RICHARD NIXON VISITS CHINA. THE WEEK MY LIFE DOOMED.
My arrival in Doom Dooma, Tinsukia District, Assam, India during the Week of February 1972 marks an event that Doomed My Life.
I live in the United States, the Leader of the Free World, a Free Nation without any sense of hope for my future Life. I constantly experience the Misery, the Despair, the Frustration, the Disappointment, the Pain, and the Feelings of Hopelessness that describe the lives of Tibetans living in Occupied Tibet.
DOOM DOOMA DOOMSAYER
Richard Nixon visits China – HISTORY
The Year 1972
Richard Nixon visits China
President Richard Nixon visits the People’s Republic of China. After arriving in Beijing, the president announced that his breakthrough visitto China is “The week that changed the world.” In meeting with Nixon, Prime Minister Zhou Enlai urged early peace in Vietnam but did not endorse North Vietnam’s political demands. North Vietnamese officials and peace negotiators took a dim view of Nixon’s trip, fearing that China and the United States would make a deal behind their backs. Nixon’s promise to reduce the U.S. military presence on Taiwan seemed to confirm North Vietnam’s fears of a Chinese-American sellout-trading U.S. military reduction in Taiwan for peace in Vietnam. Despite Hanoi’s fears, China continued to supply North Vietnam levels of aid that had increased significantly in late 1971. This aid permitted the North Vietnamese to launch a major new offensive in March 1972.
Richard Nixon makes the first U.S. presidential visit to China
President Richard M. Nixon arrives in Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China, on the first presidential visit to the world’s most populous nation. The U.S. federal government had formally opposed China’s communist government since it took power in 1949,
Karl Marx publishes the Communist Manifesto
On February 21, 1848, The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx with the assistance of Friedrich Engels, is published in London by a group of German-born revolutionary socialists known as the Communist League.
Kissinger begins secret negotiations with North Vietnamese
National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger begins secret peace talks with North Vietnamese representative Le Duc Tho, the fifth-ranking member of the Hanoi Politburo, at a villa outside Paris.
Nixon arrives in China for talks
In an amazing turn of events, President Richard Nixon takes a dramatic first step toward normalizing relations with the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) by traveling to Beijing for a week of talks.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute as he stands next to the coffins containing the remains of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel who were killed after a suicide bomber rammed a car into a bus carrying them in south Kashmir on Thursday, at Palam airport in New Delhi, India, February 15, 2019. India’s Press Information Bureau/Handout via REUTERS
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned Pakistan on Friday to expect a strong response to a suicide attack that killed 44 paramilitary policemen in Kashmir, ratcheting up tension between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
The car bomb attack on a security convoy on Thursday was the worst in decades of insurgency in the disputed region. India said it had “incontrovertible evidence” of Pakistani involvement, a statement quickly rejected by Islamabad.
“We will give a befitting reply, our neighbor will not be allowed to destabilize us,” Modi said in a speech, after meeting security advisers to discuss options.
The attack comes months before national elections in India.
The Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility soon after a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into a bus carrying police personnel.
India has for years accused Muslim Pakistan of backing separatist militants in divided Kashmir, which the neighbors both claim in full but rule in part.
Pakistan denies that, saying it only offers political support to the Himalayan region’s suppressed Muslim people.
The White House urged Pakistan “to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil”.
Pakistan is due to host peace talks next week between the Afghan Taliban and the United States as part of efforts to seek a political settlement to the Afghan war, but escalating tensions with India could divert Pakistan’s attention.
People attend a candlelight vigil to pay tribute to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel who were killed after a suicide bomber rammed a car into the bus carrying them in south Kashmir on Thursday, in front of India Gate war memorial in New Delhi, India, Feb. 15, 2019. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
As outrage and demands for revenge flooded Indian social media, Arun Jaitley, one of the most senior figures in the Hindu nationalist-led government, told reporters India would work to ensure the “complete isolation” of Pakistan.
The first step, he said, would include removing most favored nation (MFN) trade privileges that had been accorded to Pakistan – though annual bilateral trade between the countries is barely $2 billion.
The last major attack in Kashmir was in 2016 when Jaish militants raided an Indian army camp, killing 20 soldiers. Weeks later, Modi ordered a surgical strike on suspected militant camps across the border in Pakistan Kashmir.
When he swept to power in 2014, Modi vowed to pursue a tough line with Pakistan. The two countries have gone to war three times since independence from Britain in 1947, twice over Kashmir.
The Line of Control, the de facto border dividing Indian- and Pakistani-held Kashmir, is widely regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints, especially after the two countries became nuclear-armed states in 1998.
CALLS FOR REVENGE
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Pakistan’s ambassador, Sohail Mahmood, and issued a demarche demanding that Islamabad take verifiable action against Jaish. India also recalled its ambassador in Pakistan for consultations, a government source said.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry also summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad to reject New Delhi’s “baseless allegations,” a Pakistani official said.
Crowds gathered in Jammu, the Hindu-dominated part of Jammu and Kashmir state, to demand stronger action against Pakistan.
A curfew was briefly imposed in Jammu after crowds overturned and set fire to some vehicles. Protesters were also marching to the Pakistani embassy in New Delhi.
The attack comes at a difficult time for Pakistan, which is struggling to attract foreign investment and avert a payments crisis, with its swiftly diminishing foreign currency reserves at less than $8 billion, equivalent to two months of import payments.
The escalating tension risks overshadowing a visit to the region by the Saudi crown prince, who is due in Islamabad over the weekend and New Delhi next week, with both governments hoping to attract Saudi investment.
On Friday, Islamabad said the two-day visit had been put back by a day until Sunday but the programme would remain unchanged. It gave no explanation for the change.
Indian soldiers examine the debris after an explosion in Lethpora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district Feb 14, 2019. REUTERS/Younis Khaliq
India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh flew into Srinagar, the main city in Indian Kashmir, and joined mourners carrying the coffins of the dead policemen before they were sent to their homes across India.
Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops are deployed in Kashmir. Singh said civilian vehicles will be stopped if there is a major movement of military convoys on the main highway following Thursday’s attack.
The separatist insurgency has waxed and waned since the late 1980s, but began to pick up in the last five years as a fresh generation of Kashmiris was drawn to militancy.
Soon after Thursday’s attack, Jaish released photographs and a video of a young Kashmiri villager, Adil Ahmad Dar, who it said had carried out the suicide attack on the convoy.
