Europe against GMO crops! Please, sign the Avaaz petition!
I already did. It's us who decide, not Monsanto!!!

What life is all about? I'm offering you few, on first sight unrelated articles, that however deal with the major questions of human existence-wrong/right, happy/miserable, buy/DO-NOT-BUY everything they show you. So, first we see the new visions of the Vatican over the mortal sins. I won't comment, because I think it's hilarious. Isn't it enough just to not hurt physically or psychologically anyone? I don't get it why there should be those absurd sins. But anyway, for those that still consider the Pope and the Vatican important-enjoy the new limitations on your lives :)
The new 7 sins
The Vatican believes. Yesterday it updated its list of mortal sins with seven new ones in its newspaper L'Osservatore Romano (the English translation is not yet available but should soon be posted here).

"You offend God not only by stealing, blaspheming or coveting your neighbour’s wife, but also by ruining the environment, carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments, or allowing genetic manipulations which alter DNA or compromise embryos," bishop Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican body which oversees confessions and plenary indulgences, told L'Osservatore.

That's three then. The remaining four are:

  • taking or dealing in drugs
  • social injustice which causes poverty or "the excessive accumulation of wealth by a few"
  • paedophilia
  • abortion
Girotti says that while the old sins are highly individualistic the new sins have "social resonance" and are "a corollary of the unstoppable process of globalisation".

I'm curious to see how the "pollute and you go to hell" campaign works, and how it compares to the Daily Mail's recent campaign against plastic bags in the UK. And what, exactly, qualifies as a "morally debatable scientific experiment"?

Where do experiments involving animals stand with respect to this "sin"? Is there a risk that these new "sins" could encourage more violence against women seeking abortion, the doctors who carry out the procedure, and researchers who work with animals? source

And now, when we know what we cannot do, let's see what we can do to make us happy. Although those articles are kind of too popularist for me, I think there is a great deal of truth in them. What makes you happy is usually to make someone else happy, because this act like an approval for your personality. And obviously, our personality cannot self-judge itself on the things it has, because they speak nothing to it, the pleasure and the serenity are what it can understand thus it looks logical to me that people will feel happier not by having but by experiencing.

How to Buy Happiness

Source: Reuters

Money can buy happiness, but only if you spend it on someone else, researchers reported on Thursday.

Spending as little as $5 a day on someone else could significantly boost happiness, the team at the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School found.

Their experiments on more than 630 Americans showed they were measurably happier when they spent money on others -- even if they thought spending the money on themselves would make them happier.

They asked their 600 volunteers first to rate their general happiness, report their annual income and detail their monthly spending including bills, gifts for themselves, gifts for others and donations to charity.

"Regardless of how much income each person made, those who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not," Dunn said in a statement.

Dunn's team also surveyed 16 employees at a company in Boston before and after they received an annual profit-sharing bonus of between $3,000 and $8,000.

"Employees who devoted more of their bonus to pro-social spending experienced greater happiness after receiving the bonus, and the manner in which they spent that bonus was a more important predictor of their happiness than the size of the bonus itself," they wrote in their report, published in the journal Science.

"Finally, participants who were randomly assigned to spend money on others experienced greater happiness than those assigned to spend money on themselves," they said.source

Low Self-Esteem and Materialism are linked

Source: Daily Galaxy


Researchers have found that low self-esteem and materialism are not just a correlation, but also a causal relationship where low self esteem increases materialism, and materialism can also create low self-esteem.

They also found that as self esteem increases, materialism decreases. The study primarily focused on how this relationship affects children and adolescents. Lan Nguyen Chaplin (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) and Deborah Roedder John (University of Minnesota) found that even a simple gesture to raise self-esteem dramatically decreased materialism, which provides a way to cope with insecurity.

"By the time children reach early adolescence, and experience a decline in self-esteem, the stage is set for the use of material possessions as a coping strategy for feelings of low self-worth," they write in the study, which will appear in the Journal of Consumer Research.

The paradox that findings such as these bring up, is that consumerism is good for the economy but bad for the individual. In the short run, it’s good for the economy when young people believe they need to buy an entirely new wardrobe every year, for example. But the hidden cost is much higher than the dollar amount. There are costs in happiness when people believe that their value is extrinsic. There are also environmental costs associated with widespread materialism.

Statistically people have more things than they did 50 years ago, but they are actually less happy in several key areas. There is also the considerable cost of what materialism does to the environment. We don’t yet know what final toll that could take in terms of quality of life and overall happiness.

What many people don’t understand is that if we want to save the environment then at some level we have to buy and consume less. We don’t need to buy so much bottled water, for example. Studies have shown it’s usually not any purer than city tap water, which doesn’t leave mountains of plastic bottles strewn across the nations landfills. It also wastes energy and resources to make those plastic bottles and the many other unnecessary things that both youth and adults alike believe they need to have in order to enjoy life and feel good about themselves.

Mad Magazine summed it up with the statement, “The only reason a great many American families don't own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.”

Sure, one person being less materialistic isn’t going to make a noticeable impact on the environment, but it will make a positive impact in that one life. Once entire nations start to understand the myths about what really makes individuals happy, the world will stand a fighting chance. source

Happiness Comes Cheap - Even for Millionaires

A bar of chocolate, a long soak in the bath, a snooze in the middle of the afternoon, a leisurely stroll in the park. These are the things that make us the most happy, according to new research from The University of Nottingham.

Source: PhysOrg.com

In a study commissioned by the National Lottery, Dr Richard Tunney of the University's School of Psychology found that it's the simple things in life that impact most positively on our sense of well being.

The study compared the 'happiness levels' of lottery jackpot winners with a control group, using a 'Satisfaction with Life Scale' developed by the University of Illinois. Respondents were asked how satisfied they were in relation to different elements of their life, their different mood states explored, how often they treated themselves and what form this took.

Surprisingly, it wasn't the flashy cars and diamond jewellery that upped the jackpot winners' happiness quotient. It was the listening to music, reading a book, or enjoying a bottle of wine with a takeaway that really made the difference.

Dr Tunney said: “Modern-day pressures take their toll on everyday happiness. As a result we try to make ourselves feel better and happier through personal rewards and treats. We've all heard the saying 'a little bit of what you fancy does you good', and treating yourself is the ideal way to keep spirits lifted when you're down in the dumps.

“As lottery jackpot winners are on the whole happier than non-winners — 95 per cent claim they are positive about their life compared to 71 per cent of people in the control group — we researched the treats they rewarded themselves with to see what could influence their mood state.”

The survey contrasted cost-free activities, such as walking and snoozing, with expensive ones like overseas holidays. It asked how frequently they might purchase 'staying in treats' — like a bottle of wine — and how often they bought themselves items like shoes, mobile phones and DVDs.

The research found that happy people — whether lottery jackpot winners or not — liked long baths, going swimming, playing games and enjoying their hobby. Those who described themselves as less happy didn't choose the cost-free indulgences. They rewarded themselves with CDs, cheap DVDs and inexpensive meals out instead.

