Inspiring People

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Inspiring People

I am staring this thread as a way to share the efforts of those who are committed to making the world a better place. Also to share the names of those who inspire us to do likewise.

The obvious one on this site is the owner himself but there are numerous other threads where that has been done,. I would like to expand the field.

I will get the ball rolling by introducing someone I had the great good fortune to meet several years ago.

I hope this thread will serve to open the boxes of our thinking and also open new  possibilities that do not include centralization.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Julia Butterfly Hill
Hill in 2006.
Born February 18, 1974 (age 36)
Mount VernonMissouri United States
Occupation Environmental activist
Motivational speaker

Julia Butterfly Hill (born February 18, 1974 as Julia Lorraine Hill) is an American activist andenvironmentalist. Hill is best known for living in a 180-foot (55 m)-tall, roughly 1500-year-oldCalifornia Redwood tree (age based on first-hand ring count of a slightly smaller neighboring ancient redwood that had been cut down) for 738 days between December 10, 1997 to December 18, 1999. Hill lived in the tree, affectionately known as "Luna," to prevent loggers of the Pacific Lumber Company from cutting it down. She is the author of the book The Legacy of Luna and co-author of One Makes the Difference.



[edit]Early life

Hill's father was a traveling preacher and went town to town, bringing his family with him. Until she was about ten years old, Hill lived in a 32-foot camper with her father, mother and two younger brothers. While traveling with her family, Hill would often explore rivers by campgrounds.[1] When Hill was six years old, she and her family were taking a hike one day and a butterfly landed on her finger and stayed with her the entire time. From that day on, her nickname became "Butterfly."[1]

When Hill was in middle school, her family stopped travelling and settled in Magnet Cove, Arkansas with her best friend Savannah Talleywacker.[1] In August 1996, at age 22, Hill suffered a near-fatal car crash.[2] At the time, Hill was acting as designated driver for a friend who had been drinking. Her friend's car was hit from behind by a drunk driver.[3] The steering wheel of the car penetrated her skull; it took almost a year of intensive therapy before she regained the ability to speak and walk normally.[4]

As I recovered, I realized that my whole life had been out of balance...I had graduated high school at 16, and had been working nonstop since then, first as a waitress, then as a restaurant manager. I had been obsessed by my career, success and material things. The crash woke me up to the importance of the moment, and doing whatever I could to make a positive impact on the future.

Hill embarked on a spiritual quest afterwards, leading her to the environmental cause opposed to the destruction of the redwood forests inHumboldt CountyCalifornia. "The steering wheel in my head, both figuratively and literally, steered me in a new direction in my life," Hill says.[5]

[edit]Tree sit

Hill sat in the Redwood tree Luna for 738 days.

After recuperating from her accident, Hill took a road trip to California and attended a reggaefundraiser to save the forests. A group of "front-liners" had been rotating tree sitters in and out of giant redwoods in Humboldt County every couple of days to stave off Pacific Lumber Co. loggers who were clear-cutting. Organizers wanted someone to stay in the tree a week. "Nobody else would volunteer so they had to pick me," says Hill.[5]

Originally, Hill was not officially affiliated with any environmental organization, deciding by herself to undertake the act of civil disobedience. Soon, Hill was actively supported by Earth First!, among other organizations and volunteers.

On December 10, 1997, Hill ascended 180 feet up the Redwood Tree, Luna.[6]

An hour and a half after reaching the base of the tree, we got the last of the provisions up. By then it was midnight. Finally, I was able to put on the harness and ascend Luna. It seemed an exhausting eternity before I reached the top. When I finally got there, I untangled myself from the harness and looked around for a place to collapse.

Hill lived on two six-by-six-foot platforms for 738 days. Luna's trunk was her sidewalk and exercise treadmill. Hill learned survival skills while living in Luna, such as "seldom washing the soles of her feet, because the sap helped her feet stick to the branches better."[7] Hill used solar-powered cell phones for radio interviews, became an "in-tree" correspondent for a cable television show and hosted TV crews to protest old-growth clear cutting.[8] With ropes, Hill hoisted up survival supplies brought by an eight-member support crew. To keep warm, Hill wrapped herself tight in a sleeping bag, leaving only a small hole for breathing. For meals, Hill used a single-burner propane stove.[9] Throughout her ordeal, Hill weathered freezing rains and 40-m.p.h. winds from El Niño,[9] helicopter harassment, a ten-day siege by company security guards, and intimidation by angry loggers.[6][4]

A resolution was reached in 1999 when the Pacific Lumber Company agreed to preserve Luna and all trees within a 3-acre (12,000 m2buffer zone. In exchange, Hill agreed to vacate the tree. In addition, $50,000 that Hill and other activists raised during the cause was given to the logging company, as stipulated by the resolution. The $50,000 Earth First! paid to Pacific Lumber was then donated to Humboldt State University as part of the agreement for research into sustainable forestry.

The tree was later cut with a chainsaw. The gash to the 200-foot (61 m)-tall redwood was discovered November 2000 by one of Hill's supporters.[10] Observers at the scene said the cut measured 32 inches (810 mm) deep and 19 feet (5.8 m) around the base, somewhat less than half the circumference of the tree. The gash was treated with an herbal remedy and the tree was stabilized with steel cables. As of spring 2007, the tree is doing well with new growth each year. Caretakers routinely climb the tree to check on its condition and to maintain the steelguywires.[11]

[edit]Post-tree sit

Hill speaks at the Harmony Festival in 2009.

Since her tree sit, Hill has become a motivational speaker (holding some 250 events a year), a best-selling author and the co-founder of the Circle of Life Foundation (which helped organize We The Planet, an eco-friendly music tour) and the Engage Network, a nonprofit that trains small groups of civic leaders to work toward social change.[12]

On July 16, 2002, Hill was jailed in QuitoEcuador outside the offices of Occidental Petroleum, for protesting a proposed oil pipeline that would penetrate a virgin Andean cloud forest that teems with rare birds. "The cloud forest is stunning," said Hill. "It's this deep, lush green, spangled with explosions of red, yellow and purple from the flowers, birds and insects. But the environmental destruction we saw along the pipelines that had already been built was horrendous."[13] Ecuadorian President Gustavo Noboa commented, "The little gringos have been arrested, including the oldcockatoo who climbs trees."[14] Hill was later deported from Ecuador.[13]

In 2003, Hill became a proponent of tax redirection, resisting payment of about $150,000 in federal taxes, donating that money to after-school programs, arts and cultural programs, community gardens, programs for Native Americans, alternatives to incarceration, and environmental protection programs. She said:

I actually take the money that the IRS says goes to them and I give it to the places where our taxes shouldbe going. And in my letter to the IRS I said: “I’m not refusing to pay my taxes. I’m actually paying them but I’m paying them where they belong because you refuse to do so.”[15]

In 2006, Hill protested the sale of the South Central Farm in an attempt to save the 14-acre farm from developers.[16]

In an April 2009 interview,[12] Hill pondered what would come next for her:

The tree-sit and action since created this very particular role that Julia Butterfly Hill fulfills. And, because I'm a person committed to growth, to looking for where my edge is, that role is now too narrow for me. But it's hard to figure out what's next because there's this entire reality that's been created around this role that I play. And I'm not discounting that role - I've been able to help communities that I love very much. And at the same time, I'm looking for what's next for me, and it's so easy to stay in that role that myself and this world co-created together. But I just know that there's aspects of it that need to shed.

[edit]Hill in popular culture

Hill has been the subject of several documentaries, interviews, and books, including her own memoirs, The Legacy of Luna and has influenced numerous musicians.

A benefit concert was played at the Mateel Community Center in Redway, CA during Julia's "tree sit", on December 10, 1998. Artists performing were Bob Weir and Mark Karan as an acoustic duet, the Steve Kimock Band and the Mickey Hart Band. Julia took part in the event, reading her poem "Luna" via telephone while the Mickey Hart Band was performing 'The Dancing Sorcerer'.[17]

Hill was the subject of the 2000 documentary film Butterfly, and she is featured in the documentary film Tree-Sit: The Art of Resistance, both chronicling her time in the redwood tree.

The 12th season episode "Lisa the Tree Hugger" of The Simpsons was conceived when writer Matt Selman heard a news story about Hill.[18]

[edit]In music

Several musicians have been inspired by Hill and her activism and written songs about her:

  • In 2002 Los Suaves made a song in honor of Julia called "Julia Hill" on the "Un paso atrás" album in which the singer is "Luna".
  • Also in 2002, Ozark Folk/Bluegrass artists Donna Stjerna and Kelly Mulhollan who perform as Still On The Hill released their album, "Chaos and Calm" which includes a track named "Beautiful Butterfly" based on and in honor of their fellow Arkansan, Julia Butterfly Hill.
  • Neil Young made a reference to her in the 2003 song "Sun Green" on the "Greendale" album in which the title character "Still wants to meet Julia Butterfly."[12]
  • In 2009, Idina Menzel wrote a song entitled "Butterfly" referring to Butterfly's concern for the environment.[19]
  • Folk Musician Kelly Green wrote a song entitled "Julia Butterfly" inspired in part by Julia "Butterfly" Hill.
  • Casey Desmond wrote a song called "Julia Butterfly Hill" which appeared on her 2006 record "No Disguise"

[edit]Film adaptation

A film adaptation of The Legacy of Luna called Luna has been announced, directed by Laurie Collyer and starring Rachel Weisz. However, the film has been stuck in development hell; Weisz has actively worked towards getting the project off the ground.[20]

I flew out to meet her in San Francisco. She’s a very strange character, a great person, and it’s an incredible story, an inspirational story. I’ve been desperately trying to get that movie together, but right now it’s very hard to get money for dramas, particularly a drama with a female at the centre of it...If you happen to know of anyone who’s a philanthropist and who’s interested in conservation...
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Re: Inspiring People

 I'm sorry V, I do not share your enthusiasm for Ms. Hill. I have lived in Southern Oregon since 1976 and have seen what the enviromentalists have done to the economy here. It is to the point where you can't fart in the woods without a permit. Managing logging is far from what they have created up here. It is a beauracracy that has destroyed prosperity and property rights, without regards to a way of life and culture.

