fate or free choice

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blue skies and the snow beginning to melt away

I got the letter from goodreads this week, with the March New Releases. I found interest in a book called ‘The Bookseller’ by Cynthia Swanson. It tells the story of a woman in her late 30s who runs a book store with her best friend and enjoys her life and circumstances. But then she starts having this reoccurring dream in which she lives a different life, married to a wonderful man and the mother of three children. And as the story continues, she finds herself torn between the two lives.

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sculpted by nature; I see two birds facing one another

It reminded me of a poem I read many years ago, by a Chinese author, Chuang Tse, in which he tells us that he doesn’t know whether he is a man dreaming that he’s a butterfly… or a butterfly dreaming that he is a man. And strangely enough, the book, and the whole idea of alternative lives or alternative universes integrated well with some ideas I’ve been having about our national elections, coming up in less than a month.

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red anemones raising their heads between patches of snow

I have noticed in recent years, that the democratic contest at election times has become more and more desperate. Where once we listened to ideological arguments regarding the economic system, or the best way to insure the national security, we are now bombarded by insults and accusations coming from both sides of the barricades. Accompanied by hysteric claims that life won’t be worth living if the opposing side were to win the election. Charges of corruption are heard every day. And the mood that is felt in public seems less like that in the halls of academia, and more like that in the football arena, each side shouting their support for sporting heroes, and insulting the opposing side. I have seen this happening in England too, and in the US.

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cultured flowers whose seeds were blown by the wind… and came up in the middle of the park’s grasses

How and why this has happened, is interesting. And I have some thoughts on the subject. But more important to me, is whether we can overcome the urge to look at the political determination as a life and death struggle. The truth of the matter, is that when we live among friends or as a family, we have to accept that we are not all the same, nor are our desires identical. We make compromises. We forgive all kinds of irrational behavior, difficulties… even pain. My beloved cat Nechama, scratches me at times. She has bitten me. These are momentary outbursts; the expression of disappointment, or of frustration. Sometimes, frustration just because I didn’t understand her.

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clover amidst the grasses

Even within ourselves, we have to make compromises in order to live this life with some sense of wholeness. One of the most valuable lessons, is that which we heard as children, ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too’. On a national level, we should keep in mind that our society is made up of a whole lot of people, some of whom have needs very different from ours. With great difficulty, we’ve tried, as human beings, to find the mechanisms which will reflect the majority, with care and insurance for the very small minorities as well. Nothing is truly guaranteed. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone sins now and then, And still, if we look back in time, just a few hundred years, we can see that the majority of people lived a much lower standard of living than we are living today. They had shorter life expectancies, and suffered more from disease and ignorance. Let’s not turn a blind eye to all the advantages we have today, and only focus on what we’re missing, and what we want for ourselves. How much happier we could be if we were to appreciate our riches and not envy those who have more than us.

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a little park in our neighborhood, with fantasy meant for children

Today, many of us tell our children, ‘you can do anything you wish if you just desire it enough, and work unceasingly towards your aim. But this too can be misleading. We can do anything, just so long as we understand our strengths and limitations. For our lives are a tapestry of fate and free choice. Chance has delivered us to the parents that raised us, to the country in which we were born… has given us talents and capacities at birth, certain physical characteristics… and perhaps certain mental and emotional dispositions as well. And within that framework, we have the ability to make choices, to learn or not to learn… to look and listen, or to crave attention. By way of our choices, we can direct our course in life. Or we can allow ourselves to be continuously buffeted by the winds of fate.

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And there is nothing so warm and so consoling as the love of our brothers and sisters, our friends, and our fellow human beings that have to face the uncertainties of life’s challenges the same as we do. These have been my thoughts as I watch the snow recede after the last storm, and listen to the excitement about the upcoming election. May we accept the choice of the majority, even if it requires compromise on our part. We are all part of the family of man.

