Sunday, July 15, 2012

Maybe this is why debts need to be wiped out every 50 years

A Haifa man in his 50s lit himself on fire at a rally in Tel Aviv Saturday night marking the one-year anniversary of the social justice movement. Moshe Sliman was homeless and had been living in Tel Aviv’s tent city for three weeks before immolating himself in front of a large crowd. According to witnesses, Silman walked out of a building on Kaplan Street and read aloud a suicide note. He then passed out copies of the note before dousing himself with flammable liquid and setting his body on fire. Nearby demonstrators threw water on Silman, and he was taken by Magen David Adom crews to Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center in critical condition.

Silman was later transferred to the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. On Sunday morning, the director of the burn unit, Dr. Yossi Haik, said Silman was in critical condition and in danger of death, with burns covering over 94 percent of his body. The note that Silman distributed before setting himself on fire identified him by name and social security number. It stated that he had done his reserve duty for the army until the age of 46, but once he was unable to work, “the State ..[].. robbed me of everything and left me with nothing.”

Jubilee in the Torah.

Edward Jones on plotting a story


Once something comes to you, what’s a good and proper resolution? I remember when I knew there was going to be something substantial with “The Known World,” I took my mind as far ahead in the story as I could to create a resolution, create a climactic moment.
And I said before that you read some people’s novels — not necessarily the stories, because you can deal with that in a shorter period of time — but in novels, I think people sometimes they wake up with these wonderful ideas and they go ahead with them. They never think about how everything is going to resolve. So, then two-thirds tend to be wonderful because they had all this inspiration. And the latter third is rather flat because they ran out of inspiration, and because they didn’t know where it was going to end up. The resolution should always be in your mind. There are times when you just won’t have the energy, and the resolution should be like a star in the sky to guide you. You might run out of food and water but you can still keep crawling towards that star.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tolstoy on Wisdom in War and Peace

Pierre's lesson:

“The supreme wisdom is based not on reason alone, not on the secular sciences of physics, history, chemistry, and so on, into which rational knowledge is divided. The higher knowledge has one science—the science of the all, the science that explains the whole universe and the place man occupies in it. To contain this science, it is necessary to purify and renew one’s inner man, and thus before one can know, one must believe and perfect oneself. And to achieve that, a divine light, called conscience, has been put in our soul.” “Yes, yes,” Pierre agreed. “Look at your inner man with spiritual eyes and ask if you are pleased with yourself. What have you achieved, being guided by reason alone? What are you? You are young, you are rich, you are educated, my dear sir. What have you done with all these good things that have been given you? Are you content with yourself and your life?” “No, I hate my life,” Pierre said, wincing. “If you hate it, change it, purify yourself, and insofar as you purify yourself, you will learn wisdom. Look at your life, my dear sir. How have you been spending it? In riotous orgies and depravity, taking everything from society and giving it nothing. You received wealth. How have you used it? What have you done for your neighbor? Have you thought about the tens of thousands of your slaves, have you helped them physically and morally? No. You have used their labor in order to lead a debauched life. That is what you have done. Have you chosen some position in which you could be useful to your neighbor? No. You have been spending your life in idleness. Then, my dear sir, you married, taking upon yourself the responsibility for guiding a young woman, and what did you do? You did not help her, my dear sir, to find the path of truth, you hurled her into an abyss of deceit and misfortune. A man insulted you, and you shot him, and you say that you do not know God and hate your life. That is no wonder, my dear sir!”