Philosophies

The universe is made of stories, not atoms. (Muriel Rukeyser)

New Acropolis

Have you ever heard about New Acropolis?
Well, this Cultural Association changed my life.
Let me tell you a little bit of this classical philosophy school.

New Acropolis : Its beginnings
The New Acropolis Cultural Association was created 53 years ago, in 1957. Ever since then, it aims to provide young people with the best kind of philosophical education – one that is suited to our modern times, independant and unrestricted by any religious, political or socio-economic influences.
Initiated by Professor Jorge Angel Livraga Rizzi, together with a group of young university teachers and students, the project soon attracted leading personalities from the world of arts and culture. The focus that brought them all together was an idea and a movement which were both enriching for the mind and promising for all.
At the beginning of the Seventies, the extent of its social and cultural activities led to the Association’s recognition as a state-approved organization in Argentina. At around the same time, it began to take on an international dimension.
Today, the New Acropolis Cultural Association is present in over 50 countries around the world. Its over 10.000 active members and hundreds of thousands of supporters express themselves in more than 18 languages and come from a wide range of religious denominations, ethnic origins and cultural backgrounds, offering a fine example of fraternal co-existence and mutual understanding.

Aims:
The mass mentality which has overtaken our society goes against the expression of our deeper human concerns. However, the need to give expression to our aspirations remains. This need explains the presence of New Acropolis in society.
Professor Livraga identified several factors which he saw as producing a kind of apathy in the human soul: the ever-faster pace of life in our cities, the lack of contact with nature, the artificiality of our relationships and communications and the ephemeral and utilitarian goals we set ourselves. He saw New Acropolis as an antidote to this state of fact. He was determined that our association should help all of us to raise our consciouness to these problems and to take the opportunity to express our inner self. The present situation but confirms this view for today, more than ever, there is a pressing need to bring these aims about.
So our challenge today is to move away from a conformist culture, which only follows the dictates of fashion, to a more dynamic application of the essential values of philosophy, sciences and arts to work with en eye to the future.
Principles:

New Acropolis embraces and promotes principles of union inspired by such philosophies as Pythagoreanism, Neoplatonism, Theosophy and others, which in their time brought about real progress in civilization.

1. Fraternity among all human beings
Union beyond differences. Respect for different identities and traditions, combined with the understanding that we are all citizens of the world.

2. Harmonious coexistence between cultures
The practice of tolerance, fostered by a global education and culture, makes it possible to link together all fields of creativity and thought. Making connections in this way allows us to see beyond apparent contradictions and find them compatible and complementary.
It brings new and different people, ideas and feelings into harmony, in a richer and more open social community.

3. Development of the individual’s spiritual capacity
The human being is an integral part of nature but he is unaware of his own potential even though the possibilities for self-development are almost infinite.

“We realised that humanity possessed an immense treasure of Wisdom, which had been hidden and forgotten, and lay beyond the reach of young people. A Wisdom that provides answers about the meaning of life and ways in which society – the world around us – can be improved”, – Jorge Rizzi

Check it out the nearest New Acropolis from you and visit.
You have the power of changing the world into a better place, how about starting now?
http://www.acropolis.org

Finding light in the darkness


(…)
In times of such darkness we find ourselves longing for an ideal future or seeking miraculous formulas to protect us from pain and conflict. It is not easy for us to accept that there is no cure for living. Seeking a perfection that conforms to our images or our imagination, we miss the perfection and the mystery that is here before us every day – the rising of the sun, the beating of the heart, the changing of the seasons, the miracle of human speech.
There is an art to learning how to live with life’s challenges and hardships, to discover light amid darkness, and to heal ourselves and the world around us. Like any other art, the art of living in peace calls for both great love and discipline. We must be willing not to turn away from or shun the shadows in our lives but to turn toward them. This is the first and most significant step, for in turning, we begin to cast away our fears, despair, and self-doubt. It is not darkness that is our opponent but our rejection and denial of it. It is in our greatest difficulties that we find the world’s everlasting, unquenchable light. As Saint John of the Cross said, “If a person wishes to be sure of the road they tread upon, they must close their eyes and walk in the dark.” There we find true compassion and greatness of spirit.

