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Tom Allen

  • 2020-09-02 10:21 AM | Thomas

    The darker the night, the brighter the stars.”
      --Fyodor Dostoyevsky  (1821 – 1881)


    (48:7.15)  Stars are best discerned from the lonely isolation of experiential depths, not from the illuminated and ecstatic mountain tops.  

        Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky sometimes transliterated Dostoyevsky, was a Russian novelist, philosopher, short story writer, essayist, and journalist. Dostoevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmospheres of 19th-century Russia, and engage with a variety of philosophical and religious themes. His most acclaimed works include Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), Demons (1872), and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). Dostoevsky's body of works consists of 12 novels, four novellas, 16 short stories, and numerous other works. Many literary critics rate him as one of the greatest psychological novelists in world literature. His 1864 novel Notes from Underground is considered to be one of the first works of existentialist literature.
        Born in Moscow in 1821, Dostoevsky was introduced to literature at an early age through fairy tales and legends, and through books by Russian and foreign authors. His mother died in 1837 when he was 15, and around the same time, he left school to enter the Nikolayev Military Engineering Institute. After graduating, he worked as an engineer and briefly enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, translating books to earn extra money. In the mid-1840s he wrote his first novel, Poor Folk, which gained him entry into St. Petersburg's literary circles. Arrested in 1849 for belonging to a literary group that discussed banned books critical of Tsarist Russia, he was sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted at the last moment. He spent four years in a Siberian prison camp, followed by six years of compulsory military service in exile. In the following years, Dostoevsky worked as a journalist, publishing and editing several magazines of his own and later A Writer's Diary, a collection of his writings. He began to travel around western Europe and developed a gambling addiction, which led to financial hardship. For a time, he had to beg for money, but he eventually became one of the most widely read and highly regarded Russian writers.
        Dostoevsky was influenced by a wide variety of philosophers and authors including Pushkin, Gogol, Augustine, Shakespeare, Dickens, Balzac, Lermontov, Hugo, Poe, Plato, Cervantes, Herzen, Kant, Belinsky, Hegel, Schiller, Solovyov, Bakunin, Sand, Hoffmann, and Mickiewicz.
        His writings were widely read both within and beyond his native Russia and influenced an equally great number of later writers including Russians like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Anton Chekhov, philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre and the emergence of Existentialism and Freudianism. His books have been translated into more than 170 languages.

  • 2020-08-30 2:03 PM | Thomas
    Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.

      --Edmund Burke, statesman and writer (1729-1797)

    (176:3.4) And then there came to the accounting he who had received the one talent. This servant came forward, saying, 'Lord, I knew you and realized that you were a shrewd man in that you expected gains where you had not personally labored; therefore was I afraid to risk aught of that which was intrusted to me. I safely hid your talent in the earth; here it is; you now have what belongs to you.' But his lord answered: 'You are an indolent and slothful steward. By your own words you confess that you knew I would require of you an accounting with reasonable profit, such as your diligent fellow servants have this day rendered. Knowing this, you ought, therefore, to have at least put my money into the hands of the bankers that on my return I might have received my own with interest.' And then to the chief steward this lord said: 'Take away this one talent from this unprofitable servant and give it to him who has the ten talents.'

    (171:8.6) Lord, behold, here is your pound, which I have kept safely done up in this napkin. And this I did because I feared you; I believed that you were unreasonable, seeing that you take up where you have not laid down, and that you seek to reap where you have not sown.' Then said his lord: 'You negligent and unfaithful servant, I will judge you out of your own mouth. You knew that I reap where I have apparently not sown; therefore you knew this reckoning would be required of you. Knowing this, you should have at least given my money to the banker that at my coming I might have had it with proper interest.'

    (171:8.9-13) It was Nathaniel who so well taught the meaning of these two parables in the after years, summing up his teachings in these conclusions:
        1. Ability is the practical measure of life's opportunities. You will never be held responsible for the accomplishment of that which is beyond your abilities.
        2. Faithfulness is the unerring measure of human trustworthiness. He who is faithful in little things is also likely to exhibit faithfulness in everything consistent with his endowments.
        3. The Master grants the lesser reward for lesser faithfulness when there is like opportunity.
        4. He grants a like reward for like faithfulness when there is lesser opportunity.

