Spare Parts

casas_0182w1

(Taken at a clay sculpture factory in the province of Bataan in the Philippines.)

Will we grow real human spare parts in the future?

Stem cell research is making a lot of progress, according to this article from Discover magazine, and it maybe closer than we think.

This breakthrough can potentially save lives, but it also raises a lot of questions.

Nevertheless, these works of human hands, made from clay, are no less intriguing to me.

Spare

Advertisements

What Face Do You Wear? A Mishmash of Shakespeare

mask

“God has given you one face and you make yourselves another.”

Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, after that famous soliloquy, “To be, or not to be?”

It is a tough question.

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”

He said in As You Like It, seemingly frustrated.

“Life … is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury.
Signifying nothing.”

His frustration level even higher in Macbeth.

But he doesn’t give up, and instead gathers courage.

“Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.”

In Julius Caesar. He admonishes.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves.”

And so we go back to Hamlet for his final advice.

“This above all: to thine own self be true…
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

So there we have it, a mishmash of Shakespeare, taken totally out of context.

But hopefully, as he said: “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”

So, what Face do you wear? 🙂

Sunset at the Grand Canyon

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
– from “What a Wonderful World” performed by Louis Armstrong

A Martian landscape?
No, it’s the sun setting over the Grand Canyon.

gc_7864d

On our own planet Earth.

The Earth is Peaceful at Tenryu-ji Temple in Kyoto

At the Zen garden of the Tenryu-ji Temple in Kyoto, one’s spirit can commune with nature and find peace.

japan_0781

The garden “borrows” from the surrounding landscape and becomes one with it.

japan_0831a

A little piece of heaven on earth.

japan_0840

Earth

On First Looking into the Grand Canyon

I share this gentleman’s awe when I first saw the Grand Canyon.

gc_7786f

No words of mine can give it justice. What came into my head was the poem of John Keats – “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” — from which I borrow these lines.

“Much have I traveled in the realms of gold
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen…
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told…
Yet never did I breathe its pure serene”

Till I stood at its precipice loud and bold

“Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific—and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.”

Once in our lifetime, we have to see the Grand Canyon and know the meaning of Admiration.

Envy or Admiration?

birdwire3

According to vocabulary.com, “Wanting what someone else has and resenting them for having it is envy.”

On the other hand, it says: “Admiration is the feeling of liking and appreciating… Often, there is a sense of gratitude or thanks when someone feels admiration.”

In other words, envy is self-centered and selfish, while admiration is other-centered and generous.

Buddha said: “Desire is the root of suffering.” Joseph Epstein agrees: “Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all.” A no-brainer, right?

But wait, according to some psychological studies, envy outperforms admiration. Apparently, benign envy “motivates people to improve themselves,” though only when self-improvement is attainable. When self-improvement is hard, “upward social comparison led to more admiration and no motivation to do better.”

birdwire4_5544

I guess one can differentiate benign envy from the malicious kind. And we can reserve our admiration for those who can truly inspire us.

Admiration without envy can be quite liberating.

“To be rich in admiration and free from envy, to rejoice greatly in the good of others, to love with such generosity of heart that your love is still a dear possession in absence or unkindness — these are the gifts of fortune which money cannot buy.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

It’s hard to beat admiration.