Then, for the first time, grasping that for every man, and himself too, there was nothing in store but suffering, death, and forgetfulness, he had made up his mind that life was impossible like that, and that he must either interpret life so that it would not present itself to him as the evil jest of some devil, or shoot himself.
But he had not done either, but had gone on living, thinking, and feeling, and had even at that very time married, and had had many joys and had been happy, when he was not thinking of the meaning of his life.
What did this mean? It meant that he had been living rightly, but thinking wrongly.” —Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
“If goodness has causes, it is not goodness; if it has effects, a reward, it is not goodness either. So goodness is outside the chain of cause and effect.
“And yet I know it, and we all know it.
“What could be a greater miracle than that?” —Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The words uttered by the peasant had acted on his soul like an electric shock, suddenly transforming and combining into a single whole the whole swarm of disjointed, impotent, separate thoughts that incessantly occupied his mind. These thoughts had unconsciously been in his mind even when he was talking about the land.
He was aware of something new in his soul, and joyfully tested this new thing, not yet knowing what it was.
“Not living for his own wants, but for God? For what God? And could one say anything more senseless than what he said? He said that one must not live for one’s own wants, that is, that one
must not live for what we understand, what we are attracted by, what we desire, but must live for something incomprehensible, for God, whom no one can understand nor even define. What of it? Didn’t I understand those senseless words of Fyodor’s? And understanding them, did I doubt of their truth? Did I think them stupid, obscure, inexact? No, I understood him, and exactly as he understands the words. I understood them more fully and clearly than I understand anything in life, and never in my life have I doubted nor can I doubt about it. And not only I, but everyone, the whole world understands nothing fully but this, and about this only they have no doubt and are always agreed.
He was glad of a chance to be alone to recover from the influence of ordinary actual life, which had already depressed his happy mood. He thought that he had already had time to lose his temper with Ivan, to show coolness to his brother, and to talk flippantly with Katavasov.
“Can it have been only a momentary mood, and will it pass and leave no trace?” he thought. But the same instant, going back to his mood, he felt with delight that something new and important had happened to him. Real life had only for a time overcast the spiritual peace he had found, but it was still untouched within him.
Just as the bees, whirling round him, now menacing him and distracting his attention, prevented him from enjoying complete physical peace, forced him to restrain his movements to avoid them, so had the petty cares that had swarmed about him from the moment he got into the trap restricted his spiritual freedom; but that lasted only so long as he was among them. Just as his bodily strength was still unaffected, in spite of the bees, so too was the spiritual strength that he had just become aware of.” —Anna Kerenina by Leo Tolstoy
“This new feeling has not changed me, has not made me happy and enlightened all of a sudden, as I had dreamed, just like the feeling for my child. There was no surprise in this either. Faith—or not faith—I don’t know what it is—but this feeling has come just as imperceptibly through suffering, and has taken firm root in my soul.
“I shall go on in the same way, losing my temper with Ivan the coachman, falling into angry discussions, expressing my opinions tactlessly; there will be still the same wall between the holy of holies of my soul and other people, even my wife; I shall still go on scolding her for my own terror, and being remorseful for it; I shall still be as unable to understand with my reason why I pray, and I shall still go on praying; but my life now, my whole life apart from anything that can happen to me, every minute of it is no more meaningless, as it was before, but it has the positive meaning of goodness, which I have the power to put into it.”” —Conclusion of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Translation of Somos Georgia BuySpot and Sanctuary Zone into Arabic by Ayman Fadel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Tuesday was a depressing day to be in Erie County Judge Michael E. Dunlavey’s courtroom, Dunlavey said.
So when someone e-mailed Dunlavey a joke on Wednesday that riffed on Eddie Murphy’s “Saturday Night Live” Buckwheat skits — which Dunlavey had enjoyed — he quickly forwarded it to court colleagues who, he thought, might need a dose of humor.
Dunlavey said he now realizes the joke, which contained a reference to Islam, might not have seemed funny, particularly to Muslims.
Dunlavey, a military intelligence expert, served as the head of interrogations at the Guantanamo Bay prison for suspected terror suspects in 2002. That and his extensive travel during his military service has probably made him more aware of Islamic culture than anyone in the court, he said.
Dunlavey said Friday he was thinking of Eddie Murphy and not Islam when he forwarded the joke.
Upon reflection, he said, he realized that Muslims would not be aware of the Murphy skit and would likely be offended by the joke.
Does he think every Muslim in the U.S. arrived yesterday? This piece of ignorance is worse than the joke.
It’s also pretty insulting to think that interrogating prisoners at Gitmo, a human rights sinkhole, and traveling around the world as part of colonial armies makes him “aware of Islamic culture.”
The problem is not being offended by a joke. The problem is whether this judge would be impartial to all the parties who may appear in his court.
Here’s an Arabic proverb which might benefit Judge Dunlavey:
العذر أقبح من الذنب
The excuse is worse than the sin.