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Re: Inspiring People

i understand your point of view Eric. I am a carpenter and use lumber .......when I am working that is. As a young man I also worked as a logger. Many more jobs have been lost in the forests and processing plants  due to mechanization than environmentalism.

The need and ability to adapt to changing realities hit where you are sooner than the rest of the country. Being on the front lines is not a comfortable place. It would be good to keep in mind that when you talk of a way of life on this continent you are leaving out the Native Americans whose way of life was wrenched from them in a far more violent way in the very place you live today. They managed to live there for millenia and left us an intact ecosystem. Can we say the same of what we are leaving our children?  It has been demonstrated time and again that sustainable forestry is equally if not more profitable than old school logging. Also there is more money to be made long term from ecosystems that remain intact. 

I have one question for you though. Knowing that only 5% of the original virgin forest remains in this country what happens when the last tree is cut?

I do not wish this thread to be derailed by a debate on government interference in a particular industry. I would welcome a submission from you who has inspired your life to do something for the greater good.


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Re: Inspiring People
ericg wrote:

It is to the point where you can't fart in the woods without a permit.

I'm all for whole sale massacre of old growth, but the f*** permit, is TOTALLY understandable!SmileI have to tell you though, seriously, after travelling South of the border down to San Diego and back by car this last winter, it was such a joy to return to the Pacific Northwest. As soon as we hit Southern Oregon,  the landscape seemed to change almost instantly to  beautiful, serene, respect for nature. I guess the emphasis on the environment is partly how that was accomplished. Sorry about the unemployment, though, and how that is playing out in the larger economy.  I guess the lesson is, be ready to change occupations, if the one you're currently employed in is destructive to the planet or other persons. People who are currently employed by the military, also have to look at the big picture and think about the repercussions for others, of their chosen "career".   It's so hard for everyone to have to recalibrate or basically...die. We all have to do it, one way or the other.

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Re: Inspiring People

This person has inspired me and we could all owe him our lives. And by "all" I mean everything and everyone on the planet, right down to amoeba.

Stanislave Petrov, Wikipedia:


Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (Russian: Станислав Евграфович Петров) (born c. 1939) is a retired lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces who deviated from standard Soviet protocol by correctly identifying a missile attack warning as a false alarm on September 26, 1983.[1] This decision may have prevented an accidental retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its Western allies. Investigation of the satellite warning system later confirmed that the system had malfunctioned.

There are varying reports whether Petrov actually reported the alert to his superiors and questions over the part his decision played in preventing nuclear war, because, according to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation, nuclear retaliation is based on multiple sources that confirm an actual attack.[2] The incident, however, exposed a flaw in the Soviet early warning system. Petrov asserts that he was neither rewarded nor punished for his actions.[3]

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Re: Inspiring People

Sorry V, I wasn't trying to derail your thread. I love our forests, the old growth, Redwoods and all nature. It really is getting rediculous though. As of now they (enviromentalist) are trying to make it so you have to pay a fee for a permit just to drive a vehicle into the forests. I'm not talking about off-road recreational vehcles... I'm talking paved roads or well maintained gravel roads that have been in use for years. I could go on and on, on this subject, but I think a different thread would be a better place for that discussion. As for the Native Americans.... they weren't all so eco-friendly as they are made out to be. Thomas E Woods Jr. wrote an excellent book covering that subject. I think it is called Politically Incorrect something or other... LOL I can't remember the name. I bought it and lent it to my daughter a year ago and she hasn't returned it. Maybe someone will post the correct name of it :) 

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Re: Inspiring People

Hey V,

Love this thread, thank you for starting it.

Ok, I've got a quick one off the top of my head, this one is not necessarily an environmentalist, though it sounds like he may have been.

Dmitry s Ivanov, some Russian guy who was in charge of guarding some massive seed bank during WW2.  let himself starve to death surrounded by wheat and rice.  I guess this might sound kind of dumb to some people, but I admire anyone who understands the importance of biodiversity, especially to that level.  Sadly, this same seedbank is again in danger, not due to war but funding.

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Re: Inspiring People

Must be "Spot the Great Russian" day!

Prince Peter Kropotkin:

"Kropotkin conceived a novel idea; the driver of evolutionary advance was not so much competition within a species for limited resources; it was through cooperation within a species to maximize survival against harsh external conditions.
The Russian scholar has been long dismissed as a footnote in biological thinking: a naïve sentimentalist whose scientific thinking was coloured by his anarchist sympathies. But have Darwin’s own ideas a certain culture-bound tint? His famous “aha” moment came upon reading the work of Thomas Malthus, who correctly held that population grows geometrically, while food resources only grow arithmetically. Darwin concluded that this mismatch leads to an inexorable struggle for survival by living creatures."

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The "Matrix" Philosophy

From "The Matrix"

Agent Smith : I'd like to share a...revelation I had, during my time here.

It came to me when I tried to...classify your species. I

realized that you're not _actually_ mammals. Every mammal on

this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with

the surrounding environment humans do _not_. You

move to an area..._and_ you _multiply_...until every natural

resource is _consumed_. The only way you can survive is to..

spread to _another_ area. There is another organism on this

planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is?

A virus. Humans beings are a _disease_, a _cancer_ of this

planet...and _we_...are the cure.

From "Matrix Revolutions"

Smith/Oracle: Why, Mr. Anderson, why? Why, why do you do it? Why, why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something, for more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is, do you even know? Is it freedom or truth, perhaps peace - could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson, vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself. Although, only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson, you must know it by now! You can't win, it's pointless to keep fighting! Why, Mr. Anderson, why, why do you persist?

Really? what is our purpose or any other life on this planet? None that I can see, I watch Captain Morgan or Mo to his friends, our cat, trying to decide whether to go outside or not, or sit down and lick something and I realize he is like myself, whatever I do is just a whim, I do have some responsiblities or else I will be in the street, but mostly it's whim, let's go to a movie, or to the lake, what's the point or meaning? I realize that I am not responsible for my being here and if I had the choice I would have said" no", but since I am here I suppose I should enjoy the time I have here but it is pointless, except to myself, I will live and die and after a few decades no one will remember that I existed. (I have no children).

Enjoy the time you have, I'm thinking the future is not so pretty.

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Re: Inspiring People

GRoberts, Human beings have come a long way, in many ways too. Don't you think? I have great despair about what is happening on the planet, but  complete faith in the best parts of our collective humanity to get it right, in the long run. We may be cancer, but we're a fairly aware tumor, if that's the case and becoming more aware moment by moment.

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Re: Inspiring People

i have two reactions to this thread.

Very few people are apparently inspired by anyone.

There are very few people to inspire others


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Inspiring People: Greg Mortenson

This is an easy one for me: Greg Mortenson, the mountain climber who has dedicated his life to promote community-based education and literacy.  Many of you have likely heard of him through his book "Three Cups of Tea."

I have been fortunate to meet and speak with Greg on a number of occasions over the past few years and my wife is currently working on a project for him for his Pennies 4 Peace initiative.  He among the most humble, gentle and genuine people I have ever met.  At great personal sacrifice for him and his family, and risking his own life multiple times, he has continued on his quest to build these schools.

From his latest book, "Stones Into Schools", he writes the following about the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan: "they are among the most resilient and the most resourceful human beings you will ever meet.  They possess a combination of courage, tenacity, hospitality and grace that leave me in awe."  Resiliency and community.  Two keys to Dr. M's, message.  Interesting.

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Re: Inspiring People
v wrote:

i have two reactions to this thread.  Very few people are apparently inspired by anyone.  There are very few people to inspire others

Well a few years ago I wouldn't have been able to answer this question because I would poke holes in everybody I thought I admired.  I questioned the basis for my admiration and realized I was admiring them because they were doing what my indoctrinated head thought was worthy of admiration.  So I was skeptical of anybody's "inspiring person" because our gauge for deciding what's inspiring is itself distorted by the dominant force in our world...the usury-driven economic system that controls all of us and makes us think development, charity, sports stars, "successful" people, whatever are "good."

I gave up...the natural world was my only inspiration for a few years.  I'm into ducks right now.  :)  I love watching them quack along doing their thing contributing to life. 

When it comes to humans, it took a 50 year old woman with Down's Syndrome named Janice to teach me what most of the world can't seem to grasp, especially me.  We're all scrambling around trying to be safe, compete, beat the other guy, survive, think, win, give some of our western money to those that don't have it, whatever.  She's such a contrast.  She just laughs and loves.  She touches something deeper than people with fully functioning cortexes touch in me.  I can't help thinking the cortex is a curse and we'd be better off if people didn't have the ability to scheme and instead could only love.  So Janice is my inspiration.  I can't show her picture, but here's an interview with the frenchman who left the empire system to start the program where Janice now lives:


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Re: Inspiring People


Thanks for the post. I have read your posts where you cite Wendell Berry. Would you say he has inspired you?


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Re: Inspiring People

Here is a woman who literally walked her talk. There is an hour long video on the site.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit

Peace Pilgrim

Peace Pilgrim in Hawaii - 1980
Born July 18, 1908
Egg Harbor CityNew Jersey
Died July 7, 1981

Peace Pilgrim (July 18, 1908 – July 7, 1981) born Mildred Lisette Norman, was an Americanpacifistvegetarian, and peace activist. In 1952, she became the first woman to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in one season.[1] Starting on January 1, 1953, in Pasadena,California, she adopted the name "Peace Pilgrim" and walked across the United States for 28 years.

