Wisdom of the ages and venerable sages

Corporate media don’t tell us what’s important. They have a set way of looking at circumstances and events and another set way of interpreting what they see and evaluating it according to a particular set of values and assumptions that they learned in journalism school. They invent bandwagons and then jump on them.

George W. Bush, like several other politicians, including Joe Biden and Al Gore, is a liar, so why did anybody follow him around recording what he said, or listen to what he said, once they knew he was a liar? Why do you think the corporate press pretended any of it was true? To sell ads. The federal government promotes the commercial assault on our lives and values because it’s all somebody’s business expense and warrants a federal subsidy.

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Some people are upset because Barack Obama picked Rick Warren to pray publicly at the inauguration. Obama is tolerant, an unpopular trait.

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There’s something wrong with paying—through public relations departments—for government to spin its image. It’s paying government to lie. I. F. Stone said, “Governments lie.” He was right, of course, but it needn’t cost extra.

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I still don’t care about global warming.

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I was talking to a friend of mine recently about something I’ve forgotten since I began this sentence. That’s what my memory is like lately. It helps me stay in the moment.

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Here are some statements I thought about fairly often in 2008:

“Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock."—Ben Hecht, playwright and novelist (1894-1964)

“We are disturbed not by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens.” —Epictetus (c.55-135)

“Barn’s burnt down, now I can see the moon."—Mizuta Masahide (1657-1723)

“From the ego’s point of view, spiritual progress is ‘one insult after another.’ “—Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist master (1939-1987)

“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen."—Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959)

“One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams.” —Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)

“When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.” —Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

A bumper sticker: “Don’t believe everything you think.”

And a poem:

“As water given sugar sweetens, given salt grows salty,
we become our choices.
Each yes, each no continues,
this one a ladder, that one an anvil or cup.”

—Jane Hirshfield (1953- )