True freedom does not come cheap. It is not licentiousness as so many people today believe freedom is. True freedom or liberty requires and is inseparable from personal responsibility.
There are threats to individual liberty in society. That is why eternal or ongoing, continuous vigilance is needed to protect and sustain personal liberty in society. The chief threat to liberty through history has been government. One recalls the adage by Thomas Jefferson to the effect that “When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” Alas, it has always been so in human society. Free people need to seek a healthy balance and strive to avoid harmful extremes. The absence of government would be anarchy and chaos. (The anarchists’ dream is a destructive nightmare that must be rejected.) Government’s drive for power and control left unchecked produces totalitarian states where the citizens are not free, and the government is capricious, despotic and tyrannical (even when the state claims it is acting on behalf “of the people”).
Taken in early February, 2017, these are photographs of the Taj Mahal in Agra (northern India). This mausoleum is as readily recognizable and as well known as the (much older) Pyramids of Egypt.
The sun is taking away your life, each and every day as it traverses the sky overhead. That is how some people view the passage of time and of one’s life in this flawed world. Time is fleeting. It may not be of notice to long-lived stars and galaxies, but man is painfully aware of time and its unceasing, inexorable flow from the present moment into the past. One might say that time defines man – at the very least it is a limit, a constraint that he cannot avoid or get around while on Earth.
We individuals are like fragile bubbles of consciousness bursting and fading away after a brief moment in the sea of time. Whether you believe that consciousness continues on a spiritual plane of existence or not, you know that your time on this material plane is short. Thus, it is our individual responsibility to make the most of each moment in terms of living a constructive and loving life.
The sun may be thought of as taking away our life, but it also provides the energy necessary for life. Bear in mind that photosynthesis supports the base of the food chain. As well, physicists tell us that the heavy elements in our bodies were forged (fused) in the nuclear furnaces of now long dead stars.
The following pictures were taken in early February this year in Jaipur (northern India) at the Jantar Mantar.
The Abrahamic religions are not dominant in some parts of the world. We wonder if the Abrahamic religions’ ideas and teachings seem as foreign, alien and even perhaps weird to those raised in an Indian religion as Indian religious and spiritual concepts appear to Bible believing Christians and Talmudic Jews. (No doubt, male circumcision and the idea of a “chosen” people are very alien concepts to the peoples of India.)
India has given rise to what we know as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. (Much later, Sikhism was an attempt to reconcile Hindu concepts with Islam in northernmost India in the late Middle Ages.) For us, the philosophy supporting Indian religion appears to be deeper and more profound than the Western philosophy that was used to support Christianity. Albeit at the village level in the local shrines and local festivals, Hinduism appears to be polytheistic, at the highest level, the Vedas present a monotheistic view. The major argument appears to be whether God is impersonal (the impersonal Absolute of the idealist philosophers) or is a person (has a personality, a supremely transcendent personality as in Lord Krishna). The Bhagavad Gita speaks of a personal God (Krishna) who is eternal, immortal, all-powerful and all-knowing.
We now begin sharing pictures taken in India this past February when our blog’s photographer was on holiday in northern India with her family. The advantage for the Western tourist is that English is spoken by many of the Indians one meets on the streets and on the various tours.
While walking to the Museum of Modern Art on Saturday, 29 July 2017, we were able to capture these images of a church in San Francisco.
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