        Edmund Burke was an Irish statesman and philosopher. Born in Dublin, Burke served as a member of parliament (MP) between 1766 and 1794 in the House of Commons of Great Britain with the Whig Party after moving to London in 1750.
        Burke was a proponent of underpinning virtues with manners in society and of the importance of religious institutions for the moral stability and good of the state. These views were expressed in his A Vindication of Natural Society. He criticized the actions of the British government towards the American colonies, including its taxation policies. Burke also supported the rights of the colonists to resist metropolitan authority, although he opposed the attempt to achieve independence. He is remembered for his support for Catholic emancipation, the impeachment of Warren Hastings from the East India Company, and his staunch opposition to the French Revolution.
        In his Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke asserted that the revolution was destroying the fabric of good society and traditional institutions of state and society and condemned the persecution of the Catholic Church that resulted from it. This led to his becoming the leading figure within the conservative faction of the Whig Party which he dubbed the Old Whigs as opposed to the pro-French Revolution New Whigs led by Charles James Fox.
        In the 19th century, Burke was praised by both conservatives and liberals. Subsequently in the 20th century, he became widely regarded as the philosophical founder of modern conservatism.

  • 2020-08-23 8:56 PM | Thomas
    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

      --William Ernest Henley, poet, critic, and editor (1849-1903) From "Invictus"

    (111:1.9) Mind is your ship, the Adjuster is your pilot, the human will is captain. The master of the mortal vessel should have the wisdom to trust the divine pilot to guide the ascending soul into the morontia harbors of eternal survival. Only by selfishness, slothfulness, and sinfulness can the will of man reject the guidance of such a loving pilot and eventually wreck the mortal career upon the evil shoals of rejected mercy and upon the rocks of embraced sin. With your consent, this faithful pilot will safely carry you across the barriers of time and the handicaps of space to the very source of the divine mind and on beyond, even to the Paradise Father of Adjusters.

        William Ernest Henley was an influential English poet, critic and editor of the late Victorian era in England. Though he wrote several books of poetry, William Ernest Henley is remembered most often for his 1875 poem "Invictus", a piece which recurs in popular awareness (e.g., see the 2009 Clint Eastwood film, Invictus). A fixture in literary circles, the one-legged Henley was also the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's character Long John Silver (Treasure Island, 1883), while his young daughter Margaret inspired J.M. Barrie’s choice of the name Wendy for the heroine of his play Peter Pan (1904).

  • 2020-08-16 4:32 PM | Thomas
    Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      --Lord Acton, historian (1834-1902)

    (48:7.8) To enjoy privilege without abuse, to have liberty without license, to possess power and steadfastly refuse to use it for self-aggrandizement—these are the marks of high civilization.

    (54:1.6) True liberty is the associate of genuine self-respect; false liberty is the consort of self-admiration. True liberty is the fruit of self-control; false liberty, the assumption of self-assertion. Self-control leads to altruistic service; self-admiration tends towards the exploitation of others for the selfish aggrandizement of such a mistaken individual as is willing to sacrifice righteous attainment for the sake of possessing unjust power over his fellow beings.

    (136:8.6) Jesus chose to establish the kingdom of heaven in the hearts of mankind by natural, ordinary, difficult, and trying methods, just such procedures as his earth children must subsequently follow in their work of enlarging and extending that heavenly kingdom. For well did the Son of Man know that it would be "through much tribulation that many of the children of all ages would enter into the kingdom." Jesus was now passing through the great test of civilized man, to have power and steadfastly refuse to use it for purely selfish or personal purposes.

    (141:3.8) Jesus portrayed conquest by sacrifice, the sacrifice of pride and selfishness. By showing mercy, he meant to portray spiritual deliverance from all grudges, grievances, anger, and the lust for selfish power and revenge.

        John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, 13th Marquess of Groppoli, KCVO, DL was an English Catholic historian, politician, and writer. He was the only son of Sir Ferdinand Dalberg-Acton, 7th Baronet, and a grandson of the Neapolitan admiral and prime minister Sir John Acton, 6th Baronet. Between 1837 and 1869 he was known as Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 8th Baronet.
        He is perhaps best known for the remark, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men...", which he made in a letter to an Anglican bishop.

  • 2020-08-13 10:57 AM | Thomas
    Hate is a dead thing. Who of you would be a tomb?

