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All the world's major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.
THE OCTOBER COUNTRY …that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain…
Everything written with vitality expresses that vitality: there are no dull subjects, only dull minds. All men who read escape from something else into what lies behind the printed page; the quality of the dream may be argued, but its release has become a functional necessity. All men must escape at times from the deadly rhythm of their private thoughts. It is part of the process of life among thinking beings.
Then, finally, it can become so morbid that it rises to ominous proportions and leads to a tragic sense of persecution. There are persons who come to the point that they are so self-centered that they end up with a persecution complex and the end result is insanity. They end up thinking that the universe stands against them, that everybody is against them. They are turning around within themselves. They are little solar systems within themselves and they can't see beyond that. And as a result of their failure to get out of self, they end up with a persecution complex and sometimes madness and insanity. These are some of the effects of selfcenteredness.
I will not sign a 30-day or a 60-day or a 90-day extension. That is just not an acceptable approach. And if we think it's going to be hard — if we think it's hard now, imagine how these guys are going to be thinking six months from now in the middle of election season where they're all up. It's not going to get easier. It's going to get harder. So we might as well do it now — pull off the Band-Aid; eat our peas. Now is the time to do it. If not now, when?
There are two distinctive peculiarities by reference to which we characterize the soul (1) local movement and (2) thinking, discriminating, and perceiving. Thinking both speculative and practical is regarded as akin to a form of perceiving; for in the one as well as the other the soul discriminates and is cognizant of something which is.
Thinking by analogy is not to be despised. Analogy has this merit, that it does not settle things - does not pretend to be conclusive. On the other hand, that induction is pernicious which, with a preconceived end in view, and working right forward for only that, drags in its train a number of unsifted observations, both false and true.
One free man will say with truth what he thinks and feels amongst thousands of men who by their acts and words attest exactly the opposite. It would seem that he who sincerely expressed his thought must remain alone, whereas it generally happens that every one else, or the majority at least, have been thinking and feeling the same things but without expressing them.
Thunder is no longer the voice of an angry god... No river contains a spirit... no snake the embodiment of wisdom, no mountain cave the home of a great demon. No voices now speak to man from stones, plants and animals, nor does he speak to them thinking they can hear. His contact with nature has gone, and with it has gone the profound emotional energy that this symbolic connection supplied.