Mamihlapinatapai (sometimes spelled mamihlapinatapei) is a word from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego, listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the “most succinct word”, and is considered one of the hardest words to translate. It refers to “a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other will offer something that they both desire but are unwilling to suggest or offer themselves.”
Religion and science do not have to be at odds. Science, said Ann Druyan, widow of Cornell astronomer Carl Sagan, can communicate with, learn from and even benefit from religion and vice versa.
Jon Reis Photography
In 1991 Cornell Professor Carl Sagan had a lengthy conversation with the Dalai Lama about science and religion.
Druyan, a writer and media producer who collaborated with Sagan for 19 years until his death in 1996, reflected on dialogues in the early 1990s between Sagan and the Dalai Lama at a Sept. 28 lecture in Anabel Taylor Auditorium. For the first time, film excerpts of the meeting between the two were shown in a public venue.
Sagan, Cornell professor and author of “Cosmos,” “Contact” and “Dragons of Eden,” among other books, was perhaps best known for his extraordinary ability to communicate science to the public. “He wanted to share with everyone the wonder and awe that science inspired in him,” Druyan said.
She stressed that there were political motivations behind Sagan’s work as well: “Carl believed that you can’t have a democratic society if you have a tiny scientific elite and a public who is uncomfortable with the methods and language of science,” she said.
Sagan entered the public eye in the 1960s — a time rife with changes in both culture and thought. The Catholic church had just switched from giving masses in Latin to local languages so that everyone could understand them, and Druyan said Sagan was trying to do the same for science.
The Dalai Lama, who has had a lifelong interest in science, first met with Sagan during a visit to Ithaca in 1991. Their discussion continued in India the following year, where the Dalai Lama cleared his calendar to spend a full day talking with Sagan and Druyan.
Robert Barker/University Photography
On Sept. 28 at Cornell, Ann Druyan, writer and media producer and widow of the late Carl Sagan, reflected on conversations Sagan had with the Dalai Lama on science and religion in the early 1990s.
In the short segment shown of their conversations, Sagan asked the Dalai Lama about his beliefs in God and what he as a Buddhist would do if a discovery in science conflicted with Buddhist doctrine. The Dalai Lama replied that even Buddha was said to question his teachings and that Buddhists rely on doctrine as “findings” rather than as “scripture.”
“If through thorough investigation things become clear, only then is it time to accept and believe,” he said.
“So is there no conceivable scientific finding that would make you no longer consider yourself a Buddhist?” Sagan responded.
The Dalai Lama said there would be no point at which his spirituality and his respect for science would come at such odds with each other. “Buddhism is not so much a religion, but a ‘science of the mind’ or an ‘inner science’ … there is much benefit to learning from [scientists’] findings,” he explained.
Regarding the contributions of religion to science, Druyan said that while science has developed an amazing library of facts, it does not have the human social organization and the ability to inspire that religion has. That’s why we have lost that magical excitement with space exploration that the world once shared, she said.
What science needs are more ambassadors. “We don’t have a Carl Sagan right now,” she said — a well-informed, ethical and passionate leader, versed in the arts and sciences, concerned about the planet yet willing to “get into any kind of trouble for the sake of the human future.”
Druyan’s lecture was one of many events on campus prefacing the Dalai Lama’s Oct. 9 visit to Cornell. Many of the ideas she discussed are put forth in Sagan’s latest book, “The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God,” which she edited.
Graduate student Melissa Rice is a writer intern at the Cornell Chronicle.
“It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the domestic setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, but who may not be who we essentially are.”—Alain de Botton (via newgarde)
when the character in the book/fanfiction you are reading does something really embarrassing and you suffer secondhand embarrassment and you just have to stare at the ceiling and whisper you are an idiot why would you do that oh my god
So I went shopping today — as I foresee a potential for me getting sick due to weather + stress — for vitamins. After locating the vitamins I require, I made my way up to the cash register. As I walked up, I noticed the person in line in front of me happened to be a police officer. No big deal (not that I enjoy seeing dogs of the state out and about, but I’m not intimidated by them).
