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    A smart person accepts while the idiot insists

    January 27th, 2011

    Note: The actual quote is “The smart person accepts. The idiot insists.” I’ve changed it so the title doesn’t have a period in it because periods screw up the links generated by the blog software.

    This is the secret of success for anywhere in the world, not just the monastery,” Father Giannis Angelou says, and then goes on to describe pretty much word for word the first rule of improvisational comedy, or for that matter any successful collaborative enterprise.

    Take whatever is thrown at you and build upon it. “Yes … and” rather than “No … but.” “The idiot is bound by his pride,” he says. “It always has to be his way. This is also true of the person who is deceptive or doing things wrong: he always tries to justify himself. A person who is bright in regard to his spiritual life is humble. He accepts what others tell him—criticism, ideas—and he works with them.”

    Father Giannis Angelou explaining to Vanity Fair reporter Michael Lewis how his Greek monastery became a real estate investment success story.


    Humans Demand Beliefs

    January 22nd, 2011

    Beliefs are as indispensable as the air we breathe. Even an atheist is a believer, with his own system of disbelief. Not believing in anything is mental breakdown. There is something about humans that demands a belief. A belief can be anything or a combination of many things; it can be well-defined and even rigid, or a loosely put together hodge-podge with considerable latitude. It can be magnificent or the most abhorrent. But, it has to be there. Beliefs steer our vehicles in the journey of life.

    A peculiar thing about beliefs is that they don’t have to be based on reason. Rationality does not have full charge of the human mind. Emotions, fantasies, miss-perceptions and a host of other operations make us the muddling fuzzy-thinkers that we are. A constant upheaval rages in the arena of the mind where all kinds of clashing forces and conflicting information vie for a place. All along, some mysterious housekeeper of the mind works at maintaining a semblance of coherence and order.

    It is in the chaotic, fallible and conflict-ridden battlefield of the mind that beliefs are subjected to constant assaults as well as reinforcement. Somehow, usually in early life, the foundation for a belief system forms. Once this happens, the person tends to build on that foundation and protect it against anything that aims to change or undermine it.

    Excerpted with permission from Never Mind the Bomb, Beware of Islamofascism by Amil Imani.


    We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now

    January 20th, 2011

    “We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.”

    Martin Luther King Jr.


    People Change

    January 17th, 2011

    We’re becoming better people. One day at a time as we practice we change.

    Many times I find myself reacting to someone as if he hasn’t changed. I’ve changed over the years, and know most of the people in my life have changed too.

    I expect others to see the changes in me, but don’t look for the changes in them.

    My feelings get hurt when they don’t see the changes I’ve made, but my actions are the same.

    I need to demonstrate the new me. Show others the way I live my life today.

    If I don’t, then I haven’t really changed.

    I need to watch others so I can see the changes in their lives too.


    The road to happiness

    January 16th, 2011

    “It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive.” – Somerset Maugham