The Zoo Fence

Here's A Thought!

Year 2017 Archive

Can I go home, please!
The Way Home

Here we archive “Here’s A Thought” items from the year 2017.
To return to the current year, click here.
Addional years’ archives are also accessible from that same page.

December 31, 2017

Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen.

Mark Twain

December 24, 2017

Make yourself grow to a greatness beyond measure, by a bound free yourself from the body; raise yourself above all time, become Eternity; then you will understand God. Believe that nothing is impossible for you, think yourself immortal and capable of understanding all, all arts, all sciences, the nature of every living being. Mount higher than the highest height; descend lower than the lowest depth. Draw into yourself all sensations of everything created, fire and water, dry and moist, imagining that you are everywhere, on earth, in the sea, in the sky, that you are not yet born, in the maternal womb, adolescent, old, dead, beyond death. If you embrace in your thought all things at once, times, places, substances, qualities, quantities, you may understand God.

Bruno Giordano

December 17, 2017

In order to arrive at having pleasure in everything,
Desire to have pleasure in nothing.
In order to arrive at possessing everything,
Desire to possess nothing.
In order to arrive at being everything,
Desire to be nothing.
In order to arrive at knowing everything,
Desire to know nothing.

Saint John of The Cross
Ascent of Mount Carmel (Book 1, Chapter 13, Verse 11)

December 10, 2017

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

Nelson Mandela

December 3, 2017

Women have contributed to [the history of humanity] as much as men and, more often than not, they did so in much more difficult conditions. I think particularly of those women who loved culture and art, and devoted their lives to them in spite of the fact that they were frequently at a disadvantage …. Women’s dignity has often been unacknowledged and their prerogatives misrepresented; they have often been relegated to the margins of society and even reduced to servitude. This has prevented women from truly being themselves, and it has resulted in a spiritual impoverishment of humanity. … [Some blame] has belonged to not just a few members of the Church.

Pope John Paul II
quoted by Peggy Noonan in Wall Street Journal.
Read the full text of the Pope’s Letter to Women

November 26, 2017

In a world where you can be anything … be kind.

Rosemary Billquist
(from a t-shirt?)

November 19, 2017

I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it.

Benjamin Franklin

November 12, 2017

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.

Dwight David Eisenhower
For Brother Theophyle on war,
please click here

November 5, 2017

He: I’ve wanted to touch you almost from the moment we met. But I’m a Muslim, and you’re a Christian. We share so little.
She: Were Adam and Eve Muslim? Or were they Christian?
He: They were neither.
She: But they shared the same God.

Film The Ottoman Lieutenant

October 29, 2017

The Guru is quiet, and peace prevails in all. His silence is vaster and more emphatic than all the scriptures put together. These questions arise because of the feeling that, in spite of having been here so long, heard so much, striven so hard, you have not gained anything. The process that goes on inside you is not apparent to you. In fact, the Guru is always within you.

Ramana Maharshi
in The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in His Own Words

October 22, 2017

The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd, and thinks for himself.

Archibald MacLeish

October 15, 2017

Questioner: Are the Gods … and their heavens real?
Ramana: As real as you are in this body.
Q: I mean, have they got a phenomenal existence like my body, or are they pure fiction like the horns of a hare?
R: They do exist.
Q: If so, they must be somewhere; where are they?
R: In you.
Q: Then they are only my idea; something which I create and control?
R: Everything is.

Sri Ramana Maharshi
in The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in His Own Words

October 8, 2017

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

Carl Jung

October 1, 2017

Every individual, every industry, and every system of thought needs criticism.

Arlo R Hansen
TZF’s long time good friend & contributor
(“ihavesayso” at TZF’s Open Forum)

September 24, 2017

I AM with you always.

Matthew 28:20
Qur’an 20.46
Yeshayahu Isaiah 41.10
… and others

September 17, 2017

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.
That will be the beginning.

Louis L'Amour

September 10, 2017

Now see that I, even I, am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal;
Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32:39

September 3, 2017

And God’s is the east and the west:
and wherever you turn, there is God’s countenance.
Behold, God is infinite, all-knowing.

Qur’an 2:115

August 27, 2017

If you cannot love each other,
you cannot achieve your goal.

Neem Karoli Baba

August 20, 2017

There must come a change!

Octavius Catto

August 13, 2017

Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven’t had that what have you had?

Henry James

August 6, 2017

Birds don’t fly, they are flown;
Fish don’t swim, they are carried.

A Tibetan nun
in The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
on National Geographic Channel

July 30, 2017

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does the truth become error because nobody will see it.

Mohandas K. Gandhi

July 23, 2017

Reason cannot grasp the essential being of God which remains shrouded in mystery. All that we can establish is the fact that God does not resemble any other being. All the other questions that exercise theologians are simply frivolous … .

Commentary in A History of God
by Karen Armstrong

July 16, 2017

I do not know if you have experimented with yourself. Take a piece of stick, put it on the mantelpiece, and every day put a flower in front of it — give it a flower — put in front of it a flower, and repeat some words — “Coca-Cola,” “Amen,” “OM”; it doesn't matter what word — any word you like — listen, don’t laugh it off — do it and you will find out. If you do it, after a month you will see how holy it has become. You have indentified yourself with that stick, with that piece of stone or with that piece of idea, and you have made it into something sacred, holy. But it is not.

J. Krishnamurti
in The Awakening of Intelligence

July 9, 2017

Sin is often a failure to bother to love.

Heard on NPR’s “Morning Edition
July 8, 2017

July 2, 2017

It is very difficult to know exactly what good should come out of a particular situation. To attempt to manipulate circumstances so your idea of good can come about, is to let the ego play God — and that, as you know, can and does backfire.

