Archives for May 2008

Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – The right measure

By Paulo Coelho

The warrior of the light knows how to recognize an enemy who is stronger.

If he decides to confront him, he will immediately be destroyed. If he accepts his provocations, he will fall into the trap.

So he uses diplomacy to overcome the difficult situation in which he finds himself. When the enemy acts like a baby, he does the same. When he calls him to combat, he pretends not to understand.

His friends comment: “he is a coward.”

But the warrior pays no attention to the comment; he knows that all the anger and courage of a bird are of no use in a confrontation with a cat.

In situations such as this, the warrior is patient. He knows the enemy will soon depart and provoke others.

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He Took a Polaroid Every Day, Until the Day He Died

Today going through Digg I came upon a true story that surpasses all fiction – the story of an american filmmaker and musician Jamie Livingston that took a polaroid every day for 18 years, until the very day of his death.

I read the article by Chris Higgins for Mental Floss, here are some passages:

Yesterday I came across a slightly mysterious website “” a collection of Polaroids, one per day, from March 31, 1979 through October 25, 1997. There’s no author listed, no contact info, and no other indication as to where these came from. So, naturally, I started looking through the photos. I was stunned by what I found.

In 1979 the photos start casually, with pictures of friends, picnics, dinners, and so on. (…)

What started for me as an amusing collection of photos “” who takes photos every day for eighteen years? “” ended with a shock. Who was this man? How did his photos end up on the web? I went on a two-day hunt, examined the source code of the website, and tried various Google tricks.


To read the full article and see the polaroids, please go here.

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

One of the questionings that keep on recurring in this book is Athena’s need to live with her “empty spaces”. Does Paulo Coelho have “empty spaces”?

Of course I do. Who doesn’t? The whole problem is not about having empty spaces, but about admitting that they exist. Today’s society is so preoccupied about coherence that many get trapped in the misconception that all is explainable. Society tries to convince us that we have to be completely transparent, not only to world but to ourselves. There is where the danger lies. It’s necessary to admit that some things can’t be grasped, that our empty spaces exist and that we have to respect and honour the mystery. I would say that Athena is my feminine side.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The Warrior knows that in all languages the most
important words are the small words.
They are words that are easy enough to say,
yet vast empty spaces.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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Interview with Riz Khan : One on One – A modern day philosopher

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

You deal with very delicate issues in the Witch of Portobello, such as prejudice, religious intolerance and dogma. Aren’t you afraid of being excommunicated from the Catholic Church with this novel? After all you defend the idea that God is the Great Mother.

I’m not afraid of that. I go every year to a Benedictine retreat in Austria, called Melk. There I spoke to abbot Buckhard about catholic tradition and, during our talks, the issue of women’s exclusion came up. He told me that the Benedictine have prayers dedicated to the Goddess-Mother. In 200 years I believe that feminine divinity will no longer be a taboo.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The body is the manifestation of God in the visible world

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Memory: Forgetting Is the New Normal

Today in Digg, I found this interesting article by  Sue Halpern for the Time Magazine

Memory researcher Dr. Scott Small would like to reassure you that you’re not losing your wits. Visit him in his lab at Columbia University’s Medical Center, tell him how the last time you went to a party, you couldn’t put names to faces, how telephone numbers slip your mind, and he’ll walk to his blackboard, pick up a piece of chalk and draw two lines. One, he will tell you, represents age. The other is memory. “As age goes up, memory goes down,” he says. “Memory decline occurs in everyone.”

Anecdotally, that’s no surprise. Approach middle age, and it’s hard not to notice that your recall is flickering. This, we’re reassured, is perfectly normal–all your friends are complaining about the same thing, aren’t they?–and yet it doesn’t feel normal. You don’t just have your mind, after all; you are your mind, and nothing threatens your well-being so much as the feeling that it’s at risk. What’s more, while most memory loss is normal, at least some people must be part of the unlucky minority that develops Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Why not you?


To read the rest of the article, please go here.

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

What is important?

You never know. You can only unravel it during the journey. It all starts with a sign that takes you from a point to the next. Or makes you think about an action you’re about to take.

To be believed to be seen

Recently I found this beautiful quote by the English poet – Ralph Hodgson

“Some things have to be believed to be seen”

Do you believe in this? Why?

It would be interesting to see your personal list of things that have to be believed to be seen.


Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

God reveals himself in everything,
but the word is one of his favorite ways of taking action,
because the word is thought transformed into vibration.
The word has greater power than many rituals.

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light

By Paulo Coelho

A warrior of the light never acts in a cowardly fashion.

