Wednesday, November 29, 2017

“The pompous academic is addicted to the seductive allure of proliferating pedantic obfuscating technological and psychological polyverbalisms.” - Anonymous

From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst:
November 29
The foreign press was scathing of the new administration. The London Morning Chronicle, at the end of 1861, wrote: 'Abraham Lincoln, whose accession to power was generally welcomed on this side of the Atlantic, has proved himself a feeble, confused and small-minded mediocrity.'

‘The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.’
- Mark Twain

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"Everything you want is on the other side of fear." - Anonymous

From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair
28 November
Don’t play old tapes. Ok, so you wet your pants on your first day in kindergarten, and you were really embarrassed. And for years after that, whenever you were embarrassed, that first day in school is what comes back to you. Bear in mind, unless you cope effectively that mindset you won’t succeed at anything. Life just doesn’t work like that. You must take reasonable precautions about that playing-old-tapes thing.
Here’s a suggestion: consider starting up a Warm-And-Fuzzies file. Buy yourself a really nice, expensive three-ring binder, and a packet of those clear plastic sheets designed to hold 8 1/2X11’s and fit into a three-ring binder. Then slip evidence of accomplishments into those plastic sheets to preserve them as if they were important - glowing letters of recommendation, certificates of completion, heart-felt thank-you notes, e-mails from friends, or even strangers, you want never to forget. Throwing them out with yesterday’s daily newspaper is the very same thing as abdicating a kind of royal prerogative. For whether you realize it or not, you were built for greatness. You can neither accurately measure its impact nor alter that destiny - but you can intentionally walk away from it.
And if you do abdicate, you’ll end up like the legions of historical might-have-beens; you’ll be just like a car driving along railroad tracks – with the right vehicle on the wrong road it’s no wonder youll lose your transmission inside a mile!

“Even when I’m sick and depressed, I love life.” – Artur Rubenstein

From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
29 November
I remember taking my girl friend to the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco to hear the great Artur Rubenstein, one of a handful of world-class interpreters of the piano music of Chopin and Beethoven. 
This was in 1965, 65 years after his dazzling Berlin debut at age 13. Remarkably, this old man was still at the top of his game! I had paid the princely sum of $9.00 for those two tickets; we sat a thousand miles back, up there in God's own nose-bleed section. We could barely see the 9-foot concert grand piano, never mind the famous man himself. But there was no mistaking the transcendent, crystaline, wildly passionate beauty he coaxed out of that instrument. That old man was the very incarnation of vitality. As a young man I had, for years, felt curiously drawn not just to the vitality of his music but to the vitality of the man himself.
I was particularly impressed at that night’s performance at how he reacted to the thunderous applause of that enraptured audience - between his bows he would straighten up, back ram-rod straight, and hold his hands up slightly above his head, palms facing backward, fingers straight and slightly spread, as if to say, "you have these to thank for what just happened!"
Rubensgtein was world-class - what kept this 78-year-old at the top of a very narrow, and fiercely competitive, heap?
I think I found out a few years later when I did some research on Rubenstein and learned that he had nearly committed suicide as a young man. I don’t remember the details, but I very much remember the conclusion I came to at the time, young and naive though I was: somehow the vitality I had heard that night - and saw in the graciousness of that distinctive over-the-head jesture with his hands - had everything to do with his up-close-and-personal confrontation with death he had as a young man in Berlin. He had stood on the precipice of death itself, looked long and hard over the edge - and then stepped back.
His reasons? Who can tell, but I am convinced it included making the likes of Chopin and Beetoven come alive, right down to the last sfortzando, transporting one audience after another to the timeless, spaceless rhelm of those masters. He had once said, ''At every concert I leave a lot to the moment. I must have the unexpected, the unforeseen. I want to risk, to dare. I want to be surprised by what comes out. I want to enjoy it more than the audience. That way the music can bloom anew.''
Even to this day I count myself lucky that, all those years ago, I was once in the presence of this remarkable man whose own boundless vitality pierced, cleaqrly, to the heart of heaven itself.

“... and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – Jesus Christ

From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst:
November 28
'Still, to use a coarse, but an expressive figure, broken eggs cannot be mended. I have issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and I can not retract it.'
- Abraham Lincoln

‘The truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end there it is.’
- Winston Churchill

Monday, November 27, 2017

“Now that I no longer desire it all, I have it all without desire.” – John of the Cross

From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
27 November
"Come apart for a little while," it says in the Bible. It's all about feeding the soul, so when I perceive it is hungry I must go, for example, to confront yet again the riddle of an ever-cleansing sea cleansing an ever-cleansed shore, to answer yet again the beckoning call of the wild geese, the whisper of the wind, the gossamer-wing spread of stars splashed carelessly across an enticing sky. To delve, because clearly deep is calling unto deep. To delve with courage and persistence and a sense of humor, with faith that when I dive off the edge I’ll either be caught or I’ll sprout the necessary wings on the way down. For it is only in confronting the yawning chasm of loneliness that I will ever taste the height and depth and width of mystical communion such as I was made for. And when I do it right I'll be able to show Odysseus himself what "journey" REALLY means.

“Fear not, for God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – II Timothy 1:7

From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst:
November 27
'I have now come to the conclusion never again to think of marrying; and for this reason; I can never be satisfied with anyone who would be block-head enough to have me.'
- Abraham Lincoln

'Hiding in my room, Safe within my womb,
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock, I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.'
- Paul Simon