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Over the holidays, I heard from so many of you -- and thanks to all of you for your interest & encouragement!
I am printing in this issue some thoughts from readers of THE SEED CATALOG, aspiring to fulfill the spirit of this motto by a French theatrical group: "Feed the people with the people."
It is my fervent hope this year to assemble viable computer equipment for cyberspace travel.
A NOTE TO NICHOLAS
Who would ever think that a little baby boy like you could turn the whole world on with just one flash of a smile!
From ANDREW M.
What is a lie?
Let us consider four cases:
1. You are a Dutch teen-ager
during World War II. One morning as you're walking down the street, the Gestapo
appears in its Mercedes roadsters and their long black coats. They demand to
know if Anne Frank lives in that house. You know she does. What do you tell
2. You're an 8-year-old kid on the school playground. A 14-year-old bully is hunting for your 10-year-old brother. The bully descends on you. Where is your brother, he demands. You know your brother in in the playground on the other side of the school. What do you tell him?
3. A woman asks you what you think of her new hairdo (dress, shoes, whatever). You think it looks terrible. If you tell her the truth, you may lose her friendship. What do you say?
4. You are having a secret affair with another partner in your law firm. The two of you will marry as soon as the other person's annulment comes through. A nosey senior partner corners you and demands to know whether you're sleeping with that person. If you tell that partner the truth, the story will spread through the whole firm, causing trouble for you and your lover. What do you say?
Are there times when you do not have to tell the truth, when, indeed you should not tell the truth? Are there times when an obsession with truth could become immoral and even evil? Are there times when you have to lie?
In the moral theology I learned in the seminary, a lie was defined as telling an untruth to someone who has the right to the truth. This definition is one way of dealing with the dilemma one faces in cases like those above or similar ones. There are other ways of dealing with the problem, but this one seems to be the simplest.
Thus one would commit a grave sin by telling the Gestapo the truth. One is certainly under no obligation tot ell the bully where one's brother is; it would be a sin to expose the brother to a savage beating. The woman who asks about her hairdo wants a compliment (which is fair enough), but she has thereby forfeited her right to a true answer. The senior partner has no right to pry into your sexual life. You may therefore hide the truth from him.
By these criteria, I would argue President Clinton may well have told untruths in the Paula Jones deposition and in his initial public denials of the games with Monica Lewinsky, but he did not lie.
Whatever the legalities of the matter, no one has the right to demand of you an admission of adultery in a deposition for a civil suit. Moreover, the American people have no right to pry into the sex life of anyone, from a president on down. He may have told an untruth in the Jones deposition. He may have told an untruth to the American people. But, in this moral theological perspective, he did not lie.
David Schippers, the majority counsel of the current witch-hunt, indulged in patent hypocrisy when he quoted Thomas More on the subject of perjury. One may well ask Schippers how many perjury indictments were returned against those who may have told untruths in civil depositions. One may also demand of him whether he knows of a single case in which a person was indicted for denying adultery under oath.
Anthony Lewis of The New York Times, one of the few columnists to understand what is really happening in the present attacks on the president, calls it an attempted coup d'etat by fundamentalist Christians against the Constitution. They hope to seize the presidency in 2000 and then impose their moral code on the rest of us.
And, while they may unseat the president, I don't think they'll win the next presidential election. There is however, a chance they will, so make no mistake: it is for those voters that House Speaker New Gingrich and admitted "youthful" (at the age of 41) adulterer Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee are producing the present show.
THE NEW YORK TIMES 1-3-99
Beginning with "Persona" (1966), he turned deeply inward, and the nine films they made together over the next 12 years, when Mr. Bergman's film career was at its peak, reflect his most private concerns. More than any other Bergman actress, Ms. Ullmann embodies his core themes of anguish, loss and failure - the anguish of everyday life, the radical loss of faith, and the failure of love to console.
RAM DASS: HE STILL RULES
I saw a picture of
him in the Jan/Feb 1999 issue of YOGA JOURNAL, sitting up strong in a
wheel chair, his long flowing hair beneath a baseball hat, gesturing to the
crowd in an outside conference on "aging, life altering illness, and spiritual
practice," looking comfortable in his blue jeans & casual attire. Having
suffered a cerebral stroke in February of 1997, he reflected upon his
experience, as reported in the following excerpt from YOGA JOURNAL:
"… since the stroke, he said, 'I've learned to play with this new incarnation.' He's realized that wishing he could do things beyond his scope can only bring pain. 'How many of you still do that?' he asked his audience."