– Soul food

photo by Gabriella Lima

Extraordinary possibilities

As a physician I had a man come into my practice with bone cancer. His leg was removed at the hip to save his life.
He was 24 years old when I started working with him and he was a very angry man with a lot of bitterness. He felt a deep sense of injustice and a very deep hatred for all well people, because it seemed so unfair to him that he had suffered this terrible loss so early in life.
I worked with this man through his grief and rage and pain using painting, imagery, and deep psychotherapy. After working with him for more than two years there came a profound shift. He began “coming out of himself”. Later he started to visit other people who had suffered severe physical losses and he would tell me the most wonderful stories about these visits.
Once he visited a young woman who was almost his own age. It was a hot day in Palo and he was in running shorts so his artificial leg showed when he came into her hospital room. The woman was so depressed about the loss of both her breasts that she wouldn’t even look at him, woudn’t pay attention to him. The nurses had left her radio playing, probably in order to cheer her up. So, desperate to get her attention, he unstrapped his leg and began dancing around the room on one leg, snapping his fingers to the music. She looked at him in amazement, and the burst out laughing and said, “Man, if you can dance, I can sing.”
It was a year following this that we sat down to review our work together. He talked about what was significant to him and then I shared what was significant in our process. As we were reviewing our two years of work together, I opened his file and there discovered several drawing he had made early on. I handed them to him. He looked at them and said, “Oh, look at this.” He showed me one of his earliest drawings. I had suggested to him that he draw a picture of his body. He had drawn a picture of a vase, and running through the vase was a deep black crack. This was the image of his body and he had taken a black crayon and had drawn the crack over and over again. He was grinding his teeth with rage at the time. It was very, very painful because it seemed to him that this vase could never function as a vase again. It could never hold water.
Now, sereval years later, he came to this picture and looked at it and said, “ Oh, this one isn’t finished.” And I said, extending the box of crayons, “ Why don’t you finish it?” He picked a yellow crayon and putting his finger on the crack he said, “ you see, here – where it is broken – this is where the light comes through.” And with the yellow crayon he drew light streaming through the crack in his body. We can grow strong at the broken places.

– Rachel Naomi Remen

photo by Gabriella Lima

A little attention makes all the difference

The whole family went out to dinner one evening. Menus were passed to all including Molly, the eight-year-old daughter. The conversation was an “adult” one so Molly sat ignored. When the waiter took orders, he came to Molly last.
“And what do you want?” he asked.
“A hot dog and a soda,” she said.
“No”, said her grandmother, “she’ll have the roast chicken dinner, carrots, and mashed potatoes.”
“And milk to drink,” chimed in her father.
“Would you like ketchup or mustard on your dog?” asked the waiter as he walked away, taking the parents aback.
“Ketchup,” she called out. She then turned to her family and added. “You know what? He thinks I’m real!”

-Contemporary (Soul food)

photo by Gabriella Lima

Quote

A brother came to Abba Poemen and said: Abba, a variety of thoughts are coming into my mind and I am in danger. The old man took him out in the air and said, “Open your robe and take hold of the wind.” And he answered, “No, I cannot do it”. The old man said, “ If you cannot do it, neither can you prevent those thoughts from coming in. But what you should do is to stand firm against them.”

Desert Fathers (Soul Food)

photo by Gabriella Lima

The greatness of the heart

The greatness of the heart

It happened just a few years ago to two young children in a family from Illinois. The eight-year-old daughter became ill and was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disease. A search went out to find a donor of blood compatible with her own. As she weakned, they looked and no donor could be found. Then it was discovered that her six-year-brother shared her rare blood type. The mother and their minister and doctor sat down with the boy to ask if he would be willing to donate his blood to save the life of his sister.
Much to their surprise he did not answer right away. He wanted some time to think. After a few days he went to his mother and said, “Yes, I’ll do it”.
The following day the doctor brought both children to his clinic and placed them on cots next to each other. He wanted them to see how one was helping the other. First he drew a half pint of blood from the young boy’s arm. Then he moved it over to his sister’s cot and inserted the needle so her brother could see the effect. In a few minutes color began to pour back into her cheeks.
Then the boy motioned for the doctor to come over. He wanted to ask a question, very quietly.
“Will I start to die right away?” he asked.
You see, when he had been asked to donate his blood to save the life of his sister, his six-year-old mind understood the process literally. That’s why he needed a few days to think about it.
And then he simply gave what is in the heart of every human being to give when we are truly connected.

– Christian (Soul food)