In the video, Dar warned of more attacks to avenge human rights violations in Kashmir. On Friday, hundreds of people gathered at his village of Lethpora to mourn his death.
His parents told Reuters the 20-year-old took up the gun after he was beaten by troops in Kashmir three years ago.
Jaish is one of the most deadly groups operating in Kashmir.
In 2001, it mounted an attack on the parliament in New Delhi that brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.
Indian efforts to add Jaish leader Masood Azhar to a UN Security Council blacklist of al Qaeda-linked terrorists have been blocked by China.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang expressed “deep shock” at the latest attack and said Beijing hoped “relevant countries in the region” could cooperate to combat the threat.
In the natural world, forces of attraction are known as Gravitation and Magnetism. If Love is viewed as a force of attraction between two objects, it may be governed by natural laws. I view love as a three-dimensional force of attraction, and its dimensions are 1. God’s Love, 2. Self-Love, 3. Love for another person other than Self and God. These dimensions flow into each other to become a full circle.
Saint Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14 and it has become a popular tradition to choose or to greet a sweetheart. But this concept of romantic interest in a person is more related to a sexual attraction and other attributes of ‘Whole Love’ such as trust, respect, and commitment may not be always present. Secondly, the tradition of Valentine’s Day is not related to the concept of God is Love and God Loves the Man.
Love is a powerful emotion felt for another person manifesting itself in deep affection, devotion or sexual desire. If love is viewed as fondness or affection it may include or based in part on sexual attraction which is related to libido( sexual urge or instinct ), and lust( a desire to gratify the senses or bodily appetite that seeks unrestrained gratification ).
Love implies feelings that are attached to relationships or objects and assumes various forms such as sexual love, brotherly love, and love of God. The attachment may be felt for inanimate things as well as people, or ideas, or expressed as an abstraction. There are many different kinds of love; different in the object, different in tendency, and different in expression. The problem of the kinds of love is further complicated by the need to differentiate and relate love and desire. The category of love known as sexual love has the tendency to desire possession of the object that is loved. The tendency of desire is acquisitive. Sexual love is a love born of desire, and the drive of desire continues until it is satisfied by possession of the loved object. Physical possession is the basis for satisfaction of sexual desire, sexual appetite, or sexual hunger, or sexual thirst. The other forms of love do not tend to possess the object loved but seek to benefit the object that is loved. Love is selfish when it acts like hunger, thirst, or appetite which need to be satisfied for the benefit of the person expressing that love. Love is altruistic when it acts for the good or the benefit of the beloved. Conjugal love may include a combination of selfishness and altruism. The ancient languages have three distinct words for the main types of love; EROS, PHILIA, and AGAPE in the Greek language; AMOR, AMICITA or DILECTIO, and CARITAS in the Latin language. However, the English language has no such distinct words and hence it becomes necessary to use such phrases as “sexual love”, “love of friendship”, and “love of charity” in order to indicate plainly that love is common to all three and to distinguish the three meanings.
The idea of love expressed in Biblical Scriptures makes no distinction between AMOR, DILECTIO, and CARITAS. For example, in The Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Chapter 22, verses 37, 38, and 39 speak of the Great Commandments of The Laws of Moses: Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus brings unity between the idea of self-love, love of God, and the love of one another without making a distinction between the three different kinds of love. Jesus does not specify if the man should wish and expect to be loved in return. Jesus did not attach any purpose to this act of love and did not describe the nature of desire, the attachment, and gratification of his Love Commandment.
THE ORIGIN OF LOVE:
Sigmund Freud’s theory places the origin of love in the sexual instincts, and so for him, the many varieties of love are simply the forms which love takes as the ‘LIBIDO’ fixes upon various objects. He states, “The nucleus of what we mean by love naturally consists …… in sexual love with the sexual union as its aim. We do not separate from this; on the one hand, self-love, and on the other, love for parents and children, friendship and love for humanity in general, and devotion to concrete objects and to abstract ideas….. All these tendencies are an expression of the same instinctive activities… They differ from sexual love only because they are diverted from its aim or prevented from reaching it, though they always preserve enough of their original nature to keep their identity recognizable.” If love is a passion of the sexual instinct, temperance is an inadequate restraint. Neither reason nor law is adequate to the task of subduing the nature of the sexual instinct. Sexual instinct is a very powerful biological instinct and it profoundly influences human behavior. Hence it becomes necessary to transform sexual love either by repressing it, or sublimating it, or mixing it with tenderness or kindness. In that context, friendship, charity or compassion, and devotion to God could be stated as transformations of sexual love. Sexual instincts are inhibited or actually repressed in the expression of brotherly love, or feelings of deep affection for children and others where the relationship should not be based upon feelings of sexual attraction.
THE COMPLEXITY OF LOVE:
Love is a very complex emotional instinct and it is complex as it may not always provide a sense of joy or happiness. There is a fact about love; love frequently turns into its opposite, HATE. Sometimes there is love and hate of the same object; sometimes love inspires hate, and love may also cause jealousy, anger, and fear. Love seems to be the primal passion, generating all the others according to the oppositions of pleasure and pain and by a relation of cause and effect. The individual’s experience of love is extremely variable and it includes the operation of both positive and negative impulses.
Indian tradition has carefully examined this complex instinctual behavior and has instructed people of the Land of Bharat or India to understand the three major distinctions or categories of love and to apply a sense of restraint, or that of repression has brought love under the purview of morality, the code of Right Conduct or DHARMA. Indian Culture does not provide the linguistic tools to express feelings associated with sexual passion without using temperance. There is no linguistic equivalent in classical Indian languages to profess love. The terms and words that Indians use have a specific meaning attached to them.
LOVE vs PREMA:
Love is a universal term and this idea is not expressed in Indian tradition and classical literature. The word “LOVE” appears repeatedly in the Bible, in several different editions of the Bible. I am not a language expert and I believe that people who translated the Bible have exercised great care to convey the meaning of love. Many editions of Bible have further clarified the meaning of Love in their glossary section or Bible dictionary and define Love as a deep sense of affection, devotion for someone or something and they very carefully exclude sexual desire and sexual passion.
In the English-speaking world, and in English literature, the word Love is used to describe desire, libido, lust, and passion based upon sexual attraction. So, Love is a generic term and it may not always mean brotherly love and goodwill.