A transcript of a 1964 conversation with Peace Pilgrim from a broadcast on KPFK radio in Los AngelesCalifornia, was published as "Steps Toward Inner Peace". She stopped counting miles in that year, having walked more than 40,000 km (25,000 miles) for peace.



[edit]Early life

Mildred Norman was born on a poultry farm in Egg Harbor CityNew Jersey, in 1908, the oldest of three children. Her mother, Josephine Marie Ranch, was a tailor, and her father, Ernest Norman, a carpenter. Although poor, the family were well-thought-of in a community of German immigrants, whose relatives originally settled the area after escaping Germany in 1855.[2]

In 1933 she eloped with Stanley Ryder and moved to Philadelphia in 1939. They divorced in 1946.[3]


In order for the world to become peaceful, people must become more peaceful. Among mature people war would not be a problem - it would be impossible. In their immaturity people want, at the same time, peace and the things which make war. However, people can mature just as children grow up. Yes, our institutions and our leaders reflect our immaturity, but as we mature we will elect better leaders and set up better institutions. It always comes back to the thing so many of us wish to avoid: working to improve ourselves.

—Peace Pilgrim, [4]

Her pilgrimage spanned almost three decades beginning January 1, 1953, in Pasadena, California. The Korean War was in progress. She continued walking for 28 years, spanning the American involvement in the Vietnam War and beyond. Peace Pilgrim was a frequent speaker at churches, universities, and local and national radio and television.

Expressing her ideas about peace, she referred to herself only as "Peace Pilgrim." Peace Pilgrim's only possessions were the clothes on her back and the few items she carried in the pockets of her blue tunic which read "Peace Pilgrim" on the front and "25,000 Miles on foot for peace" on the back. She had no organizational backing, carried no money, and would not even ask for food or shelter. When she began her pilgrimage she had taken a vow to "remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food."

On July 7, 1981, while being driven to a speaking engagement near KnoxIndiana, Peace Pilgrim was killed in an automobile accident. At the time of her death, she was crossing the United States for the seventh time. After her death, she was cremated, and her ashes were interred in a family plot near Egg Harbor CityNew Jersey.

[edit]Friends of Peace Pilgrim

Friends of Peace Pilgrim is an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to making information about the life and message of Peace Pilgrim available freely to all who ask. Since 1983 they have published and distributed over 400,000 copies of the book, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words, and over one and a half million copies of the booklet, Steps Toward Inner Peace. Books and booklets have been sent to over 100 countries. The book has been translated into twelve languages and the booklet into over 20 languages.[5]


  • Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award (1992)[6]


  • Steps Toward Inner Peace (1964)
  • Peace Pilgrim, Her Life and Work in her Own Words (1983)
  • Peace Pilgrim: The Spirit of Peace (1997)


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Re: Inspiring People

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Unbalanced scales.svg
A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. It may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia's content policies, particularly neutral point of view. Please discuss further on the talk page(January 2010)
Frances Moore Lappé

Frances Moore Lappé, 2009
Born Frances Moore
10 February 1944
Pendleton, Oregon, USA
Occupation writer, activist
Citizenship USA
Subjects social change, democracy, hunger
Notablework(s) Diet for a Small Planet, Getting a Grip 2: Clarity,Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want, Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity and Courage in a World Gone Mad, World Hunger Twelve Myths, Rediscovering America's Values, the Quickening of America, Hope's Edge, Democracy's Edge, You Have the Power,
Notableaward(s) Right Livelihood Award, Rachel Carson Award, Women's National Book Association, James Beard Humanitarian of the Year, Seventeen honorary doctorates
Partner(s) Richard R. Rowe
Children Anthony and Anna
Official website

Frances Moore Lappé (born February 10, 1944) is the author of 18 books including the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet. She is the co-founder of three national organizations that explore the roots of hunger, poverty and environmental crises, as well as solutions now emerging worldwide through what she calls Living Democracy. Her most recent book is Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want.




Lappé was born in 1944 in Pendleton, Oregon to John and Ina Moore and grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. After graduating from Earlham College in 1966, she married toxicologist and environmentalist Dr. Marc Lappé in 1967. They had two children, Anthony and Anna Lappé. They divorced in 1977. She briefly attended University of California at Berkeley for graduate studies in social work.

Throughout her works Lappé has argued that world hunger is caused not by the lack of food but rather by the inability of hungry people to gain access to the abundant amount of food that exists in the world and/or food-producing resources because they are simply too poor. She has posited that our current "thin democracy" creates a maldistribution of power and resources that inevitably creates waste and an artificial scarcity of the essentials for sustainable living.

Lappé makes the radical argument that what she calls "living democracy," i.e. not only what we do in the voting booth but through our daily choices of what we buy and how we live, provides a mental and behavioral framework of goods and goodness that is aligned with our basic human nature. She believes that only by "living democracy" can we effectively solve today's social and environmental crises.

Lappé began her writing career early in life. She first gained prominence in the early 1970s with the publication of her book Diet for a Small Planet, which has sold several million copies. In 1975, with Joseph Collins she launched the California-based Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) to educate Americans about the causes of world hunger. In 1990, Lappé co-founded the Center for Living Democracy, a 10-year initiative to accelerate the spread of democratic innovations in which regular citizens contribute to problem solving. She served as founding editor of the Center’s American News Service (1995–2000), which placed stories of citizen problem-solving in nearly half the nation’s largest newspapers.

In 2002, Lappé and her daughter Anna established the Small Planet Institute based inCambridge, Massachusetts a collaborative network for research and popular education to bring democracy to life. With her daughter, she is also co-founder of the Small Planet Fund, channeling resources to democratic social movements worldwide.

Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life, was released in 2006. This book completed a trilogy which began in 2002 with the 30th anniversary sequel to Diet for a Small Planet, titled Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet, co-written with her daughter, Anna Lappé. Then in 2004 she published with Jeffrey Perkins You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear. Among Lappé's other books are World Hunger: Twelve Myths and Rediscovering America's Values.

In March 2010, the Institute's publishing arm, Small Planet Media, released Lappé's newest book, Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity, & Courage for the World We Really Want, a through revision of the 2008 Nautilus Gold/"Best in Small Press" award winning edition.

In 2006 she was chosen as a founding councilor of the Hamburg-based World Future Council. She is also a member of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture and the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists. She serves as an advisor to the Calgary Centre for Global Community and on the board of David Korten’s People-Centered Development Forum. In 2009 she joined the advisory board of Corporate Accountability International's Value the Meal campaign.[1] She is a Contributing Editor to YES! Magazine. Lappé's articles and opinion pieces have appeared in publications as diverse as The New York TimesO Magazine, and Christian Century. Her television and radio appearances have included a PBS special with Bill Moyers, the Today Show, CBS Radio, and National Public Radio.

Lappé has received 17 honorary doctorates from distinguished institutions, including the University of MichiganKenyon CollegeAllegheny College Lewis and Clark College and Grinell College. She also held various teaching and scholarly positions:
- From 2000-2001, Lappé was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- In 2003, Lappé taught with Dr. Vandana Shiva in Dehra Dun, India, about the roots of world hunger, sponsored by the Navdanya researching and agricultural demonstration center.
- In 2004, Lappé taught a course on Living Democracy at Schumacher College in England.
- In 2006 and 2008, Lappé was a visiting professor at Suffolk University, Boston.

In 1987 in Sweden, Lappé became the fourth American to receive the Right Livelihood Award, often called the Alternative Nobel. In 2003, she received the Rachel Carson Award from the National Nutritional Foods Association. She was selected as one of twelve living "women whose words have changed the world" by the Women's National Book Association.

Lappé receiving the 2008 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award

In 2008, she was honored by the James Beard Foundation as the Humanitarian of the Year.In the same year, Gourmet Magazine named Lappé among 25 people (including Thomas Jefferson,Upton Sinclair, and Julia Child), whose work has changed the way America eats. Diet for a Small Planet was selected as one of 75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World by members of the Women’s National Book Association in observance of its 75th anniversary.

Historian Howard Zinn writes: “A small number of people in every generation are forerunners, in thought, action, spirit, who swerve past the barriers of greed and power to hold a torch high for the rest of us. Lappé is one of those.” The Washington Post says: “Some of the twentieth century’s most vibrant activist thinkers have been American women – Margaret MeadJeanette Rankin,Barbara WardDorothy Day – who took it upon themselves to pump life into basic truths. Frances Moore Lappé is among them."

Lappé's son, Anthony, is a New York City-based producer and is the director of Invisible Hand Media.


Thin Democracy proposes that the government will govern themselves instead of the public good. Living Democracy proposes that the government governs for the public good

  • Diet for a Small Planet, Ballantine Books, 1971, 1975, 1982, 1991. ISBN 0345023781
  • Food First: Beyond the Myth of Scarcity (with Joseph Collins), Houghton Mifflin, 1977, Ballantine Books, 1979.
  • What To Do After You Turn Off the T.V., Ballantine Books, 1985.
  • World Hunger: Twelve Myths (with Joseph Collins), Grove Press, 1986, 1998.
  • Rediscovering America's Values, Ballantine Books, 1989
  • The Quickening of America: Rebuilding Our Nation, Remaking Our Lives (with Paul Martin Du Bois), Jossey-Bass, 1994.
  • Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet (with Anna Lappé), Tarcher/Penguin, 2002.
  • You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear (with Jeffrey Perkins), Tarcher/Penguin, 2004.
  • Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life, Jossey-Bass, 2005.
  • Getting A Grip: Clarity, Creativity and Courage in a World Gone Mad, Small Planet Media, 2007.
  • Getting A Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want, Small Planet Media, 2010.


