Re: Does religion inform your worldview?

Question: Does religion inform your worldview?

Dana Gioia: I was raised very Catholic. I’m still Catholic. And I was raised with the lives of the saints. Every day we would like at the life of a great man or a woman who had somehow, you know, led a good life. And I still . . . And what inspires me still are the people. I mean I meet somebody who has spent 10 years in Africa working in a hospital, and that sh . . . reminds me of, “Well I’ve gotta lead a better life. I’ve got to work harder.” And so I think it’s, you know, we learn from one another.A wonderful line by . . . by _________ that’s the . . . one of the . . . it’s the climactic stanza of his very famous poem “September 1, 1939”. And it goes something like, “All I have is a voice to undo the folded lie, the romantic lie in the brain of the sensual man on the street; then the lie of authority whose buildings grope the sky.” And this is the line that I’m going to:

“There is no such thing as the state. And no one exists alone. Hunger allows no choice to the citizen or the police. You must love one another or die.”

And the notion that no one exists alone; that we’re part of the human race; that we have these moral, spiritual, ethical obligations to each other; and that we learn from each other. And so what inspires me . . . what inspires me are people who are better than me. And most peopleare better than me, so there’s a lot of inspiration around for me. I was raised very Catholic and I still look at things as a Catholic. Which is to say that I have a sense of the complexity and richness of life . . . that there is, in a sense, both the visible world and an invisible world; that the actions that we take have consequences beyond our lives; that we should be morally responsible for our lives. Another thing that Catholicism teaches you is, I think, patience and humility; that we . . . that we are not better than other people. That we have a responsibility to help other people. And the greatest gift of Catholicism, I think, is an openness to grace. That is to have a sense that there are times in your life where a grace that comes from beyond your own life actually pours into your life. It helps you. And so . . . so I think, you know. . . I’m . . . I’m very much of a . . . of a Mediterranean Catholic in that sense.

Recorded On: 7/6/07

"You must love one another or die."

Think of the closest planet to Earth... Wrong! Think again!

Three scientists publish paper proving that not Venus but Mercury is the closest planet to Earth

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbour must be planet two of four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbour is... Mercury!
Keep reading Show less

Scientists reactivate cells from 28,000-year-old woolly mammoth

"I was so moved when I saw the cells stir," said 90-year-old study co-author Akira Iritani. "I'd been hoping for this for 20 years."

Yamagata et al.
Surprising Science
  • The team managed to stimulate nucleus-like structures to perform some biological processes, but not cell division.
  • Unless better technology and DNA samples emerge in the future, it's unlikely that scientists will be able to clone a woolly mammoth.
  • Still, studying the DNA of woolly mammoths provides valuable insights into the genetic adaptations that allowed them to survive in unique environments.
Keep reading Show less

10 novels that brilliantly capture the American experience

The distance between the American dream and reality is expressed best through literature.

American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin poses at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979. (Photo: Ralph Gatti/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Literature expands our ability to feel empathy and inspires compassion.
  • These ten novels tackle some facet of the American experience.
  • The list includes a fictional retelling of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard and hiding out in inner city Newark.
Keep reading Show less