Einstein says the most important question we will ever ask ourselves is, “Is this universe a friendly place.” Do we trust that there is something essentially benevolent or good about this universe? That we are essentially good? These two talks explore what it means to trust basic goodness, and how this trust naturally emerges through cultivating a meditative presence…
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s bloodand probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon be beauty. Think big.”
About a dozen years before the Revolutionary War, tensions increased in America between the British and the French with their Indian allies, resulting in battles.
The most notable period of the French and Indian Wars lasted from 1754 to 1763. It is considered the first global war, as allies of the French and English fought all around the world.
On July 9, 1755, about 1,400 British troops marched over the Appalachian Mountains to seize French Fort Duquesne, near present day Pittsburgh. As they marched through a deep wooded ravine along the Monongahela River eight miles from the fort, they were ambushed by French regulars, Canadians, and Potawatomi and Ottawa Indians.
Not accustomed to fighting unless in an open field, over 900 British soldiers were annihilated.
It was known as the Battle of the Wilderness or Battle of Monongahela.
23-year-old Virginia Colonel George Washington rode back and forth during the battle delivering orders for General Edward Braddock, the Commander-in-Chief of British forces in America.
Eventually, Braddock was killed and every officer on horseback was shot, except Washington.
Washington carried Braddock from the field.
Braddock’s field desk was captured, revealing all of the British military plans, enabling the French to surprise and defeat British forces in succeeding battles at Fort Oswego, Fort William Henry, Fort Duquesne, and Carillon. The Iroquois tribes of Senecas and Cayugas decided to switch their allegiance to the French.
Before he died, Braddock gave Washington his battle uniform sash, which Washington reportedly carried with him while serving as Commander-in-Chief and as President.
Washington presided at the burial service for General Braddock, as the chaplain was wounded. Braddock’s body was buried in the middle of the road so as to prevent his body from being found and desecrated.
Shortly thereafter, writing from Fort Cumberland, George Washington described the Battle of Monongahela to his younger brother, John Augustine Washington, JULY 18, 1755:
“As I have heard, since my arrival at this place, a circumstantial account of my death and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first, and of assuring you, that I have not as yet composed the latter.
But by the All-Powerful Dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!” An Indian warrior later declared:
“Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet! I had seventeen fair fires at him with my rifle and after all could not bring him to the ground!”
“The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” – John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776. 1776 filled the calendar with dates deserving of remembrance and even celebration. John Adams, delegate from Massachusetts to the Second Continental Congress, wrote home to his wife Abigail that future generations would celebrate July 2, the date the Congress voted to approve Richard Henry Lee’s resolution declaring independence from Britain for 13 of the British colonies in America. Two days later, that same Congress approved the wording of the document Thomas Jefferson had drafted to announce Lee’s resolution to the world. Today, we celebrate the date of the document Jefferson wrote, and Richard Henry Lee is often a reduced to a footnote, if not erased from history altogether. Who can predict the future? (You know, of course, that Adams and Jefferson both died 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence, on July 4, 1826. In the 50 intervening years, Adams and Jefferson were comrades in arms and diplomacy in Europe, officers of the new government in America, opposing candidates for the presidency, President and Vice President, ex-President and President, bitter enemies, then long-distance friends writing almost daily about how to make a great new nation. Read David McCullough’s version of the story, if you can find it.)”
Sixty-six years ago today, the seemingly everyday, innocent thoughts of a teen girl were published. But they weren’t so everyday: they were the thoughts of Anne Frank, a 13-year-old in a unique position to make the world understand what it was like to have to hide your entire existence in exchange for a mere chance at surviving the Nazi regime. Her diary has since sold more than 30 million copies and has been translated into 67 languages. If you haven’t read The Diary of a Young Girl in a while (or even if you have), here are 10 things you should know.