      --Kahlil Gibran, poet and artist (1883-1931)

    (100:4.6) Love is infectious, and when human devotion is intelligent and wise, love is more catching than hate.

    (172:1.3) Jesus said: "I am not concerned with such walls of brick and stone; but I would cause the walls of prejudice, self-righteousness, and hate to crumble before this preaching of the Father's love for all men."

    (178:1.4) The love call of the spiritual kingdom should prove to be the effective destroyer of the hate urge of the unbelieving and war-minded citizens of the earthly kingdoms.

    (188:5.2) True love does not compromise nor condone hate; it destroys it.

    (177:4.11)  And every mortal man knows full well how love, even when once genuine, can, through disappointment, jealousy, and long-continued resentment, be eventually turned into actual hate.

        Gibran Khalil Gibran usually referred to in English as Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese-American writer, poet and visual artist, also considered a philosopher although he himself rejected the title. He is best known as the author of The Prophet, which was first published in the United States in 1923 and has since become one of the best-selling books of all time, having been translated into more than 100 languages. Born in a village of the Ottoman-ruled Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate to a Maronite family, the young Gibran immigrated with his mother and siblings to the United States in 1895. As his mother worked as a seamstress, he was enrolled at a school in Boston, where his creative abilities were quickly noticed by a teacher who presented him to photographer and publisher F. Holland Day. Gibran was sent back to his native land by his family at the age of fifteen to enroll at the Collège de la Sagesse in Beirut. Returning to Boston upon his youngest sister's death in 1902, he lost his older half-brother and his mother the following year, seemingly relying afterwards on his remaining sister's income from her work at a dressmaker's shop for some time.
        As worded by Suheil Bushrui and Joe Jenkins, Gibran's life has been described as one "often caught between Nietzschean rebellion, Blakean pantheism and Sufi mysticism." Gibran discussed different themes in his writings, and explored diverse literary forms. Salma Khadra Jayyusi has called him "the single most important influence on Arabic poetry and literature during the first half of [the twentieth] century," and he is still celebrated as a literary hero in Lebanon. At the same time, "most of Gibran's paintings expressed his personal vision, incorporating spiritual and mythological symbolism," with art critic Alice Raphael recognizing in the painter a classicist, whose work owed "more to the findings of Da Vinci than it [did] to any modern insurgent." His "prodigious body of work" has been described as "an artistic legacy to people of all nations."

  • 2020-08-09 6:07 PM | Thomas
    Oh make in me those civil wars to cease!

      --Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

    (34:7.7) Those God-knowing men and women who have been born of the Spirit experience no more conflict with their mortal natures than do the inhabitants of the most normal of worlds, planets which have never been tainted with sin nor touched by rebellion. Faith sons work on intellectual levels and live on spiritual planes far above the conflicts produced by unrestrained or unnatural physical desires. The normal urges of animal beings and the natural appetites and impulses of the physical nature are not in conflict with even the highest spiritual attainment except in the minds of ignorant, mistaught, or unfortunately overconscientious persons.

    (47:4.8) Mansonia number two more specifically provides for the removal of all phases of intellectual conflict and for the cure of all varieties of mental disharmony.

    (91:8.13) Prayer is not a technique of escape from conflict but rather a stimulus to growth in the very face of conflict.

    (103:2.4) Every human being very early experiences something of a conflict between his self-seeking and his altruistic impulses, and many times the first experience of God-consciousness may be attained as the result of seeking for superhuman help in the task of resolving such moral conflicts.

     (103:4.1) The atmosphere of the communion provides a refreshing and comforting period of truce in the conflict of the self-seeking ego with the altruistic urge of the indwelling spirit Monitor.

    (111:4.11) This is the problem: If freewill man is endowed with the powers of creativity in the inner man, then must we recognize that freewill creativity embraces the potential of freewill destructivity. And when creativity is turned to destructivity, you are face to face with the devastation of evil and sin—oppression, war, and destruction. Evil is a partiality of creativity which tends toward disintegration and eventual destruction. All conflict is evil in that it inhibits the creative function of the inner life—it is a species of civil war in the personality.

        Sir Philip Sidney (30 November 1554 – 17 October 1586) was an English poet, courtier, scholar and soldier who is remembered as one of the most prominent figures of the Elizabethan age. His works include Astrophel and Stella, The Defence of Poesy (also known as The Defence of Poetry or An Apology for Poetry) and The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia.