  1. ^ "Value the Meal Advisory Board". Retrieved 31 December 2009. 

[edit]External links

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V's picture
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Re: Inspiring People

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please improve this article if you can. (March 2009)
Vandana Shiva
Born November 5, 1952 (age 57)
Occupation philosopherenvironmentalist

Vandana Shiva (Hindi: वन्दना शिवा; b. November 5, 1952, Dehra DunUttarakhandIndia), is aphilosopher, environmental activisteco feminist and author of several books.[1] Shiva, currently based in Delhi, is author of over 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. She received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Western OntarioCanada, in 1978 with the doctoral dissertation:“Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory”.

Shiva participated in the nonviolent Chipko movement during the 1970s. The movement, some of whose main participants were women, adopted the approach of forming human circles around trees to prevent their felling. She is one of the leaders of the International Forum on Globalization, (along with Jerry ManderEdward GoldsmithRalph NaderJeremy Rifkin, et al.), and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices, as is evident from her interview in the book Vedic Ecology (by Ranchor Prime) that draws upon India's Vedic heritage.



[edit]Early life and education

Vandana Shiva 2007 in Cologne, Germany

Vandana Shiva was born in the valley of Dehradun, to a father who was the conservator of forests and a farmer mother with a love for nature. She was educated at St Mary's School in Nainital, and at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Dehradun.[2] Shiva was trained as a gymnast and after receiving her B.S. in Physics, she pursued a M.A. in the Philosophy of Science at the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada). In 1979, she completed and received her Ph.D. at the University of Western Ontario. Her thesis was titled "Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory".[3]. She later went on to interdisciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy, at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore.


Vandana Shiva has fought for changes in the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Intellectual property rights, biodiversitybiotechnologybioethics, genetic engineering are among the fields where Shiva has contributed intellectually and through activist campaigns. She has assisted grassroots organizations of the Green movement in AfricaAsiaLatin AmericaIreland,Switzerland and Austria with campaigns against genetic engineering. In 1982, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, which led to the creation of Navdanya. Her book, "Staying Alive" helped redefine perceptions of third world women. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as non governmental organisations, including the International Forum on Globalisation, the Women's Environment & Development Organization and the Third World Network.

Vandana Shiva participated in the Stock Exchange of Visions project in 2007.

She is a councillor of the World Future Council.


Vandana is interviewed in the international documentary *One Water (documentary), directed by Sanjeev Chatterjee and Ali Habashi. ( "One Water," an award-winning documentary about the world’s changing relationship to water, was filmed in 15 countries and produced at the University of Miami as a collaboration among the School of Communication, College of Engineering and the Frost School of Music.

Vandana stars in the feature documentary Blue Gold: World Water Wars by Sam Bozzo.

Vandana is featured in Irena Salina's documentary Flow: For Love of Water that was in competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Vandana is featured in the documentary Dirt! The Movie that was in competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

She is featured in the documentary The Corporation protesting against large corporations as a seed activist, and she is also featured in the documentary "Fed up!:Genetic Engineering, Industrial Agriculture and Sustainable Alternatives."

Recently, she has been featured in the documentary The World According to Monsanto, a film made by a French independent journalistMarie-Monique Robin.

Vandana is also featured in the feature documentary film about the Dalai Lama, entitled Dalai Lama Renaissance.[4]

Vandana is featured on the PBS NOW documentary entitled On Thin Ice.[5]

Dr. Shiva is also in the film This is What Democracy Looks Like, a documentary about the Seattle WTO protests of 1999.[6]


In 1993, Vandana received the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize') "...For placing women and ecology at the heart of modern development discourse."[7] Other awards she has received include the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1993,[8] and the Earth Day International Award of the United Nations (UN) for her dedicated commitment to the preservation of the planet as demonstrated by her actions, leadership and by setting an example for the rest of the world.

Additional awards include:

Vandana Shiva in Johannesburg, 2002

  • 1993: Order of the Golden Ark, by his Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands for outstanding services to conservation and ecology;VIDA SANA International Award, Spain, for her contribution to Ecology and Food Security
  • 1995: "Pride of the Doon" Award from Doon Citizen Council, Dehra Dun, India, in recognition of distinguished contributions to the region
  • 1997: The Golden Plant Award (International Award of Ecology), Denmark, for the remarkable contribution for Ecology and Environment; Alfonso Comin Award, Barcelona, Spain, for important contribution both scientifically and personally to the ecologist and feminist movement in India
  • 1998: Commemorative Medal by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand on the occasion of the Celebration of the 18th World Food Day, organised by FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok; Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic from the International Scientific Committee of the Pio Manzu Centre at Rimini, Italy during the XXIV Pio Manzu International Conference on "The Horizons of Hermes"
  • 2000: Pellegrino Artusi Award, Italy for original contribution to reflections on relations between humans and food
  • 2001: HORIZON 3000 Award of Austria in recognition to rendering useful service for defending Human Rights and Preservation of Peace and for the vision of a world wide fair development in the third millennium
  • 2009: received the Save The World Award
  • 2010: received the Sydney Peace Prize[9]


Vandana Shiva plays a major role in the global Ecofeminist movement. According to her article Empowering Women, Shiva suggests that a more sustainable and productive approach to agriculture can be achieved through reinstating a system of farming in India that is more centered around engaging women. She advocates against the prevalent "patriarchal logic of exclusion," claiming that a woman-focused system would change the current system in an extremely positive manner.[10]

In this way, Indian and global food security, can only benefit from a focus on empowering women through integrating them into the agricultural system.[10]


  • 1981, Social Economic and Ecological Impact of Social Forestry in Kolar, Vandana Shiva, H.C. Sharatchandra, J. Banyopadhyay, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
  • 1988, Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Survival in India, Zed Press, New Delhi, ISBN 0-86232-823-3
  • 1991, Ecology and the Politics of Survival: Conflicts Over Natural Resources in India, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California,ISBN 0-8039-9672-1
  • 1992, The Violence of the Green Revolution: Ecological degradation and political conflict in Punjab, Zed Press, New Delhi
  • 1992, Biodiversity: Social and Ecological Perspectives (editor); Zed Press, United Kingdom
  • 1993, Women, Ecology and Health: Rebuilding Connections (editor), Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and Kali for Women, New Delhi
  • 1993, Monocultures of the Mind: Biodiversity, Biotechnology and Agriculture, Zed Press, New Delhi
  • 1993, Ecofeminism, Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva, Fernwood Publications, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, ISBN 1-895686-28-8
  • 1994, Close to Home: Women Reconnect Ecology, Health and Development Worldwide, Earthscan, London, ISBN 0-86571-264-6
  • 1995, Biopolitics (with Ingunn Moser), Zed Books, United Kingdom
  • 1997, Biopiracy: the Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, South End Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, I ISBN 1-896357-11-3
  • 1999, Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply, South End Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, ISBN 0-89608-608-9
  • 2000, Tomorrow's Biodiversity, Thames and Hudson, London, ISBN 0-500-28239-0
  • 2001, Patents, Myths and Reality, Penguin India
  • 2002, Water Wars; Privatization, Pollution, and Profit, South End Press, Cambridge Massachusetts
  • 2005, Globalization's New Wars: Seed, Water and Life Forms Women Unlimited, New Delhi, ISBN 81-88965-17-0
  • 2005, Breakfast of Biodiversity: the Political Ecology of Rain Forest DestructionISBN 0-935028-96-X
  • 2005, Earth Democracy; Justice, Sustainability, and Peace, South End Press, ISBN 0-89608-745-X
  • 2007, Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed, editor, South End Press ISBN 978-0-89608-777-4
  • 2008, Soil Not Oil, South End Press ISBN 978-0-89608-782-8

[edit]See also

deggleton's picture
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Re: Inspiring People
V wrote:


Thanks for the post. I have read your posts where you cite Wendell Berry. Would you say he has inspired you?

I'll say he has inspired me.  Standing By Words is one incredible essay.  Through his writing I acquired, about 40 years ago, the quote I placed in my signature area (below).


deggleton's picture
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Posts: 250
Re: Inspiring People

Stephen R. Covey, who began his most famous book (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989) with

"Interdependence is a higher value than independence." the Preface.  That recognition permeates his work(s).

Fifteen years later, after training many more of the executives and managers of corporations in which we've invested over the years, he added a third dimension to all seven habits with one called The 8th Habit, in a book with that title.  That habit is find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.  Voice = unique personal significance.

The Covey Community is one of my principal hangouts.  The exercise there is for the whole person.


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Full Moon
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Posts: 1258
Re: Inspiring People

You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." - C.S. Lewis

   No one is truly  remembered  on this earth  for more than 3 generations .   So  we do things for others because it makes us feel good not to be centered on ourselves.

 Not one of these inspiring people are selfish  or self centered .  They do not worry about self -esteem.


ReginaF's picture
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Re: Inspiring People

For me, the last years one of my most inspiring people was Sharon Astyk - see her website at

ReginaF's picture
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Re: Inspiring People

and bloggers as

Deana Duke ( and

Christine Patton (

who mentioned our ordinary daily challenges!




V's picture
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Re: Inspiring People

Pierre Teilhard was an amzing human being. He was a brilliant scientist and and a profound philosopher. I cannot recommend his writings highly enough. 

