Saint Valentine

We celebrate with flowers, candy, dinner, and gifts the beheading of the patron saint of love, bee keepers, young people, and happy marriages. The flowers all of a sudden make sense given the bee keeper part of his domain.

I forget how interesting Catholicism can be. According to Catholic Online….

Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith in effectual, commended him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14, about the year 270…. To abolish the heathens lewd superstitious custom of boys drawing the names of girls, in honor of their goddess Februata Juno, on the fifteenth of this month, several zealous pastors substituted the names of saints in billets given on this day.

So like positioning Christmas near the Winter Solstice to combat the pagans, Saint Valentine’s Day was used to counter Juno. Of course, how times have changed for writing the names of the opposite sex to be considered lewd.

Naturally, my sister-in-law prefers the Medieval Romantic-esque version the priest Valentine confidentially married couples as the (she says king which Rome did not have in 270AD) emperor had outlawed. The people gave flowers to show their solidarity. “Your Valentine” came from the signature on the love notes he sent his jailer’s daughter. She wonders how anyone can be against this kind of Valentine’s Day. How about this? It was the Medieval equivalent of a romance novel. Fiction. Not truth. It may have a sappy spirit, but I do not go around believing in Artificial Intelligent robots truly exist because I read I, Robot.
🙂

UPDATE: The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day from NPR…

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival – or longer, if the match was right.

The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day.

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, “It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.”

Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin’s Day. Galatin meant “lover of women.” That was likely confused with St. Valentine’s Day at some point, in part because they sound alike.

Martin Luther King, Jr. : Quotes to Make You Think

Various Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes my Facebook friends posted today. Strangely enough I did not already have any on the Quotes to Make You Think page.

The time is always right to do what is right.

Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. (from Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.)

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Some others:

Man was born into barbarism when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence. He became endowed with a conscience. And he has now reached the day when violence toward another human being must become as abhorrent as eating another’s flesh. (from Why We Can’t Wait, 1963.)

All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

Of course, the The Vision of Race Unity: America’s Most Challenging Issue seems very applicable here. Dr. King’s views and that of the Baha’i Faith seem very much in sync.

Quotes to Make You Think: 2010 Collected Quotes

More quotes for Quotes to Make You Think collected over the past year.


“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.” — Earl Shoaf

‎”I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly.” — Captain Jack Sparrow

‎”Counting time is not so important as making time count.” — James J. Walker

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” — Nelson Henderson

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” — Plato

“Tart words make no friends. A spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do. But it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.” — Dale Carnegie

“Don’t do something to get noticed. Do it to get something done.” — Doc E.

‎”Don’t take life too seriously; you’ll never get out of it alive.” — Elbert Hubbard

“You will someday meet a man who is happy and has nothing. Then you will realize you paid too much for your stuff.” — Mark Twain

“Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.” — Groucho Marx

“One day spent with someone you love can change everything.” — For One More Day, Mitch Albom

“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother” — Albert Einstein

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” — Albert Einstein

“Hope is the dream of a waking man.” — Aristotle

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” — Maria Robinson

“It is a long hard road to overnight success.” — Unknown

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent Van Gogh

“It’s better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone.” — Marilyn Monroe

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” — Mark Twain

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” — C.S. Lewis

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” — Oscar Wilde

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” — John Lennon

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” — Elie Wiesel

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” — Mark Twain

“It might be argued that the Siamese-twin infants of word/idea are the only contribution the human species can, will, or should make to the raveling cosmos. (Yes, our DNA is unique but so is a salamander’s.) Yes, we construct artifacts, but so have species ranging from beavers to the architect ants whose crenallated towers are visible now off the port bow. Yes, we weave real-fabric things from the dreamstuff of mathematics, but the universe is hardwired with arithmetic. Scratch a circle and PI peeks outs. Enter a new solar system and Tycho Brahae’s formulae lies waiting under the black velvet cloak of space/time. But where has the universe hidden a word under its outer layer of biology, geometry, or insensate rock?) Even the traces of other intelligent life we have found – the blimps on Jove II, the Labyrinth Builders, the Seneschai empaths on Hebron, the Stick People of Durulis, the architects of the Time Tombs, the Shrike itself – have left us mysteries and obscure artifacts, but no language. No words.” Martin Silenus, The Poet’s Tale
Hyperion
Dan Simmons

On Loving Our Enemies

(Originally posted to ezrasf.com)

In honor of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems we need his wisdom more than ever. A friend posted part of this on Facebook, so I found this expanded version.

Why should we love our enemies?

The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiples hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

Another reason why we must love our enemies is that hate scars the soul and distorts the personality. Mindful that hate is an evil and dangerous force, we too often think of what it does to the person hated. This is understandable, for hate brings irreparable damage to its victims.

But there is another side which we must never overlook. Hate is just as injurious to the person who hates. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

A third reason why we should love our enemies is that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy be getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.

A great example of how the above is true can be seen in the media reports about the vitriol passing between the United States political parties over health care. The reactionary climate resulted in counter-productive posturing and slowing the process. Of course, no one physically assaulted others or shot them in a duel, so I guess things are civilized… Just full of hate. We all suffer because these people take opposition personally. That is easy to do when their best arguments are ad hominems.

Maybe 50%+ (House) and 60% (Senate filibuster proof) are too low of a threshold to get consensus. What about 66.7% like that for amendments or 75% or 80% as the necessary threshold? Even better? Since the issue here is the parties don’t work together, maybe the solution is passage requires 10% more votes over the membership of the majority party?

On Loving Our Enemies

In honor of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems we need his wisdom more than ever. A friend posted part of this on Facebook, so I found this expanded version.

Why should we love our enemies?

The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiples hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

Another reason why we must love our enemies is that hate scars the soul and distorts the personality. Mindful that hate is an evil and dangerous force, we too often think of what it does to the person hated. This is understandable, for hate brings irreparable damage to its victims.

But there is another side which we must never overlook. Hate is just as injurious to the person who hates. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

A third reason why we should love our enemies is that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy be getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.

A great example of how the above is true can be seen in the media reports about the vitriol passing between the United States political parties over health care. The reactionary climate resulted in counter-productive posturing and slowing the process. Of course, no one physically assaulted others or shot them in a duel, so I guess things are civilized… Just full of hate. We all suffer because these people take opposition personally. That is easy to do when their best arguments are ad hominems.

Maybe 50%+ (House) and 60% (Senate filibuster proof) are too low of a threshold to get consensus. What about 66.7% like that for amendments or 75% or 80% as the necessary threshold? Even better? Since the issue here is the parties don’t work together, maybe the solution is passage requires 10% more votes over the membership of the majority party?