Neem Karoli Baba

June 25, 2017

I discovered for myself and by myself that there is no self to realize. That’s the realization I am talking about. It comes as a shattering blow. It hits you like a thunderbolt. You have invested everything in one basket, self-realization, and, in the end, suddenly you discover that there is no self to discover, no self to realize.

U.G. Krishnamurti
in The Mystique of Enlightenment

June 18, 2017

… the easiest person to fool is yourself.

US Senator Al Franken
in New York Times

June 11, 2017

Nothing in life is to be feared,
it is only to be understood.

Marie Curie

June 4, 2017

Hadith: “Reflect upon God’s creation but not upon his nature or else you will perish.”

Author’s commentary: Reason cannot grasp the essential being of God which remains shrouded in mystery. All that we can establish is the fact that God does not resemble any other being. All the other questions that exercise theologians are simply frivolous and are dismissed by the Koran as zanna. [zanna is defined here as “An Arabic term used in the KORAN, indicating meaningless theological speculation”.]

A History of God
by Karen Armstrong

May 28, 2017


In the middle of one night
Miss Clavel turned on the light
and said, “Something is not right!”

Lines from Madeline
in The Washington Post

May 21, 2017

The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.

Richard Francis Burton

May 14, 2017

Besides communion with God and communion with the earth, is there not also communion with God in and through the earth? I should like it to be so, for myself and for many others.

PierreTeilhard de Chardin
quoted in Teilhard de Chardin & The Mystery of Christ

May 7, 2017

Well, I am a devotee of Occam’s razor, and use it daily.
What is obviously so is probably obviously so.

Gore Vidal
Occam’s Razor: Plurality should not be
posited without necessity.

April 30, 2017

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can,
only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.

Dwight David Eisenhower

April 23, 2017

In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Commonly attributed to George Orwell

April 16, 2017

What is divine in Man is elusive and impalpable, and he is easily tempted to embody it in a collective form – a church, a country, a social system, a leader – so that he may realize it with less effort and serve it with more profit. Yet the attempt to externalize the kingdom of heaven in a temporal shape must end in disaster. It cannot be created by charters or constitutions, nor established by arms. Those who set out for it alone will reach it together, and those who seek it in company will perish by themselves.

Hugh Kingsmill
The Poisoned Crown
quoted in Jesus Rediscovered
by Malcolm Muggeridge

April 9, 2017

The feeling that we call “I” is itself the product of thought.
Having an ego is what it feels like to be thinking without knowing that you are thinking.

Sam Harris
in Waking Up

April 2, 2017

I know I can go to hell for what I did to you.

A guard at Guantanamo Bay
to a detainee in “Guantanamo Diary
described by John Le Carre as
“A vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka”

March 26, 2017

Everyone wishes to have truth on his side,
but not everyone wishes to be on the side of truth.

Richard Whately

March 19, 2017

Tolerably early in life I discovered that one of the unpardonable sins, in the eyes of most people, is for a man to presume to go about unlabeled. The world regards such a person as the police do an unmuzzled dog, not under proper control.

Thomas Henry Huxley

March 12, 2017

Riddle me this:
How is it that there is God
but there is not a God?


March 5, 2017

One man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh.

Robert A. Heinlein
in “Notebooks of Lazarus Long”
from Time Enough for Love

February 26, 2017

[In the aftermath of the crucifixion of Jesus, first century Christians told of] … the journey to Emmaus undertaken by two Jesus followers, one named and clearly male, one unnamed and probably female. The couple were leaving Jerusalem in disappointed and dejected sorrow. Jesus joined them on the road and, unknown and unrecognized, explained how the Hebrew Scriptures should have prepared them for his fate. Later that evening they invited him to join them for their evening meal, and finally they recognized him when once again he served the meal to them as of old beside the lake. And then, only then, they started back to Jerusalem in high spirits. The symbolism is obvious, as is the metaphoric condensation of the first years of Christian thought and practice into one parabolic afternoon. Emmaus never happened. Emmaus always happens.

John Dominic Crossan
in The Historical Jesus

February 19, 2017

Liberation is never of the person,
it is always from the person.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
in I Am That

February 12, 2017

Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams — they all have different names, but they all contain water.
Just as religions do — they all contain truths.

Muhammad Ali
in New York Times

February 5, 2017

A man’s character is his fate.


January 29, 2017

I can’t hate. Hate destroys the hater, too.
That’s a heavy burden to carry.

Wheeler Parker, cousin of Emmett Till
in The New York Times

January 22, 2017

The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty.

Pope Francis
in Caring for Creation

January 15, 2017

The way that can be spoken of
Is not the constant way;
The name that can be named
Is not the constant name.
The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth;
The named was the mother of the myriad creatures.
Hence always rid yourself of desires
in order to observe its secrets;
But always allow yourself to have desires
in order to observe its manifestations.
These two are the same
But diverge in name as they issue forth.

Being the same they are called mysteries,
Mystery upon mystery —
The gateway of the manifold secrets.

Tao Te Ching (Wang Pi text)
in Chinese Classics–Tao Te Ching
(emphasis mine)

January 8, 2017

I have spent thirty years looking for Al-Bastami,
and have yet to find him.

quoted in The Other Islam by Stephen Schwartz

January 1, 2017

Here’s a thought for this first day of this new year:
Is religious terrorism religious?
Is Buddhist terrorism Buddhist?
Is Christian terrorism Christian?
Is Hindu terrorism Hindu?
Is Islamic terrorism Islamic?
Is Jewish terrorism Jewish?



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