It is difficult to find a philosophical treatment of the human journey that is as elegant and concise as the one he postulates in " The Phenomenon of Man"

I dare say if those making decisions at the highest levels would read his work and embrace it we would not have an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico



Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Born May 1, 1881(1881-05-01)
Orcines, France
Died April 10, 1955 (aged 73)
New York, New York, USA
Nationality France
Fields Paleontology, Philosophy, Cosmology, Evolutionary theory
Known for The Phenomenon of Man

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (French pronunciation: [pjɛʁ tejaʁ də ʃaʁdɛ̃]; May 1, 1881 – April 10, 1955) was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of Peking Man. Teilhard conceived the idea of the Omega Point and developed Vladimir Vernadsky's concept of Noosphere. He came into conflict with the Catholic Church and several of his books were censured.

Teilhard's primary book, The Phenomenon of Man, set forth a sweeping account of the unfolding of the cosmos. He abandoned traditional interpretations of creation in the Book of Genesis in favor of a less strict interpretation. This displeased certain officials in the Roman Curia and in his own order who thought that it undermined the doctrine of original sin developed by Saint Augustine. Teilhard's position was opposed by his Church superiors, and his work was denied publication during his lifetime by the Roman Holy Office. The 1950 encyclical Humani generis condemned several of Teilhard's opinions, while leaving other questions open. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI praised Teilhard's idea of the universe as a "living host"[1] although the ecclesiastical warnings attached to his works remain.



[edit] Life

Society of Jesus

History of the Jesuits
Regimini militantis

Jesuit Hierarchy
Superior General
Adolfo Nicolás

Ignatian Spirituality
Spiritual Exercises
Ad maiorem Dei gloriam

Famous Jesuits
St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. Francis Xavier
Blessed Peter Faber
St. Aloysius Gonzaga
St. Robert Bellarmine
St. Peter Canisius
St. Edmund Campion

[edit] Early years

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was born in Orcines, close to Clermont-Ferrand, in France on May 1, 1881. "De Chardin" is a vestige of a French aristocratic title and not properly his last name. He was formally known as "Pierre Teilhard". He was the fourth child of a large family. His father, an amateur naturalist, collected stones, insects and plants, and promoted the observation of nature in the household. Teilhard's spirituality was awakened by his mother. When he was 12, he went to the Jesuit college of Mongré, in Villefranche-sur-Saône, where he completed baccalaureates of philosophy and mathematics. Then, in 1899, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Aix-en-Provence where he began a philosophical, theological and spiritual career.

As of the summer 1901, the Waldeck-Rousseau laws, which submitted congregational associations' properties to state control, prompted some of the Jesuits to exile themselves in the United Kingdom. Young Jesuit students continued their studies in Jersey. In the meantime, Teilhard earned a licentiate in literature in Caen in 1902.

[edit] Jesuit training

From 1905 to 1908, he taught physics and chemistry in Cairo, Egypt, at the Jesuit College of the Holy Family. He wrote " is the dazzling of the East foreseen and drunk greedily... in its lights, its vegetation, its fauna and its deserts." (Letters from Egypt (1905–1908) — Éditions Aubier)

Teilhard studied theology in Hastings, in Sussex (United Kingdom), from 1908 to 1912. There he synthesized his scientific, philosophical and theological knowledge in the light of evolution. His reading of L'Évolution Créatrice (The Creative Evolution) by Henri Bergson was, he said, the "catalyst of a fire which devoured already its heart and its spirit." His views on evolution and religion particularly inspired the evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky. Teilhard was ordained a priest on August 24, 1911, aged 30.

[edit] Paleontology

From 1912 to 1914, Teilhard worked in the paleontology laboratory of the Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle, in Paris, studying the mammals of the middle Tertiary period. Later he studied elsewhere in Europe. In June 1912 he formed part of the original digging team, with Arthur Smith Woodward and Charles Dawson, to perform follow-up investigations at the Piltdown site, after the discovery of the first fragments of the (fraudulent) "Piltdown Man." Professor Marcellin Boule (specialist in Neanderthal studies), who so early as 1915 astutely recognised the non-hominid origins of the Piltdown finds, gradually guided Teilhard towards human paleontology. At the museum's Institute of Human Paleontology, he became a friend of Henri Breuil and took part with him, in 1913, in excavations in the prehistoric painted caves in the northwest of Spain, at the Cave of Castillo.

[edit] Service in World War I

Mobilised in December 1914, Teilhard served in World War I as a stretcher-bearer in the 8th Moroccan Rifles. For his valour, he received several citations including the Médaille militaire and the Legion of Honour.

Throughout these years of war he developed his reflections in his diaries and in letters to his cousin, Marguerite Teillard-Chambon, who later edited them into a book: Genèse d'une pensée (Genesis of a thought). He confessed later: "...the war was a meeting ... with the Absolute." In 1916, he wrote his first essay: La Vie Cosmique (Cosmic life), where his scientific and philosophical thought was revealed just as his mystical life. He pronounced his solemn vows as a Jesuit in Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, on May 26, 1918, during a leave. In August 1919, in Jersey, he would write Puissance spirituelle de la Matière (the spiritual Power of Matter). The complete essays written between 1916 and 1919 are published under the following titles:

  • Ecrits du temps de la Guerre (Written in time of the War) (TXII of complete Works) – Editions du Seuil
  • Genèse d'une pensée (letters of 1914 to 1918) – Editions Grasset

Teilhard followed at the Sorbonne three unit degrees of natural science: geology, botany and zoology. His thesis treated of the mammals of the French lower Eocene and their stratigraphy. After 1920, he lectured in geology at the Catholic Institute of Paris, then became an assistant professor after being granted a science Doctorate in 1922.

[edit] Research in China

In 1923 he traveled to China with Father Emile Licent, who was in charge in Tianjin for a significant laboratory collaborating with the Natural History Museum in Paris and Marcellin Boule's laboratory. Licent carried out considerable basic work in connection with missionaries who accumulated observations of a scientific nature in their spare time. He was known as 德日進 (pinyin: Dérìjìn) in China.

Teilhard wrote several essays, including La Messe sur le Monde (the Mass on the World), in the Ordos Desert. In the following year he continued lecturing at the Catholic Institute and participated in a cycle of conferences for the students of the Engineers' Schools. Two theological essays on Original Sin" sent to a theologian, on his request, on a purely personal basis, were wrongly understood[citation needed].

  • July 1920: Chute, Rédemption et Géocentrie (Fall, Redemption and Geocentry)
  • Spring 1922: Notes sur quelques représentations historiques possibles du Péché originel (Notes on few possible historical representations of original sin) (Works, Tome X)

The Church required him to give up his lecturing at the Catholic Institute and to continue his geological research in China.

Teilhard travelled again to China in April 1926. He would remain there more or less twenty years, with many voyages throughout the world. He settled until 1932 in Tientsin with Emile Licent then in Beijing. From 1926 to 1935, Teilhard made five geological research expeditions in China. They enabled him to establish a first general geological map of China.

In 1926–1927 after a missed campaign in Gansu he travelled in the Sang-Kan-Ho valley near Kalgan (Zhangjiakou) and made a tour in Eastern Mongolia. He wrote Le Milieu Divin (the divine Medium). Teilhard prepared the first pages of his main work Le Phénomène humain (The Human Phenomenon).

He joined the ongoing excavations of the Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian as an advisor in 1926 and continued in the role for the Cenozoic Research Laboratory of the Geological Survey of China following its founding in 1928.

He resided in Manchuria with Emile Licent, then stayed in Western Shansi (Shanxi) and northern Shensi (Shaanxi) with the Chinese paleontologist C. C. Young and with Davidson Black, Chairman of the Geological Survey of China.

After a tour in Manchuria in the area of Great Khingan with Chinese geologists, Teilhard joined the team of American Expedition Center-Asia in the Gobi organised in June and July, by the American Museum of Natural History with Roy Chapman Andrews.

Henri Breuil and Teilhard discovered that the Peking Man, the nearest relative of Pithecanthropus from Java, was a "faber" (worker of stones and controller of fire). Teilhard wrote L'Esprit de la Terre (the Spirit of the Earth).

Teilhard took part as a scientist in the famous "Croisiere Jaune" or "Yellow Cruise" financed by Andre Citroen in Central Asia. Northwest of Beijing in Kalgan he joined the China group who joined the second part of the team, the Pamir group, in Aksu. He remained with his colleagues for several months in Urumqi, capital of Sinkiang. The following year the Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) began.

Teilhard undertook several explorations in the south of China. He traveled in the valleys of Yangtze River and Szechuan (Sichuan) in 1934, then, the following year, in Kwang-If and Guangdong. The relationship with Marcellin Boule was disrupted; the Museum cut its financing on the grounds that Teilhard worked more for the Chinese Geological Service than for the Museum[citation needed].

During all these years, Teilhard strongly contributed to the constitution of an international network of research in human paleontology related to the whole Eastern and south Eastern zone of the Asian continent. He would be particularly associated in this task with two friends, the English/Canadian Davidson Black and the Scot George B. Barbour. Many times he would visit France or the United States, only to leave these countries to go on further expeditions.

[edit] World travels

From 1927–1928 Teilhard stayed in France, based in Paris. He journeyed to Leuven, Belgium, to Cantal, and to Ariège, France. Between several articles in reviews, he met new people such as Paul Valéry and Bruno de Solages, who were to help him in issues with the Catholic Church.

Answering an invitation from Henry de Monfreid, Teilhard undertook a journey of two months in Obock in Harrar and in Somalia with his colleague Pierre Lamarre, geologist, before embarking in Djibouti to return to Tianjin. While in China, Teilhard developed a deep and personal friendship with Lucile Swan.[2]

From 1930–1931 Teilhard stayed in France and in the United States. During a conference in Paris, Teilhard stated: "For the observers of the Future, the greatest event will be the sudden appearance of a collective humane conscience and a human work to make."

