“False happiness renders men stern and proud and that happiness is never communicated. True happiness renders them kind and sensible and that is always shared.”

Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de la Brède et de Montesquieu was a French judge and philosopher.

He lived during the 18th century and belonged to the school of thought known as the Enlightenment.

His books include The Persian Letters and Spirit of the Laws.

I find this famous quote from Montesquieu to be a litmus test of the happiness that we tend to observe but are not necessarily invited to partake in.


  1. A person whose diet is mostly vegetarian but sometimes includes meat, fish, or poultry.
  2. Of or relating to flexitarians or their diet.

Many yogis and yoginis are flexitarians. Some adhere to stricter dietary rules and are vegetarians or even vegans.


1. British. Informal. To prevent from happening or succeeding.

2. British. Military. To overwhelm, surprise and destroy.

1. The presentation was scuppered on account of poor preparation.

2. The defending platoon scuppered the invading forces that outnumbered them.

God Bless the Animals

Yesterday I posted a link to a story about a puppy in Turkey that I saw earlier in the week on Twitter.

Usually we see heart-warming stories of our heroic furry friends defying health problems or abuse.

This little puppy had no chance.

He was tortured and left to die with the certainty that he could not live without his limbs.

He did not make it through surgery.

What does this puppy have to do with the humanities or even social science?


  1. Abuse of an animal is abuse of one of God’s creatures that we have been entrusted with according to the Episcopalians as well as other denominations and religions.
  2. Animal rights are a clear indication of the state of a society’s advancement. (The link on Twitter does say that Turkey will be taking serious action against the perpetrator and examining its own animal rights laws.)
  3. The reason animal rights are an indicator is that it has been scientifically proven that animals have feelings, beyond the physical.
  4. Research has further found that pets have therapeutic effects on their owners. All they ask is to be taken care of.
  5. In an humanitarian sense we can see that animals understand and appreciate loyalty and friendship, both with each other and with human beings.

What can we do?

  1. Educate ourselves about our relationship with animals. Some titles to check out:
    1. Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina
    2. Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement by Peter Singer
    3. Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin
    4. Best Friends: The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Sanctuary by Samantha Glen
    5. Alex and Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene Pepperberg
  2. If you can, adopt a pet. It’s a good deed and it will make your life infinitely better. I’m currently wondering if my cat, Caesar, would like to have a playmate.
  3. Download the app “Charity Miles.” It will track your progress while walking, running, and cycling and donate accordingly to the charity of your choice. The ASPCA is an option. Or participate in traditional races.

I’ll simply close with the words of Mark Twain, who brings the human connection forward in the following comparison: “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between a dog and a man.”

Thoughts on our stewardship of the animals?

Suggestions on what can be done?

Nature and Books

“Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson brings up relativism, the idea that we, as individuals, hold up a unique perspective that colors the lens with which we see the world.

Two different readers will see the same landscape and read the same book through two different lenses, both literally and figuratively.

The perspectives that color the lenses through which we see the world are created by our life experiences. What we have seen or read before impacts our present view.

Consequently, the enjoyment derived from hiking and gatherings such as tertulias or salons is in the company.

Individuals notice different details. It is in sharing those details that we come closer to a complete picture.

Emerson belonged to the transcendentalist movement which took place in the nineteenth century in American Literature.

Transcendentalists such as Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were influenced by romanticism, Platonism, and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.

Transcendentalism calls for a profound respect and appreciation of nature, hence today’s quote from Emerson.

Tomorrow we will examine the need for an absolute connection to animals as a part of our connection to nature.