Indian Culture has erected subtle barriers and has not provided linguistic tools to use the word Love as we like. It separates Love into various categories and sets them apart. The feelings of affection or fondness that are associated with sexual attraction are specifically known as ‘KAMA’ and intense sexual passion or desire is called ‘MOHA’. Any intense or passionate desire could be called KAMA and to act under its influence could be stated as MOHA. My love for God could only be expressed in terms of Bhakti or Devotion, and the desire could be called PREET. The desire called PREETI or Preet is a legitimate desire. It is also called “ISHTA”. I am allowed to seek or desire certain things in my life and that desire is subject to the rule of Good Conduct or Dharma. I can express the sentiment of Preet only when, and where such desire is allowed to be stated in a legitimate manner and is acceptable to tradition and established conventions and social norms. If I entertain thoughts of sexual attraction about my attractive and rich neighbor, I am not allowed to describe my feelings as Preet. Feelings associated with sexual desire may not be called “ISHTA”. I can call it Kama or Moha.
In the epic poem of Ramayana, when King Ravana of Lanka wanted to marry Princess Sita and attended her “Swayamvara,” the desire was legitimate and he was entitled to entertain thoughts of sexual attraction and it was not the equivalent of illegitimate Kama. But, when King Ravana abducted her while she was lawfully married to Prince Rama, that desire and sexual attraction represent an impulsive action of Moha and Kama. King Ravana was not entitled to express his Love for Sita if it is formulated by the Kama, and intense sexual passion known as Lust or Moha.
A man can express his love or Preet for a woman in a respectful or legitimate manner and seek a valid relationship. If the relationship is illegal, it can not be called Preet. A father’s love, or mother’s love, or brother’s love is described as “VASTHALYA”, a natural sense of affection and fondness which is not related to sexual attraction or desire. The word “PREMA” or “PREM” is used to describe the feelings of Affection, Fondness, Friendship(SNEHA), Kindness(DAYA, or KARUNA), Compassion(KRUPA), Happiness, Joy(ANANDA) that have no direct relationship to the gratification of sexual desires and passions. The deep sense of affection between husband and wife is often called “ANURAG” which indicates an intimate friendship based upon the foundations of trust, respect, and commitment. I can not literally translate the English Language word LOVE into any of the Indian languages as such expression is not allowed without stating the nature of its contents.
The Commandment of Jesus to “Love your neighbor as thyself” cannot be shared in Indian languages. Jesus did not state that idea in terms of Friendship(SNEHA), Kindness(DAYA), or giving Happiness(ANANDA). Only when those qualities of Friendship, Kindness, and giving Joy or Happiness are specifically included the Commandment of Jesus could be translated into the Indian languages using the term or word “PREMA.”
However, in Indian tradition, the deep sense of affection or fondness of God is stated as Bhakti or Devotion. Mirabai expressed such a deep sense of affection and I would not call it as her love of Krishna. Jayadeva in his famous description of Lord Krishna’s creative activities in Brindavan(Vrindavan) depicted the intense erotic feelings of the young maidens as a product of their intense devotion to the Lord. I can not use the word Love to describe the sexual passions of the Gopis or the young maidens of Brindavan.
SELF-LOVE AND NARCISSISM:
My concern is not about PREMA or LOVE. My concern is about Self-Love, a man’s love of himself. In psychology, the word ‘NARCISSISM’ is used to describe excessive self-love. In my medical practice, I have not encountered such narcissistic tendencies among people of Indian origin. Indian tradition has erected barriers and would not easily let us identify ourselves with the physical Self. Indian tradition repeatedly instructs us about our Essence and true Identity and reminds us not to get attached to the physical Self. If I have no feelings of attachment to my physical Self, I can not really love myself. If I can not truly love myself, I can not also love my neighbor in the same manner, or to the same degree of my self-love. If I hate myself, the chances of loving another person become extremely remote. If a man is not expected to love himself, the issue of loving the neighbor is redundant.
THEERTHAM, TIRTHA, TIRTHA SNAAN – SANATANA DHARMA OF INDIA
The ancient traditions of India are often described as ‘Sanatana Dharma’. Indians for a very long time recognized the significance of Water and use it in various rituals, particularly for the purification of the human body which is prone to sickness or illness attributed to sinful thoughts, words, and actions. The term ‘Theertham’ refers to water that is sanctified by prayerful thought and by using it in the devotional worship of God. The term ‘Tirtha’ refers to a body of water such as a well, pond, lake, river, or sea which gets an elevated status because of its geographical association with a physical location, place, or position named ‘Sthan’ or ‘Kshetra’. The physical journey to visit the place of Tirtha Sthan is called Tirtha Yatra. The act of taking a bath or dipping into the water at a Tirtha Sthan is called Tirtha Snaan.
I ask my readers to reflect on the divine attributes of the Water Molecule. The original, sweet taste of fresh water cannot be discovered by the study of the properties of the Chemical Elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen which combine to form the Chemical Compound called Water. Man, like several other terrestrial creatures, depends upon Fresh Water delivered from ‘Heaven’.
Kumbh Mela: Millions of Indians take a holy dip – BBC News
Millions of people have taken to the waters at the confluence of India’s sacred Ganges and Yamuna rivers as part of the Kumbh Mela festival – humanity’s largest gathering.
Officials told the BBC some 15m people bathed on Tuesday. They expect about 120m visitors over 49 days.
Hindus believe bathing at the rivers will cleanse their sins and bring salvation.
The holy men were among the first procession to arrive early Tuesday.
Sadhus – or ascetics – smeared ash on their bodies as they came out of the water and chanted “Har Har Gange”, or “Mother Ganges”, and danced while posing for photographers.
Image copyright Ankit Srinivas
The Naga sadhus are the biggest draw of the festival – held in the northern city of Allahabad, recently renamed Prayagraj – and arrived early in the morning in massive colorful processions.
Thousands of the Sadhus – naked and wearing marigold garlands around their necks – were escorted by police to the river as they chanted slogans invoking Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. Many were waving tridents and swords.
At the last Kumbh in 2013, female ascetics were allowed to bathe at the confluence of the rivers – known as the Sangam – for the first time. A few hundred transgender people were among those who bathed on Tuesday morning.
More than a million foreign pilgrims will also take part in the festival, senior administration official Rajeev Rai told the BBC.
He and other organizers had been preparing for more than a year for the event, which dwarfs the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites in Saudi Arabia.
