Secular Parable & Aphorism of the Week

    Saturday, August 9, 2014, 5:45 PM [General]
    Posted By: Frank Burton

    Aphorism of the Week

    Might makes no right.

    Dedicated to the fortitude of Iraq's Yazidi people; and in admonishment of ISIS' genocidal invasion of the Yazidi religious community and abduction of Yazidi women, in contravention of the teachings of their own Prophet.

    Parable of the Week

    The Wasp, The Ant
    Droning wafted through the forest as the Wasp hovered, searching.
    It found a caterpillar feeding on a large leaf.
    Flying down and landing on the caterpillar's back, the Wasp stung it. The caterpillar fell to the ground, unmoving.
    Then the Wasp laid its eggs inside the caterpillar to incubate its young, who slowly consumed the caterpillar from the inside.
    The newborn wasps broke out from the caterpillar's body and flew toward the sky, in search of more caterpillars as hosts.
    As the wasps grew in number, the caterpillars grew scarce, until few wasps or caterpillars lived.
    After one of the last of the wasps fruitlessly searched for prey in which to lay its eggs, it fell to the ground, dead.
    While its body mouldered, a skittering noise approached it from below. Two antennae reached up and sniffed the mildewed chitin; then the Ant brusquely moved on, searching.
    The Ant found a small cave in the rich soil, and then skittered up to a partly eaten green leaf, whereon it found an aphid.
    The Ant bent down and, caressing the aphid's back with its feelers, picked it up gently in its jaws and carried it back to the cave, to live in comfort.
    Each day the Ant brought the aphid a piece of leaf to eat, caressed it, and drank its sugary droppings. The Ant grew strong and laid a colony of its young, all of whom marched out to find and breed more aphids.
    As the ants and aphids grew in number, the forest teemed with their colonies.
    Thus, to use others destroys all -- to work with others renews all.

    August 9, 2014, excerpt from The Parables of Reason © 2007-2014 (Chapter 2, "Assumption's Denial"), by Frank H. Burton, Executive Director, The Circle of Reason

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    Secular Parable & Aphorism of the Week

    Saturday, August 2, 2014, 5:19 PM [General]
    Posted By: Frank Burton

    Aphorism of the Week

    Life requires no other to justify itself.

    Dedicated to a teenager, on the 70th anniversary of her final diary entry: "Believe me, I'd like to listen, but it doesn't work, because if I'm quiet and serious, everyone thinks I'm putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I'm not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be ill, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can't keep it up any more, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I'd like to be and what I could be if ... if only there were no other people in the world. -- Yours, Anne M. Frank."

    Parable of the Week

    The Meaningless Life, The Meaning of Life
    Skin as grey and marbled as the ancient colonnade she leaned against, a wise grandmother watched her two young charges explore the Ruins of the Ancestors, long ago fallen to decay.
    One grandchild darted from behind the white robes of his twin sister, and climbed upon a great, fluted pillar of marble, fallen and half-buried in the grass. There he grabbed a twig from the top of an olive tree and brandished it over his head.
    "I am the conquering King!" he cried, stabbing his wooden sword into the ghostly bodies of men to come.
    His grandmother watched her small grandson, and saw the man he would become -- and her face grew as solemn as the cold marble under her withered hand.
    Yet the other grandchild, gathering her robes about her legs and unshodding her sandals, quietly joined her grandmother, there on the marble stairs of a small temple to a god long ignored.
    She stared at her brother's strutting swordplay, then at the broken temple columns, and the azure of the empty sky -- then turned to her grandmother and asked, "What is the meaning of life?"
    The wise woman's sad gaze broke away from her grandson and, growing radiant, swung toward her.
    With dawning joy the old woman stared at her granddaughter's querulous blue eyes, and then, reaching out a wrinkled hand to caress her smooth cheek, replied, "Oh, my darling grandchild! In asking that question, you have answered it."
    Thus, the meaning of life is that it's the meaning of life -- you are that you are.

    August 2, 2014, excerpt from The Parables of Reason © 2007-2014 (Chapter 1, "Reality's Acceptance"), by Frank H. Burton, Executive Director, The Circle of Reason

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    Secular Parable & Aphorism of the Week

    Sunday, July 27, 2014, 7:37 PM [General]
    Posted By: Frank Burton

    Aphorism of the Week

    Radicals are gestated in sophistry.

    Dedicated to the Hebrew University psychology study showing that agreeing with ideologues to an extreme level -- to the point of Argumentum ad Absurdum -- can trigger them to question their ideology. And dedicated in admonishment of biblical creationist Ken Ham's assertion that intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe is impossible because all extraterrestrial civilizations would be damned by God to Hell with no hope for salvation -- a stance which ironically may attain that extremity of absurdity capable of driving children away from fundamentalist religion.