From 1932–1933 he began to meet people to clarify issues with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, regarding Le Milieu Divin and L'Esprit de la Terre. He met Helmut von Terra, a German geologist in the International Geology Congress in Washington, DC. A few months later Davidson Black died.

Teilhard participated in the 1935 YaleCambridge expedition in northern and central India with the geologist Helmut von Terra and Patterson, who verified their assumptions on Indian Paleolithic civilisations in Kashmir and the Salt Range Valley.

He then made a short stay in Java, on the invitation of Professor Ralph van Koningsveld to the site of Java man. A second cranium, more complete, was discovered. This Dutch paleontologist had found (in 1933) a tooth in a Chinese apothecary shop in 1934 that he believed belonged to a giant tall ape that lived around half a million years ago.

In 1937 Teilhard wrote Le Phénomène spirituel (The Phenomenon of the Spirit) on board the boat the Empress of Japan, where he met the Raja of Sarawak. The ship conveyed him to the United States. He received the Mendel medal granted by Villanova University during the Congress of Philadelphia in recognition of his works on human paleontology. He made a speech about evolution, origins and the destiny of Man. The New York Times dated March 19, 1937 presented Teilhard as the Jesuit who held that the man descended from monkeys. Some days later, he was to be granted the Doctor Honoris Causa distinction from Boston College. Upon arrival in that city, he was told that the award had been cancelled.[citation needed]

He then stayed in France, where he was immobilized by malaria. During his return voyage in Beijing he wrote L'Energie spirituelle de la Souffrance (Spiritual Energy of Suffering) (Complete Works, tome VII).

[edit] Death

Teilhard died on April 10, 1955 in New York City, where he was in residence at the Jesuit church of St Ignatius of Loyola, Park Avenue. He was buried in the cemetery for the New York Province of the Jesuits at the Jesuit novitiate, St. Andrew's-on-the-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, upstate New York. In 1970 the novitiate was moved to Syracuse, New York (on the grounds of LeMoyne College) and the Culinary Institute of America bought the old property, opening their school there a few years later. However, the cemetery remains on the grounds and visitors are allowed to pay their respects. A few days before his death Teilhard said "If in my life I haven't been wrong, I beg God to allow me to die on Easter Sunday"[citation needed]. April 10 was Easter Sunday.

[edit] Controversy with Church officials

In 1925, Teilhard was ordered by the Jesuit Superior General Vladimir Ledochowski to leave his teaching position in France and to sign a statement withdrawing his controversial statements regarding the doctrine of original sin. Rather than leave the Jesuit order, Teilhard signed the statement and left for China.

This was the first of a series of condemnations by certain ecclesiastical officials that would continue until long after Teilhard's death. The climax of these condemnations was a 1962 monitum (reprimand) of the Holy Office denouncing his works. From the monitum:

"The above-mentioned works abound in such ambiguities and indeed even serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine... For this reason, the most eminent and most revered Fathers of the Holy Office exhort all Ordinaries as well as the superiors of Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of universities, effectively to protect the minds, particularly of the youth, against the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and of his followers.".[3]

Teilhard's writings, though, continued to circulate — not publicly, as he and the Jesuits observed their commitments to obedience, but in mimeographs that were circulated only privately, within the Jesuits, among theologians and scholars for discussion, debate and criticism[citation needed].

As time passed, it seemed that the works of Teilhard were gradually becoming viewed more favourably within the Church. For example, on June 10, 1981, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli wrote on the front page of the Vatican newspaper, l'Osservatore Romano:

"What our contemporaries will undoubtedly remember, beyond the difficulties of conception and deficiencies of expression in this audacious attempt to reach a synthesis, is the testimomy of the coherent life of a man possessed by Christ in the depths of his soul. He was concerned with honoring both faith and reason, and anticipated the response to John Paul II's appeal: 'Be not afraid, open, open wide to Christ the doors of the immense domains of culture, civilization, and progress.[4]

However, shortly thereafter the Holy See clarified that recent statements by members of the Church, in particular those made on the hundredth anniversary of Teilhard's birth, were not to be interpreted as a revision of previous stands taken by the Church officials.[5] Thus the 1962 statement remains official Church policy to this day.

Although some Catholic intellectuals defended Teilhard and his doctrine (including Henri de Lubac)[6], others condemned his teaching as a perversion of the Christian faith. These include Jacques Maritain, Étienne Gilson and Dietrich von Hildebrand.[7]

[edit] Teachings

[edit] Evolution

In his posthumously published book, The Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard writes of the unfolding of the material cosmos, from primordial particles to the development of life, human beings and the noosphere, and finally to his vision of the Omega Point in the future, which is "pulling" all creation towards it. He was a leading proponent of orthogenesis, the idea that evolution occurs in a directional, goal driven way, argued in terms that today go under the banner of convergent evolution. Teilhard argued in Darwinian terms with respect to biology, and supported the synthetic model of evolution, but argued in Lamarckian terms for the development of culture, primarily through the vehicle of education.[8]

Teilhard makes sense of the universe by its evolutionary process. He interprets complexity as the axis of evolution of matter into a geosphere, a biosphere, into consciousness (in man,) and then to supreme consciousness (the Omega Point.)

Teilhard's life work was predicated on the conviction that human spiritual development is moved by the same universal laws as material development. He wrote, "...everything is the sum of the past" and "...nothing is comprehensible except through its history. 'Nature' is the equivalent of 'becoming', self-creation: this is the view to which experience irresisibly leads us. ... There is nothing, not even the human soul, the highest spiritual manifestation we know of, that does not come within this universal law." [9] There is no doubt that The Phenomenon of Man represents Teilhard's attempt at reconciling his religious faith with his academic interests as a paleontologist.[10] One particularly poignant observation in Teilhard's book entails the notion that evolution is becoming an increasingly optional process.[10] Teilhard points to the societal problems of isolation and marginalization as huge inhibitors of evolution, especially since evolution requires a unification of consciousness. He states that "no evolutionary future awaits anyone except in association with everyone else."[10] Teilhard argued that the human condition necessarily leads to the psychic unity of humankind, though he stressed that this unity can only be voluntary; This voluntary psychic unity he termed "unanimization." Teilhard also states that "evolution is an ascent toward consciousness", giving encephalization as an example of early stages, and therefore, signifies a continuous upsurge toward the Omega Point,[10] which for all intents and purposes, is God.

Our century is probably more religious than any other. How could it fail to be, with such problems to be solved? The only trouble is that it has not yet found a God it can adore.[10]

[edit] Teilhard's phenomenology

Cosmos - a process of convergence and divergence[11]

Teilhard himself claimed his work to be phenomenology.

Teilhard studied what he called the rise of spirit, or evolution of consciousness, in the universe. He believed it to be observable and verifiable in a simple law he called the Law of Complexity/Consciousness. This law simply states that there is an inherent compulsion in matter to arrange itself in more complex groupings, exhibiting higher levels of consciousness. The more complex the matter, the more conscious it is. Teilhard proposed that this is a better way to describe the evolution of life on earth, rather than Herbert Spencer's "survival of the fittest." The universe, he argued, strives towards higher consciousness, and does so by arranging itself into more complex structures.

Teilhard identified what he termed to be different stages in the rise of consciousness. These stages are analogous to what are termed the geosphere and the biosphere. The Law of Complexity/Consciousness traces matter's path through these stages, as it 'complexifies' upon itself and rises in consciousness. Teilhard claimed that although it is not evident, consciousness (in an extremely limited degree) exists even in rocks, as the Law of Complexity/Consciousness implies. In plants, matter is complex enough to exhibit a consciousness that is the very life of the plant. In animals, matter is complex enough to an extraordinary degree to where consciousness shows itself in a wide range of reactionary movement to the whole universe.

However, Teilhard here proposed another level of consciousness, to which human beings belong, because of their cognitive ability; i.e. their ability to 'think', and to set things to purpose. Human beings, Teilhard argued, represent the layer of consciousness which has "folded back in upon itself", and has become self-conscious. Julian Huxley, Teilhard's scientific colleague, described it like this: "evolution is nothing but matter become conscious of itself." [12] In Teilhard's own words: "...a Universe in process of psychic concentration is identical with a Universe that is acquiring a personality." [13]

So in addition to the geosphere and the biosphere, Teilhard posited another sphere, which is the realm of human beings, the realm of reflective thought: the noosphere.

In the noosphere Teilhard believed the same Law of Complexity/Consciousness to be at work, although not in a way previously seen. He argued that ever since human-beings first came into existence 200,000 years ago, the Law of Complexity/Conscious began to run on a different (higher) plane. Consciousness in the universe, he argued, now continues to rise in the complex arrangement and unification (Teilhard sometimes called it 'totalization'[14] of mankind on earth. As human beings converge around the earth, he reasoned, unifying themselves in ever more complex forms of arrangement, consciousness will rise. Global internet connectivity, network science and social networking systems support Teilhard's theory.

The noosphere has been compared to C. G. Jung's theory of the collective unconscious, "by other paths, to other ends, it is the same reality", but for Henri de Lubac Jung remains in the sphere of psychology whereas Teilhard's writing assumes a spiritual dimension.[15][16]

Finally, the keystone to his phenomenology is that because Teilhard could not explain why the universe would move in the direction of more complex arrangements and higher consciousness, he postulated that there must exist ahead of the moving universe, and pulling it along, a higher pole of supreme consciousness, which he called Omega Point.

Teilhard re-interpreted many disciplines, including theology, sociology, metaphysics, around this understanding of the universe. A main focus of his was to re-assure the converging mass of humanity not to despair, but to trust the evolution of consciousness as it rises through them.

