Light the Way for Humankind


“There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth,
 though they have long been extinct.
There are people whose brilliance
continues to light the world,
though they are no longer among the living.
These lights are particularly bright
when the night is dark.
They light the way for humankind.”
Hannah Senesh

Connected by the Light

As I stare up at the last full moon of 2020, I reflect on this past year and previous happier New Years. The brilliant light of the moon brought back memories of a friend of mine. A friend I worked with, socialized with, and who I respected and admired for well over thirty years.

Though my friend and I didn’t see or talk daily, we always seemed to connect during the holidays. It was 2009 New Year’s Eve in California around 10:00 pm, a few years before this friend passed away. I was on my balcony looking up at the full radiant moon and I wondered if he too was looking up at the moon.

When I left my balcony and returned to my living room, I heard an incoming email notification on my laptop. I was astonished to see the email was from my friend. He was vacationing in Belize, as he always did during the holiday season. The email simply read:

JR, It’s midnight in Belize. I’m looking up at a magnificent moon over the bay here and am thinking of you. It’s still a wonder to me that we all can see the same moon from different places–albeit at different times and longitudes, but with no major physics correction involved. John Muir said, ‘When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.’  Happy New Year 

During the holidays, I find myself reminiscing about this dear friend. I miss him and our long talks about life, history, and whether or not we are alone in the Universe. I miss the special connection we had. A connection, I believe all of us have the ability of obtaining.

All of us have the energy and light within us to light the way for humankind.

Shine On

Some Things Never Change

 
“From my tribe I take nothing,
I am the maker of my own fortune.
A single twig breaks,
but the bundle of twigs is strong.
Show respect to all people,
but grovel to none.”
Tecumseh
 
 

With Thanksgiving behind us, I realized I had not heard one newscaster or for that matter, one government official mention Native Americans. This nation began with the genocide of the Native Indians. I often wonder what North America would look like without its 1492 landing and the fore fathers that confiscated it unlawfully.

I’ve been reading and listening to the news about the Coronavirus impact on Native Americans. There’s one article in particular written by Lizzie Wade in Science Magazine that was eye opening about the COVID-19 data on Native Americans which is a national disgrace. I hope you’ll take the time to read the article.

This country hasn’t respected Indigenous people since the day we set foot on their land. It angers and saddens me that some things never change.

Shine On

Words Cannot Express

“Art is the lie that enables us
to realize the truth.”
Pablo Picasso

Since the death of Sean Connery a few weeks back, I’ve been rewatching all of the James Bond movies in chronological order. I noticed that the majority of the Bond movies were distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. I’ve been watching MGM movies my entire life but just now noticed the words, “Ars Gratia Artis” used as a motto by MGM and appears in the circle around the roaring head of Leo the Lion in its logo.

Curious lady that I am, I looked up the meaning of this Latin saying, Ars Gratia Artis which translates to, Art for Art’s Sake.  It is a phrase that dates back to poet Théophile Gautier from the 1800s. The phrase was also used by poet Edgar Allan Poe in his 1850 essay, The Poetic Principle.  These men argued that “. . . art for art’s sake affirmed that art was valuable as art in itself; that artistic pursuits were their own justification; and that art did not need moral justification, and was allowed to be morally neutral or subversive.”

With so many forms of art in our society, I dove even deeper into this subject and discovered writer and philosopher, Alain de Botton who is the founder of  The School of Life, where he examines the many purposes of art.

In Alain’s book, Art as Therapy he points out how art can be a form and a source of therapy and self-help. He explains how art has the ability to resolve our psychological shortcomings and ease our anxieties about our imperfections. Art can be used as a great tool that serves a complex important purpose in our existence. The highest achievement of art might be something that reconciles the two: a channel of empathy into our own psychology that lets us both exorcise and better understand our emotions.

There are many areas in our life that art enriches including how art helps us feel less alone in our suffering. de Botton believes art can also save us time as well as save our lives, through opportune and reminders of balance and goodness that we should never presume we know enough about already. He also says that art is our new religion and our museums are our cathedrals. We all have reasons for our tastes in particular works of art and that can reflect how we are feeling emotionally at particular times in our lives.

Art gives us a language for communicating to others. It can explain why we are so particular about the kinds of art we surround ourselves with publicly.  A sort of self-packaging we all practice as much on the walls of our homes as we do on our social media pages. A cynic might interpret this as mere showing off, but de Botton believes that the art we admire peels away this superficial interpretation to reveal the deeper psychological motive.

The art we admire can show our true desire to communicate to others the subtleties of who we are and what we believe in a way that words cannot express.

Shine On

Female Nobel Laureates

“Be less curious about people and
more curious about ideas.”
Marie Curie

Yesterday it was announced that Andrea Ghez, UCLA’s Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics, along with Roger Penrose, and Reinhard Genzel was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics.

Ghez is the 53rd women to have been awarded a Nobel Prize out of more than 900 recipients. She is also only the fourth woman to receive the physics prize, following Marie Curie in 1903, Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963 and Donna Strickland in 2018.

Often when we think of female Nobel Prize winners, Mother Teresa, Marie Curie and Malala Yousafzai probably come to mind. But, women who received Nobel Prizes were involved in all sorts of projects, from physics experiments to masterful novels, and they changed how we think about art, animals and the human body.

For example, American public philosopher Jane Addams set out to better the lives of working-class people, immigrants, women and children in a very direct way, and her success was kind of astonishing. She found an old mansion in Chicago, cleaned it up and turned it into a community center. Not your ordinary community center, though: Hull House, as she called it, provided social services, but it also fostered rich debate and research into designing a better society. The environment was meant to encourage democratic cooperation and collective action, rather than individualism. Her work won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

Throughout history, the scientific and artistic achievements of men have always been renowned and honored by the experts and the public alike. More often than not, women who work as doctors, engineers, writers, and scientists find themselves fighting a seemingly endless battle to gain recognition within their male-dominated industries, sometimes even losing credit for their work in the process. Many of these women had to contend with extreme sexism in male-dominated professions. Some female Nobel Prize winners even had to overcome physical violence. All their stories are unique and equally inspiring.

As of 2020, Marie Curie is the only woman who has been awarded a Nobel Prize twice, one in 1903 and the other in 1911. Whether we realize it or not, these women greatly impacted the World and hopefully more women throughout the World will continue to become female Nobel Laureates.

Shine On