Image copyright Ankit Srinivas Image caption Religious sects arrived in processions to take a dip
The mela (meaning “fair” in Hindi) has been held in Allahabad for centuries now, but it has grown into a mega event in the past two decades.
Image copyright Getty Images
This year the gathering will be particularly huge and many believe India’s Hindu nationalist government has organized it with an eye on key general elections due in the summer.
Massive billboards of Prime Minister Narendra Modi dot Allahabad city and the Mela ground. Huge cardboard cut-outs have been placed strategically at the bathing areas.
Image copyright Ankit Srinivas
A temporary tent city spread over 32 sq km (12 sq miles) has been set up to accommodate the masses, complete with hundreds of kilometers of new roads. Hospitals, banks, and fire services have been set up just for the festival, along with 120,000 toilets.
Hundreds of new train services are running to and from Allahabad to tackle the rush of pilgrims and more than 30,000 police and paramilitaries have been deployed to provide security and manage the crowds.
In the run-up to the festival, religious sects held daily processions marked by much pomp and show.
Image copyright Ankit Srinivas
At one such procession on Sunday night, there were elephants, camels, and horses. Brass bands and drummers played, as religious leaders sitting atop several vehicles threw marigold flowers to thousands of devotees.
On Monday – a day before the official start of the festival – tens of thousands of pilgrims bathed at the Sangam. Some then lit clay lamps and floated them along with flowers in the Ganges.
Image copyright Ankit Srinivas
Image copyright Ankit Srinivas
The atmosphere at the mela is festive, and the authorities have announced a calendar of music and dance performances. But there’s plenty of impromptu entertainment taking place by the roadside, with children performing rope tricks and shows by drummers and ballad singers.
Most pilgrims, however, say they are here to “answer the call of Mother Ganges”.
“We believe that bathing here will destroy our sins,” farmer Pramod Sharma said.
“The waters here have regenerative properties. Bathing here can cure your ailments. It also removes obstacles from your way,” Shahbji Raja said.
Kumbh Mela at a glance
A pilgrimage in which Hindus gather at points along the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers
This year’s event expects 120 million visitors over seven weeks, dwarfing last year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia which drew about 2.4 million
Astrology determines most aspects of the festival, including its date, duration, and location
The most recent full Kumbh, held in 2013 in Allahabad, was also a Maha (or great) Kumbh, which happen every 144 years. It attracted an estimated 100 million visitors
A lost-and-found camp was set up in 1946 and has since helped reunite countless family members and friends who get separated in the vast crowds
This year, 15 lost-and-found camps have been set up. These computerized centers are interconnected and their announcements will be heard across the Mela grounds. Details will also be uploaded on Facebook and Twitter to help trace the missing
MAKAR SANKRANTI, MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 2019. THE GRAND ILLUSION GOVERNS THE HUMAN EXISTENCE
Man’s mortal journey on Earth’s surface is measured by the duration of Sun’s apparent motions across sky which is experienced as Day and Night while Sun shines all the time without performing movements characterized as Sunrise and Sunset. Man blissfully exists without ever experiencing true motions of Sun around Milky Way Galactic Center. The Grand Illusion, the apparent motion of Sun and other heavenly objects across the sky is the fundamental basis of Biological Rhythm that governs the man’s living functions.
MAKAR SANKRANTI, MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 2019. THE PERCEPTION OF CHANGING SEASONS
Whole Concept – The Perception of Time and Unchanging Reality: Happy Makara Sankranti to all of my readers. Indians observe and Celebrate the Movement of Sun across the Celestial Sphere. Human Existence is conditioned by Illusion; the Apparent Motions of Sun and not the Real Motions of Sun influence the experience of Life on Earth.
UNDERSTANDING TIME AND THE CONCEPT OF UNCHANGING REALITY:
Makar Sankranti, Monday, January 14, 2019. Earth’s Rotational Spin provides experience of Time by causing changes in the environment which Man perceives as Day and Night. This cyclical change of alternating periods of Light and Darkness is synchronized with Man’s Biological Rhythms.
Time is defined as the period or interval between two events or during which something exists, happens, or acts; the duration is a measurable interval. Indian thinkers have described ‘Time’ or ‘KAALA’ as a Power or a Force that is eternal suggesting that ‘Time’ existed before the formation of this created universe, Time operates during the existence of this created universe, and Time remains after the total dissolution of this created universe. ‘Things in Nature change with Time’. Does Time exert a force entirely of its own to change things in Nature? If Time is viewed as a Power or Force, who controls this Force and what are the Laws that operate this Force?
Makar Sankranti, Monday, January 14, 2019.The Subjective Reality of Man’s physical existence is operated by the Biological Clock which may have a plan for Man’s Dissolution.
Everything that is born, everything that has come into existence, and everything that is conditioned arrives with its own plan for dissolution. Whosoever had arrived on this planet Earth, is sure to depart. Time operates this plan for dissolution. Time has the power to cause dissolution of the animate as well as the inanimate world and the physical universe. Whatever qualities, or attributes such as material wealth, social status, social position, and physical state of well-being that man cherishes and desires most would be dissolved and would be rendered useless by the effects of Time. Humans lack the material, and the biological abilities to transform their physical beings into sources of perpetual enjoyment. Time with its Power of Dissolution would eventually compel us to investigate and to explore the concept of Absolute and Unchanging Reality. This Subjective Reality of Man’s existence on this planet Earth which is a member of the Solar System would be dissolved by the influence of Time. Dissolution of Sun and the Solar System would not lead to dissolution of this universe that we currently know and understand. Even when man is dissolved, the conditioned reality of this physical universe will continue and remains as before as Earth and Sun do not describe the total reality of this conditioned universe.
THE PERCEPTION OF CHANGE AND HUMAN CONCEPTS ABOUT TIME:
Makar Sankranti, Monday, January 14, 2019.The Moving Train and the Perception of changing landscape. Photo Credit: Indyeahforever.
Many of you who learned Physics understand the term Speed and Velocity. A person riding in a train or any other moving object could perceive a change that is caused by the motion. The nature of this perception depends upon the Speed or Velocity of that moving object. If the person jumps out of the train, the change that he has been perceiving immediately stops. There would be no changing landscape. As the speed of train increases, perception of change also alters and at very high speeds man loses the ability of visual perception. The visual image becomes a blur. If man is viewing a Motion Picture, his visual ability to view the Picture could be destroyed by simply increasing the speed of the Projector.