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82 responses to “fate or free choice

  1. Beautiful photographs… and wisely written post. Your cat example was great. Thank you dear Shimon, the snow has melted too… But what will bring us in March we don’t know now… Have a nice weekend, love, nia

    • I remember snow in March on a number of occasions. There were times when everyone thought the spring was already here. And then the weather would turn, and there was a fierce cold front. Right now, it’s warming up a bit, even though we still have a lot of cloudy skies. Had a very nice walk this morning. Wishing you too, Nia, a very good weekend and a beautiful week ahead

  2. Reblogged this on riazahmadbaboojee and commented:
    good sense

  3. such a powerful post. It is hard for people to be tolerant of the choices others make that may differ from theirs, and it never leads to a good end. The line you wrote,”we have to accept that we are not all the same, nor are our desires identical.” stood out for me.
    Life is a combination of fate and free will I think, the ever present un answerable question! I try to make wise choices, but wonder sometimes if my choices were all just part of the “bigger plan” I do believe following certain paths then led me to other new ones, was it coincidence, or fate? As I often say, there are no coincidences. 🙂

    • You raise a very interesting point, Cee. I have heard the claim, many times, that there are no coincidences. But I believe there are. It’s true, that sometimes certain things come together, not because of coincidence, but because they are part of the same system, or they are resultant of the same event or stimulus. On the other hand, as rational beings, we try to paste a reason we can understand on almost everything that happens around us. And this tendency can be very misleading. We would like to believe that we understand all that happens. But in fact, we understand only a small part of our world. And this is hard for us to accept. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

  4. I agree – it’s time to stop being only individualistic and selfish, and re-learn that we are part of the human family and that life is never perfect.

    • It doesn’t surprise me, Gill, that we agree on a lot of issues. And how good it is, that though life isn’t perfect, we do enjoy a few perfect moments here and there. Thanks.

  5. You’re right; the snow looks like birds, though I wonder if it’s a challenge, a mating dance, or a parent preparing to feed a child. I want to play in that playground! How fun! The child is adorable. May you and your country be blessed.

    • One of the things I love about art… though the birds are the result of chance and not man made art… is that it is at its best when it doesn’t come complete. The hint, the passage that can be understand in different ways… they are the hallmark of great art. Thank you so much for your blessing, Judy.

  6. Thank you for this, Shimon. The photos, too, are lovely, as always, in their harmony and counterpoint.

    • Thank you very much, Kitty. Working with two types of media, the photos allow us to lighten up a bit, when we’re dealing with something that’s heavy.

  7. The contentious nature of politics seems to be bleeding from the U.S into other parts of the world. I agree with you, Shimon, that even if I don’t agree with those who are elected, it probably doesn’t mean that the world will end. I so appreciate your viewpoint – it comes from wisdom and love.

    • Really, what I intended to write about, Cathy, included a more detailed comparison between the internal conflicts and paradoxes of the individual, and those of society. But then, as I was writing, I looked at all those words and thought it was getting long, so I brought it to a close without going into that issue. But just as we don’t cut off our nose to spite our face, there’s no point in hating part of our society. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Your words speak to something that has been occupying too much of my thinking lately; specifically, how much of our life experience is determined by our choices, and how many of our choices are determined by an idea we have of who we are, without leaving room for an alternative universe.

    Sometimes, I think, it is difficult to imagine an alternative way to exist in the world, as we can be blind to what we don’t understand, or to what we haven’t experienced. Thankfully, and hopefully, we eventually get to a place where we realize that we have the ability to choose, and we can begin exploring something previously unknown to us, and life shapes around us accordingly.

    As for that idea of accepting our differences, and remembering to be grateful for our many blessings … well, both ideas have valuable merit. Putting them into motion takes intention, and requires we make the choice that favors acceptance and gratitude. Well stated, as always.

    • p.s. I meant to also mention that when I was reviewing the March new releases from Goodreads, the book that caught my attention was “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara. Sensitive subject matter (abuse, depression, self harm) but I find that I am often intrigued by what an author can reveal when integrating such subjects with their main characters. Not sure at this point whether or not I will give it a go, but it’s on my radar. We’ll see.

      Either way, I like the idea that you and I, on different sides of the world, are perusing the same list of books, just as many others around the world are likely doing at the very same time. All of us connected, even while separated by thousands of miles. Words are powerful that way.

