital, which is now known as St. Mary's General Hospital, paid tribute to Williams with a memorial plaque that states "We walk the wards that Williams walked".

  • 2022-05-07 2:19 PM | Thomas

    In a perfect union the man and woman are like a strung bow. Who is to say whether the string bends the bow, or the bow tightens the string?
      --Cyril Connolly, critic and editor (1903-1974)

    (84:6.5-7)  The differences of nature, reaction, viewpoint, and thinking between men and women, far from occasioning concern, should be regarded as highly beneficial to mankind, both individually and collectively. Many orders of universe creatures are created in dual phases of personality manifestation. Among mortals, Material Sons, and midsoniters, this difference is described as male and female; among seraphim, cherubim, and Morontia Companions, it has been denominated positive or aggressive and negative or retiring. Such dual associations greatly multiply versatility and overcome inherent limitations, even as do certain triune associations in the Paradise-Havona system.
        Men and women need each other in their morontial and spiritual as well as in their mortal careers. The differences in viewpoint between male and female persist even beyond the first life and throughout the local and superuniverse ascensions. And even in Havona, the pilgrims who were once men and women will still be aiding each other in the Paradise ascent. Never, even in the Corps of the Finality, will the creature metamorphose so far as to obliterate the personality trends that humans call male and female; always will these two basic variations of humankind continue to intrigue, stimulate, encourage, and assist each other; always will they be mutually dependent on co-operation in the solution of perplexing universe problems and in the overcoming of manifold cosmic difficulties.
        While the sexes never can hope fully to understand each other, they are effectively complementary, and though co-operation is often more or less personally antagonistic, it is capable of maintaining and reproducing society. Marriage is an institution designed to compose sex differences, meanwhile effecting the continuation of civilization and insuring the reproduction of the race.

        Cyril Vernon Connolly (10 September 1903 – 26 November 1974) was an English literary critic and writer. He was the editor of the influential literary magazine Horizon (1940–49) and wrote Enemies of Promise (1938), which combined literary criticism with an autobiographical exploration of why he failed to become the successful author of fiction that he had aspired to be in his youth.
  • 2022-04-30 1:54 PM | Thomas
    Flattery won't hurt you if you don't swallow it.

      --Kin Hubbard, humorist (1868-1930)

    (75:3.9) Influenced by flattery, enthusiasm, and great personal persuasion, Eve then and there consented to embark upon the much-discussed enterprise, to add her own little scheme of world saving to the larger and more far-reaching divine plan. Before she quite realized what was transpiring, the fatal step had been taken. It was done.

    (161:2.3) Through all these years of our failure to comprehend his [Jesus] mission, he has been a faithful friend. While he makes no use of flattery, he does treat us all with equal kindness; he is invariably tender and compassionate.

    (174:0.2) And to Judas Iscariot he said: "Judas, I have loved you and have prayed that you would love your brethren. Be not weary in well doing; and I would warn you to beware the slippery paths of flattery and the poison darts of ridicule."

        Frank McKinney Hubbard, better known as Kin Hubbard, was an American cartoonist, humorist, and journalist. His most famous work was for "Abe Martin". Introduced in The Indianapolis News in December 1904, the cartoon appeared six days a week on the back page of the News for twenty-six years. The Abe Martin cartoons went into national print syndication in 1910, eventually appearing in some two hundred U.S. newspapers. Hubbard also originated and illustrated a once-a-week humor essay for the "Short Furrows" column in the Sunday edition of the News that went into syndication in 1911. The self-taught artist and writer made more than eight thousand drawings for the Indianapolis News and wrote and illustrated about a thousand essays for the "Short Furrows" column. His first published book was Collection of Indiana Lawmaker and Lobbyists (1903), followed by an annual series of Abe Martin-related books between 1906 and 1930, as well as other works such as Short Furrows (1912) and Book of Indiana (1929). Humorist Will Rogers once declared that Hubbard was "America's greatest humorist".
        A few months after introducing his Abe Martin cartoon in 1904, Hubbard moved the setting of his most famous character to the fictional town of Bloom Center in rural Brown County, Indiana. He also added more characters to the cartoon series over the years, typically communicated his many quips and sharp-eyed observations of everyday life by pairing two sentences of humorous, but unrelated observations, in each cartoon. For years after Hubbard's death in 1930, the Indianapolis News and other newspapers continued to print his Abe Martin cartoon series. In 1932, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources dedicated Brown County State Park to Hubbard and named the park's guest accommodations the Abe Martin Lodge. Hubbard was inducted into the Ohio Journalism Hall of Fame in 1939 and the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1967. His humor and quips remain in use and continue to entertain readers through the Abe Martin books, as well as Hubbard's longer essays, cartoons, and other published works.

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