[edit] Influence

Teilhard and his work have a continuing presence in the arts and culture. He inspired a number of characters in literary works. References range from occasional quotations—an auto mechanic quotes Teilhard in Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly[17] -- to serving as the philosophical underpinning of the plot, as Teilhard's work does in Julian May's 1987–94 Galactic Milieu Series[18]. Teilhard also plays a major role in Annie Dillard's 1999 For the Time Being[19]. Characters based on Teilhard appear in several novels, including Jean Telemond in Morris West's The Shoes of the Fisherman[20] (mentioned by name and quoted by Oskar Werner playing Fr. Telemond in the movie version of the novel) and Father Lankester Merrin in William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist[21]. In Dan Simmons' 1989–97 Hyperion Cantos, Teilhard de Chardin has been canonized a saint in the far future. His work inspires the anthropologist priest character, Paul Duré. When Duré becomes Pope, he takes Teilhard I as his regnal name.[22]

Teilhard appears as a minor character in the play "Fake" by Eric Simonson, staged by Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in 2009, involving a fictional solution to the infamous Piltdown Man hoax.

Teilhard's work has also inspired artworks such as French painter Afred Manessier's "L'Offrande de la terre ou Hommage à Teilhard de Chardin[23]" and American sculptor Frederick Hart's acrylic sculpture The Divine Milieu: Homage to Teilhard de Chardin[24]. A sculpture of the Omega Point by Henry Setter, with a quote from Teilhard de Chardin, can be found at the entrance to the Roesch Library at the University of Dayton[25]. Edmund Rubbra's 1968 Symphony No. 8 is titled Hommage a Teilhard de Chardin.

Teilhard's influence is commemorated on numerous collegiate campuses. A building at the University of Manchester is named after him, as are residence dormitories at Gonzaga University and Seattle University. His stature as a biologist was honored by George Gaylord Simpson in naming the most primitive and ancient genus of true primate, the Eocene genus Teilhardina.

The title of the short-story collection Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor is a reference to Teilhard's work.

The American novelist Don DeLillo's 2010 novel Point Omega borrows its title and some of its ideas from Teilhard de Chardin.

Teilhard de Chardin is honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on April 10.

[edit] Bibliography

The dates in parentheses are the dates of first publication in French and English. Most of these works were written years earlier, but Teilhard's ecclesiastical order forbade him to publish them because of their controversial nature. The essay collections are organized by subject rather than date, thus each one typically spans many years.

  • Le Phénomène Humain (1955), written 1938–40, scientific exposition of Teilhard's theory of evolution
  • Letters From a Traveler (1956; English translation 1962), written 1923–55
  • Le Groupe Zoologique Humain (1956), written 1949, more detailed presentation of Teilhard's theories
    • Man's Place in Nature (English translation 1966)
  • Le Milieu Divin (1957), spiritual book written 1926–27, in which the author seeks to offer a way for everyday life, or the secular, to be divinised.
  • L'Avenir de l'Homme (1959) essays written 1920–52, on the evolution of consciousness (noosphere)
  • Hymn of the Universe (1961; English translation 1965) Harper and Row: ISBN 0-06-131910-4, mystical/spiritual essays and thoughts written 1916–55
  • L'Energie Humaine (1962), essays written 1931–39, on morality and love
  • L'Activation de l'Energie (1963), sequel to Human Energy, essays written 1939–55 but not planned for publication, about the universality and irreversibility of human action
  • Je M'Explique (1966) Jean-Pierre Demoulin, editor ISBN 0-685-36593-X, "The Essential Teilhard" — selected passages from his works
  • Christianity and Evolution, Harvest/HBJ 2002: ISBN 0-15-602818-2
  • The Heart of the Matter, Harvest/HBJ 2002: ISBN 0-15-602758-5
  • Toward the Future, Harvest/HBJ 2002: ISBN 0-15-602819-0
  • The Making of a Mind: Letters from a Soldier-Priest 1914-1919, Collins (1965), Letters written during wartime.
  • Writings in Time of War, Collins (1968) composed of spiritual essays written during wartime. One of the few books of Teilhard to receive an imprimatur.
  • Vision of the Past, Collins (1966) composed of mostly scientific essays published in the French science journal Etudes.
  • The Appearance of Man, Collins (1965) composed of mostly scientific writings published in the French science journal Etudes.
  • Letters to Two Friends 1926-1952, Fontana (1968) composed of personal letters on varied subjects including his understanding of death.
  • Letters to Leontine Zanta, Collins (1969)
  • Correspondence / Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Maurice Blondel, Herder and Herder (1967) This correspondence also has both the imprimatur and nihil obstat.
  • de Chardin, P T (1952). "On the zoological position and the evolutionary significance of Australopithecines". Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences 14 (5): pp. 208–10. 1952 Mar. PMID 14931535. 
  • de Terra, H; de Chardin, PT; Paterson, TT (1936). "Joint geological and prehistoric studies of the Late Cenozoic in India". Science 83 (2149): 233–236. 1936 Mar 6. doi:10.1126/science.83.2149.233-a. PMID 17809311. 


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Re: Inspiring People

I have been inspired by poetry most of my life. I particularly liked the Transcendentalists. I discovered Rumi and Hafiz and learned that they were the inspiration for poets like Emerson and Whitman. There are many translations and renderings of Hafiz but it is incredibly difficult to translate from Persian into English. This is especially true for Mystical poetry like Hafiz and Rumi as wards can have many meanings.

I really like " The Green Sea of Heaven " which is a translation by Elizabeth Gray.

" O ignorant one try to become a master of knowledge.

 if you are not a traveler how can you become a guide?

In the school of truth listen carefully to the tutor of love, so that one day O son you can become a father.

Like those worthy of the path, wash you hands of the copper of existence.

so that you can find the philosophers stone of love and become gold."

With all the talk of war with Iran in the air I thought it might be useful to get a little understanding  of what has inspired the Irani's for almost 700 years.



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Hāfez-e Šīrāzī
Tomb of Hafez
Born c. 1310/1337 CE
Died 1390
Occupation Poet
Nationality Persian
Period Muzaffarids
Genres Persian poetry, Persian Mysticism, Irfan
Literary movement Poetry, Mysticism, Sufism, Metaphysics, ethics

Hafez's work has been translated by a number of major Western poets

Khwāja Šamsu d-Dīn Muḥammad Hāfez-e Šīrāzī (Persian: خواجه شمس‌الدین محمد حافظ شیرازی), known by his pen name Hāfez (1315–1390) was a Persian lyric poet. His collected works (Divan) are to be found in the homes of most Iranians, who learn his poems by heart and use them as proverbs and sayings to this day. His life and poems have been the subject of much analysis, commentary and interpretation, and have influenced post-Fourteenth Century Persian writing more than anything else has.[1][2]

The major themes of his ghazals are love, the celebration of wine and intoxication, and exposing the hypocrisy of those who have set themselves up as guardians, judges and examples of moral rectitude.

His presence in the lives of Iranians can be felt through Hafez-reading (fāl-e hāfez, Persian: فال حافظ), frequent use of his poems in Persian traditional music, visual art and Persian calligraphy. His tomb in Shiraz is a masterpiece of Iranian architecture and visited often. Adaptations, imitations and translations of Hafez' poems exist in all major languages.



[edit] Life

Hafez, detail of an illumination in a Persian manuscript of the Divan of Hafez, 18th century

Despite his profound effect on Persian life and culture and his enduring popularity and influence, few details of his life are known, and particularly about his early life there is a great deal of more or less mythical anecdote. Some of the early tazkeras (biographical sketches) mentioning Hafez are generally considered unreliable.[3] One early document discussing Hafez' life is the preface of his Divān, which was written by an unknown contemporary of Hafez whose name may have been Moḥammad Golandām.[4] The generally accepted modern edition of Hafez's Divān is known as Qazvini-Ḡani, edited by Moḥammad Qazvini and Qāsem Ḡani.

Most modern scholars agree that Hafez was born in 1315, and following an account by Jami, consider 1390 as the year in which he died.[4]

Scholars[who?] generally agree on the following:

It seems probable that he met with Attar of Shiraz, a somewhat disreputable scholar, and became his disciple. He is said[weasel words][by whom?] to have later become a poet in the court of Abu Ishak, and so to have gained fame and influence in his hometown. It is possible[weasel words] that Hafez gained a position as a teacher in a Qur'anic school at this time.

In his early thirties, Mubariz Muzaffar captured Shiraz and seems to have ousted Hāfez from his position. Hāfez apparently regained his position for a brief span of time after Shah Shuja took his father, Mubariz Muzaffar, prisoner. But shortly afterwards Hāfez was forced into self-imposed exile when rivals and religious characters he had criticized began slandering him. Hāfez fled from Shiraz to Isfahan and Yazd for his own safety.[citation needed]

At the age of fifty-two, Hāfez once again regained his position at court, and possibly received a personal invitation from Shah Shuja, who pleaded with him to return. He obtained a more solid position after Shah Shuja's death, when Shah Mansour ascended the throne for a brief period before being defeated and killed by Tamerlane.[citation needed]

When an old man, Hafez apparently met Tamerlane to defend his poetry against charges of blasphemy.[citation needed]

It is generally believed[weasel words] that Hāfez died at the age of 69. His mausoleum is located in the Musalla Gardens of Shiraz (referred to as Hāfezieh).

