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"Free and critical minds can emerge only by a return to the source-the primary sources. A free and critical mind takes nothing for granted and is not intimidated by "authorities" who frequently may be more confused than the general public. Free and critical minds seek truth without chauvinism or shame." - Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III (1)

“One single bit of information, if missing, incomplete, out of order or just plain wrong, has the potential to significantly alter thought processes, conclusions, decisions and behaviors, even when that one single logic entry exists in a sea of accuracy.”

Sunday, May 31, 2009

John Hope Franklin - Historian of Truth

"I think knowing one's history leads one to act in a more enlightened fashion. I can not imagine how knowing one's history would not urge one to be an activist."

John Hope Franklin spoke these words to Emerge in March 1994.

Historians are in the group of often forgotten, true stars. There is a popular notion that positions societies, nations and worlds upon foundations wide and broad. It is more accurate to understand the development of life over time as positioned upon an inverted pyramid deeply and continuously rooted in an apex containing history. Successive generations must continue to build upon this base of knowledge but first they must build up and around the foundation by making sure they teach the history of all people to all people. They must also hold to the main principle of history. Peoples who build and suppose to live without the base in mind, that life depends on a few things, not many, or this basic sensibility will surely topple or in the very least, suffer many unnecessary hardships.

John Hope Franklin's legacy encompasses the telling of events like it was and is. His legacy added a layer of history of Colored People, Negroes, Blacks and African-Americans.

For my dollars worth, historians have a responsibility to provide the comprehensive context for their subject matter. John Hope Franklin identified another responsibility, though it is not peculiar to historians alone.

You can't have a high standard of scholarship without having a high standard of integrity, because the essence of scholarship is truth." (Winston-Salem Journal, Aug. 6, 1989)

Truth, i.e., accuracy, is the main principle of history. John Hope Franklin is a scholar in this regard. We have a collective responsibility to act upon the information he left to guide and gird us. Inherent in our personal, individual responsibility is seeking knowledge that leads to the truth. Reading history, hearing history, watching history, memorizing history, talking about history and commemorating history with events are empty exercises unless we truly understand history and become activists – those who take continuous action for the few things that matter. When we don't understand, we become inactivists despite the things we do if those things do not first ensure the foundational beliefs and practices are in place that we've learned as a result of history.

Historians such as John Hope Franklin, who have upheld the principles of his craft, have done their part. What will I do? What will I do a little better than I did yesterday?

John Hope Franklin: b. 1-2-1915, d. 3-25-2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Overcoming & Clearing Boundaries: Man, Woman, Child

There was a woman who walked the same path for quite some time. On one side of the path were trees, bushes and underbrush. On the other side was a ditch both wide and deep. On either side of these boundaries were clearings, though she could only perceive one of these clearings.

A man walked this path and found it too narrow in some places and too wide in others. He knew all it would take is one moment of inattention and he could fall into the ditch. “If you're not careful, you're going to fall into that ditch!” he would often remind himself.

Since the clearing on the other side of the ditch allowed them to see what was coming before it came, they both decided to always cheat to this side despite the ditch.

Though it seemed as one continuous, mostly straight path, it was actually an egg-shaped loop. The landscape only appeared to change due to circumstances and time.

One day, after slipping for quite some time and ignoring the fact, these two children fell completely into the ditch at different times and places. They both sat up, checked themselves out, checked out their situation, studied, uplifted themselves and climbed out. Instead of climbing out on the side where the clearing was visible, both of them crossed the boundary and walked steadily in among the trees. There they found different paths leading back to the same clearer vision of themselves.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Poetry is Finished

...when it is finished. That's the short answer.

Poetry is finished when you no longer wonder. Is it possible that it's finished and you don't know it? Not usually.

The only way to not know whether poetry is finished is by trusting neither intellect or intuition or by not having a cooperative blend of the thinking self and the sensing self.

Whether you write poetry from a mental standpoint, spiritual standpoint or combination, you finish when the urging ceases.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Poem - Spring Means Things

The Nature of Things by Usiku

Spring's in the air and I can taste
the smell of renewal and yard waste.
Soon I'll be fussing over flower beds
getting way in over my head.
My veggies will be organic for sure
because I'm using cow manure.
The backyard is neglected since
I have a six foot privacy fence.

See Also Natural World Observations: Going Wild Like A Flower In Spring Breaking Free

Sunday, May 3, 2009

How to Write Well and a Lot

The following is condensed and reprinted with permission from Technical Communication Center by Dr. Ugur Akinci.

Writing well and writing a lot are closely linked.

Usually, people who write well write a lot too. And those who cannot write well cannot write anything at all. There is a very good reason why that is so. It's an internal connection that may open the doors of both creativity and productivity for you, simultaneously.

Here are the keys to this not-so-mysterious phenomenon:

First: Write about things you really care about or things that move something inside. Do not write about a subject just because "it's popular" or "it brings money" because you can't. The result would be a bone-dry piece of nothing. You wouldn't enjoy reading what you've written.

Second: Try to get an approximate understanding of WHY you're writing what you're writing. And that does not have to be a well-constructed and tightly-argued reason. No. It can be just a feeling, or a sensation, but you still have to be fully aware of it. Good writing requires you to be well aware of yourself, your mind and your heart. Your radar must be actively scanning your interior landscape when you write so you'll know why you're doing it. Knowing why will set the color of your canvas. That's what you'll leave the reader with.

The reason "why" you are writing something is the tool with which you take one slice from Reality and make it your own. Life is the big pie. You take the narrow serving knife of "why" and serve your readers a delicious slice. If you don't have the "why" then you can't serve the pie.

Third: Accept your uniqueness. That's perhaps the HARDEST part to writing well.

We all do have a different take on things! But we usually end up joining the choir, and going along with the team. That's when we collapse our fresh viewpoint onto a worn out template. That's when we start writing awfully stale stuff; dead matter that's not breathing.

As a writer we have to overcome the anxiety of individuality. We have to suspend our anxiety of judgment by others by accepting upfront that 99% of anything we write will not be liked by anyone anyways! Once we accept that hard blow on the broken nose of our ego, we're out of your own jail. All the damage is done upfront and we're free to sing with our own voice.

Once you develop the trust and habit of listening to your own matchless take on Reality, you'll also discover what a PLEASURE it is to write about - anything, really! When writing is such a personal pleasure you can't stop but write long and write frequently. That's when quality joins quantity.

Have the courage to be yourself. That's when you'll start writing well and writing a lot too.