Any given point on the surface of the Earth moves with the Speed of the Earth. Earth is moving at a great speed and man has no ability to perceive this motion or the speed. Man perceives a change in his environment and calls it day and night.
We run our lives by numbers on clocks and calendars. The clocks and calendars create the illusion that we live in a world of mathematically measured segments of time. Time is looked upon as a flow like a river. Sir Isaac Newton (1687) stated that the flow of Time is absolute; “It flows equably without relation to anything external.” In 1905 while postulating the Theory of Relativity, Albert Einstein had observed that Time is not absolute, and measurement of Time is affected by the motion of the observer. The Relativity of Time becomes significant only at great speeds. Gravity affects both Light and Time. Gravity bends both Space and Light. Time is affected by the gravitational field of each celestial body. Time is unique to any one spot in the universe. If you and I do not exist at the same spot in the universe, our experience of Time will not be the same. Thus, experience of Time on this planet is an illusionary experience and is not an absolute experience.
‘KAALA CHAKRA’ OR THE CYCLICAL FLOW OF TIME:
Makar Sankranti, Monday, January 14, 2019.The Cyclical Flow of Time brings Cyclical Changes called ‘Seasons’ at expected Time intervals. Life exists because of the Cyclical Flow of Time.
Herman Minkowski, a mathematician, added Time as the Fourth Dimension of Three-Dimensional Space. Time is seen as a Dimension as it gives meaning to events and the order in which they occur. Physicists describe Time and Space as the building blocks of this universe. Biologists see Time in the internal clocks that keep all living entities in sync with Nature.
Human existence and the existence of all other living entities depend upon this illusionary experience of Time. Life exists and operates only if Time flows in a cyclical manner just like a wheel that moves, rotates on an axle or axis. Man needs this experience of day and night during his entire life journey. Man needs the changing Seasons with its cyclical regularity.
Just imagine the consequences to human existence if Spring Season does not arrive at the Time it is expected. Planet Earth is not at the same location or place in Space as Time flows. Last year, we had experienced the Spring Season while Earth existed at an entirely different location and we look forward for the arrival of a new Spring Season despite the Change in the position. Despite Changes in location or position, in relative terms, the Spring Season is the Unchanging Reality of the Conditioned State of Human Existence.
Because of the Conditioned nature of Human Existence, Man always looks forward, and hopes that Time would flow in a cyclical manner bringing cyclical changes. Biologists describe Life in terms of Life Cycles. All living functions have a rhythmic or cyclical quality. The exchange of gases during a cycle called Respiration involves the cyclical events of Inspiration and Expiration. The vital functions sustained by Circulation demands cyclical flow of Blood. The Individual and his State or Condition of Individuality remains existing as an Unchanging Reality if he experiences the cyclical changes in his bodily functions and in the environment in which he exists.
I am that Unchanging Reality; the Reality of my Identity and my Individuality remains unchanged as my physical body experiences cyclical changes in its appearance and in the environment where it exists. My phenotype or morphological appearance or outward appearance undergoes a constant change and this change is synchronized with the cyclical change called alternating periods of Day and Night. The Biological Clock precisely measures this Time interval or duration of my existence relative to the illusionary change; the Sun is always shining with all His brightness with no significant change that I can perceive.
THE GOD CONNECTION:
Makar Sankranti, Monday, January 14, 2019. Face Recognition Technology helps Identification of an Individual. Under the influence of Time, the outward appearance undergoes changes all the time during Life’s Journey and yet Identity and Individuality survives the Time’s Power of Dissolution.
My Identity and my Individuality is the Unchanging Reality of my conditioned state of human existence. I had explored the Nature of this Unchanging Identity and Individuality. This Unchanging Reality of Identity and Individuality exists during the Time interval or duration of my God Connection. I know that Time existed before my creation, Time is operating during my existence as a created being, and Time would continue to operate after my physical dissolution. Time with its great power of Dissolution could not change my perception about my Unchanging Identity and Individuality because of my God Connection. It is rational, it is logical, and it is reasonable to reflect upon Absolute and Unchanging Reality as long as I maintain my Identity and Individuality which cannot be changed or altered by the flow of Time.
ON THE TENTH DAY OF JANUARY, SEPTUAGENARIAN DISCOVERS THE SEPTUAGINT
On the tenth day of January, Septuagenarian Discovers the Septuagint.
I acknowledge the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy on the Tenth Day of January 2019. At any given place, and time, the external circumstances impacting our living conditions vary as all of us have individualistic life experiences even while sharing common living environment.
I seek Emotional Equilibrium or Emotional Balance or Mood Balance while preparing to face challenges posed in the new year of my life. I seek Wisdom shared by Septuagint, the Greek version of the Bible known to Jesus during His lifetime. He cautions people about hardened hearts, spiritual blindness, and deafness that makes people unresponsive to human pain and suffering. I should not hope or desire to find people who have the heart to know my problems, who have eyes to see my difficulties, and who have ears to listen to my pitiable groans.
It helps me to secure my Emotional Equilibrium by knowing Septuagint, particularly, the ideas shared by Prophet Isaiah which guided Jesus during His very difficult Life Journey.
I am not surprised to find that people do not understand the pain that I reveal in my writing. I am not surprised to find that people do not perceive the hardships that I endure. I am not surprised to find that people cannot hear my voice filled with desperation.
I am not perturbed for I live among people whose hearts have become dull. At least for now, I must live without the benefit of healing promised by Jesus.
Jesus speaks of conversion that leads to healing of hearts. Time has healing power of its own. Both physical wounds and emotional injuries heal under the influence of Time. In 2019, I need to wait with patience and ask for blessings of perseverance for the healing process to manifest its results.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 48104-4162
I am not a photographer, but my heart captures the brutality of Tibet’s military occupation without the use of any lens.
