Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Thursday, 28 June 2007
Friday, 29 June 2007 07:06

Quantifying Peace and Happiness

随著时间的流动变迁
眼中的事物忽然有了奇幻而超现实的美感
凝视乡镇的一事一物
虽然熟悉不过
却展现了令人珍爱的新面貌
相片吸润、偷取了我们曾经共有的时间
美与丑的界线终将消失不见
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附加的多媒体:
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Thursday, 28 June 2007 11:08

Ronald's Laws for Righting Wrongs

In 1948 or 1949 an army captain Edward A. Murphy, Jr. a research engineer at Edwards Air Force Base in California coined a phrase which has become a popular adage named after him.

Murphy’s Law: “If anything can go wrong, it will.” This acknowledges the fact that things often don’t turn out the way we want them to. An unexpected glitz or overlooked contingency, an unprepared for deviation or a last minute change, some interference from outside: There is no end to the list of things that can go wrong. What Murphy’s Law tells us is that such things happen all the time so we should be prepared for them.

What we need are also some laws that tell us what to do when things go wrong. This is why I have coined the following Laws. They take up where Murphy’s Law ends.

Ronald’s First Law: “When something goes wrong, it’s time to do something right.” First, count to ten. Don’t let anger, depression, sadness, humiliation, or disappointment rob you of your cool or your determination. Second, face the problem, fix it, if you can, or put it behind you.

Ronald’s Second Law: “After every wrong, there is a right somewhere.” When something goes wrong and you can’t fix it, leave it. There is a way out. Every roadblock has a detour. There is always a way around or a new destination to plan. For every door that closes another opens somewhere else. This new door may or may not lead to the same place, but you have to go on with your life as well as you can.

Ronald’s Third Law: “You have to look away from trouble to see around it.” Remember the fly that dropped from exhaustion battering against a pane of glass right next to an open window.

Ronald’s Fourth Law: “Every barrier has the potential of beginning a detour to something better.” The best things are sometimes the good things that happen after bad things occur.

Ronald’s Fifth Law: “When something goes wrong and you can’t fix it, fix yourself.” To get out of trouble, don’t deny it; leave it behind by moving forward. There are good things ahead if you turn away from the bad. Pick yourself up and set a new course.

Ronald’s Sixth Law: “Where there is shadow, there must be light.” It takes light to cast a shadow. To find that light, you need to turn away from the shadow. The pot of gold is not at the end of a rainbow, but in the sun shining in the rain.

Ronald’s Seventh Law: “You have as many hands and feet as you have friends.” It is good to stand up for yourself and to take matters into your own hands, but the more hands you have for pulling the load, the easier the effort, to say nothing of the good company uplifting your spirits.

Ronald’s Eighth Law: “Frenzied hands fracture friendships.” Don’t overstretch your strength or that of your friends. Even God rested on the seventh day.

Ronald’s Ninth Law: “The value of a package is the contents, not the wrappings.” What goes wrong doesn’t make you bad. Only you can do that if you fall apart.

Ronald’s Tenth Law: “If it doesn’t have an exception, it isn’t a law.” There is no way to control all the things that happen to us. We just have to put all our energies into doing what we think is right. If it turns out wrong, then try again. At the end of our lives we won’t be judged by how many times we did things right, but by how many times we tried.

(Photo by C.P.)
Thursday, 28 June 2007 11:06

Atlantis and Utopia

Atlantis and Utopia: Yesterday, Tomorrow and Today

Around 360 B.C. the great Greek philosopher Plato in his Dialogue entitled Timaeus described a great island continent in the Atlantic Ocean near the Pillars of Hercules. It was the home of a mighty civilization that was unfortunately destroyed by an earthquake and sank into the sea. Since that time countless exhibitions have been mounted to search for traces of the so-called lost continent or island of Atlantis.

To this tale of Atlantis must be added the countless other legends of the Golden Ages that most civilizations look back to and aspire to recreate. There always remain the hopes of recovering what tragedy or decadence destroyed and visions of what the future could be. Everyone has his or her own ideals and aspirations concerning the future. Thomas More in the 1516 wrote about Utopia also an island in the Atlantic that was the home of an ideal government modeled on Plato’s Republic, a land of happy satisfied people.

The one constant throughout history seems to be that no one seems so satisfied with the present that they don’t look fondly back at what they believe was formerly better or look forward toward what they believe will be a better tomorrow. Thomas More coined the word “Utopia” from the Greek meaning “no place” There never has been a golden age that had no dross or tarnish. There never will a future age exclusively of successes without any failures.

We can never go back to Atlantis or create Utopia. The past is behind us. The future is what we make of the present. It is much more profitable in the present to concentrate of the dross and tarnish of the past rather than on the gold for they are what ultimately destroyed the gold. And it will be more profitable in the present to remove the tarnish of the present than to look for new gold.

Rather than losing hope because of the weaknesses of the present, we need to concentrate of the strengths of what we presently have, because a better tomorrow can only be built on a better today. Utopias there must always be, not as a final paradise perfect in every detail, but as ever evolving models according to which we draw the blueprints for the next step forward. At the same time, Atlantis and all fallen civilizations should never be forgotten, lest we repeat the errors that brought them down.

(Painting by B.V.)

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