  • 2020-08-06 10:19 AM | Thomas
    Little giving--impulses are as important as big ones because they build the habit of giving yourself away.

      --David Dunn (From his book -"Try Giving Yourself Away"

    (138:8.9) The disciples early learned that the Master had a profound respect and sympathetic regard for every human being he met, and they were tremendously impressed by this uniform and unvarying consideration which he so consistently gave to all sorts of men, women, and children. He would pause in the midst of a profound discourse that he might go out in the road to speak good cheer to a passing woman laden with her burden of body and soul. He would interrupt a serious conference with his apostles to fraternize with an intruding child. Nothing ever seemed so important to Jesus as the individual human who chanced to be in his immediate presence. He was master and teacher, but he was more—he was also a friend and neighbor, an understanding comrade.

    (171:7.9) Most of the really important things which Jesus said or did seemed to happen casually, "as he passed by." There was so little of the professional, the well-planned, or the premeditated in the Master's earthly ministry. He dispensed health and scattered happiness naturally and gracefully as he journeyed through life. It was literally true, "He went about doing good."

  • 2020-08-02 4:40 PM | Thomas

    The door of a bigoted mind opens outwards so that the only result of the pressure of facts upon it is to close it more snugly.
      --Ogden Nash, poet (1902-1971)


    (184:3.14) But Caiaphas could not longer endure the sight of the Master standing there in perfect composure and unbroken silence. He thought he knew at least one way in which the prisoner might be induced to speak. Accordingly, he rushed over to the side of Jesus and, shaking his accusing finger in the Master's face, said: "I adjure you, in the name of the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Deliverer, the Son of God." Jesus answered Caiaphas: "I am. Soon I go to the Father, and presently shall the Son of Man be clothed with power and once more reign over the hosts of heaven."
    (184:3.15)    When the high priest heard Jesus utter these words, he was exceedingly angry, and rending his outer garments, he exclaimed: "What further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now have you all heard this man's blasphemy. What do you now think should be done with this lawbreaker and blasphemer?" And they all answered in unison, "He is worthy of death; let him be crucified."


        Frederic Ogden Nash was an American poet well known for his light verse, of which he wrote over 500 pieces. With his unconventional rhyming schemes, he was declared the country's best-known producer of humorous poetry.

  • 2020-07-30 9:28 AM | Thomas
    In religion, faith is a virtue. In science, faith is a vice.

      --Jerry Coyne, biology professor (b. 1949)

    (42:9.4) The philosophy of the universe cannot be predicated on the observations of so-called science.

    [101:2.7] Science ends its reason-search in the hypothesis of a First Cause. Religion does not stop in its flight of faith until it is sure of a God of salvation

    [102:1.3] The more of science you know, the less sure you can be; the more of religion you have, the more certain you are. 

        Jerry Allen Coyne is an American biologist known for his work on speciation and his commentary on intelligent design. A prolific scientist and author, he has published numerous papers elucidating the theory of evolution. He is currently a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution. His concentration is speciation and ecological and evolutionary genetics, particularly as they involve the fruit fly, Drosophila.
        He is the author of the text Speciation and the bestselling non-fiction book Why Evolution Is True, Coyne maintains a website and writes for his blog, also called Why Evolution Is True. He is a hard determinist.
        Coyne gained attention outside of the scientific community when he publicly criticized religion and is often cited with atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. He is the author of the book Faith vs Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible. Coyne officially retired in 2015.
  • 2020-07-27 8:56 AM | Thomas
    The question is whether or not you choose to disturb the world around you, or if you choose to let it go on as if you had never arrived.

      --Ann Patchett, writer (b.1963)

    (195:6.9) The materialistic sociologist of today surveys a community, makes a report thereon, and leaves the people as he found them. Nineteen hundred years ago, unlearned Galileans surveyed Jesus giving his life as a spiritual contribution to man's inner experience and then went out and turned the whole Roman Empire upside down.

        Ann Patchett  is an American author. She received the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction in the same year, for her novel Bel Canto. Patchett's other novels include The Patron Saint of Liars (1992), Taft (1994), The Magician's Assistant (1997), Run (2007), State of Wonder (2011), Commonwealth (2016), and The Dutch House (2019).The Dutch House was a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

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