    Parable of the Week

    The Human, The Sentient
    One day a human looked up into the zenith of the heavens, arcing above her blue and green-swathed Earth.
    She saw a small, cloudy galaxy far, far away -- Canis Major, pulled along like a puppy on a leash of a billion stars.
    The human felt a lonesome chill in her heart, and heard a distant voice calling to her -- and wondered, "Is there anybody out there?" She devoted her life to listening to the radioed songs of the spheres -- listening for but one word, one tune, one message.
    And she pointed her antennae to Canis Major.
    But there was only silence.
    One day, a million years hence, a sentient will look up into the zenith of the heavens, arcing above its small, blue and red-swathed world.
    It will see a huge galaxy spiraling above it, so, so close -- the Milky Way, pulling its own galaxy into her vast, slow embrace.
    The sentient will feel a lonesome chill in its center, and hear a distant voice calling to it -- and wonder, "Is there anybody out there?" It will devote its life to listening to the radioed songs of the spheres -- listening for but one word, one tune, one message.
    And it will point its antennae into the arms of the Milky Way.
    And shall hear.
    Thus, we are not alone, and we have a purpose.

    July 26, 2014, excerpt from The Parables of Reason © 2007-2014 (Chapter 2, "Assumption's Denial"), by Frank H. Burton, Executive Director, The Circle of Reason

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    Secular Parable & Aphorism of the Week

    Sunday, July 20, 2014, 2:54 PM [General]
    Posted By: Frank Burton

    Aphorism of the Week

    BE the change you seek in this world. -- via Gandhi

    Dedicated in admonishment of the rejection of mass nonviolent coordinated resistance ("Nonviolent Jihad") by Hamas and the Palestinians of Gaza; of the failure of the international press to spotlight and endorse -- and of the U.S. and Israeli governments to confer diplomatic status upon -- imprisoned or exiled non-violent Palestinian leaders such as the "Arab Gandhi," Mubarak Awad; and of the failure of the Israeli Parliament to return encroaching West Bank Israeli settlements, as a fundamental moral imperative, to the peaceful Palestinians of the West Bank.

    Parable of the Week

    The Historian, The History Maker
    Students attended University in an ancient Republic.
    One classmate sat in the library day and night, reading of great leaders from prior generations.
    His knowledge of them grew until, one day, closing his final biography, he said, "I will teach the histories I've learned."
    He joined the very same University at which he'd been taught.
    And, in the march of decades, he became a historian of note.
    The other classmate also sat in the library day and night, and too read of great leaders from prior generations.
    Her knowledge of them also grew until, one day, closing her final biography, she said, "I will emulate the histories I've learned."
    She became a leader.
    And, in the march of decades, she was elected to her country's highest office.
    Thus, study history or make history.

    July 19, 2014, excerpt from The Parables of Reason © 2007-2014 (Chapter 2, "Assumption's Denial"), by Frank H. Burton, Executive Director, The Circle of Reason

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    Secular Parable & Aphorism of the Week

    Sunday, July 13, 2014, 9:16 PM [General]
    Posted By: Frank Burton

    Aphorism of the Week

    One must never stoop to conquer.

    Dedicated in admonishment of the kidnapping, involuntary commitment, and psychological and physical abuse of gay, mentally ill and doctrine-resistant teens in Evangelical Christian re-education camps.

    Parable of the Week

    The Blind, The Sighted
    Eternal midnight enshrouded a clan who dwelled in a deep cavern.
    Grasping sleeping bats or albino fish or frogs by the green light of phosphorescent algae, cooking them on steaming rocks, and sleeping in warm volcanic pools, their eyes became an appendage ignored -- merely a way to find the dimly lit, sleepy faces of their mates after they'd gorged on a meal, and otherwise as useless and superfluous as their two little toes.
    But then a young woman of the clan rediscovered an ancient, narrow crawlway leading up and out of the grotto in which they lived.
    Slowly, allowing the pain in her closed eyes to adjust as she crept toward the day, she exited the vast labyrinth of caverns that had been her home since birth.
    She felt a cool, soft cushion beneath her hands and knees, and opened her eyes.
    Beneath her delicate, bone-white hands lay a mat of what looked like thick, bright green hair.
    She then stood erect, and raised her head.
    In wonderment she stared at feathered, sharp-nosed bats painted in hues she could not name, at a whimsically-colored cavern roof so high that she could not see any of its walls, but only huge wisps and balls of steam floating beneath.
    Gasping for breath, she ran back into the depths -- following a trail of bat guano balls she'd dropped behind her while she'd climbed -- to tell her people of her wondrous visions.
    She gathered them around a phosphorescent boulder, and, as their green-underlit faces chewed on bat wings and frog legs, she exclaimed to them -- her eyes, for the first time in her life, wide open in her face -- "I have seen visions!"
    "Visions of a cave with a roof too high to see! Of bats that were not bats! Of colors that were not dim green or black! Of a land where a great phosphorescent boulder, too bright to even glance at, floats in the air!"
    So did her clan roar with laughter, and ever after scoff at her wild stories and urgings.
    Until, one day, she simply disappeared forever up her precious, unused crawlway -- while crouching, like the madwoman they all thought she was, to collect old balls of dried bat guano with each step.
    Thus, vision provokes laughter from those who cannot see. -- via Plato

    July 12, 2014, excerpt from The Parables of Reason © 2007-2014 (Chapter 1, "Reality's Acceptance"), by Frank H. Burton.

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