The cop turns around, gives me a once over, and I see his eyes fixate on my chest. Now, as it’s cold here, I wore my jacket which is adorned with a small triad cluster of anarchy pins on the right breast side.
Snorting, the cop looks me in the eye and says “Is there a problem, little lady?”
Taken aback, I shrug and shake my head and say “No.” I wasn’t quite sure what he was on about at this juncture.
Here is the following conversation:
Cop: If there’s no problem, then why are you showing gang symbols? Me: I’m sorry? Cop: The pins on your jacket, do you have a problem? Me: Oh. Yes, I have a problem. Cop: And what would that be. Me: I have a problem with a system that propagates intimidation and censorship of alternative ideas. Cop: Are you trying to say I’m intimidating you? Me: Take it as you will. Cop: You should be thankful for people like me, we protect your ability to have an alternative idea. Me: Well, gee whiz, thanks. I’m sure glad you’re protecting my varied viewpoints while simultaneously accusing me of being in a gang. Cop: You kids are all the same with your pathetic idealistic world views. You’ll come around one you’ve been raped.
The cop proceeds to turn around, finish paying for his purchase, and hastily storm out of the store.
"Is a girl who travels worth it? Yes, she is. So when you find her, keep her. Don’t lose her with your insecurities and doubts. Because when she says she loves you, she really does…
If she says she loves you, she must have seen something in you, something that can always call her back from her travels, something that can anchor her to the world in the way that she wants to after weeks and months of being on the road.”
Date a girl who travels. Date a girl who would rather save up for out of town trips or day trips than buy new shoes or clothes. She may not look like a fashion plate, but behind that tanned and freckled face from all the days out in the sun, lies a mind that can take you places and an open heart that will take you for what you are, not for what you can be.
Date a girl who travels. You’ll recognize her by the backpack she always carries. She won’t be carrying a dainty handbag; where will she put her travel journal, her pens, and the LED flashlight that’s always attached to her bag’s zipper? In a small purse, how can she bring the small coil of travel string, the wet tissues, the box of cracker, and the bottle of water she’s always ready with, just in case something happens and she can’t go home yet?
Yes, a girl who travels knows that anytime, anything can happen and she just has to be prepared with it. Nothing takes her by surprise; she takes everything with equanimity, knowing that such things are always a part of life. She’s reliable and dependable, traits that she’s learned while on the road.
You’ll also recognize a girl who travels by the fact that she’s always amazed at the world around her, no matter if she’s in her home town or in a place that’s totally new. She sees beauty all around her, not just the ones featured in travel guides or shown in postcards. A girl who travels has developed a deeper appreciation for life. She won’t judge you, or pressure you to do things you don’t want to do. She knows too much about the importance of identity and self-efficacy, and she will appreciate all the more if you won’t pretend to be who you’re not.
You can lie to a girl who travels and make mistakes, and you can also be as idiosyncratic as you can be. Trust me, she has seen so much worse in her travels, and knows firsthand the vagaries of human nature.
Date a girl who travels, because when you’re with her, you’ll realize that even though she’s napped at a temple in Angkor Wat, went boating down the Mekong Delta, ran by the streets of Saigon, or went skinny-dipping in the caves in the Philippines, she still retains that humility that is the mark of a real traveler. She knows she’s been to a lot of places, but she’s humbled by the fact that the world is still a big place and she’s only seen a small part of it. Seeing this in her can make you feel all right with yourself too; there’s no need for you to do more, to be more. What you are is enough.
When you meet a girl who travels, ask her where she’s been and what she’s going to do next. She will appreciate your interest, and if you’re lucky, she may even invite you to join her. When she does, do. Nothing bonds people better than traveling. On your trips, you will both see each other’s best and worst characteristics, and you can then decide whether she’s worth fighting for.
