Conversation continued…

From: spupeng7

To: Richard

Sent: Thursday, September 07, 2006

Subject: the unbearable lightness of not being sure 

Richard, thankyou.
Who is this Pablo Casals guy anyhow?
Your sentiments are appreciated and I do agree with
them all. Somewhere, however, I must draw a circle, an
enclosure about my mind which allows me to live in a
world of people. Drive a car and wash my clothes without

resorting to denial.Somewhere deep inside I am not convinced

that we do live in the unfolding of an environmental disaster.

There is an aspect to human psychology which drives us
to abandon habit in the desire for improvement but our
inability to agree upon what is improvement does not
necessitate conflict.
My passion is directed toward assisting the damaged.
That the earth itself is damaged is no more
significant to me than the possibility that I may be
damaged in my own calling. This may be a weakness but
it is the best I can do and I hope you can forgive me
for it.
As for religion, I have very little respect for it. If
god meant us to believe in it he would have given us
shades with mirrors on the inside.

Having said all that I will confess to being a sleeper
zealot and should I survive long enough and be in a
position convenient to it, I feel sure that I will be
as political as the next one. Joining the Greens to
find folks like your good self was just the first
step. Thanks for the encouragement,



Hi Spup, 

Pablo Casals?  Very good question. On the ‘net

I found a speech by Phillip Adams. Here is an extract.

“Many years ago Pablo Casals, the great

Spanish cellist, was having his eightysomethingth 

birthday in Madrid, and they held a press

conference for him and he dear old soul came

out and was droning on the way elderly people like

him and now I do about what a mess the world was.

And at some point he obviously heard himself; he

stopped, and then said two sentences, which I love,

because though they don’t at first sight seem to fit

together.  I think you’ll eventually agree that they do.

The first sentence reeks of fatalism, and the second has just

a hint of audacity and courage. And they’re universally

applicable to whatever tasks we might face, and most of us

are in tasks beyond belief and almost certainly beyond human

ability to fix, and he said    ”The situation is hopeless.

We must take the next step.’

When I first found “Cellist”, I thought, “No – the other one – the

philosopher, the revolutionary!”  But it is the same Pablo.  Of

course he is a musician – the perfect medium for the soul of a

romantic philosopher.  He has heaps of quotes attributed to him. 

Here’s a quick bundle.


Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he

listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is

the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage.

It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and

act on it.I am perhaps the oldest musician in the world. I am an old man

but in many senses a very young man. And this is what I want

you to be, young, young all your life, and to say things to the

world that are true.I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives

life its deepest significance.Music is the divine way to tell beautiful,

poetic things to the heart. The cello is like a beautiful woman who has

not grown older, but younger with time, more slender, more supple,

more graceful.

The first thing to do in life is to do with purpose what one

purposes to do.

The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love

stop at the border?

We ought to think that we are one of the leaves of a tree, and the

tree is all humanity. We cannot live without the others, without the tree.

I expect his cello moved many to tears with the wordless eloquence

of one possessed with the heartbeat of life.  

On the other hand, Hollywood has robbed our souls of love and passion,

by turning the very stuff of meaning into cheesy sentimentality.  I recall

there was a recurring theme in the original Star Trek about educating

the logical Spock on the virtues of human emotion.  I don’t think they

did a very good job really.  They sort of condemned human kind with

faint praise. 

“Romantic” philosophies, like those of native peoples from all over

world and Jesus Christ, who hinted about the knowledge of the heart,

empathy and the connectedness of all living things, moved into the

head and became corny, naive, unsophisticated and sentimental. 

Caring became unfashionable and we lost our lifeline to reality.   

If the dominant culture values individual power over the ecological

realities of Life, then this 4.5 billion year experiment will all but be

destroyed by it’s most promising child. For the universe to unfold

as it should:- there will be a mighty movement of ordinary souls

who say “No!” to the madness of their rulers, who refuse to

surrender to the failure of their species and determine to save

the only known island of life in the universe.  Will it be too late? 

I really don’t want to jump on this same soap box every time. 

I seem to be rehearsing this theme for other people. You were

just unfortunate enough to hint at the topic of motivation.  Then 

Pablo took me there again.  

I just read an excellent speech by George Monbiot from May

2005.  I think it should have been broadcast in prime time from

every station around the world – but it was repressed and

deliberately ignored.  Much of it is exactly what I’ve been trying

to say, especially to fellow green travellers.  The speech came

from here:  via a friend,

but I’ve sent you the MS-Word document anyway.  (The web site

has an Acrobat (pdf) version, that is more than 3 times bigger.) 

Please find attachment:- “Climate Change – Monbiot.doc”   It’s

a dense 6 pages that gets to the heart of several aspects relevant

to our topic of conversation.  It cheers me up.  It may contain a lot

of bad news, but it’s music to my ears.  People need to understand

this stuff. 

I have this imaginary cartoon image.  The caption reads: “Will all

those in favour of planetary suicide please step this way.”Presumably,

the rest want to be part of the solution. Just as you do. 

Please, no smart arse comments about the schardenfreude of the


We both know which side you’re on. Your connection, your spirit,

your heart will move you. There is no expectation – no blame. The

superior man conserves his strength for meaningful engagement. 

Maybe I’ll have a go at pushing your buttons a little, but it’s only

what I would like, a connection, a welcome, some attention, a

crazy guy who wants me to feel alive.  I represent the abysmal water. 

As for religion. Who mentioned religion?  I’m about to quote myself,

out of context, quoting God, and I hope the concept still works.   

“I offer you this, my creation. I am of you and of all conscious beings.

I am of the everyday miracles, everywhere. Enjoy, for my sake. For

this gift, I ask but one thing.  Do me a favour, and leave me out of it! 

You just wouldn’t understand, and would make such a mess of things

if you ever thought you did.”

Yet my faith falls short of atheism. 




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