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
AMAZING TIBET – PHOTOS SHOT BY XINHUA PHOTOGRAPHERS
The aerial photo was taken on March 4, 2018, shows a newly-built bridge across the Lhasa River, a tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo River, Tibet. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorje)
An archer shoots on horseback in an equestrian event in Jiangjiao Village of Lhasa, capital of Tibet, Feb. 25, 2018. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorje)
The photo was taken on Jan. 6, 2018 shows red deer in a forest of the nature reserve in Shannan City, Tibet. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Zhang Rufeng)
A woman carrying forage grass on her back is seen with her daughter in Dingri County in Xigaze, Tibet, Sept. 13, 2018. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)
Tourists walk into the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, Nov. 15, 2018. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)
A woman looks after her child during the break of mowing on a pasture in Damxung County, Tibet, Oct. 2, 2018. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)
Aerial photo shows the snow-covered Potala Palace in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, Dec. 19, 2018. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)
Buddhists and tourists participate in the sacred “sunning of the Buddha” ceremony to mark the start of the annual Shoton festival at the Zhaibung Monastery in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, Aug. 11, 2018. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)
The aerial photo was taken on March 10, 2018, shows a black-necked crane in Linzhou County, Tibet. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)
Photo taken on Sept. 11, 2018, shows the starry sky in Ngari, Tibet. The Ngari area has an average altitude of over 4,000 meters above sea level. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/)
Photo taken on March 30, 2018, shows the Potala Palace after a snowfall in Lhasa, Tibet. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Chogo)
Wild monkeys cling to a car along the Provincial Highway No. 306 at Gyaca County, Tibet, April 23, 2018. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorgi)
A monk is seen during the butter lamps lighting event at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet, Dec. 2, 2018. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/)
The aerial photo was taken on May 27, 2018, shows the scenery of the Yamdrok Lake in Nagarze County of Shannan City, Tibet. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorgi)
People enjoy “lingka”, meaning leisure time in woods, in the outskirts of Lhasa, Tibet, Aug. 4, 2018. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
A model presents a creation during a folk costume show at the 5,200-meter-high base camp of the world’s highest peak Qomolangma, in Tibet, Aug. 18, 2018. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Liu Dongjun)
Photo taken on Nov. 7, 2018, shows a roof decoration of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, capital of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. The golden roofs of the Potala Palace shine in glory after more than 18 months of renovation work. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)
Photo taken on Sept. 8, 2018, shows sand dunes near the source of the Yarlung Zangbo River in Zhongba County of Xigaze, Tibet. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/)
A cyclist rides during a cycling race around the holy lake Mapham Yutso in Pulan County of Ngari Prefecture, Tibet, Sept. 9, 2018. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)
Rigzin, 49, smiles while grazing a flock of sheep in Rungma Town of Nyima County, Tibet, June 14, 2018. Rigzin and his family are to be relocated to a new home in Lhasa. Amazing shots of Tibet in 2018 are seen through lenses of Xinhua photographers. (Xinhua/Chogo)
In my Theory of Man, I describe the Seven Dimensions of Man, the Physical, the Mental, the Social, the Moral, the Spiritual, the Rational, and the Creative that constitute the Singularity that is recognized as Man. For Man’s Existence can only be accounted as a creative event, the problem of Despair can be outweighed by placing the Trust in the LORD God Creator.
In my rational analysis, the Subjective and the Objective Reality of Man’s Existence in the Physical World can only be accounted by the Unity between Man and his Creator. The Man-God Connection, Relationship, Partnership, Association, Coming Together, Bonding, and Yoking is the fundamental basis of Human Existence at any stage of existence, at any given time, and any given place.
I acknowledge the problems of extreme hardship confronting me from various directions and yet they cannot totally crush my Spirit. I am perplexed but not destroyed.
WHOLE CHRIST – WHOLE LOVE: The term “Whole Christ” refers to Jesus before His human birth, during His earthly existence, after His Resurrection, and to the Hope of His Second Coming to establish the ‘Kingdom of Heaven on Earth’.
The term “Whole Love” describes God’s Unconditioned Love that is not determined by human knowledge and rationality. The Birth of Jesus cannot be fully accounted by human knowledge and rationality for man lacks the ability to account for his own existence.
The word Christ (Greek. Christos) refers to the Messiah whose appearance is prophesied in the Old Testament and is used as a title to describe Jesus of Nazareth. I am using the phrase “WholeChrist” to describe Jesus before His human birth, Jesus during the years spent on this Earth, Jesus after His Resurrection, and Jesus who gives the Hope of the Second Coming to establish ‘The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth’. The word Christ may not communicate the entirety of Jesus and in the four Gospels, we do not obtain the full picture as the event called ‘The Second Coming’ has not yet taken place. The word “Love” (Hebrew. ‘Ahavah’, Greek. ‘agape’) is presented in Scripture as the very nature or essence of God, the supreme attribute in which all other attributes are harmonized. Love is a bond that unites all virtues. I consider the Power/Force/Energy of Mercy, Grace, and Compassion as the operating mechanism of God’s Love and could be simply called Divine Providence. I am using the phrase “whole love” to describe God’s Unconditioned Love that is not determined or fully accounted by human knowledge and human rationality. In other words, I have no ability to empower myself to receive Unconditioned Love. I cannot manipulate God’s Whole Love through my actions, behavior, or even prayers. I can experience Whole Love but, I cannot explain or fully account for the existence of that Love.
WHOLE CHRIST – WHOLE LOVE – WHOLE CREATION: THE BIRTH OF JESUS:
Whole Christ – Whole Love – Whole Creation: The Birth of Jesus as a Spiritual Being cannot be fully accounted for by using human knowledge and human rationality.
Man must try to know and understand as to where he exists and as to how he exists. God uses the dimension called WholeLove to bring Unity and Harmony between the dimensions of Matter, Energy, Time, and Space to create man and the World in which man exists.
Man cannot explain the Birth of Jesus using his scientific knowledge. The Birth of Jesus can only be understood as a fact of Creation, a creative event. It should not come as a surprise as each human being who took birth on Earth has always arrived as an original, unique, distinctive, and one of its own kind of object with a genome that never existed in the past and would also never exist again in the future. Each man is born as a created being and the birth of Jesus as a singular event reveals a creative mechanism not known to man and not subject to the limitations of man’s rational power. God uses the dimension called WholeLove to bring Unity and Harmony between the dimensions of Matter, Energy, Time, and Space to create man and the World in which man exists.
WHOLE CHRIST – WHOLE LOVE – WHOLE EXISTENCE:
Whole Christ – Whole Love – Whole Existence: The Birth of Jesus and His earthly existence describes the operation of a Supreme, Spiritual Whole Law that harmonizes all Laws of Nature that operate in the physical world to establish Whole Existence which may be stated as a Law of Conservation:” Matter is neither created nor destroyed.” Similarly, it can be stated: “Life is neither created nor destroyed.”