      • To tell you the truth, I usually try to avoid books on abuse and depression. These are subjects that I have seen up close, and thinking about them usually causes me intense sadness… which I try to avoid. But I do relate to the same subjects when they’re part of a larger view of the world. In the end, I chose not to read ‘The Bookseller’, mentioned in this post. But if we’re talking about good literature, I recently read ‘Tom Mix and Pancho Villa’ by Clifford Irving, published in 1982. There are many ‘hard’ parts in the book. But I can recommend it because the author presents a very balanced view of reality… even in extreme circumstance. I hadn’t read the book when it came out, and was glad it was recommended to me recently. I thought it was a very worth while volume.

    • So true, Nancy. The stronger our desires, the more passionate our feelings, the more we are blind to other possibilities. And though I have a great love for passion in this life, I think it very important that we try to see the larger picture whenever we’re in the position to make choices. Sometimes the choices are not between what is familiar and what is unknown. And tragically, we often suppose we know what we don’t know. Maybe, because we know one aspect of it, but are ignorant of many other aspects. I consider choice to be the most elegant characteristic of the human being. But too often we behave automatically. Thanks so much for your comment.

  9. Of course it’s coarse if we don’t stay the course.
    Loved the pix….and the philosophy.

    • Thanks very much, Bob. Enjoyed your play with words. And I enjoy the many quotes you send me now and then… though I don’t agree with all of them. Wishing you a very good week, my friend.

  10. We, in the States, are beginning to hear the too-familiar rumblings of political foes gearing up for the next elections during this year and 2016. It seems you are enduring the same situation re your quickly-approaching elections. I often wonder when we lost the arts of calm discussion, sensible debate, truly listening and employing compromise. The posturing and hatefulness of electioneering is disturbing. Frustrating. Maddening. I enjoyed the way you interspersed your wonderful photos among your thoughts. The snow scenes were a bit too familiar (enough, already – except for ‘two birds facing each other’), but the shots of GRASS and FLOWERS made me want to take a ride on the slide in your nearby playground. Thank you.

    • As I mentioned in a previous comment, I had originally intended to compare the individual with the society at large. We know that we have conflicts within us; that sometimes, we wish for conflicting things. And somehow, most of us learn to live with that paradox. The same is true for society. Truly, I believe that a large part of the problem is the news media. They sense that they are on their way out; that technology, blogs, instant communication by way of the internet… is going to replace most of the platforms that have provided us with news for the last 150 years. So in their desperation, they are often willing to do anything to attract attention. They’re looking for conflicts and a good show. But what we need is intelligent leadership. Thanks so much for your comment, Myra. We’re getting closer to spring.

  11. How your words resonated with me this morning – for far too many reasons to explore. Humanity, compromise, sin and generous, giving efforts, the duality of who we are and our reluctance to accept that duality in others. The perfect counterpoint to your words are your photos, for in them lies a peacefulness that calms the spirit. Thank you.

    • Your feedback is very valuable for me, Mimi. I didn’t know if I had really gotten my point across. I was going to add some other things, and didn’t want it to get too long. Glad you enjoyed the photos too. Usually, when something troubles me, I enjoy going down to the ocean, and listening to the waves pound against the shore. But just opening our eyes and looking around at our surroundings with fresh eyes can help bring the perspective back too. Thanks very much for your comment.

  12. We are having the same problem re elections at the moment, as you say it’s all so very shouty and desperate, I’d have more respect for politicians if they have something decent to say about their rival’s policies…..it is all about compromise and sharing resources.
    I shall look out for The Bookseller, it sounds fascinating. I often wonder what world is real as I have extremely vivid dreams, recurring ones too.
    For most of my life I have dreamed of large cats, tigers usually, they all live in my house and garden and are placid around me but threatening to others and I usually wake up terrified as I think the cats are going to hurt someone….weird huh?
    I also have another recurring dream about birds, I am always on a cliff edge and a flock of birds call to me, I hear their words in my head and they always say, “Come, Flightless bird, join us in your dreams.” But I’m dreaming at the time…..
    Anyway I shall stop rambling re my dreams now….I loved these pics, especially the huge glorious daisy type ones.xxx

