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The Monk
in the Lab

A Picture/Poem collection
of links to reliable information
and contemporary voices

The New York Times

The Monk in the Lab
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"These are times when destructive emotions like anger, fear and hatred
are giving rise to devastating problems throughout the world. While
the daily news offers grim reminders of the destructive power of such
emotions, the question we must ask is this: What can we do, person
by person, to overcome them?

Of course such disturbing emotions have always been part of the human
condition. Some — those who tend to believe nothing will "cure" our
impulses to hate or oppress one another — might say that this is simply
the price of being human. But this view can create apathy in the face
of destructive emotions, leading us to conclude that destructiveness
is beyond our control.

I believe that there are practical ways for us as individuals to curb
our dangerous impulses — impulses that collectively can lead to
war and mass violence. As evidence I have not only my spiritual
practice and the understanding of human existence based on
Buddhist teachings, but now also the work of scientists." [...]

"But reflection shows that in our lives much of our suffering is caused
not by external causes but by such internal events as the arising of
disturbing emotions. The best antidote to this disruption is enhancing
our ability to handle these emotions.

If humanity is to survive, happiness and inner balance are crucial.
Otherwise the lives of our children and their children are more likely
to be unhappy, desperate and short. Material development certainly
contributes to happiness — to some extent — and a comfortable way
of life. But this is not sufficient. To achieve a deeper level of happiness
we cannot neglect our inner development.

The calamity of 9/11 demonstrated that modern technology and human
intelligence guided by hatred can lead to immense destruction. Such
terrible acts are a violent symptom of an afflicted mental state. To
respond wisely and effectively, we need to be guided by more healthy
states of mind, not just to avoid feeding the flames of hatred, but to
respond skillfully. We would do well to remember that the war against
hatred and terror can be waged on this, the internal front, too."

[Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th Dalai Lama.]

From The American Prospect

In God's Name

Past presidents have shown there's a better
way to invoke God in wartime.

By James A. Morone

"The Bush administration rushed into war talking about good and
evil. "A calculated, malignant, devastating evil has arisen in our world,"
proclaimed Attorney General John Ashcroft. "And we know God is
not neutral," added President Bush. While few defend Saddam Hussein,
people around the world are troubled by the American crusade. The Bush
administration has turned a complex international problem into an epic
contest between the virtuous and the vicious -- and, of course, one cannot
compromise with demons. Invoking God as we occupy other lands is as
American as, well, manifest destiny." [...]

The Most Dangerous President Ever

How and why George W. Bush
undermines American security

By Harold Meyerson

"I miss Ronald Reagan.

I know, I know: Reagan was our first president to proclaim government
the problem, to cut taxes massively on the rich, to deliberately create a
deficit so immense that the government's impoverishment did indeed
become a problem. He waged a war of dubious merit and clear illegality
in Central America; he pandered to the most bigoted elements in American

The United States would be a far better place had he not been elected.

But politics deals in comparatives, not absolutes. And when I compare
Reagan with his ideological heir currently occupying the White House,
I'll take the Gipper, hands down. George W. Bush is much the meaner
president (and man). He is far more factional than Reagan was. And he
is incomparably more dangerous than Reagan or any other president in
this nation's history." [...]

From Pacifica Radio

[REQUIRE RealAudio]

"Robert Fisk is the Beirut-based correspondent for the London Independent
newspaper. He's spent the last 3 decades covering the Iranian Revolution,
the Iran-Iraq War, the Persian Gulf War, the conflict in Algeria and the
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Now that he's exited Iraq, we reached
him recently and asked how this, most recent war compared with past
wars he's covered."

From Rachel's Environmental and Health News

Back in New Jersey, | pdf |
February 20, 2003

[...] "But of course there's a reason for all this energy, activism
and commitment. Everyone in New Jersey lives within 10 miles of
a toxic dump.[2] There are at least 12,648 active contaminated
sites in the state, and more are being created as we speak.[3]
Yes, there's real trouble here." [...]

"At a meeting the other day, I ran into Jane Nogaki, one of New Jersey's
most wonderful activists, an environmental and community leader who
puts the rest of us to shame with her 25+ years of committed service,
and her patient smile as she slips the knife to the corporate polluters. To
give but one example of Jane's prowess: Back when Christie Todd Whitman
was New Jersey's governor and environmental and worker protections were
permanently stalled at the state level, Jane went from town to town and convinced
87 separate communities to adopt a precautionary, least-toxic pesticide ordinance
to protect students and staff in their schools. Shortly after Christie Whitman fled
New Jersey (leaving $5 billion in red ink as her legacy) to apply her "voluntary
compliance" philosophy as head of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA],
Jane Nogaki's precautionary approach to school pesticides quietly turned into
New Jersey state law." [...]

"At that moment the meeting is called to order and our conversation ends.
I reflect that the gentleman has been using a risk-based approach to defend
the status quo, doing his best to prevent people like Jane and me from asking
the most basic precautionary questions: (a) What are our goals for our children
and the quality of our environment? (b) What are our options for getting there?
(c) How can we prevent problems before they start? (d) Shouldn't corporations
have to test their products before they are allowed to market them?

Those questions are fundamentally different from, "How much arsenic-treated
wood is safe for children at play? How much PCB-mercury-Viagara-contaminated
fish can a pregnant woman eat without damaging her unborn baby's brain?"" [...]

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