Whole Christ – Whole Love – Whole Existence: God Exists. Very often people raise the question about God’s place of existence in this vast universe of unknown dimensions. Where does man exist? How could the man be certain about the location of his own existence in this universe which is constantly moving every instant?
Whole Christ – Whole Love – Whole Existence: Where does man exist? It is easy to describe man’s place of existence in the Solar System, and Milky Way Galaxy. In reality, man exists in Space without any awareness of his position that is changing every instant. No object that is known in this universe continues to exist in the same position at two different instants. Man exists in a restless universe under the Blissful influence called Whole Love which shields man from the harsh realities of the physical universe.
To experience the Joy of Christmas, to seek the uplifting power of Jesus Christ, man must know the truth and reality about human existence. Human knowledge and rationality in themselves do nothing to justify human existence or the existence of this universe. To establish the fact of this human existence on one known planet called Earth is beyond the abilities of human cognitive powers. The biological basis of human existence demands the support of Love whose operating principles are Mercy, Grace, and Compassion. This Love is not conditioned by human behavior and human actions and not even prayers. Man cannot empower himself to acquire God’s Love using his free will. The good and evil actions of man, the right and bad conduct of man will be possible if and only if man’s existence precedes his actions and behavior. It is often argued that the evil and suffering in the world seems to count against the existence of God. I have to account for my physical existence before I can share the experience of pain, misery, disappointment, frustration, and suffering of my life’s condition. The fact or the reality of human pain and suffering cannot exclude the fact of God’s existence. The man at any given age and any given stage of his existence, from conception, physical birth, infancy, youth, adult, old age and death, in ill-health or good health depends upon an Unchanging Spiritual Principle to bring Unity and Harmony to maintain that condition or state called existence. This concept of God’s Unconditioned Love or WholeLove for man is shared by the Birth of Jesus. When I think of this Whole Love, I feel better, my mood gets uplifted, the burden of my painful existence is eased, and I can sense the Joy of the Season.
WHOLE CHRIST – WHOLE LOVE – WHOLE LAW:
Whole Christ – Whole Love – Whole Law: Love is defined by stating its attributes. Love is Patient. Love is Kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast, it is not proud. Love is not rude. Love is not self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. Love protects, trusts, hopes, always persevere and Love never fails. Divine Mother Mary is seen expressing such Love for her baby Jesus.
Apostle Paul in his First Epistle to Corinthians, in the New Testament Book of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses #4 to 8 describes the attributes of Love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” Jesus Christ while teaching the operating principle called Love, names Love as a Law, a Law above all other laws of nature, and above all other Commandments. In the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 22, verses #37 to 40 “Whole Love” is explained as “Whole Law”: Jesus replied:” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Love is the supreme attribute, nature, and essence of God and at the same time, it operates as a Law above all other Laws of Nature and the commandments shared by Prophets. Whole Love can be stated as the Whole Law that governs the existence of man and gives the man the chance to experience Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility in his living condition.
WHOLE CHRIST – WHOLE LOVE – WHOLE REALITY:
Whole Christ – Whole Love – Whole Reality: The Birth of Jesus Christ. Life is neither created nor destroyed. The term Whole Christ describes Jesus as an eternal, immortal, unborn Spiritual Principle that existed before His birth, that existed in the Middle or during His earthly Life and continues to exist in Future without being influenced by Time.
Apostle Paul in his First Epistle to Corinthians, in the New Testament Book of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, verse#13 states the Principle of Conservation: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Man exists in a world that is restless and is constantly changing. The Individual, the created human being, is born, grows and develops, exists with a physical identity that constantly changes under the powerful influence of Time. The event called Death records the loss of that Physical Identity that is never constant at any time of its earthly existence. In the natural world, such changes in appearance are governed by the Laws of Conservation such as the Laws of Conservation of Mass, Energy, and Momentum. During man’s physical existence, the physical form and appearance change and yet the Spiritual Principles of Faith, Hope, and Love are conserved. Man cannot depend upon his knowledge and rationality as they are always subject to change. To know the Subjective and Objective Reality or the “whole Reality” of his ‘WholeExistence’, man needs to know the Law of Conservation of Faith, Hope, and Love.
WHOLE CHRIST – WHOLE LOVE – WHOLE PRAYER:
Whole Christ – Whole Love – Whole Prayer: The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 6 gives the account of “Whole Prayer” that is popularly known as ‘Lord’s Prayer’. Father knows what you need before you ask Him. We pray, for His “WILL” be done on earth as it is in Heaven. The ‘Whole Prayer’ gives virtues such as Patience, Perseverance, Tolerance, and Kindness the attributes of ‘Whole Love’.
The word Prayer refers to man’s communication with God. It is a spiritual or devotional communication to make a humble, sincere request. Prayer is the act of supplication and it includes words of praise, words of thanksgiving, words of confession, and words of a plea seeking the sanction of favor to transform a mental desire into a physical reality in the external world. If God is omniscient, He must know of the evil; and if God is omnipotent, He must be able to remove the evil; and if God is perfectly benevolent and is loving, there should be no pain and suffering. To experience pain and misery, to experience suffering, disappointment, and frustration, I have to maintain the condition called existence. At a fundamental level, I have to understand my ability to know things, my power to rule or govern things, and I must know my ability to make choices to change things in my external environment. Jesus in the New Testament Book of Matthew, Chapter 6, verse# 8 instructs: “Do not be like them(pagans), for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” In Lord’s Prayer, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that the purpose of the ‘Whole Prayer’ is that of asking, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Using my human knowledge and rationality, I can neither account for my existence nor account for my experience of pain and suffering which describes the nature of my existence. I describe ‘WholePrayer’ as an act of Faith, and Hope in recognition of the fact or reality called WholeLove that imparts its qualities and virtues such as Patience, Perseverance, Tolerance, and Kindness. Even if I cannot change the circumstances of my life that cause or give the experience of pain, suffering, and misery, the acceptance of Whole Love makes me pain-tolerant and pain-resistant. It gives me the strength called ‘Endurance’ to overcome the challenge called the ‘Stress of Life’.
Whole Christ – Whole Love: “That which is done out of Love always takes place beyond Good and Evil.” (Nietzsche). Man, with his Good or Evil actions and behavior cannot control the flow of God’s Unconditioned or ‘WholeLove’.
In my analysis, the natural phenomenon called ‘Winter Solstice’ describes the Magic of Creation.
