How Heavy is a Mountain?

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According to this calculation, it can be several billion tons. Smart geometry and physics.

But I also like this answer – as long as you don’t try to lift it up, it doesn’t weigh anything at all. It’s like problems, you don’t deny their existence, and you don’t run away from them. You just don’t carry them around.

Science vs. philosophy. Your answer depends on how you see the question.

(Photo: detail of the “Three Sisters” at the Blue Mountains outside Sydney, Australia.)
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Is There an Antidote for a Meaningless Life?

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A father says to his daughter, “Congratulations! I heard the school is giving you a medal for your very good grades! When is the awarding?”

The girl smiles and replies, “That’s on Monday.”

The dad says, “I see. Why didn’t tell you me? I heard parents of awardees are invited.”

The daughter says, “You’re always away on a business trip anyway, and you weren’t around last time I got a medal. Mommy can come. It’s alright, Daddy.”

To a father who loves his daughter, this hurts. In the gut. His child no longer expects him to be around on important events.

How can the father explain to his child that he had to be away at work so he could send her to a good school? Is there an easy answer?

I once read an article by a businessman who said his responsibility to his business includes not only his responsibility to his family but also to the families of the people working for him. That sometimes he had to make personal sacrifices for the greater good.

Yes, we all make trade-offs. But when put like this, it implies that the end justifies the means. So is one end more important than another? Who determines it, the father or the child?

These questions will become even more important in the future. Driverless cars may one day have to choose between two pedestrians, one of which it can’t avoid – an old person or a child – which one will it save? Are life decisions impersonal? What if it was your mother or your child?

Life is more than an optimization equation. Will we let computers make decisions for us? Can humans truly isolate their feelings from an objective world?

We cannot, and should not, escape the human condition. To be fully human we have to throw ourselves at life, fully and unconditionally, and take what it throws back, including the difficult choices, the pain and suffering, the joys and happy memories, and make them part of our reality.

In his popular book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor Frankl wrote that one can find meaning and hope even in the most difficult circumstances, that this choice is the human freedom that cannot be taken away.

I wish I could simply wish a Hollywood ending for the father and his child, but life doesn’t give answers that easily. Yet as long as they stay engaged with life, there is hope. Sometimes the meaning of the dance hits us while we are dancing, and the picture emerges from the shadows when the light hits all the pieces of a stained glass window.


(Photo of the sculpture “Oblation” taken at the University of the Philippines.)

Oblation (n) – an offering, sacrifice.

Prompt:Meaningless

Kermit the Frog Sings About Being Green

It’s not that easy being green;
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.

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When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold-
or something much more colorful like that.

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It’s not easy being green.
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.

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And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water-
or stars in the sky.

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But green’s the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like the ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.

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When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder?
Why Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful!
And I think it’s what I want to be.
– Kermit the Frog, “It’s Not Easy Being Green” (watch the video here.)

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Prompts: It IS Easy Being Green! Acceptance

City upon a Hill

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
– Matthew 5:14

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This phrase from the Sermon on the Mount has been quoted often.

“For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.”
– John Winthrop

“Today the eyes of all people are truly upon us—and our governments, in every branch, at every level, national, state and local, must be as a city upon a hill—constructed and inhabited by men aware of their great trust and their great responsibilities.”
– John F. Kennedy

Our goals may not be all this lofty, but this principle is still a good guide for our daily lives. After all, the original Author of the Sermon was talking to ordinary people on how to live their ordinary lives in an extraordinary way.

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(Photo of Eastwood, Quezon City, Philippines)

The Difference Between Wishing and Making It Happen

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At its basic meaning, as a noun, a wish is simply a desire or hope for something to happen.

A wish can remain passive, specially in the context of hoping for something unattainable or unlikely to happen.

But wishing can also be a verb, and it takes on a different meaning, when a strong desire is directed toward a purpose.

“There’s a difference between wishing and doing. You can believe in your dreams, but you have to take action to make them happen.”
– Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic was born without arms and legs, and yet he is now a sought-after motivational speaker and bestselling author of several books.

Wishing is good, specially when followed by a choice to take action, even when it is not easy. Sometimes all it takes is to see the world upside down, and what seemed improbable can become attainable, and what was once a wish can become reality.

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(Photo taken at the Featherdale Wildlife Park, Australia)
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