May 14, 1607. Jamestown, now in Virginia, became the first English colony in what would later be the United States. It was not the first European colony in our future country. That honor is reserved for Spain, which founded St. Augustine, Florida, in September 1565, some 42 years earlier. Jamestown, named from James I of England, the king who also authorized the King James Bible, sent three boatloads of upper-class Englishmen, who subsisted mainly by trade with the local Indians.
“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale/Her infinite variety. . . .” So says Shakespeare about Cleopatra in Anthony and Cleopatra. Now I don’t know about the Serpent of the Nile, but as for me, age has certainly withered me. Or more specifically, my withers. Or even more specifically, my knees. It started about 25 years ago. After having run-walked the annual Honolulu Marathon for the second time in a row—I went on to do it four more times!—I became aware of a gnawing pain in my left knee.
Some summers ago I attended a free concert here in Boulder. Called “Band on the Bricks,” the event was a gift of the City of Boulder. That evening there was a Beatles cover band. They weren’t fantastic, but they were good. And of course the Beatles’ music was and is great. Cedar and I went along with my younger daughter, Christine, who was visiting. Not only is she a Beatles fan; she’s a Beatles scholar, with a communications Ph.D. focused on Mod culture and a third book in process on The Women of the Beatles to prove it.
Asian cultures are famously respectful of teachers. The Chinese characters for the term are “old” + “soul,” even on the Mainland. The Japanese sensei is also used as the most honorific form of address. The prime minister, for example, is called sensei, teacher. And nowadays in the West no one needs to explain the respect contained in the East Indian term guru.
Freud thought biology was destiny. It was not an idea likely to find favor among feminists, and it didn’t. Freud also introduced the concept of penis envy. Clearly, to his way of thinking, women could never be kings, only queens, and the latter were, for the most part, consorts rather than rulers. If gaining worldly power was the name of the game, the fairer sex had without doubt been disadvantaged. They had every reason, he thought, to be envious.
In 1994 a successful investment banker in San Francisco, Claude Rosenberg, Jr., published Wealthy and Wise. Based on the tax laws, he argued, America’s richest citizens could do better financially for both themselves and the country by donating from their net assets versus their income. Rosenberg had done so himself by establishing a foundation. To be honest, as someone who has never amassed much money, I tend to consider the rich, per Jesus, as likely to have a hard squeeze getting into Heaven. Pure envy, I’m sure. Yet I can’t ignore Bill and Melinda Gates, who have used many of their billions to establish the world’s largest private foundation, now doing so much to lessen HIV-AIDS in Africa among other good works.
A few years ago, a great teacher whom we knew died. He was, directly and indirectly, responsible for improving the lives of tens of thousands of people. He is assured of a continuing presence in Wikipedia. Yet he was also tragically unable to acknowledge the love and respect of his students and was hurtfully dismissive of those who offered him constructive criticism. In short, with all his virtues and contributions, he was a less-than-perfect human being. Just like the rest of us. The beginning of wisdom is knowing, really knowing, that we are not God. Then acting accordingly.
If it was you who left your wonderful books at our visitor center, I want to thank you very much! These seem filled with wisdom and compassion--and I get sent 2-6 books a day. I am sorry I have not heard of you earlier. Keep doing good.
Peace and every good,
Fr.Richard Rohr, O.F.M.
Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, NM
August 12, 2019
Dear Ren Ruslan,
Here is what I think happiness is and how to get it. First, you can’t find it head on. Despite the Declaration of Independence, happiness cannot be successfully pursued. Rather, live a meaningful life—one that benefits you and others—and happiness will pursue you. So, what is happiness? I’d use terms like contentment, fulfillment, or even that 12-Step favorite, serenity. It’s a feeling of enoughness: The fancy term is satiety. It’s how you feel after good food, good sleep, good sex, even a good workout. Happiness also seems to result from the satisfaction of a job well done. What happiness isn’t is the product of having lots of material things, although the lack of them won’t bring it about either. Amassing ever-increasing wealth and possessions can never produce that feeling of contentment, which is true happiness.
"Increasing the World's – and Our – Wisdom Quotient in a Time of Shortsighted Decision Making" - Presented by Reynold Ruslan Feldman
Overview: What is wisdom, and why do we need it now more than ever? We live in an era of self-serving decision making, providing the greatest good to the fewest people; a time in which Machiavelli's Prince would feel right at home. Wisdom is making decisions that over time prove positive for self, others, the Earth and beyond. If the world is to stay in business, all of us will need to ratchet up our daily decision-making skills to balance out and overcome selfish or ignorance-based shortsightedness. In this session we will discuss and practice how to do just that.
When: Monday, October 7th, 2019, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), Adult Education Program
Frasier Parlor, Mountain View United Methodist Church
355 Ponca Place
Boulder, Colorado 80303
This presentation is part of the Fall 2019 OLLI Boulder Speaker Series—Topics Worth Exploring: Mondays, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Frasier Parlor Boulder Speaker Series. All talks are held Monday afternoons (Sept. 16 through Nov. 4) from 1-3 p.m. in the Frasier Parlor at Mountain View United Methodist Church, 355 Ponca Pl., Boulder, CO 80303.
How to Register
The OLLI Boulder Fall Term registration began for ‘life long learners’ on Monday, August 5, 2019.
Registration link: portfolio.du.edu/olliboulder
Hope to see some of you there!
Thanks, Ren Ruslan