“While buying sports cars, giving up work and going on exotic holidays is out of reach for most of us, there are small lessons we can learn from society's happiest people to help improve our quality of life,” Dr Tunney added.

“It appears that spending time relaxing is the secret to a happy life. Cost-free pleasures are the ones that make the difference — even when you can afford anything that you want.” source

Continuing the health issue, I present you the following report. I somewhat agree with the point that the increase in life expectancy is not only due to economical factors, but mostly-on the poor education on health. Of course, people who live in misery (or think so) are likely to care less about their health in the long run, because they don't like their life at all. Which doesn't mean they don't want to live, but that they do it as a protest (i know such people and they are not black, just miserable). That's why I think education on health and healthy foods and appropriate quantities of food and movement should be essential for every country that consider itself developed. On the other hand, I still support my opinion from my previous post that in USA there definitely is more care about pharmacist's industry than for life.

Gap in Life Expectancy Widens for the Nation

Published: March 23, 2008

WASHINGTON — New government research has found “large and growing” disparities in life expectancy for richer and poorer Americans, paralleling the growth of income inequality in the last two decades.

Life expectancy for the nation as a whole has increased, the researchers said, but affluent people have experienced greater gains, and this, in turn, has caused a widening gap.

One of the researchers, Gopal K. Singh, a demographer at the Department of Health and Human Services, said “the growing inequalities in life expectancy” mirrored trends in infant mortality and in death from heart disease and certain cancers.

The gaps have been increasing despite efforts by the federal government to reduce them.

Dr. Singh said last week that federal officials had found “widening socioeconomic inequalities in life expectancy” at birth and at every age level.

He and another researcher, Mohammad Siahpush, a professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, developed an index to measure social and economic conditions in every county, using census data on education, income, poverty, housing and other factors. Counties were then classified into 10 groups of equal population size.

In 1980-82, Dr. Singh said, people in the most affluent group could expect to live 2.8 years longer than people in the most deprived group (75.8 versus 73 years). By 1998-2000, the difference in life expectancy had increased to 4.5 years (79.2 versus 74.7 years), and it continues to grow, he said.

After 20 years, the lowest socioeconomic group lagged further behind the most affluent, Dr. Singh said, noting that “life expectancy was higher for the most affluent in 1980 than for the most deprived group in 2000.”

“If you look at the extremes in 2000,” Dr. Singh said, “men in the most deprived counties had 10 years’ shorter life expectancy than women in the most affluent counties (71.5 years versus 81.3 years).” The difference between poor black men and affluent white women was more than 14 years (66.9 years vs. 81.1 years)

Peter R. Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office, said: “We have heard a lot about growing income inequality. There has been much less attention paid to growing inequality in life expectancy, which is really quite dramatic.”

Life expectancy is the average number of years of life remaining for people who have attained a given age.

While researchers do not agree on an explanation for the widening gap, they have suggested many reasons, including these:

  • Doctors can detect and treat many forms of cancer and heart disease because of advances in medical science and technology. People who are affluent and better educated are more likely to take advantage of these discoveries.
  • Smoking has declined more rapidly among people with greater education and income.
  • Lower-income people are more likely to live in unsafe neighborhoods, to engage in risky or unhealthy behavior and to eat unhealthy food.
  • Lower-income people are less likely to have health insurance, so they are less likely to receive checkups, screenings, diagnostic tests, prescription drugs and other types of care.

Even among people who have insurance, many studies have documented racial disparities.

In a recent report, the Department of Veterans Affairs found that black patients “tend to receive less aggressive medical care than whites” at its hospitals and clinics, in part because doctors provide them with less information and see them as “less appropriate candidates” for some types of surgery.

Professor Krieger investigated changes in the rate of premature mortality (dying before the age of 65) and infant death from 1960 to 2002. She found that inequities shrank from 1966 to 1980, but then widened.

“The recent trend of growing disparities in health status is not inevitable,” she said. “From 1966 to 1980, socioeconomic disparities declined in tandem with a decline in mortality rates.”

The creation of Medicaid and Medicare, community health centers, the “war on poverty” and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 all probably contributed to the earlier narrowing of health disparities, Professor Krieger said.

Robert E. Moffit, director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said one reason for the growing disparities might be “a very significant gap in health literacy” — what people know about diet, exercise and healthy lifestyles. Middle-class and upper-income people have greater access to the huge amounts of health information on the Internet, Mr. Moffit said.
Thomas P. Miller, a health economist at the American Enterprise Institute, agreed.

“People with more education tend to have a longer time horizon,” Mr. Miller said. “They are more likely to look at the long-term consequences of their health behavior. They are more assertive in seeking out treatments and more likely to adhere to treatment advice from physicians.”

A recent study by Ellen R. Meara, a health economist at Harvard Medical School, found that in the 1980s and 1990s, “virtually all gains in life expectancy occurred among highly educated groups.” source

Lol, look what I found today! One would think that this goes only for conspiracy theories, but no, here it is, out in the daylight. Check it out! I find it especially interesting that they have spent $32 BILLION on it only for this year. But you know, if all those money went on pure science, I wonder how there possibly could exist any more enemies of USA! I mean, those are lots of money. Really really much. It's surprising we don't see any real change in the situation. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are in bad shape, there are still terrorists out there and the cancer and AIDS are still out in the wild. So I think either the researcher are the most stupid on the world, or very big part of those money are being stolen. Or the goals of those projects doesn't coincide with the public national goals.

Inside the Black Budget


Published: April 1, 2008

Skulls. Black cats. A naked woman riding a killer whale. Grim reapers. Snakes. Swords. Occult symbols. A wizard with a staff that shoots lightning bolts. Moons. Stars. A dragon holding the Earth in its claws.

According to a new book, it is part of the hidden reality behind the Pentagon’s classified, or “black,” budget that delivers billions of dollars to stealthy armies of high-tech warriors. The book offers a glimpse of this dark world through a revealing lens — patches — the kind worn on military uniforms.

One patch shows a space alien with huge eyes holding a stealth bomber near its mouth. “To Serve Man” reads the text above, a reference to a classic “Twilight Zone” episode in which man is the entree, not the customer. “Gustatus Similis Pullus” reads the caption below, dog Latin for “Tastes Like Chicken.”

Military officials and experts said the patches are real if often unofficial efforts at building team spirit.

The classified budget of the Defense Department, concealed from the public in all but outline, has nearly doubled in the Bush years, to $32 billion. That is more than the combined budgets of the Food and Drug Administration, the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Those billions have expanded a secret world of advanced science and technology in which military units and federal contractors push back the frontiers of warfare. In the past, such handiwork has produced some of the most advanced jets, weapons and spy satellites, as well as notorious boondoggles.

Budget documents tell little. This year, for instance, the Pentagon says Program Element 0603891c is receiving $196 million but will disclose nothing about what the project does. Private analysts say it apparently aims at developing space weapons.

Trevor Paglen, an artist and photographer finishing his Ph.D. in geography at the University of California, Berkeley, has managed to document some of this hidden world. The 75 patches he has assembled reveal a bizarre mix of high and low culture where Latin and Greek mottos frame images of spooky demons and sexy warriors, of dragons dropping bombs and skunks firing laser beams.

