Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Marvels of God in the Human Mind

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change" -Max Planck, Father of Quantum Physics
Before you read the rest of this post, you may wish to watch this recent brief talk by Ray Kurzweil on "hybrid thinking"

Or watch MIT's Nicholas Negroponte on history of computing and the future here:

You may wish to read too this opinion written in June by Thomas Edsall and titled "The Downward Ramp" in the New York Times where you will find reference to a study by Paul Beaudry and David Green of the University of British Columbia and Ben Sand of York University - The entire economic research is worth reading since it deals with the future of young generations:

As I continue my online free study in some MOOCs courses of interests ( I have enrolled in a new course on (Algorithms - Design and Analysis - Part II) given by Dr. Tim Roughgarden at the eminent Stanford University  (see an introduction here  I am fascinated by the bright minds that today manage research in new disciplines that were unthinkable decades ago. Although mathematics developed over many centuries it remains essential for courses in engineering, physics, computer systems, and big data.  The advances made in the computer industry have influenced many other industries and business development. A major force related to marketing, business development and analysis of big data in today's world is globalization. This is why I have enrolled in a new course on (Globalization) given by Professor Matt Sparke at the University of Washington (See an excerpt of an earlier lecture here

Anyone in the globe with access to the Internet can enroll in free courses of interest which may be a step forward in learning, collaboration, and getting a better job. Over 8 million persons have taken one or more of 688 free courses offered through Coursera alone. They may help teenagers in high schools and young adults in colleges decide which careers would be of  interest and in demand. The limit is the sky? Not really. Parents know that learning costs money - lots of money in some cases. But, thank God, we have choices.
What interests me is the level of specialization that has taken place in most sciences to the point that students remain busy studying one or two disciplines for much of their time at the expense of enjoying outing with friends. No wonder then that many students get low marks and some opt out of school to their own career failure. Thanks to the Internet too there is a global entertainment industry such as sports - Teams from different countries, supported by their fans, are competing to win the World Cup in football/soccer in Brazil this month and a few ones have made it to the short list. But interest in sports will not land you a career unless you are a young gifted person and well-trained player. The same point can be made for careers in the movies industry. Local libraries are downsizing since most of the knowledge can be accessed online.

1. What moral  impacts do the above developments have on lives of individuals and societies?
2. What practical suggestions do you think will help society and individuals?

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Forgotten Churches of the Middle East

For over 50 years since Vatican II, the Roman Catholic Church has opened the dialogue of love with the Eastern Orthodox Churches and strengthened the fraternal ties Rome already has in full communion with the Eastern Catholic Churches since at least the 18th century.

One Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Apostolic See of Rome is the Melkite Catholic Church whose patriarch is the successor of Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch in the first century.The Melkite Catholic Patriarch presides over Melkite Catholics in 3 Patriarchates: Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem all of them go back to Apostolic times and are rightly considered Apostolic Churches. The Latins of the West did not have a presence in the Middle East until the Crusades liberated Jerusalem from Muslim hands and installed a Latin Patriarch there in the 12th century.

When Pope Francis visited the Holy Land in May this year, he embraced the Patriarchs both Latin and Greek who were present together with other Eastern Patriarchs and Bishops from the Middle East. But there is a dilemma there. While Roman Catholics in North America and Europe enjoy a relatively high standard of living, their Christian brothers and sisters of the Middle East suffer at the hands of violent Islamist fundamentalists in ancient lands where they once thrived such as Syria, Iraq, and Sudan, and have hardly escaped a tyrant fundamentalist one in Egypt.

The presence of Christians is dwindling in these lands and other Arab countries. In the 1930s, Christians made up 30% of inhabitants of the Holy Land.Today they hardly make up 2%.  Roman Catholics and other Christians in North America and Europe lack knowledge of Christians in these lands. They often confuse them with Islamist terrorists and consequently hardly any donations or other kinds of assistance are directed to them. As an example, the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem receives almost all donations from the Knights of Columbus in America and Canada while as the Melkite Patriarchate receives very little. Last year the Knights of Columbus at Jesus the King Melkite Catholic Church in Toronto were honoured at Supreme Convention with the International Award for the Youth as a recognition by Supreme Council of their initiative "Jerusalem Students" which sponsor students in need that attend the Melkite Catholic Patriarchal School near Jerusalem. Yet the school is still struggling with keeping its students and paying its teachers.

How can the Knights of Columbus assist those Christians in need in the Middle East?

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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