Not Dissidents

Today I was re-reading Vaclav Havel’s essay “The Power of the Powerless.” One of the things that strikes me most about this piece is Havel’s resistance at being labelled a dissident. This is particularly interesting given that, in an effort to acclaim him, he was called a dissident throughout much of his life and now it remains his seemingly unshakeable legacy after his death. Continue reading “Not Dissidents”

Hannah Senesh: “Here almost every life is the fulfillment of a mission.”

Today I’m thinking about these two short excerpts written by Hannah Senesh in her journal on September 23, 1939 and September 21, 1941 respectively. Continue reading “Hannah Senesh: “Here almost every life is the fulfillment of a mission.””

Cancelled? Postponed? Deferred? Adapted?

On March 10th, this article was published in The Atlantic titled “Cancel Everything.” Eventually there were more and more lists of things that were cancelled and emails upon emails announcing cancellations. But then, came the many euphemisms in an attempt to disguise the reality of just how much our plans needed to change and just how little we are really in control. 

A friend of mine reflected on this to me the other day basically musing: “Why is it so hard for people to just say and accept that things are cancelled?” Continue reading “Cancelled? Postponed? Deferred? Adapted?”

Establishing our existences

My 2019 journal begins with this quotation by Karl Jaspers: 

The truly real takes place almost unnoticed, and is, to begin with, lonely and dispersed. . . . Those among our young people who, thirty years hence, will do the things that matter, are, in all probability, now quietly biding their time; and yet, unseen by others, they are already establishing their existences by means of an unrestricted spiritual discipline.

Continue reading “Establishing our existences”

“All real living is meeting”

In May I visited the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Tel Aviv. Our guide told us enthusiastically that Israel’s pioneers in high tech innovation were waiting to meet us in the next room. Automated doors opened and we were ushered into a maze of holograms. Each screen had a tech entrepreneur or innovator on the screen that was able to “answer your questions in a unique and advanced digital experience.” Continue reading ““All real living is meeting””

Humility is truth: Hildebrand on veracity

This evening I read Hildebrand’s brief chapter on veracity in The Art of Living.

Just this very day, a colleague of mine quoted the expression “Humility is truth” and we discussed it a bit. Hildebrand has an excellent description of its meaning:

The truthful person does not seek compensation for his inferiority complexes. The kinship that find its expression in the words ‘Humility is truth,’ may also be expressed conversed. The humble person alone is really truthful. The source of all ungenuineness and all untruthfulness is found in the proud desire to be something different from what we really are.

Veracity, like all important values, concerns not only the individual but human relationships. Thus, Hildebrand explains, “To lie is to misuse the quality entrusted to us as witnesses to being, in speech, in the spoken or written word. […] To deceive another person implies a fundamental disrespect, a failure to take him seriously.”

These are lucid and enlivening reflections to read, particularly as I attend a political networking conference.

“In comparison with the ‘heaven of heaven’ even the heaven of earth is still earth.” These words of St. Augustine echo in my soul. Seeing reality rightly and being spiritually free to have “deep reverence for the majesty of being.” This is what matters.