“Oderint Dum Metuant,” reads a patch for an Air Force program that mines spy satellite images for battlefield intelligence, according to Mr. Paglen, who identifies the saying as from Caligula, the first-century Roman emperor famed for his depravity. It translates “Let them hate so long as they fear.”

Wizards appear on several patches. The one hurling lightning bolts comes from a secret Air Force base at Groom Lake, northwest of Las Vegas in a secluded valley. Mr. Paglen identifies its five clustered stars and one separate star as a veiled reference to Area 51, where the government tests advanced aircraft and, U.F.O. buffs say, captured alien spaceships.

The book offers not only clues into the nature of the secret programs, but also a glimpse of zealous male bonding among the presumed elite of the military-industrial complex. The patches often feel like fraternity pranks gone ballistic.

The book’s title? “I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me,” published by Melville House. Mr. Paglen says the title is the Latin translation of a patch designed for the Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 4, at Point Mugu, Calif. Its mission, he says, is to test strike aircraft, conventional weapons and electronic warfare equipment and to develop tactics to use the high-tech armaments in war.

“The military has patches for almost everything it does,” Mr. Paglen writes in the introduction. “Including, curiously, for programs, units and activities that are officially secret.”

He said contractors in some cases made the patches to build esprit de corps. Other times, he added, military units produced them informally, in contrast to official patches.

Mr. Paglen said he found them by touring bases, noting what personnel wore, joining alumni associations, interviewing active and former team members, talking to base historians and filing requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

A spokesman for the Pentagon, Cmdr. Bob Mehal, said it would be imprudent to comment on “which patches do or do not represent classified units.”

What sparked his interest, Mr. Paglen recalled, were Vice President Dick Cheney’s remarks as the Pentagon and World Trade Center smoldered. On “Meet the Press,” he said the nation would engage its “dark side” to find the attackers and justice. “We’ve got to spend time in the shadows,” Mr. Cheney said. “It’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.”

“This stuff is a huge industry, I mean a huge industry. And it’s remarkable that you can develop these projects on an industrial scale, and we don’t know what they are. It’s an astounding feat of social engineering.”
source
Pictures here

More on manifestation

Little bit more internet copy-paste savagery on manifesting. Just know that these are not the whole articles so you're strongly encouraged to check it. Why I post so often about manifesting? Because I actually believe this is a natural event-we manifest all our life! Think of the gorgeous shoes you saw and you wanted, but didn't have the money to buy them and then you saved, you thought things over and found the money and bought them. This is manifesting. You want something, have the idea, then you think it over to decide if you really want it, then you find the means to get it. It's the same with any other idea we have. So, manifesting is natural. Those articles I post can only show you the different paths to it.

It takes about 30 days for it to kick in. It'll actually kick in instantly, but things will start manifesting and coming into your life very rapidly.

You need to do this exercise every single day without missing a day from here on out, pretty much. And as you start to get your new goal in you switch goals and do it on the next goal. So let's go ahead and get started. The first thing just open up a notebook and I've got mine here. Just open it up to a clean page.

At the top of the page you're going to write what it is that you want to happen, and attach a feeling to it.

For example, let's talk about money since that seems to be what everyone is interested in. The first thing you attach the event and attach an emotion to it.

So step one is, "I…", and you want to state it in the form of as if it's happening right now, or if it's already happened. So step one would be, "I am making $200 dollars per day, and feel relieved and excited about my life, and look forward to more fun in the days to come."

What I've done there is made a statement. "I'm making $200 dollars per day." That's the objective. But I'm not saying, "I'm going to make $200 dollars per day," I'm saying, "I am making $200 per day".

You might be making minimum wage right now, but we're not talking about that. We're talking about you decided you wanted to make $200 dollars per day. Let's pretend like you're making $200 dollars per day, except this is not pretending, this is for real because what we feel and think on the inside attracts things on the outside to match what we feel like on the inside.

That's step one. "I am making $200 dollars per day," and how do I feel? "I feel relieved and excited about my life, and I look forward to more fun in the days to come." That's something that I feel, and you want to pick something that you really feel in your words. How do you feel? Imagine that you're making $200 dollars per day, and how does it feel? And get up in that space to where you're making $200 dollars per day, and how does it feel, and write it down.

And then the second step to this is, and you write this out, "I support myself in making $200 dollars per day, and am grateful for my life and income." The key part of step two is, "I support myself in," whatever it is. "I support myself," okay? So that's the second step. And in this example, "I support myself in making $200 dollars per day, and am grateful for my life and income," that's something that I feel. Obviously gratitude's important.

And then number three is the fun part. Number three is where you get up in there and you own it, and you talk about everything that's going on. And this is actually where you want to get up into that picture, and stay there, and hold it for as long as you can. So, for example, we'll just go through an example here. Number three is basically you describe, and you write down, and talk about feelings, and talk about how what's going on in your life.

Of course the $200 dollars in cash, you know, the paper part of it is not what we're looking for. We're looking for the emotion, and the lifestyle and what's it doing for you. What's it like? What's if feel like? What's it smell like? What's going on? What are other people saying? What's it feel like?

We're staying up in there, and what you need to do is to focus and stay up in there for a long time. I mean when I say a long time I'm talking like you want to go for five minutes a day if you can, and just keeping writing about it. And what you'll find is that this feeling will start to come up inside of you about how it feels as if you've already made $200 dollars per day.

Again, you might be making minimum wage, but that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about you already make $200 dollars per day, and how does it feel. And you do this exercise, and continue to write. This is not a journal. This is a specific written manifestation exercise.

Now, I have to emphasize, I don't know all the spiritual things that are at work here. What I do know is that this works. And what I also know is that when it actually happens that's the exact same feeling you'll get when it happens. So the purpose of this exercise is, is for you to get comfortable with that feeling. At first it might feel a little uncomfortable, but don't worry about it. Just keep writing.

Just, again, in step one it's whatever the event is and how you feel about it.

Step two is, "I support myself," in whatever it is.

And Step three is you get in there and you step into the picture as if it's happening right now, and you just stay there in writing. The writing helps you stay focused on it. And you'll have this feeling come up. You get used to feeling, get comfortable with it, get to know it, become a friend with it.

Then step four is similar to step two. Step four is a Thank You to your Higher Power for giving this to you and states it as if it has already happened, "Thank You so much for letting me make $200 per day and I'm very, very, very grateful for this opportunity. Thank you."

And that's it. source


Three Steps To More Cash

You’re about to learn how a tried and tested three step process can transform your world and bring you all the riches you’ve ever imagined. I’ve proven this method will work by testing it on 50,000 people. Now you’re going to prove it will work for you.

First, let me introduce you to the basic three steps:

1. Create a Target that defines what you want, one that is clearly understood by all aspects of your un-conscious mind.

Think of the bull’s eye of an archery target with its concentric circles enclosing a central red circle. Your unconscious mind needs something as clear as that circle, a target that indicates exactly what you want.