[edit] Legends of Hafez

File:Hafez tomb shiraz.jpg
The tomb of Hafez in his mausoleum in Shiraz

Many semi-miraculous mythical tales were woven around Hāfez after his death. Four of them are:

  • It is said that, by listening to his father's recitations, Hāfez had accomplished the task of learning the Qur'an by heart, at an early age (that is in fact the meaning of the word Hafez). At the same time Hāfez is said to have known by heart, the works of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, Saadi, Farid ud-Din and Nezami.
  • According to one tradition, before meeting Hajji Zayn al-Attar, Hāfez had been working in a local bakery. Hāfez delivered bread to a wealthy quarter of the town where he saw Shakh-e Nabat, allegedly a woman of great beauty, to whom some of his poems are addressed. In the knowledge that his love for her would not be requited and ravished by her beauty, he allegedly had his first mystic vigil in his desire to realize this union, whereupon, overcome by a being of a surpassing beauty (who identifies himself as an angel), he begins his mystic path of realization, in pursuit of spiritual union with the divine. The obvious Western parallel is that of Dante and Beatrice.
  • At age 60 he is said to have begun a chelleh-nashini, a 40-day-and-night vigil by sitting in a circle which he had drawn for himself. On the 40th day, he once again met with Zayn al-Attar on what is known to be their fortieth anniversary and was offered a cup of wine. It was there where he is said to have attained "Cosmic Consciousness". Hāfez hints at this episode in one of his verses where he advises the reader to attain "clarity of wine" by letting it "sit for 40 days".
  • In one famous tale, the famed conqueror Tamerlane angrily summoned Hāfez to him to give him an explanation for one of his verses
اگر آن ترک شیرازی بدست‌آرد دل مارا
به خال هندویش بخشم سمرقند و بخارا را
If that Shirazi beauty would take my heart in hand
I would give Samarkand and Bokhara for her black mole

With Samarkand being Timur's capital and Bokhara his kingdom's finest city. "With the blows of my lustrous sword," Timur complained, "I have subjugated most of the habitable globe... to embellish Samarkand and Bokhara, the seats of my government; and you, would sell them for the black mole of some boy in Shiraz!" Hāfez, so the tale goes, bowed deeply and replied "Alas, O Prince, it is this prodigality which is the cause of the misery in which you find me".

So surprised and pleased was Timur with this response that he dismissed Hafez with handsome gifts.

[edit] Works and influence

Book of Hafez poetry

Not much acclaimed in his own day and often exposed to the reproaches of orthodoxy, he greatly influenced subsequent Persian poets and has become the most beloved poet of Persian culture. It is said that if there is one book in a house where Persian is spoken, it will be the Dīwān of Hāfez.[citation needed] Much later, the work of Hāfez would leave a mark on such important Western writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Goethe. His work was first translated into English in 1771 by William Jones.

Most recently, The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master, a collection of poems by Daniel Ladinsky published in 1999 by Penguin Books, has been both commercially successful and a source of controversy. Ladinsky does read Persian but not "at all fluently,"[5] and claims to have relied primarily on H. Wilberforce Clark's 1891 translation after finding the Persian originals "remarkably demanding."[6] Critics such as Murat Nemet-Nejat, a poet, essayist and translator of modern Turkish poetry, have asserted that his translations are in fact Ladinsky's own inventions.[7] The fact that Ladinsky's poems do not actually represent Hafez' work was a source of embarrassment for Dalton McGuinty, the Premier of Ontario, when it was discovered that the poem McGuinty had recited from Ladinsky's book at a Nowruz celebration in Toronto in 2009 had no corresponding Persian original.[8]

There is no definitive version of his collected works (or Dīvān); editions vary from 573 to 994 poems. In Iran, his collected works have come to be used as an aid to popular divination. Only since the 1940s has a sustained scholarly attempt - by Mas'ud Farzad, Qasim Ghani and others in Iran - been made to authenticate his work, and remove errors introduced by later copyists and censors. However, the reliability of such work has been questioned (Michael Hillmann in Rahnema-ye Ketab, 13 (1971), "Kusheshha-ye Jadid dar Shenakht-e Divan-e Sahih-e Hafez"), and in the words of Hāfez scholar Iraj Bashiri.... "there remains little hope from there (i.e.: Iran) for an authenticated diwan".

Divan of Hafez, with a Persian miniature at left and ghazals in nastaliq at right. Signed by Shah Qasem, 1617. National Museum of Iran, Tehran, Persia.

Though Hāfez’s poetry is influenced by Islam, he is widely respected by Hindus, Christians and others. The Indian sage of Iranian descent Meher Baba, who syncretized elements of Sufism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Christian mysticism, recited Hāfez's poetry until his dying day.[9]. October 12 is celebrated as Hafez Day in Iran.[10]

Divan of Hafez, Persian miniature, 1585.

[edit] Interpretation

The question of whether his work is to be interpreted literally, mystically or both, has been a source of concern and contention to western scholars[11]. On the one hand, some of his early readers such as William Jones saw in him a conventional lyricist similar to European love poets such as Petrarch[12]. Others such as Wilberforce Clarke saw him as purely a poet of didactic, ecstatic mysticism in the manner of Rumi, a view which modern scholarship has come to reject [13]. This confusion stems from the fact that, early in Persian literary history, the poetic vocabulary was usurped by mystics who believed that the ineffable could be better expressed in poetry than in prose. In composing poems of mystic content, they imbued every word and image with mystical undertones, thereby causing mysticism and lyricism to essentially converge into a single tradition. As a result, no fourteenth century Persian poet could write a lyrical poem without having a flavor of mysticism forced on it by the poetic vocabulary itself.[14][15]. While some poets, such as Ubayd Zakani, attempted to distance themselves from this fused mystical-lyrical tradition by writing satires, Hafiz embraced the fusion and thrived on it. W.M. Thackston has said of this that Hafiz "sang a rare blend of human and mystic love so balanced...that it is impossible to separate one from the other."[16]

For this reason among others, the history of the translation of Hāfez has been a complicated one, and few translations into western languages have been wholly successful.

One of the figurative gestures for which he is most famous (and which is among the most difficult to translate) is īhām or artful punning. Thus a word such as gowhar which could mean both "essence, truth" and "pearl" would take on both meanings at once as in a phrase such as gawharī k'az sadaf-i kawn o makān bērūnast (a pearl/essential truth which was outside the shell of superficial existence.)

Furthermore, Hafez often took advantage of the aforementioned lack of distinction between lyrical, mystical and panegyric writing by using highly intellectualized, elaborate metaphors and images so as to suggest multiple possible meanings. This may be illustrated via a couplet from the beginning of one of Hafez' poems.

Bolbol zeh shākh-e sarv be golbāng-e pahlavī
Mīkhānd dōsh dars-e maqāmāt-e ma'navī

This may be translated, roughly, as

Last night, from the cypress branch, the nightingale sang,
In Old Persian tones, the lesson of spiritual stations

The cypress tree is a symbol both of the beloved and of a regal presence. The nightingale and birdsong evoke the traditional setting for human love. The "lessons of spiritual stations" suggest, obviously, a mystical undertone as well. (Though the word for "spiritual" could also be translated as "intrinsically meaningful.") Therefore, the words could signify at once a prince addressing his devoted followers, a lover courting a beloved and the reception of spiritual wisdom[17].

[edit] The Tomb of Hafez

Main article: Tomb of Hafez

Tomb of Hafez in Qajar era in Shiraz

Twenty years after his death, a tomb (the Hafezieh) was erected to honor Hafez in the Musalla Gardens in Shiraz. The current Mausolem was designed by André Godard, French archeologist and architect, in the late 1930s. Inside, Hafez's alabaster tombstone bore one of his poems inscribed upon it.

[edit] See also

Search Wikisource Wikisource has original text related to this article:

[edit] References

  • E.G. Browne. Literary History of Persia. (Four volumes, 2,256 pages, and twenty-five years in the writing). 1998. ISBN 0-7007-0406-X
  • Will Durant, The Reformation. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1957
  • Jan Rypka, History of Iranian Literature. Reidel Publishing Company. 1968 OCLC 460598. ISBN 90-277-0143-1
  • Hafiz, Dikter, translated by Ashk Dahlén, Umeå, 2006. 91-85503-04-5 / 978-91-85503-04-9 (Swedish)
  • Hafiz, Divan-i-Hafiz, translated by Henry Wiberforce-Clarke, Ibex Publishers, Inc., 2007. ISBN 0-936347-80-5
  • Peter Avery, The Collected Lyrics of Hafiz of Shiraz, 603 p. (Archetype, Cambridge, UK, 2007). ISBN 1901383091
    Note: This translation is based on Divān-e Hāfez, Volume 1, The Lyrics (Ghazals), edited by Parviz Natel-Khanlari (Tehran, Iran, 1362 AH/1983-4).
  • Erkinov A. “Manuscripts of the works by classical Persian authors (Hāfiz, Jāmī, Bīdil): Quantitative Analysis of 17th-19th c. Central Asian Copies”. Iran: Questions et connaissances. Actes du IVe Congrès Européen des études iraniennes organisé par la Societas Iranologica Europaea, Paris, 6-10 Septembre 1999. vol. II: Périodes médiévale et moderne. [Cahiers de Studia Iranica. 26], M.Szuppe (ed.). Association pour l`avancement des études iraniennes-Peeters Press. Paris-Leiden, 2002, pp. 213–228.



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Re: Inspiring People

OK, this may sound a little silly, but Jillian Michaels from the Biggest Loser is totally my hero. Her new show Losing It with Jillian is terrific. She somehow manages to get people's lives turned around in a week. I love her tough love approach. She also shows that fitness is not just about fitness but about loving yourself by taking good care of your body. She tackles the emotional issues that are causing people to abuse their bodies with food. She has an uncanny ability to laser in on the issues that are stopping people. A therapist might take 10 years to achieve what Jillian can do in 5 days.

She's a one woman machine. Love her!

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Re: Inspiring People

Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole


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Re: Inspiring People


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