    • I don’t ask that politicians find agreement with any of the positions on the other side. It seems to me fair, that the politician emphasize the differences, and explain how he might do better. But at the same time, I am dismayed by vicious attacks, or attacks on the personality or the private life of the opposing candidate. I don’t want to hear promises that obviously can’t be fulfilled or suggestions, that were they taken seriously, would victimize a part of the population unjustly. I expect people running for office to show a measure of responsibility for all of the population.
      As for The Bookseller, after reading a couple of reviews, I decided not to read it. But I have recently read a book, published in ’82. that I thought excellent, and I recommend it. It’s called ‘Tom Mix and Pancho Villa’ by Clifford Irving. I am still looking for more recent literary works that I could love and recommend, but haven’t found much to rave about. Maybe it has something to do with the generation gap. I did love hearing about your dreams of the large cats. I myself have always been very attracted to them, though I don’t remember dreams about them. And I loved the call of the birds to you… though I have to say, Dina, I believe you could fly in your dreams, if you just tried. I remember as a child, I had this recurring dream of falling from a cliff while mountain climbing. I told my mother about it, and she said to me that the next time it happens, I should just spread my arms, and I would be able to fly. This in fact happened in a dream, soon after. It was a rapturous experience. And one of my finest dream memories. Thanks so much for your comment.

      • How fascinating re you overcoming the falling and flying in your dream, I shall certainly take your advice and will let you know what happens!
        Thanks for the book recommendation, I shall order that. I have recently enjoyed Kate Morton’s books, especially The secret Garden. I also found Joe Simpson’s, Touching the Void rivetting, mainly because it’s a true account of a mountaineering accident and a person’s will to survive, also some powerful insights into human nature.xxx

  13. Wonderful post. The politicians should read it

  14. Yes,that polarisation is interesting… you are bad and we are goos,perfect.
    One point I think to be important is that when we were younger here we could go to an outdoor meeting where a politician would give a speech and then answer questions.I heard Harold Wilson when he was PM and he had been an Oxford professor .
    Now all we get is staged events on TV where two politicans are goaded uinto attacking each other.This can win or lose the Election.to me it’s a bit like the Roman Games.It’s all done by the TV companies.
    And sometimes people should get very involved… perhaps the German upper classes did not take Hitler seriously enough and gave him easy entry to government…Sometimes worlds are lost by such actions.I have wondered whether the loss of the European Jews may be one reason for the decline of European life in many areas.
    It’s alos true that under stress we resort to black and white thnking which is vey dangerous if it persists.And despite our better homes,food,clothing,holidays more and more of us are suffering from mental health problems.
    The loss of connection to the Sacred is also a factor too which reminds me of this story:
    .I had to laugh when a older neighbour asked me if Jesus was white.I told her Jews come in many colours,some extremely white and some quite dark,even yellow Jews exist in China.She told me all the pictures show him white… and no doubt living in Kensington and driving a Jaguar .People actually think he was English… like Shakespeare.The sense of time and history seems lost.

    • I wonder if you’re right, Katherine, in comparing them to the Roman games. They were pure entertainment. The football games of today involve teams who have great numbers of followers, among them fanatics who have been known to attack each other, players from opposite teams, and judges. The behavior in the arena, on the part of the spectators, is sometimes more active than the sportsmen themselves. This fanaticism is seen in the political arena as well. It becomes a sort of play-war. Loyalty is very important. Thinking is marginal. There are cheer leaders who tell you what to think. Their chants or cheers are basic and simple, to put it mildly. Black and white thinking, it is. Very discouraging.

      • You are more on the mystic side,by nature,I think and an artist.Games are perhaps a sublimation of aggressive impulses but when we are not very mature the sublimation may break down and lead to raw aggression bursting through.The energy goes into stupid behaviour like riots and fightinginstead of something productive ]Freud?]…perhaps the general public is growing less mature being fed on pap? I see here that the media organise political debates on TV which are to create anger and hate in my view.Instead of going out into some public place and hearing a politician put his/her ideas forward it is nearly all done on TV.Everything is
        “arranged” and then the press magnify the effect.I ddon’t supposeChurchill wouldhave stood for it one moment..