2. Prioritize your Target: Flag it so that you will remain unconsciously focused on it while you get on with your normal activities.

Imagine a large crows of people, all dressed alike in gray. Now picture one of them holding up your highly graphic bulls’ eye target with the bright red center. Chances are, the target is what will catch your eye. That’s what happens in your unconscious mind when you have appropriately prioritized your target.

3. Resolve any self-defeating un-conscious habit patterns that can prevent you from achieving your target.

Your unconscious habits govern what you normally do in a situation. The most efficient way to go through life is to do a lot of things on automatic - except when those automatic habit patterns get in the way. In other words, most people have unconscious mechanisms that sabotage their desire to hit the target. When you clear those, you are free to hit the mark.

Excerpted from the ebook “How to Make Lots of Money for Anything - Fast!” copyright 2002 by Stuart Lichtman. source

How do you sleep?

While moderating, I found this interesting article in a blog. (and long live Mozilla for allowing me to copy all the pictures!!!)










Home schooling for many muslims

Today, let's talk about the homeschooling.
While in my country, homeschooling is very unpopular, watching WifeSwap I see this is very common for USA. I've heard many pros and against, so today I'm gonna give you mine and tell you the story of the muslims in America.

For me, school is a major part of human life. For first time in school, young humans are put in an environment that is different of their own. They have to learn how to deal with other people, with hostile people, with people that do or don't care. Also with other kids that may be friendly or hostile. School is the first step towards life. It's not only a mean to acquire knowledge, it's a mean to acquire experience. Which is much more important. No matter how good or bad the system is, it can't fail to provide the experience. Knowledge can be transferred at home, obviously-it a better or worst way. But the experience, the ability to make decisions in new situations are essential and absolutely impossible to transfer at home. That's why for me school is essential!
And even when parents are scared and worried, they should learn to trust and manage, just like their kids. Hiding isn't an option. Even if some try very hard.

Now, you can read that this is exactly the case for some Muslim girls. Combined with the desire to keep the woman at home and making her a wife as soon as possible. Isolating her as much as possible so that the men would be safe to do whatever they please. Fair? I don't think so.

Many Muslims Turn to Home Schooling


Published: March 26, 2008

LODI, Calif. — Like dozens of other Pakistani-American girls here, Hajra Bibi stopped attending the local public school when she reached puberty, and began studying at home.

Her family wanted her to clean and cook for her male relatives, and had also worried that other American children would mock both her Muslim religion and her traditional clothes.

Across the United States, Muslims who find that a public school education clashes with their religious or cultural traditions have turned to home schooling. That choice is intended partly as a way to build a solid Muslim identity away from the prejudices that their children, boys and girls alike, can face in schoolyards. But in some cases, as in Ms. Bibi’s, the intent is also to isolate their adolescent and teenage daughters from the corrupting influences that they see in much of American life.

About 40 percent of the Pakistani and other Southeast Asian girls of high school age who are enrolled in the district here are home-schooled, though broader statistics on the number of Muslim children being home-schooled, and how well they do academically, are elusive. Even estimates on the number of all American children being taught at home swing broadly, from one million to two million.

No matter what the faith, parents who make the choice are often inspired by a belief that public schools are havens for social ills like drugs and that they can do better with their children at home.

Still, the subject of home schooling is a contentious one in various Muslim communities, with opponents arguing that Muslim children are better off staying in the system and, if need be, fighting for their rights.

Robina Asghar, a Muslim who does social work in Stockton, Calif., says the fact that her son was repeatedly branded a “terrorist” in school hallways sharpened his interest in civil rights and inspired a dream to become a lawyer. He now attends a Catholic high school.

“My son had a hard time in school, but every time something happened it was a learning moment for him,” Mrs. Asghar said. “He learned how to cope. A lot of people were discriminated against in this country, but the only thing that brings change is education.”

Many parents, however, would rather their children learn in a less difficult environment, and opt to keep them home.

Hina Khan-Mukhtar decided to tutor her three sons at home and to send them to a small Muslim school cooperative established by some 15 Bay Area families for subjects like Arabic, science and carpentry. She made up her mind after visiting her oldest son’s prospective public school kindergarten, where each pupil had assembled a scrapbook titled “Why I Like Pigs.” Mrs. Khan-Mukhtar read with dismay what the children had written about the delicious taste of pork, barred by Islam.

Many Muslim parents contacted for this article were reluctant to talk, saying Muslim home-schoolers were often portrayed as religious extremists.

If so, then Fawzia Mai Tung is an exception, a Chinese Muslim immigrant who home-schools three daughters in Phoenix. She spent many sleepless nights worried that her children would not excel on standardized tests, until she discovered how low the scores at the local schools were. Her oldest son, also home-schooled, is now applying to medical school.

In some cases, home-schooling is used primarily as a way to isolate girls like Miss Bibi, the Pakistani-American here in Lodi.

Some 80 percent of the city’s 2,500 Muslims are Pakistani, and many are interrelated villagers who try to recreate the conservative social atmosphere back home. A decade ago many girls were simply shipped back to their villages once they reached adolescence.

Of more than 90 Pakistani or other Southeast Asian girls of high school age who are enrolled in the Lodi district, 38 are being home-schooled. By contrast, just 7 of the 107 boys are being home-schooled, and usually the reason is that they were falling behind academically.

As soon as they finish their schooling, the girls are married off, often to cousins brought in from their families’ old villages.

“I do miss my friends,” Miss Bibi said of fellow students with whom she once attended public school. “We would hang out and do fun things, help each other with our homework.”

But being schooled apart does have its benefit, she added. “We don’t want anyone to point a finger at us,” she said, “to say that we are bad.”

Mrs. Asghar, the Stockton woman who argues against home schooling, takes exception to the idea of removing girls from school to preserve family honor, calling it a barrier to assimilation.

“People who think like this are stuck in a time capsule,” she said. “When kids know more than their parents, the parents lose control. I think that is a fear in all of us.”

source

The Earth against us

What about the world today? Does it seem to you that's something is wrong?
Because it does to me. I mean all those earthquakes and other disasters. People dying in thousands. It's kind of weird it happens all in Asia, especially when because of Asia the food and the oil is getting higher and higher. I mean, if there was a way to manipulate the Earth in such way, I'd say someone is trying to get the balance back. Which I highly don't approve.
Everyone has an equal right to get rich and use more. The problem isn't in those people, it's in our economy that is based on the quantity rather than the quality. Which contradicts the ultimate desire of people to have access to more and more goods and to use them. And now not only the food crisis hit us, but it also we have HUGE human victims. And funny enough, instead of helping as quick as possible to the people in Burma, mr. Bush required, REQUIRED, from them stuff. And in result, thousands of people are without help and without food and clean water. Thus dying. But unfortunately, they are not the most consuming part of the world.
Not so in China. Again thousands of dead. Again, the help is slow or insufficient.