"…'Each incarnation has a total lesson,' he said. 'You can't get the lesson when you say, "I'm safe, I'm only watching." You have to participate; you have to wring the sponge of each moment completely dry.'"
--Todd Jones in
P.O. BOX 469088 Escondido, CA 92046-9624
Donations to Ram Dass's medical fund can be sent to the
"We live in an age dominated by curiosity about matters that are none of our business."
There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains as much destructive feeling as moral indignation, which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the disguise of virtue.
We're like blind men on a corner - we have to learn to trust people or we'll never cross the street.
If I weren't here to intimidate you would that make it okay for you to eat ding dongs and look fat today?
--Wendi Lee Zimmerman
No one is bound by any obligation unless it has first been freely accepted.
There is probably nothing like living together for blinding people to each other.
To teach is to learn.
Enlightenment is the best revenge
You say its yer birthday. Hap-py birthday to ya! You say its yer birthday. Hap-py birthday to ya!
Help! I'm back in the USSR and can't buy me love! I've lost my ticket to ride and I'm looking for Penny Lane but all I can see is the long and winding road. I feel like a fool on the hill. I'm so tired!
Because she's so heavy, you never gave me your money! Now I've got to deal with that mean Mr. Mustard!
Thank God for Polythene Pam. I just saw her standing there. She came in through the bathroom window. We pursued some day tripping, drove my car across the universe, and eventually did it in the road. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da! Now I feel fine. There were just the two of us, digging a pony! I went to tie my old brown show and something told me to act naturally. It was a good day, sun shining, and I got a feeling. I decided to carry that weight, looked here and there and everywhere and, believe it or not, saw our old friend Lucy. As usual she was in the sky with her diamonds.
There is a place! She's a real nowhere man, that girl. Well, at that point, all I could think to do was follow the sun, when a voice said to me, "Do you want to know a secret?" I mumbled some words of love and the voice said, "Tomorrow never knows, but there's a place usually reserved for no one, but baby it's you!"
By this time, I'd realized it was the Sun King giving me a Zen rap on the old noggin with Maxwell's Silver Hammer. "Don't hide your love away!" he stated. "Taste the honey! And remember, when you are in the chains of misery, twist and shout!" Believe it or not, I used to think that happiness was a warm gun! I should have known better!
Finally, I was starting to get together. I was flying! I felt a helluva lot like Mother Nature's Son! At which point he said, "Don't let me down, don't pass me by, there is something in the way you move! You can get by with a little help from your friends because all you need is love.
Think for yourself, just let it be!" At that point, I'd just seen a face and heard the word. I wanted to run for my life but all I could say was, "I will."
"Dr.J" -- WMNF Sixties Show, Tampa, FL
ENVISIONING THE HERE & NOW FROM AFAR
We are all happy," someone said, "if only we knew it." How can we learn to know it. Perhaps by looking at our life today from the perspective of an imagined tomorrow. What if, right now, we were able to transcend the limitations of time and return to any given day of our choice from the past, in the manner of Emily in the play OUR TOWN. Or, more to the point, what if "right now" could be that day, envisioned as if from afar, our powers of self-realization fully charged. Wouldn't that be a trip! Yes, and furthermore, it's a trip not only worth taking (with careful preparation as would be the case for any journey) but well within the realm of possibility.
Wouldn't it be amazing, even the most mundane and simplest of experiences, radiantly before us -- again, as if brand new! But, hey, that's what life is at every instant -- brand new, yet blessed with precious memories. If we could but realize it! In any case, we are making history as we create the future, so let's keep on doing what we're doing as well as we can.
Love & All Best Wishes,
Bill Joyner (1-11-99)
The Seed Catalog
William T. Joyner, Editor
THE SEED CATALOG is available by mail for an annual suggested donation of $5.00
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--Bill Joyner / P.O. Box 3411 / Sarasota, FL 34230
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