        • It seems to me that for some time now, the enthusiasts of democracy have been a little too optimistic about the basic character of human kind. I don’t believe that the population has become more immature over the years. All evidence points to the contrary. But there is evil, violence, and cruelty to be found in human nature. And I suspect that a liberal attitude towards such behavior just makes matters worse.

          • I suppose we can’t prove whether or not the population as a whole is less mature.But my grandfather brought up six children and worked in a coal mine on nights…. and never complained at all.I don’t see people acting that way now.
            I do agree with you about the evil but what type of evil is treated with a liberal attitude.Apparently 1/3 of the women in the world have been physically or sexually assaulted and here a woman is murdered every week by a partner.So much for ” love.”
            I suppose the question is whether evil is innate…I have A Jewish friend who says we are descended from chimpanzees which are very cruel and she is a psychologist.
            I believe it’s our inablitiy to contain bad feelings that can lead to evil… when we can’t stand back and disagree with our own thoughts and feelings on some emotive topic.
            Restraint is a virtue that is undervalued to my mind, together with patience.

            • My grandmother died young after childbirth so grandad was alone with his children.He didn’t know who his father was…. but he was so good and kind and had a beautiful dog when he retired after 50 years as a coalminer

            • I find it very hard to believe such statistics… as 1/3 of the women being molested and so on. But even if it is much less, the idea that these women do not have a framework within the society to protect them, and punish those who oppress them is just the thing I was talking about; being overly liberal and forgiving. Forgiving evil is in itself evil. We have a moral obligation to fight evil.

              • That figure is world wide and it may be more common in less developed parts of the world but this is interesting
                Fast Facts on Domestic Violence

                Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (“Violence Against Women, A Majority Staff Report,” Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 102nd Congress, October 1992, p.3.)

                That was a while back but it gives an indication

              • Much oppression is within the familyor is condoned by society.Until recently rape within marriage was not a crime here in the UK.The law tends to protect men,Who says we women have forgiven our oppressors.I have not forgiven mine for sure.How to fight it alone and with no powet structure to support one?
                If you find it hard to believe a statistic that does not affect its truth or falsehood.Most men seem ignorant of these things which is also a sort of negative evil.. that is,men could know but don’t bother to or refuse to believe it.Maybe they don’t know how it feels though I imagine Jewish men might be more aware having been persecuted down the ages.
                I have no idea what the data are for Israel

              • I feel there is a confusion here.Forgiveness is personal and spiritual.Liberal attitudes are political.If a crime is commited then whether or not we are liberal in attitudes the criminal law takes effect in judging the event,And punishing the perpetrator if guilt is proved.
                Whether or not the injured party can forgive the person whoinjured them is quite a separate issue in my mind.And we can’t forgive by will power.I believe it is grace from God which enables some people to forgive.Or another spiritual event.But the law will proceed regardless.Which is correct I believe.It’s an interesting topic.
                Evil mustbe fought but first it must be identifiefdand people don’t always agree on what it is.Is war evil? Not always.Is murder evil?It depends on a number of factors
                Sin,evil and wickedness are not the province of the law.Crime is.Sometimes crime and sin overlap.But the Judge in the law court cannot pronounce on the state of the soul of a criminal.Nor can he forgive and nor doeshe even mention that.it’s outside his jurisdiction.
                I don’t see any so called” bleeding heart linerals” condoning rape,murder or violence.They may have different ideas about how to punish people but they do not accept violence .It’s more likely they accept different sexual activities,taking cannabis or wearing clothes others dislike,marriage of homosexuals etc .

          • What evidence shows people are more mature now?What kind of measurement could it be and who would have collected the data and analysed it?Or are you judging by the type of novels written,poetry,art and music that modern people are more mature?
            It seems to me we are in some ways like coddled babies with heating anf entertainment provided… no need to gather wood or dig up coal… what is maturity but the ability to contain emotion and transmute it and who does that better than the ancients?