It’s easy enough to date a girl who travels. She won’t want expensive gifts; you can buy her (or both of you) cheap tickets to Thailand for the weekend, and she’ll be more than happy to take you to the longest wooden bridge in the country. You don’t even have to go overseas; you can take her out on day trips, caving or hiking, or treat her to a full body massage.
You can also buy her the little things that she keeps forgetting to buy for herself; that carabiner that will attach her backpack to her seat so that she will feel easier about sleeping on her bus trip, or a backpack cover, a small alarm clock, a money belt, or maybe another sarong that will replace the one she lost in China.
She won’t mind if you get lost on your way to a date. She knows that oftentimes, the journey is more important than the destination. She will help you see the lighter side of things. She’ll walk along with you, not behind you, pointing out the interesting bits of things you’ll see on the way. Before long, you’ll realize that yes, the journey has been more memorable than the destination that you’ve planned to take her to.
Is a girl who travels worth it? Yes, she is. So when you find her, keep her. Don’t lose her with your insecurities and doubts. Because when she says she loves you, she really does. After all, she’s seen so many things, met so many people, and if she had chosen you, better grab that opportunity and thank the gods that you were lucky enough she’s chosen you and not that bloke she met while watching the sun rise in Angkor Wat, or while whitewater rafting in the Padas Gorge in Sabah.
If she says she loves you, she must have seen something in you, something that can always call her back from her travels, something that can anchor her to the world in the way that she wants to after weeks and months of being on the road.
Date a girl who travels. Make her feel safe, warm, and secure. Make her believe that no matter where she goes, and however long she’s gone, you’ll always be there for her, the one that she can call home.
Find a girl who travels. Date her, love her, and marry her, and your world will never be the same again.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard someone call Occupiers entitled students just wanting their student loans paid for. Read below if you want to understand the real reason why students are upset. I can guarantee that the vast majority of students would be willing to pay a fair and practicable sum for their educations. The problem is that cost of education as it currently stands in comparison to potential wages is outrageously imbalanced. Our educated citizens are entering the workforce terrified and unlike a homeowner or a credit card debtor, students can’t sell an asset to recoup losses, declare bankruptcy or walk away from their bad investment (that’s right, education has become a bad investment). It the market really free if people are immediately indebted to and forced into certain labor markets out of necessity of survival? is society really benefiting from the talents and potential contributions of its citizens if those citizens are forced into money-driven labor rather than talent or interest-driven labor?
In 2010 something unthinkable happened – student debt surpassed credit card debt as the largest form of debt in this country, passing $800 billion dollars. In 2012 more history will be made as the amount of unpaid student debt climbs to $1 trillion dollars, with an additional $1 million dollars added to that number every 6 minutes.
The ripple effect that this has on our economy is crushing: students and recent graduates are forced into low-wage jobs in order to immediately start making payments back to banks and lenders; instead of stimulating the economy by spending millions of dollars, students and graduates are pinching pennies to just try to keep up with the interest on their loans; and the privatization of colleges and universities are expedited as the same loan agencies use the profit off of students to lobby for lower tax rates, forcing budget cuts to higher education in an economy where recent graduates struggle to find jobs.
Imagine students not working two part-time minimum wage jobs as they struggle to get through school, allowing them more time to participate in civic engagement. Imagine recent graduates not being pushed into a job market where they are forced to intentionally keep wages stagnant, allowing them the ability to work for non-profits or local businesses.
If we do not solve the student debt crisis the students of today will suffer, but the students of tomorrow may never have the opportunity to a college education. A generation of students will pay the hefty price of their student loans; but we must not forget that we will also pay the debt of an entire country ignoring the burden placed on those working to better their lives and communities by obtaining a college degree.
“There comes a point when you just love someone. Not because they’re good, or bad, or anything really. You just love them. It doesn’t mean you’ll be together forever. It doesn’t mean you won’t hurt each other. It just mean you love them. Sometimes in spite of who they are, and sometimes because of who they are. And you know that they love you, sometimes because of who you are, and sometimes in spite of it.”—Laurell K. Hamilton, Incubus Dreams (via petalis)