Flight may be an excellent art of defense, but it cannot be used when fear is great. When in doubt, the warrior prefers to risk defeat and then cure his wounds – because he knows that if he runs away, he is giving his aggressor more power than he deserves.

He can cure physical suffering, but will be persecuted forever for any spiritual weakness.

Faced with difficult and painful moments, the warrior faces unfavorable circumstances with heroism, resignation and courage.

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Does Power Corrupt? Absolutely Not

Today, while surfing the internet, I came upon this article written by KATE PICKERT for the Time Magazine. Indeed, contrary to the famous “Lucifer effect” and the popular saying that “absolute power corrupts absolutely”, here’s an article that shows the bright side of power. I submitted it in Digg and now am publishing it here in my blog:

Power breeds competence, not corruption, according to a new study in the May issue of Psychological Science. The study, a collaboration between U.S. and Dutch researchers, finds that if people feel powerful in their roles, they may be less likely to make on-the-job errors “” like administering the wrong medication to a patient. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the study suggests that people at the bottom of the workplace totem pole don’t end up there for lack of ability, but rather that being low and powerless in a hierarchy leads to more mistakes. It’s a finding that surprised even the study’s authors. “I’ll be totally honest. When we started this research,” says Adam Galinsky, a co-author and a social psychology professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, “we first had the hypothesis that maybe power might impair [cognitive] functioning.”

“This research has a lot of direct implications for such things as whether power corrupts,” says Galinsky, who collaborated with researchers from VU University Amsterdam and Radboud University Nijmegan.


To read the rest of the artcile go here.
To digg it, please go here.

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

In what do you believe?

I believe in dreams, in man and in the goddess.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The best way to plunge into God is through love.

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The chess game

By Paulo Coelho

A young man said to the abbot from the monastery:

– I’d actually like to be a monk, but I haven’t learned anything in life. All my father taught me was to play chess, which does not lead to enlightenment. Apart from that, I learned that all games are a sin.

– They may be a sin but they can also be a diversion, and who knows, this monastery needs a little of both – was the reply.

The abbot asked for a chess board, sent for a monk and told him to play the young man.

But before the game began, he added:

– Although we need diversion, we cannot allow everyone to play chess the whole time. So, we only have the best players here; if our monk loses, he will leave the monastery and his place will be yours.

The abbot was serious. The young man knew he was playing for his life, and broke into a cold sweat; the chess board became the center of the world.

The monk began badly. The young man attacked, but then saw the saintly look on the other man’s face; at that moment, he began playing badly on purpose. After all, he would rather lose, a monk is far more useful to the world.

Suddenly, the abbot threw the chess board to the floor.

– You have learned far more than was taught you – he said. – You concentrated yourself enough to win, were capable of fighting for that which you desire. Then, you had compassion, and were willing to make a sacrifice in the name of a noble cause. Welcome to the monastery, because you know how to balance discipline with compassion.

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“2084” Is China Building the Next-Generation Police State?

Today in Digg, found this disturbing article written by Casey Kazan for the Daily Galaxy based on an article written by Naomi Klein for Rolling Stone

Thirty years ago the new Chinese city of Shenzhen did not exist. Today, with the help of U.S. defense contractors, the booming city is a model for a high-tech police state 2.0. And, according to some authorities, it’s ready for export.


Today, Shenzhen situated on the Pearl River Delta, is a city of 12.4 million people and now houses roughly 100,000 factories. As Naomi Klein writes in her brilliant first-person memoir in the current issue of Rolling Stone, “there is a good chance that at least half of everything you own was made here: iPods, laptops, sneakers, flatscreen TVs, cellphones, jeans, maybe your desk chair, possibly your car and almost certainly your printer. Hundreds of luxury condominiums tower over the city; many are more than 40 stories high, topped with three-story penthouses. Newer neighborhoods like Keji Yuan are packed with ostentatiously modern corporate campuses and decadent shopping malls.”

As China prepares to showcase its economic advances during the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, Shenzhen, Klein continues, “is once again serving as a laboratory, a testing ground for the next phase of a vast social experiment. Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the city. Many are in public spaces, disguised as lampposts. The closed-circuit TV cameras will soon be connected to a single, nationwide network, an all-seeing system that will be capable of tracking and identifying anyone who comes within its range “” a project driven in part by U.S. technology and investment. Over the next three years, Chinese security executives predict they will install as many as 2 million CCTVs in Shenzhen, which would make it the most watched city in the world.”


To read the rest for the article please go here.