            • I’m not sure about maturity. It just seems that the young people of today are interested in mature topics at a very early age. That there is an understanding of abstract thinking at an early age. But you might be right. If we look at self sufficiency, or the ability of restraint… that is not so common now.

              • We can never be self sufficient.What we hope for is mature interdependence.Mutual support which women sometimes get in speacial organisations.We all need mutual support I believe.No manis an island.

              • Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.
                Kurt Vonnegut

  15. Politics over here are more and more about posturing than policy. Netanayhu’s visit this week is a perfect recent example. Cynicism abounds with the Republicans.

  16. How to reply to these thoughts; as you say, you see the same personality politics exported and imported in many countries, with different cultures and languages. To me, it seems one strong and unpleasant theme runs through this focus, it is one of extremes. There extremes of poverty that create extremely split societies; there are extremes of prejudice which are demonstrated with the cult of denigration of personalities and people; there is prejudice of faith and nationality. It is all very ugly. It is self-serving to the few and hurts the majority. These political games of fear distract from core economic, social and security issues that the our political classes do not want people to challenge.

    • Prejudice, yes. There is a lot of prejudice in most societies. Poverty is very relative. The poor of most western countries would be seen as middle class by Oriental standards. We can find ‘poor’ who drive around in cars, eat in restaurants, and have cell phones in their pockets. Let’s not forget what happened during the long experiment of socialism in eastern Europe. When they had the chance, most of the citizens of those socialistic countries were anxious and willing to trade their fiscal security for freedom. There are many myths related to politics. Many unreasonable promises are heard. Do you trust the majority? I believe that the most outstanding mechanism of a modern democratic society is the guarantee of the rights of the minorities. But sometimes, as we have seen, the balance can be disrupted in either direction, and cause grief for all. When complaining about any political system, I consider it important to consider the alternatives. Thanks for your comment, menhir.

  17. Amen to that…..we are all of the same human family.
    We also are preparing for big elections in May….and the nastiness has begun in full force from all sides…..if it wasn’t so sad it would be funny….what can I say.
    Glad to see that your snow is leaving and spring is beginning to show it’s beautiful face…and yes I see the birds so very clearly:)
    Give Nechame a cuddle from me. Janetxx

    • Yes here in Jerusalem, we do get glimpses of spring, even in winter. But sometimes winter comes back in full force. I remember snow storm towards the end of March in the past. So it’s best to enjoy what we have, but to be ready for more cold. Nechama will certainly get a cuddle, my dear Janet. xxx

  18. I agree Shimon that poverty in global terms is relative. People tend to look at poverty relative to those they are living amongst today. Broadening it out is a luxury we have, Shimon from our vantage point, one that those in their relative poverty, do not see, nor is it a vantage point they share. They live from day to day, within the expectations and ‘rights’ of their society. When societies remove relative comforts from those who have worked hard for them, dissatisfaction will become extant and ripe for manipulating. When societies create visible under classes as well, a toxic brew can emerge.

    Do I trust the majority? Great question. In this country the question is how big is the majority? Too many people choose to disenfranchise themselves by not voting, sadly the majority. In recent times our national governments have been voted in on figures like 30% of the eligible voting population. (Excluding the Scottish Referendum Vote, in which there was about an 85% turnout). People are disengaged from national politics, they see it as being meaningless. It raises its own questions; is this beneficial to those who do vote and the politicians, or, would the voting outcomes be similar if there were more engagementh? It is not a question I have researched, the answers, depending on the questions, might be revealing.

    • Obviously, not all the citizens of most western states consider themselves invested in the democratic process. Some are antagonistic, and some are oblivious. The process itself will be tested by the results. So far, the western democracies have been more successful than most countries running under other systems. But this is a time of great change. And it is hard to guess what will be in a generation or two.

  19. If people around the world understood once and for all that we are basically all the same and want/need more or less the same things (family, love, work, security, health), this planet would be a much happier place to live in.