I'm not saying all this on purpose. I can't claim that, because well, I can't find any proofs. I just find it interesting. In any case, I'm very upset such things happen and that people can die in such major scale. And what about the big cities. What if a big city is hit? How many millions should die before we start building in a good manner. Even here there are so many badly built houses, schools and buildings. And if something like this happens, who knows how many dead there would be. A lot for sure.
So, the moral should be simple-don't wait for the Earth to remember us we're not immortal. We're not.
And my request? Please, pray for those people in Asia. Those that are praying to be rescued under the rubles of their homes. Those that are drinking water stinking with the rotting flesh of their friends and families. Please, pray for them. To find their way back to happiness.
And read the stories. We can do at least that. Read for their memory. And learn. Learn what power and stupidity do if not controlled.

Powerful Quake Ravages China, Killing Thousands


Published: May 13, 2008

CHENGDU, China — A powerful earthquake struck Western China on Monday, toppling thousands of homes, factories and offices, trapping students in schools, and killing at least 10,000 people, the country’s worst natural disaster in three decades.

The quake, which was estimated preliminarily to have had a magnitude of 7.9, ravaged a mountainous region outside Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, just after lunchtime Monday, destroying 80 percent of structures in some of the towns and small cities near its epicenter, Chinese officials said. Its tremors were felt as far away as Vietnam and set off another, smaller quake in the outskirts of Beijing, 900 miles away.

Landslides, power failures and fallen mobile phone towers left much of the affected area cut off from the outside world and limited information about the damage. But snapshots of concentrated devastation suggested that the death toll that could rise significantly as rescue workers reached the most heavily damaged areas.

In the town of Juyuan, south of the epicenter in the city of Wenchuan, a school collapsed, trapping 900 students in the rubble and setting off a frantic search for survivors that stretched through the night. Two chemical factories in Shifang were destroyed, spilling 80 tons of toxic liquid ammonia, officials told Chinese state media.

The destruction of a single steam turbine factory in the city of Mianzhu buried “several thousand” people, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday morning.

The quake was already China’s biggest natural disaster since another earthquake leveled the city of Tangshan in eastern China in 1976, leaving 240,000 people dead and posing a severe challenge to the ruling Communist Party, which initially tried to cover up the catastrophe.

This time, officials quickly mobilized 50,000 soldiers to help with rescue efforts, state media said. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao flew to the scene and was shown coordinating disaster response teams from the cabin of his jet.

The prime minister was later shown on national television standing outside the damaged edifice of the Traditional Medicine Hospital in the city of Dujiangyan, shouting encouragement at people trapped in its ruins.

The powerful initial quake struck at 2:28 p.m. local time, or 2:28 a.m. Eastern time, near Wenchuan County, according to China’s State Seismological Bureau. Most of the heavy damage appeared to be concentrated in nearby towns, which by Chinese standards are not heavily populated. Chengdu, the largest city in the area, with a population of about 10 million, is about 60 miles away and did not appear to have suffered major damage or heavy casualties.

“Seven thousand people have died in Beichuan, a single county, and we think Wenchuan will be similar, too, because it was the epicenter,” said Kang Zhilin, a spokesman for the hospital. He added: “The first patients who came had jumped from buildings because they were frightened.”

A woman, Tang Hong, 50, sat beside her injured husband, Yan Chaozhong, in the hospital. They had arrived early in the morning from Dujiangyan County, one place that had suffered heavy damage. They had been inside their fourth-floor apartment when the quake hit. “It was violent,” she said. “Even when we crouched down, it flattened us.”

Ms. Tang said she and her husband had tried to escape down a stairwell, but a second tremor knocked her husband down the stairs, and he broke three ribs. She said four six-story buildings on her street had been flattened. She also wept as she described how a school for handicapped and deaf students collapsed while the children were in class. “It was horrible,” she said. “The entire school building collapsed.”

There were reports of fatalities in Chongqing Municipality, near Sichuan, where two primary schools were damaged. Four pupils died and more than 100 others were injured, state media reported. Xinhua devoted extensive coverage to the disaster, publishing regular updates on the situation, including latest death tolls, on its Chinese and English Web sites. The relatively vigorous flow of information and the fast response from top officials and rescue workers stood in stark contrast to the way China handled the Tangshan earthquake, or the way the military junta that rules neighboring Myanmar has managed the aftermath of a giant cyclone that killed nearly 32,000 people there this month, according to Burmese government estimates.source


‘No Hope’ for Children Buried in Earthquake

Published: May 13, 2008

DUJIANGYAN, China — The children who were considered fortunate escaped with a broken bone or a severed limb. The others, hundreds of them, were carried out to be buried, and their remaining classmates lay crushed beneath the rubble of the schoolhouse.

“There’s no hope for them,” said Lu Zhiqing, 58, as she watched uniformed rescue workers trudge through mud and rain toward the mound of bricks and concrete that had once been a school. “There’s no way anyone’s still alive in there.”

Little remained of the original structure of the school. No standing beams, no fragments of walls. The rubble lay low against the wet earth. Dozens of people gathered around in the schoolyard, clawing at the debris, kicking it, screaming at it. Soldiers kept others from entering.

A man and woman walked away from the rubble together. He sheltered her under an umbrella as she wailed, “My child is dead! Dead!”

As dawn crept across this shattered town on Tuesday, it illuminated rows and rows of apartment blocks collapsed into piles, bodies wedged among the debris, homeless families and their neighbors clustered on the roadside, shielding themselves from the downpour with plastic tarps.

The earthquake originated here in the lush farm fields and river valleys of Sichuan Province, killing almost 10,000 people and trapping thousands more.

One of the most jarring tragedies of the disaster was the school collapse in a suburb of Dujiangyan. At least several hundred children were killed, perhaps as many as 900. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao flew here on Monday to survey the destruction, but he was powerless to ease the suffering of the survivors.

In the center of town, a woman said she had called local government officials 10 times to plead for help in rescuing her son and mother, but no one had come.

So on Tuesday morning, she stood crying before the remains of her apartment building. Her 5-month-old son was still buried in there, as was her 56-year-old mother.

People wandered up and down the street taking photos with cell phones and digital cameras. “This isn’t even the worst-off area,” one man said.

One block over, the façade of a white six-story residential building had sheared off, leaving one side of the apartments open to the air. Each living room had a television set untouched by the earthquake. But in the cascade of rubble at the foot of the building, a lifeless head and arm stuck out of the debris, and another body could be seen on the other side of the mound of rubble.

Across the street, a young man and his older sister walked out of an apartment building with a red duffel bag and armloads of bedding they stacked on the sidewalk.

“Everything in the apartment was destroyed,” said the man, Ji Yongtao, 27, waving a hand up at the second floor. “We need to find a place to live. We’ll spend the night in a building that was recently built, or on the first floor somewhere. We’re not going back up there.”

Dozens of people had gathered on the sidewalk by a major intersection down the street. They were constructing a huge tent, pulling a tarp over upright wooden poles they had lashed together. This would be their home for the day, and maybe the night, and maybe the next few days and nights.

Busloads of soldiers rode past in the street. But there was no immediate help for the people.

