Speak to us of Love

For people unaware of Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), the Lebanese philospher and third best-selling poet of all time, here is a sample of his writings. The following passage was selected by Paulo Coelho in his book ‘Inspirations – Selections from Classical literature.’ (Penguin Classics, 2010)

The original passage appears in Kahlil Gibran’s book ‘The Prophet’, in the first chapter ‘The coming of the ship’-

And she hailed him, saying: Prophet of God, in quest for the uttermost,
long have you searched the distances for your ship.

And now your ship has come, and you must needs go.

Deep is your longing for the land of your memories and the dwelling place of your greater desires; and our love would not bind you nor our needs hold you.

Yet this we ask ere you leave us, that you speak to us and give us of your truth. And we will give it unto our children, and they unto their children, and it shall not perish.

In your aloneness you have watched with our days, and in your wakefulness you have listened to the weeping and the laughter of our sleep.

Now therefore disclose us to ourselves, and tell us all that has been known you of that which is between birth and death.

And he answered,

People of Orphalese, of what can I speak save of that which is even now moving your souls?

Then said Almitra, “Speak to us of Love.”

And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:

When love beckons to you follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,

Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, I am in the heart of God.”

And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, it directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and
a song of praise upon your lips.

(copied from RepatAfterUs.com)

Economic review (of books)

I unexpectedly found myself reading three economics books recently, so a comparison is in order.

> Alan Beattie’s (2010) ‘False Economy – A surprising economic history of the world’.

> Robert Peston’s (2008) ‘Who Runs Britain? ..and who’s to blame for the economic mess we’re in’.

> Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s (2009) ‘Superfreakonomics – Global cooling, patriotic prostitutes and why suicide bombers should buy life insurance’.

My favourite? Alan Beattie’s book I found by far the most engaging as it examines economic policy and trade from a historical point of view, using his understanding of trade to examine the developmental history of the world. What at first glance of the contents page seems to be a loose assemblage of chapters is actually quite well arranged and his story-telling is clear and riveting.

Peston’s account focuses on the recent climate as the title suggests, but he gives a very good account of the build-up of practices in the preceeding two decades that have contributed to the current mess. However Preston’s constant name-dropping becomes quite tedious at times!

Superfreakonomics is the follow-on to Freakonomics, the book that arguably defined the new genre of ‘behavioural economics’, or the use of economic theory to rationalise human beahaviour (eg. Tim Harford’s ‘Undercover Economist’). Like its predecessor, it is packed with unusual case studies and makes for very interesting reading. It should help the casual reader familiarise him/herself with broad economic theories.

Rodent-penis-bite-man

Yes.

There was Superman, Spiderman, and now Rodent-Penis-Bite-Man.

The BBC webpage reports that ” ‘Rodent penis bite’ man may sue.”. What has he done to earn the title, I wonder. But I’m scared to look further, surely it can’t get better?

Here’s one line –

“The parties dispute whether the rodent was a mouse or a rat, whether Solomon was bitten or scratched, and the nature and extent of his injuries,” US District Judge Arthur Spatt wrote.