    • I’m not sure that people all over the world want the same. In my travels, some years back, I saw very different values in different countries. And even today, we see evidence that there are great differences among different cultures, despite certain similarities that are self evident. Still, let’s hope that this planet will be a happier place to live in, as time goes by. Thanks for your comment, Fatima.

  20. I love the nature sculpture photo, how amazing. The political race is getting brutal here in US. Also, the amount of money they spend on the race is outrageous. I really don’t know what people have learned from it. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insights, Mr. Shimon.

    • So far, we haven’t heard much about the political race in the US. I suppose that when our own elections are over, we’ll start hearing more about other countries as well. But it seems to me that many countries in the west have gone the route of advertising companies, and so we are obliged to listen to the same sort of messages that are used to sell soft drinks and toys for children. I truly regret this tendency, and hope for a change for the better. Thanks, Amy

  21. A smashing post as always Shimon. I love your photographs!

    • Thanks so much, Chillbrook. I am amazed that you have time to check out the internet while on vacation. I loved your recent photographs.

      • I’m having a relax and catch up day Shimon. It’s snowing very heavily and I’ve been non stop for 7 days now. I thought today was a good day to spend inside, catching up with a few of my favourite blogs and comments on mine. Full steam ahead in the early hours tomorrow moring in the hope of some northern lights pictures.. 🙂

  22. Fair comment Shimon and perceptive.

    NB. I received your comment on my other post and replied, thanks 🙂

  23. We are all different, yet connected. ❤

  24. The wise words of someone who has come to tolerance though a long course, filled with challenges, compromises, and love, I think!

    • I try as best I can bluebrightly… but I am rather limited in that area. My tolerance goes only so far. I dedicate my strength more to other aspects of life.

  25. Wonderful, wise words Shimon.

  26. One of the things I love about your posts, Shimon, is that they are enduring, and wise. What you write today surely will be true tomorrow, or next month, or next year. Of course we are free to revise our opinions from time to time, but when the foundation of our mental house is firm, we’re free to spend our time redecorating, or adding an extra room.

    What you describe certainly is a part of our life here in the US, too. Politics has become a game between opposing teams, rather than a search for a larger consensus that will benefit all.

    Another difficulty that has arisen here is a pervasive sense of entitlement. The idea that life owes us everything from a free education to freedom from fear is more harmful than helpful. So much of what is good in life comes to us as a gift. As a Dutch theologian, Henri Nouwen, once said, “Hands that are intent on grasping are unable to receive.”

    I’m glad for the gift of your reflections here.

    • Thank you very much for your kind words regarding my efforts, and also for the wonderful quote by Henri Nouwen. I agree that the attitude of entitlement can cause great damage. I believe it should be saved for emergencies. Often in history, social attitudes swing like a pendulum. And in the 60s there was a great swing towards individualism. Of course, there was much to be learned about the importance of the individual. But the pendulum swung so far, that the importance of the social consciousness, the family and the tribe, was lessened to an unfortunate degree. I pray that the fingers won’t completely forget the shoulders. Thank you Linda, for your comment.

  27. The political bickering, especially pre election, is the same here as well. But it never fails to amaze me how such a vast uneducated population always collectively see through the hyperbole and returns the right verdict! Not the the ideal one perhaps, but the best under the circumstances.

    As for fate, even though i do believe that one can achieve anything if they stay focused and work hard enough, I am equally and acutely aware of the accident of birth that has given me the advantages that countless women in my country will never possess, Thank you for another thought provoking read Shimon.

    • Thank you very much for your comment, Madhu. I have gone through a period where I spent less time with computer, and missed a few comments, to my regret. What you say about the vast voting public choosing well is so important. There have been some tragic failures in the past. But I agree with you, that most often the public does see the best choices, and this is very encouraging. It gives me hope.

  28. I enjoyed your insights to the current state of political elections. We are heading into a season of them this year. No one seems to want to work together or compromise. We have to do our part to not demonize the “other.” It’s hard, but possible.

    • I agree with you, yearstricken. So important to remember that we are all connected, and have a common welfare to consider… and to give respect to our fellow human beings even when they do not agree with us. And yes, it’s hard at times. But looking back, it always seems worth it. Thanks for your comment.

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