An elderly couple stood under a store awning on the edge of the tent village. The man held the family dog, Chou Mer, but they had not seen their son, a cab driver, since he left home hours before the earthquake.

“We still haven’t heard from him,” said the mother, Yang Limei, 58. “Last night, we kept calling him, but we couldn’t get through. I don’t know what to do. We can’t even wait for him at home.”

Her husband, Chui Xianchao, 63, said, “The walls are still standing, but everything else fell to the ground.”

Ambulances roared by on the way to the hospitals in Chengdu, the provincial capital. Another bus rolled past carrying soldiers.

The army had appropriated public buses throughout the region, and men wearing green fatigues peered out the windows at the homeless in the street.

“No one’s come to help us yet,” Mr. Chui said. “Those soldiers are going somewhere else.”

A few miles to the south, in front of the collapsed school, a half-dozen soldiers linked hands to form a human blockade in front of the rubble. Two women tried to push their way through. The soldiers did not budge.

“There are still children in there, and we can’t help them if you keep trying to get in,” one soldier said.

The only people allowed in were teams of rescue workers and doctors. A group of doctors in white lab coats sat in a bus, waiting their turn to help. Some slept. They said no one had been brought out alive in hours.source

Bodies Flow Into Hard-Hit Area of Myanmar

Published: May 11, 2008

THANAP PIN SATE, Myanmar — The bodies come and go with the tides. They wash up onto the riverbanks or float grotesquely downstream, almost always face down. They are all but ignored by the living.

In the southern reaches of the Irrawaddy Delta, where the only access to hundreds of small villages is by boat, the remains of the victims of the May 3 cyclone that swept across Myanmar are rotting in the sun.

Villagers here say it is not their responsibility to handle the dead. But the government presence is barely felt in the serpentine network of canals outside Bogale and Phyarpon, devastated towns in the delta, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm.

“When we first saw the bodies floating past, we were sad and afraid,” said Aung Win, a 45-year-old rice farmer, who seemed to have survived because his house is made of hardwood. “Now we just say, here comes another body.”

In the less devastated areas, the military junta was focused on a constitutional referendum on Saturday intended to cement its power after a campaign of intimidation, even as it continued to restrict foreign aid shipments.

Relief experts say the aid being distributed is a fraction of what is needed to help as many as 1.5 million people facing starvation and disease. The military appeared to be diverting some resources from cyclone victims to the referendum. One resident of Yangon, speaking by phone, said refugees who had sought shelter in schoolhouses were forced out so the buildings could be used as polling places.

But here in the series of canals outside Bogale, many people interviewed Saturday during an eight-hour boat trip used the same word to describe how many bodies they saw in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone: “countless.”

The official government death toll from the cyclone is about 23,000, but by some accounts, it could reach 100,000 if aid does not reach survivors soon.

Because the dead have not been gathered in one place, calculating a precise number of deaths caused by the cyclone could ultimately prove impossible. In villages here, stunned survivors say the missing are presumed dead.

With no roads connecting them to larger towns and cities, these villages have always been isolated. Now villagers say they feel abandoned.

Fish are plentiful in the canals, but villagers refuse to eat them because they fear the bodies still floating have contaminated the water, she said.

Of the 200 people in the village, 96 died. In other villages visited Saturday, the death tolls ranged from 3 to 20.

Hundreds of houses were destroyed, detritus from the storm hung from trees and dozens of fishing boats were ruined. Many boats were swept by the winds and waves during the storm onto embankments or into rice paddies.

In the worst-hit areas, only the dirt foundations of houses remain. On one mound of mud where a house once stood, a dog waited patiently with no people in sight.

There is so much worry about measles outbreaks that the government has begun vaccinating children in some of the Irrawaddy townships and also in temporary shelters in other parts of the region, the World Health Organization reported Saturday.

Closer to Yangon, the main city, formerly known as Rangoon, the water is receding, the rebuilding is accelerating and the cemeteries are dry enough to dig graves.source

When Burmese Offer a Hand, Rulers Slap It

Published: May 12, 2008

MA NGAY GYI, Myanmar — When one of Myanmar’s best-known movie stars, Kyaw Dhyu, traveled through the Irrawaddy Delta in recent days to deliver aid to the victims of the May 3 cyclone, a military patrol stopped him as he was handing out bags of rice.

“The officer told him, ‘You cannot give directly to the people,” said Tin Win, the village headman of the stricken city of Dedaye, who had been counting on the rice to feed 260 refugees who sleep in a large Buddhist prayer hall.

The politics of food aid — deciding who gets to deliver assistance to those homeless and hungry after the cyclone — is not just confined to the dispute between Myanmar’s military junta and Western governments and outside relief agencies.

Even Myanmar citizens who want to donate rice or other items have in several cases been told that all assistance must be channeled through the military. That restriction has angered local government officials like Tin Win who are trying to help rebuild the lives of villagers. He twitched with rage as he described the rice the military gave him.

“They gave us four bags,” he said. “The rice is rotten — even the pigs and dogs wouldn’t eat it.”

He said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had delivered good rice to the local military leaders last week but they kept it for themselves and distributed the waterlogged, musty rice. “I’m very angry,” he said, adding an expletive to describe the military.

At least 1.5 million people were severely affected by the hurricane, and outside relief agencies fear the officially reported deaths, which rose on Sunday to more than 28,000, could escalate if the military did not allow foreign aid to flow in. But more than a week after the hurricane hit, the junta was still permitting only a few planeloads of supplies to land and was refusing to grant visas to most foreign aid workers.

For the generals, who have held power for more than four decades in Myanmar, the restrictions on aid and how it is distributed are part of their overriding priority of showing who is in control and of cultivating the image that they alone are the nation’s benevolent providers.

While the generals have permitted some token relief efforts by wealthy citizens, who could be seen Sunday handing out sweets and instant noodles from their cars to destitute families lining the roads near Yangon, the largest city, and elsewhere, the junta is clearly not allowing some prominent domestic donors to help for political reasons.

Kyaw Dhyu, for example, is perceived as unfriendly to the military because he assisted monks who protested against the government during the demonstrations last year — and was jailed for a month.

The military also appears to be trying to minimize any foreign presence or role in the relief effort. The United Nations World Food Program said Sunday that only one visa had been approved of 16 requested. The aid group World Vision said it had requested 20 visas but received 2. Doctors Without Borders, the French medical aid group, said it was still awaiting approval of dozens of visa applications for technical support staff aid coordinators.

Paul Risley, a spokesman for the World Food Program, said the volume of aid allowed by the Myanmar junta into the country amounted to one-tenth of what was needed.

The authorities here have agreed to permit a United States Air Force C-130 transport full of relief supplies to come on Monday.

Privately, some residents showed flashes of resentment toward the military for monopolizing the distribution of basic necessities. “These military men are notorious,” said a college student in Yangon whose family had to buy seven panels of corrugated tin to repair their roof. “They get these supplies free. They are donated by other countries, then the military receives them and sells them to the people.”

