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Monthly Archives: December 2013

“A Liberal Decalogue” by Bertrand Russell (d. 1970)

“The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your spouse or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

[From “The Best Answer to Fanaticism: Liberalism”, New York Times Magazine (16/December/1951)]


Cantiga 100: Santa Maria Strella Do Dia

The following is the text and translation of Cantiga 100 from the 13th-century Cantigas de Santa Maria praising the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Santa Maria,
Strela do dia,
mostra-nos via
era Deus e nos guia.

Ca veer faze-los errados
que perder foran per pecados
entender de que mui culpados
son; mais per ti son perdõados
da ousadia
que lles fazia
fazer folia
mais que non deveria,

Santa Maria…

Amostrar-nos deves carreira
por gãar en toda maneira
a sen par luz e verdadeira
que tu dar-nos podes senlleira;
ca Deus a ti a
e a querria
por ti dar e daria.
Santa Maria…

Guiar ben nos pod’ o teu siso
mais ca ren pera Parayso
u Deus ten senpre goy’ e riso
pora quen en el creer quiso;
e prazer-m-ia
se te prazia
que foss’ a mia
alm’ en tal compannia.
Santa Maria

Translation (from

Mary, magnified be,
with Daystar beside thee;
show the way where bide we
true to God and thou our guide be.

For thou art light that lost souls driven
near perdition, e’er with sin ill striven,
know that they with guilt sore riven
stand; but throught thee are forgive
and from their pride free
where they ne’er idly
let passion denied be
bout did all sense defied see.
Blessed Mary…

Thou canst reveal to us wyfaring
paths to tread in grace full sharing
to peerless Light, the trugh declaring,
that thou alone art graced in bearing;
for God would abide thee
and all provide He
but ne’er thee denied see
nor for thee grace e’er belied be.
Blessed Mary…

Wel for us thy wisdom guiding
till in Paradies abiding
where God all joy and mirth providing
waits ever those in him confiding;
then would my joy descried be
shouldst thou but deign provide me
that rest on high beside thee
my soul where doth abide he
Blessed Mary …



Map of Gunpowder Empires: Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals (ca. 1600)


Morteza Motahhari (d. 1979) on the Values of Humanity

“Why does it happen so often that nations are forged during periods of unjust treatment, deprivation, oppression, aggression, exploitation, and colonialism? It happens so because it is in difficult times, in deprivation, under denial of dignity and inhuman treatment and during endeavor and struggle for liberation from such circumstances that man’s true nature is revealed to him; then he discovers his real identity and realizes the significance of sublime human values. When man stands against tyranny, crime, oppression, unbelief and corruption and is moved to anguish and pain by them, the yearning for justice and truth is awakened in the depths of his being. These are the values that unite and integrate humanity. Man is a being that is a lover of justice, piety, and truth in the depths of his conscious being. This passion has been manifesting and expressing itself in all forms and colors at all points of space and time.”–Morteza Motahhari (1920-1979), excerpted from his introduction to his book Khadamat-e mutaqabil-e Islam wa Iran (published in 1960)