Infinite majesty

All the earth doth worship Thee, our Father everlasting.
To Thee all Angels cry aloud.

Giuseppi Verdi was born the 10th of October in 1813.

 

Advertisements

Hymn to Science

It was the age of Newton, and the Enlightenment was coming into full flower.  Some saw Science as an unqualified benefit, in fact, a long-awaited deliverance from an age of superstition and authoritarian religious dogma.

There was yet no such thing as an authoritative voice of science; scientists were held to a higher standard than politicians or religious leaders, and asked to demonstrate evidence for every one of their assertions.

Science had not yet been corrupted by a scientific establishment.  There was no professional class of people who found security in a tenured job as scientist, no one who needed to protect his livelihood by buttressing his past assertions.

Most scientists of the era believed in Deistic God, and regarded the laws of science as tribute to His glory.  There was deep hope that the Age of Reason would make government and other human institutions more rational and thereby wiser, more humane.

Born the son of a butcher, Mark Akenside dropped out of divinity school to become a doctor.

Mark Akenside.jpg

Science! thou fair effusive ray
From the great source of mental day,
Free, generous, and refin’d!
Descend with all thy treasures fraught,
Illumine each bewilder’d thought,
And bless my lab’ring mind.

But first with thy resistless light,
Disperse those phantoms from my sight,
Those mimic shades of thee;
The scholiast’s learning, sophist’s cant,
The visionary bigot’s rant,
The monk’s philosophy.

 

O! let thy powerful charms impart
The patient head, the candid heart,
Devoted to thy sway;
Which no weak passions e’er mislead,
Which still with dauntless steps proceed
Where Reason points the way.

Give me to learn each secret cause;
Let number’s, figure’s, motion’s laws
Reveal’d before me stand;
These to great Nature’s scenes apply,
And round the globe, and thro’ the sky,
Disclose her working hand.

Next, to thy nobler search resign’d,
The busy, restless, human mind
Thro’ ev’ry maze pursue;
Detect Perception where it lies,
Catch the ideas as they rise,
And all their changes view.

Say from what simple springs began
The vast, ambitious thoughts of man,
Which range beyond control;
Which seek Eternity to trace,
Dive thro’ th’ infinity of space,
And strain to grasp the whole.

Her secret stores let Memory tell,
Bid Fancy quit her fairy cell,
In all her colours drest;
While prompt her sallies to control,
Reason, the judge, recalls the soul
To Truth’s severest test.

Then launch thro’ Being’s wide extent;
Let the fair scale, with just ascent,
And cautious steps, be trod;
And from the dead, corporeal mass,
Thro’ each progressive order pass
To Instinct, Reason, God.

There, Science! veil thy daring eye;
Nor dive too deep, nor soar too high,
In that divine abyss;
To Faith content thy beams to lend,
Her hopes t’assure, her steps befriend,
And light her way to bliss.

Then downwards take thy flight again;
Mix with the policies of men,
And social nature’s ties:
The plan, the genius of each state,
Its interest and its pow’rs relate,
Its fortunes and its rise.

Thro’ private life pursue thy course,
Trace every action to its source,
And means and motives weigh:
Put tempers, passions in the scale,
Mark what degrees in each prevail,
And fix the doubtful sway.

That last, best effort of thy skill,
To form the life, and rule the will,
Propitious pow’r! impart:
Teach me to cool my passion’s fires,
Make me the judge of my desires,
The master of my heart.

Raise me above the vulgar’s breath,
Pursuit of fortune, fear of death,
And all in life that’s mean.
Still true to reason be my plan,
Still let my action speak the man,
Thro’ every various scene.

Hail! queen of manners, light of truth;
Hail! charm of age, and guide of youth;
Sweet refuge of distress:
In business, thou! exact, polite;
Thou giv’st Retirement its delight,
Prosperity its grace.

Of wealth, pow’r, freedom, thou! the cause;
Foundress of order, cities, laws,
Of arts inventress, thou!
Without thee what were human kind?
How vast their wants, their thoughts how blind!
Their joys how mean! how few!

Sun of the soul! thy beams unveil!
Let others spread the daring sail,
On Fortune’s faithless sea;
While undeluded, happier I
From the vain tumult timely fly,
And sit in peace with thee.

— Mark Akenside, born this day in 1721

Alzheimer’s Cure

This is inspiring indeed, and makes all other Daily Inspirations look puny. If the medical research community didn’t have blinders on, I think this would have been banner headlines two years ago.

I know Dale Bredesen from 12 years ago when he was president of the Buck Institute on Aging, and invited me to give a talk there. He was kind enough to support my theory of aging at a time when he had a position in the world and I didn’t.

I knew Bredesen was on the trail of an Alzheimer’s treatment, and had eye-popping results with a small cohort of patients, and I wrote an article about him 3 years ago. Today I learned that he has gone on to develop a credible treatment for AD….or such is his claim in a book published last year. His treatment is not a single pill – far from it. It is a whole program of diagnosis and a different protocol for each patient, which requires special training for a doctor to be effective. But in the first several hundred patients, he has had remarkable success, not merely slowing the progression of AD but completely reversing symptoms, even in some fairly advanced cases.

Briefly, his model is that the brain is always remodeling itself, destroying old synapses and creating new ones. The balance between creation and destruction is controlled by ~36 factors (identified so far). One of these can get into a runaway feedback loop But the process can be stopped by looking at an individual’s metabolism, identifying which of the 36 factors are elevated, and addressing those in particular.

The book is targeted to a non-technical audience, but buried within is the protocol itself, which is beyond my ability to understand or assess. I’ve sent it to three doctor friends, and any doctors in the D-I audience might help me with a comment as to the plausibility of Bredesen’s biochemistry.

 

What have we become?

We have traded intuition for mastery
Lost an unshakable feeling of what is,
acquired an understanding of how things work.
We disdain the wild beast and the savage,
but something they have that we have lost,
And in a generation the last of them may be gone.

We can listen to others who describe their visions
and not merely their reasons;
We can pass our days surrounded by nature
until the voices of men fade from our ears;
We can remember, as we make each decision,
how tentative is our knowledge, and how fragile our lives.

— JJM

October

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

— Robert Frost

Image result for falling leaves

Never do today what you can do tomorrow

….Time is something you can always beg, steal or borrow.

Listen to Akire Bubar

Illustration showing a scientist sitting in front of a desk that has a pile of papers on it.

For people in the corporate world, punctuality is an important virtue, but for those who live an artist’s life, it is more important to follow inspiration where it leads, and let creativity set its own schedule.

Personal social lives are something in between, requiring the coordination of schedules, but also subject to the internal imperative that says there is a right time to be alone and a right time to open to each individual friend.

ARMS OF THE SUN

Day of the Animals

Everyone agrees that humans are more important than other living beings. It’s because we are more complex, more intelligent, more sentient, capable of more complex behaviors and kinds of experiences than any of them.Study: Bonobos may be better representation of last common ancestor with humans

You can easily confirm these statements by asking anyone, any of us.

Traditionally, we don’t ask them, but maybe we’re beginning to do so.  They don’t answer with words, but their meaning is clear enough for those of us who are interested in reading it.

 

 

In honor of St Francis, today has been dedicated to the animals.

MISSION OF WORLD ANIMAL DAY 
To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals.  It’s celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology.  Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are always recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.

Tortoise 100 years old - he looks like an old man sitting on the curb. What a wise, beautiful soul!