Here in Ma Ngay Gyi, in the farthest southern reaches of the delta, a reporter was detained for an hour and a half on Sunday by soldiers who said they had orders to report foreigners in the area.

In what was emblematic of the wider tensions over the issue of aid distribution, an argument broke out in the village between the soldiers, who said any foreigner was suspect, and the village headman, Myint Oo, who solicited aid from the visitor for the rebuilding of a school flattened by the cyclone.

“The government told us that school must reopen June 1, if you have a schoolhouse or not,” Myint Oo told his visitor. “‘Teach under a tree if you have to,’ they said.”

When he began describing the devastation to the school and village, a portly man in a white T-shirt who also seemed to hold a position of power interrupted.

“Don’t tell these foreigners anything,” the man said.

Myint Oo replied that he wanted to talk to the visitors in the hope that they could help rebuild the village.

“They will send the facts to the world and show the weakness of the Myanmar government,” said the man in the white shirt.

More than 250 people were killed by the cyclone in the village, which is reachable only by boat, and the stench of death lingers in the surrounding canals. Men in the village rushed to the reporter’s arriving boat and made the universal gesture of food, putting pinched fingers up to their lips.

As the visitors departed, a village woman asked a soldier holding an AK-47 assault rifle why they had detained the foreigners.

“These are orders,” the soldier replied. “Be quiet.” source

The wisdom of Pythagoras

Recently, by very funny circumstances I (re)discovered Pythagoras. It's odd I never knew him in that light, especially with my interest in philosophy. But anyway, I'm quick to share what I found with you.

You'll read more about the life of Pythagoras in the sources I'll paste, but I'd like to underline few key features that made me so interested in him.
First, his life was very full of action. He traveled in the then-known world a lot and visited all the places and mystery schools that formed our understanding about our World. He was an apprentice (and a good one) of famous Greek philosophers, to Egyptians sages and magicians, to Chaldean magicians, some even claim he visited India. This is quite a journey even now!

Then, I like that he didn't just talk, he acted upon his words and participated actively in the mundane (also political) life, trying to create a better society. He founded a school where he observed and then trained the body, the mind and the soul of his disciples. He chose only those that proved to be calm, courageous, smart and diligent. The pride, the envy, the anger and the humiliation were considered unacceptable and led to exclusion. The school was a place of marvelous friendship and serenity.

He taught women, as well as men, he respected all the mysteries in life, marriage including, he had children, had a wife and made everything a human should do while on Earth. He wasn't just interested in mystery, he was interested in the way the Universe works! He researched and probably understood all parts of the physical creation, thought his life is veiled in myths and miracles. He didn't leave anything written and everything we know about him and his teachings is based on his students memories and other people.

Now on his philosophy. He was one of the first to introduce rebirth in Europe. His idea of the numbers as creators of our world is pretty close to the Quabalic Tree of Life, though at least to my scientific mind, his system speaks a lot more. In short, he considered the numbers are not only symbols of the whole Universe, but also its creators. His extensive studies over integers-odd (symbol of the limited masculine, positive) and even (symbol of the unlimited feminine, negative), prime and all-kind of combinations along with the idea of the monada (the whole constructed from parts) and the unity (the whole that penetrates and creates all the parts) prepare the mind for very interesting journey. I'm just beginning but I already feel the power in the numbers, just like ancient magicians found the power in the names of things.

And I particularly like the double-evil idea- that every good quality, has two opposites that try to destroy it. An example is that the greed and the wastefulness are both opposed to freedom. Another example is the fearfulness and the bravery that both strive for courage but both oppose the steadfastness. Or in general terms-the lack of something as well as the excess of it are both unacceptable-only the perfect harmony empowers the soul.

I'm gonna past a little resource on numbers and the the Golden Verses-the famous teaching that Pythagoras left to the common people and a memory improving technique I found googling for Pythagoras.

Ok, now to the copy and paste part.

The Sage of Samos was not an ordinary theurgist or worker of miracles, serving merely to create transitory sensational interest, his avowed mission being to assist humanity in the work of such complete regeneration that strife should cease upon the earth, both in the inward lives of his disciples and in the outer world also, so far as their influence extended. The essence of the Pythagorean Doctrine has come down to us in the Golden Verses of Lysis, in the commentary of Hierocles, and especially in the Timaeus of Plato, which contains a perfect system of cosmogony. All the great writers of ancient Greece radiate the spirit of Pythagoras, whom they admired so greatly that they never tire of relating anecdotes depicting the wisdom and beauty of his teaching and his marvelous power over all with whom he came in contact. He is quoted as an authority by the Gnostics of the early Christian Church as well as by the Neoplatonists of Alexandria. source (you can find more on his philosophy there also, although it's well mixed with other mystical schools)

Pythagoras described the indivisible Unity lying behind all manifestation as "No Number," in this way repeating the statement in the Stanzas of Dzyan that "there is neither first nor last, for all is one: number issued from no number." The plane above, therefore, can be indicated only by the nought or Circle, which Pythagoras said is the most appropriate symbol of Divinity.

On the plane below, the Monad or first number appears, and from this number the geometry of the universe emerges. Pythagoras called the Monad, or One, the first odd and therefore divine number. It is through the misinterpretation of the Pythagorean Monad that the various "personal Gods" of the different religions arose, most of whom are represented as a Trinity. In the phenomenal world the Monad becomes the apex of the manifested equilateral triangle, or the "Father." The left line of the triangle becomes the Duad or "Mother." This represents the origin of all the contrasts in nature, the point at which the roads of good and evil bifurcate.

Considering the number Two as a representation of the law of polarity, they stressed its positive aspect by entering a temple on the right side and by putting on the right shoe first. The right line of the triangle represents the "Son," described in every ancient cosmogony as one with the apex or "Father." The line at the base of the triangle stands for the universal plane of productive nature, in which "Father-Mother-Son" are unified on the phenomenal plane as they were united in the supersensuous world by the apex.

The triangle is the most profound of all geometrical symbols. As a cosmic symbol representing the Higher Trinity of the universe it became the root of the word Deity. The ancient Greeks called the letter D (the triangular delta) "the vehicle of the Unknown Deity." The Boeotians wrote the word Zeus with a delta, from which came the Latin Deus. The triangle is also a basic form in Nature. When the molecules of salt deposit themselves as a solid, the first shape they assume is that of a triangle. A flame is triangular in shape; hence, the word pyramid from the Greek pyr, or fire. The triangle is also the form assumed by the pine, the most primitive tree after the fern period.

The Pythagoreans called the number Four the "Key-bearer of Nature." As a cosmic symbol it represents the universe as chaotic matter before being informed by Spirit. The cross made by the intersection of the vertical line of Spirit and the horizontal line of matter represents spiritual man crucified in the flesh, while the four-pointed star is a symbol of the animal kingdom.

The five-pointed star, the pentacle, is the symbol of man, not only of the physical man with his four limbs and head, but also of conscious, thinking man, whose fifth principle is Manas. The Pythagoreans associated the number Five with the fifth element, Ether. They called Five the "beam of the balance," which suggests the power of choice and perhaps the final "moment of choice" for our humanity in the middle of the Fifth Round.