While the Sun shines all the time, man experiences alternating periods of light and darkness and varying Seasons as if there are two worlds on the same Planet. Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is called Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. This separation of Light from Darkness is unique to planet Earth. The man has already discovered thousands of other planets. None of them share the ‘Rotational Spin’ characteristics that set Earth apart from all other heavenly objects.
The map below indicates the position of the Sun and areas of sunlight versus darkness at sunset today in New York City, 4:32pm EST.
Winter Solstice 2018: 10 Facts About the Shortest Day of the Year
BY Jane Rose
December 20, 2018
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Amid the whirl of the holiday season, many are vaguely aware of the approach of the winter solstice, but how much do you really know about it? Whether you’re a fan of winter or just wish it would go away, here are 10 things to note—or even celebrate—about the solstice.
1. IT HAPPENS ON DECEMBER 21 UTC THIS YEAR.
The date of the winter solstice varies from year to year and can fall anywhere between December 20 and December 23, with the 21st or 22nd being the most common dates. The reason for this is because the tropical year—the time it takes for the sun to return to the same spot relative to Earth—is different from the calendar year. The next solstice occurring on December 20 will not happen until 2080, and the next December 23 solstice will not occur until 2303.
2. IT HAPPENS AT A SPECIFIC, BRIEF MOMENT.
Not only does the solstice occur on a specific day, but it also occurs at a specific time of day, corresponding to the instant the North Pole has aimed furthest away from the sun on the 23.5-degree tilt of the Earth’s axis. This is also the time when the sun shines directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. In 2017, this moment occurs at 4:28 p.m. UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). For those of us on Eastern Standard Time, the solstice will occur at 11:28 a.m. on December 21. And regardless of where you live, the solstice happens at the same moment for everyone on the planet.
3. IT MARKS THE LONGEST NIGHT AND SHORTEST DAY OF THE YEAR FOR THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE.
As most are keenly aware, daylight hours grow shorter and shorter as the solstice approaches, and begin to slowly lengthen afterward. It’s no wonder that the day of the solstice is referred to in some cultures as the “shortest day” or “extreme of winter.” New York City will experience 9 hours and 15 minutes of sunlight, compared to 15 hours and 5 minutes on the summer solstice. Helsinki, Finland, will get 5 hours and 49 minutes of light. Barrow, Alaska, will not have a sunrise at all (and hasn’t since mid-November; its next sunrise will be on January 22), while the North Pole has had no sunrise since October. The South Pole, though, will be basking in the glow of the midnight sun, which won’t set until March.
4. ANCIENT CULTURES VIEWED THE WINTER SOLSTICE AS A TIME OF DEATH AND REBIRTH.
The seeming death of the light and the very real threat of starvation over the winter months would have weighed heavily on early societies, who held varied solstice celebrations and rites meant to herald the return of the Sun and hope for new life. Scandinavian and Germanic pagans lit fires and may have burned Yule logs as a symbolic means of welcoming back the light. Cattle and other animals were slaughtered around midwinter, followed by feasting on what was the last fresh meat for several months. The modern Druidic celebration Alban Arthan reveres the death of the Old Sun and birth of the New Sun.
5. THE DAY MARKS THE DISCOVERY OF NEW AND STRANGE WORLDS.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth on December 21, 1620, to found a society that would allow them to worship freely. On the same day in 1898, Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium, ushering in an atomic age. And on December 21, 1968, the Apollo 8 spacecraft launched, becoming the first manned moon mission.
6. THE WORD SOLSTICE TRANSLATES ROUGHLY TO “SUN STANDS STILL.”
Solstice derives from the Latin scientific term solstitium, containing sol, which means “sun,” and the past participle stem of sistere, meaning “to make stand.” This comes from the fact that the sun’s position in the sky relative to the horizon at noon, which increases and decreases throughout the year, appears to pause in the days surrounding the solstice. In modern times, we view the phenomenon of the solstice from the position of space, and of the Earth relative to the Sun. Earlier people, however, were thinking about the Sun’s trajectory, how long it stayed in the sky and what sort of light it cast.
7. STONEHENGE IS ALIGNED TO THE SUNSET ON WINTER SOLSTICE.
The primary axis of the megalithic monument is oriented to the setting sun, while Newgrange, another structure built around the same time as Stonehenge, lines up with the winter solstice sunrise. Some have theorized that the position of the Sun was of religious significance to the people who built Stonehenge, while other theories hold that the monument is constructed along natural features that happen to align with it. The purpose of Stonehenge is still subject to debate, but its importance on the winter solstice continues into the modern era, as thousands of hippies, pagans, and other types of enthusiasts gather there every year to celebrate the occasion.
8. ANCIENT ROMANS CELEBRATED REVERSALS AT THE MIDWINTER FESTIVAL OF SATURNALIA.
A Saturnalia celebration in England in 2012.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
The holiday, which began as a festival to honor the agricultural god Saturn, was held to commemorate the dedication of his temple in 497 BCE. It quickly became a time of widespread revelry and debauchery in which societal roles were overturned, with masters serving their slaves and servants being allowed to insult their masters. Mask-wearing and play-acting were also part of Saturnalia’s reversals, with each household electing a King of Misrule. Saturnalia was gradually replaced by Christmas throughout the Roman Empire, but many of its customs survive as Christmas traditions.
9. SOME TRADITIONS HOLD THAT DARK SPIRITS WALK THE EARTH ON THE WINTER SOLSTICE.
The Iranian festival of Yalda is celebrated on the longest night of the year. In pre-Islamic times, it heralded the birth of Mithra, the ancient sun god, and his triumph over darkness. Zoroastrian lore holds that evil spirits wander the earth and the forces of the destructive spirit Ahriman are strongest on this long night. People are encouraged to stay up most of the night in the company of one another, eating, talking, and sharing poetry and stories, in order to avoid any brushes with dark entities. Beliefs about the presence of evil on the longest night are also echoed in Celtic and Germanic folklore.
10. SOME THOUGHT THE WORLD WOULD END ON THE 2012 WINTER SOLSTICE.
December 21, 2012, corresponds to the date 18.104.22.168.0 in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar used by the ancient Mayans, marking the end of a 5126-year cycle. Some people feared this juncture would bring about the end of the world or some other cataclysmic event. Others took a more New Age-y view (literally) and believed it heralded the birth of a new era of deep transformation for Earth and its inhabitants. In the end, neither of these things appeared to occur, leaving the world to turn through winter solstices indefinitely, or at least as long as the Sun lasts.