The number six illustrates the six directions of extension of all solid bodies. The interlaced triangles picture the union of spirit and matter, male and female. The Pythagoreans considered this number as sacred to Venus, since "the union of the two sexes, and the spagyrisation of matter by triads are necessary to develop the generative force ... which is inherent in all bodies." (Rayon: Potency of the Pythagorean Triangles.)

Pythagoras called seven a perfect number, making it the basis for "Music of the Spheres." Regarding seven as a compound of three and four, he gave a twofold account of its meaning: On the noumenal plane the triangle is Father-Mother-Son, or Spirit, while the quaternary represents the ideal root of all material things; applied to man, the triangle represents his three higher principles, immortal and changeless, while the quaternary refers to the four lower principles which are in unstable flux. Seven not only governs the periodicity of the phenomena of life on the physical plane, but also dominates the series of chemical elements, as well as the world of sound and color, as shown by the spectroscope.

The Pythagoreans called the number eight "Justice." In that symbol we find an expression of the eternal spiral motion of cycles, the regular inbreathing and outbreathing of the Great Breath. They called the number nine the "Ocean" and the "Horizon," as all numbers are comprehended by and revolve within it. If we consult the Table of the Yugas on page 125 of The Ocean of Theosophy, we shall observe that all the figures may be resolved into the number nine.

Ten, or the Decade, brings all these digits back to unity, ending the Pythagorean table. In both the Microcosm and the Macrocosm the three higher numbers of the Decade stand for the invisible and metaphysical world, while the lower seven refer to the realm of physical phenomena.

The Tetraktys of Pythagoras -- composed of ten dots arranged in four rows to form a triangle -- was the sacred symbol upon which the Pythagoreans took their most binding oath:

"I swear by him who the Tetraktys found,
Whence all our wisdom springs and which contains
Perennial Nature's fountain, cause and root."
Theon of Smyrna says that this symbol was honored by the Pythagoreans "because it appears to contain the nature of all things." source. More on it from other, more elaborate source-here. Also, you can check here, for the 12-th symbol, that's left out of this review-the pentacle as a symbol of cleansing the mind to reach for the Divine.

The Golden Verses:

PREPARATION

Render to the Immortal Gods the consecrated cult;
Guard then thy faith: Revere the memory
Of the Illustrious Heroes, of Spirits demi-Gods.


PURIFICATION

Be a good son, just brother, spouse tender, and good father.
Choose for thy friend, the friend of virtue;
Yield to his gentle counsels, profit by his life,
And for a trifling grievance never leave him;
If thou canst at least: for a most rigid law
Binds Power to Necessity.
Still it is given thee to fight and overcome
Thy foolish passions: learn thou to subdue them.
Be sober, diligent, and chaste; avoid all wrath.
In public or in secret ne'er permit thou
any evil; and above all else respect thyself.

Speak not nor act before thou hast reflected.
Be just. Remember that a power invincible
Ordains to die; that riches and the honours
Easily acquired, are easy thus to lose.
As to the evils which Destiny involves,
Judge them what they are: endure them all and strive,
As much as thou art able, to modify the traits:
The Gods, to the most cruel, have not exposed the Sage.

Even as Truth, does Error have its lovers:
With prudence the Philosopher approves or blames;
If Error triumph, he departs and waits.
Listen and in thine heart engrave my words;
Keep closed thine eye and ear 'gainst prejudice;
Of others the example fear; think always for thyself:
Consult, deliberate, and freely choose.
Let fools act aimlessly and without cause.
Thou shouldst, in the present, contemplate the future.

That which thou dost not know, pretend not that thou dost.
Instruct thyself: for time and patience favour all.
Neglect not thy health: dispense with moderation
Food to the body, and to the mind, repose.
Too much attention or too little shun; for envy
Thus, to either excess is alike attached.
Luxury and avarice have similar results.
One must choose in all things a mean just and good.


PERFECTION

Let not sleep e'er close thy eyes
Without thou ask thyself: What have I omitted and what done?
Abstain thou if 'tis evil; persevere if good.
Meditate upon my counsels; love them; follow them;
To the divine virtues will they know how to lead thee.
I swear it by the One who in our hearts engraved
The sacred Tetrad, symbol immense and pure,
Source of Nature and model of the Gods.
But before all, thy soul to its faithful duty,
Invoke these Gods with fervour, that whose aid,
Thy work begun, alone can terminate.
Instructed by them, naught shall then deceive thee:
Of diverse beings thou shalt sound the essence;
And thou shalt know the principle and end of All.
If Heaven wills it, thou shalt know that Nature,
Alike in everything, is the same in every place:
So that, as to thy true rights enlightened,
Thine heart shall no more feed on vain desires.
Thou shalt see that the evils which devour men
Are of their choice and fruit; that these unfortunates
Seek afar the goodness whose source within they bear.
For few know happiness: playthings of the passions,
Hither, thither tossed by adverse waves,
Upon a shoreless sea, they blinded roll,
Unable to resist or to the tempest yield.

God! Thou couldst save them by opening their eyes.
But no; 'tis for the humans of a race divine
To discern Error and to see the Truth.
Nature serves them. Thou who fathomed it,
O wise and happy man, rest in its haven.
But observe my laws, abstaining from the things
Which thy soul must fear, distinguishing them well;
Letting intelligence o'er thy body reign;
So that, ascending into radiant Ether,
Midst the Immortals, thou shalt be thyself a God.

source
other source

I'm gonna just paste the links as the information is a lot.
Here is more on the life of Pythagoras.
More on his philosophy
The wikipedia section dedicated to Pythagoras-many useful links in there
Online library with books dedicated to Pythagoras
A technique on improving the memory:

Step 1. Every evening, before going to bed or in the bed before going to sleep, write down key events of the day including the emotional component. Are you happy about the event and its outcome? Disappointed? Encouraged? Scared? Proud? Ashamed?

Step 2. Every morning, review the last day’s records, recall the details and feel the associated emotion.

Step 3. Once it starts to come to you easily, start to record once in two days, covering the whole period in one session, three days, and so forth. Ideally, you will end up recording the key events weekly. Continue to recall the events and associated emotions every morning. source

Books:
IAMBLICHUS, Legendary Life of Pythagoras, in Latin (Leipzig, 1815), tr. TAYLOR (London, 1818); GROTE, Hist. of Greece, IV (London, 1885), 525 sqq.; ZELLER, Pre-Socratic Philos., tr. ALLEYNE, I (London, 1881), 306 sqq.; UEBERWEG, Hist. of Philos., tr. MORRIS, I (New York, 1892), 42 sqq.; TANNERY, Pour l'hist. de la science hellène (Paris, 1887), 201 Sqq.; TURNER, Hist. of Phil. (Boston, 1903), 38 Sqq. Thomas Taylor's Theoretic Arithmetic source ;
Online Library:http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/

Resources in Bulgarian:
Животът на Питагор
Цитати

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